Jason Pere discusses Love and Blood

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Jason Pere is a native New Englander, currently residing in Connecticut with his wife and two rambunctious cats. He has had a long standing passion with the arts. 

Jason discovered CWC early on in 2015 and has been a passionate member since, diving into multiple collaborative fiction projects with other authors. He has work published with CW Publishing and Starklight Press. He also has solo work self-published and published by Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Incorporated. When not writing or enduring his “Real World Job” Jason enjoys, Netflix time with his family, breaking out obscure board games and dorking out with friends, firing up the his game console and surviving a Zombie Apocalypse or indulging in baked goods and sleep.

 

Jason wrote a chilling short story, Star Crossed, which appears in our Valentine’s Day horror anthology, Hearts Asunder. Here’s an excerpt:

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They were stepping into the elevator when the high heel of Hailey’s shoe caught in the gap between then floor and the inside of the elevator. It took Brady fully by surprise. It was the first time that he had ever seen Hailey be anything other than graceful. Without thinking Brady’s hand shot out and stopped his friend from going down.

Ow!” Hailey exclaimed as Brady’s hand grasped her upper arm. He let go once her feet were stable on the floor of the elevator. The short sleeve of her shirt had been rolled up onto itself when Brady had come to her rescue and it revealed a sizable bruise.

Oh I am so sorry! I didn’t think. I just didn’t want you to fall down. I am so sorry. I didn’t think that I grabbed you so hard. I’m sorry. I’m sorry,” Brady blurted out as he look at the bruise on his friends arm.

No. No. No. It’s not your fault, it’s mine. This is nothing. I just bumped this on a towel rail in the shower the other day. I really should be more careful,” Hailey said embarrassedly as she rolled her sleeve down and coved up the bruise again. “Now let’s go and get something yummy.”

Ok. I’m glad you’re alright but that bruise did look pretty bad,” Brady said trying not to sound too skeptical. He had worked in sales and customer service for long enough than he had a strong enough sense of when he wasn’t getting the full story form someone.

Thank you but it’s nothing. It really is. Don’t worry about it. I’m fine,” Hailey said in a way that seemed like she was trying to convince herself as much as her friend.

 

Jason had some revealing answers about his inspiration for his story in his interview questions:

  1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life?

Yes I do but oh which one to pick. I suppose the best example would be the story of a young woman I met online may years ago. A friendship rapidly turned into a long distance relationship. We saw each other in person on weekends and over the span of a couple months were convinced that we were destined to be together. I had the wonderfully horrid idea to leave my home in Connecticut and visit some friends in Georgia for an extended stay. I invited her to make the move with me and she said she would be happy to follow me. I should have realized that moving across the county with someone I hardly knew and never lived with before would end in disaster but I thought that we were the exception to the rule. We broke up nearly as soon as we got to Georgia and she then began dating and later marrying one of my friends that I moved down there to visit. Oh and that’s not the end of this little tale it gets better. After a very turbulent period things settled down for a while and I started dating someone else (Who I would later marry) until one day my ex-girlfriend and her husband orchestrated an armed home invasion, assault and kidnaping of myself and my current girlfriend. It was a poorly executed crime and all guilty parties were in custody in a matter of hours. So not only did this woman break my heart but she also held me at gunpoint. Still I cannot fully condemn knowing her because if I had not ever known her then I don’t know if I ever would have met the amazing woman that I went on to marry.

  1. What do you find makes the combination of love and horror such a potent combination?

I think that love is probably one of the most profound and indescribable emotions that lies within the human spectrum. It would stand to reason that the greatest emotions we are capable of feeling can lead to the greatest pain, fear and sadness when they are gone, misinterpreted or twisted in some kind of perverted fashion. Love can be a powerful motivator for someone to do horrible things.

  1. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentines Day horror story?What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentine’s Day Horror story?

I wanted to do a tragic love story. I went to Romeo and Juliet for inspiration. I wanted a story of two people who really should have ended up happily ever after but just couldn’t get out of their own lives enough to make that happen.

3. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentines Day horror story?

Thanks for the great story and interview, Jason Pere! You can find Star Crossed in Hearts Asunder, available from StarkLight Press in Feb.

An Interview with Rachel Fox

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Our next author in the spotlight is Rachel Fox, whose stirring tale of love and horror is featured in Hearts Asunder. Here’s an excerpt:

Happy Valentine’s Maureen!” Bob held out a bunch of daffodils towards his wife.

Maureen shuffled the eggs in the pan and turned to look briefly at the drooping flowers.

Put them in the sink Bob and take your shoes off, honestly look at all the mud you’ve brought in. I thought you’d be a help when you retired, not making more work for me.”

I thought you’d like them.” He huffed as he sat down.

Roses, Bob.”

What?”

You give roses for Valentine’s day.”

I don’t like to cut my roses Maureen, you know that and anyway, they’re not ready yet, it’s only February.”

Well, the shops manage to find them.”

Bob rolled his eyes as he opened the back door and eased his garden shoes off. He looked around the garden and smiled. Snow drops were pushing their miniature heads through the earth, nodding towards him in the breeze. Daffodils clustered around the silver birch at the end of the garden and next to them was his pride and joy, his roses. He pulled the door shut and turned back to Maureen who was watching him.

You love that garden more than me.” She said. He didn’t argue.

This compelling author is a supernatural and horror writer who lives in London, England. After writing for her own amusement for many years she started posting her short stories on ABCTales.com, an online community of writers, and to her surprise she found that people liked them.

She recently won the AuthorTrope ‘I made the darkness’ Halloween writing contest for her short story ‘The Exchange.’ Her story ‘Crepuscular’ is featured in the ‘Grim Keepers’ Anthology which is available on Smashwords and Amazon, as is the Anthology ‘Festive Frights’ which features her short story ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning.’

Her first novel ‘The Herring Hanger’ is due for release soon.

Here’s what Ms. Fox had to say about our queries:

  1. Have you got a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life?

To be honest not really, I can’t say it’s always been happy endings but definitely no horror stories (that I am willing to discuss!).

  1. What do you find makes the combination of love and horror such a potent combination?

Love is such a complicated emotion and can have negative and even sinister undertones more; obsession, possession, resentment… it’s a kind of madness so it ties in nicely with horror. I also like the idea of taking something that is meant to be the ultimate expression of all things good and wonderful and turning it on its head.

  1. What was the source of your Valentine’s Day horror story?

I love the characters in my story ‘Roses for Valentine’s’ I think they remind me of a lot of my parents friends when I was growing up. I wanted to take a mundane situation and take to a surreal place, and highlight the perils of obsession. I’m not sure what the inspiration was, the characters came first and they told their own story, I just went with it.

To learn more about Rachel, you can visit her sites and contact her here:

Website: www.rachelfox.co.uk
Facebook:
www.facebook.com/rachelfox.fictionpage
Twitter: @racheljstirling
Email: 
rachelfoxfiction@gmail.com

 

Kevin Grover Plays on Words and with Hearts

 

 

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  1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life?

As a horror writer, I try and keep my love and horror separate. Sometimes I get that the wrong way around with amusing consequences…

  1. What do you find makes the combination of love and horror such a potent combination

The main elements of a good story explore as many human emotions as possible. It’s an old combination. In Romeo and Juliet there’s love and death. Maybe our greatest fears are losing the ones we love? So I guess you can really appeal to the deeper levels of fear that everyone has.

  1. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentines Day horror story?

All I could think of was that old saying, he loves me, he loves me not. I then played around with that and decided to add a k in front of the not. It gave me a love me knot which then made me think about hanging ropes and the image popped into my head of ropes swinging on a hangman’s tree, but where’s the bodies? And what if Valentines day was a reminder to someone that they’re not loved?

Mandi Millen on the Black Rose

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Words have always been AJ Millen’s friends. She started telling stories young, and she’s still at it. During the 1980s, she worked as a reporter in England, but in 1989, she left for a six-month semester in Greece. That was the plan, until a brown-eyed boy from Samos persuaded her to stay. Today, he’s her husband and father to their 19-year-old son.

Today, she lives in Athens and works in Corporate Communications. To date, AJ has participated in two collaborative novel writing projects and had stories published in three anthologies. Her work also featured in evenings of tales performed at independent theatres in Brighton, and she was a winner in the AuthorTrope “I Made The Darkness” writing contest.

Read more of her words at http://shemeanswellbut.blogspot.com

Here’s an excerpt from Mandi’s story, The Black Rose:

Susie didn’t say much at dinner. She didn’t need to. Will ordered for her, like he always did. She didn’t dare defy him by saying she didn’t fancy steak tonight.

She chewed diligently at the meat, trying to ignore the twinge of her bruised jaw, just as she had tried to avoid Will’s critical glare as she picked at the prawn cocktail starter he’d chosen for her. The lemon juice in the dressing had made her lip smart, and she really didn’t like prawns all that much. She looked up to see Will staring pointedly at her.

“Eat up, princess,” he said. “I’m spending good money on that sirloin. For you. You need the iron. Got to look after yourself, and my boy.”

“It might be a girl,” she murmured under her breath. She made sure it wasn’t loud enough to be heard above the tinkling piano in the corner of the candlelit restaurant packed with couples dressed up to the nines, desperate to convince themselves that they were all madly in love.

The thought flitted across her mind that Will’s treatment before they left the house probably did more harm to the child inside her than a slight iron deficiency that would be easily corrected with a prescription from the family doctor. She dismissed it before she acknowledged it, fearful that Will could read her conscious thoughts and take revenge for her imaginary betrayal. Again.

Her eyes strayed down to the single red rose laying on the linen tablecloth next to her dessert fork. It had come with a card, obviously dictated by Will to the florist, in a curling baroque script that bore no resemblance to his practical heavy hand:

Forever mine.

Will.

Susie shuddered inwardly as she read it again. No doubt, others would find it romantic in its simplicity. To her, it sounded like a life sentence.

Mandi also has some thoughts about love and horror:

1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life?

Doesn’t everyone? Perhaps not in the “Hammer Horror” sense, but I’ve had my share of romantic disasters: a boy threatening to kill himself if I didn’t come back to him (he didn’t); being stood up on my birthday; the fun and games of my marriage breaking down when I was just 22 (yes, I know. We married at 19, I thought I was mature. I wasn’t.)

I’m a little cynical about the whole ‘heart & flowers’ romantic package, though I do believe in love in all its forms. It just worries me that so many people seem to accept “love” at any cost, for fear of being alone. Sometimes, alone is what we need to be to figure out who we are and what we really want. In fact, my best ever Valentine’s Day was when I was single, and it involved jumping fully clothed into a pool…. but that’s another story.

I believe the best love is not about fireworks and passion, it’s mundane, everyday, in it for the long haul. If you can survive seeing each other at your worst and bickering over the practicalities of daily life, and still feel at home when you look across the table at ‘your person’, you know something is right. Fortunately, that is what I’ve had for the past 26 years.

2. What do you find makes the combination of love and horror such a potent combination?
I think it is the juxtaposition of our high expectations for the ideal romantic scenario, usually fed into a frenzy by the media and commercial interests, colliding head-on with reality in all its dirty, sordid, painful glory. And the lengths we will go to the name of love.


3. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentine’s Day horror story?
Again, we come back to why some people put up with the unacceptable in the name of love, and what it takes to break that habit. I was also inspired by a friend who spent some time in prison after attacking her then husband with a knife after years of systematic abuse, both physical and psychological. Strangely enough, her crime and her punishment were what finally freed her.

 

Thanks, Mandi!

Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

 

Liz Butcher on Love and Obsession

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Our next author to share their thoughts on Love and Horror is Liz Butcher.

Ms. Butcher resides in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband, daughter and two cats, Pandora and Zeus. While writing is her passion, her numerous interests include psychology, history, astronomy, the paranormal, mythology, reading, art and music, and help fuel her imagination. She also loves being out in nature, whether it be walking through the trees or relaxing at the beach. Liz has previously published ‘Wrath’ in the “Lurking In The Deep” and “Haunting Gemma” in the “Twisted Tales” anthologies and currently has a number of projects in the works.

Here’s an excerpt from her story,  See What I See:

 

Dahlia closed her eyes and forced herself to envision her fiancé in happier times, when he’d only had eyes for her. With renewed resilience, she got to work. Procuring the obscure ingredients took time and patience, yet she was satisfied by knowing she would soon have her love back. The spell stated intent was as essential as the ingredients themselves. Perfect timing would be useless without it. So she ensured she lived, breathed, and dreamed her intent, passing the time by following the doomed couple, watching them from safe distances, glaring through fences, and peering in windows. She took a perverted joy from knowing their happiness, and her sorrow, would be short-lived.

As the days passed, she progressed from mild to pounding headaches as her jaw fused into a permanent clench. Despite that, her focus and dedication to the task made her oblivious to the pain. Even the ache within her heart had dulled as she diligently worked on her potion. No longer aware of day or night, she could not afford for it to be less than perfect.

He must see what is in my heart. Share what is in my heart. Mine alone.

On the final day, Dahlia marvelled at her work, proud that she had mastered the forbidden potion on her first attempt at crafting. The only thing left to do was ensure the potion passed only the lips of her beloved, and she knew exactly how to do it.

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Here are Liz’s thoughts on our interview questions:

1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life? No – I have been very lucky – knock on wood!

2. What do you find makes the combination of love and horror such a potent combination? I think it’s a great combination because there is the potential for love to go horribly wrong, especially when the line becomes blurred between love and obsession. Love is a force that can’t be controlled, yet a whole lot of trouble can be unleashed when we try to.

3. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentine’s Day horror story? Perception. The one-sided view point of someone whose love has become an obsession, where they become deluded rather than face the love is unrequited.

Thank you, Liz!

Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.

Jenn Spaulding Shares a Valentine Horror Story or Two

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Our next author in the spotlight is Jenn Spaulding. Her visceral fiction is a big hit in the GAF Mainframe Universe. This time she has written a horror romance set in the present day for StarkLight Press’ Valentine’s Day Anthology, Hearts Asunder. Here is a little bit of backstory on Ms. Spaulding:

Jennifer Spaulding is an author, mother, scientist, and scholar. She has penned four books of poetry, numerous short stories, and she is currently writing articles for Outermost: A Journal of the Paranormal. She is also currently busy with several top-secret collaborations. Look for her poetry on Amazon under J.L. Estes. Her poem “Shattered” was selected to be in the 2012 International Who’s Who in Poetry. Jennifer was also a participant of the 2014 Poetry Marathon. Her poems are featured in In My Mind’s Eye along with many other internationally diverse poets.

Jenn also took a few minutes to answer our interview questions:

Interview Questions

  1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life?

When I was sixteen I met 21 year old Steve Jocko. He literally gave me no choice in the matter. He grabbed me and declared me his. He began kicking the shit out of me on a daily basis. Until one day he went too far and almost killed me by rupturing my spleen. I lost 4 liters of blood.

By the time I made it to the hospital the next day, I was on my last leg. I was so scared that he would kill me that I lied to the cops and said I got jumped. I spent two weeks in the ICU. He was beating the shit out of me again the next day. One night he grabbed a long, serrated bread knife and tried to slice my throat but I threw up my hand and he sliced my pinky damn near off.

Finally my mom came to get me after seeing my body covered in bite marks. My mother spent the day getting drunk and decided to go curse Steve out. I was 6 months pregnant and I begged and pleaded with her not to go, but she didn’t listen. She was so trashed I wouldn’t ride with her so her boyfriend’s nephew was sober so I rode with him. She went to my apartment where Steve was waiting outside with an ax-handle. Steve seen me in the van with another guy and his eyes filled with murderous rage. I told the guy to drive, but Steve was there smashing the passenger side window where I sat, so I dove in the back of the van and told him to go. Steve Jocko cowardly beat my mother with that ax-handle. The surgeons said it was like a jigsaw putting the pieces of her skull back together. She lost her eye. He barely got any time in jail.

  1. What do you find makes the combination of the love and horror such a potent combination?

I think that love and horror make such a potent combination because both fear and love are very intense emotions.

  1. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentine’s Day horror story?

I got the idea for Killer Love from a dream that I had about an elusive female serial killer.

Jenn’s gripping tale can be found in Hearts Asunder, our Valentine’s Day anthology from StarkLight Press. It will be available Feb. 1, 2016!

Sharon Flood in the Floodlights

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StarkLight Press has found in Sharon Flood an excellent author and editor, whose timely work allows SLP to share even more thrilling, exciting fiction with our fans. Ms. Flood has penned a story called Forever in our Valentine’s Anthology, Hearts Asunder. In her own words, Sharon tells us a bit about herself:

I was born and raised in the St. Lawrence River Valley in the 1,000 Islands region. I graduated from grade 13 in Thousand Islands Secondary School in Brockville. I wrote some in high school, but after that, my talent lay dormant until I discovered http://www.protagonize.com/author/moonwalker in 2008. It’s a collaborative writers’ site that honed my skills. Through this site I met my publisher, The Masquerade Crew for my first anthology story – http://www.amazon.com/Forevermore-Travel-Anthology-Sharon-Flood-ebook/dp/B00XSBH4UW. I was chosen as a Mob Boss here: http://www.masqueradecrew.com/p/the-masquerade-mob.html Where I do book reviews for The Masquerade Crew, and on Amazon.com I am very proud to announce that I am involved with all four projects here – http://www.collaborativewritingchallenge.com you will find me in the Meet the authors option under the Projects button. It’s really worth checking out. Multiple authors write publishable books together. It’s amazing what Laura Callender has done with the place! I’m retired after working 40 years in retail. I now have more free time to do what I love best – reading and writing.

Here are Sharon’s answers to our interview questions:

Interview Questions

1. Do you have a real life horror story of love gone wrong in your life?

No, not really. I was married for the first time at 19, and it didn’t work out, but it wasn’t a horror story – just two very young people not ready for the commitment of marriage. I married again at 25, and that one worked out – I’m still married almost 39 years later. There are horror stories within the marriage about ill health, etc. but our love has stayed strong throughout.

2. What do you find makes the combination of love and horror such a potent combination?

I think maybe because they’re polar opposites. Love is supposed to be a positive emotion, where horror is definitely negative. It’s like opening a door expecting a party, and all you find is a dead body on the floor. The emotion of being horrified identifies all the bad stuff that’s going on in your mind at one time – like fear, nausea at the blood, the need to run away, disgust. Love in its best sense is giving, caring, and sharing. Horror pretty much kills those emotions.

3. What was the source of your inspiration for your Valentines Day horror story?

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In the Valentine Horror comments, someone suggested a title – bloody valentine, which was considered to be done to death, I guess, so it was abandoned. It gave me the idea of a bloody heart, and that morphed into a bloody heart locket. I’d decided to go with a vampire theme, and so was I thinking ‘forever young, forever beautiful, forever evil’. That became my title. Then as the story progressed, I realized that the vampire was not evil in the usual sense, just sucking blood to survive. He didn’t murder indiscriminately and create mayhem. He was just single minded. He wanted his relationship with his lady love to last forever, so that’s what I named it – forever.

Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Sharon! You can find Sharon Flood’s story Feb. 1 2016 in Hearts Asunder, from StarkLight Press.

 – Tony Stark,

Publisher and CEO,

StarkLight Press.