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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: Horror, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 223
26. Book Review- Say Her Name by James Dawson

Title: Say Her Name

 Author: James Dawson
Series:   N/A
Published:  5 June 2014 by Hot Key books
Length: 240 pages
Source: publisher
Other info: James has also written Cruel Summer, Hollow Pike, Being a Boy and This Book is Gay. He’s also done a few interviews here.  
Summary : Roberta 'Bobbie' Rowe is not the kind of person who believes in ghosts. A Halloween dare at her ridiculously spooky boarding school is no big deal, especially when her best friend Naya and cute local boy Caine agree to join in too. They are ordered to summon the legendary ghost of 'Bloody Mary': say her name five times in front of a candlelit mirror, and she shall appear...But, surprise surprise, nothing happens. Or does it? Next morning, Bobbie finds a message on her bathroom mirror...five days...but what does it mean? And who left it there? Things get increasingly weird and more terrifying for Bobbie and Naya, until it becomes all too clear that Bloody Mary was indeed called from the afterlife that night, and she is definitely not a friendly ghost. Bobbie, Naya and Caine are now in a race against time before their five days are up and Mary comes for them, as she has come for countless others before...
Review: Bobbie Rowe does not believe in ghosts. so when another girl dares them all to summon Bloody Mary, she's fine with it. And she's fine to start with. But the next door, a message appears while she's in the shower: five days. Over said next five days, Bobbie realises that she, Caine and Naya are actually possibly in trouble  and they have five days to find a way out before Mary comes  for them.
I read this because I love James Dawson's work and horror so a proper combination of the two was bound to be something I'd look forwards to.
I really liked the friendship between Bobby and Naya. The romance between Bobby and Caine was good too. All three of them worked really well together. I also liked the way characters came in for a couple of chapters, played their part, then left. This plays out very much like a horror slasher ghost film. I like it.
I love the fact that Mary gets a great story. Villain back-story is always something I love, and the one James wrote makes you really feel motional for Mary. Also, I may be a horrible person for liking hr even more after the last page. but that was a great ending- lots of clever little things coming together, one very unpredictable twist, and a final parting shot.
James' style is, as in Cruel Summer, informal, full of pop culture ad  modern references, and very funny, more so than you typically find in horror. but the horror is definitely there in scenes with Mary, and lingering  when she isn't. 
This isn't the absolute scariest thing I’ve ever read-that title still belongs to Koji Suzuki and Ring which was completely terrifying. But this is up near the top, with tension rising and falling in a two steps forward, one step back approach. And it also succeeded in making me scared of mirrors at night.

Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a really good teenage horror story that will hopefully bring more horror to the shelves.

PS. For more UKYA horror, check out Georgia’s post about it. 

0 Comments on Book Review- Say Her Name by James Dawson as of 4/17/2014 8:07:00 AM
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27. Call for Submissions: NonBinary Review


NonBinary Review, the quarterly literary publication of Zoetic Press, wants art and literature that tiptoes the tightrope between now and then. Art that makes us see our literary offerings in new ways. We want language that makes us reach for a dictionary, a tissue, or both. Words in combinations and patterns that leave the faint of heart a little dizzy. We want insight, deep diving, broad connections, literary conspiracies, personal revelations, or anything you want to tell us about the themes we’ve chosen.

Literary forms are changing as we use technology and typography to find new ways to tell stories—for work that doesn’t fit neatly into any one genre, we’ve created a separate category to properly evaluate submissions of a hybrid or experimental nature.

Each issue will focus on a single theme. Upcoming themes:

Issue #1 (June 2014): Grimm’s Fairy Tales

Issue #2 (September 2014): Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein

We are a paying market--1 cent per word for prose/hybrid work, $10 flat fee per poem, and $25 flat fee for art.

For more detailed guidelines, please expand the guidelines box of the genre you’re submitting to on our Submittable page.

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28. Call for Submissions: Rose Red Review

Rose Red Review is now accepting submissions for its Summer 2014 issue!

Rose Red Review is published four times a year, in homage to the passing season. In fairy tales, the future is unknown, often summarized by the vague phrase “happily ever after,” but each character is influenced by his or her past, and we, like the characters, live in the moment as we read their story. Rose Red Review seeks to publish art, fiction, photography, and poetry that best reflects the magic in the every day–work that honors the past, the moment, and the uncertain future.

Read more about the publication here.


Please send your submissions here.


Please visit Rose Red Review on Facebook. On Twitter.

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29. Kindle Freebie: Psyched by Juli Caldewell

psyched

Aisi Turay has it all under control.

At least, she thinks she does. Forget that the most popular girl in school hates her guts and will stop at nothing to embarrass her. Forget that her little brother is tormented by the ghosts and demons she sees all the time. Forget that her mom is a con artist who pretends to be psychic to make some cash. Forget that her dad is hiding a secret than can destroy everything she knows about herself. Nope, she’s got this one…until that one awful day when she nearly loses it all.

With ghost-hunting hottie Vance, a guy who stumbled into her life at the worst possible moment, Aisi must search for the messages hidden in visions and memories to protect her family. Maybe, just maybe, they can reclaim what she thought was lost forever.

File Size: 376 KB
Print Length: 255 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615838650
Publisher: Julianne Hiatt Caldwell; 1 edition (May 30, 2013)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
ASIN: B00D4C4HOQ

PURCHASE HERE!


0 Comments on Kindle Freebie: Psyched by Juli Caldewell as of 4/4/2014 5:43:00 PM
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30. Joyland

Joyland is the perfect Stephen King book for those who aren't as into his regular horror and gore style but still want to be spooked. In Joyland, we follow the life of a college student working at an amusement park with a troublesome past and rumors circulating about a haunted ride. The spookier parts of the [...]

0 Comments on Joyland as of 3/28/2014 4:09:00 PM
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31. Book Review- Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

Title: The Dance of the Red Death
 Author: Bethany Griffin
Series: Masque of the Red Death #2
Published: 4 April 2013 by Indigo
Length: 
Source: publisher
Other info: First book was Masque of the Red Death, which I loved. 

Summary :Araby Worth’s city is on fire. Her brother is dead. Her best friend could be soon. Her mother is a prisoner, her father is in hiding. And the two boys who stole her heart have both betrayed her. But Araby has found herself, and she is going to fight back. Inspired by one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most compelling stories, “The Masque of the Red Death,” Bethany Griffin has spun two sultry and intricate novels about a young woman who finds herself on the brink of despair but refuses to give in. Decadent masquerades, steamy stolen moments, and sweeping action are set in a city crumbling from neglect and tragedy. A city that seeps into your skin. Dance of the Red Death is the riveting conclusion to the dark and fascinating saga of an unforgettable heroine.

Review: We pick up where we left Masque of the Red Death, so  Araby has a dead brother, a dying best friend, and two boys that she loves who have also betrayed her. as people seek shelter at Prince  Prospero’s place and Reverend Malcontent spreads disease, Araby and co must try and save the city, and themselves.
I really enjoyed Masque, but somehow, this wasn’t the same. The world was once again, gorgeously written in its full, crumbling glory. The world is distinctly Poe style, which I liked. The seven rooms in Prospero’s palace didn’t come in until the end though, which is a shame, because that was my favourite part about the story this was based on and I was really hoping that it would feature more.
Lots of things don’t come in until the end, really. There’s a lot of running around the city, but it’s hard to see where it all leads to sometimes.
Araby is a bit more forward in Dance, which I liked. Elliot has a hidden agenda. Will is ok, I suppose. No strong feelings about the boys either way. The love triangle was interesting, in terms of the secrets between them all, but I  didn’t really care about how the love side of it ended up.
What I loved, as in obsessed over for a couple of days after reading it, in Edgar Allan Poe’s Masque of the Red Death, was the masquerade ball, and the rooms. I was disappointed with both of these in Dance. It all happens within thirty pages, so it was all crammed together and rushed.
As a  series conclusion, it all felt a bit anticlimactic. I also don’t think everything was fully tied up-there’s room for more in Griffin’s world. Oh well.



Overall:  Strength 3 tea to a disappointing, but still good on its own, conclusion to a beautifully set gothic series.

0 Comments on Book Review- Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin as of 3/23/2014 5:11:00 PM
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32. Review: The Remaining by DJ Molles #zombies

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

This book came along at a perfect time.  I am under a lot of stress and in a bit of a funk, and my usual romance comfort reads weren’t holding my interest.  When that happens, I usually turn to post-apocalyptic titles, and bingo!  there was The Remaining on Netgalley.  This was such a good read!  I read it in almost one sitting, and if you enjoy zombie tales, I can’t recommend it highly enough.  This is so far from my usual read, too, in that there wasn’t one speck of romance anywhere.  This is a straight up run away from zombies and try to save the world adventure yarn.

 

Lee Harden has been holed up in a bunker in his basement.  He’s part of a special unit of the US Army, and when things get dicey in the world, he is ordered to lock himself in the bunker and await orders from his superiors.  Every other time has been a false alarm, but this time, the world as Lee knew it really did cease to exist.  With only his dog Tango and his strong sense of duty to rely on, he has been tasked with the impossible.  To survive, rescue, and rebuild the US government.  Good luck, Lee!  You are going to need it!

The time Lee spends in the bunker, just waiting for his orders dragged a bit for me, but once he dons his personal protection gear and heads upstairs – whoa!  I was on the edge of my seat for almost the entire book!  Argh! My contacts were glued to my eyes by the end because I stopped blinking!  It was almost like I was afraid I would miss something if I took my eyes off my Kindle for even a second.  I was disappointed by the non-ending, but heck, I always am.  The story stutters to a complete stop, like someone stopping just an inch before toppling off the edge of a cliff.  Ugh!  At least four books in the series are currently available, with book five due early next year.  If I space them out over the rest of this year, I won’t go nuts waiting to find out what happens next.  Plus, I need a give my overworked heart a little rest.  There are parts of The Remaining that made me jump! 

This series was originally self-pubbed.  Orbit picked it up, gave the covers a face-lift, and re-released the first four books in January in ebook format.  Print editions are on tap starting in May.  I love zombie books, and The Remaining managed to fly under my zombie radar, so I’m glad I finally discovered the books.

Lee is skeptical that a killer virus has over taken the population.  Once you catch the disease, you become a mindless savage.  A mutated form of the rabies virus, there is no hope once you become infected.  Lee quickly learns that the infected are violent, strong, and take a lot of fire power to stop.  After he’s almost killed by a teenage girl,  his whole attitude changes.  If one teenage girl gave him so much trouble, what is going to happen when he encounters an adult male infected?  Good thing he has his bunker full of ammo, food, and water to fall back on.  He also has power, so it’s not like he roughing it.  Hot showers are just a shower stall away.  Until a miscalculation costs him his safe house, and every advantage he was counting on.  How is he going to save the world without supplies?  How is he going to defend himself against the infected?  How is he going to protect the ragged band of survivors he’s managed to rescue?  Things are looking mighty grim for Lee, and the odds are stacked even more against him after some unpleasant run-ins with rogue normals.

I found the story so appealing because Lee’s mission is so hopeless.  He’s working on nothing but adrenaline, but he doggedly continues with his directive.  Just when it seems like things can’t get any worse for him, they do, and yet he still refuses to give up.  He always keeps a level head, falling back on past combat experience to get him through the nightmare he’s found himself in, and this is a nightmare of epic proportions!

Fans of John Ringo’s Black Tide Rising will fit right in here.  If that series isn’t your cup of tea, The Remaining probably won’t be, either.  If you enjoy a fast-paced, non-stop action zombie thriller, give The Remaining a try.

Grade:  B+ (This would have gotten an A had there been an ending!)

Review copy provided by publisher

From Amazon:

In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker 20 feet below the basement level of his house, a soldier waits for his final orders. On the surface, a plague ravages the planet, infecting over 90% of the populace. The bacterium burrows through the brain, destroying all signs of humanity and leaving behind little more than base, prehistoric instincts. The infected turn into hyper-aggressive predators, with an insatiable desire to kill and feed. Some day soon, the soldier will have to open the hatch to his bunker, and step out into this new wasteland, to complete his mission: SUBVENIRE REFECTUS.

TO RESCUE AND REBUILD.

This is the first novel in the action-packed series:

Book 1: The Remaining
Book 2: The Remaining: Aftermath
Book 3: The Remaining: Refugees
Book 4: The Remaining: Fractured

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33. Spotlight and Giveaway-Reaper’s Touch by Eleri Stone

 

 

REAPER’S TOUCH by ELERI STONE

Genre: Western Paranormal Romance

Print Length: 280 pages (95,000 words)

Publisher: Carina Press

Publication Date: February 10, 2014

ASIN: B00GKBHIT4

Abby is a Ranger, part of an elite group who defend the border against Reapers—humans infected with a parasite that turns them into mindless cannibals. Rangers are immune to Reaper infection, and as one of the only female Rangers, Abby is expected to settle down and breed more Rangers—a fate she’s keen to avoid. When she’s ambushed on the plains, she’s ready to go out with guns blazing—until a mysterious, handsome cowboy rides to her rescue.

Jake has his own motives for helping Abby, beyond aiding a damsel in distress. He’s a Reaper, and while he’s learned to wrest control of his mind from the parasite, the effects won’t last without a permanent cure. And he needs Abby to get it.

Abby and Jake are natural enemies and unlikely partners. But when their search reveals a conspiracy between Reapers and the rich industrialists who own the mountain cities, they must work together to find the cure—or lose the border, and each other, forever.

Available at:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Reapers-Touch-Eleri-Stone-ebook/dp/B00GKBHIT4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386544072&sr=8-1&keywords=reaper%27s+touch

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/reapers-touch-eleri-stone/1117366830?ean=9781426897900

Kobo: http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/reaper-s-touch

iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/reapers-touch/id793184925?mt=11

ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-reaper039stouch-1380296-140.html

REVIEWS:

“Stone crafts a dark and delicious tale of cowboys vs. zombies and bittersweet love found in unexpected places. Truly exceptional! I did not want this to end!” —Kristen Callihan, bestselling author of FIRELIGHT

“A thrilling, original romance with the right mix of danger and desire.”—Zöe Archer, award-winning author of SWEET REVENGE

“Stone isn’t afraid to bring on the heat in this twisted tale of life on the range.” —Karina Cooper, award-winning author of TARNISHED

Author Bio & Contact Links:

Eleri Stone grew up in New Jersey, but now lives in the Midwest with her husband and their three children. A lifelong fan of fantasy, she started reading romance as an adult and was instantly captivated by the strong female protagonists, character-driven storylines and guarantee of a happy-ever-after. Writing fantasy and paranormal romance, she is the author of the Lost City Shifters series (cat shifters in the Amazon), the Twilight of the Gods series (Norse demigods in the American Midwest) and the Spellcraft series (adult high fantasy).

Contact links:

Website: http://eleristone.com/

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EleriStone

Twitter: http://www.eleristone.blogspot.com/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4193895.Eleri_Stone

Newsletter: https://www.facebook.com/EleriStone/app_137541772984354

TOUR GIVEAWAY DETAILS:

GRAND PRIZE: One $25 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble

RUNNERS UP: Two $10 gift cards to Amazon or Barnes & Noble

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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34. Call for Submissions: Crooked/Shift

Crooked/Shift, a brand new journal, is “officially” launching March 7, 2014.

Submissions link.

Crooked/Shift is an online literary publisher dedicated to horror, humor, the absurd, and the strange. We are currently looking for flash fiction, short stories, prose poetry, and essays for inclusion in our first issue slated for July 1, 2014. We invite new and seasoned writers alike.

This is a great opportunity for first time publication!

Submissions are free, though we are not paying writers at this time. Hopefully that changes soon with your support.

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35. Graphic Novel Review: Attack on Titan Vol 3

May Contain Spoilers

Review:

Well, Attack on Titan just isn’t doing it for me.  I have one more volume checked out of the library, and after reading that, I am more than likely done with this series.  The art is so painfully awkward and this installment was slow and dull.  I don’t know how that’s possible, considering that the remaining humans are making a last stand against the Titans, but I just did not get caught up in the plot.

After Eren regains his human form, he is accused of being a traitor to the human race in a tense standoff with a military commander who is cracking under the pressure of the latest Titan attack.  He is more than willing to kill Eren and then ask questions about how he changed into a Titan afterward .  Commander Pixis arrives just in time to save Eren, Mikasa, and Armin from being blown to itty bitty pieces.  Pixis sees how useful Eren can be, if he can change into a Titan at will.  They decide that Eren will plug the hole in the wall with a huge boulder, while splitting their forces and drawing the enemy Titans away from Eren so he has a clear shot to the wall. 

Things go wrong from the get go; the other soldiers don’t trust Eren, and when he transforms into a seemingly mindless beast, they want to abandon their posts.  Pixis recognizes the huge risk he has taken, but if they lose yet another wall, there won’t be enough resources to support them all, and sacrifices will have to be made.  He would rather die making a last stand than being sent out on a suicide mission later, and he convinces his men that they feel the same.

The only plot aspect that I found remotely interesting was Eren’s sudden memory of the key his dad gave to him before he disappeared, and the room in the basement of his old house.  That is the answer to everything, he was told, just before his father injected him with something to make him forget he was ever told that.  I am curious to know what’s in the basement, and the fate of his dad, but I don’t know how willing I am to keep reading the series to find out.

Grade:  C-

Review copy provided by my local library

From Amazon:

TRAITOR
The last thing Eren remembers before blacking out, a Titan had bitten off his arm and leg and was getting ready to eat him alive. Much to his surprise he wakes up without a scratch on him, with a crowd of angry soldiers screaming for his blood. What strange new power has he awakened, and what will happen when the boy devoted to destroying the Titans becomes one himself?
Includes special extras after the story!

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36. The Night Gardener - a review

A short review today.  I rushed to finish, as I knew the kids in my book club would surely want to get their hands on it last week.  I was right.

Auxier, Jonathan. 2014. The Night Gardener. New York: Amulet.

Set in England aground the 1840s, The Night Gardener features an Irish gal with the gift of  blarney, her10-year-old brother with a lame leg and stout heart, a mysterious storyteller, and a strange family inhabiting a creepy mansion on an island in the middle of the sourwoods.

Separated from their parents and forced to flee Ireland due to famine, Molly & Kip have no choice but to accept employment with the Windsor Family, the only inhabitants of the only home in the sourwoods,

At the far end of the lawn stood Windsor mansion.  The house had obviously been left vacant for some years, and in that time it seemed to have become one with the landscape. Weeds swallowed the base. Ivy choked the walls and windows. The roof was sagging and covered in black moss.
But strangest of all was the tree.
The tree was enormous and looked very, very old. Most trees cast an air of quiet dignity over their surrounding. This one did not. Most trees invite you to climb up into their canopy.  This one did not. Most trees make you want to carve your initials into the trunk. This one did not. To stand in the shadow of this tree would send a chill through your whole body. 
Even Molly's indomitable spirit and knack for storytelling cannot shield Kip and the young Windsor children from the horrors that lurk within the shadow of the giant tree.

Historical fiction and horror intertwine in this absolutely gripping story. With similarities to Claire LeGrand's The Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, The Night Gardener is the stuff of nightmares.

Coming to a bookshelf near you in May, 2014!


Notes:

My Advance Reader Copy was thrust upon me by none other than the wonderfully funny, Tom Angleberger (of Origami Yoda fame), who insisted that I read it.  Thanks, Tom!

Also by Jonathan Auxier, Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes, which I reviewed in 2011.

The book's cover was drawn by Patrick Arrasmith and designed by the talented Chad Beckerman, whom I had the pleasure of interviewing a while back.

0 Comments on The Night Gardener - a review as of 3/5/2014 7:46:00 AM
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37. Call for Submissions: Devilfish Review

Devilfish Review is a quarterly online magazine focusing on, but not limited to, speculative fiction, horror, and fantasy. We are currently reading fiction and poetry submissions for our March issue, but our submission box never closes. 

Submissions can be made at Submittable. Submissions representing those who are marginalized in mainstream fiction are especially encouraged, as we do not get nearly enough of them and it makes us sad.

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38. Call for Submissions from Kids and Adults: Visionary Press

Visionary Press is looking for submissions for its Kids Write anthology. Submissions will be accepted by both adult authors and children and should be no more than 1,000 words and no less than 500. We are looking for stories that spark the imagination and would be entertaining for children in a wide variety of genres, from sci-fi to fantasy and even a little horror, but not too scary. Think age appropriate. We are particularly interested in stories written by children and stories co-written by parent and child.

We also will be accepting artwork for the anthology, along with your stories.

Reading period will run from February 1st through July 1st. We are looking towards a September release.

Stories that are accepted will receive payment of $5.00, along with a contributors hard copy and a digital edition of the book.

Mail submissions to:

visionarypressATgmailDOTcom (Change AT to @ and DOT to .)

with the heading, Kids Create Anthology.

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39. The Lodger

Marie Belloc Lowndes’ The Lodger has been on my TBR list for a long time, but I tend to avoid horror fiction, and all I really knew about The Lodger was a basic synopsis, that it was based on the story of Jack the Ripper, and that it had been made into a Hitchcock movie.

I don’t feel like I know a lot more about it now.

The central character is Ellen Bunting, a former maid married to a former butler. The Buntings live in a poor but quiet neighborhood in East London, and rent out rooms. Only no one’s wanted to rent their rooms for a while, so they’re on he verge of starvation when the story opens. Then a gentleman arrives, eccentric but respectable-looking, with no luggage and a pile of money, and rents — well, basically all the rooms, so that he will remain the Buntings’ only lodger. He seems weird, but he’s also quiet and well-spoken, and they do desperately need money.

Meanwhile, someone calling himself “The Avenger” has been murdering drunk women (for “drunk women” I read “prostitutes”) all over the East End. As Ellen notes her lodger’s nocturnal trips out of the house, his fixation on all the most misogynist bits of the Bible, and the disappearance of the leather bag he brought to the house with him, she begins to suspect that he’s the Avenger. But she doesn’t know for sure, and she’s also just gone from being too poor to buy food to relative financial security. So while on one hand you want her to go to the police with her suspicions, on the other hand it’s hard to fault her to not being sure, and not wanting to be sure.

And that’s it, really. That’s the book. I mean, there’s also Mr. Bunting, and the suspicions he eventually forms. And there’s the unromantic background romance of their policeman friend Joe Chandler and Daisy, Mr. Bunting’s daughter from his first marriage. And there’s the complete letdown of the ending. But mostly The Lodger is Ellen having lots of suspicions she can’t quite voice and stuff happening to cause her to have more of them.

It’s perfectly serviceable psychological suspense, I guess. I mean, I felt uneasy and slightly apprehensive for most of the time that I was reading, which I think is how you’re supposed to feel when you read about someone possibly being a serial killer. It’s only now that I’ve finished it that I’m feeling kind of meh about it, and I’m inclined to blame the ending. When you’re waiting on some kind of impending awfulness, and then nothing in particular happens, the looming fear seems silly in retrospect. So, it’s hard to tell now, but I think the rest of the book was pretty solid, and I almost recommend it.


Tagged: 1910s, horror, london, marie belloc lowndes

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40. Ask a Book Buyer: Scary Stories, Calligraphy Books, and More

At Powell's, our book buyers select all the new books in our vast inventory. If we need a book recommendation, we turn to our team of resident experts. Need a gift idea for a fan of vampire novels? Looking for a guide that will best demonstrate how to knit argyle socks? Need a book for [...]

0 Comments on Ask a Book Buyer: Scary Stories, Calligraphy Books, and More as of 10/4/2013 2:00:00 PM
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41. Spotlight and Giveaway! Wish Upon a Star by Michelle McLean

Interview with Michelle McLean

Do you write in different genres?

I do! I love writing in different genres. It lets me explore different aspects of creativity and work out different parts of my brain. I write historical, paranormal/urban fantasy, and contemporary romances, and educational non-fiction. Along with a bit of poetry and a picture book or two :)

If yes which is your favorite genre to write?

I really don’t have a favorite, unless you count romance :) But sub-genre-wise, I love them all. Historicals allow me to delve into the past which I absolutely love (my bachelors degree is in History). Paranormals and urban fantasies allow me to play around with the supernatural and other-worldly things which I also absolutely love. Contemporaries allow me to switch up my every day world a little. And my non-fiction allows me to tap into my analytical side and help people with educational matters, which I also really love. I’ve penned poetry since I was little, and have written several picture books for my kids that I still read to them. I can’t imagine not writing any of these.

How did you come up with the title for your latest book?

Wish Upon a Star was originally a fairy tale retelling that was a mashup of Pinocchio and Rumplestiltskin. Most of the fairy tale elements were taken out in edits, but my main character was based on the blue fairy and spends a lot of time wishing on stars :)

Do you title the book first or wait until after it’s complete?

I almost always title the book afterwards. I like to use a line or some words or a theme that is special to or prevalent in the book to use as a title and often that doesn’t come across until it is finished. The one exception is a novella I’m working on. I heard a line in a song that I just loved and built a book idea around it :)

What books/authors have influenced your life?

Victoria Holt has been my biggest influence. She was my first authorial love :) Once I graduated to novels (at a fairly young age) I read everything I could get my hands on. I was always raiding my mom’s shelves and she had a ton of Victoria Holt’s gothic romances. I fell in love with the genre immediately. And when I decided to write my own first novel that type of story was in my head. A historical romance full of romance, danger, and mystery :) I write other genres as well, but historical romances, especially gothic, will always be my first loves.

Can you share a little of your current work with us?

One of the books I’m working on has several shape poems in it. Unfortunately, I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep them in there as it won’t show up correctly on all digital devices, but they are really fun to create. In the book, I have poems shaped like an hour glass, an ankh, a lightning bolt, a broken heart, a pyramid, an eye, a music note, and several others. Here is one, shaped to look like a drop of blood.

He holds

my face so tenderly,

in hands that had killed.

For me. Fingers gently touch

my cheeks. His lips kiss away my

tears, my blood. “Breathe,” he whispers.

His lips brush mine. “Just breathe.” I shudder,

my breath escaping at his command. “If you insist,”

I try to joke. Fail. Shouts fill the night air. “Go!” I cry.

They mustn’t find you with me. Go!” He freezes, his storm

gray eyes on our hands, clasped between our pounding hearts.

The horror on his face mirrors that on my own. One last caress, so

bittersweet. He wavers. “Go,” I breathe. He steps back, back, raised

hand stained black with blood. Mine, his, theirs. His pained howl rips

through me, burning his image on my soul. “For you I’ll live,” I whisper,

unwilling to breathe, unable to stop. They will come for me, their hands

grasping, to return me to my clan. “Go!” I plead. One last look and he

runs, his tortured fury echoing through me, his pain my own. They

come, see me bathed in blood. “Who did this?” they ask. I shrink

from their touch. Gently they lift me, murmuring, “Let us help

you.” I swallow my protests, settle into their strong hands.

They ask, over and over, but I don’t speak. And they

don’t suspect. They take me home. I care not.

I’ll breathe because I promised I would.

But oh how it hurts. He is gone…

And…I…can’t…breathe....

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?

The first draft. I’m horrible at first drafts. Editing, I love. I can revise very quickly and enjoy doing it. Pulling a first draft out of me is like yanking my own teeth. I’m not sure why, because I really love to get the stories down on paper. But those blank pages just staring at me are hard to fill sometimes. Give me a completed manuscript to polish up any day :D

When you’re not writing what do you do? Do you have any hobbies or guilty pleasures?

Mostly, I read :D I used to do a lot of cross-stitching and I play the piano. I love movies and spend a lot of late nights with my favorites. But mostly, I read :)

What is next for you? Do you have any scheduled upcoming releases or works in progress?

I have a non-fiction book on how to write poetry that should be releasing at the end of the year. And next year, the last book in the Blood Blade Sisters trilogy will be releasing, along with a new historical romance set in the 1920s that will come out next summer. I’m also working on the book with the shape poems and have a fairy tale retelling series I’ll be shopping around soon :)

 

Wish Upon a Star by Michelle McLean

ISBN: 9781622663323

Book Description:

Ceri McKinley never stopped wishing that her ex-fiancé Jason Crickett would come back into her life. But when he finally does, he comes with a request that puts them both—and all of humanity—into jeopardy.

Jason only wants two things: to bury his brother properly and to convince Ceri to trust him again after he jilted her. But when Ceri agrees to help him get his brother back, they end up fighting for their lives as a zombie uprising threatens them all.

Amazon BN Goodreads

Excerpt:

Jason sank down beside me and pulled me toward him, pressing a kiss against my temple.

“Are you okay?” he asked, brushing soot and a few burned leaves from my face and hair. The smell of burned plastic and singed hair coated everything. But it could have been worse.

I leaned against him for a moment before trying to push to my feet.

Jason stopped me. “Rest for a minute.” He reached into my backpack and pulled out another bottle of water.

I took it gratefully, gulping down half the bottle before handing it to him to finish off. When he was done, he bent down, kissing a drop of water from my lips. His hands cupped my face. “I’m sorry. For everything. All of it. Everything I put you through. These wasted years without you.”

“I’m sorry too.” I pulled away and looked up at him. “If we get through this—”

“When we get through this. Not if.”

I gave him a small smile and nodded, knowing he knew what I wanted to say without having to voice the words. “When we get through this, maybe we can talk. About things.”

He gave me one more lingering kiss. “I’ll hold you to that.”

“But for now,” I said, brushing a lock of hair from his forehead.

“Rain check?”

“Rain check.”

About the Author:

I grew up in California and have lived everywhere from the deserts of Utah to the tropical beaches of Hawaii to the gorgeous forests of the east coast. The oldest of five children, I am generally an organized mess with slight Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. I have a B.S. in History, a M.A. in English, an insatiable love of books, and more weird quirks than you can shake a stick at.

I am the author of Homework Helpers: Essays and Term Papers, (Career Press Jan 2011), To Trust a Thief (Entangled Scandalous Jan 2013), a historical romance trilogy Blood Blade Sisters (Entangled Scandalous 2013), and a zombie fairy tale retelling Wish Upon a Star (Entangled Ever After Oct 2013). In addition to my novels and non-fiction work, I write picture books and a bit of poetry. If I’m not editing, reading, or chasing my kids around, I can usually be found in a quiet corner working on my next book.

I currently reside in Pennsylvania with my husband and two young children, an insanely hyper dog, and two very spoiled cats.

Website: http://www.michellemcleanbooks.com/

Blog: http://michellemclean.blogspot.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/michellemclean

Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/michelle.m.mclean

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4253087.Michelle_McLean

Giveaway:

$20 Gift Card (Winner’s Choice: Amazon/B&N) & a “Wish” Necklace

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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42. What’s The Scariest Book You’ve Ever Read?

October marks the time of year when I go out of my way to read something scary, and not in a “Why did any publisher support this hot mess of a novel?” way, but in a “When am I ever going to sleep without the lights on again?” kind of way. I haven’t selected this year’s addition to that annual bookshelf, but if I had to choose the scariest book I ever read, I’d pick Jay Anson’s The Amityville Horror.

I know it’s now generally accepted that Amityville is a fake “true story,” but that didn’t make it any easier to descend into the basement after reading the book in the 9th grade. We had an old garage door opener on the wall down there with two red dots that glowed like the eyes of an evil doll, spirit, demon, the Devil, or what have you. The book—absurd as it was in spots—combined with those lights and a creeping dread that my mother’s house might contain a secret red room created a cacophony of horror in my brain, and the side effects manifested in equally absurd habits of safety and precaution for months afterward.

Since that first sample of terror, I became a fan of thrills, chills, and things that go bump in the night—be it eerie fiction, true crime, or the paranormal unknown—and when deciding what book to tackle this October, I grew curious about what other authors and editors I know would select as the scariest book they ever read, and so I asked…

What was the scariest book you’ve ever read, and how did it affect your writing and/or your life after you put the book back on the shelf?  

Helter Skelter, by Vincent Bugliosi. When I was a kid, my best friend didn’t read fiction, and I rarely read nonfiction, so we made a pact to exchange books we each thought the other would like. I gave him IT. He gave me Helter Skelter, Vincent Bugliosi’s account of the Manson Family murders. No offense to Stephen King, but Helter Skelter messed me up in ways IT never could. Both books deal with the madness that lurks beneath the thin veneer of modern society—but while King wrote of monsters, Bugliosi convinced me that the monsters were us.”

Chris F. Holm

, author of The Big Reap and Dead Harvest

 

“It was the right book at the right time—1968: I was 22, doing my student teaching, and my supervising teacher lent me I Am Legend by Richard Matheson. Utter claustrophobic terror—zombie-vampires—some of whom might happen to be your friends, loved ones, etc., back from the dead to get you. I’d read and loved Matheson’s collections of short horror stories, but this short novel built the nightmare and sustained it and sustained it until you were saying, “I want out of this” even as you knew you’d stick with it to the bitter yet triumphant end. Once I knew that a “modern writer” could do it without ghosts or ghoulies or an English moor and Gothic trappings, I was there. It was an epiphany, and strengthened the desire I’d had to write horror, which began in grade school with “The Pit and Pendulum” and “Tell Tale Heart.”

Mort Castle

, author of the Bram Stoker Award-winning New Moon on the Water and the upcoming Dracula: The Annotated Classic, from Writer’s Digest Books

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood horrified me. The scariest part is that it becomes more and more evident that Atwood may have been forecasting the future of the North American female experience. The thing I take with me after I set it down is always the same: I should keep writing my experience, and never let the bastards shut me up.”

Dena Rash Guzman

, author of Life Cycle

 

“Aside from the user’s manual for the first printer I got, I’d say the scariest book I ever read was James Dickey’s Deliverance. I was really too young when I first read it (about 14). My mom, a high school English teacher, had brought it home and told me not to read it, so of course I grabbed it and read it in secret as soon as I could. The impact on me was: the world is a much more dangerous place than I’d thought. Since then, as an author, I’ve remembered it and tried to write as well and as frankly as Dickey. And to not shy away from uncomfortable scenes and topics!”

Elizabeth Sims

, author of Holy Hell and You’ve Got a Book in You

 

“Horror’s like Erotica—imagination is key. Don’t rob it by giving every last grisly detail. Exercise some subtlety and restraint. As a writer, I learned this and more from Henry James’ truly haunting The Turn of the Screw.

David Comfort

, author of The Rock & Roll Book of the Dead and An Insider’s Guide to Publishing, coming soon from Writer’s Digest Books

As you can see from the answers above, there are all kinds of ways we can scare ourselves—everything from hack-and-slash stories to tales that make us see the horror in our ourselves and in our potential futures. Tell us what you think in the comments below…did we select your favorite frightful tome? Is nonfiction scarier than fiction? Is there a book we should consider reading that will keep us awake in the dead of night?

James Duncan is a content editor for Writer’s Digest. He is also the author of The Cards We Keep: Ten Stories

, and is in the process of submitting a handful of novels to agents for traditional representation, just like everyone else on the planet. For more of his work, visit www.jameshduncan.blogspot.com.

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43. 2013 Cybils Awards: Suggested Nominations

There are only about five more days to nominate for the Cybils Awards, and while there are some great books nominated, I'm surprised at some of the books released in the last year that haven't been nominated yet. If you haven't nominated yet, here are some suggestions for books that you might want to nominated in the Young Adult Speculative Fiction category. I don't have the patience to compile a comprehensive list like Charlotte's Library's amazing lists for Elementary/Middle-Grade Speculative Fiction, (here and here) so these are just some books that I'd like to see nominated. Some of them I've read, but most I haven't read yet, but would like to. Don't forget that the deadline to nominate is October 15 at 11:59pm (Pacific). More information on how to nominate is on the Cybils blog, and please do read the eligibility rules and category descriptions!

Suggested Nominations

Sylo
MacHale, D J 
Rebel Heart ( Dust Lands Trilogy #2 ) 
Young, Moira

Raven Flight ( Shadowfell #2 )
Marillier, Juliet
Obsidian Mirror ( Obsidian Mirror - Trilogy )
Fisher, Catherine
Fire & Ash ( Rot & Ruin #4 )
Maberry, Jonathan
The Shade of the Moon ( Life as We Knew It )
Pfeffer, Susan Beth
Icons
Stohl, Margaret
Shadow on the Sun 
Gill, David Macinnis
The Madman's Daughter
Shepherd, Megan
The Final Descent ( Monstrumologist #4 )
Yancey, Rick
The Watcher in the Shadows 
Ruiz Zafon, Carlos

For more YA Speculative Fiction suggestions, see Finding Wonderland and Miss Print

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44. John Dies at the End by David Wong

If you're a fan of the movie, this book has everything you loved about it: the gut-wrenchingly funny juxtaposition of lowbrow humor and surrealism, the gore, the impending sense of doom that soaks the narrative until you're coated in a sticky quagmire of horror and humor. All of that is here only amped up by [...]

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45. Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill

Atmospheric, dreary, hallucinatory. This is a story told with an English sensibility of calmness set against a backdrop of impending horror. You can see it coming, but logic tells you it can't be real. No blood, no gore, just terrifying imagery and psychological shivers. However, the 2012 movie starring Daniel Radcliffe... not remotely scary or [...]

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46. Misery by Stephen King

Of course, Misery the movie is fabulous; Kathy Bates can do no wrong. But in the book, every brutal aspect of Annie Wilkes's psychopathy and horror are just a little more, to quote the book, "oogy." You'll be surprised by what this gosh-darn sweet lady can do to all the "dirty birds" she meets. Two [...]

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47. It by Stephen King

Far more intense than the movie, Stephen King's It is structured to create great suspense. The book emphasizes the hopelessness of the situation — in which unarmed children are up against an unknown, demonic force — along with the relationships developed by the children. Books mentioned in this post It Stephen King Used Mass Market [...]

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48. Where’d she go?

courtroom_xs_25248150

She got summoned for jury duty and never came back . . . well, it felt like that for a while at least. I got called in for jury selection on the morning of September 18 and wasn’t released until the afternoon of October 3rd. Would you believe I was juror 46 out of 51 and I still ended up sitting as an alternate for the trial? I think by the time they got to me, they were desperate.

And what a trial. 1st degree murder. I won’t go into the details because honestly, the people involved don’t need any more publicity. AND the sooner this event fades from my own memory the better. Let’s just say I know more about deciphering blood splatter evidence than your average citizen. For all you fans of trigonometry, this is your field!

So, I’m back going through the motions of my normal routine, thirteen dollars a day richer, with the thanks of the county, worn out and weepy, trying to catch up on the mountains of grading that piled up unattended while I was attending to my civic duty.

You see, substitute teachers teach, they don’t grade, so tests, reports and assignments waited patiently for me to get back and NOW THEY ALL NEED TO GET DONE. Yikes! 112 hours got sucked out of my life; it’s already two weeks later, and still I haven’t figured out how to squeeze them back in.

Photo © Aleksandar Radovanovic

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49. Coming Soon from Clean Teen Publishing: River of Bones by Angela Townsend

bones

When seventeen-year-old Dharma Moore moves to Bayou country so her scam artist mother can work as a Paranormal Investigator, she discovers that more than ghosts haunt the abandoned plantation they now call home.

Centuries ago, a voodoo curse was placed on the swamp waters surrounding the old plantation by a murdered slave. This terrible curse ensnares Dharma with its deadly effects. To save herself, she must face the terror of the haunted waters, find the dead woman’s skull, and convince the slave’s soul to release her from its torments. When Dharma discovers an ancient secret that links her to the property—a secret kept from her by her own family—she realizes that the curse is more personal to her than she ever imagined.

To survive, Dharma must accept the help of the locals, and put her trust in the handsome gardener, Wolf Bodine—who is the only one crazy enough to come near the plantation. With his help, Dharma must learn to embrace the truth and accept that magic is not only real… but that it can be very, very deadly!

EXCERPT:

My cheeks blazed, I opened my mouth to speak, fighting for words that wouldn’t make me sound like a fool, when something shuffled upstairs again.

Wolf stared at the ceiling, his brow creased. “What’s that?”

“I don’t know. I heard it just before you came in. I was going to ask you to come with me to check it out.”

He walked from the kitchen to the foot of the stairs and peered into the dark stairwell. I put Benny into the playpen with his sippy cup and toys before following Wolf up the stairs. Just as we reached the landing, the hollow footsteps sounded again. Wolf glanced over his shoulder and whispered, “It might be the pipes rattling. Old houses can make all kinds of random noises.  Stay close and let’s do some exploring.”

We checked out each room, finding nothing but dust and building materials from half-finished renovations. Then we came to the second staircase, which led to the third floor. Steep and narrow, it swept much higher than the one leading to the second floor. I held tight to the handrail, following Wolf to the third floor landing. Five doors, all closed, lined the narrow hallway, two on either side and one at the end.

“Let’s hurry. I have to get back to Benny,” I said, taking a giant step and tripping over my own feet. I landed hard, spraining my wrist.

“Are you all right?” Wolf said, scooping me up. I started to dissolve in his strong arms. He stared into my eyes for several seconds, then grabbed my hand and placed it against his lips. His mouth parted under my hand and his breath danced across my fingertips. I could hardly breathe. Heat seared into my face.

“Yeah, I’m okay,” I said softly.  I pulled back my hand–my body tingling in places I didn’t know I had.

The footsteps sounded again. Wolf helped me to my feet, his eyes wide and alert. “It’s coming from down the hall. Stay behind me.”

We tiptoed to the end of the hallway to the last door. Wolf gripped the glass doorknob. “Who’s in there?” He called. A faint flutter or shuffle could be heard on the other side of the door. Wolf turned the handle, but it wouldn’t budge. “It’s locked.”

Whispering voices traveled under the threshold. Footsteps sounded again.

“Open up, we’re coming in!” Wolf said. He glanced at me, his eyes hard. “I’m gonna break it down. Stand back.”

I took a step away and Wolf shoved hard on the door. It flew open and every ounce of me begged for it to be closed again.

Coming 10/30 from Clean Teen Publishing!

JOIN THE RIVER OF BONES SP00K-TACULAR REBATE PARTY. FIND DETAILS AT https://www.facebook.com/events/172301326298935/angela

Angela Townsend was born in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Missoula, Montana. As a child, Angela grew up listening to stories told by her grandparents, ancient tales and legends of faraway places. Influenced by her Irish and Scottish heritage, Angela became an avid research historian, specializing in Celtic mythology. Her gift for storytelling finally led her to a full time career in historical research and writing. A writer in local community circulations, Angela is also a published genealogical and historical resource writer who has taught numerous research seminars. Currently, Angela divides her time between writing, playing Celtic music on her fiddle, and Irish dancing.

Angela’s first novel, Amarok, was published through Spencer Hill Press in 2012. Her newest novel, Angus MacBain and The Island of Sleeping Kings, was signed for publication with Clean Teen Publishing in 2013.

Angela resides on a ranch, in rural Northwestern Montana, with her two children Levi and Grant.

Follow Angela on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AngelaJTownsend

Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AngelaTownsendAuthor

Follow her blog at http://angelatownsendbooks.blogspot.com/


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50. Call for Submissions: Pedestal 73 and Pedestal 74

Pedestal 73 will be posting on December 21, 2013, in conjunction with the journal's 13-year anniversary. Deadline for current submissions is November 30. No restrictions on length, theme, style, or genre. All submissions should be sent via the link provided on the site. Please see our guidelines for further information and to send work.

Re Pedestal 74, which will post in June 2014:

John Amen and Daniel Y. Harris will be receiving hybrid and/or multi-genre work. No restrictions on length, style, genre, or thematic directions; however, each piece must include elements of 1) poetry and 2) prose as well as 3) at least one original or copyright-free image (photograph, art work, etc.). Submission period: April 1-May 31. Please do not submit prior to April 1.

Bruce Boston and Marge Simon will be receiving speculative poetry. Speculative includes science fiction, fantasy, supernatural horror, science, surrealism, and experimental. No restrictions on length. Submission period: April 1-May 31. Please do not submit prior to April 1.

See the guidelines section of the site for more detailed information.

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