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/

 

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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.

 

 

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