horror

All posts tagged horror

If You Can’t Get Enough of Me (Updates)

Published June 27, 2018 by admin

So yeah, I’m behind. A lot of my around the web and free read pages are updated, so feel free to waste a lot of time there.

I’ve had some new stuff recently, though, that I haven’t had time to add on yet (and I’ll be mean and not do it until after this post goes live, because that’s how I live my life). So in no particular order..

 

Manga Reviews:

Idol Dreams – the most recent. If you like Big and Thirteen Going on Thirty, you might like this. I had mixed feelings.

Kiss of the Rose Princess – I love this title more than life and if I ever get to write for a show, it needs to be a version of this. I will never not love this, as psychotic and oddly paced as it is.

YA Graphic Novel Reviews:

Real Friends: a fantastic look at the dynamics and difficulties of middle school friendships. Wish I’d had this as a kid.

Invisible Emmie: Great story about middle school friendship, finding yourself, and surviving drama. Awesome ending.

Flash Fiction:

Misstep – yeah, I blame every giant story I’ve ever read as a kid for this. And I’ve been working through some stress. What happens when a village and a giant square off and things don’t go to plan.

 

Enjoy!

SJ Reads: Paperbacks from Hell

Published June 25, 2018 by admin

So obviously, I need to rethink how to stay on a schedule. Welcome to your creative life: it’s always something. This time, though, I’ve been really leaning into a lot of writing, looking at where I’m at and where I want to go, that sort of thing. So good things in my absence.

But yeah, nuff of that, we can cover all that later, let’s talk books.

One of the things I’ve been doing lately is really expanding what I’m reading, focusing on different things, and picking up things I may have missed.

And my dudes, I love this book so much. Not only is the writing hilarious, but this is a documentation of a period of literary history you shouldn’t miss. I give you: Paperbacks from Hell.

paperbacks from hell

In all seriousness, it’s a fantastic book. I grew up in the heyday of trashy 80s paperback horror, but at that time it wasn’t my bag (I was more into carebears and my little ponies, the gateway drugs of alternate dimensions, demon possession, and other sparkly horror for young girls). I remember seeing crazy covers on store shelves when I got bored waiting for my parents to do whatever it is parents do in a store (I’m still not sure, honestly). I didn’t really understand where they sat in the genre, though, and certainly didn’t appreciate the history of them.

This book is a necessity. If you love horror, if you’re a horror author, if you do panels talking about horror, I’d better see this book in your hot little hand. It explores the evolution of genre titles from late sixties (led by The Exorcist, Rosemary’s Baby, The Omen, etc), up to the early 90s when RL Stine and Christopher Pike ruled all. Each chapter goes by a type of subgenre, and it’s really a fantastic breakdown that also helps you understand where publishing was at the time and what the hell happened.

The thing I notice with a lot of people at smaller conventions is that they can namecheck Stephen King, Clive Barker, Anne Rice, maybe some splatterpunk or southern gothic and a few other things, but a lot gets brushed over. That doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist (tangent rant: reminds me of the time I was told by a co-panelist that horror comics don’t really play the same roles in genre and it turned into me proclaiming my love for them for a good five minutes at least. I expect this book will lead to similar performances re: horror writing history when I’m on future panels, so look out for that).

Guys, know your stories. Know what all is out there. A lot of the books mentioned are out of print, but you can still find some in ebook, still find some in yard sales. Not all will be your cuppa tea and that’s fine. I’d never heard of Elizabeth Engstrom, I went right out and read When Darkness Loves Us because of this book, and oooooh my gawd. Suddenly I have a huge influence to namecheck because it almost makes me angry how good her writing is. Plus, I mean if not that, killer babies, satanic whatevers, evil toys, monster animals and all that are tons of fun, amirite?

I also appreciate that the authors go into the place of Gothic fiction and Gothic romance within the timeline, and just generally make everything so easy to follow. Plus, they’re hilarious. I’ve loved Grady Hendrix’s novels anyway, but now I feel he and Will Errickson need to be my best friends. The narration in this book is amazing – I laughed so much reading this thing, I can’t even tell you. It never takes itself too seriously, and it’s infused with a huge love of every book that’s profiled.

Seriously, if you even half appreciate the horror genre, or want to ogle some epic covers, check this book out.

Guest Post: Crescendo of Darkness

Published June 7, 2018 by admin

Don’t you love it when you take off for a couple weeks and it turns into…uh, more than a couple weeks? Yeaaaah. Anyway, we’ll get into that later. For today, let’s look at an amazeballs new book out that’s sure to grab the interest of horror fiends and music fans alike!

 

crescendo

Music has the power to soothe the soul, drive people to obsession, and soundtrack evil plots. Is music the instigator of madness, or the key that unhinges the psychosis within? From guitar lessons in a graveyard and a baby allergic to music, to an infectious homicidal demo and melancholy tunes in a haunted lighthouse, Crescendo of Darkness will quench your thirst for horrifying audio fiction.

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present fourteen tales of murderous music, demonic performers, and cursed audiophiles.

Please enjoy an excerpt below from Crescendo of Darkness.

“Keep the Beat” by Calvin Demmer

A young girl questions why her tribe plays the djembe drums

every night and finds it may be more than just a tradition.

 

It resembled clockwork. Dusk would fall, and the sounds of djembe drums, which ranged from thuds to slaps, would start. First, it was only one or two drums in the distance, but, within minutes, Aminata heard the beat all around her. It was a simple pattern, which didn’t end until night had blanketed the world.

Watching some of the villagers of her tribe prepare fires to cook, it dawned on her she’d never questioned why the drums were brought out. She inhaled burned wood scented smoke from the fires, wondering why people went separate directions into the jungle to sit alone and play. Were they providing amplified entertainment for the rest of the village while they cooked? There was no singing along with the beat as was usual when instruments were played—though she did hear a few people mumble along. As soon as it was dark, the drums stopped, the people returned, and everyone ate.

Every night.

She’d approached Idrissa, one of the male elders she got along with best, after deciding to investigate the peculiar ritual. He was tall and muscly, which were common features among the men in the community. The drums had already started up their beat.

“You’re not wrong to question it,” Idrissa said, taking a seat alongside Aminata in front of one of the fires. “In fact, it’s a good sign. It shows you’re ready.”

“Ready for what?”

“You’re ready to know more.” Idrissa reached for a stick and held it over the fire. Smoke rose from the end of the stick. “Maybe, you are even ready to participate.”

“I’m ready.” Aminata didn’t really feel the desire to hit on a drum, but if it led her to uncovering the purpose of why they were played, she was prepared to feign interest.

“Hmm. Perhaps you are ready.”

“I am, elder Idrissa.”

“Do you believe in ghosts?” Idrissa looked to the heavens.

Aminata frowned.

“Have you ever wondered why we take the ill or severely wounded beyond the mountains?”

“You take them to the land of peace, to die. Like you did with my parents when they were ill and could not be healed.”

Idrissa nodded. “Yes. That was a sad day. You were very brave. But, there is more to it. The mountains surrounding us are very special. You see, if a person dies in the valley, their spirit can’t move on to the next realm. They remain stuck. We believe they live in caves in the mountain and are only able to roam the land at dusk.”

Aminata smiled. She didn’t know how to respond to the ridiculous tale. Why could an elder never be direct? She’d have to go through an entire procession of some age-old myth before she’d ask one of the younger adults, who’d then give her a straight answer. She bit her lower lip, regretting not going to one of the younger adults first.

“But,” Idrissa said, making a fist. “Not all the spirits in the valley are friendly. A few warriors from tribes that once ruled these lands, or warriors who attacked our very tribe, remain.”

Idrissa picked up a djembe drum near him. Softly, he tapped the beat Aminata knew well. It was the same beat she heard every evening at dusk.

Every evening.

Idrissa stopped. “That beat. These drums. They protect us during dusk. Our village has been performing the ritual ever since we first moved to the valley.”

Intrigue lit a flame in Aminata’s mind. She didn’t believe the tale. Evil ghosts roaming the land at dusk were a step too far, but she couldn’t resist asking a question, either.

“What happens if the beat isn’t played?”

“Bad things.” Idrissa placed the drum on the ground. He seemed reluctant to release his grip and his fingers trailed over the drum’s animal skin. “You see, Aminata. Not only must the djembe drums be played every night, correctly. But, there can be no area in our defense where there is silence. The wrong type of ghosts will find that spot, and…”

“Aminata. Aren’t you going to eat tonight?”

Aminta turned.

Didi, one of the elder women, stood with her hands on her hips.

“Yes,” Aminata said.

“Come then.”

“Don’t worry.” Idrissa patted her shoulder. “Tomorrow, I will have a surprise for you. I will discuss with the other elders first, but I believe you are indeed ready for the next step.”

Aminata nodded.

She followed Didi. Her stomach growled, as her mind tingled with many thoughts awakened by the old myth. She hadn’t received the truth, but she believed she’d obtain the real reason from one of the young adults. What she had received was a peculiar story. And now, she wanted to know why there was such a strange tale in the first place.

Was it covering up something else?

*********************************

To read the rest of this story and thirteen

other horror music shorts, check out:

Crescendo of Darkness

 

Excerpt: Candles (from Lost in the Shadows)

Published December 12, 2017 by admin

Tis the season, and since we started off the week on a horror vibe, I figured we’d keep it going with an excerpt from a Christmas short I did for the collection Lost in the Shadows. Taking place on Christmas Eve during the zombie apocalypse, it combines the ceremony of advent and the desire to keep Christmas close under bleak circumstances.

***

If it was any other Christmas, the candles would have been purple, pink, and white. As it was, Jamie had been lucky to find extra candles at all.

“This Christmas sucks. No turkey, no presents. We don’t even get a tree,” Tony whined from his seat in the shed’s corner. Jamie bit her lip against the sudden urge to cry. Of all the horrors they’d seen lately, it was her thirteen-year-old that was making her break down. The worst part was that he was right. Celebrating was a stupid idea that just made it all worse. She couldn’t save her family, or even give them a proper holiday. What kind of a mother am I?

“We have a lot of things,” Grant reminded him. There he was, coming to her aid once again. Every time they ran out of food, every time Tony or her five-year-old Andy got sick, every time the undead got riled and tried to charge their hiding spot of the moment, he was there with an answer. He gave her a tight smile over her oldest’s head. He looked as ragged as the rest of them did, but his drawn face didn’t look bad on him. His sandy brown hair didn’t show the light blond in it unless she looked really hard, and they hadn’t been alone enough lately for her to have a chance to look. His grey eyes were reassuring, though there was exhaustion in them, too. It was the same fatigue they all felt, the thing that chased them more than the zombies. It gnawed at them daily, made every little task an ordeal, dragged them lower and lower into submission to the new way of things. “We have a place to sleep. We have food for a few days. We have each other,” he urged. His eyes danced just a little, for her sake.

She echoed his smile, though she had to work to make her mouth move. She hadn’t felt a reason to really smile in so long; even the good moments were quickl

y overshadowed by another death, another problem, another strange shadow cast on the wall, another night filled with unearthly moaning, another attack. “That’s all we need,” Jaime agreed and wrapped both boys in her shivering arms. How long before I lose them? How long before I lose myself? Grant carefully struck one of their last matches and lit the candles in the Advent wreath made from barbed wire. His large fingers almost hid the match, but they couldn’t hide the tiny, beautiful spark.

“The first candle symbolizes hope.” The tiny blue flame struggled to stay alive. Jamie ran a hand through her dark, tangled hair and wiped it on her stained jeans to rid her hand of the oil. There hadn’t been a good time to wash it lately, especially with the cold weather. Tony and Andy weren’t particularly put out by not being able to take a bath, but it was a little comfort she missed. Hope.

It’s hard to have hope when Amanda was ripped apart by monsters, she thought, shuddering. She closed her eyes and pushed the thought of her baby away. She replayed the scene in her head constantly: how she’d gone to the nursery to check on her, how she’d found the screen knocked out of the open window, how three ugly corpses had been fighting over the infant’s remains. She’d only escaped because her husband Jason had dragged her away, forcing her to take Tony and Andy with her. She hadn’t seen his fate, but his screams had suddenly stopped when they’d reached the front door. The only reason she’d kept on running was because of her boys. That had been in June.

The only hope I have is that Grant found us, she sighed, and tried to focus on his rugged face and not the determined memory of her husband. Guilt came in bucketfulls when one had nothing else to think about besides surviving and the past.

“The second candle is preparation,” Grant continued, gently talking to the boys as he guided his hands to the next candle, his free hand guarding the little flame. Jamie chewed the inside of her lip and curled the dirty blanket she’d found tighter around her. Who can prepare for something like this? Decades of horror movies, of thinking about the most awful things, and there was still nothing we could all do to prepare for this. She glanced to the gun in her hands, stroked the barrel idly. They were down to their last three bullets unless they could find more. The heavy snowstorm three days ago had deterred the hordes that had been quickly giving chase to anything they considered worth eating, but it also made going on supply runs difficult.

She didn’t even know where they were now, except that they had been heading north towards Canada, where the hordes were supposed to be minimal thanks to the cold. They’d raided the empty downtown area of a small town a few weeks ago, and ended up in an abandoned shack on some abandoned plot of land. There wasn’t much cover so she was always sitting there, waiting for the final attack to come, but the weather had helped, at least. None of it, though, was anything anyone could prepare for. It had just happened. As of yet no one even knew how it had started, or if they did they weren’t sharing. Couldn’t share, more likely. Everyone was so cut off from each other, electricity and phone lines were rare, never mind a wireless signal.

“Joy,” Grant narrated, lighting the next candle, moving the match away at the last minute when Andy reached for it.

“I wanna help!” he complained.

“You’re just gonna ruin it or cut yourself again!” Tony grumbled and hunkered deeper into the hooded sweatshirt that was at least four sizes too big for him. “Butthead.”

Grant grabbed Andy’s arm away before he cut it on the barbed wire of the wreath. “C’mere, you, let’s do it this way,” he chuckled and shook the match out. Jaime watched as he helped her youngest get hold of one of the lit candles, carefully guiding the boy’s movements with his giant hand over the tiny one. “There we go…joy.”

“Joy, joy, joy!” Andy sing-songed. He was always doing that, making up little tunes from something one of them said. It had been cute when they’d lived in a nice house and had only the usual things to worry about. The last time he’d done it he’d alerted a shuffling corpse that had gone off on its own for some reason, though that wasn’t usually part of zombie behavior.

No. You know why that thing was on its own. She cleared her throat and blushed when Tony rolled his eyes. He knew how she covered her emotions all too well. You didn’t cover them up then, did you? You ran out and saw your little boy about to meet the same fate as your baby girl. You did what any mother would have done. She shivered and wrapped the blanket tighter. It was so hard to get warm when she’d lost so much weight and her clothes hung on her. You rushed right out, Grant’s advice be damned, and tore that bastard apart limb from limb. She could still feel the blood oozing over her hands, the cold flesh soft and slimy in her grip and smearing dirt on her clothes. It was only once she’d taken the head and gone to retrieve the pieces for burning that she thought to look at the face.

Jason. The thing after her son was half-eaten and had suffered more decay than any living thing had a  right to, but it had been Jason. It was hard to feel joy after that.

Lost - 400x600

Kindle      Paperback

OR Email selahjanelauthor@gmail.com on information about signed copies!

Journey with authors Selah Janel and S.H. Roddey to a world where every idea is a possibility and every genre an invitation. In this collection of forty-seven short stories, lines blur and worlds collide in strange and wonderful new ways. Get lost with the authors as they wander among fantasy, horror, science fiction, and other speculative musings.

Shadows can’t hurt you, and sometimes it’s all right to venture off the path.

Genre: various speculative genres

Length: 300 pages

Format: Kindle, Paperback (Nook and other platforms coming soon)

Publisher: Published by the authors

SJ Reads: Krampus Shadow of Saint Nicholas

Published December 11, 2017 by admin

Time once again to visit a holiday book for the season, and keeping with the inadvertent theme, we’re going to look at another graphic novel:

krampuscomic

Note that this is not a comic/novelization covering the same story of the movie, though it is set in the same universe. If you like the movie, you’ll probably like the comic, and vice versa. Honestly, I think this even fleshes out the movie a little bit and gives more of a reasoning to things that happen there – it kinda gives a slightly different vibe to the last scene, because you have more of a sense of the full scope of things that are going on (and although it’s mostly subtext, I felt like there’s more of a feel of why, too).

This is somewhat more like Trick R Treat than Krampus, in that it combines different narratives in an almost anthology feel, but does a better job of blending them into one narrative at the end. A down-and-out mall Santa, a cop who runs into the person who ruined his life, and a rich businessman each earn a visit from Krampus, and each have to do their part to ward off the anti-santa and his minions and save the town’s Christmas.

If you love the over-the-top aspects of the movie like the evil toys and elves and such, you get much more of that here. You also get to see more of the realm inside Krampus’s sack, and honestly I feel like the limits were pushed much further here at times than in the movie. You also definitely get a moral – this isn’t just bizarreness for its own sake. Though it does feel like it almost runs away with itself at times, the creators do a great job at reining things in toward the end and giving the reader a fulfilling, complete journey. Definitely a great companion to the film, though you don’t have to see it to appreciate the book. I honestly read this long before I saw the movie and loved it a lot. Probably best for teens on up and those who like horror/can have a sense of humor about the holidays, this is a fun title that’s every bit as quirky and creepy as the film it springs from.

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Krampusnacht!

Published December 5, 2017 by admin

It’s that time of year! By which I mean Krampusnacht.

And if you don’t know who Krampus is…SIGH. Here: This will help. It really pains me that there are so many amazing Christmas monsters out there (No, seriously, you have no idea. There are loads) and yet people really aren’t aware of it. While I’m still working on my campaigns for some of the others, I can totally help celebrate today.

If you didn’t click the link, basically in certain parts of Europe, Krampus is Santa’s malevolent helper who punishes the bad kids, sometimes by beating them, other times by putting them in his sack and dragging them to Hell, usually on the day before St. Nicholaus’s feast day. So,you know, festive. Basically he was the precursor to the whole coal in your stocking deal.

To celebrate today, feel free to check out an old flash/in progress bit that I’ll probably finish at some point: Krampus Waits. 

And, y’know, be good and all of that, because you never know who’s going to come knocking on your door this time of year…

 

imagejpeg_0(6)

It pains me that we weren’t both wearing Santa hats in this.

 

SJ Reads: Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol

Published December 4, 2017 by admin

zombiechristmas

 

I really considered how to do SJ reads this month. I have an addiction to Christmas/holiday fiction, and there are a TON of great titles out there.

My notes are also scattered everywhere, so I really need to re-sort and dig through. I decided to keep with the unintentional theme to finish out the year, though, and go with holiday graphic novels/comics (and not just because those are closest at hand).

I love a good holiday story, but sometimes it’s nice to see how other properties use the holiday season in their own franchises. You can find some really interesting, unconventional reads that way – and it’s sometimes fun to find holiday stories that are a bit unconventional.

Today, we look at Marvel Zombies Christmas Carol.

This was given to me a few years ago as a gag gift, and I think the person was a little shocked that I love it as much as I do. On the one hand: what the ever-loving hey. On the other, it’s a title that lives up to the name. While it doesn’t interact with any of the other Marvel Zombies titles, it is definitely A Christmas Carol with zombies. You’d think this would be stupid, but it actually ends up working really well. The basic premise is the plot of A Christmas Carol, but amid a zombie outbreak that’s overtaking the workhouses (admittedly it’s been a while since I’ve read it, and I’m trying to jog my memory while writing this). Setting Scrooge’s personal journey against an actual threat of death and destruction, while finding out that the whole thing may actually be his fault…it’s intense.

It stays true to the original story and takes time to get you through all the beats. While there are a lot of zombies, they’re not slammed up in your face all the time – they’re somewhat part of the environment, unless they’re illustrating the obvious metaphors of the story. It’s a really interesting twist to the tale, and highlights more of Scrooge’s plight and the whole life vs death theme that’s quietly going on underneath the original.

Granted, here’s the thing: to enjoy this you almost have to like horror, like comics, and like the original story. It’s not really a gag interpretation and it’s not over-the-top gore for gore’s sake or meant as some punchline. I’m actually fairly impressed by the care that obviously went into this.

While I’ve read worse in Walking Dead, there are some intense illustrations, and this book does carry a parental advisory. However, compared to most of the other horror comics I’ve read in my life, this is easily doable for teens and up who are into this kind of thing.

The day I was given this, I sat and read it a few times, because I expected it to be a one-note title, and I kept finding little nuances to appreciate. Plus, the art is vivid and grotesque in interesting ways, and the new twist really makes you appreciate the familiar characters and plotline. I definitely recommend a read through – it may not get you precisely into the holiday spirit, but it will help you appreciate what you have around you, for sure. Also a great gift for horror comic fans.

Find it here