Monday, October 31, 2016


On behalf of Halloweenpalooza, thanks so much for agreeing to participate. Before the tops of our heads blow off from excitement, let’s start with some quickies:
Favorite color:   Black. If you don't count that as a color, blue.
Favorite fictional stalker:  Ray Pye from THE LOST. Hell, I created him.
Dogs or cats:  Cats.
Male or female friends:  A few of each.
Guilty pleasure:  Coffee ice cream.
Favorite Halloween candy:  Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
Have you ever carved a pumpkin:  Dozens.
Halloween costume your alter ego would choose:  Elvis. Not the dead one.
1.        With so many types of horror out there, what does Jack Ketchum bring to the horror picnic table? What makes your potato salad so unique?
It's seasoned with the blood of sociopaths -- murderers, politicians, con men, honor-killers, bankers, big-game hunters and the like.
2.        Youve described writing a book as a marriage and writing a screenplay as having an affair. Since there are so many lousy adaptations of great horror novels out there, whats the biggest key in turning the respectable woman you married into a wanton slut of movie to ensure it keeps its authenticity and flavor?
It's all about being true to the characters and themes of the original.
3.       Okay, so I have this friend who insists that the seeds for becoming a horror writer are planted as a child. Think its true? The Jack Daniels talking?  Are there any vivid memories you recall that might have warped you enough into becoming a master of horror?
It may have been the Jack Daniels talking but sometimes in vino veritas. Sure, it all begins in childhood. When you first become aware that the world's a scary place and that in large part your business on earth is to avoid, defeat and brave all those things that make it that way. My parents warped me. By indulging me and loving me...and one another, not so much.
4.       The paranormal. Tarot cards, Ouija boards, haunted houses … ever had an encounter of the supernatural kind? We’d like to hear because this is a night for ghost stories.  
My encounters with the supernatural are mostly pretty much catalogued in SHE WAKES. Greece to me was scary-big, haunted as hell. But in a good way. Huge with spirits and timelessness. But then so is the deep Maine woods.  Wander them some night without a flashlight. Find a clearing and lie down and watch the stars.
5.        Greek mythology raises its contradictory heads in SHE WAKES. Do you regularly indulge in reading esoteric material? Occasionally bathe in it? Are there any non-fiction books that rocked your world that you could share?
I read all over the place, all kinds of stuff. Just recently finished James L. Swanson's MANHUNT, about the search for John Wilkes Booth. The guy's a hell of a writer and if you think you knew a lot about Lincoln's assassination, you didn't. Fascinating read...pounce!
6.       Word has it that you’re the male equivalent of a crazy cat lady. True? Not true? An internet rumor started by you? Spill. How many kitties presently claim ownership of you and why the love for the furry sociopaths who probably sleep on your head?
Guilty as charged. [Editorial Note: Ha! I knew it!]  I have five now, George and Gracie, Lily and Samantha (sisters), and Emma. Didn't plan on five, believe me, it just sorta happened. Emma, for instance. When she was a six-week-old kitten we found her hiding terrified in the median between the north and southbound lanes on Broadway, of all places. How the hell she got there is anybody's guess. Mine is that somebody just tossed into the bushes. And yeah, there's occasionally one on my head at night. But more often they prefer the extremities and interstices created therein -- crotch, armpit.... 

7.       Since cats are among the worlds best stalkers, and since stalking is this years theme, are there any insights you’ve gleaned that would help us understand a stalker’s psychological profile? Who is this “perfect” stalker that we should all fear and what does that bastard really, really want? (Besides a nice baseball bat across his knees.)
Who the hell knows what these wackos really want. It probably varies, from a desire to be loved, noticed, right down to some unconscious compulsion. The perfect stalker, it would seem to me, is the one you never hear about, who never gets caught, whose victim doesn't even know he's there. A shadow crossing your path. And nobody the wiser for it.
8.        Okay, so youve heard my friends theory, now one of mine. While the perception for horror is that a dead body and lots of blood will satisfy readers, Ive always maintained that readers of horror are some of the pickiest fans out there. Its HARD to please them and a difficult genre to succeed in. What does your magic eight ball say about that?
I've found that most of my readers are, first and foremost, good readers, period. Which is very gratifying. You can sit down and talk with them and the talk will range way, way out of the bounds of "genre." Gore for gore's sake gets pretty boring, don't you think? You can put up with it in a movie that runs an hour and a half, but you live with a book for days, and those writers who have those licks but not much else get as dull as dishwater.  And most of them fall by the wayside pretty quickly. You really need to dig into the human experience to stick around as a writer.
9.       Whats your take on Halloween? Do you get your werewolf on by shapeshifting? Perform rituals? Or sleep through it? Is there one best memory you have of this momentous holiday?  
Here in New York there are streets blocked off for Halloween so no cars can get through for two or three blocks, and they're always packed with trick or treaters of all ages. So it's a lot of fun to hit your neighborhood bar for a drink or two and then go mingle.I like to wear my tux and a black half-mask, slick back my hair and carry a very large, very lifelike rubber insect – a cockroach or a black ant -- behind my back. I pull it out and scare the hell out of folks. Kids love it. The ones who really get scared are their mothers. My favorite Halloween, though, was when I was in my late twenties and staying in Laguna Beach. Three of us went out masked and costumed and handed out treats door to door. People were very puzzled and often quite delighted by the reversal.
10.      Since its Halloween, and since you own this day, the platform is yours. Any upcoming projects youd care to tell us about? How about an All Hallows Eve thought thatll scare the crap out of us and ruin our sleep for the rest of our lives?
Come November Lucky McKee and I will have a new novel out called THE SECRET LIFE OF SOULS. I've also got a new collection of stories due from Cemetery Dance called GORILLA IN MY ROOM, which should also be out in early wintertime. A Halloween thought that will scare the crap out of you? Sure. Donald Trump is the U.S. President and...well, fill in the blanks.
Today’s giveaway is TAILS OF WONDER AND IMAGINATION, the second autographed book that Mr. Ketchum has kindly donated to the noble cause of Halloween! This is the last chance to snag an autographed copy for your very own!!! Because this is a print copy, WINNERS ARE LIMITED TO THE U.S. and CANADA.
To win: go to the Official FB Event Page; find the post announcing  today’s giveaway; and comment, “I WANT TO WIN” in that post and you just might!!! 

We’ll also be drawing the rafflecopter winner of THE SECRET LIFE OF SOULS later tonight!!! All I can say is good luck to you all!!!! 

From legendary editor Ellen Datlow, Tails of Wonder collects the best of the last thirty years of science fiction and fantasy stories about cats. The stories include:
Through the Looking Glass (excerpt) - Lewis Carroll
No Heaven Will Not Ever Heaven Be... - A. R. Morlan
The Price - Neil Gaiman
Dark Eyes, Faith, and Devotion - Charles de Lint
Not Waving - Michael Marshall Smith
Catch - Ray Vukcevich
The Manticore Spell - Jeffrey Ford
Catskin - Kelly Link
Mieze Corrects an Incomplete Representation of Reality - Michaela Roessner
Guardians - George R. R. Martin
Life Regarded as a Jigsaw Puzzle of Highly Lustrous Cats - Michael Bishop
Gordon, the Self-Made Cat - Peter S. Beagle
The Jaguar Hunter - Lucius Shepard
Arthur's Lion - Tanith Lee
Pride - Mary A. Turzillo
The Burglar Takes a Cat - Lawrence Block
The White Cat - Joyce Carol Oates
Returns - Jack Ketchum
Puss-Cat - Reggie Oliver
Cat in Glass - Nancy Etchemendy
Coyote Peyote - Carole Nelson Douglas
The Poet and the Inkmaker's Daughter - Elizabeth Hand
The Night of the Tiger - Stephen King
Every Angel is Terrifying - John Kessel
Candia - Graham Joyce
Mbo - Nicholas Royle
Bean Bag Cats(R) - Edward Bryant
Antiquities - John Crowley
The Manticore's Tale - Catherynne M. Valente
In Carnation - Nancy Springer
Old Foss is the Name of His Cat - David Sandner
A Safe Place to Be - Carol Emshwiller
Nine Lives to Live - Sharyn McCrumb
Tiger Kill - Kaaron Warren
Something Better than Death - Lucy Sussex
Dominion - Christine Lucas
Tiger in the Snow - Daniel Wynn Barber
The Dweller in High Places - Susanna Clarke
Healing - Benjamin Dennis Danvers
The Puma - Theodora Goss   

Jack Ketchum has published twelve novels and several short story collections. He has won numerous Bram Stoker Awards, and four of his books were recently filmed as movies: The Lost (2001), The Girl Next Door (2005), Red (2008) and Offspring (2009). He lives in New York City.

Link to Amazon Author Page

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Oct 30 -- JOHN EVERSON: Why Won't You Just Leave Me Alone?

Why wont you
just leave me alone?

John Everson
Copyright © 2016 by John Everson
Most of the time, all I really want is to be left alone.
Put me in a room with electricity, a stereo and a beer fridge and I would be happy to stay there for hours. Days. I could lose myself in the music, or open a file and lose myself in telling a story. But the key part is being left alone.
When I go to a bar, I don’t want to talk to the jibber-jabbering lonelyhearts sitting next to me. I want them to shut up and watch the game on the overhead TV. Just leave me alone with my thoughts and my beer and my laptop, please. You can imagine, with that attitude, I don’t have a large posse of close friends!
That’s not to say that I’m a complete misanthropic recluse. I host a big summer yard party at my house every year, and a winter chili, ale and bourbon fest. I love cooking for people and playing the host. But the events are held on my own terms, and when they’re done, the people all go home and I’ve got my personal Fortress of Solitude back again.
I suspect that this may be a slightly more male attitude than female. We don’t have woman caves, we have man caves… the place where men retreat from the rest of the house thronging with voices and feet. I know of far more anti-social men than women.
In any event, coming from that head space, you can imagine that the thought of someone forcing themselves into my personal space is a terrifying theme. Especially when that other person doesn’t just want to be heard… they want a piece of you.
Stalking villains are a major trope in horror. More than slimy, grotesque monsters, really our biggest communal fear is of someone or something intruding upon our lives in a way we do not want. Something coming out of the dark that just won’t go away.
One of the most effective horror films of the past 25 years, for me, was High Tension. One of the first films I ever saw from the French “extremity” movement, it follows two college girls who are seemingly stalked by a brutal killer. But the film’s truth is much worse. It’s a nailbiter start to finish because throughout the film, the “personal space” (and lives) of person after person are not only intruded upon, but shattered.
There are stalking villains who cause mayhem for the pure love of violence, a la A Clockwork Orange (anarchistic and frightening) and stalking stories due to twisted love. I think the latter, which High Tension falls into, is often the most disturbing, because the stalker’s eyes look on the victim with love while dismantling any chance of love’s happiness. What is worse than being murdered by love? It’s the ultimate betrayal of humanity.
In my novel Siren, I touched on the stalking theme due to a lover spurned. When the title character is rejected, she refuses to take no for an answer, and stages a siege on her former lover’s home. His “man cave” is not only pummeled by a rain of bloody, broken birds, but everything he loves is soon under attack.  Why? Because of spurned emotion. At the end of the day, the heart is more deadly than any weapon.
In my novel The Pumpkin Man, the killer’s motives are less obvious at first… but the victims all share a dark secret that they were involved in a quarter century before. When the killer carves the likenesses of their faces in a jack-o-lantern, he is memorializing them… and exposing their own evil as he disappears with their heads in the dark of the night.
Past actions driven by the passions of the heart can haunt us for the rest of our lives, no matter how we may try to bury them. When seen through that eye, you can understand how attractive being alone can be. It’s safer there away from the unpredictable actions of others. There are no minds and hearts twisted by emotion to ruin the day or burn down the night.
There is only you.
Of course, when you’re completely alone, you’re also at your most vulnerable.
In some ways you’re safest when you’re alone… and yet that creak in the floorboard just above… what if it isn’t the wind, but the walk? The footsteps of your past coming back to bring some misguided vengeance? He/she may have climbed in through the bedroom window. Lowered a vengeful obsession back into your life from the roof.
No matter how closeted you keep yourself, you must at some point interact. And you can never escape from the things and people you’ve touched in the past. You will always, in some way, be stalked by your past. In the end, we create our future peril with every word and action of the now. Those actions may be kind or cruel… but how they’re transmuted by the twisted minds of others can never be predicted or controlled.
And that may be the scariest thought of all.
Today’s giveaway is FIVE ECOPIES of SACRIFICING VIRGINS by John Everson!!!

To win: go to the Official FB Event Page; find the post announcing  today’s giveaway; and comment, “I WANT TO WIN” in that post and you just might!!! 

There’s also an offer to play with a OUIJA BOARD!!!! YES!!! FUN!!!! Stop by on Halloween and talk to the online Ouija Board there for a moment… but beware the spirits you might raise!
Tales beyond the darkness!
If you could bring your daughter back from the dead...should you? If you could forget the worst event in your life...would you?
In this collection of twenty-five dark tales from Bram Stoker Award-winning author John Everson, you’ll meet a host of provocative characters. Learn the secrets of the man whose pumpkin carvings look strangely, disturbingly real. Visit a small town where the tavern game isn’t about shots, but sharks. Meet the woman who finds an ancient sex toy—and a salacious spirit—entombed beneath her garden. From quiet tales of ghosts and cemeteries to extreme tales of erotic horror, Sacrificing Virgins will take you to the bleeding edge...and beyond.

John Everson is the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of eight novels of erotic horror and the macabre, including his latest, the Fountain of Youth thriller THE FAMILY TREE, as well as the Bram Stoker Award-nominated tour de force NIGHTWHERE, the Bram Stoker Award-winner COVENANT, its sequel SACRIFICE and the standalone novels THE 13TH, SIREN, THE PUMPKIN MAN, VIOLET EYES. He also is the author of four collections of short horror fiction, including his latest, SACRIFICING VIRGINS.

John shares a deep purple den in Naperville, Illinois with a cockatoo and cockatiel, a disparate collection of fake skulls, twisted skeletal fairies, Alan Clark illustrations and a large stuffed Eeyore. There's also a mounted Chinese fowling spider named Stoker, an ever-growing shelf of custom mix CDs and an acoustic guitar that he can't really play but that his son likes to hear him beat on anyway. Sometimes his wife is surprised to find him shuffling through more public areas of the house, but it's usually only to brew another cup of coffee. In order to avoid the onerous task of writing, he occasionally records pop-rock songs in a hidden home studio, experiments with the insatiable culinary joys of the jalapeno, designs book covers for a variety of small presses, loses hours in expanding an array of gardens and chases frequent excursions into the bizarre visual headspace of '70s euro-horror DVDs with a shot of Makers Mark and a tall glass of Newcastle.

Learn more about John on his site,, where you can sign up for a direct-from-the-author monthly e-newsletter with information on new books, contests and occasionally, free fiction.

Want to connect? Follow John on Twitter @johneverson, or find him on Facebook at