Women of Horror Part 2

Hey guys! I know it’s been a while, but I’m back at it. Here is some more women who love horror. We have artists, filmmakers, authors (both published and about to be). So please check out their work and tell them how great they are in the comments!!

Barbara Rein

What we know about Barbara:

Barbara Rein debuted her first book series in fourth grade, The Adventures of Cassandra McGillicuddy in Outer Space, complete with stick figures drawings. Admonished by her teacher for doing book reports on her own books (and didn’t she have chutzpah), she put writing aside for years while stories piled up in her head. One day she opened her laptop and out they poured. She’s now an award-winning and Amazon best-selling author. She lives with her husband and dachshund, traveling with a well-packed suitcase between New York and Florida.

Barbara writes strange, fantastical, and downright weird short stories. Darkly brilliant tales that teeter on the edge of reality. Reimagined nightmares concocted from a childhood diet of macabre fairy tales and endless episodes of Twilight Zone.

She also writes chuckle-inducing personal essays inspired by the quirks and oddities that bounce her way.

The Interview:

1. How do you feel women are represented in horror? Do you think it should change?

I’ve never looked at the genre of horror in terms of gender. I know I’d first thought Mary Shelley to be a pen name for a male writer. But I’ve never shied away from a book because the author was female. In fact, to this day I envy Shirley Jackson, wishing I’d written those stories.

2. Tell us about an experience you’ve had as a writer, good or bad. Something to show new writers what the field is like. 

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of belonging to a good critique group. If you want to be a better writer, you have to put on your thick skin and hear negative comments along with the kudos. I learned to not be dismissive of the negatives. I remember knocking one critiquer (in my head) who didn’t get something in my story. He sounded like he hadn’t even read it. A few days later his comment popped into my thoughts and I realized his confusion was because of something I’d written earlier in the story. Fixing that fixed his take on it. I now listen to everything, positive and negative. 

3. was the publishing process hard?

My first foray into self-publishing was a few humorous personal essays. I had fun finding cover images, dropping my works into KDP (how you publish on Amazon), and seeing them sell (my toilet paper story went to #1 in Short Reads). When it came to my book though, I had no clue about cover design,  book dimensions, formatting, all the details that make a self-published look professional. I needed help. And that I had to pay for.

4. What is your favorite piece you have written?

The idea behind “The Last Leaves of Autumn” is something that’s frightened me since childhood. Hearing the skitter of dried leaves on a fall evening made me think they were the souls of dead children running down the street. It’s my favorite story; it’s been living with me for so long.

5. What gives you inspiration?

I grew up on the sinister fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen and endless episodes of Twilight Zone. Like them, my “horror lite” short stories have that psychological, punchline twist.

6. What advice do you have for people who what to start writing?

I’ve said before and will repeat it to anyone who will listen: join a critique group. As writers, we work alone. Because of that, we are so close to our words, sometimes we don’t see them for what they are. If you’re a serious writer, join a critique group. Scary, yes. Get over it. A critique group will make your good writing better.

Links:

Barbara Rein 


Tonjia Atomic

About Tonjia Atomic, from her IMDB:

Tonjia Atomic is an award-winning filmmaker, actress, musician, and writer. Her films include Plain Devil and Walking to Linas. Her writing has been featured in several online and print magazines. She’s in the bands Duet To-It, Huh-Uh, and Filthy Issue. Her most recent film, Manos Returns, is the sequel to the 1965 cult film Manos the Hands of Fate.

The Interview:

1. How do you feel women are represented in horror? Do you think it should change?

I think the representation has grown so much, even within the past ten or so years. When I was younger women would often be the topless victim. As far as women horror directors I could have only named maybe two or three. Most master horror lists would consist of all men. I think that is actually changing now and I’m grateful for it.

2. What made you want to do film and music? 

Honestly, I don’t know except that I have always loved film and music. I suppose my love is so great that I just want to be a part of it too. 

3. What gives you inspiration? 

I get inspired by life events sometimes. I also find inspiration in fairy tales, folk tales, and dreams. Things that come from our psyches is of interest to me.

4. What is your favorite film you have made?

No contest, Manos Returns.

 What is your favorite music you have made?

That’s a tough one, but I am quite proud of Bikini Gorilla.

5. What is your favorite film someone else has made? What is your favorite film someone else has made?

The 400 Blows. It’s just such a well rounded and touching look at a boy’s life.

6. Why Horror?

Horror is the most fun. It’s scary, visceral, dangerous, and intense. It can be so many things and explore so many ideas.


Andrea Davis

Who is Andrea Davis?

Well, I’m 26 and I am a social worker in Richmond who works with kiddos in foster care. I’ve been watching horror movies and have been into oddities and what not ever since I was a kid.

The interview:

1. How do you feel women are represented in horror? Do you think it should change?

I believe woman are often shown as sexual objects in horror, hence the whole if you have sex in a horror movie you’ll more than likely going to die. On the other hand you do have those movies where women are shown as strong and able and defeat the antagonist themselves. That one is kinda hard.

2. Why horror?

I have always loved things that seemed “different ” to other people. Horror always seemed to fit in there somehow. I’ve always been big into reading and Stephen King is my favorite author so naturally it made me start watching everything he had created or had been made due to his books.

3. What is your favorite piece you’ve created?

My favorite piece I’ve made sounds selfish but is for sure my personal horror craft cup. It has ALL of my favorite horror movie characters like Sam and Killer Klowns From Outer Space. Also, it was the first piece I made so it’s sentimental to me as well.

4. What is your favorite piece of horror? It can be art, movies, books, serial killers, or whatever.

My favorite piece of horror is a tie between Trick R Treat because I love Sam and basically absolutely anything Alex Pardee creates.

5. What can you tell us about your art? And your future endeavors?

I say that my art is fun! I wish that I would have found something like this when me and my significant other had first met to do as a date. I think making it DIY gives individuals the ability to make their own creation as well. As far as my future endeavors I hope to get noticed! There are so many talented individuals out there that it’s absolutely insane.

6. What gives you inspiration? 

I would say just my overall love for horror and creepy things gives me inspiration. We have oddities spread throughout our house so sometimes I look around and I’m just like oh hey that lamprey in a jar would look cool as a sticker or oh wow I would want that pet cemetery design on a cup.

Links:

@beautifulhorrorcrafts (Instagram)

https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMeF2JcMs/

You can message her on either platform to get yourself an awesome decaled cup!!!


Amélia Cognet

About:

My name is Amélia (yes, with the accent on the e, it’s French!) and I live in Huntington Beach, California, with my wonderful husband and twenty-one month old daughter. I have always been passionate by horror and all things dark.

My debut novel, “Perception”, is with my editor right now and I hope to publish it sometime this year, maybe for Halloween! I also wrote a short story called “Payback” that I sent out to horror magazines, and it might just be the creepiest thing I’ve ever written. Fingers crossed! At the moment, I am working on a four book series called “Celeste” that I hope to publish next year, and this is the project that I’m the most passionate about. Aside from the four books, I started writing short novels that will be part of two “Celeste” anthologies, featuring the same characters but at different points of their lives.

The Interview:

1)What made you want to write?

I have always been an avid reader. I remember reading all the Goosebumps series and thinking, “I’ll write my own series!” I was about twelve. I tried to outline a story, make up characters and stuff, but didn’t go through with it. I think I was always a pantser at heart and outlining already wasn’t for me. I wrote my first book when I was thirteen, and the second at fifteen, although these are probably really crappy and are now lost in the depths of my parents’ attic. The goal was just to write something to entertain my friends and myself. After that I didn’t write for years. I don’t know why. I just lost sight of it. Then I moved to the U.S. (yes, those first two books were written in France, and in French), and it took me a lot of time to speak English really well. I started reading only in English, and about three years ago, at the tender age of twenty-nine, all these ideas that had accumulated in my head for so long couldn’t be contained anymore. I needed to get them out. So one day I told my husband, “I’m gonna write a book, and it’ll be in English!” I have never felt so passionate about anything in my life.

2)How do you think women are seen in horror? Should it change?

I have never thought about this but considering how much we hear about male horror writers, I guess my answer would be that we don’t really ‘see’ women at all (there are exceptions of course). At least, I haven’t really heard of them⸻ maybe I wasn’t paying attention⸻ and I had to get out of my way to look for them and read more of their works. I only recently found out there was such a thing as ‘women in horror month’, which is awesome! So, if things are changing, then we are going in the right direction, but I feel like there is a stigma about women in horror, as if we’re not capable of writing something scary. I have actually felt it myself. In all the beta readers reading my different novels and short stories, only two of them were men (one of them my husband). The other male beta readers volunteering to read my work never got back to me. I have no idea why.

3)What is your favorite work someone else has written?

Last year, while searching for female horror writers, I came upon a novel called Voices in the Snow by Darcy Coates. I had no idea it was the first novel of a four book series (the Black Winter Series, also featuring Secrets in the Dark, Whispers in the Mist, and Silence in the Shadows), and I absolutely fell in LOVE with this story, the characters, and Darcy Coates’s writing style. I always said Stephen King was my favorite writer, but after reading this series, I changed my mind. Not only these four novels might just be my favorite read of all times, but Darcy Coates became my favorite writer as well. I am obsessed, and her writing has inspired me so much. I am now on a quest to read everything she has written so far. 

4)Tell us an experience you’ve had as a new writer, good or bad.

It’s really hard to choose, I could say so many things, but I’ll stick to the biggest. Did I mention that I was writing in English even though it’s my second language? Yes, I think I did. This is the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, aside from WRITING A FREAKING BOOK. Writing in English after living so long in the U.S. felt natural. It’s just so much more fun and dynamic than French. French is my native language, English is my love language. But here’s the thing: the imposter syndrome when you’re writing in your second language is so hard to overcome at times. I know we all have it. We all doubt. We all feel like our writing is crap at times. Imagine how I felt when I started writing and stumbled on almost every sentence because I had to use vocabulary I never had to use in my life. I felt unworthy, stupid for getting myself into this, and believed that even if my ideas could be good, my writing would always be crap.

But I kept doing it, for myself. I revised, and re-wrote, and edited a million times, then showed it to beta readers. The feeling I get when someone says that my writing is great, and they didn’t guess English was my second language is amazing and worth all the efforts. But then I had to send the novel to a professional editor and thought, “It’s going to be different this time”. She told me my writing was incredible, and I felt like I was flying!

5)Can you tell us anything about your new book?

I’m not published yet, but I’ll talk about “Perception”, the standalone novel I’d like to publish this year. This is the story of a young woman named Parker, who escapes her abusive⸻ and borderline murderous⸻ boyfriend and tries to reconstruct her life the best she can. Her relative happiness is spoiled a few years later when she starts getting horrible visions about other women being assaulted and abused by their partners. After questioning her sanity, she decides to trust her instincts and tries to find these women to save them before they die.

6)What gives you inspiration?

It’s hard to say. Inspiration comes when you don’t expect it. I can be inspired by a single image in a series or a movie, a character in a book and something random someone will say. To give you an example, I recently read a novel called The Shadows by Alex North (highly recommend). In it, the main character goes back to his hometown after twenty-five years to see his dying mother. Needless to say there are MANY other things happening in this book, and I didn’t even scratched the surface, but that inspired my short story, “Payback”. I imagined a middle-aged man coming back to live with his mother because she’s sick (which does not happen in The Shadows since the mother in the novel ended up in the hospital), and the mother in question is an absolute psychopath who had to have her feet and most fingers amputated because of diabetes (which, again, absolutely does NOT happen in The Shadows). What inspired the idea was the dread the character felt at the idea of seeing his old house, and that sparked all the rest.

Another example would be a bad joke my husband made one time (he’s good at those). My daughter was only two months old, and he pointed at the baby monitor, saying, “Who’s in there with her?”

I looked at the monitor and my baby moved at the same moment, giving me the impression that someone was reaching out to her. That scared the crap out of me for half a second! I already have a future novel I want to write some day about this. A mother in postpartum depression who thinks her house is haunted (but is it really?) because she hears creepy things in her baby’s room at night and sees weirds things on the monitor. It’s all planned out in my head.

Home Sweet Home- Amélia Cognet

Home sweet home…Alice thought numbly as she lowered the last box to the decrepit wooden floor. The place was modest, old, and would need some work. Surely she could handle it. At least, she was free of him, that controlling, possessive maniac.

            Alice stood there, trying to convince herself that being alone in this silent, dusty apartment was a good thing, then began unpacking. She didn’t own much and would need to buy some furniture, but she could do this the next day.

She decided to take her kitchen utensils out, settling the porcelain teapot her mom had bought for her onto the counter, hoping the space would feel cozy this way. As she worked, she noticed a thick smell floating around her. Scrunching up her nose, Alice looked around herself to find the possible source. She turned to the sink and bent over it, squinting at the dark pipe. Maybe something had rotten inside. She crouched to open the cupboard under the sink. The doors moved a little but something inside seemed to block them shut.

            Weird.

            She could worry about it later. For now she wanted to do as much work as she could, eager to find a sense of comfort before dark. She headed to her small bedroom and put fresh sheets on the bare mattress lying on the floor, then rose to her feet and admired her work. It still looked pitiful but at least it was clean.

A floorboard groaned. Alice froze in place, unease settling in her guts, straining to listen.

Don’t be stupid, you’re just scared to be alone, that’s it.

The apartment was quiet. It must have been the wood relaxing after the hot day.

She snatched her purse with a clammy hand and hurried outside, craving the fresh air. She’d seen a few fast food places on her drive here. Alice locked the door behind herself and exited the building on weak legs.

When she came back holding a bag of Chinese food, she felt refreshed and soothed. Being alone would take some time getting used to, especially for the scaredy cat she was, but it was better than living with a mad man. Alice unlocked the front door and was assaulted by that musky smell again. She clasped a hand over her mouth and winced, looking around the living room.

Something was off. Out of place. Alice’s heart picked up the pace as she tried to figure out what, then her eyes fixed on the boxes against the opposite wall. She could swear she hadn’t come around to open them yet, but there they were, their flaps bent outward, as though someone had pulled them open. Alice approached the boxes and leaned over, then sniffed. It reeked. Faint, greasy stains dotted the cardboard.

A shuffling sound made her freeze. It was so brief she almost missed it. On edge, Alice rushed to her right and burst into the kitchen, listening. The musky smell still lingered but nothing seemed out of place.

She settled the bag of Chinese food onto the small counter, no longer hungry, and checked into the bedroom and the bathroom, the back of her shirt damp with sweat, each time expecting someone to jump at her. The apartment was empty and silent. Alice hurried back to the front door to lock it with a shaky hand. She couldn’t keep herself from staring through the peephole, certain she would see him standing on the other side. But the hallway was empty, of course.

He’s not here, Alice. He hasn’t followed you and he hasn’t been in your apartment.

Paranoia was making her imagine things. The noise she’d heard had come from outside, surely, and she had opened the boxes herself and simply didn’t remember it.

The evening passed in a flash and Alice squirmed under the sheets and lay in the dark, staring at the gray rectangle painted by moonshine on the opposite wall.

Despite the crushing fatigue, Alice couldn’t sleep. It was like sleeping in a stranger’s house. She’d been uncomfortable during the day already, but now the place felt disturbing, grim, and unwelcoming, as though it didn’t want her. It made her skin crawl. Her sudden solitude weighed on her, crushing her chest as her eyes burned. Her mind raced and swirled for a while until she succumbed to a disturbed slumber.

A stench tickled her nose and pulled her out of her doze. The same musky and thick smell of sweat and dirt coming from the kitchen and coating the boxes in the living room. Nausea rose through her as she stirred and rolled onto her back. The odor lingered, overpowering and suffocating. Alice opened her eyes.

A dark shape stood at the foot of the mattress. Alice’s stomach dropped and a shiver crawled down her spine. A scream crept through her throat but died before it could escape her mouth.

The shape swayed slowly, letting out a ragged breath. Its hair stuck on end and its fists looked like they were clenched tightly.

I’m dreaming. This is a nightmare. It’s not him.

“Mine…” the hoarse voice whispered.

This snapped Alice out of her torpor and the scream finally escaped her mouth. The humanoid shape seemed to shrink under the noise. It staggered then shot out of the room in a flash.

Alice listened to panicked footsteps running away from the bedroom, her body drenched in cold sweat. She reached for her phone and pressed the button. Her chest tightened painfully. She’d forgotten to charge it and the batterie had died.

“Shit, shit, shit!”

Something broke in the kitchen, making her cry out in surprise. A heavy silence fell over the apartment. She listened, shaking, her blood pulsing in her ears, her nerves raw. Whoever the man was, he hadn’t left the apartment. She needed to reach the front door and get out. Fast.

She looked around herself and her heart sank. There wasn’t even an acceptable makeshift weapon within reach. Most of her things were still packed in the living room. She rose on cotton legs and tip-toed to the living room.

Just get to the door and run.

Alice crept out of the small corridor and peeked inside the kitchen to her left. The room was dark, but the thin strands of moonlight glowing through the window lit the shattered porcelain pieces scattered on the floor.

The smell wafted around her, making her gag. Something was out of place here. Something else than the broken teapot. The knot in Alice’s stomach tightened as she understood what.

One of the cupboard doors under the sink stood open. Her breath caught and her heart leaped in her throat. Did he come from there? Was he hiding in there this whole time?

“My… home…”

The cupboard door slammed shut. Alice stumbled back, her chest tight, and a hand clasped over her mouth.

There’s a man in my cupboard.

The front door was within reach, no one stood in her way, but Alice stayed there, rooted to the floor. The man hadn’t attacked her. She had lived with a violent man, and the one hiding in the closet was different. He was scared. Her legs moved on their own as she approached the kitchen and turned the lights on. The bag of Chinese food had been opened, and what used to contain Chow Mein now stood open and empty.

Alice walked on feet that felt like bricks and crouched in front of the cupboard. She raised a shaky hand and wrenched it open. She jerked backward and shuffled away frantically, heart pounding, staring at the person curled up under the sink. The wild, dark eyes surrounded by deep creases looked back at her, the disheveled hair framing an old woman’s grime-coated face.

“My home,” she said, her voice rasping. She reached for the doors with greasy hands and pulled them shut.

#

            “Home sweet home.” Alice smiled as she looked around her furnished living room. Sunlight poured through the windows, warming her exposed skin. The place looked clean and cozy and warm, and after days of cleaning she had finally gotten rid of the ambient stench.

            She headed to the kitchen and brewed some tea in the brand new teapot. She missed the old one, but this one was objectively prettier. Once her cup was ready, Alice sat at her small kitchen table and opened a bag of chocolate chip cookies. The scrunching sound of the wrapper would draw her out, surely.

            A smile stretched Alice’s lips as one of the doors under the sink opened a crack, letting a clean hand peek out. She leaned over and dropped a few cookies in the upward facing palm, glimpsing the sparkle of dark eyes for half a second. The hand full of cookies disappeared as the other one reached out, frozen in mid-air expectantly.

            “Nuh-uh. If you want tea, you’ll have to get out. You’ll make a mess in there.”

            The hand retreated and the door shut slowly, delicately. Alice let out a small chuckle and sipped the warm beverage.

            She’d told her she could sleep on the couch at night, but she liked it in there. She probably felt safe, the way Alice did now. Alice had wanted her independency and freedom, but the idea of living alone had filled her with dread.

            She was never really alone though, was she?

Women of Horror Part 1

These are a few woman I found. Each one is talented and unique.

L’Erin Ogle 

Let’s take a look at L’Erin:

L’Erin is a writer, ER nurse, and mother living in Kansas. She loves scary movies, scary books, and all things that go bump in the night. She has stories available at Psuedopod, Daily Science Fiction, Syntax & Salt, Metaphorosis, and Vastarien. She is hard at work fighting COVID but hopes soon she’ll be able to focus back on storytelling.

The Interview:

1. Was the publishing process hard?

Once I got past the rejection part, the publishing process was pretty easy. Morris Allen at Metaphorosis bought my first story, and then four others, and he was a dream to work with. Helpful and specific with rewrites, gave advice easily, and very pleasant. Contracts were pretty standard and easy to read and payment was always prompt. I have heard nightmare stories from others, but I haven’t had any problems.

2. What is your favorite piece you have had published?

My favorite piece is “The Girl Who Ate Galaxies,” published at Syntax & Salt.

3. What gives you inspiration?

Inspiration starts for me as the good old what if—What if there was a house full of dead girls hellbent on revenge? What if the hunger for love turned into devouring any&everything? What if dead girls came back to life and they brought something dark with them? I’m a write as you go writer—often the story tells itself.

4. What advice do you have to people who want their work published?

My advice for those trying to get published is—know your markets and who you are submitting to. Send everything in Shunn manuscript format unless directed otherwise. Take feedback and criticism as a plus—if an agent or editor took the time to comment, it’s because they saw promise either in the piece or the prose. And know rejection is just a part of life.

5. How do you feel women are represented in horror? Do you think it should change?

I think women are finding stronger representation in horror, both as creators and as characters. I grew up on Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm St, Halloween in grade school. Scream and the sequels in high school. Not the fiercest of female leads, not ALWAYS helpless, but close. And the dirty girls always got offed first. One of my favorite recent horror flicks is the Descent, which is composed of some bad ass women, a complete opposite of the movies I grew up on, and one of the first I remember focusing just on women. I grew up loving and devouring Stephen King. But as I’ve aged, I’ve struggled with finding strong female characters in his works. I liked Vic McQueen in NOS4A2 by his son a lot, though. I can tell you two of my stories snapped up by female editors did not fare well with the first publications I had sent them too—they received some criticism that were exactly what the others loved about them. There’s always the difference between markets and the readers of that publication. Most of my work features a female protagonist that’s pretty pissed off (write what you know, I suppose) and I have found those are a bit harder to sell. 

I’d always love to see more women in horror, more horror geared towards women, stronger characters. I love Gillian Flynn’s work—I’d consider Gone Girl and Sharp Objects horrifying. It used to be the women in horror movies were crazy, or slutty, or stupid, or vulgar. The one sweet virginal character was always the heroine. What I love about Camille from Sharp Objects and Amy from Gone Girl is yes, indeed, they were disturbed, but they were fully fledged characters, multi dimensional. I love seeing how women, both as heroines and villains, have evolved and become much more complicated and complex. I don’t think it should change so much as keep evolving.

6. Tell us about an experience you’ve had as a writer, good or bad. Something to show new writers what the field is like. 

My first sale was to Morris Allen, at Metaphorosis. He asked for a rewrite of “Nobody’s Daughter and the Tree of Life”. I had been submitting to Metaphorosis regularly—for two reasons other than liking the stories. The turnaround was 1-3 days, and Morris gave personalized rejections for every submission. The rewrite process was excruciating. I’d never worked with an editor or anyone on a rewrite before—so Morris had to explain things like line breaks, proper spacing, etc to me. He has the patience of a saint, that’s for sure. I’ve sold him several more stories as well as been published in a couple of anthologies he edited. It’s been a great experience. C.C. Findlay, former editor of the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction was also such a great source of feedback and kind words. And one story I wrote, “The Girls Who Ate Galaxies”, was snapped up by Syntax&Salt team who showed me it was ok to keep writing angry, broken female protagonists and not hold back.

The joy of one acceptance can make up for a thousand rejections in one thrilling e-mail.

Links:

Memory Drive by L’Erin Ogle – literally stories

Timelines by L’Erin Ogle – Syntax & Salt Magazine

The Girls Who Come Back Are Made of Metal and Glass – L’Erin Ogle

PseudoPod 651: The Coven of Dead Girls

The Girl Who Ate Galaxies by L’Erin Ogle 

Mean Streak – L’Erin Ogle – Metaphorosis Magazine 

Personal thoughts:

L’Erin is so nice and fun to work with. She is a very good writer and is working hard being an ER nurse. You can link to most of her work with the links above or go to her page: L’Erin Ogle – Writing in the Dark About the Dark. Please check her out and give her support.


Kriss Orlea 

A little inside to who Kriss is: 

Kristina Orlea is a geek that writes horror, silly children’s stories, poetry, and is an amateur artist. As a writer and a poet she has been sharing her love for the art since 2000. She has been a featured guest speaker for National Poetry Month and Women Writing for a Change’s VDAY celebration.

Kristina shares her life with her husband Josh and their son Zack. The three reside outside of Cincinnati along with five cats, two German Shepherds, and an incredibly angry vacuum cleaner.

The interview:

1. Was the publishing process hard?

Self publishing is fairly easy. Amazon does make it very user friendly but there are some things (like formatting) that does require trial and error. Which is fine cause if gave me a chance to understand some of what is required that I might not have learned has a publishing house taken the lead.

2. What is your favorite piece you have had published?

My favorite piece published? Hmm, I’d have to say my first poetry book “Thoughts of Chaos & Desire”. Something about your first, ya know.

3. What gives you inspiration?

I’m a writer and an artist- so I find inspiration in pretty much everything. I once wrote a short story based on an elderly woman I saw at a grocery store.

4. What advice do you have to people who want their work published?

My advice to people looking to publish is get ready for rejection. Expect it. Plan for it. 

But, never stop trying!

If you’re looking to self publish – never stop learning. Ask for advice and feedback from friends and colleagues. Be open to criticism but don’t let it define you.

5. How do you feel women are represented in horror? Do you think it should change?

I feel like with most things, women can be underrepresented. For so long women were viewed in horror as such – “Oh sure, you can be sexy, scream like a banshee, and be the virgin still alive; but write the story? No you’re talking nonsense.”

But I feel like a lot has changed and more and more women are busting through that veil and writing, directing, and acting in kick ass horror. 

Representation matters. So as long as women keep writing and supporting each other, it can only get better!

6. Tell us about an experience you’ve had as a writer, good or bad. Something to show new writers what the field is like. 

One of the coolest things for me has been hearing my work made into an audio adaptation for a podcast. The addition of music and voice bundled with my words was definitely an exhilarating experience. 

Writing a creepy piece of horror that now exists as an audio production that can infiltrate the ears of people is really freaking cool!

Links to her work:

Out of the Madness – Welcome to my cabinet of curiosities! I hope you find something that captures your eye or possibly your soul.

Personal thoughts:

Kriss has an extremely fun personality. I can tell from the few conversations we’ve had and just reading her website. She has three works on amazon: Thoughts of Chaos and Desire, Thoughts of Love and Truth, and The Darkness Within: Everyone Has a Story…  All of which are free on Kindle Unlimited or if you don’t have that, they are all under $2.00. Please check her out! She is so cool! I love her already!


Rachel Weaver

About Rachel:

Rachel Weaver is a 23 year old Minnesota resident that has enjoyed the horror genre since the age of 5. When she’s not being seen watching Hereditary for the 100th time or scrolling through her Shudder account, she could be found writing at coffee shops, thinking about theater with her boyfriend or playing with her two cats. She has been an aspiring writer since finding her niche with horror writing at the start of the pandemic. She posts weekly on her Wattpad account when she has time and is thinking about hitting up CreepyPasta at some point. Happy Haunts guys and ghouls 👌

The Interview:

1. How do you feel women are represented in horror? Do you think it should change?

I feel like since the 70’s it’s been decent representation. Protagonists like Nancy from Nightmare on Elm Street and Lori from Halloween are Prime examples. I don’t think it should change from the films I’ve seen. 

2. Tell us about an experience you’ve had as a writer, good or bad. Something to show new writers what the field is like. 

I haven’t had a lot of bad experiences as a writer; my best advice is to always be open to constructive criticism. I wrote a short horror play when I was in college in 2017 and a cast member told me that the dialogue was crappy, but I took it with a grain of salt.

3. What made you want to write?

Really good movies and escapism, or finding a place where I can be happy. 

4. What is your favorite piece you have written?

Monstro Therapy. A short play starring classic movie monsters like Dracula and Wolfman. 

5. What gives you inspiration?

My boyfriend, who always encourages me to write. 

6. What advice do you have to people who want to start writing?

If you want to start writing, do it often and keep going till you find a style. It took me a few years to figure out my style but it’s so worth it!

Links:

https://l.facebook.com/l.php?u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.wattpad.com%2Fuser%2Frcweaver-16%3Ffbclid%3DIwAR2vkXURAhpnW9TYXzfxjld8TyuEDQnhT2dOYcS1YrgDMkSvoqZCSFY-PiE&h=AT1kkb–azgbWRrmKgKoxshEYt1DPZmzp6pFSQQeeZZpmzoaNZUjrGbEdkgmB09YY5KL4xmuP8R7jqJ2xXYVggUTZzmmMnGPm5-gJe0iz5gcnDMJZ_NxOvjVPcl8OKS4t0fWgR4-MMOPpvx2_dG2 

Personal Thoughts:

Rachel is a personal friend of mine so i might be a little biased. She is super cool and creative! I love her work and her ideas. So check her out and support this cool woman of horror.


Shelby Scott

Bio:

Shelby Scott is from Southern California and currently lives in Los Angeles. Her favorite past times are writing and cooking. 

The Interview:

1. What’s your favorite story you have written or read that will or has been on the podcast.

My favorite story I’ve written is probably Nuclear Flight. I thought of it when I was actually on a plane and I completely terrified myself at the idea of “what if we just can’t land? Where do we go?”

2. What made you decide to do a podcast?

I really wanted to get my own work out into the world, and I wanted to combine my love of ASMR and horror. I thought it might be something a few people might be interested in, and come to find out almost 3 years later, there are way more people than I thought there would be who are into falling asleep to horror stories.

3. What gives you inspiration?

The world around me. My stories are usually pretty rooted in normal everyday things. Like grocery stores, airplane flights, and dealing with aging loved ones. Things that we deal with often enough that I want my stories to be a sort of thought in the back of your mind. I aspire to write stories that really stick with you and sneak up on you long after you’ve heard or read them.

4. What advice do you have for new writers and new podcasters?

To new writers, I like the advice that Stephen King once gave about putting your finished work away for 2 weeks without looking at it, so when you read it again it feels like reading someone else’s work. You catch a lot more plot holes and mistakes that way. My own personal advice is to read your work aloud. It gives you a different perspective and it’s a good way to catch if you’ve used the same words or phrasing over and over again, and it’s easier to see if you have any dragging and unnecessary parts of your narrative that can be edited out.

To new podcasters, I say treat your first episode like the first pancake. Throw it out. Or at least don’t upload it. Do an entire test episode from start to finish, full length. Take that and learn and let people you know and trust give you constructive criticism. Also make sure your sound is as professional sounding as possible. You don’t need fancy equipment, but research the equipment you do have to make the most out of it. If you sound like you’re recording into a tin can in an echoey bathroom people are going to turn it off after a few minutes.

5.How do you feel women are represented in horror? Do you think it should change?

I think it’s getting better, but I have seen things within the horror podcast world that concerns me. More than once I’ve seen on Facebook and Twitter people expressing that they refuse to listen to female hosted podcasts because “women have annoying voices”. It’s a really gross deep-rooted misogynistic view and I really hope the fact that more and more women are beginning to rise up in the podcast world will change that!

Links:

Scare You To Sleep: Podcast 

Personal Thoughts:

Shelby’s voice is great and when you hear it on the podcast its just magic. She really brings the characters to life. She is so nice to work with and I’m really glad I got the chance to do this! So please listen to the podcast and see what I’m saying!!

Deer to my Heart

Fyi, I made this intentionally cliché so don’t judge it to harshly!

“Tammie! Stop!” Rebecca giggles. “I don’t even like Luke like that.” Tammie is mercilessly teasing her about the guy in the driver’s seat. 

“Sure you don’t!”

“Rebecca! Tammie! Could you two, like, shut up? You’re making it hard to concentrate on the map!” A guy shouts from the front passenger seat. He shakes his head and looks at Luke. “Okay, take a left here, then straight ten miles. Also, why did we have to bring them?” 

Luke looks at the guy and smiles, “Don’t be such a sourpuss, Kyle.”

“This cabin better be worth it,” Kyle huffs. 

They have been driving for two hours on bumpy back roads. Not a town in sight, only forest, and the occasional small gas station. They packed plenty of booze and snacks for a weekend of fun at Luke’s new cabin.

“Why’d you even buy a cabin in the middle of nowhere, Luke?” Rebecca asked.

“I wanted a place to get away from it all, you know?” he answers with a smile. “Plus, it was cheap.”

They finally arrive. Pulling up to the new cabin, they take their first glance. It is in pleasant condition and is quite large. “Wow, Luke! You scored with this one!” Tammie shouts getting out of the SUV. “There must be something wrong with it for it to have been so cheap. I can’t wait to find out what it was.”

“Maybe it was a murder and we are all going to die,” Kyle teases.

“Not funny, you guys,” Rebecca calls out from the hatchback. “Now come get your stuff.”

They get their things and bring them inside. The cabin is even more beautiful on the inside, with pine and cedar walls. Each wall has a different scene cut into it, some bears and deer and some families having fun. The cabin was fully furnished with new furniture and electronics. “Ok, everyone pick out a room, there should be enough that we don’t have to share,” Luke instructs the group.

“Unless you girls want to share a room,” Kyle says and winks.

“You’re disgusting, Kyle,” Rebecca states as she picks a room with plaid sheets and pictures of bears. 

She throws her luggage on the bed and opens it. She unpacks her clothes and puts them in the dresser. When she opens the bottom drawer, she sees a black dress. It looks old and covered in something. She goes to pick it up for a closer look but hears a woman scream. It frightens her for a moment as if the dress screamed. She comes to her senses and realizes it was Tammie. She runs to her friend. Everyone has crowded Tammie’s room to see what happened. 

“I forgot the weed!” Tammie screams. 

“Damn it, Tammie! You had one job! One!” Kyle angrily shouts. 

Rebecca rolls her eyes and says, “Tammie, you had me scared to death! Over what? Some stupid drugs?”

Knock. Knock.

The room falls silent, and everyone looks at each other. 

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Luke walks to the door. His hand slowly going to the knob and turns it. A shaggy-looking man is on the other side of the door. 

“Hiya!” He says cheerfully. 

“Hello?” 

“Are you guys lost?”

“No,” Luke says, looking at his friends behind him. 

“Then why are you here?” the man asks less cheerfully. 

“I just bought this cabin and we are having a vacation if you must know.”

“A vacation? Here? In these woods? Look whatever they told you about this place they were lying. Nobody comes here, anymore.”

“Thanks for the heads up! Bye now!” Kyle says, coming over and closing the door. “What the hell? Weirdo.” 

“I’ve got weed.” the man says through the closed door. 

Kyle quickly opens the door. 

“I think we got off on the wrong foot. I’ll share with you if you just listen.” 

Kyle ushers the man inside and says, “Don’t be too boring.”

The shaggy man gestures for them all to sit down in the living room. He pulls a bag from his pocket and throws it at Kyle. “There, just like I said.”

Kyle gleefully grabs it and starts rolling a joint. 

Luke looks at the man, “So what did you want to talk about? I’d like to start my vacation.”

The man looks at Luke and becomes more serious, “You should leave here. It’s not a good place.”

“What do you mean by that?” Rebecca asked the man. “Did something happen, here?”

The man sighed and looked at the ground. “It was a tragedy. They took a woman from her home.” he starts. He sits in a cozy chair in the corner. “They made her wear a decomposing deer’s head the whole time.”

Rebecca broke the silence of the room. “What did they do to her?” 

“They sacrificed her to the Devil! They cut her apart and used her organs for the ritual,” he shouted. “Damned witches!” He was angry now. He shoved everything off the coffee table. 

“Witches? Are you crazy?” Kyle said, chuckling. 

The man got up and raced to Kyle. He picked him up by his shirt. “I didn’t believe either until they took her from me.” He shook Kyle hard. Luke came over to separate them, putting his hands on both of them. 

The man smacked Luke away and huffed angrily. He looked around the room and collected himself. “I should go. Be warned, these woods have evil in them. Leave now if you want to live.” He walked to the door and left. 

They all stood there, stunned at what happened. Tammie ran to her room and pulled out her duffle bag. She started packing everything she brought and was ready to leave this place. 

“Tammie, what are you doing?” Rebecca asks.

“I’m not staying here, Rebecca. I don’t want to be that old man’s next victim. He was obviously crazy.”

The man and his story strangely intrigued Rebecca. She didn’t want to leave. She wanted to know what happened. “Look, we’ll lock the doors and I’ll sleep in here with you.” Tammie gave a disapproving look and kept packing. “We can’t leave, the guys will never agree to it. What are we going to do? Walk home?”

Tammie stopped packing and sat down on the bed. She rubbed her face and sighed. “You’re right. I guess it just got to me. I still want you to stay with me tonight.”

Later that night, Rebecca dreams of a woman in that black dress. She can see they tied the woman up by a fire. She tries desperately to get free, screaming for someone. Another woman comes into view carrying a decomposing deer’s head. The woman puts the head on the screaming woman. Blood oozes down her chest and maggots fall out the neck. The woman looks at Rebecca. The deer’s mouth opens and lets out a scream. 

Rebecca jumps and falls out of bed. She stands up and looks at Tammie. Tammie is asleep and taking most of the bed. No wonder she fell off. Rebecca walks to the bathroom. She can see light coming from under the door. 

Luke steps out. “Following me?” His grin is the most beautiful thing Rebecca has ever seen. 

“Uh, no. Why would I do that? Um, this is the only bathroom.” she stutters.

“No, it’s not.” he steps closer to her and puts his hand on her back. She instantly becomes anxious. She looks down the hallway to see if there was any divergence. They hear a knock at the door, and she is secretly relieved. Luke rushes to the door. 

He swings it open and yells, “Stop! We aren’t going to play your game…” His sentence loses steam as he realizes no one is there. He steps outside for a better look. 

Rebecca can see him turn quickly, then he is swept away into the night. Her eyes get wide. Hysterical in panic, she notices she is already running. She runs into the first room she can and locks the door. She holds her head and tries to calm down. Her breathing is so loud, she’ll be found for sure. She sits on the floor and struggles to think about what happened. 

It swept him away. By something. Something with horns. “No, it can’t be,” she thinks. Something pulls on the door, scaring her even more. 

“Rebecca! Open up,” a familiar voice yells. It’s Tammie. 

Rebecca rushes to the door and opens it, immediately grabbing Tammie’s hand, “Luke! He is gone. Luke is gone!” Tammie grabs her other hand and tries to calm her.

“What do you mean Luke’s gone?” Kyle asks, frustrated from being woken up. 

“Something took him! I saw it.”

“What took him?” Tammie asks calmly. 

Rebecca falls silent. She can’t tell them what she saw, they will think she’s crazy. “I don’t know,” she answers. She is calmer now. “He was standing in the doorway, then he wasn’t.” 

“He probably stepped out to get away from you,” Kyle huffs. He feels something touch him. “Hey! Don’t touch me.” 

He turns and looks out the doorway. His eyes are wide in horror. Long white fingers wrap around his throat. He makes gurgling sounds as the hand tightens. An audible crunch is heard as his neck snaps and his throat collapses. Blood flows from Kyle’s mouth and he falls to the floor. 

The creature walks into the room. Rebecca takes in all the air. It’s her. The head of the deer rotting over her face. 

The woman leans over Kyle, ripping open his abdomen. She pulls out his intestines and shoves them under the deer’s head. Rebecca and Tammie can hear the slurping and chewing as she eats their friend.

Tears run down Tammie’s face, and a squeak from her throat comes out. The woman turns and looks at them. She stands up and lets out a shriek. A man runs into the room and grabs the woman. “Go!” he yells. The two girls get up and run for their lives. 

They get to the SUV and Rebecca swears. “I don’t have the keys!” She looks over to Tammie. Tammie is on her hands and knees, wrenching into the mud. She cries and looks up into the sky, praying for help. 

“Tammie, get up!” Rebecca grabs her. Tammie just continues to pray, rocking back and forth on her knees. “For fuck’s sake, we have to get out of here!” As the words fall from her mouth, she knows what she must do, her survival skills kick in. She grabs a brick and smacks Tammie in the back of the head, asking her for forgiveness as she pushes her unconscious body under the SUV. She must keep herself and Tammie alive, even if it means getting close to death.

With new determination, Rebecca walks to the cabin’s storage shed. She had to get those keys. She throws open the doors and grabs a shovel. This will be her only defense. She bangs it on the side of the metal shed. 

CLANK! CLANK! CLANK!

“Come and get me, motherfucker!” She yells. 

The woman comes running out with fresh blood on her black dress. As she gets close, Rebecca swings and hits her with the shovel. The deer’s head is knocked off as the woman falls to the ground. Rebecca can see her face for the first time. Her eyes are black and hollow and her skin is pale like the dead. Rebecca spins the shovel handle in her hands and grits her teeth. She is ready; she will not die here. 

The woman slowly tries to get up. Rebecca jumps onto her back. The crack of her spine is satisfying to hear. 

“Please,” the woman pleads. Rebecca stops. “This isn’t me, I just want to live,” her voice gets more distorted as she speaks. She begins to cackle a demented laugh. 

Rebecca takes her shovel and plunges it into the woman’s neck. Her head rolls and her body instantly turns to ash. Rebecca spits on the ashes and kicks her head as far as she can.

She goes inside and sees the carnage of the man from before. She closes his eyes. “Thank you.” 

She rushes to the keys and grabs them. Wasting no time getting back to the SUV, she picks up Tammie and puts her inside. Climbing into the driver’s seat, she knows she’s made it.

About Me

Hello, today I wanted to share some about me. I don’t feel like we have been formally introduced. I am Rachel Simmons, soon to be Rachel Thurmond. I’m 24 and am a housewife. I do have a degree but I’m too scared of the job. I’m originally from Tennessee but my fiancé and I moved to Virginia a year ago. My three cats, which I’m allergic to, keep me company. I spend all of my days working on this blog and trying to make it better. When I’m not doing that, you can find me with my friend and/or eating something.

I write my stories and promote other in hopes that someday we will all profit somehow from it. Whether it be money or just fun.

My stories are always dark because I’m a dark person. I listen to dark music and watch dark movies. I also have really bad depression and anxiety. It eats me alive most days. Most days are spent with my brain telling me I can’t do something.

This blog and getting to connect with other people, even becoming friends with these people, is helping so much. I feel like I have a purpose again and that I’m not a loser. I feel like I have a reason to get up everyday. People are expecting me.

Now, I’m not telling you this so you’ll feel sorry for me. I don’t want your pity. I’m telling you this because I thought you deserved to know a little about me.

That’s all I can say about me. I hope to get to know all of you.

Descent – Mark Gilmore

Today we have a guest writer from England! Isn’t that the coolest? Growing up in Tennessee I never thought I’d work with someone from that far away, but here we are! So please enjoy this creepy tale from Mark Gilmore.


First a little about Mark:

My name is Mark Gilmore. I am from Liverpool, England, home of the best football team. I am 47 years young and love to read and write stories. I have been writing properly now for the last twelve months. I started writing back in 1994, with my first story, Pallida Mors. I wrote a few more before life stepped in and I was sporadic in writing. I joined a writers group in early 2000’s but still nothing arose from it. I did write a few more stories, non-horror ones as well. Again life stepped in and I didn’t write anything for years. Though it was there inside, a burning irritation that something was missing.

I decided to give it another go. I went beck to college and gained my English GCSE. I re-read then re-wrote my old stories hopefully improving them. My life then went off on a tangent for the better. I met someone new and through her encouragement I joined another writers group. These were instrumental in helping me over come my lack of confidence. With their help I wrote some more stories; which I put together and self-published a book. I am still learning the craft and will still be learning for the foreseeable future.


Descent

The sun rose into the cloudless azure heavens. Birds sang and danced gracefully across the sky. The day was beautiful, alluring, and enchanting. It was all you could ever wish for on a summer’s morning.

All he needed to top it off was a steaming cup of tea. 

This was the first thought Craig had as he lay in bed. He was staring at the window which was a bright white square. He didn’t want to move but today is the day. Today he is going to turn a corner. Today he was going to get that spark back and do some work. He was going to finish his manuscript and get it sent to the editors.

So with renewed vitality, he climbed out of bed. He pulled on his dressing gown with a bit more vigor than required. Craig more-or-less strutted down the stairs. He swaggered into the kitchen, picked up the kettle, and went to fill it up.

Craig turned the tap on. A little dribble of water came out. Deep in the pipes, a gurgle could be heard traveling towards him making its way out. Once it reached the tap there was splutter and a spatter before brown sludge erupted from the faucet.  

The disappointment was an understatement. Craig could feel the sunny disposition draining from his body like sugar dissolving in hot water. He looked at the horrible thick sludge sitting in the sink. It was a putrescent, filthy, pestilence slithering down the drain. 

‘For fuck’s sake!’ He slammed the kettle down.

All work for the day was forgotten. He knew the manuscript was not getting handled today. He will get it out but it will sit on the table untouched. Every once in a while he will look at it. That is the only attention it will receive.

He managed to drag himself upstairs to get dressed. It was a meager attempt at fighting the dreaming melancholy. It helped a little, not enough to dispel the emotions. After pottering around the house for half the day he was fed up. The water still hadn’t come on and he needed a Cup of tea, milk was not quite doing it for him.

Craig decided to go out for a walk. There may be a café open or a shop.

The air is still, no breeze disturbed the heat that was stifling. Craig was walking down the lanes which were usually busy with cars especially on summer’s day like this one. Today people had other ideas. The roads were empty. Then he saw why. 

Up ahead was roadworks. They had closed it down to one lane with traffic lights. He could see it was United Utilities were doing the work. That was not true. There were no workmen to be seen. A van was parked on the grass verge; it was dark and silent. Craig should have left there and then, and carried on with his walk. There was a nagging question burning in the back of his mind; where are the workmen?

There were plastic barriers around a hole in the riad. There was a little digger idling next to the hole looking abandoned. The whole site had the same feeling to it.

I should leave, he thought. This has nothing to do with me.

But that hole was so much bigger than it needed to be. Not that Craig had any idea how big the hole should be, or for that matter what they were working on. All he knew was that the water was off in the area and it was not a good day to have no cold water. These workers should be trying to get the water supply up and running as fast as they could. That was not the case here, these workers were non-existent.

People just don’t care enough these days. Probably buggered off for some dinner. Come back two hours later and pack up and go home. Fuckin’ twats.

He had turned to go home. He wasn’t in the mood for a walk now. The day was ruined. He needed to crawl back into bed and forget it had ever happened. He noticed on the tarmac oil had been spilled. He leaned over the barrier for a closer look. 

Again he should have run home screaming. Instead, he squeezed through a gap in the barriers. This is how he saw the pool of blood dribbling down into the dark mouth of the hole.

Craig carefully hunched down and peered into the pit. As he pulled his mobile out of his pocket he noticed it was a sinkhole.

 The road had collapsed and one of the workers had hurt themselves. They must have taken him to the hospital and that’s why no one was working here. I feel shitty now. I need to call the authorities. 

Craig stood up intending to call the police, ambulance, and fire brigade, all three if they would come. The scream stopped him.

The scream echoed from deep in the bowels of the earth. It rolled out like distant thunder across the sky. Craig jumped, lost his balance. His foot slipped on the dry rubble. He flailed his arms to no avail. He was falling. Craig landed on his back in the middle of the pool of blood. 

‘Ooomph.’ The air whooshed out of his lungs. 

He could feel the warm blood seeping through his shirt. He told himself it was warm from the sun and not because it was fresh. Craig slid down into the bowels of darkness.

Craig’s yell echoed off the chamber as he slid deeper and deeper. Darkness swallowed him like the whale swallowing Jonah.

There was a break in the tarmac where it went to a vertical drop. Craig was scrambling to stop himself. The momentum had got hold of him there was no stopping now. Craig hit it. It ripped the skin from his back. His screech rang out as his blood flowed, seconds later he landed at the bottom in a heap of agony. 

He unfurled from the fetal position with yelps of pain. Craig looked up into the bright blue sky, a few clouds had formed now as the day cooled into mid-afternoon. 

The screams still echoed out from the tunnels. Someone shouting indistinctly, before more screams.

‘Is someone down here?’ Craig shouted.

It went deathly quiet. Then a groan drifted out of the darkness. Craig had taken a couple of steps from the wall and could see a high-vis vest on the floor. He started to make his way towards it. 

‘No!’ he whispered stopping himself. ‘This is what got you down here in the first place. You know curiosity killed Craig.’ He thought he had stopped but when he looked down at his feet they were still moving. Too late he was at the vest.

It was darker than dark. His eyes were not adjusting as quickly as they should. He read somewhere that if you closed your eyes for 30 seconds they will adapt to the surroundings. Craig could not keep his closed for more than 5 seconds because of the noises drifting out to him. The screaming and groaning were scaring him. 

He closed his eyes and managed 10 seconds; it helped a lot. He grabbed the man’s shoulder and turned him over. There was a squelch as the body flopped onto its back. Craig screamed; he could not stop screaming.

The man had no face, no features at all, just a mess of flesh and bone. His throat was torn out, as was his chest. The intestines were strewn across the ground. There were bits of lungs and liver and kidneys, the whole of the man’s insides was now on the outside. 

Craig scrambled back to the opening. He had to get out of here. The ground was dry making footholds non-existent. The pain in his back made it harder. The groaning was getting louder.

Craig turned around. In the dark, he could see glittering orbs floating in the air. They were coming towards him. He needed his mobile. He patted his pockets knowing it was not in them. The mobile was sitting on the edge about twelve feet above his head. It was buzzing. He could see the name Alice on the screen. 

‘Fuck! Alice? Alice?’ He shouted. ‘Shit! Am I fuckin Alice now falling down the fuckin rabbit hole?’ 

The groaning was practically on top of him. 

He leaned back against the tarmac wall and hissed in pain. He had nowhere to go. He couldn’t climb out and he could venture into the tunnels. He had no idea where they went or a light. 

Then he saw them. Five or six men shuffling out of the darkness. They were the missing workmen.

‘Am I glad to see you,’ he said. ‘Is there a way out down there?’

Craig could see the one in the lead was dragging his foot. Now that must hurt. My back stings like fuck but that must be a killer. The foot was pointing in towards his other foot. It looked like the ankle had snapped off at the bone. They were all covered in blood. Their clothes were drenched with the stuff. They were inches from Craig.

Craig had never punched anyone since he was in school. He was not sure he could even do it until it was done. His fist went slamming into the face of the man. He was surprised to see it not stop at the nose, the fist shattered the bones of the skull and kept going into the brains. 

He pulled it out with a squelch. Craig couldn’t take his eyes off the blood and brains as they dripped off his hand. He was stunned. There was a thump as the body fell to the floor. He had forgotten all about the other men closing in around him.

It was too late; their fingers were clawing at his flesh. Craig screamed as the digits dug into his flesh and started to rip it from his bones. The five of them fell on top of Craig. With their hands and teeth, they began to tear him apart. His screams died as one of them sank its teeth into his throat and ripped it from his body.

Craig lay forgotten on the ground in pieces. The five of them turned to the wall and started to climb. Their fingers dug into the tarmac easily. Inch by inch they climbed closer and closer to the dying sunlight.

Five Published Authors for You to Read.

Hello! Today I’m going to share some friends of mine who have published work. They are all super wonderful and nice. They are serious about their work and do it well. Please check them out and send love in the comments!! They work really hard at what thy do and deserve to be showcased.


  1. Dylan Ginther

Getting to know Dylan, the bio from his website:

Dylan Lawrence Ginther is an author who specifies in the horror genre. As an LGBTQ teen raised on the streets of British Columbia Canada, Dylan learnt to explore the deepest parts of human consciousness and find out the truth of the mysteries that bring fear into the forefront of our minds through everyday situations ignored by the public. Exploring the realities that some will never dare to go, in the hopes to make a truly positive impact in the real world. Dylan attempts a way to maintain negative personal experiences throughout his life into his stories and films in a hope to reach others who may have gone through similar situations, and find a way to inform the public through open dialogue about many of the problems in the world today including racism, homophobia, lack of attention towards indigenous and minority issues, and many other situations. 

​Dylan is also currently working on a project short film labelled “Arrowwood.” which is a self-funded film centred to promoting the news of injustices centred around MMIWG.  

The Interview: 

1. Was the publishing process hard?

– The process of publishing is surprisingly easy depending on the author’s determination of publishing. Whether through self-publishing or Marketed publishing, it all depends on the author to make sure they have a fully edited copy of their work to promote! But personally, it was quite easy to publish for me.        

2. What is your favorite piece you have had published?

  – As a new author, I have only had one published work “Siblings” so far, so of course, it is my favorite. I hold it extremely close to my heart in terms of both the characters and the story.                                          

3. What gives you inspiration?

 – As a victim of abuse and having been abandoned by my parents by the age of 12, my life is my inspiration for my stories.                                          

4. What advice do you have to people who want their work published? 

-HAVE FUN! AND KNOW THAT YOUR STORY HAS WORTH! You know your stories better than anyone else and it’s important to tell those stories, and to be confident in your work!

Links: 

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialSiblingsBookPage

Dylan Ginther

Vasilis Zikos (@vasiliszikosart) • Instagram photos and videos

Dylan Ginther (@dylan_ginther) • Instagram photos and videos

Personal Thoughts:

Dylan is a kind person that is always nice to talk to. He may have had some rough patches but it only made him a better writer. To get your hands on a copy of his book Siblings simply by emailing him at siblingsbook@outlook.com So, I would recommend checking him out and sending your love.


2. Charles O’Connor 

About Charles: 

Charles D. O’Connor III is a dark prose poet hailing from VA. He spent 10 years learning how to write and has amassed many publishing credits-particularly in the Lovecraftian vein. Although still working on his first book, you can find his poems in the magazine Spectral Realms on hippocampuspress.com. Also, a partial list of his publishing credits can be found on isfdb.org. And until he builds a website (including all forms of social media), you can find him on this site as well as Facebook. 

The Interview

1. Was the publishing process hard?

Yes at first. You don’t know whether rejections are because of the quality of your work, or if it’s another reason. And if you have a fragile self-esteem, the entire process can be draining. Giving people what they want while continuing to be yourself is another obstacle. But practice and maturity help a lot, also a good friend. All this is a novice’s salvation.

2. What is your favorite piece you have had published?

My favorite piece (prose poem) was called “The Daughter of Death.” It has to do with my ex-fiancé, but I presented it in a dark fashion like Poe; It wasn’t your normal dark lost love poem either. Plus it received shining reviews and marked the first time I tore everything I wanted to say from my mind and slammed it on paper

3. What gives you inspiration?

All the tragedies in my life have been the greatest inspirations. I also get ideas out of the clear blue. It’s most unusual. My “well” never empties. But there are times my well dries so I turn to mysterious stories or ideas that interest me. To me.. if you leave your heart and mind open then you’ll be ok

4. What advice do you have to people who want their work published?

For people who want to publish their work, I’d say know your intended audience, realize rejection doesn’t necessarily reflect the quality of your work-it’s simply not what they’re looking for. Also, make friends with people who are already published. Contacts/friends are imperative. Lastly, always practice your craft and learn about yourself as a writer. Why are you writing? What do you love to write and how will you express it on the page? Can I say I love what I’ve written and will continue to stand by it even if it’s rejected a million times? (Of course, make sure there’s nothing intrinsically wrong). If you can achieve all this and couple it with patience then you’ll be alright

Links:

http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/ea.cgi?221665 

Personal thoughts: 

Charles is a very articulated person. Every conversation we have feels formal and I totally dig it. You can buy the magazines, which have his work in them, on Hippocampus Press. The magazines are around 200 pages and cost $10 plus shipping and handling. 


3. John Wiseley 

Who is John Wiseley?

John J Wiseley was born in Michigan and was dragged kicking and screaming to California when he was eight. His first career was in the medical field but he quickly learned that he had a passion for storytelling. He has an affinity for horror and sci-fi and has published books in both genres. John’s love of dogs has translated into being a highly respected and reputable purebred dog breeder. That, paired with his love of travel, keeps him busy when he’s not putting pen to paper.

The Interview:

1. Was the publishing process hard?

The publishing process was very easy but there was a learning curve. I published my first book when I was 19 and I used a company called book surge and it took three or four weeks to get everything done nowadays if you use Amazon and Kindle it takes about half an hour to get published so the process is really streamlined now to help new writers get their books published and that’s great.

2. What is your favorite piece you have had published? If you only had one piece published tell us something about it.

My favorite piece that I ever had published was actually a book of poetry. It contains poems from myself and from my dad. He had written poems his entire life. Back from when he was in the Navy all the way until he met my mother-and beyond.. so I figured I would combine my poetry with his poetry and actually get published so that he had a hard copy book that he could reference when he wanted to read some of his poetry. It was a pretty cool gift to be able to give him and he appreciated it immensely.

3. What gives you inspiration?

My wife is my inspiration. She’s my ride or die, my partner in crime, my soulmate, my BFF, my best friend, my everything! I want her to be proud that she chose me.

4. What advice do you have to people who want their work published?

The advice that I would give to someone that wants their work published is: do it because you love it not because you think you’re going to sell 1 million copies and be a New York Times bestseller because that happens to less than 1% of the authors out there. If you’re striving for dollars you’ll end up with pennies! However, if you do it for the right reasons-success will come, if you have a quality product. Also, don’t be afraid to pivot when you’re writing. Stay loose and let the story take you where it takes you, even if it ends up changing your story arc a little bit. Stephen King was quoted as saying, sometimes when he writes he doesn’t have an outline-it just goes where it goes he doesn’t know who’s going to live or die in the end and I think that’s great amazing!

Links:

Personal thoughts:

John is very passionate about his book, and is very good at getting himself out there. He is very active in our Facebook group and helps others with their problems. His book Hamilton House is free on Kindle Unlimited or $15.95 for a paperback copy! Def check him out. 


4. Michael Fassbender

The Bio taken from his website:

I began writing in high school. During my freshman year, I was introduced to the work of H.P. Lovecraft, and within a couple of months, I conceived an idea for a story of my own. I learned how to type on summer vacation, and produced my first short story, “Tsunami.” In hindsight, it was hopelessly derivative of Lovecraft’s “Call of Cthulhu,” but it was a start.

I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in History at Illinois Benedictine College, now Benedictine University. Alongside my classwork and part-time job, I wrote fairly extensively, completing some two dozen short stories and several poems as well. Two of my stories, “Abraham” and “Ostracism,” won first prize in annual short story contests sponsored at the college by the American Chemical Society. Two poems, “Sherwood Forest” and “A Walk in the Night,” also saw publication in a campus volume.

Graduate study at Indiana University in Bloomington put my fictional aspirations on hold for a few years, and upon entering the workforce, I found them returning only by degrees. By 1999, however, I renewed my interest in writing as a profession, and in the following years I wrote several short stories and two novellas. Their completion gave me reason to begin preliminary work on a novel.

My biggest opportunity came in 2008, when I found the website Helium (then at http://www.helium.com). Here was a site open to writers of all skill levels, giving them the chance to write on nearly any subject, publish it online, and earn royalty payments based on the number of times that each article was viewed. Other opportunities from contests to commissions were available on the site, and within a couple of months I had made my first outright sale of a short story. Moreover, one’s work on Helium also served as an online portfolio, and I was able to demonstrate my expertise in historical matters. In 2012, I was invited to serve as the Channel Manager for The World Wars. In 2013, the title was changed to Subject Specialist, but I served in the same capacity until the website closed the following year.

I hold Master’s Degrees in Modern European History and Russian and East European studies. I speak German and Russian, with a little bit of Italian and Czech besides. I’ve traveled to Europe on three occasions. In high school, I won a trip to Germany, staying with a family in Nürnberg. In college, I studied for a semester at the Eberhard-Karls Universität in Tübingen. More recently, I’ve visited Rome on vacation.

The Interview:

1. Was the publishing process hard?

The publication process itself has never been too difficult. In most cases, the editors called for some changes, generally concerning minor issues, and I was happy to provide the fixes. The stories are stronger as a result. In one case, the editor requested a change that would materially have altered the story in a less felicitous manner, but once I explained the historical reference to which I was alluding, the editor was happy to let the original character information stand.

Once you get to the publication process, you have editors who like what you’ve written and want nothing more than to make the end result the best it can be. It’s the submission process that’s hard. You have to send your work out to numerous editors, and most of them will reject them. Unless you’re incredibly unlucky, everybody is going to be professional about it as long as you are. You won’t encounter rudeness or sarcasm or anything like that. You just have to realize that, most of the time, your story won’t be accepted and you’ll just have to keep trying anyway.

2. What is your favorite piece you have had published?

 The choice of my favorite published story is a difficult one between The Cold Girl and Schattenlenker’s Hidden Treasure, which coincidentally take place a couple of years apart in the same fictional university town of Beecher’s Run, Indiana. The Cold Girl has the distinction of being published twice, but in the long run, I think I’m slightly more proud of Schattenlenker’s Hidden Treasure, which appears in The Nightside Codex from Silent Motorist Media. 

Schattenlenker was one case when the writing process took on something of a life of its own. I had started out with a different end point in view, and as I wrote, a much better idea occurred to me and produced what I considered a very satisfying plot twist. It seems that others have enjoyed the story, as well. I’ve seen favorable references to it in reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.

3. What gives you inspiration?

Like most of us, I draw inspiration from many sources. A few come from personal experiences; the aforementioned Beecher’s Run stories draw in part on my experiences in grad school in southern Indiana. I have a lifelong love of history and related subjects, like archaeology, and I draw upon these subjects frequently. As a horror author, I have a special love of ghostly and monstrous folklore. I’m also a fan of Heavy Metal music, which is a fine font of inspiration for anybody who deals with the macabre in any artistic form.

I read a fair amount of horror fiction, and also related nonfiction, such as allegedly true ghost stories and studies of things like witchcraft beliefs. There are many authors whose work I enjoy, but I don’t consider any contemporary writers to be major influences. My principal influences are still, chronologically, Dante, Shakespeare, Poe, Lovecraft and Tolkien. Of these, Lovecraft was the one who gave me the push in high school to start writing.

4. What advice do you have to people who want their work published?

To those who want to get their own work published, my advice would be: you need to get your work out there. It’s hard to keep sending out submissions when you just receive rejections in return. It takes a little bit of a thick skin to keep going at it. There are ways to improve your chances — write your best work, follow the editor’s instructions when you send it in, and try to know enough about the publisher to ensure that you send the right story for consideration for a given magazine or anthology.

I recommend that you start with one of the aggregators of Open Calls out there (The Horror Tree, Dark Markets, or one of the submission call groups on Facebook) and follow it closely. Don’t just look for venues that might accept one of the stories you already have available. Look for ones that are seeking stories on topics that you think you could write well, and write stories specifically for these calls. Three of my published stories (including Schattenlenker) were written specifically for the publication in question.

I keep a book in which I document all submissions, rejections, acceptances, and payments, which is handy both at tax time and when I find myself wondering about the status of a story that has been out of the mix for a while. Separately, I have an .rtf document in which I track submissions, rejections and acceptances on a story-by-story basis, so I don’t accidentally send the same story to a given magazine twice. It’s also a handy way to see if a given story is free to send out if I see a promising opportunity on The Horror Tree.

Links:

Tisiphone – Michael Fassbender

Michael Fassbender – PAGE & SPINE: fiction showcase

Personal thoughts:

Michael was very enthusiastic about this project. He was very nice and professional. He has had stories in Sanitarium Magazine, in Hypnos Magazine, in Horror Magazine, and in Dark Divinations. His story  “Tisiphone,” can be found on his website, Michael Fassbender – Depth and integration


5. D. E. Grant

The person who is D. E. Grant:

I am 57 years old, born in New Jersey, and I currently live in Orlando, Florida. I have five sisters and been a writer since high school, first poetry and the school newspaper, then further fueling my desires for writing with flash fiction.  I wrote CURSED PLANTATION in Charlotte, while I was on the job; the second of my trilogy, CURSED LEGACY, is in the publication process and due to be released later this year, was completed here in Florida.  The finale, CURSED BLOODLINE, is being written at this time, hopefully to also be released later this year or early 2022, which will open the gateway to further adventures in my imagination.

The Interview:

1. Was the publishing process hard?

The publishing process was not difficult, but frustrating for a time.  First, trying to capture the attention of traditional publishers and agents became time-consuming, especially when writing my next book in my DARK SUCCUBUS trilogy.  After so many rejections, I decided to self-publish, and that made my publication process a whole lot easier for me, because I could better concentrate on writing.

2. What is your favorite piece you have had published? 

I have had some of my poetry published, but nothing beats having my first book, CURSED PLANTATION, published and seen in print.  Holding that book in my hand and having people read my thoughts put on paper makes my book my favorite published piece and greatest literary accomplishment.

3. What gives you inspiration?

I am inspired by the opportunity to allow my imagination to run free and give voice to my characters.  Writing in itself inspired me because I have fulfilled my dream of being a published author.

4. What advice do you have to people who want their work published?

My best advice I could give to anyone who wants to publish their work is to keep writing, regardless of any doubts anyone could cast your way.  We each have a story and there is an audience anxious to hear it and someone whose attention you will capture.  Do not allow anyone or anything silence your voice.

Links:

Personal thoughts:


D.E. Grant was very pleasant to work with, alway very cordial. I can tell he really cares about his work and wants it to succeed. He has been writing a while and has a lot of knowledge about the field. His book Cursed Plantations  is only $10.66 for paperback on amazon or $7.49 for kindle. I personally like paperbacks so i think it’s a steal. Please check him out and send your thoughts to him in the comment section. 

Two New Podcasters to Listen to

Today I have two podcasts to show you! Both of these podcasts are wonderful and creepy. They are new to the podcasting world but not the writing world. They narrate their own stories along with other peoples. So please give them a chance! They will not disappoint! Make sure you like their podcasts and tell them how great they are!!


Eli Beals

Who is Eli Beals?

Currently live in California’s bay area but long for the pacific northwest where I am from. I have called myself a writer amongst other occupations for about 20 years with one self published novel which I might at some point revisit. I find short fiction more suited to my attention span when it comes to writing.

The Interview:

1. What’s your favorite story you have written or read? That will be on the podcast. 

As a rule, writers are supposed to hate their own work, but if I had to choose one that I find least detestable it would be “the devil’s wallet ” kind of a cautionary / morality tale which I enjoy immensely. 

2. What made you decide to do a podcast? 

I think having an audio element to one’s writing is necessary if a writer is to find their audience at large.

With self publishing and the immediacy of online publication so easily accessible the writer must add another layer. Also, I just love a good audio drama.

3. What gives you inspiration? 

My inspiration to make the podcast is from this obscure audio tour through a haunted house, can’t remember what it was called but it gripped the imagination.  It has been on my to-do list for decades. 

4. What advice do you have for new writers and new podcasters?

My advice to new writers is to read a poem by Charles Bukowski called “so you want to be a writer.” And if you still want to do it after you process his words then by all means keep doing it! And never stop.

Links:

Eli Beals 

Personal Thoughts:

Eli is a really neat person. From our few conversations, I can tell he cares about his work and wants to share it with the world. His voice sounds really good too. So please check it out and tell him what you think. His most recent video is Exit Light Episode 3


David Rosenblum

About David: 

Born in Panama, the country, lived in Texas, Michigan, California, Arizona, New Jersey, and Kentucky. Bringing all those life experiences alive in some form or another in his flash fiction writings. Do you dare?

The Interview:

1. What’s your favorite story you have written or read that will be on the podcast

 The stag or tainted. First two stories.

2. What made you decide to do a podcast?

 Reading out loud is better and to get a different venue out.

3. What gives you inspiration?

Always creating new stuff by observing surroundings. 

4. What advice do you have for new writers and new podcasters?

Plug away. Write even if it’s bad—you’ll know when it is and just reset.

Links:

The Stag by Demented Tales

Personal Thoughts:

David is so wonderful to work with and is very excited about his new podcast. His stories so far have been great and I hope to hear all of them! So check him out. You can also find him on Spotify under Demented Tales.

Upcoming News! 02/15/2021

Hello everyone! I hope y’all had a good valentines day or at least a good half priced candy day today. I have some exciting news! I am going to start publishing articles about fellow writers I’ve had the pleasure to meet. So please read about them and check them out! They are hard working writers that have so much story to tell.

Share With Me- Jaime Villarreal

Another guest writer. Woot Woot!

A word from our writer:

I’m Jaime Villarreal. I’m an aspiring screenwriter and writer of short stories. Some of my stories are featured in Killer Nashville Magazine. I’m currently working on my first novel, a unique tale of horror.
Thank you for this opportunity

Here is my short story titled: SHARE WITH ME
Enjoy!


Her name is Clarissa. She never told me. I read it on her name tag. She works at the gas station on the corner. Every time I walk in there to buy gum, she offers me a unique smile. One that has meaning behind it. Maybe there’s something that she wants to share with me. What could it be? No one ever smiles at me like that. It makes me want to know everything about her. Even, if it kills me.

I step through the door of my favorite bookstore. The bell jingles overhead, announcing my entrance.

“Hello,” the clerk says. “Welcome to Crawling’s.”

I come here at least once a week to browse through art books. The clerk acts like she’s never seen me before. Clarissa recognizes me. She doesn’t say anything, but at least, she recognizes me. I should reach over this counter and strangle her until she passes out. Then, she’d recognize me. She’d never forget my face, that’s for sure.

“Is there anything in particular that you’re looking for?” asks the clerk.

“Magic,” I reply. “Books on magic.”

“Magic tricks.” She points toward the middle of the store. “Third aisle. On your left. Can’t miss it.”

“No,” I reiterate. “Real magic.”

“Real magic?” The look on her face is one of arrogance, not inquiry.

I’m thirty years old. Why would I want to start learning magic tricks? I want the good stuff. I want to cast spells. Sure, magic tricks might keep a girl intrigued for a minute, but I want magic that will make her open up to me. Share things with me.

“Voodoo,” I say, hoping the bimbo gets the hint. “Curses. That sort of thing.”

“Occult Philosophy,” she says, rolling her eyes. She points toward the back of the store. “Last aisle. Entire section on the right. Knock yourself out.”

Before long, I find exactly what I’m looking for and take the book home. I don’t have all the required materials to make this thing. It’s called an all-seeing poppet, a tiny doll made of black and red yarn with crimson beads for eyes. It’s pathetic when I finish, but it will have to do. I don’t have much time. The spell calls for a full moon and that’s tonight.

I enter the gas station. I’m met with that same unique smile. I pay for my gum and hand the all-seeing poppet to Clarissa.

“What’s this?” she asks, raising a brow.

“A gift,” I reply. “A good luck charm.”

“It’s cute.”

“Glad you think so.”

“Not sure what to say.” She shrugs with her palms turned up. “Thank you.”

“It’s just a little something to remember me by.”

“What do you mean?”

“Nothing.” I turn to walk out.

Later that night below a crisp full moon, I completed the spell from the book and hung myself in the backyard. It was a few days before they found my body.

Clarissa has me hanging from her rear view mirror now. I was hoping it’d be a necklace. She still thinks I’m cute. She looks at me with that same beautiful smile and shares with me her dreams.