Published June 5th 2022 by Birchwood Press A ll Charlotte Deerborn wanted was a nice Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Too bad f...

Book Review || Wolf at the Door by Joel McKay


 Published June 5th 2022 by Birchwood Press

All Charlotte Deerborn wanted was a nice Thanksgiving dinner with family and friends. Too bad for her no one else wanted to be there. By the time the turkey is carved, old grievances, bad behavior, and crass remarks have transformed her dinner party into a disaster. And then a werewolf shows up to do some carving of its own.

Add to Goodreads
  
Wolf at the Door has all the delightful family drama of the Thanksgiving table in a nutshell. Disapproving inlaws, a divorce on the horizon, jealousy, envy, oh it has all of it. That's certainly enough for one day but then it gets hairy. Like really hairy. No one invited the werewolf for turkey and gravy but he's there huffing and puffing and blowing the little house down. Okay, enough puns. I love werewolf stories. As far as tropes go, it's at least in my top ten. A werewolf ripping and tearing its way through the entire Days of Our Lives dysfunction should have been a blast but the novella didn't deliver on some aspects for me. 

This is not a book where you pick that one character to enthusiastically want to see them escape the clutches of evil. I didn't like any of the characters. Head ripped off? Cool. Survived the night? Whatever. I didn't have any strong feelings for or against any of them meeting their ghastly end at the hands, er...paws of the wolf. That also means there is no underdog to root for to make it out alive. Now obviously that's on purpose as all the characters are constructed with all their faults at the forefront. Liking a character doesn't automatically equate to a great read. However, I expected to be more invested in the characters and it didn't happen.

Still, there's an abundance of innards becoming out-ards and all kinds of squelchy goodness.  If you want a quick read where the walls run red, McKay certainly delivers the splatter. I'd say that people who don't typically read horror would have fun with this novella but most seasoned horror readers are going to want more developed characters and a more nuanced plot. 



Published  October 15, 2022 by Grinning Skull Press M artin "Wags" Wagner, an aging catcher relegated to a minor-league affiliate ...

New Release || Effectively Wild by Aeryn Rudel


Published October 15, 2022 by Grinning Skull Press

Martin "Wags" Wagner, an aging catcher relegated to a minor-league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants, is offered a new assignment—take a promising young pitcher under his wing and show him the ropes. Martin's manager is cagey about the new player, giving only his name, Andrei Dinescu, and his country of origin, Moldova. Despite the mysterious circumstances, Martin accepts the assignment, hoping to earn a return to the big leagues.

After his first bullpen session with the new pitcher, Martin is stunned by Andrei’s lack of physical ability and his unfamiliarity with baseball. However, with each passing week, Andrei’s strength and skill grow exponentially, and his miraculous leaps in both ability and pitch velocity frighten Martin. His fear is compounded by the organization’s obvious attempts to keep Andrei separated from the rest of the team.

When Martin discovers the shocking truth about Andrei Dinescu, he realizes his path back to the big leagues is one stained with horror and blood.


Add to Goodreads



Know a catcher by his knees, Martin Wagner thought as he taped bags of ice to his. He'd become an expert in the application of cold to torn ligaments and inflamed joints. As he ministered to his aching knees, he watched young men in their prime strut around in perfect injury-free bodies, laughing and joking, utterly confident in their indestructability. Martin tried not to hate them. Not easy for a thirty-seven-year-old catcher at the ass-end of his career who had to pop two Percocet to even get on the field, let alone play at something resembling a professional level. The aging athlete is a resentful creature.
 
Martin leaned against his locker. It was too small and too close to the others. Not like the cavernous, walk-in closet-sized joints in the big leagues. But he was not in the big leagues anymore. He'd been relegated to the minors last season, and in the minors, you made do with less. His head brushed the black-and-gray Sacramento Stars uniform hung above his locker. The Stars were a minor-league affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. Not so long ago, he'd worn the black and orange of the big team. Not so long ago, a big-league salary helped alleviate the pain in his knees, back, and neck. League minimum, sure, but that six-hundred grand let him pay his alimony and hang on to enough to live comfortably. Now, exiled to Triple-A, he made a fraction of that. He was two payments behind on his alimony, living in a one-room shit box—he couldn't bring himself to share a place with one of his embryonic teammates—his big-league career a swiftly fading memory. Veronica, his ex, was sympathetic to his predicament and let him slide on the alimony. Her magnanimity somehow made him feel worse about himself. The aging athlete is also a dumping ground for toxic male hang-ups





Aeryn Rudel is a writer from Tacoma, Washington. He is the author of the baseball horror novella Effectively Wild published by Grinning Skull Press and the Acts of War novels published by Privateer Press. His short fiction has appeared in Dark Matter Magazine, On Spec, and Pseudopod, among others. Aeryn is a heavy metal nerd, a baseball geek, and knows far more about dinosaurs than is healthy or socially acceptable. Learn more about his work at www.rejectomancy.com or on Twitter @Aeryn_Rudel.  

This book's title comes from the reality that - like a moth to the flame - we're all just one event, mishap, or decision away from t...

Author Spotlight || Jeff Parsons, Author of The Captivating Flames of Madness



This book's title comes from the reality that - like a moth to the flame - we're all just one event, mishap, or decision away from things that could change our lives forever.

What would you do if fate led you astray into a grim world where you encountered vengeful ghosts, homicidal maniacs, ancient gods, apocalyptic nightmares, dark magic, deadly space aliens, and more?
If you dare, why not find out?

Read for yourself the twenty-two gloriously provocative tales that dwell within this book - but be warned, some of my dear readers have experienced lasting nightmares...



What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?


Loved horror comics as a child

What part of writing do you consider a chore?


Reading my own hand scribbled notes and typing the min

Where were you when you first thought "I need to write this story?"


At work. Day dreaming.

Did publishing your first book change your process of writing?


Oh yeah. I'm not the same person.

What's your favorite "bad review" that you've gotten?  


Someone was very angry with me because my story gave them nightmares. Well, it was a horror story, but I felt bad...

What comes first for you - the plot or the characters?


Plot first. It's better for me if I have a story line before I insert characters.

Do you have any writing superstitions?


Don't write about things that are too real. We all deal with sad things in our lives. I'd like for people to escape from that, even if it's only for a little while.

Is there a word you find yourself using too often when writing?


Said. But I minimize its use whenever I can (not by substituting alternatives if I can - using too many of those can be a distraction to reading, he quipped).  

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?


Two Steps From Hell by Epic World - quite uplifting and mysterious

Do you have a favorite line that you've written? What is it and why do you like it?


'For the new NASA spokesperson, Mr. Argyle Goldtoe, is a sock puppet.' A comedy story about how NASA is taking a new approach to PR. Irreverent yet relevant. 

What is something about the genre that annoys you?


How some people perceive it to only be about gruesome subjects, not real life happening to take an unusual turn. 

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Write like no one is reading. :)

What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?


You have value. Never forget that. Write your story. Not someone elses.

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?


New sci-fi/ horror novel. I'm thinking about the bigger plot now. When I get better structure, I'll frame out the chapters.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?


I wrote a story about a submariner. He led a simple basic life in a horrible war, only wishing to go home and be with his loved one.

Would you and your main character get along?


I think so. We're both very easy going.

Killing off characters your readers love - Risky or necessary?


Without a purpose - nope, throw the book across the room time. For a noble cause or sacrifice, it could work, but it must be relatable to the reader.

Did any of your characters surprise you while you were writing?


They're often quite bossy, telling me what to do.

You've watched a movie 50 times and you still aren't tired of it. What movie is it?


Raiders of the Lost Ark. I was a movie theatre usher. Saw it 4 times a day when I worked for over a year.

Which animal (real or fictional) would you say is your spirit animal and why?


No idea. Probably a common dog because I'm very simple minded at times when it comes to relationships.   


Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale creatures?


My parent's house in Maine seemed to have haunted aspects. I don't know what to think about that, but it was scary at times. Let's go with fairy tale creatures as long as they're the nice ones.

What would you say is your weirdest writing quirk?


I look at regular life and see stories waiting to be written. 

Using only emojis, sum up your book.


:)

You've just gone Trick or Treating. What do you hope is in your bag? 

Zero bars. I love them - white fudge and crunchy stuff. 

What is in your internet search history (researching for your book) that you would want someone to wipe if you were under suspicion from the police?


Can't say - the police will read your blog. Okay, yesterday I looked up Grey Aliens. 

You wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. What was it?


Showing up to school naked. Yeah, it's been awhile...

What cliched tattoo would your main character have?


mom

What movie completely scarred you as a child?


I'm ancient, so it's the Wizard of Oz.

What's the strangest thing a fan (or other author)  has said to you?


Nuke em til they glow, then shoot em in the dark.

If animals could talk, which one would be the rudest?


Cats. They can be quite sarcastic.

Your main character is at the hardware store. What do they buy?


A survival knife.

If you were bitten and changed, would you want it to be by a vampire or a werewolf?


Werewolf. You get to keep your day job. 

Which of the Golden Girls is your personality most like?


Dorothy. IRL, she was once a marine. I wasn't, but I relate.

What are your SM links? Can we follow you and pretend we're besties? 


I'm not sure what Sado Masochism links are available but you can find me on Facebook.


You're riding through the desert on a horse with no name. What are you going to call it?


GoogleMaps please.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?

I can only aspire to write better. My inspiration, from the 1987 Bulwer-Lytton Contest: “The notes blatted skyward as the sun rose over the Canada geese, feathered rumps mooning the day, webbed appendages frantically pedaling unseen bicycles in their search for sustenance, driven by cruel Nature’s maxim, ‘Ya wanna eat, ya gotta work,’ and at last I knew Pittsburgh.”


Jeff has a long history of technical writing, which oddly enough, often reads like pure fiction. In addition to his two short story books, The Captivating Flames of Madness and Algorithm of Nightmares, he is published in The Horror Zine, The Best of The Horror Zine: The Middle Years, The Horror Zine’s Book of Werewolves, The Horror Zine’s Book of Ghost Stories, Aphelion Webzine, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume 4, Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, Chilling Ghost Short Stories, Dystopia Utopia Short Stories, Wax & Wane: A Coven of Witch Tales, Thinking Through Our Fingers, The Moving Finger Writes, Golden Prose & Poetry, Our Dance With Words, The Voices Within, Fireburst: The Inner Circle Writers’ Group, Second Flash Fiction Anthology 2018, SNM Horror Magazine, and Bonded by Blood IV/ V. He is currently seeking a publisher for his first novel titled Tomorrow Will End, a sci-fi/ horror adventure. For more propaganda, visit his Facebook Author Page [https://www.facebook.com/OfficialJeffParsons/].  


DEATH IS FUNNY SOMETIMES through this collection of 13 stories of horror and science fiction. Among them are… ANOTHER WILD NIGHT AT THE F***...

Author Spotlight || M.C. August, Author of Death Is Funny Sometimes



DEATH IS FUNNY SOMETIMES through this collection of 13 stories of horror and science fiction. Among them are…

ANOTHER WILD NIGHT AT THE F***ED HEN – A former punk rocker turned bar owner protects his patrons from the latest blitz of vampires who aren’t thirsty for beer.

ONE HUNDRED DEGREES AFTER MIDNIGHT – A wrongly convicted man’s final hours on the planet before his execution on death row.

DEAD KID AT A SLEEPOVER – Fun nostalgia trip of a typical sleepover with friends in the 1980s. Just with a dead kid.

SAL & SON – A butcher shop owner seeks revenge against New York mobsters after his father is killed for failing to pay protection money. This one is for slasher fans.

POSTCARDS FROM CHERNOBYL – A young girl who is immune to radiation takes a stand against a government experiment to dominate the world during the nuclear arms race of the 1980s.

MIKE & MANDY FIGHT THROUGH THE END OF THE WORLD – Mike and Mandy were ready to finalize their divorce and start a new life. But the zombie apocalypse screwed it all up. It was just one of those days.

HOW TO CATCH CRAWFISH AS TOLD BY RUFUS WHEELER – In the Louisiana bayou a down on his luck father makes a strange discovery while crawfishing and has hope it can give his son a better life.

SUPERFICIAL CRACKS IN A PORCELAIN FACE – An aging star of Italian Giallo cinema is not ready to retire.



What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?


Quite simply -- I love horror and sci-fi, and my main heroes and influences are Ray Bradbury, Rod Serling and Robert Eggers. The story in my DEATH IS FUNNY SOMETIMES anthology titled ONE HUNDRED DEGREES AFTER MIDNIGHT was written as an homage to THE TWILIGHT ZONE. 

What part of writing do you consider a chore?


Outlining, but it is also my favorite part of the process.

Where were you when you first thought "I need to write this story?"


I have always been a fan of anthologies such as TALES FROM THE CRYPT and CREEPSHOW and wanted to write one of my own. Both were actually referenced in reviews I have received, and that felt really great. My current favorite anthology series is LOVE, DEATH AND ROBOTS on Netflix. 

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there are songs you had on repeat?


I like to listen to soundtracks from Studio Ghibli films at a low volume in the background while I write. I know, not the typical answer for a horror writer, but I find those pleasant scores help with my creativity and writing flow/rhythm. I did listen to a lot of music from the '70s and '80s while writing the stories that take place in those decades in the anthology book. 

What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?


Not unconventional, but I would just say KEEP WRITING. 

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?


I am currently writing another anthology and it keeps with the fun vibe of DEATH IS FUNNY SOMETIMES. 

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?


Wiktor Wojna, mainly because he was the lead character of my first book, the crime novella SMORG WAR OF '84. 

You've watched a movie 50 times and you still aren't tired of it. What movie is it?


THE BLUES BROTHERS. 

Which animal (real or fictional) would you say is your spirit animal and why?


Probably just a dog because they are friendly. 

What would you say is your weirdest writing quirk?


I like to read all of my dialogue out loud while I am writing it, so sometimes it looks like I am having a conversation all by myself in my office. 

Using only emojis, sum up your book.


INSERT A SKULL AND A HAPPY FACE HERE. Haha.

You've just gone Trick or Treating.  What do you hope is in your bag? What do you pawn off on your kids/SO/random stranger?

Starburst and Skittles, and I would pawn off DOTS or Junior Mints.

What is in your internet search history (researching for your book) that you would want someone to wipe if you were under suspicion from the police?


I had to do some morbid research regarding the operations/procedures of a Medical Examiner for my short story THE JOY OF COLLECTING STAMPS & HUMAN REMAINS.

You wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. What was it?


I tend to have the same recurring nightmare where I get stuck in an elevator. And my short story A CHURCH AT TRADER'S CREEK was actually inspired by a weird dream I had where a preacher walked into a lake and did not resurface from under the water. 

What movie completely scarred you as a child?


THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW. I saw it when I was 12. Enough said.

What are your SM links? Can we follow you and pretend we're besties? 


I can be found on Twitter @MichaelAugust


MC August is a former editor from Chicago. That job sucked.


When the clock strikes midnight on October 31st, it's all holly jolly and decking the halls, right? Nah, October may be over but that do...

This Month in Horror || November 2022


When the clock strikes midnight on October 31st, it's all holly jolly and decking the halls, right? Nah, October may be over but that doesn't mean the horror stops there. Horror fans celebrate spooky season all year round. 

Get ready to pad your TBR, here are just a few of November's new releases!

__________________________________________

Black Forest by Laramie Dean

Expected publication: November 1, 2022

Nathan has always been haunted by what he calls “deaders,” frightening, disfigured creatures—once human but now hungry and relentless ghosts. After a séance to banish them goes awry, Nathan escapes high school to start over at Waxman University in idyllic Garden City, Montana. But when young men begin to go missing from campus, Nathan finds that the deaders have returned, more frightening and hungrier than ever.


With the help of the mysterious Theo, Nathan seeks to learn the truth behind the disappearances. But something worse than the deaders begins to haunt Nathan . . . something with glowing yellow eyes and giant wings. As reality grows thin, things emerge from the cracks. Is Theo what he seems? Or could he be some kind of monster? Will Nathan learn the truth before he vanishes into the darkness?




Wicked Little Things by Justin Arnold


Expected publication: November 1, 2022 by Tiny Ghost Press

Join a coven.

Catch a killer.

Get a makeover...?

When his cousin is murdered, recently outed 16-year-old Dane Craven is forced to return to his unbearably small hometown of Jasper Hollow. It would be easy enough for him to keep his head down if it weren't for three inescapable facts.

One, Dane is a witch with fiery powers he has little ability to control.

Two, Dane thinks he's responsible for the death of his cousin.

And three, he's already been claimed by a coven of fashion-forward 'mean girls' desperate to give him a makeover.

Being the gay best friend to a trio of teenage witches wasn't ever high on Dane's list of aspirations, but fortunately for him these girls have the necromantic powers he needs to figure out who killed his cousin. Plus, he could do with some new clothes.

While on the hunt for his cousin's killer Dane discovers life in Jasper Hollow isn't all bad. There's the cute boy who works at the local coffee shop and enjoys long walks in the woods, for one.

But when the rabbit-faced killer comes for Dane, he'll be forced to come to terms with who he is and where he belongs before it's too late for him and everyone in Jasper Hollow.




Into the Forest: Tales of the Baba Yaga

Expected publication: November 8, 2022 by Black Spot Books

A collection of new and exclusive short stories inspired by the Baba Yaga. Featuring Gwendolyn Kiste, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Mercedes M. Yardley, Monique Snyman, Donna Lynch, Lisa Quigley, and R. J. Joseph, with a foreword by Christina Henry. Deep in the dark forest, in a cottage that spins on birds’ legs behind a fence topped with human skulls, lives the baba yaga. A guardian of the water of life, she lives with her sisters and takes to the skies in a giant mortar and pestle, creating tempests as she goes. Those who come across the baba yaga may find help, or hinderance, or horror. She is wild, she is woman, she is witch—and these are her tales.

Edited by Lindy Ryan, this collection brings together some of today’s leading voices of women-in-horror as they pay tribute to the baba yaga, and go Into the Forest.




The Hollows by Daniel Church

Expected publication: November 8, 2022 by Angry Robot

In a lonely village in the Peak District, during the onset of a once-in-a-lifetime snow storm, Constable Ellie Cheetham finds a body. The man, a local ne'er-do-well, appears to have died in a tragic accident: he drank too much and froze to death.

But the facts don't add up: the dead man is clutching a knife in one hand, and there's evidence he was hiding from someone. Someone who watched him die. Stranger still, an odd mark has been drawn onto a stone beside his body.

The next victims are two families on the outskirts of town. As the storm rises and the body count grows, Ellie realises she has a terrifying problem on her hands: someone – or some thing – is killing indiscriminately, attacking in the darkness and using the storm for cover.

The killer is circling ever closer to the village. The storm's getting worse... and the power's just gone out.



Desert Creatures by Kay Chronister

Expected publication: November 8, 2022 by Erewhon


In a world that has become treacherous and desiccated, Magdala has always had to fight to survive. At nine years old, she and her father, Xavier, are exiled from their home, fleeing through the Sonoran Desert, searching for refuge.

As violence pursues them, they join a handful of survivors on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Las Vegas, where it is said the vigilante saints reside, bright with neon power. Magdala, born with a clubfoot, is going to be healed. But when faced with the strange horrors of the desert, one by one the pilgrims fall victim to a hideous sickness—leaving Magdala to fend for herself.

After surviving for seven years on her own, Magdala is sick of waiting for her miracle. Recruiting an exiled Vegas priest named Elam at gunpoint to serve as her guide, Magdala turns her gaze to Vegas once more, and this time, nothing will stop her. The pair form a fragile alliance as they navigate the darkest and strangest reaches of the desert on a trip that takes her further from salvation even as she nears the holy city.

With ferocious imagination and poetic precision, Desert Creatures is a story of endurance at the expense of redemption. What compromise does survival require of a woman, and can she ever unlearn the instincts that have kept her alive?






The Spirit Phone by Arthur Shattuck O'Keefe

Expected publication: November 15, 2022 by BHC Press


Aleister Crowley and Nikola Tesla confront the enigma of Thomas Edison's new invention: a phone to communicate with the dead.

It is August 1899, and Thomas Edison proclaims his most amazing invention yet: the Spirit Phone Model SP-1. At nearly the same time, a cocksure young mage named Aleister Crowley inexplicably teleports into the home of Edison’s archrival, renowned inventor Nikola Tesla.

As insanity and suicide multiply among spirit phone users, Crowley and Tesla combine their respective skills in “magick” and technology to investigate the device’s actual origin and ultimate purpose.

Embarking upon an adventure of astral travel, demonic invocations, and high-speed airship journeys, they are soon embroiled in a desperate race to stop the spirit phone's use by an unknown adversary to inaugurate a hell on earth from which none shall escape.






Strega by Johanne Lykke Holm

Expected publication: November 15, 2022 by Riverhead Books


Powerfully inventive and atmospheric, a modern gothic story of nine young women sent to work at a remote Alpine hotel and what happens when one of them goes missing

With toiletries, hairbands, and notebooks in her bag, and at her mother's instruction, nineteen-year-old Rafa leaves her parents' home and the seaside town she grew up in. Out the train window, she sees the lit-up mountains and perfect trees--and the Olympic Hotel waiting for her perched above the small village of Strega. There, she and eight other young women receive the stiff black uniforms of seasonal workers and move into their shared dorm. But while they toil constantly to perform their role and prepare the hotel for guests, none arrive. Instead, they contort themselves daily to the expectations of their strict, matronly bosses without clear purpose and, in their spare moments, escape to the herb garden, confide in each other, and quickly find solace together. Finally, the hotel is filled with people for a wild and raucous party, only for one of the women to disappear. What follows are deeper revelations about the myths we teach young women, what we raise them to expect from the world, and whether a gentler, more beautiful life is possible.





House of Yesterday by Deeba Zargarpur

Expected publication: November 29, 2022 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Taking inspiration from the author's own Afghan-Uzbek heritage, this contemporary YA debut is a breathtaking journey into the grief that lingers through generations of immigrant families, and what it means to confront the ghosts of your past.

Struggling to deal with the pain of her parents’ impending divorce, fifteen-year-old Sara is facing a world of unknowns and uncertainties. Unfortunately, the one person she could always lean on when things got hard, her beloved Bibi Jan, has become a mere echo of the grandmother she once was. And so Sara retreats into the family business, hoping a summer working on her mom’s latest home renovation project will provide a distraction from her fracturing world.

But the house holds more than plaster and stone. It holds secrets that have her clinging desperately to the memories of her old life. Secrets that only her Bibi Jan could have untangled. Secrets Sara is powerless to ignore as the dark truths of her family’s history rise in ghostly apparitions -- and with it, the realization that as much as she wants to hold onto her old life, nothing will ever be the same.

Told in lush, sweeping prose, this story of secrets, summer, and family sacrifice will chill you to the bone as the house that wraps Sara in warmth of her past becomes the one thing she cannot escape…

Publication date: October 13, 2020 Add to Goodreads Veterinarian Tom Copeland takes a job at a factory farm called Sunnyvale after a scandal...

Author Spotlight || Dane Cobain, Author of Meat


Publication date: October 13, 2020


Veterinarian Tom Copeland takes a job at a factory farm called Sunnyvale after a scandal at his suburban practice. His job is to keep the animals alive for long enough to get them to slaughter.

But there are rumours of a strange creature living beneath the complex, accidents waiting to happen on brutal production lines and the threat of zoonotic disease from the pigs, sheep, cows, chickens and fish that the complex houses.

Suddenly, disaster rocks Sunnyvale and cleaners, butchers, security guards and clerical staff alike must come together under the ruthless leadership of CEO John MacDonald. Together, they’ll learn what happens when there’s a sudden change to the food chain.

Bon appétit.



What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?


I write books that I’d want to read myself. Given that I read so many different genres, that probably explains why I write across multiple genres, too. But as a general rule, I’m attracted to darker, grittier genres because I think broken and ugly things are more interesting than things that are perfect.

What part of writing do you consider a chore?


Getting the words down is always a challenge because it leaves you feeling worn out, even though it’s also cathartic. But I think the biggest chore is promoting the books once they’re out there, because it’s an unforgiving task that takes up a lot of time that could otherwise be spent writing.

Where were you when you first thought "I need to write this story?"


That’s a good question. I think for me, it’s more a case that I constantly feel that I need to write and I just don’t feel happy unless I’m able to create. The particular story that I’m writing almost doesn’t matter because I have more ideas than I’ll ever be able to work on, so as soon as I’m nearing the end of one book, I start to think about what I want to work on next. 

Did publishing your first book change your process of writing?


Not really, but it did teach me the ropes. My first published book came out through a hybrid publisher called Booktrope, and that pretty much taught me the steps that I needed to follow to create a high quality self-published release. They eventually folded, but by that point I knew everything I needed to know to go it alone.

What's your favorite "bad review" that you've gotten?  


Ha! Well, I’ve had a few from other authors who sent me their books for honest reviews and then got annoyed when I gave them three stars and posted 1-star reviews of my books in retaliation. There’s also an ex-girlfriend who gave all of my books 1-star after we broke up. But my absolute favourite is probably the 2-star review I got from someone who just left the comment “I’m hoping to read this soon”.

What comes first for you - the plot or the characters?


They go hand in hand because the characters usually drive the plot and determine what’s going to happen next. For me, I normally start out with a concept and then the plot and the characters spring from that. With Meat, for example, I had the idea of a horror novel set on a factory farm and then I started to think about who might work there and what the horrors might entail.

Do you have any writing superstitions?


No, I’m not a superstitious person. I’m as sceptical as they come.

Is there a word you find yourself using too often when writing?


Yeah, “that”. I quite often write something like “he realised that the sun was going down” when you can easily shorten that to “he realised the sun was going down”. 

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there songs you had on repeat?


No. I’m a lifelong multitasker and so I often end up writing while watching YouTube videos or Netflix. While writing these responses, I’m watching The Boys from Brazil, a 1978 movie based on an Ira Levin novel. It’s not very good.

Do you have a favorite line that you've written? What is it and why do you like it?


Not really, although I do quite often make myself laugh when I’m editing my books and I read something that I wrote a while back and forgot about.

What is something about the genre that annoys you?


It depends on the genre, but most of them have at least something that annoys me. In general, I don’t much like reading romantic subplots, and it annoys me when I feel as though they’ve been added in just because people expect them, rather than because they serve the story.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?


Stick at it, ignore the people who tell you that studying creative writing at university is a waste of time and don’t worry because you’ll be able to make a living.

What advice would you like to pass on to aspiring writers that is unconventional but true?


Nobody cares about your writing until you make them care about it.

Do you have a WIP? If so, can you tell us anything about it?


Sure, I always have something ongoing. At the moment, I’m working on my self-edits for the fourth book in my Leipfold series of quirky cosy mysteries, which will go over to my editor and eventually to my publisher. That’s called Boys in Blue and sees Leipfold and the gang tackling a conspiracy that goes to the heart of government. I’m also slowly but surely writing a coming-of-age novel called Greebos that follows a group of schoolkids as they finish secondary school in a small town in the British Midlands in 2005.

Which of your characters was your favorite to write and why?


Most of the recurring characters in the Leipfold series. I particularly enjoy writing scenes with Maile and Leipfold in because they have great chemistry and they often make me laugh with the things they say and the interactions they have with one another.

Would you and your main character get along?


Yeah, probably. Most of my main characters are based on myself, at least to a certain extent.

Killing off characters your readers love - Risky or necessary?


Both, I guess. Again, it’s all about serving the story, so there’s no point killing them off just for the shock value.

Did any of your characters surprise you while you were writing?


All of the time. The more you get a feel for them, the more they start to feel like real people and to make their own decisions. It’s generally their dialogue that surprises me as opposed to the decisions they make, because the decisions are normally carefully planned ahead of time as part of my outline.

You've watched a movie 50 times and you still aren't tired of it. What movie is it?


I’m more of a TV series kind of guy, but it’s probably American Pie 2. Funnily enough, I introduced my girlfriend to the American Pie movies this weekend as she’d never seen them.

Which animal (real or fictional) would you say is your spirit animal and why?


A wolf, because they’re lonely animals that can also function in packs and they’re active at night. I actually have a tattoo of a wolf howling at the moon.

What would you say is your weirdest writing quirk?


I have something called “The Schedule” where I alternate between doing stuff on my computer, tidying my house and writing. There’s a whole set of rules to it and most people that I tell about it think I’m crazy, but it seems to work for me.

You've just gone Trick or Treating. 

What do you hope is in your bag? 

What do you pawn off on your kids/SO/random stranger?


Anything that isn’t vegan.

What is in your internet search history (researching for your book) that you would want someone to wipe if you were under suspicion from the police?


I think I’d rather they left it up there. That would confuse the hell out of them.

You wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. What was it?


I have a lot of them. I think in the last one that I had, I’d been kidnapped and was being taken somewhere on a train.

What movie completely scarred you as a child?


I’ve never been able to figure out what movie it was, but I remember my dad watching a film where someone got pulled apart by having their legs tied to a tree and their arms tied to a car that then accelerated off. That scene still lives rent free in my head.

What's the strangest thing a fan (or other author)  has said to you?


I always find it strange when people assume that I make enough to be able to live off my royalties. Maybe one day…

If animals could talk, which one would be the rudest?


Hah! Probably cats, they just don’t give a damn. And that’s why I love them.

Your main character is at the hardware store. What do they buy?


If it was James Leipfold, he’d probably buy something multifunctional like a Swiss army knife.

If you were bitten and changed, would you want it to be by a vampire or a werewolf?


Probably a vampire because they seem to be more in control of their transformations.

You're riding through the desert on a horse with no name. What are you going to call it?


Camel, for the irony.

What are your SM links? Can we follow you and pretend we're besties? 



Dane Cobain (High Wycombe, UK) is a published author, freelance writer and (occasional) poet and musician with a passion for language and learning. When he’s not working on his next release, he can be found reading and reviewing books while trying not to be distracted by Wikipedia.

His releases include No Rest for the Wicked (supernatural thriller), Eyes Like Lighthouses When the Boats Come Home (poetry) Former.ly (literary fiction), Social Paranoia (non-fiction), Come On Up to the House (horror), Subject Verb Object (anthology), Driven (crime/detective), The Tower Hill Terror (crime/detective), Meat (horror), Scarlet Sins (short stories), The Lexicologist’s Handbook (non-fiction) and The Leipfold Files (crime/detective).

His short stories have also been anthologised in Local Haunts (ed. R. Saint Clare), We’re Not Home (ed. Cam Wolfe), Served Cold (ed. R. Saint Clare and Steve Donoghue) and Eccentric Circles (ed. Cynthia Brackett-Vincent)