Saturday, November 24, 2012

Michael West ~ Guest Post


Respect for the Genre
By Michael West

     Last weekend, I had the great honor of meeting the one and only Jamie Lee Curtis (Halloween, The Fog, Prom Night, Terror Train, Halloween II) during her one and only Horror convention appearance at HorrorHound Weekend: Indianapolis.  For years, I’d heard that she was embarrassed by her early Horror roots, but nothing could have been further from the truth.  She was gracious and enthusiastic about meeting her fans, and during a fantastic Q&A panel, she admitted that, while she may not like watching Horror (because she says she’s a big fraidy cat); she has a “respect for the genre.”

     That really struck me.
Sci-fi, Fantasy, Westerns...they all have their detractors, but Horror has always been the bastard step-child, maligned and belittled far too often. 
Say the word “Horror,” and many people will think of Saw and Hostel, they think of “Torture Porn,” and they are quick to dismiss the work as “trash” or something unworthy of their time.  In fact, when people post reviews of my novels, they often talk about it being well-written as if they are shocked and surprised, as if they go into it thinking, “It’s Horror, so how can it be good?” 
Of course, most publishers don’t help matters.  Walk into any Barnes & Noble and try to find the Horror Section.  There isn’t one.  Sci-fi and Fantasy?  Sure.  Romance and Westerns?  Of course!  But Horror?  Not a single shelf.  No, to the larger houses, Horror is a label to be avoided like the plague.  Instead, they package their authors works as “Thrillers,” “Mysteries,” or even “Paranormal Romance.” Anything but the dreaded “H” word.
Now, I have no problem with Horror being shelved in General Fiction and Literature.  Years ago, when I worked at Borders, it always bothered me that Anne Rice was in Literature, but Stephen King and Clive Barker were shelved in Horror.  It was as if the people who made such decisions were passing judgment on the work, and King and Barker were unworthy of being real literature. 
     No respect.  No respect at all.
     So how do we fix it?  What do we do to show that this genre is more than blood and guts?--more than hack and slash?  How do we get people to give this genre the respect it deserves?
I wish I knew. There’s no quick fix, no magic wand.  But there is one thing we can use to our advantage...our passion.  If you are a Horror fan, don’t be embarrassed; embrace it!  Let your Horror flag fly!  Show friends the shining examples of the genre: that movie that stays with you and won’t let you sleep at night, that novel that you keep thinking about long after you’ve read the final word.  Sure, like any other genre, there’s some bad…oh, who am I kidding?  There’s some really terrible stuff out there.  But there is also some amazing stuff, some life-altering stuff!  And the more we can shine a light on the real gems of Horror, the more people will look for them. 
     As for me, I will keep doing what I do best: writing strong, believable characters that just happen to find themselves in horrific situations.  I will write with a respect for the genre that I have loved for so long.  And maybe, just maybe, I can earn the respect of Horror fans and non-Horror fans alike.

Synopsis of Spook House:

There are some places in this world that go far beyond any normal definition of “haunted.” These places are so evil, so diabolical, that they become gateways to Hell itself. The Fuller Farm is one such place.

It is said that old man Fuller conducted unspeakable acts, blood rituals and human sacrifices, all in an attempt to gain the ultimate knowledge, the ultimate power. And then, he was killed–horribly murdered on his own lands, leaving the house to stand as a vacant monument to his wickedness. But once a door is opened, it can never really be closed.

Now, the stars are right. The gateway is ready to once more unleash unspeakable horror upon the town of Harmony, Indiana. And this will be one Halloween that they will never forget!

About the Author:

Michael West is the critically-acclaimed author of The Wide Game, Cinema of Shadows, Skull Full of Kisses, and The Legacy of the Gods series. He lives and works in the Indianapolis area with his wife, their two children, their bird, Rodan, their turtle, Gamera, and their dog, King Seesar.

Every Halloween, he turns his garage into a haunted house

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for review from Seventh Star Press author as part of a virtual book tour. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. THE PICS are really creepy!! I'l definitely refer people who like horror to this book :P

    Pity I'm such a scaredy cat
    Krazyyme @ Young Readers

  2. Great post!! I am a big horror fan. This sounds great. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thank you for having my fellow SSP buddy for a visit today! He's definitely got the horror end of things covered, but the post above has an underlying element that can apply to any speculative fiction genre.

  4. Great post! I'm not a big horror reader myself, but I do think it should be more visible in bookstores. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!