Today I am very honoured to have Melanie Light, the brains behind the fabulous Women In Horror Calendar, over for not just one guest post but two. The project brings together some of the brightest stars of modern horror for a fabulous charity project.
The profit made from selling the calendar will be split between two charities. Rape Crisis England and Wales provides support for women and girls who have been raped, as well as tackling the trafficking of women. The Sophie Lancaster Foundation has particular resonance with Melanie, having been bullied herself at school for being 'goth'. Following the horrific murder of Sophie Lancaster in 2007, her family wanted to ensure a lasting legacy, and so the Foundation was established. Its motto, Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere, reflects the charity’s aim to challenge the prejudice and intolerance towards people from alternative subcultures both culturally and in legislation.
Please, please show support to this project by sharing these posts around, and please consider purchasing a copy. You can find a purchase link at the bottom of the guest post.
Women in Horror Calendar
The idea and concept for the calendar was something that just popped in my head one day. It was born out of frustrations I had with some other 'Women in Horror' collections that just centred around film makers and then grasped at straws with talent within the circle. Horror isn't just about films its a form of lifestyle. From what we wear, listen to, read, watch and take apart of. The calendar was an idea to show off talents, using my Art Directors background to create something visually creative with then links to everyones works.
Ufumoa Urie the creator of The Little Apple dolls is an old friend I met at a Horror convention years ago. Her creepy but cute dolls were a cult hit and she's recently back with a vengeance with new dolls, something like this is a great way to get her work out there to a larger audience, she's so super talented and I want the world to know about it. She was one of the first thoughts for the calendar as was Emily Booth, she presents the Horror Channel, knows her horror films and has been in various B-movie horror films, she's been a pioneer for years bringing horror films to our TV's.
Wanting a diversity in creative arts for the calendar was a challenge. As well as the creative side I needed to include women that where giving something back to the horror society. For example : Nia Edwards- Behi a Co- Director of the Abertoir Horror film festival in Wales.
I spent a few months researching trailing the internet for all different types of women with a creative form of art in the macabre . It was quite hard and fun looking into it. I emailed the poetry society and various other groups in arts. The Last Tuesday Society lead me to Tessa Farmer and I was overwhelmed by her reaction to wanting to be apart of the calendar and loved her art work too!
Frankie Lynn owns and runs her own Emporium of horror treats and customises shoes with a brilliant horror twist. She is sings in band and runs her own performance and dance school. She also makes the cutest skull sugar cubes in witchy jars.
I saw Marisa Carnesky perform her Jewess Tattooess piece at my old University in Brighton over 10 years ago and her work influenced my own macabre background so much. I went on her Ghost Train when it was in Shorditch and never forgot how great a live action performance piece it was. I'm a huge fan of her work and to have her involved was such an honour for me.
Barbie Wilde I found through following her on twitter. She's renowed as the female Cenobite from Hellraiser 2 but also writes. Her book 'The Venus Complex' is super twisted and sexy in a derranged serial killer way. Barbie has been a great support with the calendar.
The full house of the Calendar is: Marisa Carnesky- Artist performer and creator of the Ghost Train now permanently in Blackpool.Tessa Farmer- Fine Artist. Pollyanna McIntosh- Actress. Emily Booth- Horror Channel Presenter and Actress. Barbie Wilde-Writer and Actress. Grog -Singer and Bassist from Die so Fluid, Frankie Lynn-Performer, shoe maker, Emporium owner. Ufuoma Urie Artist and Doll maker. Nia Edwards Behi- Horror Film Festival organizer. Prano-Bailey Bond- Director.Not So Lovely Girls-Film Makers and myself Melanie Light- Art Director and Film Maker.
It was important to have a mixture of established and not so establish creatives in the calendar so to give a platform of enlightenment to the buyers. It's certainly been a challenge. I should also add how fantastic our photographer is Tina Korhonen who added the perfect rock and roll aspect to the shoot and also introduced me to the Murder Mile Studio in East London.
I've had some great support for the calendar, the reactions from the women when I first asked them was just what I wanted as I was a little nervous at first. Finding a way to created and give something back in an artistic form for charity has been really important for me. It's has been achieved!
When I first created the twitter and Facebook page I had someone go hard at me saying how disgusted they where that I was shooting a calendar and then being hypocritical with my intentions of giving profits to Rape Crisis. It blew my mind and then the support I had from people on the Facebook page supporting the calendar was over whelming. I was insulted that a person could think such a thing and not see how tasteful the calendar is as its very artistic and fun. Not sleazy in anyway. I'd love to post that person a calendar.
I'm thinking of doing one with Men in Horror next year, that will be a challenge as there are so many guys out there involved in the macabre in many different ways. Which is precisely my point of finding those horror women in the UK, we need more, where are you?
Face book page - WomenInHorrorCalendar
The calendar is available to pre-order now from
Richard Farren Barber was born in Nottingham in July 1970. After studying in London he returned to the East Midlands. He lives with his wife and son and works as a Development Services Manager for a local university.
He has had stories published in Alt-Dead, Alt Zombie, Blood Oranges, The British Fantasy Society Journal, ePocalypse - Tales from the End, The Horror Zine, Murky Depths, Midnight Echo, Midnight Street, Morpheus Tales, MT Urban Horror Special, Night Terrors II, The House of Horror, Trembles, Terror Scribes and broadcast on BBC Radio Derby and Erewash Sound.
During 2010/11 Richard was sponsored by Writing East Midlands to undertake a mentoring scheme in which he was supported in the development of his novel Bloodie Bones, which he is now shamelessly hawking amongst agents and publishers.
His website is www.richardfarrenbarber.co.uk
My lawyers have advised me to say that “I came across a pirated version of a novel by a well respected writer in the horror genre” the other day. Actually... It was Stephen King’s “The Shining” and a friend sent it to me as I wanted to re-read it before starting on “Dr Sleep”. For practical reasons I wanted to read it on my Kindle, but didn’t want to pay for it again as I already have two copies sitting on my bookcase.
Maybe I’m naive, but I’ve never actually read a pirated book before, but as I started reading about Danny Torrance and Grady and the rest of the cast over in the Overlook it occurred to me that there are two ways in which pirated books are evil incarnate.
The first is obvious. If you’re reading a pirated book you can be damned sure that the author is not going to see a penny for his/her work. It’s difficult to frame the argument in terms of theft and I’ve never had much connection with those “adverts” at the beginning of films where they have all the “piracy is theft” because, and let’s get pedantic about it, it isn’t theft. Theft is to take someone else’s property without the intention of returning it. But in piracy you’re copying, not taking. My dodgy copy of “The Shining” hasn’t deprived one other person of their copy. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay, it just means we don’t have the language to explain why it’s wrong. But piracy is evil because if we don’t have a system where people can be paid for their creative works then we will regress to a society where art is for amateurs and the idle-rich. Is that what we want?
The first evil is well known and discussed and either considered or ignored, but it’s out there. But re-reading “The Shining” I discovered a second evil, one that everyone who reads should be afraid of.
Pirate books – they’re crap.
I hadn’t appreciated this. I made the assumption that because they’re digital, and we live in an age where technology means a digital copy is a perfect replica of the original, that pirate books were basically “published” books. But they’re not. At least not the copy that I have. It is full of typos and formatting errors. I assume this means that someone has taken the original copy and scanned it to create a digital version, and then not bothered to proof it.
And here’s why that is a sin. You only get once chance to read a book for the first time. I know “The Shining” is a great book – but on the basis of what I’m reading at the moment that would have been ruined for me. For me, reading is a magic trick: you’re awake but you are convincing your mind to take you out of your reality. When it works, when you have a great book, it’s incredible. But typos and poorly formatted text pull you out of the world as you try and figure out what should be on the page, and that makes for a terrible reading experience. One typo in a book is hard to accept. One every two or three pages makes the novel almost unreadable.
My friend also sent me a copy of George RR Martin’s “A Game of Thrones” which is another book I have sitting in physical form on my bookcase, but which I thought would be more accessible through an ebook. I haven’t read “A Game of Thrones” before, and I know now that my first experience isn’t going to be through a dodgy pirate ebook.
“The Power of Nothing” is available on Kindle at amazon.co.uk for £2.97, amazon.com for $4.64. For other formats you can get the novella direct from the publishers at DamnationBooks.com.
He is watching you.
Steve Granger immediately realizes there is something wrong about the grey man. When he starts to follow him, Steve knows he is right.
When Steve cannot get rid of the grey man, he erupts. Walking across the park one night he turns on the grey man and kills him. The next morning, as Steve leaves his flat to get rid of his blood-splattered clothes, he walks out to discover the grey man standing on his doorstep. Steve learns that killing the man a second time is easier.
Still the man comes back.
As part of World Oral Health Day Ginger Nuts of Horror brings you some real life horror.
Everything has a beginning; an origin. Like some who read this, I’ve always been intrigued by how certain stories get their start. In most cases mythical and legendary, we’ll probably never know, which is why they remain myths and legends. However, when a writer is given the foundation to begin (relatively) anew; ideas flood, clouds part, and a canvas appears as white as nothingness. This was the beginning of my journey creating an origin about the up rise of a cryptozoological creature already known as, el chupacabra. It was a tremendously exciting opportunity, but like most origins, I knew it was merely a branch off the tree trunk of greater legends.
Now, I would never in a billion, trillion, quadrillion years compare myself, or my writings, to that of the astounding Bram Stoker; however, I feel I may be able to relate to the sensation of having a cleansed palette as he had received before writing his 1897 infamous novel, ‘Dracula.’ According to research, the first mention of the vampire was in the 1748 German poem, appropriately titled, ‘The Vampire’ by Heinrich August Ossenfielder, about a man rejected by a love interest, promising to return to her at night and drink all her blood with a toothy kiss; thus proving his ways were superior to the Christian values her family held. Now, flash-forward about 250-years later, and compare that plotline to ‘Twilight.’ Not only was the character of Bella willing to give of herself to a vampire, but I seem to recall the story being more about romance than religion. So, did Ossenfielder then create the unnatural immortals we all know and love today? My guess is… “no.” The vampire is most likely a defined offspring of the undead, which people in the mid-18th century already believed and feared. Ossenfielder, like Stoker, mutated a mythology that pre-existed.
Enter el chupacabra: a Latin-American animalistic creature with characteristics remarkably similar to the vampire--think Dracula’s pet Fido--however, this legend began in 1991/2 when reports of a blood-sucking beast were recounted in Puerto Rico, America, and South America. It is clear how the chupacabra received its name since the reports clarified that it was seen sucking the blood out of livestock, especially goats. The name “chupacabra” literally translates to “goat-sucker” from Spanish to English. Of course, it is in our nature as humans to have an explanation for every mystery, but how much of our awareness influences our beliefs? (e.g., How much of the spectator’s knowledge of monsters and vampires influenced what they perceived?) Suddenly, people became desperate to know what a chupacabra was and where it had come from. We, as humans, have the innate desire to understand everything around use… even which cannot be explained; therefore, as history has proven, rumors started to emerge. Now, at this point, I will switch. This post could easily mature into a debate as to whether the chupacabra, along with its other legendary family, is real or not, but that is not what this telling is about. The purpose here is to merely enlighten a journey taken, and the choices for the path chosen.
Regardless of whether the chupacabra lives in life or in fiction, it should have an origin; everything needs to have an origin. I realized this when I began piecing the lengthy Chupacabra Series together in 1993. Nothing other than the reported sightings had been known of the beast at the time. This presented a nearly blank, white slate, and to me, white was as good as gold. Enter the flood of questions: What if the elusive chupacabra had been around for years… or centuries? If so, it could have been roaming the deserts during America’s Old West days. Like today, there were unexplained occurrences regarding missing or dismembered livestock. What if, like vampire mythology, it was just another mutation of something that already existed? This was when the clouds parted; I could do almost anything I wanted as long as I made myself the promise to bring the story back around to the familiar characteristics that have already been widespread about the elusive goat-sucker. Would I receive criticism for straying from expectations… of course! (and have). But did I fear that criticism… absolutely not. I knew of my plan. Besides, isn’t creative license what being an artist is all about? Stoker was able to do it, there was no reason I could think of to not attempt the same myself. And on that note, I would be curious to know what Ossenfielder thought of Stoker’s “Dracula”, or better yet, Ossenfielder and Stoker of “Twilight”? Maybe that answer could be another story? Revenge of the undead horror writer’s anyone?
Michael became an author alongside building a successful career in feature film publicity, but his passion to create stories with suspense, laughter, and heart is not his only love. Michael also volunteers for Meals on Wheels in Southern California, as well as aids in his local area's capture/spay/neuter/release program.
To date, Michael's publications include CURSE OF THE CHUPACABRA, NIGHT OF THE CHUPACABRA (the first two books of six in the Chupacabra Series) and his first publication, THE NIGHT AFTER CHRISTMAS, a holiday picture book for believers of any age. Michael also authored the micro story, HUNT FOR THE CHUPACABRA, preceding the events of Night of the Chupacabra, which currently is only available in audiobook as read by the author here.
When Michael does have some down time, he likes to ramble on his blog:
Post Civil War. Families move West to begin rich new lives, only some never make it. There is a creature that lurks in the vast open deserts of the west. It can only survive on blood and, although it prefers to prey on the weak and young, it will slaughter anyone or anything, once provoked. It is unnatural, deceptive, and difficult to kill. Word about the existence of this elusive beast has not spread for anyone who has crossed paths with it did not live long enough to tell of their account. Night of the Chupacabra is about one man’s journey to reunite with his missing family, while the lethal creature that separated them, the mysterious and ravenous chupacabra, is never far behind. Night of the Chupacabra is not only a gruesome regale of carnage, but a unique combination of science fiction bloodshed with a more poignant tale of lost love set against a Western backdrop. Night of the Chupacabra takes an unflinching look at the impossible choices made for love, while knowing the consequences could ultimately lead to a fate worse than death.
They never thought their luck would be their curse.
In the months following the onslaught, the extraordinary survivors continue to know no peace, as they are haunted by signs that the relentless creature remains on their trail. However, this fight will be better matched, now that they’ve discovered an advantage that will help protect them from the monster’s bloodthirsty lust. But once faced with the decision to kill the beast, the choice will not come lightly since it is still unclear which loved one the chupacabra possesses.
"Curse of the Chupacabra" stretches beyond the claustrophobic world of "Night of the Chupacabra"'s single town setting as the creature’s victims inadvertently lure the beast across the western states; not only becoming a road story soaked with blood and treachery, but a powerful chronicle of passage that exposes the consequences of not following the path of one’s own heart. “Curse of the Chupacabra” is a relentless feast of tragedy that examines the dangers awaiting those who might be kin to the most infamous abomination to walk this earth.