Tag Archives: dark fantasy

Author Showcase – J.C. McKenzie (The Night House)

What would you pay for your freedom?

Caught by a powerful lord from the alternate realm of Arkavia, Taya’s offered the chance to avenge the dead, save her home world, and win her freedom.

Her days of stealing supplies and surviving among the remnants of Earth are over, but can she afford the price of Lord Thane’s deal?

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~~ Excerpt 1 ~~

The Tarka chuckled and shoved her away. She stumbled a few steps, dropped the sticks and unsheathed her blades. Her fingers gripped the smooth leather wound around the hilts. The power vibrated against her skin. The electrifying blue energy danced along the shafts and whined, begging for blood. She whirled around and her hood fell back. The wind pushed her hair across her face.

The Tarka remained expressionless and drew his second sword. He now wielded two blades like her. “Ah. Now we see the true you.”

She lunged. He parried. The power of the swords pulled at her. She fused with them, merging into one, as if the blades became extensions of her arms as she danced. The light reflected off the metal and she became a flurry of sharp edges. Each slash propelled her faster and she spun, transforming into a whirlwind of blades.

 

~~ Excerpt 2 ~~

The Tarka held perfectly still, gray gaze flashing, white-blond hair shining under the setting sun. He looked like a warrior angel sent to Earth to smite the pest-like humans.

She clutched her staff and brought it up with numb fingers.

He raised a dark eyebrow. “You plan to fight me with a stick?”

“I can hand it over and tell you what to do with it, if you promise to follow directions.” She moved the stick slowly. Not fast enough to give away her skill, but enough to warm her wrists and get blood flowing back into her limbs.

“I’ll take option number one, thank you,” he said.

“Fine with me. I’d prefer anything to becoming your next sacrifice.” They’d never confirmed the Arkavians were responsible for the bloody sacrifice they’d stumbled on, but no crazy magical beasts had roamed the forest since the portal opened, so they made an assumption. She glanced behind her at the trees and George’s exposed foot. What the hell had the Tarka done to him?

“He’s incapacitated. You won’t find any help from him.”

Taya snarled while her mind raced. The man hadn’t used any magic yet. Maybe he didn’t have any. Maybe only some of the blondes had power. Could she outrun him? She wasn’t fast, but he was bulky with muscle, and wore lightweight armour and a heavy cloak to stave off the damp cold.

Where would she run to? She couldn’t lead him to the others, and she couldn’t survive long in the woods without supplies.

The man cocked his head, studying her and probably reading every thought screaming through her head. “Sacrifice? Exactly what kind of fantasies have your kind concocted about us?”

“I would hardly call them fantasies.”

“What would you call them, then?”

“Nightmares.” Duh.

He nodded. “Is this where you tell me my evil ways are done?”

“I’m not sure. Is this where you make some grand speech about ridding the world of my kind or do you plan to preach about the superiority of your race and how you deserve to leach off our planet?”

“I’m waiting for you to finish warming up so we can get on with it.”

She fumbled and almost dropped the staff.

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View More: http://photos.pass.us/headshot2J.C. McKenzie is a book-loving, gumboot-wearing, unapologetic science geek. She’s the author of the Carus Series, an urban fantasy five-book saga published by the Wild Rose Press. Born and raised on the West Coast, J. C. sets the majority of her books in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, Canada. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance with sassy heroines and brutish, alpha-type men.

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Review of “The Sea Was Fair Master” – Calvin Demmer

The world’s fate lies with a comatose young girl; an android wants to remember a human she once knew under Martian skies; men at sea learn that the ocean is a realm far different from land, where an unforgiving god rules; a school security guard discovers extreme English class; and a man understands what the behemoth beneath the sea commands of him.
 
The Sea Was a Fair Master is a collection of 23 stories, riding the currents of fantasy, science fiction, crime, and horror. There are tales of murder, death, loss, revenge, greed, and hate. There are also tales of hope, survival, and love.
 
For the sea was a fair master.
 
 

 

“Sea Ate Nine” Excerpt

(From The Sea Was a Fair Master collection)

By Calvin Demmer

 

For months, the nightmares of battling the sea would find him in the small hours. Fighting wave after wave, he struggled to keep afloat as the undertow pulled him away from land. In the deep ocean, he’d surrender and beneath the water, he went.

His lungs would flood.

He wouldn’t die.

Instead, he’d drift in currents as tranquil as clouds. A large shape would move in the distance. He could never see it clearly, but on occasion he heard the voice.

It didn’t really speak. It was more of a call and was unlike anything Grover Jenkins had heard. It boomed, and not even the ocean currents could stifle its magnificent force, which would send Grover reeling backward. It was so powerful that his vision distorted and his brain rattled so hard within his skull that he feared internal hemorrhaging. He was thankful that this behemoth only bellowed three words every time, for another word more and Grover feared either his head would explode or the bones in his body would shatter.

“Sea.”

“Ate.”

“Nine.”

Grover didn’t understand what it wanted from him from by way of the three random words, until one night at work they revealed themselves…

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

When I was reading the various stories in this collection, two words kept popping into my head regarding many characters — CREEPY and PSYCHO! 

Calvin Demmer let the craziness and horrific tales unfold in various places by a few unlikely whackjobs. Man, woman, child….. Calvin didn’t limit one specific gender or age bracket to the title of crazed. Calvin’s evildoers were also not always of this world. 

He tapped into our fears. He tapped into the unknown. He showed us evil lurks all around us and sometimes right before our very eyes. 

A few of my top scoring short tales: 

1.) “The Revenge of the Myth”: You’ll never look at Santa’s little helpers the same way again.

2.) “Voodoo Child”: Many people believe in the power of voodoo dolls, so I think this short tale will be a favorite of many readers. 

3.) “Letting the Dead Grow”: Move over Jason and Mike Myers, Rowan has hit the Halloween spook scene and he creeped me out more than you two.. combined. 

4.) “Hangman”: I’m a parent and fear of violence at school is always on my mind. However, with Calvin centering the disturbing tale around a childhood game, I found myself drawn in. When your life is on the line, you’ll play harder. Then again, when you are dealing with people with mental issues, sometimes playing your best isn’t good enough. 

 

Summation:

Calvin’s imagination took me to places where I didn’t want to go, kind of wished I didn’t go, but also impressed me on how well he constructed these dark and horrific tales. Good job on freaking me the hell out and for ruining Christmas for me.

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

 

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Mexico | India | The Netherlands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calvin Demmer is a dark fiction author. His debut collection, The Sea Was a Fair Master, was released in June 2018. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe. You can find him online at www.calvindemmer.com or follow him on Twitter @CalvinDemmer.

Honors

South African Horrorfest Bloody Parchment short story competition 2017: Finalist
Bards and Sages Reader’s Choice Awards: Author of the Year 2017
DarkFuse Tiny Terrors (November 2016 winner) “Ana Loves Red”

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Review of “Mechanisms of Despair” – Gary Buller

Length – 75 pages

Shawn Langley (Illustrator)

Deadman (Editor)

 

Welcome to the Mechanisms of Despair. In this chilling collection of horror shorts, you will find tales of the macabre, stories of suicidal tendencies, and moments of acute psychological torment.

 

“The Way Out”

“Escape’

‘The Way In”

“The Blackout”

“Into the Fire”

“The Present”

“A Friend in Need”

“Dog of the Day” by Holly Buller

This collection will raise money for two very good causes- the publisher is donating its proceeds to The Alzheimer’s Foundation in the USA, and Gary Buller will be donating his to Sarcoma UK- A charity that helps people suffering with bone and soft tissue cancer- people like his mum.

 

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(review request submitted by the author for an honest critique) 

 

Horror movies draw audiences because people love to be scared. People read thriller novels for the same exact reason. When you sit down to read the haunting short stories in Mechanisms of Despair, you definitely will be creeped the eff out by more than one story. For me, I am so glad I read the hair-raising tales in the light of day. 

Ok, I might spook easier than most people but a couple weirded me out big time. Take for example “The Way Out” and “The Way In”… Those two spine-chilling stories have me rethinking staying at any hotel this summer that I haven’t researched thoroughly first. Seriously, if there’s one hint of anything remotely supernatural happening there (past or present), any deaths, murders, suicides, then it’s on the NO WAY IN HELL I’M STAYING THERE list. Shoot, I don’t want to spend a minute in a HOTEL FROM HELL. Would you? Ok, maybe some supernatural thrill seekers would but I am not that adventurous. 

My other favorite short tale was “Into the Fire” because it pointed out monsters can be made of flesh and bone. Those are the scariest ones of all. With 7 creepy tales by Gary and one bonus shorty by Holly, I will say folks will find multiple stories that’ll leave a lasting impression on them. For me, I found enjoyment with half and that ain’t too shabby in my mind.

Word of warning, as of April 24th, Amazon listed this as a children’s book but I don’t agree with that sentiment. When I think children’s book, I envision anything deemed appropriate for the under ten crowd and these stories are definitely not suited for my youngster. Teenager, yes. Younger child, no.

With that said, mature audiences….. ENJOY! 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score:❤❤1/2

 

Kindle Purchase Link

Print Purchase Link

 

Gary Buller is an author from Manchester England where he lives with his long suffering partner Lisa, and his daughter Holly. He is a huge fan of all things macabre having grown up reading King and Koontz and loves a tale with a twist.

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