Posts Tagged ‘horror’

Another Halloween Over.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASadly, another Halloween has come and gone. 364 more days until we can do this again. I must say that I am completely impressed with the ideas you all came up with for what may be haunting my house. Very creative indeed! Ghost cats, clowns, dolls and so many other creepies. It was truly difficult to choose a winner this year. I wish I could send the prize to all of you, but I can’t. That said, I have picked the winner. Of all the comments, the one that stuck with me most, caused me to open a window and do a little google-fu. was Nikki’s. I had never heard of a Domovoi before and it really intrigued me. Congratulations Nikki! You won! I will get your box o’ goodies to you ASAP. And to the rest of you… Thank you so much for participating and making the Hop a blast for me yet again. Until next year… Pleasant Dreams!

Free Shit… And A Coffin Hop!

CoffinHop2014As you can no doubt tell by the marvelous picture above (contributed to this year’s hop by the super talented Jolie DuPre), it’s that magical time of year once again, when churchyards yawn and Hell itself breathes contagion into this world… Wait. I think someone else wrote that.

Anyhow, it’s Halloween again and as is my custom, I’m just dying to give one of you lucky souls some very cool, very free shit! But, some of you new followers may be confused. It’s not Christmas, you may be saying to yourself. Is it my birthday? No, chances are it’s not your birthday, (but if it is, how cool is that?!). It is, however, time for the 3rd Annual Coffin Hop.

What is that? You ask yourself.

Well, it’s just about the most awesome thing ever. Every year a great big group of horror writers and artists band together and blog, each giving away one or more prizes during the week leading up to Samhain. With so many horror folks putting on this party, and so many contests to enter, chances are very high that you may just walk away with some very cool shit this year.

Now you’re saying to yourself, Is this shit really that cool?

Only if you like free books and Halloween swag. And if you don’t like that stuff, I’m sure you’re starting to realize you’ve wandered to the wrong blog hop. No worries, just google dwarf hamster porn and you’ll be directed where you want to go. It’s okay. Mistakes happen. We’ll close the door behind you.

Thank God. I thought that freak would never leave! Where was I? Oh yes. As you can see in the picture below, this year’s prize pack includes signed copies of AD NAUSEAM (my collection of extreme horror), GRUESOME FACES, GHASTLY PLACES (a recent collection containing stories by Adrian Ludens, Doug Murano and myself-All South Dakota horror authors) and none other than DEATH BY DRIVE-IN (the official Coffin Hop anthology, put out by the lovely and talented Mr. Axel Howerton). As if such high-brow literary delights were not incentive enough, I will also include some tokens of the holiday that I have selected with my own two, bloody, little hands.

But how do I get this cool, free shit? You cry.

No worries, I’m about to tell you.

Last year I asked you all to share your jack-o-lanterns with me and it was a great time. This year, however, I am in the middle of a move and am feeling a bit pressed for time. That’s right, as you all are having fun visiting the sites and winning the free shit, I will be boxing up my worldly (and otherworldly) possessions (did someone say possession?) and moving them into my very first, owned by me, home! No more renting for this kid! That said, my contest this year is pretty simple. I want you, in just a few sentences, to tell me what you think my new home may be harboring.

Is it haunted by Victorian ghosts? Are there petulant poltergeists in the pantry? Disturbed deities in the den? Banshees in the bedroom (YEAH there is!)? Tell me what I will find as I take up residence at the new place, and be creative. Be scary. Be funny. Knock my socks off! Leave your description in the comments and the one that I like best will take home the gold (and by gold, I mean free shit, of course)!

And that’s all it takes. Put on your thinking caps, wow me with your originality, and make sure to click the picture of the handsome fellow above. He’ll take you back to the list so you can win even more free shit! Enjoy the Hop.

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*NOTE In order to protect you from a deluge of smarmy spammers or the lunatic ravings of an internet troll whose name might rhyme with Dickolaus Schmaccione, the comments on this site are set to approve only. AND due to the aforementioned move, I will be losing internet very soon. Comments posted may not be viewable until sometime late Monday. Mea Culpa.

 

 

And the Winner Is…

Dempsey's Halloween 2103 009.2And so it ends. Another October gone, the streets quiet once again, the children all scrubbed and glowing from exhaustion and sugar-rush. Across the country, teachers sigh in frustration as students gaze into nothing, their little minds and bodies wore out from the previous night’s adventures and imagining that magic time when the school bell will ring and free them to go home to a candy bag bursting at the seams. And once again, my favorite holiday is fading…

BUT! There is still a little Halloween magic left! I get to give one lucky a soul a box of goodies. Less than a dozen of you entered my contest, which should’ve made it easy, but BOY it sure wasn’t. Who knew you were all such talented bastards?! I am amazed at the level of skill in most of the jack-o-lanterns sent to me. It wasn’t an easy decision at all, the originality and thought that went into each and every one was stunning. You are all rock stars as far as I’m concerned. Of course, there can only be one winner. In the end, I had to go by technical difficulty and even then it was hard.

AND THE WINNER IS…

Brandi Slater of Michigan, for her two jack-o-lanterns pictured below. Though I loved them all, these two really stood out to me, particularly the wolf. The skill it took to carve that moon in the background is amazing. Brandi will receive the prize pack including signed copies of a few of my works, some cool Jack Skellington swag and of course, a signed copy of COFFIN HOP: DEATH BY DRVE-IN from which the proceeds go to supporting children’s literacy at: Litworld http://www.litworld.org/. The rest of you can still pick up a copy here: http://goo.gl/1FyjiU and do your part to help create a world where all children know the joy of reading. Congrats Brandi and a huge THANK YOU to everyone else who competed. You are all amazing!~C.W.Winner 2Winner1

Do You Carve?

Pumpkins 2013 026Hello Boils and Ghouls! Can you believe it’s already been a year since the last Coffin Hop? Time sure flies when you’re a demon, bent on destroying the world… Erm, I mean, Having fun! This year I’ve decided to keep things short and sweet as I’m sure you have plenty of other sites to hop to. My contest will be pretty easy as well, at least for those who truly celebrate Halloween, the way our ancient alien ancestors intended. And this year, the Hop is all about YOU!

So, do you carve? Are you a painter? Do you do both? How early do you buy your pumpkin? Do you keep it until it rots, or throw it out November 1st? What’s the most important trait for a good pumpkin? These are the things I want to know about you. The information I carve, I mean CRAVE!

At my house, it varies from year to year. Last Halloween we carved, the year before we did both. But this year it was all about the paint. We’d spotted some brilliant white pumpkins at a local farm and fleet store around the end of September and just knew they were for us. Of course, as mild as the weather had been, we also knew there was no way those pumpkins would survive until All Hallow’s Eve. So we waited, we bided our time, our grubby little paws rubbing together in anticipation. And guess what? You’re right, they were all gone by the time we returned. And so we set off to the seventh level of HELL (yeah, Walmart) in search of the next best thing, orange pumpkins and white spray paint. Now my family is pretty diverse. We each have our own criteria for what makes the perfect pumpkin. I am all about the symmetry. My oldest daughter believes it is the roundest pumpkin that makes the grade, and for my son, the smoothest. My middle daughter swears it’s all about SIZE! She always picks the biggest of the bunch, regardless of whether it’s a lopsided, warty monstrosity. Lou doesn’t give a shit what pumpkin he gets, as long as he doesn’t have to come with.

I’ve included photos of this year’s pumpkins. I think they turned out pretty well. They should appease the spirits and keep the demonic forces from entering our home to raise all manners of havoc such as fire, pestilence, and that annoying toe seam on your sock that won’t lay flat.Pumpkins 2013 030

This brings me to the important part, THE CONTEST! It’s simple really. All you have to do is send me a photo of your pumpkin. Paint it, carve it, throw it in the road. It doesn’t have to be this year’s jack-o-lantern. It could be a favorite from years gone by, but be original, be creative. Feel free to include some details about what makes a perfect pumpkin in your eyes. There are only a few minor rules you must adhere to:

*Do not cheat. Only dickfaces cheat! Don’t insult my intelligence by sending me a google image. I know a professional photo from a snapshot.

*Send the photo to C.W.LaSart@hotmail.com NO LATER than Midnight Central Time on October 31st.

*Please include your full name, email address and mailing address in the body of the email. The photo can be an attachment.

*MOST IMPORTANTLY! DO NOT, under any circumstances, include naked pictures of yourself. Seriously. I am getting so sick of all the junk in my inbox! What is it about my writing that makes you sickos think I want to see your tidbits? No really, just don’t.

And that’s it. After I have collected all the photos, I will present them to an impartial Jury made up of myself, two preteen girls, one flirty 8 year old boy, and a bulldog. We will pick our favorite and post it here on November 1st! The winner will receive all the wonderful goodies pictured below, as well as a signed copy of the Coffin Hop Charity Anthology, Death By Drive-In! So what are you waiting for? Get carving and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!~C.W.

Abbigail the Bulldog for Display Purposes Only *NOT INCLUDED!

Abbigail the Bulldog for Display Purposes Only *NOT INCLUDED!

Prize Includes: One signed copy of Ad Nauseam: 13 Tales of Extreme Horror, One signed copy of Bad Dreams New Screams (A limited edition Cemetery Dance Chapbook, only 500 in existence), One signed copy of Coffin Hop:Death By Drive-In (A Charity anthology by the Coffin Hoppers that supports literacy with all proceeds going to Litworld http://www.litworld.org/), One Jack Skellington Notepad, One Jack Skellington Hardbound Calendar/Planner, and a snazzy pair of Jack Skellington socks! Those who don’t win can still pick up the Charity Anthology here: http://goo.gl/1FyjiU Coming soon in E-Format!

Coffin Hop Death By Drive-In

 

 Get Back To The Hop Here: http://coffinhop.com/

 

Coffin Hop Photo

 

I’m Not Offended.

 

 

Robert McCammon and I at WHC 2013

Robert McCammon and I at WHC 2013

I want to tell you a story. Those of you who are familiar with this blog know what comes next, but for my new friends, this is where I begin my rant. Usually I try to stick with topics that scare me. Today however, I want to share something that disappoints me deeply. I would like to preface this by explaining that I am not easily offended. Anyone who has read my writing can vouch for that. I’m also not opposed to nudity in general, nor am I opposed to nudity in horror films. I love horror films. Gratuitous sex is just part of the bargain. I’m not offended by it at all. Far from it. I’m one of the least prudish people you will ever meet. Of course, after today the fans of a certain well-known horror site might disagree on that point, but we’ll get to that. This post might piss some of you off and I’m deeply sorry about that. No, I’m just kidding, if it pisses you off, you’re part of the problem. Let’s start the story, shall we?

Imagine if you will, a facebook timeline. It could be very much like yours (probably is since we are both horror fans) but it isn’t yours. It’s mine. On this timeline are many posts by horror writers, memes by horror sites, and in general, just a plethora of horror related stuff. It’s a lovely timeline. It sees its share of monsters, blood and gore, and even some nudity. Now climb into my head as we are scrolling this timeline. Do you see it? Good! Imagine, if you will, you come across a picture that gives you pause. We are all familiar with the little twin girls from The Shining. Imagine that same hallway, only in place of the young girls, two adult twins have been poorly photoshopped into the foreground. They are both blonde with headbands and they are holding hands. They are also both completely nude with the exception of a pair of bloodstained knee socks. The tiniest of little boxes cover the necessary bits, but there is a link to the “uncensored version” posted directly below.

Okay, here is where you start rolling your eyes and saying “Come on, C.W.! It’s HORROR. This seriously can’t offend you, can it? You wrote a story about a guy fucking a hole in the ground!” But please stick with me here, I’m not done and I have a point to make. Whether that point is valid or not is completely up to you. Back to the story…

So you see this picture and you realize it is posted by the facebook page of what is known as a respected and highly trafficked horror website. It’s one of your favorites and is generally full of reviews, photos of classic horror movie posters, and all those usual things. You’re surprised, so you click the picture and are directed to the page. You’re still slightly shocked that they would post this. It really has nothing to do with the horror industry and is clearly a blatant excuse to post a rather gratuitous picture of porn. You aren’t outraged, but you’re a little stunned (remember, you’re in my head right now). Then you see the comments on the picture. Now you’re pissed. These misogynistic replies, posted by what can only be politely referred to as basic and crass troglodytes, start to get under your skin. I will share the fine comments posted by these knuckle-draggers later, complete with my own commentary.

But let’s get back to the subject at hand. You may not see my point yet, but I will spell it out for you. The picture was originally shared by a website called Boobs and Blood or some such shit. That’s fine. I’m not offended that they have this picture. It’s clearly not a site for which I am the target audience. Have at it! But it was shared by a site I do follow. It wasn’t on their website, just the facebook page, but that page is representative of this site I once followed and respected. I’m not offended. I’m gravely disappointed. I find it sad that such a respected site, with a broad range and large female fanbase would allow the posting of something so irrelevant to the horror industry. Posters of movies with nudity are relevant. Sure, they are. Gratuitous sex is a staple of the industry. It’s the norm. Full frontal female nudity is not. The most disheartening part of it is that they would willing post something that is potentially offensive to half their fanbase. And if the photo doesn’t bother most women, clearly the commentary that was allowed to follow would make the majority uncomfortable. I know that it is impossible for a site to post things that EVERYONE will enjoy or agree with, but I think a line was crossed here. The picture and ensuing comments gave what was once an enjoyable page for most, a crass frat house atmosphere. Let’s take a peek at some of these comments, shall we?

Eric S. says “Carpet installation. Hahahahaha! Pretty smooth…” Very clever there, Eric. I see what you did with the thinly-veiled reference to the women’s grooming habits. Your mother must be proud.

Michael B. says “One of them actually stole a book of matches and tried to burn off her
pubes, so I… corrected… her….”
Wait, what? What the fuck does that mean? Does anyone else think that sounds rapey?

Lee V. says “best photograph in the world” Clearly Lee’s reading tastes don’t include TIME magazine. I bet he considers the stories in the Penthouse Forum to be fine literary fiction.

There are more along that line, but I think you get the picture. But here’s where the disturbing shit really starts. Enter a couple people who speak negatively about the photo. Let’s look at how their comments are treated:

Jill G. says “What the hell is this? What does this have to do with the Shining? Why
can’t you just have a horror site without parading around naked women? And the
pseudo-pedophilia implied here is more than a little disturbing.”

To which Michael C. responds (Michael is my new favorite. A very special sort of douchebag) “@Jill  Chill out please. It’s a parody on something most horror
fans are familiar with. If not then you almost can’t call yourself a horror
fan. As for the rest of your comment. Those things you mentioned never came to
mind until you spoke of it and I still don’t see it. You have to try real hard
to imagine the pseudo-pedophilia. I think you have serious issues if you think
this image is problematic. And suggest to seek out professional help” 
Um, Nice try. I don’t think so, Michael. You see, I don’t remember the twins from The Shining ever being naked. If you are seeking a true parody of this scene, might I suggest the one featuring Stephen King and Colbert? Now that was funny shit. This is just an excuse to post two naked women.

Nope. Not naked.

Nope. Not naked.

 

Another post speaking out about the picture, Caren says “22,701 Horror fans on this page. How many do you think are women? Glad the guys think this is relevant.”

And the responses. From “The Site In Question” “Probably a lot of women. We have posted things like this before, and have actually gotten good responses from women. If there are men that are doing this sort of stuff, we would post it up there as well. That is just not the norm for the most part. Sorry if it offends you.” Oh, okay. The fact that you would post penises makes this totally cool. My bad. Carry on. But the fact that two women have now commented against it must be about as irrelevant as the picture itself.

The only male response speaking out against the picture, Paul F. says “I have to agree with Caren on this. I don’t really see the relevance of this to horror. It’s simple pornography. You might as well be posting links to Redtube or something. And before anyone gets on their histrionic high horse, no, I’m not gay nor am I a prude, not that that would be relevant to any intelligent debate on the subject. Those that do comment like that, should really question whether they see women as anything more than ‘walking vaginas’. I simply don’t want to open up Facebook, where I connect with a lot of horror authors and horror movie film pages, and see what is basically porn. Which is why I will now unlike the page. Good luck in the future.” Thanks Paul. Nice to see you aren’t all like Michael.

But wait! Here comes that wily Michael again @Paul How is this porn? Go look up what the definition of porn is and then come back and explain it to me. The image here is censored. While it might be slightly erotic it sure is no porn. @Caren  Your comment suggest that all women would have problems with this assuming you represent all women. I know a lot of healty and law abiding women who don’t object to this kind of imagery. And sorry to say but if people make more fuzz about seeing a little nudity as opposed to limbs being chopped off then I am kinda worried. Don’t we all come to this world naked? Honestly people chill out.Yeah! How dare you point out the irelevance of this picture! It’s naked women for Christ’s sakes! We NEVER get to see that. Bite me, Michael. And they linked the uncensored version. They only posted the censored version out of the desire to keep their facebook page, not any nod to modesty or taste.

But, apparently she does speak for some other women. Sumiko S. Says “Your comment suggests that you speak for all women vicariously, Michael
– because you know some women that it doesn’t bother. The fact that it doesn’t
bother some women does not mean that the women and men are bothered by it
should be silenced. People are entitled to have opinions, even ones you may not
personally agree with.

I think you should chill out.”

Okay, enough of that. At this point you might be thinking to yourself, “Come on, C.W. It’s not that big of a deal.” Some of you women may even be thinking the usual things. Men are pigs. Guys will be guys. No. That’s a cop out and you know it. I mean really? You men should be offended by that (though most aren’t because it lets them get by with bad behavior). Seriously, it’s not like you’re intelligent people who can control your actions and words, right? (note, heavy sarcasm intended by author) Women are forced to be okay with this sort of thing all the time, but let me tell you something, just because they remain quiet does not mean they aren’t uncomfortable. The unfortunate side effect of Women’s Lib is that a percentage of women, in hopes of not being lumped in with the more militant feminists, strive to embrace this behavior. They bury their discomfort in hopes of being “cool” or not being “that gal”. Well guess what? I’m okay with being that gal. I don’t give a shit. I’m not a prude. I’m not easily offended. But I’m sad to see this site resorting to this behavior. Right now is a hot time for the Sci-Fi/Horror industry in regards to the treatment of women. I am generally the FIRST to defend the industry amidst many allegations of sexual harassment at cons, disadvantages toward female authors and all the other horseshit that women deal with on a regular basis. I am not a card carrying feminist. You may think it’s wrong to call out all those men and their posts, but don’t worry. Sexist primates like that probably aren’t reading this fucking blog anyway.

But, in the end, it’s their page. They have the right to post what they want. Even if it is completely irrelevant to the industry and potentially offensive to the women on their page. As a former fan, I have a right to react. Their choice has put them in this blog. You know how we writers are. Originally I had intended to leave the site unnamed. But then I read their lame excuses and apologies which acknowledge the picture, but take absolutely no responsibility for posting it.

“We all love watching death, blood and gore…. Don’t let a couple of naked people get to you!!” It’s not the naked people, it’s the absolutely gratuitous reason for the picture on a site dedicated to horror.

“We share a lot of things on this Facebook page. One: its not our website, Two: if you don’t like it, don’t see a point to it, or are really offended by it, tell the blog it came from. Funny thing is we have had more bad comments and people mad about a twilight post than this. Again, we just share things sometimes. Could be a cool t-shirt, hello kitty chainsaw, trailers, or naked people. It’s a big world out there folks…” Yep. A big old world. Full of people. Some are writers. Welcome to my blog.

No, they’re right. It’s not their website. Just their facebook page, which all decent authors know is a huge representative of who we are as a brand. I won’t name the site. No, that would be wrong. But I will include a link to their page. 😉 I would like to know what you think. A decent dialogue goes a long way toward resolving issues. Much farther than asking people to chill out, and expecting them to bite their tongue when they see something they don’t like. Maybe it’s an overreaction. After all, it could just be that time of the month. Right guys?

Author’s Note:

Upon some reflection, I have decided to delete the link. Though my opinion on the actions of said Horror Site have not changed, it is not my intention to cause a witch hunt. However, the picture of me flipping them the bird still stands. Thank you~C.W. LaSart

A little "gratuitous" photo of my own.

A little “gratuitous” photo of my own.

 

 

The Next Big Thing!

Hello my friends! We’re going to something a bit different today. I have been tagged by the very talented Benjamin Kane Ethridge in a fun little game called The Next Big Thing where I am challenged to answer a few questions about what I’m working on before directing you to other writers who will do the same. You can still read Ben’s answers at http://benjikane.livejournal.com/, and at the end I will direct you to next week’s blog. Okay then, that’s easy enough. Without further adieu, on to my questions!

What is the working title of your next book?  My first novel, which I am currently hard at work on, is called Calliope.

Where did the idea come from for the book?  That’s a little bit harder. This is one of many ideas that have been rattling around my head for years. I can’t really remember the origin. It’s been there for so long that I almost feel it’s been up there forever! 🙂

What genre does your book fall under?  Definitely horror. Maybe even a bit towards extreme horror.

What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?  Another hard one. I can certainly tell you who wouldn’t star in it. Kristin Stewart. I don’t watch nearly enough movies anymore, so I am out of touch with actresses. Maybe the gal from the remake of Fright Night for the female lead. I liked her.

What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book?  Ancient evil overtakes a small town.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?  Neither. It will definitely be released by a small press. I’ve had a few inquire about seeing it when it’s finished and plan to go with one of those. Provided they like it of course.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?  I hand wrote it in about four months. The book itself is done, other than editing, but I am immersed in the painful process of trying to decipher my own handwriting and type it up. Not an easy task. I write fast and in sloppy cursive. Even I don’t know what I’m saying half the time.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  Hmmmm. I’m not sure on that one. It has an 80’s pulp feel to it and a carnival theme. I suppose there’s a few golden oldies on my shelf that it may compare to, but none of the top of my head. Though the monsters aren’t werewolves, one could say there is a resemblance to the beasts.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?  I have made no secret of the fact that I miss the old pulp feel of horror, back before the genre started to take itself too seriously. I suppose that is what really inspired me to write this book. I grew up on the fun of splatterpunk and I wanted to pay homage to my roots. I wanted to write something that would’ve fit in well with the genre during my early years when I feel in love with horror. I hope I have succeeded.

What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?  Did I mention it’s got a carnival theme? There have been many books written about evil carnivals that descend upon unsuspecting towns, but I chose to take this familiar trope and give it a little shake. What if the town itself was evil, and the carnies the heroes? You’ll just have to read it to find out 🙂

Well, that’s it. Now I’m supposed to tag 3-5 other writers and send you on your way. Of course, I’ve never been one for the rules, so I think I will just tag one. Okay, you got me, I came into the game late and could only find one other person who wanted to play! But he’s well worth the visit! I give you, Dan Dillard! Check out his blog while you wait and next Wednesday you can read his answers to the same questions. http://www.demonauthor.com/ Happy reading my friends. Until next time~C.W. LaSart

And The Winner Is…

Halloween has come and gone again. 364 more days until we get to do it again. It’s a bittersweet thing for me, I’m sad to see it go, but it means I get to announce the winner of my Coffin Hop drawing! Before I do though, I want to send out a heartfelt thanks to all of you who stopped by. You are the reason we do this hop and you are all rockstars in my book! Okay, without further adieu… The winner of the 2012 Coffin Hop Prize pack is… Robin Rodwell! Congratulations Robin and I hope to see the rest of you next year!~C.W. LaSart

It’s Coffin Hop Time Again! Who Wants Some Free Shit?

Those of you who are familiar with my blog are used to my snarky and hopefully amusing posts, but I think I will take a break from that for this most hallowed of holidays. No worries, there’s sure to be plenty of sarcasm in the future, but how about we make this easy today. Let’s just give some free shit away, shall we? I thought you might like that. All I ask you to do is sign up for the blog and leave a comment below telling me you did it. Yep, that’s it. For those who are already following the blog, just leave a comment stating as such. When the week is over and the ghastly ghouls are walking the streets in search of candy, I will chose one lucky winner out of a hat (high tech as always) to receive my lovely Coffin Hop Grand Prize including: A signed copy of my premiere collection Ad Nauseam, a signed copy of a limited edition chapbook (ONLY 500 IN EXISTENCE) published by none other than Cemetery Dance, one copy of the Exclusive Coffin Hop Teaser for next year’s much anticipated Death By Drive-In anthology in the e-format of your choice, one sweetly spooky Halloween sock monkey, a collection of classic horror movies, and many more spectacular goodies! For the rest of you who don’t win, as There Can Only Be One, here’s a special treat, something I very rarely do… A free short story. I’m adamantly against posting free stories on blogs but what can I say, I guess I just got caught up in the spirit of my favorite holiday! So without further adieu, here for your reading entertainment, I give you RETIRED GODS. I hope you enjoy it. And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog and comment for a chance to win all the goodies. HAPPY HALLOWEEN MY FRIENDS.

 

RETIRED GODS

 

 

           

The old gods were bored. They gathered in the soft sunlight that filtered through the frosted glass windows of the common room in Windy Brooks Rest Home, as they did every day. Some played cards and some watched television, while others stared off into space, lost in their own minds with little hope of return. Like any group of seniors, they spoke of the old days, reminisced about a time when the world was much younger and simpler. This was where they chose to pass the time while they waited. Endless days of waiting; for lunch, then dinner, to watch their shows, to take their meds. Mostly, they waited to die.

Zeus sat at a square table in the corner, his gnarled fingers laboring as he slowly shuffled a deck of cards. Palsy was starting to get the better of him, but as long as he could manage, there would be a game. Hera sat to his left, still beautiful to him after all these years. She smiled and nodded, occasionally reaching out to pat his hand when he spoke, showing her affection. He paid her demeanor little heed, aware that she nodded not out of agreement with anything he said, but because of dementia. Hera was forever trapped in a time before mighty Olympus had fallen, destruction brought about by the Heaven that was a promise made by the Nazarene. Sometimes Zeus envied his wife.

Poseidon sat directly to Zeus’ right, a chair pulled away from the table to accommodate his wheelchair. He sat slumped and mostly lifeless, except for his eyes. Though he had ceased speaking months before, Poseidon still watched the game, his faded blue eyes tracking their hands as the hours passed. Zeus finished his painful shuffle and laid the deck carefully on the table.

“Cut the cards, Hades.”

Hades sat directly across from Zeus, his gaze never leaving the arthritic hands as they worked the cards. He still doesn’t trust me. Zeus was amused. After all these years, he still expects me to cheat him.  Hades cut the cards and the game began.

Young nurses in bright scrubs adorned with cartoon characters drifted in and out of the room, silently performing their tasks with bland expressions. Windy Brooks was not a rest home strictly for the gods, and they paid no more attention to the conversations of this particular group than any other. The young have a way of tuning out the old, dismissing all their conversation as ramblings of senility. Still, they were cared for competently.

Hades stopped arranging his hand and cocked his head to the side, his bulbous nose turned up to sniff the air.

“Do you smell that?”

“I believe Poseidon has shit himself again.” Zeus replied dryly.

“Not that.” Hades waved a hand dismissively. “The other smell. How can you not smell it? It’s death! I smell death! The old man in Room 207 has died.”

Zeus shrugged.

“What a bastard he was during his life. He was a thief and a cheat. How I long to collect that soul and drag it across the River Styx to serve me in the underworld!” Hades eyes were bright with wistful excitement. Deaths around the rest home were frequent, sometimes several a week, and they never failed to send Hades into a fit of longing. The knowledge that he no longer ruled the Underworld was painful.

With a triumphant cry, Aphrodite rushed the table, flinging her gown wide and gyrating like an ancient showgirl. Only Hermes took notice, reaching a gnarled hand over to squeeze her pendulous breast, earning a rebuke from Zeus.

“Hermes! Leave your sister alone. Incest has been out of fashion for centuries now.” Chided, but not ashamed, Hermes slunk off to the couch where he pouted in front of the television set. Aphrodite continued to bounce and flop her deflated boobs at the card players for a moment, and then she ran off, cackling like the toothless hag that she was. An orderly disappeared down the hall in pursuit, his gentle voice fading as he coaxed her into abandoning her naked revelry.

Zeus sighed and returned his attention to his cards. Sometimes he wondered if he and Hades were the only ones with any of their faculties. He laid a card and waited for his brother to counter. The daylight was fading and soon it would be dinnertime. He hoped they would have Salisbury steak and mashed potatoes tonight. It was his favorite.

Dionysus raised his frail voice in argument with one of the staff. She was trying to walk away, but he gripped her elbow. This altercation was another daily occurrence, one of the ways they passed the time at Windy Brooks. Dionysus wanted a bottle of wine. Dionysus always wanted wine.

“Just get me my wine!” He insisted, his face flushed with anger.

The nurse shook her head and pried at his fingers. “The doctors’ orders state that you may have one glass of wine every evening, and not until after dinner.”

“Don’t you know who I am?” The old man whined, clearly near tears.

“Of course I know who you are, Mr. Jones.” She turned on her heal and swiftly left the common room. This same scene took place every night. You could almost set your watch by it. Giving up on his wine, Dionysus turned his attention toward Zeus for yet another predictable conversation.

“Hey, Zeus!”

“Yes, Dionysus.” Zeus replied calmly.

“Why don’t we go find the Old Norse Gods? Or the Egyptians? That Ra was one powerful guy. Maybe if we all banded together, we could pool what’s left of our powers…” he trailed off as Zeus shook his head sadly.

“They’re gone, Dion. All gone.” Zeus reigned in his frustration with sheer will and not a small amount of pity. “I have told you many times. They are all dead now. There is no help for us anymore.”

Dionysus looked deflated for a moment, then his face brightened and he held up one crooked finger triumphantly, his mouth opened to speak.

“No Dion,” Zeus cut him off, “The Hindu Gods won’t help us. They are still very powerful, but we have tried contacting them. They don’t wish to trifle with relics such as us. I suppose that they too will weaken as time goes by and they become forgotten. It’s the way of the world, my son.”

Zeus patted Dionysus on the back, but he just stared out the window, his lined face stricken with misery. This also happened every evening.

The glorious days of Olympus were long gone, but the gods hadn’t gone quietly into submission. They had been vain and powerful at first, enjoying centuries of play on Earth and in the Heavens, watching and meddling in the existence of mortals at will, often ruining lives for little more than sport. So feared were they that their powers fed on the emotions of their subjects, both adoration and terror, growing stronger every time a mortal turned his gaze to Olympus in prayer. It was a good time for the old gods, and they had foolishly believed it would be such until the end of time. Many wars were fought to preserve their territory and way of life, battles often sparked by jealousy and vanity. In the end, they were defeated by something that had never occurred to them. Love.

A Jewish man from Nazareth quietly walked the lands, encouraging all the people of the Earth, both before and after his death, to abandon their old gods and embrace his own. His message was powerful. He promised love and redemption, something that people desperately wanted after dealing for so long with the fickle gods of old. Their subjects responded, pulled by the power of a compassionate God, never petty or spiteful like the ones they worshipped. No matter how hard Zeus and the others tried, however much they spread punishments to the mortals under their rule, the people slowly slipped away from them.

Other gods met their destruction by Muhammad’s message, and some were simply pushed aside in favor of science. Men would continue to kill in the name of a God, but not their names. Not anymore. They became stories, myths, and their strength slowly dwindled over the centuries, rendering them little more than mortals. With their powers went immortality and they eventually aged, becoming the shells of gods that now sat in the common room of the home, playing cards and losing their minds. The only magic they had left came from scores of middle school students who studied them briefly in class and for a moment found them cool. This was no life for a former deity.

“Zeus?” Hades soft voice intruded on his reverie, bringing him back to the present. He found his mind wandering more often lately and it scared him more than he cared to admit. Zeus could handle the infirmities of the flesh that plagued him daily, but was terrified of losing his mind. Whatever else awaited him, he wanted to meet it with his wit and intelligence intact. “ZEUS!”

Hades pointed to the right where Poseidon slumped, his head back and eyes unblinking, jaw slack. He had quit breathing again and the rest of the gods formed a semicircle of concern around their fallen comrade. All eyes fell to Zeus, pleading silently for him to fix the situation. He closed his own eyes for a moment and dug deep in his being, harnessing whatever pool of strength and power he still possessed, before he laid his hand gently on Poseidon’s unmoving chest. With a grunt of exertion, Zeus felt the hairs on his arm crackle as a subdued bolt of blue lightning passed through his hand and into the heart below it. Poseidon’s body bucked lightly and everyone gasped, watching in wide-eyed anticipation of whether or not it would work this time.

After several agonizing seconds, during which Zeus was sure he had failed to revive his brother, Poseidon drew a harsh breath and coughed, his eyes bleary and unfocused. As the fit passed, he looked around at the concerned faces that hovered around him. With a scowl, his eyes darted to Zeus, and to everyone’s amusement, his shaky hand raised and shot Zeus the world’s most pathetic bird. Zeus smiled and shuffled the cards, happy Poseidon had come back from the brink, but not certain that he would have it in him next time.

The mood in the room inevitably turned from amused to somber, as the gods considered the enormity of what would have happened if Zeus had failed. Soon the questions began.

“What’s going to happen to us?”

“Where will we go when we die?”

“What do we do?”

Questions barraged Zeus from every side. Only silently nodding Hera and the mute Poseidon refused to join in the verbal assault. They had relied on Zeus for the entirety of their long existence and still looked to him for answers to questions that both confused and terrified them. Answers he did not have. Frustrated by his impotence in the matter, Zeus threw up his hands, scattering cards about the table. His thunderous scowl, a part of his former glory, caused them all to cringe away, fearful of the mighty lightning bolt he no longer possessed. “I DON’T KNOW!”

Zeus’s shout earned him a reproachful look from a passing nurse, as he painfully gathered his deck of cards together. The other gods huddled in the corner, causing Zeus to regret his outburst. He didn’t mean to scare them, but DAMNIT! He didn’t know everything. His days of omnipotence were long gone, and he knew no better than the rest of them what fate awaited the gods on the other side of death. How could any man know such a thing? All men went to their deaths, unknowing and alone. It was the fear of all the elderly, so close to their time but unsure of the outcome. Zeus was no longer a god, just an old man, fearfully waiting for his end.

Zeus laid the deck in the middle of the table. They had time for just one more game before dinner. “Cut the cards, Hades.”

Hades cut the cards and the game began.

 

Now Back to the Hop With You!!! http://coffinhop.wordpress.com/ 

And if you’re really enjoying the Hop and want to help support the 2013 release of Death By Drive-In, featuring 22 of our very own Coffin Hoppers, visit http://www.cafepress.com/coffinhop for some cool swag with all proceeds going directly to the release of that charity anthology!

Mark Scioneaux Hijacks My Blog!

 

On Hollow Shell and why the Zombie Genre is Coming Back from the Dead

By: Mark C. Scioneaux

 

 

I cannot speak for all horror writers, but I think the first subject an aspiring writer tries to tackle is the zombie novel. There are a few reasons why the zombies are the popular choice, but mostly I believe it is due to the simplicity of the subject, and the way the story develops.

 

First, you have undead monsters. Scary, right? There is nothing more horrifying and heartbreaking than the thought of your mom, dad, sibling, child, etc. coming for you with no remembrance of who you were to them. All you are now is a meal. Second, it lets the writer craft a tale of survival, and doing what it takes to persevere during trying times of the walking dead. Third, and lastly, the aspiring writer can make a choice of where they want their novel to go. Gratuitous amounts of sex and gore? A cast of characters, ranging from your basic stereotypes to original and unlikely heroes? The writer is free to do what they want, for the world has ended and they are at the control panel. Writers are free to carve their own paths, and zombies help pave the way.

 

Why am I rambling about this? A few weeks ago, I received an email from a publisher. He was cancelling an anthology of which a story of mine had been submitted. His reasons were honest and understandable, but one didn’t sit well with me. He said the genre was flooded with bad zombie books. He wouldn’t make any return on his investment for the anthology he’d planned. The zombie genre was dead; a bullet put right between the eyes of the literary ghoul. To a point, I agreed. With the surge of self-publishing, it appears any and all aspiring authors, who don’t venture through traditional publishing venues for their work, have a zombie novel uploaded to Kindle. I’ve read more than my fair share. Some are great. Plenty are bad, often filled with poor editing and even worse writing. With the popularity of The Walking Dead leading the way, zombies have infiltrated every aspect of our pop culture. The public is burnt out, and who can really blame them? But I think they can be saved and restored back to the prominence and respect they deserve. It is my hope that my serial, Hollow Shell, assists in the revival of the zombie book.

 

When you start Hollow Shell, you’ll see I jammed my foot on the gas, and very rarely do I let up. The tale centers around one central character, Chris. He isn’t special, really; just an ordinary guy trying to do the right thing. He’s not a super soldier, or someone who can make headshots while sprinting through a field. He’s you. He’s me. I wanted to make him that way so you, the reader, would feel for him, think like him, and ultimately place yourself in his situation and contemplate over the choices you’d make if you were in his shoes. There is another character, Dawn, who joins Chris on a most epic journey. I won’t spoil it for you where they are going, or why, but it will be something pivotal that drives our main character forward, much to the dismay of the young woman accompanying him.

 

Chris and Dawn make a good pair, and I think they represent real people in a tragic situation. There is tension, violence, sex, and gore; all things one expects to happen when the laws and rules of society have been thrown out the window, but it’s kept in check. It’s balanced. It’s real. When I write, I try to put myself in my character’s shoes. How would I react? What would I say? How would I get out of this predicament? The result, I feel, is a story with realistic consequences to actions. I want to show the reader that yes, zombies are scary, but humans are so much worse. There will be times when you cheer for the zombies. Hopefully I’ve written enough moments that make your jaw drop and your fingers fumble your e-reader when you go to turn the page.

I plan to update the series every quarter. It will take time to not only write, but also go through the proper editing and proofreading channels. Self-publishing isn’t a bad thing. As a person who has been traditionally published and is co-owner of Nightscape Press, I feel this is what the Kindle was made for. But the key is you have to give the customer a professional product, and one you’d be happy to put your name on. I hope I have done this for you, the reader.

 

Hollow Shell is violent and tragic. It also has moments of humor and raw emotion. It is charged with a certain tension that I feel would exist in a situation like the one our two characters are thrust into. What I love the most about zombie literature isn’t so much the zombies, but the interaction of characters as the world falls apart. There are so many great opportunities for me as a writer to explore the human condition and psyche. That’s what draws me to post-apocalyptic books. The zombies are awesome. They give your characters a reason to act the way they do. But they’re only a part of the story. In Hollow Shell, you’ll care about the characters and realize that these are normal people trying to survive with the zombies as a backdrop. I hope you will keep up with Hollow Shell, because it’s going to be a wild ride.

 

In closing, I’d like to thank C.W. LaSart for allowing me to share my thoughts on zombies. I hope you enjoy Hollow Shell and follow the series to the end, whenever that may be. Don’t abandon the zombie story. There are many good ones out there, and like the undead, they are going to just keep coming!

 

Aim for the head,

 Mark C. Scioneaux

 

To Buy Hollow Shell: Part 1 – http://www.amazon.com/Hollow-Shell-Zombie-Epic-ebook/dp/B009QRX20I/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1350429640&sr=8-1&keywords=hollow+shell+zombies

Talk about it on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HollowShellAZombieEpic

Friend the author: https://www.facebook.com/mscioneaux

 

 

 

A sample from Hollow Shell: Part 1

 

“What have I done?” Chris said as he slid down the living room wall. 

A faint trail of gray smoke rose from the gun, slowly dissipating into the atmosphere and stinging his running nose. His hands shook uncontrollably, so bad the gun almost fell from his limp grasp.

“Why, God? Jesus…Why?” he gasped, the tears starting to roll down his stubbly face.

With each passing moment, panic at the realization of what he had just done started to settle in. It was a sickening feeling developing deep in the pit of his stomach. He felt a wave of nausea wash over him. He closed his eyes, drew in a deep breath, and let it out slowly.

Why am I calling out to God? he thought, as the idea of asking an all-mighty and benevolent creator for help had proved to be a waste of time. God didn’t seem to be present at the moment he put a bullet right between the eyes of his loving parents and once beautiful sister. Those same eyes that gazed down on him the day he was born. Eyes at one time filled with unconditional love, now glazed over in a pale aqua-blue glow. The look they once bore replaced with an insatiable hunger. Chris couldn’t let them live like that. His sister, so beautiful and caring; so young and full of dreams, had been turned into a deformed creature. There was nothing left of who she once was. The same sister Chris beat up a playground bully for. The same sister whose ice cream cone hit the floor and Chris readily gave her his. The thought of her pain made him tear up and the urge to scream rushed up through his throat like vomit.

She had come toward him with the same look as his parents, those hungry, lifeless eyes. His hand made steady by a surge of adrenalin gave him a brief moment of clarity and precision, though his vision had become blurry with tears. The sound of her moaning and shuffling feet became louder as she moved closer. He aimed, closing his eyes as he pulled the trigger, feeling the hammer kick back and the gun jolt in his hand. The abrupt discharge was followed by a soft thud. He opened his eyes and in that moment came to the sick realization that he was an only child and an orphan. All done by his own hands.  

One more bullet left in the chamber, he thought to himself, and that one is going to be for me.

The searing heat of the gun singed the inside of his mouth, but he didn’t care. One squeeze and everything would be all right. Just a loud noise, maybe a little pain and his troubles would cease to exist. Or maybe there wouldn’t be any pain at all. It would be a coward’s way out, but given the current events and his decaying mentality, it felt like the right thing to do. He closed his eyes tight as his finger slowly depressed the trigger. Just a little more, he thought. Just do it!

 

 

And The Winner Is…

The Boogeyman!

Just Click Big Steve’s face above to read my review of The Boogeyman and start Stephen King month off with a blast! Make sure to check back regularly to see what horror greats like Jonathan Maberry, Joe McKinney and MANY more have to say.~C.W.

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