August’s Deviant News and Books

In July, we had all kinds of things happening, and it looks like the Dolls won’t be slowing down in August.

First, C.M. Saunders is having a sale! Out of Time, Apartment 14F, No Man’s Land: Horror in the Trenches, and Human Waste are all 0.99 for a very limited time. Grab ‘em quick.

 

Find these and the rest of his books here:

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Saunders’s latest short story, Lakeside Park, is included in the anthology Terrors Unimagined out now on Left Hand Publishing.

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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.

 

 

Also, check out the super snazzy trailer!

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You’ll also be able to find one of his drabbles, My Tormentor, on the Horror Tree on July 29th.

Meanwhile, on his blog, he takes an introspective look at Ringu, the original Japanese version of the seminal movie Ring. Next up for the RetView treatment is the Hammer Horror classic The Witchfinder General. Finally, , if you’re a non-fiction reader with a taste for the paranormal, he has an article on the Nelson Mandela Effect (false memory syndrome) in the latest issue of Fortean Times (FT368).

And we’ll never forget Steve Wetherell’s debut installment in the Authors and Dragons “Shingles” series, The Monkey’s Penis. In August, Steve’s second Shingles tale, “Put Your Hand in My Ass” will be available. Pre-order it now!

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Will Monroe wants to be a famous entertainer more than anything, and he knows the high school talent show is the first step. Unfortunately he has no talent.

What he needs is a mentor. What he gets is Sloppy- an enchanted puppet with weird sexual proclivities and an extremely problematic approach to comedy.

Does Will have what it takes to make it in the cut-throat world of showbiz? And how deep is he willing to stick his hand to find out?

 

 

 

 

 

 

In July, Steve also had a story included in Beyond Midnight: Volume One.

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Magic. Mystery. Mayhem.

Dive into the pages of this alluring anthology and enter a world of mystery and adventure. Stalk the streets of sprawling metropolis’ and hunt terrifying creatures. Explore towering cities where the supernatural is everyday and magic is as common as coffee.

Devour 13 all-new urban fantasy stories from debut and best selling authors.

Pick up your copy of Beyond Midnight today and join the adventure.

 

 

 

In July, Renee Miller released Eat the Rich, with Hindered Souls Press (audio and paperback coming very soon).

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Some fantastic reviews are already in from Book Review Village, Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews, Hellnotes, and more. Renee’s also been visiting a few blogs, including Kam’s Place, Cedar Hollow Horror Reviews, and Kendall Reviews. Renee also wrote a little thing called The Women We Should Be Writing over at Inkheist.

And if you missed it, check out her Eat the Rich podcast over at Deadman’s Tome. Lots of shits and giggles happening there. Also at Deadman’s Tome, look for Renee’s story BITER in The Meat Grinder contest. Stories should be up the first of August, so if you want her to win, you should go on over, read the story, like it (unless you hate it) and comment.

On August 14th, look for Renee’s dark comedy, Contractual Obligations, in Books and Boos Press’s “A Sharp Stick in the Eye” anthology.A Sharp Stick in the Eye—Front Cover

 

Renee will also be releasing Howl, an erotic horror novella, with Grinning Skull Press later this summer, as part of GSP’s Grave Marker series.

And finally, we missed it in July’s announcements, but it’s not too late to take advantage of the sale. So, Katrina Monroe’s Sacrificial Lamb Cake is just 99 cents from July 26th to 30th. Definitely take advantage of this awesome deal.

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And that’s all for August (so far.) We’ll try to keep the excitement at this fever pitch in the fall as well.

 

 

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Why Dark Fiction?

So, I get curious from time to time, and I force the other dolls to play along and answer my many questions. This week, we’re all going to share why we choose to write dark fiction. (By dark fiction, I mean speculative, dark comedy, etc.)

Michael: I don’t limit myself to dark fiction, though there is darkness in all of my books. I have three ‘historicals’ in the pipeline – two set in the twilight years of Roman Britain, and one in early colonial America. In these, as with the Gift Trilogy coming out this year, the speculative part lies in the interstices of historical fact. But to answer the question why do I like dark in the first place – in my case it might be a very traditional Catholic education where there was no light without dark and Hell was a real place.

Steve: Dying is easy and comedy is hard, or so it goes. I’ve never died, so I can’t really attest to it. But, of all the many jobs comedy and fantasy has, one of them is trying to make sense of the dark. And in doing so, perhaps see the funny side.

Katrina: Because realism is too hard to write and reality is boring anyway. Some people call speculative fiction “escapist” like an insult, but I think it’s the best part about it. Why wouldn’t you want to escape?

Christian: I wouldn’t know what else to write. At least ‘dark fiction’ is a big playground big enough to get lost in. When you think about it, it can encompass almost every other genre, from crime noir to sci-fi. It overlaps a lot. I used to call myself a horror writer, then I asked myself what horror was and I couldn’t come up with a satisfying answer. It means different things to different people. Besides, I wrote a love story once and nobody liked it.

Renee: I write in multiple genres, but “darkness” is a constant element in all of them. I enjoy writing dark fiction/speculative fiction, because it’s such a broad category. You can delve into almost every genre and writing it is like an escape that allows me to go to those places we all avoid, because we’re not maniacs.  Also, I find the best characters in the dark.

Peter: I write in a range of genres, but there is certainly a darkness to each of my stories (with the exception of my children’s book, of course!), and that darkness comes in different forms. I find there is a certain freedom that comes with writing speculative fiction; an opportunity to be more imaginative with events, giving greater range to the topics that can be covered.

Liam: Because it’s there.

What about you guys? Writers and readers, why do you write/read dark fiction?

 

What’s New for April? Books!

 

C.M. Saunders has been a busy, busy boy. Last month, he published a little something in Crimson Streets, and he continued with his Retro Review series. In April, not only is he continuing is Retro Review series (catch the latest on his blog), he’s also releasing the third book in his X horror collection series, X3. You can pre-order it now, and while you’re at it, get the first two books in this series for just 99 cents in April as well.

Our very own P.J. Blakey-Novis has also interviewed him for Indie Writers’ Review (Follow the Facebook page for book, review, etc. news and for opportunities to win books) and Christian’s stopping by Roadie Notes for another interview. You’ll want to check both out.

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Oh, and speaking of Mr. Blakey-Novis, keep your eye on this blog or his Indie Writers Review page next month for news about upcoming titles from him as well, including a little something called Boxes of Blood.

This month, Renee Miller released Splish, Slash, Takin’ a Bloodbath with Unnerving Magazine, and on April 10th, look for her twisted novelette, Cats Like Cream. And for the month of April, Renee’s got a little thing happening on her Facebook page. For the price of answering a question, you’ll be entered to win a digital subscription to Unnerving Magazine’s 2018 digital catalogue. That includes mobi, epub and PDF copies of all of the 2018 Unnerving releases below (not the magazine), plus a couple of more TBD titles, and/or a paperback copy of Eat the Rich, which will be released in July via Hindered Souls Press.

And Katrina Monroe fans, if you’ve been missing her lately, don’t fret, she’s been publishing a series of short fiction on her blog. The first, Liquid Innovations, Please Hold, appeared last month, and the most recent, Lost and Found, is available to read now. Stop by throughout April for more brand new fiction from her.

In case you missed it, Steve Wetherell also released brand new fiction in March. Check out his Shingles Series installment, The Monkey’s Penis. His comedic horror gem, Shoot the Dead, is also on Amazon Prime’s reading list for April (actually, its on the list now and will be for 90 days, which means it’s free for Amazon Prime members, so get on it).

Michael Keyton has been quiet, but tune in next month when we reveal May’s book news for more from him as well.

That’s all for now, kittens. Check our Facebook page for more news, and check back here next month to find out what we’ve got going on in May.

 

THE EXORCIST SCARRED ME, AND I’M OKAY WITH THAT

By Katrina Monroe

 

When it comes to horror films, my worst fears are many and specific: creepy kids (and now that I have my own, this goes double), sharp objects near or around a person’s neck, demonic possession (I’m a recovering Catholic, so, duh), and jump scares (because I’m gullible as hell). In spite of ALL THAT, when theaters re-released The Exorcist in 2000, at the maddening age of fourteen, I gladly went along with my step-father and my two brothers (aged thirteen and twelve at the time) to see it.

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Don’t ask me what possessed (har-har) my step-father to bring a trio of barely teenaged kids to an R-rated film guaranteed to scare the pants off us. Maybe he thought it would be funny. He’d only just married my mother a year before (and she subsequently popped out child number six), so the dynamic between my siblings and Raul were in the “testing” stage. We tested him, he stared at us like we’d grown a second head, and we moved on to the next experiment. To my memory, he’d never tested back; Raul was (and still is) the calm-headed type. Experience and retrospect, though, have proved that the calm-headed ones are the craftiest.

So with what I can only assume was a blessing from my mother, I, my brothers, my step-father, and his best friend, Harley, went to the movies.

It was a disaster from the beginning.

I sat on the end next to an aisle with burned-out floor illumination, and the shadows played tricks on my already rattled mind. It didn’t slip my notice that my brothers and I were the only under-eighteens in the theater, though, and it was my first clue that something was amiss.

“So this has devils and stuff?” My brother, Danny, asked.

Harley chuckled. “Yeah. Stuff.”

Raul shushed him as the lights dimmed and the movie started.

By the scene in which Regan was being “treated” by having needles plunged multiple times into her neck, I was dry-heaving in the aisle. The world spun and I dripped coke-soaked ice down the back of my neck to keep from passing out. Once the feeling passed, I figured all would be well. If I could live through that, I could handle anything.

Four words—Let Jesus fuck you—and I was so wrong.

The End couldn’t come quick enough.

My brothers and I ran from the theater and waited by the car for Harley and Raul. We didn’t look at each other. Didn’t talk to each other. But I’m sure we all shared the same thought—it’ll be dark soon.

Danny—either in a show of bravado or stubbornness—slept in his room that night as usual, while my other brother, Buddy, and I slept in the living room.

We spent the night watching Disney movies—our favorite, Hercules, played no less than three times—while battling over who would risk getting off the couch to rewind the VHS (yes, we still had those, and no, there was no remote).

“I did it last time,” Buddy said.

“And you were fine. Obviously, you’ve got some kind of luck on your side.”

“That’s stupid.”

“You’re stupid.”

“I’m telling Mom.”

“Go ahead. Hit the rewind button on your way to her room.”

I have no proof, but I firmly believe Raul sat by the bedroom door and listened to all of this, snickering like Snidely Whiplash.

By the next day, Buddy had gotten over it.

Daniel, however, had gotten worse.

My mother paced the kitchen while on the phone with my grandfather, a devout Catholic. “Can you just come over and, I don’t know, talk to him?”

See, Danny believed that since he and Regan were the same age, it was only a matter of time before HE would become possessed, too. Despite my still lingering fear over the film, I found the notion of Danny spewing pea soup all over his Power Ranger bed sheets funny.

My grandfather spent the next several days quoting scripture and comforting Danny in the fact that, yes, the Devil was real, but no he wouldn’t possess Danny because the Devil had more pressing things to deal with like plagues and the End of Times.

I did mention I am a recovering Catholic, yes?

Anyway, I dealt with my fear the only way I knew how. I made deals.

If I didn’t move all night, The Exorcist (because I had to name my fear and, though it made no sense, I went with the movie title) wouldn’t get me.

[I’m sure there’s a twisted Freudian reason that, in naming my fear, it was a name that associated more with the religion side than the horror side of the experience. I’ll jot it down for my therapist, but we won’t be discussing it here.]

Then a week passed.

If I didn’t move all night, except moving my feet out of the blanket when it got too hot, The Exorcist wouldn’t get me.

Then another week passed.

If I didn’t move all night, except moving my feet and getting up to pee, The Exorcist wouldn’t get me.

This continued for months. Years.

Now, I’m allowed to move all I want, but The Exorcist will probably get me if I go into the bathroom before turning on the hall lights, or get into bed without a running start.

I’m thirty and, if I were to watch the movie again, I’m sure I would find it enlightening, compelling, and revel in the scare-factor. But there’s something about childhood trauma that drives me. Without it, I’d have no stories to tell and you’d be stuck playing Pokemon Go for the fourth hour in a row.

There is a moral to this tale, though.

They don’t give an R rating for fun, guys. Maybe don’t plop your twelve year old in front of Pennywise and expect to get her a clown for her next birthday, yeah? Glad we had this talk.

 

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of our new anthology, ECHOES & BONES, which is dark, like Halloween, and sometime funny.

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You can also enter to win a copy on Amazon. ‘Muricans only, because them’s the rules. Folks from other countries can go to our Facebook page for chances to win book goodies.

 

Five (More) Thoughts with Katrina Monroe

by Katrina Monroe

  1. I can’t science.

I like science. Science makes things blow up and makes my phone cooler and takes care of animals. I appreciate science. I do. I just can’t do it. I started going back to school this year to finish up an English degree I’ve been drooling over for over a decade, and part of it is taking an environmental science class. I read the chapters and cry when I can’t make them stick in my head. I take quizzes that don’t make sense. But, at the end of it, I’m coming for you climate change denying mother-fuckers, so WATCH OUT.

 

  1. Academic writing bores me to tears.

Okay, yes, more school stuff. If I have to obsess about it, you have to hear about it. My required writing class is led by a professor who thinks stylized writing is “confusing.” (I can’t wait to see what he thinks of my rogue italics and one-word paragraphs in our first paper. *eyeroll*). At the beginning of the semester, he emphasized that we would be reading non-fiction. That’s fine. I read A LOT of great non-fiction. Except, in this class, it’ll be academic essays from the medical field, to appeal to the eleventy-billion nursing students in my class. Gag me.

 

  1. You’d think momming got easier once the kids started becoming independent. Guess what, losers. It doesn’t.

When my kids (now ages 9 and 10) were smaller, it was easy to write off their little eccentricities and forgetfulness as a result of their being little. Of course she won’t remember to pick up after herself, Katrina, she’s a toddler for fuckssakes. Now, they still don’t clean their room; they still forget things at school; they still leave behind little trails of pizza cheese and homemade slime, except NOW it’s willful. I have no point other than I’m losing my god-damned mind. Send help.

 

  1. Get your flu shot.

Otherwise you’ll be stuck chain-sucking sugar-free cough drops so you don’t hack up a lung in the middle of class. Oh, and those cough-drops? They give you the runs. Your PSA for the week, kids.

 

  1. Sometimes strangers will sniff your furniture.

This week, I sold our old recliner on the Facebook market because I figured it’d be safer than throwing it up on Facebook and attracting creepers. Facebook users have pictures, right? And you can totally tell a creeper from a non-creeper by their photo (yeah, I’m laughing too). After dodging a few bullshit offers—“I’ll give you twenty bucks and that’s being generous,” fuck off, bro—a legit offer came through and someone showed up to pick up the recliner. Which he sniffed. Allllllll over it. The seat. The back. He said he was looking for mold, but he paid cash so I didn’t ask questions. The chair’s gone now, and so is the sniffer.

Weird Writerly Things

Every writer has a process. Even if it’s only that they write in a specific room or at a certain time of day, we all have something that helps get us in the mood. I (Renee) forced everyone to tell me one weird thing they do to get in the zone for writing. Some of the Dolls didn’t disappoint. Liam, you need to get weirder. Just saying.

Anyway, here’s what they told me. Now they know the confidentiality thing I made them sign is useless.

Liam: Just daydream and type what happens.

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Hanna: Being in nature. I usually write best outside too.

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Oh yeah, sounds great, Hanna.

Steve: Smoking cigarettes and staring at the sky was a great way to zone out and run a chapter through my head. Unfortunately it’s not a good habit, lung-wise, so I can’t recommend it in good faith.

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(right?)

Michael: Cleaning the toilets usually does it, followed by strong coffee. Either that or a tomato sandwich.

(Did you say tomato sandwich?)

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Renee: Candy Crush. I wish I was joking, but I’m not. Playing a few rounds of that empties my brain of other things. I just play until I’m ready and then I write. If that doesn’t work, I take a nap, because naps are awesome.

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Katrina: Coffee and a swift kicking of everyone the hell away from me.

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(We had such high hopes for yours, Kat.)

Christian: I don’t have a weird thing that helps me get in the zone. Is that weird?

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(Yes, Christian. It’s weird. You’re weird.)

Five Thoughts with Katrina Monroe

by Katrina

  1. I have no thoughts. All thoughts are darkness. Except for doughnuts. Those are perfect, circular happiness. I probably shouldn’t have eaten it though. My dentist is going to give me the look when I come in with the cavity she knew was going to happen if I kept up with the whole eating sweets thing. Screw her. Dentists are the devil, anyway.

Thought 1

  1. Legitimacy is bullshit but we all need it. Crave it. It’s a confidence booster. You know why people who succeed seem to keep succeeding? Someone told them they could, and they believed. Clap your hands if you believe in fairies and all that. Same principle. Mostly. We could get into whether legitimacy is legitimate (HA), or whether a person can ever reach a plane of legitimacy nirvana where they never stop craving more, but my children need dinner. More soon.

Thought 2

  1. Who was the first person to decide seaweed was something they ought to put in their mouths? What was that story? Probably had something to do with dicks. A lot of weird innovations tend to begin that way. I bet that first seaweed eater was related to the guy who first applied for funding to research what would later become Viagra. Picture it: a family reunion that’s all little blue pills and crunchy seaweed snacks (olive oil and salt, because they’re watching their cholesterol).

Thought 3

  1. I’m probably hungry. Definitely hungry. What’s for dinner tonight? The whitest white-girl quesadillas ever to grace the 10,000 lakes of Minnesota: rotisserie chicken (work smart, not hard), cheese (not sure what kind it is, but it’s yellow, whatever), half-stale tortillas (they’re going to be toasted for fucksakes, no one will notice), avocado (look at me being all HEALTHY), salsa (Mmmm), more cheese (because duh), and probably some other vegetable (whatever is the least wilty in the crisper drawer). You know you want some of this.

Thought 4

    1. Peter Capaldi and Pearl Mackey are an incredible Doctor/companion duo. Pearl isn’t immediately taken in with the doctor (and for FUCKSAKES people it took making her a lesbian to dispel the whole doe-eyed lover thing every other companion except Donna had), and wants from the beginning to keep living her own life outside the TARDIS. She’s fun and funny with sarcastic chops to match Capaldi’s bitter, mid-life Doctor. It’s a fucking tragedy they won’t get more than this season. Thought 5

 

    Fight me.

Shrink Wrapped: Katrina Monroe Edition

As we’ve already explained in previous interviews, this is not a meet the author and find out all the writerly yawn-fest things she does kind of thing. Instead, we took questions a doctor or cop searching for a serial killer might ask and tweaked them a little. It’s been enlightening… and disturbing.

katrinaKatrina Monroe (Saete) is hilarious. Let’s just get that out of the way so I can get paid. Her most recent book, ALL DARLING CHILDREN, is possibly THE BEST THING EVER, so you should pick it up. If you’re a pussy who can’t handle some darkness, I have to ask what you’re doing here. Seriously, get out.

Now, she helped compile these questions, but had no control over what ones she got. She doesn’t like big surprises, so we had to do it that way or there’d be another “incident.”

Let’s see what we scraped out of her head.

What would you do if you found a dead body in your lover’s freezer?

Since my lover’s freezer is also my freezer, I would probably wonder if I’d been sleepwalking again. A person can only take so much Ambien before the dreams start showing up in the daytime. Wait. Is this a dream?

*Yes. Shouldn’t you be naked? *

Tom Hiddleston or Tom Cruise? Explain your answer

TOM CRUISE IS A BASTARD. YOU TELL HIM THAT. YOU TELL HIM AND THAT ASSHOLE ATTORNEY OF HIS THAT I WON’T BE BOUGHT, YOU HEAR ME?

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*Still upset about the “Tom” thing. Noted. *

 You’re stranded. Maybe it’s the end of the world. Who knows. What matters is the food situation is pretty damn sketchy. You’re starving. Your friends (no family survived. Sorry about your loss) are starving. Through a few heated rounds of rock, paper, scissors, it’s been decided you’re the first to be eaten. Would you rather they eat you piece by piece, keeping you alive, so you can also eat, thus ensuring everyone has a better chance at survival, even though you’ll have to eat yourself and watch others eating you, and probably lose a few limbs, or do you want them to just kill you and do what they must with your body?

You’re a sick fuck, Miller. Kill me and get it over with.

*We promised no judgments here, didn’t we? THIS IS A SAFE PLACE TO TALK ABOUT HARD THINGS. REMEMBER?! *

Have you ever lied about something just because you knew you could get away with it? Care to elaborate?

When I was in college, I decided to see how long I could get away with pretending to be British. Turns out the answer is a long fucking time, because I went to college in Florida, where high IQs are about as plentiful as snowfall.

*I love British accents. I bet they were all blinded by your sexiness. *

Tomorrow you wake up and you’re the opposite gender. What’s the first thought that comes to your mind and the first thing you do?

“Does this mean I get paid more now?” And, I’d probably pee on something. Because, duh.

*I’d pee on EVERYTHING. *

Now, tell me what you see in this picture:

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The ink blot is obviously two pigs, snouts thrust up in the air, fighting over an ugly dress.

I can’t believe you guessed what it was. Amazing.

Thanks for coming out. The dwarf has your meds. No, you may not have the knives back. They’re community property now. Maybe next time you’ll respect boundaries.