Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Unnerving Magazine #issue 4 Extended Halloween Edition

Unnerving Magazine is a relatively new quarterly magazine of horror, dark fantasy and dark sci-fi. It's really dark! So if you love horror and all things creepy then this is the magazine for you. I've read a few issues now and loved everyone of them so far.

I also want to point out that Unnerving have a great deal on right now. You can subscribe to this magazine for a whole year for just $10! For that price you get to read some amazing stories and help support indie horror. When I subscribed I got a free ebook called Alligators in Sewers which looks really cool, I can't wait to get stuck into that.

Issue #4 is a bumper Halloween issue and features a really impressive line up including William Meikle, Max Booth 111, Israel Finn and regular contributors such as Gwendolyn Kiste.

There are 13 dark tales inside, all themed around Halloween, the best time of the year! The collection starts off strong with Luddid House by Madison McSweeney in which a mother and son go trick or treating in their local neighbourhood where they stumble upon the creepy Luddid House. This was a really dark tale with sinister foreboding switched up to the max!

Babysitting for Writers by Kevin David Anderson was a really fun tale about an overworked babysitter who's boss has some unusual extra-curricular hobbies.

Boy Takes After His Mother by Max Booth 111 was one of my faves, it's as sweet as it is dark, because even serial killers have soft sides.

Black Balloon by Christopher Shultz was a really original and dark quirky tale about a black balloon that infects anyone it comes near. Maximum points to Christopher Shultz for darkness!

By the Gun by Thomas Joyce is a great western tale about retribution!

A Day at Sea by Israel Finn follow the story of three friends looking to get away from it all for a day and party on their mate's boat. Things don't go exactly to plan.

Mud by Somer Canon is another of my favourites. This was a great tale about all things that go squelch! The ending was so cool!

Bishop by William Cooper is a really creepy tale of a young boy, Puke, who finds a strange knife and becomes a stranger in his sister's eyes.

Me Too by Meg Hafdahl is a tale of two young girls who want to be free of their childhoods and go out into the adult world. But they're just not ready for it yet!

Trick by Andrew Cull is a tale of quiet but devastating horror. The events made worse by the lack of the narrator's understanding of just what it is he's done. Really cool!

Why I Don't Let My Kids Go Trick or Treating by Elliotte Rusty Harold is another favourite of mine from this collection. It tales the tale of a dad recalling the time he used to go trick or treating with his brother when they were young and why he absolutely forbids his children from doing the same.

Staying Alive Among the Beasts by William Meikle is a really dark apocalytic tale of one man, Fred Atkins fighting not just for his survival after an awful event but also for the survival of his beloved animals.

Sylvia Spool by George Edwards Murray is a really cool tale that fuses with folklore and horror. It tales the tale of two young girls who wander up to a cave from their village and stumble upon an ancient goddess, Sylvia.

Under the Influence by Renee Miller is a really dark tale of a a man and a woman forever changed by an awful tragedy.

There's also some really cool articles by Gwendolyn Kiste who offers up some great Halloween fancy dress ideas from the vaults of horror. Dustin La Valley advises us on how to survive a zombie attack without weapons, and there's an interview from horror legend Stephen Graham Jones.

You can get your copy here Unnerving also have a great range of dark novellas, limited edition chapbooks and a whole lot more.

Sunday, 8 October 2017

I am Witch

I'm super chuffed to have had one of my stories accepted for the second issue of Aphotic Realm Magazine.  Fot those who don't know, this is a new publication of strange and sinister fiction. Their first issue, Apparitions immediately garnered great reviews and they are well on their way to establishing themselves as a premier dark fiction magazine.

My story, I am Witch, will be featured in issue two which comes out October/November 2017. Like with Apparitions, issue two will be themed around banishment.

This is such a great magazine, a lot of love and dedication is put into this. I implore you to invest in the paperback version which is printed in full cover and features amazing artwork.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Pretty Marys All in a Row by Gwendolyn Kiste

Its been a long time since I've been really excited to read a book. This one in particular. For those unfamiliar, Gwendolyn Kiste is a rapidly rising star on the indie horror scene. Over the last few years she has published many, many stories in all the top horror and speculative fiction magazines such as Black Static, Interzone, Nightmare Magazine, Lamplight, Shimmer and Sanitarium Magazine.

Recently she published her first collection of short stories with JournalStone, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe which contained previously published stories as well as a few originals. Upon release it instantly garnered high praise from many reviewers and readers all over the world. Since then she has written her first novel The Rust Maidens which will be coming out 2018 with Trepidatio Publishing. There is also a novelette in the works which she has co-written with Emily Cataneo who also has a great collection out with JournalStone, Speaking to Skull Kings and Other Stories.

And her is her first novella, All Pretty Marys in a Row from Broken Eye Books

(Now I know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover... But this one is just so beautiful and deserves a mention. Credit and lashings of praise is due to Gawki, seriously go check out their site!)

Pretty Marys All in a Row focuses on the famous Marys found in our modern urban legends and ancient folklore. Are they really as harmless as they seem? Made immortal in childish nursery rhymes and creepy campfire tales they are brought back to life in this tale.

So let's meet the Marys...

"We don't know how we got here, and we don't know how to leave."

First we have Resurrection Mary, a young girl who haunts the highways at night hitchhiking her way with fear. There's Bloody Mary who will appear in a mirror if you say her name three times, next we have Mistress Mary Quite Contrary, Mary Mack who endlessly builds her own coffin and finally Mari Lwyd.

Each evening they gather to feast, not on food but on fear which they hunt for. Apart from that they are mostly solitary creatures carving out an existence not knowing who they are,  forgetting what they were and how they came to be here. They adhere unquestioning to strict rules and regimented routines from which they never deviate.

That is until their way of life is threatened. They are no longer alone, there is a voice in the darkness. Rhee aka Resurrection Mary fights back and soon begins to question her entire existence. Who has imposed these rules on them and are they more powerful than the Marys?  Soon they realise they are stronger together than apart but is their power enough?

Pretty Marys All in a Row is a ghost story mingled with folklore and urban legends. It really delves into the life of a ghost and what it means to be alive and free. Again, like with all her stories the writing is wonderful, dark with a literary edge. She adds beauty to dark stories. Her masterful command of prose is deeply evocative you really feel like you are there with Rhee standing on the highway.

I love the thinking behind the story, its really out there offering a really fresh perspective on tales we all take for granted.  Pretty Marys All in Row is deeply moving. It is a story of survival after tragedy, of never giving up and finding the strength within you.

It is also a very haunting tale, of not knowing what is out there beyond our mortal world. This is a tale you will want to read again and again. After reading this, I simply can't wait for more tales from Gwendolyn Kiste!

Pretty Marys All in a Row will be released in Auntumn/Winter 2017 by Broken Eye Books

About the Author

Gwendolyn Kiste is a speculative fiction author based in Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Nightmare Magazine, Shimmer, Interzone, Lamplight, Flash Fiction Online and Three Lobed Burning Eye as well as Flame Tree's Publishing's Chilling Horror Short Stories anthology, among others. 

Her debut collection, And Her Smile Will Untether the Universe, was released JounralStone in April 2017. Her debut novella, Pretty Marys All in a Row is out in Auntumn 2017 and her debut novel The Rust Maidens is due out in 2018