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Nerding Out with David Bernstein

In this edition of Nerding Out, I ask author David Bernstein the hard-hitting questions. Like who would win in a fight between two iconic horror characters played by actor Bill Moseley. Or committing to a firm choice in the theoretical scenario of forceable monsterhood. And, of course, the Zombie Apocalypse Team question.

We also discuss David’s work, past and present, including his brand new collection of short stories, A MIXED BAG OF BLOOD. Synopsis and purchase links follow the interview.

Duane: Great single-author short story collections are always a treat to read. Dialing it all the way back to Stephen King’s NIGHT SHIFT, I remember relishing every unique little peak into the twisted mind of King through his early short fiction. You have captured much of that magic with A MIXED BAG OF BLOOD. What inspired you to put together such a diverse collection of short stories?

David: I’ve always enjoyed writing a variety of horror/dark fiction. I began my writing career by penning short stories and had a number of them published over the years.  John Foley—the short fiction editor for Thunderstorm Books at the time—contacted me and asked if I had a novella or collection that I’d like to submit for possible publication with Thunderstorm.

Since I had a number of published shorts, I gathered up the ones I thought would appeal to a wide audience (and ones I really liked of course). I wanted a book that a reader, no matter what kind of horror fiction they enjoyed, would find something enjoyable in at least most of the stories if not all of them. (I know I enjoy reading collections that contain a wide variety of tales.) Thunderstorm accepted the book (I was thrilled of course) and that’s how it came to be. Now, it’s published in paperback form from Sinister Grin Press.

Duane: JACKPOT (by Adam Cesare, Kristopher Rufty, David Bernstein, Shane McKenzie) was a demented slice of gory, dark humor. Can you elaborate on the origins of this collaboration, and perhaps offer some insight into the sequel?

David: It’s interesting how things come to be. I was originally asked by Shane McKenzie (when he was a co-owner of Sinister Grin Press) if I wanted to write a short story that would be included in an anthology. A few weeks later, he wanted to do something more and had this crazy idea about a serial killer winning the lotto. He asked if I’d like to be a part of it and of course I said “HELL YEAH!”  He contacted Adam and Kristopher who also loved the idea and we all couldn’t wait to see where we could take it. No one had any say over what the other person did. If I wanted to kill someone off or do this or that, then so be it. See how crazy we could get. 

The sequel is top secret, but I can tell you things are going to get even crazier.

Duane: Horror Hypotheticals Presents: "Slasher Death Match" – Chop Top Sawyer vs. Otis Driftwood. One night only, in the Octagon (I’m not an MMA expert, but I assume all battles MUST be fought in the Octagon), no weapons; just bare hands and feet. Both of these sadistically insane characters were brought to life through a series of iconic performances by Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, House of 1000 Corpses, The Devil’s Rejects). The tale of the tape for this fight is literally identical. Who comes out alive in this bloody battle of scrappy psychopaths?

David: Otis Driftwood, though Sawyer is far more deranged. Anyone who eats their own scalp flesh is nuts! Otis seems far more physically stronger and uses guns. If it came to torture, I think Sawyer would win.

Duane: If you had to be a monster, while still generally adhering to the universally agreed upon mythos of said beast, what type of monster would you be?

David: A Twilight vampire so I could walk around in the sunlight. If not that, then a regular vampire. They’re strong, hard to kill, don’t get sick (for the most part) and live a long time. I’ve always liked the night so that wouldn’t be an issue.

Duane: A grand event is being thrown in your honor. It’s the party of the century. The band/artist of your choosing will play an entire concert at this gala affair. All expenses and logistical factors have been handled. Who do you pick to play, and what song do you have them dedicate to the person of your choosing?

David: Wow, what a difficult choice! There are so many: Anthrax, Tom Petty, Weezer, Van Halen, Slayer, Lady Gaga . . . yeah I have a diverse taste. But I’ll have to go with Everclear. Years ago I was in Baltimore hanging out with friends. We had no plans, just to go out and party (it was my birthday) and one of the bars we went to had Everclear. I was so surprised. It was just pure luck we walked in there. It was a small venue, open roof and the summer night was perfect. The band mingled with the crowd and it was awesome.

Duane: What would your dream film collaboration be between two different artists, be it director, actor, writer?  I’m talking about a teaming of talents from any era.  Envision, in an alternate-universe, Hitchcock directing Scarlett Johansson in a psychological thriller.

David: I’d love to see more of what Affleck does. I think he’s an exciting new talent when it comes to directing. I’d love to see what he could do with a Poe or King story. I would have loved to see Clint Eastwood play Roland and direct the movie. I would have loved to see Del Toro direct The Hobbit movies—especially seeing how shitty they turned out. Besides stuff like that I don’t really have a dream team, just directors I like. Richard Donner and John McTiernan are two of my favorites.

Duane: Zombie Apocalypse Team: You get to pick 3 fictional characters from ANY universe to be part of your zombie apocalypse team of survivors. The only stipulation is that they have to be human, without any supernatural powers or abilities in the paranormal, psychic, or magical arts. Who do you pick?

David: How could I not go with Rick, Daryl and Michonne? Rick takes no shit and is a great leader. Michonne is intelligent, calculating and keeps a cool head. Daryl will provide the ability to track people, animals and threats and set traps.


Follow along the tour with these hashtags: #AMixedBagofBlood  #SinisterGrinPress

A Mixed Bag of Blood synopsis

  • ·    Print Length: 86 pages
  • ·    Publisher: Sinister Grin Press
  • ·    Publication Date: March 1, 2016

From a man seeking vengeance for a dead loved one, to a monster lodged in a person’s nose, to starving vampires and samurai battling zombies, a bully meeting his gruesome demise, along with prostitutes being sacrificed, a boy who refuses to stop swearing, and the consequences of one man’s night of unprotected sex comes a dark and disturbing collection of sinister tales filled with dread, bloodshed, humor and the bizarre.

This is a Mixed Bag of Blood.

Biography of David Bernstein

David Bernstein is originally from a small town in Upstate New York called Salisbury Mills. He now resides in NYC and misses being surrounded by chainsaw-wielding maniacs and wild backwoods people that like to eat raw human flesh. He’s grown used to the city, though hiding bodies is much harder there. He is the author of Amongst the Dead, Damaged Souls, The Tree Man, Witch Island, Relic of Death, Apartment 7C and the forthcoming Episodes of Violence. David writes all kinds of horror, from hair-raising ghost stories to gore-filled slashers and apocalyptic tales of terror. He loves hearing from his readers. You can reach him on Facebook, at Visit him at his website: email, or on Twitter at @Bernsteinauthor.

Praise for A Mixed Bag of Blood

Dave Bernstein let his mind wander and his pen write where I know you'll want to read. With an introduction by Kristopher Rufty, this is a reason to stay at home and read on a pleasant Saturday afternoon like I did.” –Cat After Dark

Praise for David Bernstein

"David Bernstein delivers a fast-moving tale of desire and destruction that gives new meaning to the words, 'Be careful what you wish for.' Relic of Death twists reality and will leave you reflecting on your own personal Achilles heel long after you finished reading…" —Allan Leverone, author of Mr. Midnight

"A fascinating, unpredictable, ever-shifting tale of greed and desperation. Highly recommended!" —Jeff Strand, author of Pressure

“Fast-paced, cinematic, and excellent. Horror fans gather around, it’s time for another chilling tale from David Bernstein.”  —Keith Deininger, author of Within and Ghosts of Eden

"A harrowing, brutal thriller, Skinner is Bernstein at his best!" —Peter Giglio, author of Shadowshift

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