David’s Haunted Library: Meddling Kids

 

Imagine what a story would be like if you had 4 kids and their dog who went around solving mysteries.  Each time they solved a mystery they discovered that the culprit was someone in a fake monster suit. Does this sound familiar? This book isn’t about that group of detectives, this story is about the Blyton Summer Detective Club. Back in 1977 they solved their last case throwing a man in jail for pretending to be a lake monster and life hasn’t been the same since.

Kerri went on to become a biologist but can’t seem to hold onto a job and she still lives with a dog who is the descendent of the club’s original dog. Andy is a tomboy wanted in two states who can’t get over the fact that they sent the wrong man to prison. Peter has died of a drug overdose and Nate has been in and out of mental asylums and still talks to Peter’s ghost. All of them are broken adults and the only way to put the past behind them is to return to the scene of their last case and confront the real life monsters at the bottom of the lake.

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero is what you get when you combine Scooby Doo with H.P. Lovecraft. Hearing the description of this book, I considered it a must read and despite some flaws, it doesn’t disappoint. What makes it stand out is how the story unfolds. In the beginning you hear about how the detective’s last adventure was an open and shut case. Then you see how all of them are damaged in their own way and you realize that there is more to it then meets the eye. You could say that the main idea of this book is about facing your fears. Each of the main characters tried to deny the truth about what happened and acted like they were fine but the truth ruined them and 13 years later they had to face their fears to be able to move on.

The thing I didn’t like about Meddling Kids was that it felt like it needed a good editor. Some parts felt dragged out. For instance, there was a scene in a mine shaft that was long and unnecessary, I couldn’t figure out why they had to go down there in the first place. Then there was a scene where Nate reads a passage from an ancient text to bring the lake creatures to life where I was wondering “why is he doing that and why aren’t the others stopping him.”  Also, Andy’s obsession with Kerri’s hair really got on my nerves after a while.

That being said, this book is worth your time if you like a good mix of horror and humor. The detail that goes into the characters lives shows that Edgar Cantero has a real passion for his creations. It’s like he sat down and said “I wonder what the Scooby gang would be like in real life” and came out with a very detailed description of all of them. What I liked most about this book is that the author gives a mythological explanation for what is going on and he also gets into a scientific explanation as well. There is one scene where Nate and Kerri are arguing about the reason for what’s happening with one talking science and one blaming everything on old gods and ancient texts that make this a must read.

 

David’s Haunted Library: Night Things: Undead And Kicking

David's Haunted Library

 

 

30190570What would our world be like if vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghouls, mermen and other creature walked the earth? They aren’t all trying to hurt humans, some of them just want to make an honest living and be accepted. People still fear what they don’t understand and even though some accept the Night Things, others aren’t so trusting. So the night things are given devices that track their every move.

Times are changing after the events of Z Day and Johnny Stucke, a Night thing himself is getting involved in politics. One of his first orders of business was getting Dr. Herbert West to work on a way to control zombies. Enter recently deceased professional MMA fighter Carol Haddon. Her DNA may hold the secret to changing the world’s zombies. Carol has also drawn the attention of Herbert West’s greatest enemy Jack The Ripper. Due to an accident Dr. West has made Jack more powerful than ever and if Dr. West can’t defeat him, it could bring on the apocalypse.

Night Things: Undead And Kicking by Terry M. West  is the second book in The Magic Now series and there is so much going on here that a 2 paragraph description hardly does it justice. The plot moves along at a brisk pace, it includes several sub plots and some great characters. There are also some great cameos from popular creatures and people known to classic horror fans. What makes this masterpiece of horror stand out over other works in the genre is how Terry M. West presents his characters.

For instance the main character is Carol Haddon. When she is introduced we see her as someone who feels compassion for the Night Things, she works in a shelter for them and we hear her comparing them to immigrants(love the metaphor). We also see her as a bad ass MMA fighter, but at the same time she is a vulnerable human being who goes to a therapist to deal with feelings she has for her mother. At this point Carol comes across as a complex person and things get harder for her as we find out that the two people helping her, Johnny Stucke and Herbert West have their own agenda and might not have her best interest at heart. That being said they are better than Jack The Ripper who would like nothing better than to rip the dna from her bone marrow. Carol is a hero you can relate to because she’s a compassionate person in a bad situation. Then we have Johhny Stuck and Herbert West who are shades of grey. They want to help Carol but at the same time they have an agenda that has already made major problems for Carol. You see the good and bad in both and it makes you like them that much more.

Undead And Kicking is the type of book that you can point to when people ask you why you like horror. Terry M. West is a horror fan writing books that he knows other horror fans will love. This story puts a fresh spin on classic horror mythology and also manages to add humor, great characters and plenty of blood and good scares to the mix.  I can’t say enough good things about this book and I hope there are several more books in The Magic Now series.

An Interview With Suzanne Madron

What is your story for episode 135 about?

28101675The story is a sample of a longer work titled For Sale or Rent, available on Amazon. It’s about a house that never seems to be lived in for very long and seems to go on the market every few months, but this time, nothing about the sale is normal, including the new owners. No sooner has the for sale sign come down and the neighborhood is thrown into a Lovecraftian nightmare and the only way out is to attend the house-warming party.

When did you start writing?

I began writing in grade school, initially just journaling with a few stories here and there. In high school, I wrote what would become the first draft of my first novel, NEMESIS.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

Ultimately it depends on my mood, and which pseudonym I’m writing as that day. I enjoy writing vampire horror, Lovecraftian horror, and hard-boiled occult noir mysteries. Sometimes I even write how-to and training documentation. It would be hard to pin my favorite into one category.512hsuf4k7l

Who or what inspires you?

Everyday life inspires me quite often. In For Sale or Rent, it was our neighbor’s house across the street, which was on the market a lot over the years until they moved in and fixed the place up.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

The ever-present glimmer of hope – usually. In some more recent horror stories, I’ve noticed a trend of no hope and no end to the nightmares. In older horror stories, there was always hope at the end, and if not a happy ending, at least a temporary reprieve until the next battle between good and evil.

Could you tell us about the Immortal War series?

The Immortal War Series starts off in three books dealing with the events before, during, and after a war that would become known as the Immortal War. NEMESIS is the first book, and we meet the main characters. Somewhere in the blood and violence 51qvotf0wplis apparently a love story, or so I’m told. In the second book, LAMIA, we learn more about our main characters and what makes them tick. When the Immortal War begins, we discover how it began. By the third book, THE TOWER, twenty years have passed and the Immortal War has ended. To give more details would be to ruin the surprise.
The fourth book in the series is a break from the initial books in that SCYLLA is more young adult horror, the fear is very much based in human monsters rather than those of legend.

What are some of the other books you have available?

For Sale or Rent, The Cat with Cthulhu Eyes, Apocrypha of the Apocalypse, and Love Notes are all available on Amazon. Other books (written as James Glass) include The Murdered Metatron, The Dispossessed, and The Vampire of Plum Run.

Where can we find you online?

 

Live Action Reviews! By Crystal Connor: H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival Best of 2015

 

 

Master Imaginationist and Instagram photographer Crystal Connor is the Chief Imagineer working for the Department of Sleep Prevention’s Nightmare Division. A Washington State native she loves anything to do with monsters, bad guys (as in evil-geniuses & super-villains.  Not ‘those’ kind her mother warned her about), rogue scientific experiments, jewelry, sky-high high-heeled shoes & unreasonably priced handbags.

She is also the founder of CrystalCon, a symposium that brings both Science Fiction & Fantasy writers and STEM professions together to mix and mingle with fans, educators, and inventors in attempts to answer a new take on an age-old question … which came first, the science or the fiction?

When she’s not terrorizing her fans and racking up frequent flyers miles by gallivanting all over the country attending fan conventions and writer’s conferences she reviews indie horror and science fiction films for both her personal blog and HorrorAddicts.net

She is also considering changing her professional title to dramatization specialist because it so much more theatrical than being a mere drama queen.

Download your free copy of …And They All Lived Happily Ever After! audiobook from Podiobooks.com and see why the name Crystal Connor has become “A Trusted Name in Terror!” 

http://podiobooks.com/title/and-they-all-lived-happily-ever-after

crystalconnor

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

Master of Horror L.A. Banks and her contribution to Horror

Black Women in Horror:

 Master of Horror L.A. Banks and her contribution to Horror.

“If my soul got jacked, where is it?”L.A. Banks

Happy Black History Month! I want to start this out in saying, yes, this blog post will be long and peppered in fangirl moments. I will drone on about the awesomeness of author L.A. Banks and her extraordinary writing skills in horror/thrillers. I will gawk at the idea that she is not praised as much as she should be, and I will tear up at the reality that this author’s incredible gifts have been lost to us in the literary world. This is my respectful tribute to her…it is what it is. -smile-

banks6In the world of Horror, in link with black women, there are only two names that comes to mind for me that have been cultural innovators and pop icons in this area of literature. And today I’m choosing to speak on the one that I was lead to deeply admire, Leslie Esdaile Banks. Better known as L.A. Banks. When you think of horror, the greats who founded it, and those who followed in their footsteps, oftentimes many people don’t equate women in that class.

People always are quick to name the greats, Horace Walpole, Bram Stoker, H.P. Lovecraft, and contemporaries, Clive Barker and Stephen King as the masters of horror. I take nothing away from them. However, women were also at the forefront of horror. They were the literal foundation that inspired many past and current male horror authors that we so fondly idolize.

“Humans have been telling scary stories of great danger, defeat, and triumph since we built campfires outside the caves while the wolves were howling in the hills near us.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

Women of horror helped craft a culture within the medium that added character to how many male horror writers developed their own stories. A level of maturity, audaciousness, sensuality, and political/social commentary between the pages of great stories that scared us senseless. Who were the women that influenced horror? These founding women were: Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelly, and more. Later they would influence and shaped the pens of contemporary women horror writers such as Carrie Vaughn, Anne Rice, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Charlaine Harris. However, it is black women writers such as Tananarive Due and L.A. Banks who chose to elevate the medium and bring with them a fresh flair to the foundation that has sorely been missed, the reality of the black voice and everyday man/woman.

banks5L.A. Banks contribution to horror was shaped around where she came from and the no-holds bar realities of her life in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

“L.A. Banks’s career was born out of tragedy. Years ago, her six-month-old daughter was severely burned, she was going through a divorce, she lost her job when she took time off to be with her daughter, and she was broke. Yet somehow, in the midst of all the grief, she turned to writing – creating page after page of entertainment that kept her girlfriends so entranced they submitted the complete manuscript to publishers without telling her.” – Janice Gable Bashman via Wild River Review 2011

I’m very sure if you look at the lives of the founding women writers in horror, that they too began writing due to specifics in their lives that mandated them taking pen to paper. Culture shifts, frustrations with status, political views, a sense of advocacy in the world. Horror provided the appropriate medium for these women writers to showcase our most feared secret places in our psyche and spirit. L.A. Banks had a gift for doing the same thing. Before ‘Black Lives Matter’ was shouted, L.A. Banks characters in her well-loved and known horror/thriller/pararomance series, The Vampire Huntress Series and Crimson Moon Series, were actively in the streets kicking ass, and taking names later in the same branch of protest and demand for justice. Black Lives Mattered in all her works.

“Fear, hatred, oppression – that’s pure evil and it never lasts. Love endures.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks4         L.A. Banks was proud of being a woman writer in horror, paranormal fantasy and more. She was proud of her place as a black woman in the literary world as well. This is why she was ahead of her time. She created a culture where young and old could come together for a cause in saving ourselves from the pains of the streets and the political strife in our governments. Her characters bucked the system of global oppression without batting an eye.

Bloodshed, hearts being snatched out, fangs tearing into necks, demon possessions, werewolves and jaguars, naughty sensual sex. L.A. Banks world was intense and oh so good. What is masked as vampires and demons, monsters snatching people from their beds or in the streets, was a well-written allegory for issues such as police brutality, martial law, government cover-ups, drugs and poverty in our communities. Her works were even crafted as a way to speak about the disconnect between young and old in how we all viewed the lens of civil rights and social rights.

Again, L.A. Banks was ahead of her time.

“The vampire represents a lot of what we see in society. They’re scarier because of that; because the vampire can be anybody. He just blends in and looks perfectly normal. Like serial killers often look like normal people… the fear factor is that they’re among us.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

Her grasp of writing to reach those of us not only in the Black community but also in the Latino, and even white community was something that not many authors today can effectively balance. Listen, when you have a supernatural team of people tasked to save us from the apocalypse, and these characters come from every walk of life. Young, old, street kids, Jews, Latino priests, bikers gangs, southern folks, and more? You then have a mix for how we should be coming together to build ourselves up before we fall into destruction and also shows that on a human level, we all should be able to come together without issue. It makes reading her books immensely relatable. This is why L.A. Banks works resonated well with her fans.

“The more I know what is going on in the world, the more it effects my choices, how I vote, how I spend my money, how I relate to others. I am empowered by what I know, laid bare and ignorant by what I don’t know.” – L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks3As a means to reach us all, L.A. Banks used her medium of scaring the hell out of you, while educating you without being preachy unless needed to be. Her style was deftly smooth and gripping, that in my opinion it influenced not only her readers but Hollywood as well. Case-in-point, before her passing L.A. Banks had been featured as a commentary for the behind-the-scenes look at HBO’s True Blood as it was premiered. Like many writers, we research our craft to create our worlds.

Not only did the writers do the same in shaping author Charlaine Harris popular book, but they also used the influences of many other writers to make it a richer environment. Once such influence was L.A. Banks slang and flair. “Dropping Fang” came from her works and found a way in the language of True Blood.

“…Vampires had taken the mantle as the perfectly dangerous lover – the forbidden, kinky, deep dark sensualist. Move over, vamps, somebody in pop culture let the dogs out. So we now have the phenomena where injustice, rage, plus the phase of the moon, means that the otherwise mild-mannered individual who is playing by the rules of society just gets fed up and rips your face off.”– L.A. Banks via Wild River Review 2011

banks2L.A. Banks had a powerful influential gift for writing. Had we not lost her, I believe that she and her works would have continued to not only help in our current climate today, but also changed the diversity of Hollywood.

As she stated back in 2011, “There is always a mentor, a Yoda, a Sensei, a learned master that helps the young initiate along their path of trials and tribulations until they emerge victorious.” Mama Banks you were our mentor, and master in the world of Horror, paranormal speculative fiction and more. August 2, 2011 is the day L.A. Banks parted from this world. It still saddens me that she is not celebrated more, because to me, she is right there in the ranks of Octavia Butler. Women in Horror have been overlooked and oftentimes ignored, especially with fellow women writers like myself. One day this will change.

We women are proud to take on the task of holding up the mantel of women horror writers like I’ve mentioned previously. It’s now up to the readers to turn a willing eye our way and step into our creepy, sinister, maliciously evil works and join us on our journey into greatness. Besides, we’ve been the inspiration for many male writers already. Why not continue the ride?

“Knowledge is Power.” – Carlos Rivera (VHL series)

L.A. Banks, also known as Mama Banks (to us fans), we miss you dearly. Thank you for being a beacon of light for myself as a writer and many others. I only hope that I become the same way as you were for me because when no one else will speak your name, I will. This is your right of honor as is your place at the Queen’s table for us black women writers. Thank you again and happy Black History Month!

 

***********

Born in Iowa, but later relocating and raised in Alton, IL and St. Louis, MO, Kai Leakes was an imaginative Midwestern child, who gained an addiction to books at an early age. The art of imagination was the very start of Kai’s path of writing which lead her to creating the Sin Eaters: Devotion Books Series and continuing works. Since a young childScreenshot_2016-01-31-15-02-55-1-1-1, her love for creating, vibrant romance and fantasy driven mystical tales, continues to be a major part of her very DNA. With the goal of sharing tales that entertain and add color to a gray literary world, Kai Leakes hopes to continue to reach out to those who love the same fantasy, paranormal, romantic, sci/fi, and soon, steampunk-driven worlds that shaped her unique multi-faceted and diverse vision. You can find Kai Leakes at: www.kwhp5f.wix.com/kai-leakes

l.a.banks
Read more of L.A. Banks interview with Wild River Review here: http://www.wildriverreview.com/Interview/L.A._Banks/From_Tragedy_to_triumph/bashman/October_09

 

David’s Haunted Library: Two from 01Publishing

Arkham_coverIt was the mid 1940’s and things weren’t going well for Private eye Hank Flynn. He just got out of the war and moved to the mean streets of Arkham. Or out of the frying pan and into the fryer.   Hank has seen terror in the war but that doesn’t compare to what he sees when he is hired by a wealthy socialite to find an artist named Pickman.  Hank’s search leads him into a world of witches, ghouls, black magic and straight into the hands of the Innsmouth  mafia. Hank is up against an evil that he has never experienced and he is the only one that can stop the darkness that threatens Arkham.

Casefile: Arkham is written by Josh Finney and Illustrated by Patrick McEvoy and is an original take on the works of H.P. Lovecraft with a nod to Raymond Chandler. While reading this I felt like I was watching an old 1940’s mystery movie. The dialogue, the way the characters acted and the fact that everyone smoked and wore a hat, made this book feel like an old movie.

Josh Finney’s writing style is excellent, and Patrick McEvoy’s art adds to the creepiness factor. When this book begins there is a sense of dread, The city of Arkham is a dark place and Hank’s knows this but he is hoping for a new start. Right there the reader is invested in the story because you instantly like Hank but wonder in a place where monsters dwell (and we see in the beginning that there are real monsters here)how can you find something to be happy about? 

I love the character of Hank Flynn. There is a scene where his client sends him to a fortune-teller and we hear a commentary of him questioning god. Hank is a catholic but after fighting in the war he is angry with god. He questions religion but he still wants to believe.  Before seeing the fortune-teller he has a great speech where he mentions whether it’s a crystal ball or a bible, the name of the game is to get rubes to part with their hard-earned cash. I love how Hank feels, he is a man looking for answers for his clients and for himself. Later we meet a woman named Glynda, a Wiccan who runs a book store and is one of the few people who Hank seems to trust. I loved how Hank has feelings for her but because he is  Catholic he feels that being with her would be blasphemy. Hank is a man at conflict with himself and Arkham is a place where evil dwels. I found myself rooting for him to get a happy ending despite the world being against him

I can’t say enough good things about this book. The story is good, the characters are deep and realistic and the art is beautiful. Casefile: Arkham is a work of art and a good example of how art and great storytelling can be combined to make the perfect graphic novel. You could tell this book was a labor of love. I hope this book gets enough support where 01 Publishing can turn it into a series because it made me want to seek out more horror comics to read.

1871264301 publishing has more than one book that is inspired by the works of H.P. Lovecraft. Whispers From The Abyss is an anthology edited by Kat Rocha that contains 33 stories that were influenced by Lovecraft. I have to admit that I haven’t read a lot of Lovecraft but being a horror fan I still enjoyed a lot of the stories in this book. What really surprised me was how different all the stories were.

Not all the stories here were gems but there was some good ones including Death Wore Greasepaint by Josh Finney. This one is about a down on his luck man named Charlie who runs a cable tv station and a clown named Wilbur who has found his life’s purpose.  I love how this story uses a kids show set in the  present and ties it into Lovecraft’s mythos. Who would have guessed a clown could start the apocalypse. I love how this story describes intestines coming out of a body and then a character says: “I’ll never eat pasta again.” The best thing about this story is that The Octopus King has shown me how to be happy. Read the book and you will understand.

Another good one in this collection is Fear and Loathing in Innsmouth: Richard Nixon’s Revenge by Jason Andrew. This one is set in the seventies and follows a man who is trying to find proof that Richard Nixon is evil. This is an original story that combines a little humor with a little bit of horror. I love the references to Easy Rider, Ron Jeremy and the two quotes that open the story. Anything goes in this one and it has a good twist at the end.

Also getting points for originality is My Friend Fishfinger by Daisy, Age 7 written by David Tallerman. I love that this is written from the perspective of a girl whose parents follow a god that’s different from the one she believes in. If you know Lovecraft’s work you probably know who the god is. I love how this story is told, its like seeing evil through the eyes of an innocent child who doesn’t know what she is in for. The title is deceptive and the story is short and creepy. If you like the works of Lovecraft and Weird Tales in general pick up Whispers From The Abyss and if you like this one Whispers From The Abyss 2 is also available.