Category Archives: Horror

Supremely Happy World by Fisher Thompson

Review: “From the opening words I felt the author had a strong vision they were attempting to convey to readers. I found the descriptions and narrative almost lyrical at times, yet at others, word choice and phrase arrangement didn’t always make sense to me, yet perhaps that was directly part of the character, Li Chu Yang’s, influence. In a way, it was like a new musical rhythm you have adapt to or learn so as to be able to dance to it.

Ideas of all kinds shape the tone and background of the story swirling together Buddhism, eastern and central Asian history and mysticism, and one could definitely feel the author’s research and knowledge of such information, but there were times of repetitiveness and structure/editing issues I found distracting. That being said: the story itself was still greatly intriguing. It asks questions anyone might ask themselves when faced with a deadly plague/phenomenon that thus far no one understands or can conquer. After finding and reading a badly damaged book full of scientific suggestions, doubts arise in Li Chu Yang as to the plague’s origin, and if some political force or even an independent agency might be behind it.

From high-rise living and general middle class moderate prosperity, with the advent of the Black Death, humankind in these regions have been forced back to village or tribal living in order to survive, being driven further and further away from technology. Poverty, infanticide, crime and apathy are rampant as more and more people are crowded together in lost hope, and the descriptions can be gruesome and vivid, but as the story seemed to wander as it progressed. What was suggested in the premise never quite reached fulfillment, never reached a true climax to me, before listing off into philosophical reflection and somewhat of a surprise ending. I really thought “Supremely Happy World” had great potential, however I didn’t see the horror in the horror story and was left rather bemused. Readers looking for an eclectic, heavily Asian influenced apocalyptical world might find this work of interest.”

Description: “The year is 2113. The world has suffered the consequences of global climate change and now enters a time of terror as a rolling Black Death unlike any before it surges through the land. The Black Death rages on with no end in sight. Citizen Li Chu Yang believes he knows the source of this new deadly black strain. In a world where to be noticed is to be targeted, his dilemma is deadly serious.”

Author: Fisher Thompson, website http://fisherthompson.webs.com/

Published: January 3, 2010

Publisher: M.H. Dartos

Genre: Futuristic Horror, Apocalyptical Sci-horror

Available: Smashwords, Diesel, and other online distributors.

Source: Author

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Horror, Reviews

Lilith’s Tears by David Jones

Review: I’m a lover of history and literature from by-gone days. The brevity and simplicity of sentence and story structure which have evolved just as has the English language and societies in general, and especially the electronic formats for reading a novel, isn’t my favorite style. Certainly convenient, but in some ways, I feel some writers have changed their writing to suit these devices instead of making as well-rounded a work as possible. Many seemed to be geared for quickly scanning with the eyes, and even punctuation changed to facilitate the process.

Honestly, I like to read and savor text. I like to go back and even speak aloud particularly well constructed sentences, and from the first this was the quality I enjoyed about “Lilith’s Tears.” The author wasn’t simply telling a story. He created, constructed and described a panorama of complex characters, actions and locations, which were carefully directed to evolve in a manner reminding me of past masters of fiction. Despite dark fantasy themes within the story, very definitely, David Jones’s specialization in Renaissance and eighteenth century Literature brilliantly shown through his words for a memorable work that could be considered a kind of modern horror but also felt like the classic gothic historicals I so loved to read.

I did feel creating more paragraphs, not having such lengthy passages, and editing out some of the descriptions could better have served the text. They were vivid but after you learned the setting, some weren’t necessarily needed anymore, as the character was fully grounded in his environment. But if anything that requires the reader to settle back and more fully immerse themselves in events. Speaking of which, the pace was good overall, with plenty of action that leads to a chilling climax as all threads were woven neatly together, until you’re floored by the ending. “Lilith’s Tears” is a great debut in an almost Edgar Rice Burroughs style, and I’d be very interested in other works by this talented author.

 Description: “Wrecked on an unchartered island, his ship and crew lost in a storm, Captain Trebane struggles to survive amongst the island’s deadly community of immortals. Beset by the peculiar, dark magic that pervades the jungle, and the curse which has driven its inhabitants to savagery, Trebane discovers that, beneath the island’s tropical beauty, lurks the shadow of an age old evil.

Battling to rescue the woman he loves from the cathedral at the island’s heart, he encounters the reclusive skeleton leader of the savages, along with the island’s other strange inhabitants. As Trebane explores, he learns more of the island’s curse, its connections with the Garden of Eden, its history, and the inexorable fate which tugs upon the lives of all its sinister occupants. Severed from the rest of the world, his quest culminates in a battle which will change the lives of the characters forever, and echo through all of time.

Lilith’s Tears will immerse readers in the mystical world of the island. Magic and darkness pervade the landmass, with its fabled immortality and the curse that has condemned countless generations to languish there. Adventure, mystery, romance and legend – Lilith’s Tears will both amaze and enchant.”

“This is a strange and violent place.”

Available in print and ebook at Amazon.

Kindle edition Published: June 4th 2011
Publisher: David Jones(first published May 28th 2011)
ASIN: B0054H1U6C

Source: Author

About the Author:

David Jones was born in 1989 in Liverpool, which is still his home. He studied English language and Literature at the University of Liverpool before specializing in Renaissance and Eighteenth Century Literature. He started writing at an early age, and has won numerous prizes for both poetry and prose, as well as writing plays for the radio and producing short films. His chief interests apart from writing are Renaissance texts, performing and producing music, and playing sports.

Website: http://www.storydj.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Horror, Reviews

Interview & Review of Natasha Troop’s “Lakebridge: Spring”

Review: Clean, clear, crisp writing about dark magic and sinister scenes that gave me shivers both of pleasure at the sheer skill of the writing and the unpredictable nature of the story itself. Evident from the very start, the author’s plotting and pace was perfect, with visual descriptions that were never overwhelming or heavily wrought. They suited the story’s sense of the macabre on its build to a chilling climax and a resolution that paves the way for the next entry in the Lakebridge Cycle.

Characterization was particularly a high point for me as well. There were a number of different characters interacting over the course of the novel, but each added a unique “flavor” to the narrative. Gil, the main character, was very believable for me, empathetic and distinct. The length of some of the paragraphs was the sole issue I had with Lakebridge: Spring, and unhesitatingly I look forward to the other books in the series. Absolutely thrilled to have been able to review such an outstanding novel.

Description: Vermont, picturesque and lovely, attracts visitors from across the country in search for the perfect picture, the perfect fall foliage or perhaps a taste of maple syrup. Stansbury is best known for the odd covered bridge that spans Stansbury Lake and goes nowhere, connecting no roads and serving no known purpose. The locals call it the Lakebridge. Very few know of its mysterious origins and fewer care to know more.

Those visiting the town perhaps take a few snapshots and leave, their curiosity quelled by an uneasy feeling that they shouldn’t think on it anymore. The tourists will eventually leave Stansbury, but its residents strangely linger, seemingly held captive by a force they barely recognize. They also do not think about the town’s mysterious artifact much except in passing, all but Gil, his father, Ben, and a few others. They know of the bridge’s dark history and understand that it is responsible for every horror that ever befell the people of Stansbury: the people who fear the bridge but will not speak of it.

The bridge makes people do things – bad things – so that it can continue to love and care for them all. Some have tried to destroy the bridge, but as long as the bridge is fed with the lives of the innocents of Stansbury it will go on – loving the people of Stansbury. Lakebridge: Spring is the first of a four book cycle revolving around Stansbury and the Lakebridge.

Available on Amazon for Kindle and in Paperback, 260 pages
Published April 25th 2011 by CreateSpace
ISBN 1461122503
ISBN13: 9781461122500
Source: Author

Interview with Natasha Troop

I am pleased to present an interview with Natasha Troop, a transwoman and fellow author.  For more information about her works, please follow the links to her sites:

The site for the Lakebridge Cycle: www.lakebridgecycle.com and Natasha Troop’s blog about being trans virginiastonic.blogspot.com.

 

 

 

Interview:

What genre(s) do you write? Why do you write the stories that you write?

 

I write across genres, actually. I think if you stick yourself in a particular genre, you limit the scope of your work. I’ve always appreciated authors who escape the confines of bookstore sections and just write their stories as they need to be. I write what I do because an idea takes me and gets under my skin to the point that I have no choice but to get it out.

 

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

 

I love directing plays (which I get to do as part of my teaching), playing with my children, reading and spending quiet evenings with my spouse.

 

What books are currently on your nightstand?

 

I just finished Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind, which is a brilliant novel. I’m also working my way through Ulysses and a copy of Drood by Dan Simmons is there as well.

 

Do you remember the first novel you read?

 

Indeed! It was The Hobbit. I read it when I was 7 years old.

 

This especially interesting to me, as J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy was one of my first major reading endeavors as a child.

 

 

What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

 

It depends on the time of year. But ideally, I write midday for a few hours. I try to set realistic goals, such as writing at least 2000 words a day when I’m on task. If I can stay focused, this is not difficult for me.

 

Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

 

Simple. Write something every day. Even if it’s a blog or a journal. Keep the words flowing. The easiest way to get blocked is to stop writing. It’s always easier to do nothing, so make yourself write something. Make it as important to your day as eating or drinking.

 

Have you ever had one of those profound “AH-HA!” moments while you were writing?  Would you be willing to share it?

 

I have. I was actually working on the next book in my cycle and I had envisioned a character a certain way. But when I started writing him, he took me in an entirely different direction and I was kind of stunned by it because it was so perfect for what I am doing with the books and that when I was outlining the book and the characters, it hadn’t occurred to me was surprising because of how wonderfully it fit.

 

Thanks for sharing that. It actually made me have shivers of excitement, because that’s such a special moment. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.

 

 

What story haven’t you written yet but would like to?  Is there anything holding you back from writing it?

 

I have two ideas that I have been playing with for some time. One is about the building of a pyramid and the other is about a robot. I love both pyramids and robots for some odd reason and I think it would be a lot of fun to write about either…or both. But not at the same time because the pyramid story would be kind of ruined if the robot was in it and vice versa. I could put one in the other, but not as a central focus. The only thing holding me back from writing them is that I am currently more enthusiastic about the Lakebridge Cycle and want to see it through before I move onto something else.

 

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

 

I outline the skeleton of the story as well as write out my character arcs. Once I have that down, I write the novel around it. But the outline is essential because it allows me to keep the story moving towards a goal and it allows me to know when to break a chapter.

 

If your book is available in print, how does it feel to hold a book that has your name on the cover?  What is your favorite cover of all your paperbacks?

 

It’s pretty incredible. I cried a little bit when I got the proof for Lakebridge: Spring because it was the culmination of a lot of years of work and there it was, like this magic thing that I had dreamt of and made real. It made me feel like a real girl. I love the cover on Lakebridge. I described it to my friends and they were amazing in how they designed it almost exactly as I described it. There’s a depth to the fog that I adore.

 

 

Your Characters

 

 

Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

 

My characters are drawn from my imagination and then I give them traits from either myself or other people I know. But mostly, I create them from whole cloth and breathe life into them. Once that happens, they tend to take on a life of their own and I let them guide me through the novel as much as my outline does. Occasionally, a character will surprise me and I’ll have to make major adjustments to fit what has come out in the writing. It’s important to remain flexible and open to accommodating what comes out in the writing.

 

Is it hard coming up with names for your characters?

 

Nope! I just name them and don’t sweat it. I know people who work hard making their names symbolic or whatnot. I just try not to repeat names and make sure they sound natural for who they are and where they come from.

 

 

Which of your stories would make a great movie?  Who’d play the lead roles?

 

I actually have a vampire screenplay I developed with Lions Gate Films a few years back that would make a great movie. Joshua Jackson and Sam Rockwell would be perfect for the leads.

 

 

What is your favorite restaurant you can’t do without?

 

Los Dos Molinos. Seriously, it’s the best Mexican food on the planet. Their carnitas platter is to die for. It’s the only thing that makes Phoenix livable, knowing I can have this near perfect plate of food every once and a while.

 

 

 

Name one website you visit every single day.

 

www.woobiescookies.com The best cookies in the world. And I’d even say that if I didn’t make them.

 

What’s the last movie you saw in theaters?

 

I took my kids to see Cars 2. All I can say was they loved it. And, really, that’s all that matters when you take kids to the movies.

 

If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, which would it be and why?

 

The Soft Bulletin by The Flaming Lips. It’s a complex, gorgeous and emotionally beautiful piece of music. There is no other complete collection of songs that makes me feel as this does. It’s music that washes over you and through you.

 

What’s the last album you bought?

 

Ready For This by Tim Minchin. He’s amazing. If you haven’t heard of him, he’s this brilliant Australian satirist and pianist. My spouse an I saw him live a week or so ago and there were times we just watched his hands as he played the piano. I am always awed by people who do what they do at the genius level. When I see it, I get a little jealous, but more than anything, I appreciate what they do and that there are few people who can do it as well.

 

Who is the sexiest person on TV currently (sitcom, drama, reality show, game show, etc)?

 

Joshua Jackson. Something about his everything makes me a little weak in the knees.

 

 

What is your favorite curse word?

 

Fuckmare. I invented it actually. As in, “This traffic is a fuckmare.”

 

Who was the hottest teacher you ever had?

 

Mrs. Branzei, my 8th grade science teacher. She made science sexy. I remember she met us at a movie theatre to see 2010 and my friends and I were just a little bit jealous of her husband.

 

How many drinks does it take before you get drunk?

 

That really depends on the drink, now doesn’t it? I mean, one yard of beer will get me as drunk as, let’s say, two or three vodka tonics. But I rarely drink to the point of being drunk. A glass of cabernet sauvignon is usually all I ever have these days. It’s a nice way to unwind after the business of the day.

 

Thank you again for such a wonderful interview, Natasha. You made me laugh out loud at some points, and it was just delightful reading your responses.

Best of luck in all your endeavors!

Originally posted at the Swedish online magazine, Queer Magazine Online.

 

4 Comments

Filed under Horror, Interviews, Reviews, Speculative

Brandon Ford’s “Decayed Etchings”-A Collection of Dark Fiction Now Available!

A Press Release:

SYNOPSIS

In his first collection, Brandon Ford delivers 18 brand
new, never before published tales of the dark, twisted,
and macabre. Buried within these gnarled pages, you’ll
discover jilted lovers, cheating spouses, bizarre fetishes,
acid trips, and roaming sleepwalkers. You’ll meet noisy
neighbors, struggling writers, vengeful females, and
even a monster or two.

With Decayed Etchings, you’ll dive headfirst into a
world of ghoulish delights that will surely satisfy even
the most jaded gorehound. In this world, there is
always something lurid hiding beneath. You need only
scratch the surface.

Trade Paperback: 204 pages
Publisher: Black Bed Sheet Books (July 4, 2011)
ISBN: 978-0-9833773-9-9
Suggested Retail Price: $14.95 US
Category: Fiction/Collection
Genre: Horror/Dark Suspense
Primary readers: Adults

PRAISE

Crystal Bay:

“A very enjoyable read. I can’t wait to see what [he] does next.” –Garry
Charles, Hammerhead

“Brandon Ford is the new Prince of Horror, soon to be King.” –Ryan
Nicholson, Star Vehicle

“Ford shows a knack for setting suspense. He’s a promising new talent.”
–Kevin Lucia, Higher Education

Splattered Beauty:

“Absolutely delicious. Drags the reader along on one hell of a bumpy
ride.” –Robert Dunbar, The Pines

“Brandon Ford is a burgeoning master of crimson escapism!” –Tim Ritter,
Truth or Dare: A Critical Madness

“I expect to see Brandon Ford win awards and go far.” –Nicholas
Grabowsky, Red Wet Dirt

Pay Phone:

“Disturbing, bloody, and vicious. Pay Phone is not for the weakhearted…”
–Scott A. Johnson, Dread Central

“Truly terrifying and chilling right down to the bone. This one comes
highly recommended.” –Ed Demko, Bloodtype Online

“Ford has an obvious gift…” –Richard Perez, Permanent Obscurity

BRANDON FORD BIOGRAPHY

Brandon Ford (b. August 28, 1981) grew up in South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He started writing at the approximate age of 8 and spent a lot of time testing the waters with various genres. He wrote dramas, comedies, essays, plays, and, of course, thrillers. There were few things he took pleasure in crafting more than a good old-fashioned scary story. Throughout grade school, as well as high school, he continued to build his portfolio with various works (mostly short stories and novellas, but a few plays here and there). He’d pass around these manuscripts to friends and teachers for feedback. Knowing others enjoyed his work and craved more inspired him to keep going.

A few months shy of 23, he sat down to pen his first novel, which became Crystal Bay. Arctic Wolf Publishing, a small press based in Georgia, picked the book up a few years later. Shortly thereafter, he completed Splattered Beauty, an ode to his favorite Scream Queens. In 2009, he teamed up with Alan Draven and Jessica Lynne Gardner for Creeping Shadows (Pixie Dust Press), a collection of three short novels. Ford’s contribution, Merciless, was heavily inspired by a real-life kidnapping that took place in California in 2002. In March 2010, Arctic Wolf released his third novel, Pay Phone. Ford has also contributed works of short fiction to several anthologies, including Abaculus 2007 and Abaculus III (Leucrota Press), Sinister Landscapes (Pixie Dust Press), Raw: Brutality As Art (Snuff Books), and The Death Panel (Comet Press). Some of his biggest influences have been writers like Jack Ketchum and the late Richard Laymon. In his spare time he enjoys reading, watching bad TV, and all things horror. He still resides in South Philadelphia.

For merchandise of all kinds as well as a sample of the collection of stories and his thoughts, visit Brandon Ford’s website “Sleepless Nights”:

http://www.writerbrandonford.blogspot.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Dark Fiction, Events, Horror

Monster Story by McCarty Griffin

Review: When you watch those made-for-TV films on certain science fiction channels, you know before reading ‘directed by’ there are going to be the usual stereotypes. Among others, you might find that all Southerners are rednecks or hillbillies with heavy accents or law enforcement officers are inept and don’t know how to properly contain a crime scene.  There will always be the bloody splash of’shocker’ scenes, people who never ever mind their own business and more recently, the inevitable flamboyant gay. “Monster Story” has all those and more.

It’s a very descriptive tale, some amusing and distinct within the narrative flow, though others seemed out of character or too heavily employed. There were a number of characters within the often changing scenes, and I wished for more connectives as events along the timeline, in relation to others, were sometimes hard to discern. But just like with ‘slasher’ films you have to suspend disbelief and just go with the flow.

There are always going to be those fleeting characters who get themselves killed because they do stupid things like not following directions or their own gut instincts to run! There is fun to be found in that, even in the horror genre both in film and print, as far as I’m concerned. In that vein, Monster Story is what I still consider a ‘light’ read, though it has its moments of suspense and the inevitable gore and creepy plot twists worthy of a SyFy Channel Original. I think it definitely could have stood some revision, as 315 pages was rather extensive for a work of this kind in my opinion, especially in that some scenes were rather repetitive or the characters within weren’t vital to the story overall, but I can certainly see where ‘Monster Story’ would have its appeal.

Description: Christy McCauley has returned to West Virginia at last, but her homecoming quickly turns into a surreal nightmare. In the deep hollows and woods of rural Augusta County, something unspeakable is slaughtering people in the dark of night. Authorities don’t know if its human or animal, or how to stop it. Christy and her friends only know they must hunt it and destroy it, before it kills again.

Format & Length: Ebook, 315 pages
Publication Date: November 4, 2010
Published by McCarty Griffin, via Smashwords
ISBN: 0011144777 (ISBN13: 2940011144776)

Source: Author

Leave a comment

Filed under Fantasy, Horror, Reviews