FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Tales from the Darkside Season 3

More Scares to be had in Tales from the Darkside Season 3

by Kristin Battestella

The 1986-87 Third Season of Tales from the Darkside features twenty-two more episodes of horror and oddities beginning with “The Circus” premiere written by series producer George Romero. In a series that usually puts the bizarre first, this episode truly feels like a horror tale as Showman William Hickey (Tales from the Crypt) promises mummy and vampire spectacles to a journalist trying to debunk the smoke and mirror ghouls. The bloody feedings and hungry dogs, however, make for some disturbing showmanship – a creepy little parable done with very little, using one setting and power of suggestion scares for a fitting twist. Covered furniture and a murderous history don’t deter a couple from their spooky new home in “Florence Bravo.” This is supposed to be a fresh start, but the wife – who was put in an institution by her husband after a nervous breakdown – isn’t taking her pills as the rocking chair moves by itself and ghostly visions escalate. The haunted house set up is familiar, but she loves their spooky old home and her adulterous husband will pay the price for the house’s evil ideologies with bloody floorboards, gunshots, and killer ghosts. A suspicious dollhouse in “The Geezenstacks” comes complete with the eponymous doll family, and their morbid playtime whispers come true as the cracks begin to show with implied domestic violence and dire real-world consequences. The bemusing bizarre here is less annoying than other kid-centric episodes thanks to creepy toys and that quintessential Tales from the Darkside quirky likewise seen in “Black Widows.” Our homebody knitting mother insists enough company comes to her, like salesmen and ministers knocking on the door. However, visitors who squash and kill a spider in her house will pay the pincer price – even the fiance who’s not good enough for her daughter. He’s too thin and the web-like laundry hangings add to the obvious, but there’s a sardonic wit to the family secret. Unfortunately, the eerie mood escalates for an unscrupulous yuppie art dealer in “Heretic” when the inscriptions on a valuable Inquisition painting would have him learn the error of his ways. The torture and warped religion lead to terrible twists on life imitating art with pain and fiery consequences.

Warnings to behave and not do anything you wouldn’t do on network television accent the homemaker quaint in “A Serpent’s Tooth.” Mom insists she nags because she loves, however her teen daughter and college drop out son’s choices will be over her dead body. She receives the eponymous charm with a warning to be careful what she wishes for – because she may get it. The television, radio, and telephone disappear when she threatens how inconvenient life would be without them, and when she tells an obnoxious kid next door that his face will get stuck that way it does. Talk about a salty lesson! By contrast, a greedy advertising executive sees a New Orleans bakery and its intoxicating cookies as a golden opportunity in “Baker’s Dozen.” The secret ingredients of a thirteenth specialty make for twisted connections between men, dough, and gingerbread in this tasty voodoo turnabout also written by Romero. Of course, the kids in “Seasons of Belief” are at the age where they don’t believe in Santa Claus – but their older, festive parents warn them of a more terrible figure called The Grither. While disbelieving in Saint Nick only makes your presents under the tree disappear, The Grither is the most awful thing in the world, and they’ve called him by saying his name out loud. Tales from the Darkside provides a certain warped amusement here with a holiday episode featuring a deliberate act to scare kids, twisted carols and all. A mannequin trades places with a burglar for “Miss May Dusa,” and creepy shadows accent the seedy subway and what goes on after hours sunglasses at night. Our cursed lady doesn’t remember who she was before, but a jazzy street musician tries to guess, making for an interesting twofer with sadness, despair, and bitter realizations layering a more serious drama on the horror of loneliness. Little Chad Allen (Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman) says if you leave him a note, the milkman will give you presents in “The Milkman Cometh,” and a family in debt that has lost a baby is rewarded with another pregnancy. Was it a response from the ‘While You Were Sleeping Dairy’ or a coincidence? Increasing conflict, financial struggles, and drinking lead to eerie silhouettes and blue lighting making what was once a normal neighborhood visitor totally creepy with bizarre revelations and eponymous winks.

Jeff Conway’s (Grease) typing his latest in “My Ghostwriter – The Vampire,” and he’s happy writing hack vampire tropes for the money – until Dracula shows up on his balcony. He’s there to prove his powers, proposing sanctuary in exchange for his nine hundred years of bloody details. The toothy secrets lead to literary success, and the traditional vampire motifs with eighties spins are great fun. However Dracula wants his share of the spoils, and there’s an underlying ominous thanks to dining in on the maid neck bites and handy silverware. Robert Bloch’s (Psycho) “Everybody Needs a Little Love” starring Jerry Orbach (Law & Order) has noir mood with cigarettes, Truman posters, and vintage pubs. Our barfly friend brings home a mannequin, drinking, dancing, and taking a week off from work to cook dinner and sit ‘Estelle’ at the table. Who needs a nagging broad when you can have a classy dame who just sits there and smiles! He insists she’s no prude, adding to the old fashioned creepy and lively twists with a hint of something more sinister as her look or positioning seems slightly different from glance to glance. An old crone and her young-looking friend reunite for a bitter 1692 anniversary in “Auld Acquaintances” amid talk of burning houses, lightning strikes, poisoned cats, and puritan flashbacks. Evil chants, talismans, chokings, and threats set off the zany performances alongside Salem imagery and some intense 1987 shocking language on whores and devils. The bargains in blood and pacts to live forever are well done in this confined two-hander. More spell books, enchantments, and boils in “The Swap” don’t impress the young wife of a man who can’t compare to his mama – the greatest conjurer Louisiana ever saw. So long as she ‘plays house’ each night, his wife will get all their millions, and she goes upstairs with her revolting husband rather than be poor. Of course, she’s secretly with the hunky handyman, and Tales from the Darkside gets a little saucy with talk of ‘gentlemanly pleasures,’ handcuffs, and bottles forced into a man’s mouth. The twisted little threesome escalates with poison, wills, and stipulations on who the wealthy widow must marry next. By contrast, it’s all idyllic mid-century sophistication in “The Enormous Radio” with martinis, classical music, and period touches raising the unique horrors. Do our eavesdroppers interfere when they adjust the dial and hear their neighbors or is it none of their business? Unfortunately, the addictive gossip gives way to heated arguing, and the sad, depressing strain of hearing the whole building’s troubles ultimately overwhelm our once perfect couple.

Early in Year Three, however, back-to-back kid tales sag Tales from the Darkside thanks to an annoying little girl disliking her engaged sister’s kisses with her jerky fiance in “I Can’t Help Saying Goodbye.” The titular premonitions lead to explosions, funerals, and a whiff of religion versus innocence but the crappy attitudes can’t make a thin script more eerie. “The Bitterest Pill” offers another petulant kid and nasty dad, and the family remains pissy even after they win the lottery. The in your face speed talking over the eponymous drug that provides total recall takes the investments over the top and the fittingly harsh turnabout drags on too long. Southern charm schmoozing over the politician at dinner in “Deliver Us From Goodness” also repeats the be careful what you wish for come ups that were done better several episodes prior, and the religious hypocrisy gets lost in the out of control humor and off the mark obnoxiousness. “My Own Place” may have $285 rent control, however, there’s a semi-mystical roommate that won’t leave – despite the yuppie renter’s curry jokes, Calcutta insults, and racist slurs. Such demeaning isn’t scary, and our jerky new tenant realizes he’s getting what he deserves too late. A stereotypical gold-digging femme fatale widow cut off from the company stock in “Red Leader” adds to the slow, generic corporate talk of cooked books and shady real estate as hellish minions from below debate over the same old evil businessmen tropes. Yawn. Likewise, a greedy young apprentice tries on a pair of magically crafted shoes in “The Social Climber.” He can really go places in this fancy pair, but his shoemaker boss warns him there will be a price. Unfortunately, the magical elements can’t disguise the transparent end, and today some viewers may be completely baffled by what a cobbler even is. A drunk having a heart attack to open “Let the Games Begin” leads to mirrors on the ceiling, hellish shadows, and heavenly echoes arguing over who gets to claim his soul. Both try to entice him by appearing as his angelic best friend and his vixen sister-in-law. However the askew angles, sardonic tricks, and heart beating suspense are too uneven, attempting too much between humor and cynicism in a plain story that gets irritating fast. What is scary are those yuppie styles – plaid sweaters tied over the shoulders, tube socks, and dated feather hair on top of crimped ponytails, neon fashions, and Like a Virgin fishnets. The Tales from the Darkside title card was changed for this season, the menu design on the Season Three DVDs is slightly different, and there are no subtitles. Cramped eighties trailer homes, small sets, and single locations with red lighting and dark dressings may be cheap, however, the claustrophobia is also very effective amid atmospheric thunder and that indelible, chilling Tales from the Darkside theme. Sound effects accent the monster makeup, blood, gothic archways, and older Victorian styles. Retro kitchens, typewriters, and big boob tubes harken a mid-century housewife mood – pink wallpaper, dusty rose doilies, and old bag vacuums contrast the giant eighties portable brick phones and pathetically dated computers. These ladies have to take off a clip earring to use the rotary phone and count the teaspoons to make that old fashioned coffee! While such a long season has its ups and downs thanks to dated or hammy half hours that are weird rather than scary, Tales from the Darkside Season Three once again provides creepy, chilling, and atmospheric parables for a nostalgic horror marathon.

Revisit Tales from the Darkside  Season 1 or Season 2 and read up on our Tales from the Crypt Reviews Seasons 1, 2, or 3, too! 

FRIGHTENING FLIX: Gothic Romance Video Review

Yours Truly Kristin Battestella aka Kbatz discusses Category Romance versus Gothic Literature, Slashers versus Hammer, Penny Dreadful, Mario Bava, Crimson Peak, Tom Hiddleson, and Only Lovers Left Alive as well as Victorian and Gothic Romance Themes and the upcoming HorrorAddicts.net anthology Dark Divinations.

 

Thank you for being part of Horror Addicts.net and enjoying our video, podcast, and media coverage!

Listen to Our Podcast: http://horroraddicts.net/

Get involved: https://www.facebook.com/groups/horroraddicts.net

HorrorAddicts.net Online Writers Conference: http://horroraddictswriters.freeforums.net/board/14/writing-horror

Dark Divinations Submission Information: https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/current-submission-calls/

To Read Detailed Reviews on Our Subjects Re-visit:

Penny Dreadful  1  2  3

Mario Bava Super Special

Crimson Peak

Only Lovers Left Alive

Revisiting Poe Video Review

Classic Horror Reading Video

Dark Shadows Video Review

Chilling Chat: Episode 171 | Loren Rhoads

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Loren Rhoads served as editor for Bram Stoker Award-nominated Morbid Curiosity magazine as well as the books The Haunted Mansion Project: Year Two, Death’s Garden:Rhoads Headshots 9-18 FINAL-1782 Relationship with Cemeteries, and Morbid Curiosity Cures the Blues: True Tales of the Unsavory, Unwise, Unorthodox, and Unusual. Her short stories have appeared in the books Best New Horror #27, Strange California, Sins of the Sirens: Fourteen Tales of Dark Desire, Fright Mare: Women Write Horror, and most recently in the magazines Weirdbook, Occult Detective Quarterly, and Space & Time. 

Loren is an imaginative and skilled writer. We spoke of inspiration, editing, and cemeteries.

NTK: Welcome to Chilling Chat, Loren! Thank you for joining me today.

LR: My pleasure! I am really looking forward to chatting.

NTK: How old were you when you first discovered horror?

LR: I remember catching a glimpse of Barnabas Collins climbing out of his coffin when I was four. I didn’t know what I was seeing at the time, but the music was so deliciously creepy! I was definitely marked for life.

NTK: Is Dark Shadows your favorite horror TV show? What is your favorite?

LR: Wow, it’s hard to choose a favorite. I loved Dark Shadows, Kolchak, and the monster of the week episodes of The X Files. Now I’m loving Legion, which might not seem like horror, because the main character/villain is presented to be so charming. He’s really quite terrifying.

NTK: Do you prefer villains or heroes?

LR: I prefer characters who wander from one side of the equation to the other.

NTK: What do you think makes a character believable?

LR: Self-doubt.

NTK: When you write characters, do they have free will? Or are their actions predetermined?

LR: They definitely have minds of their own. I generally write to find out what I think, rather than the other way around, so I just wind my characters up and watch them go.

NTK:  Lily is a fascinating character in “Still Life with Shattered Glass.” What inspired that story?

LR: I was working at the University of Michigan as the Secretary of the Undergraduate English program. One of the perks was that I got to sit in on any English class I wanted, so I took all the creative writing classes. Students were strongly encouraged to “write what you know” so we read an awful lot of shitty roommate stories. I wanted to write a story where the reader wasn’t sure which roommate was worse. And I wanted to mock all the artistic pretensions that the undergrads were spouting.

NTK: “Still Life” is part of the anthology, Tales for the Camp Fire. Could you tell us what that anthology is about and what inspired it?

LR: Last November, there was a terrible wildfire in Northern California. Some of the power company’s equipment failed in a windstorm and threw sparks that burned for three weeks. The town of Paradise, California was leveled. The smoke from the fire was so bad that it could be seen from space. It drifted 200 miles from Butte County in the Sierra Nevada Mountains to settle in the Bay Area, where I live. For a week, we had the worst air quality in the world. So even if we didn’t lose anything directly in the fire, we were still affected by it.

Tales for the Camp FireThe local chapter of the Horror Writers Association decided to help the survivors. Ben Monroe suggested we put together an anthology that we could use to raise money for survivors. I volunteered to edit. Tomes & Coffee volunteered to publish it. All the stories—even the one by Clark Ashton Smith—are donations. The cover art was donated by Petersen Games. Even the cover designer donated her time.

All of the book’s profits are going to the North Valley Community Foundation, which is a clearinghouse in Butte County that applies funds to the greatest needs.

NTK:  Horror writers are great people. What did you look for in a story, when you edited that anthology?

LR: Because it wasn’t a themed anthology, I wanted to include as wide a spectrum of horror stories as possible: creepy, gross, funny, disturbing, thought-provoking, nightmarish. I wanted something about the story to stick in your mind after you read it, a splinter that would work away at you.

NTK: What is your favorite horror novel?

LR: The one I’ve read the most is Dracula. I find something new in it every time I read it. Other than that, my second favorite changes from day to day.

NTK: You spoke of your inspiration for “Still Life,” what inspires you in general? What gets the creative juices flowing?

LR: I’m just trying to make sense of life on earth. It can be so beautiful and yet so tragic. We don’t seem to make it easy for each other, even though we’re all trapped here. I write to get to the heart of that.

NTK: Do you have a favorite horror film?

LR: Alien. The first one. I still find it scary.

NTK: Is it the fear factor, or the fact that people are pulling together to fight a greater evil that attracts you to the story?

LR: I like watching Ripley, who is marginalized and ignored, turn out to be right. She knows what the protocol is supposed to be, but the more-emotional men overrule her and get killed for it. Watching Ripley, who has discounted herself, realize that she’s resourceful enough to survive it is amazing. And the monster still haunts my nightmares all these years later.

NTK: You are a well-known cemetery aficionado and I have been dying to ask you this question, have you ever been to Colma, CA?

LR: Oh so many times!

NTK: What’s it like?

LR: The absolute best. There are 17 cemeteries in town, one right beside the next. They range from Japanese to Chinese to Italian (full of sculpture) to Jewish to Catholic to a former Masonic cemetery to a former potter’s field. There’s even a pet cemetery!

They say 1 million people are buried in Colma but there are only 1,000 live ones.

Wyatt Earp is buried there, and Levi Strauss, and Emperor Norton (the only Emperor of North America and Protector of Mexico). It’s lovely and sad and full of treasures.

I don’t know if you know the history of the graveyards of San Francisco, but in the early 20th century, all of them were dug up and the bodies hauled to Colma. There are several huge mass graves down there. Even so, people keep finding bodies that were missed somehow and weren’t moved.

Several years ago, a woman doing yard work found an iron coffin with a little girl in it, still perfectly preserved, and visible through a glass window into the coffin.

NTK: Do you have any stories set in Colma?

LR: Not yet. I’ve written about it on Cemetery Travel (my cemetery blog) and in 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die, but I haven’t set a story there yet.

NTK: I look forward to those stories. Loren, what does the future hold for you? What work do we Horror Addicts have to look forward to?

LR: I’m finishing up a novel that I hope to have out in October, so I can sell it at the199 Cemeteries Horror Addicts table at Sinister Creature Con. It’s the sequel to Lost Angels (which HA gave a super nice review to several years ago). This new one is called Angelus Rose. It continues the story of Lorelei, a succubus who falls for an angel named Azaziel. It’s set in LA—and bits of it take place in Forest Lawn, Westwood Memorial Park (where Marilyn Monroe is buried), and Angelus Rosedale, where Buffy was filmed in its first season. The story skates between erotic horror and urban fantasy romance, lots of sex and death and graveyards.

NTK: Thank you so much for chatting with me, Loren. You’re a terrific guest.

LR: Thank you so much for doing this, Naching! You asked some great questions. It was really fun.

Addicts, you can find Loren on Facebook, Twitter, and at Cemetery Travel.

You can purchase Tales for the Camp Fire: A Charity Anthology on Amazon.

Kill Switch: An Overview

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During the early months of 2018, Emerian Rich and Dan Shaurette began brainstorming the theme of the next HorrorAddicts.net anthology. Dan approached Emz with an interesting idea. He wanted to create an anthology inspired by Tech Horror, something like the NETFLIX television show, Black Mirror. The prospect excited Emz. All they needed was a name.

They came up with several during the coming weeks. Everything from Glitched, to Future Dark to Kernel Panic to Digital Dread. Nothing clicked until January 19, 2018.

Dan: Kill Switch?

Emz: That’s it!

And, Kill Switch was born.

Dan chose the Vampire/Android cover and the submission call went out. Authors responded to the theme and the submissions began to roll in. Everything went smoothly until Father’s Day, 2018. That was the day Dan suffered a medical emergency. He would survive but he wouldn’t finish the anthology.

Emz was torn. She didn’t know whether to shelve the book or not. After weighing the pros and cons, a single thought came to her mind. What would Dan do? The answer was simple. He would press on.

That’s where I came into the picture. I’d joined HorrorAddicts.net as an interviewer, reviewer, and publishing assistant just a few months before. As Emz took over editing the anthology, I stepped in as Head of Publishing. We assembled a submissions team with Laura Perkins and J. Malcolm Stewart (followed later by Kate Nox and Cedar George) and went right to work.

A month passed as the team sifted through manuscripts looking for technical gems to fill the pages of the anthology. In the end, they decided on thirteen stories. The authors were notified and the anthology announced. Phase one was complete.

Several months of formatting and editing followed. We worked hard on every story, cutting and polishing the technical gems until they were perfect diamonds. At last, on May 9, Kill Switch was ready for the world.

And so, with pride and a deep sense of accomplishment, HorrorAddicts.net presents to you… 

KILL SWITCH

Edited by DAN SHAURETTE and EMERIAN RICH

With stories by:

DANA HAMMER / MOW-BOT

Mike’s new Mow-Bot is the answer to his weekend chore dreams until the neighbor’s cat disappears.

TIM O’NEAL / REMS

A doctor eager for publication and fame unethically tests a wound debridement technology with disastrous results.

NACHING T. KASSA / PHANTOM CALLER

An elderly woman enlists the aid of two repairmen when her pest elimination program goes haywire and begins attracting ghosts.

EMERIAN RICH / SOULTAKER 2.0

A game programmer in the final stages of launching a new version of the MMORPG “SoulTaker,” finds a bug even he can’t fix.

DAPHNE STRASERT / IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER

Daemon is willing to do whatever it takes to get the girl of his dreams and if his Iriz eye implant can help him do that, he doesn’t care what else it does.

GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ  / HAÜS

A five-year-old boy is left home alone while his parents travel overseas, but his smart-house will keep him safe, right?

JERRY J. DAVIS / TRAVELS

In a near future world where viewers are addicted to a television station featuring a hypnotically seductive sphere bouncing on an endless, surreal journey through unspoiled natural environments, Dodd is the only one who is “awake” enough to fight back.

GARRETT ROWLAN / GO GENTLY

In a future world where no one except fake grandparents live past the age of 65, Enid needs to land the job that will save her life, but a trip down memory lane may prove more difficult than she expects.

CHANTAL BOUDREAU / STRANGE MUSIC

An audio-sensitive college student is the only one who can hear the difference in a mechanical birdsong that attacks her little sister.

H.E. ROULO / ANGELS DON’T FEAR HEIGHTS

A man uses technology to control his daughter from beyond the grave, will she ever be free?

BILL DAVIDSON / INTELLIGENIE

A terminally ill woman discovers a frightening secret when she issues a deadly order to her personal robot.

LAUREL ANNE HILL / 13TH MAGGOT

A scientist working with bioengineered medical maggots fails to document her obvious erroneous observation, only to later realize her horrific mistake.

PHILLIP T. STEPHENS / SUBROUTINES

A computer programmer looking for his missing children in a legendary ghost house encounters a malevolent AI.

And, though I’ve stepped in as Head of Publishing, I could never fill Dan’s shoes. With much love, we dedicate this book to you, Dan. Thank you. We hope you enjoy it.

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Kill Switch Chilling Chat with Dana Hammer

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Dana Hammer is the author of several short stories which have been published in various magazines, journals and anthologies. She has never used a lawnmower.Dana Hammer

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

So young I can’t remember the age. I used to stay up late watching Tales from the Darkside and Tales from the Crypt. My family and I used to tell stories about Betsy the Child-Killing Doll. I was like, five at the time. It’s always been a pretty big part of my life, which is a good thing.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

I don’t know. I like to think I have my own style.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “Mow-Bot?”

My husband is very in to automation. I am not. He purchased a robot vacuum cleaner, and it was bad news. It kept trying to get my feet with its little flippers. Sometimes it ate electrical cords. Sometimes it didn’t obey me at all. It had an “accident” and now it is gone from my life forever, thank god.

A robotic lawn mower is the logical extension of these kinds of terrifying home automation appliances.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Of course, they don’t have free will, they’re fictional characters, who I created. I can make them do whatever I want.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

No, music is too distracting. I like it silent when I write. I do like to create playlists that I listen to BEFORE I write, to get me in the mood.

6.) Where do you find inspiration?

Same place everyone does.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

That’s a hard one! It, The Hole, The Stand, Hannibal.

KSCoverSmall8.) Favorite horror movie?

Again, so hard to pick! The Silence of the Lambs, Psycho, Get Out, The Bad Seed.

9.) Favorite horror television show?

Tales from the Crypt!

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

Right now I’m working on screenplays. My short story, “Spider” was optioned, and turned into a short film, which should be released in October of this year. My screenplay, Red Wings won the Vancouver Badass Film Festival Best Screenplay award, so I’m trying to get that produced. My novels, Dead Viking Rehab and Pazuzu Versus the Fucking Fairies are now available for purchase, so you should purchase them.

 

Kill Switch Chilling Chat with Tim O’Neal

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Tim O’Neal graduated from UC Berkeley. He served ten months in AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) and is currently working on a dual Masters in nutritionTim O'Neal science and exercise physiology. When he is not studying, he plays guitar or explores California by bicycle. “REMS” is his first short story.

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was 15 years old.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

Stephen King inspired me to write horror after I read The Shining in high school. I told myself I wanted to write something as well done and scary as that.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “REMS?”

I was bored working at my day job in a gray cubicle beneath the fluorescent lights. I had an idea for remote controlled maggots and how much fun that could be. I scribbled down a few things in a nearby notebook (complete with doodles!). After a few years, those ideas developed into the current story.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I think the best writing happens when you can hypnotize yourself into a state of creative unconscious. The most believable fiction occurs when you take yourself out of the driver’s seat and ride shotgun, letting your characters do what they wish; however good or bad the result.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

I used to listen to music like Green Day while writing. But I outgrew the practice. Now I mostly write in silence. It helps me focus.

6.) Where do you find inspiration?

I find inspiration just by letting my unconscious mind turn over different thoughts, ideas, images, visuals, sayings; basically anything that happens to me in a day gets churned up and blended together. Sometimes you get a gem.

KSCoverSmall7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

Ooh, that’s a hard one. I have so many favorite horror novels. The Shining is up there, of course. So is Justin Cronin’s The Passage. As well as Joe Hill’s Heart Shaped Box.

8.) Favorite horror movie?

I normally don’t watch horror movies. I prefer comedies.

9.) Favorite horror television show?

Stranger Things!!

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I continue to write every day, writing down ideas, editing old stuff, and putting down new ideas. I hope that, in time, more of my stories will find homes with attentive readers.

Kill Switch Origins

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Addicts, have you ever wondered what inspires an author to write a horror story? What event sparked terror in a writer’s brain? Well, wonder no more. Some of our Kill Switch authors have been kind enough to provide us with a peek inside their twisted minds. We hope you enjoy these Kill Switch Origins.


Subroutines: Writing from the Scrap Heap of Memory

I checked through the drafts in my Ulysses app and discovered I wrote the original version of “Subroutines” for an online writers’ group two years ago. I believe the theme of passing through doorways. (The other writers’ doorways led to heaven.)

Most likely I was working on a second story or poem that involved code, and the link from entrapment to endless loop was a natural segue.

I don’t believe in waiting for inspiration to write. I work with scraps and found images I drop into memory and then fish them out at random. Most of my stories begin with an image, dust motes dancing in sunlight, a woman’s hair spreading into the water, a spot of blood on a pillow. It doesn’t matter what image I retrieve, that’s the one I work with.

Once I find it, I fashion the image into a metaphor that represents character flaws, motivations or self-deception. The endless loop in subroutines is a metaphor for the patterns that define our lives. The loop traps us but escaping the loop derails us as often as it resets our course.

Once I fashion the metaphor, I turn it loose in the story’s garden to see where it crops up. Sometimes I get flowers, sometimes I get weeds, which is fine. Weeds and wildflowers cover my lawn (which pisses off the neighbors who like their yards neatly trimmed). I want my mind as messy as my yard.

~Phillip T. Stephens


As regards the origin of my story, “Go Gently,” honestly I can’t recall…it’s been years of rejections and rewrites…all I have is the memory of the preacher Gene Scott—I think that’s his name—asking for Kruggerands on his weekly message. He was the model for Dr. Jack Carl in my story.

~ Garrett Rowlan


My short story, “HAÜS,” was inspired by a discussion I had with a relative who installs digital security systems in homes, commercial buildings, and public facilities. I wondered, “How diabolical would it be to have an advanced security system so effective and deadly that even a small child who was ‘home alone’ for a while would be safe against armed Intruders?”

~ Garth von Buchholz


[“In the Eye of the Beholder”] I worked in the field of User Experience Design for a few years and saw a number of interesting design concepts for augmented reality. Combining the digital world with the real world has been technology’s inevitable direction for a while now. Considering how connected our lives are through social media, this combination is increasingly problematic. What is privacy in a world where everything goes online? What’s happens when our digital selves merge with our actual selves? And what happens when they start to take over?

~ Daphne Strasert


[“Soultaker 2.0”] I always liked the idea of a sinister power claiming parts of us as we play video games. There have been so many studies on how video game playing can affect our bodies and minds while playing. What if the effects were irreversible?

~ Emerian Rich


My story was inspired by a real invention. It’s a small white box which uses ultrasonic sound to repel pests (spiders, mice, etc.) from your residence. My husband and I bought these devices online. You just plug them into any outlet and switch them on.

After a while, (when the device no longer worked. I guess the mice grew accustomed to the sound) I began to wonder about these things. What if they could repel pests, but attracted something else to the house? The idea bumped around in my head until I heard about the Kill Switch submission call. Then the whole idea clicked into place and “Phantom Caller” was born.

~Naching T. Kassa

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 4 Quick Questions with Daphne Strasert, Emerian Rich, and Naching T. Kassa

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 Daphne Strasert is a horror, dark fantasy, and speculative fiction writer from Houston, Texas. She has been published in several anthologies including Crescendo of Darkness and Postcards from the Void. Daphne Strasert

 Emerian Rich is the author of the vampire book series, Night’s Knights, and writes romance under the name Emmy Z. Madrigal. Her romance/horror cross over, Artistic License, is about a woman who inherits a house where anything she paints on the walls comes alive. She’s been published in a handful of anthologies by publishers such as Dragon Moon Press, Hidden Thoughts Press, Hazardous Press, and White Wolf Press. She is the podcast Horror Hostess of HorrorAddicts.net 

Naching T. Kassa is a wife, mother, and horror author. She resides in Eastern Washington State with her husband, Dan, their three children, and their dog. She is a member of the Horror Writers Association, Head of Publishing for HorrorAddicts.net, and an assistant at Crystal Lake Publishing.

1.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

DS: I like to listen to music while I write. I find that lyrics are good when I’m thinking emz1smallabout my stories, but when I actually write, I prefer instrumental music. Two Steps from Hell is a personal favorite.

ER: It varies depending on what I am writing. I try to find a genre or theme song for the character I am writing and play it when I’m writing an intense scene with them. If I am just writing, in general, it’s either 90’s Goth, big band Jazz, or 80’s.

NTK: I love to listen to KISS, Journey, Foreigner, REO Speedwagon, Steppenwolf—anything from the 60s, 70s, and 80s. One of my favorite and most inspirational CDs is music by Bernard Herrmann. Herrmann composed music for most of Alfred Hitchcock’s films and it’s terrific for writing horror.

2.) Where do you find inspiration?

DS: I find it helpful to look at art and design concepts. Pinterest has a great platform for artists to post fantasy, science fiction, and horror concept art. I keep several boards of inspirational images and quotes that relate to my stories.IMG_1979

ER: Everywhere. I used to think I had to go to a certain place or see a certain film to create, but really, I am always creating in my head whether my pen is to paper or not.

NTK:  Things just come to me. They just seem to slip through the door between my conscious and unconscious mind.

3.) What is your favorite piece of “Tech” horror?

DS: I really enjoyed Ex Machina. The intersection of technology and humanity has always fascinated me (I have degrees in computer science and psychology).

ER: I really enjoyed some of the Black Mirror episodes. My favorites were about tech that we are just around the corner from like “Fifteen Million Merits” and “Nosedive.”

NTK: Ok. People may disagree with this, but it was scary to me. My favorite piece of “Tech Horror” is the movie, WarGames starring Matthew Broderick and Dabney Coleman. A young guy accidentally hacking into a military computer and initiating WW III? It was really frightening, especially when you’re growing up in the shadow of nuclear war.

4.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

DS: I’m currently working on my second novel, a mystery, that I will be submitting the KSCoverSmallagents and publishers later this year.

ER: Wow. Do any of us know? I hope I will keep writing and become a better writer as I go–which is always my goal. I could wish for cloning to become a thing so that I could be more than one person and write all the millions of ideas in my head, but I’m sure it would inevitably go bad and the world would be overrun by Emz. Now, THAT would be a horror story.

NTK: I have a short story coming out in the anthology, Dark Transitions, published by Thirteen O’clock Press. I’m Editing Dark Divinations for HorrorAddicts.net, and I have a story in a big anthology I’ve been trying to get into for several years. I just about fainted when I found out I was accepted.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Garth von Buchholz

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Garth von Buchholz is an author of dark poetry, short fiction, non-fiction, and drama. His poetry books include Mad Shadows and his fiction has been published in various Garth von Buchholzanthologies. Garth is also the founder of the International Edgar Allan Poe Society. He lives in Canada on Vancouver Island. 

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

Probably about six years old. I had a book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, some of which were pretty disturbing for a young mind. But they were so profound and compelling because they spoke the truth about good and evil and death and tragedy, so I loved them. Later I was enamored with some of the classic horror films I saw on TV as well as reruns of old horror shows such as The Twilight Zone.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

Edgar Allan Poe is my muse. I’ve written scholarly articles about Poe’s work, was interviewed about Poe for the Washington Post and was the founder of the International Edgar All Poe Society in 2009, the 200th anniversary of his birthday. But back in college, I realized that I couldn’t just mimic him, I didn’t want to try to write like a 19th-century author—I needed to find my own 20th-century voice.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “HAÜS?”

“HAÜS” is about the coldness and ruthlessness of technology. I’ve been working in digital media since the 1990s. A relative of mine owns a wireless security camera company, and after we talked about his work installing security systems in homes and businesses, I wondered if there would ever be a home security system so diabolically deadly that not even a group of skilled home invaders could penetrate it.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I’m like God—my characters can do what they want while they’re still alive, but ultimately I know when they will die and how.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

I’ve done it before, but the problem is that when I’m playing a good song and I’m really in the fever mode, writing intensely, the song comes to an end and that distracts me. Or, I put something on loop but eventually, the looping starts distracting me too. Usually, Radiohead helps me.

6.) Where do you find inspiration? 

Many times my inspiration is from some news story I’ve read. Fact often converts into fiction very seamlessly.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

How can I decide on one? Legion by William Peter Blatty or The Stand by Stephen King.

KSCoverSmall8.) Favorite horror movie?

The Exorcist III (based on the novel Legion)

9.) Favorite horror television show?

The Stand (miniseries, 1994) And, I’m so excited to see the new TV miniseries being developed.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I’ve started a manuscript for a novella about a freakish wild beast who stalks a mountain near a town. Also, I’m continually writing dark poetry with horror themes. I’d like to write poetry that actually scares people. That’s an ambition.

Addicts, you can find Garth on his new Blog.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Garrett Rowlan

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Garrett Rowlan is a retired sub teacher for LAUSD. Garrett RowlanHis novel To Die, To Sleep was published by James Ward Kirk.   

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

Around the age of six, I saw Creature from the Black Lagoon and it scared me, and later Blood of Dracula. I viewed many horror movies at the Park Theater on Figueroa Street in Los Angeles. It is now a 99-cent store.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

James Joyce, Thomas Pynchon were two influences in my early 20’s. George Orwell in high school. In later years, I found much to ponder in the work of Jorge Luis Borges.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “Go Gently?”

When I was a kid, we meanly joked that all old people be killed off; now that I’m old, that doesn’t seem so funny.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

In longer fiction, my characters have some free will. In short fiction they are, as Nabakov once said, “galley slaves.”

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

All kinds of music, but ambient isolationism (Thomas Koner, Eno, etc.) is the best.

6.) Where do you find inspiration? 

Riding the bus around LA, going to movies, I find lots to see and ponder.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

Revival by Stephen King is good. Elizabeth Hand is good. Lately, I’ve discovered Paul Tremblay.

8.) Favorite horror movie?

KSCoverSmallThe Haunting, the original black and white. Saw it on the night I graduated from junior high.

9.) Favorite horror television show?

I don’t watch TV much. No cable or streaming access. I used to love The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

My novel, Too Solid Flesh Melts, was just published by Alban Lake and The Vampire Circus is due to be published this year–or next?–by Barking Rain Press. Also, I will have two stories in The Best of The Moon. And, another story will be published in the inaugural issue of All Worlds Wayfarer.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Chantal Boudreau

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Chantal Boudreau is a speculative fiction writer from Sambro, Nova Scotia with a focus in horror and fantasy. She has published in Canada in the anthologies Tesseracts 20, Dead Chantal BoudreauNorth, Clockwork Canada, and Chillers from the Rock, amongst others.  Outside of Canada, she has published more than fifty stories.

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror? 

I was aware of horror from a young age.  I always enjoyed scary stories as a child, and I remember watching Tales of the Unexpected and reading horror comics when I was still in elementary school.  I started reading my sister’s horror novels as a pre-teen, which is also when I got to first see the original Dawn of the Dead.  I was hooked from then on.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

I can’t say it was one author.  When it comes to horror it would be a mixture of Tanith Lee, Stephen King, and Fredric Brown, primarily, but there were many other influences.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “Strange Music?”

Waiting for the bus one day, I heard a familiar birdsong that was just a little “off.”  My imagination grabbed the moment and ran with it.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I start off giving them traits and thoughts, directing them into the plot, but after a certain point they develop to a point of realism where they start doing their own thing.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

Yes-I listen to a lot of alternative rock, Finger Eleven, Linkin Park, 30 Seconds to Mars, etc., and some darker pop-Peter Gabriel, Pink, and Billie Eilish, for example.

6.) Where do you find inspiration? 

Everywhere-things friends or family say, experiences from my past, my own worries and fears, something I see or hear that happens to spark my imagination.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

I’d have to say Stephen King’s It.

KSCoverSmall8.) Favorite horror movie?

That one’s harder.  I love the classics, like George Romero’s zombie movies, and modern horror like Get Out but I’d have to say the one I found the most visceral and sensory was Perfume.

9.) Favorite horror television show?

I was a fan of Z Nation, despite its camp, and sad that it was canceled.  I’d say my favourite right now is Santa Clarita Diet-it is quirky, gross and fun.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I’ll just look into my crystal ball…seriously, I have no clue.  I keep putting something out there and hoping things will stick.  I’ll keep writing and I’ll keep dreaming.

Addicts, you can find Chantal on Facebook and Twitter.

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with H.E. Roulo

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H.E. Roulo’s short stories have appeared in several dozen publications, including Nature and Fantasy’s special Women Destroy Fantasy issue. She is the author of the PlagueHERoulo_Feb2011_small Master series. Fractured Horizon, her science-fiction podcast novel, was a Parsec Award Finalist. 

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I don’t recall my first discovery of horror—after all, it’s always there even in children’s books like Berenstain Bears Spooky Old Tree.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

My favorite books are sci-fi/horror crossovers, especially if they’re post-apocalyptic like Z for Zacharia by Robert C. O’Brien or The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson. I loved C.S. Friedman’s Coldfire trilogy, starting with Black Sun Rising.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “Angels Don’t Fear Heights?”

I actually thought that “Angels Don’t Fear Heights” would be a flash piece just of the scene with the lawyer. The idea was someone so controlling that he continued to dominate even after death. I imagined the vengeful dead person returning to savor leaving the protagonist out of the will. How perfect, then, to have the solution be to dig up the body and cash in on the tech that had made it possible. From there, the idea of this undead-yet-dead person still popping up to control someone’s life was eerie enough I had to write it. Regrettably, I had to give up on the graverobbing treasure-hunt for the body, since it was stronger this way.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

Characters always act in ways logical to them, so sometimes they can’t take the path I had planned. Still, I always know the end of a story before I begin and it’s just a matter of steering them where they need to go.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

Many authors can’t listen to songs with lyrics while writing, but that’s not the case for me. I know my writing is going especially well when I suddenly notice we’re in the middle of a song I wasn’t hearing because I was so focused. I listen to everything—in fact, new is usually better so I put songs on shuffle. Sometimes, however, if there’s a song with just the right mood I’ll quickly put it on repeat until the scene is fully written.

6.) Where do you find inspiration?

Inspiration isn’t the problem, it’s all around us if we pay attention. Creating an idea that’s full enough to support a whole story is the problem. I wish I could remember my various inspirations throughout the day to bring them together into one story because that’s when it gets interesting.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

Favorite questions are hard for me. I rarely have that kind of loyalty to anything. I like novelty. My favorite things are the stories, songs, and televisions shows I haven’t seen yet and that surprise me. I rarely consume anything twice. Today, I’ll fondly recall the horror of certain stories in the anthology Unaccompanied Sonata by Orson Scott Card.

8.) Favorite horror movie?

KSCoverSmallI’m a big fan of anything post-apocalyptic and dystopian. I had to read Cormac McCarthy’s grim and hopeless The Road after seeing the movie. I also love time travel and alternate realities. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind impressed me when it came out. Coherence and the movie Primer kept things interesting.

9.) Favorite horror television show?

The Black Mirror series has me hooked.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I have several books I’m sitting on right now, including the sequel to my YA Zombie sci-fi Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome. I also have a sci-fi vampire book looking for a publisher, and a superhero novella written from the point of view of the villain called Heart of Marble.

 

Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Bill Davidson

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Bill Davidson is a Scottish writer of horror and fantasy. In the last few years, he has placed over thirty short stories with publications around the world including with Ellen Bill 4Datlow’s Best Horror of the Year Anthology and large distribution magazines. 

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was about 18 when I scared the crap out of myself reading Salem’s Lot. But long before that I was hooked on the old Hammer Horror films, watched them any chance I got–I started at about 12.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

Stephen King and Elmore Leonard. Sorry, that’s two, not counting Neil Gaiman.

3.)    What inspired you to write your piece, “Intelligenie?”

The true horror of today is corporate greed-the only sanction the multi-nationals care about is loss of profit and they will see people die and the planet burn if it means they turn a dollar. Then you look at the amount of time, energy and money being spent on developing AI and think, what resource might the multi-national company’s get hold of that will provide the same thing more easily? One thing the world has no shortage of is humans.

Also, at the time of writing, US scientists have just revived part of a dead pig’s brain, which was a major inspiration despite the fact that it hadn’t happened when I wrote my story. Proving that SF authors get inspired by things that haven’t happened yet.

4.)    How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I start with an idea of a story, and of the main characters. But, my characters always seem to develop ideas of their own and, frankly, I love it when that happens. That’s where the good stuff comes from. Free will? Not really.

5.)    Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

I kind of feel I should. I like to imagine myself listening to something highly cultural whilst producing erudite prose. But it just distracts me, so I don’t.

6.)    Where do you find inspiration?

Other writers, the news, overheard conversations, things I see on trains.

7.)    What is your favorite horror novel?

That’s hard. It’s probably IT, but I recently read Man With No Name by Laird Barron and loved it.

8.)    Favorite horror movie?

KSCoverSmallEven harder. I’m going for the one that really did scare me when I went to see it at the movies-Alien.

9.)    Favorite horror television show?

The first few series of True Blood.

10.)  What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I’m writing hard! I’ve written three novels and about sixty shorts in the three years since I left my job in local government. It’s hard finding a publisher for my longer stuff, but I’m determined to do it. My horror novel The King of the Crows is properly scary. Really!

Addicts, you can find Bill on Twitter.

Book Review – Darker Days: A Collection of Dark Fiction by Kenneth W. Cain

Darker Days A Collection of Dark Fiction, by Kenneth Cain

I’ve always enjoyed reading a good scary tale, and in my opinion short stories make the best medium for leading the reader through the “valley of fear.” Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed many horror novels over the years, but my favorite stories have always been short ones. That’s largely because they, by necessity, get right to the point and waste no time leading the reader right smack dab into the middle of the monster’s den.

Darker Days, by Kenneth Cain, is a great collection of tales that any fan of horror fiction would enjoy. There’s something in this book for everyone. The subject matter of the tales therein includes ghosts, cosmic horror, zombies, vampires, weird creatures, aliens, kaiju, and demons. While there were stories I enjoyed more than others, there wasn’t a single dud in this collection.

As I read through Cain’s stories, I found myself enjoying his style of writing. He does a good job of describing the setting and action without a lot of needless exposition. One thing I’ve never cared for is when a writer drones on for two pages describing what could be summed up in two sentences, and Cain avoids that nicely.

Probably my favorite story in the collection is “By the Crescent Moon. This one tells the tale of Mike, who has just moved into a house in the North Carolina countryside. The story works for me in several ways. There’s the trope of the dark, foggy night, with something strange lurking out there. It ties in with folklore, especially Welsh legends that touched the New World. Throw in a creepy old woman who possesses knowledge of the legends and lore of the area, and who tries to warn Mike against venturing out into the hills on that foggy night, and you’ve got the setting for a really creepy tale. Of course, Mike shuns her advice and things go to hell fairly quickly. But hey, if people acted with good common sense and clear rational thought, there would be no scary story. There would just be the tale of the guy who heeded advice and went back home, locked the door, and went to bed.  And who wants to read that story?

All in all, Darker Days is a solid set of stories that should entertain most any horror enthusiast.  For my part, I look forward to reading more of Cain’s work.  Next time you’re looking for a good scary read, you won’t go wrong grabbing a copy of this book.

Book Review: Freaks edited by Toneye Eyenot and Michael Noe

Are you looking for stories that stick in your dreams? Ones about people twisted both inside and out? You might regret what you wish for.

Freaks, a collection of stories and poetry edited by Toneye Eyenot and Michael Noe, contains 19 chilling tales of monsters, murderers, and madmen.

This anthology is not for the faint of heart. The stories inside may vary in style and subject matter, but the collection holds nothing back. Each is gruesome and stretches the limits of what you as a horror addict can stomach. The authors explore the depths of human depravity, then dig down a few more feet just for good measure.

Each author put their own spin on the anthology’s theme of horror in the realm of circuses and carnivals. The stories are a good mix of the supernatural, the speculative, and the frighteningly realistic. There are killer clowns, sure, but what about a man with a killer appetite, or a roadshow zombie attraction, or a carnival ride that is actually alive? Not all freaks are easy to identify and the worst ones are really the ones that are monsters on the inside.

My personal favorite entries are “Two for the Show” by Tina Piney and “Clownbear’s Last Performance” by Brian Glossup. Both authors created compelling characters within a short span, a difficult task when also including spine-tingling imagery and suspense.

If you’re brave enough to chance reading this, I can guarantee that you’ll be looking over your shoulder and sleeping with the lights on. And no way in hell are you going anywhere near a circus. If you feel a little squeamish, I think that’s the point.

Freaks appeals to a certain variety of horror addict. If you love to stretch the limits of what is appropriate to publish, take a look. If you want stories that will make your skin crawl and stomach churn, check this out. If you want to question your sanity and that of the authors and maybe of humanity in general… read Freaks. And don’t say I didn’t warn you.

FRIGHTENING FLIX BY KBATZ: Tales from the Crypt Season 2

 

Tales from the Crypt Season Two Full of More Fun Horrors
by Kristin Battestella

 

The 1990 Second Season of HBO’s Tales from the Crypt is the series’ longest year with eighteen summer episodes full of the anthology’s particular brand of adult horror and warped humor. John Kassir’s Crypt Keeper is irreverent as ever with his macabre quips, infectious giggle, and deadpan puns – luring the likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger behind the helm before a brief appearance with CK himself. More famous directors this season include Tales from the Crypt producers Richard Donner and Walter Hill alongside recurring series directors Fred Dekker (Night of the Creeps), Howard Deutch (Some Kind of Wonderful), and Tom Holland (Child’s Play). Once again, the series embraces its campy, colorful, twisted source material, with stories from classic magazines such as Shock SuspenStories, Vault of Horror, Crypt of Terror, Haunt of Fear, and of course, Tales from the Crypt.

 

The most beautiful but bitchy, money hungry waitress Demi Moore (Ghost) marries the gluttonous Jeffrey Tambor (Arrested Development) in the immediately memorable “Dead Right” premiere. In 1950, $20 for the fortune teller was sure cheap, but the promised death and foretold inheritance are enough to overcome the rude courtship, terrible remarks, and revolting appearances. There’s strip club saucy and off color charm, too – not to mention a morbid montage imagining all the hit and runs or fatal choking possibilities. The fat suit designs and cruel quips are also offensive, with intimate relations meant to be gross and uncomfortable. Fortunately, this being Tales from the Crypt, we know there will be a justified if ironic twist. Likewise, Emmy nominated William Hickey (Prizzi’s Honor) is desperate to marry the young Kelly Preston (Twins) despite her objection that he is old enough to be her grandfather in “The Switch.” A plastic surgery face swap with the handsome Rick Rossovich (Pacific Blue) comes with a million dollar price tag and mad science to match. Unfortunately, the pretty face with an old man body isn’t very alluring, and the price goes up as the Frankenstein style body parts lead to all the winks we expect. “Cutting Cards,” however, gets right to the western casino chase with gamblers Lance Henriksen (Near Dark) and Kevin Tighe (Emergency!) betting against each other in a purgatory style duel of dice, cards, and roulette. Calculating which chamber holds the bullet escalates to higher and higher stakes – like chop poker where the loser loses a finger. Despite the intense editing and cheating suspicions, this is a fun little two-hander – if you forgive the pun. Gunshots and tacky photo shoot montages with sunset backdrops and kissing silhouettes accent the Mayan amulets and non-linear editing in “The Thing From the Grave,” poking fun at the romance between model Teri Hatcher (Desperate Housewives) and photographer Kyle Secor (Homicide: Life on the Street) as its disrupted by her trigger happy boyfriend Miguel Ferrer (Crossing Jordan) and a little undead vengeance, as you do. All this while The Crypt Keeper is reading Playdead!

 

 

In “For Cryin’ Out Loud,” Iggy Pop’s crooked music manager Lee Arenberg (Pirates of the Caribbean) hears his conscious in the form of comic Sam Kinison. Unfortunately, he ignores the voice for seductive groupie with ulterior motives Katey Sagal (Sons of Anarchy), and some gross ear salves set off the murder, laughs, and warped irony. Cinderella farmhand Patricia Arquette (Medium) has a backwoods employer checking out her tiny white tank top in “Four-Sided Triangle.” Good thing there’s a sexy scarecrow to help her! The nasty mood comes across without showing much – after all, “you beat the help but don’t kill ’em.” This one’s certainly a unique tale, complete with threats of turning real flesh and blood men from bulls into steers and killer hoes for good measure. Bobcat Goldthwait (Oh my gosh, Hot to Trot, people) wants to be a ventriloquist like his idol Don Rickles in “The Ventriloquist’s Dummy,” but you can see his lips move and the dummy’s head falls off, whoopsie! The crappy amateur night and cruel crowd add camp, but just when you think you’ve see it all when it comes to ventriloquism in horror, Tales from the Crypt pulls out meat grinders and designs both laughable and bizarre. “Asshole casserole,” I’ve never heard that one before! Then again appearances are everything for eighties yuppie Carol Kane (Taxi) in “Judy, You’re Not Yourself Today.” Faux accents, French, tea times, and a gun toting husband aren’t enough until a cosmetics lady comes calling for our wrinkle worrying Mrs. Alas, our sales lady has an indestructible switcheroo necklace, making for some twisted violence and wit. Cruel mortician Moses Gunn (Roots) anchors “Fitting Punishment” alongside morose organ music, mistaken biblical quotes, and post mortem scams for one of the season’s finest. Embalming with water is cheaper than the real chemicals, and the dead’s gold teeth get pulled – God helps those who help themselves and waste not want not! Coffins made in Taiwan are inexpensive, too – but shorter. If there’s a spare box lying around, why not use it? Of course, this being Tales from the Crypt, cutting such bloody corners will come back to get you.

 

Illustrator Harry Anderson (Night Court) continues the quality with “Korman’s Kalamity” when his bossy wife’s experimental potency pills inadvertently bring his creative side to life. The Tales from the Crypt logos on the office door and Vault of Horror volumes on the shelf create a bemusing faux behind the scenes life imitating art, and the ridiculously phony comic book monsters match the colorful over the top designs. Tales from the Crypt admits this is a really weird idea, and that’s exactly why we’re watching. Distorted camera angles and smoky shadows also bring the grim turn of the century freak show to life in “Lower Berth.” There’s two-faced caged oddities, dying freaks, desperate managers, and charlatans bartering rare Egyptian slave girl mummies. The stolen sarcophagus and cursed jewels may seem straightforward, but castration consequences and undead romance provide the surprisingly wild topper we never knew we needed. By contrast, “Mute Witness to Murder” is an upfront thriller with no humor as Richard Thomas (The Waltons) and Patricia Clarkson (Six Feet Under) provide the titular shocks with straight jackets, padded cells, and I know that you know that I know deceptions. Blue camera visuals, audio check ins to be let out, and strapped down beds invoke a scary helplessness. Someone else is in control with needles and drugs – making for some true suspense, fourth wall voyeurism, and camera as confessor. “Television Terror,” however, pokes fun at its tale within a tale talk show desperate for Geraldo scandals as our host recounts gruesome murders while his film crew follows with a camera and spotlight. Creepy static, ghostly splices, and bloody bathtubs wink in the night, and the OMG what was that humor is bemusingly prophetic regarding today’s paranormal reality television craze. Tales from the Crypt finishes Year Two strong with the memorable penultimate “My Brother’s Keeper.” Siamese yet opposite twins have some laughable connections – but can their butt attachment be separated and is the fifty/fifty chance worth it? Great dual filming and mirrored, but not always matching images or paired actions lead to more awkwardness, and of course, a lady comes between them – pun intended – along with crimes, cleavers, and cruel twists.

 

 

The Crypt Keeper is upset that Oliver has no Twist for the season finale “The Secret,” but Dickensian puns accent this austere orphanage with misbehaving boys and what happened to his parents whispers. Eerie blue transitions and askew camerawork add to the childlike reluctance when rich but mysterious adoptive parents whisk a boy away to their museum-like home. Good thing there’s a room full of awesome toys and when asking for milk, the butler gives him milkshakes! Who cares if there are bars on all the windows? When not off painting the town red, our parents only come out at night – but they have a surprise in the works. The titular answer is probably obvious, but the innocence and charm have fun here, adding personality and the kind of unexpected finish that only Tales from the Crypt can do. While there aren’t many bad episodes, Tales from the Crypt has a slight sophomore lag mid season with the voodoo clichés of “Til Death.” Though not as bad other other Caribbean horror attempts – the gore and zombie elements are scary as well as humorous – the stereotypical story resorts to a scorned Janet Hubert (Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) getting back at nasty white men messing with the local magic. Weaker writing and less famous casting also hampers the winning Tales from the Crypt formula in “Three’s a Crowd” when a husband suspects his wife is up to no good with their wealthy friend after he lavishes them with gifts and an anniversary trip. The opportunity for suspicion feels there only because that conclusion has to happen for the yuppie mayhem to ensue, and the domestic violence is totally unnecessary. When Tales from the Crypt viewing was limited to weekly HBO waits or random late night repeats, audiences didn’t care about any repetitiveness. However, watching this longer than usual season all together reveals too many similarly themed love triangles, greed, for love or money twists, and seedy fillers. Kim Delaney (NYPD Blue) and Michael Ironside (V) deserve more than murder for money in “The Sacrifice,” for moody L.A. cityscapes and saucy rocking the boat affairs lead to dirty blackmail and long walks off the short balcony, naturally.

 

1990 is also still pretty eighties dated, making Tales from the Crypt both look cheaper than it was yet adding a neo-noir atmosphere to some of the downtrodden macabre. Several episodes are more eighties does forties or fifties rockabilly style to match the record players, old televisions, cool cars, and swanky tunes. Of course, there are also triangular blazers, shoulder pads, Blossom hats, and high-waisted jeans – fatalities of the then hip over-emphasizing fashions along with granny panties, large tassels, and lingerie that reveals nothing. Such barely there nudity, ten seconds of strippers in the background, and mostly clothed make-outs courtesy of the HBO premium cable saucy is totally tame compared to the all but naked singers today, however I must say, the cigarettes, onscreen smoke, and liquored up attitudes are now more noticeably risqué. Quality blood and gory squirts, spills, or stabs also remain well done alongside red spotlights, blue lighting, and strong shadow and light schemes regardless of the anthology’s setting. Creepy organ music accents the askew camera angles and colorful, intentionally faithful comic book design mirroring the Tales from the Crypt magazine sources. The supporting cast per episode is likewise always quality with numerous or occasionally re-appearing familiar faces in critical or twisted cameos. Unfortunately, it seems there is a lot of legalese tying up any blu-ray release and streaming rights, and until the brand new Tales from the Crypt box set, the Complete Series was only available by packaging the DVD collections together. The “kill intro” opening theme makes it easier to marathon the Season Two three disc set without repeating the credits, and Pimp CK does some new bemusements amid the menus and featurettes. His ghastly little supplies come from “Hacme,” and if you don’t get that pun then you are too young to be watching the show.

 

 

 

One can easily forget these ghoulish mini movies are only a half hour, for Tales from the Crypt moves fast but keeps your attention during and after a viewing thanks to the brand’s personality and self-referential ability to laugh at the gory with well written scripts and sardonic winks. It feels like there are more episodes of Tales from the Crypt than there actually are because the series ages well with many memorable times in this extended season. A creepy atmosphere and famous guest stars set the viewer up for the scary topper, and Tales from the Crypt Season Two remains perfect for a gruesome late night marathon.

 

David’s Haunted Library: Drive-In Creature Feature

Soda? check, Popcorn? check, Blankets? check. These are some of the things you might need if you are going to your local drive-in theater. If you’re 30 or younger you probably don’t know what a drive-in is. You also don’t know the joys of sitting in your car with a group of friends while you watched giant creatures destroying the city on the big screen. Luckily Eugene Johnson and Charles Day have put together a horror anthology that captures the spirit of the Drive in.  Drive In Creature Feature contains 19 stories for anyone who loves a good monster tale.

Since it would take too long to talk about each story I’ll spend some time talking about my favorites. The Tattering and Jack by Clive Barker is about a demon who has the task of driving a man crazy. The job ends up being much harder than the demon thought as the man shows he has no emotions and won’t be driven off the deep end. This story has an awesome twist and goes back and forth from being funny to scary. Another good story is The Forrest That Howls by Michael Paul Gonzalez, this is easily the best Bigfoot story I’ve ever read. It answers the question of why there is no proof that the creatures exist.

Ghoul Friend In A Coma by John Everson is a bizzaro love story between a teenage boy and a ghoul. This is another one that combines humor and horror. I love how even when the teenager sees his life in danger he still thinks with the wrong head, this is exactly like I would expect a teenager going through puberty to act. This story teaches us that a couple having sex then carrying a corpse together to the basement is what true love is all about.

Double Feature by Jason V. Brock actually takes place at a drive-in theatre in the Seventies. The story centers on a father who is taking his two kids to a movie. The father and mother are going through a divorce and the story begins with an argument between the occupants of the car. Their problems become secondary though when the drive-in becomes a battleground between a bunch of giant monsters from outer space. This story was a lot of fun but what I really loved was how the family puts their problems aside and works together when a crisis happens.

I also have to mention Popcorn by Essel Pratt, this is another one that takes place in the drive-in. A group of teenagers is at the theatre looking for a good time, but things get ugly when a giant popcorn monster attacks the movie-goers. I love the idea of a monster made of popcorn and there were some creative death scenes here, you may never want to eat popcorn again.

This book is one fun ride, it’s funny in places and scary in others. It also does an excellent job of capturing a bygone era and bringing back a lot of great memories of watching horror movies at the drive-in. There were a couple of stories here I didn’t care for but all in all this book reminded me why I love horror literature. It has humor, great monsters, and good storytelling, what more can you ask for? This is a must-read book for horror literature fans.

David’s Haunted Library: Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist

 

 

When you were a kid did you think monsters existed? Well they do exist and they’re everywhere, there are too many stories about monsters to think otherwise. The preface for  Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist edited by Mr. Deadman and Theresa Braun tells us that . There are 14 tales here about monsters that some believe really exist. I loved all the stories in this collection and couldn’t decide what to focus on since they all fit so well together so I decided to give info on each one:

Master Vermin by Wallace Boothill: The city of Baltimore has some dark places and there is a rat king that rules the night. I loved the idea of the characters trying to stop a low-income apartment from being destroyed and then finding a more sinister force at work.

Legend Trippers by Theresa Braun: An urban legend about a goatman and a man trying to escape the past. Great build up til the end and I liked the reality tv show crew looking for answers.

The Murder Of Crows by S.J Budd: Great little story about the goddess of death. Great twist in this story, loved the idea of what makes a serial killer.

Wicked Congregation by Gary Buller: Great storytelling here on the legend of faeries and what it takes to keep them from killing us all.

Playing Dead by S.E. Casey: This one is about a giant monkey and a strange little carnival. Loved how we find out what is really going on and how the main character feels about it.

Lake Monster by Mr. Deadman: This one combines a couple of legends, every forest has a legend, if the creature in the woods doesn’t get you the lake monster will.

Never Sleep Again by Calvin Demmer: Possibly my favorite in this book, half detective story and half horror story focusing on the monster under the bed. Loved how the monster looked and how he got around from bed to bed, love to see this one expanded to a longer piece.

The Voice From The Bottom Of The Well by Phillip W. Kleaver: Great story about a little girl with insomnia and what she is willing to do to keep the monster at the bottom of a well quiet. Sacrifices must be made and its a surprise who she chooses.

Eclipse at Wolfcreek by Sylvia Mann: This one looks at two kinds of monsters, one is the mothman and the other is something much scarier. I love the beginning of this story and seeing how the main character comes out of it stronger than before but still damaged.

No. 7 by William Marchese: Government experiments and conspiracies play a role in this one along with one terrifying monster. A creepy story with a good mystery.

Criatura by John Palisano: This one is about a bigfoot type creature living in the desert. Love the description of the monster in this one and what the monster seems to want.

Bitten by Christopher Powers: Great storytelling about a giant Spider and what it does to catch its prey. I liked the idea of two men sitting and one telling the story and the other not believing it, this one had a campfire tale vibe to it.

Kelpies by Leo X. Robertson: Good story about what happens if you are not loyal, the kelpies have a nice under the sea set up.

Bloodstream Revolution by M.R. Tapia: It’s a mystery who the monster is in this one, is it the warlords fighting over land or the chupacabras? It’s hard to disagree with the main character’s decision at the end.

Every story in Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist are fast paced and never leave you with that “When will this end feeling.” It’s a quick read with each tale grabbing you by the jugular and not letting go til the blood soaked end. This book is a horror fan’s dream which will give you nightmares for weeks.

David’s Haunted Library: Two from Crystal Lake Publishing

Ugly Little Things: Collected Horrors by Todd Keisling is a collection of stories that explore what happens when people are pushed to their limits.The first story called A Man In Your Garden sets up the anthology perfectly. It’s about a man who believes a stranger is standing on his lawn. The man is scared but is there, someone, really out there or does he have an overactive imagination. I love how this story shows that sometimes we are our worst enemy.

Another good story here is Saving Granny From The Devil, this is a coming of age story where a young kid name Todd gets help from the devil. Flash forward a few years and the devil is coming for Todd’s Granny and Todd makes a deal to save her. The problem is that while Todd’s heart is in the right place, he may have made the wrong decision. We then see how his actions affected his life and his Granny’s. What I like about this story is the idea presented that love lasts forever and maybe the devil isn’t such a bad guy. Todd Keisling shows that he has a gift for creating deep characters that you can’t help but care for even when they do wrong.

My favorite story in this collection is When Karen Met Her Mountain. Karen comes from a religious father who recently died and not too long ago she had a miscarriage that she hasn’t mentally recovered from. Tragedy strikes when a religious cult shows up and kidnaps her husband. The Cult is messing with the wrong woman and Karen is going to make them pay.  I liked how you see Karen’s personality change as she hunts down her victims and then towards the end we find out that her therapist believed something like this would happen if the wrong trigger was pulled. The ending of this one really surprised me, this is a woman pushed to the edge and comes out stronger and more vicious.

The last story in the collection is a novella called The Final Reconciliation. It’s about a progressive rock band called The Yellow Kings, four kids with big dreams set out on their first tour. Little did they know that their first album would only be heard once and would cause the death of nearly 200 people. This story is a twist on an old mythology and a story of four kids achieving their dreams and worst nightmares at the same time.This is another coming of age story as the kids are working to leave the rough backgrounds that they come from.

Ugly Little Things is a book about the human spirit but the human spirit doesn’t always triumph. Even when you get what you want there is a dark side to it and that’s what Ugly Little Things is about. This is a book that’s shocking and disturbing but most of all it’s a look at what happens to people when they can’t handle the horror of life.

We’re all fascinated by things that are strange, odd and just plain different. Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders edited by Doug Murano is an anthology that embraces weirdness. When you start reading this book you know to expect the unexpected from the first story. In Larue’s Dime Museum by Lisa Morton. The story follows a woman who is obsessed with the past and finds two photos that transport her back in time. I loved how this story opens leading you to believe it’s about a circus style sideshow. Then you start to realize it’s really about a photographer and a woman who wishes to be in another time. I loved the descriptions of the setting and hearing about the woman’s daily routine and how she sees the world around her.

Another good story in this anthology is Chivalry by Neil Gaiman. In this story, an old woman finds the holy grail in a second-hand store and before long Galaad comes on a quest to bring the grail to King Arthur’s Knights Of The Round Table. The woman does not want to give it up. Galaad keeps coming back with extravagant gifts and finally offers three gifts to the woman and the woman accepts two in exchange for the chalice but the one she rejects is a huge surprise in the story. I love how the woman rejects the gift and her reaction after Galaad leaves her. At this point you are left to wonder is she crying because she liked the attention from Galaad or is it because she really wanted the third gift. This story is a must read.

Another good one is the Wildflower, Cactus Rose by Brian Kirk. This is a completely original story about a woman who goes in for surgery to take care of a sleep apnea problem. She comes out mutilated and thinks her life is over. Her new gifts seem to change her life though as she finds it easier to do the right thing.  There is a good message in this story about how the way you look doesn’t affect the life you choose. In reality, it’s our attitude that either draws people to us or pushes them away. The world is a mirror, you see what you want to see.

This book is full of great stories and one of the best is Clive Barker’s Jacqueline Ess: Her Will and Testament. This is an odd story about a woman who almost dies due to a suicide attempt. She then discovers she can make men do anything she wants and kill people with a simple thought. This one is fascinating because it is told from two perspectives and there is a bizarre love story involved. This tale can be described as a journey as you watch Jacqueline change as she understands her power and you watch the men around her change as they figure out what she can do.  Behold! Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders is a speculative fiction anthology that is a must read.

http://www.crystallakepub.com/

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: Stephanie Ellis

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is Stephanie Ellis who took some time to tell us about the book and her writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

My story, Hands of Time, takes place in the subterranean world of Wonderland, in the dark dungeons and cellars no one ever really thinks about. Their existence, never referred to, must be real, after all the Queen of Hearts was always arresting her subjects and demanding their beheading. So, where did these miscreants go and who despatched them? This is where the Executioner comes in, a hooded figure shrouded in secrecy … like the world he inhabits. And like all people with a trade, he has his apprentices. These are his hands, one of whom will become chosen as his successor. Together with the TimeKeeper, who is in charge of the Queen’s clocks, he selects Rab as the one to follow his trade. But how is this choice made and what happens to the other hands … well, you’ll just have to read the story.

What inspired the idea?

“Off with their heads!” The line that everyone remembers. But whether you read the book or watch the film, you never see much of the Executioner. I wanted to know more about him and his world. I also played around with the different meanings for the word ‘hands’ – hands on a clock, work hands, actual flesh and blood hands (although not for long!!) and linked them all together. And suddenly an idea was born.

When did you start writing?

Several years ago, mostly privately and just ‘scribbling’, I didn’t think about doing anything more serious. Then about four years ago I saw a submission call for a horror anthology, thought it looked like fun, so had a go. It wasn’t successful as it didn’t quite fit but the feedback was positive so I tried again and this time got in. The then editor, Theresa Derwin (now of Quantum Corsets), was extremely supportive, and took other stories of mine for other anthologies. This encouraged me to try the wider market and here I am. Slow but sure.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

The darkness of the soul! Whatever I write, it always ends up dark. Some stories feature a bit of blood and gore but it’s not by any means all ‘slice and dice’ and only a few have standard horror tropes, ie tend to avoid vampires and werewolves. I prefer to hint at darkness, build up a sense of horror in setting and atmosphere, twist what might seem innocent at first.

What are some of your influences?

It goes without saying that Stephen King is one of them, he is amazing at creating such a real sense of place and time. He also shows that horror can be written in many different ways and he is certainly never repetitive. Ray Bradbury, particularly for Something Wicked This Way Comes, again the atmosphere, the characters, and its gothic feel. Then there’s Shirley Jackson, Edgard Allan Poe. But it’s not only these more famous authors. There are other writers I’ve met online, particularly a small Flash Fiction community called the FlashDogs and they have pushed me to raise my own standards. We compete against each other weekly in flash competitions and there are some amazingly dark people amongst them, particularly David Shakes, Mark A. King, Tamara Rogers to name but a few. The latter two have also recently published their first novels.

Another influence isn’t a book or a writer but a place. I grew up in an isolated rural area in a country pub, The Cider House in Shropshire . And something that’s always stayed with me is the atmosphere of that area and the feelings it generated: getting off the school bus and then facing the long walk home along narrow country lanes in gathering dusk; of the stillness before storms when birds stopped singing, branches stopped rustling and everything seemed to be waiting; of fog shrouding the fields and woods around the pub and walking through those mists and becoming totally disoriented. It always made me feel there was ‘something else’ at work around us and that’s an element I try to include in my writing.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

The evil man can do, how it could even be considered. I just can’t comprehend how some people can commit the atrocities you hear of in the world today. What is it that drives them? Is it this idea of the Devil, is it a disturbed mental state? Who actually pulls the strings to create the nightmares? Perhaps there is more ‘out there’, a supernatural realm. Horror allows you to explore this darkness, consider the ‘What Ifs’. It makes you think and shakes you up but always delivers you safely on the other side … it keeps the monsters between the pages.

What are some of the works you have available?

I have had a number of short stories published in horror anthologies, all available over at amazon but I would like to mention the following in particular:

The Infernal Clock, co-edited by myself and David Shakes which has a story for every hour of the day. It features two of my stories, The Graveyard Shift-a new take on the Sandman legend-and Whispers which centers on a dysfunctional family in a haunted house.

Weird Ales Volume 1 (edited by the wonderful Theresa Derwin) which includes my story The Yowling, cider-making taken to a whole new level!

Masks edited by Dean M. Drinkel (again, another very supportive editor) which contains my story The Face Collector, a gothic story in which the Devil always collects.

What are you currently working on?

I have just finished my novel Black Switch, a near-future, industrial-type horror I suppose you would call it. What happens when humans run out of fuel, out of electricity but then discover a way of turning the lights back on; a way which could only be described as immoral. If you discovered someone had the ‘capacity’ to become a human battery, would you plug them into a Generator just so someone else could have a hot bath? Would you, could you trade another person just to save a member of your own family knowing what that trade would lead to?
The book is now out with a small group to beta-read before I take any further steps with it. To get over the nerves whilst I await their response I’ve started to mull over ideas for a new novel and since my Hands of Time story featured an Executioner, the whole idea of what ‘makes’ an executioner has stuck in my mind.

Where can we find you online?

I’m @el_Stevie on Twitter and can also be found at http://stephellis.weebly.com/ where my blog is usually only randomly updated. I’m hoping to improve on that slightly this year though.

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: K.L. Wallis

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is K.L. Wallis who took some time to tell us about the book and her writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

My story is called ‘Half Past’. It is about a woman who follows a mysterious man though the subway and somehow travels back in time to the late 1800s where she finds the world turned on its head; instead of the patriarchal norms of the past Alyssa finds herself in a world where women are the superior sex and the moral boundaries of the 21st century no longer exist.

What inspired the idea?

I’m not quite sure. I experiment with my writing, and I think that is what ‘Half Past’ is. Hearing about the theme of this anthology pushed me to see if I could meet the challenge.

When did you start writing?

I wrote down the initial idea about a year ago, but due to having limited time to work on my own writing, I only really started to pull it together a few weeks before I submitted it to Horror Addicts.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I write a lot of Gothic fiction, but to different degrees depending on the story. I find a lot of my work crosses a couple of genres. I find most often I end up writing mythology and legend or fairytale inspired stories.

What are some of your influences?

I am quite heavily influenced by music, things I have seen on television shows, things I have read in other literature, or real life history or mythology. I like to explore in my writing why people do the things they do, quite often writing from the point of view of the villain.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

Horror ties in well with my Gothic focus, so I guess it’s a natural theme for me to write about. Horror is interesting as it shows the darker side of humanity, and in the manner of fairytale, is often cautionary. As I am currently researching in my honours thesis, horror ‘figures’ – such as the Grim Reaper, vampires, zombies etc. – are often the physical manifestation on the page (or screen) of deeper human fears.

What are some of the works you have available?

My short story Briar was published as a part of last year’s Horror Addicts Anthology – Once Upon a Scream. Three other of my short stories – A Woman Scorned, Burnt and In Limbo – were published online in the July, August and September issues of The Australia Times – Fiction.

What are you currently working on?

My honours thesis is currently absorbing all of my spare time, unfortunately, leaving me little time to write creatively. I have however, several incomplete stories I hope to return to very soon – a retelling of a Greek myth, a vampire novel and a chic lit I started forever ago.

Where can we find you online?

My online presence is minimal at the moment – another thing I am hoping to work on later in the year. My business website can be found at: https://restrictedquill.wordpress.com/.

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: Emerian Rich

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. The editor and one of the authors in this anthology is Emerian Rich who took some time to tell us about the book and her writing:

What inspired you to put this anthology together?

I’ve always enjoyed the thought of Alice. Is she really travelling in a strange world? Is she dreaming? Is she mental? I’ve also always enjoyed clocks, watches, time in general fascinates me because I never have enough of it. Is someone robbing me of the time? Is my life clock wound extra fast? I always feel like my time is short.

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

“Midnight Dance” revolves around the clock tower in the center of Wonderland and how it has somehow changed the residents in to zombies. The Hatter is the only one who knows and he spends a never-ending Groundhog Day-like series of evenings trying to fix the problem.

What inspired the idea?

I’ve always been fascinated with time and the thought of a second chance, or third, or fourth. What would you do differently if you had the chance and would it change the outcome? Or are we trapped in our destiny that will find us no matter how we try to change it?

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing all my life. First in journals, and then about 6th grade I wrote my first “novel” but still, I didn’t really know I wanted to be a writer till in my 20’s. I always just thought they were silly little stories I wrote for myself only. I recently had a blog about my first story here:
https://emzbox.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/my-first-story-emerian-rich/

What are your favorite topics to write about?

Subjects vary wildly with me. I like vampires, ghosts, spooky things…but I also enjoy a good love story. If it’s a horror love story, all the better.
What are some of your influences?

The question should be, “What doesn’t influence me?” I am influenced by so much, from a chance conversation in the grocery store to today’s headlines, to an art opening, to my favorite authors like Anne Rice, Andrew Neiderman, and Jane Austen.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

There is a feeling of comfort and homecoming about reading or watching a really good classic horror tale. It’s something you either feel or don’t. Those of us who get it, adore it. I don’t think it’s something I can really explain if you don’t feel it.

What are some of the works you have available?

Gothic and Fantasy Adult Coloring Book

Costumes, creatures, celebrations, and story characters set the stage for a coloring experience like no other. How far will your imagination take you? Enter the world of Emerian Rich, a place where reality steps aside allowing fantasy to take hold. Where each picture tells a story and the stories are only hampered by your imagination. 48 DESIGNS TO COLOR.

Artistic License

Leslie Marietta is the last known heiress of a palatial estate just south of Los Angeles. When she takes possession of her birthright, sudden creative inspiration allows her to paint alive anything she imagines. Enchantment and wonder transform her life into a fairytale, but as with all fairy tales, there is a dark presence. Phantom servants sneak through the house, horrifying shadow creatures threaten to destroy her, and a band of Edwardian house guests are trapped in the walls.
Lord Ashton Northing is a man of property and situation, with a duty to his people that could tear him from his new love, Leslie. Can Ashton convince Leslie she is worthy of her legacy in time to save them from the evil that dwells in her house?
Night’s Knights

Vampires on a quest for knowledge attempt to create the perfect offspring, but from the shadows, an even more demonic evil threatens their immortality. Markham is a simple Irish immigrant striving for the American dream in 1860 when coach robbers cause his untimely death. Severina is an exotic beauty from the jungles of Brazil whose family is brutally murdered by the same man she later calls her lover. Julien is a knight who serves as a guardian angel to his family but has no clue about his predestined fate. Will a powerful mortal named Jespa be the one to save them all?

What are you currently working on?

My vampire sequel, Dusk’s Warriors. It will be coming out this summer and I am very excited about it! My poor Biters have been waiting since 2009 for the next book.

Where can we find you online?

http://www.emzbox.com

 

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: N McGuire

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is N McGuire who took some time to tell us about the book and her writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

The story that I wrote for Clockwork Wonderland is Riddle. The Mad Hatter’s tea party gets a little more twisted.

What inspired the idea?

Why is a raven like a writing desk?

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I can remember, but maybe even before that – making up fantastic stories about the lives of my toys.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I don’t think that I have a favorite. Generally I write whatever funny idea ping-pongs around in my head long enough that it get’s written.

What are some of your influences?

Christoper Pike, R.L Stine, Stephen King, George R.R. Martin, Ernest Hemmingway, Margaret Atwood, Lynn Townsend, Charlaine Harris, Jen Lancaster, Janet Evanovich, J.K. Rowling – if I keep going this list is going to get pretty darn long…

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

Killing without the mess or arrest

What are some of the works you have available?

Riddle is the first publication I have under the pseudonym N. McGuire. My other publications are more adult (sex, sex, sex) in nature.

What are you currently working on?

World domination.

Where can we find you online?

You can find me on most social media as @oopswrongcookie or at www.oopswrongcookie.com

 

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: Dustin Coffman

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is Dustin Coffman who took some time to tell us about the book and his writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

King of Hearts. It’s kind of like a prequel to the original Alice in Wonderland.

What inspired the idea?

As a long time fan of the tale, I have always wanted to know more about the whole backstory of Wonderland, like how things were before Alice showed up, so I thought I would give it a shot. I must say…I really like the outcome.

When did you start writing?

The earliest I can remember writing is in the first grade. I kid you not, I used to have my teacher help me spell everything. I even remember one of the stories, about a kid, a stone dragon, and a wizard. I guess I was just born a story-teller.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

That’s a hard one. I guess horror would be my bread and butter, but that isn’t always my favorite. I would probably say fantasy is up there, along with Sci-Fi. I’m a nerd so I enjoy embracing that sometimes as well. I burn myself out on horror a lot and take a break to try something new, I don’t want to be remembered for one thing.

What are some of your influences?

R.L. Stine is the first person I started to read as a kid. Then I moved to Anne Rice, and Stephen King and finally Jim Butcher. These four authors have molded me into the writer I am today and if you look closely, you can see their influence in my work.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

It’s such an open field. Why do you think Stephen King has never quit? There is just so much to write about. I love it, I find ideas in the strangest places. I could be driving to the store or cleaning or cooking and boom a random thought will pop in my head. “Man it would suck if- or it’s kind of freaky how that looks like.”

What are some of the works you have available?

I have three books out right now, one of which is a novel while the other two are short story collections. Damien the Newborn Devil is a vampire story about a young man in New York City who has the worst luck around, it has gangs, sex, blood and everything a good vampire book needs. Twisted Tales from a Twisted Mind is my first short story book. It has tales ranging from a killer Easter Bunny to hell hounds to a real local ghost story. Blow Your Mind, is vol 2 and it has even more stories to keep my readers happy. This is probably my favorite of the three because I feel it has my best work in it.

What are you currently working on?

I’m always doing short stories, they’re fun and easy checks, so they keep me going. But I’m working on my next vampire novel, and another stand alone novel I have been wanting to do for a long time. Plus I’m still in every issue of Horrorcore Magazine so busy, busy, busy!

Where can we find you online?

I’m pretty much on everything, but my site and Facebook is the best place to find all my stuff. 

 

Clockwork Wonderland Author Profile: Laurel Anne Hill and the The Engine Woman’s Light review

One of the authors featured in Clockwork Wonderland is Laurel Anne Hill. Laurel Anne’s story is called Gone a’ Hunting and is about a girl who goes on a rabbit hunt and gets caught in a place where she has plenty of time to think about what she has done. Laurel Anne Hill has been featured on the horroraddicts podcast a few times, being voted most wicked in 2011 for her steampunk/horror podcast: “Flight of Destiny. She has also been published in several anthologies and recently released her second novel, The Engine Woman’s Light. To learn more about her visit her website: http://laurelannehill.com/ and keep reading for my review of The Engine Woman’s Light.

Jaunita has had an interesting past, she was abandoned and left on a train going to an asylum for the poor. Luckily she was saved by her great grandma Zetta and the ghost of Zetta’s husband,  Javiar. She ends up in a small village where at the age of fifteen she has a mystical vision of a dead captain in an airship. She is told that it is her mission to put a stop to trains carrying California’s unwanted masses to an asylum where they will live and work until they die. A plan is in place to murder part of the asylum’s inmates to bring the asylum’s population down and Jaunita may have to murder people to put a stop to it.

Jaunita will not be alone though, she will have the help of her ghost ancestors and will meet other characters with complicated pasts. Jaunita will learn that her family has a dark side and she herself will have to do some horrible things to fulfill her mission. Jaunita is on a path that will change history along with her life, the question being can she live with the new person she will become? Jaunita lives in an alternative nineteenth-century steampunk world where spirits communicate with the living and our loved ones never really leave our sides.

If I was to use one word to describe Laurel Anne Hill’s The Engine Woman’s Light I would use “different.” Laurel Anne has created the world that made me think of an old western with steampunk elements and spiritualism thrown in for good measure. The way the settings are described really bring everything to life and you can see yourself living in this world with its vivid descriptions. Since I haven’t read too many westerns or much steampunk, this book was like entering a new world, which was easy to get hooked on. Right away you are invested in Jaunita’s story since she was a baby she defied all odds. After being abandoned and saved, she is forced into a lifechanging mission that she has to accomplish whether she wants to or not.

One thing I like about this story is that all the characters are shades of gray. Some characters here can be considered good, but sometimes they do bad things. There is a theme of redemption that runs through this book for a couple of the characters and even Jaunita wants to be redeemed for some of the actions she is forced to suffer through. The spirits in Jaunita’s family have done bad things in the past and are looking to get redemption through Jaunita and some of their actions have a bad effect on her.

Another theme in this book I liked was the idea that the people you love or have a connection to, are never far away. Jaunita’s ancestors still talk to her, even though they are dead. Even Jaunita’s dead mother who she never met is always close to her.  At one point we discover that two of the men in her life have a connection to her going way back. While reading this I felt that Laurel Anne Hill wanted to get the idea across that we are all connected whether we think it or not and even when someone is gone, they are never really gone.

One of my favorite scenes in The Engine Woman’s Light is when Juanita is starting to have feelings for the man she calls Guide. When Guide reveals who he really is and what he has done in the past, Jaunita’s heart is broken, but they stay together to continue their mission and their relationship changes. Everlasting love is also a theme in this book as well as accepting someone for the good and bad they did in life. If you like books that transport you to a different time and place, then check this one out.

http://laurelannehill.com/

The Engine Woman’s Light

Clockwork Wonderland

 

 

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: Trinity Adler

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a bloodthirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is Trinity Adler who took some time to tell us about the book and her writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

My story is called “Clockwork Justice”. In the story, Alice is a young woman whose tutor leaves for Holiday. It gives Alice a chance to take a break from studying her French and typing. She finds a pocket watch in one of her family wardrobes. In short order, she learns it has a magical connection to the Cheshire Cat, who is the Police Chief Detective Inspector for violent crimes in Wonderland, and he’s intent on apprehending Alice. Apparently, the Queen’s White Rabbit has been murdered at the gates of the Red Queen’s palace. Since no stranger but Alice has visited there from the outside, she’s the prime suspect. He takes her back where she has one day to choose a guide, investigate her own case, and prove her innocence or it’s “Off with her head!” by order of the Red Queen.

What inspired the idea?

I’m active in Steampunk cosplay events and a member of a tea club, I enjoy writing westerns and murder mysteries. I’ve always loved the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. Alice’s tea party is popular in Steampunk circles. Since I own a number of pocket watches, pieces of jewelry made from vintage typewriter keyboards and I remember all too well longing for a break from the repetition of language practice and typing classes, I blended a number of those elements into the story. Even though it’s set in England with a tip of the hat to the characters from the Carroll novels, the story is a murder mystery with many elements of a classic western. The sheriff, the Cheshire Cat, is determined to bring his wanted criminal, Alice, back to justice. There’s a potential death sentence for the criminal, plenty of suspects, and the protagonist has until sundown to prove her innocence or face a sentence of death.

When did you start writing?

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil and spell. I wrote poems until college then I began writing short stories. My first stories were westerns for my dad but I branched out from there to fantasy fiction. The Steampunk genre is a perfect fit for blending fantasy and the Wild West.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

I like writing about strong, inventive women with big ideas, interests in business, the occult, automatons, airships and a sense of justice. I like the fact that the West has always been a place that attracted people from throughout the world who want to write their own rules and are bold enough to make new dreams into reality. To achieve their goals in my stories, they’ll have to face supernatural beings and personal demons that could win in the end. I love including ghosts, Chinese mythology, American Indian mythology, legendary creatures of South America and others all working outside the bounds of mortal control. I don’t mind werewolves or vampires turning up in a plotline to change the rules of reality for my characters either.

What are some of your influences?

I had the good luck to be born into a family of teachers, scientists, and compulsive readers. My Dad’s favorite books by Zane Grey and Louis L’Amour, and my Mom’s favorite Agatha Christie mysteries and Stephen King novels were always stacked all over our house. Growing up, I read everything from Bradbury and Doyle to Shakespeare. There’s a lot of horror in Shakespeare. But my first deeper appreciation for literary horror came when I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It still chills me to read it. My love for Anne Rice’s Vampires and her other supernatural horror work is close to that. Anne Perry’s Victorian murder stories and the Steampunk novels of Gail Carriger had a big influence on me as a Steampunk writer. Strong female protagonists excel in their stories.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

To some extent, it’s the thrill of wondering what if we don’t survive contact with something unspeakably horrible? But horror also gives me that vicarious journey as a heartless villain. I think that’s a key to my attraction to Count Dracula and Lestat for example. You can’t help but put yourself in their shoes and cheer their survival even if it means certain death for the hapless victims. I love the excitement that bubbles up from the tension and suspense inherent to the battles between mortal and immortal, good and evil.. Horror wouldn’t be effective without it.

What are some of the works you have available?

I have work in two anthologies in current publication. I have a story in Clockwork Wonderland called “Clockwork Justice”. I’m featured in Written Across the Genres with the poem “Hope”.

What are you currently working on?

I have several works in the process of editing. Two are Steampunk children’s books “A Clockwork Christmas” and “The Mad Scientist’s Tea”. I have a collection called “Tales of the Haunted West” near completion, and two Steampunk novels that are finished and ready for editing. The first is called “Glory Anna’s Heart” and the other is titled “Amber Dragon, Clockwork Tiger”.

Where can we find you online?

I have a Trinity Adler author page on Facebook and a webpage at www.trinityadler.com. As work is published announcements are added to each of those sites.

Clockwork Wonderland Author Interview: James Pyne

Horroraddicts.net publishing has recently published our 5th anthology called Clockwork WonderlandThis is a book where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book lies tales of serial killers, insane creations, a blood thirsty jabberclocky, and zombies. Clockwork Wonderland includes 15 tales that make Wonderland into a place of horror where all your worst nightmares come true. One of the authors in this anthology is James Pyne who took some time to tell us about the book and his writing:

What is your story in Clockwork Wonderland called and what is it about?

“Blood Will Have Blood” is about a large clock pendant once owned by the White Rabbit and now is the property of Alicia Henderson. This particular clock has a large appetite for blood. Without it, it stops ticking and if it stops ticking really bad things happen.

What inspired the idea?

Once I read the submissions guidelines for Clockwork Wonderland, the image of the original Alice hanging from a tree branch popped up and it went from there. I’ve been a Wonderland fan for years so this was right up my alley. I’m excited to be part of this anthology!

When did you start writing?

It all started with Hardy Boy books. One day I was walking home from elementary school reading a “A Figure in Hiding,” volume 16 in the original Hardy Boys series. I was bad for reading while walking home and it made me a target for bullies. One such bully blindsided me as I was walking across a wooden bridge arching over a brook. He pushed me on the snow and was ready to punch me silly until seeing my Hardy Boys book next to us. He started bashing my face with it, shouting how he hated people who read and how the only people he hated more was the people who wrote the books. He warned me I better never write or he’d cut my hands off. I didn’t listen and still have both my hands. That bully did me good in the end. I’d thank him if I could.

What are your favorite topics to write about?

Dark Fantasy and Horror are my comfort zones but I occasionally stray into other genres from time to time.

What are some of your influences?

I’m all over the place when it comes to my influences. John Gardner (Grendel. Sunlight Dialogues. The Art of Fiction). Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Knut Hamsun. Margaret Atwood. Sade. And tons of others. In the dark fantasy and horror fields: Karl Edward Wagner, Clive Barker, Stephen King, Lucy Taylor, Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson. William F. Nolan. Harlan Ellison. H.G. Wells. One of my favorite short stories of all time is “Evening Primrose” by John Collier. We’ll give life in general and family and friends and strangers, especially creepy ones, the rest of the credit for my influences.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?

There are no limits if you’re willing to go there. I don’t live by the belief there’s nothing new under the sun. There’s always new ways in scaring people because we as a species find new ways in hating and killing each other and come up with new inventions that need to be scrutinized and exposed in the horror genre. I love the fact horror can be graphic but the best kind, in my opinion, is the kind that hits home no matter how fantastical it might be. I love everything about horror. Shades of horror can be found in the greatest literature. The dog hung by a handkerchief from Wuthering Heights is a perfect example. More times than not, you’ll find some form of horror in the greatest literature. Some kind of fear that hits home hard like a baseball bat to the face.

What are some of the works you have available?

To be honest, after many years of learning the craft, I just started submitting back in March 2016. I was slaughtered the first few months. Then my first horror story was published in James Ward Kirks Ugly Babies 3 anthology in May. Early June 2016, Dorthy Davies of Thirteen O’Clock Press gave me the best critique I could ever get. She showed me where I was going wrong and sixty-three published stories later, I haven’t looked back. This isn’t bragging. This is a shout out to anyone out there that doubts their art; don’t. You can do this. And if an editor takes time from their valuable minutes to bitch slap you awake, embrace it. Don’t run away from it.

What are you currently working on?

I have two novels on the go but haven’t visited them much due to flooding the market with short story submissions. I’m trying to make up for lost time and make new friends in the horror field along the way. But this month I’ll be working on both books. The first, Big Cranky, is a mythological soap opera and has a little of everything, from Lucifer to Death and his lovely wife Santa Muerte, with almost every pantheon of gods and goddesses throughout the world. It’s been a wild ride to write and you know what, it’s time to get back on. The other novel I’m working on is Woe, a very graphic horror novel with, I hope, a unique heroine who’s forced to adapt if she wants to survive in my version of Hell.

Where can we find you online?

The best place to keep updated on me is my Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jjamespyne  Feel free to add me, everyone.

David’s Haunted Library: Forever Vacancy: A Colors in Darkness Anthology

David's Haunted Library

33846776 The Kretcher Hotel opened it’s doors in Atlanta in the 1960’s. It’s a rundown place in the slums of the city surrounded by prostitutes, drug dealers and any kind of crime you can imagine. Some people say that the Kretcher Hotel was built by the devil himself. Bad things happen there and some say its cursed. In charge of the hotel is Sybline Kretcher, a six-foot 4  woman with a long dark past and a personality that can’t be controlled by Satan himself.

The Kretcher Hotel is a place where anything goes. Within its walls are suicidal men, evil monsters, witches, a succubus looking for redemption, thieves, addicts and any other abominations you can imagine. The Kretcher Hotel is a place surrounded by evil, but people also go there for redemption.

Forever Vacancy is an anthology of 13 horror stories that all feature diverse characters that you don’t see in most horror anthologies. The setting of a broken down hotel is a perfect place for a horror anthology and that comes across loud and clear in the story The Thing In Room 204 by C. W. Blackwell. It begins with a cloaked man being led to the hotel by a mysterious man. There is a mystery as to what is going on here which is made more complicated by the prostitute on the street. Another good story is The Honeymoon Suite: Jacob’s Reunion by Sumiko Saulson which is about a grief-stricken man who is trying to make the choice between being consumed by the bitterness of loosing someone, the need for revenge and wanting the chance for forgiveness.

My favorite story in this book is Salvation by Ross Baxter. This story follows a succubus who wants to find salvation after centuries of taking the souls of men. She goes to a priest for salvation, but is the priest strong enough to resist her and give her the help she needs? What I liked about this one was how offended the priest is when he sees how Sybline acts towards him and how sure he is of himself before being given the ultimate test. I also liked the idea that despite how evil the succubus is, she still hopes to change her ways.

I loved the concept behind Forever Vacancy. This is a book where each story has the same location and one character in common. I loved how Sybline shows so much depth of character even though she is a small part of each story. In some stories Sybline shows herself as being cold and uncaring but in others she proves that she is helping the protagonists. Sybline may be working for the devil but she has a mind of her own and does as she pleases. Every story in this book is fast paced and filled with gruesome situations in a dark setting. This is the kind of book that all horror fan should read because it’s a great example of how good horror stories can be. I would love to see a series of books based on this setting. Despite the desolation of the location there are still souls in search of redemption and that is what makes this anthology good.

http://www.colorsindarkness.com/

David’s Haunted Library: The Beauty Of Death

David's Haunted Library

30732852There are a lot of horror anthologies out there and it’s not always easy to find one that you think you would like. That being said sometimes you find a horror anthology that when you see it you know you can’t go wrong. The Beauty Of Death: The Gargantuan Book of Horror Tales is that book. Edited by Alessandro Manzetti, this book includes stories by such great horror authors as Tim Waggoner, John Skipp, Poppy Z Brite, Peter Straub and many more. This is one mammoth collection that all horror fans should have.

One of my favorite stories in this collection is Carly Is Dead by Shane McKenzie. This story is told from the viewpoint of a rotting corpse in a field who is being eaten by the forest animals but is still aware of what’s going on. Who would have thought you could have sympathy for a corpse. Another good hard-core gore story is White Trash Gothic by Edward Lee. This one has to do with an author who gets amnesia due to a traumatic event and he travels to where he wrote his last book to find out what happened. I loved how Mr. Lee makes you feel compassion for the author and then throws him into a bizarre situation that will make you fear going to a small town.

Another one of my favorites was Calcutta, Lord Of Nerves by Poppy Z. Brite. This one is about a boy born in Calcutta, he is moved to America but returns after his father dies and the zombie apocalypse starts. In Calcutta things are so bad it’s hard to tell the poor people from the zombies and weird things happen as we find out that the zombies may be worshiping an old God. My favorite scene in the book is when the lead character excepts that zombies are just part of the world now and he doesn’t think they’re that bad.

It’s really hard to pick favorites in this book and if I wrote about each story here this review would be a book in itself. Other stories that stood out for me were The Office by Kevin Lucia which is a psychological horror story about a  man who relives his life through his favorite place, his office. Another one is No Place Like Home by JG Faherty which follows a man who bought a haunted house that changes his life for the better. Things get bloody though when someone tries to get him to give it up. In The Garden is one by Lisa Morton that really got to me. In this one a woman lives in a house and is taking care of her crippled brother when something in her garden causes him to get better, I loved how Lisa made you feel compassion for the lead character and then hits you with a shock ending.

The Beauty Of Death deserves a spot on every horror fans book shelf. When I first saw it I knew I had to have it and I wasn’t disappointed. This book reminded me of The Year’s Best Horror anthologies that come out each year, but The Beauty Of Death has more to offer. Every story here has the anatomy of a good horror story and focuses on characters dealing with their worst fears and considering its length it will keep you scared and reading for a long time.

 

 

David’s Haunted Library: The Human Condition

DavidsHaunted

28368109Terror, murder and madness are all part of the human condition. We try to hide the fact that we have evil thoughts inside us and we don’t speak about the things that scare us the most. Like what bad things a person can do to another or even to themselves in a desperate situation. The Human Condition by Mark Taylor is a collection of 17 stories that have to do with the dark side of life, such as what happens when a person is driven to madness or faced with their worst nightmare.

The first story in this collection and one of my favorites is Christmas At The Mill. The story is about a man named Jimmy who gets trapped in a room at his work over the holidays. He wanted some peace and quiet and got much more than he bargained for. I love the simplicity of this story, it’s just one character and his struggle to escape his situation. I loved how the tension builds in this story and how everything was described. Mark proves here that you don’t need a lot of elements to tell a great story.

Another good one was Bobo. This was about a man named Tim who works as a clown on a famous children’s TV show. Things start to go bad for Tim as he starts having visions of everyone in the studio audience dying. Is Tim going insane or is his subconscious trying to tell him something? Once again I loved the storytelling here, I liked how Tim sees himself as crazy, but as the story moves along you see that’s not the case. I especially liked the ending to this one.

Each story in this book is well written and focuses on characters that are just average people put in gruesome, horrifying situations.  I love character driven fiction so I enjoyed all the stories in this anthology. Mark Taylor made me like every person in this book, which made it that much scarier when they were put in danger. When I finished reading this I wondered if Mark Taylor can make short stories this good, then his novels must be excellent.

Press Release: Crystal Lake Publishing Presents: Tales From The Lake Volume 3

Crystal Lake Publishing has just released Tales From The Lake Volume 3 and includes a story from Sumiko Saulson. Sumiko was the featured author on episode 109 of the horroraddicts.net podcast, she has also written various articles for the horror addicts blog and has an article in The Horror Addicts Guide To Life. Sumiko Saulson’s story is called Enclosures and you can find out more about her here:

https://sumikosaulson.com/

The TALES FROM THE LAKE legend continues with volume 3 in this popular series.

Dive into the deep end of the lake with 19 tales of terror, selected by Monique Snyman.

31437640Tales from the Lake Vol. 3 features ghosts, monsters, assassins, alternate dimensions, creatures from the deepest depths and the darkest parts of the universe.

Join “Maybelle” by Mere Joyce in a world where books become real enough to cause both pleasure and pain. Avoid the sounds of “The Cruel” by Harper Hull, lest you want to come to a terrifying end. Travel across the world to see what terrors lurk in an abandoned hospital with “Hush” by Sergio Pereira.

This non-themed horror anthology is filled with suspenseful stories, terrifying thrillers, tragic tales, mystifying mysteries, and memorable adventures that will leave you wanting more. Let these modern urban legends prickle your imagination, share it around a campfire, and revel in the magic of Crystal Lake’s exceptional authors.

The Owl Builder by D. Morgan Ballmer
Tragedy Park by Chris Pearce
Enclosures by Sumiko Saulson                            Woe Violent Water by Lily Childs
The Cruel by Harper Hull
Red Scream with Little Smile by Paul Edmonds
Maybelle by Meredith Cleversey writing as Mere Joyce
Rodent in the Red Room by Matt Hayward
The Deeper I Go The Deeper I Fear by Natalie Carroll
The Pigmalion Pigs by Mark Allan Gunnells
Chemical Oasis by Tommy B. Smith
Hush by Sergio Pereira
The Reaper’s Fire by Kenneth W. Cain
Effigy by Kate Jonez
Scents of Fear by Steve Jenner
The Bet by Amy Grech
A Hand from the Depths by Dave-Brendon de Burgh
The Monster of Biscayne Bay by Roxanne Dent
The Song at the Edge of the Unfinished Road by Patrick Bates

Foreword by the editor, Monique Snyman.

Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing.

“A solid anthology representing the best in horror fiction, with tales that will stay with you for some time.” — Ben Eads, author of, Cracked Sky

download


Links:
Amazon:
http://getbook.at/Lake3
Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31437640-tales-from-the-lake-vol-3

http://www.crystallakepub.com/

David’s Haunted Library: Housebroken and Night as a Catalyst

David's Haunted Library

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00075]Blake is a rich man with a wife and teenage son. Things look perfect on the outside and he thinks they are about to get better when he moves across the country to a new home in a gated community in California. After they settle into their new home a strange person comes to their door selling magazines, Blake refuses to buy and sets off a chain reaction of events. Now Blake and his family are at the mercy of two sociopath kidnappers.

These kidnappers don’t want money though or to torture them. What they want is to observe Blake and his family for one week to see how they became so successful. There is a catch, though if you break one of their rules the kidnappers have promised to torture them and they have proof to show how vicious they can be. Blake is caught in a game of survival  his perfect life starts to erode  and he has to reevaluate what is most important.

 I loved the concept behind Housebroken by The Berg. You can tell that the kidnappers come from a rough background and the idea that they just wanted to see what made these rich people different is an intriguing idea. After awhile you start to see that Blake’s life isn’t as perfect as it looks and it doesn’t take a lot to make everything come undone. What I liked best about this book is that all the characters were shades of gray. There were times that the kidnappers came across like they weren’t bad people and you could have sympathy for them and there were times when Blake’s family showed that each one had a dark side. I cared about all of these characters to an extent and in the beginning, I even liked the kidnappers and could understand their point of view, though the story gets more complex as it moves along.

As much as I loved the characters though there were also scenes in this book that came across as so ridiculous that I almost wanted to stop reading. I don’t want to give anything away but at one point there was a scene with a car and also by their pool where I was asking how was that even possible and then there was an escape attempt where I was just scratching my head in confusion. There was also a scene with a doctor that I thought wasn’t necessary at all.

Despite its flaws I did enjoy this book, there are some well-written scenes and I loved the depth given to the characters and how their feelings are described. The best part of this book though is how you feel for the family. At first, they come across as a normal slightly dysfunctional family, then it gets revealed that they may be even worse than the reader thought. You still care for them though because you see how despite their conflicts they are still counting on each other to survive. Housebroken is a page turner and even though the story has its problems, it’s still good enough where I was wondering what else has this author written.

25459659Night As A Catalyst by Chad Lutzke is a collection of 18 horror stories that are short but pack a punch. Most of these stories would be considered flash fiction and while I admit to not liking short horror stories a lot, I thought the atmosphere in these stories was really good. Another thing I liked was at the end of each story Chad Lutzke tells where he got the idea from, which made each story more personal.

One of the stories in this book that I really liked was One Up A Tree. It’s about two hikers lost in the woods that come upon a cabin. When the owner comes home and finds the two people, he shoots first and doesn’t ask questions. One gets away but is soon trapped by the sadistic cabin owner. For such a short story I was surprised at the depth of the characters here. In the beginning, we find out that the two hikers are friends that drifted apart over the years and are trying to rekindle their friendship. Being able to relate to them makes it that much scarier when they meet the cabin owner. There is a scene in One Up A Tree where the cabin owner gives one of the hikers some meat. I knew where the scene was going when the hiker starts to eat but it was still terrifying to think about.

A good flash fiction piece here if you are a cat lover is Collecting Cats. It’s about someone who finds injured cats and nurses them back to health. What makes this story interesting is how the cats react when they find out about the one injuring them. This book has a lot of good short ideas and another story that follows this formula is Moving Made Easy which is a story about teleportation. This one has a really good Twilight Zone ending.

My favorite story here is Birthday Suit. It follows a group of friends who are at a house for a birthday slumber party, they go up into a tree house and one of the kids sees something amazing and horrifying. This one mixes nostalgia and horror. In particular, I liked the conversation the kids have in the tree house as they look into other people’s homes. They talk about things like what old people do all day, girls at school and of course horror movies. This one reminded me of sleepovers I had as a kid and the shock ending made it a great tale.

Night As A Catalyst is a perfect book for horror fans who like to read but don’t have a lot of time. I say that because each story here is quick, to the point and packs a good scare. As a fan of the genre what more could you ask for, this book is a lot of fun and a quick read. If you like horror anthologies then Chad Lutzke’s book is one you shouldn’t pass on.

Press Release : MADHOUSE

 

MADHOUSE, a shared world psychological horror anthology from the publisher that brought you World War Cthulhu and Chiral Mad 3, is now available on both DarkRegions.com and Amazon. Edited by Brad C. Hodson and Benjamin Kane Ethridge, the entire anthology takes place in the same mental institution during the midst of a violent sandstorm: Golden Canyon Behavioral Health Center.
Each story in MADHOUSE is written by a different author but follows the same timeline of events and even references other stories within the book. The anthology is woven together with meta chapters and contains over 30 original full page interior illustrations by surrealist artist Aeron Alfrey. It marks the first release in the new Dark Regions Horror imprint.
For a full table of contents or a sneak peek at Aeron Alfrey’s nightmarish artwork, head over to DarkRegions.com to read more: Madhouse Official

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 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: 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

David’s Haunted Library: Suicide The Hard Way

David's Haunted Library

 

 

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Suicide The Hard Way: And Other Tales From The Innerzone is a collection of short stories,screenplays and song lyrics by Christopher Alan Broadstone. This anthology hits on subjects such as psychological horror, man’s inhumanity to man  and obsession. In these pages lies some excellent horror fiction and it shows there is more than one way to scare a reader. One of the things that I thought was interesting about this book was the three screenplays in it plus an essay on the making of the short films that came out of the scripts. This is something you don’t see in a lot of horror anthologies.

My favorite part of this book was the short story Little Jimmy Combat. The story is about a young kid who sees himself as a soldier and the forest surrounding his house as the enemy. Jimmy gets a big surprise though as the forest starts to fight back against him.  The imagery that Christopher uses is excellent and you can see the forest coming to life before your eyes. You then start to wonder what the forest fighting the kid signifies. I took it as the Earth fighting back against the humans who try to bend it to their will, but it is open to interpretation. In Christopher’s stories you get the feeling that this is a philosopher at work and you can get several different meanings from his stories.

Another good story here was Hellbound Hillary which has some startling imagery that is both beautiful and horrific at times. I’m not even sure how to describe this story except that it is about addiction and loosing your mind. What Hillary goes through will make you cringe. This story paints a picture that is enough to drive you insane but wanting to read more at the same time.

Suicide The Hard Way is like a work of art from a true artist. The reason I say that is because Christopher Alan Broadstone has written a book that gives you three very different examples of storytelling via screenplays for his three short films, song lyrics from the band he was in and  short stories. To write in each format you would need to rely on a different skill set and Christopher shows that he can tell a good story in each format. This book is disturbing but at the same time its fascinating because you can tell the author really put his soul into his work. Suicide The Hard Way is a book that will keep you up at night and make you think.

Tales From The Hood: A Social Commentary

220px-HoodposterTales from the Hood was a culturally expressive trilogy told in a metaphor of horror. The stories were real at their core, and so expressive of aspects of black culture that are addressed directly, yet mitigated by the perspective of supernatural horror so that these issues are hauntingly underlying in the forefront of our minds. We come away with a multitude of emotion, partly because we are not given much time to digest the outcome of each story before transitioning to the next. In the beginning, we are introduced to the crazy funeral director who makes the promise of “the shit” to a trio of gangbangers who stick around to listen to his stories.

In the first little story, “Rogue Cop Revelation,” a black councilman who is trying to bring about change by addressing the issues of crime and corruption being committed by those in authority. In a not-so-ironic twist, he is murdered by shady cops, while another black officer stands by helplessly. The black officer is “one of them” in the sense that he is also a cop, which may have helped to save his life, even though he is nothing like the others. We sympathize with the young officer because he was not the perpetuator of the violence, and we can’t blame him for putting his own safety above all else as his reason for not stopping the murder. After all, how many of us would have stepped in if it meant risking our own lives? He is, in his own unique way, just as much a victim as the man who was murdered. There is such complexity behind the story. The councilman was murdered in such a way that any progress he might have made e_tales-from-the-hood_vlcsnap-125513would be rendered null and void. Who would heed the words of a man fighting to keep drugs off the street if he were found dead of an extreme overdose? Once more, he was fighting against those who had the power to cover up what really happened. This, however, left the officer who stood by with the pain of guilt…so much that he hears the voice of the councilman seeking vengeance from beyond the grave.

In the second story, “Boys Do Get Bruised,” we are shown a life steeped in domestic violence, made all the more powerful because abuse is more prevalent in African-American households. The little boy shows up to school with suspicious marks on his face, possibly evidencing the unspoken horrors at home. The little boy speaks of a monster, which we find out is how he sees his abuser. Not a “monster” in the sense that an adult might use it to refer to someone who commits unspeakable violence against a woman or child, but an actual monster. This is completely accurate, as a child has the most honest vision of the world around them with grains of truth intermingled in between, even if their perceptions extend into the fantastical. I feel as this segment is very symbolic, 8b06558ceb6911e1955eaa75617f2616because we often lose our fears as we grow into adulthood. As we get older, we may feel untouchable by things that haunted us as children. Depicting the abuser as a monster not only shows us the inhumanity behind the evil of someone who has the capacity to harm a child, but also gives us, as viewers, the sense of something stronger than ourselves, thus putting us in the place of the little boy in the story: Hopeless. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t cheering the little boy on as David Allan Grier’s character fell victim to a most untimely death.

In the last story, and my personal favorite, “KKK Comeuppance,” a senator tries to change his racist image by—get this—purchasing a plantation home, rich in a history of slavery. He smiles to the public, adhering to his statements that he is not a racist and has shed his old ways. His personal cameraman, an African-American man whose purpose serves as “the black friend,” a sort of testimony to “prove” that he has changed a new leaf and to catch the senator’s recreational moments on film to show him in a different light, surely wouldn’t be supporting this senator if he were still a racist—Would he? This is the conundrum. If given the chance to be included in the “one of us” group, would talesfromthehood1you reject all that you are in order to rise above the struggle? He cracks jokes about his own race, and seems to side with the senator. This is an element of the movie that I have thought about long and hard. There are tributaries of thought that branch off from this on-screen relationship. What makes the cameraman different from other black people in the eyes of the senator, if it does at all? Maybe he is nothing more than a pawn in his political game. Did the cameraman truly remove himself from his racial identity in an attempt to achieve some sort of “superiority” by dissociation, and by association to a powerful white man? It did not, however, bring him immunity from the vengeance of the dolls in the painting. Because these dolls were possessed with the spirits of slaves, they brought a looming sense to this story of just how close in history and in current attitudes we are to racism, defying the cries of how the past is in the past. Just like racism, the dolls easily meshed into the backdrop of a scene painted at a time in history, not forgotten but ignored, by those who didn’t believe in the stories behind the painting, much in the way people ignore stories of slavery and lynchings in the old south.

In the last scene, we see the funeral director with the young gangbangers. I will not reveal exactly what happens, although I feel this is directly addressing the issue of “black on black crime.” I felt it was perfect as an “afterthought” to the movie, which, at the same time, tied into the “main idea.” Whenever white-on-black crime is featured in the c4cd157b7de2b7f223fd4c816cb282abe5ac8ec5news, or even as such a heavy theme just as in this movie, it creates a one-sided dialogue of, “What about black-on-black crime? No one ever mentions that.” And the thing is, it is talked about, but not everyone hears. Moreover, black on black crime is never denied, as implied by these questions that try to sidestep the conversation on the existence of racism. So, to anyone who asks those same questions in regard to the movie presented as a horror-based parallel to real life racism, ask them if they’ve watched it until the end.

Tales from the Hood is one of the scariest movies I have ever seen, and I love horror. However, it breaks the mold by combining scenes that are sure to keep you up all night with a powerful social commentary that comes through in the imagery, words, subtlety, and the overt. There is a consciousness and thought-provocation in the way that the stories are told and intermingled and segmented to soften the blow, just giving you enough time to recover from the horror and discomfort of the experience of one story before easing you into the next. This is a piece of art that should not just be looked at from one facet, but from many, to feel and experience the full effect.

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Hailing from the Red state of Texas, Joslyn Corvis is a very proud liberal and feminist. As a first-time college student as of January, 2016, she hopes to pursue a degree in Joslyn Corvis headshotpsychology to become a counselor. She enjoys parks when the weather is nice, late night trips to Whataburger, and sipping coffee from sun-up ‘til sun-down on weekends. You can find more of Joslyn and her works at http://gothicgenie.wix.com/home

Press Release: Creature Stew

Creature_Stew_Cover_high_resolutionBellaire, Texas – Creature Stew presents short fiction by eighteen outstanding horror authors. Released on January 31, 2015, the e-book is available from Amazon. This terrifying collection of short stories features work from award-winning, veteran horror authors, as well as stories from talented writers making their fiction début. If you’re looking for a fresh dose of rampaging, brain-eating zombies or perhaps a killer catfish, the size of a Honda, that can churn a man into mush, look no further!

Creature Stew includes fiction by C.C. Adams, Kate Bowen, Shenoa Carroll-Bradd, Michael Clark, Dave Dormer, Marc Ferris, Tom Folske, Ken Goldman, Daniel Hale, Robert Hart, Tessa Hatheway, Calypso Kane, Matthew Smallwood, Paul Stansfield, Chad Stroup, D.S. Ullery, Matthew Weber, and E.S. Wynn.

The eighteen included short stories were selected from numerous submissions accepted from the general public in a free, egalitarian process. Published by Papa Bear Press, Creature Stew is currently available in e-book format. Papa Bear Press is an independent publisher and writer’s resource based in Bellaire, Texas. As our first commercial venture, Creature Stew reflects our mission to seek out talented new voices, while showcasing quality fiction from today’s rising stars in popular literature. The anthology can be purchased from Amazon via the following link: http://www.amazon.com/Creature-Stew-C-C-Adams-ebook/dp/B00T11GPY4

Creature Stew was edited by Michael S. Collins. The publisher’s mission can be found on the Papa Bear Press website, www.papabearpress.com.

Press Release: Darker Edge Of Desire: Gothic Tales OF Romance—the new anthology from Mitzi Szereto

Darker-Edge-of-Desire1-703x1024Love, passion and sex…it’s all here in Darker Edge of Desire. Gothic literature has always possessed a dark attraction ripe with the promise of the forbidden and the sensual. In Darker Edge of Desire, Mitzi Szereto takes the sexualized Gothic and ratchets it up a few notches into the danger zone, opening a door into the darker side of lust and love that only the courageous dare to venture through. Venturing even farther into the world of mystery and romance than she did in the critically acclaimed Red Velvet and Absinthe, Szereto creates an atmosphere with a distinct Gothic flavor where we explore our more forbidden desires. In these tales, love and lust (and kink!) know no boundaries, and all nature of beings—vampires, werewolves, shape shifters, automata, ghosts, and succubae—abound. Tread carefully, danger and desire lie ahead!
(Includes a foreword from Kate Douglas and an afterward from Rachel Caine)
Visit the book’s website at: http://mitziszereto.com/darkeredgeofdesire/
Advance reviews:
“When your midnight cravings come calling, Darker Edge of Desire is the book you want on your nightstand. Wedged between these covers are fourteen tales of seduction and submission, from lust most carnal to virginal awakenings—even (despite the title) moments of achingly tender sweetness. Darker Edge of Desire is a chocolate box assortment of stories that depict passion in all its varieties, most—but not all—of them with a supernatural twist, no two of them the same. Bon appetit.”—Alma Katsu, author of The Taker Trilogy
 
“In this collection’s great dark tales of sex and murder, fear and love, pain and pleasure, we see not only ourselves, but we also shine a candle on our collective past, and that is a powerful and exciting journey.”—Rachel Caine, author of Glass Houses
“Desire can be so intricately, beautifully twisted, so perfect in its dark and dangerous attraction that no other choice exists but to follow that compelling lure without regard to safety or personal danger, often down paths better not traveled. Yet following that twisted, dark and dangerous way is rife with promise even when tainted with despair. Is the lure truly the darkness, or is it hope? Hope for something more, for something sublime. There’s only one way to find out—all you need do is put fear aside and step into the dark, cross into theDarker Edge of Desire.”—Kate Douglas, author of Wolf Tales
 
 
About the editor:
Mitzi Szereto (http://mitziszereto.com) is a bestselling multi-genre fiction author and anthology editor, has her own blog Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog (http://mitziszereto.com/blog), and is the creator/presenter of the Web channel Mitzi TV (http://mitziszereto.com/tv), which covers “quirky” London. Her books include The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray; Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire; Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts; Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles); Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance; Getting Even: Revenge Stories; and In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales. Her anthology Erotic Travel Tales 2 is the first anthology of erotic fiction to feature a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She divides her time between the UK and USA.

Plague: Aftermath

smallcoverplagueaftermathBefore you read our review of Jeremiah Donaldson’s Plague: Aftermath I want to mention that we have two paperback copies of this book to give away. Be one of the first two people to email us at horroraddicts@gmail.com and we will mail you a copy.

Plague: Aftermath is a horror anthology edited by Jeremiah Donaldson that looks at society after an airborne Ebola virus  ravishes mankind. This collection can also be considered a sequel to Jeremiah’s first novel called Plague. While his first book looked at how the virus started and spread,  Aftermath looks at what happens next. There are six stories in this book by five different authors that show you how desperate people can get when death is everywhere and just breathing can lead to a painful death

The first story in Plague: Aftermath is Anie and Dozer by S.S.  White, this one follows a man named Anie who is heading up into the mountains with his dog Dozer to escape the plague that is running wild through America. He is waiting on a friend he met online at a campground before he goes, but slowly he begins to realize that his friend might not make it. This story is more about psychological horror and is different from the other stories in this book. Though Anie doesn’t see himself as a social creature you still hear first hand how he worries about the people he sees on the way to the mountain and worries about having food for his dog along with the arrival of his friend. Anie and Dozer looks at how loosing everyone around you might affect you, even in the worst of circumstances people need people and this story looks at the horror of being alone.

The next story is called The Tomb by Matthew Wilson. This story follows a girl named Sam who is trapped in a house with her father who is infected by Ebola. The townspeople are outside planning on burning down the house with Sam in it, Sam doesn’t believe she is infected but she may not be able to escape the angry mob outside. The Tomb had some great suspense and shows how people can turn on people in a time of crisis.

The third one is Our Time To Go by Lindsey Shir-McDermott-Pour and looks at a doctor and nurse who leave the hospital they are working at and go on the run. The two have lost hope that a cure can be found and feel that it should be everyone for themselves. The main idea in the story is of loosing hope and what happens after you abandon everything. A good point is made here on keeping hope and being there for the ones you love.

The 4th story is Dear Miss Christie  by S.S. White and is a letter written by a girl named Sara who is looking at her bleak situation but still hoping that things will get better. This one reminded me of some of the letters that you hear about from people who have lived through a disaster. You can feel this woman’s fear in her letter and also see how she is a caring person as she describes the woman she is writing to.

Next up is Going To School by Ginny Bowman about a boy named Toby whose mother is trying desperately to make everything seem normal when nothing is normal anymore.  All Of A Heap by Jenner Michaud is next and deals with the same theme . Both stories look at a character who has lost someone and how they have to carry on even though they feel their world has ended. These were both heart wrenching stories that explore how we deal with loss and change.

The last story takes a 90 degree turn from the others, it’s an action packed tale called John’s Story by the editor of Plague Aftermath, Jeremiah Donaldson. This one looks at a soldier who has the task of taking down a religious cult, I liked the idea here and think it could make a great novel. All the stories here are well written and take a scary look at the human condition when things are at their worse and don’t have much to live for. This is a timely and chilling anthology due to the outbreaks of Ebola that have been talked about in the news lately and its is an anthology that you won’t want to miss.

To find out more on Plague Aftermath check out Jeremiah Donaldson’s website:

www.ephiroll.com/storiesandbooks.html

 

What Price Gory?

19453378Demons, a succubus and a man with many faces are just a few of the things that await you in Terry M. West’s What Price Gory? This collection includes eight stories and a sneak preview of an upcoming novella. All of the stories here are good and they get better as the book moves along.

The first story is a tale called Car Nex, it’s about a man named Adam who summons a demon and now hopes to stop it before the demon devours all the townspeople. I loved how all of the characters react when Adam displays why they should help him kill the demon. The demon is described as a shark on two legs and reminded me of the Tasmanian Devil with only one way to stop it.

The next story is Cecil and Bubba Meet A Succubus. This is a simple tale of two underachieving simpletons who get hired by a paranormal investigator to help him explore a haunted house. This is a fun story and at the end of the book there is a preview of the upcoming Cecil and Bubba Meet The Thang. These two characters have been cursed by a gypsy and now they have the misfortune of being magnets for strange creatures. Cecil and Bubba were easy to relate to, it was interesting to see how things worked out in the end and I look forward to their next adventure.

Next up is Held Over which is an original take on zombies. How much would you pay to keep your body alive after you die and what would happen to it? This story has the answers. The fourth story is The Hairy Ones which is about religion and marriage and what kind of horrors people are willing to put up with for the sake of both. This was a story that managed to be disturbing using the power of suggestion rather than being violent.

In The Hermit’s Creepy Pet a man who is trying to become a writer finds inspiration  when a hermit comes to his door claiming to have caught  an urban legend in a bear trap. The writer has his story idea but he also may be biting off more than he can chew. This is an excellent horror story with a little twist.

Put On A Happy Face is the most bizarre story here and would make an excellent horror movie. Deep in the woods lives a young girl and her older brother who wears a mask to show his emotions. He has a happy face when things are going well and an angry face which warns his sister to run far away. I loved the way this story unfolds, you hear what the girl feels is happening and then you hear the brother’s story as he is about to put on his angry mask. I loved hearing about the emotions of the man who comes to the house and how he tries to escape. I also liked the revelation that the sister suspects more than she lets on.

Next is Midnight Snack which follows a man who has taken a wrong turn in life and on the highway. He gets a second chance when he enters a dinner full of demons and learns a hard truth about life. This is a creepy story with a good moral. The last story is What Price Gory? which looks at what an author is willing to do, to become the new king of horror. I liked how the writer gets his dream and his worst nightmare at the same time. What Price Gory? is an excellent horror anthology that will give you nightmares and leave you screaming for more.

Deeply Twisted by Chantal Noordeloos

18747855Horror is meant to shock and disturb us. It’s also meant to show how strong people can be when faced with something that is truly terrifying. Horror stories don’t often have happy endings and if someone does get a happy ending they most likely suffered along the way. Horror can be a lot of things and Deeply Twisted by Chantal Noordeloos offers up 20 short stories that show what horror is really all about.

This anthology has a lot to offer, there are stories about witches, alien creatures, the devil at a dinner party, sea monsters, a man who collects souls, a mysterious clock tower, grave robbers, zombies and much more. This is a great horror anthology, some stories are better than others but even the ones I didn’t care for had some great ideas and we’re well written.

One of my favorite stories in this book was the zombie tale: Victims Of Evolution. I loved how Eloise describes her family then describes being bit by a zombie, changing into one and evolving into something else. I loved this concept and it was an original take on zombies. Another great tale is Death Awaits You which has a great twist and some disturbing imagery with some gory descriptions of dead bodies.  Out Of The Storm was also a story that had great imagery with its descriptions of a monster storm and a haunted hotel.

Dinner Date was a fascinating story with a good twist. One of the main characters in this is a woman named Lucretia who has some interesting insights into everyone around her but she isn’t taken seriously because of her personality. She is the only one who notices the truth behind the blind date that another character set her up with. What I loved about this one is how if you scratch the surface of each character in the story you see a different person and that’s not necessarily a good thing.

Deeply Twisted also includes two stories about grave robbers which is a subject that fascinates and disturbs me. The first one is The Angel’s Grave, I loved the character of Duff and how he ends up having to rob graves. He doesn’t have a choice but he has to pay for his sins anyway courtesy of a vengeful spirit. The other story is called Jade, despite having the same subject matter it is a very different story and I loved how the man telling them they shouldn’t be doing this gets called a fool and it shows what happens when you get too greedy.

I can’t think of many bad things to say about Deeply Twisted, Chantal makes each story come to life through spooky imagery and memorable characters. If you love short horror fiction then this is a must have. One thing that made this anthology excellent is how some stories are connected. For instance the story The Widow talks about a ghostly urban legend and the children who don’t believe. I thought this story was good but I didn’t understand the ending. Later in the anthology there was a story called Deeply Twisted that gets into how the legend started and added a lot of depth to The Widow. Reading Deeply Twisted reminded me why I love horror fiction and it also made me want to buy Chantel Noordeloo’s novel Coyote: The Outlander. Horror fans don’t pass this book up.

Press Release: Deep Cuts Anthology Honors Women in Horror

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DEEP CUTS ANTHOLOGY HONORS WOMEN IN HORROR

Co-editors Angel Leigh McCoy, E.S. Magill, and Chris Marrs announce the publication of DEEP CUTS, an anthology of short horror stories celebrating Women in Horror Month, February 2013. Both genders submitted stories, and they also submitted recommendations for short horror stories written by women writers. There are 60 recommendations in all.

“Deep Cuts smartly sidesteps the bloody ‘women in horror’ debate and puts its money where its mouth is. This fantastic collection, featuring both genders, pays tribute to the best dark tales told by women. A deeply cerebral experience that is at times honest and intimate, but always chilling.” – Mercedes M. Yardley, author of Beautiful Sorrows

Title: Deep Cutscover_half600
Publisher: Evil Jester Press
ISBN-13: 978-0615750897 | ISBN-10: 0615750893
List Price: $14.95
Publication Date: Jan. 14, 2013
Format: Trade Paperback; 286 pages
Dimensions: Length 6″ Height 9″ Width .7″

Brief Description:
Deep Cuts presents 19 stories of mayhem, menace, and misery by today’s writers, in honor of the women who write horror. And, like songs buried deep in an album’s track, gifts you with 60 recommendations for their powerhouse tales, all for your terrifying enjoyment.

Three spotlight writers included in the anthology are Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, and Mehitobel Wilson. Lisa Morton wrote the Introduction.

NANCY HOLDER is a New York Times Bestselling author. Her work has appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, LA Times, amazon.com, LOCUS, and other bestseller lists. A five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the Horror Writers Association, she has also received accolades from the American Library Association, the American Reading Association, the New York Public Library, and Romantic Times. She has sold many novels set in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Saving Grace, Hellboy, and Smallville universes.

YVONNE NAVARRO is the author of twenty-two published novels and well over a hundred short stories, and has written about everything from vampires to psychologically disturbed husbands to the end of the world. Her work has won the HWA’s Bram Stoker Award™ plus a number of other writing awards.

MEHITOBEL WILSON has been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award™. In addition, she received an Honorable Mention in the Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror five years in a row. Her work is featured in Sins of the Sirens, a Dark Arts book.

LISA MORTON is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. She plays an integral role in the horror community as Vice President of the Horror Writers Association. In addition to her accomplishments and accolades, Lisa is also well-known for being a champion of women writers in the horror genre. Her most recent works is the graphic novel Witch Hunts: A Graphic History of the Burning Times, written with Rocky Wood and Greg Chapman, published by McFarland.

THE EDITORS of Deep Cuts are Angel Leigh McCoy, E.S. Magill, and Chris Marrs. Between them, they have decades of experience as writers and editors. We are available for interviews or guest blog posts and would greatly appreciate any publicity you can give our project.

You can find the original post here: Deep Cuts

DEEP CUTS ANTHOLOGY HONORS WOMEN IN HORROR

*DEEP CUTS ANTHOLOGY HONORS WOMEN IN HORROR*

Co-editors E.S. Magill, Angel Leigh McCoy, and Chris Marrs have put out a
call for submissions and for Kickstarter pledges for DEEP CUTS, an
anthology of short horror stories designed to celebrate Women in Horror
Month, February 2013. Both men and women may submit stories to the
anthology, but they will each be required to also submit a 150-word
recommendation for a short horror story written by a woman writer.

The editors are doing a Kickstarter fundraiser to raise enough money to pay
greater than professional rates to all writers on the project. The goal is
$5000 and the end date is 7/1/12.

The three spotlight writers invited to the anthology are Nancy Holder,
Yvonne Navarro, and Mehitobel Wilson. Lisa Morton will write the
Introduction.

NANCY HOLDER
Nancy Holder is a New York Times Bestselling author. Her work has appeared
on the New York Times, USA Today, LA Times, amazon.com, LOCUS, and other
bestseller lists. A five-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award from the
Horror Writers Association, she has also received accolades from the
American Library Association, the American Reading Association, the New
York Public Library, and Romantic Times. She has sold many novels set in
the *Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Saving Grace, Hellboy,* and *
Smallville* universes.

YVONNE NAVARRO
Yvonne Navarro is the author of twenty-two published novels and well over a
hundred short stories, and has written about everything from vampires to
psychologically disturbed husbands to the end of the world. Her work has
won the HWA’s Bram Stoker Award™ plus a number of other writing awards.

MEHITOBEL WILSON
Mehitobel Wilson has been nominated for a Bram Stoker Award™. In addition,
she received an Honorable Mention in the *Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror *five
years in a row. Her work is featured in *Sins of the Sirens, *a Dark Arts
book.

LISA MORTON
Lisa Morton is an award-winning author, screenwriter, and producer. She
plays an integral role in the horror community as Vice President of the
Horror Writers Association. In addition to her accomplishments and
accolades, Lisa is also well-known for being a champion of women writers in
the horror genre. Her most recent works is the graphic novel *Witch Hunts:
A Graphic History of the Burning Times, *written with Rocky Wood and Greg
Chapman, published by McFarland.

EDITORS:
The editors of *Deep Cuts* are Angel Leigh McCoy, E.S. Magill, and Chris
Marrs. Between them, they have decades of experience as writers and
editors. We are available for interviews or guest blog posts and would
greatly appreciate any publicity you can give our project.

LINKS:
Ø  Blog: http://www.deepcuts111.com (submission guidelines are here)
Ø  Kickstarter: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/422790332/deep-cuts-anthology

City of Hell Chronicles: Beware of The Great Maurr

Civilization is over as we know it, most of the planet is a scorched wasteland. Only three human cities remain standing: London, Moscow and Hong Kong. They are now shells of their former selves and have become places where humans hide in fear from creatures that want to enslave or eat them. This isn’t the Mayan prophecy come to life or the zombie apocolypse. The year is 2020 and bugs have taken over the planet.

It all started with an eruption at Yellowstone park followed by an army of bugs emerging from beneath the earth’s crust . Their leader is The Great Maurr, a giant ant-headed creature who has brought hell to earth and made all of North America into the City of Hell. The Great Maurr has taken over the planet and his bug army has laid waste to everything. Humanity has never known anything like this. There is no more religion, no more rules, just pain and suffering.

This is the setting for Master of the Macabre participant Collin Barnes’ City of Hell Chronicles Volume 1. City of Hell Chronicles is the first release from Anachron press which was founded by Collin Barnes. Anachron Press’s goal is to produce timeless books that stand on their own. Anachron has already scheduled 3 anthologies for 2012 and is accepting submissions from authors who have great stories to tell.

City of Hell Chronicles is an anthology of 8 stories that shows how the Great Maurr enslaved the planet and how the last few survivers of the human race try to stay alive. The first story in this book is Genesis by Collin Barnes and tells how the end of the human race began. The second story by Victoria Griesdoorn, called Medical Report, tells what happens when a giant centipede is brought into a hospital and infects the hospital staff.

The third story is The Door From Below by Ren Warom which is about a group of three people who encounter faceless creatures called the stock takers that collect bodies to be turned into bug hybrids.  Up next is London Calling by Kendall Grey which is about a woman who meets a group of strange monks that are not what they seem. Fifth on the list is The Lucky Ones by Anne Michaud. This one is a tragic love story about a woman trying to find her boyfriend after suffering a great loss.

The Final Passage by Belinda Frisch goes into how the bug society works and follows the story of a group of slaves trying to escape the city of hell. Expanding on the bug society is The Nursery by Amy L. Overley which follows a woman named Otter who is forced to become a part of a bug breeding program and becomes what she hates most. The last story is by Victoria Griesdoorn again and tells the tale of a woman living in a hospital that has to search for fuel to keep the building running and her patients alive.

Three words to describe this book are dark, disturbing, and disgusting. I really enjoyed it. This book is exactly what a hard core horror novel should be, it creeps you out because each story presents characters that you can’t help fall in love with and you can’t put it down because you wonder if these people are going to survive the harsh conditions they are in. My only problem with the book was that after reading four stories and seeing how dark it was, I felt I knew how the rest of the stories we’re going to go, but I guess with a book called City of Hell you shouldn’t expect happy endings. What you do get to see in this book is stories of humans suffering great losses and doing whatever it takes to survive.

Despite the fact that it is an anthology, I thought the City of Hell Chronicles read like a novel. In each story you see how the conditions get progressivly worse, the bugs get stronger and the humans start to turn on each other. I found myself wondering if the writers talked to each other on how each story would go and how they would relate to each other. The writing in this book was much better then I expected and in the future and I would love to read more from each of these authors. There is a Chronicles Of Hell Volume 2 that will be coming out in 2012 and I can’t wait to see where they go next. If your not too scared of bugs and you like your horror dark and scary, give Chronicles Of Hell a try. You won’t be disappointed.