Archive for category Horror Fiction

Call for nominations for the SFFANZ Sir Julius Vogel Awards.


Nominations are now being accepted for the SFFANZ 2015 Sir Julius Vogel Awards (see below for link/details) and I have two books that are eligible for the ballot this year: Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales and Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry.

The nomination period will close at 8.00pm on 31st January 2015. The awards recognize excellence in science fiction, fantasy, or horror works created by New Zealanders and New Zealand residents, and first published or released in the 2014 calendar year.

Anyone can make a nomination and it is free! To make a nomination please email sjv_awards@sffanz.org.nz.

Just copy and paste the following info (for one or both) into the body of your email:

WHAT to Put On the Nomination

For Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales

ESSENTIAL Information
This is to enable SFFANZ to verify and process the nomination.

  1. Name / Title of work – Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales
  2. Name of Producer / Author / Creator – William Cook
  3. What the work is i.e. – Collection (Short Fiction)
  4. Year of First Release – 2014
  5. What category you think the nomination belongs to – Professional Awards – Best Collected Work
  6. GENRE – Horror
  7. Contact details of the person making the nomination e.g. email or/and phone number

NOTE : If the only contact details you have are the publisher’s contact information on the book you are nominating, that should be sufficient.

HELPFUL Information But NOT Essential

  1. Publisher / Production company name – King Billy Publications
  2. How to contact the producer / author – williamcookauthor@gmail.com, 64 4 385 2456
  3. Other details about the work, that might be relevant – Print, Mobi, Epub
  4. Where to get a copy of the work – Amazon, Kobo, Author
  5. Any other comments you wish to add

****************************************************************

For Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry

ESSENTIAL Information
This is to enable SFFANZ to verify and process the nomination.

  1. Name / Title of work – Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry
  2. Name of Producer / Author / Creator – William Cook
  3. What the work is i.e. – Collection (Poetry)
  4. Year of First Release – 2014
  5. What category you think the nomination belongs to – Professional Awards – Best Collected Work
  6. GENRE – Horror
  7. Contact details of the person making the nomination e.g. email or/and phone number

NOTE : If the only contact details you have are the publisher’s contact information on the book you are nominating, that should be sufficient.

HELPFUL Information But NOT Essential

  1. Publisher / Production company name – James Ward Kirk Fiction (U.S.)
  2. How to contact the producer / author – williamcookauthor@gmail.com, 64 4 385 2456
  3. Other details about the work, that might be relevant – Print, Mobi, Epub
  4. Where to get a copy of the work – Amazon, Kobo, Author
  5. Any other comments you wish to add

********************************************************************************

HOW Many Times May You Nominate?

  1. You may nominate as many works as you feel is appropriate.
  2. You may nominate more than one eligible work in the same category. This would suit people who are major fans of one media in particular e.g. people who read a lot of books or short stories.
  3. You may nominate the same work in multiple categories if it fits the criteria of those categories.
  4. You MAY NOT nominate a work more than once in any given category.

The rules, criteria and categories for the awards can be found by clicking this link. Guidelines for nominations can be found by clicking this link.

*Remember – You don’t need to be a member of any group or organization to vote/nominate, so if you’ve read my eligible work, why not show your appreciation and support by taking a moment to cast a nomination? I’d really appreciate a nomination as it would be a massive boost to my career as a writer if I won an award like this, or even if my work reached the final ballot.

The categories are (my *books are eligible in the underlined categories):

Professional Categories:
Best Novel
Best Youth Novel
Best Novella or Novelette
Best Short Story  
*Best Collected Work
Best Artwork
Dramatic Presentation
Best Production/Publication
*Best New Talent
Fan Categories:
Best Fan Writing
Best Fan Artwork
Best Fan Production/Publication 
Special Awards:
Services to Fandom
Services to Science Fiction, Fantasy or Horror

Once again, the two books I have that are eligible this year are:
Dreams of Thanatos: Collected Macabre Tales and Corpus Delicti: Selected Poetry.

Of course, these two titles are just a few of the works eligible for nominations, so have a read, take a look and cast away, me hearties.

Thanks for reading and voting (hopefully).

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New Horror Anthology Release – Terror Train


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TERROR TRAIN ANTHOLOGY

EDITED BY A. HENRY KEENE & KRISTA CLARK GRABOWSKI

 

Proud to say I have a story in this anthology (‘One Way Ticket’) – in fact, one of the more complex stories I’ve written and one that I hope operates on a few different levels. The Terror Train Anthology, published by the good folk at James Ward Kirk Fiction, includes both stories and poetry about murder, madness, mayhem, monsters, and the macabre on the rails! The stories take us on a train ride that begins in New York and ends in California, with a little time in Europe, and includes over forty stops in between. Included in this magnificent collection is one by the legendary William F. Nolan titled “Lonely Train A Comin’.” The old west, a character that travels back in time, a tale from the future – they are all there. We have stories full of evil, revenge, love, lust, and mystery. We even have a little noir and, of course, a whole lot of Horror! Trust me, it’s a ride you won’t soon forget.

All aboard theTerror Train

From NYC to New Orleans, through winding paths and cityscapes, it grinds the rails and shatters the dead of night. It comes, stopping at stations along the way, to steal the screaming souls of the living and the dead and transport them to hell…  The Terror Train rides, from city to city, from village to village, through states, across rivers and mountains. If only it could tell its tales of grisly murder, of demonic pacts, black holes into different dimensions and portals to other realms where the ghosts of train robbers hunt in perpetuity for that elusive bullion filled carriage that cost them their immortal souls. Behold the terrors the train has witnessed, see firsthand the horrors it has lived through and when you get on board, pray, pray you’ve entered the right one, on the right track, the one that does not lead to oblivion… 

Terror Train contains stories by new and established authors, with a special guest story by William F. Nolan.

All aboard!

Grab your copy now!

US LINK http://www.amazon.com/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=la_B00HXO3FRG_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402746042&sr=1-3

UK LINK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402748251&sr=1-1&keywords=terror+train

AUSTRALIA LINK http://www.amazon.com.au/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402748328&sr=1-1&keywords=terror+train

 

Cover art by Stephen Cooney

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Full author list:
Roger Cowin
Charie D. La Marr
Michael Thomas-Knight
Mark Rigney
Stephen Alexander
Mike Jansen
Justin Hunter
Mary Genevieve Fortier
Jeremy Mays
Murphy Edwards
Dennis Banning
Brigitte Kephart
Brian Barnett
Mathias Jansson
Abdul-Qaadir Taariq Bakari-Muhammad
Aaron Besson
Stephen Alexander
Jim Goforth
Dona Fox
Tony Bowman
Rie Sheridan Rose
Dale Hollin 
David S. Pointer

Stuart Keane
William Cook
Shenoa Carroll-Bradd
Stephen Alexander & Roger Cowin
A. P. Gilbert
Shane Koch
William F. Nolan
Teri Skultety
E.S. Wynn
Lori R. Lopez
Thomas M. Malafarina
Leigh M. Lane 
Alex S. Johnson

Plus Dedications and Appreciations by Keene and Grabowski

 

TRAILER

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoFmgrXBQYQ&feature=youtu.be

 

Message from the Editors – A. Henry Keene and Krista Clark Grabowski

A. Henry Keene

In the days before bank-breaking tuition rates, I studied at the University of Louisville where I matriculated degrees in Communication, English, and Art History. I made significant progress in post-baccalaureate work in Humanities before my wings melted, and I returned to Earth to study Culinary Arts at Sullivan University. I now support himself and his family through his work as a chef.

A life-long fan of horror, I recall with delight the campy onscreen shenanigans of “Kingdom of Spiders,” the realistic horrors of “The Exorcist,” and the gruesome gore of “Demons” that scarred my youth and warped my mind. My favorite horror films are “Alien,” “Burnt Offerings,” and “Hellraiser.”

Essentially a surrealist, I stumbled into the field of horror with my first publications in James Ward Kirk anthologies. Since then, J.W.K. has published a collection of my early prose pieces entitled “The Crooked Closet” and a novella called “Meridiana.”

As a writer, I have striven to meld genre specific elements with broader cultural concerns, especially violence against women and man’s struggle with his sexual drives.

As an anthologist, I, in partnership with Krista Clark Grabowski, have compiled and edited “Terror Train.” This collection takes the reader on a journey to explore not only the place of the train in popular imagination but also the genre of horror as it plays out by region.

As a surrealist, I proudly proclaim that the inspiration for “Terror Train” came from a dream. Once the notion took shape and the partnership with Krista was formed, the project came to life and quality work from excellent artists came rolling in. It was just waiting to be done. It was in the air, the zeitgeist.

The highlight of submissions was receiving a message from Mr. William F. Nolan to offer his classic tale “Lonely Train A Comin’.” Having the Nolan piece in the Table of Contents has provided such a thrill to our contributors. We are so pleased to have been able to do it for them.

Working on this project has been pure joy from beginning to end. I am thankful to everyone involved, especially the writers and poets, who have responded so enthusiastically.

 

Krista Clark Grabowski

I too attended the University of Louisville, where I earned a degree in Finance that I have never used. I started working for a major health insurance company before I graduated and have been in the industry ever since, over 20 years now.

I loved reading from the time I was a child. In high school and college I devoured anything I could get my hands on that was written by Stephen King. My taste in books, like my taste in music, covers a wide range. I enjoy classics like Charles Dickens and F. Scott Fitzgerald. I enjoy Maeve Binchy, John Irving, and Neil Gaiman along with other bestselling modern-day authors. In recent years I have had the pleasure of reading the work of some very talented independent authors and it has become a passion.

I have one published story – “Daddy’s Girl”, which was published in an anthology published by JWK Fiction in 2013. It was following the publication of that anthology that I had an opportunity to assist Mr. Kirk with some editing needs and discovered that I really enjoyed it. I have since done some additional editing work for him and when A. Henry came to me with his Terror Train idea I was thrilled to be part of the project.

I loved every second of putting together this anthology. Mr. Keene’s idea caught on and very soon people were jumping onboard, eager to be part of it. We had fun with the authors involved in this project and we met some wonderful new people. It has truly been a collaborative effort every step of the way. I would do it all again in a second.

I am on the editing team for another JWK Fiction anthology and am also working on finishing up the first in a series of dark fiction/crime short stories. I am so lucky to have found a place where I can do what I love.

Terror Train is a wonderful collection full of great stories and poetry. You’ll be happily frightened as you ride the rails. As one of the author’s recently said “It’s a ride that’s to die for”.

ALTERNATE VERSION OF BOOK DESCRIPTION (NOT THE ONE ON AMAZON)

 

Terror Train is the creative brainchild of A. Henry Keene. The train leaves the station noir-style in New York and travels across the country until it stops in a California of the future. In between it stops in several states including Tennessee, Missouri, and Louisiana. At every stop there is a different tale of murder, ghosts, demons, and other horrors. There are tales of love gone wrong, twisted demon-possessed trains, a vampire story that is nothing like any vampire story you’ve ever read, and many other fun terrors. And the legendary William F. Nolan has humbled us with his gracious contribution. Along with the stories there are wonderful poems spread throughout this collection by some truly talented poets. Trust me, this is a ride you won’t soon forget.

 

LINKS

US LINK http://www.amazon.com/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=la_B00HXO3FRG_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402746042&sr=1-3

UK LINK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402748251&sr=1-1&keywords=terror+train

AUSTRALIA LINK http://www.amazon.com.au/Terror-Train-Mathias-Jansson-ebook/dp/B00KYWRWS2/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1402748328&sr=1-1&keywords=terror+train

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22457461-terror-train?from_search=true

 

CONTACT

terrortrain7975@yahoo.com

 

 

 

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Independent Horror needs your help! (Seriously)


Please Help! This is not just another call to help fund an anthology or pay for someone to go to a con or raise some dough for whatever – this is a desperate plea from an indie press that has published and supported new talent in the horror industry for the past decade. Here is the video that my publisher Nicholas Grabowsky has done to help raise some much-needed support. Please view.
Nicholas Grabowsky was one of the first people to give me a break and is a staunch advocate of the underdog – probably to a fault, as can be guessed by this plea for help. This company doesn’t make money for profit, they make money to pay their authors and to stimulate interest in independent horror authors as much as possible. Not a sound business model I know, but it’s because whatever Nick does he does with heart and gives it everything he’s got. I know why BBS is struggling – things are tough and there’s not much money in horror unless you’re one of the big boys or girls at the top of the heap. It’s also because Nick probably needs to employ some merciless publications manager to slash some titles, drop some authors and aim for the mainstream, while he spends his days selling wares at conventions and bookstores etc – but he would never do that. One he can’t afford it and two, he’s too damn loyal to his authors and too committed to his dream. He just can’t “restructure” or be ruthless. Like I said, he has a heart. As we all know, good intentions and being nice seldom pays the bills and that is why you need to take a look at this fundraiser. This is not just about bailing Nick out of the crap or propping up a dead-duck, this is about Independent Publishing as a whole, in particular – the Independent Horror Publishing World that most of you reading this are part of.

Please support the project and get fantastic rewards in returnThere is a need for publishers like Black Bed Sheet Books because they are cornerstones in the industry; they do there best to stand on sometimes shaky foundations by which self-published authors launch their own careers/businesses and measure their own success against, yet they are different – it’s not just about the individual, it’s about the collective creative and financial welfare of the authors, and it’s about the readers who read them, because they like what Black Bed Sheet produces.

Are you a publisher, an author, a book designer, an editor . . . ? Could you need some help one day in this amazingly cut-throat world of dog-eat-dog financial stresses? Support your colleagues-in-arms; for the cost of a book or a TV Dinner, help ensure that an active member of the independent publishing community, who provides readers with so much great material and horror authors with a career platform, does not fall to the wayside because the rest of us sat around and did nothing to help. It won’t take much to help lift Black Bed Sheet books to its feet again and propel it forward to provide many more writers with career jump-starts and all those readers with countless hours of good solid horror enjoyment.

Every pledge receives something in return and, once again, Nick has let his generosity dictate these fantastic rewards are well worth some loose change. Please help. Please dig deep and share this with as many people as possible. Thanks for reading and long live Independent Horror.Best wishes

William Cook
(A proud Black Bed Sheet Books Author)

http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-black-bed-sheet-stimulus-project

— with Nicholas Grabowsky.

Black Bed Sheet Books, Indiegogo, Funding, Horror, Indie, Independent Horror Publishing, Publishing, Financial Crisis, Help

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What people are saying about ‘Blood Related’ (Review, Thriller, Amazon, Goodreads, Bookworm’s Bookmark)


Blood Related by William Cook: 5 of 5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

For over two decades, Detective Ray Truman has been searching for the killer, or killers, who have terrorized Portvale. Headless corpses, their bodies mutilated and posed, have been turning up all over the industrial district near the docks. Young female prostitutes had been the killer’s victims of choice, but now other districts are reporting the gruesome discovery of decapitated bodies. It seems the killer has expanded his territory as more ‘nice girls’ feel the wrath of his terrible rage.

Meet the Cunninghams… A family bound by evil and the blood they have spilled. The large lodging-house they live in and operate on Artaud Avenue reeks of death, and the sins that remain trapped beneath the floorboards. Ray Truman’s search for a killer leads him to the Cunningham’s house of horrors. What he finds there will ultimately lead him to regret ever meeting Caleb Cunningham and the deviant family that spawned him. The hunter becomes the hunted, as Truman digs deeper into the abyss that is the horrifying mind of the most dangerous psychopath he has ever met.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13508567-blood-related
Click to go to Goodreads Review

Blood Related by William Cook
My Review: 5 of 5 stars

Blood Related is a psychological roller-coaster. I couldn’t put it down. The nature or nurture theme comes across strongly. Reflective of Caleb and Charlie Cunningham’s disturbing family background and the outcome of what could be only described as twisted parenting. Parents (Ella and Vera’s) poison continues to bleed into the adult lives of two brothers. The madness of their crimes is chilling, and persistence of Ray Truman whose goal is to bring them to Justice – leads the story into an endless horror fest for the reader.

The Cunningham’s childhood home becomes a house of horrors. Spine chilling gore and the insight into the mind of a serial killer kept me hooked. In my mind’s eye I could imagine the carnage, sense the emotions, with that feeling of watching a horror movie at every twist and turn, I wanted to look away, but couldn’t.

Buy a Copy now from Amazon

William Cook has a talent of making the story come to life. And if this is your choice of genre, then you are in for a treat.
No Spoilers Intended

Debbie Allen (see all Debbie’s reviews)

http://debs-bookwormbookmark.blogspot.co.nz/p/who-is-debbie-allen.html
Check out Debbie’s cool blog – click on the image above

Reblogged from the fantastic Bookworm’s Bookmark

Review, Debbie Allen, William Cook, Blood Related, 5-star, Horror, Thriller, Bookworm’s Bookmark

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Blood Related featured in new Literary Analysis by Anthony Servante.


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I have been lucky with my experiences online – meeting lots of fantastic readers and writers alike. Mr Servante is an author who has been an immeasurable support for my own writing and has provided some of the more insightful and poignant reviews of my work in the past. So when he asked if I’d be interested in getting involved with his latest project: Killers and Horror: Ink Black, Blood Red I jumped at the opportunity. Anthony, once again, proved his skill in critically analyzing a number of fantastic works by Billie Sue Mosiman, Mark Parker, and Christine Morgan, alongside Blood Related, in relation to the portrayal of fictional violence and the comparison of non-fictional descriptions of infamous serial crimes. Here is the blurb:

Killers and Horror: Ink Black, Blood Red by Anthony Servante is a critical look at the horror of real killers versus imagined killers as analyzed in four fiction novels and three nonfiction books, featuring works by Billie Sue Mosiman, Mark Parker, Christine Morgan, and William Cook in fiction, and discussing real-life murderers, including Ed Gein, the original “Psycho”, El Sicario, a Mexican hit-man, and Richard Kulinski, The Ice Man, a Mafia contract killer. He discusses specific murders, the reasons for these deaths, and the personal motives of the killers. He also addresses the role of the reader who chooses visceral books with anti-heroes. WARNING: EXTREME GRAPHIC KILLINGS DESCRIBED.

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The following is an excerpt from Killers and Horror (permission kindly granted by Mr Servante) pertaining to his analysis of Blood Related:

“Which brings us to Blood Related by William Cook . . .

Purchase link:

http://www.amazon.com/Blood-Related-ebook/dp/B009WU5PNQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1383209849&sr=1-1&keywords=blood+related

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Book summary:

“Meet the Cunninghams . . . A family bound by evil and the blood they have spilled.

Meet Caleb Samael Cunningham, a diabolical serial-killer with an inherited psychopathology, passed down via a blood-soaked genealogy. Caleb is a disturbed young man whose violent father is a suspected serial killer and mother, an insane alcoholic. After his Father’s suicide, Cunningham’s disturbing fantasy-life becomes reality, as he begins his killing spree in earnest. His identical twin brother Charlie is to be released from an asylum and all hell is about to break loose, when the brothers combine their deviant talents.”

Analysis:

William Cook kills via a family of psychotic butchers. In his docu-crime drama, Cook employs a narrative style that floats between letters, newspaper accounts, third person perspectives from a law enforcer on the hunt for the killer(s), and the first person account of a set of sociopathetic twins whose mental ramblings veer between insane genius and sick sanity. The reader walks a thin line between fiction and nonfiction as Cook’s prose style shifts between demented frames of mind with seamless ease.

The reign of terror begins with Grandpa Cunningham, father Errol Cunningham, and the twins Charlie and Caleb. Grandpa and Errol are sadists who kill for sadistic pleasure. Errol and his crazed wife Vera teach their young boys to dispose of the bodies of their old man’s victims, just as likely Grandpa taught his son Errol. After Errol commits suicide as the law closes in on him, we learn that Charlie and Caleb have been killing victims on their own. Thus the police are confused and track two killers, the Portvale Serial Killer and the Dockside Ripper, little knowing that they are both members of the Cunningham clan. Cook uses his poetic style to blend the twins into one character, where the reader at times sees Charlie and Caleb clearly, but at other times, we cannot tell when we are seeing Charlie and/or Caleb. And to further confound the reader, Cook even blends elements of Errol into the mix. Caleb looks into the mirror and sees Errol, then Charlie. He no longer sees himself, though he knows (most of the time) that he is in fact Caleb. Furthermore, this mix takes on overtones of the supernatural (floating skulls and apparitions), but we know that the killer has gone completely insane. His only lucid moments come in dreams that have truths and frenzied fantasies interwoven. Reality and dream become the same images Caleb sees. And through it all, murder is the only means to separate the real from the hallucinations. This does not bode well for the Portvale population.

Ray Truman is the cop on the trail of the killer(s). He is the opposite of the Cunningham clan. He comes from a family of cops. He married a cop. His quest is for justice. But when he becomes a detective and tracks the Cunningham family, he faces the abyss once too often and does not hesitate to become a monster to stop these murderous fiends. It is he who suspects that the Cunninghams are responsible for the slew of deaths and missing persons, and it is he who first notices that the young twins are not so alike: Truman

“thought about Charlie Cunningham, realizing that when he thought of that psycho he couldn’t help but picture Cuntingham senior. He looked at the only mug-shot on the wall he had of a young Caleb and saw both Charlie and Errol in his dark eyes. He thought of how Caleb looked the last time he’d seen him, the scar that ran from his forehead to his chin had changed his face so he looked like his brother but not like his father, it was kind of hard to explain. Charlie was more like his old man than Caleb was. Caleb was a different beast altogether…”

He understands the danger that Caleb poses is far greater than his brother Charlie, but Caleb is the abyss that looks into the soul of the lawman. They both know only one of them will survive.

Caleb takes exception to the lawman’s fixation on him; he says, “The only reason Ray Truman suspected me of any of the unsolved murders in the Portvale region and surrounding city boroughs, was by way of association. Crime by association, that is my family legacy – tainted with the same lust to kill, the same burning urge, passed on down from generation to generation. And I am guilty. Guilty of the crime of being a Cunningham, and an exceptional killing machine.” He is offended by the accusation at the same time that he boasts of Truman being right about his guilt.

Because Cook portrays the Cunninghams so realistically, down to the newspaper accounts, it is easy to accept these killers as possible characters based on actual serial killers. I asked the author about this concern of mine. He answered, “I made the characters up – actually using an old friend of mine as the character study for Charlie Cunningham but they are both indeed composite characters of ‘types’ of Serial Offenders. There were aspects of some serial killers I used and I also used old case files from some vintage Detective magazines that I own (not verbatim of course). For example, the scene where Charlie places a pen in a shop-keeper’s ear and kicks it is actually a true rendition of a case where that actually happened. Nothing weirder or more horrifying than reality.

More info here about the process: https://bloodrelated.wordpress.com.

Cook holds up a mirror to art with his work, as a book about serial killers and as a work of art in its aesthetic theme. Blood Related is a work of art. It depicts killers. The killer kills for art to engage viewers and the media to his form of murder. The author and the main character blend in the poetic gray area of sophistry. Is it Cook or Caleb explaining the artistic aesthetic of death? As such, Cook is commenting on the real serial killers and their various reasons for killing (think Hannibal who kills to weed out the brutes of society, to make it a better place in essence); the Ice Man thinks the world is better off without the low-lifes and bullies that he kills. Cook has taken his “anti-hero” to a whole new level—as a comment on Art with a capital A. (I think of Buckets of Blood, the movie that depicted death as a comment on art via the Beat Era thinking of gaining immortality via art). Caleb confesses, “I wanted to see the world. Maybe become a better person one day. God knows I had tried, but my urge to create runs deep – killing’s in my blood.” He equates “creating” with killing. Hannibal Lecter equated cuisine with his murders. Is it the painter or the picture standing in the gallery?

We have seen how our fiction and nonfiction killers have been influenced by Pulp Crime Novels and lurid Detective Magazines. Cook takes this influence one step further with Caleb’s choice of reading: “Charlie liked the instinctual driven nature of Raskolnikov and felt that he learned a lot about avoiding capture, thanks to Dostoyevsky’s thorough analysis of the crime of murder committed by his protagonist. Charlie swore the author must have killed before to write with such intimate knowledge of the emotions befitting such a crime. The clarity of experience shone like light on the bloody hands of the killer.” Caleb also learns from the traditional trashy fare: “‘True Crime’ literature was my next step into the dark corners of the human mind – my own mind to be exact. I quivered with excitement and guilty pleasure as I thumbed through the volumes filled with the most horrible aspects of humanity. I recognized myself between the lines. I found kindred spirits on these pages; new heroes filled my world as I read voraciously, devouring the methods and the means to avoid detection and to make my mark on the world.” His master plan comes together as he takes refuge at his grandfather’s deserted farmhouse.

In this sense, Caleb’s killing of the German Shepherd, who resembled the dog from his grandfather’s ranch, symbolized the annihilation of his own psychosis, the putting down of a rabid dog, himself. Other images of himself appear as feral animals, including the wolf he destroys. Caleb is psychologically cleaning house; he even remarks his need for antibiotics and antipsychotics, the two drugs that would return him to a sane state where he could start over. We understand that he is still a killer, but repressed by medication, he can start over, re-imagine his art, and perhaps some day, stop taking the meds and resume his murderous work. This is Caleb’s way of thinking as he wraps up his catalog of deaths with the final killing we witness at his grandfather’s ranch. He has transcended the role of serial killer in much the same way that Hannibal Lecter took his killings to culinary heights: Two madmen who see no difference between fiction and nonfiction killings, between art and reality, between Hieronymus Bosch and Norman Rockwell.

Later we learn that the twins’ father, Errol, had a similar taste for the perverse: “Errol’s father trapped and killed stray cats and dogs in his backyard, enjoying their agonized death throes and often forcing his son to participate in the culling.” Caleb realizes that life had dealt him a losing hand from a stacked deck: “[I]f my parentage had been different – if the circumstance of my youth was not what it had been – then I may have been different. It wasn’t nature or nurture that dealt me the cards I played with now, more of a divine providence that gave me the tools I had at my disposal. These same tools allowed me to step into Pa’s mind’s eye through his words and see what he saw, feel what he felt.” Keep in mind that real serial killer Richard K surmised the same line of thinking, that he had become his brutal, angry father by trying to escape him.

The Portvale murders cease for a while but resume with slight variations, leading police to believe a “new” killer was on the scene or a copycat (as we’ve seen with Widow). But it was a case of father handing down the tradition of death to his sons, who, though at first reluctant to assume the mantel, learned to appreciate the pleasures of the hunt and kill. “Whoever made it out of the basement alive, was mine to play with in the tunnels below,” says Caleb with pride. The twins were picking up the crumbs left to them by their father. The reason for the confusion of the police: there are three killers at work, Errol, Charlie and Caleb. Cook in essence “recreates” killers who are traditional; Caleb seeks to emulate the real serial killers he has grown to idolize. He even lists his top ten, some of whom we’ve already discussed in the nonfiction section earlier: “Ted Bundy – Green River Killer Gary Ridgeway – The Ice Man Richard Kuklinski – H. H. Holmes – The Yorkshire Ripper Peter  Sutcliffe – The Zodiac Killer – The Dusseldorf Monster Peter Kurten – The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run – The Night Stalker Richard Ramirez – Jack The Ripper.” Caleb’s sleeping arrangements also reflect his new taste for the grotesque and the visceral. “My mattress sat on a bed-base I had constructed from old wooden packing cases and the walls were covered in posters and pictures ripped from library books and magazines. The various pictures juxtaposed with each other, the naked bodies of centerfold models set alongside the images of naked corpses of concentration camp victims.” He can no longer distinguish between arousal and blood-lust.

William Cook has created a crafty killer in Caleb whose roots in the Cunningham atrocities across two generations have been honed in the mad genius of the last member of the clan. As such, the reader may confuse fiction with nonfiction, for Caleb is so well drawn that one must blink twice now and then to check on the raison d’etre of the book. It is fiction. But there is no safety here, as there was in our other fiction books; the reader must plunge into the mind of the Cunninghams without the net, as we did with our nonfiction works. It is a perfect denouement to this look at killers and horror.

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Conclusion:

Killers roam the streets of everyday life. We are at their mercy. But the odds are so small that we will become victims that we feel safe. In reading about our nonfiction killers, the odds increased, and our safety net was lowered, depending on how much we empathized with our killers and how much we cringed that more such killers are out there. In reading about our fiction killers, however, our safety net was raised. Our killers here were romanticized, distanced with humor, and portrayed in nonfiction variations. It is the fiction killer who seems real that fascinates us the most as we feel the danger at hand. It is a roller-coaster ride where we are safely locked in, but a ride that can go wrong with the shredding of one important bolt. With the nonfiction, it wasn’t about a fun ride; it was about facing our fears head-on, traveling into the heart of darkness where Kurtz and Horror await. If, like Marlowe, we can return from this darkness, then we appreciate our civilized lives all the more. But then, what if we don’t return? That’s always the risk we enjoy taking whether it’s in fiction or nonfiction, with real killers or imagined. Because sometimes we learn that there is safety in the darkness, for who of us hasn’t a bit of the killer in their heart? Certainly not us, right?”

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Thankyou to Anthony again. Please make sure to buy a copy of Killers and Horror: Ink Black, Blood Red by Anthony Servante. While you’re there, check out Anthony’s other works – he has a real penchant for horror and you’ll see this aesthetic carried through most of his works. Also, pay a visit to Servante of Darkness: Horror, SF, and Noir. Words & Sounds for the Living where he elucidates the following commendable philosophy:

“In literature these are the eras agreed upon by academics: Medieval, Renaissance, Enlightenment, Romantic, Victorian, Naturalism/Realism, Existentialism, Beat, Modern and Post Modern. Did you know that the genre of Horror has no eras because academia does not consider it a legitimate field of study. I consider horror to begin with the Romantic (Frankenstein), Victorian (Dracula), Golden (Cthulhu), Silver (Manitou, The Keep, The Rats), and Cyber (which is today’s use of the internet by both e-authors and paper authors). Although academia has only begun to listen to me and my categorization of the cybernocturnal as a new form of literature, I storm ahead with my chronology of horror and hope that the academics will catch up. This is our field, what we read, what we write, what we discuss. We can’t wait for some anthropologist to decide what “horror” is 100 years from now. It’s our responsibility today. That’s what the Servante of Darkness is all about. I write reviews. I discuss literary trends. I interview people of note. I can be reached at eslprog@aol.com”

Billie Sue Mosiman, Mark Parker, Christine Morgan, Anthony Servante, Killers and Horror: Ink Black, Blood Red, Literature, Critique, Blood Related, William Cook, Amazon, Kindle,

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Interview with William Cook, Author of Blood Related (+ giveaway)


Recently, Donald White asked me to do an interview for his writer’s blog and this was the result. Be sure to check out Donald’s website for lots of interesting features on writing and up and coming writers. Also if any of you out there haven’t read Blood Related and would like a FREE kindle (only) copy, please leave a comment below this post/thread. Any of you out there who have read and enjoyed Blood Related, I would be grateful for a short review left on Amazon if you can manage it. Every little bit helps 🙂 Have a great week. Will.

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An Interview with William Cook

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The Writer’s Blog welcomes the inimitable William Cook! Please tell us a little about yourself.

William Cook:

Hi and thanks for having me here Donald. I like to think of myself as primarily a writer first and an artist second. I live in New Zealand at the foot of the world, happily married with four daughters, in charge of the house and looking after the two youngest girls. I have been writing weird stories ever since I was a kid. My first published works were poems in various literary journals in NZ and a few in the States. Back in 1996 I published a collection of verse titled ‘Journey: The Search for Something’ and had the occasional poem and short story published online, but nothing really of note until 2010 when Lee Pletzers from Triskaideka Books accepted my story ‘The Devil Inside’ for the 2010 Masters of Horror Anthology. I have always loved the Horror genre and dark literature, so this really inspired me to write what I loved rather than what I thought other people wanted to read and it has finally started to pay off. The thing I love about the Horror/Thriller genres is that a good story will get your pulse racing and your heart thumping. I feel it is the best medium to create a world where the reader feels alive because they are experiencing fear of some sort. Sounds sadistic I know, but I personally find that no other genre gives me the thrills I seek when I immerse myself in a fictional world. I have since had quite a few Horror shorts published in various anthologies.
My novel ‘Blood Related,’ was re-released by Black Bed Sheet Books Halloween 2012. Writing it was a labor of love and took me roughly six years to write and it wasn’t until I changed day-jobs that I had the time to bring it all together as my debut novel. The novel is about a disturbed young man called Caleb Cunningham, whose violent father is a suspected serial killer and mother, an insane alcoholic. After his father’s suicide, Cunningham’s disturbing fantasy-life becomes reality, as he begins his killing spree in earnest. His identical twin brother Charlie is released from an asylum and all hell is about to break loose, when the brothers combine their deviant talents. Blood Related is a serial-killer/crime novel told in a first-person narrative style from the killer’s (Caleb’s) point-of-view.
I have been privileged to have authors I look up to, give me feedback on Blood Related. People like Jonathan Nasaw, Guy N Smith, Laird Barron, Mark Edward Hall, John Paul Allen, and Nicholas Grabowsky, have all been kind enough to read and review my work – something I would never have believed possible until now.

Not only a talented author, but you are also an excellent artist. Tell us what it is like to create such gruesome works of art.

William Cook:

Well it all depends on the work of course but generally speaking, for some reason I can’t explain, my preference has always been depicting darkly ghoulish things. I have recently moved away from using traditional painting/drawing methods and now do 90% of all my work with Photoshop and digital mediums. I get my inspiration from my dreams and the various pop-cultural works I peruse, i.e. film, comics, fiction and music. I will usually start with a small sketch in a notebook or write down an idea of an art-piece that comes to mind (descriptively) before taking digital photographs of textures, trees, people and other subjects that interest me. I’ll then bring everything together via Photoshop and use it to add darkness, depth and dimension to my original vision. It is hardly ever reproduced physically apart from the occasional print or book cover so I like to call it my ‘virtual dark art.’ With each passing year I am less interested in the visceral gore-infused stuff that I used to produce, instead, I am leaning towards ‘quiet’ horror these days and subtlety is something I strive for in both my visual and written work.

Blood Related was your first novel and, arguably, most controversial work to date. Explain how you were able to get into the minds of the two main characters.

William Cook:

Blood Related combined a lifelong interest in the macabre with a lot of research into true crime and serial killers. I can trace my interest in this morbid subject to an event in my life when I was younger, whereby my best friend shot another friend of mine (his ex-girlfriend) and then killed himself. Obviously, this would leave a lasting impression on most people as it did to me. Subsequently I began to wonder why a large percentage of humans treat each other so badly and have a tendency towards self-destruction and nihilistic behavior. This aspect of my inquiring mind is constantly reinforced (the questions) by the media who use such occurrences to perpetually sensationalize ‘news’ and by our so-called leaders who use fear to drive political agendas. The politics of fear are very much a staple diet of news-hungry consumers who seem to relish lurid accounts of human cruelty and abuse, and (so it seems) probably the same reasons fiction is full of the horrors of human behavior.

There are plenty of fictional books that deal with the subject of serial murder and during the research I conducted for BR, a perceptible ‘canon’ of such literature dating all the way back to Gutenberg and beyond (The Bible/Quran etc) became apparent to me. Apart from being of interest for research purposes, serial killer fiction has always intrigued me and some of the first ‘adult’ books I ever read as a young teenager dealt with the subject. Probably the two biggest influences on my writing of BR were Colin Wilson’s ‘The Killer’ and James Ellroy’s brutal ‘Killer on the Road.’ I have always wanted to write a first-person novel and the six years I spent writing BR were the result of this desire. I never thought the book would see the light of day but it all seemed to come together quickly when I bought a new lap-top and within three months of shopping it around to various indie presses it was published. I’m not sure that I would write another first-person serial killer novel as it (the subject matter and the book) consumed my thoughts for a long time. I found it a lot more disturbing to write about psychopathic humans than I do writing tales of horror that deal with more supernatural and fantastical elements. The most frightening aspect, to writing BR and creating believable characterizations of serial killers, is how easy it was to contemplate and describe such characters and their sordid crimes. BR lends itself to a sequel and I have made sure that the next book will be told in the third person, for the sake of my own sanity.

You are also quite the poet, having released two collections: Moment of Freedom and Temper of the Tide. How does one achieve true feeling in verse?

William Cook:

Before I began writing stories I wrote poems. The first ‘real’ poem I remember was Blake’s ‘Tyger’ and I have enjoyed reading and writing verse ever since. My first published work was in verse-form and my first published book was a collection of my poems back in 1996, titled ‘Journey: the Search for Something.’ The verse has nearly always ‘written itself’ and generally comes after periods of introspection or strong emotional experience. Most of my early work was terrible heart-wrought angst spewed onto the page as fast as I could write it and thankfully, with a bit of experience and a more temperate lifestyle, I have stopped referring to my emotions when I write poetry. ‘True feeling’ is a completely subjective experience, both on and off the page; the only thing I can suggest in response to your question is that honesty needs to be employed when writing poetry that deals with emotion or the translation thereof. Cadence is also important and I have always tried to use onomatopoeia in my verse in order to convey the ‘sense’ of whatever it is I’m trying to impart. Simplicity is also important; there is no point writing convoluted expressionistic verse, if no one is ever going to understand what it is you are trying to say! After writing poetry for over twenty years I think I have finally began to find my voice and I think it is important to have your own voice as a poet, in a medium so canonically reliant on style and form. In other words, write from the heart with the mind as your guiding light, in a voice of your own making. Easier said than done, right?

Tell us about your work with JWK Fiction. What advice would you give writers looking to submit stories?

William Cook:

JWK Fiction [http://jwkfiction.com/] has published quite a few poems and short stories of mine and I’m happy to recommend James and the team to any aspiring writer of Horror and Speculative fiction. I think that a large part of having stories accepted for publication in the indie presses, is to write well (obviously) and to read the submission guidelines carefully. A lot of writers out there have a hard-drive full of stories that they want to see published, make sure the story you submit is what the publisher is looking for. It sounds basic but if you’re going to spend time tailoring a previously written story to fit a submission call you may as well start fresh and write something new with the guidelines in mind. I made this mistake (reanimating old work) when I was first starting out and the rejections came in thick and fast, as soon as I started writing fresh stories for specific guidelines I started having success with my submissions. If you submit a lot of stories I would also suggest keeping a record of your subs including story titles, word counts and dates etc. It saves embarrassment and time wasting if you’re simultaneously submitting stories and then having to remember if they’ve been accepted elsewhere etc.

Who are your three favorite authors and how have they influenced your work?

William Cook:

Robert Bloch, Flannery O’Connor, Sherwood Anderson (I have more than three). I love the way they convey human emotion, particularly fear, through the short story medium. They are the writers of psychological drama who I enjoy reading the most. Without reading these writers I probably would have never written short stories – very inspirational and efficient writers, who better to emulate.

What are you working on right now?

William Cook:

I am midway through the sequel to Blood Related titled ‘Blood Trail’, finishing edits on an anthology that JWK Fiction is publishing called ‘Fresh Fear’ [http://www.williamcookwriter.com/p/blog-page_26.html] with stories from the likes of Ramsey Campbell, Billie Sue Mosiman, JF Gonzalez, Jack Dann, Robert Dunbar, amongst others, and working on two separate collections of my short fiction and poetry.

Thank you for joining us on The Writer’s Blog, William. We look forward to more horrific masterpieces to come…

William Cook links:

http://www.amazon.com/William-Cook/e/B003PA513I

Website:

http://www.williamcookwriter.com/

Online Portfolio:

http://wookieart.tumblr.com/

Bio:

William Cook is a writer of the macabre from New Zealand, a small antipodean island group in the South Pacific. When not writing, he looks after two small daughters and designs book covers that are designed to scare the hell out of people. Having held down a multitude of jobs before becoming a “Domestic Manager”, he brings to his writing a vast array of experience that translates to the page in the form of strange characters and situations that bleed horror. From slinging timber in lumber yards, cutting plastic film in a meat packaging company, making rat-poison and acid cleaning products, working on a prawn trawler in the Gulf of Carpenteria, selling ads, and teaching English in Korea, to name a few of the roles he has performed – being a starving writer of Horror fiction seemed like a completely viable occupation.

Currently working on a sequel to his debut novel ‘Blood related’, titled ‘Blood Trail’, it is due for completion mid-year and for publication by his amazing publisher Black Bed Sheet Books sometime in the hereafter.

SOURCE: http://thedonaldwhitewritersblog.blogspot.co.nz/2013/09/an-interview-with-william-cook.html

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Latest Review for Blood Related


Blood Related

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Written by William Cook

Reviewed by Char Hardin

May I introduce the Cunningham Family: father who is a suspected serial killer who dies by his own hand who is married to an insane alcoholic combined they beget two sons who follow in their father’s footsteps Caleb and Charlie inherited more than dysfunctional family traits they inherited a blood soaked heritage that caused the boys to rain down a legacy of terror and death.

The beginning of the story is a preface by the psychiatrist Dr. Mary Brunswick who tells how she worked with Charlie during his trial and then after he was sentenced how his brother Caleb approached her with his own tales of murder. The trust between doctor and patient was built on the confidentiality clause that she could not break. He was free with his accounts and then disappeared. Just reading the preface was a strong indication of the content of the pages to come. I consumed this story in one sitting. One word to describe what William Cook has accomplished…TERRIFYING.

Blood Related kept me up all night on the edge of my recliner, chewing on my fingernails and constantly looking to my front door to note that it was indeed locked. Each murderous account drew me deeper into the psyche of the killers to marinate as I tried to fathom what created these modern day monsters. Fans of American Psycho will eat this book up. Throughout the text, I couldn’t shake the creepy feeling that I was being watched and at one point rose long enough to turn on the light battle back the encroaching darkness.  When at last I turned to the final page, I drew in a deep breath and noticed my fingers were white and tightly gripping my laptop as I read the story.

Upon further reflection and glancing back at my notes, I was relieved that I text was well edited. I do detest reading a story and feeling like I am deprived of the enjoyment as a reader, when the text is so riddled with errors and misspellings that I become an editor instead of a reader…not so with this book.

One thing I would have liked on some of the murders, it felt like I was being overly told of the circumstance instead of being allowed to feel and be shown the events as they played out. It is something even I as a writer suffer with telling more and showing less. It does not reflect badly on the author and in no way takes away from the flow of the story. It is just a “feeling” I got at times and could be only “felt” by me.

This is a male dominated story with women playing a less than glamorous role and more of an object to be to thrust pain and degradation upon. This did not bother me, but to those out there it does, then you may just pass on Blood Related or in any case be warned this is not boy meets girl and falls in love and lives happily ever after. No, more like boy meets girl and thinks of ways to take her apart and then does so piece by bloody piece. Personally…I loved every blood soaked page!

I would recommend this story to my horror readers, especially to the ones who love serial killers. Blood Related will not disappoint. I would like to add also while reading the story at times, I had to pause and whisper. “This is fiction. This is only fiction and is not real.” After I went to bed, I left the light on and slept fitfully as I just couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. Awesome book 4 Out of 5!

 
Check out Char’s cool blog here.

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