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An Interview with Michael Vance

Michael Vance Interview By Richard Vasseur

What attracts you to writing horror stories? “Initially, it was the fear of death that paradoxically terrified and fascinated me that led to my love of the horror genre.

“When I was very young, possibly seven or eight years old, my great grandmother died, and my parents took me to the open coffin funeral. Her lifeless body left me with a horror of death that only increased when I understood its inevitability. It was many, many years before I overcame my terror of mortality.

“It didn’t help that most people thought there was a good chance we’d all die in a nuclear holocost.

“At about the same time, I was allowed to watch the original King Kong movie on television, shown in Oklahoma in the ‘50s each Halloween, and several movies that influenced me to eventually write in the genre. The most powerful of these was Hitchcock’s “Psycho” which I saw during its original run in, I believe, 1960.

“A little later on, Ray Bradbury became a major influence on my work as well; he is a master of the short story. H. P. Lovecraft is a creative influence as well, although I only discovered his work later in life.”

Can you give us an idea of what we will find in the pages of "Weird Horror Tales - The Feasting"? “A reader will find a small town on the coast of Maine named Light’s End that hides filth, decadence, and madness behind its respectable white picket fences. These stories are told in the Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror genres, and span many years. The first two novels in the trilogy are braided; that means each chapter is also a stand-alone short story. The last novel of the trilogy will be a traditional novel.”

Why do people love a good horror story? “Through catharsis, horror fans escape the certain and very real horrors of mundane life without any real chance of injury or death to themselves.”

What scares you the most? “What terrifies me most is the misguided belief that the world is without rhyme or reason. This life philosophy is a self-fulfilling prophecy that only leads to chaos and arbitrariness that destroy reason and order.”

What is "Holiday Out" and who would enjoy it? “Holiday Out was a comic strip I wrote for five years that, for half its run, parodied the Fantasy, Sword and Sorcery, Horror, Detective, Western genres, and more. In its second two-and-a-half years, it became a “funny animal” strip still focused on parody and satire. Some of the artists who worked with me on Holiday Out were Duane Hanson, C. T. Smith, Richard “Grass” Green, and Wayne Truman.

During its time, it was syndicated by two small companies and ran in around forty newspapers, and many more fanzines. Some of it was also republished in four or five comic books, including a three-issue run by Renegade Press. The Complete Holiday Out is now being reprinted by Main Enterprises.”

You were first published at age eleven do you remember how that felt? “First publication was an emotional high unparalleled by almost anything else in my life.”

Why are you associated with the Tulsa Boys Home? “For fourteen years, I have been the Communications Director of Oklahoma’s largest residential treatment facility for troubled boys. That means I am their writer and graphic designer, in charge of all publicity including radio, television, and newspaper, the production of a quarterly newsletter and website, and the writing of all of their grant requests. I am very proud of the work done for troubled boys at Tulsa Boys’ Home, and am honored to play a small part in their mission.”

Why did you decide to write "Forbidden Adventure: The History of the American Comics Group"? “I wrote the book because of my love for comics and history. I chose the American Comics Group as my subject because I read them as a boy, and it had been overlooked by most everyone else who was writing comics history at the time.”

You have worked as an editor, writer and advertising manager for newspapers and newspaper magazines. How is that different than working on a comic book? “My first love is writing fiction; my nonfiction pays the bills.”

"Why do you want William Windom to do your audiotapes?" “Windom and I were doing a signing together. I had been looking for an actor to record my Light’s End stories for several years, and was a big fan of his work. I grew up on his television appearances and in movies like “To Kill a Mockingbird”. I think he is an amazing actor. I asked, and, lo and behold, he said yes.”

What comics besides your own would you recommend? “Some of my favorites remain Popeye by Segar, Pogo by Walt Kelly, Calvin and Hobbes, the EC horror and SF titles, Alan Moore’s and Neil Gaiman’s work, and more than can listed here. I must not leave out most anything by Will Eisner, and the early work of Harvey Kurtzman. I am ‘republishing’ more than 1,040 comics reviews I wrote over twenty years under the title of Suspended Animation on my Flickr site, adding one review a day. Just go to Flickr and type in Michael Vance. A more comprehensive answer can be found there.”

Any words for the fans of your work? “I have finished writing the third book of the Weird Horror Tales trilogy, to be called Weird Horror Tales: Light’s End. I ask fans to anticipate its publication probably around September of 2011. I would also ask them to spread the word among their friends and acquaintances about the trilogy if they enjoy it. My publisher is a small, niche company, and the success of the series really lies in word-of-mouth recommendation.”

Michael Vance returns with fifteen gripping, horrific and deeply moving stories of people caught in unimaginable horror in the tradition of Ray Bradbury, H. P. Lovecraft and William Faulkner. These tales center around the eldritch town of Light ’s End, Maine , a remote and isolated little corner of New England where dark secrets haunt the streets and homes of this quaint, supposedly innocent setting. Douse the lights, bolt the doors and get ready to be frightened by a true master of the genre.

The book’s haunting illustrations are by fantasy artist Earl Geier, features a macabre cover by Christophe Dessaigne, is edited by Ron Fortier, and designed by Rob Davis.

Vance is the author of three books, hundreds of articles and interviews, several comic book titles, and two comic strips. He founded the Oklahoma Comics Collection in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma , and helped create the “Okie Cartoonists” Exhibit at the Oklahoma Museum of History in Oklahoma City .

Weird Horror Tales – The Feasting is pulp horror at its finest. The first novel in the trilogy, Weird Horror Tales, is still available as well.

ISBN: 1-934935-80-8

ISBN 13: 978-1-934935-80-4

Produced by Airship 27

Published by Cornerstone Book Publishers


Oklahoma Runestone Featured in Vampire Tales

The Legend of Michelle Sands, 1958 -- Michelle loves Indian Rock because she, and her Grandmother sense a powerful feeling from this place. There is a price for these feelings because they have disturbing, reoccurring dreams about ancient ceremonies performed there in the past.

When Michelle and the friends go to the well known Indian Rock, emotions of lust and jealous erupts. A figh ensues but the fear, anger and lust between the three teenagers awakens the power of the ancient Vampire Glome who was banished to Indian Rock centuries earlier.

Michelle inherits this power and uses it to save herself.

After the incident at Indian Rock she uses Glome's power to change the lives of the people around her, as well as the power structure of Leflore county.
Author Joe Harwell has created a storyline of exciting possibilities. The main theme of this very different twist on the classic Vampire story is power, and how it's used in every level of society. It's also about sports, law enforcement, religion, politics, business, revenge, greed, fast cars, and The Little Dixie Mafia.

The Legend of Michelle Sands is set in the southeastern Oklahoma town of Howe in 1958. We meet the pretty teenager who inherits the power of an ancient Vampire and uses it to change the lives of the people around her and the power structure of Leflore county Oklahoma.

Upside Down Heart moves the story forward through the 1960's. The 1961 Howe tornado and a Presidential visit to the area the same year both play into this story. Michelle and her growing group expand from Howe around the world. They have great financial success, learn some heart breaking lessons, and encounter new enemies who want to take away their power.

Millennium brings Michelle and her followers into an all out battle with their enemies. The world wide fear about the transition to the year 2000 is at the center of this challenge to their success and survival.

Return to Indian Rock brings Michelle and her group of immortals back to Howe, OK after more than 100 years.

For more information and to order the books visit



Oklahoma Hiking Trails by Oklahoma City residents Kent F. Frates and Larry Floyd is the first comprehensive guidebook for the state.
Kent Frates and Larry Floyd will sign copies of Oklahoma Hiking Trails Saturday, December 4, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at Best of Books, 1313 E Danforth Rd., Edmond, Oklahoma 73034 (405) 340-9202


University of Oklahoma Press has published several new books with local interest and by Oklahoma authors.

Arena Legacy: the Heritage of American Rodeo by Richard C. Rattenbury is a lavishly illustrated volume showcasing the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum ’s unrivaled collections.

Oklahoma Hiking Trails by Oklahoma City residents Kent F. Frates and Larry Floyd is the first comprehensive guidebook for the state. Kent Frates and Larry Floyd will sign copies of Oklahoma Hiking Trails Saturday, December 4, 1:00 pm to 2:30 pm at Best of Books, 1313 E Danforth Rd., Edmond, Oklahoma 73034 (405) 340-9202

The Green Corn Rebellion a novel by William Cunningham was first published in 1935 and was based on historical events that took place in Oklahoma in 1917. It has been released as an original paperback and includes a new introduction by Nigel Anthony Sellars.

Race and the University is Dr. George Henderson’s memoir of his formative years at the University of Oklahoma and details the obstacles that he and other African Americans faced within the university community.

America’s Folklorist: B.A. Botkin and American Culture is edited by Lawrence Rodgers and Jerrod Hirsch. Botkin, a folklorist, writer, editor, regionalist, and cultural activist, taught English at the University of Oklahoma in the early 1920s.

Life at the Kiowa, Comanche, and Wichita Agency: The Photographs of Annette Ross Hume by Kristina Southwell and John R. Lovett features the photos Hume took in Anadarko, Oklahoma in the late 1890s and are from the Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma Libraries.

Wives and Husbands: Gender and Age in Southern Arapaho History, a study of the Oklahoma tribe from 1805 to 1936, is by Loretta Fowler, Professor Emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma .

Building One Fire: Art and World View in Cherokee Life by Chadwick Corntassel Smith and Rennard Strickland with Benny Smith is a unique look at Cherokee art through the lens of Cherokee philosophy. OU Press is the distributor for this beautifully illustrated volume published by The Cherokee Nation.

More information about these and other titles can be found on our new website where you can also visit our new blog:

Books make great gifts—check our website for our holiday sale coming soon!

University of Oklahoma Press

2800 Venture Drive
Norman OK 73069

(405) 325-3200



The Garfield County Public Library, Enid, Oklahoma hosted authors Tammy Wilson, Tonya Hacker, and Cullan Hudson recently for a program and book signing event. Wilson and Hacker are co-authors of Ghostlahoma and Hudson is author of Strange State. The authors shared the motivations, processes, discoveries, and methods of investigating historic tales and paranormal legends.
Wilson and Hacker are working on volume two of their collection of true Oklahoma ghost stories and expect it to be available in 2011. Hudson is finishing up his sequel to the popular Strange State for release early in 2011 also.


For Immediate Release
Contact: Connie Armstrong
Executive Director
(405) 522-3383

Twenty-second Annual Oklahoma Book Award Competition Begins

Rilla Askew is Lifetime Achievement Award Winner

Entries are now being accepted for the twenty-second annual Oklahoma Book Award competition. The deadline for entering is January 7, 2011, according to the Oklahoma Center for the Book in the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.

The Oklahoma Book Award program is designed to recognize and promote Oklahoma's working writers as well as outstanding books about the state. Entries are being sought in five categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children/young adult, and design/illustration.

To qualify, books must have been published between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2010. In addition, the author must reside or have resided in Oklahoma, or the book must have an Oklahoma theme. Finalists in each category will be selected and announced in early March; winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on April 9, 2011, at the Oklahoma Sports Hall of Fame and Jim Thorpe Museum in Oklahoma City.

In addition to the five categories listed, the board of directors of the Oklahoma Center for the Book presents the Arrell Gibson Lifetime Achievement Award for a body of work contributing to Oklahoma’s literary heritage. The award was named for Norman, Oklahoma, historian Arrell Gibson, who served as the first president of the Oklahoma Center for the Book. The 2011 recipient is Rilla Askew

Born in Oklahoma’s San Bois Mountains, Askew grew up in Bartlesville and spent her early adulthood in Tahlequah. She moved to New York City to pursue an acting career, but soon turned her efforts to writing. She is the author of several books including The Mercy Seat, nominated for the PEN/Faulkner Award, the Dublin IMPAC Prize, and recipient of both the Oklahoma Book Award and the Western Heritage Award in 1998; Fire in Beulah, winner of the American Book Award and the Myers Book Award; and Harpsong, recipient of the Oklahoma book Award and the Western Heritage Award, the WILLA Award from Women Writing the West, and the Violet Crown Award from the Writers League of Texas.

Previous Gibson Book Award winners include mystery novelist Tony Hillerman; Librarian of Congress Emeritus Daniel Boorstin; Newbery Award winner Harold Keith; Savoie Lottinville, who served as director of the University of Oklahoma Press for thirty years; Hugo Award winning science fiction writer R.A. Lafferty; Kiowa poet and Pulitzer Prize winning novelist N. Scott Momaday; historian John Hope Franklin; Tulsa children/young adult author S. E. Hinton; Norman novelist Jack Bickham; Tulsa author and award winning reporter Michael Wallis; children’s author Bill Wallace; Joyce Carol Thomas who writes adult and children’s fiction, non-fiction, and poetry; the University of Oklahoma’s renowned literary journal World Literature Today and its programs; Native American poet Joy Harjo; mystery writer Carolyn Hart; science fiction and fantasy master C.J. Cherryh; noted historian Bob Burke; internationally known Tulsa author and lecturer Clifton Taulbert; and author and emeritus professor of journalism at the University of Oklahoma David Dary. Last year’s recipient was photographer David Fitzgerald.

For more information on the book awards, including submitting entries, visit the website at, or contact Connie Armstrong, Executive Director, Oklahoma Center for the Book, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, 200 NE 18th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73105, or call 800/522-8116 toll free statewide. In the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, call 405/522-3383.



Writers may have dealt with Donita Lawrence when she had a book store called Bell, Book and Candle in Oklahoma City. She hosted many writers at this popular book store. She passed away last Tuesday in Blackwell. She lived in Oklahoma City and Ponca City. Her services were Friday.

Read her obituary.


Meet Chuck Miller and the Black Centipede

Chuck Miller lives in Norman Oklahoma. "For the past year or so, I have been doing a series of novels and short stories using my own original characters and concepts. I have put together a blog, and have been making everything available for free online. My work can be described as a pulp-magazine-inspired mix of horror, science fiction, superheroes, detective and horror fiction.

I have five distinct, ongoing series, though all of my characters are connected in one way or another. These are:

"Tales of the Black Centipede" - The strange adventures of an oddball pulp hero.

"Vionna Valis and the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee" - Detective stories with a paranormal twist. The WVC is a "psychic detective agency," staffed by a mysterious young woman named Vionna Valis, and the five original 1888 victims of Jack the Ripper, who have been bodily resurrected in the 21st century. It's a long story, which is told in my novel,
"The Optimist Book One: You Don't Know Jack" - "The Optimist" chronicles the adventures of Jack Christian, grown-up former kid sidekick of deceased superhero Captain Mercury. After 12 years away from his home city of Zenith, Jack is lured back by the promise of a substantial trust fund. When he gets there, he meets one oddball after another, starting with Vionna Valis, a strange young woman with a startling secret that nobody-- herself included-- knows. An encounter with what purports to be the ghost of Captain Mercury puts Jack and Vionna on the trail of the Black Centipede, one of the old-school superheroes. Captain Mercury tells Jack that the Centipede was the one who actually orchestrated his, Mercury's, death. Many strange circumstances and inexplicable incidents dog our heroes, leading them to question everything they thought they knew about themselves and their lives.

"Doctor Unknown Junior" (forthcoming)

"The Journal of Bloody Mary Jane" - BLOODY MARY JANE is the mysterious arch-enemy of the equally mysterious BLACK CENTIPEDE. Some of the mystery has been cleared up with the recent publication of "Forty
Whacks: The Secret Origin of the Black Centipede." This memoir revealed hitherto unknown details about the origin of the Centipede and the birth of his greatest foe, and their mutual connection to the unfortunate Lizzie Borden.

All of these may be seen at my blog, a link to which I will include below. I hope you find this of interest. I am not currently shopping for a publishing deal, but I am eager to get my work out into the world and generate some interest.