Graveyard Shift Sister: Kenya Moss-Dyme

May is Short Story Month, so I’ve asked horror short story author Kenya Moss-Dyme to be Graveyard Shift Sister of the month.

As such, I’ve reviewed her collection Daymares, seven short tales of all-too-possible horror. Kenya is excellent at choosing everyday subjects and twisting them into stories that make you not want to trust anyone. I mean, we all know what happens when our loved one gets possessed by the spirit of a dead gangster. It’s hard to trust a guy after that.

Joan Pringle in J.D.'s Revenge (1976).  Watch this movie for what happens with the aforementioned possession thing.
Joan Pringle in J.D.’s Revenge (1976).
Watch this movie for what happens with the aforementioned possession thing.

Read my review of Daymares and my interview with Kenya on the Graveyard Shift Sisters site here.

Friday Find: May is Short Story Month

I wrote a blog post a short time ago stating that I usually am one of the last people to find out about writing-related festivities.

Not this time.

Thanks to the former organizer of my writing group, Brendan McKennedy, I found out about Short Story month on the day it began. Woot!

From the shortstory.com website on the first Short Story Month in 2013:

We are on the verge of the second golden age of the short story. Changes in distribution methods and cost, the growth of the e-reader and the fragmentation of Big Media’s hold on public attention all mean that readers, writers and editors are consuming, producing and distributing fiction in new ways.

This event is sponsored by StoryADay.org, a writing challenge where participants strive to write one short story each day in May.

 

Write one short story a day?  Oooh... maybe next year.
Write one short story a day?
Oooh… maybe next year.

 

That won’t work for my current schedule, but at least I can share the info.

What I can do this month, is share links to some of my favorite short stories.  I hope to find many of them online for free, but a few may not be available in that format. They’d be worth the price to read, though. (In my most humble opinion.)

The first I’d like to share is: “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell.

Most Dangerous Game

My understanding is that it’s been adapted for television and at least three movies. (One with Ice Cube, I believe.) The original story is one of my favorites. http://www.classicshorts.com/stories/danger.html

If you have time, check out shortstorymonth.com and StoryADay.org. Share your favorites tales using #ShortReads. I’d love to check them out.

An Interview with Tony Flynn

ER: Welcome to the blog, Tony.  Let’s jump right in. Give us a short blurb about your “Bloodstream” story. How did you get the idea?

TF: My “Bloodstream” story is entitled, ‘The Averish House’, and it tells of the terrible fate which befalls a young girl who makes the foolish mistake of stealing candy from a strange house belonging to a couple of witches on Halloween night.

I remember seeing this photograph by Diane Arbus, which showed an elderly woman sitting in a wheelchair, wearing a witches Halloween mask, and I remember just being really drawn to the image. It had that really unsettling quality which is common in an awful lot of Diane Arbus’ photography, and I remember just thinking that the woman in the photograph would make a fantastic character for a horror story. Their was so much mystery behind her, and all that mystery fed into the character which would become Penny Averish in my story, and the idea just built from there.

ER: Why did you start writing?  What drew you specifically to horror?

TF: Initially, the first thing I was really interested in writing was screenplays. I was (and still am) a major film geek, and I remember when I was about 13 years old I was given a DV camera by my mother, and I used to write and direct these short movies with a gang of friends I was in school with.  I remember the first two short films I ever made were horror movies. One was called ‘Restless Deep’, which was essentially a thinly veiled ‘Friday the 13th/ I Know what you did Last Summer’ rip off, and the second was called ‘Revelations’ and was without any doubt the very worst film ever made by a human being ever! I’m pretty sure I still have a VHS copy of both films somewhere.

I think I always had an interest in horror, even when I was very young. I remember my dad was a huge fan of old Hammer horror films (Horror of Dracula; The Curse of Frankenstein etc.) so I was aware of those movies and those characters from a very young age and I think that interest and that attraction to the genre has been with me ever since. (ER: Classics!  That reminds me of a song I heard once. See the caption below:)

Peter Cushing  lives in Whitstable I have seen him on his bicycle I have seen him buying vegetables...
Peter Cushing lives in Whitstable
I have seen him on his bicycle
I have seen him buying vegetables…

ER: Is writing horror different from other genres? What makes a great horror (or dark fantasy) tale?

TF: I think that there’s a purity to the horror genre which makes it very special. As opposed to a genre like Drama, which is so vague and can have so many different meanings, horror is almost mathematical in its simplicity. Something will either scare you, or it won’t. A story is either frightening, or it isn’t, and if it isn’t, then it’s not a horror story. I love the puzzle of horror. I love trying to figure out what combination of story and character and atmosphere will result in a story which is genuinely chilling.

I think the most important thing in a horror story is character. Horror is a genre which specialises in putting characters in peril, and the horror of a given situation will only really have impact if the reader is interested in the characters who are under threat.

ER: What scares you?

TF: Almost everything scares me, which is why I think I’m attracted to the horror genre. I’m an arachnophobic, so that would probably be top of my list. Trees also freak me out. I’m not sure why. Also the sea scares me. So do cities at night. And being alone. And being with too many people. I’m a terrible coward all round, really. (ER: I see where you get the attraction to writing horror. It’s a way to control the fear…)

ER: What do you do when your muse deserts you? How do you stay inspired?

TF: I think that the most important thing when you’re not sure what to write, or if you get stuck on a project, is to just power through and write something. Write anything, even if you’re convinced what you’re putting down on paper is rubbish. Just get words on the page, and don’t be afraid to screw up, because you can always fix it later. There’s nothing more demorilising than just staring at a blank computer screen, or wandering around doing something else, wishing you knew what to write, so I would say just keep getting words on the page.

ER: What’s your next project? Will you share with us?

TF: I just recently started working on my first novel, which will be a horror story called ‘The Lost Ones.’ There’s not an awful lot I can say about it at the moment, because there’s still so much I don’t know, but I’m really excited about it.

Aside from that, I have a couple of projects which have yet to be released. A poem I wrote, entitled ‘The Burning Man’, is set to be released as part of the ‘Darkness ad Infinitum’ horror anthology from Villipede Publications, while another, entitled ‘Where the Lost Ones Dwell’, is set for release as part of the ‘Fossil Lake’ horror anthology from Daverana Enterprises.

I also co-wrote a horror/ fantasy film, entitled ‘Taryn Barker: Demon Hunter’ which is currently in production and is being directed by Zoe Kavanagh, who co-wrote the film with me, so I’m really excited to see how that turns out. I think it’s going to be a great movie. (ER: That sounds fantastic! I’m excited for you.)

ER: Do you listen to music while writing?  What’s on your playlist?

TF: Yes, I find music really helpful when writing. Most of the time, I find myself becoming obsessed with a particular piece of music while working on a project, so that sort of becomes my soundtrack for the work. I remember while writing ‘The Averish House’ I listened to a piece of music from an Irish instrumental band named 3epkano. The piece is called ‘They Are Flying’ and is from their album ‘At Land’

ER: What authors/artists inspire you?

TF: I think with ‘The Averish House’ I really wanted to give it a Brothers Grimm/ Hans Christian Anderson fairytale quality. The thing I always loved about those stories is, they’re essentially morality tales, trying to teach children how to be good human beings, but they were always so violent and vicious, and had such a strong horror element to them. It’s a shame that they tend to be so watered down and sanitised for children these days, because when you take the horror out of those stories you really lose the point.

Aside from that, I think if you’re working in the horror genre you are working in the shadow of Stephen King, and when he’s on top form he’s absolutely untouchable. I also love John Connolly (Nocturnes; Every Dead Thing) and John Ajvide Lindqvist (Let the Right One In; Little Star)

ER: What’s the most difficult part of writing? What do you love most?

TF: I think the hardest part of writing is just the discipline it takes. It’s so hard to sit down at a computer or a typewriter and commit to the work, when it’s so easy to just watch TV or play video games. Avoiding procrastination is the hardest thing, I think.

What I love most about writing is the feeling when it’s all going well. When you’re thinking faster than you can type and are so full of energy that there is just no stopping yourself from getting those words down on the page.

ER: I always picture writers with a beverage close at hand.  What’s your poison?

TF: I start off with coffee, and then depending on how the work is going proceed to drinks with a higher and higher alcohol content.

Thanks for chatting, Tony!  If you’d like to keep up with Tony (and see that film) check out his social media site:

Tony Flynn pic

http://www.tonywritesstuff.tumblr.com

https://www.facebook.com/tony.flynn.397

http://vimeo.com/tonyflynn

“In the Bloodstream: An Anthology of horror and dark fantasy” is available in eBook and paperback from Mocha Memoirs Press.

“In the Bloodstream” Interview with Mark Taylor

I’m hopping across the pond to do my first international interview with Mark Taylor, one of the authors featured in the horror and dark fantasy anthology, “In the Bloodstream”, now available in eBook and paperback from Mocha Memoirs Press.

ER: Welcome to the blog, Mark. Tell us about yourself and your “Bloodstream” story.

MT: Well, I’m a writer from the south of England. I’ve been writing for some time now. I started with short work and have now moved on to longer projects as a whole. I’ve got my first novel coming out in a couple of months. But I still write shorts…love writing shorts.

I found, when writing The Risen Within, that the story changed. It grew as I wrote. I never intended for it to be the way it was, but I can’t say too much more. I don’t want to spoil the surprise.

ER: Is writing horror different from other genres? What makes a great horror (or dark fantasy) tale?

MT: Horror is a whole different ball game to other genres. Heck, all genres are different to others in one way or another. Horror doesn’t need to be say, plot heavy, like a thriller. It needs only to draw in the reader, chew them up, and spit them out again, leaving them dribbling in the corner.

Full of terror.

But hey, plot’s a bonus, right? (ER: A pretty nice one, I think.)

ER: Do you have a day job or do you write full time? Would we be surprised by what you do for a living?

MT: Full time elsewhere, I’m afraid. Boring old office job. I dream about killing customers quite often though.

ER: What scares you?

MT: I’m afraid of the breakdown of society, the underlying turbulence that uneasy governments hide from us, the constant threat of war, and the denial of basic human rights to those that need help most.

And spiders. (ER: They are terrifying. All those legs…)

ER: How do you stay motivated to finish projects? How do you stay inspired to create new ideas?

MT: I find that if a story has characters I like, or like to hate, the story pretty much bursts out of me. My biggest problem is re-starting if I have to stop. Life sometimes gets in the way and I’ve had to stop for a couple of weeks. Then I’m reticent to start again. Afraid that I won’t ‘have’ it anymore. Then I wonder what ‘it’ is. And if I’m not careful I spend six months procrastinating on those questions while staring at a blank page.

My inspiration? It is all around me. (Insert: I see dead people reference).

ER: You’re going to the gallows. What’s your last meal?

MT: Fried Chicken/Chicken Kebab/Roast Chicken. It’s chicken, all right?

Who, me?
Who, me?

ER: Tell us something unusual or interesting about yourself.

MT: I once misplaced my bathrobe for three weeks and was utterly lost without it. We have since been reunited and have never been happier.

(ER: I’m happy for you both.)

ER: What’s your next project? Will you share with us?

MT: Argh! Where to start? I’ve got a lot on my plate at the moment. Next will be more from The Devil’s Hand series, and then I’ve got an anthology of my own work in editing which I intend to self pub, and my second novel, Vampire Blue, is about halfway through.

Cover for Book One of  Mark's The Devil's Hand series, Crossing Guard.
Cover for Book One of
Mark’s The Devil’s Hand
series, Crossing Guard.

ER: What’s missing in fiction?  What (and who) do you like to read?

MT: Oddities. Bizzaro. I like literary fiction, really, but every now again I like to read something that’s so way out I can’t tear my eyes from it. I just don’t think there is enough of it out there.

ER: Do you research your topics?

MT: I always research that which other people know. For example, if I’m setting a part of a story in a real place, I’ll always do some research so I know where I’m at. You can’t do it all on the Internet, but at least you can get a feel for a place, if not a smell.

ER: What’s your biggest vice?

MT: Beer.

ER: What do you do when you’re not writing?

MT: I’m a film aficionado. Love film.

And beer.

ER: I always picture writers with a beverage close at hand.  What’s your poison?

MT: Did I mention beer?

ER: Any suggestions for aspiring writers out there?

MT: Don’t aspire. Be.

ER: Excellent advice! For more on Mark Taylor’s work, views on writing, and favorite beer selections, visit him at:

Mark author pic

http://www.facebook.com/Mark.Taylor.Author

http://www.authormarktaylor.com