Best and Worst Shark Movies: From JAWS to Sharknado 5

Monster Men

Fins to the left! Fins to the right! Just in time for Sharnado 5: Global Swarming, the Monster Men present a look back at some of the best and worst shark movies through the years. Naturally, we start with JAWS, the crown jewel, or crown fin of shark movies, and from there we cover such classics as Deep Blue Sea, Bait, Mako, Blue Water, White Death, Two-Headed Shark attack and more.

We also discuss a few new shark books including Sharkwater Beach by Tim Meyer, Shark Island by Chris Jameson and Megalodon in Paradise by some guy named Hunter Shea.

You’re gonna need a bigger boat for this episode.

finalguysPlus, we are happy to announce that we have launched FINAL GUYS, a new podcast available on iTunes and our website. We have joined forces with our friend Jason Brant from the So Bad It’s Good show and Drinking with…

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TOP 5 Horror Novels for Shark Week

Every year, I get hooked on Shark Week. I spend most of the week watching the same documentaries over and over again, getting my fill of all things shark. Sharks are interesting beasts, a statement I think we all can agree on. In honor of the week dedicated to these lovable toothy monsters, I’ve compiled a short list of shark-related novels you should check out.

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5. WHITE SHARK by Peter Benchley – You were probably expecting Jaws by Peter Benchley, a novel which would undoubtedly make ninety-nine-point-nine percent of best shark book lists. But… I want to throw a curveball here. White Shark isn’t Benchley’s most renown book, but I love it anyway. It’s about a marine biologist who does battle with a man-shark hybrid created by Nazis. Yes, it’s awesome. Read it.

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4. MEG by Steve Alten – Okay, probably an obvious one, but eat me. It’s a great story with one hell of beastly antagonist. I’ll be looking forward to the movie whenever they decide to release it (2018?).

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3. MEGALODON IN PARADISE by Hunter Shea – This book only came out last week, and what better timing? I was lucky enough to read this bad boy before it came out, and let me tell you, Hunter Shea does a Megaldon story like no other. The story engages, the characters relate, and the plot takes you in directions you’ll never see coming. I can’t wait for this to dominate the Amazon charts.

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2. ISLAND RED by Matt Serafini – Do you like sharks? Aliens? Do you like aliens and sharks? Good! This one is for you. Island Red is an excellent novel by horror writer and super-nice-guy Matt Serafini, a true page-turner that grips you from page one and never really lets go. I read this last year and was blown away by Matt’s storytelling skills. Do yourself a favor and check this beast out.

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1. JAWS by Peter Benchley – Hey, remember when I said I wasn’t going to put Jaws on here because I wanted to do something different? Well, I lied. Sorry about that. Okay, I’m not all that sorry. Why? Because it’s JAWS! Seriously, the best fictional shark book ever written. How could I leave this masterpiece off the list? This is one of those the-movie-is-great-but-the-book-is-better novels you need to sink your teeth into. Now.

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BONUS – SHARKWATER BEACH by (ah-em) me –Oh, hey there. Okay, so I couldn’t include my own novel in my Top 5 because that would be totally uncool. However, this was a book I loved creating and I wanted to share it with you sea monster lovers out there. My goal was to take this giant shark book in alternate directions and I tried to make something that was something between a Peter Benchley novel and Sharknado. I hope you dig it. Here’s the synopsis: Beneath the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the biggest predator on the planet hunts, craving the flesh and blood of every creature it can sink its teeth into. Detective Jill McCourty receives a phone call from her old college professor when a mangled body washes up on the shores of Sharkwater Beach. Together they must discover what stalks the waters around the private island and stop it before it reaches the mainland. But how do you stop something so enormous, something so unique that it may have existed in another time? 

Jill vows to make sure what happens at Sharkwater Beach, stays at Sharkwater Beach.

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SUNFALL: SEASON THREE IS NOW AVAILABLE!

SunfallSeasonThreeEbook.AmazonThe post-apocalyptic series (SUNFALL), I co-write with Chad Scanlon and Pete Draper, dropped its third book today. YOU CAN GET IT HERE! SUNFALL has been a passion project since day one. It’s a fun, pulpy story that really allows the three of us to flex our creative muscles. This third book is unlike what we’ve done with the first two, and although I’m excited to share SEASON THREE with our readers, I’m also a little scared. I’m not sure what readers will think of it, but personally, I think it’s one of the best things I’ve ever written and I’m damn proud of the story we’ve told.

If you haven’t checked out the series yet, the guys and I are dropping the prices of the first two books this weekend only. SEASON ONE is usually $.99 for your Kindle device, but you can currently get it for the blowout price of FREE! SEASON TWO is normally $2.99, and right now you can nab it for just a buck. That’s two books for less than a cup of coffee. Can’t beat that. For you paperback junkies, all three books are available in print as well.

If you live in New Jersey near the Ocean County area, feel free to stop by our book event Saturday, July 8th in TOMS RIVER. Details can be found here!

Well, that about does it. I probably won’t be blogging much since it’s almost vacation time and I will be prepping for another SCARES THAT CARE adventure. Hope to see some of you there!

Cheers,

TM

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: PATRICK LACEY

PAtrick (1)After a couple months of taking a “blog break” (is that a thing?), I’M BACK! And with another amazing interview no less. This month, I chatted with horror author/fellow beer enthusiast Patrick Lacey.

In the beginning of 2017, I read Patrick’s short novel “Dream Woods” and I wish I had read it a month or two earlier. It definitely would have made my TOP 10 HORROR NOVELS OF 2016 list. IT WAS THAT GOOD. A few months later I purchased WE CAME BACK, Patrick’s next novel, the day it came out. IT WAS ALSO THAT GOOD. Patrick has become one of my favorite writers. He’s a great storyteller and his writing takes me back to the glory days of R.L. STINE’S GOOSEBUMPS. I can’t recommend his work enough.

So enjoy the interview and don’t forget to check out WE CAME BACK. All royalties will be donated to a cancer-related charity of Patrick’s choosing!

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SHARKWATER BEACH IS HERE!

I’m elated to announce that my new novel is now available from Severed Press! SHARKWATER BEACH hit digital bookshelves yesterday. I was doing so many happy dances that I didn’t have time to make a post about it. So, without further delay, here it is: SHARKWATER BEACH. 

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SYNOPSIS: Beneath the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the biggest predator on the planet hunts, craving the flesh and blood of every creature it can sink its teeth into. Detective Jill McCourty receives a phone call from her old college professor when a mangled body washes up on the shores of Sharkwater Beach. Together they must discover what stalks the waters around the private island and stop it before it reaches the mainland. But how do you stop something so enormous, something so unique that it may have existed in another time?

Jill vows to make sure what happens at Sharkwater Beach, stays at Sharkwater Beach.

GET IT NOW!

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THE THIN VEIL GETS A NEW EDITION!

The first novella I ever wrote was The Thin Veil, and it was originally published a little over four years ago. It can be described as Stranger Things meets Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Recently, I decided to give the old book a little update. In this new version you’ll find a few improvements, nothing major, just a few revisions I should have included the original publication. Also, this new edition will contain two previously unpublished short stories, “PURPLE CHEESE” and “NO MAKEUP”, the latter being one of my personal favorites.

Here’s a small sample of “NO MAKEUP”:

He stepped closer once again, this time going all the way, within a finger’s stretch. He hovered around her, tilting his head back and forth, observing the faded blemish from all angles.

Philip?” Gavin asked.

Her eyes found the floor again.

That bastard.”

It wasn’t his fault.” She sniffled. Her nose gargled the soup within as her eyes birthed tears from their corners.

Gavin put a hand on her shoulder. Although they weren’t friends and never once spoke outside of break room run-ins and business-related phone calls, they felt close in that moment. Janice Lesley strolled into the room casually and glanced up from her morning itinerary. She spotted them and opened her mouth to speak. Gavin waved her off before her concerned words hit the air. She disappeared back the way she came and Gavin turned back to Anne, placed his injured hand around her back, draped his arm over her shoulder, and pulled her close. She rested her head on his chest and cried. He immediately felt the wetness on his shirt and tie, but he didn’t care—in that moment he felt mighty and important and more than average.

It’s okay,” he told her. “It’s going to be okay.”

But it wouldn’t and she knew it.

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I do love that story and I’m glad I can include it in this novella.

Lastly, I’d like to give a huge shout-out to James Keen – “Toeken” for providing his artistic talents – this cover is one amazing piece of art. I’ve been a fan of his work for quite some time and to have him do the cover for The Thin Veil was simply a dream come true. Thanks, James.

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Well, that’s all I got for today. I should have a few more releases in 2017. Keep checking the blog, as I will have news and more author interviews coming soon! As always, you can get exclusive news, updates, and even win free books by signing up for my newsletter (click here!). Come to think of it, I do have a few copies of the new The Thin Veil to give away… **rubs hands together vigorously**

You can check out the new edition by clicking here!

Updates & Upcoming Appearances

Happy St. Patty’s Day, everyone! I hope you’re all celebrating the day by eating green bagels and drinking green beer. Me? I’m getting prepped for a busy couple months! Here’s a brief list of what’s going down!

1.) My newest novel, Sharkwater Beach, was just accepted for publication by Severed Press. I just signed the contract last week! I’ve heard nothing but great things about them and I’m excited for the opportunity. This will be my first novel-length work released by a traditional publisher. No word on a release date yet, but I will update as I soon as I hear.

2.) We’re almost done editing SUNFALLSeason Three. As of right now, we’re on target for a summer release. If I had to guess, expect the book out around July. And if you haven’t checked out the series yet, you can get BOOK ONE for less than a cup of coffee.

3.) Soon I’ll be embarking on a virtual book tour for my collection that came out last year, Worlds Between My Teeth. My publicist/editor Erin Al-Mehairi is putting together a sweet little tour, and if you’re interested in reviewing it/interviewing me, reach out to her at hookofabook(at)hotmail.com.

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4.) I’ll be appearing at the New Jersey Horror Con in Edison, NJ. The convention runs from March 31st to April 2nd. I’m sharing a table with prolific author Chuck Buda. If you’re attending the event, be sure to drop by and say hello!

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5.) Finally, I’d like to mention that I’ll be partaking in a brewery tour with authors Armand Rosamilia, Chuck Buda, Frank Edler, and Dan Padavona. Check above for a full list of breweries, dates, and who will be where. I can’t wait to hang out with some amazing authors and drink some of my favorite craft beers.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW: MICHELLE GARZA & MELISSA LASON (THE SISTERS OF SLAUGHTER)

sisters-of-slaughter

One of my favorite novels from last year was Mayan Blue by Michelle Garza & Melissa Lason, AKA The Sisters of Slaughter. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, I suggest you get on that – now. It’s such a fantastic blend of horror and dark fantasy, one of the most creative pieces of fiction I’ve read in recent memory. Today, the Sisters of Slaughter have dropped by the blog for an interview! A big thanks to them for hanging out; make sure you check out Mayan Blue by clicking here, and be on the lookout for these rising stars in the genre! 

-TM

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW: STEPHANIE WYTOVICH

headshot-3This week we have another fantastic guest dropping by the blog to give us some insight into her writing world. Stephanie Wytovich is not only a talented writer, but she’s a highly-praised poet. Her work has been published in places such as DarkFuse Magazine and The Literary Hatchetand several of her poetry collections are available wherever books are sold. Her debut novel, The Eighthpublished by Dark Regions Press, is getting some rave reviews and I can’t wait to get my paws on a copy. IT LOOKS AWESOME. This Is Horror calls it a, “…monumental and hugely entertaining read.”

Stop by Stephanie’s blog to keep up with her writing endeavors and be sure to check out her interviews with some of the biggest names in horror.

Later, Maniacs.

– TM

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TIM MEYER: Let’s start by telling us a little about your latest book release.

STEPHANIE WYTOVICH: My debut novel, The Eighth, came out in November 2016 from Dark Regions Press after serving as my master’s thesis and earing me a MFA from Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program in 2014. Inspired by the worlds and works of Dante Alighieri and Clive Barker, I wanted to reconstruct a version of Hell that brought life to the Seven Deadly Sins while inviting readers to contemplate sin as an invitation to celebrate our grotesqueries.

My main characters are Paimon (a soul collector), Rhea (a mortal girl who is both Paimon’s and Lucifer’s love interest, and who can also detect one’s deadliest sin by his aura) and Arazel (the ringleader of the circle of Lust). The three of them form a trinity, if you will, of varying levels of control, something that all of them are haunted by in one way or another. Their stories intersect and crash into one another in unconventional ways that move away from the cannon in some respects because I wanted to write a book that stepped away from the cliché stereotypes of the virgin in a white dress, or the Catholic priest giving an exorcism to a little girl. In The Eighth, you’ll find reverse prayers, and strong women who have embraced their bodies, not as something sacred and holy, but as a weapon of pleasure and punishment. You’ll be embraced in a world of snow and ash, and the fire you’ll burn in will be one of psychological torment and emotional agony. The Eighth is both my homage to literary horror and mythology and my love story to pleasure and pain.

TM: What seriously messed up moment in your life made you want to become a horror author?

SW: I think it’s a common misconception that something terrible happened to all of us and that’s why we tend to favor the dark side of the arts. For me, personally, horror has always been my life because I find it grotesquely beautiful as well as empowering. Quite frankly, I think that the most beautiful things in this world are honest and raw, scarred and perhaps hidden in the shadows. I would much rather hear a story about someone who has looked into the face of the Devil and survived than hear a love story about two people finally finding solace in each other because horror gives me strength, it forces me to play “what-if,” and I like books and art and music that makes me feel and experience emotions that maybe aren’t necessarily safe and comfortable. I embrace the strange and unusual, the weird and off-kilter, and I find immense satisfaction in meeting characters who aren’t afraid to embrace the parts of them that most people condemn them for.

I write horror because I think it teaches us valuable lessons about our power and our limitations, and it exercises our minds in the fields of survival. I write stories that push psychological and physical boundaries with the human body, and as I work in extremes, my characters are forced into madness, shattered and broken into pieces, forced to give in or give up. Sometimes they bring this upon themselves, sometimes it’s done to them, but what I think my message is with my writing, is that there is always a way to find acceptance in our faults and scars, and whatever comes out of the ashes and takes its first breath is beautiful in its own way, even if it’s monstrous.

the-eighthTM: Do you prefer writing shorter works or full-length novels?

SW: I’m a poet by nature, so while shorter works will always be my preferred form, I do thoroughly enjoy the challenge that a novel or a short story gives me, and I need to be writing both forms at the same time in order for me to finish anything.

TM: Name some writers who have influenced your work.

SW: There are countless writers that I could name here, but I’ll throw out a few today: Clive Barker, Jack Ketchum, Poppy Z. Brite, Shirley Jackson, Richard Matheson, Mary Shelley, Edgar Allan Poe, Sylvia Plath…

TM: Was there a particular horror film/book that impacted you as a writer? You can have more than one!

SW: The book was Pet Semetery by Stephen King. I can still remember reading it as a kid, curled up in my bed and reading until the sun came up all the while being deathly afraid that my recently deceased rabbit, Fluffy, was going to come back from the grave and kill me for not being a better rabbit parent to her. My brother didn’t share the same fears as me, but he also didn’t bury one rabbit, one dog, and three goldfish behind the shed with our father, so he was probably safe.

I, however, knew what was out there, what was really capable.

He was still a child.

As for the movie, the first film I remember watching was Salem’s Lot. I was way too little to be watching this, but my mom was ironing and I was downstairs with her, and the window scene pretty much broke me. I had two windows on either side of my bed as a kid, and after seeing that, I would sleep with the covers up to my neck out of fear that I would get bit.

Side note: Sleep has never been my friend and I blame my irrational fear of windows on my mother…and Stephen King.

TM: What’s your writing process like? Do you outline?

SW: When it comes to fiction, I never used to, but I do now. Kind of. I more or less free write a lot of ideas and possibilities down as I’m moving along, and then I’ll see where the story takes me and readjust as need be. If it’s a novel, I’m writing the poem version of the scene before I turn it into prose, but no matter what, I’m always surrounded by post-it notes and cork boards, and there are scribbles everywhere, on me, on my phone, and anywhere that can hold a message, really.

I’m a walking example of organized chaos, ask anyone.

For poetry, well, that’s a little…um, different. I get a theme in my head, and then I come up with the titles first: five titles for every letter of the alphabet. I don’t necessarily write each piece in order, but that’s why my poetry collections are in alphabetical order because it helps me structure the arc, tone, and climax of the book, and it also keeps me organized and on track. I also use Pinterest to make storyboards for each book, and I fill them full of images and quotes to help me along, too; it’s almost a visual outline, if anything.

Again, organized chaos.

TM: What do you love about writing?

SW: I love bonding with my monsters and demons, showing a sympathetic side to the darkness. Frankenstein is my favorite book and it’s influenced me in countless ways from my interest in body horror to my tendency to show the beauty in the grotesque, and I think it’s hard to read that book without feeling a little sad for the monster with his abandonment and forced isolation.

I live for telling the other side of the story.

TM: What do you enjoy about the horror genre?

SW: Its freedom. It lets me clap for the parts of life that most stay silent over.

TM: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

SW: Never stop writing. Ever.

Write the story you want to write whether you think it will sell or not. If I listened to every person who told me my ideas were stupid, or that women don’t write this way, or I was trying to do something too risky, I would never have published anything. Stay true to yourself, listen to the voices in your head, and make art because you have to, not because you think it will please someone else.

TM: What does “Women in Horror Month” mean to you?

SW: I think Women in Horror Month is a time to celebrate female artists, and while I know that we’d all much prefer that we didn’t need it, and that we’d much rather just be known as “writers” instead of “female writers,” the hard truth is that the playing field still isn’t equal and until it is, we need to be in people’s face about it, constantly reminding them that we’re here and just as capable and deserving of our spot on the page.

TM: What’s next on the writing agenda?

SW: Right now, I’m working on a short story project, and I’m about to dive into a collaborative piece with my beautifully creative and wonderful friends, Mercedes M. Yardley and Brian Kirk. I’m sure I’ll be writing poetry on the side while I’m doing all of this, as well as outlining sequel to The Eighth, so it’s going to be a busy, busy year for sure, but truthfully, I love what I do, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Bring on the madness. It’s time to get weird.

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Praise for The Eighth:

The Eighth is a stellar horror debut from Stephanie Wytovich. An intimate, painful map of personal and literal hells that would make Clive Barker proud.” – Christopher Golden, New York Times bestselling author

The Eighth is a truly unique reimagining of the levels of hell and the evils that dwell there, told in the voice of a bold and courageous young author who is just now coming into her prime. Stephanie M. Wytovich has created a work that, while truly horrifying, manages to transcend genre altogether, becoming a literary tour de force the likes of which is seldom seen in horror or any other category of fiction or film. It’s a symphony of language and creativity performed by an author who can comfortably rub elbows with the best writers in horror, and in any other genre for that matter. The Eighth is one of the most exciting books to come along in 2016 and one of the best debuts of the last decade or so. Wytovich is at the top of her game and gaining momentum like a runaway freight train, and you’ll be doing yourself a great disservice if you miss out on this monumental and hugely entertaining read.” – This is Horror

Stephanie Wytovich’s The Eighth is a savage tale of betrayal, regret, and the dark side of love in its many forms. The poetic imagery she sprinkles throughout balances the brutality with beauty.” – Chris Marrs, author of Wildwoman and Everything Leads Back to Alice

A fierce and emotionally intense debut.”- Craig DiLouie, author of Suffer the Children

A brilliant debut from a major new talent, full of darkness, fire, and devilry. Indeed, the sins in this novel are so well realized that I fear just a little for Ms. Wytovich’s soul.”- Rio Youers, author of Westlake Soul and Point Hollow

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