Author Archive

Happiness And Other Diseases

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on October 2, 2014 by David Watson

10687036_10152720329052246_3965942528566808353_nLets face it, love isn’t  easy. No one knows that better than Flynn and Charlotte, they fell in love at first sight but the world seems to be against them. Flynn has been having nightmares and they are starting to cross over into reality. No one believes Flynn and his therapist decides it would be best if Flynn spends a little  time in a mental hospital, where he meets Charlotte.

Charlotte is half human, half somnali and is the daughter of the Greek God of erotic nightmares,  Brash. Being somnali means that Charlotte can enter dreams and prey upon humans, causing them to die in their sleep. Nyx, The Greek goddess of the night, knows that Brash’s children are killing humans and decides to put a stop to it. She states that if Flynn survives the torture from the somnali, she will grant Brash’s family more power, but if Flynn dies, she will turn all the somnali into humans.  Which is a fate worse than death for god like creatures.

So now Flynn is under the protection of Charlotte and the fate of the world hangs in the balance. If Flynn lives, many humans will die, but if he dies, somnali can no longer kill humans in their sleep. To say that Charlotte and Flynn have a complicated relationship is an understatement. The big question in this book is: does true love really conquer all?

Happiness And Other Diseases by Sumiko Saulson is a tragic love story that includes dark humor, greek mythology and some moments of pure horror. I love how the horror and humor are mixed, such as when one character is getting eaten by an animal in a dream. Another character shows up in the dream with popcorn and does commentary on the nightmare. I also liked when Brash describes how Charlotte handled a cockroach problem.

The main reason why you should want to read Happiness And Other Diseases is for the love story. This is not your average romance that you see in other books. Both Flynn and Charlotte have issues, their relationship starts in a mental hospital and that should tell you something. Flynn has no friends, no jobs and a mythological creature wants him dead. Things can’t get worse, but then Charlotte comes along and his life starts to get better. Of course things getting better for Flynn isn’t necessarily a good thing. Which is where the tragedy lies in their relationship. One scene that I thought was beautifully done was when one of Charlotte’s sisters makes living voodoo dolls from Charlotte and Flynn’s DNA. Then she demonstrates that even when she separates the dolls, they struggle to get back together.

Another thing I liked about their relationship is that their roles are reversed. When they meet for the first time Charlotte kisses Flynn’s hand, Charlotte is like a knight in shinning armor and is the leader in the relationship. Flynn is a broken man and Charlotte puts his pieces back together, he gets his life back and even though Charlotte likes to torture him, Flynn likes it. One scene I thought was funny is was when Flynn is in Brash’s home. Brash makes him bow and then laughs to Charlotte saying “He’s just so subservient.” Flynn is a strong character though, he knows the responsibility he has to the world and takes it seriously.

One thought I had while reading this book was that given the circumstances of Flynn and Charlotte’s relationship  there is no way this book can end happily.  I also thought that if Sumiko doesn’t give Charlotte and Flynn a happy ending, I’m going to be upset. Well I can’t tell you what the ending is but I will say that I was satisfied and you should give Happiness And Other Diseases a try. There are not many romances out there like this one.

Electric Funeral by Mark Slade

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , on September 26, 2014 by David Watson

ef_fcElectric Funeral  is a collection of 15 short horror stories by Mark Slade along with 13 horrifying illustrations be Darwins Mishap. This book is a work of art in itself, each story paints a picture and the art that is included is stunning. This book has mad mimes, corpses in a pool, demons, witches and insane ghosts. Mark Slade is the publisher of the horror magazine Nightmare Illustrated and Electric Funeral is a little like a horror magazine on steroids.

One of my favorite stories in this book was the title piece: Electric Funeral. The story is simple enough, four young adults come across a small theater. Out front is a poster advertising Electric Funeral with the tag line: “Pray To God You Live Through This.” They reluctantly decide to enter and get much more than they bargained for. This story is a good example of how to paint a picture with words. There is a great description of the theater and it almost felt like you were sitting there watching a show.

The master of ceremonies in the Electric Funeral is a demented mime who is described as a 16th century nobleman that looks like a drag queen at a David Bowie concert. The mime is brought to life through Mark Slade’s description making him something you would see in a creepy horror film. There is also a great painting of the mime by Darwins Mishap that I wouldn’t mind hanging on a wall at my house. Since I like stories based in old theaters or amusement parks, I enjoyed this.

There are a few good ghost stories in this book including two that really stood out for me. The first one is The Right Doorway which is about a man who is down on his luck and comes across an old burned down asylum with a ghost attached that needs a favor. This is one of two asylum stories here that creeped me out. The other ghost story I liked was Room By Room, this was one where a couple is haunted by a ghost who they see yelling but can’t communicate with. The story had a surprise ending that was funny and scary.

There are a lot of great story ideas in Electric Funeral but my favorite story was Big Talk – Incantations. This is told from the viewpoint of a lawyer who is use to getting everything he wants, one night he rapes a woman in his office who he thinks wants him and the woman gets even with a little help. I liked how this is told from the lawyer’s viewpoint and he tries to convince the reader that he was doing all the right things. This is the way you would expect a lawyer to act but the cool thing in the story is that you hear the woman’s viewpoint also, she has a different story to tell and she uses the man’s ego to get her revenge.

This book is short at 66 pages but it packs a lot of visual fear into one short volume. This is the kind of book a horror fiction/art collector should have on their book shelf. While I may not have understood all the stories in the book, they all presented some frightening imagery. These are the kind of short stories I would like to read when I need a quick horror fix. The art adds a lot to the book as well and I spent a long time admiring it. The only thing this book was lacking was some scary background music which hopefully they can find a way to add in their next collaboration.

Cheap Reads

Posted in News with tags , , , , on September 25, 2014 by David Watson

23200641The first book I want to talk about is Look Back in Horror: A Personal History of Horror Film by Jason Malcolm Stewart. This is an intimate look at the impact of the genre’s films in the life of suspense author, J. Malcolm Stewart. Part memoir, part retrospective and part love-letter, Look Back in Horror celebrates the films, actors and directors that made horror history. From the Golden Age of Hollywood, to the Hammer Films Revival of the 60′s to the New-School Horror movies of today, Look Back in Horror relives the cinema moments that shaped our lives and warped our brains.

21821706Next up is Axes Of Evil:The Heavy Metal Anthology. This is an original anthology of heavy metal-themed horror stories, edited by music journalist (Metal Hammer) and author Alex S. Johnson.  Carnage. Blood. Damage. Diatonic scales. Bone shards. Blast beats. Chaos. Chromatics. Gore. Guitars. Diabolism. Double bass. Riffs. Wreckage. Monsters. Music. AXES OF EVIL An original anthology of heavy metal-themed horror stories, edited by music journalist (Metal Hammer) and author Alex S. Johnson Featuring Lucy Taylor, Bram Stoker Award-winning author for The Safety of Unknown Cities Sephera Giron, author of over 15 published books, including The House of Pain and Borrowed Flesh Terry M. West, author of What Price Gory, director of the cult classic horror film Flesh for the Beast Del James, author of The Language of Fear, music journalist, songwriter (Guns N’ Roses, Testament, etc.) And 30 more of the finest writers in the horror field today. I have determined that this astounding collection of horror is not merely an anthology but a coded Grimoire of magic. -Robin Dover As a reader and avid horror fanatic, I often find myself saturated with supposedly great horror fiction only to be let down by the quality. With this anthology, I got everything I could possibly want; Horror and Metal. Thirty-four stories with bite and balls make this a must read. Axes of Evil isn’t just a book; it’s an epic tome of brutality.-Dale Herring LET THE SHREDDING BEGIN”

18240919The last book I want to mention is another anthology called Eulogies 2: Tales From The Cellar .Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” The contributors to Eulogies II seem to be saying, “All the world’s a cellar, and one only need pull open the bulkhead doors to catch a whiff of the stench, or to walk down the damp, crumbling concrete steps to brave an encounter with what creeps, crawls, or festers in the darkness.” In most cultures, hell is known as a place underneath, down below, in the dark where it is either unbearably hot or unbearably cold, where terrible circumstances overwhelm or even destroy those who wander there. Hell is the ultimate cellar. So it’s no wonder the idea of going down stirs up such a sense of dread. And our life experience is filled with cellars. Cellars of place. Cellars of time. Cellars of circumstance. They can all hold dark, horrifying, and unseemly secrets. From the Introduction by Elizabeth Massie

 

Book Review: Suffer The Children

Posted in News with tags , , , , on September 18, 2014 by David Watson

18211208Suffer The Children by Craig DiLouie is a book that takes a look two of people’s worst fears. That being the death of your children and the end of life as we know it. The story starts simply enough by showing people dealing with the ups and downs of a normal life. Then the unthinkable happens, within a 24 hour period all children who have not reached puberty suddenly die. Doctors call the disease Herod’s Syndrome and there is no cure. As the world mourns the death of over a million children, they are shocked when the dead children start coming back to life.

The children return to their parents but they are not the same. They ask their parents for blood,scientists can’t explain it but the only way to keep the world’s children alive is to let them drink blood. When they do the children come back to life but only for a short time and each time they die and come back, they lose a little bit more of themselves. The question Suffer The Children asks is How far will a parent go to save their child?

That description of the book sold me, vampire children rising from the dead and their parents have to get them blood to drink, now that sounds like a great horror novel. This is not that kind of horror novel though, which leads me to my only complaint about the book. I would have liked to see a little more action and scary moments, but this is more of a character driven story. This book focuses on the psychological horror that parents go through when they lose a child and the science behind the disease that is causing all this to happen.

In Suffer The Children, blood is a high-priced commodity and desperate people will do anything to get it. Society is crumbling slowly and everyone feels it. One of my favorite scenes in this book was when a woman asks a priest to read a eulogy for her dead children. The priest tells her no, not because he is busy but because everything he ever believed was a lie and he doesn’t want to do a ceremony. He then says that he always liked the woman but can’t keep doing what he is doing. I loved how each character changes in the story.

Another example is when one woman blames herself for her son’s death and regrets that sometime she thought more of herself than her kid. She then does some disturbing things to make sure her son has the blood he needs. Another character named Doug goes from a caring father into a raging drunk when his kids die but when he finds out that his kids can be brought back, he gets the blood they need by becoming a criminal. Doug is kind of presented as being a villain of sorts in Suffer The Children  but I found myself liking the character because I didn’t see him as bad.  Doug was doing what he had to do to keep his kids alive because he looked at it as his purpose. Suffer The Children is a different type of apocalypse thriller and examines people’s worst fears on a personal level. I loved how the book ended and I’m hoping for a sequel.

 

 

 

The Music of Venus De Vilo

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2014 by David Watson

10168206_537520239700478_8594236322709315030_nI don’t consider myself to be a big music person but every once in a while I come across a musician that grabs my attention. Venus De Vilo is an artist that grabbed my attention. Venus is a rare bread, it’s not often that you find music that combines horror and comedy and can easily fits into genres such as goth rock, metal, acoustic rock and punk rock,  but her music does just that.

Venus De Vilo was described as the love child of Marilyn Manson and Amanda Palmer by the Goth Alternative magazine The Bite. She has also been described as The Voice Of Horror and Queen Of The Pumpkin Patch. She lives in Dublin Ireland and performs ghoulish themed weird concerts in metal bars, rock bars, and in cabaret and burlesque shows.

Venus’s first EP was released on Halloween 2012 and called Edgar Allen Ho. It included songs such as The Heartless Horseman and Miss Frankenstein and was well received by fans of horror and dark music. Her next release was Til Death Do Us Part in 2013.This one had a good mix of hard rocking songs that you could dance to and acoustic versions of the same songs with creepy lyrics to boot.

Venus De Vilo’s latest EP came out earlier this year and is called Handle With Scare. When I first heard this EP it put a huge smile on my face. I enjoy music that has a rawness to it but also has a passion to it and its obvious Venus De Vilo puts a lot of passion into her work. Handle With Scare has a psychobilly sound to it with a great acoustic guitar work and awesome lyrics. Listening to it, I thought that the lyrics must have been hard to record. Venus has a great voice and easily hits high notes and can sing in a low voice as well. All three of Venus De Vilo’s EPs are available on Sound Cloud and are well worth your time. My thoughts on each track on Handle With Scare are listed below:

1. I’ve Got 99 Zombies And A Witch Ain’t One: Good 5RiTGq29_400x400acoustic guitar work, The music is heavy with no electric guitars and some great vocal work.

2. Absinthe Makes The Heart Grow Fonder: This one sounds like it would be hard to sing live but I’m sure Venus can pull it off. I have to describe this as a love song with a bizarre twist.

3. BubbleGlum! Venus shows she has a great sense of humor in this song. I love the lyric “Misery loves bubbleglum.”

4. Dead! Dead! Dead! Great vocal work in this song and the music made me thing a little of mariachi surf music if that makes sense. I can see this as a good dance song.

5. The Dead Don’t Dance. This is a slower song with great singing.I love the harmonies in it.

6. Personal Satan. I think this is the best one on Handle With Scare. I love the clapping in the song, this would be a great live track.

In the future Venus De Vilo plans on releasing a full length album, a book of poetry called Creepy Like Sunday Mourning and she also has a comic out based on Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven. To find out more about her check out these links:

https://www.facebook.com/VenusDeViloSongsFromTheStalkersPointOfView

https://soundcloud.com/venus-devilo

https://twitter.com/VenusDeVilo

https://venusdevilo.bandcamp.com/

 

Cheap Reads

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on September 11, 2014 by David Watson

18591386Byron has just moved to the small town of Parkton from the big city and its like entering a new world. Parkton is a place filled with dark secrets and strange people. At the heart of it all is an old house on Jacob Street. For the most part people don’t like to talk about the house, when Byron asks about it in the library he gets yelled at and people seem to avoid the area all together. The only ones that have an interest in the house are two boys at Byron’s school named Lain and Hammish. They seem to have an unhealthy interest in monsters and they want to take Byron to find the monsters that live at 809 Jacob Street.

Byron is not sure he believes in monsters but something weird is going on in Parkton. One of its residents is Joey Blue, an alcoholic blues singer who is homeless and sees ghosts. Joey gets a shock one night when an old friend comes to him for help and he finds that the only way he can help him is by entering the house at 809 Jacob Street. Something sinister lives in that house and it is calling to Joey and Byron and when they enter the house they may never return.

809 Jacob Street by Marty Young is an atmospheric haunted house story that is like a painting put to words. Everything in this story is described in vivid detail from the ghosts in Parkton, the house on Jacob Street and the character’s emotions about what was going on. There is not a lot of action in this story but it makes up for it by giving you vivid descriptions on a town haunted by ghosts and monsters.

The characters in 809 Jacob Street were a mixed bag for me. I liked how Byron and his friends are doing what normal kids do by being curious about the haunted house that no one wants to talk about.  Then its made obvious how their interest is not as normal as it appears. The other kids in school seem to avoid Hammish and Lain and Byron realizes that no one in this town acts like they did in his old hometown. Lain and Hammish are not normal kids and everyone seems to know it. I liked how Byron is given a choice on whether to go along with the monster hunters or be accepted by the other kids. I also liked the dynamic of the group and how Lain’s agenda is revealed.

The other main character in the book is Joey. I didn’t like Joey’s character and didn’t quite understand his role in the book. I found myself not liking him and it bothered me that he talked about how he loved his wife and daughter but he also talks about how he abandoned them and never went back. I didn’t see Joey as a sympathetic character and didn’t care about what happened to him. His role until the very end confused me but I did like the payoff and his involvement in the end of  the book. 809 Jacob Street is a great haunted house story, It’s very visual and I can see it making a good spooky movie.

22351700The next book I want to mention is Sailors Take Warning by Malcolm Torres   When alarms go off aboard the USS Nimitz, first responder Kate Conrad runs to the scene of accidents and injuries. But after 93 days at sea, Kate is suspicious about strange activities in the ship’s morgue, so she conducts her own gossipy investigation. Captain Fox, obsessed with the success of the ship’s experimental cloaking system, delegates authority over the crew to his executive officer, Captain Brandt. And Brandt, of course, is a psychopath who coerces the ship’s medical officer to cover up the problems in the morgue. As the ship approaches the equator, where the crew will hold an ancient hazing ritual, Kate Conrad confronts her superiors with proof of the horrifying activities taking place in the morgue. But they provide no help, so Kate takes drastic action on her own.

13097934The last book I want to mention is by Christine Sutton called All the Little Children is a novella that will leave you on the edge of your seat. Ben and Cara Barlow move into a beautiful Connecticut Victorian home to start the next phase of their lives together. They are thrilled with the home’s beauty, location and price, so they move in right away. When strange things start to happen to Cara, Ben tries his hardest to be supportive. They call in a team of paranormal investigators, and the home’s grisly history, and occupants, past and present, engage in a battle to the death. Will Ben and Cara reclaim their dream house, or will the evil within those walls take everything, including their souls? A short novella at approximately 20,000 words.

Dark Blossom

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on September 4, 2014 by David Watson

Dark_Blossom_Cover

The year is 907 A.D. The Tang Dynasty is ending and life is hard in China. Ava cares nothing for China, at a young age she was kidnapped and sold to a brothel as a sex slave. She hopes to save her children and escape the brothel. Things don’t go as planned and she is left with little hope.

With things at their worst, Ava gets a visit from Jigong, the beggar god. Jigong needs her help to save China. Ava agrees to help but now she is breaking one of Heaven’s most sacred laws in conspiring with a god. She is a fugitive to Heaven and China even though she is trying to save them both. To make matters worse The most feared deity of them all, Zhong Kui the hunter god is stalking her.

The real horror in Dark Blossom by Vincent Stoia didn’t come from the demons and ghosts that are in China. The true horror was watching Ava deal with the day-to-day real life horrors. Some of the people in this story that she deals with were far more scary than any supernatural being.

Dark Blossom has its human and supernatural monsters. The people such as Liu the main villain  and Shadow show they have a much greater capacity for evil than anything in the underworld. In my favorite part of the book a vengeful demon comes into the Brothel where Ava lives and we get to hear what the demon thinks. The demon can sense the evil in the brothel and wishes to leave. Shadow who runs the brothel doesn’t see herself as evil but the demon does. You could take the demons and ancient gods out of this book and still have an effective horror novel.

Another thing that I enjoyed in this book was how the supernatural and the real world were connected. All of the demons in Dark Blossom were once human and it was something tragic that happened to them that made them what they are. One girl becomes a demon because her baby was killed and she cursed the village and came back as a demon. Its hard not to feel sympathy for the evil spirits in this book. In the beginning we here Zhong Kui’s story, he was wronged by the Chinese government and went crazy killing people in the Imperial palace. He comes back as a demon hunter who walks the earth to slay other demons and spirits that have escaped  the underworld. Despite the fact that he is a demon he still cares for humans. As he walks the streets of a village and sees how poor the people are he wonders why the government wont help but he is doomed to protect the empire. When he hears that his new mission is to hunt and destroy Ava, he feels bad for what he must do.

Ava is an excellent character, in a time when women weren’t supposed to be strong, she is tough, caring and intelligent.  Life was always tough or Ava but she still manages to do the right thing and doesn’t lose hope even though there is a voice in the back of her head telling her life will never get better. Two scenes that I loved in this book was when Ava grabs a sword and goes after the much bigger Liu and when she is in the underworld and questions the gods. Real life is scarier than anything supernatural and Ava has to deal with it all. Dark Blossom brings Ancient China and Chinese mythology to life in one great horror novel that shouldn’t be missed.

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