Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Twisted Realities: Myth and Monstrosity

A collection of 12 brilliant short stories bought to you by Sirens Call Publications, that takes a fresh look at some infamous and dark myths and legends, and asks if they're myths or reality...

But these are not the gentrified and harmless tales you could entertain children with. Delve inside and you will discover that things are not as they seem, old gods still walk amongst us and their powers prevail, riddles still need answering, and we can't escape our past.

You can show your support for your fellow writers and independent publishers by buying this book, which is available through Sirens Call Publications or Amazon. They have a great selection of anthologies!

It Lives In Us ~ Thomas James Brown

In  the  picturesque village of Lynnewood in the New Forest, there's a terrible dark secret that hangs over this otherwise peaceful village. What are these things and where do they come from? What can be done to escape them?

This deliciously dark story takes place in the present day but has the charm and feel of a tale set hundreds of years ago. It evokes old celtic deities and demons intertwined with past and future and switches easily between serene village life and a macabre past adding to a tense and foreboding atmosphere.

Re-emergence ~ Nina D'Arcangela

There's danger afoot and Michael will do anything to save his father. Re-emergence explores the duality of the feminine aspect represented by the sea and its  eldritch creatures.

It dispels the myth that us girls aren't as delicate or benign as we look. For only women have the power to give life as well as destruction which is represented by the female element of water.

Re-emergences asks what sacrifices would you be prepared to make for love. What would you do for your own kin, how far would you go for survival?

Mosaic  ~  Jonathan Templar

An archaeology student is with her boss on an excavating mission, but she uncovers much more than an old ancient mosaic. Unearthed primal forces act to awaken old lusts that have been supressed for centuries. Similar to the  imposed Roman way of life clashing with the traditional Celtic way of life in Britain Andrea finds her way of life clashing with those around her, and finds herself with a heavy choice; instinct or intellect?

Riddle Me Real  ~ Lisamarie Lamb

What happens to mythical creatures when their purpose has expired? How do they live out their immortal days? Are they looking for love and companionship like us, or are they something worse? Don't want to say too much in case I give too much away.

Voices ~ Kate Monroe

If you ever thought it would be amazing if the old deities and myths could live amongst us, think again. They're as monstrous as they are fantastic, they're not as nice and cuddly as dear old Santa Claus!

Maybe they do still live amongst us? How can we know if they're just a figment of our imagination? Voices by Kate Monroe expertly blends the modern with the past to create a great tale.

Memorial ~ Joseph A.Pinto

A dark tale of two brothers, one ruled by passion, the other by greed, but both are in love with the same woman who is unattainable for the both of them. But what would you do to keep the woman you love?

The Silver Comb ~ J.Marie Ravenshaw

A unique tale that draws from Ireland's rich source of folklore and legends. Aisling Grey thinks she's in store for a peaceful relaxing weekend with her best friends, but she's very wrong. This is a great tale of  unbound ancestral spirits coming back, half forgotten superstitions that should never have been lost.

Keine Solche Sache ~ Edward Lorn

A highly original tale concerning the idea of parthenogenesis, the ability to reproduce asexually. It's true that most of us only use 10% of our brain at one time but what if we could be engineered to achieve our full potential and unlock all the secrets hidden in the human genome?

Could this be used for the greater good? Or is man eternally corrupted? Edward Lorn's dark and mysterious tale poses the question of what makes us human? Are we nothing more than a sum of body parts? Are our thoughts and actions controlled by our DNA or our souls?

Hades and the Hydra ~ Amber Keller

There is a dark prophecy hanging over the world? Does it spell the end?What if there is such a thing as the Underworld? Do we share our world with malevolent forces far more powerful and destructive than us? Are humans little more than toys between powerful gods.

A Fair Price ~ Alexa Muir

A couple embark on an idyllic relaxing holiday in the south of France, but it is anything but serene. Matt and Hannah seem to have the perfect life, but appearances aren't everything. And as the title suggests, what price would you be willing to pay to have all your dreams come true?

Drakul ~ K.Trap Jones

Be careful what you do as it could come back to haunt you, a tale of cold enduring revenge. Time is said to be a great healer, but what if the  pain and suffering from crimes committed against you are too cruel to ever heal. What happens when you simply can't forgive and forget?

The Plight of Phayden Ponsford ~ Julianne Snow

This is a great little tale that shares some similarities with the ancient fairy tale - The Ugly Duckling - but with a very dark take! Phaylen Posford was tragically injured and wants only to be accepted into society, but it seems her life is cursed.

Is there a way to break this curse? Or must she suffer for ever?

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Deadman's Tome

I'm delighted to announce that one of my short stories has been published in Deadman's Tome. This is an online horror ezine that is published monthly for those who like their horror dark and morbid.

"Lost, but not forgotten. Discarded, but not abandoned. Rumor has it that somewhere deep in the dark abyss lies an ancient relic of wicked men, a product of madness. A tome of horrors so unimaginable, so unfathomable that a few lines was all it took for people to go mad. There are documented accounts of this book shattering families, tearing through the strongest of examples of love, causing mothers and fathers to devour their young. Somewhere, lost in the ocean of misinformation, exist reports of small towns cursed with mass hysteria, mass murderous delusions, consumed by either fire, cannibalistic orgies, or both. Every time, this ancient tome, the very book you are reading, was found beneath the rubble. Of course, this is only a copy, and only a fragment of the original tome. Any curse or dark spirit that haunted the original shouldn’t possess a mere replica. You should be safe, but if you begin to see shadows in the dark, smell burning from the walls, and hear voices outside your windows, then do not continue. You have been warned."

You can read my story, The Memory Chamber, here

Previous issues can be bought via their website, and Amazon

Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783- 1787, by Winston Graham

I'm a Cornish expatriate exiled to London. But despite a change of scenery I love nothing more than spiriting myself back to my homeland through great works of fiction such as those written by Daphne Du Maurier, and after reading this; Poldark by Winston Graham.

Surprisingly I'd never heard of these books until I began watching the current BBC adaptation which is marvellous. This may be due to Winston Graham not being Cornish himself, he moved down at the age of 17.

Poldark is a series of novels, a family saga that spans 12 novels charting the highs and lows of the Poldarks. It is set in Cornwall in the 1780's onwards. The first novel centres around Captain Ross Poldark who returns from war to his home to find his fortune overturned, his father is dead and their estate is in ruins.Ross Poldark is a mysterious brooding character who is compelling throughout. He is dark yet a caring man, stern but soft.

Winston Graham has remarkable skills and captures perfectly not just the Cornish landscape but the tone and temperament of its peculiar inhabitants. Through his Poldark series Grahams explores every aspect of the human condition through his depiction of engaging, complex and interesting characters.

Firstly there is Ross Poldark, a man who has been physically injured through war and both emotionally by losing the woman he had intended to marry to his cousin, Francis. He is faced with the challenge of rebuilding his life after a series of catastrophes. Outwardly he appears very strong and impenetrable but is also vulnerable. He returns from war a changed man which does not go down well with fellow members of the gentry. He has seen a new way of life in America where society is governed by a meritocracy not by the class you were born into.

Francis, Ross's cousin who marries Elizabeth under questionable circumstances on the surface he appears to have it all. He has a grand estate, a profitable mine, a beautiful wife, a good social standing and is also charming and handsome. Yet despite all this he is deeply jealous of Ross who has to work hard to survive and is often frowned upon by his peers, this is because Ross is free from many of the constraints that bind Francis. There's also the question of which Poldark  Elizabeth truly loves.

Elizabeth, wife of Francis Poldark is another character that incites envy. She is utterly beautiful, full of grace who marries into a rich and prestigious family yet completely unhappy with what she has in life. It's not known the true reason why she married Francis, did she do it out of love or duty? In most ,it would be Elizabeth who has all her dreams granted but not so in the Poldark saga.

Another standout character is Verity Poldark, sister of Francis. She has nothing in life and would be content to have anything at all. She withers away in Trenwith House hoping for a change in fortunes.

For me the most interesting character is Demelza, a young street urchin rescued by Ross. She has many aspects such as being mysterious but also pragmatic. At times she is extremely innocent but when it is needed she can be wily like a fox. For me she represents the coming of age where a girl grows into womanhood and seeks to find her place in the world. She is a very sensual character who lives by her heart's desire and not what her head tells her to do.

It is in the first book of the series that we are introduced to these wonderful characters who each have their own ambitions and dreams. Will Poldark ever feel satisfied? Will Verity get to have her own life? Will Francis and Elizabeth feels happy with their lot and with each other? And what will become of Demelza?

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Sanitarium Magazine - Issue 29

Sanitarium Magazine is published by Eye Trauma Press and if you like dark and macabre tales you'll love this monthly magazine which is available to buy in print and e-format. I've been incredibly fortunate in having one of my short stories published in issue 28 of Sanitarium and have since become hooked.

This magazine also features great poetry from Vince Rodriguez, James Michael Shoberg and H.H Bond. There's some great articles on everything horror related such as zombies, splatterpunk  and interviews with Wayne Simmons and Dark Pond Creations.

This magazine is out on the 20th of each month, you can buy your copy from Amazon.

The Vampyre - Charles Martin

A tale that grips you from the first line and never lets go. Everyone loves a good vampire tale and this is one of them. Style is similar to Bram Stoker's epic Dracula, told via a diary mixed with a smattering of Lovecraft's impending doom. This is a great horror tale where Charles Martin creates fear from the unknown which does not evaporate, even at the end. Who is the mystery woman? A ghost from his past, or a creature coming for his future?

Bleedthrough - Scarlett R.Algee

A sci-fi tale  in which anyone and everyone has the chance to explore what had previously been impossible. In this alternate world people can go back in time. They can live out their fantasies giving them a break from the mundane realities of the world they live in. Except not all fantasises are the same and the Scarlett R. Algee questions what would really happy if we could all live as we chose without any constrictions of rules? Makes you wonder how far some people will go when they can do whatever they want in their fantasies. most dream of love and happiness but a few dream of death and destruction. What happens to certain people when they are allowed to explore their dark sides and urges?  Are they different to us would we all do the same if we had the power to do so?

If You Look Long Enough - Izaak Stoakes

Should we be afraid of what's in our heads or what awaits outside? Are the darkest recesses in our minds just as dark as shadows and nightfall? Isaak Stoake's tale explores one of the greatest fears of all; loneliness and being left on your own, of feeling afraid in your own home where you should be warm and safe.

After reading this you'll never want to be home alone again. Stoakes masterful skills at writing and creating tension are exhibited throughout by taking a mundane situation such as a "night in" and making it incredibly unsettling. We're left wondering whether it was all in his head or was IT there all along?

Megan's House - Julia Benally

"I know how to make everything better."

Except you know it's about to get a whole lot worse. Which is worrying, their daughter is already dead, the worst thing that could happen to anyone.

So  how exactly can things get any worse?

With this tale you know you're in for a grisly ride. Who is this mysterious Carl and why is he amused at such a sad funeral of a child taken too soon? Truth is you find yourself wanting things to get worse for Megan who disgustingly shows no remorse or  pain. As creepy as Carl is you're secretly rooting for him.

Heartless - Calvin Demmer

This is a tale about the slow drawn out death knell of a relationship. What would you do to keep your true love? How far will you go for someone you love unconditionally? What does it mean to love unconditionally?  But this is no ordinary tale, it delves into the darkest depths of desperation.

The Current - Spinster Eskie

Everyone has a warm happy place lost in the annals of their childhood. If you returned there seeking sanctuary would it be the safe haven you rembered and cherished? Or would it be something dark and sinister?  Spinster Eskie's tale warns about disturbing  the ghosts from your childhood, reigniting the forces that make you feel trapped and the dream of escape.

Audrey at Night - Gwendolyn Kiste

A chilling tale which is both tense and gripping from the start. What do you do when the person you cruelly betrayed comes back to seek vengeance? How can you put things right when it is simply too late to even apologise? A crime so severe no one is able to truly move on with their lives. There is a macabre debt to be repaid and it's just been recalled........

The One Eyed King - Taylor Johnson

A strange tale of the one eyed king who takes more than he should, set in an alternate reality. Highly imaginative Taylor Johnson's tale  is of someone "waking up" seeing their life and world for what it really is. Desmond is able to see behind the illusion and sees that the person he loves is in grave danger, but is it too little too late? A highly original tale that twists and turns keeping you enthralled.