Monday, 29 December 2014

Upcoming Horror Movies in 2015

As a fan of horror movies, I did a quick survey to see what's on the horizon for 2015. Included among the ones that look interesting are the following:

The Woman in Black 2: Angel of Death - I really enjoyed the original movie, based on the novel by British horror writer Susan Hill. Hill has co-written the screenplay for this movie, which occurs forty years after the original haunting when a group of school children are evacuated from the London bombings during World War II. The group takes up residence in Eel Marsh House and soon discovers they are not alone. (Release Date: January 2, 2015)

The Visit - I enjoy the movies of M. Night Shymalan, even if they tend to be uneven in the quality of their scripts and acting. There's always something of interest and some element of newness in his story-telling. The Visit is the story of a brother and sister who are sent to their grandparents’ remote Pennsylvania farm for a week-long trip. The children discover that the elderly couple is involved in something deeply disturbing, and see their chances of returning home diminish each day. (Release Date: September 11, 2015)

There are a number of other horror sequels and re-makes planned for 2015, including the update of the Predator franchise. To see more movies airing in 2015, please click here.

And, speaking of 2015, Happy New Year to everyone reading this blog!

Monday, 22 December 2014

Remembering Rocky Wood

Photo courtesy of Rocky Wood Official Website
Rocky Wood, the president of the Horror Writers Association, died on December 1, 2014, after battling ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease, since 2010. If you watch the video of the 2014 Bram Stoker Awards banquet, you will see Rocky Wood in attendance in a wheelchair, remaining, as always, extremely active in support of horror writers in spite of his debilitating illness.


Rocky Wood was considered the foremost authority on Stephen King, and he published extensive research on King, as well as a collection of his previously unpublished works.  He won the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Non-Fiction for Stephen King: A Literary Companion. King once commented that Rocky Wood knew his work better than he himself did. In fact, King called upon Rocky Wood's research skills to ensure continuity between The Shining and Doctor Sleep.

Rocky Wood also wrote graphic novels, and he won a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement on a Graphic Novel in 2012 for Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, which examined the witch hunting phenomenon in Europe and New England.

Lisa Morton, a long-time friend and admirer of Rocky who co-authored his award-winning graphic novel on witch hunts, is the new HWA president. In an open letter to HWA members, she speaks of his kindness, his strong support for women's rights, and his devotion to charities, including his work at local animal shelters. Ms. Morton describes him as a master of organization, who worked tirelessly to encourage young writers and to expand the HWA volunteer base and membership. 

To share condolences with his family, please visit the guestbook at his official website.

R.I.P. Rocky Wood, 1959-2014.

Monday, 15 December 2014

The Evil Dead and the Versatile Bruce Campbell

Bruce Campbell in Evil Dead II: photo courtesy of the IGN website
Fans of The Evil Dead cult horror movies will be pleased to learn that there will be a new television series next year called Ash Vs. Evil Dead. Director Sam Raimi, who made the original movie in 1981, followed by Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness, will be the executive producer of the new show, as well as writing and directing its first episode. And, of course, actor Bruce Campbell of Evil Dead movie fame will play Ash Williams in the new series.

My son is a huge fan of cult horror movies, especially The Evil Dead franchise, and was able to get an autograph from Bruce Campbell at this year's ComicCon in Ottawa. Mr. Campbell signed the autograph despite the fact that his booth had technically closed for the day, and he was very kind to my son, who will be a fan of his for life.

I'm currently watching Bruce Campbell in the series Burn Notice, which I bought on DVD. He plays a thoroughly enjoyable character who is ethically-challenged, but always comes through for his friends.

In addition to starring in many cult horror films and co-starring in the Burn Notice television series, the versatile Campbell has had roles in mainstream movies and numerous other television shows, as well as being a voice talent for Disney. And believe it or not, he is an ordained minister who has performed marriages. (Source: Wikipedia)

To visit Bruce Campbell's official website, please click here. To read more about his upcoming TV series, please click here.


Monday, 8 December 2014

The Home Child: A New Release from The Plaid Raccoon Press

The Plaid Raccoon Press is pleased to announce the publication of The Home Child by Lynn L. Clark. The novel tells the story of Jake Hall, a transplanted city dweller who is trying to adjust to the realities of country life. Jake knows it isn't going to be an easy transition, and he's prepared for major renovations to the old farm house he's purchased. But what he hasn't counted on is finding a former resident still inhabiting the house in spirit form!

 Synopsis

Set in eastern Ontario, Canada, against the backdrop of a rural town in transition, the novel combines historical detail and the supernatural in the poignant story of a Scottish home child who wants simply to be reunited with the family he lost so many years ago.


Historical Context
 
Starting in 1869 and continuing to the mid-twentieth century, approximately 100,000 children were sent to Canada from the United Kingdom. Although the majority of the children were from England, approximately 7,000 children came from the Quarrier orphan homes in Scotland. Organized as a mission of mercy, this child migration was supposed to allow poverty-stricken children to have a better life abroad. But only two per cent of the home children were in fact orphans. Separated from their parents and siblings, many of these children were abused and exploited as a source of cheap labour when they came to Canada.

 
 Author Biography

Lynn L. Clark was born in Woodstock, New Brunswick. She received her B.A. and M.A. from Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Prior to her retirement in 2011, she worked for the federal government in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. She lives in a small town in eastern Ontario with her husband, crime fiction writer Michael J. McCann. Lynn is currently working on her second supernatural novel. 

  
Excerpt and Buy Links

To read an excerpt from The Home Child, please click here.
The paperback version is available from Amazon.com or Amazon.ca. 
The e-book version for your Amazon Kindle is available at http://www.amazon.com/Home-Child-supernatural-novel-ebook/dp/B00QEBQNPK/. 
 For all other e-readers and devices, please click here: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/497674. 
To enter a Goodreads giveaway for this book, please click here.

 
A Final Note

Now that Lynn has published her first novel of the supernatural, she has agreed to assume full editorial control of Behind the Walls of Nightmare, which will continue to focus on the horror genre, including topics related to my supernatural thriller, The Ghost Man. Meanwhile, I'll be managing The Overnight Bestseller blog on crime fiction, writing, and other adventures.

Lynn also has a new Goodreads blog, Writing in Retirement, which is available at https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/10057406.Lynn_L_Clark/blog


Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas Gifts for Horror Lovers

Now that it's December, I did some internet research to see what gifts are available for horror lovers. They range from the traditional horror movies, posters, and books to many novelty items, including gargoyle pens, Frankenstein tins with candy, and cracked doll head candles. However, these novelty items tend to be pricey unless there are still some Halloween markdowns out there in cyberspace that you can find.


For those on a budget, I'm reprinting a list I prepared for last year's blog post:


- Record some of the free offerings on television and make a themed set of horror movies (e.g., killer clowns; exorcisms; haunted houses);


- Give a subscription to a horror magazine or buy a horror-themed calendar;

- Take advantage of sales on t-shirts from printing companies that have no minimum purchase requirement and order a custom-made t-shirt for less (as low as $5-$7.50) with horror graphics downloaded from the internet;

- Visit dollar stores and local flea markets to see if there are horror collectibles that are reasonably priced; or

- Give your own gift certificate for a night of horror movie viewing at your house or a Walking Dead festival (complete with costumes if you're up for it).

If you have some free reading time over the holidays, you might want to download the works of Poe (for free or minimal cost). If you like psychological horror, Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House is also a natural.

Have fun!

Monday, 24 November 2014

A Review of Dark Is the Sea by Heather Blanchard

In this week's post, we are pleased to present Dark is the Sea by British author Heather Blanchard.


Synopsis

Haunted by her mother's disappearance and plagued by nightmares, eighteen year old Rowan Munro abandons London for Dorchay, the remote Scottish village where she spent her childhood. With the help of her eccentric aunt and a familiar face from the past, she unlocks a power in her that is at once terrifying yet curiously addictive.

As she uncovers the deeply buried secrets of her family, she awakens something only imaginable in her worst nightmares. The Hunter: centuries old, malevolent, ferocious...and intent on killing Rowan and those closest to her. To survive, Rowan must learn to harness her newfound inheritance, and use her powers to finally confront the brutal, murderous force which has haunted her family for generations.

 Buy Links

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00OL07HO2

 http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Sea-Heather-Blanchard-ebook/dp/B00OL07HO2

http://www.waterstones.com/waterstonesweb/products/heather+blanchard/dark+is+the+sea/11428224/

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dark-is-the-sea-heather-blanchard/1120585824

 Author's Bio

Heather Blanchard lives in London with her husband Paul. With a childhood spent in the Scottish Highlands and Yorkshire, she developed a passion not only for books, but also for creative writing. Dark is the Sea, her first novel, emerged from a love of ghost stories, fairy tales, folklore, and old movies.


Our Review of Dark is the Sea


In her debut novel, Heather Blanchard skilfully combines elements of the Gothic novel, romance, native folklore, witchcraft, and fantasy to create a story that will appeal to young adults and older readers alike. The Scottish Highlands provide an evocative backdrop as the heroine confronts her past.and realizes her strengths as a rightful part of her inheritance. The themes of family and loss are central to the novel, and Ms. Blanchard makes us genuinely care for and share in the fate of Rowan Munro.

Ms. Blanchard has carefully researched the language and folklore of the region to add authenticity to her story. Her prose is cadenced, and she does an excellent job of using descriptive prose to engage the reader and add to the intimacy of the story.

Dark is the Sea will appeal to lovers of Gothic novels, romance, intrigue, sorcery, and fantasy.


Related Links

Author's Website http://www.darkisthesea.com/

Author's Blog: http://www.inkcoffeeandgolddust.com/

 
























Monday, 17 November 2014

A Review of Santa's Little Helper by H.D. Gordon

Just in time for Christmas, we are pleased to showcase Santa's Little Helper by H.D. Gordon.

 
SYNOPSIS

He shows up in a white box, with a bright red book under his arm... He wears a jolly grin and hat, a suit with gold bells and green yarn... He watches you for Santa, or so his red book claims... But though his grin is jolly, he's not here for fun and games... 

The children have been chosen, such precious little souls they are... And may the gods be with them, if they wish to make it very far... For Santa's Little Helper does not say, but knows important things... He knows when you've been bad or good, and what monsters stalk your dreams... He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you're awake...He's picking out his presents...He's got some souls to take.



 AUTHOR'S BIO

H.D. Gordon is the bestselling author of the Alexa Montgomery Saga, the Joe Knowe series, and the Surah Stormsong novels. She is a lifelong reader and writer, a true lover of words. When she is not reading or writing she is raising her two daughters, playing a little guitar, and spending time with her family. She lives in the northeastern United States.

 
OUR REVIEW OF SANTA'S LITTLE HELPER

Heather Gordon is a young writer who already has an impressive number of books to her credit. Like any good horror writer, she knows how to frighten us by undermining our comfort level with the familiar. In Santa's Little Helper, she takes the benign elf that we traditionally associate with the Christmas season and turns it into a grotesque and frightening symbol of evil. "Santa's" little helper becomes "Satan's" little helper.

Ms. Gordon tells the story of four different children--recipients of the elf doll--and their families.The children recognize instinctively that the doll is evil and try their hardest to get rid of it, but they must convince the less imaginative adults in their lives of the danger it represents. Although the narrative could have been shortened and tightened up, the author does a good job in creating and maintaining suspense until the final confrontation between good and evil.

After reading this book, you won't look at Santa's elves in quite the same light!


NOTE: This novel will appeal to horror lovers at a young adult or older level. It is not suitable for children.


  Trailer Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvFPqZk_wM4

Author's Website (to read excerpts): http://www.hdgordonbooks.com/#!SANTAS-LITTLE-HELPER-CHAPTERS-16/c1q8z/0E0E337D-19EA-4A2D-945A-FC5BFC9B17C5


Amazon Buy Link: http://www.amazon.com/Santas-Little-Helper-H-Gordon-ebook/dp/B00O2AZFQS/.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Mutantis: A New Film from Dire Wit Films

 
 
We're pleased to introduce Mutantis, a new film  produced by Dire Wit Films, an indie company. It is a parody of and homage to the more sleazy monster films of the '70s, and is written by Mark Leake and directed by Kelly Fitzgerald.
 
 
Synopsis
 
When an unscrupulous scientist drags his stepchildren out into the forest to use them as bait--in the hopes of luring out Bigfoot--not even the team of hillbillies he hires can contain the horror they find: the horror of Mutantis! Only the adventurer Dr. William Fury may be able to stop the beast, but hope dwindles fast once Dr. Fury realizes that the monster is not only intent on murder, but procreation as well. Could this be the end of the world as we know it?



Our Review of Mutantis
 
Horror film buffs--especially those who like campy movies--will enjoy this send-up of the "more sleazy" horror movies of the '70s. There are the really bad special effects, such as the toy helicopter, that pay homage to Ed Wood, the badly dubbed dialogue which recreates the worst of the old Italian horror movies, a hokey and badly-costumed Godzilla-like monster who personifies EVIL, and a plot worthy of the best/worst of low-budget horror films, with the theme of toxic sludge mutation thrown in for good measure. To add to the general confusion, Mutantis is not only half-man and half-beast, but also half-female and half-male, and the female roles in the film are played by males. 
 
If you're looking for "buckets of gore, cheese, [and] sleaze," Mutantis is definitely your film! (Quotation from Amazon: Editorial Review of Mutantis)

NOTE: Due to the graphic nature of this film, it is not suitable for viewing by children and young teens.
 
 
Additional Information 
 
If you'd like to watch a trailer of Mutantis, please go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ttb40xc5JEQ
 
Amazon Buy Link (DVD): http://www.amazon.com/Mutantis-Darren-Bolk/dp/B00ND52RMI/.
 
Digital copies are also available  for purchase or rental at the Dire Wit Films website.

Monday, 3 November 2014

New Horror Releases

Halloween may be over, but for fans of the horror genre there's always something to look forward to. Here are two new releases.




  The Halloween Mask and Other Strange Tales

This is a collection of 18 short stories by David Stuart Davies, the editor of Sherlock Magazine and the Crime Writers' Association's Red Herrings magazine.

According to the publisher, the stories are designed to shock and surprise you by taking you into the "misty world of the supernatural where all kinds of dark mischief takes place." (Release Date: November 1, 2014)






The Deep

Written under the pseudonym Nick Cutter, The Deep tells of a plague that is decimating the globe: it causes people to forget little-by-little until their bodies forget how to function involuntarily. A possible cure is being investigated by a research lab eight miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean ... but the lab has become incommunicado.

The Deep is described as part horror and part psychological nightmare in the tradition of Stephen King and Clive Barker. Nick Cutter is the pseudonym of Craig Davidson, an acclaimed Canadian novelist and short-story writer. (Release Date:January 13, 2015)


Stay tuned to Behind the Walls of Nightmare for news and reviews of other upcoming horror/supernatural releases.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Future Hoshi Prize Winner Could Be a Computer (or an Alien)


Photograph: Blutgruppe/Corbis courtesy The Guardian
 
Organizers of a Japanese award for science fiction, the Hoshi prize, say they will open up the award to a broader spectrum of competitors next year. The Guardian reports that the prize, which honors one of Japan's major science fiction writers, Shinichi Hoshi, will accept stories created by artificial intelligence, as well as from "other non-humans, such as space aliens and animals," provided they are written in Japanese.
 
Science fiction novelist Adam Roberts, when he first heard the news, thought it was "bonkers," but then decided that novels created by AI weren't that far-fetched given that many are written according to a very specific pattern. 
 
Roberts queries: "Do we need a human being to write Dan Brown novels? Might a computer even do a better job than a human there?”
The Guardian didn't comment on how animals and aliens would make their submissions. 
 
For the full text of the article, please click here. 

Monday, 20 October 2014

Search for the Dead Yields An Empty Grave

A team of researchers led by a forensic anthropologist from the University of South Florida has been trying to determine the fate of boys who died in custody at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in Marianna, Florida. The researchers have found more than 50 sets of remains in the makeshift cemetery of unmarked graves on school property. The school operated for more than a century before finally being closed in 2011. Throughout the years, former students came forward with stories of physical abuse and murder at the facility.
 
The investigation took a particularly unusual turn when the team of researchers decided to exhume the remains of Thomas Curry, who died in 1925. He was one of at least seven boys who died under suspicious circumstances after escaping from the school. The Florida death certificate indicated Curry's skull had been crushed by an unknown source.

Historical records indicated that Curry was not buried on school property, but that his remains were sealed in a coffin and sent to his grandmother in Philadelphia for burial in a local cemetery. The lead researcher, Erin Kimmerle, obtained permission to exhume Curry's remains, which she hoped would be better preserved than those excavated to date in the school cemetery. However, when the grave was opened, there was no trace of Curry's body.

 According to the CBS news report, "[w]hat made it unusual was that there were none of the usual tell-tale signs that a body had ever been inside. There was no hair, bits of clothing or teeth, not even tooth enamel which was present among the much poorer preserved remains . . . excavated in Marianna."

To view the full text of the article, please click here.

And if you are interested in following-- from the beginning-- this four-part CBS Web series on the search for the dead from the Dozier school,  please click here.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Halloween Haunts




Once again, the Horror Writers Association (HWA) is featuring a month of Halloween-themed blog posts under "Halloween Haunts" on the HWA Dark Whispers blog. The posts allow authors to share Halloween memories and stories and thoughts on writing horror.
 
  You can see the schedule of posts on the HWA Facebook page at  https://www.facebook.com/events/343214352507365/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular.

My blog post entitled "The Enduring Popularity of Vampires" will appear on October 15. Please check it out at the HWA blog site.  I am giving away three digital  copies of The Ghost Man.

    

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Infinity Program: A Guest Post by Richard H. Hardy




We're pleased to participate in a Tribute Books mini blog tour for The Infinity Program by Richard H. Hardy.

We asked Mr. Hardy what challenges he faced in writing a novel that blends elements of the supernatural, romance, and the high-tech world.

Guest Post

The Infinity Program blends the Techno-Thriller and the Science Fiction genres. It also features a romance as well as a mainstream approach to both character and setting. My goal was to create an interesting mix that readers would find fresh and unique.

The unfolding romance of Jon Graeme and Lettie Olsen wasn’t planned from the beginning— it just happened as I wrote the book. It provides a subplot, a backdrop to the main action and opens windows into the inner lives of the characters. Their evolving relationship also serves as an interesting contrast to Harry Sale, the brilliant but isolated programming genius.

The blend of High-Tech with a fantastic alien technology presented its own unique challenges. In order to be true to the high-tech setting, I had to use some computer terminology. I used it sparingly and focused on building a narrative where the technicalities disappeared behind the story. With the alien technology, I used a different approach, emphasizing the fantastic and minimizing the explanations. More than anything, I wanted the reader to have fun.

My 26 years in the IT field gave me lots of raw material for office life in a high tech-company. I saw firsthand how stressful and demanding it can be. The Infinity Program gives the reader an inside view of this intense, quirky, and sometimes Dilbertesque environment. The IT setting provides the base for the reader to leap into the high-tech world of the future.

Our lives are such a mix of different elements. One day we do difficult things with ease, the next we trip up over the simple things; a day of joy is followed by a day of sadness; an act of kindness is followed by an act of selfishness; thoughtfulness is followed by a lack of attention. We never know quite what to expect. Mixing genres in fiction is a natural way to capture something of this heady blend. When it’s done well, it transcends genre and the book stands on its own.


Book Summary and Buy Links

Jon Graeme and Harry Sale are unlikely friends. Harry is a world-class programmer, but his abrasive personality alienates co-workers. In contrast, Jon is a handsome and easy-going technical writer, the low man on the IT totem pole.

Sharing a love of nature, the men set out together, planning to go their separate ways--Jon on a hike and Harry, fly fishing. Three days later, Jon arrives at the rendezvous point, but his friend is nowhere in sight. When Jon finds Harry unconscious on the floor of a cave, Harry claims to have been lying there the entire time. But he is neither cold nor hungry. What Jon doesn't know is that Harry fell into an underground cavern, where he came into contact with an alien quantum computer.

Back at work, Harry jettisons his regular tasks and concentrates exclusively on inventing new operating language to access the alien system. In the process he crashes his office's Super Computer and is fired. Jon convinces the company to give Harry a second chance, arguing that the system he has invented will make them millions.

Jon has no idea what havoc Harry is about to unleash.
  


Formats/Prices: $5.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Genre: Science Fiction, Romance
Pages: 250
Release: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603819336

Amazon buy link
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1603819339?tag=tributebooks-20

Barnes and Noble buy link
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-infinity-program-richard-h-hardy/1118958489?ean=9781603819336

Smashwords buy link
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/422304

iBooks buy link
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-infinity-program/id849045494?mt=11&uo=4

Kobo buy link
http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/the-infinity-program


Author's Biography


Richard H. Hardy was born in Glasgow, Scotland, during a week of relentless bombing raids just before the close of World War II. The day he was born an incendiary bomb fell on the church across the street from where he lived, so he is fond of saying that he entered the world with a big adrenaline rush.

His family later moved to England and then on to America.

After college Richard bounced through a series of temporary jobs as he traveled around the country, wanting nothing more than to write fiction. A job driving a library van allowed him free time to write several short stories and work on a novel.

He and his wife moved to New Hampshire, where he took an entry level job at a software company. He was soon promoted to the technical writing department and ended up producing over 500,000 words of online documentation. After a few years he was promoted to the programming department and ended up as the Senior EDI Programmer, creating EDI maps and writing UNIX scripts and troubleshooting on AIX systems throughout the U.S. and Canada.

After he retired, he started writing fiction again. The Infinity Program is his first published novel.



Related Sites


Rafflecopter GIVEAWAY ($25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash):


a Rafflecopter giveaway 


Scribd EXCERPT :
 
 
 



The Infinity Program GoodReads page:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20794011-the-infinity-program

Richard H. Hardy's Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/richard.hardy.31924

Richard H. Hardy's Twitter:
https://twitter.com/rhfh944

Richard H. Hardy's GoodReads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7844267.Richard_H_Hardy

Richard H. Hardy's blog:
http://richard-hardy.com/blog/

Richard H. Hardy's website:
http://richard-hardy.com/

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186


The Infinity Program tour site:
http://theinfinityprogram.blogspot.com/

 


Monday, 29 September 2014

The True North Strong and Free

Notice from Canada Post
In light of recent events in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, those who have stereotypical views of this country might be forgiven. Although it's not quite the wilderness that some tourists envision, there is the odd episode that reminds Canadians they are indeed sharing the country with various wildlife.
 
 Recently, a bear was roaming a Vancouver neighborhood, causing a delay in mail delivery. The postman left a notice in a communal mailbox explaining that he had not delivered a parcel  because there was a "bear at door".


The postman also took a picture of the bear.

The Bear at the Door













Canada Post is said to be investigating the incident.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Recommended Halloween Reading

The Telegraph is already getting into the spirit of October with its list of  fifteen scary books to terrify you this Halloween.

The masters of horror are cited, including Bram Stoker and Edgar Allan Poe.

Also included are two of the best psychological horror stories, Henry James's The Turn of the Screw and Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House.

There is a nod to various contemporary horror writers with the inclusion of Stephen King's Pet Sematary and Joe Hill's Heart-Shaped Box. Peter Straub's Ghost Story also makes the list, as does British writer Susan Hill's The Woman in Black. (You may have seen the film version with Daniel Radcliffe.)

To view the full list and see how it compares with your own list of all-time favorites, please click here.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Vampires Revisited

If you're a fan of Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles, you'll be pleased to know that her eleventh novel in the series, Prince Lestat, will be released on October 28, 2014. It's been eleven years since the last Chronicles novel, so the new book is creating lots of buzz. It is a sequel to the first five books of the series, and it reprises many of her most memorable characters, as well as introducing new vampires to the mix. She is already working on a follow-up novel tentatively entitled Blood Paradise.

On the movie front, it was announced in August that Universal Studios has acquired the motion picture rights to The Vampire Chronicles. Hard to believe, but it's been twenty years since the film version of Interview with the Vampire with Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt was released. According to an article in The Guardian, the purchase of the motion picture rights by Universal Studios is part of their plans "to reanimate old-school movie monsters". For the full text of the article, including a film vampire quiz, please see http://www.theguardian.com/film/2014/aug/08/universal-anne-rice-vampire-chronicles-book-series.


Monday, 8 September 2014

What's up for Horror in September and October?




First up, it's Resident Evil week at http://bloody-disgusting.com/news/3307615/pack-jill-sandwich-next-week-resident-evil-week/.

Fans of The Walking Dead should mark October 12 on their calendar so they won't miss the first episode of the show's fifth season on AMC. You'll recall that Season 4 ended with the revelation that Terminus wasn't much of a refuge after all. It will be interesting to see who survives this season. The show seems to have a particularly high character mortality rate. If you'd like to see a trailer for the new season, please visit http://www.hypable.com/2014/07/25/walking-dead-season-5-air-date-trailer/.

And the Horror Writers Association will once again host a month-long Halloween Haunts event in October on its Dark Whispers blog site. Stay tuned for more information on this annual event.

In the meantime, please feel free to share news of your favorite horror novels, films, television series, and websites as we start the countdown to Halloween 2014.



Monday, 1 September 2014

I'm Back!

Thanks, everyone, for sticking with me while I took the summer off to write. I'm pleased to say that I have finished the first of my new crime fiction series set in Canada. It was quite a learning curve for me because there are so many differences between U.S. and Canadian criminal investigation procedures. At the same time, I enjoyed developing two new characters, Kevin Walker and Ellie March of the Ontario Provincial Police. The draft of the novel is with an OPP subject matter expert who so kindly agreed to allow me to pick his brain for this new series. Stay tuned for more information on the new novel, and rest assured that you also haven't seen the last of Donaghue and Stainer.

Now that Behind the Walls of Nightmare is up and running again, I will be talking about the latest supernatural and horror news. If you have a particular topic that you'd like to see covered in the blog, please be sure to let me know.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Time for a Break

I will be taking a break from my three weekly blogs, The Overnight Bestseller, Open Investigations, and Behind the Walls of Nightmare so I can focus on completing the first novel  in my new Canadian crime series.

Thanks to all of you who continue to follow my blogs. I expect to be back at the end of August with an update on the new series.

I will continue to post reviews as part of the Tribute Books blog tour. Next week's review on The Overnight Bestseller will feature Dianne Ascroft's Dancing Shadows, Tramping Hooves.

In the meantime, I will remain active on Facebook and Twitter.

Have a great summer, everyone!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Now Playing at a Theatre Near You

With The Walking Dead consigned to zombie land until next season, you may be looking for a good horror or science fiction movie to watch. Here are some current offerings which may interest you. (I haven't seen any of these so their inclusion in this blog post is not intended as a recommendation.)

One movie that looks pretty scary from the trailer is Oculus, from the creators of Paranormal Activity. The movie is based on the premise that a malevolent supernatural force inhabiting an antique mirror leads to the death of its owners. Mirrors are always an intriguing feature of horror movies in terms of what lies behind the surface of the glass, so you might want to give this movie a look.


The science fiction movie Transcendence starring Johnny Depp plays on the theme of man's quest for immortality and endless knowledge as a plan to create a super intelligence goes badly astray.

And, finally, if you're a fan of the Godzilla movies, a new restoration of the original 1956 Japanese classic is now airing at movie theatres. It is directed by IshirĂ´ Honda, with special effects by the legendary Eiji Tsuburaya, and it has a much darker and more menacing tone than its sequels, imitations, and takeoffs.

Happy viewing. . .

Monday, 14 April 2014

A Book that Almost Didn't Get Written

First Edition Cover courtesy Wikipedia
 
The Guardian has an interesting article on the genesis of Stephen King's first novel, Carrie, on the 40th anniversary of its publication. King talks about the confluence of ideas that made him start writing the novel back in the day when he was still working in a laundry. Of particular interest is the fact that King discarded the opening pages of the novel in frustration and decided not to go any further with it. It was King's wife Tabitha who rescued the pages from the wastebasket, read them, and urged her husband to continue telling the story.

The article also has a section detailing how other horror writers think the novel has influenced the horror genre.

Novelist and Guardian writer James Smythe comments:

One of the primary joys of Carrie for me – once I get past the astonishing jealousy that it was King's debut published novel, and that he was only 26 when it was published – is the structure. It was the first thing I can remember reading that showed me that a novel didn't simply have to be a linear single narrative. It uses so many different voices and ways of delivering the story that it's almost giddying; and it's astonishing assured and neat to boot.

To view the article, please click here.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Book Review of The Terminals by Michael F. Stewart


Behind the Walls of Nightmare is pleased to participate in another Tribute Books blog tour as we welcome Michael F. Stewart, author of The Terminals (Episode 1: Spark).


             The Terminals: Book Summary 

Sometimes the dead don’t want to talk.
You need Terminals to make them.

Terminals solve crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next.

Lt. Col. Christine Kurzow, fresh from a failed suicide attempt after she cost 11 of her soldiers their lives, is recruited into the covert unit of Terminals as a handler. It's an easy sell. If she's really determined to die, it’s a chance to give her death meaning.

But her first case—convincing a monk to chase Hillar the Killer into the afterlife to find the location of a missing bus and the children it carried—has her wondering how to make a dead psychopath talk.

Christine must follow the clues sent back by the shotgun-toting monk, who tracks Hillar through the seven deeps of hell, so she can find eleven kids before it’s too late.

Maybe this time killing a man will give Christine a reason to live.

Format: ebook
Pages: 229
 Amazon buy link:
http://www.amazon.com/Michael-F.-Stewart/e/B003GUK4X4/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1
 
Barnes and Noble buy link:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/c/michael-f-stewart




 Michael F. Stewart's Biography: 


Michael F. Stewart is the author of the Assured Destruction series, which sprawls across three books, two websites, one blog, seven Twitter accounts, Tumblr, Facebook, and six graphic origin stories. He likes to combine storytelling with technology and pioneered interactive storytelling with Scholastic Canada, Australia and New Zealand’s anti-cyberbullying program Bully For You. He has authored four graphic novels with Oxford University Press Canada’s award-winning Boldprint series. Publications of nonfiction titles on corruption and children’s rights by Rubicon Publishing, as well as early readers with Pearson, are all forthcoming in 2014 and 2015.

For adults, Michael has written The Sand Dragon, a horror about a revenant, prehistoric vampire set in the tar sands; Hurakan, a Mayan-themed thriller which pits the Maya against the MS-13 with a New York family stuck in the middle; 24 Bones, an urban fantasy which draws from Egyptian myth; and The Terminals—a covert government unit which solves crimes in this realm by investigating them in the next. This series has already been optioned for film and television with production rights having been sold to Jim Donovan (Best Director 2013, Canadian Screen Awards) and on to his partners of Sudden Storm Entertainment.

Herder of four daughters, Michael lives to write in Ottawa where he runs free writing workshops for teens and adults.


 Our Review of The Terminals

Michael F.Stewart has chosen an intriguing theme for his new series of adult novels entitled The Terminals.  The premise is that those who are dying can be enlisted to solve crimes in this world by connecting with previously departed individuals in the next. (Imagine, for example, being able to communicate with a suicide bomber to learn the targets of future attacks.) The link between the two worlds is the psychic Atilla, who is able to receive information sent back by the terminal. Terminals are carefully chosen based on their religious and spiritual beliefs in order to enter into the realm that the criminal or terrorist inhabits in the next world. In the first episode of The Terminals, the criminal is a vicious killer named Hillar who has been killed in a police shootout after kidnapping a busload of children. The job of the Terminals Unit is to track down the location of the missing children, who are facing death without food and water to sustain them. Chosen as the terminal is Charlie, a monk who is well-versed in Gnosticism, to which the killer adheres, and who must undergo an epic battle with the forces of evil to find out the children's location.

Michael F. Stewart has written a dark thriller that explores the themes of guilt, suicide, illness and suffering, spirituality, and the underlying need for human beings to believe that their lives (and deaths) serve a greater purpose. At the same time he has woven the quest motif and the universal struggle between good and evil into the novel.

The Terminals will appeal to adult readers of speculative fiction.

Best of luck with this imaginative series, Michael!


Related Sites

Rafflecopter GIVEAWAY ($25 Amazon gift card or PayPal cash & 39 ebooks):
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Michael F. Stewart's Web Site:
http://www.michaelfstewart.com/

Michael F. Stewart's Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Story.Extension

Michael F. Stewart's Twitter:
https://twitter.com/MichaelFstewart

Michael F. Stewart's Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/2969126.Michael_F_Stewart

The Terminals Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20743049-the-terminals

Tribute Books Blog Tours Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-Books-Blog-Tours/242431245775186


The Terminals blog tour site:
http://theterminalsblogtour.blogspot.com/






Monday, 31 March 2014

New Theory Concerning the Black Death




New research suggests that the Black Death, which decimated London's population in the 14th century, was passed from human to human as a pneumonic plague. It was previously believed that the disease was a bubonic plague spread by rats.

A burial site has been uncovered in central London as part of the Crossrail excavation project, and samples from the victims have been analyzed to determine the cause of death. The new theory is that the disease spread to the lungs of sufferers, who then passed it on to others, by coughing. Many victims would have died within 24 hours with the survival rate being much lower than for the bubonic plague. Worldwide, the Black Death is estimated to have claimed 75 million lives.

For the full text of the article in The Telegraph and a video on the burial site discovery by Crossrail engineers, please see http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/10731180/Bodies-of-Black-Death-victims-give-up-their-secrets.html.

The new research is discussed in the documentary "Secret History: Return of the Black Death," which will air on Channel 4 in the UK on April 6, 2014, at 8 p.m.







Monday, 24 March 2014

Horror Grab Bag: Spring 2014

Here are some interesting horror sites and events you might want to check out.


If you like being too scared to sleep, you'll enjoy the NoSleep Podcast. The latest episode has a short story entitled "The Cecil Hotel" by Mateo Hellion. You can also visit the Hellion blog at http://www.mateohellion.com/.
 
Massacre Magazine is now accepting submissions for its summer issue. The theme is "road kill". The magazine also sponsors flash fiction. For further details, please click here.

Unleash the Fanboy has an interesting feature on the Comic Con in Lexington, Kentucky, which doubled its attendance this year. To check out this site, please click here.

And it will soon be time for the Ottawa Comiccon. The Ottawa event will be held May 9-11, 2014. (I've already bought tickets for myself and my son. We're both looking forward to seeing Sean Astin!) To check out the Ottawa event, please click here.

Finally, if you're following the 2013 Bram Stoker Awards, the nominees for the various categories have now been announced. Here is the list.

Monday, 17 March 2014

In Memory of Alan Rodgers

Alan Rodgers died on March 8, 2014, after a two-year battle with illness. He was an author and editor who wrote fantasy, science fiction, and horror, as well as poetry. He was an associate editor of The Twilight Zone Magazine and the editor of its spinoff, Night Cry, during the 1980s.

Rodgers won a Bram Stoker Award for his novelette "The Boy who Came Back from the Dead" (1987), and his first horror novel Blood of the Children (1989) was a finalist for this award. His novel Bone Music (1995) was also nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. Among his other well-known books are the post-apocalyptic Fire and Pandora, based on the controversial sightings at Roswell, New Mexico. Some of his short works have been collected in the anthologies New Life for the Dead (which includes ""The Boy who Came Back from the Dead"), Ghosts Who Cannot Sleep, and Her Misbegotten Son.
Some of his short work was collected in New Life for the Dead (1991), Ghosts Who Cannot Sleep (2000), and Her Misbegotten Son (2000). - See more at: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2014/03/alan-rodgers-1959-2014/#sthash.HCi54IJk.dpuf
Some of his short work was collected in New Life for the Dead (1991), Ghosts Who Cannot Sleep (2000), and Her Misbegotten Son (2000). - See more at: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2014/03/alan-rodgers-1959-2014/#sthash.HCi54IJk.dpuf
Some of his short work was collected in New Life for the Dead (1991), Ghosts Who Cannot Sleep (2000), and Her Misbegotten Son (2000). - See more at: http://www.locusmag.com/News/2014/03/alan-rodgers-1959-2014/#sthash.HCi54IJk.dpuf

Rodgers is noted for his strong narrative voice, his original use of common themes, and his compelling characters. He adeptly links apocalyptic and Biblical themes in cautionary tales of overreaching power, pandemics, and world destruction.

Publishers Weekly said of his novel Bone Music: "...Through colloquial prose that's strong and perfectly pitched, Rodgers combines elements of horror (sometimes graphic), fantasy, and magical realism into a unique novel that's not only an occult standout but a captivating memoir of an important slice of American culture."

(Sources: Wikipedia, Locus Online News, Goodreads) 


R.I.P. Alan Rodgers, 1959-2014

Monday, 10 March 2014

Stephen Jones and R.L. Stine Recognized for Their Lifetime Achievements

           


The Horror Writers Association has announced that Stephen Jones, the distinguished British editor, and R.L. Stine, renowned for his best-selling Goosebumps series, are this year's winners of the Bram Stoker Lifetime Achievement Award.


The awards will be presented on May 10, 2014, as part of the Bram Stoker Awards® Banquet at the World Horror Convention 2014 in Portland, Oregon. For more information on this year's awards and convention, please visit http://www.horror.org/stokers2014/laa.html.














Monday, 3 March 2014

The Rumor of His Death Was Greatly Exaggerated


Safety Coffin Equipped with Bell
Walter Williams of Lexington, Mississippi is now recovering in a hospital after being declared dead, placed in a body bag, and sent to a local funeral parlor to be embalmed. The fact that he was still alive became readily apparent to the funeral director when Williams began kicking his feet in the body bag.

What happened? Apparently, his pacemaker stopped functioning so that he appeared to be dead, but it later started up again. 

The fear of being buried alive is not uncommon--in its extreme it is known as taphophobia. If you're a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, you'll recognize premature burial as one of his central themes.

Apparently, this fear peaked during the cholera epidemics of the 18th and 19th centuries. "Safety" coffins were invented with various features: glass lids for observation, breathing and feeding tubes, locks for which the interred had the key, and bells connected to ropes for signalling. (Source: Wikipedia)

As for Mr. Williams, his daughter summed up the situation succinctly:  "... He wasn’t ready to go."




Monday, 24 February 2014

The Award-Winning Works of Peter Straub

When I first began researching Peter Straub for this series of posts on past Bram Stoker Award winners, I associated him primarily with his 1979 novel Ghost Story. I was surprised to learn just how prolific a writer he is. In fact he has been nominated for and won the Bram Stoker Award many times. His novels The Throat, Mr. X, Lost Boy Lost Girl, In the Night Room, and A Dark Matter received Bram Stoker Awards in the years 1993-2010. His short story collection entitled 5 Stories also received an award in 2007. 

He has collaborated with Stephen King in the writing of two novels: The Talisman, which won a World Fantasy Award, and Black House, which was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. He has also written poetry, novellas, and essays, and has edited numerous anthologies, including Poe's Children.

Straub is particularly adept in writing horror involving past memories and events that shape an individual's future identity, and in the use of the story-within-a-story technique to draw out the fears and confessions of the characters who inhabit his novels. 

If you're interested in learning more about Peter Straub and his work, please visit his website at http://www.peterstraub.net/. You'll enjoy his tongue-in-cheek humor as he “answers” FAQs about himself.



Monday, 17 February 2014

Black Spot: A New Short Thriller from Luther Bhogal-Jones



Behind the Walls of Nightmare is pleased to showcase the talent of Britain's Luther Bhogal-Jones, who has just released the new short thriller Black Spot. This short film was shot with a 3D camera that was a Christmas gift from his brother, and features a local Brighton cast. 

Excerpt from Black Spot Press Release

This February the Sussex-based film maker Luther Bhogal-Jones invites you to six minutes of mayhem, delirium and violence in the short roadside thriller Black Spot.

Paul is stranded on a lonely country road when his car fails to start. He walks through a melancholic landscape of missing person posters and floral tributes to roadside deaths, before chancing upon another car, but one which ironically is also broken down. Not only will this car provide Paul with salvation and suffering, but force him to face his own recent past actions and provide him with a potential chance to redeem himself...

Shot on a miniscule budget, with a £28 3D camcorder a little larger than a Blackberry, Black Spot is another short, sharp, shocking ride following the success of Creak, his previous horror short from 2012....

“I’ve always had a love of 3D films even though they’re tarnished with being gimmicky,” explains writer/ director Bhogal-Jones. “The red/cyan 3D imagery is such an iconic image from cinema’s history--as well as related so closely with the world of horror and sci-fi--and I’ve always wanted to make a film with that classic look.”

Three versions of Black Spot are available to view: a 3D version requiring the classic red/cyan 3D glasses; a stereoscopic 3D version for viewing on 3D TVs; and a standard 2D version for those who cannot view the 3D, although Luther recommends a 3D version, as that was the main reason for making the film. To view the film, please visit https://vimeo.com/fasterproductions.


 Biography of Luther Bhogal-Jones

Originally hailing from Sutton-in-Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, Luther Bhogal-Jones has been making films for over half his life. With only a college qualification behind him, he is mostly self taught in film making, learning more with each project he undertakes. His short film Creak, released online in 2012, was extremely well-received by horror bloggers worldwide, leading to the short films Black Spot and Knock Knock (currently shooting).
 
Luther plans to return to feature films in the near future, with several horror-themed features in development.

You can follow Luther's Faster Productions on Twitter @fastermovies and read his blog at www.fasterproductions.blogspot.com.



 Thanks to Luther for providing us with his press release and bio. Best of luck in your future productions!