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Posted by vigorous puppy

Talking Scars: Creating the Literature of Fear and Pain

Jack Ketchum, photograpged by Steve Thorton

New Exclusive Cult Master Class

Note: Class is now officially underway. Congrats to all our students!

He takes us to the places we fear and shows us real-life monsters, sometimes through a child’s eyes.  You don’t have to cue the campy music.  You don’t have to invoke the supernatural.  You will be scared, but exhilarated, repulsed and attracted at the same time.  As Hannah Arendt told us in a book from 1963 about those who abetted the Nazi regime, the surprising thing about evil is “the banality evil.”  When you read a Jack Ketchum novel, you realize that the evil thing you fear could be living right next door, doing laundry in a faded sundress or supplying discipline to somebody’s children.  And the way the worst of it creeps up on you, seductively, before going farther than you could have imagined—you don’t sense exaggeration when Stephen King says that Jack is the writer who scares even him.  But it runs deeper than fright, deeper than scare tactics. 

What I’ve noticed in books like The Girl Next Door is that Jack consistently challenges the reader to confront and consider.  He entertains, but he also shows us something terrifying set amid everyday life.  Ultimately, you’re left with a human riddle to think about, instead of just a frenzied run to your next distraction.  Jack’s characters and the often horrifying situations they face stay with us, somehow, in the best possible way.  There’s a redemptive finish, even if it only completes itself inside of you.

This is why we’ve been after him, of course.  That chill in his own spine, that scary thing that went looking for the creator of so many scary things—it was just us.  “Trick or Treat.  The Cult has come for you, Jack.  We want you to teach us everything that you know.” 

After the second approach, Jack said ‘Yes.’  (Keep reading to grab an exclusive seat.)

Of course, there’s a bit more to the story, like the several months it took to line this up with a decent span of downtime or even half-time in his schedule:  a quiet moment to be found; a month when he isn’t due on set with the latest film adaptation of his work.

But now we’ve got him.  [Cue evil laughter here…]

For the month of November, the Master of Horror and Suspense, Jack Ketchum, is here for you at The Cult.  He will be spilling the magic beans in one of our most exciting intensives yet:

Talking Scars: Creating the Literature of Fear and Pain

What We Will Cover

  • Writing from the Wound
  • The Abyss that's Looking Back
  • “Method Acting” for Horror Writers
  • Choosing a theme for a horror or suspense story & the versatility of the form
  • Horror and Suspense as Cautionary Tales
  • Creating Suspense - sentence-level techniques
  • The bookstore browser test for your opening paragraph
  • Communicating your deeper meaning through genre fiction
  • Important tips for a good writer turning pro

The Details

Talking Scars: Jack Ketchum Cult Exclusive Master Class
  Dates: November 9th – December 9th
  Hard Limit: 20 Students Only

  Class is now officially underway. Congrats to all our students!

Posted by Dennis

Join Our Official Book Club! - November Discussion "Candy: A Novel of Love & Addiction"

 A Novel of Love & Addiction' by Luke DaviesYou know the drill, folks.  Every month a new book is selected and a new moderator steps up to lead the discussion.  This month, we will be reading and discussing Candy: A Novel of Love and Addiction by Luke Davies.

Here's the write-up from Amazon:

Since Trainspotting, heroin chic has certainly put down literary roots?sometimes it seems that you can't be a hip writer unless you know your way around a needle. Perhaps none has chronicled the mechanics of addiction in such mind-numbing detail as Australian poet Davies (Absolute Event Horizon) does in this strong if unimaginative first novel: Davies concentrates as much on preferred syringes as on the adventure of getting the smack, which makes the novel seem, sometimes, like Consumer Reports for junkies. The Candy of the title is both the woman that the narrator falls in love with and, of course, the stuff that he takes. Candy's degradation, from beautiful actress to call girl to streetwalker to madwoman, mirrors the narrator's own passage from a sort of smart-aleck cuteness to the monster whose main concern is finding a viable vein to prick. Starting out in Sydney, the couple moves to Melbourne to go straight but, of course, relapse. They engage in a tedious round of finding money and finding smack, in which all other attachments become peripheral. The narrator's habit of viewing these events from a distance strikes the right chord, but it's a monotone, insights notwithstanding: "Veins are a kind of map, and maps are the best way to chart the way things change. What I am really charting here is a kind of decay." The result is a more harrowing than the usual return to a familiar landscape of admonishment and self-negation.

Check Out Our Book Club

Dennis's picture Posted by Dennis

Paul Auster

So I'm Drinking Wine with Paul Auster...
Kasey Carpenter
Paul Auster

I’m drinking wine with Paul Auster. I’m drinking wine with Paul Auster. The I’ve-been-translated-into-thirty-languages Paul Auster. Inducted into the American Academy of Art and Letters. VP of PEN. Finalist for PEN/Faulkner. Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. A Prince of Asturias award winner, an award that this year’s Nobel winner for Literature, Mario Vargas Llosa, has also received. Paul Auster, the man who has been struck by lightning and lived to tell the tale, seriously. In short: deep, deep water.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture Posted by Joshua Chaplinsky

The Dead Janitors Club

"The Dead Janitors Club" by Jeff Klima
Joshua Chaplinsky
Pathetically true or truly pathetic? You make the call.

The Dead Janitors Club is the latest entry in the emerging genre of crime scene cleaner's memoir. Didn't know there was a whole crop of books dedicated to the people who sop up the blood and bits of brain in the wake of heinous acts of violence? Then you probably didn't know people actually make a living doing that sort of thing. Like Aftermath, Inc. and Mop Men before it, The Dead Janitors Club details the ins and outs of the crime scene cleanup biz, presenting titillating tales of gore for thrill-seekers and car accident gawkers.

Joshua Chaplinsky's picture Posted by Joshua Chaplinsky

Greg Graffin of Bad Religion

The Naturalistic Worldview of a Punk Rock Professor
Joshua Chaplinsky
Greg Graffin of Bad Religion

This year marks the 30th anniversary of seminal punk rock act Bad Religion. Seminal as in highly influential, but also metaphorically, as in "pertaining to or consisting of semen", because from an evolutionary standpoint they are the seed that spawned countless bastard musical progeny. That would make co-founder and lead singer, Greg Graffin, the patriarch of modern melodic punk rock, but please, let's not punish him for the sins of the son. Stubborn children need to learn from their own mistakes.

Posted by Dennis

Romanian Book Covers

Ever wonder what Chuck's books look like in Romania? Wonder no more!

Dennis's picture Posted by Dennis

Cemetery Dance

Shadow Play: Shining a Light on the Emerging World of ePublishing
Joshua Jabcuga
Cemetery Dance Magazine

Cemetery Dance Publications is the world’s leading specialty press publisher of horror and dark suspense, with names on its roster ranging from Stephen King to Justin Cronin. Recently, with The Painted Darkness, the company tried its hand at ePublishing, and the results offer more evidence that old school publishing methods are, well, quickly becoming a thing of the past. Usher in the future as Joshua Jabcuga interviews Cemetery Dance publisher and executive editor Richard Chizmar and Brian James Freeman, Cemetery Dance’s managing editor and author of The Painted Darkness.

Brian James Freeman's new novella, The Painted Darkness, is currently the WOWIO Free eBook of the month:

xec8's picture Posted by xec8

Tales of HP Lovecraft

'Tales of HP Lovecraft'
Phil Jourdan
Why Lovecraft's failures are sometimes successes.

The Library of America has released a hardback selection of Lovecraft's finest stories. As a result I have been revisiting this important pulp author's fiction, and I find myself returning to a question I have often asked myself about Lovecraft. What is the reader meant to feel? Terror? Edification? Relief at not being confronted with unnamable horror in the Real World?