Black Women in Horror: Sycorax’s Daughters Review

Sycorax’s Daughters gives Black Women in Horror a Voice

review by James Goodridge

Sycorax’s Daughters is an anthology displaying the deep creative minds of a group of know and recent to the genre women writers of color. Wonderfully written and crafted, this anthology is a new classic. A mixed bag of poetry and short stories, these woman writers present a gift to us, the reader of tales of things that go bump in the night or rise up from a mist in the bayou during witching hour. Women Griots of darkness they are.

I once wrote that the black experience in horror is a duel track in that we as a people enjoy the genre in all of it’s forms but also from a historical view suffered it. This anthology enforces my view. It also bridges the work and legacy of Jewelle Gomez, Tananarive Due  and the immortal L.A. Banks.

Edited by award wining author Linda D Addison, Kinitra Brooks PhD, and Suanna Morris PhD with added editing by Wei Ming Dariotis PhD. Forward by Walidah Imarisha and introduction by Ms. Brooks.

“Red Scorpion” by Deborah Elizabeth Whaley is a poem with ancient mystical tones to it I enjoyed.

“Taste the Taint: A Cursed Story” by Kai Leakes is about the corporate world of demons, vampires, and vampire succubus and a guide to sell your soul and set up your friends.

“How to Speak to the Bogeyman” by Carole Mc Donnell is unique in it’s of the sub genre, Christian horror. A dynamic short about a young man [Kayvon] who receives a call from his friend in hell that sets him on a path fighting evil. Ms. Mc Donnell strikes a balance of a cautionary tale without being preachy.

A personal favorite of mine is an excerpt from Valjeanne Jeffer’s Mona Livelong paranormal detective series.

The story by Vocab titled “Dyer Died in Silence” is based on a horrific serial killer of 1890’s London who out did good old Jack the Ripper. It’s chilling.

The contributors of this cornucopia of terror and horror are: Sheree Reee Thomas,A.J. Locke,Cherene  Sherrard,Regina N. Bradley,Tracey Baptiste,Deborah Elizabeth Whaley, Rashell R. Smith Spears,Vocab,Carole Mc Donnell, Tenea D. Johnson,Crystal Connor, Amber Doe, Kai Leakes, Tisch  Jackson, Nicole D. Sconiers,Zin E. Rocklyn, Tiffany Austin, Dana Mc Knight, Tanesha Nicole Tyler,  Valjeanne Jeffers, Kiini Ibura Salaam, L. Marie Wood, Deana Zhollis, Nicole Givens Kurtz, K. Ceres  Wright, Lori Titus, Joy Copeland, Eden Royce, Patricia E. Canterbury, LH Moore,L Penelope, AD Koboah and R.J. Joseph. In the end Love Supreme to this work. Artwork by Jim Callahan and Rebecca  Sims. Published by Cedar Grove Publishing.

 


 

jamesgoodridge headshotBorn and raised in the Bronx, James is new to writing speculative fiction. After ten years as an artist representative and paralegal James decided in 2013 to make a better commitment to writing.Currently, he is writing a series of short “Twilight Zone” inspired stories from the world of art, (The Artwork) and a diesel/punkfunk saga (Madison Cavendish/Seneca Sue Mystic Detectives) with the goal of producing compelling stories

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Press Release: Books!

BOOK NEWS!

DISEASE  Humanity’s war against the living dead has been lost. In the wake of the zombie apocalypse, the living fight fiercely for what little they have.

In this hell-on-earth Casey, armed with a baseball bat, and joined by a mute boy named Alex, struggles to survive. When a man named Danny stumbles upon them, it’s mistrust at first sight – but times are desperate. Danny leads them to a thriving settlement where danger lurks beneath the guise of kindness.

It’s kill or be killed in a world where power is life, and the earth is overrun by walking dead.


Indie horror comic label Scary Tales Publishing has announced the highly anticipated release of their newest horror comic, “LADY FRANKENSTEIN AND THE MUMMY’S BRAIN”.  Just in time for the spring comics conventions at both Long Beach Convention.

Chapter One in a six-book limited series – is a definite departure from the publisher’s short-form, self-contained anthologies and kid-centric adventure fare.  This saga for mature readers is a horror mash-up of the Frankenstein and Mummy legends, and features artwork from legendary international comic artist Manuel Martin.

Manuel has been part of the Scary Tales Publishing family from the start.  A regular artist for both Fractured Scary Tales and Monster Smash-Ups, he has worked in comics for over 30 years.  Published in Europe, his native Mexico, and here in the US, Manuel is a master of nuance, shadow, and atmosphere – the man can rock a comic image like few others.

Publisher Kevin M. Glover said: “After nurturing the premise for nearly a decade, I’m very proud of this comic.  We’re turning the classics on their head in unexpected ways that I think readers are going to love.  Besides the gender bending aspect of a female doctor, there’s some great locations and intrigue from the Egyptian consortium who hire her.  It’s a wild, globe-trotting ride, I can’t wait to share!”

Each issue of this newest title is a full-color comic book, and retails for just $5.00.  Like all of Scary Tales Publishing’s titles, it can also be purchased online at: www.FracturedScaryTales.com.


Multi Award-winning author Gene O’Neill unleashes his Frozen Shadows and Other Chilling Stories collection – launches March 2nd in paperback and Kindle from Crystal Lake Publishing.

Hitch a ride with the master of setting as he blends and bends genres with science-rich, thought-provoking short stories. “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”

“A maestro of the field, Gene O’Neill’s stories are consistently well-executed. He writes with authority, depth, and loads of worldly and writerly experience, and delivers fascinating stuff.” – Darren Speegle

Along the way you will travel to the top of Mt. George, up and down Napa Valley, through Sacramento, and into the heart of the Bay Area, to the ‘Loin in San Francisco, Hotel Reo, Chapel of the Chimes, the back streets of Oakland, and other familiar dark places. The stories explore quantum entanglement, Visual Migraine Events, electro-shock treatment, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Tourette’s syndrome experimentally treated with Temporary Deep Brain Stimulation. And as you read you may start to notice all these stories are connected in a way.

March Madness: Angela Yuriko Smith

March Madness: Angela Yuriko Smith

Embracing Madness for Creativity’s Sake

Madness is the harangued sister to Creativity.

Creativity is the sweet one. She makes socially palatable works of art where the colors compliment, the words make sense and the tune harmonizes.

Not so with Madness. She doesn’t show up on time to engagements, and when she does appear, often at an awkward moment, she is disheveled. Polite company shies away from her wild eye and disjointed conversation.

Madness is the under appreciated genius. She sees what Creativity can’t—the ghost peering from the beams, the dragon in the clouds. She hears the Tell-Tale Heart.

Creativity steals from her sister. She watches her on the sly and borrows her vision like a dress. She wears it well and receives accolades for her use of accessories, texture and color, but it’s the piece that Madness lent that draws the conversation.

Madness should be the one in the spotlight, but she is too unwound and agitated for polite company. Her colors run together, the words jumble into nonsense and her tune jars the ear with discordance.

Each of us host both sisters within us. We learn quickly in our early years to color inside the lines and let demure Creativity take the lead.  We are praised when we create gently and with care.

Madness makes tantrums. She spills the ink pot and ignores it to write runes on the wall. She rages without knowing why. She is the evil twin of Creativity—unleashed and uncontrollable.

If we want to be solid, successful artists, we must learn to live with both sisters. Sweet Creativity gets us through the performances and exhibitions peacefully. We appropriately nod and smile at the praise we are given… but the spark the audience praises, oblivious to truth, will be the work of Madness.


A Murder

 

The murder settles around me

judging me with rude calls—

a cacophony of dark portent

drapes like a pall

signalling my doom.

 

And I love the murder

with all it’s ominous gesturing

full of dark rustle and scraping caw.

From deep within the sharp and grasping maw

I hear my name called out sharp, rasping and raw

with strong hints toward apocalyptic prophecies

that surround, but somehow, cannot touch me

and I laugh, in the gloom, at all they foresee

because there is no guilt in being guilty.

I was made to love the murder.

 

Sadly, it becomes bored and takes wing

taking the chorus of discontent away.

I’m sad to lose their violent affection.

For all their rude ways, they see me

and call my madness

for what it is.


Angela Yuriko Smith’s work has been published in several print and online publications, including the “Horror Writers Association’s Poetry Showcase” vols. 2-4, “Christmas Lites” vols. 1-6 and the “Where the Stars Rise: Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy” anthology.

She has nearly 20 books of speculative fiction and poetry for adults, YAs and children. Her first collection of poetry, “In Favor of Pain,” was nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award.

Find her online at AngelaYSmith.com.

 

Free Fiction Friday: Wild Imagination by Marcie

Wild Imagination
by Marcie

Julian is a simple man whose imagination plays out in his mind, allowing him a bit of stimulation in his mundane world. He has a strict routine every day. Waking at five a.m., Julian runs five miles at the park, coming home by five forty-five a.m., he has orange juice, toast, brushes his teeth, then takes a shower with Irish spring soap and dresses in a green pull over. He puts on his standard work issued royal blue slicker, even on sunny days. Julian always takes the same route to get to work.

On the way down the driveway to his green Prius Julian imagines the neighbors barking dog breaking through the six-foot wooden fence and savagely mauling his face. While driving to work he thinks about being in a devastating car wreck, hydroplaning then flipping the green Prius over three times. In the bathroom he imagines smashing his penis beneath the toilet bowl lid and being too embarrassed to call for help, none of which actually happens.

Taking a walk on his lunch break, Julian can’t quite make out the shape he sees on the shore among the branches and brush on the opposite side of the Brandywine river.

It’s inconceivable, he thinks as he strains his eyes to see if he truly sees part of a royal blue slicker caught on a branch.

No of course it can’t be.

He rubs his eyes and peers as best he could, then decides he has far too creative an imagination. Julian shakes his head and returns to his job repairing simple machines in the small grey building just next the river. Julian is lucky enough to have the solitude of work without distractions, but in the quiet of the day, his mind wanders and curiosity ails him again. He peeks out the window for a different point of view.

Yes.

Pretty certain that he sees a body across the river, he has to make absolutely sure. The row boat used for emergencies, was parked just up from the shore. He slowly climbs down the steep hill to the river, pushes the row boat to the edge of the water, hops in, then rows downstream before he gets his bearings to cross over. Upon rowing, he imagines himself tipping the boat and being swallowed up by the ice-cold water.

Pulling to shore he anchors the boat and steps out. Thinking he might be a hero by solving an important murder case, Julian bravely reaches for the royal blue slicker caught on the branch. Upon seeing the body, he flips it over and loudly gasps. Rubbing his eyes, he sees a mirror image of himself. Panic stricken, Julian shrieks, scrambles back to the boat. Slipping on the slick surface of a large wet rock, he falls back wards hitting his head on the corner of a jagged stone upon the river’s edge. The firm cherry Jell-O brain tissue separates from the hard-outer shell of Julian’s skull as he perishes with his imagination on the opposite side of the Brandywine river.


Marcie is a writer enthusiast and wishes to spend more time reading and writing. She was told her writing voice was once Gothic Splatter Punk and is currently working on a story. She works part time for Hagley Museum and Library as a tour guide and enjoys being involved in the history and many programs they offer. Dressing in 19th century clothing is a bonus. She is currently enrolled at Southern New Hampshire University for Creative Writing and English and hopes to eventually complete an MFA program there.

Book Review: The Ghost Notebooks by Ben Dolnick

reviewsThe Ghost Notebooks by Ben Dolnick is one of those books reviewers pray for, a story that absorbs you completely and carries you along so that you forget the reviewing aspect and once more become a pure, unadulterated reader.

Hannah and Nick are a young couple living in New York who find their relationship in crisis. They survive this difficulty, marry and take themselves off to live and work in a historic house in rural Hibernia, a house that once belonged to the 19th-century writer, Edmund Wright. Here they discover the tragedy which befell the man and Hannah starts to hear voices, whisperings in the night.

As the story progresses, Hannah’s mental health deteriorates – an aspect of Hannah’s past Ben knows very little about as neither she nor her parents have ever been totally forthcoming about a breakdown in her earlier life. Hannah eventually disappears but after the discovery of her body, Nick digs deeper into her psychiatric history in an attempt to discover whether she killed herself or whether her death had been accidental.

What he discovers leads him to look into the reasons behind her death, how ‘haunted’ the house is and how tormented Hannah had become. The story continues apace with his own institutionalization as a result of his grief-stricken and erratic behaviour but he escapes and returns to Wright’s house, determined to put an end to the hauntings there.

Fluent prose, atmospheric and striking a perfect gothic note, The Ghost Notebooks was a wonderful read.

Book Review: The Ren Faire at the End of the World 3

Review by Ariel DaWintre

The Ren Faire at the End of the World: The Time of Sex, Magik, and Power Tools is Coming to an End (An Arcanum Faire Novel) 3, by Josef Matulich is a fun tale of the perils of building a Ren Faire in a town of witches and demons. Who knew so much was happening in Arcanum, Ohio?

I was immediately attracted to this book because of the title. It was so long, it had me curious. The start took me a bit to catch on. I was about 2 chapters in before I really understood what was happening. I would suggest reading books one and two first, because I felt I was missing something because this is part three. I think I would have understood it more and had more background on the characters, mostly the bad guy.

The book centers around Marc who is building the Ren Faire and his girlfriend. a witch named Brenwyn. There is an interesting cast of characters helping build and run the Ren Faire. I loved a lot of the side characters, Eleazar is awesome but I did keep wondering if he was from a different time or that this guy really stays in character! I really liked Michael and OCD list guy, they were right up my alley. Some of my favorite scenes were with Marc and his staff because they were funny. I didn’t like the bad guy, but his sister Cassandra, I REALLY didn’t like her., which is the point if you think about it.

I felt the story had a nice flow and it kept my interest. I was engaged and wanted to know the outcome of the story. I was worried about the main characters and really wanted the bad guys to get what was coming to them. If you like a story with witches, zombie farm and wild animals, and demons this is the series for you. The book kept my interest to the end and I have to admit I am a little scared to go to Arcanum, Ohio.


Ariel DaWintre is a writer and voice actor. She has performed in several audio works including “JoJo” in HorrorAddicts.net’s production of GothAmazing Race, “Ember” the novel Dusk’s Warriors, and “Claudette” in the novel Artistic License. She’s currently working on a fish out of water tale about an American living in Hong Kong. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Book Review: Beyond Night

Review by Stephanie Ellis

In Beyond Night, August Arminius, Decurion of the 9TH Legion leads his men under the command of General Malitus, their orders to claim Caledonia  in the name of Emperor Hadrian. Expecting to face no more than Picts, savage though they are, the soldiers come across monsters-beastmen–who can rip a man apart with ease–and then eat him for breakfast. Not only do they have these creatures to contend with, there is also the druid, Drust and the wizardess, Weaver who manipulate both beastman and Pict to further their own ends.

This is a fast-paced story, liberally sprinkled with gory battle scenes and the horrors of ritual sacrifice. The weaving of the supernatural with the mundane reality of the hard slog of a Roman centurion provides for an entertaining piece of escapism. I would say it is definitely not for the squeamish!

 Beyond Night is written by Eric S Brown and Steven L. Shrewsbury. Eric is the author of numerous book series including the Bigfoot War series, the Kaiju Apocalypse series (with Jason Cordova), the Crypto-Squad series (with Jason Brannon), the Homeworld series (with Tony Faville and Jason Cordova), the Jack Bunny Bam series, and the A Pack of Wolves series. Some of his stand alone books include War of the Worlds plus Blood Guts and Zombies, World War of the Dead, Last Stand in a Dead Land, Sasquatch Lake, Kaiju Armageddon, Megalodon, Megalodon Apocalypse, Kraken, Alien Battalion, The Last Fleet, and From the Snow They Came to name only a few.  Eric lives in North Carolina with his wife and two children where he continues to write tales of the hungry dead, blazing guns, and the things that lurk in the woods.

Award winning author Steven L. Shrewsbury lives and works in Central Illinois. He writes hardcore sword & sorcery and horror novels. Twenty of his novels have been published, including Born of Swords, Within, Overkill, Philistine, Hell Billy, Thrall, Blood & Cell, Stronger Than Death, Hawg, Tormentor and Godforsaken. His horror/western series includes Bad Magick, Last Man Screaming and the forthcoming Mojo Hand. He has collaborated with Brian Keene on the two works King of the Bastards and Throne of the Bastards and Peter Welmerink on the Viking saga Bedlam Unleashed. A big fan of books, history, guns, the occult, religion and sports, he tries to seek out brightness in the world, wherever it may hide.


Stephanie Ellis can be found at https://stephellis.weebly.com and on twitter @el_Stevie.

When Stephanie is not writing reviews, she is co-editor at The Infernal Clock (http://infernalclock.blogspot.co.uk/) a fledgling publishing venture and is also co-editor at The Horror Tree’s Trembling With Fear online magazine (https://horrortree.com/category/trembling-with-fear/) where they’re always open for flash submissions. She has also had short stories and a novella published in a variety of horror anthologies and magazines.