Tuesday, May 22, 2012

BLOOD LITE: AFTERTASTE – Roundtable 4

BLOOD LITE: AFTERTASTE edited by Kevin J. Anderson (Gallery Books)

The third book in the hilarious and horrifying national bestselling anthology series from the Horror Writers Association—a frightfest of sidesplitting stories from such New York Times bestselling authors as Jim Butcher, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Heather Graham, L.A. Banks, Kelley Armstrong, and many more!

Horror fiction explores the dark side of human nature, often pushing the limits of violence, graphic gore, and extreme emotions. Blood Lite III: Aftertaste puts the fun back into dark fiction, featuring a wide range of humorous and highly entertaining horror-filled tales.

After my interview with Kevin J. Anderson, the Blood Lite editor, I tapped a bunch of the authors to talk about why humor is so important in the horror genre, and what inspired their horrifically hilarious tales. This is part four of four.



What led you to write the story that appears in BLOOD LITE: AFTERTASTE?


  • Lisa Morton: It’s about animals taking over. My cats ordered me to write it.

  • JG Faherty: Other than the desire to be in a popular anthology that actually has a chance to earn royalties for its contributors? Probably a yen to try and write something that was funny. I don’t normally do straight-out comedy; I will sometimes work it into a story or novel, a funny line or scene here and there, but I’m not per say a ‘funny’ writer in the way Jeff Strand can be, for example. He can make you roll on the floor with laughter while dumping a bucket of guts on you. And it has nothing to do with sense of humor—lots of funny people can’t write funny stories. It’s all how you’re wired as a writer. For me, writing something humorous is much harder than writing something frightening or sad. I really had to work at my story for this collection (point of fact—I didn’t make it into the first two Blood Lite books, which tells you A) I had to learn to write funny and B) Kevin only chooses the very best for this series). As for how the story actually came about, I just always felt that if you mix horror and hillbillies together, you’re going to get something comical. Actually, mix hillbillies and anything together and the results are usually comical. Just watch any reality show that takes place in the South.

  • Mike Baron: I don’t know where “Mint In Box” came from. Somewhere in my skull.

  • Jeff Ryan: My Blood Lite: Overbite story went for the gross-out, so I tried to do something with a repellant character, instead of nice characters doing repellant things.

  • David Sakmyster: While out house-hunting and hating every second of the experience, deciding finally in the midst of being shown a house that all this wasn’t worth it and we were just going to stay put, I just started asking the real estate agent ridiculous questions, like: “In full disclosure, how many bodies are buried out back? And where are the secret trap doors?  How big is the dungeon?” And that kind of led to this story…

  • John Alfred Taylor: I kept seeing awful prefab steeples tacked on churches everywhere, and wondered where they came from.  Then I googled a few of the manufacturers. As soon as I imagined each steeple shipping with a resident demon I had my story.  All I had to do was develop the workings of the company.  Online catalogs helped.  All the demons are traditional, named in one source or another.  To the best of my knowledge Gorgo’s hairdresser is not listed in the yellow pages. 

  • Adrian Ludens: I think most readers will recognize what inspired me. This is not so much a parody as it is an homage. At least that was my intention. I think an entire book would be fun to write (and read!) from a ‘Grown Up’ perspective and in this style.

    It’s like that classic question: ‘Door number one, two or three?’ I’m the guy who wants to go back and find out what I missed; see what’s behind ALL the doors! For me this story was a fun romp through what would be a terrible, harrowing situation in real life.

  • Chris Abbey: That story would be longer than the story itself. I was originally going to do a zombie story, but I figured Kevin would be overrun with them. At the time, every time I turned on the news there was something about Bristol Palin on Dancing with the Stars.  I kept joking about that to my wife, who suggested I write it down instead of annoying her. Add in the fact that I couldn’t think of anything to write about, but I kept having this Donny and Marie parody from an old Mad Magazine running through my head. Then Phyllis Diller from Mad Monster Party, and I knew I had to try being cartoonist Jack Davis for a while. What I didn’t count on is that I’d actually have to watch Dancing with the Stars, so I have suffered for my art.

    On the technical side, it was strange because I didn’t write it in order. All the scenes were first, then it was, “Here’s your scene, what’s your joke?” The last line written was a) my favorite [Rehearse the krakken!] and b) near the middle. I ditched a scene with a siren as the musical guest that I just couldn’t make work.

    I didn’t finish until right near the deadline, which once again proves that comedy is all about timi...

  • Christopher Golden: If I remember correctly, Kevin Anderson asked me to do something for the second volume, but I told him I wasn’t funny.  My friend John McIlveen asked me to do something for a humorous horror anthology as well, and I said the same thing.  When Kevin came back to me for Blood Lite 3, I insisted I wasn’t funny, but he was doing a story for my anthology THE MONSTER’S CORNER, and I felt like I had to give it a shot.  I can tell a joke as well as the next guy (unless the next guy is Jeff Strand), but to WRITE something funny is entirely different.  So I turned my doubts inward, and wrote a story about a guy who will do almost anything to be funny, but just isn’t.  I won’t say more about it, but I smiled a lot while writing it, so hopefully that counts for something.

  • Jeff Strand: Self-plagiarism! One of my first novels, HOW TO RESCUE A DEAD PRINCESS (published shortly after the Y2K bug destroyed most of the earth) has a “Jack and the Beanstalk” spoof with a throwaway line about the ridiculous idea of grinding bones to make bread. A little over a decade later, I thought “What if somebody actually tried to do that?” and that led to “Scrumptious Bone Bread.”

  • Kelley Armstrong: It was sparked by the usual thing: just another "what if?" question. In my book series, I gave custody of two young adult werewolves to a secondary Pack member. In "V Plates," my Pack guy is persuaded to help the younger boy lose his virginity by taking him to a whorehouse. That's probably never a wise idea, but given the characters involved, this is guaranteed to go wrong. Horribly wrong.


Related Articles
- Kevin J. Anderson interview


BLOOD LITE: AFTERTASTE AUTHORS


Lisa Morton has written six movies, four books of non-fiction, two novellas, one novel, and somewhere around fifty short stories. She’s a three-time Stoker Award winner, a recipient of the Black Quill Award, and her cats think she’s awesome. She lives online at www.lisamorton.com.


JG Faherty is an Active Member in the Horror Writers Association. His first novel, CARNIVAL OF FEAR, was published in 2010. His second book, GHOSTS OF CORONADO BAY, was released in 2011, and his third will be coming out in late 2011 as well. His other credits include Cemetery Dance, Shroud Magazine, and several major anthologies, among them Appalachian Winter Hauntings, Legends of the Mountain State 3 & 4, Bound for Evil, Dark Territories, Horror Library IV, and the upcoming Beast Within 2 and Best New Zombie Tales 3.

A freelance writer with over 15 years of experience, his varied background includes working as a laboratory manager, accident scene photographer, zoo keeper, research scientist, and resume writer. When it comes to humor, he enjoys teaching bad words to small children, watching Married with Children, wearing ugly Hawaiian shirts, and trading insults with his friends.


Mike Baron broke into comics with Nexus, his groundbreaking science fiction title co-created with illustrator Steve Rude. He has written for Creem, The Boston Globe, Isthmus, AARP Magazine, Oui, Madison, Fusion, Poudre Magazine, Argosy and many others. Nexus is currently being published in hardcover by Dark Horse. Baron has won two Eisners and an Inkpot for his work on Nexus, now being published in five languages including French, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Baron’s revamp of DC’s The Flash continues to garner great reviews. Marvel recently published two collections of Baron’s Work, The Essential Punisher Vol. II and The Essential Punisher Vol. III.

A prolific creator, Baron is at least partly responsible for The Badger, Spyke, Feud, The Hook, and The Architect. The latter is available as a graphic novel from Big Head Press. www.bloodyredbaron.net

Photo by
Mikkel Paige

Jeff Ryan is the author of Super Mario: How Nintendo Conquered America. He first got interested in mixing comedy and horror when a clown murdered his dog.
twitter.com/#!/dailymario | supermariobook.com


David Sakmyster is an award-winning author and screenwriter whose short stories have appeared in The Writers of the Future Anthology, ChiZine, Horrorworld, Black Static, Talebones, Abyss & Apex  and others.  THE PHAROS OBJECTIVE and forthcoming THE MONGOL OBJECTIVE are the first two novels in a series about psychic archaeologists. He’s also written the horror novel CRESCENT LAKE, and the historical fiction epic, SILVER AND GOLD. You can step into his mind at www.sakmyster.com.

John Alfred Taylor is a retired professor of English in Southwest Pennsylvania, and has been writing science fiction and horror for years. He has been published in GALAXY, GALILEO, GRUE, OCEANS OF THE MIND, and ASIMOV’S, and had stories reprinted in YEAR’S BEST HORROR STORIES. A collection of Taylor’s horror stories, HELL IS MURKY, is available from Ash-Tree Press.


Adrian Ludens is a radio personality and program director for a classic rock station in the Black Hills of South Dakota. His fiction has appeared in Morpheus Tales, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and a number of small press horror anthologies. Recent appearances include stories in Made You Flinch 2: Two For Flinching (edited by Bill Tucker, Library of Horror Press) and in Zombie Kong (edited by James Roy Daley, Books of the Dead Press). Adrian first short story collection is available on Amazon.

Chris Abbey was created in the 60s during a bad thunderstorm and someone’s bad trip. His hobbies are grave-robbing, sewer-lurking, and macrame. He is considering a job offer from a major magazine, and will consider it further if the offer ever actually happens. The picture is a still from a YouTube video in which he discusses how to tell a joke (true).

Christopher Golden is an award-winning, bestselling author of novels for adults and teens, as well as a comic book writer, screenwriter, and editor.  He was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family, and his original novels have been published in more than fourteen languages in countries around the world.  His is not funny.  Please visit him at www.christophergolden.com

Jeff Strand: Stories by Jeff Strand have appeared in all three BLOOD LITE volumes. He’s written a bunch of novels, including stuff like WOLF HUNT and FANGBOY, and he’ll give you a great big hug if you visit his website at www.jeffstrand.com.

Kelley Armstrong: Kelley Armstrong has been telling stories since before she could write.  Her earliest written efforts were disastrous.  If asked for a story about girls and dolls, hers would invariably feature undead girls and evil dolls, much to her teachers' dismay.  All efforts to make her produce "normal" stories failed.  Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves, while safely locked away in her basement writing dungeon.  She's the author of the "Women of the Otherworld" paranormal suspense series, "Darkest Powers" young adult urban fantasy trilogy, and Nadia Stafford crime series.  She lives in southwestern Ontario with her husband, kids and far too many pets. www.KelleyArmstrong.com

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