Friday, January 9, 2015

The Confessions of Sylva Slasher


Confessions of Sylva Slasher
A Zombie Novel
Ace Antonio Hall

Publisher:  Montag Press, April 2013
Genre: YA Horror


December 12 Guest blog
Penny Writes

December 15 review
With Her Nose Stuck In A book

December 16 Interview
Roxanne’s Realm

December 17 Interview
The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom

December 18 review
Mythical Books

December 19 review
fuonlyknew

December 22 Guest blog
Fang-tastic Books

December 23 Mini Interview
Para Your Normal

December 26 Spotlight
Lisa’s World of Books

December 29 Spotlight
Deb Sanders

December 30 Spotlight and review
Once Upon a YA Book

December 31 Interview
Deal Sharing Aunt

January 1 Interview
Mom With A Kindle

January 2 Review
Natural Bri - Pursuits of Life

January 5 Spotlight
Counter Culture Critic

January 6 Spotlight
Share My Destiny

January 8 Spotlight
CBY Book Club

January 9 Guest Blog and Review
Zombie Girl Shambling

January 9 Spotlight
Geeks In High School


Book Description:

THE LOVE OF HER LIFE BECOMES THE DEATH OF THEIR LOVE

Sylva Fleischer is a teenager who works as a necromancer for a living. Wanting to get away from raising the dead for police investigations and demanding grieving families for a while, she goes on a cruise for spring break. Her vacation from the dead is short-lived when passengers on the ship turn into flesh-eating zombies. These are not the same simple-minded harmless zombies she raises and can control, so Sylva and her friends are trapped on the Pacific Ocean. Their only escape comes from a guy Sylva thought was dead: Brandon. It just so happens to also be the anniversary of his death, and she's still hurting from his loss!

Why didn't he call to say he's alive? All those tears … for nothing.


Sylva doesn't normally hold grudges, but when someone plays with her heart they have to pay. However, with the fate of the human race on the line, Brandon convinces Sylva to join him in a secret mission, yet she can't shake the feeling that he's hiding something.

It didn't take long for her suspicions to hold true when it's revealed that Brandon has been romantically involved with the very enemy he now wants her to destroy. To top that brutal betrayal, the villainous female would rather kill Brandon than let Sylva have a chance to patch things up between them. Sylva is not the kind of girl to walk away from love without a fight, but with a strange virus threatening extinction of human life, she shoves her own feelings in her back pocket to face her greatest nightmare, and that nightmare starts with something that is eerily growing right inside of her own mind and body.

When The Heart Bleeds, Sometimes Your Friends Are All You've Got

Available at Amazon

Praise for Ace Antonio Hall and Confessions of Sylva Slasher

“A treat for Buffy fans—but 100% Ace Antonio Hall's own twisted vision. Breathes new life into the living dead; run, don't shamble to get a copy.”
—Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author of the WWW trilogy

“In a vast sea of zombie tales, Hall's tale is more than a cut above. He brings the entire genre to heel and treats us to one Hell of a ride.”
—Art Holcomb, writer of Professor Xavier & the X-Men vs. The Avengers, Marvel Comics


Excerpt Chapters 1 & 2

PART ONE SILVER KISSES

For since death came through a man,
the resurrection of the dead
comes also through a man.— I Corinthians 15:21

Chapter 1

YEAH, THE WHOLE STINKING PLANET WANTED ME DEAD, and they got their wish. I tried to move but couldn’t. Not with a broken back. Breathing slow, uneven, I stared into the undead woman’s eyes that dripped an ominous glare down onto my helpless body.

Maybe if I hadn’t gotten dreamy eyes for this really cute guy (I mean jerk), the weight of the human race wouldn’t be sitting on my shoulders. I would’ve easily given my life so my best friend, Emily, wouldn’t die. Too late.


The full moon draped around the undead woman’s shadow that climbed up my broken body like ghosts of death. The island soil, thirsty for moisture, welcomed my blood. Terror wrestled me into a stone cold chokehold—I forgot how to scream. The scent of rotten corpses gripped my nostrils. A horde of the walking dead moaned and hovered over me like starved coyotes as the undead woman crept forward on all fours to kill me, again.


Chapter 2

Several hours prior:

I HATED THAT I COULDN’T TELL REALITY FROM MY NIGHTMARES. Maybe, just maybe I spent one too many nights raising the dead. My parents named me Sylva Fleischer, but most people knew me as Sylva Slasher (I’ll get to why later). I made a pretty cool living as a necromancer for The Silver Kisses Aerial Ash Scattering Company. We raised zombies for mourners to say their last goodbyes. A lot of times we did it for police investigations, occasionally for corporate disputes, and then we cremated the deadheads and scattered the remains over Hawaii’s beautiful waters. As a matter-of-fact, some guy from the military base in Honolulu kept leaving messages on my cell phone that he wanted me to raise some dead soldier for a case they were investigating. But I had other plans. Look, I just turned eighteen, so if I wanted to ditch some lame colonel for something way more hella-fun, I would. What? Can’t a girl have priorities?

Twilight peeked over my shoulders as I looked for my friends while aboard the Sea Queen a.k.a. The Ship of a Thousand Corpses—the best freaking zombie-themed cruise in America. Imagine being in one of those magnificent hotels in Las Vegas during spring break; the golden elevators, escalators, walkover bridges, restaurants, and stores, filled with tons of thrill-seeking college kids and adults. You could call the Sea Queen one of the world’s best luxury hotels but on water.


A woman hired me to do a raising on the ship. Emily, and her boyfriend, Beckham, or Flip as he liked to be called (Hawaiian-born and Japanese-descended like Em), were going to help me. After I finally got dressed, I saw Emily’s wacky picture that she posted on Facebook and her bitchy complaint that she and Flip were waiting on me (I’m always fashionably late) in the bar on the Nightwalker Deck. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a clue where to go. The captain was escorting me up, but some kind of urgent call came in and he dashed out of the elevator speaking radio codes into his walkie-talkie.

One of my all-time fave videos, Sweet Dreams, played on the inside of the elevator doors via a hi-tech projector system. I loved it that I could watch a music video (albeit, one I’ve seen a kazillion times) inside of the elevator. A volume control knob sat beneath the red emergency button. Marilyn Manson crawled out of the rundown fireplace wearing black boots, a dirty tutu, and a torn bodice that showed off his skeletal bare chest. Alright, that’s enough. I turned the sound down so I could briefly gather my thoughts for the raising.


The elevator doors eased open. I stepped out, immediately folding my arms and shivering. I wore a black mid-riff tee shirt, tight leather pants, and some five-and-a-half inch knee-high Gothic boots. I sighed, berating myself for not wearing a warmer top. The ship’s fake fog blanketed the air so I could barely see anything. Already late, I didn’t want to waste any more time so I stopped to ask a person dressed like a zombie nun for directions. She sat on the bench in front of the ship’s THEATRE UNDER THE STARS, rocking back and forth. A broken dog leash dangled in her hand. The closer I got, the more I realized her hunched feeble posture.

“Lady, are you okay?” I asked.

She didn’t answer but kept rocking. Her abrupt movements made her wimple flap around her neck and chin. I glanced up at the speaker mounted on the wall above us, creeped out by the spooky organ music streaming out into the foggy air.

The lady made a gurgling sound.

“Miss, hey? Are you okay?”

Her head lifted slowly. The yellow rays from the moon crept into the shadows under her headdress. I stepped forward slowly, swallowing unease.

A name spilled out of my mouth, slow, whispered. “Malena?”

I remembered admiring the blind woman’s seeing eye dog when we embarked the ship. I couldn’t resist petting her wolfdog. Emily and Flip were so occupied looking for their tickets that they didn’t even see Malena and her dog.

She made another gurgling sound. I took a step back, peering into her cloudy-white eyes.

“Um, okay, I get it,” I said. “You were hired by the ship to scare people. Right?”

I swayed a little to the left as the ship went over choppy waters. The blind woman stared past me with a vacant stare, and then her head rolled over to her right shoulder.

“Hey—hey—hey. You’re not okay,” I said, extending my arm, ready to catch her if she fell off of the bench.

Was she having a seizure?

Malena muttered something. Saliva ran down her mouth and dripped down her chalky white face.

“Are you having a allergic reaction?” I glanced to my right, then left. “Maybe I should get the ship’s doctor.”

Her body started to convulse and she dropped the dog’s leash on the deck’s floor. She moaned, curling up into a ball on the bench.

“Okay—okay—okay, I’m going to get help,” I said, taking a quick step toward the stairs. “But, uh, shoot, I don’t want to leave you alone.”

A sign directly above her read nightwalker deck maze; another, near the elevator lifts, pointed to the bathrooms. Someone had to be coming by, any second. Another gurgling noise came from the blind woman. She coughed and blood spurted out of her mouth. I shielded my eyes with the back of my hand and something wet splattered on my forearm.

“Oh, my God, Malena! You’re, you’re hemorrhaging.”

I wiped her blood off my arms, onto the side of my top and pulled out my iPhone to call 911. No reception.

“Somebody, help. Call 911!”

I heard someone giggling and saw shadows approaching me through the fog. Two Asian girls, maybe in their late teens, dressed in shredded jeans and pink tee shirts passed behind me.

I gestured to them. “Can I use either one of your phones to call 911? This lady is totally sick!”

“Nice try,” one of them said, revealing the braces on her teeth. “But you only try to scare us.”

“No, please, really. Are you getting reception out here? I’m not getting reception.”

They laughed and pointed at the bench. “Maybe she pull your leg,” the same girl said.

I turned around and glared at an empty bench.

Where did she go?

The girls giggled and walked toward the bathroom, shaking their heads.

“What a moron,” the other one said.


“Miss? Miss, where are you?” I called out, a little irritated by those stupid girls who didn’t believe me. I looked toward the bridge then back at the girls. “Where did she go?” They ignored me and went into the bathroom. Seriously?

“Maybe I am a moron,” I said, under my breath. There were a few droplets of blood on the bench, but I couldn’t find a trail showing me which way she went. She could’ve only gone but so many places—the elevator lift, the stairs, across the bridge (which she didn’t because I would have seen her), overboard, or into the Nightwalker Deck Maze.

If that old, blind lady thought I was going to play her game and follow her into the maze, she had another thing coming. Whatever. Time to do this raising and then try to have some fun for a change.

I took one step and the thought of Malena sent a chill creeping down the nape of my neck. Where did she go? Aw, Who cares? I shook it off, folded my arms, again, and walked toward a bridge that led to the highest deck on the ship.


Someone screamed. I turned quickly, and blew out a long breath as a wolf man in tattered clothes chased a screaming girl across the bridge and through a door. Music blared from out of the place and I knew that Emily and Flip would be in there. That must be the bar, Lipstick Zombies.

I walked over the bridge, glancing back every few seconds for Malena. The instant I crossed halfway over, I heard the music thumping behind the bar’s door. When I saw the neon sign, I got a little excited. Maybe with a little partying, I thought, I’d feel better and forget about everything that sucked in my life—for a while.


CAN'T WAIT FOR THE SEQUEL? HERE'S A PREVIEW TO
SKATEBOARD XOMBIES, SEARCH FOR THE CRYSTAL COFFIN:

On a normal school day in Lunyon Canyon, California, teenage necromancer, Sylva Fleischer, bickers with her teacher in class over an unfairly graded paper. But when the principal announces that all teachers should lock their door and not let any students leave class, the entire school is trapped in a world of terrifying zombies that not only bite with their teeth, they bite with their minds.


Since all life on Earth faces extinction at the hands of the perilous undead, a guardian of a secret society of vampire monks saves Sylva, her friend, Half-Pipe and her family, and lead them to an alternate world. And that's when the real terror begins ... on a planet full of every imaginable type of undead creature that ever lived ... Including those telekinetic zombies!

What Zombie Writers Should Have In THE FIRST TEN PAGES
by Ace Antonio Hall

  1. State the name of the protagonist.

    Many have said otherwise, stating that it is boring and not creative, however, I have found that if you're trying to get past the slush pile, there is nothing more irritating to the agent or publisher reading your manuscript as to not knowing who the protagonist is, and much worse, not knowing if it is a male or female.

    2) Introduce all the main characters (or make a reference to them) by pages 6-10.

    3) State the age of the protagonist. (Especially, if you are writing YA. Publishers and Agents want to know right away the age group of the target audience. For YA, it is 12-18)

    4) Reveal the ghosts of protagonist. What pains the character? This information is not only good to allow the reader to empathize with the character but also allows the reader to relate to the character's pains. Needless to say, the pain must be an emotional one that most people in your target audience can relate to. Remember: The thought process that many publishers and entertainment producers have is, "Show me something I've seen before, but differently." Also, you must insert, masterfully (or as best as you can), the internal/external conflict of the character, thus showing the beginnings of the arc, which sets up the arc's path and destination.

    Before page ten, we should know some of the demons that plague the protagonist, and show things that makes the character likable. Unless you want your protagonist to be an unlikable character, which is probably not the best idea (unless she is an anti-hero, even then, be cautious). Also, writing an action(s) which make the reader, in this case, the Publisher or Agent, like the character is also key. For example, when the hero helps his neighbor get a cat out of a tree even after telling the neighbor about his allergies to cat fur. The reader can't help but like your hero. See how powerful that tool is?

    Note how long this point is—that's because I feel it is Very Important!

    5) Setting. The setting is more than the place, it is the environment, the weather, time of day, and date. You can barely get through the first paragraph of any good novel and not know if it is hot or cloudy, cold, or windy.

    The weather, as well as your descriptive word choices, will help set the tone whether you want the mood to be dark, or sarcastic, colorful, humorous, or Gothic.

    The time of day is simply letting the reader know if it is day, or night, morning, or midnight. The date can be literal:
    On October 29th, 2008, I helped my mother kill her abuser; dad.
    Or it can be more ambiguous:
    Long, long ago, in a world where zombies were as common as the cold, I'd finally learned how to throw a curve ball.

    6) Inciting incident/Call to Action. Sometimes, these are two different occurrences, many times, they are the same. In either case, this is where your plot truly begins, letting the Agent or Publisher know what your story is about. Wait until after page ten to do this, and it is highly plausible that your story will not catch their attention.

    Also, within the first ten pages:

    Use the 5 senses, thematic elements (many first time authors simply have the character state the theme), mold the tone, and have the opening images set up the mirror images of what the character will have to walk into upon his/her adventure--the normal world before they enter the STRANGE NEW WORLD.

    If it's a Science Fiction story, technology must be introduced immediately. If the character is a bad-ass, show the reader why within the first six pages, but also remember that it is so important to integrate the ghosts, and characteristics that the reader can relate to, as well, or you chance making the reader not care about your numero uno character. Not good.

    Lastly, if the character is employed, either use an immediate reference to what their job is, or allow the reader, in this case, the Agent or the Publisher, see the protagonist in their workplace immediately. For example, a witch bewitching, a vampire feeding, a teacher instructing a class, an agent on a mission, an athlete in a competition, etc. 
Review:

This book was a fun and action packed read perfect for readers of manga or anime especially. The author gets right to the point and takes you through the story quickly, providing imagery to get the reader into the scenes and good character references so you can identify with Sylva and enjoy the book. 

3/5

About the Author:

Ace Antonio Hall is an actor, former music producer, and ‘retired’ educator with accolades as a Director of Education for the Sylvan Learning Center and nearly fifteen years experience as an award-winning NYC English teacher. He has a BFA degree with a concentration in screenwriting and has published poetry, short stories and fiction in magazines, anthologies, newspapers and novels.

Inspired by his father, Chris Acemandese Hall, who penned the lyrics to the Miles Davis jazz classic, “So What”, sung by Eddie Jefferson, and his sister, Carol Lynn Brown, who guest starred in the 1970’s film, “Velvet Smooth”, Ace spawned his creativity into developing the beloved but flawed teen character, Sylva Slasher.
Ace was the Vice President of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (2009-2011), and continues to head the Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror (ScHoFan) Critique Group as Co-Director of critique groups within the society. He is also a member of LASFS and the International Thriller Writers.

On April 14, 2013, Montag Press published his YA zombie novel Confessions of Sylva Slasher. His next release, Skateboard Xombies, is coming out later this year, and he has already begun working on Skateboard Xamurai for the third installment in his Sylva Slasher series.


Looking for some zombie gear? Check out Ace’s Zombie Pop Shop!









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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Blood Red Roses





In this Civil War era horror piece a young man goes from the frying pan into the fire. Poor and now an orphan, Jebediah Abernathy has become indentured to one of Mississippi's most notorious plantations. Fraught with racial tensions of the time, the place is run by the fearsome Ramses, a cruel and sadistic overseer. When slaves begin to come up missing, Jeb begins to watch from the shadows and finds out what makes some gardens grow may not always be natural.

I loved this book and look forward to more by Russell James.

5/5

Link: http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Roses-What-Waits-Shadows-ebook/dp/B00IYG08LS/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1420610500&sr=8-4&keywords=blood+red+roses

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Cover Reveal: Skateboard Zombies


About the Book
Title: Skateboard Xombies: Search for the Crystal Coffin
Author: Ace Antonio Hall
Genre: YA Horror
On a normal school day in Lunyon Canyon, California, teenage necromancer, Sylva Fleischer, bickers with her teacher in class over an unfairly graded paper. But when the principal announces that all teachers should lock their door and not let any students leave class, the entire school is trapped in a world of terrifying zombies that not only bite with their teeth, they bite with their minds.
Since all life on Earth faces extinction at the hands of the perilous undead, a guardian of a secret society of vampire monks saves Sylva, her friend, Half-Pipe and her family, and lead them to an alternate world. And that's when the real terror begins ... on a planet full of every imaginable type of undead creature that ever lived ... Including those telekinetic zombies!

Praise for Ace Antonio Hall and Confessions of Sylva Slasher: 
"As I say on the front cover … A treat for Buffy fans–but 100% Ace Antonio Hall's own twisted vision. Breathes new life into the living dead; run, don't shamble to get a copy." –Nebula and Hugo Award-winning author, Robert J. Sawyer
“In a vast sea of zombie tales, Hall's tale is more than a cut above. He brings the entire genre to heel and treats us to one Hell of a ride.”
Art Holcomb, Editor-in-Chief, Andromeda Entertainment




About the Author
Ace Antonio Hall is an actor, former music producer, and ‘retired’ educator with accolades as a Director of Education for the Sylvan Learning Center and nearly fifteen years experience as an award-winning NYC English teacher. He has a BFA degree with a concentration in screenwriting and has published poetry, short stories and fiction in magazines, anthologies, newspapers and novels.
Inspired by his father, Chris Acemandese Hall, who penned the lyrics to the Miles Davis jazz classic, “So What”, sung by Eddie Jefferson, and his sister, Carol Lynn Brown, who guest starred in the 1970’s film, “Velvet Smooth”, Ace spawned his creativity into developing the beloved but flawed teen character, Sylva Slasher.
Ace was the Vice President of the Greater Los Angeles Writers Society (2009-2011), and continues to head the Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror (ScHoFan) Critique Group as Co-Director of critique groups within the society. He is also a member of LASFS and the International Thriller Writers.
On April 14, 2013, Montag Press published his YA zombie novel Confessions of Sylva Slasher. His next release, Skateboard Xombies, is coming out later this year, and he has already begun working on Skateboard Xamurai for the third installment in his Sylva Slasher series.

Looking for some zombie gear? Check out Ace’s Zombie Pop Shop!

Giveaway
On the cover reveal day, you can win a $10 Amazon gift card. Fill in the Rafflecopter form below to participate!
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Book Excerpt
“Okay, fifteen points,” Ms. B. said calmly, from over my shoulder.
I straightened up from the water fountain, and turned to her. “Really?”
“Find someone or a credible source to give credence to your theory and you will get an A-plus on that paper. Additionally, get rid of that section on biocentricism.”
My mouth opened to protest, but she didn't let me get a word out.
“I know that Dr. Lanza is the third most respected scientist in the world,” she said. “He's interesting and I've read some of his theories, but there just isn't enough data to back up his claims that our consciousness continues to live after our bodies die.
Once the body dies, the spirit, the soul, everything is as dead as a red shirt on Star Trek. Sorry, I know that your family business raises the dead for grieving families and such, and you'd like to believe that there is some kind of place we resurrect from, or ascend into, but there is no heaven. No hell. No afterlife, and no facts to support them. Scratch that section and you have a deal.”
Before I could respond she was already walking back into the class room, so I jogged up behind her and was about to open my mouth in protest until our principal, Mr. Lee, interrupted over the loudspeaker.
“May I have your attention,” he said. “This is not a test. I repeat, this is not a test. I need every teacher to listen carefully. Please lock your doors—right now. Close your doors, and lock them. Do not let any students leave your classroom for any reason.”
From outside, emergency sirens started wailing. They were heading toward school grounds.
“Above all,” Mr. Lee said, “staff and students must remain calm.”
“What's going on?” I asked.
“I don't know,” Ms. B. said, hustling me back to the door.
“The school,” Mr. Lee said, “is on lock-down until further notice.”
Murmur buzzed through the classroom. Ms. B. shut our door quickly, and locked it.
“I repeat,” Mr. Lee said. “I need everyone to remain calm.”
“Do you think it's a gunman?” asked a boy named Roger.
“Okay, students,” Ms. B. said. Her face had turned rather pale. “Stay in your seats.”
Emergency engines were getting louder and louder.
Ms. B. looked at her desk. “On second thought, R-Roger,” she stuttered. “You and Terrence move my desk to block the door.”
“Okay, Ms. B.,” Roger said, getting up.
He and super-tall Terrence, the school's all-city basketball forward, lifted the desk and sort of duck-waddled across the floor to place it in front of the door. Red flashing lights seeped through the cracks in the blinds.
“Thank you, boys,” Ms. B. said. “Now go back to your seats.”
On the way back to his seat, Terrence walked over to the windows. “I hope it's not some psychotic joker out there with orange hair.”
I hope it's not another school shooting.
The siren blared so loud it started to hurt my ears. Terrence was about to peek through the blinds when Ms. B. ran over to him, and ushered him away from the window.
“Sit down, Terrence,” she said. “Let's do as Mr. Lee—”
The windows shattered. Walls imploded with a thunderous sound and a fire truck slammed through our classroom, taking Ms. B. and Terrence with it.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus




“KRAMPUSNACHT: TWELVE NIGHTS OF KRAMPUS”
EDITED BY KATE WOLFORD

Alpena, MI (October 22, 2014) – World Weaver Press (Eileen Wiedbrauk, Editor-in-Chief) has announced the Christmas horror anthology Krampusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus, edited by Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine editor and publisher Kate Wolford, will be available in trade paperback and ebook Tuesday, November 11, 2014.
The joy and terror of the season. For bad children, a lump of coal from Santa is positively light punishment when Krampus is ready and waiting to beat them with a stick, wrap them in chains, and drag them down to hell--all with St. Nick's encouragement and approval. Krampusnacht holds within its pages twelve tales of Krampus triumphant, usurped, befriended, and much more. From evil children (and adults) who get their due, to those who pull one over on the ancient "Christmas Devil." From historic Europe, to the North Pole, to present day American suburbia, these all new stories embark on a revitalization of the Krampus tradition. Whether you choose to readKrampusnacht over twelve dark and scary nights or devour it in one nacht of joy and terror, these stories are sure to add chills and magic to any winter's reading.
With new stories from Cheresse Burke, Guy Burtenshaw, Jill Corddry, Elise Forier Edie, Patrick Evans, Scott Farrell, Caren Gussoff, Mark Mills, Jeff Provine, Colleen H. Robbins, Lissa Sloan, andElizabeth Twist.
Krampusnacht will be available in trade paperback and ebook via Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.com, Kobo.com, WorldWeaverPress.com, and other online retailers, and for wholesale through Ingram. You can also findKrampusnacht on Goodreads.
Kate Wolford is editor and publisher of Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine at fairytalemagazine.com and editor of the book Beyond the Glass Slipper: Ten Neglected Fairy Tales To Fall In Love With. She teaches first-year college writing, incorporating fairy tales in her assignments whenever possible.
World Weaver Press is an independently owned publisher of fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction. We believe in great storytelling.


Publication Date: November 11 • Folklore/Fantasy/Horror Anthology

$11.95 trade paperback, 205 pages  • $6.99 ebook

ISBN: 978-0692314746




And now a visit with Scott Farrell who wrote "Krampus Carol."



1. How did you come up with your story idea?
I’ve been intrigued by the folklore surrounding the Krampus for years. I really enjoy learning about regional folklore of any kind, and the Krampus is a marvelous combination of the spookiness of Halloween/harvest and the sentimentality of Christmas. So, in “A Krampus Carol,” I wanted to craft a story that included elements of both seasons in the plot. It had to be more than just a story of a hairy monster wreaking havoc in the middle of the holiday season - I wanted to include a redemptive, emotional element to it that would bring out the archetypes that lie behind the Krampus myth - like all good folklore.


2. What is your favorite/scariest memory of the holidays?
I’m afraid my “scariest” holiday memory doesn’t involve anything supernatural. Several years ago I was on a snowmobile trip along the Continental Divide with my wife, and my snowmobile caught a tree that was hidden under the deep snow. I flipped and was thrown about 30 yards, and broke my arm pretty badly in the landing. The temperature was about 10 below zero, and we were a hundred miles from the nearest doctor - and I realized, as my wife was trying to construct a hasty splint before her fingers went numb in the cold air, that this was a pretty serious situation. Fortunately, we made it to a hospital okay (some major surgery was required to put my arm back together), but the bleak landscape and biting cold gave me a sense - just a little bit - of what it might be like to be trapped out in the elements before the time of modern transportation and communication.


3. What are some of your favorite movies during the holiday season?
I have to say I really love A Christmas Carol - just about any version of it. (Though I really like the ’84 version with George C. Scott.) Though most people think of it as a “holiday classic,” it’s easy to forget that it’s also a wonderful ghost story! Dickens does a great job of infusing the story with a dark sense of dread, which makes Scrooge’s transformation at the end all the more powerful.



4. If I were your favorite holiday treat what would I be?
A steaming peppermint mocha with an extra shot of espresso! And if you brought along your friend, “slice of pumpkin pie,” I would be even happier.

5. What was the worst/best Christmas gift you ever received? Why?
I hate to sound sappy and sentimental (horror authors are supposed to be dark and twisted, right?) but I can’t say I’ve ever gotten a “bad” Christmas gift. Any present from a friend or loved one means they are thinking of you - and that’s what the holidays are all about. Though I must admit that any gift that can be immediately put to use in making a big holiday breakfast - whether it’s a new griddle to make pancakes on, or a pound of gourmet smoked bacon - will be well-received in my house! I love Christmas breakfast.


6. Regifting-love it or hate it.
I’m fine with recycling gifts. (It’s the thought that counts!) I’d rather have someone actually enjoy a gift, even if it arrives “second hand,” than have it mouldering in a closet somewhere. (Although it sounds like there could be some sort of creepy story in that concept.)


7. Plotter or Pantster?
I’m definitely a plotter. I’m more creative if I know the basic framework of the story is as I’m writing - although I’m not adverse to changing that framework once the writing starts. For example, “A Krampus Carol” started out as a story about the Krampus terrorizing a group of teenage kids. Only after getting through a first draft did I feel that the story would be better if the target of the Krampus’ wrath was someone other than the young vandals. So, my plot-points definitely went through some revision.


8. Name three things on your writing desk.
1) A coffee cup - definitely can’t get much writing done without that. 2) A studio recording microphone - I record a periodic podcast through my Chivalry Today educational program, which includes interviews with authors working in historical fiction, Arthurian literature/fantasy, and non-fiction medieval history. (Anyone out there interested in being a guest on the show?) 3) The latest issue of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 10 comic, which is my current “project completion reward.” When I finish a writing project, I let myself take a break and do something fun, and reading the latest exploits of Buffy and the Scooby Gang is what I’m planning to do when my interview questions are complete!


9. What advice would you give to new authors?
Write a lot, rather than thinking and talking about writing a lot. I give seminars at several writers conferences every year, and I see the same writers at these events, time and time again. Yes, it’s very helpful to sit in on presentations, get advice from established authors and agents, and share ideas and critiques with other writers. But I think a lot of young writers get paralyzed in thinking that just one more seminar, or one more agent meeting, or one more reading with a critique group will make it easier to start that story or book they’ve been thinking about. No, it won’t. Nothing will make it “easy,” and at some point you’ve got to make your own habits and your own process for writing.


10. What's next for you?
I’ve been invited to write a chapter for a book (to be released in 2015) titled “Superman Vs. Batman And Philosophy,” which will be volume number 100 in the “Pop Culture and Philosophy” series from Open Court Books. My chapter will be “The Dark Knight, The Man Of Steel, And The Philosophy Of Chivalry.”
After that … I’m working on a short story about a zombie plague outbreak in the 1930’s in Fordlandia, a rubber plantation (which never produced any rubber) established by Henry Ford in the Brazilian rain forest. The history of Fordlandia is full of hubris and tragedy, and I thought it would make a remarkable setting for a horror story of some sort. (Interestingly, I was inspired to write the “zombies in Fordlandia” story when I saw a request for submissions for the anthology “Dead Harvest,” which I see you, Dana, have a story included in. Obviously I wasn’t able to get my story done in time to make the deadline for that anthology, but I’m looking forward to reading a copy of it. Congratulations on getting your work included!)