Sunday, May 28, 2017

The Boulevard Monster by Jeremy Hepler

Jeremy Hepler has arrived! The Boulevard Monster is his debut book, but it didn't feel like a debut at all! I really enjoyed this one! The Boulevard Monster is published by Bloodshot Books.

The Boulevard Monster is written in the first person, narrated by the main character, Seth Fowler. This book reads like a confessional. This book gets off to a pretty quick start when Seth finds a corpse in the back of a friend's truck. His friend goes missing, and that is when Seth is pulled into a job by the mysterious Luther. Seth doesn't seem to notice the blue jays. The strange man offers Seth a job that will give him the extra money that he has been needing. Seth is a construction foreman by day, and on occasional nights, he gets rid of bodies for Luther. Seth buries the bodies in his construction sites. The mysterious Luther knows all about Seth's family. Seth must never get caught or he will end up dead like his friend. After a while, things start to unravel. Seth's brother-in-law and the cops are on Seth's heels. Seth becomes paranoid, which makes the book that much better. I will stop there because I don't want to give anything away.

This book reads well. The story unfolds perfectly. There weren't many twists and turns, but this story didn't need many. It is the dread, the inevitability that something was going to happen. Jeremy Hepler does a great job of making the reader like the main character. Seth Fowler seems to be a genuinely good dude. This is a "what would you do" type of story that keeps you on the edge of your seat. The characters are easily relatable, and the author gives just enough background information about them. That ending was crazy! The reader has to decide whether or not they believe Seth's story! Was the story true or is Seth losing his grip on reality?

I thoroughly enjoyed The Boulevard Monster! I will forever be skeptical of blue jays! I can't wait to read Jeremy Hepler's next book!

I recommend this book to fans of horror!

4.5/5 devilish blue jays!


Saturday, May 27, 2017

Gwendy's Button Box by Stephen King and Richard Chizmar

I have been waiting for this book for a while now! I bought the autographed hardcover from Cemetery Dance Publications!

12-year-old Gwendy Peterson runs up and down the Suicide Stairs in the summer of 1974. She wants to lose weight because she doesn't want to get picked on. One day, a man in black jeans, a black coat, and a black hat sits on a bench in the shade at the top of the Suicide Stairs. The man in black has appeared in Stephen King's work for a while now. The man in black is known as Randall Flagg, R.F., Walter O'Dim, but in this story, he goes by the alias Richard Farris. After they converse, Richard Farris gives Gwendy a button box. The box has buttons and levers. I won't tell you what the buttons are for, but the two levers are for rare coins and chocolates. The coins are for her to use as she sees fit. The chocolates increase Gwendy's intelligence and get rid of her hunger. I will stop there because I don't want to give too much away.

Gwendy's button box is great! I read this novella in one sitting! I couldn't put it down! The story unfolds quickly and the chapters are short. The two authors voices flow well together, but there are a few times that you can tell who wrote certain parts if you are familiar with the authors' work. I have seen mixed reviews about this novella and I honestly don't know why. Gwendy's Button Box showcases Stephen King's and Richard Chizmar's writing skills. This little book packs a powerful punch! I hope Stephen King and Richard Chizmar collaborate again soon!

After reading this novella, I think the button box had something to do with the explosion in Castle Rock, Maine.

I highly recommend this novella to fans of horror!

5/5 buttons!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Dark Screams: Volume Seven by Brian James Freeman and Richard Chizmar

This is probably the best anthology that I have read in quite a while! There are two short stories that were previously published by Cemetery Dance Publications, which are LIZARDMAN and SNOW SHADOWS. This anthology contains some great authors! I'm talking about Kaaron Warren, Brian Hodge, Mick Garris, Robert McCammon, Bill Schweigart, and James Renner! Each story packs a powerful punch! This is definitely the best Dark Screams so far! There isn't a bad or mediocre story in this anthology.

LIZARDMAN by Robert McCammon: An old swamp rat by the name of Lizardman goes gator hunting in the Florida swamps. Legend has it that a pesky gator called Old Pope lives in the Florida swamp. Lizardman confronts Old Pope, and gets far more than what he was looking for! A great story!
5/5 gator skins!

A MONSTER COMES TO ASHDOWN FOREST (IN WHICH CHRISTOPHER ROBIN SAYS GOODBYE) by James Renner: This is a great story about a geriatric Christopher Robin who wants to visit the Hundred Acre Wood one last time. This is a creepy and unique story! One of my favorite stories in this anthology!
5/5 honey jars!

FURTHEREST by Kaaron Warren: The dunes hold a mysterious secret waiting to be discovered. The story unfolds perfectly. This is a spooky story about corpses, cookouts, and campfires.
4.5/5 corpses!

WEST OF MATAMOROS, NORTH OF HELL by Brian Hodge: A popular band heads to Mexico for a photo shoot, but the trip doesn't go as planned. The band has fans in Mexico that are willing to kill to find out where they get their inspiration from.
4.5/5 stars!

THE EXPEDITION by Bill Schweigart: Hitler orders Lieutenant Dietrich Drexler to lead a team of soldiers and scholars into the ruins in the Carpathian Mountains. The mission is to find artifacts that could result in new insights about the history of the Aryan race. The mission is derailed by a wolf that tracks their journey. A great historical horror story! One of my favorite stories in this anthology!
5/5 fangs!

SNOW SHADOWS by Mick Garris: A school teacher has a one-night stand with a colleague. A tragic story about suicide and a deadly rivalry. An excellent winter horror story that will stay with you long after you read it!
5/5 stars!

I highly recommend this anthology to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!

Guest Post by Tim Meyer

TOP 10 FICTIONAL SHARKS
By Tim Meyer, Author of Sharkwater Beach

This was a difficult list to piece together. On one hand we have the outrageous and obscure; on the other we have some beloved monster movie sharks, some which are truly terrifying sea creatures. I tried to balance the two and compile a list of fictional sharks everyone might enjoy. Also, keeping my new book SHARKWATER BEACH in mind, I picked some sharks that my own gargantuan sea monster can relate to. Enjoy!



10 – Hammerhead (Dino Riders) – This obscure, late 80s cartoon that only ran 14 episodes might not be on everyone's radar, but I grew up watching this show religiously. Hammerhead was one of the main antagonists. Everything was unsettling about him (at least from a five-year-old's perspective) - from his appearance to his voice. He definitely helped make the cult classic show memorable.



9 – Sharktopus – The Roger Corman-produced, Eric Roberts-starring science fiction direct-to-SyFy channel film is... well, it isn't that good, let's be honest. But it's definitely not the worst sharksploitation flick out there, in fact, parts are quite enjoyable. The concept of the sea monster itself is great, and in some shots, it actually looks great. And if these types of movies are up your alley, check out Sharktopus vs Whalewolf! Yes! These are real movies!



8 – MEGA SHARK – Look at that: another ridiculous B-movie shark makes the list. Mega Shark does it all in its lone movie and subsequent sequels. It eats planes, bridges, submarines, battles a giant octopus (also a crocodile), and even goes to war with a state-of-the-art submarine shark. The movies are laughable, yet mindless fun, and the giant shark's escapades are highly entertaining to watch.



7 – Peter Benchley's Creature/White Shark – Certainly not his best book, Peter Benchley's White Shark is still worthy of a beach read. It was turned into a television mini-series starring Craig T. Nelson and Kim Cattrall and titled Creature, and as far as late-90s mini-series go, it wasn't that bad. The Nazi-experiments-gone-terribly-wrong plot was perhaps overdone, but the half-human, half-shark creature looked bad-ass on the small screen, and the movie effects still hold up surprisingly well.



6 – King Shark – DC's supervillian hasn't gotten the mainstream attention he probably deserves. Originally conceived as a Superboy villain in the early 90s, King Shark has made appearances all throughout the DC universe, most notably in the Suicide Squad comics. He was set to appear in the Suicide Squad movie, but it seems his character was nixed because of his likeness to Killer Croc. He also made an appearance on the television show The Flash.



5 – Street Sharks – Part Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles rip-off, part mid-90s cartoon cheese, Street Sharks was 100% after school/homework fun. After a mad scientist splices their genes with that of amphibious predators, four hip teenagers transform into human-shark monsters that end up prowling the streets of their beloved dark metropolis, seeking revenge on the mad scientist who turned them and pinned the abominations on their missing father. Whoa. Heavy. Like most 90s cartoons, the 40 episodes don't exactly hold up, but the writing was decent and the content was bizarre enough to bank a spot on this list.



4 – The Sharks from Deep Blue Sea – I loved this movie and watched it almost weekly when it came out on video. The sharks in Deep Blue Sea were highly intelligent creatures, products of an experiment aimed to use their brains in the fight against Alzheimer's disease. The movie plays out much like you'd expect – the sharks rebel and break free and wreak havoc on the entire research facility, compiling an impressive body count. Spoiler Alert – the Samuel Jackson death scene is one of my favorite on-screen shark kills of ALL-TIME. 



3 – A Sharknado – I can't speak for the sequels, but the original Sharknado film was one of the best television experiences I ever had. When it was over, I felt satisfied in a way no other SyFy movie ever came close. Sure, I love ludicrous B-movies as much as the next person, but rarely do I enjoy them as much as I had Sharknado. It was the perfect B-movie that didn't try hard to be anything other than what it was. Whoever came up with the idea of fusing sharks with tornados should win some sort of important award.



2 – Steve Alten's MEG – Anyone who writes a giant shark book nowadays can trace their influences to Steve Alten's novel about an enormous shark from the late Cretaceous, who survived by keeping to the darkest depths of the Mariana Trench. Alten's villain is a vicious monster who kills and destroys everything in its path – basically everything you want from a giant shark novel. They're making a movie starring Jason Statham that's due out sometime in 2018.



1 – Bruce (JAWS) – Universally considered the best shark movie ever made (and with good reason), Spielberg's horror movie about a killer great white terrorizing a small New England town still holds up today. It's one of the first horror movies I ever watched, and it scared the pants off me. Unless you've been locked away in a broom closet since 1975, you've probably heard of it. It's big deal. The savage shark in JAWS will forever make me skeptical of dipping my toes in the ocean.

Honorable mentions: Sand Sharks, Bruce (Finding Nemo), Jabberjaw, Land Shark (okay, not a shark per se, but a tasty alcoholic beverage), the shark from The Shallows, and Ghost Sharks.

What are some of your favorite fictional sharks?


Sharkwater Beach, Synopsis 

Print Length: 180 pages
Publication Date: May 13, 2017
Publisher: Severed Press

Beneath the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the biggest predator on the planet hunts, craving the flesh and blood of every creature it can sink its teeth into. Detective Jill McCourty receives a phone call from her old college professor when a mangled body washes up on the shores of Sharkwater Beach. Together they must discover what stalks the waters around the private island and stop it before it reaches the mainland. But how do you stop something so enormous, something so unique that it may have existed in another time? Jill vows to make sure what happens at Sharkwater Beach, stays at Sharkwater Beach.


Tim Meyer, Biography

Tim Meyer dwells in a dark cave near the Jersey Shore. He’s an author, husband, father, podcast host, blogger, coffee connoisseur, beer enthusiast, and explorer of worlds. He writes horror, mysteries, science fiction, and thrillers, although he prefers to blur genres and let the stories fall where they may. Among other titles, he’s previously published the short story collection, Worlds Between My Teeth.

You can follow Tim at 
https://timmeyerwrites.com where he has great content and features author interviews and you can sign-up for his newsletter! Like his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/authortimmeyer or you can also find him on Twitter as @timmeyer11.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Childe Roland to the Dark Tower Came by Robert Browning

I
My first thought was, he lied in every word,
That hoary cripple, with malicious eye
Askance to watch the working of his lie
On mine, and mouth scarce able to afford
Suppression of the glee, that pursed and scored
Its edge, at one more victim gained thereby.

II
What else should he be set for, with his staff?
What, save to waylay with his lies, ensnare
All travellers who might find him posted there,            10
And ask the road? I guessed what skull-like laugh
Would break, what crutch 'gin write my epitaph
For pastime in the dusty thoroughfare,

III
If at his counsel I should turn aside
Into that ominous tract which, all agree
Hides the Dark Tower.  Yet acquiescingly
I did turn as he pointed: neither pride
Nor hope rekindling at the end descried
So much as gladness that some end might be.

IV
For, what with my whole world-wide wandering,
What with my search drawn out thro' years, my hope         20
Dwindled into a ghost not fit to cope
With that obstreperous joy success would bring,
I hardly tried now to rebuke the spring
My heart made, finding failure in its scope.

V
As when a sick man very near to death
Seems dead indeed, and feels begin and end
The tears and takes the farewell of each friend,
And hears one bid the other go, draw breath
Freelier outside ("since all is o'er," he saith,
"And the blow fallen no grieving can amend");              30

VI
While some discuss if near the other graves
Be room enough for this, and when a day
Suits best for carrying the corpse away,
With care about the banners, scarves and staves:
And still the man hears all, and only craves
He may not shame such tender love and stay.

VII
Thus, I had so long suffered in this quest,
Heard failure prophesied so oft, been writ
So many times among "The Band"--to wit,
The knights who to the Dark Tower's search addressed       40
Their steps--that just to fail as they, seemed best,
And all the doubt was now--should I be fit?

VIII
So, quiet as despair, I turned from him,
That hateful cripple, out of his highway
Into the path he pointed.  All the day
Had been a dreary one at best, and dim
Was settling to its close, yet shot one grim
Red leer to see the plain catch its estray.

IX
For mark! no sooner was I fairly found
Pledged to the plain, after a pace or two,                 50
Than, pausing to throw backward a last view
O'er the safe road, 'twas gone; grey plain all round:
Nothing but plain to the horizon's bound.
I might go on; nought else remained to do.

X
So, on I went.  I think I never saw
Such starved ignoble nature; nothing throve:
For flowers-as well expect a cedar grove!
But cockle, spurge, according to their law
Might propagate their kind, with none to awe,
You'd think; a burr had been a treasure trove.             60

XI
No! penury, inertness and grimace,
In some strange sort, were the land's portion.  "See
Or shut your eyes," said Nature peevishly,
"It nothing skills: I cannot help my case:
'Tis the Last Judgment's fire must cure this place,
Calcine its clods and set my prisoners free."

XII
If there pushed any ragged thistle-stalk
Above its mates, the head was chopped; the bents
Were jealous else.  What made those holes and rents
In the dock's harsh swarth leaves, bruised as to baulk     70
All hope of greenness? 'tis a brute must walk
Pashing their life out, with a brute's intents.

XIII
As for the grass, it grew as scant as hair
In leprosy; thin dry blades pricked the mud
Which underneath looked kneaded up with blood.
One stiff blind horse, his every bone a-stare,
Stood stupefied, however he came there:
Thrust out past service from the devil's stud!

XIV
Alive? he might be dead for aught I know,
With that red gaunt and colloped neck a-strain,            80
And shut eyes underneath the rusty mane;
Seldom went such grotesqueness with such woe;
I never saw a brute I hated so;
He must be wicked to deserve such pain.

XV
I shut my eyes and turned them on my heart.
As a man calls for wine before he fights,
I asked one draught of earlier, happier sights,
Ere fitly I could hope to play my part.
Think first, fight afterwards--the soldier's art:
One taste of the old time sets all to rights.              90

XVI
Not it! I fancied Cuthbert's reddening face
Beneath its garniture of curly gold,
Dear fellow, till I almost felt him fold
An arm in mine to fix me to the place
That way he used.  Alas, one night's disgrace!
Out went my heart's new fire and left it cold.

XVII
Giles then, the soul of honour--there he stands
Frank as ten years ago when knighted first.
What honest man should dare (he said) he durst.
Good-=but the scene shifts--faugh! what hangman hands     100
Pin to his breast a parchment?  His own bands
Read it.  Poor traitor, spit upon and curst!

XVIII
Better this present than a past like that;
Back therefore to my darkening path again!
No sound, no sight as far as eye could strain.
Will the night send a howlet or a bat?
I asked: when something on the dismal flat
Came to arrest my thoughts and change their train.

XIX
A sudden little river crossed my path
As unexpected as a serpent comes.                         110
No sluggish tide congenial to the glooms;
This, as it frothed by, might have been a bath
For the fiend's glowing hoof--to see the wrath
Of its black eddy bespate with flakes and spumes.

XX
So petty yet so spiteful!  All along,
Low scrubby alders kneeled down over it
Drenched willows flung them headlong in a fit
Of mute despair, a suicidal throng:
The river which had done them all the wrong,
Whate'er that was, rolled by, deterred no whit.           120

XXI
Which, while I forded,--good saints, how I feared
To set my foot upon a dead man's cheek,
Each step, or feel the spear I thrust to seek
For hollows, tangled in his hair or beard!
--It may have been a water-rat I speared,
But, ugh! it sounded like a baby's shriek.

XXII
Glad was I when I reached the other bank.
Now for a better country.  Vain presage!
Who were the strugglers, what war did they wage,
Whose savage trample thus could pad the dank              130
Soil to a plash? Toads in a poisoned tank,
Or wild cats in a red-hot iron cage--

XXIII
The fight must so have seemed in that fell cirque.
What penned them there, with all the plain to choose?
No foot-print leading to that horrid mews,
None out of it.  Mad brewage set to work
Their brains, no doubt, like galley-slaves the Turk
Pits for his pastime, Christians against Jews.

XXIV
And more than that--a furlong on--why, there!
What bad use was that engine for, that wheel,             140
Or brake, not wheel--that harrow fit to reel
Men's bodies out like silk? with all the air
Of Tophet's tool, on earth left unaware
Or brought to sharpen its rusty teeth of steel.

XXV
Then came a bit of stubbed ground, once a wood,
Next a marsh, it would seem, and now mere earth
Desperate and done with; (so a fool finds mirth,
Makes a thing and then mars it, till his mood
Changes and off he goes!) within a rood--
Bog, clay and rubble, sand and stark black dearth.        150

XXVI
Now blotches rankling, coloured gay and grim,
Now patches where some leanness of the soil's
Broke into moss or substances like boils;
Then came some palsied oak, a cleft in him
Like a distorted mouth that splits its rim
Gaping at death, and dies while it recoils.

XXVII
And just as far as ever from the end!
Nought in the distance but the evening, nought
To point my footstep further! At the thought
A great black bird, Apollyon's bosom-friend,              160
Sailed past, nor beat his wide wing dragon-penned
That brushed my cap--perchance the guide I sought.

XXVIII
For, looking up, aware I somehow grew,
'Spite of the dusk, the plain had given place
All round to mountains--with such name to grace
Mere ugly heights and heaps now stolen in view.
How thus they had surprised me,--solve it, you!
How to get from them was no clearer case.

XXIX
Yet half I seemed to recognize some trick
Of mischief happened to me, God knows when--              170
In a bad dream perhaps.   Here ended, then,
Progress this way.  When, in the very nick
Of giving up, one time more, came a click
As when a trap shuts--you're inside the den!

XXX
Burningly it came on me all at once,
This was the place! those two hills on the right
Crouched like two bulls locked horn in horn in fight;
While to the left, a tall scalped mountain . . . Dunce,
Dotard, a-dozing at the very nonce,
After a life spent training for the sight!                180

XXXI
What in the midst lay but the Tower itself?
The round squat turret, blind as the fool's heart,
Built of brown stone, without a counterpart
In the whole world.  The tempest's mocking elf
Points to the shipman thus the unseen shelf
He strikes on, only when the timbers start.

XXXII
Not see? because of night perhaps?--why, day
Came back again for that! before it left,
The dying sunset kindled through a cleft:

The hills, like giants at a hunting, lay,                 190
Chin upon hand, to see the game at bay,--
"Now stab and end the creature--to the heft!"

XXXIII
Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled
Increasing like a bell.  Names in my ears
Of all the lost adventurers my peers,--
How such a one was strong, and such was bold,
And such was fortunate, yet each of old
Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.

XXXIV
There they stood, ranged along the hill-sides, met
To view the last of me, a living frame                    200
For one more picture! in a sheet of flame
I saw them and I knew them all.  And yet
Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,
And blew.  "Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

DREAMING AT THE TOP OF MY LUNGS: A HORROR COLLECTION by Israel Finn

I have heard great things about Israel Finn's writing. I've been wanting to buy this collection for a while, but I was hesitant because of the price. After reading this great collection I can safely say that it is well worth it!

This collection is filled with ten dark tales. These tales will make you think twice. Most of these stories are relevant given the times that we live in.

Israel Finn gets the collection going with Stranded. Have you ever needed some time alone? You will probably think twice before saying that after you read Stranded. A man is caught in a bizarre time loop.

No Such Thing As Monsters is about a little boy who has a monster under his bed. His father tells him there is no such thing as monsters. The father is wrong! Awesome story!

Sick Day is great and it will make you gag!

The Messenger is one of my favorite stories in this collection! It is a think piece about society, and how people lose their voice when they don't want to get involved. I can hear the chainsaw! I can feel her tongue being pulled out!

Deadfall Lane is about a married couple who separate, and the wife wants to take their son. Pete couldn't let Deb take their son. This story is about how actions have consequences. This story was crazy good!

Water and War is a great story about an alien! Thought-provoking!

Stones is another story that will make you think!

Deathbed is about a father who is dying at the hospital. His son has a promise to make, and he wants his dad to hear it before he dies. Great story!

To Catch a Fly is written in a journal format by an inmate named Eddic. It is basically Eddie's autobiography about why he is in prison. Great story!

Ugly is one of my favorite stories in this collection! This story is about a bus ride that has a wide variety of characters including an ugly old lady. This story will make you think about the meaning of the word ugly. Great story!

This is my first time reading Israel Finn, but it won't be my last! I will definitely read his other work! Each story makes you think. It is a thought-provoking collection that will make you think about the subject matter long after you are done reading it.

I highly recommend this short story collection to fans of horror!

5/5 stars!



Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Loch Ness Revenge by Hunter Shea

Hunter Shea does it again! Twins Natalie and Austin McQueen watched their parents get eaten by the Loch Ness Monster. Natalie has spent the last 20 years of her life searching and planning her revenge. She still has nightmares about her parents' death. Natalie reunites with Austin at the loch. They manage to get a "crazy" guy and a hired hand (a guy who has weapons to kill the Loch Ness Monster).

Loch Ness Revenge reads full tilt boogie! There are no dull moments in the storyline, but I think the book ended too soon. Hunter Shea keeps you on the edge of your seat. The author does a great job of describing the scenes as well. It felt like I was on a boat in the middle of the loch. This story also has a fair amount of humor, which balances nicely with the tension. Hunter Shea will have you laughing and he makes it hard not to root for the characters.

There is plenty of action to go around, so grab a beer and hold on tight. I think my favorite part was when Austin scares Natalie. I just knew something bad was going to happen.

I highly recommend this book to fans of horror and the Loch Ness Monster!

4/5 stars!



Sunday, May 14, 2017

Black Site by Michael Patrick Hicks

Michael Patrick Hicks has crafted a creepy think piece. Black Site is about a cloning experiment gone very wrong. The black site is located at a defunct mining site. The author reveals the history behind the black site as the story progresses. Alpha (a clone of Papa) is leading the cloning experiments. There have been several clone failures, but Victor seems promising. Echo is the purist clone of Papa, but because of an accident, she is the only female. Alpha and Echo have a sexual relationship trying to have offspring. There is something different about the latest clone, Victor. He has a power that the other clone can't control. That is when all hell breaks loose!

Michael Patrick Hicks makes the reader think about creation and multiverses. Black Site is a quick, fast-paced read that ends with a bang! I thoroughly enjoyed this short story! The author is descriptive and the scenes are vivid!

I highly recommend this short story to fans of sci-fi and horror!

4/5 stars!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Interview With Patrick Lacey

Hey, Patrick! Thanks for doing this interview!

      CHHR: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Patrick: Roughly five minutes ago. Kidding. I initially toyed with the idea in third grade when I wrote my first novel, an unauthorized Goosebumps book entitled The Cursed Scorpion. After that, I started writing monster stories on a fairly regular basis. In sixth grade, my English teacher, Mr. Price, told me I couldn’t write anymore of said monster stories because they weren’t normal. I didn’t listen to her and she resigned by the next year. I’d like to think I had something to do with that.

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?

Patrick: Does coffee count? Definitely coffee. If not, then a majestic wolf. I started buying majestic wolf items as a joke a few years back and eventually I realized I just liked majestic wolf items. There’s nothing ironic about it.

CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like?

Patrick: I try to do roughly 1,000 words every day but life gets in the way. I don’t have a whole lot of free time so I often have to sneak some words in during my day job lunch breaks or late at night. It all evens out. Last year, I was convinced I’d barely written anything at all. Until I tallied up my year-long work output: two and a half novels, a novella, and five short stories. Somewhere around 138,000 words. Those words—they add up after a while, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing quirks? If so, what are they?

Patrick: Nothing outrageous. I typically need a cup of coffee in my hand at all stages of the process. I tend to procrastinate as much as possible in the moments leading up to the actual writing session, so as to get it out of my system. When writing, I need complete and utter silence. When editing, I prefer background noise and distraction.

CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?

Patrick: I go with the flow as much as possible. Outlines are too rigid for me but as I’ve gained more experience, I tend to do some light mental plotting. I prescribe to the “headlight theory,” which states that you can only see as far in to your writing as you would while driving at night with headlights on. You see maybe the next chapter or two but that’s it.

CHHR: How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

Patrick: It taught me not to assume all of my work is garbage, though I still often do. The curse of being a writer, I suppose. I’d written six—count ‘em—six books before submitting my novella A Debt to be Paid, which was accepted by Don D’Auria over at Samhain. After that, I decided to just write the best book I could and submit it. Worst case scenario: it fails and I move onto the next one.

CHHR: What do you like to do when you are not writing? Any interesting hobbies?

Patrick: Most of my non-writing time is taken up by reading, but I consider that part of writing. Call it research if you want. If we’re not counting that, I watch quite a lot of horror movies and have a weekly review segment on the Dark Discussions podcast called Terror Tantrums. I also play guitar. Also, is coffee a hobby? Definitely coffee.

CHHRWhat do you think makes a good story?

Patrick: That’s a tough one. For me, it’s often the way in which a story is approached. I’d much rather read a familiar trope that’s written in a fresh way than a wholly original concept (if such a thing still exists) that’s written as boring as can be. Also, if you throw a cult into anything, I’ll devour it.

CHHR: What are you currently working on?

Patrick: I just wrapped the second draft of a novel about a demonic pop star. I think it might be good. One or two more drafts and I’ll be ready to shop it around. I have my next three books set up. It’s just a matter of finding the time for those daily 1,000 words. And maybe I’ll sleep at some point.

CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?

Patrick: Currently reading John Langan’s The Fisherman and digging it very much. Up next, I have Matt Hayward’s short story collection Brain Dead Blues, Megan Abbott’s You Will Know Me, and Josh Malerman’s Bird Box. Then I’m caught up. Aside from the 1.5 thousand other books on the list.

CHHR: What authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

Patrick: I’ve been lucky enough to become good friends with a plethora of authors who I deeply respect over the last few years. My buddy Matt Hayward (see TBR list above) and I recently co-wrote a novel that I’m quite proud of. Kind of like Nightmare on Elm Street meets True Detective. It taught me a lot about collaboration that had been missing from my vocabulary. Then there are Adam Cesare, Matt Serafini, and Tony Tremblay and a billion others. The horror fiction community is a welcoming bunch of nerds that I hold close to my heart.

CHHR: Do you have any advice for writers who are just starting out and trying to get published?

Patrick: First, read a bunch, then write a bunch. You’re probably going to suck at first and want to give up but if you keep doing it, you’ll miraculously get better. Also: take it seriously. If you go a couple days without writing and you aren’t getting cranky or antsy, this probably isn’t the venture for you. The same goes for issues with rejection or criticism. Go do something less soul-sucking like bowling or origami. Trust me: you’ll be much happier. But if you truly dig pouring your heart and soul into making stuff up, don’t let anyone tell you to give up.

Author Bio:  Patrick Lacey was born and raised in a haunted house. He spends his nights and weekends writing about things that make the general public uncomfortable. He lives in Massachusetts with his Pomeranian and his muse, who is likely trying to kill him. Find him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter (@patlacey), or visit his website at    https://patrickclacey.wordpress.com. 

Patrick Lacey will be donating all his proceeds from We Came Back to the American Cancer Society in memory of his dad, who lost his battle with cancer.

Fuck cancer! (excuse my language) Let's all punch cancer right in the dick by buying We Came Back by Patrick Lacey. 

Praise for Patrick Lacey
"WE CAME BACK is an emotional trip through our darkest fears. One of the best books I've read in years."--Kristopher Rufty, author of SOMETHING VIOLENT, DESOLATION, and JAGGER.
“The man's imagination is incredible. A must read!!!!” – David Bernstein, author of A Mixed Bag of Blood
“It's a rare and joyful thing for me to read a book and realize I'm in the hands of an author who can go absolutely anywhere, who works without a formula and without a net. Such is the case with this stellar debut collection.” – Russell Coy, author of The One Who Lies Next to You
Patrick Lacey’s Dream Woods works a razor’s edge into an after school special.”
– Unnerving Magazine