James Herbert – The Man Who Knows How To Write An Exceptional Chiller!

James Herbert

James John Herbert was born on the 8th of April, 1943 in London, England. James is a horror/chiller writer with more than 54 million copies of his books sold worldwide. James left school at the early age of 15, but later on went to study at the Hornsey College of Art. After graduating he went on to join a small advertising agency.

In 1974 James published his first novel called The Rats which became an instant success. A lot of people were very critical of The Rats saying that it wasn’t literature. The readers of the time were appalled by the vivid depictions of death and violence that James had written. From this point forward James went on to write a book nearly every year.

James died on the 20th March 2013 at the age of 69. He is survived by a wife and three daughters.

Here are some interesting facts about James Herbert:

James designed many of his own book covers, this may be from the benefit of having worked at an advertising agency.

Herbert was afraid of the dark as a child, but later on in life his real fear was spiders.

In 2010 James was made Grand Master of Horror by the World Horror Convention and given an award by Stephen King.

James was also awarded Officer of the Order of the British Empire, giving him the title of OBE.

Supposedly he would make sure he was finished writing every night at 6 in time to watch The Simpsons and drink a glass of Vodka.

Four of his novels have been made into films. The Rats, The Survivor, Fluke and Haunted.

James never read any of his own books.

Something that Stephen King once said about his writing: “Herbert was by no means literary, but his work had a raw urgency… His best novels, The Rats and The fog, had the effect of Mike Tyson in his championship days: no finesse, all crude power. Those books were best sellers because many readers (including me) were too horrified to put them down.”

 

Some writing by James Herbert you should check out:

Novels

Ash            The Fog                The Rats                        The Magic Cottage                    Fluke

The Survivor                   The Dark                 Shrine                      The Spear                     The Jonah                   Lair

Moon                 Nobody True                   Haunted                  Domain                  Sepulchre              

Portent                  The Secret of Crickley Hall                Once                  Creed                   The Ghosts of Sleath

’48                 Others       

 

Short Stories

They Don’t Like Us                    Breakfast                  Maurice and Mog             

Halloweens Child                 Cora’s Needs                   Extinct

 

Bell Night

 

 

 

Fem Fatale Fantasy Fictionist: Robin Hobb

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Margaret Astrid Lindholm Ogden has taken on two successful pseudonyms during her writing career. The first being Megan Lindholm and the second being Robin Hobb. Margaret was born in California 1952, but spent majority of her life in Alaska before moving to Washington. At the young age of eighteen Margaret was married and from here on she started her writing career. She first wrote for children’s magazines and progressed into bigger works of fantasy fiction.

Some interesting facts that you may not of known about Margaret:

Although she has experienced a small taste of what adventures are in her books, she mostly writes from doing a lot of research. “I like primary documents when I can get them, diaries, journals and things of that sort. Then I like to find well researched and foot-noted books written on whatever topic I am covering.”

Margaret has four children, three of them are adults.

She has no television in her lounge room only a lot of tall bookcases.

Some of Margaret’s favourite authors: George R R Martin, Jane Johnson, Michael Marshall, Robert Parker and Janet Evanovich.

Good news for readers Margaret has been quoted saying in an interview: “…I’m writing another book. And after that, I think I’ll probably write another book. And then another. Until my hands and eyes give out (They’re in a race to see what fails first.) I think that’s all I can say with certainty. I’ll be writing more books.”

Australian fans will be glad to here that they have the chance to meet Margaret in 2014 at Supernova and she is also going to be a guest at Worldcon, Loncon, London.

If you are a fan of Fantasy, then this is certainly the author for you!

Some writing by Margaret that you should check out:

Robin Hobb

The Farseer Trilogy

Assassins Apprentice                 Royal Assassin                 Assassins Quest

Liveship Traders Trilogy

Ship of Magic            The Mad Ship           Ship of Destiny

The Tawny Man Trilogy

Fools Errand               The Golden Fool             Fool’s Fate

The Rain Wild’s Chronicles:

Dragon Keeper          Dragon Haven             City of Dragons         Blood of Dragons

The Fitz and Fool Trilogy:

The Fool’s Assassin      

Other Elderling  Stories

The Willful Princess and the Piebald Prince

Soldier Son Trilogy:

Shaman’s Crossing             Forest Mage             Renegades Magic

Short Stories

The Inheritance              Homecoming           Words like Coins            Blue Boots

Cat’s Meat             The Triumph            Neighbours

Megan Lindholm

The Ki and Vandien Quartet

Harpy’s Flight        The Windsingers            The Limbreth Gate             Luck of the Wheels

Tillu and Kerlew

The Reindeer People                 Wolf’s Brother

Other Stories

Wizard of the Pigeons               Cloven Hooves             Alien Earth            The Gypsy

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Poe – Writer and Poet

Edgar Poe

I thought it was about time I did an article on Edgar Allan Poe. He has influenced many great writers and without him literature as we know it today would not be the same.

Edgar Poe was born in Boston, Massachusetts, January 19 1809. His parents were only around for a year or two after he was born. His father left and his mother died a year later, making Edgar an orphan. He was taken in by a Frances and John Allan, but never formally adopted, his name became Edgar Allan Poe. In young adult-hood Edgar became more and more interested in writing. Poetry was the form of writing that Edgar seemed to be most fond of before he decided to try his hand at stories. Much of Edgar’s work has a dark romanticism about it. Edgar Allan Poe died October 7th, 1849 under mysterious circumstances.

Here are some interesting facts that you may not of known about Edgar Allan Poe:

The first thing Edgar published was in 1827, a pamphlet of poems, most of which were written when he was 14.

Edgar was poor majority of his life.

The Raven was Edgar’s most successful poem. The Raven came about when he was trying to set himself a personal challenge of writing a 100 line poem. He in fact wrote 108 lines.

The creation of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was inspired by a french detective that Edgar wrote about.

Edgar married his cousin Virginia when she was 13 and he was about 26 or 27. The marriage lasted 11 years until she died.

He joined that army at one stage under the false name of Edgar. A. Perry

Edgar Allan Poe was actually considered quite handsome by many people, only in his final years did he grow more facial hair and have a permanently brooding look about him.

Edgar Allan Poe had a rival and his name was Rufus Griswold. Edgar didn’t have a very high opinion of Rufus and questioned his literary integrity.  Rufus managed to succeed Edgar by becoming the editor of Graham’s magazine. After Edgar’s death, Griswold decided to write an obituary and also a false biography depicting Edgar to be a raving drunk mad-man.

Many theories exist on why Edgar died. He was discovered on a Baltimore street wearing someone else’s clothes October 3rd. Edgar woke days later at the Washington Medical College where his final words were: “Lord, help my poor soul.” Some of the theories surrounding his death include: Alcoholism, heart disease, drugs, rabies, suicide, murder and a brain tumor.

Edgar Allan Poe loved cats and they loved him. Supposedly he had a tortoiseshell cat named Caterina that died two weeks after he did.

Edgar was buried in an un-marked grave. Rumours and gossip started to spread and finally a tombstone was ordered, strangely enough though it was destroyed in a train accident.

Some writing by Edgar Allan Poe that you should check out:

Poems

The Raven                A Dream Within a Dream          The Bells               Lenore

The City in the Sea           Tamerlane          Eulalie                 To Helen                 

The Conqueror Worm            The Haunted Palace        

   Ulalume          Annabel Lee                     Eldorado                 Al Aaraaf

Stories

The Murders in the Rue Morgue             The Oval Portrait             The Tell-Tale Heart

The Black Cat               Morella              The Premature Burial                           Ligeia                    

The Purloined Letter              The Gold-Bug               The Imp of the Perverse

The Fall of the House of Usher             The Pit and the Pendulum          

The Masque of the Red Death

The Cask of Amontillado             Hop-Frog         

The System of Doctor Tarr and Professor Fether

A Descent into the Maelstrom              

The Facts in the Case of M. Vlademar                         

Bell Night

Virginia Andrews: Gothic Fiction Writer

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Cleo Virginia Andrews was born in Portsmouth Virginia on June 6th, 1923 and died of breast cancer December 19th, 1986. She was 63 years old. Virginia’s area of writing was mainly in Gothic romance and family sagas. The novel that she is most known for is Flowers in the Attic. Virginia was the youngest child of her family with two older brothers. Her mother Lillian Andrews was a telephone operator and her father William Andrews was a tool and die maker.

As a teenager Virginia was in an accident at her high school. She fell down some stairs and sustained severe back injuries. For the rest of her life due to arthritis and a failed spinal surgical procedure Virginia had to rely on crutches and wheel chairs. After graduation Virginia completed a four year correspondence course art course while living at home. During this time she went through several more surgical attempts to fix the damage to her back and hips.

Later on after her father died, Virginia turned to writing feeling that art wasn’t giving her the creative satisfaction that she sought. The first manuscript that she wrote was too autobiographical; she ended up destroying it to protect her privacy.

In 1978 submitted her 98 page Flowers in the Attic manuscript to literary agent Anita Diamant. This novel reached the best-seller lists in two weeks. From this point forward Virginia had great success with her writing. By the time she died in 1986, Virginia had over 24 million books in print and a film version of her first novel Flowers in the Attic.

Here are some interesting facts that you might not have known:

The first novel that Virginia wrote was Gods of Green Mountain. It was never published during her lifetime, but was released as an e-book in 2004.

Virginia has also gone under the pen names of V.C. Andrews and Virginia C. Andrews.

Most of Virginia’s stories are based around a particular family.

There are many biographies and articles written claiming that Flowers in the Attic was originally a story called The Obsessed and that Virginia was told by publishers that it needed to be cut down and have a bit more excitement to it. This is untrue according to an interview with her Ann Patty. The Obsessed was a different novel altogether. “The two have nothing to do with one another.”

Supposedly she had written three Gothic romances under another pen name before she submitted Flowers in the Attic.

At one point Virginia had a disappointing interview with people magazine and was from then on reluctant to partake in interviews and other such publicity.

Virginia’s family decided to have a ghost writer take on her work after she died. The identity of the ghost writer was kept secret for many years until it was revealed that it was horror novelist Andrew Neiderman.

There have been many rumours about Flowers in the Attic being based on a true story.

Here are some of Virginia Andrew’s books that you should check out:

(Please note some are completely written, or in part written by ghost writer Andrew Neiderman.)

The Dollanganger series

Flowers in the Attic             Petals on the Wind             If There Be Thorns    

Seeds of Yesterday             Garden of Shadows

The Casteel Series

Heaven              Dark Angel             Fallen Hearts             Gates of Paradise

Web of Dreams

The Cutler Series

Dawn              Secrets of the Morning               Twilight’s Child              

  Midnight Whispers                   Darkest Hour

The Landry Series

Ruby                  Pearl in the Mist              All that Glitters          Hidden Jewel

Tarnished Gold

The Logan Series

Melody                   Heart Song                 Unfinished Symphony            

Music in the Night                 Olivia         

The Orphans Series

Butterfly               Crystal                Brooke              Raven             Runaways

The Wildflowers series

Misty                   Star                Jade                  Cat                 Into the Garden

The Hudson Series

Rain                           Lightening Strikes              Eye of the Storm

The End of the Rainbow                        Gathering Clouds

The Shooting Star Series

Cinnamon                 Ice                 Rose              Honey                   Falling Stars

The DeBeers Series

Willow               Wicked Forest               Twisted Roots          Into the Woods

Hidden Leaves                 Dark Seed

The Broken Wings Series

Broken Wings                 Midnight Flight

The Gemini Series

Celeste                         Black Cat                           Child of Darkness

The Shadow Series

April Shadows                        Girl in the Shadows

The Early Spring Series

Broken Flower                   Scattered Leaves

Secrets Series

Secrets in the Attic                      Secrets in the Shadows

The Delia Series

Delia’s Crossing                           Delia’s Heart                        Delia’s Gift

The Heavenstone Series

Heavenstone Secrets                                    Secret Whispers

The Kindred Series

Daughter of Darkness                        Daughter of Light

The March Family Series

Family Storms                              Cloudburst

The Forbidden Series

The Forbidden Sister                 The Forbidden Heart                    Roxy’s Story

Stand alone novels

Gods of Green Mountain             My Sweet Audrina                     Into the Darkness

Capturing Angels               The Unwelcomed Child

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Suzanne Collins: Readers Hunger for More!

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Suzanne Marie Collins was born in Hartford, Connecticut on August 10th, 1962. She is best known for having written The Hunger Games trilogy. The Hunger Games has also been made into a movie.  Suzanne is married to actor Cap Pryor and has two children together.

In 1985 Suzanne graduated in a double major of theater and telecommunications at Indiana University. She then went on to do a master’s degree in dramatic writing from New York University. Suzanne’s writing career started out as a scriptwriter for televisions shows. Some of these shows were: Clarissa Explains It All, Little Bear, Oswald and the Mystery Files of Shelby Woo. It wasn’t until she met children’s author James Proimos that she decided to try writing children’s books herself.

In 2003 Suzanne published her first book in The Underland Chronicles called Gregor the Overlander. These books are what first brought her to the attention of many readers. In 2008 Suzanne’s first book of The Hunger Games trilogy was released. Since then readers have not been able to get enough of her books.

Here are some interesting facts that you might not have known:

Suzanne is the best selling kindle author in history so far.

Channel-surfing between reality television shows like Survivor and news coverage of the Iraq war gave Suzanne the inspiration for The Hunger Games.

Because of her screenwriting background Suzanne finds dialogue easier to write than descriptive passages.

Suzanne has a lot of family that has been in war. Her father was in the Vietnam War, her grandfather was gassed in World War I and her uncle was injured in World War II.

Some reviewers have compared The Hunger Games to a Japanese novel called Battle Royale saying that it is very similar.

She usually writes for 3 to 5 hours a day, stopping in the early afternoon.

Stephen King read The Hunger Games and has called the book addictive. He also compared the book to “…shoot-it-if-it-moves video games in the lobby of the local eightplex; you know it’s not real, but you keep plugging in quarters anyway.”

Suzanne Collins was 38 when she began to write Gregor the Overlander.

The Hunger Games was at first 50 000 words and then was pushed up to 200 000 words. It has also been translated into 26 different languages.

She was named by Time Magazine as being one of the most influential people of 2010.

The American Library Association ranked The Hunger Games at the 5th most banned book in 2010 due to its violence and sexually inappropriate content.

Allegedly Suzanne is extremely afraid of rats.

Suzanne got the name ‘Katniss’ for the main character in The Hunger Games from a plant. The plant is an aquatic plant. In Latin this plant means ‘belonging to an arrow.’

Scenes from The Hunger games movie: District 12, the Capitol, and the arena were all shot in North Carolina.

Here are some of Suzanne Collins other books to check out:

The Underland Chronicles

Gregor the Overlander                  Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods                Gregor and the Marks of Secret

Gregor and the Code of Claw

The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games                      Catching Fire                         Mockingjay

Others

When Charlie McButton Lost Power                    When Charlie McButton Gained Power

Fire Proof: Shelby Woo #11

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Richard Matheson – We Will Remember You!

 

Richard Matheson

Richard Burton Matheson passed away June 23 this year (2013) at the age of 87. It is always sad to hear when a great author dies. For those of you who didn’t have the pleasure of knowing much about Richard Matheson here is an article dedicated to him:

Richard Burton Matheson was born in Allendale, New Jersey, USA on February 20th 1926. He was a writer best known in the genres of horror, fantasy and science fiction. His most well-known novels also turned into films would be I Am Legend, The Twilight Zone, The Shrinking Man and Hell House.

Richard was the third child of Norwegian immigrants of Bertolf Matheson and Fanny Matheson. Richard published his first short story in The Brooklyn Eagle when he was 8 years old. After graduating high school in 1943, Richard went on to join the military. He served as an infantry soldier during World War II. Then he studied a Bachelor of Journalism at Missouri University. The first story he made money from was Born of Man and Woman. This was published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Richard then went on in the years after to write many popular novels and screenplays.

“He is one of the most important writers of the 20th Century” – Ray Bradbury

Here are some facts that you may not have known about Richard Matheson:

His novel The Beardless Warriors described some of his experiences from war.

Something that Richard said in an interview about George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead: “… I watched it one night on television and thought to myself, gee, that’s awfully close to I am Legend. He I guess prefers to believe that it’s just derivation, but it seems pretty close to me.”

He married his wife Ruth Ann Woodson in 1952

The story Duel was inspired from an incident in 1963 after Richard was tailgated by a truck. It started when he was playing a game of golf and heard the news of President J.F.Kennedy being assassinated. He stopped playing his game and began to return home. On his journey home a truck tailgated him for a long period of time. Duel was then later adapted for a television-movie by Spielberg. This was the beginning of Spielberg’s career.

He nearly wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. Richard didn’t agree with Hitchcock about the actual birds. Richard believed that the audience shouldn’t see the birds very often. Where as Hitchcock wanted them seen a lot.

Richard came up with the idea for I Am Legend when he was 16 after seeing Dracula. He didn’t write the book until 1952.

Something that Richard said about screen-writing once: “One of my pet peeves is the fact that when people win awards – Academy Awards, notably – if it’s based on a novel, they never mention it. It’s as if the novel never existed. The screenwriter acts as if he’s made it up out of his own head. Sometimes even the director acts as if he’s made it up out of his own head. It’s an ego problem, of course, but it’s tremendously unfair as well.

Richard had four children and three of them have become writers.

Richard Matheson has left a great mark on the world. He will always be remembered.

Some of Richard Matheson’s writing that you should check out:

Novels

I Am Legend                               A Stir of Echoes                     Someone is Bleeding                    Fury on Sunday             7 Steps to Midnight

The Shrinking Man              Hell House                    Hunger and Thirst                              The Gunfight                   What Dreams May Come

The Beardless Warriors               Earthbound                Woman                Shadow on the Sun              Passion Play            Camp Pleasant     

Other Kingdoms                 Generations               Hunted Past Reason               Now You See It…          Abu and the 7 Marvels         

Come Fygures Come Shadowes

 

Short Stories

Born of Man and Woman                   The Test                   Blood Son                 Miss Stardust               Interest                  The Thing      

The Last Day              Deadline                Slaughter House              Wet Straw                Death Ship               The Edge            A Drink of Water

One for the Books            Pattern for Survival               The Holiday Man               The Doll                Getting Together         Shoo Fly

 

Films

Tales of Terror                 The Box               Real Steel               The Devil Rides Out            The Incredible Shrinking Man             House of Usher

The Young Warriors           Master of the World                 The Raven                   The Last Man on Earth               The Pit and the Pendulum

De Sade              Loose Cannons                 Fanatic            The Legend of Hell House             What Dreams May Come          Burn Witch Burn

The Comedy of Terrors       

 

Bell Night

 

Terry Pratchett – The Creator of Discworld

Pratchett, Terry

Sir Terence David John Pratchett was born in 1948 in Beaconsfield, England. He is mostly known for a series of fantasy novels about a place called ‘Discworld.’ The Discworld itself is described as a large disc resting on the backs of four giant elephants, all supported by the giant turtle Great A’Tuin as it swims its way through space. The books are basically in chronological order. He has sold more than 55 million books worldwide and had his books translated into 33 different languages. Terry Pratchett went to John Hampden Grammar School, but claims that his education came from the local library. His first short story was published at the age of 13 in the school magazine Technical Cygnet. This short story was called The Hades Business. When he was 15 it was then published commercially in Science Fantasy. With the money earned from this published short story, he bought his first typewriter.

After finishing school Terry began a career in journalism. It was during this time he wrote his first novel ‘The Carpet People.’ This novel marked the beginning of his writing career. From this point on he wrote many other stories and his first ‘Discworld’ novel in 1983. This was called ‘The Colour of Magic.’ In 1968 he was married to his wife Lyn and then in 1976, he had a daughter named Rhianna. Rhianna went on to follow in her father’s footsteps as a writer. Rhianna Pratchett’s main area of writing is with video games. In November 2012 Terry Pratchett announced that he would leave the intellectual rights for theDiscworld’ novels to Rhianna, who could continue writing for it if she chose to do so.

In 2007 Terry Pratchett discovered that he had a very rare form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. He donated a one million dollars Alzheimer’s Research Trust after finding out that the funding for Alzheimer’s research was small. In 2008 Terry began working with BBC on a documentary series based on his illness.

Here are some things that you may not have known about Terry Pratchett:

Terry was one of the first authors to use the internet to communicate with fans. Terry has always had a great interest in computers. His first computer was a Sinclair ZX81. When he travels, he always takes a laptop with him to write. He also enjoys playing computer games and has also helped out in creating a lot of game adaptations of his novels.

Terry is a great supporter and trustee of the Orangutan foundation in the UK. One of his most popular fictional characters is the librarian in the ‘Unseen University’s’ library. The librarian is an Orangutan.

He owns a greenhouse full of carnivorous plants. Some of these plants have been used in his novels.

He is the most shop-lifted author in Britain.

His fans do not seem to be restricted by age or genre.

Terry is known to have a great sense of humour as shown in an interview. He was asked if he has noticed any affect from Alzheimers happening and he replied “Yes. Bits drop out. The short-term memory has gone and so has the short-term memory. The short-term memory – OK, little jokes won’t be so funny in the fullness of time, but laughter is the best medicine.”

Terry writes an average of 2 books a year.

As he was growing up he considered Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows his favourite book.

Terry has said that ‘…To write, you must read extensively, both inside and outside your chosen genre…’

Here is a list of novels and stories by Terry Pratchett that you should check out:

Discworld Series:

1. The Colour of Magic         2. The Light Fantastic        3. Equal Rites      4. Mort            5. Sourcery               6. Wyrd Sisters

7. Pyramids          8. Guards! Guards!        9.Eric            10. Moving Pictures       11. Reaper Men               12. Witches Abroad                13. Small Gods

14. Lords and Ladies       15. Men at Arms     16. Soul Music       17. Interesting Times        18. Maskerade         19. Feet of Clay

20. Hogfather          21. Jingo         22. The Last Continent       23. Carpe Jugulum      24. The Fifth Elephant       25. The Truth

26. Theif of Time       27. The Last Hero        28. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents          29. Night Watch

30. The Wee Free Men      31. Monstrous Regiment        32. A Hat Full of Sky        33. Going Postal         34. Thud!

35. Wintersmith      36. Making Money     37. Unseen Academicals     38. I Shall Wear Midnight      39. Snuff       40. Raising Steam

Discworld Short Stories:
(Most of these are available online.)

Turntables of the Night               Troll Bridge            Theatre of Cruelty            The Sea and Little Fishes

Death and What Comes Next           A Collegiate Casting-Out of Devilish Devices

Science Books:

The Science of Discworld             The Science of Discworld II: The Globe              The Science of Discworld III: Darwin’s Watch

The Science of Discworld IV: Judgement Day

Mapps:

The Streets of Ankh-Morpork           The Discworld Mapp           A Tourist Guide to Lancre                Death’s Domain

Other works by Terry Pratchett:

The Dark Side of the Sun                   Strata                 Good Omens              Nation                A Blink of the Screen                 A Slip of the Keyboard

The Carpet People         Johnny and the Bomb                       Johnny and the Dead            Dodger               The Nome Triliogy

Bell Night