Thrilled to announce that my fantasy trilogy, Dawn, will be coming out from Crossroads Press. Details to follow.
I am thrilled to announce that I am one of the “Fourteen,” the authors in the first anthology from New England Speculative Writers.
This sff antho is going to kick some fictional and robotic butt. A kickstarter campaign has been set to help get the book launched. In something like a week, we’re at 87 percent of our goal.
Please support if you can!
Top 10 Favorite Occult, Horror, and/or Supernatural Comics
by Bob Freeman
- Creepy, Eerie, Vampirella
Warren Publishing was a staple for me growing up. Horrific, and oft times titillating, Warren’s triumvirate of black and white magazines sported lurid covers by the likes of Frank Frazetta with interiors by some of the greatest artists of the era including Gene Colan, Neal Adams, Gray Morrow, John Severin, and Alex Toth.
- Ghosts, House of Mystery, House of Secrets, The Witching Hour
DC Comics’ run of horror titles in the 70s were highly coveted by me. Mainly for the covers, many of which fell from the pencil of Neal Adams. Every one of those titles listed above, and the other books of their ilk like Secrets of Haunted House, Secrets of Sinister House, Ghost Castle, et al, birthed stories in my head by their covers alone.
- Locke & Key
Gabriel Rodríguez and Joe Hill delivered one of the most original and exciting comic series in years with their tale of the Locke family and their connection to Lovecraft, Massachusetts and Keyhouse.
- Afterlife with Archie, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa and Francesco Francavilla reinvented Archie comics with the zombie-themed Afterlife. Even better is Aguirre-Sacasa and Robert Hack’s take on Sabrina. I grew up on Archie, so when their offered up this new spin, especially the Lovecraftian bent that Sabrina has taken, I was all in.
- Tomb of Dracula, Werewolf By Night, The Son of Satan, Frankenstein’s Monster
I would not be the man I am today if not for Marvel’s horror run. Tomb of Dracula and Werewolf By Night were particular obsessions. While DC’s covers were more inspiring, it was Marvel’s stories that swept me off my feet.
Alan Moore is unmistakably a genius. A mad genius, but a genius just the same. Promethea is a brilliant exploration of magic, mysticism, and more, mindblowingly illustrated by JH Williams III.
- Dr. Strange
Doctor Strange melted my brain as a kid. I remember my mom bought me a box of old comics in the early 70s and in it were a hoary host of Strange comics. Mind-bending and mind-expanding, this was what I wanted to be when I grew up: a sorcerer supreme.
Bless you, Neil Gaiman. What a wild ride Sandman turned out to be. Deeply steeped in myth and magic, Gaiman explored the multiverse, weaving an intricate web of poetry in comic form.
- Alan Moore’s Lovecraft Cycle
Have I mentioned Alan Moore’s brilliance? His Lovecraft Cycle, which includes The Courtyard, Neonomicon, and Providence, is a real tour de force. Jacen Burrows really shines here, bringing Moore’s perverse vision to life.
- John Constantine, the Hellblazer
Constantine’s a real piece of work. Created by Alan Moore as a working-class magician, he evolved to become the very epitome of the modern occult detective. John’s a foul-mouthed, chain-smoking con man. He’s also a survivor whose friends have a tendency to get dead, cursed, or worse.
When Constantine is at its best, there is no better occult horror out there. Sadly, the best of his run, being the original 300 issues under Vertigo, was swept away, and the Constantine after has been far more integrated into the DC Universe. More’s the pity. He works best in a world all his own (well, not totally alone. I like the occasional appearance from other DC occult “heroes”, especially Zatanna and Etrigan the Demon).
If I were given the DC reins for a bit, the first thing I would do would be to establish an Occult Universe, completely separate from that populated by Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the rest.
About the author: Bob Freeman is an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer whose previous novels include Shadows Over Somerset and Keepers of the Dead.
A lifelong student of mythology, folklore, magic, and religion, Freeman has written numerous short stories, articles, and reviews for various online and print publications and is a respected lecturer on the occult and paranormal phenomena.
He lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.
Mr. Freeman can be found online at OccultDetective.com
Book Synopsis for First Born: From the arcane sorceries of “The Wickedest Man in the World” to the supernatural exploits of Occult Detective Landon Connors and the harrowing investigations of Agents Wolfe and Crowe,this collection of macabre tales of the black arts treads the dangerous landscape between this world and that populated by angels and demons, gods and devils, ghosts and spirits, and the legendary creatures of our darkest imaginings.
First Born is the beginning of the journey into the Liber Monstrorum, the Chronicles of those Occult Detectives who are the last line of defense against those preternatural forces that threaten to destroy a world that refuses to believe that such things exist…
Author Bob Freeman is crashing my blog! He’s also apparently a big Alan Moore fan, as am I! Stay tuned … his post will be up later this week.
Northern Frights has made the preliminary ballot for the Stokers. My short story ‘Agony Chamber’ made the recommended reading list, but did not make the ballot. (This also happened with my novel ABODE)
Congrats to all my antho-buddies, and everyone else who made the preliminary ballot.
Cultum Interitum from Poland. They just released their first demo, and it is solid, atmospheric black metal.
Check out their demo here:
Women in Horror Spotlight: Morgan Sylvia
Even though October is over, I will still be highlighting the work of Women in Horror and introducing some new people to their work. I will be writing about authors, filmmakers, podcasters and other aspects of horror-related creative endeavors; I ask each of them several questions and share their answers with you in this series of articles. Remember – Halloween can be observed year round if you keep the spirit of the season in your heart. October may be over, but the work of women in horror lives on all year!
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work…
Well, I live in Maine and am a full-time freelance writer. I grew up an only child with a librarian mom in a somewhat remote spot, so I became a bookworm at a pretty young age. I’ve been writing since I was a little kid, though I only started publishing a few years ago. My first novel, ABODE, was released this past summer by Bloodshot Books. It’s about the aftermath of a terrible haunting that destroyed a family who moved to a piece of land that had been inhabited by witches—and something much darker—for hundreds of years. As far as things I’ve published, in addition to ABODE, I’ve sold several poems and short stories. I also released a horror poetry collection, Whispers From The Apocalypse, back in 2014. I’m told the fact that I’m a poet shows in my work. I guess I fall somewhere between literary and atmospheric on the horror chart. I’m currently working on several things at once. The next story I have coming out is called The Thin Place, and it will be in an anthology by the New England Horror Writers. I’m also working on a piece called The Bone Road, which is supposed to be a novella but may grow into a novel.
What’s your earliest memory of horror influencing you?
It’s really hard to pick a specific moment. I can think of a few possibilities. One was a trip to Disney when I was five or so. I remember going through the Haunted House, and being quite taken by the whole thing: the atmosphere, the dancing ghosts, everything. I also remember reading a library book about Dracula while I was pretty young. There were photos of stills from some of the early Bela Lugosi films, and they were just so striking, they sort of struck a chord, I guess. There was also a kid I went to school with who was very much into horror, who would tell me about things like The Amityville Horror and whatnot, in kindergarten, even. But really, there’s not just one thing. I guess I’ve always been aware of it, to some extent. I mean, even the cartoons we watched back then had horror elements, like witches and mad scientists and whatnot.
What drove you to the horror genre?
I started out writing fantasy, but even the fantasy I wrote incorporated a lot of horror elements. It was just a natural progression. My work has a very dark feel. I guess as my tastes in music darkened, so did my taste in literature . . . and so did my own work. To me, if I’m going to write horror, I want to actually scare people. So I’m delving into all sorts of fears and creepy elements in my work.
As you started delving deeper into the horror genre, how did your influences change? What I mean is, there was something that drew you in, and eventually you branched out and started becoming interested in other aspects. What drove you to the other branches of horror maybe from slasher flicks to zombies, or to psychological horror?
Each subgenre of horror has its strengths and weaknesses. I never cared too much for gore that is done just for shock value, but aside from that, I like all the genres. I do particularly like psychological horror and things that are atmospheric, but at the end of the day, the story itself needs to be good, no matter what genre or subgenre it’s in. As far as writing, though, I tend to delve into paranormal/occult topics. I just find them more interesting to read and write about.
When you settle in to write something, what do you watch or listen to in order to help get your creative juices flowing?
I’m all over the place, really. I love metal, but I’m really quite eclectic and listen to whatever suits the story. Some of the bands that have made my writing soundtrack include Emperor, Acid Bath, Tiamat, Enslaved, Tool, Dead Can Dance, The Moon and The Nightspirit, Beherit, Saturnalia Temple, Black Sabbath, Behemoth, Iron Maiden, WASP, Perfect Circle, Death, Johnny Cash, Anathema, Halou, Air, Portishead …. I’m really all over the place. I choose my soundtrack scene-by-scene and try to find something that fits the mood I’m looking for. If I find a perfect fit, I’ll just put a song on repeat, and listen to it over and over.
As a woman in the horror genre, what are some of the biggest challenges that you have faced in the pursuit of your art?
I think personally my biggest challenge has been—and to some extent still is—learning how to read to an audience. In part that’s because there are quite a lot of words that I’ve only seen written but never heard spoken aloud, words I can spell perfectly but completely mispronounce, so I’m always worried that I’ll mangle a word without realizing it. I’m also just not really one for being in the spotlight. The whole reason I enjoy writing is that it happens offstage, so to speak. I’ve gotten better at it, but I’m definitely not there yet. I also find marketing and promotion difficult, but that’s just par for the course. I’m sure I’m not the only writer who just wants to write and leave the sales to others, but it just doesn’t work that way.
What other things influence you, aside from horror?
History, music, art, and nature are all major influences on me. I may see a picture of a certain landscape, and think of a story that would match it. Or I’ll hear a lyric snippet, and think of a story that would lead to it. I’ve also gotten ideas or inspiration from various historical figures or specific eras. I also love walking in the woods. That always gets my creative juices flowing. I’m very big on opening yourself up to things that could influence you. I soak up documentaries, books, music: my brain takes these things, spins them around, mashes them together, and spits them out as stories. I think you have to feed your head in order in order to create.
Is there a specific person in horror that you try to emulate?
Not at all. It’s always better to be yourself than to try and emulate others.
Who is your favorite horror villain?
Hmmmm. I think I’d have to go with Pinhead for that one. He’s so well-written, and really has a lot of depth for a villain. He’s capable of completely tormenting people, but there’s still that tiny flicker of humanity in him.
Tell us about another woman in horror whose work you think the folks reading this should check out.
I’ve got to go with two – Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason, who write together as the Sisters of Slaughter. Check out their books Mayan Blue and Those Who Follow.
Finally, what’s the one Halloween-specific movie that makes its way into your regular rotation throughout the year? Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. I never tire of watching that movie. It’s just so beautifully shot. But I am also quite obsessed with As Above So Below, which I found utterly terrifying. That one’s not as Halloween-specific, however.