AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Brian Asman

Meghan: Hi, Brian! Welcome to Meghan’s House of Books. Thanks for agreeing to be a part of this year’s Halloween Extravaganza. What is your favorite part of Halloween?

Brian: Watching a spooky veneer slowly creep over my neighborhood, transforming a sun-drenched beach community into a real-life Halloweentown. I like to imagine it’s emanating from my house, where it’s Halloween 24/7.

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween tradition?

Brian: Making pumpkin spice everything and mainlining scary movies until my skin turns orange.

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

Brian: There are other holidays?

Meghan: What are you superstitious about?

Brian: Not sure if it’s superstitious per se, but super OCD about stepping on cracks. I don’t THINK anything bad is going to happen, it just bothers me.

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

Brian: Just one? Umm, as far as the big, iconic villains go it’s Michael Myers. The idea of someone who’s just a shell, no concept of empathy, walking around in the world? It’s scary because it’s true.

Meghan: Which unsolved murder fascinates you the most?

Brian: The Black Dahlia, by far. When I was a kid, I remember visiting my grandparents and finding this little digest-sized Unsolved Mysteries magazine in the grocery aisle. I even wrote a 300K word novel trying to puzzle out what ACTUALLY* happened.

*A ghost did it

Meghan: Which urban legend scares you the most?

Brian: That one about the escaped mental patient in the backseat. Graveyard hitchhiker, too. Basically anything with cars I guess!

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

Brian: I think I was five when I saw Killer Klowns from Outer Space. Scared the pants off me, and I didn’t sleep for days! Probably just a little older when I read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and same. I was a big ‘ole fraidy cat when I was a kid.

Meghan: Which horror novel unsettled you the most?

Brian: Oh boy, tough question—I’ve got to go with an old standby, Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door. The sheer callousness of everyone involved was incredibly disturbing, and knowing it was based on a true story just made the horror even more visceral. Fantastic book, not sure I’d want to read it again though.

Meghan: Which horror movie scarred you for life?

Brian: I mean, none? Killer Klowns was the first one and definitely shaped my trajectory!

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween costume?

Brian: I’ve had a bunch of fun ones, but the most unique one? One year I stapled a bunch of party hats, noisemakers, condoms, balloons, and a bunch of other shit to my jeans and went as a “Party In My Paints.” Even made up invitations and passed them out at the party.

No one RVSP’ed, womp womp.

Wish I could find pics of that one, here’s some favorites:

Meghan: What is your favorite Halloween-themed song?

Brian: Easy—“Halloween” by the Misfits. Although most of the music I listen to is Halloween-themed, I really dig psychobilly and horrorpunk!

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

Brian: Candy corn or mallowcreme pumpkins. Can’t say there’s one that’s really disappointing for me, I love it all!

Meghan: Thanks again for stopping by today! It was a total pleasure!! Before for you go, what are your top five Halloween movies?

Brian:
5. Tales of Halloween – so many fun segments! I’m especially enamored of “This Means War,” where two neighbors get into a Halloween scuffle, and “Grim Grinning Ghost,” where a young woman learns the truth behind an urban legend.

4. WNUF Halloween Special – Must be seen to be believed. Shot like a lost ’80s network TV special, complete with fake period poster. The amount of care and love that went into this thing is great, with some genuinely creepy moments.

3. Trick ‘R Treat – As you can tell, I really dig anthologies for my spooky season watching. Every piece here is super strong, cohesive, and Sam has become an absolute icon.

2. Halloween III: Season of the Witch – Tom Atkins! Celtic magic! Robots! What else do you want? The film that boldly diverged from the Michael Myers plotline, it’s definitely gained an appreciation over the years. Deservedly – Tom Atkins’ performance as Dr. Challis is fun, and the ending is gut-wrenching!

1. Halloween 1978 – The original. The grandaddy of them all. What else can I say? It’s amazing.


Boo-graphy:
Brian Asman is the author of I’m Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today from Eraserhead Press, Jailbroke from Mutated Media, and Nunchuck City. He’s recently published short stories in the anthologies Breaking Bizarro, Welcome to the Splatter Club, and Lost Films, and edited the parody anthology Boinking Bizarro. He also writes comics for the anthology series Tales of Horrorgasm.

Based in San Diego, he has an MFA from UCR-Palm Desert and a Halloween VI: The Curse of Michael Myers tattoo. He’s represented by Dunham Literary, Inc. Max Booth III is his hype man.

I’m Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today
A Bizarro fiction tribute to the Kevin Smith cult classic CLERKS.

After a killer surf session, Scot Kring stops into his local Fasmart for a delicious, icy Slushpuppy. But before he can leave, a homeless guy outside has a stroke and accidentally recites an ancient Latin phrase that summons a very hungry demon, who just so happens to look like filmmaker Kevin Smith.

Now Scot’s stuck in a time loop along with the other occupants of the convenience store who may or may not be demonically possessed and he’s fighting back with nothing but a fistful of greasy hot dogs and a souvenir Slushpuppy cup as the giant menacing kaiju Kevin Smith threatens to kill them all.

I’m Not Even Supposed to Be Here Today is a demon apocalypse comedy for the slacker generation.

Jailbroke
Future slacker Kelso’s got the easiest gig in the galaxy, working the Gordita Especial! pod on board an interstellar cruiser, although that doesn’t stop him from complaining about it to anyone who’ll listen.

Cyborg Security Officer Londa James spends her days wrangling idiot tourists and keeping an artificial eye out for any passengers or crew who might be on the verge of snapping from space sicknesses.

But after a colleague is brutally murdered, Kelso and James are going to have to work together if they want to survive! Man-eating machines, cybernetically-enhanced badasses, septuagenarian toddlers, an opioid algorithm-addicted bucket of bolts, a cult that worships the reincarnation of a 400-year-old God Genius, and one very unusual sex robot come together in JAILBROKE, a heartwarming/ripping tale about what it means to be human in a galaxy run by artificial intelligence.

Nunchuck City
You better nun-check yourself before you wreck yourself!

Disgraced ex-ninja Nunchuck “Nick” Nikolopoulis just wants to open a drive-thru fondue restaurant with his best friend Rondell. But when an old enemy kidnaps the mayor, and a former flame arrives in hot pursuit, Nick’s going to have to dust off his fighting skills and face his past. Plus an army of heavily-armed ninjas, a very well-dressed street gang, an Australian sumo wrestler with a gnarly skin condition, giant robots, municipal paperwork, and much, much more! From the rooftops to the sewers, Nick and his ex-girlfriend Kanna Kikuchi are in for the fight of their lives!

Halloween Extravaganza: INTERVIEW: Nikki Noir

Meghan: Hi, Nikki. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Nikki Noir: My name is Nikki and I am on a journey! Through a series of fortunate events, I discovered a sub-genre of horror that both horrifies and fascinates me. After thinking long and hard about it, I decided that I wanted to make a name for myself in this field of extreme horror and erotic fiction. So now I am spending all my free time reading and writing and documenting the journey on my website Redrum Reviews.

Meghan: What are you reading now?

Nikki Noir: I am about to embark on my first Stephen King book. The good people over at Books of Horror on FB have convinced me to read The Long Walk. Thankfully it’s a novella because the size of King’s books are daunting to me, and I’ve seen too many bad reviews of them to want to commit that kind of time on a lame book. I like my horror hard and fast, and they’ve convinced me that the Bachman books such as The Long Walk are perfect. We’ll see

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

Nikki Noir: The Greatest Salesman in the World. Very motivational and uplifting. About the exact opposite of horror.

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

Nikki Noir: I’ve always loved reading, but I never considered writing until just last year. I was given an extreme horror anthology as a gift and holy crap! I’ve read some graphic literature before, but some of these stories were utterly vile… And yet I read on. When I finished the book, I spoke with the publisher and did some research on the authors. That’s when the wheels in my head started spinning. By early in 2018 I found a mentor by pitching my Redrum Reviews idea and have been working on my craft since.

It’s been less than two years, so I’m still finding my voice and honing my style. But even as a newbie, my debut book Watchers of the Black Rite is getting some great early reviews. I really appreciate the constructive feedback everyone is giving me, and with continued mentoring, I’m hoping to get one of those cool extreme author nicknames. Nikki Noir Goddess of Gore has a nice ring to it—thanks to Chris Kosarich for the suggestion.

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

Nikki Noir: A warm bubble bath surrounded by candles.

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

Nikki Noir: Besides using a quill pen dipped in the blood of my male slaves, I wouldn’t say I have any quirks or process that differ greatly from other writers.

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

Nikki Noir: Only finding the time. I’ve gotten so many great story ideas in the last week alone, but it’s so hard to make time with the busy lives we all lead.

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

Nikki Noir: Well, since I’m new to the scene the most satisfying accomplishment so far is my novella Watchers of the Black Rite. It released on September 14th. The feedback has been phenomenal so far, and I am working on the sequel as we speak.

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

Nikki Noir: D.O.A. III – that anthology started it all. After that, I went right for the jugular when I started researching. Influences were Kristopher Triana, K.J. Moore, Wrath James White, and Ed Lee. They know what fans of this genre want to read and I tried to learn from their style, but put my own Nikki spin on it.

Meghan: What do you think makes a good story?

Nikki Noir: Quick-paced suspense, over the top violence, and sexual situations

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

Nikki Noir: Yes! I wish I wasn’t, but I totally am. For my book Watchers of the Black Rite, I bought stock art and worked with the artist to tweak it just a bit. The idea was all his though. I tried to be completely involved in the cover of my teaser Black Siren, but it didn’t come out quite as good as I’d hoped. Maybe I can get it redone in the future when I expand the series.

Another note on covers, there are times when I want super graphic art to convey what the story is about, but I know that in order to get paid marketing space, the cover can’t be too extreme. Since my covers may need to remain tame, I’m in the process of creating a sexy/evil logo with Rooster Republic as well as other artwork to help promote while still keeping the cover classy 😉

Meghan: What have you learned creating your books?

Nikki Noir: I’ve learned that readers never want to see an animal hurt. On my Amazon book description, I have the following line: “It all started when Bennet shot the owl with Tyler’s rifle. That was the moment they realized things are not what they seem in North Pine Woods.” However, it isn’t a real owl. It’s a hidden camera disguised as an owl. But since that wasn’t explained, the damage was done. I had at least one person publicly say they wouldn’t read the story because an owl was killed. Makes me wonder how many other people just ignored the book because of the description. I need to go back and update that Amazon description asap otherwise readers may skip over it without realizing that there’s no cruelty to animals at all in it… just human torture lol

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

Nikki Noir: The hardest scene was where a possessed guy is forcing himself onto a nineteen-year-old girl. Such a struggle to write, however, I promise it has a satisfying ending. I choose teen characters for this story, which made most of the violent scenes extremely difficult to write, but I really wanted to focus on young adults.

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

Nikki Noir: I’m really hoping that I can bring a new audience to extreme horror by marrying the feminine and masculine qualities of the genre. When I started following authors and publishers in this field, I heard a lot of complaints that extreme plots were all the same; mostly male fantasy torture porn. I have read nowhere near enough books to confirm or deny this claim, but I have seen plenty examples of the boring torture fantasy. However, I’ve also read a lot that of stories that were literary, engaging, and intelligent while still being vile. With that in mind, I worked a lot with my mentor/editor to create something that has sex and torture split equally against men and women lol. I hope that is what makes my work stand out. To steal the Dove line is “Strong enough for a man but made for a woman.”

Meghan: How important is the book title, how hard is it to choose the best one, and how did you choose yours (of course, with no spoilers)?

Nikki Noir: Titles are important, but for me, they’re the hardest part of writing besides finding the time to write. Honestly, the title Watchers of the Black Rite was not planned at the start. When I finished the outline draft, I still had no clue what it should be called. Then one day it just came to me while doing the dishes.

Previously, I had a novelette teaser titled Black Siren. I wasn’t consciously aware about the reoccurring color at the time. Black Siren was so named because the powerful substance in the book looks like black sludge; it also calls to people like the mischievous harpies of the ocean lured in sailors. And like those deadly sea sirens, if you succumb to the call of the sludge, you’re gonna have a bad time.

Once I noticed the ‘Black’ theme, I decided to dub the series Black Planet—inspiration from a Sisters of Mercy song. The sequel that’s in the works is called Black Celebration, another fantastic song.

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

Nikki Noir: This early in my career, even completing a blog post makes me feel fulfilled! Haha.

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

Nikki Noir: My Black Planet series dabbles with twists on extreme horror while remaining an occult thriller at heart. The idea came about in early 2019 when I wrote a short story about an alien parasite that, when living inside a human host creates a powerful aphrodisiac in the person’s bloodstream. Foolish cartel connections have discovered how to harness the ecstasy-like drug and are attempting to introduce it the general population. It was originally called “Meat Triangle” and like a newb, I submitted the story to a publisher almost immediately after writing it. Turns out the story wasn’t ready to be submitted. After several revisions, I had something I’m more proud of. The story, now titled “Grinder”, will appear in K. Trap Jones’s anthology Welcome to the Splatter Club.

While revising Grinder, I got the idea for another powerful liquid-like substance, but this one is slightly different. I’m very much into metaphysical ideas and questioning the nature of our reality. I believe there is a very thin line that separates science from occult philosophies of old and that played into this new idea that developed into the Black Planet series. Instead of the substance being in the blood, it’s a byproduct of interdimensional travel. Almost like ectoplasm with ghosts. Proximity rather than ingestion is what affects an individual. This residue which is the consistency of glue or molasses still drives your emotional state, but now it’s not only in lust—like Grinder. The glue in Black Planet amplifies the negative qualities of your shadow and attracts more dark entities to your life like an interdimensional beacon.

Watchers of the Black Rite begins with the discovery of an ancient structure buried in North Pine Woods. As dark agencies experiment with the esoteric find, this black interdimensional glue begins seeping into our reality. Now, strange things are happening in the town of Shale just outside the woods. Missing teenagers, robotic owls, and shared nightmares of an alien craft will alter forever the future of Shale and its residents.

Meghan: What is in your “trunk”?

Nikki Noir: I started some bizarro erotica stories that I want to circle back to. But looking at my immediate schedule, the erotica probably won’t be ready to hit the sheets until 2021.

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

Nikki Noir: I’d like to release the next book in the Black Planet series by January of 2020. I’m also in the process of a very exciting collaborative project. I’m working with S.C. Mendes on a very disturbing book called Lockdown. Yes, it takes place at a public high school, but it has nothing to do with school shootings. Instead, a rash of student deaths have a community on high alert. Everyone wants to help the children yet no one can figure out the link between the tragedies. As the school, community, and town disintegrate the deadly connection becomes clear to a young lady named PJ, but it may be too late to save the next victim.

Meghan: Where can we find you?

Nikki Noir: Redrum Reviews ** Goodreads ** Amazon

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?

Nikki Noir: As a newbie, I need all the help I can get spreading the news about my work, so thank you for having me on your blog! If anyone enjoys my work, or even if you don’t, please take a moment to leave a review or just a rating on your favorite media outlet for books. Honest feedback is helpful and I appreciate it!

Nikki Noir writes erotic thrillers, extreme horror, and bizarre plotlines. She enjoys reviewing all forms of dark fiction and fashion at her website Redrum Reviews.

Black Planet 0: Black Siren

Lilly Gomez has three days to raise five thousand dollars.

If she fails, the mob will put out a hit on her. But in order to earn money that fast, her legal options are limited. When erotic photoshoots and soft-core films can’t materialize the money she needs quick enough, Lily is forced to ask her ex-boyfriend for help. Unfortunately, Brent Hardy has a dark side and his brand of “help” sends Lily into a life and death game of bizarre drugs, mobsters, and magick.

Black Siren is an erotic novelette serving as foreplay for a much deeper fantasy. The sexy horror-thriller series begins with Watchers of the Black rite which released Sept. 14th 2019.

Black Planet 1: Watchers of the Black Rite

Dark Occultists. An Ancient Discovery. Metaphysical Horror

When a bizarre structure is discovered under a cabin in North Pine Woods, deep-state agents quickly move in to secure the location. They conduct an investigation of the cryptic symbols and strange geometry of the stone. As a result of their experiments, the veil between our world and another is pierced, and a powerful substance begins to seep into the woods.  Crime, shared nightmares, and lustful possessions grip the nearby town of Shale as the metaphysical substance grows stronger.

After Haley Morgan and her brother Tyler stumble into the conspiracy, they are marked by the watchers. Now, the nineteen-year-old, home from her first semester at NAU, is the only one who can save her family from the evil affecting their lives.

Sex, murder, and glue abound in this occult thriller from extreme horror author Nikki Noir.