Saturday, December 19, 2015

Writing Progress

Today, I surpassed 30,000 words on the current horror book I'm writing called TOMB OF GODS. My goal is to have something new to release in 2016. I'll keep posting updates as I get closer to completion.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Krampus Season: Guest Author Matt Manochio

This holiday season it’s the year of Krampus, the dark demon of Christmas, and there’s a horror movie by the same name releasing at the theaters on December 4th. The trailer looks scary and fun. The movie appears to have been done with a nice budget and stellar cast, including Toni Collette, Adam Scott and David Koechner. I’m really looking forward to watching all the mayhem in Krampus this weekend. I’m also looking forward to reading more about the legend. Today’s guest author, Matt Manochio, has delved deep in the Krampus mythology and penned not one but two horror books about St. Nick’s evil counterpart. Last year, Manochio did an interview on this blog and talked about his first Krampus novel The Dark Servant. Manochio has now followed up his terrifying novel with a novella-length sequel titled Twelfth Krampus Night. Below, Matt Manochio shares about writing the sequel.

I never thought about writing a sequel to The Dark Servant, my debut novel which features Krampus, Saint Nicholas’s devilish dark companion who punishes naughty children—mostly in Europe. I set my kid-snatching story in modern-day New Jersey. Once you hammer out what Krampus does, and set a novel around it, what more can you do with that specific premise? It’s kinda like the Friday the 13th movies. There’s only so many ways you can butcher stupid, sex-crazed teenagers without it becoming insipid. You can break away from the Krampus myth and have him battling Santa Claus, as others have done, and that’s fine! I prefer my Krampus to be subservient to Saint Nicholas, who I prefer to have lurking in the background as an invisible hand.

Horror fanatic and reviewer Erik Smith planted the seed to revisit Krampus, in a prequel of sorts, shortly after The Dark Servant came out. He mentioned that he enjoyed the book and the characters and was hoping I’d bring them back. I was thrilled he dug the book, but it got me thinking—how would I bring the big guy back?

It started in a throwaway line in an email I wrote to Erik, about how I thought it might be fun to have Krampus trying to infiltrate a heavily fortified castle to get his prey, and always being thwarted by its defenses. That blossomed into the idea of having another dark servant—Bavaria’s Frau Perchta, a belly-slitting hag—attempting the same thing, and then pitting the two against each other. That’s the wonderful thing about the Krampus mythos—there are several unexplored dark servants whose stories vary based on the region of Europe from where they originated.

Krampus is always hunting bad kids—that’s why he’s around. But that doesn’t have to be the sole focus of each and every story. Setting’s an important character, and having Krampus traipsing around in his homeland some 700 years ago immediately changed practically everything from The Dark Servant. And Krampus is fun! More than anything, I want my stories to be entertaining, and Krampus, at least the way I envision him—a monster with a warped code of ethics and a dark sense of humor—is a blast once you get into writing about him. People seem to be enjoying him too. And I’m not the only one who realizes this. The Krampus movie premieres in a few days, and I’ll probably see it. I say probably because it’s virtually impossible to sneak out of the house to see a movie of any sort when you have a 4-year-old son running around destroying things. But I certainly will see it, and I hope it’s a good film in the sense that it inspires more people to want to learn about this monster, who’s still not very well known in the United States. I know I’m not the only one hoping to change that, and I hope we’re all successful in our endeavors.

You can find Matt Manochio’s Krampus books at Amazon, Samhain Publishing’s store, and wherever books are sold. Here is the synopsis for Twelfth Krampus Night.

Dark servants clash!

Medieval maiden Beate, who’s grieving over the mysterious evisceration of her best friend, Gisela, must escape a Bavarian castle under siege by sadistic creatures.

Standing in her way—beyond towering walls and crossbow-toting guards—are Saint Nicholas’s demonic helper, Krampus, and Frau Perchta, a belly-slitting hag who prowls the countryside during First Night festivities to punish naughty teens.
Beate wants out. Krampus and Frau Perchta want in, determined to breach the castle to snag their prey. Beate has no idea why these monsters want her, but she must use her wits to save herself from horrors both human and inhuman—lest she wind up like Gisela.

Praise for Matt Manochio

"Twelfth Krampus Night is an enjoyable read and a strong horror story. Manochio is a very strong writer and his talent is evident in this novel. I easily slid into the world that Manochio creates and was fascinated by Frau Perchta and Krampus." —Minnapolis 

The Dark Servant is everything a thriller should be–eerie, original and utterly engrossing!” — Wendy Corsi Staub, New York Times bestselling author

“Beautifully crafted and expertly plotted, Matt Manochio’s The Dark Servant has taken an esoteric fairy tale from before Christ and sets it in the modern world of media-saturated teenagers–creating a clockwork mechanism of terror that blends Freddy Krueger with the Brothers Grimm!” — Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author

Matt Manochio was born in 1975 in New Jersey and graduated from The University of Delaware in 1997 with a history/journalism degree. He spent the majority of his 13-year newspaper career at the Daily Record in Morris County, New Jersey, where he won multiple New Jersey Press Association Awards for his reporting.

He wrote about one of his passions, rock ‘n’ roll giants AC/DC, for USA Today and considers that the highlight of his journalism career. He left newspapers in 2011 for safer employment.

His debut novel, The Dark Servant, was published with Samhain Horror in November of 2014. His second novel, Sentinels, was release November 2015, just prior to Twelfth Krampus Night in December 2015. He currently lives in New Jersey with his son.