Category Archives: Horror

Guest Post: Anne Hogue-Boucher

For the last post I get to host this week for Women In Horror Month, let me introduce my friend Spellvira, Anne Hogue-Boucher – Queen of the Macabre on Fun With Torture.

One of my favorite pastimes is torture.

Oh yes, not so much in real life, please, especially not if it’s someone I like or love. No, I like to write about torture, and I adore torturing all of my characters to varying degrees.

Psychological torture is fairly easy for me. I’ve seen it happen in real life, firsthand, in my own past and when working as a supervised therapist at a psychiatric hospital. People in the hospital were tortured trying to get help for Major Depressive Disorder, Schizophrenia, Bipolar I & II, and many other conditions. It did not inspire my writing, but it gave me a glimpse into a person’s world where they were convinced they were being watched, stalked, poisoned, and other horrible things were happening to them.
So giving it a supernatural element and casting it into my own world, the world of Silver Hollow, wasn’t a difficult task. But it was necessary. Writing about characters who may or may not understand they’re enduring the supernatural or otherworldly/inter-dimensional is a way to cope with the actual evils I have seen in my life. It keeps me stable, I suppose.

When I first published Now Entering Silver Hollow, some people were shocked by it because there are some brutal moments where characters are stretched to their psychological limit. One of my favorite characters, in fact, gets put on the literary rack and nearly pulled apart.

Her name is Kathryn Cross, MD. She believes in logic and none of the supernatural nonsense I put in front of her. Of course, encountering these things drives her to the edge of madness. She is ravaged by it, and somehow manages to pull herself together.

But that’s the appeal of psychological torture, isn’t it? At least for me. I’m fascinated by people who can go through the very worst and yet manage to keep going. I’m intrigued by their coping mechanisms (healthy or not), and impressed by the human spirit’s strength to carry on no matter what. The will to survive is at the core of enduring psychological torture. Some of my characters have it, and some don’t.

I think that’s what appeals to fans of psychological horror. It’s not just the thrill of what might happen next to such-and-such a character, it’s thinking about how they would survive such a thing. Perhaps there’s even an element of ‘thank goodness that’s not me’ in there, too. Some also seem to enjoy it for the same reason I do: watching characters survive some of the most maddening and horrible events.

Writing about torture is fun. I’d write about it any day over enduring it myself. I can imagine anyone would, and that’s likely one of the reasons why psychological horror has such a wide appeal.

Find me at:

 

 

Guest Post from C.A. Verstraete: Women Who Kill

Continuing Women in Horror month, I’m happy to host C. A. Verstraete talking about Women Who Kill!


History is full of all kinds of monsters – and some happen to be female
.
Human nature and society naturally have us think of women foremost as nurturers, mothers, leaders, consolers, caregivers. Then something goes terribly and horribly awry. They kill.

It’s unthinkable and unimaginable when a woman does such a thing. There’s the spinster Sunday School teacher Lizzie Borden, who supposedly hacked her father and stepmother to death with a hatchet in 1892. Unimaginable, right? The jury seemed to think so, too, (along with the lack of direct evidence linking her to the crime), so they declared her not guilty in the “trial of the century” the following year.

Even worse is the thought of a woman as a serial killer. While most are male, the idea of a woman killing again and again fills us with even more horror. And they’re not just in the past.

There’s crazed Charlie Manson’s drugged-up followers who committed atrocious acts linked with the name “Helter Skelter,” the word scrawled in a victim’s blood on a wall.

There’s the Michigan prostitute who killed seven of her “clients.” There’s the “black widow” who killed for money. Or the nursing home proprietor who killed for the insurance money.

Hormones aside, the idea of a woman turning into that kind of monster is truly frightening. Yet, that is also what makes them fascinating, like a car wreck we can’t turn away from. The truth is that no matter what horror you add to a story, be it zombies, monsters, or other creatures, nothing is as horrible as real life. Monsters can be vanquished, but the human soul has a darkness that often can’t be cleansed.

Admittedly, writing about a killer, any killer, is not for the faint of heart. I’ve seen my share of crime shows on TV, and looked at autopsy photos or read crime reports. Having grown up fascinated with old crimes and Chicago gangsters must’ve taken away my squeamishness early. Something like looking at real life crime scene photos of the Jack the Ripper or Black Dahlia killings, or reading the autopsy reports from the Borden murders never bothered me. Of course, that the crimes are distant in time and all the images are in black-and-white helps. These are crimes of the past and a part of history.

The real fascination is that the crimes remain unsolved. We are drawn to them as we can’t help but hope some clue or link can be found that’s been missed. Writing fiction, you can even solve the crime in a way. With new forensic and other technologies that keep developing, wouldn’t it be amazing to finally solve some of these crimes in real life?

* What real life crime do you find the most fascinating and why?


About Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter: Every family has its secrets…  One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become… zombies?

Website: http://cverstraete.com
blog: http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com
Amazon: http://getbook.at/LizzieBordenZombieHunter
Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/hp9rvyd

Happy Halloween Weekend!

I have a #Halloween guest post today over at: http://afstewartblog.blogspot.ca/2016/10/halloween-week-killer-clowns.html

I’m honored to be able to contribute to the newly released :

We Are Not This: Carolina Writers for Equality anthology

Now available on Amazon from Falstaff Books: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M5FVA7A

Featuring stories from  A.J Hartley, John Hartness, Jay Requard, David Childers, Edmund Schubert, Stuart Jaffe, Tamsin SilverNicole Kurtz, Joanne Spataro, Natania Barron, Faith Naff, Theresa Glover, Calandra Usher, Edmund Schubert, Teresa Frohock, Jake Bible, Tamsin Silver, Caryn Studham Sutorus, Trevor Curtis, and many more!

Proceeds from this anthology go to support Time Out Youth, Queen City Theatre Company, and Equality NC.

The #HoldOnToTheLight campaign is ongoing.

I’ve been honored to contribute  with over a hundred other authors writing about #MentalHealth, #PTSD, and #Depression. Please check out the web page.

And finally,

Check out more of our authors in this year’s October Frights Blog Tour! Now that book 3 is out, and Spirits of the Season and Gnomebody’s business are in paperback, some lucky person on my mailing list will will a full autographed set. Sign up today!

To celebrate, my Halloween story, “Spirits of the Season” will be free the entire month of October here! Use code Oct2016.

A Longbow Initiative Story
A Longbow Initiative Story

Even more, use code Scare2016 and get a 25% discount on everything!

 

And check out more of my fellow authors in this year’s tour!

 Loading InLinkz ...

Why we love Halloween – Six days

Happy Saturday, everyone.

As this year’s October Frights Blog Hop is winding down, (Thanks for hosting the madness Clarissa!) I’ve been amused at the number of posts I’ve seen from people who hate to be scared.

I may have chuckled a  little at an article that popped up in my Facebook feed from someone who can’t understand why anyone watches, as she calls them, scary movies.

First, let me say, I am firmly an advocate of finding your tribe, and finding your interests. And I get it, that some people are scared of their own shadow. By the authors admission, she had seen a sum total of one “scary movie.” And not a really good one at that.

But I agree, if you let a bad horror flick scar you at 14, and that was half your life ago, the genre probably isn’t for you. Good for realizing it.

BUT.

The majority of the article was boiling down to saying something was wrong with people who did enjoy this form of entertainment. I’m not hating on the fact she sips her pumpkin spice latte while she reads glamour magazine, and has the depth of a kiddie pool in the desert. It’s one thing to say you don’s like something in particular, it’s another to basically say people are wrong for enjoying something different from you.

For those of us that love this season, its because we get to embrace those parts of ourselves AND others who are a little different.  If everyone was just the same, we would like in a world of nothing more than bad sitcoms and the same formulaic romcom movie every weekend. We would be in a world without Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, Jim Butcher, or Alan Moore being known.

We wouldn’t have Sandman Slim,  Cthulhu, Captain Kirk or anything Samuel L. Jackson has ever done.

No,  I embrace my inner nerd, my outer geek, and the snarky person I am. I have the things I love and enjoy, and the stuff I don’t.  But I would never tell someone else their fandom was wrong, any more than I would look at them and tell them their religious faith was. (Well, except for Cabbage Patch Kids. Those things creep me out.)

It’s another form of intolerance and bigotry.

Is that a little extreme to say?

I think not. There was a time, not so long ago, that being interested in Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Horror was seen as the escape of the outsider. The uncool kid.

Even though super heroes are big business these days, I still see the attitude of those who have the trendy and passing interest and the disdain they hold for the true fans who can quote to you the full life history and every edition of Black Panther.

There are stories every day of kids being bullied to the point of suicide. Adults as well. I am fortunate enough to have been able to contribute to #HoldOnToTheLight. I have seen fandom have such a positive impact on so many people’s lives, that yes, it is absolutely another form of intolerance and bigotry to attack people for their interests.

Yes, there are factions, politics, and sides in fandom. And yeah, there’s a lot of debate back and forth. Star Wars vs. Star Trek. Which house of Harry Potter you belong to. Marvel vs. DC.  It’s no different that what college or pro team you pull for. (Go Gamecocks.)

And yeah, I’m going to let a little of my prejudice slip here. I see the author of this and several other articles I’ve seen this week that are anti-halloween, anti-fright, and anti-costume as sitting behind their locked doors watching the real housewives of who gives a damn. They have handed their lives over to the No Longer Learning Channel, and see themselves of the protectors of their delicate flowers of children.

The truth is, it’s a harsh world. We all have to find those mediums that let us escape from our lives, and let us express ourselves. For those of you who don’t like something, that’s fine. Don’t hate someone else for having an interest or finding a value in it. And be happy that people find their tribes, and a community.

But know this. If you see me sipping on a pumpkin spice latte, I’m being held against my will.

So this Halloween, go out and try something that scares you. You might find out you just might like it. And if not, so be it.  But you will learn a little something about yourself in the process.

Check out more of our authors in this year’s October Frights Blog Tour! Now that book 3 is out, and Spirits of the Season and Gnomebody’s business are in paperback, some lucky person on my mailing list will will a full autographed set. Sign up today!

To celebrate, my Halloween story, “Spirits of the Season” will be free the entire month of October here! Use code Oct2016.

A Longbow Initiative Story
A Longbow Initiative Story

Even more, use code Scare2016 and get a 25% discount on everything!

And check out more of my fellow authors in this year’s tour!

 Loading InLinkz ...

For others, this can be too much to handle. For those who have survived real horrors. I’ve been honored to contribute to the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign with over a hundred other authors writing about #MentalHealth, #PTSD, and #Depression. Please check out the web page.

#OctoberFrights – Why we love Halloween, The five talons of death

Or or not so much.

I’ve had a lot of fun this week on the #OctoberFrights Blog Hop. Thanks to everyone who has come along, and happy reading to those who’ve downloaded “Spirits of the Season.”

As promised, I have a little story for you. I wrote it last year, and it placed second in a Halloween flash fic contest. The review was, “Sultry, yet horrific.”

The theme? Write the story from the perspective of the monster.

I’m finishing up the week by finally posting this little story on my own site, but I think it also sums up Halloween for me.

My question with this story, Who’s really the monster?

*******

Fine Dining

James P. McDonald

Copyright 2015

They had been easy enough to find, since they were staying in the expensive hotel across from her shop in the market.

When they passed through, the woman’s snippy comments were aimed at both her companion as well as Boo herself, accentuated as she flashed fingers barely able to support the gemstones mounted in gold upon them. He followed up with a crude attempt to solicit her charms after his woman stormed away. She knew then her evening was booked.

She watched from her shop window as the couple consumed a meal that cost more than she would make in a week. The cold silence between them did little to chill the sweltering summer evening. Charleston was especially humid this time of year.

She leaned out of her apartment window, her hunger growing as the couple argued in their room, the barbs they exchanged splintering into the night air through the open French doors. The spat ended with the man downstairs in the small bar, and the woman resting against the rail of their shallow balcony.

She found him bending the inattentive bartender’s ear. His smile was predatory as he offered her the seat next to him. It took few minutes before he was sweating heavily as he fumbled for words and pawed at her sensual caramel skin.

She took his sticky hand in hers and purred, “Boo’ll take care of you.”

He stammered and panted as she led him to the small apartment above her shop. Her lips brushed his. He stripped quickly before she pushed him onto the worn couch, straddling him in the process. He grabbed at her shirt, sending two buttons hurtling into the dark.

In her smoky voice, she whispered in his ear, “Do you want the rest of Boo?”

The corners of his mouth curled as he nodded hungrily.

She locked lips with him, and inhaled.

His excited groping turned into panicked clawing and punching, but only for a moment as he felt the ambrosia of her kiss drawing away his life force. Blood trickled as his trembling hands clenched into fists. His gasps and moans turned to desperate shallow wheezing. His eyes froze wide as saucers and reddened as blood vessels burst painfully, but quietly.

She climbed off him, knowing her prey was going nowhere. He was drained to the edge of life, but still conscious. His eyes locked onto hers as she peeled away the last shreds of clothing he hadn’t destroyed.

She leaned over and whispered in his ear. “Boo said she was going to take good care of you. And now she is.” She stood inches in front of him. Her fingernail slowly chased a rolling bead of sweat from her throat to her navel.  A thin red trail formed as traced it around her hips and down to her ankles.

He managed a single whimper as she tugged and pulled at her skin, starting at her thighs as if they were stockings. Her head came free of the meat suit last, before she draped it around his shoulders. She gloried at the sight of her true body in the full length mirror. The red muscle glistened in the dim light streaming through the windows.

Blood streaked across his skin as she slid herself back onto him. “How do you like Boo now?” She locked her lips onto his and drew his last breath into herself. It was always so much more savory with the adrenalin flavoring, and the sweetness of dread and the dismay of certain death.

He shuddered, and she leaned back to see the last ember extinguished behind his eyes.

Ever so gently, she used her talon until she was able to free the worthless meat from the shell. She wouldn’t need the outfit for long.

It took a little work to bulk up to fill his skin. A few whispers of the old language to heal the wounds. A little bleach for the errant drops of blood that reached his shirt. She buckled the loose fitting pants around her waist and dug into the pockets. His license said he was from Chicago. She would have sworn the accent was from New York.

No matter.

She sauntered lazily back to the hotel. The new skin exquisitely gliding as it stretched across her taught muscles, trying to find purchase.

Her hunger barely sated, she slowly slid the key card into the lock. The woman’s voice was shrill and accusatory as she opened the doorway. Wordlessly she embraced the woman in a kiss. Glorious silence fell from her prey who instantly became compliant.

This one wasn’t like the man. She was full of life, tasting of desire and indulgence. She was meant to be cherished. Boo would be able to wallow in the woman’s spirit for hours before taking the last drop.

The woman’s eyes danced lazily and rolled back into her head as she was stripped and lain in the bed. She didn’t notice the meat suit sliding around as the man’s clothes fell to the floor.

She nibbled on the woman’s ear and mumbled, “Boo’ll take care of you.”

She locked her lips around the woman’s. She was getting drunk on her prey’s energy.

She enjoyed the thought of being a blonde again for a while. No need to decide yet. She had plenty of time.

*******

I hope you had fun with this little fright. I’m working on turning it into a longer story.

I’ve had a lot of people suggest and ask what kind of creature Boo really is. She’s based on the Gullah legend of the “Boo Hag.” For those of you who have never been to Charleston, SC, or know about the Boo Hag, here’s a little piece you might find interesting. https://scaresandhauntsofcharleston.wordpress.com/2012/04/22/the-boo-hags-of-gullah-culture/

I found this story to be a lot of fun to write, and wrote, edited, and submitted it all in about an hour to beat a deadline. And it’s still one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written.

May everyone have a safe and spooky Halloween!

Check out more of our authors in this year’s October Frights Blog Tour! Now that book 3 is out, and Spirits of the Season and Gnomebody’s business are in paperback, some lucky person on my mailing list will will a full autographed set. Sign up today!

To celebrate, my Halloween story, “Spirits of the Season” will be free the entire month of October here! Use code Oct2016.

A Longbow Initiative Story
A Longbow Initiative Story

Even more, use code Scare2016 and get a 25% discount on everything!

And check out more of my fellow authors in this year’s tour!

 Loading InLinkz ...

For others, this can be too much to handle. For those who have survived real horrors. I’ve been honored to contribute to the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign with over a hundred other authors writing about #MentalHealth, #PTSD, and #Depression. Please check out the web page.