Stalking the Damned, palaver with Blaze

Our passage through darkness continues as we stalk the Damned.   I take you on this journey with iniquitous excitement, knowing full well that that we might not leave this sinister realm.


We pass into depths full of woe and fright, of Mephistophelian delights where Cthulhu still walks with the Elder Gods.  Close your eyes if you wish.  Take my cloak for guidance, but know it is far too late for safety.


The descent takes us down a path filled with smoke, heat, and the growing sounds of another being.  Rounding a corner, we find a large figure standing back from a hellish fire.  His face is unreadable in the red glow,  but the malice and cunning in his eyes makes us falter in our steps.


“This is Blaze”, I whisper in your ear.  “Let me speak for both of us…”



Blaze, we would parley with you, as we are stalking the Damned.  You have a number of stories with Pen of the Damned, some of which are “Ashes to Ashes, Blood to Blood”, “The Enforcer”, and “The Steps of Fear”.    Your stories range from creepy to absolutely visceral.    You once said “I feel we need to challenge the barriers to what lurks in the unknown.”  Could you expand on that, and did you ever have any experiences that gave you an affinity for things that lurk in the unknown, or that gave you an affinity for the unknown itself?

I’m an older writer, Zack, and with that comes a great deal of life experiences. Unfortunately for me, the bulk of that experience seems to have been rooted in things that are not pleasant. Death, failed relationships, pain, disease, and even a life as a child that was anything but pleasant. However, these experiences and my empathy for the common woman/man who gets his ass knocked down at every opportunity give me a purpose in life. I am compelled to write about the Dark. The Dark is real. Someone else can write about glory days of daisies and sweet dreams. That crap is foreign to what lurks inside my soul. On a positive note, I never run out of things to write about.

As far as knocking down barriers to what lurks in the unknown, not enough is written about new conceptual possibilities. Too much of the same dog and pony show. It is time we kick those barriers apart and delve into truly horrible scenarios floating through the minds of those who are tormented beyond return.

“The Steps of Fear” is a story that (like your others) really pulled me in.  Do your ideas hit you in a flash, or like you have mentioned before, do they sit in your head for a while as they ferment?

Like most of my stories, “The Steps Of Fear” was festering inside me long before I wrote it. The longer these tales reside within me, the Darker they become. Add in infidelity, a total distrust for the psychiatric profession, which I view as a bunch of non professionals and ill educated morons, and you have “The Steps Of Fear.” Okay, I’ve pissed off the whole world of psychiatric “professionals,” but I don’t care. They need to step up to the plate and do their jobs. Other ideas hit me in a flash, but some are rot-gut, deep-rooted horror all the way.

What is your favorite part of being a member of Pen of the Damned?

My favorite part of being a member of The Pen Of The Damned is that they put up with my bullshit. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t lie; I merely tell it like it is and they say, “Okay, Blaze is writing some wonky crap again.” Plus the ten of us are pretty Damned talented people and work at the craft. Notice the word WORK. It’s not merely pretty words for us. We spew the venom on the pages before us.



Do you have a favorite author, or is there a particular author who influenced your writing?

My favorite author is Edgar Allan Poe. No one else can compare to him. I enjoy reading all the great authors; Hemingway, Steinbeck, Twain, Spillane, and so many others, but there was only one Poe. The man was a God. My style is mine now that I’ve stopped the ghostwriting thing, thank God. I do not wish to write in the style of anyone other than myself.



You have been a ghostwriter for over 75 novels.  That is one hell of a feat.  Your dark mind must be full of characters and back stories.  Can you tell us about any of those novels, or could you give us advice on how to reach that literary level?

Because of the legal ramifications, I can’t really say anything about the past novels I’ve written as a ghostwriter, other than the fact my last one was used by an author who accepted the Stoker for it. True, my name was not to have been acknowledged as being the true author, but as far as professional integrity goes, had it been me, I would have refused the Stoker. I refused to write any more of them. These guys are on their own as far as I’m concerned now. Thus, I have very little regard for awards for any of the arts. Beauty for our readers is in the eyes and minds of each individual who reads our tomes. Some people love blood, gore, and splatter. Others don’t.
All art is discretional. We can’t please everyone. As far as reaching my “literary level,” it’s merely one word after another. No science to that. Let your “Story people” write your tale for you and throw the damned outlines out.



What do you enjoy about dark literature?

Dark literature is a no holds barred way to pen the truth. Sure, horror writers embellish the tales, but at the very core of our stories, there is always the truth. Do you want to be truly scared? Read “The Pit And The Pendulum” and feel that blade coming at you. That story goes to the very soul of what humanity fears the most.



Is it easier for you to compose and write the part of a protagonist, or the part of an antagonist?  Why?

Most of my new stories are written in first person, present tense, and as such, the protagonist’s view is portrayed. No fly on the wall crap for me any more. However, I also believe that the visual within the soul of the protagonist certainly displays the beasts in their most evil state. However, I have written tales where I wrote first person tense for both, merely alternating chapters to capture their inner thinking. So, to answer the question, I can, and do, write either part with relish.



What is the next piece of meat on your dinner plate?  What does Blaze how in store for us?

My next piece of meat consists of a huge steer running across a vast field. I have novels coming out this year, tales in anthologies, short stories, and collections of shorts. I also have a long non-fiction story which I will present as fiction so I don’t have to change anything. Most of the folks are dead anyway. I have some YA stories coming and some poetry: you guessed it; it’s Dark. While I have novel series comprised of horror/action/psychological meanderings, I also have some others that are simply Dark, psychological horror, like in “Ashes To Ashes, Blood To Blood.” That tale was so totally original that it blew my mind away. I disgusted some people with that one, so I got the results I wanted. Yes, I write of conventional monsters, albeit in unconventional ways, but I wish to write about new monsters as well. There are some in my soul ready to jump out on the page now. One of these bad boys is in an upcoming novel series. I’m rather proud of the conceptual imagery of these tales. I won’t say anything more about them other than the first one is titled, “The Devil’s Tongue.” Thank you for this interview, Zack, and remember that you will be the protagonist in my next tale for The Pen Of The Damned. Oh, yeah, baby!



Blaze, thank you for your time.



We’ll leave you to your craft as we make our way to darker and more infernal regions on our hunt for the Damned.



29 comments on “Stalking the Damned, palaver with Blaze

  1. Great post guys… “Beauty for our readers is in the eyes and minds of each individual who reads our tomes.” – these words are a base truth that so many forget – so well stated Blaze!

    • zkullis says:

      Thanks Nina. Blaze was great.

      His experience is humbling for a novice like me.

    • blazemcrob says:

      Thank you, Nina. I’m glad that you and I agree with that statement. But then again, we are both members of The Pen Of The Damned!


    • Nina! I haven’t yet commented on your recent POTD post because I feel as if I’m missing something important. A clue I overlooked. “It”…female or male? No! Don’t tell me. I will comment when I decipher it on my own.

      Perhaps I was under-caffeinated during the first three reads? I had planned to wait and read comments for clues, but decided against that plan.

      I never, ever sneak peek answers to questions my wonky mind turns into riddles. I’m stubborn that way.

      • Hi Gloria, I did two of them recently, so I’m not sure which one you’re referring to, but if you would prefer to figure it out on your own, my lips are sealed! LOL – And avoid the comments, both are fairly well explored in the comments section. 😉

  2. Joseph Pinto says:

    *emerges from darkness, clapping*

    Excellent interview, excellent! Blaze, I’ve known you for some time now, & it’s always a joy learning something new about a friend as time passes. If I may steal a line from Shrek, then horror writers are much like onions: we have layers…and Blaze allows a small dissection of his soul for us to examine in this interview.

    All art is discretional; that’s why you should always write for yourself. If people happen to enjoy it, it’s like added cheese upon your meatball, see what I’m sayin’?

    You’ve crafted a well thought interview here, Zack. Not an easy thing to do, considering how Blaze relishes his damn fire. Much success in your continued endeavors to locate the Damned. You will certainly need it…

    • zkullis says:

      Thank you, Joseph. Blaze was great. I agree 1001% percent with all of you; art is discretional.

      My pursuit of the Damned is certainly perilous, but a goal without risk is like a steak without flavor… it’s not worth it.

      • So many other *blank* without *blank* options tempt me, Zack. But POT Saucy chooses silence in the company of this dark talent. 😉

        I’ll let my Twitter-bug fly with those meanderings.

    • blazemcrob says:

      I do love to add some new snippets to my interviews, Joe. How can one possibly divulge all the hidden secrets lurking within in a single sitting? As for the dissection part, I’m watching out for scalpels now. Hmmn.


  3. Thomas Brown says:

    Brilliant interview, you two. Like Nina, I’m loving this: “Beauty for our readers is in the eyes and minds of each individual who reads our tomes.” It is all too easy for readers (and writers) to forget how subjective a piece of writing is, and that everyone will respond differently to it.

    Some great answers, Blaze. I feel as though we are barely scratching the surface. When’s Part Two? 😉

    • zkullis says:

      Thank you Thomas. Interviewing the talented denizens of the Damned is rewarding and thrilling, all at once.

    • blazemcrob says:

      There are many parts, Thomas. Do not forget I have much life experience lurking within my Dark, Damned soul.

      Yes, readers do react differently to what we pen. It’s a crap-shoot. as long as our soul is bared is the main thing.


  4. Daemonwulf says:

    I do so enjoy reading these ‘Stalking of the Damned’ interviews, Zack! And it’s not only because I’m a member of the group. On the contrary, I find your work — be it your fiction or, in this case, your expert questioning — downright entertaining!

    The skill with which you craft your interrogation (if I can borrow an ‘industry’ term… *Spooky-Mulder grin*) is evident. And I hope the readers of your blog are having as much fun learning about Pen of the Damned as am I.

    I believe what you’re doing is shining a bright light into the darkness, illuminating with each post some very interesting personal details that I don’t believe most readers know about the members of the group. I, for one, very much appreciate your desire to walk through the shadows with us. Holding your inquisitive hand in the dark is better even than suckling on the freshly harvested sweetbreads from the entrails of a baby lamb. *wulven grin*

    I liken each of your posts to that of turning over a long immobile rock and watching all the terrors slither out of hiding from beneath. But once flipped, the heavy stone cannot be unturned. I only hope your readers are able to stomach the horrors that you unleash upon them. *Hellish smile*

    — Daemonwulf

    • zkullis says:

      Thanks, Lord Daemonwulf. I’m glad you enjoy my work. Even better than freshly harvested sweetbreads? *licking lips* That is one hell of a compliment.

      Whether the readers can stomach the abysmal horrors or not, they will forever be changed.


      • I suspect what I’m doing this afternoon could be classified as blog-jacking, Zack.

        What the worst that could happen?

        Cuff me.

        Yes, your readers — even those (like me) with voice and genre at opposite ends of the literary spectrum — appreciate a well-written tale.

        I suspect I made that clear with off-loop comments — including, but not limited to, observations on Smite the Damned.

        The time for your guest post on my blog draweth nigh. Forsooth.

      • Gaaah! A typo! Are you sure I can’t get editorial access to your site, Zack?

        I’d only fix my own bloopers. Honest. Mostly.

        “What’s the worst…”

    • blazemcrob says:

      Well stated, my Wulfen friend! One must ask the right questions to get the interesting-or shocking, as the case may be-answers.


  5. Blaze, I emailed Zack off-loop and apologized for my failure to comment when this article first posted.

    What I told him, and what still holds true, is that this interview deserved a well-thought comment. I wanted to read more of your stories. I have.

    Your voice is compelling; your plots both unique and engaging. I’m pulled into the mind of the protagonist. Scary thought? Yes.

    For me, the comments with which I most connected were those that said writers should be true to their own voice, to let the character get in our heads and write the story, and to write what we want to write without keeping an eye on market trends. My voice isn’t for everyone. I’m fine with that. If I attempted to change it, I’d lose my love of writing and spontaneity. And, no character wants to play in the mind of a marketing guru masquerading as a writer.

    Your accomplishments are enviable, and IMHO well-deserved. I understand why so many authors wanted your talent with their byline, but I’m glad you stepped out on your own.

    Zack’s right. You kick ass!

    • blazemcrob says:

      Wow! Thank you for this comment, Gloria. I am glad you find my tales to be engaging. I so enjoy the first person present tense I’m using now. I actually become the protagonist and, as such, the story flows. I’m writing a haunted outhose serial right now, and it is so fun to write because I have no idea what the story will become until the words hit the paper. It’s like being a reader instead of the author.

      I have three entirely different novel series I’m working on now, and I’m excited with all of them.

      Never change your voice for anyone, Gloria. You have decided on the right course. The flow of your tales will be excuisite because of it!

      Thank you, once more!


  6. Zack thanks so much for stalking POTD. I used to stalk these guys now I’m a Damned wraith. Blaze is an exceptional writer who raises the bar not just for dark but for writing. Writers are so quick to pander to the” latest greatest” rather than write. I am inspired by a writer who is not afraid to tell it like it is. I think ink flows (red if necessary) when you write from your own inspired base.
    Lead onward Blaze!!!

    • blazemcrob says:

      Thank you, moonduster! Very nice words coming from such a talented writer as yourself. I try to raise the bar with my own writing. Writers can not get stuck in a rut, putting pen to paper and writing the same stories overe and over again. Fresh meat is what we need. And honesty along with the courage to say what needs to be said. If i achieve nothing else but that, I will be happy.


    • zkullis says:

      Moondustwriter, it is a pleasure to stalk the Damned. You all are very talented, and the more I find out about the individual contributors to POTD, the more engrossed I become in the work that is done.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s