Getting personal with Gerri R. Gray

Gerri R. Gray is a poet with a dark soul, and the author of the bizarre adventure novel, The Amnesia Girl (HellBound Books, 2017). Her writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including Beautiful Tragedies and Demons, Devils & Denizens of Hell 2 (both published by HellBound Books). She has also contributed to the book, Ghost Hunting the Mohawk Valley by Lynda Lee Macken (Black Cat Press, 2012). She is a lifelong aficionado of horror, dark humor, and camp, and blames her twisted sense of humor on a wayward adolescence influenced by the likes of Monty Python, Charles Addams, Frank Zappa, and John Waters.
1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?
I wrote my first story at the ripe old age of thirteen. It was a short (and somewhat dreadful) play called Won Ton Soup, complete with a musical score that I composed.
2. How many books have you written?
I’ve written two-dozen non-fiction books on the subjects of witchcraft and the occult, under a different name, all of which have been published. I eventually grew disenchanted (pardon the pun) with that genre and yearned to branch out as a novelist – a dream that I had for many decades. So far, I’ve written one novel and a collection of poetry and short stories under my real name, and I’m currently working on a second novel.
3. Anything you won’t write about?
I enjoy writing dark poetry (the darker, the better), twisted humor (the more twisted, the better), and horror – especially if it has peculiar characters and/or a bizarre twist to it. However, if a subject matter doesn’t interest, excite, or amuse me, I simply won’t write about it. It would be a boring mental torture for me, like doing math homework or income taxes.
4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…
I’m old enough to be an antique car, although in my head I’m still thirteen at times. I’m a Capricorn; originally from the Chicago area; my favorites colors are red and black. I’m married to a wonderful Canadian man named Brian, who’s retired, and we have no children. Up until several years ago, we operated a bed and breakfast out of our restored Victorian mansion. It was called the Collinwood Inn and themed after the 1960’s supernatural daytime drama, Dark Shadows. Before the B&B, I owned and operated an antique shop outside of Jamestown, New York (a city whose claim to fame is having a graveyard where Lucille Ball’s remains are buried.)
5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
The Amnesia Girl! I really had a blast writing it. It actually started out in the 1970s as a weird little play called The Joy of Insanity, but never went anywhere. In fact, not only did an agent reject it, but she also expressed her disdain for it by writing on the first page, in red pencil, that it was “vulgar.” I felt completely discouraged by that and literally tossed the manuscript into a box and moved on with my life and my writing career. But it nagged at the back of my mind for years until I decided one day to re-write it as a novel, give the story a major overhaul, and breathe new life into the characters. Completing it was kind of a bittersweet experience for me I have to admit. I was delighted with how the story turned out and excited to begin shopping around to find a publisher for it. But on the other hand, when the time came for me to type ‘The End’ on the last page, those two little words made me feel like I was letting go of an old friend that had been a part of me for such a long time, and the finality made me feel a little melancholy.


6. Who or what inspired you to write?
I developed an interest in writing, including songwriting, early in life when I was in grammar school. I can’t really give credit to any one person or thing as being my sole inspiration, as I draw inspiration from so many different sources, including individuals and events from my own personal life, dreams, nightmares, the arts, and underground culture. I’ve always been attracted to the absurd and the abnormal, and, in many ways, those things inspire my writing as well. Even though my novels and short stories are works of fiction, I’d say nearly every one of my characters is based, to varying degrees, on actual people who I’ve known or who have affected my life in one way or another. As far as what inspires my poetry, I tend to write some of my best poems when I’m in my darkest, gloomiest moods.
7. What do you like to do for fun?
Writing is the number one thing that brings me pleasure. I also have a passion for photographing old cemeteries, paranormal investigating, watching old films, rummaging through second-hand shops, adding to my record collection, reading books, playing board games, and doing jigsaw puzzles. I’m not really a “people person,” so I tend to enjoy things that don’t require or involve large groups of people.
8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
Sometimes I’ll have a big Brown Cow to celebrate. Sometimes I’ll have more than one.
9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?
I don’t know how this will affect my public image as an author, but I almost always do some writing in the bathroom while sitting on the “mystical throne of inspiration.” I also write in my bedroom or in my home office. Wherever and whenever the mood strikes me, I suppose. My usual modus operandi is to write down the words on paper first, and then type them into the computer. Quiet is essential, as is solitude. When I’m working on a horror story, I’ll sometimes like to have “mood music” like Henry Mancini’s “Experiment in Terror” or Humphrey Searle’s “Suite from the Haunting” playing in the background.
10. Anything you would change about your writing?
In a perfect world, I would do away with writer’s blocks and grammatical errors, and everything I cranked out would become an instant best seller. (Hey! A girl can dream, can’t she?)
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
What writer doesn’t dream about being famous or writing a best-selling book? We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. I’ve always believed that a person without a dream is a person who’s dead inside. Without our dreams, we have no hope, no passion, and no drive. My dream had long been to see my novel, The Amnesia Girl, get published; and, thanks to HellBound Books, it’s a dream that’s been realized! My new dream is to see it made into a motion picture someday!
12. Where do you live?
I live in the central part of Upstate New York in what used to be called the Leatherstocking Region. (That has kind of kinky sound to it, don’t you think?) Our home, a mid-19th century Italianate mansion, is the quintessential haunted house, complete with a tower and resident ghosts. It’s also a money-pit, so I hope to sell lots of books.
13. Pets?
Yes. A Siamese cat named Aristede.

14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
I love the entire creative process of writing, and being able to touch people in some way with the fruits of my imagination, whether it’s making them laugh, scaring them, shocking them, or whatever. I love getting a reaction. I’ve always felt that one of the best things about being a writer is the freedom to be eccentric. A lot of people are of the opinion that all writers are eccentric, so they automatically expect you to be that way. They’re totally discombobulated if you aren’t. (Believe it or not, I think this is the first time in my life I’ve ever used the word, ‘discombobulated.’)
15. What is coming next for you?
Hopefully, it won’t be the IRS. I’m currently working on a new novel that will be even more bizarre than my first, and I’m also compiling and editing short horror stories for an all-women anthology called The Graveyard Girls. Additionally, I have a book called Gray Skies of Dismal Dreams due out in early 2018. It’s a collection of my dark poetry and fiction, and some of my cemetery photography as well.
16. Where do you get your ideas?
Most ideas just pop into my head from out of nowhere, and usually when I’m in bed and drifting off to sleep. I’ve had so many stories, poems, characters, and dialogue come to me that way that I’ve lost count. It’s almost like channeling. And when I was working on The Amnesia Girl, I would sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and have entire yet-to-be-written chapters of the book play out in my brain as though I were watching a movie. Sometimes it was a little weird, but always entertaining. I started keeping a notebook and pen next to me in bed because if I don’t write all these things down when they come to me, I almost always forget them in the morning.
You can connect with Gerri R. Gray here:
Official website:
Amazon author page:
HellBound Books author page:


Some of Gerri R. Gray’s books:


Getting personal with Josh Schlossberg

Josh Schlossberg Is a new friend for me so we are learning about him together. He plays guitar, has a great sense of humor and is very friendly. He is also an investigative journalist. If you go to his Facebook page you will see some the art that inspires him to write the dark horror stories and poems that you will love. If you don’t know him or haven’t read his stories then please make sure you change this quickly. Please help me welcome Josh Schlossberg to Roadie Notes………….


1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?

In my teenage years, I wrote a lot of depressing poetry, mostly about pining after sexy elves and smothering to death under snow banks.

I only got semi-serious about writing fiction in college, where I can remember one story about dogs eating psychedelic mushrooms in the dead of a Vermont winter and somehow turning into wolves.

2. How many books have you written?

I have four horror short stories that are published or forthcoming in Bards and Sages Quarterly (Bards and Sages Publishing), Campfire Tales 2 (Deadman’s Tome), Demons, Devils and Denizens of Hell 2 (Hellbound Books) and Disturbed Digest (Alban Lake Publishing). I recently finished another one I’m currently shopping around. I wrote a novel that I’ve been pitching to agents for a bit and am currently working on the second draft of my second novel.

Also, in the past, a bunch of other stuff of varying quality including some children’s stories and some crap that I remind myself was just practice.

3. Anything you won’t write about?

Is this a trick question?

4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…

I’m older than young but younger than old, unmarried, unchilded, which isn’t as bad—or great—as it sounds. I work as an investigative journalist focusing on environmental and social issues. I have a few other things I do for money that I’m not allowed to talk about.

5. What’s your favorite book you have written?

My favorite short story is the one that I’m currently pitching, called “The Hand You’re Dealt.” It’s about an angry man who has some backwards views about women and ends up with a vagina growing out of his palm.

6. Who or what inspired you to write?

I learned in my teenage years that writing about something distressing—be it the death of a pet, confusion about girls, the pointlessness of existence on a planet spinning madly in the void of space—got it out of my system and made me feel better after I was done. I’ve been purging my psyche ever since.

The day I stop writing is the day I’ve made sense of everything. I don’t expect it to happen any time soon.

7. What do you like to do for fun?

Respond to interview questions.

8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?

I cry alone in the dark. That’s also what happens when I start a book. And all through the entire writing process.

9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?

I write first drafts of everything in a spiral bound notebook sitting at my kitchen table. I do the following drafts at my computer in my home office. No music and a large fan as white noise.

10. Anything you would change about your writing?

Imbue it with the ability to turn fiction into reality.

11. What is your dream? Famous writer?

Published obscurity is good enough for me.

12. Where do you live?

Mostly in my head.

13. Pets?

I love all animals but don’t feel the need to keep one cooped in my house. Also, the vet killed my childhood dog (by accident) and never really got over that. I told myself that as soon as I get some land, I’ll find a dog to join me. And keep him away from the vet.

14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?

Having written.

15. What is coming next for you?

It’s Monday today, so Tuesday. Hopefully.

16. Where do you get your ideas?

I don’t.

You can connect with Josh Schlossberg here: 



Some of Josh Schlossberg’s Books: 


All Wound Up review by: Mandy Tyra

What a cracking collection, the saga of Simone comes full circle!
All 7 novellas and short stories in the whole Wind-Up Toyworld make up this immense book,
very aptly titled ~ All Wound Up.
Clever, Clever.

I ordered a signed copy directly from David and got this beaut of a hardback complete with visually stunning dust jacket. It’s gorgeous!
I’ve always liked how he spells out the titles in childrens pastel colored alphabet blocks. Really amps up that creep factor.
Fun Fact: this was the first time in a reeeally long time I wasn’t reading from the kindle.
Ohhh to have something so big and hard in my hands once again, was quite rousing. 😀 😀

Ok so, I had already read the original Wind-Up ToyBroken Plaything, and Chaos Rising and had posted very thorough praise filled reviews for them on various sites.
They are the 3 meatiest of the tales and have the most story and character development, the heart and soul, the hemmoraged guts of the beast, so to speak (…volumes).
The other 4 stories were all new to me and are pure rich and creamy ~ and quite noxious ~ gravy.

If you are new to the series, then I highly recommend starting with the original Wind-Up Toy, it sets the stage brilliantly and leaves you blood lusting for more.
You will absolutely LOVE this author’s wild and brazen, carefree style. As long as you are not a pansy or afflicted with delicate sensibilities, have an iron-clad stomach, and are blessed with a good dark sense of humor, then we’ll all get along just fine.

If you have read any of theses tales already then you already know that Simone is one sick and twisted motherfucking son of a bitch. Quite literally.
But the way he is written, with such depth, you almost feel compassion for him….in between the heaves. Hughes really jerks loose and shakes you to your moral core here and all that dark and inappropriate humor is so damn spot-on and you feel so damn guilty for laughing.

The first 2 in the collection are 2 that I hadn’t read yet, Happy Birthday Simone and Playtime Simone, where we delve back into his upbringing which is always horrific. It’s shocking, the psychological damage he grew up enduring. It was all normal to him and David’s unapologetically disturbing and no-holes-barred approach to writing Simone and Co. really sucks you in and chews you up.
In these shorts we get the introduction of some very familiar friends and are able to pin-point the moment of snap, his break from reality.
Bullies, bath time, and a two-way peep show also fill these distressing pages.
Plus we learn the origins of a certain Paddington Bear that plays a key role in a very disturbing flashback scene in the original. A shocking little moment that told me I was NOT reading your average extreme horror book.
It all kind of reads like some sort of indecent pop-up book of ‘count the childhood catalysts that contributed to the making of a maniac.’
Helpful Hint: Fingers and toes, and then some!! :O

For Into the Playpen, Simone reunites with the Flaying Flesh gals (from Broken Plaything) and relocates to America for a fresh start….or at the very least, a flesh start.
But things don’t exactly work out to his meticulous timed structured agenda though and he ends up cornering himself when he falls victim to his own lack of restraint. But not for long, a big surprise lurks in wait.
I found it very impressive how this story was written, it flowed so nicely going back and forth from past to present, slowly filling in the blanks, building up to a flat-out, stark-raving-rad finale!

BUT WAIT, that’s not all…..then we get the BONUS story, His Name Was Simone, written just for this collection and as a loving Thank You to all the WUT fans and Simone groupies out there. It was also the most surprising and outside-of-the-box story of the bunch.
The end-cap/night-cap/lights-out to the series.
Taking a different approach, and jumping into the future, David infused this pervy little tale with an engrossing non-fiction vibe as we meet a group of lascivious college kids. They are researching the legend of Simone, rumored to be the most sadistic of serial killers and Wales dirty little dead-and-buried secret …could it be more than mere legend, could it be true…
Reading and rereading Wind-Up Toy written by the elusive David Owain Hughes (yep), they become well-versed in the folklore. Downright obsessed with knowing all the sordid details, they visit Simone’s old house one Halloween and really get into character.
Those meddling kids!
“The author must have been a sick motherfucker.”
I concur.
He’s so meta. David and Simone even share the same birthday; June 7th.
Coincidence….I doubt it…

A genius bookend to an excellent series and as much as I would love more Simone and friends, I hope this is the end….cause even he can’t top that!

After you read this bold and ballsy collection (and if you gots any spunk left), I dare you to commit yourself to White Walls and Straitjackets and it’s sequel, Escapees and Fevered Minds.
2 absolutely brilliant books with a 3rd in the works. In these he creates another boundless, lush and sleazy, world full of fascinating, full-bodied characters doing audacious things…in an oddly relatable way. That’s mainly due to the 6 foot depth he layers into all his players and games.
A lesser author would never be able to get away with such carnalistic chaos.
It’s second nature, par for the (…crass) course, for our David and it’s what makes THIS author a boner-fied Welshian Writer Savant who will be a household name one day. Seedy side of town, of course!

JEEZ, group this review with my other 3 and I reckon I’d have my own little novella.
A novella I’d be damn proud of too, because it’s caterwauling the praises of one of my very favorite writers today!
This was a really tricky review to write though and I’m sorry if it turned out a muddled mess.
I didn’t wanna repeat myself too much, and I’m just not savvy enough to incorporate all of them in this 1 review, aaand keep it concise and intelligible. I have many limitations, coherency is but one.

Cheers!! 😉





The Waning
Christina Bergling

Beatrix woke up in a small metal cage, Lost in the darkness, a persistent dripping sound her only company.
She was celebrating a promotion that was the culmination of her entire ruthless, driven career; a promotion that would cement her status enough for her to take her relationship with her girlfriend out of the lesbian closet; Beatrix had finally made it.
And then she was here, disoriented and petrified in a blackness she could not define. Yet the reality of her Master may be even more terrifying than the crushing darkness and enveloping isolation. He appears as an ominous shadow in the doorway of her cell, never speaking. Instead, he teaches Beatrix the language of pain and torture, of submission and obedience, of domination and possession
With each passing day, the fight and hope in Beatrix begins to shrivel and wane. With each savage beating, her survivalist instincts rise up to overwhelm the person she was. With each dehumanizing condition, she begins to forget who she was and the life from which she was ripped.
Can Beatrix ward off the psychological breakdown of her Master? Can she resist the temptation to survive and thrive through submission? Either Beatrix will succeed at surviving and escaping the torments of her Master or her Master will succeed at breaking her completely and reforming her into his design for a human possession…



Colorado-bred writer, Christina Bergling knew she wanted to be an author in fourth grade.
In college, she pursued a professional writing degree and started publishing small-scale. It all began with “How to Kill Yourself Slowly.”
With the realities of paying bills, she started working as a technical writer and document manager, traveling to Iraq as a contractor and eventually becoming a trainer and software developer.
She avidly hosted multiple blogs on Iraq, bipolar, pregnancy, running. She continues to write on Fiery Pen: The Horror Writing of Christina Bergling and Z0mbie Turtle.
In 2015, she published two novellas. She is also featured in the horror collections Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, Collected Easter Horror Shorts, Collected Halloween Horror Shorts, and Demonic Wildlife. Her latest novel, The Rest Will Come, was released by Limitless Publishing in August 2017.
Bergling is a mother of two young children and lives with her family in Colorado Springs. She spends her non-writing time running, doing yoga and barre, belly dancing, taking pictures, traveling, and sucking all the marrow out of life.



Biddy Trot
Donna Maria McCarthy

If Biddy knows no rest, then none shall…’
A tragedy born of malice and evil, a tortured body and soul. The townsfolk of Royal Rumney have a conscience, a secret that tears away at their sanity.
Any soul shall be offered up in place of the damned;
‘And ever the church bells tell a lie, is Biddy who comes and another will die.
Set in eighteenth century England in the small market town of Royal Rumny, Biddy Trott, is a Gothic Horror novella with tragedy at its core.
A young girl, falsely blamed for a fire which destroyed the town and killed many, is hunted down, tortured and killed gruesomely, with no conscience.
Lord Abner Alexander, a member of the elite and privileged, travels to the town in search of some peace and respite from his very bawdy and raucous lifestyle.
The town seems pleasant enough and the people welcoming, although unyielding where their dark and harrowing past is concerned.
Amongst some, shame, amongst others a distorted pride. Abner’s first indication that something evil lurks here is on his first night, where the Abbey bells toll two, and he finds himself witness to a terrifying slaying… not knowing whether it a dream or not, he remains, and becomes bewitched by a passion to record any horrors he feels he witnesses.



Donna Maria was brought up in the idyllic surroundings of rural Oxfordshire, where adventures were spent, on hazy summer days that seemed to last for an eternity.
Always a great reader, Alice in Wonderland was her bible, and her copy was always neatly stashed away in her bag, wherever the promise of magic and discovery sent her.
The youngest in a family of six brothers she grew up with a scholarly knowledge of both girls and boys, her best friends of all her two nearest siblings.
Her imagination is limitless, and when she said farewell to Oxfordshire, heart-breaking though it was, the bustling and forever changing demographic of Southampton and its urban creatures of both good and more questionable forces, proved a treat for the dark and fantastical realms, in her mind.
Epic poetry, lengthy school assignments, and tales around urban campfires filled her days. At school-leaving age she decided that even more knowledge, of our beautiful language, was exactly what her hungry mind required.
She went to a City College, studying English Literature, English Language, Sociology and Spanish, finding the Sociology ripe with tales from folklore and beliefs, to her absolute delight, and the Spanish, a wonderful addition to stories that brewed in her fertile mind.
She excelled at all, the English subjects especially, and upon leaving college decided that there were so many other ways to fill her note books with worthy subjects, and became gainfully employed working for the MOD, no less! On applying for a job as the Receptionist for an engineering company, part of the MOD, her talents for attention to detail and a fantastic memory were discovered and soon her role was finely tuned for somebody of her scope.
Enough said! Obviously she has signed the Official Secrets act, and can never disclose more, and although this was an incredibly exciting time in her life, she maintains that each and every episode so far has been equal in excitement; the mind is a strange and un-tamed beast, and in some is all-consuming. The produce can sometimes be really quite spectacular.
Biddy Trott is Donna’s third literary work, Gothic in nature (as is her passion) saying that she finds the language and taboo subject matters tantalising and exquisite.
‘True beauty and treasure can be found here, where most do not attribute such praise to the subject matter, those that do are blessed with a vision that spots shadows on moonless nights and amber warmth in the blackest eyes.’
Biddy Trott came about on just such a night, where the night sky gave nothing but ebony blackness and introspection was where she sought out light. A tragic tale began to form, shrouded in evil, darkness… the injustice of preconceptions, the instinct in us all to fear without question. To be lead by those who appear to see in the dark… though really these leaders are part of the Devil’s armoury, they twist and deform the weak, making them believe in power that can send one to its death…that they are in some way integral to justice, that they have been, up until now, overlooked.
And so, Biddy Trott breathed life and is to date Donna’s favourite piece of work (However this has been stated on completion of each of her books)
The Meddler is Donna’s second novel; it is a dark but beautifully twisted fairy tale, that she affectionately calls, ‘Magic for beyond the twilight.’
Perhaps this is a polite way of saying that this is truly purely for adults, and although comical, satirical and full of emotions, it is also, in some places sinister; but then aren’t all Fairy Tales?
Following research, she found that all were inspired by actual events, and perhaps on closer inspection the darker side of these often whimsical tales, is really quite scary: and maybe more owed to a group of people trying to come to terms with a conscience, or even a nation.
However, these stories, and there are so many more, not in popular circulation, are manna from Heaven for Donna. In fact, any peculiarity or human success of failing are stored away and slowly fed to the beast in her mind that issues forth these remarkable tales.
The Hangman’s Hitch is her debut novel, and once again, although there is bountiful humour found within the pages, the subject of a man hunted down by a very real devil, is haunting and horrific.
Set in 18th century England, the characters are Dickensian like, full of colour and idiosyncrasies, and so makes an otherwise quite gruelling subject, strangely compelling and enjoyable.
In true Donna fashion, she hopes she has captured you with this insight into herself and inspirations, and thanks you for your time, hoping that you are intrigued enough to dip in and experience magic that you may have mislaid in growing up!





The Pleasure Hunt
Jacob Floyd


After meeting the mysterious Dark Dance on the casual encounters website, The Pleasure Hunters Club, Sexy Cupid finds himself enchanted by an enigmatic seductress – Dark Dance.
After experiencing bizarre, nightmarish visions during their first physical liaison, Cupid awakes on a bench somewhere in Louisville, unable to get the mystifying creature off his mind. As he begins to search both online and through the seedy streets of the city for her, he uncovers harrowing truths about the object of his obsession, truths which fill him with both indomitable dread and inexplicable love for her.
By the time Cupid begins to understand the terror he faces, the shackles on his soul are already too tight as the ancient monster has her talons dug well into his flesh.
Every time he is swept away to her world of Theia – the Moon Realm – she extracts and devours yet another piece of his very essence, and despite the merciless torment of his encounters with his obsession – and the warnings of, a menacing stranger – he presses on to find her, dragging himself deeper into her darkened realm.
Cupid soon finds that he may have but one opportunity to escape the demonic Dark Dance, but the bewitchment she has cast upon his heart may deter him from making a stand; with his soul about to slip down the gullet of the beast, Cupid has to make a decision before he is forever wrapped in the wicked thaumaturge’s wings of eternal damnation.



Jacob Floyd was born in Louisville, Kentucky and has spent most of his life in the small town of Hillview, just south of there. He and his wife, Jenny, are ghost hunters who own and operate two local ghost walks (Jacob Floyd’s Shepherdsville History and Haunts Tour and Jacob Floyd’s NuLu History and Haunts Tour), both of which you can follow on Facebook.
Jacob’s love for horror began at an early age when he first saw The Return of the Living Dead, and his desire to write it began in his teen years when he started reading R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps series. Other than Stine, he lists Clive Barker, James Herbert, J.R.R. Tolkien, S.E. Hinton, Edgar Allan Poe, and Brian Keene as his major literary influences.
He and his wife still live in Hillview with their three dogs and two cats. They enjoy visiting cemeteries, old abandoned places, and buildings that are supposed to be haunted. You can connect with Jacob on social media at the links below:
You can also join the horror fun, and even promote your own work, in his Facebook group, The Psycho Circle: Horror Readers, Writers, Film, Fans, and Promotion.




The Big Book of Bootleg Horror Vol 3: By Invitation Only

The third – and incredibly special volume in HellBound Books’ flagship horror anthology – this one bursting at the seams with even more fantastically dark horror from the cream of today’s horror scene, each one of whom was specially invited to contribute and support the fantastic Hilarity for Charity and its fight against Alzheimer’s – proceeds from this mighty tome will be donated accordingly… Featuring: Jack Ketchum, Michael Bray, Jeff Strand, Chad Lutzke, Eddie Generous, Lance Tuck, Wade H. Garrett, Richard Chizmar and Billy Chizmar, James H Longmore, Jaap Boekestein, Iain Rob Wright, Michael McBride, Edward Lee, David Owain Hughes, Ray Garton & Benjamin Blake Twenty-two tales of disturbing terror and nefarious imagination – the perfect antidote to a peaceful night’s sleep!







Getting personal with Richard Raven


Richard Raven has become a cherished friend over the last several months. We have talked about his writing and books and publishing for hours. He has a delightful sense of humor and really loves his fellow writers and readers alike. I always love when he sends me his latest story to read and can highly recommend his books. He has surrounded himself with an awesome support group of friends who edit, read and sometimes make covers for him. If you don’t know him or haven’t read his stories I highly suggest that you do, you will never meet a kinder man who truly appreciates everything you do for him. Please help me welcome Richard Raven to Roadie Notes………..


1. How old were you when you first wrote your first story?

Ten or eleven, if I remember correctly. It was an essay about little league baseball I wrote for the extra credit in class, but my teacher liked it so much that she had it published in the school newspaper. I was in my mid-thirties, and a lifetime of hell-raising already behind me, when I decided to make a serious attempt at writing. I say serious attempt, but it was mostly a pastime at first to amuse myself. It was in 1997 when, on a whim, I entered a short mystery story in a contest sponsored by a writing group based in Memphis, Tennessee and won first place and a $50 prize that I realized I truly did have the ability to write a story that someone other than me would read and enjoy. I’ve been writing, off and on, ever since. It was about six years ago that I began developing a style of writing that I felt was right for me and would one day, hopefully, make me a published author.

2. How many books have you written?

At present, I have two published novels, For The Evil Returned (horror) and His Debt To Her (a murder mystery), and two collections of shorts and novellas (all horror). These four books were published under the name Jackson Sullivan. I also have two book length manuscripts I wrote from 2004 to 2009 that I’ve never submitted. Someday, I may pull both out of the boxes I have them stored in, knock off some of the dust, bring them up to date, and see what happens.

3. Anything you won’t write about?

Courtroom dramas. Almost without exception, I find stories like this painfully dull and dreary, and it’s hard to get me to even sit through a movie involving a lot of back and forth legal wrangling. Anything else, no problem.

4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job etc…

I’m 54, which amazes me and anyone who knew me from my late-teens right up until about the time I turned 30. During those years I traveled the country from coast to coast, border to border (sometimes not even bothering to stop at the borders), living out of a suitcase and from either a Harley-Davidson or a Trailways bus. Never married, and no kids, but there is a lady in my life. Quite a lady she is, too, in that she can put up with me on a daily basis – the only woman I’ve ever known who could do it. I’ve worked many kinds of jobs over the years but, right now, I’m trying to concentrate solely on writing.

5. What’s your favorite book you have written?

I’m happy (as happy as any writer can be) with everything I have published. Having said that, I feel my two novels are dead even as far as my favorites. Both were inspired by events that hit very close to home with me, so there is a personal connection with both stories. In the case of the murder mystery, that story stemmed from a family tragedy in which an aunt of mine died in a car crash.

6. Who or what inspired you to write?

The who, first and foremost, would have to be Stephen King and Robert R. McCammon. It was King’s IT and McCammon’s Swan Song that inspired me to write horror, and both stories remain the most incredible and moving tales I have ever read. Writers like Clive Barker, Ray Garton, James Herbert, John Everson, and Ruby Jean Jenson have also heavily influenced the kind of horror I write. The list, however, doesn’t end with these legends of the horror genre. I have read many, many different and diverse authors over the years – from Stephen Ambrose to Ken Follett to Frederick Forsyth – and they have all influenced me in some way. As far as the what, I have had a love for most of my adult life of movies (mostly horror, mysteries, and thrillers), and I’ve had the privilege of knowing many people over the years who loved nothing more than to spin an interesting tale. I still get the chance every now and then to sit and visit with someone who will gladly regal me with a story of a bygone time. I find these stories endlessly fascinating.

7. What do you like to do for fun?

Well, writing is a lot of fun, of course! When I’m not doing that, however, you can usually find me in front of the TV watching some slasher flick or a World War II spy thriller. I love the outdoors and enjoying fishing and camping, when I get the chance. I also love car and motorcycle shows, and you can usually find me on pretty Spring and Summer weekends at the local convenience story visiting with the many bikers that pass-through town on road trips or poker runs. I’m also a fanatic for hard rock music, as I’m sure everyone who knows me on Facebook or has ever seen my timeline is well aware.

8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?

Well, one thing that has become a kind of tradition is that I like to spend some quiet time, usually alone and late at night (when I typically finish a story), during which I say goodbye to the story itself and the characters I’ve created. After all, each story and its characters have occupied my mind for days, weeks, months, and sometimes much longer than that. Case in point, I spent over fourteen months writing and polishing For The Evil Returned. When I type THE END, it takes me a little while to let go of that story and start thinking about the next one.

9. Where do you write? Quiet or music?

I have a room, a man-cave if you like, in my apartment where I write. The hundreds of books in my personal library fill that room, along with the various and minor awards I’ve won with my writing over the years, as well as autographed pictures of various bands and musicians I’ve met. My own little world, I suppose. Usually, especially if the writing is going well, it’s as silent as a tomb in that room. But if I’m hung on a plot issue or stuck for whatever reason, I always have music playing and my headphones on. Either that, or one of the many books on CD I have.

10. Anything you would change about your writing?

As far as what I write and have written, no. Of course, as is the case with every writer, I suppose, I always feel the story I’m working on could do with another polish or isn’t as perfect as I could make it. But you must finish it at some point and let go of it. For me, that can be the hardest part of the whole process. If there is one thing I wish I could change is that I started writing seriously (by that I mean with the idea of getting published) much earlier than I did.

11. What is your dream? Famous writer?

Maybe not so much to become famous (not a threat to either Mr. King or Mr. McCammon, though reaching a point in which I could make a little money would be nice), but more to be remembered as someone who, on his good days, could write a decent story. The day my first novel went live, I felt that I had finally done something positive that just might be read, appreciated and remembered long after I’m gone.

12. Where do you live?

About an hour north of Hot Springs, Arkansas in a little town that isn’t much more than an intersection for 3 state highways and 1 U.S. Highway. I’m only a few miles from Lake Nimrod, a beautiful manmade lake that stretches almost twenty miles through the valleys of the Ozark mountains. I mentioned this lake in one of my novels.

13. Pets?

Any hungry stray that shows up at the front door.

14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?

*grins fiendishly* Being the one in charge and making all the decisions. It’s incredibly fulfilling to create a character, give them an identity and personality, and decide how they will think and act in any given situation. I must admit that creating the antagonist is often the most fun. Just how bad or evil this character or that character will be often takes me to strange places in my mind, and I find myself thinking about things that have never occurred to me before. Some of the places I venture to often surprises me when I read the finished story. Writing also is an escape (and a far safer one than some I’ve lived through to tell about). Like any writer, I suppose, I lose myself in a story and, for however long a writing session lasts from day-to-day, I’m a part of that world I’m creating.

15. What is coming next for you?

I’ve had a two-volume horror novel in mind for some time now; I have a finished first draft of book one and recently began work on book two. It’s proving to be an ambitious project, and I hope it will become my third published novel, this time under the name of Richard Raven. I have a possible fourth novel that is still in the planning and outlining stages that I hope to turn into a horror trilogy or maybe even a series. I have also been writing some long novella, short novel length stories of 18,000 to 25,000 words that I hope will be the first Richard Raven collection and paperback.

16. Where do you get your ideas?

Inspiration is where you find it, and ideas can come from anything, at any time. Something I read, see in a movie, hear in a song, or it could be something someone says to me. A few of the short stories I’ve written are based in part on personal experiences, but always with a twist or two straight out of my imagination. I’ve never had a shortage of or a problem getting ideas. Sometimes they come to me fully formed and it’s only a matter of writing the story in a moment of true inspiration. Often, though, something will come to me and I can see a possible story, but the idea takes time to come together. It can take days, weeks, even months before it fully forms to the point in which I’ll start writing the story.

I would like to remind everyone that I’ve just released my fourth Richard Raven eBook short on Amazon. There is also, of course, that short, In A Blood Red Haze, that made it into the Devils 2 anthology from HellBound Books, and it shares space with some excellent stories from a group of fantastic writers. I also have three other shorts submitted to other anthologies, including one I hope will grace the pages of another collection from HellBound Books. I also have a fourth short that another publishing house invited me to write for an anthology they are putting together, and it’s due out some time after the first of the year. There is also a fifth short I was invited to write for a private anthology, and I’ve decided to co-write this story with a lady who has a lot of untapped talent. I wish I could, but I’m not at liberty to reveal any more about either of these projects right now. The official word will be coming soon on both. It is my hope that there will be no shortage of Richard Raven stories for those desiring to read them. Lastly, thanks to you, Becky, for this chance, and I’ve enjoyed doing this. Spooky reading, everyone!

You can connect with Richard Raven here:


Some of Richard Raven’s books: 

Happy Thanksgiving

There are many things I am thankful for this year. So I decided to make a short list of several of them. I have always thought that people should look at things and make the best of every situation. Now I know that this isn’t always easy or fun at the time but everything that happens in our lives make us who we are and define us so if I look at things in a positive light no matter how bad I have managed to gain something from it all.

Here is my list…..

1. Christy Thornbrugh– she taught me that there is always someone who loves me. Not to give up and to keep pushing no matter what.

2. My other mother and “brother”– they have always loved me no matter what I’m doing or where I am and that I’m ok.

3. XTina Marie– who had given me unconditional support and loads of laughs this year. Has kept my spirit high and reminded me often I could do this,

4. James Longmore– he has taught me that people will like what I write and that I have a voice and to use it. He has also had incredible patience with me when I screw up the newsletter or have to redo a meme 100x’s because I didn’t listen the first time. For letting me be part of the amazing HellBound Books Publishing family. Thank you

5. Jaap Boekestein– who I had the honor to write my very first published story with. It was an awesome journey and I never would have done it without you.

6. Thomas Gunther– such a good friend who made my year when he asked me for a book that my stories were in and told me he wanted it signed. You sir have mad talent.

7. Richard Chizmar– just an incredible man, author and one of my idols who I can’t believe wanted me to read and review his amazing books. I can’t tell you how touched I am.

8. Ray Garton– your friendship means the world to me. You are a joy in my world and I couldn’t think more of you and Dawn. You are my hero.

9. Lemmy Rushmore– who convinced me that I should share my poems with the world. I am nowhere near as wickedly talented as you are but I am thankful for all the times you read my crap and gave me pointers on how to make it better. To me you are our generations Poe.

10. For all the unbelievable talented and amazing writer friends that I have you are my light in the darkness. You make me strong, you keep me going. You will never know how much you all mean to me. I truly love you all.

Now, this short list barely covers all the people who have made my life a better place this year. Thank you all for being a part of my world and letting me be a small part of yours.


With many Thanks,

Becky Narron

Roadie Notes 💗

Mike Thorn has overtaken Roadie Notes

Recently I was asked by Mike Thorn if he could do a guest blog. After talking to him I thought why the hell not! So with much respect I give you Mike Thorn……..

Please welcome Mike Thorn to Roadie Notes!……..


Mike Thorn is the author of the short story collection Darkest Hours. He completed his B.A. with honors at Mount Royal University and his M.A. in English Literature at the University of Calgary. His fiction has been published in a number of magazines and anthologies, including Dark Moon Digest, Turn to Ash and Straylight Literary Arts Magazine. His film criticism has appeared recently in MUBI Notebook, The Seventh Row and The Film Stage. For more information, visit his website,, or connect with him on Twitter @MikeThornWrites.

Now that I’m looking back, it might be easier to identify who and what was influencing the things I’ve written. In the moment, I’m very rarely conscious of inspiration; I let my stories take me where they take me, and I don’t allow myself time for questioning. Darkest Hours, scheduled for a November 21 release with Unnerving, collects 16 pieces that I wrote between 2015 and 2017. I like to think the collection reflects a range of my interests and fixations. This post provides a brief insight into the books, authors, movies and situations that fueled the contents of my debut collection.


In the case of “Hair,” I wanted to reflect on addiction through a genre-specific lens. At the time that I wrote it, I was reading Eugene Thacker’s Horror of Philosophy trilogy (2011-15) and Dylan Trigg’s The Thing: A Phenomenology of Horror (2014). Though I wasn’t fully conscious of it at the time, I think these philosophers’ reflections bled into the fiction. Specifically, “Hair” picks up on Dylan Trigg’s study of alien anteriority within the human body—Trigg’s uniquely unhuman phenomenology works nicely with the metaphorical function of hair. Part of protagonist Theodore’s fixation on hair comes from its weird and seemingly paradoxical nature—something that is seemingly both dead and alive. This story is also all about the corrosive power of obsession, which is a topic I find myself returning to time and again. That probably stems in no small part from my love for Herman Melville’s Moby Dick (1851), fiction’s ultimate study of monomania.

Mictian Diabolus
I feel a deep affection for slasher horror films, and with “Mictian Diabolus” I set out to put my own occult twist on that subgenre’s framework. I wanted to translate some of the things I love about movies like A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and The Funhouse (1981) while also incorporating the relationships between drugs, horror and metal music. I lifted the title incantation from Anton Szandor LaVey’s listing of “Infernal Names” in the “Invocation to Satan” section of the Satanic Bible (1969). “Whether all or only some of the names are called,” LaVey writes, “they must be taken out of the rigidly organized form in which they are listed here and arranged in a phonetically effective roster.” Paul The Peeler MacFarland, this story’s villain, picks up on LaVey’s instructions in a warped, misguided and profoundly evil way.

A New Kind of Drug
I had recently read and been devastated by Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door (1989) when I dove into “A New Kind of Drug.” Ketchum’s novel is a brutal realist account of actual events involving the processes of social complicity and violent conditioning; by contrast, “A New Kind of Drug” depicts teenagers who discover creature-induced dimension-hopping as a method of getting high. Hardly realism. But still, this piece involves violent coercion of an innocent being, and I think I was influenced by Ketchum’s empathy and painfully exacting descriptions. I also wanted to write in an abstract way about the ways that humans regularly and systematically exploit nonhuman animals. It’s a dark, nasty, unpleasant piece of fiction, but that’s where it took me and I couldn’t see it going any other way.

Party Time
This piece came out fully formed after a couple of quick and hyper-focused writing sessions. I wanted to use indirect narrative discourse to write from a toxic protagonist’s perspective; I also wanted to reflect hyperbolically on the ways that parties can quickly become menacing and even terrifying situations. Whenever I’m tapping into a scary or violent psyche, I think back to Hubert Selby Jr.’s techniques, especially the epic inner-monologue that comprises his novel The Room (1971). That influence was definitely clattering around in my brain when I worked on this story… as were Don Robertson’s The Ideal, Genuine Man (1987), Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me (1952) and Robert Bloch’s The Scarf (1947).

After I’d produced several consecutive horror stories, “Mired” came from a deliberate effort to write something satirical. I was just beginning my graduate degree in English literature, and was already suffering from a bad case of impostor’s syndrome and perpetually increasing anxiety. I can’t say with all honesty that the anxiety has passed, but at least this story provided me with some kind of genre-codified catharsis. What are its influences? The countless philosophy/theory texts that I’ve hopelessly tried and failed to understand. It’s supposed to be a humorous and exaggerated reflection of actual fears. I hope that it does its job.

The Auteur
In my mid-teens, I worked for a while as a video store clerk. For the most part, I loved that environment and experience. I wanted this story to function as an ode to that time while also exploring my love for horror cinema. As with many of this collection’s pieces, I was influenced by a number of the stories in Thomas Ligotti’s Songs of a Dead Dreamer (1989) and Grimscribe: His Lives and Works (1991)—specifically, one of the characters I allude to herein is inspired partially by Ligotti’s story “The Night School.” “The Auteur” also serves as an homage to Kathe Koja’s The Cipher (1991), which is not only one of my favorite horror novels of all time but also one of my favorite books, full stop.

I love the final, often terrifying revelations that close out so many episodes of The Twilight Zone. I also love the ways that R.L. Stine updates that tradition for his Goosebumps books. With “Choo-Choo,” I intended to write a considerably darker Goosebumps-inspired story about adolescents in peril. I aimed to produce something fast and narratively concise with a gut-punch of a spooky ending. As brutal as it is, I also wanted this to be a fun read. Think Say Cheese and Die! (1992), the R-rated version.

Fear and Grace
This is an enclosed and intimate story about a woman dealing with trauma and a success-laden, sociopathic friend who has left a trail of destruction in his wake. While it’s a very particular, insular and character-focused piece, I think I was also working with bigger ideas about power, hierarchies and the corporatization of radical thought. I wasn’t conscious of any specific influences, but I was probably inspired to varying degrees by Stephen King’s 1982 novella Apt Pupil (from the collection Different Seasons), Joyce Carol Oates’s Daddy Love (2013), excerpts from Eden Robinson’s Traplines (1996) and Simone de Beauvoir’s A Woman Destroyed (1967).

Long Man
Along with the final story in Darkest Hours (“Remembering Absence”), “Long Man” came out of an abandoned novel I was writing from the perspective of a sleuthing ghost. While dealing with a part of the narrative that finds two friends connecting over childhood trauma, I was definitely conscious of Gregg Araki’s 2004 film adaptation of Mysterious Skin, a novel by Scott Heim (1995). For whatever reason, I listened to Cher’s “Believe” on repeat while writing the horrific climax. In my mind, that’s the song playing in the van when hell breaks loose.

Economy These Days
I wrote this story as a deliberate counterpoint to the book’s persisting darkness… which is not to say that it doesn’t feature its fair share of pessimism. This is a satirical and deliberately blunt narrative about late capitalism, which takes cues from the tonal acrobatics that Eli Roth puts to work in his Hostel films (2005/7). I don’t read a lot of overtly humorous fiction, and certainly not a lot of it in the horror genre, so it’s difficult for me to pin down the influences for stories like “Economy These Days.” I certainly admire the balance of humour and profound insight in books like Zadie Smith’s White Teeth (1999), Hari Kunzru’s Transmission (2004) and John Irving’s The World According to Garp (1978), but I can’t see any explicit connections between those novels’ uses of comedy and mine.

Here, as elsewhere, I was influenced by Thomas Ligotti’s fiction and philosophy… I was definitely working through some of the most unsettling and antihuman revelations in The Conspiracy Against the Human Race (2010). I was also reading a lot of cyberpunk fiction at the time, which is way outside of my usual wheelhouse… some of the more conceptual and less plot-specific stuff in William Gibson’s Neuromancer (1984) probably had some kind of effect on this story, even if I’m not completely sure how.

Satanic Panic
This story stems in large part from my fascination with the anti-Satanist Christian propaganda films of the titular era. I’m talking the Geraldo Rivera Show’s floodgate 1988 special “Exposing Satan’s Underground,” but also Cults and Ritual Crime (1990), Devil Worship: The Rise of Satanism (1989), Exposing the Satanic Web (1990) and Law Enforcement Guide to Satanic Cults (1994), to name a small handful of many. Even more than “Mictian Diabolus,” this story is very clearly about the ties between metal music and horror films; as a fan of both, the mostly normal and innocent protagonist personifies a perceived Satanic threat. I took inspiration from specific moments in the aforementioned propaganda documents; for example, Exposing the Satanic Web features a long and paranoiac analysis of the Satanic messages imbedded in Slayer’s Reign in Blood (1986) album cover. So yes, I listened to some old Slayer records while writing this, but I mostly played the Possessed album Seven Churches (1985) on repeat. There’s a lot of straight-up horror here, but I hope that the dark humor also finds its way through.

Speaking of Ghosts
Probably more than any other story in this collection, “Speaking of Ghosts” was explicitly influenced by a specific text. I had just read David Foster Wallace’s Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (1999) and wanted to reinterpret the modus operandi driving some of those stories. I set out to write a comically dialogue-driven, old-fashioned ghost story – I took notes from Robert Aickman, Edgar Allan Poe and even Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (1843).

Lucio Schluter
Yet again, I’m mulling over a lot of Ligotti’s terrifying explorations of mannequins and dolls; but this story is grounded in its own distinct world. I wanted to say something about power, academia and art. Under the pseudonym Rosamond Smith, Joyce Carol Oates wrote Nemesis (1990), an extremely disturbing novel about abuse in academia—that book is operating on a crushingly realist register, but I think some of its concerns worked its way into “Lucio Schluter,” which directly and openly announces itself as horror fiction. I suspect I was also unconsciously inspired by Kathe Koja’s masterful Skin (1992), a psychological body horror novel set in the world of art.

I wanted to replicate that particular outdoorsy sense of mounting dread that Algernon Blackwood achieves in his novella The Willows (1907)… but then the dread was pushed past its threshold and this became a gruesome tale of body invasion. Some of the grotesquerie might stem from my unapologetic love for things like Stephen King’s visceral, trippy alien novels, The Tommyknockers (1987) and Dreamcatcher (2001). Although it bears no clear resemblance to Harlan Ellison’s writing, I was reading the collection I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (1967) at the time that I wrote this. I remember my writing soundtrack clearly, too: Posthuman, by JK Flesh (2012).

Remembering Absence
“Remembering Absence” came from the ambitious but obviously doomed idea of writing an entire long novel from a ghost’s point of view (I’m sure it has been done before, but I couldn’t seem to wrap my head around creating a protagonist with no agency). Plain and simple, this story arises from two main ingredients: a period of depression and a James Joyce seminar. Turns out I couldn’t put down Ulysses (1922) without feeling completely intoxicated and attached—I really wanted to try my own hand at the kind of free-wheeling, interior style of narration threading through so many of that novel’s best sequences. I also wanted to write something personal and cathartic. This is the result.