Dreaming of Zombies

When did I begin my love of horror? Well, like a lot of people I became addicted to Stephen King books as a teenager, but it goes much farther back than that…

My earliest dream that I can remember was about a plane crashing in my back yard when I was about five years old and as I watched from the window over the sink in our kitchen, a “man” stepped out and started staggering drunkenly toward our back door. The little dog we had at the time was in the dream too; I think she was a Cockapoo? (That’s half Cocker Spaniel and half Poodle). I think her name was Ladybug. Well, Ladybug barked at the tottering man has he proceeded to open our back door. I wake up at that point in the dream because somehow I knew he was a zombie. Way too scary to stay there…

Years later, I found out I was not born with knowledge of zombies, but had snuck in the living room at night as my parents watched late night zombie movies on TV. It would have been 1970 or there abouts, so I’m guessing my first horror movie was none other than, George Romero’s classic, Night of the Living Dead (Well that’s my story and I’m sticking to it).

My mother said that though my infiltration was discovered and I was promptly removed from said living room, that I would return in what I thought was stealth mode, only to be removed again. I think, I just really liked zombie movies!

As Time’s Arrow marched on, my love and knowledge of the genre increased as I was introduced to such greats as Bela Lugosi and Boris Karloff:

Bela Lugosi as Dracula
Boris Karloff as Frankenstein’s Monster

Then in my early teens came the arrival of the unforgettable, Jason Voorhees (well technically a vengeful mother came first):

But one of my favorites of all time came next because this monster came to you in your dreams! So scary!

Freddy Krueger

So many scary books and movies later, I am now writing my own little horror vignettes. A quote from the forward for The One That Got Away written by Gwendolyn Kiste: “Growing up, I always lamented the lack of female characters, both in horror and literature at large. While there are certainly many memorable women in books, there still weren’t nearly enough. That in large part was due to a dearth of female authors being accepted in largely insular literary communities. But times have fortunately changed for the better in this regard, and more than ever before, we’re finally seeing female characters in horror that are written by women.”

I feel both proud and humbled to join my fellow Women in Horror doing something that we’ve loved all along as much as “the boys”. I have found the Horror Family to be welcoming to all lovers of horror, regardless, of age, sex, gender, etc… It’s a place for us all to come together to share our love of the genre!

C.C. Interviews Awesome Horror Writer, Janine Pipe

Janine Pipe

Bio: Trading in a police badge and then classroom, Janine is a full-time Splatterpunk Award nominated writer, whilst also being a mum, wife and Disney addict. Influenced by the works of King from a young age, she likes to shock readers with violence and scare them with monsters – both mythical and man-made. When she’s not killing people off, she likes to chew the fat with other authors – reviewing books and conducting interviews for her podcast and YouTube channel. You’ll likely find her devouring work by Glenn Rolfe, Hunter Shea and Tim Meyer. Her biggest fan, beta reader, editor and financier is her loving husband. He just wants her to write a story about werewolves that wear shoes on their hands …

Guys! I’m doing my first author interview with Janine Pipe, my kindred spirit of horror!

Thank you for being my first interview victim, Janine! Here goes…first question:

CC: I’m sure you’ve always been drawn to writing as many of us are, but at what point did you decide to pursue writing with publication in mind?

Janine: A couple of years ago I was made redundant due to budget cuts. My daughter was school age so I suddenly had some time on my hands. I had been blogging in the travel genre for a while but my passion for fiction had always been horror. I started writing a few bits and pieces, just the kind of stuff that I would want to read and fully immersed myself in the community to learn about how to sub, who to sub to etc. which was vital and as with most people, I had rather a lot of rejections. My first ever proper acceptance was with Kandisha of course and the rest as they say is history. It is still nerve-wracking though for sure, each and every time something gets released as you are putting yourself out there. But that’s the game.

CC: Why the horror genre? What specifically drew you to it?

Janine: Horror and dark, psychological thrillers have always been my bag. Right from a young age, I was drawn to the more macabre side of things and had a fascination/deep terror of all things supernatural. To this day ghost stories both excite and scare the crap out of me. As a teen I loved the cat and mouse type fun of Point Horror and the character driven small town narrative of King. I also read a lot of crime books as I always wanted to be a police officer. Lore in particular has always really interested me too, I love the origins of certain legends and growing up near Glastonbury and Stonehenge was just the icing on the cake.

CC: Who are your greatest influences in the horror genre?

Janine: It would be remiss of me not to say King as the genesis of my love of this genre and his work like Carrie, Salem’s Lot and IT have had a great impact on me. But more recently, I am for sure inspired/influenced by my own 3 favourite authors – Glenn Rolfe, Hunter Shea and Tim Meyer. Also, women like Caroline Kepnes and Kenzie Jennings and although not best known for her fictional writing, Sadie Hartmann for her passion and spark.

CC: Okay, here’s the really cliché question, where do your ideas come from?

Janine: Sometimes I’ll just be hit with a spontaneous idea and that it almost always somewhere inconvenient like in the shower, lol. Then it’s like some sort of fever dream as I desperately try to write it all down. Other times, I get ideas from things I have read or seen. Not copying obviously, but taking the initial idea and growing it, changing it, making it my own. An example being The Special by James Newman and Mark Steensland – that is a story ultimately about sex addition and a dude that fucks a box. I turned my version into teen boys and a hole in a tree but it definitely originated from that. I actually sent James my story and he liked it. Thank god 😉

CC: Once you have an idea, how do you flesh out a story?

Janine: So, I’m a total pantster, I’ll have like an egg of an idea and then I’ll just write and let the rest come organically. Sometimes even I have no idea where we are headed until said egg hatches and I’m like woah I did not see that coming haha. One of the things that I enjoy writing and developing is banter between my characters and I have had some lovely feedback about how realistic it is, especially between male characters. I’m not sure how I can delve into the teen boy mind quite so well but it seems to work!

CC: You have your first book coming out, could you tell us a little about it?

Janine: Sure. Whilst I am super proud of all of my anthology contributions, I really wanted to work on something of my own and something longer. Cue two WIPs that will hopefully see the light of day some time, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I realised that what I enjoy writing most is flash and shorts. I had quite a few already that I had stored waiting for the right anthology to come along and I just thought to myself, why don’t you put them altogether and see what you got? Alongside two of my favourites which we already published – Footsteps which is my Splatterpunk Award nominated work and They from Glenn Rolfe’s Alien Agenda Sampler, I had another twelve stories that were ready. I wrote three more, two which would be considered extreme/splatterpunk. There are seventeen stories in total, varying in sub-genre from creature features to gothic, to haunted houses to urban legends. They are mainly set in the 80s/90s and are tied together with an overseeing narrator who has happened upon the collection along with a mixtape which contains the songs which are the titles of the stories and three more relating to the others. I created a Spotify playlist to go along with it and honestly because I love the 80s, it was just so much fun to litter it with pop culture references.

CC: You’re also an editor and publicist for Kandisha Press, could you tell us a little about that as well?

Janine: Jill was the very first person who accepted one of my shorts for the Kandisha Women of Horror Anthology Volume 2 Graveyard Smash. After working with her for that, we became friends and as well as contributing to Volume 3, she asked if I would help out with some publicity too. The next logical step was to become an editor and we have some amazing plans already for 2022/23 and beyond. Jill is one of my very best friends and working with her is like a dream come true. We have the same hopes and aspirations for Kandisha and between us, we hope to amplify women in horror and become a place for more of us to have a voice.

CC: As you know, I loved your story, “The Invitation” which was featured in the second anthology, Graveyard Smash, put forth by Kandisha Press. It seems that you and I both have a love for the TV show, Supernatural, because I felt a real vibe from that show in your story. Am I right?

Janine: 100% lol. I didn’t actively channel Sam and Dean when I wrote that but I guess it’s always in my subconscious as it is for sure my favourite TV show. One of the things I love most about SPN, asides from the great characters, is the humour and a lot of my work shows that. Even if I’m trying to write a genuinely creepy piece, I usually end up breaking the tension calling someone an ass-hat or the like. I can’t help it. I love my horror to be funny too. I have another story in TTT which is a definite nod to Dean. Now if someone can just ask Jensen if he wants a copy …

CC: What advice would you have for writers like myself that are just starting out?

Janine: The best advice I can give is keep at it and just write as much as you can. Once you have words on a page, you can edit, change, play with it. You can’t do that with a blank space. Read as much as possible too. Support other indies but also read some of the classics. There is a reason people like King, Ketchum, Keene and Laymon are considered the Masters. Learn from them. Books like King’s On Writing and Tim Waggoner’s Writing in the Dark are essential too to hone your craft. Also you need a super thick skin. Everyone gets one star reviews, everyone gets negative comments because not every reader will like your voice, your style. I roll that dice often with my more extreme stories. Some people dig that, others really, really don’t like it and will tell you.  And it hurts because that’s your baby but you have to just accept it, learn from it and move on. As has been seen over and over, never ever retaliate as it is their right to have an opinion. Be kind, civil and respect reviewers. They matter. Which shouldn’t need to be said, we should all just always be civil all the time.

CC: What’s your favorite part of the writing process?

Janine: Characters. I love creating these people. Sometimes they are a mixture of real-life friends or an homage someone fictional e.g. I love Richie from IT. I love the camaraderie of Sam and Dean. I love the shit the kids give each other in again IT and more recently, Malignant Summer from Tim Meyer. Building relationships with my creations is one of the best things about writing 100%.

CC: Thank you for being my first ever author interview! Any parting words of wisdom for me and my readers?

Janine: Thank YOU for taking the time to talk with me and letting me be your first victim, I mean guest. Ha. Words of wisdom from me? That’ll be hard. The best advice I was ever given and I live by it, is write what you would read. That way it feels authentic in my opinion. If I tried to write in one of the sub-genres I don’t like, my heart wouldn’t be in it so it wouldn’t feel so real. That’s not always the case of course and as you become more prolific you are likely able to put yourself into any character, setting, plot with ease. But when you’re starting out, writing something you know and enjoy makes it far easier. This is why a lot of my stories involve creatures, cryptids and cops. It’s what I know.

Pipe Screams Press

Janine on Social Media:

Twitter

Facebook

WordPress

Amazon

Patreon

YouTube

Graveyard Smash-Multiple Authors

My very own copy of this awesome anthology!

This is the second horror anthology I’ve read from Kandisha Press and I’m about to start the third. This publisher with Jill Girardi at the helm are experts in finding the best horror stories I’ve ever laid eyes on and they are all written by women! Jill Girardi noticed that most stories in horror anthologies are written by men, so she found her niche in publishing, supporting and promoting women horror writers. I just love a good horror story and I don’t care who writes it, so I have been thrilled with the talent that is compiled in these anthologies put forth by Kandisha Press!

The reader is immediately sucked in by the first story, Holes, by R.A. Busby. It’s a page turner and draws you helplessly into the entire anthology. The stories that follow provide tales of ghosts, djinn (one of my favorite mythical creatures), zombies, a mummy, ancient gods, etc… supplying something for all horror tastes! There’s even one with monster hunters, and I can’t list the title because it gives away the big twist in the story. I was particularly drawn to that one because, yes, that’s right, (say it together, my small bevy of blog followers) I love Supernatural! (Or I guess you guys would say, she loves Supernatural!)

I give 5 stars to this anthology and to every author! As with the first Kandisha Press anthology, Under Her Black Wings, I almost lost my day job because it was so difficult to stop reading the exciting, suspenseful and entertaining stories between its covers and get a little shut eye! Not to mention the lingering, haunted feeling one feels when reading great horror!

Here’s the link for Graveyard Smash:

And for Under Her Black Wings:

And for the new anthology, The One That Got Away, that came out just in time for Women in Horror Month:

Stephen King Was Right

So Stephen King was right when he said, writers have to read; or is right I guess, because he probably still says it. I would like to add, that writers need to watch TV too. There is so much great writing on television now and I get so many ideas there. My latest short story idea came to me from both reading, and binge watching on Netflix.

So I just finished reading this little ditty and it’s awesome by the way! I’ll be writing a review very soon. Kandisha Press has outdone itself with the horror anthologies that they publish. Here’s the review I did for the first one, Under Her Black Wings. Their third anthology, The One That Got Away, is coming out on February 1, 2021:

These collections of horror tales, all written by women, are some of the best I’ve ever read. Jill Girardi is chief honcho at Kandisha Press and she and her crew are sweeping the internet and the world with thrilling tales of terror!

So my newest idea for a tale of the macabre comes from a combination of reading and TV watching as I said. For those who follow my blog (all 12 of you!), you know about my fascination with the television show, Supernatural:

No, I’m not an obsessed fan girl, although, I like watching pretty people doing cool stuff as much as the next guy. I really love the writing and creativity on this show and the humor inserted amongst all the serious, scary stuff is what I love the most about it. Anyway, so I was watching Season 7, Episode 3, “The Girl Next Door”, and it’s one of the episodes where they leave something dangling. Dean kills a kitsune who happens to be a mom, and her ten year old son sees him do it. For some unknown reason, Dean lets him live and of course the boy vows vengeance. Well of course that character never shows up again in the series. (SPOILER ALERT-if you haven’t finished the Supernatural series yet.) They must have forgotten about him because he should have been the one to kill Dean. Anyhoo, I filed this kid away in the back of my brain.

The next day, I’m reading, Graveyard Smash again, and I’ve gotten to the story, “The Invitation” by Janine Pipe, and all of a sudden as I’m reading it the kid pops to the front of my mind. So long story short, between that short story and the TV episode, it totally clicked in my mind. I grabbed my handy dandy spiral notebook (I like to write by hand first) and I began the story. I love it when a plan comes together!

So coming soon, my review of, Graveyard Smash and my newest horror tale, “Monster”! And read, everybody, read!! Oh yeah, and watch TV!

Links for Kandisha Press books:

Under Her Black Wings

Graveyard Smash

The One That Got Away

Under Her Black Wings-Multiple Authors

My copy of this awesome anthology!

I’ve purchased many indie titles over the years and this one is one of my best recent purchases. Every story is entertaining and suspenseful and there are many jump scares along the way too! Kandisha Press has done an awesome job in putting these stories together.

So, some of you would say, “But, C.C. it’s not possible for a book to have jump scares.”

Well, technically I suppose that is correct, however, a story can stick with you in such a way that those unexplained noises you hear during the night will make you jump out of your skin! Especially when walking down a long dark hallway through your apartment building and as you remember these stories, you glance about nervously while fumbling with the keys you just pulled out of your pocket. And just as you are about to insert the correct key, you see a shadow down the hallway out of the corner of your eye and of course you drop said keys. When you finally manage to insert your key with your shaking hand, you slip in through the opened door faster than you ever have before in your life. You slam it shut behind you, flip on the light switch and stand there listening and watching as your entire body trembles with fear.

I enjoyed all the stories in this anthology and I won’t pick favorites! Anyone who loves horror will be thrilled with this book! I’m giving it 5 stars! Here’s the link on Amazon:

Women of Horror

I am a proud owner of the two horror anthologies above, published by Kandisha Press! I’m about halfway through the first volume, Under Her Black Wings, and I am loving it! I am so thrilled to have found such talented horror writers! The fact that they are women is a bonus for me because I love the progress women are making in traditionally male dominated genres. Surprise, surprise…women love horror and sci-fi too! The world already knew women loved fantasy, because well, Legolas, Aragorn and of course, Arwen! 😉

Legolas
Aragorn
Arwen

I have always dreamed of being a writer and life had gotten in the way. I’m in midlife now, actually not even midlife (I’m 55), because I plan to make it to at least 120! 😀 Anyway, I could be bitter about years wasted, but I’m not because I feel the time is right for me now! It’s empowering to watch women excel in science, genre writing and so many other things that I was told were impossible for women in my youth. I dream of a world, where gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., aren’t the first things mentioned when someone strives for and achieves their dreams. We are all humans after all, well except for the secret aliens and monsters that are lurking among us!

Happy dream following everyone! Stay well and safe!