Thursday, July 31, 2014

Cathy Jewell (A.K.A. - Mom) - The Things in the Darkness

A huge thank you to my mother, Cathy Wallenburg Jewell, for her pledge! The Things in the Darkness is now 68% funded in less than 24 hours!

A Kickstarter Staff Pick!

After less than a day active, The Things in the Darkness campaign is a Kickstarter staff pick!!!! Make your pledge and help spread the darkness!

paign is a Kickstarter staff pick!!!! Make your pledge and help spread the darkness!

Dave - "The Things in the Darkness"

A big thank you to my latest backer, who identifies himself only as Dave.  Your contribution is greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Leona Jamison Maddocks - "The Things in the Darkness"

Thank you to my latest backer, Leona Jamison Maddocks!  Your support means a lot to m


Louis Weinberger - "The Things in the Darkness"

A big thank you to my first backer, Louis Weinberger! Your support is greatly appreciated!

"The Things in the Darkness" has launched!

As a birthday gift to my mother, perhaps the only person more excited about this project then I am, I launched the Kickstarter campaign for "The Things in the Darkness" earlier than planned.  You can experience the terror that resides in the pages of this horror novel!  Make your pledge to the darkness:

Interview with Hunter Shea

All right, Ragers.  As promised yesterday, here is my conversation with Hunter Shea.  It was a rare, but welcomed, opportunity to pick a brain that could produce such twisted goodies as The Montauk Monster, Sinister Entity, Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, and Evil Eternal.  Perhaps the most interesting thing about Hunter Shea is that, unlike most authors, doing his research for a book does not stop at what he can find online or in print.  Shea pushes the boundaries of what is safe, and often sane, in order to experience the true horrors in life.  Check out what he had to say when he sat down with me to talk all things horror.

Ira Gansler:  What is your earliest horror memory?

Hunter Shea:  My father used to let me stay up and watch old monster and sci-fi movies on the weekends. He learned early on that movies didn’t scare me or give me nightmares, so I was his sidekick for Chiller Theatre. The first movie I can recall was one with these trees that came to life and kidnapped a woman. The movie is called From Hell it Came. It’s truly awful, but in all the right ways.

IG:  Where do you find the biggest inspiration for your writing?

HS:  Growing up fully immersed in all things horror, I find inspiration everywhere I turn. Great movies and books inspire me to sit down and write. Seeing the pride on the faces of my wife and daughters keeps my butt in the chair tapping away on my keyboard. The ideas for my stories come from everywhere : the news, dreams, long drives to work, the odd turn of a phrase. The problem for me has always been finding the time to write down the ideas that flit through my brain.

IG:  If you could have one film of yours turned into a movie, which one would it be and why?

HS:  Oh man, that’s a tough one. I’d love to see The Montauk Monster on the screen because, to me, it’s such a big book. I don’t mean big in terms of pages, but in the level of absolute mayhem. It would need to have a good budget behind it so it looks and plays out right.  I think The Waiting could give people some serious misgivings about looking into the shadows of their homes. Quiet, tension-building horror always has a place in film. No CGI needed for that one.

IG:  Which do you find scarier, ghosts or monsters?

HS:  Hands down, ghosts. You know why? Because they exist. I don’t know what the hell they are, but they’re here whether people want to admit it or not. I’ve seen a ghost. I live with one. I’ve never seen a monster (though I would love to!). If anyone wants to take me squatching, give me a shout.

IG:  As someone who does so much real-life investigation of scary things all around him, what is the most frightening experience you have ever had in the name of research?

HS:  I think being the only person on my side of the Queen Mary after doing an intense ghost investigation where we were communicating with something from the other side wins that one. I was fine when I was just one of a dozen people traipsing through the old engine rooms and pool in the pitch black. At one point, a teen in the crew placed a flashlight on a table and it would turn on and off in answer to our yes and no questions. When we were done, the flashlight was ice cold. Very strange. Going back up to bed after midnight knowing no one was anywhere near me was…unsettling to say the least.

IG:  What authors would you consider to be “must read” for horror fans?

HS:  Any horror fan needs to pick up everything they can by Robert McCammon, Richard Matheson, Jack Ketchum and M.R. James. You can’t go wrong with anything they’ve written. Oh, and don’t forget that King guy.

IG:  If you were to be stranded on a deserted island, what three books would you hope to have with you?

HS:  OK, if I’m stranded, I have a lot of time on my hands, so I need 3 big books to keep me company. Boy's Life by Robert McCammon, The Stand by Stephen King and Curfew by Phil Rickman.

IG:  I don’t want to give any spoilers, but you do leave the ending to The Montauk Monster somewhat open.  Any chance of a follow-up?

HS:  My editor wanted me to leave the story a little open ended. My original ending was, believe it or not, much darker and very final. We figured we’d see what the reaction would be and decide if we’d go with a sequel. So far, everything has been better than we could have dreamed, so I hope to get a chance to dive right back into that shadowy, monstrous world.

IG:  Horror, like any other type of entertainment, seems to go in cycles.  In my lifetime, I feel like it has been slashers and serial killers, then vampires, and now zombies.  What would you hope to see next?

HS:  I can tell you what I’m starting to see as the next wave : witches. I think by this time next year, you’re going to see a lot of books and TV series and movies that involve witchcraft. I think that’s great, even though I’m personally not into them, well, other than Charmed.

IG:  How do you manage to keep your ideas original and fresh when so much of horror seems to be going in the direction of remakes and rehashed story lines?

HS:  Seeing all the remakes compels me to take my stories in places where others haven’t gone. Look, everything’s been done. A writer’s job is to take a concept and give it their own unique twist. I see everyday things in a different way. You can verify that with my family. So when I see Bigfoot, I look at more than just a hairy beast in the woods. I see vengeful cryptid families who use live alligators as weapons. When I first viewed pictures of the strange animal that washed up dead on a Montauk beach, I dreamt up a town invaded by living beasts from your worst nightmare. I’m just glad I got to exorcise that particular story and cram it in a book.

IG:  Do you think there is such a thing as “going too far” in horror?

HS:  In a word, nope. Horror is about bursting through our boundaries and facing the things we’d rather not even think about. Anything that elicits a reaction, even if it’s absolute disgust, is fair game. Check out some of the truly great and strange work in Bizarro horror to see what I mean. I strongly urge people to read Apeshit or Razor Wire Pubic Hair by Carlton Mellick. I envy his imagination and guts.

IG:  There seems to be a push lately to provide “trigger warnings” about things that people may find overly disturbing or upsetting.  What is your view on this as an author and as a fan?

HS:  We’re getting dangerously weak and touchy as a society. If you need a warning, there are plenty of old episodes of Barney you can watch or My Little Pony picture books. Maybe horror isn’t for you.

IG:  Well, thank you for your time, Hunter.  It has been a pleasure to talk to you.  One final question that all Rage Circus guests get to answer.  In your view, what is horror?

HS:  Horror is a feeling, a twinge in the gut, an emotion that leads to a physical reaction. It doesn’t have to come from monsters and ghosts and serial killers. I just read about yet another child that died in a locked car because his criminally stupid father left him locked into his child seat in the summer heat. The feeling that punched me in my soul when I read that is true, unflinching horror.

If you want a further glimpse into the dark mind of Hunter Shea, you can follow his page on Facebook at or Twitter @huntershea1.  You can also check out his website at 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Book Review - "The Montauk Monster" by Hunter Shea

This book review is provided as part of the Montauk Monster virtual publicity tour, however, the standards and scrutiny applied to this review are no less than those given to any other work presented through the views of The Rage Circus Vs. The Soulless Void, your blog for all things horror!

I have been reading and watching horror for close to twenty-six years.  Starting with Goosebumps, working my way up to Fear Street, and eventually graduating to the masters like H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker.  I have read a huge number of books, for all purposes a countless amount of horror.  Given that, it has been a long time since a book I read left me sitting in stunned silence, unable to accept that the book was over upon reaching the final pages.  The Montauk Monster by Hunter Shea elicited that exact response from me.

“It Kills. . .On a hot summer night in Montauk, the bodies of two local bar patrons are discovered in the dunes, torn to shreds, their identities unrecognizable. . .
It Breeds. . .In another part of town, a woman's backyard is invaded by four terrifying creatures that defy any kind of description. What's clear is that they're hostile--and they're ravenous. . .
It Spreads. . .With every sunset the terror rises again, infecting residents with a virus no one can cure. The CDC can't help them; FEMA can't save them. But each savage attack brings Suffolk County Police Officer Gray Dalton one step closer to the shocking source of these unholy creations. Hidden on nearby Plum Island, a U.S. research facility has been running top-secret experiments. What they created was never meant to see the light of day. Now, a vacation paradise is going straight to hell.

How can you describe the incredible tale that Hunter Shea has given us?  It is part The Crazies, part creature feature like nothing you have ever seen, and all horrific.  Shea comes at us with a fast and furious pacing that just gets more and more intense like a vice wrapped around our brain that only tightens and never lets go.  The prose is amazing and descriptive.  Shea’s visuals leave no room for misinterpretation or confusion as to what is happening.  His literary skill provides a picture clearer than any television screen ever could and the picture he shows us is horrifying unlike anything you have ever experienced.

Perhaps one of the most terrifying things about this story is like any other master of the horror genre, Shea holds nothing back.  It quickly becomes apparent that no one is safe.  The monsters that Shea has released from his mind into the world have no concept of right or wrong, innocent or guilty.  Any potential victim is fair game to feed these beasts and the disease they carry.  The creatures make Jaws look like a guppy and the virus makes Ebola look like the common cold.  By the time you truly start to realize the full extent of the tragedy that awaits in this story, the only question left will be whether the true threat is the beasts, the virus, or the people behind them both.

As the mystery of the creatures start to unravel, Shea builds an intricate web with admirable attention to detail, allowing all the pieces to come together until there really is no other way for the story to end.  In a word, that way is brutally.  I won't give out any spoilers.  You will have to see this intense ending yourself.  I just hope you have a strong stomach.

Overall, I found Shea's work to be everything you would want out of a creature story.  There are relatable characters who are far from cookie cutter solutions, strong visuals with flowing prose, creatures that will make you want to look over your shoulder the next time you are walking down a dark street, and a mystery to be solved.  My only complaint with this novel is one I often have whenever government conspiracy is involved in a horror story.  When the military appears in the novel, they are simply mindless followers who never question orders, no matter how unethical or immoral those orders may be.  In a post 9/11 world where we have so many men and women putting their lives on the line every day on foreign soil, I think it is time we got past this stereotype in stories.  Yes, I understand it is fiction and it fits the story, but it is something I always take issue with in horror or action.  However, with the high quality of the story and the engaging horror and action, I was easily able to put my complaint aside and enjoy the ride.

So let’s take a look at The Rage Circus score!

Story Concept - 4/5
Story Execution - 5/5
Story Flow – 5/5
Character Development (give-a-damn factor) - 5/5
Gripping visuals/details - 5/5
Entertainment Value/Story Engagement –  5/5
Editing (including grammar and spelling) – 5/5

Overall – 4.86/5 - Know the threats around you!  Get your copy of The Montauk Monster.

Barnes and Noble—
Oh, by the way, is The Montauk Monster really a work of fiction?

Is the Montauk Monster made up for the book or an urban myth? Is there some truth that propels the story? You can find out more about the real Montauk Monster story here:

About the author:

Hunter Shea is the author of paranormal and horror novels Forest of Shadows, Swamp Monster Massacre, Evil Eternal, Sinister Entity, which are all published by Samhain Horror.  The June 3, 2014 release of his horrifying thriller Montauk Monster is published by Kensington/Pinnacle. 

He has also written a short story to be read prior to Sinister Entity, called The Graveyard Speaks (it’s free, go download!), and a book of stories called Asylum Scrawls. His next book from Samhain Horror, titled HellHole, came out July 1, 2014, and is his first western horror. As you read this, he has a few more books in the works from both Kensington and Samhain and release dates should be announced soon.

His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Dark Moon Digest, Morpheus Tales, and the upcoming anthology, Shocklines : Fresh Voices in Terror. His obsession with all things horrific has led him to real life exploration of the paranormal, interviews with exorcists, and other things that would keep most people awake with the lights on.

He is also half of the two men show, Monster Men, which is a video podcast that takes a fun look at the world of horror. You can read about his latest travails and communicate with him at, on Twitter @HunterShea1, Facebook fan page at Hunter Shea or the Monster Men 13 channel on YouTube.

Stay tuned for my interview with the man responsible for this tale of terror, Hunter Shea!