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Author Showcase / Interview / Review – M.R. Tapia (The Die-Fi Experiment)

Welcome, M.R. Tapia!

 

 

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?

Hello! My name is M.R. Tapia. I am a dark fiction writer, as well as the owner/operator of Hindered Souls Press. Ever since I was in elementary school, I have always been a big reader since I was young and tended to enjoy my fiction on the dark/horror edge. Even in school, I had always excelled in English/Language Arts. Math, not so much, FYI I don’t math very well, ;). Once I “grew up” and started working full time, the construction field took over my life. In the late 2000s, I was a victim of the collapsing economy and lost my job. I couldn’t find a job in my trade even at gunpoint (I didn’t try this, but felt like that was a nearing option.) Finally, I applied for grants and entered into college. Like most places, I was given a placement exam. I tested low for math, but fell into the highest English courses they offered. Luckily, my instructor was awesome and throughout the course he really helped expose me to my own love for writing. Within a few months of completing the course, I attempted my hand at fiction and submitted a short story to a local arts/entertainment magazine and was happy to hear they had accepted it for publication. I’ve been in love ever since.

(Kam): Like you, math wasn’t my strong suit but English proved a better fit. You should be proud of how far you’ve come in life and all the trials and obstacles you faced and overcome. Congrats! 

 

 

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

(M.R. Tapia) Ah, dreaded, indeed. For the most part, I attack this fiend known simply as, Writer’s Block, one of two ways: I open a separate page and write ceaselessly about the scene which has me in creative silence, explaining to myself all of the possible routes and outcomes which are possible, usually I can get some creative juices flowing. Another way to combat it is to simply step away and take a break by watching a movie, going for a walk, READING, or anything to take the stress of Block away. I find that lots of my creative ideas/thoughts come when I’m nowhere near my laptop. So, no matter where you go, you should always have a place to jot notes down, even in the shower :). Of course, there are endless ways to combat it, these are some methods which work for myself.

 

 

Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(M.R. Tapia) First comes the ghastly Day Job. Aside from that, I love spending time with my two spawns, one of 12 and the other of 3. I spend as much time allotted reading, whether it be paperback, kindle, or audiobook, one must always read, then read some more. I’ve always been a movie buff, favorite genre is, of course, dark/horror. I also try and stay as active as possible, aside from what I tell everyone, I’m not getting any younger. I’m actually going to be in a volleyball tournament with my girlfriend in August, and yes, she’s an actual human being. Most importantly, I live as spontaneous as possible, getting as much enjoyment out of life as possible, it truly is a short ride.

 

 

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?

(M.R. Tapia) All of my family and close friends have known about my writing since my first short story was published. Since day one, I have received nothing but support from them. I spent a little more time in my acknowledgements section of my recent novella to thank all of the families, (I hope I didn’t miss anyone. If I did, I’m sorry, I’ll catch you in the next project.) In construction, I believed I’d come off as bourgeois’ or something of the sort by saying I’m a writer, so I didn’t really hide it, I just never talked about it, that is, until lately. It leaked out and surprisingly, I have received much support from my coworkers, as well. The majority have told me they’re not readers but would still purchase copies and read my work. I appreciate all of the support I receive and couldn’t thank everyone enough.

 

 

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.

(M.R. Tapia)  In no particular order: Hunter S. Thompson, Chuck Palahniuk, J.D. Salinger, Kurt Vonnegut, Richard Matheson, Chuck Hogan, Charles Bukowski, everyone in my writer’s group (you know who you are), newly added CV Hunt and Joe Hill, and what’s a list without the honorable mention of Stephen King.

 

 

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?

(M.R. Tapia)  I have to be arrogant and say my novella, The Die-Fi Experiment, but, please, let me explain why. I would love to have Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston play the lead couple, give her a reason to inflict some suffering and pain upon him, ha! Seriously, imagine how awkward being on that set would be…

(Kam) You have one wicked sense of humor. 🙂

 

 

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.

(M.R. Tapia)  *whispering* I am preparing my novel, Sugar Skulls, for a November release. Can you guess what day? That’s right, El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead.)

 

 

 

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

(M.R. Tapia)  Hinderedsoulspress.com has a page to preorder/order signed copies of Dark Tales for Dark Nights, as well as my solo projects, as well. My latest short story ‘Bloodstream Revolution’ can be found in the recently publication from Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist. You can also find other short stories in Schlock!, Hindered Souls: Dark Tales for Dark Nights, and Empty Sink Publishing to name a few.

 

Hindered Souls is a collection of twenty-five stories from twenty-one of the brightest emerging authors from all around the world. The stories within are surreal, mind bending and soul wrenching.

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

(M.R. Tapia)  I can be found within the realms of Twitter: @m_r_tapia, and Instagram: @mrtapia. I can also be contacted at hinderedsoulspress@gmail.com

 

 

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

(M.R. Tapia)  I’d like to thank everyone for reading through my ramblings! Please don’t forget that my novella, The Die-Fi Experiment, is available in ebook/paperback pre-order at Amazon; signed paperback copies can be purchased at Hinderedsoulspress.com. Look for my novel, Sugar Skulls, in November. And please continue supporting independent authors! There are many great ones out there! More importantly, pass the joy of reading on to the next generation! Thank you again for your time.

 

 

~~ Closing remarks ~~

First, I would like to thank M.R. Tapia for partaking in this interview and for inviting me to read The Die-Fi Experiment. If you haven’t read it yet, I encourage you to give this horrific, shocking, spine-tingling novella a shot. You’ll be on the edge of the seat the entire 65 pages. Oh and stick around after the shocking ender because you’ll be treated to a sneak peak to an upcoming release. 

 

 

Now, lets check out the frightfully good read….

Print Length: 65 pages

Publisher: Hindered Souls Press (July 21, 2017)

 

“I would like to welcome the world to The Die-Fi Experiment. Please join us in the fun that is the deterioration of the world by means of social media.”

Marie and her husband are spending their honeymoon in Tokyo, Japan. While strolling the downtown streets, they are hoaxed into a chance at winning the latest cell phone: First to get through a maze of doors wins! Only they both awaken amidst a sadistic live-stream gameshow. Marie competes against a man while both of their partners are strapped down to chairs. The winner of the deranged challenges imposes extreme pain for their own partner while the loser receives their own form of demented punishment. As it goes on, more and more people around the World Wide Web tune in. The winner of the entire competition gets the chance to fight one last time for their ultimate chance of survival against their own partner…to the death! Will Marie and her husband get the chance to have their first fight as a married couple, and if they do, who will be the last one standing?

(CONTAINS EXCERPT FROM M.R. TAPIA’S FORTHCOMING NOVEL ‘SUGAR SKULLS’)

 

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

M.R. Tapia sure did not pull any punches in the making of The Die-Fi Experiment. From #chapterone to #chapterten, he delivered nonstop torture scenes using everyday devices such as shears, surgical spoon, sledgehammer and so on to elicit fear in the hearts of the recipients. This novella exuded real terror. A story not so far-fetched when you consider all the inhumane and shameful videos shared on social media these days.

People will post anything for likes, shares, retweets. The uploads are becoming more vicious, more violent, more out of control and it seems to have no end in sight. However, the couples on the Japanese game show did see the endgame barreling towards them and the path to it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t pain free. It’s not anything I would like to see firsthand, unlike all the live streaming viewers from the story. 

This story is gruesomely plausible and that’s what makes it even more frightening. 

Well done, M.R. Tapia. You’ve shown us the lengths people will go to entertain the world and how they will keep upping the ante to stay one step ahead of their “competitors”. 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

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Review of “Deadman’s Tome: Monsters Exist” – Horror Anthology

Editors: Mr. Deadman & Theresa Braun

 

From the time we are young, we fear the monster under the bed or in the closet, making it impossible to sleep without a nightlight. Then, we hear stories of Bigfoot, and maybe even the Mothman around campfires. When we are adults, we wonder if there might actually be supernatural creatures lurking in the shadows. Are these tall tales and urban legends only metaphors for what horrific things humanity is capable of—or do monsters exist?

Go to some terrifying places with this cast of authors. You will be dragged into mystifying realities where demonic fairies hide, where devil monkeys lure carnival-goers to their demise, where Goatmen seek to destroy their prey, and where the goddess of death puts out a hit on victims of her choice. These shocking tales will have you biting your nails and locating that childhood nightlight. Because, in the end, we all know monsters do exist.

 

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

 

Upon the pages of Monsters Exist, a reader will embark on spine-tingling adventure where some stories are full of immense blood and gore. Some are so damn freaky but I was shuddering in my seat. For example, the first short story “Master Vermin” by Wallace Boothill, there’s just something about rats that just gives me the willies. If one average size rodent doesn’t make you scream and go running for the hills, then try being surrounded by tens of thousands of the beady-eyed vermin. Some rats were as big as cats. Oh and don’t get me started on the Rat King. Seriously, I’d move….. like far, far away and never look back!

Another story that had my skin crawling was “Bitten” by Christopher Powers. Christopher tapped into a common fear, arachnophobia. Little itty-bitty anthropoids scare me enough but Christopher’s twist on the arachnids will probably have me cringing for days. I won’t tell you why but this short story is a CAN’T MISS! Be warned though, it WILL FREAK YOU OUT if you have the slightest fear of the 8 legged fanged beasts. 

They were also stories such as “Never Sleep Again” by Calvin Demmer and “Legend Trippers” by Theresa Braun who had gore, blood and moments where I was happy I wasn’t reading their tales after sundown.

Sylvia Mann, she literally made my skin crawl with “Eclipse At Wolfcreek” while Gary Buller’s “Wicked Congregation” ending touched me the most. It was like the rest, spooky, but the final moments of his paranormal tale was just unexpectedly moving.

Whether I was reading about monsters swooping down from the sky or grabbing onto a victim from below, all the contributing authors in the anthology, Monsters Exist, stayed true to one fact —- every creation showed their love of the horror genre by creating HIGHLY DESCRIPTIVE MONSTERS that’ll surely make for some interesting dreams…er, nightmares later tonight for many readers. So I say to you, be ready for some blood, gore, dismembered bodies, and some scary ass creatures because these 14 authors held nothing back. 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤

 

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 Let’s Meet The Authors………

 

 

 Wallace Boothill: I write horror/supernatural fiction for whoever will read it. Looking for the right beach for the Haunted Luau. Published in Shotgun Horror Clips and Deadman’s.

Twitter Link 

 

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. Her short story “Shout at the Devil” appears in Under the Bed Magazine, “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” in Hindered Souls, and “Dead over Heels” is soon to be published by Frith Books.

Twitter Link  / Facebook Link / Website Link

 

Hi my name is S.J.Budd, I live in London but grew up in Cornwall surrounded by beautiful wild lands and ancient Celtic legends and folk tales which had a big impact on my eternal fascination with everything out of the strange and ordinary. Like seriously who wants to be normal? Not me!

Website Link /Twitter 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.

Twitter Link  / Website Link

 

 

 

S.E. Casey is a writer of the weird, the grotesque, and the darkly wonderful. His speculative fiction focuses on a collection of oddities, forgotten places, and fallen characters. The horror isn’t in the blood on the knife, but in the loneliness of the void. In vacant corners of empty alleyways does this existential madness collect and fester. 

Website Link.  / Twitter Link 

 

 

Mr. Deadman: Owner of Deadman’s Tome – a site for scary stories and demented horror.

Website Link / Twitter Link 

 

 

 

Calvin Demmer is a crime, mystery, and speculative fiction author. He has had over thirty stories published in various magazines and anthologies. When not writing, he is intrigued by that which goes bump in the night and the sciences of our universe.

Website Link / Twitter Link 

 

 

 

Philip W. Kleaver lives with his cat in Baltimore, Maryland, where he works as an educator. He is a too-competitive player of gin rummy and an avid collector of horror and science fiction paperbacks (preferably the musty, yellowing kind). 

Twitter Link  / Website Link

 

 

Sylvia Mann: Fiction writer. Teacher. Musician.

Twitter Link 

 

 

 

 

William Marchese: Horror Writer, Horror Writers Association supporting member.

Website Link / Twitter Link

 

 

 

 

John Palisano: Vice President of Horror Writers Association, Bram Stoker Award winner, FANGORIA writer.

Website Link / Twitter Link 

 

 

 

Christopher Powers: Writer of horror and dark fiction.

 Twitter Link 

 

 

 

Leo X. Robertson: I’m a fiction writer from Glasgow, Scotland, currently living in Oslo, Norway. I also run the Losing the Plot podcast, where I talk to editors, authors and other favourite people of mine about reading, writing and just about anything!

On my site you’ll be able to find out about my latest news, events, publications and hear the latest episodes of the podcast.

Website Link / Twitter Link 

 

M.R. Tapia: Head editor at Hindered Souls Press. Author of dark fiction. The Die-Fi Experiment, and debut novel Sugar Skulls coming this fall.

Twitter Link 

 

 

 

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Author Showcase – G. E. Stills (Empress of Evil)

For 18+

Aiden is on the run from a dangerous cult who wants him dead. While hiding in a rundown mansion in a Louisiana swamp, he stumbles across two beautiful women, but these two are not ordinary women. From the beginning, he discovers they’re sassy, ornery, and powerful witches from another world. They join him and they bond in ways he could never have imagined. Aiden knows he can’t run and hide forever, and now there are two others included in the deadly cult’s crosshairs.

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~~ MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY ~~

(Excerpt Empress of Evil. Aiden meets Raine and Sierra)

 

Aiden read the note again as he peered down at the warning engraved on the box lid. “Humph…I’m not superstitious and never had much fear of curses.” He lifted the box and removed the key which he put in his pocket then opened the lid.

A puff of air, probably from the box having long been sealed, caused Aiden to jerk his head back and close his eyes. When he opened them again he scrutinized the two tiny beds and chairs inside. “Miniature doll house furniture but otherwise nothing, just as I thought.”

He turned to enter the opening on the other side of the fireplace, intent on exploring other parts of the house. Behind him two columns of smoke blipped into being. The smoke quickly dissipated. He spun quickly at the sound of the female voice. “Thank you for freeing us, Aiden,” it said.

The one who had spoken had brunette hair with blue streaks. The woman standing beside her had blonde hair with red streaks.

“About damn time someone set us free,” blondie said. “This place is a fucking mess, by the way. I can hardly wait to get the hell out of here.”

“Great, I’ve loosed two sawed off little runt ghosts to add to my misery and one of them has a smart mouth.”

Brunette scowled at her companion, and said, “I’m Sierra and this is Raine. We’re not ghosts, we’re sprites.”

Aiden took a closer look at the two. True, they didn’t wear billowing shrouds as he’d expected from descriptions he’d read of spirits, nor were they semi-transparent. Instead, Sierra wore a blue corset and Raine a crimson one. Both wore collars around their necks and had mittens on their hands. Aiden snorted at the skirts they wore. Hot pink tutus. “You may be short little shits, five-foot-nothing I estimate, but you’re taller than any fantasy pictures of sprites I’ve seen. I have to admit your assets are wonderfully displayed and the hot-pink tutus are a nice touch.”

Raine gazed down at the garment and shrieked. “This had to be Pequa’s idea. She knows how much I detest pink. Fucking bitch.” She ripped it away and flung it to the floor. Sierra calmly removed hers and dropped it beside her.

Aiden turned his back to them and dismissively waved his hand in the air. “Go away, spooks, I have other more important things to do, like checking out the rest of this dump.”

The block of wood, a piece of the crumbling furniture he decided, struck his back moments later with a thud and stung. Aiden spun in time to see Raine pick up another piece.

“Hey, we weren’t done talking to you,” she said.

“That hurt. Don’t do it again. So you have the ability to move objects. I’ve heard some ghosts can do that. What makes you think it’s your decision to make whether our conversation is over or not?” he asked.

“Raine—” Sierra started.

Raine stamped her foot in anger. “We’re in charge here, not you.” She flung a second piece. This one struck his thigh just to the right of his balls.

“You little shit,” he shouted. “That was too close. A little more to the left and you’d have hit something I don’t want hit.”

Raine smiled. “You’re lucky my aim is off from being imprisoned so long or you’d be lying on the floor doubled up in pain. I won’t miss the next time. You’re lucky I’m wearing this collar or you’d get a taste of my lightning magic.”

“Thank you for that bit of information. It reinforces my decision to keep this key I have in my pocket.”

Sierra shot a frown of disapproval at Raine.

“You’re infuriating,” Raine said. “You…you…despicable…human.”

Aiden laughed. “Well now, I’ve been called a lot of less than complimentary names in my life, but I’ve never been called a human in a derogatory manor. Fucking pesky ghost!”

In answer, Raine flung another block of wood at him. Aiden put up his hand and splayed his fingers wide. The block of wood stopped in midflight and everything else in the room, including Raine and Sierra became motionless, frozen in time. “I’m human but not the powerless type you take me for. I have the ability to stop time for five minutes and also to become invisible.”

Aiden crossed the room and stepped up behind Raine. “Time you learned some manors you little minx,” he told her. Without thinking, he aimed a smack at her bare ass only easing up his strike when he thought of how her body was just a mirage. His hand would sail through the illusion in the air, causing him to lose his balance. To his shock, his hand contacted soft, pliable skin. The splat reported through the room loud as a gunshot. So you are material after all and not just an illusion. Well then deal with this you little shit. He pulled her panties down around her ankles and grinned. “That spank is going to turn red and sting, then you’ll hopefully find your lowered underwear embarrassing. Serves you right you little minx.”

 

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G.E. Stills is zany but has a serious side. He lives in the southwest with a wife and two fur babies. He cares deeply for his friends and hasn’t met an animal yet he didn’t like. He lives in the southwest but often longs to live by the sea. He frequently says, “We have the sandy beaches but where is the water?”

Most days will find him hovering over his keyboard putting to words the stories of the many characters that pace into his mind. Their tales are both serious and humorous. A multi-published author, his stories cover many genres including contemporary, paranormal, and science fiction. Most of his stories have action, adventure, and humor. Some of them are erotic and some are not, but all have romance. His paranormal stories normally involve witches, demons or vampires with an occasional shape shifter thrown in for good measure.

G.E. Stills loves to hear from his readers and can be contacted at any of these sites.

Website / Blog / Youtube
Personal Facebook Page / Facebook Author Page
Twitter / Amazon Author Page  / Goodreads / Google+

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Review of “Gallowglass” – Jennifer Allis Provost

Publisher: Bellatrix Press; 1 edition (April 13, 2017)

 

Karina didn’t set out to free the Seelie Queen’s gallowglass. Now she’ll do anything to keep him.

After Karina and her brother, Chris’s, lives fall apart in separate yet equally spectacular ways, they leave New York behind and head to the UK. Karina buries herself in research for her doctoral thesis, all the while studiously not thinking about the man who broke her heart, while Chris—who’d been a best-selling author before his ex-fiancée sued him for plagiarism—drinks his way across the British Isles.

In Scotland, they visit the grave of Robert Kirk, a seventeenth- century minister who was kidnapped by fairies. No one is more shocked than Karina when a handsome man with a Scottish brogue appears, claiming to be the Robert Kirk of legend. What’s more, he says he spent the last few hundred years as the Gallowglass, the Seelie Queen’s personal assassin. When they’re attacked by demons, Karina understands how dearly the queen wants him back.

As Karina and Robert grow closer, Chris’s attempts to drown his sorrows lead him to a pub, and a woman called Sorcha. Chris is instantly smitten with her, so much so he spends days with Sorcha and lies to his sister about his whereabouts. When Chris comes home covered in fey kisses, Karina realizes that the Seelie Queen isn’t just after Robert.

Can Karina outsmart the Seelie Queen, or is Robert doomed to forever be the Gallowglass?

 

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

 

I’ve always longed to visit Scotland. It appears to be a magical place where all your worries are washed away once you get a glimpse of it and all its splendor. I know Karina was thinking the same thing until the unthinkable became real. When the idea of magic and magical creatures wasn’t so far-fetched after all.

While attempting to work on her thesis, Karina and Chris’s lives took an unexpected turn. What was supposed to be a quiet, explorative trip for Karina’s  doctorate became so much more. Instead of unearthing rocks, they unearthed things of legend: fuath (water demons), fey, wights (pixies) and much more. Some beings were grotesques monsters and some otherworldly beings were sweet and friendly. Unfortunately, Karina and Christ had run-ins with rather unsavory beasts.

Jennifer was very descriptive in the construction of the various creatures and the battles Robert faced during their meet ups. For instance, imagine running into this: 7 to 8 ft. tall being with thick gray hide and covered in lesions. Would you run away or scream like your hair is on fire? Me…. I’d probably faint on the spot. And that is only one beastie Karina saw after Robert applied the fairy ointment to her face. BTW: the fairy ointment allows normal people to see beyond glamour and spells. In one hand, wicked cool. On the other hand, the ointment is more of a curse than a blessing.

Speaking of curses: The Seelie Queen cursed Robert but, in true romantic fashion, the curse will be lifted by the time Jennifer ended this magically marvelous book. Love will be tested and I mean TESTED. After all is said and done, neither Robert nor Karina will question their love for each other….EVER!

As for Chris, well his story took quite a surprising turn. A twist I didn’t see coming. BRAVO, Jennifer! At the end of the day…err book… it is apparent his binge drinking days are over and his life is forever changed. FOR THE BETTER! 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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Jennifer Allis Provost writes books about faeries, orcs and elves. Zombies too. She grew up in the wilds of Western Massachusetts and had read every book in the local library by age twelve. (It was a small library). An early love of mythology and folklore led to her epic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Parthalan, and her day job as a cubicle monkey helped shape her urban fantasy, Copper Girl. When she’s not writing about things that go bump in the night (and sometimes during the day) she’s working on her MFA in Creative Nonfiction.

Find her on the web here: http://authorjenniferallisprovost.com/     

Friend her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jennallis

Follow her on Twitter: @parthalan

 

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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

 

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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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Review of “Pumpkin Farmer” – Michael Hughes

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The year is 1979. Malaise, stagflation, turmoil in the Middle East, and a gas crunch; these things are but background noise for what unfolds when a lovesick businessman and a sociopathic drifter cross paths. John Nix, business manager of a Silicon Valley semiconductor startup, picks up Horace Fullworth, a ne’er-do -well heir of a wealthy California family, who has returned to San Francisco after surviving the Jonestown Massacre.

After John discovers his girlfriend cheating, he drives to a bar in the small rustic town of La Honda. He meets Ellie O’Neil, a pretty young woman he offers to drive home. Feeling misled by her, he leaves her on the side of the road, where Horace finds her. John hears that Ellie has gone missing and is overcome with guilt. His struggle with his conscience leads him back to those rugged coastal foothills of the San Francisco Peninsula.

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

It was fascinating witnessing the ways Horace and John’s paths keep intercepting each other’s. With the level of detail surrounding their daily lives and happenings, you almost feel like you are watching these two men through binoculars. Let me tell you folks, these two gents weren’t sitting around watching pumpkins grow. There was a lot more going on at the pumpkin farm than meets the eye. 

In Chapter 34, the story really picks up steam —- the unthinkable happened. Be prepared for more than one shocking development, which included a surprise revelation. Yes, we had to wait until almost the end of the book. Yes, the big game changer could’ve been touched on a bit more and way sooner. Yes, I would have most definitely altered John and Ellie’s roles at the end.

When you think of sociopaths (Horace), when you read what became of Ellie, and Horace’s discovery, you’ll probably understand my cryptic meaning more clearly. I could describe my plot twist in more detail but I’m afraid it would give away spoilers which I won’t do.

But I will say this, those ending chapters were freaking fabulous and had me saying, “What the f*ck?!” and not in a bad way. Seriously, nice twist!  

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤1/2

 

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I’m 25 and currently work for a bank in compliance in Los Angeles.  Pumpkin Farmer and The Crimson Shamrock are my two published paperback novels; I also self-published a novel titled Loafing by La Brea. 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Review of “Wolf of the Tesseract” – Christopher D. Schmitz

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After merging with her copy from an alternate reality, Claire must work with an interdimensional soldier in order to stop a warlock from shattering the laws of existence. As they flee his wrath, she must decide if these romantic feelings for her guardian belong to her or the alternate-self whose soul suddenly inhabits Claire’s mind.

Zabe, the only remaining member of the royal Guardian Corps escaped the warlock’s conquest of the Prime Dimension and wages a one-man resistance. As he sneaks through an enemy camp he discovers they plan to use their sorcery to annihilate all the aligned planes of reality. To stop it, Zabe must break the forbidden dimensional barriers, reach Earth, and hide the key to the dimensional rifts. If he fails and the Warlock acquires the prize, it could spell the end of all existence.

After a dimensional shift, Zabe discovers the key is really a human woman: a college student named Claire Jones whose blood holds the ability to unlock cataclysmic power. The enemy seeks her desperately, yet Zabe and Claire fight–knowing that her blood could rip open a cosmic fissure if even the slightest detail of their plan goes awry.

 

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

 

Within the first few minutes of meeting someone, you know if you’re going to like them or not. You get a sense of their attitude, personality, and take note of how they interact with others. Maybe their facial gestures speak to you more loudly rather than their lack of action. For instance, a quiet/shy person tends to smile coyly, silently laugh. Whereas an overly cocky person might fold their arms, look annoyed, and give off a sense they don’t want to be there. In a nutshell. it’s the smallest things that sometimes can make or break a budding relationship.

I treat a new book like I treat meeting a new person because, really, that’s what I am doing — meeting a new person or group of new people. In the first few pages/chapters, I get a sense if a book is going to be a hit or miss (for me). If I am going to enjoy its company and possibly want to revisit it again. Rarely does my opinion change the longer I read a tale unless something epic happens to blow my mind.

When I began Wolf of the Tesseract, it was apparent that Christopher D. Schmitz meant to make an everlasting impression on me, the reader. This science fiction story literally had an explosive start and the action continued on until the final chapter.

Christopher’s imagination seemed limitless, his plot flawless, and the ending left it wide open for a highly-charged sequel.

The only thing missing from Wolf of the Tesseract was a terminology page — a point I made to Christopher on 12-2-16. With all the science fiction lingo, unworldly creatures, and/or beings, I thought the readers would benefit from a cheat sheet. He absolutely agreed. His exact words were this, “You are very right. I’ll make sure that future versions of the book include that.”  

Sci-fi/fantasy readers, grab this book and be prepared to encounter fire demons, werewolves, snake creatures, warlocks, and huge ass worms. Basically, everything you love about the paranormal world and much, much more! 

 

 

Heart Rating System:

1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

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Review of “Beast of All” – J.C. McKenzie

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“Two months ago my world collapsed and the beast reigned.

Seven weeks ago the SRD captured me.

Nine days ago, they injected me with something vile.

Today, I break free.

And tomorrow?

I’ll make them pay.”

 

Badass Shifter Andy McNeilly wakes up from a horrible nightmare, only to discover it wasn’t a dream, and she’s no longer quite so badass. Chemically curbed, Andy has lost touch with her feras and beast when she needs them most. Can she regain control of her supernatural abilities in time to reap retribution from her enemies, or will she fall as fodder in a power play for control of Vancouver’s seedy underworld?

 

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No feras. No beast. Whatever they shot me with blocked my communication with the animals. Did it prevent shifting as well? I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to call a form and change. Only a headache answered. Dread flittered across my skin. Was this permanent?

As the Carus, the genetic throwback to the first demi-god progeny of the beast goddess, I caged a beast with rage and power rivaled by few, and possessed more than one animal familiar to shift into.

At least, I did until the SRD shot me full of chemicals. Would I ever regain my abilities? Hear the indignant screech of the peregrine falcon? Or the lusty purr of the mountain lion? Or soulful howl of the wolf?

My heart hammered, punching bone. A buzzing sensation filled my head. The “wrongness” of my condition grated against my nerves, slicing them into slivers like a planer shucking off wood shavings.

Something in my abdomen swelled, as if the beast pushed against whatever barrier caged and hid her from me.

I’ll get you out, I told her, not knowing if she could hear. We’ll make them pay.


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

Even though “Beast of All” is book #5 in the Carus Series, it can be read as a standalone novel. However, after reading it, I know you’ll most definitely be itching to read books 1-4. Why? Because you’ll want, crave, feel compelled to find out more about key players in the series — their pasts and how they got from point A to point B.

After witnessing the passion, heat, basically a tsunami of emotions rolling between Andy and Wick, I never wanted this story to end. Fighting together, fighting each other, there’s one thing evident… they loved each other. However, before a HEA was achieved, we were presented with some outstanding, unforgettable, and BADASS battle scenes. Andy, you are a BADASS woman/shifter (Carus).

The rest of the supernatural beings were just as memorable and smoldering as her (Andy). Seriously, I think J.C. created the sexiest, most lethal group of characters housed in one story.

Various shifters, vampires, witches, and demons…..loved them all!   

Speaking of demons, wait until you meet Sid aka the Seducer Demon. Him, I could’ve had a few more chapters of. Andy’s brother too. But hey, there’s always book #6; which can’t come soon enough. 🙂

  

Heart Rating System – 1 (lowest) and 5 (highest) 

Score: ❤❤❤❤1/2

 

All Romance | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookStrand |

Chapters | iTunes | Kobo | Wild Rose Press

 

About the Author:

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Born and raised on the Haida Gwaii, off the West Coast of Canada, J.C. McKenzie grew up in a pristine wilderness that inspired her to dream. She writes Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance.

 

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