The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks #BookReview

Title: The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks | Series: The Zombie Survival Guide | Author: Max Brooks | Illustrator: Ibraim RobersonPub. Date: 2010-10-5 | Pages: 144 | ASIN: B0045EO72E | Genre: Horror Graphic Novel | Rating: 2 out of 5 | Source: Library

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

Those who don’t learn from history are condemned to repeat it.
From the Stone Age to the information age, the undead have threatened to engulf the human race. They’re coming. They’re hungry.
Don’t wait for them to come to you!
This is the graphic novel the fans demanded: major zombie attacks from the dawn of humanity. On the African savannas, against the legions of ancient Rome, on the high seas with Francis Drake . . . every civilization has faced them. Here are the grisly and heroic stories-complete with eye-popping artwork that pulsates with the hideous faces of the undead.
Organize before they rise!
Scripted by the world’s leading zombie authority, Max Brooks, “Recorded Attacks” reveals how other eras and cultures have dealt with-and survived-the ancient viral plague. By immersing ourselves in past horror we may yet prevail over the coming outbreak in our time.

Book cover for Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks Review

The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks covers 12 different attacks, starting with the earliest (60,000 B.C.) and working forward to closer to present day. While the first attack spanned several pages, the second one wasn’t really even an ‘attack’ at all. It was more the discovery of the virus and speculation. The rest seem to vary in length, and went from moderately interesting to skim-worthy and back again several times.

I don’t know what I think of this. On one hand, I loved the art. Ibraim Roberson does an amazing job, making monochrome images that feel like they could leap off the page at times. There’s one particular panel of a zombie, frozen solid in the snow, hand outstretched, which is disturbing and fantastic all at the same time. On the other hand, it takes a bit of the fun away from zombie attacks if you don’t at least get a splash of red every now and then! Basically, I loved the art, but just didn’t feel like it suited the subject.

The synopsis says “Scripted by the world’s leading zombie authority, Max Brooks, “Recorded Attacks” reveals how other eras and cultures have dealt with-and survived-the ancient viral plague.” They mean that. Literally. It seems like its just scenes of battle, interspersed with the occasional “So maybe they did x because…” I knew I was going to get to see zombie attacks – and I was cool with that – but I thought I’d get a little bit more. I was wrong.

The “Recorded Attacks” only seem to take up about 2/3rds of the book. (It’s sometimes hard to tell when reading in a browser versus reading on the Kindle.) The rest of it is advertisements for things related to the Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z. Readers are invited to download the Zombie Survival Guide Scanner app, given the chance to click on links that will let them read excerpts from the books, and finally treated to a several page excerpt from Zombie Survival Guide. And then another several page excerpt from World War Z.

My final judgement? The Zombie Survival Guide: Recorded Attacks was a cash grab, nothing more, nothing less. The illustrations are amazing, but everything else was lackluster.  Wouldn’t recommend you buy it unless it was on sale for maybe $.99 and you were a hardcore zombie hoarder.

A Selection of Sci-Fi and Horror Graphic Novels Out February 28th

The Graphic Novels Out Now Weekly banner

A selection of some of the most interesting looking sci-fi and horror graphic novels out now, February 28th, 2018.

(If you’re looking for Marvel or DC comics, you’re probably looking in the wrong place.)

*This post contains affiliate links that help support the site and keep it as free of ads as possible.*

Book cover for Abbot #2

Abbot #2

Remember that totally cool-looking, stark cover I posted a while back that featured the African American lady giving the ‘camera’ a “eff you” stare?? Well, the second issue has been released and this is it. Does that art not make you NEED to pick it up ASAP?

A brutal attack on the edges of the latest murder scene only spurs Abbott further into her investigation.

Purchase Abbot #2 via Amazon Affiliate Link

Book cover for The Wilds

The Wilds #1

This one is on my list because of the diversity aspect. It also got a cool write up in Syfy Wire that is worth the read. Also, everyone knows I like zombie novels, and even though this doesn’t technically STATE it’s a zombie novel, “Abominations” probably equals zombies, right?

After a cataclysmic plague sweeps across America, survivors come together to form citystate-like communities for safety. Daisy Walker is a Runner for The Compound, a mix of post-apocalyptic postal service and black market salvaging operation. It is a Runner’s job to ferry items and people between settlements, and on occasion scavenge through the ruins of the old world. Daisy is the best there is at what she does. Out beyond the settlement walls are innumerable dangers: feral animals, crumbling structures, and Abominations – those that were touched by the plague and became something other. After a decade of surviving, Daisy isn’t phased by any of it – until her lover, another Runner named Heather, goes missing on a job. Desperate to find her, Daisy begins to see that there may be little difference between the world inside the walls and the horrors beyond. From writer Vita Ayala (Bitch Planet: Triple Feature, Wonder Woman Annual) and Emily Pearson (Cult Classic) with colors by Marissa Louise (Spell On Wheels) and covers by Natasha Alterici (Heathen), comes this bold tale of surviving in bleak times.

Purchase The Wilds via Amazon Affiliate Link

Book cover for Rough Riders: Ride or Die

Rough Riders: Ride or Die

Okay, this one is a little hinky because it’s not giving me a release date on Amazon like does for most of them. Just says you can order it and have it by end of the first week of March. So, just a headsup on that. Anyways, I’m including Rough Riders here even though I, personally, have no desire to read the next volume. I know it sounded interesting to a lot of you when I reviewed the other two volumes, so I thought I’d let you guys and gals know it was available.

Volume Three of the hit AfterShock Series! A great jumping-on point! It’s 1906 and Theodore Roosevelt is the sitting president when a familiar face from his past asks him once again to call upon the Rough Riders to save the world. But this time it’s not anarchists or aliens-no, it’s something from the great beyond. Something so ancient and inherently evil that the Rough Riders will need to add to their ranks in hopes of defeating it. Who will be the newest historical figure to have the honor to call themselves a Rough Rider?

Purchase Rough Riders: Ride or Die via Amazon Affiliate Link

Other New Graphic Novels 2-28

The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles by Michael Alan Nelson #BookReview

Title: The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles | Series: Collects all The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles Issues 1-4 | Author: Michael Alan Nelson | Illustrator: Christopher Posseni | Pub. Date: 2011-3-1 | Pages: 112 | ISBN13: 9781608860517 | Genre: Horror | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Comixology Unlimited

The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles

There is an Old One sleeping that will hear … THE CALLING!

After a series of horrific events, four strangers are left searching for answers to their personal tragedies. But as they struggle to make sense of these terrible occurrences, they are brought together by the discovery of a dark scheme that threatens the existence of everything they have ever known. An unspeakable evil is about to be unleashed onto the world. An evil known only as…Cthulhu.

Book cover for The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles

The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles Review

The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles was a decent read, even though I didn’t particularly like the illustrations. This is not a ‘pretty’ book. The illustrations are harsh and the colors are dark. These are not panels you want to feast your eyes upon for ages. But, I don’t think there’s any denying that the artwork definitely suited the darker tone of the story, either.

The story is a mostly satisfying take on the usual ‘cultists attempting to awaken Cthulhu” that feels like it could be based any time in the last 10 years or so. My only real issue with it, pardon the pun, is that it felt a bit muddled in the middle. I’ll fully admit that I haven’t read enough graphic novels to know if this is a problem common to the genre or not. All I know is that while I really liked the first and last issues of The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles, the ones in the middle were somewhat confusing. What I thought were flashbacks weren’t, and so on. I think some of it could have been helped by the kids and the two main male characters looking more distinct from each other than they did. As it was, it was easy to confuse them.

Part of the plot reminded me strongly of a certain aspect in Insidious. Interestingly, this collection of all four issues was released within a month of Insidious hitting U.S. theaters. It makes me curious how many other stories that particular plot device has appeared in. The dialogue for The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles was okay. Nothing really stood out, unfortunately. The pace felt a little too quick at some points. This felt like it should have been fleshed out a bit. Either with a few more episodes or more simply, more pages in each of the four.

Also, I was pleasantly surprised when I saw on Goodreads that Michael Alan Nelson is also responsible for 28 Days Later, one of the graphic novel series I’m planning to fully read and write up soon. I’ve partially read the series before and remembered highly enjoying it. I look forward to finishing it.

Overall, The Calling: Cthulhu Chronicles wasn’t one of the better graphic novels I’ve read but it definitely wasn’t one of the worst. The story kept my attention even if it did confuse me at times. 

Purchase via via Amazon Affiliate Link

Badly Done Blurbs from Horror Book Covers

A banner with the words The Top Ten Tuesday List on it.For this Top Ten Tuesday, we’re having a bit of fun with book covers.

We just decided to play around and come up with our own blurbs for them. If cover artists have to come up with covers with sometimes bare bones information, then we can do the same with stories when it comes to cover art! This is mostly due to the fact that the Top Ten Tuesday topic that was the official choice for this week didn’t quite suit us. We swear we’ll get back to everyone’s regularly scheduled programming soon.

In the meantime, enjoy our badly done blurbs from horror book covers.

Now, given the recent Goodkind clusterfudge, we’ve got to point out that we think these book covers are all fine. It’s a bit of ill-timing, all things considered, but it was the idea we had planned and I (LG) had a massive headache last night so I wasn’t changing it.



Badly Done Blurbs from Horror Book Covers

Book cover for City of the Dead

My City of the Dead:

“I told you we shouldn’t have taken that left turn at Albequerque!”  A few white collar young men, on a spontaneous road trip after getting laid off from their positions at That Big Important Company, take a wrong turn when their GPS goes on the blink. Before they know it, things have went wrong for them in ways they couldn’t have ever imagined. Culminating in them awakening, dressed in nothing but their dress shirts and underroos in the sewer of city filled with nothing but dull-eyed cubicle workers. This is: The City of the Dead.

Brian Keene’s City of the Dead:

The sequel to one of those most popular zombies of all time!

In this sequel to THE RISING, cities are overrun with legions of the undead, intent on destroying what’s left of the living. Trapped inside a fortified skyscraper, a handful of survivors prepare to make their last stand against an unstoppable, merciless enemy. With every hour their chances diminish and their numbers dwindle, while the ranks of the dead continue to rise. Because sooner or later, everything dies. And then it comes back, ready to kill.


Book cover for Heart-Shaped Box

My Heart-Shaped Box:

80 years after the zombie apocalypse has came, one man sets out on a brave journey to get his pregnant wife a heart-shaped box that has – he’s been told – the magic cure to all that ails her. Traveling along some surprisingly well-maintained roads (the DOT having gotten their act together right before everything went to the zoms), he attempts to do the impossible. This is the story of his epic journey from Effing Nowhere to Flipping Somewhere. Journey with him as he attempts to find the Heart-Shaped Box and finally be able to soothe his savage beast, er, bride.

Joe Hill’s Heart-Shaped Box:

Aging, self-absorbed rock star Judas Coyne has a thing for the macabre — his collection includes sketches from infamous serial killer John Wayne Gacy, a trepanned skull from the 16th century, a used hangman’s noose, Aleister Crowley’s childhood chessboard, etc. — so when his assistant tells him about a ghost for sale on an online auction site, he immediately puts in a bid and purchases it.

The black, heart-shaped box that Coyne receives in the mail not only contains the suit of a dead man but also his vengeance-obsessed spirit. The ghost, it turns out, is the stepfather of a young groupie who committed suicide after the 54-year-old Coyne callously used her up and threw her away. Now, determined to kill Coyne and anyone who aids him, the merciless ghost of Craddock McDermott begins his assault on the rocker’s sanity.

Book cover for Seed

My Seed:

It came from outer space. It was embedded deep within a meteorite, having mostly disintegrated, struck the earth in one of the most over-crowded graveyards in the United States. The next morning, the tree was there. It was twenty feet high when someone first noticed it. Then the next day it was forty, and then it was sixty. First came the town Youtubers. Then came the reporters and scientists. But by the time anyone truly got around to investigating what was happening, it was too late, and the tree was on its way to giving the Earth a massive woody apocalypse.

Ania Ahlborn’s Seed:

Fans of Stephen King, Jack Kilborn, and Blake Crouch… prepare to meet the Devil.

In the vine-twisted swamps of Louisiana, the shadows have teeth.

Jack Winter has spent his entire life running from something no one else can see. His childhood is his darkest secret, but after a near fatal accident along a deserted road, the darkness he was sure he’d escaped rears its ugly head… and smiles.

But this time, he isn’t the only one who sees the soulless eyes of his past. This time, his six-year-old daughter Charlie leans into his ear and whispers: Daddy, I saw it too.

And then she begins to change. Faced with reliving the nightmares of his childhood, Jack watches his daughter spiral into the shadows that had nearly consumed him twenty years before.  But Charlie isn’t the only one who’s changing. Jack never outran the darkness. It’s been with him all along. And it’s hungrier than ever.

A new breed of dark fiction: the subtlety of Seed will haunt you, and the end will wickedly satisfy.

Malus Domestica

My Malus Domestica:

They should have listened, the men. We tried for years to explain that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. They ignored us, and ignored us, until one day they could ignore us no more. That was the day that Mother Earth woke up, and when she woke up, so did we. Women around the world, especially those that had that seed of anger in them towards men for the way we’d been treated, discovered that now? Now they didn’t have a choice. Now they had to listen to us. First came denial, then came fear, and finally a grudging respect. For we are Malus Domestica.

S.A. Hunt’s Malus Domestica:

Robin Martine has come a long way. 
She’s not your usual college-age girl. More often than not, Robin’s washing a load of gory clothes at the laundromat, or down at the lake throwing hatchets at pumpkins. She lives in an old van, collects swords, and dyes her mohawk blue.

Also, she kills witches for a living on YouTube. 
You see, Robin’s life was turned upside down by those hideous banshees from Hell. She spent high-school in a psych ward, drugged out of her head for telling the cops her mother Annie was murdered with magic. Magic from a witch named Marilyn Cutty.

After a 3-year warpath across America, she’s come home to end Cutty for good. 
But she’ll have to battle hog-monsters, a city full of raving maniacs, and a killer henchman called the “Serpent” if she wants to end the coven’s reign over the town of Blackfield once and for all.

My Monstrum (Bella Monstrum):

I wasn’t always the evil sea witch. Once upon a time, I was a normal girl. I wasn’t a bad person. Well, at least that’s what i like to tell myself when I’ve got some down time in between my, uhm, recreational activities involving playing with the hearts and wagering for the souls of stupid little girls who fall for pretty faces.  Once upon a time my momma was a normal girl though. A girl that got on a boat after she did something really, really bad, and then the Kraken found her… and let’s just say one thing led to another and here I am. Half human, half Kraken. But this story isn’t about me. It’s about my mom.  The original Bella Monstrum.

Ann Christopher’s Monstrum (Bella Monstrum):


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!

My Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Terror

Step this way to the carnival of terror.

His name is Mr. Dusk. He’s been travelling across the country, many countries, for many centuries. He brings entertainment and death. The carnival will give you pleasures beyond your wildest dreams. All it wants in return is your life. Your body. Your Soul. Welcome to The Paindemonium Daemonicum where you’ll find pleasure beyond your wildest dreams. If you make it out alive.

Terry Dowling’s Basic Black: Tales of Appropriate Fear 


Not just with the absence of light, but with things made for the dark, things that work best when the wind is in the trees and the sun has gone from the sky.

There’s a carnival, of course—and such a one!—and a six-sided mirror room on a rainy evening. There’s a model of a ship made from bone, a hotel room with the hint of a clown’s face on the wall, a gun that grows its own bullets (you know they do!).

There’s a train, too, that train, called up by a harmless holiday prank. There’s the ultimate maze, a dream of blind gladiators, a truly unforgettable cabinet of wonders. Here you’ll find the most deadly tomb of all and, yes, revealed at last—the truth behind what ghosts really are! All waiting among these bits of darkling shimmer, in this sharp narrow place, this careful trap.

A trap? You see how it is. This is your next step on the lonely road. The next wrong door you open. The next game you play on the midnight board, with forgotten rules and the sharpest of pieces…


My When Cthulhu Met Atlach-Nacha

He’s an Elder God, dreaming deep under the sea. When a creature starts invading his half-awake nightmares he finds he can’t forget it. The spindly arachnid legs,  the squat body with the delicate, upturned face. Her presence in his dreams is driving him to distraction. Rising from his eons deep slumber will take a little finagling: A well-placed dream to a cultist here, an artist driven mad there – Cthulhu will triumph over the odds to win the spider goddess of his dreams.

Alan Ryker’s When Cthulhu Met Atlach-Nacha

He’s an academic; she’s an artist.

He worships Cthulhu, the slumbering behemoth; she worships Atlach-Nacha, the spider goddess of dreams.

Their interfaith marriage is challenging enough before the gods themselves arise and do battle. Can this couple hold their relationship together during the end of times?

Through the use of both horror and domestic comedy, When Cthulhu Met Atlach-Nacha examines the boldness and beauty of declaring a permanent relationship in a chaotic world.

When Cthulhu Met Atlach-Nacha is a one-act play with a run time of just under one hour.


My Nightmare Seasons

Planted in the winter in The Forgotten Cemetery the seed took root in tainted ground. In the Spring it grew strong in the ground where murderers and evil on earth had been buried. In the summer the fruit grew, delicious but poisonous to the soul of anyone who ate it. Fall is approaching quickly and with it, Halloween…what will come forth from the blasted tree under the bitter full moon? Beware…The Head!

Charles L. Grant’s Nightmare Seasons

The first book in our Complete Short Fiction of Charles L. Grant, originally published in 1982, is truly “historic,” as it was the first time Grant published four novellas with linking material around a common theme. It is, in effect, a tone poem — almost a symphony. It was so successful that he repeated the format three times. Nightmare Seasons won the World Fantasy Award for Best Collection/Anthology, besting Stephen King’s Different Seasons and Dennis Etchison’s The Dark Country. This edition includes a special introduction by novelist and critic Don D’Amassa.

My The Stand

The Rat-Lizards (called Razards by those they’ve come to conquer) have attacked, almost wiping out humanity. Here and there are pockets of humanity trying desperately to survive against the Razards and their fierce scythes and vicious fighting tactics. One of these pockets includes a family called The SkyWalkers. They are one of the last races of mankind who still retain access to the Light side of the Forces of Good. Thus the battles between the SkyWalkers and the Dark side of the Razards. Who will triumph in the end?

Stephen King’s The Stand

This is the way the world ends: with a nanosecond of computer error in a Defense Department laboratory and a million casual contacts that form the links in a chain letter of death. And here is the bleak new world of the day after: a world stripped of its institutions and emptied of 99 percent of its people. A world in which a handful of panicky survivors choose sides — or are chosen.

My Haunting Women

Little did she know when they bought the old house that they were not alone. Faces peered from between the curls in the wallpaper. Faces that whisper to her in the dark. Faces whispering for her to join them. Will she triumph or will she succumb to the Haunting Women of the Wallpaper?

Alan Ryker’s (Editor) Haunting Women

This anthology contains: The Renegade by Shirley Jackson; The Villa Desiree by May Sinclair; The House of the Famous Poet by Muriel Spark; The Cloak by Isak Dinesen; Loopy by Ruth Rendell; The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman; The Foghorn by Gertrude Atherton; The Ghost by Mrs. Henry Wood; Simon’s Wife by Tanith Lee; Hell on Both Sides of the Gate by Rosemary Timperley; The Shadowy Third by Ellen Glasgow; The Sound of the River by Jean Rhys; Robbie by Mary Danby; and Heartburn by Hortense Calisher.

Obviously, there’s a reason we aren’t the writers and all these authors are. Their ideas are infinitely better than ours. Still, we hope our badly done blurbs from horror book covers gave you a laugh. Seriously, though… go read these books. They’re all pretty damn fantastic.

Black Panther: The Official Movie Special #BookReview

Title: Black Panther: The Official Movie Special | Publisher: Titan Comics | ASIN: B079VVV82Q | Pages: 96 | Genre: Movie tie-in | Language: English | Triggers: N/A | Spoilers: Mild | Rating: 4 out of 5 | Source: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review consideration.

Black Panther: The Official Movie Special

Black Panther: The Official Movie Special is a complete visual and behind-the-scenes guide to Marvel Studios’ highly anticipated next movie.

With exclusive behind the scenes photos from the movie sets, stunning concept art revealing the beautiful, secretive nation of Wakanda, interviews with the stars of the film, including Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Andy Serkis, Martin Freeman, Forest Whitaker and Danai Gurira, this stunning collector’s book is a must-have for all fans of everything Marvel!

Black Panther: The Official Movie Special

Black Panther: The Official Movie Special Review

Okay, so I’ve actually ended up reading this for review before I’ve seen Black Panther. I know. Bad me. I’m horrible. (I do fully intend on seeing it next weekend.) However, Black Panther: The Official Movie Special didn’t really spoil anything for me and I actually think I’ll have a better understanding of the film going into it than I normally would have. (Super hero comics just don’t do it for me. Neither do most MCU movies, either.)

Readers will be delighted with the interviews contained within the Black Panther: The Official Movie Guide. The actors and actresses came into the film with various degrees of knowledge regarding the Marvel universe and the Black Panther character and world. The in-character photographs that accompany the interviews are absolutely lovely. My favorite interview was the one with Lupita Nyong’o. While the others were interesting, hers is the one where you could feel her excitement really bleeding through. You could tell the movie meant a lot to her. One thing that was obvious throughout all the interviews was that the actors and actresses felt that the movie was truly different from the other Marvel Universe films. A lot of them also commented on how they believed the movie was putting its finger on the pulse of our world today.

Another thing to takeaway as a reader was that everyone had a strong respect for Ryan Coogler and the way he did his job.

The profile piece on Forest Whitaker was lovely. He really has had an amazing career with lots of roles. Even though he didn’t have an interview, it was nice to see that he was not forgotten.

Black Panther: The Official Movie Special is an interesting movie tie-in that is perfect for people who want to get inside the primary actors’ heads on the film. There are enough stills and photographs/mock-ups of set design to make the hardcore film fans happy. The concept art was absolutely gorgeous. I was expecting a little more out of it, but I wasn’t unhappy with what I read. I think I was hoping for a little more truly behind-the-scenes photographs like of fight scenes and whatnot.

Overall, it’s a solid, if not outstanding tie-in piece and I can see lots of Black Panther fans being happy with adding Black Panther: The Official Movie Guide to their memorabilia collection.

Purchase Black Panther: The Official Movie Guide now via Amazon Affiliate LInk

The Prey of Gods by Nicky Drayden #BookReview

Title: The Prey of Gods | Author: Nicky Drayden | Publisher: Harper Voyager | Pub. Date: 2017-6-13 | Pages: 400 | ISBN13: 9780062493033 | Genre: Fantasy and Science Fiction | Language: English | Triggers: None | Rating: 3 out of 5 | Source: Library

The Prey of Gods

In South Africa, the future looks promising. Personal robots are making life easier for the working class. The government is harnessing renewable energy to provide infrastructure for the poor. And in the bustling coastal town of Port Elizabeth, the economy is booming thanks to the genetic engineering industry which has found a welcome home there. Yes—the days to come are looking very good for South Africans. That is, if they can survive the present challenges:

A new hallucinogenic drug sweeping the country . . .
An emerging AI uprising . . .
And an ancient demigoddess hellbent on regaining her former status by preying on the blood and sweat (but mostly blood) of every human she encounters.

It’s up to a young Zulu girl powerful enough to destroy her entire township, a queer teen plagued with the ability to control minds, a pop diva with serious daddy issues, and a politician with even more serious mommy issues to band together to ensure there’s a future left to worry about.

The Prey of Gods

Prey of Gods Review

I read this book as a buddyread with Jess from Storytime in the Stacks. I don’t think either of us had any clue what we were getting into.

There will be lots of mention of male genitalia in this review. If you are sensitive about that, please read no further.

Actually, I know neither of us had a clue what we were getting into, because when we weren’t pointing out yet another ‘staff’ reference in The Prey of Gods, we were wondering what the hell we were reading.  This was a very weird book. VERY weird. Sometimes – for flickering moments – it was absolutely brilliant, and sometimes it was shockingly bad. There was so much going on that sometimes (frequently) we wondered if the author was going to be able to pull it off. And did I mention the dangly bits?

Pages and pages of male genitalia!  Regular peni, robot dicks, cape cobra dicks, dikdiks. And just when you thought there was no way she could still talk about dicks – Hey look!

Another meat staff!

And when there wasn’t talk of male genitalia, it was Homosexuality! Bestiality! Cross-dressing! Divas! Demi-Gods! and Origin Stories!

There was a lot going on if the previous sentence didn’t make that clear.

Hardly any of the characters were likable in The Prey of Gods. The little girl plays an important role in the story, but she was pretty bland all things considered. Muzi was okay, Elkin needed slapped.  Even the one that I almost kind of liked because she was just straight up evil bitch annoyed me towards the end of the book. The only one I actually liked was the robot Clever 4-1. And he wasn’t in the book nearly enough. Riya, the songstress, just irritated me. Living with chronic pain myself, I didn’t like how the author made Riya feed off the pain to make her voice stronger. Especially when she twisted her into someone who gets off on pain. Look, I get that pain and pleasure sometimes blur lines between each other, but when the idea of getting your spine sliced gets you frisky, we have a problem.  

Yeah, I definitely had issues with The Prey of Gods. I spent a good quarter of it feeling shafted (pun totally intended). A quarter wondering where the robot uprising we’d been promised was, and the rest just sort of wondering what the hell was going on. There was much back and forth with my buddy reader about what was (or wasn’t) going on in this book. We were intrigued, doubtful, outright amused, and frequently puzzled, but we had a lot of fun reading it.

I can’t say I’m entirely sure the writer was sane and/or sober the entire time she wrote the book (or half the time? any of the time?) but for all its chaos, it reads easily. Even though I was frequently in a state of “What the f…” I couldn’t wait to delve back into it every day. And even when we mocked it (and mock it we did) we were still happily reading it. 

I think I still have a lot of questions, and I’m still vaguely dissatisfied by the ‘epic battle’ that went full on Power Ranger-esque. Towards this part, I can remember Jess saying that it felt like fanfiction and I completely agreed with her. I think the author attempted something a tad bit grander than her actual ability at the time allowed for. There were inconsistencies that puzzled me, but I was mostly able to overlook. There were flat out too many characters – that’s probably my biggest pick – and some of them were blatantly unnecessary and felt included just to check a certain box. However, there were flashes of sheer unadulterated awesomeness in The Prey of Gods. Almost every chapter had at least one line that had me snorting with the clever way she handled it.

Overall, it was undoubtedly an interesting read, one made all the better by reading it with someone else, and one that I don’t regret reading. The Prey of Gods is… Well, it’s something. Whether I think that’s a good something or a bad something I haven’t decided yet, but it’s definitely a different  something, so I guess that’s…uhm… something?

Reading with a friend is highly recommended.

Buy Link: Amazon


Talking with Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

Interview with Erin Al-Mehairi Banner

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi Bio PhotoErin Sweet Al-Mehairi has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Journalism, and History. She has 20 years of experience in the communication and marketing fields and is currently a writer, a journalist, an editor, a publicist, and a consultant among many other things.

She writes fiction, essays, stories, and poetry and is an avid reader of many genres. She has edited poetry anthologies, novels, fiction pieces, and other various non-fiction and journalistic pieces. As a journalist, she’s written, interviewed, and edited for various newspapers, magazines, media outlets, and online news sources at both ends of the spectrum in media and public relations. (Continued at end of interview.)


Talking with Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

Sci-FI & Scary: On your website, you introduce yourself as “a published author, writer, author, journalist, editor, marketer, public relations professional, and photographer”. That’s quite a lot of balls in the air, although some of them obviously go hand-in-hand. Could you take us through a typical day for you?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: Actually, I don’t really think I can! For the 20 years I’ve been doing all of that, while raising three kids at home without caregiver assistance for the last 9, or the previous 7 when I was practically a single mom in an abusive marriage taking care of my babies while working 8 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. at an outside job – in marketing and public relations which included much editing, writing, media work, event planning -(then with caregiver during work hours) nothing has been typical or normal or scheduled.

It seems like yesterday I was running my business out of my home (mostly for local businesses – retail, non-profit, etc.) while also teaching my third child her pre-school lessons at age 3 and 4 (I home-schooled her for it; she survived – went to Kindergarten at just barely 5 and now in 5th grade has tested into and thrives in the talented and gifted program) and was committed to working on my fiction writing in the late evenings (something I had wanted to do since I got out of college but honestly never had one more ounce of energy to do given circumstances), to now, having been also working doing editing, publicity, and consulting in the publishing world for almost the last 7 years. Authors in the horror genre I had met online were asking me for help, and at first, I did help after my normal work hours for free, but it became a lot, and since it was my course of study, my career, and such, I thought why not do it for authors too. I saw authors as their own small business needing to build their brand, just like the kid’s clothing retailer or the bed and breakfast I was working with at the time. I couldn’t do it without making money, because I needed to work, I had kids to feed, nor should every author demand so much free work. The blog is one thing, to a degree, but all I was taking on was not allowing me to work enough hours at my regular freelance jobs or to write. And I really enjoyed working with books and authors the most.

I still have trouble now fitting in my own writing, but glad I did last year and that I was able to finally publish my collection and some stories too. I guess you could say I am still searching after all these years for a balance. Life hasn’t been easy on us personally for so many reasons, though I try to stay positive online, but I feel blessed to have my talents I can use. It’s just hard not to get burned out.

So, yes, I do all those things on a daily basis, and for a very long time also cooked a big Sunday meal every single night, hand washed dishes from 5, did laundry for 5, always participated in my kid’s school parties, helped my partner coach soccer and t-ball teams with kids ages 4 and 5, and I could go on. We still drive the kids quite a way to school and back, and they are still busy, but they are a bit older now, and I do less cooking and cleaning to get all the work done, but basically, I just rotate the duties based on deadlines or priorities, putting myself last, more often than not lately my kids, but that’s about to change again.

I work from early morning to late at night, well beyond full-time hours, and a lot of it unpaid, but when you work full-time hours a day to pay the bills (over), everything after that should be about your kids and health, that should come first, so I’m trying to get that back but the publishing world is demanding. Your family and your health should always come first, I know, but work is a necessity and it owns everyone. The photography I used to do a lot more in my previous jobs, where there was more a market for it or I did it at my workplace or for non-profits, so now it’s mostly a hobby I love. I could do them for book covers, blogs, or online sites, but it’s not often asked and I’m not pushing it with all else I have to do. I like to pair them with my own writings though sometimes. It’s one that often takes a back seat. Of course, seasonally, I do a bit more of it in the spring, summer, and fall.

Bottom line: very hard to be scheduled in my life. No day is the same. I work morning, afternoon, evenings, and late night right now. I try to balance out what is needed at home and for work every day, every week, based on what’s coming up. I do a little bit of everything every single day.

Sci-FI & Scary: What drew you to working in the marketing and PR side of things?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: I have a degree in Journalism as well as English. In some courses of study, as mine was, it’s very intensive and includes editing and public relations in the course work, as well as media relations. I did my final year internship in a public information office for the State of Ohio, which included at that time press releases, editing and writing a newsletter, taking photos, running events, etc. I live in a rural area, and couldn’t move right away, so I ended up working as reference librarian for a while out of school, for which I did, when not helping customers, themed book displays, and I also contacted local media about upcoming book additions and events. I loved it and should have never left it, but when a business owner who had done my professional resume out of college repeatedly sought me out to help him grow that business, I was saw it as an opportunity toward growth in another career field and a chance to write more, so I took it, and became a marketing consultant.

Eventually, I became pregnant unexpectedly (but joyfully), and after staying home with my son for two years (and writing fiction and poetry), I took a job in marketing and public relations for a healthcare system where I was for almost a decade. This was a job I did a lot of almost everything. As well, I did public relations and marketing for a hot air balloon festival that has national recognition and worked for many non-profit organizations on boards and committees offering my expertise in the field. I have a laundry list on LinkedIn. My resume is long. So, it’s naturally been my career – I can cover bases in so much due to my schooling and my experiences and I’ve worked very hard to have the knowledge and know-how I do. My Journalism background was a natural for PR work if you like better hours, which I wanted with having children.

I like working in books, and feel again, that it’s like any business I’ve done work for in the past as each publisher and author is their own brand and business too, but I do feel I have to repeatedly keep fighting for myself and defending myself—mostly proving myself. I’ve always done all the things I do for work since college. 20 years now. I’m getting too old to keep explaining myself. I want to just work and get some shit done.

Sci-FI & Scary: I know from talking with you that you do a lot of editing and publicist work for small presses and individual authors. Could you name a few that you’re currently working with so authors can get a feel for if they should reach out to you or not for your services?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: I work directly for Sinister Grin Press as an editor and doing marketing and publicity, public relations and advertising, and a host of other things like coordination of some of the cover art and working with authors on all the facets that go into publishing a book (lots of explaining, consulting, teaching, informing, discussing with authors); and as well, Raw Dog Screaming Press, where I’m just getting started, but handling marketing, PR, publicity, media relations, etc. For a year after Bloodshot Books was just getting off the ground, I worked with the publisher to help gain exposure for his authors, new and veteran alike. With the veterans, I did a lot of consulting and teaching of the new way of promotion since the dawn of the Internet (social media, blogs, how to even write articles, etc.) and tried to find new ways for readers and reviewers to want to take a look at republished works once popular in the 1980s but that needed (and deserved) new life.

As for authors: Ronald Malfi, Hunter Shea, Stephanie Wytovich, Glenn Rolfe, Todd Keisling, Brian Kirk, Lisa Manetti, Greg Gifune, David Bernstein, to name a few. I’ve touched many sub-genres and writing styles with my promo work. I work with them ongoing or in spurts or projects. I work with them personally, and sometimes, they’re also published by a press I work for, which is doubly good. There is ebb and flow depending on what’s coming out, because most can’t afford to put me on retainer each month, though that would be best in my opinion. It’s not that I’m expensive, but more so, I can’t get them to grasp the idea of it, or often, even a little is too much, and I don’t have a ton of time being so busy, that I can only take on so much free work. With editing, I enjoy working with new and emerging writers, too, like Somer Canon, Chris Kosarich, Ken McKinley, Russell Coy, Tom Clark, and a host of others, to teach them, help them, support them. I enjoy editing and working with various styles of writing and sub-categories in horror and other genres as well.

Sci-FI & Scary: Your debut collection of poetry and short stories Breathe. Breathe. has done quite well. How hard was it for you to go from polishing other people’s works and/or promoting them to putting your own stuff out there? I’d have been a nervous wreck!

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: Not that hard really, I suppose, because I always knew myself as a writer first. I’ve been writing all sorts of things for years, just tended to have to pay the bills writing in a more non-fiction style or editing/promoting works by others, priority-wise. I think that reading, whether books by others that are published or books I’m editing, helps me to write too. Promoting is something I like the least, though I do get passionate and excited about the work of others. My passion has always come from a love of books and a genuine happiness for the success of others. It was like second nature to me to publish, method wise, but once it got closer, it was harder. BUT only for some of the subject matter. Being in a domestic violence situation, having past assault trauma, aren’t things people want to talk about and many can’t understand. I still think most people aren’t very compassionate about the internal place specifically Breathe. Breathe. came from and how long I had held it close inside me. It helped heal me, and that’s what mattered to me, but I suppose, as a private person it was more being nervous about the themes. That and the fact that I knew a lot of people would snub the poetry or not understand my style. I knew some would say it made them uncomfortable. Mostly, honestly, I was afraid no one would be excited for me or share my works because they saw me as a “promoter” and not needing help. Well, it’s not easy to promote your own books, even if you are a promoter, because what it takes to succeed in indie horror, is enough OTHER people sharing it to create a buzz. Luckily, many people were happy for me and shared it and are still sharing it. I’m so much less nervous now, especially after so many positive reviews and good feedback. It was a hurdle to get over, to do for myself, and I’m very proud I did.

Now on the other end of it, I think publishing as much as I have in these last 12 months HAS given me a new look at promotion and other skill sets needed to do my job, which is invaluable to me as well. But overall, I much like writing better than my jobs and I long when I have a few spare minutes to allow time for my own passions.

Sci-FI & Scary: “The Heart of the Orchard”, your short story included in the Hardened Hearts anthology from Unnerving, had a definite fairy-tale feel to it. Are you a fan of fairy-tales?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: Yes, I’ve always been a reader of fairy tales since very young and they are a strong influence on me and my writing. I prefer the grim ones, and the Grimm ones (LOL), Hans Christian Andersen, and also, folklore from many different countries. I don’t always intend for my stories or writing to have that pieces, but sometimes it either seeps in or my story has a mind of its own. I like a lot of fantasy which plays into this too. I am a genre blender. I often blend horror, fantasy, sci-fiction, mystery, and thriller all into my work. Breathe. Breathe. is a perfect example of my blending of genres and categories, though I say I’m probably a literary writer blending styles more than I am a writer within a certain genre. I think fairy tales do this, and the name can be a bit misleading to some, as you know, since they can be very dark. I suppose I am more a fan of folklore and legends, though I do have a fondness for tales like Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, The Elves and the Shoemaker, The Snow Queen, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow White, and the list goes on. I was thrilled when the latest review for my story in Hardened Hearts said it was Rumpelstiltskin-like (Thanks, Sadie!). I didn’t intend it, but there he was – in the middle of all that girl’s trauma, appearing and demanded peaches. People have described some of my other work as reading in a fairy tale style as well, even if the subject matter wasn’t so nice.

Sci-FI & Scary: Do you think you’ll ever try your hand at a novel-length work?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: I’ve been writing a few for over 9 years now. One is historical fiction, which will take forever and is taking forever, due to the research and development involved and my time being limited. The other literary revenge novel will move faster but has been halted at every turn by my overworked days and life issues. It’s not that I don’t want to write novels, I just think it will come later in life. Any time outside of work that I have goes into my three kids, who means so much to me. My son graduates high school this year and my daughters are getting older. Time is short with them now and they are most important. I love to write short stories and poems and play with words. It’s easier for me to find a tiny bit of time for this than to climb that mountain of a novel. Because to me, I’ll want to make my novel perfect, not just churn it out, so it’s not a goal I feel I can reach in the next two years. A novella possibly, or a collection, but not a novel.

Sci-FI & Scary: Is your family supportive of your writing endeavors?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: Speaking my children, absolutely. They push me to do it for myself and not feel guilty. They help me tremendously. They are 18, 14, and 10. They beta-read my writing and offer the best view points back. They are happy for me, cry with me, and understand me. I’m so lucky to have them. They are all readers and writers as well. We are all very creative. I couldn’t have done Breathe. Breathe. or even “The Heart of the Orchard” without them, or Tim. Tim, my partner of 13 years, is also very supportive of my writing, especially in the last few years. In the past, I’ve picked up slack with the kids and home so that he could, for instance, go back to acting and perform at the local university in their production of Wizard of Oz, or even before that, I supported his endeavors on his novels and shorter works. I put all my energy into work and home. I spent a lot my creative juices doing things with my kids like going to the library, doing crafts, reading, baking, etc. in between work, and it was enough for me. But now, as they are older – still busy, but doing their own thing too – writing for me seemed to have said “it’s time.” And he’s been nothing but my biggest fan and picked up more home slack. He also edits my work which is a plus, as he’s been an editor for over 20 years himself. Where my strength is content editing, his lies in the rules and grammar, so we make a good team. As for the rest of either of our families, I don’t think we’ve been overly supported in our writing, whether for work or as a creative outlet or pursuit. We often feel like we always have something more to prove and just aren’t good enough. We are very misunderstood.

Sci-FI & Scary: We’re doing this interview because February is when we celebrate Women in Horror. You are entwined more deeply in the horror scene than someone who just writes and publishes would be. From your perspective, do you think the imbalance between men and women writers in the genre is getting better?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: Last year, I answered this question with a happy and resounding yes. This year, I feel everything has changed and it doesn’t make me feel good. I see the male authors, even clients, hugging and boasting and patting each other and being in these weird sort of cliques, at rate I’ve not seen before. I see them adding women on lists or a brief nudge on social media if a book come out or it’s February 1, but you know as a token one or two – always the same ones – and it feels sickening. It feels like all we did to say we matter too, because you shouldn’t see gender, all of a sudden has back-fired. It’s like coupled with the sexual harassment issues of time, they all got scared to support us or promote us or see our worth or even be our friends. It’s made me harsh and turned me bitter and made me a little bitchier than my normal happy, loving self. They know we write books, they know we are there, they feel they HAVE to support us sometimes, but it’s only because they HAVE to, not just because they enjoy our work.

This is how you read and promote and help women, you just read them second nature just like a man. You don’t only read your friends. You make it a non-issue. Does that make sense? It doesn’t seem to compute to so many and I am not sure how to fix it. I think there will always be this fear between sexes. Fear of women in general, low self-esteem, the need for buddy reinforcement, the need to not make your wife mad. But sometimes, honestly, it’s the other women who are the least supportive of other women, and that sucks too. Jealously, low self-esteem, and a host of other issues plays into this as well.

I feel sad it’s happening, but the world is in an uproar and it feels everywhere like it’s man against woman and woman against woman and basically all MEN for themselves, followed by the women who desire to be validated by men. I hope I don’t piss anyone off saying all this, but it’s the first time in seven years I’ve felt it, and it sucks.

Go to other genres I read, work, write reviews in – like historical fiction, and you won’t find this happening. All the women are supportive of each other and a good majority of the men too. But I do know this has always been an issue in the sci-fi and fantasy genres too. Too bad it’s horror. Some women will say it’s always been an issue. I was maybe blind, or too much friends with the male writers, but now, I feel alone as a woman. Ask me one thing I hate, and it’s a “good ole boy club” or a “mean girls clique.”

Sci-FI & Scary: Who are some of your favorite women horror writers?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: Of all time, I’d say Shirley Jackson, Daphne Du Maurier, early V.C. Andrews, Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Currently, I’d say Ania Ahlborn.

Sci-FI & Scary: What is your all-time favorite horror movie? What about horror book?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: I don’t know if I have a favorite horror movie. I only watch the suspenseful, psychological ones. Mostly my favorites might be Hitchcock movies. I liked The VVitch, Hush, The Invitation, and Silence of the Lambs. I watch more T.V. – all sorts of things, but I like things like Channel Zero, Black Mirror, Hannibal, and even Vampire Diaries.

As for a book, I always find it hard to pick one. I like elements from lots of different books. I am not a re-reader or re-watcher sort of person. I get a buzz from the initial encounter that’s not reproduced for me. I have a few favorite books in a wide array of genres. I’d say one of my top ten books of all time I like is Dead of Winter by Brian Moreland and that’s horror for sure! A must read, if you haven’t! Other favorites are: The House at the End of the Lane and Coraline by Neil Gaiman, Cradle Lake by Ronald Malfi, and by Stephen King, the book Dolores Claiborne and Duma Key first come to mind. I don’t know if this fits here, but I love books by Ruth Ware, which are more psychological thrillers. I’m a huge fan of Agatha Christie. I see horror in lots of different things, as well, things are horrifying!

Sci-FI & Scary: What do you think about the assertion that genre fiction isn’t ‘real’ literary work?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: I don’t know. Maybe before there was a difference between literary fiction and genre fiction. Maybe genre fiction authors felt snubbed by literary fiction authors. I think now there is a lot of blending. I think there are great literary works within genre fiction and published by small press. I am not a fan of anyone or any work fitting in a box, so I’m happy when people just write what comes out of them and not try to fit in a box.

Sci-FI & Scary: What do you have in the hopper now in regards to your writing?

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi: Currently, though going slowly, I’m working on poetry collection that’s water-based and a blending of styles and categories again (horror, fantasy, etc.). Water is huge part of what heals my soul and so much can be found in its depth, whether in streams or oceans or lakes or just inside all of us.

I had been working on a short story collection based on the works of Van Gogh, who is one of my favorite artists of all time. “The Heart of the Orchard” was initially meant for that collection, albeit a little different, so it took some elements from a story/painting there, but I’ve been very excited about it mostly because it simply makes me happy to work on it or think about it.

I’m writing a novella stemming from the Vahalla Lane series in Breathe. Breathe. – working through pieces of it to discover whether it will be a back story of one of the abused women, or the continuation of the story of one of the survivors who would now be considered missing or wanted for a crime OR whether it’s about the OTHER fourth neighbor who poked her head slightly out to me and said, “Hey, me too.” Or, I could end up writing both. I don’t know where it will take me, I don’t plan these things.

With passion, I agreed to be the guest co-editor with publisher Eddie Generous, of Unnerving, for a Gothic poetry and short story collection called Haunted are these Houses, for which submissions will open February 28 and run to April 28, culminating in a published anthology in September 2018. We will be mixing vintage Gothic poetry and stories with those by current talent.

I’d love to be asked to write stories and poems for more magazines and anthologies, but maybe I’ll have to write and submit ongoing, just to keep my momentum going.

Breathe. Breathe.

Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.

In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.

In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.

In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.

Amid these pages the haunting themes of oppression, isolation, revenge, and madness unfold through folklore, nightmares, and often times, raw, impulsive passion crafted to sear from the inside out.

With a touching foreword by the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk, Breathe. Breathe. will at times unsettle you, and at times embrace you. Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a veteran writer and editor of the written word, offers up a mixed set of pieces, identifying her as a strong, new voice in dark fiction that will tear the heart from your chest, all the while reminding you to breathe.

Amazon Purchase Link:

Also available via Barnes and Noble and other fine online retailers.


Al-Mehairi creates engaging characters and often has twists to her plots that make for a unique reading experience. The highlight of this section would be the story “Dandelion Yellow,” a magical realist tale about a young girl and her box of crayons. It’s a rich, colorful tale with a suspenseful build up and haunting ending. Overall, the fiction section of the book is very well done.” – Cemetery Dance Online

“Breathe. Breathe. is as honest and raw as writing gets. Erin bares her soul with these poems, particularly during Act 2 in which the verses take on a much more personal and reflective nature.” -The Grim Reader

“Breathe. Breathe. is a great collection of poetry and short fiction. The poems are dark and vivid. They touch at the core of the human condition. The poems are gritty and chilling. You can feel the doom and dread in each of the poems. Breathe. Breathe. is an emotional rollercoaster. The characters are troubled, and the author gives them just enough depth.” – Cedar Hollow Reviews

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi Biography, continued:

As an entrepreneur, she owns two businesses: Addison’s Compass Public Relations and Hook of a Book Media, in which she acts as a PR/Marketing Consultant, publicist, and editor for authors, publishers, and others. Besides her team of freelance authors she works with, she also handles marketing and PR for Sinister Grin Press, where she is also an editor, and works doing PR for Raw Dog Screaming Press as well.

A past Young Careerist of Ohio and Woman of Achivement Award winner in her community, she volunteers her time in the community and is the chairwoman on the board of directors for a local mental health center and rape crisis and domestic violence safe haven.

She is the mother of three school-aged children and a cat. She lives with her family in rural Ohio nestled in the forest—a place just ripe for nightmares. Her passions are reading, writing, book hunting, hiking, and entertainment such as movies/film, television, and music. Oh, and she bakes, because you can’t do any of that without cookies.

Erin is a co-host with her #MarketingMorsels segment on Project Entertainment Network’s The Mando Method, an award-winning weekly podcast for new and veteran writers.

BREATHE. BREATHE., published by Unnerving, is her collection and a mix of dark poetry and short stories and has been an Amazon best-selling paid title, debuting at #2 in Women’s Poetry and holding in the Top 100 best-sellers there and in horror short stories for the three months since publication. She is also featured in the anthology from Unnerving called HARDENED HEARTS, which published in December 2017. Her story “Dandelion Yellow,” from Breathe. Breathe., is also featured in the MY FAVORITE STORY anthology of the Project Entertainment Network, which published also in December of 2017. This year, February rings in with the publishing of her poem, “Chained by Love” in Enchanted Conversation: a fairy tale magazine. Currently, she is working on a new project as the guest editor for a new anthology coming from Unnerving this Fall, called HAUNTED ARE THESE HOUSES.

You can e-mail her at hookofabook (at) hotmail (dot) com and find her easily at You’ll also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest where she loves new friends.

Let’s Talk About It: Small Press Publishing

Almost since its inception two and a half years ago, Sci-Fi & Scary has supported independent (“indie”) authors. We define an indie author as someone who has either self-published work or gotten published through a small press. We review work from major publishing houses when it catches our attention, but we’ve found supporting indie authors to be a much more rewarding experience.

For this article we will be focusing on small presses, and the authors that work with them. Self-publishing will not be a focus.

It has been our experience that there is a lot of serious talent being represented by small presses, and the fact that these authors haven’t gotten picked up by the larger market presses can be attributed to one (or both) of the following things.

  1. Lack of luck in getting noticed (probably due to lack of representation by an agent).
  2. Work is too ‘edgy’ for mainstream publishers, who can be hesitant to go outside the ‘sure bet’ safe zone.

Small Press Publishing Banner

Small Press Publishing: The Good, The Bad, and The Cream Filling

Now, a lot of this article is going to focus on the challenges that small presses face and what authors need to know, but there are benefits to working with small press publishers. They range from simply avoiding the unfortunate stigma that self-published authors face, to the benefits of having access to the publisher’s established base of loyal readers, to the much quicker turn-around time for publication, rather than the year or more that you might have to wait with one of the larger presses., and more.

From our conversations with the small presses we worked with when researching this article, we think it’s safe to say that most of the challenges that small presses face could be mostly dealt with if they had enough capital. More capital would mean they were able to hire more staff, place more ads, and pay authors better than they currently are able to.

But, if they’re worth publishing with, they still strive to do their best for their authors, and by extension, their readers.

In fact, when I was interviewing Grey Matter Press, Crystal Lake Publishing, and Unnerving Magazine, I was pleasantly surprised by how similar the answers were to my question about how important was the presentation of their authors’ books to the public.

Tony – Grey Matter Press:

“I believe any product worth buying – in these case books – should deliver on its inherent promise to be high quality, accurate and error-free. There are thousands of reading options available, and when a buyer decides to spend their money on a given title they deserve a product worthy of their hard-earned dollars. A lack of attention to detail – something that’s often missing in self-published and indie press titles – also contributes to the negative impression among consumers of indie-published books in general, and the author in particular. This hurts us all. It’s important to me that Grey Matter Press treat an author’s work with the utmost respect […]”

Joe – Crystal Lake Publishing:

“Extremely. It shows respect to the author, the work, the genre, and the readers. Plus, it’s a very important step toward building a proper brand for Crystal Lake Publishing. Therefor it can affect sales right now and in the long run. My goal as publisher is to build a brand and for readers to trust our brand so they’ll keep coming back for more. I want readers to trust me and Crystal Lake with future releases, whether they’re familiar with the author’s work or not. Lots of our readers have picked up our new releases simply because they trust my judgement.”

Eddie – Unnerving Magazine:

“Presentation is very important. Authors aren’t proud when a publication looks like shit and I’m not proud if it looks like shit. The reader has to be impressed or the [they] won’t come back […]”

(Speaking as someone who has read works from each of these publishers, we can vouch for the veracity of their statements. They do seem to do their best to present very professional looking works.)

As previously mentioned, budget is a large challenge. However, as the guys pointed out, there are other challenges as well. One of the things that Joe [Crystal Lake] mentioned that made us think was that they face the challenge of their own reputation.

Obviously, the first thing that pops to mind is the battle against a negative reputation once it’s started to take hold. However, that’s not always the case. As a small press grows, and achieves some level of success with their works, the expectations that authors have of them grow. Joe puts it better than we ever could, so, in his own words:

“Success leads to authors wanting more…and expecting more. My job is to grow the Crystal Lake image and put our best foot forward, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have problems, setbacks, and tight budgets. We went from paying $30 a story to paying 5c to 6c a word in only two years. After recent successful anthologies (Gutted, Behold, and Where Nightmares Come From), some authors are now expecting 8c to 10c word. I’m a big supporter of authors and helping them write full time, but with so many presses closing down these days, my first responsibility lies with protecting the longevity of this press. Too many presses close down because they think paying more will result in earning more. Hope is the worst marketing plan in existence.”

Eddie and Tony [Unnerving, Grey Matter] both mentioned that one of the challenges was the reputation that indie authors have as a group. We believe that’s absolutely right. Speaking as reviewers, even though there have been a handful of well-known authors that have publicly demeaned reviewers and spoken badly about negative reviews of their works, it is indie authors that get the side-eye and caution when it comes to accepting their books for review. There are lots of reviewers that won’t even consider accepting indie authored books for review because of the chance that a bad review will lead to an undeserved attack on that reviewer.

We here at Sci-Fi & Scary have had lots of positive experiences with independent authors. But we’ve experienced the negative ones as well. And, unfortunately, a negative one can outweigh a hundred positive ones. One sci-fi author upon receiving a bad review of his post-apocalyptic book, accused us of being internet trolls, threatened to report us to Goodreads for posting our honest opinion, so on and so forth. We kept our interactions with the author as pleasant as possible, but it left a nasty taste in our mouth. To the point that we seriously considered changing our policy of accepting books from indie authors. [We decided to just go with public shaming in the future instead.]

Some of this is because most indie authors do not have a publicist to be the “middle-man” unlike the authors working with the bigger publishing houses.

And, circling back to Crystal Lake for one final concern, Joe noted that “a growing concern (with more and more authors choosing to self-publish) is proving to the authors that we’re worth the royalty cut we take. That we have the experience, contacts, and platform to help them be successful.” He goes on to say that (when it comes to self-publishers) “I’m a big fan of self-publishers, and actually recommend hybrid-publishing to my authors and mentees. By choosing to put one or two of your books in the hand of a reputable small press, you now have the opportunity of reaching new readers, reviewers, and perhaps even learning more launch techniques you can try in your own releases.”

Things to Consider as An Author

We asked William Meikle, author of The Ghost Club, Fungoid, Songs of Dreaming Gods (just to name a few), about his experiences with small presses because we had seen his work published from a few different ones.

What have your experiences been like with the various presses? Have you had drastically different experiences from one to another?

William Meikle: “The experience has indeed varied. Some know what they’re doing, are organized, plan ahead, pay on time and put out quality product. Others do some of those things well, and yet others do all of them badly.”

What is the one thing that you, as an author, would change about how the smaller presses work?

William Meikle: “Two things – Quality control is a biggie. Most of them skimp on editing, and it shows in the end product. I’d like to see more of them employing better, more experienced copy editors, for a start.

The other thing is money. Many of the smaller presses overreach themselves, bleed cash, and then spend money they don’t have to try to get back into profit. Then they can’t afford to pay their writers, and everything goes to the wall. The best ones stay stable, don’t make promises they can’t keep, and pay their writers when they say they will. They’re the ones worth working with.”

All Small Presses Are Not the Same

(No, we’re not just talking about the genres they sell)

First off, there are two major types of ‘small presses’. It’s important that the difference between the two is known.

Small Press  – Operates much like a large press. Authors/stories must meet certain criteria to be published with them; contracts are signed, so and so forth. Small Press can be niche, micro-niche, etc, but the basic similarities to mass market presses are there.

Vanity Press – A vanity press has no criteria to be met for publication. Anyone can pay to have a book published through them, no matter how abhorrent the subject or quality of the manuscript might be. Vanity presses sometimes try to ‘hide’ the fact that they’re a vanity press. SFWA has a good article on how to spot these wolves in sheep clothing.


We will be addressing issues with only traditional small presses in this section, because as a writer friend that’s fairly knowledgeable about the industry put it: “Vanity press is an entirely different ball of wax and there isn’t enough white space in the world to get into all of the issues there.”

We would like to think that everyone that started a small press was doing so because they loved books and wanted to be involved in the creation of books. And naturally, we also assume that they would want to do their best. Because, as bookworms, any job to do with books seems like a dream job, doesn’t it? However, that’s just not the case.

The simple truth is, just as readers, we’ve noticed a fairly large difference in the quality of small presses. And, from our talk with indie authors, we know that it’s a difference that they can see (and experience) as well. Where some of them will work themselves to exhaustion to make sure they are doing the best and most professional job that they can, others seem to only care about the money that they make now, regardless of their reputation in the long run.

From the presentation of their authors’ work, to their dedication to actually paying their authors the money they’re owed, to the way they interact with their readers, everything that a small press does matters, and should be taken into consideration.

Below, we’re going touch briefly on some of the most important bits.


(Cover art, editing, copyediting, proofreading)

As the publishers above mentioned, how your work is presented to readers is extremely important. A shoddily presented novel is, regardless of how exciting your story is, not going to have nearly the positive impact that a well-presented, professionally presented one will.

Cover Art

The importance of a good cover cannot be overstated. If the cover looks like someone worked it up with the 3D modeling and a Photoshop subscription that they got for Christmas two months ago, the chances of a reader thinking “This looks awesome!” is not nearly as high as you might think it is. The cover is the first impression, and a shoddy cover means a lot of people won’t even be bothered to read the blurb.

Editing, Copy-editing, and Proofreading

Editing: Making changes to the content of the piece. A focus on the big stuff, not the small details.

Copy-editing: Focuses on stuff like consistent formatting, accuracy of the text, spelling style consistency, etc.

Proof-reading: Spelling and grammar oriented. Typographical stuff. Suggests no major edits to a text.

This, collectively, is one that makes us want to bash our heads against the wall. If a book has been put out for people to spend their money on, we readers expect that book to have been – at a minimum – copyedited and proofread.  If we are expected to pay money for a book, and find it riddled with errors, it’s going to be a bad experience for us. Regardless of how good your story actually is.  As a reviewer, poor presentation means we’re automatically going to deduct a star from your rating.

An author’s book is like a job interview for them. You wouldn’t show up in shorts, no shirt, and flip-flops for a job as an executive assistant, would you?  Even if your CV was fantastic, you would be laughed out of the room if you were even allowed in the room to begin with.

And from sheer experience of reading several works from different small presses, we can tell you that some small presses put more emphasis on making sure you’re well-dressed for your interview. Whereas some of them just don’t seem to care, because hey, people are still buying their books, so it doesn’t matter too much, right? Your book is your interview, but they’re the jobs service responsible for getting you hooked up to begin with.

So, if you’re shopping around for a place to take your book, research (and by research we mean read books from small presses, and maybe reach out to some of the authors as well.) the places and make sure they present their clientele in a professional fashion.

Oh, and we mentioned this before, but it’s worth noting again: The turn-around on publication time with a small press can be much quicker than with the mass market press. However, don’t let the lure of seeing your book in print trick you into making a hasty decision. Some small presses can get your book out in 2-3 months, but your book can (and probably will) suffer the consequences. I know of authors who have turned down the reach afforded them by particular small presses just because the lack of care the press has exhibited with previous author’s works is not at an acceptable standard.

Representation and Responsiveness

Authors need to also consider the representation and responsiveness of the publishers that they are considering. To a certain extent, these go hand in hand.


When we were going through the updating process for our list of small press publishers of science fiction and horror, we were surprised to end up with about thirty publishers that could qualify. We – who read about 380 books last year – had only heard of about 6 of them.  And of the six we had knowledge of; two of them had somewhat tarnished reputations due to poor presentation of their author’s works and/or the ability to pay their authors in time and/or and in the amounts promised. The majority of them were complete unknowns to us.

By their active promotion of their authors’ works, small presses are also promoting themselves. It is important that whomever you choose has solid plans in place for marketing their books via ads, newsletters, social media presence, and so on.

As we mentioned in the beginning of the article, having access to the publisher’s established reader base is a fantastic thing. One of the things we appreciate about small presses, as readers, is that they often include a teaser chapter from an upcoming release by one of their other authors at the back of the book. There has been many a time when that has greatly influenced what book we get next.

Also, and this ties back in to an earlier remark we made about the reputation problem with indie authors, small presses have an easier time getting reviews for books from hobbyist and professional reviewers because they are a safer, more professional feeling medium to get review copies from. A good small press is going to cultivate a good, mutually-beneficial relationship with a group of good reviewers.

Good reviewers can address both the positive and negative aspects of a book and give a balanced review as a result. Including separating opinion from fact. This means even if the review is negative, some readers may decide to check the book out for themselves.

And speaking of reviewing brings us to our next point: responsiveness.


You want your publisher to be responsive to you, obviously. But you also want them to be responsive to the public as well. When readers (both reviewers and casual readers) have positive interactions with presses, they remember it. Likewise, when they have negative interactions, they remember that too.

Some small-presses, like Grey Matter Press, Crystal Lake Publications and Unnerving Magazine, are incredibly responsive. Others have all the responsiveness of a teenager on their phone with their significant other. No matter how many times you poke, prod, politely inquire, you’re just not going to get a response.

Why is this problematic for you, as an author? As stated above, having multiple book reviewers talking a new release up is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to reach a wider pool of potential readers. Small presses have limited funds to spend on ads. Reviews – positive or negative (constructively so) – cost virtually nothing if the reviewer has been given an e-book ARC.

Also, sometimes we catch errors/goofs – sometimes rather large ones – in books. In those cases, when we have a concern about something, and would like to quietly whisper in the publisher’s ear that Houston, there’s a problem, rather than putting it in – say – a review, but we get no response, where does it get said? In the review. (Circling back to the editing issue with that comment.  Not going to lie.)

A ‘bad’ small press is nigh unto impossible to communicate with. Whether we’re reaching out as readers, or potential reviewers, it doesn’t matter. As reviewers who have been around for a few years now, we understand that publishers sometimes have requirements for whom gets their review copies. This is perfectly understandable, and most of us can take a ‘no’ in good grace and move on. Maybe we’ll come back to the press when we do meet the requirements. However, being blatantly ignored is a frustrating, negative experience. There is no reason for it, and that lack of reason leads to an understanding that this press is one we don’t want to bother with in the future.

On a High Note

One of the nice things about going with a ‘good’ small press, is the fact that as an author you have someone, non-family or friend, to cheer you on. A good small press is heavily invested in their author’s success and will be there to encourage and support you in the ups and downs that come with trying to get people to read your books.

You are part of a community when you’re with a small press. You can team up on anthologies, promote each other’s work, learn from the more experienced, and be part of the team that welcomes new authors into the fold. Once you’re part of the small press team, you represent them just as much as they represent you.

So, What’s Most Important?

In closing, we asked Tony, Joe, and Eddie what they thought was the most important thing an author looking for a publisher needs to keep in mind when shopping their novel (or short story) around to small presses.

Tony – Grey Matter Press:

“In one word: reputation. While it goes without saying an author needs to find a publisher that’s a good fit for their work, it’s even more important to also partner with an ethical small press whose reputation has the ability to enhance the author’s own brand.

When I talk about reputation it goes far beyond the ethics of those running the press. It includes everything we’ve been discussing: the ability to properly edit and develop a high-quality, error-free product; to package the manuscript in a manner that’s marketable, professional and visually competitive with titles released by the Big Five; to support the product with appropriate marketing skill throughout the lifetime of the work; and to partner with a publisher with a track record that indicates they’re not likely to close their doors anytime soon, leaving the work in limbo and, possibly, unpublishable in the future.

There are thousands of authors seeking publication but making publishing decisions shouldn’t be entered into lightly and without proper research. I realize passion and excitement at the prospect of being published can sometimes cloud one’s vision. But there’s nothing worse an author can do with their manuscript than to place into the hands of a publisher that doesn’t treat it with the respect it deserves.”

Joe – Crystal Lake Publishing:

“Just like with short stories, don’t take rejection personally. Understand that our schedules and budgets really limit how many books we can accept. Taking on too many books in a short period of time exhausts our resources and support base necessary for a successful launch. With too many books lined up we’ll eventually start spending less money on marketing per book, which will result in poor sales and a press eventually closing down due to too many expenses.

It doesn’t matter how great your book is, it’s just not a guarantee. There’s a reason small presses only have an open sub periods every now and then. We can get up to 300 pitches but will probably only be able to accept five to eight new projects (especially if we offer an advance on royalties). So, don’t think that just because it’s a small press it’ll be easier to get accepted. Great titles can be turned down simply because we can’t expect you to wait two years for the book to be published.”

Eddie – Unnerving Magazine: 

“Does this publisher print my kind of story? AND, am I fit as human being? The first is easy: Read a few publications or stories and understand what a publisher likes and prints. The second can be more complicated. I’ve worked with authors who – after the contract was signed – acted as if they were doing me a favor. If you feel like you’re reaching down as an author, don’t submit, just walk away […]”

Small Press Survey Banner

We would like to thank Grey Matter Press, Crystal Lake Publishing, Unnerving Magazine, William Meikle, and J.B. Rockwell for their assistance and input with this article. Stay tuned for the publication of the full interviews from the three publishers. (We would have included them here, but this got a bit long.)

Check out Grey Matter Press at:

Check out Crystal Lake Publishing at:

Check out Unnerving Mag at:

Check out William Meikle‘s work at:

Check out J.B. Rockwell’s work at:

The Zanna Function by Daniel Wheatley #BookReview

Title: The Zanna Function | Author: Daniel Wheatley | Publisher: Jolly Fish Press | Pub. Date: 2018-3-20 | Pages: 304 | ISBN13: 9781631631689 | Genre: Fantasy | Rating: 5 out of 5 | Source: I received a free copy from Netgalley for review consideration

The Zanna Function

When fourteen-year-old Zanna Mayfield gets an acceptance letter from St. Pommeroy’s School for Gifted Children, she jumps at the chance to put her considerable intellect to good use. But nothing can prepare her for the first day, when she discovers that she is a Scientist —one able to see and bend the basic functions of the universe like velocity, gravity, and chemical reactions to her own purposes.

As Zanna struggles to make friends and learn how to use her abilities at her new school, her troubles multiply when a mysterious stranger begins stalking her, dead set on keeping Zanna out of St. Pommeroy’s. If Zanna has any hope of finishing her first year, she’ll need to master every function she can get her mind around—including the one that defines Zanna herself.

Book cover for The Zanna Function

The Zanna Function

You know how a really great book will make you do one of those sighs of satisfaction that start from somewhere near your toes after you’re done? The Zanna Function was one of them for me. Its hard to sort out my thoughts on the book because I don’t think I’ve quite returned to the real world yet. So, bear with me for a somewhat rambling review.

I described this book until about the halfway point as “Harry Potter – but a girl – with science instead of magic”. And, honestly, I feel like that’s a fairly accurate summation of it. And not a bad way to recommend a book at all, in my opinion. Look, I skip around with middle grade stuff. I’ve read Harry Potter, of course, and Percy Jackson. So I know that ‘the special school for gifted/different kids’ is a fairly commonly used thing. I know that for the first part of the book, I was unconsciously comparing the characters in the books to their Harry Potter equivalents. And I also know that I moved past that fairly quickly. Like many books, much of The Zanna Function is familiar. However, a good writer can take the familiar and turn it into a story that still feels engrossing and enjoyable. This is where Daniel Wheatley excels. 

The Zanna Function has a fast pace, solid dialogue, and just enough hints of teen hormones to engage its intended age range. The author spent just enough time on the world-building to give us a watercolor of what St. Pommeroy’s looks like, and it was fascinating. I loved the set-up, the mishmash of buildings and the chaos of ridiculous irons everywhere. It felt like a hidden world that could have been set at any time in the future.

I loved, too, that the characters were the curious, the intelligent. It’s not magical ability per se, but a thirst to take things a step further. To learn and learn and learn some more. (Okay, yeah, there is an element of special ability to it, but still.) That there was a hidden place for children who needed an environment that was meant to push them to their limits. It says something about my opinion of today’s society that a book about a place where kids with special abilities in math, physics, and chemistry need a protected place to learn resonated with me. When common sense feels decidedly uncommon, when people to choose to believe things that we proved wrong centuries ago, it’s hard to maintain hope for the forward progress of humanity. When we know better, when we could do better, and we don’t. Yes, part of me could very easily believe that the people with the thirst for knowledge and the push to know more could face a modern day version of what Giordano Bruno went through.

There are problems, though. Ones that I hope get rectified in later books. Zanna’s friends don’t stand out in any particular way. The author skims scenes that the potential to develop the relationships between the school mates. He also skips through large chunks of time for no apparent reason other than just wanting to move the story along. And, while part of me did appreciate the ending, I have to wonder if most readers are going to get it. Basically, Zanna (and her relationship with her grandfather) is interesting, the world has a good foundation in place with great potential for later, but where some of the story is a finished painting, the other parts are still a rough sketch.

Overall, while I’m willing to admit that The Zanna Function does have it’s issues, I’m still sticking with a 5* rating. Even if the writing was a bit rough, the story itself still swept me away. You’ve got to give this a shot.

Buy Link: Amazon

A Focus on the Frightful – Blood in the Water: Snark Attack

A Focus on the Frightful Banner

Blood in the Water: Snark Attack

I’ve been a bit serious here lately so I thought I’d lighten things up a bit. I know there is no way possible to get to all of the movies we’ve seen so If you guys enjoy it Snark Attack may turn into a monthly feature on A Focus on the Frightful. Even though I love some of these movies to death they are not without their faults. I’ll try to stick to plot holes and things that just don’t make sense in general. I may point out a goof or two here and there but don’t worry. I’m not one of those that will say “Oh, this bird was not in this area during this alignment of the stars so that feather in the background should not be there.” If it is a book to movie adaptation I will confine my snark to the movie itself. Although, a more thorough book to movie snark, uh, I mean objective comparison, of course, might come in a later post.

I’m also very lazy and I’m just going to assume you’ve seen them all so I’m not going to give each of them a synopsis. You can hover over the movie cover to get the synopsis if you need a refresher. The movie covers will give you good markers if you would like to skip to the next movie without having the previous one spoiled.

Please keep in mind that this is all in good fun and I love most of these movies to death. There will also be spoilers for the following movies: 1408, The Awakening, Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2,

So get out your yellow rubber floatie and Snark Cage and let’s dive in!


I’ll get to whether or not this is a good adaptation or not in a different post. The movie for the most part is creepy and John Cusak is great in the role of the disaffected, cynical Mike Enslin. There is one thing that has always bugged me. To give it credit it is not the only movie to commit this egregious sin. During one of the rather lengthy “Room screwing with Mike” scenes there is a part where he is actually out of the hotel. for what seems like a few months. But, alas, he’s not and he’s sucked back into the room’s evil grasp. I really, really hate when the captives have seemed to escape the building that holds them, only to find out they were there all the time. Yes, it’s probably only in his head but…dammit! You can’t be in a hospital, on a beach, walk around all over and still be inside a hotel room! One of the other movies that pulls this (in a worse way) was Grave Encounters 2. The creepy laptop call between Evil Room Mike and (maybe) mike’s wife however, is creepy as all get out.

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

The Awakening

I really do love this movie. If you haven’t seen it please skip this, watch it, then come back. It’s heavy on atmosphere and the acting is excellent. There are a few parts, however…

The first, and again, this is not confined to this movie solely, is an early scene in which Florence Cathcart (Rebecca Hall) reveals a medium to be a fraud and the medium is duly arrested. As Florence is feeling pretty good about herself the elderly lady that the medium was preying on spits in Florence’s face for ‘stealing her hope’. I honestly hate scenes like these. I, personally, would rather spit on the one preying on desperate people rather than the one who exposed the fraud. But, people are weird so who knows.

One of the smaller scenes worth mentioning is when Robert Mallory (Dominic West) comes to hire Florence to investigate the boy’s school. He meets Florence in her sitting room and she, knowing it is going to be a business meeting is dressed very casually in a men’s suit. Which, ok, she’s modern and defies conventions of dress for the period, cool (the fact that she looks dead sexy in it doesn’t hurt much, either). However, she does not wear a suit coat with it. She also perches in some weird spots while they’re talking. It strikes me as odd since she is presented as being professional enough to work with the police and her odd seating choices and not wearing a coat with her suit strikes me as odd. We’ve already picked up on the fact that she’s unique and intelligent, no need to shove it down our throats to the point of absurdity.

There a few other parts that aren’t exactly plot holes and maybe I just wasn’t sharp enough to figure them out. Obviously Robert has his former military unit hanging out spectrally with him. Am I wrong in thinking that Florence’s fiancee was a part of his unit or what? There are some lines that make it seem so but…I don’t know. Anyone have any ideas? The ending always threw me as it is unclear whether or not Florence dies. It seems as though she throws up the poison and lives but at the end people are talking around her like they can’t see her? Any ideas?

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2

This movie got such a bad reputation upon release. I, personally, think it’s a pretty damn good horror movie. Much more creepy than a lot of the movies you find in theatres lately * cough * Blair Witch * cough *. The only parts I don’t like are where the studios meddled with it. Such as the very obvious clips of the murders interwoven throughout the movie. It kind of takes away any sense of mystery or suspense at the end. There are some parts that are very creepy when you’re watching it but later don’t make a lot of sense within the overall plot.

Some of it’s character-wise such as we’re never told what Jeff’s issue is (I’m guessing some kind of paranoia, going by his actions in the movie) or why he would kill Erica. There is one slight incident when they’re partying when he hints that he wouldn’t mind sharing her sleeping bag and she turns him down but by and large he doesn’t seem into her enough to kill her over a very slight rejection. It actually would have made more sense for Stephen to have killed her since there was obvious sexual tension there. There’s also no reason for Erica to lie about where she’s from except to create ambiguity about her character. And, on another note, I’m guessing either someone really liked the way she looked naked on film or she was more comfortable doing those scenes because at their witch orgy she is shown a lot compared to Kim. Just an observation, take it as you wish.

Another thing that is never explained, especially if the director was aiming for a more ambiguous ending, is the presence of the police files. It heightens the mistrust among the group but if it’s supposed to be a witch/no witch ambiguity the files could only have gotten there (and known well enough to recognize later) if there were some supernatural shenanigans going on.

Another, slightly less pressing issue, is where all of their accessories came from for their witchcraft orgy? At the bare minimum there’s a skull that pops up (between Erica’s legs) that doesn’t seem to be anything any of them brought.

Small Sci-Fi and Scary Divider

This actually turned out to be a much shorter post than originally planned due to a medical emergency so I can guarantee you’ll be seeing another next month. Let me know down below if you guys caught anything strange in the above movies whether it’s a goof or something that just doesn’t make sense. I look forward to seeing your comments!