Rob’s Spring Sparks

So much to read and watch, so little time to review. While I wish I could blast out a full write up of everything, I’m going to go with the highlights of what I enjoyed over the last couple of months.

Books

Cult of the Spider Queen by S.A. Sidor (Arkham Horror)

Current read in progress and so far an enjoyable 1920’s jungle romp with all the cosmic horror trimmings. I’m a huge fan of Sidor’s first Arkham Horror novel, The Last Ritual, and his two supernatural-pulp adventures from Angry Robot, Fury From the Tomb and The Beast of Nightfall Lodge, a series I hope he continues.

When Things Get Dark: Stories inspired by Shirley Jackson edited by Ellen Datlow (Blackstone Audio)

Current listen in progress and after the first few stories, altogether excellent. Lots of family, and dining rooms, and creepiness.

X’s for Eyes by Laird Barron (Bizarro Pulp Press)

I’d read the first part of the book “We Smoke the Northern Lights” in The Gods of HP Lovecraft and was excited to finally read the second half of the novella and see what happens. Pure awesomeness of course. Love the Tooms brothers and their weird, wide, universe which feels a lot like the Venture Brothers with cosmic horror replacing superheroes.

King Solomon’s Mines by H. Rider Haggard (InAudio)

I hadn’t read this book since I was young and my main recollections of it were distorted by the 1985 Richard Chamberlain movie, which is more comedic parody than faithful adaption. The book is far superior, albeit steeped in damn horrible colonialism where every non white is a savage and gunning down herds of elephants is considered heroic – definitely overpowers the bones of the story which are about friendships and family.

Pickman’s Gallery edited by Matthew Carpenter (Ulthar Press)

I always loved the character of Richard Upton Pickman from a couple of Lovecraft’s stories and dug this collection continuing his legacy. I especially liked that the stories weren’t necessarily about him, but in many cases adjacent or referential. Great fun.

The Fisherman by John Langan (Word Horde)

I’m of two minds about this book. On one hand I loved it – loved the world, loved the mythology which really reminded me of my favourite Michael Shea stories. The structure, on the other hand, was unexpected. I think I was hoping for more back and forth between the times and less the three act narrative. But, as Sarah says, I’m horribly impatient, so take that complaint as a personal preference. Definitely an amazing story!

Rules for Monsters by Michael Minnis (Lovecraft eZine Press)

So many stories, and I hear there will be another volume – Michael is a prolific author indeed. While not every story is a winner, I enjoyed many of them and loved some, especially where he didn’t directly homage or extend classic Lovecraft stories.

Cthulhu Reloaded by David Conyers

Some entertaining military cosmic horror. Major Harrison Peel is a solid character and his adventures take him across many Lovecraftian locals and pit him against even more Lovecraftian monsters and gods. A fun page turner and I’m looking forward to picking up and reading the next couple of books in the series.

Mr. Cannyharme by Michael Shea (Hippocampus Press)

Michael Shea has always been one of my favourite authors and a serious inspiration for my own writing. I’ve read pretty much everything he wrote and was delighted to learn that this novel existed and would be published (and I hear there may be yet another lost Shea manuscript out there!!). Mr. Cannyharme was written in 81 and is a homage/adaption of Lovecraft’s “The Hound”. Loved it.

Movies

Possum (A Sarah pick)

Holy shit this was bleak. And British. If that’s not a genre, it should be. I’m not at all a fan of horrible creepy puppets so yeah… The plot? Sure. Well, there’s this dude named Phillip who used to be a puppeteer and ends up back at his old house with his weird old uncle. Phillip has old, deep issues. And a horrible creepy spider puppet. I can’t even… thanks for nightmares Sarah. Pro tip: Never go home with a puppet.

The Deeper You Dig (A Rob pick)

We’d watched Hellbender and enjoyed it, and I was listening to a podcast where they talked about this being the Adams Family’s (not THE Addams Family, though I kinda wonder, hmm) second movie. So we hunted down The Deeper You Dig and weren’t disappointed. Pretty much the same cast and with a similar witchy/psychic themes, which we loved. The plot? After her daughter dies and haunts the killer, her mom, a psychic, tries to figure out what’s happening. Pro tip? Don’t sled in the dark in a blizzard across a road.

Jug Face (A Rob pick)

Another movie I heard about from a podcast (The Lovecraft eZine Podcast?) that sounded intriguing. Like, what’s not interesting about devout backwoods hillbillies worshiping a malevolent/benevolent pit that’s probably some kind of forest demon god? Hits all the right notes in my book. The Plot? The Pit wants what the Pit wants. And it’s not the friendly sort of blood filled pit that everyone likes. Let’s just say it’s best to obey it’s demands or you lose your intestines.. Pro tip: Don’t sleep with your brother.

Covid-19: A Spiritual Journey

Noggy: We’re really calling it that?

Lola: Yes, shut up.

Noggy: Okay, but let the record show, you laid your spores in me. Unclean woman.

Lola: It’s my version of trapping you with a baby.

Noggy: Alien parasites. And not the good kind that everyone likes.

Lola: We have a review to write, quit stalling.

N: Fine! (cut to mumbling). It all started when I was minding my own business, living a life of selfless virtue, building orphanages and rescuing baby birds fallen from their nests—

L: And I went to Costco, maskless, like a dumbass.

N: A few days later we went for a four-hour run wherein you aerosolized me with Kirkland brand covid, and the next morning you tested positive, destroying my innocent little life.

L: You didn’t have to invite me to quarantine with you.

N: Did you miss the part where I’m selfless? And didn’t want your family turned into transhuman jelly?

L: Let’s just do the review, okay?

Day 1: You are a SUPERNOVA!

L: I slacked work with my rapid test selfie and soon enough several people were typing: condolences, concern, well-meaning banishments. And I’m all, “I got this, boo. I feel fine.”

N: Then you came over to WFH, which you did for about an hour before faceplanting on your laptop. I like to call this part ‘the sickening.’

L: Turns out, not so fine.

N: I tested negative but had a nap anyway. One can never have enough naps. Pretty sure that’s in the Purgatory manual.

L: Then we watched that show about WeWork…for some reason.

N: Remind me why we’re supposed to care about rich white people problems? Rich whites who got richer after their shenanigans? Where’s the comeuppance?

Day 2: Of Which Lola Has Little Memory

N: You poured a 5oz slug of brandy in your Neo Citron, remember?

L: I think we’ve already established that I don’t.

N: I was still testing negative but starting to show minimal signs of plague, though to be honest, I think they were sympathetic at this point.

L: You made me go for a walk in the middle of nowhere. I was literally dying and you made me exercise.

N: It’s easier to explain a body in the wild and not stuffed under one’s couch.

L: Especially that couch.

N: Hey, it may be the worst couch ever but at least we discovered the filthy delight that is Human Resources on Netflix while expiring on said couch. Literal bags of assholes.

L: The show, not the couch. I think.

Day 3: Noggy Tests Positive

L: Finally.

N: Late evening and bam, murdered.

L: We also did an episode of Between Two Flames for Rebekah Raymond’s virtual book launch. I’m told we did this. I’m told it was brilliant.

N: So that’s why I woke up wearing sunglasses and a vest…

Day 4: Cracow Monsters!

N: It was the worst of times, it was was the worstest of times.

L: Yeah, but soup. Don’t forget the soup.

N: True. Magic soup from the soup fairies. Bless their souls. I watched from the window as they placed the bowls in the symbolic configuration, mystically protected from the dark water feral bunny god, before making the proper ritualistic gestures and vanishing from whence they came.

L: I’m pretty sure that was the arcane cabal from the Netflix show.

N: Vietnamese, not Polish.

L: What the hell are we talking about again?

N: Dying.

L: Right. The Big Sleep.

Day 5: It’s always darkest before dawn

L: I think I feel…better? Or maybe I’ve turned…

N: Aren’t you glad I made you exercise?

L: I went a little easier on you, because you had man-covid.

Day 6: In Which Lola is Paroled from Covid Jail

N: And I was still holed up in my midden of diseased blankets and used Kleenex

L: Like a rat. While I N95’d and went to Dairy Queen for Blizzards. It was glorious…until I realized I couldn’t taste a damn thing. It wound up taking three days to eat.

N: That was also the day we aired out the place. Neither of us could smell either but I’m sure it was something akin to a festering hockey bag.

Days 7-10: Noggy turns the corner

N: And Lola decides she’s in the right headspace to get a large tattoo

L: Not as impulsive as it sounds

N: But the leaking black goo! Or was it black blood? You had turned.

L: Turned a corner.

N: Soon enough we had the energy to get drunk and yell at the television

L: Then I went home. I was actually…sad.

N: I thought we’d kill each other in quarantine, but I didn’t hate it, aside from the fatally diseased part.

Overall Impressions

So, what have we learned from Ten Days in Purgatory?

That you always come out of Costco with more than you planned. Always.

5/5

P.S. 8 weeks later. We’re not saying long covid, but we’re not-not saying it…Jesus Christ.

Forbidden Fruits: “Vomitus Bacchanalius” by Mike Thorn

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 Mike Thorn, author of “Vomitus Bacchanalius”, a tale of ultimate culinary and dinner party pleasure gone delightfully sideways. Mike, please tell us a little about yourself in exactly twenty-seven words. 

Mike: I am Mike Thorn, author of Shelter for the DamnedDarkest Hours, and “Vomitus Bacchanalius.” Here are some more words to meet the specified number of twenty-seven. 

TST: Specificity is important and those extra twelve words won’t hurt anyone, right? Maybe we shouldn’t ask. In fact, forget we said anything.

All right, 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? 

Mike: I was about to to say that gluttony is okay in moderation, but upon consideration, gluttony is, by definition, about the lack of moderation. With “Vomitus Bacchanalius,” I wanted to depict the celebration of over-consumption among privileged elites, and the incumbent exploitation therein.  

TST: Damn privileged elites! We’re never sad when they get what’s coming to them, even with the collateral damage inherent in these sorts of… situations. Now, tell us about a time you overindulged, like really stuffed yourself silly…with anything. 

Mike: One of my very earliest memories is of a giant bag of Jujubes that some unsuspecting adult left within my toddler-fingers’ reach. My baby id took hold, and I started cramming fistfuls of them into my mouth, barely taking the time to chew. 

The memory is hazy, but I know someone caught me in the act and stopped me from choking … maybe the Heimlich maneuver was involved? In any event, this was an early lesson about moderation (there’s that word again).  

TST: Mmm, Jububes. Now we’re hungry. We just did an trail ultramarathon and they had them at an aid station in the middle of nowhere. Saved our damned lives! Moderation? It has its place. Probably.

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

Mike: Many of my protagonists don’t make it past the final page… but I have a feeling that I haven’t seen the last of Cate, from “The Auteur” (published inDarkest Hours).  

TST: We’d love to see Cate again! She’s a survivor. So, since we conscripted a recipe from you, tell us about your usefulness in the kitchen. Does preparing food get your creative gravy gushing? 

Mike: I enjoy cooking! For me, it’s a good form of distraction, especially if the meal I’m preparing is comprised of several moving parts—I totally zone into the task at hand. I have a few go-to dishes I tend to make often—tofu scramble; Beyond Meat spaghetti sauce; seitan sausage with mashed potatoes, mushroom gravy, and greens; and a rice bowl with roasted sweet potatoes, sauteed spinach, pinto beans stewed in fresh tomatoes, and tahini-miso sauce.  

TST: Drool. God, we’re so hungry now, ravenous actually. We’re tempted to kidnap you and make you cook for us. We didn’t just put that in writing, did we? Damn. Oh well, it’ll be worth a couple of years of fugitive status.

While we ponder that: Roman orgy, aliens, and effluent. Would you tell us a little about your research process?  

Mike: This story took a while to gestate. When you folks graciously invited me to contribute, I took some time reflecting on the theme of gluttony, and it took me a while to “find” “Vomitus Bacchanalius.” 

I spent some time perusing the Internet for myths and stories involving gluttony, and I came across an article describing popular misconceptions about the ancient Roman vomitorium (commonly misperceived as a place where revelers barfed mid-celebration to clear stomach space). It dawned on me suddenly that I could explore gluttony through an elaborate Bacchanalian orgy held by members of high society. The genre elements fell into place soon after that.

At the time, I was doing some preliminary research for an essay, and I was fully immersed in Georges Bataille’s Visions of Excess: Selected Writings, 1927-1939. Bataille’s ideas definitely found their way into this story, as did the Schopenhauerian concepts that undergird so much Black Metal Theory.  

TST: We loved it and are so glad you took the time to craft such a wonderfully horrible story.

So, what’s next for you? Any forthcoming releases, hatchings, or germinations we should be on the lookout for? 

Mike: My second short story collection, Peel Back and See, comes out from JournalStone this October. I think it might be the darkest book I’ve written.  

TST: We are so looking forward to it. Thanks, Mike!

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


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.

Forbidden Fruits: “Fat Apocalypse” by Robin van Eck

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 Robin van Eck, author of “Fat Apocalypse”, a tale of a future that’s let itself go. A… lot. Robin, please tell us a little about yourself in exactly twenty-seven words.

Robin: Writer. Mom. Pet lover. Book reader – of all things horror, weird, contemporary. Face it, I’ll read most anything. And write just as eclectically. Don’t believe in limits. 

TST: Limits are definitely best ignored. Sooo…. 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?

Robin: Gluttony. An over-indulgence of anything good or bad. Is excess a bad thing? Too much money?  I’d like to roll in money. Who wouldn’t? Too much food? Well, I do hate that bloated feeling after a really good meal. Too much love and forbidden fantasies? We all need fantasies. A glutton for punishment? I guess that depends on the punishment and what it’s for. See fantasies. Alcohol and drugs…ok, maybe some bad can come from excess.

In Fat Apocalypse, the world has gone to shit, people are over-indulging because there’s not much left. Isn’t that usually how it works? The less we have, the more we want and will go to almost any extreme to get it. On one hand, the protagonists in my story are searching for healthy food, the bottom has dropped out of the economy, fresh fruit and vegetables are nowhere to be found, we’ve wasted and the environment and society is paying for it. Maybe that’s a little too Alberta for this interview. 

TST: I’m sure better times are right around the corner here in good old Alberta. Sunny days! Hmm, smoky days at least. Now, tell us about a time you overindulged, like really stuffed yourself silly…with anything.

Robin: Not sure I want to admit this right now. Let’s just say chocolate is my comfort food and comfort is something that is needed right now. 

TST: Chocolate is the best. One day the Press will be rich enough to have its own combination chocolate fountain and hot tub and then, look out world! Speaking of legacies, which of your characters could you see popping up again in other stories?

Robin: I don’t tend to recycle characters. I guess we would just have to wait and see. These characters are all a little odd, I think I might have to simply leave them where they are. 

TST: Nobody ever escapes a Robin van Eck story, got it! Since we conscripted a recipe from you, tell us about your usefulness in the kitchen. Does preparing food get your creative gravy gushing?

Robin: This is a bit hit and miss for me. I’m a good cook. I can read a recipe. I can be creative. Whether it tastes good or not is another story.

TST: We can attest personally that it’s always a hit, though our memories are fragmented at best. Having lived through a pandemic, have your thoughts on what the end of the world might look like changed from the time you wrote about your apocalyptic carnival? And will you ever go to the Calgary Stampede ever again?

Robin: This is an interesting question and something I’ve thought about a lot actually. Remember that heat wave just a few weeks ago? All the fires currently blazing. I think we’re going to fry to death before we ever have a chance to eat ourselves silly. So many naysayers about the environmental impact we’ve had on the world, yet the evidence keeps coming. It’s a scary thought. I picture us living in some kind of Mad Max world. If we survive, it will be an us vs them situation. Us being the realistic reasonable people, wanting to help one another survive. Them being the ones who can’t get their heads out of their asses and realize there’s more to life than oil and money and of course, it’s all a conspiracy. 
And no. The Stampede should never have happened this year, yet they went ahead. I have lost complete interest, not that I had much in the first place.  

TST: The world is definitely burning. In all the ways. But at least we’ll have front row seats at the BBQ! Hmm, now we’re hungry. Again For chocolate and seared meat.. Before we head to the meat locker, what’s next for you? Any forthcoming releases, hatchings, or germinations we should be on the lookout for?

Robin: Nothing coming up, but a lot going on. Since my novel came out in November of last year I’ve been picking away at a new manuscript that is close to completion, but not complete enough to really talk about except to say if you’re interested in death and some of the weird sites around Alberta, you might like this new book. 

TST: Thanks Robin! 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:

Robin van Eck’s stories and personal essays have appeared in various literary magazines and anthologies across Canada and internationally such as Lamplight, FreeFall, Prairie Journal, Woven Tales Press, Waiting: An Anthology of Essays, Very Much Alive and more. Her first novel, Rough, was published by Stonehouse Publishing in November 2020.

More information at www.robinzvaneck.com.

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.