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.
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.) 🙂
To find out more about this author, please visit: http://brettwilliamsfiction.com
The Power Of A Short Story
Short fiction can be a powerful thing–an incredible thing. In fact, I have a confession: My name is Lindsey, and I’m addicted to short stories!! Horror anthologies and story collections fit my lifestyle to a tee (the lifestyle of a mommy who’s lucky to experience ten solid minutes of peace). If I can be transported to another place and experience the beginning, middle, and end of a tale in one sitting, what beats that?
Even for the light reader, or those who don’t read at all, you might be surprised how many episodes of Tales From The Crypt, Masters Of Horror, and Twilight Zone started out as short stories. Or how about Creepshow… Fear Itself… Tales From The Darkside… I could go on and on.
I’ve had this blog since March, and it suddenly dawned on me…. I need to make a list of short stories that have stuck with me long after reading. Maybe I’ll get some of you non-readers out there to pick up a book. What a lot of folks don’t realize is that you don’t have to invest two weeks in a novel to enjoy the written word. Short scares pack major punch.
Some of the stories below can be found in more than one publication. I’ve simply referenced the book where *I* encountered each story. Let us begin…
FOET by F. Paul Wilson (book: Aftershock & Others: 19 Oddities)
This collection is full of great stories, but the story that stands out most in my mind is entitled “Foet”. It deals with the issue of abortion, and what makes it such an effective and well-executed tale is that no matter what your stance is–pro-life or pro-choice–you’re going to feel an unsettling stir of emotion. Completely enthralling.
WHEN IT IS DECIDED THAT THE WAR IS OVER by Gary Braunbeck (book: Rose Of Sharon)
There were two stories in this Gary Braunbeck collection that affected me deeply. “Need” is the story of a struggling mother whose harrowing decision for her children will leave you speechless.
“When It Is Decided That The War Is Over” shows the author’s ability to capture the tragedy of war like no other. I own another book from ’96 with a Braunbeck story that blew me away. It starred character James Ryan, president of the United States, who struggles with the hopelessness of war. “When It Is Decided That The War Is Over” revisits this character but with a new narrator, an end of the world account that will send a chill straight to your core, believe me.
SEX, DEATH, AND STARSHINE by Clive Barker (Books Of Blood Volume One)
This story has Broadway flair, a glimpse at the behind-the-scenes drama of live theater actors, as well as the drama of…well… the undead. 🙂
CALL FIRST by Ramsey Campbell (book: Alone With The Horrors)
In Ramsey Campbell’s “Call First”, library worker, Ned, lets curiosity get the best of him. There is an older gentlemen who visits the library daily. This man always asks to use the phone before leaving, and he always delivers the same emotionless message into the receiver before hanging up: “I’m coming home now.” Ned is beyond curious about the mysterious daily phone call and decides to find out more about the man… but soon regrets it.
SPARKS FLY UPWARD by Lisa Morton (book: The Living Dead)
Sparks Fly Upward by Lisa Morton is one of those horror stories that makes you ponder some pretty heavy issues. The subject matter is controversial, but the story will knock your socks off.
THE THINGS THEY LEFT BEHIND by Stephen King (book: Just After Sunset)
Strange things are happening to Scott Staley almost a year after 9/11. Scott is unable to get rid of his survivor’s guilt, and things belonging to his deceased colleagues start appearing in his apartment. He tries throwing them away, yet they reappear. What can he do to cope with the deaths of his friends and co-workers on 9/11 that still haunt him a year after the tragedy?
LOVER, COME BACK TO ME by Tim Waggoner (book: Tales From The Lake Vol. One)
The opening story in Tales From The Lake Volume One scared me for the simple reason that water creeps me out… BIG TIME! Not bath water, pool water, or drinking water, of course, but those murky natural bodies of water where the depths are unknown and anything could be swimming beneath you. Tim Waggoner nailed my fear in this one. I had to take a deep breath after reading.
So there you have it. Just a FEW short story suggestions from this fiction lover to all of you horror fans. Now… get reading!!
Horror podcasts, the best of dark audio fiction
Hey, everyone. If you’re like me, you enjoy a good horror story. It takes you back to a childhood campfire, right? Remember the bloody hook in the car door? The dead hitchhiker? All those tales used to send a shiver down your spine, but now you’re grown, and it’s hard to find the time to sit down and read a book to recapture that *scary story* feeling. Well, I’m here to help. I, too, have trouble finding time to read, and in those moments, it’s audio fiction to the rescue! Below I’ll list several places you can find audio fiction online. I’ve also posted some of my fave episodes.
I’ll start with Chilling Tales For Dark Nights. These guys put out TONS of free audio fiction and release it in ways that are easy to access, such as their Youtube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/chillingtaleswi
Here is a favorite of mine. Super dark:
Next up is the NoSleep Podcast. I’m not going to post my favorite episode of every podcast I list here, but there is an episode of NoSleep that sticks out in my mind. The idea behind the plot is so damn scary, it actually made me shudder. The story I’m referring to is titled “21 Day Quarantine”, and you can find it on season 4, episode 4 here: http://www.thenosleeppodcast.com/?p=1566
Third on the list… Wait… why did I put this one third? I LOVE THE WICKED LIBRARY. Nelson Pyles of www.TheWickedLibrary.com has produced some of the most entertaining horror performances I’ve heard, including three of my stories! 🙂
If you want to pick from lots and lots of episodes, start with the most recent season (http://www.thewickedlibrary.com/Hello/podcast/podcast-season-5) and work your way back. Or to sample it, just click below. I uploaded one of my Wicked Library tales to Youtube. Check it out:
All of this should give you a good starting point, but I am STILL not done! You MUST check out The Drabblecast:
And also, last but DEFINITELY not least. I truly enjoy the Tales To Terrify podcast
That covers what I’ve been listening to lately, but there are other podcasts and audio fiction websites out there, just waiting to be discovered by YOU. Feed the hungry child in you. You know you’re hungry for horror!