Don’t Write it Down

Title: Don’t Write it Down | Author: C.E. Wislon | Series: Rainbow Noir #1 | Pub. Date: 07/10/2017 | Pages: 90 | ASIN: B072M3W5VK | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Mental illness stereotypes | Rating: 2 out of 5 | Source: Received from the author for review consideration


Don’t Write it Down

Bestselling novelist Emma Ross isn’t satisfied being number two. She wants to be number one. She can’t stand always looking up to Jessen Blake – an amazing writer – but also a dead one. She vows that her next book will top the charts no matter what it takes. But after repeated encounters in her dreams with Jessen Blake himself, warning her that she must never become number one, Emma drives herself harder than ever to top him. But as her grip on reality starts to unravel, she begins to suspect that her words may have more power than she could possibly imagine.

Don’t Write it Down is the first standalone novel in the Rainbow Noir series, and perfect for fans of light horror, Stephen King, and Alfred Hitchcock. Remember, the dark is scarier when you can see a hint of light.

Don’t Write it Down Review

I really like the cover to the novella.It fits the theme of the book well and is eye-catching. My first impression of the book is a little…underwhelmed. It started out pretty interesting but it soon became a bit of a struggle to finish. At a mere 90 pages it should have been a much quicker, much tighter read.

The character of Emma Ross/Shade starts off ok but after spending five pages in her head I grew to not like her. That’s not necessarily a requisite for me to like a story but I found her character a bit whiny. The only other peripheral characters are her mom and her ex/separated husband, Kevin. Even though, initially, Kevin isn’t represented as a sympathetic character I ended up liking him a lot.

The pacing stutters a bit. It will flow smoothly for a couple of pages but then it will get bogged down in her vodka drinking and not showering habits while she’s writing. If these passages had been pared down a bit I think it would have been a much tighter read. After a bit I kind of lost any concern in the story and wanted to say “Take a freaking shower, woman!”

She becomes so unlikable that I was actually rooting for Kevin to move on and find someone else. This brings me to my major issue with the book. Emma’s mental illness issues are kind of plunked down into the latter half of the book with no real indication that she had any up until that point. Honestly, up until then I assumed she was an alcoholic and that was about it. As soon as they are mentioned, however, the book becomes a tired checklist of a ‘typical’ mental illness breakdown. She doesn’t bathe, doesn’t clean, doesn’t sleep and hallucinates all over the place. Unicorns seem to be a favorite for some reason. It actually manages to wrap two stereotypes into one. The ‘Descent Into Craziness’ person along with the author that gets so into their work that they won’t bathe or eat until they’re done. The mental breakdown is so generic that I’m not even sure what ‘illness’ it is that Emma is supposed to have. They refer to her meds in a general way and her reaction to them being “they turn me into an uncreative zombie”. Because that hasn’t been said a gajillion times before in a book or movie. Thrillers and horror seems to be the worst offenders in this category. If pressed I would say that maybe the author was going for paranoid schizophrenia but I honestly can’t say.

The main plot gets lost in there somewhere along the way. There are a few incidents where her writing does create real-world consequences but they’re few and don’t really make any kind of impact. The story is very light on gore and avoids detailed descriptions of the deaths that do take place. It would be good for those looking for a horror novel that’s not too gory.

The epilogue to Don’t Write it Down would have been better without the last sentence or two. I won’t give anything away but it just doesn’t make much sense and seems a little like a desperate way to keep a bit of mystery going when there’s really no need to. This being the first in what looks like a series it might prove me wrong. Maybe it will be resolved but only time will tell with that, I suppose.

The writing in Don’t Write it Down is good and I wish I could give it a better rating. Maybe it’s just not a book that I clicked with. I was interested in the main premise but when that got dropped so did my interest. The author of Don’t Write it Down, C.E. Wilson, does have a talent for writing very vivid, creative scenes. I will check out some of her other books and see if they would be more to my taste.


2 out of 5 Skulls

  

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault

Title: Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault | Author: Candace Robinson | Pub. Date: 2017-5-16 | Pages: 242 | ISBN13: 9781544274652 | Genre: Fantasy Horror | Language: English | Triggers: none | Rating: 2 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited


Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault

Some see it… Some don’t…

People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline’s best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?

A book that intertwines horror elements and retellings, with humor and darkness.

Book cover for Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault Review

Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is in the running for the worst book I’ve managed to finish this year. Honestly, it’s probably in first place. I’ve gotten pretty good at just giving up on them when it’s obvious they’re going to suck, hence the qualification of ‘managed to finish’.

The prologue made me roll my eyes.  It was only two pages, but it set the tone for “Thank you, Captain Obvious!” right away. So, obviously it didn’t get off to a great start. However, I’ve read books that managed to turn around and snag my interest, so I pushed on.  And then we get to the character’s best friend who wears an eyepatch ‘cause she thinks it’s cool.

Well, that’s the stupidest bloody thing I’ve read in a while.

Maisie supposedly lives with this fantastic family, and they’re fine with her wearing an eyepatch for no reason? Deliberately doing away with her depth perception and weakening the muscles in her eye on purpose? Because. It’s. Cool?

What…the…?

No. Just…no. It’s not cute to pretend to have a disability, even a minor one. It’s not ‘fun’.  It’s not something you ‘affect’ for fashion. You aren’t “showing support for those who only have one eye”.  Ugh. 

That’s complete and utter tripe and one of the most irritating things I’ve seen in a novel in a really, really long time.

Jesus.  I guess for the first time that I can recall, I’m going to use the words ‘mind blown’ in a review. Because my mind is blown that someone would even think “Heyyyy, let’s have someone affect a disability because it’s ‘cute’ “ and put it in a book.

None of the other characters are worth the paper they’re printed on, either.  It’s like the author went through a “young adult character” checklist just to make sure she had all the bases covered. You’ve got your angsty, hormonal teen from a broken home, your quirky/eccentric best friend, the ‘good guy’ love interest, and the –shocker here- person who isn’t what they appear to be. Yeeepppp, Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is definitely daring to be original here, folks!

And, referencing my “Thank you, Captain Obvious” comment from earlier, this book seriously needs some help.  Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is filled the bursting with telling instead of showing and unnecessarily descriptive language like someone’s “middle finger and thumb colliding and making a snapping sound”. Okay, frou-frou language is all well and good for some people, but a finger snap is a finger snap! Some things don’t need dressed up!

The sad thing is that this could have been a good story! There were elements of it that I actually almost liked! Nothing new, mind you, but still stuff that had the possibility to be interesting nonetheless. But… Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault is on the same level as Twilight or 50 Shades, folks. You know, where you’re sure a certain audience will talk about how awesome it is, while everyone else is…not?  Okay, that’s harsh. I can acknowledge that’s harsh, but it’s the truth. Sweet baby Cthulhu, it’s the truth.

So, it gets 1 star for sheer guts to write and publish it (more than I could do!), and another for the gorgeous cover (plus because I actually managed to finish it) but that’s pretty much as far as I can push it.

The Last Colossus Review (Sci-Fi Thriller)

Title: The Last Colossus | Author: Michael Hodges | Publisher: Severed Press | Pub. Date: 2017-5-28 | Pages: 186 | ASIN: B072C7MH7T | Genre: Sci-Fi Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: Sharks | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited


The Last Colossus

Rugged adventure guide and “player” Ron Combs leads a group of thrill-seekers to an island off Washington’s coast. But when devastating lava flows destroy their boat and overtake the island, Ron and his clients are forced one-by-one into the sea, where a gigantic prehistoric predator awaits. 

Trapped between the lava-covered island and the huge jaws of an ancient shark, Ron teams up with his client Rachel to devise a way to keep everyone safe…even if it means sacrificing himself in the process, and finally changing his ways. – Goodreads

Book cover for The Last Colossus

The Last Colossus Review

I love books like Michael Hodges’ The Last Colossus It gave me all the cheese, blood, guts, and fiery threats of death a girl could want. But it also gave me a couple of characters that I couldn’t help but like. I was actively rooting for them to have a happy ending halfway through the book.  That always makes it strange for me. I mean, I’m the girl who wants to watch the world (in literature and film at least) burn, so wanting a happy ending is always just weird.

When the Captain of this particular adventure is named Ron, it’s kind of inevitable that in my mind he would morph into a floofy haired Kurt Russell in my mind. And, indeed, some of the feats of quick-thinking and pure balls this man pulls off are definitely worthy of He-Who-Rocked-The-Phallic-Tummy-Tattoo.  Ron Combs is a quick-thinking guy who wants nothing more than to make money and shag a pretty girl or ten, but at his core, he’s a good guy. When his Party Island group finds their plans gone Overboard, he rises to the occasion. He is determined to protect his clients, but if it’s not one Thing, it’s another…  Eventually, it seems like it’ll take a Miracle to see any of them get out of this alive.

Hodges’ is a solid writer. I discovered him when I first read The Puller, and it was the memory of that book that hooked me into reading The Last Colossus. The man just knows how to write battles of man against monster, whether it be tricky tentacly ones, or massive megaladons. He proves it in this book. It’s a group of (mostly) young adults who have to use their wits (or Ron’s at least) to try and survive not one but two We’re Screwed scenarios.  Death by lava, or death by shark?

Now, if it had been a truly bad-movie-worthy book, the megaladon would have been made of lava, or something. Still, nobody is perfect, and even though the author’s imagination didn’t quite stretch to those epic levels, it was a fin-tastically fun (and yes, thrilling) read.

 The Last Colossus was one of those books that you ‘saw’ instead of read.  Each word seemed perfectly chosen, and there are several scenes in there that you won’t want to read before bedtime. (Especially if you have a thing about the ocean. I, for the record, have a thing about the ocean.)

Very happy with this latest read from Michael Hodges. While it’s not exactly a literary masterpiece, it is a pleasing mega-chunk of sci-fi horror cheese.

Fiery, shark-flavored cheesy floof.

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Ten Horror Book Recommendations for Self-Professed Wimps

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.I recently talked one of my blogger friends into doing a buddy read with me. ( I have to say, she’s entirely too trusting because she said yes before I even showed her what book I had in mind! ) But even though I’m her ‘Sadistic Teacher’, I’m not truly sadistic, and had picked a book I thought would be the perfect type of read for her self-professed wimpy self. And – luckily! – it was a great book that we both loved!

So, of course, that got me thinking what other books I’d recommend to her, and that turned into a list for everyone when I saw what Broke and Bookish had up for their topic for August 15th.

 

 

Ten Horror Book Recommendations for Self-Professed Wimps

These books embrace the cheese. They give you gore, action, adventure, and giggles all mixed together. There might be strong language, maybe even a bit of sexual situations (though not too many as that’s not something I like to see a lot of), but in terms of ‘scare’, these horror books rate low on the scale. They gradually shift from modern horror to more of a classic feel. The stories there are more in the ‘creepy’ realm than gore-spattering arena (or the gore is balanced with giggles). They’re a safe bet for entertainment, and you can tell your friends you’re reading horror now!


The Haunted Forest Tour by Jeff Strand


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Haunted Forest Tour!

Sit back and enjoy a smooth ride in air-conditioned comfort as your heavily armored tram takes you through nature’s most astonishing creation. The forest is packed to capacity with dangerous and terrifying creatures of all shapes, sizes, and hunger levels, and you’ll get to observe these wonders in complete safety.

-This is the book that kicked the idea for this list off. Stupid funny, non-stop action, and characters you love to love or love to hate, you aren’t going to go wrong here. And oh, my god, the quotable lines.-

 

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The Last Colossus by Michael Hodges

Rugged adventure guide and “player” Ron Combs leads a group of thrill-seekers to an island off Washington’s coast. But when devastating lava flows destroy their boat and overtake the island, Ron and his clients are forced one-by-one into the sea, where a gigantic prehistoric predator awaits.

Trapped between the lava-covered island and the huge jaws of an ancient shark, Ron teams up with his client Rachel to devise a way to keep everyone safe…even if it means sacrificing himself in the process, and finally changing his ways.

 

 

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Just Add Water by Hunter Shea

GROW AMAZING LIVE SEA SERPENTS!

It’s fun! It’s easy! They only cost a measly dollar. Just clip out the ad in your comic book. Then ask Mom to mail it in. A few weeks later, receive a packet of instant Sea Serpent dust. Then:

Just add water . . . and watch them grow!

WHAT COULD GO WRONG?

Just ask David and Patrick. Their “instant pets” are instant duds. They don’t hatch, they don’t grow, they don’t do anything. So they dump them into the sewer where Dad pours toxic chemicals . . .

WAIT UNTIL FEEDING TIME.

It’s been years since David and Patrick thought about those Sea Serpents. But now, small animals are disappearing in the neighborhood. Strange slimy creatures are rising from the sewers. And once the screaming starts, David and Patrick realize that their childhood pets really did come to life. With a vengeance. They’re enormous . . . and have a ravenous hunger for human flesh . . .

 

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Monstrum: Bella Monstrum by Ann Christopher

STAY OUT OF THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE

Few places on earth engender as much primal fear as the mysterious and forbidding Bermuda Triangle. With good reason.

A bizarre plane crash at sea leaves Bria Hunter and her high school classmates trapped in a chilling race for survival.

Will Bria and her friends escape from the evil presence before it’s too late?

In the mood for a nerve-shredding tale of horror on the high seas that keeps you turning pages with the lights on all night? Then grab Monstrum today!

 

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Apocalypse Cow by Michael Logan

When scientists with warped imaginations accidentally unleash an experimental bioweapon that transforms Britain’s animals into sneezing, bloodthirsty zombies with a penchant for pre-dinner sex with their victims, three misfits become the unlikely hope for salvation.

Abattoir worker Terry Borders’ love life is crippled by the stench of death that clings to his skin from his days spent slaughtering cows; teenage vegan Geldof ‘Scabby’ Peters alternates between scratching furiously at his rash and baiting his overbearing New Age mother; and inept journalist Lesley McBrien struggles forlornly in the shadow of her famous war correspondent father and the star journalist at the Glasgow Tribune.

When Britain begins a rapid descent into chaos and ministers cynically attempt to blame al-Qaeda, Lesley stumbles upon proof that the government is behind the outbreak. During her bumbling quest to unveil the truth, she crosses paths with Terry and Geldof, and together they set out to escape a quarantined Britain with the evidence and vital data that could unlock a cure for the virus.

Standing in the way are rampaging hordes of animals, a ruthless security agent and an army ready to shoot anybody with a case of the sniffles on the off-chance the virus has mutated.

Three losers. Overwhelming odds. A single outcome: the world is screwed.

 

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The Longest Con by Michaelbrent Collings

Larry Correia. Kevin J. Anderson. D.J. Butler. Orson Scott Card. Mercedes Yardley.

Would you like to know – I mean, REALLY know – what they’re doing when they go to those fancy comic-cons? Because it ain’t just writing.

See, every year, thousands of people attend comic-cons dressed as monsters.
Of course, you probably already knew that.
But did you ALSO know that…
every year, thousands of MONSTERS attend comic-cons dressed as PEOPLE.

Sure. Nothing could POSSIBLY go wrong there.

Luckily, the con organizers have placed Wardens throughout the conventions. These undercover supernatural troubleshooters are tasked with stopping mayhem before it starts . . . or solving the murders after they happen.

I’M MICHAELBRENT COLLINGS: author of this book, and one of the Wardens. My job is to go to the cons, where I sell books, make fans, and kill the occasional monster.

It’s not just me, either. Those authors I told you about, and even more . . . you’d never guess what many of your favorite authors are REALLY up to at the conventions.

Luckily, though, you don’t have to guess.

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Property of a Lady by Sarah Rayne

A house with a sinister past – and a grisly power – When Michael Flint is asked by American friends to look over an old Shropshire house they have unexpectedly inherited, he is reluctant to leave the quiet of his Oxford study. But when he sees Charect House, its uncanny echoes from the past fascinate him – even though it has such a sinister reputation that no one has lived there for almost a century. But it’s not until Michael meets the young widow, Nell West, that the menace within the house wakes . . .

 

 

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The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson


First published in 1959, Shirley Jackson’s The Haunting of Hill House has been hailed as a perfect work of unnerving terror. It is the story of four seekers who arrive at a notoriously unfriendly pile called Hill House: Dr. Montague, an occult scholar looking for solid evidence of a “haunting”; Theodora, his lighthearted assistant; Eleanor, a friendless, fragile young woman well acquainted with poltergeists; and Luke, the future heir of Hill House. At first, their stay seems destined to be merely a spooky encounter with inexplicable phenomena. But H

Hill House is gathering its powers—and soon it will choose one of them to make its own.

 

 

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A Pleasing Terror: The Complete Supernatural Writings by M.R. James

The ghost stories of M. R. James need no introduction. They are widely considered the very best classical supernatural tales ever committed to paper, and a testimony to their quality and universal appeal is the fact that James’s Collected Ghost Storieshas remained in print since its first publication in 1931. James’s ghost stories are a towering achievement, and they continue to dominate the genre more than a century after they first began to appear.

Ash-Tree Press has published collections by many of the writers who followed James and sought to emulate him, and is now proud to have published A Pleasing Terror, which collects all of M. R. James’s writings on the supernatural. In addition to the thirty-three stories from Collected Ghost Stories, this volume includes a further three stories, seven story drafts left amongst his papers, all of his introductions and prefaces to his various collections, and his article ‘Stories I Have Tried to Write’. In addition, there are the texts of twelve medieval ghost stories discovered and published by James, all of his articles about the ghost story, and his writings on J. Sheridan Le Fanu.

 

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Black Spirits and White: A Book of Ghost Stories by Ralph Adams Cram

This collection of literature attempts to compile many of the classic works that have stood the test of time and offer them at a reduced, affordable price, in an attractive volume so that everyone can enjoy them. This synopsis does the book no justice. It has some very creepy, gore-free stories in it.

 

 

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Thanks for checking out our Top Ten Horror Books for Self-Professed Wimps and let us know your favorites!

 

Gronk: A Monster’s Story Vol 1. Review (Graphic Novel)

Title: Gronk: A Monster’s Story Vol 1 | Author: Katie Cook | Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors | Pub. Date: 2015-3-3 | ISBN13: 9781632290885 | Genre: Children’s Graphic Novel | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Comixology Unlimited


Gronk: A Monster’s Story Vol 1

Gronk is a monster… and not a very good one. 

Gronk tells the tale of a young monster who has turned her back on monsterdom (mostly because no one found her scary) and has become fascinated with humans. 

She moves in with her human friend Dale and her pets Kitty and Harli, a 160 lb. Newfoundland Dale wants to declare as a dependent to the IRS. 

Enjoy the first installment from this popular kids webcomic in a wonderful, full-color collection! – Goodreads

Gronk: A Monster’s Story Vol 1 Review

Gronk: A Monster’s Story caught my attention with the adorable cover. Reading the first page, which was just an information sheet on the characters, I was hooked. It reminded me a bit of Monster’s Inc, with the monster who just wasn’t really good at being a monster.

Gronk: A Monster’s Story is a cute book, with illustrations that are friendly and inviting. Kids can easily read it and see it as what it is on the surface. Adults can just as easily read it and substitute a toddler for Gronk for most of it, and it’s the same story. Just gives truth to the saying that kids are monsters, I guess? Soon Gronk assumes a more Garfield/adult type role, but it’s an almost seamless transition. It maintains a very light-hearted tone from beginning to end, and anyone who is into science fiction and fantasy series will find reasons to grin.

My favorite panels involved Gronk throwing a stuffed kitty and a tub of glitter at Dale and yelling “Expecto Patronum”. There was another adorable one of Gronk, Kitty, and eventually the Newfoundland investigating the imaginative possibilities of the box.

I loved the simple layout of the panels in Gronk: A Monster’s Story. The comic book strip style is infinitely easier to read than some of the chaos of other graphic novels. It made it a pleasure to read in more ways than one. I’ll definitely look into seeing if I can acquire another volume.

 

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #31

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

08/05/2017 – 08/11/2017

 

The horror short-short isn’t easy to master, but more than 100 of the genre’s critically acclaimed authors & hottest up-&-comers have taken a stab at it in Horrors! 365 Scary Stories, an anthology that contains a short tale for every day of the year. Steve Rasnic Tem, Wm F. Nolan, Tom Piccirilli, Yvonne Navarro, Peter Atkins, Brian Hodge, Martin Mundt & 166 others give you short, sharp shocks.

If you missed the first post you can find it here.

August is getting on. Just a few more weeks before the true horror begins…school. So, shall we get in a few more stories around the fire before the shades of fall are upon us?


Odd Jobs Jason A. Tanner

Synopsis:
Chris Tanner has a job to do. He is to meet a certain woman at a certain time. She doesn’t know they will be meeting, nor what they’re meeting for. She is to be executed for crimes committed during a previous life, one hundred years ago.

Review:
Great story and an interesting idea. I think it would make a very good full-length novel and even, possibly, a series.


The Odor of SanctityWilliam Marden

Synopsis:
On the day that two people are to be awakened from cryo-sleep in the future, something has gone wrong. very wrong. A man just awakened has gone insane, welts and burns spontaneously appearing on his body. The second to be awakened, a young girl with a then-inoperable tumour, lies sleeping peacefully. In her presence the cryo-team feels serenity and a calming, lovely smell. It is then that the cryo-team realizes their grave mistake. Would you tear a soul from paradise and would they be happy about it?

Review:
I’ve always loved this story. I’m not exactly religious but it certainly gives the imagination something to work on. Was the first man in Hell? Is that why his skin was scarred and he was crazy? It doesn’t really say but the difference in the two awakenings makes me think so.


On Spending the Night Alone in a Haunted House: A User’s GuideBruce Boston

Synopsis:
A list of very strange and explicit set of instructions as to how to spend the night in a haunted house. If it drives you mad, so be it. That’s the risk you take when venturing into the unknown.

Review:
An entertaining, if bizarre list. The instructions seem to be a bit arbitrary. And odd. But I guess that’s what you get when you take instructions from a madman.


On the Panecraft TrainTom Piccirilli

Synopsis:
A man out walking, looking for his ‘dog’ Topaz. As he walks he studies the possible ruin of the Panecraft Asylum. Meeting up with his brother they study the names of the dead and ride the Panecraft Train back into madness.

Review:
An…interesting story but a little odd. I read it twice and I’m still not sure if they’re former patients, escaped patients or ghosts. All are possible and it makes you wonder. It also makes me think of the Ozzy Osbourne song, ‘Crazy Train’.


One for the Road Judith Post

Synopsis:
A man is doomed to take a ride in his ghostly Camaro each year. Cursed by the woman who’s husband he hit while drinking and driving he now wakes up once a year to prevent the same thing happening.

Review:
Great, great story. Well told and just all the way around excellent. Even though the man cursed well deserves his curse you eve feel sorry for him a bit as well.


One Romantic Evening… Greg McElhatton

Synopsis:
A blind date between a vampire and a human isn’t going so well. He’s a bit boring and things take a downturn when he lunges for her neck. Good thing she has mace.

Review:
A pretty funny spoof on the ‘vampire tells his life story’ trope. And the mix up with the perfume and mace was a nice touch.


One WayHugh B. Cave

Synopsis:
Up in the mountains there is a cave where people vanish without a trace. two local men are guiding a reporter to go see it. A reporter who doesn’t believe them. So of course he has to check for himself. Next time the guides better get their pay up front.

Review:
A funny little story. Short and to the point but a good story nonetheless.


Favorite of the Week:
Oh, this week is going to be a tough one to choose. So many good stories. I loved Odd Jobs by Jason Tanner. I think it would make an excellent series if done right. Or even just a stand-alone novel. The Odor of Sanctity by William Marden was very good, as well. I either remembered this story or another story uses the same theme. But that should show you the staying power of it as this year is the first time I’ve read this book in ages. One for the Road by Judith Post is a haunting (literally) story on the dangers of drinking and driving. But it’s told in such a way that the sympathy goes for almost everyone in the story, including the cursed driver. One Romantic Evening by Greg McElhatton was a funny spoof on blind dates and vampires.


Join us again next week for another round of scary tales told by candlelight Ok, computer light but it’s close!

This is Horror, Issue 16: Get a Grip of It or Take a Polaroid?

The banner for the bi-weekly This is Horror post on Sci-Fi & Scary

This is Horror, Issue 16 is a sampling of Horror News, including book and movie releases, and more. A little bit of everything to make the horror hound in you feel all fuzzy and warm. Or tingle with anticipation. Whatever works for you.

This is Horror’s Weekly Quote:

“Newsflash, ladies: We can’t read your thoughts. And frankly, I’m not entirely sure I’d want to. The female mind is a scary place to be.”
― Emma ChaseTangled

Horror Movies

Opening This Week (August 11th):

Movie poster for Annabelle Creation

Annabelle: Creation Synopsis: Several years after the tragic death of their little girl, a dollmaker and his wife welcome a nun and several girls from a shuttered orphanage into their home, soon becoming the target of the dollmaker’s possessed creation, Annabelle.

Starring: Stephanie SigmanMiranda OttoLulu Wilson

Watch the Annabelle: Creation trailer on Youtube.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon

 

Polaroid

 High school loner Bird Fitcher has no idea what dark secrets are tied to the mysterious Polaroid vintage camera she stumbles upon, but it doesn’t take long to discover that those who have their picture taken meet a tragic end.

Starring: Madelaine PetschKathryn PrescottJavier Botet


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Horrorific Trivia

Wanna See My Shorts?

Sometimes you’re really not in the mood to watch a full-length movie. Sometimes you don’t even want to watch something the length of a television show. Shorts fill that role quite nicely. While these aren’t my shorts (I’m not that talented) I invite you to check out some of my favorite shorts on YouTube. There are some truly creepy and…creative shorts on there for the viewing. The title is linked to IMDB for more information on directors, writers and actors.

1. Givertaker: An ambitious teen conducts an ancient ritual to enact petty revenge on those who she believes have wronged her.

Set up to look like a nineties teen book (I was very disappointed to find out it wasn’t) it also has the feel of one, but with much better writing, acting and production value than a Goosebumps episode. It had great atmosphere and the effects were top-notch. The ‘Givertaker’ monster is pretty awesome and puts me in mind of Silent Hill. According to the director they plan a series and I hope they do. It will be interesting to see what they come up with next.

Watch it here

 

2. Killer Kart: The shopping cart. Four wheels, one basket, and tonight, for the closing crew of a small-town grocery store, a blood-splattered aluminum nightmare.

This short was so much fun. The titular Killer Karts are done pretty well and actually look a bit frightening. At the very least, being eaten by one looks very painful.

Watch it here

 

3. Teddy Bears are for Lovers: Unfortunately there is no IMDB information for this. The synopsis: A short horror comedy following a 20-something Casanova who becomes haunted by the teddy bears he gave to his ex-girlfriends.

This short was hilarious. Unfortunately in a break-up the poor stuffed animals often bear the brunt of the wrath of the broken up with. It’s time they had their revenge. Please give this one a look, I promise you won’t regret it.

Watch it here

 

4. Don’t Move: Set on one fateful night, six friends gather for their monthly ‘games night’… and accidentally unleash a demonic force that might tear them – and their friendships – to pieces.

This short had just enough story to be interesting, engaging and tense. I don’t think the tension could be sustained for a full-length movie but it would be great as a little longer segment of an anthology movie. I would definitely watch it if it were. The acting is great and the effects are very well done. The atmosphere is first rate.

Watch it here 

 

5. Breathe: A young man falls in love with a ghost, who you can only see when you don’t breathe.

A bit darker than the others but with a strangely beautiful story. Again, this would make an excellent segment on an anthology movie. It would be served well by being just a shade longer to provide a more suspenseful atmosphere. Everything moves a bit too quickly so a longer piece would really give it room to make you more engaged in it.

Watch it here 

Disclaimer: We are not associated nor have any interest in the channels or creators listed here.

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Horror Books

Featured New Horror Release

BOok cover for The Grip of It

The Grip of It – Jac Jemc – August 1st, 2017

A chilling literary horror novel about a young couple who purchase and live in a haunted house. Jac Jemc’s The Grip of Ittells the eerie story of a young couple haunted by their new home. 

Julie and James settle into a house in a small town outside the city where they met. The move—prompted by James’s penchant for gambling, his inability to keep his impulses in check—is quick and seamless; both Julie and James are happy to leave behind their usual haunts and start afresh. But this house, which sits between ocean and forest, has plans for the unsuspecting couple. As Julie and James try to settle into their home and their relationship, the house and its surrounding terrain become the locus of increasingly strange happenings. The architecture—claustrophobic, riddled with hidden rooms within rooms—becomes unrecognizable, decaying before their eyes. Stains are animated on the wall—contracting, expanding—and map themselves onto Julie’s body in the form of bruises; mold spores taint the water that James pours from the sink. Together the couple embark on a panicked search for the source of their mutual torment, a journey that mires them in the history of their peculiar neighbors and the mysterious residents who lived in the house before Julia and James.

Written in creepy, potent prose, The Grip of It is an enthralling, psychologically intense novel that deals in questions of home: how we make it and how it in turn makes us, mapping itself onto bodies and the relationships we cherish.

 

Goodreads Horror Giveaways – Covers link to Goodreads.

Book cover for Some Side Effects May Occur Book cover for The Everett Exorcism Book cover for Hunter of the Dead

 

 

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Horror Poll

Annabelle or Chucky?

View Results

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Results of  “How do you like your horror?”

67% of you said “I like all types.”

33% of you said “Psychological or Paranormal Horror.”

0% of you said “Gorehound”. — I found that shocking!

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Horror on the Web

 

Did you miss our last This is Horror? Check it out here.

 

Twice Upon An Apocalypse (Anthology)

Title: Twice Upon an Apocalypse – Lovecraftian Fairy Tales | Edited by Don D’Ammassa and Rachel Kenley | Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing | Pub. Date: 05/30/2017 | Pages: 284 | ISBN13: 9781640074750 | Genre: Horror/Dark Fantasy | Language: English | Triggers: Cannibalism/Child Death (one story) | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received from the publisher for review consideration


Twice Upon an Apocalypse – Lovecraftian Fairy Tales

These aren’t your mother’s fairy tales.

Throughout history parents have told their children stories to help them sleep, to keep them entertained. But we’re pretty sure none of those parents had this in mind. These are the fairy tales that will give you and your children nightmares. From the darkest depths of Grimm and Anderson come the immortal mash-ups with the creations of HP Lovecraft.

Twice Upon an Apocalypse Review

I don’t generally read mash-ups. Every once in a while they can be cleverly done but, as Gary Braunbek states in the Introduction, they tend to work better as short stories rather than novels. The subtitle of ‘Lovecraftian Fairy Tales’ soon caught my eye and I eagerly ofered myself…ok, I may have begged a bit.

I can’t say that I was disappointed at all. The stories are generally good and range from deadly serious to tongue firmly in cheek. There were a few stand-outs but none that made me roll my eyes in disbelief or bored me to tears. Each story, despite having common themes, was it’s own creation and unique. I also enjoyed the fact that along with the more well-known fairy tales some were used which are rarely seen. I have to admit that I fully expected to see many stories by the Brothers Grimm. The Grimm Brothers are amply represented but so also is Charles Perrault and Hans Christian Anderson. There are also a couple well-known stories, even if the authors are not widely known. Even though I partly expected to see at least ‘The Little Mermaid’ show up in an Innsmouth story, indeed how could she not?  I was also pleased to see a few of the lesser known tales. I’m slightly biased towards Hans Christian Anderson’s tales, I’ll admit that right now.

The stories are well-written but with such a narrow framework to write a story within (Lovecraftian fairy tales leading up to an apocalypse) constrains the creativity to a degree. You know pretty much how things will end (or begin) so the only mystery is how it’s going to get there or be described. Some of the better stories made very good use of atmosphere. I’m also unsure of the submission process for the stories but with the wealth of both fairy tale and Lovecraft mythos there seems to be quite a bit of repetition in view. For instance, there are two separate stories about ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’.They each go in their own directions but there should really be no need for two of the same story in the anthology. Also, with the amount of different locations mentioned in Lovecraft and the fairy tales themselves seem to limit themselves to fairly confined areas. Innsmouth and Dunwich are particular favorites.

Since there are too many stories to go into them as deeply as I’d like I will sort them from best to least liked.

Madness-Inducing (Best):

The Pied Piper of Providence – William Meikle
The Three Billy Goats Sothoth – Peter N. Dudar
In the Shade of the Juniper Tree – J.P. Hutshell
The Most Incredible Thing – Bracken MacLeod
Let Me Come In! – Simon Yee
The Fishman and His Wife – Inanna Arthen
The Gumdrop Apocalypse – Pete Rawlik
Curiosity – Winifred Burniston
Sweet Dreams in the Witch House – Sean Logan
The Legend of Creepy Hollow – DonD’Ammassa

Mind-bending Angles (Good):

The Horror at Hatchet Point – Zach Shephard
Follow the Yellow Glyph Road – Scott T. Goudsward
The Ice Queen – Mae Empson
Once Upon a Dream – Matthew Baugh
Donkeyskin – K.H. Vaughn
The Great Old One and the Beanstalk – Armand Rosamilia

Slightly Skewed (Meh):

Little Maiden of the Sea – David Barnard
The Little Match Mi-Go – Michael Kamp
Cinderella and Her Outer Godfather – C.T. Phipps
Fee Fie Old One – Thom Brannan
The King of the Golden Mountain – Morgan Sylvia


Even the stories that didn’t thrill me were still pretty good. Oddly, I just noticed that despite my love for Hans Christian Anderson, those seem to be the ones that I rated lowest. Perhaps I couldn’t separate the originals from the mixture. Because they were mixed well, I just couldn’t get into them. Others may like them more so I would not discourage anyone from reading them. For those interested in Lovecraft or fairy tale mash-ups there is a lot to be liked here. So kick back and get ready for some familiar and comfortable cosmic horror. Although that may be an oxymoron.


4 Skulls Out of 5

      

Interview with Terry Tyler, author of ‘Tipping Point’

Interview with Terry Tyler Tipping Point banner

Author Pic: Terry Tyler

Terry Tyler has published fourteen books on Amazon, ranging from family dramas and a novella about three writers, to a serial killer thriller and her current post apocalyptic series; what they have in common is that they are character driven and based around her interest in all things psychological.  She is an avid reader and book reviewer, loves The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, and is a newly converted vegan who is still trying to work out what she can actually eat, apart from hummus and vegetables.  She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

Terry reviews books on her blog  http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

and writes for a popular TWD fansite http://twdfansite.com/author/terry-tyler/

 

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Talking with Terry Tyler, Author of Tipping Point

Sci-Fi & Scary: How much has your writing style changed between the first book you wrote and your newest release?

Terry Tyler: My actual style has scarcely altered; I don’t think I could change it if I tried.  My subject matter and the way in which I approach the process has evolved, but the style itself is the same in the first novel I wrote in 1993 as it is now.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s your support system like?

Terry Tyler: Writing is a solitary occupation, and I certainly don’t need any help to get motivated; what I really need is more time and two pairs of hands.  My husband is hugely supportive of everything I do, and my sister (who is also my proofreader) is a great help, too.  As for the bad days, when you’re convinced everything you write is rubbish—well, they’re just something you have to work through!  I don’t talk much about my books while I’m writing them but I have lots of lovely writer, book blogger and regular reader friends who are a great help once they’re published.  I hope I give back in equal measure.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s your writing routine? (If you have one.)

Terry Tyler: Open laptop, open document, get on with it.  I give myself deadlines.  Sometimes other commitments mean I can’t meet them, but I like schedules.

Sci-Fi & Scary: Why writing? What made you want to be a writer?

Terry Tyler: I just wrote stuff, from quite an early age, and the natural progression was to move on to novels. I don’t know; it’s like anything creative.  Playing music, painting, writing – you just do it because you feel the need to.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What is the biggest influence in your life when it comes to your writing?

Terry Tyler: I thought a lot about this question and still don’t have much of an answer!  I think it’s a cross between whatever’s going through my head that I want to write about, and my readers, who let me know what they like about my books (and what they don’t).

Sci-Fi & Scary: How did you come up with the premise for Tipping Point?

Terry Tyler: I’ve been wanting to write about a virus causing the collapse of civilisation as we know it, for ages.  I love reading books and watching films and TV series on this subject; if I see the words ‘global pandemic’, I’m there!  But I wanted it to be about more than a random disease.  I find theories about targeted depopulation most interesting (though some are ludicrous), so started constructing a plot by which I could combine the two.

Sci-Fi & Scary: I know from reading the Goodreads page on the book that you have a trilogy planned, with Tipping Point being the first book. Did you have everything for the trilogy sketched out before you even wrote book one or did things develop as this story did?

Terry Tyler: I’ve already written the sequel, Lindisfarne, and I’m getting the plot for Book 3 sorted in my head.  Before I began, I decided that the first book would be the build-up and the immediate aftermath of the outbreak, and the second would be about the psychological effects of the disaster, how my characters would change, grow or fall apart—and the reality of living in a lawless society.  As for Book 3, I knew how it would end, but I hadn’t got a clue how I would get there.  Then I decided to include a storyline from the other side, ie, the people who were behind the pandemic.  That was when it all started to come together, as the two converge. If it works out, and people do want to read it, it might carry on to other books.

Sci-Fi & Scary: I know from your website that you play Plague, Inc. (I love that game!) Did it have anything to do with your decision to try to wipe out the world with a virus in Tipping Point?

Terry Tyler: Ha ha!  No, the book idea came first; my love for the game is just part of my interest in the subject.  The game is actually mentioned in Tipping Point!  (btw,  isn’t it awesome?  I love starting Nano Virus in somewhere like Korea or Iceland, to make it really hard!)

Sci-Fi & Scary: Social media is obviously a big part of most people’s lives, but what made you decide to make it a key point (pardon the pun) in Tipping Point?

Terry Tyler: Part of the plot concerns government intelligence agencies’ analysis of personal information provided online by the population, and, nowdays, much of this comes via social media sites.  Watch the film Snowden!  It’s more a case of the plot requiring it, than me deciding to make it a key point.  The shiny new social media site is all part of the dastardly plan!  Later, my main characters follow the progression of the virus via uploaded videos (and video diaries) on YouTube.  It’s important, when you’re writing about characters born later than, say, 1980, to understand that social media sites are a part of their everyday life, much more so than for people my age.  It’s about plot and character feasibility; my books often feature use of these sites, simply because you can’t write realistic characters without it.  I don’t think ‘ooh, I think I’ll put Facebook in my novel’ ~ in ‘You Wish’, for instance, I had a girl stalking an uninterested lover.  In 2010, she would do this via FB, not by letter or phone.

Sci-Fi & Scary: What research did you have to do to write Tipping Point?

Terry Tyler: I’ve been doing it for years, with all the films, TV series and books!  I also read books about people living in dedicated pre-industrial age communities, and found out how diseases spread.  And read truth seeker websites.

Sci-Fi & Scary: How long did it take you to actually write Tipping Point from first words on the paper to final draft?

Terry Tyler: Three months for the first draft, another three for the subsequent ones.  I did six drafts.  I made notes andthought about the plot a lot before I actually started writing it, though.

Sci-Fi & Scary: Any of you in your main characters in Tipping Point?

Terry Tyler: I should think so, but it’s not something I think about, or do consciously.  Vicky, the main character, isn’t ‘me’.  She’s much nicer!

Sci-Fi & Scary: Was there any scene that was particularly hard to write? What made it hard?

Terry Tyler:  I find it hard to write any scene in which someone witnesses a murder, or discovers one.  It’s ‘out of my comfort zone’, a bit; until the last two books, I’d mostly just written about relationships.  I got a bit ‘darker’ in The House of York, and then my serial killer drama, The Devil You Know.  It’s taking me a while to feel confident about writing such horrors; I’m getting there, but it’s still difficult.  The psychopaths, on the other hand, I find easy to write.  Should I be worried?!

Sci-Fi & Scary: What about the characters?  Is Tipping Point a plot driven or character driven novel?

Terry Tyler:  My novels are always all about the characters.  I have an endless fascination for human relationships, and the way we react, what motivates us to make the decisions we make.  There’s a fair bit of relationship stuff in Book 2, because people carry on loving and cheating on each other, even when the world’s gone to hell….

Thanks so much for inviting me to your blog, Lilyn, and I hope this has been of interest to your readers!


 Tipping Point Excerpt:

This excerpt takes place around 10 days after the first outbreak of the virus, in a small seaside town  in Norfolk, England.

 

Bob Newnham no longer stood in his garden having a rant to anyone who would listen; all the curtains in his house were closed.

I hadn’t seen Linda Thomas since Wednesday, either.  Linda, who’d been so worried about getting her roots done in time for her friend’s wedding.

I knocked on her door, but no one answered.  I’m guessing the wedding never happened, either.

The dead wagon took body bags out of number three, next.  That was where the Hanns lived; Brett, Susannah, and their daughter Celia.  I wondered who’d called the number to report the deaths.  Perhaps they rang themselves, when they knew there was no hope.

I went back inside to YouTube.

It had become the only site I looked at, and I did so constantly.

The latest Bat Fever video made me gasp in horror.

A shaky film, only thirty seconds long, had been taken on a phone in a large outbuilding outside a hospital in North London.  One huge room, piled high with bodies wrapped in black polythene or sheets.  I played it over and over, freeze-framing; it appeared that at first the bodies been laid out on the floor in body bags with space around each one, and name tags, but then the space had run out and they’d just been piled in like rolls of carpet, wrapped in bin liners or sheets, one on top of another.  Twenty-five seconds into the film, a voice shouted, “Get out of there.  You!  Out!”  Then the screen jumped all over the place and went black.

The video had over six million views.


Tipping Point Cover

 

Tipping Point Synopsis

‘I didn’t know danger was floating behind us on the breeze as we walked along the beach, seeping in through the windows of our picture postcard life.’

The year is 2024. A new social networking site bursts onto the scene. Private Life promises total privacy, with freebies and financial incentives for all. Across the world, a record number of users sign up.

A deadly virus is discovered in a little known African province, and it’s spreading—fast. The UK announces a countrywide vaccination programme. Members of underground group Unicorn believe the disease to be man-made, and that the people are being fed lies driven by a vast conspiracy.

Vicky Keating’s boyfriend, Dex, is working for Unicorn over two hundred miles away when the first UK outbreak is detected in her home town of Shipden, on the Norfolk coast. The town is placed under military controlled quarantine and, despite official assurances that there is no need for panic, within days the virus is unstoppable.

In London, Travis begins to question the nature of the top secret data analysis project he is working on, while in Newcastle there are scores to be settled…

This is the first book in the Project Renova series; the second, Lindisfarne, is due to be published in September 2017, with the final instalment in the middle of 2018. A collection of outtake short stories, Patient Zero, is in progress, and should be available around December 2017.

 

 

Please support an Indie Author and consider purchasing Tipping Point now on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074LSCX5M

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074LSCX5M

Mass Hysteria Review (Gory Horror)

Title: Mass Hysteria | Author: Michael Patrick Hicks | Publisher: High Fever Books | Pub. Date: 2017-8-15 | Pages: 258 | ISBN13: 9781947570009 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Child death | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy of this book from Netgalley for review consideration.


Mass Hysteria

It came from space…

Something virulent. Something evil. Something new. And it is infecting the town of Falls Breath.

Carried to Earth in a freak meteor shower, an alien virus has infected the animals. Pets and wildlife have turned rabid, attacking without warning. Dogs and cats terrorize their owners, while deer and wolves from the neighboring woods hunt in packs, stalking and killing their human prey without mercy.

As the town comes under siege, Lauren searches for her boyfriend, while her policeman father fights to restore some semblance of order against a threat unlike anything he has seen before. The Natural Order has been upended completely, and nowhere is safe.

…and it is spreading.

Soon, the city will find itself in the grips of mass hysteria.

To survive, humanity will have to fight tooth and nail.

Book cover for Mass Hysteria

Mass Hysteria Review

Michael Patrick Hicks’ Mass Hysteria is a headlong dive into a disgusting, gore-splattered future that will either delight or dismay readers. Though the book starts out with animal attacks, it transitions fairly swiftly to humans attacking other humans as well. The tone for carnage is set early on, and it ratchets up relentlessly. There’s enough ‘long pig’ feasting in this book to make the mythical rugaru feel right at home.

Mass Hysteria is heavy on language, violence, and sexual situations. It is not a book for horror fans that find their stomachs easily turned. There were scenes that made me cringe (and mentally applaud the author). If you are someone who hates to see a dog (or cat) die in a book, you’d best not go past the front cover. I’m normally one of those people, but given that the book promises animals going crazy, I was prepared for it going in. It’s a straightforward look at a world where the rules humanity have lived by since the dawn of civilization are cast aside. It’s fast paced, action-packed, and bloody. Really, almost everything a horror gore-hound could want.

While it is very competently written for the most part, Mass Hysteria does contain two instances of child death that annoyed me. These deaths are undeniably in place to add to the horror of the situation, and are entirely unnecessary. The author’s writing is strong enough to stand up on its own without relying on these tried and true but nevertheless weak writing props. (Normally I would list the animal deaths a weak prop as well, but it’s a game changer when you know it’s going to happen up front.) However, to his credit, only a few lines are spent on the first child’s death, and it is not witnessed as much as heard. For the second, it happens entirely ‘off screen’. So, they were well done for what they were. (And I have to admit that the second death really did emphasize exactly how much the world had changed.)

Undeniably talented, Michael Patrick Hicks shows evidence of a rather deliciously depraved mind in this book. This is an author that can easily hold his own against some of the biggest names in the business. There is some improvement to be had, but mainly in areas of confidence  rather than technical skill. While he isn’t on my ‘must-read’ list yet, I would have no problems recommending Mass Hysteria to fellow gore-hounds out there.

I have also reviewed Black Site by the same author.