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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


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
Barnes and Noble

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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Thanks, Bill, for the opportunity to post on your blog!

I’m the author of the Sam McRae Mystery series. Sam is a lawyer in Maryland, who gets involved in solving murders connected with her cases. I tend to think of Sam as being like Kinsey Millhone as a lawyer. The genre is hardboiled, with a touch of noir to it.

My latest book in the series is Deep Six, a story that explores Sam’s personal relationships and delves into the subject of land use, local politics, and corruption. This was actually the first Sam McRae novel I wrote. However, after many failed attempts to attract the interest of a literary agent, I decided to write another novel. That novel was Identity Crisis, which was published by a small press that went out of business nine months after it came out. After years of writing more novels and failing to find representation, I decided to self-publish my out-of-print novel.

That may have been the best business decision I’ve ever made. Identity Crisis went on to become one of the first ebooks to hit the New York Times bestseller list in 2011. My second novel, Least Wanted, became a Kindle bestseller in the U.S. and the U.K.

The stories in Deep Six and my other novels have been informed by my experiences as a practicing attorney. None of the stories are true. However, I did work for a time at a law firm doing land use work. I also worked at the Office of General Counsel for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It was while working at the latter that I envisioned the storyline and the protagonist, who I wanted to make a strong and capable, yet funny and vulnerable female attorney. My background in both the land use and environmental law field helped me develop the plot for my latest novel.

I’ve also released a boxed set of the first three novels in the series, Law Can Be Murder. Currently, I’m selling the boxed set for a bargain price, at least for a limited time.

Deep Six will be published on Wednesday, March 18, 2015. You can pre-order it now from Amazon, Kobo, Apple iBooks, and Smashwords.


Debbi Mack is the New York Times ebook bestselling author of the Sam McRae mystery series. She’s also published Five Uneasy Pieces, a short story collection that includes her Derringer Award–nominated story “The Right to Remain Silent.” Her short stories have appeared in various other anthologies and publications. Her most recently published short story is “Jasmine”, appearing in Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays.

Debbi is also a screenwriter and aspiring indie filmmaker. Her first screenplay has placed highly in both the Scriptapalooza and the Austin Film Festival screenwriting contests.

A former attorney, Debbi has also worked as a journalist, librarian, and freelance writer/researcher. She enjoys walking, cats, travel, movies, music, and espresso.

You can find Debbi online here:

Twitter: @debbimack
YouTube: http://bit.ly/13AZEWT
Instagram: http://instagram.com/debbimacktoo/
Tumblr: http://debbimacktoo.tumblr.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/debbimackwriter
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/debbimackwriter/
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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.

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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Is it insanity if you are really possessed? By Ira M. Gansler

If you talk about the plea of insanity in murder cases, most people would argue that it is simply something that is often used as a loophole to try to set the guilty free. However, with the rising tide of mental health diagnosis, due in part to a better awareness and ability to diagnose, it is easier to see that perhaps the previous cases in history that we find of a murderer claiming insanity might have been true. After all, the history of our mental health system in this country is one of very mixed results. On one end of the spectrum, you have a growing field of professionals coming up with amazing insights and methods of diagnosis and treatment as every year passes. On the other end, you have shameful, neglectful, and abusive care on the part of hospital and institution providers as well as an almost manic fear of mental health disability that led to people being repeatedly locked up instead of treated. Considering all of this, it really is no surprise that many famous cases have involved a killer pleading insanity as a reason why they can’t be held accountable for their crimes. But what about the more severe and strange cases?

Many murderers throughout the history of the United States have used the insanity plea as an attempt to avoid punishment for their crimes. Sometimes they truly are insane and suffering from a variety of mental illnesses as they claim. But what about the instances where the claim goes beyond just a chemical imbalance in the brain to something more sinister? What about those who have claimed to be possessed by a demon or spirit and that being the cause of their crimes? What can we say about those people? Part of it, of course, depends on your stand on possession. Is it something that really happens, or is it just a popular catchphrase to draw us in to the horror fiction industry? This is the idea that I chose to explore with The Things in the Darkness. The book is a novel of psychological terror where you get a front row seat to watch the deterioration of a human mind, but there is always the suggestion of something more. It is the question of mental illness versus possession that drove me to write the book. The truth is that there are plenty of examples of real-life killers who have sworn to the time of their death that they were possessed. Here are a few examples (source: http://www.oddee.com/item_98653.aspx):

Claiming that he was possessed since an early age, Arne Cheyenne Johnson was the first recorded defense to attempt to claim possession as a reason for innocence in his crime. Johnson murdered his landlord in 1981 and then tried to make the claim that he did it because he was possessed. The judge didn’t buy it, despite the family documenting an early consultation with famous demonologists Ed and Lorraine Warren. Johnson was sentenced to 10 to 25 years in prison and served 5.

There is nothing like accusations of infidelity to bring out the demon in someone. In 1974, Michael Taylor starting acting extremely erratic and screaming obscenities during a prayer group after being accused by his wife of having an affair. Taylor’s behavior continued for months until he finally had a 24-hour-long exorcism performed. Even as he was declared clean, the priest warned him that the demon may just be lying dormant within him. He immediately went home and brutally murdered his wife and dog. Afterwards, Taylor was found wandering the streets covered in blood. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Perhaps the most famous case of possession-induced crime was that of David Berkowitz, the Son of Sam killer. It’s hard to say if Berkowitz really belongs on this list, but his is an interesting case. In 1976, New York City lived in fear of the Son of Sam killer. The killer struck repeatedly for over a year before being caught by police. He left taunting notes at his crime scenes and kept the police off his trail throughout most of the year. When he was finally caught, Berkowitz said that he had performed the murders because he was ordered to do so by his dog, who was possessed by a demon. Berkowitz was convicted and sentenced to six life sentences. Later, in the mid-90’s, Berkowitz recanted his original statement and instead insisted that he had performed the murders as part of ritual sacrifice for a satanic cult of which he was a part.

So were these the rants of deranged minds? Was the insanity by reason of possession plea just an attempt to get away with their crimes? Or, most frightening of all, were these killers really acting on the whims of a demonic force that had consumed their very being? We may never know the answers to these questions, but they can certainly keep us up at night. Kevin Tremmel faces the same terror. He can feel himself being consumed by something and must figure out if it is the delusions of a sick and injured mind or a malevolent force at work on his body and soul. Check out “The Things in the Darkness” and see if you can figure out the answers before it is too late.


The Things in the Darkness, debut novel by Ira Gansler, October 2014

An accident puts Kevin Tremmel into a coma. Upon waking, he is not the same. Is it psychological trauma or something darker at work?

Until recently, Kevin Tremmel was at peace with his life. He had a wonderful family, a meaningful career, and his life is finally settling down. Everything seems to be going great - until the night he dies in a car accident.

When the doctors revive him, it's evident that he's not the same. Strange urges and images haunt his waking hours, and he finds himself fighting frightening new impulses. Has the trauma of the accident caused a mental illness -- or has he brought some malevolent being back with him?

In order to save his sanity, his sense of self, and his family, Kevin must discover what force is at work on him and how to overcome it. It’s that, or give up all he loves and become a servant to the things in the darkness.

"Terrifying and engaging, impossible to put down." Henrique Couto, Writer/Director of Babysitter Massacre and Director of Haunted House on Sorority Row and Scarewaves.

"Creepy, contemporary riffs on Lovecraftian themes!" John Oak Dalton, Screenwriter - Among Us, Haunted House on Sorority Row, and Scarewaves.

Author Ira Gansler, Biography:
Ira M. Gansler is the father of three girls whom he adores and hopes to one day mold into fellow horror fans! He has been married to his fantastic, supportive wife for almost twelve years. Ira focuses on honing his writing craft through fiction, blogging, and screenwriting. He was one of the writers for the film Scarewaves, having written the screenplay for the “Office Case” segment.

Ira has been an avid horror fan since the time at age five when he ran screaming back to his bed after having witnessed the scene in A Nightmare on Elm Street where Freddy was dragging a bloody and dying Tina across the ceiling. Since then, he has embraced all types of horror. The Shining, anything by H.P. Lovecraft, and the original Night of the Living Dead will always hold a special place in his twisted heart. He prays that when the zombie apocalypse does come that it consists of slow zombies and that the Elder Gods show mercy on us all.

You can follow Ira M. Gansler on his blog, The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void at http://ragecircus.blogspot.com, on twitter @RageCircusBlog, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ragecircusblogger. Ira also writes reviews and conducts interviews for the From Dusk Till Con Network at www.fromdusktillcon.com.

Enter to win one of two great prizes during the #DarknessEmerges Tour. Ira is giving away a GRAND PRIZE of a signed print copy of his book, The Things in the Darkness, plus a signed copy of his “Office Case” segment from the movie, Scarewaves. As a second prize, he’s giving away another signed print copy! Enter to win through the Rafflecopter below. Enter now until Dec. 1, 2014. This is a tour wide giveaway, and open to U.S. Residents only due to shipping. If you want to enter from outside the U.S., and you can, but if you win, you’ll receive an e-book.
Direct link to Rafflecopter: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/231aa30b13/

Giveaway for Reviewers!
Anyone on the tour, or outside the tour, who reviews The Things in the Darkness on Amazon and GoodReads and sends their review link into Erin (Publicist for Ira Gansler) at hookofabook@hotmail.com, now through Dec. 31, 2014, will be entered to win a $20 Amazon gift card.
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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.
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)


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!

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.

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!

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.”


"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

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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(A briefer version of this post appeared in the ITW’s The Big Thrill for March 2014)

People still ask me why I decided to write thrillers about cops and… werewolves. As if it were a conscious decision. Sometimes stuff just happens, and next thing you know you’re “that werewolf guy.”

How did I get here?

Well, there was a progression of sorts, and it makes more sense than it ought to. As usual, it’s all about the things we read and watched and listened to when we were kids. The things that piqued our interest, the things that tickled our creativity, the things that made us feel as if we belonged even if we were outsiders. The things that gave us shelter from reality, taught us lessons before Life could, and gave us license to dream (even if those dreams were nightmares).

Growing up, I went through a series of phases that would lead me to the place where writing about a homicide cop who is also a werewolf – and who finds himself in the crosshairs of an evil Blackwater-like security contractor made up largely of (you guessed it) werewolves – would seem completely logical.

I didn’t realize I was on a journey, but apparently I was and its highways and byways led me here, to the release of my fifth Nick Lupo thriller. WOLF’S CUT is out from Samhain Publishing on March 4/5.

It was an interesting journey, so let’s step back and map it.

I grew up in northern Italy so, even having been born in the U.S., I began a sort of dual existence: two cultures, two languages, an old country and a new, and old way and a new. Perhaps it would be no surprise or coincidence that just about every character in my Bram Stoker Award-nominated first novel, WOLF’S TRAP, would also display some sort of dual nature. And the protagonist named Dominic (Nick) Lupo – no, it’s not subtle, is it? – would exhibit the ultimate dual nature of being both human and wolf, man and monster, and eventually both good guy and bad guy. After five novels, with one more in the works, I look at him this way: Lupo’s a good guy, but he’s getting over it.

So here’s the map.

As a kid, I loved the Universal monster movies, and none as much as ABBOTT & COSTELLO MEET FRANKENSTEIN. While it was clearly a comedy, it utilized the Universal Monsters straightforwardly enough to scare an impressionable youngster watching alone, late at night. WGN’s Saturday night late “Creature Features” was the perfect vehicle, and I reacted with as much empathy to the tragic Larry Talbot in that comical context as I did to Talbot in THE WOLF MAN.

But in those days I was also devouring books by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, as well as the movies based on those authors’ best-known works. My early science fiction forays predictably carried through those books and movies, and even to SF-based JONNY QUEST cartoons, cementing my interest in mixed-genre adventures. As a developing reader, soon I began immersing myself in British thrillers written by Alistair MacLean, Duncan Kyle, Jack Higgins, Ian Fleming, and others… but at the same time I also worked my way through various detective series, including such disparate authors as James Leasor and Ellery Queen, but also Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, eventually settling on the more hardboiled style of Mickey Spillane, Brett Halliday, and others. I was already connecting the harder edge in thrillers to the harder edge of the noir and hardboiled.

I had written plenty of in-school short stories by then, and even started my own novels a couple times – mostly thrillers, war stories, or detective-driven mysteries, channeling my reading preferences.

And I was also dipping into horror, enjoying the work of James Herbert, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, and similar writers until the day I brought home a grocery rack paperback by some guy named Stephen King. It was new, his second book, ‘SALEM’S LOT, but I’d never heard of him. I was riveted – and very effectively scared! – by the idea of vampires running rampant in a town just like mine. I was a latch-key kid home alone until 8:00 every night, and Wisconsin winter days are dark by 4:15. Reading that novel as the sky darkened outside really worked on me, and in a flash I knew I was lost to horror. Even though I’d experienced good written horror before, this was the first time I decided I wanted to do what this Stephen King was doing.

I was on my way, but for a while I still wrote stories that mostly wanted to be straightforward SF or mysteries. Still, my reading always edged into darker themes. When it came to SF, I gravitated toward the New Wave and its more psychological focus (see Harlan Ellison, for instance). When it came to horror, King introduced me to Peter Straub and others who kept me fed as I also filled in my resume by going back to Poe and Lovecraft. And then I stumbled onto two magazines that forever changed my approach: David Silva’s THE HORROR SHOW and THE TWILIGHT ZONE MAGAZINE, both of which introduced me to writers I hadn’t met before: Robert McCammon, Joe Lansdale, Richard Laymon, David Schow and others who became known (rightly or wrongly) as the Splatterpunks. Their work was a revelation, because suddenly I realized the horror could be brought home as King had done, but maybe the darkness wasn’t supernatural but inherently human. The serial killer next door, as it were.

Starting in the mid-Seventies, music became an important part of my inner life, and as an Italian-American kid I found myself in the room when a fair amount of opera and Italian folk and folk-pop songs were played. You’d think I would have hated it, but I didn’t. I began to appreciate the inherent drama of operatic music and its almost visual storytelling. I didn’t stop at Italian opera and soon found myself also appreciating orchestral highlights from Wagner, among others, and a fair number of highly dramatic Russians. When I started paying attention to radio, first there was the Beatles and various classic rock acts, but along with Pink Floyd I gravitated toward a kind of rock that was in its own way operatic. Some called it pretentious, but to me “progressive rock” (or “art-rock,” sometimes) was simply more ambitious and open to telling stories beyond the usual easier love and love-gone songs. I didn’t realize yet that music – and progressive rock references specifically – would find its way into my novels right from the very start.

And so it was that these and various other influences swirled around in my head, and would sometime later result in WOLF’S TRAP – a novel I considered a one-off, until its sales led the publisher to decree it required a sequel.

And thus a series was born.

It appears that Nick Lupo’s journey hasn’t ended. WOLF’S CUT picks up where WOLF’S EDGE left off, with some unfinished business between the two women who want him, and the crosshairs of some new and old enemies settling on his back. Lupo himself isn’t the same good guy he began as, having developed into the kind of cop who’s too often willing (but mostly forced) to go off-book because his antagonists aren’t always entirely human.

I enjoy forcing Lupo navigate the dark waters of hazy-at-best ethics and morality, trying to hold his life together as more and more impossible requirements are heaped on him, in my mind making him increasingly a Larry Talbot kind of guy (just to bring us almost full-circle). The parallel stories of Lupo’s youth have given way somewhat to those of his father and grandfather in World War II German-occupied (and post-war) Italy, many of which are loosely based on stories passed on by my own parents and grandparents who lived through the period, connecting my reluctant hero with a destiny that goes back much farther than he realizes.

It has been an interesting journey.

After WOLF’S TRAP, the novels WOLF’S GAMBIT and WOLF’S BLUFF introduced and expanded upon the Blackwater-like security contractor Wolfpaw and hinted at their origins (think Nazis and their occult obsessions). The fourth book, WOLF’S EDGE, went there along with Lupo’s male ancestors and closed the loose Wolfpaw trilogy. And now WOLF’S CUT begins a new loose trilogy in which the nature of Lupo’s antagonists shifts slightly and expands, while still harking back to his father’s days on the hunt through the ranks of the real Odessa and its Nazi-smuggling activities.

The journey continues, and I hope some adventurous readers will want to sign up.
I never thought mingling horror, thrillers, Nazis, police procedural, erotica, and crime would be so much fun.

But it is!

I hope you’ll join me.

www.wdgagliani.com (includes blog)
Twitter: @WDGagliani
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The recent epidemic of sudden or sudden-appearing deaths among friends, acquaintances, fellow writers, and revered celebrities (of whom legendary film critic Roger Ebert is only the latest), has set off another bout of depressing thought patterns, self-doubt, and contemplation of mortality. As I approach a telling milestone in age (and the one you're thinking of I've already passed), I find myself once again nervously watching the sands running all too smoothly, all too quickly through the hourglass. I find myself once again questioning, wondering, criticizing… trying to understand just what it is I've done with my life.

We all do it, don't we? Come on, fess up. As you get older, don't you look around and see what you've built, check to see whether it'll withstand the passage of time and carry your name forward into the future? Of course, if you've had children, you can make a checkmark on the plus-list. If, like me, you haven't brought anyone into the world, then you have little choice but to look at what else you've done and, much more uncomfortably, what you might have done.

I've brought some words into the world, not all of them great or memorable, most of them probably not memorable, really, some bound up in covers and called books. Others called stories and articles and book reviews. Some of them are even good, maybe one or two I'd consider great by some arcane standard. Most are passable, worthy of a satisfied "huh!" and not much else. Some of the fiction may be briefly interesting, though memorable is probably a stretch. But ultimately, the dead-bottom assessment is that all of it might as well not exist, that its lack of being in the world would not be missed pretty much by anyone. Perhaps if movies and television had been birthed from it, there would be more of what one could self-servingly call a "legacy," but without this form of immortalization, it's safe to say the words I've put into order (even those that make some sense and evoke some emotion or response besides unintentional humor) are all rather pedestrian and disposable.

While others were out in the world helping fight hunger and disease, or building homes for refugees, or trying to stop wars and tribal conflicts, or handing out meals to the homeless, or trying to educate those starving for knowledge, or trying to keep kids safe from violence and drugs, or attempting to provide for humans in need… while all that was going on, what I chose to do with my life was to put some words together so they could be read and forgotten, disposed of, consumed. Maybe enjoyed, I hope they've been enjoyable. Maybe they've brought some small measure of happiness or pleasure, or a laugh, or a smirk and a curse, maybe they've disturbed and offended. All those responses are acceptable, even desirable, for a writer of what is essentially a luxury – a small modicum of fantasy in an increasingly negative, predatory, and uncaring world.

Upon hearing the news of Roger Ebert's death, something attributed to him found its way to me through Facebook or maybe Goodreads, I'm not sure, and gave me a way to perhaps look in a more positive light upon the choice of what I chose to do in life.

Roger Ebert wrote: “I believe that if, at the end of it all, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try.”

Well, I have tried, and I continue to try, and that is the best I can do. If entertaining others to distract them from the realities of their own lives is a noble pursuit, then at least I've nobly attempted to do so – no matter how narrow the audience or small the appreciation. And on wrap-up day, that'll have to be sufficient.

Thanks, Roger Ebert, for the many years of entertaining reviews. I remember the earliest days on local public television. I watched, on and off, for decades. When renting tapes became all the rage, I had two books to consult, Roger Ebert's and Leonard Maltin's. I usually went with Roger. As much as I liked both him and Siskel, I usually agreed with Roger (with some notable exceptions). And when I discovered him on-line, Roger's Facebook and Twitter feeds became routine must-reads. I loved checking out his New Yorker cartoon caption entries and comparing them with mine. And now he's given me something positive to latch onto. Farewell, Roger Ebert.

The balcony is closed.
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