Women in Horror – Spotlight: Lisamarie Lamb

February 9, 2014 at 1:07 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , )

My spotlight tonight is shining upon the author of the short story “Devil’s Cake” in The Grotesquerie. Quirky in a good way, this lady was born to be a writer, accompanying her earliest works with illustrations in crayon. We shared pages in the lycanthropic charity anthology, Shifters, from Hazardous Press and the Fear anthologies from Crooked Cat (I’m in Volume I, she’s in Volume II), but she has a great deal of other published writing, including short stories in a couple of the Satan’s Toybox anthologies from Angelic Knight Press. She also dabbles in genres other than horror.

Her fans describe her work as “chilling” and “cringe-inducing” – sounds like she hits her mark.

Discover more about Lisamarie at her website – http://themoonlitdoor.blogspot.ca/ or check out what she has to offer at her Amazon author page .

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October Submission Blitz – Buried Alive

October 4, 2013 at 2:30 am (horror, writing) (, , , , , , , )

Today’s submission involved a reprint and a certain podcast which last rejected one of my stories because of my use of a southern backwoods dialect…only to offer up a story a couple of week s later with the same “undesirable” dialect. This patois that supposedly got old fast in my story was perfectly acceptable when used in a story by a big name writer with a shelf-load of awards to his name *sigh*. It’s something you get used to fast in this industry – everything is forgivable if you have a name people know. If you are unknown, forget it.

Personally, I liked the dialect – it gave both stories extra personality. And I showed them; one of my stories appeared with a story by that same writer on a different podcast a couple of weeks after that (ha!) I don’t have high hopes for an acceptance from these folks, but I’m not giving up. If they turn me down, I’ll try the story on another podcast and throw something else at them next blitz. I may be sending them a new story twice a year for the rest of my life. I should keep a collection of the rejection letters (although I deleted the first one because it was seriously nasty…downright rude, even.)

My horror trope for today is being buried alive. While it’s not the fear it used to be, more of an old one from the days where it was more difficult to assure someone was actually dead, you’ll find it in a plethora of stories and some movies are even based entirely on the concept. I especially liked one zombie story I read which began with a person who believed he was rousing to this state, not realizing he wasn’t alive but undead (and had been buried because he was actually dead). By the end of the story, it becomes obvious.

I’m hoping to finish “Better” tomorrow – we’ll see J

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The Blurb on Other People’s Words – More Fear

December 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm (horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , , , )

I missed my Monday review because of the holidays, so here it is a few days late…

FEAR: A Modern Anthology Of Horror And Terror (Volume 2)

With this charity anthology, Crooked Cat offers a second great selection of fear-inspiring stories – all proceeds going to a couple of very good causes. While every story had entertainment value, I found a greater range of quality in this volume than in the first. Some of the stories were exceptional, but others had clear language issues that might be distracting to the more discerning reader and there were more grammatical, punctuation and wording issues missed during copy editing in this volume. I would still recommend it if you enjoy a good horror anthology, and I would single out these stories in particular:

The Sad Story of the Death of a King (Jane Wright) – One of those stories so well written its invisible – by that I mean you no longer recognize that you’re reading and just become one with the story. Great characterization and excellent imagery that dragged me back to my old days Trick-or-Treating.

It Sticks with You (Kim Krodel) – Brilliant storytelling and very much fear inspiring. I consider a story particularly special if it gives me goose-bumps – this one gave me a serious case of goose-bumps.

The Lost Souls (Laura Huntley) – This story was very moving and actually made me cry, although it was more disturbing than frightening. The tale was well told. The author manages to generate sympathy for even those who were doing something heinous and I really connected with the main character despite the limited format of a short story.

Scarecrow (Liam Hogan) – An excellent example of a story purely based on fear. It’s a simple premise but very well executed. It gave me a satisfying conclusion for the protagonist but still leaves you wondering what became of the poor farmer.

The Living Eucharist (A. Taylor Douglas) –Wow! I really enjoyed this one. The characters were lifelike, the events of the tale just strange enough to be interesting, without being overdone, and the narrative flowed smoothly. The ending was particularly chilling.

The Honeymoon’s Over (E.E. King) – A clever little story with just the right amount of detail and an interesting twist.

I’m sure there will be more to come from Crooked Cat and these talented writers. I give this one four out of five stars.

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The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Fear

October 29, 2012 at 9:56 pm (dark fantasy, horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , , )

Fear: A Modern Anthology of Horror and Terror –Volume I (Crooked Cat Publications)

I’m accustomed to the average anthology running from 14 to 20 short stories, unless they are flash fiction tales, so I was pleased that this anthology offered a double dose of scary goodness. While not all the stories matched my typical horror tastes, I still found each and every one of them entertaining in some way. With such a broad assortment of horror, thrillers and dark fantasy gathered in one book, It would take me several separate reviews to touch on every one. Instead, I’m going to focus on a few that struck me in particular and mention why they stood out for me.

“Dead Ding Donger” (Wayne Via) and “Old Mabel’s Stray Cat” (Cameron Trost)both had a hefty dose of dark humour to them, something I look for and especially enjoy in horror anthologies. While Dead Ding Donger was a little predictable, it was still very funny, and “Old Mabel’s Stray Cat” caught me by surprise with its twist ending and Mabel’s somewhat demented way of seeing things.

I liked “Breaker One Nine” (Connor Rice) for the originality of its setting and its peculiar (but frightening) monster. You could say this one was a chiller *grin*.

While not inspiring much in the way of fear in me, I absolutely loved Lyn McConchie’s “The Book”. It had more of a dark fantasy mixed with science fiction feel to it, with an epic spin, and it was a very moving story. I was so caught up in it, I almost missed my bus stop.

E.E. King’s “Synthesia” was cleverly woven, scary mixed in an odd way with whimsical and vivid imagery.

“A Cloud Over the Sun” by A.A. Garrison was priceless thanks to its fabulously jarring format – it made the story into something extraordinary.

“Seamless” (Shirley Golden) was solid science-fiction horror with an extremely disturbing ending.

There were many other very good stories, but these were the ones that appealed to my tastes the most. Be it zombies and gore you seek or suspenseful tales with a lovecraftian flavour, this book has it all. If you are looking for excellent Halloween fare, or just a good scare, I’d suggest this anthology as a worthwhile read – and the proceeds go to two great causes.

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How Dark is Dark Fantasy? Or – Feel the Fear

October 12, 2012 at 8:52 am (dark fantasy, fantasy, horror, writing) (, , , , )

How Dark is Dark Fantasy? Or – Feel the Fear.

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The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Wake the Witch

June 26, 2012 at 1:02 am (horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , )

The fact that this anthology was created for all proceeds to go to charity, a good cause, already grants it high esteem in my opinion, before I had read any of the stories. What I find with charity anthologies is that they often attract some of the highest quality stories – as writers are often very generous people. There were a couple of typos in this that should have been picked up by a spellchecker, so I was surprised to see them, but aside from the odd one here and there, this book was brilliant. I really enjoyed the theme, a refreshing break from undead, serial killers and lycanthropes. I also like the female perspective the theme tends to cast upon the stories, even the ones from male contributors. Here’s my overview of the stories (other than my own):

Timmy and Ginny – TW Brown – Despite the modern setting, it had a fairytale motif to it, and I was expecting a version of Hansel and Gretel from the outset, with zombies and witches. It was exactly that, with the flavour of a children’s cautionary tale, the trappings of today’s society, such as a CD player, and the added bonus of the undead. Of course, since the story is about a witch who wants to eat people, the zombies are hardly out of place.

Mercy Hathaway is a Witch – Ken Goldman – This had a Nathaniel Hawthorne feel to it with a strong dose of the sensual followed by a frightening and chilling ending. I got a real kick out of this one, being a Hawthorne fan myself.

Your Next Appointment – Walter Campbell – The tale of an urban witch and Eric Russo, who seeks out her services. This story was very moving and I honestly felt sorry for poor Eric by the end.

Whether Girl –Kristi Peterson Schoonover – This story was a little surreal, but in a good way, with both fanciful and jarring imagery. Equivalent to a “don’t mess with Mother Nature” cautionary tale with a modern setting.

Homicidal Rage – DA Chaney – Another modern witch tale, set on the water. This fun but eerie story had some mystery to it, as an added bonus.

360 Degrees – Geoffrey Crescent – This current day spin on a witch story involves the internet antics of drunken students. It’s a comical plot where they discover catching a witch can be much easier than getting rid of her.

A Wise Woman’s Revenge – CW LaSart – A rather brutal tale of the more traditional sort, from the days of witch persecutions. This had all of the elements I look for in a good horror story: harsh, edgy and moving, providing flawed and believable characters with whom you can really connect. This was my favourite in the anthology – it actually made me cry.

Trevor Talks – Michael Frissore – OMG, this one was hilarious from the get-go. Rude, crude and amusing with a bizarre ending.

Born Again – Marcus Dicomites – Interesting premise, witch as revenant – only it turns out, there’s much more to it than that. Definitely one of the darker tales in the anthology, lots of frightening imagery.

Generational Curse – Bennie Newsome – At first I wondered if my eyes deceived me – not one, but two Hansel and Gretel-themed stories in this anthology. But they are two very different stories. This one had not been modernized, and despite being horror, it still had an element of whimsy.

Of Cucumber and Curses – Elizabeth Butler – The story begins with some cutesy repartee between witch and familiar. Rife with dark humour, as the title would suggest. Save this one for when you’re in a goofy mood.

The Witching-Well Hag – Adam Millard – I’m a definite Adam Millard fan, so this one was a treat. This is an enchanting story, one with colour, mystique and romance. Victoria and the witch were great and the twist at the end was fabulous.

The Conduit – David Landrum –This was a very original tale, with heavy doses of both mob and popular culture. It is not a story for light reading, intricately detailed with a complex backdrop to the plot.

The Strange Case of Melinda P. Zinnecker – Mark Jones – This was quirky, but entertaining , a story presented as a case files (with references to CSI).

While I did enjoy some of the stories more than others, I can honestly say I didn’t feel that any of these were duds. This was a five star read for me and one I’d recommend.

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The Blurb on Other People’s Words – Sam Lang

October 4, 2011 at 2:15 am (horror, Reviews, writing) (, , , , )

In honour of the approach of Halloween, I’m kicking off November with some pretty spooky fare

Making Plans, Making Memories (Reprisal) – by Sam Lang

How can I not like a digital horror short story that begins with “They were all dead”? Add in a couple of very quirky characters, along with a series of prison closures that are causing a serious dilemma, a nosy feminist reporter and a town’s shadowy secrets, and you have a recipe for some first rate suspense. The Chief is a crusty, no-nonsense, veteran policeman and Eddie is a modern journalist, sensitive guy who returned to Reprisal despite having the chance to make his escape. This intro to the town of Reprisal generates chills aplenty but leaves us wondering what lies beneath what’s on the murky surface.

Impeccant (Reprisal) – by Sam Lang

 This second digital short story instalment returns focus to Reprisal’s reluctant hero, Eddie. After exploring some of his history, the author carries us to the prison evacuation day. It starts to become clear that Reprisal is a town of eerie environs, one filled with strange events and even stranger people. When the history lesson is expanded from personal to that of the town, things really take a startling turn. More shadows, more revelations, and others yet to come.

Shadow Boxing (Reprisal) – by Sam Lang

This tale introduces De’Light, a different resident of Reprisal. He is a boxer with a dark heart and an even darker past. One of the prisoners referred to in the first two instalments, he kills, and has killed before, without much thought or concern for consequence. There’s a bit more gore and typical elements of horror in this digital short compared to the first two stories and I’d say this is my favourite of the three, for its harder, grittier edge. When it turns out there will be repercussions to his actions, De’Light is surprisingly blasé. I’m looking forward to the next in the series.

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