Too Spoopy

Too Spoopy


  • Random-Ass Interview: Molly Tanzer


    Molly Tanzer writes stuff and things. You can find her in places.

    Do you like techno music?

    I once owned a copy of that Orbital album with the samples from Star Trek:

    If you made a suit of armor, would it be Molly Tanzer panzer?

    Y…yes? Maybe?

    You seem to be drawn to writing about certain time periods, as many
    authors are. What were/ are some of your favorite time periods to
    write about?
    (I like writing about the near future, as I can make stuff up, and no
    one can say I’m wrong!)

    Well the 17th and 18th centuries are obviously huge for me… my Master’s
    degree is in 18th century English literature and culture, basically, so yeah, I mean, it’s easy for me to just go there and feel comfortable. Plus I love using especially the 18th century as a lens through which to focus on our

    Favorite cheese?

    Chao is really good, and the new Follow Your Heart blocks and slices are
    great. Uh, I’m vegan! Anyway, I home culture and cure my own cashew
    cheese so that’s actually my favorite but that’s a tough one to recommend.

    Who would win in a food fight, Kelly Link or Neil Gaiman?


    Favorite animal?

    My cat?

    Favorite manimal?

    M… my husband?

    Do you like animal from The Muppets?

    He’s the red one?

    Do you wish you could just walk away from anyone who asked you
    “where do you get your ideas from?”

    Someone just asked me this on a cruise I took with my mom, but no, I
    didn’t want to walk away because I would have fallen into a river.

    Do you like tea?

    Yes! English breakfast tea is my favorite. Milk first.

    Do you climb trees?

    No. As a kid I fell out of a tree and scraped half my face off, or at least
    that’s how it felt, and I’ve never wanted to since.

    Now, climbing mountains or ruins? All the time!

    Have you ever drank tea in a tree?


    Have you ever worn a suit?

    Yes, naturally! I had an Ayn Rand thing in high school and I had this totally
    Dagny Taggart blue suit I wore to speech and debate tournaments and felt
    so slick.

    Who would win in a shoot-out: Clint Eastwood from The Good, the
    Bad, and the Ugly or Clint Eastwood from Unforgiven?

    The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.

    I liked your story from Cassilda’s Song, the new Joe Pulver edited collection of King in Yellow stories. Have you ever
    visited New York, and was “Grave-Worms” an easy story to write, or
    did it take you a while?

    Thank you; Yes; Kinda; Yes

    Do you believe there are other realities from this one? And in that
    reality, do you think you are in fact interviewing me about my book?
    Follow up: did you like my book in that alternate reality, and keep in
    mind I’m the one who can edit your answers when I post this. 😉

    I loved it!

    Got any special plans for the holidays? You know, like Festivus and

    My mom is coming up!

    Any pluggy-plugs?

    Yes, please buy everything I’ve written but most especially my debut novel,
    the weird western Vermilion, my historical crime novel The Pleasure
    Merchant, every anthology I’m in, and keep an eye out next year for my
    debut anthology Swords v Cthulhu as well as the standalone reprint of my
    novella Rumbullion: An Apostrophe.


    Pleasure Merchant

    Thanks for taking part in el interview. Muy bueno.

    It was fun! Thank you!

  • Random-Ass Interview: Matthew Bartlett


    Why does massachusetts have so many Dunkin donuts?

    There’s a Dunkin’ Donuts on Main Street where they put in a separate Dunkin’ Donuts in the corner. When I got up this morning, I found they’d put one in my living room. It’s convenient, but I’m afraid I might be responsible for payroll.

    Do you believe in witches?

    I know some witches. I’m just glad you didn’t ask whether I believe in witchcraft.

    Pears or peaches?

    Peaches in pairs.

    Who would win in a fight, Edgar Allen poe or hp lovecraft?

    This is a tough one. Google informs me that Lovecraft was two inches taller than Poe. Lovecraft grew to 200 pounds after he got married; Poe was 140. Poe had a fondness for drink, while I suspect Lovecraft wasn’t one to overdo it. Lovecraft was sickly, though, right? Poe reportedly had a gorgeous singing voice, and Lovecraft predicted the advent of toaster ovens. What were we talking about again?

    If cats could talk, what do you think they’d say?

    Terrible things. Terrible things. And they’d ask for food a lot.

    What do you think you’ll get up to when you’re older?

    If by some miracle I’m not still working, when I’m not moping about my lost youth, I will run errands full time. I’ll be the guy talking the cashier’s ear off. I hope I’ll catch up on reading and writing, too.

    Favorite TV show?

    Curb Your Enthusiasm. I liked Lost a lot until the wrap-up.

    Cashews or almonds?

    Cashews all day.

    If you could go back in time, what time and place would you like to visit?

    London 1888.

    Rain or shine?


    If you could be any kind of monster what kind would you be?

    Probably a werewolf. I would be pretty sanguine about the whole thing, I think. That condition is tailor-made for people who are good at compartmentalizing.

    Favorite swear?

    I like when Brits use the C-word.

    Favorite hair?


    Favorite Care Bear?


    If vampires had guns, would they still wear capes?

    Let me answer that question with a question.
    Why do some cinematic Frankenstein monsters have a flat-topped head?

    I assume to make them look more monstrous, and less human.

    If werewolves had top hats hats, you think they’d look dapper?

    I think they’d look just precious, particularly Lon Chaney, Jr., who already looked quite dapper as the Wolf Man even without a hat.

    Can ghosts die?

    You’ll find out in March of 2033.

    Thanks for participating. Have a spooky Halloween.

    You too. BEHIND YOU!

  • Random-Ass Interview: John Langan


    What’s it like to be the spokesman for horror bears everywhere?

    It doesn’t pay as much as you’d think.

    Favorite monster movie?

    It has to be the original Godzilla, right? Except, what about the original King Kong? And then there’s THEM, and even The Relic had its moments. So, maybe Gorgo. Or Hellboy.

    Favorite swear?

    Lately, it’s been motherfucker.
    (John bleeped this out with %^&* but I chose to make the executive decision to leave it un-&*^%-ed.)

    What do you think of the genre which is apparently all genres known as “slipstream”?

    I think objects in the mirror are not where you think they are.

    Do you have an evil twin, and if so, where does he live?

    He isn’t–oh, who am I kidding. Of course he is. He rides the roads in a ’68 Plymouth Fury. There’s a duffel bag full of cash on the passenger’s seat. There’s a samurai sword lying unsheathed on the back seat.

    Favorite secret agent?

    James Bond?

    Who do you think would win in a fight, Neil Gaiman or Neil Gaiman’s hair?

    The milk.

    Would you ever write a straight crime story/ Sean didn’t do a great deal of research, have you ever written a straight crime story?

    I haven’t yet, but yes, I would.

    How much coffee do you drink a day?

    Two cups of regular in the morning, then decaf if I have any more later in the day.

    Cats or dogs?

    Dogs. (Cats.)

    Rats or hogs?


    Moats or bogs?


    Stones or logs?


    Where’s The Fisherman?

    I hope to have some news about that in the very near future.

    Have you ever gone fishing?

    If serving as my younger son’s tackle carrier and fish-spotter counts as fishing, then hundreds of times.

    If you had to defeat a monster made of cheese, which kind of cheese would you hope he was made out of?

    Fresh cheese. If he’d been sitting out for a while, he’d get that hard, crusty way cheese gets when you forget about it on the kitchen table overnight, and it would be harder to slice him with your samurai sword.

    Have you ever broken your glasses?

    So many times…

    On the rocks or neat?

    Seriously? Neat.

    Name a story you’ve read recently which you really enjoyed.

    Ray Russell’s “Sardonicus.”

    Do you have coyotes around where you live? They’re a pain around Massachusetts: we have a whole lot of them.

    We do. We don’t have many, but they’re around. We also have a bear.

    Why is my cat so clingy?

    What have you done?

    Favorite story of the sea?

    Moby Dick. Or The End of the Tether. Or Typhoon. Or Lord Jim.

    Is Michael Cisco a real person, or is he an amalgamation of several people, like Shakespeare or Tom Clancy?

    He is a projection of something that sits beyond the rim of space, on a throne made of the bones of dead planets.

    Pistol or revolver?


    Math or science?

    Well, you need math for science, don’t you? So, neither.

    Do you know someone nice named Eddy?

    Eddy Eder, who’s a fabulous artist.

    Night writing or day writing?

    Night writing, then all day writing at the end.

    Anything coming down the road?

    A new collection, Sefira and Other Betrayals, from Hippocampus early next year. Stories in Chris Golden’s Seize the Night and Ellen Datlow’s The Monstrous.

    Thanks for taking part in the interview.

    Thanks for asking me to.

  • Random-Ass Interview: Philip Gelatt


    Phillip Gellat is the screenwriter of Europa Report, and wrote a film adaptation of Laird Barron’s short story 30. I’m sure you’ll be hearing his name a lot in the coming months.

    What’s been the hardest thing for you to write so far?

    The hardest thing was a screenplay I was hired to write. An adaptation, though not of a short story or of a comic or a novel. I’ll leave it at that. The experience was – it was like having a bunch of nails fucked into my eye holes, while I slowly inserted rusty wire hooks under my fingernails so that a team of maniacs could manipulate my typing without my seeing.

    What’s the most challenging part of adapting a short story into a screenplay?

    The dread is the most challenging part. Dreading that.

    Shaken or stirred?

    Are you trying to get me to talk about Bond? I’d love to talk about Bond. Because listen to me here and now: George Lazenby and Timothy Dalton might not have been the best Bonds but they are in two of the best Bond films ever. Living Daylights does globe-trotting so god damned well. Bond and the Mujahadeen! It’s amazing.

    And On Her Majesty’s Secret Service is such a special movie. A Bond movie that ends with emotional devastation! It’s incredible.

    And also stirred, please.

    Do you like oatmeal?

    Yep. I eat it every morning. I’ve developed various ways of making it. I used to put a ton of powdered ginger in it. Now I put peanut butter. I like to think of it like my morning witch’s brew. Strength for the coming day.

    How do you like your coffee?

    Dark roasted and black. Two cups a day.

    Favorite short story?

    Oh sweet Jesus. Favorite of all time?! This interview is sadistic. The first short story I remember loving is The Lagoon by Joseph Conrad. Though, in all honesty, I remember very little about the story itself, just the feeling of having loved it.

    Lovecraft’s short stories are probably the ones I’ve re-read the most. Though I’ve also spent a lot of time with Barker’s Books of Blood.

    I can say that over the last two years I’ve been reading a lot of short fiction most of it in the weird and horror vein. I recently found myself floored by Robert Aickman’s work.

    Ever fired a gun? I haven’t, unless you count one of those tiny little rifles they let Boy Scouts shoot at camp. That’s more like a pellet gun though, I think…

    Yep. I have. I grew up in Wisconsin farm country and there were guns around. So I got to fire them. I have one particularly crazy story of getting taken to a weird little one room shack somewhere over the hills that bound my home town explicitly to fire guns. The shack was, at the time, covered in right wing propaganda (Limbaugh photos, anti-Clinton slogans, this was the mid-90s) and guns. Lots of guns.

    I spent the afternoon firing said guns with a bunch of hunter types, all of whom were there to both shoot and get drunk.

    One of them told me that the only way to ensure a hand gun is accurate is to dry fire it constantly. Like I should buy one and just walk around the house pretending to shoot things with an empty gun. Then he told me about how he’d accidentally shot a hole in his fridge that way.

    It’s a very strange memory.

    How did you get into writing comic scripts? Was it hard for you to get your foot in the door with that?

    Compared to the time other people have breaking into that world, I had a relatively easy time. The artist on my first comic was also working on The Venture Brothers. When you say that to publishers, they perk up a bit and listen.

    Have you ever actually got your foot caught in a door?

    I haven’t! But I have knocked my two front teeth out on a bathtub.

    What would you do if you came home, and there was a severed foot stuck in between the front door to your place?

    Ask it politely to leave.

    Who do you think would win in a fight, Robert E. Howard, or Howard the Duck?

    I… I… I’d love to say “The duck” and justify it in some epic fashion. But I’d have to say the Robert would win. Then again, I don’t actually know that much about Howard the Duck… except that he’s trapped in a world he never made.

    If trees scream, does that mean grass would too when you mowed it?

    One cannot assume such, no. They’d be entirely different species. Perhaps the grass suffers silently. Perhaps it weeps. Or perhaps it just bides its time, cataloguing every blade we trim, and waiting for its moment.

    What’s your favorite part about living in Providence? You do live in Providence right? I hope I didn’t just pull that out of my ass…

    I do live in Providence. I’ve been here for about 5 years. Providence is a weird city. It’d be a weird city even if it didn’t have the Lovecraft connection going for it.

    My favorite part is my house. We moved from Brooklyn so having a house felt really special. I have my office in the attic. When we moved in we found old chiropractic back braces under the eaves. It made the whole thing special.

    What kind of comics have you read which inspired you? What kind of films have inspired you to write films?

    I am and will forever be an Alan Moore apologist. From Hell is my favorite comic of all time and it is something I am always coming back to as a high watermark of storytelling. When I was a teen, I was all about Dark Horse’s “Legends” line. So the Mignola, Chadwick, Miller, Allred, Byrne stuff. Then in college I was all about the Vertigo books of the ‘90s and ‘00s (Preacher, TransMet, The Invisibles, Sandman). Lately I haven’t been reading many comics, sadly.

    As for film, I’m not exactly spouting a radical theory when I say that American film of the 1970s was something special. I find myself constantly inspired by that era. It was radical and philosophical and poetic and felt hand-crafted. Each of those movies, even the bad ones, is special in some way.

    Clowns, why?

    Because if there is a god, he hates us all. And if there isn’t, then it’s just us and our luck versus the clowns down here and isn’t that an upsetting thought.

    Go anything to pluggy-plug? Do it now!

    Well, I started shooting that adaptation of a Laird Barron short story last week, so everyone should keep their eyes peeled for that! Feel free to follow me on twitter (@pmjeepers) or instagram (philipgelatt) where I’ll be posting pictures and things from behind the scenes.

  • Random-Ass Interview: Scott R. Jones


    Scott R. Jones wrote a bunch of goodness, so Google him, but also check out When the Stars are Right, and Tales of the Resonator, which he edited.

    Does the R stand for “Rocker”?

    Perhaps at one point it did? I think it probably stands for “Raunch” now. That, or “Random”, because I feel both these days. Randomly raunchy? Yup. Oh wait, no, neither. It stands for “Really Tired All the Time Because Toddlers”.

    Dogs or cats?

    Man! The hardball questions right outta the gate! Lessee. I’m gonna go with neither. As mentioned, I’ve got two kids ages 4 and 2 and the idea of cleaning up the feces of a third thing, and one not directly related to me, or even my species, is just… just no. No. Also (and I don’t know if they have this in the US) here we are required by law and, I dunno, civic duty or something, to pick up the dog’s waste while out on walkies. With the little plastic bag on your hand, sure, but friends. Friends, that’s still warm canine dookie you’re wrapping your digits around, and I am not down with that. I guess if this writing thing begins to ever pay and we end up living on a ranch, I might think about having a dog. That way it can run around in the woods and poop where it likes, as the Elder Things (and Nature!) intended. Ditto for the cat.

    Favorite swear?

    Hoooo, I tend to wander all over the board for this one. But one phrase I’ve become recently enamored of is “Go die in a fire” or “Die in a fire”. My wife introduced it to me, and it’s just really special. Succinct, punchy. It’s got a nice element of horrible torture in it, and the possibility of surviving it (by having someone put out said fire) is introduced, kinda? But also removed. Hope is offered, between the lines, and then taken away. Which I like. It’s certainly not a general purpose insult, but we’re using it more and more.

    What’s the most annoying thing you encounter when people found out you’re a Canadian?

    Oh, we’re not allowed to be annoyed up here. I do nod my head and put on a thin-lipped smile when I get the “say, do you know Dave Whatsisface from Canada?”

    What do you think the role of genre is in fiction?

    Y’know, genre is a basic template. It’s a skeleton. Writers get to slap wads of flesh on the thing, and make it live and move and, hopefully, breathe. I think (and this is just my take, personally) that if your genre piece comes outta the other end of that process just looking like a fleshy skeleton, then you’ve done it wrong. Or wrongish. Because then all you’ve done is, like, a facial reconstruction? When it comes to the horror genre, or weird fiction specifically, I think it should be difficult to tell what the bones of the thing are.

    If you could be any kind of monster, what kind would you be?

    Oh, I think anything that could fold in and out of dimensions would be just super-keen! Go anywhere. Live in the walls. The FX budget would be a killer, though. So, I guess a Dimensional Shambler? You could call me “Shambles: The Intersectional Man”! I wouldn’t fight crime, though. So don’t ask me to.

    What’s the grossest Lovecraftian sex scene you’ve ever read? Have you ever written a really gross Lovecraftian sex scene?

    Well, I did help Justine Geoffrey put together and edit the climactic chapter in her first BLACKSTONE Erotica book, Red Monolith Frenzy, in which a small eastern European town’s worth of rabid sex-mutants, at the urging of their high priestess and under the influence of a dread worm-deity straight outta Robert E. Howard, merge into a vast pulsating column of flesh before disappearing into a vagina-portal. Not your momma’s orgy, lemme tell ya. The weird thing is, it turns out that kind of scene is actually hot? I mean, after a fashion. I think we’re going to see a lot of much weirder stuff in the coming years, as transhumanism becomes the norm. Come, Armageddon! Come!

    You told me you sculpt a bust of Cthulhu about once a year? Have you ever thought about doing one where Cthulhu has a sign that says “R’lyeh or bust!”?

    But can I put it on a t-shirt for the Big C to wear, instead? I can? YAY! Thanks Sean!

    Would you ever go full Alan Moore and live in the middle of nowhere and grow a huge beard, and generally look like a crazy homeless man?

    I thought he lived in Highbury. There was that album he did up as a séance. Or Northampton? Anyway, smack dab in the middle of Old England. Is that Nowhere? Maybe? Anyway, no to the nowhere and yes to the beard, though I doubt it will ever get to epic proportions on my face because a) the wife wouldn’t allow it and b) I have, I dunno, a depletion in testosterone or something that makes it ridiculously hard to grow facial hair (what I have now took me literally months to build and it is scraggly as eff, son!) and maybe to the crazy homeless man thing, on all three counts. Crazy is as crazy does, for one thing, and I’ve always felt kinda homeless everywhere I’ve lived for another, and if I perform the rituals correctly, I may not be A MAN at all by the time I kick it, so… SUCK IT, MOORE! #THUGWIZBIZ4LIFE

    If using a stapler is stapling, why is putting a paper clip on something not called paper-clipping? Or is it?

    It is in Canada. But only because we’re so progressive and right-thinking.

    Follow up, if you have a a paper clip in your pocket, would it make sense to say you had a “full clip”?

    Ummm… is this question to do with the NRA, or the like? I’ve only ever fired a gun once, at a shooting range in Las Vegas. It was weird and uncomfortable, and not at all like playing Halo. Horrible way to end the honeymoon, too.

    You ever had a root canal?

    I seem to recall some kind of dental work in the deep past. But I was seriously drugged. Surgery is always disturbing.

    You ever had a route on a canal?

    Paper route? Mail route? I guess you could ask me again in a couple months, as I live around major waterways and tributaries and I’ve just started a day-job with Canada Post as a new-fangled “Delivery Agent”. I can now go postal and have an excuse!

    What do you think of root vegetables?

    I don’t think of them at all. They certainly don’t think of me, so.

    You ever gotten really lost before?

    Oh, sure! We have this coming-of-age thing in Canada where they just leave kids on the tundra, blindfolded, with a Trapper Nelson packed full of bannock, pemmican, and a beat-up Walkman with the greatest hits of The Guess Who on tape. Took me five months, but I returned to my village a man. I think it’s the same thing in Alaska, but I don’t know, maybe ask Laird Barron about the American version. Seriously, though, yes. Yes, I’ve spent one-too-many nights in the woods. Never again, it’s super-gross and distressing.

    Who do you think would win in a fight, Ramsey Campbell, or Clive Barker?

    You’re not asking for details for this, so I’ll just say Ramsey Campbell. I think he’s just more robust. And I’m not just saying that because Ramsey liked that story of mine that one time very recently.

    Favorite type of pie?

    Key Lime. No contest.

    Got any plugs to plug, then plug ‘em?!

    Oh yeah?! Why I oughta… I’ll plug you! (Oh wait, you mean promo stuff…) Well, I’m fairly proud of the work we’ve done at Martian Migraine Press with our 2015 anthology, RESONATOR: New Lovecraftian Tales From Beyond (available direct from MMP in both electronic and RealBook™ formats, or on order from most fine retailers) and of course I’d be remiss if I didn’t direct your readers to my own auto-ethnographical work of Cthulhu Mythos-based spirituality/self-help, When The Stars Are Right: Towards An Authentic R’lyehian Spirituality. I won’t stop with that biz until there are at least 23 Cthulhusattva’s walkin’ around out there. Kinda like the Hebrew’s 36 Tzadikim but y’know, with more eldritch chutzpah! We could all use a little more #KeepingItRlyeh in our lives, anyway. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. Thanks, Sean!

  • Random-Ass Interview: Ted E. Grau


    I hate to judge a person based on fiction, as it’s an easy way to mistake fiction for reality. However, I get a sense you might have had some partying days in you? Anything you care to share?

    As a kid growing up in Middle America who idolized people like Hunter Thompson, Samuel Coleridge, Jack Kerouac, and Jim Morrison, I’ve clocked my late night hours on the weird end of the dial, but I don’t really care to share anything specific, as I find that sort of conversation so incredibly boring. Anyone who constantly talks publicly or romantically about drinking or drugs probably hasn’t had any experience with either.

    Favorite mixed drink?

    A rocket strength Jameson Irish coffee with a splash of Baileys. Remove the “mixed” and it’s Jameson neat. Keep the “mixed,” and I like this concoction called a Thirsty Crow, served up at this little hipster dive of the same name in Silverlake. They make them with a dank Rye, ginger beer, lemon juice, bitters, and mint. Kind of like a cowboy mojito. Refreshing as hell, with a nice warm kick. Cadillac margaritas in the summertime are also nice. I’m not too snooty or macho when it comes to a quality cocktail.

    What scares you?

    What terrifies me more than anything else is the thought of my wife and daughter being in danger, threatened, or scared. I would rip through walls and take on armies to make sure that never, ever happens. I think and worry about it daily. Either of them becoming seriously ill also scares the shit out of me.

    Moving down the priority list a bit, I personally don’t like the idea of imprisonment or being immobilized and at the mercy of others, squeezing into small, enclosed spaces, and humanoid figures with unnaturally long appendages. Things with large, unblinking eyes. An unexpected knock on our front door. Marionettes, old masks, and unintentionally bizarre clowns also rank in there somewhere. As I’ve gotten older, and after several recurring dreams of falling from buildings several miles high, I don’t like great heights anymore, either.

    In a general sense, people scare me. Males of the human species in particular. The made-up horrors I tend to write about pale in comparison to what has been unleashed by human beings. Aside from a very close circle, I don’t trust a one of them. How can you? It’s not like the monsters amongst us wear placards.

    Favorite monster?

    Godzilla as a child, and probably Cthulhu as an adult (I think you can see the running theme here in terms of size, dramatic aquatic entrance, etc.). Victor Frankenstein’s monster in Mary Shelley’s book is quite fascinating, and from a purely visual perspective, Slender Man is pretty spooky, what with the featureless white face, long proportions, and watchful total silence.

    Favorite swear?

    “Horseshit.” Old timers and football coaches use it with such aplomb. I also like a good non-specific “cocksucker,” perfected by Al Swearengen on Deadwood. Personally, I use “motherfucker” way too much. I’m pretty trite with my own expletives.

    If you could ride an elephant to work, would you? It seems like it’d be a real pain to park the thing/ keep it from trampling people to death.

    Hell no. No proper turning signals and shitty handling in LA traffic. I’d let my daughter name it, then take that beautiful beast out into a protected wildlife area and set it free, posting up with a .306 in case poachers got some ideas.

    What if the Dark wasn’t actually Nameless, but had a really lame name like Bartholomew?

    Then Bartholomew Dark would get his own self-titled show on the CW, starring nine people that all look way too much like actors.


    What do you think of the term “torture porn”?

    I think the term is accurate, as it appeals to a base, apparently popular desire to see relatively innocent human beings – primarily women – endure terror, pain, and a gruesome death. People are fucked up like that. I don’t think it’s very interesting, though. WHY these twisted individuals are doing what they do is far more fascinating than HOW they do it, or the end result. If I was hired to write some stupid torture porn movie, it would be all background, lead-up, and counterpunch, with the gore happening entirely off-screen, sometimes heard but never seen. Your brain will construct an infinitely more horrifying death scene than any filmmaker can ever stage. Hitchcock understood that.

    I’m more of a fan of “revenge porn” than “torture porn,” as I do have a soft spot in my grayish heart for bad things happening to bad people who truly deserve it. And there are so many who do.

    Do you think William S. Burroughs ever really did use his bare hands to dig into the dirt, hence being a Burroughs who burrowed?

    I think Burroughs was rather soft in the underbelly, being a man born of great means and devoted as he was to shooting junk into his veins. He’s no doubt buried a few bodies, but probably either hired out, or used a shovel. Guys like him don’t do the heavy lifting. They just write checks and watch.

    Pistol or revolver?

    Bazooka. The old timey kind that all my green Army men used. Or that classic Russian-made RPG. The kind they used in Red Dawn, and are the favorite weapon of jihadists and insurgents of all stripes around the world. Those things are like souped-up bottle rockets. I’ve had daydreams about shooting one of those for years.

    Do you like spicy food? It hurts me stomach.

    I do, indeed. Although I have a pretty sensitive stomach, the irony of which is never lost of my wife when I toss back raw peppers and then wait for my night to be ruined.

    Worst job?

    Detasseling corn at age 14. Child labor laws didn’t really exist out on the Upper Plains back in the 80s, and so my first “corporate” job other than working for other farmers (walking beans, bailing hay, scooping animal waste of every kind, etc.) was a forced march through endless rows of seed corn alongside a motley crew of inner city kids, migrants, and ex con hard cases who couldn’t get hired on anywhere else. Getting up at 4 am, being bussed across the river to Iowa, then herded into fields of wet, razor sharp green sword blades while line bosses with bad prison tats degrade you like drill sergeants for every tassel you miss – that’s not the way you want to spend your summer. I forgot to bring gloves the first day, and still have the scars all over my fingers. I don’t mind hard work, but that was pure hell.

    Favorite fruit?

    Rainier cherries. Thank goodness I married an Armenian girl.

    Dogs or cats?


    You ever had a story you wrote you hated, but everyone else seemed to like?

    Not really, as I wouldn’t try to sell or publish a story I hated. It is interesting to see which stories get the most response, and why.

    Shower, or bath?

    Shower. I grew out of baths when I grew out of my Toughskins.

    Granite counter tops, or marble?

    Granite. Slate gray, rough hewn, hopefully containing the petrified remains of many ancestors.

    If you got any plugs, let the readers know, Ted.

    Well, my first collection of short fiction, The Nameless Dark, is available through Lethe Press.


    A novelette, “MonoChrome,” that doesn’t appear in my collection, can be found in the anthology In The Court of the Yellow King, published by Celaeno Press. It’s a Los Angeles tale and introduces Henry Ganz, a character that I want to revisit in future work. I’m presently working on a few novellas, the first of which has sold (announcement coming soon) and the second of which might come out through the same publisher, as they have interest in publishing both. I also have some novels that are piecing themselves together in the back of my mind, and dozens of short stories I either need to finish or start. Once completed, one of my upcoming fiction collections will be titled Salt Creek: Tales of Prairie Horror and will feature horror and dark fiction that all takes place in the Midwest, primarily Nebraska.

    As always, there are too many ideas and projects spinning in the ether, with so little time to pull them in and clean them up.

    Thanks for participating.

    Thanks for having me, Sean. It’s been fun.

  • Random-Ass Interview: Orrin Grey


    Orrin Grey is a skeleton, who writes horror fiction.
    Check out his new collection, Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts from Word Horde out October 31st!

    Pasta or Ziti?

    Well, since I had to look up what ziti is—I’m a heathen—I would say pasta, but when I looked it up, ziti looked really good, so now I’m gonna have to go try it…

    Spanish language Del Toro, or in English Del Toro?

    Del Toro’s Spanish language films certainly have the better track record so far, but his English language films are full of so much promise that it’s tough for me to pick. I still believe that someday we’ll get the movie that finally combines the resonance of his Spanish language filmography with the ambition and enthusiasm of his English language blockbusters, and that will be the ultimate Del Toro movie. For now, Pacific Rim is as close to that as we’ve come, which is probably why it’s my favorite.

    Salt or pepper?

    Salt, definitely. Everything is better with a little salt.

    What happens if a vampire drinks a zombie’s blood?

    A very unsatisfied vampire, most likely.

    What happens if a zombie bites a vampire?

    Only one way to find out?

    Actually, not much, the way I figure it. If the zombies are zombies because of magic or something, then the vampire is already a form of the risen dead, so he’s probably about as risen as he can get. And if the zombies are a virus, then the vampire probably doesn’t have a working circulatory system to spread it around. Maybe the vampire would become a carrier in that situation, though. That could be pretty cool.

    You heard there’s a genre now called Dreadpunk?
    I heard there’s a lot of those at the mall.

    There are still people at the mall? As for Dreadpunk, I’ve got no problem with it, though I liked it fine when we just called it Gothic. I guess Dreadpunk is easier to market?

    If there’s a Mall of America, does that mean there’s a Mall of Canada?

    We should ask a Canadian. Silvia?

    How do skeletons procreate?

    Get a few drinks in me and maybe you’ll find out.

    If something is made by a professional, is it not pro-creation?

    Works for me.

    Do you think trees feel pain?

    Sure, just really, really slowly. We’re probably all in for a terrifying arboreal reckoning one of these decades.

    Chainsaw or Shotgun?

    I don’t like guns, and chainsaws make too much noise. So just give me an ax or a sword or something and we’ll call it a day.

    What if Swamp Thing and The Blob had a baby?

    I think you’d end up with this thing:


    What is a “Painted Monster”?

    Maybe I shouldn’t admit this, but I’m not really sure. The title comes from a quote from the 1968 Peter Bodganovich film Targets, in which an aging Boris Karloff, basically playing himself, says “My kind of horror is not horror anymore. No one’s afraid of a painted monster.” In that context, Karloff is obviously referring to his own former roles, but he’s also talking about the way that horror cinema was changing in the 60s, the creaky Gothic horrors of yesteryear giving way to more visceral and naturalistic shockers.

    In the title story of the collection, the phrase comes into play to refer to a lot of different things. There’s a literal painted monster, in the form of a variant of Goya’s “Saturn Devouring His Son,” and then of course there’s the figure of Constantin Orlok, a makeup artist from the golden age of Hollywood, famous for creating “painted monsters” of his own. When titling the collection, I like to think that I was referencing all of that, while also alluding to the difference between the imaginary (painted) monsters that I love and the much more unappealing real-life monsters of poverty, racism, greed, disease, etc.

    When did you decide to have all of your internet avatars be a skeleton?

    Be warned, this is kind of a long story. Back in the day, Mike Mignola used to draw these sketches of guys with floating skull heads when he went to conventions. I loved them, and used one as my avatar on LiveJournal for a while (I told you this was back in the day). About the same time, I was working on the staff of a now-defunct magazine of old-fashioned weird fiction called The Willows. My friend Reyna was also on staff, working as a sort of art director. At one point, she was going to draw caricatures of the whole staff to run on the website, and when it came time for her to do mine I told her to draw me as a guy with a floating skull head.

    That might have been the end of it, except that I also needed a bio to go along with the drawing. I hate writing bios, so I was taking a long time in getting one put together, and Ben Thomas, who was the editor, wrote this placeholder text to go with the illustration: “Orrin Grey is a skeleton who likes monsters.” It was so much better than any bio I could ever come up with that we kept it, and it became a part of my bio from that day forward. As I got a little more established and started using well-dressed skeletons as my avatar pretty much everywhere, I actually reached out to Mike Mignola to make sure that it was okay, since by then he was using his own skull-head guys on his website and on merchandise and stuff. Fortunately he said yes, and the rest is history.

    Favorite movie about the Wendigo?

    Y’know, I’ve never actually seen the movie Wendigo? Seems weird, right? So, given that, I’d have to say Ravenous. Unless TV shows count, in which case, Hannibal.

    Favorite movie about vampires?

    Damn, there are so many movies about vampires, that do so many different things. Normally, I really like vampires that are a little more like monsters and a little less like people, but in spite of that, I’m gonna have to go with some Hammer titles here and say probably The Vampire Lovers. Special bonus points to Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter for having some of the best/weirdest vampire mythology in any movie ever.

    Favorite movie with tentacles?

    That’s a tough one. Maybe It Came from Beneath the Sea. I’ve also got a (probably underserved) soft spot for Deep Rising.

    Does ye have anything to plug?

    Well the obvious thing to plug right now would be my latest collection, Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts, which is available for preorder now from Word Horde. Of its thirteen stories, three are entirely original to the collection, including the title novelette. The stories pretty much all tie in to film in one way or another, and are arranged to give a sort of crash course in the history of the horror cinema, starting out with silent movies and the films of the 30s and 40s and working their way up through Gialli, kaiju movies, found footage, ghost films, and a variety of others.

    Thanks for taking part in el interview.

  • Around the Corner: An Essay on Stephen King

    Almost two decades. It’s weird to think that much time has passed since my mom bought me that hardcover of Nightmares and Dreamscapes Christmas of my twelfth year. Before this of course I was reading nothing but those Goosebumps books. They were all the rage with the middle school set back in… Jesus, was it really 1996? Did such a year really exist all those years ago? Did Pogs really exist? Were OK Soda, Sifl and Olly on MTV after school, and video stores really around? The memories are like old photographs from outdated cameras. Those pictures you used to have to shake to get a clear visual of. The ones you had to wait to see how they turned out.

    I remember it was hard to read. Not just because it was one of the very first adult books I’d ever delved into, only shortly after I’d read The Terminal Man by Michael Crichton. I mean it was literally hard to read, as the hardcover was heavy for my little twelve-year old forearms to lift.

    The First King

    I read most of that hardcover of Nightmares with the scarecrow on it on a trip my parents took from our home state of Massachusetts down to South Carolina. My grandparents had a time-share there, and to save money on airfare, my dad decided to drive down.

    I remember being in the back of a mini van, reading by a flashlight. Reading about the Ten O’ Clock People. I have no idea why, of all the stories in the collection, The Ten O’ Clock People is the one I remember most vividly. Perhaps, because it seemed so adult to a twelve-year-old. People on cigarette breaks from their adult jobs, except they were seeing these weird monsters that passed themselves off as human. In that strange way memory works, like those pictures you have to shake that sometimes didn’t come out, the only thing I really remember understanding from the story back then was that quitting cigarettes was hard, and that batmen could in fact be seen if you smoked cigs, and then tried to quit.

    Why I don’t remember about Dolan’s Cadillac as strongly is utterly beyond me. I was in a car reading it, you’d think that would be the one that stuck out. But I digress.

    To be frank, I remember the weight of Nightmares and Dreamscapes more than I remember the content of the book itself. Like the first time you learn to do something, how what you often remember is the first time you were proficient at it. Not how you finally learned how to stay up on that bike without training wheels, but rather the time you rode down the street to go get pizza with some friends.

    The first King book I really remember the plot of was ‘Salem’s Lot. I was huge into vampires, my mother having those Vampire Lestat books all over the house, and she waxing poetic on Dracula, and her no doubt reading me stories of vampires. So, when I went into a text by this really cool author who wrote about monsters and scary adult stuff, and it was about vampires, you can bet I was over the damn moon.

    I still remember the cover was a pale vampire, with fangs out, and neon purple outlining his face, against the black. It was the Signet edition. I remember being really creeped out by the town, by the Martsen house. My family had moved from a house on a busy street in another town, to a larger house on a quiet street in a very rural town. The move no doubt had a lot to do with the resonance the novel had with me.

    By that summer I was verily King obsessed. And, it was time for my family to go on our yearly summer vacation to the Samoset Resort in Rockport, Maine.

    I grew up in Massachusetts. Yes, we’re a state in New England, but well, we’re not like Maine. Maine is a way bigger state. And, most importantly, Maine has some woods you can really, truly get lost in. Maine has small towns sorta like Jersusalem’s Lot. Not that they’re full of vampires, but they are very small.

    There’s a different vibe to the state. Things move slower. Or, maybe people from Massachusetts are just really hyper. Who knows? Point is, you can’t spend any time in Maine without hearing something about Stephen King. Hell, I’d argue you can’t go anywhere in New England without hearing something about him. But, back in the 90s, you really couldn’t escape his looming shadow.

    For the first time, in that summer of my twelfth year, I noticed there was a picture of Stephen King in the lobby of The Samoset Resort. He had those signature coke bottle glasses on, the frames of which seem to be a favorite among serial killers and computer programmers if you go through pictures of either from the late 80s and 90s. For some reason he also had a mustache, a green button up shirt, and green cowboy boots. I’m not making this up, if you ever happen by The Samoset Resort in Maine, go check.

    At some point that year my mom told me her friends used to be neighbor’s with the Kings in Maine. They told her how he owned a pink Cadillac he kept in the driveway, and how there was a black iron fence with bats on the top outside the house.

    My grandfather on my mom’s side grew up in Maine, too. We’re pretty close, gramps and me.

    So, you see, all of these things, my relatives and my mom’s friends from Maine, our yearly vacation to a resort in Maine King had, it turned out, visited, and my budding young imagination, everything combined that summer to put me in the prime head space for The Gunslinger, the first book in The Dark Tower series.

    The Gunslinger hit me like a slap to the face. I was never one of those kids that liked cowboys before this. And suddenly here’s this story about a desert, and a mythical cowboy with hands fast as lighting. Here’s this story about a man in black, a magician who wants to set The Dark Tower to toppling, destroying everything. For the Tower is everything, friends. It holds up our very existence on it. And here’s me, reading about a boy named Jake, who wakes up in Roland’s universe. Jake, who was alive in New York City, until he was pushed into traffic and died.

    I became Jake that summer. And King himself was Roland. I was following the path of the beam; a path this man who grew up not so very far away from where I grew up wrote about. And I got the sense that King was never very far off, you understand? It sounds very silly, but it almost seemed that summer like I was meant to read The Gunslinger.

    I finished The Gunslinger, and needed to read more of the books in the series. I needed to read more Stephen King. I became down right fanatical.

    It all started with that one book my mom probably bought me for Christmas because she wanted to encourage me to read. I’m sure she didn’t think that two decades later, I’d have two tattoos on my body dedicated to King’s fiction. I’m sure she didn’t think I’d spend so much time and energy reading so much Stephen King.

    You see, the power of Stephen King has always been that he has put himself into his stories. King has never been afraid to get personal with his fiction. But I would argue another layer of the onion, once peeled, is that for people in New England, especially in the 90s, King was like a rock star, like an actor, like a famous athlete. King was always around the corner, you understand? He always seemed like you might see him at a Red Sox game, or see him getting an orange Crush at a gas station at a rest stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere New Hampshire. So, when you get someone who is so honest with their fiction, throwing so much of themselves into it, and then you come to find out he likes to ham it up in credit card ads, and likes to see his picture in the magazines, and likes to cameo in some of the adaptations of his work into films, or mini series…

    I still feel like he’s just around the corner. I don’t think that feeling will ever go away, to be honest. And, I’m also not sure if I should be thrilled, or a little irked out by this feeling. After all, this is also a guy who wore serial killer glasses for many, many, many years before finally switching them up. This is a guy who, when he was about the age I was when I got Nightmares and Dreamscapes, used to collect newspaper clippings of killer Charles Starkweather.

    Deep down, down where the memories sit in an album on a shelf in my mind, I know the important thing is the feelings his fiction evoked in me; is the way the fiction, and learning about the man made me feel about myself. The importance of Stephen King in my life, particularly in the 90s, was, and has always been, that he’s made me realize the power of the imagination, and the power of image. The reason King’s fiction was so pivotal, and say, Crichton’s was not, is that Crichton never seemed like he could have been someone like me.

    Almost two decades, man. So many words. So many books. That’s a lot of time. That’s a life time for some.

    You might be wondering, so what? So a horror nerd got a good PR team, and you ate it right up, so what’s the big deal, who cares?

    I gotta’ be like one of those hippies from Woodstock in my response. You had to be there, man. I can’t really explain it to you.

  • Random-Ass Interview: Ellen Datlow

    Photo on 5-14-15 at 4.20 PM

    Ellen Datlow has a bajillion anthologies out she’s edited. In the interest of time, just go to amazon, or her website, to check out links to the plethora of them.
    But, Nightmare Carnival rules, and a new one The Doll Collection, is out now!

    Favorite part about NYC?

    Everything– but especially the fact that it really is the city that never sleeps!

    So you collect dolls. How many you got, if you were to give it a rough estimate?

    Oh gods, are you going to make me count? And do you mean whole dolls or parts of dolls? I have lots of doll heads, lots of doll tootsies and arms and a few torsos.
    And do I count the voodoo dolls and the Japanese Kokeshi dolls (wooden).
    Looking around my living room (there are some in other rooms) there are dozens of all kinds and made of all materials. You can see the “problem” in the attached photo of my radiator in the living room.


    You have a collection you edited called Alien Sex.

    Uh, what’s that one about?

    Ummm. Alien sex of course 😉
    No really-it’s an anthology of science fiction stories about gender and human and not so human relationships.
    The “aliens” are sometimes just other species on this planet. A few funny stories, some black humor, but mostly dead serious. One of my favorite anthologies. (And one of my first).

    I suspect that Tom Waits might be an alien. Do you think Tom Waits is an alien?

    Oh yeah. With that voice? You bet!

    What kind of food you feed your cats? I do with that Blue Wilderness indoor formula for the dry, and usually either wilderness canned, or sometimes Weruva.

    Proplan soft food and Wellness hard food. Proplan is expensive but my cats have become very choosy and refuse what is known as “pate”-so I now try to buy a variety of flavors and chunky stuff with gravy. Mixed with the cheap stuff. I’m hoping it’s just the hot weather but they’re both off their feed.

    Photo on 5-14-15 at 5.00 PM #2

    How many hours do you read per day?

    A few hours–mixing different kinds of reading- manuscripts for or whatever original anthology I’m reading for and previously published stories for the Best Horror of the year, and any other reprint anthology on which I’m working.

    How many hours, on a good day, do you dedicate to editing?

    Sometimes not at all. Depends on deadlines. Other times a few hours. When editing short fiction, I can’t edit more than a few stories a day and need a break between each one.

    Joyce Carol Oates has a story that’s going to be in one of your new collections, which is about birds?

    Well, I didn’t know for sure that she’d be doing one for that anthology -I approach her for anthologies I think she might be interested in and she’ll usually say yes-if she can come up with an idea. If that happens, I might get a story from her in a few days. Otherwise, I don’t expect anything. So the first I knew she was working on this one was when she tweeted it -that was quite a surprise.

    Did you happen to see True Detective season 2, and the part with the dude in the bird mask? That was like, my favorite part.
    Here’s a pic of it.
    (What I just asked about her bird antho, it fits, sorta…)


    Not yet-no spoilers!! I watch everything on netflix DVDs so am awaiting its release.

    You have a favorite pizza place in NYC? Am I an asshole for asking?

    Actually, the one several blocks from me -a little hole in the wall called Village Pizza (on 8th avenue at 13th street)-when I have someone over whose helping me out with my tech, I often order in from there.
    You’re not an asshole -I hope everyone gets pizza there–it would help them enormously.

    Favorite candy?

    Too many–good n plenty, red twizzlers (the traditional kind that are chewy not the crap you often get now), See’s chocolate lolipops. Cotton Candy.

    Did you know cats have no sense of gender?

    No-how do they know and what does that mean? That they can’t sense gender in other cats? (Unlikely, or there wouldn’t be cats yowling like they’re being tortured 😉 )
    Or do you mean they can’t differentiate the gender of humans? And again…how could that be determined?

    (I don’t know, someone told me that the other day. I think they meant they can’t tell it about themselves… I have no idea, actually.)

    You drink a lot of coffee?

    Not much- usually a cup in the morning. Unless I’m out with people all day-then often we stop for iced coffee.

    Have you ever seen anybody actually slip on a banana peel? I haven’t. I’m crying foul, Looney Tunes.

    Nope. But I bet it’s happened at least once in real life–where would Looney Tunes get the idea from otherwise? And they can be very slippery, those banana peels.
    I would watch out for them if I were you.

    Well played, Datlow. Well played.

    Do you think Guillermo Del Toro would ever cast Benicio Del Toro, and have Guillermo Navarro help him with the cinematography? That’d be a confusing set. “Hey Del Toro… wait, I mean Benicio. Cool. Now where’s Guillermo?”

    You’re too silly! I’m not familiar with Navarro-but they’d probably call each other Guillermo (or “Big G), Benicio, and Navarro on the set.

    Favorite season?

    Spring-although there hardly is any in NYC-I love the gingko trees on my block, with their teeny tiny gingko leaves getting bigger and bigger. And the magnolias (although the blossoms only last a few days so sometimes if I’m out of town I miss them). And the white pear trees around the corner from me.

    Thanks for taking part in this babbling only semi-coherent exercise in thought patterns. Anything coming up you’d like to plug?

    The Best Horror of the Year Volume Seven is out NOW from Night Shade and The Monstrous is coming out from Tachyon in time for Halloween. Also, a bunch of my anthologies are now available as audio books
    Thanks for the fun interview!

  • The Add Horror Fan: Necronomicon 2015


    I’ll try my best to keep this intelligent, and not divert into the blog post equivalent of shaking my hands and going “oh my god, oh my god!”

    Now, let me preface this by stating I only got into a lot of weird fiction a few years ago. I grew up reading King, Barker, Crichton, and people of this nature. And yes, I read Lovecraft and loved him, but always found him to be very verbose in my early years. I still find him very verbose, but I can appreciate what he was going for now.

    Anyway, cut back to a nervous Spooky Sean, at the convention center in Providence, meeting people and listening to panels. If there is one thing I’m struck with having been to Necronomicon 2015, sitting here remembering, it’s the sense of community, warmth and welcomeness which I felt.

    In a day and age when sniping and yellow social media journalism are the norm, it’s wonderful to be in public with authors and artists, and see that everyone, even the racist old pieces of shit who happened to wander out of the home for the weekend, are very friendly, and inviting. I read an article by Silvia-Moreno Garcia who said that what Lovecraft really imparted and promoted was a generous nature. How Lovecraft was very into helping fellow writers, and being supportive. And boy, it seems that sense of community and giving nature has never left the scene. I was damn near assaulted with people saying hi, and introducing me to friends, and friends of friends.

    And also, Scotch.

    There was a whoooooole lot of Scotch.

    Speaking honestly, I’ve been to a few horror and writing conventions, and perhaps it’s that I seem to have found a nice fit for me in the weird community, but I’ve never experienced anything like the sheer unadulterated friendliness I found at Necronomicon this year.

    Since this is an ADD horror fan article, I won’t even edit the hops from topic to topic, but let’s talk about the obvious problem of Lovecraft’s racism, and how Necronomicon is taking steps to show the weird community is moving past the old ways. I met a lot of wonderful women who write weird and horror fiction, and listened to a panel about how Lovecraft is going global: what it’s like to adapt his work into, say, Swedish, or Spanish, and the various places across the globe his work seems to have a large audience within.

    Perhaps it’s the fact I grew up with a learning disability, but I tend to side with those whose voices are normally not heard from. And I will go to bat for these unheard voices, these new and exciting opinions from those who have previously been washed beneath a tide of status quo.

    Let’s be real about this. Lovecraft’s work brings racist assholes out of the woodwork. There’s no way to avoid that, as Lovecraft was also a racist pretentious asshole. But… H.P., he is long dead; more than 100 years dead and rotted away, and it seems that his old racist apologizers are being slowly but surely overrun by a new generation of people of color, women, and gay people, who are influenced not by his hate, but by his love of the cosmic, the terrible, and the weird.

    And that’s what I want to emphasize. In truly Lovecraftian fashion, I feel I am not properly equipped to express what I feel, and how this experience over the weekend has effected me. But allow me to try.

    Going to Necronomicon 2015 was a total blast. Despite one dumb line, most of the conversations I heard were about the exciting new things coming out of weird fiction from all sorts of different voices previously unheard. Most of the vibe I felt was that we are on the edge of a wondrous new future, where not only new voices, but new mashes of genre will make books, comics, and films even more wonderful, terrible, dark, terrifying, and exciting than ever before!

    I leave you with a favorite quote of mine from Lovecraft.

    “I never ask a man what his business is, for it never interests me. What I ask him about are his thoughts and dreams.”

    That is the power of Lovecraft; to inspire dreams, and to bring together dreamers of all sorts to unite in a common cause of a love of the fantastic, the wondrous, and the numinous.

    Thank you to everyone I met at Necronomicon 2015 for sowing the seeds for many new dreams to come.