Monday, October 31, 2011

Where Horror Characters Reside

And now for something completely different... Jeani Rector publishes Horror Zine, a place where great horror and suspense characters reside.

Tell us a bit about Horror Zine and how you got involved in it.

I am also a writer, and I used to submit stories to online magazines quite a bit. Suddenly the "Great Recession" hit and online magazines started folding, one right after the other. When even The Harrow went on hiatus, I realized someone needed to step up and fill in the gaps. Why not me? So in July 2009, the very first issue of The Horror Zine went up.

The funny thing is, I chose the name The Horror Zine simply as words someone would accidentally stumble across while doing Google searches. I had no idea that I could have named the magazine anything I wanted and it would be successful enough that people would search it out. They don't find it by accident; they know all about it!

Are all horror stories paranormal?

Well, actually horror falls into sub-genres. There is the ghost sub-genre, the psychological suspense sub-genre, the "Twilight-Zone" sub-genre, the moster sub-genre, vampires, zombies, get the idea.

There are also sub-genres that I do not accept, such as slasher, gore-for-gore's sake, and I don't want anything that harms women or children. No torture, either.

What kind of stories scare you the most?

Now that's a good question. Probably what scares me most are the stories where ordinary people wind up in extraordinary situations. The ones that could really happen in real life, to me and even you.

Vampire or werewolf? Which would you rather be bitten by?

I would prefer to be bitten by a very sexy human man. LOL. But I gravitate towards werewolves because vampires are a bit over-done right now. You would need a brand new twist to make a vampire story stand out from the pack. Or are packs referring to wolves? You know what I mean!

Find Horror Zine here:
Follow Jeani on Twitter: 

Survey says...
Twilight and Zombie Apocalypse notwithstanding, the creatures of the night that most readers want to hang out with are ghosts and demons.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Every Parent's Nightmare from Children of the Fog

Let A Kidnapper Take Your Child, Or Watch Your Son Die.

That's the decision Sadie O'Connell, bestselling author and a proud mother, had to make. Fear, grief and guilt rip her apart.

Hi Sadie, tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Sadie O'Connell and I'm a published author of romance, though my most recent work is children's fiction. I wrote it especially for the love of my life—my son Sam.

Having a child didn't come easy to me. When Sam was born, I was ecstatic and I dedicated my life to being a great mother, a good wife and a caring friend. But life hasn't been easy. Sam hears perfectly but is mute, and I don't know why. And Philip isn't exactly the most faithful husband. As for my best friend Leah—well, you'll have to read the book.

And I guess I should also tell you, I'm an alcoholic.

Clean and sober?

For a couple of weeks now – longer before The Fog took my son.

Tell us about The Fog.

He's a serial kidnapper and just his name alone strikes fear into the very core of every parent's heart. I first heard about him in the news, when a boy and girl went missing. Every year, he'd take two more. When Leah and I went for coffee a few days before Sam's sixth birthday, we read about another girl.

I never thought for one moment that my beautiful boy Sam would be next.

What happened?

Everything started with Sam's birthday party. Later, I thought I heard Philip returning home from another "late night at the office." But it wasn't Philip. I knew instinctively that something was wrong—a mother's intuition. So I went to check on Sam. And found The Fog.

You must really hate him for what he did to you and your son.

After everything that has gone down, I have very mixed feeling about The Fog. He was clearly insane, but now that I know his story, I have to say I feel for the man. He was left behind in the system and how can I really judge him? I was lost too for a while. I turned to my old habit—alcohol—and it nearly killed me.

You were given a choice—to let The Fog take Sam or watch him kill Sam. How difficult was that choice?

It was the most difficult, mind-numbing decision I have ever had to make. My first instinct was to fight for my son. It was horrifying to think of The Fog walking away with Sam. I couldn't even fathom what atrocities my son would endure. So I tried to fight. But I'm not a physically strong woman. And this was a man who knew how to fight—and how to kill. Though I tried, he beat me until I could no longer fight. When he held a gun to Sam's head, I couldn't breathe. So I made my choice. I let The Fog take Sam.

I know some people may not understand my decision. All I could think of was that Sam would be alive, at least for a while, and maybe he could be rescued. The only other choice was to have him shot in front of me. What would YOU do?

How has all this affected you?

I am still a writer. I'm writing more children's books than romance though. I'm not sure I believe in romance any more. I do have some new men in my life, but they are friends. Well, there's one...who knows?

As for Philip, he has a new home. He'll always be Sam's father. I loved Philip once. I am working at forgiving him for everything he did.

Leah and I are working on establishing trust in our relationship. Some days it's hard. We'll never have the same relationship we once had.

Is there anything positive you've gained from your experience - aside from the return of your son? Do you think these events have made you a better person?

I'm not sure if I'm a better person. I have faced my own demons, though there are nights when things come rushing back and leave me running to Sam's bedroom to make sure he's still there.

I think I'm not quite as weak as I once was. I've learned to open my eyes, see things for what they are and fight for what I want. I've learned to not take anything for granted, especially my son. And I've learned that swearing is very therapeutic. Does this make me a better person? I don't know, but I'm working on the new me daily.

I've learned that a child—even a mute child—is the most blessed gift a person could ever receive and to treasure that gift for an infinity.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

I see myself watching my son's children and being thankful every day for the gift of life. And I see myself always honoring those who came to save me when I was so far down a tunnel of grief that I couldn't see a way out.

Having gone through this experience, what would you tell someone in a similar situation?

I hope and pray that no one is ever forced to make the decision I was. But if it happens, I pray they find a way to make peace with their choice, no matter how it turns out.

Parents, love your children and treat them as the wonderful gifts they are. Some gifts aren't here forever.

Find The Fog and other great titles at
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Follow Cheryl on Twitter: @cherylktardif

Monday, October 17, 2011

Alison's Unnamed Fear

"Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry about everyday things that is disproportionate to the actual source of worry."

aka free floating anxiety or

Unnamed Fear

Today we welcome as our guest, Alison Bruce's Unnamed Fear.

I ain't unnamed. She gave me a name years ago. I'm Fred.

She named her Unnamed Fear Fred?



She said that if she named me I wouldn't be so scary.

Did it work?

Seems to. For a while I became more like a guardian angel than a free floating anxiety. Kinda tied me down. She's a nice lady. I don't mind so much.

Has she always pictured you shirtless with a cowboy hat?

Sometime's I'm in biker leathers and a cowboy hat. Sometimes it's a oilskin coat and cowboy hat. I'm guessing she has a thing for cowboys 'cause she rarely pictures me without the hat.

How do you really look?

When I was an Unnamed Fear, I looked like whatever scared her the most. First time I showed up, I was a gunman in a black stetson and a riding coat. I showed up in a recurring nighmare at high moon and gunned her down. Don't know where that fear came from cause she was just a little bit at the time -- no more than five or six years old. Now I'm a white hat.

Does everyone have an Unnamed Fear?

Damned if I know. It's not like we hold conventions you know. I'm not sure there's many that get a name, that's for sure. Takes a certain kind of imagination to put a name and a face to your anxiety.

Same kind of person who give a nighthawk the job of hosting a blog?

Finest kind.

Note from Alison: GAD is real and can be debilitating. I have experienced it. I really did create Fred as a coping mechanism. Then life got to the point I was too busy worrying about real things to worry about the imagined. Still, I'll always be grateful for Fred for being there when I needed him.

Next week: Sadie from Cheryl Kaye Tardif's Children of the Fog