Want Some Kick Ass, Real World Horror? Then You Need To Read This!

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Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2
Edited by Matthew Weber
Pint Bottle Press
July 20, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

What this collection offers to readers is absolutely impressive stories that will both freak you out and educate you. It sounds impossible, but its true! Pint Bottle Press has what you need!

Before I dig into the review of this fine piece of literature, I’d like to give props to the folks at Pint Bottle Press for letting conservative readers know that this book is not for them or their children. There is a parental advisory stamp on the font cover and to quote from page 2, “The tales presented here are intended to disturb.” Got that? Although I felt a gleeful surge of adrenalin when I read that sentence, not everyone will. That’s why they kindly provided me with a barf bag in case the going got too rough. Readers, you have been warned-So from here on out, NO WHINING!

Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2 delivers the goods and then some! Grab a fresh pair of shorts and let’s hit the street for Blinky by M.B. Vujacic. Ever had somebody tailgate you so damn hard that they’re practically in your back seat? Rod and Emily have. Not only that, but the guy is an ancient creep who has the balls to accost Rod at a stoplight. The problem? “I seen some blinkies in my time, but gosh darn it, you take the cake.” The what, what, now? The old man is very upset that Rod forgot to shut off his left hand turn signal. Rod responds by telling the creepy geezer to get a life and roars off. But Blinky isn’t done. In fact, Rod’s use of profanity when he yelled back at him makes the old man even madder. By the time Blinky catches up to “brats” Rod and Emily, he decides to silence Rod forever. A huge gun makes short work of Rod’s head and Blinky goes on a shooting spree while attempting to end Emily’s life. That’s pretty wild, but wait until you read the twisted end of this story. It’s gonna blow you away! M.B. Vujacic also delivers the chilling tale The Midnight Show. I’m no spoiler, but I will tell you this, it’s even scarier than Blinky!

For story number three, we have Punk Rock Re-animator by Chad Lutzke. It’s a weird horror blast about a professor who likes to frequent the dark, mosh pit infested punk rock club that the narrator has been dragged to by his buddy. The only problem is that he’s carrying a syringe. What’s in that thing? The other story by Lutzke, Holes, has us hanging out with the neighborhood watchman, who enjoys keeping track of the neighborhood with his telescope. Today is just another day, until he sees something unique happening. A person is in danger! No, wait-He’s being tortured! But the “victim” is the local loser who’s spent his days ruining life for everyone in the neighborhood. In fact, the guy even killed the watchman’s beloved dog, Quincy. Should he call the cops or join the party?

John Boden contributes the bittersweet horror of There Will Be Angels about a child held captive by a pervert who accidentally died and the kid isn’t long for this world either. Marlene The Magnificent is a portrait of a very unique magician who pulls some amazing things out of her “hat” You may laugh, you may cry, but you won’t be able to forget her.

Simon Dewar’s and Patrick Freivald’s characters have something in common. They’re all on the move. Dewar’s characters are teenagers riding bikes in The Perfect Figure 8 who show us that having just one chance to do things right is enough if you do it perfectly. There’s a Lovecraftian flair to the Black Rock Boys who become one with an ancient totem and unleash lethal force against their enemies. Freivald takes us from ecstasy to horror in Roadkill and gives our blood to one hellion of a little girl. While The Getaway turns into anything but. Sometimes it’s monsters against criminals and when that happens, the criminals do NOT win. All I gotta say is that those guys jacked the wrong BMW! Check it out!

Last, but definitely not least are two stories by Karen Runge, a quickly rising force in the horror world. Her first novel, Seeing Double is currently available from Grey Matter Press. Shellfish is a powerful whirlpool of emotions and ethereal memories. Is the narrator evil, or is it just how she seems? Only she escapes the seaside resort unscathed. Exile is hard to describe. It is a flood of sensations. A woman escapes the city and into madness in a setting that should be a peaceful but is horrifying. Slowly she destroys herself mentally and physically until her spirit travels.

Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2 is an awesome collection featuring a wide variety of flavors for mature readers. Great job of editing, Matthew Weber! Highly recommended! Do yourself a favor and grab a copy today!

December of Darkness: Unnerving, Year 1 Giveaway

Hey follower friends! Check out this great giveaway and this enormous site of grooviness!

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We’re offering all kinds of goodies in December, but the best of all might just be the super fantastic horror lover’s colossal giveaway awesome prize package Eddie Generous, from Unnerving Magazine, has generously offered to one lucky reader.

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This prize pack includes:

Unnerving Magazine Issues 1 – 4

ALLIGATORS IN THE SEWERS

BREATHE, BREATHE by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

BONESPIN SLIPSPACE by Leo X. Robertson

CHURCH by Renee Miller

DARKEST HOURS by Mike Thorn

FESTIVAL by Aaron French

That’s 10 e-books for one very lucky reader.

Readers will have a chance to enter to win from December 1st to 24th.  Entries (comments/shares) made BEFORE December 1st will NOT be counted.

What do you have to do to be entered to win? Just two steps. First, share this post via the Twitter and/or Facebook buttons on this page. Second, comment on this post with your email OR your Twitter handle. (So…

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How To Know The Horror Collection You are Reading Is Heavy Duty

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See that white thing next to Double Barrel Horror volume 2? That, my friends, is a barf bag! You are now officially pre-warned about this book. There is also a “parental advisory” and another warning inside the book before you get to the good stuff. The contributing writers are not fooling around here! They intend to scare the hell out of you and make you use that bag. Pint Bottle Press has featured some really intense stuff in Double Barrel Horror Vol. 2 and I heartily encourage you to check them out! Review coming soon!

Trajectory Journal issue #15 is Available Now!

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Good news everyone! The latest issue of Trajectory is ready for your enjoyment! I don’t know of any literary journal with quite the same mix as this one. Editor and award winning author, Chris Helvey, really puts his heart and soul into every issue of this great publication. Inside you’ll find cool poetry, intense fiction, and unique nonfiction. Plus photography that could well inspire your next piece of writing. You can order a copy by either going to http://www.trajectoryjournal.com or you can write to them at Trajectory, P.O. box 655, Frankfort, KY 40602-0655 and sending a check for $10 made out to Helvey Enterprises.

While I am not in this issue, I will be in issue #16 with my short fiction piece Shoes. Something to look forward to! I am also in the following:
Issue #10-Puppeteer-poem
Issue #11-Flood Land-poem
Issue #13-Garage Sense-also featured in the editors’s picks online
Issue #14-Keepers of the Night and Disconnected Two poems

For those submitting, Trajectory pays a contributor copy for your work and offers the chance for you to buy additional copies at a reduced rate. Good people who put out a great journal!

Where Nightmares Come From-Today is Release Day! This Book is a MONSTER!

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Where Nightmares Come From
Edited by Joe Mynhardt and Eugene Johnson
Crystal Lake Publishing
Official Release Date November, 17, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Wouldn’t it be great if all your heroes told you their secrets? Especially if you’re a writer, poet, artist, screenwriter, or creator of comics and graphic novels who wants to succeed in the Horror genre? Sure, there are books out by certain writers and they’re great. But they’re just ideas from a single author such as Stephen King or Ray Bradbury. No disrespect, but to buy a writing book from every single author you’ve ever enjoyed would cost a fortune. Most emerging writers are scraping by from paycheck to paycheck and aren’t dealing with huge amounts of free time. What we need is for someone to deliver lots of knowledge in a single volume that is priced within our means.

Good news! Crystal Lake Publishing has come out with just such a book! Where Nightmares Come From is full of carefully compiled pieces of knowledge. A quick glance through the table of contents reveals names like: Richard Chizmar, Joe Lansdale, Charlaine Harris, Jonathan Maberry, Clive Barker, and Stephen King. That is just a handful of the cool writers featured in Book I of Crystal Lake’s Dream Weaver series edited by Joe Mynhardt and Eugene Johnson. Crystal Lake’s mission extends past giving us great books to read, they also want to teach and support those of us trying to make it in the Horror genre with books like this, as well as mentorships and other great options.

But what if you’re not planning to be the next Joe Lansdale? Maybe you just really love Horror and its bedfellows. Thank you! This book is also for you too! It offers many peeks behind the curtain and into the minds of those you enjoy being scared by! What’s it like to collaborate with one of the world’s biggest names in Horror? Stephen King and Richard Chizmar talk about that in their interview with Bev Vincent. Clive Barker gives you the “A-Z of Horror” and Joe Lansdale asserts that it matters a lot who is telling the story, because Horror is about more than just getting scared. There are roundtables, interviews, and pieces written by the elite of Horror.

I couldn’t help but notice the excellent piece by Jess Landry-The Monster Squad-or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love The Publisher. She explains the benefits of working with smaller Indie presses and the good and bad things about being published, period. One thing she warns about is a very real threat and easy to step into. Vanity presses are out to take your money and your rights to your own damn story! Sure, they seem nice. But in truth, they are predators that feed on our dreams and screw us in ways that are no fun at all. No need to panic, just do your homework and choose carefully. Looking for upstanding publishers with good reputations? JournalStone and Trepidatio fit that bill! You can’t win if you don’t play, so submit your best stuff and know that editing is a necessary evil. Don’t fear the red pen or blue pencil!

Would I recommend this book? Hell yeah! If you love Horror you owe it to yourself to buy a copy of Where Nightmares Come From! Learning was never so much fun and entertaining! All the pieces in this book are tools you will use more than once. Fuel your passions and learn how to make your dreams come true. Our idols are real people who were just like us. Take this opportunity and learn from the best. The future is in your hands, reach out and grab a copy TODAY!

Field Guide To The End Of The World is Poetry at its BEST!

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Field Guide to the End of the World
Jeannine Hall Gailey
Moon City Press
Sept. 1, 2016
Review by Brian James Lewis

 

With its excellent cover art and survivalist look, one might mistake Field Guide to the End of the World as an instruction manual for the day that horrible event comes to pass. In a way, they’d be right. Writing poetry helps us to cope with a lot of pretty awful stuff. It also celebrates life and living it. Jeannine Hall Gailey uses her poetry to do all of that and makes more than a few social comments along the way.

For those who truly wish to survive the apocalypse, you might want to be-bop on down to your local extreme survivalist store for necessities. Just don’t forget to pack this book to keep you from going insane in your underground bunker while waiting for the “all clear” signal! You will definitely enjoy Martha Stewart’s Guide to Apocalypse Living featuring the line “Now’s the time to get out your hurricane lamps! They create a lovely glow in these last days.” Also remember that, Zombie Stripper Clones: They Are Not Regenerating.

In the Cultural Anthropology section of her book, there is an interesting re-take on Dorothy, the wizard, and the Land of Oz. It makes her much more modern and flawed. There is also an Introduction to Teen Girl Vampires that pairs real issues with the super powers of the undead. Even when Gailey is using scientific terms, the humanity comes bursting through. This fine book of poetry never feels cold or loses the reader. Sometimes we might have to follow markings made on dead trees, but we’re included and encouraged to take a good hard look at ourselves along the way.

Jeannine Hall Gailey is a member of the HWA and the SFPA. She’s also been the poet laureate of Redmond, Washington, and is the author of four other books. Jeannine has been featured in The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror, Verse Daily, and on National Public Radio. Despite MS trying to ruin her life, this amazing poet pushes it back with the power of writing and the love of reading. You can follow her on Twitter and her website: http://www.webbish6.com

When I read this book, it felt like home. This is not silly, greeting card poetry. It is sturdy stuff that grabs your attention and pokes you in the face. The horror of trying to continue on when everything is broken and the sci-fi usage of electromagnetic and DNA is a great mix. I really enjoyed this book and definitely encourage all of you to buy a copy if possible. Field Guide to the End of the World is a great read that you can sip a few poems from daily and let them roll around in your mind like fine wine. It’s also a nice bridge to our darker world for people that are unsure. All the elements we like are in there, Jeannine Hall Gailey just takes them uptown.

Wishing All A Happy Day of the Dead

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I planned on posting this earlier, but had a few WiFi issues, so here I am on the last day of celebrating those who have gone before us. I used the time to think of my grandparents, who pretty much raised me and gave me a good set of values. We may not have been financially rich, but a lot of things are more important than money. Treating all people fairly, doing your best, kindness is never wasted, and that a used car is just as good as a new one for a whole lot less money! I also learned how to fix cars and trucks from my grandfather. I know that they’re proud to know that I went on to become a writer! Interestingly enough, they both passed on different years, but right around this time, which is kind of cool. Thanks for following, more reviews up soon!

A Lovely Package Arrives!

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We here at the Skullcave get pretty excited about good mail. There is enough of the other kind. Enough I say!

Whew, okay back on track here. This fantastic book of  poetry is by Jeannine Hall Gailey and is published by Moon City Press. It has great cover art and the title, “Field Guide To The End of The World” This is poetry for those of us who are fans of the speculative and the dark. Gailey’s poetry will make you chuckle as well, which is as it should be. Do we not read to escape?

You can purchase Jeannine Hall Gailey’s books from Amazon or from her site webbish6 . The bonus of purchasing from Jeannine directly is that you have the option of getting a signed copy and maybe a few extra goodies like a bookmark or postcard! I am in awe of the lovely broadside of Jeannine’s poem “The Snow Queen Explains” it is part of a very limited and numbered release of just 80 pieces. Wow! I am getting a nice frame for it this weekend!

I’m going to run a more in depth review of  this book next week-So don’t touch that dial! Til then, keep the bugs off your glass and the bears off your…well, you know.

Thursday Throwback Thriller-When The Watcher Shakes!

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Now this book is certainly not an old classic, but it is an important milestone for many reasons. “Watcher” was one of my first professional book reviews done for a big company. Being on the Hellnotes writer roster was a big step up for me. “When The Watcher Shakes” was Timothy G. Huguenin’s debut novel and I have yet to see a more professional looking self-published book. It just blew me away!

Still does, because the story of “Watcher” is very appropriate for the times we’re having in America. It tells the story of a very intrinsic group of people living by rules laid down by a dictator who pretends that there is a democratic committee handling things. Things do not turn out well when a stranger comes to town with ideas of freedom and equality for all. He “ruins” the dictatorship by empowering the people but pays a very high cost for his efforts. If you haven’t had a chance to read ‘When The Watcher Shakes” I heartily encourage you to do so!

I’d also like to mention that Timothy G. Huguenin is currently looking for a publisher for his upcoming third novel at this time. If anybody is interested or has any suggestions, please give us a shout! You can click on Timothy’s page from my site here and I’m pretty sure he will comment on this when I share it on Twitter as well! His books are available on Amazon and his work has appeared in many mags. He’s very friendly and is able to achieve great story telling with very little profanity which makes him a great choice for a publisher looking for a writer with wide appeal.

As the saying goes, “every little bit helps” and I know all of us in the speculative writing community are a warm-hearted bunch. If he succeeds, we all do!