Welcome to the Site!

As soon as my novels became available on Kindle Unlimited, there’s been lots more traffic on the website here, which tends to be behind the times. Writing time keeps getting spent on fiction instead.

So if you are visiting for the first time: Hi!  Expect irregular postings when the mood strikes, and some really excellent contributions from other authors. I only post items from the people I love to read, so consider their inclusion here a wholehearted endorsement.

Follow me here on Facebook for new releases and updates to the upcoming convention schedule. Here’s all the other nastiness available on Amazon for your reading pleasure, including some sci-fi benefit anthologies.

Hope to hear from you soon.

 

-Russell James

Con Game

Want the low down on attending a con as an author? Look no further. It’s one stop shopping time.

Part 1– How to prepare.

Part 2– What it will cost.

Part 3– What you can earn.

Part 4– How you can sell.

Dive in and I’ll see you at the next convention. If I’ve already met you at one, your picture may be on these pages.

Copy Edits With Old Friends

Here’s how writing a novel works, at least for me. I spend about a year creating it. A first draft, a second draft, then a third draft after another round of revisions from Beta readers. Then it goes off to my publisher. With luck my editor buys it for publication sometime in the next year.

So a few months before it gets published, I get the copy edit version back. This has notes and correction from my editor, the amazing Don D’Auria, and a copy editor. If I did well with the first three drafts, these are usually minor continuity errors, typos, and a few review lessons on embarrassing grammar points I’d forgotten. This my last chance to get the whole thing right. Whatever goes back to Samhain from here gets sent out to the rest of the world.

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This week I got back Q Island which releases in June. In the story, Long Island, NY becomes a quarantine zone as a plague breaks out. The victims become ultra-strong psychopaths, bent on murder. The island goes to hell. One woman, Melanie, finds out her son is immune, and this is the story of her escape attempt.

I could just check and approve changes and corrections, but instead I decided to re-read the whole thing. What am I finding?

First, the copy editor is apparently a much bigger fan if commas than I am. I swear the whole thing is two pages longer now.

Second, I really like these characters. The heroes, the villains, the ones in between. Honestly, after beating the thing to death for twelve months, I never wanted to see the book again. But it feels good to visit with Melanie once more, feel the strange combination of love and frustration she experiences with her autistic son. I missed old Samuel, the GP doctor who ends up treating Patient Zero+One, and watch the spread of the epidemic through his eyes. But the bad guy, Jimmy Wade, now he’s a trip. A nickel-and-dime crook and perennial loser, he gets infected and instead of going psychotic, he goes telepathic, though a little psychosis still develops. What fun watching him grow into his role as Long Island’s new crime lord.

In a few months, Q Island will hit the stores, and the rest of you will get to meet these friends pulled from my subconscious. I think you’ll like them, or hate them as need be. I’m sure that you’ll enjoy Melanie’s desperate attempt to get herself and her son off Long Island before Jimmy Wade and his thugs or the growing army of the infected can get to them. I mean, I’m enjoying reading it. And I know how it ends.

Another Visit with Brian Moreland

It is winter, and one of the coldest horror novels I’ve ever read is Brian Moreland’s Dead of Winter. I read it in the summer in Florida and had to sit outside in the sun to stay warm. I recommend this one as a fireside read. In daylight. I thought I check in on Brian and see what he’s been up to.

dead of winter

R: I’ve read all you novels and they are outstanding. Did you write the short stories in your collections between novels or as breaks during writing the longer works?

B: Yes, after I finish a novel, which takes about year or two to research and write, I need some time before starting another long novel project. That’s when I write short stories. I’m working on a collection right now that consists of stories that I’ve written over the years. Some I’ve published and some will be new stuff.

R: You’ve announced that you’re currently working on a horror short story collection. What made you decide to put a collection together?

B: I recently read several of Clive Barker’s Books of Blood collections. That not only inspired me to return to writing short stories, it also gave me the idea to take my favorite stories I’ve written over the years and compile them together as a collection.

R: You do all your own cover design, tell me about that process.

B: When writing a book, I start to get a sense of what I’d like to see on the cover. Usually it involves the setting where the story takes place or something that symbolizes the evil of the story. For The Witching House, it was the abandoned rock house that I had envisioned, with bloody witch symbols painted on the boarded windows.

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For The Girl from the Blood Coven, I thought it needed to feature the mysterious girl covered in blood who wanders out of the woods.

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For The Devil’s Woods, I chose the entrance to the forbidden forest that borders the haunted Cree Indian reservation. That’s where people keep disappearing.

 devils woods

And for The Vagrants, I decided to feature the subway tunnel where a cult of homeless people called “The Seekers” live and do sinister things.

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I create these covers using Photoshop. All four of these covers are composites of images that I found at a stock photo site. I’ll search through hundreds of stock photos until I’ve found images that fit the cover idea I have in my head. I’ll find a background, like a forest or urban setting, and then composite individual images on top of it. For instance on The Vagrants cover above, I had found a photo of a subway tunnel and then individual shots of the creepy people and positioned them all in place with the shadowy hooded character in the foreground. The hooded character represents the mystery of the Seekers. The bald guy in the background with the tattooed face represents their cult leader, Mordecai. Then I play with color schemes, adjust the light and shadow, then add the title and my name. I originally had real dripping blood behind the title, but my art director adjusted the color and texture, along with the title font. When building a multi-layered cover composite, I’ll spend hours trying out different looks until I design a version that I’m happy with. It’s a lot of fun creating visual art for a story that I’ve written. I used to design these covers just for my own amusement and to show my editor what I think the cover should look like. It just worked out that the last few covers my publisher liked them and decided to use my versions.

R: What was the oddest inspiration for one of your novels?

It would have to be when I was writing Dead of Winter. I had been stuck on the book for some time. I was living in Dallas, Texas and ready for a career change. So I moved to Hawaii to live a year and a half on the island of Maui and just write fiction. I had just sold my first novel Shadows in the Mist to Berkley-Penguin, my first book deal, and was feeling on top of the world. While on Maui, nearly every day I went to the beach or hiked to a waterfall. Just living in the moment, I felt very inspired to write. My creative juices were flowing. Then I started getting visions of how I could get past my stuck point with Dead of Winter and jumped back into writing that novel. The irony was the story is about a fur-trading fort in Ontario, Canada that’s trapped in a snowy blizzard. While conjuring scenes with frost-bitten characters and below freezing temperatures, I was sweating my ass off in the tropical heat of Hawaii. Every day was bright and sunny, while my characters endured the hostile winter. While I may have gone a far distance from Canada to write my second book, it was that free-spirited time in Hawaii that inspired me to finish what has become my favorite novel to date.  

R: Do you have a personal favorite part from Dead of Winter?

B: There are many scary scenes in Dead of Winter I enjoyed writing. A couple come to mind. The first is near the beginning of the book. In Montreal, Father Xavier and his apprentice go down into the underground tunnels beneath Laroque Asylum to exorcise a demon from a prisoner known as the Cannery Cannibal. That whole scene gave me chills when I was writing it. Next would be the scenes at Fort Pendleton in Ontario, when the demon plague begins to spread to the fort colonists and animals and Inspector Tom Hatcher has to do detective work to solve the mystery. The fact that he is desired by two women, both belonging to his boss, Avery Pendleton, added some fun when writing those characters and subplots.    

R: What else is coming down the pike from Brian Moreland?

B: I’m currently working on that short story collection that I plan to publish at some point this year. I’m also working on a novella called The Darkness Inside that will either be a part of that collection or a standalone eBook. Then, of course, I’m plotting my next novel but it’s too soon to reveal anything about it. For booklovers who prefer audio books, I did learn from my publisher, Audio Realms, that Dead of Winter, Shadows in the Mist, and The Vagrants will be releasing as audio books this year. Right now, The Devil’s Woods and The Girl from the Blood Coven/The Witching House are available as audio books.  

R: You share your skills with other authors. Tell me about some of the services you offer.

B: Yes, when I’m not writing novels and short stories, I provide professional services to other writers. I consult over the phone, edit manuscripts (both fiction and non-fiction), design book covers, format the interior layout for print books and format ebooks. I also help authors self-publish their books. My website is http://www.MorelandCreative.com.

R: What upcoming cons can fans expect to see you at?

B: As of now, I don’t have any signings lined up at the horror cons. I’d love to be at HorrorHound Cincinnati in March, but that will be a game time decision. In May, I will most likely attend Texas Frightmare Weekend in Dallas as a fan, since I live in Dallas. You should come visit Dallas for Texas Frightmare some time. It draws a few thousand horror fans and is loads of fun. Thanks so much for having me as a guest on you site.

About Brian Moreland

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Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His books include Dead of Winter, Shadows in the Mist, The Girl from the Blood Coven, The Witching House, The Devil’s Woods, and The Vagrants. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror book.

 

Website: http://www.brianmoreland.com/

Follow on Twitter: @BrianMoreland

Like Brian’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/HorrorAuthorBrianMoreland

Brian’s blog: http://www.brianmoreland.blogspot.com

 

Now available in audio book: The Devil’s Woods and The Witching House.

Back in Black-Horror Resurgent

muscle car trio

1970 was a golden year for what are called “pony cars.” Mustangs, Camaros and Challengers ruled the road with big motors and rumbling exhausts. Insurance costs, emission regs and gas prices did all that in. But while driving today, in the course of under a minute I passed a Mustang, a Camaro and a Challenger, all new. Each had more horsepower than anything from 1970. I realized I am living through a pony car renaissance.

Horror writing is doing the same thing. Stephen King sparked a horror fire that burned bright for decades until market saturation and quality dilution turned readers to other genres. But this January is an example of horror rekindled as Samhain Horror adds four serious logs to the pyre. I had the chance to read all of them early. What a treat.

Hunter Shea’s Island of the Forbidden

Jessica Backman and Eddie Home are back after surviving Shea’s Sinister Entity. These two can connect with ghosts, Jessica as an attractor and power source, and Eddie as a communicator. They end up on Ormsby Island, where multiple spirits haunt a long abandoned house. A non-stop adventure from start to finish with some very creepy mass haunting scenes and a dynamite finish. Shea delivers every time.

Jonathan Janz’ Nightmare Girl

Contractor Joe Crawford steps up and does that “right thing” we all hope we would do in the same situation. He stops a mother abusing her son in public. From that moment on, Joe’s world starts to unravel as he finds out the depths of crazy the abuser and her family possess. Joe uncovers some awful secrets about the area’s past, and they are all tied to his present, threating him, his business, and his family. As always, Janz has uses some masterful language to pen a spellbinding story, populated by engaging characters and punctuated with sheer terror.

Glenn Rolfe’s Abrams’ Bridge

In Glenn Rolfe’s Samhain debut novella, a boy named Ron discovers the spirit of a murdered girl named Kate under a bridge in town. He sets out to discover her past, solve her murder, and set her free. Little does he know that doing so puts him in danger himself and digs up a past he’d rather not know. Glenn packs a tight storyline and great characters into a small space and delivers a dynamic read.

Russell James’ Dreamwalker

Rounding out the Class of January ’15 is my own Dreamwalker, a novel about a young man, Pete, who can dream himself into an alternate reality. Unfortunately, he can die in both. In our world, he runs afoul of Atlantic City drug lord Jean St. Croix, and in the other reality he is hunted by a voodoo god’s zombies through the ruins of a major city. A girl seems to link both worlds, and he must save her as well as himself. Click on the cover below to read the first few pages on Amazon.

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Horror is definitely back, and biting as hard as ever. Here are four reasons to get in out of the January cold, curl up under a blanket, and get scared.