Good evening Coffin Hoppers! Wait, I can’t hear you. I said, GOOD EVENING COFFIN HOPPERS! Ok, much better that time around. I interrupt this year’s Coffin Hop to bring you the Main Event. Tonight, author Tim Lebbon steps into the ring and faces off with the “10 Questions”. Tim Lebbon is hands down, one of the best writers in the game today. His work has been a great influence and I hope to one day be half as good as the three guys I’m standing with in the picture. At Horrorfind 2011, I was a new author and arrived full of dreams and my first con reading slot. The weekend became a validation for me choosing to pursue writing. Before the con and during, I had the opportunity to speak with Tim a bit about the craft, the Hollywood horrors he’s encountered, and drink some beers. I’m going to stop blabbing and get on with what you all hopped over here for. Ladies and gentlemen, Tim Lebbon. (Note: The interview is from a few days ago and not from 2011)
Archive for the beer Category
Here we are again kiddies, the baddest of bad, the scariest of scary, the Coffin Hop 2012. Last year I wrote several posts about authors I dig that you should be digging too. In my “10 Questions” feature I have from time to time, John Everson , Nate Southard, and Jeff Strand entered the arena and survived their battles. This year I want to take it back a bit. There is one guest lined up to step in the arena and as soon as the interview comes back, you’ll be in for a treat. The other days, I want to focus on what music, movies, books, and such influence me and my work.
Before I begin however, there are some housekeeping things to tend to. First, to see what other amazing authors are on the Coffin Hop go here and hit the Linky Link 2012 button, to check out the Scavenger Hunt at Melissa Smith’s website visit here, and to support the upcoming Coffin Hop anthology to benefit literacy programs by picking up some sweet Coffin Hop swag drag your mouse this way and click here.
For those who have found me here for the first time, hello. I want you to step inside and get comfortable. Fire up a cigar and pop open a beer. Kick your feet up on the table, hell I don’t care.
But once you settle in and feel like everything is going to be ok, I’ll plunge you down into the dark depths of humanity and the evil lurking in the shadows of our very minds.
No, really…I’m glad your here and please feel free to roam around the site (nothing will bite…much). This year is new to me because before I only had anthologies to promote, but this year I have my controversial novella In Memoriam. A signed copy is part of this year’s prize package as well as an electronic copy of the Coffin Hop Anthology E.P. ( a short preview of next year’s full anthology), and a few nice paperbacks from some of my favorite horror authors. To be entered in the drawing, you must make a comment on any blog post this week during the Coffin Hop or sign up to follow the blog (comment once-comment often). You can earn extra entries by following me on Twitter or “liking” my fan page on Facebook (links are over on the side). Already signed up for all the social media places to find me? That’s fine, just comment and you’ll be entered!
Well, that does it for today. Tune in Wednsday for the top 10 albums that haunt my dreams and me scream when I write and on Friday night, author Tim Lebbon stops by to answer the “10 Questions”!
Hello fellow readers! The ride is hitting the end of the first hill and the fun is about to begin. I have a lot of things going on right now and I figured it was time to give everyone a handy-dandy and all-in-one reference guide. So, feel free to click on one or all of the links and join the party!
Amazon Page- amazon.com/author/brentabell
Once my novella and short story collection go up for sale, I will post links to those.
My name is Brent Abell and I write horror fiction. For better or for worse, that is my calling and it pleases me. I live in Southern Indiana with a wife, two sons, and a pug who swears up and down he is the reincarnation of Alexander the Great. Oh, that last bit is fueled by my love of whiskey and a degree in history. Stop reading this now and go grab something I wrote and read it instead. What? I know I wrote this, but that’s besides the point, I meant go read something else that I wrote that is fictional. Do you know what else pleases me? Rum, walks on the beach, and cigars. Yeah, they please me a lot. So, feel free to stop by anytime to have a drink and to talk a while, I’ll be waiting.
Greetings from a person still getting over going to Star Wars Celebration VI. I may write horror and dark fiction, but as I warned you before, I’m a huge Star Wars fan. SO, I’m going to throw some pics up and get on with life again.
First off, I met Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker), saw Kevin Smith live, and shook the hand of Emperor Palpatine (Ian McDiarmid). The pic here was fun to take. I am also a Highlander fan and Chris Malcolm was in the first Highlander film and in The Empire Strikes Back. It was a pleasure to meet him and the other actors I got the chance to speak with at Celebration VI.
I came home with tons of new crap for my collection and now I have two years to recharge for Celebration VII.
Now, to the writing bit you all keep coming back here for. I didn’t get as much done as I hoped I would on some stories. For the moment, the new short story machine is off-line. I am spending all my time on the three novellas and novel for the foreseeable future. I have some stories in various states of completion which I need to finish brushing up to send out, but those will be all. In Memoriam is in the final stages of editing and the cover artwork will be finished soon. I will be doing a blog hop, some interviews, and some give-aways in conjunction with the release. On another note, one novella I’m working on is being readied for a publisher to take a look at and everything seems to be going along nicely. Go Southern Devils!
In Memoriam will be done and released in time for the book signing on October 20th at Comics Unlimited. This will be the official launch party and we will find someplace to go drink tons of beer afterwards (it will also be my birthday). So be sure to come down and party with us and get some stuff signed.
More info to come and I hope to show the book off soon.
Ok, let’s go. See that guy next to these words? That’s me. Well, 35 pounds heavier, but I assure you it is me. See that one book in front of him? Now it would be 13 anthologies with him. And now the solo stuff is coming. The pic is from Horrorfind Weekend in 2011 where I read and sat at a table to sign something if something was brought to me (I did sign some programs in the elevator. I was flattered, but I was also drunk and still drinking at the moment. I even had two beers in my hands). I hope everything keeps moving in the current direction and I can have some fun doing what I love to do…tell my tales with droplets of blood.
When I turned in the synopsis for In Memoriam, I was scared for my life. It’s one thing sending a short story out, but to send something bigger freaked me out. What was once a short story idea written out on a few sheets of notebook paper turned into a 18.000 word work that I was proud of. Within a week or so, I was contacted back to send the first three chapters.
That was even more gut wrenching.
Then I got the word they wanted to read the rest. And the rest was sent. Once Armand Rosamilia and myself talked about it, we agreed it needed some work. First, I was shocked it got to that point. Second, I was even more shocked we were going to go forth with it. We discussed the piece and decided the bones were there, but I had some work to do. I began the process of going through and looking at it with a different set of eyes. These eyes were looking at how to drive it more, to build it up more, and kick you in the heart more. I started the rewrites a few months ago.
Then something happened to me.
I have a tendency to struggle with depression from time to time and I got hit hard this summer. I’d been working tons of hours, struggling to stay up on things at home, and get my writing done. Something had to give and it was me. For a few weeks I would power up the laptop and then stare at the keyboard. The muse was gone. I’m still not sure where it went, but she left me and I had nothing. I’ve heard the tales of writer’s block, but I never knew how it could strike without warning and leave you a hollow shell grasping at anything to get you going again.
I’m still not sure what happened.
The muse came running home and slammed into my brain like a freight train. I was quickly able to finish the rewrites, finish a story I’d been working on with another author I’d lost my way on, and I took pictures-made notes-started writing my second novella. It’s been a productive week.
So, now we will begin the task of going through the manuscript for In Memoriam again with a fine tooth comb. I’m hoping to get it all ready before the book signing I’m planning for my birthday weekend. It looks like October 20th, 2012 at Comics Unlimited in Evansville Indiana will be the coming out party.
The experience has been a good one and I’ve learned a lot about the craft, about me, and about the voice I’m settling into. I hope when the work starts coming out, you will enjoy it too.
Welcome to the ride my friends…come inside…come inside…
Nate Southard is brutal. His writing is tight and visceral. In the short time I’ve been exposed to his work, I’ve devoured almost everything he’s published. He’s brought us the cruelty of Just Like Hell, a view from the end of the world in This Little Light of Mine, and the will to survive the monstrous in Red Sky. It’s been one of recent works that really caught me when I read it. Lights Out is a lean and mean descent into the Hell of Burnham State Maximum Security Prison.
Beneath the walls of the prison, two convicts attempt to dig their way to freedom only to disturb a force that’s slept for years. Now awake, it’s thirsty and it wants blood. So begins the tale of vampires and other monsters. Unlike the ‘new’ vampires in todays culture, Nate gives them their horrific edge back. No beautiful people falling in love, just pure blood lust and evil, the way it should be.
The vampires aren’t the only monsters however. Within the walls of the prison lives the evil that manifests its self in humanity. Diggs, Sweeny, Marquez, and Ribisi are the men with the power within the walls. They are the men in charge of the four gangs vying for supremacy among the prisoners. When the bodies first start to mount up, the gangs blame each other and look to take the fight to their adversaries. Father Albright and Warden Timms want to control the situation and keep the gangs from retaliating. It is these characters where Nate really shines in the book. The prisoners and the staff are so well-rounded and their stories so interesting that I found myself wanting to read more about them and less about what happened when the sun went down.
Once the body count starts rising and the bodies themselves are vanishing, Father Albright works to form an alliance between the gangs to find the reason for the brutal attacks and killings happening at night within the prison. Albright must do all this behind the warden’s back while he is trying to save his job from a governor who is quite upset about the murders in the prison. The book follows the men on their quest to save the prison and the extent they can trust those who are their sworn enemies. It all leads to a riotous conclusion that was both tightly written and satisfying. Oh…and bloody.
Lights Out reminded me a lot of Salem’s Lot, which I consider ‘the” vampire novel after Dracula. Like in Salem’s Lot, it is the build up of the characters and the slow burn that makes the book great. The denizens of Burnham feel real and true. Their distrust of one another and their forced alliance tightens the screws and doesn’t let up until the last page. Overall, I highly recommend grabbing a copy and reading it, you won’t be sorry. Thunderstorm Books still has a few copies, so click over and pick it up before it sells out.
Now as a special treat, Nate has agreed to enter The Arena to answer the 10 Questions! So without further ado, here is Nate Southard:
1. After completing Lights Out, I was blown away by the way you put the monster back into the vampire. How did you prepare to write the novel?
-Honestly, I’ve never read many ‘romantic’vampire stories. The ones I always loved were things like Kin’s ‘Salem’s Lotand McKammon’s They Thirst, so I’ve always pictured vampires as brutal monstrosities. All of my preparation went into researching how things generally work in prison. Once I had a very basic outline in place, I put in Faith No More’s Angel Dust (which I listened to exclusively as I wrote the first draft), hit play, and got to work.
2. The characterization of the inmates, especially the gang leaders, is brutal and Burnham is such a rich backdrop. What planning and research went into the people who inhabit the prison?
-Well, I tried really hard to schedule a tour of a prison, but it appears the State of Texas doesn’t do such things. I interviewed a few people who’d worked as correctional officers to find out what a day in the life is like. I wanted to know things like how much freedom inmates have during the day, what happens during a lockdown, and a whole host of other things. The rest of it was deciding what these people had done, what they believed in, and what sort of moral code they upheld. To this day, Marquez is my favorite creation. I love his strange mix of anger, wisdom, and honor, all while capable of doing some truly horrific things.
3. While reading the novel, the character of Maggot reminded me of somebody. Is he your novel’s answer to Renfield in Dracula?
-I can see where he kind of fits that mold, but I really wanted Maggot to be the guy who probably should have wound up in a psychiatric hospital instead of a prison. He’s felt like a victim most of his life, and then he ends up in a place where he’s the ultimate victim. I’m sure there has to be people in prisons who are just terrified day in and day out. That’s Maggot.
4. I found This Little Light of Mine intriguing and at the end I wanted to go on further. The world you created within the parking garage seemed like a piece of a much bigger puzzle. Is it something you plan on returning to in the future?
-Good catch! This Little Light of Mine started as one-quarter of a novel called The Collapse, which would show a global apocalypse from four different places. My plan has always been to write four novellas and then splice them together like a movie. One of these days, I need to get around to writing the other three. They’re all in my head, just not on the page.
5. How do you go about writing a new Nate Southard novel. Do you plot out everything with an outline or do you just dive-in and let the story take you where it takes you?
-It depends on the piece. Some of my stuff, like Lights Out and Just Like Hell, got pretty sparse outlines. With Red Sky, all I knew was that I wanted to write one scene near the end of the novel. I saw something that just struck me as really horrible and beautiful at the same time, and I wanted to put it in a novel. I had to write about fifty thousand words to get there, but it turned out all right. Other times, I just start writing scenes that stick in my head until somehow they fit together and make sense. The title novella of my new collection, Something Went Wrong, was partially written that way.
6. I am a big fan of beer. How did your homebrew turn out?
-My first batch, a brown ale, turned out both delicious and potent, but it never did carbonate right, probably because of a mistake I made while bottling. Right now, I’ve got an IPA on storage that I’m hoping will get nice and fizzy in the next two weeks.
7. Don’t hurt me, but I haven’t got to Scavengers or Down yet. They are high the reading list though… What is on your reading list right now?
-I just finished reading Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, which is amazing from start to finish, and I’m getting ready to start John Horner Jacobs’ Southern Gods. After that, it’ll probably be some Laird Barron and Paul Tremblay, unless Sarah Langan has a novel coming out that I don’t know about. She always goes on top of the pile.
8. What upcoming projects do you have in the pipeline you haven’t been sworn to secrecy about?
-My new short story collection, Something Went Wrong, should be out from Thunderstorm Books in another week or so. Go look for it. The title novella is the most deeply personal thing I’ve ever written. After that, I have another zombie novel coming from Creeping Hemlock sometime in the next year or so. Everything else is half-finished or looking for a home.
9. Where can readers go to find out about everything Nate?
-I try to keep my website (www.natesouthard.com) updated nice and regularly, but people can also check me out of facebook (www.facebook.com/natesouthard) for semi-regular snark, song lyrics, and pictures of me going to food trailers. Also, I’m not one of those facebook folks who spreads a lot of memes, so you don’t have to worry about me clogging your news feed.
10. The last space…this is yours to say anything about anything.
-Everybody should check out my latest novel, Down (from Sinister Grin Press). It’s about a rock band whose plane crashes in a forest that contains some nasty surprises. I think it’s a big step forward for my fiction, and I hope everybody reads it.
Bonus question: Who wins in a cage match? Nate Southard or Wrath James White?
-Wrath. Roughly four seconds in.
I would like to thank Nate for stopping by and I’d also like to thank all of you for stopping by too!
The title is one I’ve got penciled in for a story about the settling of my fictional town White Creek, but as I sit back and reflect on this past Father’s Day it brings up other feelings. Growing up, we all want to be like our dads and when we reach our teen years, we want to be the total opposite of everything our dads represent. I felt this way for my whole teen existence. As a young boy, my father was everything when I got to spend time with him. As a teen, I rebelled and the ramifications of that rebellion are things I struggle with internally to this day.
I am the oldest of three children and during my youth, dad worked two jobs to make sure we had everything we needed. There were times I wished he was around more, but he still made sure he had time to coach our ball teams, lead our Scout groups, or dispense advise we ignored until later. He also blessed me with the love of classic rock like Eagles, Black Sabbath (I wore out his Vol.4 tape as a kid), and CCR among others. It wasn’t till I became a father I realized he was right about everything. I told him that too and I think it brought a certain satisfaction to hear me utter those humble words. Everything we’ve gone through only made me better in the end. Oh, don’t get me wrong, he can be a smart ass, but that’s where I get it from. I also got my work ethic from him. I hate leaving something unfinished at work. I bust my ass to make sure I always do what needs to be done and to do it right. I blame him for that too.
But, I see a pattern. I work tons of hours right now at the primary job and I work at the writing thing as my second job. Sometimes I might only have a day or two off a month, work twelve-hour days, and then try to write on top of it. Just like him, I make time to coach my sons’ teams, be their Scout leader, and try to make every game. I love to sit and play the X-Box with them, listen to them jabber on about a computer game, or play ball in the yard.
I hope when they grow up they realize that just like my dad, I did the best I could for them and I love them very much. Some of the things the boys are in has the added bonus of me spending more time with my dad. Sometimes while I wish it was in the past, I think I cherish these moments now more. We sit back, shoot-the-shit, and watch the boys do their thing. There is nothing I could ever do to repay him for everything he’s done for me and how he made me who I am.
I love him and I want him to be proud of me and how I eventually turned out. A beer with him now sounds good…
I would like to thank Rose. This evening I was given the Liebster Blog Award. It is a German term for ‘dearest’ and is given to up-and-coming bloggers. If you would like to check out Rose’s blog you can click here and drop by.
I hear someone in the crowd shouting, “Speech, speech, speech!” So I will make them happy…
I started this path two years ago and I have met many new friends, signed some books, and I have lived out a dream I had in high school many, many moons ago. I have learned how to take rejection in stride, I learned that authors spend all the money they make at conventions on booze, and I got to read at Horrorfind 13 in Gettysburg. Today I read a review that didn’t praise me, but didn’t call me out either. Today I found out I won an award for my words on trying to get this writing thing going and what a new writer has to endure to survive and grow. Most of all, I learned I made the right choice in pursuing this dream. The ride is just getting started, so buckle up, and keep your hands and feet inside the car…it’s going to be a wild ride.
Well the party has started, there is beer to be consumed, and I think I am really just going to go to bed.
Well, this is it. Here we are at the end of 2011 and it was one hell of a year. When the year first started, I had just finished out 2010 with a fun reading at Mo*Con IV and a few rejection slips from editors. That was pretty much my writing career till 2011. Considering I didn’t start writing until mid 2010, I didn’t expect much. I heard all the stories and such about, ‘doing your time’. Well, I guess I did enough time, because 2011 was a very good year. The first half was slow, but once April hit, all bets were off.
It started in February when I was given the chance to read at Horrorfind 13 in September. It meant I had to skip Mo*Con, but I was ok with that for this chance (and to the guy who does the selecting - thank you, I still say I owe you more and you know who you are). I now had a conundrum…what should I read since I didn’t have anything published yet? April brought what I thought was the answer when my first acceptance came for “Stonewall” (that anthology has been cancelled and brought back from the dead to be published at some point in 2012 I hope). It was followed closely in May when “A Winter’s Feast” was accepted. Stories went out and rejections came back for a few months. Late summer and early fall would prove to be a storm.
I tried to spend most of the summer working on my novella, “In Memoriam” (I am preparing to get the first three chapters out based on the synopsis I sent out). The short stories were on the back burner, but some didn’t want to be buried. Through the next three months I had eight more stories accepted. I only set myself a goal of five. Come on, let’s be realistic, it was only my first full year. So, if you want to see what’s coming or what is out to buy, check out the Biblio page. There is even a nonfiction piece that will be out in January and I will give you more info when I get it.
That brought me to Horrorfind 13. It was the most fun I could have had. I drove with my partner in crime Wesley Southard to the great state of Pennsylvania for a weekend of books, booze, and good friends. I learned tons from people I hadn’t seen in a year and from some new friends as well. Then I had the reading. I wish I would have done better, but I was nervous and it showed. I decided to read “A Winter’s Feast” for my time in the ring. I picked it because it was my first story to see print and because it was the only thing I had the book for. It was sweet to be up there and read from the book. I highly recommend it!
The year ends and I’m gearing up for 2012 with the work on the novel and another novella or two. The short stories will keep coming and ten is the goal for 2012. I will take some of the stories plus some new ones for a collection or two in the fall (I hope if things go well). I have not forgotten the blog followers, you guys have a story coming just for you.
The thank you’s for 2011- My wife (my pre-pre-reader who busts me up before Troy gets me), kids, and pug: you guys are the greatest family a man can have. To the following for their advise: Wesley Southard, Brian Keene, James A. Moore (who told me to stop screwing with “In Memoriam” and get it out there), Tim Lebbon, Bob Ford, Kelli Owen, Christopher Golden, and to John Everson and Jeff Strand for the interviews. Troy Green for being my pre-reader from hell (and kicking my stuff in the teeth – you make it better) and to Armand Rosamilia (Rymfire Books), Jessica A. Weiss (Wicked East Press), Eric Beebe (Post Mortem Press), and Jessy Roberts (Pill Hill Press) for trusting my work and putting it in print. Lastly, I want to thank all who have read and followed the blog this year, 2012 will be even better!
The top ten books of 2011 will be up on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day for you to take a look at. If you haven’t read some the books on the list, go get them and enjoy the rides they will take you on.