Writer of Horror Fiction

Archive for October, 2011

Soul Survivors Hometown Tales: Volume 1 is out!

Knight Watch Press brought together a community of writers to create stories of their hometowns and the apocalypse.  Essentially, the mandate was to craft a story with one of the last living people after things fall apart or extinction event occurs.  We could use pretty much any humanity annihilating excuse to see how fun, or how scary it could be under those circumstances.  So my little story, “Love Thy Neighbor” takes place in Cincinnati, but the same thing could happen in any town, any city the world over.  I can’t wait to get my copy of the book to check out the rest of the stories-the reviews I’ve read thus far are quite complimentary.  And what’s even better is that a second volume of stories is due out early next year, with even more world toppling excitement.

So check out Soul Survivors Hometown Tales: Volume 1 over on Amazon, or where ever you can get your hot little hands on a copy!  Click the picture to head on over to Amazon.

Review of Brian Moreland’s “Dead of Winter”

Dead of Winter takes place in a fort in the Ontario wilderness in 1878.  Inspector Tom Hatcher has been called in to solve a mystery surrounding strange murders involving cannibalism and a plague that seems to be turning its victims into ravenous creatures that both look and act inhuman.  Tom has come from Montreal, where he dealt with a cannibal of a different sort-a serial killer who murdered street walkers and devoured their flesh.  He managed to capture that madman, and tossed him into prison.  Now it seems a new killer is following in that maniac’s footsteps out in the backwoods.  At the same time, back in Montreal, Father Xavier, an exorcist, has been called upon to cast out the demon possessing the serial killer that Tom Hatcher caught while the man rots in prison.   These two men’s paths intertwine as the mystery at the fort grows deeper and more people end up dead or worse, transformed into savage monsters, both in mind and in body.  It is up to these two men to discover what is behind the plague and stop it before everyone else ends up dead.

Dead of Winter is a horror-mystery that intertwines both of these elements with ease.  The author also intermingles Catholic beliefs in demonic possession and exorcism with the traditional native tribal beliefs of evil and good spirits, and does so quite deftly.  The interesting thing is that the way the story is told, the two elements don’t clash or conflict with one another, but seem to make sense as a natural blend.  Evil is evil, whatever it is called, and you need whatever resources you can collect to combat it. The culture, religious faiths, and historical elements of the story are well researched, and my first guess was that the author must live in the region, since he knows so much about its tribes and history.  So I was surprised to find out that Mr. Moreland lives in Dallas according to his bio (though I suppose that doesn’t mean he isn’t originally from Canada).

I enjoyed the detail to which the characters were developed and the depth they were given.  They are revealed inch by inch, divulging enough details that they kept me intrigued without revealing too much, too soon.  The reveals are intriguing at each turn and the author was willing to give the reader a surprise with a startling turn of events fairly early on in the story.  Elements like that are unexpected, but welcomed despite the sense that an author has zigged when you might expect him to zag.  At least for me.  Characters like Tom Hatcher and Father Xavier are definitely not cookie cutter-there are plenty of reasons to both like and dislike both men, and to really feel what they are going through as they face this nightmare both on their own and with the rest of the cast of characters.

I have not read anything else by Brian Moreland, but if his other works are this well researched and well crafted, I look forward to checking them out as well.  Dead of Winter is a great story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

You can find Dead of Winter here:     http://www.amazon.com/Dead-of-Winter-ebook/dp/B005LYIDUY/ref=sr_1_2?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1319692214&sr=1-2

Zombidays-Festivities of the Flesheaters, has been released!

This one was a long time coming, but I am thrilled to announce the release of the anthology, Zombidays, Fesitivities of the Flesheaters, from Library of the Living Dead.  These stories revolve around the undead (naturally…er, I mean, unnaturally) with different holidays as the backdrop for each story (Ho! Ho!…Ho?).  My story, “What A Fool Believes” has to do with…you guessed it: April Fool’s Day!   Nothing better than prankster zombies!

This anthology is already up on Amazon, so check it out there.  You can head on over by clicking on the picture below.  I myself am looking forward to diving into all the different tales from a slew of great authors who know how to craft a good zombie story.  And there is absolutely nothing wrong with mixing zombies with firecrackers, Halloween candy, or a few candy canes!  Just shove an Easter Egg in to each of their eyes…it might not kill ’em, but it’ll sure blind them!

So give it a look, and buy a few copies as stocking stuffers for Christmas…or even to give the kiddees rather than candy on that holiday coming up in a few days…but you better hurry if you wanna do that!  But I would prepare for your house to be egged, because this book is full of tricks…well, and a few treats as well, heh.

Review of Tim Long’s “Beyond The Barriers”

Erik is a man witnessing the beginning of the apocalypse.  As he watches the world crumble on his television, he decides that his best bet is to gather up some supplies and head out to a friend’s remote cabin in the woods.  He can hunker down there, live off the land, and hope that somehow, mankind figures out a way to defeat the undead that have been devouring the living.  After a harrowing trip to the local WalMart where he sees the undead starting to pop up all over, Erik manages to make his escape.

Months later, out of food and desperate to find out what has happened to the rest of the world, Erik returns home, only to have his worse fears realized, and far worse…because the zombies aren’t the only thing that have it out for humanity.  There is a whole new breed of the undead that have risen from the ashes of the apocalypse: ghouls.  And these creatures aren’t only ravenous for human flesh; they are intelligent and devious as well, having become the leaders of the mindless zombie hoards in their quest to destroy humanity.  But there are still survivors, and Erik hooks up with a group of them.  His journeys grow more harrowing with every step he takes, and the ghouls are there at every turn, plotting his, and everyone else’s, demise.

Tim Long has upped the ante on the traditional zombie novel with Beyond the Barriers.  He has created a new breed of undead and a new form of terror for fans of the genre to come to grips with.  The ghouls are an enemy with more than just a mindless desire to kill, but a twisted, evil desire to create a hell on earth.  I just wish that as intelligent flesh eaters, one or two might be able to resist their all encompassing need to annihilate all that they once were-human.  For now, they all seem uniform in their desire to destroy, but I know that the author plans at least one more book, which may reveal more behind the meaning of this new form of undead, and also reveal how evil they truly can be.

As I always try to do, I like to be fair and point out any quibbles I might have had with a particular book.  The book, which is a first person narrative, has Erik contemplating and pondering on the horrors that surround him more than I felt was necessary.  The nightmarish images of the world around him and the endless terrors he faces speak to those horrors loud and clear, and were far more compelling than his words on the subject, which crop up with a good frequency.  Even so, his reactions to this insane world felt natural.  I would probably act no different…that is, assuming I lasted all that long and didn’t go mad with fear.  And again, this is just a minor quibble, but one I felt it only fair to point out.

Even with this slight criticism in mind, this is a fast paced, entertaining read, and I look forward to the next book in this series.

Beyond The Barriers can be found here:  http://www.amazon.com/Beyond-the-Barriers-ebook/dp/B005VT7F0I/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1318989127&sr=1-3

Monster Librarian Reviews “Beyond The Dark”

Monster Librarian has been kind enough to review all three of my books since their release.  I honestly am not sure how long ago they reviewed Beyond The Dark, but the website indicates that it is a new review, so hopefully not too long ago.  Sometimes I miss these things as I continue to get older and forget to swing around and check out the different website out there I like to peruse on occasion.  But it was worth the wait when you get comments like In a time when zombie novels seem to outnumber all the other types of horror stories out there, Beyond The Dark stands out. I have no problem recommending this book.  And I have no problem urging you to check out the full review.  Unfortunately, it either doesn’t have a direct link or I am too much of a goober to figure it out, but either way, you can head to their main page at http://www.monsterlibrarian.com/main_page.htm, click on the ‘Book Reviews’ header, then click on ‘Adult Horror Fiction’, then ‘Zombies’ and viola, you’re there!

Much thanks to Erik Smith, the reviewer assigned to check out all three of my books for Monster Librarian.  I appreciate the time he took to check out the entire trilogy.

Living Dead Corner Reviews “Comes The Dark”

Mike Gardner, an up and coming zombie novelist in his own right, spent some time giving Comes The Dark a thorough, and honest review.  I value reviews like this, because they find the good and the bad and speak genuinely about both, in a constructive fashion.  I can always appreciate that, knowing that my books are far from perfect.  So check out Mike’s great review here:  http://livingdeadcorner.blogspot.com/p/living-dead-corner-reviews.html.  Also, be on the look out for his reviews of the other two books in the trilogy, coming soon!

Review of Stephen North’s “The Drifter”

The Drifter takes place less than a century in the future, and is a story about a hired gun who begins the tale taking us through his latest job, while memories of a past that was more sane and more appealing (both to him and to the reader) floats through his head.  Mace is the man’s name, and he is obligated to a crime boss by the name of Cap Leto, who has put him on what amounts to a suicide mission.  Not that the anti-hero main character seems to care much, because his soul feels as if it has rotted away inside of him.  Bitter and dispassionate, he goes forward with his job with little remorse, though with many regrets that began long before this story takes place, and are only compounded by what he is forced to do.

As our killer manages to make it through his mission still breathing, though bloodied and bruised, he decides that the opportunity to start over with a program offered by one of the mega-corporations that have off world colonies is his best bet.  They offer a memory wipe and a chance to scrub the dirt off your hands and your soul.  Unfortunately, Mace doesn’t appear to get the full treatment, and on top of that, the colony he ends up somewhere uptime is in a state of disarray.  Bombs have been dropped, mutants are running wild, and gangs of marauders are running the place.  On top of that, it seems that plenty of people know who Mace is, and are very interested in taking advantage of his unique talents as a hardened killer.  But Mace has other ideas in mind, especially when he meets up with a woman on the run who he decides is worth protecting and fighting for, no matter how difficult it may be to keep her safe and alive.

The Drifter is a faced paced, present tense tale about a man who is part futuristic cowboy and part knight errant.  Mace lives by his own code, even in a universe that seems determined that he get sucked back into the dark world he used to inhabit time and time again.  The story is hard to pin down, since it has a noir-ish flavor to it, with a touch of Blade Runner thrown in.  In addition to that, it has an apocalyptic edge as well.  Mace travels a world that has been turned upside down by massive destruction and it has an almost wild west feel to it.  It almost seems that there is always something more, something hidden from his vision, just around the corner, and it is hard to guess at who he can and should trust at any given moment.  The character is fun, ballsy, and brash, and it was easy for me to grow attached to him as he tries to come to grips with memories that have faded alongside those that haven’t, which include most of the ones related to his dark past.

A fun, rock ‘em, sock ‘em tale, North has created a character that I hope to see again…and again.  Mace is a hard case on a mission, and God help anyone who stands in his way.

The Drifter can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Drifter-Stephen-North/dp/1466312807/ref=sr_1_59?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1317608443&sr=1-59

Look What I Found on Amazon!

This is sort of a repeat of a previous post, with a minor tweak.  Look What I Found, from Norgus Press, is now available on Amazon!  My short story, “VRZ”, can be found within its pages, along with a bevy of other wild tales of found devices and unique and magical items.  My tale deals with virtual reality and the extremes one man will go through to experience the ultimate deadly rush.

Here is the description from the back cover of the book:

We spend our lives going through our paces surrounded by things of magic and mystery, but sometimes choose not to open our eyes to see them. The world around us still has places that are yet to be discovered. There are people that we pass on the street that are not what they seem to be. There are objects with untold powers that are only waiting to be found. We train ourselves to look at the norm.
The stories within this anthology examine those mysteries and the excitement of discovery that awaits those who dare to tread. The members of society that look a little deeper. Those who long to say, “Look What I Found!”

Just click on the image from the front cover below to be sent on over to the website link.

Review of Dane Grannon’s “Lucky Streak”

Lucky isn’t so lucky…at least that is what I thought at the beginning of this first person narrative entitled Lucky Streak.  He has been rescued, or perhaps captured would be a better word for it, by the military, after getting attacked by a zombie.  He has already taken a drug to resist the effects of the zombie infection, and while the military monitors his progress in dealing with the viral battle going on inside his body, he is asked to tell his story, being told more than once that the information he shares could help save lives.  That is when the real story begins.

Lucky, aka Barney Pinocle, is an eighteen year old kid who has a rap sheet, spending days of his misspent youth getting caught for various heists, some of which he was guilty of and others he was not.  Lucky is a good kid though, and with a father and two aunts in law enforcement, they have watched out for him and also given him tips to avoid getting caught (unintentionally).  Lucky’s tale in flashback begins with a heist he is pulling off, stealing a valuable antique from a local home.  He describes with pride how he avoids getting caught, and works with his partner, Snake, to fence the goods once he has made his escape.  After that, Snake is nervous about getting caught on another job, but Lucky needs the money after helping out his neighbor with her rent.  You see, Lucky is a good guy despite his bad habit of stealing.  Before and during the second heist, there are hints being dropped about the impending zombie apocalypse, but they are fairly subtle, and wouldn’t make someone who wasn’t completely paranoid too concerned.  But when both Lucky and Snake get busted for the heist, and zombies start popping up all over the place, all subtlety is gone and hell breaks loose.  Lucky manages to escape, holding out at a campsite that is pretty far removed from civilization.  He outlasts the zombie invasion in hiding, returning to his hometown of Hutchinson, Kansas, to find many of the people he knew and cared for dead, but his parents, and the girl he had a crush on, still alive.  But as Lucky finds out soon enough, the zombie menace is far from over for him and the rest of the world…

The author has created a story that moves along at a quick pace and gives us a chance to really get to know Lucky, who is just trying to make his way in the world both before and after the zombies come.  He is a thief, but a good guy who helps those in need.  He lives up to his nickname, Lucky, on more than one occasion, but it would seem given his overall circumstances, his luck isn’t all that it is cracked up to be.  The story is entertaining and an easy read, and I was able to appreciate a story that comes from close to my neck of the woods, since I grew up in Kansas City, Missouri, not too terribly far from Lucky’s stomping grounds.  I’ve probably only passed through Hutchinson, where most of the story takes place, once or twice in my life, but I could tell that the author has a good grip on the layout of his hometown and uses that to his advantage in this story.  Overall, this is a fun and entertaining tale of one person’s life and times during the zombie apocalypse, both during the first wave of undead as well as the second.

You can find Lucky Streak here: http://www.amazon.com/Lucky-Streak-Dane-Grannon/dp/1936730073/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1317575237&sr=8-2