Archives Interviews Women in Horror Month

Interview – Erin Al-Mehairi

You cohost a podcast called The Mando Method. What exactly is The Mando Method?

The Mando Method is a podcast on the conglomerate podcast system called Project Entertainment Network. It’s one of about 25 podcast shows. This one is co-hosted by the head of P.E.N., author Armand Rosamilia and his author friend, Chuck Buda. Armand does writing sprints during his days and since his nickname is Mando, it’s called The Mando Method, as an ode to his writing methods. Their show helps new and veteran writers with everything that goes into the game of writing and publishing. The idea was that Armand brought the years of experience, and Chuck, as a newbie infatuated with Armand, would learn allowing listeners to grow too.

I was asked by Armand to do a marketing segment, which I call #marketingmorsels, in which I spend 20 minutes at the end of their episode giving authors my experienced tips. I haven’t done one though in months. They are free, but it takes time to research and record, and I’ve had some major things going on, so I just haven’t had the time. I’ve done back segments on writing guest articles, blogging, hiring a publicist, Amazon pages, GoodReads, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. It’s fun, I hope to get back to it at some point and/or something like it. Writers should totally tune in to this podcast and all the other great podcasts on the network. I’d like to have my own podcast too.

In December 2017, a few of us who are authors and podcast hosts supplied our favorite story we’ve written for an anthology called, MY FAVORITE STORY. You’ll find our stories along with reasons why they are our favorites. It’s available in Kindle and print both and helps supply money to the costly business of running this network. I have a story in it, ‘Dandelion Yellow,” from my dark fiction collection, BREATHE. BREATHE. but there are also stories from really great authors and hosts like Jonathan Maberry, Christopher Golden, Brian Keene, Mary SanGiovanni, Amber Fallon, and many more.

Find Project Entertainment Network Online for a listing of all the shows and news.

Find all The Mando Method shows online HERE. As an example of one with #marketingmoresels, listen to the last 20 minutes of Episode 7 to hear me talk about the importance of blogging!

What is the hardest part of editing a manuscript?

It depends on the manuscript because each is so different writing level wise. I suppose when you know based on experience that an author really needs to flush something out more, or cut it, or add to characters, or cut characters, etc. and they don’t, then argue back. I usually know these things because I study reviews of all kinds of books, especially those by clients, to where I know what readers are consistently going to say. The hard part is when they balk at me and don’t listen to me, and after the book is published, the things I pointed out are chastised in reviews, but not only that, the reviewers have started to point fingers at editors lately. If the editor is experienced and works hard on the manuscript, the buck stops in the end with the author. They have the final say, especially if self-published, so it needs to lie with them in the reviews too. It’s hard when the author isn’t willing to learn or work WITH an editor as a team.

What is the best part of editing a manuscript?

I’d say overall, it’s working with a person for years and watching them grow and learn from the editing process, both in forming sentences to imagery to adding depth. It feels very successful and makes me happy. I love editing short story collections by an author and finding themes and themes within themes to tie it together. I love when they are either wholly entertaining or compelling and I get to be a small part of bringing it together.

I also like being a curating editor as well, and by that, I mean, being an editor of an anthology where I get to read all this great work, both short fiction and/or poetry, and find the ones that fit together to make an enjoyable piece of art.

With all the editing you’ve done, have you developed any pet-peeves? Mine is the constant misuse of the word Plethora.

I have a plethora of pet peeves. Kidding!! 😉 I don’t like when authors repeat the same words throughout one piece. As a writer, I have similar issues sometimes with repetition in some cases, but I mean, when a word is consistently repeated due to laziness. If I suggest in track changes to find some new words, and it comes back the same, I get even more irritated. I know they just aren’t taking the time. I often find myself suggesting alternative choices for simple descriptive words for them. One of the biggest ones though is the use of too many semi-colons.

You do Public Relations work as well, what does this entail?

I’ve been doing this for over 20 years for all types of things, from small business such as clothing or bed and breakfasts, to a healthcare system for almost a decade, to a hot air balloon festival, to many non-profits. It’s been my main career field after graduating from college. Seven years ago, I was writing, editing, and doing editorial reviews and essays on the side, but decided to branch out quickly into helping authors, especially in horror, once they found out my expertise and reached out to me. Basically, it can mean, and usually does, writing press releases, writing articles, editing articles, and coordinating appearances either in person at bookstores or locations or online on blogs, sites, radio, podcasts, and whatnot. I edit and consult on interview answers and prep. It’s also social buzz and postings, it’s being a cheerleader, it’s being a mediator and a liaison at times for publishers, organizations, or authors. It’s teaching them the art of presenting properly as a business to the world for maximum results. Often, it’s advertising. I do marketing and public relations, so I write ads, create ads, design direct ads and covers, and coordinate placements and watch return results. It’s like getting your package the most beautiful it can be as if you’re going to be unwrapped under the great big tree at Lincoln Center, each and every time. It’s also about getting the word out, repeatedly, about who you are and what you offer.

You released a collection of dark poetry and short stories last year (2017), what can you tell us about it?

Thank you, yes! Breathe. Breathe. was my debut dark poetry and short story collection last year. It was published as a limited-edition hand-made 60-page chapbook by the publisher of Unnerving Magazine during the summer and sold out. In October, it published as an expanded version, with half more content, in print and digital with a beautiful new dandelion cover. There are over thirty poems and five short stories. The cover comes from the fan-favorite story “Dandelion Yellow,” which has garnered a lot praise due to its psychological value. Though some of the poems, and a few of the stories, deal with every day domestic horror and traumas of abuse, rape, assault, illness, and anxiety, many of them are also genre blends into fantasy, sci-fi, historical, crime/thriller, and horror. There are fireflies who save a village from a plague outbreak, writings that dabble in Japanese, Thai, and Egyptian folklore, others that are murder mysteries ala Agatha Christie, some that are a little bit Twilight Zone mixed with X-Files. You can find a portion of all my various interests in this collection.

I am so very proud of it. It was fun to write some of the pieces for entertainment value, and yet, in others, it was finally a way to viscerally expend some of my revenge, hurts, and haunts. Very healing. Since writing it, I’ve never felt better about myself. I really hope that it touches others enough it can either help them too or it can help them to help others.

In December of 2017, the anthology HARDENED HEARTS from Unnerving also published, featuring my short story, “The Heart of the Orchard.” This is a fantastical crime horror story, told in contemporary times with a topping of fairy tale sprinkles (the dark kind). It was described by one reviewer as being “Rumpelstiltskin-like.” My fairy tales don’t end well. As with my other work, it has an element of revenge to it and deals with aftermath of trauma.

Also, in December 2017, Project Entertainment put out the anthology My Favorite Story, as I mentioned above in the first questions, and featured “Dandelion Yellow.”

In February of 2018, I had a poem called “Chained by Love” in the monthly issue of Enchanted Conversation: a fairy tale magazine. I was thrilled it was chosen. It’s about a mermaid from 14th century France and her lover. Things are not always as they seem nor will binding someone ever make them love you more.

This year, I’m co-editor on an anthology project at Unnerving called HAUNTED ARE THESE HOUSES, which is a Gothic-themed collection set to publish in September. We are curating reprints of classic poetry and short fiction pre-1929 and mixing it up with works by new and veteran authors and poets. The submission call just opened on Feb. 28 and will go to April 28, 2018. We are already receiving lots of poetry and short stories and I’m having a blast reading them. I think it’s cool – since Edgar Allan Poe isn’t living, but one of my inspirational idols, it’s the only way I’ll get close to being in a book with him! If anyone has questions, they can feel free to ask me, but I’d say just to keep in mind that it’s a wide theme with Gothic, so bring originality, and the book is not “just” hauntings, as in haunted houses, but rather, you know, we can be haunted by all sorts of things, can’t we? Anything atmospheric, creepy, dilapidated, historical, dark – all that comes to mind.

I hope to be invited to contribute poetry and short stories to more places in the next few years, submit some of my work to targeted places, and work on my novels and short story collections. As well, I’m working on a water-themed dark poetry collection, as water is such a big part of my surreal and often angst-filled dreams and nightmares. I’m in search of a publisher.

On your website you mention a love of Tudor England so I have to ask, York or Lancaster?

Ha! Wow, you really read it all. I have a history degree and am a lover of all things historical. For a while, I had a bit of an obsession with Tudor anything. I love anything medieval as well. I know I should pick one side, most people are good at that, demand it, then they fight it out to the death (even on social media). So please, no one draw their sword, but you know that the Lancaster line and York lines were brought together under the Tudor Rose! I especially love reading and watching about the Tudors, and really anything about Henry VIII’s wives, but especially about his daughter, Elizabeth I. Alchemy and magic wasn’t technically allowed then as part of the Protestant religion, but she did have a certain affinity to it that intrigues me.

How can our readers support your work?

The obvious answer is to purchase copies of my work, either Breathe. Breathe. or the anthologies for which I’m featured, Hardened Hearts and My Favorite Story. Also, leaving reviews even one paragraph or one sentence is so helpful on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and GoodReads. Also, adding the books to their TBR via my page on GoodReads. They can read pages on Kindle Unlimited. But honestly, I’m very happy when readers like my stuff if they let me know how it makes them feel or if they want to discuss topics with me. I am very appreciative even of shares on social media.

They can follow me on my site – Oh, for the Hook of a Book! – and leave comments, or on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. There are accounts for Hook of a Book as well on Twitter and Facebook.

Any advice to budding writers and editors?

With writers, don’t over think it. Just write. Write even badly. Don’t censor or filter yourself. Don’t worry about anything but writing it all down. Then go back and edit your sentence structure, look for repetitive words – then get out your thesaurus. If it’s a longer piece, of if you have time, put is aside for a few weeks, then go back to it. You’ll see it in a whole new light and where everything is you need to fix. Make sure you miss the characters. And finally, look for diversity within your work. Can all sorts of people identify with it in some way, or at least, in some of your pieces? The next step would be to send your work to trusted beta readers in several different areas – a friend or family member is okay, but make sure also to have eyes on it from other writers you hold in high regard or a reviewer or reader you admire or someone with expertise in a topic in your book. After this, look for a great editor with experience not just for self-publishing, but also if you are looking to submit a piece to a publisher. A good polish will better your chances of getting through the selective process.

As for editors, please make sure you don’t just consider yourself good at picking out a few grammar mistakes and decide to call yourself an editor. I am all for people living their dreams, but you’ll do everyone a disservice if you feel your qualified because you catch a few mistakes in a book your reading. That’s proofreading, and possibly your good at it, but to be an editor, it’s going to take work. Not only do you help with grammar and sentence structure, but you help with character development, descriptive and detail elements, themes, and at times, end up seeing valuable things in work that even the author sometimes doesn’t see. This comes, at least for me, from over 20 years of reading and dissecting works, reading through reviews on works that are popular or award-winning or poignant each year as well as combing through classics, looking at the lives of authors and the themes they choose, deciding where their writing style fits, sensing creativity, watching the market, and also, working with similar authors over time, getting to know them deeply. I’m an editor that likes to challenge people to propel their insides outward. My advice can be found in all the above. Work on it as a craft. Just as you must practice to perfect knitting or making three-point shots, you must work on being the best editor you can be as well. Good editors help keep genres afloat and make sure voices are heard clearly.



Archives Articles Guest Articles Women in Horror Month

Guest Article – Why I Love Horror by Rebekah Ross

I’m walking in the woods. There’s no one around, and it’s 2005 so I don’t have a cellphone. Out of the corner of my eye, I spot him – Edgar Allan Poe. To his left a raven flaps its wings and quoths its lore of some sad sorrow nevermore. To his right, the ghost of Annabel Lee floats eerily far from her graveside by the sea. This horror drew me in with a sort of inevitable curiosity to look at the things I was told didn’t exist. It reaches out to the misshapen in all of us: the still-bleeding wounds, the aching scars, the hidden traumas. The monstrous side of us refuses to be shut out from our lives, and it’s only by embracing it that we find our humanity.

I was instantly fascinated by the dissonance inherent between the melodiousness of Poe’s language and the brokenness of his characters. Call me a sucker, but any fool with a thesaurus and a solid grasp of assonance can lure me into their wine cellar for a good time. The beauty of it beats like a still thumping heart under your floorboards. Poe’s characters all had some idée fixee that we do not understand and perhaps do not entirely wish to understand, and it drove them further and further into the territory of the morbidly inexplicable and societally incorrect. Nevertheless, the horror is real whether or not we want it to be real and whether or not we can believe it to be real. The story is right there on the page, solid in black and white. It cannot be untold.

It’s 2010. I’m walking through a foggy town. The cars lining the sidewalks are empty and still, and the houses lining the streets are dark and void. I shiver. Before me looms the brick-and-mortar school where my dad works. It was built in the 30s, and hasn’t been renovated in at least twenty years. As I enter, I can almost hear the shriek of mouldering monsters behind me, lonesome forgotten things that have never seen sunlight. Each step of the old wooden staircase creaks with age and memory, the ghosts of schoolchildren that have long since grown and gone. It isn’t Silent Hill, but it could be.

That could-be is enough to make me quicken my walk and rush to the safety of electric light where nothing can lurk in the corners unseen. There isn’t anything out there, of course; but the thought that there could be makes me more careful in places where I’m at my most vulnerable. I think twice. I watch where I’m going. The memory and resonance of horror keeps me safe, because it keeps my eyes open and my feet fast.

It also raises questions. Silent Hill has two states of being: the Otherworld, and the real world. The real world is an abandoned small town, foggy and isolated; the Otherworld is a rusty distortion of that same place, bleeding and populated. The one place can rapidly shift into its double with little to no warning. The monsters themselves are psychological amalgamations of the protagonist’s fears and leftovers from previous games – but it’s never entirely clear if they’re humans you see as monsters, or delusions of your drugged imagination. In the same way, it’s rarely clear whether or not the protagonist is as much of a monster as the ones they fight. The question raised is this: what makes a monster?

It’s 2013, and my first year away from home for college. I’m alone and don’t know anyone in the area yet. I do the research; I learn the risks; I calculate the odds. One out of 8 women get sexually assaulted during their lifetimes, and it’s rarely the stranger they have to worry about; it’s the people they already know. The Gift of Fear teaches me how to watch out for myself and for others, how to trust my instincts, and how to see boundary-crossing for the dangerous thing it is. I learned how not to excuse the inexcusable, even if making excuses is easier. I know what things go bump in the night, and I bump back.

It’s 2014. I’m looking for fun things to do on the internet, and I find Fallen London – a Victorian Gothic interactive fictional take on history, if history had included London being stolen from the Surface to far below the earth’s crust. The overriding theme of Fallen London is complicity. What are the things you’ll say yes to and the things you’ll say no to? You start the game dropped in prison and have to fight your way out into the city. Any purity you could lay claim to is vanished. As soon as you escape, you’re plunged into a world of hanged men’s clothes and whispered secrets. While the status quo may level out to an ersatz normal at first, the things beneath the normalcy are far stranger and mysterious than could possibly be imagined.

Small horrors grow in the gaps between larger ones, and they all become commonplace through exposure. It just stops being weird to have primordial shrieks and stolen correspondences in your inventory. Scams become organized crime, and a cut-throat becomes a policeman. Jack-of-Smiles could possess any passerby in a murdering frenzy, and no one would blink. You simply get up, heal your capacious wounds, and go on with your day. Your Cheerful Goldfish can become a Haunted Goldfish without very much effort on your part.

It takes all your wits to survive. Devils want to purchase your soul – after all, it’s not as if you’re using it, dear. Something eternally hungry walks of nights and calls you delicious friend. Rubbery Men, weird tentacled things, slosh the streets in ill-fitting human suits of clothing. Clay Men speak little and do much. And the rumors about the Royal Family are scarcely to be believed! You can’t thrive in Fallen London if you don’t compromise on something, somewhere. It’s a world where there are no good choices and the line between human and other is continually contorted.

In a place of such fluid moral ambiguity, monstrosity is a matter of definition. Anything can become normal; anything can become horrific. Your choices drive your failures as much as your successes.  For me, this was a liberating narrative. In Fallen London, you are free to do as you will, with all the consequences that result from such agency. The only thing you have to carry is the memory of the things you’ve done. The monster at the end of the book, so to speak, is you – even in a darkness of larger ones with sharper teeth and stranger skins. They’re coming to eat you, if you don’t eat them first.

It’s 2018. Because of horror, there’s now more monsters in my closet than clothes. Flannery O’Connor’s short stories whisper strange truths to me about the toxic tincture of violence and love: how violence can warp and mold a person, how love can be selfish and self-sacrificing all at once. Frankenstein’s monster is still sitting on an iceberg, having isolated itself from the world it wanted so much to know – forever rejected and three times a murderer. The Phantom of the Opera is here, inside my mind.

I admit some slight hyperbole, but that illusion of closeness matters. That these things can wind themselves into our imaginations and haunt our nightmares – it makes a difference. You don’t get that kind of impact without some sort of connection. The horror is in our relation to these creations of our unthinkable uglinesses. They are us, at our most socially unacceptable. They are us, when we look into the mirror in the middle of the night. They are us, when we don’t want to be ourselves.

So what does it mean, really, to look at the horrific and see humanity? The monster in the closet is yourself; or a reflection of yourself you’d rather not look at; or worse yet a reflection of other people through the filter of your imagination. They are a transgression. You can run and never truly escape from the fear that pursues you, or you can choose to reach out and touch the thing that scares you. Choosing to embrace these things is the way I find I have to approach horror. It’s a place of empathy – of looking at the ugliness and refusing to look away – and it has defined so much of my approach to life that I could never be ungrateful.

Archives Interviews Women in Horror Month

Interview – Christa (Wojo) Wojciechowski

How long have you been writing for?

I started writing and illustrating short stories when I was a little kid. I also kept journals documenting everything in my life, which was not very interesting but that didn’t stop me from thinking every moment of life is important. I think writers have an innate compulsion to process what they see in the world through writing. Humans learn through stories and writers are the record keepers of the evolution of the human psyche.


What is it about horror that made you think ‘This is the genre for me’?

I actually didn’t choose horror. I wrote a book series based on a nightmare. I didn’t know where it fit, if anywhere. Then other readers and reviewers began to refer to it as horror. Still, it’s not like mainstream horror really. I think it’s more like psychological horror or dark fiction with gothic elements. Now that I know where I more or less belong, I’m going to explore horror more.


Any tips for combatting writer’s block?

Sometimes if I write through it, I can get wade through the crap and get back to the bones of the story. On the other hand, sometimes it’s best to just walk away and do something totally unrelated. Writers tend to be reclusive and live in their own world, and believe it or not, it helps to go out and do something with real live human beings. Scary. I know, but different activities and different people give your mind a rest from actively trying to work everything out. Then when you come back to your work-in-progress, your subconscious usually has figured out the problem while you’ve been otherwise occupied.


Any rituals you have before starting a new story?

I like to build a playlist in Spotify that I can listen to before I write. I may or may not dance around my office in my pajamas before sitting down at my desk. I also like to make videos to get me into the zone. It’s a great way to keep focused on your theme. Just make sure that the creation of your playlist or video doesn’t turn into a tool for procrastination.


How do you handle character creation? I find using Dungeons and Dragons character sheets helpful but it’s fun to see the many ways other people go about this.

Dungeons and Dragons character sheets are a brilliant idea. My characters usually come from dreams or an amalgamation of an actor who recently impressed me, a person I know or used to know, and a facet of my own personality that wants to make a performance.


Any projects coming up (or currently out) you’d like to share with us?

I’m currently working on a story for Project 13Dark, a unique Indiegogo dark fiction project created by Joseph Sale that showcases both the written and visual artwork of some of this century’s greatest creatives (you can see the video for it on my YouTube). I’m also working on a few short stories I plan to pitch around to indie lit mags. I’m taking a break from novels for a little bit.


How can we support your work?

Naturally, the best way to support indie authors is to buy their books and leave reviews. My current offering is The Sick Series. It’s a collection of three novellas about a woman whose very sick husband is not as innocent as he seems. They are easy to enjoy and digest (though palatable for everyone). Amazon

You can support by checking out Project 13Dark and helping to fund our next issue.

If you have a book review blog or would like me for an interview or guest post, hit me up. I’m a big believer in community and I love to work with other horror and dark fiction authors.

You can contact me on social media.






Any advice to people just starting out in their writing careers?

Don’t be afraid of yourself. Especially when you’re writing horror, you’ll be surprised what comes out of your mind. You think, “should I be allowed to roam free among the general public?” I’ve been frightened and disgusted by parts of my books. Everyone always asks me, “how did such a nice girl write such a sick book?” And I shrug because I don’t know. I can’t tell you where exactly these ideas come from. But, like I said in the answer to the first question, I’m processing whatever I absorb from the world around me. I’m documenting the human psyche. I’m not going to try to shape it into something that everyone will be comfortable with. As a writer, if you hold back, if you’re not true and honest, your book will be flat. It might be really good, but it won’t give people that punch-in-the-gut reaction.

Be brave, dig deep, and go all out. As we say here in Panama, do it con cojones (with balls).

Christa (Wojo) Wojciechowski is the author of The Wrong David, The Sick Series, and is working on a series called The Sculptor of New Hope. Her characters explore existential turmoil, mental illness, and the complexity of romantic love. She uses her stories to compare the dark, carnal nature of humanity with its higher qualities of creative expression and intellectualism.

Christa currently resides in the mountains of Panama with her husband and a house full of pets. She works as a freelance digital marketer and helps thought leaders, podcasters, and fellow writers develop their marketing platforms. Christa enjoys foreign movies, yoga, wine, and rambling around in the cloud forests near her home. Most of all, she’s passionate about books and writers, and loves discussing them on social media.

Archives Interviews Women in Horror Month

Interview – Torie Hague

How did you get involved in FX Makeup and body paint?

I had just moved to Fort Bragg, NC and I went from having three jobs to having no job at all, which was extremely difficult for me as a workaholic. My depression didn’t help much either. I had been watching Mykie, aka Glam&Gore, on YouTube and wanted to give FX a try to help pull me out of my depressive rut and I ended up falling in love with it.

My love for bodypainting started when my friend Maverick asked me to paint a Ouija board on my chest to try to freak out my husband, Levi. Levi doesn’t like horror at all, especially Ouija boards or anything that deals with messing with the dead so I thought this bodypaint was PERFECT. He wasn’t scared, however I continued to bodypaint because I had finally found a way to express my creativity since I can’t draw to save my life.

FX and bodypainting combined turned into my favorite art which is character creation. I love creating characters that no one else has done or seen before. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and pride because I did something out of the ordinary. It takes me away from the hardships of life, giving me a chance to be something/someone else for a little while.


Do you have a favourite piece that you’ve worked on?

Quite a few. My Weeping Demon face paint has been the makeup that I’ve re-done the most; my haunt boss loved it so much that she wanted me to be that character for the video that we had playing outside of our haunt this past season. I like to inflate my own ego and say that the Weeping Demon became the “face” of the haunt.

My Dark Rot makeup, inspired by Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice, is my most liked makeup on Instagram to this day.

My Spider Queen was my most recent character that I created that definitely made it close to the top of my list. I had formed her in my mind and instantly fell in love with her. I’m so happy with how she came out.


Where do you draw inspiration from when you’re working on different

Usually my ideas come to my mind suddenly out of nowhere. Sometimes they take a while to form in my brain. I don’t like to recreate “trends” that have already been done over and over, which can limit me sometimes but I always make up for it with what I produce.

Being a band nerd, music gives me a ton of inspiration. There’s some music that I’ll listen to set the mood for haunt-worthy makeup, some music for characters, so on so forth.


Any advice for people thinking about getting into FX?

People will think FX is gross and weird, that maniacs and psychopaths are the only ones willing to mangle Leonardo DiCaprio for The Revenant because they must be disgusting in the head. It’s okay to be gross, weird, and not a part of the norm. It’s fun to be different. KEEP BEING GROSS AND WEIRD!

Don’t stop doing FX because you think you’re terrible at it. I was crap at FX starting out but I knew that I wouldn’t be a pro overnight. Two years later, I’m still not a pro, but my bruises are now better than the bruises that I used to make.


You co-host a podcast. Where did the idea for that start?

The Podcast Is Coming From Inside The House, or PICFITH, actually wasn’t my idea! It was the idea of two of my co-hosts, Patrick and Leigh-Anne. They asked me for my thoughts on their podcast that they wanted to start and I encouraged them to do it. They ended up asking me and my 3rd co-host, John, to be a part of it so that we had a variety of interests such as my love of gore, John’s love of classics, Leigh-Anne’s love of murder mystery, and Patrick’s love of…whatever horror he loves, I’m still unclear on what he likes.


We used to do podcasts but I found the editing process took too much out of me, I’m also not that great when it comes to talking to people  haha. How long does it take for an episode to go from recorded to  completed?

We recently recorded our pilot episode, called Episode 0, January 13th. Recording took about five hours, including setup time, figuring out how the equipment worked, and waiting for the dogs to stop barking.

Editing so far is taking a couple of weeks. To give an average on how long an episode takes to put out, I’d say three weeks to a month, however I’m sure that we’ll be better and faster at it once we really get started.


When can we expect to hear the first episode?

Expect to hear Episode 0, hopefully, within a week or two. Episode 1 should be out not too long after that! (NOTE FROM SHAWN : It’s available now)


You co-directed a film called The Dying Curse, what can you tell us about it?

First off, I have to give credit to my co-director and the writer of this whole film, Jason Setzer, for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this project in the first place. I can’t thank him enough for giving me this chance of growing my makeup skills and my newfound director skills. I’ll always be grateful for the opportunity to work for and with him and with the amazing cast that we have. I’m taking this movie wherever I go and I’m not just saying that because I have a tattoo dedicated to this movie, I swear! I’ll always remember The Dying Curse as where I truly got started along with the Devil’s Playground, the haunt that has my heart.

Without giving away too much, it follows a cryptozoologist and his students searching for a creature in the woods of North Carolina, but something isn’t right about the situation. The film stars my PICFITH co-host Patrick as the professor, Peter. Alongside him stars Isela Gomez, Dravi Otis, Sean David Henderson, and Cassandra Biddle, all good friends of mine, however not everyone in the film is listed or else that list would be a little long. Even I have a small role in the film!

It’s basically a psychological sci-fi horror take on a search for a creature like Bigfoot (except it’s not Bigfoot, we’re too low-budget to hire Bigfoot.) There’s gonna be some gore, there’s gonna be death, AND there will be a character that I’ve been given free reign to create!

We’re currently still shooting the film and hopefully we can be done shooting before I have to move to Hawaii in June. You can expect The Dying Curse to be released at the end of this year or early 2019!


How can we support your work?

You can support in a bunch of ways:

For my makeup, follow my page JoRave Special Effects on Facebook, follow me on Twitter and Instagram @joravesfx, especially Instagram since that’s where I spend most of my time when on social media, and share my work with your friends like wildfire!

For PICFITH, follow our page The Podcast Is Coming From Inside The House on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @PICFITH, as well as Instagram @picfith so that you don’t miss any updates on when we release our pilot episode. Also follow us on the podcast app for iOS, Spotify (I think?), or any other podcast broadcasting source that you may listen to so that you don’t miss a single episode.

For The Dying Curse, follow our page The Dying Curse on Facebook for behind the scenes photos, cast interviews, our first trailer, a release date, etc. We will be starting a crowdfunding page with rewards for donations soon so keep an eye out for that. The movie will be released on Amazon and YouTube.

ALSO if you’re in Fayetteville/ Fort Bragg or in a neighboring town, please please please go to the Devil’s Playground during haunt season! Like I said above, that haunt has my heart and I will absolutely be working for them again when/ if we return to the area.

Archives Articles Interviews Women in Horror Month

Interview – Jennifer Allanson

So, what about horror specifically made you think ‘This is the genre I want to make films in’?

When I was a little kid (about 4 or 5) I used to stealthily watch scary movies from behind the couch, which is pretty creepy on its own. My older brother and cousins would watch scary movies and I wanted in – so this way I got to see saw Child’s Play and The Nightmare on Elm Street without anyone being the wiser.

Instead of having nightmares, I wanted more.

I got my own video store rental card when I was 14 and went to work. I had a good list of what I’d already seen by this time, but I got to rent some great classics on my own. Halloween, The Exorcist, Poltergeist, Black Christmas, Slumber Party Massacre and Carrie were among my favorites.

They all had one common element – Female presence. Our hero often was a woman – something sorely lacking in many other genres.

I love the flexibility of what Horror actually means. I absolutely feel that people who think they don’t like horror just haven’t found the right style for them yet, there is definitely something there for everybody.


I’ve talked about your short film Time’s Up on this website before. I enjoy movies that feature hauntings that are just as sombre as they are scary. What were some of your influences for this one?

I pitched the idea to my husband (amazing Director Kristian Lariviere!) of doing more of a ‘slow burn’ horror film. Which seemed really impossible since I had to try to keep it under 15 minutes. I had just seen House of the Devil, which I really enjoyed. I loved the idea of letting fear seep in slowly.

There’s something really terrifying about the silence around seemingly normal tasks, on a normal day. I’d like to explore that more in the future – that was one of my favorite scripts to write.


You produced and acted in the short film Puritans which has won some awards. What was it like to get recognized for that film?

It was amazing. We won Best Film and my husband Kris won Best Director at the Digi 60 Film Festival in 2013.

We were feeling overwhelmed at the time. When we signed up for the festival, it felt like was the real start to the still seemingly endless wave of news stories about women constantly being violated in horrendous ways by men.

Feeling disappointed and disgusted with the world really made us want to write a story to symbolize these stories and start a good fight. We did it and we were so proud when people responded the way they did.

The film is available on Amazon Prime and YouTube. People still love it – although, there is the occasional chauvinist pig that likes to criticize the story as being man-hating and religion hating. Those people make me feel even better about putting it out there. If it threatens you, then maybe you’re on the wrong side of this story!


Do you have any projects coming out that you can share with us?

Do I ever! Our first Horror Feature, Hens Night is going to be available for rental and purchase on February 16th 2018!

Hens Night was experimental for us. The first Feature I’ve ever written.

It doesn’t hang on to any old tropes. We cast actors that people can relate to, and we really wanted you to understand them before any horror happened upon them. I wrote it for the women out there that don’t “like” horror. I want them to give this a chance. You don’t get any horror with this one until you have an opinion on our characters. Whether you love them or hate them, I wanted our viewer to feel something for them. There’s a tragic love story in there too, but not the kind of you’re used to.

Check to find where you can see it now!


How can our readers support your work?

Watch what we can do, write to us, share with your friends!

I’ve already talked about the launch of Hens Night on February 16th, but if you’re short on time, we have a few shorts available that you might want to see.

Time’s Up:


Additionally, we completed our second feature, a Christmas Horror Anthology called ‘UNHOLY NIGHT’. This one is being submitted to film festivals worldwide at the moment and we are in distribution talks!


So if you’d like you can take a look at the trailer and send us your good vibes!



We’re both from Ottawa which is often known as ‘The City that fun forgot’, when you first started out making films here, what were your expectations for the horror community?

I didn’t really have any expectations – I didn’t have a clue how many people are part of this community! I was really surprised and happy. I finally found my tribe. Every time I meet someone new who shares my interests I’m so excited. The support has been so wonderful.

And I have got to defend our city. Sure, if you just go to work and retreat back to your chosen suburb and stay there day in, day out…then Ottawa is definitely no fun. But if you get out there, anywhere central, you’ll see that Ottawa is a lot of fun. We have places like the Mayfair Theatre, House of Targ, Art & Film festivals all over the place. Incredible food scene too. People just have to be willing to…you know…leave their homes!


Do you have any fun/nightmare stories to share from the set of one of your films?

We shot our wraparound storyline for ‘UNHOLY NIGHT’ over the course of two overnight shoots in an abandoned wing of a hospital at the wonderful Gallipeau Centre in Smiths Falls.

It used to be known as the Rideau Regional Hospital. It used to house children and adults with cognitive disabilities, and some physical. At times, from what I’ve read about it, they exceeded their capacity by thousands. It closed down in 2009.

A few crazy things happened during that shoot. One of our cast members saw an apparition at the end of a hallway that seemed to mimic her body movements.

My husband was on the bottom floor and heard children giggling. He was white as a ghost when he returned to the holding room to see that we were all there.

I felt the tiny hairs stand up on the back of my neck a few times, and saw a figure in a black hoodie watching us film when no one else was actually in the building.

I’m so thankful that we had the opportunity to use the hospital as our location. It really was a character in its own!


What have your experiences been like being a female producer/director so far?

Nothing but 100% positive. I did my Directorial debut with the Digi60 Film Festival with a 3 minute long short film you can see here called Retention. It was a great experience, it really got my feet wet. It’s far from a horror project, but still really fun!

Then I co-directed Time’s Up. The feedback has been incredible. People have been nothing but encouraging. I’ve made some Incredible partnerships and friendships with other creatives in the community.

I’ve been really passionate about trying to support women-led projects. Recently my friend Lana Bateman and I came up with a project that we are really passionate about. A project that we hope will encourage women to embrace, and get involved with, horror filmmaking. I have to be vague about it for now, but we are hoping to announce our project in the spring!


Any advice for people that want to get started making horror films?

Watch as many as you can, read the scripts and get out to any one of your city’s film events to make some connections. Use the resources available to you and just do it! All you really need is a good script, at least one good actor, and one location. The less complicated, the better.

Jennifer Allanson can be found on twitter here