Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Memories 2010

As you may or may not have noticed, I rarely blog on here about my personal life. This blog exists to keep you up-to-date on all things The Coming Evil, while also speaking about my creative influences, new project announcements, and—most recently—a place to hang out with fellow artists to discuss the craft.

But tonight, on Halloween Night, I’d like to take you behind the curtain and give a glimpse into my life, for those who might care.

Halloween is a big deal in my house. The most obvious reason is that I’m a horror writer, but, even beyond that, some of my fondest memories of childhood occurred on Halloween. I can’t recall to you the play-by-play of a special year, but rather snippets that have stayed with me. I remember the Halloween party I went to when I was 10 or 11 and how my friend Matt Yount dressed up like the Wolf-Man and I kicked him in the nards. I remember everyone piling into the car and being escorted to the next neighborhood and hearing Nightmare on My Street for the first time on the radio (it terrified me and excited me all at once). I remember trick-or-treating and catching brief glimpses of whatever horror movie that household was watching. I caught my first sight of Halloween III that way. I remember a friend’s dad jumping out of the bushes and scaring us as we were trick-or-treating. I remember costumes and laughter and candy.

Now, I don’t know if my wife Meghan has such memories of Halloween, but when we got married, we decided that Halloween would be an event in our house. A time to celebrate childhood and fun and serve as a shelter against the very real horrors that plague our lives daily. After we had kids, Halloween became an even more important holiday. Thanksgiving and Christmas are hugely important seasons, yes. And, they provide an opportunity for us to reflect on God’s blessings, of course. But after we had Jo Beth, our firstborn, those holidays became a mad rush to dress up the child in her appropriate holiday garb and race back and forth to every family member’s house for pictures and cheek-pinching. Christmas is packed with schedules and obligations and presents. There’s plays and suppers and get-togethers and, oh yeah, more presents. Who do we buy for? What should we get? Will so-and-so feel left out? On and on and on it goes.

But, on Halloween, it’s just us. No dinners to make. No presents we feel we have to buy. It’s just me, my wife, and my girls. We stay at home. We have fun. We turn up the Monster Mash and have a little dance party, just the four of us. This year for Halloween supper, Meghan made “Mummy Dogs” (giant pigs-in-a-blanket). Ketchup was vampire blood. French Fries were spider’s legs. Vegetables were from the witch’s garden. We plugged up our lights. I popped in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, just in case some young trick-or-treater peeked in. We put our favorite Halloween tunes in the CD player and played it loud and proud to offer a soundtrack for the night. Yes, Nightmare on My Street is on there, too. Meghan stayed home with our five-month-old Dani and handed out candy, which consisted of sour straws and gummi eyeballs. Then, Jo put on her witch’s costume—a last second switch from her original decision to go as Tinkerbell. Fortunately, Meghan was able to put together a great witch’s outfit for her. I took my trusty flashlight and, together, my oldest daughter and I went trick-or-treating.

It was an amazing night.

My daughter, Jo, is a willful child—as I guess (re: hope) every four-year-old is. Lately it seems that I spend most of my time with her telling her to “stop this” or “stop that”. “Put your baby sister down.” “Brush your teeth. No, don’t just chew on the toothbrush. Really brush your teeth.” I get on to her. She gets an attitude. Round and round we go. But tonight, that was all gone. Tonight, we weren’t just daddy and daughter, we were friends. We were daring each other to go up to the spookiest houses. We’d take turns holding the candy and the flashlight. We told spooky stories, tried to goose each other by reporting on “strange noises” we heard in the nearby trees. We laughed and dug around in the candy, deciding who would get what, and which pieces we’d save for Mom. We played flashlight tag and laughed and my daughter danced under the stars, declaring how this was the best Halloween “she’d ever heard of in the whole world.” I gave her a thumbs-up when she was polite to our hosts and she gave me a thumbs-up for being a good dad.

We walked the entire neighborhood until our feet were sore, then we made the long trek back home under darkness and spent the next thirty minutes handing out the last of our candy to our neighbors. As we sat there on the front step, awaiting the arrival of a pint-sized Optimus Prime and a little Dracula, I thought to tell her to savor these memories. That, when she’s older, and the world becomes confusing and oftentimes grim, that she’ll want to look back on this night—the best Halloween—and remember. But, I realized then—as it hits me hard now—that those words are better saved for me. Jo won’t always want to go to trick-or-treating. At least, not with me. There won’t always be nights of flashlight tag and holding hands and telling scary stories and giggling about who’s going to get the Twizzlers. Savor those memories, Greg. And I will.

I will.

Happy Halloween, everybody. Make the most of it.

Happy Halloween!

May your costumes be spooky and may your plastic pumpkins overflow with candy tonight!

To celebrate the season, below is a TV spot for the original "Halloween" when it aired in 1996 on the USA Network. Believe it or not, I had never seen "Halloween" before this (though I had watched some of "Halloween II" through my fingers when I was little), but upon watching this commercial I was so stoked that I plopped down and watched it for the very first time...and then bought it and watched it about a hundred times since.

For an extra Halloween treat, if you've still not read my short story--"White Ghost"--that I wrote a couple years ago for the official "Halloween" franchise, what better day to read it than on October 31st? The story is meant to be a companion piece to that original film and tells the story of the man who lost his dingy coveralls--and his life--to Michael Myers...

Happy Halloween! Beware the Bogeyman!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

New Interview up for Hell Night!

Tis the day before Halloween, and I've just been interviewed!

Stormi Johnson was kind enough to ask me to stop by her blog Books, Movies, Reviews, Oh My! and talk up "The Strange Man", give some hints about its sequel "Enemies of the Cross", and talk Christian Horror. Check it out!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Watch the Brand New "Dras" Teaser

Hey, everybody. I couldn't let the Halloween season pass without throwing some goodies your way. Here's a "teaser" trailer for "The Strange Man", featuring Dras Weldon (as played by Jeff Mitchell) confessing his secret fears in a scene from the book. A "full length" trailer is in the wings, but won't be making its debut until, probably, January. Until then, enjoy this small sampling of the horrors that await you...

Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Have you caught up on "The Coming Evil" short stories?

Hey, all. If you've been to my blog (, you'll notice an ever growing collection of free-to-read "The Coming Evil" short stories on the right. I see we've got some new folks around these parts, new folks who may not have discovered these stories yet. So, I thought I'd give a brief recap and provide helpful links to get you started :p

At the moment, there are four short stories available, though I'm working on more. All four stories serve as prequels to "The Strange Man, The Coming Evil: Book One" that is coming out in February.

First up, as part of, what I call The North Woods Sequence, we delve into Dras and Rosalyn's past, and their brushes with the legends that surround the creepy North Woods of Greensboro.

"Among the Dead" is the first short story I wrote for TCE, and also the first, chronologically speaking. Unless something changes, "Among the Dead" will be available for the first time in print when it's collected with "The Strange Man" in February! But, for now, you can enjoy a tasty reading of the story--a perfect compliment to the Halloween season.

Also in The North Woods Sequence, we've got "The Last Halloween" (Parts One and Two) which serves as a sort of sequel to some of the themes explored in "Among the Dead". As stated in the title, this is another spooky story for Halloween.

In a bit of a departure from the creepy stories of The North Woods Sequence, we also have two lighter stories. Life in Greensboro can't be filled with horror all the time, so these next two tales explore the more mundane aspects of Dras and Rosalyn's lives.

In "Clown Time...The Remake", Dras is faced with the most unspeakable horror of all: One of his favorite childhood horror movies is about to be remade!!

In "Dras Tells Annie a Story", Dras tucks Rosalyn's kid sister Annie in for the night, and tells her the "true" story of one of her storybooks.

I hope you take the time to read one or more of the stories! And stay tuned as I continue to post further tales of fright and fun :p

Among the Dead--Audio Presentation:

The Last Halloween, Part One:

The Last Halloween, Part Two:

Clown Time...The Remake:

Dras Tells Annie a Story:

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Buy your copy of "Coach's Midnight Diner 3"!

A nice surprise arrived in the mail today--my copy of Coach's Midnight Diner Vol. 3! For the uninitiated, The Diner is described as "A Hardboiled Anthology of Horror, Crime, Detective, Paranormal, and Weird Fiction With A Christian Slant". My zombie love story Flowers for Shelly appeared in the last Diner collection and I'm super excited that my monster hunter outing Flesh and Blood appears in this latest edition. Flesh and Blood features the first appearance of The Arbigast Group, a band of rough-and-tumble monster killers-for-hire, who originated in an excised subplot from an early The Coming Evil, Book Three draft. I hope to tell many more adventures featuring the Group in the days ahead--including a possible "crossover" with The Coming Evil--so here's your chance to get in on the ground floor!

Follow the link to read an exclusive excerpt from Flesh and Blood, then order your copy today!


Buy the book: