A Fond Farewell

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

It’s the night of ghouls, goblins and ghosts. And like them, I’m gone in the morning.

I’ve had a tremendous amount of fun finding and interviewing artists and writers. But as much as I’ve enjoyed it, it’s time for me to get back to focusing on my writing career. I’m stepping down as the main content provider for the Bolthole blog.

So what does that mean for the blog? Well, the community has pitched ideas and concepts. Many of which sound great and promising. And I’m sure the RiaR will continue. I hope they have an easier time overcoming some of the challenges and issues I faced, and hope they can find an enduring passion for it.

Time will tell.

But before I go, I wanted to give a huge thanks to every author, publisher and artist who contributed to the blog. Their time and insight have made this a treasure trove of lessons and wisdom. A titanic thanks to Manuel Mesones for the background. And both he and the rest of my friends for their enduring support in trying times.

It’s only fitting that it should end on the only holiday when we take off our costumes and wear our real faces, as Zac Gorman perfectly explained. Even if others don’t realize they do it.

So own the night while you can. Happy Halloween!

-James Fadeley

Bolthole Halloween Special

Halloween Wallpaper.

Happy Halloween from the Bolthole!

 

It’s almost that time of year again. To celebrate, we’ve reached out to members of the Bolthole and asked for their take on great scary fiction, be it games, movies or stories. We’ve emphasized shorter material, but here’s some reading music.

He2etic, here from space to scare the living hell out of you.

He2etic, here from space to scare the living hell out of you.

He2etic: If you’re looking for a great horror movie to check out, it’s got to be Stephen King’s The Mist. The story involves a number of survivors trapped in a grocery store, their town covered by a thick fog that hides predator monsters. But only half the hero’s problems come from outside, as fear gives a zealot antagonist undeserving power.

The film deserves high marks in every aspect. The special effects and variety of monsters are intriguing to admire. The actors and actresses fill their roles with rewarding efforts.

The plot explores its themes well and moves at the right pace, giving the characters time to reflect and react. Perhaps best of all, even King admired the changed ending. As King said, “The ending is such a jolt—wham! It’s frightening. But people who go to see a horror movie don’t necessarily want to be sent out with a Pollyanna ending.”

The Mist isn’t just a good horror movie, it’s a good movie in its own right. However, if you’re looking for something more traditional with monsters, check out Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.

LordLucan, tentacled terror tormenting tale tellers totally!

LordLucan, tentacled terror tormenting tale tellers totally!

LordLucan: For classic haunted house kinds of horror stories, I found The Others, starring Nicole Kidman, and The Woman in Black to be quite well accomplished movies, that are great atmospheric films that build the tension and sense of bleak desolation and isolation of their characters well, and they don’t make the cardinal sin of overusing their ghouls.

Wolf Creek is another good Australian horror movie, which is very reminiscent of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and the slow build up is the most effective part.

I feel the best horror stories are actually unnerving and work best when a reader or viewer does not realise until later than something is terribly wrong. Too many lazy horror movies recently rely upon either excessive gore, or on the jump scare chord. Such films aren’t scary, they are startling, which is very different.

On youtube, there is a series called Marble Hornets, which I recommend folks check out if they haven’t all ready. Sometimes it falls back on the jump scare, but I find this series is scariest in the videos you have to re-watch. Then you start noticing somethig going on in the background. Something the characters in the videos don’t seem to realise is there… (gotta love the Slender Man, the greatest of the creepy internet memes)

The most horrifying film I’ve seen though, I would say, is Threads. However, don’t go into that film expecting to be entertained. Harrowing, relentlessly bleak and it gave me restless nights when I first saw it, I can tell you.

While I don’t recommend it for its actual quality of the story itself, folks should read Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto, as it is one of the earliest examples of a Gothic Horror story, the ancestor to later horror staples like Dracula, Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde*, and Frankenstein.

*(Incidentally, it bums me out that Doctor Jekyll and mister Hyde’s has been permanently and culturally spoiled for every single person in the world. When I read this book, it didn’t really work for me, but in the day, when nobody actually knew who Hyde was, it would have made for a brilliant mystery story, with the mother of all twists.)

Vivia, because the Robot Devil says HELL...o.

Vivia, because the Robot Devil says HELL…o.

Vivia: Great finds on iTunes: The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas app! It has the well-known opening sequence and actors of all kinds. It looks awesome and what is not to like about radio dramas? Not cheap though.

The H.P Lovecraft’ Collection for 22 SEK!  As usual the Swedish rating is totally bonkers: 4+. Yeah, I’m sure of that, because  children of that age can read and want to read horror stories.

The Year Walk, a game based on Swedish folklore in the 19th century, the worst type of century. I’m so tempted to buy it, the graphics look nice and I read all about the beings in the game (Scandinavian type of faeries). But reading from the reviews it’s a horror game with supernatural elements and better played with ear phones. Snow, red cottages and things, I know all about and it frightens me. It’s a unique game play experience, art mixed with story. The indie game The Path comes to mind, another creep game I recommend.

House on Haunted Hill, with the wonderful Vincent Price. He is a must-see on film and TV. Watching his films were big entertainment during Friday evenings when we were children (not entirely healthy for small kids I admit). His films are on YT so go there to take a look.

He is also on ITunes. Classic BBC Radio Horror: The Price Of Fear among many.

The incorrigible Corrigan Phoenix!

The incorrigible Corrigan Phoenix!

Corrigan Phoenix: For a game, try Slenderman: The Eight Pages. You can generally get it for free with the right google search, and for scares its perfect.

You are a lone man, deposited over a razor-wire topped wire fence into a compound. Your goal is to find and collect the eight pages that all hold facts on the legendary slenderman. The trick is, as you collect more pages, the man himself begins to follow you – the more pages you collect, the less time you can spend standing still.

The creepy setting coupled with a fantastic score and decent lighting graphics make this my top-scariest game ever. Give it a try, let me know what you thought – even better, film your own reaction whilst playing it and share – give us all a laugh!

Mossy Toes. Because! ... just because.

Mossy Toes. Because! … just because.

Mossy Toes: “Hobo Lobo of Hamelin” is an anthropomorphized animal tale retelling of the Pied Piper tale. It appears to be a work in progress, so it isn’t complete yet, but is an almost wholly new use of the medium of webcomic-ery. Dynamic, shifting page environment, redolent with symbolism and layered imagery; heavy and cynical political allegory/disenchantment; the best use of music in an interactive medium since Bastion; I could go on, but I’ll let you explore it for yourself.

The Passenger, a short animated film about the perils of goldfish, the listening to of music, etc.

The Mysterious Explorations of Jasper Morello, the real coup de resistance. Half an hour of steampunk silhouette joy. With floating islands that have volcanoes on them (don’t ask how it works), floating balloon buoys that stay stationary without being anchored (don’t ask how it works), mad scientists, horrific creatures, virulent plagues, airships… and so on.

Check out the rest here! And be sure to check out Read in a Rush: Haunting for fresh stories!

Writing Market News

This will be the first of a weekly series of posts highlighting what I feel are some interesting short story writing opportunities. There are many open calls out there, but it can be hard to find and keep track of them all. Given that a disproportionate number of them seem to be for mature romance and erotica (sorry, I won’t be highlighting those categories), that makes finding the pertinent ones even more difficult.

As long as there are enough calls available to put a decent list together each week, I will be focusing on markets paying at least token rates. I think it’s important that authors get paid for their work, and I think you probably are more interested in paying markets than otherwise, so that will be the priority.

First up today, we have a pair of apocalyptic open calls.

Vignettes from the End of the World

Vignettes will be a collection of flash fiction to be published by Apokrupha, focusing on the end of the world, of course. Any form of apocalypse is acceptable, but they caution against zombies, unless done extremely well. Depending on the length of your story, this call is also paying into the upper reaches of pro-pay, so that’s not too shabby.

Deadline: November 5, 2013
Words: 500 or less
Pay: $20

Fat Zombie

The other collection of death and destruction takes an interesting look at those doing their best to survive. Fat Zombie, an anthology presented by Permuted Press, wants stories of unlikely survival. People no one would expect to make it through the end of times. Losers, geeks, freaks, handicapped, or otherwise physically or mentally incapable protagonists are the goal. An apt comparison was made to me that this sounds like the movie Zombieland. All types of apocalypse are acceptable, including zombies.

Deadline: November 30, 2013
Words: 3,000 – 10,000
Pay: $25 (not listed on website, but confirmed with the editor)

Catch me when you can… Jack the Ripper

The iconic serial killer Jack the Ripper stars in our next collection, which should well suit those from the UK. Catch me when you can is an anthology to be published by KnightWatch Press, an imprint of Fringeworks. Desired are stories in a broad spectrum of genres focusing on Jack the Ripper’s return. The idea is a new perspective on the famous serial killer, causing mayhem in a new setting, while remaining true to his defining characteristics. This is a Jack the Ripper anthology, not a general serial killer anthology, and the publisher is clear on that.

Deadline: November 30, 2013
Words: 3,000 – 6,500
Pay: 4% profit sharing
Other: Submissions must be in British English only

Far Worlds

Finally, I thought it fitting to highlight to current effort of the Bolthole publishing team, the Far Worlds anthology. There are some very interesting aspects of this collection. Stories may be of any genre, but may not be set on Earth. The intent is for stories to focus on one or more non-human races entirely. Who are they? What do they look like? How do they act? There are infinite stories to be told, but it will be a challenge to make these alien characters unique, yet still relatable to readers.

At some point in the story, a mysterious device called the Drift Engine must make an appearance. Not much is known about the device, other than it will enter and leave the area without stopping or interfering in anything going on around it. Another rule of the collection is that no faster than light travel is available in the setting.

In order to be included in this anthology, you must be a member of the Bolthole. If you aren’t already, it’s easy, so move on over here and sign up. You must must also pitch a short synopsis to the editors. Upon approval of that, you can proceed with writing the story.

Deadline (Synopsis): November 20, 2013
Deadline (Story): December 15, 2013
Words: 2,000 – 10,000
Pay: Profit sharing depending on number of authors

“The Black Wind’s Whispers” Available in Print!

The Black Wind's Whispers, available now on Amazon.

The Black Wind’s Whispers, available now on Amazon. Just in time for the season…

For the first time ever, the Bolthole’s first anthology The Black Wind’s Whispers, is available in print. With new cover art by the amazing Manuel Mesones. Just in time for the Halloween season comes 9 tales of classic monsters re-twisted into new and horrifying forms. Includes the short stories of…

“Plague of the Krakenmari”, by Simon Howers.
“The Sculptor’s Torment”, by Jonathan Ward.
“Unmarked”, by A.R. Aston.
“An Old Friend”, by Keanu Ross-Cabrera.
“The Birth Howl”, by James Fadeley.
“Guardian”, by Alec McQuay.
“Since This War”, by Robbie MacNiven.
“Burden”, by Jeremy Daw.
“And Entombed in the Dawn”, by special guest C.L. Werner.

Order your copy on Amazon just in time for Halloween. And for the e-reader folks, there’s always the Kindle edition.

“Marching Time” Is Nearly Out!

We interrupt your Tuesday interview for an important announcement. After months of work, the new Bolthole anthology is finally upon us!

The all new Bolthole Anthology, out this week!

The all new Bolthole Anthology, out this week!

War takes a new twist when every mistake can be erased and every military and historical theory can be tried and tested in reality. Containing twelve great new stories of desperate assassinations, battle correction scenarios and total war, Marching Time will challenge your preconceptions of time travel unlike anything before.

Authors and stories include:

“Subliminal Reserves” by A R Aston.
“Flár Ragnarök” by James Fadeley.
“Marked for Death” by Ed Fortune.
“Family Ties” by Lauren Grest.
“The Lost” by Mark Grudgings.
“Fractured” by Alec McQuay.
“Army of One” by Ross O’Brien.
“Regicide” and “Ultionem Lapsis” by Mark Steven Thompson.
“Ripples” by Jonathan Ward.
“The Lost Blitzkrieg” by C L Werner.
“Hero of Magong” by Griff Williams.

Available on Amazon later this week. Author interviews resume next Tuesday.

Marching Time

A few months ago, the Bolthole announced its upcoming second anthology, Marching Time. Now that we’re getting stories in, we’re releasing the cover art (thanks to Forjador for his hard work on this).

The cover to Marching Time

We hope you agree it looks great, and we hope to have the finished anthology out in the next few months.

The Bolthole’s first anthology, The Black Winds Whispers, is available from Amazon here (.co.uk) and here (.com).

Being A Writer Is Like Being A God

Another Boltholer joins us on the blog today for some more ruminations on writing. Bod the Inquisitor aka Simon is a good friend of mine, and I’ve had the pleasure of meeting him twice at Games Day UK’11 and Black Library Live! 2012, where we spent a good amount of time talking about writing and other things. In his first guest blog for the Bloghole he presents a critical piece on a “How To Write” book, written by acclaimed SFF writer Orson Scott Card.

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