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Do Demons Have A Gender?

Posted on October 25, 2017 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

When we hear the word “demon” we all think of evil, darkness, the devil, Hell and others just to name a few. We know what the definition of a demon is, we know what it personifies and we know they can be classified under as supernatural and paranormal beings. One thing that never gets questioned or brought up is what is the gender of a demon? A demon can enter the body of a male or female but what about the demon itself? Is it a certain gender? Does it have both genders? Does it prefer one over the other? Or do demons simply take on and possess whatever body they want based off the convenience and circumstances? I’ll break this down and give my thoughts and opinions on the matter but one thing should go without saying, is doesn’t matter what gender a demon is, it’s evil and it’s out to cause harm to humans.

What gender are demons? Well while they can inhabit either gender I think a demon itself could be one of two options. They could actually be a male or female demon however when it comes to inhabiting a body I highly doubt demons care which they possess and I’m sure they don’t stereotype. You think a male demon is going to enter the body of a human male simply because that’s how it has to be? Doubtful. The other option is that a demon may have no gender at all and it’s simply an entity that when it surfaces to Earth is simply looking for a vessel aka a body to control and it doesn’t care which gender it takes on. Both these two options seem possible and whether one seems more likely than the other is up for debate but I see it as it could be one or the other and a fifty-fifty split.

One thing is for certain, it truly doesn’t matter which gender a demon is because they are all after one thing; to inflict harm, kill or even possess a human being. We know how they come to be and where they generally come from or so we are lead to believe. This notion however has nothing to do with gender, so why do I bring it up? For the same reason why it doesn’t matter where they come from whether it’s Hell, another dimension, a book, a spell, it doesn’t matter, they are demons and we know their intent. Gender for the third time is no different, it doesn’t make a bit of difference which gender they are but I raise the questions simply out of curiosity. Let’s say demons do have gender’s, are one type more inferior than the other? Irrelevant because? Well you get the idea but just remember that if you’re a sexist male and you encounter a female demon and think it’s not that scary, think again! Do demons have a gender? I’m not sure but I do wonder and ponder the thought.

"Women Don't Write Horror", Challenging the Misconception

Posted on October 24, 2017 at 4:00 PM Comments comments (0)

This latest guest post is from author Sara Jane Townsend and how women are not seen as writers of horror. This is a common theme in the writing and horror industry and it's good to see someone taking the time to speak up about it. Here are Sara's thoughts on how women don't write horror. 


Many years ago, I belonged to an amateur theatre group. One of the ladies there was also a member of a writing group, and she encouraged me to accompany her to a meeting. I was in my early twenties at the time. A couple of things became immediately apparent – the first was evident when I first walked in, and realised I was at least twenty years younger than everyone else in the room.

The next thing took a little while to manifest itself. Initially people were very friendly, welcoming me into the group, but it seemed that most members of the group wrote romance novels and radio plays. And then I was asked that crucial question: “and what do you write?” “Horror,” I replied cheerfully.

Suddenly I understood the meaning of the phrase “deafening silence,” as it descended on the room at that moment. Everyone was staring at me. Eventually someone cleared their throat and said awkwardly, “Oh. We’ve never had one of THOSE before.”

Needless to say, I never went back to that writing group. Since then I have actively sought out other horror writers so that I feel less like a social pariah, but still there have been occasions over the years when people do a double take when I tell them I’m a horror writer. Generally what I get is “but you seem so nice,” with the implication being, clearly, that only weirdos and psychopaths could write horror.

The concept that women don’t write horror seems mystifying to me. After all, it could be argued that the first modern horror novel was “Frankenstein” – which was written by a teenage girl.

I’ve not always been a fan of horror, though. As a child, scary stories gave me nightmares. Then in grade 8, two things happened. First, I came across a book called ‘Different Seasons’ in the school library. This book, as any horror fan knows, consists of four novellas by Stephen King (three of which have been turned into films). I loved the book so much I went looking for more by the same author. The next one I picked up was “Carrie”. As a bullied teenager this one spoke volumes to me, and ever since then the illustrious Mr King has been my inspiration.

The second thing that happened was that my English teacher assigned the class to write a horror story. I always loved getting writing assignments at school – since most of my spare time was taken up by writing stories anyway, this never seemed like a chore to me. But I had never tried writing horror before. I ended up writing a story about ten teenagers who go on a camping trip and accidentally unleash a malevolent presence that possessed them and led them to kill each other horribly. While the story itself wasn’t all that good – I was only thirteen at the time, and had a lot to learn about writing – it triggered in me an appreciation for horror. And there’s been no stopping me since.

In many ways, horror has kept me sane. Throughout my teenage years I was able to exorcize the demons of puberty by writing about them. I wrote a lot of short horror stories in my late teens and early twenties and there are common themes that underline them all. Betrayal, isolation and loneliness are frequent refrains (and if anyone’s interested, the best of these early stories can be found amongst the stories in my collection SOUL SCREAMS).

When I started writing – and reading – horror, I never thought about it in terms of gender. I liked the genre, so I kept on writing it. It never occurred to me that “women don’t write horror”. In the 1990s, when I started submitting short stories, there were a lot of small press magazines around for the horror genre, and the stories within them were fairly evenly spread between male and female writers. At some point in the late 1990s, though, horror fell out of favour. This was bad news for me, as I’d started submitting my first horror novel and was struggling to find places to send it to. Horror seemed to disappear completely from book shops in the UK at that time. You’d find the likes of Stephen King and James Herbert in the ‘bestsellers’ section, and occasionally other horror writers would be shelved in ‘general fiction’, but there was no section specifically for horror.

In some ways, since then we seem to have been going backwards in terms of gender expectations. Toys and clothes for children are very clearly defined as for boys or for girls. I always thought this sends out a very bad message for children, as they learn early on that society wants them to get into a particular box, so that they can be neatly bombarded with the right marketing messages. Boys don’t play with dolls. Girls don’t play with cars. Girls wear clothes adorned with sparkly cute cartoon characters; boys wear t-shirts with superhero logos on.

When I first became aware of gender stereotyping, during my teenage years, it really bothered me that society wanted people to fit into particular boxes. For instance, I decided fairly on I didn’t want to have children. It still amazes me that there’s an assumption that all women have this nurturing maternal instinct. If that’s the case, I must have been absent when it was handed out.

I get particularly cross at Christmas, when we are bombarded by commercials that are full of sexist assumptions – that women want make-up sets and perfume for Christmas, and men want video games and the latest Black & Decker power tool. Anyone that knows me well enough to buy me a Christmas present ought to know I’d rather have a video game than a make-up kit, and I’m allergic to perfume so don’t even go there.

And really, that’s what the whole gender debate is about – marketing. I’m no expert on marketing (if I was I’d be selling a lot more books), but it does seem to be that there are a lot of short cuts taken when it comes to marketing anything, including books. “Men read spy thrillers and horror so let’s assume our audience for this new horror novel is entirely made up of men. Women read romance and ‘chick lit’, so we make the cover of this novel about a single twenty-something perennially looking for love all pink and sparkly”. There are plenty of us with two x-chromosomes who don’t read romance novels. During the wave of urban fantasy that rode in on the back of the success of ‘Buffy’ in the early 2000s I objected to those books that called themselves ‘urban fantasy’ but in reality were just romance novels involving supernatural creatures. I prefer to have my violence untainted by romance.

The problem is, it’s too easy to slap labels on things when you’re aiming for an easy sell. But if you work a bit harder, you’ll find a more appreciative audience. The same goes for horror. It’s very easy to name ten male top-selling horror authors, and wave that list around and say “well, women don’t write horror”.

The fact is, we do. You might have to delve a bit deeper into the genre to uncover the dark and disturbing stuff, but trust me, it’s there. And the more people read, and talk about, women horror writers, the more chance we’ve got of breaking the stereotype.

I’d like to set a challenge to all fans of horror reading this column. In 2018, make it a goal to discover and read at least two horror novels by women you haven’t read before. Challenge that myth that women don’t write horror, because you’ll find that we can give you nightmares just as well as Stephen King can.

Sara Jayne Townsend is a UK-based writer, and someone tends to die a horrible death in all of her stories. She was born in Cheshire in 1969, but spent most of the 1980s living in Canada after her family emigrated there. She now lives in Surrey with two cats and her guitarist husband Chris.

She decided she was going to be a published novelist when she was 10 years old and finished her first novel a year later. It took 30 years of submitting, however, to fulfil that dream.

She is author of several horror novels, and a series of mysteries featuring contemporary actress and amateur sleuth Shara Summers.

Learn more about Sara and her writing at her website (http://sarajaynetownsend.weebly.com)


Master of Cemeteries

Posted on October 23, 2017 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I roam the land from the opening gates down to the last stone and rotting tree. I’ve been doing this for long that I’ve lost count of exactly how long it’s been. You’d think this would be the same old routine and boring ass job but not for me. I own my craft, I appreciate every day and I love my job. Some take on this job and they get scared shitless because they think it’ll be “cool” but they don’t know, they don’t have a goddamn clue how to truly take this job seriously. I love this job because I don’t always work at the same place, no I travel and go where I’m needed. Sometimes I do return to places I’ve worked before, sure the land is the same but the work is different. Ghastly and inhuman some would say but righteous and spectacular for me.

I marvel at the opportunity to dig a hole six feet deep and bury a body into the fresh Earth. Sure there’s maggots, worms and other creatures and insects you’ve never even heard of in the ground below but after a while you don’t even notice em there. Sometimes I go lower than six feet I know it’s a bit unorthodox but I feel it’s a sign of appreciation and honor. Some I bury above six feet because I don’t think they were good in life so why should they have it good in death? What’s the big deal about not digging a body six feet and only digging it 2-4? Well let’s just say man’s best friend and mother nature usually show up to make sure they don’t enjoy their eternal slumber.

My first gig was over in Tucson. They had me bury a ruthless outlaw for gunning down eight people simply for looking at him wrong. Talk about talk being cheap. Well I don’t rightfully condone pointless killing but I felt if I didn’t bury this guy six feet that he was gonna rise up and bury my ass so I made sure he was given a proper burial. I’ve buried every sort of person, you name it. Outlaw, clown, lawyer, garbage man, mafioso, zoo keeper, heck even celebrities. Personally I could give two shits as to what their job was when they were alive but I know some people like to know so I throw it in. I used to be a bounty hunter part time but I didn’t see the point really. Bounty hunting became extinct and it got in the way of this job which has many, many parts to it.

I remember the first day I ever worked in New Orleans. They had me over at the St. Louis Cemetery. They told me it would be a bit different than what I may be used to but they had no idea who they were talking to. IF you don’t know, St. Louis is below sea level like most of the city so when there’s a massive storm or flood, the bodies go a washin’. I did my best fisherman and Charon impression and took them bodies out of the water and back into their crypts. Now for as long as I’d been on the job at that point I thought nothing could upset me but the cleanup I did that day would have given a slaughterhouse janitor the nightmares. There were bodies, limps, morbid looking faces and some of the grimiest, slimiest and slippery stench skin you’ve ever seen. Imagine putting Play-Doh under water and then rubbing it with olive oil and dead meat.

My job isn’t always that messy as I usually just patrol normal ones and do my usual maintenance. I do landscaping of the area, mow the open grass areas and keep the graves looking fresh and up to code. You always know if your at a cemetery that I’ve been to because it’s so clean and peaceful. It’s practically a garden only instead of flowers there’s gravestones so it’s pretty much a garden of the dead if you will. So in some ways I’d like to consider myself a gardener, only I don’t make stuff grow...or do I? In all seriousness I make sure no stone is turned, no grass gets weeds and no grave is unfilled. I don’t just harvest the land of the dead and dig their beds I also chisel their tombstones and layer the bricks and concrete in their crypts. Find me another person who does that and I’ll start digging my own grave. I just did it for fun one day when I got done early once and seeing as my stone was good and the family really enjoyed it I decided to add it to my repertoire.

Once I had to bury a famous pianist so I crafted a giant tombstone that looked like a piano. The family loved it but the people of the cemetery and the townspeople thought it was too much. They learned to appreciate it..after I told them I could make some for them when they died. I haven’t worked there too much since. As I said though I travel a lot going from graveyard to graveyard in hopes to make each one greater than the next one. I should have my own show on HGTV called “Flipping Graveyards” because I mean I’m that good at what I’d do.

I won’t need another job for as long as I live, heck I’ll probably still be doing this when I’m dead if they let me, you know the guy upstairs or the guy down below? I mean I am helping them..at least I think I am. If you need someone to take care of the deceased I’m the one you call. I have a list of titles on my resume; gravedigger, undertaker, mortician, gravestone carver, crypt builder, gardener, landscaper, embalmer, among many others. When you need a person to care for your loved ones I’m your woman, the master of cemeteries.

So I Watched Carrie (1976) and (2013)

Posted on September 18, 2017 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Zahra Akbar is my latest guest who wrote an article on her watching of one of Stephen King's classic films, Carrie. She watched both versions and gives her thoughts on both of the films. 

So I Watched Carrie (1976) and Carrie (2013)

Margaret: Red. I might have known it would be red.

Carrie: It's pink, Mama.

Carrie: Look what Tommy gave me, Mama. Aren't they beautiful?

Margaret: I can see your dirty pillows. Everyone will.

Carrie: Breasts, Mama. They're called breasts, and every woman has them.

Carrie is a quite popular novel by Stephen King and though, it had been on my reading list, I happened to come across its 2013 movie adaptation first. And then, I couldn’t help but watch the 1976 adaptation as well. If you’re into horror, you’ll probably love Carrie. If you’re into high school movies, like Mean Girls, you should give Carrie a chance, though Stephen King’s mean girls receive more than just a lesson.

I haven’t read the book yet, so I’ll be comparing both the movie adaptations with each other. It’s hard to say which version I liked the most, as both have added their own flavor to King’s original plot. For those who haven’t read the book [SPOILER ALERT], it revolves around a teenager protagonist, Carrie White, who lives with her mother. And Mama has issues – serious issues.

Carrie’s mother Margaret White is the most interesting character in the story. Piper Laurie played Margaret in 1976 version, and in 2013, we see none other than the gorgeous Julianne Moore playing the sociopath and religious fanatic mother of poor Carrie. Both these women portrayed the character amazingly – my favorite, however, was Moore. She added so much intensity to the character. Laurie looks kind of innocent for some part of the movie. I love how King has developed this character. She gives you nightmares – she gives you this sense of having an untold story behind her behavior and actions.

In the 2013 movie, Chloe Grace Mortez plays Carrie. I don’t know why, but I got a sense of gloom and darkness from her even from the first scene she appeared in. She’s definitely pretty – prettier than Carrie White is actually supposed to be. And you can’t help but feel bad for her for having to live with a crazy mother, but you also kind of know even more insanity is about to be unleashed. Sissy Spacek from 1976 adaptation looks more of a regular girl. Innocent and victimized, yes, but not completely unhappy. She seemed like a person who excitement and happiness. Though, Carrie is a tragic character – but I got the vibes of tragedy more from Chloe than Sissy Spacek.

Another important character than I feel the need to talk about is the mean girl, Chris Hargensen. I don’t need to think twice here – my favorite version of Chris is Nancy Allen from the 1976 adaptation. Portia Doubleday (from the 2013 movie) is also as mean as it gets as Chris Hargensen, but she looks like just another mean girl from just another high school drama.

As far as the story is concerned, the 2013 version uses technology to torment Carrie, this just makes the whole scenario more sinister, and we’re also reminded of the cyber bullying in real world.

Author: Zahra Akbar

Intro: Zahra Akbar is a blogger and writer from Pakistan. She blogs at dragonjournal.com


Remembering Hitchcock

Posted on September 18, 2017 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

For this latest piece I once again have a guest. Christine Valentor. She wrote a piece on Alfred Hitchcock that I found very interesting. Here's a little more on her and her article on the great Alfred Hitchcock.

Christine Valentor lives in Chicago and is a Horror/ Fantasy writer. Her blog Witchlike can be found at https://witchlike.wordpress.com/ One of her short stories about Jack the Ripper has recently been featured in the anthology A Box Under The Bed, due for Amazon release on Oct. 1. Link: https://www.amazon.com/Box-Under-Bed-anthology-stories-ebook/dp/B075C9D7L1

She love Anne Rice, Daphne Du Maurier, all things creepy, and of course Hitchcock!


If you have ever watched the original Psycho, or The Birds, or Rebecca (preferably alone on a stormy night, with all your doors bolted) you know what it is to experience Alfred Hitchcock at his best. The Master of Suspense, the Sorcerer of Shock, and the King of Comeuppance Hitchcock is by far one of the best film directors of the 20th century.

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born on August 13, 1899 in Leytonstone England. His father was a greengrocer, his mother a homemaker. He was the youngest of three children, an average student and a bit of loner.

But yawn. That story is far too mundane! In researching Hitch, I suspected something must have happened in his formative years. Some weird event must have helped create this creative and twisted genius, who would later alarm the world with his disturbing psychological horror.

It turns out a few things did happen.

When he was five years old, Hitchcock's father wanted to punish him for behaving badly. Little Alfred was sent to the local police station with a note asking the officer to ock him up in jail for five minutes. This incident left a lifelong scar on Hitchcock, possibly influencing his frequent themes of harsh punishments, wrongful accusations and sly retributions for evil doers. He had a permanent fear of the police.

He also had a permanent fear of Jesuits.

Hitchcock was raised Roman Catholic and attended Jesuit Grammar School at Saint Ignatius College. Years later, when asked in an interview how he an ostensibly polite gentleman managed to create such malevolent stories, Hitchcock replied: spent three years studying with the Jesuits. They used to terrify me to death with everything they did, and now I'm getting my own back by terrifying other people.

Hitch incorporated dark aspects of religion in his 1953 film I Confess. It starred Montgomery Clift as a Catholic priest who is wrongly accused of murder, but also hears the confession of the true murderer and is sworn to secrecy by his priestly vows.

Hitchcock's first job was as a draftsman for an electric cable company called Henley's. Even then, as a teenager, he was already writing scary tales. Some of these were published in the company's newsletter, The Henley Telegraph. Hitchcock's first piece, Gas, tells the story of a young woman who imagines that she is being assaulted one night in London but the twist at the end reveals it was all just a hallucination in the dentist's chair induced by the anesthetic.

Interestingly, one of the episodes featured on his television show Alfred Hitchcock Presents seems reminiscent of this tale. In the newer version, the woman's hallucination involves a futuristic society in which all men have been eradicated through a medicine originally intended to kill rats. There are no more men in the world! Babies are born through test tubes and they are always females! The woman wakes up from her dream to find that in reality, a famous scientist is currently experimenting with a medicine which will rid the world of rats! The woman takes a shotgun, attempts to kill the scientist and Well, you will just have to watch the episode to find out what happens.

His other early stories also indicate Hitchcockian creepiness and weird sexual overtones. One short story called And There Was No Rainbow (which some folk thought should have been banned) tells of a young man who goes out looking for a brothel, but instead stumbles into the house of a girl who is dating his best friend. Needless to say, psychological trauma ensues. Hitch also wrote a piece called Fedora which reportedly gave a strikingly accurate description of his future wife Alma Reville, although he had not yet met her! Was Alfred a secret psychic?

At the tender age of twenty, Alfred got a job at Paramount Studios as a title card designer for silent films. Within five years he was directing those films. His first commercial success was a thriller called The Lodger about London's notorious serial killer Jack the Ripper.

Around this time Alma Reville became Hitch's assistant director. The two were married on December 2, 1926. Alma became Hitchcock's closest collaborator. He rarely discussed her contributions to his films, although some were credited on screen. Alma was clearly the woman behind the great man but she avoided public attention.

Hitchcock had the unique experience of working in the film industry as it evolved through all its massive changes of the 20th century. In 1929, his production company began experimentation with sound, producing the first Talkies. Hitchcock's contributions included Blackmail, The Man Who Knew Too Much and his highly acclaimed The 39 Steps, which made him a star in the United States.

The 39 Steps established two unique Hitchcockian traditions: the Hitchcock Blonde and The MacGuffin.

The Hitchcock Blonde was the beautiful, ice-cool leading lady who started out picture perfect, but always became the disheveled victim of violent and twisted circumstances.

First personified in The 39 Steps by actress Madeleine Carroll, his other blondes included Grace Kelly, Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak and Janet Leigh. Hitch believed that these flawless, classy women left much to the sexual imagination they were ladylike in public but potential whores in the bedroom. He described this archetype as follows:

I think the most interesting women, sexually, are the English women. I feel that the English women, the Swedes, the northern Germans and Scandinavians are a great deal more exciting than the Latin, the Italian and the French women. Sex should not be advertised. An English girl, looking like a schoolteacher, is apt to get into a cab with you and, to your surprise, she'll probably pull a man's pants open. Without the element of surprise, the scenes become meaningless. There's no possibility to discover sex

The MacGuffin is a plot device an object thrown in for the purpose of intriguing the audience, but which will have little consequence in the overall story.

In a lecture at Columbia University, Hitchcock explained The MacGuffin as follows:

It might be a Scottish name, taken from a story about two men on a train. One man says, What's that package up there in the baggage rack? And the other answers, Oh, that's a MacGuffin. The first one asks, What's a MacGuffin? Well, the other man says, its an apparatus for trapping lions in the Scottish Highlands. The first man says, But there are no lions in the Scottish Highlands,and the other one answers, Well then, that's no MacGuffin! So you see that a MacGuffin is actually nothing at all.

The MacGuffin took on a life of its own in filmmaking. It is the Holy Grail of Arthurian legends. Some modern examples include: the Maltese Falcon in the film of the same name; the meaning of Rosebud in Citizen Kane; the Rabbit's Foot in Mission Impossible III, and the Heart of the Ocean necklace in Titanic.

Hitchcock's recognition and fame continued to grow. In 1939, he received The New York Film Critics Circle Award for his film The Lady Vanishes. Picturegoer Magazine called him Alfred the Great. The New York Times called him the greatest director of screen melodramas in the world, and compared him to other English treasures such as the Magna Carta and the Tower of London.

In 1940 Hitch directed Rebecca, based on the novel by Daphne Du Maurier. (If you have not read this masterpiece, you must do so immediately!) The film won an Academy Award for best picture, with a best director nomination.

Hitch and horror novelist Daphne Du Maurier formed a natural collaboration. His film The Birds a story of rebellious birds that slowly and creepily take over a California town was also based on a story written by Du Maurier.

A few years ago my local movie theater ran a big screen production of The Birds. Tippi Hedren, an iconic Hitchcock Blonde who stars in the film, came in as a guest speaker. I swear to god she looked EXACTLY the same as she did in the film! Over forty years had passed and the woman had not aged, not one day. You will find pictures of Tippi Hedren on the internet where she looks older, but these (I swear!) are not real. I believe the lady must have a Dorian Gray arrangement The internet pictures are aging as she herself stays young. (Anything would be possible in Hitch's world!)

Hitchcock's career peaked in the 1950's and 60's when he directed gems such as Rear Window, Vertigo, Strangers on a Train, and of course his mega-hit Psycho. This movie was the creepiest creep-fest of all, about a young woman (Janet Leigh) who goes to stay at a hotel run by a taxidermy obsessed man (Tony Perkins) who has a strange relationship with his dead mother!

Hitch's television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents had a ten year run from 1955 to 1965. The fascinating thing about these segments is that, by today's standards, they are very plain. No bells or whistles, no special effects just simple black and white cinematography, flat lighting, and mostly unknown actors yet the brilliant storytelling spoke for itself. Equally entertaining was Hitch's deadpan delivery of introductions. He always began with Good Evening and went on to speak of hauntings, poisonings, burials, demonic possession and the like, all the while never batting an eyelash.

Hitchcock moved to California and became an American citizen in 1955, although still retaining his English citizenship. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1980, a few months before his death. Film critic Roger Ebert considered it something of a snub that the Queen hesitated to give Hitch his knighthood, writing: Other British directors like Sir Carol Reed and Sir Charlie Chaplin were knighted years ago, while Hitchcock one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, was passed over. What took the Queen so long? Perhaps she was a bit spooked by him, or reluctant to invite him to the palace...

On April 29th, 1980, Sir Alfred Hitchcock died of renal failure in his home in Bel Air California. Despite his professed fears of the Jesuits, two priests came in his closing hours, giving a final mass at Hitchcock's home and hearing his last confession.

Gone but not forgotten, we will never ditch the Hitch! He shall always be alive in legacy, legend and the ominous voice that bids us "Good evening", yet warns to lock the doors and be afraid. Be very afraid.

Guest Post- Why is Horror Popular Now?

Posted on September 4, 2017 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

One thing I decided it was time to start doing is featuring guests here on my blog. Since I write horror and it is an interest and topic I have knowledge in the guests you see on here will be contributing horror pieces. My first guest to my blog is Loretta H. Campbell. Loretta is a freelance writer an English/ESL teacher from New York. With an interest in horror she wrote this piece on why is horror so popular in today's society. Her most recent short story Doughnuts can be found on Black Girl Magic Literary Magazine an online zine.

From ghoulies and ghosties and long-leggedy beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord deliver us! Scottish prayer

Why are we as Americans so obsessed with the things that go bump in the night such as the boogeyman? Do we really want to be delivered? Do we want to be delivered now?

The quick answer to all three questions is yes if we go by the figures given in the online zine The Numbers: Where Data and The Movie Business Meet. Horror films grossed approximately $500 million dollars in 2016. In the same source, the 2017 gross profits for horror are slightly higher already. We might assume that the revenue will double in the next six months compared to last year. It seems that we really want things to go bump in the night. The question is why?

First, we need a working definition of what we like being afraid of.. horror. The noun is an overwhelming and painful feeling caused by something frightfully shocking, terrifying, or revolting; a shuddering fear: to shrink back from a mutilated corpse in horror according to dictionary.com.

None of this sounds enjoyable. Yet, in his article Psychology of Fear: Why do we love watching horror movies? published in the online zine ZNews, Ritu Singh says it is. Singh makes nine points about the attraction of horror. Three of them in particular can be seen in any audience at any gore fest in this country.

The first is the Adrenaline rush: When we watch scary movies, we can face our fears, but since we know that it's just a movie we don't have to face anything in reality. For the time being, it tickles certain fight or flight responses.

In other words, we get a high when our endorphin’s go into overdrive while we are watching a horror movie. The euphoria happens when the horror is close enough to see, but it can’t hurt you. It’s a combination of voyeurism and vicariousness. Think of bungie jumping. A long, strong rope keeps us from any real harm even as we sail off a high bridge.

The mega buzz gives us the pleasure without the pain. The operative word here is pleasure. It’s the coping mechanism especially during stressful times.

That is another reason horror is popular, stress reduction. During national crises, Americans flock to horror movies. In the 1950s, arguably a heyday for horror flicks, many of the films Hollywood produced became classics of the genre, The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956),

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRVfGMjdGh8,

The Thing from Another World (1951), The Fly (1958).

At the time, the nation was stricken with an epidemic of terror. The reason for it was one man as Shaila K. Dewan outlines in her (2000) New York Times article Do Horror Films Filter the Horror of History?

The idea that horror films reflect, or even caricature, society's collective anxieties is nothing new. Invasion of the Body Snatchers'' is frequently read as a critique of McCarthy-era pod people.

Senator Joseph McCarthy introduced a home-grown trauma that afflicted the entire country and cut across all barriers of class, race, gender, education level, and politics. Using his House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), as a bullwhip, McCarthy accused hundreds of Americans of being Russian spies. Because of his basically false accusations, thousands of people lost their jobs, their families, even their lives.

In the film, aliens from outer space take over the minds and bodies of earthlings/white American humans in an attempt to annihilate the human race. Because the aliens have replicated their earthling hosts, it is virtually impossible to distinguish between the aliens and the humans. The earthlings who succumb lose everything. They die in droves.

The film was a box office marvel, grossing $1 million dollars in a month, according to wikipedia. Debate continues about whether the film is denouncing McCarthy’s despotism or the threat of invasion by our nemesis Russia.

Michael Dodd of The Missing Slate has said the movie may be the clearest window into the American psyche that horror cinema has ever provided.

That is a statement as terrifying as any American movie yet made. It also begs another question. Why do we have a dual nature when it comes to horror movies? The answer may be that while they are deeply disturbing, they are modern-day allegory. The monsters represent various aspects of our lives, our world. Unlike our real lives, the monsters are always defeated or at least contained. That victory produces something else that horror supplies hope. We feel that things will turn out right, and that is cathartic.

Should we assume that whenever, we as a nation, feel threatened we’ll turn to horror as one means of release? Maybe. I would argue that there is a parallel in the rhetoric espoused by our current president Donald S. Trump and Senator Joseph McCarthy. Both seek to destroy the other in our society. That is persons who don’t fit the mold of the heterosexual, white American male. Both have built political careers on innuendo. Both build platforms on xenophobia.

We are living in a time when, once again, our nation’s relationship to Russia is frightening. For the first time in our history, we as a people, question Russian involvement with our presidential election and our government.

There is also a kind of parallel in the kinds of horror movies that grossed big in the 1950s and now.

The movie The Purge Election Year (2016) seems to be the perfect film for a nation in which mass violence is being encouraged by the national leader.

Get Out (2017) is a movie that starts off as a film about a progressive family and reveals a kind of pathological bigotry inside an entire community. Perhaps the community is a symbol for our society.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVIqOhPqf4w

From its inception, America has represented itself as the land of the free and the home of equality. Everything looks fine until you live here. The need to pull back the curtain that too many of us like to ignore is another reason horror is so popular now. It is an ugly vehicle for an ugly truth.

Horror now, and maybe always, is a direct line to our innermost fears, the ones that we want to expel from our lives. It is one way we can collectively look at the ghoulies and ghosties and say boo right in their faces.


Similarities Between Weird West & Steampunk

Posted on July 4, 2017 at 11:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Weird West is a literary subgenre that combines elements of the Western with another literary genre, usually horror, occult, fantasy or science fiction.

Steampunk, a genre of science fiction that has a historical setting and typically features steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology.

"if you like steampunk, this is a great book for you"

a style of design and fashion that combines historical elements with anachronistic technological features inspired by science fiction.

"the essence of steampunk is homage to vintage fashion with a modern, sassy twist"

Now that we have the definitions of each genre the big question is this, are weird west and steampunk similar and if so just how similar are they? Yes they do have similarities and we will go over them and see just how alike and even how unalike they are.

-They are both lesser known underrated sub-genres

-Both can be considered to be a form of a sub-genre of Fantasy

-They both are weird, odd and unique in their own right and share a specific quality to them

-They take place during a certain time period

-They both introduce and contain the use of magical technology such as weaponry, forms of transportation and machinery

-Both tend to be associated with and combine Historical Fiction either using real people or places

-At times both create various situations involving the use of time travel

-Both tend to at times be set in their own utopia or interesting world

So in many ways Weird West and Steampunk are similar and sometimes tend to draw in the same audience. They are both unique genres that really capture the essence of creativity, magic and technology. They, like other small sub-genres tend to go unnoticed or underrated however over the last few years the popularity in each of them.

Here are some popular authors of each genre:

Weird West-

-Mike Resnick

-Joe R. Landsdale

-Jonathan Maberry

-Tim Curran

-Eric S. Brown

-Steampunk

-Michael Coorlim

-Scott Westerfield

-Gail Carriger

-Cassandra Clare

Paul Di Filippo

Have Zombies Saturated the Market?

Posted on July 4, 2017 at 10:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Zombies, Zombies and Zombies. Everywhere you look there they are. It seems like no matter where you look there’s a new book, show or movie coming out with them. It can easily be said that zombies are hot and they are the thing right now..but is that a good thing? Yes zombies are popular, some of us can’t get enough and the market for cashing in on zombies is a smart idea..but isn’t it enough? In some ways zombies have completely saturated the horror market. They are still entertaining but it seems a solid storyline involving them can no longer be zone. They’ve become a cliche and to me it just seems that there’s not much that can be done with zombies that hasn’t already been done. It can however also be said that like most things this is just a phase and soon it will die down so why it’s hot and the genre to be in perhaps an author should consider getting in on the zombie craze.

 

The Walking Dead has become a worldwide phenomenon. People are watching it, recording it or when they aren’t watching it they are talking about it. Want to tell someone about something that happened in the latest episode they haven’t seen yet? Nope, no spoilers your going to have to wait till they see it. The Walking Dead is probably the biggest zombie hit to come around in a long time. It’s got drama, action, gore, suspense and of course plenty of zombies. It has everything a good horror fan can enjoy. So because a show like the Walking Dead is big what do you suppose other people want to do? They want in too. They see the popularity of the show and think well if they can make zombies popular then maybe people will love their book or show about zombies too. We see this constantly but the problem is like all things they are seen everywhere and an idea too overdone saturates the market. It becomes a bit dull, we grow tired of seeing it and most of all while some maybe be able to capitalize on it while it’s hot like most things it won’t last even if it’s quality content. A good horror fan or fan of anything however never grows tired of something so maybe it’s not so much a bad idea for an overdone idea but then again maybe it is.

 

Have Zombies saturated the horror market? I say yes. They’ve put a bit of a damper on how much of a certain topic and how much we can tolerate it. If we can accept this zombie craze and let it be then perhaps there’s nothing to worry about but if it becomes even more crazy and out of control then perhaps something will need to be done but I’m guessing it will likely stop. The bigger question is why is it that zombies are so hot right now? Why is the Walking Dead so huge right now? Well some of us have become a bit too into the whole zombie apocalypse becoming a real thing. Since that will likely not happen anytime soon or never people have decided to do the next best thing, get lost in the fictional world of zombies. They have looked into and eat up all the written zombie fiction they can and watch all the zombie movies and shows they can so they can dream about what they might one day wish they could do during a real zombie apocalypse. Is that so wrong? No and it’s only a theory but it’s a good one at that. People who wish for such an odd idea do the next best thing and because of it zombies have become big and those who write and produce them are hitting it big right now. Zombies maybe saturating the market but right now they are having the last laugh.

Horror: Where Do You Draw the Line?

Posted on July 4, 2017 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

When it comes to horror whether reading or watching we tend to love all of it. We can't get enough and we find ourselves looking for and wanting more. to get as scared or as grossed out as possible.

 

But as writers it may be a bit different. You can read and watch it but can you create it? When it comes to writing horror where do you draw the line? Do you even have a line? Is there a certain topic or idea in horror that you simply won't go near? I know there are many controversial topics or simply just thing we don't feel comfortable in writing. Personally I haven't really drawn a line as to how dark and disturbing I'd go when writing horror but only because I'm comfortable in writing where I'm at. However despite not having drawn a line that isn’t to say I don’t have one because like everyone I do. Before I tell you where I draw the line let’s first explain why we all have a stop point when it comes to horror. First note that not everyone does, some can read or write it with no issue or stopping point whatsoever. These are what we call true no filter horror fans and god bless them for being so. Why do some of us draw the line and stop at a certain point when it comes to horror? It’s simple, we feel. We have emotions and we are human and sometimes we can only take so much. I will explain where I and where most likely draw the line when it comes to the horror genre.

 

Extreme violence can sometimes be too much and just too overwhelming for some of us and rightfully so. It’s not everyday that we see such intense scenes and situations and not everyone has the stomach for it. Violence in itself is unnecessary so when we see an abundant amount of it in extreme doses we tend to try and look away and not be any part of it. While I will write about extreme horror it depends on the nature to which I will read and write. Rape is a topic that most tend to stay far far away from when it comes to writing and I myself am the same way. It’s just one of those topics where even if you write it to the best of your ability there will be someone to be critical of it and again rightfully so. This is why I and most like me tend to stay away from it. Is there a place for it in literature? Eh, that remains to be seen. The killing of children and animals is another topic that’s just too much. I feel like you have to be a really dark person but also someone who can truly write if your going to take on this or any of the other topics. No one likes to hear about dead children or animals being slaughtered so it doesn’t need to be said that if people don’t like reading about it then it’s just as hard to write it as well. I could list a few more but I think you get the idea.

 

So where do you pump the breaks when it comes to horror? Is it one of the topics I listed in the previous paragraph? Perhaps you have another? Either way it’s not wrong and doesn’t make you weak or strict it makes you human. There’s just certain topics we can only take so much of or topics we simply can’t take hearing or reading about at all. The idea is to stay with what we know we can take, know our limits and be comfortable reading what we enjoy. It’s also worth noting that those who so have the stomachs for it and can write it or a lot more prone to enjoying horror then we are. This doesn’t make us weak and doesn’t make them weird it’s just that we are all different and have different views and can write in a certain way.

The Importance of Naming A Character

Posted on July 3, 2017 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Harry Potter, Christian Grey, Katniss Everdeen, Holden Caufield. We know them well as they are some of literatures most popular characters. Their names resonate with us the minute we hear them. We know immediate what book they are in and even if we haven’t read a single book their in we likely know a little bit of who they are. Why is this? Well aside from the obvious of some names being the associated with the title of the book, names are everything when it comes to characters. In order for a novel to stand out it needs a strong main character who will take on a challenge or adventure or connect and seem real to a reader. One way this can be done is by giving that character a name, a name that will not only represent what that character stands for but will stand out among the rest. How important is it to give your character a fitting name? It’s necessary and essential to your stories very existence. Sure you can name your characters John Smith, Emily Jones or James King but your not giving them identity, your not giving them a name that will stand out among the top names listed in the beginning. A character name needs to stand out, when you read it you immediately know who they are or when you see their name it gives you a sense of intrigue and makes you want to read and know more about them. How important is the naming of a character? More important then you would think.

Harry Potter. If you really think about it the name seems rather generic if you take out the fame that now comes with it. Before Harry potter was written the name could have easily gone unnoticed as seen as a common one. However now anytime we see the name Harry Potter we immediately associate it with the book series of a boy wizard. So while this shows that it is possible to take a generic name and turn it into a popular one it’s still better to give your character a unique name that stands out above the rest so people can easily know what they are from. The other names listed above are all unique and catch your eye. While Harry Potter and Sebastian Gray are names a real person could have how many people have you met that have the names of Katniss Everdeen or Holden Caufield? Probably none and if you have they are likely named after the characters. Many writers would not think to give any deep thought when it comes to naming a character. They think that the setting, plot and character details are important and a name is just a name. Yes perhaps that’s true but you need to give that setting, plot and character detail substance and that starts with what you think is the easiest thing of all..naming your character. A writer can pick a common name and still make that character stand out but if a writer really wants to get people to read their book or even just be original they need to think deep about what name they want to represent their book and their character.


A little bit of research is necessary in the naming of a character as well. If you book is set in China and your character is from there then naturally your going to give your character a Chinese name. If your character is from another country then you want to give them a name that originates from that country. If you really want to get into detailing and representing what your character is about you could even look up the meaning of a name and give the character that name so they live by the very name they were given. Origin, originality and a strong powerful visual of the name can really make your character seem very real. How can you come up with a great sounding name for your character? Look up names alphabetically, look up baby names, look up names from a certain country, ask people, watch movies. You can get names from so many sources its about choosing the right one that may be a difficult task but when you find the right one you’ll know. So remember the next time you need to decide and come up with a name for a character to sit down and give it some thought. Don’t use John Smith, Joe Schmo or Jane Doe, be original, be unique and give your character a name that not only represents your book but you can be proud to say you came up with your made your own.

Are Videos A Good Marketing Tool?

Posted on June 12, 2017 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Videos. We all watch them and we all enjoy them. Whether it’s for entertainment value or to gain information and knowledge. Many make videos in order to demonstrate a feat or to teach others their knowledge on a topic. For authors this is no different but are videos a good marketing tool for them? I’ve come across several articles and heard from many people that as an author you should be making videos. Whether it’s a small video or a long one you should be getting out there and recording video of yourself or something in order to gain a following and provide entertainment and info for people to let them become interested in you and your work. You know those articles and people I mentioned? Yes they’re in the book marketing industry meaning they mainly want to help and they write non-fiction. So it’s easy for them to make videos as they have plenty to provide but if you’re a fiction author is making a series of videos a good tool? Don’t get me wrong I’ve seen lists of things fiction authors can do to provide valuable content to their videos in order to gain followers and reach their audience but the big question here is, is it a practical tool for a fiction author to do?


Video marketing is no doubt huge right now. Some of us have the attention span of fish and it’s why they say we need to get in on the video trend now. We need to be able to entertain or educate when doing videos or otherwise we risk the viewer tuning out and looking into something else. A video shows people that you are for one real and seeing you let’s them know whose behind the content and why they should care. A video in the sense of marketing for an author is to let people know you value and care about what you do and you wish to get your point across and what better way then to showcase yourself or your words or a slideshow? I personally feel as though it’s easier for non-fiction authors to provide solid video content because they are likely being shown talking about and teaching information that people can use and apply to help them. Fiction authors on the other hand have to be more creative and really think about what they want to put in their videos. As you may be able to tell from this I don’t do video outside of book trailers. Should I? I want to know what I could record video doing and I want to know if it would be worth it. Seeing as it’s the thing to do right now I say it’s worth taking a shot but from an overall standpoint I ask whether it’s truly worth doing and if it’s for everyone.


So are videos a good marketing tool? While I am asking I am leaning toward yes but also that they aren’t for everyone. I say they should be made by both non-fiction and fiction writers but again they aren’t for everyone but should at least be tested to see if they work for that individual. A video should be like a book in the sense of what I stated earlier, it needs to either entertain or educate or both. Remember Vine? Vine lives on in memory and in irony in the sense that you took quick videos and now it’s as gone as quick as it’s purpose. Vine may have been small quick videos but the idea behind it was simple, if you can get people’s attention in a short amount of time then your doing something right. Is video right for you? I have been asking myself this for some time and the more I hear I should be doing it the more I feel I should at least give it a shot. The plan of action should be to at least try it if you aren’t doing it already and have a goal and idea in mind before hand. Is video a good marketing tool? All signs point to yes but I say the verdict is still out as to whether or not it’s a proven asset for everyone.

My Writing Inspirations

Posted on June 12, 2017 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (0)

My Writing Influences/Inspirations

One question I get as a writer is who are your writing influences? Who inspires you? I’m sure you get asked the same thing. The response should come out of you as quick as it was asked because let’s be honest here, we’ve had plenty of time to think of this question. These are people who are the reason to why we write, what got us started on this path and made such an impact on us that we thought, you know what? I want to become a writer and author. So who are my writing inspirations? Well as you know I am both a writer and poet so I have quite a mixed bunch of writers but here are some of my influences and inspirations.

Edgar Allan Poe-

This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me. Whether you’ve read my Macabre Masterpiece books or just read a horror story by me you can clearly see the evidence of Poe. Like most people I read The Raven, The Tell-Tale Heart and many more of Poe’s work in school the only difference is I kept reading long after I got out of school. I already liked horror and I felt Poe’s words were creepy and morbid yet chilling, true and captivating and it’s this very thing to which has inspired two books and my love for horror. Aside from writing two books of horror poetry I have also written stories with an essence similar to Poe’s and I’ve even paid homage to him in a blog post. In many ways Poe is a great part of my writing life and like many of us who enjoy him I’m sure it will continue on for as long as I write.

Rod Serling-

This one may be a surprise. Rod Serling is mostly known for “The Twilight Zone” and “Night Gallery”. What people may not know is that he wrote many stories to which became episodes for the shows. I absolutely love The Twilight Zone so naturally Rod Serling’s adaptations and writings really resonate with me. While I mainly just watch The Twilight Zone I have read one of his books and found the tales to be just as odd as an episode of TZ. If you’ve read any of my work you tend to get a sense of weird plots, twist endings or things that just aren’t normal. Well this is because of my admiration for Rod Serling and The Twilight Zone. The man was ahead of his time and I’m just one of many people he’s influenced but nevertheless I am grateful that someone like him has such a creative mind because it’s helped in the creation of mine. 

William Shakespeare-

Seriously Justin? Yes, seriously. Most people find Shakespeare boring or confusing and I would totally agree with you..but that also didn’t stop me from enjoying his work and being inspired by him. One reason I consider Shakespeare an influence and inspiration is because of the fact that he pretty much created his own language and his simplicity to truly make a drama a drama as well as his way to write a poem. The way he wrote and how he wrote are confusing but the fact that there’s meanings hidden behind his words is what gets me. I like being able to write something and the person has to read it a few times to understand, I like doing that and it’s because of Shakespeare. I find his sonnet’s brilliant and some of his plays tolerable especially Macbeth so yes Shakespeare is an inspiration of mine.

Elmore Leonard-

You may not recognize his name but you’ve probably seen some of his work. Get Shorty, Jackie Brown, Out of Sight, Hombre, 3:10 to Yuma, The Big Bounce, etc. He also wrote the tv series Justified on FX. I started reading Leonard after I began watching Justified. After I read one of his books I was hooked. I enjoy the way he tells a story whether it’s crime or a western. He really creates a visual of the scene in a book and the characters are likable and that really spoke to me. After reading a few of his works and watching a few movies I was inspired by him. I tend to keep reading more of his books to become more inspired by him.

Robert Frost-

Frost is an inspiration because of the beautiful way to which he wrote poetry. Also I find “The Road Not Taken” to be a great metaphor for life that I find myself using frequently in my own life choices. I haven’t quite read as much Frost but I’ve read enough to be inspired and influenced by him.

Emily Dickinson-

I’m not sure if this is surprising or an of course you are because every poet is somehow inspired by her. I am inspired by Emily Dickinson for the somber way in which she told a poem. Her sadness spoke volumes and sometimes when I’m sad I find myself channeling my inner Emily trying to find the words to express how I feel.

Langston Hughes-

This one probably surprises people. Hughes has a few poems that are quite short but the meaning and feeling behind them are so strong and powerful that one can’t help but feel inspired. I like Hughes for his realness, his ability to capture your attention in such quick simplicity. He is an underrated inspiration of mine.

R.L Stine-

Like most kids during the 90's I grew up reading Goosebump books. I didn’t read much but when I did I collected and read the Goosebumps series. Stine wrote for children and teens so I feel when it comes to dimmed down horror I take my inspirations from him. Also some of his ideas are pretty creative.

What is the Weird West Genre?

Posted on January 23, 2017 at 4:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Weird West, what is it? According to a definition it’s a literary subgenre of Westerns combined with another, usually horror, science fiction or fantasy. The weird west genre is distinct because it is known for blending not only a typical western with outside elements but also combines fictitious settings and characters with real ones. Meaning you could see a made up character interacting with a notorious western outlaw like Jesse James or riding the western front with Teddy Roosevelt. Despite it’s “weird” term it is to be taken with a grain of salt and a person who wishes to write it should remember to not stir away from the “western” aspects of it because after all westerns in themselves are certainly unique. The western genre really doesn’t need any added tropes or coating so to speak and in many ways seems stern to itself like a firm law book in the crime genre. However the intrigue and fact that someone came along and did change the western genre and did add a fun and strange yet captivating and unique twist makes it all the more powerful and interesting. The genre was first introduced in the 1970's and while it’s hard to imagine it being smaller and virtually lesser known than it already is today it does in fact trace all the way back to the 70's. It became popular during the 1990's by author Joe. R Lansdale who usually combines the original western with a violent and graphic type of horror.

 


One question one might ask is what goes into making it “weird”? Well aside from the settings and characters there’s a few things that make this so. For one it usually involves a typical Western plot created into a unique one whether it’s a sci-fi element or fantasy one. Also technology is a big factor as weapons are usually modified to a fictional aspect but defined and told in a manner which seems plausible. When you take a strange place a western would not normally take place, add cohesive characters with real life historical figures and give them or have them use modern or created technology you make a weird western. Let this not be all you take from it, there is so much more that a weird west is besides oddities there’s still the gritty feel and aspects that make it a western and this cannot be ignored. A weird western is still a western and I feel many forget that and some just assume it’s crap because they are ruining what makes a western great, not true. You can still have a true to itself western and have the added features that add the weirdness it’s just the author has to be able to create the balance of both. It’s just like any two genres that come together or weird tag that gets added onto a genre, you can still stay true to the core and have a little fun in the process.

 


One thing that has perhaps given the genre it’s niche of people is the tv shows and movies of it that have been released over the last decade. This like many genres has helped it resonate and find it’s fan base. It could be argued all day long whether or not people read as much as they used to or even read westerns as much as they used to but one thing can be certain is that the weird west has helped bring a lot of younger readers to the western genre. Some tend to ride the line and border of what classifies as a “weird western” meaning despite not having to do with a straight up western the plot and idea is still that of one. This doesn’t seem like a weird western but rather a show or book of another genre. One genre that has evolved from this and people tend to confuse or blend with the weird west is “Steampunk”. In some ways steampunk can be weird west at times but over the last few years it’s taken on it’s own things that make it so. Hollywood has definitely helped in making these genres more profound and acclaimed and while the genre is still relatively unknown there is a group and fan base for it as well as writers and the more exposure it gets then the more the genre will grow. What makes any genre popular is the readers, they cannot be forgotten or be given less credit. A genre can have a ton of writers of it but without readers it’s merely a catchy hobby writers wish to take on together. The readers are what get the writers to write more and give the genre exposure and it seems very evident that this of all genres would be the very definition of this statement.

 


As a writer of the genre I admit it’s a challenge. Not to write but to write knowing the fan base isn’t out in the open like most but deep within the confines of what classifies as sub-genres. When I read my first weird western I was intrigued and it wasn’t until I wrote my own, A Bloody Bloody Mess in the Wild Wild West that I gained a new found appreciation and understanding of what the genre is and how it could potentially work if enough people tuned into it. What I did however was stick to the basics of what people love about westerns and what Joe R. Lansdale did, write a western and then coat it with weird features. I stuck to what makes a Western a western and only when I did that did I feel it was okay to add the weird elements to it. When you write in such a genre it’s necessary to tackle the main genre first so this way you stay on point and on course. Also like Lansdale I felt the Western horror was the best way to go, for me more so because I feel as though horror is at an all time high right now. So I took a lesser appreciated genre and combined it with one of the most popular and that makes for what? A Weird Western, a genre not really known but appreciated and growing more and more everyday.

Is Horror Poetry A Thing?

Posted on January 16, 2017 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Horror poetry? Horror and Poetry? That's quite a combo! This is what I hear when I tell people I write horror poetry. While never turned off by the idea most ponder the two words tgether for a moment before saying one of the three things above which is usually followed by that's interesting. I don't blame them for their surprised reactions I mean who writes horor poetry anymore? Aside from myself I've only come across a few others who are writers of the unique genre. Is horror poetry a thing? I say yes and not because I write it but because like any small niche genre, there's writers of it and an audience for it. I personally became a writer of horror poetry after reading and becoming inspired by Edgar Allan Poe, the legend of horror poetry himself. In many ways I think we are all inspired by Poe when it comes to horror. His way with words so dark and morbid can really resonate with people. I will explain my enjoyment of writing in this genre and what I think of it by responding to quotes from Edgar Allan Poe.

 


“Men have called me mad; but the question is not yet settled, whether madness is or is not the loftiest intelligence.”

Agreed Edgar, it is not yet settled. One must think of us as mad or at least a bit off in the brain to have such enjoyment by combining a genre that is meant to terrify with one that is usually written with real emotion and calm simple feelings. But is horror not what brings out peoples feelings? Feelings of raw emotion such as fear, worry and sadness? I think it is a lofty intelligence and one that only someone who enjoys horror can really explain or understand.


“When I was young and filled with folly, I fell in love with melancholy”

If by melancholy you mean the simple measure and average writing technique that is poetry then I too fell in love with it. I too from a young age fell for things of average meaning and while poetry is not average I believe people think it is so hence the reason it's a melancholy thought. 

 


“A mystery, and a dream, should my early life seem.”

I hear ya there Mr. Poe. I feel at times that my life has been a mystery and at times a dream, but aren't all of our lives like this in a way? We know not what the future holds nor the upcoming present and yet with all that there's still the mystery of life, a dream of an unbelivable notion that some of the things life throws at us we think of it as not reality. By all these things we cherish life, we cherish mystery and we make the most of our slumbering or unslumbering dreams.

 


"I would define, in brief, the poetry of words as the rhythmical creation of Beauty."

Oh preach it Edgar, preach the good word! Poetry is beautiful, rhythmic, stylish and tells a story through feeling. Poetry is a way of life, a beautiful sunrise, a luminating moonlight, a snowflake falling to the ground, a person, a place, anything you can take around you. This in part is why we are able to take horror and mix it with poetry to create beautiful poems(although some may disagree otherwise). 

 


"Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality."

I see this in two ways. One just as it's written and to be taken and the other as there is no barrier or rule that says horror cannot be poetry or poetry can not be horror. In the deep regions of horror poetry is read and in the deep inner meaning of words written as poetry there is horror. For poetry is like anything else, when it is broken down, horror can be taken from it. It is this taking away that some such as you and I Edgar embrace. For we take the horror and coat our poetry with it, we make the horror the focus, the word, the reality. I think that Edgar is what horror poetry is all about. 


If you wish to experience horror poetry then go grab yourself a Edgar Allan Poe book or grab one of my Macabre Masterpiece books.

Do Vampires & The Monster Exist?(Revised)

Posted on November 22, 2016 at 4:15 PM Comments comments (0)

Do Vampires Exist?

 Now I could look up the documents and evidence to support if vampires exist but I thought it’d be a lot simpler if I give you my personal opinion on whether they do or don’t but both with an analysis from interesting standpoints.

 

Reason vampires don’t exist: The idea that there’s beings in this world that suck the blood from others to stay alive seems a bit farfetched and out there. When I say beings I of course mean man and not any creatures we already have exsisting today that do this such as bats, mosquitoes and leaches. The principle of immortality seems unobtainable and nonexistent. Finally, if such beings existed wouldn’t they try to take over by wiping out the human race?

 

Reasons they could exist: A human being who takes on the characteristics of a vampire to an extreme level can technically by some standard be considered a vampire. Of course there is likely a lapse in reality and mental capacity replaced by a psychotic trait which makes them want to go through such extremes to be a vampire but again there are people like this out there and that’s one way it can be said that vampires exist.

 

The second reason is one we are all familiar with, it’s called evolution and extinction. Now hear me out. We evolved over the centuries into human beings. Dinosaurs and animals have become extinct. Would it be so hard to believe that vampires may have existed at one point in time? Perhaps they were an early level of man that evolution charts don’t show or they existed centuries ago along with humans and just slowly became extinct for whatever reason. Do I believe this? No but I came up with it as a way to explain that it could certainly have been possible.

 


Does Frankenstein’s Monster Exist?

 

Reasons it doesn’t exist: Fiction is a funny thing isn’t it? It’s also creative which means it allows us to create wonders that otherwise can never happen, case and point the monster. There is no rational idea or possibility that any man whether he’s the most brilliant scientist or doctor in the world can create a person out of body parts from dead people. It’s gross and I’m sure some maniacs have tried it but obviously it’s just not physically or genetically possible. Someone said there is countless medical and scientific discoveries being made that could make this possible which again I get but I'm talking about a monster being created as Dr. Frankenstein created it. Yes Dr. Frankenstien is a doctor and what he does is scientific but the horror aspect and the fact he uses dead body parts is what I'm referring to. This premise is why I believe a monster of such sorts cannot be created. 

 

Reasons it could exist: I’ve pretty much just said there’s no way it could humanly be possible however there is only one way to which Frankenstein’s monster could exist...if it were a robot. It is possible for a person to make a human like robot/android that looks like and functions just as the monster does but then you’d have to ask yourself is it the same thing? Irrelevant in my opinion and yes considering it’s the only logical possibility. Again the medical presmie comes into mind but I would lean more toward a person already being alive and having several parts of their body replaced by parts of another but does that make them a monster or fixed up person? 


One reason I decided to take a closer look in comparison on vampires and the monster is because in my first book The Macabre Masterpiece I have a chapter called Creatures which has poems that talk about these two beings. While my take on Frankenstein's monster is pretty much what we already know from the books and movies just shorter and in poem form my take on vampires is a bit different. The reason for this article on whether or not vampires are real is based on my poems and how we as a society percieve vampires lately. My poems deal with how vampires are somber, sad and question their existance. The poems also deal with how we as a society have forgotten who they are and what they are capable. We think they are romantic, mysterious and all sparkly and cute when they are the furthest thing from it. 


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