Horror Bites: Alice’s Scars

One of the perks of being on staff at horroraddicts.net is I get to read a lot of good horror literature, recently I got asked to write the forward to the first story in horrororaddicts.net horror bite series. The story is Alice’s Scars by Adam Belaby, here is my forward followed by some info on the story:

When it comes to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, there have been many interpretations as to what the book means. I like to think that it’s about a young girl looking at the crazy world of adults and trying to make sense out of it, but other people have different ideas.

For a book geared toward children, there are a lot of hidden meanings. One popular theme is the reference to mind altering drugs. This is debatable, but one thing we know for sure is that there is a caterpillar who smokes a hookah and gives advice. Does Alice eat his drugs when she’s told one side of the mushroom will make her taller, the other smaller? Or is the whole story a drug-induced vision?

Recently HorrorAddicts.net Press released Clockwork Wonderland, a Horror anthology that turns the world of Alice in Wonderland into a place of nightmares where anything can happen and time runs amok. Being a part of the HorrorAddicts.net staff, I was lucky enough to read the story submissions for what would become Clockwork Wonderland. Every author who submitted something did a great job of turning Alice’s Classic Children’s story into a tale of horror.

One of the most powerful stories I read for Clockwork Wonderlandwhich stuck with me long after I read it—was the story you are about to enjoy. “Alice’s Scars” by Adam L. Bealby had a much darker and realistic feel than the other stories accepted for the Clockwork Wonderland anthology. The reason it wasn’t included was because it was so intimate and different, we felt it needed its own space to be its own voice. While the stories in Clockwork Wonderland are Horror and Dark Fantasy, “Alice’s Scars” took the idea of Alice to a very different place. For me, it was a hard story to read because I’ve known people who were very similar to the characters in this story and it made the story that much scarier. Adam L. Bealby has written a mini masterpiece that explores mental illness, drug addiction, and real life horror. So prepare yourself for an Alice in Wonderland story that will truly give you chills.
David Watson,
HorrorAddicts.net
Editor and Reviewer

HorrorAddicts.net launches our Horror Bites series with an
Alice-inspired story by Adam L. Bealby.

When he met Alice, he wasn’t prepared to go down the rabbit hole. His love for her pushes him into the uncomfortable realization she might be mad. He wants to keep her safe, but what if that’s not what Alice wants?

“Adam Bealby has written a mini masterpiece that explores mental illness, drug addiction, and real life horror.”

~David Watson, The All-Night Library

Horror Bites: Alice’s Scars

BY ADAM L. BEALBY

Just 99 cents at Amazon.com

 

 

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A look inside…

Alice’s Scars

BY ADAM L. BEALBY

 

When I first met her she was Katie, soon to be Alice. It was her first day at Uni, my second, and her scars intrigued me. They lined her cheeks like tribal markings and the way she caked her face in foundation, you could tell they were forever on her mind. It helped, of course, that she was a beautiful Goth girl. I wanted to save her, share her pain, kiss her, and fuck her, too. I asked her what she kept in the drawstring purse around her neck.

“Money,” she said dismissively, turning away to talk to someone else at the bar.

She disappeared soon after. I only found out later how drunk she got, how she spent the rest of the night over a toilet bowl with Jackie holding her hair clear of her mouth. Her first and last run-in with alcohol. Alice had too much else going on in her life to get any more screwed up.

I dogged her all through freshers’ week. Instead of dorms, she’d been accommodated in a little house just off campus. A new friend I met lived there too, so it was an easy thing to fall in with her motley crew, drawn together by circumstance as we were. I became a regular in their kitchen, smoking weed and trying too hard—as we all did—to be quirky and cool.

We struck up conversation over a jar of pesto. I didn’t know what it was and she couldn’t believe it. I strung it out, made it appear I was more ignorant than I actually was, and I got her laughing. When I said her pesto looked like rabbit food she blushed, right through all that paint and powder.

“You don’t know the first thing about rabbits,” she said, and she showed me what was in her drawstring purse. It was a tiny white rabbit’s foot. It freaked me out and yet I felt even more attracted to her. It was my in, a secret shared. Looking at the severed foot I felt myself getting hard and I had to sit down for fear she’d notice.

She ran away that evening. We were all stoned and a bit drunk, talking about our parents, being glib, critical, or overly generous. She burst into tears and ran out of the kitchen and into the night, not even bothering to put her shoes on. We made an extravagant show of hunting for her, shouting her name up and down the street. Pete the Poet, as we later christened him, came out to help from next door. The way John shouted Katie’s name in his Irish accent, Pete thought we’d lost a cat. We had a good laugh about that.

But it wasn’t funny when we found Katie. She was hunkered down by the bushes on a bit of common area at the end of the row.

“Katie? What are you looking for?” I asked as we gathered round in a concerned hub.

“He was here,” she muttered. She’d been pawing at the dirt. Her fingers were black. “I saw him, but he got away from me.”

“Who was here, Katie?”

She looked up. The glare from a passing car lent her eyes a lustrous sheen.

“Alice. Call me Alice from now on, okay? Do you know what time it is? The days all seem to blur into one.”

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Adam L. Bealby writes fantasy, horror and weird fiction for both adults and children. His short stories and comic work have been published in numerous anthologies, including Spooked (Bridge House Publishing), Pagan (Zimbell House Publishing), Darkness Abound (Migla Press), Once Upon a Scream (HorrorAddicts.net), Sirens (World Weaver Press), World Unknown Review Vol. 2, rEvolution (MiFiWriters) and Murky Depths magazine. He lives in Worcestershire, UK with his wife and three children, and a harried imagination. Catch up with his latest ravings at @adamskilad.

Once Upon a Scream, featuring “The Other Daughter” by Adam L. Bealby

Once Upon a Scream…there was a tradition of telling tales with elements of the fantastic along with the frightful. Adults and children alike took heed not to go into the deep, dark woods, treat a stranger poorly, or make a deal with someone-or something-without regard for the consequences. Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it. From wish-granting trolls, to plague curses, and evil enchantresses, these tales will have you hiding under the covers in hopes they don’t find you. So lock your doors, shutter your windows, and get ready to SCREAM.

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The Ravencrest Omnibus: The Ghosts of Ravencrest

Horror literature has several different sub-genres such as cosmic horror, splatterpunk, supernatural and several others. One sub genre of horror is Gothic literature which contains a picturesque setting, elements of the supernatural, romance, mystery and a feeling of impending doom.  The Ravencrest Omnibus: The Ghosts of Ravencrest by Tamara Thorne and Alistair Cross contains the first three episodes in The Ghosts of Ravencrest series and fits nicely into the Gothic literature genre.

The book centers around Ravencrest Manor, an old mansion which was transported from England to Northern California in the 1800’s. Ravencrest’s walls have seen scandals, witchcraft, ghosts and several acts of depravity. By day the mansion looks beautiful but by night it becomes a place of terror. The story begins when Belinda accepts a job as the new governess at Ravencrest Manor. What seems like a dream job starts to look like a nightmare as she finds out that not all of the inhabitants at Ravencrest are living.

The Ghosts Of Ravencrest series starts slow developing its characters and gets creepier as it goes along. It has kind of a Dark Shadows feel to it with a lot more blood and erotica thrown in. If you have read and liked the work of Thorne and Cross then this book is a must have and exactly what you would expect from them. For instance we know off the bat that the estate’s administrator Mrs. Heller is obsessed by power but as the story moves along we also find out that she has a much darker erotic side to her. If you want to know more you have to read the book.

My favorite part of this book was how when you learn more about each character they all have some surprising secrets. I also liked how the authors slowly build a mythology for the estate before getting into the more terrifying parts of the story. I enjoyed this book but one thing to keep in mind if you get it is that this is a starting point for a series. There is no ending and after this one there are 5 more episodes and a second story that has 8 episodes. So if you don’t want to invest your time in a spooky style soap opera then this may not be for you. That being said, if you give the series a chance its one wild ride.

http://www.tamarathorne.com

http://www.alistaircross.com

Dracula Transformed & Other Bloodthirsty Tales

I enjoy reading all kinds of books but the ones I enjoy the most are the ones that have a good mix of horror and comedy. This is not a combination you can always find but Dracula Transformed & Other Bloodthirsty Tales by  Mark McLaughlin and Michael McCarty is one of those books that can scare you and make you laugh. Here we have ten short stories and one novella which puts Dracula in the present day with new powers that we’ve never seen before.

The reason I wanted to read this was because I love Dracula and any movie or book that has the character catches my interest. Also I’m familiar with the work of both authors and knew it would be a fun ride. Right off the bat in the first story they address one of the issues with the original Dracula novel. In Bram Stoker’s novel we get points of view from several characters but we don’t hear much from Dracula. In Lucy Transformed we hear part of the story in Dracula’s own words via letters to his daughter. Needless to say Dracula looks at the events of the book a little differently than the other characters do. Maybe Dracula wasn’t a villain after all and just doing what vampires are supposed to do.

Two other the stories that stick out in the book are Dracula Has Risen From The Couch and Incident In The Back Of A Black Limousine. In the first story set in the present we see a very different Dracula then we are used to. He is kind of lazy and he finds out his wives are cheating on him, but he doesn’t really care enough to get off the couch until they decide to kill him. In the second story also in the present we see Dracula has fallen on hard times and now works as a pimp calling himself Big Daddy. For both of these we see a Dracula that we haven’t seen before and get to laugh at the idea that Dracula may not fare to well in the modern world.

In what is the main event in this little anthology, we have the novella Dracula Transformed which shows us Dracula resurrected in the present by a cult and given the powers of the monsters from Greek Mythology. All of the characters from Dracula are here through reincarnation and Van Helsing never died. I love that Dracula gets his power from hearing the sins of others and I loved hearing that Renfield is now a goth rock superstar. We also have another character from history that is still making a good living in Las Vegas. The best part though is hearing how Dracula acts when he hears someone talk who has no sin.

Dracula Transformed is a must read if you loved the Bram Stoker book or any of the various movies that have had Dracula in them over the years. Not only is it a fresh spin on a character that has been around for over 100 years, it’s a lot of fun for anyone who has a love for monsters and mythology. My only complaint was that some of the short stories contained an idea but no real story and I would have liked the main story to be longer and have a little more suspense. All in all though the book is a lot of fun and I look forward to reading more from both authors.

Hunter Of The Dead

31306024There are more vampires in the world then anyone knows about. The most powerful vampire in the world is Cicatrice and he secretly rules the city of Las Vegas. The vampires are being killed off though and not just by the vampire hunters who have pledged their lives to destroy the undead. There is a supernatural serial killer on the loose and Cicatrice believes it could be the legendary and ancient Hunter Of The Dead.

A vampire civil war has begun and when there are too many vampires in the same area the hunter of the dead rises to destroy all supernatural creatures. Cicatrice decides the best way to handle it is to team up with vampire hunter Carter Price. Together they form a plan that will kill several vampires and put an end to the Hunter Of The Dead. With a bloody vampire war in full swing and Cicatrice and Carter’s apprentices falling in love, stopping the hunter may be an impossible task.

Hunter Of The Dead by Stephen Kozeniewski is a blood drenched treat for vampire fans. This horror novel creates a great spin on vampire mythology and has some great action scenes. The mythology behind the hunter is fascinating and the way he is described in this book makes him sound like he could make the four horseman run away in fear. The prologue to this book is like a self-contained story that really hooks you into reading the full book. The imagery is creepy with scenes like a ghoul eating someone and a battle  between vampires and the hunter which is beautifully done. The beginning of this book would make a great horror film.

The problem I had with this book was that there was too much going on. There was enough material in this book for three books and I didn’t like how the story kept switching to different locations, characters and time periods. What I liked most was the relationship between Cicatrice and his apprentice Idi-Han and Carter Price and his assistant Nico. Whenever the focus changed to someone else I was just wanting to get back to those four. There was also a romantic relationship between Nico and Idi that could have been good but seemed too rushed. I enjoyed this book but I felt it would have been better if it just focused on Idi, Cicatrice, Nico and Carter dealing with the hunter and left out the civil war and  vampire politics.

Hunter Of The Dead has the feel of a comic book. What I mean is you can easily visualize the action in your head and the story moves along at the speed of a freight train. Stephen Kozeniewski does an excellent job describing violent battle scenes. I loved how the vampires do severe damage to each other such as breaking bones and crushing organs only to heal instantly. It also has some good humor to it such as when a human tied to a table is offered as a birthday cake to a vampire who takes a bite and then offers all the other vampires a bite. It also has some moments of great horror such as when a recently turned vampire realizes that she is eating her father without knowing it. Hunter Of The Dead is a book that vampire fans should not pass up.

An Interview With Chantal Boudreau

Horroraddicts.net Publishing has recently published our 4th anthology called Once Upon a Scream. Remember the Fairy tales that you grew up reading? Well they are back again with a horror twist. Once Upon a Scream includes 18 tales that are fantastic and frightful. One of the authors in this anthology is Chantal Boudreau and recently she talked to us about her writing:

OnceUponAScreamFrontWhat is your story in Once Upon A Scream called and what is it about?
My story, “Without Family Ties” is a modern horror retelling of Pinocchio, only Berko is not a wooden puppet but a magical ritual doll, and to become a real boy he needs to do something more sinister than wish upon a star.

What inspired the idea?
The story was inspired by an African art exhibit called “In the Presence of Spirits” – http://africa.si.edu/exhibits/spirits/intro.htm

When did you start writing?
I feel like I’ve been writing forever. I wrote my first short story at age 6 and my first, very bad novel at 14.

What are your favorite topics to write about?
I write for the sake of catharsis, so usually my writing is an attempt to wrestle with old demons. You’ll see themes about bullying, struggling with being an introvert, overprotective feelings for family and more things from my past.

What are some of your influences?4446228
Early influences of my darker fiction included Stephen King, gritty fairy tales, and grim mythology. Tanith Lee was a big influence when it comes dark fantasy and fairy-tale mash-ups. I was also a fan of Frederic Brown’s dark tales.

What do you find fascinating about the horror genre?
I’m a sucker for psychological horror – the build-up of suspense and some ghastly release. I don’t get the same king of rush from other genres.

What are some of the works you have available?
While I have published novels with a small press, they are currently out of print. I have dozens of short stories in anthologies that are still available. Some of the latest releases include stories in the anthologies Clockwork Canada, Deathlehem Revisited and My Favorite Apocalypse.

What are you currently working on?
I’m in the middle of a horror short story inspired by some Halloween traditions in Wales.

15721911Where can we find you online?

You can find me here:

Links:

Website: http://chantellyb.wordpress.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Chantal-Boudreau-WriterIllustrator/107318919341178

Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Chantal-Boudreau/e/B004O1FP2E/ref=sr_tc_2_rm?qid=1339427087&sr=8-2-ent

Twitter: http://twitter.com/chantellyb13

Scribd.com: http://www.scribd.com/chantal_boudreau

Goodreads Author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4446228.Chantal_Boudreau