Four Halloween short stories from Bram Stoker winning author John Palisano, including the brand new tale, “Starlight Drive”.
‘John Palisano is exactly the type of writer horror needs right now: bold, brave, imaginative and unflinching.” –Bentley Little
From Bram Stoker Award-winning author John Palisano comes a collection of four tales from Halloween and Dios De La Muertos.
In “Starlight Drive” two boys find allies through unexpected friends who help them confront a neighbor from hell.
In “Outlaws of Hill County” a small town finds itself terrorized by a creature that only comes out on Halloween.
In “Samhainophobia” a group of college kids still find Halloween terrifying, although for a very different reason than they did while growing up.
In “Fantasma” a young boy searches for his lost cousin during a chilling Dios de la Muertos celebration.
|From the Author|
With Starlight Drive, I wanted to collect a few of my Halloween stories that have appeared over the years, while also including a new short story exclusive to the collection.
Outlaws of Hill County has been reprinted in several places and languages since its premiere many years ago in the Harvest Hill anthology. It’s still one of my favorites, and includes the debut of the Long Fellow, a creature who can fold into the branches of trees and disappear, and who comes out on Halloween in order to suck the life out from kids, fingertip to fingertip. When I first wrote the story, I thought it was a little too insane to catch on, and figured it’d vanish. I’m delighted it has connected with readers around the world.
Starlight Drive is a story I’ve wanted to share for a long time and was based on a fantasy I had as a kid growing up. We had a really obnoxious neighbor. As kids, we had all sorts of myths about this guy. As an adult, I’m sure I’d have a very different perspective. But growing up, he served as the neighborhood bogeyman. It is exclusive to this mini-collection.
Samhainophobia was an experiment in trying to make Halloween scary for college age kids. As we grow up, the monsters no longer scare us, and the holiday becomes more an excuse for sexy costume balls and drinking. I wanted to visit Boston and its suburbs again, which was wonderful. For those thinking it: this is NOT based on the publisher of two of my novels. It was written and published a few years prior. The coincidence in name is pretty comical, though.
Fantasma was a flash fiction piece I wrote for Terry West’s site. We are just seeing Dios de la Muertos crossing over into the mainstream. However, in Los Angeles, it’s something that plays a big part in the season and is an experience not to be missed.
I hope everyone who reads this mini-collection finds something to their liking. I appreciate the reads and am always delighted to hear from my readers. Thank you.
Just released a mini-collection for Halloween, “Starlight Drive”—
It’s been an awfully long time since I’ve updated my Bibliography, and with several new releases just out or coming soon, I thought it high time to do so.
Scales and Tales: Finding Forever Homes
I was very honored to have spent the last year editing the charity anthology Scales & Tales: Finding Forever Homes. This book benefits three local animal adoption programs, and was released as a limited edition of 500 print copies at Comic Con in San Diego. There will be a signing at Dark Delicacies in Burbank on August 28th, so please stop by and purchase a copy (or two!) and meet some of the terrific authors.
Los Angeles, CA William Wu Books 2016. First edition, limited to 500 numbered copies. Contains new stories by Tim Powers, Marv Wolfman, Lisa Morton, Jason V Brock, Sunni K Brock, William F. Nolan and more, including Clive Barker and Ray Bradbury. All proceeds benefit 3 adoption programs in Los Angeles: Southwestern Herpetologist Society, Kitt Crusaders, and Star Paws Rescue.
In Cemetery Riots
In my short story, “Eternal Valley” a family relocates away from the city in order to help their sick son have a fighting chance. When he falls ill again, his father must make a journey to summon a doctor. On his way, he meets a mysterious woman who tells him of an entity in a lake that just might be able to help. Here’s the rest of the table of contents.
Imagine yourself in a cemetery. Void of all light at the base of a tree. But it’s no ordinary tree. This tree abounds with the dead. Now envision that each tree limb is a short story with its own vision, its own length of words, and its own insanity.With that said, beware of the widow makers and the strange foreboding dwelling beneath. Remember, nothing’s heavenly in Cemetery Riots. Cemetery Riots is a new collection of dark cautionary tales edited by T. C. Bennett and Tracy L. Carbone. With great pride, we introduce you to our stories and their authors… THE WAITING DEAD by Ray Garton, ABUSED by Richard Christian Matheson, CHILDREN’S HOUR by Hal Bodner, CARMICHAEL MOTEL by Kathryn E. McGee, THAT STILL, BLEEDING OBJECT OF DESIRE by Chet Williamson, LUNCH AT MOM’S by Tracy L. Carbone, FATHER AND SON by Jack Ketchum, THE DEMON OF SPITALFIELDS by Karen and Roxanne E. Dent, ERASURE by Lisa Morton, THE WINDOWS by T. C. Bennett, CERTAIN SIGHTS OF AN AFFLICATED WOMAN by Eric J. Guignard, THE MAN WHO KNEW WHAT TIME IT WAS by Dennis Etchison, THE RE-POSSESSED by James Dorr, CLOWN ON BLACK VELVET by Michael Sebastian, THE CELLAR by Kelly Kurtzhals, ETERNAL VALLEY by John Palisano, BLOOD by Taylor Grant, AMONG THE TIGERS by William F. Nolan, ALL OUR HEARTS ARE GHOSTS by Peter Atkins, THE ITCH by Michael D. Nye, and DRIVING HER HOME by John Everson.
In The Beauty of Death
It’s the turn of the century in old Hollywood. It’s a time when being gay was even more dangerous than it is today. Falling in love has always been dangerous, and transformative, so when the object of your affection invites you up into the hills for a camping trip, and leads you to a mysterious body of water, you drink, and to hell with the consequences!
The Beauty of Death Anthology, edited by Bram Stoker Award® Winning Author Alessandro Manzetti.
Over 40 stories and novellas by both contemporary masters of horror and exciting newcomers. Stories by: Peter Straub, Ramsey Campbell, Edward Lee, John Skipp, Poppy Z. Brite, Nick Mamatas, Shane McKenzie,Tim Waggoner, Lisa Morton, Gene O’Neill, Linda Addison, Maria Alexander, Monica O’Rourke, John Palisano, Bruce Boston, Alessandro Manzetti, Rena Mason, Kevin Lucia, Daniel Braum, Colleen Anderson,Thersa Matsuura, John F.D. Taff, James Dorr, Marge Simon, Stefano Fantelli, John Claude Smith, K. Trap Jones, Del Howison, Paolo Di Orazio, Ron Breznay, Mike Lester, Annie Neugebauer, Nicola Lombardi, JG Faherty, Kevin David Anderson, Erinn Kemper, Adrian Ludens, Luigi Musolino, Alexander Zelenyj, Daniele Bonfanti, Kathryn Ptacek, Simonetta Santamaria.
Cover Art by George Cotronis
“The Space Between”
In My Peculiar Family
Last July, I was one of the featured readers at Los Angeles reading series Shades & Shadows. We had a full house, and it was wonderful to premier the first chapter of VOICES OF THE DEAD, the sequel to DUST OF THE DEAD. Many readers have asked me what happened after the events of DUST OF THE DEAD, and here’s the first taste.
While you’re there, I urge you to check out the other podcasts. The readings are short . . . around seven minutes each . . . so you can get a good taste of a new author without too much time. They’ve all been pretty damn good, if you ask me.
This is an amazing new program, and Greg has always delivered some great books. All it takes is a click to support his book. THE CHANGELING looks great! Check out this story:
Kindle Scout – A New Avenue for Writers?
By Greg Faherty
Being a writer is a tough business. You have to deal with rejection, long hours sitting in front of a computer, more rejection, editing, more rejection. Even after a book is accepted for publication, there’s still more editing to do, and then marketing, getting reviews… it’s no wonder so many of us enjoy the occasional cocktail. Six or eight times a day!
And today’s publishing environment doesn’t make things any easier. Traditional publishing? Self publishing? Small press? Big publishers? Submit to agents?
Hold on, I need a drink.
Ever since I started writing, I’ve been published 90% traditionally. The only exceptions were when I got the rights back to some books, and I placed them on Amazon myself. So when I finished my latest novel, a YA sci-fi thriller titled The Changeling, I was ready to begin that familiar submission process. Pick the top 10 publishers looking for that type of book, and send it out. One at a time. Realistically, if you throw in a few rejections (to which I’m no stranger; nobody in this business is, unless you already have a publisher or your name happens to be King, Rowling, Martin, etc.) you’re looking at 1-3 years before you get that publishing contract.
A rather daunting process.
But before I had a chance to begin, a couple of writer friends suggested I give Kindle Scout a try.
For those of you who don’t know, Kindle Scout is a relatively new program run by Amazon. Basically, the reading public serves as the slush pile team. The writer uploads a completed manuscript, synopsis, cover art, and some other info. Readers read an excerpt, and then they have the option to vote for the book if they think it’s interesting enough to finish. Get enough votes, attract the attention of the Amazon editing staff, and you have a chance to earn a publishing contract with Amazon. The benefit to the reader? Each book you vote for, you win a free copy of the ebook if it gets published. The benefit to the writer is an advance, royalties, and Amazon’s marketing machine.
Not too shabby.
But it’s not as easy as it sounds. Let’s take a look at the process:
The first step is getting the book ready for publication. This process is similar to self-publishing through Kindle. Your manuscript must be polished and ready; professional editing is a must. You need a good synopsis, a 2-line, catchy description, and a short, 1-paragraph summary. You also need a professional book cover; that means either investing some money or doing it yourself, if you have the skills. Amazon is very tough when it comes to covers. Shoddy art almost guarantees you won’t even get accepted to run a campaign.
No one seems to really know what the Scout team bases its acceptance decisions on, but if you make it past this first phase, you’ll get an email in a few days informing you your campaign is a go.
Once you stop celebrating, the second step begins. And this is the hard part.
Each campaign runs for 30 days. Amazon will tell you the launch and end dates. Usually, you have 2-3 days to prepare for the launch. You’ll need it! It’s best to prepare your social media posts, emails, and any other promotional strategies during this time, so you can be ready to go the moment the campaign goes live.
In my case, I lost a few vital hours because my campaign started at midnight. Bad Amazon, bad! So it wasn’t until 6am that I got started sending out the news.
Now, here is a key tip. You need to find a balance between over-promoting and under-promoting. Too little, and no one goes to your page. Too much, and everyone who follows you on social media will get sick of you. Remember, people can remove their votes, so you don’t want to annoy anyone! There are also paid services you can use that will blast your campaign link out all over the place, but beware. Amazon tracks where your page views originate from, and if it’s all paid promotion, they will take that into consideration, because it means people might be voting without actually reading the excerpt.
As I write this, I’m in day 12 of my 30 days, and the statistics on my Scout page show a trend already. When I post in social media (twitter, my own FB page, various reader and writer FB pages), I get 2-3 times the number of views as on days that I don’t. Even so, I’m careful to only post 1x per week on my page, and 1x per week on the various promotional FB pages. I’m saving the daily posts for the final week.
All in all, it’s a rather stressful process, especially if you hate waiting. I liken it to submitting traditionally, but you can see the editor reading your book and you’re trying to gauge their reaction.
There is one advantage, though. Within a week or so after your 30-day campaign ends, you learn if you’ll be offered a contract or not. Unlike traditional publishing, where a book can sit for up to 12 months before the editor even sees it.
The best thing is to practice patience and pour another drink!
For those of you who might be interested in taking a look at my book, here’s a little bit about it.
Struck by lightning, developing new superpowers, and pursued by a power-hungry secret military group that wants to use her as a weapon of mass destruction…it’s so not the 18th birthday that high school senior Chloe Olivetti was hoping for.
This is the summary to THE CHANGELING. If you have a minute, please register for Kindle Scout (it’s free!), read the excerpt, and if you like it, give it a vote. The benefit to you? If it wins, you get a free copy of the book for your Kindle and the book gets published. Plus, you’ll have my ever-lasting gratitude for your support (and maybe another free gift as well!). Here’s the link:
I’m floored that “Happy Joe’s Rest Stop” from the anthology 18 Wheels of Horror, edited by Eric Miller, has won the Bram Stoker Award for Short Fiction. It was an amazing night—sitting at a table with R.L Stine, Tony Timpone and Anne Serling. Wow. Earlier in the evening I was honored to present Tim Waggoner with the very first Mentor of the Year Award. Tim’s been an amazing ally of mine the last several years, and has saved my sanity on a few occasions when dealing with the roller coaster world of publishing. I know: that seems ridiculous. Publishing? Isn’t that a bunch of old men in a room filled with cigar smoke, rare whisky, and rare editions bound in leather? Not at all. Every small victory is hard won. This was a big one.
With that? Here’s what I read after winning the award.
The Bram Stoker Award is a beacon. It’s that neon sign on a rainy side street in an unfamiliar city, luring you into a dark and cozy bar. There’s a song on the jukebox played by Damian Walters … something about singing about your scars … at the bar Gene O’Neill can tell you all about the Algernon Effect over a coffee … where behind the bar Kate Jonez will tell you how you might change your luck if you ask for just the right drink … and where at the end of the bar you might be tempted to open Allyssa Wong’s small bottle with something dark inside whispering your name … and I’ll have a story for you, too … about a boy and his Dad who get separated by the embodiment of pure evil … but even that is not enough to sever the tie between them.
Thank you so much to everyone who read and voted for my story.
All these great stories are to be celebrated and sought out. Horror fiction is in such a huge renaissance right now that if I started reading my TBR pile now, I’d still never get through the sheer amount of amazing works being produced all over the spectrum: from literary, to matinee, to the weird, to the bizzaro: I love all of you and walk with you on the nighttime streets, listening for when the darkness talks back to us, and writing it down when we can.
Thank you to the many in our community who’ve helped me over the years: Lisa Morton, Gene O’Neill, Hal Bodner, Deborah LeBlanc, Joe Nassise, Gary Braunbeck, Bentley Little, Tim Waggoner, Nancy Holder, John Everson, Joe McKinney, and everyone else, and especially the good folks of the Los Angeles Chapter, who continually inspire me.
Thanks to Eric Miller, the editor behind 18 Wheels of Horror, whose sure guidance shaped Happy Joe’s into the story it is today.
Thanks to my Dad and my mom and my brother, who have always supported their strange child through his many passions over the years.
Thanks to Fawn, who found my ghost heart and made it whole again. Your positive influence is nothing short of inspiring and continuously galvanizes me.
And all my love to Leonardo Gabriel. This one’s for you, Kiddo!
Stuart R. West’s novel Demon with a Comb-Over quickly won me over. At first, I believed I was in for a saucy romp. Soon, though, the story turned in some of the creepiest moments in a book I’ve read in recent memory. We learn that Charlie has accidentally singled out a man who he initially thinks is a good target during one of his stand-ups. Turns out it’s actually Kobal, who, naturally, turns his own sites on Charlie and his long-suffering daughter. It’s a brilliant twist.
Here’s the thing that makes it all work for me. Charlie is painfully real. His passion is standup comedy, but he is not so good at it. He perseveres, regardless. I think most of us can relate to that. We all want to be great at what we’re passionate about. When we’re not, and the world cruelly tunes us out, it can make most abandon ship. On the flipside, it can make a dedicated few work harder and try harder, hoping there’s some magic, missing quotient for them to discover. That’s where Demon with a Comb-Over feels like a classic tragedy, and succeeds. It’s also very funny, at turns. Having reached out to Stuart, I found him to be equally funny and charismatic as his book.
We also both have been crouched under the Samhain tent as the hurricane has hit. Our last books with the imprint didn’t get the push or attention as much as we’d hoped, so we thought we’d do what we could, and talk about them here. I do hope someone takes on Stuart. I mean, check out this bit about something that almost came out from Samhain:
Dread and Breakfast. Think “Psycho” but with a bunch of damaged, darkly amusing characters: a psychotic, religious married couple; a germophobic mobster; an embezzling wallflower accountant; a hitman who puts family first; an abusive husband; a charming but sociopathic cop; a woman on the run fighting for her young daughter’s life; and of course, Jim and Dolores Dandy, bread and breakfast owners and serial killers.
Welcome to the Dandy Drop Inn. A finer bed and breakfast can’t be found in the Midwest. Hospitality’s the name, murder’s the game. Kick your shoes off, warm up next to the cozy fireplace during the winter storm. Delight over the chocolate pecan pie, everyone’s family here. Don’t fret about the mounting bodies piling up. Try not to let the other strange guests get under your skin, it takes all kinds. And whatever you do, don’t go into the cellar. Business as usual at the ol’ Dandy Drop Inn. A wonderful getaway you won’t soon forget. You just might not survive the night.
I also thought it’d be fun as hell (get it?) to do something a little fun instead of a straight interview. So here’s …
13 Things You Never Knew About Stuart R. West!
*I was in an alternative/art performance band where I played a mentally unstable person (“Cousin Bo”). I wore pajamas on stage, swung around a saxophone and rarely played it. I also shaved my head on-stage with fake stage-blood which once caused the bar owner to call 911.
*I saw Dr. Joyce Brothers in lingerie! I worked at a PR firm. My job was to take photos. When my fellow gal worker went with me, she knocked on Dr. Brother’s door. The doc asked, “who is it?” She answered just for herself. The door opened. My eyes, my eyes!
*Back in the day, I was a world-class videotape trader. The best in the business. I accumulated 30,000 movies from across the world, mostly horror, a lot of them unsubbed and undubbed. Late last year, my “nest egg” went the way of a dumpster. Mold happens. One of the saddest days of my life. My wife and I spent two solid days carrying them out from the basement.
*As a school-skipping kid, I once shared a cigarette with Frank Gorshin (in town for a radio interview to plug his comedy review at “The Golden Buffet”). He was standing on the lawn of the radio station. I told the girl I was with who he was (Batman’s “Riddler”). She didn’t believe me, so we went forth. He ended up signing her paperback novel of (can’t remember the title) a tale of demonic and sexual possession.
*After college, I tried stand-up comedy. Burned worse than my protagonist, Charlie, from my novel, Demon with a Comb-Over.
*For over twenty years, I was a graphic artist and manager of a big North Kansas City publishing company. And I still don’t trust my talents to do my own covers.
*I’ve written 12 novels, put out by three publishers. I also have a children’s picture book coming late in the year. Eventually I’d like to try my hand at most genres. Except erotica. Not that there’s anything wrong with it! I just find it boring after a while. Still…it sells!
*When I was in grade school I knew I wanted to be a writer. Just took me a while to get there.
*I’m married to a college professor of pharmacy, a world-renowned specialist in natural products. Her drug expertise (um, not the kind I specialized in during high school!) comes in handy for some of my thrillers.
*True confession time! I love bad movies. Absolutely adore them. Give me a schlocky, awful Andy Milligan piece of junk over Titanic any day. During a recent visit, my nephew checked out my DVD collection. He asked, “Don’t you ever watch any good movies?” “Um, no,” I said. Don’t judge me!
*My friends and I almost kidnapped “Skippy” from Family Ties back in the day during a spring break in Texas. Long story, that.
*In high school, I worked at a McDonald’s for one day. When I blasted the tartar sauce gun too hard (which shot the fish sandwich off the table), I found it pretty funny. My boss didn’t.
*I brought my daughter up watching horror movies. I was so proud of her the other day when she gave a lecture to my young nephews about the trajectory of the Nightmare of Elm Street saga. She did it with confidence, knowledge, acting out and humor. My girl!
When I first met Glenn Rolfe, I knew we were cut from the same cloth. We quickly talked about all things music and horror and had many common passions, from Springsteen to vintage Stephen King, to 80s metal to obscure punk bands. His career has been really taking off, and his writing output has grown tremendously. Each one of his releases has been different in story, but the characters are the kind of people you immediately feel comfortable with–like the guys you’d have a few beers with at the bar who’d give you a jump when that damn old thing won’t start on the way home. But Glenn being Glenn: there’s going to be something sinister lurking just behind that corner . . .
From your first collection of short stories, I feel your writing has gone on to be more and more successful with each release. You’re on fire, creatively. To top off your writing, you also are a successful rock n’ roll musician and a very esteemed member of your day job. Not to mention being a dad. How do you juggle it all?
I have a lot of help! I do a lot of writing on my overnight shifts at the hotel I work at. I don’t play in bands as much, but still do when I have a spare Saturday. My wife and kids are amazing. They deserve my home time and I give it to them. Writing success? I think it comes from hard work, constantly doing something to promote yourself or others, and having a good story to push. I just got started at this, so I hope to only get better as an artist, as a writer, and as person.
Speaking of: you’re a rocker! We spoke about our mutual love of Springsteen and 80s metal at one of the Stoker awards. I loved the Abrahm’s Bridge nod. How much does that inform your work?
Loads. Yeah, Abram’s Bridge was inspired by “Darkness on the Edge of Town”, as you know, I’m also working on another Springsteen nod, “Stolen Car.” I love to incorporate my favorite songs and artists into my stories. Everything from Alkaline Trio to the Boss to Taylor Swift.
Most highly creative people I know are multi-hyphenate great at several disciplines. We know about your writing and we’ve rocked out to some of your videos. Is there something else lurking inside? Painting? Filmmaking? Something like that?
Um…not that I’m aware of. I’ve been doing music since I was 17, but I didn’t start writing until I was 34…so maybe there is another avenue for me to discover down the road. I wouldn’t mind making a movie. I’ve heard my stories read like movies. I’d also like to throw my hat in the publishing ring.
Each of your works feels different to me, as if you’re exploring different styles and stories. Blood & Rain is a rip-roaring action book, but your latest is a haunting slow-burn that quite literally pulls you in at the end. Are there any other styles you’re writing in?
I don’t want to write the same story over and over again. I like the idea of complete freedom when writing. I have a book on the back burner that has nothing to do with horror (also inspired by one of the saddest songs I’ve heard in recent times). I like the idea of going full alien invasion someday, but I feel like 90 % of whatever I do will still have a toe or two in the horror pool.
So far, you’ve been all horror, all the time, as far as the public has been concerned. Do you have any non-horror works?
Like I said, definitely. I have the sad story, real dramatic piece about a boy who loses his mother and a father who has to try and figure out how to help him get past the immense loss. I also have a crime novel drafted up in my mind about some real life stuff from a town about two hours from where I live.
Most people who attain success pretty much focus on themselves, yet, you have spearheaded many Samhain authors and you are always looking out for everyone else, thinking of new ways to promote your fellow authors, and promoting them by hand. You don’t have to do this! I think it’s amazing, but what’s behind this generous and all inclusive spirit?
I came from a punk rock scene where we were all trying to get out together. We were all celebrating each other and each other’s successes, each step forward, each show, each record. We were a family. I think I just carried that with me into this next phase in my life. The horror genre is very much like the punk scene. We’re the black sheep, we’re the underdogs, we’re the misfits forced to work and fight from the shadows. You would think that with the success of King and a handful of others, combined with the recent success of TV like American Horror Story and The Walking Dead we’d find a broader reach, but that just remains to be seen.
I believe we can prevail if we work together. Most of the presses I’ve worked with or talked to or seen on social media do a good job of working together. There’s always exceptions, but I think we’re a mostly solid community.
As for my supporting others, I’ve had published authors supporting me, giving me advice since day one. I figure it’s my duty to repay that unnecessary support by doing the same. Ronald Malfi didn’t owe me a damn thing, but he’s been a helpful hand from the start for me. Russell James, Jonathan Janz, and Hunter Shea listened to me when I was just a fan asking questions about getting published, getting better at the craft. Paying it forward. That’s about the gist of things.
Most people would only think of one name when they think of ‘horror writer’ and ‘Maine’ –– but you are quickly rising in visibility, and people are noticing it’s not a one man show up there. I imagine there may be a horror writing scene brewing, kind of like Seattle in the late 80s. Any truth to that hunch?
There are plenty of aspiring and talented folks up here. Nate Kenyon is from here. Kristin Dearborn went to the same school as me. Although he’s a transplant, Peter N. Dudar, who was nominated a few years back for Best First Novel (Stokers) for his novel, A Requiem for Dead Flies, lives about twenty minutes from me. April Hawks, Morgan Sylvia, and many, many more.
The small towns, creepy woods, and freaky weather tend to inspire the creative types that lurk up here.
Being an author is changing drastically. When pretty much anyone can and have written books and uploaded them to Amazon, what distinguishes a pro from that onslaught? And how can readers know the difference?
You can’t know the difference without reading the work. There are good self-published books out there, but they do seem to be in the minority.
Best to go with reviews by people or names that you trust. Maybe if the cover looks like it was drawn by a 4th grader, steer clear. If you see the guy or gal responding poorly to negative reviews, that’s often a sign of unchecked ego. See Labbe, Rod.
Going with a book by a publisher is still the best barometer of professionalism. At least there’s a gatekeeper that agrees that the author’s story is worthy of being read. Even some of those are still misses, but the percentages are better going with traditional pub vs. self-pub.
What does the future hold?
I’m working on my next short story collection, the follow-up to Blood and Rain, a number of novellas, and much more. I have some plans up my sleeves in the wake of our publisher’s shake-up, but that’s down the road.
My next official release will either be my short story collection or my novella, Chasing Ghosts, which is coming from the fine folks at Sinister Grin Press in early 2017.
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon.
He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.
He is the author the novellas, Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town, and his latest, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain (October 2015). His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will also be released in March 2016. His next book, Chasing Ghosts, will be coming by 2017.
He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!
Praise for Things We Fear
“Things We Fear is a compulsively readable tale of obsession and dark suspense, with one of the creepiest villains I’ve encountered in recent years.” — Tim Waggoner, author of The Way of All Flesh
“Glenn Rolfe’s new thriller is addictive. A quick, compelling read. Rolfe creates tension with a minimal amount of words. His characters are so well-drawn they come alive (before they die).” — Duncan Ralston, author of Salvage
“Fast paced and tense, with one of the most interesting monsters I’ve read about in recent times.” — Patrick Lacey, author of A Debt to Be Paid
“Glenn Rolfe is quickly establishing a name for himself as one of a number of excellent new writers to ensure the horror genre is kept alive and well. His previous books – Abram’s Bridge, Boom Town and Blood and Rain – have also served to show the extensive breadth of his imagination and Things We Fear carries on that trend. Quite simply, each story is fresh, new, exciting, and unpredictable.” — Catherine Cavendish, author of Dark Avenging Angel
“In this frighteningly real look at true horror, Rolfe manages to up the ante of tension while balancing genuinely heartbreaking moments, while showcasing his talent for creating unforgettable characters placed in equally unforgettable moments.” — David, Beneath The Underground
“There is a definite old school feel about this novella. It isn’t an over the top gore fest. Instead, what we have is a tense, psychological thriller that builds steadily towards a fitting climax.” -Adrian Shotbolt, at Ginger Nuts of Horror
Praise for Abram’s Bridge (a novella within Where Nightmares Begin)
“This is a stellar debut from Glenn Rolfe, a tale that will give you chills as much as it will make you question the hardness in men’s hearts and the spirit of redemption.” -Hunter Shea, Author of The Montauk Monster and Island of the Forbidden
“If you’re looking for a page-turning who-done-it with a touch of the supernatural and a solid all around story that satisfies, then look no further.” -David Bernstein, author of Goblins and Unhinged
Praise for Boom Town (a novella within Where Nightmares Begin)
“Short and sharp, Glenn Rolfe’s BOOM TOWN packs in in for a novella. An excellent blend of horror and sci-fi, with way more character development than you usually see in a shorter work like this.” -Russell James, Author of Q Island
“Boom Town is a fun, fast-paced read packed with action, copious amounts of alien slime and an aura of creepiness that is sure to appeal to both horror and science fiction fans.” -Rich, The Horror Bookshelf
Purchase Things We Fear
Purchase Where Nightmares Begin
Amazon (Kindle edition. Print link coming soon)
I’ll never forget standing in the Apple store where I worked, wearing those dreadful blue shirts (Hey! Are you a cop?) when in walked Cody one day with one of those massive Mac Pros. It felt like the asylum had come to set us all free. Since then, I’ve followed his work and have never been disappointed. Not only is his work fascinating and multi-layered, but the man is, as well. As you shall discover.
1. When did you discover Lovecraft? What was that like for you?
Fittingly enough, it coincided with the onset of puberty.
2. You’re known very much for your Lovecraftian and Mythos tales, yet, you seem to switch gears and be able to work in many other genres successfully. Your work with John Skipp veered more into the splatterpunk and straight horror areas, with a touch of the weird. What other helped steer your outlook as you were a developing writer, and what turns you on now?
My father and grandparents died when I was very young. Growing up, I I think I read classic and splatterpunk horror, cyberpunk science fiction, crime, fantasy and lurid history with an eye to anything that would re-sensitize me to the vital cruelty and weirdness of the world, and strategies for coping with it. Authors I favored found ways to use words to shock as images and sounds couldn’t, to achieve almost a form of synesthesia, with language you could taste and smell. People like Ballard, Burroughs, O’Connor, Koja, Gibson, Rucker, Peake, Crews, Ellroy and Schow, whose voices seethe with unique notes amid precise prose.
What I think is most interesting about modern Mythos fiction, for those who find any of it interesting, is how successive “Lovecraft Circles” of authors have aligned in their intent. HPL’s peers and disciples all added their own gods, forbidden tomes and cults to the mythology, with the effect that some, like Derleth, Lumley and Carter, nearly murdered the subgenre they loved with cyclopean bricks of exposition and contrived, consonant-heavy monsters that lacked the uncanny, paranoid urgency of Lovecraft’s creations.
All praises and acknowledgment are due Hierophant of the Horde Robert M. Price and Choirmonster Darrell Schweitzer, who founded the Esoteric Order of Dagon and initiated the prayer breakfasts at the original NecronomiCon shows in Providence in the 90’s. Brother Bob’s early sermons are collected in an excellent pamphlet called The Sermon On The Mound, and a hymnal of Schweitzer’s perversions of Christian standards can also be found wherever he peddles his wares. Later, Brother Bob presided over breakfasts at the HP Lovecraft Film Festival & Cthulhucon in Portland, where I was first recruited as a deacon, and later pressed to deliver a backup sermon and carry out ritual observances when Bob was laid low by hay fever.
That was a weird fluke. I’d recently quit smoking, and wanted to see if I could sing properly once my lungs cleared, and Andrew “the Slow Poisoner” Goldfarb was in the house, so apropos of nothing, at the end of a Bizarro performance piece, we broke into Marty Robbins’ Cool Clear Water. I’m not a country fan by any stretch, and have never sung in a band or choir or a class, but I do have a soft spot for old Western tunes and cowboy crooners. I enjoy singing, but I’d pretty much only get in front of a crowd to do it again because I like making myself nervous. But I’m glad you enjoyed it…
6. Speaking of music: you’re also known as being an amazing connoisseur of amazing music that’s not widely known. Your mixes are epic, and run through so many styles one hardly has time to absorb them. Do you listen to music while you write? Does it inspire your work?
I don’t know who knows me as such things, but I’ll bite…
Music is my other favorite thing. I always have music on while I write and when I drive and think about what I’m writing. Lately, I’ve been listening to Mutant and Xen by Arca, Garden Of Delete by Oneohtrix Point Never, a lot of Venetian Snares and always, always, Amon Tobin. Generally it’s all instrumental, from classical and film scores to big band, exotica, space music and techno. It’s all vivid music that drives what Jim Thirlwell called “brain movies,” without trapping you in a singer’s narrative or pushy psychodrama. I always preferred it to vocally driven music of any kind, and after I put in ten years as a “radio research musicologist” basically playing Name That Tune at home in my pajamas to compile data for alternative chart ratings, a huge part of my brain was tied up remembering and recalling the lyrics of every song on the radio during the absolute nadir of rock music in America. Creed. Limp Bizkit. Barenaked Ladies. Godsmack. Losing the job when we finally became obsolete was like having a stroke in reverse. I had to relearn everything after having some fifty percent of my gray matter suddenly come back to life after it no longer had to recognize the slap-bass solo on any given Korn song.
7. You’ve made some excellent short films, including the hilarious and creepy, Lovecraftian “Stay at Home Dad”. Where you always interested in filmmaking and screenwriting? Is this a newer passion? Are you working on some new films?
I came to UCLA in 1989 to study film, but they scrapped the undergraduate production major my first quarter. I left school totally discouraged by what I’d seen and heard of the film industry, and to this day, every encounter with it makes me more grateful for the simplicity of writing. When I moved back to LA in 2007, I wasn’t looking to get into film, but my wife had run a post house and is an editor, and Skipp was busy picking up the fundamentals of directing when we first started hanging out. As Skipp has evolved into a bona fide filmmaker with Andrew Kasch, I’ve had a lot of opportunities to try different stuff—acting, scoring and stain removal, as well as writing—and meet the vast array of people you need to know and subordinate to your will to even dream of making a simple, short motion picture.
We’ve picked up the torch from the Portland festival, which will be old enough to drink this October. Our fest, now in its seventh year, has been a very different experience, mostly because Portland is such a cozy town where all the weirdos regularly run into each other, where LA is a vast, distraction-infested wasteland, so just bringing together a crowd of highly evolved mutants like this is a massive undertaking. Our three-day show includes classic features and about four hours of new weird short films, but also weird lit readings and panels, art shows, the Mall of Cthulhu, gaming, filmmaker Q&A, SFX makeup demonstrations, a burlesque floorshow shadow cast of The Dunwich Horror…and some stuff I forgot. We use Kickstarter to sell our advance tickets and fly in guests, and we’ve only got about halfway to where we need to be WITH ONLY 12 DAYS TO GO. We’ve got a lot of neat swag and extra stuff for people coming to the show, from a professional portrait with a real live monster by photographer Joshua Hoffine to a chance to meet a fate worse than death in a Joe Pulver story, but we’ve also got a livestream package for folks who can’t make it out to SoCal, hosted this year by Mike Davis of Lovecraft e-Zine and Leeman “Ask Lovecraft” Kessler. So there’s no logical reason why everyone on earth shouldn’t make this a part of their lives.
9. Graphic novels are also high on your list. I know you’ve done work in that field, too. How is it different than fiction and/or films? Do you have anything in the works?
Writing comics professionally is one of those ambitions I’ve had to kind of let go of, in order to still enjoy reading them. The industry has been even less responsive to my overtures than the film world. Which is such a pain, because writing comics is the distillation of all that makes writing for film so exciting. You’re selecting exacting slices of moments to stand in for the whole scene, so it takes the persistence of vision that makes motion pictures work to its extreme. But where everything you write into a film is going to cost untold amounts of money and trouble to bring to life, in comics, you’re laying out the blueprint, and your partner the artist laboriously but somehow magically breathes it into existence. Everything, everything is negotiable. When an artist is in sync with your prose, it’s like making a film, and the best partnerships become as simple and fertile as jamming between musicians.
CODY GOODFELLOW has written five novels, and co-wrote three more with New York Times bestselling author John Skipp. His first two collections, Silent Weapons For Quiet Wars and All-Monster Action, each received the Wonderland Book Award. He wrote, co-produced and scored the short Lovecraftian hygiene film Stay At Home Dad, which can be viewed on YouTube. He is also a director of the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival-San Pedro, and cofounder of Perilous Press, an occasional micropublisher of modern cosmic horror. He lives in Burbank, California, and is currently working on building a perfect bowling team.
From the Trenches: A Pull Toward the Unknown
So let’s get the motorcade rolling. There’s no time like yesterday to fly the dark colors of our horror flag for all to see.
In mainstream media we are seeing tremendous numbers supporting horror television shows and films. AMERICAN HORROR STORY is rivalling shows like the SOPRANOS in acting nominations and wins. THE WALKING DEAD continues to bring in hordes of viewers. Yet something is missing. Horror fiction continues to be mixed in with fiction at bookstores. There once was a time when horror had its own section at major chains. Borders kept theirs until the end. Others have done away with these separate sections, unless individual stores choose to have them.
We need to storm the gates by proving beyond any doubt that horror fiction is as viable and as urgent a genre as possible. Spend two minutes viewing a news feed and you’ll see our world is overrun with horrific things and themes. Art is supposed to reflect the world. Art helps us put things into perspective. Art allows us to vent, to heal, to hurt through it without hurting others. That is where horror speaks to so many profoundly.
Modern horror is not the simple slashers of the 1980s. It’s a rich and varied world, with equally strong voices coming from women and men of many different colors.
How does this tie into my duties as your new Vice-President?
It is through the above realizations that I’ve worked to spread the word about horror literature. This genre and its practitioners have saved me more times than I can recall. I’m not alone in that experience.
Throughout the years we’ve seen the HWA membership ebb and flow. I’ve been lucky to see the work of several excellent presidents. The present team of folks are rowing that forward, carrying the work of our predecessors, while making our own mark, and setting the table for those who will follow. Lisa Morton has come into her own as President, bringing to life many amazing initiatives, and making sure everything behind the scenes is running seamlessly. I’m honored to be the right-hand man for her and for the HWA.
At our final meeting of the year at the HWA LA Chapter, I announced that I am doing what I am for my fellow authors because I am horribly selfish. I believe there is plenty of space for the countless great works being produced, especially in the Weird, Bizarro, and alternate horror genres. The imagination is astounding and absolutely riveting. I want to share these works with everyone.
When I was twelve I spotted the rack of horror books at the local Waldenbooks (remember those?) and the neat flip cover of Stephen King’s Night Shift caught my eye … you know … the one with the eyes in the fingers? Well, I picked it up and had to have it. I read through it and was hooked. That was it. I knew, somehow, I’d have to be involved in this horror book world. I want that for the next kid who is wandering through a store. I want that pull toward the unknown to be answered. Let’s all be there to welcome them home.