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Lupo's World ~ A Blog

“My Top Five Werewolf Movies!” by Glenn Rolfe

Werewolves are beasts! They are usually not very pretty, not very nice, and the less CGI the better! When I was asked to come up with a guest post for Bill (W.D.) Gagliani, I knew just what I wanted to do: My Top Five Favorite Werewolf Movies….

I left off some that people love, but that’s because this is MY list. I probably wasn’t impressed or overjoyed by some of your favorites. That’s just how it goes. So, without blabbering too much, here’s my top five!

1. The Howling — This gets the top spot. No questions asked. It’s vicious, it’s sexy (not in a glimmering teen girl/boy way), and it features the BEST transformation scene in werewolf movie history.

2. Silver Bullet — Based on my favorite written work (Stephen King's Cycle of the Werewolf), Silver Bullet was my first cinematic taste of werewolves and is still #2 for me. Corey Haim and Gary Busey are GREAT in this one. Haim’s ramrodding in his suped-up wheelchair? Sweet!

3. An American Werewolf in London — The next best werewolf transformation ever. From the opening scene of the two Americans waking through the foggy moors to the damn terrifying visions that take over, to the eventual full transformation and attacks in the city. Fantastic.

4. The Wolfman (2010) — Even though Benicio Del Toro is playing an Englishman, this one looks fantastic, has an excellent screenplay, and his wonderfully acted. It kept the vibe of one of those spooky old Universal films but with all the modern touches. That’s a feat in itself. Anthony Hopkins and Emily Blunt are great in this one. “I’ll kill you all!!!”

5. Wolf — Jack Nicholson, James Spader, and Michelle Pfeiffer are wonderful in this dramatic, vengeful tale. It is a long movie, but the acting and story are so good you can’t help but get caught up. This movie made me HATE James Spader for years (he’s the best asshole on the planet). It came out in 1994, so it is a bit dated, but still so good.

Blood and Rain, Synopsis

The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.

Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man's terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen. Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can't even comprehend? One night can-and will-change everything.

Find Glenn Rolfe at: http://glennrolfe.com/ as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Biography, Glenn Rolfe
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author the novellas, Abram's Bridge, Boom Town, and the forthcoming, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain (October 2015). His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will be released in March, 2016. He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

Praise for Blood and Rain

“A major new talent rises from the Maine woods…Rolfe is the real deal, and Blood and Rain is a classic monster novel, full of blood and teeth and the kind of razor sharp writing that makes the pages sing. Small town horror is back, with a vengeance!” –Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of Sparrow Rock, Diablo: Storm of Light and Day One

"With slashing claws and blood-soaked fur, Blood and Rain will have you howling in terror and delight. A welcome addition to the werewolf mythos, and proof that we're in the presence of a rising star in the genre. Highly recommended!" -Ronald Malfi, author of The Floating Staircase

“Rolfe tells a tale that captures your attention like King without all of the wordiness. He also spills the red stuff like Laymon…” – Into the Macabre

“Blood and Rain is a monumental piece of horror fiction. It represents everything I love about werewolves, creature features, siege films, and everything else in between. It is still early in the year, but this is a clear cut candidate for my favorite book of 2015.” — Horror Underground

“Wow! Easily one of the best werewolf books I’ve ever read.” – Hunter Shea, author of Tortures of the Damned and The Dover Demon

“Some good ‘ol fashion violence and gore…” – Jason Parent, author of Seeing Evil

“Glenn Rolfe takes a swing at the werewolf genre and hits a home run.” – Russell James, author of Q Island and Dreamwalker

“…not just another werewolf story, Rolfe has managed to take the werewolf to a-whole-nother level…” – Horror Novel Reviews

“The best werewolf novel I’ve read since Jeff Strand’s Wolf Hunt.”–Horror After Dark

Excerpt

Stan Springs stared at the curse in the night sky. His curse. He clenched his jaw, and bit back the grunts that demanded release from within his sweat-covered body. His muscles tightened and took turns throwing fits. He could feel his heartbeat’s thunderous barrage at work inside his heaving chest. It was only a matter of minutes before the changes would come.

He ripped his gaze from the clouds, moved away from the window and knelt down next to the bed against the concrete wall. He slipped one shaky hand beneath the mattress and found the small incision he’d made when he first arrived at the institution. He had traded a guard, a heavyset fella by the name of Harold Barnes, his prized Ted Williams rookie card in exchange for a copy of the key. Parting with this gold mine had been necessary. Stan Springs had nothing else of value with which to barter. Harold trusted him enough to make the swap; he told Stan there were crazies here by the dozen, but he could tell that Stan was not one of them.

No, Harold, I’m something far worse.

Key in hand, Stan stepped to the unlocked door and cracked it open. The hallway was clear. He moved down the corridor, as stealthily as during his heydays working on the force in New York. Hearing footfalls ahead and to his left, he fell back and pressed his large frame against the custodial door. Hidden by the entryway’s shadow, he watched Nurse Collins—a tall, thin woman with a dark complexion—pass fifty feet from where he stood, before she disappeared into the nurses’ break room.

Barefoot and dressed in only a Red Sox T-shirt and his sleeping shorts, Stan made a break for the staircase across the hall. His breaths were coming faster now. If he didn’t hurry, he wouldn’t make it outside. He crept down the steps leading to the main hallway.

Through the small window on the stairwell door, he could see Harold Barnes’s haunted jowls illuminated by the laptop screen in front of him. The old man’s eyes were closed, his mouth open. Harold hadn’t even made it an hour into his shift before he was out. Stan knew Harold also ran his own antique shop in the neighboring town of Hallowell. He’d told Stan that working both jobs on the same day, which was sometimes unavoidable, made it difficult for him on the night shift. It was another shared nugget Stan had stored away for nights like this one—the nights the beast in him needed to get out.

Easing the door open, Stan skulked his way along the shadows on the wall, and tiptoed to the main entrance door. Despite the cramps now rampaging through his calves and thighs, he slipped the procured key into the lock, slow and steady. The door clicked open, and he stepped out into the night.

As the cool breeze brushed against the sweat of his brow, the tendons and bones in his face began to shift. The rest of his body followed suit. He dropped to one knee and cried out. His skin, his scalp, his eyes, his muscles were all too tight. He reached behind him and managed to push the door shut.

If you could see me now, Harold.

The private roads out front were deserted. He launched from the building’s stairs and landed on the lawn below, making a beeline for the woods to the left of the large property.

He was twenty feet from the forest when the change hit him like a massive wave, crashing him to the ground. His muscles clenched and squeezed and tore, while the bones of his face continued to crack and grow. His teeth began to fall out in place of the monster’s. Down on all fours, he crawled to the tree cover and vomited. A mix of last night’s cafeteria meat loaf, black coffee, loose teeth, and blood splashed the ferns before him. Stan’s fingers extended as his claws dug into the soft soil of spring’s floor. He moaned and grunted his way through the rest of the fluid process.

In full beast mode, Stan Springs stood and howled at the cloud-covered sky. The creatures of the night became ghosts among the trees. He felt the strength flowing through him and the hunger begging to be sated.

He burst forward, headed north. Despite Stan’s best effort to control the beast’s killing zone, he found himself heading home.

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The Mogwai – More Than Just a Gremlin! and La Llorona – The Weeping Woman

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

(See pic 1)

Avenging angels and demons abound in the traditions and folklore of people all over the world. Today, I’m going to focus on just two of these, starting with the mogwai.

If you thought those cuddly, furry creatures who mustn’t see sunlight, get wet or be fed after midnight were just figments of Hollywood’s fevered imagination, then think again. Forget little Gizmo, think more of the evil Stripe and you are starting to hark back to the old Chinese legend of the mogwai.

(See pic 2)

Over the centuries, the term mogwai has come to refer to a breed of dead spirit which returns in order to wreak vengeance on any who have harmed it in life. Such vengeance can be of the most deadly and destructive kind and anyone who falls victim to a mogwai attack needs to think long and hard about who they might have hurt in the past. Getting rid of such a vengeful spirit is no simple affair, but burning (usually fake) banknotes seems to help. This gives the dead spirit money to fund their afterlife and entices them to move on and leave the world of the living behind.

In older Chinese tradition, mogwai were a breed of faerie folk with superpowers which they used to cause harm to humans. They were said to reproduce sexually during mating seasons which would be triggered by rainstorms. You can see where the film-makers got their ideas!

(See pic 3)

La Llorona – The Weeping Woman

A sad story of revenge comes from a legend – retold in different versions – originating in Mexico.

Maria was a beautiful woman who drowned her children in a Mexican river as an act of revenge against her faithless husband who had left her for a younger woman. Her triumph – if any – was short-lived because, once she realized the horror of what she had done, she could not live with herself, so she drowned in a river in Mexico City.

At the gates of heaven she was challenged. Where were her children? She was told she could not move onto the afterlife until she found them, so now she is bound to the earth, endlessly searching for her missing infants. Her constant weeping gave her the name ‘La Llorona’. Her story is often cited as a salutary tale that parents will recount to their children to dissuade them from wandering off alone at night because, in her quest, La Llorona will sometimes kidnap any youngsters she finds alone. She begs forgiveness from her own children, but they never grant it. She then drowns those she has stolen in order that they might take the place of her own offspring, but that never happens. Her children are never restored to her and La Llorona is forced to continue her quest.

(See pic 4)

She appears late in the evening or night, emerging from lakes and rivers in Mexico. Some believe that anyone who hears her wails is marked for death. Her pitiful cries of, ‘Ay, mis hijos! (‘Oh, my children!’) are terrible to hear. It seems La Llorona is destined to walk this earth, trapped in a limbo between the living and the dead, for all eternity.

-------------

Now, to give you a taste of Dark Avenging Angel, here’s the blurb:

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

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

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

And here’s a brief extract:

Something had woken me from a deep sleep troubled by my recurring nightmare in which I was in a wood, being chased by some unimaginable horror. I never saw its face, assuming it even had one. But I knew if I didn’t find sanctuary, it would kill me. I had just made it into the strange little house that always appeared in the clearing, when my eyes opened and I gasped at the white, smiling face looking down at me.

That night, my angel seemed different somehow.

Oh, she looked the same. Same black cloak, but this time it shimmered and I wanted to touch it. I was sure it would feel soft as velvet under my fingers.

She put her finger to her lips and stroked my hair. Her touch was like a gentle breeze in summertime. My eyes wanted to close, but I forced them to stay open.

I knew I mustn’t speak out loud, but I could still whisper. “I wish I knew your name. Who are you? Please will you tell me?”

She continued to smile. Her lips moved, but the answering voice I heard was again in my head.

Do not be afraid, child. It is not yet time, but soon you will have the power to avenge yourself on those who have done you harm. Look for me in the shadows and I will be there, taking account.

I understood nothing of what she said. But, from somewhere, a calm I had never felt before emerged and wrapped itself around me.

I blinked in the darkness as she faded from sight.

Then I closed my eyes and slept. I never had that nightmare again after that night. But what if I’d known what was ahead for me?

Some things are better off left in the dark.

You can find Dark Avenging Angel (see links at left):

Samhain Publishing
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
Omnilit

About the author:

Following a varied career in sales, advertising and career guidance, Cat is now the full time author of a number of paranormal, ghostly and Gothic horror novels, novellas and short stories. She was the 2013 joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology Competition, with Linden Manor, which features in the anthology What Waits in the Shadows. Her novels, The Pendle Curse and Saving Grace Devine are also published by Samhain. Her latest novella – Dark Avenging Angel – will be followed by her next novel – The Devil’s Serenade – in April 2016

You can connect with Cat here:

Website: http://www.catherinecavendish.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CatherineCavendish
Twitter: @Cat_Cavendish
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4961171.Catherine_Cavendish
Tsu: http://www.tsu.co/CatherineCavendish

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Tough Guys by Hunter Shea

I love tough guys.

Let me clarify. I love tough guys existing in desperate situations, men who know fear, but who also know how to work with that fear. Conquerors, vanquishers, men of action who make no apologies. The world needs men like this now more than ever. Imagine a place where tough guys routinely strode up to politically correct mullet-heads, slapping them silly – slapping sense into them. Better yet, let’s send a battalion of tough guys to Washington and get our collective heads out of our asses.

I’ve always been intrigued by cowboy culture. To me, the men of the range were the next to last tough guy generation (the last being those who fought in WWII and reshaped the world). Cowboys were heavily mythologized by Hollywood in the 20th century, so for most folks, it’s impossible to separate tall tale from true story.

Then again, there’s a certain sublimity to a well told tall tale (say that 10 times fast, pardner). So, where is all this heading? Honestly, I’m not so sure. Really, this is a snippet of what was going through my head when I sat down to write my weird west novel, Hell Hole. Yes, it had to have horror because that’s what I and Samhain live to write and publish. But this time around, I craved something different – to lose myself in the character of a bonafide tough guy. Nat Blackburn, the former cowboy, Apache scout and Rough Rider is as tough as it gets, but not in an Aahnold or Die Hard parody. He’s simply a man, flesh and heart hardened by decades of hard living under the unrelenting sun. Despite his swagger, he knows he doesn’t have all the answers and he necessarily doesn’t relish facing danger. But when you’re in a tight spot, a man does what a man’s gotta do.

America needs more men like this. I can only imagine what Teddy Roosevelt would do and say if he was alive today. Heads would roll and he wouldn’t give a damn about the popularity polls. He wouldn’t get re-elected, but his four years in office would be a hell of a ride.

But, seeing as that’s not going to happen, it’s up to us writers to spin our tales, taking you back to not necessarily simpler times, but at least ones where every action wasn’t picked apart by media and consumers alike. Living ain’t pretty. Hell Hole takes you to a place where it’s downright ugly. It takes a man like Nat to spit in its eye.

You’ll wish you could be a man like Nat…or be with a man like him.

Tough guys are a dying breed. But they’re not dead yet.

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HELL HOLE Synopsis:

Deep in a Wyoming mine, hell awaits.

Former cattle driver, Rough Rider and current New York City cop Nat Blackburn is given an offer he can’t refuse by President Teddy Roosevelt. Tales of gold in the abandoned mining town of Hecla, in the Deep Rock Hills, abound. The only problem–those who go seeking their fortune never return.

Along with his constant companion, Teta, a hired gun with a thirst for adventure, Nat travels to a barren land where even animals dare not tread. But the remnants of Hecla are far from empty. Black-eyed children, strange lights and ferocious wild men venture from the deep, dark mine...as well as a force so sinister Nat’s and Teta’s very souls are in jeopardy.

There’s a mystery in Hecla thousands of years old. Solving it could spell the end of the world.

Hunter Shea, Biography:

Hunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, Sinister Entity, which are all published by Samhain Horror. HellHole came out in August 2014 and is his first western horror. His next Samhain novel, Island of the Forbidden, publishes January 2015.

His thriller Montauk Monster was published by Kensington/Pinnacle in June 2014, and he's working on a second novel for Pinnacle. A short story to be read prior to Sinister Entity, called The Graveyard Speaks is available for free download, and he has written a book of stories called Asylum Scrawls. Hell Hole (Samhain) is his first western horror. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists, and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on. He is also half of the two men show, Monster Men, a video podcast that takes a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at www.huntershea.com, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.

Raves for Hunter Shea:

Forest of Shadows
"A frightening, gripping story that left me too frightened to sleep with the lights off. This novel scared the hell out of me and it is definitely a creepy ghost story I won't soon forget." --Night Owl Reviews

Sinister Entity
"This is the real deal. The fear is palpable. Horror novels don't get much better than this." --Literal Remains
". . .Culminates in a climactic showdown between human and spirit that keeps you glued to the pages!" --Horror Novel Reviews

Evil Eternal
"Hunter Shea has crafted another knockout. At turns epic and intimate, both savage and elegant. . .a harrowing, blood-soaked nightmare." --Jonathan Janz, author of The Sorrows

Swamp Monster Massacre
"If you're craving an old-school creature-feature that has excessive gore. . .B-horror movie fans rejoice, Hunter Shea is here to bring you the ultimate tale of terror!" --Horror Novel Reviews


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The Power of Rejection

What a difference a rejection slip can make…

It’s Halloween again, theoretically my favorite time of year, and at my age you get nostalgic a lot, so I started to think back at how I ended up writing horror. Why horror?

I’ve written before about how during winter of 1976 I read a paperback novel by a writer I’d never heard of. I saw it on a grocery store rack, found the cover intriguing, and picked it up. And it scared the shit out of me, a latchkey kid home alone every day until well after dark. The novel was ‘Salem’s Lot by unknown writer Stephen King (his second, but I was unaware), and even though I had always “wanted to be” a writer, and had written plenty of short stories and aborted novel beginnings by then (including my first werewolf tale in a 4th grade parochial school English class), that book made me seriously say: “I want to do this!”

I read plenty of horror (especially King and James Herbert) in the next few years, but I also read plenty of mysteries and British thrillers, which were also a first love, so my horror phase took a back seat.

Then in late spring of 1981 I was on a field trip with my college geology class (spending the weekend in Wausau, WI, if you care) and during the bus ride I noticed that our T.A. was reading a magazine I’d never seen before: Twilight Zone Magazine. After getting bored playing electronic football (remember that? I think it was Coleco Electronic Quarterback) with my lab partner and motel roommate, I leaned across the aisle and asked the T.A. if I could borrow that magazine. Not only did he lend it to me, when I tried to return it later he told me to keep it.

Now I think that small kindness was a catalyst for my writing career.

Inside the June issue of the magazine, among other things, was Stephen King’s story “The Jaunt.” I still have that issue. Something else in there was an ad for the very first TZ story contest, which was to be judged by Harlan Ellison, a writer I already admired.

I read that magazine cover to cover, and I became convinced I should enter the contest. I spent the rest of my weekend trying to get excited by the rock formations we were visiting, some in very picturesque places indeed… but all I could think about was the story I was going to write. And I did write a story, and submit it to the contest. I had submitted stories to pro-level publications since 1976 (remember ‘Salem’s Lot?), accumulating a fair stack of form rejections. Turned out some were the very same men’s magazines that had published King, but I didn’t know that. In any case, I submitted my story and waited eagerly, knowing deep down I wouldn’t win, but still hoping.

Well, there were 7000 entries and Dan Simmons won that contest, if I recall correctly.

And I got a rejection slip.

I still have it. See photo above, or at top of left column.

It was the first rejection slip on which someone had bothered to write an encouraging note. Of course I knew it wasn’t Ellison, but still… I owe that person a huge debt.

That rejection slip, and later that summer Raiders of the Lost Ark, kept me writing and reading and dreaming in the genre.

I would have more good responses from Twilight Zone (see second photo in left column), but none would ever match the injection of hope and persistence and encouragement given to me by that one person, who told me that “Web of Dreams” was a good story. It later morphed into another story after various rewrites and workshop appearances, and is included in my collection, Shadowplays. In that form, it earned an Honorable Mention in The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror (14th Edition).

It took me twenty years to publish a novel, but I might not have changed my major from geology, or pursued my Master’s degree in Creative Writing, or taught at the college level, or finally finished that first novel, which remains in print to this day, and which started a series which is now up to a sixth installment.

As for Twilight Zone magazine, I remained a subscriber until its demise.

But what a difference a “good” rejection slip can make…

Thanks, Twilight Zone, and whoever wrote that note. Hope comes in many shapes.

Happy Halloween!


W.D. Gagliani
Milwaukee, WI
Halloween 2014
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ON THE LAKE - Guest Blog Post by Hunter Shea

I’m sitting on a covered porch at this very moment, looking out at a still lake, its borders hugged by closely packed trees. A few birds chirp in the branches around me. There’s nary a ripple on the pristine water. It’s a sunny day with the promise of rising humidity.

My family and I will be plodding down to the water soon. At this particular spot, we’ll be the only people enjoying the lake, bobbing on rafts. The water by the shore is clear. We can see the sandy bottom and occasional fish dart by. But if we paddle out a little further, the water becomes impenetrable.

Out beyond the dock, the sand stops and the slimy muck begins. Treading water, you can’t see your knees, much less your toes.

And you wonder, what else is in the water, right now, just below my paddling feet? It’s a big lake. There aren’t many power boats. This is canoe country. Nature rules here. If your raft drifts into the center of the lake, you know you’re floating high above an unseen bottom that is deeper than you’d care to imagine.

Something splashes behind you. Your head jerks around, but you only see the widening rings of something’s dive into the depths. What the hell was that? It sounded big. Too big. You paddle fast, eyes fastened on the dock where your wife snoozes in the sun, unaware that something has risen up to view the lake’s interloper.

There’s that splash again, closer this time, following you. Your arms burn. Your heart trips and stumbles. A loon releases its ululating cry in the distance. At the moment, it sounds like a warning. Or is it cheering on the thing trailing you?

You want to cry out, but you can’t scare the kids. So you keep paddling, despite the cramp in your shoulder. You feel a thump under the raft that nearly jolts you into the air.

Stay calm. Keep paddling. Christ, what was that?

And suddenly, you can see the bottom again. Your daughters are playing Frisbee in the water. Your wife wakes up and asks, “You want another beer?”

Yes, oh yes, I’d like that.
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Hunter Shea
July 23, 2014


Publisher’s Weekly named the upcoming thriller, THE MONTAUK MONSTER, one of the best summer books of 2014:

The urban mythologies of the Montauk Monster and the government labs on Plum Island unite to cause staggering levels of mayhem when mutant animals with toxic blood descend on a Long Island town. This wholly enthralling hulk of a summer beach read is redolent of sunscreen and nostalgia, recalling mass market horror tales of yore by John Saul, Dean Koontz, and Peter Benchley. — PW

The Montauk Monster, Synopsis and Advanced Praise:

"Shea combines ancient evil, old school horror, and modern style." --Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author

It Kills. . .

On a hot summer night in Montauk, the bodies of two local bar patrons are discovered in the dunes, torn to shreds, their identities unrecognizable. . .

It Breeds. . .

In another part of town, a woman's backyard is invaded by four terrifying creatures that defy any kind of description. What's clear is that they're hostile--and they're ravenous. . .

It Spreads. . .

With every sunset the terror rises again, infecting residents with a virus no one can cure. The CDC can't help them;FEMA can't save them. But each savage attack brings Suffolk County Police Officer Gray Dalton one step closer to the shocking source of these unholy creations. Hidden on nearby Plum Island, a U.S. research facility has been running top-secret experiments. What they created was never meant to see the light of day. Now, a vacation paradise is going straight to hell.

"Hunter Shea is the real deal.. . .intense." --Gord Rollo, author of Valley of the Scarecrow and Crimson

"Shea delves deep into the unknown. A thrill-ride of a read!" --Alexandra Holzer, author of Growing Up Haunted

Called “Most Anticipated Summer Read of 2014” by The Horror Bookshelf along with Stephen King’s Mr. Mercedes and Brian Moreland’s The Vagrants.
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LAUNCH PARTY FOR WOLF'S CUT (Friday, March 28, 2014, 8-10 PM CST / 9-11 PM EST)

LAUNCH PARTY FOR WOLF’S CUT, THE 5th NICK LUPO HORROR-THRILLER!

You're most likely strolling through Facebook in the evening right? Posting your favorite book, cartoon, and chatting with friends in between watching a cool show or settling down for the evening? There’s a fun VIRTUAL party you can drop by to help celebrate the publication of my new novel! We've got some books to giveaway also that you can enter to win, too!

DETAILS ABOUT PARTY:
The virtual party sponsored by Hook of a Book (www.facebook.com/HookofaBook) page takes place on the actual wall of the Facebook page (not on the invite wall if you have a FB invite) on Friday, March 28, from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM CST (9:00-11:00 PM EST).

Attendees will be able to ask me any questions they want by PRE-ASKING or asking during the party via an email submission which will then be posted by the moderator to the Hook of a Book wall. Attendees can see questions answered and will be able to comment.

HOW TO ASK QUESTIONS:
Please pre-ask questions using email listed below or Erin will also take limited questions during the party which will go in a queue to be asked in order received. Email Erin at hookofabook@hotmail.com (subject: (author) question). Emailing a question enters you in the giveaways, or you can email just to enter.

The night of the event (Friday, March 28) you can also inbox message Erin Al-Mehairi on the Hook of a Book Facebook page (below) if you can’t email and it will go into the queue.

Please, NO attendees should post questions to the wall of the party just because it gets too confusing. If questions appear on the wall, Erin will put in to the queue and then re-post the question as a status. I will have to wait for them to be re-posted and then answer. However, you can post to the wall to say “congratulations” and “what’s up,” and I am able to comment on that too.

We’re giving away some books! All those who ask questions will have a chance to win or you can email to enter! Keep an eye out for prompts.

Or just hang out and have conversation in the comments and enjoy your visit!
REFRESH YOUR BROWSER!

Please remember that refreshing your browser is very important to see all questions and answers ongoing during the event. Also remember to be patient. The moderator, Erin, is constantly working in the background and will be taking your emails, inbox messages, posting questions, and monitoring the party all at once.

You can RSVP or see more about the event here: : www.facebook.com/HookofaBook
Don’t forget, you also have to “like” the Hook of a Book page!

All About Hook of Book Facebook Page~
“Like the Hook of a Book Facebook page at www.facebook.com/HookofaBook! We post reviews and interviews from this site there, but it also gives us the opportunity to talk books with you more, feature upcoming covers and releases, post free or discounted books, discuss literature, and showcase books we have on list to review. We’ll talk about the book, publishing and writing industry. We’ll probably also talk grammar tips and ask lots of questions, as well as post interesting historical articles, art, photos, and other things we find intriguing.

Oh, for the Hook of a Book! Blog is an extension of Hook of a Book Services of Addison’s Compass Public Relations. We do book publicity, editing, proofreading, draft consulting, media relations, press releases and more.”

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT WOLF’S CUT AND OTHER NICK LUPO THRILLERS:

"Wolf's Cut is a stellar addition to Gagliani's Nick Lupo series. An impressive and addictive read... cements Gagliani's place at the top of the new wave of horror/crime fiction."
--Dreadful Tales

"Let out a howl, because Lupo's back, and badder than ever!"
--John Everson, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Violet Eyes and NightWhere

"With his series of Nick Lupo books, W.D. Gagliani has done more than pump a little oxygen into the tired werewolf thriller. He's resurrected the entire genre and added a rush of nitrous oxide excitement. Do yourself a favor and pick up Wolf's Cut, a nice addition to this superior series."
--Gene O'Neill, author of Dance of the Blue Lady and Other Stories

"W.D. Gagliani's Detective Lupo series is the best of the werewolf genre. Top-notch writing, nail-biting suspense, and a ferocious mix of serial killers and werewolves... Gagliani continues to deliver fast-paced horror that will get your heart pumping. Highly recommended."
--Brian Moreland, author of Dead of Winter and The Devil's Woods

"Being Italian and a former cop I can relate to Lupo on many levels. The whole series is a big hit at our store with several of our staff. We can't wait for the next book. Keep howling!"
--Tony D'Amato, Chief Armorer of The Gun Store, Las Vegas, NV

"Wolf's Edge is an exciting page-turned full of suspense, mystery, and thrills. Don't miss it."
--The Horror Zine, on the 4th Nick Lupo novel

"Gagliani once more proves that werewolves are scary as hell."
--Jonathan Maberry, New York Times-bestselling author of The Dragon Factory on Wolf’s Edge

"Gagliani has brought bite back to the werewolf novel!"
--CNN Headline News Book Lizard on Wolf’s Trap

"The best werewolf novel since The Howling!"
--J.A. Konrath, author of Whiskey Sour on Wolf's Trap

"Riveting, disturbing, gut-wrenching – and entertaining as all get-out – and and I loved every page!"
--Jay Bonansinga, author of The Killer's Game and co-author of The Walking Dead Series, on Wolf's Trap, the 1st Nick Lupo novel

ABOUT THE BOOKS
WOLF’S TRAP: The Nick Lupo Series Book One.

It takes a beast to catch a killer!

Nick Lupo is a good cop--with the instincts of a great detective... or maybe a wolf. Lupo has a lot in common with wolves, which is only natural considering he's a werewolf. He's battled the creature inside him for years, but now there's another predator in the area. A bloodthirsty serial killer is leaving a gruesome trail of victims, and it's up to Lupo to track him down and stop the slaughter. Will Lupo dare to unleash one beast to stop another?

Wolf's Trap is the Bram Stoker Award-nominated first book of the savage series of horror/thrillers about Nick Lupo, the werewolf/cop. These "North Woods Noirs" are set mostly in the wilds of Northern Wisconsin, where werewolf legends abound and the moon paints the treetops silver. Warning: adult content.
Other books in the series are Wolf's Gambit, Wolf's Bluff, Wolf's Edge, and the new one, Wolf’s Cut.

WOLF’S GAMBIT: The Nick Lupo Series Book Two.

There's something terrible happening near the resort town of Eagle River, Wisconsin.

Some people are afraid there's a wild animal on the loose, savagely tearing its victims apart. Others, like Nick Lupo, know better. Lupo knows a werewolf attack when he sees one. He should, since he's a werewolf himself, though he's been able to control his urges and maintain his secret for years now. He's also a homicide cop, so it may be up to him to hunt down one of his own kind. It looks like there's a new werewolf in town, a rogue out only for blood. But looks can be deceiving. And it's only the beginning of Nick's problems.

Wolf's Gambit is the sequel to the Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel Wolf's Trap, and the second in the savage series of horror/thrillers about the werewolf/cop. These "North Woods Noirs" are set mostly in the wilds of Northern Wisconsin, where werewolf legends abound and the moon paints the treetops silver. Warning: adult content.

WOLF’S BLUFF: The Nick Lupo Series Book Three.

The animal attacks in Wausau, Wisconsin, remind Nick Lupo of werewolf attacks. He should know...

Homicide cop -- and werewolf -- Nick Lupo has battled other werewolves before, killers who unlike Nick have no problem hunting human prey. So when a new series of savage animal attacks terrifies the area, Nick already has a suspect in mind. And he knows that if he's right it'll be up to him to destroy her. But even as he begins his surveillance, someone else is out there, watching them both. Someone with a very deadly plan. Someone who knows just what it takes to kill a werewolf.

Wolf's Bluff is the third novel in the series started by the Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel Wolf's Trap, following Wolf's Gambit. These "North Woods Noirs" are set mostly in the wilds of Northern Wisconsin, where werewolf legends abound and the moon paints the treetops silver. Warning: adult content.

WOLF’S EDGE: The Nick Lupo Series Book Four.

Can one werewolf stop a pack of super-wolves?

Nick Lupo is a homicide cop with a difference. He's a werewolf. He's worked hard to control his condition, but it isn't easy to contain the beast inside him. It also means he has some very powerful enemies. Wolfpaw Security Services is a mercenary organization that wants Lupo dead. They want to infiltrate the US military with their own werewolves and they can't let anyone -- especially a fellow-werewolf like Lupo -- stand in their way.

Wolfpaw's genetic experiments have their roots in the Third Reich, or perhaps even farther back, and now they might have created a "super-wolf" nearly invulnerable to silver. Soon their ranks will be filled with these invincible warriors. Can one wolf -- even a fierce beast like Lupo -- face the fangs and claws of a pack of these killers and hope to survive?

Wolf's Edge is the fourth novel in the series started by the Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel Wolf's Trap, and following Wolf's Gambit and Wolf's Bluff. These "North Woods Noirs" are set mostly in the wilds of Northern Wisconsin, where werewolf legends abound and the moon paints the treetops silver. Warning: adult content.

WOLF’S CUT: The Nick Lupo Series Book Five.

Nick Lupo: A cop, a werewolf...and a target!

Homicide detective--and werewolf--Nick Lupo is hoping to finally have a chance to focus his attentions on the woman he loves, instead of the Wolfpaw mercenary werewolves who tried so hard to kill him. Lupo survived that battle--barely--and brought down Wolfpaw. But Wolfpaw was backed by a super secret group within the Pentagon whose sinister plan is already in motion. And a new enemy has set its sights on the local casino. Nick Lupo thought he was home free, but whenever he tries to get out, they drag him back in...

Wolf's Cut is the fourth novel following the Bram Stoker Award-nominated novel Wolf's Trap, so it is the fifth in the savage series of horror/thrillers about the werewolf/cop. These "North Woods Noirs" are set mostly in the wilds of Northern Wisconsin, where werewolf legends abound and the moon paints the treetops silver. Warning: adult content.
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The Next Big Thing Blog

I was tagged for the Next Big Thing promotional blog project by good friend and author Debbi Mack, whose Sam MacRae mystery series is well worth your time. Debbi's tackling a YA suspense novel right now, so (unless you're coming here from there) go read about it here (see the link at left):

http://midlistlife.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/the-next-big-thing/


The Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:


What is your working title of your (work in progress) book?

Wolf’s Cut

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Wolf’s Cut is the 5th novel in a series that began with Bram Stoker Award nominee Wolf’s Trap (then came Wolf’s Gambit, Wolf’s Bluff, and Wolf’s Edge). The first book was essentially intended as a stand-alone, but the second, third, and fourth books together form a loose trilogy. The ideas for this one (Wolf's Cut) came from both resolved and unresolved plot points in the other four books. This book will also be the start of a loose trilogy.

What genre does your book fall under?

Horror fits, but usually I prefer Horror-Thriller. It can also be considered Urban Fantasy, though of the very adult variety due to its graphic content.

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

This is actually harder to answer than I thought. These days I don't usually write with a type in mind, although as I wrote Wolf's Trap in the late 90s/early 2000s I sometimes pictured my protagonist, Nick Lupo, as a young Andy Garcia. For his love interest, Dr. Jessie Hawkins, I pictured supermodel Cindy Crawford, minus the famous mole. If I were to cast the movie of Wolf's Cut today (it's years later than Wolf's Trap), I'd look for a 40-something Hugh Jackman type, but David Giuntoli (of NBC's GRIMM, where he also plays a cop named Nick) could fit. For Jessie I could see a combination of (TV-show CASTLE's) Stana Katic, plus an older version Megan Fox and/or Mila Kunis, but "earthy" – beautiful but not outwardly glamorous. Lupo's partner, Di Santo, would probably be a Ben Affleck type, able to be both serious and silly. In my series there's also a blonde bombshell TV news investigative reporter with, um, a very "developed" libido – for Heather Wilson I'd have to cast a Jenna Jameson type, although she could exhibit some Scarlett Johansson, Kate Upton and Julia Stegner qualities, too!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In Wolf's Cut, Nick Lupo has to face both the remnants of the evil Wolfpaw mercenary organization (with its roots way back in Nazi Germany and beyond) and a mob family that wants to take over the nearby reservation casino, finding a way to play one against the other.

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

My next book was sold to Samhain Publishing via the L. Perkins Agency. The first book was also reissued by Samhain, who also published the fourth (Wolf's Edge). The middle two books are now published by Amazon's 47North imprint.

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

It's in progress, so I'm still working on it! My first novel took about nine years. My second novel about nine months, third novel about seven months, and fourth about six. A lot depends on my day job, family and life crises, inspiration, other projects, and so on. But I'm definitely able to plot a novel faster than I used to be. This one will have taken me about seven-eight months when it's done.

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

The Wolf's Hour, The Howling, and any fast-paced thriller that also includes horror, paranormal, and noir elements.

In this day and age, however, some of the newer Urban Fantasy series might be a closer parallel.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A huge inspiration on me was The Wolf's Hour by Robert R. McCammon, plus The Howling by Gary Brandner, Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King, by Stephen King and Peter Straub. I also have to give a shout-out to the TV show "Forever Knight," which gave me a blueprint.

But there's more. I was always most impressed – and frightened! – by the werewolf in the Universal monster movies such as "The Wolf-Man" and (later) "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein." Larry Talbot was a tortured man, a reluctant monster – a true tragic figure. I related to his troubles and his fears. I could see how difficult it would be to try to get along when you were a slave to the Creature Within – and that struggle became a central part of my protagonist's character. I tried to look logically at how he could get along in the world, how he could learn to control the Creature without killing indiscriminately. It seemed to me that vampires tend to love being vampires, sort of like evil superheroes. I wondered why it couldn't be done with a "good" werewolf (who still has a bad side). When I started my fisrt novel, Wolf's Trap, almost no one was writing about werewolves. Now they seem to be gaining in popularity. I hope I had a tiny little bit to do with that. My first publisher, Leisure Books, only started adding werewolf novels after mine sold better than expected, so maybe I did…

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

I think my book(s) will interest anyone who likes the idea of a hero who is also a monster, anyone who is not afraid of graphic sex and violence, is interested in parallel stories (in the past and present), as well as multiple points of view, Nazi werewolves, and thriller elements such as fast pacing and lots of action. This new Work in Progress shouldn't be the first one you read, though: start with Wolf's Trap, or at least with the 2nd book, Wolf's Gambit. The books Gambit-Bluff-Edge should be read in order. This new book, Wolf's Cut, will be the next chapter in the Nick Lupo saga.

And now, check out the authors I have tagged and their blogs the week of November 26th:

David Bernstein - http://davidbernsteinauthor.blogspot.com/
Adam Cesare - http://www.adamcesare.com
John Everson - http://www.johneverson.com/wordplay/
Brian Moreland - http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com/
Brian Pinkerton - http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/288505.Brian_Pinkerton/blog
-------------------------

My post is going up between November 19-23rd, so the 5 authors I've invited will do the same a week later. I've linked back to my inviter, Debbi Mack, and at left I also include links to my 5 tags.

How this works, in step form:
1. I write a blog answering those questions, and put links to the blogs of 5 others whom I invite. I also credit my inviter.
2. You write a blog answering those questions and put links to 5 others of your choice, as well as linking back to my blog.
You are now finished!
3. The 5 authors you invite answer the questions; each one puts that blog up the week after yours goes up and each one credits you as the inviter & puts a link to your blog.
4. They in turn tag 5 other authors, & the cycle continues.
So, you're done once you put your own blog up and list your 5 authors.
The idea is that each person gets shouted out a) as an invited author, and then b) 5 times as the one who invited.
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Diving into Uncharted Territory: Audio Books by Armand Rosamilia

Armand Rosamilia
Diving Into Uncharted Territory: Audio Books By Armand Rosamilia

I read things, whether in print or with my Kindle. I always have and I always will. I love books and read 3-5 of them a week if I have time, and can't go to sleep unless I've read for at least an hour a night no matter how late and no matter where I am.

Before last February I swore I'd never buy a Kindle and had no desire to read inferior eBooks. I was old school, damnit, and I'm in my forties and too old to change now. Then Kim bought me a Kindle and I fell in love and can't imagine life without it.

I swore I'd never listen to an audio book as well. What use was that when I still had good eyes to relax and read with? I didn't want to hear some strange voice reading to me. I wasn't four anymore and needing mommy to read me a bedtime story. I was a big boy and could now read to myself.

But, as an author, I'm always looking for new ways to connect with readers. It seemed like every eBook I added to Kindle someone wanted the link for the B&N version or SmashWords or Lulu. So I spread my work around to appease the masses (said tongue in cheek, I promise).

Then someone asked if I had any of my books available on audio. I answered, truthfully, not yet, but I was working on it. As in, as soon as you asked me the question I started working on it.

I spent days and nights researching the various ways to get a quality audio book together, and decided right away I had neither the voice nor the equipment to do it myself. I needed a… wait, what did they call them again? Oh, yeah, a Narrator.

So I signed up on a site and posted a sample chapter of my Dying Days zombie novella, figuring it would be a perfect place to start. Besides, that was the book the reader asked about, so I was hoping I'd have one sale from it.

I also put out a blanket call on Facebook and Twitter in case anyone was interested in narrating it and had a good voice. If I could throw some work at someone I already knew, so much the better, right?

Then I started getting narrators interested and sending me samples of the work. As soon as I started listening I realized something: I had no idea if they were good or not. I'd never listened to a book in my life.

So I bought three of the cheapest horror and/or thriller audio books I could find and listened to them and heard what I liked and hated about the narrators and style.

I decided what made sense for Dying Days would be a female narrator since our main character, Darlene Bobich, is a female. That made sense. I had several to choose from and a couple narrators were pretty good, but one above all else intrigued me.

Amanda Lehman. I loved her sample and knew her voice well. The reason? I grew up across the street from her. How weird is that? We both grew up on Orchard Avenue in Belford, New Jersey, directly across the street. I hung out with her older brother as a kid and we all played kickball and football and manhunt at night.

I hadn't seen or spoken to her in probably twenty years. She'd married a guy I knew that was always cool, played bass, had long hair, a crazy dry sense of humor and loved Queensryche as much as I did. Alexis was the man, and the handful of times we hung out we had some fun. Heck, somewhere is a demo tape of me screaming into a mic doing Metal/hardcore crap with Alexis putting it all together musically.

Amanda was a few years younger than me, and I even remember her parents bringing her home from the hospital when she was born. Now, here she was, dropping the F bomb reading my story and making it come to life.

Out of everyone in the world who could potentially read Dying Days, she'd grown up a kickball throw away. And I couldn’t be happier with her reading and look forward to her diving into Dying Days 2 at some point as well.

Funny how life is sometimes stranger than fiction.

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All six of us - Todd Brown, Mark Tufo, Ian Woodhead, Armand Rosamilia, John O'Brien and Dave Jeffery - hope you'll keep following us on the Summer of Zombie blog tour, and comment as we go along.

And… one lucky commenter for each blog will receive a Free eBook or Print book from one of the authors! Simply leave a comment with your e-mail address and we'll pick a random winner each day! Simple as that!

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In Service To My Masters by David Benton

In Service to My Masters by David Benton

Time.

Some days (weeks, months) managing it can seem almost impossible. Once you reach a certain age maintaining all of your responsibilities becomes a daunting task. This is true for everyone I know. Juggling home ownership, kids, pets, career, bills, and relationships can be a real drag. Even tackling only some of the aforementioned items can feel like a daily quest to the summit of Mt. Everest. But for those people who were blessed (cursed) with a creative bent, the day to day drudgery becomes compounded by the sting of the Muses’ whip.

Unfortunately I’m one of those people.

Like most, I struggle endlessly with very little monetary reimbursement or notoriety for my efforts. Yet somehow in the spaces between the day job, keeping track of my kids, making sure my pets don’t feel neglected, mowing the lawn -- and even occasionally eating and sleeping -- my hands always find a computer keypad or a fretboard to rest upon. Music and writing are my task masters (sometimes I even get a chance to blow the dust off of my air brush!), and they punish me with mental anguish when I don’t heed their call.

I had thought that writing horror fiction and playing hard rock would be a perfect marriage. After all, they go so well together. But I find that music and writing are very different art forms, each requiring a different set of skills and switching gears can be difficult. Music (in performance) is an art of moments, each beat sweeping away the last. One moment’s triumph or tragedy is instantly replaced by the next set of notes. Writing, on the other hand, requires more careful consideration. Words have to be crafted in such a way that conveys a vision from writer to reader. Both, when done exceptionally well, can carry a real emotional impact. And the effort to do both well eats a lot of time. It’s time that I really don’t have to spare, but somehow I fit it in by shifting everything to accommodate it.

I consider myself a reasonably intelligent person – and that being the case – I oftentimes find myself wishing the demons were less demanding. If only I could be happy just going to work and coming home to relax in front of my TV! Then I could find a career and worry more about my pay stub and less about whether or not I could get a month off to go on tour. Then I could get an even bigger TV! My neighbors wouldn’t complain about my lawn because I was at rehearsals or working off a writing deadline and didn’t have a chance to cut the grass. I could be at my daughter’s recital instead of playing a show halfway across the state (or world). But of course, then I wouldn’t be me.

You might wonder why I’m complaining. After all it was my choice, right? The answer to that is: NO. To steal a line from Charles Bukowski: You don’t choose writing, writing chooses you. And the same can be said for music, or art, or dance, or theater. You don’t choose, you are chosen. Much like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind building a replica of the Devil’s Tower out of a pile of mashed potatoes, I am compelled, obsessed, and in need of an intervention. In fact I stopped playing music for four years. I sold all of my gear. I thought I was done. But the hooks were already set too deep. I came back to it. It was waiting for me (waiting for me to write the opus that the aliens are feeding into my brain).

I find that even moderate success comes with a staggering price tag. And that the cost must be paid not only by me, but also by everyone close to me, whether by choice or circumstance (sincerest apologies to my friends and family who have to put up with my madness).

You see, being an artist (writer, musician) isn’t something that I do; it’s something that I am. Being creative is more akin to being tall, or nice, or talkative than it is with having made a career choice. I can decide if I want to be a bricklayer or cheesemaker, a doctor or lawyer. But, much like being Indian, or Egyptian, or French, creative is something that you are or you aren’t – there is no choice.

I’m not driving the bus, you see. I’m being driven. You gotta let that boy boogie, ‘cause it’s in him and it’s gotta come out!

If I could choose, I would choose a life that was more…simple.

And then come those black-hearted Muses with their whip, putting me to task…

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David Benton is currently the touring bass player for the heavy metal novelty band Beatallica, as well as playing in the Milwaukee area with the hard rock trio CHIEF. His horror fiction collaborations with W.D. Gagliani are collected in the Mysteries & Mayhem ebook and in the mid-grade novel I Was a Seventh Grade Monster Hunter. More work in both fields is always on the horizon. Read More 
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Author Kristopher Rufty on "Creating Characters"

"Creating Characters"
By Kristopher Rufty

Other than being asked where my ideas come from, one thing I’m asked a lot is: “Am I in your book?” or “Was the character ________ based off of you?” Most of the time the answer is No, but there have been instances where I’ve borrowed from real life and turned them into fantasy. I’m sure I’ll do it again, many times, as well.

Back when I penned the first draft of Angel Board I was working as a manager for Office Depot. So, during the plotting stages I decided early on that David, the main character, would also be an office supply manager for a chain of stores known as Office Warehouse. While working for the Depot we hired an employee by the name of Dane, who later became a dear friend of mine, and also made his way into the book as the character of Martin. The baler wire incident that occurs in the book was a sensationalized account of what happened to me while making a cardboard bale. The wire snapped and lashed at my face, and if I wouldn’t have jumped backwards, the tip might have gotten me. I felt the wind on my eye as the wire just missed plucking it right out of my head.

Actually, the baler incident was what inspired all of Angel Board. It started with that one scene and everything else branched from there.

My recent release, PillowFace, is also very loosely based on fact. I took myself as a twelve year old kid and put him in today’s world. It was kind of fun imagining me as a kid and being surrounded by the technology we have today. When I was growing up, Cable TV and VHS were changing the world. Watching horror movies on Cinemax during their Full Moon Fridays series was a crucial part of my growing up, and as I began writing the book, I learned there is nothing like that out there now. The closest we have to Full Moon Friday today is Fearnet and Chiller. VHS has already become American nostalgia and Cable TV is ridiculously priced.

But, growing up in the sticks, and without internet, what I didn’t have in technology, I made for with imagination. My friends Chad and Eric (two guys that lived in the same vicinity as me) and I would spend our summers in the woods, hiking to a public pool that was located two roads over from my house. Instead of having our parents drive us, we walked on our own, and the best part was our parents didn’t mind. We were so isolated that the fear someone might be lurking in the shadows, waiting to snatch up your kids was absent. We stuck to the trail. It was an hour or more hike but we enjoyed every step of it.

The biggest worry we had were snakes. There were a lot of snakes where I grew up.

On our trips to the pool, and just our time spent in the woods riding dirt bikes, hiking the trails, and just being kids, we’d have some of the goofiest conversations, much like the trio of kids in PillowFace. Talking about horror movies, girls, and porno mags that we one day wanted to score, we’d travel the woods, searching for whatever we might find. The scarier, the better. And of course, we were not above the secluded wood nymph that might be hiding in the trees. In fact, we were driven by the possibility of finding some kind of beautiful forest woman who may be able to grant our wishes.

Well…I was anyway. I don’t believe I ever shared that vision with my friends.

So, taking such aspects of my childhood, the character Joel Olsen was born. A twelve year old horror fan with the dream of one day being a special effects artist. Although I was raised with two parents for the majority of my childhood, they did eventually divorce in my early teenage years. And while they were together, they both worked when I was old enough to be left home alone during the summers until around four o’clock. I’d have the whole day to myself while my sister was at summer daycare. In the book, Joel has lost his parents in a car accident and is being raised by Haley, his twenty-three year old sister. She’s just starting her career path and is now forced to become not just Joel’s older sister, but also his parent. She doesn’t cope well, and Joel spends a lot of time home alone as well.

And for Joel…that isn’t a good thing.

While my parents would be working I’d spend the majority of my time playing guitar or clacking away on a typewriter that weighed close to forty pounds (no lie) the adventures I wished I could take in real life.

And as grotesque as it is, PillowFace is one of those adventures. When I set out to write the book I asked myself: “What would have happened if I would have discovered someone like PillowFace when I was twelve years old?”

Not knowing the answer, I sat down to write PillowFace, and the book escalated from there. What I learned is a twelve year old can make awful decisions on his own.

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Kristopher Rufty wrote and directed the movies Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood, and is also the author of Angel Board, PillowFace and The Lurkers. He also hosts Diabolical Radio, an internet radio show devoted to horror fiction and film. The show has been online for nearly five years now and has developed quite an archive list and following. He is married to his high school sweetheart and is the father of two insane children that he loves dearly, and together they reside in North Carolina with their 120 pound dog Thor and a horde of cats. He is currently working on his next novel, script, or movie. Read More 
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