Once Upon a Scream Special Edition Pack

HorrorAddicts.net Press is proud to announce that we have special edition favor packs for our 4th anthology entitled Once Upon a Scream. This book is edited by Dan Shaurette and it takes the classic fairy tales that you grew up with and gives them a horror twist.

ORDER NOW and get:

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18-PIECE FAVOR PACK
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  • Once Upon a Scream book

  • 18-piece special edition favor pack!

  • Signatures of the authors inside including: Emerian Rich, Dan Shaurette, Laurel Anne Hill, J. Malcolm Stewart, and Shannon Lawrence

While supplies last!

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$15.00 USD gets you the book, favor pack, and includes shipping and handling inside the continental US.
For foreign orders, please email for shipping costs.

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OnceUponAScreamFront Once Upon a Scream

…there was a tradition of telling tales with elements of the fantastic along with the frightful. Adults and children alike took heed not to go into the deep, dark woods, treat a stranger poorly, or make a deal with someone-or something-without regard for the consequences. Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it.

From wish-granting trolls, to plague curses, and evil enchantresses, these tales will have you hiding under the covers in hopes they don’t find you. So lock your doors, shutter your windows, and get ready to SCREAM.

A return to darker foreboding fairy tales not for children.
Not everyone lives happily ever after.

 

HorrorAddicts.net Press

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: Chantal Boudreau

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a ScreamRemember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Chantal Boudreau and recently talked to us about her writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFrontMy story is called “Without Family Ties” and it’s about a man who sees his family line coming to end, so he uses ritual magic to try to preserve it, with unpleasant consequences.

What inspired the idea?

I wanted to write something with a theme similar to Pinocchio, yet having a sinister, modern flavour. I decided to research ritual dolls and fertility magic, and the results inspired my story.

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I could read. I won prizes for my stories in junior high and high school, so I kept at, but I’ve only been working to get published for the last six years.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I’m a speculative fiction writer at heart, and I lean towards the dark and edgy. I enjoy multi-layered flawed characters and reluctant heroes – someone to whom the reader might be able to relate

What are some of your influences?

One of my bigger influences was Tanith Lee. I loved her Red as Blood story collection, which had10792270 horror and dark fantasy fairy tale mash-ups. I’m also a fan of a variety of mythological and traditional tales. They are the foundation of today’s speculative fiction.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

Horror is cathartic. It generates negative emotion – fear, anger, sadness, disgust – but when you’re done reading, you get to leave all that behind. You get the relief of knowing none of it was real and you can look at reality in a more positive light.

What are some of the works you have available?

I’ve published several dozen works, including novels, most of which are now out of print. But there are still quite a few anthologies out there with my stories in them, like the Deathlehem trilogy, Dead North and other zombie anthologies, and My Favorite Apocalypse. There are even some non-fiction collections containing articles by me, such as Horror Addicts Guide to Life.

13371591What are you currently working on?

I’ve been working mostly on short fiction lately.  My current work-in-progress is a horror tale called The Reluctant Collector about a debt collector who hates his job to begin with and then ends up cursed to despise it, and one of his co-workers in particular, even more.  It drives him past the breaking point, and chaos ensues.

Where can we find you online?

Links:

Website: Website

Facebook: Facebook

Amazon Author Page: Amazon Author Page

Twitter: Twitter

Scribd.com: Scribd.com

Goodreads Author Page: Goodreads

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: V.E. Battaglia

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is V.E. Battaglia and recently he talked to us about his writing:
What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFrontMy story is called “The Boy and his Teeth,” and it’s about a young boy who loses his first tooth and learns about the do’s and don’ts of dealing with the Tooth Fairy.

What inspired the idea?

Basically, I woke up one day and thought to myself, “Is there a proper story about the tooth fairy?” I wish I could say it was more complex than that, but it was a genuine curiosity. Of course, when I say a “proper story,” I mean an old, original Grimm’s Fairy Tale. I grabbed my volume of Grimm’s and read through a bunch of them and I didn’t see a single thing. So, I scratched out the first draft on the spot, which was extremely stylized. It was entirely in the Grimm’s tradition. I later did some editing to make it a bit more modern, but I still have (and really like) that original draft.

When did you start writing?

I started writing (if you could call it that) when I was rather young. My mother worked at a bakery at one point when I was a kid and, depending on her shift and my school schedule, sometimes I would end up spending some time there with her. In their stock room, which smelled mostly of a strange mix of dough and cardboard, they had an old typewriter. It was a little beaten up, but it still worked. I was barely old enough to spell my name, but I used to sit down there and type out “stories” to tell her later.
What are your favorite topics to write about?

I’m not really picky, if I’m being honest. It’s more a matter of what fits in with whatever I have in 27832260mind. Obviously, I’m attracted to dark topics. I’m into monsters and ghosts and aliens and all the things that mash into the category labeled “Horror,” but I especially like if I can somehow tie them together with the psychological aspects of a character. So much of what makes something horrific is within an individual. It’s very personal. I think the writing should reflect that, if at all possible.

What are some of your influences? 

I love Clive Barker. He’s a big personal favorite, primarily because he knows exactly how to walk the line between what is attractive and repulsive. And he doesn’t cheapen it. He shows it to you in all of its glory. He doesn’t look away from the scary parts. That’s a line I stole from Jack Ketchum. Jack Ketchum is another influence. He once described his visceral brand of writing very simply. He said most authors write-up to the point of a terrible thing happening, and then they look away from it and divert you somewhere else while it’s happening. In his case, he just doesn’t look away. It was more eloquently stated by him, of course, but I love that idea. I don’t have the same freedoms as those big names, but whenever possible, I do my best not to look away. And then there’s Thomas Harris. You can sum him up in a single name: Hannibal Lecter. His novels are a master class in character development. Oh, and of course, obligatory Stephen King reference.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

28699646That is such a difficult question. I can babble for days about this and never be done. One thing that I love about horror is that it is so reflective. We always place ourselves in the situation in a horror story. How many times have you heard someone say, “If I was there, I would have moved out of that house. Just move out!” Probably every time there’s a sudden ghost appearance. Or, “Why is she just standing there? I would have been GONE the second that thing showed up.” I’d guess every time the hulking terror descends from the rafters with drool flowing down its many teeth. (Yes, I’m still questioning why Lambert just stands there in Alien. RUN!) I think horror forces its audience into the shoes of the characters more so than any other genre. You’re not just a spectator. You’re there. And that’s because we often see pieces of ourselves in the characters. Everyone, like it or not, has been in a situation that made them a little nervous at some point and chosen to stay. Just like the people in the haunted house. And everyone has frozen at the sight of something terrible and shocking. Just like Lambert. They’re universal experiences. We can all relate. We see shades of ourselves somewhere in the characters. And that’s the scariest part.

What are some of the works you have available?

I have a story called “The Well,” that was published in the Zen of the Dead anthology through Popcorn Press. That released this past Halloween. It’s a fun collection of stories and horror-themed poetry to celebrate the Halloween season. There’s some really cool stuff in there. A bit more recently, Cohesion Press released another anthology in their SNAFU series called SNAFU: Hunters. I have a story in that one called, “Outbreak.” That one is a military-horror anthology and it’s really awesome. I liked every single story in it. It’s a very unique and varied anthology with all manners of ghosts, ghouls and monsters to deal with in all different time frames and settings.

What are you currently working on?

Right now, I’m working on a bunch of projects at once. Without getting into too much detail, I have a story in the works that deals directly with the Halloween season and with its mythos. That one is a lot of work, but its such fun too. I’m also working on another piece that involves a woman who wakes up one day and finds a small hole in her wall that wasn’t there the day before. Maybe she ignores it. Maybe she gets curious and tries to figure out why it’s there. Hard to say. But you know what they say about curiosity and cats, right?

Where can we find you online?

I literally had no social media presence up until very, very recently. I’ve always felt like part of the mystery of a story is also in the mystery of the author. What’s the fun in asking “Who thinks of this stuff?!” when you can literally look up their life story, right? At the same time, if you can’t find me, that’s pretty useless for everyone. So, in light of that, I’ve started up a Twitter page (twitter.com/vebattaglia) and a WordPress (vebattaglia.wordpress.com). Twitter is a bit of a mystery to me. Part of me wants to publish a piecemeal story there. Part of me wonders if it will devolve into me complaining about my pen running out of ink. WordPress is going to feature everything from random updates to little behind the scenes stories about the origins of difference pieces I get published. There might even be one there now… Who knows?

 

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: Wayne Faust

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Wayne Faust and recently he talked to us about his writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFrontMy story is called “Old And In the Way.” It is the closing tale in the book. It’s about a very prominent character in horror fiction at the tale end (pun intended) of his life. If I told you what character it is, it would ruin the surprise.

What inspired the idea?

I’ve always wondered about characters in books, especially ones I’m fond of, after the action in the books take place. I’ve always liked spooky, atmospheric stories, so I continued that feel from the original book the character appeared in.
When did you start writing?

I’ve been a full-time music and comedy performer for 40 years, playing in 39 states and overseas. When you’re on the road, you have some time to write. One night I had a very vivid dream in which I pictured the last scene of a story concerning werewolves. The next morning I was compelled to write some of it down. After taking an adult ed class about writing, and after many re-writes, that story saw the light of day as “Promised Land,” appearing in a horror anthology in Australia. It was also performed live on stage in Denver for a literary series that continues to this day. Your readers can read the story online for free at my fiction page.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

Most of my stories are character-driven science-fiction and horror. I like writing about time travel, Tales8-3-cover-bigmonsters, alternate history, and lots more. Many of them spring from “What if…?”
What are some of your influences?

My favorite writer has always been Ray Bradbury, especially in the poetic way he tells a story. Craft is very important to me and I love the rhythm of words and sentences. I was also a big fan of Rod Serling. All that being said, there continues to be a lot of new, great writers coming around these days. I find some of them through self-published works on Amazon. I recently finished “The Island” series by Michael Stark and it was very good.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

I love atmospheric, spooky tales that make me pull up the covers at night. I especially love stories that go in a direction I haven’t seen before.

What are some of the works you have available?

fictionvale 2I’ve written two full-length books that are available on www.waynefaust.com. One is an entertaining memoir of life as a resort performer called “Thirty Years Without A Real Job” and the other is “12 Parables,” a Christian book from healthy Life Press. I have completed two parts of a three-part apocalyptic, YA novel and am hoping for a mainstream publisher for that one. Most of the over 40 short stories I’ve had published in various places are available to read for free http://www.picklehead.com/wayne/wayne_stories.html. I plan to release several books of short stories soon, so if you want to read these for free, it would be a good idea to do it now!
What are you currently working on?

The above-mentioned novel project. Also, I’m co-writing a space-horror novel with fellow Colorado writer Charles Anderson. We’re about 1/3 of the way through and hope to have it completed by the end of the summer. It’s coming along really well.
Where can we find you online?

Main website: www.waynefaust.com

Fiction page: http://www.picklehead.com/wayne/wayne_stories.html.

Once Upon a Scream now on Kindle!

HorrorAddicts.net Press is proud to announce that our 4th anthology entitled Once Upon a Scream is now on Kindle! This book is edited by Dan Shaurette and it takes the classic fairy tales that you grew up with and gives them a horror twist.

Once Upon a Scream

OnceUponAScreamFront…there was a tradition of telling tales with elements of the fantastic along with the frightful. Adults and children alike took heed not to go into the deep, dark woods, treat a stranger poorly, or make a deal with someone-or something-without regard for the consequences. Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it.

From wish-granting trolls, to plague curses, and evil enchantresses, these tales will have you hiding under the covers in hopes they don’t find you. So lock your doors, shutter your windows, and get ready to SCREAM.

A return to darker foreboding fairy tales not for children.
Not everyone lives happily ever after.

Stories include:

“The Black Undeath” by Shannon Lawrence: There was a plague no one speaks about, one much worse than the Black Death. “The Black Undeath” combines the ravages of the plague and leprosy with the tale of Rumpelstiltskin.

Shannon Lawrence is  a fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy,  You can find her at thewarriormuse.com

“Melody of Bones” by Nickie Jamison:  This is a delightful mashup of the German tales of the “Singing Bone” and “The Pied Piper of Hamlin.” Death can make beautiful music.

Nickie Jamison’s erotic fiction has been published in the Coming Together Among the Stars and the Coming Together Outside the Box anthologies.

“The Godmother’s Bargain” by Alison McBain: This story is based on Cinderella but instead of relying on a fairy godmother, Cinderella makes a deal with the devil.

Alison McBain  has over thirty publications in magazines and anthologies. You can read her blog at alisonmcbain.com

“Leila” by Dan Shaurette: This is a story about vampires and an old witch that lives in a haunted forest in a far away land.

Dan Shaurette is a goth-geek from Phoenix, AZ and he is the writer of  Black Magic and
Black Jack, you can visit him at: MattBlackBooks.com

“Nothing to Worry About” by Charles Frierman: Nothing killed Old Smelty, don’t let it kill you too.

Charles Frierman is  works as a children’s storyteller at the local library, but writing has always been
his passion.

“The Cursed Child” by C.S. Kane: Witches do what they must to save a child.

C.S. Kane’s debut horror novella, Shattered is out now. You can find out more about her at: http://www.cskane.com/

“The Healer’s Gift” by Lynn McSweeney: A pale boy with a whiff of the uncanny begs admission to a wounded healer’s cottage just before sunrise, conjuring her darkest fears of who – or what – he may be.

Lynn McSweeney writes mostly horror, fantasy, and science-fiction, or a blend of them, with an occasional foray into erotica.

“Briar” by K.L. Wallis: “Briar” is the story of a man who is lost deep in a mythical Black Forest, where he stumbles upon an abandoned fairy-tale palace with a forgotten sleeping beauty

K.L. Wallis  writes gothic fiction, high fantasy, mythological fiction, and
contemporary folk-lore you can find her at: https://restrictedquill.wordpress.com

“Curse of the Elves” by Sara E. Lundberg: This story gives a horrifying spin on the old tale “The Shoemaker and the Elves.” What if the elves were grotesque murderers and you wanted them to go away.

Sara E. Lundberg  writes and edits primarily fantasy and horror. She is also an editor and contributor for the Confabulator Cafe. You can find her online at SELundberg.com

“Lake Tiveden” by MD Maurice: The modern retelling of the legend of Tiveden and the epic encounter between a fisherman, his daughter and the fearsome Nokken.

MD Maurice has been writing and publishing erotic, Dark Fantasy and mainstream fiction since early 2001. She has been previously published in several print anthologies

“Wax Shadow” by Emerian Rich: Horror fairytale modern retelling of “The Shadow” by Hans Christian Andersen.

Emerian Rich is the author of the vampire book series, Night’s Knights, and Artistic License. You can find her at: http://emzbox.com/

“Without Family Ties” by Chantal Boudreau: This is a modern horror tale based on the story of Pinocchio.

Chantal Boudreau is a  member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy. You can find her at: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

“Commanding the Stones” by Laurel Anne Hill: A murder, a troubled marriage, a mysterious benefactor and a Russian fairy tale add up to terror and redemption in the sewers of Paris.

Laurel Anne Hill’s award-winning novel, Heroes Arise, was published by KOMENAR in 2007. You can find her at: http://www.laurelannehill.com/

“Gollewon Ellee” by DJ Tyrer: Two young girls follow the Gollewon Ellee, Fairy Lights, and discover that not only are the Fair Folk real, they are stranger and more sinister than they imagined.

DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing and has been widely published in anthologies and magazines in the UK, USA and elsewhere His website is: http://djtyrer.blogspot.co.uk/

“Mr. Shingles” by J. Malcolm Stewart: Bay Area boys meeting with a certain rhyming troll who may or may not still be living under the Carquinez Bridge.

J. Malcolm Stewart is a Northern California-based author, journalist and marketing professional. He is the author of several novels and short story collections. http://about.me/jaymal

“The Boy and His Teeth” by V. E. Battaglia: A cautionary tale against deceiving the Tooth Fairy.

V. E. Battaglia is primarily writes Science Fiction and Horror. His work can be found in the Zen of the Dead anthology from Popcorn Press and in the SNAFU: Hunters anthology.

“The Other Daughter” by Adam L. Bealby: It’s nice to see Hannah looking her old self, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The problem is Hannah – the real Hannah – with her black nails and even blacker attitude, she’s already upstairs…

Adam L. Bealby writes weird fiction leaning heavily into fantasy, horror and arch satire. He dabbles in stories for children too. His short stories and comic work have been published in numerous anthologies. Find him at: @adamskilad

“Old and in the Way” by Wayne Faust: Atmospheric tale about an old man who can no longer do his duty.

Wayne Faust has been a full time music and comedy performer for over 40 years. While on the road performing he also writes fiction. You can find him at: www.waynefaust.com

HorrorAddicts.net Press

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: Adam L. Bealby

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well, they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Adam L. Bealby and recently he talked to us about his writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFrontThe Other Daughter’ is about changelings. And trolls. Or maybe it isn’t. The reader’s vantage point is a single mother struggling with her daughter’s teenage melodramatics. But then another daughter turns up on her doorstep. The same daughter, only how she was before she started wearing black and styling her hair into spikes and going out with some guy called Gerp or Goik.

This other daughter explains that she was kidnapped by trolls a few years back, swapped out for some troll kid – because trolls are lazy-ass creatures and are quite happy to dupe someone else to rear their young. All this time this other daughter has been their slave. But now she’s escaped and returned home to oust the changeling and reclaim her life.

So what’s our weirded-out mother to do?

What inspired the idea?

I love fairy tales, especially the brutal uncensored original versions. I have a few dusty tomes here on my bookshelf with some lovely tipped-in Arthur Rackham plates. So I was playing around with some traditional tales, trying to find a new angle, and it occurred to me that kids change when they hit their teens. Sort of like that scene in American Werewolf in London, only far worse. My daughter’s creeping up to her teens – From a parents point of view I can’t think of anything more terrifying!

When did you start writing?

Ever since I was a kid I’ve kept scrappy notebooks, full of scrappy half-ideas and truncated story beginnings. Having excised a couple of bad books from my system it’s only the last few years I’ve been really pleased with my output.

What are your favorite topics to write about?8255274

I love playing around with different genres, giving them a good stir. I guess most things I write will have an air of the fantastical or macabre about them. I like a bit of arch satire too, even slap-stick. Oh and I’m totally obsessed with imbuing my work with different levels of meaning, even if no one else notices and it’s all in my head! If a story can be interpreted in more than one way, like a certain troll story, say…

What are some of your influences?

259118131980s horror movies (see below), even if the influence isn’t overtly evident in my writing. Michael Moorcock’s had a huge impact on my output. And comics. Boy, do I like comics.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

The fear! Chase the fear! Don’t let it get away! It all began age ten with a load of dusty VHS cassettes I found in my gran’s closet. They were all horror films. I’ve no idea why she had them. She didn’t even like horror. Watching films like Creepshowand The Thing by myself pretty much scared 25911813the living crap out of me. I’ve been chasing that bowel-clenching high ever since, whether on the screen or the printed page.

What are some of the works you have available?

My last published stories have featured in Pagan (Zimbell House Publishing), Darkness Abound (Migla Press), World Unknown Review Vol. 2 and Sirens (World Weaver Press)

But if you liked ‘The Other Daughter’ check out my story in Spooked (Bridge House Publishing).

What are you currently working on?

I’m writing a book-length young adult urban fantasy and touching up a weird holiday story about a couple who can only relate to each other by tormenting their son!

Where can we find you online?
I’m here

And here

Once Upon a Scream Author Spotlight: MD Maurice

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a ScreamRemember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well, they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is MD Maurice and recently talked to us about her writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?
OnceUponAScreamFrontMy story is called “Lake Tividen”. It is basically, a modern retelling of an old legend involving a dangerous Norse water sprite called the Nokken, sometimes referred to as the Water Horse in Norwegian mythology.

What inspired the idea?
The original piece was inspired by a prompt in my writing group where we had to write about mythological creature. I wasn’t familiar with the Nokken, but the more I read about it, the more intrigued I became. I loved the idea that it could take on multiple forms, entice and manipulate through its appearances. There was something very powerful and dark that appealed to me. This particular legend had elements that I really loved. I thought I could twist and expand on in both very visual and visceral ways. It just took off on me and began something bigger. Also, I always loved the ominous nature of those fairytales that promised something wonderful but demanded a higher price than one was prepared to surrender.

When did you start writing?
I started writing publicly in early 2001, that is to say, I starting to pursue publication for my work. I have been writing in some form since I could spell, I think. I can remember as a young girl in middle school, I began writing really terrible poems and cheesy song lyrics. Then, I actually started writing fiction pretty early in adolescence and I was hooked totally on the craft.

What are your favorite topics to write about?
I’ve had some of my adult fiction published over the last several years in erotic horror and sci-fi anthologies. The recent mainstream popularity of works like “Fifty Shades” have made it easier to find markets for that work. I welcome the way erotica lets me freely focus on all the varied emotions and physical connections we have to our passions and our most basic instincts. I do tend to write many stories that are darker in nature. I like that they allow me to explore the shadows and fine lines that reside in all of us. I like things that make me feel uneasy or slightly off-centered because I’m a person with a scientific background who was always taught there is an answer for everything. So, it excites me to think that not everything can be explained so easily. I like the mysterious, the creepy…that thing you thought you just saw out of the corner of your eye… I’m also a pretty active blogger, it keeps the creative juices flowing. It also gives me a venue to write about: parenting, family, travel, other interests and pursuits I enjoy on a daily basis. Plus, I like having some pieces I can still share with family and friends that are more mainstream…with far less blushing and explanations involved!

What are some of your influences?
I’m influenced by so many things and people, but my favorite authors are Gabriel Garza Marquez and Anis Nin. I also love James Lee Burke, Greg Iles, Joe Hill and Gillian Flynn – all very different, but they all do what they do so exceptionally well. I’ve read lines in all their works that have made me just sit back and say, “Good God, that’s so fucking great…” You have to take a few minutes to just absorb the way the words made you feel. I’m also influenced every day by the authors in my writing circles and in my group at Writing.com…So many unrepresented, amateur writers who find success just by keeping the pedal to metal and grinding out amazing material every day, working to make their craft as good as it can be.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?
I love the freedom by not being bound to anything. There are no rules because the unknown and unexplained are so ripe with endless possibilities and fear is so relative. One of my most favorite novels of all time is “Salem’s Lot” by Stephen King. The imagery and descriptive power in that book, and in other early King works, could actually keep me up at night. The story had my heart racing hours after I put the book away. I love that about this genre, it can make me feel something in my gut that stays with me in a real residual way.

What are some of the works you have available?
I’ve had pieces previously published in print in the Rainstorm Press, “Nailed – An Erotic Death Anthology” and also the sci-fi anthology, “Abaculus II” by Leucrota Press. Some of my short stories have been published previously in Bare Back Magazine,  Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, online at Erotic Nights and other sites devoted to erotic fiction. I’ve also had some non-fiction work featured in the River Poets Journal and self-published a children’s book called “Mugsly’s Forever Home” about a rescue mutt. Also, a memoir about my great-grandmother entitled “Claudette’s Lovely Dementia”.

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a horror novel about a succubus demon which ironically just drains me, and a serialized novel about two ladies who run a sinfully sweet chocolate shop. Also, several short nonfiction pieces for upcoming anthologies that focus on loss and addiction. I try to blog every day and have several articles almost ready for submission…fingers crossed! I hope to begin drafting something for the new upcoming HorrorAddicts.net anthology just announced – as I am a huge, huge fan of Alice in Wonderland myself and I’ve very excited for that! I try to be as productive as I can while working full-time in my day job and raising a young daughter…some days I’m better at it than others!

Where can we find you online?1798535_604919092931153_1567880026_n

You can find me online at MD Maurice official. I’m a regular contributor and moderator of the Sensual Infusion group based as Writing.com. You can also find me on Facebook/Mdmaurice and on Twitter @MDmaurice2015.

Once Upon A Scream Author Spotlight: DJ Tyrer

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is DJ Tyrer and recently he talked to us about his writing:

What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

OnceUponAScreamFrontMy story is “Gollewon Ellee” and recounts an encounter with the Fair Folk upon Harley’s Mount, which has been the location of several stories of mine. The title refers to the mysterious fairy lights seen upon the hill.

What inspired the idea?
The story draws upon elements of folklore for the Fair Folk, while the Mount was inspired by a real hill where my grandparents used to live. I didn’t see any fairies there, but it certainly wouldn’t have surprised me if there had been some!

When did you start writing? 

I’ve written since I was a small child (it’s something I’ve always done). I have been writing (semi-)professionally for the last two decades while editing the Atlantean Publishing small press.

What are your favorite topics to write about? 

I am most drawn to horror and folklore (which, naturally, intertwine nicely). Although my stories can take place anywhere around the world and are urban as often as they are rural, I have a special fondness for Harley’s Mount and its environment. Not only have I written several stories set there but also developed a lot of backgrounds (some of which was released in the booklet “A Breedon District Miscellany” through Atlantean Publishing).

What are some of your influences? 

Lovecraft, without a doubt. Writers such as MR James and Jenny Nimmo were very influential on the Harley’s Mount setting. RW Chambers has been a major influence on my other main body of work. Collectors and redactors of folklore and folk history, such as George Ewart Evans, are also a major source of inspiration.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?18375014

The infinite variety, because it is more a mood or way of looking at the world than a genre in the sense of the Western or Steampunk. Horror can be wed to any other genre and take place anywhere, at any time to any degree with ease. Allowing it to constantly mutate and explore the darker recesses of our humanity, always surprising and shocking us in new ways.

What are some of the works you have available?

I have stories a number of anthologies (which can be found on my site) and my novella “The Yellow House” is currently available from Amazon in paperback and on the Kindle. “A Breedon District Miscellany” and “Black & Red” (a collection of urban horror stories, also available in PDF) are available through Atlantean Publishing.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently co-editing a King In Yellow anthology called “A Terrible Thing”. Which should be available at the end of the year while I also have a couple more horror novellas in the works.

Where can we find you online?

You can find my website at DJ Tyrer

Once Upon A Scream Author Spotlight: Shannon Lawrence

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon A ScreamRemember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon A Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Shannon Lawrence and recently talked to us about her writing:

OnceUponAScreamFrontWhat is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?

My story is called The Black Undeath. It combines a mystery illness, born of the plague and leprosy, with Rumpelstiltskin, creating an entirely different sort of zombie. Can the queen discover the creepy little man’s name soon enough to save her infant son from becoming just like him?

What inspired the idea?

Oddly, what inspired the idea never made it into the story. I attended a talk by Connie Willis, in which she mentioned that people in neighboring towns would hear the church bells ringing the number of plague deaths. Eventually, the bells might fall silent. This factoid crept into my head. It was chilling. Can you imagine listening to the plague creeping closer, only to hear the silence fall?

I didn’t just want to talk about the plague, so I did some research. I found out missionaries/priests traveled to leper colonies frequently, and that they were a significant source of the plague getting around to communities, as they traveled everywhere, often being exposed and exposing others before they even knew they’d contracted it. So I wondered what would happen if the plague met leprosy. Then my story was born.

When did you start writing?11707855_951758641533653_102589758655846839_o

Earlier than I can remember for sure, but my love of writing began developing in fifth grade. It was my first time writing to a prompt, which was an exercise my teacher used off and on throughout the year. She frequently singled out my stories, putting them on display.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I’m partial to all things horror, though I’ve yet to write a vampire. A fact which took me by surprise when I realized it. I tend toward Native American mythology in terms of monsters, in both my horror and fantasy. And I’m partial to human monsters, though I write plenty of critters with fur and tentacles.

What are some of your influences?

I hate to sound like a cliche, but Stephen King was my first influence in writing. I consumed his stories from middle school forward. I aspire to be able to write characters with the rich depth his characters show.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

71N9-A84f4L._SL1000_It’s fun. I love to get a rise out of people, to scare them, to make them check over their shoulders or get up to check the windows and doors. I once tormented my family on a late night drive up the Pacific Coast Highway in Oregon, convincing them that we were being followed. We were going through a heavily wooded area, lined here and there with abandoned shops. The moon couldn’t get through the trees. A car behind us kept pace, whether we accelerated or slowed. Not only were the hairs on the back of my neck up by the time I was finished, but my dad was subconsciously pushing the gas pedal further and further toward the floor, even though he knew full well we weren’t being followed.

I find horror cathartic in many ways. What the people in these stories go through is worse than my problems any day. It’s helpful to immerse myself in their fears instead of my own.

What are some of the works you have available?

Most recently, The Deep Dark Woods, an anthology, where you can find my short story The Blue Mist. It’s about a prospector in Estes Park whose job becomes cleaning up the remains left behind by the Blue Mist. But one day he hangs around too long.
 
I also had a piece come out in Devolution Z Magazine. This one is entitled Blue Sludge Blues and involves a tentacled creature in a rest area port-a-potty. 
 
For free reading, I had a little piece published online at The Flash Fiction Press. Nice Night for a Splash is about a not-so-nice woman with her eyes on the prize.
What are you currently working on?
I’m having some fun with a story that started out as an experiment (can I write a story along the lines of horror comedies like Tremors, Lake Placid, and Shaun of the Dead, in which they rely a lot on sight gags?), and has become the start of a novel. I’ll give you a hint: there are squirrels.
Where can we find you online?
I can be found at http://www.thewarriormuse.com/. All my social media links are there.

Once Upon A Scream Author Spotlight: K.L. Wallis

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon A ScreamRemember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon A Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is K.L. Wallis and recently talked to us about her writing:
What is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?
 

OnceUponAScreamFrontMy story is called Briar. It is about a man who gets lost deep in the mythical Black Forest – largely due to his own curiosity – where he stumbles upon a fairy tale castle, and gets trapped. Despite first appearing vacant, the castle’s occupants turn out to be more the stuff of nightmares than of fairy tale.

What inspired the idea?


The idea came from an odd blend of things I had recently read. I am a huge Anne Rice fan, and was inspired by the idea in Interview With A Vampire of the mindless, hollow vampires of Eastern Europe. I also wanted to play on technique, so was opting for a minimalist style as demonstrated by Cormac McCarthy in The Road. I was fascinated by the nameless protagonist and wanted to emulate that. While opting for a minimalist approach, I used more descriptive language in the begging, when things are looking a bit brighter for our protagonist.
When did you start writing? 

I started writing Briar about a year ago for an assessment piece I was working on for university. It actually came together very quickly, and I had the first draft completed in the space of a couple of afternoons.
What are your favorite topics to write about? 

Much of what I write about comes back to mythology and legend. I can’t help myself! I tend to use very Gothic techniques in my prose, even when I am not writing ‘Gothic fiction’ per se.

What are some of your influences?

I am most often inspired by other literature. Sometimes by something as minor as a word I want to play with on the page, or a phrase which comes to mind. I like to explore things, particularly motives. I don’t like bad guys who are bad for the sake of it, I like to ‘justify’ and rationalize the irrational. Or, as I mentioned earlier, I am often influenced to write simply to experiment with technique. To quote Picasso, “learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,” – my favorite quote and personal motto as a writer.

 

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

In fear of suddenly becoming very unpopular, I wouldn’t say that I am particularly drawn to all horror, but I have always had a deep affinity for vampires and the spiritual. I just don’t like ugly bad guys! Zombies are definitely not my thing! Perhaps that’s my own vanity speaking, but there is something about a beautiful immortal villain which is so enticing. I think vampires represent the darker side of human nature, which in itself is fascinating. Also, as mentioned, I am a fan of Gothic techniques in literature, and so this genre is inadvertently very much my playground. My motivation to write horror isn’t so much about blood and gore, but more so about creating a sense of suspense and apprehension – to keep the reader hanging on what may be around the corner.

 
What are some of the works you have available?

Briar is my first publication, but it will not be my last! I am currently working on a couple of short stories in other genres which I am hoping to submit for publication soon – time permitting.

What are you currently working on?Pic

I have several things in the works at the moment. I am undergoing post-graduate study (Honours) in Creative Writing, so my exegesis and creative artifact for that are precedent at the moment. I am looking at bending the boundaries of perspective, so I am focusing on two pieces with non-living narrators. As is the nature of Honours, this is likely to change greatly within the next year and a half/two years. I am also re-writing one of the Greek myths, which is turning out to be one of my greatest challenges so far. Trying to re-create a world which has been and is no more, is an extreme challenge. Especially with the complexity of Greek mythology. I am also writing a short story about a girl with multiple personalities, a chic lit novel, and (when I finally get around to completing it) a vampire novel set in the days of Jack the Ripper.

Where can we find you online?

I need to increase my online presence, but currently you can find me mainly on Facebook at my business page Restricted Quill, or Restricted Quill’s website: Restrictedquill Official

Press Release: Once Upon a Scream

HorrorAddicts.net Press is proud to announce that we have just released our 4th anthology entitled Once Upon a Scream. This book is edited by Dan Shaurette and it takes the classic fairy tales that you grew up with and gives them a horror twist.

Once Upon a Scream

OnceUponAScreamFront…there was a tradition of telling tales with elements of the fantastic along with the frightful. Adults and children alike took heed not to go into the deep, dark woods, treat a stranger poorly, or make a deal with someone-or something-without regard for the consequences. Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it.

From wish-granting trolls, to plague curses, and evil enchantresses, these tales will have you hiding under the covers in hopes they don’t find you. So lock your doors, shutter your windows, and get ready to SCREAM.

A return to darker foreboding fairy tales not for children.
Not everyone lives happily ever after.

Stories include:

“The Black Undeath” by Shannon Lawrence: There was a plague no one speaks about, one much worse than the Black Death. “The Black Undeath” combines the ravages of the plague and leprosy with the tale of Rumpelstiltskin.

Shannon Lawrence is  a fan of all things fantastical and frightening, Shannon Lawrence writes primarily horror and fantasy,  You can find her at thewarriormuse.com

“Melody of Bones” by Nickie Jamison:  This is a delightful mashup of the German tales of the “Singing Bone” and “The Pied Piper of Hamlin.” Death can make beautiful music.

Nickie Jamison’s erotic fiction has been published in the Coming Together Among the Stars and the Coming Together Outside the Box anthologies.

“The Godmother’s Bargain” by Alison McBain: This story is based on Cinderella but instead of relying on a fairy godmother, Cinderella makes a deal with the devil.

Alison McBain  has over thirty publications in magazines and anthologies. You can read her blog at alisonmcbain.com

“Leila” by Dan Shaurette: This is a story about vampires and an old witch that lives in a haunted forest in a far away land.

Dan Shaurette is a goth-geek from Phoenix, AZ and he is the writer of  Black Magic and
Black Jack, you can visit him at: MattBlackBooks.com

“Nothing to Worry About” by Charles Frierman: Nothing killed Old Smelty, don’t let it kill you too.

Charles Frierman is  works as a children’s storyteller at the local library, but writing has always been
his passion.

“The Cursed Child” by C.S. Kane: Witches do what they must to save a child.

C.S. Kane’s debut horror novella, Shattered is out now. You can find out more about her at: http://www.cskane.com/

“The Healer’s Gift” by Lynn McSweeney: A pale boy with a whiff of the uncanny begs admission to a wounded healer’s cottage just before sunrise, conjuring her darkest fears of who – or what – he may be.

Lynn McSweeney writes mostly horror, fantasy, and science-fiction, or a blend of them, with an occasional foray into erotica.

“Briar” by K.L. Wallis: “Briar” is the story of a man who is lost deep in a mythical Black Forest, where he stumbles upon an abandoned fairy-tale palace with a forgotten sleeping beauty

K.L. Wallis  writes gothic fiction, high fantasy, mythological fiction, and
contemporary folk-lore you can find her at: https://restrictedquill.wordpress.com

“Curse of the Elves” by Sara E. Lundberg: This story gives a horrifying spin on the old tale “The Shoemaker and the Elves.” What if the elves were grotesque murderers and you wanted them to go away.

Sara E. Lundberg  writes and edits primarily fantasy and horror. She is also an editor and contributor for the Confabulator Cafe. You can find her online at SELundberg.com

“Lake Tiveden” by MD Maurice: The modern retelling of the legend of Tiveden and the epic encounter between a fisherman, his daughter and the fearsome Nokken.

MD Maurice has been writing and publishing erotic, Dark Fantasy and mainstream fiction since early 2001. She has been previously published in several print anthologies

“Wax Shadow” by Emerian Rich: Horror fairytale modern retelling of “The Shadow” by Hans Christian Andersen.

Emerian Rich is the author of the vampire book series, Night’s Knights, and Artistic License. You can find her at: http://emzbox.com/

“Without Family Ties” by Chantal Boudreau: This is a modern horror tale based on the story of Pinocchio.

Chantal Boudreau is a  member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates horror, dark fantasy and fantasy. You can find her at: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

“Commanding the Stones” by Laurel Anne Hill: A murder, a troubled marriage, a mysterious benefactor and a Russian fairy tale add up to terror and redemption in the sewers of Paris.

Laurel Anne Hill’s award-winning novel, Heroes Arise, was published by KOMENAR in 2007. You can find her at: http://www.laurelannehill.com/

“Gollewon Ellee” by DJ Tyrer: Two young girls follow the Gollewon Ellee, Fairy Lights, and discover that not only are the Fair Folk real, they are stranger and more sinister than they imagined.

DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing and has been widely published in anthologies and magazines in the UK, USA and elsewhere His website is: http://djtyrer.blogspot.co.uk/

“Mr. Shingles” by J. Malcolm Stewart: Bay Area boys meeting with a certain rhyming troll who may or may not still be living under the Carquinez Bridge.

J. Malcolm Stewart is a Northern California-based author, journalist and marketing professional. He is the author of several novels and short story collections. http://about.me/jaymal

“The Boy and His Teeth” by V. E. Battaglia: A cautionary tale against deceiving the Tooth Fairy.

V. E. Battaglia is primarily writes Science Fiction and Horror. His work can be found in the Zen of the Dead anthology from Popcorn Press and in the SNAFU: Hunters anthology.

“The Other Daughter” by Adam L. Bealby: It’s nice to see Hannah looking her old self, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. The problem is Hannah – the real Hannah – with her black nails and even blacker attitude, she’s already upstairs…

Adam L. Bealby writes weird fiction leaning heavily into fantasy, horror and arch satire. He dabbles in stories for children too. His short stories and comic work have been published in numerous anthologies. Find him at: @adamskilad

“Old and in the Way” by Wayne Faust: Atmospheric tale about an old man who can no longer do his duty.

Wayne Faust has been a full time music and comedy performer for over 40 years. While on the road performing he also writes fiction. You can find him at: www.waynefaust.com

HorrorAddicts.net Press

An Interview With Dan Shaurette

The new season of Horror Addicts is here and for episode 124 Dan Shaurette is co-hosting the show with Emerian Rich. This episode will focus on the latest book from  Horroraddicts.net called Once Upon A Scream. Dan writes Morbid Meals for the Horror Addicts blog and wrote and produced the audio drama Black Jack in season 10 of the horror addicts podcast and Black Magic during season 8 of the podcast. Recently we talked to Dan about Once Upon A Scream and what other things he is working on:

What inspired Once Upon A Scream?

OnceUponAScreamFrontYou can blame Lana Del Rey for this anthology and its title. For the soundtrack to Angelina Jolie’s movie Maleficent, Lana Del Rey recorded a hauntingly dark cover of “Once Upon a Dream”, from Sleeping Beauty. I fell immediately in love with the song as well as the movie, which I thought was a beautiful retelling of the story. It was then that I thought I’d love to read a book of retold fairy tales as horror stories and riffing off the song’s title I came up with “Once Upon a Scream“.

What do you like about fairy tales?

I love fairy tales because they cross so many literary boundaries. They take fables with anthropomorphic ideas as characters and demonstrate a lesson to learn, but then cross over into fantasy and horror as magic and the supernatural play a part in warning the reader. The difference is that “The Tortoise and The Hare” is a fable, but if there was a fairy tale version, perhaps a wicked witch would turn a cocky track star into a rabbit to teach him a lesson in humility.

Do you have a favorite fairy tale?

That’s a very hard call, but of the classics, I would have to say “Little Red Riding Hood”. In essence it is a tale warning readers to follow the known path and to be vigilant against strangers who will try to deceive you. And eat you.

What are some of the fairy tales that are written about in the book?

We opened the anthology to re-imagined classic fairy tales and to new stories with familiar elements. For darker classics we have bloody good versions of Rumpelstiltskin, Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella to name a few. Then we have stories with ghosts, fairies, changelings, doppelgängers, elves, trolls, and more. One story, for example, tells the tale of woe faced by a boy visited by the tooth fairy. He gets a reward for his tooth and eventually becomes greedy (even if he wants to help his family, too), so he crosses a dangerous line acquiring more teeth to trade.

What is your story in the anthology about?

My story, entitled “Leila”, is a medieval tale that warns about the dangers lurking in the deep, dark woods. Of course, since I tend to write stories with vampires, the monster haunting the woods is a vampire. And yet, the vampire saves the protagonist of the story after a tragedy he faced in the woods. Twist!

What are you currently working on?

I recently finished two stories for two other anthologies. One is a steampunk voodoo zombie story featuring Matt Black and Doc MacGillivray, which I hope listeners remember from my audio dramas here on HorrorAddicts. The other is a modern New Year’s Eve story that involves two witches who accidentally wreak a lot of havoc. Both were a lot of fun to write and I hope they are accepted for publication. After that, I have a list of other stories to write.

Where can people find you online?

The easiest place is at DanShaurette.com, but of course I’m also here on HorrorAddicts.net cooking up Morbid Meals.

Free Fiction…Tuesday! We Have Always Lived in Our Heads by Alex S. Johnson

We Have Always Lived in Our Heads

by Alex S. Johnson

giantskullAt first it seemed that we were lost. Abandoned first by our captain, then the first mate, and speedily, the entire crew. Something had spooked them on the shore, in the fog, and they couldn’t wait to scramble down the jointed gray steel ladders into the dinghies and rowboats. Whatever siren or ghost or devil beckoned them from tortured dreams, I still don’t know. But I have my terrible suspicions.

When the storm hit, churning the water into a froth, the skies vast sheets of blackness stuttering flames, we saw them drown. One by one the tiny crafts capsized, and we were helpless as the fierce currents formed whirlpools, sucking the boats in our wake down into a vortex, as tons of water cascaded onto the toy vessels and crushed them like matchsticks.  There was nothing we could do to help them.

Then lightning seized the tackle, and fire streaked down like rivulets of gold. The forecastle began to burn, and the deck smoldered and crackled. The fire seemed like a living thing, so quickly did it consume the wood and canvas. Thick smoke moved through the cabins, and all around me sounded the panicked cries of the other passengers.

I quickly seized a bucket of water and dipped rags, passing them out to my fellows. But they were adults and could endure more.

What worried me most was the children below decks; I feared they would not survive.

They already suffered much terror on the journey, and I thought I could hear them wail through the thick walls of the hold. But I was already delirious from smoke inhalation and could barely keep my head up.

I told myself I needed to keep moving, to save myself before I could render aid to anyone else.

The ship then struck the rocks and the passengers were thrown to the deck, skidding sideways down the slippery planks as the ocean seeped in, and the flames sizzled and snuffed out. The ship groaned and shuddered as it crumpled in on itself.

There was no time left to escape. Those that remained were doomed like the captain and crew to a suffocating, watery death.

Quickly, I grabbed the hand of the passenger nearest me, a young woman named Chelsea–pale skin, ash-blonde hair, sorrowful deep blue eyes. We clutched one another, our hearts beating fast, the water rising on the deck, a ripple of rents yawning in the wood, splinters flying like sparks. The ship lurched again and I must have struck my head on the rigging, because all I remember between that moment and awakening was a merciful dark cloak of unconsciousness.

We had to leave the bodies on the shore; there was no other choice. At first it seemed that without them our tender, smoky forms would simply evaporate, becoming one with the sky and sea. As we proceeded along the sands, the bodies looked like stranded wrecks, flesh sculptures hung thick with draperies of plankton and algae. We couldn’t see our smoke-selves, but found we could communicate telepathically.

And that is when we discovered the heads.

They were titanic, curiously mustachioed and large as houses. We thought they might have been the heads of giants the rest of whom were sunk deep in the surf, but after we had determined that the heads were, if not dead, frozen as in trance, we grew bolder and began to dig around their circumference.

Nothing lay beneath. The heads were self-contained, and whatever life had animated them did not require oxygen or blood flow to thrive.

One of the passengers, a slender young man I came to know as Tony, suddenly cried out. Several of us looked over and saw what had excited him: a passage between the thick, fibrous ropes of mustache hair. Cautiously, we peered within the darkened interior. Expressions of shock, joy and wonder burst from our lips.

These were not merely mammoth heads; they were homes. We found fully equipped kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, attics, crawlspaces, even cozy nooks and dens. We had no idea what material composed the furnishings and rooms; all we knew was it had to be organic.

Over time we settled in, began to build families. Generations of beings made of our smoke-stuff, puffed from vaporous loins, grew from the seeds we planted then. It was clear almost immediately we would have to find other dwellings; if not heads, then at the very least as comfortable and habitable as our original domiciles.

But there were only so many heads. We had a serious housing shortage on what might have been our hands, had we physical form.

Then we remembered the bodies, long abandoned. They would be rotting hulks by now, piles of slick bones. But surely there were others, fresher, to house us.

We selected a small group of our wisest and eldest to make a reconnaissance trip. Their mission was to look for bodies, preferably empty.

When they returned, their report was discouraging. To find untenanted bodies, we would have to turn ghoul, waiting for the moment of brain death to squat inside a new corpse, hiding out until the soul escaped and we could claim residency. As spirits ourselves, this hardly seemed like an ethical course of action. We weren’t cuckoos, after all, just houseless ghosts.

As we stood on the beach deciding on a further course of action, the landscape began to digest itself. The long strip of shoreline vanished; the sky overhead drew close like a drawstring bag, the ocean glimmered like a vast pool of mercury, became a single dot and disappeared, swallowing up the skeletons that had become host to a variety of crabs and other, unknown, jellied things.

Then the head houses slowly faded away, with just a scrap of nose or a bristle of mustache remaining before these too dissolved into nothing.

All we had known for eons suddenly revealed itself to be a mirage. A dream.

The dream trapped in the skulls of explorers who had dared the Sea of Darkness, to find not treasure, honor and reward but permanent incarceration in an astral museum gallery, sitting in boxes of alien glass and metal, gawked at by the descendants of the gibbering, tentacled horrors that had ambushed our expedition and taken trophies.

Our previous existence is not even a memory now. For all intents and purposes, we have always lived in our heads.

 

 

 

Kbatz: Maleficent

malMaleficent Flawed but Still Entertaining.

By Kristin Battestella

Wonder gal Angelina Jolie returned to cinema screens for the 2014 Disney hit Maleficent. Though marred in its mix of youth marketing and bleak fantasy, the tale here remains a charming good time.

Once a happy fairy protector of The Moors, the angry Maleficent (Jolie) threatens the nearby kingdom of former friend King Stefan (Sharlto Copley) and curses his newborn daughter to eternal sleep by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel on her sixteenth birthday. Raised in seclusion by the bumbling fairies Knotgrass (Imelda Staunton), Thistlewit (Juno Temple), and Flittle (Lesley Manville), the Princess Aurora (Elle Fanning) grows curious about The Moors and soon strikes up an unusual friendship with Maleficent – who Aurora views as her fairy godmother. Does Maleficent want to revoke her curse upon the princess? Can she or will the battle with King Stefan destroy his kingdom and The Moors?

 

Though most of the previews spent their time showing Maleficent’s live action recreation of Disney’s 1959 cartoon classic, the first half hour here is new back story with a pleasing mythos of fairies living in The Moors beside the real world, iron’s fairy burning properties, and star crossed romance between humans and magical folk. As expected, Maleficent starts out juvenile with the introduction of the titular young fairy but grows up quickly thanks to some scary tree monsters. Several elements here are really not for kids – especially a very upsetting and symbolic wing cutting that will be tough for some young ones to comprehend. The absent narrator does create a pleasant story telling aspect, but seemingly critical drama concerning the ambitious King Stefan is merely told in this shoehorned 90 minutes. Debut director Robert Stromberg (designer for Avatar and Oz the Great and Powerful) is obviously a visualist and not quite a storyteller, for the expected curse comes too soon in a film that’s supposed to be about Maleficent and not Aurora – she knows were the baby is all along, but goes back and forth in her vengeance in haphazard, rewritten, and excised plot from longtime Disney writer Linda Woolverton (The Lion King).

Purely whimsical fairy fan service moments trump the potential for serious character development, and Maleficent never decides if it’s the grim story behind Sleeping Beauty or an excuse for a live action spectacle. Maleficent laughs and plays tricks one moment before waging fiery, thorny war the next, unevenly mashing the two themes while speedy soap opera rapid aging syndrome scenes gloss over how a lot of elements don’t make much sense. Who and where traversings are unclear as the narration comes and goes and fresh motifs or any and all of Maleficent’s cool powers are forgotten or contrived as needed. Maybe kids can enjoy the pointless mystical special effects stringing Maleficent together, but this seemingly abridged retelling should have chosen to be all youth merriment or total sentimental sophistication. There are some fine visuals and charming characters here, but Disney settled for mass delight instead of a truly complete fairy tale. With this kind of pedigree, performance, and talent, it’s not unreasonable for mature audiences to expect a story well told.
Fortunately, Maleficent is an alluring Vader that we love to hate, hate to love, and love to see come round good again, and Oscar winner Angelina Jolie’s (Girl, Interrupted) fun performance anchors the picture and forgives any faulty foundations. Although we never get an explanation of how her name could still be Maleficent even when she was a good and happy fairy child, a jilting and betrayal makes this revised fairy protector immediately sympathetic rather than villainous. The off screen clipping of her wings is certainly traumatizing and symbolic in many ways with well done strength and weakness from Jolie. The simple but touching creation of her staff and her isolated, destroyed abode provide menace whilst hiding her pain. Though bemusing, the superb transformation of Sam Riley (Brighton Rock) as her crow Diaval also provides companionship and an emotional sounding board. Maleficent has always been my favorite Disney villain, for she neither sings nor plays at humor and stupidity. Maybe she overreacts to not getting an invitation in the cartoon edition, but in Maleficent, we know the horrible reason why. It’s simply gleeful to see Jolie recite the same lines from the original with live action perfection and chew on the conflicting possibilities– her entrances, dark costuming, and chiseled design are simply delish. Yes, the uneven writing and direction hampers what should have been a steady hour and a half of character journey. Some developments were clearly not so well though out beyond the Disney textbook happy. The back and forth change of heart from scene to scene cuts the enraged layers off at the knees and at times makes Maleficent feel like a cliché woman scorned. Why does this skilled trickster needlessly bide her time and wage war while being charmed by a child? Maleficent isn’t all bad or totally pure yet most of the frightful, grey complexity feels left on the cutting room floor. Thankfully, Jolie captures both her previously macabre style and good-hearted maternal ways as Maleficent. If she truly is exiting her acting career, Maleficent sends her out on a show stopping high note.

Though largely pleasant in her innocence as Aurora, Elle Fanning (We Bought a Zoo) is also slightly annoying in her bright and bushy excitement over her so-called fairy godmother Maleficent. Due to the piecemeal dialogue, magical narration, and time jumps snippets, we don’t get a chance to fully know Aurora, and no real motivations seems to dictate her hanging with Maleficent and the whole fairy gang. The audience can’t appreciate her parental revelation or cursly betrayals because the haste to the spinning wheel never gives us time to digest her side of the tale. Granted, Maleficent is about Maleficent, but the pricking of the finger was more suspenseful and dramatic in the 1959 animation and Aurora has very little weight as a catalyst supporting part. The writers feel stuck with the character and she isn’t treated as anything that special – even to Maleficent half of the time. Is she the daughter that Maleficent should have had with King Stefan? Groundbreaking potential here is either vaguely tacked on or missed completely – again thanks to the over reliance on slow motion pans, zooms, and battles over conversation.

Wonderfully absentminded fairies turned clueless old ladies Imelda Staunton (Harry Potter), Juno Temple (Atonement), and Lesley Manville (Another Year) should have been the only amusing, whimsical, comedy relief in Maleficent. Unfortunately, it feels like Knotgrass, Thistlewit, and Flittle are barely there, shoehorned in to be upset about Aurora eventually leaving or unhappy at their sacrificing in a forested hovel as needed. Outside of a few brief scenes, we never really see either displeasure – Maleficent seems to cut away almost as if fanciful song and dance numbers have been excised after the fact. A film named after the misunderstood anti-hero should not feel like it is about to burst into song. Likewise, further dimension from Sharlto Copley (District 9) as King Stefan seems diminished in the editing room – another opportunity for a superior character reversal wasted in Maleficent. Stefan grows deservedly crazy over his cruel ambitions, and without Disney at the helm, this corrupt king could have been shaped into a superb villain equal to Maleficent in full on, historical creepy fashion ala Snow White: A Tale of Terror. Adding to the male inferiority is Brenton Thwaites (Gods of Egypt) as a rather dorky and I dare say unnecessary Prince Philip. Sam Riley’s Diaval ingenius should have been fully realized instead, but most of the support seems to be written as if serviceable would suffice. Maleficent is without a doubt Jolie’s vehicle to carry, but with the right polish, the ready and waiting ensemble could have done much more to define the film.

Maleficent is of course overly steeped in computer imagery. It’s supposed to look awe inspiring – and some of the world is unique to the Sleeping Beauty designs – but the majority of the visual effects look like every other standard CGI treatment we now all but continuously see in most blockbusters. Magic trees defending against anonymous knight armies make for tough to see blurry action and a lot of in your face messy. Thankfully, picturesque flying scenery, mystical smoke, magic thorns, and flame effects accent the naturally designed Moors and medieval castle works. It’s a little frustrating that even would be plain scenes of nothing more than people talking have an obvious fantasy patina and airbrushed saturation to them, but princessy costumes and hennins make for more tangible, recognizable storybook aspects alongside golden cottages and winterscapes. The green glow of Maleficent’s powers also illume Jolie’s face in several scenes and create a beautiful and intimidating harkening to the cartoon vintage. If nothing else, Maleficent is a colorful picture that still has a cool dragon and a superb update of “Once Upon a Dream” from Lana Del Rey. However, I do wish the movie had used the new rendition’s sense of stalker brood as a Tchaikovsky anchor or humming familiarity to unify the picture instead of just sticking the single over the end credits.

Naturally, the rental blu-ray of Maleficent is ridiculously laden with Disney in your face complete with internationally designed menus for mass distribution and abundant previews of every Disney property imaginable. What the heck will Disney call their releases once Diamond and Platinum are insufficient? Fortunately, the features seem to be intact with almost a half hour of behind the scenes and a handful of deleted scenes that should have remained within Maleficent to clarify character circumstances. Today, however, this small sampling of add ons doesn’t feel like enough, and ironically, Maleficent appears to have clipped its own wings in telling a fully realized tale from the villainous side in favor of the tried and true Disney quest for maximum money making mainstream safety. Did it succeed in rolling in global dough? Of course. Maleficent didn’t have to be super dark and scary, but it should have been more defined in what it wanted to do – haters may be scratching their heads over some of the direct to video caliber prequel haphazards here. I may be biased as it is my favorite and Maleficent is fun and fanciful with laughing moments for the kids and adult tolerability – but ultimately, the 1959 classic feels like a more satisfying tale. Will there be a two hour Director’s Cut of Maleficent any time soon?

There are some scares and violence in Maleficent that might upset little ones, but I don’t think it is worthy of the “dark fantasy” label it has received. Intriguing character strides and mythos changes remain too sunshiny, but fans of the cast, fantasy audiences, and fanciful ladies of all ages can overlook the uneven writing and directing flaws thanks to good to be bad twists and delightful performances.

 

November: Dark Fairytales

Because most fairy tales contain a dark side, the term Dark Fairy Tales is repetitive to me. The term fairy tale is defined as,

A magical and imaginary tale, usually with a happy ending.

However, I think it’s all in the eye of the beholder. A tale like Hansel and Gretel is not a happy ending for the poor little old lady that just wanted kids out of her yard.

1020150903In my opinion, fairy tales are lessons in how to treat people. The modern version of Cinderella is a lesson to stepmothers–treat your new daughter well or you’ll end up a beggar while she lives in a big house in Beverley Hills.

Stories like this have taught us how to treat each other for centuries, but they have also taught us some very dangerous ideas:

  1. The evil always get their comeuppance.
  2.  Wait long enough (or suffer bad enough) and your prince will come.
  3. There are secret pots of gold or riches granted you when you out-smart evil beings.

Well…as we know living in the real world is not so easy.

hellgirlThis month at HorrorAddicts.net, we’ll be exploring the dark side of fairy tales. How they scare us into submission, conjure false hopes, and in some cases scare the bejesus out of us.

My favorite modern-day fairy tale series is the manga Hell Girl. In it, various stories are told about evil people getting their comeuppance, but as with many of us who try to get justice, there is a catch. The innocent victim who dishes out the justice is also punished.

 

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What if you had the opportunity to send someone you hated to Hell? In this series, that dream becomes reality. All you have to do is log on to the Hell Correspondence website at precisely midnight, type “Send (insert name) to Hell”, and click send. Hell Girl will then appear and make them meet their bloody end, taking them to Hell to relive it over and over again.

In the series, the bad guys are really bad. There are thieves, child molesters, evil masterminds, twisted teachers who steal students work and claim it as their own, and even killers.

1020150904My favorite story revolves around a vet who charges hefty fees for healthy pets that don’t need anything done. Knowing most of his customers are rich, he milks as much as he can out of them before handing back the pet perfectly well, yet not touched by a needle or knife. He claims to operate, but never does. He claims to give pricey meds, but never does. He makes a fatal mistake with one customer, though, who is not rich. She gives her life savings to the guy so he will cure her puppy. The dog in this case really is sick, but instead of operating, the vet puts it off to go to a high-society party. When the girl goes to check on her dog, he’s passed away because of the vet’s negligence. The girl is devastated, the puppy being all she has in life since her parents are dead. She tries to alert the authorities, but he claims she’s mad and no one listens to her. Heartbroken and unable to stop the vet from killing more animals in the future, she seeks justice from Hell Girl.

1020150904aThe Dr. gets his in one of the scariest scenes I’ve read. Doctors with animal heads try to operate on him!

But, before you call Hell Girl on your worst enemy, know there is a price.

To curse someone is to dig a double grave. In exchange for revenge, after death, your soul will go to Hell too.

This teaches us another lesson. Before we banish our worst enemies to Hell, we need to be sure our judgement is sound. In the case of the vet, I think we’d all agree his death is worth it, but if your just pissed about being cut off in traffic, you might want to just hang back. Chances are, they’ve done a lot worse and Hell Girl will be coming for them on her own.1020150922

What are your favorite dark fairy tales? What lessons do they teach? Share them with us in the comments or by writing to horroraddicts@gmail.com