“Little One” by Timothy G. Huguenin is an AWESOME read!

Little One
Timothy G. Huguenin
March 19, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

When you read a really great first novel from a young writer, you wonder what will be next and how it’s going to measure up. Well friends, you can relax and rejoice, because Little One is even better than When The Watcher Shakes. Wait, both books are great, but with Little One, Timothy G. Huguenin shows us how much he’s progressed in a short time. The writing has more maturity and the story line is super strong. There are no extraneous characters or lengthy descriptions, just a perfect balance that makes this book feel unnervingly real.

Little One begins with a grim and chilling couple of pages from the little girl on the front cover. She is angry, very angry and wants vengeance for the bad deeds done to her as a child…

Then we are on a plane with Kelsea Stone, a modern young woman who works and lives in the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles, California. She’s flying to what should have been her old home place in West Virginia to take care of things after her parents passed away. But since she’d been fostered out at a very young age, Kelsea doesn’t feel very connected. Since there’s no other living heirs, everything is being handled by a local lawyer by the name of James Pendleton. He seems to be a real nice fella and Kelsea can’t help but notice that he’s quite handsome. “Gentleman” James drives Kelsea where she needs to go in town, gets the funky old house semi-liveable, and the big one. He loans her his truck. Talk about romantic!

So what’s the problem? It starts as unease on Kelsea’s part, but gradually keeps creeping up to higher levels until the dynamic conclusion of the book. A local old timer tries approaching Kelsea to warn her about Jimmy’s agenda, but she thinks the old hick is creepy and won’t listen. Even when Jimmy gets downright weird, she still thinks he’s a right guy because he matches up to what she’s used to, slick fast-talking fakes. However, she finally becomes convinced by some special characters you will meet in the book, but not before some people die.

Turns out that Kelsea and the little girl in the yellow dress share a lot of things, much to Kelsea’s amazement. Canaan Valley, West Virginia is a unique place. Not only do most of the means of communication that we take for granted not work there, but some of its citizens are highly spiritual folks if you get my drift. This creates a special environment that for some is bone-chillingly creepy and for others, just home. Maybe with all that technology out of the way, souls can exist on a deeper and stronger level that is both freaky and wonderful at the same time. Once everything is revealed at the end of a pulse-pounding downhill run, you will be blown away!

Little One is both a murder mystery and a horror novel in one. That one-two punch that fans of Stephen King and many other famous writers have been sold on for years, because it delivers. Your curiosity gets going, you chase it, then crap your pants in fear. It’s the sign of a talented writer to make you keep repeating that cycle faithfully until the end of the story. I predict that Timothy G. Huguenin is one of those special writers and that someday we’ll be reading his 20th book and it will be even better than the 19th! While I like to encourage all the writers I review, there is something special about this guy. Not only does he have a passion for the craft of writing, but he’s also really into the place he’s writing about. He lives there and loves it. That’s the difference in what makes a writer great. We’re not just any old place, we’re right where he puts us. As you can guess, I highly encourage everyone to read Little One. It will chill your bones and warm your heart!

Ink Stains Vol. 3 Cool Horror Collection

Edited by N. Apythia Morges
February 16, 2017
Dark Alley Press
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Wow! This anthology of Dark Fiction really packs a punch! Ten strong stories without a dud in the bunch. This is my first brush with Dark Alley Press and I sure hope it won’t be the last because they are bringing some serious talent to the table. All the stories are told in a definite different style, so you come upon each story feeling fresh. That doesn’t mean there aren’t common themes, though. Quite a few of the stories feature women who have lost children in one way or another. This may be a trademark of Ink Stains or Dark Alley Press and it works well. Especially because women are usually better sensitives of the spiritual than men and suffering a physical loss sharpens that even more.

The closest thing to classic horror in this anthology is “Theater Number Four” by Clint Orr. In this story a couple goes to see a horror flick, which is the one thing they both share an enthusiasm for. They’re kind of expecting the ordinary for the type of movie they have come to see, but being completely alone in the movie theater ratchets up the level of excitement. First it’s kind of fun, until Gary realizes that they might NOT be alone after all. Whatever the thing is sharing the theater with them is, it definitely isn’t friendly.

“Misplaced” by Diane Arrelle is really well done. Annamarie is an older woman who has spent a lot of time in mental institutions and being kept away from society by her mother. According to her mother, this was all done for Annamarie’s “protection.” As the story progresses, we learn different. Oh yeah! Like really, really different. This story has more twists and turns than a corn maze and is twice as creepy. Each time the reader thinks they understand the story – “Just another messed up old geezer with a bad memory, right?” Wrong! I love that Annamarie is addressed as “Miss Place” by the desk clerk of the hotel that the story takes place in because of the dual meaning. Is she the wrong person in the right place? Or is she the right person in the wrong place? You’ve got to read this one!

“Blowing Smoke” by Terry Sanville is a novella that is complex and subtle. The way it just starts with no preamble makes a strong impression of the landscape in your head. It’s interesting because while you are reading the main story in the forefront, there are a lot of funky back stories going on that we get glimpses of floating around in the background. It’s hard to do a lot of description on this one without spoiling things for the reader, so I won’t. This is truly an enjoyable and chilly read. Sometimes the truth really is stranger than fiction!

I highly recommend this fine collection of stories. Just one word of warning: Make sure to watch the clock. Otherwise you’ll find yourself happy, but sleep deprived! Get it!

Courtship of the Sewer King – story up on Zero Flash

Wow! Cool stuff! Definitely makes me want to read more. Thanks for sharing and also for your encouragement. It definitely makes a difference! Maybe I should try writing in some of those too.

S.E. Casey Author

My flash fiction story “Courtship of the Sewer King” (click title for link) is available on the Zero Fiction April Entries Page (may need to scroll down to find it- search for “Casey” should do the trick).  Zero Flash is a speculative fiction site and runs month flash fiction contests (300 words or less) for different themes.  April 2017’s theme is simply “Horror”.  Easy enough, right?

My story is a companion piece that I wrote for writing friend Max Shephard’s newsletter that I titled “The Red Girls”.  This creepy 100 word drabble (available on the internet at the Drabble.wordpress.com) was begging for more exploration of its unstable, violent world.  Of course, ‘the sewer king’ ends up begging for more as well; perhaps I’ll have to add yet another piece to this dark flash fiction-ary puzzle.

Also, glad to also submit something to Zero Flash, brainchild of David J…

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Hellnotes Review of “SHADES” by Joseph Rubas- Cool Old School Horror!

Shades – Dark Tales of Supernatural Horror
Joseph Rubas
Parallel Universe Publications
January 6, 2017
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

This an excellent book by an author who surprised me in a positive way. Joseph Rubas’ writing reads like that of an older, more seasoned professional even though he is pretty young guy. It feels a little like he is channeling the writers of the old horror pulps in the 22 stories that make up Shades. Think of a young Richard Matheson and early episodes of The Twilight Zone and you’ll have the vibe. Good stuff!

Things kick off with the, it-could-happen-to-you horror of “Passing the Buck.” A pleasant young woman is waiting for a friend at the mall when her life changes horribly and very finally. All because she tried to help. Anybody asks you to help them put a box in their car, you tell ’em to take a hike! Another cool and classic story is “The Warlock.” Some teenagers think they’re smart when they intentionally burn down the house of the local warlock, Kenyard Mays. “Ha-ha! We’ll show that creepy old man who’s boss in this town!” is what these stupid lads think, but they just screwed with the wrong guy. See, even though the burned up body of Mays is found in the leveled home, he’s not in it, thanks to his book of evil magic spells that allow him to shapeshift and switch bodies at will. Soon all the kids who “killed” Mays die horrible deaths, as do their parents and siblings. A local sheriff tries to shut the warlock down by destroying his spell book, but it’s way too late for that. As the story ends, we see that Keynard Mays’ reign of terror is just beginning.

Unlike many collections, Shades is really a different experience and a different kind of horror with each tale. Some people prefer to read books that are just zombie stories, or just vampires, or serial killers. That’s cool, everyone should read what they like. I like variety and the feeling that you’re not even reading the same book by the same author anymore. Joseph Rubas gives us that. From “AOKIGAHARA,” which is about a ghost forest in Tokyo, Japan that is full of the corpses of people who committed suicide, to “The Lake House,” a house rented by a writer in the New England area of the good old U.S.A. What is supposed to be a peaceful retreat turns into a nightmare! Well, the two locations do share one thing. They both want you dead so that they can consume you and absorb you into their very structure.

A few of the pieces are only a page long. “CHOMO” is one of these short shorts, but it still packs a punch. I sure hope that all child molesters DO go to the kind of Hell that Rubas shows us!

All in all, this is a cool read that is available in both trade paperback or as an e-book, and I highly encourage you to pick up a copy today! Shades – Dark Tales of Supernatural Horror can be read in short bites or you can binge out and read it cover to cover, just don’t miss out!

#NGHW News: Interview with Contestant Timothy G Huguenin

I like the interview because it shows that most of us are real people, not serial killers with pen names! Totally agree how once you get your characters upright and moving about, they can really surprise you with their actions! I live in the city near garages, bus hubs, trains, and neighbors who communicate by shouting into each others faces, so I have to have music to drown them out. I have found that instrumental jazz and blues works well because it creates flow. Go Team Tim!


Get to know the contestants of the Next Great Horror Writer Contest!

What do you love about horror?

Part of that has to do with the themes that can be dealt with in horror in a unique way, like death, the afterlife, the supernatural, evil, the darkness in human nature. It is true that I like to read and write horror to explore those themes, even though I don’t usually like stories that are simplistic and overly moralistic (I do love complex layers of meaning when you don’t notice until you really start mulling over the story after reading). I keep that answer ready for most people who ask because it’s easy to understand and package even if one isn’t really drawn to the horror aesthetic.

But honestly, I mostly like spooky, creepy books, for the same reason I like vanilla ice cream over chocolate, even though my dad thinks…

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