Untraditional Beasts – Panel FoF 2012

One of the last panels of the 2012 Festival of Fear was meant as an homage to literary beasts, spoken of by some of the best writers in the genre today. Monica S. Kuebler once again moderated, this time joined by Kelley Armstrong, Sephera Giron and Greg Lamberson.

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DT Invades FanExpo

Holy shit, Fan Expo/Festival of Fear 2012 is in the books, and in a year centered around disappointment, the DT crew had a damn good time. I did, at least. I should explain my statement about disappointment: many things went wrong and many guests did not show up. If you’re an autograph hound, you still had your chances, but you definitely didn’t get the full meal.

I’m not into celebrities, so I can only describe through observation what occurred on “Celebrity Row”. John Carpenter appeared to be in great spirits throughout, and his fans always seemed to walk away satisfied. The same can be said of Jon Berenthal, Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery. Stan Lee‘s lineup was brutal and snaked through the horror section at times. I have no idea how other celebrities faired, except for Tony Todd, who had the biggest smile as he met up with the actors from Night Of The Living Dead.

If you’re still here, we’ll get to the horror literary festivities. The layout was improved over years passed, though vampire fic fans had to stand under an escalator in order to chat with either Karen Dales or Nancy Kilpatrick. Karen told me that she had fun and had sold very well. Nancy was less optimistic, because they put her at the farthest booth possible.

Speaking of Karen Dales, she was on a panel Thursday evening geared toward novice and inexperienced authors called Indie Genre Fiction. Moderated by Rue Morgue Managing Editor/Burning Effigy Press Founder Monica S. Kuebler, the dais included Sass Cadeaux, Stephen B. Pearl and Alan Draven, this discussion focused on topics near and dear to me. Full coverage with video shall be forthcoming.

Day two began with Greg Lamberson presenting his film Slime City Massacre…which I missed due to transit issues. I took the opportunity to wander the floor in search of something to write about here. I found Don D’Auria, a name who many of you should already be familiar with. Don made the trek northward to meet fans and give away books. That’s right, Samhain Horror did hourly giveaways of book prizes, and DT’s own Kendra won Ronald Malfi’s The Narrows. I managed to nab Don for a quick chat and faux pitch-session (as yet, I’ve nothing to pitch, but he graciously suggested that I send my MS to him when it is complete). I focused on very basic topics which are covered below in:

Don D’Auria’s Do’s/Do Not’s of Writing

  • DO – Write. Novels, novellas and the like don’t get written if pen doesn’t hit paper or fingers don’t hit keys.
  • DO – Be confident in what you wrote. “It’s easier to buy a book if the author believes in what they wrote and believes in themselves.”
  • DO – Clean up that manuscript. You’re submitting it for consideration, make sure it’s the best it can be. BUT…
  • DON’T – Hire a pro editor if submitting to any publisher. Don (and I assume most publishers) want to read YOUR book, not the book someone else helped create.
  • DON’T – Be afraid of rejection. This one is universal, and as an author myself it’s something that I’ve gotten used to. But, Don (and I) suggest that you use each and every rejection as a motivational guide to get better.

After stumbling over my words 3 times with arguably the most prominent editor in the genre, I can safely say that if I ever do submit to Samhain, I’ll be extra careful to dot my t’s and cross my i’s. I actually said that as I was walking away from the booth, I hope nobody heard me.

If I may derail this post right here, I have to commend HobbyStar for actually getting decent food into the building. I went for lunch soon after leaving Samhain and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised: the pizza was fresh and the sushi was real. No, I did not eat them at the same time.

Back to surreality, I was called upon to record audio for the Gore, Girls, And God-Forsaken Cinema panel which had absolutely nothing to do with literature, but more to do with having a damn good time enjoying horror. The panelists were: Tal Zimerman, Last Chance Lance, The Gore-Met, John W. Bowen and Aaron Lupton. Unfortunately, also in the room was a malfunctioning dvd player, however our panelists weren’t deterred. Aaron took charge and asked the audience for their favourite “squeamish scene” from a movie…and hilarity ensued. You’ll have to check back with us to see what exactly I did get audio of, I’m kinda excited to find out myself.

Day three was a vacation day for the DT staff, as we were unable to secure press credentials for the “big” day. As a result, I slept in and missed the What Is Goth? panel that included Voltaire, Liisa Ladouceur, Nancy Kilpatrick and was moderated by Tomb Dragomir. I believe our friends at Ottawa Horror did check out the panel, and you’d do well to check out their report.

Day four finished off the festivities in style, as Monica was back to moderating; this time with panelists Greg Lamberson, Sephera Giron and Kelley Armstrong chatting about Untraditional Beasts. Incredibly informative, but not much about beasts. Check back for the coverage and exclusive audio.

Shocked that I wanted somebody out of costume.

I took the rest of the day to wander around Artist Alley, and I’m kinda happy that I did. Not only did I find some incredibly talented paint slingers, I also ran into a young lady that won the Locke & Key collection that Colum gave out last year. It turns out that she and her associate comprise The Avod, a weekly horror podcast based on the fringe of Toronto. After pleasantries were exchanged, they were kind enough to interview yours truly for an upcoming episode. We chatted about the con, DT and my personal projects. (Ahem). I’m very thankful for the opportunity, and look forward to hearing just how out of touch I sound.

What authors do when we’re not writing.

After the good times and goodbyes, DT has to thank Rue Morgue, Fan Expo, Hobbystar and each and every one who made us feel incredibly welcome. To learn more about anyone mentioned, click their name. We will see everyone in 2013, and look for DT to have a presence at Toronto’s Word On The Street and possibly Darklit Durham.

Feature: Horror Author Sephera Giron Lets the Voices Speak For Themselves

If any of you are on the same page as I am, you’re thinking something like this:

Holy Shit! It’s Valentines Day! Oh man… did I remember to get something for my wife/husband? Did I get anything for the little guys and dolls in my life? Am I teaching my son the art of being suave and charming with the ladies?

Well… that last one is for the guys, really…

Well, for me it’s all checkmark, checkmark, checkmark. Actually… I’m teaching my son to be as charming as any rattled father of three can while also reading terrifying literature, spreading himself thinner than a layer of air, a jittering from the effects of caffeine replacing his blood stream.

And lookie here! It’s Valentines Day and I’m also on tap to talk about one of my favorite ladies to ever hit us over the head with horrific imagery, erotic scenes, and good housekeeping: witch-style.

When I think about the subject of Women in Horror literature, the first person who comes to mind, for me, is the illustrious Sephera Giron. A beautiful example of writer capable of releasing strong prose to her readership, a gorgeous specimen to behold, and an all around wonderful human being – Sephera is one of the ladies in the genre that can easily smash down the walls of the “boy’s club” mentality, and kick it square in the nuts. This is a woman who will just as easily make you tingly with erotic thoughts as she is to make you mad with feverish terror.

From supple women to dismembered bodies, Giron has touched it all and then some. And that, to me, is the mark of a brilliant and worthy artist to follow. Her reach is immense, and her body of work in incredible. She’s truly one of horror’s most cherished gems, in my eyes.

Ask any of the old Leisure authors, or anyone who’s been following the genre for a fair amount of time what they think of Giron’s work. I’m positive they’ll all agree with me when I say that Giron is every part the wolf in sheep’s clothing, a woman who is constantly watching for the opportunity to go straight for the literary jugular. The power in her words is phenomenal, and encompasses the very definition of horror in all of its various and sundry forms.

The first piece I read of this author’s body of work was House of Pain – a book that cause many mixed emotions in me for the fact that it hit really close to home. One of the characters in this story really got under my skin – he seemed too familiar, and it wasn’t until I spoke to Giron a few years later that I found out I was right to feel the way I did. The fact is, she did model this person after the true life monster I had thought about. And that, right there, cemented my appreciation of this author. Right away I found that I could rely on her to bring me to the edge of the uncomfortable realm that encompasses horror and reality, and scare me like not many others could.

Since that first taste of Giron’s wares, I’ve been a huge fan of her work. I own one of the biggest collections of her stories that I know of, and have even purchased several pieces from her personal collection, in passing. This is a woman that I don’t only admire as a horror author, but as a strong willed person, a phenomenally adventurous personality, and a mother who supports her children through every one of their ventures.

When I sat down to interview her, I had a feeling in my stomach that wouldn’t go away. I’m usually pretty nervous to speak to folks like Giron, but this was something else. I was stoked beyond belief. I mean, I’d hung out with her before at a bar, in John Everson’s hotel room along with Gord Rollo and James Roy Daley, at Word on the Street, and at Durham Darklit Fest. So why the hell was I feeling nervous now?

Because this was the first time I got to ask her questions that pointed directly at her and the career that she’d cultivated.

In the following conversation, you’ll hear about everything from Giron’s horror writing career that’s spanned more years than most authors can claim to; her adventures in erotica literature; the many presses she’s written for; her expertise in Tarot reading, Reiki, and Touch for Health; and various other things I didn’t know before now, even though I thought I did.

Feel free to listen to my conversation with Sephera here and marvel at my fanboy nervousness while I speak to one of my favorite authors of all time. As usual, you can also stream the audio with the player below. My apologies in advance for the strange quality of the audio. My Skype recorder hated me that evening.

When you’re done, don’t hesitate to feast your eyes on the videos below. Giron has given us permission to embed a few of these videos for your perusal, and each and every one of these is delectable, terrifying, strange, and utterly enticing. Giron works these stories with the practiced skill of a master actress, making the viewer wonder if she’s really as strange as the characters in her stories. I can assure you, though, that Giron is an entertainer at the peak of her ability, and someone I’m proud to call a friend.

C.

Release by Sephera Giron

Cyber Promethius by Sephera Giron

No One Listens (Part One) by Sephera Giron

No One Listens (Part Two) by Sephera Giron

The Narcissist’s BLT : The Beauty, The Linguist, and the Triathlete by Sèphera Girón

Whenever I talk about Erotica and Horror in literature, you can bet your ass I’ll utter the name Sèphera Girón several times in a single conversation. Why? ‘Cause she’s that damned good at what she does, that’s why. Whether blazing a path through the literary lanscape of pulp horror, or writing straight-up erotica, this author has it all.

The tingles that Giron is capable of creating, whether sexual or scary, make up the meat of what I look for in my horror fiction. The Narcissist’s BLT is Giron’s return to the horror, and with what reads like an updated and erotic version of The Modern Prometheus, the genre should be on their feet welcoming her back.

Dr. Miriam Frederick craves perfection and love and great sex. Since she has the tools and the intelligence, she spends her time trying to create the perfect lovers. These journals record her bloody sex fuelled experiments as she seduces her “subjects” and reinvents them in her own image.

The Beauty: A gorgeous woman.

The Linguist: A best-selling author of high intelligence

The Triathlete: A handsome man with the best sexual stamina.

Playing the sex card straight away, Girón invites us into a very intimate and personal account of sexual experimentation and curious deviancy through the diary and notes of Dr. Miriam Frederick, a scientist with a special mission – to create the perfect lover. The author never lets the reader believe that she’ll pull any punches, and promises nothing more than a great story with a few choice scenes of depravity, sexuality, and chills. And my oh my does she deliver.

Like Dr. Frankenstein in Shelley’s classic novel, Girón’s main character is in search of something more from her experiments. In Dr. Frederick’s case, she’s looking for the perfect lover – someone who embodies everything she holds dear in all of the experiences she’s had throughout her life. She takes into account the thoughtful nature of one man, the sexual stamina of another, and the beauty of a woman who entices her homosexual tendencies, and tries to mix them all into one comfortable living space. Where Girón really sells the piece is through her use of science to justify the actual transformation of the characters from autonomous to basic, but conscious, sexual slavery. That in itself is kind of terrifying. How far can science take us, and where will our modern Frankensteins decide to go next?

The way that Girón describes the process of change in these characters is completely believeable, but comes second to the pain and want that lies just beneath the surface of the main character. It’s very obvious that Girón uses Dr. Frederick’s career and goals as a scientist as a sort of trojan horse to the fact that she is severely wounded and lonely. Her mental stability is also at question, being that she’d even consider a venture such as this. Employing the use of nano-technology towards an almost pavlovian conditioning, Frederick basically seduces her quarry through mind-control and electronic vibrations. With believable realism, Girón crafts a story that sits on your conscience and sinks it’s way into your mind a little like the experiments that her main character employs on her subjects.

The brutality and gore in this novella are not shucked for the sake of erotic and/or sci-f infused horror themes. Make no mistake: Sèphera Girón has what it takes to bring you to the brink of the most uncomfortable situations, and writes with the best of the bad boys in the genre. Her descriptions range from slightly painful to full out gross, painting the literary canvas with enough blood and bodily fluids to sate even the most hardened of genre fans. There’s a point in the novella where the good Doctor finds herself in a very compromising position, and Girón doesn’t hold back on her at all. The author plays favorites with nobody, apparently, and doles out the punishment fairly throughout the entire piece. All of the characters in this novella feel the pain in one way or another, promting some of the most original and welcomed death scenes this reviewer has read in a while.

When it comes to sex, Girón writes with the best of them. Combining gore-filled scenes and murderous themes with some of the most erotic prose you’re likely to come across, Girón provides a full out assault on the reader’s vulnerable senses. From sleazy sex clubs to one-off trysts in a restaurant bathroom, Girón knows what the reader wants and delivers with aplomb. Her descriptions of all things carnal are beautifully described and never fall short of the mouthwatering, heart-pounding, exciting nature that I’ve come to love and expect from this author.

The Nacissist’s BLT has a bit of everything for those looking to spice up their horror with a little bit of the naughtiness that Erotic fiction has to offer. Girón is in top form with this release, and doesn’t look like she’s going to stop. And I pray to every little god and demon that she doesn’t.

C.