Death’s Realm Tour From Grey Matter Press Kicks Off Today

From Grey Matter Press’s website:

Author Jay Caselberg begins the 16-day DEATH’S REALM  Death and Dying Tour with a very special guest post on the Grey Matter Press website — his short story “Early,” based on a terrifying personal experience with the dead.

Caselberg’s “Early,” while a work of fiction, is based on a real-life encounter with a ghost. We greatly appreciate the fact that Jay was willing to give away this piece and thank him for sharing it with us to begin the tour.

Enjoy “Early” by Jay Caselberg, and make sure to check out his “Penumbra,” a tale of true love gone very, very wrong that is featured in DEATH’S REALM: Where the Here and the Hereafter Collide.

Check out Jay Caselberg’s story here.

Death’s Realm Tour From Grey Matter Press Kicks Off Today

Interview with Jamie Mason, author of Kezzie of Babylon

I connected with Jamie Mason through Facebook last year, and he held my attention through his interesting viewpoints and unique perspective on the world. After awhile, I ended up exposed to his short work, which led me to his new release, Kezzie of Babylon, a rip-roaring zombie apocalypse adventure. I invited  him to virtually sit down with me, if you will, to discuss his fiction, his process, and the tumult that is life; welcome Jamie Mason to the blog.

Let’s give readers a little background on you. What should we know about Jamie Mason?

In broad strokes, the picture is pretty conventional. Born in Montreal, went to college in the States, returned to Canada 22 years later. It’s only in the details that a life becomes interesting. Such as, for instance, the fact that I grew up in a series of cult- and cult-like environments. Also, that my life became abruptly derailed when my parents went to prison and I lost more or less everything and was forced to start from scratch earning $4.75 per hour doing sales cold calls. I’ve been a professional musician, a self-defense instructor, a teacher, a security guard, a clerk/typist (I’m currently employed as a PI).

Throughout all of this, writing has been the one thread that’s tied everything together. It’s kept me sane. Without it, I’d probably have been one of those guys you read about in the news who walks into a shopping mall and starts gunning people down.

You’ve accumulated a large body of work in a few years time, consisting of two novels and forty plus stories. I want to talk to you about Kezzie of Babylon, but let’s rewind first. How’d you get started writing? How did you start as a writer seeking professional status?

The writing began sIMG_0380pontaneously at age 7. Whatever else my mother did wrong, she gave me a love of books. We had an electric typewriter at our house and I became fascinated by the challenge of creating things on it that resembled the pages in books I read (this was before I knew about typesetting). I wrote my first novel in seventh grade, handwritten in notebooks during math class. It was an espionage novel.

I don’t believe in “professional” writers. What the fuck is that, anyway? If you mean some guy who makes a living writing, you can count them on the fingers of one hand. Anyway, the term “literature” has been rendered more or less meaningless in the age of self-pubbing and Amazon direct-to-market vanity projects. What do you call someone who’s conscientiously devoted the past 25 years of his life to learning to write well (apart from “misguided”)? A writer. There are writers and non-writers. And wannabes. I suppose I’m a writer.

You’ve got a first novel, Echo, first published in 2011 from Drollerie Press, and more recently, about to be reissued by Permuted Press. A first novel marks an important stage in an author’s career. What did you learn? What would you have done different?

Echo was reviewed and accepted for publication fairly quickly by a publisher called Drollerie Press. Selena Green, their marketing VP, was very enthusiastic about the project. We had an uphill battle pushing the novel through the editorial process because, unbeknownst to us, the owner was planning to shut the press down. We pushed out an e-edition which reached an Amazon sales ranking of 14,000 or so before Drollerie’s owner vanished. I never saw a royalty check, although Selena and I remain friends. We collaborated on bringing out the current (second) edition and I still involve her in projects from time to time. I recommend her as a freelance editor and typesetter.

What would I do different? Nothing, really. There was no way to predict what happened. It just happened. It sucked, but I adapted. Like Master Kan counseled Grasshopper in Kung-Fu when asked whether or not to trust people: “Trust! But expect surprises.”

I read a synopsis of Echo, which is sci-fi, and you followed up with Kezzie, which is firmly in the zombie/horror camp. What inspired the transition, and do you prefer a particular genre?

It was a surprisingly easy transition. I’ve always straddled the sci-fi/fantasy fence quite comfortably, so writing a zombie story for Exile Edition’s Dead North zombie antho back in 2013 seemed like an easy way to make some bread. Well, I made more than that — I made an invaluable friend in the person of Silvia Moreno-Garcia, a very fine Mexican-Canadian writer who edited the project. I’m very proud of our professional association. Have you read her new novel, Signal To Noise? You should …

For me, genre is a vehicle to convey stories I have experienced that would be otherwise impossible to share with people. For example, how do you explain what it’s like to be manipulated by a cult leader to someone whose entire experience of religion consists exclusively of Sunday trips to church? Or what it’s like to watch your parents dragged into a court-room handcuffed to prison trustees to someone who grew up in a conventional family environment? You can’t. But horror (and, to a lesser extent, sci-fi/fantasy) allows me to share my subjective experience of the world in a way that’s understandable to people with more conventional backgrounds. When Permuted Press bought my novel The Book of Ashes in May of last year, they asked if I had any other novels. I told them about my short story “Kezzie of Babylon” and said I could develop it into a zombie novel because Permuted likes those. And now here we are.

IMG_0380Zombie fiction has had quite a lot of staying power in the past ten years; even when a lot of people were saying the trend was dead, true to its spirit, it continues to shamble on good naturedly, from The Walking Dead to World War Z, from Jonathon Maberry to Joe McKinney and many more. Where do you see this trend/genre in ten years?

That’s hard to say, Martin. Honestly, I never expected the zombie craze to outlast one season of The Walking Dead. No here we are – what? Five? Six seasons in? There’s a whole raft of spin-offs TV, games, stories, novels, comics, the cultural phenomenon of zombie “walks” … Who could have predicted that surge in popularity? Not I.

For what it’s worth, my prediction. Ten years from now, the hot topic for PC/social justice warrior types will be zombie rights. The fact that zombies don’t exist won’t bother them. After all, neither does social justice. It’s a myth, like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Ivory tower stuff. Like Dylan said: “This world is ruled by violence / but I guess that’s better left unsaid.”

Kezzie Of Babylon is a zombie, apocalyptic, horror novel, featuring a cast of characters with interesting histories, such as Zack, who ends up picking up a mysterious package for the local drug kingpin. Meanwhile, he tracks the footsteps of a girl he’s never met, but whose diary he’s been reading for years. This leads him to a ragtag fringe group living in a woodland, when all hell breaks loose. There, we meet Kezzie herself. At first glance, she’s a religious psychopath, but is also something much more than what she appears.

Can you share with us how the idea for Kezzie Of Babylon came about?

To return to what I said earlier: horror allows me to share my subjective experience of the world in a way that’s understandable to people from more mainstream backgrounds. Both as a young adult and middle-aged PI, I’ve come into a LOT of contact with the criminal element. Writing about druggies and assorted low-lifes is absurdly easy for me. The “Kezzie” short story was intended to be a romp, nothing more — a zombie shoot-em-up on a grow-op with an interesting character in Kezzie. With the novel, I went deeper, trying to offer an interesting REASON for the zombie outbreak (an influx of bad street drugs) and an answer as to how bikers and other marginal types might cope during a zombie apocalypse. Better than most, I suspect, simply because they’re accustomed to living high-risk lifestyles.

Kezzie herself is my first stab at writing a true “cult” leader and I modeled her on David Koresh. The cult experience is something I first addressed in ECHO and will continue to address going forward. It’s fundamental to my life. I’m good friends with Gina Catena, who works with cult survivors and writes about cult recovery issues. We’re both involved in the life-long process of PTSD and cult recovery. So writing this kind of stuff is therapeutic for me.

Did you do any research, any prep work for Kezzie Of Babylon that might be of interest?

Living it. I only write about things I’ve experienced personally. The old Chinese curse applies here: “May you live in interesting times”. My life has certainly been interesting. And quite often upsetting. I’m turning that to my advantage and putting all those bad experiences to work for me. It’s only in the past 3 years or so that I’ve moved beyond the very real consequences of things “people did to me” and began “doing unto others”. Like it says in the book: “Do unto others before they can do unto you”. I choose to inflict my stories on the world.

Scenes in Kezzie Of Babylon often reminded me of certain characters I’d run into in real life. Are you willing to talk about how observation informs your work, or the juxtaposition of reality in a fictional work?

I’m a total outsider. I’m one of those guys who won’t accept your invitation for drinks or dinner, doesn’t attend parties or social events like weddings or baptisms, doesn’t participate in group activities of any kind anymore (I trained in judo and BJJ for years but cut that cord in 2013). I live alone, I work more or less alone in my day-job and spend my days off at home with the door locked and the curtains drawn, hip-deep in my latest WIP. What does this leave?

Observation. I’m fascinated by the behavior of the human animal. One of my heroes is Dr. Jane Goodall, whose work I first encountered via National Geographic as a child. I take the same approach to human society she did with her chimps: approach stealthily, sit quietly and observe. Remember: I’m a trained investigator. I can size you up in three seconds flat — how you dress and cut your hair, whether you’re right or left handed, the way you walk, a smoker or non-smoker, the condition of your shoes … all these things tell a story. In my daily life, I’m constantly snapping pictures of people and engaging in analysis. It’s a habit I cultivated as a child in abusive family and cult environments. It was a prerequisite for survival. It kept me alive — literally. It’s a compulsive, learned behavior that I’ll never stop engaging in.

So. I observe. I extrapolate. I write.

Do you feel you learned anything about publishing your second novel you didn’t learn with your first?

Mostly, I learned what it was like to have a supportive publisher for a change. Permuted has taken a pounding in the public eye of late, but they’re a great environment. Very innovative and forward-thinking. And I have a great family of writers around me, many of whom are as deeply disturbed as myself. It’s such a relief to be able to shoot an e-mail off to a guy like Jeremiah Israel or Bill Vitka and say something like: “Hey guys! Break out the box-cutters and the chloroform! Time to find some some organ donors!” I love those guys. They get me.

Are you working on another project we can expect to see in the near future, or something you’re excited about?

Permuted is scheduled to publish my next novel in December of this year. The Book of Ashes takes place after a plague has more or less destroyed civilization, turning Vancouver Island into a feudal wasteland ruled by the Hell’s Angels. Cory O’Neal is a retired school-teacher who spends his days in a trailer on the edge of the forest, scavenging firewood, hunting for food and ducking attacks by gangs of marauding cannibals. In the evenings he composes a history of the plague. But what begins as a history soon begins to resemble a confession. His sole indiscretion as a teacher, forming a special bond with a troubled female student, ended his career. It may also end Mankind.

My ongoing major project is the republication of Echo and, afterwards, its four sequels: Echo Tribe, Echo Quest, Echo War and Echo Lord. This quintet is my life’ s work — a sci-fi epic that examines the religious experience from the point-of-view of the five principle figures of any faith: the prophet, the leader, the visionary, the warrior and the heretic. Permuted will republish Echo in 2016.

How can we keep up with you?

Catch me online at www.jamiescribbles.com

We thank Jamie Mason for taking the time to answer our questions, and Kezzie of Babylon is available from Permuted Press and Amazon.

Jamie Mason is a Canadian writer of dark fiction whose stories have appeared in On Spec, Abyss & Apex, White Cat and the Canadian Science Fiction Review. His zombie novel KEZZIE OF BABYLON was published by Permuted Press in March of this year. He lives on Vancouver Island. Learn more at www.jamiescribbles.com

Interview with Jamie Mason, author of Kezzie of Babylon

Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: Jay Caselberg

Everyone, welcome Jay Caselberg to the blog. I’m featuring fellow contributors to Death’s Realm, of Grey Matter Press, with a short mini-interview to learn more about the talent involved, a preview of what we can expect from their story, and speculate on what lies ahead in the great beyond.

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Tell us about your background, who you are, and how you came to the writing life.

Me, I’m Australian, though I have lived in Europe for a number of years now, traveling around for day job related stuff. I spent time growing up in various countries as well. Despite all that, I still retain an essential component of the Australian psyche, or so I believe, and it tends to seep through into the fiction. Embedded in the Australian subconscious is the sense of removal, of separation from the rest of the world, because, you know, from most places, it is a long long way away. Anyway, I always thought I’d turn out to be a scribbler and I read and wrote as I was growing up. Then, at an impressionable age, I stumbled across a book on how to write a novel. Within those pages was a piece of the worst advice I have ever heard: you cannot write a book till you are over forty because you don’t have the life experience to make it real. What rubbish. Anyway, taking that to heart, it caused me to stumble. Much later, I happened across on online forum that acted as a kind of virtual critique group and suddenly, it was as if the world had opened up. I’d had no dealings with other aspirants until that stage and about then, I realised that I was probably good enough. I wrote a few stories, sent them out and the first one I sent out, a little science fiction tale with a pretty dark edge sold within a couple of months.

Although I write and have written novels, science fiction, horror, literary and even YA fantasy most of my work is short fiction and generally, it tends to be what I would characterise as soft horror, more the psychological, but none the less dark for that. Literature, ultimately, is about the human condition, and the inside of people’s heads is often a dark and squirmy place. I like playing with that.

Gray Matter Press has released an anthology, Death’s Realm, featuring your work, “Penumbra.” Give us a preview of your short story without giving away too much.

The concept for “Penumbra” is what happens to someone who is deeply, madly in love, and they die. What efforts would one go to to keep that bond alive even though you may not be.

The premise behind Death’s Realm is what happens after death. If there is a great beyond, what do you imagine it to be?

I’m not a great believer in a great beyond per se. I have no vision of heaven or hell. I do believe that there is something there. I have seen and experienced too many things to accept that there is simply nothing, things that defy normal everyday explanation. Despite that, I am not going to sign up to any orthodox set of rationalisations that make the less certain feel more certain. For me, it’s not about faith or anything else. Sure, there’s something going on there. You just need to be able to live with it.

We thank Jay Caselberg for coming by to share his thoughts. He’s got a web page here, and twitter account you can stalk him at here.

Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: Jay Caselberg

Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: Matthew Pegg

Everyone, welcome Matthew Pegg to the blog. I’m featuring fellow contributors to Death’s Realm, of Grey Matter Press, with a short mini-interview to learn more about the talent involved, a preview of what we can expect from their story, and speculate on what lies ahead in the great beyond.

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Tell us about your background, who you are, and how you came to the writing life.

I grew up in Staffordshire in England. We lived in an old farmhouse that had a cellar that filled up with water every so often, open fireplaces, no central heating and windows that got covered with ice on the inside in winter. My mother insisted that there was a ghost on the top landing. She never saw anything but she said she could sometimes smell a sweaty smell. It was probably just the drains, or our unwashed socks. I wrote a lot of stories when I was in primary school. I particularly remember writing an alternate version of ‘The Snow Queen’, which had some ideas and characters that I intend to reuse at some point. Then in secondary school I got put off writing fiction by my English teacher, who thought writing stories was kids stuff. How he got the job I don’t know.

I went to drama school and worked as an actor for a few years until I realised I wasn’t great at it and liked having an overview of a story rather than being responsible for just one character. So then I started writing plays.

I’ve written some odd stuff for theatre: a one man version of Twelfth Night, a play designed to be performed during a medieval banquet, an adaptation of the film ‘Onibaba’, a puppet show, street theatre, plays for young people to watch, plays for young people to perform and a version of Rumpelstiltskin that was rather too influenced by ‘Beetlejuice’. I also adapted M.R. James’s story ‘Lost Hearts’ for the stage and then as a short film. Writing for theatre has given me some useful skills: creating dialogue, developing dramatic tension and an awareness of structure but it’s very different from writing prose. A play is probably closer to sheet music than it is to a novel: it’s a set of instructions for actors, designer and director and an audience experience it collectively rather than in a one to one fashion.

I came to writing fiction quite late. I’d always wanted to do it, but I wasn’t sure whether I had the basic skills. Eventually I did an MA in Creative Writing which I completed in 2012. My fiction tutor was the greatly missed author Graham Joyce, who was really enthusiastic about the stuff I was writing. I came out of the course thinking, “Yes, I can do this after all!” It taught me a lot and gave me a big confidence boost. Since then I’ve completed a novel and I’ve been submitting short pieces to various publications.

Gray Matter Press has released an anthology, Death’s Realm, featuring your work, “March Hays.” Give us a preview of your short story without giving away too much.
Sam Meacham is injured during WW2 and sent to March Hays, a stately home requisitioned as a hospital for servicemen. One of the nurses Lily, is the daughter of the house who Sam met when he was a child. As Sam recuperates he experiences some strange and disturbing events in the library of the house, but isn’t sure if they are real or just a side effect of his injuries. He also becomes increasingly attached to Lily and determined to protect her from her monstrous husband Edward, who seems to be a threat to her life.

The premise behind Death’s Realm is what happens after death. If there is a great beyond, what do you imagine it to be?

I’ll be very surprised if there is anything, but then I like surprises! I suspect if there is anything it will be beyond the power of our imaginations to comprehend. Or it might be a bit like Milton Keynes.

We thank Matthew Pegg for coming by to share his thoughts. You can keep up with him at his website, here.

Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: Matthew Pegg

Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: John C. Foster

Everyone, welcome John C. Foster to the blog. I’m featuring fellow contributors to Death’s Realm, of Grey Matter Press, with a short mini-interview to learn more about the talent involved, a preview of what we can expect from their story, and speculate on what lies ahead in the great beyond.

  Tell us aboJohn C Fosterut your background, who you are, and how you came to the writing life.

Well, I was born in Sleepy Hollow but raised in a small New Hampshire town, and despite the fact   that any number of teachers told me (in so many words) that I was a writer, I never believed it to  be “real” until I hauled stakes for Los Angeles at age 20, determined to be a screenwriter despite never having seen a screenplay – or Los Angeles for that matter. I did write screenplays on the side while building up a PR and marketing career, but I discovered that I didn’t really want to write what my agents and managers wanted me to write – or what the studios wanted to make. It wasn’t until I got to New York City that I realized what my real problem was: I was focused on being a writer and all the accoutrements that come with it, not on the writing itself.

Boom, that epiphany (yeah, I said “epiphany”) was like a caveman discovering fire and I focused intently on my craft, reading everything I could get my hands on, learning about the myriad of small presses, and writing-writing-writing. I went from someone who could only write when I was alone, everything quiet and the muse upon me to a guy who could plant his ass on a loading dock and crack open his laptop with all of NYC squalling a few feet away.

Then I started getting my stories published and a few years back, wrote my first novel, Dead Men, which will be published in July of 2015 by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing. If folks are interested in updates on that or the rest of my writing they can check me out on Facebook or my web site, www.johnfosterfiction.com.

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Gray Matter Press has released an anthology, Death’s Realm, featuring your work, “Burial Suit.” Give us a preview of your short story without giving away too much.

This is the second story I’ve done with Grey Matter Press and I’m ecstatic at how damned good the books look. The story in Death’s Realm is entitled “Burial Suit” and deals with a man recently released from prison who learns of his father’s death and sets off with his dad’s favorite suit for the burial. And because he has certain dark preparations in mind to care for old dad in the afterlife, he’s also carrying a pistol, electrician’s tape and his cat, The Loose.

There are so many good writers in this collection, I’m flattered to have “Burial Suit” nestled in with their work.

The premise behind Death’s Realm is what happens after death. If there is a great beyond, what do you imagine it to be?

I don’t believe in any religious concept of an afterlife, although with half an hour and a pitcher of beer I can compose an argument in which various ideas might be “true” in a sense. I do believe that there is an energy to us that may move on to some other level of existence or perhaps return to the universe – much in the way our physical remains break down and return their constituent components to the earth. I also believe, particularly at night when I’m alone, that some of that energy may linger for a reason, perhaps a powerful trauma, and encountering such a lingering presence scares the hell out of me.

We thank John C. Foster for coming by to share his thoughts.
John C. Foster was born in Sleepy Hollow, NY, and has been afraid of the dark for as long as he can remember. A writer of thrillers and dark fiction, Foster spent many years in the ersatz glow of Los Angeles working in entertainment and marketing before relocating to the relative sanity of New York City where he lives with his lady, Linda, and their dog, Coraline.
 
Foster’s first novel, Dead Men, will be published by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing in July, 2015.  His short stories can be found Death’s Realm (Grey Matter Press) as well as Shock Totem Magazine, Dark Visions Vol. 2 (Grey Matter Press), and anthologies such as Under the Stairs (Wicked East Press) and Big Book of New Short Horror (Pill Hill Press) among others. For more information, please visit www.johnfosterfiction.com.
Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: John C. Foster

Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: Gregory Norris

Everyone, welcome Gregory Norris to the blog. I’m featuring fellow contributors to Death’s Realm, of Grey Matter Press, with a short mini-interview to learn more about the talent involved, a preview of what we can expect from their story, and speculate on what lies ahead in the great beyond.
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Tell us about your background, who you are, and how you came to the writing life.

I grew up on a healthy dose of creature double-features and reruns of classic TV science and speculative fiction shows—Dark Shadows, Lost in Space, the original The Outer Limits, and especially first runs of Gerry Anderson’s brilliant outer space parable, Space:1999. I was raised in the lush, green veldt of Windham, New Hampshire. There weren’t a lot of other kids to play with, so one day my imagination, which was steeped in wonder over bases on the moon and haunted houses, began to invent stories. I still have all of my original short stories from boyhood. When I was fifteen, we had moved from rural Windham to a residential town that became my own version of Hell on Earth…I was a troubled teen and spiraling toward self-destruction, again without many friends. That summer, those I had saw me writing out what would amount to my first novel (a whopping 200 pages!) in which I cast them as the main characters. They all tried their hands at writing their own original tales, only to give up after a few pages. When I finished the novel, that same night I started another story. A light went off that summer—I loved to write and it was all that I wanted to do with my life. Writing saved me, I’m convinced. And the following autumn, I made a new friend as a result of writing, Tina Perry, who was writing poetry (and was/is very good at it!). She became one of the best influences of my life, and we’re still thick as thieves.

Gray Matter Press has released an anthology, Death’s Realm, featuring your work, “Drowning.” Give us a preview of your short story without giving away too much.


My story featured in Death’s Realm is called “Drowning”. It’s a historical about a Swedish immigrant named Edgard Palmveist who survives the sinking of the Titanic in 1912 only to be haunted by the belief that not all of him came out of the Atlantic intact. The story owes to a trippy article a friend of mine cut out of the newspaper and handed to me not long before Grey Matter Press started reading for the anthology.

 The premise behind Death’s Realm is what happens after death. If there is a great beyond, what do you imagine it to be?

The afterlife? We bought an old New Englander house in New Hampshire’s remote north country in 2013. It has a zillion-dollar view, even though we got the place on the cheap because the economy here has never recovered and may never. By relocating here, we were able to own the house, as opposed to the other way around. We got a lot of house for very little money, and my Writing Room is bright, big, and filled with all of my favorite family heirlooms and talismans. I am happiest in that room, where I court the Muse daily. As I tell everybody, I plan to haunt this place for eternity!

We thank Gregory Norris for coming by to share his thoughts. You can keep up with him at his blog, here.
Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: Gregory Norris

Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: J.G. Faherty

Everyone, welcome J.G. Faherty to the blog. I’m featuring fellow contributors to Death’s Realm, of Grey Matter Press, with a short mini-interview to learn more about the talent involved, a preview of what we can expect from their story, and speculate on what lies ahead in the great beyond.
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Tell us about your background, who you are, and how you came to the writing life.

I tend to think I was always meant to be a writer, but I never really believed that, or made the conscious decision to try being one, until I was 38 years old. As a child, my father (an English teacher) would tell me stories before bed, and often they were ones he made up himself. In grade school, I excelled in English, wrote stories that made my teachers spout about my talent, and drew comics that made my classmates laugh. But somewhere along the way in high school, all of that gave way to sports, girls, and music, and writing fell by the wayside, although I was always an avid reader. Several books a week. I tried my hand at a horror novel in college, but after the first couple of chapters I thought “This sucks compared to Stephen King and Peter Straub.” (My two favorite writers at the time.) “I guess I just don’t have the talent.”

I had no one to tell me that writing was hard work, it didn’t just flow out ready for publication. My college was big on business and science, poor in creative writing. I went on to hold a variety of jobs – marketing, laboratory sciences, photography – and never thought about writing until one day, after the company I was working for closed, I took on a gig writing elementary standardized test preparation books for the Princeton Review. It was fun, it was easy, and I enjoyed the creative writing passages the best. One day, I stumbled onto an internet ad for an anthology seeking submissions for horror stories. On a whim, I wrote one and submitted. No beta readers, no edits other than proofreading.


I was the last story rejected, and the editor sent me a note saying A) I had real talent and B) I should start meeting other writers and editors and learn more about the industry. That’s when I joined the HWA. And decided to start writing.

Gray Matter Press has released an anthology, Death’s Realm, featuring your work, “Foxhole.” Give us a preview of your short story without giving away too much.

My story, “Foxhole,” is the tale of two soldiers caught behind enemy lines. Best friends since childhood, they have to sneak and fight their way through more than 20 miles of enemy-infested jungle. One of them is wounded, and sometimes delirious. By the time they reach safety, he has learned new things about friendship, death, and what lies beyond.

The premise behind Death’s Realm is what happens after death. If there is a great beyond, what do you imagine it to be?

I’m sure this is something that not only every horror writer but every person on earth wonders about, especially as they get older. I’m a lapsed Catholic, but I’ve never believed in the traditional Heaven and Hell, although it would be great to think there’s a wonderful place in the beyond, where all you family, friends, and pets are waiting to see you again. Perhaps because of my background as a scientist, or because I’ve learned not to believe things that are too good to be true, that’s always struck me as a fairy tale. I think there is something to the idea of reincarnation, but that’s a story for another day. What I do believe is that there’s more than just a final blackness, that life doesn’t just end when you die.


We thank J.G. Faherty for coming by to share his thoughts. You can keep up with him at his website, here.
Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: J.G. Faherty

Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: John F. D. Taff

Everyone, welcome John F. D. Taff to the blog. I’m featuring fellow contributors to Death’s Realm, of Grey Matter Press, with a short mini-interview to learn more about the talent involved, a preview of what we can expect from their story, and speculate on what lies ahead in the great beyond.
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Tell us about your background, who you are, and how you came to the writing life.
My background is pretty heavily in writing.  I was an English major in college and worked for many years in the magazine industry–marketing & sales, editing & writing, all the way up the ladder to publisher.  I started writing fiction when I was in grade school, but didn’t get serious until around 1990.  Then I started in on short stories and never looked back.  I love to read and listen to music.  I just got married to my wonderful fiancee Deb, and am father to three great kids and three great pugs.

Gray Matter Press has released an anthology, Death’s Realm, featuring your work, “Some Other Day.” Give us a preview of your short story without giving away too much.

“Some Other Day” is actually a rewritten version of an older story that I somehow lost.  The idea stuck with me, about a boy’s unexpressed grief for his dead mother and how it affects everything around him.  So I rewrote it, even before the call for Death’s Realm went out.

The premise behind Death’s Realm is what happens after death. If there is a great beyond, what do you imagine it to be?

Probably just what you need it to be, what you think it will be, at least for some time after you die.  Until you get acclimated to what death really is, what it means.  I think the afterlife we all sort of mentally go to is a cushion to protect us from a reality that is so much larger than we can contemplate.  And I mean that in a good way…of course.
We thank John F. D. Taff for coming by to share his thoughts. His more recent offering also comes to us by way of Grey Matter Press, the much acclaimed “The End In All Beginnings.” You can keep up with him at his website, here.
Death’s Realm Mini-Interview: John F. D. Taff

Death’s Realm Anthology – Mirrorworld

I’ve been remiss in updating my latest projects for this blog, as I’ve been too busy to breathe since 2015 moved in. I was recently proud to have “Mirrorworld” published in the anthology from Grey Matter Press, Death’s Realm.

deaths_realm_anthology_cover_front

In the next few weeks, I’m going to be hosting a a little tour featuring several authors from the anthology answering a few questions about their contribution and their thoughts on life after death. Reviews have also started to trickle in, one, notably, from Fangoria.

The Table of Contents:
“OMNISCOPIC” by Rhoads Brazos“SOME OTHER DAY” by John F.D. Taff“HAUNTER” by Hank Schwaeble
“BURIAL SUIT” by John C. Foster“NINE” by Aaron Polson“PENUMBRA” by Jay Caselberg“FOXHOLE” by JG Faherty“DROWNING” by Gregory L. Norris“THE WEIGHT” by Jane Brooks“HARDER YOU FALL” by Brian Fatah Steele“MIRRORWORLD” by Martin Rose“MARCH HAYS” by Matthew Pegg“HIGH ART” by Karen Runge and Simon Dewar“A PIRATE’S RANSOM” by Jay O’Shea“TO TOUCH THE DEAD” by Paul Michael Anderson
“YOU ONLY DIE ONCE” by Stephen Graham Jones

Death’s Realm Anthology – Mirrorworld