Blurring The Line: Rena Mason

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available.

Today, it’s:

Rena Mason

Rena Mason Bio PicRena Mason is a two-time Bram Stoker Award® winning author, as well as a 2014 Stage 32 / The Blood List presents: The Search for New Blood Screenwriting Contest Finalist. She’s a member of the Horror Writers Association, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and The International Screenwriters’ Association. She writes a column for the HWA Monthly Newsletter, event write-ups, and occasional articles. Rena has served as a Literary Chair Committee Member for the Las Vegas Valley Book Festival and Co-Chair on the StokerCon2016 Event Committee.

A Registered Nurse, and an avid SCUBA diver since 1988, she has traveled the world and enjoys incorporating the experiences into her stories. She currently resides in Reno, Nevada with her family.

For more information about this author, visit her website: RenaMason.Ink

1. What was the inspiration/motivation behind your story in Blurring The Line?

Because of the shortage for nurses, as an R.N. I often found myself working side by side with traveling nurses from abroad. It takes a strong personality type to come from another country and be able to provide such a diverse range of care in a foreign land. Travelers who specialize in medical/surgical care get scheduled to work on whatever floor they’re needed, which can span from specialties such as cancer to post-op patients. It’s something I personally wouldn’t want to do.

A few traveling nurses I’d worked with told me that life in the states wasn’t what they thought it would be like, and that they’d return home after their contract was up. They complained of being homesick, missing their families, the people, and familiar foods. So I took the culmination of all those things, amplified them a notch or two with locale, added more distinctly mixed cultural diversities in a city’s population, taking the horror to a level that would push my main character over the edge.

2. What does horror mean to you?

It’s anything that makes me feel fear, uneasy, unsettled, or disturbed.

3. What’s a horror short story that you think everyone should read?

“The Old Nurse’s Story” by Elizabeth Gaskell. A classic, chilling ghost story.

4. What horror novel should everyone read?

Hell House by Richard Matheson.

5. Name something that you think just might be real, or might not…

The Loch Ness Monster.

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Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:

Marty Young
Tom Piccirilli
Lisa Morton
Tim Lebbon
Lia Swope Mitchell
Alan Baxter
James Dorr
Peter Hagelslag
Gregory L Norris
Steven Lloyd Wilson
James A Moore
Alex C Renwick
Lisa L Hannett
Kealan Patrick Burke
Brett McBean
Kaaron Warren
Paul Mannering
Charles L Grant
Patricia Esposito
Rena Mason

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Blurring The Line: Patricia Esposito

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available.

Today, it’s:

Patricia Esposito

promotion photo 2015Patricia J. Esposito is author of Beside the Darker Shore and has published numerous works in anthologies, such as Main Street Rag’s Crossing Lines, Anna Purna’s Clarify, Undertow’s Apparitions, and Transmundane’s Distorted, and in magazines, including Not One of Us, Scarlet Literary Magazine, Rose and Thorn, Wicked Hollow, and Midnight Street. She has received honorable mentions in Ellen Datlow’s Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror collections and is a Pushcart Prize nominee.

Find her at: http://patricia-j-esposito.blogspot.com/

1. What was the inspiration/motivation behind your story in Blurring the Line?

My story “A Distorted and Holy Desire” came out of my need to explore the mystery of music’s deep effect on us. Sometimes we experience art that transcends, that takes the pain of life and lets us experience it and yet, through art, come out of it. Art as catharsis. In the few times I saw the band Beautiful Collision (BeCo) play, I felt that transcendence, and yet the singer/guitarist would say, almost shyly, a very simple, “Thank you.” Sometimes it’s hard to imagine that so much passion and beauty can come from a mortal human form. Sometimes emotion is so great I wonder how we survive it. I wrote to see how I survive it, though I’m not sure I do.

2. What does horror mean to you?

Horror can range from stories that elicit heart palpitations to cringing and nausea to an unease that won’t let go. Horror that makes me jump and then laugh at the adrenaline rush can be fun, and I can appreciate the imagery of a well-done slasher scene—both designed to shake us, give us a quick thrill?—but I generally seek out horror that evokes that unnameable unease, that makes me think and wonder and try to establish how the horror might fit in myself or the world I’m part of. I think the unknown plays into most horror; however, I’m drawn to horror that remains a bit of a mystery, that entails the ambiguous, something that might lie within us if not without, or that we finally perceive with a sense of near awe because it is beyond our control and yet part of this world, not to go away.

3. What’s a horror short story that you think everyone should read?

I had trouble with this because I’ve read a number of excellent short stories from recent years, in magazines and anthologies, and I always wonder what will stand the test of time. I’m a fan of Michael Kelly’s work, which combines the imagistic language I love with the psychological aspects of our inner fears. I’ll offer one of his, “The Woods,” because I think it’s an example of how subtle horror can be most powerful at times. Two old men sit across from each other in a cabin that’s suffocated in snow. We never learn of the crime and no one is accused outright, and yet the tension that builds from what is not stated and from the images of isolation that Kelly conveys so well left me more uneasy than if we’d learned the truth. The chill is in what we know is potential!

4. What horror novel should everyone read?

Here I turn to my personal taste for psychological horror and recommend a classic, Henry James’s Turn of the Screw. I first read the novella in high school, and it remained with me ever since, obviously influencing my own horror. I like when barriers between worlds seem to be breaking, and yet it could be what our own minds and distressed subconscious have done. How often and easily we scare ourselves by letting the imagination go; yet usually something keeps us over the edge. I like to explore going over that edge. (I’d also always recommend Ray Bradbury for the experience of his imagery that makes us thoroughly feel the world and the characters and for the elevated nature of what he proposes we can be.)

5. Name something that you think just might be real, or might not…

When it’s quiet and I’m absorbed in my writing, I wonder if all that had faded around me was ever real, or if we design the tangible in a collective effort for sanity.

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Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:

Marty Young
Tom Piccirilli
Lisa Morton
Tim Lebbon
Lia Swope Mitchell
Alan Baxter
James Dorr
Peter Hagelslag
Gregory L Norris
Steven Lloyd Wilson
James A Moore
Alex C Renwick
Lisa L Hannett
Kealan Patrick Burke
Brett McBean
Kaaron Warren
Paul Mannering
Charles L Grant
Annie NeugeBauer

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Conflux 12 Guest of Honour!

Now this is a big one! Certainly a career milestone for me, and I’m chuffed to be able to talk about it now: I’m going to be the Special Guest at Conflux 12 in Canberra next year, across the long weekend September 30th to October 3rd, 2016. The official site is here: http://conflux.org.au/

I’m stunned that I’ve been invited to be a Guest of Honour at a con. I’ve always seen it as something famous people do! Conflux was the first convention I ever attended and it’s always had a special place in my heart. To go again in 2016 as the Guest is just mind-blowing. So I hope that any of you who can get to Canberra next year will come along!

The Red Fire Monkey theme should be pretty cool – I’m still not entirely sure what that entails, but I know that among many other things, I’ll be running my Write The Fight Right workshop there. The first place I ran that workshop was Conflux many years ago, so there’s a nice synchronicity there. I need to get myself a Monkey Magic costume organised for the ball.

I’m still pinching myself. More news on all that as it gets more organised over coming months. But put the dates in your diary!

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Blurring The Line: Annie Neugebauer

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available.

Today, it’s:

Annie Neugebauer

Annie Neugebauer thumbnailAnnie Neugebauer (@AnnieNeugebauer) is a short story author, novelist, and award-winning poet. She has stories and poems appearing or forthcoming in over fifty venues, including Black Static, Fireside, DarkFuse, and Buzzy Mag. She’s an active member of the Horror Writers Association, the webmaster for the Poetry Society of Texas, and a columnist for Writer Unboxed. She lives in Texas with her sweet husband and two diabolical cats. You can visit her at www.AnnieNeugebauer.com for blogs, creative works, free organizational tools for writers, and more.

1. What was the inspiration/motivation behind your story in Blurring The Line?

A few years ago I read the nonfiction book Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach. In it, the author very briefly mentions The Mellified Man, or human mummy confection, a purportedly true practice in ancient Arabia cited by sixteenth-century Chinese pharmacologist Li Shizhen. This was the custom of elderly people sacrificing themselves by consuming only honey until death, so their bodies could be turned into a medicinal substance believed to heal all sorts of ailments when ingested.

The claim was bizarre enough to catch my fancy, and off I ran. When Cohesion Press announced this anthology asking for stories that blurred the line between fact and fiction, I knew “Honey” was the perfect fit. I took the supposedly true legend and put my own spin on it, bringing it into modern times.

2. What does horror mean to you?

Do you want the 1,000 word answer or the 50,000 word one? Kidding, sort of. This is a topic I’m incredibly passionate about. I’ve blogged about it several times, both for the Horror Writers Association and on my own website. “Thoughts on IT by Stephen King, What it Takes to Enjoy Horror, and Why I Write It” is my most popular, thanks in large part to Anne Rice sharing it with her followers. I also have “What Is Horror?,” “Why Horror Should Be Its Own Genre,” and “Reclaiming Horror.”

But I’ll give you the shorter answer. Defining horror, for me, comes down to fear. Fear is subjective, so it doesn’t have to scare me personally (although that’s ideal), but it does have to be written with the intent of unsettling, unnerving, frightening, or disturbing the reader. There are a lot of politics and prejudices that go into labels, so some of horror’s best works often evade the descriptor “horror,” but at the end of the day, that doesn’t change what they are. Horror is an emotion, and to me, anything written with the intent of creating that emotion is horror, from Mary Shelley to Jack Ketchum to Franz Kafka.

But maybe you mean what does horror mean to me, personally? That’s tricky to answer, because it means so much. Horror is the nostalgia of staying up late on Sunday nights to watch The X-Files with my dad. Horror is hearing “The Raven” read aloud after looking up all the vocabulary words and allusions. Horror is seeing Halloween for the first time with my best friend in high school. Horror is the thrill of walking through a haunted house. It’s trick-or-treating. It’s scaring my friends with my own stories. It’s the first short story I ever had published. It’s what inspires me to sit down every day and work until my wrists are sore and my eyes burn. Horror is the torch and the darkness both – it’s the unconquered nightmare I walk through to prove to myself that I can. It’s my livelihood, my passion, my boogie man, and my friend. Horror is my life.

3. What’s a horror short story that you think everyone should read?

My first answer is “everything by Poe,” but since most people have at least read Poe’s classics, I’ll go for something I think less people are familiar with. One of my favorite horror shorts is “The Tooth” by Shirley Jackson. It doesn’t have the big bang ending that her more famous story “The Lottery” boasts, but it has a subtlety and quiet eeriness that left me absolutely unraveled. I think Jackson is a master of literary horror, and I’m honestly not sure why more people don’t talk about her.

4. What horror novel should everyone read?

Stephen King’s The Shining is famous for a reason, so I always suggest people start with that. It’s my personal number one as far as “scary” goes. Less known and more modern, Bird Box by Josh Malerman absolutely knocked my socks off. And I’m a hardcore fan of House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, but it’s admittedly not for everyone. You really have to love literary fiction and long, complex, experimental works, but if you do, this one might just become your favorite book. It’s one I know I’ll reread many times in my life.

5. Name something that you think just might be real, or might not…

Hm, that’s hard. I’m a pretty grounded realist; I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits or anything supernatural. (Ironic, I know.) So I guess for me the “might or might not” things are those which we haven’t disproven but that we also haven’t discovered, like aliens or various animals living in the few underexplored parts of our planet. The unknown creatures that swim in the deepest parts of the ocean inspired my poem “The Hadal Zone,” for example. My fancy is always captured by the real, unknown things that might still be out there, waiting.

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Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:

Marty Young
Tom Piccirilli
Lisa Morton
Tim Lebbon
Lia Swope Mitchell
Alan Baxter
James Dorr
Peter Hagelslag
Gregory L Norris
Steven Lloyd Wilson
James A Moore
Alex C Renwick
Lisa L Hannett
Kealan Patrick Burke
Brett McBean
Kaaron Warren
Paul Mannering
Charles L Grant

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Blurring The Line: Charles L Grant

12003146_879319075487621_892517258321694034_nBlurring The Line is the new anthology of horror fiction and non-fiction, edited by award-winning editor Marty Young, published by Cohesion Press. You can get your copy here or anywhere you normally buy books (the print edition is coming any day now).

To help people learn a bit more about it, I’ve arranged for each fiction contributor to answer the same five questions, and I’ll be running these mini interviews every weekday now that the book is available.

Today, it’s:

Charles L Grant

Unfortunately, Charles died in 2006, but it’s a real treat to have one of his stories in Blurring The Line. In lieu of an interview, here’s his bio, and follow the links to find more of his work.

Charles L Grant photo by Mary JaschCharles L. Grant was well known for his “quiet horror” and for editing the award-winning Shadows anthologies. He received the British Fantasy Society’s Special Award in 1987 for life achievement; in 2000, he was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association. Other awards include two Nebula Awards and three World Fantasy Awards for writing and editing. He wrote in many different genres under assorted names (many with a water reference). His numerous novels are being brought out in e-book format from Crossroad Press and Necon Ebooks.

Charlie died from a lengthy illness on September 15, 2006, just three days after his birthday. He lived in Newton, NJ, and was married to writer/editor Kathryn Ptacek for nearly twenty-five years.

Here are some links to some of Charles’ work:

Symphony (The Millennium Quartet Book 1)

http://www.amazon.com/Symphony-Millennium-Quartet-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00C9RRKH8/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444795902&sr=1-1&keywords=symphony+charles+l.+grant

The Pet

http://www.amazon.com/Pet-Charles-L-Grant-ebook/dp/B0095804MM/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444795979&sr=1-1&keywords=the+pet+charles+l.+grant

The Bloodwind – An Oxrun Station Novel (Oxrun Station Novels)

http://www.amazon.com/Bloodwind-Oxrun-Station-Novel-Novels-ebook/dp/B007WRXEXY/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1444796011&sr=1-1&keywords=bloodwind+charles+l.+grant

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Previous posts in the Blurring The Line interview series:

Marty Young
Tom Piccirilli
Lisa Morton
Tim Lebbon
Lia Swope Mitchell
Alan Baxter
James Dorr
Peter Hagelslag
Gregory L Norris
Steven Lloyd Wilson
James A Moore
Alex C Renwick
Lisa L Hannett
Kealan Patrick Burke
Brett McBean
Kaaron Warren
Paul Mannering

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