Denver Horror Collective Crashes StokerCon!

Denver Horror Collective will be representing the Mile High City at Horror Writers Association’s annual StokerCon from Thursday, May 12 – Sunday, May 15 at the Curtis Hotel in Denver.

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Denver Horror Collective Is Dead

Denver Horror Collective has been ruthlessly spreading the horror since 2017. With over fifty members, not only has DHC become the most dangerous collection of dark scribes in Denver and across Colorado, but throughout the entire Rocky Mountain Region.

Yet during our last Steering Committee meeting, in the midst of all the strife in the world today, we asked ourselves: What the heck are we doing?

Our response to creeping darkness is to pile on MORE of the shadow? Our reflex when we see pain and suffering is to get people to imagine the WORST possible outcomes? What kind of people are we, truly, if this negativity is our contribution to society, to the future of humankind?

So we slept on it, reconvened the next day, and made an unanimous decision: Denver Horror Collective is no more.

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Join the Horror Author Support Chain!

Coming up with an idea. Banging out the first draft. Feedback and critiques. Polishing that second, third, or more drafts. Submitting the manuscript. Rejection. Rejection. Rejection. Despair. Publication!

At long last, your hard work has paid off and you can sit back and reap the well-earned rewards…right? RIGHT?!

Perhaps the most frustrating part of being a horror author isn’t any of the above but getting sales for your book.

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(Re)Join the DHC Cult!

It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year: Denver Horror Collective membership renewal!

During 2020 and 2021—the first two years of the pandemic—we gave all existing DHC members a free renewal, but this year we’re asking folks to pay the piper. Or, more specifically, $20 via PayPal (submissions at denverhorror dot com) or Venmo (Denver Horror Collective – @denverhorror) so we can keep this here DHC pirate ship afloat!

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The 4th Circle: Interview with Brenda Tolian

– Interview by Desi D

  1. What attracted you to write horror?

BRENDA: Horror, for me, is a way to explore in safety the oddity of what it means to be a woman. Often, it’s unclear the roles we are retrofitted into and often in opposition to actual reality that resides inside.

Trauma is something that each woman has experienced in differing ways, and we try to make sense of it. Horror is, for me, the best medium to express that. We are stepping into the abyss and symbolically cutting out meaning to that which escaped definition or seeks understanding. Naming the monsters is the ultimate power over them. Horror calls us to be creative, and women are fine-tuned to be creators.

  1. As a writer, how would you describe your muse? And your process?

BRENDA: The Red Monk wrote that, “Anyone who confuses his Mistress for his Muse is in real trouble.” A writer shared that with me once, and so I decided that I would do away with both in a sense.

My stories are driven by research, news, oral tales, and experiences; I suppose if I have a muse, he or she is in a box somewhere hopelessly forgotten under my bed. My process is rigid, I teach during the week, and my weekends are spent writing. I am an introvert and find more pleasure in hours of writing than socializing. I start early, around 5 a.m., and work till at least one in the afternoon, if not longer. I submit regularly and accept the decline notes as a challenge to improve. I read as much as I write in differing genres finding that this helps the process.

  1. Who has been your biggest inspiration for writing horror? And why?

BRENDA: I have a T-shirt I wear that simply says Nabokov, Kafka, Stephen Graham Jones, if that tells you anything. I also adore the writing of Owl Goingback and Mario Acevedo. I find that I am inspired by my intellectual conversations with Joy Yehle and Adrianne Montoya, both strong in the ways of horror. They, along with Stanley Wiater, helped me think about my graduate research into the topic of women within horror.

In some ways, however, my biggest inspiration comes from my twin daughters, who have taught me how to be strong and pushed me to do everything possible to pursue writing and education. So, for me, it’s not a who but communities of writers such as Denver Horror Collective and Regis University that inspire me in my work.

  1. What is it about the art of storytelling that excites you? And, of course, what is the next story we can look forward to reading from you?

BRENDA: The art of storytelling is the power of voice. So many are voiceless, and their stories are buried in the news, time, or within. As women, we are not always allowed to speak our truth or are victimized for doing so. The female body endures violence often in silence, so writing is a way to touch the cuts symbolically. I also attempt to give voice to nature that is often ravaged in similar ways to the female vessel.

My “Blood Mountain” story is, of course, in DHC’s CONSUMED: TALES INSPIRED BY THE WENDIGO. And just last week, another story, “Snake Man” came out in TWISTED PULP MAGAZINE. Currently, I am finishing my collection of “Blood Mountain” stories about, which, as it happens, is also my graduate thesis. I will be presenting academic work at the Southwestern Popular/American Culture Convention and Stoker Con this spring. I also have a hybrid novella in final edits, and hope to find a home for my “Blood Mountain” collection when it is defended and finished.

The 4th Circle: Interview with Joy Yehle

DHC active member Joy Yehle
  1. What’s your favorite line in a book/movie? And why?

“There’s little good in sedentary small towns. Mostly indifference spiced with an occasional vapid evil–or worse, a conscious one.”
– Stephen King, Salem’s Lot.

I like to imagine the dark in everyday situations and in the unexpected evil right next door. To me, nothing is scarier than an evil that can walk around in the light, nowhere is safe. Stephen King eloquently lays that out here. Small, quiet towns are supposed to be safe, but what if they’re not?

  1. As a writer, how would you describe your muse?

I think my muse is a bizarre crossbreed of an evil sorceress, a shaman, a serial killer, a terrified five-year-old, a vampire hunter, a scientist, and a Sunday school teacher. Not complicated at all!

  1. What author has been your biggest inspiration to your writing? And why?

My great uncle Will C. Minor was a naturalist and author. We visited him over many summers, and I saw how he created these amazing things to share with his words and a typewriter. In my eyes, he was the original Indiana Jones and I wanted to be just like him. I love the outdoors and do my best writing there, however my writing took a much darker turn than wildlife stories.

  1. What is it about writing that excites you? And of course, what’s the next story we can look forward to reading from you?

I love creating a whole world out of nothing. I feel truly free when I let my imagination run wild across the page. My most terrifying and exciting thing, however, is watching the face of a person who reads my stuff and hits that ‘What?!’ moment of scare!

I’m working on two novels and a couple of short stories right now. One novel is a dystopian YA that reality has possibly derailed! The other novel is inspired by a spooky childhood story I was told about a dark entity that feeds on despair titled Malvado, I hope to have this one ready for release by the end of the year.

The 4th Circle: Interview with Sean Murphy

DHC Active Member, Sean Murphy
  1. Name one horror author you admire and explain how they helped you become a better writer.

I admire Stephen King. I read On Writing and that seemed to speak to me. I found inspiration in it and in his story.

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

I like writing horror based in medicine and science, so I’m going with a plague doctor (current situation notwithstanding). I like the gothic look of a traditional doctor. Plus, they are wicked creepy!

  1. Name six of your favorite horror movies or books. Elaborate on any of them.

Books: It – Scared the crap out of me and I read it as an adult. Dracula – Classic story and character. Love it! Illustrated Man – Not traditional horror, but still a great and creepy story.

Movies: The Thing – Best. Movie. Ever. Salem’s Lot – First horror movie I watched. It holds a special place in my heart. Paranormal Activity – The movie I used to introduce horror to my boys, who were 9 and 7 at the time. We watched it as a family, and they still remember it and the nightmares.

4. What is it about writing that excites you? And of course, what’s the next story we can look forward to reading from you?What is it about writing that excites you? And of course, what’s the next story we can look forward to reading from you?

I get excited by new ideas and new spins on current stories. I love trying new things and bringing horror elements to genres that may not be typical horror setting; they don’t always work, but it’s worth a shot! I have two more short stories I’m working on, a WWII story and another short. I’m trying to get a novel idea to form, but it’s a slow road.