Tuesday, October 30, 2018

GUEST POST : GROWING UP ON HORROR by LISA LEPOVETSKY

Today we are joined by Author Lisa Lepovetsky.  Lisa recently had her story, MASKS featured in the Halloween anthology DOORBELLS AT DUSK from Corpus Press.  You can read my review of the book HERE.


So please welcome Lisa Lepovetsky as she shares with us her thoughts
on why she writes horror and how it ties into her story.

Growing Up on HORROR 

By Lisa Lepovetsky, Author Contributor to Doorbells at Dusk Anthology 
  
When did I first become interested in horror? It seems as if I’ve always had a propensity for all things that “go bump in the night.” Maybe it started with something as seemingly innocent as Aunt Marian reading  Beatrix Potter’s Roly-Poly Pudding, with the rats tying to make a meal out of  little Tom kitten. Or maybe it was Howard Garis’ Uncle Wiggly, trying forever to escape the clutches of the Skeezicks, who constantly bothered him. I remember being vaguely terrified by these stories as a little girl, but not knowing quite why. 

 Until I was four or so, my family lived in Atlanta, but all my parents’ relatives were in Pennsylvania. So, a couple of times a year, we would make the long trek north for holidays, vacations, and funerals. My father would read to my mother for hours as she drove, and usually read classics of some kind. He read Mark Twain’s books and Treasure Island, but also Les Miserables and On the Track of Unknown Animals about creatures like the yeti and the Loch Ness monster.  

And he read horror stories—Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s “The Yellow Wallpaper” and Shirley Jackson’s “The Summer People” and “Afterward” by Edith Wharton and, of course, “The Birds” by Daphne du Maurier, along with the frightening stories of Ray Bradbury and M.R. James and Edgar Allan Poe. And, though I didn’t always understand the message of these stories, I was tantalized by their shuddery sense of mystery and fear. Also, I learned that men weren’t the only ones writing horror—women could write tales of terror, too. And sometimes better. I began telling myself that maybe one day I could do that, too. 

My mother was a writer, mostly of confessions, and she encouraged me to try my hand at writing. My first literary attempt, in fifth grade, was a story based on a dream my older brother had had, called “The Red Lady” about a scary woman who floated down the staircase in our century-old house, calling out to us to come with her. The dream was certainly scary, though I suspect my story didn’t quite do it justice.  

But I was hooked. Every story I wrote for my classes was a mystery or ghost story, or both. I entertained my friends and family with wild, dark tales about spirits and monsters and death, either natural or un-. Of course, my favorite holiday was Halloween. Every October, I would help friends put up scary decorations, and then when it was dark, I’d shine a flashlight under my chin and tell some creepy story I’d read or made up. One of my favorites was “The October Game,” a Ray Bradbury story about a Halloween party that goes terribly wrong. This story allows the reader to imagine what’s going on, rather than the author shoving her or his face into it. 

I loved horror movies as well, though I’ve always preferred to be really frightened to being grossed-out with blood and guts. One of my favorite scary movies is the original William Castle version of “The Haunting of Hill House,” based on the superb novel by Shirley Jackson. Nary a monster or drop of blood show up in this film, but it scared me to death, and still has the power to make my skin crawl. 
  
I believe in the adage that the reader is far more capable of terrifying himself than I am. This predilection for quiet, internal rather than external horror has ruled my fright-writing. Some of my poetry is actually more descriptive than most of my fiction, but either way, I tend to avoid graphic depictions of violence. For instance, my story in Doorbells at Dusk is just such a story, more concerned with the inner lives of the characters and the anticipation of horror than showing the inevitable bloodletting at the end. 

LISA LEPOVETSKY has published fiction and poetry widely in the small press, professional publications and anthologies. Her work has appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Cemetery Dance and many other magazines, and such anthologies as Dark Destiny, Blood Muse, and HORRORS!, among others. She earned her MFA from Penn State, and her most recent book is VOICES FROM EMPTY ROOMS, a collection of dark poetry.

You can purchase DOORBELLS AT DUSK now on AMAZON

To learn more about CORPUS PRESS and all their other great books, you can visit their website HERE.

Friday, October 26, 2018

NEW SUBSCRIPTION BOXES FOR HORROR READERS.






Who doesn't love getting a box in the mail! Better yet a mystery box. And even better than that, a mystery box that you know has books in it. 

I have always been a fan of the subscription box. There are a lot out there and many that just cater to the horror genre like Loot Fright, Coffin Box and ZChest. But I have found that although I enjoyed getting them every month, I would end up with a bunch of junk items that would get thrown in a drawer and forgotten. Now some people might really enjoy these random items, but you can only have so many tote bags, plastic replicas or water bottles.

I was excited when I started Nocturnal Readers Box. It was a box geared towards the horror reader, and for a time they did deliver some quality boxes with various books and items. But then they suffered a horrible implosion and lots of negative things came to light. I enjoyed the box, and then I had to deal with the fallout like hundreds of others, trying to get our money back. For the whole story on this look up the You Tube videos by Edward Lorn and The Horror Show with Brian Keene podcast.

So needless to say I have been a little gun shy when it comes to jumping into another subscription box. Recently there has been the announcement of two upcoming boxes that are once again specifically targeting the horror reading fan. After reading up on them I decided to take a chance again. Let's take a look at the new boxes and what they offer.

The first box up is Twitterstone.




Twitterstone is a offshoot of Journalstone Publishing. Journalstone was another victim of the NRB fiasco. This is now their chance to get into the subscription box market and to hopefully recoup some of the money they lost to NRB.

Twitterstone will be a bi-monthly subscription box that is for the horror book fan. The first box will be Halloween themed and is stated to contain two books and a few bonus items that match the book releases. Journalstone has a very large published library and we are sure to see a lot of these titles appear in the boxes. The box can be ordered now at Twitterstone.com. You can purchase the Halloween box alone for $38.95 and give it a try, or you can jump right in and start a bi-monthly subscription.

The next box is the one I am most excited for.

 
The Night Worms started off as a group of horror book reviewers. If you are at all active on Twitter or Instagram you have probably run across their posts.

Recently they have turned the Night Worms into a business and will be starting with a brand new horror themed box. A box aimed at reader by readers. What more could you want. I reached out to the Night Worms for some more info and received a very informative response from Sadie (Mother Horror) herself. Rather than trying to rephrase what she sent, I wanted to post the info directly...


"So what sets Night Worms apart from other subscription boxes is the experience Ashley and I have in navigating the industry from a reading & reviewing standpoint first and foremost. We are fans of the horror genre. We have been promoting books, publishers and authors in the niche market of horror for over a year. Both of us also worked for a horror subscription box as representatives of that company for over six months combined and learned a lot about what we enjoyed about subscription box services and what we didn't enjoy.
Ashley and I will be striving to make our brand fit the culture and context of the horror industry. We want our potential customers to know that we will not be emphasizing horror merchandise as much as we will focus on reading and reviewing the books. We plan on rewarding our customers with lots of fun stuff for doing reviews and promoting horror. We also are in a Beta phase of business and we are not offering subscriptions, just first come, first serve-limited quantity supply. We believe that companies rushing into subscription services end up disappointing customers by failing on shipping promises and not keeping up with demands. We want to scale our company thoughtfully and responsibly. 
Night Worms will be doing a preorder of our first box on Halloween! And people who want to stay in the loop can follow us on social media and sign up for our newsletters."  ~Sadie "Mother Horror"

Wow, those few paragraphs say a lot on what we can expect out of the Night Worms. Here we have two curators who have experience with subscription boxes and in the horror publishing community. If you are not familiar with Sadie "Mother Horror" Hartman then shame on you. Any horror book fan should be following Sadie. She is a prolific book reviewer and bookstagramer.  She is also a published reviewer for Scream Magazine and Cemetery Dance Publications. When it comes to books, there could not be a better person suited for the job of putting together a horror literary box. 

I also really like the idea of rewarding customers for posting reviews of the featured books and helping to promote horror. This is something that is important to me. Not the rewards part in general, but the promoting horror among the self published and small press publishers. What a wonderful way to support the industry. 

As Sadie stated, the first box will be a first served limited quantity box. There are no price or subscription option released at this time. We will probably see more info pop up when the site goes live on Halloween. As of the last post from Night Worms, it looks like the site will go live at 8am PST. So right now I think I feel a slow developing cold coming on that I will need to stay home and nurse on Halloween morning. And nothing is better for a cold than sitting in front of a computer continually hitting the refresh button.

You can follow the Night Worms on Instagram and sign up for their newsletter HERE.

And please make sure to visit nightworms.com on Halloween to order you box.

I have already ordered my box from Twitterstone and will hopefully get to order one from Night Worms on Halloween. I will post a review of each box when they arrive.








Saturday, October 20, 2018

THE SPECIAL by James Newman and Mark Steensland





THE SPECIAL by James Newman and Mark Steensland

Published by Thunderstorm books

Printed as 50 signed/numbered editions (sold out) and 20 lettered editions (sold out)



trade paperback edition and ebook

Publish date October 20th 2018

Published by Bloodshot Books

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(from book description) 

In a house on the edge of town, there is a room. In that room, there is a box. And in that box await pleasures beyond your wildest imagination…


Jerry Harford is fed up. Overworked. Underpaid. And damn near certain his wife is cheating on him. He’s never been one for revenge, but his friend Mike talks him into thinking about JERRY just this once.

Now Jerry can’t get enough of The Special. He’s obsessed, and he wants it all to himself.
Before long, Jerry’s going to learn that pleasure has a price and whoever said “Hell is the truth seen too late” was right … terribly right.
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Have you ever been at a loss for words after reading something? You know, that moment when you just have to give your best Keanu Reeves impression "whoa".

That is exactly how I felt last night after finishing THE SPECIAL. I had grabbed it to start reading as I went to bed, then I could not put it down. Finished it in one sitting. Every time I thought I could stop the story would just keep pulling me along.

THE SPECIAL can be looked at in different ways. It could be a cautionary tale on sexual addiction, a really out there love story, or just a bat-shit crazy ride with a man whose life is on a very downward spiral.

James Newman and Mark Steensland have created a tale that is not for the squeamish or the easily offended. There is gore and some body horror, but it is the much "squishier" aspect that will get to most people.  The main character Jerry starts off as a person you can feel sorry for, his life seems to have taken a bad turn, but as the story progresses you start to look at him in a whole new light. The turn from nice guy, to addict, to despicable human happens so fast it will make your head spin.

It didn't take long for this novella to gain a notorious reputation and it has already been optioned for the big screen treatment. Set to be directed Harrison Smith who also did DEATH HOUSE. The Director says "This will do for sex what Jaws did for the water"

There is one very important lesson you should learn from this story. Stay away from boxes labeled "STICK IT IN HERE".

If I had a rating system in place here, I would give this story 5 Glory Holes out of 5!




You can order THE SPECIAL in print and ebook on AMAZON.

To learn more about the publishers and their other great books make sure to visit

Bloodshot Books

Thunderstorm Books




Thursday, October 18, 2018

OUR FINAL HALLOWEEN by Mike Garley & Michael Lee-Graham

 

OUR FINAL HALLOWEEN 



 By Mike Garley and Michael Lee-Graham

"Five kids wake up in an abandoned house. They don’t know why they're there, how they got there, or whose blood they’re covered in..."




And so starts OUR FINAL HALLOWEEN, a new 0ne-shot digital horror comic from Mike Garley (Adventure Time, Wallace and Gromit) and Michael Lee-Graham (Shortlist Magazine, Dead Roots).

I was lucky enough to get a early look at the completed project and I am thoroughly impressed by the truly frightening tale they were able to create in just 35 pages. This supernatural tale has a heavy Lovecraftian feel to it, with a bit of Amityville Horror and The Gate to round it out. 

Hopefully you as a reader are not shy about blood! There is blood shed on almost every page. Not just a little, we are talking buckets and buckets. The blood is really important to the art style. A basic pallet of colors is used throughout the story. Heavy outlines and solid colors prevail and the blood red really makes the pages pop. 


The art style and coloring match the feel of the story. The story itself is tight and well paced. We start right in the middle of the action and the story barrels along at a break-neck pace to a finale that will leave you guessing.

The comic is being produced as a digital release that will be delivered on October 31st, just in time for a great Halloween night read.

The Kickstarter campaign is now live and will end on October 30th. You can pledge to receive the comic for $4 and a Director's Cut for $7 that includes an alternate cover, a very in depth horror essay by Shaun Kimber, a collection of guest artist pin-ups and an original 6 track soundtrack by Ian Alex-Mac to listen to as you read the story.



You can view and support the Kickstarter campaign HERE.

You can learn more about the creative team and their other works by clicking on their names below. 





Sunday, October 14, 2018

EAT THE RICH by Renee Miller





EAT THE RICH by Renee Miller

Published July 13th 2018

Published by Hindered Souls Press

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(from the book description)

When Ed Anderson discards his life to become a homeless person, he has no idea of the shit storm about to happen. Almost overnight, the city's homeless population spikes.
~
So does the murder rate.
~
Ed learns that aliens posing as homeless people are eating the city's wealthiest residents. He tries to warn the police, but they think he's crazy.
~
The situation is worse than Ed describes, though.
~
He's right about the aliens. They're here to free humans from wealth and poverty. The flesh of the rich is just a tasty reward for their hard work. And if humans refuse to embrace the utopia imagined for them, there is a plan B:
~
KILL EVERYONE.
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Renee Miller has written a story that fits perfectly into the time and political climate that we are living in. Now before you get turned off by the word "political" know that Renee does not push a political view or even state any specifics, it is just that the story itself lends to the state of our nation in a whole and the drastic measure it could possibly take to change it.

Our main character Ed Anderson is really kind of an ass. He decides to leave his upper class job, his wife and really his whole way of life to just disappear into the sea of homeless that populate the city. Befriended by another Gopher, another homeless man, Ed slowly discovers a mysterious plot unfolding in the city. People are disappearing, mainly the wealthy, with only a pile of bones remaining at the crime scenes. What do the new residents of a large tent city on the outskirts of town have to do with it, and what part will Ed play in their plans?

Renee gives us a re-imagining of the "alien invasion" story line, with just a touch of gore for the horror fans. Will these invaders lead us on the road to a new utopia where everyone is equal, or just exterminate the lot of us?

This is a very fast-paced story. Our three lead characters Ed, Gopher and Det. Marin are given just enough back story for us to connect with them, although Ed is not a likable person at first, but your view of him will change as the story progresses. The invaders are ruthless, and sometimes comical as they try to adapt to our ways in their attempts to fit in and go unnoticed. Again, do we fear these invaders, or cheer them on as they go about the destruction of the wealthy? Would our world be better off with everyone equal? These are questions you will ask yourself as you read.

There are a few story aspects that I really wish would have been explored more, but overall this is a really well written story and a fun weekend read. I look forward to what Renee Miller will unleash on us next.

I also wanted to give a quick shout out to the marketing department at Hindered Souls Press. I received an ARC of this book and it came delivered in its own medical specimen bag.



You can purchase EAT THE RICH in ebook and print on AMAZON.

To learn more about RENEE MILLER and her other works visit her WEBSITE.

And make sure to visit HINDERED SOULS PRESS to learn about all their other great books.


Thursday, October 11, 2018

PRACTITIONERS by Matt Hayward and Patrick Lacey


PRACTITIONERS by Matt Hayward and Patrick Lacey

Published July 16th 2018

Published by Bloodshot Books

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(from the book description)

Dreams aren’t just for the sleeping.

After the murder of his wife, Officer Henry Stapleton struggles to move on. He begins experiencing nightmares that seem more like reality. Far beyond simple grieving. Looking for answers, he visits a mysterious new healing center, owned by real estate mogul Paul White. There’s just one problem. The man doesn’t exist. Though his name appears on his properties, there is no evidence of White’s birth, no social security number, no means of tracing whatsoever. Henry begins to believe White is to blame for these visions. And they’re spreading to others.

Joined by his partner George Patrick, the two travel deeper into the collective nightmare infecting Bellview, a once quiet town now in the grasps of unknown evil.

Reality may not be as concrete as Henry Stapleton once thought…
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There is always that moment of trepidation when you go into a book that is written by two authors. Sometimes it can just go so horribly wrong. Luckily this is not one of those times.

Matt Hayward (Brain Dead Blues, What Do Monsters Fear?) and Patrick Lacey (Dream Woods, Bone Saw) work off each other beautifully to craft a very cohesive and well thought out story. The authors have melded their individual styles seamlessly.

Henry Stapleton is a police officer grieving the loss of his wife. Plagued by visions and nightmares that are becoming more realistic day by day. In hopes of finding answers he turns to a mysterious new healing center that has opened in town. But what connection does the center have to the evil that is descending on his town, and what will it cost Henry as he tries to stop it.

Part police thriller and part cosmic horror, the authors deliver a page-turner from start to finish. Hayward and Lacey have created two different worlds. One is the real world that the characters live in, the other is a perverse duplicate, dark and horrific. It is the main characters new found ability to to traverse these two worlds that really kicks this story into overdrive. The authors use the shifting between worlds at a rapid-fire pace, at times you do not know which world you are in until a subtle (or sometimes not-so-subtle) difference is noted. Henry is a great character, he is flawed, but you will find yourself rooting for him as he deals with the horrifying events occurring around him. And Paul White is the perfect foil. You never get too much background, and you really don't want it. He is a malevolent creature, just outside your vision, but always listening, always knows what is going on. I have also come to the realization that after reading this story I will never look at a Praying Mantis the same way again.

One thing that really stands out in this story is the atmosphere. There is always a heavy sense of dread hanging in the air. The authors build on this as the story progresses until it reaches a head at its action-packed and thrilling finally.

The authors have created a intricate new mythos and it would be very interesting to see them continue it with another book. Hopefully we will see these characters again in the future.

You can purchase PRACTITIONERS in ebook and print on AMAZON.

To learn more about MATT HAYWARD and is work please visit his website HERE.

To learn more about PATRICK LACEY and is work please visit his website HERE.

And to learn more about BLOODSHOT BOOKS and all the other freat books the offer visit HERE.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

GUEST POST by Glenn Rolfe

 Today we welcome author GLENN ROLFE to One-Legged Reviews with a wonderful guest post.



“NEVER GONNA GIVE YOU UP/ I CAN’T QUIT YOU” 

For all my would-be writers and current writer buds out there…..

You have a story idea. You might even begin work on this project. You get a couple characters, a scene or two, maybe even a great idea for a monster or villain. Say you even write the first four or five or even ten chapters of this novella? novel?   Then, something comes up.  You have another book you promised someone, or you’re trying to make a deadline for an open call, or LIFE happens. You get pregnant, you start a new job with wonky hours, you get hurt, or whatever. That great idea, those new characters you just met, it all gets pushed aside or into the back corner of some file on your laptop.

I can’t speak for all writers, our motives and work habits all differ, but what I can tell you is that as long as you keep that beginning safe, you can always go back to it. And if you care about it enough, you can and will finish it.

I started my latest novel, THE WINDOW, back in December of 2011. It was the year I started writing. I’d written the first draft of my novel, BLOOD AND RAIN, and scribbled out a novelette called, “October House” (still gathering cobwebs on my computer).  I knew I wanted to start another book. After all, I was a writer now!  So I did. I got my idea from something that actually spooked me (my reflection in the kitchen window), and probably got four to six chapters deep before I set it aside.  I think it was a combination of things. I was busy trying to work on my short story writing, trying to join the ranks of accepted authors, and I probably did another revision or two on BLOOD AND RAIN.  Whatever it was, I got taken away from my new baby and it was a good year or two before I opened that file again. 

Over the years, I would open the file and peck away at the story. Writing new chapters, revising old ones. Eventually, I got toward the final act and stopped again.

Life’s weird, right? 

In late-2016/ early-2017, I hammered out the third act and finally finished the first draft. That’s five years after i got the idea and started the book. I stayed very busy in those five years, producing four novellas and two novels that I sold to publishers, and completing and selfpublishing another novel and two short story collections. But I never forgot or gave up on THE WINDOW. 

After completing the first draft I let my editor have a run at it. When I got the clean copy back, I sent it to some beta readers. Some loved it, some did not. I figured I’d take my shot with Don D’Auria and sent him the clean draft. Don came back with a polite “pass”, but he did offer me some keen insights on where it didn’t work for him.  Low and behold, a lot of his problems with it
mirrored much of the negative feedback I got form some of my beta readers.  I took a couple more months away from the story, and then with new perspective, I dove back in and began reworking, rewriting, cutting and building bits (in some cases chunks) of the story until I wound up with the version that came out on September 28th. 

I put a lot of work into this story over the last (nearly) seven years, but I really pushed myself into overdrive in the last three to four months. I have many people to thank for the final product. Every set of eyes, every bit of advice, every “I love this” / “I hate this” helped me to mold this story into one that I always knew it could be. 

I am so proud of this book. And I am so glad I never stopped believing in it. And I am so grateful for my friends and colleagues that made time for it and gave me their honest feedback. I honestly believe it’s my best book yet, and it never would have gotten there without my friends or my commitment to the promise and potential of this story.

If you believe in a story, never let it go. Go back in between projects and check in with it. See how it’s holding up. Say hi to your old friend. Sometimes they say hi back, and the next thing you know, you’re right back in the thick of things.

THE WINDOW is out now in e-book and will be available in print later this month. It’s a coming of age story with demonic possession as a son tries to save his father from the unimaginable. 

I hope you’ll check it out.

If you want more info on this book or have any questions for me, join me at the Goodreads group read. THE WINDOW is Horror Aficionados OCTOBER read. I’ll be in everyday with stories and answering questions. Join us here: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/19548778-october-2018-group-read-2-withguest-author-glenn-rolfe.

Get your copy of THE WINDOW here 
$2.99 in e-book or FREE with Kindle Unlimited

Monday, October 1, 2018

YURI by Steve Stred





YURI by Steve Stred

Publish date October 1st 2018

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
(from book description)

 As a bitter winter stretches on, Yuri decides to leave the family farm and seek employment in the City. Hired by the mysterious owner of the mines Mr. Petrov, Yuri is excited to move into the man's mansion. But not all is what it appears, and soon Yuri realizes not everyone is his friend.

Yuri is a harrowing tale of what ends people would go to for family and for fortune. Just remember the key to surviving; Don't eat the stew.

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Steve Stred is on a roll. Just over two weeks ago he released the very  entertaining WAGON BUDDY, today he releases another novella, YURI.

YURI is a period piece. It is never quite stated where and when it is taking place, but from reading I would place it in Russia during the late 1800s or early 1900s. YURI is a tale of a young man dealing with loss. Winter has lasted over 2 years and the family farm is in ruins. Both his parents are gone and he is forced to head to the city to find work. Little does he know that the wonderful job he is offered will lead him down a dark and horrifying path. 

As with WAGON BUDDY, the author has written a very believable and fleshed out character. Yuri is the underdog, finally getting his break and making more money than he ever has, but at what cost. The sense of dread that the author creates as Yuri slowly learns more and more about his surrounding is almost palpable. Yuri is a good man, thrust into a situation beyond his control. You will root for him and also at times want to kick him in the ass. (you will see what I mean as you read the story, come on Yuri don't do that!)

The first half of the novella is all character driven, we learn about Yuri, his new boss Mr. Petrov and some other supporting characters, and about the house itself. It is in the 2nd half that all hell breaks loose. Dark secrets come to the service and oh my does the blood flow. The author does not hold back on the blood and gore, tho it is not just put in for shock value. Each scene of bloodshed has purpose to the story. It all accumulates in a brutal confrontation and shocking climax.

Yuri is a well written and very enjoyable novella. I recommend this novella highly and please make sure to check out Steve Stred"s other great books.


You can purchase YURI in print and Ebook on AMAZON.

You can learn more about STEVE STRED and is other works at his WEBSITE.

(I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a honest review)