Saturday, October 21, 2017



On behalf of Halloweenpalooza, thanks so much for agreeing to participate. Lets start with some quickies:

Favorite horror movie: I would have to go with the best werewolf movie ever, An American Werewolf in London, winning by just a lycanthrope hair over The Thing (1982). I love the practical effects used in both movies, something we rarely see nowadays with modern movie makers relying so much on CGI. 

Favorite guilty pleasure: CHEESECAKE!!!!

Dogs or cats: Definitely a dog person (I have four of them), but I love cats, too. The problem is, I’m allergic to them.

Ever carve a pumpkin: Yes, but that was many full moons ago. I can’t remember exactly when, but I was a kid the last time I had a real pumpkin on Halloween. 

Favorite Halloween candy: Anything chocolate. I know they aren’t official “Halloween” candies, but my choices are Snickers and M&Ms. 

Favorite color:  Blue, no---aaaaaaaaah! ~ Monty Python and the Holy Grail 😊

Favorite quote: “It’s just a flesh wound.” ~ The Black Knight, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

Favorite monster: Lycanthrope, which coincides with my favorite horror movie. The werewolf in An American Werewolf in London is my absolute favorite. I love the design of that particular werewolf and the bone-chilling sound of its howl.

1.      What brought you over to writing about the dark side?

My first horror story is inspired from something that happened to me when I was a kid. I can’t remember my exact age, but when I was somewhere between ten and twelve years old, my sister introduced me to a parlor game that supposedly would allow us to speak with the dead. The game had a planchette and a board with letters and numbers painted on it, along with four complete words: Yes, No, Hello and Goodbye. I knew what a Ouija board was (and I had seen a movie about it), but I had never played with one before. It seemed like innocent fun . . . until I started using it by myself. Apparently, you’re not supposed to do that. Meh, I didn’t care. It was just a game, right?

I don’t have a story about ghosts throwing me across the room or demons possessing me. None of that happened, but aside from experiencing horrific nightmares and anxiety attacks, what really terrified me was an incident that happened at approximately 3 a.m. in my bedroom. I woke up feeling an intense amount of pressure against my chest, and I could not breathe. It was then that I noticed something hovering above me, just inches from my face. Fear paralyzed my body when a pair of demonic eyes appeared within the silhouette. I wanted to scream, but the pressure on my chest somehow left me completely mute. To this day, I have never been so terrified about anything in my life. Finally, my lungs filled with air and I let out a hysterical cry for my parents. The apparition disappeared as soon as Mom and Dad rushed into my bedroom and turned on the lights. I burned the Ouija board in the fireplace the next day and haven’t played with one since.

After doing a bit of research, I’ve now learned that incident in my bedroom was more than likely a common phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. I’ve also had it happen to me as an adult. Basically, you wake up and are unable to move, speak, or react. It’s almost like you’re somewhere between sleep and waking up. Your brain and body haven’t quite synched up to reality. The “demon” I saw was probably a hallucination from a waking dream . . . or was it?

While there is a scientific explanation about what happened to me that night, it didn’t make it any less frightening for me as a child. But what if it was real? What if I had broken some sacred spiritual rule and inadvertently summoned a demon? What if there was an ancient curse involved? While Devil’s Nightmare is only loosely based on my childhood experience with the Ouija board, it still gave me the heebie-jeebies when I thought about it while writing late at night.

Here’s a short blurb of Devil’s Nightmare, which you can pick up free today (always free to read with Kindle Unlimited) on Amazon:

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Detective Aaron Sanders is up against a murderous demonic force in this suspenseful blend of mystery and horror. Nothing could have prepared the seasoned detective for the mutilated remains of an eleven-year-old boy's parents or the equally vicious deaths of three more victims at a nearby cemetery. As Aaron works to solve the homicide cases and protect his only witness, Cody Sumner, he realizes a disturbing connection between the orphaned child and all five victims. Cody's testimony is beyond belief, but when Aaron comes face to face with the perpetrator, he's left questioning everything he's ever believed. True evil often hides in plain sight. 

Devil's Nightmare is an occult suspense horror novel by Robert Pruneda, who shakes readers with his visually graphic scenes, supernatural twists, and disturbing settings in this first installment of the Devil's Nightmare series. 

* * *

2.      What is it about your work that you’d like readers to take away?
As a horror author and fan of the genre, my primary goal is to entertain my readers with a good story while creeping them out in new and creative ways. My desire is for readers to care about the characters I write about and even relate to them if possible, enough to trigger an emotional response. You know, in case I decide to give them the axe. :-) Another goal of mine is to attract new readers to the horror genre. It’s one reason I try to focus on the atmospheric type of horror while throwing in a bit of gore here and there. It’s the creepiness factor that I’m aiming for the most. While fans of extreme horror are not my target audience, I do include the occasional graphic scenes that I believe are quite memorable. There is one particular scene in Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions (Book 2 of the Devil’s Nightmare novels) that I probably enjoyed writing a bit too much. It is very satisfying. Mwahahahaha!

3.      Could you please give us a small excerpt from any of your books that exemplifies what you do best?

Here’s an excerpt from Devil’s Nightmare (Book 1), which readers can download free today on Amazon. Readers can also read my stories free at any time with Kindle Unlimited.

# # #

Cody’s lungs burned with each frenetic breath as he made his escape toward the gated entrance of the old cemetery. He ran past rows of tombstones and lost his footing several times, whimpering in fear as he picked himself up. His blood curdled from a distant scream. A loud explosion of thunder startled him as he checked over his shoulder and slipped, collapsing onto the wet, muddy ground. He pushed himself backward, his hands frantically splashing in puddles of muddied water. The darkness of the cemetery made it impossible to see anything more than a shadow, but Cody knew what stalked him. He knew the evil coming.

He screamed and jumped back to his feet. He ran as fast as he could on the slippery ground. Another loud crash of thunder followed a bright flash of lightning. He was so close, so close to the entrance to the cemetery, but the rain, stronger than before, hammered down upon him. He splashed through puddles of water, flinching from the sheets of rain slapping his face. He struggled to increase his speed, his tears blending in with the rain. Four bicycles lay scattered on the ground near the entrance of the cemetery. Cody yanked his bicycle upright off the ground and checked behind him, but there wasn’t anything there. He hesitated, his heart breaking at the sight of his friends’ bikes lying next to his.

“I’m so sorry,” he cried before mounting his own bike.

The mud, caked onto the soles of his shoes, caused his feet to slip on the wet pedals. He peered into the dark depths of the cemetery again and found the familiar shadow creeping towards him. Whimpering again, Cody reached down to scrape the mud off with his bare hands, and then pedaled a mile to his home in the heavy rain.

Rain-drenched, Cody jumped the curb in front of his house and dropped his bicycle on the lawn. He ran to his open bedroom window, stumbled through it, and fell onto the floor. His bedroom curtains flapped inward as rain splashed onto the hardwood floor. Picture frames on the walls rattled as Cody grabbed his bedroom window and pulled down on it several times until it slammed shut. He dropped to the floor and wept below the window with his head lowered and arms wrapped around his legs, tucking them close to his chest.

Cody lifted his head when the bedroom light came on. Two adults stood in the doorway. His mother rushed inside the room while his stepfather, Tony, placed a hand on the door frame, his jaw clenched and eyes narrowed.

“What in hell’s wrong with ya, boy?” Tony said in a deep southern drawl. His eyes dropped to Cody’s wet shoes and the muddied floor. “And why in hell ya soakin wet? Goddammit, boy, ya sneaked out again, didn’t ya? And where in the hell is that—?”

“What’s wrong, honey?” Cody’s mother broke in, noticing her son trembling. “Are you—?”

“He’s in deep shit, that’s what! Told ya we couldn’t trust this little bastard.” Tony pointed a stern finger at Cody and warned, “Ya pull this shit again and I’m gonna bust yer ass! Now get yer ass up and—”

The lights flickered and went dark.

“Goddammit!” Cody’s stepfather yelled. “Piece a shit electricity always goes out when it rains.” He grabbed his wife’s arm. “Carol, get me the goddamn flashlight. And a mop so this little shit can clean up his mess.”

A flash of bright light shot through the curtains as Carol stepped towards the hallway. Cody’s eyes grew wide. He scooted backwards, mumbling and whimpering.

“What in hell’s yer problem?” Tony said.

Cody’s face whitened. Tears flowed from his eyes. He whimpered “No” repeatedly as he scooted further away, only to find himself trapped in a corner of the dark bedroom.

Heavy rain poured outside as a web of lightning scattered across the sky. Intense thunder muffled the screams and breaking glass. A moment later, all was quiet. The rain stopped, the lightning dissipated, and the thunder grew faint in the distance.

Download your free copy of Devil’s Nightmare on Amazon worldwide here:

4.      What scares you?
My nickname is Sharky, so I’m a bit embarrassed to say I’m afraid of swimming in the ocean. It’s not knowing what is lurking beneath the surface of the water that probably frightens me the most. Thank you, Steven Spielberg! Having said that, I am fascinated about sharks and know enough about them to understand that getting bit by one is extremely rare. So, I don’t fear sharks, I have respect for them. The ocean is their territory. I’m more afraid of jelly fish (particularly the man-o-war) than anything else in the water. While you won’t ever find me swimming off the coast of any ocean, one thing I do have on my bucket list is experiencing a close encounter with sharks in a controlled environment . . . in a cage, of course. vV””Vv

5.      The theme this year is Friday the 13th? Are you superstitious? Or is it just another day?  

Meh, it’s just another day. I’ve never been superstitious, so when Friday the 13th comes along each year, my routine doesn’t change, but it does give me an excuse to throw a bag of popcorn in the microwave and enjoy a Friday the 13th movie marathon. The first couple of movies are the best.

6.      What do you like to do when not writing? Any hobbies? 
 I guess it’s more of a favorite pastime than a hobby, but when I’m not writing I enjoy playing video games. I’ve been a gamer since the days of Pong, before the Atari 2600 and Intellivision video game consoles hit the market in the late 70s and early 80s. I’ve been addicted to video games ever since. I remember when 8-bit graphics were considered an amazing achievement in technology. Now we have Xbox Ones, PlayStation 4s, and virtual reality headsets. I can only imagine what video games will be like ten to twenty years from now. Kids these days are so spoiled. 😊
My favorite video game genre is survival horror. Silent Hill 2 is my all-time favorite video game.

7.      What’s the best memory you have of celebrating Halloween?
This was within the last few years when I purchased a Halloween “jumping spider” prop from Spirit Halloween. I had a foot trigger wired up just inside the front door, so when Trick ‘R Treaters arrived begging for candy, I would make the spider jump out at the unsuspecting ghouls and goblins. The reactions were priceless, especially from the teenagers and adults. EEEEEEEK! Best sixty dollars I’ve ever spent. Here’s a YouTube link to Spirit Halloween’s promo video for the spider.

8.      I know you were hit hard by Hurricane Harvey. Anything you’d like to say about that experience? 

It was a bit breezy and moist. Seriously, though, Hurricane Harvey was a devastating storm not only because it made landfall as a Category 4 hurricane, but mainly due to how slow it moved, and then the damn thing made a U-turn. Recalculating! I was one of the crazy people who chose to ride out the storm, and in hindsight I’d probably do it again. I’ll explain why. Normally when a hurricane makes landfall, it weakens and keeps moving inland. You get a few hours of heavy winds and rain and then assess the damage. Hurricane Harvey was a different beast. This pain in the ass storm stalled right over us moving at only two miles per hour, giving us fifteen hours of heavy winds and dumped nearly three FEET of rain over a four-day period. Where I live, the storm hit us twice, which explains why we had so many consecutive hours of heavy winds. The eye of the storm passed just southwest of us the first time, but then it turned around and went directly over us on its way back into the Gulf of Mexico before hooking northeast to Houston. 

I’m not going to lie, it got scary, particularly when a huge chunk of the roof peeled off and water started pouring down (not just leaking) through the ceilings in several rooms. Meanwhile the streets were also flooding and getting worse by the hour. Scrambling to catch water with buckets, pots, and trashcans and emptying them into a bathtub for twelve straight hours is the only reason why I’m still living in this house and not writing this from temporary housing. The ceilings collapsed in the master bedroom, master bath, office, and dining room with major leaks in the sunroom and a few minor leaks in the hallway bathroom and utility room. Thankfully, the flooding outside never went into the yard, so that was a blessing. 

Nearly two months later, we’re still in recovery mode, but all my two-legged and four-legged family members are safe and healthy. Having no electricity for two weeks sucked, but my uncle brought us a generator about nine days in. While the damage was extensive for many here, what touched me the most was the sense of unity and outpouring of generosity demonstrated throughout this devastating experience. My heart goes out to all the first responders, utility crews, city leaders, National Guard, and volunteers that stepped up to help in the recovery. I’ll never forget about a lineman from Tennessee who lost his life while doing his part to help restore power here. He was only twenty-two years old.

9.      In terms of your readers, do you like feedback? What’s the best thing a reader has ever said or done? 

I love hearing from my readers. It’s hard to pinpoint a specific comment or email, but my favorites are the ones from readers who tell me they normally don’t read horror, but after reading Devil’s Nightmare, they were going to start reading more books in the genre. That always puts a smile on my face.

10.   What’s next for you? What are your upcoming plans?
I’m working on Devil’s Nightmare: Redemption, which is the third and final Devil’s Nightmare book. I initially had this one slated for publication by Halloween this year, but the hurricane and a few other obstacles have been huge distractions to say the least. So, for now, I don’t have a set publication date. I’m guessing it’ll likely be sometime in the first quarter or first half of 2018. After Devil’s Nightmare: Redemption, I plan on getting the audiobook version of Devil’s Nightmare in the works. I also have a few other undisclosed projects in the pipeline, too, which will keep me busy for quite some time.

Yes, my little candy corns, it’s GIVEAWAY TIME and does Robert have something special for you!!!! If you’re guessing it’s another EVERYBODYS A WINNER DAY, you’d be right!!!! DEVILS NIGHTMARE is free on Amazon today! It’s the first book in a two book series.
All you have to do is click on the link below and download!  

Devil's Nightmare (2 Book Series) Book 1: Veteran homicide detective Aaron Sanders thought he’d seen it all, but nothing could have prepared the seasoned detective for the mutilated remains of a kid’s parents or the equally vicious deaths of three boys at another crime scene. As Aaron works to solve the cases and protect his only witness, an orphaned child, he learns of an ancient curse that leaves him questioning all he’s ever believed. Now, to save himself and the child, Aaron must confront his own inner demons, and some he never knew existed. But if he does, will he make it out alive?

Devils Nightmare is an occult suspense horror novel by Robert Pruneda, who shakes readers with his visually graphic scenes, supernatural twists, and disturbing settings in this first installment of the Devil’s Nightmare series.


Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!


  1. I enjoyed Devil's Nightmare when I read it earlier this year. Very original.