Darkness Rising is the latest novella from author Brian Moreland, who has written a diverse slate of supernatural horror stories over the course of the past few years. I believe I have read most of his works and my reason for coming back is because his tales are vivid with a healthy dose of gore and grimness that splash across the pages in bright, primary colors.
Darkness Rising starts out as a somewhat traditional revenge tale, or so it seems to lead in that direction initially. Naturally, it takes its fair share of dark turns that lead the reader far astray from its original intent. It is clear that our main character, Marty Weaver, who is a janitor at a local college, is a sensitive soul who has been trodden upon one too many times and is ready to take out his anger on three sadists who catch him reading poetry next to a lonely, quiet part of a local lake while he pines for the woman he loves.
Of course, the author has something else up his sleeve and the story takes several wicked twists and turns. The sadists in the story are real pieces of work, reminding me briefly of the villains in the movie “You’re Next” thanks to their use of animal masks and their lust for pain and anguish that they heap on their victims.
Marty is a likeable character, someone who is easy to root for. While the author pulls no punches when it comes to what he must face (as well as memories of a tragic past that won’t let go), he is provided with the opportunity to release the darkness that resides inside him, as the description of this story alludes to. This leads us to an even darker tale, one where revenge is still wafting through the air, but in ways that even Marty cannot fathom.
All in all, this is an entertaining, quick read, though I had a desire to see certain elements expanded upon-including the ‘dark artist’ aspect of the horror that is revealed to Marty. His backstory is an interesting one, and Moreland has a deft touch when it comes to crafting creatures built out of nightmares. The love story aspect of the tale is perhaps a bit fluffy, for lack of a better term, though not too cloying or maudlin given what horrors the reader and Marty have to come to grips with throughout the rest of this tale. This is a fun, horrific story of revenge and regret by an up and coming author.
Darkness Rising can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Darkness-Rising-Brian-Moreland-ebook/dp/B00Y05TVUG/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
I guess if I had waited a day I would have seen the link for the new anthology from Evil Girlfriend Media, Roms, Bombs, and Zoms. But I was excited and had to share the cover art. Well, I’m going to do that again, but this time if you click on that cover art, you will be directed to Amazon where you can purchase this wonderful new anthology (complete with my short story “Until The End”) for the low, low price of $3.99. 21 authors writing about stories with those three little words driving the tale.
Check it out:
Dedicated to all those clueless in romance,
dropping bombs without intent,
and for those brave zombies of heartache,
who love and rise again.
When hearts rot, fuses ignite.
Super geek gets the girl, a righteous preacher and his undead wife, fantastical zombies, the tantric art of zubbing, mindless hive workers, and traditional flesh eating walkers, this anthology has a bit of everything. Our twisted tales pull you into the darkest of darks, where hope is lost, and sustaining life is no simple feat.
Twenty-one authors congealed romance, bombs, and zombies into stories that are diverse, witty, and occasionally gut-wrenching. Travel through time to walk in alternate histories, visit magical realms, and face down pestilence that will literally rot your insides. This collection is sure to warm your cold, dead, heart.
Earlier this year, a friend requested that I take a look at a new publisher and the anthologies they were looking to publish. She was going to be editing one of these tomes and thought I might want to try my hand at the writing a story for it. Evil Girlfriend Media is a new publisher of novels and anthologies and the book my friend thought I might be interested in submitting a short for was intriguingly entitled “Roms, Bombs, and Zoms.” In fact, it was clear that EGM likes titles with three rhyming words. Other anthologies they have coming out: “Stamps, Vamps, and Tramps” and “Witches, Stitches, and Bitches.”
The criteria for writing a story for Roms, Bombs, and Zoms was simple. It had to include those three concepts: Romance, a bomb of some sort (literal or figurative), and of course, my favorite slouching dead things, zombies. Simple, huh? Well, not when you aren’t used to writing romance. Sure, I’ve written about relationships in my stories and even have a story written that has a bit of an erotic slant to it, but romance? This was a new genre for me to tackle. So of course, because I am always up for a challenge, I proceeded to come up with an idea and write a story….but not until about two weeks before the deadline for submitting a story occurred. I was able to squeak in under the wire with my submission, which was a bit longer than what the publisher would have liked (thank God for editing!), but there you have it. I had written my first romance. I guess the fact that the story also had zombies in it was like a security blanket for me…because, you know, I have this thing for zombies. No, my story does not have zombies falling in love, but they serve as a very traumatic backdrop to the love story I created. More shocking than the fact that I had written a romance was that my story was accepted. Honestly, I didn’t know I had it in me, but you are a better judge of that than me if I truly did with this effort. My story is called “Until The End” and I am quite happy with the results. I hope you are too.
Today, EGM released the cover for Roms, Boms, and Zoms. It is very sharp and has wet my appetite for the book itself. I am looking forward to the book’s release, which will be next month. I will share the links to where you can check this book out via Amazon and elsewhere once it is released. But for now, check out the cover and stay tuned for more details!
Not too long ago, I was approached by an author friend of mine with a request to help promote their new fantasy novel on my blog, which I did, happily. I tend to write reviews of horror novels, but I thought that since I am a big fan of fantasy as well I would also read her book, and not just promote it. So here is my review of her book, which I would say fits nicely in the realm of young adult fiction, with both fantasy elements as well as a bit of horror-with werewolves and vampires playing a prominent role.
Charming Incantations: Enticed tells the story of Lisa, a young woman whose parents were tragically killed in a fire, which thrusts her into a world she never knew existed: one with supernatural creatures that expect her to do her part as the surviving heir to the human representatives on a council that works to keep the world safe from darkness.
While the story provides a prolog explaining the alliance between the six races: human, werewolf, vampire, shape-shifter, witch, and banshee, the first chapter of this tale bypasses Lisa’s initial realization of what she must do or any revelations she has that there is an entire world that has been hidden from her. Instead, her tale begins with her knocking on the door of the meeting place of the six representatives of the six races. There she meets the five other generals, or leaders of the armies that hold back the evil known as goblins from taking over the world. One of them, Romulus, the leader of the werewolves, will take her in and protect her from danger until she can be trained to protect herself and take over her duties as a leader.
Lisa faces a great deal of challenges, not the least of which is the fact that she is falling hard for Romulus while she is trying to grasp this new world that surrounds her. She fears these supernatural races but must come to terms with them all so that she can insure that her status as protector of humanity comes to pass.
This tale is part romance and part fantasy adventure. There is magic here, and I am sure there will be passing comparisons to Twilight, but this is a tale on a far grander scale. Lisa is learning about this new world as we learn about it, and is forced into battle even though humans are deemed the weak link in the alliance. She cannot raise her own army of humans because the secrets of the other races must be kept, so the burden is even greater for her than for her counterparts. In some ways, this is a coming of age tale as well, with Lisa doing her best to find her place in a world that is scary, exciting, and quite dangerous.
This is the first book of what I believe will be a series, but this story can certainly stand on its own as a tale of a young woman coming into her own in a world filled with both dangers, delight, magic, and mayhem.
Charming Incantions: Enticed can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Charming-Incantations-Enticed-Monique-Snyman/dp/0987874721/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1336631184&sr=1-1
Breakdown is the story of Chris, a man who has lost everything in his life, as the world around him spins out of control. A worldwide pandemic has killed many and set civilization back several centuries as all we take for granted goes away seemingly overnight. After his wife and young daughter die from the plague, Chris sets out on a slow, arduous journey to return home to England, across the ocean from where he lived in New York. The story is not necessarily of that journey, but of the journey that takes place after he returns home to the remnants of his family-a brother who had no idea if he was alive or dead, an old mate who his relationship with was damaged long before the plague came about, and other new faces, including new people who attempt to help Chris heal. He has seen what the world has turned into during his travels-barbaric and wretched, and there are experiences he had that have shattered him emotionally. It will take a great deal of kindness and patience to allow Chris to come to grips with who he is and what he has become, and a dedicated and persistent person willing to take that journey with him.
This is a post apocalyptic novel, true enough, but not the type that I would typically pick up. I did so at the recommendation of a friend, and while this is different than what I am used to, I can’t say that I have any regrets reading it. The author is a solid storyteller, developing her characters in slow bits and pieces with reveals that are satisfying and plausible. The broken down world, as well as the broken down man that inhabits it, provide ample opportunity for her to give us just cause for Chris’s brooding state. He is troubled, but I didn’t get the urge to tell him to get over it-his losses, and sense of regret for what he believes he didn’t do are real, tangible, and identifiable. Chris is no different than any of us would be, or at least any of us would try to be, if we wanted to maintain some sense of humanity despite living in a inhuman, monstrous world.
I liked the setting where the things we take for granted-speaking to someone over the phone, being able to drive to see someone 70 miles away from where we live in about an hour or two becomes impossible, and everyone is closed off from those more than a mile or two away from them. Life is rough, and difficult, but in many ways much simpler for the folks that live in it. They do their chores, the grow food, they milk the cows, and on occasion they remember how easy they had it, and hope that the technology will return, and that the world will come together again. But they fear the world around them, still worried that the plague may revisit them, and trust very few outside of their own circle of close family and friends.
While I guess this book could be defined as a post apocalyptic romance novel, I would venture to say that it is more of a character study, with the relationship coming about naturally, slowly evolving as Chris learns more about himself and accepts who he is and what he has been forced to do ever since the world turned brutal and went dark in the early days of the plague, while he opens up and discovers things about those around him-how they too have suffered, and that he is not alone, no matter how much it feels that way.
For anyone who has looked at any of my reviews, they will know this is perhaps not my normal type of book that I review, but I have to say that this is a story definitely worth checking out for anyone who likes PA fiction with strongly drawn, compelling characters.
Breakdown can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Breakdown-Katherine-Amt-Hanna/dp/1461093791/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312750908&sr=1-1