Tag Archives: painted monsters

Happy Halloween! Enjoy “Strange Beast,” by Orrin Grey

Tonight, monsters walk the streets. Werewolves, witches, and weirder things, hungry in the darkness. Listen to them, their footfalls, coming down the sidewalk, across the driveway, up the path to your door. They knock, and when you open the door, they intone the ritual cant: “Trick or Treat!”

So here’s a treat (and a trick) for all you monsters and monster-lovers out there, from a guy who knows a thing or two about monsters. This is “Strange Beast,” by Orrin Grey. This story first appeared in Orrin’s Word Horde collection Painted Monsters and Other Strange Beasts. So unwrap a fun-sized candy bar, sit back, and enjoy…

 

STRANGE BEAST

by Orrin Grey

 

[EDITOR’S NOTE: The following manuscript has been assembled from notes left behind by Kennedy Sanchez, who was contracted with Deanna Bloom of Fetlock & Burridge to produce a book-length work entitled Last Days on Monster Island. The manuscript was never delivered, and Ms. Sanchez returned her advance seven days before she drowned in the swimming pool of her Tallahassee apartment complex. A subsequent police investigation ruled the drowning an accidental death. In reproducing the notes, sections printed entirely in italics indicate hand-written passages in the margins of the rest of the notes, which were printed out from her word processor and sometimes copied-and-pasted from websites. No actual manuscript for the proposed book was ever found, and the notes are presented here exactly as written.]

 

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The Word Horde Summer Solstice Goodreads Giveaway (Plus the Latest News)

We’ve just kicked off our biggest Goodreads Giveaway yet, with copies of Michael Griffin’s The Lure of Devouring Light, Livia Llewellyn’s Furnace, Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts, Ross E. Lockhart’s Cthulhu Fhtagn!, and John Langan’s The Fisherman up for grabs. All you have to do is click through, sign up for Goodreads (if you haven’t already), and enter to win. On the Summer Solstice, June 20, we will select winners and ship books (July 4 in the case of John Langan’s The Fisherman).

Here are the Goodreads Giveaway links:

The Lure of Devouring Light
Furnace
Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts
Cthulhu Fhtagn!
The Fisherman (runs June 1-July 4, 2016)

In other news, The Driftless Area Review just posted a new interview with the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Mr. Suicide, Nicole Cushing, wherein they discuss conventions, “likeable characters,” Louisville, KY, and the definition of evil. It’s a great read.

And you can now read the title story from Livia Llewellyn’s Word Horde collection, Furnace, courtesy of the folks at Weird Fiction Review. Llewellyn’s Shirley Jackson Award-nominated story “Furnace” originally appeared in the Joseph S. Pulver, Sr.-edited Thomas Ligotti tribute anthology The Grimscribe’s Puppets. Read it here.

An interview with Nick “The Hat” Gucker, cover artist for Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Closing out our week of interviews, Sean M. Thompson talks with cover artist extraordinaire and all-around Art Creep Nick “The Hat” Gucker, the man responsible for making Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts look as good on the outside as it reads on the inside.

How did you come you come up with the cover idea for Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts?

Originally the request was to do a horror take on Norman Rockwell’s “Triple Self-Portrait”. But after realizing the great artist William Stout had already done this to great affect, I was having a bit of a time re-inventing this concept. So I threw a few other sketch ideas at the Ross and Orrin to see if any anything tickled their fancy.

I was going for a bit of an old EC horror kind of idea where I could showcase a number of fiends in one go. Most of the monsters on the cover are inspired by Orrin’s stories, a few are interlopers.

All told, how many hours did it take from initial sketches to finished cover?

I’m really not quite sure, since I have a full time job and get to work on these projects evenings and weekends. Time starts to become elusive and I worked on this a bit sporadically among a few other projects.

Do you listen to music when you draw, and or do whatever picture magic you do?

I do listen to a lot of music when I’m working, I’ve a rather broad range of listening habits, so I often hit up iTunes shuffle or load my 5-CD carousel. Currently on deck is Chrome (Half Machine from the Sun), Godflesh (Selfless), Pye Corner Audio (Sleep Games), Berberian Sound Studio Sound Track (Broadcast), and Swans (The Great Annihilator).

Also some audio-fiction and I need to keep reminding me-self to keep up on podcasts, since there are some excellent ones out there.

What made you decide to grow wonderful, bushy sideburns?

It was against my will, the hair started a long chronic gravitational migration down to my cheeks.
I’m just it’s host. How long it shall remain there is anyone’s guess. The hair may end up on my shoulders.

Do you have a favorite hat?

Well, I have my current favorite daily hat and then I have a favorite fez, which is black felt with a cloisonne viking head (it’s actually a Mokanna head) and the word TACOBAT (which is part of the Tacobat Grotto, also known as The Mystic Order of Veiled Prophets of the Enchanted Realm and is an offshoot of a more casual branch Freemasonry with Lodges being called Cauldrens). Its esoteric seeming randomness amuses me to no end, which is to say symbolism is something I really enjoy.

If you could be any kind of monster, what kind would you be?

Probably a ridiculous kaiju of some some sort. I might have two opposing heads, id and ego, comedy and tragedy, that sort of thing on long swaying necks. A mass of tentacles, a multi-digit laden hand that’s a detachable limb that can explore and fight on it’s own. Some kind of horrid gas expulsion that would drive the humans insane or into a state of euphoria and hallucinations. A set of huge wings, slightly bat-like but unlike anything that would actually function for flight. Multiple legs like that of a moose, that could jackhammer the earth into forced tectonic plate-shifts. I’d be showing up in random cities, smashing buildings, gesticulating and posturing absurdly until some wee man that channels some alien super being transforms himself into a giant fighting machine as a dance partner for me.

Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Pre-order Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts today!

An interview with Orrin Grey, author of Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Recently, Word Horde Social Media Manager Sean M. Thompson sat down with Orrin Grey to ask him a few questions about Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

What made you decide to join Ross and the Word Horde?

Was there ever a decision here? Seriously, I had already worked with Ross a few times, on The Book of Cthulhu 2 and Tales of Jack the Ripper and so on, and I knew that he was a great editor and a blast to work with, so when it came time to start shopping around my second collection, Ross was my very first choice. Word Horde is, quite simply, one of my favorite publishers working right now, they’re putting out dynamite weird fiction, and they promote their books like rock stars. Who wouldn’t want to join the Horde?

If you could be any kind of monsters, what kind would you be?

Oh man, most of my favorite monsters (fungus people, monstrous puppets, graboids, C.H.U.D.s) aren’t necessarily anything I’d actually want to be. So for this I think I’d have to go with a Jack Kirby monster; something big and lumpy and lantern-eyed that talked about myself in the third person.

What do you think the role of genre is in fiction?

I think genre wears a lot of hats, depending on how the writer wants to engage with it. How’s that for a non-answer? For me, genre is a collection of traditions and tropes, a sandbox that I play in, a set of expectations that I can either use as shorthand or subvert, as needed. Genre is what gets me interested, and keeps me coming back. I like writing—I must, I freelance for a living, and a lot of that involves writing about plumbing or siding or deburring machines or other less-than-spooky topics—but at the end of the day, it’s genre that keeps me in love with what I do. In the immortal words of Guillermo del Toro: “If there isn’t a monster on the call sheet, I don’t show up for work.”

Is it tough buying clothes that fit, as you are in fact a skeleton?

I find that a nice suit and tie gives me that dapper look that you’ll find among all the very best skeletons. That said, I’ve got a human disguise that I wear when I make public appearances and things, so as to avoid the paparazzi. You know how it is.

You seem to be a big movie fan? What movies have you seen recently that have knocked your socks off?

I’m a huge movie fan, though I’ll have to admit that this year so far has been a little lean on movies—either new or new-to-me—that really knocked my socks off. Plenty of good stuff, but not many new favorites. I am a big fan of the Insidious franchise, though, and the last thing I saw that came very close to knocking my socks off may well have been Insidious: Chapter 3, which I think continued the series admirably. I also saw some really good, recent stuff for the first time earlier in the year, including The Guest, Nightcrawler, Resolution, The Taking of Deborah Logan, and The Canal, to name a few. The Canal and Deborah Logan, in particular, I have not seen nearly enough people talking about.

What do you think the goal of horror fiction should be?

I’m not big on telling anybody what their goal should be, so I don’t know the answer to this one, but I can tell you what the goal of most of my horror fiction usually is: I just want to have fun, and I want the reader to have fun, too. Don’t get me wrong, I love thoughtful, meditative horror as much as anyone, stories that stick with you, that carry a hefty thematic weight and leave you thinking, and I hope that my stuff manages that at least some of the time. But most of my favorite horror stories also have something of the spook house in them. Something of the carnival barker challenging you to “Step right up!” It’s why House on Haunted Hill sits right alongside The Haunting in my personal pantheon, and always will.

Pre-order Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts today!

Cover Reveal: Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

Coming next month from Word Horde, Orrin Grey’s new collection Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts. Here’s your first peek at the cover!

Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts

ORRIN GREY LOVES MONSTERS. That is abundantly clear in the stories he spins. No matter where he draws inspiration from, whether the weird tales of Lovecraft, Machen, and Poe or the films of Murnau, Corman, and Argento, the end result is inevitably fresh and new. And wonderfully monstrous.

If you love monsters—the macabre, the murderous, the misunderstood; the strange, the sinister, the sympathetic; the cinematic and the literary—you will find plenty to love in Orrin Grey’s Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts.

Cover Art by Nick Gucker
Cover Design by Scott R. Jones

Table of Contents:

Introduction by John Langan
The Worm That Gnaws
The White Prince
Night’s Foul Bird
The Murders on Morgue Street*
Ripperology
Walpurgisnacht
The Red Church
Remains
The Labyrinth of Sleep
Lovecrafting
Persistence of Vision
Strange Beast*
Painted Monsters*

* Titles marked with an asterisk are original to the collection.

Pre-order Painted Monsters & Other Strange Beasts today!