The Cemetery Dance Interview: Stephen Mark Rainey

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Stephen Mark Rainey

Writing from Martinsville, Virginia, Stephen Mark Rainey (that’s Mark to his friends, peers, and others who he doesn’t owe money to) is the author of over 200 short stories, some of which are available as collections (Other Gods, Fugue Devil: Resurgence) and the editor of the award-winning magazine, Deathrealm (1987-1997). Rainey is also the editor of a few fine anthologies such as Evermore, The Song of Cthulhu, and Deathrealm: Spirits, which is the book that prompted me to chase him down and ask nicely to corner him for his remarkable knowledge of our beloved horror genre.

Rainey did not disappoint and satiated my curiosity, at least for now, about how the tides of the horror industry has changed, the significance of having Deathrealm back in the spotlight, how he managed to rally today’s most esteemed and promising authors writing today under one unified literary roof, and a whole lot more worth leaning forward in your seat for.
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The Cemetery Dance Interview: Stephen Graham Jones

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When we opened the first pages of Stephen Graham Jones’ My Heart Is a Chainsaw back in 2021, we fell in love with Jade Daniels, Graham’s perfect vision of teenage imperfection. She was scrappy and self-deprecating yet willfully too smart for her own good; her encyclopedic brain for horror trivia featured an artist’s instinct to hyper-relate the genre to the world at large. But growing up in a small doomtown like Proofrock, Idaho, is not a large world. Rather, it’s a suffocating microcosm of our crumbling society where the walls are closing in, largely to the fault of her own imagination and the occult boundaries her mind crosses to materialize various personifications of said doom.

Stephen Graham Jones
(Photo by Gary Isaacs)

Then through 2022’s Don’t Fear the Reaper, we grew up with Jade, only to realize the more things change, the more they stay the same, even while the body count of Proofrock’s finite population rose with the tide of that cursed lake. All the while there’s a serial killer named Dark Mill South who seemed only a red herring, where even after his capture, he kept escaping; all the while paling in comparison to something untouchable under the surface of everything.

And when we commit to surviving something like Graham’s brilliant trilogy, even in the beginning, you’re already dreading the ending. And because of the inherent gravity of heartbreak, we knew there would have to be a finale for the finest final girl, Jade Daniels. In The Angel of Indian Lake, the third and last installment of the Indian Lake Trilogy, Graham successfully ties up every loose end, like serpents slithering down our neck, shedding from multiple real time eternities from the condensed Savage History of Proofrock. 

And now it’s all history, just like that?

I had to ask the man.Continue Reading

WE’RE NOT OURSELVES TODAY: A Chat with Jill Girardi

cover of We're Not Ourselves TodayJill Girardi is no stranger to horror. She runs the independent publisher Kandisha Press, which so far has put out five volumes of Women of Horror Anthology series, among other titles. Her latest work is We’re Not Ourselves Today, a pulp anthology featuring short stories by Girardi and fellow horror writer Lydia Prime. Cemetery Dance spoke to Girardi about the stories in We’re Not Ourselves Today, her horror influences, and what’s going on with Kandisha Press. Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Kristopher Triana

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Kristopher Triana

Kristopher Triana is a Splatterpunk Award-winning author of extreme horror who needs no introduction — but I’ll give you a brief one here anyways. Author of such critically acclaimed fan favorites as Gone To See the Riverman (and it’s recent sequel, Along the River of Flesh), Full Brutal, The Ruin Season and That Night In the Woods, Triana is an animal-loving Connecticut writer you don’t want to miss. Although he also writes noir, crime, westerns. literary fiction, and is a columnist with Backwoods Survival Guide Magazine, this conversation centers around the soft spot I have for his particular brand of nightmare fuel. Fans of his work will be taken aback by the scope of his often traumatic, always heartfelt style of bringing us in his full throttle world of terror. Book after book, Triana continues to prove himself as a dependable curator of thought provoking, gut wrenching, ridiculously immersive and frightening stories any fan of this dark thing of ours is thrilled to get caught up and lost in.

Most recently, Triana was kind enough to let me pick about his evolution as an author, his proudest moments and a few morsels on how he does what he does so damn well. Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Elle Nash

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Elle Nash

Elle Nash’s Deliver Me (Unnamed Press, 2023) burrowed into my psyche deeper than any other book in 2023. The novel’s neglected yet unforgettable main character, Dee Dee, whispers to us, using her perpetual inside voice, offering accumulative clues to the relationship between her environment and her biological delusions; a hushed effect of descent that eventually lands on what is truly growing in her depths. Sometimes the desire is greater than the acquisition; it can block the illumination of what lengths we are going to get it.  

Initially inspired by a bizarre true-crime event, Nash transmutes a headline with nothing left to the imagination into a delicate tapestry of inner hallucination, igniting a divine poetry from ignorance — all of it privileged information from a narrator so unreliable, it hurts. But one must always keep pushing. 

Nash is also the author of Gag Reflex (Clash Books), Nudes (LF/SD), Animals Eat Each Other (Dzanc Books), and is the editor-in-chief of Witchcraft magazine. 

I caught up with Nash in early January to discuss Deliver Me, the miracle and terror of childbirth, the constitution of bloodshed between genders, and the desensitization of horror inside our American nightmare. Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Clay McLeod Chapman

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photo of author Clay McLeod ChapmanClay McLeod Chapman writes books, comic books, children’s books, as well as for film and television. His most recent novel, What Kind of Mother and Ghost Eaters are grief horror stories. Chapman’s vibrant personality and energy are magnetizing, and seemingly contradictory to his writing material. Todd Keisling and I joked that the Whisper Down The Lane author is “like a cup of coffee” — rejuvenating.

It’s there, in that duality and range both on and off the page, where Chapman’s talent lies.

Chapman spoke to Cemetery Danceabout What Kind of MotherGhost Eaters, fellow horror authors, and his upcoming projects. Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Steve Wedel

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Steve Wedel

Get ready to leave the path and dance beneath the full moon because Steve Wedel’s pack is back with a vengeance as his Werewolf Saga continues its reign with First Born. A former English teacher and machine shop operator, Wedel has written some of the most terrifying, bold, and unforgettable tales such as Amara’s Prayer, Light At The End, Mother, and several others. He also dabbles in the YA category, occasionally with New York Times best-selling author Carrie Jones. He’s also applied his writing chops to scribing westerns and even romance novels under an alias. Suffice it to say writing is not a choice for Steve Wedel, a fact his fans have no choice but to be grateful for.Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Red Lagoe

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Red Lagoe

Raised on ’80s slasher horror, Red Lagoe is the author of three horror collections: Lucid Screams, Dismal Dreams and, the reason for our conversation, Impulses Of A Necrotic Heart. Revving up her engines, she has also penned the forthcoming novella, In Excess Of Dark and the novel Bloodstains By Gaslight, both due to hit the ground running in 2024. Red is also the editor of the anthology Nightmare Sky: Stories Of Astronomical Horror and is the owner of Death Knell Press. As an amateur astrologer, this fearless woman may have her dark muse nestled in the darkest reaches of the universe but keeps us all well grounded with stories of loss, grief, trauma and suffering most of us can relate to in some way, though perhaps not quite as balls-to-the-wall insane as some of her more unfortunate victims, er, characters inevitably do.

On top of it all, Red is a formidable artist who lends her impactful drawings to each of the stories we are about to dive into with Impulses Of A Necrotic Heart. But be warned: while Red is as sweet and kind as they come, don’t let her demeaner fool you. A promising voice worth paying attention to, Red creates a web of haunted ruins from which we can expect to never fully escape from unchanged while our appetite for what’s to come grows more insatiable story by story, book by book.

Without further ado, it’s time to dig in and find out exactly what Red’s necrotic little heart is made of.Continue Reading

BROOMS Discusses the Art of Making Magic

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cover of BroomsBrooms, a new graphic novel written by Jasmine Walls and illustrated by Teo DuVall, takes place in an alternative 1930s where only some people are allowed to use magic, and unsanctioned broom racing is forbidden. Walls and DuVall spoke to Cemetery Dance about their backgrounds in graphic novels, the research that went into Brooms’ creation, and what they hope readers take away.Continue Reading

The CURSES of George Wylesol

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George Wylesol
George Wylesol

George Wylesol is an illustrator/designer/writer in Baltimore who creates unusual graphic novels. Curses, a collection of short stories, uses surreal and avant garde techniques to show the horrors in everything from a hospital to the wilderness to hell itself. Wylesol spoke to Cemetery Dance about how he worked on this book, his background, and what he’d like readers to take away from Curses.Continue Reading

Anthony Northrup on Stephen King’s Dollar Babies

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cover of Stephen King - Dollar Baby: The BookAnthony Northrup is a Stephen King enthusiast who puts his pen where his mouth is. Okay, maybe not literally, but he certainly backs up all his acclaimed King passion by a long shot. Anthony has hosted two Stephen King Dollar Baby film festivals in addition to playing cohost to Stephen King Rules film festivals on top of essaying his King fandom (as well as celebrating other writers and filmmakers) via regularly published articles in his local newspaper. He also founded and maintains a fun and popular group on Facebook called All Things King (ATK).

Most recently, he published a behemoth of a book titled Stephen King – Dollar Baby: The Book. Released in 2021 through BearManor Media, it weighs in at a whopping 576 pages. Suffice to say the book is chock full of everything you might want to know about Stephen King Dollar Babies, but were afraid to sacrifice the time and sanity to find out.Continue Reading

The Cemetery Dance Interview: Rebecca Rowland on AMERICAN CANNIBAL

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Rebecca Rowland and the cover of her latest anthology, American Cannibal.

Rebecca Rowland is an award-winning, best-selling editor of seven anthologies, including her 2023 release American Cannibal, which includes twenty short stories from the top writers in in horror fiction today and includes a provocative forward by Wrath James White. An English teacher by day, Rebecca has also written several critical essays, speculative fiction and book reviews which regularly appear in various print and online venues for your education and enjoyment. On top of that, she also manages the small, independent publishing house, Maenad Press.

After meeting her in person at the 2023 Scares That Care Author Con II, I can attest that Rebecca is one of the kindest, most giving and down to Earth people one could meet. But don’t let that fool you as she also has the power to gather the most frightening individuals in one place to do her bidding by ensuring you’re kept up well past your bedtime with the most horrific, resonating visions you can dare to imagine.Continue Reading

Comic Creators on PROJECT: CRYPTID

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AHOY Comics’ new anthology PROJECT: CRYPTID, which has its first issue debuting this month, offers up scares and silliness as different writers and artists take on creatures from legends. Seven of the anthology’s writers — Mark Russell, Paul Constant, Bryce Ingman, Melissa F. Olson, Jazzlyn Stone, Henry Barajas, and Alisa Kwitney — all spoke to Cemetery Dance about their creatures of choice, the process of mixing horror with humor, and what makes comics a good medium for scary stories.Continue Reading

Michael Schwartz on Stine, Comics, and Haunted Armor

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Screenwriter Michael Schwartz, a longtime fan of comics, has a live Kickstarter through Clover Press to launch his own comic, Armored. The horror comic follows Andy, who finds a haunted suit of armor and its ghost, Sir William. The comic is illustrated by Ismael Hernandez, and is set to have covers from Jae Lee, Nick Pitarra, Chrissie Zullo, Scott Kolins, Matthew Therrien, and Jeff Dickson. Schwartz spoke to Cemetery Dance about his love of comics, working on R.L. Stine’s Zombie Town, and what real-world influences led him to writing about haunted armor.Continue Reading

Interview: Anya Davidson on NIGHT AND DANA

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cover of Night and DanaAnya Davidson’s new graphic novel, Night and Dana, is being released on September 12 by Graphic Universe. It’s a coming-of-age story about horror-obsessed teens that also involves environmental activism. Davidson (no relation to the interviewer) spoke to Cemetery Dance about her long interest in horror, her influences, and how horror tales can tackle real-world issues.

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