Book Review: Hardened Hearts edited by Eddie Generoud

The anthology, Hardened Hearts, edited by Eddie Generous was passed to me by HorrorAddicts.net in return for an honest review.

5 out of 5 stars.

In this anthology you find an extraordinarily well-written collection which touches on love in all its forms – parental love, adulterous love, drug-hazed love, app-directed love – with outcomes ranging from happy-ever-after to pure tragedy. It was hard to pick out favourites because of the sheer quality of the writing but I make no apology for highlighting the following:

40 Ways to Leave Your Monster Lover by Gwendolyn Kiste. A very strong opening story told from the perspective of someone trying to break out of an abusive relationship. As you read however, you find your perspective flipped at times and you begin to wonder about the victim as they seem to harbour a little of the monster themselves …

It Breaks My Heart to Watch You Rot by Somer Canon. A heartbreaking tale of the loss of a loved one to dementia, something which affects so many families these days.

The Pink Balloon by Tom Deady, a family in crisis is destroyed after an innocent trip to the fair results in the death of a child.

Burning Samantha by Scott Hallam which depicts the tragedy of being unable to live your life as the gender you truly want to. A theme similarly reflected in the exploration of sexuality in Class of 2000 by Robert Dean where homophobia results in suffering and death.

All the stories in this anthology carry a powerful message with styles ranging from gritty urban to almost fairytale. You will not be disappointed by this book.


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.

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Book Review: To Watch You Bleed by Jordon Greene

Hello Addicts,

How do you define horror? What is the difference between a horror story and a thriller? Those are the questions I needed to ask for this review. There is a fine line between the two, and To Watch You Bleed by Jordon Greene.

The tone of the story is set in the opening chapter with a car crash involving two young boys caused by their drunken and abusive father. The dad dies on impact, while the youngest boy holds on long enough for the driver of the other car to come and check on them. Once the older boy mentions that their father died, the other driver runs away, ignoring all cries for help. Flash forward to Halloween three years later, and we find a family of four getting ready for their coming day. The oldest daughter, Mara, is upset with her parents because it is the final Halloween party of her senior year, and she is grounded while her younger brother, Aiden, is allowed to go. Lenore, their mother, is anything but looking forward to greeting trick or treaters that night. Her husband, Dalton, promises to, but later backs out of it, claiming to be working late on a new client project. As night arrives, Aiden goes off to the party, where the girl he is in love with waits for him. Mara locks herself in the bedroom, where she waits for her boyfriend in a barely there negligee. Dalton blows his wife off, even rejecting her phone calls, to spend the night celebrating with his buxom secretary. Lenore is alone when three kids arrive with evil intentions.

The three masked boys hold Lenore and Mara hostage while they wait for Dalton to arrive home. Their true intentions for the family become horrifyingly clear when they stab Mara’s boyfriend in the neck and leave him to bleed out while their target races home. After Dalton arrives, they kill the boyfriend anyway by sawing deep into his throat with a sharp hunting knife. Dalton is forced to watch at gunpoint as his wife and daughter are violated and tortured. Things only get worse as the night wears on, more blood is spilled, and the bodies begin to pile up.

This was a difficult story for me to read, mostly because I’m not that big of a torture story fan. While the blood and gore was fitting to a point, it was hard to stay motivated at times to continue reading because of how unjust the story felt. It seems like the more sympathy you felt for a character, the better the chance they died in a very horrifying way. The information from the first chapter made it pretty simple to figure out who the three boys were there for, and who one of them was. It seemed to take forever for Dalton to figure out who the leader wanted to hurt, and he only did so when the boy spelled it out for him. The story did have a good rhythm throughout, and that was one of the reasons I stuck with the story. I feel the story qualifies as a horror story because of how the amount of terror the characters, and by extension the reader, feels as the story unfolds. There are points when you think characters might make it, only for the rug to be pulled out from under them.

Overall, the story is a good one to read, but if you are not a fan of torture style stories and movies, then you might not feel the same way. If those are your cup of tea, then To Watch You Bleed  is for you.

Until next time, Addicts…

D.J. Pitsiladis

New Anthology Highlights Horror by Black Women

New Anthology Highlights Horror by Black Women

by Sumiko Saulson

Imagine horror where black characters aren’t all tropes and the first to die; imagine a world written by black sisters where black women and femmes are in the starring roles. From flesh-eating plants to flesh eating bees; zombies to vampires to vampire-eating vampire hunters; ghosts, revenants, witches and werewolves, this book has it all. Cursed drums, cursed dolls, cursed palms, ancient spirits and goddesses create a nuanced world of Afrocentric and multicultural horror. Black Woman Magic is a collection of terrifying tales by seventeen of the scary sisters profiled in the reference guide 100 Black Women in Horror. The anthology is edited by Sumiko Saulson and published by Mocha Memoirs Press.

Black Woman Magic is the natural spiritual root for our ancestral legacy in life. It is protection, warrior work, praise/worship, love or it is root-work meant to hex those who harm, cause mischief or to even bring about life lessons and mores. Black Magic Woman is badassness others want,” said Kai Leakes, author of the short story Sisters.

The new anthology runs the gamut from sleek urban fiction to hot horror erotica to gut wrenching terror to mystical dark fantasy. Within the urban fiction horror genre you’ll find Kai Leake’s story of vampire slaying siblings with a little something extra. Kenesha Williams’ Sisters is a tale of a magical detective hot on the trail of a serial killer who only seems to pick off the worse in society. Black and Deadly is Dicey Grenor’s epic Black Lives Matter revenge fantasy about a black goddess hellbent on justice.

“In the 21th century there are very still few characters like us, and out of this small pool many are post-modern “Step-and Fetchit” stereotypes. This is why speculative fiction is so important. This genre helps us to see outside reality, to say: what if? It helps us to imagine and create spectacular, wondrous realms, step back and find the beauty and wisdom there, and then transform our own space,” said Valjeanne Jeffers, author of the short story The Lost Ones.

Sometimes things are both scary and sexy, such as in The Lost Ones, Valjeanne Jeffers’ hot tale of a love-crazed werewolf, his soulmate, and a case of mistaken identity with a wayward succubus. Or Cinsearae’s Killer Queen, the story of a mysterious lady in yellow with a trail of dead would-be lovers and the detective who can’t seem to decide whether to nail her or “nail her,” and Dark Moon’s Curse, Delizhia Jenkins’ story about a player who meets a deadly supernatural femme fatale who is more than his match and may be the end of him.

“It’s always an honor to be included in a project like Black Magic Women. Most of us are in our own corner, writing and promoting, so this project gives us a chance to catch up on each other,” said Return to Me author Lori Titus.

Love gone wrong haunts Return to Me, Lori Titus’ tale of a newly empowered witch and the woman who asks her to cast a love spell on her wayward husband. Family love is found in the zombie apocalypse in the bittersweet story Trisha and Peter by Kamika Aziza. Grandma’s gift comes with unexpected consequences, usually found in the darkest corners of the Twilight Zone, in Crystal Connor’s Bryannah and the Magic Negro, and a young sorceress must learn to control her powers or risk destroying those she loves in Nicole Givens Kurtz’ magical tale Blood Magnolia.

“In a world where Black Women are portrayed to either be mammys, angry, or sassy, I’m so happy for a project like Black Magic Women where we get to be the heroes and maybe even the villains. So many times, because of our lack of portrayal in the media, it seems as if all Black Women characters must be paragons of virtue lest we “shame the community”. Embracing both sides of someone’s humanity, the good and the bad, is to allow them to be fully human. We shouldn’t have to be one end of the spectrum or the other, like all people, we are varying shades of gray and I think this anthology will show that,” said Kenesha Williams, author of Sweet Justice.

Some stories are not for the faint of heart. Sumiko Saulson’s Tango of a Telltale Heart is the story of an African drum engraved with Welsh incantations by the slave daughter of a plantation owner, giving it but one power – to avenge rape, but at a terrible cost. Left Hand Torment by R.J. Joseph tells the tale of Dominque, a young woman who’s marriage prospects at the Quadroon Ball soon turn into the darkest of imaginable horrors. Alternative is a work of horror-science fiction by Tabitha Thompson about a new miracle birth control with grisly and unwanted side effects. Labor Pains by Kenya Moss-Dyme pits a mystical madwoman against her sociopathic killer husband.

And sometimes you just don’t know who to trust. In Nuzo Onoh’s Death Lines, a young woman born with no lifelines on her palms trusts no one, because death is clearly stalking her. Here, Kitty! by L.M. Moore is the story of a sweet old lady, her beloved pet and a friendly stranger. The Prizewinner by Alledria Hurt is about a domestic, her employer, a strange, enticing woman, and a garden of surprisingly unique prizewinning flowers. Last, but certainly not least, is Mina Polina’s Appreciation, a story about an office crush that turns into something more painfully intimidating than anyone could have expected.

Black Magic Women, a horror anthology showcasing eighteen stories by different black female authors, is an outgrowth of a five year old project called Black Women in Horror Fiction originally organized by Iconoclast Productions for Women in Horror Month (2013). Originally a blog series consisting of interviews with and biographies of black women who write horror, in 2014 it became a reference book called 60 Black Women in Horror. February 2018 marks the release of a new, more comprehensive list, 100 Black Women in Horror. The new list is also slated for a February 15 release.

********

 About the Author: Sumiko Saulson is Sumiko Saulson is a horror, sci-fi and dark fantasy writer, winner of the StokerCon Scholarship from Hell and 2nd Place Carry the Light Sci-Fi Short Story Award. Born to African-American and Russian-Jewish parents, she is a native Californian and has spent most of her adult life in the Bay Area. She ranked 6th place in the Next Great Horror Writer Contest.

Book Review: Carnival of Chaos

 

What do you get when you add a missing proprietor, disgruntled carnival employees, suspicious police officers, a nerdy best friend, hulking goons, freakish sub-humans, and two bloodthirsty brothers? You get Carnival of Chaos, an unpredictable and enjoyable first entry in the Festival of the Flesh series.

The story begins with the disappearance of Chippy the Champ, proprietor of the Classic Circus Carnival. A menacing man called Mister E has taken control of the carnival and his vision doesn’t gel with the previous owner’s. Mister E wants to offer horror-themed entertainment and not all the employees agree. Enter, Loco, Blades, Stix, Angelique, Minx, Cleo, and Ben. These seven oppose Mister E and his usurpation of the carnival. They are joined by Jason, the surprising main character of the book, a man with a crush on the beautiful Angelique.

Mister E doesn’t deal well with resentment. He not only fires the eight workers, he orders his goons to eject them forcibly from the grounds. They’re not allowed severance pay or their belongings.

The antagonistic eight vow revenge and return to the carnival a few days later in order to enact it. When they enter Mister E’s trailer they find their belongings, a great deal of cash, and more than they bargained for.

Mister E is not what he seems, and the carnival is cover for something far more sinister. As the crew discovers more and others are drawn into the web, Mister E discovers how formidable his opponents are. His desire to add them to his Festival of Flesh increases tenfold.

Jim Goforth’s prose flows well and each of his three-dimensional characters are believable and well-drawn. Loco, the illustrated man, is dangerous and mysterious. He is the leader of the group and for good reason. Blades is the carnival knife man. His friendship with the clown, Stix, is enjoyable and genuine. Angelique is an acrobat and just as dangerous as the men. Minx is timid, a spoiled rich girl who trains elephants. Cleo, the tiger girl, is smart and brave. Ben, the circus strongman, is a big teddy bear…until you cross him. Jason is an every man and metal head. Jason’s motivations and emotions bring the story to life. He is along for the ride and he’s a resourceful and loyal friend. Mr. E and his brother, Hunter, are great villains. Both are perverse and twisted showmen. Every story must have a suitable adversary and they fit the bill.

A good writer forces you to care about the people he’s created and Goforth does just that. I found myself terrified, not only by the frightening and bloody situations but by the fact my favorite character might meet an undignified and sickening end. His villains are just as realistic as the heroes. These are people you wouldn’t want to meet in a dark alley or on dark carnival grounds.

Goforth’s building of suspense and foreshadowing of events is excellent. His twists are unexpected and many times, unpredictable. It’s refreshing to read about smart characters, people who need not do stupid things to advance the story. Case in point, one of my favorite parts involves Mister E’s plan to ambush the crew at a motel. He sends a cohort called Desmond to do the dirty work. Desmond discovers how dangerous the ex-performers are.

Carnival of Chaos is reminiscent of an 80’s horror film. It’s fun and frightening. I can’t wait for the next book in the series.

Follow Crystal Lake Publishing!

Crystal Lake Publishing is the sponsor of our Next Great Horror Writer contest and we’d like to share their vision with you.

With unmatched success since 2012, Crystal Lake Publishing has quickly become one of the world’s leading indie book publishers of Horror, Mystery, Thriller, Dark & Speculative Fiction, and Suspense books with a Dark Fiction edge. Crystal Lake Publishing puts integrity, honor, and respect at the forefront of their publishing operations.

They strive for each book and outreach program that’s launched to not only entertain and touch or comment on issues that affect their readers, but also to strengthen and support the Dark Fiction field and its authors.

Not only do they publish authors who are destined to be legends in the field, but they also look for men and women who care about their readers and fellow human beings. They only publish the very best Dark Fiction and look forward to launching many new careers.

Crystal Lake Publishing is and will always be a beacon of what passion and dedication, combined with overwhelming teamwork and respect, can accomplish: unique fiction you can’t find anywhere else.

They do not just publish books, they present to you worlds within your world, doors within your mind, from talented authors who sacrifice so much for a moment of your time. You, the reader, is what it’s all about.

Crystal Lake Publishing is one of the best small presses out there. So how can you support Crystal Lake?

Support their Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/CLP

Purchase some of their books: http://www.crystallakepub.com/book-table/

Subscribe to their YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/CrystalLakePublishing

Subscribe to their newsletter: http://eepurl.com/xfuKP

Follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/crystallakepub

Follow them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Crystallakepublishing/

Thank you for supporting Indie Publishing.

HorrorAddicts.net, 149 Season Finale #NGHW Winner Announced

Horror Addicts Episode# 149
SEASON 12 – The Next Great Horror Writer Contest

JUDGES:

Horror Hostess: Emerian Rich

Judge: H.E. Roulo

Guest Judge: Joe Mynhardt

Intro Music by: Valentine Wolfe

———————

ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE NEXT GREAT HORROR WRITER WINNER!

Find all articles and interviews at: http://www.horroraddicts.net

 

17 Days till Halloween

best band announcement, new theme song contest, the belfry app, horroraddicts.net, cemetery confessions, the requiem, morbid curiosity, convolution, alaskan beading, hobbit hole, the walking dead, z nation, 10K, the love tiger, the fear of walking dead crossover, van helsing, stan vs. evil, the good place, orville, papa’s donuteria halloween mode, guardians of the galaxy game, sabrina, salem, midnight texas, fires in napa, joe mynhardt, crystal lake publishing,   

 

Intro of judges, prizes, and contest.

Review of the 3 novel pitches

Joe Mynhardt

Crystal Lake Publishing
www.crystallakepub.com

 

Contestants: Naching T. Kassa, Jonathan Fortin, Daphne Strasert.

 

HA.Net News: Captain Blackheart of the Nightmare

*PR: HorrorAddicts.net Dusk’s Warriors by Emerian Rich

*PR: Lacrimation of the Leviathan by Essel Pratt

*PR: Teeth Marks by Matthew weber

*PRs: From Siren’s Call

*PR: CometTV.com Underground Horror

*PR: Halloween double feature with Nosferatu and Shadow of the Vampire the Vogue Theatre

*GB: Loren Rhoads and book release 1999 Cemeteries to see Before You Die

*Crescendo of Darkness anthology submissions

*Jesse Orr’s new installment of The Scarlett Dahlia

*DJ Pitsiladis Nightmare Fuel, The Suicide Forest

*By the Fire – David Watson

*#NGHW News – Kenzie Kordic

*November Cure for the Holidaze show coming.

Find all this and more at HorrorAddicts.net

 

Contestant interviews.

 

Dead Mail:

*Jeff: IT stats

*Jen – Dusk’s Warriors

*Mariah – Podcast voices?

*Comet TV Winner – Chris Jackson

 

Judges deliberate.

Best in Blood winner announced!

 

#NGHW Winner announced!

Final ranking announced

 

“Broken Pieces” by Valentine Wolfe

http://valentinewolfe.bandcamp.com/track/broken-pieces

HorrorAddicts.net blog Kindle syndicated

http://www.amazon.com/HorrorAddicts-net/dp/B004IEA48W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431022701&sr=8-1&keywords=horroraddicts.net

HorrorAddicts.net Facebook group.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/208379245861499

 

———————–

Write in re: ideas, questions, opinions, horror cartoons, favorite movies, etc…

horroraddicts@gmail.com

————————

h o s t e s s

Emerian Rich

s t a f f

David Watson, Stacy Rich, Dan Shaurette, KBatz (Kristin Battestella), Mimielle, D.J. Pitsiladis, Jesse Orr, Crystal Connor, Lisa Vasquez, Adelise M. Cullens, Kenzie Kordic.

Want to be a part of the HA staff? Email horroraddicts@gmail.com

b l o g  / c o n t a c t / s h o w . n o t e s

http://www.horroraddicts.net

#NGHW – Guest Judge : Joe Mynhardt

This week, we welcome guest judge, Joe Mynhardt. Joe is the owner of Crystal Lake Publishing and sponsor of the grand prize, a novel contract for our winner!

 

Joe Mynhardt

joe-cheetah-originalA two time Bram Stoker Award nominated South African publisher, non-fiction editor, and online business mentor. Joe is the owner and CEO of Crystal Lake Publishing, which he founded in August, 2012. Since then he’s published and edited short stories, novellas, interviews and essays by the likes of Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, Graham Masterton, Adam Nevill, Lisa Morton, Elizabeth Massie, Joe McKinney, Edward Lee, Paul Tremblay, Wes Craven, John Carpenter, George A. Romero, Mick Garris, and hundreds more.

Just like Crystal Lake Publishing, Joe believes in reaching out to all authors, new and experienced, and being a beacon of friendship and guidance in the Dark Fiction field. Joe’s influences stretch from Poe, Doyle and Lovecraft to King, Connolly and Gaiman. You can read more about Joe and Crystal Lake Publishing at www.crystallakepub.com or find him on Facebook.