GUEST MOVIE REVIEW by Daemon Manx: 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

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.

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.

GUEST BOOK REVIEW by Daemon Manx: Frankenstein

Frankenstein OR The Modern Prometheus
By: Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
Genre: Horror, Gothic, Science Fiction
Pages: 260

Mary Shelley’s seminal novel of the scientist whose creation becomes a monster.

Frankenstein OR The Modern Prometheus by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

Written in 1818 by the English author, and original Goth Girl, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Frankenstein was originally published anonymously when she was 20. It wasn’t until the release of the second edition that Shelley’s name even appeared. Some of Shelley’s background is certainly important to know to fully understand the magnitude of what the author has so masterfully painted and implied in her work. I assure you; the message and the social implication of Frankenstein is just as relevant today as it was two hundred years age.

Shelley’s mother died from an infection she developed after giving birth to Mary. The iconic author grew up never knowing her mother and had bonded strongly with her father, William Godwin. However, Godwin’s second wife was jealous of their relationship which resulted in his pulling away from young Mary, and for his favoring her half brothers and sisters instead.

Mary later met and married Percy Bysshe Shelly, one of the Romantic Poets. In 1815 Shelley gave birth to Clara, who died two weeks later. Mary continued to lose her children in a similar way for the next eight years. This is such an impactful premise that followed her through her life and ultimately helped to shape Frankenstein.

In 1816, while travelling in Geneva, Shelley, Percy, Lord Byron, and John Polidori decided to see who could write the best ghost story. Only one of them ever completed their story. Mary Shelley was 18 when she won the contest with her story Frankenstein.

The story is masterfully executed as it shifts from one narrative POV to the next. Initially the story is told through a series of letters from ship’s Captain Robert Waldon, a failed writer on an expedition to the North Pole. It is through the eyes of Waldon that the reader first meets Victor Frankenstein, and we get a glimpse of the giant creature on the horizon. Victor is nearly dead by the time Waldon finds him. Consumed by his own compulsive desire and obsession, Victor sees a bit of himself in the captain, a man obsessed with his voyage to the North Pole. We learn that Victor has been pursuing the giant creature and his obsession has nearly killed him.

Flawlessly the narrative shifts and is told through the eyes of Victor as we learn about his childhood, the death of his mother, and his passion for the sciences and Alchemy. Victor is consumed with the pursuit of knowledge and has learned the secrets to creating life.

There are no bolts of lightning, there is no assistant named Igor, and there are no electrodes attached to the neck of Victor’s creation. The creature is 8 feet tall because the intricacies of the human anatomy would be too difficult to work on and recreate if performed on normal scale. It is done with a mixture of science and chemistry, and a bit of mystery as we never learn how Victor actually did it. However, he succeeds, and he is instantly repulsed by the sight of the creature. It is so profound to take note that Victor has put a great deal of effort and devotion into the creation of his creature. Then when the act is complete and the fruits of his labor are revealed, he no longer wants it. In fact, Victor wishes nothing more than to destroy his creation. Victor losses his mind for a moment, if he was ever in possession of it to begin with, and takes off, while his newborn is left to fend for himself. We later find out that shortly after this incident happens, Victor’s brother is murdered.

The narrative then shifts to the point of view of the creature. Alone, unable to understand the language, the creature must fend for itself in the wild. It hides and teaches itself how to speak by watching a family, and he quickly grows intelligent. However, he is aware of his own repulsiveness and soon finds that all humans see him just as his father Victor does, hideous and unworthy of love.

The creature decides that if he cannot be loved and since he is so hated by man, that he will find Victor and force the scientist into creating the only thing that could love him, a mate in his image, hideous and repulsive. I will not give it all away as I nearly have already. However, if you have only seen the Hollywood flicks and never read Shelley’s masterpiece, you are doing yourself a great disservice. This is the real deal, the original horror classic. Certain Horror associations should be giving out the Shelley award. The guy who wrote that story about a creepy count was a hack compared to Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley. I said, and it is too late to take it back. And I will tell you why…

First, Victor is Frankenstein-not the creature. Also, Victor is the monster. A parent who decides to conceive his child, puts all his effort in giving that child life, and then brings that child into the world, only then wishing the destruction of that child. Shelley’s mother died as a result of childbirth. Mary Shelley lost several children during childbirth and/or soon after. Also, abortion was as controversial a subject then as it is today. This all plays heavily into the subjects of destruction of life and the abandonment of a living being.

Science was in question. Was it right for man to assume the role of God when it came to creation? Was it even a place for a man to have a place at all? I urge you to read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and allow yourself to go a bit deeper. This story not only sets the precursor for the modern-day horror novel and sci-fi thriller, but also suggests that we dig a bit deeper into what truly defines us as human? It’s about the balance between our emotions and our obsessions, our desires and our darkness. It’s about what separates man from monster?

Can I give more than five stars? What is the limit? Whatever it is, that is what Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley deservers, and so much more for her masterpiece, Frankenstein-The Modern Prometheus.
I Love, Love, Love this Book…Daemon Manx

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.

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.

GUEST POST: Daemon Manx

My Halloween Inspiration

I am sure that my affinity for Halloween and all things spooky is similar to that of most people who find themselves drawn to the horror writing culture. It starts at an early age, and it continues to grow at an insatiable rate until one day you find yourself in your big-boy shoes staring at a room full of plastic skeletons, two dozen black hairy spiders, and a cauldron full of body parts while the original Halloween from 1978 runs an endless loop on every television in your house. It is then that you sit back and realize your life has turned out just the way you hoped that it would.

I have always loved the idea of stepping out of myself into another character’s shoes. Halloween is that one time of year where we can all do that without fear of judgement. Though the undead genre had made great strides within the past decade, I am sure that if I were to stumble down the halls of Rutgers University dressed as a zombie, moaning, and grabbing at passers-by, it would not be well received. Now if I were to do that on Halloween it would not only be perfectly acceptable, but it would also be expected, if not required. What is not to love about going to a party dressed as Gene Simmons’ demon from Kiss? Six-inch spiked boots, chain mail armor, full make up complete with blood spitting pellets, and the optional ability to shoot balls of fire. It is a costume everyone should wear at least once in their lifetime.

I consider myself fortunate that my childhood took place during a period where people still respected the classics. Dracula, Frankenstein, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, and Night of the Living Dead were staples for the children my age. There was a great sense of mystery that was to be gained from watching the old black and white classics as they were shown everyday on what channel eleven called the 4:30 Movie. If you got lucky there might be a weeklong Planet of the Apes movie marathon or a Horror Week series. Sundays at 11:30 were a special time as well as the Abbot and Costello movie would be on, possibly the one where they met the Wolfman, or even Dracula. Actors like Vincent Price, Lon Chaney, Christopher Lee, Boris Karloff and of course Bela Lugosi were the icons of the golden age, to name a few, who helped inspire that mystery and love for the macabre in all of us.

But it wasn’t all steeped in the classics, although many of what was considered contemporary horror releases would soon be considered classics themselves. I was in High School when Michael Jackson’s Thriller was released, also the movie Ghostbusters. I remember when Misery came out in hardcover and then later interpreted onto the big screen. I sat in theaters when Friday the 13th came out. I jumped from my seat, spilling my popcorn the first time I saw cute little Jason pop out of the water.

Let’s face it. Halloween isn’t a holiday, it isn’t a time of year, and it isn’t a season. Halloween is a feeling. You either get it or you don’t. I am a Halloween person. I married a Christmas person, and it didn’t work out. You can imagine why. It goes way deeper than the fact that all I wanted to watch was scary-ass movies and all she was interested in was sappy chick-flicks written by guys like Nicholas Sparks. Oh, the horror!

I say all this for a reason. As a writer…as a horror writer…as a sarcastic, introverted, creepy-ass, horror writer, Halloween is largely responsible for who I am. It has shaped my outlook, my thought process, my day-to-day interactions, and it consumes my ideologies…for real!

I am by no means the most extreme horror writer out there. In fact, I wouldn’t even consider my writing extreme at all. I am, however, a writer of speculative, gothic, dark, psychological, suspenseful, morbid, and oftentimes, rather sad stories. That’s not to say that I don’t have the capacity to explore other emotions in my stories, A good writer covers the gamut and can utilize the combination of human emotions throughout the course of their text. I hope to be one of those writers one day…lol.

There is one story that I have been working on, for about a year and a half now, that I would like to expand upon. The inspiration for this story comes from the very first Halloween party I threw as a lad. I was in grade school and had constructed a haunted house in my basement which succeeded in scaring the pants off most of my friends. The rest of the party consisted of cupcakes, costumes, and my mother inventing creepy Halloween based party games. She blind folded us and passed around various objects for us to hold.

“These are his intestines,” she said as she passed the innards of the carved out pumpkin to me and my friends.

We did that light as a feather stiff as a board thing where you lift the big kid by only using two fingers. It was a blast, and it became something that I did every year. This followed me into my later years as Halloween parties, parties at bars on Halloween, continued to appealed to me on a profound level. The thought and work that I would dedicate to the fabrication of the perfect costume was an event in itself.

Naturally, I was a child quite some time ago. The seventies and eighties were very different in many ways. For one, the lack of technology is a huge thing to consider. If you were lost in the words in 1980, you were really lost in the woods. There were no cell phones and there was no GPS. If you got stuck on the side of a dark road, you were praying that someone would come along and help you before some psychopath showed up and turned you into a slipcover for his couch. It was a scary time because there was less connectivity linking you to sources of help. You definitely didn’t want to have to walk to a payphone on a dark deserted highway in the middle of the night.

I started writing my story, which shall remain nameless until the point where it is copywritten and ready for release, as the world went under lockdown. While social distancing and mandatory quarantines were in effect in the area I lived, I came up with the idea of a story that takes place during a time when you couldn’t rely on a cell phone or GPS to bail you out of tight situation. I spent roughly six months feverishly hammering away at the archaic device I used to write my first draft. I began this story sometime in April of 2020 and on October 30th of that year, I looked up from the tiny screen as I typed the final sentence of my saga to find that I had a staggering 500k word monster staring back at me. For a little perspective, Stephen King’s unabridged version of The Stand clocks in very close to 500k words. I by no means dare to compare myself to the Master of Horror, I only use the word count as a reference.

Needless to say, I was exhausted. I had spent approximately six months writing for five uninterrupted hours a day. I had no idea where the story was even coming from as it appeared to flow out of me from an unknown source. It was spontaneous and oddly enough, it had started out with the intention of being a short story. The never-ending short story apparently. I would spend my daylight hours outlining and framing where the next few chapters would logically go but never had a clear picture of where the story was headed. It was as much a thrill of discovery for me as it will eventually be for the reader.

On October 30th, 2020, I was finished…with the rough draft. I had made some typo edits along the way but no major revisions. I needed to step away, I needed a break. I needed to focus my attention on other projects while this beast sat and marinated for a while. Abigail had already been written at this time, along with several other of my stories that have been recently published. I started writing other short pieces and went about the process of shopping my material. I landed a few magazine publications, got a job with the Observer, and even stumbled into a cool gig with Princeton University. Then Abigail got published which started the ball rolling and brought me back to the idea that it was time to dive into my doorstopper of a story.

Halloween is the pivotal moment in my saga, at least it’s the lead up to it. It is the feeling in the air of the small town that I created, and it is also the day after the day that I completed the first draft. My first day of rest…lol. In June of this year, six months after the final sentence had been written, I dove back into my story. I began the process of redrafting and tightening up, fixing the prose, and patching the holes. This has been an even bigger undertaking than the initial writing of the story itself.

I see this story as possibly being my life’s work…at least up to this point. It is an encompassing tale of horror, love, family, betrayal, and survival. It is rich with back story with a town full of characters, each one more interesting than the next. And it is a fast-paced race to save the day.

Looking at the sheer magnitude of my Halloween tale I see it as possibly being four separate novels. All of which will be quite lengthy on their own. Maybe Stephen King can put out a 500k word story and expect people to buy it, but for the new kid on the block, that might not fly. I have recently finished redrafting book two and am about to dive into book three. Fortunately, I have other releases ready to go, that will be sent to the press according to the release dates I have loosely scheduled. I am still open for the medium of this projects release and imagine that will continue to mature as the story itself does.

Although I am not at liberty to reveal much else about this story, I will say this…If you love Halloween, if you love epic sagas, and if you love survival-based horror, you are in for a treat. With any luck we will be discussing this story in depth next Halloween.

I look forward to seeing you then…Daemon

Trick or Treat
You little monsters!

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.

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.


Today, I would like to welcome author Matt Scott to the blog. He is another one of the talented authors from Burnt Fur, an anthology released earlier this month by Blood Bound Books, edited by Ken MacGregor.

Meghan: Hi, Matt. Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Matt Scott: I am 45 years old and live outside of a little town just northwest of Indianapolis. My wife and I live out in the country with our barnyard friends: chickens (too many), ducks (mean), pigs (potbellied), and our cats and dogs. As well as writing, my wife, Heather, and I run a small pet care business. Big animal lovers. We also recently just kicked off a new venture in publishing by starting our own company- Scover Publications LLC. We are really excited to get started. When I’m not writing or taking care of animals, my wife and I love to go Geocaching, hiking, and exploring. I watch just about anything and everything and my reading habits are similar with a slight preference for horror, bizarro, and crime.

Meghan: What are five things most people don’t know about you?

Matt Scott: I’m deathly afraid of clowns (in person), there is no reason for a grown ass person to be dressed that way. I hate spiders. I collect knives and can throw them pretty well (getting them to stick is a whole other story). I get pretty emotional while watching movies- I get that from my dad. And last but not least, I am slowly giving up meat (my wife is a vegetarian).

Meghan: What is the first book you remember reading?

Matt Scott: Top of my head- maybe those D+D Choose your own adventure books?

Meghan: What are you reading now?

Matt Scott: I just finished Sour by Tony Evans, Day Care by Tim Miller, and Room 23 by Pete Nunweiler and just started reading Bloodchild by Octavia E. Butler.

Meghan: What’s a book you really enjoyed that others wouldn’t expect you to have liked?

Matt Scott: Foolish Expectations by Alison Bliss

Meghan: What made you decide you want to write? When did you begin writing?

Matt Scott: I used to write stories in fourth grade and sell them at recess. I also wrote the lyrics down from songs on the radio and sold copies at school. I’ve always wanted to write. My mom was a big reader and she taught me the value of a good story.

Meghan: Do you have a special place you like to write?

Matt Scott: My office, at my desk. I carry notebooks around with me during the day, and I come home and put my notes or ideas on the laptop, adding to or revising whatever project I may be working on at the time.

Meghan: Do you have any quirks or processes that you go through when you write?

Matt Scott: I don’t outline, but I work a lot from my notes. I also print out all my research so I can have hard copies with me while I ‘m writing.

Meghan: Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

Matt Scott: Honestly – making something special – to stand out – to live on – to make something that means, matters, something important.

Meghan: What’s the most satisfying thing you’ve written so far?

Matt Scott: That’s not a very easy question. I’ve become attached to many projects over the years, not all of them great, but they have meant something to me. A poem I wrote after my mom died called – Night, Night, Beautiful – was inspired by my parents relationship and what my dad said at her bedside when she died. Another couple stories are Still Under and Asylum.

Meghan: What books have most inspired you? Who are some authors that have inspired your writing style?

Matt Scott: I really love Kerouac and Bukowski. I love their voice and style. And Poe. I’m a sucker for dark gothic horror.

Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?

Matt Scott: While I write mostly genre fiction, I think believable, relatable, fleshed out characters make for a better story.

Meghan: What does it take for you to love a character? How do you utilize that when creating your characters?

Matt Scott: A lovable character is a real one- one who is not perfect, who faces real trials, has real concerns and is true to their nature.

Meghan: Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Matt Scott: I have a character in a story called So Tired that I modeled loosely after myself. It has an emotional payoff at the end, so I really like his reaction.

Meghan: Are you turned off by a bad cover? To what degree were you involved in creating your book covers?

Matt Scott: I am, yes. A bad cover will make me skip right past it most times, unless I recognize the author. I have worked with Becky Narron from Terror Tract on both my book covers – I give her a general idea and she brings it home. She’s quite talented, love her designs.

Meghan: What have you learned throughout the process of creating your books?

Matt Scott: That I have much left to learn. I guess the biggest being, after you finish a draft, put it in a drawer for a while. Let yourself detach from it somewhat as it simmers, then go back to it with fresh eyes before sending it out into the world.

Meghan: What has been the hardest scene for you to write so far?

Matt Scott: I think every scene has its own difficulties, their own eccentricities. Hemingway was right, “writing is easy, you just sit down at your desk and bleed.”

Meghan: What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Matt Scott: My horror has been so far, for the most part, centered on human monsters; the evil shit that people do to one another, inexplicable, and with no remorse.

Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours?

Matt Scott: Titles for me, whether they are for a short story, collection, or larger stand-alone work, prove troublesome. Ii think a great title is important, I just tend be a little disappointed in some of mine. They could be better.

Meghan: What makes you feel more fulfilled: Writing a novel or writing a short story?

Matt Scott: I enjoy finishing what I start, it really gives me a sense of accomplishment, so short stories are completed more frequently. Having said that, I am on the cusp of completing my first novel, so I’ll let you know then. I have put together a collection of shorts, which was satisfying and a poetry collection, which I’m proud of.

Meghan: Tell us a little bit about your books, your target audience, and what you would like readers to take away from your stories.

Matt Scott: What I have sent out into the world at this point is geared toward a pretty big slice of readers- males, 18-45. My first collection of short stories, called Darkness Calling contains a sort of shock and awe TOC. The stories consist of malicious intent, betrayal, debauchery, deviancy, and good old fashion murder. Splatterpunk, to a small extent. Mine are a little tame compared to some, and that’s ok.

Meghan: I am always excited to get my hands on anthologies, especially ones from publishers that I have grown to trust. Tell us about Burnt Fur and your story in it.

Matt Scott: My story in Burnt Fur snuck up on me. It started out, believe or not, as a part of a longer stand-alone work aimed at a much younger audience – Think Babe, or Charlotte’s Web (yeah, I know). I morphed the story to fit the call actually. I had a solid character and a good protagonist, so I gave him anthropomorphic qualities and sent him to town. The result was bizarre, unexpected, funny, and horrifying – I was really quite happy with it.

Meghan: Can you tell us about some of the deleted scenes/stuff that got left out of your work?

Matt Scott: As I said, really everything outside the immediate scenario was cut out and the rating went from PG to… well, I don’t know what you would rate Oh Piggy, My Piggy.

Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?

Matt Scott: Right now I’m working on another collection of short stories (not quite as gory and graphic), three novels, another poetry book, and as mentioned earlier, my wife and I just started our own publishing company – Scover Publications LLC. I am really excited about all that’s going on right now, if not sometimes a little overwhelmed, but I’ll take that over the alternative.

Meghan: What can we expect from you in the future?

Matt Scott: Hopefully a few substantial novel length works, more literary than horror, as well as a new collection of shorts and some more poetry. Also looking forward to putting out titles by other authors.

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Matt Scott: Facebook ** Twitter **
Email (author) =
Email (publishing) =

Meghan: Do you have any closing words for your fans or anything you’d like to say that we didn’t get to cover in this interview?

Matt Scott: I would just like to say thank you, Meghan, for the chance to reach out and answer some very hard and intriguing questions. I appreciate the opportunity. I had a lot of fun and hope readers enjoy this and the upcoming Burnt Fur anthology from Blood Bound Books.

About the Book:
Sit. Roll over. Who’s a Good Boy?

There are no good boys in in this anthology, only twisted, deviant, and burnt encounters with pets, people in costume, animals who behave like humans, and creatures who blur the line between the three. Violent pigs, killer ducks, horny bees, a naughty rabbit, and many more fill these pages with tale after tail of hair-raising horror.

Don your Fursuit, slip into your Fursona, and ride the dark wave of horror that is Burnt Fur. You may never go back to wearing your normal skin again.

The Moon in Her Eyes by Sarah Hans
Mallard’s Maze by Joseph Sale
Salivation by Theodore Deadrat
The Hamford Pigs by N. Rose
The Willingness of Prey by Paul Allih
6 Dicks by Rachel Lee Weist
The Others by C.M. Saunders
Randall Rabbit by Elliot Arthur Cross
A Concubine for the Hive by Rue K. Poe
Five Nights with Teddy by Thurston Howl
Oh Piggy, My Piggy by Matt Scott
Ware the Deep by Stephanie Park
The Molt of a Diminishing Light by Michelle F. Goddard
The Victims by James L. Steele

About the Author: Matt Scott is the author of over two dozen published stories and two collections of short horror and poetry. His work has appeared in anthologies from Terror Tract, Deadman’s Tome, Infernal Ink Magazine, and Burnt Fur by Blood Bound Books. He recently began his foray into the world of publishing by launching his own press, Scover Publications LLC, something he is excited to learn from and grow. Matt lives in Central Indiana with his wife, Heather, and their ever growing gaggle of farmyard friends.

Halloween Extravaganza: INTERVIEW: Thomas S. Gunther

Meghan: Hi, Thomas. Welcome back to Halloween Extravaganza, and welcome to the new blog. It’s been awhile since we sat down together. What’s been going on since we last spoke?

Thomas S. Gunther: The big news is that I’ve taken a position as a columnist for Becky Narron’s brand new horror ezine, Terror Tract. Our first came out in October!

Meghan: Who are you outside of writing?

Thomas S. Gunther: Outside of writing, I live a fairly normal life. I’m married. I have kids, grandkids, a dog, etc. I have a regular job, though it is seasonal, working on a tree farm–it’s great working outside. I pay bills, have responsibilities. Pretty boring stuff like that. Writing, much like reading, is a form of escapism.

Meghan: How do you feel about friends and close relatives reading your work?

Thomas S. Gunther: Funny you should ask. A cousin told me awhile back she was purchasing a copy of Monsters vs. Nazis, an anthology from Deadman’s Tome, which includes a werewolf story I wrote. I never heard back from her, so decided to message her and ask. Nothing. Crickets. I’m sure she’s busy with everyday life, but it’s disconcerting. They say family are the worst critics. One learns to take it all with a grain of salt.

Meghan: Is being a writer a gift or a curse?

Thomas S. Gunther: There are days when I truly hate writing, and being the proverbial writer. Regardless of how much I love the craft, it’s still a lot of work. I am rarely happy with the results. I get picky, and often waste a lot of time like that, worrying about the perfect word or some iota of prose. It can be exhausting, often more taxing than the extremely physical work I do for a living.

Meghan: How has your environment and upbringing colored your writing?

Thomas S. Gunther: I think it’s impossible to write anything without some faction of my personal life finding its way in. I’ve never submitted it, but I have written a story based on some of the weirder childhood tales my mother has told me. Many of my stories, expressed or not, take place in Michigan, though I often take liberties with geography.

Meghan: What’s the strangest thing you have ever had to research for your books?

Thomas S. Gunther: Not sure if I could give you a straight answer. Often, when I am doing research, I find myself going off on tangents. Some discoveries help to shape a story, and add color or take it in new directions. Some find me wasting time and smoking cigarettes.

Meghan: Which do you find the hardest to write: the beginning, the middle, or the end?

Thomas S. Gunther: Oh, definitely the beginning. It’s part of getting started. In fact, my first article for Terror Tract touches on this.

Meghan: Do you outline? Do you start with characters or plot? Do you just sit down and start writing? What works best for you?

Thomas S. Gunther: Sometimes I outline. I’ll actually sit down, and scratch out bubble charts and the sort of stuff one learns in school. But most of the time–quite frequently–I just sit on a story, and mull it round in my head forever before I actually start typing.

Meghan: What do you do when characters don’t follow the outline/plan?

Thomas S. Gunther: (Snorts). That’s what makes writing fun!

Meghan: What do you do to motivate yourself to sit down and write?

Thomas S. Gunther: I go through a slew of thoughts, emotions, etc. Some writers can hold full-time jobs and write full-time while doing so, and many of them are far more prolific than I. Like my job, writing can be seasonal for me. I work in the warm months, and write in the cold. Spring and fall are transitional, or have been, for the last few years. I’m weird, I know.

Meghan: Are you an avid reader?

Thomas S. Gunther: Not as avid as I used to be. I have less time as I did when I was younger, when I devoured books. And while I read very well, I’m a slow reader. I guess, though, it’s because I want to savor every word, every paragraph. I can’t imagine life without reading, but I’ll never be able to read everything I hope to read. There are so many stories, so many books, and I just keep collecting!

Meghan: What kind of books do you absolutely love to read?

Thomas S. Gunther: Surprisingly, it wasn’t always horror. I have read a lot of science fiction and fantasy. A lot. But, most of the fiction I read now is from my writing peers, “horror” and related. There are some great writers in the market, and I think the ones I love the best are the ones who write the sort of stories I wished I had thought of.

Meghan: How do you feel about movies based on books?

Thomas S. Gunther: Meh. Depends on the book, the movie, etc.

Meghan: Have you ever killed a main character?

Thomas S. Gunther: If by main character you mean the protagonist, then “no,” I don’t think so. I love the element of hope.

Meghan: Do you enjoy making your characters suffer?

Thomas S. Gunther: Of course. There’s really no story worth reading or writing if the characters aren’t suffering from something.

Meghan: What’s the weirdest character concept that you’ve ever come up with?

Thomas S. Gunther: Some of my sillier stories involve characters with odd quirks or fetishes. I think most characters should be multi-faceted, to be more interesting and believable. One combination I tried was a werewolf who was not only a drunk, but he had a fear of heights. Not sure how well that actually worked out.

Meghan: What’s the best piece of feedback you’ve ever received? What’s the worst?

Thomas S. Gunther: I certainly love praise. Flattery will get you everywhere. But truly, the best feedback I’ve ever gotten has come from Clark Roberts. Not only because he’s, on more than one occasion, taken the time to say why he liked my work, but because I like his work. Getting feedback from another writer, particularly from one I admire, is a compliment. And, it’s encouraging. I love that I’ve come to be friends with several other writers in my field. There is a certain camaraderie. As far as the worst feedback is concerned, well, let’s just say crickets are the worst critics.

Thomas S. Gunther enjoys reading and writing fiction of all kinds, though he is partial to horror. Like the original American horror writer, Edger Allen Poe, he favors the short story over longer works, though he is currently working on a novel (or two), as well. Besides writing fiction, he is also a columnist for the new ezine, Terror Tract. During the summer months, he is employed as an aquatic transfer engineer on a tree farm, but also works as a writer/editor for occasional private clients. While his parents had hoped he would pursue his artistic talents, he chose to draw with words instead, having been inspired by various writers, including but not limited to, Jack London, Harlan Ellison, John Lindqvist, and Clive Barker. In turn, his work may be described as being a mix of brutality, dark humor, and the macabre. Several of his short stories have made it into print within the pages of various anthologies with indie publishers. When not working or writing, Thomas S. Gunther spends his days helping his beautiful wife around their home in Kalamazoo, MI, making sure the dog doesn’t eat the youngest grandson, eat the flowers, or dig up the cats buried in the backyard.

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