Dark Lit Market: CHOPPING SPREE by Angela Sylvaine

It’s #TERRORTUESDAY, so we’re unleashing yet another DHC member’s published work from our DARK LIT MARKET!

This week, prepare yourself for CHOPPING SPREE by Angela Sylvaine!

Eden Hills, Minnesota is famous for one thing—its ’80s inspired Fashion Mall. When high school junior, Penny, lands a job at one of its trendy stores, she notices her teen coworkers all wear a strange symbol they won’t explain.

Suspicious but wanting to belong, she agrees to stay after closing for a party in the closed store. Her fun turns to terror when Penny discovers a mortally wounded boy and learns there is a killer loose in the mall. Soon the teens are running for their lives.

Will Penny discover the truth behind the mall cabal and survive to slay another day, or will she fall victim to the galleria of gore?

Dark Lit Market: THE DOLL ROOM by Claire L. Fishback

Every #TERRORTUESDAY we’ll be sharing another DHC member’s published work from our DARK LIT MARKET!

This week, we’ve got THE DOLL ROOM by Claire L. Fishback.

A room with many small doors, a dream hitchhiker, furniture that moves itself. A middle-aged housewife who desperately wants to be noticed. In these pages you’ll find strange encounters, dolls with secrets, and creepy children. Haunted ears. A long-lost daughter come home. Nightmares come true.

Stories that explore grief, time, relationships, decisions, and everything in between.

Stories that haunt… and inspire.

Welcome to The Doll Room.

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 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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