CHARACTER INTERVIEW: Richard Langley (The Poe Predicament, Phil Thomas)

Meghan: Hi, Richard. Thank you for agreeing to sit down with me today. What is one word you would use to define yourself?

Richard Langley: Resilient.

Meghan: Do you see yourself as the “good guy” or the “bad guy”?

Richard Langley: I’m for sure the good guy, a victim of circumstance.

Meghan: What does the plot require you to be? How does this requirement limit you?

Richard Langley: It requires me to be strong and resilient. I’m a stranger in a strange land, cast into 1830s New York City from the twenty first century against my will. I’m limited in several ways, but most notably the unfamiliarity with my surroundings.

Meghan: What is your quest?

Richard Langley: After acquiring a signed book by Edgar Allan Poe at a local bookstore, I soon find myself in a different time period. My quest is to find my way back home to modern day New York.

Meghan: What do you hope to accomplish, find, or become during the course of your book/series?

Richard Langley: Along the way, I need to figure out how and why I ended up in the nineteenth century. I uncover a lot of mystery and meet many wonderful characters along the way, including another time traveler named Alice, and also Edgar Allan Poe himself, who I must help exonerate from a false murder accusation.

Meghan: What do you like about the other main characters? What do you least like about the other main characters?

Richard Langley: I like their companionship and kindness, their willingness to help me when in need. There are other main characters, antagonists that are vile to the core. I like nothing about them or their ill intentions towards me and Edgar Allan Poe.

Meghan: When was the last time you lied? What made you do it?

Richard Langley: I lied when asked about my modern-day attire. I had to lie to protect my identity.

Meghan: Who have you betrayed lately? What happened?

Richard Langley: In the context of the novel, I haven’t betrayed anyone. I’m the good guy.

Meghan: Would you say that you are an optimist or a pessimist?

Richard Langley: I’m an optimist. I have to keep my head up and hope alive if I expect to make it back to modern-day New York City.

Meghan: What is your superpower?

Richard Langley: I’m a problem solver and possess the uncanny ability of observation.

Meghan: What is your biggest secret?

Richard Langley: My biggest secret is that I’m a time traveler.

Meghan: Do you live in the right world?

Richard Langley: Well, the setting is literally not my home since I’m a time traveller. However, I feel that I’m extremely necessary to that world because I have a very important purpose for being there. If you’d like to find out just how important I am and follow my adventures, you can do so in the novel, The Poe Predicament.

Meghan: What is your role in this setting? Are you okay with this role or would you like it to change?

Richard Langley: My primary role is to help exonerate Edgar Allan Poe from a false murder accusation, as well as to help others along the way. At first it was a scary role, not knowing why or how I’d ended up in 1830s New York, but I soon learned just how important I was to keeping history’s natural timeline in order.

Meghan: Did you turn out the way you expected?

Richard Langley: Life has a way of twisting and turning, so I didn’t turn out exactly as I expected.

Meghan: What, if anything, would you change about your life?

Richard Langley: I would have told Alice about my affection for her sooner.

Meghan: How do you feel about your author?

Richard Langley: You mean Phil Thomas? I have nothing but positive feelings towards him.

Meghan: If the two of you got together for coffee, what would you want to say to them?

Richard Langley: I would tell him that my story doesn’t need to end where it does. We have more work to do.

[I hope you enjoyed this character interview of The Poe Predicament’s main protagonist, Richard Langley. If you’d like to follow his adventures further, the book is available to Amazon and other online outlets.]

Boo-graphy:
Phil Thomas is an author and screenwriter from the suburbs of Philadelphia. He is a member of the International Association of Professional Writers & Editors and The Horror Writers Association. He is also the former co-host of What Are You Afraid Of? a weekly horror and paranormal show that lasted for over 150 episodes. The show still airs on Para-X radio on Friday evenings at 9:00 pm, where you’ll find interviews with wonderful guests such as Lloyd Kaufman, Katrina Weidman, Joe R. Lansdale, Grady Hendrix, Greg Bear, Daniel Kraus, and many more.

Check out his website and sign up for his mailing list so he can further control your mind, and please direct your angry hate mail to him here. You can stalk him on Twitter and Facebook.

His short stories have been featured in several anthologies, including Monsterthology 2, Nightside: Tales of Outré Noir, Coming Through in Waves: Crime Fiction inspired by the Songs of Pink Floyd, Books of Horror: Volume 3, Part 2, and the upcoming collection, Seven Doors of Fate, set to release in 2023.

His debut novel, The Poe Predicament, was published by Foundations Books on October 4, 2021 and hit the bestseller list.

Stuck in another time, Richard Langley just wants to find his way back home.

Richard is a former college professor, wandering a local neighborhood bookstore, where he stumbles upon the find of a lifetime: a signed copy of Tamerlane and other poems.

He is soon swept to another era. He is alone, confused, and his only mission is to get back to where he came from.

While struggling to adapt to his nineteenth-century environment, Richard meets a man he must help exonerate from false accusations in order to restore history’s original timeline and, ultimately, find his way back.

What Richard did not count on, was that man being the owner of the signature—Edgar Allan Poe.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Davide Tarsitano

Meghan: Hi Davide. Welcome to Meghan’s HAUNTED House of Books! What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Davide: I like the atmosphere, the weather and I love the costumes and the masking.

Meghan: Do you get scared easily?

Davide: I don’t get spooked very easily.

Meghan: What is the scariest movie you’ve ever seen and why?

Davide: One that I found really disturbing is The Strangers. People are capable of real horror; reality is way scarier than any horror fiction.

Meghan: Which horror movie murder did you find the most disturbing?

Davide: In the movie Hereditary I found Charlie’s death to be quite disturbing

Meghan: Is there a horror movie you refused to watch because the commercials scared you too much?

Davide: Nope, the scarier the better.

Meghan: If you got trapped in one scary movie, which would you choose?

Davide: The Mist would be a pretty cool set. I love that story from Stephen King.

Meghan: If you were stuck as the protagonist in any horror movie, which would you choose?

Davide: Norman Bates in Psycho.

Meghan: What is your all-time favorite scary monster or creature of the night?

Davide: Pennywise.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Davide: Read, read and read, then watch a scary movie and start reading horror books again.

Meghan: What is your favorite horror or Halloween-themed song?

Davide: The theme from the movie “Halloween” is just something else.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Davide: If I exclude my novels ☺, probably Desperation by Stephen King.

Meghan: What is the creepiest thing that’s ever happened while you were alone?

Davide: While I was sleeping in a teepee tent in the monument valley I kept hearing someone thumping at the tent from outside. Every time I went checking outside there was no one. No prints in the sand, nothing. I’m pretty sure it was an unfriendly native American spirit.

Meghan: Which unsolved mystery fascinates you the most?

Davide: The assassination of JFK is probably at the top of the list.

Meghan: What is the spookiest ghost story that you have ever heard?

Davide: Stolen Tongues by Felix Blackwell is such a well-crafted and creepy story. The Haunting of Hill House is also among my favorites.

Meghan: In a zombie apocalypse, what is your weapon of choice?

Davide: Shotgun.

Meghan: Let’s have some fun… Would you rather get bitten by a vampire or a werewolf?

Davide: Vampire

Meghan: Would you rather fight a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?

Davide: Zombie apocalypse

Meghan: Would you rather drink zombie juice or eat dead bodies from the graveyard?

Davide: Jeez. I’m going to have to go with zombie juice, whatever that is.

Meghan: Would you rather stay at the Poltergeist house or the Amityville house for a week?

Davide: Amityville

Meghan: Would you rather chew on a bitter melon with chilies or maggot-infested cheese?

Davide: Melon.

Meghan: Would you rather drink from a witch’s cauldron or lick cotton candy made of spider webs?

Davide: Drink from the witch’s cauldron.

Boo-graphy:
Davide Tarsitano is an author of novels and short stories.

He was born in Italy in 1989. He was raised in Cosenza, a small town in the south, and educated in its public schools. He eventually found his way to University of Calabria and to University of Modena and Reggio Emilia where he graduated, respectively, in Mechanical Engineering and Automotive Engineering. He currently works in the race car industry in North America.

Meanwhile, at the age of seven, he found the passion of his life when his dad brought him a book from the Goosebumps series by RL Stine named Night of the Living Dummy. This escalated quickly, inevitably leading him to Edgar Allan Poe, HP Lovecraft, and Stephen King.

By the time he was fourteen, he had written short stories and a full screenplay of a horror movie, never produced. In the following years his interest broadened towards cosmic horror, science fiction, and dystopian fiction.

He met his wife in 2016 and married her in 2019.

In 2018 he started to write his first horror novel, The Tooth Fairy, which represents his debut as an author.

Johnny Hawk is a successful entrepreneur in the tech field, escaping from his former life after an utter breakdown. During his trip across the country, his route crosses with Wendy Jag, a beautiful woman who works as a dentist in New Mexico.

As the attraction between the two lost souls escalates furiously, they engage in a passionate and daring physical affair. For the first time in a while Johnny finds some peace and hope for the future. 

But he cannot imagine that behind those innocent and deep eyes Wendy is a profoundly disturbed woman, tormented by the demons of her past: a childhood made of abuses, losses and nightmares filled with darkness. As Wendy’s feelings for Johnny grow stronger, the fight inside Wendy’s chaotic subconscious begins. 

The Tooth Fairy, a dormant and malevolent side of her personality is reawakening, silently awaiting…to take over.

BOOK BLOGGER INTERVIEW: Becky Narron

Meghan: Hi, Becky. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. It’s always a pleasure to have a fellow blogger join us. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Becky: EVERYTHING!!!!! I mean really what’s not to love? We get to decorate and be all creepy and let our inner goofballs out on parade. No one cares and we seem all normal and stuff! I really love the decorating, I mean…. No one knows if that is really a dead body in my yard or a bag with leaves tied up…. Oh I’ve said too much…. [runs off giggling]

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Becky: When I was a kid we used to have a hay ride, my brother would always try to scare the hell out of me. Most of the time it worked, just don’t tell him I said that.

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

Becky: Halloween is my favorite holiday!! I love the time of year. The smell in the air, the cool crisp breeze, the colored leaves and everything that goes bump in the night. Kids getting excited and dressing up as their favorite characters. I guess it’s the kid in me that makes me love it and believe all things are still possible.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Becky: I’m not sure I am superstitious about anything really, more anal? Can I say that? Oops!

I go out the same door I came in from, if I spill salt I will throw some over my shoulder. Mostly I just use that as an excuse to throw it at my brother. Lol

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

Becky: Leatherface beyond a doubt!!!

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Becky: This one is easy! The Black Dahlia

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Becky: The Bell Witch – I’m from Tennessee and it’s not far from where I grew up.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Becky: Jack the Ripper. The entire thing amazes me. He was so selective and precise. Not random and just killing people. How he laid them out. How extreme he was.

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

Becky: My parents were devout Southern Baptists. So the first horror movie I ever saw was Alien. I will never forget it. Mom was out of town and dad decided to watch it and let me see it too. I was around 9 (I think). I sat in the floor between his feet with a blanket over my head peeking out.

The first horror book I read was Stephen King’s The Bachman Books when Rage was still in it, god I don’t remember how old I was. They left me alone at the library too long and bam I was hooked.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Becky: Housemates by Iain Rob Wright and Bad Games by Jeff Menapace

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Becky: A Nightmare on Elm Street

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Becky: I was a witch for Halloween as a kid and had a wicked green mask with black curly hair.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Becky: I’m not sure I have one to be honest.

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

Becky: I love candy corn, I don’t like the sticky peanut butter kisses.


Boo-graphy:
Becky Narron is a southern, born and raised. Learning to love books at an early age when her dad read Lord of the Rings to her chapter by chapter before going to sleep. She has read most everything she could get her hands on from King to Barker and then falling in love with the indie world. Her main love is poetry and she has several poems published in different anthologies. Her love of poetry only grew as she read Poe and then met an amazing poet named Alfred Gremsly who’s dark poetry could rival Poe. He was the driving force in getting her to share her book with others.

Her first introduction to the indie world was Iain Rob Wright and his book Housemates. She couldn’t put it down then read everything he has written. Her next was Jeff Menapace and then Matt Shaw. Soon she was friends with several authors and William Cook talked her into writing reviews and starting her blog Roadie Notes. Later she started doing interviews with the authors as well and the blog exploded. The first year it had over 15,000 views. It became a way of life for her and something she was passionate about until she started working for a small indie press. She learned everything she could from several different publishers before starting her own publishing company Terror Tract Publishing LLC starting as an online magazine and then in the next few months published their first book. We haven’t looked back since then. We means Horr With An Attitude for a reason.

GUEST POST: Tommy B. Smith

Black Cat

The October month evokes images of falling leaves, orange and brown, slow signatures of the season’s turning, and that mystical night of the thirty-first with its tricks and treats, disguises, revelry, and jack o’ lanterns with strange smiles. Decorative renditions of ghosts under white sheets, witches with pointy hats and broomsticks, and black cats abound.

Many of these images stem from the legends and folklore surrounding the origins of the occasion. In some cases, as with the jack o’ lanterns lit by flickering flames, they represent traditions muddled by time.

Witches were distrusted and feared throughout crucial points in history, which in turn gave rise to the caricature of a crone garbed in black, often unpleasant in demeanor, who became the staple of numerous tales intended to frighten and horrify. Likewise, the black cat, declared by its appearance as a creature of darkness to the superstitious, became included in many of these tales as the witches’ familiars. In some stories, the witches themselves possessed the ability to shift into the forms of black cats.

The black cat has found its way into many subsequent horror tales, classic and modern. The Black Cat by Edgar Allan Poe is widely recognized, and black cats went on to make appearances in numerous horror films, including Roger Corman’s Tales of Terror (1962) and The Tomb of Ligeia (1964), both adapted from Poe’s works and featuring the legendary Vincent Price.

While I can appreciate their resulting place in the horror genre, I have never lent a molecule of credence to the aged superstitions deeming their presence as unfortunate. As it happens, black cats cross my path every day. I have two: BearCat and Thirteen, the latter of whom gained his name as a jab at those superstitions, in part, and also because his birthday falls on the thirteenth of April.

Tripping over a black cat isn’t a matter of misfortune. If we watch our steps, it shouldn’t be an issue.

As Groucho Marx once said, “A black cat crossing your path signifies that the animal is going somewhere.”

Should we celebrate black cats’ place in horror, Halloween, and the month of October? Certainly. It’s been earned. Besides, October 27th is National Black Cat Day.

As the world turns and learns, tired old biases fading but ever-present in the yellowed pages of history, the black cat prances on, head high, eyes sharp, the cautious mascot of the misunderstood, the disparaged and beautiful, the transcendent.


Boo-graphy:
Tommy B. Smith is a writer of dark fiction, award-winning author of The Mourner’s Cradle, Poisonous, the short story collection Pieces of Chaos, and the coming of age novel Anybody Want to Play WAR? His presence currently infests Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he resides with his wife and cats. More information can be found on his website.

Poisonous
Following the Quake of ’79, a terrible force came to the city of St. Charles. This was the Living Poison. In Lilac Chambers, it may have found the perfect host. As she finds herself changing, becoming increasingly dangerous to everyone around her, it becomes apparent that her state of being is no accident of nature. She is becoming a prime vehicle for the Living Poison’s destructive swath through the streets of St. Charles. Detective Brandt McCullough has seen the Living Poison’s brutality. John Sutterfield, ringmaster of Sutterfield’s Circus of the Fantastic, is discovering its malignancy festering within the very circus he founded. These two are the only ones who might stand in the way of a force greater than anything they have ever known, one which threatens to wash the streets in red and swallow the city into chaos, but the stakes may be higher than either of them can imagine. St. Charles—indeed, the world—may tremble.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: M. Ennenbach

Our next author, as long as he takes part in our annual Halloween Extravaganzas, will always be on November 1st. Why? Because today is his birthday – and what better way to celebrate than to have him on to share more about the awesomeness that is he.

Meghan: Hey, Mike!! Welcome back! It’s always a pleasure to have you on the blog. Thanks for stopping by. Now that all the niceties are out of the way, let’s get started. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Mike: It is different in Texas, less a spectacle, but that may be because I have gotten old and lost the joy. As a kid it was the cool autumn air, the threat of snow lingering, and of course, my birthday being the next day. Most kids just get candy, bit I got paraded to relatives’ houses and showered with gifts as well in my scratchy plastic Spiderman costume.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Mike: I grew up poor, so we didn’t do pumpkins or decorations. Halloween was always a rush to get ready and then stomp through the leaves as my parents sat smoking in the rusted red Chevy Nova down the block. I try to read one horror book in October, time permitting. I am lame. I don’t do holidays.

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

Mike: It would definitely be my favorite because I am a child of Autumn. The pressure isn’t there like other holidays to scrabble together a meal or buy gifts. An excuse to dress up and get wasted.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Mike: So much. My anxiety is fierce. I don’t know if I am superstitious, or just so used to things going badly. I toss salt over my shoulder and avoid going under ladders. But I love black kitties and go out of my way be in one’s path.

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

Mike: I like it when man is the villain. Dr. Decker from Nightbreed. Hannibal Lecter. Though I have a great affection for the Universal Monsters, the tragedy of them resonates.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Mike: Black Dahlia or Jack the Ripper.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Mike: Any of them with a siren luring men to their doom. I know just how much of a hopeless romantic I am, and that I would for sure heed the call.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Mike: HH Holmes. He built a murder house in the middle of the World’s Fair.

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

Mike: First movie was The Hand with Sir Michael Caine. I was so young. Every shadow was that effing hand scurrying in the darkness for weeks after. First book was a collection of Poe in first grade. It didn’t scare me, but it opened my eyes to a whole new world.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Mike: The first half of Heart Shaped Box, when it was still a ghost story. It went to crap when he over explained everything and it turned into one of his dad’s books. But that first half was amazing.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Mike: I grew up with Faces of Death, so nothing really affected me after. I think The Autopsy of Jane Doe might have scared me the most.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Mike: One year I got a zoot suit and that was pretty awesome.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Mike: I don’t know really. I guess anything by the Misfits.

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

Mike: I like sour fruity candy. Anything else is just gross.

Meghan: This has been great fun, as usual. Before you go, what are your go-to Halloween movies?

Mike: Halloween 1 and 2 (original) are the best.


Boo-graphy:
M Ennenbach. Poet. Author. Member of Cerberus. Mike has four collections of poetry, two chapbooks, a collection of shorts, a Splatter Western, the debut by Cerberus, and thirty some anthology appearances in his three years of writing. He writes a lot of horror, but depressing and absurd literature is his sweet spot. He writes on his blog on a daily basis, mostly poetry with a smattering of fiction and news. He works with Eleanor Merry at Macabre Ladies Publishing, and they have exciting things on the horizon.

(un)poetic
Unscaled highs, perilous lows; this is a journey filled with both. A free form dance in the form of poetry; tended with loving care that drips sorrow. Darkness tinged with hope, forged in the fires of life. Of the sea, of the stars, of the night air as the sun breaks on the horizon. A desperate love, in the guise of loving desperation.

(un)poetic is anything but.

No rules. Just pure expression poured on the page with shaking hands and envisioned through tear-filled eyes. This is different, this is new. Raw. This is poetry, here and now.

(un)fettered
to soar free of inhibition. a collection of poetry that skims the surface of fathomless emotion, leaving waves across the placid sea. m ennenbach plumbs these ripples in search of connection. sometimes the only answer is to tear down everything and examine it in its basest form. (un)fettered.

(un)requited
unwanted. unfulfilled. unworthy. in the moment you offer every bit of yourself, mind body and soul, only to find you were not enough. broken hearted and alone. (un)requited.