Book Review: The Outsider

by C.M. Saunders

 

the outsider

Title: The Outsider

Author: Stephen King

Website: https://www.stephenking.com/

News of this release first broke back in August 2017 when King let something slip during a USA Today interview. Constant Readers then had to endure an anxious 10-month wait until they could get their grubby paws on physical copies. In fairness, it was worth the wait.

The Outsider starts almost like a police procedural, quite reminiscent of the recent Bill Hodges trilogy, when an 11-year old boy is found murdered and mutilated. However, things soon take a supernatural turn when it transpires that the chief suspect, the man who was identified by eye witnesses and left DNA evidence at the scene, was apparently in another city miles away at the time of the murder. What’s more, he can prove it. This, understandably, throws a spanner in the works and leaves the local law enforcement in a bit of a quandary. It’s an impossible crime, kinda like a locked-room murder, SK style.

At almost 600 pages, The Outsider is a pretty substantial addition to the Stephen King library, both literally and figuratively, and keeps up his recent hot streak. It illustrates his usual mechanism of juxtaposing the ordinary and the extraordinary, or in this case the possible and the impossible, seamlessly. As evidence for both sides mounts and opinions shift, you can’t help but feel for poor Terry Maitland, the well-respected cornerstone of the community who is accused of such an unthinkable crime. As ever, King’s character-building is exemplary, and his attention to detail unparalleled. Unusually, the premise is both outlandish and unnervingly plausible as it builds towards a shocking climax.

Somewhat predictably, it was recently announced that The Outsider will be shortly be produced as a TV mini-series, much like The Stand. On the face of it, the Outsider seems like perfect TV fodder.

dead-of-night-reissue

Dead of Night, the new novella by C.M. Saunders, is OUT NOW!

Young lovers, Nick and Maggie, decide to escape the city to spend a romantic weekend camping deep in the idyllic countryside. The excursion begins well, but soon degenerates into a maelstrom of terror when one of them comes face to face with a centuries-old civil war soldier. Together, the couple flee into the wilderness, but soon find engaged in a mortal battle with a group of long-dead Confederate bushwackers.

PLEASE NOTE: This is a story of extreme horror and is not suitable for children.

And don’t forget to visit his blog!

 

 

 

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Favorite Things: Musical Edition

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. This week, let’s all share our favorite album (music, for you young folks like Katrina who aren’t aware that such things are still in some people’s vocabulary). For many of us, music is crucial to getting in the right head space for writing, so finding a whole collection of songs that make us happy is pretty important.

Christian: I’m a rocker at heart, so I’m going for Def Leppard’s Hysteria. It’s just the perfect album. Sometimes the best works of art are born out of adversity, and this album certainly was because drummer Rick savage lost his arm in a car accident prior to recording. Twelve tracks, seven singles and 25 million sales, it epitomizes eighties garishness and excess and Mutt Lange’s production means it still sounds as fresh today as it did when it was released over thirty years ago. A bit of trivia: at over 62 minutes, at the time it was one of the longest albums ever released, which is why it sounds like shit on vinyl.

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Katrina: What is this? The early aughts? We don’t do albums anymore. Songs. Podcasts. Hooks. Bits of words with a little bit of electro playing in the background. (None of which I can name without saying “You know, that one that goes dun-dun-duh and then there’s this weird high-pitched scream?”)

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Renee: They call them albums here and here and here. Just so you all know, we’re not old. They’re still albums.

Katrina,

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Anyway, can I have a top three? Well, I’m going to do it anyway. I love Hysteria, which Christian already mentioned, but it’s not a favorite. Although, Pour Some Sugar on Me, Animal and Love Bites are among my favorite songs (a list longer than my favorite books), my top three favorite albums are movie soundtracks. The first, obviously, is the Dirty Dancing Soundtrack. I listened to that thing back in the day a million times. I actually wore the tape out. (Yes, I’m old enough to have listened to cassette tapes.) The other two are Cocktail and Footloose. There isn’t a single song I don’t like on any of these albums, which I can’t say about anything else.

You all thought I’d say Nickelback, didn’t you? *sniff*

Tony: I haven’t thought about albums in a while. Nowadays it’s stream a Pandora channel and forget about it. I have to reach back to think of a favorite album and the one that first comes to mind is Iron Maiden: Number of the Beast. I was a big heavy metal guy in high school and listened to Iron Maiden pretty much nonstop. Today I’ll stream the blues when I write, occasionally Beastie Boys. But Iron Maiden, on the rare occasion. I can’t remember where I put my keys but I still know the words to The Trooper. Go figure.

Liam: Hmm. This depends on the genre, but if I really have to choose only one… I’d have to go with The Complete Recordings of Robert Johnson, with David Bromberg’s My Own House as a close second, in a dead tie with Dervish, Live at Palma.

Peter: Couldn’t honestly say, I rarely listen to anything other than generic radio nonsense in the car.

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Mike: Tough one. Again, let the reader choose. Bob Dylan’s John Wesley Hardin/Highway 61 revisited/ Blood on the Tracks/ Street legal/ Desire, Rolling Stones, Gimme Shelter, Sticky Fingers, or Exile on Main Street.

Steve: Death to the Pixies. I know it’s gauche to select a ‘best of’ compilation as a favourite album, but hear me out. It wasn’t easy building musical taste before the internet. I had to hop on a train if I wanted to find interesting albums, and we had all of maybe two radio stations dedicated to new music- which back then was mostly the Spice Girls on repeat.

I ended up snaffling through the discarded tapes and CDs of my older siblings, slowly working out what I was supposed to like, and what I actually liked. Stumbling onto the Pixies was a revelation. Something about the manic emotional ambivalence, and the silly seriousness of it. It had a timeless, kind of grubby sexual vibe that I still to this day associate with awkward-but-rocket-fuelled teenage libido. For a while I was flying solo on the pixies- they were a difficult act to sell to my friends who were all about the Deftones or whatever, but when they came back with Death to The Pixies, suddenly they were everywhere, and I was very briefly cool.

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What do you all think? Good choices? If not, please, point us in a direction. Wow us with your recommendations for best album ever.

 

31 Days of Horror

If you’re a horror writer or reader, October is the best month of all the months, because it’s all about the scary. We love it so much, we wanted to do something awesome, so we came up with a giveaway (stole the title/idea from Peter Blakey-Novis, but he’s okay with that).

So, what is our 31 Days of Horror about? Well, every day in October, we’ll be giving away books to at least one lucky reader. All you have to do to enter is share from our Facebook page, on Twitter (Tag a Doll, please, so we know you shared. We’ve added twitter handles at the bottom of the post.) or share this post.

Once you’ve shared, your name is in. If you don’t win on the first, don’t fret, your name is re-entered for the second, and so on. That means just one share gets you in every single day, whether you win or not. Two shares gets you two entries, but only one share per day, per person counts, because we don’t want to annoy people. You share every day? You got 31 entries by October 31st, you awesome thing.

What are we giving away? Well, Renee made this nifty calendar. It’s a work in progress, so as more titles are available, we’ll update.

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So, that’s e-books and paperbacks. Renee has a stack of paperbacks from some kickass dark fiction authors left over from a previous promotion she needs to unload, so you guys win!

Twitter Handles, Facebook Pages (feel free to like and/or follow us as well) to tag when sharing:

Deviant Dolls – @deviantdollspub, Facebook

Renee Miller – @reneemj, Facebook

Christian Saunders – @cmsaunders01, Facebook

Katrina Saete (Monroe) – @authorlady22Facebook

Steve Wetherell – @afistfulofsteve, Facebook

P.J. Blakey-Novis – @pjbn_author, Facebook

Michael Keyton – @BaffledSpirit

Liam McNalley – Facebook

And it all begins NOW. First winner will be announced on October 1st, via Twitter and our Facebook page. Good luck and Happy Halloween!

 

October’s Deviant News and Books

 

We’ve got a few new books coming in October as well as some cheap Halloween reads and FREEBIES!

First, get ready for C.M. Saunders’ newest release, a reissue of “Dead of Night” on the 1st of October.

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Young lovers, Nick and Maggie, decide to escape the city for a romantic weekend deep in the idyllic countryside. The excursion soon degenerates into a maelstrom of terror when one of them comes face to face with a centuries-old civil war soldier. Together, the couple flee into the wilderness, but soon find themselves engaged in a mortal battle with a group of long-dead Confederate bushwackers.

 

It’s available for pre-order now so get it.

 

 

PJ Blakey-Novis has some exciting news for October as well. First, the October issue of Indie Writers Review will be a special Halloween issue. Keep your eyes on the Facebook page to get more details on that.

_11 October 2018

And he’ll be celebrating 31 Days of Horror, in which he promotes some fantastic horror novels and authors all month. We’ll be sure to share that with you on our Facebook page, but you should also follow Peter’s page for news and future promotions. AND, as part of the celebration, Deviant Dolls be giving away some Halloween reads (ebooks and paperbacks) EVERY SINGLE DAY in October, which include Deviant Dolls authors, as well as a few other horror authors we admire and think you should check out.

As we mentioned in July and August, Renee Miller released Eat the Rich, with Hindered Souls Press. In the coming months, the audio book will also be available. Renee’s story “The Cartel” won Deadman’s Tome’s The Meat Grinder contest in August. You can still read it, so go on over and while you’re there, check out the latest contest entries.

On October 16th, Unnerving will be releasing Renee’s chilling horror novella, “Stranded” and “Licking the Devil’s Horn,” a collection that includes Stranded, as well as Church and Cats Like Cream.

Six contestants pair off into three teams of one man and one woman as part of a pilot season for a new reality show called Stranded. The challenge: Survive thirty days in a hostile and brutal environment for a chance to split a half-million-dollar prize.

Victor, the show’s creator, chooses the northern Arctic as the first location, but after a single day, his mistake is clear: They are not alone.

Their presence awakens a relentless and unforgiving predator that feeds on greed, lust and fear.

In this game, the lucky ones get to die.

“Renee Miller has crafted a brutal tale of monsters and madness, one that will make your blood run cold. Perfect for fans of THE THING, STRANDED is arctic terror at its chillingly scary best.”

—Michael Patrick Hicks, author of BROKEN SHELLS and MASS HYSTERIA

 

And look for her erotic horror story, VIRTUAL HEALING in Lycan Valley Press’s GAME OVER: BLACK BOOK SERIES VOLUME 2 in the very near future.

Finally, we’ve got some sales happening in honor of Halloween, because we all know it’s the best of all of the holidays. First, get Renee’s horror/thriller tales, BAYOU BABY, IN THE BONES, DIRTY TRUTHS, THE LEGEND OF JACKSON MURPHY, and SMOLDER for just 99 cents eadh from October 27th to November 1st, and get Steve Wetherell’s SHOOT THE DEAD, as well as selected titles in the Authors and Dragons’ SHINGLES SERIES for 99 cents each as well.

That’s all for now. Keep your eye here and on our Facebook page for your chance to win during 31 Days of Horror. Here’s a taste of what we’ll be offering:

e-books

by C.M. Saunders

X

X2

X3

Sker House

Human Waste

No Man’s Land

Apartment 14F

Out of Time

In the Dead of Night

By Renee Miller

Cats Like Cream

Church

Eat the Rich

Stranded

By PJ Blakey-Novis

Embrace the Darkness

Tunnels and Other Short Stories

The Artist

Paperbacks

Sugar Skulls by Manual Tapia

Syphon by A.A. Medina

The Monkey’s Penis by Steve Wetherell

Licking the Devil’s Horn by Renee Miller

Splish, Slash, Takin a Bloodbath by Eddie Generous, Mark Allan Gunnells, and Renee Miller

 

We’ll be adding more very soon. Stay tuned

Aleister Crowley Meets Elizabeth McBride

by Michael Keyton

Every book has a life changing moment. There are four in The Gift. 

Lizzie ran, unsure of the consequences or whether she meant to. She ran, veering right over cobbles and tramlines until tall, more substantial buildings enveloped her. She imagined she heard her aunt’s penetrating shriek and ran all the faster, hurling herself into Lord Street and crashing into a middle-aged man who held her and laughed.

“Who are you running from? Have you stolen something?” He sounded amused.

Lizzie struggled in his arms. “Get off me. Let me go!”

He lifted her up so that her face was inches from his. She smelled tobacco and a sweet underlying fragrance that made her feel sick. His eyes, brown and compelling, bore into hers. “You think I will hurt you in a crowded street. I am not going to hurt you, and you are not going to run away.” His eyes confused, hard like glass, and a moment later drawing her into a brown swirling ocean.

He put her down gently and squeezed her left shoulder. “Now why are you running? I want to help you, Lizzie.”

“How do you know my name?”

He seemed surprised. “You fight back. Good. Now, you think it unfair that I should know your name. Well then, my name is Aleister Crowley, and we are on equal terms.” He shook her hand but didn’t release it. “So tell me who you are running from?”

From the end of the street came a high shriek. “Lizzie Tobin! Come here this minute.”

“That’s not my name,” Lizzie hissed. “It’s McBride. Lizzie McBride.”

“ McBride, a fine name. Do you want to go with her?”

Lizzie slumped at her aunt’s approach.

“Do you want to go with her?” Crowley insisted

“No. I hate her.”

“Hate can move mountains. Wait here. Don’t move.”

Crowley released her hand and moved, blocking her from Aunt Joyce.

“Will you excuse me, sir? Lizzie, come here at once!”

He bowed. Lizzie imagined him smiling, imagined his eyes. His voice was soft and she knew he was going to betray her. “I caught her just now. A wilful girl, if you’ll allow me.”

“I’ll allow you, Mr…?”

“Crowley.”

“Crowley. She is most wilful. Most wilful indeed. The sooner we’re at sea won’t be too soon for me!”

“It’s a pity they cannot be trained…like dogs.”

Lizzie tried to run but her legs wouldn’t move. She watched Crowley bend lower as though whispering something intimate, and then her aunt drop on to all fours, barking madly and turning her head as though guarding a bone. Pedestrians stopped, some forming a loose circle around the deranged woman, and Crowley looking almost as shocked as them. Lizzie began laughing and at once her legs regained movement. Then she saw Uncle Jim, hovering uncertainly at the far end of the street.

Crowley reclaimed her hand. “I think we should go now… Did you enjoy that?”

“I did. I did.” Lizzie felt guilty but she had enjoyed it. She wanted to turn back and see more. Was it bad to hate someone so much – her own mother’s sister? Her smile faded.

“Don’t feel guilty or sad, Lizzie. Those two things will kill you.”

 

There are many subplots in the Gift Trilogy, the most powerful of which is the slow but remorseless decline of Aleister Crowley. Born in 1875, he is a charismatic twenty-seven year old when he bumps into the fictional Lizzie McBride on a Liverpool Street.

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Aleister_Crowley,_Golden_Dawn

Explorer, mountaineer, poet and magician he was approaching the height of his powers, and there are stories of him talking to otherwise sensible men, who suddenly and without warning, fell to all fours and began barking like dogs. He was associated with unexplained deaths and certainly destroyed the health and sanity of women who succumbed to him.

aleister crowley middleaged hat

 But even ‘the wickedest man in the world’ could not go on for ever.  Magic, black or otherwise, and the corrosive effects of drug taking on an industrial scale, wreaked havoc on Crowley’s mental and physical health, so that by the end of World War II he had become an amiable, doddering shadow of what he’d once been.

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To some an object still of veneration, to others a source of ridicule and perhaps disappointment.  I like to remember Aleister Crowley as he’s first introduced in the book, and not what he’s reduced to in ‘Blood Fall,’ the final book of the Trilogy.

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Superpowered

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? This question is harder than you’d think to answer, because there are so many possibilities. The Dolls have considered their limitations as mere mortals, and we all have a power we’d love to claim, even for a little while:

Steve: The ability to change people’s minds in internet arguments. I realise that’s very fantastical, but indulge me.

Renee: Time travel and/or immortality. I can’t make up my mind. It’d be nice to have both. Although, if you can travel through time, isn’t that a sort of immortality? I guess it depends on the rules of the time travel ability, right? I don’t know. Let’s go with immortality. I’m pretty clumsy and I’m sure my death will be the result of some stupid and/or embarrassing thing that could’ve been avoided. With immortality, I can’t hurt myself too badly.

Katrina: ENDLESS ENERGY. I’m sitting here chugging a Redbull as we speak. GIVE ME WINGS.

Peter: The ability to slow time down so that I could get more done! With the magazine that I put together each month, and Boxes of Blood (horror paperback delivery service), as well as promoting my own work and a huge stack of books to read, there is little time for writing.

Michael: Extreme longevity in peak physical fitness so I could do more things.

Christian: I’d like the ability to travel through time, please. Would that be considered a superpower? It would be much more useful than being invisible or some shit. Imagine the famous historical mysteries I could solve! I’d unmask Jack the Ripper, find out who really killed JFK, and invest all my money in Microsoft.

What about you guys? Any superpowers you’d be stoked to have? What about shitty ones? Are there any you’d think would be more of a burden than a gift?

Ambition is everything when you have a blank page.

by Michael Keyton

 

Writing is a democracy embracing the great and the lesser, the starting line for all being that first blank page.

A short story sometimes emerges from a single but vivid image in a dream—occasionally two or three. The secret then is to give them time to ferment (but not too long) prod them a bit, and then begin writing. Often the subconscious has done the heavy work and a story emerges with just a little help from: Who, What, Where, Why, and the shit-stirrer, What if? The five darker dwarves Snow White left in the forest. One short story came from a single lit window in a house I’d thought empty—again employing those dwarves that sculpt words into stories.

The novel is an entirely different kettle of fish and there is no one-entry point. The great divide is between the so-called ‘Plotters’ and ‘Pantsers’ ie those who plot everything, key moments, turning points etc etc. This is something I could never do, possibly because I lack the mental discipline, possibly because if I’d written the plot out in such detail I’d likely lose any further interest in it. If you know what’s coming next, why bother? Bit like painting by numbers. And yet people I know and respect swear by it, though I suspect they’ll readily bend the framework when characters suddenly develop a life of their own.

The ‘Pantser’ ie writing by the seat of your pants and not fully knowing what’s coming next, has its own dangers. You may lose yourself in the forest and never come out.

I suppose my method, like many writers, is a bit of both. The first chapter is the kindling, its purpose to start a small fire; if all you get is flicker and smoke, you might decide to start again or just give up on it. Usually though, the instinct is right. You find yourself with a nice, warming blaze you’re invested in— you want to know what’s going to happen next. If you’re lucky, you may get another two or three chapters from that initial blaze, but then you’ll stop, look for patterns, probabilities and the characters that have suddenly sprung to life. Then you’ll begin plotting – a few chapters at a time until a general theme becomes apparent, even perhaps a conclusion.

This was how it worked with The Gift and the two other books in the trilogy (January and Spring next year) In retrospect the books almost wrote themselves, though that was not how it seemed at the time.

This latest book has no title, just a strong instinct it will work but as yet no very strong sense of direction—a feeble tug of a fish or two, but no Moby Dick.

At the moment it’s akin to staring at the lines on your palm, trying to work out a pattern, seeing where and how they might join up. I’m 18K in and it’s more of a patchwork quilt than a novel; a patchwork quilt with several large and promising patterns.

And that’s the beauty of a ‘Work in Progress’. You’re under no obligation to start at the beginning and end at the end. There is a beginning, though it’s not set in stone; there are several well developed characters with aims and antagonists. Some are singing loudly in their invisible cages surrounded by airless voids, not yet in contact with anyone else but themselves. Some are more fortunate, singing to each other from interlinked cages. Others are less canaries than embryos waiting to be born—names and rudimentary functions but little if anything else.

If it comes to life, it will be a dystopian Trollope, Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of Vanities set in a world falling apart.

Ambition is everything when you have a blank page.

 

 

TV Time

Christian had this idea that you guys might enjoy knowing a few of our favorite things. Maybe he was wrong, but we’re going to tell you anyway. This week, let’s all share our favorite TV show. Some of us have a bit of an addiction to television (that would be me), so this question was pretty tough to answer.

Christian: Kolchak: The Night Stalker. I remember watching re-runs as a kid (the two movies preceding the TV series came out before I was born) and being terrified and captivated in equal measures. It’s about a newspaper reporter, played by Darren McGavin, who investigates inexplicable crimes. It’s probably fair to say this show sparked my twin obsessions with writing and the supernatural. It was never very commercially successful, I think it was cancelled after a single season, but has since attained cult status. Well-deserved, too.

Mike: Frasier. Incomparable.

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Liam: This is going to date me, but I’m going to have to go with M*A*S*H*; this only because the ancient, black and white Maverick would really make me seem older than dirt. Today’s television just sucks.

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Renee: I think Liam hasn’t been watching the right shows. Yes, back in the day we had some excellent television, but a lot of it was sugar-coated, because you just couldn’t cover topics and show content we can now. Maybe some people see that as bad, but I don’t.

There are a ton of fantastic series from “today” that I’d list as favorites, including Lucifer, Ozark, House, Ray Donovan, Supernatural, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who (I like the modern shows more than the original, sorrynotsorry), Banshee (first couple of seasons only), and Bosch. Right now, my ultimate, all-time favorite as to be The Handmaid’s Tale. Probably because it’s one of my favorite books. Elizabeth Moss’s portrayal of June Osborne (Offred) is FANTASTIC. I’m often disappointed with film adaptations of books I’ve loved, because the way the actors play favorite characters don’t match what’s in my head. Moss is better than anything I could’ve imagined.

Steve: Three million years into deep space- the mining ship Red Dwarf…

Red Dwarf is the greatest sci-fi comedy tv show ever made. There are slicker, there are better produced, but Red Dwarf stands out precisely because of its embracing of English crapness. When the last human alive is a ludicrous slob, and his only companion is the holographic resurrection of his uptight bunkmate, you already have a great premise for a sitcom. But the show rarely rests on the laurels of its high concept. The best humour is the banter between Lister and Rimmer, possibly one of the greatest comedy duos in TV history. Not only that, but the offhand references to life on earth in the not too distant future belay the low budget and tight sit-com dialogue, creating the kind of casual world building most sci-fi authors take books and book to achieve.

Katrina: I feel like there need to be categories here. One can’t just lump Keeping up With the Kardashians (my favorite mindless television) with Elementary (my favorite crime series) and expect to choose one or the other. However, if I were forced to watch one TV show for the rest of my life, I’d have to go with Doctor Who.

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Peter: This changes all the time, as I discover new things, but most recently I’ve really enjoyed Happy!, 13 Reasons Why, and Ozark. The only show I’ve watched more than once is The Wire which is awesome in my opinion, and I did love Dexter until that last ever episode destroyed everything.

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Tony: Without a doubt, Game of Thrones. Even though this is epic fantasy, something I don’t often read or watch, the series is so well written and played with second-to-none special effects, this is a clear winner. I watched the series twice and enjoyed it so much more the second time through. Runner up is Westworld, which again plays into a common theme I write. Honorable mention, The Wire. This is a genre I don’t often watch but I found this gripping. The portrayal of crime and the inner city culture, for the most part, was honest and revealing.

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We know you guys prefer books. I mean, TV? Pfft. It’s for ignorant heathens. Pick up a book, for crying out loud! Still, most of us have a guilty pleasure and TV is often in the list, so what’s your favorite show?

 

September’s Deviant News and Books

Last month, C.M. Saunders announced that his short story Lakeside Park, was included in the anthology Terrors Unimagined, which is out now on Left Hand Publishing. Lakeside Park is an old-fashioned creature tale about a down-on-his-luck, ex-alcoholic custodian who agrees to take a job looking after a remote caravan park deep in the Welsh valleys during the winter. Suffice to say he doesn’t get the anticipated peace and quiet.

Full details and ToC can be found here:

Also, check out the super snazzy trailer!

This month, Christian’s slowed down a bit, but not entirely. Get Sker House free on Sept ember 7,8 and 9th, and get ready for his newest release, a reissue of “Dead of Night” in October. It’ll be available for pre-order in September, so watch our Facebook page for dates.

dead-of-night-reissue

 

Young lovers Nick and Maggie decide to escape the city to spend a romantic weekend camping deep in the idyllic countryside. The excursion begins well, but soon degenerates into a maelstrom of terror when one of them comes face to face with an undead civil war soldier. They flee into the wilderness, but soon find themselves trapped in a deserted cabin and engaged in a mortal battle with a group of long-dead Confederate bushwackers, in the dead of night.

 

 

 

Finally, check out a couple of new entries in Christian’s RetView series.

And don’t forget, Steve Wetherell added a new story to the Authors and Dragons “Shingles” series called, “Put Your Hand in My Ass.” Get your copy here. You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

As we mentioned in July and August, Renee Miller released Eat the Rich, with Hindered Souls Press. In the coming months, the audio book will also be available. Renee also has a story, “THE CARTEL” entered into Deadman’s Tome’s The Meat Grinder contest for the month of August. Still a few more days to give it a read and share your thoughts in the comments. Will she win? Stay tuned…

And in case you missed it, look for Renee’s dark comedy, Contractual Obligations, in Books and Boos Press’s “A Sharp Stick in the Eye” anthology, which was released on August 14th.

 

 

Renee will also be releasing HOWL, an erotic horror novella, with Grinning Skull Press soon, as part of GSP’s Grave Marker series. Look for her erotic horror story, VIRTUAL HEALING in Lycan Valley Press’s GAME OVER: BLACK BOOK SERIES VOLUME 2.

Coming October 16th from Unnerving, you can pre-order Renee’s horror novella, Stranded, now. Also coming in October, Licking the Devil’s Horn, also from Unnerving. A paperback-only collection that includes Stranded, Cats Like Cream and Church.

 

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Six contestants pair off into three teams of one man and one woman as part of a pilot season for a new reality show called Stranded. The challenge: Survive thirty days in a hostile and brutal environment for a chance to split a half-million-dollar prize. 

Victor, the show’s creator, chooses the northern Arctic as the first location, but after a single day, his mistake is clear: They are not alone. 

Their presence awakens a relentless and unforgiving predator that feeds on greed, lust and fear. 

In this game, the lucky ones get to die.

Off Limits

Recently we talked about the one subject we’d never write about. As writers and creative types, it’s nice to think we’re open to almost anything, but most people have a certain subject/theme that’s taboo for them. Here’s where each of us draws a line (or doesn’t).

Liam: Is this a trick question? Seriously, anything I put down here, no matter how bizarre, I’ll just end up cursed to write about someday. Once, I would have said “I’ll never write about a physic with a chipped tea cup on Key West…” We all know how that ended up.

Katrina: I don’t think there are any subjects off-limits for me. I could probably write about anything, given the right context.

Peter: I haven’t found anything that I wouldn’t write about…yet. I think if it’s well enough written, and an essential part of the story, then no subject is taboo. After all, writers shouldn’t be afraid to push boundaries. But there is no merit in writing just for shock value.

Christian: Animal or child abuse. Some writers consciously tackle taboo topics others shy away from. They think they are being brave or edgy. But you know what? There’s a reason most people stay away from certain topics, even in the horror world. And that’s because there are some things nobody wants to read about.

Renee: I used to say I’d never write about child abuse or about a child or animal abuse/murder, but that was kind of naive. I wouldn’t write a graphic play-by-play of the actual event, because it would be purely for shock value in most situations, which does nothing to enhance the story, but I don’t shy away from having my characters deal with these things. So, I don’t think anything is off limits for me. Not yet anyway…

Michael: Paedophilia because I couldn’t /wouldn’t enter their headspace.

Steve: I’m a scab picking son of a bitch and I’d write about anything. Whether I’d let anyone read it, though, is another question.