HORRORFICTIONBLOG.COM

Screen Shot 2016-07-05 at 5.06.09 AMSo I told a lot of folks that there would be new things coming up with the website and I guess it is finally time for me to tell everyone exactly what is going on! So here it is!

The site is moving over to HorrorFictionBlog.com!

All of the content from this page has been migrated over, but now, at HorrorFictionBlog.com, you are able to join in on the action and submit your own articles or stories to go up on the page as well!

This decision came in lieu of, honestly, how well things were going with the site! Once I was able to hit 1,500 visitors and noticed that there were actual people actually reading what I posted, I figured it was time to do it right.

Either way, I encourage everyone to swing over to HorrorFictionBlog.com, enjoy, and submit as much as you like! I will add mew material as much as possible and be sure to get everyone else material up in a timely fashion as it come in!

Thank you again, and I’ll see you all over at HFB!

M.J. Orz

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Where’s All The Articles, Man?

Hey all! M.J. Orz here, and I wanted to take a minute to fill my readers in on what the heck is going on with the lack of articles recently!

imgresSome of you who follow my Twitter account or have spoken to me in person know that I am currently going through a huge transition in my life! No, I’m not changing careers or switching genres or anything like that, don’t worry. But I am, in fact, very happy to say that (any day now!) I will become a father for the very first time!

Any of you moms and dads that read the site know how hectic that can be and how much preparation goes into this exciting moment in life, which is the reason I haven’t been posting much lately. I have been trying my best to make sure that I have everything in order at home, at work (my good ol’ day job, who have been wonderful during this process!), and everywhere else so that I can focus on welcoming this new little human into the world.

With this being said, don’t worry! The articles will be back soon! This is not a long-term

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My beautiful wife and I getting ready for a new, horrifying (in a fun way though) adventure!

hiatus or me bowing out. In fact, when I return, there is some big news with the site and lots of changes for all of you wonderful readers to look forward to! In the mean time, if you’re still itching for some new horror, check out my book by clicking on the image in the sidebar or RIGHT HERE, or even some of the other media available from M.J. Orz across the internet.

In the mean time, I’ll keep the world posted of how things come along via Twitter and I look forward to showing everyone what is in store for this blog in the very near future!

Thank you for understanding and I can’t wait to get back to bringing you all some frightful insights on horror literature and more!

Yours truly,

M.J. Orz

Happy 5 Year Anniversary to The NoSleep Podcast!

S7E10_500There are a lot of podcasts out there nowadays that dedicate themselves to sending chills up your spine. For a many of us, that is how we get our regular dosage of horror – myself included. With all of these available options, one still sits high atop that frightful mountain, and this week they celebrate their FIVE YEAR ANNIVERSARY!

I know I got my start with horror through their amazing podcast (you can find the episodes here), which gave me the confidence to keep on writing creepy stories and all about creepy things. The NoSleep Podcast, fronted by the amazing David Cummings, have offered the world of this genre something to look forward to every Sunday and remained an inspiration and vehicle for tons of want-to-be horror authors. NoSleep and all of those affiliated: Thank you for five outstanding years of service to the horror universe and please know we look forward to another five, ten, fifteen, twenty years of tales!

Congrats. We applaud you. Take a bow.

Quite A Milestone! Thank You All!

I started this site shortly after finishing my first horror novel, attempting to create a platform or something of the sort that would be a link to the Amazon page for my book. I quickly realized that it was silly of my to expect that to do me any good, so I let the page sit for a months while I pushed it elsewhere, ignoring this page and the potential it had.

A few months later, I saw an opening to write for a major online book publisher, wrote some pieces for their horror segment, but didn’t make the cut (which is ok – I know that was some steep competition and I have A LOT to learn). After sharing the article with a few friends, I decided to post them as my own blog and almost overnight I was seeing regular views (granted, minimal compared to other sites, but regular nonetheless) and visitors!

And today, I hit a milestone on the page that truly made me feel accomplished!

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Caught that wonderful screenshot! 1500 people from 41 different countries!

For this, I just wanted to write out a quick THANK YOU to all of the folks who visit my page, who read my articles, who leave comments or share on twitter, Facebook, etc.! I want to send out a YOU ROCK to all of the numerous Youtube channels and Podcasts that have been so supportive of my articles and my writing – you guys really keep me going.

AND NOW, because I have hit this hopeful first of many milestones, I have decided to make a change in the website to take it to the next level. Not, going to give away details at the moment, but know that changes are coming and they are exciting!

THANK YOU ALL and know that I truly, truly appreciate it!

Take A Ride: An Interview With the Creators of The Lift Podcast

If you’ve visited any of the other posts on this page, you know that a huge portion of my horror thrills come from the podcast world. So much, actually, that I recently wrote a post about a few of my favorite ones – Victoria’s Lift being one of them. With this, and the wonderful aid of the Twitter-scape, I was lucky enough to have been able to ask the folks over at The Lift a few questions for this blog.

So without any more babbling from me, here is Daniel Foytik and Cindy Lowman from “The Lift“!

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So, for starters, tell us about The Lift! What it is?

DF (Daniel Foytik): The Lift is an audio drama featuring a mysterious girl named Victoria. It’s kind of an homage to old radio dramas of the past, but updated for the current day. We try to preserve those elements that made radio dramas so compelling, but also take advantage of the advances in technology and storytelling to deliver something very high quality that pulls the listener into the world. The goal from the theme song forward is to make it as immersive as possible.

CL (Cindy Lowman): Victoria hosts, guides, and lifts the visitors to experience a scenario where she hopes they will be enlightened. It’s all about choices, with swifter consequences than may be found in regular life. Like many episodic adventures, there are also stories where listeners get to learn about the world itself and Victoria.

How did you all decide to start The Lift?

DF: Victoria started as a voice from the darkness when I wanted a mascot for my original podcast, 9th Story.  She was featured in the intros and outros and had an occasional “walk-on” role, but I always felt there was more to her and wanted to delve deeper into the mythos of the building, what she did all day, and what happened on the other floors of the building.
CL: Victoria kept haunting Dan, and eventually me too. We talked about her a lot and explored the building ourselves a bit in these conversations. There were lots of “wouldn’t it be great if” moments until one day, Dan, Chuck (another writer friend who has written for the show), and I were at a writing workshop when Dan asked what we thought of writing stories in a Twilight Zone type format with Victoria hosting visitors to the building. Of course, we thought it was a fantastic idea! In the end though, I think Victoria wanted the show, and we finally listened.

Who (or what) exactly is this horrifying little Victoria?

DF: Well, she might say she’s only horrifying if you deserve it. [Laughs] There are times when she can be very sweet and endearing too — it all depends on what you bring with youP2MainImage1-1024x1024 to the building and how firm of a guide you need. In the broadest sense, she is The Guide in the building. She uses her music box and The Lift to take the people called to the building where they need to go. She was once a little girl who lived in the building, but she’s been called to a higher purpose and is much more than she seems. To be frank, I’m not even 100% what she is. I just know she’s very powerful, very mysterious, and adorable. She’s got a very solid personality and a sense of humor that I love.
CL: I’ve come to know and love Victoria so much and lived with her long enough that it surprises me when she’s described as horrifying or creepy. But then I remember she does still spook me sometimes. Everyone will get to know her more as The Lift continues, and as we keep learning about her too. Like everything about The Lift, things are more than they seem.

The stories are written by quite a few different authors? Was this always the intent?

DF: Yes, that was the initial idea and I’m glad to see how well it’s worked out. The idea was always to create a vehicle that would create a rich, diverse world for Victoria to live in and create a way for listeners to discover the work of new authors, artists, and composers. There’s a core universe that Cindy and I created with certain rules and structure, but all of the contributors have a lot of freedom to explore concepts and ideas in our little Dante-esque Realm. We have plans to publish the stories and some bonus material as an anthology as well.
CL: It’s impressive things worked as well as they have with so many authors, but that says much for the caliber of those writers. Collaboration and sharing has always been valuable to Dan and myself. We firmly believe it makes things better. Plus there would be a lot fewer episodes if all the writing were up to us!

How could somebody become the writer of an episode?

DF: So far it’s been by invitation only. We’ve got most of Season two laid out, but I think Cindy and I would be open to submissions at some point. I’m guessing we’d want to read some of their other work first to see if it’s a good fit for our vision.
CL: We’ve talked about opening submissions, but thus far, it’s been busy enough without doing so. We do intend to broaden the field at some point.

So many podcasters are starting to be able to make telling awesome stories a full-time gig! Is Victoria lucky enough to have you all full time?

DF: That’s the ultimate goal – to someday devote myself to making podcasts, writing Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 9.47.20 AMstories, and introducing Victoria to those who haven’t met her yet. I produce a few other podcasts as well, including The Wicked Library (a horror anthology podcast created by Nelson W. Pyles), but she definitely has a lot of my attention. The show has seen growth I wasn’t expecting, and I’m sure it will get to the point where it can support itself, but we’re not there yet.  We’re exploring ways to do that with crowdfunding so we can publish the stories, do some merchandising, and a few other things.
CL: Despite what Dan may say, I think he likely works full time hours on the podcast, which is why the production value is so high. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gotten to the point where he can leave the day job. I don’t have a traditional day job myself, but I’m also not working on The Lift full time.

It seems you all have had a pretty successful first season! Can you tell us anything about the upcoming episodes of The Lift?

DF: As of this writing, we have five more episodes to go for season one. I’m really looking forward to the finale which Cindy wrote. I wrote “Broken” which takes place right after Victoria’s transformation, and Cindy’s story “Plummet” is set prior to the events in “Broken”.  That piece will feature Amber Collins (who voices Victoria in Season One), as the lead narrator.
CL: What a ride writing Plummet has been! I hope all the work and tears (seriously!) put into it pays off.

What is the best way to get in touch with you all at The Lift?

DF: We’re pretty active on Twitter and Facebook – in fact Victoria has her own page on Facebook. but you can also email us at feedback@9thstory.com and find links to us and show related things at victoriaslift.com

So we all adore the podcast – how can we go about telling you and the rest of the podcast world how much we dig it? Where can we review or rate (with those obvious 5-stars!)?

DF: iTunes still drives the majority of notice in the podcast world so going to itunes.victoriaslift.com and subscribing, rating, and reviewing the show is a huge help to us. We’re also in Tune-In, Stitcher, Google Play, and so on. Beyond that, if you’d like to help convert friends, family and complete strangers to listeners, Victoria is always happy to have more Lift Riders.
CL: Share, share, share! You never know what friends and family wouldn’t hear of the show without you spreading the word.

Anything we should link to? Anything you want all of us to know about you that wasn’t covered yet?

DF: Please support the artists, writers and composers. Buy the awesome other things they create so they know you love them and will want to come back and make more episodes of The Lift for you. We don’t advertise on the show, so there’s not a revenue stream without your kindness and support of the work of creators and the show itself.
If you link to victoriaslift.com, there are links for all the writers, artists, and composers there. Listeners can poke around and explore. We always have detailed show notes for each episode on the site as well.
CL: I’d like to add that writers, artists, and composers love to hear from people who like the show. Don’t be afraid to reach out and let them know!
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Daniel

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Cindy

 

Judge A Book By Its Cover: 5 Covers To Make You Squirm

Ok, we all know the old saying never judge a book by its cover, however, in horror fiction, a genre which initial shock is greatly valued, that it is safe to say that maybe we can toss that saying aside. I know, at least in my opinion, a cover can make or break the decision to pick up a book or to leave it on the library shelf for the next potential borrower. But what does it take to get the attention of someone looking for a little more shivers while they read? Use these covers as examples and I’m sure you’ll figure it out.

5) The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff

It’s a given that children can be terrifying. It is something we have seen many times before and yet we can never get enough of it. On Yovanoff’s cover, this is used to grab our attention and revel at the oddity of the situation on the print in front of us. What the hell is going on with that baby?!?!

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4) Annabelle by Ruby Jean Jensen

You know what is more horrifying than children? Fake children. Dolls freak out even the toughest of the tough (even if they won’t admit it) and when you hang one from a noose and throw it over a black background, you’re just begging to give your reader goosebumps…which leads us to number three!

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3) Goosebumps: Horror at Camp Jellyjam by R.L. Stine

I was, along with many other kids in the 90’s, a huge Goosebumps junkie. In fact, when thinking of what to write as a next article, this cover is the first that came to mind. That smile that is simply too large for his face can make your stomach turn and leave you just knowing that anyone at Jellyjam will not be a ‘happy camper’.

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2) Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz

Speaking of books we obsessed with as kids, this classic collection is forever branded in our brains – at least Stephen Gammell’s absolutely spine-chilling illustrations are!

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1) The Vivisector by Patrick White

I will admit, I have never read this book. In fact, and you may call me a bad horror fan here, but I actually had never heard of it until I was researching for this article, but my goodness did this picture make me cringe…and just enough so to add it to my reading list (and #1 on this post!).

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(All images are owned by their respective publisher)

A Look Back At Some Of Our Favorite Goosebumps

If you were anything like me as a kid (which I can assume you are, seeing as how you’re reading a horror fiction blog), you loved and lived for Goosebumps. R.L. Stine was (and still is!) an absolute master of his genre and invited children of all ages into the wild world of horror. So for this article, I wanted to take my wonderful readers on a trip down memory lane with twelve of our favorite classic Goosebumps tales that we might want to go dig out of our parents basements!

DedWelcome To Dead House

The introduction to the Goosebumps series starts with Amanda and Josh as they move into Dark Falls, into a home that one wouldn’t describe as “cheery”. When Amanda starts seeing children and strange occurrences around the house, she quickly finds out that they aren’t quite…alive. The undead must take the blood of a freshly dead individual for survival and Amanda, as you could have guessed, is their next target.

Monster Blood

imagesSpanning over four books (Monster Blood, Monster Blood II, Monster Blood III, Monster Blood IV), this series was one of the first huge hits of the Original Goosebumps. We meet Evan (who appears in all four books) as he moves to his Aunt Katheryn’s house. Aunt Katheryn is an old deaf woman who never learned to communicate. Along with a new friend Andrea (“Andy”), they discover “Monster Blood: A Surprising Miracle Substance” in a novelty shop in town.The book moves on as the two discover what exactly Monster Blood does and the GIANT (see what I did there?) mess it can create!

Stay_out_of_the_basementStay Out of the Basement

Dr. Brewer is acting funny and it is up to his kids, Margaret and Casey to find out why. They notice that the ex-botanist is spending an awful lot of time in the family’s basement, but are quickly stopped when the go to explore. What they find in the basement is nothing that expected as they realize that the botany that their father studied in the past might not have really come to an end.

Night of the Living DummyN11665

Slappy is one of the most iconic figures in all of Goosebumps history. He has been the antagonist of three books in the original series, and even more beyond that. If people remember anything from Goosebumps (beyond that spooky green lettering on the covers), it’s Slappy’s face, which has haunted many of our childhood dreams and left us all with a severe fear of dolls and puppets. When twin sister Lindy and Kris, local twins and natural competitors, find Slappy they are quickly appalled by the puppet coming to life, verbal attacking them, and urgently seeking out to create more havoc in their lives.

The_Haunted_MaskThe Haunted Mask

Carly Beth, upset with her silly duck costume for Halloween, goes to the costume shop to find something a little more…frightening. The shop owner refuses to sell the poor, tormented, shy girl the mask she wants, but she takes off with it anyway, throwing her money to the shopkeeper as she escapes through the front door. The mask turns her voice to a low grumble. It is shocking at first, but she likes the horrifying mask and the effects it has on people. That is, until the mask doesn’t come off. This book is another iconic series of the original novellas in the Goosebumps collection and was a big favorite in the television series that many of us still might have on VHS…somewhere.

The Werewolf of Fever SwampWerewolf_of_Fever_Swamp

Like a lot of the Goosebumps books, Grady and Emily move to a new house. In this case, they are with their scientist parents who want to test a theory about “Swamp Deer” from South America, which they keep penned up in their backyard. They meet Will Blake, the only other kid in town beside the “weird girl” down the street. He tells them how the area became “Fever Swamp” after a breakout disease killed off much of the townsfolk – and those who survived went insane. The book progresses as animals start dying, the swamp hermit comes about, and blame begins to spread around the town that has quite the share of secrets for Grady and Emily to discover.

One_Day_at_HorrorlandOne Day at HorrorLand

Lost while looking for Zoo Gardens Amusement Park, Lizzie, Luke, and Clay (all being driven by Lizzie and Luke’s parents, obviously) come across the sign for HorrorLand, Where Nightmares Come To Life. The park is only a mile away, and with hope of Zoo Gardens dwindling, they decide to give it a go. They soon discover that the rides are not exactly safe, are a bit more scary than they intended, and are manned by a group of questionable employees known as “Horrors”. These employees scoop up the kids and forcibly set them up on a gameshow in the park…which might be the last thing they ever do!

Attack of the MutantAttack_of_the_mutant

Skipper is a heavyset comic book nerd who only reads one comic: “The Masked Mutant”. This character is an arch-super-villain that Skipper simply obsesses over. His obsession turns to reality however when he finds himself inside one of his famed storylines, now fighting to save “The Galloping Gazelle” against all odds. He and Libby, a young red-haired girl with a rather large secret, set out to face the Mutant and finish the comic story once and for all – of course, with a twist!

NttA Night in Terror Tower

Sue and her brother Eddie set out on their vacation in London. They are taking a tour of the infamous “Terror Tower” when they are separated from the group and almost kidnapped by a man in black who has been following them throughout the tour. Through a fast-paced series of events, the two are transported back in time to when the tower was under the watch of the Lord High Executioner. Sue and Eddie come to find that, in this era, they are Prince Eddie and Princess Sue…and are doomed to face the executions that took place in the Tower centuries ago.

The Beast From The EastThe_Beast_From_the_East

Ginger and her twin brothers, Pat and Nat, get lost in the woods. While trying to find their way back, they see that the trees start to appear a bit different and rub off on them in different colors. They come to meet a community of Beasts who immediately let them know they the children are now part of the game they play call “Beast of the East”. Though the beasts won’t explain the rules of the game to the three, they did not hesitate to tell them that if they don’t tag another player by sunset, then they lose the game. And here, losing means getting eaten.