Hello friends, it’s your old pal Skull with both my final post of 2021 and first post of 2022. I could get into a lot of sentimental jazz right about now, but that’s not usually why you drop by Damaged Skull Writer and Reviewer, is it? NOOO, of course not! What you’re here for is to check out the latest and coolest speculative fiction. So, without further ado, let’s get on that. Shall we?

I started reviewing books by James G. Carlson this year, and really liked what I read. Carlson has a deep imagination, which really enriches each of his stories beyond measure. It’s not enough to just scare the reader, you’ve got to make them want to keep reading your work. 7 Exhumations kept me reading and I wrote good things about it. Now, I’m lucky enough to have two works by James G. Carlson to review. Happy Skull!

Midnight In The City of The Carrion Kid is Carlson’s latest novella and so far, it’s fascinating. The reader is thrust into a dark world between life and death, sort of the purgatory before a soul’s fate is decided. Alistair and Eden go from fulfilling a narcotic jones, to one hell of a strange trip…And that’s as far as your old pal Skull has gotten. But Carlson’s writing is so vivid that I already feel trapped in that strange world along with the characters. I predict that readers will enjoy the journey. Another cool thing about this book, is that Carlson is releasing it through his own publishing company, Gloom House Publishing. And it looks like things are off and running towards a bright future in 2022, so watch this space!

The Ever-Descending Staircase is a short story collection that was released by Carlson’s former publisher, Terror Tract in 2021 and I am very much looking forward to taking that “downward journey” soon! Here are just a few of the scenes I’ll be reading about:

At a seedy dive bar, while teetering on the edge of sanity, an afflicted alcoholic meets a stranger who changes his life forever…

In an old warehouse in Pennsylvania, a dark and terrible secret is shown to a researcher of spiritual phenomena…

A pregnant veterinarian at a Wyoming zoo has an unexpected meeting with an infernal presence…

See what I mean about James G. Carlson? He’s a writer who does a lot more than just haunted house stories. You get a fresh angle every time, which is what keeps Damaged Skull Writer reading! Yesss…

So welcome to 2022 from your old pal, Skull! I’ll be sharing full reviews of these works with you soon. There’s also an upcoming review of Releasedfrom No Bad Books Press, new work by Daemon Manx coming in January, and Loren Rhoads’ Morbid Life. You can find out more about James G. Carlson and Gloom House Press by contacting: James is also on Facebook, and Goodreads, so check him out!

Thanks again for visiting the Skullcave! I said I wouldn’t get sentimental, but I feel it in my bones that 2022 is going to be a great year for independent writers and presses. Come along for the ride, won’t you? Follow my blog at: for news, reviews, and there might just be a few giveaways coming up this year. See you soon!


The accepted nonfiction piece, “Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em” tells the story of how I managed to stay alive and even be deemed “cool” by some seriously badass dudes in a rough New Jersey neighborhood called “the commons”. It’s a mix of humor, tragedy, and how, in the words of the late, great BB King, “Everybody lies a little sometimes.” Writing this story brought back a lot of cool memories and I will be submitting more nonfiction in 2022.

Iconoclast editor-in-chief, Phil Wagner will tell writers what he thinks. So even when you get a rejection, it will often come with a quick note explaining what could have been better. When you’re starting out, this kind of feedback is invaluable. He pays in contributor copies and does business the classic old school way, which I really enjoy. Writers and poets send in a physical submission via the post office, along with a SASE for reply and wait to hear back, just like our heroes did. I was previously in issue 114 with my short story “Finally” and look forward to being in issue # 125 soon!


Sonora Taylor
October 19, 2021
Reviewed by Brian “Skull” Lewis

Hello there fans of horror and speculative fiction. It’s your old pal Skull here to share a cool collection of short stories with one and all. Sonora Taylor’s recently released collection Someone To Share My Nightmares is fucking AMAZING! That’s right, I said it and no one’s paying me to offer high praise like that, but it’s the truth. Once again, Taylor shows that the ladies can be just as scary as the gents. Maybe even scarier, because she gives us the perfect balance of hot and cold, wet and sweat, topped with shouts of terror and screams of ecstasy. Someone To Share My Nightmares is packed with powerful, well-crafted stories that this reviewer couldn’t tear himself away from.

The book kicks off with a couple of really cool things: A forward by V. Castro that gives readers a wonderful picture of the very modest Sonora Taylor and what she’s doing to make the world a better place. As I frequently say, you will find the most compassionate people in horror. There’s a lot more to us than scaring people. Check it out! The other thing is a notice that the author has included a list of possible trigger warnings in the back of the book. That way, those that require that feature get it and the rest of us are none the wiser until we read Taylor’s work. Hooray for no spoilers!

Someone To Share My Nightmares is the opening tale for this great collection and really sets the tone for the book. Taylor doesn’t write about wimpy women who are little balls of fluff that scream their heads off and wait to be saved by a hunky man. Protagonist Kristin is a strong woman with her own viewpoints, strengths, and desires. She lives in Creekwood, a place frequented by bravado-fueled arty types who think they can explain the dark forest there. But the forest doesn’t want to be exposed, violated, or used to make money. The same can be said about women. Some things are meant to be secret, revealed to only a select few. Kristin enjoys the hunky man but also understands that she is at one with the forest.

Bump In The Night is a cleverly woven tale of lust, terror, that also gives props to plus size sexiness, interracial love, and same sex fun. What’s not to like? I’m just going to say right here and now, if you’ve got a problem with big women being luscious or people loving who they want to love, then you’re reading the wrong book, blog, and review. We’re not going to get along. A good time is saved by magic.  

The Parrot is a chilling story with a twist ending I didn’t expect. Whoa! In these modern times, the majority of the population rely on digital assistants. Ask Alexa for a recipe, use your cellphone to shut off the lights, autopay your bills…There are even little robots that can roam about your home meeting your needs. But what if someone was able to twist that technology around for evil purposes? Charles is an asshole who thinks that he controls his wife, Melinda. He likes to hurt women and force them to do what he wants. He even has Melinda make him a personal assistant called Parrot, never suspecting that it might have other uses. Then his wife suddenly ends up dead and the Parrot starts to malfunction, showing him strange things on TV. Somebody is in control and it damn sure isn’t Charles. Satisfying conclusion for all of us who hate domestic abuse.

Prefer an ecohorror tale about a man and woman working equally together? Then check out The Sharps! Scientist Camila is a biologist doing research at her isolated cabin, which normally is a pretty chill time. But not when the sharps make their unwanted appearance, trapping her there. Enter ecological activist, Joseph who also ends up stranded by the sharps on Camila’s island. There’s romance but also two people working together towards a positive end. Equality is a lot more sexy than the outdated Hollywood stereotype of an overly brawny guy seizing the reigns and dragging a scrawny little honey who can barely lift a fork (obviously!) to safety. Sonora Taylor’s “The Sharps” is an awesome story that’s also the perfect amount of hot. BRAVO!!!

The verdict, if you can’t tell already, is that Damaged Skull Writer rates Someone To Share My Nightmares by one of my absolutely favorite authors Sonora Taylor, a hearty FIVE AND A HALF STARS out of 5! This fine paperback is also in a place of honor on the Skullcave’s Wall of Fame. I mean, seriously, if you don’t have this book, I recommend you grab yourself copy NOW. There’s a long cold winter ahead, which is great for reading in bed. Someone To Share My Nightmares will not only give you chills, but heat you up as well. It also includes many more tales than the ones I’ve mentioned!

Sonora Taylor is the author of many fine books, including: Seeing Things, and Little Paranoias: Stories. Both of which have been reviewed by your old pal Skull right here at: Once again, thank you for reading and sharing this post. I’m also looking for more followers of my WordPress blog, which will cost you absolutely nothing but helps more independent authors and presses to get positive exposure. I only post once or twice a week, so I won’t bombard your inbox with a lot of extraneous garbage either. Damaged Skull Writer is a safe space that has no room for hate.