Friday, October 19, 2018

Creepy #Halloween Gifts!

For fun, I decided to look around and see what kinds of odd, Halloween-related gift items I could find. The better, scarier things are not cheap, but you can have some creepy fun if you want to spend the $!

How about some writing gloves? Get Dracula and other classic and horror story excerpts on these gloves at Storiarts. $26.

* Has the zombie and skeleton animal craze gone too far? 

You can get a full-size 72" tall zombie horse  (painted 'decaying' flesh, 'undead' horse neighs and red eyes, $224) and a 74" skeleton horse  for your lawn at Home Depot. 

Yes, there's even a saddle, cloak and more! There are all kinds of other animals, too.

Ha! I could see doing this! Oriental Trading has a "John Doe" body on a table that sits up! Sound activated with 2 AA batteries. $79. Check out the video at the link above, too.

Or if you're cheap like me, make your own stuff.  This is a must! Scare family and friends with this easy Head in a Jar in the fridge! 

Of course, I could fill a whole post with creepy, icky food ideas! I'll let you Google it yourself... In this case, it depends on how disgusting you want to be. Some are pretty gross!  This page starts out average enough but the further you go.... Icky bloody arm, and well, there's the really gross baby doll and... You know you want to go look... 

And... of course, books!!! There are a bunch of new creepy anthologies coming out.  But... that's in an upcoming post, so be sure to come back!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Monsters oh my! New Pet Sematary coming!

Usually remakes aren't as good as the original. But I liked the movie remake of IT and it seems they're going to be remaking most of Stephen King's movies. 

Stephen King's Pet Sematary is one of my favorite books. I still remember reading it, totally engrossed, home alone, and then the dog moved and scratched the floor. I must've jumped 20 feet. haa! 

I liked the movie, too, but this remake is looking pretty good! Check out the trailer.

Monday, October 15, 2018

October Frights Day 6: #Zombies & Lizzie Borden #Halloween

Today's the wrap-up for this year's OCTOBER FRIGHTS.
 I enjoyed compiling it. I sure hope you enjoyed the journey, discovered some new authors,  and found some new books to read! I know I did!!

Since I've been talking so much about monsters this week, I thought I'd get back to the topic that inspired me to start writing horror - zombies and Lizzie Borden. 

Odd combination, right? Well, for me it seemed to fit, especially once I read the actual autopsy reports online and looked at the crime scene photos. (Do a Google search or I have some information on my website.)  After all, what better reason could there be for a spinster, Sunday School teacher to viciously hack her father and stepmother to death, but that they'd become... zombies? 

Don't be mistaken - these were horrific murders. But as it's been 126 years since the murders occurred in 1892, they've become a part of history. 

Various spins and re-tellings of the story have been done as stated in this review on Vulture of the new Lizzie movie. I'm glad to say they mention my book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunteras one of the more original examples. (See the paragraph on the movie review page after the second blue mark.)

Obviously, more versions of the Borden story will continue to appear. It's a topic that never fails to fascinate true crime buffs. You can't help but wonder -- did she or didn't she? What do you think? You can read my book, which includes real life news and document quotes,  for my take on the murders. Learn more at my website. -- Chris Verstraete

(NOTE: Halloween is not over yet here on the blog. I'll have more stories and spooky finds up to Oct. 31 so be sure to keep stopping by!)

* Here's something really cool I found - check out these amazing Horror Illustration Bookmarks, all kinds of amazing monsters! And they even have one of Stephen King!

 * Today's Spooky Read: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving. (Get it free at Project Gutenberg)

* See first day post and giveaway.  (Links to all the posts are on the October Frights Page tab on top of the blog.)

* Visit the other October Frights Blogs - prizes & more!!

Sunday, October 14, 2018

October Frights Day 5: Favorite #Monsters #Halloween

Thanks for stopping by for another day of OCTOBER FRIGHTS!

Today, I thought I'd ask some other authors about their favorite monsters. (Bonus: check out their books!) This was fun to compile. Here's what they had to say:


 Donald J. Bingle, author of  Net Impact, (Dick Thornby Thriller Book 1), has a good point about calling the Doppelganger/Shapeshifter the scariest of all. "Because once those are in play, you just can't trust anybody, so there is never any rest or respite from the fear of betrayal and death."

Kody Boye, author of The Scarlet Jane Files, likes what has become a classic monster in our time  - the monster from Stephen King's It: "Pennywise is mine -- since it, can transform into any and everything it wants to terrorize you." (What's a list without King, right?)

Naching T. Kassa, author and contributor to the Crescendo of Darkness anthology, likes the true classic monsters:  (Who can't feel for Larry Talbot in Universal's Werewolf movie?)  "Werewolves are the best monsters. They're a tortured soul inside a monster's body." 

 Selene MacLeod, author and contributor to Fresh Blood (Vampire Writers Support Group Book 1), says her favorites are "skinwalkers. I've been listening to a lot of "true skinwalker stories" over on YouTube, and they never cease to be freaky all!"
(Got me curious - see video at end for a set I found... Beware...)

Carol J. Marshall, author of The Demon Dealer: A Horror Novel, offers this creepy monster: "Eyeball guy Pans Labyrinth. He’s silent and almost elegant in movement. Disgusting to look at and gives the viewer an incredible creepy crawl across the back of the neck!" (Agreed!!)

Chantal Noordeloos, author and contributor to A Plague of Shadows: A Written Remains Anthology, prefers her monsters to have an innocent demeanor: "I have to go with the trope: scary little girl. There’s nothing that terrifies me more than seeing that which you expect to be innocent, be utterly evil."


Loren Rhoads, author of 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die,   offers another classic monster - the vampire. Quoting Lestat in Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, "Evil is a point of view. We are immortal. God kills, and so shall we; no creatures under God are as we are..." 

For David Schmidt, author of Three Nights in the Clown Motel, his favorite, not surprisingly, is "the killer clown. Indecipherable, inscrutable, terrifying. Not to mention, recent history has given us far too many real-life examples." And he admits, "it won't stop being my favorite monster, book or no book!"

C.A. Verstraete, author of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, admits zombies give her a scare, but it's the unknown, the thing hiding in the closet, that really freaks her out. "Who doesn't remember looking at the closet, wondering if the door is shut, wondering if there is something hiding in there waiting to come out? It's the psychological horror that really makes your heart pound harder."

Jay Wilburn, author and contributor to Zombie Epidemic, slyly gives another author's monster a plug. (And it's a good one): "Ob in Brian Keene’s Rising universe. (The Rising: Author's Preferred Eidtion.) He’s a demon who possesses the dead and creates a powerful, relentless zombie."

* Today's Classic Spooky Read: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

* Visit the October Frights FB group. * See Day 1 post and giveaway.  *  
* See Day 6 post.

* Visit the other October Frights Blogs - prizes & more!!

Saturday, October 13, 2018

October Frights 4: #Frankenstein 200th Anniversary #monsters

NOTE: Today I also am talking about writing - and dogs! - at Pens Paws and Claws - Writers & The Animals They Love blog!

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the classic horror tale, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. Follow along with a variety of events during Halloween week, Oct. 22-31 on the website, organized by the Keats-Shelley Assn. of America. There are some cool resources, printies and posters on the website.   

Ever since Mary Shelley wrote her horrific story, the monster has been a big part of our culture. I did some checking around and found there's quite a bit of Frankenstein-related things online. 

* Wikipedia has a list of all the ways Frankenstein has influenced culture in TV, movies, music, books and more.

 * Music: Who can forget the Monster Mash by Bobby "Boris" Pickett

Some things to do: 
* Make a simple spinner game for kids. 

* Here's a video-science game with Dr. Tori Frankenstein that you can play online, Frankenstein 200. See Frankenstein.Life to take a personality test first, (not sure if it goes further).

* Pretty cool: Chicago theaters will have four new stage plays about Frankenstein as part of Frankenfest. 

* How much do you know?  Take a Frankenstein quiz. Here's another multiple-choice quiz.

* Watch the official 1931 Universal movie trailer for Frankenstein, played by Boris Karloff:

* Find various versions of the Frankenstein novel - download a free version on the website.

* Visit the October Frights FB group. -- * See Day 1 post for my giveaway. * See Day 5 post.

* Visit the other October Frights Blogs - prizes & more!!

Friday, October 12, 2018

October Frights Reading List 3 #monsters #halloween #zombies


*  See Day 1 post & giveaway
This month's reading list was so much FUN to compile & WOW! Great stuff to read as I kept coming across something different to add! 
Be sure to check out the cool monster-themed  stuff  and giveaway  at the end, too! 
Don't forget to follow along with the rest of the blogs this week, as well. 



13 Deja Vu: Anthology of Horror and Dark Fiction (Thirteen Series Book 2)Samie Sands, Thomas S. Flowers and others - Thirteen chilling stories are about to test the limits of your fear, ready to show you the daunting truth of what lies beneath… The family with buried secrets. An old factory hiding shadows within its walls. A serial killer honing his deadly skills. It’s all here, about to prove that nothing is ever as it seems. Think twice before you switch off the lights, before you close your eyes and say goodnight.

Abandon: 13 Tales of Impulse, Betrayal, Surrender, & Withdrawal - Anita Stewart  and others - Thirteen stories focusing on the betrayal, urges, and the choices we make that can forever change lives. 

The 13: Tales of Macabre, Stephanie Ayers - Killer watermelons, murderous jewelry boxes, centenarian sea creatures, myths and more... you'll reconsider everything you thought you knew... 


Descent into Darkness - Tony Urban, E.E. Isherwood, C. A. Verstraete and others - Dive into the darkness with 20 stories exploring ghosts and monsters, demons, and forces of evil. 

Splatterpunk Fighting Back - Splatter Zine Anthology, W.D. Gagliani, and others -  Eleven stories of horror benefiting a cancer charity.

Tricks Treats & Zombies: Halloween Tales of the Living Dead, ATZ Anthology - Hordes of monsters, gnashing teeth and mouths - and this time "you" are the treat in stories from 19 authors, with a foreword by Joe McKinney. 

V-Wars, Vol. 3 Night Terrors,  Jonathan Maberry - Maberry, Tim Waggoner, John Everson and others share stories from reporters embedded with the Beats, humans, and of the reporters, the Bloods, the humans and the Bloods, the vampires, in tales of heroism, horror, despair and courage as the war blazes. (The V-Wars series will be airing on Netflix in 2019 starring Ian Somerhalder.)

Creepy Coloring Books

I bet you didn't think this was a category, did you? Well... it seems there are some creepy good choices out there...  You never know what I'll find. I'll be doing another post soon and include a bunch more choices. 


Everyday Horror: Horror Adult Coloring Book, Jade Summer - Fifteen unique images, single-sided for framing. 65 pages. Looks like some really nice, detailed line art. Apparently this artist has a following... 

Vampires: Adult Coloring Book, Jade Summer - She also has a cool book just on various types of vampires. 85 pages.

Dark Fantasy, Fantasy/Ghost & Sci Fi


Blackened Magic (Mistakes Were Made Book 1), Emily Cyr & Jojo Barlett - Sawyer's in big trouble. Lord knows, she's never been a great student, but she never expected to be an inch away from flunking her economics class this close to graduation. Failing is definitely not an option and she's running out of hope. That’s when her roommate suggests contacting a warlock who will sell her an oh-so-illegal spell to help her pass the final. 
    Kane is almost a free warlock. He has one last job to do for the magical cartel, and then he's out of here. But before he delivers the cartel's spell to them, he takes a call for a side job-- to deliver an outlawed spell to a desperate college student. Only, he screws up. Big time. Both Kane and Sawyer must dodge the magical police, the cartel, and enemies neither of them knew they had. If they don’t fix Kane’s mistake, it will cost them more than Sawyer’s life; it will cost them everything.

Curiously Dark Tales, Debbie Christiana - Grim, dark tales where the supernatural comes to life. 

Hackers, (Novellette , Hackers Collection), M.A. Smith - 'It went wrong. We all knew the theory of veins and wire and the connective tissues that linked tech to flesh; but when it came right down to it, none of us knew anything about real-world torn, soft pulsing muscle or the grey slide of that stuff just under the top layer of skin. We got the arm attached, but Margey died that night.'

His Angelic Keeper, Melinda Kucsera - First book in a humorous, action-packed sword-and-sorcery series starring Sovvan from the Curse Breaker series. With no allies to help her, this plucky ghost must brazen her way through the formless, memory-leeching gray of limbo to the purple spires of heaven itself. And that might not even be enough to stop what's coming.

Souls of the Dark Sea, (Saga of the Outer Islands Book 2),  A.F. Stewart -  (See all sellers) The armies of the dead are rising - and their master is not far behind. Captain Rafe Morrow, God of Souls, will face a creature from the depths for control of the dead and the survival of the living.



Blood Claim, Claire C. Riley - Terror lurks in the hearts of men who quickly learn that the stuff of nightmares is all too real and what starts as a new beginning, rapidly becomes a frightening ordeal of horror and bloodshed.

Goatbusters, Chicaghosts Series, Old Fart Squad Book 3, 
Robert W. Walker - If you like old Chicago history, horror and humor, you'll enjoy the only horror/humor novella series by this prolific author of 80 novels. Who you gonna call when a monster lurking in the Chicago River is luring people and feeding them to its young?  Why, the Old Fart Squad of retired detectives, of course. 
   The series starts with Gone Gorilla, focusing on a haunted museum and Chicago's famous and now stuffed gorilla, Bushman; and follows with The Monster Pit, "pitting" the retired detectives to face the Lovecraftian creatures crawling out and snatching people into the giant Spire hole in downtown Chicago. Finish it off with book 4, The Heads Have Eyes, a garish novella of parasitic spiders. I'll let you read the rest of the description, heh-heh.

Lost Girl of the Lake, Joe McKinney and Michael McCarty - Skinny-dipping in the lake with a mysterious local girl takes Mark Gaitlin into the fire and brimstone religion of snake handlers, abandoned villages and his own family's dark secrets.

Starblood: The Graphic Novel (Starblood Trilogy Graphic Novels Book 1), Carmilla Voiez - Satori is desperate to win back his ex girlfriend, Star. He tries to summon a demon to command its help, but manages to bring Lilith, queen of the demons, into his bedroom, unleashing her on Earth. Lilith seduces Star and takes her on a wild murder spree that culminates in Scotland. Can Satori save Star and himself or will Lilith destroy them both? (For mature audiences; contains some nudity.)  * Continue the story, Psychonaut, The Graphic Novel (Starblood Trilogy Graphic Novels Book 2.)  * See the novel, The Starblood Trilogy. 

The Assassin's Coin, John Linwood Grant - There is Jack the Ripper, and then there is another... Mr. Edwin Dry, the Deptford Assassin. The truth is not what you believe.  It's what he makes it.


Night to Dawn 34: Barbara Custer, Editor - Just saw this! Skeletons, vamps and all kinds of monsters! Love coming across new publications! Lots of great stories in 100 pages. (See other purchase options @ Blood Red

Preach on Havoc, Dreams About Vampires, Book 1 , (Pre-Order, releases Oct. 20) Alice de Sampaio Kalkuhl - Local priest Llywelyn Driscoll is trying to lead a quiet life, until he is forced to deceive an obnoxious detective and try to stay true to his principles as he is confronted with the source of the vampires' curse.

Sunwalker (Sunwalker Trilogy), S.t. Sanchez - Lily is a sunwalker, a vampire with human parents, able to walk in sunlight. then she meets one of her own kind. As the vampire, Tread, begins to open Lilly's eyes to a world she has never known, Lilly must decide where she belongs. When she's forced to submerge herself entirely in the vampire world, she'll discover that Tread has a secret so shocking it could destroy them all.

 The Last American Vampire, Seth Grahame-Smith - (See this link for free preview, 1st 3 chapters) Sequel to Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter. Love this movie and just found this book - it's fantastic! Various historic elements like the Ripper murders and characters - Arthur Conan Doyle,  Henry Irving, Edison and others - people this sweeping saga that spans the decades as vampire Henry Sturges tries to find purpose after the death of his friend, Abe. (And the beginning - whoa!)


 Legion of the Undead,  Michael Whitehead - The greatest fighting forces, the Roman Legion, meet their match in hordes of undead.  

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, C.A. VerstraeteOn sale! Everyone's heard the old rhyme, Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her father 40 whacks... But what if the murders happened for another reason? What if Lizzie did kill her father and stepmother because they'd become... zombies?

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall, C.A. VerstraeteOn Sale 10/25!  The trial over, Lizzie and the citizenry of Fall River now must battle a new surge of flesh-eaters, this time with a heartbreaking twist: the infected creatures are friends and family, hidden away by their grief-stricken caregivers. When her sister Emma becomes a pawn in the growing war against the undead, Lizzie has no choice but to pick up her axe again. But can she overcome her personal demons and the rampaging monsters, no matter the cost? NOTE: There are spoilers if you haven't read the first book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter.


Only the Dead Don't Die, A.D. Popovich -  Teacher Scarlett Lewis soon finds there are worse things than a break-up like the super summer flu - and those who survive it. Hope may be her last defense.

Undead Worlds 2: A Post-Apocalyptic Zombie Anthology, from the Reanimated Writers group, (Pre-order, Releases Oct. 16) - Enjoy 15 new zombie stories from 15 authors. Includes: 
La Petite Mort by Ryan Colley - The Last Day by Justin Robinson
Cookie Jars and Bluebirds by Valerie Lioudis - Inception by Jessica Gomez
First Occurrence by Joshua C. Chadd - Dominion by R.L. Blalock
Forget the Mall by RJ Spears - The Zee Brothers: First Job by Grivante
Valley of the Shadow by LC Champlin - Airborne by Arthur Mongelli
Breakfast in Hell by Dia Cole - Sara Beth's Story
Gods and Monsters by Richard Restucci - Zombie Beginnings: The Oracle by Javan Bonds Picking it up in the Middle by EE Isherwood

When Blood Reigns, Barbara Custer Marked for death, Alexis accompanies her lover, Yeron, and four survivors of a zombie invasion on a search for the renegades who created a chemical that induces a zombie-like state. Then her team is attacked and a survivor turns on her. When she's captured and becomes ill, can DNA splicing save her or will Yeron's attempts at rescue jeopardize all their lives?

Zombie in Chief: Eater of the Free World, Scott Kenemore - Fantastic idea and take on the 2016 elections. Follows real-life with some horrific twists!
* Get free Halloween animations and more.

* Something fun: Check out this 2019 Calendar - with monsters like Godzilla, aliens and more! - from Alternate Histories. 

* Visit and join the October Frights FB group.  

Visit the other October Frights Blogs - prizes & more!!