GUEST POST: Glenn Rolfe

When Fall Comes Around…

What’s not to love about Halloween season? If you’re a beer lover you probably have a favorite pumpkin flavored adult beverage (Shipyard’s Pumpkinhead), coffee and latte lovers are in pumpkin spice Heaven, and we horror fiends get to binge our movies and shows with slightly less crooked stares from everyone else. With the annual arrival of the Spirit of Halloween stores, we can shop among our brethren and those that maybe want to join the congregation but aren’t normally as comfy with the idea of standing out. All are welcome as the horror community infects the sweetest and the most innocent.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a summer guy. I freaking love and cherish the heat and sun and the waves of our short summer season here in Maine. That said, no one can deny the magic of a Maine fall. The cooler nights, the leaves beginning to change color, the sun setting earlier giving us more time with the darkness before winter arrives to kill any reminders of warmth. It is truly the best time for horror movie watching and in my case and the case of a bunch of my friends, the best atmosphere for writing our cold, dark tales.

We see devils and ghouls, witches and werewolves, vampires and demons decorating houses and storefronts, and we writers go to work. I mean, yeah, we still write horror in the summer, but I like to immerse myself in the chilly nights and use them to add that tangible spine-clenching frigidness into my works. Cold November rain anyone?

Whether I’m caring the bejesus out of me by watching The Exorcist or reliving the coming of age glory of The Monster Squad or It, Halloween always evokes the best vibes for creating and really connecting with horror stories.

Personally, I’ve written some of my best short stories and books around the holiday:

“Halloween Worm” from my collection SLUSH
“The Land of Bones” from my collection LAND OF BONES
My novella Chasing Ghosts
My novels The Haunted Halls and August’s Eyes

August’s Eyes is my latest and though it takes place in the summer, the vibe is not so sunny. The story carries a lot of darkness. It follows a man who has suppressed a horrible memory from his youth, but his dreams are coming for him. And so is a monster called The Ghoul of Wisconsin. While there are some warmer moments in the story, the majority of it will make your flesh crawl. As the dreams begin to bleed into reality, I ended up leaning on the Wes Craven films A Nightmare on Elm Street and Shocker to sort of plan out the supernatural aspects of the book. By the way, if you haven’t seen Shocker in a while, that’s another great 80s horror flick to add to your Halloween watching. In the end, I think I brought desired effects I had hoped for to life in August’s Eyes. Despite the horror, I think it also succeeds in dishing a couple sides of heart. I hope you’ll consider adding it to your TBR pile soon.

I hope you all had a safe and wonderfully macabre fall and Halloween. Be good to one another and stay positive!


Boo-graphy:
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter from the haunted woods of New England. He studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and many others. He has three children: Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author of August’s Eyes, Until Summer Comes Around, The Window, Becoming, Blood & Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Boom Town, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear, Land of Bones, and Slush.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Glenn Rolfe

Meghan: Hey Glenn! Welcome back to our annual Halloween Extravaganza! Let’s jump right into this: What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Glenn: Having NO excuse not to watch horror movies every freaking day!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Glenn: Trick-or-treating with my kiddos.

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

Glenn: For one day a year being a weirdo is completely normal! What’s not to love about that?

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Glenn: When things are going really well, I always think “this has to end soon”. That’s really my only superstition.

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

Glenn: In general, werewolves, but in movie/books: Barlow from ‘Salem’s Lot. Another villain I love to loathe because he is the most evil one ever created was Dale from The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White. So damn evil.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Glenn: The Zodiac Killer. It was/is such a fascinating case and if they almost had him, that makes it that much more frustrating.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Glenn: Feels too weird to say I have a favorite. None of them are favorites. But I find the cases of Bundy, Gacy, Ramirez, and the Zodiac as my top “can’t shut this off” in regards to any doc or podcast.

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

Glenn:
Movie: The Exorcist (scared the shit out of me and I couldn’t stop watching it until my mom made me). I was five or six, we had HBO and my parents were always busy doing other things.

First horror book (kids book): The Howling Inn. First horror book (adult): The Dark Half by King. I was 17 when a friend gave me a copy of the King book. I remember not being able to stop reading it. It was amazing to experience something so involved. It blew away watching horror movies, I remember thinking that.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Glenn: The Resurrectionist by Wrath James White. Dale has the power to bring people back from the dead after he kills them. And when they come back, they don’t remember anything about how they died. Dale does a lot of terrible things to them. It made me SOOOO angry I tore up my original copy. Now, years removed from that experience, the book and Dale have stuck with me. I bought a new copy a couple years ago and reread it. Now, it’s one of my favorite horror novels of all-time.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Glenn: The Exorcist. It just feels too real for me. It gives me the creeps every time and I don’t even dare to own a copy.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Glenn: From being a kid, the old Superman ones that were like cheap vinyl with that plastic masks. As for one I’d like to be… Spirit of Halloween has these really creepy ass old people masks. I want to dress up as that one year.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Glenn: Halloween I and II by The Misfits. Also love the cover of Halloween I by Alkaline Trio.

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

Glenn: Snickers or Reese’s are always great, but I’m not a fan of candy corn.

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by today, Glenn. Always a pleasure to have you. Before you go, what are your five go-to Halloween movies?

Glenn:

  1. Goosebumps: Start things off light and easy.
  2. The Monster Squad: A Classic that ramps things up a notch.
  3. Evil Dead (original or remake): I love them both, so viewer’s choice.
  4. Trick ‘r Treat (2007): Who doesn’t love Sam? Plus, there are tons of creepy scenes and sexy werewolves!
  5. Halloween (1978): This should forever be tops on this list. A classic that stands the test of time. Also, feel free to follow it up with Halloween II right after.

Boo-graphy:
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter from the haunted woods of New England. He studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King, Jack Ketchum, Richard Laymon, and many others. He has three children: Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author of August’s Eyes, Until Summer Comes Around, The Window, Becoming, Blood & Rain, The Haunted Halls, Chasing Ghosts, Boom Town, Abram’s Bridge, Things We Fear, Land of Bones, and Slush.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Kevin J. Kennedy

Meghan: Hey, Kevin! Welcome back to Meghan’s House of Books AND our annual Halloween Extravaganza. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Kevin: Throughout the years it’s changed. When I was young I loved making costumes and going tricker treating and then I hit a stage where I was a bit older and I would line up lots of horror movies to watch. A few years later I was going clubbing on Halloween and it’s probably the most fun night of the year to do it. For the last few years it’s became more of a month long event where I pick a few Halloween themed books to read, watch a few horror movies with my wife and pick up Halloween themed stuff that I don’t really need. Whatever stage I have been at in my life, Halloween has always been a fun time. I can’t imagine many horror lovers not loving October.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Kevin: Watching horror movies with my wife.

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

Kevin: Probably favourite now. Christmas was always a fave too, but my dad absolutely loved Christmas and he died a year and a half ago. This will be our second Christmas without him and it’s just not the same. I think Halloween has taken the lead.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Kevin: Nothing

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

Kevin: Jason Vorhees. I always loved the Friday the 13th movies but they seem to be doing more with Michael Myers these days.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Kevin: None that I can think of but for unsolved mysteries, it’s the Mary Celeste.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Kevin: We don’t really have urban legends in the UK. I think it’s more of an American thing. I’ve seen a few movies about them but can only think of the one where there is the scrape on the rook of the car and it’s the dead persons ring as they swing back and forth.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Kevin: Favourite is a strong word lol. I’ve been enjoying all the programmes about Dennis Nilsen recently so I’ll go with him.

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

Kevin: I was 6 or 7 I think and I snuck into the living room when my mum was in bed and my dad was out and watched the 1st Nightmare on Elm Street. I was terrified to go to sleep after it. Think it’s the only movie that ever scared me. I read a lot of Point Horror books when I was in primary school (ages 5 to 11 for the Americans) but the first adult horror novel I read was Darkness Tell Us by Richard Laymon. It blew me away and I devoured his entire back catalogue before finding other authors I enjoyed.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Kevin: The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. I think because it was based on true events, it took it up a notch. It was really well written and it’s a book that never leaves you after you’ve read it.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Kevin: Nightmare on Elm Street

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Kevin: I went as the devil once. I shave my head but left two little tufts of hair at the front that I gelled into horns. I used red body pain over my entire head and torso. I wore a cape, black trousers and boots. I won first prize at work for it then I won a prize in a club I went to that night

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Kevin: The Monster Mash

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

Kevin: I don’t really eat candy.

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by, Kevin. Before you go, what is your go-to Halloween watches and reads?

Kevin: Once Upon a Halloween by Richard Laymon and I like Rob Zombie‘s Halloween but not the sequel.


Boo-graphy:
Kevin J. Kennedy is the author of Halloween Land and the co-author of You Only Get One Shot, Screechers & Stitches. He has released three solo collections of short horror stories and he is one of the UK’s most prominent horror anthologists. He lives in the heart of Scotland with his wife and three small fur babies, Carlito, Ariel and Luna. You can find him hovering around Facebook most days if you want to chat.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Jonathan Janz

Meghan: Hey, Jonathan. I don’t know if you realize this, but you have been a part of our annual Halloween Extravaganza long before it was named a Halloween Extravaganza. In fact, you have been part of every Halloween celebration since I started blogging, back in 2014, on The Gal in the Blue Mask. So thank you so much for all the support. And for once again taking part. Let’s begin: What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Jonathan: I think the general mood. I love the aura, the spooky, cozy, gloomy vibe of late-October/early-November. There’s something uniquely mysterious in the air, the feeling that anything could happen, will happen. Wet-black tree trunks and rain-shiny streets. Drooping leaves and shadows. No time can transport me back to elementary school like this time of year. Nothing can reproduce that shivery feeling quite like Halloween time.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Jonathan: Hmm… For me, the music plays a big role. The Halloween score is a central, seminal work there. I think not only of Carpenter’s incredible main theme, but of the other tracks, specifically the one we hear when Jamie Lee Curtis walks through the neighborhood when we first meet her. I hear the same music when I walk through my own neighborhood, which is like hers with more hills. I also love “This Is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I sing that one with my youngest daughter Peach.

So listening to the music is a big part of the celebration for me.

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

Jonathan: It’s my favorite non-religious holiday, I’ll say that. It’s just such a marvelous celebration of all the things I love about horror. It’s being joyful in the terror, it’s reveling in the macabre. It really is a time where what we love all year is normalized and appreciated by all, including the hobbyists. For a short time they can see through our eyes and understand the dark beauty we see all year. So there’s a sense of community with the full-timers and a moment of communion with the part-timers.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Jonathan: I’m really not superstitious anymore, but I used to be. Like catastrophically so. I was afraid to leave a room without first smiling into a mirror because I was sure the last expression I made in that mirror would determine the tenor of the day or evening. I had an intricate series of rituals I had to complete (everything in threes, everything pointing in a specific direction) that held a mystical power over me. Essentially, I was raddled with these superstitions, and they profoundly affected me in many negative ways. I eventually overcame them, but it took time.

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

Jonathan: Michael Myers still scares the daylights out of me. So does Jerry Dandridge from the original Fright Night. I love werewolves in general, so the one in Silver Bullet, for instance used to really give me the willies. Oh, and The Thing was awesome because it’s this hostile intelligence and always changing.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Jonathan: Wow. Tough one. There were a pair of murders in my hometown of Delphi, Indiana (which is known as Shadeland in Children of the Dark) that remain unsolved, so for several reasons I want that killer to be caught. Two adolescent girls lost their lives, so it’s an unspeakable tragedy.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Jonathan: I don’t know if this qualifies, but Spring-Heeled Jack has always fascinated me. I love the uniqueness of his powers and the mysterious, fantastical nature of his abilities. I’d like to write a novel about it someday.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Jonathan: Well, I probably wouldn’t say that any would be my favorite, but the most fascinating has to be Jack the Ripper. So much of that has to do with the surreptitious nature of the crimes, the Whitechapel setting, the myriad theories about the killer’s identity, and the fact that it remains unsolved. I also think the clothing of the time and the fog add to the mystique.

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

Jonathan: Probably something like The Omen, which scared the crap out of me. I vividly remember watching The Twilight Zone when I was little, especially Nightmare at 20,000 Feet. Also the one where there’s an alien in the café and the one where the woman is going to have plastic surgery because (supposedly) she’s so hideous. Those shows truly impacted me. They scared me to death but they absolutely absorbed me and compelled me to keep watching despite my terror.

As far as the first horror book, that one’s easy: Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers. That book changed everything for me. Not long after that, I read ‘Salem’s Lot, The Stand, The Dead Zone, The Shining, Night Shift, Carrie, The Gunslinger, Skeleton Crew, Pet Sematary, and It. Essentially, the first twenty books I read were all by Stephen King, so he’s the reason I’m where I am today. He made me a reader, a writer, and an English teacher. Regarding the way those stories made me feel…for the first time, I felt smart when I was reading those books. Obviously, I was entertained too. And mesmerized and unsettled and transfixed. Those books were revelations to me.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Jonathan: Ah, nice question! Let’s see…I’m going to say The Girl Next Door. Jack Ketchum/Dallas Mayr had a way of going to the core of an issue and showing us what he found there, without flinching. That book made me cringe, put it down, return to it reluctantly, despair for humankind, and weep for what happened to that poor young woman.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Jonathan: This one is easy, though it’s surprisingly recent. It’s called Lake Mungo, and it’s a slow-burn faux-documentary that’s at turns depressing, unnerving, and flat-out terrifying. There’s a moment in the film I keep replaying in my head to an unhealthy, obsessive degree. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I’m afraid to see this face coming out of the dark. So even though I’m an adult…I might just be permanently scarred by Lake Mungo.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Jonathan: I had a chintzy Godzilla costume when I was really little. Cheap as hell, the sharp plastic mask with the string. But I loved it, felt like I was a fire-breathing monster when I wore it. I loved that costume and love it still.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Jonathan: Got to be “This Is Halloween,” though some of the tracks from Halloween are in the running. The song I referred to earlier I think is called “Laurie’s Theme,” though I could be wrong about that.

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

Jonathan: My favorite candy altogether is Dots, so because I sometimes get to eat those on Halloween, I’ll go with Dots. Other favorites include Snickers, Twizzlers, Reese’s Cups, and Kit Kats. Disappointing candy? I can’t think of any.

Meghan: Thanks again for stopping by today. As always, it was an absolute pleasure having you here. Before you go, what is your go-to Halloween movie and book?

Jonathan:
Top Halloween Movie: Halloween (1978): I know this is an uncreative answer, but Carpenter’s original film is just perfect. What I appreciate is how Carpenter treats the quieter moments, not just the kills. That film just drips atmosphere.

Top Halloween Book: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. Look, there are many great Halloween stories, but this one feels perfect for Halloween. I love the evocation of the small town, the friendship, the father-son relationship, those cusp-of-adulthood themes, and of course the sinister elements in the book. Basically, it’s perfect. I taught it for a few years to freshmen, and they ate it up. It’s a timeless novel.


Boo-graphy:
Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories. His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and School Library Journal. His ghost story The Siren and the Specter was selected as a Goodreads Choice nominee for Best Horror. Additionally, his novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.

Website

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Kristopher Triana

Meghan: Hey, Kris. Welcome back to Meghan’s House of Books and our annual Halloween Extravaganza. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Kristopher: As a kid, it was being out on a cold night with the leaves blowing about, seeing the jack-o-lanterns glowing, running down the street in my costume and pretending I was a werewolf or vampire or whatever. That was even better than the candy! As an adult, I cherish those memories. Now, my favorite part of the holiday is its rich traditions, and the way adults can return to that childlike wonder for a night.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Kristopher: The horror movie marathon, especially when it’s with a significant other or a good friend. You carve pumpkins as the sun goes down, put on scary movies, and hope to get trick or treaters.

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

Kristopher: It is my favorite, hands down. I’m a horror writer, and also a horror fanatic. Halloween is the time of year everyone is into what I’m always into all year long.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Kristopher: Nothing, really. I don’t believe in that stuff. Give me a black cat to pet!

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

Kristopher: Oh, that’s a tough one. As for the old monsters, I’d have to say The Wolfman is my favorite. I’ve always related more to a tortured soul trying to contain his inner beast than some undead bloodsucker being all suave and perfect. I also dig The Blob!

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Kristopher: The Black Dahlia. It was such a brutal crime and so shrouded in mystery.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Kristopher: I’ve always loved the hook, with the teens at lover’s lane who hear on the radio about an escaped maniac with a hook hand, then find the bloody hook on the handle of the car door after they drive home.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Kristopher: I wouldn’t say I have a “favorite” one because I don’t like when people glorify someone like that. I see someone at a horror con wearing a Richard Ramirez t-shirt and I’m just like, “You know he raped and murdered old ladies, right?”. It’s just messed up. People need to differentiate between horror fiction and reality. But I do find true crime stories very interesting. Edmund Kemper’s story is so beyond messed up. Well worth a read if you can stomach it!

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

Kristopher: I can’t remember exactly, but probably eight or nine, watching the old Universal monster movies. I was about eleven when I saw my first slasher film, which was John Carpenter’s Halloween, and I was hooked.

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

Kristopher: I read the Crestwood Monster Series and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark as a kid. Then I moved on to Stephen King and Clive Barker. I think The Mist by King was my first adult horror story, and my first novel read was The Dark Half. Then Barker’s The Great and Secret Show opened my mind to the limitless possibilities the genre could offer. By the time I was fourteen I was devouring what is now referred to as “Paperbacks from Hell”, all the novels from the horror boom of the ’80s. I knew early on that I wanted to be a horror author too.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Kristopher: King’s The Shining was the first book I ever had to put down for a few hours because I was so freaked out. Since then, there have been many that got under my skin—brutal books like Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door and Off Season, or more recent thrillers like Come With Me by Ronald Malfi. There are even books that don’t qualify as horror but are deeply unsettling, such as Last Exit to Brooklyn and The Demon by Hubert Selby Jr. His books are incredible.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Kristopher: I saw part of Prince of Darkness when I was way too young and it scared the crap out of me! I never knew what is was, and then one day I’m watching this movie, and the scene I always remembered—the hobo impaling a man with a bicycle—comes on and I’m like, “Holy shit!”

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Kristopher: I loved being Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers, but dressing as Leatherface was the best because I hid in the bushes and then chased kids with a real chainsaw! I had removed the chain, so it was totally safe, but still loud and terrifying. They came back for more every year.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Kristopher: Again, it’s hard to pick a favorite. But I do love Tim Curry’s song in The Worst Witch.

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

Kristopher: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my Halloween staple. Even the old school label screams Halloween with its autumn colors. The worst in the world is that horrible abomination known as candy corn.

Meghan: Thanks again for stopping by, Kris. Make sure you send Bear our love. But before you go, what are your go-to Halloween movies?

Kristopher: My ideal Halloween movie/TV marathon is:

John Carpenter’s Halloween
Halloween 4: The Return of Michael Myers
Ginger Snaps
Trick or Treat (1986)
A Nightmare on Elm Street
The Simpsons’ Treehouse of Horror episodes
Night of the Demons (1988)
Night of the Demons 2
The Exorcist III
The Monster Squad


Boo-graphy:
Kristopher Triana is the Splatterpunk Award-winning author of Gone to See the River Man, Full Brutal, The Thirteenth Koyote, They All Died Screaming, and many other terrifying books. His work has been published in multiple languages and has appeared in many anthologies and magazines, drawing praise from Rue Morgue Magazine, Cemetery Dance, Scream Magazine, and many more.
 
He lives in New England.

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And the Devil Cried
When Jackie is released from prison, his boss Pino sends a limo to pick him up. Even fresh out of the joint, ruthless Jackie is ready to work, collecting money for the mob and using his special training to take care of bad accounts—permanently.

But when a drunk driver kills Pino’s young son, he gives Jackie a task that goes against every moral code. The drunk driver has a pre-teen daughter, and Pino doesn’t just want vengeance—he wants an eye for an eye.
Jackie accepts the job, but once he finds the girl he starts making plans of his own…

And the Devil Cried is a dark thriller from Kristopher Triana, the award-winning author of Gone to See the River Man and Full Brutal. It is a vicious, unflinching novel that’s bound to keep you burning.