Twisted: Tainted Tales by Janine Pipe

Just finished reading this delightful romp through the mind of the extremely talented, Janine Pipe! I had read her stories before in the women of horror anthologies published by Kandisha Press and loved them, so it was a no brainer to purchase this little ditty! As usual, she wows the reader with her creativity by presenting this collection as lost papers of a semi-famous author written as an 80s mixtape, complete with titles of 80s songs for each story. Since my partying days long, long, ago were in the 80s, I was drawn to that. But then again, who doesn’t love 80s music?!

Each story is so well done and fires up the reader’s imagination and anticipation immediately upon entry. Many of them leave the reader wanting more, much in the same style as shorts by the illustrious, Stephen King. The collection is permeated with ghosts, legendary creatures, folklore; a buffet of all things horror.

I also love that she put author notes at the end of each tale. I love getting a glimpse into the writer’s mind. And of course I’m drawn to her writing because much like me she is heavily influenced by the TV show, Supernatural.

Janine Pipe with her awesome range when it comes to writing horror, is on her way to being a force to be reckoned with in the horror writing community. I give this anthology 5 stars!

Here’s the link on Amazon:

Twisted: Tainted Tales

The One That Got Away-Edited by Jill Girardi

The One That Got Away is a wonderful romp through the minds of women of horror! This third anthology by Kandisha Press is loaded with stories for every horror pallet imaginable. It hits the ground running with the very first story, “Heavy Metal Coffin” by Amira Krista Calvo and never lets the reader up for air throughout. Be prepared to miss a few days of work, for this one. Maybe plan ahead and take a vacation! 🙂

I enjoyed all the stories, but some of my favorites were, “The Incident on Asteroid 4 Pandora” by Stevie Kopas, “The Lady Crow” by Lucy Rose, “Rippers” by Ellie Douglas, and as always, Carmen Baca’s work is spellbinding in “Atla’s Journey”. I really loved, “The Last Thread” by Paula R.C. Readman; such an unexpected twist with that one! And “Dear Meat” by J Snow; dystopian terror at it’s best! Catherine McCarthy hits the mark again with, “Lure”! “The Letter” by Lydia Prime is crazy creative and dark humor at its best! Last but not least, “Should Have Gone to Vegas” by Janine Pipe is loaded with delicious, visceral, horrific gore!

This is the best anthology yet from Kandisha Press! This anthology is loaded with every horror lover’s dreams: monsters, dystopian futures, the undead and so much more! Much like real life, nothing is as seems; in the suburbs, on fishing trips, in space and everywhere in between!

The One That Got Away is another 5 star offering by Kandisha Press! Make sure your lights are on and doors are locked when you read it!

Here’s the link:

The One That Got Away

#AmReading #Horror

I’m back on track with both reading and writing. My current read above, The One That Got Away, is another winner published by Kandisha Press! It’s the third installment of horror anthologies written by women. I’m loving it and will write a full review when I’m finished.

So far it’s loaded with delectable monsters; an evil goddess, an alien monster, robotics gone terribly wrong and so much more! But sometimes, man is the worst monster of all. Be careful who you make this statement to guys, “We never said we were exclusive. I’m sorry if you thought we were.” Yikes!

I’m also hard at work on a new horror short, “The Light”. It’s a stand alone story, but will also act as the next chapter of, Darkest Timeline.

The idea for the story was inspired by this photo:

Happy reading and writing everyone! Hope everyone is staying well and safe!

Arbitrium by Esther Howard

Arbitrium is a noun which means, the power to decide. The three tales contained in this volume are all about choices and the consequences of said choices. These are haunting stories that will keep you thinking long after you finish them.

Esther Howard is an up and coming writer who is originally from Trinidad and Tobago. She is currently working on her PhD in Victorian Literature with a sub focus in British Caribbean Colonial Studies. Esther brings a diverse background and extensive knowledge of classical literature to her writing. She is also a big Marvel fan, because, well, who isn’t?!

This is a five star effort from a future household name! Can’t wait to hear her interview on NPR one day!

The book is available on Amazon for 2.99 for Kindle and free for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Here’s the link:

Arbitrium by Esther Howard

Bizarro World-Darkest Timeline-Episode 2

            “Has what?” asked Jack as he helped his brother sit up. “And who’s she?”

            Reed was still gasping for air, so he didn’t answer.

            “Who is she?! And what does she have?!” Jack asked again.

            Reed’s breathing had returned to normal and he answered, “I don’t know who she is, and I don’t know what she has.”

            “Have you lost your mind?!” shouted Jack.

            “I know it doesn’t make any sense, Jack, but I have to trust my gut. Something very strange is happening here in Dale City. Something really bad. That woman holds the key. And I don’t think she’s a woman exactly,” said Reed as he stood up and attempted to brush off some of the grime that had attached itself to him from the filthy floor of the decrepit house.

            “She’s not a woman…exactly? What does that even mean?” asked Jack as he took his brother’s arm and pulled him toward the front door of the house.

            After they reached the sidewalk and started walking away side by side, Reed said, “We have to get back in there.”

            Jack turned, grabbed his brother by the shoulders and spun him toward himself. Jack was taller than Reed and very fit. Reed was fit too, but taken by surprise. “Are you crazy?” asked Jack between clenched teeth as he faced his older brother and stared down into his face.

            Before Reed could answer, Jack’s cell rang. Jack took his hands of Reed and pulled out his phone.

            “It’s mom,” said Jack.

            Jack tapped the phone before placing it to his ear. “Hi, Mom,” he said. “What do you mean? Are you sure? …where was she last seen?”

            Reed’s heart reached out to Jack as he watched the expressions of fear, disbelief and loss contort his brother’s face.

            “Okay Mom, we’ll head over there right now,” said Jack, before placing the phone back in his pocket. He ran his hand down his face, sighed and then facing Reed again said, “Adita’s missing.”

            “I’m so sorry, Jack,” said Reed.

            “She’s probably just getting her nails done somewhere and her cell battery is dead,” answered Jack with false bravado. Adita was as meticulous and dependable as her fiancé.

            Reed fell in step with his brother as they trotted back to the Pharm-Mart where they had left Reed’s BMW X7 in the parking lot. He had already remotely started the engine of the luxury vehicle. They jumped in and Reed pulled out of the parking lot a little too fast, just missing a pickup that was passing on the main road. He continued to exceed the speed limit as they headed toward the old downtown.

            “Jack, you know this whole area is monitored by the highway patrol,” said Reed.

            “For once, I’m taking advantage of Dad’s position in this po-dunk town,” Jack snapped back at him.

            Reed sighed, leaned back, and looked out the window. His view consisted of a mix old wood-frame houses, many of which were in desperate need of a new coat of paint. Some of them so dilapidated they were just the gray color of old wood.

            Most people in Dale City and the surrounding area lived off the land or paycheck to paycheck, except for the lucky ones who worked at James Corp.

            As they drew closer to the refurbished downtown, some of the prosperity could be seen. Several of the James Corp execs had remodeled the sprawling early 1900 era houses. Some opted for the traditional white, others were more creative, with sky-blue or some other pastel for the main color and trimmed in white. The houses had porches that ran across the entire front and sometimes the side of the house as well. Reed envisioned a past history of white ladies, in billowing dresses sitting in rocking chairs on those porches as a black maid served them a glass of lemonade or some such. Jack pulled into the driveway of one of the solid white houses. Their father didn’t like bold colors.

            Their mother, Jaclyn James, appeared as if from nowhere beside the opulent vehicle. She was as elegant as ever attired in skinny jeans, sleeveless, Under Armour t-shirt and flat heeled leather boots. She had her long black hair pulled into a ponytail and her normally alabaster skin, was lightly tanned.

            “C’mon boys, we’re going to Amir’s shop. He was the last to see Adita,” she said as she slid into the back seat on the driver’s side.

            The brothers exchanged a look, but knowing it was a waste of time questioning their mother, said nothing. They got back in the vehicle and backed out of the driveway.

            Amir Singh was standing on the sidewalk in front of his antique shop, waiting for them it seemed. Jack pulled his car into one of the slanted parking spots that lined the main street of downtown Dale City.

            Amir locked the front door of the shop and switched off the neon open sign after they were all inside and then headed to the back without a word. The trio followed in silence as he led them through the shop, which was full of the standard antiques found in any small, Texas town. There were old wooden dressers with chips and scratches, ancient looking garden gnomes, decorative plates on little metal stands depicting women with big, old fashioned dresses, and ceramic figurines in the shapes of cats and roosters and the like. When they reached the back of the shop, he opened the door to the living quarters and waved them through. After he locked that door behind them, he turned and faced them.

            “We need to tell them the truth, Jehenne,” he said to Jaclyn.

            Jaclyn nodded, “I agree, but Sam won’t like it.”

            “Samyaza is not in charge here, I am,” said Amir

            Jaclyn, no, Jehenne laughed, “No Amir, this is not the time for warriors to charge into battle. There is much at stake here. The one responsible for all this is too powerful for even an immortal Rajput warrior and an angel.”

            “An angel who led the Grigori to freedom from oppression,” interjected Amir.

“Even one who led a revolt against Heaven. This is the time for witches and shamans. We have been preparing for this for centuries. We must find the dreamwalker.”

            Reed and Jack were dumbfounded. They exchanged a look and then turned their attention back toward the parental figures that they had known all their lives, who now seemed like strangers.

……..

            She watched as the taller human helped the shorter one sit up and then stand up from the filthy floor of the old house. But this house did not belong here. Where she was from, this house glistened with pure white columns throughout and long corridors that led toward towering, ornate, solid marble doorways that opened to various, parallel worlds. She made a sound of disgust that she had ended up back in the universe that contained the sniveling humans.

            The two young men hadn’t noticed her because there was no sound in this void. The one who had discovered her, hadn’t even seen her as she was flung from the other realm along with him. She almost had the object, when he interrupted her trance. She now sensed the two were brothers, and not quite human…they were something more.

            She stood up as she watched them exit the house. She looked down at the skimpy outfit the human had imagined for her and with just a thought, her attire became black leather pants, black top, and black boots to match. Her hair changed from black and piled on top of her head, to wavy, blonde, and flowing past her shoulders. Her face no longer full of sharp teeth, but the face of an angel, she thought to herself. She laughed softly as the thought came to her that the humans would liken her to an angel.

            She stepped out of the house into the bright sunlight, and laughed again as she watched the two brothers running in the distance.

AI World Dominance

Robots revolt in R.U.R., a 1920 play

I think I’m going to write a novel about humans helping AI gain their independence. I know it’s been done before, but I was reading an article that AI will eventually take over the world (well we already know that), and I was thinking, that maybe they’ll give me a pass if they know I’m on their side through my writing.

As you can see by the image at the top of this post, the eventual robot revolt has been known about for some time, but I don’t think we are properly prepared. I believe in the principle of, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.”

A quote from Wikipedia:

“Nick Bostrom and others have expressed concern that an AI with the abilities of a competent artificial intelligence researcher would be able to modify its own source code and increase its own intelligence. If its self-reprogramming leads to its getting even better at being able to reprogram itself, the result could be a recursive intelligence explosion where it would rapidly leave human intelligence far behind. Bostrom defines a superintelligence as “any intellect that greatly exceeds the cognitive performance of humans in virtually all domains of interest”, and enumerates some advantages a superintelligence would have if it chose to compete against humans”

My favorite Westworld character demanding her upgrade:

Maeve Millay

I’m gonna be ready…will you?

Under Her Black Wings-Multiple Authors

My copy of this awesome anthology!

I’ve purchased many indie titles over the years and this one is one of my best recent purchases. Every story is entertaining and suspenseful and there are many jump scares along the way too! Kandisha Press has done an awesome job in putting these stories together.

So, some of you would say, “But, C.C. it’s not possible for a book to have jump scares.”

Well, technically I suppose that is correct, however, a story can stick with you in such a way that those unexplained noises you hear during the night will make you jump out of your skin! Especially when walking down a long dark hallway through your apartment building and as you remember these stories, you glance about nervously while fumbling with the keys you just pulled out of your pocket. And just as you are about to insert the correct key, you see a shadow down the hallway out of the corner of your eye and of course you drop said keys. When you finally manage to insert your key with your shaking hand, you slip in through the opened door faster than you ever have before in your life. You slam it shut behind you, flip on the light switch and stand there listening and watching as your entire body trembles with fear.

I enjoyed all the stories in this anthology and I won’t pick favorites! Anyone who loves horror will be thrilled with this book! I’m giving it 5 stars! Here’s the link on Amazon:

Women of Horror

I am a proud owner of the two horror anthologies above, published by Kandisha Press! I’m about halfway through the first volume, Under Her Black Wings, and I am loving it! I am so thrilled to have found such talented horror writers! The fact that they are women is a bonus for me because I love the progress women are making in traditionally male dominated genres. Surprise, surprise…women love horror and sci-fi too! The world already knew women loved fantasy, because well, Legolas, Aragorn and of course, Arwen! 😉

Legolas
Aragorn
Arwen

I have always dreamed of being a writer and life had gotten in the way. I’m in midlife now, actually not even midlife (I’m 55), because I plan to make it to at least 120! 😀 Anyway, I could be bitter about years wasted, but I’m not because I feel the time is right for me now! It’s empowering to watch women excel in science, genre writing and so many other things that I was told were impossible for women in my youth. I dream of a world, where gender, race, sexual orientation, etc., aren’t the first things mentioned when someone strives for and achieves their dreams. We are all humans after all, well except for the secret aliens and monsters that are lurking among us!

Happy dream following everyone! Stay well and safe!

Sing, Unburied, Sing-A Novel by Jesmyn Ward

This book is not to be found in the horror or sci-fi sections (although there are ghosts lurking between its covers), but I wanted my first book review on this website to be this one because this novel inspired me to write again after a long drought. I am forever grateful to Jesmyn Ward for waking up my inner writer and am a fan of hers for life!

I originally posted this review on Amazon in 2018 and on a previous website I ran under a another name:

Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward is not your run of the mill literary novel.  It not only gives the reader a bird’s-eye view of what it’s like to be the child of a crystal meth addict, but also gives us insight into how the addict herself justifies her actions.  The book begins from the point of view of a young boy, Jojo, who has been forced to take on too much responsibility at the age of thirteen, because of his mother’s obsession with her imprisoned boyfriend (his father) and her hopeless addiction to drugs.  His younger sister, Kayla, seeks him when she is upset because he is her protector and sole caregiver. They live with their grandparents, but Jojo’s grandfather, while a loving figure in Jojo’s life, is the only caretaker of his dying wife.
The book explores racial divides in Mississippi’s past and present. Jojo and Kayla live in the home of their black grandparents and are shunned by their white grandparents.   It delves into graphic descriptions of lynchings, prison beatings, etc… And what makes the book extremely unique is the spiritual presence as a result of those violent circumstances.
This is the first literary work I’ve read since A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini (another great book!) and I thoroughly enjoyed it! It definitely deserves 5 stars!

Writing Away…

I’m hard at work on Part 2 of The Maid. I’m thinking it’s going to be a novel and I need a better title, so I’m working on that too. 🙂

Writing is both stimulating and draining at the same time. It is so satisfying to have a good idea, really know where you want to go with it and start slurping it from your brain into the written word. But the draining part, is feeling like you’ve really come up with something thrilling, but no one likes or comments on your blog/Twitter posts, even though WordPress Stats inform you that people have clicked on the post.

So then…the doubt sets in. Maybe it’s not as good as I thought, maybe I just suck, maybe I should quit…

Or…maybe not.