Sour Lake follows Sheriff Reeves as he tries to solve a brutal murder while navigating the towns racial tensions and economic despair. What was the the inspiration behind the setup to this interesting novel?
It started as a more or less straight horror story, based on legends and tall tales I heard growing up about Texas at the turn of the 20th Century. My wife’s family is from the Big Thicket area, and the more I started talking and writing, the more interested I became in the social history and mores of the people in the area.
The story takes place in 1911 in a small Texas town. Why did you choose this setting for your story?
1911 was something that came to me in a dream, about halfway through the story. In the dream, I was searching through old newspapers for clues about the central mystery in the book. I looked down to turn the page, and I saw the date: October 17, 1911. Weird, right? So I just went with it.
Sheriff Reeves Duncan lost his wife, is a recovering alcoholic, but manages to keep a level head in intense situations. What obstacles did you feel were important to push his character development in the story?
Reeves Duncan is a fun character. I think what I like most about him is that he’s comfortable in his own skin. He knows his own limitations, but at the same time he has a pretty fierce streak of stubbornness that compels him to do the right thing, even if he knows he’s going to be disliked for it. Apart from having to wrestle with the bizarre nature of the crimes he is investigating, the biggest obstacle he faces is having to stand up to his own friends and neighbors in order to protect an innocent man and, ultimately, bring the true killer to justice.
What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?
I’m actually working on a prequel to Sour Lake, but I can’t say much about it because it’s still in its very early stages. If anyone’s interested in reading something that, like Sour Lake, combines horror and history, please check out my novel The Black Book of Cyrenaica. Or, if you’re not interested in horror, please try my coming-of-age story Color War, which is also set in East Texas, this time though in 1974.
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website
It’s 1911. Someone, or something, is leaving the good citizens of East Texas’s Ochiltree County savagely mutilated and drained of blood. Slow-talking Sheriff Reeves Duncan needs to put an end to the murders, and soon. But it won’t be easy. This is the Big Thicket, dark and brooding, haunted by racial tensions and economic despair. Fortunately, Sheriff Duncan can count on the assistance of an undersized but tough-as-rawhide Texas Ranger, two physicians, a mechanical wunderkind, and a soft-spoken idiot savant who knows the sloughs and baygalls of the Thicket like his own backyard. This league of unimpressive gentlemen is about to be tested by the cunning and ferocity of an enemy that walks by night–and the tentacles of a desperate sectarian plot that threatens the very survival of the human race.
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My Heroes Tend to be Flawed
The Glass Demon is a supernatural novel that dives into the world of spirits and haunting’s. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I was really into a TV documentary program called, A Haunting. It was about real life hauntings told by the people who lived through them. My goal was to make a fictional story that felt real enough that it could be believed to be based on a true story. I also had just watched The Rite with Anthony Hopkins. I knew I needed to write something that was super intense and scary.
What I liked most about this book was the depth of knowledge of demonology presented in the story. What type of research did you have to do to keep things accurate?
I have several books on true ghost stories and encyclopedias about the supernatural. One such book is: The Encyclopedia of Demons and Demonology by Rosemary Ellen Guiley. I own about 4 of her books. The encyclopedia has profiles on some infamous demons known to plague people’s sanity and also true stories about demonic occurrences. Additionally, I did a lot of internet research about demons, and books on demons, and types and names of demons. It was purely academic with a desire to entertain, but it made me feel like I was on the borderline to receive the wrath of God. Needless to say, research was extensive.
William has had a complicated life. His avoidance of childhood demons leads him to an addiction to booze and pills. What was the inspiration for his character and backstory?
Most heroes seem to be blessed with an infinite amount of strength, courage, and knowledge. My heroes tend to be flawed. William’s journey is meant to be a humbling one. He believes there is nothing he can’t handle; even though he never dealt with his own past. When he walks into this next case he is smug. He’s most likely thinking that he is going to walk around, find someone who doesn’t know he’s dead, tell him to move on, he moves on, William gets paid and then goes home. It turns out to be much more complicated than that.
William is almost foolish in the beginning and doesn’t appear to be someone who can help the Glass family, let alone himself. He is on a slippery slope to self-destruction and then takes on the hardest haunting he has ever had; one that fights back. He’s also used to being the one who is in control. The fact that the demon knows William’s past and he does not takes the ball out of his court. He goes through an intense torture before he is finally able to become a hero and that’s only with the help of the supporting characters. Without them he would have failed.
I also wanted to answer an age old question, why do bad things happen? William went through a lot of bad things, but in the end that is what he needed to become a better person. Most horror stories just want to shock and unnerve you, and the characters are all pawns who can die at any time. William brings a character-driven arc to the storyline that makes this a little more than just a horror story.
Do you have another horror story in the works? Or are you currently working in a different genre?
I did leave this story open for a sequel. I was combining ideas that will bring most of the characters back together to solve an even larger haunted case involving multiple city blocks. I remember reading about a similar event about unexplained hauntings across several small nearby towns. The sequel will share this trait. “If you think one house was bad… try 100.” It looks cool in my head with an almost Hell erupting feel to it, but I have yet to put words on paper. Hopefully one day…
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
William Corgel is a clairvoyant medium who is hubris, doubts his faith and a heavy drinker who finds comfort in pills. Believing there is nothing he can’t handle he soon finds himself in a home with a demonic presence and the possession of a teenage girl. The demon continually taunts and attacks him while claiming to know William’s suppressed childhood memory centered on his mother.
Posted in Interviews
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The Glass Demon
William Corgel is a paranormal medium and investigator who is suppressing a deep secret from his past. His life is full of supernatural complications, hauntings, and demons that possess innocent families. His job is to help people pass on to the other side, allowing a home to become free from spirits. When William comes across the Glass family, there will be a supernatural presence that will be unlike anything he has ever encountered before. Will William be able to face the demons of both his past and present or will this finally be the haunting that pushes him over the edge?
The Glass Demon, written by Jerry J.C. Veit, is a supernatural novel that dives into the world of spirits and hauntings. Not for the faint-hearted, The Glass Demon has themes and events that will have your heart racing until the very end. At times I felt so involved in the story that I had to check around me for any mysterious supernatural activity! Jerry J.C. Veit has a brilliant way with words that makes the reader feel as though they are in the room observing the action themselves.
One of my favorite characters in The Glass Demon is a woman by the name of Angie. She protects and helps the Glass family and is determined to stop the demons in her way. Her presence is a relief at times of absolute chaos and I was always grateful for her appearance. I enjoyed watching how her character developed throughout the novel and how her relationship developed with each of the characters.
The Glass Demon deals with problems of the present mixed in with secrets from the past. William has had a complicated life, from a difficult childhood to an unusual career path as an adult. His avoidance of his childhood demons leads him to develop an addiction to booze and pills in an attempt to mask the deep issues he is suppressing. This suppression may lead to his downfall as he is forced to acknowledge and remember shocking secrets that led him to become the person he is today.
The story is written in a play style format, complete with Acts, character lists, and a synopsis. There are segments which are like the normal format of a novel which allows the author to set the scene for the reader, making it easier to transition into the scripted sections. The “scripted sections” actually made the novel extremely easy to read and flowed naturally throughout the story.
The Glass Demon has a taste of religion, supernatural history and even a dash of exorcism thrown in the mix. The rich history of demonology presented in sections of the novel give The Glass Demon a sense of realism, adding to the spooky nature of the story. With such a thriller of a storyline, I could definitely see The Glass Demon being turned into a movie!
I would recommend this to anyone who loves a thriller/supernatural style story that will keep you on your toes.
Pages: 134 | ASIN: B0136ZDWFA
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
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A Creepy Science-Gone-Wrong Scenario
In Typhoon of Fire we follow Ace Mcdagger who teams up with Captain Loxwell of November squad to rescue her teammates scattered in the forests of Malaysia. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
During Call of the Conjurer, when the characters were new recruits to the hidden world of modern, magical combat; they spent a lot of time in a regulated, clean environments. The characters were usually safe. I wanted to go the opposite way in Typhoon of Fire. I wanted the situation throughout to be very rough, challenging and dangerous. My very first thought, visually, was of Vietnam era war films like “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now”.
The jungle is wild and hostile, and Malaysia is a location brimming with different environments which greatly inspired the events throughout. The characters explore flat, arid plains and damp rainforests, a rundown laboratory overrun by plants, an abandoned mine, a floating fortress above the clouds… I had a great time using colour schemes to set the mood. The use of natural environments also helped me to emphasise major themes in the book. Subjects such as ‘corruption of life’, ‘man versus nature’ and ‘Hell on Earth’.
I felt that the novel was very well paced and kept me engaged throughout. Did you plan the novel as you wrote or did it all happen organically?
It happened organically, for the most part. From my perspective, Typhoon of Fire is a prequel to another book I have written – but I decided it would be better to publish them chronologically. Certain events had to happen in Typhoon of Fire, and with that in mind I just had fun writing what I wanted: a creepy science-gone-wrong scenario!
Developing the supporting cast and their stories happened organically as well. They were new characters, who would not necessarily be seen again; so their personalities, roles and fates were all blank slates. I enjoyed unravelling these characters, adding little twists to their personalities to surprise the reader. A lot of the characters are very different people by the end of the story, for better or for worse. I suppose in essence, the main plot of Typhoon of Fire was an after thought for me. The subplots, however; the individual character arcs which pave the way for future instalments, are the real meat and bones of the book. Away from all the magic and sci-fi, this is a book about humanity and frailty.
Ace, Shimon, Tiffany, and Loxwell have brilliant dialogue and they feel like living characters. What things did you focus your character development on to bring your characters to life?
I absolutely adore writing flawed characters. I like my characters fumble their dialogue, on occasion, or misunderstand information given to them. It makes them more human, to be far from perfect. I enjoy the concept of the “unreliable protagonist” and bear that in mind when I write. Sometimes the characters make mistakes, and sometimes they lie, even to themselves. They are supposed to be human, despite any super human magical powers they possess. Careful dialogue keeps them grounded and relatable.
What is the next novel that you are working on and when will it be available?
Tricky one! I actually have two books in the proof reading stage now. One is a direct follow up to Typhoon of Fire, called Bloodfest, which was the book I had written before this one but decided to release later. The other book I’ve completed is a supplementary story called The Sardonyc, which focuses on the Science Department mentioned throughout Typhoon of Fire. The Sardonyc is a very different book to what I have written before, but it is still within the same self contained universe.
Bloodfest will be a straight up action horror / macabre comedy, continuing the adventures of Ace Mcdagger. He is more grown up and world weary by now, and is deployed to a mysterious island to dispatch a rising army of the undead. Definitely one for zombie fans!
The Sardonyc is more of a psychological thriller, about a troubled new character named Sidney. He is part of a research team stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean, and everybody is slowly going mad. Sidney must figure out why it is happening before he succumbs as well, and there are plenty of twists along the way.
I hope the Literary Titan will review my next book soon – whichever one is out first!
Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website
Three years after training; learning about magic combat and of monsters that terrorise our world, soldier Ace Mcdagger and his allies join Captain Rafaella Loxwell of November Squad for a rescue mission. Her team mates have been scattered following a disastrous attempt to seek out a rogue scientist deep in the forests of Malaysia. Their path is mired by many obstacles; treachery, psychic warnings, scientific abominations, and an overwhelming storm – the Typhoon of Fire, slowly closing in on the region without a known cause.
Worst of all, Ace has to contend with a personal challenge – keeping his mad cousin out of trouble.
Can Captain Loxwell save her team mates and complete the mysterious mission? And will Ace and his friends survive out here in the midst of true, heated battle?
Posted in Interviews
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The Most Frightening Element
Legacy is the second installment in the Descendent Darkness where families are torn apart, truths exposed and the Gaston family finally learn the dark history of their past. What were some themes that you felt were important to highlight in this story?
The first major point I wanted to drive home was the fact that, at least as far as this universe is concerned, a vampire’s greatest strength lies in its ability to mentally dominate people, to confuse them, and even to turn them against one another. This is a key element of the vampire’s strategy when it comes to trapping the Gastons and their allies. Before they can figure out what’s happening, the vampire already has its pieces on the board and in motion, and they have no idea they’re being manipulated until it’s much too late. I felt that this element gave the story something of a unique twist compared to other works I’m familiar with in the genre.
Once again the beautiful bond between siblings Mike and Holly Gaston continues to grow deeper. What was your inspiration for creating the kind of relationship that Mike and Holly have?
I deliberately tried to steer away from themes that I feel have become overused in the genre. A prominent example of one such theme is the underlying love story. It goes something like this:
- Guy and girl fall in love.
Vampire sets its sights on the girl and tries to make her his own.
Guy sets out to the stop the vampire and save his lady love.
The old Hammer film “Dracula has Risen from the Grave” is a notable example of this basic storyline.
I set out to work the male/female dynamic in a different way here, and the most natural, alternative approach to take was a sibling relationship. You still have a strong bond of love to work with, but it’s different than romantic love and this difference allows you to work the story in ways you otherwise couldn’t. Also, since you’re dealing with two people who grew up together, you have all sorts of potential for backstory, which I make heavy use of in Legacy. In this episode of the story, you see more of what has made Mike and Holly as close as they are. As Holly herself thinks of it, they’re survivors, knitted together rather like people who have been through the crucible of war together.
The supernatural creatures in the story were vicious, twisted souls that were really brought to life in vivid detail. What was your method for creating such scary creatures and scenes?
Basically, I took the most frightening elements of vampires as I’ve seen them portrayed in the past and lumped them together. Also, I removed their humanity. In many stories, especially those that have come out in the last twenty-five years or so, vampires are portrayed as people who suffer from a disease; essentially still human but subject to dark impulses that they can’t control (the TV shows Dark Shadows and Forever Knight are examples of this). In this story, however, vampires are pure, demonic, unredeemable evil, hearkening back to Christopher Lee’s portrayal of Count Dracula, and to the vampires we see in the 1972 film The Night Stalker and the 1979 miniseries Salem’s Lot.
Where does the story go in the next book and where do you see it going in the future?
The third book, Redemption, is the final book in the series and brings the story to a definitive conclusion. The second part of the vampire’s scheme for revenge plays out, leading to a confrontation that many of the novel’s characters will not survive. Readers will find the Gastons pushed to the limits of their endurance. The history of Clarke’s Summit and its curse is fleshed out more fully, and we learn more about the nature of the enemy; there are actually two types of vampires, and the distinctions between them are discussed (this touches on your previous question about how I visualized them for this story, and why they are so twisted). We also see why Mike and Holly are so important in the vampire’s plans.
In short, everything comes full circle. The major themes of this novel are sacrifice and, as the title suggests, redemption.
Author Links: GoodReads | Amazon | Facebook | Blog
Wherever they were when it happened, the residents of Clarke’s Summit, Virginia, knew that something had changed. All throughout the town and its surrounding area, doors were locked and curtains drawn. The night had become their enemy, concealing something darker than itself. A madman’s desperate act of devotion has unleashed a horror in their midst, a fear they had hoped would stay buried forever.
Now, as darkness falls again and his family is torn apart, Mike Gaston will finally learn the truth. The truth of what really happened to his mother and all the others in 1982. The truth behind the nightmares.
The truth of his family’s legacy of evil.
Posted in Interviews
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Fireflies of the Dead
In the world of horror and short stories, Eric Kapitan could easily become your new favorite author. In his collection of stories, Fireflies of the Dead, Kapitan takes the reader on a horrifying journey of blood seeking killers and revenge loving victims. From page one to the last bloody word, each short story will have you flipping on a light and checking to make sure you’re all alone. The bonus to Fireflies of the Dead is that the author has sprinkled poems throughout, preceding each story and setting the mood for what’s to come, leaving you a fan of horror for life.
Even though Fireflies of the Dead by Eric Kapitan is a book of short stories, I think the poems that Kapitan uses make it easy to transition between stories. Each poem helps to set the mood and style of what you are about to read. The poems, in my opinion, were an excellent choice to include. Not only because of how wonderfully written they were, but because they created the seamless connection from story to story. They also serve as a excellent stopping place if you need to set the book aside for a minute. You can pick right back up by reading a poem and flowing into the next story without feeling like you’ve been jolted out of the collection.
Since the book is a collection of many stories, it’s difficult to put a finger on one particular plot idea or setting. I can say that Kapitan does an excellent job of creating the proper domain for each of his characters to dwell. His descriptions of smells, sounds and internal struggles leaves the reader feeling as though they are in the scene, experiencing what the characters are going through. Throughout the book I felt the fear of the little girl, the unknowingness of the female campers and what it must be like to gag on the taste of human flesh. All things that every horror fan will love!
One issue I had was that there seems to be a lack of proofreading and editing. There are many grammatical errors but nothing that a good editor couldn’t point out and help fix. Also a warning about some profanity and explicit sexual references throughout the book.
I really enjoyed the journey of the poems and stories. I was constantly wondering where the end was going to take me and strongly felt that the author’s passion for the horror genre was relayed again and again throughout the pages. Overall, Fireflies of the Dead is a must read for anyone who craves the horror genre.
Pages: 73 | ASIN: B073PTNSMR
Posted in Book Reviews, Three Stars
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Tarbabies: The Siege at Friendly Haven
In an exciting take on a post-apocalyptic world we find ourselves face to face with a strange phenomenon: human beings are being swallowed up and turned into gelatinous creatures that look and smell much like tar. Tarbabies Book 2 The Siege at Friendly Haven by Allen R. Brady is a point-of-view adventure story about residents of an assisted living facility and how they handle the tarbaby infestation. Being the second book in a series, a reader may think it imperative to read the first, but Brady does a fantastic job of treating this tale as a stand-alone. The story shifts from the points of view of various residents in Friendly Haven and their individual takes on the epidemic. While you don’t really know how or why the tarbabies have come into existence, it doesn’t really matter. They’re out there, just outside the window of Friendly Haven and the residents are all trapped inside. Or are they?
This book was a delightful read. While the end of the world as most know it is hardly light reading, the sheer ridiculousness of humanity morphing into some strange black things that swallow every human being they touch brings a sense of comedy to the stark reality of this world. Referred to with names like Gummi Man or Sloppy Joe, it scales back the seriousness of the story. Brady does a great job as he shifts from each person’s point of view. He effortlessly moves between men, women and varying ages. Each person has their own distinct personality which can be difficult when telling a tale in this fashion. The fact that our protagonists don’t fully understand how the tarbabies came to be, makes it easier for the reader, because it’s told from the characters points of view. Our protagonists don’t know, and it’s okay that we also don’t know.
Brady crafts his tale in such a way that the reactions to the situation are all very realistic. It’s hard to determine how people would truly react to humanity becoming blobs, but Brady takes a very good stab at how he thinks things would unfold. The energy and action in this book are constantly on the go, which is a perfect distraction.
If you’re looking for an interesting take on the post-apocalyptic potential of our world, then Tarbabies Book 2 The Siege at Friendly Haven by Allen R. Brady is a definite must. Our protagonists share their thoughts and concerns about the tarbaby epidemic with their own colorful personalities. It’s clear that the world seems to be ending and the biggest question on everyone’s mind is whether or not they’ll survive it. Readers looking for an entertaining read with plenty of action and contemplation will find what they seek in this tale.
Pages: 235 | ASIN: B017PXY0BY
Posted in Book Reviews, Five Stars
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