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.

Dark Fiction by Lee Allen Howard


 

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Sign Up for The Bedwetter Blog Hop & Advance Review

I’m seeking bloggers and readers to help me launch The Bedwetter: Journal of a Budding Psychopath on May 1, 2019.

If you’re willing to help, please fill out the following form and click Submit. Choose if you’re willing to:

  • Advertise the release with links on your blog on May 1 or shortly thereafter
  • Read a free copy of the book and write an advance review, posting it on Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, your blog, or elsewhere
  • Both

Thanks for your help. I appreciate it!



Seeking Advance Reviewers for THE BEDWETTER

The Bedwetter CoverWant to read a FREE book?

I’m seeking advance reviewers for my forthcoming horror/psychological thriller, THE BEDWETTER, due out in May.

How does it work?

I will send you a free copy of the book, you read it, and write an honest review.

Then, soon after the book is released and available to the general public, you post your review online in as many places as you can:

  • Amazon
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Goodreads
  • Your writer’s blog (if you have one)
  • Facebook
  • Twitter

This would help me a great deal in launching the book, and did I mention you get a free copy?

If you’re interested, contact me at https://leeallenhoward.com/contact-lee/.

Read more about THE BEDWETTER at https://leeallenhoward.com/the-bedwetter/.

Thanks for your help and support!

Cover Reveal: THE BEDWETTER

The Bedwetter CoverI’ve been working hard at getting my latest horror/psychological thriller, THE BEDWETTER, ready for release.

A few weeks ago I had Jeffrey Kosh redo the cover for DEATH PERCEPTION, and I loved it. He created another good one for THE BEDWETTER, revealed here for the first time.

The manuscript is in the hands of beta readers right now. After incorporating any final changes, I hope to release the book in May 2019.

To read more about THE BEDWETTER, click here.

You can find Jeffrey Kosh here.

Seeking Beta Readers for DEAD CEMETERY

I’m seeking beta readers for a 75,000-word gay romance/horror novel.

Contact me if you’re interested in being a beta reader or writing a book review. Thanks.

Image from ZbrushCentral.com, #392423   
Winged Beast

Dead Cemetery by Lee Allen Howard

Jarod Huntingdon wants more than anything to have a family with children of his own, yet he’s unable to commit to his girlfriend and doesn’t know why.

He returns home to the remote rural community of Annastasis Creek for a season of soul-searching where he encounters his childhood friend, Scotty McPherson, and—despite their high school fallout—Jarod finds he’s still attracted to him.

When Scotty’s six-year-old niece, Madison, goes missing, a frantic search ensues. A violent rainstorm traps them in the valley, blocks roads, cuts off all communication, and hampers the hunt.

In the meantime, Jarod learns of a curse as old as he is, first placed on the community after five young people perished in a house fire during the sacrifice of a deformed child.

As the curse takes hold, the dead return to abduct the living, and the abducted turn into monsters.

To appease the curse, defrocked Pentecostal pastor Uriah Zalmon must find another sinner to sacrifice. The Covenant Trustees unanimously select Scotty. Who better to play the scapegoat than an “unrepentant homosexual”?

Faced with losing the love and support of his family and community, Jarod must choose between the life he’s always envisioned and saving Scotty from being sacrificed to a great winged beast hibernating in the bowels of an abandoned church.

Can he rescue his true love and break the curse once and for all?

Contact Lee Allen Howard

Book Release: Tales of Blood and Squalor

Tales of Blood and Squalor coverToday marks the release of Tales of Blood and Squalor, an anthology of that I edited for Dark Cloud Press.

We all know what blood is. It’s spilled accidentally. Or worse, on purpose—often ending in death. But squalor… a quality or state marked by filthiness and degradation from neglect or poverty. Sordid, wretched, seamy, seedy.

A short fiction anthology of horror and psychological thrillers, Tales of Blood and Squalor depicts wretched, low-class characters living in filth and poverty. With misery and blood.

A novelist a tad too committed to realism in her craft, a tourist thirsting for blood, the king of a trailer park dungeon…

These fourteen stories from Dark Cloud Press will scare you, shock you, and make you reel!

Check out the sales page at Dark Cloud Press and hop on over to Amazon to pick up your copy in Kindle or paperback!

Cover art by L.A. Spooner / Carrion House Illustration.