Thursday, October 13, 2016

Honest Reviews of Creepy Campfire Quarterly #3 (and) Muffled Scream: Corner of the Eye

Amazon typically does not allow authors to review anthologies to which they have contributed. With that in mind, here are honest reviews for two more collections that feature my work.

Title: Creepy Campfire Quarterly #3
Publisher: EMP Publishing
Editor: Jennifer Word
Number of stories: 18
Pages: 164
Price: $2.99 Kindle, $7.45 for paperback.
Theme: non-themed horror stories
My story included: Everyone Wears A Mask. A woman battling brain tumors finds herself face-to-face with her daughter's abductor/killer on Halloween night and plans her revenge in an effort to find peace before her passing.

I also wrote the introduction to this issue and my story leads the issue. Creepy Campfire Stories for Grownups, the first anthology from EMP had more violent stories as a whole, but this issue carries on a proud tradition of dark fiction and horror. Collage-style cover is pretty good. The stories are all solid, and worth the money.

My favorites were: "Exit" by Mark Silcox (I knew what was going on right away, and still enjoyed the heck out of this bittersweet tale); "Impure Breed" by Ken MacGregor (very unique "monsters" in this one), and "Second Smile" by Aaron Wright (this disturbing tale resonated with me as a parent). Rounding out my favorite five would be Eric I. Dean and Marc Sorondo.

I give it an A-. It's a good anthology/magazine at a very good price. You can order a copy here.

Title: Muffled Scream I: Corner of the Eye
Publisher: Wicked Tales
Editor: Douglas Owen
Number of stories: 8
Pages: 172
Price: $2.99 Kindle, $16.95 for the paperback.
Theme: loosely themed anthology of horror stories involving eyes, or something seen from the corner of ones eye...
My story included: Balloon Animals. A dark suburban fantasy about a grumpy, blue collar Archie Bunker-type whose wife buys a TV from--and trades away her body and soul to--a mysterious new neighbor. Revenge and retribution follow to a bittersweet ending.

The good: this editor paid well and I appreciate that. It's also the only anthology I've ever contributed to that actually made good on their promise to pay royalties. The editor also took the editing very seriously and my story improved as a result. Also, the cover is really unsettling. I like it.

The bad: my last name is misspelled in the headers above my story. There is no table of contents. (I hear from another contributing author that this was deliberate--the editor doesn't want any stories skipped.) The text on the back cover is pretty tough to read and another author has the wrong title (it's the next author's story) in the header above his. These things could (and should) all be fixed in a new, corrected edition, in my humble opinion.

My favorites were "Six Miles to Bastogne," a well-written WWII story by Ambrose Stolliker, and "Dark Matter" by B.D. Prince, which has a great ending and great last line.

Rating: I give it a C because of the misspelling of my name and the other formatting mistakes.
Here's a link to order, but I'd recommend getting the Kindle and just focusing on the stories.

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