Tag Archives: horror

Review of “Gaelan’s War” – Thaddeus McGrath

Book one of the Gaelan Kelly Trilogy

WHEN GAELAN KELLY RETURNS FROM WAR, physically and emotionally scarred, he tries to piece a normal life back together. But the horrors of war couldn’t prepare him for the terror he discovers, thrust into a world he never knew existed. Dealing with the trauma of combat and plagued by nightmares of a monster that shouldn’t exist, Gaelan finds himself embroiled in a battle to protect humanity even as he struggles to preserve his own. 

He fought a war of men. Now he fights a war for mankind. But Gaelan’s greatest war will be within.

 

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

Hunters love the thrill of the chase but what if the hunter suddenly becomes the hunted. In the introduction, a deer hunter finds himself in this very predicament. He suddenly understands the fear animals face in the wild and the pain of dying that follows. As I read the gory scene in “Hunting Grounds,” I knew this book was going to be highly descriptive in future encounters with various monsters. As a reader, I love when an author holds nothing back. In Gaelan’s War, Thaddeus McGrath pulled no punches in delivering many gruesome, finely detailed battle scenes.

Gaelan, a Marine, faced many horrors on the battlefield and more when he retuned home. In the Middle East, he watched many comrades die in battle. At home, he witnessed his parents savagely killed by a beast. At the time, he had no idea it was a werewolf or that he was about to become one. With the assistance of Father Denny and Master Oonishi, he had a second chance at life. Instead of dying, he trained to control his beast and fight the monsters feasting on mortals.

Every battle scene was exceptionally written. Gaelan’s most memorable supernatural fight scenes involved him battling a vampire, cobalus, and a pack of wolves.

Gaelan was no ordinary werewolf. He wasn’t a complete monster. He can do something extraordinary…. He can control the beast instead of the beast controlling him. 

No one can truly understand why and how Gaelan is different than other werewolves. Maybe he carried over some of the traits he had as a mortal man: strength, honor, loyalty, and compassion. He was a respected soldier; a man his fellow soldiers could rely on during battle. As a werewolf, nothing’s changed. He’s still a fierce warrior. 

I recommend anyone who loves supernatural/horror stories to read Gaelan’s War.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Thaddeus McGrath is a former U.S. Marine Corps fighter/attack pilot, a veteran of the War on Terror and a graduate of the United States Naval Academy.  He has loved writing since he was a boy. His debut novel, Gaelan’s War, was inspired by a desire to continue the discussion about PTSD, and a love of all things supernatural.  In his world, werewolves aren’t big dogs and vampires definitely don’t sparkle! He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife, kids, and oversized dogs.

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Review of “Fountain Dead” – Theresa Braun

Mark is uprooted from his home and high school in the Twin Cities and forced to move with his family into a Victorian in Nowhere-ville. Busy with the relocation and fitting in, Mark’s parents don’t see what’s unfolding around them—the way rooms and left behind objects seem alive with a haunted past. 

Of course, Mark keeps his ghostly encounters to himself, all the while sinking deeper into the house’s dark, alluring, and ultimately terrifying history. As romantic entanglements intensify, the paranormal activity escalates. Past and present come together. Everything is connected—from the bricks in the walls to the hearts beating in their chests, all the secrets of Fountain Dead are finally unearthed.

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

 

Fountain Dead is a carefully crafted story that takes place in two time periods, in two POV’s.

Emma, born in the 1800’s, didn’t have a lifetime of love and happiness. There was a brief period of time she thought she’d achieve her HEA but her life took a grisly turn. Family turned against her and she learned the hard way not to trust anyone.

Mark’s story took place in 1988 when his family moved to Winona and into the Durley house, Emma’s family home. From the start, Mark knew something was off about the house. It was messing with his mind, his sister’s and eventually it turned its attention to others. The house was cursed. Anyone who entered it was prey.

Mark didn’t want to live in the house but a child must live where their parents tell them. His parents were oblivious to the danger lurking in the house but Mark wasn’t. He saw the spirits, humanoid creature, and saw the effects of possession firsthand.

As we watch Emma’s life progress, we see every monumental point in her life was somehow tied to what Mark and his family was living through in present time. At first, the time period/POV’s flip-flopping did mildly annoy me. It was occurring way too rapidly. I actually started taking meticulous notes because I wondered how each moment in the past would have an impact on Mark in his time period. It wasn’t until I was about mid checkpoint that I didn’t mind the flip-flopping speed as much because NOW the puzzle pieces were clicking together and the grand picture was almost revealed.

The link between past and present was mapped out very well and the ending was spectacular.

Cliffhanger? Yes, Theresa’s final moments in Fountain Dead let readers know there was more evil to battle.

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

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Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides with her two fur babies, who are her creative sidekicks. She enjoys delving into creative writing, painting, photography and even bouts of ghost hunting. Traveling is one of her passions—in fact, her latest adventure took her to Romania for a horror writers’ workshop where she followed in the steps of Vlad the Impaler. She writes horror fiction and the occasional romance. Oh, and she likes to guest blog about writing, television shows, movies, and books, mostly in the horror genre.

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Author Showcase – Andrew Cull (Bones: Horror Anthology)

Bones brings together four chilling stories by the award-winning writer-director Andrew Cull. 

 

“He had written to me a month or so before he died. I’d ignored the letter the same way I’d ignored all the others.” 

When Cam Miller returns to the town he grew up in he’s heading to clear his estranged Father’s farmhouse. He’s also returning to the house he fled 23 years before. There, among the nicotine stained keepsakes and remnants of a broken life, he’ll come face to face with a horror that has waited all those years for his return. 

“It’s you he wants.” 

 

 

“We were both 10. But he was dead. And I sat drawing him.”

Em Walker is just like any other 10-year-old girl growing up in the small, outback town of Hope. That is, except for the fact that her Dad runs one of the town’s two funeral parlours, and the dead have just started speaking to her…

When Hope is rocked by a terrible crime, Em, stubborn, scared of spiders, and with a temper that’s likely to get her into trouble, will find herself thrust into the middle of a dangerous hunt for the truth.

“Being scared’s good,” Grandpa Walker had told me once. “Stops us from doing stupid things.” 

It hadn’t stopped me.

 

 

That summer should have been filled with laughter, with slip n’ slides in the yard, lazy afternoons lying watching ice cream clouds swirling through the blue sky, melting in slow motion. I watched a plane rising high above our house. From the ground it looked completely still, as if it hung suspended in the air, a model on a string. I wished I was on it, I wished I could escape. I was seven and that was the summer death stalked our home. 

It began with the offerings… 

 

 

 

“We buried Dad in the winter. It wasn’t until the spring that we heard from him again.”

Knock and You Will See Me is a new ghost story by award winning writer-director Andrew Cull.

When grieving Ellie Ray finds a crumpled, handwritten note from her recently deceased father, hidden behind the couch, she assumes that her middle boy, Max, left it there. It has a single word written on it: WHY. But, as more and more letters begin to appear throughout the house, Ellie and her three boys will find themselves dragged into a deeply sinister mystery surrounding her father’s death.

“Dad? I looked down at the scribbled note in my hand, at the words torn into the paper. What had started as a whisper had grown louder, more desperate. The words had been screamed onto the page. Dad? Please. What’s going on?”

 

“Did You Forget About Me?”

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“Hope and Walker”

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“The Trade”

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“Knock and You Will See Me”

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Bones: Horror Anthology 

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~~ Meet the author ~~

Andrew’s first screenplay attracted the attention of BAFTA award-winner, Philip Saville. He went on to  develop film projects with Hammer Films,  Paul W.S Anderson’s Impact Pictures and  wrote for cult TV hit, ‘Urban Gothic’. Alongside this,  Andy ran a video rental store in London with the  largest horror collection in the UK.

In 2007 he created the YouTube sensation,  ‘In the Dark’. Regarded as the first YouTube  horror series it is considered to have been the inspiration for such renowned projects as Marble Hornets. This was followed by his first feature, ‘The Possession Of David O’Reilly’. It quickly garnered much praise and enjoyed a UK theatrical and DVD release with Momentum Pictures. In the US, it was picked up by IFC Films for VOD and DVD release.

Andy recently completed his first novel, ‘Remains’ and is in pre-production for his next horror feature.

Andy loves Horror and Hitchcock and, like you, he’s not easily scared.

 

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Author Showcase / Interview – Renee Miller (Eat The Rich)

 

  1. Welcome, Renee Miller. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Renee)  I’m a Canadian author who lives in a tiny rural town famous for harboring Elvis’s Ghost. I love Netflix and junk food and have too many animals living in my house.

I don’t know if there’s a point where I officially “started.” After years of just scribbling short stories and terrible poems, I decided (in 2008), that I’d write a novel. It was awful. I made a few big mistakes early, but once the rose-colored glasses were off, I focused on learning the craft and the industry. I self-published my first few titles in 2013, and then I signed a series with a publisher who closed its doors shortly after the first book’s release. There was more signing and closing over the past few years, but I kept plugging away, and here I am.

Basically, writing is hard. Publishing is harder. If you want to get anywhere in this business, you have to accept that it will never be easy, but you can’t let speed bumps slow you down.

(Kam) All the trials and bumps in the road of life make us great(er) in whatever career choice we choose. Keep up the good work! 

 

 

 

  1. Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? If so, please share how you handle it.

(Renee) If I don’t feel like writing, I edit until I’m so miserable I’ll write about anything just to escape the torture of editing.

I don’t believe in writer’s block. Stress, life, ego, laziness, and all kinds of crappy little every day real life things can affect productivity. That’s entirely different than being afflicted by a condition in which your brain is incapable of crafting a story. We’re always able to do that. We just need to figure out how to get out of our own way.

That sounds kind of arrogant, I suppose. Maybe I’m jinxing myself by saying that, and some day I’ll be sitting here staring at a blank page going, “Shit, it is real,” and everyone will have a good long laugh at my expense.

 

 

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Renee)  I prefer dark fiction, be it horror, crime, comedy or erotica, but I tend to lean toward horror. When I’m not writing, I’m Netflixing, reading, working the day job, or scrubbing toilets and cleaning up pet hair. Glamorous, eh?

(Kam) Hmm, maybe scrubbing toilets and cleaning up pet hair would be glamorous if you did it while wearing a ball gown, heels, and a tiara. I don’t see that happening though.  😆 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Renee)  I tell anyone who will even pretend to care about my writing. I think some are all, “Oh, that’s nice,” while inside they’re thinking, “Wonderful. Another weirdo who thinks she’s fancy.” My close friends and family, though, are very supportive. Many don’t read my writing, but I think that’s only because they’re worried about what I’ve written about.

 

(Kam) Viewers, please check out these titles by Renee and let her know what you think! 

Publisher: Unnerving (April 10, 2018)

It’s okay to watch. Watching hurts no one, as long as you don’t touch.
Elwin likes to watch. His position as star employee at a real estate agency gives him plenty of access to the homes of his clients. A camera or two hidden where no one will find it, and he can watch as often as he pleases.
No one knows. No one gets hurt.
But it’s hard to look without touching. Touching leads to bad things. Elwin knows this, but allows himself a moment of weakness. 
And then another.
Soon, watching isn’t an option anymore. Not if Elwin wants his secrets to remain buried.

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Publisher: Deviant Dolls Publications (September 30, 2017)

La Femme Fatale is a secret travelling carnival full of weird wonders for men young and old. Clown burlesque, a bearded lady, and a snake charmer who is also skilled with a blade. 

You won’t want to come, but you will. 

The ladies are beautiful, their show is erotic, and your climax will be deadly.

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  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(Renee)  This is always my least favorite question, because I love so many amazing authors. Ugh. Okay, in no particular order:

Stephen King

VC Andrews (the original, real author, not the after death nonsense)

Dennis LeHane

C.S. Lewis (The Narnia Chronicles will forever be a favorite read for me)

Nora Roberts

Ronald Malfi

Thomas Harris

Anne Rice

Margaret Atwood

Charlaine Harris

 

I’m not even sure if these are “all time” favorites, but they’re the first that come to mind.

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Renee)  Another tough one. I just finished Ronald Malfi’s BONE WHITE, and I’d LOVE to see that as a film. He’s created such a vivid world with characters that stay with you, so I don’t think Hollywood could mess it up. As for who I’d like to see casted, I’m not sure. Clive Owen? I just like to see him cast in everything.

As for my books, if I could choose one to be on the big screen, it’d have to be… CHURCH. I think Mads Mikkelsen would make a good Darius, because he’s brilliant at playing villains. My first instinct was to say Tom Hardy, though, because I have a huge crush, but Christian Bale is probably the best option. Something about him is always creepy, so I think he’d take Darius to the next level. In Ray’s role, I’d cast Ed Norton, because he does tortured souls very well. Or maybe Chris Evans. He’s got that baby face and looks so sweet and innocent.

Ray is a Christian, but he loves a woman who follows a god called Zabir. Determined to save her from eternal damnation, he joins her church.

He doesn’t realize that indoctrination into the Zabian way is a process that not only breaks a man physically, it strips his identity and shatters his mind. He holds onto his faith at first, but as his prayers for mercy go unanswered, and the pain inflicted on him becomes too much to bear, the void of nothingness promises relief, and tempts Ray to do the unthinkable, even if leaves his soul as damned as the one he tried to save.

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Renee) I’m working on a book about a lethal brain parasite from another planet (or is it?) and I’ve got a few shorter pieces “in progress.” Oh, and I’ve got a weird fantasy/horror thing that I’m not sure is even worth pursuing, but it’s at 40K words, so I may as well finish it, right?

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Renee)  You can find most of my work on Amazon, but I try to keep my book list updated on Deviant Dolls. Reading order doesn’t matter, although the newer stuff is probably the weirdest.

Amazon Author Page Link

deviantdolls.org

 

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Renee) You can find me on Twitter (@ReneeMJ) or on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authorreneemiller/. I also work with a fantastic group of authors on www.deviantdolls.org. Or you can email me at reneemiller(at)bell(dot)net.

 

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Renee)  I’d just like to say thanks for having me and I’m sorry if I rambled. (No, I’m not. I always ramble.)

(Kam) Please feel free and come back anytime. I love ramblers!  😉 

 

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

Ok, I know Renee and I have given you a few reading options above but how about just one more………

 

Release Date: July 13th, 2018

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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Goodreads contributor, Michael Hicks rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Goodreads contributor, William Bitner Jr. rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐ .

Goodreads contributor, Charlotte rated it ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

 

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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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Italy | Spain | France | Japan | Brazil | 

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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