Monday, 17 April 2017

Never Forget Me

Hey folks,

My latest tale, Never Forget Me is out now in Dark Gothic Resurrected Magazine, your got to place for all things dark and creepy!

I am featured in the Spring 2017 issue which you can buy on Amazon

Never Forget Me follows the tale of a young woman who finds herself back in her hometown. The very place from which she fled in order to have a better life. But yet she feels there is something calling her back. One day she stands by her window and sees a ghost. The ghost of the girl she once was and is powerless to resist her call.


About the Author

S.J.Budd is a writer of all things weird and creepy. Previously her tales have been featured on Deandman's Tome,  Sanitarium Magazine, Dark Gothic Resurrected, Liquid Imagination, Aphotic Realm, Aurora Wolf, Aphelion, Blood Moon Rising Magazine, The Wild Hunt, Danse Macabre, Shadows at the Door, Inner Sins, Bewildering Stories, Siren's Call and many more.
She lives at  and  @sjbuddj 
Spells and Persuasions, her debut collection of short stories of horror and dark fantasy is available now in paperback and kindle from Amazon

Saturday, 15 April 2017

The Shuddering by Ania Ahlborn

I started reading this book as part of my book club. Initially I had thought it a fairly bog-standard horror story. Five young people stay in a cabin in the mountains, in the middle of nowhere, nothing else for company other than some man-eating monsters. I started off reading this feeling I was in predictable territory and started guessing which characters would die and which ones would live.

Except this was no predictable book.

Ania Ahlbon writes in a way that has you really caring about all the characters creating a really tense atmosphere as you know some of them were going to meet a really grisly end. You want to be able to tell them as you read.

The book starts off at a very gentle pace as we are introduced to twins, Jane and Ryan Adler who are spending their last weekend at the parent's luxurious cabin in the Colorado mountains before it is sold. Ryan is about to depart for a new job in Switzerland and wants to spend some time with his sister and childhood best friend, Sawyer.

Jane has recently divorced from her cheating husband but still pines for her first love, Sawyer, who left for Boston to pursue a career in music. So she's not too happy when he brings his girlfriend, April who is a start contrast to Jane.

Lauren, Jane's friend quickly captivates Ryan who wants to be an eternal batchelor chasing slopes. He starts to fall for her and wonders whether she might be the one...

April quickly sees there is chemistry between her boyfriend Sawyer and his ex, Jane. She is terrified that she might lose him.

You find yourself quickly feeling very involved in their lives,  in some moments it is like you are there with them. Things really kick off after a blizzard which prevents anyone from leaving and quickly they realise that all the strange noises they have been hearing aren't deer or wild animals but strange man-eating monsters. Just when you think you are figuring out the plot it will go in a completely different direction. For me this was quite similar to the tv series 24. It's a really addictive read.

Suddenly this book changes from what feels like a teen romance to a fast and thrilling horror story. Made all the more scary because you want them to live. There's a great level of gore and I get the sense Ania Ahlborn had a lot of fun writing this book!

I think this could have been a really average lacklustre book but it is written really well and Ania keeps you guessing right to the very end.

The Forgotten House

Hi Folks,

So far 2017 has been a promising year, I've had four short stories accepted into magazines and my latest, The Forgotten House, has recently been published at Aphotic Realm - the home of strange and sinister fiction. This is an exciting brand new magazine which I'm very pleased to be a part of. 

There was one house that always caught Kirsten’s imagination. It stood out against its handsome neighbours, which had all been modified and improved with extensions and conservatories. It seemed forgotten and abandoned by everyone else, and because of that Kirsten felt a strange affinity to it. For she too had been forgotten.

If you enjoyed this tale then you might be interested in Spells and Persuasions: 9 short stories of dark fantasy. This is my debut collection of short and terrifying short stories available for just  99p on Amazon!

Monday, 10 April 2017

Embers by Kenneth W.Cain

I have to say I was really impressed at the size of this collection, 25 short stories, you are definitely getting your moneys worth.

I first discovered Embers by Kenneth W.Cain as I'm a really big fan of Crystal Lake Publishing. Previously they  have release some great horror short story anthologies such as Gutted which contains stories from Neil Gaiman, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell and Kevin Lucia. Crystal Lake have also released some really great original novels such as Pretty Little Dead Girls by Mercedes M.Yardley. They have also branched out into non-fiction with horror writing guides which have been incredibly helpful over the years.

So when I saw this I was eager to take a look. Looking at the beginning pages it is clear this is no novice writer he's had countless other things published in various genres.

The first tale, The Chamber, was just so dark and chilling I knew this would be a great read. A very strong story to open the collection with.

What makes his work scary is that he takes normal everyday situations with characters just like you and me and twists them into something horrific. These are tales that really could happen to anyone.

There is a lot of depth to these tales, such as Final Breath, there's an extraordinary range of genres and topics used, some are like love stories with a dark twist, some are psychological, some are gory, there's plenty of monsters thrown in as well as those less known. Some are just downright scary and there's some very clever takes on familiar tropes. These are tales that will scare everyone, they're not all about monsters but some of the more real life down to earth horrors we will all face, such as loss of a loved one, beginning your life again, falling in love with the wrong person.

As there are 25 stories I'll just highlight my favourite ones.

Valerie's Window - A really dark sinister tale amplified from the perspective of the young naive girl, Valerie.

A window to dream by - I just thought this was a really clever tale, particularly with  the connection of the  homeless guys who watch Seth looking  up into the sky. It's only right until the end where you get the whole hit of the story and it's a great ending.

Closer - Travis goes hunting with his estranged father in a bid to win his approval but he's never been able to pull the trigger. Killing just isn't in his nature.

Breathing Cave - Kelly goes on a trip with her new boyfriend and his friends. They pass a cave, Kelly doesn't want to enter but doesn't want to lose face in front of her new friends.

Blackbird's Breath - Henry is trying to come to terms with his loss until a blackbird gets stuck behind his fireplace.

About the Author

Kenneth W. Cain first got the itch for storytelling during his formative years in the suburbs of Chicago, where he got to listen to his grandfather spin tales by the glow of a barrel fire. But it was a reading of Baba Yaga that grew his desire for dark fiction. Shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and One Step Beyond furthered that sense of wonder for the unknown, and he’s been writing ever since.

Cain is the author of The Saga of I trilogy, United States of the Dead, the short story collections These Old Tales and Fresh Cut Tales, and the forthcoming Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction. Writing, reading, fine art, graphic design, and Cardinals baseball are but a few of his passions. Cain now resides in Chester County, Pennsylvania with his wife and two children.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Mechanisms of Despair by Gary Buller

So I started reading Mechanisms of Despair just before going to bed, which was a big mistake as I found myself plunged into an existential crisis. Why is there so much darkness in the world? Is everyone really out to kill me? What's on the other side? Should I ever stay in hotel again?  Is Christmas safe? What really happened in the war? And so forth and so forth.

But by morning I had recovered enough to carry on with this dark collection of short stories. There are seven tales in all. Which I gruesomely enjoyed. Gary Buller has a great talent for creating really foreboding scenes which make you feel a bit queasy. His imagery when it comes to gore is very precise giving his writing a really visual feel, which is kind of terrifying.

Suffice to say this is a really powerful debut, all killers, no fillers! The highlights for me in this collection are The Way Out and The Way in. I love the subtle ways in which these two tales are connected. The Present was also utterly terrifying, it feels like a tale that could happen to any family.  
Included in this collection is a bonus tale from Holly Buller who clearly shows that the writing gene runs in the family. Well done Holly, great story.

So if like me you enjoy being terrified, this is the book for you. When you buy a copy you'll helping two great charities as all proceeds will be donated to these great causes, Alzheimer's Foundation and Sarcoma UK.

Mechanisms of Despair is available now at Amazon

About the Author

Gary Buller is an author from Manchester England where he lives with his long suffering partners Lisa, and his daughter Holly. He is a huge fan of all things macabre having grown up reading King and Koontz and loves a tale with a twist.