The Perils of Potion Making

I’m currently writing book 8 of the P.A.W.S. Saga, AKASH, which is due to be released at the end of 2021.

Latisha and Sandy are making a special potion in Latisha’s townhouse in New Orleans and as is common with most magical potions there are certain challenges that come up. Here’s a little sample that made me smile.


“So what do we need for the recipe?” asked Sandy.

Latisha perused the list. “I think I’ve got most of this stuff here. Just need to gather some bogweed. You can help me with that if you wish.”

“Okay,” said Sandy.

“They left the house and walked to the edge of a muddy pond about two blocks away. The bogweed was purple with green dots and didn’t want to leave its soggy home. Sandy had to pull hard while Latisha reasoned with the weed until it reluctantly allowed them a few dripping leaves. They carried them back to the townhouse and Latisha set to work making the potion.

Sandy was tasked with watching the bogweed to make sure it didn’t get away. She had laughed when Latisha had first said this but quickly learned that Latisha had not been joking. The bogweed was intent on returning to its mother-bush and would start sneaking towards the door whenever Sandy turned her head. One time when she wasn’t fully paying attention, Whiskey caught the weed in her paws and brought it back to the table.

Sandy would have just held the bogweed, but Latisha said that wasn’t a good idea as bogweed that got too dry could fade away completely and then they’d have to go back and get some more. Sandy shook her head. The magical world was strange. She had a vague memory of a special tumbleweed potion that her mother used to make. And that one too she remembered was rather fickle.

“Not really that much different than regular cooking,” said Latisha appearing to read Sandy’s mind. “It’s all chemistry. Every recipe is an experiment. Same with potions like this.”


So what have you been cooking recently? I made a lovely veggie stir-fry the other night. Oodles of veggies, brown and wild rice, chickpeas, almonds and spices. Do you have a favorite recipe (magical or non-magical)?

Remember You can preorder P.A.W.S. 7 – Manus Wu – (out June 2021) today for $2.99

A Birthday, a Snippet, and a Sale!

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Hey everybody, today is my birthday! Tonight I get to eat a birthday cheesecake with my family and on Saturday I’m going to visit the local cat cafe, Mauhaus. I supported this cafe run by a local shelter in their Kickstarter and am so happy to finally get to go there. And of course I’ll share pictures here of the kitties next week.

In the meantime here’s a sneak peak …

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But wait, there’s more! Yesterday marked a huge accomplishment for me – drum roll please! – I finished the first draft of P.A.W.S. 4 and even gave it a name. So this is a title reveal P.A.W.S. 4 will be called Londinium.

Want to read a snippet? Of course you do!

“The pea soup has spoken,” said Caradog. “You are destined for Londinium.”

“Londinium?” asked Miri.

“It was the ancient city from which London sprang. The P.A.W.S. Institute of Londinium is the oldest in the world. It started before the city of today existed and straddles the old and the new. Unfortunately today it is run by a fool.”

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And one more thing – want to help me celebrate my birthday then pick up a copy of P.A.W.S. – it’s on sale today for just 99 cents or 99p!

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Sins of the Past – Meet Mad Mike Nagy

MikeNagy

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

First and foremost I’m a single dad and I live with my son who’s 16 this year. My day job is a mechanic. I’ve been in the motor trade for 20 years. Always been a massive film fan with horror being my favourite genre. It wasn’t till about 4 years ago that I started writing. I started a horror blog called Maven’s Movie Vault of Horror where I would write horror movie reviews and did the occasional interview with directors / actors. But what I really wanted to do was write horror stories.  So contributing to Sins of the Past was the perfect stepping stone.

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

This will probably sound weird , but I’ve never been a massive reader! It wasn’t till my late teens that I actually read any horror. Bram Stoker’s Dracula was the first bit of Horror I ever read. But if I had to pick one author that wrote a book I read, a book that really stuck in my mind and I couldn’t put it down, it would have to be Richard Laymen.

  1. Tell us a bit about your story, Nature’s Revolution?

Both my parents are Hungarian.  They came to England during the Hungarian Revolution in 1957. My dad actually fought against the Russians and some of the story is inspired by what he told me, his involvement etc. Then there’s the nature side of things. I’m pagan and a big believer in mother nature, so I’m very interested in pre Christian beliefs and the mythology of my Hungarian roots. I mixed the two together and came up with my story Nature’s Revolution.

  1. If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?

This is a good question. Something that I’ve often thought about. I would have to say, somewhere along the lines of a warrior in ancient Europe. I have warlords in my “lineage” as I like to say, like Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan. If I could pick a fantasy time period, it would be exactly like Game of Thrones!

  1. What attracts you to writing horror?

For me, it’s a release. It’s a way to get all of the scary stuff that rolls around in my brain out of my head and on to paper.

  1. What are you currently reading?

I’ve just started reading a graphic novel. Only just recently got into them and picked a few up from London Film and Comic Con. It’s called Hellblazer with features a character called John Constantine. The Constantine film starring Keanu Reeves is based on the graphic novels.

  1. Are you planning to write a story for Sins of the Future? Any hints about your story?

Unfortunately no. I’m having an extremely busy year. There’s a lot going on for me personally and socially with the horror community so a lot of time has been spent out of the house doing various things.

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

I put my feet up, grab a beer and watch reruns of Friends and / or The Big Bang Theory. Other than that it’s watching horror movies, or catching up with TV shows.

  1. What are you currently working on?

I’m working on a screenplay that I originally started as a story. It’s a genre mash up. It’s a revenge horror thriller with a lot of torture port in it. Kind of like the film Saw, but with less games and more intent.

  1. How can readers connect with you?

I’m a social media whore! So I’m easy to get hold of or follow.

Twitter: @MavensHorrorUK.

Instagram: @madmikenagy.

Facebook: My personal profile  or my page –  or the Maven’s Movie Vault of Horror page

Blog – Maven’s Movie Vault of Horror

Want to read a bit of Nature’s Revolution? Of course you do …

“I count one man in each tower” whispered Tamás as we drew closer to the camp. I sent him, Miklos, Zalán and János to take out each tower. The enemy had control of spotlights, but for some reason weren’t using them. So moving quietly through the darkness, they headed to their assigned tower, jumped over the makeshift fence and climb up the towers unnoticed and slit the throats of the guards. Phase one complete.  Meanwhile Lajos, Gábor, Szilárd, Attila, András and I moved into position at the rear of the camp jumping the fence. We were all in and that was phase two. Now to take out the tanks, the hard part!

Our plan was to set fire to one of the tents at the rear of the encampment to create a distraction. This was my job. I pulled out my box of matches and moved to the northeast corner of the base. This was the furthest part away from the tanks which were right near the west and only entrance to the base. As I got closer to my destination I heard two soldiers deep in conversation. My Russian wasn’t great, but from what I could tell they were talking about football. I whispered “Come here” in Russian to get their attention. They started in my direction so I doubled around the tent to hit them from behind. I drew my handgun and knife. As they stopped to see who had called them over, both still facing away from me, while crouched down I crept no more than a few strides away. I shot the furthest one away in the back of the head and pounced on the nearest soldier. As he turned around I thrust my knife up under his jaw. Dropping my gun to cover his mouth with my other hand, I pulled the knife out and ran it along his throat, covering my face in blood. He dropped to the ground face down. Then I thrust the knife through the base of his skull and up into his brain giving it a few twists just to be sure he was dead. I checked the other body. He was dead from the shot I had fired. The bullet had entered through his neck and exited out through his forehead. I stood up and moved round to the rear of the tent and struck two matches and slowly set the tent on fire.

Staying in the cover of darkness, I ran back to the others. As one unit, under the cover of Miklos, Zalán, Tamás, and János still in the towers, we moved through the camp as quickly and quietly as we could. The fire I started caught the attention of a few soldiers and they scurried around in a blind panic trying to put it out as we headed for the tanks. We were met by a pocket of resistance, but took care of them with our silenced guns. We may have been seen as a rabble by many, but we worked extremely well together. We were no more than ten feet away from the tanks when we were spotted.

“We’re under attack!” was cried out in Russian. “Enemy, enemy!”

It was time to go loud! The first bang of a gun came from one of the towers. Tamás took out the soldier that was shouting. This of course got the attention of the whole camp! We didn’t actually know how many Soviet soldiers were left there and we didn’t stick around to find out. Szilárd, Attila and I jumped onto the tanks and dropped in two grenades each. “Run” I shouted as I jumped down. All four towers gave us cover fire as the six of us ran straight out the front gates. With an almighty BOOM the grenades went off, putting the tanks out of commission. We took cover behind a tree each and laid down cover fire for our four comrades to escape the towers. In the commotion of the gunfight the four of them doubled back to jump the east fence and headed away north of the base.

The six of us, while still under gun fire, worked our way north also to meet back up. We’d already shot at least ten men between us. But as we all regrouped we could hear the sound of jeeps revving towards our direction. Lucky for us, we had made up good ground in our escape and were headed into a deep wooded area where they couldn’t follow us with their vehicles. We were still only a couple of a hundred yards ahead of our enemy, but this gave us time to find advantage points and ready ourselves for the imminent attack.

Shots were fired randomly in our direction and we could see the bullets whizzing over our heads in the dark. We fired back using controlled burst as to not use too much ammo. We were still unsure how many they were.  Suddenly everything went quiet for a minute. One single shot was fired and the next sound came from near me. It was Attila crying out in pain. He had been shot in the stomach. I scrambled over to him and covered his mouth. “Shhh” I whispered “You’ll give away our position.” I told him “Bite down on this” as I gave him a large twig. There was nothing I could do for him. He was bleeding badly.

The enemy was getting closer and started to fire shots again. So we fired back. Again I heard a couple of my comrades screaming in pain as bullets hit. I grabbed Attila’s submachine gun and let it rip. By the time it ran out of ammo all went quiet once again. No screams this time and no gun shots. Deadly silence came across the wood for a good few minutes this time. It was as if the air had been pulled out. Then the eerie sound of a crying wind swept through the trees. This is where the real life I lived crossed with the fairy tale Lajos had often spoken about!

Want to read more? Pick up your copy of Sins of the Past today.

Sins Of The Past

Sins of the Past – Cleve Sylcox

Cleve

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born the youngest of thirteen children. My mother was pure Irish. Her father was a Newell and her mother a Sample. She had pure hazel eyes and temper to match. My father was from a line of tough rugged country folk who were self-reliant but bonded in tight family clusters. Ironically, my father was born on 12/13/12. I was his thirteenth child, born 2/9/58. We were not rich, but not dirt poor. My father by the time I was born worked at McDonald Douglas in St. Louis working as an assembler. We didn’t have a lot of anything, but what we did have was a lot of was books. There were all kinds and I loved reading Life and Time magazines along with the encyclopedias given to us from various families. I fell in love with Sci-Fi and Mysteries. No particular author. My bedtime was ten o’clock on school nights and I slept in a corner of the basement containing a bed, chest of drawers, and nightstand with a light. I would stay up for hours reading whatever I could find. I wrote most of my earlier stories in school, and did not publish a book until 2004. Scants (later to become Nucor) was 526 pages of Sci-Fi excitement. Since then I have written sixteen more in various genres. 

  1. Who are your favorite authors?

 I do not have a favorite author. I’ve read many from Dean Koontz, Stephen King, and many other popular authors. I read like to read in various genres.

 If I had to choose one over them all it would be M.J. Pike. She writes romantic ghost stories with an elegant twist.

 Sci-Fi I like, Saxton Andrew, T.R. Harris, Suzy Stewart Dubolt, and Michael Thomas.

Detective Mystery Noir – Russell Blake, Billy Kring, Donna Blanchard McNicol, Stephen Thomas, Kathleen Steed, Nick Russell, George Weir, and Jason Deas.

Fantasy – Robert Thomas, John Daulton, Randall Morris, C. Crag Colman, and John Salter.

Horror— Brandon Hale, Corrie Fischer Stout, Shaorn Delarosa, Kate Aaron, Chris Ward, and Andy Downs.

 And this list is the tip of the ice berg- AJ Rose, Valrie Chandler, Steven Hammond, Nick Pesci, Cameron Lowe, Ella Medler, KS Haigwood, Holli Marie Spaulding, Jay Allan, Michael Edwards, Nick Thomas, Robbie Taylor, Miranda Stork, Ben Cassidy, Beck Bee, Sam Neumann, Pinkston, Eddie Boggs, Jess Mountifield, Colleen Hoover, Dale Roberts, Karen Davison, Mike Meyer, Len Du Randt, Albert Benson, Liz Miller, James Rozoff, Molly Pendelton, Carol Cadoo, Mona Mellissa, Jacques Duvoisin, Stephen Arsenault, Suzie O’Connell, Scott Langrel, Lindsay Sabbarton, Shirley Bouget, Nancy Furner, Elizabeth Moore, Stephen Scott, Newsome, Debbie Manber Kupfer, and so many others.

 If you write it, I will read it. 

  1. Tell us a bit about your story, The Innocent?

The Innocent is about a returning Vietnam War hero who finds home not so different from the jungles of Southeast Asia. A mob awaits his return and seeks revenge for the massacre of My Lai. It is a first person narrative in the voice of the returning GI. The first draft contained a lot of cursing in an attempt to express a true representation of a battle harden soldier returning home. The language was toned down for the sake of the anthology. I enjoyed the research and learned far more than I wished too and even though this was a short piece, I hold it dear to my heart. 

  1. If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?

If I could go undetectable from those I was observing, then break out the cart-blanche and take me back to all the events with a brief rest bit to research and chronologically record each event free from government or scholarly scrutiny. If I had to choose one though, it would be, beyond a doubt, the time of Jesus, from birth until the day of ascension.  

  1. What attracts you to writing horror?

Back in the days of black and white television, vampires, werewolves, and Frankenstein ruled the night. Sometimes, I would sneak upstairs and flip on the TV to watch the late, late show on our local CBS channel. They always had something exciting like The Blob, The Thing, The Mummy, The Hand, The Fly, and of course the before mentioned staples. I was addicted to being scared and in turn wanted everyone to be scared just like me. Boo…  

  1. Tell us a little about your books. I see you like to delve into many different genres.

Yes, I like writing in various forms. I am hyperactive and have a habit of wandering from one genre to another. I get bored easily. So, I write some on Nucor and finish the saga, then write on David Winter Mysteries, then on another project. It is a constant cycle of writing and creativity. I am never bored with writing, but with the story line and switching from one to another helps me to maintain focus and my writing is always fresh and clean, rather than becoming old and stagnant. I never want to become someone who writes just for the sake of completing a series or because he feels he has to. I love writing and hope that alongside me on my deathbed there is my laptop opened to a story requiring my attention. Of course my wife and sons would there be too, I hope. 

  1. Are you planning to write a story for Sins of the Future? Any hints about your story?

No, I have three projects in the works and I have very little time to devote to any anthology. However, I will be making the cover. 

  1. What do you like to do to relax?

I watch Jeopardy, read, do yard work, cook, take long drives, fish, walk along the rivers, pet my dog, talk with my wife and make love to her. I have also been known to go up on the roof at night and just lay there looking up at the stars. I dislike television but love movies. 

  1. What are you currently working on?

I have several projects at various stages of completion.

One is the fourth book of the Nucor series called, Nucor—Season of the Androids. I am five chapters into it and I am so excited and anxious to see this saga unfold. Really is a thriller. 

 The first book of the David Winters Mystery series, Fly Paper Soup is in edit with outstanding reviews from all who have beta read it. (I’m one of those beta readers, and confirm it’s a wonderful story – DMK) The second book, Recluse is in production and it promises to be a great companion to book one.

  Then there is Cern – The God Particle. I cannot tell you how enthusiastic I am about this story. It has everything from espionage, to demon elfs, LSD, ENT, Et’s, So much coming at me so fast that sometimes I can’t pull myself away from it.

 I just launched Nucor-Invasion in Audiobook form. Soon, I will have Death in Gravely Falls on Audiobook.

At the moment that is all I have going.  

CleveBooks

 

  1. How can readers connect with you?

There are several ways.

My Blog— http://www.csylcox.com

Facebook— https://www.facebook.com/clevesylcoxauthor?ref=bookmarks

Twitter— @csylcox

Amazon— http://www.amazon.com/Cleve-Sylcox/e/B00GW8AECS

Banes and Noble— http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/cleve+sylcox/_/N-8q8/?No=0&Nrpp=40

Itunes – https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/cleve-sylcox/id509703132?mt=11

 

Or you can email me for a signed copy cssylcox@charter.net

Want to read a little of Cleve’s story, The Innocent? Sure you do!

November 1969

A plane lands at LAX on a cool November morning. GIs are returning home after fighting in Vietnam. They look forward to home cooked meals, seeing love ones, and sleeping on a soft mattress. To some though, returning home is nothing more than a continuation of a war they hate. Take Reuben Weston for instance. He served his country well from his enlistment in Nov. 1966 to his discharge in Nov. 1969. In that stretch he was wounded three times in Vietnam, rose to Platoon Sergeant, saved countless lives, and was well respected among the troops despite his rough and tough attitude. This story could very well be titled, “In the wrong place at the wrong time.” For Sergeant Weston, it is just that.

  • §§

The wind whips at my back as I debark the 707 at LAX. I wear khakis. It is the uniform of the day, my last day, because as soon as my foot touches the asphalt I will be a civilian. My name tag above my right pocket reflects the sun. Reuben Weston, it reads. A damn good name. Two of my three medals, Distinguished Service, and a Purple Heart, flop around beneath my service ribbons above my left pocket as I make my way down the ramp.

I am the first black soldier ever awarded the third medal, the prestigious medal of Blackism – made from a beer can top cut into the shape of a middle finger with a makeshift pin glued to the back. It would be the last beer I’d drink in the bush. My platoon gave it to me the last night I was with ’em, in Damn Nam. It means more to me than the other two put together. Blackism, I must’ve been pretty drunk to come up with that.

To say I’m glad to be off that rotten plane is an understatement. Civilian jets suck. I’m a GI, oval drab to the bone. Why they flew me home in one of those is beyond me. Meat job General’s idea I bet, maybe some congressmen’s idea of rewarding our fine soldiers for a job well done? Well, screw’em! I’m home now and they can have their uniform.

I earned my stripes, every last stinking one of ’em. Arrived in Nam as a, ‘right off the farm, piece of know-nothing crap.’ I was green but learned quick. No thanks to those politicians in D.C. What’s the matter with all those morons in DC?  Really, what isn’t wrong with ’em?

They sent us off to the land of the gooks, and we got our ass kicked because of bureaucratic bull. Don’t fire until fired upon, don’t cross this line and that. Stay put until we tell you to advance. Who the hell is ‘we’, anyhow?

Wasn’t like that in the jungle, no sir. We were the judge and jury of the gooks. The giants rule the land. We are the conquering heroes who drove the black pajamas across the DMZ into Laos and Cambodia. The south was clean in ‘66. Then those cameras started following us around. Hell, we tossed one camera man and his gear into the swamps. None of those gooks were ever gonna escape back north, at least not on our watch.

In ‘67 those regulations came down and tied our hands. We couldn’t fight like aggressors anymore. We couldn’t fight like we had too. They stuck us in camps deep in the jungle and on top of hills. Nothing happened for weeks at a time, nothing. We smoked pot, and screwed every whore we could, some of the guys were bangin’ each other. We called ’em Jill’s, and the name stuck.

Some of the lucky units saw some action. They pushed the gooks to the DMZ and our armors pounded them for three straight days. The Ho Chi Min trail across the DMZ was blown to bits, and then the aerial attacks bombed them everyday for weeks. I saw a tank bounce three feet off the ground two miles away from the damn trail. Three feet! It didn’t matter. At night those little bush babies were filling in the holes.

Our patrols reported large movements of men and ammo to the south along the trail. By the time we got there, they were gone. They crawled into their holes like rats or vanished into the jungle like ghosts.

Jan of ’68, the Tet Offensive…gooks were all around us and we didn’t even know it. All hell broke loose on January 30, 1968. The Tet Offensive began.

Early in the morning they attacked everywhere in South Vietnam. There was supposed to be a cease-fire ’cause of New Year or some crap. I don’t know. We got our butts handed to us. Those bastards were in the wire…in the wire! All over us. I fought till early morning, hand to hand. I had blood all over me and none of it mine.

A lot of good soldiers died that night. It didn’t stop there. In some areas their attacks were like bugs hitting a windshield, they didn’t make a dent. Other places they were fleas on a hound’s back. Saigon and Hue, those two took a long time, nearly a month, to clean out. The Cong even held the US Embassy in Saigon for eight hours.

Near the end of February, they assigned me to a bunch of greenhorn rookies. Charlie Company arrived in theater, December of ‘67, they hadn’t seen any action. Tet was popping all over the country in Jan of ’68 and this unit missed out, lucky dicks. I was assigned as a Platoon Sergeant and given orders to sweep the jungles west of a group of villages near Mai Lai.

I looked at this ragtag group of potheads and said move out. Worst bunch I had ever seen. Simple shit-like quiet maneuvers, securing gun straps and no smoking, they couldn’t do. Drunk, high, they were the walking dead and didn’t know it.

War has a way of cleaning the gunk out of the can. By mid-March, 28 of em’ were wounded because of mines or booby-traps, and five dead.

Cong never came knocking. That’s what frustrated us and made us angry. Charlie Company was sent to find gooks and Cong, and kill as many of the black pajama’s as we could. All we found were tunnels and villages that we knew, we just knew, were Cong but we couldn’t prove it, and we moved on. These villages, our intelligence said, had VC crawling all over them but we found nothing. Not even a dirty black pajama.

Then intelligence told us of a hold-up of Viet Cong in and around a tiny village of Mai Lai. We were given orders like I had never seen before. They said kill all suspected Viet Cong. Even civilians, if they ran, would be considered hostile. Our unit would follow the main assault. We swept the countryside first clearing out huts and setting them afire. Anyone we suspected of being VC, we rounded up and pushed forward. No shooting, just simple snatch and burn. As we got closer to the village, we could hear gun fire and see smoke rising. The radio was going crazy with talk of Cong all over the place. Several of our prisoners took off and we dropped them before they made it ten feet. Before I knew it, I saw soldiers from a different outfit shooting civilians and raping women. I ordered my men to stand down. I even threatened to blow their heads off if they started that. They listened alright, because they knew I wasn’t bluffing.

As we advanced through the village, we witnessed huts set on fire with civilians still inside. We saw whole families shot to hell. In a ditch we passed countless men and women dead or dying. I sent our medic to care for the wounded, but they were pushed back at gun point and told to back off. A lieutenant and sergeant fired into the ditch with .45s.

At another ditch, a helicopter landed and its gunner stared down a squad who were going to kill the men, women, and children. We helped the helicopter crew load as many wounded aboard as possible, and then we held our position protecting those still alive. A helicopter gunship forced its way between fleeing refugees and their American pursuers to end the carnage.

We heard rumors of hundreds dead and even more wounded. I don’t know how many died. The military doesn’t even know. All I know is many were killed and the rest will never forget. To top it all off, they only found two AK47s. Two. With maybe three Viet Cong identified.

As George Carlin said, ‘Military intelligence is an oxymoron.’ Military intelligence got us into it, but it cried foul and played dead when their house of cards tumbled.

Read more in Sins of the Past – pick up your copy today!

Sins Of The Past

Sins of the Past – Misha Burnett

Suit2

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m nearly 52 years old, divorced with three grown children, and I work in the maintenance department of a small university.  I have been writing and self-publishing for about four years, and have four novels published, a series collectively called The Book Of Lost Doors.

Who are your favorite authors?

Mostly New Wave Science Fiction.  Tim Powers, Phillip Dick, George Alec Effinger, Samuel Delany, Thomas Disch, William Burroughs.  I am also a huge fan of G K Chesterton, and have a weakness for Romantic poets.

Tell us a bit about your story, We Pass From View

I love the schlock drive-in cinema of the 1960s and 1970s and wanted to write about a film crew making a low budget horror movie.  I am also fascinated by the Lovecraftian concept of books that are so horrible that they drive you insane if you read them.  “We Pass From View” combines those two ideas.  I also sneaked in a few references to my main series, but you don’t need to catch them to enjoy the story.

If you could travel back in time to any place and period in the past where and when would you go?

Honestly, I don’t think I would—I kind of like it right now.  I think sometimes about being able to travel back and talk to myself in, say, 1973, and explain a lot of the facts of life to the younger me, give some stern warnings and some advice, but knowing who I was then I wouldn’t have listened anyway.

What attracts you to writing horror?

The freedom.  Horror is supposed to be socially unacceptable. When readers pick up a horror story, they know that are going to be shocked, frightened, disconcerted, and maybe even grossed out.  That’s what they are there for. I get to make people really uncomfortable and get paid for it?  What’s not to love?

Tell us a little about your series, The Book of Lost Doors.

Recently I came across the phrase “slipstream fiction”, which seems to fit my work better than any conventional genre designation.  I use elements from science fiction, fantasy, horror, and psychological fiction.  It’s set in a world that looks like ours on the surface, but has a lot of odd little corners and hidden passageways where strange things from strange other places lurk. My main character, James, has an alien intelligence called Catskinner in his head and the two of them encounter a lot of other people with alien things about them.

Are you planning to write a story for Sins of the Future?

I’ve written it and sent it off.  Fingers crossed.

Any hints about your story?

It’s actually quite a departure from my usual style.  I tend to avoid moralizing in fiction—I go with the credo that if you want to send a message, call Western Union.  However, in this one case I am very troubled by a particular trend in technology and I set out to write a story specifically to point out some problems that no one else seems to be thinking about.  I think the story works but it’s very much a cautionary tale and that’s new territory for me.  I’d like to think that it would fit in Harlan Ellison’s Dangerous Visions.

What do you like to do to relax?

Movies, television, and wine, mostly.  I’m very plebeian.

What are you currently working on?

I’m taking a bit of a vacation from writing, although I am noodling around ideas for the next novel in my series, World Edgewise. Right now my day job is very demanding—the students will be returning to campus in just a couple of weeks—and I am making preparations for Archon, a local science fiction convention that I’ll be attending in the fall.

How can readers connect with you?

My blog on WordPress is the easist—it has links to everything else and a page for sending me e-mail.  I do love hearing from readers and I try to reply to any mail I get.

http://mishaburnett.wordpress.com/

Ready to read a little from We Pass From View?

Josef Naamaire directed 47 films, beginning with The Congo Gunman in 1955 and ending with Mission: Asteroid in 1974.  All of his films were made for B-movie mill Spectacular Studios, mostly produced by Hymie Greenbaum. While several of his movies—notably Hellcats In High Heels (1964), and The Room Without A Door (1966)—enjoyed  a brief cult status for what were, for the time, shockingly explicit scenes of lesbianism, Naamaire is best known for a film that, it is said, no living person has ever seen.

We Pass From View was filmed in July and August of 1963, with principal photography on location in what is now Wildwood Canyon Park, outside of Burbank, CA.  The script was based on the book of the same name, written by a young man named Michael Chase, who would go on to found the cult, Clear Vision World.  Chase and his followers—including four children—were brutally murdered on April 23, 1982, by persons unknown.

How Chase’s book became the basis of a Spectacular film is an interesting story in itself.  In 1961 Robert Sterling, at the time the chairman of the studio’s board of directors, made arrangements to purchase the film rights for the entire catalog of the paperback original publisher Cupid’s Bow Press.  As a condition of the purchase, Spectacular was required to film We Pass From View.  It is believed that this unusual clause was made a condition of the deal by Cupid’s Bow publisher, Sabrina Erikovitch, who went on to join Michael Chase’s organization, and eventually to die with him.

Since Cupid’s Bow owned the rights to the popular Code Name: Hangman spy thriller series, Sterling agreed to the terms, and gave studio staff writer, Robin Wilde, the task of converting Chase’s book into a screenplay. (Spectacular went on to film six Code Name:Hangman movies, which were among the studio’s most lucrative films.)

No known copies of Michael Chase’s original book exist.  By all accounts it did not sell—only one edition was printed and the majority of it was likely sent back to be pulped.  Robin Wilde, in a letter to his longtime companion, actress Ellie Vance, called it, “this unreadable pile of shit.”

Even the Cupid’s Bow catalog entry is uncharacteristically terse. We Pass From View appears in only one edition, Fall, 1960.  The entry reads: “A fascinating look at the myths and realities surrounding death and dying, by professor of philosophy, Dr. Michael Chase.”  Michael Chase, it should be noted, often claimed a doctorate, sometimes in physics, sometimes in philosophy, however there are no records of him completing an advanced degree at any of the schools that he claimed to have attended.

Faced with the daunting task of transforming a “look at the myths and realities surrounding death and dying”, fascinating or otherwise, into a screenplay suitable for the drive-in movie market, Wilde chose to pen a tale of a group of college students who go camping in the woods and die from mysterious causes, one by one. (It will be remembered that Wilde is also responsible for the screenplay of Spectacular’s “adaptation” of Baudelaire’s Flowers of Evil that contained, among other things, vegetable creatures from Venus who had come to Earth to harvest human males’ “vital fluids”.)

Since neither the book nor the screenplay is available for comparison, the question of how faithful the latter is to the former must remain unanswered.  Given what we do know of both works, however, the probable answer is “not very.”

There is, however, one section of the screenplay that seems to have been lifted directly from Chase’s book.  Shortly before her death from bone cancer in 1987, Bette Blowe, (born Elizabeth Tucker) the lead actress in We Pass From View and Josef Naamaire’s wife was interviewed in Playboy magazine.  While most of the article is concerned with her claims that she carried on numerous homosexual affairs with various female celebrities, towards the end of the interview she was asked about We Pass From View and the film’s alleged effect on the test audiences.  Her reply follows:

“It was that fucking Appendix B. They made me read the whole thing aloud. Robin refused to transcribe it—he just told me to read it out of the book. He said Bob [Sterling] told him that had to be in the movie.  That’s the part that made everybody go apeshit. It was bad.  I don’t remember what it said—I don’t remember reading it at all. It was like I was in a trance.  But I know it was some serious bad shit.  Joe didn’t let anybody watch the dailies of that scene, he just shipped it straight off.”

It was a very small crew who traveled to the campsite north of Burbank to film We Pass From View. Most accounts report that Naamaire operated the cameras himself (he had begun his film career as a camera operator, and frequently chose to run the cameras, both to keep costs low and to control the specifics of his shots.)  The sound technician was one Greg Donnely, who committed suicide in May of 1970.  It is likely, although employment records are unclear, that Alice Monroe served as assistant director on the film.  She worked with Naamaire on many of his other films, and at least one account of the location shooting refers to “Alice” setting marks during the shoot.  Alice Monroe died in September of 1968, also a suicide. Although there were almost certainly other crew members, no one else associated with the location shooting has been identified.

The cast was also small.  In addition to Bette Blowe (first billed on the released material), Ellie Vance (billed as Esther Vance for contractual reasons), Eve Eden, Neville Brook, and Hank Renck comprised the company. Bette Blowe’s sole published remarks regarding the film are referenced above.  Neville Brook is on record threatening the life of a reporter who asked him about the film.  None of the other cast members are believed to have commented about the film in print at all.

Eve Eden vanished without a trace in late 1965.  She had reportedly incurred very large debts to Las Vegas casinos, and it is believed that she either vanished to avoid her creditors or was murdered by them and her body hidden.  Rumors have circulated regarding her reappearance since then, but none have been confirmed.

All of the other cast members are now dead.

Ellie Vance was murdered in February of 1972 by Robin Wilde, who then killed himself.

Hank Renck died of complications from syphilis in November of 1975.

Neville Brook was found in a hotel room in Tijuana, in June of 1980, shot in the head.  The case is still unsolved.

At the time that the following interview was conducted, January 17th, 2014, Josef Naamaire was the only living person who could be reliably placed at the campsite north of Burbank during the filming of We Pass From View. He was 83 years old, and had recently been diagnosed with latestage pancreatic cancer. He would die within the month, on February 12th.

The interview was conducted by Aaron Tellman, a graduate student in film history at UCLA. Naamaire was residing at the time in a managed care facility in Anaheim, CA.  Tellman contacted the notoriously reclusive Naamaire without much hope that permission for an interview would be granted. The director agreed to talk, however.  It is likely that news of his impending death induced him to tell his story.

The transcript that follows is unedited …

To read this exclusive interview pick up a copy of Sins of the Past today!

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And don’t forget to check out the book of lost doors series – on sale today in honor of Misha’s bithday for just 99 cents a piece – I promise you won’t be disappointed.

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Sins of the Past – Traitor Coward Betrayer by Joseph Lofthouse

Traitor

Since Elijah left, Mary’s life had fallen into routine. She woke with the dawn and before she dressed or ate she reached for one of his letters. They told of the crackpot general who all the men loved and how he would suck on lemons to sustain his fortitude. Others were about the men Elijah had met from all over the confederacy and their odd habits. Men with strange nicknames like Stinks, Hoarder, and Saint Augustus.
As the years went by the letters became less frequent, and when they did come, they were powerfully somber. After reading one of his letters she would dress and eat a small breakfast of hard bread and fresh milk. Then she tended the goats, feeding them and keeping their fences mended before moving on to the garden. Her body had grown lean and sturdy from the constant work, but her face remained round and specked with a few hidden freckles of girlhood. She kept her wild black hair tightly bound and refused to let it become a nuisance. When it came time to harvest the small share of crops she would pay some of the local boys to help; boys who were either too young or infirm to be taken up in the confederate cause. As the day closed she would sit on the slim porch out front of the cabin and work at her needles.
Once she daydreamed that Elijah returned home, but could not see or hear anything. He wandered about the property, distraught, looking for her fruitlessly while she followed behind calling his name in desperation. Eventually he became exhausted, slumped to the ground, and slept. When such visions plagued her, Mary would sit gasping for breath as if wounded by some invisible dagger.
She woke in a dark mood. A dream filled with fire and the screams of men had haunted her sleep. On the bedside table sat the last letter she had received, stacked above all the others. It was now over a year old and she could recite its contents from memory, but even so, she carefully unfolded it and read it again. The sadness in the letter always weighed heavily upon her, but it was the last piece of him she had.
I have survived the battle at Gettysburg, though I cannot say the same for so many of my companions. We have all lost something here much greater than this battle, or even this war. I am afraid whatever it is, we shall never reclaim it as long as we live. We march ceaselessly towards home and safety, and move as if we are on our last legs. We meander, as an army of living ghosts. It takes all I can muster to write these few words and I apologize for my brevity. Mary, my dear, I promise you I shall come home, and that I will make up for every day we have lost. Always, you are in my heart.
Elijah Stone.
She neatly replaced the letter on the bed stand, and rose to begin the day’s work

Want to read more pick up a copy of Sins ot the Past today!

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Joseph Lofthouse is a cubicle dweller in the Washington, D.C. Area who moonlights as a writer