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: 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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Blurring The Line: Paul Mannering

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:

Paul Mannering

PaulManneringPaul Mannering is an award-winning writer living in Wellington, New Zealand, where he lives with his wife Damaris and their two cats.

Author of the Tankbread series, published by Permuted Press and the Drakeforth Trilogy, including book 1 “Engines of Empathy” published by Paper Road Press

Stalk Paul on Facebook at his author page https://www.facebook.com/NZPaulBooks

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

‘Salt On The Tongue’ came about from so many inspirations. I grew up in a rural farming community in New Zealand’s South Island. The west coast of the South Island was a place we visited regularly and the coastal bush is a primal and dark temperate rain forest. Wet and lush, the Coast is a place that can be incredibly rugged and wild. Inspiration came from thinking about outsiders coming into the remote and isolated communities that can exist in such places. People who live normal lives and yet find themselves in places and situations that they can’t quite comprehend.

Motivation was that unending compulsion to explore an idea or a feeling and see just how a story will play out when it is dragged into the light and autopsied.

2. What does horror mean to you?

Horror is the stories that I can never forget. Novels, short-stories, films, radio-plays – that all come flooding back in perfect detail when I know it’s perfectly safe to walk down the dark hallway to the bathroom in the middle of the night. At the same time knowing that I wouldn’t walk that dark passage for a million bucks.

Horror is the thrill of the unseen and the arrogance of reminding ourselves that it’s just fiction. It’s the fairy tales where the witch eats Hansel and Gretel and Little Red Riding Hood dies screaming with the wolf’s hot breath on her throat.

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

“The Strong Will Survive” by John Everson (published in his outstanding collection, “Needles and Sins”.) It is a story that you read once and then realise that you need to read it again, just to understand what you have witnessed. It is the most poignant, moving, and utterly horrific story I have ever read. The remarkable thing is that this is a very gentle tale in a collection with stories containing graphic violence and horrific scenarios.

4. What horror novel should everyone read?

“The Hellbound Heart” by Clive Barker.

In terms of length it is more a novella, but on a scale of epic – it’s greater than King’s Dark Tower series.

What totally clinches this novel as the greatest horror novel I’ve read is the beautiful poetry of the prose. Barker is a master of really disturbing horror and yet he delivers it in a way that makes it seem like a Shakespearean sonnet.

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

Amazon royalty cheques – I mean I’ve heard of them but I’ve never seen one.

Seriously though, ghosts are the one thing that I can’t entirely dismiss. I’m quite certain that 99.9% of ghost sightings and photographs are either pareidolia, or simple wishful thinking. I have only had two experiences with what might have been ghosts but they were so entirely impossible that I’m pretty sure they were legitimate.

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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

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Blurring The Line: Kaaron Warren

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:

Kaaron Warren

ART_3594Bram Stoker , twice-World Fantasy Award Nominee and Shirley Jackson Award winner Kaaron Warren has lived in Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra and Fiji. She’s sold almost 200 short stories, three novels (the multi-award-winning Slights, Walking the Tree and Mistification) and five short story collections including the multi-award-winning Through Splintered Walls. Her latest short story collection is Cemetery Dance Select: Kaaron Warren

You can find her at http://kaaronwarren.wordpress.com/ and she Tweets @KaaronWarren

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

A New Scientist article and elsewhere, about a ‘grave-sniffing device’ that helped investigators locate graves. I wondered if it worked like a metal detector, and how it would feel to hear the device beeping in ordinary places.

New Scientist 7 August 2010

http://lists.asc.asn.au/pipermail/asc-media/2010-August/004159.html

http://www.homelandsecuritynewswire.com/hand-held-detector-sniffs-out-hidden-grave-sites

2. What does horror mean to you?

I recently heard someone saying that horror began with the invention of fire, because that’s when flickering shadows appeared in the corner of your eye. To me horror is the shadows; movement, concealment, the unexpected. It’s the irretrievable and the irreversible.

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

Norman Prentiss, “In the Porches of My Ears”

4.What horror novel should everyone read?

Alan Ryker, “Dream of the Serpent”

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

That we live another life while sleeping, and in that life our moral compass shifts.

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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

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