Sick Cruising – Meet the Writers Part 1

R.C. Mulhare

I’m a writer who grew up surrounded by stories, whether my mum read them to me, or my Irish storyteller dad told them to us, or I read them myself. I had troubles with handwriting as a kid, but I started scribbling down stories starting when I was eleven and I’ve been writing ever since, telling stories where the ordinary takes a turn toward the extraordinary and shining a flashlight into the dark corners of the world and the world beyond.

What is Sick Cruising about?

– Sick Cruising doesn’t just retell “Masque of the Red Death” in a modern setting, it expands on it, introducing us to the guests at this wild, non-stop party on the edge of disaster.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?

– I cut my teeth in fan fiction, so writing characters invented by someone else and keeping true to how they live and breathe comes as second nature for me. It also gave me a sense of connection, of adding a piece to a fascinating narrative in sections, like an episode in a TV series or a podcast.

Why should the reader pick up this book?

– It’s a crazy time and the world is going mad. But going by “Uncle” Stephen King’s rule that horror fiction helps us rehearse for real-world horrors, these stories will give you an inoculation against the madness of real life.

R.C. Mulhare’s on FB – R.C author page on the ‘Zon


Marcus Cook

My name is Marcus Cook and I am a writer out of Cleveland Ohio. The last two years I have had 22 short stories published or about to be published by the end of the year.
My favorite authors are Elmore Leonard, Dean Kootz and Gregory Mcdonald. You can follow me on facebook under Read marcuscook or email me at readmarcuscook@gmail.com

What is Sick Cruising about?

Is about what happens when the Wealthy rich think they can escape anything because they are rich. It is also about the not so rich believing the same. A story about tragedy and more tragedy with the possibility of hope. (Or not)

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?

I enjoyed writing a story with a group of people. I have been apart of many anthologies where it was twenty different stories in twenty different places. This one is all set in one place and characters pop up here and there or one story introduces a Hurricane and others then have to continue with a hurricane.

Why should the reader pick up this book?

It is a fun and scary tale. You get to know characters and cheer them on or hope they die. It will


S.E. Howard:

I grew up in the heart of the Bluegrass, and have worked as a newspaper reporter, travel writer, and magazine editor. I’ve written about some of Kentucky’s most infamous haunts, including Liberty Hall, Bobby Mackie’s Music World, and Waverly Hills Sanitorium. Currently a registered nurse, I’m also a Certified Specialist in Poison Information.

What is Sick Cruising about?

Sick Cruising is a modern parable, a collection of cautionary tales exploring what can happen when you try to cheat death. Or, in this case, Red Lungs. It’s a viral infection decimating the entire world, and unfortunately, as the cast in the anthology quickly discovers, neither money, privilege, power, nor prestige can guarantee an escape from it.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?

I enjoyed coming up with the background for my character, Djana Louette. She’s a nurse aboard the All-Powerful, and she’s running away from her past. She’s pretty much on her own when the story begins. Her beloved sister has only recently died from Red Lungs, and in the aftermath of this loss, Djana has given up her job, home, car — her entire life — to go and work for Mitch Winters. In the back of her mind, she knows they can’t really escape the horrors of Red Lungs, but she wants to believe in Winters’s crazy scheme. Like everyone else on board, she wants to break free from the horrific reality of the pandemic and find something new, something better for herself. And when she befriends fellow crew member Michael O’Rourke (who is kind of handsome, she has to admit), she realizes maybe she has.

Why should the reader pick up this book?

Each story builds off the next, with the fear factor mounting every turn of the page. Even though the stories are fictional, and Red Lungs is just imaginary, it’s all-too-easy to see a scenario like this occurring in real life, especially in light of the year we’ve just had. The uber-wealthy ignoring the plight of those less-privileged and wanting to party away the end of the world in luxury and decadence isn’t just something reminiscent of Poe’s classic The Masque of the Red Death. We see it happening in real-time when we turn on the news or open social media. Sick Cruising may be a “worst-case scenario,” but that doesn’t make it any less relevant — or any less gratifying when those who made a deal with the devil finally get their comeuppance.


Richard Hercher

I’m a full-time nerd, dad, and audiobook narrator. I’ve had the privilege of narrating several books for Notch’s House Publishing. Every piece has been a joy to read! This is my first published writing piece and a labor of love. Of course, like almost everyone else in the world, I’ve got a podcast; you can find mine at gravitywelltheater.com, iTunes, Google, you name it, just search for “Gravity Well Theater” where I narrate classic and original science fiction. And if you follow me @GravityWellTh8r I occasionally give away free copies of my audiobooks.

What is Sick Cruising about?

Sick Cruising is a brilliant commentary on the state of the world. It’s a fun house mirror brought to life by so many creative and talented writers. It’s The Poseidon Adventure meets Contagion, with some societal overtones of The Walking Dead, and I got to sprinkle in a few notes from the movie Sideways.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?

When the editor approached me to narrate on this newest anthology, I was pouring a glass from my favorite local winery. It took me just a few moments of staring at my glass, and I was asking if I could submit a short story in addition to my narration duties. Thus was “The Vintner” born.

Why should the reader pick up this book?

Sometimes you read a book to escape, sometimes you read to put life in sharper relief. Sick Cruising is both: a floating Petri dish of the rich and famous trying to vacation at the height of hubris. I’m lucky to have contributed a small piece along side some fantastic writers, and even luckier to get to read their work.


Reed Kuehn

Reed Kuehn is a combat veteran, an avid runner, and an aspiring writer. While he has called Wisconsin, Washington DC, North Carolina, and Colorado home, he currently lives and writes in Providence, RI. He had been writing seriously for about a year. His flash fiction has appeared with Akashic and Dream Noir and recently had a piece published in the most recent issue of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library literary journal, So It Goes.

What is Sick Cruising about?

Sick Cruising is a contemporary story inspired by The Masque of the Red Death by Poe. The current societal climate has exposed common themes of humanity such as denial, elitism, mortality, and morality, and how those themes are expressed during times of crisis. By using the horror genre, this book takes those human aspects and takes them up to level ten.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?
I have written pieces in the noir style, but this was the first piece that I’ve written in the true horror genre. It was fascinating to step outside my usual comfort zone of writing and dive into something new.

Why should the reader pick up this book?
This book uses the horror genre and the voices of so many talented authors to explore the ideas of base human nature when exposed to an existential threat. The stories are woven into an incredible narrative that will have the readers buckled in for a wild and bloody ride.


Daniel R. Robichaud

I’m Daniel R. Robichaud, a writer, poet, and critic who lives and works in east Texas. I have degrees in Physics and English literature. My work has been collected in Hauntings & Happenstances, They Shot Zombies, Didn’t They?, and Gathered Flowers, Stones, and Bones: Fabulist Fictions. Recent publications include, Hookman and Friends and The Other Side: A Horror Anthology. I write articles for parABnormal magazine and Considering Stories.

What is Sick Cruising about?

Sick Cruising is an anthology interested in exploring one misguided man’s attempt to escape a pandemic through flagrant use of his privilege and wealth. However, he unwittingly invited death along for the ride, and both he and his passengers will suffer. Think “Masque of the Red Death” updated to today’s world.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?
It was fun to try out a character I might not have chosen to be a protagonist in my other fiction. Trying to find a bit of sympathy for a person who does not invite it through their public persona is a challenge, to say the least. Add to this the difficulties associated with putting together one element in an environment shared by numerous authors and you face some interesting work! Luckily, our editor was there to keep us motivated, keep us thinking outside the boxes we might unintentionally put ourselves in, and keep the interests up.

Why should the reader pick up this book?
Although it might seem ripped from the headlines and therefore a real downer, the stories are entertaining horror riffs. We get a mix of empathetic characters and those we want to see suffer horribly. Some stories hammer the heart through honest emotion while others offer poetic justice (in at least one case at the teeth of some angry sharks). Readers looking for a little escapism and heart will find plenty to reward them here.


Wade Newhouse

I am a Professor of English at William Peace University in Raleigh, NC, where I teach a range of courses from writing to gothic literature to improvisation. I have previously published short spooky fiction in online zines such as 9th Degree, Hello Horror, and Lyonnesse. I also publish scholarly articles and book chapters, most recently on southern literature and the gothic.

I think Sick Cruising is about dealing with fear. Most of the characters in these stories are running to or from something; the ship on which the stories take place thinks it can escape a plague simply by throwing money and distance at it. When we read these stories we are to some degree testing our own imaginary scenarios about what WE would do if COVID really got as bad as it does in these pages.

My favorite part of writing for this anthology was starting with a single character and then watching the interconnected world grow and develop. I had a lot of questions about basic life on a ship when I started writing, and I enjoyed seeing how other writers answered their own versions of my questions in their stories. I particularly enjoyed writing the “Aftermath” because it gave me license to evoke some of the themes and characters that other writers had invented and think about them through the lens of my own style.

A reader should pick up this book if they want some relief from the REAL pandemic through the escapism of a fictional one. The current geopolitical crisis gives us all a chance to think about how and why apocalyptic stories have been so popular throughout history; this version of that age-old formula is JUST close enough to our real world to both shed light on our personal anxieties and give us imaginary respite from them. I think this is a unique opportunity to see history and fiction line up and reveal one another.


Aisling O’Connor

Who are you/writing experiences/etc. (don’t read too much into this, you don’t have to lay bare your soul) just let the readers know why you’re awesome.
I’m an Irish journalist and writer. I’ve been writing fiction, songs, and poetry all my life, but I started really taking it seriously 10 years ago (so, go 14 year old me!). Since then, I’ve had poetry and prose published by Stanzas, An Focal, New Binary Press, and now Sick Cruising! I also run my own blogs thisdreamsalive.com and pricklypineapples.ie.

What is Sick Cruising about?

Sick Cruising is about an eccentric CEO, influencers, and A-listers trying to escape from Covid-21, known as the Red Lungs. Except, an escape from The Dreaming Disease is too good to be true.

What did you enjoy the most about writing for this guided anthology?

It’s always a challenge to write a story with a prompt, especially with this one, because you need to keep it within the same narrative of the overarching story. It was a good challenge! I’ve been writing my own fiction for so long, it was nice to do something slightly different.

Why should the reader pick up this book?

Art is what we turn to to cope with life and the world. This book is both relatable and familiar, if you have a dark sense of humour it will probably help you process what we’re currently living for.