Dubaku: An Excerpt

It occurred to me that I began this blog long after my first work was ever published, so I’ve never written about my debut novella, Dubaku from Damnation Books.

Ah well, better late than never.

In 1760 somewhere near the Bight Of Benin, Dubaku, a powerful African shaman belonging to an obscure interior tribe (the Waziri, whom certain readers may be familiar with by name) surrenders himself willingly to an English slaving expedition.

Dubaku has come in search of his wife Zuberi, an Aja warrior woman of the Dahomey Amazons, abducted and sold to another party of whites by her brother for marrying Dubaku in place of Mwenye’s best friend, to whom she was betrothed. Not knowing one ship from another, Dubaku boards the slaver hoping to find her.

The captain, a cruel and careless man named Bryce, mistrusts Dubaku and his imperious bearing immediately, and when a rampant sickness takes its toll on the superstitious crew and their human cargo midway through the voyage to Jamaica, Bryce decides to offer up the shaman to the sea as their Jonah.

But when a violent squall drowns the entire compliment of would-be slaves, Dubaku calls upon dark and terrible powers to enact a fitting vengeance on Captain Bryce and his men.

Dubaku is a work of horror fiction, but like much of the horror I write, the most heinous parts are true. If there ever was a more reprehensible and morally depraved institution as human chattel slavery (in all its forms, many of which continue to this very day), I haven’t seen it yet, and hope I never do.

Writing Dubaku changed my life, as it was my first published standalone work. But researching it was a harrowing experience in and of itself. There is a horror and there is Horror, and the latter has nothing to do with zombies and everything to do with men who ignore the basic human rights of their fellow men.

Here’s an excerpt –

Dubaku had seen strange things in his journeys. He had trucked with spirits under the tutelage of Subira. The deep magic of his father’s people was now married to the wild rituals of Vodoun in his heart. As the dirty fat man prodded him and the other Aja into the waiting boat, he touched the concealed packet he had brought with him, and it was as though he could feel the magic of its contents throbbing like a living heart. He prayed to the Dahomey lwa and to the spirits of his ancestors and to the deepest Waziri powers he knew of that he had all he needed, and that the whites would not discover it.

They were brought to the tall ship, men, women, and children, most too stunned by their capture to fight or protest. They were roughly ushered onto the decks and herded into pairs, where a blue-armed man fit shackles about their ankles and ran long lengths of chain through them. Next, a dented tin pannikin was jammed into their tremulous hands. A disinterested sailor sloppily ladled water from a barrel into it, which mattered little as their shaking and the jostling of the bodies meant that they spilled most of it anyway.

Then the hatch was thrown open, and for the Aja it was terrifying – like the wooden maw of a creaking, big bellied sea beast waking to swallow them whole. This beast breathed out a hot blast of putrid stink – the noisome smell of sweat and excrement and death and sickness, like the breath of some pestilential entity native to the inferno.

There was no light down below, only the shaky glow of the whale oil lamps the sailors lit and carried with them. The Aja were pushed and pulled down into the deceptively cavernous mouth, and there found that in fact there was no room at all.

Waves of them were force-fed into the ship’s groaning timber bowels. The swinging light of the lamps cast a faltering glow on the floor, which was carpeted in row upon row of swooning black bodies. They tread upon the bare skin of exhausted figures who recoiled at their touch or else lay in the stiff cold of death, bones snapping beneath their collective weight. Women whimpered and clutched at each other, and the weeping of the children was redoubled.

What was this strange precinct of hell into which they had been brought? What cave, carpeted in barely perceived forms that shifted and struck out like irritated sleepers? Chains clinked and voices moaned, begging for water and gripping at the pantaloons of the white men only to be clouted down. Others pulled the water tins away from the newcomers and avariciously sucked the precious wetness from them in the dark.

It was hot from the press of the bodies. Bodies, all around, stretching on down the dark passage. They could not step without treading upon another or slipping in drek and waste. Still, they were pulled through the utter darkness by the hunched over sailors, and now some pairs were yanked down and told to sit with their knees up against their chest. They found that their allotted space was very little, and they were pressed on every side by slaves sitting in the same posture so that they could not shift at all for want of comfort. Unfamiliar heads lolled against them on exhausted necks. Crowds of biting lice jumped from their neighbors onto their skin as soon as they settled, and this could not be helped.

Their chains were run through iron rungs in the floor and they could not stand. Some tried when the slavers moved on with the others, only to dash their heads on the low ceiling and fall back down senseless.

Dubaku and another man were the last. They stood listening to the commotion below the deck until the last of the hundred Aja had been packed in. The sailors tore away Dubaku’s cloak and necklace.

They fitted them both with chains and Dubaku stared up the tall mast at the sky, which was filled with crying, wheeling gulls, and prayed Zuberi was alive and wherever they were bound. The man beside him trembled and wept. Urine rained down his bare legs and splashed Dubaku’s foot. The white men jeered and kicked them both, until the little captain climbed aboard and told them to cease.

The little captain stood before him and smiling, nodded to the fat man, who took up a lantern. Dubaku and his partner were seized and taken down below deck, amid the chaos that therein dwelt. Some tried to take his sloshing pannikin, but he slapped them away. Dubaku heard the voice of the fat man close, and felt a hairy fist strike his lips. They forced him to sit and chained him to the floor. He tasted blood.

He watched the bulky shadow of the fat man and his lamp make its way back toward the faraway square of fading light that shone down the hatch through which they’d passed. The fat man went up the ladder and in a moment the hatch slammed shut. They were all in complete darkness and some screamed louder than before. He tried to yell above them, tried to bring order somehow, but it was useless. They babbled in a half dozen languages of which he mostly knew nothing.

He touched his forehead to his knees as the vermin, emboldened by the reinforcement of the shadow, began to scuttle over his feet. He prayed once more to all the lwa that his wife and child lived somewhere.

What some people said of Dubaku –

‘The suspense and pace of the story never relents…the pace is incredibly fast and the scare is compacted into a few short bloody pages to create a
heart-pounding read.’ –Kelly Fann, Monsterlibrarian.com

‘Erdelac has written a haunting novella filled with magic (both black and white), death and humanity. For in the end it is all about what humanity really is, and whether or not God or Gods listen to prayers and answer them.’ –Bitten By Books

‘Erdelac’s voodoo-tinged revenge tale features…a “Death Ship” scenario that makes the “Death Ship” films look like unaired episodes of The Love Boat.’ – The Horror Fiction Review

You can pick it up from Damnationbooks.com or here at Amazon in print or Kindle –


World Horror Con 2012

Next week I’ll be at the World Horror Convention at the Radisson in Salt Lake City.


I’ll be hovering all over the place starting Friday morning, likely commiserating with my fellow Damnation Books authors Tim Marquitz (Dawn of War Trilogy) and Lincoln Crisler (WILD, Corrupts Absolutely?). Hope to rub elbows with a couple of authors I’d admire as well. Excited to see Joe R. Lansdale and Robert McCammon will be there.

Specifically though, if you wanna find me, I’ll be reading one of my works at 5:30pm on Friday, March 30th.

I’ll also be at the mass book signing from about 8-10pm pushing copies of Merkabah Rider.

After that, 10PM or so Friday night I’ll be jumping between the Dark Moon Books (the story I wrote with my daughter Magnolia, The Better To See You, appears in Dark Moon Digest #7 and my story The Wrath of Benjo is in their charity anthology Slices of Flesh) and Damnation Books (publishers of Dubaku and The Merkabah Rider series as well as Corrupts Absolutely? the dark metahuman anthology my story Conviction appears in) parties.

Then Saturday at noon I’m on the Vampires Through The Ages panel with Leslie S. Klinger, James Dorr, Hal Bodner, and Thomas Roche.

The rest of Saturday and Sunday I’ll be bopping around all over or taking in the sights of Salt Lake City.

Hasta pronto!


An Excerpt From Merkabah Rider: Have Glyphs Will Travel

The Merkabah Rider series from Damnation Books follows the weird western adventures of a Hasidic gunslinger tracking the renegade teacher who betrayed his mystic Jewish order of astral travelers across the demon haunted Southwest of the 1880’s. Along the way the Rider (so called because he has hidden his true name to protect himself from his enemies) confronts half-demon outlaws, animated windmills,possessed gunmen, cultists, a bordello of antedeluvian succubi, Lovecraftian entities and various other dangers.

To evoke the old Zebra/Lancer/Bantam paperback collections of Robert E. Howard’s Solomon Kane  and Conan, the novels are presented as collections of standalone but sequential novellas. The series currently consists of two installments, Tales of a High Planes Drifter and The Mensch With No Name, both available in print and ebook formats on Amazon.com.

This year will see the release of Have Glyphs Will Travel, the third book in the series. Included are five novellas, detailing the Rider’s dealings with extra-dimensional angels, zombies, turncoat Riders, the wrath of the Demon Queen Lilith, Navajo skinwalkers and Native American shapeshifters, fire demons, a future instructor at a certain infamous Massachussetts institution of higher learning, and his greatest enemy.

Here’s an exclusive taste of what’s to come.

In this excerpt from one of the five novellas, The War Prophet, the powerful Native American mystic (and the Rider’s old acquaintance) Misquamacus has gathered an army of vengeful warriors from various castout tribes in an effort to unify them against the white man’s encroachment and depradations, all under the power of his dark magic.

Seeking to add the might of the Chiricahua Apache nation to his own, he has called their greatest leaders to a secret meeting high in the Sierra Madres, where he has made them a tempting offer. Turn away from their traditional religion and embrace the dark gods of Misquamacus and the white nation will be rubbed out….


Many of the frightened rurales were cursing, wide-eyed, shaking their heads. Many more were praying. Some were even kissing crosses that dangled from wooden bead rosaries around their necks, tucked into their dirty shirts so that the Lord did not see the terrible things they did, but so that He could be gotten to in a pinch if needed.

One Mexican among them, an old vaquero on his knees, was laughing. The Rider saw Mendez, the corporal. He stood bewildered, hands snatching at the empty holsters on his belt.

“They are for you, my brothers!” Misquamacus hollered above the din of the jabbering Mexicans, his voice powerful, resounding off the great rock walls. “Do with them what you want to do!”

And they did.

Almost as one body the Indians fell hungrily upon the cringing Mexicans like a great mouth closing. Some gamely fought back, but they were unarmed and outnumbered and quickly dragged down. Not a single bullet was wasted. Those with rifles came at the rurales with the heavy butts of their weapons, dashing skulls open at a swing. Stone axes whistled and sunk into pleading faces, and were drawn out to scatter brains and teeth and then fall again. Knives flashed, passing through scalps pulled so tight they came free in the bronze fists that held them with a single swipe and left glaring patches bereft of hair and flesh, the faces of their howling victims swiftly vanishing in a curtain of blood. Machetes swept off hands and fingers interlaced in desperate prayer.

Big Anger and his Pawnees straddled their victims and worked vicious arts with their knives, slashing away age, race, and sex, leaving behind only meat, indiscernible from a butcher’s wares. Organs leapt into the air like hats on New Year’s Eve.

The Rider/Piishi saw Slim Ghost and the skinwalkers walking among the dead and dying with curved knives, stooping to extract eyes, hearts, livers, fingers, genitals, even twisting free bloody bones, all of which they stuffed into their hide satchels, for later use in their foul practices, no doubt.

The Ishaks and the Tonkawas fell wholly upon their kills, burying their faces in the cavernous wounds they ripped open with their fingers. Piishi’s digestive system reacted with violent disgust at their display, and the Rider put the back of his hand to his lips and swallowed rising bile as Moon Cloud and Bloody Jaw wrestled over the bloody corpse of a fat rurale. One end of a rope of intestines twisted in-between each man’s teeth, the two of them snarling at each other like wild dogs. Indeed, they looked very much like animals. Their eyes grew wide and black , and they seemed hairier than before. Their ears elongated, sharpening in elfish grotesqueness, and their teeth were suddenly pointed and jagged, wolf-like in their gory mouths, extending in some kind of perverse, ravenous arousal. They were changing before their very eyes, something in their doing bringing out their true, inhuman natures, until Bloody Jaw was more wolf than the black hide and cowl trappings that hung from his bulky, misshapen shoulders. Moon Cloud matched his bestial visage.

The Rider looked through the massacre and found Goyaałé. The Bedonkohe war chief had made his way to the still laughing old caballero, and hoisted him to his feet. He raised his bloody knife to end him.

“Goyaałé!” The Rider called in as loud a voice as he could manage, which was considerable, given the acoustics of the canyon.

Goyaałé heard, and paused to look. A moment’s searching and he found the source.

“Look!” The Rider yelled, pointing to Moon Cloud and Bloody Jaw.

Goyaałé followed the indicatory gesture and his lip curled when he saw the two transformed chiefs. He let the old caballero fall and backed away. His eyes flitted all around the killing ground, and he saw the other Ishaks and Tonkawas changing into wolf-beasts.

The Rider watched as Goyaałé rushed through the crowd and found Lozen and Vittorio. He snatched the rifle from Lozen’s belt.

Before she could react, he levered it and fired it into the air.

It was a startling sound, and every man and woman stopped. Even the hairy beasts that had once been Indians raised their elongated doggish muzzles from the bellies of their kills and regarded him with feral eyes.

Lozen moved to take the rifle back, but Goyaałé said something and pointed.

Lozen and Vittorio saw.

All the Apache, their attention momentarily lifted from their bloody work to the two leaders, followed their shocked gazes and saw.

And as one, just as they had closed upon the Mexicans, they now recoiled and withdrew. Not a single Mexican was still alive.

“What is this, Mis-kwa-macus?” Vittorio yelled, pointing to the wolf creatures. “What are these?”

“They are the Rugarou Ishaks and the True Tonkawas. The last of their kind,” said Misquamacus. “Just as I told you.”

“They are monsters!”

The blood spattered Apache voiced their agreement with angry and frightened shouts.

“Not so! Not so!” Misquamacus yelled over them. “They are your brothers, ready to fight the white man at your side. Does Usen not teach you that the beasts are your kin? Do you not emulate the ferocity of the puma and the cunning of the beaver?”

One of the skinwalkers was nearby, and Goyaałé rushed at him without warning and cut his satchel from his shoulder with his knife, then shook out its grisly contents on the ground, where all could see them. The shriveled fist of a child rolled out among the fresh trophies.

“Usen does not teach us this!” he called.

“You have said that we must turn from Usen to defeat the white man,” Vittorio said. He pointed to the transformed Ishaks and Tonkawas. “Is this what happened to them when they turned from their god?”

“I offer you the death of the white man and the Mexicans for all time,” said Misquamacus. “I offer you a thousand nights like this one, with your enemies beneath your knives. With the power of my god, I can snatch the Great Father in Washington from his house and bring him to us. I can pull the rails out from under the iron snakes and fling them into the air. I can put my hand over the soldier forts that rise like ugly boils across all the land and send you in to cut their throats in their beds. I can turn the weapons of the enemy against them, make their ponies burst into flame between their legs, turn their bullets to raindrops. I can geld the white man and seal up his women. I can make it so your children will never know those people but from the stories told around your fires.”

“Who is your god that promises us these great victories, Mis-kwa-macus?” Goyaałé demanded. “It is time you told us.”

“Yes,” said Vittorio. “Who is your god that is so great but would bother with us?”

In answer, Misquamacus raised his arms for silence.

Slim Ghost and eight of the skinwalkers went to the base of the stone and knelt in a circle. They upended a series of small black pouches from their satchels into their hands and closed them into fists. Colored sand ran through their fingers, and with measured care they began to let the sand fall in ordered patterns on the bloody red earth. It was wondrous to see them work, ten men making a large vaguely circular picture, each acting independently, and yet their labors taking on a unified pattern, as if they possessed one mind, one vision. Silently, and without pause or consultation, they worked, forming mystic shapes and figures incomprehensible to outsiders and yet obviously inspired. As they worked, the colored sand drank up the spilled blood beneath, darkening in color where it fell.

The others watched them restlessly. The sun sank, and campfires had to be lit. All this was done in silence. No one dared to interrupt the skinwalkers’ work.

When it was at last finished, they rose as one and returned to the ranks of their people, and a mesmerizing sand painting lay before the stone on which Misquamacus had stood the whole time, observing. Red and blacks and blues dominated the work, and there were dancing feathered figures, moons, stars, and geometric patterns. To the Rider, only a few of these seemed somewhat familiar, some of them not unlike the diagrams found in the Book of Zylac. Yet all were distinctly Indian in their interpretation. Central to the painting was a strange faceless humanoid shape of black sand.

Misquamacus removed something from his satchel then, a polished mirror fragment, the size of a man’s head. He placed it in the center to the sand painting, over the center shape.

Then, before their eyes, that black shape began to grow oily and to boil like hot tar.

A lump rose from the center and took shape, congealing into a man-like form, carrying the fragment of mirror with it. Steam rose from the thing, as if it was hotter than the cool mountain air around it. When it had completed its unnatural birth, it stood nearly eight feet tall, like an earthen statue, black, with bumpy skin, like a flayed corpse, faceless but for the smooth mirror.

The Rider/Piishi recognized the same being they had seen in Misquamacus’ wickiup.

The Dark Man.

Black, foul smelling smoke, like the oily stench of a machine fueled by corpses, pouring from around the edges of the thing’s mirror mask, billowing unnaturally around the figure, never rising, cloaking it in a greasy fog.

The Ishaks and Tonkawas fell to all fours and pressed their jaws to the earth like submitting hounds. They sent up a bone chilling baying and howling din, so terrible that the Apaches clamped their hands over their ears to hear it. The Pawnees put their foreheads to the earth, and even the skinwalkers knelt and bowed their heads. The Apaches moved away, frightened of the thing.

Misquamacus turned and went to his knees, arms still above his head in adoration.

“Behold Tezcatlipoca! The Dark Wind. We are his slaves. Nyarlathotep!”

Merkabah Rider 3: Have Glyphs Will Travel

Pick up the book here –


Tim Marquitz on Dawn of War

This time out I’m ceding the floor to the distinguished Mr. Tim Marquitz, author and editor extraordinaire.  Tim’s credits include the Frank Trigg novels Armageddon Bound and Resurrection. Tim’s newest effort, Dawn of War is out now in ebook on Amazon.com.

EME: Congratulations on the new release, Tim. Let’s begin the beguine and talk first a bit about yourself. I already know what a spectacular editor you are. I think that a good editor necessarily has to have the instincts of a good writer too. What’s your background? How long have you been writing and what drew you to it? What was your first published work?

 TM: Thanks so much, Ed. I think what helps my ability to edit is exactly that: my instincts as a writer. When I sit down to examine a book, I’m not just looking at grammar and punctuation, but the book as a whole. I’m looking for characterization, consistency, continuity, and plot: all the things I worry so much about when I write. These are the things that make the difference between an okay story and a great one. Readers catch the little things and are turned off when the story stumbles. They’ll forgive a punctuation error or average writing, but they won’t overlook a poorly executed character or plot.

 My background is pretty far removed from writing: blue collar, working man my whole life. I’ve always enjoyed writing song lyrics/poetry, and the occasional attempt at a story, but I’ve never put much effort into it. It wasn’t until around 1995 that I stumbled across the motivation to try to do it right. It was kind of an ego thing. I started putting it all together and began to realize my limitations.

 It probably wasn’t until around 2004, 2005, that I really determined I wanted to do this as a career. Given my obsessive-compulsive interest in things I truly want to do, I dove into writing with a desperate need to succeed.

 My first work published was Armageddon Bound, through Damnation Books. They gave me a chance to get my story out there and in front of people. Regardless of how things work out, I’ll forever be grateful to them for taking the chance with me.

 EME: Now give us the rundown on The Blood War Trilogy and its first installment, Dawn of War. What’s it about?

 TM: The Blood War Trilogy is my take on the epic fantasy genre. While many of the elements are similar to the genre, a focus on world-building and imagery, large plots, I changed things up a bit. There are elements of horror involved, as well as an effort to speed the pace of the story. While the book focuses on a number of points of view, the concept is of a singular adventure/circumstance that brings those points of view together.

 Dawn of War is the start of it all. The Grol, a race of wolfen humanoids, find their way to a power that hasn’t been seen in ages. Once empowered, their savage nature asserts itself and they begin a genocidal campaign to rid the world of their enemies.

 The main character, Arrin, exiled for the last fifteen years, sees the Grol destroy a neighboring nation and knows they intend to destroy his own. He too is empowered with an ancient magic, and he races home to save the love of his life and the child born of their illicit affair, the cause of his exile.

 Along the way to save them, he learns that there are more enemies about than just the Grol, the vicious races of the world seemingly mobilized against the rest, waging war across the land. As the world is enveloped in chaos, Arrin is confronted by the first race born of the world, long thought to be dead, and is given a sliver of hope that the savage races might be turned before they destroy the whole of the land.

 EME: How did your concept for this series come about? What were your major inspirations?

 TM: I’ve always been a fan of the larger fantasies, but I’d kind of strayed away from them as I found the darker stories of horror and urban fantasy. My big inspiration for the Blood War books was really to find a way to mix the genres a little more. I wanted to bring the excitement and action of a sword and sorcery type book yet the world-building and scope of the more epic stories.

 As for the specific ideas that led to the book, I’m not really sure. I have all these ideas waging war inside my head, and which ever scrambles to the top is the one I focus on. I’m pretty diverse in my concept of genre, all my books linked by darkness rather than specific tropes or expectations. Once the idea pops into my head, and is fully realized, that’s what I work on.

 EME: At its core, Dawn of War has a love story, that of the outcast Arrin and the Princess of Lathah. Will this continue to be a driving force for the rest of the series?

 TM: Love is definitely the motivation for this story. While we’ll see Arrin’s love evolve as the trilogy goes along, it is what bring this story into being. His love of family is the impetus that makes this story come alive, though the books are far from a romance.

 Throughout the books, it will be the relationships between the characters, the love they have for one another that continues to drive the story. The choices they make, the reasons behind what they do, are all inspired by their feelings for each other.

 EME: One of the biggest draws to writing a fantasy series for me is the world building – creating new cultures from scratch or mashing up the tropes of real life civilizations into something new. The depth of Middle Earth or the cultures that show up in Star Trek and Star Wars, etc. In creating the world of The Blood War Trilogy, what’s the thing you’re most proud of dreaming up?

 TM: I tend toward the terse side when it comes to world-building. But for the Blood War books, I really made an effort to let the reins loose a little bit. I really wanted a visual world that was a part of the story, and not just there for background.

 Nothing in particular stands out, to me, about the world I built, but I think the whole of it is what makes it interesting for me. I tied a number of the world’s geographic anomalies into the plot and that made it fun. Getting to create the story based on the concepts of the world was exciting, seeing how my normal approach is based in characterization first.

 EME: What makes Dawn of War and its sequels stand out from other fantasy works?

 TM: I think the biggest difference is its pacing and the mixture of styles. While I envision the trilogy as more traditional fantasy, the horror aspects and action spread throughout give it a different feel. There is a measure of introspection and angst, but in the end, the scenes fly past because it becomes obvious there is an end in sight. The trilogy doesn’t drag the concept out over a dozen volumes or more, digging into every spare thought or descriptive passage of the food on a character’s plate.

 The idea was to tell a story of a world on the edge of ruin with an immediacy that many epics lack.

 EME: Where can readers get a hold of Dawn of War?

 TM: Right now, I’ve released Dawn of War on Amazon only (link below). The hope is that it will do well enough, numbers-wise, that I can secure a more traditional deal where I can release it in paperback.

 After an indeterminate amount of time, I plan to have it for sale on my web site as well, and we’ll see where it goes after that.

EME: Sounds great! Thanks for stopping by.

 TM: Thanks for having me, Ed, and for giving me the opportunity to talk about Dawn of War. I can’t wait for the newest installment in the Merkabah Rider series.

EME: Thanks, Tim. Looking forward to see how the trilogy unfolds.

Pick up Dawn of War (Book 1 of The Blood War Trilogy) on Amazon right here – –


Something WILD – Author Lincoln Crisler

Hey all, this time out I’m letting a fellow weird western author take a stroll down the main street of Delirium Tremens while I kick back on the porch. Specifically, author Lincoln Crisler, who’s zombie novella WILD is out now from Damnation Books, the fine folks who publish my Merkabah Rider series. This is what DB has to say about it…

‘When Colonel Albert Waters, a controversial Civil War veteran, and his thirteen-year-old son Henry disappear from their El Paso, Texas home, Deputy Sheriff Kurt Kearney calls upon Matthias Jacoby, a strange newcomer, to help with his investigation. Word is, Jacoby’s handled a few cases like this before. Kearney and Jacoby form an uneasy alliance with Black Tom Catch, an infamous New Mexico rancher, cattle rustler and outlaw, and take off after the bandits they suspect kidnapped Waters.

Could the gunfighters have bitten off more than they can chew, however, when their search for the colonel reveals strong ties to black magic and blood sacrifice?’

I spoke with Lincoln about writing and about WILD. Here’s what we talked about.

EME: Tell me first about yourself, Lincoln.

LC: I’m twenty-eight years old, married with two daughters and a son and I’ve been in the Army for ten years. I’ve been to Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Qatar for a year each. I like beer and cigars. And I write scary stuff.

EME:  Hope this doesn’t come off as too personal, but I’ve always been curious about your nom de plume. Is Lincoln Crisler your given name?

It is my given name. “Crisler” is actually pronounced as though it were spelled “Crissler” and my mother’s maiden name (no shit) is Ford.

 EME: As a father of three and a half myself, I’m usually forced to just drop into writing mode minuteman style whenever my youngest crashes. Do you have difficulty making time to sit down and write? What’s your prescribed method of dealing with that?

LC: It’s pretty easy for me to just jump on and do website maintenance, book reviews and promotional activities, but the actual writing? It’s easier when I’m deployed, honestly. By the time all my other obligations are dealt with, I have no energy left to write. If I can’t get it in before work or on my lunch break, it isn’t getting done that day. When I’m out of the Army in ten years I’ll be able to get up early or stay up late, but right now it isn’t an option, since I’m already doing that!

EME: Now let’s talk about WILD a little bit. Give us the gyst.

LC: WILD is loosely based on a real unsolved missing persons case from Old West El Paso. A prominent citizen and war hero disappeared with his son and was never seen again. I changed a few things around for artistic reasons, borrowed the names of some peripheral characters and added some black magic and zombies, a mysterious stranger and a former Army medic. There’s a bit of sleuthing, a touch of the supernatural and plenty of gunplay…something for everyone!

 EME: What induced (possessed might be a better word) you to write a weird western story?

LC: I wanted to write about zombies and magic without using a worn-out modern setting and familiar modern horror tropes. When I was looking for fodder from that period of time, Colonel Fountain’s disappearance popped out at me. Unsolved mysteries make great beginnings for horror stories!

EME:  I’m always intrigued by the appearance of obscure folk practices in dark fiction. In WILD you feature a hechichero. Tell me how you came across them.

LC: Google. I’m familiar with Southwestern American mystical practices least of any in the world (Jewish mysticism would have beat it out, but I’ve been staying on top of the Merkabah Rider series!). It’s a fair assumption to make that any civilization that believes in magic has good wizards and bad wizards. In the case of Mexican mysticism, these are curanderos and hechiceros, respectively. It was important to me not to take the easy way out and just use the standard “Evil Medicine Man.” I put entirely too much work into the plot and settings to take a step back like that. A little research usually ends up saving your ass.

EME: Another thing I like is the name dropping of obscure deities. Not being too familiar with the Aztec pantheon (but having always been interested in learning more), Tetzacatlipoca jumped out at me. Talk a little about this guy without giving too much away.

LC: Tezcatlipoca was a very important Aztec god, who is mentioned frequently alongside Quetzalcoatl in creation myths and such. He was associated with such things as magic, divination and temptation, which makes him a great choice for my hechicero’s patron. Again, I wanted to put in some extra effort instead of just having my bad guy “worship the Devil.”

EME: WILD came across like the beginning of something. Will we see more of Matthias Jacoby’s adventures? Will we learn more about his past?

LC: I left it open-ended as to whether there’ll be more Matthias. Early readers seem to like the book, so I’d be an idiot not to revisit him. I don’t know when or in what form I’ll come back to Matthias and Juan, though. I will say that Sherlock Holmes was an influence on WILD from the get-go, so there’ll probably be more mysteries. I also have a short story in mind featuring the origin of the zombie magic used in WILD; it won’t be set in the Wild West, however. And there might be some leftover zombies from Matthias’ adventure, so that might be good for a story, too!

EME: Where can folks pick up a copy of WILD?

LC: WILD is available in digital and paperback formats from Damnation Books, and there are still a few copies of the 26-copy lettered hardcover that I produced myself. More information on all of these, to include excerpts and reviews, can be found at http://lincolncrisler.info

That’s about all this time around. How about that cool cover from Ash Arcenaux too?

-Hasta Pronto!

Published in: on March 15, 2011 at 8:10 am  Comments (1)  
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