Tag Archives: horror

2014 Review – It Was a Very Good Year

Once again we are watching yet another year fade away in the rearview mirror.

Sometimes I think there is some sort of universal phenomenon that causes the years to go by faster as we get older. Sort of like a roller coaster…the long slow climb up that first hill is followed by a neck-breakingly fast plummet which really makes you appreciate the scenery you ignored on the way up.

Anyway…I digress.

2014 is in the books and it’s time for the annual recap.

From the perspective of my writing career, I have to say that 2014 was, by far, my best year (to date).

Let’s run down the highlights (in no particular order):

 

5-Digit Territiory

I joined Twitter in October, 2009 – shortly after my first novel was released – because I had heard it was a good way to network and market.

At the time I looked at networking and marketing the way a St. Bernard looks at catnip.

When I met Armand Rosamilia a year later I think I had about 80 twitter followers. Armand showed me how to use twitter and, most importantly, how to avoid being intimidated by its rapid fire, life-at-a-million-miles-an-hour pace.

Within a month I was up to 600 followers.

Here we are, just four years later and I have crossed the 10,000 follower mark – something I never thought possible.

twitter 10k

I thank you all for your support! I am truly appreciative for every single twitter follower as well as facebook fan and everybody else connected to me through social media.

 

An Audiophile’s Dream

When 2013 ended I was doing two radio shows on Surf 97.3.

Tim Baker’s B-Sides, Deep Cuts and Cool Covers (Friday night from 7-8 pm) was in its infancy and I was also partnering with Armand on Friday Night Writes (Friday nights from 8-10 pm).

In the early months of 2014 Armand’s schedule took him away from the show, leaving a two hour void in Friday night’s programming. B Sides cover

This void gave birth to The Tim Baker Friday Night Music Extravaganza.

At the suggestion of station manager DJ Vern I took over the 8-10 block, flying solo and replacing the writing-related talk with good ole’ fashioned rock and roll.

The show airs on Friday’s from 7-10 pm EST on Surf 97.3 FM and http://www.Flaglerbeachradio.com. It has been fun for me since day one and has developed a loyal, if not somewhat rabid, following!

Every Friday night I spend “the best three hours of my week” entertaining people with music, but even if nobody was listening I would still love doing it (although DJ Vern might not be too thrilled)!!

 

Oh! The Horror!!

Those who read my work know that my genre (the one that defies classification) will never be confused with horror, yet 2014 saw me contributing stories to two horror anthologies.

The first story was called Dying Days – Angel and appeared in the anthology Still Dying 2… an anthology of stories released by Armand Rosamilia based on his Dying Days zombie series.

I also submitted a story called Road Wearier to a collection of short stories called State of Horror – New Jersey. SoH New Jersey

I surprised many of my readers with these stories, and to tell the truth, I surprised myself a little too!

 

Singin’ the Blues

In the fall of 2014 I released my 7th novel – Eyewitness Blues.

Eyewitness Blues is the story of Martin Aquino, a young man with less sense than luck, and a knack for landing in bad situations.

Convinced that his life is beyond salvage, Martin decides the witness protection program will provide him with a fresh start.

Sort of like hitting the reset button.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

Unfortunately he hasn’t witnessed anything and things go downhill from there!

Practically from the day it was released Eyewitness Blues has been receiving great feedback.

Several readers have told me that, of all my books, it is their favorite. The reviews on Amazon are extremely flattering.

 

The Off-White Knight Rides

It seems that Ike took on a life of his own in 2014.

The final project of 2014 was a collection of short stories featuring my enigmatic anti-hero.

The book is called Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Short Stories featuring Ike.

The title came from a quote (by Ike) in one of the stories where he tells his compadre, Brewski “The shortest distance between two points is the path of a bullet.”

Florida author Susan Nicholls  penned a very nice foreword for the book and internationally acclaimed author Seumas Gallacher wrote an amazing review.

Six other writers contributed their own stories about Ike to the book. I don’t know how other writers feel about fan fiction, but I take it as a huge compliment. The fact that my character made enough of an impression on other people to inspire them to write their own stories is incredibly flattering and (at the risk of sounding cliché) why I write!

10807997_4705964944190_673894021_nSales of the “Ike has my back” tee shirts were better than expected too!

The Ike Anthology has been so well-received that work has already begun on the 2015 edition. I plan to write at least twelve stories for it and there will be additions from 11 other others.

Stay tuned for a blog post in the very near future formally announcing the other participants.

 

Speaking of 2015

I am hardly a prognosticator, but I’ll do my best to let you know what’s on tap for 2015…

The aforementioned collection of Ike short stories is planned to be released in early December and is tentatively being called Muzzle Velocity.

Many of you have heard the story of my ill-fated, 1988 attempt to write a novel called Full Circle. Well the time has come to drag Full Circle out of the closet and give it the attention it deserves.

From the day I began scribbling it down in a spiral-bound notebook all those years ago I have always felt it was a book that needed to be written – and now its time has come.

I have spent the past few weeks gathering & reviewing the 15 or so chapters I had written back in the day. I’ve also been going over the many thoughts & notes jotted down on everything from post-it notes to cocktail napkins (and never thrown away!) as well as compiling some new ones. As soon as the holiday madness dies down I will be diving into Full Circle. If all goes well it should be available in the fall of 2015.

I also have an idea for anBTJ coverother Steve Salem (he of Backseat to Justice) novel and I am going to try to crank that out as well.

Hopefully, a year from now I’ll be writing a recap about all three of those projects!

 

Thank you to all of you for sharing 2014 with me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support.

I hope each, and every one, of you are blessed with peace, love and prosperity in 2015!

 

As always – thank you for reading

 

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How a Quote from Ray Bradbury Turned into My Next Project

Without question the most common question asked of an author after the release of a new book is (in one form or another) “So what are you working on now?”

With the release of Eyewitness Blues only a month in the rear-view – I’ll save you the trouble of asking.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

I am working on, and almost finished with a collection of short stories about Ike. (Who is Ike? Click here.)

Actually – I started working on it just before Christmas 2013 when I needed a short story to read at The Inspired Mic (an open mic night for writers here in Flagler Beach). Since the event was taking place two weeks before Christmas I decided to write a Christmas themed story. It was a fun little piece called Don’t Call Me Carol and the audience really enjoyed it.

Around the same time I submitted a short story to a horror anthology called State of Horror: New Jersey and the organizer suggested I start an anthology of my own, maybe writing one story for each holiday throughout the coming year and releasing it before the following Christmas.

I thought it was a good idea, but I wasn’t sure I’d have time since I was in the middle of writing Eyewitness Blues.

Then, quite serendipitously, I came across a quote from Ray Bradbury ( a pretty good writer) which said “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

It made sense so I decided to give it a try. (Here’s a blog post I wrote about this anthology while it was still in its infancy)

I had already written the Christmas story, so I followed up with a New Year’s story. The “one story per week” goal was a bit ambitious for me while simultaneously working on a novel, but I wrote as many as I could…

Now that I’m nearing completion of the project I understand Bradbury’s logic about the short story.

He believed that writing short stories teaches a writer to be constantly looking for ideas. He also said “every week you’ll be happy, because by the end of each week you’ll have something to show for your efforts.”

Not surprisingly – he was right. I really enjoyed the entire process and I’ll probably keep doing it and maybe release a collection of Ike stories every year.

Then there was an added bonus…In addition to the stories I’ve written I’ve also received a few stories from other authors about Ike. The fact that other writers wanted to write stories about my character was pretty cool. How could I say no?

I plan to release the collection before Christmas.

Originally I had planned to call it An Ike for all Seasons…but an Ike quote from one of the stories gave me the perfect title. The quote, as spoken by Ike, was “The shortest distance between two points is the path of a bullet.”

There was an a-ha moment as soon as I wrote it…I knew I had the title of the book.

The Path of a Bullet

Then…another serendipitous moment…a photographer friend of mine (Marina Pierre) shared this image on facebook…

Path of a Bullet cover

As soon as I saw it I knew I had my book cover.

To quote one of my favorite movie characters (Oddball – played brilliantly by Donald Sutherland – in Kelly’s Heroes)…

oddball

As always – thank you for reading

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Guest Post – Horror Author Ian Woodhead

  • Please enjoy this exerpt form Ian Woodhead’s novel Duplicity

duplicitycover

Chapter One

The pretty little red-head was going through her tired speech, explaining to the group just how long the famous deep red stalactites had taken to form at the famous Cullbeck caves.

This would be the third time that Henry Collins had listened to this.

On the first occasion, he’d been stuck at the back of their group, bored out of his mind and alternating his thoughts between wondering if the tour guide was good in bed and just how delicious that first beer would taste once they got out of here.

The acoustic qualities of these caves, allowed the sound to travel for miles. Henry closed his eyes and pressed his back against the rough stone. He’d promised himself a few minutes ago that when he heard her voice, he wouldn’t scream out.

“I only want to go home.” He whispered, shivering.

The woman sounded as though she stood right in front of him. Henry guessed that he must be a mile below her now, hell she could be in the next cavern and he wouldn’t know.

Her voice faded, they were moving off, just one more famous sight to witness before she’d lead them out and into their over expensive tourist shop. He never found out what the other sight was; they didn’t make it that far.

Henry opened his eyes. He couldn’t believe it; he’d managed not to make a sound. When he and his wife had first heard that beautiful voice echoing through the tunnels yesterday, they’d both screamed themselves raw.

“Have I really been down here for two days?”

If Henry had known then what he later found out, he’d have stayed silent; maybe his wife would still be with him.

They had both watched with horror as five humanoid creatures detached themselves from the cavern wall. A luminescent green substance spotted their rough, sinewy bodies. They turned as one, their huge lantern orange eyes locked onto Henry, their screams intensified. His wife, Bernadette had been almost mute since they’d followed the other tunnel and found themselves lost.  She’d found her voice as three of the things jumped on her.

Her shrieking abruptly stopped when one of them grabbed her blonde curly hair and pushed her head into his slender grey chest, muffling the sound. Henry ran forward, growling, only to have the remaining creatures grabbing Henry. One placed his claw-like hands upon his shoulders; he felt just how cold the creature’s skin was through his dirty white shirt. The other one growled back, a perfect replica other Henry’s own sound, then it kicked his feet out from under him.

The back of Henry’s head smashed into the cavern floor, he groaned and watched as the creatures dragged his screaming wife down one of the fissures beside him. Their sick green glow retreated, leaving blackness in its wake.

His eyes had closed. A combination of stress, fatigue and slight concussion knocked him cold for several hours.

Tears cleaned a narrow path down his cheeks when the vivid memory of those things stealing his wife returned. He crawled towards the fissure and howled when he saw that it had been plugged with stone. Henry moved with growing desperation from one fissure to the next to discover they were all the same.

Henry opened his eyes and moved away from the wall, according to the dim readout from his phone, it had been five hours since he had left the fissures. Five hours of intense, searching and he had failed to find his darling wife or an exit.

Henry’s feet stopped by the edge, the ledge overlooked the precipice. He kicked a small pebble over the edge and unlike those fissures; the pebble took an age to hit the bottom.

How deep was it? A hundred feet or a mile, it didn’t really matter. The fall would do the job. Henry had never considered himself a brave man but he was a realist and knew a futile situation when he saw one.

Henry was going to die in these caves, just like Bernadette. If the hunger or thirst didn’t get him then those creatures certainly would. At least two of the things had been following him for the past hour, maybe longer. The occasional sound of a dislodged pebble scraping across the floor and a couple of flashes of green proved to Henry that he wasn’t wrong. Those evil bastards were following him like hyenas followed a wounded zebra. He didn’t know when they’d strike; perhaps they’d wait until he was delirious with hunger.

Well, Henry wasn’t going to give them that opportunity; he would rather deny them their meal. He shuffled his feet forward. Until the toes of his shoe was over the edge.

“I know that you’re there!” he shouted. Henry started a little when his voice echoed through the rocks. He’d begun to cry again, he cursed his own cowardice. Henry had been so terrified that the creatures would rip him apart that he didn’t shout for help and yet here he was, ready to jump to his own death. Where was the logic in that?

A pair of long, grey arms peeled away from the rock near where he stood. The rest of the creature became visible. Henry must have walked right past it and not even noticed. There was movement all around him; the entire cavern appeared to be coming alive as seemingly hundreds of the things detached from the rock, like spiders clinging to walls.

The closest one took a pace towards him; it opened its long mouth and yawned. Henry cried out. A collective groan from the assembled creatures rippled out. It stretched out its arm. Henry gasped when he saw its fingernails were now painted in bright blue, the same colour as Bernadette’s were.

Henry moaned and shook his head, he had no idea what was happening. He took a step forward, his feet lost purchase and he fell into the blackness.

His last sight was of his beautiful wife as he plummeted past her, she was clinging to the side of the wall.

IWoodhead

  • Ian Woodhead is just past the age of forty.

     He lives in the north of England and is married to a wonderful woman.

     He has forgotten how many children he has.

     He had been writing for nearly twenty years but has only just gained the confidence to start showing his work.

     Ian finds it a little creepy writing about himself in the third person.

 

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Guest Post – Horror Author G.R. Yeates

  • It is my pleasure to bring you a guest post from a very talented author. Please enjoy his thoughts and take a moment to visit him on-line.

Farewell to Horror

Writers are often asked where we get our ideas from and we don’t like to confess, I think, that underneath the surface we don’t actually have a lot of them in the first place. That might sound strange but what I mean is that part of becoming a writer usually means identifying a singular idea, concept or theme that will become the fulcrum of who you are as a creative artist. Years and years will then be spent finding different ways of expressing this One Idea. In today’s blog what I am going to be talking about is the catalyst for my One Idea in the horror genre. It is a book entitled This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen by Tadeusz Borowski.

Tadeusz Borowski was a poet and writer of Polish literature and his most acclaimed work was inspired by his time spent in Auschwitz during the Second World War. These stories were collected together as This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen or, to give it the original Polish title, Farewell to Maria. When it was published it was condemned for portrayal of a ‘world of stone’ that lacked heroism and was accused of being amoral and nihilistic. Borowski committed suicide at the age of 28.

I read it for the first time back in 2002 when I was going through a lengthy phase of reading Holocaust literature. Something about this book resonated with me more so than anything else I had read up to that time. In his fictionalised account of his experiences, I found Tadeusz Borowski expressing a view of the world that I could identify with. Existence as a series of tedious and repetitious acts. Evil’s mundane nature revealed in its everyday familiarity rather than being a rare form of aberration. The world as a kind of concentration camp into which people are steadily indoctrinated until they become perfectly willing collaborators in their own destruction and the genocide of others. It’s a cold book that treats the reader to an unflinching glimpse of reality.

A world of stone indeed.

ThinbehindthedoorDuring the long process of writing The Thing Behind the Door, though I didn’t realise it at the time, I think I was unconsciously seeking to distil what Borowski expressed in This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen and then filter it through my own experiences of late 20th to early 21st century society. The Thing Behind the Door crystallised much that I had been trying to say through the medium of the horror genre up to that time.

It was the best expression so far of my One Idea.

For the conclusions I reached and the sentence I meted out, well, you will have to open the door and see what is waiting behind it.

 

 

  • G.R. Yeates is the critically-acclaimed author of The Vetala Cycle – a historical horror series set during WWI that combines vampire folklore with cosmicism. His work has appeared in anthologies published by Dark Continents Publishing, Cutting Block Press & Static Movement. G R Yeates

    He was born in Essex, England and was brought up in seaside towns along the South-East coast. He studied English Literature and Media at university before spending a year in China teaching English as a foreign language. He moved to London in 2002 and has lived there for the last decade working in a number of different jobs and training as a singer before self-publishing his debut novel in 2011. You can find out more about G.R. Yeates at his website here

  • You can also find his work in this anthology of Great British Horror.

 

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The Summer of Zombies Blog Tour – Mark Tufo

For the second year in a row I have been invited to participate in the Summer of Zombies Blog Tour and as luck would have it, I am honored to welcome back Zombie/Horror author Mark Tufo as my guest blogger.

blog tour 13Mark has a couple of new works he’d like to tell you about. One them sounds particularly interesting…it’s a horror novel called Tim 2 (catchy title – don’t cha think?).

Just reading this post should stir your interest in Tim – I know it did mine.

So moving right along…please enjoy this short guest post from Mark Tufo, check out his website here, and please look for the rest of the Summer Zombie Blog posts here.

Take it away, Mark! Mark Tufo image

Back by popular demand Tim 2!!!! Okay so not really. Most folks who enjoy eating or have a fear of clowns will steer clear of this novel. Back in 2011 Severed Press had approached me and asked if I had a zombie story that I wanted published, at the time I told them I did not. A couple of weeks later, I pitched them the idea of Timothy, it is the story of a zombie apocalypse through the eyes of a self-aware zombie. S.P. was happy with the idea but said that seldom do these types of stories do well. Well that was really all the incentive I needed to get going. At the time I was busy writing Zombie Fallout IV and moving cross country it was a pretty stressful time in my life and I could only spare bits and pieces of time to cobble together the story. Took me somewhere in the neighborhood of six months to get them out a novella. Although I was happy with the results and more importantly so were they.

I had let the inner demon out to feed, he was sated and I put him back in the deep dark recesses of my mind, where apparently he festered. Late 2012, Tim 2 began to burp and belch his way forward to where I began to put pen to paper.

Mark Tufo Tim2 Three months later I had a full length horror novel on my hands. I don’t know what it is about writing about such a revolting creature as Tim. He has absolutely no redeeming qualities yet I find myself rooting for him. Maybe I should ask my doctor to up my meds, or cut them off, one or the other. There’s something to be said for traveling into your inner psyche, odds are you won’t like all that you see when you pull up those old wet moss covered stones, and if you can grab and write down what it is before it scrabbles away maybe you can ink it to life (Or death)!

My Zombie Fallout series revolves around Michael Talbot, love him or hate him with all his flaws, he is still an everyman doing his best in a world gone to shit to save his friends and family. My other series the Book of Riley is a zombie apocalypse through the eyes of an American Bulldog, both are characters I have come to love as I explore them. But Tim…I don’t know what it is, his stories are magnitudes of order darker than anything I have written to date and for that I love the bastard. I still hate clowns though, of which he is.

So if it’s a dreary Saturday, and the rain is coming down hard, your significant other has taken the kids to his or her parents house and you have the house to yourself perhaps you should give Tim a chance. I mean first I would make sure your doors and windows are locked. Check the closets and under the beds, and best go see what that weird noise in the basement is before you begin but after you get all that resolved grab a blanket, gun and a big dog and go hunker down on the couch, preferably with your back to a stout wall. And enjoy. Thank you for this opportunity to hang out on your blog for a few moments!

Join Mark Tufo and Eight other Zombie authors during the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2013, going on all of June. Visit the Facebook event page for more information, too!

https://www.facebook.com/events/389530304488870/

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Guest Blog – Zombie Author Mark Tufo

Today it is my pleasure to participate in the Haunted Halloween Blog Tour 2012. Please join me in welcoming Zombie Author Mark Tufo. I hope you enjoy his post.

 

Hi my name is Mark Tufo, I’m the author of the Zombie Fallout series (look away from the shameless self-plug), Zombie Fallout 6 ‘Til Death Do Us Part, has been released as of October 1st you should really check it out!

Why zombies? Why not?

I’ve been asked by family, friends and readers why I chose to write about zombies, like maybe they are the red headed step children of the horror world. I’ve noticed that the largest writers in the horror genre have for the most part completely ignored them, some might say Stephen King’s Cell was based on them but I’d say that was a stretch. Some think the genre is played out, I mean how many ways can you portray a slow-walking, ambling shuffler that likes to eat brains?

I honestly don’t care what any of the detractors say, I love to read a good zombie book or watch a good movie. Ever since I was seven and my cousin, who was babysitting, decided that watching the Dawn of the Dead movie was a good way to pass time, I have been hooked. I remember as a kid my heart was hammering in my chest as those zombies slowly descended on that house in the middle of nowhere. When those hands started crashing through the boards in the windows and the door was shaking in its frame I damn near wet myself.

I’m sure someone will eventually conduct a study and tell us about our innate fear of the undead, but all I know is if I want to be thoroughly entertained I just need to find something zombie related. And then we get back to my sister-in-law who can’t decide if I am completely off my rocker or a decent person just trying to tell a story. (She won’t read my books by the way). I’ve told her that the relationships of the survivors in my books are as important as the zombies themselves. There has to be some good to balance out all that is horrific. But she can’t get past the word ‘zombie’—like it is somehow a dirty word.  It’s funny I truly think there are folks out there that won’t buy a zombie book just because they consider themselves ‘slumming’ if they do. I think they’re missing out on some really good new talent and some pulse pounding action. A good story is a good story plain and simple.

Zombies really hit their stride with George Romero’s brilliant take and they have waxed and waned over the years. Obviously right now we are riding a crest, there’s barely a set of commercials that go by that don’t reference them, plus The Walking Dead, and Max Brooks’ World War Z hitting theaters with an uber A-lister playing the lead so yeah it’s a hot genre. But even when it goes into its lull there will still be those amongst us that will always love to read someone else’s take on a zombie apocalypse, so whereas I think the chances of an actual end of the world scenario involving zombies is fairly unlikely, I still can’t help myself as I prepare diligently for just such an event, because I don’t want to be on the inside of a house leaning up against flimsy boards when zombie arms pull me outside where I have my brains munched on. No thank you!

Thank you for allowing me to spend some time on your blog!

*   *   *   *   *

All five of us – Tonia Brown, James N Cook, John O’ Brien, Armand Rosamilia and Mark Tufo – hope you have been following along on the Haunted Halloween Blog Tour 2012. We love to see comments after the posts, and we also love to pick a random commenter and give away a free eBook or even a signed print book, so maybe you’ll get lucky!

We have centralized all the upcoming dates and blog posts on a Facebook event page. Feel free to join us there and see what is coming up next!

https://www.facebook.com/events/211796112284317/

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