Monday, December 31, 2012

FEEDING AXEL’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS


New Year's Eve has always been a time for looking back to the past, and more importantly, forward to the coming year. It's a time to reflect on the changes we want to make and resolve to follow through on those changes.
I’m going to ask Dr. Axel J. Hyde what are his top New Year’s resolutions.

 

Jeff: Recent polls conducted by General Nutrition Centers, Quicken, and others shows that more than 50% of Americans vow to appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year. Work shouldn't always come first.
So, do you plan on spending more time with your loved ones?

Axel: I don’t think so. I have no one to care about, being a solitary and barely social individual. I’d like to find someone ‘special’, someone like … me, but, honestly, who would live with a weirdo like me. I just plan to simulate my affection for my … what’s that word? Ah, girlfriend.
Yeah, I have one, but it’s just a way to distract people attention. Morena is a woman with issues toward men, so perfectly fits with me. We are more like playmates than lovers.
Yet, I feel …
Forget it, I don’t feel. I can’t.

Jeff: Regular exercise has been associated with more health benefits than anything else known to man. Studies show that it reduces the risk of some cancers, increases longevity, helps achieve and maintain weight loss, enhances mood, lowers blood pressure, and even improves arthritis. In short, exercise keeps you healthy and makes you look and feel better. Why not make this the time to start getting in shape?

Axel: Me? I can’t get bigger and stronger than this. I practice kayaking in the swamps, love hiking on Seminole trails and hunting. Yes, hunting. I hunt a lot. So, that’s a worthless resolution, and to be honest, I’d like to develop a big bulge on my belly and spend more time watching TV as most do. But it won’t happen …

Jeff: Over 66% of adult Americans are considered overweight or obese by recent studies, so it is not surprising to find that weight loss is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. Why would wish something for like that?

Axel: Being overweight would mean having a normal and peaceful life to me. No needs, except rushing to the nearest fast food for a greasy meal and some carbonated beverage. For as much as it may sound weird … yes, I wish I were a big fat ass.

Jeff:  Given the hectic, stressful lifestyles of millions of Americans, it is no wonder that "enjoying life more" has become a popular resolution in recent years. Just get out and try something new! Take up a new hobby or try your hand at skiing. Go to a theater performance, or head to the local spa.

Axel: As I said, I practice a lot of sports, so that’s out of question. A new hobby? Nah, I have too many … none pleasant to Joe/Jane Average.

Jeff: I can’t ask you to quit smoking because you don’t. To pay back your debts because you have none. Help others? Learn something new? In short, Axel, what are you resolutions?

Axel: I don’t know. I never plan things like those. I don’t even understand this practice. I remember my uncle Angus doing that every year - may he burn in Hell - and regularly ignoring his vows from day one. Same thing happens to a lot of people. No, I’ll be more realistic, being a tidy and organized … being. Here’s a list of what I want to do next year, but please, keep it secret.

Jeff: Mouth’s sealed.

Axel: First thing first, I want a brand new vanadium-reinforced chainsaw. One of those shiny ones that never get rusty teeth. Next, I want to understand more this ‘thing’ inside me, this ‘urge’ I’m feeding. For that, I’m planning a trip to New Orleans, my work schedule permitting. Want to pay a visit to a Houngan who used to commune with spirits in Grassy swamp last year and having some illicit fun with little gals on the side. I never met him, but one of those poor little bodies we fished out of Lover’s point gave me some … clues about his whereabouts. I’ll ask him a couple questions before … saying him goodbye.
My last one is about Morena, my … bestfriend? Nah, girlfriend – heck, I hate that word. I want her to find someone else. I think she deserves some lovin’. After all, she’s human, unlike me.

Jeff: Sweet, thanks for the interview. Now, would you please untie me? This darn slab is chilling my ass …



HAPPY 2013, FOLKS
Stay away from troubles and have a look at the new version of ‘Feeding the Urge’.
What’s new?
A wonderful cover, some minor tweaks (edited by Natalie G. Owens) making it flow better. An introduction by Kat ‘Vengeance is Mine’ Yares and one from me. Maps of Prosperity Glades – you can even pinpoint it on map of Florida now – and some funny pictures.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Suck me dry! 10 Free copies of 'Spirits and Thought Forms'


I'm a bit 'Scroogeish' when it comes to my stories. I don't like giving them out for free. I mean, I worked hard on them, so I deserve a little gratification. But ...
This was my work Christmas of ever for personal motives, and even aborted one of my stories after the Connecticut tragedy. I'm not feeling the spirit of Christmas all around me, so ...
What the heck, suck me dry! Grab all copies you can of 'Spirits and Thought Forms' before I change my mind.
Bah!


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dear Santa ... Scary Letters from Scary People.



FREE for Christmas!


May-December Publishing offered me and many of my author friends the opportunity to write a letter to Santa from a special horror character.
ALL PROCEEDS GENERATED BY THIS PROJECT WILL BE DONATED QUARTERLY TO AREA FOOD BANKS. 

Most of us have written letters to Santa. However, what would Jason Voorhees, a vampire, a zombie, or Medusa ask for? The call went out, and as usual, the horror community stepped forward with some fun, entertaining, tongue-in-cheek letters to the fat man up north. Share some of these with your little goblins and keep the spirit of giving alive year round. 

Do you want to know what Nyarlathotep would ask to Santa?
Well, you can find out in my little letter in:





Thursday, December 13, 2012

MY X-MAS BEST




Here we are.
This is my first Christmas as a public figure, and this has been an incredible year for me.
I became a writer, a cover artist, and a part-time actor.
Heck, I made more in one revolution of this watery planet around its peripheral parent star than I did in ten.

On January the 1st, I published my first novel, becoming de facto an ‘author’ and finding myself on the other side of the theater; that one with a stage on it, not the one I used to linger as a reader. For most of my life, I’ve been a reader, enjoying the fruits of someone else’s hard work. Oh, I had my spotlight moments, but my audience had always been a small one, distant light-years from the one I’m exposed today. Sometimes it gets scary, thinking about all those people reading my works in many corners of the world. But, honestly, it makes you feel great, too.

My first story, Feeding the Urge, was well received, and this encouraged me to write more about this weird Floridian hamlet where my dispenser of dark justice (Axel J. Hyde) lives. In the novel, I had established some facts on Prosperity Glade’s past and nature, so I decided to expand on that by writing five short tales adding depth to some of the story’s events and characters.

Later, I was contacted by a small press encouraging me to submit a short story about zombies set in an alternate timeline. I was writing a follow up to my fee ‘serial chiller’ Black Schooner (published weekly on Facebook the year before) temporarily titled ‘Curse of the Black Schooner’. I decided to turn that into ‘Dead Men TellNo Tales’ and submitted another one, TheSouth Will Rise Again. Both didn’t make into the anthology, but it was for the best, because I self-published them and put them out at 99 cents.
The results were impressive. Suddenly I found my name spreading on the web, and ‘Dead Men Tell No Tales’ became one of the most successful – and one of the most pirated – shorts of the year. I owe much to that tall tale of pirates and undead.

Then, being an experimenter, I tried new paths. I tested myself at literary fiction with titles such as REVENANT and Stryx catering more to lovers of classical Gothic tales than modern literature.
But I didn’t stop there.
I tried my hand at Erotica with Thrill of the Hunt (the second best seller of my titles) and joined the Alexandria Publishing Group. I was invited to be part of this fledgling publisher for my professional behavior and good writing. Something I’m still proud of. Standing alongside with such giants like Valerie Douglas, Paul Kater, and Kai Wilson has proved to be an excellent choice for my growth and career.

Meanwhile, I also became acquainted with new friends in the industry. Two of them became my ‘virtual’ mentors: Billie Sue Mosiman and Franklin E. Wales. They patted my back when I did good and scolded me when I erred. I couldn’t wish for better teachers.

Yet, destiny had another surprise for me: a meeting with Jaime Johnesee.
This excellent writer became something more like a sibling than a friend, as we shared advice, successes, and failures. I helped her getting out of the shell she had retracted into, and she encouraged me to go on when I felt down and on the verge of quitting. She also spurred me to start my cover artist career.
And what a career. In less than four months I’m designing covers for Billie Sue Mosiman, Armand Rosamilia, Suzi M (funny: she did the covers for Dead Men), Anthony Servante, Rhonda Hopkins, Lynne Stevie, and many more.

A special mention deserves my editor, Natalie G. Owens. My meeting with her has been one of the most fortunate, for we share a similar way of writing, allowing her to edit my stuff by keeping my voice. And I love her notes.

And another special mention goes to Kat Yares, my 'virtual fairy', source of inspiration and encouragement, author of one of the best stories on vengeance I ever read.

By October, I became an ‘official published author’, with my short story ‘Road Off’ as lead for the ‘Scare Package’ anthology. This is a special project I’m glad of being part, for the whole profits are devolved to the Rockcastle Regional Hospital & Respiratory Care Center’s Miracle Fund, and I will never stop promoting it, especially in Christmastime: so, go there and grab a copy.

My second Erotica came out in November, while I was struggling with two special projects. Titled Home Invasion, it’s so dirty and raw it almost shocked me. Yet, I assure you it’s all appearance, as it hides a series of twists you won’t see them coming till the last paragraphs.

Now, I submitted two stories for publication. One, Haunt, a short ghostly tale, has been accepted, the other one, FIVE, I novella that I consider the best of all my works until now, I’ll do all I can to have it published, for it really deserves it.

Again, I’m testing myself. Right now, I’m writing a tale in the style of those late ‘80s to early ‘90s slasher movies, with a lot of gory deaths, frolicking teens, and Christmas-themed gallows humor. I’ll strive to put it out in time for the holidays, but it will not be easy.

Well, I’m talking only about me, but this post is in truth a special thank to you, my faithful reader and trusted friend.
By appreciating my work – stories and covers – you encourage me to go on and strive for better results. Even a tiny thing, such as a ‘like’ on one of my posts – yeah, I know some are lame, and voluntarily so – gives me enough strength to keep on writing and designing my covers.
We all need a pat on the back, from time to time. Critics are helpful for your growth, but some niceties are also deserved. Every good teacher knows that.
And you, my dear friends and fans, you are my teachers.

From my heart,
THANK YOU AND ALL MY BEST.

Jeffrey Kosh

Saturday, December 8, 2012

TRUTH CAN BE UGLIER THAN 42


Now, that is a bit hard to explain.
Why is truth uglier than number forty-two?
That’s really a weird affirmation even for a weird story like this, but believe me it does make sense. I was, and still is – at least until Miss Reaper doesn’t take me out tonight – a fan of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. In the first novel, a group of hyper intelligent pan-dimensional beings wishes to learn the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything. They build a supercomputer for this purpose and it takes seven and a half million years for it to compute the answer. It turns out to be ‘42’. Yet, the Ultimate Question remains unknown. So, when prompted to produce it, the supercomputer replies it cannot. Nevertheless, it can help by designing an even more powerful machine that could. Further events in the story will later reveal this new supercomputer to have been our planet Earth, but the Ultimate Question is never revealed for the Earth is destroyed five minutes before the process reaches completion by a series of coincidences. Well, they weren’t coincidences, but I’m not going to spoil the rest of the story to you. You have, I hope, still time to read the whole series, why I’m afraid, have not.
Because, unfortunately, I know the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. I asked for it. And the answer, well, the answer is uglier than forty-two.
The same author declares: ‘There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened.’
The Ultimate Question and the Ultimate Answer can’t coexist. It’s just like mixing matter with antimatter. Oh, and that’s funny for, somehow, there’s a relation between number forty-two and the victory of matter over antimatter at the beginning of our universe. But I’m not going to tell you, and trust me is for your best.
In May 2010, scientists at the Tevatron collider at the Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Illinois, demonstrated how that battle was won. The experiment has shown a small, but significant, one percent difference between the amount of matter and antimatter produced, hinting at how our matter-dominated existence came to be.


What you have just read is not my departing epitaph, but an extract from ‘FIVE’, my latest tale.
After a long battle, I successfully wrestled the thing, and it now stands corralled in the ‘To Be Published’ pen. It was a though beast to conquer, but it is magnificent – at least to me.
I remember the day when its plotline galloped across my prairie, whinnying and prancing in the fading sun. It was in a sizzling hot Thai evening, my wife and I were watching ‘Megamind’, an animated movie about a villain turning into a good guy, and I had just enjoyed reading a short story by Natalie G. Owens, when this dude – Arthur J. Jones – began repeating this line into my head:
“What would you do if you knew you are going to die?”
I immediately knew there was a story behind this, and this desperate hombre was begging me to tell it. Unfortunately, I hadn’t the palest clue about it.
The more I tried to focus, the more the meaning eluded me, until I remembered the story I always wished to read, yet nobody wrote. As you probably know by now – if you have been following me – I’m an avid collector of myths, legends, and folklore on spirits and thought forms.
One of the legends charming me most is that of the Djinn (or Genie) from pre-Islamic culture. These creatures are often remembered for their ability to grant your heart’s desire, but in truth, they were better – or worse – than that. Born before the angels and humanity, they were crafted by Ahura Mazda from smokeless fire, and they were among the most magnificent of creations, but were so full of pride to demand adoration from lesser creatures. Later, Islam, had them rebelling against Allah, and one of them Iblìs, refused to bow to Adam when ordered so, and for this he was cast out of Heaven and became known as Shaitan.
There are many similarities between the Jinn and spirits – or powerful beings - of other cultures, such as the Greek Titans, the Japanese Oni, and the Norse Jotun giants. They were, initially, even font of inspiration for my (still waiting to be written) science fiction novel ‘Echoes from a Distant Star’.



Well, I always dreamed reading a horror story based on these legends. But it had to be different: no lamps, magical stones, or rings. It had to be scary and touching your soul. It had to make you stop wishing and enjoy all the good things you already have, or have had, in life. It had to be about knowledge and the pain associated with it. So, I caught the message this Arthur Jones was trying to send me, but like the alien derelict on LV 426 (in the movie ‘ALIEN’), it wasn’t a call for succor, but a warning.

For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow.
Ecclesiastes 1:18