Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The Little Book of Horrors

The first time I read anything by Lacey Lane, it was her short about psychotic pumpkins with a penchant for murder and mayhem. I loved the story and the writing style and also loved how it gave a delicious scare- just enough scare without going slasher bait.

Then Lacey began tweeting about the follow up she was working on- The Little Book of Horrors. When I heard the title, I got the song "Little Shop of Horrors" stuck in my head, but that's mostly just how my mind works and how catchy the title sounded. Enclosed within is three tiny terrors designed to delight, so let's begin!

Karma's A Psychopath- What happens when a complete and total dick adopts a tiny marmoset? Bad fashion and exploitation. Scotty is purchased by Stefan to be nothing more than a money making tourist trap. This keeps up until Scotty has had enough and expresses his frustration. Through this, Stefan meets one more ways than one..............

Bloodlust- What happens when your dance class has another side to it? Anastasia and Tatiana take up pole dancing as a means to get a good workout. Anastasia really takes to the classes and the instructor, who grants her a reward. Tatiana, on the other hand, doesn't quite make it that far.

The Monster Within- What happens when you try to find easy street? Rhoda is an aspiring writer who decides that there's not enough hours in the day to work a job and write, so the obvious thing is bag a rich one and off them. Just when it looks like the plan might actually work, Rhoda learns that shiny packages aren't always the best.

Enjoy these tiny tasty treats responsibly!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Paying the Ferryman

Paying the Ferryman is a collection of stories where the authors to bring us their take on what the afterlife might look like. The forward written by Hal Bodner is really entertaining because through his fascination with the macabre and being expelled from school, he explains how his views changed over the years and invites the reader to jump in and enjoy the tales of pushing daisies crafted by these authors. Please climb in and see where the river takes us!

Death Blossoms- Brian W Taylor starts our trip with a story about limbo. Styx likes to play games with those who cannot pay Charon for passage and the encounter Armando has is no different. He, along with other recently deceased people, are told if they can make their way to a coin, something good awaits them. Human nature at its finest ensues, but Armando proves that while we all make mistakes, basic human decency is not totally gone. Although you really shouldn't stop to smell those flowers.

Thirty Days In Hell- Rick Scabrous asks to to consider for a moment that Hell is real and is a giant game show that you have to survive. Damion chronicles his journey through this game and once he gets his reward, he does something a little unexpected. Just how did he pull that off?

Side B- Silas Green shows death has a sense of humor about technology. Aaron tries to remember what happened that night. What happened to Lora. All via cassette tape. For all eternity.

Afloat- D.S. Ullery introduces us to Steven. Steven is revealed to be an alcoholic jackass who's been beating his family. Imagine his surprise when he wakes up not understanding what's going on around him and learns he's died. Imagine his surprise when he learns just how much of a bitch karma really can be.

Malefactor- Melodie Romeo's serial killer, Mick, decides he doesn't want to be dead. He wants to live on and keep killing. Satan isn't happy about this and sends minions out to collect Mick, who decides screw that and finds a new body. Bad idea.

There Will Always Be Hell To Pay- Diane Arrelle gives us Hilda, a miserable wretched excuse for a person. Good thing she's just doing what she's paid to do while climbing the corporate ladder.

Purgatory- Bryan Best's wanderer in the Void is doing their best to survive in the afterlife the best way they know how- meeting interesting characters and their ulterior motives. Run!

Pandemonium- Tanya Nehmelman's is trapped in a loop involving a car, a blond kid, weird people on porches and spiders. Wait.....what was that noise?

Seven Minutes- Mariesa Inez guides us through the last moments of Gretta, who is seeing herself in a way she doesn't understand. When the realization sets in, she has only seconds to get out what she needs to say.....and it's certainly nothing about that darn cat.

I Am Human- Rachel Hogan lets us meet Grady Harman, who straight up tells us he's human. However, he soon learns otherwise, but does not embrace what he learns. Regardless of what his future is supposed to hold, he is Grady Harman and he is human.

The Memory Remains- S.H. Roddey's Sarah is stuck in a bad day. She loses control of her car during a storm and goes into the ditch. Luckily there are people kind enough to take her into town......

Maze Walker- Jenner Michaud is pursued by ThemThey like to remind about the evil that is done daily. They won't let anyone forget. You keep going, but can never get away.

Eden In Spring-Scott McCloskey shows a garden, but it's not the type of garden that Derric ever thought he would be a part of, he believed, he thought he would be saved. Derric will be waiting the longest for what he's done. Everyone else has disappeared.

Eternity- Heidi Lane presents her version of the afterlife via Rowan, an addict who has recently overdosed. The reaper tells him to pick a tunnel to see what his version of hell will be. His version involves clowns with an uncanny ability involving balloon art.

Black Tooth Grin- Armand Rosamilia spins a ghost tale about Gilmartin, a musician with killer taste in music. Gimartin becomes aware of what he's become and what he needs to do to make it back on the stage, but first, learn about what Dimebag taught him.

Above The Pay Grade- Brian Fatah Steele talks about those who guide us to where we need to go, so long as we don't give into the despair of those who surrendered themselves. If you can keep your hope and heart, then you can make it, but reminding those of their own situations might be above someone's pay grade.

The Boatman- Eric I. Dean has a conversation with while riding in the boat. They discuss many topics- Charon's career, what happens to the various people who try to cross without Charon's help and other topics. By the end, what needs to happen becomes clear and the life of the boatman continues.

Repetition- Herika R. Raymer wants us to consider that when it's time that we don't necessarily learn anything new. We have what we learned in the existence that we completed, but we reset so we can continue to learn and the madness it can create.

Two Coins- Lee Pletzers has limbo taking place in a desert where Charon has minions and they're really a bunch of assholes. All Dion wanted to do is survive in limbo, but the minions couldn't leave well enough alone. Hope it was worth it!

The Mai'Tas Prophecy- Jerry E. Benns wraps up our journey with the idea there are creatures hunt the things that go bump in the night and those creatures have a chosen one to protect them. Instead, we get Michael, a run of the mill garden variety asshole.

And with that, our journey has come to an end. Did you pay? Oh my.......

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Zombies and Chainsaws (The Dead Rise Book 1)

This book popped up as something to check out while I waited for an anthology to be released in e-reader format. The premise sounded interesting: 4 guys from small town in Iowa venture to a small town in Missouri and encounter the walking dead.

Blogger's Note: Had to Google the city in Iowa and I'll be honest- I damn near kicked myself when I realized how close it is to where I call home in Iowa. The city in Missouri I already knew because I grew up a couple hours away from it.

The story starts off in Adel, IA and most of the action takes place Sedalia, MO. For the map impaired- Adel is roughly 30 minutes away from Des Moines, IA and Sedalia is roughly 90 minutes away from Kansas City, MO. Consult Google Maps if you're not certain where Iowa and Missouri are located. But moving along......

Meet Jude. Jude is a widower scraping by with a tree removal service and raising his 4 year old son with the help of his sister-in-law. Via his former employer (cheapskate with his ex-wife working for him), he gets offered a job to travel with his crew to Missouri to help clear out trees after a massive storm. After a little haggling (thanks to the ex-wife cluing him in to the cheapskate's bottom line for this contract), Jude and his crew are on their way.

At the same time, we're introduced to Phelps. He's the president of a chemical company in Sedalia and after a late night phone call, he shows how much he lacks in ethics. He brings in a couple of lower ranking individuals to get rid of some waste from his company before he's visited by the government and told how his company will need to get up to par with EPA standards, something he says will bankrupt him.

The lower ranking individuals come up with the bright idea to take the chemical leftovers to the cemetery in town because "it's only visited twice a year," (they obviously don't know how death works) and would be the easiest place to dump the stuff without anyone noticing.

We never get to learn what's in the chemical compound, but the dead sure seem to like it because soon they're sprouting up faster than most weeds and they're on a mission- find living things and make them dead things.

Cut back to Jude and his crew. They're in a bar celebrating a job well done and how they'll be getting back on the road home the next day. Attempts are made to enjoy the local "culture," but in a couple of cases, it falls short (but lingering memories and general personality faults are the blame here).

Through various incidents, what happened out in the cemetery spills into town and it's obvious that a couple things need to happen- they need to get out of town and the government needs to be made aware of this. Jude notifies the CDC and the crew work on the getting out of town part. Getting out of town with zombies milling about doesn't prove to be a simple task, compounded when it starts to rain and complicates the situation further (don't drink the kool-aid!)

The CDC arrives, but not in a smooth fashion (not their fault. you witness the same thing and see how calm you'd be!) and we're off to the races to find out the source of this mishap and just how far this is going to go (remember how evaporation works? remember what happens when evaporation happens? and that's how the world ends.)

After a little legwork and a few casualties, they bring the town's zombie problem to Phelps and start working on getting out of town. While successful, they know the storm brewing and set out to notify others.

And this is where we leave this version of the impending zombie apocalypse. Should be interesting to see where the story goes- Does Jude make it home? Does the world take the news seriously? Does the chainsaw wind up with a clever nickname?

Guess we wait to find out! See you next time!