Book Review: It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life

It’s Alive: Bringing Your Nightmares to Life
Ed. Joe Myhnardt and Eugene Johnson, Crystal Lake Publishing

4/5 stars

What If? That’s how this collection of essays opens. What if some of the best authors in the business decide to pass on their expertise to those following in their path? Answer: You get this book, an invaluable selection of hints, tips and sometimes, demands on everything from character creation to plotting to submission. For me, as well as the writing tips, I enjoyed the sections dealing with creating and editing anthologies and also how NOT to speak to an editor.

Advice is given and yes, some conflicts as writers have different methods, eg plot v character, one or two drafts or multiple. It’s up to you to take what you want from this – or not, although there is one golden rule that ALL promote – show not tell.

With each essay, it was as if the author(s) were sat in the room with you, chatting about their craft as to an equal. All remember where they came from in writing terms, there is no superiority, no patronising or condescension. They are us and hopefully, those who read this will one day become them.

Book Review: The Ghost Club by William Meikle

The Ghost Club is a curious group of stories written by William Meikle, but in styles of classic authors. The author uses a fictional supper club in which all the famous writers of old have come to tell their tales as a thread to link each of these short stories together.

From Arthur Conan Doyle and Henry James to Margaret Oliphant and Mark Twain, these tales mimic the style of each author as if they were written by them. Meikle knows his literature and does a fantastic job imitating these greats. There is a lot to love in this book if you’re a sucker for spooky tales.

Some of my favorites were:

“Wee Davie Makes a Friend” in the style of Robert Louis Stevenson
A haunting tale about an ill boy where his father is unusually cruel about a little toy that seems to be making him feel better.

“In the House of the Dead” in the style of Bram Stoker
The tale of an interesting house with rooms where loved ones can see their dead. However the dead may also be able to steal the life from them.

“Farside” in the style of Herbert George Wells
In a very Time Machine-ish tale, gentlemen at a dinner party see the Northern Lights and soon after are introduced to a machine that can see a person’s aura. When one person’s aura is different than the rest and he dies, the inventor thinks his contraption can see—or may be the cause of—death.

“The Scrimshaw Set” in the style of Henry James
A gentleman buys a scrimshaw chess set that hypnotizes him into a Cthulhu-like obsession with chess.

“To the Manor Born” in the style of Margaret Oliphant
A maid hears mysterious singing and discovers the ghost of the master’s mistress and ghost child.

There are others that were interesting like “Born of Ether” in the style of Helena P. Blavatsky which uses the old fairy tale troupe of the shadow stealing a person’s life and “The Angry Ghost” in the style of Oscar Wilde which I found comical as a young boy is told not to believe in ghosts by the very granny who turns into a ghost.

Overall this is a delightful handful of ghost stories and seems to be one of those books you could enjoy reading aloud to each other.

Press Release: Beyond Night

Bigfoot War mixed with Lovecraftian horror
on the edge of the Roman Empire from Crystal Lake Publishing (paperback & Kindle)

An Epic Fantasy tale of action, adventure, heroism, horror and sorcery…

Beyond Night is a Dark Fantasy Horror novel that pulls back the veil of nearly two thousand years of jaded history. Come trod in the bloody footprints left by monsters, soldiers and wizards and behold what lies hidden Beyond Night itself.

How could Rome lose a Legion? What could’ve happened to blot out the existence of over five thousand men not only from history but the Earth itself?

As the Legion moves north to engage the forces of Pictdom, a dark horror emerges from the bowels of the Earth. Thought to be random attacks by hulking monsters, Decurion August soon learns a dire truth, that these bloody events are directed by opposing the wizards of the Picts. While one side assembles all tribes in a confederated army to battle the Legion, the other pulls these Greyman beasts from the depths of the Earth.

August fights not only these creatures and workers of magicks, but internal passions in the Legion itself.

Can he discover a way to survive the enormous bloodletting about to take place that will only serve to satisfy the wizards of Pictdom?

Fans of David Gemmell will lap up this earthy, brutal fantasy.” – William Meikle, The Ghost Club

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.
To find out more, go to:

Beneath The Lake Videocast




The official Crystal Lake Publishing videocast, hosted by Todd Keisling. Beneath the Lake will delve into the minds behind Crystal Lake’s titles: authors, editors, and artists, all eager to share their expertise and take on the horror genre in a fun and exciting look behind the scenes of publishing. The third broadcast features several ‘Writers On Writing, Vol 4’ contributors. Join Todd as he talks with authors Stephanie M. Wytovich and Patrick Freivald.



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