Posted in Author Q&A

Author Q&A with Lee Gabel

43185735_2208578296085702_683459962583646208_o

In honor of Mr. Gabel’s upcoming novel, Arachnid 2.0, I’ve reached out to Mr. Gabel for a little interview. I have been following Mr. Gabel for awhile now, and I try to be a part of his community on Twitter.

From Mr. Gabel’s website:

Lee has spent most of his life living on an island in the Pacific Northwest. A certified movie junkie, he has channeled his love for good stories to the printed (and electronic) page.

Why does Lee write? In his own words: “Writing is magic. I’ll never understand how it works the way it does, but I do know if I put energy into it, it rewards me in strange and wonderful ways. Even if I know where I’m going in a story, often I’ll end up being pulled in directions by my characters that I least expect. What ends up on the page never ceases to surprise me, and that’s super cool. Writing continues to be one of the most difficult and most rewarding aspects of my life.”

Lee has worked within the visual and dramatic arts landscape as a graphic designer, illustrator, visual effects artist, animator, screenwriter and author.

Elisha’s Books: Where did the ideas of Vermin 2.0 and Arachnid 2.0 come from?

Mr. Gabel: The genesis of the idea came from having to become a rodent exterminator on my own property in 2008. In the space of a few months, I caught more rats than I care to admit. A few properties down from me, a dirty, run-down house stood vacant and had been that way for years. It was the neighborhood eyesore and affected property values of the surrounding homes. The owner of the property was given an ultimatum: clean up and renovate the place, or demolish it. The owner chose to raze the house, but before that could be done, the community’s health authority needed to inspect the home’s interior for asbestos, lead, and anything else harmful to the environment. That’s when the colony of rats was discovered. Hundreds of them. The air was so bad inside the house that inspectors had to go in wearing hazmat suits and breathing apparatuses. They didn’t use electricity to kill the rats, but in the end, the colony was decimated, and the house was bulldozed soon after. I didn’t see many rats on my property after that, but the idea of a rat-infested living area stuck with me. Since I had hands-on experience as an exterminator, the ideas and images were forefronts in my mind. I wrote a screenplay first (which placed highly in a couple of competitions), then used the screenplay as the basis of the novel.

As for Arachnid 2.0, I had seen a lot of interest in Vermin 2.0, and even though I didn’t intend it to be a series, it moved in that direction organically. A reader sent me an article about a giant spider in Australia, and I’ve got a healthy respect for spiders (they can startle me), I continued the story from there. Most of my ideas come while I’m actually writing, so as I come up with an outline I’m happy with, more ideas pop up. When I write the first draft, more ideas pop up and sometimes I have to adjust the outline a bit for it all to make sense.

Elisha’s Books: I saw that you participating in writers’ workshops, do you find meeting other authors helps you with your writing?

Mr. Gabel: Absolutely. I value all opinions, even though I may not agree with all of them. And that’s okay. I’ll incorporate ideas and suggestions into a story that I feel belong and throw away the rest. Writers that I trust can add a different spin on a subject or story element. If enough people say the same thing, then that’s the time to listen. It’s also just cool to hear what other writers are working on and what is going on in their lives.

Elisha’s Books: On Twitter, you have several posts involving NASA and space in general. What about space inspires you the most?

Mr. Gabel: To me, space and the cosmos offer limitless possibilities, just like the blank page one of a story. I’ve often wondered what it would be like to travel to different planets, but we are limited by our technology and time. In fact, one of my favorite movies is Contact, written by the late, great Carl Sagan. A private industry like SpaceX are making serious progress but we have a long way to go. With my interest in space, many would think that I’m a fan of science fiction, but that’s one genre that I have rarely read and currently have no sci-fi projects on my schedule, except ones that are more contemporary in nature. Perhaps that will change in time.

Elisha’s Books: What was your favorite book or series when you were growing up?

Mr. Gabel: I didn’t read a lot when I was growing up. Perhaps that’s because I read slowly. It’s only been in the last 30 years or so that I’ve made a concerted effort to read more. Recently I’ve started to broaden my interests, reading almost anything contemporary. But my favorite book, and in this case a novella, is Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King. The novella was included in King’s 1982 collection Different Seasons. Some more recent favorites include Eleanor & Park (Rainbow Rowell), The Outsider & Elevation (Stephen King), Dark Matter (Blake Crouch), The Woman in Cabin 10 (Ruth Ware), I am Pilgrim (Terry Hayes), and Gone Girl & Sharp Objects (Gillian Flynn). Yeah, my genres are all over the place.

Elisha’s Books: Have you ever considered writing a nonfiction title? If so, what would it be about?

Mr. Gabel: Have I thought about it? Yes. Have I seriously thought about it? No. My interests and skills are varied but I don’t think I know enough about one thing to fill a book. I know that’s what research is for, but I’m having too much fun making it all up as I go along. I love dialog and interaction between characters, peril, and twists. Making it non-fiction would hold me back too much. But if the right subject presented itself, who knows! Never say never.

Thanks, Mr. Gabel for answering my questions!

You can get Vermin 2.0 by Lee Gabel here.

You can follow Lee Gabel on Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
And BookBub

Advertisements
Posted in Audiobooks, Book Club Reads, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Asylum (Asylum #1) by Madeleine Roux

GUEST_4d3ee0d2-3163-47ca-9de9-84d7bce93360

*No Major Spoilers*

For sixteen-year-old Dan Crawford, New Hampshire College Prep is more than a summer program—it’s a lifeline. An outcast at his high school, Dan is excited to finally make some friends in his last summer before college. But when he arrives at the program, Dan learns that his dorm for the summer used to be a sanatorium, more commonly known as an asylum. And not just any asylum—a last resort for the criminally insane.

As Dan and his new friends, Abby and Jordan, explore the hidden recesses of their creepy summer home, they soon discover it’s no coincidence that the three of them ended up here. Because the asylum holds the key to a terrifying past. And there are some secrets that refuse to stay buried.

This was this month’s Book Club read. I voted for it solely from the title alone. Just to be finished with the Gone Girl clones and Stephen King novels was a major factor in my decision for voting for this novel.

“If someone tells you you’re crazy enough times, eventually it becomes true. It’s that old psychiatrist’s joke: insanity’s all in your head.” – Madeleine Roux, Asylum

From all the sleepless nights I’ve spent watching Ghost Adventures, Paranormal State, to several paranormal podcasts, most asylums are preserved as historical sites. Mostly to show how the mentally ill were treated and for Zac Bagans (from Ghost Adventures) to show how “macho” he is.

The subject of psychology and mental health is something near and dear to my heart. Not only do I have an associate’s degree in psychology, but I have always wanted to learn about people and how they think, feel, and react to stressful situations.

Nevertheless, let’s move on to my review.

Besides the fact that any asylum would be converted into a dormitory for a university would be highly improbable. But hey, this is a young adult fiction novel, let’s just go with this idea. It’s not like this novel gets any more ridiculous (insert sarcasm here).

Dan is a relatable character to me. High school was the worst years of my life, but for somewhat different reasons than Dan. So I can understand his excitement at the prospect of making new friends while he’s at this new place.

As weird things start to happen, I start trying to solve the mystery. I think in another life, I could’ve been an FBI agent. Always trying to solve the mysteries that are presented to me. However, I will proudly call myself an “armchair detective”.

I found the mystery and how it affects Dan and his friends intriguing. Who can you trust? The police don’t believe you, so you have to figure it out for yourself. Dan’s grip on his sanity towards the end was understandable. The mysteries and horrors of the asylum are terrifying. Those walls hold the emotions and energies of those who lived and worked there.

This story scratched my itch for a good haunted house story. Even though it was slightly ridiculous, I still enjoyed it all the same. The ending is somewhat predictable, so that was frustrating to me. But hey, what can you do? *shrug*

Overall, I enjoyed this story. There’s horror, psychological horror, murder, and a boy who is losing his sanity the longer he stays at the university. If you’re looking for a decent horror story, then I would recommend this one.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Boneyard (Deadlands #3) by Seanan McGuire

img_5432

*Spoilers at the very end of the review*

Step right up to see the oddities and marvels of The Blackstone Family Circus and Travelling Wonder Show! Gasp at pit wasps the size of a man’s forearm. Beware the pumpkin-headed corn stalker, lest it plants its roots in you!

Annie Pearl is the keeper of oddities, the mistress of monsters. Her unique collection of creatures is one of the circus’s star attractions, drawing wide-eyed crowds at every small frontier town they visit. But Annie is also a woman running from her past . . . and the mother of a mute young daughter, Adeline, whom she will do anything to protect.

Hoping to fill its coffers before winter sets in, the circus steers its wagons to The Clearing, a remote community deep in the Oregon wilderness, surrounded by an ominous dark wood. Word is that a traveling show can turn a tidy profit at The Clearing, but there are whispers, too, of unexplained disappearances that afflict one out of every four shows that pass through the town.

The Clearing has its secrets, and so does Annie. And it may take everything she has to save her daughter―and the circus―from both.

I’ve been interested in reading this novel for a while now, it’s been on my ‘to be read’ list for a few years. I felt like it was finally time to jump into this Weird Wild West novel.

Annie’s trailer of oddities made me realize just how far we’ve advanced in science and biology. Her “nibblers” are piranhas, she owns a pet lynx named Serenity, and other monstrosities of nature.

Overall I enjoyed this weird wild west tale. It had plenty of spookiness, horror, action, and adventure. It was worth the wait to be able to add this to the “weird wild west” subgenre.

Here’s a short story collection of Weird Wild West

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

In this story, wendigos are the main antagonists, other than the town itself they are a threat to the circus. The wendigos weren’t something to be taken lightly, the town had made a deal with them to keep them from eating the townsfolk during the harsh winters and to keep outsiders away. The wendigos would attack any outsider that came to the town by either killing them on the spot, kidnapping them and taking them back to their lair to save for later. Which I felt like a convenient circumstance so we can have somewhat of a happy ending to the story.

I first heard of wendigos when I was watching a playthrough of the video game “Until Dawn”. With that said, when I found out the wendigos were a supernatural based entity I did plenty of research on them because they captured my interest. I found them unique and fascinating compared to other supernatural beings and entities talked about in average lore.

This is a book I’d recommend to anyone interested in wendigos, the supernatural, circus stories, and mysteries. It is definitely worth a read, whether you get it from your local library or you buy it, it’s definitely an excellent story.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics

18748653

*No Spoilers*

When sixteen-year-old Amanda Verner’s family decides to move from their small mountain cabin to the vast prairie, she hopes it is her chance for a fresh start. She can leave behind the memory of the past winter; of her sickly ma giving birth to a baby sister who cries endlessly; of the terrifying visions she saw as her sanity began to slip, the victim of cabin fever; and most of all, the memories of the boy she has been secretly meeting with as a distraction from her pain. The boy whose baby she now carries.

When the Verners arrive at their new home, a large cabin abandoned by its previous owners, they discover the inside covered in blood. And as the days pass, it is obvious to Amanda that something isn’t right on the prairie. She’s heard stories of lands being tainted by evil, of men losing their minds and killing their families, and there is something strange about the doctor and his son who live in the woods on the edge of the prairie. But with the guilt and shame of her sins weighing on her, Amanda can’t be sure if the true evil lies in the land, or deep within her soul.

“You are stronger than you think you are. You are not your thoughts. The only devil inside of you is the one you created yourself.”-Amy Lukavics, Daughters Unto Devils

I found this novel at my local library. After enjoying Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, I thought I might give the Young Adult genre another chance. Now let’s see if Daughters Unto Devils will meet my expectations.

I am into the paranormal, I enjoy listening to ghost stories even though I scare easily. This novel is full of mystery and spooky tension. What made this better was the fact of how this reminded me somewhat of The Donner Party.

I felt like this book was hammering home the message of the spiritual war that is always going on. I felt bad for Amanda in the fact she had no control over her circumstances. She fell in love, and he abandoned her when she told him she was pregnant.

Overall, I felt like this was a good creepy historical fiction that chilled me. It not only had me question Amanda’s sanity but the whole prairies’. Once innocent things turned into demonic terrifying entities by the end.

I enjoyed this novel, I felt like the creepiness was made all the better in the fact that this was when we were still expanding west. Back then, mental illnesses were seen as demon possessions and other demonic entities.

If you enjoy HorrorHistorical Fiction, and Young Adult Novels then I think you will enjoy Daughters Unto Devils. This novel doesn’t have much action, it’s mostly tension and suspense until the climax. I hope my readers will like this novel as much as I had.

Read My Review of Rot & Ruin HERE

Check Out Other YA Novels I’ve Reviewed HERE

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Troop by Nick Cutter

the-troop

*No Major Spoilers*

*This Novel Is NOT for the Squeamish*

Once a year, Scoutmaster Tim Riggs leads a troop of boys into the Canadian wilderness for a three-day camping trip—a tradition as comforting and reliable as a good ghost story and a roaring bonfire. But when an unexpected intruder—shockingly thin, disturbingly pale, and voraciously hungry—stumbles upon their campsite, Tim and the boys are exposed to something far more frightening than any tale of terror. The human carrier of a bioengineered nightmare. An inexplicable horror that spreads faster than fear. A harrowing struggle for survival that will pit the troop against the elements, the infected…and one another.

I found this novel on a book list (if it’s not the library it’s email newsletters). I thought the author sounded familiar, and I found out he also wrote The Deep which I reviewed previously. Read my review of “The Deep”. I had written a not-so-good review, so with that in mind, I decided to give Mr. Cutter another chance.

I’m going to state upfront if you are squeamish or have Entomophobia (the fear of bugs); another phobia this novel addresses is Vermiphobia (The fear of parasitic worms) I would be hesitant to read this novel. I do not have these phobias and at times I found myself grossed out at how detailed the boys’ struggles escalate throughout this novel.

“How could you hide from a murderer who lives under your skin?” – The Troop

The Troop reminded me of a ramped up rendition of Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Lord of the Flies follows a group of young boys that were shipwrecked on a deserted island. The parallels are there, but it’s pulled off nicely.

I found this to be more enjoyable than Mr. Cutter’s previous book The Deep. The characters were likable and relatable. I found the ending to not be too far out in the leftfield. Sometimes horror writers *cough* Stephen King *cough* tend to take things too far with the crazy and bizarre for my liking. This ending was surprising and ended on a somewhat positive note.

Overall, I thought The Troop was a good and creepy read. If you are into untraditional horror, or what something different to read then this novel is for you!

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: Bird Box by Josh Malerman

y648

*No Spoilers*

Something is out there, something terrifying that must not be seen. One glimpse of it, and a person is driven to deadly violence. No one knows what it is or where it came from.

Five years after it began, a handful of scattered survivors remains, including Malorie and her two young children. Living in an abandoned house near the river, she has dreamed of fleeing to a place where they might be safe. Now that the boy and girl are four, it’s time to go, but the journey ahead will be terrifying: twenty miles downriver in a rowboat—blindfolded—with nothing to rely on but her wits and the children’s trained ears. One wrong choice and they will die. Something is following them all the while, but is it man, animal, or monster?

I know I’ve stated in the past that I don’t read what’s popular and trending. However, I think the hype about the Netflix Original Birdbox has died down enough to where I feel comfortable finally getting around to seeing what all the hype is about.

I found the premise to be intriguing, most of us heavily rely on our sense of sight to function day to day. When you have a threat to take that ability away, you suddenly are forced to learn how to hone your other senses that aren’t as heavily relied on.

img_5265

This novel caused my fiancé and me to have a discussion of the premise. Something that normally doesn’t happen much when I’m talking to him about the books I read. I’m really thrilled that this actually gave us something to sink our teeth into.

I liked most of the main group of survivors. I felt like each one was a real person who made their decisions whether it was for the better or the worst of the group’s survival. Just like other apocalyptic novels, you have several people who each have their own motivations and goals.

I wouldn’t say that I found the ending to be predictable per se. Without spoiling the ending, I’ll say that it was a pleasant surprise that I hadn’t guessed the ending completely. The ending was nice and sweet, I felt like the journey for the trio was wrapped up nicely.

Overall, this novel was well worth the wait, I enjoyed the theme and tension of the unknown. This book is just the right length to get a grasp on what’s at stake without having much fluff. I’m glad to finally have read this novel.

I would highly recommend this novel for those who loved the Netflix adaptation of Birdbox. If you love a good mystery, and some horror definitely please check this novel out.

Posted in Audiobooks, Book Reviews, Novels

REVIEW: The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey

51VIGAzd43L

*No Major Spoilers*

Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain but the darkness that lives within themselves.

When I borrowed this audiobook from the virtual library, I honestly wasn’t sure what I was going to get. I thought it might be a cozy mystery disguised as something scary or ominous. However, here lately I’ve had some decent luck with the mystery/horror genre so I thought I’d give it a try.

This novel really strikes home that when a community has something to fear, such as the witch on the mountain, they’re looking for anything to blame that’s not themselves. When people of a close-knit, closed-off community face something that they cannot identify, they need a scapegoat to place the blame.

When the girls of Crow Hollow fall ill, it reminded me of The Crucible. How the main group of girls who went up to the mountain got “cursed” and soon every girl in town started falling ill as well. In The Crucible a small group of girls in an English colony start misbehaving and claiming that someone in the colony is a witch, and soon it becomes too real, but the girls can’t just come forward and said they were making their sicknesses up just to get attention from the townsfolk.

I found this novel to be somewhat predictable. There was a couple of twists I didn’t see coming, so that’s good. It’s not fun when you’re reading the book and know what’s going to happen before the characters do.

I liked the way the author presents the story like you’re having a discussion with the narrator. I thought this was unique and really brought home that southern charm the novel portrays.

All in all, I found The Curse of Crow Hollow to be a fun and entertaining read. If you like small-town mystery, horror, mystery, and small southern town charm, then I would recommend this novel.