(Biography, career, and notes taken from sources proceeding text)
Nicholas Grabowsky’s novels of horror/fantasy and mainstream pulp fiction, both as himself, as Nicholas Randers, and as Marsena Shane, have generated worldwide acclaim for over two decades and praised by many of today’s most popular horror gurus in the literary world. He began his career in traditional publishing houses with brisk sellers in mass market paperback horror and romance, and the last ten years have seen him hailed by many as a mentor and advocate to the smaller presses, which has become to him a passion.
His body of work includes the award-winning macabre aliens-among-us epic The Everborn, The Rag Man, Pray Serpent’s Prey, Halloween IV (and its special edition), Diverse Tales, Reads & Reviews, The Wicked Haze, Sweet Dreams Lady Moon, June Park, and Red Wet Dirt, numerous anthologies, magazine articles, and self help books, with projects extending to screenplays, poetry, songs, film, and a wide variety of short fiction and nonfiction since the 1980’s.
He’s a veteran special guest at numerous genre conventions and makes appearances and signings across North America. He has been in the limelight a radical gospel preacher right out of high school and in the following years a rock vocalist, teacher, lecturer and activist, editor, publisher and founder of the Sacramento-based Diverse Media small press, which has recently blossomed into the subdivisions of Black Bed Sheet Books, which publishes “exemplary literature, fiction & non” but specializes in horror/fantasy, and Black Bed Sheet Productions, which produces independent film.
Currently, Nicholas is at work with numerous anthologies, graphic novels and comic books, an Everborn sequel and the novels The Downwardens and The Sirens of Knowland. His independent film projects include the upcoming slasher creature feature Cutting Edges. For more on the author and his works, visit www.downwarden.com, the official site of all things Grabowsky.
Nicholas Grabowsky was born Nicholas John Grabowsky in Norwalk (CA) on May 7, 1966, to parents Arthur J. Grabowsky and Doris Ruth Moreno. From 1966 to 1995, he resided with his family in Southern California, where Anaheim (CA) is heralded as his hometown although he also resided periodically in surrounding towns such as Garden Grove, CA. He began writing fiction as early as the third grade at the Thomas Alva Edison Elementary School in Anaheim, where his teacher assigned students to pen their own tall tales after viewing Disney film shorts such as Paul Bunyan and Pecos Bill. As early as the sixth grade, while attending Dr. Jonas E. Salk Elementary School, he had written dozens of short scripts and novellas and had drawn a series of comics entitled Gooneyville, which he regularly photocopied and distributed to classmates, as well as audiotaped variety segments entitled The Swiss Robber Show, where he’d utilize scripted recorded voices from locals combined with sound effects and celebrity voices and music from radio and television which he sold for a dollar apiece to faculty, students and neighbors.
Artist Ola Larsson’s interpretation of Nicholas as a child, © 2008 Ola Larsson
His creative writing continued through junior high and high school, where he consistently sought the attentions of Hollywood with screenwriting and acting pursuits, basking in the limelight of various periodicals such as Jack N’ Jill Magazine and local fare, and was heralded in such industry publications as Producer’s Report and various minor magazines, and competed in school-related state-wide drama competitions. A strict conservative Christian Penticostal upbringing and involvement with a number of related denominations and Christian cults found his interests redirected in his late teens towards evangelism, related contemporary Christian music, and songwriting. By the time he was eighteen years of age, he was preaching and often singing largely original songs and playing piano to congregations of over a thousand people with a mannerism and style similar to early ‘80’s contemporary Christian guru Keith Green, infused with further influences notably from related genre talents as Steve Taylor and Randy Stonehill, and he traveled through dozens of states in the Western U.S. as the headlining star in the smash musical The Witness.
In 1988, Nicholas’ first son was born out of wedlock and caused controversy in his church/musical world. When his son’s mother had an alleged affair with a married and prominent church pastor soon afterwards, it and many other factors caused a disillusioned Nick to part ways with the religious/musical elements of his life, and he focused on his writing (see next section). From 1990 to 1995, after publishers of a majority of his earlier works bowed out from the book industry without fulfilling their contracts, Nicholas submerged himself in the company of many underground Los Angeles/Orange County bands in a world of drugs and decadence. He took up residence with prominent members of such infamous cult bands as The Adolescents, Christian Death, Berlin, and The Mentors (whose lead singer, El Douche, has been the main focus of conspiracy theories involving the death of Kurt Cobain), all the while writing of his experiences and what was to evolve into The Everborn, which eventually became a career signature novel.
In 1993, Nicholas’ parents purchased a house in Sacramento, CA, for retirement, and moved to their new home with Nicholas’ autistic sister Carol Jean Grabowsky. In June of 1995, Carol went missing from her adult education services school, and Nicholas devoted his time to search for her, along with local news media, a host of volunteer searchers, and the assistance of such celebrity personalities as Charlotte Blasier, wife of O.J. Simpson defense attorney Bob Blasier. Upon hearing of the news, Nicholas severed himself from his downward-spiraling Orange County life to be with his family and assist in the search. Carol’s body was found by two boys in a drainage ditch near Discovery Park, Sacramento, in October of 1995, which remains to this day a closed case with the details leading to her death entirely unsolved.
Nicholas has remained in the Sacramento area since, and rebuilt his life and writing career.
In April of 2000, Nicholas was initiated into the fraternal order of E. Clampus Vitus, an exclusive brotherhood originated from California’s Gold Rush years and to which former United States President Ronald Reagan was also a member.
Of note is the fact that Nicholas is the grandson of Alfred Moreno Monteagudo, an early 1950’s Maitre ‘D of Los Angeles’ Biltmore Hotel, whose brother, Antonio Moreno, was the great Hollywood silent film actor/director who starred in hundreds of films throughout the early twentieth century and, most notably, in Universal’s Creature From the Black Lagoon, who has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
After acquiring jobs as an extra in Hollywood for such films as Masters of the Universe and Night of the Creeps, and pursuing a modeling career, his pursuits found him an acting coach in the form of Walter Koenig, Star Trek‘s Chekov, who introduced Nicholas to a New York publisher of mass market paperback novels. His first novel, Pray Serpent’s Prey, originally a Christian allegory of vampires invading a small Montana town involving a preacher who learns that the power of God alone could save the central characters, and which Grabowsky began penning in high school, was accepted and published under the pseudonym of Nicholas Randers. Grabowsky penned subsequent published works under the Randers name including The Rag Man and Tale of the Makeshift Faire before 1990, and romance novels and self-help books under the pen name of Marsena Shane which include Sweet Dreams Lady Moon, The Easy Way to Great Legs, Your Heart Belongs to You and June Park up until 1991, when he broke away from his pseudonyms entirely. He also wrote a commissioned sequel to Wes Craven‘s Shocker, which was never produced. In 1988, he wrote the novelization of Halloween IV which was published under his real name, which went on to be a bestseller.
Grabowsky is “A well-established author of horror/fantasy fiction.” (Scary Monsters Magazine 2004 Yearbook). In 2001, he completed his signature novel The Everborn, which won the award for Science Fiction Novel of the Year (2004) from the American Author’s Association. In 2002, he established the small press of Diverse Media, which published a critically-acclaimed special limited edition of his Halloween IV novel. Following this he released works such as Diverse Tales, The Wicked Haze, the children’s book Flatty Kat: Tales of an Urban Feline with Phyllis Haupert, and Nick Reads & Reviews, and Grabowsky subsequently cemented himself as a prominent name in horror/fantasy literature with those and a list of other novels and short stories, poetry and scripts.
In October 2008, he established the small traditional publishing house of Black Bed Sheet Books, which publishes fiction from many authors largely in the horror/fantasy category as well as selective nonfiction, and Black Bed Sheet Productions, which produces independent genre film, beginning with the upcoming creature feature Cutting Edges, with himself as writer/director, its projected filming beginning early 2013. In his words, “Black bed sheets have served me well….from draping them over my tables at numerous celebrity appearances throughout the years, to incorporating them in Halloween costumes, to throwing them over backgrounds in makeshift photo shoots, to sleeping on them. When I had a local celebrity bash at my home one night, a photographer suggested the name, and it stuck. They’ve proven to be extremely versitile, and so am I.”
- Fantastic Fiction.co.uk
- Encyclopedia of Speculative Fiction
- Open Library
- American Author’s Association
- Internet Movie Data Base
- Sacramento Bee, interview, June 14, 2004, volume 292, issue 166, by Allen Pierleoni
- Sacramento News & Review, Vol. 15, issue 26, Sept. 15, 2003, by R.V. Scheide
- Corpse Magazine, Vol. 1, issue 2, July 1, 2004
- Sinisteria Magazine, May 2004, Vol. 1, issue 1
- The Haunted Poet, Issue 2, 2006
- Dark Gothic Resurrected, Issue 1, Spring 2007
- Tahoe Daily Tribune, Sept. 5-7, 2003, weekend edition, by Mark Dulyanai
- The Horror Report, May 11, 2003, by Bryan Smolock
- Halloweenmovies.com interview, 2003
- Reapsow Radio, interview, 3/26/2008