Review: Morbid Metamorphosis

morbid-final-print-coverA Lycan Valley Press publication, Morbid Metamorphosis is a book containing twenty-two morbidly terrifying tales of metamorphosis, transformation, and horror. Whether your taste runs to werewolves or madmen or if you enjoy more of the mystery serial killings sort of tale, this book has something for everyone.

What first caught my attention was the fab cover for this anthology. Wow. If that screaming face and the grasping hands don’t give you nightmares, the stories sure will.

Some of my favorite characters were Nancy Kilpartick’s weirdo copy center customer, Suzanne Robb’s werewolf, and MJ Preston’s girl who is shown more than she bargained for about her Indian heritage. There are quite a few serial killer stories and a couple that started out one way and gave a shock at the end with an ending I couldn’t have predicted.

My top three stories were ones that surprised me and gave me something different from the norm.

Jo-anne Russell’s “You Are What You Eat” was a rather disturbing tale about a young actress who will do anything to stay in Hollywood shape. When she sees an advertisement on television boasting, “Never gain it back again!” she can’t help herself. The doctor’s visit goes smoothly, but when she gets home, her perspective changes quite a bit.

Stacy Turner’s “The Lake” took me back to the old stories of mermaids. Not these pretty, happy, silent Disney-princess types, but the truly evil ones with jagged teeth and evil to the core. I really liked the setting of this story and the character development was well done.

“The Skelly Effect” by Terri Del Campo was such a breath of fresh air in our horror world of same old tropes we see all the time. With an interesting take on the plague apocalypse we are all so obsessed with these days, “The Skelly Effect” was so enjoyable I read it twice. When people start losing their skin (literally) to an unknown plague, no one knows what it is and least of all how to cure it. But these “Skellies” can still go to work and function as normal humans, with one exception. They can’t speak and must resort to texting answers back and forth. The image of skelly people walking around town, going about their day, only with no skin was super fun for my little dark heart. This story is a must read for any horror fan.

I’ve only touched on a few stories, but there are several more to delight and terrify by such horror masters as Greg Chapman, Roy C. Booth & R. Thomas Riley, Terri Delcampo, Dave Gammon, Rod Marsden, Nancy Kilpatrick, Jo-Anne Russell, M.j. Preston, Stacey Turner, Tina Piney, Suzanne Robb, Franklin E. Wales, Donna Marie West, Suzie Lockhart, Cameron Trost, Daniel I. Russell, Simon Dewar, Amanda J. Spedding, Ken MacGregor, Erin Shaw, Gregory L. Norris, and Nickolas Furr.


Phobias: A Collection Of True Stories

20588398People all over the world suffer from phobias. What may seem like an irrational fear to one person makes life unbearable for another. What causes phobias is unknown, what causes a phobia for one person wouldn’t affect another. Everyone has their own story on what caused their phobia and how they deal with it. In the book Phobias: A Collection Of True stories from Hidden Thoughts Press you get a glimpse of how eighteen authors have learned to live with their phobias.

Phobias: A Collection Of True Stories has a range of stories that are funny, sad, scary and inspiring. In the introduction Mary Harris points out that phobias may be  evolutionary such as being scared of spiders (arachnophobia) which seems to the most common phobia in this book. During ancient times people knew spiders were dangerous because some were poisonous and this trait was passed down through a person’s genes. Something like agoraphobia, the fear of leaving one’s home, may come from an environmental cause.

Whats fascinating about this book is learning how each person got their phobia and learned to live with it. In one story called Dreaming Of The Dead by Suzanne Robb we learn that she has a fear of zombies which stems from seeing Night Of The Living Dead as a child and then associating it with the death of her grandpa. Suzanne would have dreams of zombies coming to get her. She dealt with this by writing about zombies and watching zombie movies that were hard for her to get through. What may not seem to be scary to some was a real fear for Suzanne and she had to work through it.

Another good story in this book was The Monkey Queen by Emerian Rich. In the story she describes a reoccurring dream about being on an island and being served by monkeys, when she tries to leave to go home, the monkeys wont let her and the dream turns into a nightmare. When I read about this dream I thought it would make a good scene in a horror novel but to Emerian the fear of monkeys is a very real thing which she had to learn to live with.

One story in this anthology that really got to me was Phobias Sprouting from Seeds Of Fear by Toianna Wika. Toianna relates how she had an abusive childhood that led her to have issues with anxiety and several different phobias. Toianna goes on to tell how she learned to overcome her fears and live a productive life. She states while working for Mary Kay Cosmetics she learned If she thought positive thoughts and was able to focus her energy on something, it effected her material reality. I loved hearing how Toianna learned to live with her fears and went on to have a family, a career and is now working on her dream of becoming a writer.

Continuing with the idea of not letting your fears control you was Fear  Of The Moving Steps by Shauna P. Norman. Shauna talks about her fear of escalators and how it affects her. What I liked about her story was how she writes that some people didn’t understand her fear but there were others that knew how she felt and helped her to get over it. There is always help available when you have a phobia and someone will understand. I took that to be the main idea of Phobias: A Collection Of True Stories