Forbidden Fruits: “Tuny” by Julie Hiner

T6 Forbidden Fruit

BETWEEN TWO FLAMES WITH THE SEVENTH TERRACE

With the release of Forbidden Fruit, the second (or sixth, depending your reckoning) instalment in our Purgatorio anthology series, we are inviting our fabulous contributors between the flames to get their hot, gluttonous take on their story and the book and life in general, such that it is in these end days.

Today we welcome Julie Hiner, author of “Tuny”, a warning tale about what happens when you just need one more tiny little wafer-thin mint. Julie, please tell us a little about yourself in exactly twenty-seven words.

Julie: I am a toxic concoction of equal parts 80s rocker, true crime addict, wheel of cheese eating and beer guzzling glutton, outdoor adventurer and 80s horror lover.

TST: And queen of horror make-up! You really terrify us some days. With that out of the way let’s get right to the oozing meat of it. What does gluttony mean to you? Is it inherently a bad thing? How does that play into your story of excessive consumption found in this unwholesome volume?

Julie: When I hear the word gluttony, I automatically jump to thoughts of food. I think that gluttony CAN be a bad thing, if it becomes an addiction that we cannot control. However, if one is generally a well balanced human being of sorts, then the occasional excessive night of eating and/or drinking can be a delicious indulgence. In short, if I puke too often, I cut back on my eating.

The story about Tuny was inspired by an experience I had as a young girl. At one time, I had absolutely NO concept of calories in and calories out. I literally did eat myself sick one more than one occasion. Now, I am able to indulge without barfing my guts out.

TST: Noggy knows all about the vomit comet. He never learns though, it’s in his DNA. Now, tell us about a time you overindulged, like really stuffed yourself silly… with anything.

Julie: The time I spoke about, which inspired my story, I think it was Christmas Day. I recall eating an entire box of turtles. Yes. That was just the start of it. I still ate all the meals that we had that day including a large dinner spread as most families do. I ate SO much that I literally barfed my guts out. I was staying at my Grandma’s house. I believe she thought I was sick with something. I don’t think she knew the truth. I was embarrassed. I don’t think I really put it together.

As the years went on, I still had moments of over eating. I recall eating ENTIRE Bernard Callebaut Easter Eggs (the big ones) stuffed with several dozen chocolates. In one sitting. Not good. 

I have since learned how to enjoy the food I love without being a ridiculous, gluttonous beast.

TST: Now we want chocolate. Like ten pounds of it. At least it’s only 74 days until Halloween. So which of your characters could you see popping up again in other stories?

Julie: The only character in my story was Tuny. And I do think this was a one time show for her.

TST: Probably for the best really. Poor Tuny… Since we conscripted a recipe from you, tell us about your usefulness in the kitchen. Does preparing food get your creative gravy gushing?

Julie: YES. I love to cook. I love the fresh ingredients. I love a family meal where we sit down, enjoy slowly and connect with eating.

My favorite meals of all time were in Italy, on a cycling trip, where the dinners took hours, the group came together over slow eating and lots of chat.

TST: There’s a lot of internalized shame driving poor Tuny’s binge. Besides not stuffing an entire turkey down your gullet, any words of advice for anyone struggling with distorted body image? And… how much you really love Turtles?

Julie: Yes. I do have advice. My inability to understand how much I was eating and what I was doing to my body led to me gaining a bunch of weight, and hating my physical being. It caused me a lot of anxiety for many years. I just couldn’t go on feeling so awful all the time. I learned how to portion control and to eat a healthy balance of everything – treats included. That would be stop 1 of my advice – learn how much your body needs. There are many online tools out there now to help someone track calories and do a rough calculation of how much you need depending on your activity level.

Step 2 of my advice would be to find a physical activity that you love, and to make time for it. For me, cycling changed my life. I found my inner athlete and love for my physical being. It opened the door for many activities that I now love to do.

Step 3 – don’t try to be perfect. Allow yourself to enjoy and indulge in the foods you love. But balance it out with activity and healthy eating.

TST: Thanks Julie! Feel free to partake of the hot tub and vomitorium on the way out.

And folks, don’t forget to check out the book – Terrace VI: Forbidden Fruit is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca and under whatever rocks you might find stray books!!


About the Author:

Julie Hiner is an author, storyteller, and blogger. She has independently published an inspirational work of non-fiction and two dark crime novels – Final Track and Acid Track. Two of Julie’s short horror stories have been published in anthologies, and she is currently collaborating in the horror realm. Julie’s home-base is KillersAndDemons.com where she serves up toxic cocktails of 80s metal, ritualistic murder, and raw horror.

Julie lives in her hometown in Canada, nestled near the Rocky Mountains. A hardcore 80s rocker at heart, Julie’s writing is infused with music of all eras. Her dark crime novels are a fusion of 80s metal, 70s acid rock and dark story telling. Obsessed with the dark mind of the serial killer, Julie’s characters are based on bits and pieces of some of the most terrifying monsters to roam the earth.

Find Julie online at killersanddemons.com.

Forbidden Fruits: “Death Shot” by Konn Lavery

T6 Forbidden Fruit

BETWEEN TWO FLAMES WITH THE SEVENTH TERRACE

With the release of Forbidden Fruit, the second (or sixth, depending your reckoning) instalment in our Purgatorio anthology series, we are inviting our fabulous contributors between the flames to get their hot, gluttonous take on their story and the book and life in general, such that it at the end of all things.

Today we welcome Konn Lavery, author of “Death Shot”, a wild tale of a man settling into his stay in Purgatory after certain, how do you say it… indiscretions. Konn, please tell us a little about yourself in exactly twenty-seven words.

Konn: Why yes, my parents are Star Trek fans. Yes, they adjusted the spelling to mask my true power. I write dark fiction and am a graphic designer.

TST: “Khhhaaaaaaaaan!!” Revenge is a dish best served cold, isn’t it? And… moving on to the main course of our revenge banquet, what does gluttony mean to you? Is it inherently a bad thing? How does that play into your story of excessive consumption found in this unwholesome volume?

Konn: Great question… I think the warnings of gluttony tie into each of the seven deadly sins, which are designed to warn people about excessiveness within themselves. Let’s get hippie-dippie zen by saying that life is a balance and too much of anything can lead to high contrasts in your life.

The concepts of good and evil create a gnarly rollercoaster within us. If you remove the higher peaks, such as overconsumption and substance abuse, you’ll find yourself on the kiddie rollercoaster ride. Life is easier but less exciting. Keep in mind, the ride may be awkward as there is a height restriction, and the nearby parents will give you dagger eyes. So, in short, enjoy the sins of the flesh but know when to cut out overconsumption.

Gluttony plays right into the short story “Death Shot”. The protagonist named Newbie had an addiction problem on Earth before dying (no spoilers), which leads him into the afterlife, and his greedy ways come back to haunt him, bringing in the classic cautions of the deadly sins.

TST: Indeed. And, let me tell you, you can’t trust anyone in Purgatory! Anyone!! Now tell us about a time you overindulged, like really stuffed yourself silly… with anything.

Konn: Oh boy! How embarrassing do we get? Well, I’ll share a milder warning. In Calgary, there is this breakfast joint named Galaxie Diner that holds dark temptations with each visit. Entering the narrow corridor, you’re met with mountains of frying potatoes and coffee all around. Their menus clearly state “bottomless toast and endless hashbrowns,” which brings fleeting pleasures of the tongue. Plate after plate, the mashed-up taters pile up in the belly, stretching innards, waiting to break free. Some souls never make it out of the diner as their stomachs rip open, dumping a mangled mess of potatoes and stomach fluid onto the checkered floor. The nearby customers scurry on all fours, licking up the spilled out potatoes, hoping to please their tastebuds. Thankfully I managed to escape this dark fate, collapsing into a bed and slipping into an afternoon coma of drool.

TST: Mmm, endless taters, now we’re hungry again. And speaking of endless regurgitation, which of your characters could you see popping up again in other stories?

Konn: Mo is someone I’d like to revisit. He’s got a lot of humorous mystery to his character with the shapeshifting and vampiric nature.

TST: Mo does seem like a solid wingman, I bet he brings all boys to the kitchen. Since we conscripted a recipe from you, tell us about your usefulness in said kitchen. Does preparing food get your creative gravy gushing?

Konn: Cooking does! Working from home for many years, I learned to get good at it. Most of the meals I make are vegan with raw ingredients making the sauces from various spices and acids. The bulk of the meals are vegetables, legumes, and beans. My favourite dishes to make are ginger Szechuan, pad thai, and curried chickpeas. Prepping the meals and cooking them helps break me from the usual workflow. It gets the brain to work in different thought patterns compared to design work or writing, giving it room to see situations from new angles.

TST: Mmm, ginger Szechuan. You’re killing us here! If you were to massively overdose on cocaine and wind up at the Purgatorio Bar & Grill, who would you hope to run into there? And would you sell a soul to save your own?

Konn: I’d hope to run into someone cool like Jimi Hendrix or Marshall McLuhan. Not that they were terrible people, but they thought outside of the box, which may be enough to send you down into Purgatory. Now for selling a soul . . . heh heh, depends on who.

TST: We can give you an extensive list and we’ll totally make it worth your while. So, what’s next for you? Any forthcoming releases, hatchings, or germinations we should be on the lookout for?

Konn: The next release is a complete overhaul of my horror novel Seed Me in the fall. It’ll be labelled as a Relapse Edition. Basically, a retelling of the whole story with new scenes expanding on the World Mother mythos. After that, I’m in a strange crossroads covered in fog. But I am working on a modern-day urban fantasy series mixing in drugs, crime, and Illuminati conspiracy theories.

TST: Excellent, those sound fantastic! Feel free to partake of the hot tub and vomitorium on the way out.

Konn: Nice! Already jumping in.

TST: Thanks Konn! That about wraps things up – don’t forget to check out Terrace VI: Forbidden Fruit now available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca and under whatever rocks you might find stray books.


About the Author:

Konn Lavery is a Canadian author whose work has been recognized by Edmonton’s top five bestseller charts and by reviewers such as Readers’ Favorite, and The Wishing Shelf Awards.

He started writing stories at a young age while being homeschooled. After graduating from graphic design college, he began professionally pursuing his writing with his first release, Reality. He continues to write in the thriller, horror, and fantasy genres.

He balances his literary work along with his own graphic design and website development business. His visual communication skills have been transcribed into the formatting and artwork found within his publications supporting his fascination of transmedia storytelling.

You can find Konn online at www.konnlavery.com.

Forbidden Fruits: “Gluttony” by Cam Hayden

T6 Forbidden Fruit

BETWEEN TWO FLAMES WITH THE SEVENTH TERRACE

With the release of Forbidden Fruit, the second (or sixth, depending your reckoning) instalment in our Purgatorio anthology series, we are inviting our fabulous contributors between the flames to get their hot, gluttonous take on their story and the book and life in general, such that it is in these end days.

Today we welcome Cam Hayden, artist and author of “Gluttony”, a graphic tale of a little old woman with some serious and pressing issues. Cam, please tell us a little about yourself in exactly twenty-seven words.

Cam: I’m pretty tall, probably like 7 feet or so, and super ripped, like totally shredded, most people when they see me are like, “woah! That dude can’t keep shirts on his body because they get all cut up on contact!”

TST: Alright, forty words but we’ll let that slip – this time! Let’s get right to the oozing meat of it. What does gluttony mean to you? Is it inherently a bad thing? How does that play into your story of excessive consumption found in this unwholesome volume?

Cam: Well, right now I’d say gluttony is kind of a survival mechanism. I’m living in this place with 29 other dudes, all competing for the affections of one lady. There’s only so much food to go around so at night I’ve been sneaking into the kitchen and just going to town on everything I can get my hands on. I need to keep my strength up because I never know what I’m going to be doing the next day. Could be wrestling orangutans, could be doing flips, could be seeing who can dig the biggest hole in 15 minutes. Any food I can get in me instead of those other guys, that could be the edge I need. Our task last week was to submit a comic to a prose anthology. Those other chumps were too weak to come up with anything.

TST: That’s one lucky lady, right Lola? And we agree about the other chumps. Tell us about a time you overindulged, like really stuffed yourself silly…with anything.

Cam: Back in the day, I was in a prog rock band and ate 7 peregrine falcons, including beaks and feet. Normally I’d only eat 2 but we kept getting encores. Man, they loved us in Red Deer! I even had to abstain from the groupies that night because I kept burping up those little hoods. It was embarrassing. I played it off like it was funny but it really upset me.

TST: Red Deer is the cat’s pyjamas – smells like a serious road trip – beaks and feet and donuts. Which of your characters could you see popping up again in other stories?

Cam: Maybe the maggots.

TST: Never enough maggots. That makes me want to tell our maggot story. No? Fine, you win this time… So Cam, tell us about your usefulness in the kitchen. Does preparing food get your creative gravy gushing?

Cam: Sometimes while my chef is mashing my taters I make my butler do improv with me. Does that count?

TST: Yes, definitely. Also, taters, mmm. What would you do if you swallowed a fly? And what’s the largest land mammal you think you could cram down your throat?

Cam: I swallow flies all the time, it sort of comes with the territory where I’m living. I was also having trouble sleeping so I went to one of those sleep clinics where they videotape you tossing and turning all night. As it happens, the reason I kept waking up was because my nose and mouth would fill up with the little buggers. It was like there was an after hours club for flies inside my yap. It turns out the reason was because of all the tubs of honey I’d been chugging while the other dudes were working out or whatever. Largest animal: peregrine falcon. No wait, that’s not a mammal. Let’s see… ok, one time I shotgunned an orange crush but I didn’t realize that due to some mishap at the plant, a skinny pig had gotten into the can.

TST: Sounds like you need to work your way up to a camel or possibly a hippo, but a skinny pig is a good intermediate step.

Thanks Cam! And don’t forget to check out the book – Terrace VI: Forbidden Fruit is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca and under whatever rocks you might find stray books.


About the Artist:

Cam Hayden draws strange comics, cartoons, makes odd prints and things like that. A lot of his inspiration comes from underground comic folks and an early exposure to Mad Magazine and National Lampoon. He also makes goofy trading cards.

Find Cam online on Twitter at @Lancegoiter or at www.patreon.com/lancegoiter.

Forbidden Fruits: “Naked Samantha” by Eddie Generous

T6 Forbidden Fruit

BETWEEN TWO FLAMES WITH THE SEVENTH TERRACE

With the release of Forbidden Fruit, the second (or sixth, depending your reckoning) instalment in our Purgatorio anthology series, we are inviting our fabulous contributors between the flames to get their hot, gluttonous take on their story and the book and life in general, such that it is in these end days.

Today we welcome Eddie Generous, author of “Naked Samantha”, a story about uh, hmm, poker? and one I suspect you never thought you’d get published. Eddie, please tell us a little about yourself in exactly twenty-seven words.

Eddie: I’m currently a bit sweaty, and bloated from ice cream (non-dairy, I’m suddenly allergic to everything, happened the moment I outlived Jesus Christ). I’m fond of cats.

TST: Alright! With that out of the way let’s get right to the oozing meat of it. What does gluttony mean to you? Is it inherently a bad thing? How does that play into your story of excessive consumption found in this unwholesome volume?

Eddie: Gluttony, I guess, is crossing a line from consumption to criminal consumption. Probably it’s usually okay, I mean, the world’s on fire and conservative politicians want everyone miserable before they burn. So, indulge. How gluttony plays in this story…ignore what I just said; don’t indulge in that, you perverts. Some carnal urges need to be ignored…then again, sometimes it’s fun to watch things play out when there’s a secret on the horizon, an ace up the sleeve.

TST: Tell us about a time you overindulged, like really stuffed yourself silly…with anything.

Eddie: When I was fourteen, I drank thirty-three beers in one night and was sick for a whole week, but I had to go to school. Not like anybody was going to let me stay home for a hangover. Also, I split one of the beers with a donkey not long before I passed out in the field where we were drinking.

TST: Which of your characters could you see popping up again in other stories?

Eddie: From this story, I guess the Starbucks employee? Otherwise, I don’t know. Not too many options and Samantha kind of steals the show, so it might be like rewriting this same story all over again if she reappeared.

TST: Tell us about your usefulness in the kitchen. Does preparing food get your creative gravy gushing?

Eddie: I’m a good cook, if you’re into low-brow offerings. I’m not excited about cooking, but I know what something’s going to taste like if I make it, so I tend to do my share of the suppers around my house.

TST: In your view, how likely is it that the barista who smiles as she takes down the complicated instructions for my mochafrappishitino would murder me in a heartbeat if the opportunity presented itself? And in your view, would I deserve it? Also, five card stud or Texas hold’em?

Eddie: Baristas seemed unhinged at the best of times. I guess they weed out people who would thrive in other environments and take what’s left over. I guess the real question that would answer your question is: did you tip? Texas hold’em, I guess. I don’t know much about cards or gambling or convening with enough humans to facilitate a game; not these days.

TST: What’s next for you? Any forthcoming releases, hatchings, or germinations we should be on the lookout for? 

Eddie: I have a new novel on the way in September titled HETTY and, and in August or September I have a novella coming titled IT CAME FROM SPACE, and I have a handful of shorts on contract that’ll trickle into the world in the next however long, but mostly, if people want more of me, they should grab a copy of THE WALKING SON. It’s the story of a curse, a road trip, and some very old coins, plus ghosts and body horror. People, so far, really seem to like it.

TST: Thanks Eddie! And don’t forget to check out the book – Terrace VI: Forbidden Fruit is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca and under whatever rocks you might find stray books.


About the Author:

Eddie Generous has fallen off three different roofs and been lit on fire on multiple occasions. He grew up on a farm and later slept with his shoes under his pillows in homeless shelters. He dropped out of high school to afford rent on a room at a crummy boarding house, but eventually graduated from a mediocre college. He is the author of several small press books, has 2.8 rescue cats (one needed a leg amputation), is a podcast host, and lives on the Pacific Coast of Canada.

You can find Eddie online at www.jiffypopandhorror.com

The Donut Queen by Scott S. Phillips

The Donut Queen

REVIEW

Vampires get a bad rap these days. A terrible rap. Sure, it’s easy to point to the general body of work from the last decade and shrug at the overdone and uninspired and lazy, but that’s a vast oversimplification. All genres wax and wane, and amidst the swirling seas of creativity there are always gems to be discovered and cherished. If you’ve been keeping watch, you’ll know there is plenty of thick red blood left in the vampire genre. Still not convinced? Fire up WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (movie AND series), for one, and you will be.

Along those humorous and wildly entertaining lines, the PETE, DRINKER OF BLOOD series has been a treasure for the last few years. Since 2012 Scott Phillips has been entertaining us with tales of regular, everyman, Pete, transformed into a vampire in 1973 and sort of stuck in the seventies in so many (good) ways. The fabulous and distinctive covers by Lili Chin elucidate this aesthetic perfectly.

All poor Pete wants is to have an unexciting, normal life (or what passes as one for a creature of the night). Spending quality time with his girlfriend Angie, working his night job for the Department of Water and Power, listening to classic rock at the Starbucket diner. But a simple life is not in the cards. Over five novels (with a sixth in the works!) Pete, with a fantastic cast of friends, enemies, and frenemies, has navigated an increasing chaotic adventure oozing with greasy magic and the machinations of the insidious Untermeier’s Donuts.

This adventure and conflict comes to its penultimate conclusion in The Donut Queen. Maisie Untermeier, the aforementioned Donut Queen herself, has arrived in person to deal with the ever troublesome Pete, and with an unexpected and terrifying ally attempts to make good on that threat. But Pete has an unexpected, though possibly undesired, ally as well, and in typical Pete fashion, unlife never proceeds exactly as desired.

While you might possibly understand what the hell is going on if you jump right into this one without reading the preceding four, I’d strongly recommend picking up the others if you haven’t – well worth the price of admission.

The Donut Queen is available on Amazon now!

INTERVIEW – BETWEEN TWO FLAMES WITH THE SEVENTH TERRACE

TST: Welcome, Scott, to the Seventh Terrace of Purgatory. The sexiest terrace of course. And warm! Want to introduce yourself and tell us a little about your new novel, THE DONUT QUEEN? And possibly about the PETE, DRINKER OF BLOOD series in general?

Scott: Thanks! I like to be warm and sexy. By way of introduction, I  guess I’m just a guy who likes to write stuff. When I was a kid I used to make little Super-8mm movies, mostly because at the time I wanted to be a stop-motion animator, but as I kept making the flicks, I realized that I liked writing the scripts for ‘em better than doing the animation and whatnot. This led to writing a bunch of screenplays and I eventually sold one that became DRIVE (Dacascos, not Gosling). I wound up writing a handful of movies and a bunch of stuff that never got made (like the infamous Steven Seagal nightmare and the script I did for Kelsey Grammer’s production company at Paramount that basically broke my spirit). Along the way, I discovered I liked writing short stories a lot more than I liked dealing with Hollywood and around that time, I wrote my first novel, SQUIRREL EYES. After a truly unpleasant experience with the editor of my novel FRIDAY THE 13th: CHURCH OF THE DIVINE PSYCHOPATH, I decided to take a stab at self-publishing, and I’ve never looked back. 

As for PETE, I had originally written what became the first novel as a screenplay, although it was more of an Adam Sandler movie than what the book wound up being. My girlfriend Sarah Bartsch, who is also a writer (and we’re working on a couple books together right now), suggested turning it into a series, and THE DONUT QUEEN is the fifth book in that series. That one just came out at the end of April. They’re urban fantasy stories full of vampires, monsters, and magic, and they’re also pretty funny (I hope). 

TST: We love Pete, but why the hell would you select 1973 as the year his hair had to be trapped in? Not a particularly great year for hair if I remember, though I was only six and probably got my hair cut with a bowl.

Scott: I was nine and had that same bowl cut! Which is probably one reason I got picked on constantly, along with liking comic books and Star Trek. Remember when being a nerd actually got the shit kicked out of you? Anyway, I disagree on hair-years – personally, I’m all about the 70s hair, largely because as a guy who has had long hair (and is in the process of having it again now), it’s a lot easier to pull off the 70s thing than the 80s thing – hair metal or new wave. Of course, Pete doesn’t even have long hair, just a ‘fro. I guess this is where I should mention that 1973 is when Pete got himself vampire-bit, for those wondering what the hell we’re even talking about.

TST: So… greasy magic. Sounds like something that spontaneously happens when we leave fast food in the sun in the back seat of our Pontiac Aztec or possibly when Gary and the rest of the penguins get into the lube. How on earth did you come up with the concept and name for this unique flavor of sorcery?

Scott: One of the things I like to do with the Pete books is poke a little fun at genre tropes, and between writing the first and second books, I read MISTBORN by Brandon Sanderson, and he came up with that insanely cool and insanely well-thought-out magic system, so I wanted to do the exact opposite with PETE HAS RISEN FROM THE GRAVE. I figured I needed the lowest form of low magic, and you can’t get much lower than something that requires using your own pee (or other bodily fluids) to control it. I wanted a sort of magic that’s pretty much exclusively used by criminals and lazy people. The name is kind of a Trailer Park Boys reference – they’re always referring to anything particularly sleazy as “greasy,” and I just thought it fit. 

TST: The inclusion of the Fae in this novel is inspired. Did you plan this, or did you take a wrong turn at Albuquerque?

Scott: Thanks! But heck no, I don’t plan nuthin’, really. When someone asked Elmore Leonard if he outlines really tightly, he said “I don’t even have a loose outline. I just make it up as I go along.” That’s pretty much how I like to write – although I’m not comparing myself to Elmore Leonard, aside from not outlining. I tend to have little signposts in my head that I work towards but I like things to be flexible, and I find if I’m working from an outline I get all twisted up trying to stick to it even though my instincts are screaming at me to throw it out. So yes, wrong turn at Albuquerque, which is easy since I live just outside of the place. I guess it just felt like it was time for some faeries to show up in the Pete books. 

TST: What’s next for Pete? We hear tell of a capstone for his current set of adventures – though hopefully it won’t be three more years! And on related note, are you planning on writing any more Boone Butters stories? Please say yes.

Scott: I’ve just gotten started on the sixth book in the series, which is called THE GREASY MAGIC WAR. That will wrap up the Untermeier’s Donuts story arc that’s been going on since book two – and yeah, I definitely don’t want any more three-year stretches of writing one book! Depression is the enemy of cranking out the wordage, I can assure you. I’m feeling a bit better these days, though, and I’m writing every single day (and have been since January 1st, 2020). There will definitely be more Pete adventures after book six, although I think they’ll be more standalone stories unless I change my mind along the way. I already have an idea of what books seven and eight will be, in any case. I’d like to do a spin-off featuring Randy “Serious” Burns and his criminal cohorts, and I’ve got the next Boone Butters book percolating like crazy, but it’s just a matter of finding the time to write all the things. As I mentioned, Sarah and I are working on two books together – they’re both cozy mysteries, and we’re having a lot of fun with those. With any luck, the first one (WICKED SNARL: A DANGER POTATO MYSTERY) will be out by the end of the year.

TST: You have a great Patreon with a stream of terrible poems, video journals, and sneak peeks. And something called No Coward Bites where you eat… well, technically things you can put in your mouth and possibly swallow. What made you think this was a good idea?

Scott: Thanks! I try to make the Patreon thing fun and deliver some goofy stuff. Writing the terrible poems is my favorite thing about it. No Coward Bites is actually something I do for YouTube, so anyone can check it out, but folks on my Patreon get early access to new episodes. It was Sarah’s idea – I have a bunch of those disturbing old cookbooks full of horrifying recipes and she thought it would be cool if I made them and sampled them. The title is something my friend Greg Freeland said when I told him I was gonna make the Veg-All Pie for the first episode. I’d like to do the episodes more often, but not only is time a factor, I honestly dread having to eat the stuff so I put it off sometimes. Like the one I’ve got coming up – it involves chicken noodle soup, cream cheese, lemon Jell-O, and canned shrimp. The idea of putting that into my mouth-parts is utterly terrifying. 

TST: You wrote a couple of fantastic short stories for us back at Coffin Hop Press, in It’s a Weird Winter Wonderland and Knucklehead Noir. Any possibility of getting another story out of you in the near/medium/long future?

Scott: You are too kind. I would love to send more stories your way, but once again it comes down to the hours in the day. I’ve got a couple things kickin’ around my brain, so it’s not out of the question. As with any of us people what puts the words on the papers, the dream is that the book sales will pick up to the point where I can cut back on the day job a bit and get more of the real stuff done.

TST: Thank you for chatting with us! Any final words before we release the leg hold trap?

Scott: Only that I wish I had that fast food from the back seat of your car right now. 

5/5


About the Author:

Scott S. Phillips has written all kinds of stuff: films, TV, books, comics and even dialogue for talking dolls. He’s the author of the PETE, DRINKER OF BLOOD series, as well as several other books. Scott wrote the screenplay for the cult action flick DRIVE (1997), and twelve episodes of the CW Network’s KAMEN RIDER DRAGON KNIGHT.

Perhaps most importantly, he once performed as stand-in for the legendary Lemmy in the video for Motorhead’s “Sacrifice.”

You can find Scott at his Patreon page, where you can get cool exclusives like sneak peeks at chapters of upcoming books, a Patrons-only blog, read his monthly terrible poems (and see videos of him doing dramatic readings of those very same terrible poems), get your name listed in the acknowledgments of his books, and even have a character named after you!

You can also find Scott at Facebook and Instagram: @scottphillipsnm

Darkest Hours: Expanded Edition by Mike Thorn

REVIEW

I didn’t think I could love this collection more, but I so do! When it comes to Mike Thorn, more is always better. And this Expanded Edition gives you so much more. Hard to believe it’s been four years since the original was released by Unnerving – I remember reading through it the first time thinking what the absolute fuck. In the best way of course. I never thought of hair the same way. Ever.

So what comes in the box? Besides freshly revised versions of the all the original stories, we get an awesome new cover from Mikio Murakami, a lovely foreword from Sadie Hartmann (of Mother Horror renown), story notes for each story, and a collection of excellent essays on horror cinema.

I’m not going to review each of the stories in depth, but I will say if I had to pick my jewel of the collection, I’m going to have to go with “Mictian Diabolus”. A story with anything or anyone called The Peeler hits all of my sweet spots.

Of all the new content, the story notes are my favourite addition. As both a reader and author, I love to hear how stories came to be and their influences (so incredibly varied) and how they evolved. Super cool.

And the essays? Mike knows SO much about horror film history, and his insights on such make me realize how much I don’t know and what I should go track down and devour (Rob Zombie’s 31!). He makes it look effortless. After you read this set of essays, if you haven’t poured through the lists of his favourites (and why they are his favourites) on Twitter, you’re missing out. Run, don’t walk, and read them all. Trust me, you’ll learn so much.

Darkest Hours: Expanded Edition will be released into the world by Journalstone on June 11, 2021.

INTERVIEW – BETWEEN TWO FLAMES WITH LOLA AND NOGGY

Noggy: Today in the studio, we have the infamous Mike Thorn. Want to tell us a little about your new collection Darkest Hours: Expanded Edition and why we’d consider you infamous? 

Mike: Yes, I do want to tell you about Darkest Hours: Expanded Edition! Thank you, Sarah and Rob. This is a deluxe reissue of a short story collection initially released in 2017. This updated version includes my author notes for all 16 original stories, 17 essays on horror cinema, and a foreword by the great Sadie Hartmann (Mother Horror). It also features beautiful new cover art by Mikio Murakami. 

I suspect you might consider me infamous because my reading of “Hair” made several customers gag at Owl’s Nest Books. Is that true?  

Noggy: I’m going to say yes! (Sarah’s nota bene: it is true and it was me). And that’s probably why the Nest now has hardwood instead of carpet. So with that out of the way, I do have a burning question, are you perhaps any relation to the Frank Manly Thorn? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Manly_Thorn – you’re both sort of dapper writer types in that monstrous and indescribable way. 

Mike: I can’t respond to this with any certainty. If I send my saliva to 23andMe, will they be able to confirm? I apologize for answering your question with a question, but it’s the best I can do right now. 

Lola: Understood. If anyone understands evasion, we certainly do. What horror movie/book/media you totally love and adore that most people think is garbage – and vice versa? 

Mike: I recently rewatched the director’s cut of The Bye Bye Man, directed by Stacy Title, and I liked it even more on a second viewing. I’m also a huge fan of John Boorman’s Exorcist II, M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening, all of Dario Argento’s late-career work, Bela Lugosi’s Poverty Row pictures … I could go on and on. There are so many horror films that I think are misunderstood and/or underappreciated!  

As for the reverse: I did not respond to A Quiet Place at all, but I know a lot of people were excited by it.  

Lola: Fuck/Marry/Kill: characters and monsters from Darkest Hours. Come on, we know you have answers! 

Mike: Fuck the blob from “Mired.” 
Marry Cate from “The Auteur.” 
Kill Steve from “Party Time.”

You’ll have to read the book to psychoanalyze these responses, folks!

Noggy: You just released your first novel – Shelter for the Damned – do you think you’ll write more novels, or are you retreating back to short stories where the fun and uh… money is? 

Mike: Right now, I’m drafting a screen treatment and an essay for an anthology on Weird Fiction. I’m also neck-deep in a second novel. I intend to keep working within both the long and short forms. Wherever the muse leads me, you know? 

Lola: What would you do if you woke up one morning and found a single stout hair growing in the middle of your tongue? 

Mike: Just one hair? In all honesty, I would probably just pluck it. If this became a recurring issue, or if one hair became two (or more), I would promptly schedule a visit with my doctor.  

Lola: The only thing less respectable than being a horror writer is being a film critic. In your view, is becoming a critic failing up or down? 

Mike: “Respectable” is overrated.  

I like to think my failings are on a consistently upward trajectory. Thanks for this question.  

Noggy: Could be worse I guess, you could be a poet. Want to tell us about what you have coming out this year and what you’re working on? Or have you peaked and plan on coasting for the rest of the decade? 

Mike: My second short story collection, Peel Back and See, comes out from Journalstone in October. Also, Jamie Blanks and I have been talking about collaborating on something scary for the screen! 

Right now, I’m working on getting vaccinated and staying afloat.

Noggy: Good luck with with all your endeavours, and enjoy your new microchip. Well Lola, guess we should mention that Mike has also been coerced into writing a story for The Seventh Terrace’s forthcoming mini-anthology Terrace VI: Forbidden Fruit, out in June!

Lola: Do yourself a favour and pick up Darkest Hours: Expanded Edition. And remember, there’s always more than one hair…

5/5


About the Author:

Mike Thorn is the author of the novel Shelter for the Damned and the short story collection Darkest Hours. His fiction has appeared in numerous magazines, anthologies and podcasts, including Vastarien, Dark Moon Digest, The NoSleep Podcast, and Tales to Terrify. His film criticism has been published in MUBI Notebook, The Film Stage, and In Review Online

Visit his website mikethornwrites.com or connect with him on Twitter @MikeThornWrites.

Publisher: Journalstone