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Guest Author Brian Moreland on his horror novel, DEAD OF WINTER.

Monday, January 12th, 2015

Today I am pleased to be hosting a guest blog by Brian Moreland, one of the team of authors at my publisher, Samhain Horror.  Brian’s books include Dead of Winter, Shadows in the Mist, The Girl from the Blood Coven, The Witching House, The Devil’s Woods, and The Vagrants.  Cited as “a major new talent” by New York Times bestselling author James Rollins,, Brian is going to discuss his quite literally chilling novel, DEAD OF WINTER. It’s a book that New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston says is “an exceptionally well crafted horror novel. The atmospherics are outstanding and the story offers plenty of surprises right up to its shocking and violent conclusion. Highly recommended.” Let me give the floor to Brian…

Lust, Hunger, and Terror in the Canadian Wilderness

by Brian Moreland

My novel, DEAD OF WINTER, is a historical horror thriller set in Canada during the blizzard season of 1870. The story is based partly on true events and an old Algonquin Indian legend that still haunts the Great Lakes tribes to this day. It’s also a detective mystery and even includes a couple of love triangles, since I am also a fan of romance and steamy sex scenes.

The Victorian mystery takes place near the end of the 19th Century at an isolated fur-trading fort deep in the Ontario wilderness. Inspector Tom Hatcher, a troubled detective from Montreal, recently captured a deranged serial killer, the Cannery Cannibal. Gustav Meraux is Jack-the-the-Ripper meets Hannibal Lecter. Even though the cannibal has been locked away in an asylum, the case still haunts Tom, so he has moved out to the wilderness, bringing his rebellious teenage son with him. At the beginning of the story, Tom has taken a job at Fort Pendleton to solve a case of strange murders by a cannibal more savage than Gustav Meraux. Some predator in the woods surrounding the fort is attacking colonists and spreading a gruesome plague—the victims turn into ravenous cannibals with an unending hunger for human flesh. In Tom’s search for answers, he discovers that the Jesuits know something about this plague. My second main character is Father Xavier, an exorcist from Montreal. The Vatican sends the priest to Ontario to help Tom battle the Devil’s Plague.

While indeed a work of fiction, I wanted this book to feel real and authentic. Throughout the story I interweave several facts I pulled from history books and an interview I did with a descendent from a Canadian Ojibwa tribe. During my research, I came across some unexplained stories that the Ojibwa and Algonquin tribes all around the Great Lakes region, including Ontario, Quebec, Michigan, and Minnesota, feared a supernatural creature that lives in the woods and stalks people every winter. The tribes migrated every year because of this superstition. This legend also spooked the white fur traders, like the men of Hudson’s Bay Company, who lived in isolated forts all across Canada and traded with the Indians (now called First Nations). In my novel, Fort Pendleton is a fictitious fort named after one my characters, a tycoon by the name of Master Avery Pendleton. When the mysterious killings start plaguing the colonists living within his fort, Pendleton hires Tom Hatcher to solve the case. Tom teams up with an Ojibwa tracker and shaman, Anika Moonblood. She doesn’t believe the killer is a man or animal, but something much more terrifying. In the book, everyone in the neighboring Ojibwa tribe is spooked by the stalker in the woods. I studied the customs of the Ojibwa people of that era, as well as shamanism, and put much of what I learned into the book. To authenticate my priest characters, I studied Jesuit history, demonology, and countless cases of real priests performing exorcisms. From the scriptures I gathered on battling demons, I could probably do an exorcism myself, not that I would ever want to.

As I researched Canada’s legendary evil spirit even deeper, I discovered an article about a real isolated fort in Quebec where all the colonists went crazy and turned cannibal. In the late 1700s, a Jesuit priest who visited this fort documented the case in his journal, describing the deranged colonists as possessed by the devil. This is all factual and documented by the Catholic Church. I also did extensive research on the history of frontier life in Canada in the 1800s. During the long winter months, cannibalism became a way of survival for isolated villages that ran out of food. After consuming human flesh, people often turned insane, or what the Jesuits would describe as “possessed.” Sometimes soldiers would arrive at a fort to find that all the colonists dead except one man, who survived by eating the others.

While my novel is definitely a horror thriller, I mix in other genres like the detective mystery and romance. As Inspector Hatcher hunts for a backwoods serial killer, two women residing at the fort fall in love with him. One is his boss’s wife, Lady Willow Pendleton, a spoiled debutant who hates her cheating husband, Avery. The other woman is Anika Moonblood, the native tracker who has been assigned to work with Tom. Theirs is a love-hate relationship, because Tom only sees Anika as a heathen. To make matters more complicated, she is Avery Pendleton’s mistress, albeit against her will. While Tom feels burning desires for both Willow and Anika, getting involved with either has dangerous consequences, for Master Pendleton is not a man to cross.

I had a blast writing DEAD OF WINTER and I hope you enjoy reading it. My imagination was running wild at the time. I also enjoyed seeing the mystery unfold. When I write, I never know how a book is going to play out. I have a general idea that gets me started writing, but most of the time I’m solving the riddle right alongside my detective. I did my best to make DEAD OF WINTER the scariest book that I could write, while igniting not just fear and terror, but all the emotions to offer readers a truly visceral experience. I am grateful that Samhain Horror released my novel and I’m excited to share this story with readers. Enjoy the adventure!

DEAD OF WINTER is now available in paperback and e-book.


Author Bio: Brian Moreland writes novels and short stories of horror and supernatural suspense. His books include Dead of Winter, Shadows in the Mist, The Girl from the Blood Coven, The Witching House, The Devil’s Woods, and The Vagrants. Brian lives in Dallas, Texas where he is diligently writing his next horror book.


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Now available in audio book: The Devil’s Woods and The Witching House.

Hellnotes on my upcoming horror anthology, TOLL ROAD, from SST Publications.

Monday, July 14th, 2014

Read the full article at

“Eric Red’s first novel is a powerful concoction of one part coming-of-age story, one part erotic thriller, and the sexiest and most twisted villain ever to give a homework assignment.” —Ray Garton, author of LIVE GIRLS and MEDS.

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Available in hardcover, paperback and eBook from SST Publications at

Another pretty darn good book review of THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE.

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

The second novel by Eric Red, screenwriter of the horror classics THE HITCHER and NEAR DARK, is THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE, a horrific western, I’ll say this: it reads very much like an Eric Red movie with its fast moving narrative that mixes breakneck action and gory horror in a manner Red practically invented, albeit without the budgetary and censorship issues that tend to mar so many of his films (which in addition to the abovementioned masterworks include lesser efforts like COHEN AND TATE, BODY PARTS and 100 FEET). I wouldn’t call this novel great, although I would say it’s above average.

The setting is old west Mexico, where a pack of werewolves have taken over a small town and its church Santa Sangre (meaning Holy Blood, and a tribute, I assume, to the Alejandro Jodorowsky film of that title). There Pilar, a hot chick who initially masquerades as a man, is desperate for some pure-hearted bandits to show up and take on the werewolves. It seems she’s found her heroes in the form of Tucker, Fix and Bodie, an infernal trio of tough-as-shit Americans. After a period of (entirely understandable) hesitation the three gunslingers, all wanted for murder in the U.S., join Pilar’s cause, leading to a splatterific MAGNIFICENT SEVEN-on-steroids climax.

Structurally the novel is impeccable, showcasing Red’s storytelling instincts at full power. As in so many of Red’s scripts, the emphasis is on horrific action throughout, with the mushy parts kept to a minimum. The western setting is depicted with a great deal of atmospheric grit and grime, while the characterizations are about as you might expect–which is to say the people in this novel are all developed just as much as they need to be and no more.

The unforgiving shape shifters make for fitting antagonists (angsty Anne Rice creations they aren’t), and the whole thing clocks in at an economical 201 pages. Thus, in the category of unpretentious action-horror THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE works without question. Those wanting something more resonant are advised to look elsewhere.


Read the full review at

A few pages of artwork from my new comic series, WILD WORK, coming shortly from Antarctic Press.

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Professor Van Helsing versus Count Dracula in the 1800′s American west of the 1800′s.

The artwork is by Ben Dunn.  These pages are pre-lettering.

San Diego Comic Con book signing for THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE.

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

A heads up I’m going to be at the San Diego Comic Con with Samhain Publishing at the Famous Monsters booth signing copies of my new book THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE on Thursday and Friday July 18th and 19th. If you’re going to be at SDCC, come by!

In the mail today. The first edition of my new book from Samhain Publishing.

Monday, July 1st, 2013

What a thrill!

Got a new short story and interview in the summer issue of Dark Discoveries magazine.

Friday, June 28th, 2013

Contest: Win an autographed copy of THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE!

Tuesday, June 25th, 2013

Listen up, Pilgrims. Arrow in the Head and I want to give you an exclusive signed original copy of my new kick-ass werewolf western novel THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE, published by Samhain. Enter the contest now to receive one of two special author signed advance copies months before publication and anyone else gets a chance to read it. If you love werewolves and you dig westerns, I promise THE GUNS OF SANTA SANGRE will be the most blood-splattered, furriest, fanged, bullet-riddled, action-packed hell-for-leather ride you’ve ever saddled up for.

Enter to win at!

Update:  Congrats to the winners: Bryan Yentz, Chris Kemp and Danny Dagenais!

Just became a proud active member of the Western Writers of America.

Monday, April 29th, 2013