Tag Archives: horror

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. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us 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.

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

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.

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

 

  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.

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Print Purchase Link (US) 

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

Print Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

  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.

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

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…

 

 US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | 

Italy | Spain | France | Japan | Brazil | 

Mexico | India | The Netherlands

 

Add it to Goodreads

 

 

 

(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

 

 US | UK | Canada | Australia | Germany | 

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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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – Andrew Cull (Knock and You Will See Me)

Welcome, Andrew Cull!

 

 

  1. 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?

(Andrew) Hi there! Thanks for having me. I’m a horror writer and feature director. I started out writing and directing in the theatre while I was at Uni. From there, I moved to writing for TV and film. I returned to directing in 2007, when I created the Louise Paxton mystery for YouTube. Following on from that, I wrote and directed The Possession of David O’Reilly. Recently, I’ve written my first novel, Remains, four novellas, and a new feature film which I’m hoping to get my teeth into soon.

 

Based on actual events, THE POSSESSION OF DAVID O’REILLY is a terrifying supernatural shockumentary about a demonic presence in a young couple’s home in London.

US – Amazon Link

 

UK – Amazon Link

 

 

(KAM) Oh my goodness gracious, this trailer scared the $#*! out of me! 

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(Andrew)  I think I’m really lucky when it comes to writer’s block. It’s not something I tend to suffer from. In fact, I often have too many ideas and not enough time to write them all! But, if I ever get stuck plotting or find a scene’s giving me problems I take a train journey. By the time I’m half an hour into the journey I’m normally filling my notepad with thoughts and ideas about how to move forward or what to write next.

 

 

  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?

(Andrew)  I’m primarily a horror writer. I believe that horror is much more effective if it’s believable and so my stories tend to be grounded in reality, sometimes focusing on urban myths and legends. I’ll always choose suspense over gore. I’m a huge Hitchcock fan.

When I’m not writing I’m a big gamer. I’m a screenarcher, which means I shoot the worlds and characters of video games. I have a Flickr page with all my screenshots on it.

flickr link

 

I also study Taekwondo and try to fit in some reading. I’m almost always the last person to watch any given horror movie as I have trouble finding the time to fit everything in! I’m still trying to find time to watch Get Out!

 

 

  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?

(Andrew)  All my friends and family know I’m a writer. I’m very lucky in that, even through the tough times (and there have been plenty) they’ve always been very supportive of my work. I’ve never had anyone suggest I give it up and do something else.

I think if you’re a writer you should be proud of it. Success shouldn’t be something measured in book sales or income. Every day you sit down to write you’re a success.

 

~~ Another short story to check out! ~~

Print Length: 23 pages

 

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.

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

  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.

(Andrew)  That is a tough question. It’s an eclectic list. OK, here goes…

 

10. Koji Suzuki

9. Arthur Conan Doyle

8. Roald Dahl

7. H.P. Lovecraft

6. Chuck Palahniuk

5. JG Ballard

4. Richard Matheson

3. Shirley Jackson

2. Stephen King

1. James Ellroy

 

 

  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?

(Andrew)  I’d really like to direct an adaptation of my forthcoming novel, REMAINS. I’d cast Gillian Anderson in the lead. I wrote the novel with her in mind. She’s fantastic, one of my all-time favorite actors.

 

 

  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.

(Andrew)  I’m working on a new horror feature script, a new novel and a number of shorter stories. One of them is a new novella based in the same town as HOPE AND WALKER.

Print Length: 29 pages

 

“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.

 

Praise for Hope and Walker:

“An exceptional short story.” – Frank Michaels Errington.
“Andrew Cull proves himself.” – Eddie Generous, Unnerving Magazine.

 

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

 

 

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

(Andrew)  My novellas are available exclusively through Amazon at present. When REMAINS is released, it’ll be available worldwide through most bookstores. There’s no a specific order to read my stories in at present, although some of the characters from my books will cross paths in the future. I’m probably the worst person to ask about which story to read first as I’ll always recommend the one I’ve just finished. That’s always the one I’m most excited about. I would say though, that if you pick up any of my stories I’m very grateful to you for doing so, and I really hope you enjoy the book. Thanks for checking out my work.

 

 

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

(Andrew)  I’m always open to anyone who’s read my stories or seen my movies getting in touch. I love to hear what people make of my books and films. I can be contacted via my Facebook page, my Twitter, or directly via email. I try to reply to all the messages I receive. Sometimes it takes me a while, especially if I’ve got my head down on a project, but I do get around to all of them eventually.

Website Link

 

 

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

(Andrew)  Well, I’d like to say thanks for hosting me and reading my work. It was great to talk to you!

 

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

First, I would like to thank Andrew Cull for partaking in this interview and for inviting me to read Knock and You Will See MeIt will haunt my dreams, much like Ellie’s dad haunted her and her children. 

Continue reading below to catch a sneak peek of  Knock and You Will See Me and to read my full review on this nightmare-inducing tale. 

 

 

Now, lets check out the frightfully good read….

Print Length: 77 pages

 

“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?”

 

 

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

 

When I was much younger, I was captivated and freaked out by two blockbuster movies — The Sixth Sense (1999) and the original Flatliners (1990). The very notion someone could see dead people, the dead could interact with the living, scared the daylights out of me. This gift of seeing, hearing, or interacting with the dead was frightening, much like Knock and You Will See Me. 

When we bury a friend or loved one, we hope he or she is going on to a better place. Our wish is for their suffering to be finally over. If that’s not the case, it makes you rethink dying and those we’ve buried. Also, if Death comes after you or someone you love, who can really sleep soundly at night. 

Eerie notes, knocking noises, maggots, and black ooze would be enough to send chills down anyone’s spine but Andrew took it a step further. He tapped into the unknown and brought the boogeyman to Ellie Ray’s door… literally. She fought it. Her children fought it. In the end, I didn’t feel like their story was truly over. Death never goes away; therefore, I can see why Knock and You Will See Me didn’t end with a typical conclusion. 

Some readers might be hoping for a more complete ending. Actually, I was expecting more as well. I tapped more than once on my kindle thinking this can’t be the end. It didn’t feel like it should be the end. Yet, it was over… for me. For them, their nightmarish tale continued on. Maybe in another tale? We shall see. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

Kindle Purchase Link (US)

Kindle Purchase Link (UK)

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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – A. A. Medina (Siphon)

 

  1. Welcome, A. A. Medina! 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? 

(A. A. Medina) To start with the basics, my full name is Adrian Alexander Medina. I was born and raised and still reside in Phoenix, Arizona with my lovely wife, Samantha, our cats, Ishtar and Monkey, and our puppy, Sansa.

As far back as I could recall, I leaned toward the creative side. Whether it was drawing, music, or writing; however, I never really focused on one. To make a long story short, after my father (somewhat abruptly, i.e. long story) passed away in October of 2012, it was like getting hit by a train while skipping nonchalantly in an open field. Weak analogy, but I hope you get the drift.

After the shock and awe and soul-crushing nature of the loss, I reflected on my life and realized I was kind of just floating along. Sure, I played and wrote in bands, we played lots of shows and released albums, but my heart was never truly “in it”.

I don’t remember my thought process at the time, but I decided I wanted to focus the rest of my life on storytelling. I knew – being a person that easily jumps from one idea to the other without completion – that if I didn’t find a way to light the proverbial fire under my ass, I would let that decision fall through the cracks when the next shiny thing came along. So, I enrolled in school, figuring the hard deadlines and financial burden could be that fire.

Many things about the craft I could have learned on my own, but what the school did teach me was a deadline oriented work ethic and a sense of community and networking. That is where I met my business partner for Aphotic Realm Magazine, Dustin Yoak.

@DustinSchyler (Twitter)

@AphoticRealm (Twitter)

 

We graduated in March of 2017. Overall, I think my plan worked out.

(Until the debt cripples me)

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(A. A. Medina) First, I just try to push through it with force.

If that doesn’t work, I go on a walk or bike ride and try to work it out in my head.

And if that doesn’t work, I’ll usually keep the document/notebook open next to me while I do something mind-numbing like chores around the house or videogames and if something comes – and idea, scene, piece of dialogue, or otherwise – I’ll jot it down.

 

 

  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?

(A. A. Medina) I like to try my hand at everything, but much of my stuff falls into the “Transgressive” genre. Looking back, there are a lot of crime and/or thriller elements to my stories.

When not writing, I’m usually working on Aphotic Realm. When I’m not doing that, I’m reading or playing games with the wife and friends – both video and tabletop. And if I’m not doing that, I’m being an utterly useless sack of garbage on the couch.

(Kam) It sounds like you lead a busy, fun life. Congrats! 

 

 

  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?

(A. A. Medina) If they didn’t know before, they do now due to social media. Many say it is a fitting path for me, many say they’re proud, but most just reply, “That’s sweet, dude.”

 

 

  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.

(A. A. Medina) I, as well, have a long list. However, I’ll just keep it to my recent favorites. I tend to consume mostly science fiction, with that said, my two current favorites are John Scalzi and James S.A. Corey (technically three because James S. A. Corey is two people: Daniel Abraham & Ty Franck). I haven’t read anything I haven’t loved by them in the recent years.

 

 

 

  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?

 (A. A. Medina) I love this game!

I’ll choose Siphon since this is why I’m here to begin with.

First, I think Dr. Gary Phillips should be played by Gary Oldman (circa 1998). That man can transform into any character almost flawlessly. I would like to see Wendy Carter played by Sharon Stone (circa 1990). Francis could be played by Rip Torn. And Snowflake could be played by Kate Beckinsale (circa 2003).

Could you tell I’ve never thought about this?

If it were a current production let’s say, respectively, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Alison Brie, still Rip Torn, and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

(Kam) Siphon definitely left a lasting impression on me. (Review posted below.) 

 

 

 

  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.

 (A. A. Medina) Besides a bunch of things over at AphoticRealm.com, I am outlining what you could call the spiritual successor of Siphon. I don’t want to release the actual title just yet.

 

AphoticRealm.com

Book_Skull

 

Our Approach

First and foremost, we are here for the love of the craft. In addition, there are a lot of young, talented writers that struggle to find a home in a very competitive market. We wanted to provide such a home and from that desire, Aphotic Realm was born.

Our Story

Adrian and Dustin met during their studies at Full Sail University and quickly gravitated towards each other due to their similar tastes in dark fantasy, humor, sci-fi, and more. A short time later, they were critiquing each other’s work and collaborating on projects. After graduation, they decided to combine their talents to form Aphotic Realm.

 

 

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

(A. A. Medina) You can find Siphon on Amazon and all those other places people find books online. But, if you really want to be a winner, you’ll buy a physical copy from HinderedSoulsPress.com

I don’t have too many stories floating around, but that will change soon.

 

 

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

 (A. A. Medina) You can follow/contact me on Twitter: @UglyByProxy

 

 

 

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

(A. A. Medina) Check out AphoticRealm.com where we have some upcoming publications and online stories by a plethora of amazing authors! Go to HinderedSoulsPress.Com and pick up everything in stock and if it is not in stock, email them and complain.

I hope everyone who read, or plans to read, my work enjoys it.

Thank you for your time!

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

And thank you for joining me here today.

Folks, now for the grand finale….

Let’s check out Siphon, the story that will creep you out (but in a good way). 

 

THERE IS AN URGE INSIDE YOU…

Dr. Gary Phillips, the resident hematopathologist at Claybrook Medical Center, is a lonely man struggling with the duress of an all work and no play lifestyle.

Burdened with an unhealthy infatuation with his co-worker, a burning disdain for his boss, and an abusive relationship with his grandfather, Gary just can’t catch a break.

That is, until a workplace accident ushers in a bizarre, but empowering experience that evokes a new sense of self, forcing repressed memories to surface while encouraging him to pursue his fantasies with unconventional methods.

 

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Excerpt from Chapter Three

 

I was exhausted. It was about the time I would usually lay my head in my arms and close my eyes to kill a few hours. The centrifuge hummed and I turned off half of the overhead lights. It gave the room a warm, soft, luminescent glow. Instead, I hustled.

When handling sensitive material—blood in glass tubes and crucial information about the livelihood of people I’d never meet—I knew I had to work slow, careful, with grace, without shaky hands, with a keen eye and a sharp mind. So, there I am, excessive fatigue and under the influence of downers. And jittery from the uppers.

Amid retrieving multiple vacutainers from the refrigerator, I dropped one. It shattered, and chilled blood oozed onto the dirty linoleum floor.

Cursing through my clinched jaw, I squeezed the bridge of my nose and accessed the damage. I slid the other two vacutainers I was holding into my lab coat pocket and reached for the paper towels. Quilted. I knelt to clean it up, but then something happened.

I leered at the human oil crawl toward me. In that moment, my mind was empty. Not a loss-for-words empty or nodding-off empty. But, empty. No worries, no feelings, no opinions, no identity. No longer was I tired, but I was not awake either.

A comfortable void.

Nothing mattered. Not I or anyone else. I wasn’t sure how long I must’ve been on my knees as I gazed at the pool of vital, room-temperature fluid. My mind was a dark abyss, my body was a barren cavity. I’ve heard of out-of-body experiences before, but I’d never experienced one myself. I, or – for lack of a better word – my soul, watched as my body was taken hostage by another being. A stronger being. A godly being. And then it pulled me back in with it.

The stillness was broken and the vacuum was filled as I jolted back into my body, yet I was still unable to move. My eyes forced to fixate on the blood that had started to congeal. At first, the voice was just a whisper. It was confident, omnipresent, and not after long did it feel like a loudspeaker was installed inside my skull. A mantra, it repeated:

 

                                        There is an urge inside you…

                                                   … which cannot be satisfied…

                                                                  … with conventional methods.

 

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

 

Whether you label Dr. Gary Phillips a psychopath or sociopath, everyone who reads Siphon will agree Gary is a total whack job. There were a few scenes, so vividly written, I actually felt the urge to vomit. Example: Consumption of blood is gross enough but swallowing vaginal blood and getting aroused by it simply made me want to hurl. Other sections involving blood, gore, and violence were also very descriptive and thus showed the true depth of Gary’s warped mind. 

Despite the grotesque content, I have to commend A. A. Medina on creating a story that came alive on the pages even as characters were falling prey to Gary’s delusional mind. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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Horror Anthology Showcase: Hardened Hearts: Unnerving Magazine

17 stories of difficult love, broken hearts, lost hope, and discarded truths. Love brings pain, vulnerability, and demands of revenge. Hardened Hearts spills the sum of darkness and light concerning the measures of love; including works from Meg Elison, author of The Book of the Unnamed Midwife (Winner of the Philip K. Dick Award), Tom Deady, author of Haven (Winner of the Bram Stoker award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel), Gwendolyn Kiste, author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe and Pretty Marys All in a Row, and many more.
 
Hardened Hearts dips from speculative, horror, science fiction, fantasy, into literary and then out of the classifiable and into the waters of unpinned genres, but pure entertainment nonetheless. 
 
 

Foreword by James Newman

“It Breaks My Heart to Watch You Rot” by Somer Canon

“What is Love?” by Calvin Demmer

“Heirloom” by Theresa Braun

“The Recluse” by John Boden

“40 Ways to Leave Your Monster Lover” by Gwendolyn Kiste

“Dog Tired” by Eddie Generous

“The Pink Balloon” by Tom Deady

“It’s My Party and I’ll Cry if I Want To” by J.L.Knight

“Burning Samantha” by Scott Hallam

“Consumed” by Madhvi Ramani

“Class of 2000” by Robert Dean

“Learning to Love” by Jennifer Williams

“Brothers” by Leo X.Robertson

“Porcelain Skin” by Laura Blackwell

“The Heart of the Orchard” by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

“Meeting the Parents” by Sarah L. Johnson

“Matchmaker” by Meg Elison

 
 
 
 
 
 

Excerpt from “Heirloom” by Theresa Braun

 

Rachel took her seat. As she glimpsed the antique mirror, the glass appeared to tremble. It wasn’t the first time her mind had played tricks on her under duress, so she dismissed it.

She tapped the pencil on her lips. “By now, you know how this works.” Earlier in her career, she would have started with something simple like whether or not he easily found her office, or maybe how long he had lived in Ft. Lauderdale. That only wasted the appointment. The goal was to expedite wellness. “What brings you in?”

He crossed his arms. “Got to be here, else I won’t see my kids.”

Rachel sat stiffly upright, hands folded. “Okay, so tell me more about that. Why is it mandated?”

His face relaxed and his eyes softened. Her directness disarmed him. “Maybe I have mommy issues.”

Rachel’s eyes widened. “It appears more serious from the documents I have here.” She tapped the pad and folder in her lap.

“It’s complicated.” He twisted the old-looking silver ring on his pinky, his eyes narrowing.

The fact that he possessed the air of a mafia boss planning his next hit amused her. The way he kept playing with the ring made her think that either he had a form of OCD or it was an extension of his presented manliness.

The mirror jangled on the office wall, putting it off kilter.

“Did you see that?” She leapt up to prevent her family heirloom from crashing to the floor.

Her client might have continued speaking, but Rachel didn’t hear it. The room was like a wind tunnel. She slowly put one foot in front of the other until she faced the mirror. Her reflection stood in a charcoal gray pantsuit, her straight chestnut-colored bob curled up at her sharp jaw. An unseen hand pulled her through the mirror. Her vision blurred—everything was funhouse trickery, colors and shapes morphing, until the world crisped and focused once again.  

She stumbled onto the dirt, now in sandals, kicking up grit between her toes, and looked down to see her usually pale skin was bronze. Thick, wavy brown hair cascaded over her shoulders.

She blinked. Her bosom was more ample and her hands lacked the pink polish she always stared at while on the phone back in her office. Supple suede covered her body. Silver armbands coiled around each bicep.

Sweat pearled all over her.

The day was sunny. A market bustled to her right, and an open plain lay silent to her left. Thatched roof buildings dotted the horizon. A wicker basket dangled on her arm. A horse-drawn wagon heaped with fruits and vegetables hurtled past her, the gravel stirred by the hooves and wheels disappearing in the distance.

Only a few steps away, a burly man emerged through a dust cloud. He wore a dark and tattered robe. His skin was tan, or grimy, and so were the rest of his features, his eyes shadowed by his protruding brow.

Weathered hands with dirt-encrusted nails swiftly gripped her by the arms and forced her over his shoulder. She dropped the basket and screamed. He scurried to the covered wagon rolling closer and threw her inside. Her legs brushed something hard suspended at his waist.

Then everything was like scraps of memory…

 

Excerpt from “Burning Samantha” by Scott Hallam

 

She spends twenty minutes stuffing a bra for a chest that will never grow. Not unless she can convince her parents to invest her college savings into hormone therapy or two mounds of silicone.

She peers out her window at the suburban neighborhood lined with maple trees and street lamps illuminating the May evening.

He’ll be here any minute, her best friend Andrew.

He agreed to be her date for the spring dance.

As Samantha. Not as what the kids at school call her—Sam. Not as the name her parents gave her the day that she was born with a body that never quite felt right.

Samantha. Not Sam. Not ever again.

She gazes into the mirror, adjusting her neon blue wig. Her hands tremble as she stares back at her carefully-shaven face and lips painted aqua. She tries not to think of the stares she’ll receive. She tries to think of slow dancing with Andrew, her head buried in his chest, taking in the smell of his cologne.

~

He’s a little late. Not by much. The dance doesn’t start until 7:30. Andrew will be here. That’s what matters. Yesterday, he held her hand in the backseat of the school bus.

~

She pulls at the hem of her little black dress—practices walking back and forth across her room in heels. Straight and tall. She likes how the heels make her calves look.

Samantha hears the growl of an engine. Peering out her bedroom window, she sees Andrew in his father’s Camaro. Her flesh shivers and little bumps rise on her arms. She checks her makeup one last time before leaving her bedroom.

She lingers at the top of the stairs as she waits for Andrew to ring the doorbell. Her mother glances up at Samantha, a daughter that her mother never knew she had. She smiles thinly then pretends to tidy up the foyer.

Samantha spies wetness in her mother’s eyes. Her dad didn’t even bother sticking around. He said that he didn’t want to see his faggot son dress up like a slut. He said that he’d be drinking at the bar with this golf buddies and that Sam had better be in bed by the time he got home.

The doorbell rings, and Samantha’s stomach clenches. She grips the railing. Her mother opens the door and Andrew walks in wearing a charcoal sports jacket over an electric blue shirt. Tall and lean, a runner’s body. His chocolate brown hair cut short. Samantha’s hand on the railing becomes wet with perspiration.

He raises his eyes to meet hers, waving a bouquet of flowers in her direction, a spring mix, and flashes that half smile of his. The smile that made Samantha’s knees shake the first time she saw him at musical try-outs.

Samantha descends one step at a time, her gaze transfixes on Andrew. When she reaches the bottom, he presents the bouquet to her. She presses her face into the daffodils, peonies, and baby’s breath and inhales the fragrance…

 
 
 
 

James Newman

James Newman is the author of the novels Midnight Rain, The Wicked, Animosity, and Ugly as Sin, the collection People are Strange, and the critically-acclaimed novella Odd Man Out. Up next are the novels Dog Day o’ Summer and Scapegoat (co-written with Mark Allan Gunnells and Adam Howe, respectively). @newmanjam

 

Somer Canon

Somer Canon is a minivan revving suburban mother who avoids her neighbors for fear of being found out as a weirdo. When she’s not peering out of her windows, she’s consuming books, movies, and video games that sate her need for blood, gore, and things that disturb her mother. @SomerM

 

Calvin Demmer

Calvin Demmer is a dark fiction author. His work has appeared in Broadswords and Blasters, Empyreome Magazine, Mad Scientist Journal, Ravenwood Quarterly, Switchblade, and others. 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@CalvinDemmer

 

Theresa Braun

Theresa Braun was born in St. Paul, Minnesota and has carried some of that hardiness with her to South Florida where she currently resides. Traveling, ghost hunting, and all things dark are her passions. Her stories appear in The Horror Zine, Schlock! Webzine, and Sirens Call, among others; upcoming stories will be published in Bards and Sages and Strange Behaviors. Twitter  / website

 

John Boden

John Boden lives in the wilds of central Pa, with his wife and sons. A baker by day, he writes unique fiction in whatever time is left. His work has received kind words of praise from some.

 

Gwendolyn Kiste

Gwendolyn Kiste is the author of And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, her debut fiction collection from JournalStone, as well as the dark fantasy novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row, from Broken Eye Books. Her short fiction has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Shimmer, Black Static, Daily Science Fiction, Interzone, LampLight, and Three-Lobed Burning Eye, among others. You can find her online at gwendolynkiste.com.

 

Eddie Generous

Eddie Generous is the creator, editor, designer, and publisher of Unnerving and Unnerving Magazine. In early 2018, Hellbound Books is publishing a collection of his novelettes titled Dead is Dead, but Not Always, and also in 2018 he is teaming up with Mark Allan Gunnells and Renee Miller to release Splish, Slash, Takin’ a Bloodbath, a collection of short stories. @GenerousEd

 

Tom Deady

Tom Deady’s novel, Haven, won the 2016 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies and he released his second novel, Eternal Darkness and a novella, Weekend Getaway, in 2017. Tom also has a Young Adult series he is seeking agent representation for. He resides in Massachusetts where he is working on his next novel. @DeadyTom

 

J.L. Knight

J.L. Knight lives in Kentucky and works at an antiquarian bookstore that is probably haunted.

 

Scott Hallam

Scott Paul Hallam is a short story author living in Pittsburgh, PA. His work has been published in Cease, Cows and Night to Dawn magazine. He earned his Master’s in English Literature from Duquesne University and first fell in love with the written word when his dad would read him stories by Edgar Allan Poe as a kid. You can follow him on Twitter at @ScottHallam1313.

 

Madhvi Ramani

Madhvi Ramani grew up in London. She writes short fiction, articles, essays, children’s books, and drama. Her work has been published by the BBC, Asia Literary Review, Stand Magazine and others. She currently lives a thoroughly bohemian lifestyle in Berlin. Find out more www.madhviramani.com or follow her on Twitter @madhviramani.

  

Robert Dean

Robert Dean is a writer, journalist, and cynic. His most recent novel, The Red Seven was called “rich in vivid imagery, quirky characterizations, and no holds barred violence and mayhem. I never knew what the word romp really meant until now, but in case you’re wondering, this is it” by Shotgun Logic.

His essays have been featured in Jackson Free Press, Victoria Advocate, and The Austin American Statesman. He’s also been on NPR.

Robert is finishing a New Orleans-based crime thriller called A Hard Roll. He lives in Austin and likes ice cream and koalas.

Stalk him on Twitter: @Robert_Dean.

 

Jennifer Williams

Jennifer Williams is an author, editor, cat lady and coffee enthusiast. Her fiction has previously appeared in Women of the Bite: Lesbian Vampire Erotica edited by Cecilia Tan, Vicious Verses and Reanimated Rhymes, a collection of zombie poetry edited by A.P. Fuchs, and most recently in A Tribute Anthology to Deadworld and Comic Publisher Gary Reed edited by Lori Perkins. You can find her on Twitter at @JenWilliams13.

 

Leo X. Robertson

Leo X. Robertson is a Scottish process engineer and writer, currently living in Oslo, Norway. He has work most recently published by Helios Quarterly, Unnerving Magazine, Expanded Horizons and Open Pen, among others. His novella, The Grimhaven Disaster, was released by Unnerving earlier this year. Find him on Twitter @Leoxwrite or check out his website: leoxrobertson.wordpress.com.  

Laura Blackwell

Laura Blackwell’s speculative fiction appears in the World Fantasy Award-winning She Walks in Shadows anthology, Hardened Hearts, and Strange California, among others. She is Shimmer’s copy editor. You can follow her on Twitter at @pronouncedlahra

 

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

Erin Al-Mehairi is the author of Breathe. Breathe., a collection of dark fiction featuring short stories and poetry, also published by Unnerving. She is a marketing and public relations professional, journalist, and editor of over 20 years and lives in rural Ohio. You can hear her #marketingmorsels segment on The Mando Method podcast on Project Entertainment Network, and besides on all the other social media outlets, you can find her on her blog at www.hookofabook.wordpress.com@ErinAlMehairi

 

Sarah L. Johnson

Sarah L. Johnson lives in Calgary where she’s mastered the art of the writerly side hustle, working in a bookstore, teaching creative writing, and freelance editing. Her short story collection Suicide Stitch (EMP Publishing) was published in 2015 and her debut novel Infractus will be released in April 2018 by Coffin Hop Press. @leadlinedalias

 

Meg Elison

Meg Elison is a science fiction author and feminist essayist. Her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award. She has been published in McSweeney’s, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Catapult, and many other places. Elison is a high school dropout and a graduate of UC Berkeley. @megelison

 

 

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