Horror for Horror’s sake: Not

Having just watched the original Frankenstein and The Bride of Frankenstein I realized great horror is timeless. More importantly the tales of the undead shed light upon the human condition, our humanity or lack of it. Ironically enough, the Frankenstein monster turns out to be more human than its creator or any of us for that matter.

Great horror does more than just frighten and entertain the reader. It should also enlighten. I have written four extremely dark and gruesome novels, all with truckloads of gore and imagery that is hard to shake. But is that the story? No, far from it. All of my writing has a firm foundation in friendship, honor and the golden rule. Do unto others as you would have them do for you. Without it the story falls apart. My protagonists are not pillars of society, but rather part of the evil that writhes through the pages. They eat, burp, shit, doubt themselves and basically have all the frailties of everyman. The antagonist, my monster, is more the darker side of humanity than some slime dripping creature with insane teeth. Greed, ignorance, envy, power and hatred are far more haunting than what lurks beneath your bed.

The horror hits home when the reader sees himself reflected in evil. We all have a little of it in us and once you get a glimpse, a certain morbid curiosity compels you to keep reading. Like a zit in the morning mirror, you have to look close, taking in the disgusting details before the final squeeze. Splat! Yes, we are that freaky as people.

My characters are human thrust in to a super human situation. It is who we are, not what, that makes the leap of believability of my novels that much easier. Of course it doesn’t hurt that first few pages set a cruel hook and you won’t be released until the final pages are finished. The pace is wicked and action non-stop and gore, over the top. But it is not horror for horror’s sake. The violence and blood-drenched scenes serve a purpose. But remove them and you’ve torn the heart out of the work. It is the nature of the beast.

The readers of horror novels are probably the best judge of what works and what doesn’t. Thus far the ‘anoxic zone’ series and my new breakaway novel, ‘Out of Stone,’ have received the nod of approval from readers and reviewers around the world. I will admit to being criticized a few times for excessive violence and the use of disturbing imagery. I stand guilty on all accounts. Only the readers can sentence me for what I have done. At this point I can live with the verdict. They would like some more.

Tired of pablum horror? Sink your teeth in to something that might bite back!
Check out the links below.

www.promotehorror.com/2013/04/out-of-stone.html

 http://www.blackwaterbooks.com

Aloha john g

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Cooking with Blood…

ImageWell, all right. We at Black Water Books are pretty stoked after receiving several reviews on my new novel, Out Of Stone. It seems I’ve done it again with phrases like, ’where does he get this stuff?’ and ‘Couldn’t put the book down…’. Plus my favorite, ‘You’re a sick f*ck john g.’ If you have read any of my previous works I’m sure you would agree.

Out Of Stone begins with a brief introduction of our main character, Sechra. A skeleton version of her backstory reacquaints with her twenty years later.

With the stage set and your mind already a bit twisted by her childhood experiences the tale plunges into the macabre tapestry of her destiny. Legends of ancient Romania and allegoricals far more recent are woven into the fabric. The threads of the lives of others, the why and how’s are sewn into the background of our understanding.

Of course, as happens in most of my work there is a shadowed history lesson too. The dark ages of Eastern Europe are about as bleak a time for mankind as it gets. Yes we get to go there and live for a while. This trip is strange yet familiar. Man’s in humanity to his fellow man are timeless. Be thankful it’s only a book.

As books go this one rips and you’ll be turning the pages as fast as you can eat it up. It has been brought to my attention that there are a few minor editing issues. Reading a raw manuscript it’s not. Out Of Stone is neither under done nor over cooked. I consider Out Of Stone seared. Burnt on the outside and bloody on the inside. Personally I’d bring a knife and fork. Enjoy the feast!!!

Available online at www.blackwaterbooks.com/Out_Of_Stone.html
Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Out-Stone-john-g-rees/dp/0983192073
and other fine places!

‘Out Of Stone’ Rocks!

Out Of Stone by john g rees
Out Of Stone by john g rees

My new book ‘Out of Stone’ continues the saga of the epic ‘anoxic zone’ series. Twenty years have gone by since we last met Karuna and were introduced to the child Sechra. Jake and Johnny have left the scene along with their arch nemesis, Vlad Tepes III. To say they took evil with them would be a lie. You cannot battle against darkness and expect to win.

History will not repeat itself within these pages. You, my dear reader, deserve far better than that. Tepes is just a pawn in evil’s chess game. The game is young, with more disturbing, more powerful pieces yet to move. ‘Out Of Stone’ is one of those moves.

Two supporting characters in ‘Halocline’ have been forced into play. Whether by chance or fate, it is hard to say, but for Sechra and Karuna the game turns exceptionally ugly.

Sechra’s innocence was torn from her at an early age. In a moment of hatred, desperation, and fear she opened her little soul story to the breath of darkness. Unknown to Sechra and those she loved this darkness, this evil directed her, guiding her to become a master sculptor. After a series of frightening and unsettling experiences, Sechra must take a treacherous journey by motorcycle deep into the mountains of the Transylvanian Alps. A dark fate awaits her.

Karuna, in her love for the child she raised, must reach passed the darkness within her own soul if she wishes to save Sechra from a fate worse than death. Sometimes love is not enough.

‘Out of Stone’ is a challenging, disturbing search to discover what will happen when Sechra finishes her final sculpture!

Enjoy!

THE FOURTH NOVEL: Into The Depths Of Hell

The initial edit completed as well as the follow-up rewrite for my new novel; working title –Tears of Stone –and is now being formatted to send to my editor and readers. Having sailed into uncharted waters with my first three books, anoxic zone, Halocline, and Black Tide, and setting new standards for gore and violence, the fourth could to be no less than a horrific ride into the gaping mouth of hell.

Tears of Stone(working title) revolves around a young character we meet in Halocline. Twenty years have passed since the revolution that created a free country. Freed from the yoke of Megacorp and a tyrannical, cruel and insane despot, the country grew and prospered. Slavery and slaughter during the revolution however left the country with nationwide epidemic of PTSD. Most dealt with it. A few unfortunately, did not. This opened the gates of hell once again. A metaphor, for they had actually never really been closed.

Our protagonist, against the odds, survived the barbarically horrendous revolution, at which she had a front row seat. What was witnessed in those early years hardened the tender areas of youth. The seeds of hatred fell upon the fertile soil of her mind, giving her strength to endure the madness.

In a twist of fate the girl is saved from the nightmare her young life had become, but not before her hatred had taken root. Her life on the run from the madness of the revolution was replaced with one of privilege, education and art. Through her art, the girl turned woman, and was able to relieve herself of some of the memories life had bequeathed her. Notoriety and fame would come from her ability to carve stone, touching her life, changing it forever.

As her talent blossomed so did the darkness that so early in life reached out for her. The hatred, anguish, and horror at seeing her family and community brutally tortured, slain, and placed in chains, wanted to live amongst men. This thing, this hatred, this evil would use the girl it bonded with so long ago to bring it to life.

The first few pages set the hook of the story. Then, until the end, we get deep into our characters’ heads to understand the nightmare their lives have become. More than one antagonist exerts pressure on the tale. Hatred, evil, greed, revenge, are my usual nemeses. Once again they rear their ugly heads to wreak havoc on mankind, being truly the sources of all that ails us. Our tale takes us on a ride into the macabre, literally. If you have read my previous works you know how wild things can get. And they do get a tad outré. Not to disappoint my readers, the action and intensity is up to par. My wife, Mara, after doing the initial read, aside from being grossed out, said that ‘this may be the best thing you’ve written.’ I’m good with that, because she is right. Though Tears Of Stone is a stand alone read, the story is related to anoxic zone, Halocline and Black Tide, therefore reading one of the previous will shed some light on a few of the inside jokes and characters. Hold on as I take you where few readers have gone before.

The Wheel Turns : Decompressed

Before leaving on what turned out to be an epic journey, of both an outer and inner nature, I finished my fourth novel. The working title is ‘Tears of Stone.’ That title however has been overworked to death. I had hoped to complete it so my wife, Mara, could read the manuscript while I was motorcycle riding.

It always comes as a surprise to finish an idea in written form. You can tell when the end is near, 100 pages, 50 pages, but when it comes – WOW!!! Suddenly the writing is over and the rush of a ‘high’ is on; a somewhat sublime rush that is. Sure there are details that need attention, there always are, but they do not spoil the moment. Having the novel completed emptied the mind of worry, allowing the call of the road to come in loud and clear. That and the excitement of what Mara would say about the story when I returned. A month later I got the green light. After a rough edit the manuscript is ready for a rewrite, which I am doing now.

The tale revolves around a character you meet in Halocline, my second novel. Her story takes place twenty years after the revolution. She is now a grown woman with her own savage history and dark destiny to contend with. In dealing with horrific memories of childhood, that assault her constantly, an artist was born. Her art was a cathartic to relieve the conscious mind of the cruel and hideous visions.

As therapy the art worked in a psychiatric kind of way, creating what appeared to be a normal, though somewhat driven, personality. The unconscious mind, however, has a way of undoing the neat little knots we tie things up with. Life began to unravel when she finished the last piece for an exhibition.

Hell was just about to be unborn through her art.

It is a rather twisted little story about hate, revenge, ignorance, greed and the little things you never see that go on right behind the eyes. You just never know what someone is actually thinking. Trust me, most of the time you don’t want to know either.

You have to dig deep to come up with a tale like this. Although related to the previous novels, it is also a stand alone read. Of course, reading the first three novels is recommended as they are as ‘rip your throat out’ as it gets and… you’ll get a few more of the inside jokes. Like the others – anoxic zone, Halocline and Black Tide, you are grabbed on page one and ripped through a ride of terror and the macabre that will leave you gasping at the end… and wanting more. From the coast of Romania on the Black Sea, to Istanbul and the Transylvanian and Carpathian mountains, a journey into the darker parts of our minds and souls is about to be published.

Actually it will be a few more months until we print. Worth the wait to be sure and a chance to catch up on your reading. It’s back to work for me. When you call yourself a writer you better be doing just that. A little concentration, a little discipline and a lot of being able to sit there for hours at a time, waiting for blood to flood the page as you try to contain it, turning the crimson flow to words. And tuning out the unimportant distractions, aka, the cell is off. That’s what voice mail is for. Running with the ball for as long as you can each time you get it. But mostly it’s just doing your best that makes all the difference. It’s that ‘your best’ part of the equation that makes anything possible.

When you are doing your best there is always time to help others do it, too, but that’s another blog.

Aloha!

The Wheel Turns – 2012 X-Country Ride : Wheels on Fire

THE MACHINES, THE GEAR, THE PLAN, THE RIDERS

Suddenly all three things started to fall into place. Time, money and desire. You make these things happen and when the moment comes you are ready and jump! The motorcycles were BMW: a ‘95 gs 1200r with close to 100,000 miles, just broken in. We would roll that odometer in a few days. The second machine was a ‘10 F 650 gs chain drive with less than a thousand miles. Not broken in, yet! Both had hard side bags, top boxes manufactured by BMW and Touratech, a welcome addition for anyone going long distances.

 The gear was simple enough. Safety comes first, period. The Aerostitch One-Piece Roadcrafter had everything we look for as riders when it comes to protection and kick ass looks. Plus you can put it on in few seconds and get it off just as fast when the sun is hammering you with 111 degrees, as it was in Kansas (and almost the whole ride). With the leg and main zippers fully zipped, the vents wide open we rode comfortably. Zipping down the main zipper to provide ‘more’ airflow, for me, was counterproductive. The extra hot wind stole your body water at a wicked rate. Zipped and vented provided the proper balance for safety and comfort.

Helmets, boots, and gloves are always de rigueur. Each rider chooses what is right for themselves. Mine was an AFX with visor and smoked windscreen. Both aided well in keeping the relentless sun at bay and giving superior airflow and view. Kale’s was a traditional SHOEI, his touring boots and gloves, custom. Mine varied in that they were steel toed Wellingtons and roper’s gloves.

 

 THE PLAN

 The route was clear enough. Take one of the original trans-cons (also the longest) from one terminus to the other.
U. S. Route 6 – highway of the Grand Army of the Republic – fit all the necessary requirements. A plus was that Route 6 runs as a two lane highway for much of its length. There are sections where she runs concurrent with larger freeways yet always seemed to return to the double band of black.

 The western terminus of Route 6 is cause for some minor dispute between Bishop Ca. and Long Beach, Ca. Each claims to be the official end, or beginning, depending on how you view such things. Bishop was chosen. To make up the difference our first day of the tour took us through Yosemite; The Tioga Pass, Lee Vining, down the eastern range and across the first of many great basins to the town of Bishop. From then on it was little more than following the map. NOT!

The eastern end of Route 6 is Provincetown, Mass. It’s a fair distance, no matter how you look at it, and just the first half of the journey.

 THE RIDERS

 Kale Williams, old enough to know better, young enough to still give it a go. A life-long rider, Kale still renews his skill level by taking courses and of course, applying what he learns to the road. He has been criss-crossing the roadways on two wheels since the original Kawasaki Kz 650 hit the market. Kale knows the road and the road knows him. It’s always a pleasure to tour with that kind of experience; you learn something new every day.

  John G. Rees, that’s me – author, daily rider (Suzuki dl650) and one of a few who can sit in the saddle for 12 hours and go for more if that’s what it takes to keep up with Kale. Then there are the tools. I know how to use them. They always come in handy to either keep us on the road or, as was most often the case, aid another biker or motorist on their way. There is always time to stop and lend a hand especially on some of the stretches in the middle of nowhere that have suddenly become somewhere for somebody.

 As with most journeys of this nature, there is more than one tour happening; an inner and outer trip. We were prepared for the outer adventure. The inner would require all our strength, endurance, compassion and kindness if we were to make it the entire way as we had begun. A couple of bikers and miles to go.

 ON THE ROAD

 The first day was a warm up. San Francisco Bay to Bishop, Ca. via Yosemite, the Tioga Pass and Lee Vining. The Pass and Lee Vining was a downhill run with s-curves, hairpins, shear drops, and captivating views. Into the first of many natural basins we met the future – long stretches of arrow straight road and the sun overhead in a cloudless sky. There was a warning with the bright sun and warm air that rushed passed, stealing minute quantities of your body water, continuously, unnoticeable. Soon there would be no warning. When you are standing in the fire, you know it!

 The roads were clean, devoid of tourists and perfect for breaking in a new bike. The F 650 gs shifts effortlessly, allowing the rider to give the road ahead all of their attention. No box of rocks here! We were cruising the day away, with the exception of the caveat, the ride was uneventful. A couple hundred miles and change later we pulled into our first campground in Bishop, Ca.

 This campground would prove to be a prime example of what we would be encountering in the way of rustic accommodations. The parks were clean, staff, friendly and helpful, grounds and campsites level and amenities in good repair. Then, of course, the folk who camped in every conceivable level of comfort; from semi-sized RV’s to one the size of an old VW bug, harem tents and one-man’s – we all had a common desire; to be at this place, at this time, and to share its beauty around. Whether a smile, getting or giving directions (I was forever asking where the *&%# am I?), talk of the road, bikes or lending a hand, the goodness of the people shined through. And we saw this everywhere! In times such as these with less and less of the time we so desire, that there is always time to help someone else.

I will admit to a bias here. Bikers, underneath all that gear, leather, gloves and helmet are some of the nicest peeps you will ever meet. It all starts with a smile.

 Image

NEXT UP: INTO THE HEAT

A NOVELIST’S RESEARCH RIDE

When I started writing I suddenly found myself reading more than ever before. The reason was research. An idea, a vision of sorts was becoming words on paper. Alas imagination will only take you so far, unless you’re writing something so far out that there is no research data available. Good luck with that.

While writing the first fifty pages of ‘anoxic zone’ it occurred to me I didn’t have enough. Of imagination and inspiration there was plenty, yet without facts and details of different time periods there was no way to tie my vision to reality. This also helps the reader to make the leap of believability. While I wanted to have a firm foundation for the novel I did not want to rewrite history or give a history lesson, at least one you weren’t able to catch me giving. There’s the rub, trying to find a balance between fact and fiction and weaving them together seamlessly.

Mark Twain gave the best advice concerning this conundrum, and I paraphrase, “Don’t let too many facts ruin a good story.”

The funny thing is that the research does not end – it evolves. About the time you think you’ve got it, you will find yourself back with your reference material. As I’ve stretched my bounds with the second book ‘Halocline’, and the third, ‘Black Tide’, so has the research grown to accommodate new ideas, locations, action and drama.

Doing my ‘homework’ has taken on a new level as well. I still Google my brains out, but for my next works some of the study will be experiential. I have had the good luck to tour the U.S. on a motorcycle a few times with my friend Kale. This ride will take us from the west coast to the east coast on Route 6, the longest trans-con in the states. Two lanes will carry us through the heart of the heartland, where a good deal of my next book will take place. Route 6 goes right through my hometown where the incubus began.

A ride of this length, well over ten thousand miles, requires a good deal of research of its own for the trip to go smoothly. Riding sixteen hours a day means you’d better be suited properly for comfort and protection, not only from the road but also the elements. Being unprepared will make the journey miserable and miserable sucks. Kale is a lifetime rider and remembers the days when blue jeans and a leather jacket were de rigueur. For touring now he recommends an Aerostitch Roadcrafter one-piece suit. I was lucky enough on my first two tours for a friend to loan me one of his Roadcrafter’s for me to use. You quickly learn how function and comfort can come together in such a sweet package. But after two borrowings, and if you’re going to keep riding, you have to get one of your own. This year I worked with the good people at Aerostitch to get my sizing correct and purchased my first ‘Stitch’. This is one of the only motorcycle suits still made in the U.S.A. with a quality level that surpasses anything on the market.

From the blistering deserts of southern Utah to the frozen peaks of the Rockies the Roadcrafter was made to make the best of it. You can ride with next to nothing on or be fully fleeced and you will be covered in comfort, protection and a style that can’t be beat. It’s also the only road gear you can don in ten seconds, which in my books, will be a very handy feature as there are often times when it’s better to run than stay and fight. For those of you who have read my books, Jake gets the shit kicked out of him more times than I can remember. An Aerostitch could have saved him a few learning curves.

Since you write about what you know, motorcycling is working its way into more and more of my prose. My next book has a young woman riding the mountain roads of Romania on a BMW Adventure bike in search of an evil that entered her as a child. Now with a customized Roadcrafter that has an inside slip pocket for a twelve gauge riot shotgun that pulls out through one of the suit’s side vents she just might make it. Seems pretty cool to me.

Research is key to many good books. The better you study up, the more likely the words will come out better than expected. Readers can always tell when a writer is being lazy or full of it. I try very hard not to let that happen. It’s crucial because once they feel like they’ve been had the book gets put down. I do not want that to ever happen, to anybody.

Come July when Kale plans on riding cross-country, no doubt I will sit down, if I can, and do the day’s journal and write some till I fall asleep. This sounds a whole lot better than working out the kinks and chaffing of poor quality riding gear. You see, we ride sixteen to eighteen hours a day, everything must fit perfect. Thus the Roadcrafter made by Aerostitch in the U.S.A.

Kale and I will be sharing the trip on my blog and facebook so when the time gets closer I’ll be getting the word out. Pictures and everything!

There is no doubt in my mind that each day of the ride will be twenty–four hours of deep research that I hope to share with you in my upcoming novels. If you haven’t yet, check out my website at www.blackwaterbooks.com

See you out on the road!

DREAM THE DREAM OF DEATH

In two days the dream becomes a reality. The ‘anoxic zone’ series of my horror books will be made available to you in a major Kindle way. A tidal wave of death will flood the mind, washing away any preconceived notion of what horror is. Isn’t it about time you lost some sleep due to the macabre imagery of what you’ve read or forgot about your favorite show because you can’t put down the book?

Lower pricing now and on the 28th of January FREE ‘anoxic zone’ downloads on KDP Select by Amazon! Both ‘Halocline’ and ‘Black Tide’ will be next up! Free downloads and grave bottom pricing!

Here’s your chance to get your hands on some of the most gruesomely disturbing literature ever written. Don’t miss it!

In another time I would have gone to prison for writing this stuff.

DIVING INTO THE –ANOXIC ZONE SERIES- A THREE BOOK EPIC

The excitement boils. My novels will be hitting KDP Select promo in tandem – with ‘anoxic zone’ already online and its first free download set for next Saturday, Jan. 28th.
My three books will be shuffled into view weekly, beginning with ‘anoxic zone’, until our time is up. Free downloads and epubs at incredible pricing. This is a great opportunity for the public and us in releasing the novels to a worldwide group of readers. For those that have read my books this is a chance to pick them up cheap for your Kindle. And for you those of you who haven’t, well…
NOW’s the time to read the best of outre’ horror that is available on the market today! It’s a wicked ride. Make a pot of coffee and hold on!!!

www.amazon.com/anoxic-zone-ebook/dp/B004GEAGYQ/