Saturday, August 29, 2015

New Audio Book

I'm excited to announce that my novella THE VAGRANTS is now available as an audio book through Audio Realms and The Audio Book Shop.


Beneath the city of Boston, evil is gathering.

Journalist Daniel Finley is determined to save the impoverished of the world. But the abandoned part of humanity has a dark side too. While living under a bridge with the homeless for six months, Daniel witnessed something terrifying. Something that nearly cost him his sanity.

Now, two years later, he’s published a book that exposes a deadly underground cult and its charismatic leader. And Daniel fears the vagrants are after him because of it. At the same time, his father is being terrorized by vicious mobsters. As he desperately tries to help his father, Daniel gets caught up in the middle of a war between the Irish-American mafia and a deranged cult of homeless people who are preparing to shed blood on the streets of Boston. 


"Brian Moreland writes a blend of survival horror and occult mystery that I find impossible to resist.  His writing is clean, precise, and, best of all, compulsively readable.  I know, when I've got one of his books in my hands, that I'm going to be lost to the world for hours on end. He's just that good."

Joe McKinney, author of Dead City and Flesh Eaters

"Brian Moreland writes horror on a level that soars above the usual fare, and THE VAGRANTS is no exception. Chocked full of scares and suspense, Moreland delivers a tale that will soon be a classic. This is the kind of story horror lovers need."

Kristopher Rufty, author of OAK HOLLOW and THE LURKERS

"I am in awe of Brian Moreland."
Ronald Malfi, author of Snow and Floating Staircase

Coming later this fall - an audio book version of my World War II thriller, SHADOWS IN THE MIST.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Guest Author Brian Kirk: A History of Mental Health

Today’s guest writer Brian Kirk shares some historical background for his debut horror novel, We Are Monsters, a cautionary tale about pushing the boundaries of science while in search for a cure for mental illness. This is Part II of a two-part article. You can read Part I at author Catherine Cavendish’s blog.

A History of Mental Health
Part II
The brief history of remedies used to restore mental health was so long it had to be broken up into two parts. CLICK HERE FOR PART I, which includes such exotic therapies as "The Chinese Temple," otherwise known as an iron cage used to submerge patients underwater until they drowned. And gentle physicians such as Henry Cotton, who removed his patients’ teeth, tonsils, colon, gall bladder, appendix, fallopian tubes, uterus, ovaries, cervix, and seminal vesicles in order to eliminate their pesky insanity-causing bacteria. So far it’s hard to tell which was more insane, the patients or the methods used to treat them.

Now let’s continue where we left off, moving confidently in the direction of convulsion therapy. Another sure-fire cure.

For some reason, inducing seizures has long been regarded as an effective way to treat mental illness. It started in the 1930’s with the use of a seizure-inducing drug called metrazol, which triggered a seizure so explosive it could fracture bones, tear muscles, and loosen teeth. In one hospital, 43% of patients treated with metrazol suffered spinal fractures.

But check out these positive effects! As patients regained consciousness from the treatment, they would be dazed and disoriented. Vomiting was common. Many would beg doctors and nurses not to leave, calling for their mothers, wanting to be "hugged, kissed, and petted." Some would masturbate, some would become amorous toward the staff, and some would play with their own feces. All of this was seen as evidence of a desired regression to a childlike level. Sure looks like progress to me.

Whatever positive effects attained from seizures were thought to arise from a dulling of the brain. Which led to experiments in surgical techniques and anti-psychotic medications, the modern day approach to psychotherapy.

Most notable of the surgical techniques was the lobotomy, which is where a long icepick-like needle is inserted into the frontal lobes of the brain, by way of the nose, in order to scrape out the brain matter.

People who underwent lobotomies passed through various stages of change. In the first weeks following the operation, patients were often incontinent. They would lie in their beds like "wax dummies." To stir patients, physicians and nurses would need to tickle them, pound on their chests, or grab them by the neck and "playfully throttle" them. When finally prodded to move, patients could be expected to behave in unusual ways. For instance, patients may vomit in their soup bowls and keep eating before the nurse could take the defiled food away.

Lobotomy fell out of favor in the 1950’s, giving way to the advent of antipsychotic medications; the first of which, Thorazine, was introduced in 1954. First tested in the asylums of Paris, the new treatment was dubbed, "hibernation therapy," (ooh, cozy) as medicated patients became "completely immobile" and could be "moved about like puppets" with a "vacuity of expression" on their faces.

While the general public may think that "crazy" people are more likely to behave in violent ways, this was not true of mental patients prior to the introduction of antipsychotics. This violent behavior is, in large part, due to a side effect of certain antipsychotic compounds called akathisia.

A 1990 study determined that 50 percent of all fights on a psychiatric ward could be tied to akathisia. Another showed that 79 percent of mentally ill patients that had tried to kill themselves suffered from akathisia. And case reports have linked akathisia to several bizarre murders. In one case, a thirty-nine-year-old man – after a haloperidol injection made him feel like he was "falling apart, and that all of the bones in his body were broken" – bludgeoned his mother with a hammer, an act he later found incomprehensible.

A twenty-three-year-old man given haloperidol in an emergency room, escaped, tore off his clothes in a nearby park, and started attacking everyone he saw. Over the course of forty-five minutes, he tried to rape a woman walking in the park, broke into a house and beat an eighty-one-year-old woman to a pulp, fought with a policeman and escaped, and then stabbed two women before being subdued by eight cops. Rather than cure this poor man, they appeared to have turned him into a super villain.

Learning about how we’ve historically treated the mentally ill not only inspired the subject of my debut novel, it influenced its title, We Are Monsters.

In this book a brilliant, yet troubled psychiatrist is working to develop a cure for schizophrenia. At first, the drug he creates shows great promise in alleviating his patient’s symptoms. It appears to return schizophrenics to their former selves. But (as you may imagine) something goes wrong. Unforeseen side effects begin to emerge, forcing prior traumas to the surface, setting inner demons free. His medicine may help heal the schizophrenic mind, but it also expands it, and the monsters it releases could be more dangerous than the disease.

I have tremendous sympathy for the mentally ill, and am horrified by the way they have been, and continue to be treated. This book, in many ways, pays homage to all who have had to endure these inhumane treatments by monsters in human disguise.

Anyone interested in checking out We Are Monsters can order a copy here.


And for anyone interested in striking up a virtual friendship, please connect with me through one of the following channels. Don’t worry. I only kill my characters.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Interview with Author Russell James

Today I’m thrilled to have horror author Russell James back for an interview. Here, he discusses his latest book Q ISLANDa zombie genre infection thriller in the tradition of fun movies like Romero's The Crazies and Boyle's 28 Days Later. I had a blast reading Q Island. James delivers a rocket-paced scary story with compelling characters quarantined on Long Island, New York. This is Russell James' best book to date.

1. BM: Russell, it’s great to have you back on my blog. Can you give us details of what the story of Q Island is about?

RJ: An ancient virus that turns the infected into psychotic killers surfaces on Long Island, NY, and the government quarantines the island. Society breaks down, hard. Melanie Bailey’s autistic son Aiden get infected, but instead of getting sick, gets better. He may represent a cure, and she wants to get him off the island. But the government won’t let them go, and Jimmy Wade is another survivor of the infection who also wants him to stay. But Jimmy and his criminal gang have a pretty unwholesome reason as to why.

2. BM: I love the concept to Q Island. I really enjoyed the prologue with the backstory about the Ice Age mammoths being overtaken by a deadly virus. I thought the diseased mammoth was a refreshing way to introduce a zombie/infected outbreak into the modern world. How did you come up with the idea?

RJ: I remember watching those Russian scientists excavate a whole baby wooly mammoth from the frozen Siberian tundra. They chopped it out like a big ice cube with an elephant in it, and then an old Soviet helicopter flew it off as a slingload. My first thought was, “No way that isn’t getting cloned.” My second thought was, “What killed it?” Viruses can live almost indefinitely frozen. What might these scientists unleash? The storyline just went south from there.

3. BM: I totally missed the news about the Russian scientists excavating a full mammoth. There are so many different thrillers you could write from that news story. What made you choose Long Island, NY as your setting?

RJ: I remember watching horrified as New Orleans imploded during Hurricane Katrina. Within hours of isolation, society unraveled like a cheap suit. I wondered what would happen on a bigger scale, and how you could get more people isolated. I grew up on Long Island, where a few bridges, a tunnel and a couple of ferries are all that give people access to the outside world. It seemed like just the right spot.

4. BM: I’ve never been to Long Island, but sounds like a great spot to quarantine a mass of people. What authors influenced your writing style and in what ways?

RJ: Stephen King is amazing, and his big canvas, multi-character stories are a definite influence. Lately I’ve read a number of Samhain authors who have elements of style I wish I could do as well. Benjamin Kane Etheridge’s surrealism, Jonathan Janz’ amazing, surgically-delivered vocabulary, Hunter Shea’s mastery of making monsters scary as hell. All these guys give me something to shoot for.

5.  BM: Yes, being a Samhain author myself, I’ve read several of Samhain’s authors. They’re introducing the publishing world with fresh and unique horror stories. You seem to hammer out at least one new book a year. Can you share your writing schedule and what you do to remove distractions so you can stay focused on your book in progress?

RJ: I have no life. My day job puts me on the road a lot, so I have a lot of nights in hotel rooms with nothing to do. So I go visit Q Island, or Dreamwalker’s Atlantic City, or Dark Vengeance’s Moultrie, Tennessee and see what’s going on.

6. BM: Awe, yes, I know what it’s like to live in two worlds, your real, everyday life and the fictional fantasy world you travel to and live vicariously through your characters. Of course, in horror fiction there are monsters and bad people in these worlds. Out of all your previous books, which one has been the biggest fan favorite?

RJ: I polled my six fans and they each picked something by Dean Koontz.
Seriously, Black Magic has sold the most copies, and also garnered the lowest Goodreads review ratings. The glowing review from Publisher’s Weekly cast it as horror meets Lake Wobegon because of its emotional impact, but Garrison Keillor fans were not happy with some of the book’s more gruesome aspects.

7. BM: I personally enjoyed Black Magic. Although, Q Island is now my favorite of your books. Any new horror on the horizon?

RJ: A new novel called The Portal will be out from Samhain in June 2016. I’m working on another story from the world of Q Island for some time after that.

I’m part of a benefit anthology called Forever Out of Time, a collection of time travel short stories, that will be out at the end of the year and a time travel novella will probably go live with that one as well. I’m going to need more hotel room time.

BM: Well, it’s been great having you back. Thanks so much for doing an interview for Dark Lucidity. I wish you much success with Q ISLAND and your previous books.

RJ: Me? I’m looking forward to a new Brian Moreland book called Darkness Rising. The buzz on that one is amazing!

BM: If you haven’t yet discovered the horror fiction by Russell James, you’re in for a treat with his latest novel Q ISLAND, now available everywhere books are sold.

All formats can be purchased through Samhain Publishing Store
Russell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching Chiller, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, and The Twilight Zone, despite his parents' warnings. Bookshelves full of Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe didn't make things better. He graduated from Cornell University and the University of Central Florida.

After a tour flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales best read in daylight. He has written the paranormal thrillers Dark Inspiration, Sacrifice, Black Magic, Dark Vengeance, Dreamwalker and Q Island. He has two horror short story collections, Tales from Beyond and Deeper into Darkness. His next novel, The Portal, releases in 2016.

His wife reads what he writes, rolls her eyes, and says "There is something seriously wrong with you."

Visit his website at and read some free short stories.

Follow on Twitter @RRJames14, or drop a line complaining about his writing to