Tuesday, September 15, 2015


This week in the MADHOUSE, I'm hanging out with one of my favorite horror gal pals, Kristin Dearborn.When she told me that she had another book on the horizon, I knew I had to interview her to get the scoop. Check out the blurb for STOLEN AWAY below, along with a short Q&A about the book and her writing process. Plus, I think there's something in there about prostitutes and Skunk Apes...

Trisha doesn’t have much going for her, but she is a good mother. That’s what she’s always told herself, anyway. She wakes in the middle of the night to hear her infant son has been taken. Her daughter, who saw the kidnapping, tearfully tells her a monster took him. Her ex-boyfriend Joel owes the Russian Mafia a million dollars, but that’s nothing compared to the trouble Trisha’s got herself into. Searching for her son, Trisha and Joel won’t let gangsters, demons, or Joel’s overbearing mother stop them.

Trisha and Joel are forced to confront demons along the way, and not all of them are the literal kind. Not everyone can be trusted, and that has nothing to do with who’s a demon and who’s human.

Trisha knows her son is out there, and is alive. Will she be able to reunite her family?

Q. What was the inspiration for your novel?
A. While on vacation with my family in Florida in 2005 I wrote 100,000 words of an uncompleted novel based vaguely on this theme. It was bloated, uninspired, and I shoved it unceremoniously into the proverbial trunk. I didn’t think of it again until I was watching Breaking Bad recently. Something about the storyline where Jesse starts dating the woman with the little boy made me think of these characters. I like writing about people who aren’t squeaky clean, who have a nasty past that haunts them. Stolen Away has shades of True Romance and Supernatural.

Q. How long have you been writing fiction?
A. I’ve pretty much been writing fiction forever. Before I could write, I used to dictate stories to my mom. I focused on creative writing at the University of Maine, walking the same halls as Stephen King. I started selling work after I started graduate classes at Seton Hill University, where I got my MFA in Writing Popular Fiction. I have several short stories published in various magazines and anthologies.

Q. Where have you previously published your fiction?
A. My first novel Trinity and novella “Sacrifice Island” are available now from DarkFuse. Later this year they will publish a second novella, “Woman in White”. I’ve published in a variety of shorter markets, including Midnight Echo, the official magazine of the Australian Horror Writers Association; Wicked Tales, the Journal of the New England Horror Writers (vol. 3); and the Horror Library Volume 5.

Q. Who are your influences?
A. As a writer, I read a lot. Like, a lot. My first literary love was Michael Crichton. I fell madly in love with Jurassic Park, and after that devoured everything by him at the time. Andromeda Strain, Sphere, Congo…I read everything I could get my hands on. I moved on to pretty much everything Dean Koontz had written up to the mid 90’s, then I fell in love again. The writer who has been my single biggest influence is Stephen King. I feel his gift for bringing realistic characters to life and depicting Americana is unsurpassed in any genre, but especially horror. Books don’t often deeply scare me, but his novella Big Driver gave me nightmares. My favorite novel is the much underrated The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon—I love the blending of hallucination and reality, and the wasp face of the God of the Lost. I don’t think anyone will ever write a coming of age tale like The Body, and every coming of age story (of which there are many in the horror genre) pales in its shadow.

Q. What is your writing process like?
A. My favorite quote is “don’t get it right, get it written.” I am a chronic pants-er, and like to vomit out an exploratory first draft. Then I make an outline, and in red I note all the things I want to change, and in blue I make my additions. I’m very quantity driven, so tools like Write or Die or word wars with friends inspire me. I’ve done NaNoWriMo for several years, but I tend to look at it as a palate cleanser, and have never revised or published any of the products. I try to engage my writing daily (though that doesn’t always happen), either with new material, edits, or something to stay connected with the work.

Q. What are you most excited about with this novel in particular, i.e. what was shocking or surprisingly to you while you were writing it?
A. This novel is the only book where I’ve ever truly felt like nothing more than a conduit for the story. I had several 10,000 word days, a feat I haven’t managed before or since. Maybe it’s because I’d already done so much of the writing back in 2005, maybe the characters just spoke to me. An awesome writing experience, and a very easy editing experience.

Q. How do you define horror?
A. Goodness, what a question. Horror is an emotion more than a genre…it finds itself across all the different types of stories. It’s ancient, and omnipresent, the old myths and legends put today’s splatterpunk and torture porn to shame. Horror is the feeling you get when your animal brain perks up, and something deep down inside identifies I’m not safe. Sometimes even when I’m reading a mediocre novel there will be moments where I get that tiny thrill. In a solid horror novel, or a good movie, the sensation can feel exhausting and wonderful at the same time.

Q. What scares you both in real life and in fiction?
A. Though I grew up in fairly rural New England and love hiking and camping, the woods scare me. It’s part of what I love about The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, that sensation of being lost in the wilderness, which really freaks me out. Anything could be out there, man. I’m not afraid of reasonable things like bears. I’m afraid of demons like the God of the Lost or the Outsider, nasty inhuman things slinking around in the trees. I love reading about them, and when camping, when I have to pee in the middle of the night and the bathrooms are a quarter mile away, I think of them a lot.

Q. What's next on the to-write list?
A. I’m currently much of the way through a novel about Skunk Apes and a teenage prostitute. Will I ever finish it? Will it ever see the light of day? The world may never know…

Author bio: If it screams, squelches, or bleeds, Kristin Dearborn has probably written about it. She revels in comments like “But you look so normal…how do you come up with that stuff?” A life-long New Englander, she aspires to the footsteps of the local masters, Messrs. King and Lovecraft. When not writing or rotting her brain with cheesy horror flicks (preferably creature features!) she can be found scaling rock cliffs or zipping around Vermont on a motorcycle, or gallivanting around the globe.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KristinDearbornAuthor

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


I'm happy to announce that I will be a Guest of Honor (along with Chuck Palahniuk, Michael Knost, Lisa Morton, Rena Mason, Shane McKenzie, John FD Taft, and many more) at next year's Stanley Hotel Writer's Retreat in Estes Park, Colorado. 

Registration is officially open, so bring your creativity, your favorite ghost stories, and your imaginary friend who lives in your finger....but leave the axe at home, okay? We don't need a repeat of that whole Torrance thing that happened in the 70s... 


Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015



The Madhouse is under the covers this week, as we at Raw Dog Screaming Press are happy to announce that we've signed poet, Christina Sng, for her poetry manuscript, A Collection of Nightmares. This collection is set to debut in late-2016, and it's a dark little beast that explores the horrors of the physical, fantastical and psychological worlds both around us... and inside us.

Want more? Here's a interview that I did with Christina to give you a sneak peak into her process, her influences, and how her manuscript came to be.

1. What is the title of your collection and how did you come up with the name?

The title is "A Collection of Nightmares". The name came about unexpectedly. I've always put pieces of myself into my dark poems – things that haunt me, hurt me, scar me beyond repair – my nightmares. One night at 4am, as I picked up my poems lining the floor in A5 sheets of paper, it struck me that I was collating a collection of nightmares.

2. What was the inspiration for your collection overall?

Life is the inspiration for my collection. I have this passive-aggressive relationship with it where it loves to land gut punches on me one minute, then soothes me with a song and English mint chocolates. Very dysfunctional. It's an insane roller coaster ride.

3. How long have you been writing poetry? What is your background with it in terms of education, experience, etc.

I wrote my first poem when I was about 5. It consisted of a group of friends with rhyming names making a trip to the market, which says a lot about what I was preoccupied with as a child.

In school, we hardly read any poetry. We read Shakespeare, which frightened everyone off literature except for the posturing and acting that came with studying the Great Bard. That, we all enjoyed. Particularly, the soliloquies and the costumes.

In college, my English teacher taught us poetry. She liked my dark poems and encouraged me to write more. Probably thought it was safer for the world.

After graduation, I studied poetry on my own, reading literary poets like Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, and Emily Dickinson. I fell in love with how utterly concise and perfectly encapsulated a poem is. In 2000, I began submitting my poetry after gathering a body of work.

4. Where have you previously published your poetry?

My poems have appeared in print and online venues such as Apex Magazine, Dreams and Nightmares, Grievous Angel, Mythic Delirium, New Myths, Outposts of Beyond, Space & Time, Spectral Realms, Star*Line, and Tales of the Talisman, amongst others.

5. Who are your influences?

Sylvia Plath is still my strongest influence. Everything about poetry I've learnt from her. I love the way she used metaphors and imagery, her exacting structure which I admire and emulate, and how she poured every bit of herself into her work. Each poem is a construction of technical genius and an artistic masterpiece.

6. What is your writing process like?

Before the kids came along, I would give myself an hour, get comfortable, open my notebook, and stay put till I wrote 5 poems. I began with an image or a word or an idea or a memory and the poem just flowed from there.

Now, after kids and perpetually tired from a decade of sleep deprivation, I confess to being more zombie than human -- the Warm Bodies type, not the Z Nation ones in all their marvelous varieties. It is hard to focus and concentrate, so I've turned to writing short poems on the go or stealing quiet moments when the children are preoccupied. About once a week, I try to clear some physical and mental space to write like I used to. It's rarely 5 poems at a single sitting these days. 3 on a lucky day. 1 with enough coffee.

7. What are you most excited about with this collection in particular, i.e. what was shocking or surprisingly to you while you were writing it?

Few things shock or surprise me anymore, except for some of the stuff on ViralNova.

I'm really excited because this will be my first full length poetry collection, gathering every dark poem I love and am proud of into a single book. It's been a long journey and I am very happy my poems are now coming together to nest.


Christina Sng is a poet, writer, and an occasional toymaker. She is a two-time Rhysling nominee and her poetry has received several Honorable Mentions in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. In her free time, she plays the ukulele, dreams of exploring the Andromeda Galaxy, and carves out new worlds in longhand, imbibing an aromatic cup of tea.

Website: http://www.christinasng.com
Twitter: @christinasng
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinasng