Interview: Justin Bienvenue Releases THE WAX FACTORY

Justin BienvenueJustin Bienvenue considers himself to be an author and poet. He lives in the New England area and became interested in writing in 2005 but has been writing on a more professional level since 2010. He says, “I mainly write horror and poetry although I’ve also written westerns and a crime thriller, so I try writing in other genres as well.”

Tell us about your latest project, Justin.

My latest novel is a gothic horror called THE WAX FACTORY, which is due out on May 31, 2019. It’s about a group of college students who, as part of a school project, go to an old factory for a tour. Along the way they realize this isn’t a normal tour, and the deeper into the factory they go, the more sinister and dark things become. Soon they are fighting for their lives and the project doesn’t seem to matter anymore. It’s the first part of a three-book series.

The Wax Factory by Justin BienvenueWhat have you published so far, and where?

I have five other published novels that are all published and available on Amazon. There are my two horror poetry books, THE MACABRE MASTERPIECE and THE MACABRE MASTERPIECE: REPRESSED CARNAGE. I’ve also written another poetry book, LIKE A BOX OF CHOCOLATES and then a western horror, A BLOODY BLOODY MESS in the Wild Wild West and a crime thriller, OPIUM WARFARE. I’ve also written short stories and poems in over fifteen anthologies.

What is your writing schedule like? Do you write every day?

My writing schedule is pretty wide open, and I can write anytime I want. I try to write every day whether it’s a story, poem, or just a blog post, but sometimes I admit I become too lazy or end up doing other things. When I do write, I want to make it count, so when I write I devote all my time to whatever piece I’m working on.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?

I read a lot of Shakespeare in high school, and while the rest of the class seemed bored and uninterested, I was intrigued. Shakespeare is one of those people who you either love or hate. Some of his works really spoke to me and still resonate with me today. He practically had his own language and his works really speak to people and have a lot of power, so since I started reading Shakespeare, it was then I learned early on that language had power.

People believe that being a published author is glamorous. Is that true for you?

Yes and no. I’m not famous; people don’t come up to me on the street asking for an autograph, and I’m not a bestselling author, but when I tell people I’m an author or that I have published books, they seemed pretty surprised. In some ways it is glamorous because I get to do what I enjoy, what I love, and being an indie author gives me one hundred percent creative control, and it’s all me. So being published is even more of a great feeling. At times it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, as I’m still trying to make it, but glamorous is a good word because at times it feels totally like that.

What does literary success look like to you? Do you think you’ve attained it?

Literary success to me is partly what I wrote above. It’s becoming a best-selling author, having people recognize you and it’s making a lot of money off your books and having a big fan base that love you and your work. Do I think I’ll attain it? I want to but do I think I will? Well never say never but I’ll just keep doing what it is I love and do best, writing and if that type of success happens? Great, if not then I can always keep hoping.

Have you read anything that really made you think differently about fiction?

To be honest not really. I may write but I’m not much of a reader. When I started writing and became a published author I found a new appreciation for reading but it’s died down as of late and I haven’t read many of the classics or beloved fiction that most people swear by. Perhaps I will come across such a book when I decide to read, but so far, no.

What was your hardest scene to write?

I don’t think I’ve had any scene that was hard to write. I write whatever pops into my head. I map and plan it out before writing or write on the spot, and if I feel it’s unworthy, I delete it. I guess fight scenes at times have been hard to write just because it’s hard to really use the right words to explain what’s happening without it sounding like a fight in the 1960’s Batman TV show. I want to be describing the right things but I don’t want to use lackluster words or go over the top with it, so fight scenes are hard and challenging at times. Also love and sex scenes just because that’s not my type of genre, so that would be hard to write if I actually wrote such things.

Does your family support your career as a writer?

Yes, they are very supportive of my career. My mother enjoys all my work although it may be because she’s my mother and not just because she liked horror. They know I work hard and I’m really trying, and they know how creative I am, so they are supportive and hope the best for me.

Over the years, what would you say has improved significantly in your writing?

My detail in describing things and my dialogue. I wouldn’t say I was bad at dialogue but it wasn’t my strong suit. I feel I’ve improved on that aspect and am getting better the more I write. Also describing things. I had a tendency in the past to either not write about something enough or too much, so now I have found a good balance.

If given the opportunity to do it all over again, would you change anything in your books?

I can change anything in my books right now if I wanted to and nobody would really know unless I told them. I stick by what’s already been written and I believe in it and believe my audience will enjoy it. I’ve thought about changing small things, but that’s my own little issue. I’m proud of the work I have written and put out there.

What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing?

The marketing that comes after! Lol. Don’t get me wrong, writing has its issues such as sticking with the topic you want to write about, writer’s block, but the thing nobody tells you is that you have to market your book after. Not only did you write it, but now you have to get people to see that your writing is good enough for them. I would also say I have an issue with commas that I’m really trying to fix.

What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?

Planning what I’m going to write; the basics seem to come easy to me. By this I mean I have an idea in mind and I get started right away and for the most part I’m able to think and create without experiencing the dreaded writer’s block. Creativity and inspiration in writing come easy to me.

Do you read much and, if so, who are your favorite authors?

As I said I don’t read much but when I do read, I have my favorite authors like everyone else. I like Edgar Allan Poe, Rod Serling, Elmore Leonard, David Haynes, Vincent Hobbes, and Bettina Melher.

Justin’s website is http://jbienvenue.webs.com/
Follow him on Twitter @JustinBienvenue

Advertisements

Book Release: TALES FOR THE CAMP FIRE

NorCal Horror Authors Support Wildfire Relief with New Anthology of Scary Stories

Horror authors across Northern California have come together to release Tales for the Camp Fire, a new anthology of short stories, to support wildfire relief efforts. All profits from the sale of the anthology will be donated to wildfire relief funds administered by the North Valley Community Foundation.

On the morning of November 8th, 2018, the worst wildfire in the state’s history erupted in the foothills of Northern California. While emergency efforts were immediate, the Camp Fire burned for seventeen days before it was finally contained. It destroyed the town of Paradise and burned over 150,000 acres. At least 85 people died in the blaze. The impact of the fire was felt across the entire region as air quality became the worst in the world.

Tales for the Camp FireWhen a group of local horror authors got together, they asked what they could do. “We’re writers,” said San Leandro resident and author Ben Monroe. “How can we can help with our stories?” Soon they formed a plan to produce a charity anthology, contacting horror authors across the region to ask them to donate stories. Some wrote new pieces for the book, while others submitted favorite reprints for inclusion. In the end, the anthology topped out with 24 great stories totaling over 300 pages.

“Tales for the Camp Fire is a brilliant collection of truly creepy tales by horror’s hottest voices! Dark, funny, heartbreaking, and bizarre. Highly recommended!”
—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of V-Wars and Glimpse

Tales for the Camp Fire is edited by Loren Rhoads and is being published by E.M. Markoff’s Tomes & Coffee Press. It is now available in both paperback and ebook formats through Amazon. Members of the publishing team are attending the Bay Area Book Festival in Berkeley on May 4 & 5, and will have copies of the book available for sale there. All profits from the book will be donated to the North Valley Community Foundation efforts to support the ongoing wildfire relief efforts.

“A brilliant editor and author, Rhoads skillfully weaves together a collection of new and old yarns to create an exemplary tapestry of horror literature that will spook fans of the genre for years to come.”
—Moaner T. Lawrence, author of “The Great American Nightmare”

The book includes stories by Clark Ashton Smith, the grandfather of horror in Northern California, as well as by Bram Stoker Award winners Nancy Etchemendy and Gene O’Neill. Tales for the Camp Fire ranges from fairytale to science fiction, from psychological terror to magical realism, from splatterpunk to black humor, all rounded out by a messed up post-apocalyptic cookbook. Through these pages roam werewolves, serial killers, a handful of ghosts, plenty of zombies, Cthulhu cultists, mad scientists, and a pair of conjoined twins.

You may purchase Tales From the Campfire here: https://amzn.to/2V1ZTo0

About the Editor: Loren Rhoads served as editor for Bram Stoker Award-nominated Morbid Curiosity magazine as well as the books The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, Death’s Garden: Relationship with Cemeteries, and Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual.

About the Publisher: Tomes & Coffee Press is an independent publisher of diverse and dark literature. Operated by Latinx author E.M. Markoff, it previously published The Deadbringer and To Nurture & Kill.

About the NCVF: The North Valley Community Foundation provides visionary community leadership by identifying emerging challenges in our region. NVCF brings together diverse groups of problem-solvers, mobilizes resources, and equips community leaders. We build and energize a community of engaged citizens and philanthropists who strengthen the common good.

Book Release: THE BEDWETTER by Lee Allen Howard

Dark Psychological Thriller Available Now in Trade Paperback and Ebook

“Lee Allen Howard’s The Bedwetter is an inventive psychological horror novel with a voice that’s as stylish as it is dark.” —Dustin LaValley, author of The Deceived

Armed with electric hair trimmers and a military fighting knife,
Russell accepts his dark commission.

His urination led to ruination.

The Bedwetter CoverRussell Pisarek is twenty-six years old and still wets the bed. He grew up different from other young men because his vicious mother punished him for wetting by shaving his head. When he confided this to his girlfriend Tina, she betrayed him by advertising his problem to all their high school classmates. He took out his frustration by skinning neighborhood cats.

Now Russell fantasizes about finding just the right woman—so he can shave her bald. He struggles to overcome his dark tendencies, but when his sister discovers he’s wetting again, she kicks him out of her house.

During this time of stress, the mythical Piss Fairy appears in his dreams, and Russell is driven to satisfy his twisted desires with his innocent coworker Uma, who also needs a new roommate.

When his plans go awry, the Piss Fairy commissions him for a much darker task that graduates him from shaving to scalping—and worse.

“Highly disturbing and electric.” —US Review of Books

“A brutal, dark, compulsive read… stark, powerful, and satisfying.” —Online Book Club

Read trigger warning below.

THE BEDWETTER is available now in trade paperback and ebook formats.

Purchase options

VENUE ORDER LINK
B&N Nook
B&N Trade Paperback
Amazon.com Kindle
Amazon.com Trade Paperback
Abebooks Trade Paperback
Alibris Trade Paperback
IndieBound Trade Paperback

“Grotesque, bizarre, and uniquely written, The Bedwetter will shake you and scare the piss out of you.” —Stephanie M. Wytovich, Bram Stoker Award-nominated author of Hysteria: A Collection of Madness

Warning!

This novel depicts intense violence, hardcore horror, and disturbing psychological terror in the vein of such works as Jack Ketchum’s The Girl Next Door, Cormac McCarthy’s Child of God, Joyce Carol Oates’ Zombie, J. N. Williamson’s The Book of Webster’s, and Jim Thompson’s The Killer Inside Me.

Although THE BEDWETTER is a fascinating in-depth character study into the mind and actions of a misogynistic and homophobic psychopath, the story events are vicious and brutal, the language coarse, and the approach to their reporting is cold and unflinching.

This book is not for the faint of heart or those easily offended by language, sex, or violence. Read at your own risk.

Read the first scene…

My mother’s lying on the basement floor of our house, where we lived when Becky and me were in school, fugly and naked on the red linoleum, with the electric hair clippers jammed up her cooz. They’re plugged in and running, eating her alive on the inside. She’s diddling herself with her big manly hands, yowling like a cat, and I can’t tell if it’s from pleasure or pain. Till I step up and piss on her. Then it’s all pain.

My arc of hot whizz hits her right in the face and splashes over her buzzed head & the pile of gray hair like dirty laundry on the tile. She gasps and spits and curses me like she always does.

I say, “Shame on you, now. Shame on you! SHAME ON YOU, YOU FUCKIN EVIL BITCH!

I spray a golden fountain down her body, over her flat tits, the bunched hysterectomy scar, and onto the mound of matted gray fur between her ricotta thighs.

When my piss hits the trimmers, she’s electrocuted and bucks like a rhino getting shock therapy. Sparks fly. She spews blue lightning out her hole, and then she bursts into flames, screaming like a demon. The flame dances up my piss stream like it’s lighter fluid, an unquenchable fire climbing the stairway to heaven.

But in the dream I never get electrocuted, I never get burned. At least I ain’t yet.

I always wake up. And I always wet the bed.

___

Please share this post in email, on Facebook, Twitter (@LeeAllenHoward) or Instagram (@LeeAllenHoward1).

Cover art by Jeffrey Kosh.

Trade paperback, 246 pages.


Goodreads Giveaway of THE BEDWETTER

I’m giving away ten paperback copies of THE BEDWETTER, my new horror/psychological thriller.

Follow the link below to enter. Good luck!

Enter Goodreads Giveaway


Interview: Matthew Brockmeyer Releases UNDER ROTTING SKY

I recently interviewed horror writer Matthew Brockmeyer. He lives in the redwoods of Northern California and has been writing about all of his life, although the path to making a career out of it, he says, has been a long one. “I write dark fiction and horror, usually with a both literary and transgressive edge to it.”

Under Rotting Sky by Matthew BrockmeyerTell us about your latest project. What’s it about?
Under Rotting Sky is a collection of short stories I’ve written over the past four years, including previously published tales and new work. It’s a good example of who I am as an artist, for it really runs the gamut from literary fiction to historical fiction to classic horror to extreme horror and splatterpunk.

What else have you published, and where?
I have one novel out: Kind Nepenthe, a ghost story set in the far back hills of Humboldt County. It’s gotten a lot of critical acclaim and done pretty well. I’ve had short stories published all over, in anthologies, magazines, journals.

What are you working on currently?
I’m working on a new novel about a young runaway punk-rock girl who falls into a cult of blood-worshiping pornographers. It takes place in San Francisco in the early 1980s.

Kind Nepenthe by Matthew BrockmeyerDo you want each book to stand on its own, or are you trying to build a body of work with connections between each book?
Both, actually. I’d like to have each of my works stand on their own, but there are connections that run through them. Most of my stories take place in Northern California, so there is always an interconnection of place. But there are also recurring characters as well. Like the work of Irvine Welsh and Louise Erdrich, all the stories take place in a shared world.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
I don’t think it really did, honestly.

How do you balance making demands on the reader with taking care of the reader?
Hmmm, interesting question. I want the story to be clear. I don’t want readers confused, but at the same time I like to drop red herrings and have some misdirection, the way a magician will divert your attention for a moment during a trick. Surprises and twists are great, but clarity is extremely important as well. It’s a balancing act, I suppose.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I do pretty exhaustive research. I’ve written a couple of historical fiction stories and became a member of the historical society, visited local history museums, sought out experts. I’m a voracious reader and will search out books on particular subjects, both fiction and nonfiction. I also love documentaries. I’ve been having a blast researching the early punk scene of San Francisco for my new novel.

What period of your life do you find you write about most often? (child, teenager, young adult)
I find myself writing about kids and childhood a lot, but I’m also a parent so a lot of that comes from there. I’m also obsessed with subcultures, hippies, punks, beatniks, goths, back-to-the-landers and cults of sorts.

How do you select the names of your characters?
Oh, I have some fun there. I have some wild character names: Coyote, Calendula, Diesel, Slug, Garbage, Roach, Eight Ball, just to name a few. I like nicknames that stand out and are unforgettable. But I also like to juxtapose names, for instance in my novel Kind Nepenthe, while most of the characters have crazy names, the main protagonist is simply Rebecca, because I wanted to show that she was lost in this crazy world.

Sometimes the names I choose are references to books I love; sometimes the names just have a great ring to them. Dickens always had the greatest names: Ebenezer Scrooge, Uriah Heep, Pip, Fagan, Artful Dodger. He even had a Master Bater!

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
I usually read them, but it’s all subjective, so I don’t take bad reviews badly. People either like things or they don’t. It’s just the way it is; nothing is universally liked. Positive reviews are an affirmation, though, so they’re nice. You’ve got to have really thick skin to be an artist and put your work out there.

What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
White bread and soda pop.

What is your favorite childhood book and why?
As a wee child Where the Wild Things Are. The theme of releasing your inner beast is one I return to often. I see it really as a werewolf story.

From my teen years, Lord of the Flies. It’s really a horror story. It’s an amazing look at the ease in which humanity falls into tribalism. The scene with the talking pig’s head on a stake is so surreal and wonderfully grotesque. Extremely well-defined characters. That enigmatic ending. Just a fabulous story.

Is there anything else you’d like our readers to know about you and your work?
Although I like to entertain, I also strive to say something about our existential nature and what it means to be human. But while many of my stories are nihilistic, I’m actually a pretty positive guy. Many times I am literally writing out my worst fears, which is why some pretty horrible things often happen. In the end it’s just a wild rollercoaster ride.

You can connect with Matthew Brockmeyer at his website: http://www.matthewbrockmeyer.com

Kind Nepenthe on Amazon


Demain Publishing Releases Short Sharp Shocks! Series

Writer and editor Dean M. Drinkel recently opened a horror press called Demain Publishing. On March 1 they launched the Short Sharp Shocks! Series with the first six ebooks on Amazon. Six more will be published by the end of March with another twelve coming in April. Drinkel’s been busy!

The first six books out now are:

Short Sharp Shocks! Series 1-6

Amazon is doing a deal on Books 1–5 at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07NZXH9B3/.

Books 6–11 will be released March 29 and are available for pre-sales on Amazon:

Short Sharp Shocks! Series

All covers are by Adrian Baldwin.

You can learn more about Demain, submission calls, interviews with all the authors, and up-to-date news at https://demainpublishingblog.weebly.com/.


Interview: Brian J. Smith

Brian J. SmithI recently interviewed Brian J. Smith, who lives in southeastern Ohio with four dogs that he treat like his children. Brian has been writing since he was thirteen because, he says, “I didn’t have many friends because I was the quiet ‘Stephen King geek.'”

Brian loves horror fiction because he grew up watching slasher movies like Jason and Freddy, but his favorites were always the “bugs-gone-bad” flicks such as Kingdom of the Spiders, Island Claws, and Slugs.

He admits, “I fed myself on a smorgasbord of Tales From the Darkside, Twilight Zone (black-and-white and the mid-90’s), Tales From the Crypt, and Stephen King movies.”

Do you try more to be original or to deliver to readers what they want?
I want to be original. I’ve always tried to think outside of the box when it comes to my writing. I’ve written a few unfinished novels about zombies and other terrifying things but not vampires and werewolves like writers who came before me.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep going no matter what anyone tells you. It’ll take you a long time but you’ve got to keep going. Stay strong and be patient.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?
When I published my first Kindle book, Dark Avenues (more about this later), I realized that the process takes a lot of time and patience to perfect. Short-hand first, then pounding it out on my computer, and then the long process of reading it out loud while editing.

What’s your favorite novel that you think is under-appreciated?
A Hell of a Woman by Jim Thompson. Thompson is known for other novels such as The Killer Inside Me, Pop. 1280, The Grifters and Nothing More Than Murder, but I feel like that A Hell of a Woman doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Those novels are good, but if I hadn’t read A Hell of a Woman, I wouldn’t have been inspired to write my own noir crime novel.

What is your favorite childhood book?
The Berenstain Bears. I also read a lot of comic books, too.

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Off Season by Jack Ketchum. His novels were such an inspiration to me. They opened my eyes to a version of horror fiction I never knew existed. Off Season was the visceral, gritty horror novel that got to the core of its subject matter and left a lot of blood on the walls.

When did it dawn upon you that you wanted to be a writer?
When my sixth-grade teacher told me I gave him nightmares and my parents were telling me to stop.

What inspires you to write?
Anything really. A lot of my short stories have been inspired by something that occurred in my past, whether during my childhood or my teenage years, or between myself and a family member.

Do you set a plot or prefer going wherever an idea takes you?
I’ve done outlines in the past but I’ve never stuck to them. I end up going off and adding something else later that I wish I’d included the first time. I like this. I’ve been told when you do outlines you put your characters on a leash. Life is full of challenges, and I like challenges.

Did you ever think you would be unable to finish your first novel?
No. I had doubts about starting with a short story collection but then considered that many other authors had started out like this as well.

Three O'Clock by Brian J. SmithHave you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
A lot of times. I went to summer camp when I was ten, and we did all kinds of activities such as fishing and tubing, but one thing I really enjoyed was when we did “headstone rubbings”—putting paper on a tombstone and rubbing with a charcoal stick to get the text. I hope to pick this back up sometime in the future. When I set about writing my novella Dark Avenues, I used headstone rubbings in it, and it worked out perfectly.

Do you have a day job other than being a writer? And do you like it?
No. I’m a homebody so I don’t even leave the house unless it’s really necessary.

What books and stories have you published, and where?
I’ve published many pieces of short and flash fiction in multiple anthologies and e-zines, two with The Horror Zine, one with Metahuman Press, and I’ve even had a western horror story published as well. My other Kindle books are Three O’ Clock and The Tuckers. My publications are listed on my Amazon author page (see below).

Dark Avenues by Brian J. SmithWhat project are you currently working on?
I’m working on a short story collection that will be released in the fall. Dark Avenues will include the novella of the same name along with eighteen other stories that range from dark horror and other genres. There’s a haunted house story, a zombie story, and a post-apocalyptic story about how love triumphs over death.

You can find Brian’s publications on his Amazon author page at http://amazon.com/author/brianjsmith. Brian is on Facebook under Brian Smith and on Twitter @BrianJSmith13. Visit his website at http://brianjsmith468368465.wordpress.com.