AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Lee Rozelle

Meghan: Hi, Lee. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books and our annual Halloween Extravaganza. I’m excited that you decided to take part in this year’s frivolities. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Lee: Watching frightened children in handmade outfits and pumpkin baskets lumber across the street in little hordes.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Lee: When I was a teenager, on Halloween we would get some of the kids together to roll Joe’s yard. But the little rollers didn’t know that Joe would be in his tree stand behind his house with a semiautomatic weapon. We would start rolling, and after a few minutes Joe would begin to fire his rifle into the air at a steady clip. At that point I would “get shot” and start screaming for help, gargling, whining, and rolling on the ground. It was really interesting to see who would come back and save me and who left me to die. The next year, of course, the kids who previously got punked would want to go “roll Joe’s yard” to see the new kids run like hell.

No yard rollers were injured in the making of this prank.

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

Lee: In Alabama it’s not necessarily cold during Halloween, but there’s wind, fog, and orange leaves. It’s very much a time of uncertainty, when people have the chance to take all of their beliefs and think, “maybe not.”

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Lee: Organ transplantation.

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

Lee: It would have to be Renfield in the 1931 Dracula. Never will I forget that laugh.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Lee: Not sure if she qualifies as a serial killer, but here’s the most compelling case that I’ve puzzled over:

Amy Bishop—The Crazy Professor Amy Bishop, a biology professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, shot and killed three faculty members and wounded three others on February 12, 2010. In March of 2009, Bishop was denied tenure, which meant spring 2010 would be her last semester to be employed by the university. During a faculty meeting, Bishop stood up and began shooting those closest to her with a 9mm handgun – execution style. Bishop didn’t have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and she was in total denial after the event. She didn’t believe her colleagues were really dead. The day of the shooting, students claimed she seemed perfectly normal. On September 11, 2012, Bishop pleaded guilty to one count of capital murder and three counts of attempted murder in order to avoid the death penalty. On September 24, 2012, Bishop was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

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

Lee: When I was five, my father took me to see Jaws. One of the trailers before the movie flashed the words “Rated R” and I yelled loudly in my seat, “Rated R! I’m getting out of here!” The other audience members laughed at me and my father told me to sit down and hush. I’ll never forget that googly eyed corpse that pops out deep beneath the sea…it scared the hell out of me.

In regards to my first horror novel, my father was an elementary teacher and he supplemented our family income by selling socks to people at banks, gas stations, restaurants, and bars. He traipsed from building to building in small towns with a little basket selling 6 packs of socks. On one trip, he filled his truck up with 6 packs—we had footies too, don’t think this was a two-bit operation—and mail a huge box of socks to California. We would sell socks all the way to the West Coast, pick up the box at the Post Office, and on another route would sell socks all the way home. Anyway, we’re in Arizona and New Mexico hauling down the road, no AC, and I’m eleven years old and bored to death. On the dash there is this wrinkled up black paperback with a grayish cover. The book was The Dead Zone. I cracked it and started reading. Never been the same since.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Lee: No doubt, that baby in Salem’s Lot unsettled me into an exquisite freak out that I have rarely felt before or since. My skin crawled, my pancreas crawled, and I felt this stark, blank undercurrent inside me. Yeow.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Lee: Oh they all did. One that stands out as having messed me up big time is The Beast Within. We got bug rape, cannibalism of creepy old dudes, strange head inflations, head snatched through walls, puberty, more bugs, more rape…it was nasty.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Lee: Like most men of my generation, my favorite costume is Urkel from the TV show Family Matters.

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

Lee: The worst Halloween treat I ever received was a potato. I hated it.

Meghan: Thanks for stopping by today, Lee. Before you go, what’s your go to Halloween movie?

Lee: I was really sad that people didn’t like Halloween 3 when it came out, and I like to wonder what might have been if Carpenter had been able to produce anthology style “Halloween” movies with different plots. Could have been spectacular. And hey, those snakes and bugs coming out of those Silver Shamrock masks and kids’ heads in Halloween 3…phenomenal!


Boo-graphy:
Lee Rozelle’s debut novel Ballad of Jasmine Wills is forthcoming from Montag Press. Lee is the author of nonfiction books Zombiescapes & Phantom Zones and Ecosublime. He has published short stories in Cosmic Horror Monthly, HellBound Books‘ Anthology of BizarroShadowy Natures by Dark Ink Books, If I Die Before I Wake Volume 3, and the Scare You to Sleep podcast. Learn more on his website.

GUEST MOVIE REVIEW by Daemon Manx: Jaws

Jaws

A Zanuck Brown Production/Directed by Steven Spielberg

I am at a point in my life where I can tell if a relationship is going to work within the first ten minutes of meeting someone, before I even find out what their favorite color is. There are only two things I need to know to ascertain whether we are compatible or if we even stand a chance at becoming friends. All it takes is for someone to say “I’m not a fan of horror movies” or “I didn’t like the movie Jaws” and it is a deal breaker, game over, so long, have a nice life.

Never trust anyone who tells you they didn’t love the movie Jaws!

As a boy growing up in New Jersey, the home of author Peter Benchley, and the original setting of the shark attacks that allegedly inspired the 1975 film, I spent countless summers frolicking in the surf and at the beaches during the time of this iconic movie’s release. There are countless aspects as to why this block buster should be in everyone’s top ten, if not five, movies of all time. However, I can only speak for myself and try to inspire with my I own fascination and love affair with this movie.

Timing is everything! That’s what they say, and I am a firm believer. Jaws was released during the summer of 1975 and was the very first movie to be filmed on the ocean, which lead to massive production problems. The film ran over budget and past schedule, and the salt water wreaked havoc with Bruce, the mechanical shark that repeatedly broke down during the filming. This ultimately worked in Spielberg’s favor, a young director who had yet to make his mark on the industry, who utilized the malfunctioning shark to his advantage. In horror, it isn’t always what you see, it’s what you don’t see. Spielberg decided to suggest the shark’s presence as much as he could, relying on shadows and quick glimpses of the ominous fin to reveal the impending threat.

To further turn up the drama, composer John Williams added the soundtrack that has become an iconic undertone that all beach goers know all too well. The theme is essentially comprised of two bass notes that no-doubt strike fear in the hearts of millions every time it is heard, especially if they are to be swimming at the time.

It’s about suspense, it’s about tension, it’s about what you don’t see. Author’s call this invisible ink. The space between the lines, the words that are not being used. Spielberg painted this masterpiece with gallons of invisible ink as he gave life to the novel written by Peter Benchley in 1974.

Benchley, a Jersey native claims that this tale is not inspired by the shark attacks that plagued New Jersey beaches in 1916. From Beach Haven to the Matawan Creek a killer shark dinned on hapless beach goers that fateful summer. A boy on a raft, a man and his dog, another gentleman who had lost his leg. Does this sound familiar to anyone else? Benchley’s novel was different in ways from the big screen version, but the premise is the same and the horror is synonymous.

The movie is a watershed moment in Hollywood history for being perhaps the first true summer blockbuster. It was the highest grossing picture of it’s time until Star Wars was released a year later in 1977. It has spurred three sequels, none of which stand up to the original, some of which are downright embarrassing. It was one of those moments where everything gelled. It had to do with the production, the music, the editing, the director, and Oh My God…it had everything to do with the cast.

Roy Scheider was cast as Police Chief Martin Brody, but the role was first offered to Robert Duvall who only wanted to play Quint. Charlton Heston wanted the role but Spielberg though that Heston was too big of a star to bring the anonymity that he wanted from a lesser know actor. Above all else, he wanted the shark to be the star of the show.

The character Quint was based on real life fisherman Craig Kingsbury, was played by veteran actor Robert Shaw. There are numerous repots that Shaw spent most of the time rather tipsy during the filming of the movie. If this is what you get when Robert Shaw is tipsy then by all means, buy this man another round, and put it on my tab. Quint is an absolute show stealer, and his recollection of the sinking of the Indianapolis is possibly the greatest monologue in movie history. Chills…do you feel them?

The character of Matt Hooper was not even cast until nine days before production began. There were a lot of possibilities when it came to would-be hopefuls for the part: John Voight, Jan Michael Vincent, Jeff Bridges, Joel Gray even Kevin Kline. But it was Spielberg’s good friend, George Lucas who recommended that he use a young actor who had performed in his movie American Graffiti. Richard Dreyfus took on the role of the young oceanographer and the rest was magic. At least for us, Dreyfus and Shaw couldn’t stand each other.
You know that you really have something special when people go around quoting your movie afterward…damn near 50 years now

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.” This is the best hands-down line ever written in a movie.

“Show me the way to go home, I’m tired and I want to go to bed.”

And who could deny, “Smile you son of bitch!” Although the bitch is drowned out from the explosion it is in there.

So, this movie messed up a lot of people. It made them afraid to go into the water. It turned them away from the ocean and scared the ever-living shit out of them. It had a different effect on me. I instantly wanted to become an oceanographer when I grew up. I never did, but I did become an avid scuba diver. While other children were playing football, my friends and I were reenacting scenes from Jaws. This movie inspired me on such a deep moving profound level that I can’t completely express it. Possibly it was because I was at that perfect age at the time, also it has everything to do with all of the reason that I have explained.

What makes the Mona Lisa a masterpiece? What makes Beethoven a maestro? What makes Einstein more than just another guy with a bad haircut?

It’s the same reason why Jaws is, and always will be a watershed moment in movie history and one of the greatest achievements of our time. If you missed this on the big screen, I truly feel sorry for you. You have no idea what you missed when Ben Gardner’s head pops out…Oh My God!!!

There aren’t enough stars in the heavens to give this movie all that it truly deserves.

Infinity stars for Jaws, Spielberg, and the entire cast and crew that brought this gem to life. Thank you!

One last note to the Gods of Hollywood who are determined to ruin everything.

DO NOT try to remake this movie! I will hunt you down and I will make chum out of you!

I mean it!
Daemon Manx


Boo-graphy:
Daemon Manx writes horror and speculative fiction. He is a member of the Horror Authors Guild (HAG) and has had stories featured in magazines in both the U.S. and the U.K. His short story, The Dead Girl, became a finalist in The Green Shoe Sanctuary’s summer writing prompt contest in August 2021. His debut novelette, Abigail, was released through Terror Tract Publishing and has received 4.8 stars out of 5 on Amazon and Goodreads. He lives with his sister and their narcoleptic cat Sydney in a remote cabin off the grid, where they patiently prepare for the apocalypse. There is a good chance there they will run out of coffee.

Abigail
Strange things come in small packages. Adrian Billard believes he knows what it’s like to be different, and has nearly given up hope of ever finding happiness. But, a strange package left on his doorstep is about to turn his entire world upside down. Everything Adrian thinks he knows is about to change. He is about to meet…Abigail.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Adam Howe

Meghan: Hey Adam!! Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books and this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Adam: It’s gotta be trick or treating as a kid, right? Except I missed out on that. My fault entirely. The one (and only) time my mum let me go trick or treating around the block of flats where we then lived, I objected when one of our neighbors refused to cough up the candy, saying they “didn’t believe in Halloween.” (This was in Australia.) Well, I wrote the lousy bastards the proverbial “sternly worded letter,” replete with an offensive caricature of my neighbors, and a monster defecating on their heads – my idea of a Halloween ‘trick,’ I guess. They of course forwarded this poison pen letter to my mum, and from that day on I was never allowed to go trick or treating. So I kind of missed out on my Halloween glory years… Wish I still had that picture. Wonder if my mum kept it in the scrapbook?

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Adam: We don’t celebrate Halloween in the UK like you guys, at least not in my neck of the woods, I’m sure it differs from place to place. I remember driving through a small village down south a few years ago around Halloween-time, and seeing that every house had a “corn dolly” – a kind of scarecrow figure – posted outside. None of the other villages had ‘em, just this one little place, and I always wondered exactly what that little tradition/ritual was about… kind of spooky thinking back on it.

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

Adam: Oh, I’m far too grouchy to have anything like a “favorite” holiday. I tolerate these things for the sake of the kids. I do enjoy seeing Halloween through my daughter’s eyes, seeing her pluck up the courage to knock on the door of an especially spooky house. Kids really will do about anything for confectionery.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Adam: My superstitions tend to be writing rituals – writing at the same time of the day (crack of dawn) in the same place (for fear of upsetting my writer’s feng shui). I don’t really consider myself superstitious, but I’d probably give serious thought before boarding a #13 plane, so I guess I am susceptible to the ‘classics.’

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

Adam: Always been partial to ole Leatherface and the Sawyer Clan.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Adam: I’m currently researching an unsolved British murder for what I think may be my next horror novel, the Charles Walton witchcraft murder. It occurred in a sleepy village of a couple hundred people in 1945 (around the time the Allies were firebombing Dresden). An elderly farm laborer named Charles Walton, believed by his neighbors to be involved in witchcraft/folk medicine, was discovered dead in a field, impaled to the ground with a pitchfork, and with crucifixes slashed in his face and chest with a sickle (an ancient way of dispatching “witches”). When the local law couldn’t solve the crime, Scotland Yard sent their best man, the Sherlock Holmes of his day, Robert Fabian, to investigate… and that’s when things got seriously witchy… The case is like a real-like “Sleepy Hollow” or “Wicker Man.” I don’t want to say too much more about it, because like I say I’m currently researching for my next project, but I’d encourage people to check out the Wiki entry for Charles Walton – it’s a fascinating case.

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Adam: The insect laying eggs in a sleeping person’s ear.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Adam: I’m leery of using the word “favorite” here, and the guy I’m going to choose didn’t kill anyone as far as I know… but check out the serial sex offender named Ed Paisnel aka The Beast of Jersey. Not Jersey, USA, but the British Channel Isle. For thirteen years (60s-70s) the Beast of Jersey terrorized the tiny island, breaking into homes while people slept, abducting children from their beds, taking them to locations with historical occult significance, and performing satanic rituals as he raped them. Paisnel was a practitioner of black magic, and claimed to be descended from Gilles de Rais; he was said to have used “magic” to elude the police for so many years. What’s most disturbing about him – well, there are many disturbing things about this freak – is the nightmarish costume he would wear when he performed his nighttime raids. Words don’t do it justice; I would urge people to Google “The Beast of Jersey,” and imagine being woken in the dead of night by that horror.

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

Adam: Not sure for certain how old I was, but let’s say around seven or eight, an irresponsible adult (my mum) rented me a double-bill of An American Werewolf in London and Carpenter’s The Thing. I watched “Werewolf” first. My mum watched five minutes with me to make sure it was suitable for a child (it isn’t), before she went off to bed. And of course in the sixth minute, the werewolf appeared, savaging the kids on the Moors – terrifying! And if anything The Thing was even more traumatizing. Making it from the TV room to my bedroom that night, alone, in the shadowy dark, and with all those images rattling round the ole noodle – that was the longest walk (or eyes-closed scurry) I can remember… And I guess an experience like that either makes or breaks you as a horror fan for life. After surviving that double-bill, I realized I quite enjoyed that scared-shitless experience.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Adam: I was most susceptible to book scares as a “latchkey” teen, reading Stephen King late at night in an empty house – Pet Sematary, The Shining, Salem’s Lot. Before that, when I was maybe eight or nine, I bought from the school book fair the paperback of Carrie with the illustration of a blood-spattered Sissy Spacek on the cover. (I knew the name Stephen King from my mum’s bookshelf.) In my nightmares, Carrie in her telekinetic rage became the girl who lived across the street from me. Again, that’s the kind of experience that either makes or breaks you as a horror fan… When I met Stephen King (part of the prize for winning a King-judged writing contest) he was delighted to hear that his books gave me nightmares.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Adam: Jaws. After seeing that movie at an impressionable age, not only was I terrified of swimming in the ocean, but the pool too. Wouldn’t be surprised if most people answer Jaws to this question. That goddamn movie!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Adam: As I’ve already said, I blew my Halloween glory years thanks to that poison pen letter I sent. So now I have to live vicariously through my daughter’s costumes. I think we’ll get a little more adventurous this year than the witch/princess she went as last Halloween – I’d like to see her as Snake Plissken.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Adam: Purple People Eater. And did I imagine it, or did someone make a movie from that song? I swear I rented that back in the VHS days.

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

Adam: I don’t have a sweet tooth, and I’m not even much of a snack guy. (Come to think of it, jeez, I really suck at Halloween.)

Meghan: Thanks again for stopping by, Adam. Before you go, what are your top 3 go-to Halloween movies?

Adam:
Halloween III: Season of the Witch. Not the best of the series, I’ll grant you – that’s clearly JC’s original, and the sequel ain’t too shabby either – but this is easily my favorite, and the one that bears repeated viewings. Not only is the story batshit insane, but the anti-heroic character Tom Fuckin’ Atkins plays, deadbeat dad and functional alcoholic, Dr. Daniel Challis, has to be the most offbeat protagonist in all of horror cinema.

Ghostwatch. The pseudo-documentary/reality-TV hook for this show seems old hat now, but at the time it aired, must’ve been early/mid-90s, this “live” investigation of a haunted house, anchored by a host of respectable British broadcasters, was revelatory… and scared the living piss out of me.

Whistle and I’ll Come to You. This adaptation of the M.R. James classic was first billed in the 60s as a ghost story for Christmas. (Apparently, Christmas was the traditional season for ghost stories in the UK.) This one remains chillingly effective, and in actor Michael Hordern’s depiction of repressed scholar Professor Parkin, features one of the ATG oddball performances.

Boo-graphy:
ADAM HOWE writes the twisted fiction your mother warned you about. He lives in Greater London with his partner, their daughter, and a hellhound named Gino. His short fiction has been widely published in places like Nightmare Magazine, Thuglit, and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror. Writing as Garrett Addams, his short story Jumper was chosen by Stephen King as the winner of the international On Writing contest, and published in the digital/PB editions of King’s Memoir of the Craft. He is the author of such wholesome titles as Die Dog or Eat the Hatchet, Tijuana Donkey Showdown, and Scapegoat (with James Newman). His most recent novel is the “buddy cop” action/comedy One Tough Bastard, in which a washed-up 80s action star partners with a hyper-intelligent chimpanzee to smash an organized crime syndicate headed by a Schwarzenegger-style supervillain. Coming soon: grit-lit 30s pulp The Polack, co-written with Joseph Hirsch, and “starring” Charles Bronson. And a new Reggie Levine yarn entitled Of Moose and Men. You can stalk Adam Howe on FB, Goodreads, and Twitter.

One Tough Bastard
Shane Moxie: a washed-up 80s action star who refuses to believe his best days are behind him… Duke: a hyper-intelligent chimpanzee and arguably the greatest animal actor of his generation…

Reunited for an anniversary movie screening, when Moxie and Duke are targeted by assassins, the feuding co-stars reluctantly join forces to smash an organized crime syndicate headed by an iconic German action star dealing death from his movie-themed fast food franchise.

One’s a big dumb animal. The other’s a chimpanzee. Shit just got real.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Henry L. Herz

Meghan: Hi, Henry. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books and thank you again for agreeing to take part in this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Henry: As a kid, my favorite part of Halloween was the candy, of course. Now, it is the costumes. Any excuse for a party is a good excuse.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Henry: Seeing groups of kids happily wandering through the neighborhoods, their pillowcases bulging with sugary loot.

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

Henry: Free candy and costumes! What’s not to like? It gives us all an excuse to slip into an alter ego.

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Henry: Nothing.

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

Henry: Dracula. Think of how terrifyingly unstoppable a vampire would be with its powers and wisdom from existing for centuries.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Henry: The murders committed in 1888 London by Jack the Ripper. Who was he? Why did he do it?

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Henry: The Licked Hand – a scared girl hears an ominous dripping coming from within her home. She is reassured by her faithful dog, who licks her hand from under the bed. Eventually, she investigates the noise only to find her dog slaughtered and a message written in blood – “humans can lick hands too”.

Meghan: Who is your favorite serial killer and why?

Henry: Hannibal Lecter because he is so intelligent, depraved, creepy, and sophisticated. If he sets his eyes on you, you are toast… with some fava beans and a nice bottle of Chianti.

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

Henry: I think my first horror movie was Jaws. I did not want to go swimming for quite some time after that. I unexpectedly slipped into reading horror when I discovered how good a writer Stephen King is with Different Seasons, which was comprised of four novellas, more dramatic than horrific. So, after that, my first horror book was Salem’s Lot. Vampires, yeah. Scary.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Henry: I was less scared by Cujo, Christine, or Carrie than I was It. An alien clown. Why did it have to be an alien clown? Preying on kids. Want a balloon, little boy?

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Henry: There’s a scene in An American Werewolf in London when the two friends are out walking in the fields at night, scared by wolf howling. One slips and falls and they have a good laugh. Right in the middle of that comic moment, the werewolf slams into one of them. Scary!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Henry: Being a fantasy fan and San Diego Comic-Con attendee, I’ve seen some amazing costumes. Inside jokes, like the cabbage merchant from Avatar: The Last Airbender crack me up. I also like authentic “recreations”, like a group of eight women dressed as Adapta Sororitas (Sisters of Battle) from Warhammer 40K. I love mashups, like a little girl in a pastel-colored Predator costume and tutu, or a mashup of Boba Fett and the giant chicken Ernie from Family Guy.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Henry: Ooh, it’s hard to pick just one. Dragula by Rob Zombie, Thriller by Michael Jackson, Ghostbusters by Ray Parker Jr., Dead Man’s Party by Oingo Boingo. Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult, and of course, Werewolves of London by Warren Zevon.

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

Henry: The 100 Grand candy bar from Ferrero is the king of Halloween candy. Fight me. Chocolate, caramel, and krispies, undiluted by gratuitous peanut butter, coconut, or whole nuts. The three most disappointing candies of my youth were candy corn (all the candy corn ever made was made in 1911), elephant “peanuts” (stale marshmallow formed into large peanut shapes, flavored with a hint of self-loathing), and Necco wafers (sad pastel-colored discs of brittle chalk).

Meghan: Before we go, what are some of your top Halloween movies and books?

Henry: Some of my favorites scary movies include Ghostbusters, The Silence of the Lambs, Se7en, and Kiss the Girls. For scary books, you can’t go wrong with horror written by Stephen King, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, and Neil Gaiman.


Boo-graphy:
Henry L. Herz is the author of 11 traditionally published children’s books. He also writes scary adult and young adult stories, including: “Cheating Death” in The Hitherto Secret Experiments of Marie Curie anthology (Blackstone Publishing), “The Castle on the Loch” in Castle of Horror IV anthology (Castle Bridge Media), “Demon Hunter Vashti” in the Jewish Book of Horror anthology (Denver Horror Collective), “Gluttony” in Classics Remixed anthology (Left Hand Publishing), and “The Kelpie of Loch Ness” in If I Die Before I Wake: Tales of Nightmare Creatures anthology (Sinister Smile Press).

Website

I Am Smoke
Smoke speaks in mesmerizing riddles: “I lack a mouth, but I can speak…. I lack hands, but I can push out unwanted guests…. I’m gentler than a feather, but I can cause harm….”This rhythmically powerful narration is complemented by illustrations in which swirling smoke was captured on art paper held over smoky candle flames, and the dancing smoke textures were then deepened and elaborated with watercolors and Photoshop finishes. With this unique method, Mercè López “let the smoke decide how the idea I had in mind would dance with it, giving freedom to the images.” The resulting illustrations are astounding, and they resonate with the otherworldly text.

Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes
Enter an enchanted land of mythical creatures where manticores reign and ogres roar-a land of mystery and fright. A unique twist on traditional rhymes of everyone’s youth, “Monster Goose Nursery Rhymes” presents a more sinister approach to these childhood classics, and yet the sing-song nature of the poems renders them playful and jovial at the same time. Little Witch Muffet is not frightened by a silly, little spider; she simply adds him to her stew!

Rotten zombies, giants, dwarves, and goblins mingle with werewolves, centaurs, and fauns. Follow along the skeleton stepping stones, scale up a palisade, claw at the window of a tasty child and bake him into a pumpkin shell. Monsters cook up delicious elvish pie, too! Every kid who has an eensy weensy bit of sense wants a pet with feathers white as snow, who flies like an eagle and bleats like a goat-a hippogriff, of course!

Six forest sprites with four times as many pixies escape from a loaf of bread atop the elaborate table of the fey queen; her feast has flown away! If you enjoy mischief and have a penchant for the morbidly hilarious, the Herzs’ rhymes will satisfy your mythological curiosities.

Larson’s illustrations give new life to these ancient figures, and her artistic style employs the bold lines and colorful movement of an action-packed comic book. The author also includes a “bestiary” with information about the book’s legendary creatures, which hail from Scotland, Germany, Italy, Persia, Haiti, and Scandinavia.