Friday, November 8, 2019

Careful What You Ask For

A SEARCH TOO DEEP by Nick Herntier is a flash fiction story about a girl who is searching for her missing brother. When she turns to the dark web, and receives a piece of information about her brother, she realizes too late she put herself in danger. Shocking ending.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Speculation

DON'T FORGET TO SCREAM by Anna Ryan is a flash fiction piece about a young woman who believes she is being stalked by someone. Her therapist convinces her it's a figment of her imagination.

Readers are left to speculate about Charlotte's situation. I think her therapist followed her home.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

In Love With A Ghost

WHOLE by Sheridan Bray is a flash fiction piece about a man who is visited by a mysterious woman while he sleeps at night. Not really horror, more like a paranormal romance.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Two Years Too Late

VORTEX by Kevin Doy Burton reads more like a script than a story. Burton had a good idea, mixing aliens with the ocean, but this short is written so roughly, the lack of editing ruins the plot. The ending is predictable.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Monday, November 4, 2019

Savage Beasties

PARK CLOSES AT DUSK by D.W. Nathan is the best short story I've read by the author. For some reason, I thought I would be reading a vampire story, but the creatures Nathan has created are much more terrifying.

This story is so action-packed, I wish the author had written a full-length novel instead. If you like Ghoul by Brian Keene, you're going to love the nightlife in this park.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Sunday, November 3, 2019

Two Minds, One Body

DAVID by James Parker is a mix of Fight Club and Split, but with a twist of the supernatural. Not much is revealed about David, or his motives, especially since the story is told from Charles' POV. The timeline progression builds up the suspense perfectly.

The epilogue is a great touch. However, the resolution is brief, discovering there is to be a sequel called David's Song. I can't wait to read it.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Saturday, November 2, 2019

My Eyes Hurt

MISSISSIPPI DEAD by Shawn Weaver is the worst piece I've read by this author. Throughout the story, I assumed the undead were mindless zombies, especially when they're falling into the water, but the ending takes the dead into a very different direction, inconsistent with previous scenes.

The lack of editing is atrocious. This is not the first time I've taken issue with Weaver's rough writing, but publishing something in this condition is just ridiculous, especially with all the promos added on. Who in their right mind is going to read more by this author, after this wreck?

This is the ninth story I've read by this author, and I don't see myself reading any more of his work, if he isn't going to improve the editing. I'm so disappointed.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Friday, November 1, 2019

Plague of 1348

PLAGUED by Rebecca R. Pierce is a flash fiction piece centered on a young woman caring for her mother during the Plague as everyone dies around them. This serves well as the intro of a fictional character in a historical time period, but does not hold up well as a short story.

While well-written, there doesn't seem to be a point, other than getting readers interested and then leaving them wanting to know more about the young woman's fate.

As always,
AstraDaemon

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Flagg's First Appearance

Pretty sure everyone in the horror community is already familiar with Stephen King, either through his books or movies...and there are so many great stories from indie authors and small presses...I usually avoid reviewing authors who are world famous. However, I felt I should review at least one story from King, so I chose my favorite novel by the author.

THE EYES OF THE DRAGON by Stephen King is so incredibly different from the majority of his stories set in New England. This novel is largely fantasy-based, complete with an evil wizard by the name of Flagg (yes, THAT Flagg) in a medieval setting. In fact, many King fans are still unaware of this novel, even though a lot of material for the Dark Tower series originates from this storyline, as you will soon realize.

A mysterious narrator shares the tale of Delain, a kingdom thrown into dark years when King Roland is poisoned, and his eldest son Peter is accused of the murder. Of course, throughout Delain's downfall, the magician Flagg is behind the many deaths and increasing turmoil. Eventually the narrator reveals Flagg has been destroying kingdoms for centuries. (Any of this sounding familiar yet?)

While most of the book is devoted to Peter and his punishment resulting from Flagg's treachery, as well as the suffering of anyone who remains loyal to Peter, Roland's second son, Thomas, plays a pivotal role in more ways than one. When Flagg attempts to play one brother against the other, readers will soon realize there are some things a demon may never understand.

One of the best aspects of this novel is the way the personal relationships between characters are woven together. Even though they are tested and frayed, those relationships hold strong, and prove to be more powerful than any dark magic. There are many things to love about this novel, and, to this day, The Mist is the only King story I love nearly as much. Last I heard, Hulu is going to make a series based on this book.

This is the one Stephen King novel I can recommend to all readers ages 12 and up.

As always,
AstraDaemon


EMMALINE LAVENDER FIELDS has been chosen as the winner of the Lair's last giveaway. Hope everyone enjoyed the reviews and interviews about monsters this month! November will be returning to a mix of genres...

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Halloween With Blood and More [Interview]

We’ve discussed monsters throughout this month, but the reason for the season is Halloween. Some folks get old-school and celebrate Samhain, while others celebrate All Saints Day. Of course, there are those who not only celebrate all three, but also get into the dark holiday spirit as soon as Autumn begins.

I thought I’d bring back Ruth Miranda, author of the Blood trilogy, to discuss the holiday most horror fans live for…


When do you begin celebrating, and how do you celebrate?

I actually don’t quite celebrate Halloween - shocker! - in the common sense. I do put up some witchy decor because I love marking the seasons this way and I love to surround myself with evocative reminders of the seasonal changes, we occasionally bake pumpkin pie for dessert on the 31st and we do tend to have a bit of a celebratory dinner between the 3 of us. But most of my celebrations happen inside me, does this even make sense?

October is a month that means family to me, from start to end. My father’s birthday was in October, so is mine and my husband’s. My niece and nephew too, some of my best friends along the years have October birthdays, so to me this is all about honouring the hearth, the family ties that don’t always have to be blood ones, and the ancestry running in my veins. My grandfather passed away on my 13th birthday, so I feel a deep connection to his spirit, his heritage, as deep as I felt the connection with him while he was living. I find myself thinking about my ancestors a lot during this month and finding traces of them in my children, my sister’s children, so I celebrate this link, this tie to the past, to those who came before me and made me who I am. I cherish and honour their lives and their memory, but it’s something that happens inside me.

You are currently residing in Portugal. How is the European view of Samhain/Halloween different from the American view?

Wouldn’t know about what happens in the rest of Europe, to be honest, only here. Portugal is a MASSIVELY catholic country, but it’s also a place so prone to fall under what’s commercially sold. Halloween was NEVER a thing round here when I was growing up, though I knew it from watching American films and Peanuts - best Halloween ever! - but here people celebrate All Saints’ and the 1st of November tends to be sombre and sad, folks going to the cemetery to place flowers on their departed ones’ graves.

Imagine my surprise when my kid started school and I was suddenly drowned by Halloween parties and the need for a costume for all those parties… Of course I would never deny him the experience, so he did celebrate a few Halloweens like that, but he has never celebrated All Saints because we’re not catholic. I think the religious weight has been lifted off the date a lot with the younger generations, but the older ones are still frowning upon such a pagan party as Halloween...

Do you know of any unusual Halloween traditions, such as matchmaking or soul cakes?

All I know are certain Samhain rituals...

Do you think the horror community keeps Halloween relevant or do you think Halloween gives a boost to the horror industry?

Neither, actually, for me Halloween goes beyond horror and I don’t view it as an horror prone date, but I do confess to watching a horror film or ten on Halloween!

What do you think of people trying to change the date of Halloween?

Why would they? It’s silly. Then again, the 1st of November is a bank holiday in Portugal, maybe that’s why I find it stupid that people would change the date. We get to party hard - and I sure did, back in my 20s, 30s! - and rest the day after.

How do you think the preternaturals in your stories would celebrate? Or do you think they’d find human customs ridiculous?

There’s a Samhain celebration occurring in Avalon Hall complete with a little ritual as well, and seeing that the story is set in the same preternatural universe as my previous books, I feel that a lot of the characters would celebrate in a similar manner. Except for Rune Sanderson and his gang, that is, he’d been out and about hunting witches for their blood back in his younger days!

Do you think you would ever write a story which takes place around this holiday?

Like I said, Avalon Hall reaches its climax during Halloween!

Will you come back later this year to discuss your new fantasy series?

Would love to return and talk about the Heir of Avalon Trilogy!
https://indiepublishauthors.wixsite.com/ruthmiranda


Tomorrow I announce the winner of the Kody Boye giveaway, and I have a special review planned for Halloween, so keep checking back this week.

As always,
AstraDaemon