The First Decade of Terror: How Author Thomas M. Malafarina Wrote and Contributed to 15 Books of Horror Fiction

The First Decade of Terror: How Author Thomas M. Malafarina Wrote and Contributed to 15 Books of Horror Fiction

Welcome to the third installment of the Sunbury Press author journey series!

In every book, there's a story. And not just the one between its pages.

Every author has a different journey for how they ended up with the incredible book that landed in our inbox. Sure, we loved the book that they sent to us--enough to publish it and share with you all--but we wanted to know what it took for them to write that book, what drove them toward publication, and to get to know them better as artists.

And instead of keeping those answers to ourselves, we thought--to hell with it, let's share it with YOU.

We are thrilled to continue this new author-centric series with the inspirational Thomas M. Malafarina, horror author of The Ridge of Death and many more.


Now presenting...

The First Decade of Terror

"The First Decade of Terror"

by Thomas M. Malafarina

This year marks my 10th year writing horror for Sunbury Press/Hellbender Books. That’s right, I’m an author of horror fiction. Yep, the dreaded genre. In the eyes of many publishers that makes me the ugly three-headed stepchild. Regardless, I’ve written in various forms all of my life from newspaper reporting at the age of 19 to having created thousands of pages of technical documentation during my 43-year career (and still going strong) as a manufacturing engineer. But one thing I always wanted to do was to write and publish horror fiction.

One might wonder why I would choose a genre that most "serious" authors and publishers tend to frown upon. Most of those publishers are often happy to remind would-be authors that Stephen King, Clive Barker and Dean Koontz already do it better than anyone else, so why bother? I’ve had a life-long love of horror from my childhood days of watching the Universal Monster movies and reading Famous Monsters of Filmland magazines. My bedroom was decorated with posters of monsters and my dresser was covered with Aurora monster models, which I built and customized.

Thank goodness Sunbury Press saw past all the prejudice against horror and started me on a journey that has resulted in ten years of publishing with over thirteen books currently in print, close to two hundred short stories to my name, with much more terror on the horizon.

But let’s turn the clock back a decade or so. It was spring of 2010 and I was coming up on my fifty-fifth birthday in July. Having completed my first novel, 99 Souls as well as more than a dozen short stories, I was close to completing my second novel, Burn Phone. I had not yet found a publisher but was nonetheless having a blast writing blood-curdling prose.

After a few failed attempts to find a publisher, I had actually considered contracting with one of the vanity press companies (I was unaware of self-publishing websites, if in fact they existed at that time). The bottom line was, I wanted to know if the work I was doing was any good. Vanity press or self-publishing would not answer that question. Only acceptance by a traditional publisher would do that for me. I had works ready to publish but nowhere to publish them. I was like an atheist at his own funeral, all dressed up and no place to go.

Then one day while cruising Craigslist looking for potential gigs for my part-time blues band, I saw an ad for a publisher from Camp Hill called Sunbury Press that was in the process of growing its business and looking for new authors. I did some research and learned at that time, Sunbury was best known for non-fiction and historical types of books.

Never one to be afraid of having yet another door slammed in my face, I contacted Sunbury publisher Lawrence Knorr to see if he would have any interest in looking at my work, even though it was fiction and horror fiction to boot. To my surprise, he agreed. I prepared myself for yet another rejection letter to add to my growing stack. To my astonishment, he offered to publish three books; my novels 99 Souls and Burn Phone as well as a collection of short stories, which he decided to call 13 Nasty Endings.

I was blown away! I went from thinking I might never be published to becoming a published author with a three-book deal. Unfortunately, like all naive and uninformed writers new to publishing, I was mostly concerned about how I would spend all the money that came pouring in. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.

Now I can look back and laugh. Writing has not and likely will never make me financially rich (or even comfortable), but it has succeeded in filling my life with the sort of wealth you can only receive from the experience of creating something from nothing and seeing it in print with your name on it. For the record, the tenth or thirteenth book is no less exciting to hold in your hands than the first.

If you total all the books I've published through Sunbury and their imprint Hellbender Books, the number is actually much higher. Some of my earlier works are out of print. I reworked several of them over the years, which we retitled and re-released. 99 Souls is now available as What Waits Beneath. Burn Phone is now Burner. My large novel Fallen Stones has been re-written, streamlined and re-released as Circle Of Blood. 13 Nasty Endings is now available as 13 Deadly Endings and my dark and some say frustrating Eye Contact is now available under the title From The Dark. Three short story collections, Malafarina Malefacarum Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 as well as Gallery Of Horror have been discontinued. Their stories have been sprinkled in with new stories for my current series called Malaformed Realities.

Oh, and another thing, we published a collection of my bizarre cartoons called Yes, I Smelled It Too.

Hellbender has published my series of three zombie apocalypse novels called the Dead Kill series. Will there be a Book 4? Time will tell.

So, what does the future hold for me? What does my next decade of terror look like? Shortly, Hellbender will be releasing a short story collection I co-curated with Catherine Jordon (she did an excellent job of editing—thanks, Cathy!) called Hellbent, which consists of stories from many Hellbender authors. As I mentioned earlier, Malaformed Realities 4 and 5 are slated for 2020 release, unless COVID-19 screws that up. Also, scheduled to be released will be a new novel, which might become a series called, Death Bringer Jones, Zombie Slayer. He is a spinoff character from my Dead Kill Series.

I'm also working on a new novel (which has the potential to become yet another series), a novella or two and a ton of short stories so new, this is the first I’ve mentioned them. I'm always writing something. I love to write. I never tire of writing and never seem to run out of ideas. Professional writers take vacations to get away from writing; I look forward to writing while on vacation. Writing is actually a sort of vacation for me.

So now you know why the past ten years with Sunbury Press have been so rewarding to me. It's not about the money. Publishing my books allows me to share my crazy ideas with many readers. It permits me to proudly call myself a published author. Most importantly, it offers me a platform from which I can launch many, many more stories for as long as I can keep coming up with fresh new ideas. Be ready, folks. The next decade of terror is right around the corner.


About the Author

Thomas Malafarina

Thomas M. Malafarina is a horror author from Berks County, Pennsylvania. He has been featured in over 15 books, including seven novels and even one book of often-strange single panel cartoons called Yes I Smelled It Too. Learn more on his website.

Get 15% OFF these books by Malafarina below. Click on the cover photo and use SPRING15S at checkout.


Stay tuned for more from Sunbury Press!

Thanks for checking out this author journey blog post by author Thomas M. Malafarina! Sunbury Press has over 700 titles to choose from--the best in fiction and nonfiction through various imprints--and we love helping readers find their next favorite book.

If you liked what you read, check out these "4 Binge-Worthy Mystery Novels from Sunbury Press" or browse our virtual bookstore.

4 Engrossing Literary Books to Add to Your TBR List

Brown Posey Press publishes literary fiction and creative nonfiction to make you feel things.

Sunbury Press publishes both fiction and nonfiction through our various imprints, like Brown Posey Press. With this imprint, we focus on inertly human stories that make us feel something.

From Jane Austen to literary roller derby, we're thrilled to share these four engrossing books from the Summer and Fall 2019 seasons that are sure to be great additions to your to-be-read list.

Don't believe us? Well, check them out for yourself.

Here's "4 Engrossing Literary Books to Add to Your TBR List!"


 

Both darkly funny and poignantly heart-wrenching, The Court of Vintage Woods exposes suburbia's outward smiles and inner secrets.

Josh Penzone's debut, The Court of Vintage Woods, dissects the emotional cages suburbanites use to entrap themselves. Over the course of the year, follow the residents of Vintage Woods Court as they inadvertently influence one another to realize how sometimes acceptance of self is the only change we are capable of.

An aging woman off her meds abuses the privilege of being entrusted with her neighbor's key. A war veteran confronts the man who influenced him to enlist. A devoted husband hires a male escort to answer the question he's been afraid to ask himself. The HOA President seeks retribution after her school board campaign signs go missing. A teenage girl strips for strangers via webcam wishing to feel something, even humiliation. A couple, emotionally broken after the death of their baby, hopes the Vintage Woods cul-de-sac is their answer to a new start.

In these eleven linked stories, Penzone explores the self-imposed tragic quest to feel something beyond life’s dullness. Sometimes darkly funny, other times poignantly heart wrenching, suburbia’s setting showcases a place where people sport outward smiles to mask inner secrets. But are they really fooling anyone? Maybe this is why a cul-de-sac is shaped like a peephole. We want to see in.

This is an author photo of Josh Penzone, writer of the court of vintage woods

About the Author

Josh Penzone is a Pushcart Prize nominated writer whose stories have appeared in Eunoia Review, Junto Magazine, Five on the Fifth, Blue Lake Review, and elsewhere. He lives in Ohio with his wife and daughter where he’s been a public educator for two decades. The Court of Vintage Woods is his first published book.

Purchase THE COURT OF VINTAGE WOODS from Sunbury Store

Leo Rockas completes a first edition of Jane Austen's unfinished novel Catharine or the Bower.

When Catharine is disciplined by her affectionate aunt Percival, she retires to the bower in search of separation and connection. After becoming dubious friends with Camilla and meeting a dashing possible suitor in Edward, Catharine encounters various attachments and pairings between young people, some of them quite unexpected.

About the authors:

Jane Austen (16 December 1775 - 18 July 1817) was an English novelist known primarily for her six major novels, which interpret, critique and comment upon the British landed gentry at the end of the 18th century. Austen's plots often explore the dependence of women on marriage in the pursuit of favourable social standing and economic security. Her works critique the novels of sensibility of the second half of the 18th century and are part of the transition to 19th-century literary realism.

Leo Rockas was a devoted professor of writing and literature at the University of Hartford, where he published several textbooks and essays on literary figures. In retirement as a widower, he keeps busy with playscripts, and studies in Jane Austen, Shakespeare, and other literary figures.

Purchase CATHARINE OR THE BOWER from Sunbury Store

Ride around the country with a reluctant wife and an excited husband in Gerri Almand's laugh-out-loud memoir The Reluctant RV Wife

Follow a reluctant wife and her excited husband through two humorously-conflicted years of RV travel. He wanted to go; she wanted to stay. They both learn, grow, and change as a new level of freedom evolves.

This book is light-hearted and humorous but at the same time serious. While not a How-To book, it gives lots of basic information about RVing. And while not a travelogue, it touches upon many travel destinations in the United States and Canada. On deeper levels, the book is about marital relationships, retiring and getting old, and finding a new kind of freedom through a minimalistic lifestyle.

After reading this book, you’ll never again look at one of those huge monstrosities driving down the road in quite the same way. The book answers questions for non-RVers and triggers chuckles of recognition from experienced RVers.

Author photo of gerri almand author of the reluctant rv wife

About the Author

Gerri Almand is a retired social worker turned writer, storyteller, and speaker. Her husband’s retirement crisis, which included buying an RV and declaring they should see the world, has given her untold ammunition for writing material. With a permanent home address in Tampa, Florida, Gerri and her husband Michael Hamlin now switch off their reluctancies. She continues to feel quasi-reluctant on the road and he feels acutely-reluctant during their periods at home.

Purchase THE RELUCTANT RV WIFE from Sunbury Store

Sometimes comic. Sometimes serious. Always surprising. Tough Girl in the Jam is an LGBTQ sports novel synced with the tensions of a fraught family drama.

Set in the fast and furious world of women's professional roller derby, Tough Girl in the Jam is a novel about sports, strength, and sacrifice. As the lead Jammer on the Philly Freedoms, Nina must prepare for the biggest season of her life alongside her biggest fan and girlfriend Rachel.

As Nina and Rachel move toward a deeper commitment and contemplate their lives together, Nina's estranged father falls ill, propelling her mother to pressure her to donate a kidney to save him.

When her father's life-threatening crisis falls on the day of the Freedoms' championship, Nina is forced to make the toughest play of her life.

this is an author photo of Larry Loebell author of Tough Girl in the Jam

About the Author

Larry Loebell is a writer best known for his plays La Tempestad and House Divided and for having been one of the EMMY-winning writers on Rugrats season one. He has published two previous books of fiction, The Abundance League and Seven Steps Ahead. This is his first novel. Learn more about him at LarryLoebell-Writer.com

Purchase TOUGH GIRL IN THE JAM from Sunbury Store


Stay tuned for more from Sunbury Press!

Thanks for checking out these literary books from our catalog! Sunbury Press has over 600 titles to choose from--the best in fiction and nonfiction through various imprints--and we love helping readers find their next favorite book.

If you liked what you read, check out these "3 Fascinating Literary Novels About Puerto Rico" or browse our virtual bookstore.

Job Leach’s “As the Raven Flies” tops Milford House Press bestsellers for December

Job Leach’s “As the Raven Flies” tops Milford House Press bestsellers for December

MILFORD HOUSE PRESS – Bestsellers for December 2018 (by Revenue)
Rank Prior Title Author Category
1 NEW As the Raven Flies Job Leach Crime Thriller
2 The Broken Lance Jess Stephen Hughes Historical
3 The Sign of the Eagle Jess Stephen Hughes Historical
4 The Wolf of Britannia part 1 Jess Stephen Hughes Historical
5 The Closer Alan Mindell Sports Fiction
6 The B Team Alan Mindell Sports Fiction
7 3 Where Elephants Fought Bridget Smith Historical
8 6 All the Aliens in the Neighborhood Donald Dewey Short Stories
9 Emeralds of the Alhambra John Cressler Historical
10 The Fantasy League Murders Donald Dewey Detective Thriller
11 15 A Lenape Legacy Doris Wilbur Historical
12 Atonement Kyle Alexander Romines Western
13 The Wolf of Britannia part 2 Jess Stephen Hughes Historical
14 2 Three Rogues in Gettysburg J Geoffrey Barber Historical
15 Visions of Teaoga Jim Remsen YA Historical
16 The Titan Strain Virginia Soenksen Dystopian
17 8 Moon Games Shelly Frome Detective Thriller
18 Shadows in the Shining City John Cressler Historical
19 9 Fortune’s Lament John Cressler Historical
20 12 Dead of Autumn Sherry Knowlton Murder Mystery

Pet crow bonds with fatherless boy in inspirational novel by Paul Argentini

VENICE, Fla.Sunbury Press has released Charlie Caw, Paul Argentini’s latest novel, for middle grade and young adults.

cc_fcAbout the Book:
A crow that picks wildflowers and delivers them to show affection, and a fatherless boy who teaches the bird how to fly create a heartwarming story of these two disparate beings going and growing with one another. Their deep and abiding companionship keeps them close, yet they remain free to maintain all their relationships. Each protects the other in awkward situations, but they respect one another to allow the freedom to make individual choices. They confront humorous and dangerous situations with daring spirit learning a bit more of the other’s world with each confrontation. CHARLIE CAW is such a likeable story one can only believe it is true. It will find a niche in your memory for a long, long time.

Excerpt:
Charlie Partridge caught at his breath with the firing squad’s volley. His body tensed. He expected the bullets to tear through his clothes and into his flesh. He felt as if they already had.

It was the nightmare. Again.

The panorama of the cemetery flashed into his mind. There was the October mackerel sky and the flag-draped casket suspended over the blackness. Standing were dozens of people wearing mask-like faces. As he had never seen her, there was his mother sitting under the canopy: her face white and drawn, her eyes glowing briquettes, her lips held tight to a slash. There was the bass-drum monotone of the minister uttering profundities. There was the cadre of officers and the honor guard who had escorted the fallen decorated hero to this country gravesite with its majesty of flowers. There was the formal precision of the military funeral. These ceremonies were for his father, Lt. James Partridge, but he hoped they had made a mistake and it really was someone else.

More volleys followed.

Charlie wondered if such a barrage had also resounded before the hero had died. He wondered if he, too, had smelled the acrid smoke from burning gunpowder.

Charlie watched the haze settle softly among the blades of dew-damp grass. Then, closing his eyes, he saw himself start to fall as if into an abyss of reverie: it was dawn. His father whistled, as usual, as he slipped into his bedroom to wake him. As they had done so many times before, father, mother, and son grabbed a quick breakfast and the fishing gear, then the three of them were off. Shortly thereafter, he stood shivering in the gurgle and splash of the spring-fed brook where the bespeckled trout hid.

Charlie opened his eyes. A stern-faced officer bowed before Charlie’s mother. He offered her the triangularly-folded American flag. With yet another rush of tears, she took it and clutched it to her breast. Without straightening, the officer turned to Charlie seated beside her, and their eyes locked. As if taking part in a conspiracy, he signaled Charlie with a slight nod.

He watched the officer perform an agonizingly slow salute to his mother and to the flag. Charlie felt the wet at the small of his back turn cold. Then, the officer beckoned with his fingers and nodded, indicating Charlie was to follow him. Charlie stood. They walked to the far end of the headstone-studded field.

“We need to talk,” the officer said to Charlie.

Charlie stared at his medals, then at the man’s chest. “Your shirt is stained, sir,” Charlie said.

“I apologize if it troubles you,” he said pointing, “but this is a blood stain from the wound that earned me the Silver Star Medal and took my life. That’s what happened to your father,” the officer responded. “Only those who have been wounded in battle may have the honor of participating in the ceremonies for a fallen comrade. It is my privilege and honor to be here.” The officer turned toward the knot of people surrounding the open grave, then asked, “Were you and your dad close, Charlie?”

Charlie raised his eyebrows and looked up at the man, nodding his head for several seconds, then said, “Sir, I must go home. Now.”

“Sorry, son,” he said. “To leave this cemetery, you need to be brave; you need to be courageous and you need to be strong. You must allow yourself to cry. You must accept what has happened. This funeral will go on until you accept the fact that your dad is not coming back. When you acknowledge that, then this funeral will end.”

“Everything was so sudden,” Charlie said.

The officer put his hand on Charlie’s shoulder and said, “You can only deny this for so long.” The soldier’s face grew even more somber as he folded his arms and continued, “Time is another problem. When is your next birthday?”

“June sixteenth. I’ll be fourteen.”

“Fourteen! Is that so? You seem older. The fact is, your next birthday, that’s your deadline.”

“Deadline?” Charlie flexed his eyebrows. “Why a deadline?”

The officer shrugged. “Son, many brave men and women fall in battle. Each one deserves to be commemorated, such as we are doing now for your dad. But, we only have so much time for each funeral, or we’d fall way behind. We want to serve everyone their full measure of respect. Once you acknowledge that it is your father’s funeral, you will be through with the formalities, the grieving, and with us here at the cemetery. It will allow us to move on with our work, and you can get on with your life.”

“Thank you, Sir”, Charlie said. “All I know is that something important has changed in my life. It’s so confusing, and I don’t understand any of it.”

“I regret to say understanding will come with time. Meanwhile, it’s like getting measles, you just have to work through it,” the officer said. “The apparitions and demons must be worse.”

Charlie felt the muscles in his face tighten. “Yes, they’re just awful. They’re frightening.” He pulled his shoulders back and said, “Mother’s alone. I must go.” He turned and marched with the officer back to the ceremony.

The brittle, dredging notes of the bugler’s taps consumed the air as if to suffocate Charlie.

He found his arms tight around his mother with his face buried in the folded flag, her spasms pulsating through and shaking his body for an endless moment. Then, taking his mother’s lead, he tried to place the rose he found in his hand on the imposing coffin. He could not let go of the stem – it stuck to his fingers! Shake as hard as he could, the flower still clung to him, and he felt it draw him into the void beneath the casket.

Charlie Caw
Authored by Paul Argentini
List Price: $24.95
Hardcover: 154 pages
Publisher: Sunbury Press, Inc. (April 23, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620065851
ISBN-13: 978-1620065853
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
BISAC: Fiction / Young Adult / Relationships

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Charlie-Caw-978162006585…

Great Lakes: The Saga of the Inland Seas is a Michener-like multi-generational tale

DULUTH, Minn. — Sunbury Press has released “Great Lakes: The Saga of the Inland Seas” by Lilly Kirckof and Daniel Allen Butler.

About the Book:

CompassGreat Lakes, the novel is a tale as wide and deep as the lakes themselves; a rare combination of history, romance and, “what just might of have been,” rolled into a read so fascinating it is literally impossible to put down.

From the earliest days of the old “wind wagons” to the steel behemoths of today, Great Lakes, sails into the drama, mystery and outright treachery of the dark side of navigating the lakes. Screaming “nor’easter’s” and back-stabbing corporate boardrooms all form part of the novel’s captivating saga of the sweetwater seas.

As an historian reading “historical novels” has always been like scraping fingernails down chalkboards for me. The plot may have been believable but the scope of the times was so misunderstood and characters mere poorly constructed carboard cutouts, the book invariably collapsed of it’s own ponderous ineptness.

By contrast Great Lakes, is everything a historical novel should be; rich in history with an overarching story line balancing nicely between fact and fiction, believable characters, a narrative rarely told; all set against a backdrop that while we think we understand it, surprises keep emerging from the shadows.

Great Lakes, the novel is certain to become a classic for the Inland Seas.

… Fred Stonehouse

Great Lakes: The Saga of the Inland Seas

Authored by Lilly Kirckof, Authored by Daniel Allen Butler

List Price: $19.95
6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on White paper
476 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620064269
ISBN-10: 162006426X
BISAC: Fiction / Sea Stories

Also available on Kindle and Nook

For more information, please see:

http://www.sunburypressstore.com/Great-Lakes-978162006426…