Press Release : BEHOLD! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders by Doug Murano

Crystal Lake Publishing and Doug Murano, the Bram Stoker Award-nominated editor of GUTTED: BEAUTIFUL HORROR STORIES, are proud to present BEHOLD! ODDITIES, CURIOSITIES AND UNDEFINABLE WONDERS.

Slide into the spaces between the ordinary. Embrace the odd. Indulge your curiosity. Surrender to wonder. Witness as the finest talents of our time bring you tales of the strangeness at the edges of existence.

Featuring:

Clive Barker, John Langan, Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Lisa Morton, Brian Kirk, Hal Bodner, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Erinn Kemper, John F.D. Taff, Patrick Freivald, Lucy Snyder, Brian Hodge, Kristi DeMeester, Christopher Coake, Sarah Read, and Richard Thomas.

With a foreword by Josh Malerman.

 

David’s Haunted Library: Whispered Echos and The Devil’s Children

We all have something we’re scared of. In the back of our heads, we hear a little voice that reminds us about our darkest fears. It’s like a Whispered Echo that just repeats itself over and over again. Whispered Echoes by Paul F. Olson is an anthology that looks at things that scare us so much that we never forget it. This book contains 12 stories set in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula showing it as a place where strange things happen.

What’s interesting about this anthology is that the stories are presented in chronological order by the dates that were written. The first story was originally published in 1983 and the last one was written this year. So what you have in this book are stories from a horror writer who’s writing improves a little with each tale told. You also get a good look at what goes on in the mind of Paul Olson and how he has evolved as a horror writer.

Mr. Olson has a few different themes that he works with in this book. One of these themes is individuality. In a story called The Visitor, a man visits the town of Patterson Falls every year in Autumn and when he does, someone gets hurt. The people in town finally get fed up with this routine and decide to confront him but they don’t get the results they are looking for. This same theme comes into play in two other stories in the book with a man suffering the consequences of not being like everyone else.

My favorite story in this book is They Came From The Suburbs. You could call this a zombie story but its a little more complex than that. David Finley works in a mall and notices that the same people show us every day and seem to mindlessly wonder the mall and shop. He calls them the quiet ones but he soon finds out that if they can’t consume anything there will be hell to pay. I love the message about how some people go through life blindly doing things having no real life at all and how it affects others. This was a perfect little horror tale that had a Twilight Zone feel to it.

Another good story here was Bloodybones which includes ghosts, a serial killer and a mystery. What I liked most about this story is the descriptions of the setting. Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is as much a character here as the people in it and I loved reading the description of an area that I’m familiar with. Olson’s using of Michigan and Wisconsin in his stories reminds me a little of how Stephen King uses Maine in his stories.

Whispered Echoes could be looked at as a philosophy book disguised as a horror anthology. Paul Olson writes about staying true to yourself, loyalty, love and not letting the past define you. These themes are all presented in short horror stories that pack a punch. This is the kind of book that young horror writers should read because it shows that good horror can deliver a  message and your writing will get better over the decades if you stick with it.

Harry and Adam grew up together in a small New England town. They were never the most popular kids in school but they had a good time watching horror movies, drinking alcohol, exploring abandoned buildings and hunting imaginary demons. Flash forward to the present, life is not going well for either person and they decide to move back to their old hometown to relive their childhood. When they get there they discover that something strange is going on in their old stomping grounds.

People are seeing ghosts, Adam is having visions of his old teenage girlfriend who has been missing for 13 years and a local historian has sealed off a newly discovered tunnel that may have the answers to some old mysteries. We soon find out the demons that Harry and Adam hunted may have been real and they may be the only ones who can stop these strange happenings. As Halloween night rolls around, Harry and Adam put a plan into action to stop the evil that is plaguing their town.

The Devil’s Children by Benjamin Blake is the kind of book that I love reading. It’s a simple horror story about a couple of outcasts who notice something strange is going on and realize that they are the only ones who can stop it. I love the characters in this book, Adam and Harry reminded me of a couple of people I knew in high school and the way they both changed by the end of the book showed that they had a lot more depth than your average character in a horror novel. I also like how the story is told from the present with flashbacks showing how they use to be in the past. The one thing I didn’t like about the book is that it seemed to take a long time to get into the action of the story. While I liked the characters enough to keep reading, it could have used a few more scares in the first half of the book. The Devil’s Children is sort of a mixed bag but it has enough good parts to make it worth your time. Despite what I didn’t like about this book, I’m still looking forward to what else Benjamin Blake comes up with in the future.

 

 

 

Press Release : Crystal Lake Publishing : Twice Upon an Apocalypse

Twice Upon An Apocalypse

Edited by Rachel Kenley & Scott T. Coudsward

These aren’t your mother’s fairy tales. Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we’re pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.

The stories in Twice Upon an Apocalypse will scare and delight “Children” of all ages!

Twice Upon an Apocalypse is one of the most refreshingly inventive, entertaining, thoughtful (and thought-provoking), not to mention unnerving anthologies I’ve read in years.”Gary A. Braunbeck

Watch the latest episode of Beneath the Lake videocast, with host Todd Keisling interviewing TWICE UPON AN APOCALYPSE contributors, Armand Rosamilia and Bracken MacLeod:

Press Release : Twice Upon An Apocalypse from Crystal Lake Publishing

Twice Upon An Apocalypse

Edited by Rachel Kenley & Scott T. Coudsward

These aren’t your mother’s fairy tales.Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we’re pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.

The stories in Twice Upon an Apocalypse will scare and delight “Children” of all ages!

Twice Upon an Apocalypse is one of the most refreshingly inventive, entertaining, thoughtful (and thought-provoking), not to mention unnerving anthologies I’ve read in years.”Gary A. Braunbeck

Watch the latest episode of Beneath the Lake videocast, with host Todd Keisling interviewing TWICE UPON AN APOCALYPSE contributors, Armand Rosamilia and Bracken MacLeod: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzrPckuRO2A&feature=youtu.be

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/…/35238942-twice-upon-an-apocalyp…

Shirt: http://crystallakepub.storenvy.com/products/19917797-clp-twice-upon-an-apocalypse-t-shirt

Interview with Armand Rosamilia: http://www.crystallakepub.com/2017/05/28/the-deep-end-interview-with-armand-rosamilia/

Press Release : Twice Upon An Apocalypse from Crystal Lake Publishing

Twice Upon An Apocalypse

Edited by Rachel Kenley & Scott T. Coudsward

These aren’t your mother’s fairy tales. Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we’re pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.

The stories in Twice Upon an Apocalypse will scare and delight “Children” of all ages!

Twice Upon an Apocalypse is one of the most refreshingly inventive, entertaining, thoughtful (and thought-provoking), not to mention unnerving anthologies I’ve read in years.”Gary A. Braunbeck

Watch the latest episode of Beneath the Lake videocast, with host Todd Keisling interviewing TWICE UPON AN APOCALYPSE contributors, Armand Rosamilia and Bracken MacLeod: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzrPckuRO2A&feature=youtu.be

Introduction by Gary A. Braunbeck
“The Pied Piper of Providence” by
William Meikle
“The Three Billy Goats Sothoth” by
Peter N. Dudar
“Little Maiden of the Sea” by
David Bernard
“The Great Old One and the Beanstalk” by
Armand Rosamilia
“In the Shade of the Juniper Tree” by J .P. Hutsell
“The Horror at Hatchet Point” by
Zach Shephard
“The Most Incredible Thing” by
Bracken MacLeod
“Let Me Come In!” by
Simon Yee
“The Fishman and His Wife” by
Inanna Arthen
“Little Match Mi-Go” by
Michael Kamp
“Follow the Yellow Glyph Road” by
Scott T. Goudsward
“Gumdrop Apocalypse” by Pete Rawlik
“Curiosity” by
Winifred Burniston
“The Ice Queen” by
Mae Empson
“Once Upon a Dream” by
Matthew Baugh
“Cinderella and Her Outer Godfather” by
C.T. Phipps
“Donkeyskin” by
KH Vaughan
“Sweet Dreams in the Witch-House” by
Sean Logan
“Fee Fi Old One” by
Thom Brannan
“The King on the Golden Mountain” by
Morgan Sylvia
“The Legend of Creepy Hollow” by Don D’Ammassa

Links

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2s8wknN

Official Launch Page (includes a sample): http://www.crystallakepub.com/apocalypse/

Thunderclap: http://bit.ly/2qBHfrR

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/…/35238942-twice-upon-an-apocalyp…

Shirt: http://crystallakepub.storenvy.com/products/19917797-clp-twice-upon-an-apocalypse-t-shirt

Interview with Armand Rosamilia: http://www.crystallakepub.com/2017/05/28/the-deep-end-interview-with-armand-rosamilia/

David’s Haunted Library: Monsters In Our Wake and Beatrice Beecham’s Cryptic Crypt

Some people think of space as the final frontier but we have another unexplored area that is a lot closer to us. The deepest part of the ocean is still a mystery and who knows what kind of creatures live down there. In the deep waters of the South Pacific an oil drilling ship is about to find what lurks bellow and they will be very sorry they disturbed it. The ship lowers its drill into the territory of  a family of Nokkens who hate humans with a passion.

The Nokkens are more intelligent than humans think and in their minds its the humans who are the inferior creatures.  In retaliation for invading their space, one of the Nokkens attacks the ship leaving it disabled and thousands of miles away from anyone who can help. Now the humans are starting to turn on the lone woman on the ship, marine biologist Flora Duchovney Flora begins to wonder if the worst monsters are on the ship or in the depths of the ocean.

The first thing that sticks out about Monsters In Our Wake by J.H Moncrieff is that the book starts from the monster’s point of view. Right off the bat that made this book better than your average horror novel. The point of view shifts from the Nokken to Flora, to the members of the ship’s crew. The big question in this book is who really is the monster? The Nokkens, the humans, or both.

The who is the monster theme lasts throughout this book. We get to hear about how the Nokkens hate the humans because of the damage they have done to the ocean and its creatures. Another reason why the Nokkens think of humans as monsters is because they kill each other, which to them is insane. We see this start to play out on the ship as well when the crew become desperate. The Nokkens show how they can be monsters too though as they teach the humans lessons in respect.

Flora was my favorite character in the book because despite things being bad for her she is the strongest character. When things go wrong she takes the blame whether it was her fault or not and at one point she even gets labeled as a witch because the rest of the crew believes she summoned the monster. What I found most interesting about her though is when we see her having an anxiety attack as she wonders about how she will survive and get back to her son at home. Though when things get worse on the ship she does what she needs to do and has no problem with her anxiety.

There was a lot to like about Monsters In Our Wake, the book is a lot of fun. While it’s mostly a horror novel with a deep meaning to it, it has a little humor to it also. There are some unanswered questions about the creatures that I would like to know, but it didn’t take anything away from the overall story. The characters have a lot of depth to them, they are shades of gray instead of black and white. The Nokkens have done some terrible things to the humans, but also show compassion. On the other hand, some of the humans have shown that they have a heart but do some evil things as well. The only one who can be described as good is Flora and she comes across as the most interesting character in the book. Despite some minor flaws, this was an entertaining read and I’m hoping to read more from J.H. Moncrieff in the future.

Dorsal Finn is a strange place sitting on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. Weird things seem to happen there and it has its fair share of odd characters. For one thing, there is a dark entity living under the bizarre little town and it seems to have created a magnet for people who have evil agendas. Luckily, 15-year-old Beatrice Beecham and her friends are on the scene and ready to solve mysteries and stop evil, dead in its tracks. Beatrice and her friends call themselves the Newshounds and they are a force to be reckoned with.

This adventure has its beginnings way back during World War 2 when two young girls rescue a German scientist who is working on an invention to change the world. The scientist didn’t survive the war but a part of him may have. Flash forward to the present, one of the young girls who saved him is now an elderly woman and is hearing the scientist’s voice in her hearing aid. Underneath the Dorsal Finn Library lies something that can change the world and someone sinister is looking for it. To make matters worse, an organization called the Blue Thunder Foundation is having a strange effect on the town. It’s up to Beatrice and her friends to figure out what’s happening in Dorsal Finn.

Beatrice Beecham’s Cryptic Crypt by Dave Jeffery is a complex supernatural mystery novel aimed at a Y.A. audience. There is so much going on in the plot that its hard to describe it without leaving things out. This is a book that both adults and kids will like and it will really test your ability to pay attention. Because if you blink you will miss something. What I really enjoyed about this book was how the senior citizens and the kids work together to save their town. I also like that there is a historical fiction aspect to the book as it gets into the history of the Nazis and their dealings with the occult.

This book has several themes running throughout it and most appealing is the importance of friendship and how to deal with bullies. There were a couple of scenes where Beatrice and friends stand up to adult bullies and bully their own age. In one case the newshounds help a deaf girl who is being mistreated by the town bully and accept her into their group despite her differences. It doesn’t work out as they planned which was my favorite part of the book that I don’t want to give away, but the main point is that nothing keeps true friends apart.

The only problems I had with this book was I kept wondering if kids are really this nice, some of their conversations are so nice that it seemed unreal to me. Also, there was a point about half way through the book where I felt the author was adding way too many complex ideas to the story and he really needed to add a little suspense. The suspense comes though in the last third of the book as the story goes from historical mystery to action adventure. Beatrice Beecham’s Cryptic Crypt is a good book to give to a teenager who doesn’t like reading. With the great adult and kid characters and the excellent story, it’s almost guaranteed to get a non reader to start a love of reading.

David’s Haunted Library: Alethia and Drawing Dead

Little Ridge is an odd little town, there is an island somewhere off the coast but no one seems to remember where it is. It all started when a couple of the town’s residents started to disappear. One day Thettie Harper and her family discover one of the missing people it causes problems within the whole town. Thettie’s one ally is Lee and it’s up to them to find answers.

What really might be causing the problems in the town is the lake itself. There is something evil in that lake below the island that is haunting Little Ridge This is a book about the horror of losing your memory, what we leave behind and terror itself.

Aletheia by J.S. Breukelaar is about the damage that has been done and the damage that will happen. The story has elements of the supernatural and a love story to it. This is a complex character driven novel that you really have to pay attention to in order to get all the details right. Most of all I loved the mood of the story and the fact that it has to deal with how choices we made in the past change how thing will be in the present. Aletheia is a book that builds slowly to a good ending and if you like a well thought out ghost story you will like it.

http://www.crystallakepub.com/

Faolan O’Connor grew up in New York City and joined the mob at an early age. He worked as a hired killer in order to get power, respect, and money, but little by little it destroyed his family and everything he loved. One fateful night in 1935 he goes out to perform his last hit, hoping to die in the process. What he gets instead is immortality from a vampire and the boss of New York, Darcy Killian. Faolan’s whole world changes but not how you think it would.

Faolan already led a life of violence and destruction, but as a vampire, his feelings start to change. He wants power but he wants to help his city too. The only way he can do that is by taking down the boss of New York, Killian. He may have a lot of enemies but he makes a lot of friends on the way, if he plays his cards right he may get redemption and the power he desires.

Drawing Dead by Brian McKinley is a novel about vampire mobsters set during The Great Depression in New York City. Just the way this novel feels when you start reading, hooked me right away. The Way Brian describes the surroundings and the characters showed that he really did his homework on what life was like in organized crime and in the Depression. When you read this book you feel like you are right there with the characters and you know them personally.

It’s hard to pick out my favorite scenes in this book since there were so many. The one I loved was after Faolan wins a promotion from his boss, he decides to return to his mother’s home because he feels the need to reconcile with all of the evil and destruction he has caused in the past. When he gets there he finds that his mother has passed and there are squatters living in his boyhood home. At this point, he has to decide to let his vampire instincts kick in and kill the family or have mercy on them. What he does is a total surprise and shows how Faolan is evolving as a character. Another part that really stands out is a scene where a vampire named Frank shows that he is not the evil monster that we think he is, but if you find out his secret, it could be the last secret you ever find out.

There is also a great scene where Killian shows Faolan what he has planned for the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Killian’s vision sounds like it’s a step in the direction of what America is like in the present day with small businesses becoming a thing of the past and corporations running everything. As Faolan is hearing this, he is thinking that he doesn’t like this New York of the future and loves his city the way it is. While reading this I found myself wondering how Faolan would change as a character when he reaches the present day. Since he is a vampire he would still be around.

Drawing Dead could be considered a masterpiece, It’s a tale of redemption that works as a horror novel, a crime novel and it fits nicely into the historical fiction category. Though what really makes this novel great is how complex the characters are. Each of them has good and bad points, even the main villain doesn’t come across as pure evil. This was a novel that for me was hard to put down and you don’t have to be a vampire or organized crime fan to love it, my favorite parts were all the references to the 1930’s. Brian McKinley is an author to watch in the future and there will be more books to come in this series.