Author Joe R. Lansdale Talks about ‘Cold in July’ and Writing


By Jason Harris

Joe R. Lansdale

Joe R. Lansdale

JH: The movie version of Cold in July comes out in May. Did you have any involvement with the filmmakers?

JRL: Yes, Jim Mickle, the director, and Nick Damici the writer, kept me in the loop and asked my opinions frequently. I was on the set for two weeks watching them film. It was a great experience, and as icing on the cake, I like the film. A lot.

JH: If you did have any involvement, what was your involvement and how did you feel about it?

JRL: Mainly just as an adviser. They respected me enough to make me a producer on the film. I did teach Sam Shepard a finger lock for one of the scenes.

JH: What do you think about the casting of Michael C. Hall, Sam Shepard, and Don Johnson in the roles of characters you created?

JRL: It was like they were born for those parts. I didn’t think about them as the actors, but as soon as they said their names, I thought, oh hell yeah.cold_in_july

JH: Are there anymore film adaptations in the works of your books?

JRL: There are several. The Bottoms is the only one I can talk about right now. Bill Paxton is set to direct, and there is a great script by Brent Hanely. He wrote Frailty and Bill directed it. I think we’ve got a winning team. Next actors are to be chosen. The plan right now is to shoot this fall.

JH: How important are names to you in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?

JRL: Sometimes I just want something common. And there are times when I feel something a little unusual is better. I’m not picking names like Bill Storm or Willie Hammer, but now and again I go for something a little exotic like Vanilla Ride.

JH: Do you have a favorite conference to attend? What is it?

JRL: ArmadilloCon in Austin, Texas. I go most years.

JH: What is your least favorite part of the publishing/writing process?

JRL: Proofing and promotion, though I have learned to embrace those things.

JH: Is there one subject you would never write about as an author? What is it?

JRL: I don’t know. I never say never, but I’m sure there are some things I wouldn’t want to write about, but I’d have to come up on that one before I’d know it.

JH: Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder for you to write than others? Love? Action? Racy?

JRL: Not really. Not if I like the story and feel it works in the context of that story.

JH: Just as your books inspire authors, what authors have inspired you to write?

JRL: Too many to name here. But among them: Jack London, Mark Twain, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Robert E. Howard, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Charles Beaumont, William F. Nolan, William Goldman, Raymond Chandler, James Cain, Dashiell Hammett, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, [William] Faulkner, a little, Flannery O’Conner, a lot Glendon Swarthout, some [Larry] McMurtry, and the list goes on.

JH: What writing advice do you have for other aspiring authors?

JRL: Read a lot, and learn to write regularly, daily. Put your ass in a chair and write. Have a reasonable goal each day. Say one to three pages, and reach it, and if you go over, great, but try hard to reach that goal.

Editor’s Note:

THe movie version of Cold in July comes out in limited release in theaters on May 23.

You can read an earlier article about Lansdale receiving the Horror Writers’ Association’s Lifetime Achievement award here.

Epitaphs is Now Available as an E-book

Epitaphs is Now Available as an E-book

by Jason Harris

The New England Horror Writers’ organization’s first anthology is now available as an e-book.

Epitaphs became available in the Kindle store on Amazon today. This is the first time the collection has been available in e-book form.

The paperback edition of Epitaphs became a Stoker nominated collection this past Saturday. It’s on the final ballot of the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Awards for works published in 2011. The Awards will be presented at a gala banquet on Saturday, March 31, at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It’s a great achievement for the NEHW to have its first anthology get this far,” said Tracy L. Carbone, who is the editor of the collection, on her Facebook page. ”We all put in a tremendous amount of work in a short time to get this off the ground and I want to again thank the board and all the contributors.”

The book was released last October by Shroud Publishing then debuted at Anthocon with a book release party in November. At Anthocon, most of the writers in this collection were on hand to sign it.

The table of contents in this anthology is as follows:

Jeffrey C. Pettengill “To Sleep, Perchance to Die”

Paul McMahon “The Christopher Chair”

Kurt Newton “A Case of the Quiets”

Scott T. Goudsward “Build-a-Zombie”

John Goodrich “Not an Ulcer”

B. Adrian White “The Possesor Worm”

John M. McIlveen “Make a Choice”

Michael Allen Todd “The Death Room”

Rick Hautala “Perfect Witness”

Holly Newstein and Glenn Chadbourne “Stoney’s Boneyard”

Trisha J. Wooldridge “Kali’s Promise”

David Bernard “The Sequel”

David North-Martino “Malfeasance”

Stacey Longo “Private Beach”

Christopher Golden “All Aboard”

L.L. Soares “Holiday House”

Steven Withrow “Lines at a Wake”

K. Allen Wood “A Deeper kind of Cold”

P. Gardner Goldsmith “Alone”

Roxanne Dent “Pandora’s Box”

Michael Arruda “Chuck the Magic Man Says I Can”

T.T. Zuma “Burial Board”

John Grover “Windblown Shutter”

Stephen Dorato “Cheryl Takes a Trip”

Philip Roberts “The Legend of Wormley Farm”

Peter N. Dudar “Church of Thunder and Lightning”

To purchase a copy of Epitaphs in paperback for $12.99, click here.

To purchase in the e-book format for $4.99, click here.

Organization’s First Anthology Makes the HWA Final Ballot

Organization’s First Anthology Makes the HWA Final Ballot

by Jason Harris

It became official on Saturday, January 18, the New England Horror Writers’ first anthology is now a Stoker nominated collection.

Epitaphs is on the final ballot of the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Awards for works published in 2011. The Awards will be presented at a gala banquet on Saturday, March 31, at the World Horror Convention in Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It’s a great achievement for the NEHW to have its first anthology get this far,” Carbone, who is the editor of the collection, said on her Facebook page. “We all put in a tremendous amount of work in a short time to get this off the ground and I want to again thank the board and all the contributors.”

To purchase a copy of Epitaphs, click here.

Epitaphs on HWA’s Preliminary Ballot

It was announced last Saturday that Epitaphs, the first NEHW anthology is included in the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Award for Anthology. According to the Bram Stoker Award rules on the Horror Writers Association’s website, Epitaphs will be on the final ballot, but cannot be called a “Stoker Nominated” collection until after the final ballot is announced on Feb. 18.

The HWA Announces 2012 Recipients for Lifetime Achievement

The HWA Announces 2012 Recipients for Lifetime Achievement

by Jason Harris

The Horror Writers Association has announced the 2012 recipients of its Bram Stoker Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Rick Hautala (photo courtesy of his Facebook page)

The two recipients of the award are NEHW member Rick Hautala and Joe R. Lansdale.

Hautala and Lansdale join previous recipients such as Stephen King, F. Paul Wilson, John Carpenter, Thomas Harris (no relation), Anne Rice, Charles L. Grant, Harlan Ellison, and Ramsey Campbell to name a just a few of the people who have been honored with this award.

Hautala, who recently had his first novel, Moondeath, rereleased by Evil Jester Press and is in the NEHW’s first anthology, Epitaphs, released last year, said that receiving the award was “unexpected.”

Lansdale’s novel, All the Earth, Thrown to the Sky and the e-book, Bullets and Fire, were released last year. His newest book, Edge of Dark Water, comes out March 25.

“Truthfully, I am more humbled than excited by it,” Hautala said. “There are so many other writers who, I think, are much more deserving. I feel like Carrie White at the prom.”

Lansdale “was surprised” and “maybe even shocked” when he heard about the honor, he said.

Joe R. Lansdale (photo courtesy of his Facebook page)

“It’s an honor to be given this award along with Rick,” Lansdale said.

According to the HWA website, “the Lifetime Achievement Award is the most prestigious of all awards presented by the HWA. It does not merely honor the superior achievement embodied in a single work. Instead, it is an acknowledgement of superior achievement in an entire career.”

A committee chooses the recipients for the lifetime achievement award instead of it being voted on by the entire associations’ active membership, the website said. By having an committee, it “prevents unseemly competition” and the “impression that there are any losers in this category.”

Hautala said, he will “accept the award with humility and — yes, a measure of pride.”

He feels better “sharing the stage with Lansdale, who has been a great friend” for many years.

“As Harlan Ellison says: ’Becoming a writer is easy. It’s staying a writer that’s hard.’ So this award should be an inspiration to young and aspiring writers everywhere … If you stick around long enough, eventually they have to notice you.” Hautala said.

Lansdale agrees with Hautala’s sentiment about having to be noticed when “you have been around long enough.”

“… I like to think we’ve contributed to the field of horror and dark suspense, and that there’s someone out there who became a fan, or writer of horror, because of something I wrote, or something Rick wrote,” Lansdale said. “Again, it’s a great and respected honor.”

Writers Against Plagiarism

This blog post originally appeared on

Writers Against Plagiarism: A Call to Action by Victoria Strauss

It’s been a year since I first blogged about serial plagiarist “Iron” Dave Boyer (among many other names), whose prolific pilfering of other writers’ words has become something of an Internet legend, especially in the horror community, where he concentrates his efforts.

The fact that Boyer’s multiple misappropriations have been extensively exposed by intrepid researchers and bloggers, and discussed on popular message boards, doesn’t seem to have fazed him in the slightest. He is still at it, swiping stories from writers both known and unknown, and selling them to unwitting consumers as his own original work. Lately, he has branched out into snitching song lyrics–something that, unlike merely filching fiction, can get you into real trouble with the corporate overlords. (See B.Thoughtful’s blog for an encyclopedic expose of Boyer’s prose pirating, as well as a list of his many aliases.)

Now, thanks to activism by Ferrell Rick Moore, one of Boyer’s first victims, the Attorney General in Boyer’s home state of Indiana is investigating whether to pursue Boyer on consumer fraud charges.

Here’s where we can help. From Rick’s blog (the bolding is mine):

In the past, the only recourse a writer had was to file an expensive, time consuming and ultimately unproductive lawsuit against creeps like Boyer who then claim they’re bankrupt. Help me change that. Tell the Attorney General’s office for the State of Indiana how important it is for this plagiarist publisher to be subject to the same penalties as any other crooked business. We want him pursued under Consumer Fraud regulations at their cost, not ours. He’s defrauding consumers by selling them our stuff with his name on it.

Here’s where to send your respectful but firm letters and or emails of support, and be sure to include the File Number File No. 10-CP-62157:

Tom Irons
Consumer Protection Division
Office of the Indiana Attorney General
302 W. Washington St., 5th Floor
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Please add your voice to this campaign. A letter of support has already been sent by the Horror Writers Association. Mine went off this morning.

Please feel free to share this post, or put the call out on your own blog. There’s also a Facebook page where you can express support and check for updates. Thank you!

(As a matter of interest, Indiana is one of the few states that has actually prosecuted literary scammers–vanity publisher New Century Publishing in 2010, and self-publishing service/marketing company Airleaf in 2008.)

Bram Stoker Awards’ Press Release

Bram Stoker Award 2011 Official Press Release

Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement

Categories: Novel, First Novel, Graphic Novel (*),Young Adult Novel (*), Long Fiction, Short Fiction, Fiction Collection, Screenplay (*), Poetry Collection, Anthology, Nonfiction

Each year, for the past twenty-four years, the Horror Writers Association (HWA) has presented the Bram Stoker Awards for Superior Achievement within the Horror Genre. The Awards are named in honor of Bram Stoker, the famous author of the seminal work of horror, Dracula. The Bram Stoker Awards were instituted immediately after the HWA’s incorporation in 1987.

In a bold move, this year the Twenty-Fifth Annual Bram Stoker Awards will now be partly Juried with one half of the shortlist being selected by a Jury for each of the categories, as opposed to the prior method of all nominees being selected by recommendation of the general membership. The HWA has also added new categories for Screenplay, Graphic Novel and Young Adult.

Half the Bram Stoker Awards nominees in each category will come from a jury of professional writers, editors, critics, and academics within each category, and the remaining half by recommendations from the general HWA membership, which exceeds 550 members. The “Active” class of members (the HWA’s highest professional category of membership) then vote to determine the final award recipients. The awards are for “Superior Achievement” in works published in the preceding calendar year for each of the eleven categories listed above.

Fiction: To be eligible for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement, a work of fiction must exhibit intrinsic story values that by general agreement identify it as a work of dark fantasy, horror, or the occult. A work need not contain any supernatural element to be considered horror.

Nonfiction: To be eligible, a work of nonfiction — including but not limited to criticism, biography, autobiography, scholarly analysis, and reference — must be related to one or more of the above-mentioned three facets of the horror field.

Publishers and authors wishing to promote their works to a specific Jury are requested do so by first emailing the relevant Jury chair (listed below) with a query on how to submit works to that Jury (it is possible that your work is already under consideration).

Do NOT send hard copy books to HWA’s Post Office box or directly to Jurors without prior permission, as this will likely put you in breach of the anti-spamming rules and may disqualify your work.

To send in material, please contact the appropriate Jury Chair for each category listed below:

Jury Chair Emails:

Novel –


Novel –

Collection –

Anthology –

*Graphic Novels –

*Young Adult –

Long Fiction –

Short Fiction –

*Screenplays –

Nonfiction –

Poetry –

*new categories this year

For comprehensive details about the rules and process for submissions, please visit the HWA website.

The Jury will consider all works submitted up to 31 December 2011 but, due to the reading time required before our Short list is submitted on 15 January 2012, we strongly recommend that if at all possible authors, editors and publishers submit works for consideration to the Jury no later than 30 November.

Tracy L. Carbone is the primary contact. Please contact her at for any questions about the award.