Spooky Inspiration

( Welcome, Coffin Hoppers! Prizes. Ghost story. )

I’m not surprised the sexy gypsy won the costume contest, but you were robbed. Your costume is more authentic, especially the way your innards dangle over your belt. How are you getting your eyes so glassy?

Okay, not much of a talker, are you?

The keg’s just been replaced. Now it’s Devil’s Backbone, named for a road near Austin that’s claimed its share of travelers. Guys who probably look about as bad as you do, now that I think of it!

It’s funny stuff like this, the little coincidences or glimpses that inspire the horror I write. Stolen Climates is the Muse-child of a few major artistic inspirations. Since you’re so quiet, and the line for beer is long, I’ll fill the space by telling you about one.

front porch of Hill HouseI love The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. I enjoy the supernatural aspects of the story, but what really captures my imagination is the main character’s stubborn insistence on fabricating a better, more interesting version of herself. She lies to everyone, building a story of a life that doesn’t exist. Just as I pluck details from the chimera of reality to weave my tales, so too did Jackson’s character. Her stone lions and ‘cup of stars’ make cameos in Stolen Climates. My character, Prentice Feyerbach, is the male, iPhone-toting version of Jackson’s character. That’s why I include a copy of The Haunting of Hill House in the ‘I Won the Grand Prize!’ Scream; they are companion pieces, meant to match up like two stone lions on a high-rise balcony.

Where did that guy with the bad-ass fatal car crash costume go? You didn’t see him? He was right here a moment ago…

Don’t forget you can get a free ebook edition of Stolen Climates just by leaving me a comment that includes the phrase, “Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor.”

May you find your blue cup full of stars,

-aniko

 

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Dreams, Hauntings

( Welcome, Coffin Hoppers! Read about prizes here: The Scream System!)

The Coffin Hop party here at the happy horror writer’s is in full swing. A group of people are bobbing for apples, and the costume contest is about to start. Let me put another log in the chiminea, and then I’ll tell you a story. A scary story. No Halloween party is complete without one, right?

ghost

My sister and I have a long, shared history of supernatural experiences. The most recent one happened earlier this year. We had a girl’s night out, just the two of us. When we came back to my place it was later than we intended, and still we stayed up talking. When we finally went to sleep it was after two AM. She took my little Yorkie into her room, and I put my phone on the charger in the kitchen, washed my face, and tumbled into bed.

I fell into a dark dream. In it, I woke up in my bed. Outside the house, there was what sounded like an eighteen-wheeler idling, followed by the terrible clattering, slamming noise. Someone was trying to get into the house! My sister ran into my room. I could see her silhouette in the door way, back lit by the lava lamp in the living room.

“Someone’s trying to get in,” she said.

I woke up then, for real. Loud clattering noises came from the front of the house. My sister appeared in the doorway.

“Someone’s breaking through the window in my room,” she said.

Together we walked across the house to the guest room where my sister was sleeping. We flicked on the overhead light and gasped. My cell phone – which I left on the charger in the kitchen – was scattered across the room! Battery, backing, rest of the phone – all in separate pieces. Worse though, was the window.

The metal blinds were twisted and tangled. It looked like something huge had fought its way through the blinds, bending and twisting every slat in the struggle. It was mangled, but the window behind it was locked, closed, intact.

My sister told me that what what woke her, even before the blinds went all poltergeist, was my little Yorkie.

“He was crying,” she said. “I’ve never  heard anything sound so terrified in my life.

Well, that costume party is starting! Oh, come on! A little ghost story didn’t scare you, did it?

Remember, even if you don’t have a costume, you can still win. Click here to find out how! Don’t forget to leave a comment with the phrase ‘Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor‘ to win an ebook edition of Stolen Climates!

 

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Welcome, Coffin Hoppers!

 

welcome to the happy horror writer's Coffin Hop stop!

Help yourself  – the keg’s full of ice cold Oktoberfest cheer. There’s candy corn, multicolored popcorn balls, assorted cheeses, and crisp apples. Feel free to explore the yard and relax near the chiminea. If you feel adventurous, take a short walk across the way to the empty field where there’s a cold spot that is always chilly, even in the brutal Texas summer. If you stand there long enough, you will hear either the owl or the other thing. If you hear the owl, you are in good company. If you hear something else –  run!

No Halloween party is complete without door prizes, and the Coffin Hop is a week long party! To participate, all you have to do is be a registered member of the Coffin Hop. To win, all you need is a little luck or the help of spirits conjured over candlelight and cauldron.

Prizes ( Ranked by Scream )

The Haunted House Group Scream:

Leave a comment with the phrase “Mother Nature isn’t just a metaphor,” and I will give you Stolen Climates, my horror ebook.

The Bloodcurdling Scream:

Ten commenters will get a signed Stolen Climates postcard.

The Strangled Scream:

Five commenters will win a signed Stolen Climates poster.

The  Pleasant Surprise Scream:

One commenter will win a  delectably twisted set of dark fiction ebooks by #TESSpecFic  authors, including:

The Imaginings, by Paul D. Dail

Valknut: The Binding, by Marie Loughin

Corridors of the Dead, by Jonathan D. Allen

100 Unfortunate Days, by Penelope Crowe

Stolen Climates, by Aniko Carmean

The ‘I Won The Grand Prize!’ Scream:

One person will receive a Stolen Climates themed goody pack! This includes:

Gauss Hotel’s Award Winning Waffle Mix (just add sytra!)
Helena’s Cosmos Seeds
Margot’s Hand – It’s Not Just for Breakfast Anymore!
A (previously enjoyed!) paperback of The Haunting of Hill House
A signed Stolen Climates poster

Come back and comment often! Multiple comments mean multiple chances to win. And you know you want a prize to go with that fine beer buzz and the thrill of walking out into the haunted field!

xoxo,

-aniko, the happy horror writer

Mother Nature isn't just a metaphor!

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Autumn, awaking.

October.

The name conjures earlier nightfall, crisp air, and the advent of all things spooky. It is thirty-one days of horror movies, pumpkin lattes, and the possibility of weather cool enough to open windows. It is a time of afternoon coffee, fresh radishes crisp as apples and nearly as big, and the first bowls of lunchtime soup.

When I moved to Central Texas five years ago, I thought that there were really only two seasons: Summer and not-Summer. I was wrong. There are seasons, but they are subtle. The trees may not erupt with the Autumnal fire of cooler climes, but they do change. The live oak mellows from a dark green to a gentle golden-green and the lush emerald of the cedars deepens. Insects and flowers that the sun killed return, making October a month of understated rebirth. Dragonflies float on sunlight-reflecting wings, glittering bits of consciousness hovering above the changed trees. Fireflies drift amongst dying thickets even as multicolored zinnias blow in the cooler breezes. On cloudy mornings, Austin’s ambient light reflects from the muzzy atmosphere, and a surprising profusion of sunflowers glow bright as good omens.

My creativity, which had grown sluggish beneath the constant blue of Summer’s onslaught, is also flowering. My work on expanding and revising the first book in my sci-fi/horror series is going at a good clip, and connections between characters and themes ricochet through my dreams to appear on the pages. In addition to work on the novel, I’m also preparing a short story for inclusion in an anthology. The story is a strange little gem inspired by Ouida Sebestyen’s novel, Girl in the Box. Not including reviews and blog posts, I have written close to four-hundred pages of new material this year. To put that in perspective, the final draft of Stolen Climates weighs in at just over 240 pages. I have never been this productive. I welcome my awakening!

***

October is also the month of horror blog hops. This year, I am participating in the Coffin Hop. Mark your calendars, because I’ll be giving away fun prizes, copies of Stolen Climates, and writing a post a day!

Coffin Hop 2012!

Welcome to the Swamp! Monster! Massacre!

It was a Friday when I started reading Swamp Monster Massacre. The day hadn’t been stellar; I was supposed to meet friends for lunch, and I got so lost, I ended up missing lunch and just heading back to the office with a soggy sandwich from a nearby cafe. To cheer myself up, I decided to take a quick peek at Hunter Shea’s newest novella. An hour later, I remembered where I was. I sent Hunter an email telling him I was strongly considering spending the afternoon reading – even if it meant I got fired. Swamp Monster Massacre is that good. I can’t think of another book that keeps such a frenetic pace and still tells a riveting story that hangs together better than a band of angry swamp apes. I ended up getting back to work (and, yes, staying late to make up the time I lost driving around who-knows-where-Austin)…. but the story had me in thrall. Horror fans, rejoice! Swamp Monster Massacre is the action-adventure blood’n’guts fix you’ve been craving! 

Adopt a swamp ape!

Read a preview & get a chance to win a monster!

Swamp Monster Massacre Blog Tour Info – lots of blogs to visit!

He resembled every childhood nightmare of the bogeyman, except this one murdered the monster under your bed.

How bad do things have to be for the bogeyman to be the good guy? That is the question posed by Hunter Shea in Swamp Monster Massacre. The answer is a swift tour of an Everglades hell that includes violently severed limbs, a rotten stench, a masterfully disgusting combination of necrophilia and bestiality, and death. Lots of death. Swamp Monster Massacre is a breathless amalgam of action and horror with a higher than average gore content, but it is also an examination of the dark nature of revenge.

***

Rooster has a temper. A damn bad temper that’s caused him to put his fist through another man’s skull. Sure, it wouldn’t have killed the guy if he hadn’t done all that blow and rotted his own skull, but the simple fact is that Rooster killed a drug kingpin’s son. And what are drug kingpins notorious for if not avenging the death of their own? Rooster’s got a problem.

He’s also got a bag of money and a bigger bag of guns.

Rooster’s on the run in Florida, and he ends up on a pier. A amphibious tour plane is docked at the end, loaded up with tourists waiting to get a bird’s eye view of the Everglades. They get Rooster instead; Rooster and a barrage of bullets fired by angry drug dealers.

The passenger manifest is varied. There are two co-eds, blonde as the Doublemint twins and  trained in Marine combat technique. A pair of slickly groomed guys from NYC are tough talkers. A couple of empty-nest snow-birds are trying to rekindle their romance. There’s a dork, skipping out on a conference. The guest list is rounded out by the grizzled pilot, who is no longer captain of his airship. Throw in Rooster with his guns, and things are about to get wild.

All of these characters have names, but there isn’t any need to know names in this story. Not only are names meaningless when fighting for your life, they are also meaningless if you lose that fight. Lots of characters lose, but not because they mutiny against Rooster and cause the plane to crash.

They lose because they crash land in the territory of the skunk apes, reeking beasts eight-feet tall and twice a brutal. These are the titular swamp monsters, and they live up to their terrifying name and stench. They hunt the humans, employing amazing battle tactics that will leave you in  awe of both Shea’s inventiveness and his ability to make even the insanely bizarre believable.

(((( SPOILER ALERT: Read at own risk! ))))

(((( To read, left click and drag mouse over white space. ))))

The swamp monsters aren’t just picking on the humans because they have trespassed. They are attacking for revenge. When the plane crashed, it mauled and killed a swamp monster child. Mommy is mad, and all the child monster’s big brothers and sisters have joined Mommy’s hunt. This echoes the kingpin’s henchmen slavering to kill Rooster because he accidentally murdered one of their own. When it comes down to bloody revenge, no one in this book comes out looking any better than a monster. One of the NYC boys is taken by the swamp monsters early, and his friend becomes a blind instrument of revenge, taking stupid chances that cost him his life. Shea doesn’t sugar coat his view on revenge: it turns you into an animal. A stupid animal.

If you like monster stories, action movies, and some really fun lines, this is an excellent book for you. The point of view hops between characters, which prevents you from getting too invested in any one scenario, but that plays into the frenetic tempo of the tale well enough that it is a strength rather than a fault. Like the single-minded intent of revenge, Swamp Monster Massacre is a fast-paced read that doesn’t let up.

Click here to buy the book!