Monday, May 21, 2018

Honest Reviews of Whispers of the Apoc and Perceived Realities

Since Amazon doesn't allow authors to review anthologies that include their work, I've made a habit of posting my reviews here on my blog.

Title: Whispers of the Apoc
Theme: "Tales from the Zombie Apocalypse"
Publisher: Tannhauser Press
Editors: Martin Wilsey
Number of stories: 16
Pages: 406
Price: $14.95 paperback, $3.99 Kindle

Favorite stories: "All Dolled Up" by Stephen Kozeniewski, which chronicles a thuggish character who, while fleeing the zombie outbreak, finds himself in an even more harrowing situation; "Needs Must" by John L. French, which follows a strike-force on a (heartbreaking) post-outbreak extraction mission; and "Blood in the Water" by Emmet O'Cuana, in which the zombie apocalypse is almost secondary to a safe haven's ghastly secret.

My favorite of all, however, is "A Slow Leak" by Cameron Smith, in which a lonely outcast faces the mistrust of others in an isolated compound, yet still finds the strength of character to make the ultimate sacrifice when the safe haven is invaded by the walking dead.

My story: "Crave New World." This is an extended version of "Encephaloshrooms" which appeared in The Misbehaving Dead last year. This version is not only polished up and revised, but also features two additional scenes, one heartfelt, one ultra-violent.

Final thoughts: I give the anthology a B+. If you love zombie stories, maybe even an A. Lots of different styles, and only one story (very heavy on military jargon) was a chore to finish. Most of the authors included were new to me and there were many pleasant surprises, and no two stories alike.

You can order Whispers of the Apoc here!

Title: Realities Perceived
Theme: "Speculative Fiction on Reality, Perception, and the Unreal."
Publisher: Left Hand Publishers
Editors: Karen T. Newman
Number of stories: 15
Pages: 259
Price: $10.99 paperback

Favorite stories: Several! "The Mortal Coil" by A.P. Sessler, a jarring mix of sci-fi and horror; "I Carry You Everywhere" by Katta Hules, a fascinating story about a reporter who scores an interview with a reclusive celebrity; "The Dodos" by Gregory L. Norris, which chronicles friendship amidst tragedy; "Demon" by A.D. Ross, a violent action story involving a cult and a tragic hero; and "The Ogress" by Keith Gouveia, in which a cabbie in Japan unwittingly transports a demonic assassin from job to job.

My story: "Cobwebs and Cold Truths," which features two stories within a third story. The editor of the anthology calls it "a psychological thriller where Halloween shreds the veil between madness and monsters."

Final thoughts: I give the anthology an A for story content and a C for cover and interior layout, averaging out to a B. Lots of unique and entertaining stories here, all of them well-written.

You can order Realities Perceived at this link.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

New Releases for Winter Reading!

Here's an update on several new publications that feature my short fiction.

Note: These are NOT reviews. I have not read these yet.

Hinnom Magazine #3. Where things go bump in the night and dimensions fold within one another. Beasts lurk in shadows and nightmares take physical form. In this tome, you will find the most exciting dark fiction and cosmic horror from the best up-and-coming authors in the genre. Embrace the Unknown. (Excerpt from Amazon's product description.)

My story, "Home Again," follows Adam's return to the town of his childhood after many years away. He's surprised to find everything the same as when he left. But something isn't quite right, and as the facade starts to fall apart, it becomes clear that someone doesn't want him there.

Hinnom Magazine #3 featuring Home Again

Realities Perceived. Perception is Reality... or is it? Do we create our own reality? Or does our view of it shape our world? Neither heroes nor heavens, victims nor villains, may grasp the true nature of our being.

From science fiction, to horror and the supernatural, to dramas about the fabric of our existence, this anthology features an international fusion of artists who will thrill you with an eclectic selection of tales. (Excerpt from Amazon's product description.)

My story, "Cobwebs and Cold Truths," is a psychological thriller/horror story where an ominous old man's Halloween tales shred the veil between madness and monsters.

Realities Perceived anthology featuring Cobwebs and Cold Truths

Whispers of the Apoc: Tales from the Zombie Apocalypse.
"No one knew how it began. The world fell in just a few weeks.
These are the stories of those people strong enough, lucky enough or crazy enough to survive." (From Amazon's product description.)

My story, "Crave New World," follows Mara as she hunts and harvests zombies. In the near-future, humans crave the dried brains of zombies. In fact, it's the hottest drug on the market. And Mara must make the hardest decision of her life when she comes face to face with a zombie she recognizes...

Whispers of the Apoc featuring Crave New World