What Hides Within

Clive Menard was leading a dull uneventful life. He wasn’t unhappy but he wasn’t passionate about anything either. He was just going through the motions. His whole life changes though when he goes Kayaking with his friend Morgan and discovers a giant spider nest. Since that fateful day Clive got a new unwanted roommate in his head. He named the spider Chester and even a lobotomy couldn’t get rid of him. It’s not all bad though, Chester is making Clive’s life better, but at what cost?

Chester helps Clive get the girl he always wanted and a promotion at work but then things get a little weird. There is also to be a killer stalking the neighborhood, a mad bomber on the loose and the person sharing Clive’s apartment is wanted by the police.  Could all these events be connected and where did this talking spider come from? Clive has to decide if he can overlook all the things happening around him in order to keep his new improved life.

What Hides Within by Jason Parent is a murder mystery , a horror novel and a study on how people will act when their morals get challenged. We know early on that Chester has an agenda but he promises to make things better for Clive if he cooperates. Clive doesn’t necessarily like Chester but he sees the benefits to having him. One thing Chester brings to Clive is a passion for life that he has never had before. Clive’s new passion also has a big effect on Morgan who has always loved Clive, but now she can’t bear to be away from him.

. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Chester says he has to leave Clive’s skull for a while causing Clive to break down and say he is nothing without her(Yes Chester is a girl). Clive knows that Chester has changed everything and he is willing to overlook certain things but soon he has to make a decision. Chester is faced with whether he wants to be responsible and take care of his young niece and work his better job or do Chester’s bidding.  This book is all about choices, are you willing to sacrifice your morals and free will to get what you’ve always dreamed of?

What Hides Within is a good book that is well worth your time, but it does have its flaws. I found that I didn’t care about the mad bomber or the killer on the loose. There is no good explanation on why the killer did what he did except to add a little to the mystery surrounding the bomber. What I was really interested in was the relationship between Chester and Clive, so the parts that didn’t include the two of them together fell flat for me. That being said there was one great scene where Chester on his own goes to kill one of Clive’s rivals that ends up being the most suspenseful part of the book. What Hides Within has more good parts then bad. It also has some funny moments such as when Chester informs Clive on what Clive did when he got drunk and passed out at a party. I’ll be looking forward to reading more books by Jason Parent in the future.

http://www.confessionsofareviewer.com/

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Dusk’s Warriors

The vampires of Night’s Knights are living in a new plane of existence that they’re not use to and once again everything is about to change for them. Ridge is a man working for the devil and he’s gathering souls from immortals living on earth. When he attacks Markham’s significant other Jimmy, it causes a chain reaction. An epic battle between Heaven and Hell begins and a street gang of vigilantes may be the deciding factor on who wins.

Dusk’s Warriors by Emerian Rich is a sequel to Night’s Knights but it can be read as a stand alone novel. The foundation was given in the first book but this one takes the story to the next level. It describes the mythical realms that the characters now live in but also focuses on what’s happening on earth and introduces a new cast of characters. Among them are Ridge who is hunted by the Drog and working for the devil and Zack who doesn’t really know his place in the world and unknowingly follows Ridge into .Hell. The story starts off with a bang beginning in Hell as Ridge gets his orders from The devil. I loved how the settings in the story are described and the opening of the book had me hooked.

There are several good characters here but my favorite in this book is Reidar, a vampire who has taken it upon himself to chronicle what happens among all the vampires and the different realms of Heaven. I loved how he describes his feelings for Severina the Goddess of dusk and what he does to deal with his unrequited love. He has the best scenes in the story such as when he enters a man’s dream in order to remove the man’s mental anguish. He quickly learns that some things can’t be helped.

I also loved The Drog in this story. They’re a street gang of vigilantes that believes they work for the chosen one. In one good scene members of The Drog confronts people working for the National Organization of Supernatural Specialists. They state that by studying evil that the Noss themselves are evil which leads into a great battle scene. I loved how the characters are so complex and even the ones that you look at as good have a dark side.

Dusk’s Warriors is A world of horror with realistic characters in a fast paced thriller you won’t be able to put down. That’s not all though because this book can also be considered a dark fantasy, it also has a couple of good love stories, some erotica(Ever want to read a book where a woman grows a penis? you got to check this one out) and a vividly described battle between heaven and hell. Don’t go into this book thinking it’s just a vampire book because it’s more complex than that. Emerian Rich has created a universe where horror and fantasy mix together and everyone in it is a shade of grey. This book is a must read.

http://emerianrich.com/

 

 

Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths

“Life asked Death, ‘Why do people love me, but hate you?’
Death responded, ‘Because you are a beautiful lie, and I am a painful truth.’ ”
~Anonymous

Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths is an anthology edited by Karen T. Newman that’s all about death. Even though that’s the subject matter the mood isn’t always dark. This anthology spans several genres including Science fiction, horror, mystery and even some humor. Well written and well-edited, this book may be long but it’s hard to put down.There aren’t any bad stories here but to keep this review from being to long, I decided to just talk about a few stories:

Family Ties by Cara Fox deals with a daughter whose father just happens to be the grim reaper. The daughter’s name is Zoe and where the reaper’s job is to take souls, Zoe has the ability to save them but there is a price to saving souls. I loved how this story gets into the balance between life and death and the idea that in some situations a long life can be a curse.

Where I would look at Family Ties as being horror ,With Infinite Complacency
by Steve Cameron is a science fiction tale. This story follows astronauts in a space station as they witness the end of civilization due to nuclear war.  They can’t return to earth due to contamination and are stuck alone in space. I love the concept in this story and the twist at the end. I also loved the idea how would you feel if you were alone in the universe?

Proving that this anthology has a wide range of stories another great tale is Death and the Horse by Terri Bruce. This is a fantasy story about Death needing a horse in able to do his job a little faster. This story throws in a lot of different mythological characters and has a good sense of humor to it, showing that stories about death can be funny.

The Fall by Paul K. Metheney is another one with a comedic edge to it that focuses on a man who is about to jump off a cliff. Before he does, God shows up and says he will fix his life if the man can ask 20 good questions about the meaning of life. This is such a good simple story and I love how it touches on the philosophy of life and it makes a good point about accepting the bad with the good.

Pondering Eternity Over Waffles at Last Call by JCC Downing is another one that gets into the philosophy of life quite a bit. This one deals with a young woman and an older man who manages to become friends but the man has a big secret. Once again this is a simple tale with some deep meaning to it and the idea that you can’t have good without the bad is center stage.

Another good one that is very different from every other tale in this book is Selfie Warfare
by Shaun Avery. The story looks at the concept of how social media effects two people. While pleasing a virtual audience is shown as a bad thing for both characters, they both react in different ways to the problem. I think a good question raised here is what are you missing out on if you live your life online?

I think the thing I enjoyed most about this anthology is that even though it’s about death, it isn’t a sad book. Most of the stories include themes on how precious life is and how the choices we make effect us. There are several genres included in this book and they all look at the philosophy of life a little differently.  This book has a little bit of everything and no matter what form of literature you like there will be something in Beautiful Lies, Painful Truths that you will enjoy.

 

 

Dusk’s Warriors by Emerian Rich

Because David is such a fan of Markham in the Night’s Knights series, I’ve decided to share an excerpt from the new book, Dusk’s Warriors, where Markham is battling Hellhounds. It also involves Minidoo, a Canadian Ojibawe Indian who is a new character in this sequel.

Excerpt from Dusk’s Warriors:

A gust blew off Markham’s hat and he tripped over a tree root, pitching forward and landing face-first. Snow pushed up his nose and into his mouth. It was clean, but stung like the blazes.

Markham stood and brushed himself off. He covered his mouth and nose, breathing heavily to clear the coldness from his skin. Hearing a rustle in the woods, he pressed against a nearby tree, trying to blend in to the forest. The trees were dense and as he watched in the direction of the noise, a doe galloped past him about two yards away. After the doe, a woman dressed in furs, long black twin braids flying out behind her, sprinted past. Her head snapped in his direction, but she kept moving. Markham followed cautiously behind, watching the woman grab the doe and sink her canines into its neck. The doe made a yelp when caught, but then was still. The woman drank of her prey, concentrating on the animal. Markham kept his distance, knowing not to approach a vampire while feeding. The woman’s eyes flew open, her mouth still connected to the doe.

As Markham was about to step out and introduce himself, he heard Ridge approach. He could read his thoughts before he saw him.

Kill the girl, get free. Kill the girl, get the money. Never have to go to Hell again, Ridge thought.

Whe nesh na baa?” the girl asked, and Markham thought she spoke to him, but she looked past him, to the right. Her eyes narrowed, a cold dark stare as if she would kill with a mere look. “Annish mampee enna kian sha ganosh?” She stood, blood trailing onto her white furs as she whipped her two long braids from her face.

“Listen,” Ridge said as he stepped into view, a gun trained on the girl. “I don’t understand your gobble-de-gook. If you’re gonna threaten me, do it in English.”

“Who are you to come on this land, in a forest of peace to dishonor the ancestors of the people?” she asked, clear and confident with only a slight accent.

“Glad you asked. My name’s Ridge. You are?”

“Minidoo. I belong here. You do not.”

“Look Mini, I really have nothing against you, but I made a deal and you are my way to freedom. So stand real still like…” He fired his gun. The shots missed and Minidoo had Ridge in a head lock before he could blink.

“Who sent you?” She lifted him off the ground, his neck still in the crook of her forearm as she floated upwards.

“Put…me…down…God damnit!” Ridge struggled against her, grunting and kicking back at her. “All right, no more Mr. Nice Guy.” Ridge took something from his pocket and put it too his mouth.

Minidoo dropped him, screeching and covering her ears. Markham didn’t hear anything, but it seemed to work on the poor girl.

“What is it?” she yelled.

“Hell whistle.”

Markham could stand by no longer, he stepped between them, his back to Minidoo.

“Ridge, your torture stops here.”

“Markham O’Leary! Two for the price of one. Imagine my luck!” Despite his cocky humor, Markham could see doubt in his mind. Can the Hell whistle defeat two strong immortals? Will I live to collect my money?

From the woods came a howl so horrific, it couldn’t be a normal wolf. A mangy set of dogs came out of the woods.

“Hmmm…in all my days, I ain’t never seen a hellhound so ugly. Glad he’s on my side. Go get ‘em killer.” Ridge smiled self-righteously.

The animals didn’t seem to be “hounds” exactly, but the Hell part Markham believed. They were giant wooly dogs, almost bear like. At first it looked like they were chained together by twos, but the closer they got, he realized they were attached in the middle like mutant Siamese twins, each having four legs and a separate head, but combined in a wide body. Brown in color, their fur seemed to undulate as if it was liquid. Their eyes were deep crevices where eyeballs should’ve been. When they snarled, deadly sharp teeth and skeletal jaws dripped with blood.

Have you encountered this sort of beast before? Minidoo asked Markham silently.

No, you? Markham asked.

No.

Dusk’s Warriors by Emerian Rich

Heaven has opened up and welcomed the vampires of Night’s Knights into a new reality. As they struggle to find their place in their new world, trouble brews on Earth.

Demon servant, Ridge, is causing havoc by gathering up all the souls on Earth that have been touched by immortality. When he injures one of the Night’s Knights crew, he launches a war between the vampires of Heaven, the Big Bad in Hell, and a mortal street gang of vigilante misfits.

Will Julien, Markham, and Reidar be able to defeat the evil that’s returned, or will they once again need Jespa’s help?

Praise for Dusk’s Warriors:

“All hail, the queen of Night’s Knights has returned! Emerian Rich’s unique take on vampires delights my black little heart.” ~Dan Shaurette, Lilith’s Love

 

“A world of horror with realistic characters in a fast paced thriller you won’t be able to put down.”

~David Watson, The All Night Library

 

Praise for Night’s Knights:

“Fresh, original, and thoroughly entertaining.” ~Mark Eller, Traitor

 

“Emerian brought the Vampire Novel back from the dead.” ~C. E. Dorsett, Shine Like Thunder

Emerian Rich was born in Colorado Springs, Colorado in 1973, the only child of pastors. She lived in thirty-two different places by the time she graduated high school. With no siblings and no consistent peer relationships, the pen became an integral part of her life, granting her an inexpensive pastime that she could take with her anywhere. The characters in her stories became her friends and her journal, her only continuous confidant.

Emerian graduated The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising in San Francisco, California with an A.A. in Visual Presentation and Space Design. She has been a consultant on window design, store merchandising, web design projects, company logos, event planning and decoration, newsletter production, and has been voice acting since 2008.

Emerian began her non-profit zine, Dark Lives, in 1997. Her goal was to give unpublished talent in the horror genre a place to have their work published and enjoyed. Originally began as a paper publication, Dark Lives became exclusively a webzine in 2002. darklives.com officially closed it’s doors at the end of 2007.

Emerian now serves as Horror Hostess for the internationally acclaimed podcast, HorrorAddicts.net.
HorrorAddicts.net has become not only a podcast but a widely read publisher of horror news, reviews, and fiction.

Emerian has been a part of many social and business groups including: The Katz (Supernatural Investigators), Wicked Women Writers, Mad Hatter Tea Society, Quillz Literary Group, and others. She is also an active volunteer for the following causes: Clean The Beach Days, Earth Day, Oil Clean Up Education, Service to Elders, Children’s Day Camp, Community Support for Abused Children, and Activities for the Developmentally Disabled.

She has also written under the names: Emerian Mordrige, E. Mordrige, Emmy Z. Madrigal and Emz.

Emerian lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son. To meet Emerian, check out her events.

http://www.emzbox.com/

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.

HorrorAddicts.net

for Horror Addicts, by Horror Addicts

Listen to the HorrorAddicts.net podcast for the latest in horror news, reviews, music, and fiction.

HorrorAddicts.net Press

www.horroraddicts.net

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.