AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Stephen Volk

And now, for a little bit of fun…

Meghan: Hey Stephen! Welcome… back? Hahaha. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Stephen: 1) My grandsons having fun!

2) The movies!……. It is the one day of the year when TV puts out horror movies or shows about horror movies. And it is the one night of the year when people who don’t like scary things like to be scared, And – see – that’s when we GET them! Heh heh heh!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Stephen: Telling ghost stories by candle light. Except nobody does it any more. Our campfire tales are usually told in front of the latest wide screen plasma screen. And told by cinematographic storytellers. But there is nothing quite like the old tradition of HEARING a ghost story to truly chill the blood. The images you conjure up in your head are far worse than any CGI can deliver!

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

Stephen: I like ANY holiday because it means the phone won’t ring and I can get on with writing without being disturbed!

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Stephen: I’m not superstitious in the conventional sense, but I have a desk full of talismanic objects… A statuette of Peter Cushing, Poe and Alfred Hitchcock, skull money boxes, monster toys etc…

But generally I believe in “paying back” – so if I get paid for a screenplay, I like to spend money on a work of art. Be it a small print of £50 or a bigger piece of artwork I have fallen in love with – or indeed an expensive or lavish book. I love the visual arts – painting, etching, etc – lots of my friends are artists and you can pick up an original work of art rather than a mass produced print and feel you are supporting the artist. I like that! I also like to share all sorts of weird images on my twitter feed or Facebook timeline – they are great inspiration for stories!

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

Stephen: It would have to be Frankenstein’s creature. It isn’t just frightening it has a lot of tragedy and pathos – it was rejected by its father, so it wasn’t born bad, it was made bad by being treated badly. I love that as a metaphor for life. Maybe there is a story to be written where Viktor Frankenstein was a good daddy? That would be interesting.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Stephen: The Jack the Ripper murders of Whitechapel in 1888, of course. I don’t think we will ever get to the bottom of the mystery. Not anymore, so long after the primary evidence has decayed and the witnesses and investigators are all dead. All the theories overlap and the territory is too muddy. My own theory is that “London” or specifically the East End was the murderer. There was no single killer of the canonical five. And the person who wrote the “Dear Boss” letter was an enterprising reporter called Tom Bulling. In fact, I wrote a TV script about him, and the creation of the first tabloid true crime story. Bulling “created” the myth of Jack the Ripper, I think. (I was always fascinated that Inspector Abberline was alive long enough to have watched Hitchcock’s “Ripper” film The Lodger in a movie house!)

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Stephen: The phantom hitchhiker, probably. It’s very easy to hallucinate a figure at the side of the road but it turns out it’s only a signpost or tree, but the idea of a hitchhiker being a ghost sitting next to you is terrifying. We’re terribly vulnerable in our cars at night. I tried to dramatise this is a script I wrote called Octane (called Pulse in the USA) starring Madeline Stowe and Norman Reedus. It was about vampires who prey on people in car crashes at night. It was a cool idea but the movie didn’t quite work.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Stephen: I don’t find serial killers interesting or charismatic. In real life they are boring, odious non-entities. I think we have to grow up and face the fact that they aren’t comic book monsters let alone “heroes” – they are human beings who have gone badly wrong. And we can’t spot them in a crowd because they look like you and me. In my stories about people who do terrible things I always want there to be shadings of gray. Maybe a terrible person does something for a good reason, or a good person is forced to do something awful. That is much more interesting to me than a Freddy or a Jason.

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

Stephen: First horror movie was on TV and it was a black and white one called The City of the Dead. It was a British film, I think, but set in the USA, full of men in monks’ cowls and streets swathed in fog – it was terrific! There is one particular image that stayed with me ever since, and that was a man staggering through the fog holding a life sized cross from the graveyard to ward off the evil ones – who I think burst into flames! That, to me, was almost the equal of the iconic scene in Hammer’s Dracula where Van Helsing leaps up and pulls down the curtains letting in the sunlight that shrivels Dracula to a crisp – then holds the two candle sticks in the form of a crucifix to finish him off! Wonderful stuff!

First horror book was a magazine – FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND magazine! I used to save up my pocket money and go to the local newsagent and buy it. The photographs were like nothing I’d ever seen. And of course long before I was old enough to see any of the movies themselves – which were “X” certificate in Britain – ADULTS ONLY! That’s how I got to know Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi, way before I saw the films.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Stephen: Possibly Dracula at a young age – it sort of felt real because it was in diary form. Like the equivalent of a “found footage” movie today. You plunge into the immersive world and it doesn’t let go. When you are young you don’t understand the graphically sexual imagery – it is just the force of predatory evil and strangeness that is all-consuming.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Stephen: Without doubt, Nicolas Roeg’s Don’t Look Now starring Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie. It’s my number one film of all time because when the ending happened (I was sitting in a movie house all alone on a wet Wednesday afternoon) I thought I’d lost my mind. I thought the reels must have been switched. I didn’t get it, then it all made sense. Then there was that marvellous montage of all the hints that had told you what was going on all along. It’s a true cinematic masterpiece, and I will watch it over and over till the day I die. Purely from the craft point of view there is so much to learn from the storytelling and the depth of character.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Stephen: I have a skinhead skullcap with a massive rubber Mohawk sticking up. I like it because my dad wore it one time and it looked hilarious so it reminds me of him. And, since I’m bald, it is kind of perverse to wear a bald skull cap on top of a bald head! But hey, that’s how I roll!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Stephen: Gotta be “The Monster Mash”. I can’t think of any other. And now I’ve got it playing in my head, damn you!

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

Stephen: Nothing. I’ll eat anything. If you were a chocolate bar, I’d eat you.

Meghan: Stephen, thanks again for joining us today. Not for one interview, but TWO. Before you go, what are your favorite Halloween movies?

Stephen:

#1 Halloween – the original and the best!!

#2 Ghostwatch (I wrote it – so, sorry!)

But for Halloween night, I’d always recommend these superlative cinematic treats:

#3 The Innocents
#4 The Haunting (black and white version)
#5 The Woman in Black (British TV version)
#6 Herzog‘s Nosferatu
#7 Dreyer‘s Vampyr
#8 Haxan
#9 Viy
#10 The Devil’s Backbone

Thanks for the interview. To sign off here is George, my grandson, carving pumpkins and looking super chilled:

Boo-graphy:
STEPHEN VOLK is best known as the writer of the BBC’s notorious “Halloween hoax” Ghostwatch and the award-winning ITV drama series Afterlife. His other film and television screenplays include The Awakening (2011), starring Rebecca Hall, and Gothic, starring the late Natasha Richardson as Mary Shelley. He is a BAFTA Award winner, Shirley Jackson Award finalist, and the author of three collections: Dark Corners, Monsters in the Heart (which won the British Fantasy Award), and The Parts We Play. The Dark Masters Trilogy comprises of three stories (Whitstable, Leytonstone, and “Netherwood”) using Peter Cushing, Alfred Hitchcock, and Dennis Wheatley as fictional characters, with a guest appearance by the occultist Aleister Crowley. His provocative non-fiction is collected in Coffinmaker’s Blues: Collected Writings on Terror (PS Publishing, 2019) and his most recent book, also from PS Publishing, is Under a Raven’s Wing – grotesque and baffling mysteries investigated by Sherlock Holmes and Edgar Allan Poe’s master detective Dupin in 1870s Paris.

Under a Raven’s Wing
The Apprenticeship of Sherlock Holmes

In 1870s Paris, long before meeting his Dr Watson, the young man who will one day become the world’s greatest detective finds himself plunged into a mystery that will change his life forever.

A brilliant man—C. Auguste Dupin—steps from the shadows. Destined to become his mentor. Soon to introduce him to a world of ghastly crime and seemingly inexplicable horrors.

The spectral tormentor that is being called, in hushed tones, The Phantom of the Opera . . .
The sinister old man who visits corpses in the Paris morgue . . .
An incarcerated lunatic who insists she is visited by creatures from the Moon . . .
A hunchback discovered in the bell tower of Notre Dame . . .
And—perhaps most shocking of all—the awful secret Dupin himself hides from the world.
Tales of Mystery, Imagination, and Terror

Investigated in the company of the darkest master of all.

The Dark Master’s Trilogy
Whitstable – 1971.
Peter Cushing, grief-stricken over the loss of his wife and soul-mate, is walking along a beach near his home. A little boy approaches him, taking him to be the famous vampire-hunter Van Helsing from the Hammer films, begs for his expert help…

Leytonstone – 1906.
Young Alfred Hitchcock is taken by his father to visit the local police station. There he suddenly finds himself, inexplicably, locked up for a crime he knows nothing about – the catalyst for a series of events that will scar, and create, the world’s leading Master of Terror…

Netherwood – 1947.
Best-selling black magic novelist Dennis Wheatley finds himself summoned mysteriously to the aid of Aleister Crowley – mystic, reprobate, The Great Beast 666, and dubbed by the press ‘The Wickedest Man in the World’ – to help combat a force of genuine evil…

The Little Gift
The nocturnal scampering invariably signals death. I try to shut it out. The cat might be chasing a scrap of paper or a ball of silver foil across the bare floorboards downstairs, say a discarded chocolate wrapper courtesy of my wife, who likes providing it with impromptu playthings. I tell myself it isn’t necessarily toying with something living, but my stomach tightens.

What time is it?

Coffinmaker’s Blues: Collected Writings on Terror

The Parts We Play
An illusionist preparing his latest, most audacious trick… A movie fan hiding from a totalitarian regime… A pop singer created with the perfect ingredients for stardom… A folklorist determined to catch a supernatural entity on tape… A dead child appearing to her mother in the middle of a supermarket aisle… A man who breaks the ultimate taboo—but does that make him a monster?

In this rich and varied collection of Stephen Volk’s best fiction to date, characters seek to be the people they need to be, jostled by hope, fears, responsibility, fate, and their own inner demons—and desires. These tales of the lies and lives we live and the pasts we can’t forget include the British Fantasy Award-winning novella, Newspaper Heart.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Dan Zeidler

For those of y’all who don’t have the pleasure of knowing Dan, this is your chance to get to know him. (Dan – my people; my people – Dan.) We are currently coming to the end of a project together (him the author, me the editor) and, even without my help, I think he’s a pretty fantastic author. (I can’t wait til y’all get to read his book.)

Meghan: Hey, Dan! Welcome to Meghan’s HAUNTED House of Books. It is an absolute pleasure to be able to welcome you here today. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Dan: My favorite part of Halloween would have to be… costumes. Definitely costumes. I have lots of fun memories associated with Halloween costumes. When my sisters and I were little kids, around Halloween time the local supermarket would pretty much line the front wall with stacks of Halloween costumes in boxes. They weren’t particularly fancy costumes – just a cheap little mask and a plastic or vinyl coverall with a graphic and text identifying what the costume was meant to be. We thought they were awesome though.

The opportunities were rare and far apart as an adult, but when the chance arose the fun was more making or improvising a cool or amusing costume. More on that in a later question.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Dan: My favorite Halloween tradition is more of a family Halloween tradition, I suppose. Growing up, every year we would watch the Disney Halloween special on TV – this was before streaming services, DVRs, DVDs, etc. so the only time those particular Halloween themed Disney cartoons (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, narrated by Bing Crosby, in particular) were on was whatever night it was broadcast every year around Halloween. It was a big family social event. One of my sisters made sure to acquire the animated Headless Horseman on DVD and every year around Halloween we still have our showing.

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

Dan: I would say it is my second favorite (with Christmas being my favorite). It’s fun to decorate the house, check out some of the really elaborate decorations some people put up, hand out candy to the trick-or-treaters, and the occasional fun costume party with friends and family.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Dan: As a modern man of science I, of course, have acquired no superstitions whatsoever, knock on wood. Sure, if I spill some salt I throw a pinch over my shoulder, but that’s just good common sense. Naturally, I avoid walking under ladders because that’s just wrong – I mean, who would do that?

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

Dan: Well, if we are talking classic movie monsters I would say Dracula or classic vampires in general. From a story point of view I think they are great monsters – very powerful, terrifying foes with specific strengths and weaknesses. My hometown library had a great selection of books on vampire lore which as a kid I probably borrowed and read as often as I borrowed and read books on King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

As for more modern movie monsters, the xenomorph from Alien is pretty cool as is the thing from, well, The Thing.

An honorable mention goes to the villain/monster from The Incredible Melting Man. My sisters and I caught the tail end of that movie on TV one Saturday afternoon and, well, villain/monster was neither cool nor scary. We thought he looked like a guy covered in applesauce. Our parents thought it would be fun to go out to dinner that night and the restaurant they brought us to just happened to be having a special on apple pie filling topped sundaes. My sisters and I pretty much spent the entire time entertaining ourselves with tales of the Applesauce Man and apple pie ice cream sundaes. At one point an elderly couple sitting unnoticed at the table next to ours rose from their seats, paused by our table, and thanked us for the funniest evening they had had in a long time. Yay for the Applesauce Man!

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Dan: I can’t really say that I have a favorite unsolved murder. Unsolved murders are vexing – it means one of the bad guys got away with something.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Dan: My favorite urban legend, not because it’s scary (although it is supposed to be), is one about a bunny suit-wearing, axe murder who lurks or haunts a railroad bridge down in Virginia. I’ve heard several variations of the killer/evil spirit that lurks in remote places waiting for victims. They all have some sort of weapon: a hook for a hand, a knife, a hammer, or an axe. The wearing of the bunny suit is a unique, and pretty funny, variation.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Dan: I don’t have a favorite serial killer, but I do have a favorite book on the catching of serial killers: Mindhunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker.

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

Dan: I would say I was around 10 or 12 when I saw my first horror movie although it would have been an old school horror movie, filmed in black and white, and shown on rainy Saturday afternoon on one local TV channel or another – it might have been Dracula (with Bela Lugosi) or the Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.). I was 14 or 15 when I saw a more modern horror movie, John Carpenter‘s The Thing. A friend got a copy of the movie on VHS and invited a bunch of us over one Saturday afternoon to watch it. I can’t say that any of us thought it was scary, but we did think it was pretty cool.

I was 17 when I read my first horror book: Stephen King‘s The Tommyknockers. I thought it was more Twilight Zone-ish than horrifying – you know, one of those stories that you read or see that gives you an eerie feeling. I also recall thinking that the characters in that story cussed more than even the most prolific of cussers I knew in real life.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Dan: The book that unsettled me the most wasn’t actually a horror novel, it was a historical fiction novel set in Appalachia just before, during, and just after the American Revolution. I don’t remember the name of the novel, but for the more graphically violent sections he used actual entries of diaries from the era to describe some of the more horrific ways human beings can kill one another… slowly and, as I mentioned, horrifically. It was quite unsettling.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Dan: The answer to this question is, clearly, the movie starring the Applesauce Man. Why, to this very day, I never trust an open jar of applesauce past its expiration date. No one should. Not even you, there in the back row.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Dan: Favorite costume… all right, gather ’round friends. It’s story time. Heh.

When I was in the Air Force, stationed in Korea, there were these two other service members I knew who spent some of their spare time volunteering at a… for lack of a better phrase, a local after-school school off base helping the kids practice English, serving as chaperones for field trips, and things like that. When Halloween rolled around the Korean couple who ran the school decided it would be fun to throw the kids an American-style Halloween party so they asked the two guys invite some friends to come out the school join in the fun and help out with teaching the kids how to carve jack-o-lanterns, helping them pretend to go trick-or-treating, and stuff like that. One of the six people who were supposed to go canceled last minute so I got drafted to go along. “We even have a costume you can use,” they said. It was a dark, hooded robe with a goofy rubber monster mask and a set of goofy rubber monster hand gloves. I told them to keep the mask and the gloves, but the robe I could as the start to a good costume.

One of my hobbies was studying Medieval swordsmanship and that hooded robe was perfect for a costume based on one of the figures in my favorite Medieval swordsmanship book (and who doesn’t have a favorite Medieval swordsmanship manuscript, right?) – The Royal Armouries Manuscript I.33.

It was a very basic, last minute kind of costume – I just wore a black t-shirt with pair of black pants tucked them into my combat boots, then I put on that hooded robe and hitched it up like in illustrations found in I.33, and then, as one does, I grabbed my trusty wooden sparring sword and buckler. My friends all thought I looked like Darth Zeidler, Lord of the Sith.

When we arrived at the school, one of the teachers had some fun identifying what each of us was dressed as and when she got to me she said “Oh! And a handsome knight!”

“What?!” my friends exclaimed. “He’s Darth Zeidler.”

The teacher shook her head. “Noooo – he’s clearly a handsome knight.

Clearly.

Favorite. Costume. Ever.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Dan: Let’s see… The Monster Mash is an oldie but a goodie. Spooky Scary Skeletons is also pretty amusing.

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

Dan: My favorite Halloween candies would be: the various varieties of miniature Hershey bars, Nestle Crunch bars, Milky Way bars, and Peanut Butter Cups. The most disappointing Halloween candy for me was anything with ground coconut in it – I just don’t care for the texture.

Meghan: Before we go, what are your top 10 Halloween movies?

Dan: It’s more an animated short than a movie, but Disney’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow is fun and an American classic.

Segueing into classics, I say you can’t go wrong with these classic monster movies: Dracula (1931), Frankenstein (1931), The Wolfman (1941), and The Mummy (1932). For Classic monster fun on the other hand, try Abbot and Costello Meet Frankenstein and Abbot and Costello meet the Mummy. (As an aside, after church on Sundays we would all go over to my grandparents’ house and the adults would all hang out in the kitchen, talking over a cup of coffee or two or three. My sisters and I would play outside or play board games inside or read or watch Abbot and Costello movies on TV. Every Sunday afternoon one of the local TV stations would always show an Abbot and Costello movie and since those were considered reliably child-friendly, that’s what was always on TV Sunday afternoons when we went over our grandparents’ house.

Anyway, back to Halloween movies…)

For modern horror movies, my top Halloween choices would be Alien, The Thing (1982… although for fun you can also watch the 1951 version in all its “man in a rubber monster suit” glory), and Resident Evil.


Boo-graphy:
Dan Zeidler is a writer of science fiction and fantasy and the author of the upcoming science fiction adventure novel Ghosts of a Fallen Empire. Dan began expressing his love of writing at an early age with the parentally acclaimed poem Trains are Great which, along with other early examples of his work, earned a place on the prestigious Refrigerator Magnet Gallery. While nothing can be done for his poetry skills, which haven’t improved a whit since that train poem, a steady diet of great stories ranging from ancient mythological tales to Arthurian legends to classic sci-fi and fantasy and on up to Star Trek and Star Wars have improved his storytelling abilities considerably. To further refine and enhance his writing and storytelling skills, Dan lived a life of adventure first by getting a degree in geoscience, then by serving in the US Air Force, then by embarking on a career as a data analyst… hmmm… okay, let’s go back a bit to the part about how a lifetime of reading as many great stories (and many not so great stories) as he could have inspired Dan to write his own stories; stories that above all strive to be fun and entertaining reads.

Dan currently resides with his family among the rugged, forested hills of his home state of Connecticut.

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.

Seriously.

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.