Archive for the All Hallows Read Category

WIN a copy of The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives edited by Judika Illes

Posted in All Hallows Read, Occult Detectives on October 11, 2017 by Occult Detective

In keeping with the All Hallow’s Read tradition, I have a treat for you. I’m looking to give someone a copy of The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing, edited and introduced by Judika Illes.

wbod

Illes has done a masterful job of poring over decades of brilliant occult detective tales and selecting some of the very best to share with you.

Check out my review.

Trust me, you want need this book.

So, what do you have to do to get it?

Well, there’s the trick.

First of all, I have to limit this to folks in the continental US. Sorry about that, but I’m operating on an author’s budget.

For those of you who qualify, all you need do is tell or show me who your favorite fictional occult detective is and why.

Simple enough.

You will be judged based on the content of your submission. This is open to writers and illustrators. Length is not a factor, but the overall piece will be viewed as a whole. Be creative. Dazzle me with your words or pictures, but most of all I want to feel your passion for the character.

Yes, I am willing to accept multiple submissions.

Submission deadline is OCTOBER 24th.

Send all submissions to: contest (at) occultdetective (dot) com

The winner will receive The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives, a signed copy of my novel Shadows Over Somerset, and a signed copy of my now rarer-than-rare Landon Connors, Occult Detective comic.

The winning entry will be posted on this website and spread across social media accordingly.

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Now Available —The Weiser Book of #OccultDetectives, edited by @JudikaIlles

Posted in All Hallows Read, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives on September 24, 2017 by Occult Detective

Judika Illes has put together a terrific occult detective collection. I reviewed it some time back when it was up for pre-order. Well, it’s now available via Amazon and other online outlets, just in time for Hallowe’en.

Here’s the review I wrote then. Allow me to preface it by adding that it’s even better now that I’ve read it a second time. It more than deserves a place on your shelf.

wbodI proudly parade my near lifelong obsession for the occult detective genre in all its forms and guises on this blog. That obsession led me to not only pursue a writing career entrenched in the conceits of the genre, but to explore the preternatural outside the realm of fiction as a paranormal investigator.

It is also no secret that October is my favorite month, that I have an unnatural attraction to Hallowe’en, Samhain, and all the trappings the Witching Season has to offer.

Well, when the Season of the Witch rolls around this year, readers are in for a real treat as my two favorite preoccupations collide with the October 1st release of The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing, edited and introduced by none other than one of the premiere occult authors and scholars of the modern age — Judika Illes.

Judika Illes has compiled an amazing collection of occult detective stories, mining some of the best paranormal mysteries the early twentieth century had to offer, written by such legendary authors as Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson, Sax Rohmer, Dion Fortune, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

As one devoted to the genre, both as a fan and an author, I understand the awesome task Illes has undertaken. To pore over the sheer volume of early occult detective tales and select the very best and defining tales for a collection such as this would be a maddening endeavor for any scholar, but Judika Illes has done an admirable job of putting together a brilliant and impressive table of contents here.

As well read in the genre as I am, Judika Illes has managed to unearth no less than four spectacular tales that had escaped my attention: The Dead Hand by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace, The Vampire by Alice and Claude Askew, The Witness in the Wood by Rose Champion de Crespigny, and The Eyes of Doom by Ella M. Scrymsour.

Whether you are new to the genre or a lifelong fan, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing is a collection you absolutely cannot do without. Why, I am already pining for the coming of October when I can once more crack the spine of this assemblage of paranormal thrillers and read them when the moon is high and unseen spirits roam unfettered.

The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives, edited and introduced by Judika Illes is available now from amazon.com.

Occultoberfest 2017

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Magick by Trial & Error, Occult Detectives on September 20, 2017 by Occult Detective

occultoberfest2017

The dark moon drifts across the naked sky this night and whispers for the witching season to begin anew.

Yes, my friends, it’s that time again, when the world is awakened to the arcane mysteries, when the veil grows thin and spirits, both dark and grey, move among us…

There is no time more magical. As the night becomes chill and the trees are painted from autumn’s burnt palette, I feel at home, at peace. Summer finally gives up its ghost and winter takes the stage, the sorcerous touch of icing death on its fingertips.

Oh, I have such treats in store for you, my fellow esoteric sleuths. We shall begin, however, with a gentle reminder, but one of great import: Give a Scary Book this Hallowe’en.

allhallowsread2017

All Hallow’s Read has become a Hallowe’en tradition. It’s simple to take part: during the month of Hallowe’en, or better yet, on the night itself, you give someone a scary book. Young or old. It doesn’t matter. It can be a novel or a collection or even a comic book. But give words, the scarier the better.

All this stems from the mind of Neil Gaiman who wrote, some seven odd years back —

I propose that, on Hallowe’en or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books. Give children scary books they’ll like and can handle. Give adults scary books they’ll enjoy.

I propose that stories by authors like John Bellairs and Stephen King and Arthur Machen and Ramsey Campbell and M R James and Lisa Tuttle and Peter Straub and Daphne Du Maurier and Clive Barker and a hundred hundred others change hands — new books or old or second-hand, beloved books or unknown. Give someone a scary book for Hallowe’en. Make their flesh creep…

Give a scary book.

If you don’t know what kinds of books there are, or what would be appropriate for the person you’re giving a book to, talk to a bookseller. They love to help, most of them. (The ones that don’t tend not to be booksellers for long.) Talk to librarians. (Do not plan to give away their books though, unless they are having a library sale.)

That’s it. That’s my idea.

Scary book. Hallowe’en.

Who’s with me?

Well, I am Neil. I can think of no better way to celebrate the season.

 

 

The Weiser Book of #OccultDetectives, edited by @JudikaIlles

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Occult Detectives with tags , , on May 2, 2017 by Occult Detective

wbodI proudly parade my near lifelong obsession for the occult detective genre in all its forms and guises on this blog. That obsession led me to not only pursue a writing career entrenched in the conceits of the genre, but to explore the preternatural outside the realm of fiction as a paranormal investigator.

It is also no secret that October is my favorite month, that I have an unnatural attraction to Hallowe’en, Samhain, and all the trappings the Witching Season has to offer.

Well, when the Season of the Witch rolls around this year, readers are in for a real treat as my two favorite preoccupations collide with the October 1st release of The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing, edited and introduced by none other than one of the premiere occult authors and scholars of the modern age — Judika Illes.

Judika Illes has compiled an amazing collection of occult detective stories, mining some of the best paranormal mysteries the early twentieth century had to offer, written by such legendary authors as Algernon Blackwood, William Hope Hodgson, Sax Rohmer, Dion Fortune, Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

As one devoted to the genre, both as a fan and an author, I understand the awesome task Illes has undertaken. To pore over the sheer volume of early occult detective tales and select the very best and defining tales for a collection such as this would be a maddening endeavor for any scholar, but Judika Illes has done an admirable job of putting together a brilliant and impressive table of contents here.

As well read in the genre as I am, Judika Illes has managed to unearth no less than four spectacular tales that had escaped my attention: The Dead Hand by L.T. Meade and Robert Eustace, The Vampire by Alice and Claude Askew, The Witness in the Wood by Rose Champion de Crespigny, and The Eyes of Doom by Ella M. Scrymsour.

Whether you are new to the genre or a lifelong fan, The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives: 13 Stories of Supernatural Sleuthing is a collection you absolutely cannot do without. Why, I am already pining for the coming of October when I can once more crack the spine of this assemblage of paranormal thrillers and read them when the moon is high and unseen spirits roam unfettered.

The Weiser Book of Occult Detectives, edited and introduced by Judika Illes is available for preorder from amazon.com.

 

Hallowe’en’s creeping up on us

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror on October 29, 2016 by Occult Detective

Can you smell it? I sure can. There’s bloody magic in the air. Thank the gods Hallowe’en is more than a single day of revelry — it’s become a month long celebration of all things macabre in recent years. And I love it. But the day is almost here and as great as the whole month is, there’s nothing quite like Hallowe’en Night.

Let’s face facts though. Hallowe’en is kind of my default setting. I’m not alone in this, but we’re a rare breed. But for the whole of October, well, we are legion.

People love the Hallowe’en Season so much, I’m surprised they haven’t adopted more ‘pagan’ festivals.

But, hey, for a month we’re all together, of one mind. And that mind is a dark labyrinth filled with spooky stories and graveyards, witches, ghouls, and ghosts, candy and costumes, and horror movies galore.

Tonight, being the Saturday closest to Hallowe’en, will see the most ‘action’ for the civilian crowd. Tonight’s the night the adults will squeeze into their naughty nurse costumes and Donald Trump masks. There will be plenty of wart covered witches and Frankensteins, pasty faced vampires and bedsheet haints.

I will leave them to it. My eye is on Devil’s Night when the new moon rises, and on the Night of the Last Harvest when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest.

Tonight, Kim, Conn, and I will curl up with a classic — Dan Curtis’ House of Dark Shadows.

hods

Dark Shadows defined horror for me as a child in many ways. It will be fun to share it with them. Regrettably, their only contact with Dark Shadows was the Johnny Depp atrocity from a couple of years back. All that’s about to change and they’re in for a bit of a treat, I think.

As for the rest of this most glorious of holidays? What kind of trouble awaits me come Sunday and Monday evening? I’m not telling. Not yet anyway… Bwahahahahahahaha…

Be safe out there. But not too safe.

And remember, please take part in All Hallow’s Read and give a scary book for Hallowe’en…

Bobtober Bullets

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Liber et Audax on October 28, 2016 by Occult Detective

I have a lot to get to today so I thought I’d throw up a couple of bullet points.

  • Not being a Nerdist fan, I have just stumbled upon Bizarre States with Andrew Bowser and Jessica Chobot via my early access to alpha. I’ve watched four episodes so far and I’m totally sucked in. I am generally a sucker for these types of shows anyway, especially when there’s an ‘everyman/woman’ element to them, sprinkled with some light-heartedness. I’m generally over-serious, so Bizarre States gives me a chance to soak up some paranormalist news and relax a bit.bizarrestates
  • Yes, it’s true, I’m dipping my toes into Alpha. Lot of great content there. Alpha Book Club, Tabletop, Talk Machina and Critical Role, the aforementioned Bizarre States. Will it last? Hard to say, but I’m willing to give it a shot.
  • Kim and I just finished Bag of Bones by Stephen King. I thought I had read it years before, but if I had, I didn’t remember a lick of it. I’m a King fan, and there was a lot lot to like in this ghost story, but man, that thing could have been half as long.
  • I picked up Alan Moore’s Jerusalem and I am both eager and terrified to get started. Kim sort of selected Mystic River by Dennis Lehane for our next book club read, so I may put it off for a wee bit, but, yeah, Moore…
  • I can’t believe Hallowe’en Weekend is here already. And there’s a New Moon on Devil’s Night…
  • The Skyrim Special Edition came out today. For all intents and purposes, Kim and I will probably be empty-nesters for the entire month of November. I foresee Connor being lost somewhere in Tamriel for quite some time. I’ve got to admit, I’m a tad bit jealous.
  • I’m really looking forward to launching Last Writes next week. I’ve got some great guests lined up including Gordon White, Michael Hughes, Kelli Owen, Maurice Broaddus, and my ‘occult detective’ mates Josh Reynolds, Willie Meikle, and Greg Mitchell. And more. Lots more. This is going to be frighteningly insightful.
  • So what Hallowe’en films do I plan on catching this weekend? Sleepy Hollow, perhaps, maybe The Crow. I really want to sit Kim and Conn down and have them watch House of Dark Shadows, mainly because they make me suffer through the Johnny Depp remake far too often. One movie I know for a fact we’re watching has really nothing at all to do with Hallowe’en and that’s Star Trek Insurrection. We’ve been watching our way through all of Trekdom, having put the Original Series and movies and Next Generation behind us. Once we get through the Next Gen movies we can finally tackle Deep Space Nine, my personal favorite of the Trek experience.
  • After the terrific reveal at the end of last week’s The Exorcist on FOX, tonight’s episode should be a make or break situation. My expectations are through the freaking roof.
  • Remember OCCULT DETECTIVE: The Roleplaying Game? Still working on it. A painfully slow but exhilarating process. Playtesting on the afternoon of Devil’s Night.
  • But Bob, Hallowe’en is almost over and you haven’t discussed any of your paranormal adventures yet. Monday. Saving it for Monday.
  • Don’t forget All Hallow’s Read. Give a scary book for Hallowe’en. Please.
  • Last bullet. I’m working on a secret project, something that sort of ties together my love for both authentic esoterica and occult fiction, and I couldn’t be happier. If I can pull this off, with a little help from my friends, this will be something for the ages.

My interview with Greg Mitchell, author of Dracula vs Great White Shark

Posted in All Hallows Read, Horror, Media Macabre, Writing in Theory & Practice on October 25, 2016 by Occult Detective

gmitchellGreg Mitchell is more than just a talented author and screenwriter. He’s good people. Greg and I met a few years back after appearing in an anthology together. Discovering we had mutual interests in cinematic storytelling and monster hunters, a friendship grew quickly.

Greg has a strong sense of family, a solid moral center, and small town values that I both relate to and appreciate. This translates well into his fiction as he’s able to capture that essence, twist it, darken it, and send shivers down your spine.

With Hallowe’en almost upon, I thought it would be the perfect time to check in with Greg, especially as he has a new book out that not only captures the spirit of the season but is also the perfect title to promote as a part of Neil Gaiman’s All Hallow’s Read.

The All Hallow’s Read tradition, which began in 2010, is brilliant in its simplicity. The idea is that during the week of Hallowe’en, or on Hallowe’en Night itself, you give someone a scary book. Not instead of candy or what have you, but in addition to.

Greg Mitchell’s latest, Dracula vs Great White Shark, is the perfect title for All Hallow’s Read this year. For starters, it’s all-ages. It’s an inspired supplement to Bram Stoker’s Dracula, though, to be honest, it’s more akin to Christopher Lee’s Count than anything. It’s an inexpensive purchase, easily snatched up on Amazon for less than $10. And it is fun, which is what Hallowe’en is all about.

dracula_vs-_great_wh_cover

So without further ado, here’s my brief conversation with my friend and fellow author, Greg Mitchell.

Bob: Thanks for joining me here at The Occult Detective, Greg. The first question I’d like to ask you I will paraphrase from one of my favorite interviewers, Rune Soup’s Gordon White. Tell me, were you a strange and unusual kid?

Greg: No, not on the outside, I suppose. I was the quiet kid in the back who made good grades and didn’t have any beef with anybody. I think, growing up, most people would say I was the “nice kid”. If I was unusual, it was due to the fact that I didn’t stand out at all. I was nearly invisible. Behind that quiet veneer, however, were worlds of monsters. I was always creating and fixating on the dark “what ifs” of life. Even now, I still think it catches people by surprise, as I’m still the “nice, quiet kid in the back”, but then they see what I write and there’s always a moment of “Oh, that came from you?”

Bob: That’s an interesting observation. So tell me, it’s a bit of a cliched question, but for writers, an important one, who were your biggest literary inspirations?

Greg: It’s a sign of my generation, but I would have to say Stephen King—not that I’ve read a ton of Stephen King, mind you. But growing up in the 80s-90s, King WAS horror. I can still remember in middle school and junior high, all the kids bringing worn King paperbacks to class, sneaking a read in between periods, and talking excitedly about the lurid, morbid fantasies inside. More than anything, it was the sheer excitement swirling around King in those days. The man was nigh unto a real-life bogeyman, himself, with his name being whispered on the lips of all the children on the school bus. What I’ve read of King, I obviously appreciate, though I think his magic isn’t in his horror—which doesn’t really strike me as very scary on the written page—but in his characters. I think that’s been the key to his success all these years, in that he writes us. Our hopes and fears, our secrets, our longings. He’s a master of writing the human condition and throwing a monster in there as a symbol of our collective fears, and that’s something that I strive to accomplish as well in my own humble offerings.

Bob: We both grew up in and continue to live in small towns. In my own writing, that ‘small town voice’ is ever-present. How big of an influence are your native environs?

Greg: Super big. I live in one of those small towns, the kind they always show in 80s horror movies. And I guess seeing those movies shaped my view of my town. Growing up, I was told by my peers how boring and safe my town was, but then I’d pop in a suburban horror movie and was opened up to the possibility that, just beneath the quaint charm, there could be something exciting and dangerous lurking. You just had to look a little closer and use your imagination. I don’t think I’ve been able to look at small towns the same since. So I’m in a relatively safe place—which works great for real life—but it also provides the groundwork for imagining what secrets might be brewing beneath our feet.

Bob: I’ve got to tell you, your latest book, is a great read. The characters are so well drawn and you did a masterful job of ratcheting up the suspense. It was really a lot of fun. Tell me a bit about what inspired you to write Dracula vs Great White Shark?

Greg: For the last few years, I’ve been tasked with creating more original content for the Syfy Channel as lead-ins for their impossibly popular Sharknado events. That process begins with pitching shark-related titles to the network, trying to find one that catches their interest and could lead to developing a feature. At first, Dracula vs Great White Shark was just one of a hundred other absurd titles, but once the network passed on it, the name stayed with me. I loved the “monster rally” aspect of it and thought it could be legitimately interesting to take a classic monster of old and have him rumble with his ubiquitous modern day counterpart. As stated in the book, there isn’t much difference in a vampire and shark—they’re both apex predators, both must constantly hunt to survive. The important thing is that I didn’t want to make this a parody. Aside from the gloriously ridiculous title, I still wanted to treat Dracula with a great reverence, and I borrowed heavily from Hammer movies and the Tomb of Dracula comics for my rendition.

Bob: I admire you reaching out to the all-ages market by developing an imprint for those kinds of stories.Tell me more about MonsterKid Press and what sort of titles you envision in the imprint’s future.

Greg: MonsterKid Press is a new imprint of my Genre Experience independent label. It’s designed for a younger audience, and its aim is just pure monster fun. Most of my novels lean heavily on a serious, spiritual angle. And that’s fine most of the time, but truthfully, it can get taxing. As much as I love to explore the deeper truths of spirituality and the mortal struggle of fear versus faith, sometimes I just want to write a book about Dracula wrestling a shark, you know? Working on Syfy has shown me the benefits of shaking loose your imagination and writing from a place of unabashed entertainment. That’s not to say something like Dracula vs Great White Shark doesn’t have something more meaningful to offer, just that it’s not the driving force. I’ve got a few more ideas lined up for MonsterKid—fun, creature-filled spooky romps that are born from that part of my soul where I’m eternally twelve years old and it’s always HalloweenNight.

Bob: You mentioned earlier your work with Syfy. I’ve been impressed by the great success you’ve had as a screenwriter. Do you find the creative process different between writing scripts and novels?

Greg: Not really, no. At least, not the way I do it. I started my career wanting to be a screenwriter. I fell into “novelist” by accident because I was twenty years old and had no idea how to get an independent movie off the ground. Keep in mind, this was in the late ‘90s before YouTube and the boom of DIY movies. The internet was still in its infancy, and I had no tangible way of connecting to like-minded filmmakers. I very much felt alone out there. But I approach both the same way. I write novels like I write movies—which I know irks many literary types, but that’s how I’ve always done it, for good or for ill. My wife is constantly correcting me because when I’m telling her about a new book, I talk about “scenes” and “cutting to” and “fading out”, and she tells me “You know it’s not a movie, right?” But in my head it is, complete with soundtrack and poster art.

Bob: Ha. That’s great. My brain works the same way. So now that you’ve got Dracula vs Great White Shark out there, tell me about your current work in progress?

Greg: I am currently in the early stages of writing my long-gestating prequel to The Coming Evil Trilogy. Fans of that series should be excited to learn that it will explore the origins of the town of Greensboro and reveal its initial contact with the malevolent Strange Man. It’s set in the Old West and focuses on the first settlers of Old Greenesboro—as it was once known. It’s a pretty big story, bigger than I had anticipated. I’m still meeting all the new characters and getting to know them, but the writing is fruitful if not at a slower pace.

Bob: Believe me, I feel your pain. I’ve a couple of series that have been on the old slow-burner. What readers seldom realize is that each book is like a child and they’re all different and require different levels of attention before they’re ready for the world.

What can we hope to see next from Greg Mitchell?

Greg: Next up on the chopping block is my novel Infernal City. In a parallel reality, that would be out now, but Dracula vs Great White Shark manifested more quickly than I had expected and stole my attention. But once the Halloween season passes and winter sets in properly, I’ll return to work getting Infernal City ready for publication early next year. The book is a quasi-tie-in to The Coming Evil, taking place in the City that was mentioned a few times in the Trilogy. In this book, we learn a little more about the City and its mystical connection to Greensboro. Not only that, but this book also serves as a bridge between the small town horror of The Coming Evil series and the larger cosmic horrors of my superhero/Lovecraftian/Doctor Who amalgamation—the Rift Jump duology. In Infernal City, we meet Quinn, who is an enforcer for the City. There are those who strike deals with the entity lurking beneath the City’s streets for riches and success, and Quinn makes sure they live up to their end of their Faustian bargains. It’s told in first person from a bruiser’s perspective and has a very monster noir feel to it.

Bob: Man, that all sounds fantastic. You fans will be thrilled. Thanks again for sitting down with me and sharing your time with us here at The Occult Detective, Greg. It’s always a real treat when you come by and I wish you nothing less than continued success.

For more information about Greg, you can visit his blog, The Coming Evil, or check him out on Facebook. You can purchase Greg Mitchell’s works via his author’s page on Amazon.

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