The 4th Circle: Interview with Angela Sylvaine

Denver Horror Collective active member and Terror at 5280′ contributor, Angela Sylvaine
  1. Name one horror author you admire and explain how they helped you become a better writer.

Though I didn’t begin writing until I was in my mid 30s, my love of horror blossomed with reading Christopher Pike in Junior High. When I started writing, I initially tried to write in more of a literary style, and I tried genres that just weren’t a good fit for me (contemporary, romance, science fiction). I realized I needed to embrace writing what I enjoyed rather than trying to meet the expectations of others. It was my love of Christopher Pike that helped me realize young adult horror was my passion, and when I gave myself permission to write this instead of worrying about the judgment of others, I started enjoying myself and saw more success in selling my work.

  1. As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot and why?

My immediate instinct is to say a cat, but I think that’s just because I love them. Really, I think my mascot would be a crow or raven. They’re black, and I love wearing black. They’re intelligent and adaptable, which I strive to be. They’re also loud, which I definitely am. They hold funeral rites for deceased crows and a group is called a murder, which is just generally spooky. I also loved Poe’s poem “The Raven” from the first moment I read it, and even named my first cat Lenore. Now if only I could learn to fly…

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Moonlit Dream Girl

– by Douglas D. Hawk

Watching from the moon night shadows, his dementia distorted her, remade her, morphed her into Dream Girl. Standing in the small clearing, she was radiant and stunning, a vision of love and adoration; a delusion of lust and wanton possession. The silky skirt molded around her, clinging to her thighs, and the sweater hugged her body, amplifying her plentiful breasts.

Seemingly unconcerned and unaware of her admirer, her stalker, shadowing her as she meandered without a care in the world, Dream Girl stepped off the sidewalk. She started strolling across the grass, snaking her way among Denver City Park’s multitude of trees. The zoo and museum were closed. There were no late night joggers or strolling lovers. It was after midnight and the empty park was illuminated by June’s bright full moon. The Strawberry Moon. 

Strawberries, her admirer thought, the color of blood. Would her blood taste as sweet?

As her stalker moved with the stealthy grace of a puma, Dream Girl paused, her head turning so her beautiful, moon-washed features stood out in the darkness. Her expression grew curious and for a fleeting moment, the hint of a frown touched her exquisite mouth. 

He knew that Dream Girl sensed him. He was predator, she was prey. His smile was feral. Yet, as he watched, her frown vanished and her expression grew impassive. That annoyed him. Soon she would comprehend the danger and like all prey, her blood would turn cold, her gut would clench and she would run. Run for her life. Run to her death.

The stalker sighed at the thought. The chase. The inevitable capture. The consummation of his desires and his lust. 

Dream Girl paused for only a few scant seconds and then resumed walking among the trees. If she was worried, it did not show. Her stride was leisurely, her exquisite body relaxed. Moving effortlessly, she exuded the easy confidence of one unconcerned about the night and the moonlit darkness and what might lurk in it. Her naiveté heightened her stalker’s hunger. At the end, innocent prey was so gratifying. The struggling. The screaming. The begging. 

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First Breath by Nicole J. LeBoeuf

“First Breath” is the first of several Colorado-based short stories written by local authors we’ll be publishing on the Denver Horror Collective website and in The Epitaph newsletter, as a lead-up to the fall release of Terror at 5280′, our local horror fiction anthology.

First Breath
by Nicole J. LeBoeuf

[Author’s note: The setting of ‘First Breath’ is loosely based on the cafe and bar Loaded Joes in Avon, a favorite place to write (and sing karaoke) when I’m in the neighborhood.]

bloody-lip_lisa-young

Photo: Lisa Young

It was time I went in search of myself. Everyone has to do it once in their lives. Each of my parents had, years before, and now I felt the pull that said it was my turn. Time to make my own pilgrimage.

They saw me off, standing in front of the house and watching me drift down the road. “Remember what we taught you,” my mother said. “One foot in front of the other. You’ll do fine.”

“Hurry home as soon as you can,” said my father, a wry smile hiding the sadness of parting. “You’ll want to be here when the baby arrives.”

I could only nod, looking first from face to face then down at the place where my unborn sibling waited to be breathed into life. I wanted to take their hands. I wanted to hold them and never let go.

But I couldn’t touch them. I could not even speak. Not yet.

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6(66) Questions with Jeamus Wilkes

– Interview by Linnea Linton

jeamusJeamus Wilkes is a Denver Horror Collective member, host of Jeamus After Midnight Podcast, and editor of The Epitaph.

1. Name one horror author you admire and explain how they help you become a better writer?

Peter Straub. Straub helps me become a better writer because of his beautiful use of language blended with professional execution of creating dread and scenes of absolute terror. His work is un-commercial in the best possible way, yet utterly accessible in readability and makes my imagination’s flesh crawl like no other writer. It helps me become a better writer in knowing that I can aim for the story first, and cut the commercial crap right out. His novel Shadowland is probably my favorite book I’ve ever read, and I read it at least once a year.

2. What author did you dislike at first but grew into?

H.P. Lovecraft. I think I associated his name too much with gaming and protracted paragraphs (that sounds like a swipe at gaming culture when it really isn’t; at one time I just felt like Lovecraft’s world was over-appropriated in it), but when I revisited his work a few years ago I came to appreciate it on my own terms and made my own discoveries in his work. He’s a controversial figure, but—at this point, at least—I’ve decided to appreciate the artist. Chew on the meat and spit out the bones, to use a blunt horror metaphor.

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