Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New Short Story Published



My latest short story "Rusalka" is now available in the horror anthology FEARFUL FATHOMS II: Collected Tales of Aquatic Terror edited by Mark Parker. Includes many stories by great authors such as Graham Masterton, Ray Garton, Ronald Malfi, Hunter Shea, David Bernstein, Kristopher Rufty, Doug Murano, Michael Bray, Jeremy Robinson, and many other great storytellers. Scary reading for October.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Interview with Best-selling Author J.D. Barker



Today, I’m interviewing international-bestselling thriller author, J.D. Barker, whose novel, THE FOURTH MONKEY, releases June 27th. I got the opportunity to read an advanced copy of Barker’s new book and ask him a few questions about his latest novel and get some insight into how he writes. Here’s the synopsis followed by my book review and interview.




Synopsis:

Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called, “A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind.”

For over five years, the Four Monkey Killer has terrorized the residents of Chicago. When his body is found, the police quickly realize he was on his way to deliver one final message, one which proves he has taken another victim who may still be alive.

As the lead investigator on the 4MK task force, Detective Sam Porter knows even in death, the killer is far from finished. When he discovers a personal diary in the jacket pocket of the body, Porter finds himself caught up in the mind of a psychopath, unraveling a twisted history in hopes of finding one last girl, all while struggling with personal demons of his own.

With only a handful of clues, the elusive killer’s identity remains a mystery. Time is running out and the Four Monkey Killer taunts from beyond the grave in this masterfully written fast-paced thriller.

My review: The Fourth Monkey is one of the best thrillers I’ve read in the last few years. The plot has so many twists and turns that the mystery kept me guessing. The characters are wonderful and well developed. I enjoyed the relationship between Detective’s Porter and Nash. What I love about this book is that there are two stories in one. The present day story is the police procedural story of a team of detectives trying find a missing girl before yet another innocent victim dies at the hand of the clever Four Monkey Killer. The second story is the back story from the killer’s diary, which details events from his childhood. Both interwoven stories are highly entertaining and kept me turning the pages eager to find out what happens next. Barker deftly unravels the mystery and builds up the tension to a satisfying climax. The ending, down to the last sentence, was perfect. I loved The Fourth Monkey. It was a fantastic read and I highly recommend it.

My interview with J.D. Barker:

BM: J.D., How did you come up with your idea for The Fourth Monkey?


JDB: The idea had been rattling around in my head for a few years but all it did was make noise. I knew I wanted to write a book about a serial killer, I also knew there were an insane number of books out there about serial killers. Killer grabs victim. Police chase killer. Police eventually catch killer. The formula has been done to death, then resurrected and done again. It’s not a bad formula. Criminal Minds is in it’s twelfth year and still going strong. We enjoy these stories. I couldn’t write that book though, I needed to do something different. So, the idea continued to rattle as I worked on other projects. It truly came to life one day where all the best ideas seem to surface and grasp at life - in line at the supermarket. There was a rather large woman two customers in front of me in one of those rechargeable carts, behind me was a father and his son. The boy couldn’t have been more than eight years old. He said something about the woman to his father, made a joke of some sort, and his father leaned over and delivered a line I would have never expected in a million years - “Speak no evil, son.” Who says that?!? The second I heard it though, that idea in the back of my mind poked up, its hand held high. I couldn’t help but wonder what life at their house was like. By the time I got home, I had a grasp on much of 4MK’s history, I immediately went to work on the rest.


BM: Which did you create first … the plot or the characters?

JDB: Oh, that’s tough. They go hand-in-hand. In this case, the plot came first but until I had the right characters, it didn’t go anywhere. Characters are truly at the heart of any good story. You can have a great plot, but without the proper people involved, you’re dead in the water. In most cases, I tend to come up with a plot/scenario, then I start to throw different characters/personalities at it until I find the right fit. 
 

BM: Did you outline or write by the seat of your pants?

JDB: In On Writing, Stephen King pointed out that if he doesn’t know where the story is going, there is no way the readers will figure it out. I completely agree with that. I’ll come up with a brief outline, basically major plot point I want to hit, but other than that, I let the characters drive the story. Years ago, I tried holding to a detailed outline and character conversations and actions kept pulling me in other directions. At some point, I learned not to fight that. In the thriller genre in particular, outlining is prevalent. So many plot points and twists to keep track of. Unfortunately, I think our subconscious sees through that, our minds figure out the story simply because the author knew where it was going. When I wrote TFM, I had no idea where the clues found on the body would lead. Discovering along with my characters is far more fun than following a predetermined path.

BM: I would agree. I’m always discovering the story as it unfolds, allowing my characters to take me whichever direction they decide to go. How do you edit?

JDB: I edit extensively and it’s my least favorite part of the process. After I write a first draft, I run back through it and clean up any plot holes, smooth out the rough edges, fix punctuation, eliminate unnecessary words and phrases…once I’m satisfied, my wife gets a copy and tears the thing to shreds. She pokes holes, kills off characters, tells me what worked and what didn’t – she’s brutally honest and I love her for it. I then take the book back into my office, close the door, cry for a bit, then address everything she pointed out. Once I’m done with that, the book goes out to my first readers. Again, they are asked not to hold back. If something doesn’t work, I need to know. Thirty days later, I get their copies back, full of notes. I have another cry, then go to work one last time. At the end of this process, the book goes to my agents and editor (who may offer additional insight) and we make final tweaks.

BM: I very much know the feeling of wanting to cry after getting brutal feedback.

JDB: There are no shortcuts. Best to work out the kinks, otherwise you’ll get 1000 emails from readers later. In my first book, Forsaken, my wife pointed out bougainvillea don’t have a scent. I told her nobody would care. Boy, was I wrong. I could wallpaper my house with the emails I received.


BM: That’s hilarious, and so true. So what’s a typical day like for writing?

JDB: When I still had a day job, I would either write early in the morning or late at night, but I always wrote. If I don’t write every day, I tend to lose my rhythm. Now that I’m doing this full time, I’ve got to admit, it’s gotten easier. I get up around 8am, get the first of many cups of coffee, and head straight to my desk. My total commute is about twenty feet. I keep my butt in that seat until I knock out 2-3000 words. I usually hit that goal by lunch time. After lunch, I tackle emails, phone calls, interviews, and editing. At 4pm, my Siberian Husky takes me for a walk, then I’m back at it later and wrap things up around 8pm. Rinse and repeat. Sometimes I’ll take Sundays off but I usually stick to this routine seven days/week. Technically it’s work but it’s so much fun, I can’t imagine doing anything else anymore.

BM: What is your creative process like?

JDB: At the end of a writing day, I don’t get up unless I know what my next sentence will be. When I start writing again the next day, I hit the ground running. Writing until the well runs dry, then staring at a blank screen – that may work in the short term but once you get a few books in, it’s tough to be productive. Those walks with my dog? That’s when I tend to work out problems and come up with new ideas. I use a program called SimpleNote to document everything. I love it because it syncs automatically between my iPhone and Mac. My phone is never far, I write down every idea. I probably have 100 books on my phone right now in various stages. As soon as I finish one, I can hit that list and find my next project.


BM: Anything else you would like to tell us?

JDB: Keep an eye on www.whois4mk.com - I’ve hidden a handwritten letter from the killer on the site which can be downloaded if found (actual prop from the movie). And please, if you plan to buy this book, get out there early! People who pre-order will receive something very special – more on that soon.
BM: J.D. Thank you for being a guest on my blog. It’s been great talking with you.

JDB: Thank you!


The Fourth Monkey releases June 27th. You can find it on Amazon and wherever books are sold.




J. D. BARKER is the international best-selling author of Forsaken, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Debut Novel. In addition, he has been asked to coauthor a prequel to Dracula by the Stoker family. Barker splits his time between Englewood, Florida, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Twitter handle @jdbarker -- https://www.twitter.com/jdbarker

Interesting news:

J.D. Barker has sold publishing rights for The Fourth Monkey in America and other countries, and also has a TV and movie deal. “If everything plays out the way that it’s supposed to, we’re going to see a feature film followed up with a network television show,” he says.

Friday, June 16, 2017

The Devil's Woods Published Again



I'm happy to announce that one of my most successful novels, THE DEVIL'S WOODS, published again this week and is now available on Amazon, in paperback, Kindle and KindleUnlimited.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Writing News

Although it's been awhile since I released a new book, I've had a productive month of writing. Finished revising my novel TOMB OF GODS, my novella SAVAGE ISLAND, and a new short story for an upcoming anthology. Next, I'm working on a new historical horror short story I'm eager to get writing on.

I currently have no timetable for when my novel and novella will be released. Very soon, I'll be able to announce the name of the horror anthology that my short story will be published in. I appreciate everyone who reads my books and posts reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Guest Author Glenn Rolfe: The Story I Tried to Kill



Glenn Rolfe, author of scary books, like BLOOD AND RAIN and CHASING GHOSTS, is back to talk about writing his latest book, BECOMING.

“The Story I Tried to Kill”
A guest post by Glenn Rolfe


I started writing my latest novel, BECOMING, back in 2013. It was going up as a serial novel for the Jukepop Serials website. Sometime during the writing of the book, I landed my first deal with Samhain Publishing and started working on the four works that they would eventually put out. Near the end of 2015, I dove back into BECOMING and finished the first draft.

All last year, I tried and tried to revise, edit, and re-work the original story to a place where I’d feel comfortable releasing or submitting it. Every broken part I fixed created twice as many new areas that just wouldn’t work. I got frustrated with the story. I scrapped it. One friend told me to turn it into a YA novel, which I honestly did consider, but there was too much gore in there to make that work. No, I was convinced that it was a story destined for the scrapheap.

Enter Lisa.

She was a reader who had followed along with the serialized version. The problem was that I never put the entire story up at Jukepop. I stopped posting chapters around the halfway point. I know, bad move. At least finish what you started! Lisa wrote to me shortly after I ‘d made my decision to scrap the book. She messaged me: “Whatever happened to BECOMING? I loved that it was so great!”

When there is a calling….

I did the one thing I’d considered but been too afraid to do—I started the story over from scratch. Within one fresh writing session, I had my story. Some of the characters are the same, some names, some scenes were lifted straight from the original manuscript, but this story became (he, he, he) what I was hoping it would all along. It became a character-driven, creature-feature. I let some of my main influences slip in and wiggle around in the creepy, twisted tale. A dash of King’s The Tommyknockers here, a touch of James A. Moore’s Rabid Growth there, and some straight up Rolfe for the rest. I wanted to create a story in line with some of my favorite things: paranoia, small towns, and something in the lake. In the end, it was the characters and their person storylines that developed throughout that really surprised me. There’s an importance of family thread that keeps this cast together. There’s even some not-so-nice relationships presented to balance out the good ones. Looking back now, I feel that was just as important, to keep the Yin with the Yang. And it wasn’t even planned that way! That’s what I love about writing. The characters and the story, they can just take total control and become more than you ever imagined. I’m just so glad that Lisa reached out to me. Thank you, Lisa!

Anyway, I hope you’ll check it out. BECOMING is my third novel and is available right now for Kindle, with the print edition to follow in the next couple weeks. It’s on sale for the month of April for the discounted price of $2.99 (a buck off!). The April deal is in honor of BECOMING being selected as the Goodreads group, GORE and MORE’s group read for this month, which officially begins April 10th. I’ll be the special guest author with the group. I’ll be answering as many questions as I can, and talking inspirations and such as often as possible throughout the read. I hope you’ll join us!

Included with BECOMING, is my alien-horror/creature feature novella, BOOM TOWN.


Purchase your copy here: http://mybook.to/GetBecoming


Visit Glenn at www.glennrolfe.com or follow him on Twitter @grolfehorror
Glenn is the author of Blood and Rain, The Haunted Halls, Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town, Chasing Ghosts, Things We Fear, Slush, and Out of Range. His short fiction has appeared in many anthologies.
Stay tuned for his next crazy novel.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Upcoming Books

I've been busy writing the first two months of 2017 and now have several new works of fiction coming down the pike.



On February 28, my new short story collection DARK NEEDS: 3 Twisted Tales of Horror will release as a Kindle ebook first. It includes "The Dealer of Needs", "Offspring" and "Chasing the Dragon". You can find it on Amazon for .99.

I'm excited to share that I completed a novel I've been working on for the past two years called TOMB OF GODS. It's a historical archaeology thriller set in Egypt in 1937. There are plenty of thrills and horror elements in this story. The manuscript is currently with my agent being shopped around to publishers. Once I find the right publisher for the book, I'll make an announcement here.

Yesterday, I completed writing a novella called SAVAGE ISLAND. It's about a vacation in tropical paradise that turns to terror when four people yachting in the Philippines make the mistake of exploring one of the islands that they think is uninhabited. A predator has been waiting a long time for fresh prey to visit the island. The manuscript is now entering the editing phase. Once I find a publisher and know the release date, I'll report more. 

I've also been writing several more short stories. I plan to publish a series of 3-story eBook collections under my "Twisted Tales of Horror" imprint. When I have enough stories, I'll publish them all in a paperback version for those who still like to read paperbacks.

That's it for now. More news coming soon! 

 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

"Mother from Hell" by Guest Author Catherine Cavendish



One thing I love about the horror genre is how diverse it is. There are many great women writing horror fiction today, in the US and the UK. One such author lives in North Wales and has written several scary books like The Pendle Curse, Saving Grace Devine and The Devil's Serenade. I'm honored to have Catherine Cavendish back to discuss what inspired her novella Dark Avenging Angel.


Mother From Hell
by Catherine Cavendish


My novella – Dark Avenging Angel – is, as its title suggests, concerned with revenge. In this case, revenge of the most demonic kind. We’ve all heard the old adage, “Be careful what you wish for…” Jane learns the truth of this in graphic ways.

Avenging angels and demons abound in the traditions and folklore of people all over the world. One such character is a churel – a female ghost of South Asian folkore, well known in the Indian sub-continent and a pretty hellish character to boot.

There are variations on her origins. She may have died in childbirth, during menstruation, or as a result of poor care while pregnant. It is said that if a woman (especially one from the lower social classes) dies in pregnancy during the five-day Hindu Festival of Light (Diwali), she is even more likely to turn into a churel. Whichever is the cause, the churel is an angry and vengeful spirit who returns from the dead to suck the blood (and other bodily fluids) of her male relatives.

Churels are most often found in and around graveyards, abandoned battlefields, crossroads, thresholds of houses, toilets and a host of squalid locations.

They can take the form of a hideous woman with sagging breasts, backwards facing feet (toes at the back, heel at the front), long sharp teeth, a black tongue and unkempt hair. The churel frequently roams naked, and has a pot belly and claw-like hands. Some churels have unusually thick lips, or even no mouth at all. Some have pig-like features with long fangs or tusks.

A churel can also be a shapeshifter – able to transform into a beautiful young woman, in order to lure any young male relation she wants. When she has got him where she wants him, she then drains him of his virility, turning him into a prematurely aged, grey-haired old man. Once she has finished with him, she moves onto the next male relative until her vengeance is satisfied. This thirst for revenge may be so great that it involves more than her own family. She may go in search of other young men on highways, or at crossroads, where she lures them in her enchantress guise. In some stories, she will imprison her victim in a graveyard and use him - little by little - sexually and by draining his blood until he withers and dies. There is even a story of a young man who was seduced by a churel, ate the food she gave him and returned to his village the next day as an old man.

In some traditions, the churel may transform and become a servant of the goddess Kali, joining with her to feast on human flesh and blood.

So how do you prevent yourself becoming a victim of a churel? The solution is quite simple, men should treat their wives well. Look after them in pregnancy and childbirth. If that fails though - and the wife falls sick and dies, the best methods are to bury rather than cremate her body and perform certain rituals. The body may be bound. Nails and other bindings may be used to imprison the would-be churel in her grave, and the woman should be remembered - with love and honour - in songs and prayers, so that her spirit doesn’t feel forgotten or neglected.


Don’t hurt Jane. You may live to regret it.

Bullied by her abusive father, Jane always felt different. Then the lonely child found a friend in a mysterious dark lady who offers her protection—a lady she calls her “angel”. But that protection carries a terrible price, one to be paid with the souls of those Jane chooses to suffer a hideous and eternal fate.

When Jane refuses to name another victim, the angel reveals her most terrifying side. Payment must be made in full—one way or the other.

You can find Dark Avenging Angel here:


Other books by Catherine Cavendish include:
And are currently available – or soon will be – from:
Catherine Cavendish lives with a long-suffering husband and ‘trainee’ black cat in North Wales. Her home is in a building dating back to the mid-18th century, which is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing machine and the TV. Cat has written a number of published horror novellas, short stories, and novels, frequently reflecting her twin loves of history and horror and often containing more than a dash of the dark and Gothic. When not slaving over a hot computer, she enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.
You can connect with Cat here: