Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Teeth

This is a short story with a twist- the same story is written by multiple authors!

The forward explains that the challenge was issued to set a record for the most authors to co-write a story. Eleven authors answered the challenge without really knowing how or when things would end.

So what story emerged from the minds of Kala Godin, Stuart Conover, Jacki Wales, Nickolas Furr, H.R. Boldwood, Catrin Rutland, Martin Reaves, Roy C. Booth, Jo-Anne Russell, Wesley R. Irvin, and Cynthia Booth?

It was a dark and stormy night (cliched, but effective at grabbing one's attention) when the gauntlet is thrown down. Kill or be killed. Win and bring about the new ways or lose and suffer the consequences of the old ways remaining.

There can be only one and it certainly isn't that darn Chester.

The story is a snack sized tasty bit of terror that blends multiple minds together in a satisfying way.

Ride or Die: Devil's Highwaymen MC #1

Ride or Die is the first entry by Cee Cee Riley in her Devil's Highwaymen series.

The story centers around Jesse and Laney. Jesse is the son of the MC's president and Laney is the daughter of a club member. Their story is told via dual POV and time skips to highlight key parts in their life.

For Jesse, this starts with witnessing the death of his mother. For Laney, it starts with her walking in the door of the clubhouse, swearing at her father the whole time. Both have the same thing to overcome- mothers with sketchy pasts and fathers who don't seem to know how to act around them.

Jesse has embraced the MC life and Laney has embraced Jesse. There are ups and downs, but the straw that breaks the camel's back for these two is Jesse cheating. Jesse thinks Laney deserves better than him, but cheating is not exactly the way to go about telling someone you think they need to go free.

Part of the reason Jesse thinks Laney deserves better is he has to take a closer look at his life after his brother is killed on an errand. Jesse feels responsible for what happened and his father is more than willing to allow him to think this, with the reason why pretty obvious.

But things aren't always what they seem and things just need to be dealt with.

The newest entry will be released at the end of October, so now we sit back and wait to see where we go next.


Sunday, October 8, 2017

Year's Best Body Horror: 2017 Anthology

We start this anthology with a word from Shane Ramirez regarding the overall topic of body horror. Comes complete with a top 10 of body horror movies!

Slobber- Shaun Avery starts us off with a guy hosting an entity that helps him stay fit, but for a price. Then again, even revenge comes with a price.

Eruption- Charlotte Baker gives a tiny tidbit about being sick.

Devil's Tears- Shadrick Beechem's Al has access to the most addictive substance. Too bad he gave the novice the expert dose.

An Angel Among Us- David Beers tests how far people are willing to go for their faith.

Human-Kings- Austin Biela proves we are our own worst enemies. We have no choice.

Wrigglers- Chantal Boudreau shows how nature finds nasty ways to do us in. And that you really should listen when someone says they aren't feeling well.

Little Monsters- Ed Burkley's futuristic look into botany comes complete with plant misunderstandings.

Tom's Thumbs- K.M. Campbell invests some time in a demon that wants to flay and play. The demon has to bide their time since nothing is going according to their plan.

Family Dinner- A. Collingwood makes the most of dealing with family. After all, we'll all be meeting them soon.

The Itch- Stuart Conover's take on modern medicine makes it really hard to trust those small town doctors and their ointments.

The Blind Assassin- Damien Donnelly's creation sees to the end of it's creator, just because they wanted to make a better mousetrap.

Flesh- James Dorr's experimenting.......snack time!

A Normal Son- Spinster Eskie displays the depths of a mother's love.

Gas Mask Baby- Santiago Eximeno documents a trip to hell to retrieve something precious.

Human Body- Balazs Farkas finds that all the answers we seek will drive us to madness.

Fresh Face- Tarquin Ford's ghastly horror show has a cooking segment.

Meet The Wife- Ken Goldman shows how far someone is willing to go for their beloved.

Madman Across The Water- James Harper's Gregory learns that karma comes complete with Christmas music.

Mantis- Kourtnea Hogan's tale shows why protection is always necessary. All kinds of protection!

Cicada- Carl R. Jennings starts off by letting us know he's not crazy. Sorry, but phantom itches and murder suggest otherwise.

Tetanus- Chris Vander Kaay gives an example that the greater good outweighs what's best for one entity.

Grub- Alexander Lloyd King gives a really good reason why you should probably skip dinner if your ex is a little out there.

My Love Burns With A Green Flame- Thomas Mavroudis pops in to warn about home improvement in homes where the neighbors warn you about the greenery.

The Face In The Mirror- Sean McCoy has a Dorian Gray experience, sans portrait.

Porphyria- John S. McFarland tale of friendship has an oddly happy ending.

Things- Rick McQuiston's tiny tidbit involves zombies and shovels.

The Flesh Gardener- Jeremy Megargee's tiny tidbit has an evil form of gardening.

Ear Wax- G.A. Miller's tiny tidbit entry has an interesting way to be kicked out of your own body.

The Face- Kurt Newton's Edwin has been spending way too much time with translations for his new pet.

Battleground- Drew Nicks shows the horrors of war aren't limited to the battleground.

Whizz-Bang Attack- Sergio "ente per ente" Palumbo's zombies appear as man made experiments.

The Always Watching Eye- Gary Power delights in the creative process necessary to bring a book to life......in a manner of speaking naturally......

Hot Flashes- Jenya Joy Preece has a tiny tidbit about literally melting.

The Implosion Of A Gastrocrat: An Experiment In Autophagy- Frank Roger documents self-cannibalism with a completely accurate take of what would happen in the aftermath.

No Strings- Josh Shiben's has a literal earworm.

Babel- Ian Steadman describes why what happened to the Vegas of space needs to remain in the Vegas of space.

A Pound Of Flesh- Edmund Stone's artwork is more realistic than expected.

Conditioned Apocalypse- Aric Sundquist gives a good idea of what will really happen if we're invaded.

Length- David Turton teaches us to be careful what we wish for because it could possibly take out our co-workers.

Natural Growth- M.B. Vujacic offers a new take on the dangers of augmentation.

Utter No Evil- Joseph Watson prompts us to always make sure we clean all festering wounds and make sure they don't start interacting with us.

Down Where Her Nightmares Dwell- Sheldon Woodbury wraps things up with a little note about why you shouldn't taunt people who look different than you.

And there you have it folks- an collection of the ways your body can betray you, you can betray it, others can manipulate it, and so on. So what have we learned today?

Cheers!

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Weird Ales 3: Last Orders

Before you ask why I'm starting with three when the first two weren't covered, well that's because I didn't know about the series until an author I follow posted they had a story in this anthology series.

Now that we have that out of the way, the forward is a delightful mix of beer references and history tidbits about beer. Last call is given and lock ins are denied, so it's time to get under way!

The Last Hangover- Jonathan Butcher gives a glimpse of what happens when you decide to act like a complete twat because you're unhappy with the way life has been going and force that on others.

Uncle Bernie's Liquor Cabinet- James Newman talks about a special liquor cabinet with some interesting items. Don't know what was in it, but it sure had a kick.

The Queen's Head- Calum Chalmers tells us about Roger, his Oban, and the Grim Reaper.

Yeast Beast Bitter- EM Eastick shows a unique perspective on how new brews are created. Revenge is a dish best served in glass!

The Dunwich Cold One- Stuart Conover introduces us to Janet. Janet works at the local watering hole that just took on a local brew. It comes on tap with effects.

The Bitter Taste of Death- Christopher Mark Stokes teaches us not to mess with beer. Never know what's protecting it.

The Things You Remember- Shane Porteous has ghost beer. It literally has you seeing shit you weren't expecting. And over there is a dead hooker.

Tenebrae Dark- Josh Reynolds doesn't have shine. Doesn't have anyone sniffing around for distribution rights either.

Alcoholics Anonymous- Marc Kadushin's Greg is a tavern owner (minor detail) and bartender. The bigger issue is dealing with a pissed off angel.

The Master Brewer- Daniel Hall offers up the newest brew, but tradition ensures no one gets to see the process up close. Respect must be maintained after all.

Psychopomp and Ceremony- Gav Thorpe winds things up with a story about going too far to take care of your broken heart. We all have choices, but you need to make sure you fully understand the weight of your actions before you follow through.

So that's it, all the beer is gone, and it's time to go home! Take care and mind that first step. It's always a doozy.




Saturday, September 30, 2017

Treasured Chests- A Zombie Anthology

The purpose behind the cheeky title of this anthology is they're using it to raise money for breast cancer care in the UK. Let's face it, no matter what goes bump in the night or howls outside your window is no match for finding out that your body has turned against you and the uphill battle that comes with it.

The anthology kicks off with a foreword written by Diane Coughlin. You think you're reading the start of a horror segment, but you're actually getting a little history lesson. With thanks and love given to those who helped make this possible, we're off to.....see........erm.......let's just get on with the zombies.

Invasion A- Peter Mckeirnon start us off with a story inspired by an Adam and the Ants song (no, not that one). Fi is an entertainment worker in an area that has no rules. She expects her night at work to be the same as always, but some nasty little visitors put an end to that idea.

Run from the Dead- Marc Moore brings us the newest gaming sensation! Can you survive what you created? Or is it possible you could find yourself in a neon soaked hell hole for a while.

Adam's Birthday- Claire C Riley's entry is about Adam. Adam is celebrating his birthday, complete with bouncy castle and chocolate cake. And monsters. And blood. When is Mommy coming back?

Not The Main Character- Devon C Ford's protagonist shares how things have gone downhill and the realization they aren't going to be the hero of their own story.

A Flash of Light in the Darkness- Marilyn Peake provides another side of how people would react to the sudden outbreak of zombies. Leave the old life behind, start a new life, and find out that you've just been avoiding fate.

Scarecrows- David A Simpson 's survivor makes their living finding things in what's left of the world. A chance encounter leads him to find something unexpected that might help on his journey.

To Walk the Halls- Rebecca Besser shows why hospitals in the early days of the outbreak are going to be a very bad idea.

Last Night- Christopher Artinian has the outbreak going on at a concert.

Judgement Day- Ricky Fleet's zombies don't know the meaning of repent. Then again, would any zombie?

Wolfe in Dead Clothing- R.L. Chambers found an interesting use for cigarettes.

Beginning of the End (Garage Survival)- T.D. Ricketts shows why it's just not the zombies you have to watch out for when the world ends.

Bobbies Boobies- Grivante injects some comedy into the situation with glass eyes and boobs.

Insomnolence- Valerie Lioudis decides to teach some survivors what happens when you try to turn someone into a sacrificial lamb. Vroom vroom!

Concrete Jungle- M.R. Wallace gives a complete lesson in the new law in the new world. To the victor go the howls.

Karakyuza- Kevin J Kennedy's warriors decide to hit the reset button. Beats the alternative!

Slayer- Andrew Lennon proves that pans will be pretty handy when it all goes down.

Zombie Granny- Steve Higgs's detective finds themselves in a mystery where the reason behind the crime makes about as much sense as cursed lawn gnomes.

Betrayal- Jaime Johnesee's entry is an interpretation of "curse your sudden inevitable betrayal."

Flesh- Stuart Keane sears the image of Kermit spunk into our brains while welcoming death.

House of Dead Repute- Matt Hickman's Jake gives a very short glimpse into how the world's oldest profession is surviving.

Excuses- Stan Yan's cartoon is a cute little entry about why homework couldn't be completed. Deported indeed!

What a great collection of stories for a great cause. Cheers to everyone who contributed!


Friday, July 21, 2017

The List

The List is the debut novel from Shannon Walters.

The story centers around Sara and her survival during the first days of the zombie outbreak. It doesn't start with Sara though.

The story starts with a little boy having nightmares and his father trying to convince him there are no such things as monsters. Totally plausible until the father gets the phone call that makes him realize that he's been lying to his child.

It's not clear how much time lapses between monsters being real and our introduction to Sara as she works in her garden. Sara's husband, Rob, yells for her and at first she thinks that he has gotten into a fight with their neighbor again.

Problem is there is a fight, but not in the usual manner. Something is horribly wrong with the neighbor and during the interaction, it's become clear he's attacked Rob. A potentially nasty situation is sidelined by a well placed gopher hole. Sara calls for medical help and for now, she remains blissfully unaware of the bigger picture.

The problem is the neighbor was infected. The neighbor infected Rob. Rob ended their family.

After a short period of understandable insanity, Sara gathers herself, some necessities, and begins her journey to find anyone she cared about. Her list. Her reason to continue.

In quick succession, Sara learns just how quickly things have gone downhill.

Finally, a ray of hope arrives in the form of Sara's friend, Heather. Both women are thrilled to see one another and after a fun outing in a deserted mall, they're off to find more hope in the form of Heather's father and a lost love. It winds up being a 50/50 deal- they find Heather's love, but her father wasn't so lucky.

Realizing she needs to continue finding her own hope, Sara leaves Heather with her love in a safe place.

Sara's hope comes in at 50/50 as well, but she comes to realize there is someone else she has to make sure is alive- herself. (it's not as hokey as it sounds!)

Great debut! Can't wait to see if there is a continuation in the story of these characters!


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Dead of Winter

A.M. Rycroft opens the anthology with a forward regarding anthologies. Why do some places think anthologies need certain themes to drive them?

My theory is some publishers might want to force writers to consider topics or come up with ideas they maybe didn't consider before OR it lets a writer know their limits, and subsequently the reader's limits, regarding suspension of disbelief. Mine is zombified kumquats. The idea of sentient fruit that can die and come back to life to attack others is so out there.....oops, got off topic....

The idea of this anthology centered around the notion of dark fiction. Not necessarily the stuff that churns your stomach or causes sanity to be questioned, but an exploration on the items that go bump in the night. Or that mistake you made that will haunt you or experiences that scar us for the remainder of our days.

THE DARKNESS HAS TEETH- Our dark fiction journey begins with Pamela Jeffs, who gives us a tale of time travel. This isn't the happiness you found in Back to the Future, kids. This is living with the horror of what your actions cause. Demons are powerful and painful things!

THE HUNTRESS OF BUR- Justin Chasteen tells of a robbery gone wrong. There are just some people you don't mess with. Too bad Gligk and his companions learn this lesson in the most painful way possible.

FRY MACHETE'S MONSTERS, MUNCHIES AND MAYHEM- Stuart Conover introduces us to Fry Machete, a Nom Network host. Fry has become completely weary with his job and wants out. Too bad what he's become leads him to commit actions that will render that decision impossible.

ONLY IN DEATH- Zoey Xolton's Amara is a woman who knows she's trapped in a gilded cage. She knows she has to escape, not only for her safety and sanity, but her child's. Amara's plan to escape to the light fails, but she manages to find her freedom and safety in the dark.

THESE CLAWS DIG SHALLOW GRAVES- Kevin Holton's protagonist personifies what drives him to his misdeeds as a spectral female form. He must kill to keep her at bay, so he does not blame her, same as he does not blame himself. She is the only light he needs after all.

SLIPPED STITCH- KT Wagner shows a world like our own, only with a little more violence and this leads to questions. What happens when what you valued before slips and another feeling slips in? Do they truly deserve better or do you need to find a new way to deal with your knowledge?

SPOTLIGHT- David J. Gibbs gives another take on Thanksgiving traditions. Sure, you gather with your family in order to celebrate all the traditions that have been handed own over the years, but do you stop to consider any of the old traditions? The ones used to deal with what came with the settlers. Times change, but the old ones don't acknowledge that.

COYOTEMAN- Robert Perret's narrative reminds us it's a bad idea to pick up strung out hitchhikers. And if you have to pick them up, don't take them somewhere where there are drugs. And if you have to do that, beware of murder and the woods. On second thought- let the hunt begin!

THE KILLERS- Meredith Schindehette's story has a ditch. Broken people who can't be saved go in the ditch. Jamie finds someone in the ditch who isn't broken. They didn't stay dead, so how can they be broken?

Annabel Lee- Erin Kahn wraps things up with a ghostly tale of yore. Sadly wrapping, sadly tapping, run along the lane to your door! Sadly, Annabel Lee is no more.

What great fun we had today! This is why anthologies are great things to read. It doesn't matter if you've heard of the writers or there's a central theme. It doesn't even matter if you liked everything written or found every story amazing because all that stuff is subjective.

The key thing is the stories you read and the author's words sparked some sort of reaction and get your imagination running (even if the theme is sentient zombified fruit).

The Trumpening: Twilight of the Golden Menace

The Trumpening: Twilight of the Golden Menace is brought to you by the mind of Tim W. Long. Before you go all crazy happy thinking he made Trump into one of the undead, well, that didn't happen.

Although knowing our luck, Trump in zombie form would.....ew....

The Trumpening is a tongue in cheek look at what over inflated egos would turn the country into if given half a chance. The sad thing is, it's totally believable. Yep, a glimpse into the Trumpocalypse.

Meet Andrew. At first, he's a happy little Trump drone, but then reality happens.

Meet Carlos Danger. That's not his real name, but why ruin the surprise?

Meet Nate and Leona. Proof you can't suppress brilliant minds.

Meet Alec. It's exactly what you think it is and it's awesome.

Meet the team that will find a way to end the Trump shenanigans (trumpnanigans?) and get everything back on track.

Find yourself on a wacky adventure full of twists, turns and pornstaches! It's a great read. It's an amazing read. It will make reading great again, you'll see.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Hunger

The Hunger, a short story written by Guy Riessen, follows Sir James on his trek to "acquire" something for his employer.

When we meet Sir James, it's on a train. We learn he likes killing and equates its ease to eating crumpets with marmalade. (side note: if you don't know what a crumpet is, google it)

The first distraction on Sir James's trek for his acquisition comes in the form of Michael O'Shane. Michael claims to specialize in lead poisoning and shows Sir James he's a wanted man. Michael proves to be a diversion, a rival agency wanting to slow Sir James down, but Sir James quickly settles it and continues with his journey.

Upon his arrival, we learn that Sir James has enlisted the help of a couple locals to help him track and trap a Wendingo (google it, you won't be sorry).

And this is pretty much where it all goes sideways.

Can't go any further without spoilers, so let's just stop here and call it a day.

Overall the story is a bite sized bit of fun that can be used to ignore people during your morning commute. Unless your commute involves driving. Don't e-read and drive, folks.

Toodles!