Rena Mason Bio Picevo (hi-res) coverFear the Reaper

Rena is the author of the Bram Stoker Award winning novel The Evolutionist, and Bram Stoker Award nominated East End Girls. She lives in Sin City, AKA Las Vegas, Nevada, and everything she writes has a horror element to it.

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Q: Tell us a little about the projects you have going right now.

A: I recently finished up four short story projects, have two more in the works, am supposed to be rewriting a novel, beginning an outline for another novel I plan to write in November, and I might also have to start pitching a screenplay I co-wrote depending on whether or not it’s going to get “shopped around” by a third party.


Q: Is your writing based on people you know, or events in your own life?

A: My writing in one way or another does usually end up being based on people I know, and/or events that have occurred in my life, good, bad or otherwise. But it’s in bits and pieces that I change around. I find writing about them cathartic, even if it’s sometimes done on a subconscious level.


Q: What inspired you to get into the horror genre?

A: I don’t think any one thing inspired me to get into the horror genre. It’s just always where my mind went when I chose entertainment, so it was also how I expressed myself in art.


Q: Have you always been interested in horror?

A: Yes. Horror has always interested me. As soon as I learned how to read, it was the monster and creepy, scary fairy tales I enjoyed the most.


Q: What do you love most about writing horror?

What I love most about writing horror is being able to put dark and sometimes twisted thoughts and ideas from my head into words that tell a story I can read back, or even better, someone else reads it back and tells me it’s good. That’s a damn cool feeling. Also, there’s the horror writing community, which I’ve grown to love. Since I became a member of the Horror Writers Association I’ve made lots of friends who are an awesome support system in and outside of my writing. The conventions are always great fun, too.


Q: Can you share your experience as a female writer in a male-dominated genre?

A: As far as my experiences go as a female writer in a male-dominated genre, thanks to many women who have lead the way before me, I haven’t felt it as much as I’ve seen it, but I do realize it’s there and am working hard to change it the only way I know how, which is to keep writing, not give up, and encourage more female authors to write horror if they think they’ve got something.


Q: Is there anything you find particularly challenging when writing for horror fans?

A: Not particularly, no. Everybody likes something different, and I learned early on that horror is varied for us all. I try to keep true to myself no matter what I write, and there’s always that dark element/horror in my work that I hope will appeal to at least one or more of the categories of fans.


Q: Where do you stand on the gore factor?

A: Gore doesn’t bother me. I think in part it’s because I’ve been an R.N. for uh…a little while, and worked in the operating for over twelve years. I like to watch the movies for the special effects. It’s amazing to me how real the sounds and anatomy are these days. That’s usually how I rate the movies – on whether or not I think they’re accurate in their depiction. As far as reading gore it doesn’t bother me either. I find it a challenge to read something that actually grosses me out. Only one thing I’ve ever read has ever made me slightly nauseated. (I’ll write what it is in my next blog post.)


Q: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

A: I’ve been in love with Shirley Jackson’s work since I was a pre-teen. Besides the fact that she’s a brilliant author, I could really relate to her stories, because there were times in my life that seemed to correlate with works of hers that I’d read. Sort of like I had questions and found the answers in her stories, so she’s always been magical to me for that.


Q: What books and movies have influenced your life most?

A: I tend to be more influenced by people then books or movies, but if there was one book that made me really question things it was Erich von Daniken’s Chariots of the Gods. It sparked my imagination that there could be other answers out there than what they taught traditionally. The only movie that’s ever influenced me to “do” something was Luc Besson’s THE BIG BLUE. I took SCUBA diving lessons after seeing that movie and did some extreme diving, which I’ll never regret because of the memories of the unique and sometimes rare experiences I had.


Q: What book are you reading now?

A: I’m one of those people that likes to read 2-3 books at a time. The Dark Country, a collection by Dennis Etchison, and an advanced copy of The Amazing Mr. Howard by Kenneth W. Harmon.


Q: What movie do you most want to watch in your Netflix queue?

A: Ha! THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is a movie that’s been in my Netflix queue since I signed up for the service. Something always comes up when I’m ready to watch it, and I’ve yet to see it.


Q: Can you share a little of your current work with us? Give the readers a taste for blood?

A: My novel rewrite is about a former Goth who grew up but never lost that yearning for the dark side, until it finds her. (I was never Goth by the way.) Here’s an excerpt of my WIP (work in progress):

The beast sunk its vicious maw into the woman’s neck. She groaned and writhed in its grasp. With eyes fixed on Sara, it peeled back the victim’s flesh. Red mist sprayed out like a rind of citrus pulling away from its fruit.

Streams of crimson flowed down and curved to the right, her upper torso a macabre maypole. A stray line of blood rolled down the opposite side onto her chest, stopping in a droplet that clung to the tip of her nipple. A thin black tongue slithered out of the beast’s mouth and wound around the breast. Forked ends flickered and tasted the air then lashed out at the drop and took it.


Q: Do you have any advice for other horror writers?

A: My advice to other horror writers would be just to keep writing. As much as I like to write, I also love to read, and collect authors’ works I enjoy.


Q: Where can fans reach you and buy your books?

A: All my books are available on Amazon, some at Barnes & Noble. I can be found in most of the social network places and I also have a blog site, as well as a website:










Category: eBooks, On The Craft Of Writing, Women In Horror | Comments Off on WOMEN IN HORROR



DSCN0303Haunted Tower in the Swamp

Sherry is the award winning writer of Hook House and Other Horrors. She placed first in the North Texas Professional Writers Association Contest, and was also Year-end Finalist and Honorable Mention in Writers of the Future. Sherry’s short fiction has appeared in the likes of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Cemetery Dance, and Dark Wisdom. Her novel Hypershot will soon be released in 5-6 months. Sherry lives, works, and play in Washington State, near Seattle.

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Q. Tell the Crypt fans a little about yourself.

A. Horror has intrigued me since early childhood. At about the age of five I watched Frankenstein for the first time, was immediately hooked . . . and so scared I couldn’t sleep without the light on. I grew up in a small town. Rarely did anything exciting happen there. We often slept outside in the summer, tossing our sleeping bags down under the weeping willow at the farthest corner of our property, where we shared scary stories until midnight.


Q. Tell us about the projects you have going right now.

A. My novel, ‘Hypershot’ was recently bought by Eldritch Press. It’s a futuristic earth tale with a female protagonist. I compare it to Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale” meets Jules Verne’s ‘Journey To the Center of the Earth.’ The story evolved from a nightmare I had twenty or so years ago that seemed so real it wouldn’t let me forget it. I still think about it. Now I’m stretching it out to include a prequel and a sequel. Maybe.

My current work-in-progress, ‘A Summer With the Dead’ is plaguing me with yet another revision. This novel is in the horror genre and takes place on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State. If you enjoy haunted house tales, monsters in the basement, revenge or unreliable narrator stories, this one might be for you.


Q. Is your writing based on people you know, or events in your own life? What inspired you to get into the horror genre?

A. My life has been relatively quiet, due to my own cautionary personality. Maybe that’s because soon after watching Frankenstein I watched Dracula; both were the introduction into horror, which remains my favorite genre. In movies where characters were foolish enough to climb a flight of stairs to an creaking attic, or open a door to a dank basement reminded me to be cautious. Most of the excitement in my life has been the result of my own imagination and from movies and books.


Have you always been interested in horror?

The first book that terrified and fascinated me was a collection of very dark fairytales that I read in third grade. Unfortunately I cannot remember the title nor the author. That book, however, inspired me.


Q. What do you love most about writing horror?

A. My own writing is based on exaggerations. I take myself, or a friend or a relative . . . or strangers I’ve eavesdropped on . . . and twist them into extreme characters. Dialogue is the best way to reveal a character’s desires. Action is the best way to show a character’s resolve. It’s fun to torment my own characters by having their plans crumble down around them. A happy ending is not always necessary for me. Sometimes I don’t know how a story is going to end until the characters take over and dictate how it will end. Pesky characters.


Is there anything you find particularly challenging when writing for horror fans?

Writing in general is always a challenge. That’s why rewrites were invented. My teacher, Jack Remick always told me, “The art is in the rewrite.” Jack is always right.


Q. Where do you stand of the gore factor?

A. My short fiction has been called ‘Quiet Horror’ by a couple of reviewers. I don’t balk from a bit of blood or gore, and my characters often die in ways no one would ever choose to die, but I draw the line at torture. I am not attracted to things like chainsaws or blowtorches as weapons. As a child, Edgar Allan Poe’s, ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ made me squirm with discomfort, yet his ‘Telltale Heart’ fascinated me. Both had tortured characters. Perhaps, since the protagonist in ‘The Pit and the Pendulum’ was physically tortured and victimized, it felt more terrifying to me. In film, I had a difficult time watching ‘Scarface’ with Al Pacino. The chainsaw scene in the bathroom of the apartment was simply too much. So . . . I refuse to read or write extreme torture. A sudden, unexpected, stiletto through one eye is fine J


Q. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

A: My favorite authors are too long to list.


Q: What books and movies have influenced your life most?

A. It’s impossible to choose just one author. So many have influenced me. Joyce Carol Oates writes short fiction that gives me chills. So does Stephen King, although I prefer his earlier works. Thomas Harris’s ‘Silence of the Lambs’ and ‘Red Dragon’ kept me up at night, reading and shuddering. I love Margaret Atwood’s style. Normally, I avoid adverbs (except in dialogue) yet Atwood can string three or four adverbs in a row and because they are so creative and unique, I approve. Hemingway. Bradbury.


Q: What book are you reading now?

A: Currently, I’m reading, ‘The Book Thief’ by Markus Zusakm because not everything I read is horror.


Q: What movie do you most want to watch from your Netflix queue?

A. Right now I am awaiting the release of, ‘Game of Thrones’ season 4 from Netflix, and can’t fathom why it takes so long!


Q. Can you share your experience as a female writer in a male dominated genre?

A. My experience as a female writer in a male dominated genre . . . I don’t worry about it. Women writers are sometimes accused as being too nice. Not tough enough. Not mean enough. Not bloody enough. I disagree. Besides, men writers have their limitations. In my opinion, men can rarely (very rarely) write a decent romantic scene, and can almost never write a decent sex scene. Women beat the snot out of men. Women may be overlooked when it comes to anthologies. I don’t know. Like I said, I don’t worry about it. Rejections are simply opportunities to submit elsewhere.


Q. Can you share a little of your current work with us; give the readers a taste for blood?

A. Excerpt from, ‘A Summer With the Dead’:

Maya steps into the room and the plastic curtain rustles closed behind her. It’s even colder in the dining room than on the stairs. She blinks. It’s difficult to focus on things in this room. Everything looks dim and blurry. The light is weak and the room’s corners are thick with shadows. Something shiny gleams on the table. Maya squints, focuses. The gleam comes from polished metal. She steps closer and sees knives, a saw and a cleaver. Their black handles glisten, slick and red with blood. She blinks again. On the table lays a man’s body, face down, the bottoms of his bare feet face her. His flesh is stark white.

Another man rises up from between the buffet and the other end of the table. He is short and thin and wares a gray plaid shirt, the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. His arms are lean and sinewy. His shirttail is jammed into baggy jeans. He grabs the cleaver in one hand and seems to study the tool, turning it back and forth in the dim light, as if admiring the flashing blade.

Maya blinks again. The scene is like an aged newsreel, quick and jerky. When the man pauses, it looks like an old photograph, the reds having faded to sepia. He lifts the cleaver to eye level and brings it down. Whack. One foot falls into two pieces, sliced through the arch. No blood oozes from the wound. He picks up both pieces and tosses them into a black trash bag. Whack. An ankle and heel follow.

Maya steps back, slips on something and looks down. Her legs are transparent, her feet gone. She has no body. She lifts her hands but sees nothing there. She is invisible.

I’m dreaming. Wake up. Wake up!

Whack. The cleaver flashes in the dim light again and another ankle and heel are thrown into the trash bag. The sepia man bends down again, below the table. A cupboard door squeals open and then clossd. He holds a serving platter—Elly’s rose pattern china. He sets it down on the corner of the buffet. Whack. A man’s head settles with a plop in the center of the platter, a man’s head with silvery blond hair and thick dark smears across his forehead, cheeks and ears. A thin trickle of dark blood pools around the man’s head. The man’s face wears no expression. His eyes are closed. He frowns in his bottomless sleep.

Maya shivers. How can I be cold if I’m not here? I’m dreaming…just dreaming. Wake up! Wake up!

Blood drips from the edge of the tarp to the plastic sheet on the floor. Tap. Tap. Tap. It trickles, glistening and red toward Maya’s feet and she steps aside before it reaches her invisible toes. She leans forward. She wants to see the sepia man’s face, but he turns his back, his shoulders hunched. He drops the slick, red cleaver on the table and tosses two knees into the trash bag. His hand searches behind him for the saw. Finds it. Lifts it. The gleaming steel teeth sparkle in candlelight.

Maya leans closer, determined. The butcher turns his back again and drags the bulging trash bag into the middle of the kitchen. He wears black boots. They make a sticky sound on the linoleum and leave a trail of smeared, red footprints.

On the dining room table are parts of the man’s body, naked, so bloodless the flesh is blue-white. Like a side dish, both blue-white hands rest alongside the head on the platter. The legs have been separated from the torso at the hips.


Q. Do you have any advice for other horror writers?

A. You should read, read, read, and write, write, write. Persevere. Do NOT give up. After receiving a rejection, take a few deep breaths. If the editor was kind enough to mention why he rejected you, give that reason full consideration. Is it possible the editor was right? Revise or rewrite if his/her comments prompt an idea for you. Then, submit it to another market. Keep going. Don’t stop.


Q. Where can fans reach you and buy your books?

A. My collection of short fiction ‘Hook House and Other Horrors’ can be found at Damnation Books, amazon.com or through Barnes & Noble. The title story, ‘Hook House’ originally appeared in Cemetery Dance. It was the first story of such length (novelette) to ever be published there at that time. ‘Hicklebickle Rock’ won First Place in the NTPWA fiction contest. Later, it appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Several other of the stories have appeared in Hitchcock’s too. Another tale won the year’s-end Finalist and Honorable Mention in Writers of the Future. I don’t read strictly horror, nor do I write only horror. My children’s middle-grade science fiction book, ‘Rusty the Robot’s Holiday Adventures’ (co-written with Michael McCarty) is available from Pie Plate Publishing, amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble. My upcoming science fiction novel, ‘Hypershot’ will be available through Eldritch Press and all regular sources in about five or six months, and I’m so enthused about that.

One last thing if you’ve read something and enjoyed it, you really should take the time to review it on Goodreads or amazon.com. Give it four or five stars. Say what it was you liked about it. It helps the author get published again and it helps sell a few more copies. Please take the time to do that. If you already do, thank you.

You can also find Sherry in these places:



Category: eBooks, On The Craft Of Writing, Women In Horror | Comments Off on WOMEN IN HORROR



Author Photo - Patty TempletonUSE THIS COVER - Copy - Copy

Patty writes everything from modern splatter to darkly whimsical horror. Her first novel, There Is No Lovely End, came out in July. Earlier this year she was at a writer commune in Rhode Island. Currently, she is in a small town in Iowa about an hour outside of Des Moines. Where she’ll be in a month, she has no idea.

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Q: Tell us a little about the projects you have going right now.

A: I’m whizbanging all over the damn place.

My first novel came out in July.

I have been promoting the hell outta that beast. I have a story in the upcoming Blood Bound Books anthology Night Terrors III.

In my free time, I’ve been working on two different projects. One is a lesbian Indiana Jones pastiche that takes place in the 1950s rare book world with a heavy influence of Chicago blues. I’m thinking it is a novella. The bigger next project is a novel-in-stories about a Halloween town called Shady Grove. Think about it like Winesburg, Ohio, but if gorgeous freaks like Vincent Price, Elvira, Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, and Sharon Needles lived there. Each story centers around a local business and its owner.

…I think I am basically putting my own heaven on the page. Who wouldn’t want to live in a town with an all-night diner called Chainsaw Sue’s?


Q: Is your writing based on people you know, or events in your own life?

A: Oh hell yes. If I know you, you are eventually ending up in a story. Not on purpose, but it happens. Writers are watchers. We are eavesdroppers. We’re thieves. Jim Jarmusch said:

“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light and shadows. Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do this, your work (and theft) will be authentic. Authenticity is invaluable; originality is non-existent.”

Writers steal from everyone – from family to the a-hole, loud talker on the train.


Q: What inspired you to get into the horror genre?

A: I LOVE EVIL DEAD 2. I saw it in fifth grade at a birthday sleepover and my brain was never the same. Sam Raimi’s take on horror – where humor and the grotesque equally vie for your attention – that was the skeleton hand that dragged me into the darkness.


Q: Have you always been interested in horror?

A: Horror was not allowed in my house. It was something for bad people.

…so obvs when I was 14 me and my bestie crammed as much filth into ourselves as possible at sleepovers. Nobody had to know that we brought home 5 horror movies from JC Flicks. Oh, and they were golden, too – WITCHBLADE? Oi. MAXIMUM OVERDRIVE. Geez. But still The Exorcist came outta one of those sleepovers.

As for horror fiction…oddly enough, I didn’t start heavily reading that until I was in my twenties. Now I tend to read more horror books than see horror movies. It’s easier for me to cram a book into my day than a movie, usually.


Q: What do you love most about writing horror?

A: In Zen and the Art of Writing, Bradbury said,

“I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”

I connect this back to horror because – holy shit – anything goes. Every topic. Horror fans are out-there folks and we want to hear ALL THE STORIES! I can attack anything on the page and know that somewhere out there, there is a niche audience for it. No one says, “Why the hell do you wanna write an Exorcist meets The Last Picture Show story?” They say, “Dude, when’s that gonna be done?”


Q: Is there anything you find particularly challenging when writing for horror fans?

A: Nope. I don’t think about anyone when I’m writing. It’s hard enough to get shit on the page, let alone think about your audience while yer doing it.


Q: Where do you stand on the gore factor?

A: Give it to me…but I don’t want the gore to be more important than the story. If you have crap dialogue, but hella rad gore sequences – I don’t care about your movie. If you have the best fall-off-a-roof-get-impaled-by-a-rusty-birdfeeder-still-alive-till-squirrels-eat-yer-heart scene ever, but gave me a stupid why-the-hell-you-were-alone-on-the-roof-looking-over-the-edge-at-midnight reason – I don’t care about your book.

I do have one gore issue – rape scenes. Because most of the time they are done in a way that doesn’t settle with the narrative. There was a Salon article that nailed it:

“Here’s the best way to start: Don’t use rape purely for shock value. Don’t use rape as a simple explanation for why a character is strong, sorrowful, or anything in between. And don’t forget that if a rape does happen, it has to continue to be a part of the larger story.

It’s not that rape can’t ever be used to advance plot. But rape should never be used just to advance plot.”

Give me your gore, but you better be telling me a solid story to go with it.


Q: Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?

A: This question is evil.

I don’t have one favorite author. I have a list. A Giant, GIANT list. I will give you the shortlist. Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, and Alexander Dumas. All of these folks are gold-star writers who build complex characters and plots.


Q: What books and movies have influenced your life most?

A: Oi. Way to keep asking the damn hard questions. But here goes…

I read Daniel P. Mannix’s autobiography Step Right Up! (also titled: Memoirs of a Sword Swallower) when I was about 15. I found it at the library book sale. I mean, come on, listen to this:

“I probably never would have become America’s leading fire-eater if Flamo the Great hadn’t happened to explode that night in front of Krinko’s Great Combined Side Shows.”

WHAT THE HELL? Who says things like that? Mannix did. It isn’t necessarily the most gloriously written book ever, but it was an early introduction to the idea that you have to make your own magic in this world. Your daily life is as absurd and beautiful as you choose it to be.

Johnny Got his Gun, by Dalton Trumbo, is absolutely one of the most horrific things I’ve ever read in my entire life. It helped to shape my political stance on war.

Ferlinghetti’s A Coney Island of the Mind, goddamn, that’s good poetry. Here is a man who is a poet, a painter, a publisher, a bookstore owner, and a frikkin revolutionary. When you read someone like that at 16…there ain’t any hope left for normal life satisfying you.

Oh geez. I could go on. I LOVE BOOKS. But on to the movies – Evil Dead 2 was discussed above. The Exorcist was hinted at. I grew up Southern Baptist. I am more of an agnostic these days, but religious horror, when done well, stills freaks me the hell out. The Exorcist is my be-all-end-all horror movie. It is a vomit-swamped example of being shocking and intellectually stimulating.
Q: What book are you reading now?

A: I just finished reading Elmore Leonard’s short story collection When the Women Come Out to Dance. Holy f, it was good. File under: sometimes bestsellers are actually badass. Leonard’s work was the inspiration behind the show Justified. I will absolutely read more of him. Next, up I want to grab The Last Horror Novel in the History of the World by Brian Allen Carr. I read about it on Fangoria and am like YES. GIVE. It’s all black magic and cheap beer in middle-o-nowhere Texas.


Q: What movie do you most want to watch in your Netflix queue?

A: Dude, I’ve totally been meaning to watch Stitches FOREVER. I think that is happening this weekend.


Q: Can you share your experience as a female writer in a male dominated genre?

A: Who the hell knows what to say to this anymore? I think I would extend it to this:


My experience as a woman in horror has been less offensive than my experience as a woman in daily life. But to keep this outta politics and with the arts…Diversity and inclusion are problems not just in horror, but at large in American art. I want to see more than the Final Girl being a strong female character in a movie or book – and you know what? I’d like her to be a chunky, Korean lesbian. Hella hottie, model white chicks shouldn’t be the only female characters out there – and there are different forms of strength than being a “badass.”

I believe there is a deep well of stories to tell and that we are just beginning to dip our cups into the water. Part of my experience as a woman in horror is writing these stories and convincing people that diversity of gender, experience, and culture are important.


Q: Can you share a little of your current work with us, give the readers a taste for blood?

A: Here’s an excerpt from my novel, There Is No Lovely End:

Nathan Garlan was a sixth-generation medium conceived by a ne’er-do-well and an outlaw.

He was not expected or desired.

In truth, Hester Garlan had several times drunk abortive teas. When these had no useful effect, she had the sincerest intention to lift the lid of the nearest garbage barrel and leave the sniveling babe for the mutts and maggots.

It was known among her people that unless you were done watching the dead, you didn’t breed. Your dead sight would go to the child.

Hester had never had an accident breathe out of her before. In a candlelit moment of the child blinking dark eyes, she called him Nathan. Once. Then Hester thought better of becoming sentimental over a swaddled setback and hoped that when she killed him, she’d once again be able to see spirits. If not, she’d be fighting the dead blind-eyed all of her days.

Q: Do you have any advice for other horror writers?

A: Put your ass in the chair and write. And read. Helltons – and in all genres. Then, find a few folks, whether online or in-person, to talk to about writing and reading.


Q: Where can fans reach you and buy your books?

A: Hey-o! Here I am, on my website. My Twitter. I got a Tumblr, too. And look, this be where my book is.

Category: eBooks, On The Craft Of Writing, Women In Horror | Comments Off on WOMEN IN HORROR