Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Happy Halloween!

Recently, it occurred to me that it had been years since I'd posted anything here for Halloween. So without further adieu, here's a little something that first appeared last October (slightly updated) on horror blogger/author Justin Hamelin's fantastic Mangled Matters website. Do check him out, he posts great stuff!

Oh, one other thing, um....two actually. Been reading and thoroughly enjoying  this Halloween horror anthology aptly called HALLOWEEN HORRORS (previously published as OCTOBER DREAMS). There are plenty of Halloween themed horror anthologies out there, all worthy of your time and money, but this one is special, made up of stories and reminiscences. Highly recommended!



And secondly...if you haven't yet, do check out my Halloween horror novellette, MISTER JACK. I just rereleased the trade paperback with a slicker interior format, and tweaked front and back cover. Available exclusively in that edition on bn.com.  You can find my ebooks and trade paperbacks here.  Additionally, my ebooks are on Amazon here.




My Halloween in the Sunshine State


While I was born in Pittsburgh in late July 1967, I’ve spent most of my life in Florida. As a kid, I grew up along the southwestern Gulf Coast. Growing up in North Fort Myers until I moved to Central Florida in 1990, where I still now reside, was a special experience. I remember how my Dad drove us to the only movie theater in Ft. Myers Beach to see Star Wars back in 1977 because it had been sold out everywhere else. My Mom used to take my brother and I fishing out on Pine Island on Saturday afternoons. One of my fondest memories was haunting the area used bookstores as a young teenager (this was in the day before the chain bookstore dominance and Ft. Myers only had one big bookstore at the Edison Mall back then, which wasn’t close to where we’d lived), scouring the shelves for those slim Men’s Action-Adventure paperbacks I’d been so hooked on…or the occasional Conan the Barbarian novel.

However, this is about Halloween memories. One of my earliest ones is from when I was very little, probably around 4 or 5 years old, and we’d been living in Key West. My brother and I had been given these red devil costumes and my father made us pitchforks made from cardboard and painted them yellow. Being a kid in the late 70s and early 80s, Halloween was a big deal. Even as a teenager, it was still fun to get a cool spooky, or not so, costume and grab an old pillowcase to fill up with sweet goodies. Sure, we had taken precautions, and our parents always made sure to check our confectionary bounty for those apples stuffed with a razor blade…or any suspicious items. But it was still a mostly innocent and fun time. I hadn’t yet discovered horror fiction (around the age of 18, I picked up PET SEMETERY at the above-mentioned Edison Mall bookstore and the rest was history) but always loved those old classic horror movies, especially the Saturday Creature Feature program on Channel 44 WTOG out of Tampa, hosted by the legendary Dr. Paul Bearer.

All Hallow’s Eve in Florida is a bit different than in places where autumn shows itself with cooler days and nights, not to mention the rusty fallen leaves. It’s still warm or downright hot, many of us sweating inside our cheap plastic or rubber masks. Back then, even before the advent of Wal-Mart, you only had a few places to buy a cheap costume (unless you had a crafty Mom to make one for you), like Walgreen’s or the TG&Y. There were no pop-up Spirit Halloween stores chock full of dozens upon dozens of costumes and spooky d├ęcor. A lot of people found Halloween decorations at whatever stores sold them and many just made stuff themselves. In my neighborhood, there were a few houses that decorated outside, and most had on their porch lights to let us kids know we were welcome to knock on the door or ring the doorbell, and yell, “Trick or treat!” Some folks left candy in a bowl on the stoop, which would be quickly raided. There were those houses with no lights on, so those we stayed away from. One large two-story home handed out a basket full of quarters instead of candy, to which we altered our costumes one year to go back and collect more handfuls of coin. They never suspected a thing. But nothing was cooler than someone who really got into Halloween, dressed as Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf-man or the Mummy, to scare the daylights out of us kids after they opened their front door.
One of my favorite Halloween memories trick-or-treating was this house a few streets over from ours, and on a cul-de-sac, with an empty weedy lot in between two homes. One of the home owners used the lot to set up props—home-made tombstones, if I remember correctly, and some other creepy things—and would pop up dressed in rags and fake blood and face paint to look like a ghoul to terrify us. And it worked. We knew the family vaguely and even their kids took part. They let us hang out with them and we had a blast taking in the festivities, scaring other trick-or-treaters.

One of the things I miss dearly from my childhood are the haunted houses. Not the real thing, mind you, but the ones put on by the Jaycee’s, Kiwanis Club, or another similar organization. For a few bucks, you could stumble your way through the darkened, maze-like, cobwebbed interior. It was usually filled with somewhat cheesy and cheap sets, but with plenty of monsters lurking about to make you sweat or scream out, or both. Another fond Halloween memory, but towards the end of my time living in Southwestern Florida, was a nature preserve outside of Ft. Myers in a vast woodland area filled with live oak, palmetto, and cypress swamps. The Ft. Myers Nature Center, as it was called, had crushed shell and sandy dirt footpaths, and boardwalks, and plenty of spooky costumed monsters, both supernatural and those more human ones wielding big knives and chainsaws. I’d only been out there once, but it was a blast!

More common today than when I was growing up, there are lots of professionally done “haunted attractions” that do very well, with elaborate sets and scare-actors, along with the rural Hayride of Horrors, but I still think back wistfully to the autumn of my youth. For the past several years, I’ve decorated the exterior of my house, adding new Halloween decorations most every year, complete with spooky sounds, lights, and a fog machine. I’ll don my werewolf costume and sneak out of the garage to growl and howl at trick-or-treaters. Sadly, every year it seems we get fewer of them, but I’ll keep doing what I love to do…simply because Halloween is the BEST. To not take part, not just because I’m a horror fan/reader/writer, would be like letting go of it. And I refuse to do that.

My last Halloween memory is a nice segue to a little piece of fan fiction, of sorts, I wrote three years ago. When I was 19, I had been dating my first serious girlfriend. It was Halloween and we went over to her aunt’s house for a little while and helped her hand out candy to the early evening trick-or-treaters. It was fun because we ended up donning white sheets and pretending to be ghosts out in her front yard. We came back to my house and it was the first time I had watched John Carpenter’s iconic horror film, Halloween. I was both impressed, enthralled, and totally hooked. Since that day, I’d devoured all his other movies, with some of my perennial favorites like The Thing and The Fog. Back then, Michael Myers returned to the big screen in Halloween 4, which spawned several more films over the years. And of course, last October, we had a brand-new Halloween film, a direct sequel to the original, produced by John Carpenter, with the original actor, Nick Castle, who played Michael Myers (or known as The Shape), and Jamie Lee Curtis reprising her role as Laurie Strode. Next year, we get yet another direct sequel aptly called HALLOWEEN KILLS.

Which brings me to this story, written about four years ago, aptly called “Halloween: The Beginning.” Enjoy this prequel, if you will, a glimpse far into the past of the sleepy Midwestern town known eventually as Haddonfield.
And…Happy Halloween!

HALLOWEEN: THE BEGINNING

The land was bad, had been since as long as could be remembered. The Native American tribe, the Pashawakas, had long since avoided the area in southeastern Illinois, after experiencing their own run of horrors many years ago. They simply dubbed that vast plot of fields and thick groves as “tainted with evil.” The first white settlers who had the opportunity to interact with the mostly peaceful tribe wouldn’t get much else for an explanation, except that the Pashawakas never set foot there, even to hunt. Too much innocent blood had been spilled.

The shaman warned the settlers that the evil that resided there would sleep for 30 years or so, only to awaken hungry for violence, for bloodshed. And it was always the same. Loved ones would slaughter loved ones, whole families found butchered and mutilated.

One of the first settlers to ignore the morbid stories was Thomas Hadden. In 1840, he brought his young wife and two children to the area. With just a wagon and two mules, they staked their claim, and while the initial first few months was difficult, Thomas managed to build a simple three-room log cabin before their first winter. That spring, he started tilling the fields for beans, corn, and a variety of squash, including pumpkins. What they didn’t consume, he planned on selling to nearby settlements. They’d also built a small barn and coop for their pigs and chickens. After that summer, a year since their arrival, the Hadden family thought their hard work would pay off, and Thomas made plans to build a fine home in the next few years.

Over the next several years, other settlers moved into the area and it grew into a community of sorts. Talk began of forming an official town, with a name and mayor, but Thomas Hadden, while pleased and excited by the growth, wasn’t a politician, just a simple farmer. He had no such aspirations, but he supported the future of the unnamed but developing town.

The harvest season approached, in 1848, and it proved as it always did to be a busy time for the many farmers, including the Haddens. The crops were plentiful and the general mood amongst everyone was one of contentment, if not eagerness to expand and name their town, and elect a mayor and sheriff.
Some had suggested calling it Haddentown. After all, it was Thomas and his family who had settled in the area first.

However, in late October, horror struck the peaceful community. The curse the Pashawakas had warned those first settlers of had awakened. For reasons unknown, one night Thomas Hadden’s son, aged 14, got up from bed and went outside to the woodpile stacked against the side of the cabin. Taking the axe, he went back inside and murdered both his parents while they slept. Splattered with blood, Benjamin Hadden entered the room he shared with his younger sister, Adelaide. When she saw him covered in blood, holding the axe, she screamed before he cleaved her skull.

Summoned by the screams, nearby farmers investigated the disturbance, only to find young Ben standing out front of the family home clutching the bloodied axe, his face blank and emotionless. Later, some would claim his eyes were the most frightening aspect of the horrific scene, deep and black, as if the Devil himself now inhabited the boy.

When one man, a close friend of the family, moved to go inside the cabin, Ben lunged with the axe. Another man holding a shotgun opened fire, and Benjamin Hadden slumped to the ground, his head all but vaporized by the blast.

It took the still unnamed community quite some time to recover from the horrible tragedy, but eventually they did. Explanations for why Benjamin Hadden, seemingly a fine young man, would do what he did that night went unanswered. While many people had heard the stories told by the local Indians, they scoffed at it as native superstition. Instead, they believed that the Hadden youth went inexplicably mad, or perhaps even possessed by Satan himself.

One year after the tragedy of the Hadden family, the town finally elected a mayor (which had been Thomas Hadden’s good friend, Daniel Strode), and it’s first Sheriff (the man who shot and killed Ben Hadden), Jess Brackett.

All they had to do was to choose a town name. There had been many suggestions, but only one that most thought fitting. No one objected.

Ten years after Thomas Hadden and his family settled in the area, making it their home, the town became first known as Hadden’s Field.

Some time later, the town name was slightly changed.



Sunday, September 22, 2019

Howdy, my name is...

...Chris Kosarich and I write scary things. Dark scary things. And it seems like most people have enjoyed my horror stories, ebooks and the short novels, given the reviews by readers over the past few years, which delights me to no end. Thank you to those who have purchased my books and authors can always use more reviews, so please leave one on whatever site you prefer!

So while I'd first published several horror short stories in the mid to late 90s, in various small press horror publications, over the past few years I've ventured into self publishing. Started small with a couple ebook shorts, CLOWNING AROUND and THE LAST CHORD, and earlier this year released a novella called ROSEBLOOD. Last October, I released MISTER JACK, a chapbook or novellette Halloween story. (Sidenote: MISTER JACK has been reformatted to a 5 × 8 trade paperback, with a less murky cover, tweaked backcover, and much better interior formatting. Available exclusively on BN.com) The followup to the latter is titled NIGHT OF THE PUMPKIN GOD, due early 2020. I'm also hard at work with my editor on finishing revisions for THE RAVENING, my scifi horror novel,which I'll be submitting to a few small press horror publishers.

Here's a chronological list of my ebooks & trade paperbacks, with links to where you can get them:

And coming in early 2020...

You can find my ebooks & trade paperbacks at BN.com here

And my ebooks are also on Amazon here.

And again, thank you very much for your support! Horror fans rock! 


Friday, July 26, 2019

No Write Way

Thought I'd do something a bit different here on my blog site besides promoting my own books, so I'll be posting an occasional blog piece every so often about the craft of writing that I've learned over the years. 

And continue to learn. That's the thing, and ask any writer, published or not...it's a lifelong journey in growing and developing. Finding your way down that twisting, winding path.

Hence the clever heading...No Write Way.

So let's start with a little history about me. I just turned 52 this week (Yikes...really?) and I first started writing my own stories when I picked up one of the old Mack Bolan Men's Action/Adventure series novels called Thermal Thursday. I was hooked and scoured area used bookstores for me, along with the recently published new novels from Gold Eagle and the spin offs. Then I discovered others in a similar vein, such as Jerry Ahern's novels. Being a very artistically creative kid, it was only natural and inevitable. Most of my early efforts were handwritten on notebook paper and bound together with those twisty clips. Eventually I got my first typewriter. My folks still have a big box of my early writings, and while I haven't looked at those in years, they are fairly juvenile, not very good (by my standards today, of course), and basically teenage me emulating the authors I'd been so devouring at the time. But this is all part of what I'd mentioned previously...part of the process.
(Not my actual notes!)
Then, shortly after graduating high school and entering college, I discovered Stephen King. Needless to say, I fell in love and once again devoured everything by him I could find (mainly at the Edison Mall bookstore), along with Dean Koontz, Robert McCammon, Peter Straub, and Clive Barker. I'd also picked up this funky little gaudy paperback at Wal-Mart by this relative unknown guy named Richard Laymon, but it would be years before I'd realized what a true dark gem he was...

Still with me? Good...sorry for the rambling. It's kind of a writer thing, ya know? 

So back then I would outline a story, which was usually a long piece like a potential novel, but I had started a few years later with penning my first horror short stories. Before I get into that process, let me spend a moment or two talking about the setting, so to speak. The time and place where the Master Wordsmith sits to create his tales. It would be nice if we all could be fulltime writers, and maybe someday that'll happen, but reality it is rare. And quite frankly, I like having things like a roof over my head, electricity, and food. That whole starving artist thing is a crock of shit. Fuck that noise. 
(Not my actual typewriter, either!)
Let's face it, we all have (or most of us, anyway) fulltime jobs and families and other responsibilities, so finding the right time (or is that write time? Hahahaha!) can be challenging. What works best for me, and probably for most, is to do so when you're as fresh as possible, and not tired and exhausted from a day's work, etc. For most of us, getting in those chunks of time, either early in the morning or later in the evening, works best. And sometimes, yes, you have to make yourself sit down at the desk, maybe have a cup of tea, and start hitting the keyboard. Not literally, of course. Have some music on low as background noise, but no death metal. Unless that's your thing. 
(Yes, my workspace!)
The key is being as focused as you can be...with minimal distractions! Which means keeping that smartphone and/or tablet not sitting next to you where whenever a notification pops up...yeah, you guessed it.

I also prefer my laptop to not have anything on it like social media apps etc...for just that reason. But that's me. Maybe you have better willpower or focus. Again, like the heading of the long rambling diatribe suggests (still awake...still with me?)...there's no write way!

So I'll finish up by talking about outlining and what works for me and maybe you as well.

In a nutshell, I stopped outlining before I got heavily into writing because I'd soon discovered that even doing shorthand sort of bullet point notes, I was mostly writing the story or chapter in full anyway. I know other authors who outline, some extensively with detailed character sketches, and that's great. But not for me. I do keep a notepad on my desk and depending on what I'm working on, it may just be a few important details I don't want to forget. Or more. I also jot notes down in either my smartphone note app or on my tablet. Ultimately, it has taken me years to have the confidence and comfort level with the process that works best for me. I'm much more of an organic, write by the seat of my pants kind of writer. Usually...it works. Sometimes it doesn't. 
(Dude, I got a Dell!)
The trick is this. There is no write way...except finding what works best for YOU. And that's part of the process and journey of being a writer. Embrace it. 




Friday, May 31, 2019

Roseblood: The Soundtrack


So I teased this a while back, but here, at last, it is...ROSEBLOOD, The Soundtrack. Now sit back and rock on. Just watch out for Rose, though. She's beautiful, but she kills. 




https://youtu.be/o1tj2zJ2Wvg Welcome to the Jungle by GnR

https://youtu.be/j2r2nDhTzO4  Every Rose has its Thorn by Poison 

https://youtu.be/_NxrphVL7bQ  Wild Flower by The Cult

https://youtu.be/oJL-lCzEXgI  Hungry like the Wolf by Duran Duran 

https://youtu.be/9wPHxQMgdKs  Looks That Kill by Motley Crue

https://youtu.be/2oPeZFOpPAM  Wicked Garden by Stone Temple Pilots

https://youtu.be/PTFwQP86BRs  Closer by Nine Inch Nails

https://youtu.be/ptPekKOigkQ  Shake Me by Cinderella

https://youtu.be/W4XiSFyYRE8  Love Bites by Def Leppard 

https://youtu.be/hv_zJrO_ptk  The Devil Inside by INXS 

https://youtu.be/0u8teXR8VE4  Round & Round by Ratt 

https://youtu.be/0698sTH7mUk  Never Gonna Stop by Rob Zombie

Bonus Track:
https://youtu.be/aQ6DV7X_Di0  A Rose by any Name by Blondie






Saturday, December 15, 2018

Ho...Ho...Holidays Horror!

So, over the years I've written several Christmas-themed horror stories, starting with "The Werewolf that Saved Christmas." Unfortunately, that one was lost due to a flash drive mishap and no additional backup. (I swear by Dropbox and have for years now!) The wolfish main character in the aforementioned  does appear in a sequel of sorts, which you can read here. But this time he saves Christmas from bloodthirsty vampires, not a case  of flu-stricken reindeer.

Tired of those annoyingly cute Elf on the Shelf memes? You might enjoy an evil Elf story called "Hellf." Check it out here. But it's not at all cute. You've been warned!

And finally, another Yuletide horror classic involving zombies, Santa...and fruitcake. Need I say more? Pour some whiskey-spiked egg nog, open wide and enjoy it here.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, I figured since I've written a handful of Christmas-themed horror stories over the years, which you can find to the right in previous postings, an Easter horror story, and of course, my latest Halloween horror story, which can (not so shameless plug) be found here and here, as well as here, it was time for a Thanksgiving story. So without further ado, please enjoy what's below whilst you gorge yourselves on turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and the trio of football games today.


THE FEAST
Copyright 2018


The Cartwell family gathered every Thanksgiving at Grandpa Cartwell’s log cabin in the mountains. Both sons and daughter drove in from the city, just an hour’s drive, and brought their own children. Sometimes aunts and uncles would make the trip, too, nieces and nephews, and once the Cartwell family fall get-together boasted nearly forty guests! This year, however, the total was almost half that, which suited the senior Cartwells just fine.

The log cabin was one of those fancy two-story domiciles, with lots of spare rooms for visiting family. Plus the downstairs rec room could be used for extra guests, if needed. Grandpa Cartwell wouldn’t hear of family having to stay at motel, if he could help it. And family was the most important thing to him…next to the traditional and very special holiday gathering.

The annual autumn Feast was THE event of the season.

Like most families, they ate early in the day, Grandma Cartwell preparing the usual assortment of Thanksgiving delicacies, with help, of course, from their daughters and granddaughters. They sat around the large open-air family room, sipping after-dinner drinks (non-alcoholic for the kids, although the teenagers were allowed to sample Grandpa’s homemade cider). 

While the adults were mostly relaxed and comfortable, the children got antsy and anxious, as usual. They bounced around in the downstairs rec room, watching movies but mostly playing video games or watching YouTube, excited for the evening’s delicious grand finale. You see, after the afternoon’s sumptuous meal, they waited until later to enjoy their final meal of the day. The Feast always ended with a fine, unforgettable dessert of the most exquisite variety. But Grandma wasn’t responsible for this, no, this was Grandpa’s doing. You could say it was truly the one thing everyone looked forward to.

As dusk approached, they exited the spacious home for the vast backyard, which led down a gently sloping and neatly kept lawn to the wooded hills. Beyond that loomed the mountains. As the extended Cartwell family settled around a medium-sized bonfire, Grandpa brought along his banjo and harmonica, and they all sang and laughed. Once night fell, the elderly Cartwell put down his instrument and glanced over the flames at his oldest son, who nodded at him.
Both men quietly left for the house, heading for a pair of locked cellar doors set to the left of the rear back deck. Everyone watched expectantly, eyes gleaming with barely restrained excitement. 

High above in the night sky, the full moon washed down on them with ashen pale light.

Five minutes later, the elder Cartwell and son led the shackled figure over to the bonfire. He’d stumbled along behind them, led by a thin chain leash and sturdy leather collar attached to his neck. Earlier in the day, down in the locked basement cell, he’d been hosed down after his clothes had been removed. Later, those filthy garments would be destroyed, incinerated in the bonfire. His wallet and its contents, as well. The man had a smartphone when they’d found him, but that had been taken care of weeks ago, the battery and SIM card removed and disposed of. His pickup truck with out-of-state plates was long gone, too. No one knew he’d been the Cartwell’s very special guest for tonight…or Guest of Honor, you could say. 

The younger son met them just short of the bonfire, grinning, and the rest of the family, including the kids, rose from the seats. Everyone stared raptly at the naked man. He swayed on his feet, eyes widening, mouth working, but no words that made sense came out. His tongue had been removed a while ago, the wound cauterized. And he’d been given a steady diet of whiskey and high-calorie shakes to fatten him up a bit. 

“You made a big mistake coming to town, buddy,” the younger son quipped. He’d drunk his share of cider, but was only mildly buzzed, unlike the man. “You should’ve never messed with Jenny out at the truck stop. She’s a sweet, pretty gal, but she’s only 17, you fucking pervert!” He loosed a loud, braying guffaw. 

“Honey, the language…the kids!” his wife said. But she only chuckled at her admonishment of him. He shook his head, tugged off his sweater, and dropped it to the ground. It was a chilly night, in the mountains, but it usually was in late November. His wife started to unbutton her sweater and blouse, and soon everyone began to disrobe. They felt the sharp cold air on their bare skin, goosebumps rippling over exposed flesh, nipples hardening, but soon it wouldn’t matter.

Grandpa Cartwell unhooked the leash from the trembling man, who babbled incoherently, moaning as drool ran down his chin. He’d remove his clothes last, as would his own wife. Not that they were shy around their children and grandchildren. Not at all. After all, they’d enjoyed the yearly Feast together for many years. They just wanted the younger ones to have their fun.

“Go, get, run!” Grandpa said, dropping the coiled leashed to his feet. The man took a few unsteady steps away from the Cartwells and the bonfire, in the direction of the dark wall of trees. If he was lucky, he might make it a few dozen feet inside the densely wooded vegetation. But he kind of doubted it.

Then he ran for the trees, like a pack of hellions were on his heels. He stumbled over his own feet after maybe a hundred feet or so, and tumbled to the ground. When he glanced back at them, his eyes bulged. The naked Cartwells writhed and convulsed on the close-cropped grass, the fiery light revealing flesh that rippled and flowed, unearthly sounds of bones reforming, and simmering growls of lusty hunger. In moments, as he got back to his feet, they were no longer naked. Thick dark fur covered their bodies. Almost in unison, their glowing yellow eyes locked onto him.

They howled. He ran. They charged in pursuit.

The man’s ululating screams lasted for maybe a minute, if that.

He’d managed to get fairly close to the woods, but Grandpa Cartwell had been right. 

And they gave thanks for another successful Feast, blood-stained muzzles lifted up to the moonlight sky.



Sunday, April 1, 2018

Happy April Fool's...

...but the following is certainly no joke! Been a long while since I've updated my blog, so here goes.



My debut ebook, Clowning Around, is available at bn.com here and Amazon here. Since the biggest, best advantage an author has are honest reviews, I'd greatly appreciate one after you've read it on either website or GoodReads. 



And my latest ebook, The Last Chord, is available at bn.com here and also on Amazon here. Same goes for the above, please leave an honest review...thanks!

And since today is also Easter, for those who celebrate it, here's a twisted Easter story I wrote a few years ago, involving the Easter Bunny, Easter Eggs...and three pigs. But not those three little pigs. Oh, and this story is not really for kids. You can find it here.

I've been off from work for a week and working hard at home on finishing the first round of revisions for my scifi horror novel, The Ravening. Since this past Monday, I've spent 8-10 hours per day, with multiple breaks and a nap, going through my printed chapters and line edits, entering those into the Word docs, as well making numerous on-the-spot changes. It's been a blast! But it's also been exhausting, too. My goal was to be done by Easter Sunday. That's not going to happen. Keep in mind I've gotten half the novel almost completely edited (first round), but I also needed to do a few things around the house, too. I'll work on a bit more today, maybe more...and that will leave me around 4 chapters left. I'm pleased with what I got done on my working vacation. 


Well, that's it for now. Be good and stay scary!