David’s Haunted Library: Sleep Savannah Sleep


 

Jason Crandall needed to make a new start, he worked in Los Angeles as a Marketing executive for years. Sadly his wife died leaving him as a widower with an 18-year-old son and an eight-year-old daughter. He decided to start his new life in Shadow Springs by becoming a massage therapist. Shadow Springs seems like a nice little town but before long before cracks start to form in the town’s illusion of normalcy and secrets come to light.

First Jason has to deal with a jealous husband of one of his clients but life gets more complicated as the beautiful Savannah Sturgess goes missing. Jason starts to have horrible visions that make him doubt his sanity and some people are looking at him as a suspect in the disappearance.  Everyone in town has their own set of secrets, but the biggest secret is what happened to Savannah and why won’t the dead rest in peace?

Sleep Savannah Sleep by Alistair Cross is a book that works on several levels. It’s a murder mystery, horror novel and ghost story with the perfect setting of a small mysterious town.  The first half of the book takes its time making us feel empathy for the characters. By the time strange things happen in the second half you’re totally hooked and wanting to see what happens next.

The detail put into each character makes them come to life and while they are shown one way, to begin with you see other sides to them as the story moves along. Savannah, in the beginning, is seen as the town whore but when we get into why she is the way she is, she becomes a sympathetic character. Also, Flynn Garvey who is Savannah’s boyfriend has no personality in the beginning, but later we dig a little deeper and find he has a secret and there is more depth to him than we thought. Even the character of Tabitha Cooper who is not in the story much is someone you feel for. She is seen as a crazy old witch, but in reality is very different than others see her. All of the characters present an image to the outside world but if you scratch the surface a little they show another side. You care about these people because you can relate to them and that makes things even scarier when odd things start to happen.

The best part of this book was when Jason is questioning his sanity. You see him as just a guy dealing with the loss of his wife and trying to raise his kids to the best of his abilities but as he is having visions that make no sense his life quickly unravels. The feeling of losing your mind when you know people are dependent on you is the worst kind of fear and Jason is also dealing with ghosts from his past. In Sleep Savannah Sleep the horror doesn’t come from what you see, it comes from what you don’t see. This is an old school horror novel that preys on your emotions rather than showing you horrific imagery, though it does that too. Alistair Cross shows that he is a master storyteller by giving us memorable characters and a twist ending that you’ll never see coming.

 

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David’s Haunted Library: Cold Cuts

Antarctica is a hard place to survive in, it’s even harder when there are mutant penguins with tentacles running around. Ozzy is a pop culture geek and a junk food junkie while Ben takes himself seriously and is Ozzy’s polar opposite. Both are environmental scientists working in a lab at the bottom of the world in Antarctica.

They thought that putting up with each other, the isolation and the cold temperatures would be the hard parts of this job, but they thought wrong. Little did they know that the terrorist organization called The Order Of The Red Wolf has a Nuclear reactor that is affecting the whole continent causing Penguins to become monsters. There are no happy feet in this story.

Cold Cuts by Robert Payne Cabeen has action, horror and comedy with a story that moves along at the speed of light. It also manages to give us some memorable characters. One of them is Ozzy who transforms from an overweight misfit to an action hero with a love interest by the end. The story also has some strong female characters such as Terra and Lorelei who aren’t trained to fight but do a good job of it when they have to. The only negative part of this story is that we aren’t given a lot of information on The Order Of The Red Wolf which is the group that created the mutants in the first place, but that doesn’t take away from the story.

What I really love about this book is how it goes from gruesome to funny. Every time there is a scene with Penguins tearing someone apart you also seem to get a scene that is laugh out loud funny. This book has one of the funniest sex scenes that I’ve ever read in a book and there was another great moment that will make you look at the paintings of Bob Ross in a whole new light. Another scene that I enjoyed was when one of the characters gets attacked and keeps fighting off the penguins and repeating to everyone that: “My guts came out.”

Looking at Robert Payne Cabeen’s bio you can see that he is an artist and a screenwriter and it shows in this book. At the back of the book there are several drawings of what the mutant penguins look like but also the way the action is described paints a picture for the reader. As I was reading this I found myself envisioning the whole thing as a rated R summer blockbuster movie. For example towards the end there is a great battle scene between the humans and penguins complete with background music.  I found myself laughing because I kept thinking how awesome this would look on the big screen. Cold Cuts is a lot of fun, it has that perfect mix of horror and humor that I like to find in a book.

By The Fire: Episode 146: Challenge 11: Write a 5-6 minute Horror Audio Drama

Hello, Addicts, how time flies, we are getting towards the end of The Next Great Horror Writer contest and we have another tough challenge to talk about. In episode 146 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 5-6 minute horror audio drama. This is another one of those challenges that doesn’t sound too hard but really is. At first glance, 5-6 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot but when you write it out, that’s 6 pages of script. Contestants will be judged on creativity, entertainment value, and concept. Contestants have to come up with their own characters and own idea, they can’t use anyone else’s characters or established story. Winner will get their audio drama produced for the show.

One great thing about this contest is that the participants are really getting tested in every aspect of writing. They have had interviews, short stories, commercials, nonfiction blog posts and other challenges. An audio drama is another form of writing that is very different from any other form of writing. When I think of audio dramas I think of the old radio plays from the thirties and forties. Radio plays are kind of a lost art form but if you look for them you can still find podcasts dedicated to this art. The horroraddicts.net podcast has had a few good audio dramas throughout the years.

Audio dramas are very different from reading a short story or novel, the story is always important but in this case, you have to tell a lot of your story in dialogue form. You also probably need a narrator to set up the story and you have to consider what kind of sound effects you would need. Finding voice actors may be something that has to be considered also.

So Addicts, do you enjoy listening to audio dramas? If so what are some of your favorites and what makes an audio drama good? I think the right voice actors play a big part in it but you also have to come up with good characters, a good setting and a great story idea. So what do you think the contestants will come up with and who do you think will do the best job? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

David’s Haunted Library: The Howling issue 2

The Howling is a horror franchise that doesn’t get a lot of respect. It started with a trilogy of novels by Gary Brandner which was made into a movie in 1981. From there the movie had seven sequels plus a reboot that is coming out soon. The Howling doesn’t get a lot of attention because some of the sequels weren’t very good but it has its fans and now The Howling has become a comic series distributed by Space Goat publishing.

I recently received a copy of issue 2 of The Howling written by Micky Neilson with art by Jason Johnson and Milen Parvanov. The story is simple enough, we have Chris Halloran who is seeking redemption but is threatened by a conspiracy of epic proportions and we have Marsha Quist who is on a blood soaked quest to find the mysterious Hand of Akkara. This comic series is a direct sequel of the first Howling movie and takes place a few weeks later with the same characters.

If you are a fan of the original movie, you will love this series. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the movie but the first issue of the comic gives you a recap and in this second issue we get into the conspiracy to keep Karen’s transformation into a wolf on live tv from getting any more attention than it has already gotten. This comic is like a trip down memory lane, being a fan of the first movie it was fun remembering it and seeing where this new story was going to go. The art here is excellent showing some great action scenes with a female werewolf doing battle with some armed gunmen. If you like werewolves, conspiracies and reliving a classic movie series then give The Howling series a try.

http://www.spacegoatpublishing.com/

https://merchgoat.com/product/howling-revenge-werewolf-queen-2/

An Interview with Horror Bites Author, Adam L. Bealby

An interview with
Horror Bites: Alice’s Scars author,
Adam L. Bealby.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always loved writing! When I was about ten I was obsessed with thinking up zany characters and concocting outlandish situations for them, plotting be damned. Political correctness and copyright also be damned. I lived in a fairly closed-minded ex-mining community, and I was as naïve as a barefoot pilgrim. So in the mix was a crippled baby clown, an Indian taxi driver called Curry (ooff!); as well as a couple of characters from an obscure British Marvel comic book I liked, and a lengthy character-jamboree sequence stolen from (we’d call it ‘parodying’ these days) the third Star Trek movie, entitled The Search for Bogart.

 

Actually, there’s something to be said for liberating yourself from social (and literary) mores and graces when you’re writing. I don’t think poor Curry will be making a comeback any time soon, though…

Who were the biggest influences on your writing?

I’m a huge fan of Michael Moorcock. I like the idea you can write about anything, and that there’s really no barrier between high literature and genre writing. Be bold and brave and go where your imagination leads you!

I’m also very impressionable and tend to be influenced by whatever book I happen to be reading. I have to make a concerted effort when I’m writing to find my own voice, or a voice that suits the story, and not appropriate the stylistic traits of other writers. Although I was impressed with a rather nasty little story I wrote off the back of my time with a Chuck Palahniuk anthology! It won’t be seeing the light of day any time soon, but as a taboo-breaking exercise it was very therapeutic!

What is “Alice’s Scars” about?

It’s about a guy who meets a gal and they fall in love. Only the gal is all messed up and leads him down the rabbit hole into her abusive past – one in which she retreated into a Wonderland-inspired fantasy.

What inspired “Alice’s Scars”?

The first book I ever bought my wife was the collected Alice works. It was the first year of Uni and I even wrote a loving dedication in the frontispiece. That was over twenty years ago. So when I heard the call for Clockwork Wonderland, the HorrorAddicts.net anthology “Alice’s Scars” was originally written for, I knew I had to mine the first few months of our burgeoning relationship for inspiration.

I’ll say now that my wife isn’t Alice/Katie, the main character in “Alice’s Scars.” She’s much more together than that! When I asked her what was in her drawstring purse that first night, it proved to be money, not a rabbit’s foot – which is clearly completely different.

Many of the scenes in the story do riff off people and situations from my Uni days, including an episode in which I merrily chased a distraught girl through the night. But enough of that.

Did you have to do any research for the story?

Just a quick flick through the Alice books, really. The same collected works I bought for my wife all those years ago! As I said, there’s a lot of real life in there, jumbled up with the stuff-I-thunk-up, and that feels like a good compromise for a story about the grey areas between reality and fiction.

What are your favorite things to write about?

Psychological horror, especially the type of story where you can lead the reader to question what’s real and what’s not. I also like writing rollicking adventures for kids – it makes a nice change of pace.

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing a book about a suicide cult, alternating between research and drafting short ‘suicide vignettes’, which will be interspersed between the chapters of the main story. My internet search history makes for worrying reading. Let’s see: ‘I want to commit suicide’, ‘slitting your wrists’, ‘suicide bag’, ‘I want to drink anti-freeze’, ‘experiences of depression’, ‘suicide and reincarnation’…

I really hope I can do the subject justice. I’m very proud of how some of the vignettes are turning out.

Where can people find you online?

Many of my stories are available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Adam-L. -Bealby/e/B01EE49YWW.

You can also catch up with my sporadic ravings at @adamskilad.

By The Fire: Episode 145: Challenge 10: Write a 1200-1500 word, non-fiction interview of yourself

In episode 145 of the HorrorAddicts.net podcast, the challenge for The Next Great Horror Writer is to write a 1200-1500 word, non-fiction interview of yourself. The idea is to come up with questions and ask them how a reporter might ask them and then answer them as a professional writer may answer them. The contestants will be judged on interest of questions, interest of answers, and style. Does this sound like an easy challenge? Not really.

Though they are not being judged for it, the hardest part of this challenge may be selling yourself and your writing. In an interview, the author is the star of the show and the point is to get the readers of the interview to want to buy the author’s work. A writer has to wear several different hats, they may be good at writing fiction but can they sell the reader on their work by describing themselves and their stories in an interview?

Being able to come up with good answers in an interview is important because the person reading it is trying to make a decision on if they like the writer or not and if they are willing to purchase their work. It doesn’t matter how great of a writer you are, if you can’t sell yourself in an interview, you may have trouble getting a reader interested in your work. Personally, for me I love reading interviews, it’s a great way to get to know an author and decide if you like them or not. I’ve often made the decision on whether to buy or not to buy someone’s work based on the answers to interview questions. So in other words, learning how to act in an interview is an important skill.

So how about you, Addicts? Have you bought someone’s book based on an interview they had? I know I have. Can you come up with any examples of a good interview or a bad one? What do you think our contestants will focus on in their interview? What is the most important thing for a writer to talk about in an interview? Let us know in the comments.

David’s Haunted Library: Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist

 

 

When you were a kid did you think monsters existed? Well they do exist and they’re everywhere, there are too many stories about monsters to think otherwise. The preface for  Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist edited by Mr. Deadman and Theresa Braun tells us that . There are 14 tales here about monsters that some believe really exist. I loved all the stories in this collection and couldn’t decide what to focus on since they all fit so well together so I decided to give info on each one:

Master Vermin by Wallace Boothill: The city of Baltimore has some dark places and there is a rat king that rules the night. I loved the idea of the characters trying to stop a low-income apartment from being destroyed and then finding a more sinister force at work.

Legend Trippers by Theresa Braun: An urban legend about a goatman and a man trying to escape the past. Great build up til the end and I liked the reality tv show crew looking for answers.

The Murder Of Crows by S.J Budd: Great little story about the goddess of death. Great twist in this story, loved the idea of what makes a serial killer.

Wicked Congregation by Gary Buller: Great storytelling here on the legend of faeries and what it takes to keep them from killing us all.

Playing Dead by S.E. Casey: This one is about a giant monkey and a strange little carnival. Loved how we find out what is really going on and how the main character feels about it.

Lake Monster by Mr. Deadman: This one combines a couple of legends, every forest has a legend, if the creature in the woods doesn’t get you the lake monster will.

Never Sleep Again by Calvin Demmer: Possibly my favorite in this book, half detective story and half horror story focusing on the monster under the bed. Loved how the monster looked and how he got around from bed to bed, love to see this one expanded to a longer piece.

The Voice From The Bottom Of The Well by Phillip W. Kleaver: Great story about a little girl with insomnia and what she is willing to do to keep the monster at the bottom of a well quiet. Sacrifices must be made and its a surprise who she chooses.

Eclipse at Wolfcreek by Sylvia Mann: This one looks at two kinds of monsters, one is the mothman and the other is something much scarier. I love the beginning of this story and seeing how the main character comes out of it stronger than before but still damaged.

No. 7 by William Marchese: Government experiments and conspiracies play a role in this one along with one terrifying monster. A creepy story with a good mystery.

Criatura by John Palisano: This one is about a bigfoot type creature living in the desert. Love the description of the monster in this one and what the monster seems to want.

Bitten by Christopher Powers: Great storytelling about a giant Spider and what it does to catch its prey. I liked the idea of two men sitting and one telling the story and the other not believing it, this one had a campfire tale vibe to it.

Kelpies by Leo X. Robertson: Good story about what happens if you are not loyal, the kelpies have a nice under the sea set up.

Bloodstream Revolution by M.R. Tapia: It’s a mystery who the monster is in this one, is it the warlords fighting over land or the chupacabras? It’s hard to disagree with the main character’s decision at the end.

Every story in Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist are fast paced and never leave you with that “When will this end feeling.” It’s a quick read with each tale grabbing you by the jugular and not letting go til the blood soaked end. This book is a horror fan’s dream which will give you nightmares for weeks.