Monday, March 12, 2018

Hangin' Out with Bob Freeman, Author of "First Born"!




Well, hello there! It's been quite awhile since I've been 'round these parts, but today I've returned to the Internet for a special occasion. My buddy Bob Freeman has got a new book out--First Born: Tales of the Liber Monstrorum--and you should know about it! To celebrate, I've invited Bob back to the blog for another palaver about his latest publication, inspirations, future projects, and anything else we have a mind to discuss. So, on with it!

Greg Mitchell: It's Bob! He's back! What have you been up to recently?

Bob Freeman: Thanks for having me, Greg. It's good to be back. I'm still hard at work being the best husband and father I can be, all the while indulging in my various and sundry eccentricities.

GM: You've got your priorities in the right place, there. Let's talk about the new Landon Connors book, First Born. This is the first book in your massive Liber Monstrorum opus, yes? What's the skinny?

BF: First Born was a chance to put most all the Landon Connors/Wolfe & Crowe stories that I've written so far under one roof. I say most because I only included those stories that take place before Descendant, which will be the second volume in Liber Monstrorum.

GM:  I have to say that, though I know you've published most of these stories in other sources, reading them all in a single volume--with the stories arranged in chronological order--really brings it to new life. You can see the sprawling occult epic like never before, and I made so many more connections between the various stories than I did when I was reading them scatter shot across various sources. 

I know you're never supposed to ask a writer this, but is there any particular story that sticks out in this collection as your favorite? Or, when putting them together, did something previously unknown to you about your story world jump out?

BF: Wyrdtails, in a lot of ways, because I think it has an interesting twist and there's a lot of truth I put down on paper. My best friend passed away less than a month after writing that story, and in some ways, I think it was prophetic. In fact, it's only now that you ask that question that I'm somewhat staggered by that revelation.

GM: I recall Wyrdtails as having a heavy feel to it. What's next for Landon Connors?

BF: Well, there's his role in the collaboration you and I are putting together, but I suppose that's as much of a tease as we should give your readers.

GM: Too true! Yeah, Bob and I are at work on something that's proving to be an exciting exercise. But that will remain secret...for now.

BF: He has a minor role in Descendant, though his influence is ever-present. He's there between the lines, in the spaces between words. His role is far more prominent in Liber Monstrorum's third volume, Born Again, and then, I will look to wrap up the series in the fourth and final book, Afterbirth.

GM: I'm so ready for those. I've read an earlier incarnation of Descendant, but I believe Born Again and Afterbirth will be fresh territory for me to explore as a reader--and I'm happy to do so!

Of course, Landon isn't the only focal point in your mythos. How are the Wolves of Cairnwood these days? You've got one final book to complete that trilogy, right? Any update on that?


BF: I have been dropping hints, here and there. A lot of questions regarding the Cairnwood Legacy will be answered in Born Again, strangely enough. If sales warrant it, Shadow of the Wolf will come along after. If not, I think Born Again could satisfy that itch.

GM: Yeah, it's only been recently after some of the stories you've published online on your site (occultdetective.com, shameless plug) and conversations we've had that I've started to figure out how the two mythologies connect--and once I hit on it, it was incredibly exciting, but also very mysterious. I'm anxious to see how it all comes together.

Okay, books on hold for a second, though: Recently you (finally) watched Stranger Things. To say I love that show is a sad, sad understatement. This is the point in the interview where I give you the mic and let you expound your love for the wonder of Stranger Things.

BF: Look, I was born and raised in rural Indiana. I was 17 years old in November of 1983. I was an avid player of Dungeons & Dragons with a insane curiosity about all things "paranormal" and considered myself a student of the occult. Stranger Things was like holding up a mirror to my childhood in a lot of ways. It really hit home. Couple that with the obvious homages to Carpenter, Spielberg, and other milestones from the era, and well, it was tailor-made for someone like me. It was me...

GM: No doubt. It tugs at me. I switch it on, and I'm transported back in time. It takes me back to when I first saw the Monster Squad and subsequently rode my bike up and down the street, hoping to find a monster to hunt. I mean, it hits on all the right notes for me, and I can't gush enough about it.

But beyond that, what other movies/comics/books/TV has got you buzzing these days? What's inspiring you lately? How are you feeling about the X-Files revival take two?

BF: The latest X-Files has seemed a little stiff, but I'm still a fan. That being said, I have always liked the idea behind the X-Files far better than the execution. 

GM: I can see that, though I have enjoyed this season considerably more than the last one.

BF: Millennium was a better show, as far as I'm concerned, and Fringe out X-Filed the X-Files by being more consistent and Twin Peaks sort of outshined it a far as revivals go by being far more edgy and, well, weird.

GM: I will admit, I ONLY RECENTLY watched the first season of Twin Peaks. Haven't made it to the second season yet. Hm... 

BF: As for being buzzed, I'm a bit of a YouTube junkie and a real gaming nerd, so I spend a fair amount of time watching "actual plays" and tutorials. I think, if backed into a corner my three favorite "shows" right now are Critical Role (professional voice actors playing Dungeons & Dragons), Schola Gladiatoria (Historical European Martial Arts enthusiast Matt Easton's Sword channel), and Curse of Oak Island on History Channel.

GM: Having said that, I feel I should point folks to your own YouTube channel where you talk about tabletop gaming and RPGs!

BF: At home we've been binge watching a lot. It's been a great chance to share things I loved with the two most important people in my life. We plowed through Star Trek (all flavors), Babylon 5, Highlander, Twin Peaks, and Stranger Things, to name just a few. We're currently waist deep into Fringe (which I mentioned earlier) and it's been a real bonding experience for us as a family. I just wish I could get them to watch Veronica Mars :)

GM: With all these muses in your head, do you ever have trouble keeping them straight? I know that, in my own mythology, it sometimes gets so big and detail-orientated that I find myself having to re-read the various books to remind myself of how it all fits together.

BF: I think I have some sort of weird mutant ability to keep all that stuff straight in my head. Sometimes, if I've been away from it for a handful of months, I'll need a refresher, but mostly it all comes rather naturally. It seems like the stories have all already happened and I'm just the guy who drew the short straw and get to write them down.

GM: I can understand that. In my own experience, there is an almost instinctive quality to it, like you're just uncovering what's already there. What's your son, Connor, up to these days? I enjoyed his first book, Jonny Spencer and the Black Lich of Ashrock Earth (what a sweet name!) and understand he's working on other projects?

BF: Thanks for asking. I am more than passingly proud of that kid. I've just finished editing his first urban fantasy novel, Word Hollow, and I'll tackle editing its follow-up in a couple of weeks. That will make three books in four years for him. Not bad for a fourteen year old.

GM: No doubt! Thank you, as always, for stopping by to hang.

BF: Thanks for having me, my friend. It's always a pleasure. I have, for as long as I can remember, been obsessed with telling stories. The medium didn't and doesn't matter, whether it was playing with action figures, writing short stories, novels, or comic books, slinging dice from behind a DM Screen, or even sitting around a campfire spinning yarns. It is what I was born to do and I feel infinitely blessed to be able to do so.

GM: Well I, for one, have enjoyed your stories and love exploring the worlds you've created. Alright, everybody, that's your cue to go buy Bob's latest book: First Born

ABOUT THE BOOK: From the arcane sorceries of the "Wickedest Man in the World" to the supernatural exploits of Occult Detective Landon Connors and the harrowing investigations of Agents Wolfe and Crowe, this collection of macabre tales of the black arts treads the dangerous landscape between this world and that populated by angels and demons, gods and devils, ghosts and spirits, and the legendary creatures of our darkest imaginings.

First Born is the beginning of the journey into the Liber Monstrorum, the Chronicles of those Occult Detectives who are the last line of defense against those preternatural forces that threaten to destroy a world that refuses to believe that such things exist...

Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Dusty Duck Sighting!


Anyone who talks to me for any length of time will discover quite quickly that, not only do I love monsters, but I am a huge Star Wars fan. Like any kid growing up in the '80s, there was never a time where Star Wars wasn't a part of my life. Even before I'd ever seen the movies, I knew all about Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, Vader, and the droids. I appreciated Star Wars from afar until, around high school, I learned that everything related to Star Wars--comics, cartoons, movies, games, books--were all connected into a large, decade-spanning tapestry of mythology. It was called the Expanded Universe, and when I learned of its existence, I truly fell in love with Star Wars, as I believed that the whole was greater than its parts. To know that all these stories mattered--that they all existed in some way and reflected each other, that authors who had never met built upon the creative labors of those who came before to create this living, breathing epic canon.

I still get chills, just thinking about it.

Once I learned that, I devoted my efforts to "get in". To tell my own little story within this megamyth, to carve my own niche that other authors could play with and elaborate on and explore. Thanks to God (and the fine folks at Lucasfilm), I got that chance with an online writing contest called "What's the Story", where fans were given the incredible, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a backstory for some minor element glimpsed in the background of one of the (then) six Star Wars movies. After years of effort, I won two rounds. I was a co-contributor for Senator Silya Shessaun, and I was the sole developer of the backstory for a ship seen in a deleted scene for The Phantom Menace that I dubbed the Dusty Duck.



I was in. I had touched that monument and left my mark. I was totally fulfilled, knowing my contribution would stand.

Then Disney came along and acquired the Star Wars brand and their first order of business was to dump the entire Expanded Universe--decades of myth-making--in favor of their own in-house stories.

In a single boardroom decision, everything was gone, including my own humble contributions.

I was devastated. As a fan, and as a writer. I know I'm supposed to be cool and say "Hey, babe, it's all part of the gig". But it wasn't to me.

Well, I have long lamented this Disney buyout (though I enjoyed The Force Awakens), but then something special started to happen. I began to see some of the old Expanded Universe elements creeping back into the official--"no we mean it this time"--Disney canon. Thrawn shows up in the animated series Rebels, and the visual guide to Rogue One was a veritable smorgasbord of references to the old West End Games roleplaying modules. Maybe my Expanded Universe wasn't entirely gone after all. Oh, yes, now it's been re-branded as "Legends"--but the new material has shown time and again that some legends are "real".

Slowly, I began to hope that maybe my own mark on Star Wars might exist in some form. Maybe not as a I originally envisioned them, but maybe they would live on after all. Earlier this year, with the release of Star Wars The Visual Encyclopedia, I learned that Silya Shessaun is still "alive" in this new canon. True, nothing else has been revealed of her origins, and I don't know how much of what we built in What's the Story is "factual" any more, but she's still in there.

The biggest surprise, however, came just a couple weeks ago with the release of the (delightful) children's book, BB-8 On the Run, by Drew Daywalt and Matt Myers. Set in between the early events of The Force Awakens, it chronicles the adventures of BB-8 immediately after he's separated from Poe Dameron and leads up to his rescue by Rey. Over the course of his travels, he helps a stranded droid return to his ship--a scavenger ship piloted by droids, it would seem--and lo, when you turn the page...



It's the Dusty Duck.

She's alive. The old bird's alive. Now: a disclaimer! The ship is not actually named in this book. It is entirely possible that, though I wrote that the Dusty Duck was a one-of-a-kind custom-job, someone could come along and say this was just another ship "like" the Duck. Or maybe it's not "the Duck" at all. Maybe they took the same ship from the deleted scene of Phantom Menace that the Duck was originally intended to be and have given it an entirely new backstory. Which would be, frankly, heartbreaking--a second time.

But maybe--just maybe--it's still her. Maybe it's still the Duck. After all, the story still tracks. In my original entry, the ship's pilot, Aneesa Dym, purchased a handful of droids to repair the ship right before her shocking murder at the hands of Darth Maul. And the story I wrote does say that the droids repaired the bird to perfection. Could it be that, after years of being stranded on Tatooine, the droids finally took the Duck to flight and started their own crew, salvaging parts to keep the ship running and collecting other master-less droids?

I think so. But, that's out of my hands now. But it's a start. And it's enough to hang a hope on.

At any rate, thank you to Drew, Matt, and the Lucasfilm Story Group for dusting off the ole girl and giving her another day in the sun. It's pretty neat to see her in action again (and, hey, she actually flew in this story!) and I can't wait to see what new adventures she'll go on :) Best of all, the day we bought the book, my wife read it to our seven-year-old daughter for her bedtime story, and she could know that our family had a small part in that ship's legacy. That's what it's all about, folks.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Everything You Need to Know About The "In-Between Trilogy"

During the years of 2011-2013, I released what would become the foundation of my magnum opus, The Coming Evil Trilogy.

The series that started it all...

Set in the small town of Greensboro, the Trilogy deals with an already beleaguered community that comes under siege by a demonic presence known only as "The Strange Man". To combat him, a group of heroes from various walks of life have to overcome their own personal demons to discover a faith strong enough to push back the Strange Man and his legion of devils. The Coming Evil was conceived back in 1999, and it was my way of combining 1980s Saturday matinee creature features with a story about faith, doubt, and ultimately, redemption.

But there is a heated speech that the Strange Man utters in Chapter 9 of Dark Hour, the third and final installment of that trilogy:

"Oh, you never mean to. You just pose your questions and make your debates and you think you have such a grasp of the world around you, but you have no idea. You can’t even begin to understand the places in between, the unknowable depths of eternity, the mind-shattering realizations that wait just beyond your rather limited peripheral understanding of space and time. What are you, huh? You people! You’re just dust! Dirt thrown together and given breath and yet you think you are owed explanations? You think you deserve to be in charge?" 

Since the final book in  The Coming Evil Trilogy was published in 2013, I have been writing the story of that space "in between" the worlds, and with the recent release of my new supernatural thriller Infernal City, a new thematic trilogy is finished.

WHAT'S IN A NAME?

The unofficially labeled "In-Between Trilogy" derives its name from the fact that all books involved deal with that dark space "in between" the worlds of the multiverse, as first mentioned in Dark Hour. It is also labeled thus as it fits nicely "in between" The Coming Evil...and my NEXT Trilogy, which I am currently writing.

The installments of this thematic trilogy--that is, Rift Jump (Volumes 1 & 2), Infernal City, and HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick, Monsters, and Murder--represent my creative journey to writing The Coming Evil. Rift Jump (or a version thereof) was begun when I was in high school and was the first story that I claimed. Later, in 1996-1998, when I realized I wanted to be a horror screenwriter, Infernal City (or "Soul Decision", as it was known before some boy band came out and stole my blasted title--I mean, seriously, what were the odds of that?) was the first script I wrote--with hopes of producing it myself at the age of 19 or 20 (I was pretty naive). I hung my hat on that script for a long time before I realized I did not have the proper connections, the money, or the equipment to produce a professional film on my own. So I found another outlet for moviemaking--home movies. As has been stated elsewhere, I set out to create a no-budget horror epic, just for me and my friends. From that simple mission statement, HITMEN was born. The novel bearing the same name is, really, just an elaborated adaptation of those original home movies.

These were three important phases of my creative development, all leading me to 1999/2000, when I began writing the first draft of The Coming Evil. I am not a guy to let things go, so I knew that, once The Coming Evil was finished, I would return to those old ideas that I cut my teeth on, dust them off, give them a polish, and release them--but now as part of the mythology begun in The Coming Evil.

This "In-Between Trilogy" interconnects, asking questions in one episode, answering them in another. They intersect at multiple points, weaving an intricate story web, though they are standalone stories with their own unique casts of characters, as well as plots and resolutions. This trilogy-of-sorts can be read in any order--all leading to that strange storm that kicks off The Coming Evil. Having said that, here's my personally preferred order of reading, the one that I think offers the most bang for your buck in picking up the various threads, themes, characters, and locations. There are far too many Easter Eggs and connections for me to list here (and part of the fun is discovering it for yourself), but here's a handy guide to get you started.

ROMANCE AT THE EDGE OF FOREVER

Greensboro and its battle against the Strange Man is only a small conflict in a much larger war. In the Rift Jump duology (Volumes 1 & 2, respectively), we pull way back to reveal just how big a war that truly is. These stories take you to the very edge of the cosmos, where we learn that Greensboro belongs to a reality that is only one of many in an infinite multiverse of parallel realities. We are introduced to star-crossed lovers Michael and Sara, two teenage runaways who travel the multiverse together, trying to stay two steps ahead of some unfathomable evil that lurks in the dark spaces in between the worlds. This Evil is looking for something--namely the means of his escape, as the multiverse is his prison--and believes that Michael and Sara are the key.

Teen love and angst in the multiverse!

On the surface, this sci-fi series seems a far cry from the "small town horror" of The Coming Evil. Readers will be whisked away to many bizarre and alternate worlds in a constant barrage of adventure, meeting costumed superheroes, robots, aliens, and demons. I've often compared it to a dark Doctor Who meets Lovecraft kind of tale, with enough cosmic horrors to keep the reader's head spinning. While "weird", the themes and struggles of its love-drunk protagonists as they make war against an outside Evil--and the darkness in their own hearts--will be instantly recognizable to fans of The Coming Evil.

Over the course of these two volumes, we learn that one world, in particular, holds great meaning for this Cosmic Evil. A very familiar world to us, where there is a City where it never stops raining, and lost souls can see their dreams come true...for a terrible price.

FOOL FOR THE CITY

This narrative thread leads us to my brand new novel, Infernal City. The massive scope of Rift Jump comes into sharper focus here. Now, knowing what we do about that Thing in between the worlds, we find our way back to the Earth of The Coming Evil Trilogy. Lurking beneath the City is a sleeping beast that hungers for souls. We are introduced to Quinn Holbrook, a down-on-his-luck ex-boxer who is employed by the City's representative--known simply as "Mac"--to retrieve those who would sell their souls to the City for wealth and pleasure, and then try to run out once the bill comes due. When Quinn is tasked with hunting one of these "Runners" who's hiding in the idyllic community of Watcher's Grove (a close neighbor to Greensboro), he begins to learn the truth of that Thing Beneath the City.

The new release!

In Infernal City, we, too, begin to get a clearer picture of the greater threat that is posed to our heroes back in The Coming Evil. Aesthetically, Infernal City is the closest of my novels to The Coming Evil. We're in familiar territory, in a small town plagued by a demonic force--with quite a few twists and turns along the way. This is a noir detective story, a thriller, and a romance told in Quinn's own words. And as Quinn starts to question his place in the shadowy underbelly of our story world, we are going to plunge headlong into that darkness for the third and final installment of our thematic trilogy.

SHADES OF GREY

Moral ambiguity abounds as a complicated tale of forgiveness is told in HITMEN: Four Tales of Magick. Monsters, and Murder. This book, itself, is a collection of four novellas that build upon one another, telling the bloody saga of Eli Ross, a hitman who has a crisis of faith that is precipitated by the appearance of a mysterious, hulking figure that has begun a campaign of slaughter against the criminal underworld's biggest players. Along the way, we meet world-weary Vinnie Caponi: Urban Mythologist, his young idealistic apprentice, Flynn, and the untamed criminal heiress Marcie, who has her fair share of secrets--as well as a tight hold on Eli's heart. These four unlikely heroes find themselves in the malevolent path of the Blue Skull--a supernatural killing machine--and must uncover the shocking truth behind his rampage and put an end to his reign of terror before they fall victim to his brutality. Adding to their problems is a villain who escaped the final chapters of Infernal City to come make trouble for our heroes...
A world of shadows...

HITMEN could be considered "darker" than what most people are accustomed to reading from me. Heroes are sometimes harder to discern, and the lines between good and evil blur. It explores the occult connections of my mythology, and the violence is cranked up a few notches. It's an unabashedly gory novel, and to some of my faithful readers' chagrin, it also contains a rarity in my fiction: coarse language and sex. Even at that, the language and sensuality used is safely within a PG-13 rating, but I realize that for some, that's too much. Nevertheless, this is a story of killers and thieves in conflict with their baser natures. HITMEN is about breaking through the darkness of the world you know, escaping the traps of your past to find a new fate. The road to redemption is never easy, and rarely pretty. These are damaged people in dark places, and the language and subject matter of the book reflects that, but is meant to ultimately serve a redemptive purpose.

HITMEN leads us the nearest to The Coming Evil, taking place just a couple months before the start of that original trilogy, and sections of the action even take place in Greensboro, itself. Readers will recognize some familiar places and faces, setting the stage for The Coming Evil.

WHAT'S NEXT?

Ultimately, the "In-Between Trilogy" reveals a larger world and conflict than seen in the original trilogy, and points to the cosmic importance of the events of Greensboro. It also raises many questions--questions that I am in the process of addressing in my next sequence of novels. There are many exciting mysteries left to reveal in Greensboro's distant past and even, in my mind, a future, final climatic battle to bring this mythology to a close. But while we wait, this new thematic trilogy offers many new adventures, heroes to cheer, monsters to fear, and an enticing look at the larger mythology of The Coming Evil Trilogy.

All books are available in print and on Kindle.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

New Release--Infernal City!

Out today, in both print and Kindle editions, is my new supernatural suspense novel, Infernal City!


Here's what's on the back:

There are those who come to the City, looking to cut a deal for the cost of their souls, and the City always collects what it’s owed in the end. Quinn Holbrook is a Retriever for the City, tasked with tracking down those who, out of fear or desperation, would renege on their Faustian deals. When Quinn is given a job to hunt one of these “Runners” in the small rural town of Watcher’s Grove, he suspects it’s just another job. Yet, as he’s welcomed into this warm and loving community, he begins to doubt his convictions. But the Grove is not all it seems, harboring a secret that could spell the end of the City’s demonic reign. A battle is drawing near, and Quinn will have to choose, once and for all, where his allegiance lies.

Fans of my The Coming Evil Trilogy will recognize the City, as it's been mentioned in that series (as well as my other works, but more on that in a later post). Infernal City is a sort of "sidequel", taking place just down the road from Greensboro and the events in The Coming Evil.

This book also marks a return to the type of "small town horror" that I explored in my earlier books. My faith-based readers should find much to cheer for in this new tale. Infernal City is a romance, a mystery, and it's got a ton of strange new creatures. I hope everyone checks it out!

Here's what Mike Dellosso--author of Centralia and Kill Devil had to say about the new book:

"Infernal City is a mesmerizing story. Captivating. And Quinn Holbrook is a dude you just have to root for. Mitchell's way with words puts you right in the middle of the action. This is a story that will linger long after completion."

Sunday, October 2, 2016

New Release: Dracula vs Great White Shark!

Out now, just in time for Halloween, is my new novel--my first aimed at young readers--Dracula vs Great White Shark!

The cover, with art by Neil Vokes and Thomas Mason

For the last few years I've been writing movies for the Syfy Channel, with an emphasis on sharksploitation movies. Not that I just love sharks, mind you, but with the success of Sharknado, that's what the network wants. So, every year, I try and come up with some permutation on this strange subgenre of creature features to pitch to Syfy--among them was Dracula vs Great White Shark. Envisioned as an old-fashioned monster rally, where the icon of cinema's classic era of monster movies (Dracula) tangles with a modern day popular monster icon (the shark), I was immediately taken with the sheer ridiculousness of the concept, but also wanted to treat it as a straight-up story. This isn't a parody, but an ode to these two creature feature genres.

Syfy passed on the title (a number of times), but the more I thought about it, the more excited I became. My Dracula is in the tradition of Christopher Lee and Tomb of Dracula, and this story is designed as a sort of alternate take of the Demeter chapter of the original Bram Stoker novel. This is a fun "What-if" story, written for kids of all ages and, as such, is the first release under my new MonsterKid Press imprint.

Since I first began my writing career, I've tried so hard to be a "serious" author, writing "serious" fiction. Frankly, I just needed a break. I've always been inspired by the monster movies of my youth, but have always tried to "grow them up". This time around, I've put that aside. I wanted to write a fun monster book that was just that--fun. And what better time to release it than my favorite time of the year? Many of you have mentioned Infernal City, my next "adult" novel. Fear not, it's still on the way, but Dracula vs Great White Shark was a rabbit I had to chase. Expect Infernal City early 2017. For now, in celebration of Halloween, order a copy of Dracula vs Great White Shark, sit back, and have some good old-fashioned monster entertainment.

The book is currently available in print, with no immediate plans for a Kindle release. The cover art, done by veteran comic book artist Neil Vokes (Fright Night, Flesh and Blood), and colorist supreme Thomas Mason (who did both my Rift Jump covers) is simply too beautiful to be relegated to a screen.

And now, ABOUT THE BOOK, from the back copy:

The year is 1897.

Young thief Kamen is on the run, but he believes his luck has changed for the better when he stows away on board the Russian ship Demeter, on course for England. He befriends a mysterious black dog, as well as the captain’s daughter, Yana. But an ominous storm bears down upon the Demeter, and suddenly crewmen begin to disappear. What’s more, a Great White shark is stalking the boat, keeping an unnaturally steady watch. Kamen and Yana soon discover that not everything is as it seems on board the Demeter, and the young friends find themselves facing not only the notorious Count Dracula, but also a relentless shark. What will it take to stop the foes challenging the Demeter’s crew, and will the ship make it to England at all?

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Summer Update: Ozark Sharks! Infernal City!

It's that time again. Summer is upon us and, with summer, comes a bevy of new sharksploitation movies for Syfy's annual Sharknado Week. Last year I was fortunate enough to contribute Zombie Shark, writing its screenplay. But this year, there's a new finned menace in the waters. I present to you...

OZARK SHARKS!


This was a fun one that I had the opportunity be involved with in the early stages of pre-production. I helped develop the project, writing its first draft and later serving as Associate Producer. Marcy Holland came in and did a super job making the script her own, but still very much honoring what I originally put in there, and I am forever grateful to her for that. She rocks. As with Zombie Shark, this one is directed by Misty Talley--the first woman director of one of these Syfy Channel Original Movies we're told! Pretty awesome. She does a killer job (no pun intended) and the cast is great, bringing together some of my favorites from my previous two scripted Syfy outings (Snakehead Swamp and Zombie Shark), as well as some talented fresh blood.

I hope you check it out when Ozark Sharks hits on the Syfy Channel, Thursday, July 28 at 8PM Central.

What else is going on? So glad you asked. I'm doing my final edits on my next novel, and hope to release it very, very soon. It's coming along and I'm anxious to see what you guys think of it. In the meantime, behold the cover!


Artwork Not Final

Expect a full reveal/synopsis in the weeks ahead, but Infernal City tells the story of a City that, quite literally, eats souls! This one has been in the works for awhile now and it's very much a return to the themes and "flavor" of my The Coming Evil Trilogy, that no fan will want to be without. I liken the new book as a first cousin to The Coming Evil, so keep checking back here as we get closer to its anticipated (at least by me) release.

In the meantime, Ozark Sharks!

Monday, February 1, 2016

"Keepers of the Dead"--An Interview with Bob Freeman

Mornin'.

Today, we've got a new interview with Bob Freeman, real-life paranormal investigator and writer of occult tales. Recently saw the release of Bob's new book from Seventh Star Press, Keepers of the Dead, the second installment in his Gothic horror Cairnwood Manor saga.

I always love having Bob stop by, so let's jump right into it:

Greg Mitchell: Bob! You’re back! And with the second novel in the Cairnwood Manor series: Keepers of the Dead. Tell us about it. 

Bob Freeman: Thanks for having me, Greg. Keepers of the Dead picks up a few months after Shadows Over Somerset and the stakes are much higher. Michael is just settling into his role as the alpha of the Cairnwood Pack when his whole world gets turned upside down and he is drawn into a conflict with a sinister cabal intent on raising a demon that’s been locked away in the belly of Rosslyn Chapel for centuries.

All the main cast is back for this one, plus, I hope, some interesting new faces.

GM: It’s funny; in preparation for the release of Book Two, I went back and re-read Shadows and kept thinking, “This is classic Bob Freeman.” You’ve got a Gothic Scottish mansion/castle in the Indiana heartland, with witches, werewolves, vampires, secret societies, occult detectivery (new word), and Conan-esque swordplay. It’s a very unique blend of a sort of “horror high fantasy” crashing into Small Town, America. I’ve never seen anything quite like it, and it’s pretty exciting. In our last interview, you talked about the real-life inspiration for the kernel that became the Wolves of Cairnwood, but when it came time to start putting pen to paper, what were some of your inspirations for crafting this surreal fantasy world? 

BF: Nick Mamatas and I had a chat at a convention a few years back and he said the biggest mistake almost every first time novelist makes is dumping everything they have an interest in into that first work.

Shadows being my first, I can honestly say, guilty as charged.

Dark Shadows' vampiric patriarch Barnabas Collins (Jonathan Frid)
I grew up obsessed with Universal Monsters, Dark Shadows, and The Night Stalker, and I read more than my fair share of gothic paperbacks as a kid living in rural Indiana. I discovered Lovecraft and Howard at a young age, and later was really into Katherine Kurtz’ Adept series. And, obviously, I’ve always had a fascination with the occult, its practices and practitioners. I think if you tossed all of that into a blender, mixed in my love for local history and folklore, a smattering of everything from William Castle to Terence Fisher, and Dan Curtis, plus a little Highlander and the gods only know what else that my primal brain has latched onto and you get the whole insane Cairnwood Manor saga.

GM: As it was with Shadows Over Somerset, I believe this is the second edition of Keepers of the Dead. Anything new to discover inside? 

BF: Well, it had a tighter editorial hand, a couple of name tweaks here and there, and prettier packaging, but the story stayed the same.

I’ve toyed with the idea of doing a major rewrite of the whole thing, but, it really is a kind of time capsule of who I was at the time, what kind of writer I was, and to alter it too much would disrespect that.

GM: I can understand that. I went through a similar process when reworking my Rift Jump stories from the original high school days to the "real" version. Trying to change it, while also keeping it true to who you were back in the day. 

So, you’re working on the next Cairnwood Manor book at the moment, correct? Is that the final one? What can you tell us about it—or is that a secret? 

BF: Without giving anything major away, Shadow of the Wolf has time-travel, alternate realities, and what I hope are surprising guest appearances by characters from some of my other works in store.


The story takes place roughly 15 years after the events in Keepers, but also spends a fair amount of time in the 1880s. There’ll be plenty of hairy action, romance, and swordplay, with, I hope, more of a gothic atmosphere.

Oh, and more magic. And electric light...

GM: That all sounds fantastic. I'm totally on board for that ride. And what of your other projects? I know you’ve got to be working on, at least, five other things right now, ha. Are we still looking at a revival of your paranormal investigators Wolfe & Crowe? What’s your signature creation Landon Connors up to these days? 

BF: I’m working on Shadow of the Wolf, of course, plus an occult detective fantasy novel, and a weird western, but my mind is constantly drifting into Landon Connors/Wolfe & Crowe territory. I just can’t help it.

I would love to find a publisher who was as interested in Wolfe & Crowe as I am. I still consider Descendant my best work to date.

As for Dr. Connors, he’ll be appearing in a month long serial on my website, occultdetective.com, throughout February, if the gods are willing and the creek don’t rise.

You know me, Greg, I’m a storyteller at heart. The medium isn’t as important as the story itself and I’m always looking for ways to get that story told in some fashion or another.

Readers are such a small audience and I’d swear 80% of them are writers.

GM: I'd believe that.

BF: I’m always looking for some way to get my stories out there. I recently adapted Mourn Not the Sleepless Children as an audio drama being produced by Openly Gamer and I wrote an episode for one of their upcoming ‘actual plays’.

I really dig the idea of cooperative storytelling. I’ve been playing RPGs for almost forty years and I’ve tried my hand at developing occult detective themed board and roleplaying games and could really see me heading even further down that rabbit hole.

GM: I would be remiss if we didn’t talk about your son, Connor. He’s got a new book out, as well—his debut! That’s gotta be great as a father, right? Spill the details, man! 

BF: Obviously I couldn’t be more proud.

Connor is home schooled and, when he was ten, my wife Kim and I decided to add creative writing to his curriculum. Well, he up and ran with it, creating Jonny Spencer and the Black Lich of Ashrock Earth.

His new project, Word Hollow, is a sort of midwestern gothic fantasy, with demons, werewolves, monster hunters, talking birds and cats, and more.

GM: Nice!

BF:He’s a very creative kid and he and I spitball ideas every day. I really am one lucky guy.

GM: One of the things I love talking with you is inspirations. What shows, movies, books, games has got you excited these days? 

BF: There’s so much great stuff out there:

In comics there’s Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s Black Magick, Tim Truman and Tomas Giorello’s King Conan: Wolves Beyond the Border, and Rich Douek and Brett Barkley’s Gutter Magic to name just a few.

I’ll continue to preach my love for the Lovecraft-inspired tabletop game Elder Sign. It has two expansions, Unseen Forces and Gates of Arkham, with a third coming out soon called Omens of Ice. What’s great about it is you can play it as part of a group or all by your lonesome.

I’m digging the X-Files revival and Lucifer on Fox, Syfy’s The Magicians, and the CW's run of superhero fare is must-see-TV at our house — Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow. A friend of mine turned me on to a show out of New Zealand called The Almighty Johnsons that is absolutely absurd, but I couldn’t help but watch. It’s about these four brothers who are, it turns out, reincarnated Norse Gods.

What else? If you haven’t seen Crimson Peak, you bloody well should.

GM: I know, I know. That's on my list, when the Blu-Ray hits. I'm sorry to have missed that one in the theaters.

BF: I’ve been reading mostly bad paranormal non-fiction here lately, unfortunately. I get sent a lot of review material and most of it just isn’t up to snuff, you know.

I’m really hungry for a really great occult detective novel or a collection of short stories that goes above and beyond, something different and unexpected.

GM: Thanks, Bob, for coming out. Now I’m off to read more of Keepers of the Dead—now available in print and Kindle!

BF: Thank you, Greg. It’s always a pleasure.