All posts for the month July, 2015

An Interview with Lisa Morton

Published July 15, 2015 by MommaCat

Photo by Ellen Datlow

Photo by Ellen Datlow

  • If you could live in any world, real or imaginary, where would it be and why?

I love where I live now. I think twenty-first century Los Angeles is an exciting, dark, passionate, extraordinary place. I’m a native Angeleno, and the Los Angeles of my books – where monsters roam movie studio lots and artists’ lofts are haunted and hundred-fifty-year-old curses still influence the city – is really the way I see this place. I really can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be.

  • Have you ever written yourself into a corner and asked the character what to do?

I think we’ve all written ourselves into a corner at some point or other, but the answer to that for me has always been to look at what I’ve already done and see where I went wrong.

  • Would you talk about your upcoming books and their production schedule?

In July I’ll be one of five authors in Dark Screams 4, coming out in e-book from Random House (and thank you for the kind words on my story, “The New War”). In September, I have a new non-fiction book coming out from Reaktion Books and University of Chicago Press – Ghosts: A Haunted History explores the ghost throughout history, around the globe, and in both the real world and the arts. Then later this year I’ll have the first volume in a new dark fantasy trilogy coming from JournalStone.

  • How important are character names and how do you come up with them?

Oh, they’re very important! A great name can tell you about a character right off the bat, it can be a nod to something that influenced you, or it can set your character off in some special way. In my first novel, The Castle of Los Angeles, for example, my protagonist’s name – Beth Ortiz – suggests her mix of ethnicities. In Netherworld, my heroine’s family name – Furnaval – comes from the Charles Williams novel All Hallows Eve. And in Zombie Apocalypse!: Washington Deceased, I wanted to flip gender expectations around and give my female protagonist one of those names you’d typically find applied to a male action hero, so she’s named Steele.

Since you’re both a writer and an editor, how hard is it to take off the editor’s cap and just write?

That’s no problem, but the REVERSE, on the other hand…holy cow, that’s hard sometimes. You read a story and the author is soooo close to nailing something crucial, and you think, Oh, I know just how to fix this…but you have to let the author discover that solution on their own.

  • Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

As a kid, I read mostly science fiction, but I liked the authors who kind of crossed genre borders – Bradbury and Sturgeon and Ellison especially. Later on, the work of Dennis Etchison was the first I read that captured modern urban life for me. My friend Roberta Lannes was influential through both her work, which took emotion and psychology as far as sex and violence, and through her standing as one of the first highly-regarded women writing horror. And there are many more I probably should be naming, but I’ll leave it as these.

  • If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why?

Probably my favorite musical artist Kate Bush. I can’t sing a note, and I’d love to know what it’d be like to open my mouth and have those glorious sounds emerge.

  • What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

The Scarlet Gospels by Clive Barker, House of Sighs by Aaron Dries, and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club graphic novel.

  • What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

Kate Bush, Philip K. Dick (who I’m sure would have been smitten by Kate), Georges Melies (who I really think invented modern cinema), Jim Morrison, and maybe Mary Shelley, just to find out exactly what did happen at the Villa Diodati.

  • If you could claim one book as your own – think fame not fortune – what would it be?

Phil Dick’s Ubik. I really wish I’d written that book.

  • How do you want the world to remember you?

As the writer who did for L.A. in the horror genre what writers like Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy did for it in the mystery genre.

I’ve recently taken over as the President of the Horror Writers Association, and although it cuts into my writing time, I feel really privileged to be able to work with our extraordinary crew of volunteers and members to promote the genre and keep it moving forward with changes in publishing and reader trends. Plus I really do love being around other writers; you hear people talking about how nice horror writers are, and it’s really true.

You’ll get no argument from me, Lisa, I agree! Horror writers are the best people that I’ve ever met. Thank you so much for a terrific interview. If readers would like to connect with Lisa Morton she’s on Twitter, Facebook and on the Web

Dark Screams Volume 4

Published July 15, 2015 by MommaCat

Random House-Hydra has come out with a particularly affordable series of anthologies written by (mostly) well known authors.  Dark Screams v4 contains a story called THE NEW WAR by Lisa Morton that crinkled my toes!  No easy feat there, let me tell you.

Now, maybe I’m just getting to the age where forgetting things is natural. And maybe Morton’s descriptive power is well honed. But when you put  those things together you find yourself climbing right in the middle of something/someplace you know you’re going to end up in someday and what?  Are you already there? What is real?   THE NEW WAR is an old and ongoing war.  It’s a great read.  Don’t miss it.

Dark Screams Volume 4 is available at


An Interview with John Everson

Published July 1, 2015 by MommaCat


If you could live in any world, real or imaginary, where would it be and why?

I’d pick this world… but I’d like to have the wherewithal to enjoy it right. There are so many amazing tropical paradises and beautiful places on Earth that I’ve never gotten to see… and certainly haven’t gotten to live in. So I’d want to live here, but have a few million dollars and a house on a tropical island. Take vacations to the Great Barrier Reef and Mediterranean, stay for weeks in New Zealand and Europe and Greece. Hang out in some pubs in England and go to Octoberfest in Munich every fall.  It doesn’t matter what world you live in, if you can’t spend your time enjoying the things that are beautiful about it, you might as well live in a box

Would you talk about your upcoming books and their production schedule?

Sure! My current novel, The Family Tree is available from Samhain Publishing (and on Amazon, B&N, etc).  Samhain is now putting together my next release, a short story collection called Sacrificing Virgins. This is my first short fiction collection in eight years (my last was Needles & Sins) and it’s going to be the largest, with 25 stories. It will have the best short tales I’ve written and published over the past decade, plus a couple of previously unreleased stories. I’ve seen a draft of the cover artwork and it’s gorgeous. The book should be released in e-book and paperback at the start of December. After that?  I’m working right now on finishing a draft of my ninth novel over the next few weeks. It’s a sequel to my first two books, Covenant and Sacrifice, so hopefully that will be out in 2016. But first I have to finish it!

Have you ever written yourself into a corner and asked your character what to do?

I’ll be honest with you… I’m always a trifle annoyed when I see authors talking about how their characters “spoke to them and said this” to them, or “insisted on” that. They’re figments and as the writer, you make the maze that you’re running them through. If you’re talking to them … well… you might want to step back a bit.  They have special white suits for people who talk to imaginary voices!

But to really answer your question… yes, I’ve certainly set up some mazes and had my characters run into a wall that I didn’t quite think through enough when I started the dominoes falling. All you can do is try to think of a logical and believable and imaginative way out. And that’s when sometimes a story doesn’t quite go where you originally envisioned. Not because “the characters didn’t want to” but because you, the author, set things in motion that have a logical conclusion based on the rules you, the author, created – and that conclusion sometimes doesn’t agree with your original vision.

How important are character names and how do you come up with them?

Names are important to me and I’ve spent a lot of time naming characters, even minor characters. We all have specific reactions to names based on people we’ve known, so you can’t tell what predisposition a reader will bring to a story from  a name, but the characters have to have names that feel right to me based on my own predispositions. I’ve started a story with a character named one thing and then changed it, because it just didn’t feel right.  I’ve used Google a lot to look up boy names, girl names, Irish names, Indian names in New Mexico, or looked for names that have “meaning.”  The reader may never know that, but, for example, in my first book, I named the demon Malachai because the name actually had a Biblical connection – it means Messenger of God or “My Angel.”

Have you ever written anything  you’ve felt was unpublishable for any reason?

No. I come from a journalism background where you earn your living based on every paragraph you turn out. You don’t spend time working on things that you throw out. You wouldn’t eat. So I believe there’s a market for anything I write. If I spent the time to write it… I should sell it.

Who are the authors that have influenced your writing the most?

Growing up, I was a complete sci-fi kid, so all of the Golden Age writers were really my early guides – Asimov, Heinlein, Clarke, Simak, Clement, Anderson, Norton, etc. I also discovered Richard Matheson at that time, who really bridged the gap for me between sci-fi and horror with his short fiction and novels like The Incredible Shrinking Man.  Once I was in college and beyond, I started reading horror and was fascinated with the characterization that Stephen King brought to his books and then the amazingly twisted visions of Clive Barker, who really went places I had never thought to imagine. Anne Rice then caught me with her lush prose and secret histories. And then I discovered the independent horror press and Edward Lee quickly became one of my favorite writers working today.

If you were able to trade bodies with one person for one day who would it be and why? 

I’d have to pick Kesha. Because I could get into all sorts of trouble.

What are the next three books you’re planning to read?

Well, I don’t plan to read anything in particular (I’ve actually only managed to read one book in the past six months!)… but I have dozens of books sitting on my dresser and hundreds of others that I’d like to get to one of these days… including Neil Gaiman’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane,  Anne Rice’s new A.N. Roquelaure book, Beauty’s Kingdom, and Clive Barker’s The Scarlet Gospels.

What five people living or dead would you invite to a dinner party?

Hmmm… will they come if I invite them? I’d invite Robert Smith, John Lennon, Kate Bush, Kesha and Jean Rollin. Bonus points if I can add Alejandro Jodorowsky as a wild card!

 If you could claim one book as your own – think fame not fortune – what would it be?

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. That book absolutely entranced me.  I wouldn’t mind having written Clive Barker’s The Damnation Game or Ann Rice’s Interview with a Vampire either!

Is there anyone that you would like to co-author a book with?

Not really… I’m not terribly collaborative when it comes to fiction or music. I like to come up with my own thing, and see it to its end as completely as I can on my own.  But, you know, if Neil Gaiman or Clive Barker or Anne Rice or Edward Lee came to me and said they wanted to work with me… I think I’d learn how to open up!  And actually, I did begin a collaborative novel a couple years ago with W.D. Gagliani and David Benton, after brainstorming an idea one night in a bar. We’ve all been too busy with our own projects to finish it though.

How do you want the world to remember you?

As an inventive, successful, erotic horror novelist with an unerring sense for finding the best brewpub in any city.  And a great guy to have a beer with! is running specials on John Everson titles all month. Currently the trade paperback edition of his novel Siren is on a special 50% off SF/F sale. And the e-book editions of his novels Covenant, Sacrifice, Siren and The Pumpkin Man are all currently on sale at $1.99 until July 10. Then the week of July 12th, his 2nd fiction collection, Vigilantes of Love, will be on sale for just $0.99. And then for the last week of the month, starting July 26th, his current novel, The Family Tree will be on sale for just $0.99. Check out these sales and all of his titles on his Amazon Author Page:

Need more John Everson?  Get his newsletter.  Follow him on Twitter, check him out on Facebook and take a look at his webpage!  I learned a lot about John today and discovered that many of his influences are the same as mine.  No wonder I enjoy his writing so much.  Thanks for visiting Cat After Dark, John. It was a pleasure!

Keep reading…my review of  The Family Tree is just a scroll away! 

The Family Tree by John Everson

Published July 1, 2015 by MommaCat

Scott Belvedere receives an inheritance from his great-uncle – The Family Tree Inn located in Virginia.  His family has been running it for generations and now it belongs to Scott; there are no other Belvederes left.  He leaves his job in Chicago for a couple of weeks to check the business out and decide what should be done.

He finds a rustic well kept inn built around an enormous tree. He’s treated to an ale made from the sap of the tree with unusual properties.  And the women of the area seem to be exceptionally attracted to him.  Is it because he’s the owner of this successful Inn?  Or is it something else?

John Everson builds this story slowly and lets the reader get to know all the characters as the plot thickens and the horror builds.  There is a lot of graphic sex in this novel and some violence as well.  Everson weaves the paranormal into the story line with the skill of the expert that he is.  I really enjoyed this novel and hope that you will too.

 Pick up a copy of THE FAMILY TREE today at


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