In Search of Monsters: Q & A with Hunter Shea

Hey, Hunter. *grins* I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for stopping by. You’ve had a super busy schedule lately between releasing your novella Swamp Monster Massacre, and dealing with a nasty blow from Mother Nature. I’m so glad you and your family made it through alive and well! You’ll have to excuse me if I get a little giddy. It’s not often someone lets me out of my cage, and I’m a really big fan of your work. Now let’s get rocking!

Writers tend to have a unique outlook on things. Not too many people go through life, have something horrible happen, and shrug it off with a smile. A lot of us do that, because we know those events can be used as fodder. How often do you find yourself building off of real-life experiences (either good or bad) and implementing them in your work?

First, thank you for allowing me to loiter on your blog for a bit. Super Storm Sandy was kind enough to spare my house, but the devastation in NY has been apocalyptic. Parts of the city and suburbs look like Dresden. It’s going to take a long while before we fully come to grips with the scope of this storm.

My real life experiences find their way into my books and stories all of the time. I’ve been fortunate, or unfortunate, to have had several paranormal experiences in my life.

Those experiences and my childhood fascination with ghosts, monsters and aliens helped forge an entire career. I’m particularly fascinated with ghosts not only because of my experiences, but also because that is absolute proof of life, or a form of life, after death. I’d like to think there’s more to us than a few years puttering around this planet. I guess in a way I’m sticking to the ‘write what you know’ adage, and damn if it isn’t fun.

Fun for you and readers alike! What is your favorite book you’ve written so far and why?

Forest of Shadows will always be a personal favorite because it was the book I poured my soul into and the one that got me a career in horror writing. I’ll always be grateful of the blood, sweat and tears that went into it. I have to say, Swamp Monster Massacre was my favorite to write. I decided to have as much fun writing it as I hope people have had reading it. I got to explore my inner Tarantino and Nimoy and let their spirits dance on the page.

I read you got the idea for Swamp Monster Massacre after catching a glimpse of Sasquatch on TV. Of course, you wanted to make the monster your own and ran with it, putting a unique spin on things. I was really impressed with Evil Eternal. Not only was it fantastic horror, but it was fun. There were some great moments of levity and humor. Is this something you try to incorporate often?

Thank you! I’ve always wanted to write a Bigfoot book, and when I sat down to do my spin, I wanted it to be off-the-wall and as original as I could make it. Mobster, tourists, thugs and skunk apes. What could possibly be wrong with that?

Evil Eternal started as such a dark story that I felt I needed to lighten things up with characters like Shane and Cain. Hey, that rhymes! Even in real life, I tend to lean toward the comedic in everything around me, even the dark, awful stuff. Evil Eternal is so over-the-top and dramatic, it needed light touches here and there to ground it a bit. Notice I said ‘a bit’, because that book is wicked strange.

When it comes to horror, you want to bring your readers on a rolling wave of emotion. A little humor brings you down, leaves you vulnerable, then smash!, you ratchet the fear and suspense in an overwhelming swell of churning emotions that makes someone turn the next page with one eye squinted shut.

I’d just like to say, I found Michael’s character kind of hot. 😉

And here I created Shane for the ladies! I can see Father Michael’s appeal, if you like tall, deathly pale, hairless and quietly dangerous. At least now, I know your type. 😉

LOL! Tall, pale, and dangerous is awesome! Okay, back to being serious. If you were stuck in the Everglades with a bunch of skunk-apes from Swamp Monster Massacre, what five items would you want to have with you and why?

Great question. Here goes:
1.   A video camera so I could get proof that they exist and walk among us.
2.  A bazooka with unlimited rounds. I’m not taking any chances. When I shoot, I don’t want any of those murdering beasts to get up and come after me.
3.   Lots of coroner bags to collect the pieces and send them to various labs for analysis.
4.   A cooler loaded with ice and a case of Sapporo beer.
5.   A bundle of Excalibur cigars. This and the beer are to celebrate my capturing evidence of skunk apes and surviving their murderous wrath.

Those things seem insanely smart. I’ve always loved the intelligent foe. They add so much more intensity to a story. Speaking of, there’s some pretty wicked content in Swamp Monster. These beasts have no morals! Did your publisher flinch at any of the more taboo content?

My editor, Don D’Auria, grew up just like me, drawn to the same spooky movies and stories, so he was on board 100% with everything. I like to think that the creatures had some morality, in the fact that they were a family unit and cared for one another in their own special way. I wanted to show that revenge can cross species lines and how very much like us they are in that regard. Now, the way they went about things was a tad harsh, but hell, they worked with what they had.

That they do! So many writers struggle with fear and revulsion when they reach certain aspects of their story. I think a lot of readers endure this experience, too, and it’s such a huge part of the draw of horror. One part is screaming “You can’t do that!” The other is chuckling and roaring: “Don’t hold back!” Do you ever find it difficult to push certain envelopes when writing, or is it always just balls to the wall?

Maybe because I’m so jaded, I don’t worry about writing things that will offend people. Proof of that is in Evil Eternal where I murdered a baby 3 pages in. As a horror writer, you have to bust through the ‘you can’t do that!’ barrier and make your readers squeamish from time to time. Back in the 1930’s, just seeing Frankenstein’s face made people faint. Today, you have to bring a hell of a lot more to the table to even capture people’s attention. It’s a challenge for writers.

Excellent points. What can your audience expect from you in the future? Any exciting news or upcoming projects you’d like to tell us about?

I have a short story collection that I hope will be out around the holidays next month. My cover artist has shown me some great stuff, so I can’t wait to get that out. The sequel to Forest of Shadows, Sinister Entity, will be out in April, 2013 with Samhain Publishing.

There’s a short story called The Graveyard Speaks that will come out just before it to bridge the gap between the two books. I’m doing research right now for my next novel and have a ghost novella completed and ready to go to my publisher. There’s no rest for the weary, but I won’t complain. This has been everything I’d hoped for and more.

You can read more about Hunter and his quest for the dark and strange at his
website : www.huntershea.com
Twitter : @huntershea1
Facebook : www.facebook.com/huntershea1
YouTube : Monster Men 13 channel

 

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Philomena

Philomena

A lone cry echoed through the corridors and jarred Claire from the pleasant escape of her dreams.  As she fought the pull of slumber, confusion set in, followed by a mounting sense of dread.  Her heartbeat hitched and Claire felt the security of her false world slip away bit by bit, like tiny grains of sand sifting through an hourglass.  Before her eyes even opened, she wanted to run, to hide—to disappear forever.  The bloodcurdling wail increased in intensity, bringing one terrifying word to mind.

Philomena.

The mere thought made her blood run cold.  Fear trickled down her spine and guilt rose in the pit of her stomach.  Claire knew, without opening her eyes that he was watching, waiting, gauging her every reaction.  His unmistakable scent infiltrated the room.  It carried on the spring breeze wafting through the window.  Still, she chanced a peek into the darkness, only to wince and draw deeper into the comforter.  Two eyes stared back at her.  Wide, accusing, and so pale they appear to glow; they watched, unblinking from the shadows.

The sweet, earthy aroma of sandalwood and smoke grew stronger as Aldric approached the bed.  Her ears prickled, filling with the soft rustle of his clothing.  He closed the distance between them in long, graceful strides, his feet soundless on the wooden planks.  Slender, cool fingers brushed her cheek in a deceptively tender gesture.  There was no place to go, no method of escape, and she stared up at him, conveying a silent plea with her eyes, hoping he would understand.

“Claire, darling?”

His voice was velvet and seductive, a compelling baritone.  It could lead angels from heaven and lure them straight into the depths of hell.  After all, she had followed, unaware of what fate held in store—unaware or uncaring.  She couldn’t resist Aldric’s tragic beauty any more than an art collector could resist an original Monet.  Now, it was too late to make amends.

His generous lips curved into a smile, as if he sensed her thoughts.  She watched as an ebony lock slipped out of place to rest against the pale satin of his cheek.  Aldric’s eyes mesmerized, but the mock concern glimmering in those shamrock pools didn’t fool her.  Not anymore.

Claire averted her gaze to watch the sheer curtains dance in the breeze.  They moved beneath invisible fingers, plied by a grace and beauty she no longer understood.  The scent of warm lilac teased her senses and, for a moment, she let it wrap her in comfort.  It chased away the damp odor of mildew lurking beneath the sandalwood and smoke, the smell of rot that encased the walls of her prison.

Outside, the clouds shifted and a thin sliver of light spilled through.  The pale glint of the moon eased the dark shadows, and for one blissful second, all was forgotten until another keening wail sliced the silence.

Hungry and demanding, the sound set her nerves on edge.  Claire swallowed against the acidic bile lodged in her throat.  Her breath came in shallow snorts; her nostrils flared.

Philomena.

A sigh of strained patience escaped her lover.  Aldric took her hand in his, holding it against his breast.  She thought she could feel a rhythmic thud beneath her palm, but words skittered through her brain like roaches scuttling for shadow: deception, trickery . . . until she realized it was only the violent hammer of her own heart that she felt.

Claire’s lips pressed together in a grim line to keep the screams from coming.  Madness swelled within, and she prayed that the burgeoning weight would become too much.  That like rain, the terror would break free and fall to the earth in driving sheets.  Perhaps it would cleanse her and wash away all that she had done.

Aldric drew her against him and cut her thoughts short.  His fingers speared through the damp tangles of her hair making her tense on instinct.  Without warning, his arms wrapped around her and squeezed like a snake constricting its prey.  Claire whimpered, terrified he’d somehow found out about her secret—her dirty, shameful secret.

She hated them.

Philomena’s cries grew louder still.  Wetness trickled down Claire’s bosom. It seeped through the thin nightie in blossoming stains, stains that threatened to purge her soul.  Hot crimson flooded her cheeks, bringing a hint of warmth not found in the air.  It wasn’t enough to chase away the cold that settled into her whenever those bloodcurdling wails pierced her ears.  The fires of Hell itself couldn’t banish those chills.

Aldric tipped her chin, forcing her gaze to meet his.  Claire trembled beneath his touch, fear and revulsion wreaking havoc on her frazzled system.  Her breath caught with a hitch and she prayed he couldn’t see through her thin disguise.  His eyes gave nothing away, but something sinister rose in their depths.

A scream bubbled against Claire’s lips.

“The baby needs you.”

For a moment, confusion obscured her thoughts.  Baby?  What baby?  Then, realization sank in, dropping like weighted lead through her heart.

Philomena.

With rubbery legs, Claire stood.  She forced a smile for Aldric’s benefit though every fiber in her being tingled with nervous tension, screaming at her to run; run as far, and as fast, as she could.  Each step made her feel as though she were falling forever downward into an eternal abyss.  The urge to flee tore through her in ragged bolts, errant surges of electricity and impulse.  Yet, she couldn’t break free.  Her body, weak and pathetic, betrayed her.  It answered the call of the soulless and damned.

She inched into the hall, flipping the switch on her way past.  Soft, welcoming light flooded the corridor, but the shadows still remained.  They always remained.  Claire shuffled forward, one foot at a time.  The movements stiff and robotic, disassociated from her own body, as if she were sleepwalking or moving in a trance.  She wished that was the case: that she could somehow wake from the nightmare . . . that Aldric and Philomena would somehow disappear and let her gather the few shards of sanity that remained.

Why had she not listened to that screaming voice of conscience?  She had known since day one that something was wrong . . . terribly wrong.  Aldric had been too good to be true.  Yet, like a fool, she kept coming back for more.  She had believed his lies, his seductive coos, and promises of love.  One icy touch had sent all sense of reason into permanent hibernation.  His pale, penetrating eyes had hypnotized, immobilized, and now she was trapped in a nightmare from which she would never awake.

Claire’s eyes drifted shut when another heinous wail lanced the silence.  Her blood turned frigid as if glaciers crept through her veins.  She shook, the aftershock rippling through her body in an uneasy tide. Beneath the demanding scream, something else rose.  A whimper echoed in her ears, the soft, pleading noise similar to a frightened animal.  It took Claire a moment to realize the sound emanated from her own throat.  Ashamed at her cowardice, and terrified Aldric would speed her progress along, she crept forward.

The antique doorknob rattled in her grasp.  She hated the old, rundown house almost as much as she hated its occupants.  The brass chilled her palm, sending another frigid stab of fear straight through her heart.  Her nightgown clung to her flesh, saturated with a mixture of milk and stinking sweat as Philomena’s shrieks grew more savage, and with the last bit of latent courage that remained, Claire pushed the door open.

An arctic blast assailed her, driving the breath from her body in frosty plumes.  Low bursts of fog rose above the crib in the center of the room, growing with each lofty scream.  Claire stared in horror through the thin, wooden rails, watching Philomena’s pale fists pump in the air.  Her heart seized in her chest as that monstrous head turned at the intrusion and the baby fixated her with an accusing glare.  Silvery blue eyes, so light they were almost clear, shone with anger and hatred.

It took every ounce of strength she had not to turn tail and run.

Claire edged forward, one hand held out in uncertainty, as if she could somehow placate the beast.  Her heart jack hammered against her chest and cinched with pain.  Tears stung her eyes, but she was certain they looked nothing like the watery graves her daughter boasted.  A muffled sob vibrated in the hollow of her throat, and Claire fought the familiar mixture of dread and horror that consumed her whenever she dared too close to the room.  She ached to offer a reassuring coo, to pick the child up and nurse her with all the love and care of a normal mother, but she couldn’t.  She hated the caterwauling beast confined in its crib.  The mere thought of touching it made Claire’s skin crawl as if infected by maggots.

Fighting a wave of rising gorge, she pressed forward.  Philomena stared up at her, her colorless eyes brimming with resentment.  Gaunt, pinched features twisted with fury as she screamed.  Claire’s hands twitched at her sides.  The urge to suffocate the monster surged through her veins.  Somehow, she had to rid the world of the miscreation sprawled before her, undo the damage she had done.  There had to be a way . . .

Those eyes, those soulless eyes, bore into her with fevered intensity.  She felt a disturbing sense of calm settle into her core, and Claire knew, as she lifted the creature to her bosom, that Philomena had worked her demon’s spell once again.  It was no more than a glimmer of a thought, and as soon as the notion came, it passed.  She shuffled toward the old rocking chair in the corner, no longer mindful of the room’s unsettling chill or the revulsion wrenching her soul.  All that mattered was feeding the precious bundle in her arms.

Loud suckling noises filled the air.  Tiny lips quested against Claire’s exposed flesh, smacking with zeal until they found what they sought.  She let her eyes drift shut, though her body stiffened with pain.  The baby feasted, and she remained motionless, staring at the wall as it attempted to quench its endless hunger.  The pain grew more intense and a low, rumbling growl snapped Claire to full attention.  Cursing, she wrenched Philomena away, her own brow drawing in furious reprimand.

“Ouch!  You hideous little—”

Philomena let loose a scream that slaughtered the words in Claire’s throat.  It was unearthly and raw, a forceful protest wrought with loathing.  She watched in wide-eyed horror as the screams seemed to multiply, growing to a cacophony of voices rising from a single being, none of them human, but all of them emitting from a mouth smeared with blood.

Two rows of tiny, razor-sharp teeth jutted in ragged intervals from the baby’s gums, none of them wider than a sewing needle.  Claire blinked in disbelief—once, twice, but the gruesome image still remained.  Philomena flailed, her crimson-smeared mouth opening wider with each furious scream.  Without thinking, Claire flung the swaddled infant to the floor and sprang to her feet.  Hands splayed in front of her, she staggered away from the abomination; a series of high-pitched mewls squeaked past her throat as she inched toward the door.  She could feel the insidious mixture of blood and milk trickling down her skin.  Each sinister kiss against her flesh made Claire shudder.  She had to get out.

Philomena lifted her head, and even from where Claire stood, she could see the thick blue-grey veins throbbing beneath the surface of the bulbous monstrosity.  She could smell the sickly-sweet stench radiating from the creature she was forced to call a daughter.  Her hand fumbled for the doorknob behind her, her fingers scrabbling against coarse wood.  A sharp yelp pushed past her throat, and she pulled back to find a splinter lodged beneath her nail.

The aberration on the floor sensed her weakness, however fleeting.  It pushed itself up, its tiny arms quivering beneath the strain.  Claire screamed, but even the shrill, jarring sound could not drown out the voice in her head—the quiet, pleading voice that kept insisting this just wasn’t possible.  The baby, if she could be called such, was only a couple weeks old, yet here she was, pushing herself up on her hands, her body trembling as she attempted to get her knees beneath her.

Nothing in the parenting books Claire had read prepared her for such a thing.

Philomena crept across the floor, her gown trailing behind her and dragging against the wooden planks with a slithering, raspy sound.  She grunted and growled with exertion, but she did not slow.  Silvery eyes locked on her mother and the leathered strips of her mouth stretched back into a feral leer.  Needle-like teeth glinted in the moonlight, teeth still stained with Claire’s blood.

Terror kept her rooted in place.  Claire’s heart performed tricks in her chest.  It hammered then stopped, hammered then stopped, until she grew dizzy beneath the spell.  Loud roaring droned in her ears, like the roar of the ocean fading in and out in nauseating surges.

Why had she been so weak?  Why had she let loneliness get the best of her?  Why had she played with that damn Ouija board?  Was this her punishment?  The house had been so empty before, so quiet and still.  Now–now she would give anything for that peace once again.

Frigid fingers bit into her ankle, snapping Claire from her thoughts with a scream.  Without thinking, she booted the creature away.  She felt a hint of satisfaction as she watched it fly through the air before landing across the room with a loud thud.  Her sense of accomplishment died as soon as the first pitiful wail pierced her ears.  Filled with pain and mourning, it broke Claire’s heart.  It was as if all of the heartbreak and suffering in the world poured forth from her daughter’s lips.

Her hands twisted with panic.  Sweat beaded against her flesh, amplifying the chill in the room.  Fear-laden icicles draped around her heart.

“Claire?”

She didn’t have to turn to see the displeasure etched into Aldrics’s features.  It weighed in his voice, sending ripples of unease darting down her spine.  Fear constricted her heart to a screeching halt.

“What have you done?”

Answers eluded her.  She remained rooted in place as he brushed past her and strode across the room to his beloved daughter.  The cries had since quieted to mere whimpers, and even those died as Aldric cradled Philomena in his arms.  Her hands and legs dangled limply, performing a lifeless dance as he clutched her against his chest.

Claire held her breath until her lungs ached.  Agonizing moments ticked by as she waited to see what would happen next.  She didn’t dare breathe as the deep reverberation of Aldric’s voice filled the room.  It vibrated off the walls and as she listened, a strange energy tingled around her.  The hairs on her arms lifted in response.  Even the fine down covering the back of her neck stood on end as Aldric whispered and murmured in foreign tongues, his body bowed over his daughter in a protective arch.

There was a time when his secret language had stirred excitement and arousal; when those strange words and sounds had been exotic and exciting.  Now they sounded sinister.  The illusions surrounding her life fell away bit by bit, each sloughing off like rotted layers of skin to reveal the ugly, raw seepage beneath.  What remained was a glimmer of something so unspeakable it induced madness.

The atmosphere grew heavy, weighted down, and charged with static–like the calm before a storm.  Aldric glanced over his shoulder, his pale green eyes full of accusation.  Claire withered beneath the hatred, her knees trembling as she struggled to draw air into her aching lungs.

“How does it feel to die, Claire, to feel your life slip helplessly through your hands while others look on with disinterest?”

She clutched at her throat, her fingers clawing in desperation against the invisible chokehold.  As she did, she watched the heinous bundle in Aldric’s arms begin to stir.  The long, gangly fingers twitched and curled and Philomena’s chest heaved in a lofty cry.

Claire hit the floor, hands and knees splayed against the rough wooden planks as darkness closed in.  She wanted to clasp her hands over her ears to drown out the shrill, monstrous noise.  Never in her life had she heard anything like it.  It was as if every legion in hell had been unleashed and now resided in the single, solitary scream emitting from her daughter.

Philomena.

As much as she hated that hideous beast, Claire never imagined that would be the last thought, the last thing to flitter through her mind.  But as her body jerked on the floor, ensnared in death’s final throes, Philomena’s name echoed with haunting clarity inside her head.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

A lone cry pierced the night, pulling Claire from the pleasant shroud of her dreams.  She stirred against her pillow, resisting the urge to sink deeper into the comforter and give in to the sweet promise of slumber.  Her eyes drifted open and she listened, for a moment, to the rhythmic breathing of her lover as he slept beside her.  Another wail lanced the silence and Aldric rolled over, a mumbling protest falling from his lips.

She stared at him, admiring the beauty of his features and the smooth scape of his skin beneath the kiss of the moon.  Bathed in an alabaster glow, he was almost too beautiful to resist.  Not wanting Philomena to disturb him, Claire slid from bed, grabbed her robe from the rocking chair, and padded out of the room on quiet feet.

Hungry, demanding screams grew in intensity and pitch.  Her heart sunk in response.  Philomena was waiting and obviously not pleased at the inconvenience.  Claire made her way down the corridor leading to the baby’s room, the smell of death and decay heavy in her nostrils.  She wrinkled her nose, trying to locate the source as she made her way down the hall.

Nudging the door open, she stood for a moment and observed the crib situated in the middle of the room.  A low, dense fog hung above the wooden rails, growing larger with each fervent cry.  Taking a deep breath, she braced herself and pushed forward.

There, inside the crib, lay a swaddled bundle with ashen skin.  One side of the baby’s face had fallen away and a dark, empty hollow sat where an eye had once been.  The other stared up, a single watery grave, as Philomena regarded her mother with hatred.

Claire felt an overwhelming surge of guilt wash over her as she plucked her daughter into her arms.  She cradled Philomena against her breast and issued a mumbled apology.  She had been a bad mother as of late, a very bad mother.  Tears welled in her eyes, each one stinging like fire.  What had she done to her beautiful, beautiful baby girl?

She pressed her lips against the straggly patch of coarse hair covering Philomena’s scalp.  Rotting flesh clung to her mouth as she pulled away to offer a nipple and settle in the chair.  She had been so tired lately; even the slightest movements left her feeling drained and exerted.  Gentle moonlight fell through the lone window centered in the room.  It fell across her skin, revealing mottled blots and leathery patches.  She swore it grew worse as the baby fed, yet Philomena, her precious, beautiful child grew more radiant with each ardent suckle.  Two watery blue eyes now stared up at her, unblinking in the darkness.

“That’s right, baby.  Eat,” Claire urged, her voice coming in a grated whisper.  A single tooth fell from her mouth and skittered across the floor.  “Everything is going to be okay now.  Momma’s here.”

© Adriana Noir – 2010

The End Has Come

Okay, perhaps I told a slight lie. It’s nothing quite so melodramatic. I’m sorry to disappoint some of you and say the zombies have not risen from their graves—not yet—but there is still news to be told:

 In case some of you missed the apocalyptic blare of trumpets (aka: me tooting my horn) on Facebook and Twitter, after years of blood, sweat, and toil Requiem has finally been released!

 Yes, the subject matter of my Pen of the Damned post, ‘I am Seir’ has finally been unleashed upon the unsuspecting world.

 The book has a lot of different aspects and elements to it, providing a little something for everyone. While the setting and subject matter are dark, the sarcastic humor of the main character tends to lighten the mood. There’s plenty of horror and some not so nice occurrences whenever the demons and Fallen are around, but angels such as the Arch Gabriel provide light, levity, and a chance for a “feel good” moment or two.

But that’s just my take. This book was a lot of fun to write and hopefully it’s a lot of fun to read. If you happen to snag a copy, I would love to hear what you think.

 Below is a brief excerpt not included in the look inside feature on Amazon. For those of you interested in buying the Kindle version of Requiem, you’ll find the first chapter of the upcoming sequel, Blood of the Damned at the end. What can I say? I’m a giver. 🙂

 

Shadows looped above the city. Their massive forms swept through the sky, wraith-like hawks circling for prey. Perched on the roof of an abandoned Borders bookstore I watched their undulating flight, a heavy feeling gathering in my chest.

“Why?” Zeruch asked. He kept his back turned, his shoulders hunched against the bitter wind. “Why do you do this? How can you continue to stand there and do nothing?”

The anguish in his voice struck with the force of a physical blow.

Angry and ashamed, I drew a deep breath. “I did not call you here to assess my performance.”

“For me to do that, you would have had to have done something, Seir.”

For a moment, I pondered tackling him over the side of the building and taking my chances. “If you’re done expressing your undying love and admiration for me, there are more important matters I would like to discuss.”

He spun on his heel. The look in his blue eyes a mere breath away from hatred. Yet there was something wounded and vulnerable lurking beneath that fierce façade.

“What could you possibly want from me?”

Forgiveness.

The word danced on my tongue like a child’s desperate plea. Choking it down, I turned my face away and stared across the city. “There is an old woman living above the internet café on Broad.” I paused, feeling a niggling of shame, though for what, I wasn’t sure. “I would very much appreciate it if you made sure she was looked after and fed.”

An incredulous look twisted across his face. “So this is what it has come to between us, you calling upon me to set me up for a slaughter?”

I sprung to my feet, clearing the distance between us with unprecedented speed. Glowering, I stepped nose-to-nose with my former brother. “Why would I do that and deprive myself the pleasure? This is not about us. It’s about you doing your job.”

“Why the sudden change of heart?”

“I . . . owe her.”

Zeruch’s eyes narrowed. Shaking his head, he turned away. The wind whipped his thin cloak about his body. Broad shoulders silhouetted against the dark outline of the city, he appeared every bit as majestic as I remembered.

“Try as I might, I fail to make sense of you.” He hung his head. “I will do as you ask. Not for you, but for her. She does not deserve to suffer because of your actions. Perhaps one day you will realize the harm you do.”

“I had nothing to do with what happened tonight!”

He whirled around, his eyes flashing with anger. “And as usual, Seir, you did nothing to stop it!”

I sank onto the ledge of the building. “What would you have me do? I am one among many. If I had moved to stop them, they would’ve killed me.”

“At least you would have tried. Goodbye, Seir.”

I waved him off, refusing to watch his departure. The anger and resentment simmering below the surface threatened to reach boiling point. He was too blinded by his own struggles to comprehend mine, and despite the battle lines carved between us, I couldn’t bring myself to burden him with the truth.

I felt him go, as if he managed to take a piece of me with him every time he left. Alone, I tilted my face toward the sky and watched the darkness roil overhead. The shadows swooped, spreading in black tendrils like branches of ivy. The war over mankind’s fate was about to begin, and I was still unsure of where I stood. With redemption out of reach and Ava’s heart hardened, there was nothing to lose and nothing to gain. Like the endless millennia leading up to this moment, survival remained the only thing within my grasp, and even that grew tiring.

I watched the city below, listening in on the trivial thoughts of its human occupants. A mother condemned her son for eating a small morsel of bread when her own stomach cramped with hunger. A young man pondered murdering his elderly neighbor, so that he might have his shoes and bed. Everywhere I turned there was more cruelty, hatred, and revenge.

They were so self-centered, so heartless in their thoughts and actions, that it made my stomach churn.

“Idiots,” I muttered through clenched teeth.

They weren’t worth the trouble or the bloodshed on either side.

What did it matter anyway? If left to their own devices, the humans would all destroy each other over greed, scraps, and pride.

“This is not all their doing, you know.”

The familiar voice set me on edge. Leaping to my feet, I confronted Gabriel with no small measure of surprise. Compassion flooded his features and he held his hands up in placation. Seeing some of the tension flood my body, he turned an observant gaze over the city.

“They do not know any better,” he said softly. His eyes were dark with sorrow. Rain dripped from the ends of his light brown hair.

“Bullshit.”

His lips curled into a sad smile. “Michael often says the same, a small point of contention between us. Lucky for them, it is not our place to judge.”

“What’s your point, Gabe?”

“You are quick to anger with me, yet I have done you no harm.”

“And?”

He shrugged. “You betrayed your oath and turned your back on the order we swore to uphold. I could harm you. Given your choices and station here, I probably should, but I choose not to.”

“Again, what is your point?”

“Choices, Seir, free will. Do not be so quick to leap to conclusions and give up. There is still some good out there, just as there is still some good yet in you. If I were as quick to rise to anger and resentment, you would be dead.”

“Why waste your time on them? Your brothers are falling left and right, and for what? Nothing has changed. Nothing will change. This place is too far gone.”

“Nothing is ever beyond hope,” Gabriel said. “I love them, Seir, and real love never dies, nor does it lose faith in the face of trouble. It fights and perseveres over all. There is no better cause.”

“They do not deserve your love.”

His head tilted and anguish swept across his face. “How can you say such?”

Look at them!

He gave a tired sigh. “I have, just as I have searched your heart for ways of understanding.”

“Don’t drag me into this.”

His eyes met mine and he bore a pointed smile. “There is no need to, Seir. You have done so quite well enough on your own.”

“Why don’t you leave the humor to Raphael? He always was much better at it.”

Gabriel chuckled. A cross scowl tightened my face.

“Fair enough, I will give you that much. You must admit, I make a good point though.”

“Perhaps I could if I wasn’t so busy trying to figure out what the hell it was.”

His eyes danced with amusement. “Did you hit your head in the fall? It is not that hard to comprehend. Tell me, why did you decide to take the plunge? What made it worth it in your eyes? The love you felt for a certain few, am I right?”

Cheeks flushing at the reminder, my jaw clenched, and I offered a curt nod.

Gabriel’s broad shoulders lifted in a solemn shrug. “Our reasons for being here are not so different. Zeruch is angry with you, yet you choose to spare him the pain the truth behind your decisions would bring. The world is angry, hurt. Many of them have turned their backs on us in their suffering, yes, but that does not change our hearts. We wish to spare them, just as you wish to spare your brothers.”

“Brothers?”

“Ponder my words if you must, but don’t give up, Seir. There is too much at stake here for you to make this about yourself.” He lowered his head in a gracious nod. “I will see you again soon. I hope the circumstances remain as cordial.”

Biting back a scathing reply, I watched him dismount the building with a graceful bound. I stared after him, watching as he disappeared into the shadows. As much as I wanted to, I couldn’t fathom the Arch’s devotion where humans were concerned. They did nothing to deserve it.

 

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http://www.amazon.com/Requiem-Book-Fallen-ebook/dp/B009QE6CTE/ref=tmm_kin_title_0

So there you have it. A special look and the official blog announcement. On a much more important note, I hope you all have a fabulous and safe weekend. Enjoy your time off to the fullest. Monday will roll around again much too soon!

~Best wishes and happy haunting!~

Adri

Monolaith

Make them pay. Make them all pay.

The raspy voice carried through the attic, drowning out all other sound. Holly Denton shook her head and covered her ears. Her face contorted into a pained grimace as the whisper echoed around her. Huddled on the dull floorboards, knees drawn to her chin, she rocked among the cobwebs and cardboard boxes. Dust particles swirled in the confined space, dancing through a narrow moonlit beam. They made her nose itch and clung to her damp face.

Fresh tears cleared a path down her grime-covered cheeks when the first screams pierced the silence. Holly jumped at the sound, her shoulders hunching in a defensive cringe. Her teeth sank deep into her lower lip to keep from crying out. If she did, they would find her, and like always, they would blame her for things she didn’t do.

The staff always treated her as if she were a leper, and the children weren’t much better. She always got blamed when something went wrong, or someone got hurt, even when it wasn’t her fault. Sometimes it was, though. Like when Sally Peters fell out of the tree and broke her arm. Holly hadn’t pushed her, but she had wanted her to fall, and deep down, she supposed that was the same thing.

The attic grew hotter, the air stifling. Small beads of sweat formed along the child’s brow. She crouched in the corner and rocked faster. Acrid smoke rose through the floorboards and an ominous amber light flickered below. Terrified, she let the first sob burst free.

Keening wails pierced the night, the noise sharp and unending. She could hear the sound of feet pounding against linoleum, the noise roiling like rolling thunder through the orphanage. Holly’s own fear mounted to unsurpassed heights as she clamped her hands against her ears in a futile effort to make it stop. It didn’t stop though, and the attic gave birth to worse terrors.

The rough, wooden planks grew hot beneath her bare feet, making her toes curl. Pain made her eyes flare. It was then that she noticed the shadowy figure perched on the cedar chest. Her eyes burned, watering from the thick plumes surrounding her. Certain her mind was playing tricks, Holly blinked. Once, twice … but the figure remained.

Dim, yellowed eyes peered back at her through the tainted haze. The creature, no bigger than a six-year old child, sat poised in a gargoyle stance. Sallow grey skin, as thin as parchment, stretched taut over gaunt limbs. It remained motionless, watching and waiting, its serpentine gaze filled with predatory cunning.

Holly screamed, her lungs filling with the noxious cloud crowding the attic. Hitting her hands and knees, the child coughed and wretched in a violent fit. Back bowed, she managed to suck in a few ragged gulps of toxic air. It made her head spin and the dismal gray haze grew thicker.

A quiet rustle carried over the sound of her heart hammering in her ears. Turning her head, she watched in horror as the creature unfurled its wings with a stretch. A delicate spider web of veins ran through the thin flaps of skin, illuminated by the eerie light oozing through the floor. Riveted with unspeakable fear, Holly’s gaze traced the outline of each wiry bone, much thinner and smaller than her own. An animalistic whimper tore from her throat. In a desperate bid for comfort, her fingers sought the familiar circle of the pendant dangling from her neck.

Her grandmother had given her the jewel on her seventh birthday, along with a warning that made Holly’s inside quiver like jell-o. “This will protect you against the Monolaith, child. Wear it and keep it safe. He watches you and waits for the day he can make you his.”

Mother! I will not have you filling my daughter’s head with such filth!”

“It’s not filth, Doreen; it’s true! This thing has haunted our family for generations. You know it and I know it.” Her grandmother’s voice dropped to a low whisper, one not meant for Holly’s straining ears. “It wants your daughter, Doreen. She’s the chosen one, the one born beneath the ninth moon.”

Holly shook herself free of the memories and took a step back.

The beast settled back on its haunches, its wings flattening against its emaciated body. Thin lips pulled back in a chilling spectacle of a smile to reveal unending rows of jagged teeth. Holly reared back and pressed deeper into the corner. Strangled noises worked their way from her throat, a mixture of pain and helplessness as the planks underfoot grew hotter.

Only I can save you now, child.

Startled, Holly searched for the source of the voice. It sounded from everywhere and nowhere all at once. The figure regarded her with a knowing gaze, its eyes unblinking. It dismounted from its perch, its feet hitting the floor with a soft thud.

Her grip on the necklace tightened.

It is like before, yes?

Dim recollection settled over her, diluted memories of past nightmares . . . of the shadowy form soaring alongside the car the night her parents died. She remembered watching it with an odd mixture of wonderment and fear, her head craning at a painful angle when it eventually looped out of view. Mere seconds after it had disappeared from her sight, the tires screeched, her parents screamed and, as the car rolled, her world shattered.

For the first time in months, she recalled the grated whispers that had sounded against her ear as something pulled her from the gnarled metal prison of the car. Broken glass and blood surrounded her like macabre jewels, fractured reflections of diamonds and rubies. The pain was unbearable and her terror immense as she lay there, screaming in anguish for her mother or her father. They lay immobile, not breathing, not speaking, blind to her suffering as Holly plead for help.

That was when the cool, leathery fingers curled around her arms. Something whispered against her ear, its breath reeking of damp earth and mildew: Embrace me, Holly. Accept me and I will save you, for I am yours, and you are mine.

Scared, wounded, and alone, she had.

Unable to draw any oxygen from the oppressive air, Holly’s head started to spin. Sirens sounded in the distance, a faint chorus above the screams and sobs echoing from every direction. The orphanage shuddered; the attic pitched and swayed. Everything started to fade into an enveloping black haze.

I am your fate. I am your destiny. Come, embrace me. No time remains.

Common sense warred with the instinct for survival. A long moment passed before Holly managed a weak but acquiescent nod. Her blonde head bowed in an attempt to avoid making further eye contact with the creature. She heard the rustling though as it neared, a sound like burnt paper being crumpled into the wind. She smelled the sickening sweet stench of her own roasting flesh mingle with its fetid breath. Pain and fear enveloped her … and then, Holly felt no more.

~ † † † ~ † † † ~ 

Blinding white lights and a symphony of beeping machines greeted Holly upon waking. She squinted against the invasive glare, her face wrinkling from the harsh antiseptic odor permeating the room. Long, clear tubes dangled from a metal stand. They wormed needles under her skin and crept up her nose to release a cool stream of air. Soothed by her ability to breathe and the lack of pain, she let her cheek settle against the crisp pillow and closed her eyes. Once again, the creature had kept its word.

She stirred sometime the next day, disturbed by the zipping sound of opening blinds. Dazed, Holly propped herself up on one elbow and shielded her eyes from the sun with the other.

“Good morning, sunshine. I’m glad to see you are awake. There for a moment, I almost lost you.”

The soothing voice washed over her, striking chords of familiarity she could not place. Smiling, Holly greeted the handsome man with raven curls. She stared unabashed into his pale green eyes, mesmerized by their hypnotic pull. He broke the spell with a disarming smile and crossed the room in long strides.

“Who are you?”

“No one of importance, Holly. At least not yet.”

Confused, she dropped back against the pillow. “How do you know my name?”

She closed her eyes, her head pressing into his touch as he ruffled her hair. The orphanage, the fire, it all felt like a bad dream. She had some recollection of huddling near the lower stairwell, hazy beams sweeping through the darkness, shouting, and the feeling of strong arms carrying her to safety.

Holly’s cobalt gaze studied the stranger, searching for any features that might trigger her memory. “Are you the one who saved me from the fire?”

“All in good time, sweet child.” He lifted her hand in his and his fingers pressed something cold against her open palm. “I believe you lost this.”

She stared at the pendant, a flood of gratitude surging through her. Her fingertips traced a reverent path over the knots surrounding the polished circle of agate. The precious heirloom was the only thing besides blurred memories that Holly had left of her parents and family. Tears welled in her eyes and she clutched the necklace tight in her fist.

“Thank you, sir.”

“You’re quite welcome, my dear. Now, you need to get some rest.” He seemed to sense her sorrow, for his lips pulled into an empathetic smile. “Don’t worry, angel. We’ll see each other again.”

Holly’s golden brow furrowed. “How can you be sure?”

His hands spread in an opening gesture. Eyes as hard and cool as granite remained riveted to the necklace in her hands. “Fate. I’m a strong believer in destiny, Holly. When the time is right, we shall meet again.”

He turned and headed for the door. Not wanting to be alone, she couldn’t resist one more question. “How will I know how to find you if I don’t even know your name?”

The man paused. “You know all you need to know, Holly. My name is not important.”

His voice became a raspy whisper. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled and stood on end as his head craned with slow deliberation. He smiled at her, revealing rows of jagged teeth.

“I am the Monolaith. I am the eternal nightmare from which you cannot awake. We are together as one. I am your fate. I am your destiny.”

The chilling mantra crashed into her, jarring her from the false security of her world. Somewhere in the distance, emergency alarms sounded. There in the room, Holly heard the faint rustle associated with death and destruction. The Monolaith had come again, determined to claim his captive bride. He would never stop, and as her grandmother warned, she would never be free. Fear cinched Holly’s heart into a knot. The Monolaith pressed closer. Its cracked lips stretched into a feral grin. She smelled the creature’s putrid stench, felt its searing breath roll across her skin . . . and screamed.

WC~ 1868
                                      © Copyright 2010 Adriana Noir

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing

I have been tagged in The Next Big Thing by Jack Wallen. You know, the Zombie King? Writer of both humor (read his Tweets) and horror (read his books!) In this game of “Tag, You’re it” my current Work in Progress gets to be tagged and then I have to tag 5 other writers’ WIPs. Look for the five writers I have tagged at the bottom of this post – their “Next Big Thing” posts, should they choose to accept this mission, will be posted between the 24th and the 30th of September.

1. What is the working title of your book?

Requiem: Book of the Fallen

  2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

It all ties into that quote by Toni Morrison: “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”

When I started writing Requiem, the market was flooded with vampires. (Especially those of the sparkling variety.) I love the idea of immortal creatures, but wanted to do something totally different. Angels and demons have always been a fascination of mine, and the bookstores hadn’t yet been inundated with either. And if they had, they were strictly those of the bare-chested beefcake sort that you find in the Romance sections, or the books fell under YA.

I had a different take, a different vision for these creatures in mind. You seldom see them portrayed as anything really sinister or destructive. I wanted to highlight the good and the bad, but in a way that had never been done before. Requiem is not a romance. It’s about the progressive march toward the end of the world. It’s a dark, seething tale about the eternal battle between good and evil and the part us humans play.

  3. What genre does your book fall under?

It’s a mash up of dark urban fantasy, horror, and post-apocalyptic reading. For adults!

  4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Oh, Jeez. I really fought doing this part, and it took me forever to scour the web for anyone even remotely close, but here you go:  The main character, Seir: Alexander Skarsgård.

I just haven’t seen anyone else that jumps out at me and says “I am Seir” like he has. He’s got this savage intensity and the ability to look at someone as if he is not only capable, but very much wanting to devour their soul. Plus he’s great at delivering cruel lines and sarcasm and that is a must have trait for this Fallen.

Ava: Sophia Bush.

Ava has that girl-next-door quality and a quiet vulnerability, but she’s also full of strength and fire.

Gabriel: Chris Hemsworth

This character is full of compassion, confidence, authority, and inner fortitude. But when he gets mad…watch out. Hemsworth has the perfect accent and voice for this noble Arch.

Zeruch: Kellan Lutz or Taylor Kinney.

Zeruch is the angel of strength. He’s not afraid of confrontation. (In fact, he seems to enjoy it where Seir is concerned.) I picture a physically strong fighter. And though he’s beautiful, he’s not as mature or experienced as Gabriel. There are big plans for this character in the sequel.

Samael: JulianMcMahon

would be excellent. Something about him always makes me nervous.

Valdric:  Logan Lerman.

Don’t let those youthful and innocent looks fool you. This ancient being has bent the ears of Kings with a mere whisper and danced through the streets of a fallen Rome as she burned.

Naamah: Christina Hendricks.

She’s curvy, redheaded, and drips sex appeal. Who better to play this conniving succubus?

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Mankind has failed; the battle for our soul has begun.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Requiem will be released in October through a small press.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

8 months total write time—but I took a 10 month hiatus in the middle of scribbling to move and complete other projects. Plus there was time off for research. Lots and lots of research went into this book. Then endless bouts of polishing, editing, and revising followed!

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven’t really come across anything similar yet. Then again, I’ve been avoiding reading anything along these lines while writing it. Requiem is…dark. There’s no getting around that. There’s some pretty horrifying stuff in it, too. If there is anything along a similar vein in fiction, I would love to read it!

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

To say my muse sounds so cliché, but it’s true. I’ve always been fascinated with the concept of angels, both good and fallen, and the “Walkers” said to roam among us. As for my inspiration, I definitely have a devil whispering in one ear and an angel in the other. The book originally started out from Zeruch’s POV. I woke up one day, and Seir just took over. He demanded his voice be heard and he’s been here to stay ever since. Ohh, lucky me! *laughs*

I don’t know that anything other than my warped mind and characters prompted me to write this. But during the creative process, I listened to a lot of dark instrumentals from independent artists like Adrian Von Zeigler and Brunuhville. Listening to them helped me envision scenes, set the tone, and keep moving. I also burned lots of Vampire Blood. Lots and lots of Vampire Blood.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Despite the angels and demons, it really doesn’t tap into religion. It’s not specific to any one faith or belief, and I did this on purpose. I wanted Req to be a book that everyone could read and hopefully enjoy.

  • With the exception of Valdric and Ava, all of the other characters are based on specific entities and listed traits. In fact, Seir or Seere, is the only demon or Fallen stated to have a ‘good nature’ with an indifferent attitude toward evil. Ahh, you see potential conflict already, don’t you darlings?
  • While there is plenty to be scared of (the least of which is being attacked by unseen forces) Req has a few redeeming qualities as well. There’s an underlying theme of friendship and the power it gives to keep pushing through. It might even have a romantic moment or two.
  • I’ve been told Seir is quite humorous. He’s a bit sarcastic and not too fond of our species.
  • This may be a drawback for some, but this will be the first in at least a three part book series. These are characters you can sit back and grow attached to in either your fondness or your loathing. (If something doesn’t kill them off first, that is.)
  • Requiem is something different. It definitely has its own flavor and a unique cast. Spoiler: unlike every other movie with angels out there IE: Legion and the Prophecy series, Gabriel is not a bad guy! (I love my Gabe *smiles*)

Now for the tags! Get ready, MaraMcBain, Thomas James Brown, Hunter Shea, J. Marie Ravenshaw, and James Garcia, Jr! You’re next!

A Kiss Before Dying: Sunshine Blog Award

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Sunshine and I typically don’t mix. After all, I am Damned, and despite the fashion trends, I remain quite fond of my pale skin. There’s something to be said about a creature with a healthy undead glow, and I’m partial to not having to worry about getting wrinkles, leathery flesh, sun spots…or those nasty little blisters that crop up whenever I’ve been exposed too long. (Damn do they itch!)

Yet, despite it all, here I am, the unwitting recipient of The Sunshine Award. Thank you, Lisa McCourt Hollar. (I am required to say that, because my mother raised me to be gracious and always appear appreciative of such things.) I would say it must be my personality that earned me such glorious prestige, but I wouldn’t want anyone to choke on their morning cup of coffee and get hurt. Then again, maybe I do…

According to the rules set forth by my conjurer, I must now divulge ten secrets with you, my precious audience. I do so hope you will enjoy the experience as I prostrate myself in supplication and bare the innermost workings of my soul—dark and demented though it be.

  1. When I get really excited, or think something is too cute . . . I shake. This progresses into my fingers hooking like claws. Eventually, I seize the nearest person or object in sight and squeeze with all my might. It can’t be helped and tends to be a bit painful for all involved. However, it is something I have done since I was a child and probably will never outgrow! Warning: Panda bears can be lethal.
  2. I avoid the news at all costs. It’s not because I don’t care about what is going on in the world, but because I absorb human emotions like a sponge. My empathy levels are off the charts. This is not something I am proud of, as it often results in me crying often and easily for people I don’t even know.
  3. Spiders terrify me to the point of giving me panic attacks, and I’m allergic to June Bugs. That said, I adore bats and bumblebees. I even got a bat house this year for my birthday.
  4. I’m ritualistic when it comes to writing. I have certain songs and soundtracks that I have to listen to in order to get into the flow. My surroundings have to be clean and organized, and candles and Vampire’s Blood incense are preferred.
  5. I’ve been accused of having OCD by those closest to me. I say see above.
  6. I come from a very creative gene pool. My beloved mama is a published and award winning poet. She also dabbles in writing and art. I also have a cousin who is an accomplished artist, a few in the music fields, and an aunt who is a prolific poet and writer. Family gatherings are always fun!
  7. I am fascinated by the concept of angels (both good and fallen) and the walkers said to roam among us. Being born on a Monday, my patron angel is the Arch Gabriel. I guess this explains my lifelong love of the moon!
  8. I’m convinced muses are more than just the subconscious whisperings of our minds. Too many strange things have happened. Mine also never shut up. Seir likes to offer a running commentary on everything from people in the grocery stores, to whatever happens to be on TV. You try not laughing out loud in public….
  9. I’m painfully shy and self-conscious. I also worry way too much—or so I am told.
  10. Last but not least, things are not always what they seem. My eyes are sensitive to light. My mother claims this is due to my “vampire blood.” She may be right. When I was young, my parents had to have my teeth filed. Top and bottom—I had fangs. As a young girl, I once bit my uncle’s leg hard enough to draw blood.  My family frequently tells the story of how I smiled up at him soo sweetly and innocently right before I sank my teeth in. *sheepish grin* Some things never change….

So there you have it, my beloveds. Ten of my sacred secrets and thoughts. I do hope you found something in there of interest. If not, that truly is a pity, because as the saying goes… I can tell you, but then…..well, you know the rest. 😉

Rather than pass this along directly to ten other unsuspecting souls, I invite you all to open up and give it a try. Show me what you’ve got. Revealing the truth is not always as simple as it seems.

 ~Best wishes and happy haunting!~

             Adriana

An Evil Necessity…

Tired of hearing how horror is a “hack” genre?  Have you ever felt discouraged by the opinions people have of horror as a whole?  Need an added boost of encouragement?  Read on.

Horror is so much more than just blood and gore.  Since its inception, horror has had a reputation of being a “hack genre.”  To be honest, I’m not sure if that’s in reference to the violence or blood that splatters many pages in these type of stories, or some undermining barb that implies horror writers write this kind of stuff because they couldn’t “hack it” anywhere else.  Either way, it’s simply not the case.

Authors in this genre follow a calling.  Some of the most talented and renowned writers of all time have penned tales of darkness and terror.  Who doesn’t know the names of Lovecraft, Poe, King or Barker?  What about Koontz?  Even nay-sayers would recognize these names for what they are: masters of their craft . . . legends.  It’s not lack of skill that drives the pen forward in this genre, but quite the opposite.  We have to work twice as hard.

Effective horror doesn’t just have believable characters that strike a chord with readers.  It engrosses them.  It’s more than plot. For real horror, good horror, has a living breathing atmosphere that draws the audience in deeper with every word.  Horror takes the completely unfathomable–things we don’t want to imagine happening and makes it seem so real, so believable, that the audience clutches the covers and refuses to turn off the light at night.  It lingers and lives on. It refuses to die, even long after the story has ended.

We are not the bottom of the writing gene pool.  We do not lack in either talent or imagination, but rather have an abundance of it.  It takes a special gift to be able to reach beyond the shock value of blood and gore and truly rattle your reader to the core.  Hard work and insight are the only things that enable a writer to take an idea so farfetched it would be laughable under normal circumstances and make it a horrific reality, even if only for a moment.

People often ask me what’s wrong with me.  They wonder where these twisted ideas come from.  They hint at the kind of person I must be . . . after all, how else could a person write such dark and tragic things?  These are the times when I smile—it’s a crooked and often depraved grin, and sometimes, I feel a twinge of pity.  They don’t get it, and they never will.

Horror writers are not cursed, nor do we dwell in a terrible place from which there is no redemption.  We walk a beautiful line in life, able to see both sides of the coin in full scope.  We offer the balance.  For without our darkness and shadows, there would be no light.  Without adversity, pain, and fear, one never really understands the true meaning of peace and happiness.  We are the yin to their yang.

Horror writers are needed, and the amount of work and talent it takes to carve a niche for ourselves in this world is something some people may never understand.  We don’t view life through rose-colored glasses.  We view it through a kaleidoscope, often one dripping with crimson. And I dare say our readers tend to be some of the most intelligent and humorous folks you will find.

Hacks?  No.  We’re a brilliant and gifted bunch of people . . . an evil necessity.
Now hold those heads high and create!

~Best wishes and happy haunting!~