HUNTER is now up on Goodreads!

Happy Monday everybody! We are about 8 days from release for my short book HUNTER. Pre-orders will be up soon, but for now I’ve added it to Goodreads for those of you awesome enough to use it. Here’s the link if you want to add this to your ‘To-Read’ Pile.

Here it is in all it’s neon-slasher glory. 

The Hunter Cover
HUNTER, available on Amazon Kindle on October 23rd! The best 80’s style Slasher Screenplay ever!

And how about a plot summary!

SCREAM if you are able

It’s three days until Halloween in the sleepy town of Bellamy Lake, Michigan.

For Jennifer and her friends, the old campground on the edge of the woods is the perfect place to let off some steam. They’ve got their beer. They’ve got their weed. They’ve got a long weekend to spend at the cabin, away from the stressors of their college classes…

RUN if you can

But these woods hold a terrible secret. An EVIL older than the land itself. And this EVIL has a face. And a knife. And a bow. Jennifer and her friends are not prepared for wait waits them in these woods.

You are the PREY

HUNTER, a Slasher Screenplay, is a story from a different time. Come for the gore. Come for the horror beyond your understanding. Read the script and watch these teenagers try to survive. Because…

The HUNTER has arrived.

And while I have you here… If you like Goodreads, I have a little bit of an author page on there. I update it frequently with what books I’m currently reading, and it’s the perfect place to chat with me about whatever horror awesomeness you’re currently reading. Reading is fun, dudes!

 

 

Author Interview: Orrin Grey

It’s finally October and that means it’s time for this month’s Author Interview! Every month I’ll be interviewing authors and creators about their newest works, their lives, and what influences them. This month I’ll be talking to horror fiction’s favorite skeleton Orrin Grey.

orrin

Hello Orrin and happy (28 days from now) Halloween! I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy autumnal schedule to have a quick chat with me. I’d like to start with an easy question: What made you want to be a writer? What turned you into the skeleton you are today?

I’ll be completely honest and say that I don’t know what originally made me want to be a writer. For as long as I can remember, it’s all I ever wanted to do. My mom had this book where she kept my report cards and class photos and stuff from all my years of elementary school, and for every grade it had a space where I could write what I wanted to be when I grew up. From about third grade on all it ever said was, “writer.”

That said, a lot of different things formed the specific writer that I am now. I went through various phases when I was younger, writing fanfic, trying (and failing) to write big epic fantasy sagas, all that jazz. I know that reading Roger Zelazny’s Chronicles of Amber was a turning point for me, in part because it was a very different kind of writing than I had read before then, and the zest with which he mixed and matched genre tropes was thrilling to me at the time.

Of course, I’m known by now for writing about and around film quite a bit. I’ve always loved movies, but I didn’t get into the older horror films that have become some of my chief influences until after I had graduated from college. When I was a kid, though, I used to have these Crestwood House Monster Books, which some readers may remember. They were little board books that I would check out from my school library, filled with black-and-white stills from old monster movies of the ’30s, ’40s, and ’50s. I used to pore over those things obsessively, mentally conjuring the movies that I imagined went with those images.

Probably the biggest turning point for me was getting into Mike Mignola’s Hellboy comics. Here was someone who was doing so much of the stuff I wanted to be doing, who was bending and blending genres, telling numinous supernatural stories built around chewy pulp centers (and vice versa), but perhaps more importantly, who was wearing all of his influences on his sleeve, so that reading his stuff became a gateway to countless other writers, artists, movies, and more that have since become huge influences on my work. Mike Mignola tells a story in interviews about how reading Dracula made him realize that all he wanted to do was draw monsters. Reading his work did something similar for me, but I can’t draw, so here I am.

I love your work. Your stories find the perfect balance of cosmic horror and creepy beasties. ‘Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts’ should be made mandatory reading for all young ghouls and ghosts. I’ve heard tell that you have a new collection getting ready to come out. What can you tell me about it?

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Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales should actually be out by the time this sees print! It’s being released by Word Horde, the same publisher who put out Painted Monsters, and I’m extremely lucky to be working with Ross Lockhart again. He was an early booster of my stuff, and I owe a lot to his faith in me and my weird stories.

Guignol collects fourteen of my spooky tales, four of which have never seen print before. Of the ones that have, several are hard-to-find, out-of-print, or seldom seen, so I think it’ll be a treat Orrin Greyfor fans of my work. There are two novelettes in the book, “The Cult of Headless Men” and “The Lesser Keys” and I’m really excited for people to check it out. Like Painted Monsters, it draws a lot of influence from movies and the theater, and its title, in fact, comes from the one-two punch of the Theatre du Grand Guignol, an early French horror theatre known for its bloody and lurid plays, and “Contes Cruel,” both a subtype of horror story and the title of a couple of early collections of same.

Guignol is filled with more of the kind of stuff that readers have come to expect from me, but this is also possibly my grimmest collection to date. While I hesitate to call the stories in it cruel, they certainly aren’t kind. Painted Monsters had a sort of unintended thematic underpinning of death and what comes after, while Guignol is more about dealing with trauma, and how the past, especially the painful past, never entirely leaves us alone.

It also probably has more monsters per page than anything else I’ve ever written, so there’s always that.

You, like so many other awesome folk, love horror cinema. I’m sure you have all kinds of movies ready to go throughout this entire blessed month. As a fan of the genre, what are some of the movies you’ll be watching leading up to All Hallows’ Eve?

I live in the suburbs of Kansas City, and we’re lucky enough here to have a really passionate and active horror film community. We also have a great local theatre, in the form of the Screenland Armour, which does Halloween programming all month long in October, so I’m hoping to catch a lot of that. As part of the launch festivities for Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales, I’ll be presenting a free screening of Mario Bava’s Black Sunday on October 14, and every year the Nerds of Nostalgia podcast hosts a horror triple feature sometime around Halloween, which has become my annual birthday tradition.

Beyond that, I watch a lot more horror cinema than anything else all year long, but as the Halloween season rolls around I tend to gravitate even more toward the old classics. There’s a new Blu-ray release of some William Castle titles on its way that I’m really excited about. Like every other horror fan on the planet, I’ll be watching the new Halloween when it hits theatres, even if I am less sanguine about it than many of my peers. And I am really looking forward to Apostle, the new folk horror flick from Gareth Evans and Dan Stevens that’s coming to Netflix this month.

monsters.jpg

A lot of young writers I talk to get discouraged with the grind (sending stories out on submission, etc.) and the constant struggle that is the publishing world. Do you have any advice for any writers looking to get published?

Maybe the best piece of advice I ever got in this business was, “Know your victory conditions.” Know what success looks like to you. It’s easy to lose focus when you’re in the proverbial mines, but if you can remember what it is you’re trying to accomplish, you can work towards it. For some people that means critical acknowledgement or winning awards, for some people that means getting a lot of fans or readers, for some people that means making a living at writing. For some it means something else completely. Those things aren’t mutually exclusive, you may get all of them, but if you know what’s important to you, it’ll help you make the hard decisions when they come, and keep you from getting turned around in the dark.

Also, don’t be in a hurry. It’s better to sell a few stories to good markets than a lot of stories to markets that no one will ever see. It’s better to wait a few years until you have a collection that’s really strong than to break out with a first collection too early.

Let’s talk about books for a minute. What’s in your TBR pile currently? Are there any stories/novels you like to read to get into the October spirit?

My TBR pile is so careeningly, terrifyingly cyclopean that it beggars belief, let alone description. I am so far behind on my reading that I barely know where to begin. That said, I recently finished Matthew M. Bartlett’s first collection (I had already read his later ones, but had missed the first) and, like all of his other work, it blew my mind. He is, for my money, one of the best authors working today, and I am always wowed by his stuff. I’ve got a gobsmackingly long list of stuff in my queue, but right now I’m trying to make my way through William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, which, as I had been warned countless times, is a slog.

never bet

Last  question: Where can people find your works?

Probably the best place is in one of my collections, which I will have three of by the time this sees print. Never Bet the Devil & Other Warnings, my first collection, is now available in a deluxe hardcover from Strix Publishing, while Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts and Guignol& Other Sardonic Tales are both available from Word Horde or wherever better books are sold. You can keep up with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, and you can always find out the latest stuff I’m doing on my website. I have a few stories available online, as well, including a recent one at The Dark and several on PseudoPod.

 

UPDATED: Announcing: HUNTER, Coming Late October

Update:

Due to formatting problems, I’ve delayed the release of HUNTER for a few days. It should hopefully be ready to for consumption by Halloween. Stick to this space for more information!

You are the PREY. He is the HUNTER…

Big announcement! My first book, HUNTER, will be dropping on October 23rd! It’s a horror screenplay, written as a love letter to Halloween and all the beloved slashers from the 1970’s and 1980’s!

The Hunter Cover.jpg

It will be digital only for now (Kindle and Nook) with plans for physical sometime in the future. It will be available for $2.99, which the perfect price to enjoy this nice little slice of slasher horror. The cover art was made by the supremely talented SkinCube (website here!) There will also be a score that will come free with the book, created by a musician friend of mine named Christian Perry (more on that in the future!). I will have more to come on this (link and plot details!) when the release date gets a little closer.

 

My Newsletter is Looking For Test Subjects…

I descended into some new software (Mailchimp) and came out on the other side with only minor scraps and bruises. I’m a little tired, but the treasure I was able to collect may be worth it.

You see…

I’ve started a newsletter!

Author Photo

The newsletter will be a monthly occurrence, unless I’ve got something exciting to talk about. The newsletter will have Original Fiction, Giveaways, and a special column for newsletter subscribers only!

It’s called ‘Insanity Written’, and it will be a deep dive into whatever topic strikes my fancy! This content will be some primo stuff. I promise you that.

Insanity Written

If you’re interested, I’ve stuck the link below!

http://eepurl.com/dFQI-r

P.S. If you’re a fan of my writing, you’re going to want to subscribe to the newsletter. A big announcement is going to drop soon, and subscribers will hear about it first!

7 Upcoming Books I’m Dying to Read

Happy Wednesday everybody!

We’re barreling toward the one-two-three punch of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and then Christmas. It’s a whirlwind of visits with the in-laws and extended family, awkward conversations with Grandma and some pretty decent food. The good news is that we have some downtime ahead. What better time than to read some books?

Here are 7 Upcoming Books I’m Dying to Read.

The Folio Anthology of Horror Stories edited by Ramsey Campbell

Out Now

Folio 1

I may be cheating a bit (this came out last week), but this is the book that inspired this list. This is one of the most gorgeous horror anthologies I’ve ever seen. It houses a TOC that has some of the greatest horror stories ever printed. It’s also edited by the legendary Ramsey Campbell. This is a little more expensive than the other books on this list, but I 100% think it’s worth it. Just look at his thing!

By the Light of My Skull by Ramsey Campbell

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October 2018

Did somebody say living legend? No? Well I guess I’m saying it now then. Ramsey Campbell is a living legend in the horror field, a writer whose depth and skill never ceases to amaze me. When I was still a fledgling horror fanatic, I discovered his novels and short stories and was completely blown away. His new collection, released in a very snazzy looking hardcover from PS Publishing, collects some of his newer stories.

Guignol & Other Sardonic Tales by Orrin Grey

October 2nd, 2018

Orrin Grey.jpg

A new book by horror fiction’s favorite skeleton-man is always a cause for celebration. Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts is one of my favorite collections ever, and I can trust Orrin Grey to bring his signature concoction of creepy monsters and spooky movies. Word Horde is one of the best indie publishers around, and this book will look great on my shelf come October 2nd.

In The Night Wood by Dale Bailey

October 9th, 2018

Dale Bailey.jpg

I talked about this book back in March when I wrote an article much like this one. My excitement has not abated for this contempory fantasy novel. This book has a few of my favorite things: creepy woods, troubled writers and (I assume) folklore  horror. I can’t wait for this one to rock my socks right off.

In The House In The Dark Of The Woods by Laird Hunt

October 16th, 2018

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With a killer title and cover, when I saw this book I had to know what it was about. Turns out it’s about a Puritan woman being drawn into a dark journey. The summary describes almost-human wolves (!) and a ship made of human bone (!). This book sounds all kinds of bizarre and I am in 100%.

The Leaves of a Necronomicon edited by Joseph S. Pulver Sr.

Sometime in November 2018

the leaves.png

A Lovecraftian anthology edited by Joe Pulver is always something to be pumped about. This one is being put out by Chaosium Fiction. The book tracks the impact of a copy of the Necronomicon over decades. With another TOC to kill for (S.P. Miskowski! Michael Cisco! Jeffrey Thomas!) this will scratch that late autumn horror itch.

Creatures of Want and Ruin by Molly Tanzer

November 13th, 2018

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Evil mushroom moonshine during some kind of supernatural Prohibition. A cult making doomsday claims. This story is told by the always incredible Molly Tanzer. Color me excited for this book when it drops mid-November.

And that’s 7 Books That I’m Dying to Read! I’m sure I missed all kinds of books. Let me know what you’re excited for!

Author Interview: Michael Wehunt

Welcome to September’s Author Interview! Every month I’ll be interviewing authors and creators about their newest works, their lives, and what influences them. This month I’ll be interviewing the spooktastic Michael Wehunt!

Michael Wehunt

Hello Michael! I’d like to thank you for joining me here. Let’s start with an easy one: tell us a little bit about yourself. What made you want to be a writer? What do you do in your spare time when you’re not at a keyboard?

Thanks so much for having me. As you requested, I’m pretending not to see the shockingly large number of human bones in the corner or the strange symbols painted in blood on the floor…

I grew up in Georgia and seem unable to leave. I almost have to answer your first question as if it were, What kept you from being a writer? Because that speaks more clearly to how I became one. I think I wanted to be a writer from the age of eight or so, but it never took deep enough root in me for some reason. I was drawn to horror as a child, developed the usual Stephen King loyalty, watched whatever horror films I could. I didn’t have a lot of ways to explore the genre when I was very young, but there was enough to keep me hooked. Still, I let horror literature drift away from me in early adulthood. I still sought out darkness in most things I read – Southern Gothic is a good example, as is anything about sadness and regret, for there is great horror in the everyday – but it would take me a long time to come back to capital-H Horror. I also let thoughts of myself as a writer (or any sort of creator) drift away from me for too long, and looking back it seems I was both not experienced enough in life to try writing seriously and much too scared to fail at it. The latter haunted me for quite some time, until one day in 2011 – I was reading King’s Skeleton Crew for maybe the fourth time in my life – something just clicked, and I was furious with myself for never having tried my hand at this. I felt I had things to say and hadn’t been letting myself speak. Horror felt like a full circle for me, and I didn’t hesitate for a moment as I began, at last, a shaking in my hands, to write that first creepy story.

In my spare time, I enjoy not being in a hurry. I’m happiest with my partner and dog in the woods, in inconstant shadow and filtered light. If my dog will allow me to, I like to be still in the trees. Nothing is so calming. It is a sort of cathedral. And, of course, I read as much as I can, with varying success. I try to read twice as much as I write and spend twice as much time outside as I do with a Word file open on my computer. It’s all about balance and peace.

I read and was subsequently floored by your collection ‘Greener Pastures’ when I read it last year. The stories in here are terrifying, but they are also richly drawn and complicated. Can you talk a little bit about how ‘Greener Pastures’ came together? I’d be interested in knowing how the creepy sausage gets made.

Thank you so much! Two and a half years of people saying nice things about the book, and it still seems surreal every time. Greener Pastures started coming together simply because a publisher asked if I was interested, and I realized, with a bit of surprise, that I had more than enough material.
Greener Pastures

Then another publisher asked the same question, and I started to think it could be a Real Thing. A pretty mundane origin. But I wanted to make sure I wasn’t all in on a collection just to have a collection. I needed to be 100% behind every single story I chose, with as close to zero filler as I could possibly get, or else it would be much better to wait.

But when I began to think of putting stories together in a group, I saw fairly obvious thematic threads running through much of my work – loss, grief, the creepy inexplicable bleeding into personal darkness, and the attempts to cope with these different sorts of terrors at once – and the eleven stories I chose seemed to speak together really well, cross-pollinating each other, echoing and distorting those echoes, with a couple of curveballs thrown in. It felt like a collection of the lost. Yet nothing felt repetitive or redundant with anything else, and I began to get excited and proud in a way I hadn’t been before.

One of my favorite stories in the collection is ‘October Film Haunt: Under the House’. I also just read ‘The Pine Arch Collection’ in The Dark Magazine for this interview (Props on making e-mails scary). Both stories feature film in some way. Are you a big horror movie fan? What are some favorites that always draw you back in?

I love hearing feedback about “October Film Haunt: Under the House,” and if readers have a cumulative favorite in the collection, it’s probably that one. It really sparked my interest in a dialogue between horror films and horror literature, which usually flows in The Dark Michael Wehuntone direction – a book is adapted as a movie. I wanted to write a love letter to found-footage horror and modern (or digital) folklore of the sort that you find in internet creepypasta. Last year I decided to expand upon the October Film Haunt world a little bit with another love letter to found footage, “The Pine Arch Collection.” It’s really interesting to try to comment on what horror fiction (both film and prose) truly is and how it connects with those experiencing it. A sort of meta horror, if you will. I find it fascinating to explore, and my novel interacts with it to some degree as well.

And yes, I love horror movies. They have been my one constant connection with horror since childhood, even when, as noted earlier, I foolishly (but perhaps, all things considered, fortunately as well) stopped reading the genre before I was able to drown in it. The Blair Witch Project remains my favorite horror film of all time. I have defended it many times and am prepared to do so many more times (not forgetting to hug all those folks who love it like I do). Nature as horror, the abstract occult, the periphery providing far more chills than the foreground ever could – the movie excels in so many ways, and I find it always rewatchable. It’s been a big influence, and I’ve enjoyed wearing that influence on my sleeve a bit. Kairo, Ringu, Paranormal Activity 3, A Tale of Two Sisters, Don’t Look Now, Let the Right One In, The Witch, Kill List, Picnic at Hanging Rock (if you want to stretch the definition of horror a bit), and Audition are some of my other very favorites. Hereditary is very recent, but I am certain I will be drawn back to it again and again. It’s vicious and unapologetic like few other movies.

A lot of young writers I talk to get discouraged with the grind (sending stories out on submission, etc.) and the constant struggle that is the publishing world. Do you have any advice for any writers looking to get published?

Yes, writing can be deeply discouraging as well as deeply rewarding. In 2016 I wrote a blog post about turning five years old as an author. I tried to give several pieces of advice there as I looked back over what I had learned and how the tired, sounds awake Michael Wehunt.jpgI had learned it. I also wrote a blog post (for Kendall Reviews) after I finished my first novel, which I think could be helpful to beginning writers. The single most important piece of advice I would offer a beginning writer would be to do the best you can with what time you have. Everyone’s life is unique, with different responsibilities, different circumstances, different rejections and different reasons for those rejections, not all of which have anything to do with the author. Try not to be jealous of those who are able to write far more than you do, or those who are finding success more quickly or easily than you are. You have your own variables, your own toolbox, and all those other writers are not your competition. Be happy for them, and they’ll be happy for you. We’re all in this together, just telling stories.

What’s next for you? Any new books or stories on the horizon?

I am, unfortunately, taking 2018 off as an author. It was a sad but necessary decision. But I have my first novel’s first draft waiting for edits, and my second collection of stories (tentative title: The Pine Arch Collection) is ready to go and will be a bit heftier than Greener Pastures. Before long I’ll be getting those two books into shape and sending them out on submission, so they are very much on the horizon, delayed as they are. Then I will turn to writing something shiny and new. Well, maybe extremely dark rather than shiny, but new all the same.

Let’s talk about books for a moment. What’s in your To Be Read pile right now? Any books you’re looking forward to in the future?

I am painfully behind on my TBR pile. The books I’m looking forward to have already been out for a while. Julian Barnes’ novel The Noise of Time. Lucia Berlin’s posthumous collection, A Manual for Cleaning Women. Kristi DeMeester’s first novel, Beneath. (Her story collection, Everything That’s Underneath, is really good.) Gwendolyn Kiste’s debut collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe. But there’s some exciting stuff out recently. Gemma Files (one of my favorite authors) has a new collection out. Jeffrey Ford’s new novel Ahab’s Return was just published. Simon Strantzas has a new collection in October. In the literary world, it will be a matter of doing some research to learn what 2018 releases I’ve painfully overlooked since being out of the loop. For now, though, I’m trying to focus on the mountain of books that already exists in my house.

Last question: where can people find your works?

I have a bibliography page that lists everything I’ve published with relevant links. I try to post regularly on my blog’s home page when something comes out or semi-regularly about miscellaneous topics such as thoughts on writing or the horror genre. Feel free to follow my blog and stay connected!

New Story Alert: ‘Night Shift at the Blue Acres Care Facility’

I mentioned a new submission acceptance and it’s officially out in the world!

My story ‘Night Shift at the Blue Acres Care Facility’ is featured on the third episode of the Hooks of Horror Podcast!

Hooks of Horror

It’s a great new podcast that gives a prompt every month that is then recorded and put out. The narrator does an incredible job. The show is high quality. I’ve included a link below:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/hooks-of-horror/id1409415525?mt=2#episodeGuid=5b88dcbbe17657bc09eb42c8

Enjoy!