Meghan: Hey Paul. Welcome to this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. Thanks so much for coming back again this year. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Paul: I love the atmosphere around Halloween. The misty nights, the weather getting cooler and the leaves falling … it’s the stuff horror movies and books are made from. Here in the UK, it’s the beginning of a pretty fun couple of weeks: we have Halloween, then we have Bonfire Night (celebrating Guy Fawkes) the week after. It really is great time of year.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Paul: I really enjoy dressing up, and friends of ours tend to have costume parties for Halloween. I’m not really big on Halloweening, but the dressing up and having fun with character is just so much fun. It’s a time when I can really let my inner-cosplayer emerge.

Meghan: If Halloween is your favorite holiday (or even second favorite holiday), why?

Paul: Why would it not be? It’s much more fun than Christmas or Easter, and can be done without spending much money. It’s a great way of having fun with family and friends, and you really get to know your neighbours around Halloween. If they don’t embrace the dark season, then are they really worth your time?

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Paul: Nothing really. For a horror writer, I don’t really go in for the mystical. It’s really boring, and really rational, but I just never got people who were scared of black cats, refuse to walk under ladders or saw bad luck omens in every quirk or accident. That really comes from my Dad, who was always pretty rational too.

Meghan: What/who is your favorite horror monster or villain?

Paul: Pinhead, from the Hellraiser universe. He is the most articulate, eloquent character in the whole of horror. I like it when he doesn’t say much in a movie, but when he does speak it has real substance and gravitas. He’s almost regal, almost sympathetic to his victims. He explains exactly why he’s there, and exactly what he’s going to do to you. It’s your fault, you invited this, and this is the consequence. What gets any better than that?

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Paul: Oh, there are many. I suppose a lot of horror writers are fascinated by murderers who got away with their crimes; how they did it, where they went, who they were … it’s really an intriguing area to research. I mean, Jack the Ripper’s murders are probably most people’s favourite, simply because he’s never been identified, but there are so many possibilities. There’s endless scope for speculation, and it all happened at a really emotive time in British history too. Victorian London will always be a time we remember in many different ways, as portrayed by Dickens, Conan Doyle and Shelley. We can easily identify with his victims too, when you look at their stories and discover who they were. Those times and places are evoked and encapsulated in many of the early works of horror, so Jack definitely fits right in there.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Paul: None of them scare me per se, but some of them do fascinate me. I love the foundations of these kinds of legends, finding out where they came from and how they evolved over time. Essentially, they are the modern version of the tales told in mediaeval times around the campfire, which eventually were collected in Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. They really are a great call back to former times, and I’m all there for it.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Paul: As above, it would be Jack the Ripper for the reasons I set out there. I mean, the serial killers we know about, we know about. We know their psychology, their motivations and what drove them. We know nothing about Jack the Ripper, but we can track him down and seek to find some closure on those deaths.

Meghan: How old were you when you saw your first horror movie? How old were you when you read your first horror book?

Paul: I’m not even sure about that. I guess it would be one of the old Hammer Horrors, or maybe one of the classic horrors. When I was a kid, black and white equaled boring, but there is definitely something primal about the images of Bela Lugosi or Boris Karloff as Dracula and Frankenstein. Those characters really stuck in my mind.

I loved the Hammers, because they seemed to be played with tongue firmly in cheek. They were making low budget movies, the scripts were sometimes terrible, but they knew it. Some of them were so terrible that they went straight back around to being genius again, and they gave us Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and Bernard Cribbins. What’s not to love?

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Paul: I don’t think any horror novel has truly unsettled me. Some have engaged me deeply, and I’ve enjoyed the imagery evoked by them, but none have really triggered any extreme reaction. Why? Because you can put them down. That’s the beauty of horror.

Now, if you asked me about a book that unsettled me, I would cite A Child Called It, which is a true story of the author’s abuse at the hands of his mother. Now, that story is truly affecting, and you need to read it cover to cover, in the hope that there is closure at the end. In the fiction world, I found We Need To Talk About Kevin to be similar in the emotions that book evoked.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Paul: Not a horror movie exactly, but Pink Floyd’s The Wall movie screwed me up. The imagery and symbolism in the film was really affecting; from the visions of riots, to schools making clones of us all, to kids being put through a giant mincer … it was just one thing after another in that thing. It never let up, from beginning to end. Yeah, that thing still gets me after all this time.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Paul: I told you about friends who have costume parties at Halloween, and one year we really hit it out of the park. The theme was an evil twist on fairy tales, and so my wife decided to do Alice in Wonderland. Oh, it was great. My wife was Alice, my son was the Cheshire Cat, my daughter was the Red Queen (I think??) and I was the Bad, Mad Hatter. My wife really went to town making that costume, and I even had miniature bottles of liquor that were labelled up with “Bigger,” “Smaller,” “Wiser,” etc. That was an awesome one, and it must be reprised sometime.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Paul: Pfft, tough one. I mean, I really like horror movie soundtracks around Halloween, and I generally have them playing in the background when kids come to call around on the night. It’s great, slowly answering the door in the darkness, with the Hellraiser soundtrack playing behind me.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween candy or treat? What is your most disappointing?

Paul: I’m not a big fan of sweets, so I leave that to the kids. It also saves disappointment, so it’s a win-win for me.

Paul Flewitt was born and raised in Sheffield, Yorkshire where he still lives with his family. He is the father of two children and keeper of several beta reading demons

Paul is a writer of horror and dark fantasy, and a former steel worker. His debut novel, Poor Jeffrey, was launched in April 2016. His latest short story, Defeating the Black Worm, is part of the Short Sharp Shocks series from Demain Publishing.

Paul spends his time caring for his children and devotes much of his free time to writing his next works. He writes only for the thrill of scaring his readers in new and inventive ways.

Short Sharp Shocks 62:
Defeating the Black Worm

Matthew had fallen so far, so quickly. The anxiety and panic had overcome him suddenly, and he couldn’t find a way back. In desperation, he sought solace in doctors and psychiatrists, but no-one could (or would!) help him. He loses everything to the hunger and appetites of the Black Worm.

But then, at his lowest point, and with nothing left, Matthew finds aid in the most unexpected of places…

But can the Black Worm be defeated?

Halloween Extravaganza: Steven Heumann: Halloween Birthday

The day was April 24th, 1982 and despite the warm spring air and pink blossoms blowing in the breeze, it was Halloween.

That may sound like an impossibility, but to a fresh four-year-old anything is possible.

From as far back as I could remember Halloween always engrossed me, washing over my childhood mind like a bloody waterfall filled with werewolves. Where other kids loved to dress up as Batman or Spider-Man, I loved zombies, mummies, and the macabre pickings of a cloudy Friday the 13th.

For some children, Christmas is the one day of the year that can’t be topped. I get it. Presents are cool. Even back then I understood the superiority of Christmas over Halloween on an empirical level. I couldn’t deny the evidence. But somehow despite the thrill of waiting for Santa Claus to come down the chimney so I could tear open my gifts, Halloween always trumped it. There’s something about a dark night with a full moon, fall leaves blowing by with a hiss on the wind, that inspired me from my earliest days.

That being the case, I of course couldn’t be bothered to wait until October for Halloween to arrive. If you want to torture a three-year-old just tell them to wait for something. I was no different and so I set my sites on the next best day of the year where I could make demands and have them met.

My birthday.

Ah, turning four. Things would be different. I’d get the respect of my peers in pre-school because of my age and experience; new He-Man toys would be pulled from their packages and find adventure in the backyard; hell, I might even get the much-coveted big-wheel that could skid like the General Lee from Dukes of Hazard.

It was a heady time, to be sure.

But more than all the presents or accolades of my fellow kindergarteners, one thing excited me beyond my childish capacity to comprehend: my parents had agreed to throw me a Halloween-themed birthday party at my grandmother’s house in Bell Gardens California. Having a birthday at Grandma’s would be enough for any soon-to-be four-year-old, but adding Halloween to the mix? Two words came to mind: Epic Party.

Now of course leading up the event I had to make sure everything would be perfect. I designed my own invitations, being sure to use the quality Crayola crayons and not the waxy knock-off pieces of crap that broke easily. My mother helped me spell everything out properly and then, like John Hancock on the Declaration of Independence, I signed my name, taking time to verify that I had written both E’s in the proper direction.

With the invitations ready I now had to come up with the perfect costume. Every self-respecting four-year-old understands the importance if the costume. I mean, can you imagine what a faux pas it would be if I showed up wearing something from Sesame Street? Big Bird was awesome, but no, this required panache. My mom suggested I go as Superman since he was, and still is, my favorite superhero. Even that wouldn’t do. Superman at a Halloween-themed birthday? I might as well pretend it was amateur hour and just buy Oreos instead of making bloody Jack-o-lantern cookies. It would be an embarrassment.

Only one costume would do. It had to be flawless. It had to reinforce the theme and tell everyone I meant business.

It had to be Dracula.

And not just any Dracula. I knew there had to be blood dripping from the fangs and the evil eyes; hair slicked back like Bela Lugosi. I even needed the pale skin so that people would know I represented the undead and thus would trifle with no one. A cape would be needed to round out the ensemble because all self-respecting vampires wore capes. Edward Cullen didn’t exist yet, after all, and in my mind still doesn’t.

The day finally arrived, and like a spoiled bride I prepared for dressing. My demands would be met. Luckily my older brother David, who at almost 13 years old had acquired all the make-up skills of a professional artist of at least two years older than that, began his work on my face. I’m sure my father helped, but as far as I was concerned this was a David/Steven joint. Blood drooled from the edges of my mouth; a painted widows peak came to a point on my forehead; tufts of cotton flared over my ears to give me the proper distinguished look of the aged vampire; and my cape…yes the cape…it was perfection despite being basically a black shawl with little round tufts on the fringes.

Dracula had arrived in all his four-year-old glory. His enemies would fear him. The party patrons would stare in awe.

Grandma went all out creating a homemade Halloween cake with giant ghost candles that I kept for years after. The house was decorated in cobwebs and spooky cutouts of ghouls and skeletons. Everyone from friends to my brothers and sisters had dressed up in appropriate attire, turning this April 24th into a day that would transform all future birthdays into mere shadows of themselves. What presents were given has been lost to time, but now almost 40 years later the sights and smells remain; the thrills of a boy getting his birthday wish.

As we transition into Fall with its dried leaves and dark skies, Halloween calls out like a siren song of gruesome delights and frightening images. Christmas has its fans, to be sure, but the twinkling lights and smells of gingerbread will forever be eclipsed by the full moon, barren trees, and hidden creatures lurking in the shadows.

Halloween will always be triumphant.

Even in April, where four-year-olds find joy in birthday parties filled with ghosts and goblins.

Ready for a good story?

Steve worked in television running his own outdoor adventure program and left it all behind to become a full-time author. With a wife and six kids.


Sound nuts? Well that’s who we’re dealing with here!

Steven Heumann, founder of Super Heumann Creative graduated from the University of Utah with a degree in broadcasting and immediately put it to good use. He began working as a freelance writer for television production house Chadwick Booth and Company and worked his way up to Senior Producer. Working in this position allowed Steve to oversee the creation of a new half-hour program every week, one of the most demanding workloads in television. This gave him the opportunity to write extensively, edit, film, and even host in front of the camera for many years, honing his craft. There are quite literally over 500 individual episodes that bare his mark, along with a dozen documentaries, government projects, and ad campaigns.

Despite his impressive television pedigree, Steve has spent a good portion of his time as an author, writing the contemporary science fiction novel Paper Heroes, as well as the popular Gavin Baller series, and being published in Immortal Works newest Fairy Tale compilation, Of Fae and Fate. He has directed almost a dozen short films, winning numerous international film awards in the process, including Best Screenplay and Best Director.

Steve always says that without a great script you can’t have a great movie, and so he has worked for over a decade to sharpen his writing craft by penning several full-length scripts and prepping them for production. Between his short feature works, full movie manuscripts, and television writing, Steve has produced over one thousand scripts in the past twelve years, with the vast majority of them going into full production. Whether writing, producing, or directing, Steven Heumann has proven himself a force to be reckoned with in the television and film-making worlds.

Gavin Baller 1: The Hunt for the Hollywood Clone

Gavin Baller is the most famous actor in Hollywood. He’s confident, self-absorbed, and hunted by Aliens!

Before he can figure out whether it’s real or a hoax, he first has to escape.

Terrified, confused, and eventually distracted by a beautiful warrior trying to keep him safe, Gavin must become the hero he always pretended to be. With his freedom and life up for grabs, can Gavin survive and return to his celebrity lifestyle? More importantly, will he even want to?

What’s an egotistical actor to do?

Start this amazing journey today!

Gavin Baller 2: Empty Universe

Gavin is in space… and it sucks.

After a chase that started in the Hollywood Hills, everyone’s favorite Academy Award-winning actor finds himself in the cold universe with nothing to do. All he wants is to rescue his best friend and the woman he loves from the clutches of evil aliens, but when the view outside the window never changes, it’s hard to stay motivated. But when a new danger looms that threatens to put Gavin in an intergalactic zoo, he better find his courage fast! 

In this unexpected and hilarious adventure, Gavin’s out of his depth, out of options, and out for revenge… so long as the other zoo animals don’t eat him first. 

Continuing from where The Hunt for the Hollywood Clone left off, you’ll laugh, think, and be surprised at every turn.

Gavin Baller 3: Galactic Kingpin

War closes in.

Gavin isn’t running away anymore.

The search for Abraxas-Mon and his army gets cut off as the team finds themselves cornered on the oldest planet in the galaxy. What they discover there destroys their very understanding of the Commonwealth and the journey they’ve been on since taking Gavin from Earth.

The Perennials are gone.

Abraxas-Mon may already be dead.

Someone has been pulling the strings and is ten steps ahead. Now it’s up to Gavin to stop them.

A Hollywood actor verses the biggest threat in the universe.

Yeah, this is going to end well.

Paper Heroes

Hero. Villain. Stewart Mitchell thinks they’re opposites, but he’s about to be pulled into a conspiracy that will turn him into both. What would you do if your wealthy and reclusive boss offered you the chance to be the greatest modern hero, but you knew it was all a lie? It may seem like the ultimate acting job, but once the charade begins to crumble Stewart discovers there are less destructive ways to weather a mid-life crisis. Can he salvage his life, or will his deception bring ruin down on everyone he cares about? Plus with the FBI hot on his tail, he may be unable to save himself, let alone anyone else. The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and Stewart has his foot on the gas. 

Paper Heroes is a contemporary sci-fi novel that mixes politics, technology and heroism, asking whether or not the ends truly justify the means.

Conscious in Wonderland

It’s time for a hit from a cognitive crack pipe. 

When Alice joins her boyfriend’s university experiment in shared consciousness, she discovers a world where thoughts are reality and concepts are smells. Her scientific brain is soon overwhelmed by the presence of other people, some dreaming, others hunting. 

Can she escape, or will her desire for knowledge be crushed beneath the drug-rush from a sea of emotions? 

And that’s before her boyfriend throws his mind into the mix.’

Conscious in Wonderland is a short story that will take you down the rabbit hole like never before, leaving you questioning your perceptions of the world.