Saturday, October 17, 2020

Why I Love Halloween...

 ...the John Carpenter classic and iconic 1978 horror film. I do love the autumnal holiday (I mean, duh, I write horror and All Hallows Eve is my Xmas), but for my money and since I was in my early 20s, the simply yet perfectly made slasher flick has been my all time favorite horror movie. 

Horror has been a big part of my life since then, but I wasn't always a horror fan. At least with books, anyway. I'd written about this to a degree in previous blog posts, but that darkly magical attraction/addiction began when I was 18, in 1985-86, when I bought my first Stephen King novel PET SEMATARY and devoured it (followed by PHANTOMS by Dean Koontz or Dean R. Koontz as he went by back then, when he had the balding pate and mustache). I'd found my genre to read and write and was hooked for life. 


As a kid growing up in Southwestern coastal Florida, I loved the Saturday morning Creature Feature show on Channel 44 WTOG hosted by the legendary Dr. Paul Bearer, which showed many old classic horror films, from the early black & whites to those in garish Technicolor. Looking back now, it seemed I was destined to discover my beloved spooky-scary genre eventually.

But my love for the Halloween (and ultimately, the entire film franchise) began, ironically, right around when Halloween 4 came out. I'd seen that one in the theater along with Halloween 5 when it came out. But while I'd been aware of the first film, I'd totally became enraptured with it on Halloween night 1987. I was dating my first serious girlfriend back then. We'd visited with her aunt and helped put up cheap Halloween decorations and generally just goofing around trying to spook out one another. Then she and I came back to my parents' house and relaxed in the living room watching the original Halloween movie. I loved it and have seen it dozens of times since then. I'd also become complete fan of John Carpenter's oeuvre of horror. From his scifi horror remake THE THING to THE FOG and PRINCE OF DARKNESS, along with his other films, there's no better creator of iconic 80s horror cinema.



However, it all started with that first movie. Arguably, the reigning king of what became known as the slasher film. Granted, and rightly so, many would claim the Hitchcock's classic PSYCHO was the first true slasher film, but I contend that it really began in the late 70s and exploded in the 1980s. And Halloween was and is the best and most original, enduring for decades and has even seen a resurgence with the pseudo-rebooted franchise (and admittedly, just a bit annoying to completely discount everything as canon after the first movie, but I understand why the new film producers/writers/directors did that. I still love the franchise living on and drawing in newer younger fans). 

The decade of decadence saw a glut of slasher flicks from the Friday the 13th series to nightmarish Freddy Krueger with his finger blade glove, the psycho-doll Chucky, among others. Cannibalistic inbred rednecks with revving chainsaws and irradiated kill-crazy bloodthirsty mutants, oh my!



No other horror film villain compares to the silent and unstoppable menace of The Shape aka Michael Myers. In my opinion. What started out as a low budget film with the title THE BABYSITTER MURDERS, once the film producer suggested changing it to HALLOWEEN (setting it of course on that night), a movie horror icon was born. 

So why do I believe the original Halloween film & Michael Myers is the best ever? Firstly, the fact that the movie takes place on All Hallows Eve is solely reason enough. It's the perfect setting for a horror movie. The concept of Michael Myers, the rather common even bland name, which soon would become synonymous with teenage 80s horror. The plain mask, courtesy of Capt Kirk, with the bleached-out white rubber face, was pure brilliance if necessary for a low budget film. (If you haven't, Google how the film was made or catch the numerous YouTube videos or documentaries. Much of what was done, particularly the opening scene was groundbreaking for its time). And if you look into the highly collectible (and expensive) paperback novelization by Curtis Richards, published shortly after the film was released, you'll find a lot of added history and more of a supernatural explanation to why the child Michael Myers became the knife-wielding killer who murdered his older sister on Halloween night. The horror website Bloody Disgusting published a cool, in depth article on this a few years ago:

https://bloody-disgusting.com/books/3529811/revisiting-novelization-john-carpenters-halloween-fascinating-michael-myers-origin-story/

However, it wasn't until the inevitable sequel, HALLOWEEN II, that the idea of making the Final Girl, Laurie Strode, Michael's sister and the reason for his obsessively murderous intent, that things became very intriguing. This was even taken a step further in 4 and 5 with Laurie's daughter (and Michael's niece), Jamie, becoming The Shape's newest target. In 4, it was briefly explained that Strode died in a supposed car accident, leaving young Jamie motherless (this was written into the script since Jamie Lee Curtis didn't want to do another sequel). The character's name was an homage of sorts to the actress. Of course many fans wanted Ms Strode back and got their wish eventually in HALLOWEEN H20 and to a lesser degree, HALLOWEEN RESURRECTION (my least favorite franchise film). Even HALLOWEEN 6 THE CURSE OF MICHAEL MYERS had its moments, mostly bringing back Tommy Doyle (played by a young Paul Rudd) and a deadly Celtic cult tied to Myers, which interestingly ties loosely into the original film's novelization. 





I'll be honest with you. And I didn't always feel this way, but the older I've gotten and the numerous times I've watched these films, the more I think they could've just avoided the somewhat implausible familial connection as an explanation for his relentless bloodlust. Why as such an uber Halloween fan do I say this? Because in 1963, when 6 years old Myers inexplicably kills his teenage sister in her room on Halloween night, his parents did...what exactly? In their grief and loss, decide to have another child right away? Think about it. Then in 1978, 15 years later when Halloween the movie begins and we're introduced to Laurie, the slightly shy and bookish high school student. The timing is a little off, if I'm being honest. Or did Michael's parents divorce after the horrible tragedy in '63, one or both remarry and either another child is conceived soon or they gain a very young stepdaughter? It's just one of those loose ends that's never really explained after the sister angle reveal in the sequel. Personally, they could've just skipped the sister connection altogether and kept Laurie as the "one who got away" or survived Michael's night of terror, the original Final Girl, if you will...and thus, spurring his undying bloodlust. 

With 2018's self-titled reboot of sorts, given the thumbs up from Carpenter as creative consultant, we see everything after the first film discarded, including the sister connection. HALLOWEEN KILLS, delayed til October 2021 due to the pandemic, and the final film, HALLOWEEN ENDS, will be anxiously awaited by us die-hard fans, for sure. I'd be remiss in not mentioning the Rob Zombie remake of the first two films. As a fan of both his music and films, I enjoyed his revisionist take and more psychological approach, though brutally violent...which given it was an RZ flick was to be expected. And seeing a much older Danielle Harris, who played Jamie in 4 and 5, portraying Annie, was a nice touch. However the followup wasn't as good, even with the always amazing Malcolm McDowell playing Dr Sam Loomis. 


Which leads me to my last argument or point concerning why HALLOWEEN rocks, has stood the test of time as one of horror's greatest most iconic movies, and has been my personal alltime favorite: Sam Loomis.

 Dr Loomis with his indefatigable and dogged pursuit of his psychopathic young patient of 15 years, the ever present tan trench coat (and his legally registered handgun), makes the perfect addition to this classic slasher horror triumvirate. While he's sorely missed in the latest installment (he'd be much too old anyway, let alone still living), Loomis was the penultimate boy (or man, in this case) who cried wolf. No one listened to him until it was too late. And he has some of the best dialogue or memorable lines in horror film history, most notably his conversation with Sheriff Brackett while they search the Myers' house. Dr Loomis tells the sheriff, "He had the blackest eyes...the Devil's eyes." That line gives me chills almost every single time. 

Speaking of goosebumps, has their ever been a more recognizable and chillingly brilliant theme music than what John Carpenter composed himself for his movie all those years ago? I don't think so. 

I'd also be remiss in not mentioning the influence this film series has had on horror and horror films. For example, when it seemed like horror in general had been in a rut during the mid 90s, along came a new slasher film called SCREAM from Wes Craven. Part homage, part darkly funny but certainly bloody, SCREAM elevated what a good slasher flick could really be. It exploded, revitalized public interest in horror and slashers, spawned several sequels and is rumored to return in the near future with a new feature film installment. In the original film, during the infamous party sequence, a tv can be seen playing HALLOWEEN, the director's nod to this groundbreaking low budget slasher film.

So that's it, folks. There's been a wealth of HALLOWEEN gruesome goodness over the years to keep us die-hard fans happy, from collectible merchandise, clothing (my favorite sites for those are Fright Rags, Terror Threads and Gutter Garb...quality product with great customer service!), and several books such as anthology fan fiction to the sometimes pricey out of print novelizations and more! Long live HALLOWEEN...

P.S. for those interested, I wrote a short piece of HALLOWEEN fan fiction called "Halloween: The Beginning" and posted it on my blog many years ago. You can find it here:

http://horrorgasms.blogspot.com/2015/10/halloween-beginning.html?m=1

Friday, August 21, 2020

2020 and Beyond!

Needless to say, in most respects, this year has sucked. We all know why, and while I hope this pandemic that has affected all of us in one way or another begins to lessen its spread, with schools reopening (fuck what the supposed experts think...this is the worst idea largely pushed forward by pure political BS, but I digress...), Covid-19 is unfortunately going to be around for the foreseeable future and beyond. Vaccines will take a while to be approved after lots of testing and then distributing, well, you get it. 

I've been thinking about the foreseeable future and beyond with my professional writing. My latest self published release (see my blog's previous post for details), Night of the Pumpkin God, had been delayed from its early 2020 release to just last month (mainly due to issues related to the pandemic and everyone's crazy hectic schedule, myself included). Normally, I'm working on a first draft of a new book, and sometimes editing/revising another book. I've got several things planned and thought I'd list them here for anyone interested. Most will be self published horror books (ebook and trade paperback), but one will hopefully be published with an indie horror publisher.

So here goes...

The Ravening -- the novel mentioned above that I'd love to see published by one of the horror genre's many fantastic independent publishers. It's a scifi horror novel set on the Florida gulf coast at an island beach resort. A deadly organism of alien origin surfaces and is inadvertently brought ashore, turning ordinary, everyday people into ravenous killers. A hurricane is bearing down on the area and a handful of people have a slim chance of thwarting it from spreading. Final draft completed. Full novel length.

Bloodletting -- the sequel to my horror novella Roseblood. Rose Valentine runs The Thorny Rose, an semi-upscale stripclub just outside of the rural North Central Florida town of Tuckton. Rose runs a tight ship and is very protective of her girls and staff. And the townspeople leave her alone. Mason Kreel grew up in Tuckton, and returns home after his ailing mother passed away. Both Rose and Mason harbor dark secrets, but they converge one night when a sadistic psycho sexual killer arrives in town. First draft completed. Short novel length. 

No Laughing Matter -- a short story collection, bringing together my first two self published ebook shorts, Clowning Around and The Last Chord, along with 4 new stories involving a supernatural being known as Tricksy the Clown (or Mister Tricks) and his other sinister identity, Mister Black. The longest story explains this demonic entity's origin and concludes with a final climactic story...or does it? First draft completed. 

Island of Devils -- this is currently a WIP. Sequel or more of a followup to The Ravening because while it's a totally different story, it involves several characters from the aforementioned. The special ops group known as UMBRA is being shut down after their director suddenly dies. Intel has reached them that may provide them valuable clues as to where The Collective (a clandestine organization made up of alien/human hybrids that has infiltrated human society with nefarious intent) has made their base of operations. Dane Frost, former Navy Seal and interim director at UMBRA, goes rogue with a ragtag team made up of operators and former Collective members to find this secret base. And destroy the hideous mastermind known as The One. But can they reach the mysterious island off the coast of Northeastern South American in time? Do they even have a chance of stopping the horrors running amok on what some call Isla de Los Demonios? Full length novel planned.

Bloodlust -- the third and final book in what I'll call the Roseblood trilogy. In the Afterword of the novella, I share how Roseblood was originally a short story called "Roseblood," and was my first published horror story. Upon completing the first draft of Bloodletting, I kept thinking about a potential third story, novella or short novel, and soon came up with a rough idea and jotted down notes. Mason Kreel will play a part, along with more of the shadowy group he works for known as The Organization. Someone affiliated with them discovers who Rose might be, after what transpired in the previous book, and wants to not just find her, but to take her against her will. And there will lots of bloodshed and death! Novella or short novel planned.

Well, that's what I've got on tap to keep me busy for the duration of 2020, into 2021 and beyond. 

You can find my ebooks and trade paperbacks at bn.com here, and my ebooks on Amazon here. I always appreciate the support and honest reviews. Also, I welcome requests from horror book bloggers and reviewers for digital review copies, so hit me up via social media or my author email flahorrorwriter67@gmail.com.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

Night of the Pumpkin God



Since I've ventured into self publishing my work over the past few years, my Halloween horror novellette MISTER JACK has had the most sales and positive reviews. 


To be honest, I didn't intend on writing a sequel to it. It was my homage to all things Halloween. But so many readers/reviewers expressed a desire for more that it got me thinking about it, especially with the way I ended that tale. I began to formulate an idea to pick up the story where it left off, with Misty Wilkes, and also bringing back characters like Tully and Maddie, as well as introducing new characters. But it soon became pretty apparent that I didn't want to write a MISTER JACK sequel so much as a followup novel. And thus was born NIGHT OF THE PUMPKIN GOD. There's plenty from the previous story to hopefully please my fans, but I really wanted this longer book to explore something new, with still a definite connection to the first one. 

Hopefully, you all will dig this new book as much as MISTER JACK. It was a total blast to write. The ebook is available on bn.com and Amazon, and the trade paperback exclusively on bn.com (coming soon). 

You can find all my ebooks and trade paperbacks on bn.com here. And ebooks on Amazon here.
Thanks again for your support. It's always much appreciated! 


Thursday, June 11, 2020

I Want My...80s Horror!

Has there ever been a more rich and colorful period to grow up as a teenager with the MTV Generation and the absolute glut of mass market paperback horror? Not withstanding the absolute dominance by the King of Horror Fiction Stephen King, among a few others, but the good (and some not so good) horror knockoffs that filled the shelves of bookstores and used bookstores was a veritable delight of dark treasures to discover.

None were more prevalent back then than the original king of monsters...the vampire. Stephen King made us fall in love with the iconic Dracula story in his classic novel of small town vampire horror, Salem's Lot. Many copy cats were to follow. Anne Rice took a unique spin in her take on the sympathetic views of those glorious children of the night and their eons old bloody back history.

And in films, certainly. While John Carpenter brought us the teenage slasher film Halloween and the scifi horror remake The Thing, the 80s had plenty of bloodsucker classics like Fright Night, Near Dark, and some others. But for me, it was The Lost Boys. The cool young up and coming cast, the look and feel, and the soundtrack was pure 80s cheese and that's a good thing.


Chris: Glenn, your latest novel UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND clearly takes an intended page (and sort of homage) to that movie, but it's also so much more. Especially with it's unlikely teenage protagonist, Rocky. What inspired you to write this novel?

Glenn: It’s like you said, man, the 80s offered so much for kids and teens. It was loud and colorful, neon and new. Even late-70s movies like Star Wars, Alien, and Jaws were still relatively new (or recent). MTV led a youth movement and brought rock stars into homes daily, hell, hourly.  I knew I wanted to go back to that period in time and weave my own adventure in the midst of all that magic.
The vampire love story is nothing new, but I knew my story of Rocky and November would stand out if I made a few altercations to the vampire lore and placed it in the best beach town in the best era.

Also, I remember watching so much Unsolved Mysteries and 20/20 with my mom growing up that I had to use some of that paranoia in here. Those two shows more than any other really opened eyes to the amount of evil that lurks out there.  I was able to tie some of that into the antagonist’s doings. I think that definitely gave the adults in the book another level of realness, which is what really digs you into the story.

Chris: One of the things I loved about this book was lots of 80s drops and references sprinkled quite liberally throughout. That must have been a lot of fun. Also, the location of Old Orchard Beach, Maine, is place you know well, I take it?

Glenn: Anyone that has read my books knows that I love pop culture references. It’s definitely a part of my voice. I need a soundtrack, I need my readers nodding along when they see, say, Duran, Duran, pop up before their eyes. 😉  It’s part of making YOU feel invested in what’s happening. That said, I often wonder if my references might alienate some of the younger horror readers out there. Lucky for us, the 80s seem pretty cool to kids right now.

As for OOB, man, that is my happy place. I don’t get there as much as I wish I could. I told my wife we’re retiring there and she says no, but I have a couple more decades to work on her.  😊  I know quite a bit about the it, but I did additional research for the book. I made up plenty of places, but there are quite a few accurate streets and areas. If you’ve never been there, make it your next (non-Covid) destination.

Chris: Having grown up in the 80s as a teen myself, you really captured what it was like being a teenager in that time. I found the young female love interest for Rocky rather intriguing. Where did you come up with the name November?

Glenn: November was the girl that lived next door to me when I was 5 or 6. She was my best friend and I remember thinking she was sooooo cool all the time. Probably had a crush on her, as much as a little kid can, but her name and that memory of her awesomeness has stuck with me my entire life. I wrote a song called “The Record Store” and the girl in that song was November. “She said her name was November, that’s a name I will always remember” and there’s a line a bit later that says, “Now I can’t get this girl out of my blood”  A sly reference of what this girl might be.  I certainly had USCA brewing in my head percolating in my brain well before I finally sat down to write it.

Chris: Finally, I've never been one of those who bashed the success of the teen heartthrob vampire series, Twilight (but have never read the books). You keep an element of young "coming of age" romance and make it both sweet and realistic, but keep the vampire element scary and original at the same time (leaving out spoilers). Was it a deliberate and conscious decision to add in a unique spin on a type of story that's been, pardon the pun, done to un-death?

Glenn: Not really. I never read the Twilight books, but I did see all the movies. They were very CW and I do remember one seen in the last movie where they have all these big characters getting killed, and I recall sitting up in my seat at the theater and thinking holy shit, that’s actually awesome….turns out it was just a character seeing a possible future. I thought, damn, that was the best scene from any of the flicks and they totally dropped the ball. Oh well. 

It’s possible that moment might have been luring in my mind, too, but I never set out to correct some error. I only know how to write like me, so I just follow my brain where it wants to go. I did a bit of the sweet and innocent mixed with really horror in my last book (The Window), and I definitely went way dark on the horror in that one. While I love the book, it was a bit hard for some readers, so if anything, I know going into this one I did decide to put a soft cap on how hard the horror went. That said, I think it came out really well. By doing that “soft cap” I hope I opened the story up to any reader of any genre out there to enjoy.  As a horror lover, I love how it turned out. It still has plenty of… bite.

Chris: Thanks, Glenn, for taking the time to answer these questions. Now everyone who hasn't yet, go grab this perfect summertime (or anytime) horror beach read! You can find his latest at bn.com and Amazon, available in hardcover, trade paperback and ebook from FlameTree Press. His previous books like THE WINDOW, THE HAUNTED HALLS, BECOMING, BLOOD AND RAIN, among others, come highly recommended! Go #GetRolfed!


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 décor. 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.