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Half A Dozen Devilish Books

Devils and demons are a staple of horror literature, and I adore them in novels, novellas, and short stories. Funny enough, I feel the opposite about demonic possession in films. There are a thousand-and-one possession movies, and all of them use more or less the same plot, same tricks. But the written word is full of possibilities. It doesn’t suffer the restrictions of film and gives us room to examine the idea of demons from varying viewpoints. The loss of control, the loss of one’s self, is so frightening in a horror book.

Lately, I’ve read a lot of novels based around this very idea – possession, the devil, and ancient evil. I enjoyed each title, though no two were alike. Here are some of them – a list I’m calling Half A Dozen Devilish Books.

 

Come Closer

by: Sara Gran

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I decided to buy this book when someone recommended it in the comments of a Facebook thread. The status asked something like: “What was the last book that genuinely scared you?” I read this book in a day, which is a record for me. I’m normally a slow reader. The story moves along quickly, yet you really get a sense of the narrator’s desperation, her loss of self-control, and her fear. What would you do if you thought you were possessed by a demon? Who could you turn to? Who would listen?

 

A Head Full of Ghosts

by: Paul Tremblay

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Was teenager, Marjorie Barrett, a victim of demonic possession, or was she mentally ill? Years later, her sister looks back on their family’s dark past to unravel a tragic mystery. This book was full of suspense and chills. I absolutely loved it.

 

The Fisherman

by: John Langan

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Some might question my inclusion of The Fisherman here. It’s not about devils, or demons, or Hell. The Fisherman tells the tale an ancient evil capable of possessing humans, and manipulating them through their grief and sadness. Sounds pretty demonic, right? This is a slow-moving, crawl-under-your-skin-and-stay-there sort of book. I had to include it on the list.

 

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer (Johannes Cabal #1)

by: Jonathan L. Howard

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I’ll admit, this book was not exactly my cup of tea. Not every book is going to become a personal favorite. But I see the value of Johannes Cabal for lovers of supernatural fantasy and dark comedy. It’s a lighthearted adventure through Hell and back, and especially if you love a good series, this might be a better match for you than it was for me. It did make me laugh a bit, and I gave it 3/5 stars on Goodreads. There are several more books to follow this one, including: Johannes Cabal the Detective, Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute, The Brothers Cabal, Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day: And Other Tales of the Necromancer, and The Fall of The House of Cabal.

 

Cassie Kills

by: Tim Miller

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I don’t read much extreme horror. And I’m certain that statement is something extreme horror authors hear all the time and get sick of hearing, but hey, as sub-genres go, it’s simply not for everyone. That being said, I picked up a copy of Cassie Kills because I admire the author’s imagination and energy. It was a dark and depraved read, and kept me entertained throughout. I’m told some of the more graphic parts were edited out to meet Amazon’s requirements, but this was graphic enough for me as-is! A sick revenge story and a journey through a world worse than Hell.

 

Needful Things

by: Stephen King

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This is an oldie but a goodie. To be honest, I didn’t read much King in my youth. I didn’t have the patience for his story layers and – let’s face it – the enormous word counts! I’ve been reading him more in my thirties, and so far, this one ranks among my favorites. Store owner, Mr. Gaunt, is everything you could ask for in a Devil. Sly, experienced, charming, mystical, and terrifying. The shop he just opened up in Castle Rock has something for everyone. And I mean everyone. Won’t you step inside?

 

So there you have it. The six most devilish books I’ve read lately. Feel free to comment with your own devilish suggestions.

 

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Spotlight on Burning Willow Press

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It’s always exciting to see an indie publisher grow, expand, and achieve new successes. Today I will spotlight just a handful of the titles over at www.burningwillowpressllc.com, not only to let readers in on some great fiction, but also because owners Edd & Kindra are amazing people who work hard to give their authors the best. Dedicated, creative people are what drive Burning Willow Press to meet its full potential. 

If you see a book that interests you, consider picking up a copy. Pretty please??

 

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Hell Gate: Book One, by Josh Matthews

Sixteen-year-old Jason McCreary is living a nightmare within a nightmare. Not only is he trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by demons from Hell, he also shoulders the burden for humanity’s fate as it was his mother who opened the gates in a scientific experiment gone wrong. In a last ditch effort to redeem his family name and erase his guilt, Jason joins a squad whose mission is to travel to Paris and close the Hell Gate. Once there, they discover an environment more frightening than anything they could imagine and demons more terrifying than they had ever encountered before. Time is now against them. Can Jason gain his redemption along with the respect of his peers, or will a new web of lies threaten to rip apart his world and jeopardize his team’s only chance for success?

Buy it on Amazon

 

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Edging, by Michael Schutz

Intenze is the newest designer drug. Take it, and nightmares come alive. “Edging” is a better rush than the Tower of Terror. It’s a fraction of the price of a Six Flags admission. And it’s the most addictive high that the tiny suburb of New London has ever known.

For Rick Carlson, the junkies roaming the streets don’t even scratch the surface of what worries him. He’s trying to win back his cheating wife. He’s trying to protect his residents at Belmont Assistant Living from their own drug-addled grandchildren. And he’s trying to save his twin boy and girl from their mother’s murderous paranoia.

But he can’t save them all.

The fears of all those who edge summon the Thirst—a living miasma that thrives on terror. It is bringing a storm. And time is running out.

Buy it on Amazon

 

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Skin Deep/ Ordinary Monsters, by Frank Martin

What happens when an overbearing family drives a teenage girl into the arms of a mysterious, pale stranger? How can a high school junior explain having strange dreams of a Nazi concentration camp after being bitten by his neighbor’s monstrous dog? And who will win when two iconic creatures of the night clash on a desolate WWI battlefield? Dive into a world of werewolves and vampires with SKIN DEEP and ORDINARY MONSTERS, two standalone stories featured in a dual novella from author Frank Martin. And don’t forget to check out the bonus comic short HORRORS OF WAR found in both ends of this double-sided work of pulp and terror.

Buy it on Amazon

 

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Coma Hell, by Kevin Wimer

(Kevin has a short story with Burning Willow Press and is eager to have a longer work published with them. Here’s a glimpse at his current book, though not published with Burning Willow. He is one of their anthology authors, so I said, “That counts!” Lol.)

Jack Roberts awakens from what he was told would be nothing more than a routine sinus surgery. There is never anything routine with any surgery. Jack never gave that a thought and he should have. Jack might have changed his life and been a better man.

The panic beeping sound of alarms echoed with a flurry of activity around Jack’s hospital bed. The scream of a nurse calling for a doctor. The voice of a doctor yelling we are losing him and for everyone to stand back.

The bright flashing red hot light seared through Jack’s body as the world around him spun out of control. The voice of the doctor now tense with anger as his words echoed through Jack’s head. The only word that Jack could make out was coma.

Jack was now lost in the darkened world that would become his very own private hell.

Buy it on Amazon

 

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A Mighty Rolling Thunder, by Kerry Alan Denney

The end of the world is just the beginning of the terror…

Spring 2024: Two spirit hordes break through from another dimension, and half the world’s population vanishes. The spirits possess the survivors, dividing them into two groups: those who fight to retain their humanity, and marauders who destroy everything in their paths.

Artist Livi DeSilva is fleeing from possessed killers when she meets Conor McLain, a man suffering from amnesia. Outnumbered and outgunned, Livi and Conor team up and fight off homicidal lunatics and ruthless gangs, only to end up cornered by their deadliest foe: billionaire Victor van Danz, a psychopath who commands the new world’s dark forces. Victor craves immortality, and kidnaps Livi. He believes that when he kills Livi in front of her collection of canvases and absorbs her life energy, he will transform into a god.

With only Conor, two amazing dogs, and a band of plucky children to aid her, Livi must harness the power of the spirits inside her and use it to defeat Victor–or die in the clutches of a madman.

“Kerry Alan Denney has created the perfect blend of King’s The Stand and Koontz’s famous dogs. A Mighty Rolling Thunder is a well-written thrill ride of a story you won’t want to miss. A must-read for all post-apocalyptic genre fans!” – Monique Lewis Happy, critically acclaimed Managing/ Acquisitions Editor at Winlock Press

Buy it on Amazon

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Secrets of the Slain, by Lindsey Goddard

Secrets of the Slain A collection of poetry and short stories created to tantalize your senses and wreak havoc on your mind, each tale further challenging your perception of what reality is and what it is not. Be prepared to see inside of the soul of Lindsey Goddard and share in her “Secrets of the Slain”.

Buy in on Amazon

 

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Choice Cuts, by David Owen Hughes

Choice Cuts: A collection of one of the finest splatter-fuelled horror the genre holds, an unflinching set of short stories that will stay with you, horrors that set root into the back of your psyche & taunt your sanity to its limits.

Here lies fourteen tales of all that is baneful & bloodthirsty from David Owain Hughes, an author with an unflinching love for all things close-to-the-bone, grim & grotesque. Once you delve into these pages you will come face to face with an unstoppable force of pure gore. Readers of a delicate disposition may want to put this tome back on the shelf, while those of you who feel ready to be dragged along into the minds of the deranged & disturbed, the murderous & malignant who watch & wait…

Packed with fast-paced thrills & many, many spills. You’ll come face to face with what lies beneath the surface of the mundane & ordinary, step foot into the maze of murder, mania & madness…just be sure to come out in one piece, not just another choice cut.

We had the disquieting dioramas of stealth-like shocks & spills of Laymon…now we present you with Hughes’ own approach towards the antagonistic execution in the realms of the fear & mayhem that can strike when you least expect it. If you’re a fan of Laymon & Lee, you’ll devour Choice Cuts.

Buy it on Amazon

 

WIHM Interview – Kelly Evans

It’s been a great Women in Horror Month, and there’s still time for one more interview. Let’s get to know author Kelly Evans.

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How long have you been writing?

Since I was a kid. Especially horror. I wrote a series of short horror stories in high school last period English class, left them in my friend’s locker and she’d read them to her morning physics class the next day. I had a bit of a following apparently.

What draws you to horror?

I love being scared. Everyone does, don’t they? But I love figuring out what, exactly, will scare people. And then finding the words to express that horror.

Do you write any other genres?

I also write historical fiction. I’m currently working on a 3 book series about the queens of Anglo Saxon England, the first of which came out last year. I’m also shortly releasing a historical horror novel, set during the Black Death.

Is there a genre you’d like to attempt but haven’t?

I enjoy humour, but I’m not sure I could write an entire novel. I DO write satirical historical articles though.

Do you think women horror authors have a hard time getting acknowledged?

Yes, absolutely. Horror, especially the more graphic stuff, has always been aggressive and fearful, something associated with men. But women can be aggressive, believe me. We can also go softly softly, creeping into your subconscious and scaring the pants off you before you know we’re even there.

What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever written and why?

I had to write a novel for a master’s in writing I was doing. *I* enjoyed the story but my tutor hated it, just didn’t understand what I was trying to do. THAT was tough; I lost interest in the book and never finished it.

Who are some amazing female authors (from any genre, any style, any time-period)?

I’m a big fan of medieval female authors, it’s nice to get the perspective of a group of people who have often been swept aside in favour of their male counterparts. Julian of Norwich, Margery Kemp, the Paston Letters, Hildegarde of Bingen, all worth taking a peek at.

Besides writing, what brings a smile to your face?

Clever humour. My cats. And, mainly, my husband!

Did you have a favorite book as a child?

I adored The Cat in the Mirror by Mary Stolz, about ancient Egypt. Also No Flying in the House by Betty Brock, and of course A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. All made a huge impression on me.

Here’s a tough one: What’s your favorite color?

Forest green.

What are you working on now, and where do you see yourself in the future?

I’m getting my historic horror ready for release, then continue with the second in my Anglo Saxon women series. I also write satirical medieval articles for my website each month, which are a LOT of fun. I’m retiring soon and will be writing full time, historical fiction and some more horror!

Where can we find you on the web?

website: http://www.kellyaevans.com

Twitter: @Chaucerbabe

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kellyevansauthor/

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Thanks for your support this WiHM!

Remember, there are always female horror writers out there hungry for more readers, all twelve months of the year!

WIHM Interview – Sheri Williams

It’s still Women in Horror month, so please take a few minutes and get to know author Sheri Williams. I already knew she is a fun, amazing person and a talented writer, but there were a few things I didn’t know. Let’s find out…

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How long have you been writing?

Um….since second grade? No. I really started writing about 4 years ago.

What draws you to horror?

I like to kill people. Sounds horrible, but it’s true. I’m a super optimistic person and I try to be happy, so the anger has to go somewhere. Every annoying parent at school drop off…..they all die horribly in my stories.

Do you write any other genres?

Oh yeah. Romance. Fantasy. And middle grade under a pen name 😁

Is there a genre you’d like to attempt but haven’t?

Ummm. I’ve sorta tried a bunch, in different variations. I really love Gothic stuff so would love to play around with that more.

Do you think women horror authors have a hard time getting acknowledged?

Definitely.  It just doesn’t seem to be as recognized.  Although, the real fans are rabid!

What is the most difficult thing you’ve ever written and why?

My first book. Fairy tale romance. It’s still the book I’m most proud of.

Who are some amazing female authors (from any genre, any style, any time-period)?

Misti Murphy, she’s my wifey. She writes dead sexy contemporary romance. I’m a huge P. Mattern fan. Quenby Olsen writes fantastic books. Huge fan. Can’t forget Lindsey Goddard, that chick is awesome. And then there’s Anne Rice and Anne McCaffrey….my heroes.

Besides writing, what brings a smile to your face?

My daughters. My hubs. Books. Doctor Who. Geeky stuff in general. And donuts.

Did you have a favorite book as a child?

Alice in Wonderland.  Still my favorite to this day.

Here’s a tough one: What’s your favorite color?

Blue, color of my hair and the Tardis.

What are you working on now, and where do you see yourself in the future?

A middle grade alternative history, magical realism. And a paranormal (occult) thriller with a horror aspect.

Where can we find you on the web?

Everywhere.

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www.thesheriwilliams.com

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Women in Horror Month = free fiction!

Hello, horror buddies. Happy Women in Horror Month.

Being as I am a woman in horror, I’ll be posting this month about some awesome females I know. But before we get to that, I want to make everyone aware of all the free fiction floating around this month. Yes, FREE. The magic word.

First and foremost, not because it is my book, but because the promotion ends soon… I want to spread the word that my novella, Ashes of Another Life, is currently FREE on Kindle until the end of the day on Feb 3rd. Please, go snag a copy if you’re a Kindle reader! Search “Ashes of Another Life” on Amazon or click here:  https://www.amazon.com/Ashes-Another-Life-Lindsey-Goddard-ebook/dp/B01KDD4ZCC/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1486043611&sr=8-1

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There are lots of book giveaways this month, as women of horror plug away trying to get their names out there. Dozens of free books just waiting to be downloaded by YOU. A good place to find them is here: http://angelinetrevena.co.uk/free-horror-books

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And last but certainly not least, some scary ladies got together and wrote 100 word flash horror stories. You can find those linked below and also a video about the ladies involved.

100 word flash stories: https://kellyaevans.com/women-in-horror

 
Thanks for reading. In the famous words of Terminator: I’ll be back.

Interview with William Gorman, author of Blackwater Val

Blackwater Val is William Gorman’s first novel, but I never would have guessed that while reading. Keeping a steady pace, chock-full of enthralling plot layers and a strong, believable cast, this book reads like the author is a well-seasoned pro. Set in the year 2000, main character Richard Franklin must return to his hometown in Blackwater Valley, Illinois after a hit-and-run accident takes the life of his beloved wife and leaves him to raise their daughter, Katie, all alone. Little Katie, who sees and hears and knows things the rest of us cannot. Little Katie, whose dark curse and innocence left me pondering… If all the abused, mistreated, and murdered humans could speak to us long after death, we might never get a moment of peace. But in this darkness, there is a light, a strength that might hold hope for a small town, sinking into madness in the grips of something very old and very evil. Blackwater Val delivers on every emotional level: depth, compassion, suspense, mystery, fear, revulsion, and action. I highly recommend this book for all lovers of dark fiction.

William Gorman was kind enough to answer some interview questions for me, so without further ado, let’s meet the author. And consider grabbing a copy of Blackwater Val while you’re here: https://www.amazon.com/Blackwater-Val-William-Gorman-ebook/dp/B01ETZ73H4?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

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How long have you been writing?

Since I was in grade school, scribbling out ghost stories and vampire and werewolf stories in my loose-leaf notebook for certain unlucky classmates to read—the teachers loved that. I started getting stories published in the various small press magazines that were around in the ’80s and ’90s, then I put out Ghost Whispers: Tales from Haunted Midway, a collection of weird legends and ghostlore from my Illinois hometown. The local library there approached me shortly after about doing some bus tours and spooky cemetery walks, and they’ve been running ever since. The events all used to be free, but I hear they’re charging people now . . . so someone is making money. Sure isn’t me!

What draws you to dark fiction?

The imagery, I guess. The danger involved. In dark fiction there’s always something lurking just out of the light, something that when done correctly should haunt you long after you’re done reading it. A dark, supernatural side of our own reality. But for me it has to have characters that I care about; there also has to be some kind of justice in the end. The villains have to get their comeuppance, or else it’s too much like real life, where people get away with heinous deeds all the time.

Did you encounter any rough patches while penning your first novel? If so, how did you overcome them?

The ending was difficult. Pulling everything together and tying it up in a way that satisfied me and answered the questions. Mostly plain old procrastination is the hardest thing to overcome—it’s the true enemy. Just working through and actually getting the writing done each day. It’s tough, with all of today’s distractions.

In what ways have you grown as an author since deciding to become one?

I had to grow before I could even write Blackwater Val. I learned that I wasn’t ready to tell this story in my 20s or 30s, when I first tried writing it. I wasn’t mature enough. I hadn’t lived through enough yet to really know what the book was all about. Only later on, after I’d grown and found my own voice as an author, was I able to tell the story I wanted to tell.

What is your greatest achievement?

I’m not sure I have one. Finishing the novel ranks high, getting it published by Crystal Lake and actually getting it out there. Hmm . . . does making it through the ’80s alive count? I don’t know.

Do your personal experiences tend to affect your characters?

Yes, absolutely. The characters are all fictitious, but they are greatly influenced by things that have happened to me. So yes, my experiences affect the way my characters think and speak and how they act in any given situation.

Which authors do you most like to read for personal pleasure?

I’m always reading things by Stephen King, of course. I love going back and rereading his classics. Lovecraft and Bradbury, too. I like the old Sherlock Holmes tales by Conan Doyle. And every summer I make sure to read T.E.D. Klein’s The Ceremonies—I just heard he’s finally going to finish a book he started decades ago, so that should be fun. If it happens!

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m currently writing the follow-up to Blackwater Val, the sequel to it. It’s called The Rose Glass, and within the pages we get to see how Katie has grown into a young woman. And how much her powers have grown, as well.

Where can we find you on the web?

You can find me at  http://williamgorman.weebly.com/ for right now. The site has links to my Amazon page and to Crystal Lake Publishing, my blog and other interviews, and I’ll be upgrading and adding to it as times goes on.

You can pick up a copy of the book here: https://www.amazon.com/Blackwater-Val-William-Gorman-ebook/dp/B01ETZ73H4?ie=UTF8&ref_=asap_bc

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You CAN judge a book by its cover – a look at the work of Brett Williams

Hiya, horror freaks! Today I’d like to discuss the horrifying works written by friend and colleague Brett Williams. This is an author who is not afraid to “go there”. Though he writes in more than one genre, his horror books tend to gravitate toward the extreme and taboo, in the same vein as Edward Lee.

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I have read three of Brett’s books to date. The first one, From Murky Depths, was a light read with none of the depravity of the latter two, High Octane Damnation and Family Business. I, myself, don’t read much extreme horror. Believe it or not, violence is not really my thing. Lol. Who woulda thought? But despite my sub-genre preferences, I DO recognize a well-written, solid piece of fiction when I see it, and Brett Williams always delivers.

What am I getting at with this preamble? Well, as you can imagine, writing extreme horror containing graphic and sexual content always brings in bad reviews, and I guess I’m tired of seeing it. I’m tired of reading reviews claiming a book is garbage just because the reader picked out the wrong type of book for him or herself. There should be no surprise that Brett’s book Family Business contains rape. The cover image is a mostly naked woman behind bars! Did the reader think this sexualized woman behind bars was starring in a romance role? Doubtful. The truth is, the entire novel is oddly compelling from start to finish whether you want to keep reading or not, and the reader who posted the bad review that inspired this blog was probably just disappointed in himself for staying glued to the whole thing! What a sicko! Hahaha. I joke, I joke.

Anyway, I’m here to shout from a mountain top (or from my couch) that you absolutely CAN – in fact SHOULD – judge a book by its cover before you dig in. If there’s a lot of sexuality and blood, or if it’s named “Lucifer’s Whore” for instance, and you still decide to open up those pages and start reading, you just forfeited your right to leave a terrible review based on graphic content, in this blogger’s opinion.

So… there’s my two cents. Seems obvious. I don’t buy a thong swimsuit and complain it shows too much butt cheek. Use your brains, folks. Buy the books you’re likely to enjoy. In fact, here are some covers for books written by Brett Williams. Please, JUDGE THEM accordingly and then decide… do you want to know what’s inside? (I bet you do NOW. Lol.) 🙂

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To find out more about this author, please visit: http://brettwilliamsfiction.com

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