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Author Interview: Halloween Games by D.C. McGannon

This is the thirteen (oooooo spooky and yet so fitting)  interview in my series of Author Interviews.

Pull up a chair, sit back and relax. Enjoy reading.

I am chatting with D. C McGannon again, this time about his book of scary tales, Halloween Games.

The wind is up, creeping into the gaps in my clothing and freezing me to the core. The hairs on the back of my neck rise and I’m not sure why. I whisper of a voice on the wind tickles my ears. Cripes, I’m scaring myself now…

Welcome D.C.

So terrific to speak with you again. Lets talk about Halloween Games.

What inspired you to write YA horror?

I guess I’ve always been a bit of a horror nut, so it naturally came out in much of my early writing. For years, I wrote a lot of poetry and thoughts about things that were bugging me and about difficult things we face in the world and in our lives. Horror gives a voice to a lot of that for many people and allows us to process things in safety, readers and writers alike. Horror is like a release valve sometimes, and in this world you need something to let the steam out every once in a while.

I agree, for me – it’s scifi and fantasy.

For the longest time, I never released much of my horror writing. There will be a lot more of it coming out between now and 2018, but when I started writing fiction full time I wanted to write something that would appeal to a broader audience, and specifically within young adult literature.

Later I began thinking that teens and young adults would enjoy horror just as much as adults. I know I did. So I decided to jump in and begin sharing some stories to that audience.

Yes, kids love scaring themselves silly. I think I starts when we see shadows of monsters in our bedrooms. Turn on the light and it’s nothing more than a pile of clothes! What gave you the idea to do it as three short stories?

Going to parties a lot as a teen, we used to play a lot of spooky games and try to freak ourselves out. When I decided to do this collection of stories I thought it would be cool to center the stories around the games we used to play. I didn’t want blood, guts, and gore for these stories, and so Halloween, parties, games … it just seemed like a great environment for some fun ghost stories.

Of course, there are many other games that aren’t in these stories, which of course means this collection isn’t finished. It’s just the beginning.

Ooooooh, terrific.

The stories are linked, Is there a wider reason?

Yes. Everything I’ve written—and most of that has been with my son and coauthor C. Michael McGannon—is connected. If you were to read all our works, young adult or otherwise, there is a connection in all of them. Some are smaller and some are much more obvious.

The stories in “Halloween Games” are closely linked to our “KAOS” series of dark fiction for adults. The town where these stories take place is actually within the world of “KAOS” and some of the elements and events you see take place in these stories are found in some of the “KAOS” stories.

Further, there is a character that is introduced in the last story of book 1 of the “KAOS” collection that appears in each story of “Halloween Games.” There will be much more of him in future collections and the expanded universe, so I attempted to gently introduce him here. I just hope it worked.

There is an old fashioned feel to the stories. Did you want them to convey a feeling of “old school” style horror?

Yes, very much. I enjoy a good ‘ol ghost story. You know, the kind you can tell around the campfire, or under dim lights in the living room after watching a scary movie.

Sometimes I think it’s good to raise the questions without always answering them. There are a lot of questions in these first three stories that will continue to be addressed in later stories. Plus, I believe at the heart of us all, we love down to earth stories, whether they are spooky, funny, romantic, or dramatic. There can certainly be a lot of excitement within a story, but at the end of it all, if it doesn’t come back home, and isn’t human, I think we as writers have missed the point.

A lot of “old school” storytelling focuses in on the relationships of the characters and the human element. Even the cover for this one has a small throwback to those old dime novels that had the cool banners across the top. Almost a comic book feel that they used to create with those. “Halloween Games” is a nod to a different time, and I think humanity is gravitating back to a time such as that in our entertainment: good old fashioned storytelling. It can be quite modern, and still capture that heart I think.

Yes! I totally agree. What’s coming in the future?

Sleep. Or at least I hope so. Hehe.

We are hard at work to complete our Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series, and a more serialized collection of works for adults in the horror genre, and I’ve got a couple of solo projects at different stages that I want to focus on in the next year. Of course, we’ll continue our “KAOS” universe with a new offering of stories soon in that world, and there will most likely be a “Halloween Games, part 2” for next Halloween. Like I said earlier, there are a lot more stories already at work for that series.

In addition, 2018 will be a big year for us as publishers. We have a very strategic focus at play for that part of what we do, and I am excited to finally be at a point in publishing that I believe we can make some significant strides. I do hope to have some specific news in that arena to announce very soon. *wink, wink*

YAY!!! Me too. *cough*

Little kids speaking with a voice of “deadness or predicting experience” in horror always gives me the creeps. What scares you DC?

Spiders. Evil little buggers. I mean, they are the reasons we believe in demons after all!

Hahahaha Oh D.C. I’m Australian! We are all about terrifying spiders. I feel your pain.

I once woke up to an enormous wolf spider in the wee hours of the morning, and I had left my lights on when I fell asleep. I woke up to the light reflecting off that spider’s eyes, and they shone red, and were pointed right at me.

Holy freakin’ hell….

I felt like the thing was cutting a hole deep in my soul and sucking out my life force. I began reciting ancient Latin verses of binding and casting out evil, and the thing didn’t budge. I knew right then and there that spiders were a level of demon beyond ancient recitations, and that those fu@%er$ would bring on the end of the world at some point.


Another time I had a mother wolf spider release her babies when I was right next to it. If you know about spiders having babies, they don’t just have one or two. They birth a small army, and they spread like an apocalyptic vision from the book of Revelation gone horribly wrong! To say the least I lost my cash and then some change in those two experiences. Also, if you have ever lived in Florida, you know we get Kaiju-sized spiders there, so it certainly didn’t help.

Remind me to tell you about Huntsmen, Red Backs, and White Tails.

Other than those, and sharks (I have come face-to-face with very large sharks on two separate occasions that changed me forever), I don’t really have much to worry about. I mean, stupidity scares the heck out of me, but I try to avoid that at all costs.

OMG… sharks too? Well if you ever visit Aus, watch out for the snakes…

Is there any other story that you really wanted to tell?

There is, and I may share it in the next year. It’s non-fiction wrapped up in poetry and fiction. It’s about abuse and recovery, a damaged soul who found freedom, a twisted world full of evil that didn’t win over love and grace and endurance when all seemed lost. It’s a story I have had difficult telling, but I think is important to give to the world as I know so many who need the healing it has to offer.

There are a few other stories that I am working on, like I said earlier, but I’m allowing them to simmer. I’m moving into a season as a creator where I’m really looking forward to the process much more than the result. I’ve always been that type of person in most things, and so I really want to let it flow in my writing more these days too.

I am dying to know which story was the real life story with you D.C.? I know you wont tell me, but can you give me a hint? Obviously you are alive, so there is a hint there… maybe? eek!

Haha! The only hint I think I can give without giving it away or spilling a secret I’m not sure I’m ready to yet is that my real life experience embedded in this collection is in the third story in the book, The House on Fireside Hill.

??? OMG, that was like the creepiest one!

Only two other people in my entire life know of that particular event. My wife is one of them, and when she read it the first time, she turned to me and said, “Are you sure? This seems awful close to home.” Of course she also knows a lot more of the details. I just shrugged my shoulders and grinned. What she doesn’t know is that there was a part of me way down deep that was scared to share it, and so I thought about taking it out. I left it in, because if I’m not willing to write at that level, I’m not really willing to connect with readers. I would rather make a connection.

I’m so glad you kept it in.

Sometimes as an author you have to risk a bit of yourself. I’ve risked a lot of my own heart in my writing in the past couple of years with personal experiences and loss and love and personal victories, so why not? I think the last couple of years have taught me that it’s okay to share some of those intimate, personal experiences even if they are wrapped up tightly in a story.

When I re-read some of those parts, I just smile knowing people are reading a piece of my soul out there. Some of it, somewhere, at some point in time, may actually connect with someone in their own lives. If it does, I pray it is healing, or freeing, or at the very least brings a bit of laughter to their own hearts.

Thank you so much for chatting with me today D.C.

Can’t wait to catch up again soon. (Very soon.)


That icy breeze is back. I tug my coat closer around my chest and duck my head into the wind. Time to go. In the distance their are two figures. One, a smaller body seems almost wraith-like. I immediately cross the road. Not tonight.

To read my review of Halloween Games click here.

You can purchase Halloween Games on Amazon at


About DC McGannon

D.C. McGannon pretends to be a ninja sometimes and two of his biggest fans, his sons Michael and Nathaniel, play along with him to make him feel better about it when he does. His other biggest fan (his wife, Holly) usually nods her head in restrained agreement, walks away, and hopes nobody gets hurt.

Mr. McGannon is the author of the Charlie Sullivan and the Monster Hunters series with his son, C. Michael McGannon. He is also at times a pirate, an alien, or simply the one who retrieves the Frisbee from the far side of the yard. D.C. lives with his family and their little Maltese dog somewhere in the Midwest. He is partial to coffee, video games, and coffee.

You can find more about D.C. McGannon at (YA Publisher) (Podcasts, stories, speaking)

Amazon Author Page:




Words have power (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook


I froze, my mouth dropping open as I stared up into the familiar branches. I knew this tree, I knew this house. My eyes drank in every shadow, every wood knot, every curl of bark.

My request still haunts me. The day I’d wished to be human.

I didn’t know it’d come true. It was a silly wish, spoken in haste and anger.

Those first days were a blur. I’d woken in a human hospital. Lost. Homeless. Friendless.

I crept up to press my hand against the wood. Only silence.


My decision still haunts me. I can’t ever go back.



This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

Word Count: 100


© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

Review: Circumstances of Childhood by John W. Howell

Circumstances of Childhood by John W. Howell

About the Book:

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.


My Thoughts:

By chapter two I was hooked.

John tells a fascinating legal tale with a twist that I found enthralling. I love a good legal drama and the author John W. Howell has certainly provided a detailed account with several unexpected twists. I also learnt a lot about football plays! An imaginative fictional memoir that follows Greg Petros through his football career, family tragedy and the collapse of his high profile company.

Poor Greg. I’ve not known a character to go through so much and still stay so positive.

The characters are well developed, their relationships are believable and genuine. This is a story of a friendship that will stand the test of time, and death won’t be the end of it.

Review: Halloween Games: Terrifying Tales of Young Adult Horror by D.C. McGannon

About the Book

“Halloween Games: Terrifying Tales of Young Adult Horror” is a new collection of short stories by best-selling author D.C. McGannon.

“Personally, I love a good, simple ghost story and that’s precisely what I’ve attempted to capture here.” -D.C. McGannon

“Into The Mirror,” “Halloween Games,” & “The House on Fireside Hill” are the three original, terrifying tales that comprise this collection.

“Into The Mirror”

Leighton has had enough of bad luck. She intends to make her own luck, and she plans on escaping small town life while she’s at it. However, she may have crossed the line and dabbled too much with the dark. She chases a local legend about a woman named Maria and her mirror, as her friends track Leighton down and try to stop her from completing an age-old ritual before it’s too late. Will they get to her before she makes the ultimate sacrifice?

“Halloween Games”

Halloween is a festive time of costumes, parties, and friends. At least that’s what it’s supposed to be. A group of friends discover that playing games with the dark can lead to sinister places with deadly consequences. A mysterious new student at school causes a stir when he invites this group of friends to his own Halloween party, where the stakes are high, and the results could be permanent. Or is it all just a game?

“The House on Fireside Hill”

A town with a tortured past. A house with a burning secret. A strange visitor selling tickets to his own haunted tour of the house on Fireside Hill. What could possibly go wrong? Seth and Cindy are the center of the strange visitor’s attention as he attempts to lure them into joining him for a private tour of the ominous house on Halloween night. What happens next reveals the truth about the town’s dark secrets and changes the lives of Seth and Cindy … forever.

However, these stories aren’t just for Halloween. They are for anytime you love a good ghost story. So, turn down the lights, light a candle, and curl up with a terrifying tale!


My thoughts


Okay, so I am not a HUGE horror fan, (depends on the circumstances) BUT… I really really enjoyed these tales.

Three short stories that are perfect for a train ride home or a bus trip to school camp, or if you have only limited time to read between feeding children or before the kiddies wake up. These YA tales are a great mix of scare, old fashioned creepy mystery and friendships to last a life time. All set in the same town and feature a familiar face through each.

But perhaps… don’t read before bedtime 🙂

Unless you want to?

I love a good old fashioned scary story, and these are the perfect tales for reading around a campfire, with a group of friends. Or on Halloween. YES it was released on Halloween!

I admit, the last tale was my favorite. It’s the spooky dead-eyed monotone whispering child that creeps me out every time! (Yes Dr Who I am looking at you!)

If you like a scare, or just want something to keep you entertained for a short while, grab these tales! And don’t look in the mirror.



Can’t run (Friday Fictioneers)

PHOTO POMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy


Oh yeah, finally I got you. Miserable little bugger. This thing had been driving me nuts for days, appearing at day break outside my window. Chirping chirping chirping over and over, every morning and—

What the hell?

What is that…

Is that a… a… camera?

Holding the critter tighter I examined the feathers. Huh? Plastic. It gave off no smell and had fallen quiet and immobile in my hand. A computer. A very advanced computer. What the hell. I stared into its eyes as a chill made its way down my spine.

Crap. They’d found me.

Time to go. Again.



This is a Friday Fictioneers Prompt

Word Count: 100


© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

The importance of reading

One of the things I like to do is wander through bookshops. It’s my favorite pastime not involving a TV or a couch chair and my TBR pile. (Which is currently mountain sized and growing daily.) I don’t always wander looking for something that will interest me, sometimes I go to check out the covers, or for the atmosphere, which is calming to me. Then, there are days I go to look for books that my nieces and nephews might read. I have many friends with children too. I look for books that are fun, colorful, diverse and memorable.

To the consternation of many of my friends I often buy these books for the children that I know as random gifts. I often hear “you don’t have to” and yes, that’s true. I don’t have to. I want to. I want to invite these children to enjoy the worlds of believe and make believe the way I did as a child. I remember reading books that transported me to different worlds and taught me things I couldn’t have learnt from my parents or friends or school. I learnt to get inside the head of someone else and feel what they felt and fear what they feared, and be strong and fight, and be a hero.

I don’t have to buy books or lend books to them. I want to.

For me, reading is soooo important. It teaches a wider vocabulary, it teaches empathy and understanding, it teaches new experiences.

I think it also brings people together.

Together through shared fandoms and through families. (My best memories are of visiting my grandparents as a child. Each chair had a pile of books next to it as high as my waist. Every night both would pull out a giant tome and read, and then I would pull out my book and read too. Every weekend I visited them they would take me to the local libraries. I say libraries, because they often drove me to several because they couldn’t find new reads at the closest one. I’ve been told that when I was very little and was finally over my fear of my Poppa – I must have been very very little – I sat on his knee as he read to me. And he would often change the ending to which I would respond in quite a huff that he was “reading it wrong!”

They still read in their 90s (though my nana now has bad eyes, so we sometimes find him reading aloud to her – I bought her a book on CD and she seems to enjoy that too. My Poppa has a bad heart now, and can’t read the action books he used to love, “heart can’t take the stress” so now he reads romances. This is the joy that reading brings. This shows how a reader can become so involved in the story that he physically responds to the action.

I know I do.

So I buy books for children.

And I tell everyone I meet, through work, or theatre or via friends to read to their kids. Not only does the reading give a child a wider vocabulary but just the sound of a loving voice helping them to sleep or sitting close, wrapped in their arms, having cuddle time with a book is magical I think.

Last year my niece, let’s call her Miss Nine said to me that reading was like “watching a movie inside my head” Oh, I nearly burst with pride.

My nephew, let’s call him Mister Five said to me that he didn’t like reading. *GASP* Well I thought that’s not going to happen on my watch, and went hunting. I found “The Bad Guys” series and bought him the first one. Turns out… my brother-in-law thought it was hilarious… and ended up reading it with Mister Five. Over and Over.

*cue uplifting music*

So I got him book two. They got him book three and four. I got him five and just last weekend got him six which was just released! Apparently as soon as he grabbed it he turned to the back, gasped and said “there’s going to be a book seven!”

*angel choir singing, fireworks exploding overhead*

Doesn’t like reading my butt!

A few weeks ago, my sister even told me that he had taken one to his friend’s house and read it to him (well he is still learning to read but told his friend the story via the pictures)

OMG… *tears*

My other niece, (Madam Nine), read me the whole Green Eggs and Ham story. (She, who once told me she couldn’t read and hated it.)

This… This makes me unbelievably happy.

My best friend’s little Madam Four helped me pick out a book for Master One. “I think he’ll like this one!” She also picked out her own book that I could “buy her for her birthday” and much to my friend’s embarrassment I bought it right then and there.

I’ve started buying books for charities now. I have so many books I donate them to libraries, and give them away to friends.

It horrifies me is to read in the news or see on the TV that some people don’t have ANY books in their homes. That they style their homes in such a way that they don’t want the clutter or appearance. That people don’t read anymore or haven’t picked up a book since leaving school. That people only read because they “have to” for work not because the “want to” for enjoyment. *Gasp*


I love TV, I love movies. I love theatre. I love the visual medium and the stories told in bright flashy colors or dark moody shadows. I love the fandoms and online content. It makes my heart sing. But reading… Reading is just so important.

These days, I have an electronic reader. (To be fair, it is way easier to carry 20 books on the train this way!) but I still wander bookshops and I still buy books. My house has bookshelves overflowing with physical copies. I still love the smell, and the touch, and the pretty pretty covers. If I can give kids even a little bit of this enjoyment then I am happy. Like watching a movie inside their head. So adults… adults out there who say they “don’t have time” to read.

Make the time.

And share this time with your kids.

Every one I know knows that I “love books.” I tell them over and over, I show it over and over, I prove it over and over. I write and am working at getting my books published. My drive is the above. A little joy and magic seems to be missing from the world at the moment. One book at a time, one child at a time I am hoping to bring a little of this magic back.

What drives you?


Life changing moment (Friday Fictioneers)



He told me a cruise would be romantic.

I think it’ll be THE moment. I’ve had hints. The locked drawer, the hushed phone calls. Disappearing at all hours and sneaking past me with shopping bags. I played along of course, not wanting to pre-empt him. I even spied candles below decks. He’s down there now cooking dinner.

I stared into the distance, and at the moon dancing on the water. How would he do it, one knee? Two? Would he hold my hand?

The first explosion drove me to my knees. The second sent me into the water.

Cooking what?



This is a Friday Fictioneers prompt


Word count: 100


© solothefirst. All Rights to the works and publications on this blog are owned and copyrighted by Solothefirst. The Owner of this site reserves all permissions for access and use of all documents on this site.

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