<![CDATA[Ginger Nuts of Horror - WiHM]]>Thu, 14 Dec 2017 10:53:06 +0000Weebly<![CDATA[MOTHERHOOD OF THE MONSTROUS: KAARON WARREN]]>Mon, 17 Apr 2017 23:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/wihm/motherhood-of-the-monstrous-kaaron-warren
Motherhood of the Monstrous returns with an article from Kaaron Warren, whose novel The Grief Hole has just won  the Best Horror Novel category in the 2016 Aurealis Awards.  

The judges stated that The Grief Hole "...is an intelligent, haunting and exquisitely horrific novel that unanimously and unequivocally impressed the entire panel in all areas of the judging criteria, and which will no doubt become a highly regarded touchstone of Australian horror."

Kaaron Warren has been publishing horror and science fiction for more than 20 years. She’s won awards close to home (the Canberra Critics Circle Award) and far away (the Shirley Jackson Award).
Kaaron Warren has lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Fiji. She’s sold more than 200 short stories, four novels (the multi-award-winning SlightsWalking the Tree and Mistification and her latest novel , The Grief Hole , which launched at the Canberra Writers Festival)  and six short story collections including the multi-award-winning Through Splintered Walls.

Kaaron was written an article about the two female writers who have had the biggest impact on her as a writer....


Kirstyn McDermott
 
I first met Kirstyn McDermott when she edited a story I wrote for a now-defunct horror magazine. She gave me some sage advice about a particular scene in “A Positive”, set in a B&D club. She told me to write it not as a tourist, a staring, giggling sightseer, but as someone who wanted to be there, who got the scene and loved it.

She was right.

I see this attitude in all of her stories, which is one reason I admire her so much as a writer. She tells awful stories from the inside, making us feel as if we belong at the heart of it.

When I was judge for the Australian Shadows Award, I gave it to her story “She Said” because of this ‘insider view’. I also awarded her the prize because of her other great skill; characterisation. In this story as in all of her work, the depth of character is so great I cared about them in a few thousand words.

Kirstyn has a keen eye for the visceral and a way of getting under your skin. Her language is beautiful in places, stark in others. In the latest story I’ve read of hers, “Accidents Happen” in the Fablecroft anthology “In Your Face”, she writes from the point of view of a deeply unpleasant person, as she often does. By the end of the story, somehow she’s twisted us into feeling for him. We know him so well, he’s like the neighbour who won’t bring his bin in but thanks you nicely when you do it for him. It’s gut-punching stuff.

All of these means that Kirstyn McDermott is a writer I’ll turn to first in any anthology.
 
Celia Fremlin
 
I first read Celia Fremlin when I was about 15. I’d just roared through the Flowers in the Attic series, which I adored at the time because of the number of taboos it broke through. I was looking for my next favourite (after Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie) when I found Celia Fremlin's short story collection “By Horror Haunted” in my local library. It was a Gollancz yellow hardback, something I’d already identified as ‘books I might like’.

I loved it. I couldn’t believe how dark the stories were, and how unmanageable her characters. There were no happy endings, no tying up of loose ends. There were women caught in a domestic trap, desperate to escape, and of the choices they made.
 
Her obituary is here. https://www.theguardian.com/theguardian/2009/sep/06/celia-fremlin-obituary I love that her niece talks about how often her short stories were rejected when she submitted them to women’s magazines! Fremlin’s stories are not comfortable reads. She explores elements of human nature many would prefer to ignore, and she opened my eyes to a way of story telling I still admire; the gentle way. She is never extreme in her descriptions, leaving you with a dark shadow, an impression, that doesn’t lift easily.


Kaaron Warren has been publishing horror and science fiction for more than 20 years. She’s won awards close to home (the Canberra Critics Circle Award) and far away (the Shirley Jackson Award).
Kaaron Warren has lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Fiji. She’s sold more than 200 short stories, four novels (the multi-award-winning Slights, Walking the Tree and Mistification and her latest novel , The Grief Hole , which launched at the Canberra Writers Festival)  and six short story collections including the multi-award-winning Through Splintered Walls.
She recently completed a Fellowship at the Museum of Australian Democracy, where she researched murder, politics and art.
You can find her at kaaronwarren@wordpress.com and on Twitter @KaaronWarren
The Grief Hole: https://ifwgaustralia.com/title-the-grief-hole-trade-paperback/
The Grief Hole, an Artist’s Sketchbook: https://ifwgaustralia.com/tag/the-grief-hole/
Cemetery Dance Select: Kaaron Warren http://www.cemeterydance.com/cemetery-dance-select-kaaron-warren-ebook.html
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<![CDATA[MOTHERHOOD OF THE MONSTROUS: AMANDA J SPEDDING]]>Wed, 29 Mar 2017 08:22:58 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/wihm/motherhood-of-the-monstrous-amanda-j-speddingBY AMANDA J SPEDDING 
As we approach April our celebration of women in horror continues on its march to bring to your attention some of the female writers we should all be paying attention to.  Today we welcome Amanda J Spedding The Motherhood of The Monstrous.  

Amanda J Spedding is an editor, proofreader and award-winning author and comic writer whose stories have been published in local and international markets earning honourable mentions and recommended reads. She won the 2011 Australian Shadows Award (short fiction) for her steampunk-horror, ‘Shovel-Man Joe‘, and the 2015 Australian Shadows Award (written work in a graphic novel) for her comic, ‘The Road to Golgotha‘. 


She is a freelance editor, and also the editor-in-chief for Cohesion Press. Between bouts of said editing, she is writing (and rewriting) her first novel – an apocalyptic horror. And short stories, oh how she loves her short stories.
Amanda lives in Sydney with her sarcastically-gifted husband and two very cool kids. And cats. Of course she has cats.

 
I’ve been writing horror for almost eight years, editing it for about five, but when did the appeal of horror really start? I like to blame my father because he hates when I do so, but this was the man who read Poe to me as a child (nicely balanced with my mother’s reading of Dr Seuss). My dad read all the classics to me, and one of those was Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.  

I remember being curled up in bed, covers pulled up to my nose as his voice transported me into the pages, into the story, into nightmares. I also remember Mum rousing on him for reading me the story because I spent the next few weeks sleeping between them.

While Mary Shelley was the first female horror/sci-fi writer brought to my attention, I’d actually like to talk about another, lesser-known writer – Waif Wander. Hers is an incredible story, and for me, highlights the plight of women writers that to some extent still exists today.

Irish born Waif Wander (aka Mary Fortune, 1833-1910) migrated to Australia from Canada 1851, and was one of the first female detective writers in the world (the first in Australia). She was a prolific writer of poems and short stories, but her gender precluded her from being published under her given name.  But The Australian Journal published almost everything she wrote under her pseudonym – Waif Wander or W.W.

So closely guarded was her privacy, it wasn’t until the 1950s that her real identity was discovered. Under the name Waif Wander, The Australian Journal published the first Australian ‘vampire’ tale, and what an incredible story The White Maniac: A Doctor’s Tale (1867). While not a ‘true’ vampire in the Hollywood sense of the word, it’s a bleak and cut-off world filled with madness and different yet no-less-compelling view of vampirism.

This tale was published 150 years ago, and Ms Fortune had long since passed, anonymous, because a woman writing horror at that time was almost an egregious sin. We’ve come a long way, sure, and there are some truly amazing women horror writers making the world sit up and take notice, but we’re still fighting the stereotypes, misgivings, and flat out bullshit that sometimes comes with writing horror while swinging the X chromosomes.

And one writer I believe everyone should be reading is New Zealander, Lee Murray. Not only is Lee one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, she’s one hell of a writer. Her ability to weave horror – both subtle and gut-punching – will transport even the most cynical of readers.

Lee first came to my attention with her novel, Into the Mist (Cohesion Press). A military horror creature-feature tale set in the wilds of New Zealand, with a monster ripped straight from Māori legend. It was incredibly refreshing to read a story that incorporated a sadly under-represented culture in fiction. It’s brutal, it’s gory, and when the chase is on, you’re on the edge of your seat.

There’s a lot to Into the Mist. It incorporates the Māori culture and history, the landscape is rugged and beautiful, and her characters are as real as you and I. So much so that the book made it to the preliminary ballot of this year’s Bram Stoker Awards. There’s a seamlessness with her storytelling, and the woman sure as hell knows how to put the horror into horror.

I can’t recommend her work enough. And there are a plethora of female writers out there who should be read: Kaaron Warren, Cat Sparks, Kirsten Cross, Christine Morgan, Angela Slatter, Yvonne Navarro, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Maria Lewis, Joanne Anderton, Thoraiya Dyer, Rivqa Rafael, Kirstyn McDermott… the list goes on.

There’s diversity here, a way of telling stories that’s unique. And women? Oh, we know horror.  
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<![CDATA[MOTHERHOOD OF THE MONSTROUS: PRIYA SHARMA]]>Mon, 20 Mar 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/wihm/motherhood-of-the-monstrous-priya-sharma
​Ginger Nuts of Horror continues its mission to highlight some of the finest female horror writers working in the genre today.  

Today we welcome Priya Sharma to talk about the writers who she thinks we should all be paying attention to.  

Priya Sharma’s fiction has appeared in Albedo OneInterzoneBlack Static and on Tor.com. She’s been anthologised in several of Ellen Datlow’s  Best Horror of the Year series, Paula Guran’s Year’s Best Dark Fantasy & Horror series, Jonathan Strahan’s The Best Science Fiction & Fantasy 2014, Steve Haynes’ Best British Fantasy 2014 and Johnny Main’s Best British Horror 2015. She’s been on several Locus’ Recommended Reading Lists. Her story “Fabulous Beasts” was Shirley Jackson Award nominated and won a British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction. In 2017 new work will be found in anthologies, “Black Feathers” and “Mad Hatters and March Hares”. An anthology of her own work will be published in 2018 by Undertow Publications.

You can find out more about Priya by following these two links 


www.priyasharmafiction.wordpress.com

Priya Sharma’s Amazon Page

THEN 

 
“The Bloody Chamber” by Angela Charter made me want to write but I’ve chosen Jeanette Winterson for this, as she’s someone who’s had a huge influence on how I’d like to write.

All good stories contain truths. You know they’re there, even if you’re not sure where they are exactly. It’s well known that “Oranges are Not the Only Fruit”, the story of an adopted girl growing up with a fearsome evangelical mother in Lancashire, is semi-autobiographical. When I read it in my late teens it seemed remarkable to me for the direct writing style and frankness about difficult family dynamics, sexuality, coming of age and love, all topped off with a dose of the Bible and magical realism. It stinks of truth. And it taught me there’s no such thing as gay or straight fiction, just well and badly written books.

I love Winterson because she’s never shackled by genre rules or linear narratives. “Sexing the Cherry” features orphaned Jordan, who’s taken in by the larger-than-life Dog Woman. It riffs on fairy tales. It time shifts. “Written on the Body” is a story of love and grief, but our protagonist isn’t identified as male or female. In “Weight” she deconstructs the myth of Atlas to explore our own histories and how we can reinvent them.

I was curious to see what she’d do for her novel “The Daylight Gate” for Hammer, about the Pendle Witch Trials. She doesn’t redress the terrible crimes against these men and women but does what she does best. Telling stories. She reinvents Alice Nutter as a rich widow who rides a horse like a man, whose face never ages and who has both male and female lovers, in a heady mix that includes Dr Dee, Shakespeare, the Gun Powder Plot and fiercely Protestant England intent on routing Catholics (“Witchery popery popery witchery. What’s the difference?”). Winterson’s language is pared down, which makes the inability of human flesh to withstand hot pokers and the trauma of rape even more sickening. The supernatural is made real. And love, there’s love there too, and astonishment at the world.

Her work as a body explores the concepts of time and space within stories and life, but I feel she’s telling her own truths, be they of orphaned children and their parents, of loving, of trying to find your place in the world, and it’s this that raises trickery to art. It’s because of Jeanette Winterson that when I write I try to ensure there’s blood on the page. Normally it’s my own.

 http://www.jeanettewinterson.com/
 
 
 
The baby was the best thing he’d ever found. And she was such a good girl—quiet and still. Mikkel had taken a few minutes to hold her in the warmth beside the incinerator, cuddling her close and listening to the gobble and clack of her strange yellow beak.



AND NOW 


 
Apologies if this looks like a roll call. Singling out one writer to watch has been hard. There’s plenty of excellent writing around, whatever your tastes. Excellent novels by the likes of Nina Allan, Sarah Pinborough, Aliette de Boddard  and Alison Littlewood are in mainstream bookshops. V.H Leslie isn’t far behind with “Bodies if Water”. Thana Niveau, Laura Mauro and Rosanne Rabinowitz are always interesting. I was delighted to see “White Rabbit” by Georgina Bruce (Black Static 50) get a mention in The Guardian and Lynda Rucker win a Shirley Jackson Award. Also, Cate Gardner for her double nomination in last year’s British Fantasy Award List. My favourite piece by her is still “This Foolish and Harmful Delight” from “The Transfiguration of Mr Punch”, as it typifies what I think she does best- violence with an absurdist sense of humour. I found a lot to admire in Tracy Fahey’s collection, “The Unheimlich Manoeuvre” as she’s a keen observer of the minutiae of life. Carole Johnstone delivers great horror with a modern Scottish gothic sensibility, especially “Wet Work” (Black Static 52).

If I’m going to be pinned down to one writer, I’d say it’s been a stellar year for Canadian author Kelly Robson. Her first story was published in 2015 in Clarkesworld. Since then she’s been nominated for a Nebula Award, Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, Sunburst Award, World Fantasy Award and won an Aurora Award.  She’s been reprinted in the year’s best anthologies edited by Jonathan Strahan, Gardner Dozois, Paula Guran, Neil Clarke, and Alan Kaster.

The first story I read by her was “Waters of Versailles” (Tor.com). What first appears as a frothy whimsy about a social climber at Versailles who engineers the plumbing using a captured water spirit is actually a touching story about ambition versus responsibility. Those themes of parental love are also to be found in “Two Year Man” (Asimov’s). It’s a beautiful and affecting story about a caretaker who takes home a mutated baby to his wife. Our protagonist, a two year man, is heart wrenching in his simplicity, as is his love for these unwanted babies who are grown in a lab and doomed to be destroyed for their freakishness.  

Other examples of her work are more challenging.  “The Three Resurrections of Jessica Churchill” (Clarkesworld), is a scifi/horror, rooted in real events of violence towards women. Some readers may be perplexed by the structure and time shifting but I was intrigued by it. Another story of hers that lingered is “A Human Stain” (Tor.com).  It’s Gothic but the horror element has a modern sensibility, it being far more bold and graphic than I expected. It was unpleasant in a delicious way and made me want to put a hand over my mouth. Read it to see what I mean. It also highlighted how assured and deft she is as a writer and how funny she is too, which put me in mind of the humour I see in some of Cate Gardner’s work.

I find her quite demanding of her readers, which not everyone will like, but I enjoy her assured style and how her stories change as I consider them. I’m interested to see what she’ll do next.
http://kellyrobson.com/
 
Thanks to Jim Mcleod for including me here and supporting both women and men in horror all the year round.
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Fabulous Beasts by Priya Sharma is a horror novelette about a strange woman living in luxury with her lover, but irrevocably tied to her childhood of deprivation and dark secrets in northwest England. The woman recalls the unravelling of the family upon her uncle's release from prison.

At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

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<![CDATA[MOTHERHOOD OF THE MONSTROUS: AN INTERVIEW WITH JESS-O-LANTERN ]]>Mon, 13 Mar 2017 06:54:30 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/wihm/motherhood-of-the-monstrous-an-interview-with-jess-o-lantern
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Motherhood of the Monstrous welcomes back Jess-O-Lantern to the fold for an indepth interview, about horror, music and life on the road.  

Jess-O-Lantern is a spooky-singer-songwriter, originally from the small town of Ocala, FL and now lives in New York City. She grew up on a diet of 50's Rock n' Roll and Cabaret Showtunes, then when she was 12 years old she was given her first mixtape, introducing her to punk, hardcore, and Horror Punk. Also at the age of 12 she started playing guitar, and began writing her own songs. 

So far she has had a long journey of performing solo acoustic shows (billing under her full name), fronted several different bands (from dance-pop-punk, to acoustic two-piece duos, to alternative, to horrorpunk), all before deciding to pursue "Jess-O-Lantern" as her primary focus.

With her love for all things horror and Halloween, coupled with her ten years of professional Haunted House experience, the spooky stage presence and vivid Halloween themes became an obvious choice. 
Hello Jess, how are things with you?  
 
Things are good! I'm happy I got the chance to talk with you guys! 


 
How did a girl from the swamps of Florida become a horror punk maiden?  
 
When I was 12 I started playing guitar and writing songs. When I turned 18 I  
was old enough to audition for Halloween Horror Nights in Orlando, FL and my first job 
became scaring people. I loved being Scare Actor, and it was during that time in my life 
 that I truly fell in love with all things Horror. Over the last ten years, after being in 
several bands and working in several Haunted Attractions, I realized that the best way 
to join my two loves of music and horror would be through "Jess-O-Lantern" and truly 
devoting myself to living every day like its Halloween. 


Is there anything you miss about living in Florida?


              Of course! I was born and raised in Florida, and spent 8 years living in Orlando. I  
              spent half that time on a Rocky Horror Picture Show shadow-cast called "The Rich 
              Weirdoes" and I grew closer to my cast than my own family. I miss my Weirdo Family. 
              As well as my friends in the theatre and music scene. But I also miss the weather, and  
              Publix Subs! (Publix is an EPIC grocery store chain, and they don't have them in NYC. 
              I know it seems silly to miss a sandwich, but they are heaven.) 
  
When did you start playing music, and can you remember the first song you learned to play?
 
              I started playing guitar and writing at 12, and played my first "show" at 14. (My high   
             school Freshman talent show. I almost didn't go on I was so nervous.) As for the first 
             song I learned to play, it's hard for me to recall. I know I played a lot of MxPx and Green 
              Day songs when I first started. I think I taught myself how to play the entire "Dookie" 
              album. But I can't recall which song I learned first. 
 
Like me, you would have missed the first wave of punk as it hit the public consciousness how did you get into punk music?  And what was the one song that really made you sit up and listen?


             I had a few close friends when I was in middle school who I really looked up to. One of           
            them made me a mix tape of AFI, MxPx, and Minor Threat. I was about 13, and I was in  
           LOVE with these bands. (AFI is still to this day my favorite band.) My favorite track on the 
           mix was AFI's "God Called In Sick Today". That song stuck with me. It's hard to describe 
           why. I know it's not a "punk song", but it was more like a "gateway drug" into the genre 
            for me. I also listened to a lot of ska and ska-punk back then as well, so it was all a 
            natural progression. I also went to as many local shows as I could and Ocala, FL had a 
            pretty decent local punk and hardcore scene back then. 


What are the musicians playing now that you think we should listen to?


         Most of my friends are musicians, so I think you should listen to them! Firstly, Devil in 
          The Belfry! (They are wonderful fellas and they were the backing band on most of the 
          songs on my "Rest in Pumpkins" album.) But also, some of my current favorites are 
          Stellar Corpses, The Long Losts, Voltaire, Argyle Goolsby and The Roving Midnight, The 
          Cryptkeeper Five, and PAIN! 
 
And if you could play live with any musician who would it be and what song of theirs would you cover?
 
               I would LOVE to play live with Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls. She has been 
              a big inspiration for me over the years, and she has such a raw and powerful live show. 
              As for covering her songs, "Girl Anachronism" has always been one of my favorites, but 
              I'd love to cover "The Bed Song". It really resonates with me. 
 
And Horror, you don't seem to be attracted to the mainstream, what is it about the horror genre that appeals to you?
 


                 Yeah, I'm not attracted to the mainstream at all. I have never been a child of        
                that world. I find more comfort in spooky, weird, and scary things. The thing about the 
                horror genre that appeals to me most is that among all genres of art/music/film, horror 
                seems to be one of the most powerful as far as human connection. Fear is such a 
                universally known experience, and cuts deep into the human condition. There are so 
                many different phobias, and ways to explore those fears. In addition, acknowledging 
                ones own mortality the way that the horror genre does, can be an empowering 
                experience. Taking the parts of life we fear, such as death, monsters, or anxieties, and  
                turning them into art. While no one is able to cheat death, perhaps being a horror fan 
                enables us to not fear death as much. 
 
What would be your desert island horror film and book?  What book and film would you consign to the closet never to be heard of again?
 
               I love Neil Gaiman, and it's a toss up between "Neverwhere" and "The Graveyard  
               Book". I love everything he writes though. And "Evil Dead 2" is probably my choice of 
               film. It's just perfect. It's possibly my all time favorite horror film. (As for your other 
               question, I don't feel like any literature or films  should be cast away. Even the worst of 
               the worst still holds some value even if just to those who created the art. So to be 
               honest, I wouldn't choose any to be cast off forever.) 
 
There are a lot of misconceptions, even now, about punk music, what is the biggest misconception about it that really gets on your nerves?


               I think the biggest misconception about punk that is that punk has to be "presented" a 
              certain way. Yes, the whole mohawks-fast-and-loud-3-chord-punk is awesome and will 
              reign supreme for most people. But punk has progressed so much over the years. I 
              consider my music to be of the genre "acoustic horrorpunk" but "horrorpunk" also has 
              subcategories just as punk does. For me, it's about not conforming to what is expected, 
              especially of a little girl like me. It's perfectly fine for some girls to sing acoustic songs 
              about their ex-boyfriends, or butterflies, or whatever. (More power to you girl!) But I'd 
              rather sing about ghosts, monsters, and horror movies. 
 
We have just come to the end of the official Women in Horror Month, which, for those who don't know, is the movement to bring awareness to the fact that women do in fact write horror and redress the balance.  Is this something that you have come across regarding your musical career?  Do you feel there are barriers to your success from just being a woman?
 
                        It's an odd double edged sword. There are plenty of women in Horrorpunk, but I 
                      don't know of many other solo artists, especially acoustic, that are in this specific 
                      genre. While I have been given a lot of great opportunities thus far, I never once 
                      felt that my being a women has created any barriers to my success. But, it HAS 
                      given me some complications along the way with venues thinking I'm a fan trying 
                      to get into the show early, or I'm someone's girlfriend/merch girl/ groupie instead 
                      of actually playing the show. Which has obviously been frustrating, and an 
                      unfortunately common happenstance among my fellow female entertainers. But 
                      every time that's happened, after my set, who ever made those assumptions 
                      about me, they always come up and apologize. It's interesting to watch how 
                      people's attitudes change. 


It feels like now more than ever; we need strong independent women in the music scene how do you feel about this ever increasing move where female performers are nothing more than mannequins from which hand unneeded sexual fantasies?


                        That concept of female performers being "sexual object mannequins" is an 
                      unfortunate pattern all throughout the history of women being on the stage. Dating  
                      all the way back to Shakespeare's time, when women were not permitted to 
                      perform because it was considered inappropriate. (Many also assumed that any 
                      women on stage was a prostitute.) So this stigma goes back quite a long way. But 
                      today I feel that the empowerment of women to turn that around, and use it to their 
                      benefit has created an army of strong independent women. Women who own their 
                      sexuality and choose to either express as little or as much as they feel they need 
                      or want to express. I feel that is healthy. Our body, our choice. It's only when the 
                      public takes advantage of that where we begin to have an issue. I encourage all 
                      women to express themselves freely and feel confident with the power that they 
                      possess. As long as they respect themselves. If you respect yourself first, it will 
                      demand respect from others.  
 
 
I know is a cliched question, but I am fascinated by the creative process, how do you go about writing your songs?
 
                 It varies. I used to be old fashion, and I had to sit down with my guitar     
                  and a notebook and start from scratch. But over the years, songs sometimes come 
                  to me in fragments. Melodies, or lyrics, in bits and pieces. I try to either record them 
                  into a voice memo (which that's always funny in public, humming indiscriminately  
                  into my phone or iPad), or I take down lyrics into the notepad app on my phone. 
                  Several of my most recent songs started as fragments in my notepad app. I would 
                  be riding the subway on my morning commute and then an idea would pop up, so I 
                  would write it down in my phone for later. Then when I get the chance to sit down 
                  with my guitar, I find myself scrolling through my phone and surrounded by notes, 
                  napkins, and other assorted scraps of paper, and I piece together the songs 
                from there. But there are still times when songs come out in one sitting, just more rare 
                for me now a days with my busy schedule. 
 
And what do you find to be the hardest part of the process?


                Honestly, finding the TIME to have the process is the hardest part. Like I said before, 
                my schedule sometimes prevents me from getting the proper chance to sit down with 
                my ideas and write. It takes planning ahead, which is unfortunate, because it's not like 
                you can schedule when inspiration will strike. So, I try my best to find a balance and 
                give myself as much time as I can.
 
Do you use the process as some sort of therapy, your song Corpse Revival especially seems to be directed at something specific?
 
               The songwriting process is therapeutic, but generally my songs are not about people 
               in my life or specific real life situations. There are a few subtle exceptions though. As 
               for "Corpse Revival" it's probably not about what you'd expect. I wrote that song on my 
               computer at my desk when I was working in my first (and only) corporate office job. I 
               was a receptionist in NYC....and I hated EVERYTHING about it. And one day, when I 
               realized how much I did not feel like myself, when I felt like I had been trying to be 
               what this new strange corporate monster wanted me to be, and when my boss had 
               been particularly nasty to me for no reason...I imagined what it would be like to get 
               revenge. I wrote "Corpse Revival" as a poem originally, not expecting it to turn into a 
               song. But it ended up being my first true-to-form "horrorpunk song", and it also 
               motivated me to continue writing songs in the genre. 


Could ever do a Taylor Swift and write an album which basically makes digs at the past relationships?
 
              I have nothing against Taylor Swift, but I could never do that. For multiple reasons.         
              Aside from the damage that it could do to the person the songs are about, it's also 
              just a cliche topic to write about. EVERYONE has written songs about heartbreak, and 
              failed relationships, and that's perfectly fine for some people, but it's not at all for me. 
              Like I said before, I don't write about my personal life like that. I look at my songs like 
              fictional horror stories, and I am not a character in them. At the very minimal, I draw 
              from emotions I may have felt but I turn the entire situation into a different context. (Like    
              above, I don't ACTUALLY want to bury my ex-boss alive. But it was fun to write a horror 
              story about that emotion.) As for the romantic side though, I would never write a song 
              that "makes a dig" at any one from my past relationships. I have learned lessons from    
              every one in my life, and I have always believed in being respectful and civil, even 
              under the worst of endings. Life is too short to hold grudges. 
 

Your version of the acoustic one woman sound is pretty unique, have you ever considered going for big band sound?  
                  Thank you! I have considered it. And my most recent album "Rest In Pumpkins" is a 
                 studio album with MOSTLY full-band songs. (Provided by the bands Devil in The 
                 Belfry, and Vonesper). But at this point in my career, I'm still exploring how far I can 
                take the "one woman show". I have not had too many situations where I couldn't get 
                booked with other horrorpunk bands or full line ups just because I was a solo acoustic 
                performer. So, I'm content with keeping Jess-O-Lantern solo for now. But yes,   
                someday I will welcome on a full line up for my live shows.
 
These days life on the road is just as important as recording for a musician, how much of your time you spend on the road?
 
                   While I have played in New York City, Upstate New York, New Jersey, and 
                   Pennsylvania, I have actually never been "on tour"! Not yet at least! I do have mini-
                   tour planned for  a few days in April with fellow New Yorker's The Cuts and The 
                   Katelyn Richards Band. Going to a few different cities in New York and 
                   Pennsylvania. In April I will also be playing a show with The Undead and PAIN! in 
                   Maryland. But isn't a "tour". It is nice to get out of state and play new places though! 
                   I hope to go on a full tour someday soon. I recently got my passport, and I've 
                   actually never been anywhere outside of The United States. So it's certainly in my 
                   plans and efforts for the near future! 


 Are you one of these musicians that only ever truly feel alive on the stage?


                  Yes and no. While my background is in Theatre Performance, I'm a pretty awkward 
                  gal in real life. In between songs, I tend to get in my head and nervous, and babble 
                  and say silly or embarrassing things that I usually regret after the show. But the 
                  moment that I start a song, or if I'm in the middle of a soaring note, sometimes, 
                  under the right circumstances, it's euphoric. I have had my share of difficult times in 
                  my life, but every time I'm performing I get a chance to escape. I get to be spooky, 
                  and creepy, and sexy, and all the things that I want to be all the time but my 
                  awkwardness and anxiety in real life prevent me from being that way. So, yeah, I 
                  suppose I am one of those musicians, I do feel most alive on stage. (Ironic, given my 
                  dead girl makeup.)
 
 
 Your latest album Rest In Pumpkins was released last year, could you tell the readers about it?


                "Rest In Pumpkins" is my latest album, originally released in the Summer of 2016.    
                 And I just recently got in a new pressing of the album with three bonus tracks 
                 included. My first demo album was all acoustic, and I wanted to take my favorites off 
                 that album, get a full band to back me up, and then add a few new songs as well. (As 
                 I mentioned above, the additional bands involved with recording and producing were 
                 Devil in The Belfry and Vonesper.) 
 
What's your favourite track of the album?
 
                My favorite track off "Rest in Pumpkins" is a tie between "Corpse Revival" and "Little 
                Dead". "Corpse Revival" has become something of a single as I have had the song 
                featured on a few horror punk samplers and several horror radio podcasts. But I just 
                love the way the recording of "Little Dead" turned out. Although, my favorite song to 
                play LIVE off the album is "Mr. Skeleton".
 
And what has the response to the album been like from your fans?
 
               I have had a very good response from fans! I'm always overwhelmed with joy when        
               anyone enjoys my music! I appreciate all the support! Especially from the Horrorpunk 
               community. It's such a strong family of fiends, and I'm honored to be a part of such a 
               supportive community of talented, creative, and kind-hearted-spooky-people. 
 
What are you working now?
 
              Right now I'm about to start the production of my next album! "BARE BONES"! 
             I will hopefully be releasing it in early October of this year, all things pending. Right now  
            "BARE BONES" is just that, in its baby stages. I have several new songs ready to go, 
             and I hope to narrow them down to 13 tracks. The album will be fully acoustic this time, 
            as close to my LIVE performance as we can get. I am also working with an all new 
            production crew on this, so there will be more videos and artwork in the future as well! 


For the readers wishing to support you and find out more about you what's the best way that they can do this?
 
            I can be found on FACEBOOK at facebook.com/JessOLantern on BANDCAMP at 
           Jess-O-Lantern.Bandcamp.com and I'm also on Twitter and YouTube! I also have my 
           merch for sale on my Big Cartel store at JessOLantern.Bigcartel.com and if you'd like to 
           contact me as well, you can EMAIL me at JessOLantern@gmail.com 
 
Thanks Jess it has been a pleasure talking to you, do you have any final words?


           This was fun! Thank you so much! Happy Halloween! 
 ​​
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<![CDATA[MOTHERHOOD OF THE MONSTROUS AN INTERVIEW WITH E.A.BLACK]]>Wed, 08 Mar 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/wihm/motherhood-of-the-monstrous-an-interview-with-eablack
 
E. A. Black writes unusual and frightening fiction. Her horror and dark fiction has appeared in Zippered Flesh 2, Teeming Terrors, Mirages: Tales From Authors Of The Macabre, Wicked Tales: The Journal of the New England Horror Writers, Vol, 3, and other publications. She also hosts the podcast Into The Abyss With Elizabeth Black.  Past guests include Joe R. Lansdale and Jack Ketchum. Friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.  You may sign up for her newsletter on her web site. Find her books at her E. A. Black Amazon Author Page.



Could you tell the readers a little bit about yourself?
 
I write erotic fiction as Elizabeth Black and horror as E. A. Black. My erotic fiction has been published by Xcite Books (U. K.), Cleis Press, House Of Erotica (U. K.), Circlet Press, Ravenous Romance, Scarlet Magazine (U. K.), and other publishers. I was awarded a Top Pick award from Night Owl Reviews for my novel Don't Call Me Baby, published by Naughty Nights Press (now out of print). I have also tried my hand at self-publishing with a successful run for two erotic fairy tales, Trouble In Thigh High Boots (erotic Puss In Boots) and Climbing Her Tower (erotic Rapunzel). My horror stories have appeared in Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales Of Body Enhancements Gone Bad, Mirages: Tales From Authors Of The Macabre, Stupefying Stories, Teeming Terrors, Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2, I Kissed A Girl 2, Partner Swap, and other publications. My short horror story Invisible shall soon appear in Zippered Flesh 3: Yet More Tales Of Body Enhancements Gone Bad. Zombie Clusterfuck, another short story will appear in the group project The Super Market very soon. In addition to writing fiction, I host podcasts on Blog Talk Radio. I was a host on The Women Show for a year and a half, ending in November, 2016. I currently host the podcast Into The Abyss With Elizabeth Black. My guests include writers such as Jack Ketchum (The Girl Next Door), Joe R. Lansdale (Hap and Leonard on Sundance), Daniel Knauf (The Blacklast, Carnivale, Spartacus: Blood and Sand, Dracula), and Trent Zelazny (son of award-winning fantasy writer Roger Zelazny). My February 23 show includes four female writers for Women In Horror Month. They are Billie Sue Mosiman, Dana Fredsti, Sèphera Girón, and Nikki Guerlain. I also write sex toys reviews, and I have been a guest speaker at conventions including. Balticon, Arisia, NoVaCon, SheVaCon, John Con, and two Worldcons.


What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Watching movies (especially horror movies), baking sweets and other treats, walking on the beach (even in the dead of winter with snow on the ground), traveling around New England including stays in hotels with Jacuzzis (Hilton Honors is my friend), reading, and making my own bath products like soaps, bath lotions, and shower gels. My husband and I drive around Massachusetts just to get out of the house, and we discover all kinds of cool places. I like to attend writer's events like the New England Writers Coffeehouse and various conventions and get-togethers with other authors. I love book readings and I really need to do more of them. I've joined a local writers group and it gives me a chance to socialize at least once per week. My husband and I have also joined a local skeptics group that meets once per month in a Chinese restaurant. That group is loads of fun. The food is good, cheap, and lots of it.


Other than the  horror genre, what else has been a major influence on your writing?
 
Mysteries, erotic fiction, and weird news. My major influences outside the horror genre include Agatha Chrisie, Jonathan Kellerman, Sue Grafton, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, and Dorothy Parker. In erotic fiction circles, I've been influenced by K. D. Grace, Kay Jaybee, Lucy Felthouse, and Victoria Blisse. Weird news interests me and it often finds ways into my fiction. I'm a Total Farker and I find the most bizarre news there. Really weird stuff with funny headlines submitted by Farkers. One of my stories inspired by weird news is an erotic Christmas-themed short story in which a man erects a zombie nativity scene that pisses off his neighbors. I first read about the exact same thing in news reports of a man from Ohio who had erected a zombie nativity scene and the town wanted him to take it down. He refused. He's been erecting this scene for years, and each year he gets flack for it. I thought the whole ordeal was hysterical.


The term horror, especially when applied to fiction always carries such heavy connotations.  What’s your feeling on the term “horror” and what do you think we can do to break past these assumptions?
 
Although I prefer the term "horror" to other terms tossed around, I believe it carries a lot of baggage. You say "horror" to people who are not into it or don't really understand it and they pull away from you as if you are some kind of parasite.  I've found that softening the blow by calling it "dark fiction" and "dark fantasy" helps get a conversation going. Otherwise, I'm comfortable calling it what it is – "horror".


A lot of good horror movements have arisen as a direct result of the socio/political climate, considering the current state of the world where do you see horror going in the next few years?


Donald Trump's presidency easily lends itself to both satire and dystopia. I see much more of both coming down the pike. Although he's not horror, Chuck Tingle has already tackled the Trump phenomenon in the most hilarious way possible. Pounded In The Butt indeed! I haven't written many politically inspired fictional pieces but my unpublished story The Rage Eaters is about an elderly black man trying to get home during the Ferguson riots. I bring in the black-eyed children for extra terror. This story did have a home until about two weeks ago when the anthology series went belly-up. I'm now looking for a new home for it, and I hope to find one soon.

What are the books and films that helped to define you as an author?
 
"The Haunting of Hill House" by Shirley Jackson as well as the 1963 movie version. "Hell House" by Richard Matheson as well as the movie. Edgar Allan Poe's "Tales of Mystery and Imagination" had a huge influence on me in part because I grew up in Baltimore. I've been to the Poe House and Westminster Church where he's buried. The man has had a huge influence in my taste in horror. My grandmother's collection of Alfred Hitchcock books scared the hell out of me but I couldn’t get enough of them. My mother was not happy about that. LOL I also grew up watching Hammer Films at stupid o'clock in the morning. I'd watch them in the dark basement about two inches from the TV screen. Then, when the movies ended, I'd race to my bed two stories up and hide under the blankets until dawn. I couldn't get enough of those movies. "Quatermass and the Pit" and "Curse of the Demon" also made quite an impact on me.


What new and upcoming authors do you think we should take notice of?

Bracken MacLeod, Paul Tremblay, Josh Malerman, Sephera Giron, Dana Fredsti and Nikki Guerlain. Keep an eye on all six of them. They write some impressive stuff.

How would you describe your writing style?
 
It varies. Most often I write quiet horror, but I have written splatterpunk and historicals. I have also written horror comedy and satire. My horror most often is atmospheric and subtle. I don't slam you over the head with a lot of gore or violence unless it is necessary to the story. I lean towards psychological horror with a sense of dread.

Are there any reviews of your work, positive or negative that have stayed with you?
 
Not a review per se, but a fiction rejection. Early in my career I made the huge mistake of sending splatterpunk to a literary horror publisher. The editor rejected my story and chewed me out something fierce. Called the story hard-core porn, which was probably a somewhat accurate portrayal of it. Said if I ever submitted anything like that to them every again I'd be blackballed, or something to that effect.  I won't say the name of the publication but it's well-known and highly respected. I didn't make that same mistake twice. The story was eventually accepted and published. It's Shattering The Meat Tunnel and it appears in Mirages: Tales From Authors Of The Macabre. Noir writer Trent Zelazny edited that book and he liked the story so it must have some merit, LOL. I haven't received any outright bad reviews, but the good reviews please me and stay with me. I love to be mentioned in anthology reviews.


What aspects of writing to do you find the most difficult?
 
Keeping motivated and optimistic in light of the usual rejections and lackluster sales. At times, I'm ready to throw in the towel and just give up but that would leave me with nothing so I plug away.


Is there one subject you would never write about as an author?
 
Not really, but I do have to say I'd probably never write about a cat or kitten being abused or killed. That would upset me too much.  I'm a cat lover and currently am owned by three of the little furballs. However, if such a dreadful act moved the story along, I'd write it. I'd only feel very uncomfortable afterwards. I have noticed in movies when a cat or kitten is killed, whoever harmed it often comes to a horrible end. Serves them right. Herbert West in Re-Animator killed his girlfriend's cat to test his serum. Christine Brown in Drag Me To Hell sacrificed (murdered) her kitten to keep the gypsy curse at by but she was unsuccessful. Andre Delambre (Al Hedison) put his cat Dandelo in the pod in the original The Fly, and the cat's meows as it disintegrated haunt me to this day. All three human characters died in the end, and got what they deserved for that. Yes, I even remember Dandelo's name. I can't watch the original The Fly anymore because of that scene.


How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning?
 
Names are very important. The first name must flow well with the last name. Names to me also invoke a character's position or personality. The main characters in my short story Invisible have the surname Bottom because it sounded uneducated (apologies to actor Timothy Bottoms). 15 year old Blair Bottom, her 21 year old morbidly obese sister Bethany Bottom, and their mother (also surname Bottom) live in a trailer park.  I talk more about this story below.
 
 
 
Writing, is not a static process, how have you developed as a writer over the years? 
 
I've toned down my pace over the past few years. I don't work at a frenetic pace anymore. All that did was make me physically ill since I couldn't keep up with myself.  I'd over-extend myself and take on too many projects. I have found now that I've relaxed and taken on only the projects that 1) interest me the most and 2) will further my career the most, I'm much more successful and productive.


What tools do you feel are must-haves for writers?         
 
A computer and especially some kind of back-up. I always back up my work. I want to be sure I have a spare copy in case my computer goes belly-up or if by some horrible chance I accidentally erase something important or I lose a document.


What is the best piece of advice you ever received with regards to your writing?
 
I have several pieces of advice I rely on. Don't edit your work as you go along. Write something. Anything. You may edit it later. If you edit as you go along, you'll never finish the project. Also, don't let the rejections and bad reviews get you down. I learn from rejections and bad reviews. Some bad reviews are petty acting-out, but others have valuable insight. You can't please everyone. It's good to remember that. Once I receive a rejection, I edit according to the feedback if necessary and then I send the story right back out. I always have fiction in circulation as a submission and I look forward to hearing back from the publishers.

Getting your worked noticed is one of the hardest things for a writer to achieve, how have you tried to approach this subject?
 
That's a tough one since I struggle with it. What worked even two years ago doesn't work anymore. I used to rely on blog tours and ads but neither seem as effective now. I know better than to spam people with endless book ads. That only turns off potential readers. Thankfully, some of the anthologies where my stories appear have been very successful thanks to the efforts of the publishers. I've been noticed in Wicked Tales: The Journal Of The New England Horror Writers Vol. 3 with my story Fog Over Mons. That one is set during WWI and it involves the Angels of Mons legend tied up with cosmic horror. I'm also proud of my story Invisible, which will appear in Zippered Flesh 3. The Zippered Flesh books (which are about body modifications) have sold well and received critical acclaim. They've even been noticed by the Stoker committee. My dream would be to get Stoker attention for Invisible.


To many writers, the characters they write become like children, who is your favourite child, and who is your least  favourite to write for and why?

This is another tough one. I don't have a least favorite child. My favorite character is Ethan Harris from Trailer Trash Zombies. This one is a horror comedy/satire that appears in Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2. Ethan is a put-upon, brand-new zombie who is coping with both his new life as one of the undead and living in a slum apartment complex in Massachusetts. I imagine him as being a bit like John Cusack. Ethan and other characters from Trailer Trash Zombies shall soon appear in Zombie Clusterfuck, a part of a new project called The Super Market. Keep an eye on my Facebook page for details about this group project.

What piece of your own work are you most proud of? And are there any that you would like to forget about?
 
Honestly? No, there are no works I'd like to forget about. I'm happy with all my horror, even the stories that didn't get much attention. I don't regret writing any of them. If I had to pick some personal favorites, I'd choose Infection, Trailer Trash Zombies, and Fog Over Mons. They appear in Teeming Terrors, Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2, and Wicked Tales: The Journal Of The New England Horror Writers Vol. 3, respectively. My erotic fiction? Some of that I regret writing because it's simply awful.


For those who haven’t read any of your books, which of your books do you think best represents your work and why?
 
I haven't written a novel yet. I'm working on one now called Hell Time. I hope to finish it by the end of 2017. I'm proudest of my three aforementioned short stories Infection, Trailer Trash Zombies, and Fog Over Mons. All three are completely different from each other.


Do you have a favorite line or passage from your work, and would you like to share it with us?
 
This is a passage from Infection, which appears in Teeming Terrors. You may find this book at Amazon. Mr. and Mrs. Jones are at the emergency room. Mr. Jones has a nasty infection in his leg, and the doctor is about to cut it open to take a look, clean it, and dress it. But… this is no ordinary wound.
 
"Something's moving in there. I feel it crawling around, lots of things, tiny things. Oh, God, it hurts." Mr. Jones buried his face in his pillow. "Please, get it out of me. Now!"
"Okay, Mr. Jones, I need you to calm down. I can't open your leg with you thrashing about. Lie on your back and I'll get started." The doctor said.
"John, lie back." Mrs. Jones said. "You're going to be alright but you have to do what the doctor says."
He turned onto his back and shoved a fist in his mouth, squinting his eyes in pain. The doctor turned to the wound nurse.
"Gauze and alcohol." He said.
She handed him both. He poured alcohol onto the gauze and then swabbed the wound and the rash around it. Then, he tossed the waste into a trash can with a red bag inside with biohazard symbols on the plastic.
"I'm going to inject a numbing agent into your wound, Mr. Jones. This will help you with the pain. It's a topical painkiller."
The wound nurse prepared the injection and handed the syringe over to the doctor, who injected close to the wound's opening. A high-pitched but faint buzzing droned around Mrs. Jones, as if it came directly from the wound but much like a cricket's chirping it was hard to tell exactly where it came from. It sounded similar to air being let out of a balloon. The noise was shrill and angry, but so faint she thought she imagined it. Maybe it was an I.V. alarm going off down the hall. The nurses let those things beep forever, but somehow, Mrs. Jones doubted that was the case. That noise came from her husband's wound, and it scared her.
"Did you hear that?" Mrs. Jones whispered.
The doctor looked up. "I'm not sure what that was. Let's get the wound opened and cleaned out. Scalpel." He said.
The nurse opened a small package to reveal a sterile scalpel, which she handed to the doctor. Mrs. Jones held her breath as the doctor's steady hand approached the wound, which by now had turned a deep shade of rose with black edges and yellow pustules erupting on the surface. Mr. Jones gripped his t-shirt in his fists so hard his knuckles had blanched. Terror etched across his face. What the hell was wrong with his leg? Was it a brown recluse bite after all?
The doctor leaned over his leg and cut down the center of the boil. Blood gushed out, running down his leg and staining the bed linens. Creamy yellow pus filled the wound. As the doctor picked up the instrument to scrape out the infection, that shrill keening sounded again, coming directly from the opening he had cut.
Mrs. Jones backed away, closer to the bathroom.
The doctor inserted the instrument into the wound, and Mrs. Jones was shocked to see it disappear nearly an inch into his calf. When he scraped along the inside, Mr. Jones cried out in agony, but Mrs. Jones barely heard him. Hundreds if not thousands of tiny mites flew from the wound's opening, covering the doctor's white jacket so thickly it appeared to be crawling. They flew onto the nurse, who swatted at them, screaming and howling with surprise and terror. Mr. Jones screamed and crept up the bed towards the wall, but the mites surrounded him, flying in his face and against his arms and legs until they held fast.
Then they began to bite.
 


Can you tell us about your last book, and can you tell us about what you are working on next?
 
My latest work is a short story called Invisible. It's going to be published in Zippered Flesh 3: Yet More Tales Of Body Enhancements Gone Bad, which will come out late in 2017. It's about a bulimic 15 year old who is livid that she has to take care of her morbidly obese older sister. Blair Bottom's older sister Bethany weighs 600 pounds and she's bedridden. By her sheer size that girl rules the family roost and Blair doesn't get the attention she needs. She wants to disappear so she can leave her family behind in the trailer park.  The story is about how Blair copes with being invisible both against her will and by her will.
 
My work-in-progress Hell Time is about a 13 year old girl named Dani Birchfield who is dealing with an oppressive family setting and bullying at school. She gets a Ouija board from her favorite aunt for her birthday and she may have reached a demon using it. The question is, has that actually happened or is Dani imagining it? What else is going on that contributes to her problems and her hallucinations? She's a typical lonely outcast drowning in a world of serious problems. How does she cope? Will she survive?


 
If you could erase one horror cliché what would be your choice?

Geez, I can't name just one, but Eddie Murphy said it better than I ever could about white people vs. black people in haunted houses. If there are demons in the house why the fuck do people stay? LOL Here's a quote:
 
[normal voice] It's real scary. You know what I was wondering about movies? I was watching those movies -- I'm moving out of my house, I was watching movies like Poltergeist and Amityville Horror. Why don't the people just get the hell out of the house? ... You can't make a horror movie with black people in it 'cuz the movie'd stop, you'd see niggers runnin' down the street, the movie's over! ... That's the movie. You can't have a movie like that. See, white people, you all sit on the toilet, see blood in the toilet, and you all go get Ajax. ... Brothers won't sit on the toilet. ... Movie be just like this: [brother's voice] "Wow, baby, this is beautiful. We got chandelier hangin' up here, kids outside playin', it's a beautiful neighborhood, I really love - this is beaut--" [demonic whisper] "Get out!" [brother's voice] "Too bad we can't stay." [instantly spins, starts walking upstage] ... [cheers and applause, Eddie returns to face the crowd, wipes his nose]

What was the last great book you read, and what was the last book that disappointed you?
 
The last great book I read was A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay. I haven't read any books that disappointed me, but I will say I'm looking forward to two new books – Bracken MacLeod's Stranded and Christopher Golden's Ararat.

What's the one question you wish you would get asked but never do?  And what would be the answer?
 
The question I'd like to be asked is "Would you accept this Stoker Award?" I'd answer, "Of course! Are you crazy? LOL."
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<![CDATA[​MOTHERHOOD OF THE MONSTROUS: V. H. LESLIE]]>Mon, 06 Mar 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/wihm/motherhood-of-the-monstrous-v-h-leslie
Ginger Nuts of Horror's Motherhood of the Monstrous continues its celebration of female horror writers of the past present and future.  Today we welcome one of the UK's most imporrtant female horror writers V.H.Leslie.  V. H. Leslie’s stories have appeared in a range of publications including, Black Static, Interzone and Shadows and Tall Trees and have been reprinted in a range of ‘Year’s Best’ anthologies. Her short story collection Skein and Bone from Undertow Books was a finalist for both the 2016 British Fantasy and World Fantasy Awards for Best Collection. Leslie was also a finalist for the 2014 Shirley Jackson Award for her novelette, ‘The Quiet Room’ and she won the 2013 International Lightship First Chapter Prize. She has also been awarded Fellowships at Hawthornden Castle and the Saari Institute in Finland, where she was researching Nordic water myths for her PhD in English and Creative Writing at the University of Chichester. Her non-fiction has appeared in History Today, The English Review, Emag, Thresholds and This is Horror. Her debut novel, Bodies of Water was released last year from Salt Publishing.  
 
 
 
The first female writer who inspired you most in your writing:
 
There are so many women writers who have inspired me but the first who had a profound influence on my writing was Angela Carter and in particular her collection The Bloody Chamber. Not only did these stories revisit and revise many of the seminal fairy tales we are told as children in a radical and feminist way, but they are told in such an unconventional manner, with the absence of speech marks, the shifting of narrative voices and dense, rich, superfluous language. Carter encourages us to revisit the literary past and construct new stories from the gaps and silences of old ones, an idea I find particularly appealing.    
 
 
A female writer who is published now, who we should all take notice of:
 
There are some extremely talented women writers working within the genre right now but one writer I’ve admired for quite some time is Laura Mauro. What I particularly like about Laura’s stories, besides the dark and often beautifully grotesque imagery, is Laura’s use of language. There is a level of precision, an exactness of vocabulary and description that makes even the most fantastical of situations seem perfectly plausible, evoking the strange worlds she conjures more potently. Her stories endure in your mind long after reading and on certain grey days, particularly with this lingering fog, I can still see her grey men suspended in the sky.     

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Den of Geek Top Books of 2016 Ginger Nuts of Horror Top 20 Books of 2016 After ministering to fallen women in Victorian London, Evelyn has suffered a nervous breakdown and finds herself treated by the Water Doctors in the imposing Wakewater House, a hydropathy sanatorium. Years later, Wakewater House is renovated into modern apartments and Kirsten moves in, fresh from a break up and eager for the restorative calm of the Thames. But her archivist neighbour, Manon, fills her head with the river's murky past and with those men of science and art who were obsessed with the drowned women who were washed up on its banks. As Kirsten learns more about Wakewater's secrets, she becomes haunted by a solitary figure in the river and increasingly desperate to understand what the water wants from her.

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<![CDATA[MOTHERHOOD OF THE MONSTROUS: NO COWARD SOUL IS MINE by CATE GARDNER]]>Fri, 03 Mar 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/wihm/motherhood-of-the-monstrous-no-coward-soul-is-mine-by-cate-gardner
 
Ginger Nuts of Horror's Motherhood of the Monstrous continues its celebration of female horror writers of the past present and future.  Today we welcome the fabulous Cate Garnder to talk about the female writers that matter to her.  Cate Gardner's stories have appeared in Black Static, The Dark, Shimmer and Postscripts. Her novellas Theatre of Curious Acts and The Bureau of Them are available from Amazon. You can find her on the web at www.categardner.net

 
Emily Bronte's tortured love affair between Cathy and Heathcliff set against the wild backdrop of the Yorkshire moors filled my teenage soul with fire and influenced the gothic aspects of my early work. Although my work has diversified over the past twenty years, and now lacks sufficient gothic torment to appear to stem from Bronte, her words still inspire me. The first time I ever marked passages in a book was when reading Wuthering Heights. I'd re-read them, and lie on my bed reciting those lines in a rather dramatic way.
 
We've all done that. Haven't we?
 
Wuthering Heights spoke to the teenager who dreamed of a wild, gothic romance, who didn't realise that Cathy and Heathcliff's desperate relationship wasn't something to yearn for. Tragedy is often important to teenage girls. Moreover, I was (and still am) fond of melodrama.
 
I broke my heart with weeping to come back to earth; and the angels were so angry they flung me out into the middle of the heath on the top of Wuthering Heights.
 
I wasn't just in love with Cathy and Heathcliff's desperate relationship but with the craggy landscape and the loneliness of it all. I lived in a city, thankfully near the sea, but the moors of Yorkshire were an alien territory for me.

Educated at home, Emily and her siblings wrote fantastical tales set in their own worlds. Wuthering Heights was originally published under a male pseudonym Ellis Bell, because, at that time, it wasn't seemly for women to write fiction. Bronte died at the age of thirty and never knew how successful her novel or those of her sisters would be or how influential they would be to female writers a century and a half later. That her name would be remembered.
 
Alongside Emily Bronte, my other main literary influence as a child was Enid Blyton, and in retrospect, I should perhaps have chosen Blyton and her tales of The Magic Faraway Tree (my favourite book as a child) because the Enchanted Forest stories have lodged in the weird corners of my stories. However, I could not forget my soul…
 
Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same; and Linton's is as different as a moonbeam from lightning, or frost from fire.
 
… and I like to think my work is a mixture of both, that they are tortured oddities.
 
The second part of this article highlights a rising star in horror/dark fantasy fiction, writer Priya Sharma. Whereas Bronte's fiction was for me, at the time, an unknown landscape, Sharma's fiction visits streets I know such as in her Tor.com stories, Rag and Bone and the award winning Fabulous Beasts.
 
The Mersey is the city's blood and it runs rich.
 
At Eastercon last year, Sharma spoke on a panel exploring 'The Gothic'. Although her first panel, she shone and I recall the moderator later saying if she was in charge of programming she'd put Sharma on every panel. She'd researched the topic thoroughly and approached the subject with passion, much as she writes. Her stories cut into our soul, but they live within her belly, gestating into magnificence. She doesn't sit at her desk and write something on the fly (not that there's anything wrong with that - ahem!). Sharma constructs and lives with her stories, often for months at a time. I am overawed at her commitment.
 
Like all major-talents, she doesn't always see her worth, despite working with some of the best editors in the business.
 
There are times when I feel lost, even to myself, and what looks out from behind my eyes isn't even human.
 
I first met Sharma when Roy Gray (of Black Static magazine) introduced us at a writing event in Halton Lea Library and since then she has become a very good friend (making writing this article and referring to her as Sharma very strange indeed). The latter is not the reason I have chosen her as a writer to watch. No, it's because she is a bloody good writer (although she's also a cool human being who slaughters her opponents when playing Cards Against Humanity).
 
Her story Fabulous Beasts (published by Tor.com) recently won the British Fantasy Award for Short Fiction and was also nominated for a Shirley Jackson award. Her fiction has appeared in several Best of Anthologies, on Tor.com, in Black Static. Recently two of her stories have been reprinted in prestigious online horror magazines The Dark and Nightmare. Both are available to read online. Her debut story collection will be published by Undertow Publications next year.
 
No coward soul is hers.
 

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"You’re not the first to talk to your dead here", the vagrant said. The living always chase after their dead until they come upon their own.

Formed from shadow and dust, ghosts inhabit the abandoned office building, angry at the world that denies them. When Katy sees her deceased boyfriend in the window of the derelict building, she finds a way in, hoping to be reunited. Instead, the dead ignore, the dead do not see; and only the monster that is Yarker Ryland has need of her there.

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<![CDATA[MOTHERHOOD OF THE MONSTROUS: LEE MURRAY ]]>Wed, 01 Mar 2017 08:26:44 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/wihm/motherhood-of-the-monstrous-lee-murray
Ginger Nuts of Horror's The Motherhood of the Monstrous has been such a roaring success that we decided to keep this running as a permanent feature.   Ginger Nuts of Horror has always been committed to promoting diversity in the genre and  hope that the continuation of this column will bring focus to a lot of great writers.  As always please support the writers featured here by liking, sharing and commenting on these posts, and if you are considering purchasing any of the books featured here please use the links provided.  

Today we are honoured to welcome Lee Murray into the Motherhood to talk about the writers that influenced her.  Lee Murray is a six-time winner of the Sir Julius Vogel Award for science fiction, fantasy and horror writing. Her fourth novel, bestselling monster thriller Into the Mist was published by Cohesion Press in 2016, and Hounds of the Underworld, the first book in her speculative crime-noir series The Path of Ra, co-authored with Dan Rabarts, will be released by Raw Dog Screaming Press in 2017.


Women writers who have influenced me… Sadly, published works by female horror writers fiction were thin on the shelves at the public library where I grew up, but along with Milly Molly Mandy adventures and Dr Seuss picture books, my parents made sure I got a good dose of Grim’s Tales and Pinocchio, gruesomely didactic stories intended to keep naughty children from straying, books which set me off on my journey to the dark side. I was twelve when I discovered Poe’s Murders in the Rue Morgue, and The Tell-tale Heart. It was the year I saw my first horror film, too: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari, thereby beginning my fascination with horror and suspense. In my teens, I found exquisite hints of darkness on my high school reading lists: Attwood’s the The Handmaid’s Tale, Brontë’s Jane Eyre, Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, for example, all works by female writers. I was newly-married and embarking on a career as a scientist, when I read Susan Fromberg Schaeffer’s The Madness of a Seduced Woman, a psychological horror story disguised as literary fiction. The story of a woman’s betrayal by her lover and her subsequent devolution into madness, it struck a chord for me in the way it showed how heinous acts can be achieved in the name of love, and by the least likely protagonists. I haven’t read it since, but writing this blog has made me want to read it again, if only to see if the narrative has stood the test of time. An English professor and an award-winning novelist, Fromberg Schaeffer’s work included short stories, poetry and memoir, and two books for children. The Madness of a Seduced Woman was her sixth novel. Another writer whose work has resonated for me on a personal level is Xinran’s, The Good Women of China in which the Beijing journalist documented accounts of Chinese women’s lives recorded during her highly regulated ‘Words on the Night Breeze’ radio broadcasts in China the 1980s. The book was translated and published 2002 and still I’m haunted by the images revealed in those simple narratives. Tales to make your marrow ache.

You want me to name a contemporary female horror writer to watch? Just one? There are so many on my radar: New Zealand’s Octavia Cade, AJ Fitzwater, Cat Connor, and YA writer, Mandy Hager; Australia’s Angela Slatter, Kaaron Warren, and Joanne Anderton. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. But I’ll take a stab and suggest that readers sample the work of Asian-American writer Rena Mason. Mason’s work is highly political, addressing marginalisation, feminism, and the ‘poverty of privilege’. She doesn’t hit you over the head with it – far from it; the reader is too engrossed in her stories to notice. In fact, if we asked her, I suspect she’d insist she didn’t set out to be political, she simply writes the tales she’s compelled to tell, depicting the world with her own unique perspective. It is a keenly insightful perspective, refreshing and yet deeply troubling. Her first novel, The Evolutionist, is an excellent example. The blurb begins:

Las Vegas suburbanite, Stacy Troy, dreams that everyone is dead. She dismembers the bodies of loved ones, stuffs them into a shopping cart, then takes them two at a time to the pile where she will burn their remains and say her last goodbyes…

Chillingly gruesome, the novel is more than simply a dark tale to get your pulse racing and make you want to keep the light on at night. Set amongst the wealthy social elite of Las Vegas, The Evolutionist tells of the stigma of being an outsider, the isolation and fear associated with mental health, and the burden of domesticity. With echoes of Madge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time, it is a modern-day Sophie’s Choice; Mason taking her character to the very darkest of places. That darkness won her a Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel in 2013. President of the Horror Writer’s Association, Lisa Morton, herself a Bram Stoker winner, said of it: “The next time somebody tells me there’s nothing new in genre fiction, I’m going to hand them this and ask that they let me get a safe distance away before their presumptions are blown to smithereens.”
Rena’s short fiction is equally provocative. Take a look at her story in Alessandro Manzetti’s bumper anthology The Beauty of Death. Entitled Metamorphic Apotheosis, it’s a spine-chilling comment on reproductive failure.

Last year, I was lucky enough to meet Mason at a writers’ workshop, where she read from her current work in progress, a contemporary gothic tale that had me engaged from the first page. That Mason was at the workshop at all, speaks volumes. Already an accomplished writer, she is still striving to improve her craft, which means her writing will only get better. Rena Mason is definitely a horror writer to watch. As Gene O’Neill author of The Burden of Indigo and Frozen Shadows states: “Rena Mason is a fine writer. Write her name down, underline it, stick it on the fridge with the other reminders. Then, buy everything she writes. You will not be disappointed, because she is indeed a: Rising Star.”
 

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When NZDF Sergeant Taine McKenna and his squad are tasked with escorting a bunch of civilian contractors into Te Urewera National Park, it seems a strange job for the army. Militant Tūhoe separatists are active in the area, and with its cloying mist and steep ravines, the forest is a treacherous place in winter. Yet nothing has prepared Taine for the true danger that awaits them. Death incarnate. They backtrack toward civilisation, stalked by a prehistoric creature intent on picking them off one by one. With their weapons ineffective, the babysitting job has become a race for survival. Desperate to bring his charges out alive, Taine draws on ancient tribal wisdom. Will it be enough to stop the nightmare? And when the mist clears, will anyone be left? 


"Cinematic and evocative, Into the Mist is a tension-packed expedition into primordial terror. Murray's writing had me feeling the damp of the forest, seeing the mist curling through the fern fronds, and sensing the danger lurking there. Ancient myths, military men and scientists placed in remote, primordial locations - it had all the right ingredients for me, and it didn't disappoint for a moment. Lee Murray is an author to watch." - Greig Beck, best-selling author of the Arcadian series

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<![CDATA[SING ME YOUR SCARS: AN INTERVIEW WITH DAMIEN ANGELICA WALTERS ]]>Tue, 28 Feb 2017 10:30:18 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/wihm/sing-me-your-scars-an-interview-with-damien-angelica-waltersBY KIT POWER 
 
On a recommendation from Gingernuts proprietor, Jim Mcleod, I picked up ‘Sing Me Your Scars’ by Damien Angelica Walters late last summer. I was, simply put, blown away. It was therefore an enormous honor to interview Walters about this collection, and some of the inspirations and processes behind the formation of the stories. Here is the result - a seriously in-depth interview, covering this extraordinary collection. Expect mild spoilers throughout. Enjoy.
Gingernuts Of Horror: Firstly, thanks for agreeing to talk to us about ‘Sing Me Your Scars’ - it’s a brilliant collection and we were eager to find out more about how you came to write it.
 
In the 2014  introduction, you mention your love of the short form. Does that love persist in 2017? And could you talk a bit more about what you find so attractive in the short story format?
 
Damien Angelica Walters: Thank you very much for asking me, and I'm so glad you enjoyed Sing Me Your Scars.
 
Yes, I still love writing short fiction. What's wonderful about the format is that you can break rules, you can experiment with structure and point of view and voice, you can flip-flop between genres. Sometimes what works in the short form wouldn't in a longer length, and it's often easier to provoke a strong emotion that would feel like manipulation if it went on too long.
 
 
GNoH:  There are twenty stories in this collection. What’s the span of time between the oldest and newest story? And how many were written specifically for the collection?
 
DAW: The collection spans work from 2011 through 2014, and two were written specifically for the collection. The rest are either selected reprints or unpublished stories I'd been working on when Apex approached me about doing a collection. I sat with a spreadsheet, decided which stories to include, and broke them down by theme, tense, format, etc. Then I moved them around, paying close attention to the emotional arc, until I had what felt like a cohesive whole.
 
GNoH: The story ‘Sing Me Your Scars’ takes elements of the Frankenstein mythology in an incredible direction, to strong effect. Can you recall now what led you to the central conceit of the body parts retaining the personalities of their source?
 
DAW: There were several body-shaming memes floating around social media that said a real woman looks like this, not that. Every time I saw one, I grew angrier and angrier at the concept of a real woman having to appear a certain way, as though we get to pick and choose our parts to make a more pleasing whole. And from that anger, the Frankenstein-creation of many sentient parts was born.
 
GNoH: This tale also deals with some themes that recur throughout the book - male subjugation of women, violence - and the story pulls off that incredible trick of both being a stunning metaphor and a gripping story on it’s own terms. What I mean to say is, the metaphor is also a ‘real’ thing in the context of the story, and works utterly on that level. Were you thinking about the metaphorical implications of the subject as you wrote, or did they emerge from the central idea organically?
 
DAW: Any metaphors that appear in my work do so organically. But I make my way through this world as a woman and don't have the luxury of not thinking about violence against women in all its various forms, so my fiction reflects that, both overtly and not.
 
GNoH: ‘Paskutinis Illuzia (The Last Illusion)’ is an incredibly powerful story. Can you recall where the initial inspiration of this came from?
 
DAW: My husband is of Lithuanian descent so I've heard plenty of accounts of the Soviet occupation. After one such conversation, I had a thought that if magic existed, even if it couldn't be used to conjure armies or weapons, the Soviets definitely would've removed those who'd practiced it.
 
GNoH: For me, reading it, you combined my fear of totalitarian repression (the strong relationship between magic and story exacerbated this) with the horror of an ill child to stunning effect…
 
DAW: Thank you. It's definitely one of the stories I'm proudest of.
 
GNoH: One of the many things I love about this story is the Lithuanian setting. How much research did you put into this story, and were the stories told therein real Lithuanian legends?
 
DAW: Yes, the story of Jūratė, Kastytis, and Perkūnas is a real legend, and I read as many versions of it that I could find to make sure I stayed as true to the legend as possible, while making it fit within the framework of my story. If there are any errors or inconsistencies, they are mine alone.
 
GNoH: ‘Sugar, Sin, and Nonsuch Henry’ is my favourite kind of sci-fi, in that it uses the settings and tropes to explore what it means to be human. What do you enjoy about working in this genre, and what do you find challenging?
 
DAW: While a story might be set on a space station or feature an AI, I never approach it as science fiction. It's simply a story with elements of sci-fi. Challenging would be scientific accuracy, which is never what my interest or focus is.
 
GNoH:  I especially love Henry! Why did you pick him as the historical figure?
 
DAW: In spite of appearing to be a fairly awful person, or perhaps because of it, Henry VIII has become this larger than life figure. There are countless books, movies, and TV shows about him, with some offering a more romantic portrait, and others a more monstrous. I thought it would be fun to make him an AI and render him kinder than I suspect he was in real life, while also retaining some of the larger than life characteristics.
 
GNoH: I also enjoyed the juxtaposition of an historical character with the sci-fi setting…
 
DAW: I'm usually very serious when writing, but I'll admit to giggling more than once with this one.   
 
GNoH: I really enjoyed the atmosphere of ‘Running Empty in a Land of Decay’ - how do you set about delivering that in a flash setting, where word count is so limited?
 
DAW: In truth, I cut my short story teeth on flash fiction. I took part in the flash fiction challenges on the Shock Totem Forum for some time—this story was written for one such challenge—so I learned how to tell a story in as few words as possible. Given this story's theme of isolation, straightforward plot, and its single-character cast, it was fairly easy to keep within the confines of a thousand words. 
 
Curiously enough, I rarely write flash fiction now. I'm not certain if that means I'm writing more complex stories or I've become verbose. 
 
GNoH: What do you consider as a writer when taking on a setting as well trodden as the world of ‘Running Empty…’? Are you conscious of trying to attempt something new, or are you more concerned with finding the story you want to tell?
 
DAW: I think there's something to be said for trying to breathe new life into well-worn tropes. It might not always work, but there's no law that says everything you write must be publish-perfect. I'm a firm believer in that nothing you write is a waste of time, even if it ends up in the proverbial trunk.
 
With this one, I didn’t consciously say I'm going to write a zombie story without zombies in it, but once the idea struck, it wouldn't let go. I thought it the perfect foil for a study in isolation. 
 
GNoH: ‘Scarred’ was another story that resonated with me very strongly. Often, people who self harm talk about it as an empowering experience - exercising control over pain, externalising it, and so forth. Was that in your mind when you wrote this story?
 
DAW: Absolutely. Although the supernatural element turns the story from control into revenge as catharsis, I tried to ground Violet's behavior in reality based as much as I could.
 
GNoH: But it turned out to be a false catharsis, in some ways, didn’t it? Did you know ahead of time how this story was going to play out? I found the ending really strong - surprising and yet plausible…
 
DAW: I did not. An early draft of this story had a completely different ending, one that wasn't nearly as horror-tinged, but my beta reader urged me to go darker. It took a bit for me to find the proper darkness, but once I did, it all fell into place. 
 
GNoH: Do you ever worry about writing about subjects like self harm? What do you consider to be your responsibilities as a writer when dealing with such material?
 
DAW: I think a writer's responsibility is to handle whatever they're writing about with care, especially so if delving into potentially disturbing subjects. Intent matters; there's a huge difference between exploring a difficult topic and glorifying it.
 
With that being said, you can't control how a reader responds, no matter how diligent you are, so you have to be willing to take the risk that you might upset someone.
 
GNoH: Moving on to ‘Dystopia in D Minor’, I just adored the central conceit of this story. Can you recall now any of the genesis of this idea?
 
DAW: Unfortunately, I don't. I just remember thinking that using your voice to build or destroy  physical structures was an interesting concept, and that it was the perfect foil for a story about a changing relationship.
 
GNoH: The central relationship is incredibly well drawn in this story. What is your approach to drawing a relationship in the limited word count of a short story? Did your flash background help with this?
 
DAW: I think my flash background definitely helped, but I don't really have a specific approach. I start with a character and take it from there. How their relationship develops depends on that character and the concept for the story as a whole. It's all an organic process. Even when I brainstorm story ideas, once I get to the writing, they often veer in unexpected directions.
 
GNoH: ‘Melancholia in Bloom’ features another structural device you seem to enjoy using - that of the dual narrative. What appeals about this approach, and what are the dangers of using this technique?
 
DAW: When I started to get serious about writing for publication, not just writing for me, I read you should never have more than one point of view in a short story. I took that advice well, don't you think? Seriously, though, I love dual narratives. What appeals to me the most is the ability to tell two sides of a story and have them meet to create a bigger story, especially when it's one the readers can see but the characters can't.
 
GNoH: I like that answer! Can you think of any other bad writing advice you’ve learned to ignore over the years? :)
 
DAW: There's always bad advice! Some out of genuine ignorance, some out of bright-eyed naiveté. The latter is usually because you haven't learned enough yet to break the rules, so you cling to what you have been taught as though it's a life preserver and the blank page is a sea. I think the worst of the bad advice I received (and, unfortunately, believed for a time) was that with short fiction, you had to work your way up to the bigger magazines. What rubbish advice that is!  
 
GNoH: Also, on the dual narrative of ‘Melancholia…’; in the final piece, the two stories are beautifully balanced - can you recall if that happened on the page, or as a result of editing? And what is your typical editing process for short stories (assuming there is such a thing as ‘typical’)?
 
DAW: For "Melancholia…" I knew the shape of the story when I started writing it. I had the gist of everything in the early draft, but the deeper emotional resonance came with edits.
 
I'm not the sort of writer who edits as I go so when I finish a story draft, I have plenty of work left to do. In truth, though, there's no one way it happens. Sometimes there's too much of the story still in my head and not on paper, sometimes there's a piece missing that I know I'll find if I let the story breathe, sometimes I don't realize it's missing until a beta reader tells me. And every once in a while, I get everything right and the story only needs minor line edits.
 
GNoH: In ‘They Make Of You A Monster’, there’s scenes of torture both explicit and implied. How do you choose when the violence of a story should be graphically depicted or implied? What informs that decision?
 
DAW: I don't write about violence for the sake of titillation. There's plenty of that—too much of that—in fiction already, and violence often has more impact when it's inferred. This story reaches into fairly dark depths, but I hope that even in the more explicit scenes, the horror is slightly veiled as opposed to reading like a set of instructions.
 
GNoH: There’s a really oppressive atmosphere to this story. Beyond the subject matter, what choices are you making, at a word or sentence level, to invoke that feeling in the reader? Or do you find that flows organically from the telling of the story?
 
DAW:  For a story like this, I default to a more clipped tone. I use a lot of sentence fragments and a simpler sentence structure, sort of the equivalent of poking a reader with a stick as opposed to wrapping them in eloquent prose. I don't want them comfortable. I want them unsettled. Again, though, this is something that happens organically, a pattern I see after the fact and then amplify when I edit.
 
GNoH: ‘Grey in the Gauge of His Storm’ - the central conceit of this story just floored me. Can you recall now where the idea of cloth and stitching came from?
 
DAW: One of the most insidious things about domestic violence is the invisible scars it leaves behind. They fade, but never disappear, rather like the stitches used to repair cloth. With that being said, though, this is one of those stories where I didn't consciously know what it was about when I wrote the opening paragraph. The words struck out of nowhere, I wrote them down, and they lingered in my head for a time. Later, the rest of the story poured out.
 
GNoH: This one left me emotionally wrung out. Do you ever find yourself struggling with the subject matter you’re drawn to? Do you ever freak yourself out?
 
DAW: Yes, sometimes I struggle with writing certain stories. I never freak myself out, per se, but I frequently write stories that leave me emotionally drained. This was one such piece.
 
GNoH: Do you enjoy reading short fiction as well as writing it? What are some of your favourite stories and/or collections?
 
DAW: Most definitely. I have more favorites than I could reasonably list here, and I'm always adding stories, but here are some I highly recommend: "The Changeling" by Sarah Langan, "Omphalos" by Livia Llewellyn, "Armless Maidens of the American West" by Genevieve Valentine, "Fabulous Beasts" by Priya Sharma, "The Bread We Eat in Dreams" by Catherynne M. Valente, "Black Box" by Joyce Carol Oates, "In the Year of Omens" by Helen Marshall, "So Sharp That Blood Must Flow" by Sunny Moraine, “The Sound That Grief Makes” by Kristi DeMeester, and "The Summer People" by Shirley Jackson.
 
Collections I recommend: Engines of Desire: Tales of Love & Other Horrors and Furnace, both by Livia Llewellyn, Hair Side, Flesh Side and Gifts For The One Who Comes After, both by Helen Marshall, The Moon Will Look Strange by Lynda E. Rucker, The Bloody Chamber by Angela Carter, The Corn Maiden and Other Nightmares by Joyce Carol Oates, Singing With All My Skin and Bone by Sunny Moraine, and Skein and Bone by V.H. Leslie.
 
GNoH: Finally, what can we expect from you in 2017?
 
DAW: I'm very excited that my second short fiction collection, Cry Your Way Home, is scheduled for a September release from Apex Publications. I'm still finalizing the Table of Contents, but it will contain my Bram Stoker Award-nominated story "The Floating Girls: A Documentary" as well as other selected reprints.
 
I'll also have other stories appearing in several anthologies and magazines, my agent will be submitting my new novel to editors, and I'm working on an outline for another.
 
Many thanks to Damien Angelica Walters for agreeing to take such a deep dive into her collection.
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In her first collection of short fiction, Damien Angelica Walters weaves her lyrical voice through suffering and sorrow, teasing out the truth and discovering hope.

Sometimes a thread pulled through the flesh is all that holds you together. Sometimes the blade of a knife or the point of a nail is the only way you know you're real. When pain becomes art and a quarter is buried deep within you, all you want is to be seen, to have value, to be loved. But love can be fragile, folded into an origami elephant while you disappear, carried on the musical notes that build a bridge, or woven into an illusion so real, so perfect that you can fool yourself for a little while. Paper crumples, bridges fall, and illusions come to an end. Then you must pick up the pieces, stitch yourself back together, and shed your fear, because that is when you find out what you are truly made of and lift your voice, that is when you Sing Me Your Scars.


"Sing Me Your Scars revolves in the mind's eye in a kaleidoscope of darkness and wonder."
--Laird Barron, author of The Croning and The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All

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<![CDATA[MOTHERHOOD OF THE MONSTROUS: CHANTAL NOORDELOOS]]>Fri, 24 Feb 2017 00:00:00 GMThttp://gingernutsofhorror.com/wihm/motherhood-of-the-monstrous-chantal-noordeloos
Ginger Nuts of Horror's Motherhood of the Monstrous continues its celebration of female horror writers of the past present and future.  Today we welcome Holland's most famous female horror writer Chantal Noordeloos to talk about the female writers that matter to her.  

Chantal Noordeloos (born in the Hague, and not found in a cabbage as some people may suggest) lives in the Netherlands, where she spends her time with her wacky, supportive husband, and outrageously cunning daughter, who is growing up to be a supervillain. When she is not busy exploring interesting new realities, or arguing with characters (aka writing), she likes to dabble in drawing.

In 1999 she graduated from the Norwich School of Art and Design, where she focused mostly on creative writing.

Chantal likes to write for all ages, and storytelling is the element of writing that she enjoys most. “Writing should be an escape from everyday life, and I like to provide people with new places to escape to, and new people to meet.”

Chantal started her career writing short stories for various anthologies, and in 2012 she won an award for ‘Best Original Story’ for her short ‘the Deal’. 
 
*cracks knuckles and hovers fingers over her keyboard*
*pause*
*looks a little cross eyed*
Eh… right… I need to begin somewhere.

I was asked by the lovely Jim McLeod to write something about two female authors. One who has influenced my writing and the second who is publishing now, and who I feel the world should take notice of. The second question is easy (well, easy-ish); I can think of several. The first question not only made me pause… I actually googled female horror authors to see if there was anyone who fit that bill. That should tell you how much I struggled to answer this question.

Who in the horror world has influenced me? If I am going to be really honest, I only discovered female authors AFTER I started writing horror—and I had to make a conscious effort to seek them out. Only when I dipped my toe into the pool of horror did I discover gems such as Shirley Jackson and Mo Hayder, and I can’t really say that either of them have really influenced my own writing. In all fairness, most of my inspiration for the horror genre comes from movies, urban legends and role play games.

There have been female writers who have had an influence on my writing, of course. Authors like Dorothy Parker, JK Rowling, Alice Walker and Margaret Weiss have all left their mark on how I look at stories, characters or prose in general. But none of those could be considered horror writers.

So I’m going to cheat, and leave it at the people I have mentioned. *throws a match on that bridge until it burns, and runs away to the next question*

So... I have to ‘name a female author you should all take notice of’. *Californian cheerleader voice* OMG you guys, there are just so many….

*coughs*

All kidding aside, there are a lot of female horror authors out there that people should take notice of. In the small press/ indie published horror community more and more women are finding their voice, and their work ranges from dark gothic to extreme horror (and despite contrary belief, when the ladies write extreme horror… they go all out to terrify and even sicken their audience)

My pick is one of the best authors I have come across: Paula Ashe. The first (short) story I have read of her is called Bereft, and it utterly destroyed me. I’m talking ‘ugly crying’ when I read it. The world became a bit darker after reading that particular tale.

Paula’s work is not for the faint hearted, and it’s not the kind of horror that is ‘easy to read’. She taps into topics that make me extremely uncomfortable, and her writing haunts me. Her ‘voice’ is dark, raw and well written. I absolutely believe people should notice Paula Ashe, and I think that anyone who can handle it—trust me, not everyone could—should read Bereft. It was published in an anthology called Songs for the Raven, and I really hope Paula will release a collection of her own work one day.

So there you have it… a rambling incomplete answer to the first question, and a clear to the point answer for the second one. I think one out of two isn’t bad, considering my track record. Now, you there, reader… go read Paula’s work, and while you’re looking, go find some more female horror writers to read. It’s women in horror month after all!

Picture
A beautiful house – with a dark and deadly secret.

When Freya inherits her mother's childhood home, she sees it as an opportunity. A chance for a new life with her best friends, as they convert the crumbling mansion into an exclusive hotel.

Instead, they'll be lucky to escape with their lives.

As the first hammers tear through the bricked up entrances, a dark, terrible and ancient evil stirs beneath the house. An evil that has already laid claim to Freya and her companions' souls.

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