I’ve been writing the hard stuff now since I was 14, and being a born again Christian doing it is something of a minority in the genre. Paul Melniczek on his facebook page is an admitted Christian and there are other publishers who are coming out of the woodwork being open about their faith in God. Grey Girl Beast on her LiveJournal states she hates Born Again Christians and Conservatives, I am her worst nightmare in this sense because I am writing horror darker than her. Same influences of Algernon Blackwood and H.P. Lovecraft, but someone who as open about their Conservative views as she is open about being a lesbian. I write with all the subject matter she hates — pro-life because I was a teen pregnancy. I am the bane of hatred in that circle but I am getting noticed because I published a short story by H.P. Lovecraft along side a story I wrote when I was 29 years old. His story was written when he was 29. They like to write with queer themes I write with Evangelical characters. I explore subject matter like dark takes on spiritual warfare, I did it with my urban fantasy story using angels. I am thinking of ideas to do another spiritual warfare story that is very dark and intense in nature. I owe the new approach to the writers on Coach’s Midnight Diner: Jesus Vs. Cthulhu Edition.
I’ve always been critical of the LGBT slant on horror, ever since I first started online in 1997 I was critical. I first came to Christ in 1994, and a friend from church told me about Frank E. Peretti, I read a sample of The Prophet and it was a solid read. I wish they didn’t censor out the language though. Coach’s Midnight Diner — one of the stories drops the f-bomb. I was shocked when I read this story because for a Christian to say “fucking”in a story is brave. I’ve been dropping the f-bomb for years. House of Spiders drops motherfucking and some of my work drops faggot. I was exploring Christian themes almost since the beginning of my career online — I used to have two sites, Writings From The Grave was the main site then one where I shared my faith in God. I was at odds with churches when they found out I am a writer because they would play tug-a-war with me to write for their bulletins. I told them I am an entertainer. I get a lot of flack writing graphic horror fiction as a Christian. I get the reaaction, “He’s a Christian but he writes like this?” They would have that reaction. In gothic chatrooms I went by the moniker of “GothicPreacher” because I was walking the line between the Gothic and my Christian faith. I am the comparative authors to Clive Barker and similar writers because of the intensely graphic violence of my work. It was because of my convictions I went at it with Poppy Z. Brite. She called me a shit writer in the recent years, I think because she can’t write without sexual content.
Writing graphic horror fiction is child’s play for me. I’ve been doing it since I was a kid. I am the youngest veteran author and was the youngest publisher in the business. I’ve been doing this for a good number of years now, and started to be taken a bit more seriously though I refuse to suck Predators & Editors off to be endorsed in the business. I am the author they want to draw and quarter because of my hardline views. I am the target of hatred in the community because I don’t back down. Being open about my faith made me a target with other writers who are more liberal. Being a born again Christian was an open secret in the industry with me, I played it down early on in the career because of being published with The House of Pain. The first time I attempted to share my faith in God in the business was on Kody Boye’s blog when he came out as gay. I did that because he called me a homophobe on a forum. I get a lot of flack because I refuse to add gay authors on facebook, I get called a raging homophobe because of it. I have gay horror writers wanting to draw and quarter me for publishing Dan Willow for his detailed escape from homosexuality. I always believed that homosexuality is morally wrong.
I am the Ted Nugent of horror fiction. The windy city madman who signed a book in blood and photographed it. I’ve done shocking things in retribution for my craft, and shut a few people up in the process. The gay community wants me dead for publishing Dan Willow, and because of reading Coach’s Midnight Diner I reaffirmed my faith in God, but I am still yet to find a home church. My inspirations for Damnation Observes came from a conversation I had with a former classmate named Tina East. The Christian Woman character in my nightmare entries are based on her. In my walk with God over the years I discovered the works of H.P. Lovecraft, and that was in college I was reading him. Around the same time I found a book written by my friend J.M. Barlog, Barlog is one of the most creative horror writers to emerge from the Chicago area — Barlog became one of my literary heroes over the years. I wanted to write that story akin to Windows to the Soul. I found his work when I was just starting Writings From The Grave, I started the site so I can showcase the dark and violent works I’ve written back then they were flash fiction but Wrong Side Of The Tracks was the first one over 2000 words. A Cemetery Dream was the first over 4000 words. I’ve been hitting this range often, and it is my magic number.
Around the time I was discovering H.P. Lovecraft I was introduced to C.S. Lewis’ The Screwwtape Letters. That novel was my first Christian read and inspired me some about wanting to write Gothic themes from a Christian angle. I didn’t discover Richard Matheson’s written works until after I became published when a writer on Tabloid Purposes mentioned him on his blog. A.G. introduced me to Nightmare At 20,000 Feet, and what drew me to this book is Stephen King wrote the introduction. I was reading Stephen King before I became born again, and still read his work — a friend from church noticed this and said I should read Peretti. I was introduced to a movie that was based on Peretti’s novel The Hangman’s Curse in 2004. Peretti has a taunt storytelling style. The illustrator of Ray Nelson’s story mentioned Peretti on a message board. I bought The Oath but never had a chance to read it.
I know a lot of gay horror writers would want to crucify me for speaking out against homosexuality. I believe man shall not lay with another man as they would a woman nor a woman shall lay with another woman as the would a man. I believed this for years and would say it in chat rooms when people ask me about my faith, when I introduced my first serious short story at an open mic in Elmhurst, Illinois, back in 1996. The magazine publisher pulled me aside asking me if I believe in God. My not allowing GLBT content in the anthologies stem from my faith in God, and I don’t want to compromise my beliefs to put an anthology together. If Andrew Wolter was to submit to an anthology I am editing I would have rejected it because of the abject homosexual content, he is as graphic as I am but I don’t write with same sex imagery. Because of my faith I explore other subject matter than sex to write about and exploring other controversial subjects in horror. I started to be more open about my faith when I started writing as Lloyd Phillip Campbell in my 6th Issue of the magazine. Back in 1997 I had tried to get a magazine together, but the technology wasn’t there.
What I write and publish isn’t exactly politically correct, that stemmed from what I learned fro ma sermon is politically correct is morally wrong. I always took an un-pc approach to horror, I will make jokes like someone has an anally inflicted death sentence and say that is what you get for having a penis up your ass. Publishers like K.H. Koehler and I were always at odds because of my strong Christian stances. I am critical of Christians who support gay writers because if they were devote they would be speaking out against it. I am known for speaking out against gay marriage and civil unions, it is because I believe in the biblical marriage being one man and one woman. I write with heterosexual characters exclusively. I got death threats from slash fan fiction writers for the first controversial story I’ve ever written and because of the magazine I came in touch with like minded horror writers. When I started writing as Lloyd Phillip Campbell I started speaking out against homosexuality in my horror fiction. The Dark Fiction Spotlight got pissed off when they read my early incarnation of An Author’s Blog and in an e-mail expressed their intense hatred of me. As a publisher God had blessed me with some highly talented writers in the small press, and blessed to have a gracious publisher in the small press take me under his wing as other writers were bragging about sales of short stories.
I wanted to do publishing the right way and protect the young contributors from the dirty politics. When I did Tabloid Purposes one contributor was playing the politics when her story was accepted – this bitch had the books pulled from lulu.com and caused me to have my storefront frozen for a week. I had writers who appeared previously in the pages of Weird Tales where I’ve been turned down from them twice over the years. The first professional market I submitted to is Dark Wisdom and was turned down. It wasn’t in God’s plan for me to be in those publications yet, that is when the doors opened for me to work behind the scenes as a publisher. I befriended April Derleth when she was a regular reader on Temple of Dagon, we spoke on the phone throughout the start of my publishing career. She gave me a book from Arkham House as a gift to wish me luck in the transition from writing horror exclusively to also writing science fiction.
When Poppy Z. Brite and I feuded she was retired from writing horror. I said in an e-mail, “ditch the graphic sex” and she doubted that I Was a writer to begin with. I proved I could be more visceral without writing sexually graphic content, early on I had sexual mutilation and cannibalism then serial killers. I played a little bit with the Cthulhu Mythos and I was well aware of writers like W.H. Pugmire and Rick R. Reed with his take on Dorian Gray. I just don’t consider that take on horror in my publications. I believe there is a market for it, I wasn’t one of those markets. As a historian I became well aware of queer horror, I had it shoved down my throat by Melany when we were still dating. In college I read The Hellbound Heart to get a feel for what the competition was writing. When I read that book I vowed to write the most graphic, the most extreme horror without writing sexual content. I made that vow when I was 20 years old. Back then someone asked me what I thought of Poppy Z. Brite. My reply, “Poppy, she sucks. I write better than her on a bad day.”
I understand what queer horror brought to the genre and the writers who gained a following or made a mint doing it. One of those writers was pioneer in the digital age as I was. I was a pioneer in web based horror fiction hosting it from my personal website. I find it hard to write Christian themes into hardcore horror without being preachy. That is the thing that is a challenge for me — the real challenge is to be scary without having preachy Christian characters. Making them real is the key thing I wanted to do. I get a lot of flack because I subscribe to Conservatism, I became open about my hardline Conservative views in 2002 when I was the maintainer of the Goth community after clashing with a she-male on AIM.