Monday, July 30, 2018

THE NIGHT CHURCH by Whitley Strieber



THE NIGHT CHURCH is good. It isn't great and it isn't all that terrible. It's somewhere in the middle. I didn't care for any of the characters. The plot is very interesting, though. I had to know what was going on in that church. By day, Catholics fill the pews, but at night, Satanists worship at the tiny chapel in Kew Gardens, Queens. 

The Satanic cult is using ancient rituals to birth and raise the "anti-man" or Monstrum–children raised under hypnosis. The Satanic cult is trying to wipe out the human race. THE NIGHT CHURCH is about young love, but the story falls apart along the way. The term "anti-man" is used over and over again. 

The New York City grit adds some spice to a mediocre book. THE NIGHT CHURCH had so much potential. I think if I read it in the 80s, then it would've been a different reading experience. Some books are meant for a certain time, while others are timeless. I would've probably liked this one more had I read it in the 80s. If you dig 80s horror, then this book is right up your alley. 

2/5 stars! ⭐⭐

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

STIRRING THE SHEETS by Chad Lutzke



STIRRING THE SHEETS is a beautiful novella of love and loss. It is a deeply emotional tale of loneliness and letting go. Bloodshot Books does a great job with this book. The cover art is enthralling and the book is edited well. 

Chad Lutzke writes like there's no tomorrow. He leaves it all on the pages. The characters in this book are given just enough depth to flourish. You get to find out a great deal in a short period of time. The supporting cast is every bit as intriguing as the main characters. 

Emmett is an old decrepit funeral home worker who can't quite cope with the loss of his beloved wife. He spends his lonely nights on the couch. He seeks refuge in the most disturbing way imaginable. 

STIRRING THE SHEETS is equal parts captivating and creepy. I loved every single page of this book. Chad Lutzke's writing is superb. This character-driven story reads quick and the ending is to my liking. There isn't any fluff or wasted words. The story stays tight, and there are no hiccups in the storyline. 

This is my first time reading Chad Lutzke, but it definitely won't be the last. STIRRING THE SHEETS packs one helluva punch–I'm talking emotional. If you like great characters and storytelling, then this novella is the one for you.   

Highly Recommend!

5/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Saturday, July 21, 2018

VIDEO NIGHT by Adam Cesare



Adam Cesare can write. He can review excellent horror movies, too. This is the second printing of VIDEO NIGHT. It was first published by Samhain, but sadly that publication is no longer around. This second printing is from Cesare's Black T-Shirt Books. I hope his publishing company takes off. Black T-Shirt Books has an excellent lineup of books. You guys should really check them out when you get a chance.

VIDEO NIGHT is everything I want in a horror movie. Adam Cesare gets the nostalgia of the 1980s. He packs a helluva one-two combo of vivid scenes and intriguing characters. If you are looking for a creature feature, then VIDEO NIGHT is the book for you. Damn... just thinking about this book makes me want to walk through my old video store one last time. Just one. Why couldn't cool things like this happen when I was in high school? Now, as for this book review, let's get to it.


Billy and Tom are best friends, but life is taking them down different paths. School is almost out and they want to make the best of it with one final video night. They've seen everything in their small video store. They can invite some girls over and grab a pizza. It will be a VIDEO NIGHT to remember! Something's about to invade a small town in Long Island. The town's occupants are vulnerable and unaware of the invasion. 


Adam Cesare has written an infectious creature feature. VIDEO NIGHT grabs you with its claws and plants an egg inside you, making you think about the good old days. VIDEO NIGHT is a tome. Other authors can learn a thing or two from this great read.  This book has the essentials: great characters, monsters, mayhem, gore, and nostalgia. 


Adam Cesare's writing style is distinct. He reads quick. I couldn't put this book down. He delivers the fun. You don't simply read VIDEO NIGHT, you experience it. Everyone should read VIDEO NIGHT. 

HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

5/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Friday, July 20, 2018

Interview With Mark Matthews



CHHR: Please give a brief introduction here.

I’m the author of Milk-Blood, All Smoke Rises, and Body of Christ, among others. Most of my writing is usually described as dark, but it’s not on purpose, it’s just what comes out. I’m a pretty happy person, actually, and quite a dorky dad, but I’ve been through some dark stuff (haven’t we all). By age 23, I was bleeding internally from alcoholism but still drinking each day from time I woke up. I used every drug I could get my hands on and picked up returnables from car washes to get my morning vodka. I eventually got clean and sober, and went back to get my degree. I was inspired to pursue a career in helping others same way I was helped, and I’ve worked in the field of behavioral health and substance abuse treatment for over 20 years.

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

I worshipped writers growing up. Books shaped who I am. They comforted me in those moments where I felt so outside the world I was living in. A book always normalized my abnormalities.


CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like? 

I write in obsessive bits, getting sucked into stories where I carry around my latop everywhere. Or I don’t write at all. Nothing I’ve ever written worth reading wasn’t written in a bit of frenzy. Heavy doses of manic madness that my family helps keep in check.

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

I’ve often latched on to a song to match the tone of what I am writing. For example, On the Lips of Children is Seven Nation Army. Milk-Blood is Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida. All Smoke Rises is Cosmic Love (Florence + the Machine)

CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?

 I like to expand the world of any short story I’ve ever written into Novellas, it seems. That is what happened with Body of Christ. I wrote it after getting an invite to the anthology Bad Apples, but couldn’t leave the story alone after published. I revisited the universe with a new character, doubled the content, and a novella was born. Milk-Blood started the same way. First just a piece of flash fiction (chapter 1) and a short story (the Damage Done) from the same universe. These two were fused together.  

CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?

Detroit has brought you It Follows, Don’t Breathe, and Josh Malerman (not to mention Ligotti). Detroit is a wonderful city, perhaps, like Horror, with a reputation more for its darkness, but where the rich beauty and character is ignored. It might be defined by its scars, but it’s been in a true rebirth. There’s a huge influx of youth into the city right now, (it’s the hip thing to live downtown right now if you’re 22 and just got your degree). Many neighborhoods are still suffering greatly. MILK-BLOOD takes place on a true street in Detroit in the middle of devastating urban despair and was inspired by some of my work as a social worker in the area.  All my stories are based on true settings.


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

I outline briefly but rarely follow for long. I also don’t always write linear, sometimes jumping ahead to write future scenes, and then modifying when the time comes.

CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?

My biggest fear is being boring. I want each page to compel you to read the next.  I write as if an impatient reader is looking to move on to something else, and my job is to make sure they stay.

CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story? 

Investment in a complex character, not necessarily admiration, is the hinge upon which every story swings. I think so many confuse a premise with a story. A premise builds a world, but the character shapes it, moves it.  And with horror, I feel we need to be shocked, to a degree. The best horror stories are those that have powerful moments of “Holy shit? Damn” were the writer speaks to unspoken truths we already feel. Example: A Quiet Place isn’t about creatures, to me, but the unspoken words of misery families live with, year after year in quiet desperation, and the monsters we fear if we should we be brave enough to speak on them with any bit of volume. All of us have a scream stuck in our throat, but hold them in while we sound-proof our lives.


CHHR: What are you currently working on?

I’m struggling through a story on Bipolar disease. To a degree, it will be about werewolves, but will never use the word werewolf.

CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?

I want to be well-read on Robert McCammon before I tug at his heels at Stokercon. Boys life is nearly done, Swan Song is started. My kindle is full of unread works. I buy so many books by writers just to support them, but impossible to get to them all.

CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?

Girl Next Door. Literally made me angry at God and question if any justice exists at all in this world. Besides that, a little known book called Watseka scared me silly. I was 12 when I read it, and I cherish how it ripped my face right off my head.  I haven’t reread it since; I fear I will wipe out that memory.


CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?

Impossible to answer question #1
Besides the bible… hmmmm.
Let me speak to the kind of favorite horror novel, something like Cujo, where the monster and setting speak to higher truths. Cujo may be about a monster dog, but it is really about isolation, suffocation, when all those you need to rely on turn their back on you and you’re trapped, alone, your world shrinking and oxygen running out, and all that you love is being threatened. That’s what we all face in life, all of us at one point, though none of us will likely face that rabid St. Bernard, we are all trapped inside that Pinto.


CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?

Impossible to answer question #2
The Sixth Sense to me was amazing for its depiction of the therapeutic relationship. Of late, Train to Busan made me weep. Loved A Quiet Place (still haven’t seen Heredity) The VVitch was amazing. I loved IT partly just because my daughter and I have bonded over it. Also a big fan of the Alien movies and The Evil Dead, and love me some Kaiju - War of the Gargantuas being tops on that list.


CHHR: What type of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite album?

Well, if I saved all my concert ticket stubs, I’d have 30 or more Grateful Dead shows. Adele, Jack Johnson, lots of lollapalooza’s, Indigo Girls, Ozzy multiple times. I’ve lately been taking an incredible deep dive into Leonard Cohen.  Fav album is probably Physical Graffiti by Led Zeppelin.

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?

A Sea Otter, for when they are doing their best work to survive, they are having such fun.

CHHR: What is your favorite beer?

Coors Light. Yes, probably a shitty beer by most people’s standards, but I loved it because it went down so smooth I could drink and drink and drink (and then drink)

CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?

Jack Kerouac. Or Edgar Allan Poe. All three of us could hang out and drink ourselves to death. On the Road is one novel that influenced my life more than any other, and Poe’s work is the gold standard for rich darkness. The kind of black soil we’ve all been growing things in since.  



Mark Matthews Amazon author page:
https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Matthews/e/B0058HDKC0

Body of Christ (just .99 cents)

MILK-BLOOD  (currently free!)

Garden of Fiends: Tales of Addiction Horror
(I’m the editor and contributing author, with tales by Jack Ketchum, Kealan Patrick Burke, Jessica McHugh, and more) 
https://www.amazon.com/Garden-Fiends-Tales-Addiction-Horror-ebook/dp/B06X9X1WYS 

Monday, July 16, 2018

COCKBLOCK by C.V. Hunt



CLOCKBLOCK is a gem of a horror story! In fact, it's extreme horror at its best. C.V. Hunt has written a tale that will stick with you. It is the perfect piece of literature for these times we're living in. This is my first time reading C.V. Hunt. I really didn't know what to expect. My jaw dropped every other page. COCKBLOCK is full of sex, violence, and death–the essentials to any great horror story. 

Sonya and Callie go on a date to their favorite spot. On the way to the restaurant, the two women are harassed and verbally assaulted by men. Catcalling and terrible pickup lines are aimed at Sonya and Callie. When those attempts fail, it quickly escalates into sexually violent acts. The men inside the restaurant are no different. They discover the origin of the mayhem coming from the restaurant's kitchen. The date turns into a mission to stop the chaos. 

Sexual depravity fill these pages. I can't unsee the images in this book because they are burned into my mind. COCKBLOCK is packed with imagery and action that will leave you in shock. At times I was thoroughly grossed out. The blisters are terrible. It hurts me just thinking about it.

COCKBLOCK is a commentary on our present-day situation. It looks at sexual harassment and the dumpster fire presidency that is going on right now. This novella is smart and clever. C.V. Hunt has. a style all her own. She can write with the best of them. She reads quick, too. 

From the beginning to the end, COCKBLOCK keeps you turning the page. There isn't a dull moment in the story. The characters are great. The storyline is solid. The scenes jump off the page. The ending is everything. 

Highly Recommend!

5/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Interview With Keith Anthony Baird



CHHR: Please give a brief introduction here.

I'm an English indie author living in the Lake District National Park in the county of Cumbria. My writing could be summed up by the broad term Dark Fiction, in that it can encompass genres such as horror, sci-fi, apocalyptic, dystopian, dark fantasy and crime.

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

I came to the table quite late so to speak. I'm currently 48 and didn't begin my first novel until the age of 45. There's lots of reasons for this but the main one is I simply wasn't ready, given the circumstances of my life, until I met my soulmate Ann, who supported me throughout the process of writing my debut novel.

CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like?

Pretty straightforward in truth. I'm 100% focused on penning my second novel. Until very recently I had a full-time job but felt shackled by it, in that I'd come home having spent the day sitting in front of a computer screen. The last thing I wanted to do was open my laptop and write after shifts dealing with customers, creating invoices and other dreary stuff. I simply wasn't getting enough writing done. So, my partner suggested I go part-time and free up my days to focus more on crafting stories. So far, it's working out well. I also spend some of that time marketing my first book and arranging things like attending conventions etc.



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

Nothing that's far out like getting the dog to point out words in the dictionary or flossing my ass before I sit down to write. I do, however, get up and pace around sometimes. I find it helps me work certain things out in my head. Sometimes just sitting there can feel a bit of a trap, especially when my thought process hits a brick wall. I guess if I feel a little bit fluid in movement it kind of translates to my thinking too. In truth, I've never really analysed it, but I guess that's probably the reason why I do it. If I couldn't do that I'd probably end up going into meltdown and doing a Michael Douglas in Falling Down.

CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?

Novels without a doubt. Short stories don't really float my boat. That may change at some point, but right now I have so many ideas in my head that I can envisage as being full-blown creations, that I just don't have a mindset for literary sound bites.


CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?

'Horror'ible. Locally, non-existent. Nationally, I'd say it's quite healthy with enough conventions and societies up and running that there's sufficient interest.

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

Both. My process is a complex one. It always has to start with inspiration of course and then it will evolve the more I think it through. I don't make a lot of notes but enough to get the essence of characters, setting and the rough outline of the story. I learnt to stay open to those bursts of inspiration that come further down the line when I penned my debut The Jesus Man. They can inject either a subplot I've not considered in the beginning, or some other idea which adds a new aspect to the story. I'd had that story clearly mapped out in my mind for some time but when it came to getting it put down, it evolved with what I call 'light bulb moments' which added new twists and turns. So, now I'm midway through creating my second novel, I'm sticking to the formula which I feel yields the desired result. Plus, I do a lot of research, because I feel I need to convince myself that what I'm writing holds water so to speak, and that's fundamental in making it believable to anyone else.

CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?

It established a benchmark for me. The thing is, I was a journalist for ten years so I'd spent a lot of time editing other people's copy. So that process, combined with revision work has always been a very natural thing to me. When it came to creative writing I already had a professional grounding in many aspects of the process. I was also a graphic designer, so things like typesetting and formatting were also second nature to me. So, it didn't so much as 'change' my writing process, but more like it was where I'd been leading up to for a long time. By the time I was ready to write a piece in excess of 100k words, and all the many dynamics that entails, my process and discipline were well oiled, efficient and 100% ready for the task at hand.

CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story?

A certain tension that's really a kind of an intangible ingredient. That thing which makes the whole story hang together. I guess it's a combination of different things, such as suspense, atmosphere and back story, and so on. Then of course the writer's own voice, their unique perspective on delivery and timing. Put it this way, it's the thing that if you could capture it and bottle it, you'd make a fortune from it.

CHHR: What are you currently working on?

My second novel titled Nexilexicon, which is a very different animal to my debut. I'm about midway through at this point and what starts off as a period piece adventure evolves into what I can only describe as a story which contains elements of horror, mystery and science fiction. I estimate it will have a bigger word count than my previous work and will probably be ready to put in the marketplace early 2019.

CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?
The Measurements of Decay by K K Edin is my read at the moment. Waiting in line is The Swallowed World by Tyler Bumpus, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins and my royalty statements from Amazon, lol.


 CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?

In truth, it was my debut. One element of it got under my skin at the time of its making. I'd created a character which was a construct of evil and brought into reality from a vision suffered by one of the story's principal characters. It was a little girl whose laughter was eerie and she carried a doll which spoke via a pull cord in its back. Now, generally I think it's fair to say I'm neither scared by little girls nor dolls, but the way in which I brought her into being and the manner in which she behaved, gave both my partner and me the creeps. In fact, so much so that when it came to going to sleep, we both would be hoping we'd not hear laughter in the house. Had we done so, I think it's safe to say we would have both freaked out completely. I recall a reader in America told me she'd really been given the 'what ifs' by the book and had been scared at bedtime the same, and a guy in the UK left a review stating he'd be pulling the bed sheets over his head. That kind of response is cool because it lets me know I've done the job right.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?

Dracula. Read it when I was a teenager, love it still.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?

The Thing (1982).

CHHR: What type of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite album?

I listen to many types. I enjoy classical at times, but the main genre I grew up with was Metal. I like Punk too and crossover/fusion bands interest me also.

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?

Never been asked that before and never even thought about the concept either. I'd have to have something quite obscure or, failing that, something completely absurd which appeals to my strange humour. Maybe a Honey Badger or maybe the grub they placed inside Chekov's head in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Something like that would be perfect.

CHHR: What is your favorite beer?

I no longer drink beer, it doesn't agree with me. In recent years it's been red wine, heavy ones such as Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon.

CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?

I'd suffer a beer to sit and have just twenty minutes with Lovecraft – that would be fascinating!




Tuesday, July 10, 2018

AETHERCHRIST by Kirk Jones





The digital era: Analog is all but dead, but the rusted towers still strobe on the evening horizon. They project a conflicting myriad of hope, despair and eyeless ghouls who claim to see the world in gigahertz. 


This is my first time reading Kirk Jones, but it won't be my last. AETHERCHRIST is a strong novella. The cover is aesthetically pleasing. I usually stay away from science fiction books, but this one looked dark, so I gave it a go. I wasn't disappointed in my decision to read this one. 

Rey lives a mundane life, selling knives from door-to-door. He wants to score with his boss. He also wants his coworker to stop showing him his penal region. As he is making his rounds in the backwoods of Vermont, he stumbles upon a house filled with analog televisions. Rey sees himself on all the television screens. That is when his world spirals out of control. 

Kirk Jones does a great job creating this trippy world. Rey is a solid protagonist. I had to know what was happening with Rey. Needless to say, this is a quick read that will blow your mind. It is a smart read. At times you will think about deep subjects and topics like destiny and the universe. 

My favorite part is the intervals that brought the history. I love history, guys! Learning about the history of analog televisions was incredible. Even though I don't normally read science fiction, I dug this story. Don't get me wrong, AETHERCHRIST also brings the horror. The characters were solid. The ending is great, too!

I will definitely be reading Kirk Jones' other works. If you haven't read him yet, then you should remedy that. 

Recommend!

4/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐

Saturday, July 7, 2018

WELCOME TO THE SHOW edited by Matt Hayward and Doug Murano



I have never read an anthology quite like this one! It contains 17 horror stories with one legendary venue. The cover grabs you by the short hairs and pulls you in. You can hear the music pouring out into the streets. You can smell the drugs and alcohol in the air. The Shantyman is the place to be. It has everything you need. 

This review will be spoiler free and synopsis free. I love a themed anthology! I love music! These stories contain everything you could possibly want from an anthology. From the first story to the last, this eclectic anthology stays strong. There isn't a bad story in the lot. WELCOME TO THE SHOW melts your face off. Some stories rip your face off, while others hit you right in the chest with an axe.  

Demons, monsters, other dimensions, and human sacrifice fill these pages. I have yet to see a more impressive line-up of authors in an anthology. GUTTED was my favorite anthology until I read this one. Each story brings something new and exciting to the table. I thought there would be at least one slow or boring story in the bunch, but there wasn't. I couldn't just stop at just one story. I had to devour this anthology completely in one bite. 

From the story arrangement to the editing, WELCOME TO THE SHOW is amazing! If I had to make a prediction, then I would say this anthology will win a Bram Stoker Award. WELCOME TO THE SHOW has the music and the scares. I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy! 

Crystal Lake Publishing keeps pumping out great anthologies and collections! You should check them out!

HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

5/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

GuestPost by E.N. Dahl

Story versus Script: Writing for both Books and the Big Screen
By E. N. Dahl

There are some writers out there who’ve successfully managed to write both books for traditional publication, and scripts for major TV and film projects. I’m not sure I’d call myself successful—I’ve won an award or two, had some novels out, but no major releases or advances—but I’ve given them a shot.

For all those prose writers out there looking to branch out to the screen, whether that involves coming up with original projects for would-be Hollywood producers or just adapting your own work for whatever indie darling comes your way, here are a few tips I’ve put together for my personal reference. Maybe they’ll help you too.

1: Do NOT include directing notes.
This is possibly the biggest, most important rule. If you saturate your script with camera directions and telling the actors what emotions to express, you’ll almost certainly get shot down. Maybe you won’t, but nobody likes being told what to do, especially if you’re a newbie. Plus, it’s easier for you that way. Stop worrying about what the camera’s doing unless it’s absolutely necessary to shoot a scene a particular way.

2: Invest in screenwriting software.
You don’t need to pay much. WriterDuet is free. You’ll need to pay to save as PDFs and all that, but seriously, trying to format a script on MS Word is awful. It’s very easy to do it wrong. Just try WriterDuet and see what happens.

3: Think of your script as anti-prose.
Scripts hinge almost entirely on quick, snappy description and dialogue. You don’t need a half-page description of how seedy and run down a particular place is. If it helps, think of your script more like a comic book. For example (keeping in mind, this isn’t proper formatting):

***

CRIME ALLEY—NIGHT
THOMAS, MARTHA, and YOUNG BRUCE walk down the alley. Dirt crunches underfoot. There’s graffiti on the walls. Trash piled up everywhere. A siren wails in the distance. The one flickering light reveals JOE CHILL watching from the shadows. We see him; they don’t.

***

Even that semi-colon might’ve gone too prose-oriented, but you get the point. Don’t worry about eloquence or full sentences. Some scripts succeed with beautiful, flowing (but still brief!) descriptions. Most don’t need that, unless you’re trying to convey mood, or working on a more unusual/experimental narrative.

4: Don’t be afraid to break the rules—including what I’ve said.
Some of the best movies in the industry came from nowhere, broke every rule, then broke every record. Consider some of the following lines from the opening to the script for Psycho:
The city is sunblanched white and its drifted-up noises are muted in their own echoes.
Or:
The very geography seems to give us a climate of nefariousness, of back-doorness, dark and shadowy. And secret.
Here, the writer is talking directly to the director, producers, and other staff. While, yes, this script is from 1959, so the rules and environment in Hollywood were a little different, we can see there’s a mystique to these lines, steeped in metaphor that can quickly and easily translate to film, contained to just one sentence or line each. In the recent version of Carrie, the titular character is described as “A terribly appealing little girl,” if that gives you a good reference.

5: Read scripts!
This is the one rule you absolutely shouldn’t break. Sure, there’s always a chance you’re a wunderkind who can write the next mega blockbuster without any experience, guidance, or familiarity with screenwriting, but the odds are infinitesimally small.

Stephen King famously said, “If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” The same applies to scripts.

Pick TV, film, shorts, whatever you want to read, just don’t look at this as a chore. Pick a favorite and see if you can get a script from its development. Psycho and Die Hard are both available online, for free. I’ve read through episodes of Brooklyn 99, as well as Carrie and Alien—all sorts of material. Just Google “Script online free” and you’ll find more material than you could possibly need (some sites offer this legally, some do not—use discretion to avoid piracy).

There are, of course, many more aspects to writing, whether prose or script, but these are the core elements for you short story or novel writers looking to branch out. Becoming a name for either the big or small screens takes work, luck, and divine intervention (possibly, if not probably, more than with books, given how cutthroat the industry can be) so I wish you the best.


Oh, and one last thing: do NOT write a screenplay about being a writer. It never works, and when it does, it still doesn’t. Now get back to writing!

Interview With E.N. Dahl


CHHR: Please give a brief introduction.

I’m E. N. Dahl. I grew up in the long shadows of tall trees, reading books about all things dark and strange. I’m also MTF transgender, which some might hide, but there are people all over the world who have to hide who they are, trans or otherwise. If my living openly helps them, I’m proud to do it.

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

Oof, that’s going back a long way. Early on. Very early. Maybe… eight? Nine? Childhood is this unending miasma of disconnected events, so I’m afraid I can’t really pin that one down.

CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like?

Write in the AM, edit in the PM. I ‘brainstorm’ by reading submission calls and just running with the topic, or taking a walk/doing yoga to get the blood flowing. 

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

I have to brush my teeth first. Morning breath/a weird taste in my mouth will drive me insane. You’d think insanity would help for writing horror, but sadly, it doesn’t. Not that particular kind, anyway.

CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?

Yes. Also screenplay!

CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?

Dead in the water, but so is the entire literary world. I live near a university, so there are sometimes cool book-related events or author signings that they open to the public, but beyond this, a copy of US Weekly is about as complex as the reading material gets for most people.

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

All flow. Well, once in a while I’ll use outlines. I’m more the reverse outline type, writing it all first, then charting things out to see what needs to move around, if anything.

CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?

It made me realize how exhausting it is to keep up publicity. I love writing guest articles, blog posts, etc., but finding those opportunities kills my productivity and inspiration. Guess that’s what an agent’s for, huh?

CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story? 

Rooting for the bad guy, or subverting tropes. I like seeing writers who not only know what clichés exist in their genre, but actively use those clichés to trick you.

CHHR: What are you currently working on?

That’s… a really good question. I’m mostly between projects, but I’ve been chipping away at a feature film script based on a short story I wrote a while back.

CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?

Oh so many things. If ebooks had weight, my Kindle would’ve crashed right down into Hell by now.

CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?

Hm… I want to make a political joke here, but will instead answer honestly, if vaguely. I read a memoir by a friend of mine, and despite knowing that she is alive and well today, the subject matter had me seriously worrying that she’d wind up hurt, maimed, or killed by the end of the book. I’m still a little worried about her…

CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?

Favorite of all time? Hm… Spermjackers from Hell was really pointed and funny. Not sure if it’s my fav, but I did love it.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?

Cube 2: Hypercube, because it involves quantum physics, and how can you pass up that title?

CHHR: What type of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite album?

I’ve always been a huge fan of Tonight Alive, and Halestorm is pretty great—my tastes range from classic rock to pretty heavy stuff, with occasional Josh Groban-type stuff thrown in. My unconditional favorite album is probably Every Trick in the Book by Ice Nine Kills, because every song is based off a classic book. They even have a song for King’s Carrie, with a follow-up about The Shining. The band recently dropped a single about Nightmare on Elm Street, for all you movie lovers.

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?
The snake. In pretty much every religion, the snake is a mysterious, all-knowing shapeshifter. I’m sure you can see why this appeals to me.

CHHR: What is your favorite beer?

I liked that brewery that had beers based on Norse mythology, but they recently tried to copyright the names they were using, i.e. Loki, Thor, etc., and that’s not cool.

CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?

How loosely can I interpret this question? If The Bible is, as some Catholics hold, written by God and passed down to humans, then ‘God’ might be a fun choice, not that I’m religious. Otherwise, I feel like Swift or Wilde would have some interesting things to say about modern society.


Author Bio:


E. N. Dahl is a novelist and screen writer from a shadowy corner of the USA. She’s been published widely under a variety of names. Under this one, she has appeared with The Horror Tree, Transmundane Press, and several others. When not writing and writing, she can probably be found doing yoga or laughing at a scary movie.