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- Mikhail Bulgakov

Hi, I'm horror and science fiction author Steve Kozeniewski (pronounced: "causin' ooze key.") Welcome to my blog! You can also find me on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Amazon. You can e-mail me here, join my mailing list here, or request an e-autograph here. Free on this site you can listen to me recite one of my own short works, "The Thing Under the Bed."

Monday, February 5, 2018

Women in Horror Month #2: Veronica Smith, The Mistress of Horror

Hey, everybody, thanks for stopping by!  For the entire month of February, aka Women in Horror Month, I'll be interviewing some of the biggest, scariest established names and up-and-comers in the genre.  Today I'm pleased to introduce author Veronica Smith.  Let's meet her briefly and then jump right into the interview.

About Veronica Smith:

Veronica Smith once fancied herself the next Carolyn Keene when she was but a pre-teen. When she reached adulthood, she wanted to be the next Stephen King or Anne Rice. Now that she's older and wiser, she realizes it's better to want to be herself and morphed into The Mistress of Horror. Besides writing, she developed an obsession for all things horror, and even started many petitions to make Halloween a year-long holiday. Despite the support of several Senators and a retired US President, the bill was vetoed in the House. To her chagrin, Halloween still remains a one-day holiday only. But she decided to improvise, putting out her Halloween decorations in the yard at Christmastime as well. So far no one has had her arrested for it. She and her husband live in Katy, Texas with their son and several pets, including a small horse-sized mastiff.

You can find her on AmazonAmazon UKFacebookTwitterLinkedInBookBub, and her blog.


SK: How are you involved in the world of horror?

VS:  I love horror! I read it, I watch it, I write it. Obviously my favorite holiday is Halloween. I have assorted dark trinkets (skelly hand, skeletons, skull goblet) along the top wall of my cubicle at work and I keep getting asked if I know Halloween is over yet. I keep telling them it’s a state of mind and it’s nonstop. Haha.

I’ve been reading horror since I was young. I started with Stephen King and branched out several years later. I discovered Richard Laymon and almost fainted when I realized I’d been missing out on his books for years. I spent a year buying and reading almost all his books. I read almost exclusively indie now. I’ve found that indie authors have so much to offer the world and have the most unique ideas. I love all types of horror: zombie, psychological, thriller, but my favorite is post apocalyptic. I know that genre is sometimes thrown in the SciFi mix but since SciFi and horror make wonder combinations, I think of it as horror.

My husband and I like to binge watch the cop shows ("Criminal Minds," "CSI" -  still a horror element to all those as well) but when it comes to movies I’ve got to have a horror movie. I love Netflix and have discovered a lot of little known gems. Good thing my husband loves horror movies just as much or we might have a fight over the remote. The only time I can’t watch horror with him is if it’s subtitled. He’s not crazy about foreign films but I love them. I still find time to watch them on my own.

I’ve always loved to write and naturally with my love of horror, I prefer to write horror. I don’t write one particular type either. I write about zombies (my first novel, SALVATION, is a zombie post apoc based on a collectible card game called "Survive") and I’ve also had some short stories published in several zombie anthologies. I do love my psychological horror as well. And I have written several stories about real horror (car jacking, home invasion, etc). The realistic horror can be the scariest because you know those things can really happen. I’ve even begun some dark humor lately, something I’d never tried before but I loved it. I still write my monster, blood, and gore too. But if you don’t want anything quite that harsh I have a crime thriller with a hint of supernatural that I published a couple years ago; a novella titled "Chalk Outline."

I love writing and find that I can put anything down to paper if I feel like it. I just have to keep remembering to clean my browser history on my laptop once in a while.  Haha.

SK: Who or what terrifies you?

VS:  I’m terrified by large bodies of water. I won’t go into the ocean past my knees; if I can’t see my feet I freak out. Lakes – same thing. But I can go into a river or a pool, weird I know. I have a deep fear of drowning but I have a larger fear of what’s in the water that I can’t see. I wrote a story called "Beneath the Floodwaters" once and I tried to put all my fears into it. In fact that story is based on a park in Houston that I drive by to and from work. It floods very easily (giving me the idea to write it) and had been closed for months from Hurricane Harvey flooding this past fall. I still get the creeps driving by even though it’s now cleaned up and reopened.

People sometimes scare me. Their disregard for another life; I just can’t see that sometimes; especially when I see what some people do to children. I was held up at gun point when I was 15 and I can never forget that. But the unknown (yes, especially under the water) is still so much more scary.

SK: Are there unique challenges to being a woman in horror or do you feel like gender is irrelevant?

VS:  A good writer is a good writer, no matter the sex. When I want to read some extreme horror I open up some Wrath James White or Billie Sue Mossiman. She is one of my favorite female horror writers. Her books and stories are amazing; I think I own every one of her books. One of my favorite gifts to get is Amazon cards and I usually use it up it as soon as I get it with books from all my favorite authors and new ones. I discover so many new authors and their books nowadays; I love it. One of my favorite things is when I discover some new book I’d never heard of; I read it and love it. Then find out it’s the first of a series and I have a dozen more to buy and binge read. Just thinking about that makes me wish for the weekend already. I used to go through so many books but since I have less time to read now I have a huge To Be Read folder on my Kindle. I will eventually get to all of them.

SK: Who are your favorite female horror icons?

VS:  Jamie Lee Curtis is my top favorite. I loved her in Halloween. I know she’s done a lot of other thing besides that but when I think of a scream queen, she’s always the first one I think of. I actually got to meet her at a book signing she was doing for her childrens' book series. She was a wonderfully sweet woman with a great sense of humor.

Naomi Grossman is another of my favorites. She plays Pepper in "American Horror Story." Again, I’ve met her as well and she was so funny. In real life she loves to scare people and she does things I wish I dared do. I watched her do a video last Halloween of putting on a mask and scaring people in a Halloween store. She got in trouble but I was laughing my ass off. It was so funny.

SK: What are you working on/promoting currently? Why should folks check it out?

VS:  Since I’ve been writing short stories for several years I finally decided to put them all together into their own book. I’m going to publish my own collection. I still haven’t figured out a title for it yet, but hopefully I will have by the time this interview is published. The stories in this book will be ghost stories, slasher, psychological, monsters, thrillers, and yes, my dark humor will make its grand entrance (PEOPLE OF WAL-MART AND WHY WE'LL SURVIVE THE APOCALYPSE – catchy title huh?) There will be all elements in horror in this book. I even have a story unlike anything I’d ever done before. Wait for it … Clown Space Apocalypse. Yeah, I know, very unlike me. But I tried it and really got into it. In fact I think it’s one of my better stories. When you buy the book you’ll see it in there: "Rescue Mission of the Krikos." I’m mixing some of my old flash fiction in between each story. Mini bites of horror. I have four stories left to edit then I go over the whole thing one final time. Three times minimum for everything I write always. Hopefully it will be done, edited, and formatted within the next couple of months.

I’m still a relatively new author. I only had my first story accepted into an anthology in 2014. But I’ve learned so much since I first started writing and expanded my ideas and the way I write. My short story, "Last One in the Chamber," I’m told, is a most unique story, a very Texan story. Haha. The idea for it literally came to me while I was shampooing my hair. This one will be in my collection as well. When I get a weird idea I just have to get it down. Sometimes I come up with ideas on my commute home from work; had to buy a small audio recorder for that. Nightmares also make great stories and I sleep with a pen and notepad next to my gun. haha

So if you’re into horror of all kinds, you should check out the collection when it comes out. Please follow my Amazon and Facebook author pages as I’ll be keeping them updated.



18 years after the “Blistering Flu” decimated humanity and gave rise to the world of fear and sorrow that is now owned by the dead, the remnants of humanity continue to fight for their right to live.

Regrettably, nothing has changed in the mentality of man. Very quickly people had separated into factions that declared war on each other. These petty wars did us no good. They detached us from what was rising in the wastelands...

Will humanity be able to survive what is coming or will we continue to be assistants to our own destruction?

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