The Horror Show: Poetry Sucker Punch Death Hit!

A wee while ago an online friend took a shine to my artwork and commissioned some pieces for the interior art in his new poetry book. His name is Vincenzo Bilof and his book is titled The Horror Show. I was honored to do some designs specifically for this amazing book of verse. VB sent me an ARC and it blew my mind - as a result, the vivid imagery easily produced the images that follow. These are not all the pieces I designed - you'll have to buy a copy of Vincenzo's fantastic verse novella to see the others. I have taken the liberty of reposting the following book description complete with links for you to view/purchase a copy. You will notice the different covers; the colorful blue one is my design but I must say I prefer Pat Douglas's amazing final design. Pat is a great graphics guy (writer, publisher, musician . . . the list goes on) so if you need a cover or web-design check out what he's done here.

From the Bizarro Pulp website:


The Horror Show, by Vincenzo Bilof. 

A Nobel Prize-winning poet has been missing for several years, along with his wife and child. Suffering from narcolepsy and amnesia, the poet wanders the same back-alleys he terrorized as a teenager. He's being carefully watched by Doctor Humphrey, whose unique treatment plan is driven by a higher power that wants a cure for mental instability to produce the ultimate war machines. At the mercy of his derangements and the ghosts of his fragmented past, the poet's descent into the darkest reaches of his soul reveals a blood-soaked past which threatens to repeat itself.
While Doctor Humphrey collects data from his experiment with madness, he devises a plan to satisfy his own terrifying vision for the future. 
“A uniquely sustained piece of conceptual writing that has been tried before but not with the success Vincenzo Bilof achieves here… this is a must read for fans of conceptual writing. At once nightmarish and playful, it will creep you out when you feel most safe, and you can't say that for many books today, horror or otherwise.”

-Anthony Servante, Author of East Los: A Noir Nightmare

“Some of the most strange and psychotic poems of a mind adrift. Reading them can only be described as pulling your brain inside out, then tying it in a bow like a pretzel and drop-kicking it into a gorge, a very deep gorge, where it will be washed by a stream of consciousness toward the outer limits and beyond.”

-Lori R. Lopez
author of An Ill Wind Blows and Chocolate Covered Eyes


Interior Artwork by Blood Soaked Graphics:





Vincenzo Bilof, The Horror Show, William Cook, Bizarro Pulp Press, Pat Douglas, Lori Lopez, Anthony Servante

Recent Interview on the Donald White Writer's Blog

Recently, Donald White asked me to do an interview for his writer's blog and this was the result. Be sure to check out Donald's website for lots of interesting features on writing and up and coming writers. 

 *************************
 
An Interview with William Cook 



The Writer’s Blog welcomes the inimitable William Cook! Please tell us a little about yourself.

William Cook:

Hi and thanks for having me here Donald. I like to think of myself as primarily a writer first and an artist second. I live in New Zealand at the foot of the world, happily married with four daughters, in charge of the house and looking after the two youngest girls. I have been writing weird stories ever since I was a kid. My first published works were poems in various literary journals in NZ and a few in the States. Back in 1996 I published a collection of verse titled 'Journey: The Search for Something' and had the occasional poem and short story published online, but nothing really of note until 2010 when Lee Pletzers from Triskaideka Books accepted my story 'The Devil Inside' for the 2010 Masters of Horror Anthology. I have always loved the Horror genre and dark literature, so this really inspired me to write what I loved rather than what I thought other people wanted to read and it has finally started to pay off. The thing I love about the Horror/Thriller genres is that a good story will get your pulse racing and your heart thumping. I feel it is the best medium to create a world where the reader feels alive because they are experiencing fear of some sort. Sounds sadistic I know, but I personally find that no other genre gives me the thrills I seek when I immerse myself in a fictional world. I have since had quite a few Horror shorts published in various anthologies.

My novel 'Blood Related,' was re-released by Black Bed Sheet Books Halloween 2012. Writing it was a labor of love and took me roughly six years to write and it wasn't until I changed day-jobs that I had the time to bring it all together as my debut novel. The novel is about a disturbed young man called Caleb Cunningham, whose violent father is a suspected serial killer and mother, an insane alcoholic. After his father's suicide, Cunningham's disturbing fantasy-life becomes reality, as he begins his killing spree in earnest. His identical twin brother Charlie is released from an asylum and all hell is about to break loose, when the brothers combine their deviant talents. Blood Related is a serial-killer/crime novel told in a first-person narrative style from the killer's (Caleb's) point-of-view.
 
I have been privileged to have authors I look up to, give me feedback on Blood Related. People like Jonathan Nasaw, Guy N Smith, Laird Barron, Mark Edward Hall, John Paul Allen, and Nicholas Grabowsky, have all been kind enough to read and review my work - something I would never have believed possible until now.




Not only a talented author, but you are also an excellent artist. Tell us what it is like to create such gruesome works of art.

William Cook:

Well it all depends on the work of course but generally speaking, for some reason I can’t explain, my preference has always been depicting darkly ghoulish things. I have recently moved away from using traditional painting/drawing methods and now do 90% of all my work with Photoshop and digital mediums. I get my inspiration from my dreams and the various pop-cultural works I peruse, i.e. film, comics, fiction and music. I will usually start with a small sketch in a notebook or write down an idea of an art-piece that comes to mind (descriptively) before taking digital photographs of textures, trees, people and other subjects that interest me. I’ll then bring everything together via Photoshop and use it to add darkness, depth and dimension to my original vision. It is hardly ever reproduced physically apart from the occasional print or book cover so I like to call it my ‘virtual dark art.’ With each passing year I am less interested in the visceral gore-infused stuff that I used to produce, instead, I am leaning towards ‘quiet’ horror these days and subtlety is something I strive for in both my visual and written work.




Blood Related was your first novel and, arguably, most controversial work to date. Explain how you were able to get into the minds of the two main characters.

William Cook:

Blood Related combined a lifelong interest in the macabre with a lot of research into true crime and serial killers. I can trace my interest in this morbid subject to an event in my life when I was younger, whereby my best friend shot another friend of mine (his ex-girlfriend) and then killed himself. Obviously, this would leave a lasting impression on most people as it did to me. Subsequently I began to wonder why a large percentage of humans treat each other so badly and have a tendency towards self-destruction and nihilistic behavior. This aspect of my inquiring mind is constantly reinforced (the questions) by the media who use such occurrences to perpetually sensationalize ‘news’ and by our so-called leaders who use fear to drive political agendas. The politics of fear are very much a staple diet of news-hungry consumers who seem to relish lurid accounts of human cruelty and abuse, and (so it seems) probably the same reasons fiction is full of the horrors of human behavior.
             
There are plenty of fictional books that deal with the subject of serial murder and during the research I conducted for BR, a perceptible ‘canon’ of such literature dating all the way back to Gutenberg and beyond (The Bible/Quran etc) became apparent to me. Apart from being of interest for research purposes, serial killer fiction has always intrigued me and some of the first ‘adult’ books I ever read as a young teenager dealt with the subject. Probably the two biggest influences on my writing of BR were Colin Wilson’s ‘The Killer’ and James Ellroy’s brutal ‘Killer on the Road.’ I have always wanted to write a first-person novel and the six years I spent writing BR were the result of this desire. I never thought the book would see the light of day but it all seemed to come together quickly when I bought a new lap-top and within three months of shopping it around to various indie presses it was published. I’m not sure that I would write another first-person serial killer novel as it (the subject matter and the book) consumed my thoughts for a long time. I found it a lot more disturbing to write about psychopathic humans than I do writing tales of horror that deal with more supernatural and fantastical elements. The most frightening aspect, to writing BR and creating believable characterizations of serial killers, is how easy it was to contemplate and describe such characters and their sordid crimes. BR lends itself to a sequel and I have made sure that the next book will be told in the third person, for the sake of my own sanity.




You are also quite the poet, having released two collections: Moment of Freedom and Temper of the Tide. How does one achieve true feeling in verse?

William Cook:

Before I began writing stories I wrote poems. The first ‘real’ poem I remember was Blake’s ‘Tyger’ and I have enjoyed reading and writing verse ever since. My first published work was in verse-form and my first published book was a collection of my poems back in 1996, titled ‘Journey: the Search for Something.’ The verse has nearly always ‘written itself’ and generally comes after periods of introspection or strong emotional experience. Most of my early work was terrible heart-wrought angst spewed onto the page as fast as I could write it and thankfully, with a bit of experience and a more temperate lifestyle, I have stopped referring to my emotions when I write poetry. ‘True feeling’ is a completely subjective experience, both on and off the page; the only thing I can suggest in response to your question is that honesty needs to be employed when writing poetry that deals with emotion or the translation thereof. Cadence is also important and I have always tried to use onomatopoeia in my verse in order to convey the ‘sense’ of whatever it is I’m trying to impart. Simplicity is also important; there is no point writing convoluted expressionistic verse, if no one is ever going to understand what it is you are trying to say! After writing poetry for over twenty years I think I have finally began to find my voice and I think it is important to have your own voice as a poet, in a medium so canonically reliant on style and form. In other words, write from the heart with the mind as your guiding light, in a voice of your own making. Easier said than done, right?

Tell us about your work with JWK Fiction. What advice would you give writers looking to submit stories?

William Cook:

JWK Fiction [http://jwkfiction.com/] has published quite a few poems and short stories of mine and I’m happy to recommend James and the team to any aspiring writer of Horror and Speculative fiction. I think that a large part of having stories accepted for publication in the indie presses, is to write well (obviously) and to read the submission guidelines carefully. A lot of writers out there have a hard-drive full of stories that they want to see published, make sure the story you submit is what the publisher is looking for. It sounds basic but if you’re going to spend time tailoring a previously written story to fit a submission call you may as well start fresh and write something new with the guidelines in mind. I made this mistake (reanimating old work) when I was first starting out and the rejections came in thick and fast, as soon as I started writing fresh stories for specific guidelines I started having success with my submissions. If you submit a lot of stories I would also suggest keeping a record of your subs including story titles, word counts and dates etc. It saves embarrassment and time wasting if you’re simultaneously submitting stories and then having to remember if they’ve been accepted elsewhere etc.

Who are your three favorite authors and how have they influenced your work?

William Cook:

Robert Bloch, Flannery O’Connor, Sherwood Anderson (I have more than three). I love the way they convey human emotion, particularly fear, through the short story medium. They are the writers of psychological drama who I enjoy reading the most. Without reading these writers I probably would have never written short stories – very inspirational and efficient writers, who better to emulate.




What are you working on right now?

William Cook:

I am midway through the sequel to Blood Related titled ‘Blood Trail’, finishing edits on an anthology that JWK Fiction is publishing called ‘Fresh Fear’ [http://www.williamcookwriter.com/p/blog-page_26.html] with stories from the likes of Ramsey Campbell, Billie Sue Mosiman, JF Gonzalez, Jack Dann, Robert Dunbar, amongst others, and working on two separate collections of my short fiction and poetry.

Thank you for joining us on The Writer's Blog, William. We look forward to more horrific masterpieces to come...

You can find William Cook's literary works here:


Website:


Online Portfolio:


Bio:

William Cook is a writer of the macabre from New Zealand, a small antipodean island group in the South Pacific. When not writing, he looks after two small daughters and designs book covers that are designed to scare the hell out of people. Having held down a multitude of jobs before becoming a "Domestic Manager", he brings to his writing a vast array of experience that translates to the page in the form of strange characters and situations that bleed horror. From slinging timber in lumber yards, cutting plastic film in a meat packaging company, making rat-poison and acid cleaning products, working on a prawn trawler in the Gulf of Carpenteria, selling ads, and teaching English in Korea, to name a few of the roles he has performed - being a starving writer of Horror fiction seemed like a completely viable occupation.

Currently working on a sequel to his debut novel 'Blood related', titled 'Blood Trail', it is due for completion mid-year and for publication by his amazing publisher Black Bed Sheet Books sometime in the hereafter.

 





Latest Review for Blood Related

Image
Written by William Cook
Reviewed by Char Hardin
May I introduce the Cunningham Family: father who is a suspected serial killer who dies by his own hand who is married to an insane alcoholic combined they beget two sons who follow in their father’s footsteps Caleb and Charlie inherited more than dysfunctional family traits they inherited a blood soaked heritage that caused the boys to rain down a legacy of terror and death.
The beginning of the story is a preface by the psychiatrist Dr. Mary Brunswick who tells how she worked with Charlie during his trial and then after he was sentenced how his brother Caleb approached her with his own tales of murder. The trust between doctor and patient was built on the confidentiality clause that she could not break. He was free with his accounts and then disappeared. Just reading the preface was a strong indication of the content of the pages to come. I consumed this story in one sitting. One word to describe what William Cook has accomplished…TERRIFYING.
Blood Related kept me up all night on the edge of my recliner, chewing on my fingernails and constantly looking to my front door to note that it was indeed locked. Each murderous account drew me deeper into the psyche of the killers to marinate as I tried to fathom what created these modern day monsters. Fans of American Psycho will eat this book up. Throughout the text, I couldn’t shake the creepy feeling that I was being watched and at one point rose long enough to turn on the light battle back the encroaching darkness.  When at last I turned to the final page, I drew in a deep breath and noticed my fingers were white and tightly gripping my laptop as I read the story.
Upon further reflection and glancing back at my notes, I was relieved that I text was well edited. I do detest reading a story and feeling like I am deprived of the enjoyment as a reader, when the text is so riddled with errors and misspellings that I become an editor instead of a reader…not so with this book.
One thing I would have liked on some of the murders, it felt like I was being overly told of the circumstance instead of being allowed to feel and be shown the events as they played out. It is something even I as a writer suffer with telling more and showing less. It does not reflect badly on the author and in no way takes away from the flow of the story. It is just a “feeling” I got at times and could be only “felt” by me.
This is a male dominated story with women playing a less than glamorous role and more of an object to be to thrust pain and degradation upon. This did not bother me, but to those out there it does, then you may just pass on Blood Related or in any case be warned this is not boy meets girl and falls in love and lives happily ever after. No, more like boy meets girl and thinks of ways to take her apart and then does so piece by bloody piece. Personally…I loved every blood soaked page!
I would recommend this story to my horror readers, especially to the ones who love serial killers. Blood Related will not disappoint. I would like to add also while reading the story at times, I had to pause and whisper. “This is fiction. This is only fiction and is not real.” After I went to bed, I left the light on and slept fitfully as I just couldn’t shake the feeling of being watched. Awesome book 4 Out of 5!

Check out Char's cool blog here.

FREE short fiction promotion - Devil Inside (3 days only)

Hi all - FREE now for those of you who like scary stories :)

 



FREE KINDLE HORROR (05-07/9)

'Devil Inside' is a short horror story that will leave you wanting more. Graphic and descriptive, the tale winds itself around a young boy who discovers that when you make a wish, you better make sure you really want it.

Horror, Violence, Supernatural, M15+

Short Story + 4 x Poems + Excerpt from Blood Related (novel).

Amazon US -http://www.amazon.com/Devil-Inside-ebook/dp/B00B3OCVMC/ref=la_B003PA513I_1_15?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1378331600&sr=1-15

Amazon Uk - http://www.amazon.co.uk/Devil-Inside-ebook/dp/B00B3OCVMC/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1378332822&sr=8-4&keywords=devil+inside


#free #kindle #horror #trending #hwa #AmazonUK #Amazon

FREE PROMO - 3 days only, get your copy of CREEP.

As a thank you to my readers and an invitation to new readers I have one of my more popular stories available for free for the next three days. As you're probably aware, a large part of being an 'indie' author is spent with marketing and self promotion. This is one of those times and the following details will hopefully provide you, my astute readers, with the tools you need to get your FREE copy of Creep.


Free Kindle Ebook (28/08-31/08):


CREEP, is the first story in an exciting and gritty new psychological thriller/horror series. Cassandra: Hunter of Darkness, is a hero to the victim and a merciless angel of death to the evil ones. A killer of killers, she strikes fear into the hearts of those who get their kicks off hurting others. Join Cassandra on her quest for justice and revenge as she begins her journey into the dark underbelly of serial murder and takes care of business as only she knows how.

FREE NOW - Please share. Any reviews welcomed

US Link: http://www.amazon.com/CREEP-Book-Cassandra-Darkness-ebook/dp/B00CSGOUAK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377674914&sr=1-1&keywords=william+cook

UK Link: http://www.amazon.co.uk/CREEP-Book-Cassandra-Darkness-ebook/dp/B00CSGOUAK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1377690515&sr=8-3&keywords=william+cook


"5.0 out of 5 stars A CREEPY THRILLER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
By dean s
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

"Where do i begin?
What a fantastic exciting action packed thriller from the start of the book. This is the story of cassandra a girl who is off back to university after having a holiday with her parents. She calls a taxi and gets into it and what she gets into is a big mistake and a pathway to a terrible time with the creep.
This story gripped me from the start and kept me wanting to turn the pages with excitement and the unknowing. I also had to read this in one sitting as it captures you in with the characters on every page wondering what is going to happen next.
The only bad thing to say is that it wasnt long enough because i could have read more and want more,so hopefully the sequel wont be too far off. 5 stars and well deserved."

#freehorror #kindlehorror #thriller #FREE #FREEKINDLE

Favorite Books List

Here is a list of my favorite literary works. The list is not complete and is totally subjective in that the books listed are my personal favorites - the books that I go back to for whatever reason and read again and again. This is NOT a list of books I think have the most literary merit, this IS a list of books I have enjoyed reading the most for whatever reason. My friend and peer, Vincenzo Bilof has done a similar list you may find of interest here, in response to a challenge I made to him. This, of course, being my response to said challenge. 
My Favorite Books (to date) - Recommended Reading

Fiction (Novels)

Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk
Big Sur – Jack Kerouac
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
Infinite jest – David Foster Wallace
The Killer – Colin Wilson
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson
Winesburg, Ohio – Sherwood Anderson
The Stranger – Albert Camus
Redemption Falls – Joseph O’Connor
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Doystevsky
As I Lay Dying – William Faulkner
Shantaram – Gregory David Roberts
Bliss – Peter Carey
Killer on the Road – James Ellroy
Silence of the Lambs, Red Dragon – Thomas Harris
David Morrell – First Blood
Surfacing – Margaret Atwood
The Walking Drum – Louis L’amour
Tortilla Flat – John Steinbeck
Wise Blood – Flannery O’Connor
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
The Shipping News – Annie Proulx
In My Father’s Den – Maurice Gee
In the Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
The Novel – James Michener
The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag – Robert A Heinlein
The Girls He Adored – Jonathan Nasaw
Ham on Rye – Charles Bukowski
Zombie – Joyce Carol Oates
Dandelion Wine, The October Country – Ray Bradbury
The End of the Night – John D Macdonald
The Journal of Albion Moonlight – Kenneth Patchen


Fiction (Horror)

Abarat, The Hellbound Heart –Clive Barker
The Backwoods – Edward Lee
The Face That Must Die – Ramsey Campbell
Exquisite Corpse – Poppy Z Brite
This Symbiotic Fascination – Charlee Jacob
Mystery Walk, Baal – Robert McCammon
The Shining, IT, The Dead Zone, The Stand – Stephen King
Ghost Story – Peter Straub
Psycho, American Gothic – Robert Bloch
Rats, Lair, Domain, The Fog – James Herbert
Slob – Rex Miller
Spawn – Shaun Hutson
Telekiller – John Warwick
The Lost – Jack Ketchum
Children of the Night, Carrion Comfort – Dan Simmons
Flesh and Blood, Family Portrait – Graham Masterton
Futile Efforts – Thomas Piccirilli
The Amityville Horror – Jay Anson
The Exorcist – William Peter Blatty


Short Story Collections

By Bizarre Hands – Joe R. Lansdale
The Complete Stories – Flannery O’Connor
Blue World – Robert McCammon
Tales of Mystery and Imagination – Edgar Allan Poe
Night Shift – Stephen King
Books of Blood 1-3 – Clive Barker
A Peaceable Kingdom – Jack Ketchum
The Most Beautiful Woman in Town, Tales of Ordinary Madness – Charles Bukowski
Collected Stories, The Fat Man in History – Peter Carey
The Nightmare Chronicles – Douglas Clegg
Ray Bradbury Stories (Vol 1 and 2) – Ray Bradbury
Red Dreams – Dennis Etchison
Run With the Hunted: A Charles Bukowski Reader – Charles Bukowski
20th Century Ghosts – Joe Hill
The Collection – Bentley Little


Anthologies

Dark Forces – Ed. Kirby McCauley
Cutting Edge – Ed. Dennis Etchison
Prime Evil – Ed. Douglas E Winter
Psycho-paths – Ed. Robert Bloch
Psychos – Ed. John Skipp
999: New Stories of Horror and Suspense – Ed. Al Sarrantonio
Faces of Fear Ed. Douglas E Winter


Poetry

The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner – Samuel Taylor Coleridge
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell – William Blake
Selected Poems – Carl Sandburg
Complete Works, Prufrock & Other Observations, Four Quartets – T.S. Eliot
The Cantos – Ezra Pound
Greed – Ai
The Monkey’s Mask – Dorothy Porter
Love is a Dog from Hell, Mockingbird Wish me Luck – Charles Bukowski
The Divine Comedy (Hell & Purgatory) – Dante Aligheri
Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman
Ring of Bone – Lew Welch
The Theatre and its Double – Antonin Artaud
A Season in Hell – Arthur Rimbaud
The Flowers of  Evil – Charles Baudelaire
Cap and Bells – Francis Webb
Complete Poems – Kenneth Patchen


Philosophy

Aristotle – Ars Poetica, *Metaphysica, The Nicomachean Ethics
Marcus Aurelius – Meditations (trans. Graves)
Jean Baudrillard – Simulacra and Simulation
Walter Benjamin – Illuminations: Essays and Reflections
William Blake – The Marriage of Heaven & Hell
Edmund Burke – A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful
Albert Camus – *The Myth of Sisyphus, The Rebel
Thomas Carlyle – Sartor Resartus
Khalil Gibran – The Madman, *Thoughts & Meditations, The Prophet
Immanuel Kant – Critique of Pure Reason, *Critique of Judgment  
Jiddu Krishnamurti – Beyond Violence, The Awakening of Intelligence, *Freedom from the Known
Bruce Lee – Tao of Jeet Kune Do
Frederich Nietzsche – *Beyond Good and Evil, The Antichrist, The Gay Science, Thus Spake Zarathustra, Human, All Too Human
PD Ouspensky – The Fourth Dimension (from A New Model of the Universe), Tertium Organum, *The Fourth Way
Bertrand Russell – *The Problems of Philosophy, The Analysis of Mind
Arthur Schopenhauer – The World as Will & Representation, *On the Suffering of the World
Lao Tzu – Tao Te Ching
Alan Watts – *The Wisdom of Insecurity, The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are
Colin Wilson – *The Outsider, Beyond the Outsider
Ludwig Wittgenstein – *Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Philosophical Investigations

And there you have it - my list, not by any means complete or chronological, just what it is. This will evolve.


Top 20 Scary Horror Movies

William Cook’s  Top Twenty Scary Horror Movies These are my Top Twenty scary horror movies. These films all have the ability to give the...