Shadow & Soul For Your Demonic Pleasures

My new book, Shadow & Soul is available to buy now on Amazon! 

But you may be asking yourself, why would I buy some stranger’s book about demons and other carnivalistic things? 

Well I’m glad you asked… 

A monster was born out of a family massacre in 1886. Flash forward to modern times, this monster has set its eyes on a teenage girl, but for a reason that remains to be seen. 

Do you like Insidious, The Conjuring, or Sinister? Wouldn’t you like to read a book that plays on the fear of your own imagination? It’s not what’s in the details, it’s what’s left to your mind’s wandering imagination. 

Yes it’s a sequel to Infernous, but you don’t need to read the first one to understand this one, although it might not be a bad idea to pick that up as well. 

Thanks for reading! 

Shadow & Soul Out Now! 

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2 Quick Rules To Writing Horror

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In my research for the Infernous Trilogy, I’ve found two consistent pieces of advice to write the most compelling horror.

  1. Think of a book or a movie that disturbed you the most. I’m not talking about cheap jump scares, but something that unsettled your gut. Maybe it’s just a single picture you found floating around online like the one above, a King novel, or a James Wan film. Either way, likely, it was a relatively vague monster/demon/creature/etc. Here is why over explaining your nemesis can actually be a bad thing.

Detail of the enemy can be your own enemy

All through your writing ventures and your schooling from the age of 6, you’re taught detail detail DETAIL. The more detail the better – so long as it keeps the story line moving. However, this rule has an end in horror writing. Everyone has something that they fear. Whether it’s a memory of their childhood house basement, a scene in a movie, or something that they simply made-up in their head. But – that isn’t someone else’s fear. It’s only yours.

You have a much better chance of scaring the hell out of your readers by painting a vague picture of what your enemy is, but not give away too many details. Maybe your character only sees a silhouette of the beast. Maybe they see it fully, but you just don’t explain it. Why do you do this? Because:

When details end, the reader’s imagination picks up and creates their own worst nightmare.

A side-note as well: When your enemy is unknown, it’s creepier as well. When the reader doesn’t know what the thing in the corner of the room is, it let’s their mind travel to its own darkest depths.

2. Long sentences.Short sentences have their place. But rarely in horror. It’s disjointed. It disrupts the flow. And detail matters. Except when it’s about the nemesis. See?

When you said the scene for each chapter, go crazy with details and long descriptive sentences. Set your rooms, buildings and scenery with such vividness, the reader will see it in their head. Long sentences can suck them into a story.

 

We need more horror writers out there! Comment your thoughts, questions, or details of your latest horror project!

The Revival Of Horror Movies & Why The Conjuring Is At The Forefront

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The industry of horror movies thrived in the 70’s and parts of the 80’s creating some of the greatest movies in the genre to date. The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, Rosemary’s Baby just pick any and run with it.

Then the 90’s happened. Slasher movies replaced authentic horror movies. Along with these bad movies that passed their way through theaters with as much blood as they could manage, so did jump scares. Jump scares have taken the place where real suspense used to be. Even now, jump scares are some of the only scares you will find in many horror movies. Let’s get this straight right now – jump scares aren’t horror. It’s cheap, and manufactured scares. If a movie can’t get the hair on your arms and neck raised without having something jump in front of you and some orchestra of violins or a mass of drums beating in the midst of silence, then the movie has failed at what it set out to do. The worst part about all of this is the fact that people have mistaken real horror movies for these cheap productions that are only made to make a quick profit.

When was the last time a horror movie was praised on a story and not how many times it made someone jump? Movies like The Apparition, Annabelle, The Unborn, Halloween II and so many others are just profit machines. When did you enjoy a horror movie for the story, the acting, and the genuine horror and suspense experience it gave you?

This is why horror is in need of revival, and James Wan is the reason why such a revival is occurring. In 2010, Insidious came and woke up the dying genre. Insidious featured a unique story that has never or rarely been seen before – at least to my knowledge. A boy falls asleep one night and just doesn’t wake up. There are so many reasons why this movie stands above.

  1. No exorcism: A climax of a horror movie featuring an exorcism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however it’s been overdone and executed in mediocre ways at best. It’s expected and doesn’t do too much for most movies.
  2. No troubling past ridden priest: The Exorcist is the only movie that should be able to use this theme. Everything after is just copying a great movie.
  3. Outstanding acting: Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne, and scream queen Lin Shaye played their parts flawlessly.
  4. James Wan: His direction is heavily influenced by classic horror. There’s no false scares, and limited jump scares.

Now while Insidious still had some jump scares, the movie doesn’t rely on them. No horror movie nowadays will be completely void of them. But the score of the movie accompanies it, it doesn’t run it. The sequels are also fantastic.

But let’s get on to the reason I decided to write about this…

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The Conjuring hit theaters in 2013 to set a new bar for horror movies to achieve. But why does The Conjuring shine above the rest, against other impressive movies such as Insidious, Sinister, Oculus and…..…oh…….. there aren’t any more well done horror movies recently. Still, the question remains: why is it better?

  1. Enthralling story: After beginning on a chilling note, the movie takes its time getting to the horror aspect. It reminds people that it is a movie just like any other and just because it’s horror, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about the characters. It gives the viewer ample time to know the characters, the family and sympathize with their story and situation. Let’s not ignore the fact that the movie had several children whom none of which were annoying or obnoxious. They were realistic, scared girls living in a haunted house.
  2. Twist on a common theme: Haunted house. It’s been done, it’s been murdered to death twice. However, The Conjuring puts a twist on the overdone “Somebody died here X amount of years ago and now they haunt these rooms.” A witch, pledging their soul to Satan and becoming a demon? Count me in.
  3. Realism: No matter what, horror movies will always be Hollywood versions of the real thing (if you believe in actual possessions and occurrences). But of all the horror movies out there now, The Conjuring’s evil and action scenes are believable – at least compared to others.
  4. REAL HORROR: This is quite possibly the most important reason why The Conjuring is the top in its genre. You know you have something special when you’re halfway through a horror movie and you haven’t seen any special effect/CGI garbage. It’s the fact that there are scenes that you see nothing; no demon, no monster, but you are shaking scared. It’s true suspense that’s not faked and manufactured by jump scares. A perfect example of this is when the one daughter looks underneath her bed…

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What’s your favorite horror movies? Do you agree with this article?

Drop your comments!

Demonic Possession Inside The Mind

Have you ever wondered what it’s like inside the mind of someone who is possessed by a demon from hell?

In my new book, Infernous – you find out just that. It’s a dark and twisted story as well as a quick read at 90 pages.

It’s on sale starting today!
Paperback
Kindle

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Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

Persistent Tapping

There’s this tapping sound from behind her closet door. For the first few hours, she doesn’t notice it because she’s asleep. If she were awake she would hear the hushed whispers from her closet door. The whispers are angry and growing angrier. The persistent tapping on the center of the door turn heavier. A low guttural grunt oozes from the cracks and seams of the door and travel across the floorboards through each room in the otherwise quiet home. There’s this tapping sound from behind her open closet door…

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

There’s A Man Standing In Your Closet

So I wanted to write a really creepy poem, here it is

There’s a man standing in your closet
He’s breathing deep
Whispering unknown words
His cheek twitches at his muscle’s spasm

There’s a woman standing behind your window
Her nails tap against the glass
Hoping to gain entry
Black drops from her eyelashes

There’s a child playing hide and seek
He’s lying underneath your bed
He’s not laughing with glee
He’s trembling from the searching beast

There’s a man standing in your closet
His grunt travels through the house
He sniffs at the air when your scent reaches past the door
He reaches for the door when he hears the floorboards press under your feet

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Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

Show & Tell

It’s show and tell time boys and girls!
What’s your favorite book and why?
Let us know in the comments why you love this one book more than the rest.

Mine is The Name of the Wind. I’m in love with this book because I don’t like fantasy books yet, this story captivates me each time I read it. Patrick Rothfuss is a master of words who weaves them together into something beautiful.

Now it’s your turn!

Thank you for reading
Zac Zinn

Thorns – A Horror Story

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Here is a piece I wrote…

Thorns
Chapter One: Wooden Walls
Opening his eyes, Remedy recognized nothing around him. When he fell asleep just minutes before, he fell asleep to a dark bedroom. The strong beam of moonlight hitting his window but dimming to all but a small trace of light passed the black blinds. However faint, the light cast enough brightness into the room so that a trained eye could see its surroundings. There were posters littering the walls of various rock bands. One poster features a sarcastic inspirational quote in mockery of the ones found in school classrooms.
In the corner furthest from the window was a television and video game cases scattered on the floor. Another corner of the room had a transparent plastic desk that held a laptop and stacks of paper. Some of the sheets were old homework assignments he had never finished; others were drawings Remedy worked on but never put into his portfolio.
A door creaked open in between the television and desk. The fake wood and rusty hinges of the closet door moaned quietly enough so not to wake him.
And in the weak, pale moonlight that barely lit the darkened room, a black shroud hovered out of the closet. It maintained no distinct shape as it made its way to Remedy. It was smoke but it couldn’t be smelled. It was black but it could be seen through. It was quiet but sinister in its intention. It was an external being, but it was Remedy.
Sifting and pushing itself under the lone sheet that covered Remedy’s tear stained face, the cloud compressed itself into a narrow tornado of blackness. Once it became slender, the shroud disappeared as it forced itself into Remedy’s mouth and down his throat.
Remedy immediately woke up tasting pure charcoal in his mouth. Licking his cracked lips, he tried to cause his glands to salivate and relieve him of the terrible taste. Nothing. His mouth remained as dry as sand under a desert sun. He opened his eyes and found nothing he recognized. He was no longer in his bedroom. If he weren’t so disoriented he would have noticed the deadening silence that rang off each surface. However there was no reality that hit Remedy that what he was seeing was real.
Remedy closed his eyes and let his eyes moisten so he could better see his surroundings. But when he opened them again, he found the same…room?
There were no visible windows. Each wall had large pieces of plywood nailed so that no actual wall was able to be seen.
As his senses returned to him, Remedy noticed more things. He was on the floor. There wasn’t a bed in the room; or anything for that matter. The air was thick and musty with a foul stench that he couldn’t quite place. Looking down at himself he suddenly fully awakened. He was naked down to skin and bones. He instinctively sat up and slid himself backwards until his back touched one of the wooden walls. Curling up and wrapping his arms around his bony legs, fifteen year old Remedy looked spastically around the room to find a way out. However when he looked around with frightened eyes, he found nothing. The room was completely enclosed with the plywood. It didn’t make sense how it should’ve been complete and utter darkness but somehow there was a dim light that shone.
The concrete floor beneath his bottom and feet grew warm at an alarming rate. It went from a cold to the touch temperature to an almost burning heat. Within five more seconds, the red hotness against his hindquarters was too much to bear.
Remedy jumped up hugged himself as he shook. He kept taking lifting each foot off the floor for a moment before switching trying to keep his skin from burning. Soon it became too much. Rapidly switching feet and taking steps in random directions, he started looking around again for something, anything. Nothing had changed though; the room had no exit. 
The skin on the bottom of his feet became so hot that they itched. He felt like he could rip the skin off his feet and the only emotion he’d feel would be relief. Remedy opened his mouth to yell in panic and tasted the charcoal on his tongue again.
Should I yell for help? He thought. Who would hear me? I’m nowhere.
Remedy started running all over the enclosed room hoping to find that when he returned to any certain wall that a door would be there. He ran in circles looking at the floor, the walls, and the ceiling; but nothing changed.
Remedy looked down at the floor as he kept running and saw bloody footprints on the concrete floor. All of the sudden, the room lit up, blinding Remedy. He closed his eyes as his eyelids began burning. The ends of his eye lashes lit up like the small cherry on a cigarette. They burned down until the skin where each strand used to grow from. When they burned completely off, his eyelids sizzled red and the first layer of skin began to burn off.
Hearing glass break, Remedy tried opening his eyes again, he saw broken glass scattered all over the floor. However he couldn’t stop running. Standing in one place wasn’t an option. His first step broke a piece as large as light bulb.
Remedy screamed until his vocal chords burned with the same intensity of the rest of his body. He saw the floor turning a bright red like a brand ready to sear into an animal.
The nerves on the bottoms of his feet were being destroyed and charred till they were gone. His blood on the floor began to bubble at boiling point.
Falling down, Remedy writhed and screamed flipping from his stomach to his back. Glass stuck to his melting skin and within seconds his entire body was covered with glass. Each thrash upon the floor the glass pushed further into his skin.
His eyelids had burned off. He knew his eyes were next. As he rolled again onto his back, Remedy saw the wooden walls set ablaze. The bright flames danced high against the ceiling.
Remedy had a thought. If I could survive until the walls burn themselves down, maybe there would be a way out.
However just as he finished the thought, the large section of wood closest to him fell from the wall and crashed down on top of him. The flames from the wood raved inside Remedy’s eye sockets. Black ash rested where his eyes used to be and Remedy stopped moving.
Suddenly, the wood on top of him disappeared and the fire stopped. The floor returned to a bearable temperature and the glass that wasn’t inside vanished as well. Remedy was left with a thread of life remaining. His skin was no more and all that was left was a blackened and charred surface.
Please die, please die, please die. Remedy’s mind was left crippled and all but dead. The only life remaining was the repeated last message, asking for an end to the pain. The humanity inside him, the strive to live, the desire of life were no longer alive.
He continued laying there on his back with no vision taking shallow breaths. The feeling of dust and ash reached the depths of his lungs when he inhaled.
“Remedy,” something spoke. The voice was more like a hiss rather than a solid sound.
Remedy didn’t make any reply for the simple reason that he was dead. His body was just hanging onto the last seconds of life.
“Stand up Remedy.”
Remedy began moving but not by his own power. He was a puppet and the voice was the puppeteer. His head lifted up and the black on the back of his neck cracked seeping with blood. In moments, he was standing, frozen in place.
“See Remedy.” Instantly, Remedy saw – his eyes returning to life. He would have been confused if his mind were alive. All around him was white. He was standing outside in a snowy forest. As the snow fell, the flakes melted before they hit Remedy. The heat from his body radiated around him and melted the flakes as well as the snow beneath him.
Ahead of him sat a statue that stared into his eyes. The stone statue stood at the same height as Remedy. It was a man’s body with legs that turned into branches running into the ground. Its head was that of a jackal. The narrow slender head looked menacingly at Remedy with black eyes. The eyes themselves looked alive somehow while the rest remained stone.
It spoke four words and the ground, it shook. Its solid stone jaw moved up and down finishing the words and then smiled.
“Unhallowed be thy name.”
As the ground shook, the branches from the statue’s legs extended further into the ground. Movement stirred underneath Remedy’s feet until the stone branches sprung free and latched onto his legs. From where they touched him around his ankles, his body turned to stone. As his black remains were replaced with gray rock, the branches pulled him into the ground.
Remedy’s right hand twitched with a sign of life. It opened up and rotated outwards in a gesture of “help” before turning to stone. His jaw became unhinged and hung open with ash falling towards the ground.
“Help,” he breathed.
The only part of Remedy’s body above the surface was his head. It stayed just inches above the ground for an extra second. The puppeteer that controlled him twisted and jolted his head backwards, snapping bones inside his neck. With his head turned backwards and sideways to face the statue, the jackal stood up. Stone grinding against stone, its smile was gone. It outstretched a hand that had a hole in the palm and opened its mouth again.
“Welcome Remedy. Welcome.”
Remedy’s head grayed out and disappeared under the ground. The soil was hot under the snow, but Remedy didn’t know. He was dead.
//
Shooting underneath his blanket, Remedy thrashed in his bed and screamed.
“No!! Get away!!”
He threw fists in every direction, hitting his headboard, bedframe, and bedside table. As he raged, the closet door across the room creaked close.

Chapter Two: The Absence of God is…
Thank you for reading…
Zac Zinn