Thursday, May 31, 2018

Interview With Rockwell Scott



CHHR: Please give a brief introduction here.

My name is Rockwell Scott and I’m a writer of supernatural horror fiction. When not writing or reading, I’ll be cooking, out having a few drinks with friends, in the gym or traveling.

CHHR: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I’ve been a writer my entire life. I read a lot when I was young, and I remember thinking, “I could totally do this.” From there, I began to write the stories that I wanted to read.

CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like? 

I’ll wake up early before the day’s distractions start to roll in, have some coffee, and then write for one hour with a timer.

CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?

I’ll often meditate or visualize before I write. I do this to relax, get into the zone, and ponder the scene I’m about to tackle. I’ve also been experimenting with listening to binaural beats while I write, choosing a wavelength that is meant to increase focus and concentration.

CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?

Novels, definitely. I like how the longer form allows for more complete stories and a larger cast of interesting characters.

CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?

Interesting question. I currently live in the United Arab Emirates. The jinn are supernatural creatures in Arabic mythology and Islamic theology, roughly equivalent to demons in the west. The local culture tends to take them very seriously, so you don’t often find them as subject matter in fiction. Also, since there is a heavy belief in the afterlife here, ghosts are not often discussed. Locally produced horror films and stories tend to feature home invasion/slasher themes, since these situations are more grounded in reality.

CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?

Outlines, for sure. I used to go with the flow, but that left me with too many problems around the middle and ending of the story. So I learned how to outline and I have never looked back since.

CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?

Publishing my first book showed me that it was possible to accomplish a goal. It also lit a fire under me and inspired me to write faster to get the next one out.

CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story? 
The characters. Even if the plot or monster isn’t wholly original, it won’t matter if the characters are engaging.

CHHR: What are you currently working on?

I am currently putting the finishing touches on my second book, A Haunting in Rose Grove. It will be released in a week or two. I am also editing my third book, which features a character that’s a college professor by day, demonologist by night. And he’s about to tackle his toughest case yet.

CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?

The Outsider by King and Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. I enjoy some variety in my life.

CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?

Beware the Night by Ralph Sarchie. Nonfiction books on subjects typically covered in fiction are always especially scary to me.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?

Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine. Yes, that’s one of those Goosebumps books from way back in the day. I first read this when I was a kid, and it was the first time a book truly terrified me.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?

The Orphanage. In my opinion, that film hits all the sweet spots for me.

CHHR: What type of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite album?

Hard and alternative rock, country, bluegrass, electronic, and rap. Again with the variety. Picking a favorite album is an impossible choice, but The Offspring’s Smash was there for me during a key time in my life.

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?

Sea Otter. Everything they do is perfect.

CHHR: What is your favorite beer?

Ah, now the interview has truly started. I like Abita Amber, a beer from Louisiana, where I’m from. Lately I’ve been enjoying Baltika, which I found at my local bottle shop. They’re sold out most of the time, so I think the secret’s out.

CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?

Carlos Ruiz Zafon. Incredible writer, incredible stories. I urge everyone to check him out. My goal is to one day reread his books in their original Spanish versions.



Facebook: www.facebook.com/rockwellscottauthor/
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rockwell_scott
Amazon Author Page: https://tinyurl.com/ya5ra8ep

Author Bio: Rockwell Scott is an author of supernatural horror fiction. When not writing, he can be found working out, enjoying beer and whiskey with friends, and traveling internationally.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

LIES SHE TOLD by Cate Holahan




I didn't know what to expect heading into this book. LIES SHE TOLD is one helluva a psychological thriller. It's equal parts suspense and mystery. From the first page, the author reels you in tight and never lets you go. The cover caught my eye as I browsed the library shelves. It just called to me, you know what I'm saying?

What we have here is a great female protagonist who has been through a lot and is currently going through a lot. She manages here situation with style and grace. She is an author and a wife who is struggling to conceive. While all of this is going on, she is trying to write the next book in her series. 

Her world starts unraveling quickly around her. She struggles to keep it all together. The past and present soon collide, making for one epic conclusion. 

I didn't see any of it coming. This is a smart read that will keep you on the edge of your seat. I read this one in one gulp. I like the way the story was told. Some parts of the book felt clunky. I dig the style and prose. The characters have depth. The character building was the best part. This story has the twists and turns, too. That ending was something else. I'm still thinking about it. 

4/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐

ABODE by Morgan Sylvia




This is my first time reading Morgan Sylvia, but it won't be my last. This is a debut and in some aspects, you can tell. It is very much a haunted house story, but it's more than that. It has the scares, the suspense, and dread needed, but the way the story is told limits the narrative and the storyline. The first-person account is told through an e-mail. It's a flashback of the events that took place at the old Kent house in Maine. 

The events took place several years before, and we really don't get a good look at how the email recipient reacted. The author never really explores the supporting cast. The cover is great! I dig Native American religion. The story is well written, and the ending is pretty good. It was a little anti-climatic, though. 

With that being said, it's a solid debut. It doesn't transcend haunted house fiction, but it is worth a read. I look forward to reading the author's other work.

Recommend!

3/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐

Sunday, May 27, 2018

BOOK GIVEAWAY with Mark Matthews

Hey, guys! The rules are simple. This giveaway is for US followers only. The first 30 people to click the link below will get a FREE Kindle eBook of BODY OF CHRIST. 

https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/cc0f57bf7feabe2f …



Saturday, May 26, 2018

A COLLECTION OF NIGHTMARES by Christina Sng




This poetry collection is beautiful. The poems are dark and creepy. Just the way I like it. The poems run the gamut of the horror genre, touching on ancient evils, fairytales, classics, and much more. 

Some of the poems are hard-hitting, while others hit in more subtle ways. The first half of the collection looks at family and other types of horror. The latter half looks at the apocalypse. I'm talking floods, zombies, and wars. 

As with any collection, I have my favorites. I would like to share one with you guys. 



Ghost Month

August rain falls lightly
On the summer-scorched soil. 

The ghost month is taking its toll,
Spirits abound a thousandfold.

They swirl like tendrils unfurled
In a crack-ridden tsunami ride

And feast on the offerings
Laid on the ground, reliving

Their death stories
In mists of clouds.


These poems drip with life and death. They are brutal and frightfully beautiful. Some will make you tear up, while others will give you chills. You can read this collection in intervals or in one sitting. 

If you haven't read any horror poetry lately, then I suggest you remedy that immediately. This collection is a great place to start. 

Highly Recommend!

5/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

BODY OF CHRIST by Mark Matthews




Mark Matthews delivers a horror story that makes you think. This story stays with you for a while. It looks at the intricacies of love and loss and just how far families will go to try and keep the faith. 

Everything spirals out of control when a mother passes away. 

Keagan wants to take his first Holy Communion, but his dad warns against it. Keagan's father commits suicide. Keagan eventually builds a personal Jesus out of communion and the flesh of his dead father. Creeped out yet?

Faith has difficulties of her own after her mother's death. Each month she goes to the cemetery to bury her discarded life-blood. She can hear their screams. 

The two young characters have a personal relationship with their Jesus. Two overly religious families spiral out of control. This novella reaches down into the depths of the human psyche as it pertains to religion and the end result is a psychedelic trip into faith and how it manifests. 

Pain and suffering fill these pages. Mark Matthews keeps this tale nice and tight throughout. The dread is ever present and the tension is just right. The cover sets the mood for this novella. You can tell from the first page that this one will be hard hitting on several levels. BODY OF CHRIST is fast-paced and the ending is one to remember. 

The characters are memorable. The dialogue is solid and felt real. I liked the setup and execution. The ending is where it's at. 

Recommend!

4/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐

Friday, May 25, 2018

THE OUTSIDER by Stephen King




There's a reason Stephen King is called the Master of Macabre. THE OUTSIDER threw me off a little at the beginning, though. I'm used to his dark, hard-hitting horror. As of late, Stephen King is going towards a more mystery/thriller approach to storytelling. This one could even be considered police procedural. It is definitely horror, though. I love the way the story is told. Stephen King breaks the story down with some interviews and interrogations. His writing style has changed, too. I think his boys and Richard Chizmar have enhanced King's style and prose. Stephen King brings all the horror goods!

The tension stays tight throughout to the epic end. Stephen King informs the reader about the characters from the Mr. Mercedes trilogy. I teared up a little reading that part. There is a character from the trilogy that makes an appearance, too. What I liked most about this story is not being able to see where Stephen King is taking you. There are jump scares, revelations, and disturbing scenes along the way. 

What happens when you have a suspect in custody and all the evidence points to him, but he has an ironclad alibi? The police are stunned. They are off to the races to try and find out what's going on and how the suspect could be in two different places at the same time. 

Stephen King has created a monster that gives Pennywise a run for ITs money. (See what I did there?) Just when you think the tension couldn't get any tighter, it does. The tension and suspense are off the charts. The storyline doesn't lag at all, which is rare for a Stephen King book. Usually, there are slow parts in his books. 


What's more, this horror novel runs through several genres. The monster Stephen King created has been sitting with me ever since I finished the book. I don't scare easily, but damn, this one gave me a night terror. Stephen King even gives the history of this monster, which makes it even more terrifying. 

Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face?

You will have to read it to find out! Read it with the light on, or if you want to live dangerously, read it in the dark with a book light. I completely devoured this book in one day. Man, what a rush! Stephen King publication days should be national holidays. 

HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

5/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thursday, May 24, 2018

My Thoughts



This little blog is my thing. I blog because I enjoy reading and sharing my love of books with you guys. I don't make a penny with my blog. It's not about money. Would I love to make money reviewing books? Hell yeah! After all, that's my dream. I wish I could blog full-time, but I can't. 

I grew up watching horror movies, specifically slashers. I read R.L. Stine religiously. At one time, I owned all 62 of the original Goosebumps. I even watched the TV show, along with Eerie, Indiana and Are You Afraid Of The Dark? I would've given anything to be a member of the Midnight Society. Still would. 

Anyway, back to horror literature. I didn't expect my blog to take off the way it did. I honestly didn't think anyone would read my reviews. I didn't realize how many people love horror as much as I do. I don't know everything about the horror genre, though. My horror literature experience is limited because I didn't really start reading horror until about two years ago. Yes, I read Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Josh Malerman, but I didn't know there were smaller presses that have so many titles on offer. 

Several people have asked me where to find horror titles. People have also asked me to recommend authors and publications. I'm still finding new publications, authors, and books. I hope those people enjoyed their purchases. 

Reviewing isn't personal. Reviews aren't personal. A one star or two-star review is sometimes better than a five-star review. I've been told I give away my five-star reviews like candy. That's cool if people feel that way. Maybe I do. I haven't really thought about it much. I take several things into account while reading–style, prose, the actual reading experience, the setup and execution, the dialogue, etc. All of those things are important. If I read a book that is repetitious, then I may not finish it. I may skip the repetitious parts. Kindle is a wonderful machine because you can search keywords to see how many times the author uses them. 

I have given one star and two-star reviews. It has nothing to do with the author. It has to do with the factors I listed above. If I DNF a book, I want to tell you guys why I didn't finish it. Chances are you will probably WANT to read it. Hell... most of Stephen King's books are hovering around three stars, and he's the most popular author on the planet. 

There are those reviews that say the author's political views are terrible or the author is terrible. Those reviews are not helpful at all. The one and two-star reviews I'm talking about are unbiased and insightful. Everyone wants to know if a book has been edited properly. Everyone wants to know if something in the book felt clunky. Look at all the horror classics out there. They don't have glowing reviews. 

People say I give too many glowing reviews. If I'm being honest, those people need a hug and possibly a cuddle. I like showing the bad with the good. I basically say this doesn't work, but this does. Like I said before, I LOVE HORROR. I've sat through terrible horror movies. I've read terrible horror books and stories. Just because one book is terrible doesn't mean the author is terrible. I will give the author another go. 

I review books because it is fun. If I feel obligated to review a book, then it feels too much like work to me. I already have a full-time job. I've had people offer me money for a good review. I didn't respond to their email. My one pet peeve with my blog is not following the review request policy. I have had several authors want me to review an older book. Chances are I've probably purchased the book and haven't had time to read it. I like doing the ARCs on my blog more than older books. I buy books. I buy eBooks. I use Kindle Unlimited. I try to help out the indie horror community as much as I can. 

Don't bash my fellow horror book reviewers and their blogs or vlogs. I'm not talking about authors who review on the side. I don't read book blurbs. I love hearing what my fellow reviewers have to say about a book. People get mad at a book reviewer for posting an Instagram pic, posting a review, or posting an unpopular opinion. I will speak up for those reviewers. I got your six, horror fam.  

Cheers,

Cedar Hollow

Interview With J.Z. Foster



CHHR: Please give a brief introduction here.
            
I’m J.Z. Foster, Horror and Urban Fantasy writer. I’m also an occasional monster hunter with an ongoing feud with the Easter Bunny and other mystical creatures.
            
I’m the author of three books, Witch Hunter: Into the OutsideThe Wicked Ones: Children of the Lost, and Mind Wreck: Shadow Games all three stories are set in the same universe. 

CHHR: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Oh, I can’t say I really decided to be a writer. Writing choose me. The voices started speaking to me at a young age—whispers in the darkness of my mind you see—something like a voice calling to me at the end of a long dark hallway at first.
            
It’s really a matter of keeping my sanity at this point. I didn’t choose writing—writing chose me.

CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like? 
            
When it’s up to me, it’s early morning with a cup of coffee on my desk and it’s all day with several thousand words on the page.

However, real life is rarely subservient to my will. I have a young baby and a wife that’s new to the US (my wife’s Korean). So usually it’s in the afternoon with whatever I can get.


CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?
            
Nothing too fancy, I don’t sacrifice any small animals to get a good novel or anything. That didn’t work the first time, so why keep doing it? These days I try to read before I write to get the gears turning. Sometimes it helps when you run across great lines that get you brain flowing, or even great new vocabulary.

Take this pearl for example: Antediluvian. I’m not even going to tell you what that means, I’m just going to tell you that I got it from H.P. Lovecraft, and it’s awesome. Go look it up!

CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?
            
I definitely prefer novels, and mine keep getting longer. I hope to write some short story collections eventually, but I like to go into deep characters and I like to have them weave in and out with other deep characters, and that’s hard to do with short stories. . . At least for me anyway!

CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?
            
I live in Ohio, so if cows and pigs are scary for you, then this place is terrifying.

CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?
            
A little of both. The first thing I know about a book is how it begins and how it ends—the rest is a mystery. Of course, anything can change when the rubber hits the road. So to be clear, I make a plan, but I let the flow carry me, and if the flow takes me down a new path, I go that way and don't let it bother me.

CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story? 
            
Characterization. Readers have to be concerned about the characters and why they’re being harmed or threatened. So after you get the readers to like your characters, then you mangle the characters.
            
Moral Dilemma. Oh, how I love moral dilemma. It’s quite possibly my favorite theme. A character that’s trying to be good—a character you can really sympathize with—but he / she has to make a shitty choice because there are no good choices. 
            
The Unknown. This one can just be strange monsters we don’t necessarily know. Don’t always use vampires or werewolves! I love those things, but lets see something different too. 

CHHR: What are you currently working on?
            
The sequel to my first novel, Witch Hunter: Into the Outside. This one will be called Witch Hunter: Gods and Monsters.


CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?
            
Oh geez, a million miles long. So far Planet Dead by Sylvester Barzey, and Dexter Boomstick by M.P. Lombardo, both excellent indie writers I’d recommend checking out!

CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?
            
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll has some of the creepiest shit I’ve read. “But J.Z., isn’t that a kid’s book with pictures?”
            
Yeah I guess. That crap still creeps me out though!

CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?
            
It’s really hard to pick a favorite. That changes daily. The Rising by Brian Keene is certainly one. The Swamp Thing series by Alan Moore and Crossed by Garth Ennis are two others. The list keeps changing! 

CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?
            
This too keeps changing! Off the top of my head I’d have to say It Follows, but I could easily say Tales from the Crypt: Demon KnightReturn of the Living Dead or 28 Days Later. Ask me tomorrow and it could be a completely new set!

CHHR: What type of music do you listen to?
            
I listen to metal to get the ole’ heart pumping. That usually helps with ideas.

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?
            
Oh geez, spirit animal? I don’t know man. Can it be pizza? I know it’s not an animal but I feel like pizza is my spirit animal. I just feel it. Pizza speaks to me.

CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?
            
Oh snap, this is a hard one. Can I pick like five? No? Damn… Well I’m going to be boring and say Stephen King. Yeah, I know. Everyone is going to say Stephen King, but hear me out. The dude is awesome, but you already knew that, right? But he can tell a story. Wait, you already knew that too, yeah? I don’t just mean the ones he writes down, I mean real stories. That guy has lived, and I’m convinced that’s why he’s such a damn good writer. He’s lived about five lives compared to most people. He’s been at several different rungs of life and he knows what it’s like to crawl at the very bottom and to be perched at the top. If you listen to his interviews or his stories about his life, he has a lot of good stories related to just about anything interesting going on. I’m sure I’d have to make up tons of shit to try and keep up with him, and I’d still be slipping behind.
            

Website: JZFoster.com
Blog: https://JZfoster.com/blog/
Facebook: Facebook.com/JZFosterAuthor
Twitter: @JZFosterAuthor
Instgram: @JZFosterAuthor 
Amazon Direct Link: https://tinyurl.com/JZBooks

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

EARTHWORM GODS by Brian Keene




        
NOTE: 
This is a review of the original Leisure Press paperback. The Author Preferred Edition is EARTHWORM GODS and it was published by Deadite Press. During this review, I will refer to the book as EARTHWORM GODS. 


Brian Keene takes a boring topic like worms and makes it interesting. No one does apocalyptic horror like Brian Keene either. From the setup to the execution, this book keeps your interest–mainly because of the characters. Each character is unique and brings something different to the table. 

One day the rain just didn't stop. As the flood waters slowly rose and coastal cities and towns disappeared, some people believed it was the end of the world. 

That's when the conqueror worms rose up from beneath the surface and started wreaking havoc on the survivors. The cast of characters are interesting because they really don't have a hope and a prayer, but they seem to manage. 

Teddy Garnett and Carl Seaton are buddies. They are old. You wouldn't think they would be good antagonists, but it turns out they are. Giant slime coated holes start appearing in Carl's yard. They have to fend off giant worms. Kevin and Sarah come on the scene when their helicopter crashes. They are the last survivors of an outpost in Baltimore. We get their story, which is most excellent. Things end on a high note back at Teddy's house. 

Grab a raincoat and jump into the rain-soaked action. The characters are resilient given their age, health, and the conditions they live in. The odds of survival are not in their favor, but the human spirit is one tough cookie. 

There's a couple of biblical references throughout, given the flooding and all. EARTHWORM GODS is a nod to H.P. Lovecraft. 

The characters are solid. Brian Keene makes you feel for the characters. The dialogue is good. The storyline is smooth. The ending is great. 

I need to read more Brian Keene. I need to know more about his mythos. 

Recommend!

4/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐




Synopsis:

One day the rain just didn't stop. As the flood waters slowly rose and coastal cities and towns disappeared, some people believed it was the end of the world. Maybe they were right. But the water wasn't the worst part. Even more terrifying was what the soaking rains drove up from beneath the earth — unimaginable creatures, writhing, burrowing ... and devouring all in their path. What hope does an already-devastated mankind have against ... THE CONQUEROR WORMS?

A HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF A LAKE by Josh Malerman



Publisher: This Is Horror
Publication Date: October 2016
Pages: 118


This one is a trippy haunted house tale. A HOUSE AT THE BOTTOM OF A LAKE is excellent. There are several layers to this novella. Underneath the surface, we have a haunted house, but we also have a first love. Josh Malerman captures that feeling of teen angst and wanting to keep relationships fresh and exciting. 

Two teens fall in love and find a house at the bottom of the lake. It consumes their thoughts and their time. They dive down to check it out, eventually getting scuba diving equipment to make it easier to navigate the large house. The house calls them back, longing for their presence. 

Something resides in the house. They have to find out more. The two lovebirds let days pass without seeing one another. They don't have anything to talk about except the house. While they are separated, the house beckons them. With there passion ever fleeting, the two need the house as much as the house needs them. It's all they have to keep their love strong. 

I had to read this one with the light on. I felt like I was swimming in the house right beside the two teens. I experienced the same things as they did. This reminded me of Channel Zero: No-End House. Yep, it's that good. It's a great summer read, too!

Grab your swimsuit and floaties and dive right into this one. It's a short read and a great escape. 

Highly Recommend!

5/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Monday, May 21, 2018

THE NOCTUARY: PANDEMONIUM by Greg Chapman




Publisher: Bloodshot Books
Publication Date: December 2017
Pages: 266

This is my first time reading Greg Chapman. There is a lot to like about this book. THE NOCTUARY was originally published in 2011. This book contains THE NOCTUARY and its sequel PANDEMONIUM. So, don't fret if you haven't read the original story. 

In the beginning was the word, and the word was scribed in blood. The words contained within will drive you mad... and damn you to Hell. 

A bloodstained manuscript wrote by biographer Simon Ryan turns up at Dr. Desmond Carter's office. Desmond is a psychiatrist and Simon is his former patient. Desmond thought Simon was dead, but now he's not so sure. He should have left well enough alone, but he wants answers. Madness ensues. 

Simon Ryan is drawn into the darkness by a Dark Muse called Meknok. He has been chosen to be the Scribe; his every word will become an act of Scripture. What's not to like?

I compare this book to Clive Barker's THE HELLBOUND HEART. Greg Chapman creates an entire pantheon of Dark Muses of Hell. I'm talking Vehemence, Order and Chaos, War and Strife, Tyranny, Hate, Fear, Madness, and all Dark Rites. They all reside in Pandemonium–Milton's capital of Hell. Meknok is a darker version of Dante's Virgil who draws Simon Ryan into the darkness. I will stop right there because you should read this book. 

THE NOCTUARY: PANDEMONIUM is definitely a demonic and psychological read. I hope Greg Chapman expands on this universe. My jaw hit the floor more than once while reading this book. I don't know what took me so long to read this author, but I need to read the rest of his work. 

The characters are crazy good. The dialogue is good. I dig Greg Chapman's writing style. He really creeped me out with this book. Try not to go mad while reading this one!

4/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐

DOLL HOUSE by John Hunt




Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Publication Date: January 2017
Pages: 204

This was my first time reading John Hunt. I really enjoyed this experience. This one was a wild ride that felt real. The cover really caught my eye, but the story kept me reading. 

This one kind of rubbed me the wrong way. It is really creepy and disturbing in that it could happen to anyone in real life kind of way. Everything was going well for Olivia. She was about to go to university, and live on her own for the first time. She was looking forward to the full college experience, but one night she is taken by two masked men. She was put in a pink cell–a room built for a doll. Olivia is part of their doll collection now. 

This is very much a tale of abduction, but it's so much more than that. It's a tale of survival with a strong female lead. This book looks at abduction and the aftermath that follows a survivor. Suspects are found and questioned. What if they catch the wrong guy? What if the abductor is still out there? 

The abductors are creepy. The female lead, Olivia, is a great character. She reminded me of Jamie Lee Curtis. John Hunt does a great job with the final girl scenario. He takes it one step further to show the reader what the final girl goes through after surviving a horrific event. 

This book is good. The story is fluid. The characters are believable. The dialogue is good. The ending is everything. This book reads like a movie. I would read this book again. 

Highly Recommend!

5/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Interview With Gemma Amor



CHHR: Please give a brief introduction here.

Hi! I’m Gemma Amor, and I write horror fiction- mostly short stories for audio drama adaptations and podcasts at the moment, but I have some novels on the way too. My main passion is the paranormal, so I mainly write about the unexplainable, the nonsensical, and the downright unbelievable. 

CHHR: When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I was eleven years old, I handwrote my first novel inside the covers of an old school exercise book. I lovingly decorated it with large dragons, and preserved it with sticky-backed plastic. I gave this book to my 2nd year English teacher, who took the time to read it and give me feedback. It was the usual young adult fantasy fare, full of gutsy women with large boobs and a deadly aim with a longbow, dragons, orcs and wizards. And it was utterly terrible. But that wasn’t the point. I wrote it, and he read it, and complimented my dedication. And that was it. I’ve written something almost every day of my life since. 

CHHR: What does your writing schedule look like? 

Pretty jammed at the moment! I try and write every day, and set myself a minimum target of 500 words. Habitually writing like this has vastly improved the quality of what I do.  

CHHR: Do you have any interesting writing rituals? If so, what are they?

I can’t write without coffee. It just won’t happen.  It’s like trying to milk a male cow. 

I’ve also learned, the hard way, to stop writing when I hit a block, or start struggling with a plot or character. I’ve developed a ritual of buggering off on a long walk when this happens, to think. During the course of the walk I usually untangle whatever the problem is and then return, refreshed, to finish. 

I also like to listen to atmospheric music when I write. Einaudi is good, or any sci-fi or horror film soundtrack: the theme music to Arrival, in particular, seems to tickle my productivity bone in the right way.  

CHHR: Do you like writing short stories or novels?

I’ll write anything. I am a literal word whore. 

CHHR: How is the horror scene where you live?

Bristol has its own Horror Con now and an incredible annual zombie walk, where literally thousands of people wander the streets covered in gore and guts for a whole day, so I would say it’s fairly healthy. It’s an alternative city with a huge creative centre, and lots of ghost stories, legends and folklore to get your teeth into. Plus we have a whole underground network of tunnels and caves from years back, where they often screen classic horror movies as part of the Bristol Film Festival. So, yes, I’m spoiled. 

CHHR: Do you use outlines or do you go with the flow?

I should probably use outlines, but if I know what is going to happen in my stories I get bored and stop writing them. I like to see where the words will take me. Basically, I’m shit at planning. 

CHHR: How did publishing your first book or short story change your writing process?

It gave me the confidence to keep going, keep writing, and keep submitting, because you never know when someone is going to take a punt and publish your work. The No Sleep podcast accepted the very first story I submitted, and it was the single most significant thing that set me on the journey I’m on now, where I am developing relationships with so many brilliant shows and other collaborators. 

It’s also taught me how to write for different media. An audio drama or podcast needs a very different approach to a written story. I’m still learning this as I go along. 

CHHR: What do you think makes a good horror story? 

For me, it’s about what makes a good story, regardless of the genre, or subject matter. 

There are several ingredients that I think are essential: a strong sense of voice, a strong sense of place, and a strong sense of story. Which basically means a well written character, in a believable setting, going through a clearly described journey. 

CHHR: What are you currently working on?

In terms of works in progress, I like to keep myself busy on multiple projects, so that I can switch from one to the other when I get bored (I have a mightily small attention span). At the moment, I’m writing a serialized novel based around the (fictional) disappearing town of White Pines, which I release monthly. I’m also writing stories for the NoSleep podcastWhispers in the Night, and Shadows at the Door, and collaborating on a brand new podcast with a bunch of other, enormously talented women. 

I also have my first horror anthology coming out in the winter, so I’m working hard on editing this and painting some illustrations. In addition to that, I have two novels that I am polishing ready to submit to agents and potential publishers. 

CHHR: What is in your TBR pile?

Right now I don’t have enough time to read, because my brain is full of my own writing and the million and one podcasts I’ve subscribed to. 

CHHR: What is the last book that scared you?

The Seven Days of Peter Crumb by Jonny Glynn. It’s an account of the last week in the life of a psychopath. Blimey. 

CHHR: What is your favorite horror book?

Four Past Midnight, by King, purely because of The Langoliers. Then, I’m a classics girl. I’ve got the entire back catalogue of Angela Carter’s work, plus The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Dracula by Bram Stoker, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis 
Stevenson.

CHHR: What is your favorite horror film?

It’s probably Darabont’s The Mist (2007), because it was so brilliantly faithful to the original short story by King (ending aside). There’s a black and white print version of the film I haven’t seen, but would love to. I’m a huge fan of monsters, but also of character development, so this film speaks to me. I also really liked Zarriwny’s clever and slick The Midnight Man, and the emotional battering ram that is Train to Busan

CHHR: What type of music do you listen to? What’s your favorite album?

As with words and whoring, I will also listen to anything. I couldn’t possibly choose a favourite album, although OK Computer by Radiohead would be in the running if I was forced to choose at knifepoint. 

CHHR: What is your spirit animal?

A wolf. 



CHHR: What is your favorite beer?

I’m a hard spirits kind of girl: single malt, oak-aged, with a cube of ice, please. 

CHHR: If you could have a beer with one author, who would it be?

Stephen King. I’d get him drunk and harass him until he agreed to mentor me and publish my books. 




 Author Links and Bio:


Anthology ‘Four Seasons’ coming winter 2018


Gemma Amor is a writer of horror and speculative fiction. She’s had stories produced by the hugely popular No Sleep podcast, and writes for several other horror community podcasts and audio dramas. Her first anthology ‘Four Seasons’ is due for publication, print and digital, in winter 2018.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

THE BIGHEAD by Edward Lee



This book is hardcore. You have to have a stomach made out of cast iron if you want to survive this experience. This book is filled with horrendous things, actions, and sequences. Edward Lee's prose is not one of them. He can write. Why haven't I read him before? 

If you can survive the first paragraph of this book, then you can survive the rest of the way. This book contains rape, murder, and brain-eating. Edward Lee pushes the envelope with this one. 

This book is considered Splatterpunk. This is a hardcore horror tale cranked up to eleven. The rape, sex, violence, and gore are all extreme. If you have a weak stomach, I recommend skipping over the gory parts. Edward Lee will gross you out, but you will want to keep reading because of his prose. 

The Bighead is a local legend that parents tell their children so they won't misbehave. The legend is real, though. The Bighead is heading home, mutilating bodies on his way. Bodies are ripped apart limb by limb. The Bighead rips people apart with his manhood. The Bighead isn't the only one wreaking havoc on the Virginia countryside. Wow! Anyways... moving on. 

A secret is finally revealed. That reveal is something else. That ending is crazy, too. The final third of the book is jaw-dropping. Hell... the entire book is jaw-dropping. What I like most are the different POVs. The characters are unique. The writing is good. 

This book isn't for the faint of heart. If you have a weak stomach, then you probably need to tread lightly with this one. All in all, it's a solid read that will turn your stomach often. 

3/5 stars! ⭐⭐⭐

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

AN APOCALYPSE OF OUR OWN by Jeff Strand



This novella is solid. I really enjoyed this one. Jeff Strand packs a lot into this little book. It doesn't transcend the genre, but it does show a different side of apocalyptic horror. From the cover to the tagline, what's not to like?

Can the friend zone survive the end of the world?

Missy and Kevin have been friends since childhood. Just friends. The apocalypse hits and people start leaking blood from their eyeballs. They turn into homicidal oozing mutants. Kevin and Missy find refuge in an underground shelter. They're trapped down there, though. They are isolated for days on end. Things get a little weird in the shelter. 

Most apocalyptic horror looks at the event–before and after. This novella looks at two individuals who narrowly escape the apocalypse by hiding in a shelter. Their mental and physical health slowly start declining. Can they survive? Do they have enough supplies?

Jeff Strand makes you care for the characters. You want the best for them under their circumstance. The author does awkward really well. When two people are stuck in a tight place weird things are bound to happen. 

The characters drive the story. The apocalypse is basically the backdrop, which makes the tension feel even more real. The storyline is solid. The dialogue is good. AN APOCALYPSE OF OUR OWN is a great way to spend an hour. It is a quick read and a great escape. You should read it. I will definitely be reading Jeff Strand's other work.

Recommend!

4/5 stars!⭐⭐⭐⭐