Horrors – A Full Year of Horror #46

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

11/25/2017 – 12/01/2017

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.

We’re getting to the end of the year. While I have enjoyed sharing these wonderful stories with you guys, I’m also very excited to get a new project started that I hope you’re going to love! I’m also flattered and so happy you all have been following along with me for this long. It’s made me very happy. Ok, ok, enough with the gushiness, my fellow ghouls. Let’s get on with the gore-fests!


Trigger MomentYvonne Navarro

Synopsis:
After decorating for her Halloween party Ellen wants nothing more than a brain-numbing, seasonally appropriate movie. Afterwards, though, began the dream. A dream where a creature is stalking her with a deadly implacability. But it’s just a dream, right? And she’s sure the young man her mother introduces her to is only in costume. They can’t be real claws, right?

Review:
A good story with a slasher movie feel. I was wondering about the strange doors she can reach over. I thought for sure it was going to be a movie screen and she was in a horror movie.


TunnelAnne Bishop

Synopsis:
She doesn’t like driving through tunnels. They’re dark and she gets panicky. At least he can see the light up ahead. Until the tunnel starts to close in on the car. And then her.

Review:
A very good, claustrophobia inducing story. Tunnels freak me out a bit, too. Bridges even more.


Twelve All HallowsLou Kemp

Synopsis:
For twelve All Hallows Margaret has been meeting Glenna. For twelve All Hallows her father doesn’t know. On this twelfth All Hallows, Glenna will have her revenge.

Review:
I love a good ghostly revenge story. It puts me in mind of the traditional murder ballads.


Two Shades, Hearts in ShadowsMichael Scott Bricker

Synopsis:
A knight, dusted down to bone searches endlessly for Eldorado. In his quest he meets his creator, Poe. And they ride, boldly ride, together. Forever.

Review:
I liked it but I was confused as to why Poe was referenced. Did he do a story about a knight? I will admit to not having read every single story of his so if there is one please let me know!


Unfinished JourneyHugh B. Cave

Synopsis:
The next-door neighbor, Henry keeps having the same dream. A dark alley, a long walk through the street where dark shapes lurk in doorways. But Henry always wakes up before the dream ends. So when the doctor gives him a prescription to help him sleep, enabling to finish the dream and leave the alley Henry decides to try it. What could go wrong?

Review:
Somewhat peculiar and I was a bit disappointed in the more mundane monsters. And I wasn’t sure how to read the doctor, exactly. It seemed he was complicit in the dreams but how?


Until the Next TrainBenjamin Adams

Synopsis:
Jourgenson has been battling an unseen tagger. Every morning Jourgenson awakes to the name ‘Malo’ tagged on his shop and every day he washes it away. On this day Jourgenson realizes that the paint is still wet, ‘Malo’ is nearby. He’ll soon wish he weren’t.

Review:
This had a way creepier ending than I was expecting. The ‘Malo’ and his brethren is described as…I don’t want to spoil it for you, but it’s freaking creepy.


Up Our BlockBenjamin Adams

Synopsis:
Jenny wakes up, unhappy to be alive again. She now has an indent in the back of her skull. Blunt force trauma, perhaps. Perhaps she was a nurse…before. Now she’s just a zombie slave. And the family likes it just fine.

Review:
Another by Benjamin Adams. I have to say, he writes in a subtly creepy way that sneaks up on you. Or makes everything normal until the horror slaps you in the face.


Favorite of the Week:
So many good ones this week! It’s hard to decide. The two by Benjamin Adams (Up Our Block and Until the Next Train) have a creepy neighborhood horror that creeps up your spine. Twelve All Hallows by Lou Kemp was a great ghostly revenge story.


Thanks for joining us again this week and be sure to come back next week for more Horrors!

The Enemy by Charles Higson #BookReview

Title: The Enemy | Series: The Enemy Series  #1 | Author: Charlie Higson | Publisher: Puffin | Pub. Date: 09/01/2009 | Pages: 407 | Genre: YA Zombie Horror | Language: English | Triggers: Possible intense gore, child death | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: School Library

Note:  You might have seen the announcement on Twitter that GracieKat’s son was going to join us on the site. Today is the day! Toulouse is going to be joining us periodically to give us reviews of young adult books (from someone much closer to the intended age range than we are). 


The Enemy

Charlie Higson’s The Enemy is the first in a jaw-dropping zombie horror series for teens. Everyone over the age of fourteen has succumbed to a deadly zombie virus and now the kids must keep themselves alive.

When the sickness came, every parent, police officer, politician – every adult fell ill. The lucky ones died. The others are crazed, confused and hungry. 

Only children under fourteen remain, and they’re fighting to survive.

Now there are rumours of a safe place to hide. And so a gang of children begin their quest across London, where all through the city – down alleyways, in deserted houses, underground – the grown-ups lie in wait.

But can they make it there – alive?

The Enemy Review

The Enemy is a post-apocalyptic book centered around a group of kids that have survived in a supermarket for a year and then are forced to relocate to Buckingham Palace. The book starts off pretty brutal with the death of an important character and a small child being dragged away by a grown up. Throughout the first couple of chapters it is clearly shown that – A: Their way of life is limited and – B: They also become very mature with the older ones acting as parents and the younger ones as somewhat early teenagers. This seemed to enhance the qualities of the characters, and, as a teenager myself,  a very noticeable part of the book that was spot on was the use of language and how they express themselves.  As a teenager myself I didn’t have any trouble figuring out what they were talking about and how they came to some of the decisions.

Some pros I found were the atmosphere and how the scene is set. I was able to visualize the surroundings and feel what the characters were feeling without too much description. Hopping from one kid’s point of view to another as though I was looking over their shoulders helped me see each of their thoughts and personalities, keeping the story interesting with new thoughts and new ways of looking at different situations. Another interesting aspect that made it easier on me to get enthralled was the amount of zombies in the book. Unlike some zombie books where the plague is transmitted via bite or when you die this disease has infected all adults making the quantity of zombies more realistic. Overall it is a great depiction of children in this setting and how they would react.

However, no book is perfect and this has its cons as well. One large issue is what kills a Diseased. Throughout the book it is shown kids massacring zombies with clubs, spears and a variety of different weapons; however, even though they know how to kill them it is never shown to the audience exactly what kills them. When a normal zombie book describes and points out a weak spot, such as the brains, at least then we know what the protagonists are aiming for during a fight. If they just need to be cut up then that would be good for one of the fighters to bring up such as Achilles . But we aren’t given any real way to kill them.

Nevertheless the book and series (so far) has great action scenes that are described in detail. Although a gore fest it is mostly kept to the adults in the series so there isn’t too much for those that are squeamish about violent children deaths. Not only are the action and fight scenes described in detail but they are easy to imagine. Fatigue plays a massive role in fighting style and surviving. Throughout this story many characters have issues because of the fatigue, making the story seem more realistic and limits the characters to the human limits of children.

The character development is great. I am interested to see whether or not traits will stay the same. Throughout The Enemy characters grow from one note characters to having their own traits. They remind me of characters from the “Red vs Blue” universe in that regard. Interactions with each other are on point. I found myself taking interest in some of the characters. Ollie, for instance. Considered to be the quiet yet really smart one, he reminds me of myself at school. Other characters like Maxie and Whitney are more light-hearted. However there are some more devious characters such as what/who I call the “Sewer Rats” and David King who is a character that is very blatantly shown as a wannabe tyrant.

Over all it is a great read especially for mid-teens. The action and even some of the romance is sure to grab in anyone that is looking for a good read. Although, there are some things which will drive people crazy (like GracieKat) such as there is no real explanation for the disease. Other than that almost any teen who reads this will want to see this book all the way until the end.

 

Omega Days by John Cambell #BookReview

Title: Omega Days | Series: Omega Days #1 | Author: John L. Campbell | Publisher: Wild Highlander Press | Pub. Date: 2013-2-20 | ASIN: B00BIWSLSM | Pages: 293 | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased


Omega Days

Eight million walking dead stalk the San Francisco Bay Area, with more on the way. Scattered refugees – a priest with a bloody past, a college girl turned sniper, escaped San Quentin inmates and others – will quickly learn the three most important rules of survival: Make your bullets count. Don’t fall behind. Don’t…get…bitten!

Fast-paced and packed with zombie action, Book One of the Omega Days series lights off the apocalypse with a scream, and tears California to pieces!

Book cover for Omega Days

Omega Days Review

I keep coming back to zombie books. I took a long break from them, but my interest is surging again. Ultimately, though, I feel like I’m still only interested in ones that I’ve already read and know are good. Hence my re-reading of Omega Days by John Campbell.

I really feel like Omega Days is one of the best zombie novels out there. Even with the fact that nothing really gets resolved, because its very obviously the first book in the series. I feel a bit conflicted because I normally hate it when books do stuff like this. However, Campbell is a very talented author, and I enjoyed following each of his characters around. Especially Xavier and Skye. I don’t know what it is about the two of them, but I adore those characters. I think Skye is the perfect example of how tragedy can take a normal person, and turn them into something you wouldn’t expect.

I like how in the middle of Omega Days he just takes some time to kill a bunch of people. There’s pages of just “Oh look, here’s a new character. Now watch this person die horribly” The deaths are all interesting, and it’s a great way of hammering home the hopelessness. It’s one of those things you almost feel a little weird admitting to. “Yeah, my favorite section was just watching him kill people.” But, ah well. We’re all weird here, aren’t we?

Now, of course, there are things I have an issue with, like the zombie baby in a carseat. Come on, now, is it a requirement that all zombie books have to do the zombie baby or toddler, especially with description? How about just leaving it at something like “He saw a small hand rise up and bat at the mobile, but he knew there was no possible way the infant could still be alive.” We don’t need to ‘see’ the baby. Ugh.

I don’t remember if I ever read the second book in this series, but after refreshing my memory on this one, I’m definitely going to check it out. Omega Days is very well written, and the jumping around between characters is nicely done. You spend the perfect amount of time with each group, rather than hopping back and forth like a bunny on speed.

Definitely recommend you check it out if you haven’t done so already.

Buy Link: Amazon

Dread by Shah Wharton #BookReview

Title: Dread | Author: Shah Wharton | Pub. Date: 10/28/2014 | Pages: 95 | ASIN: B00OZ2RK5W | Genre: Apocalyptic Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 2 out of 5 | Source: received from the author for review consideration


Dread

A deeply unsettling collection of British horror stories including one psychological horror, one post-apocalyptic horror, and one black humour / satirical horror. All are UK based.  

The cover is beautiful but doesn’t really evoke the feeling of ‘dread’ that the book proclaims. I do like the way the ‘R’ is blued out to make the “Dead” more visible. Dread is a collection of three novella-length pieces: A Slow Burn, Rosa and Bella’s Journal of Decline and The Dead Party. I can’t say that I loved the book. The writing is very awkward at times but in The Dead Party it seems to even out a bit.


A Slow Burn: Waking up after what Bernie assumes was a wild party she finds that it has, in fact, been days and the world is no longer the same. 

I did like the idea of the cause of the apocalyptic happening. It was a bit different and interesting. The people, however, left quite a bit to be desired. The little girl that Bernie runs into wavers between sounding like a thirteen year old and a well-spoken adult. I have yet to meet a thirteen year old that uses the phrase “I’m no fantasist!” Bernie herself wavers between vaguely sympathetic to mildly annoying. I can’t really say what my main issue with the story was without giving away much of the ‘surprise’ ending, so I won’t. Suffice to say the other two survivors Bernie and Sarah run into might very well be the most unobservant people on earth. Ever.


Rosa and Bella’s Journal of Decline: Rosa is keeping a journal of her innermost thoughts after an ‘event’

This story confused the heck out of me. I at first thought that it was a continuation of the first scenario but from a different point of view. I gave up on that idea a page or two in. I’m not clear whether any event actually happened or if Rosa is just slowly (or not so slowly) going insane. Actually, that was the one thing I liked about it was that uncertainty. The main issue with it was that Rosa’s inner monologue was a bit boring at times and jerky. There were some things that could have been cleared up without ruining the atmosphere of not knowing what was real and what wasn’t.


The Dead Party: After The Dead Party is voted into office zombies now rule the U.K.. And will eat anyone who gets in their way.

This story bumped it from a one star read to a two star read for me. I liked this story very much. It was a little sad but also funny as hell. The main character was great and very likable. Her internal monologues were funny and quite accurate. Why are the ‘elite’ considered to be the worthy survivors? I also loved her ‘flying’ incidents. The zombies were also presented in an interesting and entertaining way. The writing was much more even as well. It would have been interesting to get a view of what the other countries thought about the new ruling party.


While I can’t say I particularly enjoyed Dread (except for The Dead Party) once the author smooths out some of the more clunky writing issues I really think she could create some decent fiction. Her takes on some of the subjects were creative and original. 

 

State of Emergency by Mary Hallberg #BookReview

Title: State of Emergency | Author: Mary Hallberg | Pub. Date: 2017-8-5 | Pages: 158 | ISBN13: 9781548327958 | Genre: Young Adult Horror / Apocalyptic | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Received a copy from the author for review consideration.


State of Emergency

17-year-old Dallas Langdon is fighting off zombies with a pizza cutter.

Dallas has always loved zombie movies. But when she catches a real live (erm, dead) musician eating a man’s intestines backstage after the show, she knows her movies have become a reality. And what do characters in zombie movies do? Seek shelter. Fortunately, Dallas’s eccentric uncle owns a farmhouse in Chattanooga, an eight hour drive from New Orleans. It’s on top of a steep mountain, surrounded by electric fences, and cut off from the worlds of the living and the dead.

Dallas’s parents, still safe at home, laugh at her idea over the phone. Her friends only agree to join her because it’s fall break and they could use a mini vacation anyway.

But then Dallas’s best friend is killed by a zombie horde when they’re attracted to her ringing cell phone. Civilians think their reanimated loved ones simply have the flu, leaving them alive (well, undead) and rapidly increasing the zombies ranks. And since minors can’t buy guns, Dallas’s only weapon is a giant industrial pizza cutter she swipes from a gas station. George A. Romero never mentioned anything like this. With one friend dead and no zombie survival guides to help her, Dallas and her friends must get to Chattanooga before joining the ranks of the undead themselves.

Book cover for State of Emergency

State of Emergency Review

State of Emergency is a nice, quick read set in the beginning of a zombie outbreak. It’s only 158 pages long, but it gives you a cool look into the beginning of the zombie apocalypse as seen through the eyes of a seventeen year old girl who grew up on horror movies. I was reminded a small touch of the Feed novel by Mira Grant because of this, and a line about being a certain weight to turn. (Not a bad thing at all.) It really does make you stop and wonder how people that have grown up in the last few decades would react should something like this come about. I want to believe that a lot of us would react like Dallas did, but…

The book covers days 1-6 of the outbreak in detail, then skips ahead and shows you the characters at a few different parts of their journey. There’s not a lot (if any? I don’t remember exactly) of cursing in State of Emergency, only a few kissing scenes, and none of the seemingly obligatory end of the world mating. The main character, far from being a rebellious teen, is driven to succeed and seems to have a strong spiritual grounding. She does everything she can to keep her sister and friends safe.  While the book is short, we do see some of the characters grow up a little bit as they are forced to make decisions that nobody should have to make.

I liked the way Mary Hallberg rolled out the country’s gradual realization that the dead really were rising. The newscasters’ (and others) reluctance to accept this was really happening and how they chose to downplay the situation. The way she portrayed people willfully ignoring the problems, and how they thought that something like sanitizing their hands would be okay felt very ‘real’. This was another thing that brought Feed to mind when reading it. I guess I’m just drawn to scenarios/situations where people’s reactions seem very accurate.

The zombies themselves in State of Emergency are a mix of various types that we’ve seen portrayed in books and movies. From the typical Romero slow-shuffling, to the more-present day runners, and even those like you see in Shaun of the Dead.

State of Emergency is, however, hampered by the fact that it is so short. While I appreciated the book, I never really had a reason to care about any of the characters. I liked Dallas well enough, but didn’t particularly root for her.  People who enjoy short stories may get more pleasure out of the book by reading one ‘day’ at a time. I might have enjoyed it more that way. Instead, I read it all in one go and felt a little unsatisfied as a result.

Overall, State of Emergency good read featuring a main character who isn’t afraid to call a zombie a zombie. Nor is she afraid to kill it if she need to. Its a little ‘light’ for my taste, but I think there’s a certain type of reader that it will strongly appeal to. 

Buy link: Amazon

 

 

Feed by Mira Grant #BookReview

Title: Feed | Series: Newsflesh #1 | Author: Mira Grant (aka Seanan McGuire) | Publisher: Orbit | Pub. Date: 2010-5-1 | Pages: 599 | ISBN13: 9780316081054 | Genre: Horror Thriller | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: Self-purchased |


Feed

The year was 2014. We had cured cancer. We had beaten the common cold. But in doing so we created something new, something terrible that no one could stop. 

The infection spread, virus blocks taking over bodies and minds with one, unstoppable command: FEED. Now, twenty years after the Rising, bloggers Georgia and Shaun Mason are on the trail of the biggest story of their lives—the dark conspiracy behind the infected. 

The truth will get out, even if it kills them. 

Feed Review

There will be spoilers in this review. They are more talking about the background of the Feed world rather than important plot points, but you have been warned.

Spoilers GIF

Feed is the first book in the Newsflesh trilogy by Mira Grant. It is the most well-written, well-imagined and intriguing post-apocalyptic book that I have ever read. Grant leaves no stone unturned in her effort to bring us a book that feels like it could happen. The Kellis-Amberlee virus is the result of two very different helper virus (made from very nasty viruses) that eliminated both the common cold and cancer. Yes, in the Newsflesh world, no one has a cold and cancer is a thing long forgotten. However, these two fantastic, useful Utopian-esque viruses found each other, discovered they were completely compatible, and had a baby virus together. Unfortunately, this was not something the world could rejoice about,as that baby virus turned out to be the fucking Spawn of Satan. You won’t ever catch a cold or die from cancer in Grant’s world, but eventually you will die…and then you’ll rise.

The Kellis-Amberlee virus is fascinating for more reasons than it’s origin. For example, everyone is infected. Everyone. From the moment the virus passes through the placental barrier to the time you die, come back, and hopefully get shot in the head, you are infected. Even dogs, cats, and other animals are infected with the virus. However, the virus has a limitation. Infected beings that weigh less than 45 pounds can never amplify. (Amplify – Newsflesh speak for turning zombie.)

But, oh, yeah, you don’t necessarily need to be bit to go full on deadhead. You see, there’s also a small chance that you can spontaneously amplify! Normally it takes something upsetting the delicate viral load in your system (aka having more injected into you via a bite, spit, vomit, etc, from a zombie), but sometimes the virus kicks into overdrive for no particular reason. You can join your esposo in the shower for a little wet and wild, and then suddenly you’re no longer playing tonsil hockey, you’ve decided human tongue is on the menu. Isn’t that lovely?

So, how did the world survive all this? Simple: George Romero movies. See, lots of people had grown up watching George Romero movies, so when people started going Grr-Argh-Braaaaaaiiiiiins, lots of people knew how to shut that shit down. Now, needless to say, it wasn’t entirely effective, but it was effective enough that life went on. It just went on with a lot of changes. Like safe zones, people barricading themselves inside their homes and not leaving unless they had to, and blood tests. Lots, and lots of blood tests when you are exiting and entering areas. Whether it be walking into a shopping mall, or walking into your house. If you’re afraid of needles, you’re completely screwed.

Yeah, the world is different, but the Newsflesh world is not dead. There have been more changes than just getting needled constantly, though. And one of those changes is that being a blogger is actually a semi-respected profession. See, while the ‘news’ people were feeding you the “Everything’s fine. Nothing to see here. Move along.” line, bloggers were telling it like it was. They were reporting things that were actually happening, and sometimes that included recording yourself poking dead things with sticks. Fast forward to a couple decades post ‘Rising’, and now there are Newsies (reporting the news), Irwins (poking dead things with sticks. Named after Steve Irwin), and Fictionals (Poetry and stories in the post-Rising world.) And that leads us to our characters.

Feed follows two main characters, Georgia (George) Mason and her brother Shaun Mason. Georgia is a Newsie, Shaun is an Irwin. Together they form 2/3rds of the blogging team of After The End Times. The first blogging team to ever be selected to follow a presidential candidate, Senator Ryman, like ‘real’ reporters might do. The third part of their team, the Fictional, is Buffy. Yep, she calls herself Buffy for exactly the reason you’re thinking of. She’s cute, blonde, and living in a world filled with dead things. What else could she call herself?  Buffy is also the resident tech genius.

Georgia and Shawn are adopted brother and sister and are very, very close. So close, in fact, that by the end of Feed you might be thinking to yourself that “Wow, that relationship just doesn’t seem healthy.” Or maybe you’re not thinking it at all, but there’s an itch between your shoulder blades that you can’t relieve. It’s a feeling that grows progressively stronger throughout the book, even though you have no evidence to back it up.

It doesn’t take long on the campaign trail before it’s obvious that someone doesn’t want Ryman to be president in Feed. Or at least they don’t want the After the End Times crew involved. The author does a great job of giving us a solid thriller disguised as a zombie novel. Sabotage is everywhere. People are getting shot at. People are getting killed. Politicians are being shady as a 100 year old oak tree. And nobody really seems to want to know the truth except for Georgia and her crew. And, eventually, they do find out the truth. Well, some of them do, at least. The rest of them are too busy being burned to ashes by the CDC. Yeah, the After the End Times crew doesn’t exactly make it out of Ryman’s campaign unscathed.

Feed immediately hooked me. This makes at least the third time I’ve read it now, and I still adore it. (Although I will say that the female narrator for the audio version of Feed cannot do men’s voices without making them sound like they all have headcolds.) If you’re wanting a dystopian world filled with small bands of survivors and desperate fights for survival against starvation, disease, pillaging, and the dead, this isn’t really the book for you. But if you’re looking for a unique, well-thought out world in which the zombie apocalypse didn’t bring civilization to it’s knees, look no further. 

Now, with all that being said. Feed is my favorite book of the trilogy. The rest of them are okay, but there’s one particular detail that just squicks me out a little bit and means that I just can’t enjoy the following books as much as I want to.

Buy Links: Amazon | B&N |

Interview with C.A. Verstraete

Author Christine (CA) Verstraete

Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a little “scare” in her writing. Her latest book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, offers a twist on the Lizzie Borden murders. She also is author of a young adult book, GIRL Z: My Life as a Teenage Zombie, and books on dollhouse collecting and crafting, including Dollhouse Decor & More  and In Miniature Style II.

Christine’s short stories have appeared in various anthologies including: Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Mystery WeeklyYoung Adventurers: Heroes, Explorers and SwashbucklersAthena’s Daughters, Silence in the Library; Feast of the Dead: Hors D’Oeuvres; Darlings of Decay100 Doors to Madness; Timeshares, Steampunk’d, and Hot & Steamy: Tales of Steampunk Romance, DAW Books; and The Corner Cafe: A Tasty Collection of Short Stories.

She is an award-winning journalist with stories published in daily to weekly newspapers and in various magazines. Her stories have received awards from local and national newspaper associations, and the Dog Writer’s Association of America. 

 

Interview with C.A. Verstraete

 

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: What is it about zombies that appeals to you?

C.A. Verstraete: It might be the sheer horror of something wanting you for dinner. I think as humans we’re used to being in control of the food chain, not on it! Plus it’s the sheer horror “no it can’t happen” aspect.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: You are one of the bloggers on http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com. How did that site come about? What do you like most about it?

C.A. Verstraete: I started the site as a way to get female zombie authors involved and promote not only my own zombie books, but horror and other books. It’s been fun and I’ve met a lot of authors through it. I’m a reader, too, so I love finding new books!

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: First there was Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies, then there was Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and of course the tons of fairytale remakes out there like Christina Henry’s Alice. Now we have your work, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. What do you think inspires the re-imaginings in general? And specifically, what inspired yours?

C.A. Verstraete: Having read some of the other books, I think it’s fun to take history in a different direction, even if some may consider it sacrilegious. But it’s fiction! Some view zombies as an analogy of society’s wrongs. Every generation has its monsters, and zombies are this century’s version of horror or what’s wrong with the world, I guess. I’ve always been interested in true crimes so once I read the autopsy reports and other information on the Borden murders, it made perfect sense to me that the crimes could be “solved” in a different way. I was surprised no one else had thought of it.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: Your website contains a good bit of information on Lizzie Borden. How long did you spend researching her, the trial, and all of that?

C.A. Verstraete: Lizzie Borden is actually a pretty popular topic, so it wasn’t too hard to find background material on her. I formed the story around the real-life murder and the trial after reading the inquest and trial transcripts. Of course, I had to change some events to fit my own scenario but I did base it on the real-life events. History can be fascinating. You wonder what drives people to commit such terrible acts. Even more, you wonder how they can go through with them. This is pretty gruesome stuff.

Sci-Fi & Scary: How long did it take you to write Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter?

C.A. Verstraete: It took about two years to write the book, research, and re-write.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: What was the most difficult part of writing the book?

C.A. Verstraete: Getting it how I wanted. I actually had two different versions of the book.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: What kind of zombies are your zombies? Are we talking the slow, plodding Braiiiiiins kind or the 28 Days Later rage virus kind?

C.A. Verstraete: I used the slower, hungry zombies. I think the slower ones are horrifying enough and fit the time period more. Life overall was slower-paced back then. Having zombies appear, something the characters describe as “something from Miss Shelley’s Frankenstein come to life,” was enough for them to digest. My favorite scene in Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter is one toward the end where an older couple is simply petrified at what they’re seeing and Lizzie has to rescue them.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: Do you have any more historical figure – zombie hunter (or other) books planned?

C.A. Verstraete: I am working on Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2. Next, I’ll have a supernatural-flavored mystery novella coming out (it may be in pre-order by the time of this interview) told from the point-of-view of Lizzie’s doctor and neighbor. The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden’s Fall River doesn’t have zombies, but it’s rather spooky. It answers my own questions about how he could have felt after coming on that horrific murder scene and what could be haunting the town to have such gruesome murders occur there.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: I know you’ve written a lot of shorter stories for anthologies. What is the most popular anthology that readers might find your work in?

C.A. Verstraete: I have fun writing creepy little short stories. Some are strange, some are little gory… I’ve written a couple for the free Siren’s Call magazine and for different anthologies. It’s hard to pick just one, though one of my favorite flash stories, Grandma’s Green Thumb, was in the 100 Doors to Madness anthology. Links are on my website fiction page. http://www.cverstraete.com/horror-zombie-fiction.html. I am thinking of putting some of my creepy short stories together in a collection, too.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s your favorite zombie book and zombie movie?

C.A. Verstraete: If I had to pick a recent movie it would be Maggie with Arnold Schwarzenegger. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and mood in that. The first, and probably my favorite, zombie book I read was Jonathan Maberry’s Dead of Night.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s your favorite NON-zombie horror book or movie?

C.A. Verstraete: I love old movies and love to re-watch Whatever Happened to Baby Jane with Joan Crawford and Bette Davis whenever I can. I also like Gone with the Wind. I like a wide variety of movies and books.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: What advice would you give to female horror authors trying to get established?

C.A. Vestraete: Take your time, do your homework and hone your writing skills. It doesn’t pay to rush things.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: What’s your writing style? Do you have a routine and focus on getting out a certain amount of words, or are you a “When inspiration hits”?

C.A. Verstraete: If I’m really pushing to get a project done, I will try to get in a certain number of words per week. But being a journalist by profession, I’m used to writing every day, so writing something usually isn’t a problem. I just have to push to get the project done between other writing.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: How many of your stories come from nightmares or dreams that you’ve had?

C.A. Verstraete: Actually, the ending of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter came to me in a dream. I was still following some of the real-life events in Lizzie’s life, so the ending was part of my way in explaining the rift the sisters actually had. Emma moved out of their house and supposedly they never spoke again.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: Do you think the zombie sub-genre is nearing saturation point? Or is that not possible?

C.A. Verstraete: It’s possible. So many books are coming out, it’s like a flood. Sadly, there are a lot of badly written and amateurish books (in all genres) that it gets harder to find the good stuff.

 

Sci-Fi & Scary: What do you like to do when you are not writing?

C.A. Verstraete: I collect dollhouses, I love my dog, and I like working on miniature projects. I love to create! (I do share photos of my work on the website http://cverstraete.com or link to my other blog.)

 

Thanks again for hosting me! It was fun visiting with you and your readers!


Book cover for Lizzie Borden Zombie HunterLizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter

Every family has its secrets…

One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become zombies?

Thrust into a horrific world where the walking dead are part of a shocking conspiracy to infect not only Fall River, Massachusetts, but also the world beyond, Lizzie battles to protect her sister, Emma, and her hometown from nightmarish ghouls and the evil forces controlling them.

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Book Tour: Grave Robbers Review (Zombie Horror )

Grave Robbers Banner

Grave Robbers by Matt Drabble

DI Lucas Grant thought that he’d seen everything that Bayport had to offer. A grim town run by a crime lord with half the police in his pocket and no one willing to take a stand.

But now something new is happening, something that makes no sense. Bank robbers who won’t stay down despite being shot multiple times, men returning from the dead to wreak havoc and death on his streets.

Bayport might be a crime ridden hellhole, but it is still his town and outsiders don’t get to burn it down, not without a fight.

Saddled with a new partner he can’t trust and forced into an uneasy alliance with the criminal who ruined his town Grant will finally have to make a stand. Forced to fight against the darkness he will get answers and find those responsible, wherever the truth lies and however incredible it might be.

Grave Robbers Book CoverSmall Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

Grave Robbers Review

It has been quite a while since I’ve read a zombie story. I made the mistake of reading too many of them in a row for too long and burned myself out. However, the synopsis for Grave Robbers, along with the cover, enticed me to give it a try. For people like me, who have read a few too many zombie stories, this one might surprise you. It never goes full on zombie apocalypse. Instead, it’s more along the lines of dealing with a smallish outbreak. Also, though zombies arepresent and like their humans crunchy and with ketchup, this isn’t about them. Instead, it’s about a mystery, a debt, a couple partnerships, and examining how far on either side of the line you can wobble before you cross it entirely.

Grave Robbers is a good choice for readers who like their characters somewhere between somewhat smudged and outright dirty. Even the good guys in the book aren’t exactly sparkling clean representations of angelic innocence. Corruption, greed, selfishness, and egotistical behavior runs rampant throughout Grave Robbers. There’s a hefty bit of action, and gorehounds will find themselves quite satisfied by the end of the book.

Unfortunately, the dialogue and the characters in Grave Robbers need some work. The characters are fairly cliche (evil scientist, cop with bent morals, gangster, etc.) Some of the lines and/or scenarios in the book need some work to make them a bit less unintentionally amusing.  However, I do like the basic plot idea and action scenes. I think with some refining it would make a very good piece of horror-crime reading.

Overall, Grave Robbers was a decent read, albeit one that didn’t live up to it’s potential. Readers that like zombie books set in places other than America will probably want to check this one out. Hardcore zombie readers might like the fact that it avoids becoming your typical zombie novel in a few ways. Book Dragons, however, may find themselves disappointed.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free from the author as part of the Sage’s Virtual Book Tour.

GRAVE ROBBERS on Amazon: http://amzn.to/2psEzIB

 

 

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About the Author Matt Drabble:

Grave Robbers Author

Born in Bath, England in 1974, a self-professed “funny onion”, equal parts sport loving jock and comic book geek. A lover of horror and character driven stories, I am also an A.S sufferer who took to writing full time two years ago after being forced to give up the day job.

I have a career high position of 5th on Amazon’s Horror Author Rank of which I am immensely proud. Also, I was accepted as a full member of the Horror Writers Association.

“GATED” is the 2015 Readers Favorite Gold Medal Winner. It is also a UK & US Horror Chart Top Ten Best Seller & winner of the Full Moon Awards 2014 Horror Book of the Year.

“ASYLUM – 13 TALES OF TERROR” was a US Horror Chart #5. It was also voted #5 on The Horror Novel Review’s Top 10 Books of 2013 & was the Readers Favorite 2014 Gold Medal Winner for Anthology Fiction.

“ASYLUM II” was also a UK & US Horror/Anthology #1 and is the 2016 Readers Favorite Silver Medal winner for Anthology Fiction.

“THE TRAVELLING MAN” won an Indie Book of the Day award.

“ABRA-CADAVER” was a 2015 Kindle Book Review Finalist, an Indie Book of the Day winner and the 2016 Book Excellence Award Winner for Horror Fiction.

Visit me at www.mattdrabble.com to download free short stories and the full length multi award winning novel “Abra-Cadaver” for free.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MattDrabble01
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Matt.Drabble.Author/
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Flying Mutant Zombie Rats Review

Title: Flying Mutant Zombie Rats | Series: Moto Maddie BMX Portal #1 | Author: Kat de Falla | Publisher: Ravenswood Publishing | Pub. Date: 2015-6-15 | Pages: 132 | ISBN13: 9781511797313 | Genre: Children’s FictionRating: 4 out of 5 | Source: Kindle Unlimited |


Flying Mutant Zombie Rats

Summer vacation is almost here! And Pea O’Neil is stoked to try out the new local BMX track which is finally open. He and his gang of friends can ride all summer long!

But when Pea tries a back flip, he unwittingly opens a portal to another dimension and hordes of flying mutant zombie rats are unleashed upon the city. With the help of an otherworldly talking cat sent to help prevent the demise of humankind, Pea and his friends must hunt down the hungry mutants and send them back before the portal closes.

But when the zombie rats attack a neighbor man, the boys have to enlist the help of a graveyard looney and the city’s stray cats. With time running out, Pea and his gang track the monsters to the city’s sewer system. But in the city sewer of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, it’s eat…or get eaten. – Goodreads

Flying Mutant Zombie Rats

Flying Mutant Zombie Rats Review

I checked out this book because I am a fine, upstanding parental figure and I wanted to make sure the contents were appropriate for my daughter before I let her read it. That is absolutely the reason I chose to read this book. Yep. Ah-huh. Definitely.

Flying Mutant Zombie Rats. Flying. Mutant. Zombie. Rats. Who in Cthulhu’s name can walk away from a book with a title like Flying Mutant Zombie Rats? No self-respecting horror-reading bookworm, that’s for sure! Flying rats? Nah. Zombie Rats? Possibly. Mutant Rats? Maybe. Flying Mutant Zombie Rats? Shut up and take my money.

So, er, now to talk about something more than the title of the book, yeah?

Flying Mutant Zombie Rats was a fun read. The main characters are a bunch of BMXing seventh grade boys starting their summer vacation. They’re good (albeit rowdy) kids, obsessed with their bikes, a solid group of friends, and they’re going to save the city with nothing more than their wits and bikes. Right? Well, almost. See, there’s not only Flying Mutant Zombie Rats, there’s something else as well. (You’ll have to read to find out.)

This is definitely a kids book, and unless you’re well in touch with your inner child, it’s not going to appeal to adults. It moves along quickly, there’s some icky stuff, some training sequences, some heroic attempts at self-sacrifice, and lots of action. And given the title of the book, hopefully you don’t go into it expecting realism in any area, because other than the biking scenes, there isn’t any.

Flying Mutant Zombie Rats is a great book to engage a reluctant reader who is interested in the gross and icky side of things. Especially so if they like BMX biking. I’d definitely recommend checking it out.

Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #19

Horrors! 365 Scary Stories – A Full Year of Horror

05/13/2017 – 05/19/2017

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.

It’s raining here so light a fire, get a warm beverage and curl up with some good stories ahead.

 

 

Continue reading “Horrors! A Full Year of Horror #19”