Thanks to The Sanguine Woods for sharing this poem, which is just as vital now as it was in 1965. The monsters are still here, they’ve just changed their masks and gone in for spray tanning of their unhealthy hides. Be kind now, don’t wait. Because if you do it may be too late. Love is love and it warms the universe, keeping the forces of fear and hate from taking over completely.
Something Borrowed, Something Blood Soaked
August 21, 2018
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis
Quiet, powerful, serious, sometimes witty, but also downright terrifying…Yep, I’m talking about Christa Carmen! The author of the amazing short story collection Something Borrowed, Something Blood Soaked recently released from Unnerving. Eddie Generous has the amazing superpower of finding great writers and displaying their finest qualities. This book is another gem from the tireless champion of independent horror writers and readers. Who is, in the words of Christa Carmen, “A beast of an avid reader with an incredible work ethic.” If you haven’t yet spent time enjoying the excellent books available from Unnerving and their magazine which contains a fantastic mix of stories, interviews, and art, please head on over to their site at www.unnervingmagazine.com and dig all the greatness available! The holidays are coming, don’t be caught unprepared!
Now onto the excellent subject of today’s review: Something Borrowed, Something Blood Soaked by Christa Carmen. Inside the beautiful cover are thirteen stories that are going to rock your world! And make some important social statements along the way. Let’s jump right into the thick of it with the front cover model, Priscilla, in Lady of the Flies. Also known to her detractors as Priss-killa because of an unfortunate accident involving dogs, she is a tall and powerful woman, who doesn’t relate well to people. One more thing she’s faulted for by many who think themselves to be perfect. Is there any truth to the creepy stories about Priscilla, or are they just a pack of lies meant to be hurtful? That’s up to you to decide. A crisis begins when her new boss at the farm brings her from behind the scenes, where she’s usually hidden and into the bloody limelight of the annual Halloween maze. Well! This is new, and good, right? Maybe she can finally be a “real girl” and just be one of the gang! Stu even extends a party invitation to her. Do you really think so, dear reader? Do you? Pardon me a second while I get my Vincent Price laughter track going…Don’t read this one alone, because it’s a 5 Star Screamer!!!
Do you like blood, monsters, and plenty of action? Good! Then The Girl Who Loved Bruce Campbell is going to make you smile. I really enjoyed this awesome, fast-paced story that features a female who decides to put her “naughty foot” forward and handle a pack of monsters all by herself. A solid, well-crafted tale that includes a cool tribute to Ash and the Evil Dead’s lead character actor, Bruce Campbell and demonstrates why doing drugs can be very hazardous to one’s health! The plausibility of this story is really very good, including the illegal dumping of hazardous waste. When you start reading, you have no idea where this one is going. The twists and turns are connected well and rest assured that women can kick ass with just as much flair as men. Pow!
How about a more subtle story that keeps you guessing? Time for the novella length piece Liquid Handcuffs. Damn, is this story good! It starts out with Olive, a drug and alcohol counselor at a clinic, helping her patient Nicole to rid herself of a demon by the name of Eddie Vance. While Olive seems very professional and appears to have it together, something is a little off. When her lunch break turns into an emergency, Olive finds herself at the mercy of Angry Eddie and it ain’t looking too good for the home team! This story alone is worth the price of admission. I had an inkling, but the conclusion is as surprising and dirty as a random employmee piss test!
Souls Dark and Deep is not a story to speed read. Take it slow and soak in all the details. You want to savor this like a fine wine. Breathe it in and get the essence of powerful writing that shows that horror is much more than just blood and screaming. You know what’s really scary? People whose beliefs cause misery and pain to others who are doing nothing wrong. When babysitter Belinda arrives at the residence of sisters Annie and Abigail, their parents are charging off to a, um…”dinner reservation.” After they’ve gone, Belinda has some unique dolls for the girls to play with and learn the truth from…
Two dynamic forces in independent horror have produced thirteen stories that will kick your ass. FIVE BIG STARS and Wall of Fame inductee! Something Borrowed, Something Blood Soaked changes what has become the usual horror story dynamic into something better and more empowering for all involved. These stories present female characters who have no interest in waiting for a man to come fix a problem that they can handle just as well. Hell, maybe even better, because they just do it and avoid all the macho swagger. Hold the hate mail, fellas. I mean really wouldn’t it be nice to equally partner with someone? You can ponder that in the future, but right now…Zip on over to www.unnervingmagazine.com and grab yourself a copy of this snouted beauty today!
June 3, 2018
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis
This is some Heavy Duty reading, right here folks! I mean, like you’ll need time to decompress after finishing this book. This is truly one of those stories that plumbs the depths of our souls. How low can humans stoop anyway? Is a very energetic orgy big fun or is it a form of gang rape? What is the “right” thing to do when no one wants to face the truth? If you want answers to these questions, you’ll need to read Porcelain by Nate Southard, a recent release from Lethe Press.
We’re following a guy by the name of Tom into a strip club. He’s feeling kind of guilty about it. I mean, he’s not here to actually have sex or anything, but he wants to feast his eyes on naked female flesh. What would his wife think? Maybe he should just leave? Too late! It’s time for one of the club’s star attractions to take the stage and she’s a real stunner. Red hair, amazing figure, and porcelain white skin. Actually, she turns out to be quite a killer when she drops her furs and reveals a loaded gun. As she starts shooting, it becomes apparent that this is a night everyone will remember. If they survive.
How about that for a powerful introduction? Porcelain keeps building from there. Next thing we’re with professional comedian Jason Hawks when he takes a phone call from a detective while stoned. This isn’t the first time he’s taken a call while stoned, but it is the first time a detective asking him questions has been on the other the other end. This is no ordinary buzzkill either. Detective Frazier is calling about a red haired beauty that Jason dated in high school. Then he asks Jason about his other friends in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. What the hell is up?
Turns out that Andrea, the red haired beauty, is also the woman who shot up the strip club and ended her own life. That’s a very sad thing to hear about a friend, but at least her suffering is over. Except it’s not. Instead, she’s revealed an enormous problem that the survivors have to deal with. This isn’t going to go away by itself and Jason decides that he should do something. But is it possible to fix something you don’t really understand? What about the others, who keep denying that there’s a problem at all? Where is Todd? And who the hell is the creepy old gink that keeps showing up in Jason’s visions?
Jason starts out by trying to catch up with his old bud, Collin, who still lives in the Cincinnati area. He’s a solid link to the other four people who are up to their armpits in this mess. Detective Frazier mentioned these people to Jason, but only for the purpose of gathering information to solve the case. When Jason gives what little information he has, the detective declines to share what he knows in return. So Collin is pressed into service as an information gatherer and does a good job for someone outwardly in denial about a freaky event that took place in an old box factory many years ago. He keeps saying that everything happened because they were “just drunk and horny.” But if it was nothing, why didn’t they talk to each other again afterwards?
Regardless of his friends’ negative reception, Jason knows that this is not the way most folks act after such an experience. He’s in showbiz, damn it! Every night is sort of a drug fueled orgy, but he keeps coming back to those clubs and cities. So what the hell? With Andrea dead, they’re number is down to five and since no one can locate the mysterious Todd, that leaves four survivors. Two of those people aren’t interested in taking things further, which really hinders things. Regardless, Jason presses on and learns a lot of really scary stuff with the help of MMA Fighter, Shelley (who I really like a lot!) and Collin. Until things take a sudden jog in a bad direction. This trend continues until you are freaking out and so concerned about what happens next, that you MUST finish the book! I’m serious about this! Porcelain will consume you.
Nate Southard has written a Five Star horror novel that feels amazingly real! If you live in a city, there’s always a weird building or two nearby. What’s going on in there? In Porcelain an abandoned box factory becomes the home of something horrible. But that isn’t the only scary thing in this book for adults. Many of us go through some seriously heavy shit during the course of our lives. Often around the time we step into the real world. Where are those people you went through that trial by fire with? I will freely admit, I don’t know. You probably don’t either. Maybe we’re not missing anything, but what if we are? Jason found out that he was. Now he needs to see if he can hold onto it. Lethe Press always puts out solid, edgy books-You won’t disappointed!
HALLOWEEN NEVER LEAVES OUR HEARTS
A love poem by Brian James Lewis
As November starts
Some may say that it’s gotten its due
But Halloween never leaves our hearts
the whole year through!
That monster sitting on my porch?
It will stay there for Christmas
even if the lights scorch
the fabric of its tattered jacket
See those skulls perched
high above my door?
Rest assured that they’ll
nest up there for “evermore!”
Halloween stirs in the blood
of every writer, artist, and thespian
No one creative is spared
the pull of a force so antiquarian
But, just because it’s ancient
don’t mistake that for weak
The power still is growing
and it will never peak
So scream it loud, with feeling
“Halloween Never Dies!”
What candy? Hey, I wasn’t stealing!
Just ask the scarecrow-It never lies
HAUNTED ARE THESE HOUSES is a collection of Gothic Poetry and Short Fiction from Unnerving. Selections were made by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi and Eddie Generous. Christina Sng, Sara Tantlinger, and Bruce Boston are just a few of the greats included. So I’m proud to have my poem “Home Sweet Hideaway” alongside their work. I mean, WOW! Thanks everyone! Hopefully this will be a recurring trend and you’ll see more of my work here in the future. Until then, check out “Home Sweet Hideaway” it’s very creepy!
Doorbells At Dusk
Edited by Evans Light
August 21, 2018
reviewed by Brian James Lewis
It’s almost HALLOWEEN! Yeah, yeah, YEAH! Some people are all ga-ga about Christmas, Easter, family birthdays, or the 4th of July. But for the faithful and true lovers of Horror, the big day on our list is October 31. Can I get an “Amen” on that brothers and sisters? Whooo Yeahhh! Well friends, the Damaged Skull Writer has something very cool to tell you about. Something that is going to make this year’s Halloween about 500 percent better. So grab yourself a pumpkin spice ale, coffee, or hard cider and let’s get down to business!
What I want to tell you about is a frighteningly beautiful anthology all about our favorite day Doorbells At Dusk! The chilling cover art by Mikio Murakami is worth the asking price all by itself, but the creative crew at Corpus Press has put together nearly 300 pages of awesome for a very easy on the wallet price of $14.99. Tax extra, your mileage may vary, no warrantee implied or given by this agreement. Just dig a few of the names included therein: Josh Malerman, Chad Lutzke, Evans Light, Jason Parent, and Thomas Vaughn. Yep! This is the good stuff.
Things kick off with, what else? Monsters ringing doorbells in A Plague of Monsters by Charles Gramlich. Poor Gus Krebs just wanted to enjoy a pleasant evening of watching the Wheel Of Fortune but, no! Instead he finds himself harassed by small monsters. Hell, it’s not even Halloween for Pete’s sake! What’s a man to do when faced with monsters and the police? Well, the best he can, of course! But, this story is an excellent bunch of twists and turns that will make you laugh…And scream.
Amber Fallon contributes The Day of the Dead to the party. Well, it actually includes a party at one of those rinky dink bars that always seem to be near large office buildings. Cheap booze and friends to commiserate with can make the workday fly by. Except when said bar holds a very special party to celebrate the Day of the Dead and costumes are required. But instead of a booze-filled good time, the party quickly turns into something very bad. The kicker? It’s not just restricted to the bar…
Whatever date your town deems the appropriate Trick or Treat night, two things are always true. Regardless of the weather, there will always be kids stumbling onto your porch in hilarious costumes and asking for candy. Most neighborhoods also have one house that is always deemed the scariest. No Dollar Store danglers and decals for these folks! They are dedicated to maintaining their title and put in a lot of hard work making things just right. If at least one person runs away screaming, they are happy. Doorbells At Dusk features two stories about places like this. The Friendly Man by Thomas Vaughn has the most gruesome house and he is very proud of it. There is nothing fake in his amazing display, especially the main attraction. But, there is something poking a hole in his armor. Evans Light contributes Rusty Husk to the lineup and it is a great tale about scarecrows and retribution that will blow the hay out of your shorts. Maybe Rusty should’ve quit the scarecrow business a few years earlier? You won’t forget this one.
It seems like Halloween is custom made for mischief makers of all kinds. Some neighborhoods have a specified mischief nights in hopes of separating the rabble rousers from the peaceful families doing the rounds to neighbors’ homes. As mentioned in Offerings by Joanna Koch, Detroit has something called Devils Night which is of questionable fun value. It’s a dangerous combination of violence and pranking usually carried out by gang members. I’m sure the Devil smiles with each new soul he retrieves from that night. Besides that, Halloween has often been used to commit robbery. I mean, why wouldn’t a criminal take advantage of it being normal to wear a mask and go calling on rich folks you don’t know? In Keeping Up Appearances by Jason Parent, a group of four creeps go from house to house in search of money and valuables. Things are going pretty nicely until they hit one super nice house…
This is just a taste of all the great stories that Doorbells At Dusk is full of. With a numerical rating of 5 out of 5 stars, this reviewer heartily encourages you to grab a copy as soon as possible! All the writing is on point and honed to razor sharpness. Corpus Press also offers many more excellent titles for avid Horror readers to enjoy. Check them out at corpuspress.com and Amazon.com for speedy delivery. Happy Halloween!
Eat The Rich
Hindered Souls Press
July 13, 2018
reviewed by Brian James Lewis
Hey, it’s time for another cool release from Hindered Souls Press! With each new title, this independent publisher keeps improving and growing an impressive roster of artists. Friends, this is what it’s all about! Real people making dreams come true. Renee Miller steps up to the plate (har!) with her latest and greatest EAT THE RICH! The favorite item on the menu? Humans! No wonder Ben Franklin looks so worried on the inside of the cover. For anyone concerned that they might be reading another Zombie tale…Relax! You’re not even close. Miller is a writer who enjoys driving us off the beaten path, and we’re glad that she did. Let’s dig this freaky fine folio!
Things start off in a disarmingly funny way. A couple of dudes walking down the street in blue bathrobes ask a tough detective for a little help. The result? Both parties end up getting more than they bargained for. An unhappy insurance claims adjuster named Ed wants to get away from the rat race and chill. The homeless population of the city just wants a sandwich. Then there are the city’s rich who want every single luxury and to treat everyone like toilet scum. By using a well done POV style Eat The Rich keeps us informed of what the characters are feeling and doing as the apocalyptic events unfold. Seamless!
Unlike the average struggling writer, who usually calculates their net worth in the highly valuable currency of Pop Tarts and coffee, Ed is a dude with a lot to walk away from. He has it all: house in rich neighborhood, nice car, and a nagging wife. But his heart isn’t happy and he is super stressed. So one day he just walks away and joins the homeless. Simple, right? Not even a little bit. Within 24 hours, the city’s homeless population goes from being a small group of panhandlers, alcoholics, and mentally ill folk, to a big force to be reckoned with. WTF?
So instead of enjoying a fairly quiet cessation of his previous duties, Ed finds himself in the middle of a major shit storm. The grass always looker greener on the other side, but not this time! If Ed had stayed where he was, not only would he be stuck with his cranky wife, but he’d likely be alien chow. Wait, what? These new homeless folks are actually aliens that eat rich people. Crazy, huh? Just imagine what the cops think when poor Ed attempts to save others by sharing this information with them. Not a good plan!
The aliens claim that they’re terrorizing humans in order to create a Utopian society. Maybe that’s true, but the way they go about it is far, far away from ideal. Once they get cooking, things escalate in a quick and ugly fashion. Those who refuse to follow the new plan are dealt with severely. Forced equality? What could go wrong with that? How about, I don’t know…Plenty? I could tell you more, but it will be so much better to read Renee Miller’s words instead of mine. She will amaze you with how she keeps everything rolling at a steady pace. No loose ends. All killer and no filler.
Eat The Rich is an awesome reading experience and rates 5 STARS with this reviewer! There is so much to like here that I am predicting you will feel the same when reading this cool book. Miller is an amazingly prolific writer who crafts stories that say a lot without being cluttered. She interweaves her horror with important stuff, such as how we earthlings see each other and muck up our own lives. Once again showing that Horror is not just blood and screams. Hindered Souls Press is growing and getting better with every book. They have consistently provided readers with full spectrum horror that is not afraid to tackle difficult topics such as social media overload. The Die-Fi Experiment is an excellent example of this. Be sure to check out all their available titles at http://www.hinderedsoulspress.com and learn more about Renee Miller at www.authorreneemiller.com.
Dragonwatch Book 2-Wrath of The Dragon King
Shadow Mountain Publishing
October 23, 2018
reviewed by Brian James Lewis
This month, in just a few weeks, Shadow Mountain Publishing is going to be releasing the second book in the Dragonwatch saga by New York Times bestselling author, Brandon Mull, who is also the dynamo behind the Fablehaven series and the Beyonders. This reviewer is new to the author, but you can’t miss his energy and the ability to provide intricate details in a way that will entertain readers of all ages. Remember how parents were so happy when Harry Potter came into existence? Why was that? Well a big reason was that suddenly, children who never read anything, were tackling thick books full of big words and loving it. Not only that, but the stories were powerful and captivating. Good triumphed over evil and showed that it isn’t wise to judge folks or books by their covers.
Dragonwatch is the sequel and continuance of the Fablehaven series of books written by Brandon Mull. In these stories, Kendra and Seth are the new caretakers of the Wyrmroost sanctuary of magical creatures. One might think that inheriting these positions from their grandparents would make for an easy transition, but this is no gravy job. There is a lot to learn, new creatures to meet and then there’s this whole thing about a dragon war. Celebrant, the current king of all the dragons within the preserve of Wyrmroost, has decided to take over the land. To do that, he’ll have to destroy all his opposition, including Kendra and Seth. But he better be ready for a fight! With their crew of allies and their own magical powers, these young caretakers are not going to just cut and run.
While this is very different territory for someone who spends a lot of time reviewing speculative fiction and dark poetry, I found myself getting caught up in the excitement and feeling concerned when we left the good guys in a tenuous state. Instead of safely flying home, they are forced to take a road that is hiding myriad threats that they’re not prepared for. What will happen next? The only way to find out is to pre-order your copy of Dragonwatch Book 2 Wrath of the Dragon King today! These books may be aimed at younger readers, but much like the Harry Potter books I can see adults really digging this. If you like Tolkien, and his Middle Earth, you are very likely to enjoy the Dragonwatch series! FIVE STARS.
Author, Brandon Mull tours schools around the country promoting literacy and sharing his message that “imagination can take you places.” Books are journeys we can take to other lands without ever leaving our hometown. As we head towards the holidays, his books will make great gifts. Especially for the growing number of families who are backing off on Halloween candy to save young teeth. Inspiring children to read is super important. It’s like handing them the keys to the brain gym. Plus, when they’re sleeping, you can sneak in a little reading of Dragonwatch 2. Brandon Mull’s books are available from Amazon.com, where you can also follow him. You can also keep up with the author at BrandonMull.com. Tell him you read about his latest on Damaged Skull Writer, then get ready for some quality reading time!
This is great chance to win some very cool stuff that is MADE BY WOMEN. Enter today!
I know I have followers of all tastes on Oh, for the Hook of a Book! This promotion (and post) is for fans of horror, or honestly, more appropriately and importantly, fans of kick-butt women. Claire Holland published a book of poetry shortly after mine called I Am Not Your Final Girl, in which she wrote poems about final girls from slasher movies. If you aren’t familiar with the term, it’s the women in movies that make it to the end after an horrific ordeal and often earn retribution and find empowerment, much like the women fighting for so much today!! I really loved this collection!
Now, Claire is hosting a giveaway featuring my own dark poetry and short story collection, BREATHE. BREATHE., which also features strong women, Sara Tantlinger’s LOVE FOR SLAUGHTER, which takes a look at the horrors of love, and her own, I AM NOT YOUR…
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Timothy G. Huguenin knows how to write great stories full of humanity that make you shiver! Check out this reasonably priced brand new release on Amazon Kindle!
Surprise! Today you can buy my new Kindle-only novelette, “Antique Bed” for only $0.99! Tell your friends, your enemies, your pets…
As kids we always used to say that the old hardware building was haunted. I don’t believe it no more—at least I don’t think so.
In desperate need of housing after her boyfriend dumps her, Sandy finds an apartment in Augustus Valley for a price she can hardly believe. There are rumors that the place is haunted, but she knows that’s all nonsense. Sure, the building is old and has its quirks—but it’s a killer deal.
“Antique Bed: A Horror Novelette” is a shorter work that should take between thirty and forty minutes to read… But this disturbing tale will stick with you long after.
PS: If you were subscribed to my newsletter, you would have heard about this early! But hey…
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