Tag Archives: Horror

Review of “Awake”, by Matthew Blake

AwakeAwake by Matthew Blake

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Lee Fenton, successful novelist, receives disastrous news from his physician after having a recent medical. It appears that he has a terminal form of insomnia called FFI.
Realizing that he optimistically has only a year at most left to live, he opts to cash in his assets, buy a state-of-the-art RV and tour America with his best friend, Ben, picking up a couple of curvaceous and very beautiful hitchhikers on the way.
The foursome pair off, and the book begins to feel like a typical road trip and an advertisement for all of the great tourist spots in the US, which is no bad thing, because it does indeed make the reader want to grab their passport and hop on a ‘plane!
What Lee doesn’t tell his fellow travellers is that he has begun to have hallucinations, or so he thinks.
Dogged by the “hallucination” in the form of a scarlet demon, the reader witnesses Lee’s deterioration, both physically and mentally as his sleeplessness gets worse and he begins to doubt his sanity increasingly so – until the others begin to see the demon too.
At nearly 400 pages, it’s quite a lengthy book, but as I reached the end, I felt that Matthew Blake had pulled his punches with the ending somewhat, and rather than being able to say it was a great book, I can only say that it was a good book, yet I still urge others to give the book a good read through.

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Review of “Blackbrooke” by Emma Silver

BlackbrookeBlackbrooke by Emma Silver

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I began reading Blackbrooke a few months ago, but my own writing got in the way of my finishing it until now, but, I’m delighted to say, I’ve spent the last 2 days avidly devouring this fantastic first volume in Emma Silver’s trilogy, and I can’t wait to get hold of volume 2.
The premise of a town populated by both humans and monsters that is an attraction to the outside world, rather like a theme park is great, but Emma Silver goes much deeper than this in her mythology, and there are a whole lot of other goings on that become apparent right from the beginning of the book, as The Rules that residents of Blackbrooke have to live by are outlined right at the beginning.
It’s a fantastic read, and set in a fictional town here in the United Kingdom, which is rather unusual in itself, seeing as books tend to be either set generally in the USA or in a completely fictionalized world, so it’s great that I can relate to the book more closely, because I’m a UK resident myself.
This is a YA book that has a smattering of language (only one f-bomb towards the end of the book), but it is quite visceral when it comes to describing just how the monsters of Blackbrooke, particularly the Hunters and the Queens, treat their victims, so if the reader has a delicate stomach, you have been warned!
Liberty Connor and her friends will take you on a journey that will have your heart pounding in your chest, and like me, you will be dying to read the next volume, because the ending is a wonderful cliffhanger, something which I didn’t see coming.
I was fortunate to read an advance copy of Blackbrooke, and I did notice some glaring grammatical errors, which I hope have been corrected in the retail version. Still, Emma Silver has written a book that promises to be a gripping and very entertaining trilogy, and I look forward to reading and reviewing each book as they are released.
Recommended, and very worthy of 5 stars.

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Review of “Devil Inside” by William Cook

Devil InsideDevil Inside by William Cook

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Devil Inside is the tale of a young, underachieving boy who suffers abuse at the hands of his drunken father and a lack of attention from his mother, who is also a heavy drinker. Taunts from his teacher compound the issue, and on top of all this, he is having nightmares about a terrible, dark creature as black as night, with red piercing eyes. Is this creature only a dream, or is it a demonic protector sent to watch over the boy and punish those who do him harm?
A wonderful tale, told with William Cook’s usual attention to gory detail. There are 4 bonus poems and an excerpt from his novel, “Blood Related” too, so I urge any potential reader to take a look into the dark world of William Cook’s imagination. You won’t be disappointed in what you read!

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Review of “The Bell Witch” by John F.D. Taff

The Bell WitchThe Bell Witch by John F.D. Taff

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

John F.D. Taff once again weaves a delicate, complex tapestry of words that unfolds into a glorious work of art, in a style that is uniquely and unmistakably his own brand of storytelling.
The original legend of The Bell Witch is a true American horror story, and rather than tell you about it here, I advise the reader to source other books if they wish to research the historical documented case, something which John Taff himself did before fictionalising the event in this remarkable book.
The story that John Taff regales us with here is not actually a ghost story, as the entity, the Witch herself, states that she has never lived or died, and therefore can not be considered to be a ghost.
Although the Witch exhibits behavioural patterns akin to those of a poltergeist, it soon becomes clear that there is a much deeper purpose behind her violence towards Jack Bell and his daughter, Betsy, though other members of the Bell family suffer to a much lesser extent at the hands of the sometimes vengeful, sometimes playful entity.
Rather than the book just being about the Bell family and the effects that the Witch has on the Bells, the Witch is brought into the heart of the book as a major character that interacts with members of the local community, holding conversations with them and singing in church, and such. The dialogue throughout is masterfully written, and totally believable.
I offer no spoilers here at all. The Bell Witch is a story with a very dark theme indeed; it is a mystery that is unfolded to great satisfaction as the story progresses, it is sprinkled with well-timed elements of humour, and the consequences of the Witch’s insertion into the life of the Bell family changes the lives of all who come into contact with her.
Once again, John F.D. Taff shows us that he is a true master of his craft, and I cannot recommend this book enough.

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My 3rd accepted submission for JWK!

The cover for forthcoming book, "Bones", edited and published by James Ward Kirk

The cover for forthcoming book, “Bones”, edited and published by James Ward Kirk

Sleepless night are often the most productive times for an author. They are for me, most certainly!

I wrote a 1,000 word story entitled A Canine Conundrum a couple of nights ago, in the hope of submitting it to Bones, a new anthology to be published shortly by James Ward Kirk. I emailed the story and only a day later I had an email from James saying that he’d get back to me as soon as possible.

Another day has passed since then, and tonight I got the acceptance and attached contract for me to sign, which has now been signed and returned, along with a short up-to-date biography.

I look forward to seeing all of the amazing writers, poets and artists in print when it is published, and I know that you will all love the book. Submissions are still being accepted at time of writing, so if you have something you think is worthy of being included, click on the cover image and read the submission guidelines before submitting. And good luck!

I won’t give anything away with regard to my story, because it has my usual shock ending, and this one just may make you puke! At least that’s the reaction I’m hoping to see!

Guest post: The Next Day, by Sheila Hall

A short while ago, I wrote what is as yet my only piece of erotic fiction, and I had the good fortune to have that story featured on TheDarkerhalf.com, a marvellous website run by Sheila Hall and Christopher Liccardi. Sheila and Chris showcase fantastic short stories by some amazing writers, and I consider it an honor that they chose to feature my work.

Sheila and myself were talking recently, and I thought it would be great if I could reciprocate and have her write a piece of flash fiction for me. Although Sheila is normally known for her naughty, cheeky side, she writes beautiful poetry too. I originally said jokingly that she should write a piece of horror erotica, to which she replied, “Challenge accepted!”

Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you on that score, because the story you’re about to read is anything other than erotic! I guess we’ll all just have to wait a while longer for that little gem!

As this is the first time I have featured a story by another author on my blog, I wanted things to go sweetly, so I donned my Editor’s cap for this big occasion. I read far too many stories by guests on other peoples’ blogs where there are glaring errors in both grammar and spelling, and on the odd occasion I have known there to be words repeated, or even missing! I hope that Sheila approves of my slight oiling and tweaking to her wonderful story.

This tale is a short story of sudden and shocking realization, and it’s one I know you’ll enjoy.

Stream

The Next Day

by Sheila Hall

It still feels like the middle of the night, but I know it isn’t. Instead of the moon hanging low, I see rays of sunlight filtering through the leafy canopy overhead. The forest around me is teeming with life. Songbirds are sharing gossip, and various other animals are engaging in their morning routines. All these signs start to focus my thoughts on the really important questions: where the hell am I, and why am I here instead of in my bed?

The ground is wet and cold under my cheek. It’s natural, and yet it feels so wrong. I raise my head, and the pounding that accompanies that small movement shatters all thoughts of continuing that motion. Squinting, I become more aware of my surroundings, and the lack of modern conveniences that I would normally expect to see upon waking convinces me that wherever it is that I am, this is not my bedroom. I venture a guess that I’m in the woods bordering my home. I always loved the stark contrast between urban dwelling and ancient shelter. That’s why I chose to live here.

The longing for the familiar motivates me to get up to my knees. Stomach heaving, I lurch up and stagger over to the stream a few yards in front of me. The water should be clear and sparkling, but it isn’t. Instead it’s littered with flesh and bone; the remains of some animal another creature had consumed as prey. Rotting chunks not yet fully rendered down by acid float lazily away, carried along with all the other debris sharing the same journey downstream.

The copper taste of old pennies is in my mouth, making me gag, and I gulp greedily at the tainted water to try and rinse it away. It’s then that I notice the unusual discoloration staining my skin. Looking down I see that my clothing is tainted by the red and brown hues of drying blood spatter and mud. Grabbing at myself, I look for the cuts on my skin that would account for the amount of blood I see. Please, let the blood be mine. Yet no matter how hard I look the jagged tears in my flesh I expect to see are nowhere to be found. I have no apparent injuries.

Not again. Dear God, no. Not again.

***

 The little stream flows on, uncaring. Its waters wash over the small, huddled form that is half immersed, dry heaving and tearing at its own skin. Blood, bile, and sanity travel onward towards the sea.

#

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5-star reviews and a guest blogger invitation!

In the 8 days that my book, Darke Times and Other Stories has been available, I have had the good fortune to sell books (though I have no idea just how many), receive glowing 5-star reviews, and on the back of one of the reviews the reviewer invited me to be a guest blogger on his blog!

M.C. O’Neill, author of The Ancients and the Angels series of YA novels, Celestials and Archons awarded my book 5 stars on Amazon.com and had this to say:

I love anthologies and collections because they introduce me to new authors. “Darke Times” is no exception. When you delve into this collection’s pages, you really get what you pay for: a wonderful variety show of the bizarre. David Eccles can handle any genre thrown at him with hilarious skill. Some of the stories range from horror, fantasy, sci-fi, erotica – you get it all but his dry (and sometimes wet) wit will guarantee laughter.

I enjoy how his short stories are punctuated with flash-fiction treasures that operate almost like a commercial, but one that you would actually want to watch. “Teeth” sticks out in my mind. You’ll see what I mean when you read it.

Although I’m a yank, Eccles’ language is decisively British, and think Terry Pratchett more so than Neil Gaiman, but a Pratchett that goes to places he would normally not dare. LOVE IT!

It looks great on the Kindle with sharp formatting and beautiful cover design and you get everything the package advertises plus more.

I can’t wait to see what kind of full-length novels are going to come out of this guy’s brain in the future. I’m guessing horror or even Bizarro – and these stories are ALL bizarre – but whatever they may be, I am now a fan.

John F.D. Taff, the horror author and a man responsible for over 65 short stories and 7 novels was the very first person to review my book, and if I know John, he was probably the first to buy it too! He too awarded my book 5 stars on Amazon.com and said:

David Eccles’ first published book of short stories, Darke Times and Other Stories, is a wide-ranging look at this new author’s range of work. From flash fiction pieces like “The Teeth Police”–a short, funny and horrifying little jab of a story–to “Jack & Jill (and Steve!)”–a funny little riff on Jack the Ripper and time travel–to the titular “Darke Times”–a tale of a Rastafarian pixie who really, really wants to get to the football match–Eccles imbues his stories with a rakish wit and a firm hand. Even when they’re quite clearly horror, there’s an edge of comedy to them which makes the tales stand out. Grab it now and give it a try, because Eccles’s name is one you’ll be hearing.

To have two fantastic authors, each respected in their own genres heap praise on me like that was just the most amazing feeling, and still the 5-star reviews keep on coming! But wait! It gets better!

As I mentioned earlier, one of my reviewers invited me to do a guest blog on their website. That reviewer was none other than John F.D. Taff. John wanted to know more about  me, and about how and why I write and, of course, he gave me the opportunity to mention Darke Times and Other Stories. What a wonderful way to show his appreciation of my book and my writing talents! How could I refuse such a generous gesture! It’s guys like John and James Roy Daley and James Ward Kirk who have seen something in me and in the way that I write and have given me the chance to show what I can do, and I am eternally grateful to them and anyone who is gracious enough to show their support.

Show John your support and visit johnfdtaff.com

To see the blog that I wrote for John on July 18th, click here.

Another submission accepted!

Serial Killers Tres Tria. Edited by James Ward Kirk and published by JWK

Serial Killers Tres Tria. Edited by James Ward Kirk and published by JWK

On the back of my short story Doing it for JRD (Justice, Revenge and Deliverance) being accepted for publication in Sex, Drugs & Horror, an anthology edited by the wonderful James Ward Kirk, I am pleased to announce that another of my short stories has been accepted for publication in another of James Ward Kirk’s anthologies; this time I am to be published in his third Serial Killers anthology, Serial Killers Tres Tria, available later this year. Check out the killer cover by William Cook! Isn’t it just awesome!

If you click on the cover image above, you’ll be taken to the submissions page for this particular anthology, and because submissions are still open, I suggest you all get writing and give it a go.

Better still, get on over to JWKfiction.com and see what other submissions are open, and while you’re at it, treat yourself to some wonderful books!

And before I forget — A huge thank you once more to the wonderful James Ward Kirk, and to all of you wonderful people who take the time to read my stories, especially the author and a good friend of mine, M.C. O’Neill, who does a great job beta-reading for me and pokes me with a huge barbed stick and tells me to submit my stuff. Thank you, Mark!

The Sex, Drugs & Horror cover is awesome!

Not long to wait now until my short story that i mentioned in my previous post is published. I took a stroll on over to jwkfiction.com, the website of horror author and publisher James Ward Kirk to check out the cover for the Sex, Drugs & Horror anthology, and i must say that i love it!

Great artwork, and a font that takes me back to the science fiction paperbacks of the 1970s. I’ll show you a picture of it below, and clicking on it will take you to the submissions page for the anthology, which are still open until the 30th of June, by the way.

The cover for the Sex, Drugs & Horror anthology, edited by James Ward Kirk

The cover for the Sex, Drugs & Horror anthology, edited by James Ward Kirk

And once again, a great big thank you to James Ward Kirk for including me in what i know will be a wonderful anthology and a truly great read. Roll on publication in the first week of July.

I wrote a story in honour of JRD

woohoo_fireworks

Time for celebration!

A few days ago, I had an idea burst free from my head and onto the virtual page. It was a short story in honour of James Roy Daley, an amazing author and the man behind BOOKSoftheDEADPRESS.

It featured mostly narration by a serial killer looking back on the first time he killed, and the circumstances surrounding it. It was nasty, graphic and featured very explicit sex and sexual swear words. I was very proud of it, and I sent it to JRD, who thought it was great. Incidentally, the story is entitled Doing it for JRD (Justice, Revenge and Deliverance).

Another friend of mine, author M.C. O’Neill read it too, thought it was awesome and suggested that I submit it to James Ward Kirk at http://jwkfiction.com/ to see if it would be accepted for his upcoming Serial Killers Tres Tria anthology. Following his advice, I submitted the story, taking care to read through all of the submission requirements, and then I left it at that, hoping that I might be lucky enough to be accepted, but quite content in the knowledge that even if it didn’t make the cut it wasn’t the end of the world, because there are thousands of places to submit to.

To cut a long story short: tonight I got a reply from James Ward Kirk who said he loved the story and that he wanted to use it in his Sex, Drugs & Horror anthology which is to be published during the first week of July. He actually said that if I preferred for it to feature instead in the Serial Killers Tres Tria anthology, he’d send over a different contract, but thinking about it now, there’s a lot of horror and a lot of sex in the story, and because it’s about a killer’s first kill, it would be more suited towards the Sex, Drugs & Horror anthology.

Needless to say, I’ve written a bio and the contract has been signed and returned to JWK by electronic carrier pigeon, so next month will see me as being a published author in at least one anthology, if not two, as i have another story coming out shortly in an anthology that has been written in collaboration with some of my friends and fellow writers from the Easter Bunny’s Apocalypse  collective.

Things are looking up for me, folks, and now i’ve got my foot on the first rung of the ladder there will be no stopping me!