There are so many things I love about Christmas. Seeing my friends and family for (usually) only the second or third time in the year, eating grandma’s home cooking, mixing my liquors, giving presents, and enjoying laughs with the people who know me best, basking in the glow of a wine (Champaign, shot-o-whiskey) buzz and thousands of Christmas lights. But above all else, one of the best parts of this holiday season is the thankful reflection everyone is so inspired to employ. As we near the end of 2011 (where did the year go!?), I think about all the events that made it the best one yet. I have many thanks to give to my family, of course, but I want to share my Dreadful Tales-related thanks here today.
I am thankful to be a part of this wonderful family of literature obsessives who all share my passion for horror fiction and have turned me on to all sorts of wonderful authors that I may not know otherwise. But when I follow the bread crumbs back to where it all began it led right to Rue Morgue Magazine. The truth is Rue Morgue Magazine kinda changed my life.
I’m originally from Indianapolis, IN.When I was offered a job about 4 hours away in Northwest Ohio, former home to the Gleefully Macabre writer Jeff Strand, I traded in my corn cobs for buckeyes and never looked back. Ohio isn’t much of a change from Indiana. This is still the Midwest, so the brutal winters, backyard BBQs, and sports fanaticism make me feel right at home, but I still left behind all the people I love. I didn’t really know anyone here that shared similar interests, namely horror movies. Even if I did, to view most new releases you’d have to drive at least 2 hours away. There wasn’t even a bookstore within a 20 mile radius! So, with plenty of time on my hands and no cable to rot my brain, I got back into reading. I was never a big horror fiction reader though. I didn’t grow up on Stephen King, although I did grow up watching film adaptations of his work, and I had never even heard the term Splatterpunk.
About 5 years ago all that changed. On an excursion to the bookstore just 45 minutes away from my new home, the Grindhouse cover of Rue Morgue Magazine caught my eye. It was issue #66. Despite being a horrorhound in my youth, growing up on a steady diet of cheesy b-movies, sci-fi oddities, and slashers, I had no idea there was such a thing as a horror mag. I indulged in horror movies, but when it came to rags I stuck with my Sassy Magazine, until it went defunct. On the ride home, with my then-boyfriend at the wheel, I tore into Rue Morgue Magazine issue #66 and it blew my mind! I couldn’t believe there was a magazine chock full of everything horror, everything I love! That Christmas in 2007, my boyfriend gifted me a subscription and I knew he was the man I would marry!
I always discover something new, overlooked, or forgotten in Rue Morgue Magazine. I sought out many of the cult classics they featured, or just regular good ole classics, that I missed in my youth and started rebuilding my horror arsenal. But more than just discovering new favorites and celebrating old memories, Rue Morgue is the reason I am writing this today.
I never nerded out on a message board before, but when I found out there was an online hangout for followers of my beloved mag, I signed up. Known as the Rue Morgue Mortuary, this would be the forum where I would meet Colum, who y’all know, Dark Mark, fizzmaster, GradeCCCP (Pat Dreadful), and a horde of other really great people who I never met in person (even to this day!), but I consider my best friends. I started posting on the Rue Morgue Mortuary boards in 2008. I peeked in and out of various threads trying to find a place and eventually ended up hanging out in the Grim Readers thread on a daily basis. While my compadres read the latest Bryan Smith, John Everson, Edward Lee, and a number of other current horror writers, I was digging back into the classics. When it came to contemporary horror fiction I had no idea where to begin. Even if I picked a household name like Stephen King, where the hell do you start!?
I don’t remember how it happened or why, but Colum and I made a deal to swap books. He sent me a copy of The 13th by John Everson, an author who is now one of my favorites, Victims by Shaun Hutson, and The Serial Killers Club by Jeff Povey which to this day I haven’t read (sshhh, don’t tell him!). My to-read list just grew from there and hasn’t slowed down since. After finishing those titles, with the exception of one, Colum was very adamant I read Jeff Strand’s Dweller. I loved it! And little did I know that would be the subject of my first review ever. I also couldn’t have predicted that I’d actually get dressed up like the guy in an article for a website that at the time didn’t even exist!!
That first Dweller review was for Destroy The Brain, which I also discovered through the Rue Morgue Mortuary family, and I was only able to do it because Colum gave me the encouragement and Andy Triefenbach gave me a chance. Eventually, Colum had his little black heart set on starting something bigger and badder than Paperback Horror, which was my go-to for all things horror fiction back then, and asked me to come along for the ride. So, here I am. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I know that life will never be the same as it was before I found Rue Morgue Magazine.
For all those reasons and more, I’d like to thank all the people at Rue Morgue who make the magazine possible. To the editor in chief past, present, and future for bringing it all together, THANK YOU! To the writers, the designers, and artists, the office manager, the people who clean the office, the web designer, inventory control, quality management, marketing, sales, the interns, and that chick hangin’ around who doesn’t actually work there, but always makes a fresh pot of coffee when you need it. OK, that last one I’m not sure exists, but if she / he does – THANK YOU!
Thanks to Rue Morgue for existing, but a deep, heartfelt, most sincere thanks to the best friends I have never met. Colum, thank you for encouraging me to take this passion one step further. Shelagh, thank you for joining us in this mission, bringing things together, and always reigning us in! Pat, thank you for inspiring me to read more and write better. Jason, thank you for joining the team, being a great late night Twitter pal, and offering sage advice to a hopeful amateur.
Also, thanks to the Grim Readers, Dark Mark, fizzmaster, GradeCCCP, Typical Lydia, RedSoxFreak67 and a number of other people who have made me feel rich in friendship even though we are miles apart.
Thanks to them, my book collection has grown exponentially over the years. With their suggestions and book-swapping, my shelf overfloweth with macabre reads!
And finally, thanks to you, dear Dreadful Tales reader for listening 🙂
To all y’all, Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year!