#NGHW – Guest Judge : Mark Eller

This week, we welcome guest judge, Mark Eller. Mark will be helping us judge the 300-word Monster stories and reading the winner’s story!

Mark Eller

markMark Eller spent twenty years happily writing stories and then throwing them away. Then he met his future wife. She got mad about him throwing things away so he then happily began writing books, publishing his shorts, and creating audio-fiction podcasts, including The Hell Hole Tavern, Mercy Bend, and Traitor book one of the Turner Chronicles. He can be found most days sitting in his man cave with his fingers busy typing because new stories are constantly running through his head.

David’s Haunted Library: The Final Reconciliation and Skin Deep/Ordinary Monsters

Thirty years ago a new progressive rock band exploded onto the music scene called The Yellow Kings. The band was made up of 4 teenagers with big dreams who released an ep and toured America, eventually landing a record contract. Along the way, they meet a young woman named Camilla who has an odd influence on the band. After their first tour, The Yellow Kings went out to Los Angeles to record their first album, a concept album called The Final Reconciliation. Little did they know it would be their last album and very few people would ever hear it.

The album was shelved after The Yellow Kings put on an album release party in an L.A. nightclub where they planned to play the full album for the first time. The concert ended in a disaster which killed almost 200 people and left only one band member alive. For the first time since that fatal night, The Yellow Kings lead guitarist and sole survivor Aiden Cross has agreed to be interviewed about the events leading up to that tragic night.

The Final Reconciliation by Todd Keisling is inspired by Robert W. Chamber’s “The King in Yellow.” Written in 1895 it was also the inspiration behind some of H.P. Lovecraft’s work. In the 1895 story, it was a play that if read brings madness to the people reading it. In this story if you listen to the full album it creates chaos. I wasn’t familiar with the source material but loved how it was presented in this book. The idea of a heavy metal album opening a portal to another world and making people go crazy is a great concept.

This cosmic horror novella is more than just a new twist on old mythology, though, it’s also the story of kids from a working class background achieving their dreams and worst nightmares at the same time. One of my favorite parts of this book was when three members of the band return to their hometown from their first tour and you see the background they come from. They don’t get a warm welcome, their parents don’t understand the bands need to follow their passion instead of working a blue collar job. In a short time, The Yellow Kings achieve a high level of success before it all comes crashing down. You know early on that it’s all going to end in disaster, which leads me to what I didn’t like about the story. You knew what was going to happen from the beginning, it’s just a question of how we’re going to get to the final result.

The Final Reconciliation is a great little horror tale that mixes music, mythology and a coming of age story all into one. The description of The Yellow Kings kingdom comes to life brilliantly and the final scenes in the Nightclub disaster were wonderfully grotesque. Todd Keisling does an excellent job of setting a mood of dread and keeping it going throughout the book. I think most of all I loved the concept of a progressive rock album being the key to a world of terror. If you are familiar with the Cthulhu mythos you shouldn’t pass up this book.

Skin Deep/Ordinary Monsters by Frank Martin is a different kind of horror book. It includes two stand alone pulp fiction style horror novellas and a comic.  The first story is called Skin Deep “A Vampire Story Of Love.” The story centers around a  girl named Laura who is a track and field star in high school, rebelling against her parents. She sneaks into bars and complains that her parents pushed her into track, but her attitude becomes a big problem when she meets a Cajun vampire who teaches her a lesson in love she won’t forget.

Skin Deep is the kind of story that comes to mind for me when I think of pulp fiction. It’s a simple story with simple characters and its a lot of fun when the vampire shows himself. The beginning is boring but as the story moves along it gets better. I loved the vampire and the final gory scenes in the story are excellent. Skin Deep is a story that has its flaws, such as parents that Laura thinks are overbearing but in reality come across as non caring, until the end. Laura also has a sister named Jessica who has a story that is never fully explained. That being said the scenes with the vampire in it make this story worth it and we even get a nice message about not having to live the role that people expect of you.

The second story is called Ordinary Monsters and is about two teenage best friends whose friendship is put to the ultimate test when an old family secret is revealed.  This is an excellent werewolf story which touches on such subjects as the Nazi concentration camps, dealing with anger and how far loyalty will go. I love the scenes from the werewolves point of view and the description of the change from human to werewolf was brilliant. This story represents why werewolves have always been my favorite monster. It’s all about a person dealing with an inner rage that they have no control over, this book is worth your time for this story alone.

Skin Deep/Ordinary Monsters also includes a beautifully illustrated comic that tells the story of a werewolf and vampire doing battle during World War 2. I felt both of these stories got off to a slow start and had the feel that they were coming from a first time writer, but both got better as the monster was introduced into the story. This book is a fun read that fans of a good monster story will love and with cover art like that, who can resist.

 

 

Nightmare Fuel — The Midnight Game

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Hello Addicts,

Welcome to a new season of Nightmare Fuel. What better way to start than with a game… The Midnight Game, perhaps?

To play, you will need paper, a writing utensil, a drop of your own blood, a candle, matches, a wooden door, a clock or watch, and a shaker of salt. You start by writing your full name (first, middle, and last) on the piece of paper and allow the blood droplet to soak into it. Then, turn off all lights and place the paper in front of the door with a lit candle upon it. Next, knock on the door twenty-two times at a rate of once per second, making sure the last coincides with the stroke of midnight. Finally, open the door, blow out the flame, close the door, and immediately light the candle again . Following this ritual calls The Midnight Man, an entity humanoid in shape and blacker than the darkest shadows. You play the game by wandering around the house with only a candle to light your way. If the flame blows out, it is said the Midnight Man is there, and you have ten seconds to either relight the candle, or encircle yourself with salt. To win, you need to last with the lit candle or remain in the salt circle until 3:33 A.M. without turning on any other lights.

If you break or choose not to follow the rules, it is said that you will either relive your death multiple times over, or see your greatest fear while your organs are removed one at a time. Some have even described having horrific nightmares in the nights following the game.

Legends say that the game was used as punishment for those who broke Pagan rules. Over the years, it has become a popular thing to play among teenagers, much like Ouija boards, Bloody Mary, or “Stiff as a Board, Light as a Feather”. If you choose to play, it is recommended that you treat it and the Midnight Man with respect, lest the bogeyman makes your torment more horrific.

If you plan on checking this legend out yourself, please do so with caution. The legends also say The Midnight Man may literally scare you to death.

Until next time, Addicts.

D.J. Pitsiladis

Press Release : The House of Nodens by Sam Gafford

Description

In 1975, young Bill Simmons is the new kid in New Milford. Bullied and struggling for acceptance, he meets four other boys who form the ‘the Cemetery League’, a group devoted to the weird, exotic and bizarre in movies, comics and television. Each boy carries their own secrets which combine to come to a violent and fiery conclusion in a lonely Connecticut forest.

Now, nearly forty years later, the events of that night come back to haunt Bill Simmons as, one by one, the members of the Cemetery League are targeted by an unknown force that may have unnatural links to their past. Has something, or someone, come to exact a bloody vengeance? And how is it linked to a serial killer’s twenty year spree throughout the Nutmeg State?

To answer these questions, Bill Simmons will have to face his greatest fears and the failure that destroyed his life and left him a hopeless alcoholic. But will it be enough?

Press Release: World Gone Releases “Feed the Machine” Video

WG 2015 Tee PRINT

World Gone Release Official Video for “Feed the Machine”

 

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“Feed the Machine” is a story of human enslavement and the struggle to find a way to finally be free. Afraid of death, future loss, injury, and imprisonment, the majority of humans have become easily controlled and dominated by the powerful few. The greatest resource in history has not been gold or oil, it has been the extortion of other humans. You can’t get a hen to lay more eggs by threatening it but you can get a human to give you his eggs by threatening him. Human fear farming has been the most lucrative trade of all time and even now continues to feed the evil plans for domination of the universe by the bloated, power mad, and greedy Human Coercion Machine.World Gone

Buy “Feed The Machine” Online:

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“World Gone is the kind of band that will dominate the metal scene for decades. World Gone is the reason kids are scared of the dark.”
Scooter Ward, Cold Official

“What I love about World Gone is they are exactly what a metal band is supposed to be. Amazing riffs, great vocals, an over the top live show and a sound that kicks you right in the face!”
Matt Pinfield, Fan Pass (Apr 06, 2014)

“We pride ourselves at RockRevolt to find the cream of the crop indie bands that bust their asses off, and not only bust their asses off, but do it WELL! Here is a band that absolutely made us jump and go, “WOW!” World Gone is an example for Indie Bands everywhere of what to do, and how to do it! Out of Jacksonville, Florida the guys of World Gone have brought it together and can run with the big dogs ANY day! In fact, they do! From a stellar sound to an aesthetic that forces you to turn and look, these guys don’t even need to be on your radar, because they will be in your face soon enough, and you WILL see them, and you WILL love them!”
Alice Roques, RockRevolt Magazine

“Check out this awesome band on the rise! They will blow you away!”
– Lizzy Abshire, Mouth 4 Music (May 12, 2014)

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Hailing from a rusted old shed behind a trailer park on the Westside of Jacksonville, World Gone is preparing to assault your life and senses with a freak audio apocalypse like none before. Years of pent up aggression and disgust with state of our so called civilized society and clustered masses of trendy spineless media outlets have bred a wholeheartedly honest and vigorously explosive combination of volatile ingredients forming the thing know as World Gone. Your ears will be forcefully penetrated and your eyes will be ruthlessly violated by being witness to this xenomorph of maximum twisted force. Coming into existence through the wake of an unrealized dream, fueled by discontent and unwanted experiences, feelings, and thoughts, World Gone dissects and probes the depths of these shadow areas somehow trying to make something sick yet beautiful from the darkness in our lives and their current state of disrepair. World Gone has set on a journey to provoke inspired thought among the listening legions with poetry wrapped in an audial onslaught of brutality tempered with deep emotions that have been carved from the rotten flesh we call life. Singer and front man Joe Bennett is no newcomer to the shit storm known as the music business. Formerly with platinum selling artist Cold and other local Jacksonville heavy hitters like Snagglepuss and Order by Chaos, Joe has set out to make a difference not just for one group of listeners but all listeners. He has the presence, mind, and voice to delivers this post apocalyptic mutant gospel through at times terrifying and haunting orchestrations. Through years of writing and collaborating with some of the most creative minds in the industry like former and current members of Puddle of Mudd, Cold, and Evanescence, Joe has honed his craft and ability to pull at the frayed heart strings of your soul. Prepare to feel something, prepare to think, prepare to go beyond what is seen and explore the hidden dark corners of your mind. World Gone will rise to the pulpit to deliver this sermon with a dysfunctional choir to the fallen congregation. Give us your restless and shattered souls, we will give them the nourishment they seek. Sick and twisted things are happening in the underground of Florida. Come with us.

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Press Release: The 45th’s Terrifying Tomorrow: All of the Flesh Served

Press Release:  The 45th’s Terrifying Tomorrow: All of the Flesh Served

How does a Horror/Dark Fantasy writer deal with the anxiety from our current political climate? He writes about it.

Terry M. West’s All of the Flesh Served is a novella due out on May 5th. The description:

Hundreds of years after the great cataclysm, the Ministry of the 45th survive in a network of scientific bunkers. The last bastion of the old holy order, the 45th are bent on rebuilding the scorched earth and eliminating God’s enemies. The Ministry wages a war against the mutant topsiders that occupy the dead states of the Soviet Union of America. Defending the 45th are the Red Guard, genetically engineered soldiers who are programmed to obey through their lifebrand. Dr. Morgan is a serviceman for Unit 468 of the Red Guard. His lifebrand being medicine, Dr. Morgan is the longest surviving field medic to serve. But Dr. Morgan is a deeply conflicted man with violent fantasies that contradict his pledge to preserve life. After escaping an abduction by the topsiders, Dr. Morgan’s faith is cracked. During a furlough in the high Chancellor’s bunker, Dr. Morgan is hailed a hero and taken off the front lines. But he soon realizes that someone has altered his lifebrand and lifted the veil that concealed the greatest deception ever perpetrated. Dr. Morgan has just become the most dangerous man in the wastelands. And when he discovers who the real enemy is, the revelation unleashes a fury strong enough to destroy what is left of the earth.

Expanded from a post-apocalyptic short story Terry wrote two years ago, he decided to center the novella on a possible dark future caused by the political actions currently in motion. “An all out attack on humanity, endangered species, the planet itself, and democracy. You know, that pesky little thing many, many Americans have died to protect,” Terry elaborates.all-of-the-flesh-served-cover

“The story begins with a quote from Voltaire,” Terry said. “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities. And there lies the center premise of the story. This isn’t a satire. I have been wracked with fear and anger, and rather than unleashing it on people who disagree with me, I decided to work it out in this story. And this isn’t a one-sided attack. I have tried to give a feasible motivation to the Ministry of the 45th. There is a message to this story. I honestly feel this is the most important tale I have ever created. I hope more artists express themselves during this insanity.”

All of the Flesh Served can be pre-ordered here for only $0.99: https://www.amazon.com/All-Flesh-Served-Terry-West-ebook/dp/B06X17JQ1Z/

Guest Blog: Smart Machines by Kay Tracy

Smart Machines by Kay Tracy

It was a Saturday, before the holidays. I had to pull some overtime on a few reports for the boss. Friday night, in the winter, now well after dark, and I couldn’t get the door to open. Something moved behind me low on the floor. A mouse?

That was three weeks ago, and I am still here. I can’t get out. Gods help me, I truly wish I could say it was because of my boss. How I wish a mouse was what I had glimpsed!

The firefighters who broke open the door keep trying to tell me I was in shock.

People sometimes ask about it, but no one really ‘knows’. Folks really don’t want to know.

You have seen them in many offices, those machines that will print, copy, and, staple. Oh, to be sure, there is someone who is designated to change the ink or toner as it calls for it. And usually, office etiquette says, if you empty the paper, then you are supposed to put more into the machine. Easy enough, But there is one thing most people never think about. I know I never did. At least, not until now.

I t was trivial at first. I started noticing little things go missing. It was easy enough to think it was my co-workers. Steph had run out of paperclips and took some from my desk. No worry there. The odd safety pin that I would keep in my drawer was next. I did think it was a bit rude for folks to go into the drawers of my desk without asking first. I mean, really!

In talking to others, I found out that they too had had things go missing from their desks. Small stuff at first. Then James complained that his new steel mug and thermos was gone. Julia’s power cord to her computer was next. Harold had an entire desk lamp disappear. The objects were getting larger, and stranger. Soon, anything that was made of metal was going missing. Small pocket change, keys, it seemed odd. Then William asked when we got the pretty staples. Everyone came to see, and there on his desk was a stack of reports with copper colored staples. I wondered about all those pennies that were once in the coffee fund can, which was now missing. But then, so too was the coffee maker!

I am desperate now, trying to find a way out of here. The parts inside the phone are gone now. The thing grows longer snakelike arms every day. The larger, more complicated items it brings to me for disassembly. I have no idea when it will have all it wants or needs, maybe then I can leave.

People really should know about these things. Maintenance includes more than just the paper and ink. More than just the “machine guy” every three months for a cleaning and lube. The staples should not be overlooked on these ‘smart machines’.

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Kay Tracy is now retired, and has time to do all the things she thought she never would do! She loves to travel, play Magic, and write.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kay Tracy is retired and now have the time to do all the things she never thought she would! She loves to travel, play Magic, and writing.