Posts Tagged ‘heavy metal’

WRITING WRAP 2016

2016 has been a prick of a year, not just for a handful of people, but seemingly for most folk across the board. With more ups and downs than a rollercoaster (probably more of those downs), it’s pretty apparent that this is a year most people are keen to see the back of, but that’s not really the purpose of this post. Rather than dwell on any of the less than exemplary experiences that have occurred, either personally, or for many others, this is my 2016 writing wrap.

And in terms of writing, personal output and achievements, 2016 was a stellar year for me.

With the exception of only April, May and June, I had something happening in each month of the year, whether it was the release of novels, stories appearing in anthologies or part of the ongoing Rejected For Content series. In some instances there were at least a couple of things each month with October and December being particularly productive.

My initial thoughts way back in the day that I’d try and follow a template of releasing a novel, then a collection, then novel and following that pattern went way out the window considering I had three novels come out in 2016 and no collections. Granted, two of those full lengths were two separate halves of the same story, and released simultaneously, but all the same, they were lengthy beasts and simply not feasible to put out as one book. As for collections, while I do have a pile of stories to comprise collections, not all of them are brand new and with the amount of anthologies I’ve been involved in, undoubtedly there would be reprints. My stance on collections remains the same-until one is a massively established writer with a whole host of things under their belt, putting out a collection largely comprised of reprints folks have probably already read is a rort. Save that for your greatest hits album. When you’re at the stage of making a greatest hits album, that is. Not a mere couple of years or less into a career. In any case, a collection made up of mostly new stories and a few reprints from niche anthologies and lesser read publications will be on the agenda for next year, but we’ll see what happens with that and where it fits in among all the other things planned for 2017.

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I kicked off the year in January with the release of extreme metal zombie opus Undead Fleshcrave: The Zombie Trigger. Being a splatterpunk/extreme horror take on the whole zombie genre with a constant soundtrack and proliferation of primarily black and death metal driving it, this was always going to be something of a niche book likely to appeal to specific audiences, but a having it reviewed in Metal Hammer magazine was a distinct highlight. Unfortunately with the collapse of Team Rock, it’s likely Metal Hammer and other long-running magazines under that particular blanket won’t exist anymore, so any sequels spawned from Undead Fleshcrave won’t be finding themselves reviewed in those pages.

February saw the release of the very first in a line of battle anthologies, that being the M v F (Male vs Female) books, where a team of male authors captained by John Ledger was pitted against a team of female authors led by Catt Dahman. Simple rules were put in place here; each team were given specific items that had to play a part in their story and a location which it needed to be based in or around, and then each story was voted on by a group of impartial judges with no knowledge on who wrote what. Two books were spawned from this competition, MvF: Deadliest of the Species and MvF: Death Personified. You can catch my tale Lancet, in that latter book.

This was the first of three battle type anthologies I appeared in over the course of 2016, with the other two coming at the tail-end of the year in VS: US vs UK Horror and VampZ vz WolvZ.

In March, the second volume of Tales From the Lake from the always fantastic Crystal Lake Publishing finally emerged after a period of delay (the book was originally slated to be released mid-2015). The story I wrote for this one, Lagos de los Perdidos, was something of a complete departure to my usual splatterpunk, ultra-violent, more extreme end of the scale type material, centering more on a dark emotional side of things. I was one of the judges for the Tales From the Lake competition and almost forgot I was supposed to write a story for the book as well, so this one was written in a mere night or so. All the same, it was definitely one of my favourite stories of the many I penned during the year, and tapped into a different approach to horror, or what most folk might have come to expect from me.

Earlier on I’d jumped onboard with Matt Shaw’s ideas for an Easter themed horror anthology and March also saw the release of that holiday beast, Easter Eggs and Bunny Boilers. In the cheery little tale of mine, When a Bunny Snaps, I introduced a quaint establishment called Fantasy Dress, a costume themed restaurant/bar/club where each holiday of the calendar year sees the female staff dressing appropriately to match said holiday. This was intended to be a one-off, but Matt also pulled together many of the same authors who’d appeared in Bunny Boilers as well as multiple big hitters of the genre for a Christmas antho (or rather, an anti-Christmas antho), so the chance to revisit Fantasy Dress and drop them into festive fuckery was too good to pass up. I’d originally started writing a completely different Christmas horror story and then left it to pen a completely new one which would focus around Fantasy Dress instead.

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In the next few months, I was mostly busy with working on the follow-up books to Plebs and the fourth volume of the Rejected For Content series. In July, Rejected For Content 4: Highway To Hell burst forth in a fiery inferno of the grotesque and the grisly, and in the following month, the sequels to Plebs finally appeared, over two years since that first book (and my debut novel) was released. Riders was split into two books (Riders: Plebs 2-Book One and Riders: Plebs 2-Book Two) because it was an enormous sonofabitch on completion, well over the 180k length that Plebs was. It simply wasn’t viable to put it out as one book, even after extensive cuts. In any case, readers who are familiar with Plebs might, or might not, know what to expect from these books. Brutal, explicit, bloody, yeah, you know the drill. Or if not, dive in and see what it’s all about. Those who have managed to catch up with the latest exploits of the Riders are already calling for a return, so rest assured, that will be on the agenda at some time in the future, hopefully sooner rather than later. Those who have read Plebs, but haven’t yet ventured into Riders, best get into it now.

I was initially planning to write a bit of a spiel on each tale I had published during the year, but as is generally the case, I’m pretty pressed for time as it is, with projects banking up for the new year and it’s fair to say I’ve been a little slack with writing much of anything over the Christmas period, so I’ve got a hell of a lot I need to get done. So with that in mind, rather than go into any more detail, I will just post a list of everything that came out during the year. You’ll be able to see from that list, the rest of the year was pretty hectic as well, particularly around the end of it. I’ll revisit some of the stories I didn’t get around to saying anything about later, but for now I’ve messed around enough in the way of not getting solid words written on anything productive the last week or so.

So, without any more preamble, here’s the list of published works I had, or appeared in, during 2016. Story names from anthologies listed in italics.

Undead Fleshcrave: The Zombie Trigger January 8 (novel)

M v F: Death Personified (Males vs Females Book 2)Lancet Feb 27

Tales From the Lake Vol 2Lago de los Perdidos, Mar 11

Easter Eggs and Bunny Boilers: A Horror AnthologyWhen a Bunny Snaps, Mar 27

Rejected For Content 4: Highway to Hell July 15 Editor

Riders: Plebs 2-Book One Aug 20 (novel)

Riders: Plebs 2-Book Two Aug 20 (novel)

Drowning in GoreMarshlands Malice, Sep 20

TrashedStrange Old Brew, Oct 3

Dual Depravity Volume One (WetWorks Presents)-with John Ledger Oct 7

Horror Anthology 2016 (Moon Books Presents)-Cavedwellers, Oct 13

Full Moon SlaughterHour of the Wolf, Nov 1

Bah Humbug! An Anthology of Christmas Horror StoriesMental Elf, Nov 27

VS: US vs UK Horror Line Dancing at Hack House, Dec 1

Rejected For Content 5: Sanitarium Dec 8, Editor

VampZ vz WolvZDinner Interruptus, Dec 14

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Fairly reasonable year happening there, a lot of stuff got done. And although I say the same thing every single year, regarding cutting down on anthologies and focusing on my novel projects and so forth, I’ve already committed myself to a pile next year, so rest assured you will see a list of similar length, or even longer, surface around this time in 2017.

Here’s a brief rundown of projects earmarked for next year or ones I’m already working on (or at least those projects I’m at liberty to disclose right now).

January 2017 will have a monstrous start to it. First cab off the rank for me is going to be The Sleep, a new novel that isn’t affiliated with Plebs, Undead Fleshcrave or anything like that at all. Instead, it’s something completely different, a creature feature if you will, or monster type book, albeit soaked in my grindhouse splatterpunk stylings.

Then there will be an appearance with a bonus short story in Matt Shaw’s highly anticipated release The Devil’s Guests, out in February. I will also be appearing in another of Matt’s projects later on in the year, a huge project that already has a hell of an excellent line-up with more authors slated to join the TOC over the coming months.

Alongside a host of anthologies which haven’t yet had details released to the public, I’ll also have stories in Suburban Secrets 3: Home Invasion, Sweet Dreams from Anthology House and another VS project, and that’s just a few of those I can make mention of, two of which are already written for and sorted, ready to roll. No doubt there are also going to be myriad open calls spring up throughout the year I’ll be interested in submitting to, so that resolve to steer clear of anthologies is just something I’m going to concede is probably never likely to happen.

There will also be no less than three Rejected For Content creations (and only one of these will be the next volume in the series-that will be number 6, currently untitled. I’m thinking I may involve fans of the series to conjure up what sort of loose theme they’d like to see explored).

I already mentioned another collection, and depending on how much time I end up with to be able to put it together, that could see the light of day in 2017. I have a body of new stories, as well as those aforementioned reprints from publications that didn’t receive a wide readership on release, that will comprise said new collection.

Aside from that, Dual Depravity Volume Two (with Dawn Cano) will be happening, and I also have plans for a musical-themed anthology focusing on a specific band (and either one of their classic albums, or drawing inspiration from several of their albums). There are actually numerous bands and albums I’d love to be able to do anthologies revolving around in this manner, but again, time is a factor. Deadlines for other projects are already looming, so the focus is going to have to be with them first, then we’ll see where I end up.

In terms of novels, here’s a brief rundown on what I’m working on or will be working on over the course of the year. At this point in time only The Sleep is a definite release but two of the following have deadlines and are slated for 2017 release, so you can expect no less than three novels from me, maybe more. (Most of these are working titles only and are subject to change)

The Sleep

Carnival (abbreviated title)

Festival (abbreviated title)

Tyler Flynn

Plebs 3

Global Death: The Zombie Trigger 2

Murder Academy

Aground

Johnny Fox and the Werewolves

Neighborhood

Lycan Gang

Degenerate Children

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There are also some plans to venture back into worlds already established in a couple of previously published short stories and make full length novels, or at very least novellas, from them, but again, we’ll see if time permits that or whether they’ll become future projects further down the track.

That’s a rough idea of how many novels I already have started work on, completed work on or am near to completing, and that’s without being beset by new ideas. Without a doubt I’ll also be compelled to randomly start new novels out of the blue which aren’t on this list or have absolutely nothing to do with any of the works or planned works already mentioned. That’s how inspiration hits me. Could be the slightest thing, a single picture, a snippet of conversation, a song, anything, and I’ll have the ideas for a new book cooking up a horrific story. The whole idea of The Sleep sprang from one single image and it’s not unusual for me to find an entire book right there in one solitary picture.

I also meant to make mention of this earlier on, but naturally got carried away with talking gibberish. 2016 also saw me crack the top 100 in Most Popular Horror Authors on Amazon, which is largely due to that prolific output, as well as the Rejected For Content series and appearances in a string of successful anthologies. Reaching number 68 has been my peak so far, but I’ve been in there for a month or so, so we’ll see if I can round out the year by staying in there and climbing higher next year with a slew of bloodsoaked releases.

Stay tuned. 2017 is going to be a hell of a ride.

 

 

 

 

 

This is the English version of my interview with Emilia Filicamo for the Italian Ravello Magazine, located here in Italian http://www.ravellomagazine.com/alla-scoperta-dei-romanzi-horror-con-jim-goforth/

(Intro translation may be a little rusty, but you get the gist)

Jim Goforth, Australian author of horror novels and passionate about metal music, he agrees to tell me about his career and his passion for horror, is forced to delay a little ‘this appointment due to a sudden family problem, fortunately resolved. And it is just this little incident, this unexpected to do justice to one of his statements, when he says, in fact during the interview, that the only thing he is seriously fear that his family can take risks. Raised up by the resolution of the problem, Jim “surrender” to these pages with all the sincerity possible, telling of hopes and failures, his passion for music and for a fantasy world, what you find in his novels, mostly in shades bleak. Almost to a sort of “moral obligation” are forced to start from a question about the horror genre.

1) You write horror books. Why you chose this kind of genre? Just because it’s popular or there is something more?

I have a lifelong passion with horror in all its mediums and I have been writing in the genre for a very long time, though it is only relatively recently that I have had material published. When I first started writing, which was way back when I was very young, I was writing in all different genres, different stories about a wide array of things, but I gravitated towards the horror side of things. I have an affinity for all things dark and twisted, and there are so many directions one can take with horror, it is far from a narrow field to work in. In terms of genres there are certainly many that are far more popular than horror, but horror is what I love and it is where I do my best writing.

2) I read you began with music, how did you decide to go from music to the books and how did all begin?

Actually the writing came first, since of course I started to write very early in life. I had two books written by the time I was in my late teens, though the first one was more of a thing heavily influenced by all the horror writers I was reading at the time and a combination of ideas from all of them, not exactly at a point where I had my own style. When I realised I didn’t need to write like anybody else, but just to do my own thing and write what I wanted to, how I wanted to, my efforts were a lot better and much more natural. I attempted to get one of the early books I wrote published way back then, but this was well before the age of social media and the ease of communications we have today, so I didn’t exactly have a clue where to send manuscripts or who would be likely to have any interest in them.
After a lack of success getting anywhere with that, I didn’t write anything in the way of horror fiction for a very long time and instead pursued a variety of things in the extreme metal scenes. Eventually my wife and I created Black Belle Music, which was formed for the purpose of promoting, supporting and bringing attention to universal extreme metal scenes, primarily underground, unsigned or unknown acts, though along with a bunch of bigger recognisable names as well. This was done in a number of ways, reviews, interviews, articles, CD distro and similar things on our website, while we also branched out into putting on gigs and shows, becoming most known for annual all day events featuring ten or more bands.
Ultimately, after hundreds and hundreds of reviews for bands all over the world, multiple shows for local (Australian) bands and assorted other things, we put Black Belle on indefinite hiatus, or more to the point closed it down.
From then, I happened to reread an unfinished story I’d started to write years prior to beginning the metal promotions and felt the burning desire to complete it. Reading, and consequently finishing this, reignited my passion for writing horror and after that I have never looked back.
Though I seem to have been writing horror for a long time, it is really only recently that things have taken off for me, and in terms of having material published this year has been the greatest. My debut novel Plebs came out in January, I have a couple of stories in anthologies this year, a collaborative novel with five other authors will be out in a couple of months and I currently have a collection of my own short stories/novellas in with my publishers.

3) Metallic music and horror books seem to be related intimately, I find that a metallic piece is maybe perfect to be in a particular frightening scene. What represents for you this kind of music?

One of my favourite things to make reference to in interviews, and one I will make mention of here in this one, is that to me, horror and metal music go hand in hand. A lot of my stories and pieces make reference to metal bands, artists or songs, some are heavily inspired by a variety of metal related things, in particular of the more extreme genres such as black and death metal. I even have one specific story which is solely created from the lyrics of a song and all elements happening in it are drawn from names, occurrences etc. specific to that band responsible for the song.
A current novel I am in the midst of writing is strongly rooted in those aforementioned extreme metal scenes and takes place within them, though as one of my first ventures into writing about zombies and the undead, it is of course very much a horror novel.
I often write to a soundtrack of music which more often than not is some form of metal. There is a vast amount of different styles, genres and types of heavy metal, just like there is with horror, so different things playing in the background as I write serve to cater to separate parts of stories, or as you pointed out, to cultivate a certain aura or mood.
As I have an immense love for metal music and a background in working with it, and in its assortment of scenes, it is natural for me to make prolific use of it in writing horror and tying the two together, and there is a huge amount of inspiration and subject matter within metal to draw upon and create some thoroughly dark and frightening pieces of work.

4) You love to write since you was very Young, but who was your first fan, the first person to tell you that you were born to write?

My parents of course. Also teachers at school when I was young would be pointing out the fact that writing was a thing I was good at. I was a kid who always managed to write spooky, creepy tales with my own created monsters and other dark subject matter and often these would be stories read out to the other kids in class.

5) Who are your models in writing? I mean horror Writers, even from the past

Richard Laymon is my chief inspiration and my number one influence. Prior to discovering his work I voraciously read authors like Graham Masterton, old Dean Koontz, Clive Barker and many others like this, and even wrote things which I’d say were a little too influenced by what they wrote. After finding Laymon and becoming wholly enamoured with his work and his style of writing, I honed and altered the way I wrote to create more of my own style than something adopted from another.

6) I suppose you met a lot of people during your career, who left on you a great impression?

I have met quite a few people, but most of them are in the various extreme metal scenes rather than the horror scene. Because I am based in Australia which is a long way away from bigger horror scenes such as the United States and so forth where a vast majority of the big conventions take place, opportunities to meet and chat with legendary folk in the genre are minimal. I’ve never been a person to be star struck in any capacity, people are all just people to me, regardless of what career path they’ve taken, or what they do, what celebrity status or anything of that nature, so mostly, leaving any impression on me would be irrelevant.

7) Many horror or fantasy books become movies. Have you ever tried this path? I mean, did you ever think to change a book of yours into a screenplay and then into a movie?

I have never tried my hand at any sort of screenplay writing, though I’ve often entertained ideas of attempting to write scripts. Maybe some time down the track I will have a go at adapting some of my works to screenplays to pitch as movie ideas, or perhaps somebody else may become interested in doing so. Naturally, though I don’t write for my books to be considered as movies, sometimes reading the finished product I think, damn if this was a movie it would definitely be something I would love to watch. Several of the reviews that have been posted on Amazon, Goodreads and various places about Plebs have made reference to the book being a grindhouse horror with a cinematic quality, so who knows, possibly one day it will be adapted as a movie. Of course if that were ever to happen I would want to be heavily involved to ensure the integrity of the story was preserved, for so many wonderful books remade into movies have not been able to transfer the magic of the written word to screen and I would rather no movie be made rather than something which cannot remain faithful to the work it is drawing from.

8) If you never decided to write horrors, which kind of genre would you love to write?

I haven’t ever considered anything beyond horror at this point in time because horror is where I want to be, it is what I love to write. In the past I have dabbled with all manner of different genres such as thrillers, fantasy, adventure, even western styled stuff, but ultimately horror has always been my favourite and where I see myself staying for a very long time. Since it’s only relatively recently that I’ve begun to have things published there are loads and loads of horror stories I have left to write and with a nicely twisted and dark restless imagination, the ideas will keep coming.

9) The book you love the most and sometimes you tell to yourself ” I would have written that book!”

Technically there are no books that I wished I had written or would liked to have written, but I do have many many favourites who have been extremely important to me along the way. First and foremost is virtually everything written by Richard Laymon, notable mentions being Darkness Tell Us (as the first book of his I ever read), Blood Games, Endless Night, Funland, One Rainy Night and Body Rides. Aside from works by Laymon, other important books to me which helped shaped my passion for the horror genre include Graham Masterton’s ‘Walkers’, Dean Koontz’s ‘Watchers’, Clive Barker’s ‘Cabal’, Thomas Page ‘The Spirit’, as well as most things written by Bentley Little just to name a handful. I have a long list of authors and books I grew up reading and still love them all. I was a voracious reader as a kid and while I would, and still will, read just about anything, I read as much horror as I could get my hands on.

10) Do you have Italian favourite authors in horror genre?

Because I don’t read or speak Italian I am not particularly familiar with any Italian authors in the horror genre. I do however have plenty of favourite Italian horror film directors including the likes of the genius Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and of course it would be remiss not to make mention of Ruggero Deodato.

11) Can you talk us about your last book or work?

Plebs was my last work, a full length novel that is 600 pages long. It has been described as such things as ‘grindhouse splatterpunk’ and ‘old school horror with a cinematic quality’, both flattering descriptive terms which I use to promote it with. When I first started to write it, the plan was for it to be just a short story or novella at most, yet the more I wrote, the more I enjoyed writing it, developing the characters and doing all kinds of things with them, so consequently it became a novel with plans for a follow up once I manage to clear some of the projects I’m currently working on.
At the heart of it, it is a horrific adventure story, a tale of revenge on the parts of several of the main characters which many of the grindhouse style movies and mediums it has been compared to have as a core element.
It revolves around three intoxicated young men, carefree harmless slackers, who decide after a night out celebrating a friend’s birthday that they want to carry on partying elsewhere. A random walk takes them way out of their usual realms and deep into the woods where they encounter a mysterious band of fugitive women. While these potentially dangerous ladies are quite open to the idea of continuing the party with the boys, it won’t come without a price and from that point on, things take a turn for the worse.
It isn’t a story for the faint of heart, it involves a whole lot of violence which is carried out by an assortment of factions, including the feral entities known as the Plebs who happen to share the woods in a very uneasy co-existence with the women, sex, blood, depravity and death, so plenty of visceral elements of horror.
There are a host of underlying themes to the book, it isn’t merely a violent splatterfest of murder and mayhem. Anybody can churn out material that is wholly blood and guts, but a story is always important and I’d like to think the storyline contained within Plebs is a strong one.
It certainly isn’t a book that everybody is going to be into, in fact it isn’t a book targeted for everyone, it is a story I wanted to write and I imagine some people are not going to find it to their liking. So far though, all feedback, reviews and word from those who have read it has been pretty spectacular so I’m extremely happy with how it is going. I’d always planned on writing a follow up to it, even prior to completing it, but the great enthusiastic response I’ve received from it and the requests for a second book in the Plebs saga to come, ensures that there will be at least one more. I also have some plans for some projects, potentially shorter stories or novella length pieces, involving side stories related to some of the characters from Plebs.

12) Is there between all the ones you wrote, a book you prefer the most, a kind of ” favourite child?”

Considering Plebs is my debut novel, it is currently my favourite child, though irrespective of that, it would probably still be one work I am really proud of. I do have other completed works which have yet to be published, including of course that one I wrote many many years ago, but Plebs still stands as a favourite in comparison to those. I have multiple novels in the works at the moment which I am immensely enjoying writing, so once they are complete we shall see if Plebs remains my ‘favourite brainchild’.

13) Is there a way, a kind of formula to write a good horror? And which are the mistakes to avoid writing a book of horror?

No, I don’t believe there is any formula to writing horror and I certainly don’t follow any formula at all. When people start to place rules or stipulations on what or what not should be involved in writing horror, that’s when it becomes too rigid, too by the numbers. There should be no restraints on what can be written in terms of horror, and while no doubt there are writers who do tend to use a formulaic approach in their writing because they have discovered that is what works for them, I am not one who is going to follow anything specific in the way I write. As for what mistakes to avoid, I’m not entirely sure that there are any particular mistakes, it is all a matter of learning what does and doesn’t work. There are a whole host of things in the way of subject matter or topics used in horror which some may feel have been overdone or too frequently written about, but in saying that, if a writer still feels like exploring these often travelled paths, then it is up to them to find a new approach or angle, a different spin on it that will make it interesting again.
I wouldn’t suggest to anybody that there are mistakes or topics to avoid, that’s for them to discover, but going into the thought of writing horror with a preconceived notion that they should be actively thinking there are things they need to avoid is going to have their creativity stifled and that goes back to the formula notion. In that event people will start writing to a specific formula which makes things mundane and ordinary, and horror needs to remain fresh and vibrant.

14) How do you understand if a horror book is a good one or is totally awful?

That all depends on individual taste, opinions and views on what they consider to be good or abysmal. It is the same as individuals choice in music, what movies they like to enjoy, even the types of food that may be their favourite. It is all a matter of personal choice, and what one person absolutely loves isn’t necessarily going to be viewed the same by another. I know the type of things that I love to read and to write, but I don’t expect that every single person is going to share the same tastes and opinions as me, and that also applies to the music I love and all the other things mentioned.
Even if a particular horror book for example, might be universally maligned or denigrated as being something that is completely terrible, that doesn’t essentially mean that everybody is going to hate it, that just indicates that the majority aren’t overly fond of it. There are still likely to be some fans of it out there, if for no other reason than the fact that the community as a whole doesn’t like it.
Consequently, the measure of whether a book is good or awful is entirely up to the opinion of each person who reads it.

15) When you write, you are in the arms of fear and of suspense. But what does really scare Jim?

In all honesty, not a whole bunch scares Jim. Perhaps only the notion of being away from my family would be the only thing as my wife and two little children are the most important things in my world. Other than that I’m not easily frightened by much and have no immediate fears that I can think of. I write scary and horrific stuff so there isn’t too much outside what I can conjure up in my mind that can compare.

Thank you Jim!!!

Emilia

 

This was an interview originally done for a press kit for Axes of Evil. A series of unfortunate circumstances means that is unlikely to go ahead, but since I think it’s a pretty cool interview, rather than waste it, I will post it up here for folks to peruse if they like. A bit of an insight into my story in Axes, my metal background and why I have an appreciation for almost all forms of music.

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AXES OF EVIL: Tell us a little bit about yourself. How and when did you start writing? What was the first thing you published?

 

JIM GOFORTH: I’m happily married with two children. My wife Elle is an artist/poet/ex-metal promoter and events manager among many other things, I have one four year old daughter Abigail and a two and a half year old son Felix, and a cat commonly known around the house as Eury (he is named after two ex-members from a classic line-up of the band Mayhem).
I’m a horror fanatic (in every medium-film, book, music, art), an extreme metal aficionado and a wrestling fan.
I write horror fiction and have been writing almost as long as I have been able to read. From a young age I was into crafting stories of all varieties in a massive cross-section of genres, but horror, my chief writing love won out. I essentially started writing, almost as soon as I could read. Creating stories of all sorts of phantasmagorical beasts, worlds, and settings was something I was into very early. I loved to read and I loved to conjure up things from my own imagination, I was always the kid in class who wrote the kind of things the teacher would choose to read out to the class. No doubt some of those kids went home and had nightmares about the creepy stuff being relayed to them, but to me it was great fun and that fun I first discovered in writing and bringing forth my various creations is something that has always remained for me. I used to write in a variety of different genres and dabble with an assortment of things of no specific boundary, although once I got hooked on reading horror fiction, I knew that was precisely where I wanted to concentrate my own writing on. I wrote two books more than twenty years ago, the first which was probably a little derivative of the horror authors I was reading-which I will probably never seek to have published-and the second which I wrote after discovering the work of the late, great Richard Laymon, the man who remains my chief influence to this day. Without much of an idea where to start in getting this one published I was sending unsolicited manuscripts off left, right and centre, so I ended up with a nice little collection of polite rejection letters. This of course, was back in the day before social media made things a lot easier to connect with the right market.
For a long time after minimal success finding the right spot to house the book, I put all horror writing on a lengthy hiatus while I went into different avenues, namely the creation and operation of Black Belle Music.
It has only been relatively recently that I have returned to writing horror and the very first thing I’ve had published is my debut novel Plebs.

 

My works so far

 

AOE: Axes of Evil is Diabolus In Musica’s homage to heavy metal music and horror fiction. What is your connection to heavy metal? Why did being in this book interest you?

JG: My lifelong passion for heavy metal is pretty much comparable with my obsession with all things horror, I grew up being a fond aficionado of both. In just about every interview I’ve done, I persistently make reference to the fact that horror and heavy metal go hand in hand and I’ll continue to do so, as it is most applicable to me and my writing. Music has always been an important part of my life and it’s always been around me, and growing up, I naturally gravitated towards the heavier end of the spectrum, starting with classic pioneers like Sabbath and Deep Purple. Ultimately this led me into all the genres, traditional, thrash, industrial, doom, you name it, culminating in the genres I revere most, black and death metal. I grew up as these genres were born, developed and evolved and for some casual metal fans who might like to say they went through a ‘metal phase’, for me, these forms of music are still the kinds of things I listen to today.
In that period where I was not writing, my wife and I created Black Belle Music, which was born as an entity to support, promote and bring attention to extreme metal, not just locally, but on a global scale. This initially was done in the way of interviews, articles and reviews for underground acts, unknown bands and up and coming outfits, as well as the occasional bigger name, the idea mostly being to steer away from the same names every mainstream media wanted to jump on and write about, in order to highlight all the other great metal artists that were out there plying their trade with little acknowledgement. Eventually that then moved into some distro and selling merch for bands on our site and putting on gigs and shows for local bands, often just a four band line up for evening or afternoon concerts, but more often than not it became ten to twelve band all day festivals. We reached the point where we had annual events that managed to run for several years before we finally called it a day on Black Belle Music. Over the period it was in existence several hundred reviews and interviews were posted, multitudes of bands performed at our shows and many a band actually got their live start through us, some of whom have certainly gone places or had members move on to form other bands that have certainly garnered a measure of success.
The reason I wanted to be part of Axes of Evil is simple. It is a twisted marriage of two of my greatest endearing loves, heavy metal and horror fiction, and when I became aware of its existence I was beyond keen to be involved. The concept is right up my alley, and though I did not specifically write my story that appears in it for the anthology, I already had it written and figured it would fit the bill.

AOE: Do you have a favorite band? Song? What was your first concert? Tell us about it.

JG: I have a vast array of favourite bands, predominantly in the black and death metal genres, though not exclusively. The likes of Satyricon, Mayhem, Darkthrone, December Wolves, Dissection, Emperor, Carpathian Forest, Dodheimsgard and those kinds of outfits are ultimates for me, but I don’t limit myself just to strictly metal. I’m also a massive fan of The Cult, Mortiis, Corporate Avenger, The Animals, The Doors, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains. I don’t have any one particular favourite song, but for the purposes of the question we’ll run with ‘In The Mist By The Hills’ from Satyricon’s classic ‘The Shadowthrone’ album. One of the greatest songs ever written. My first concert would have been many many years ago, I saw quite a few when I was pretty young, old Aussie band Goanna springs to mind. Can’t recall a great deal about most of these concerts when I was really young aside from the fact that I was into loud music from an early age and loved seeing it performed. I’ve attended loads of concerts over the years, and though it isn’t actually part of the question, the most memorable concerts for me have been Satyricon, Celtic Frost and Dismember, with an honourable mention to Mudvayne.

AOE: Was music an important part of your life growing up? What kind of music did your family listen to?

JG: Music was extremely important when I was growing up. It was virtually playing all the time, either on the radio, or my parents were playing vinyls on their record player, and later on we all had cassette players and eventually CD players. This is where I gained an appreciation for all forms of music and plenty of those things I was listening to as a kid, I’m still a fan of. My parents had a broad range of tastes and records, and there would be anything from Johnny Cash to the Animals and CCR, through things like the Drifters to Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. My parents are both from the States so when they relocated to Australia they brought all the records they’d picked up over the years along with them and every single one of those vinyls was played multiple times in our household. There was fifties and sixties music playing, there was blues, rock, later on there was metal, just about any type of music got a spin and while extreme metal ended up being my prime passion for musical choice, all of these things I grew up listening to and enjoying shaped my enormous appreciation for music in general, irrespective of what genre or type it is.
Every member of my family had eclectic and diverse tastes with the likes of Kiss, Billy Joel, The Sex Pistols, John Rowles, The Smashing Pumpkins, Guns n’ Roses and countless others all having their own impact on each member. My love for music stems from these days and I consider myself supremely fortunate to have been exposed to so many types of music in a household that adored so much variety.

 

AOE: Your story dealt heavily with the concept of censorship and the rights of one person being more valid than the rights of another person. Your character Malcolm Miller was a classic “suer”. He was the kind of guy who knew how to manipulate the system to his meet his own agenda. We see a lot of that going on in the religious right wing. Your story is a scathing exposé of people like Miller. Tell us more about how that idea came into play in your story. Was there any particular incident that inspired you? What are your thoughts on censorship and individual rights?

JG: Malcolm Miller is a caricature, an overblown representation of those that condone censorship of various arts (Be it music, cinema, literature) and those that take it to extreme measures to ensure their actions silence those their ideals clash with. He stands as the most fervent of those driven blindly by a faith that his ideals are right and everything that doesn’t line up with that must be wrong. Obviously he isn’t a representation of all morals crusaders, more an exemplification of the most fanatical end of the spectrum and while Miller himself is just a fictional character, there are extremists out there willing to go to similar lengths to eradicate things that they don’t understand or can’t be boxed into their neat little pigeonholes.
No one single incident acted as catalyst for the story, but rather a whole bunch of things combined which led to its creation. I used to write song lyrics back when I was younger and I occasionally used the same themes that crop up here, the notion of one faction attempting to censor or destroy another’s work simply because it wasn’t aligned with their own beliefs and I long toyed with the idea of writing a story revolving around this.
Heavy metal music has been widely demonized and made a scapegoat, because it is an easy target for both political and religious groups to take aim at, and that’s been going on for a long time with the likes of Deicide, Slayer, even classics like Judas Priest, Twisted Sister and especially Marilyn Manson coming under fire from these groups for all manner of things. Newspapers and various media outlets are as guilty as any of those who jump on the bandwagon, pointing fingers and starting up a witch-hunt with heavy metal in their sights any time something happens with that form of music as even the most feeble connection. Condemning, persecuting and stereotyping metal music is not just an easy option for those who do it, but more so a lazy one, a reluctance to look beyond what they perceive as ‘the root of the evil’, the same as Malcom Miller does and discover that some other real issues might be at play.
With regards to censorship, it does have a place and a benefit; it would be illogical to expect that certain forms of it don’t exist for the better, but when it is done to extremes or to demonise something else and to suppress various things for the sake of appeasing one group, denomination or faction I don’t condone it, and when people such as Malcolm Miller appoint themselves as a medium to carry it out through outlandish measures, that’s when it can become a dangerous thing. The story itself was written relatively quickly, it was one I basically had entirely written in my head beforehand, unlike a lot of my work where I just start writing and often let the characters run with the ideas and see where they end up.

AOE: Nietzche once said, “Whoever fights monsters should see to it in the process, he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into the abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” Did that quote cross your mind when writing this? Miller became a monster. He let hate consume him. And yet in the end, he was willing to bargain for his life by renouncing his faith. But, the fact is that the band did become evil creatures. If Miller had not tried to kill them, would they have become evil? Or did his relentless pursuit make them that way? Even the gentlest animal is capable of violence if backed into a corner.

JG: This question actually contains spoilers, so for the benefit of those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to read the story I will mostly skirt around parts of it.
No, that quote didn’t once occur to me, not on any conscious level in any event, but it certainly is a most applicable one in the case of our mighty morals crusader Malcom Miller. Those he perceived to be monsters, or impure entities he was certain were responsible for all things evil in his society, and his unswerving unfaltering desire to crush them and obliterate the threat he’s built in his own mind has made him the real monster of the piece and it becomes irrelevant what shape or form the targets of his hatred take. They in fact choose to show him what he is looking for, what he thinks lurks behind human facades of those he hunts and it proves to be a catalyst in his mental unravelling. He has chased down many alleged monsters in terms of music and film and various mediums, conducted many a witch hunt with successful results for him and finally he runs into something that defies the boundaries of his beliefs and ideals, and he is in no way prepared for it to eventuate as it does, hence what ensues.

AOE: The editor of this book, Alex S. Johnson has spoken about you in terms of being one of his inspirations when it comes to writing. What advice have you given him? What advice would you have for a novice just trying to get started? What advice was given to you and who inspired you?

The same advice I give to most people, which revolves around the whole idea of never giving up, never becoming disillusioned with things. If you love to write, you will write. Things such as rejection, critical assessments both good and bad are going to come your way, it’s all part of the game and it is how you respond or react to all these things that will shape you. Though I have been writing for what seems like forever, in terms of published output I am really only a newcomer, so I’m always open to input and advice as well and by the same token I’m prepared to assist anybody who wants to have a listen to what I might have to say. Alex is a wonderful writer and I’m extremely flattered to be considered in any way an inspiration. I’m one of those writers who doesn’t overthink or agonise over my writing too much, I just write what I want to write and though it might not be ideal for everybody, it seems to run pretty well for me. I have learned plenty of things along the way through various editing processes about streamlining, restructuring sentences to make a story flow better, but for the most part I write and rarely tinker with something once I’ve completed it. Prior to actually having my debut novel accepted for publishing I hadn’t ever sought any advice or had any words from anybody in particular to point me in any sort of direction with how to write, I just wrote because I love it. That’s still the number one reason I write. For some it might become a task, a chore or a burden, for me, it is sheer pleasure. Again, it is like listening to heavy metal to me, I love it and I don’t see that changing any time at all.
Who inspired me to write, that’s an easy one. The late great king Richard Laymon. He wasn’t the first author that make me pick up a pen and try my hand at writing horror, since I had that book written which was a bit of a mashed up conglomeration of ideas derived from others I read, as I mentioned earlier, before I discovered his body of work, but he sure as hell was the one who altered and honed the way I wrote. He remains my greatest influence and inspiration in writing to this day.

AOE: There are plans for Axes 2 and 3. Do you have plans for participating? Have you come up with any ideas yet?

JG: I do indeed have plans to submit and potentially participate in both Axes 2 and 3. Being in Axes 1 was awesome, and the ensuing news that there were going to be further anthologies following the epic themes of horror and heavy metal combined, means, for sure I want to be involved in them all as well. I always have ideas churning, sometimes so many that I barely get the time to get them all out. Metal is something which is a regularly recurring facet in much of my writing, either as music referred to in the background, or the choice of listening for various characters, or in fact as a principal theme in a story, so I shouldn’t have much trouble melding metal with horror any time.

AOE: What are you working on now? When will we see it in print? Who is publishing?

JG: In terms of what will next be out on the market from me, there is a collaborative novel written by six authors (one of whom is me) entitled Feral Hearts which will be out in a couple of months. This will be published by J. Ellington Ashton Press who are also my publisher for Plebs. I also have a collection of short stories/novellas with them which will be out some time later in the year I would imagine; it is currently waiting to go into first round of edits.

As for what I’m working on at the moment, I am currently in the midst of writing two full length novels, one which is at 180k words and being only partially done will most likely need to be broken into two books. The original plan for this story was to have it in two parts anyway, but I hadn’t anticipated on it spanning out over two separate books. The other book I’m working on is around 100k and is the one I’m focusing most of my energies on to complete first. This is my first foray (bar a short story in my upcoming collection) into the realm of the undead, surprisingly I haven’t dedicated much time to the big business these days that is writing about zombies. Referring back to my previous answer where I mentioned that heavy metal often plays a part in a lot of my work, it is integral in this book considering the whole thing revolves around black and death metal scenes.
When these will see the light of day or which press they come out with has yet to be ascertained, but I plan to have the extreme metal undead-fest wrapped up very shortly. Among working on novels I’m constantly bombarded with an abundance of other ideas which don’t essentially fit anywhere in these works so I’m knocking out a few shorts as well.

 

AOE: If you could be any metal/rock star for one day, who would it be? (You can tell us why if you want to, but most likely it has something to do with getting laid a lot.)

JG: Layne Staley. So I can say to myself, no Layne, don’t do it!
In actual fact though, nobody in particular. After years of involvement in the metal scenes on various levels, I don’t really subscribe to any starstruck notions. They’re all just people, a whole lot of whom are down to earth wonderful people and a few who balance out the other end of the scale.

AOE: Do you have a favorite quote about music? Tell us and explain it to us.

JG: There are so many that I could fill pages upon pages, so rather than do that, we’ll take one from a guy in the business who isn’t just a shrewd musician, but a goldmine of classic quotes. Marilyn Manson. “Music is the strongest form of magic.”
Short, to the point and self-explanatory, and undeniably true, though I’d enhance it to add that writing is an equally powerful of magic.

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Love metal? Love horror? Get the best of both worlds. Right here. Axes of Evil arrives in a barrage of blood and blast beats!
http://www.amazon.com/Axes-Evil-Heavy-Metal-Anthology-ebook/dp/B00JAQ1F72/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1396170955&sr=1-1&keywords=axes+of+evil
http://www.amazon.com/Axes-Evil-Alex-S-Johnson/dp/1497360560/ref=sr_1_1_title_0_main?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396178313&sr=1-1&keywords=axes+of+evil

The epic 576 page tome celebrating a twisted union of horror with heavy metal in myriad genres has finally dropped, albeit slightly earlier than expected on Amazon in both paperback and ebook format. This giant beast is only slightly shorter than Plebs, so it is going to be a weighty brute, completely laden with bloody and brutal tales from thirty four of horror’s most exciting and upcoming writers, plus some true legends. The TOC is as follows

Table of Contents

1. Introduction by Alex S. Johnson
2. Mourningstar by Del James
3. All the Rage by Lindsey Beth Goddard
4. The Plaster Casters Rise Again by Charie D. La Marr
5. The Cold and Lonely Tombstone of Angus Smith by Jeff O’ Brien
6. Battle of the Bands by Joel Kaplan
7. The Doom to Come by Andrew Freudenberg
8. Sinister Cavan by Jim Goforth
9. Beyond Death by Chuck Rios
10. Rio Grande Blood by Chris Kelso
11. Tones of Skin and Bones by Michael Faun
12. Seven Goats by Mathias Jansson
13. Louder, Faster… by John Claude Smith
14. Ex-Punk by MP Johnson
15. An Unholy Statement by Kerry Lipp
16. Keltorrian by Jacurutu23
17. Let Him Who Hath Understanding by Morgan Sylvia
18. Frygga: Dreams of Fire by Christine Morgan
19. Death Call by Christopher Hivner
20. Gargamathanga by Martin Garrity
21. Backstage Passes by Anna Haney
22. Rita by Mimi A. Williams
23. Die, Clown, Die! By Alex S. Johnson
24. Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Charie D. La Marr
25. Rock and Roll All Night by Sèphera Girón
26. Hardcore Crust by Terry M. West
27. Unholy Concoction by Robert Holt
28. Axes of Discordance: A Bangalore Story by Jayaprakash Satyamurthy
29. Crush by S. MacLeod
30. Harbinger Master by G. Arthur Brown
31. The Dreadheads by Grant Wamack
32. Before the Ball by Ray Van Horn, Jr.
33. To Hell With the Metal by Sean Leonard
34. Extremophiles by Lucy Taylor

If you consider yourself a metalhead horror fanatic, this is not just the book you want, it is the book you need. Get it now.

Here’s another interview with yours truly posted up on the Bookie Monster. I did this one a little while back and wasn’t even aware it had been posted. Some of the interview I actually submitted isn’t in here, or has been left out for some reason, but never mind. Go along and check it out. Then check out Plebs too, this will link you right to it 😉

http://bookie-monster.com/2014/03/interview-jim-goforth.html