The 4th Circle: Interview with Gary Robbe

gary robbe

Denver Horror Collective active member, Steering Committee member & Terror at 5280′ co-editor, Gary Robbe

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

GARY ROBBE: There are many writers who had a profound influence on me, and what and how I write. But there are two who stand out. When I read Ray Bradbury at a very early age, specifically Dandelion Wine, I knew that I wanted to write and tell stories the way he could. His storytelling and simplicity, and the way he could get a message across without pounding you on the head, definitely influenced me to the core. Another writer who got to me, at a much later date, was Harlan Ellison. When I read I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream, and A Boy and his Dog, I was completely blown away. Harlan’s writing style and anger shone through with everything he wrote, and he embodied what I thought a writer was all about. We are who we read, and I often reread Ray and Harlan to remind myself what writing can do.

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

GR: Has to be a squirrel. They’re cute on the surface, but they’re really rats with a fluffy tail. I used to pretend I was a squirrel when I was a toddler (this was the day and age of Chip and Dale, who were chipmunks, not squirrels). So, yeah, an animal that is really deceptive. We’re terrified of rats eating our face, but squirrels? Not so much. But they will…

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

GR: I grew up watching all the great Universal monster films, watched all of them over and over, usually late at night on Shock Theater on a black and white TV. Frankenstein, the monster played by Boris Karloff, and King Kong, played by himself, stood out and were always special to watch. Psycho scared the shit out of me at a very vulnerable age. I’m still wary of showers. Halloween. Alien. The Thing. Almost perfect horror films.
But ultimately my heart belongs to the old, tattered black and white (sometimes color) horror films of my childhood. Anything by Hitchcock or Roger Corman, all the cheap and cheesy effects and acting, the bad costumes, all of it.

Books? Salem’s Lot. Interview with a Vampire. The Exorcist. Rosemary’s Baby. Maybe the most disturbing and haunting book I ever read was Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo.

4. “Scrape” from Denver Horror Collective’s new anthology, Terror at 5280’ is a disturbing tale; can you tell us a little about how it came into being?

GR: Gentrification gone bad. An image came to me, children staring from a window of a place that was being torn down, and the story took off from there. Loss to me is the ultimate great fear. Loss of control. Loss of what we love. Loss of self. I thought, what if a family scraped an old house and built a new one in its place. And once they moved into the new house they realized the old place was still very much there. Maybe it is a little homage to House of Leaves, a story I really liked but didn’t understand all that well. Of course, I did have to give the story a happy, Disney ending. That’s my homage to Chip and Dale, those crazy mixed up rodents.

CENSORED at 5280′?

Censored at 5280'As we predicted, the vile powers-that-be conspired to try to prevent the distribution of Terror at 5280’, Denver Horror Collective’s brand new local horror fiction anthology.

Our “Terror Tuesday” online launch was all but scuttled by a cabal of tyrants intent on stopping us from telling the world about the ongoing carnage in this mile-high hellscape we call Denver, Colorado.

Some of you may suspect we’re pulling your leg. If only that were the truth.

To the contrary, one of our online sellers—let’s call them Amazoth—put a screeching halt to our web sales by falsely telling potential customers that paperback copies of Terror at 5280′ wouldn’t be available through Amazoth for up to two months!

The proof in the blood pudding comes from the fact that earlier in the week people had ordered and received copies within 2 days—indeed, Terror at 5280’ was skyrocketing up the charts of horror fiction anthologies!

But as soon as our enemies got wind of the breach, they pushed back the dates they were telling customers they’d likely receive the book until after the holidays, and our sales dried up like bodily fluids inside a corpse.

The good news is we sent out our fiercest mercenaries to deal with the problem and they forced Amazoth to ONCE AGAIN MAKE TERROR AT 5280′ AVAILABLE FOR 2-DAY DELIVERY! 

So, please consider buying a copy so we can make up for lost time and get back on the charts (the Amazoth algorithm punished us severely for our curtailed sales even though it was their own doing)!

If you’re disinclined to order through Amazoth, you can also order via or Barnes and Noble.

And if you’re in Colorado, Terror is available at a growing number of local bookstores, including: Mutiny Information Cafe, West Side Books, and Bookbar in Denver, and Boulder Bookstore and Barnes & Noble in Boulder.

We at Denver Horror Collective never go down without a fight! We knew it was dangerous to report on the foul goings-on in and around Denver and the Front Range Rocky Mountains, and we remain committed to warning people to stay away from the Centennial State, no matter the consequences.

In Victory,
Denver Horror Collective

Terror at 5280′ Available on Amazon on “Terror Tuesday” Nov. 26!

Terror TuesdayA neighborhood won’t let its residents forget the past. One taste draws two lovers into a nightmarish addiction. A harsh winter forces strange creatures down from the mountains.

At sea level, where it’s safe, things like this can’t happen. But when you’re sky high in Denver, Colorado, anything goes…including your sanity.

Beware of Terror at 5280’,a local horror fiction anthology featuring 22 dark tales set in and around Denver and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains penned exclusively by local authors (including Stephen Graham Jones, Carter Wilson, and others).

Paperback and e-book available on Amazon on Tuesday, November 26.

Become a Denver Horror Collective Member for $20!

It’s hard to believe it’s been over 2 years since the spawning of Denver Horror Collective, our local group of horror writers and artists. Now DHC has a website/blog, bi-weekly writers critique group, novel-writing subgroups (coming soon), book club, The Epitaph newsletter, podcast, events (including Defy Your Demons & Music To My Fears), and our first anthology, Terror at 5280’!

DHC Sticker Draft1 1600 x 1200

Needless to say, we must sacrifice a bit of flesh to keep this monster well-fed (to pay for website hosting & URLs, events organizing, marketing/promotion/advertising, publishing, etc.) which is why we’re now offering bona fide membership in Denver Horror Collective!

For only $20 per year as a Denver Horror Collective Active Member you’ll get:

  • Opportunities to submit short stories/novel chapters for critique in Denver Horror Writers bi-weekly meetings
  • The option of joining a novel writing critique subgroup
  • Your own personal webpage on DHC website with name, bio, photo, and links (or whatever you want)
  • Free entry to DHC events
  • Access to private members-only Facebook group
  • “6(66) Questions” interview in The Epitaph newsletter
  • Opportunity to submit stories/articles to The Epitaph
  • Your fiction and/or events promoted via social media
  • A DHC sticker
  • $10 (over 20% off) paperback copies of Terror at 5280’
  • $13 (35% off) T-shirts featuring DHC logo by The Rïpröck

What if you’d like to be a part of DHC but aren’t willing to part with that $20 just yet? Then our free Affiliate Membership might be for you!

As an Affiliate Member you can join our public Facebook group to stay abreast of all our goings on as well as attend bi-weekly Denver Horror Writers meetings (you only need to become an Active Member if you want to submit your work for critique).

To join, send an email to or message us through the Denver Horror Collective Facebook group or page!

Darkest Wishes,
Denver Horror Collective Steering Committee
Melinda Bezdek, Bobby Crew, Desi D, Thomas C. Mavroudis, Sean Murphy, Gary Robbe, Josh Schlossberg & Jeamus Wilkes

Dark Wisdom: Sam W. Anderson

In “Dark Wisdom,” we seek writing and/or publishing advice from the horror fiction masters making up Denver Horror Collective’s Advisory Council

For this installment, we harass Sam W. Andersonauthor of over forty published short stories and collaborative novels, and two short-story collections.

What’s the difference between horror and thriller fiction?


Photo: John Mattison

SAM W. ANDERSONThis is a question that I could answer in two words or a twenty-page doctoral thesis. I’ll circle back to the two-word answer in a bit…after my shortened thesis.

First, to the question, though. A guideline, so general that “guideline” stretches the credulity of the term, is that horror has the bad guy chasing the good guy (until the inevitable turn where they confront each other). The climax occurs with the evil being defeated or faced. Also, the more supernatural elements introduced tends to push a story more toward the horror side of the ledger.

In a thriller the good guy pursues the bad(der) guy. The climax tends to be the evil being unveiled. The more psychological the plot, the likelier it’s to fall under the thriller column.

Continue reading

Terror at 5280′ Book Launch on Dec. 1

Celebrate the launch of Terror at 5280’, Denver Horror Collective’s unsettling new anthology featuring twenty-two dark tales set in and around Denver and the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, penned exclusively by local authors.

RSVP here.

  • Readings by Stephen Graham Jones, Carina Bissett, Josh Viola, Joy Yehle, Henry Snider, Desi D, Matthew Lyons, Rebecca Bates, and Lindsay King-Miller
  • Spin the DISC OF DREAD to pick which stories you want to hear
  • Giveaways include free autographed copies of Terror at 5280’ and Denver Horror Collective T-shirts & stickers
  • Hosted by black-hearted scribe Hollie Snider

Terror Book Cover