Saturday, December 16, 2017

Honest Reviews of The Book of Blasphemous Words and Ink Stains #5

Since Amazon usually 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: The Book of Blasphemous Words
Theme: horror and supernatural fiction based on religion, deities, and zealotry
Publisher: A Murder of Storytellers
Editor: CJ Miles IV
Number of stories: 29
Pages: 281
Price: $12.99 paperback, $2.54 Kindle

Favorite stories: "A Hole in the Head Reveals the Secret Nature of All Things" by Joseph Shelton (I think he's a brilliant writer with a great voice), "Sack Race to the River" by Chris Kuriata (terrifying ending), "The Unearthed Thing" by Ben Larned (gorgeous use of language), "The Sign" by John Biggs (he never disappoints) and "The Annunciation of Josie" by Jack Burgos (seems like this story could actually happen...)

My story: "Hero Worship," in which a "Christian" heavy metal singer and an impressionable fan exchange a series of emails. The story reads backwards, with the newest email first, and obviously things do not end (or start?) well for the young fan.

Final thoughts: I give the anthology an A-. The publisher, A Murder of Storytellers, always produces excellent anthologies featuring talented authors. I'm never disappointed. Kudos for them always turning out a fine product. And Joseph Shelton and John Biggs deserve a wider audience. Let's start with YOU.

You can order The Book of Blasphemous Words here.


Title: Ink Stains 5
Theme: literary dark fiction
Publisher: Dark Alley Press
Editor: N. Apythia Morges
Number of stories: 12
Pages: 193
Price: $15.95 paperback, $3.99 Kindle

Favorite stories: "Agents of the Seraphim" by Michael Pico, "Dick and Ruth Forever" by Paul Tanner, and "Pleased to Meet Me" by Peter Emmett Naughton. I also want to praise the layout of this book. It's gorgeous and I appreciated the special attention to detail and extra effort that sets it apart.

My story: "Always Confined" in which Johann, an elderly survivor of Nazi-occupied Germany, receives a gift from a well-meaning relative that forces him to relive one of his darkest moments.

Final thoughts: I give this anthology a B. Very solid overall, and I loved the layout. With only 12 stories, I didn't quite LOVE enough of them to give it an A. But it's good, no doubt about it.

You can order Ink Stains #5 via this link. (See what I did there?)

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Honest Reviews of Zippered Flesh 3 and HWA Poetry Showcase IV

Since Amazon usually 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: Zippered Flesh 3
Theme: horror tales of body enhancements gone bad
Publisher: Smart Rhino Publications
Editor: Weldon Burge
Number of stories: 19
Pages: 371
Price: $18.95 paperback, $3.99 Kindle

Favorite stories: "Worm" by Jeff Menapace, "All Will Turn to Gray" by Jezzy Wolfe, "Invisible" by E.A. Black, "And the Sky Was Full of Angels" by L.L. Soares, "Shopping Spree" by Meghan Arcuri, and my favorite, "Closer" by Charles Colyott.

My story: "Reduced to Tears," which describes a world where extreme body modification--in the form of yearly reductions--is the social norm. Margo thinks she's met the man of her dreams, until he breaks her heart by asking her to do the unthinkable.

Final thoughts: I give the anthology an A. What a thrill to share a table of contents with legends like Graham Masterton, Jack Ketchum and William F. Nolan, and Billie Sue Mosiman and James Dorr are talented pros as well. My favorites this time around were all new to me. In particular, Meghan Arcuri, L.L. Soares, and Charles Colyott all turned in riveting page-turners. Colyott's "Closer" keeps popping into my head at random times weeks after finishing the book. This may sound absurd, but I'm teary-eyed AGAIN just thinking about it. Powerful story.

You can order Zippered Flesh 3 right here.

Title: Horror Writers Association Poetry Showcase Volume IV
Theme: poems by members of the HWA
Publisher: HWA via Create Space
Editor: David E. Cowen
Number of poems: 50
Pages: 90
Price: $7.99 paperback, $2.99 Kindle

Favorite poems: "Stranded" by Robert Perez, "Atoms and the Void" by Miriam H. Harrison, "Cthulhu, Call Your Mother" by Lenore Hart, "The Length of His Spine" by Rob E. Boley, and "They May Not Tell Tales, But They Do Sing Songs" by Nina Shephardson.

My poem: "The Burial Shroud." A short poem about the so-called One Percent versus everyone else, and how it all ends.

Final thoughts: Overall, I give it a B. Besides my "top 5" noted above, I also appreciated the poems of Steve Rasnic Tem and Annie Neugebauer, in particular. The beauty of this showcase is that you can read it for fun, or read it to better understand poetry, or (in my case) a bit of both. I read every poem aloud first, then silently, then aloud again. Based on cost and how small the book is, page-wise, I'd recommend the Kindle. (There's even a deal where you can get all four volumes on Kindle for one price in one download.)

You can order HWA Poetry Showase IV here.

Monday, December 4, 2017

HONEST Reviews of DOA III and Memento Mori anthologies

Since Amazon usually 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: DOA III
Theme: EXTREME horror
Publisher: Blood Bound Books
Editors: Marc Ciccarone and Andrea Dawn
Number of stories: 30
Pages: 397
Price: $15.99 paperback, $6.66 Kindle

Favorite stories: "The Broken Hearted" by T. Fox Dunham, "N Word" by Shane McKenzie (this one nauseated me--yes, that's a compliment), "The Machine" by Bentley Little, "Bury Them Deeper" by David Sandner, "Beer Battered" by K. Trap Jones, "Taking Root" by Christoph Weber, and "Ritchie" by Eric Guignard.

My story: "Proud Papa," in which a man gets to experience a lifetime of parenthood in a single hour, but with horrifying results.

Final thoughts: Honored to share a table of contents with legendary authors like Bentley Little, Richard Christian Matheson, John Skipp, Jack Ketchum, Edward Lee, Wrath James White, and Jeff Strand. I own books by all these authors, and they're all famous in the world of horror literature for a reason. The up-and-comers all bring great stories to the table as well. This book is a bargain for the price. A+

You can order DOA III here.

Title: Memento Mori
Theme: dark stories about death
Publisher: Digital Fiction Publishing
Editors: Wills, Lockhart, Reeves-McMillan
Number of stories: 30
Pages: 424
Price: $16.29 paperback, $2.99 Kindle

Favorite stories: "My Wasteland" by T. Fox Dunham (surreal, harrowing, and semi-autobiographical), "Dead Men Tell No Tales" by Elaine Cunningham, "The Broken Silence of Fanghan" by Jennifer Brozek (fascinating concept), "Father Figure" by Tracie McBride (Oh. My. God.), "The Cottage of Curiosities" by Annie Neugebauer (holy crap that one was scary), "Dead Girls Don't Love" by Sarah Hans and "Acrylic on Canvas" by William Holden. My favorite (though it was almost impossible to pick) was the haunting and heartbreaking "Ghost Story" by Carly Holmes.

My story: "Cold Feet," in which a mortician's assistant goes to great lengths to win the affection of the man she loves. Part creature horror, part body horror, part morbid humor. One of my favorites.

Final thoughts: This book doesn't have as many "big name" authors as the other one I reviewed, but I actually liked it just as much, if not better. It's a good deal, packed with stories, and the Kindle is super cheap.

And WOW! so many female authors totally kicked ass in this anthology. Remember these names: Elaine Cunningham, Jennifer Brozek, Tracie McBride,  Annie Neugebauer, Sarah Hans, Carly Holmes. Those happened to be my favorites, but do yourself a favor and buy this book. No matter what, I think you'll be impressed by the authors (men AND women) featured! A+

You can order Memento Mori by clicking this link.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Honest Reviews: Grave Markers Volume 3, Cranial Leakage 2, and Depraved Desires

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

All three were published in 2017 and easily found on Amazon and other online booksellers.

Publisher: Grinning Skull Press
Editor: Michael Evans
Number of stories: 3 (novelettes)
Pages: 163
Price: $11.99 for paperback. All three novelettes available for Kindle individually at 99 cents each.
Theme: historical horror stories, two weird westerns, and the third is hard to pin down (it's never really specified.)

Favorite: Dominic Stabile's story is a quick, fun read about an outlaw gang who are in fact, all supernatural creatures. (I won't spoil the surprise though.)

My story: "Bottled Spirits," in which Truman Bonner and his son Isaac embark on a harrowing series of adventures in a quest to find Helena Bonner, who's gone missing after a drunken argument. One of my favorite stories I've ever written, and deeply personal.

I give it a B+ overall. If you are cost conscious, I'd recommend getting the Kindle versions of Full Moon in the West and Bottled Spirits for 99 cents each. I love having the actual books, though, so I'm glad I paid extra. Here is the link to the paperback.

Publisher: Grinning Skull Press
Editor: Michael Evans
Number of stories: 21
Pages: 266
Price: $15.95 for paperback. $3.99 Kindle.
Theme: non-themed horror stories

Favorites: "Snowbound" by Damir Salkovic has a classic Weird Tales style and setting and was an early standout. "Slashes of Joy" by Chris Phillips, "Darwin's Ravens" by Jonah Buck and "The Night Auction" by Catherine Grant were all strong, memorable stories. My favorite of them all was "The Anteater" by Robert Stava. It was like something Bentley Little would write, only funnier.

My story: "Another Mouth to Feed" is a body horror story that was partially inspired by real events.

I give this anthology an A. Great cover, nice story selection, no duds, several highlights. Ordering link is right here!

Publisher: HellBound Books
Editor: Xtina Marie
Number of Stories: 26
Pages: 354
Cost: $12.96 paperback, $4.99 Kindle
Theme: Dark Erotica (or Erotic Horror)

Favorites: "Show Off City" by Shaun Avery, "Dark Desires" by Dusty Davis, and the superb "Small Town Vampire" by Brandon Cracraft.

My story: "Twenty-Six Photographs" in which a man coerces his wife to indulge in his vices. I don't feel like my story was as good as it could have been. The first reason is that in the book, there are hard returns creating new paragraphs where there shouldn't be (not my doing). The second reason IS my fault. I let the author read between the lines to get to the true horror of the story and I think maybe I should have been more obvious, or gave better clues. The main character doesn't worry about his wife after their "exploit" is finished. He is only focused on himself. That, to me, is the Horror of the story, but readers might miss that.

I give this anthology a B. There are a few stories I didn't care for, but the overall quality of the stories is quite good--almost unexpectedly so. If you like horror and erotica mixed, I think you'll enjoy this anthology. Order it here.

2017 Anthologies: Thanksgiving Update

Adrian's third collection, ANT FARM NECROPOLIS, features 18 newly-collected stories and two poems. It was published in late June of 2017 by A Murder of Storytellers.

Includes the following stories:
Four Houses Down (on the Bad Side of Town) / Death Guiding 350 Horses / Reynolds’ Tale / Everyone Wears a Mask / Ant Farm Necropolis (poem) / I Can Do What I Need to in the Dark / Glass Caskets / Slay It Forward / Questions Still Unanswered / The Way It Will Be / Little Hearse on the Prairie / Sprat / Building Condemned / Heart Like an Anchor / Rougher than the Rest / After the Storm (poem) / Storm Cloud Rain, Graveyard Dirt / The Monster’s Leather Apron / Reunited / Sod Webworms.

Order directly from the publisher.
Or from Amazon here.



Zippered Flesh 3

Zippered Flesh 3 is the newest anthology from Smart Rhino Publications. This is Adrian's second appearance in a Smart Rhino anthology. (The first being Insidious Assassins)

Theme: body modification horror

Story included: Reduced to Tears.
Margo lives in a society where people have surgical reductions of their bodies each year of their lives. She meets the man of her dreams but once they start dating, he insults her by asking something unspeakable of her...

Also features fiction from Graham Masterton, William F. Nolan, Jack Ketchum, Billie Sue Mosiman, and many more. Edited by Weldon Burge.

Order Zippered Flesh 2 here!


Ink Stains (Volume 5)

Theme: literary dark fiction

Story included: Always Confined. 
A man who escaped Nazi Germany during World War II receives a gift from a well-meaning relative and instead is forced to relive his harrowing ordeal --and face his darkest secret.

This anthology also features stories by Michael Picco, Paul Tanner, Tiffany Michelle Brown, and many more. The publisher is Dark Alley Press. Edited by N. Apythia Morges.






Blood in the Rain 3

Theme: Erotic vampire fiction

Story included: Erotic, Aquatic.
An amorous couple end up as castaways in a lifeboat in the Black Sea in the middle of the night. But who is the pale stranger in the boat with them and why is he suggesting they undress? What does he want? And what will happen when the sun rises?

This anthology also features steamy vampire fiction from Jordan Monroe, Andrea Dale, Amber Dawn Eris and many more. The publisher is Cwtch Press. Edited by Cecelia Duvalle and Mary Trapanier.




Horror Writers Association: Poetry Showcase IV

Theme: poetry by horror authors

Poem included: The Burial Shroud.
It's the one percent versus the rest of the world in this short poem.

Featuring poetry by Bruce Boston, Stephanie Wytovich, Steve Rasnic Tem, John Palisano, and many more!

Order HWA Poetry Showcase Volume IV here!

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Corporate Cthulhu Needs YOUR Support!

The official KICKSTARTER campaign has begun!

Contribute HERE to help fund this anthology.

Evan Dicken and I collaborated on a 6900 word story called "Esoteric Insurance, Inc." It is one of the tales set to be included in Corporate Cthulu.

Most of the stories are horror, but a few are humorous too. The more money raised, the more stories will be included. 

There are many, many gifts and incentives for making a pledge. Here is one example:

"Pledge $60 or more and you will get:
Signed paperback of Ant Farm Necropolis by Adrian Ludens
Paperback copy of Corporate Cthulhu anthology
PDF/EPUB/MOBI copy of Corporate Cthulhu
Your name in the acknowledgement section (if you wish)"

There are higher dollar options and more economical options; see the LINK for the complete list.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Honest Reviews of The Prison Compendium and The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories



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.

Publisher: EMP Publishing
Editors: Jennifer Word and Kimberly King
Number of stories: 33
Pages: 285
Price: $5.99 Kindle, $14.95 for paperback.
Theme: prison-themed stories, mostly mystery and horror
My story included: a reprint of Solitary Man, in which a penitentiary guard confesses to his comatose son the dark secrets of a famous author held in solitary confinement.

My favorites were: "End A Days" by Kristin Dearborn, "The Flea Jar" by Layla Cummins, "Second Chance" by Tom Larsen, "Swing A Sparrow on a String" by Ken Goldman.

I give it an A-. Only a couple stories that didn't grab me, and a wide variety of interpretations of the theme. You can order a copy here.


Title: The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories
Publisher: Robinson
Editor: Maxim Jakubowski
Number of stories: 37
Pages: 562
Price: $6.99 Kindle, $14.99 for the paperback.
Theme: Jack the Ripper stories

My story included: The Monster's Leather Apron, in which the man responsible for the murders attributed to Jack the Ripper escapes England and resurfaces a decade later in Alaska during the Gold Rush. A fever, a betrayal, and a dash of the supernatural combine to push Edward (aka Jack) to his breaking point.

This is a hefty volume and it took me a long time to finish. I'd read a story here and there, because 37 different interpretations of Jack the Ripper's crimes seemed like it would get stale. (They don't actually.) I'm glad I paced myself because each story really shines. There were only a couple I didn't care for, and one in particular was written in an experimental style that made it tough for me to understand. Most, however, were good to great.

My favorites were numerous. With so many great interpretations, it's difficult to select even a handful. Start with the always amazing Steve Rasnic Tem's Monkeys for a Ripper story unlike any other! I also thoroughly enjoyed the tales by Martin Edwards, Paul Freeman, Nic Martin, K.G. Anderson, William Meikle, Brett McBean and David Bishop, among others.

Rating: A
Honored to be included in such a respected series (The Mammoth Book of...) You can --and should-- order a copy here.

ANT FARM NECROPOLIS is out now!

Ant Farm Necropolis is HERE!

Eighteen macabre stories and two poems by Adrian Ludens. 

Clive wants to show you around his home, but watch out; it harbors more than just recollections from his bizarre past in "Four Houses Down." 

Those who want insight into Poe's descent into madness prior to his death should pay close attention to "Reynolds' Tale." 

The Idea Man is a retired professional killer who employs a novel method for making the world a better place in "Slay it Forward." 

Jack the Ripper brings mayhem and murder to Alaska during the Gold Rush in "The Monster's Leather Apron." 

Randle has a job he loathes; erasing people from existence in "Death Guiding 350 Horses." 

These characters and many more are waiting inside this new collection from the author of When Bedbugs Bite and Bedtime Stories for Carrion Beetles.


Friday, May 26, 2017

Ant Farm Necropolis Cover Reveal and Pre-Order

Pre-order ANT FARM NECROPOLIS here!

18 newly collected stories and 2 poems. Cover art by M. Wayne Miller. Published by A Murder of Storytellers.

Available June 23rd.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

2017 Anthology Recap

Adrian's third collection, ANT FARM NECROPOLIS, features 18 newly-collected stories and two poems. It was published in late June of 2017 by A Murder of Storytellers.

Includes the following stories:
Four Houses Down (on the Bad Side of Town) / Death Guiding 350 Horses / Reynolds’ Tale / Everyone Wears a Mask / Ant Farm Necropolis (poem) / I Can Do What I Need to in the Dark / Glass Caskets / Slay It Forward / Questions Still Unanswered / The Way It Will Be / Little Hearse on the Prairie / Sprat / Building Condemned / Heart Like an Anchor / Rougher than the Rest / After the Storm (poem) / Storm Cloud Rain, Graveyard Dirt / The Monster’s Leather Apron / Reunited / Sod Webworms.

Order directly from the publisher.
Or from Amazon here.



Zippered Flesh 3

Zippered Flesh 3 is the newest anthology from Smart Rhino Publications. This is Adrian's second appearance in a Smart Rhino anthology. (The first being Insidious Assassins)

Theme: body modification horror

Story included: Reduced to Tears.
Margo lives in a society where people have surgical reductions of their bodies each year of their lives. She meets the man of her dreams but once they start dating, he insults her by asking something unspeakable of her...

Also features fiction from Graham Masterton, William F. Nolan, Jack Ketchum, Billie Sue Mosiman, and many more. Edited by Weldon Burge.

Order Zippered Flesh 2 here!


Ink Stains (Volume 5)

Theme: literary dark fiction

Story included: Always Confined. 
A man who escaped Nazi Germany during World War II receives a gift from a well-meaning relative and instead is forced to relive his harrowing ordeal --and face his darkest secret.

This anthology also features stories by Michael Picco, Paul Tanner, Tiffany Michelle Brown, and many more. The publisher is Dark Alley Press. Edited by N. Apythia Morges.






Blood in the Rain 3

Theme: Erotic vampire fiction

Story included: Erotic, Aquatic.
An amorous couple end up as castaways in a lifeboat in the Black Sea in the middle of the night. But who is the pale stranger in the boat with them and why is he suggesting they undress? What does he want? And what will happen when the sun rises?

This anthology also features steamy vampire fiction from Jordan Monroe, Andrea Dale, Amber Dawn Eris and many more. The publisher is Cwtch Press. Edited by Cecelia Duvalle and Mary Trapanier.




Horror Writers Association: Poetry Showcase IV

Theme: poetry by horror authors

Poem included: The Burial Shroud.
It's the one percent versus the rest of the world in this short poem.

Featuring poetry by Bruce Boston, Stephanie Wytovich, Steve Rasnic Tem, John Palisano, and many more!

Order HWA Poetry Showcase Volume IV here!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

New Collection to be published in June!

It's official. I am thrilled to announce my third collection, Ant Farm Necropolis, will be published by A Murder of Storytellers, llc. in June of this year!

A Murder of Storytellers is a small press out of Tulsa, OK. They specialize in horror and dark fiction anthologies. This will be their first single author collection!

The collection will be edited by Adrean Messmer.

I am also excited to announce that M. Wayne Miller has been commissioned to paint original artwork for the cover! I am a big fan of his style, which is vibrant and eye-catching.

Back cover text for Ant Farm Necropolis:

Twenty-one macabre stories and poems by Adrian Ludens. Clive wants to show you around his home, but watch out; it's populated by more than just recollections from his bizarre past in "Four Houses Down, on the Bad Side of Town." Those who want insight into Poe's descent into madness prior to his death should pay close attention to "Reynolds' Tale." The Idea Man is a retired hit man who has a novel idea to make the world a better place in "Slay it Forward." Jack the Ripper brings mayhem and murder to Alaska during the Gold Rush in "The Monster's Leather Apron." Randle has a job he loathes, erasing people from existence in "Death Guiding 350 Horses." These characters and many more are waiting inside this new collection from the author of When Bedbugs Bite and Bedtime Stories for Carrion Beetles.

I have sold stories to A Murder of Storytellers on four previous occasions.

Beyond the Nightlight includes my story, "Methods of Coping" which features a young boy trying to come to terms with his mother's disappearance, and his father's sudden fascination with cooking meat.
The Book of Blasphemous Words reprints my story, "Hero Worship." In it, an impressionable fan and a religious zealot heavy metal singer exchange a series of disturbing emails, leading to grim consequences.
Broken Worlds includes my story, "The Way It Will Be," in which a simple-minded gas station attendant is manipulated into reporting the nightly news. It's all true, but only after he says it.
Now Playing in Theater B includes my story "Four Houses Down, on the Bad Side of Town." In it, a middle-aged man reminisces as he takes a prospective home buyer through his house. The line between truth and lunatic ramblings blurs as the tour unfolds, leading to a sudden and shocking conclusion.













Ant Farm Necropolis will make its debut at SoDak Con 2017.

More updates to follow!
Thanks for reading!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Zippered Flesh 3 Kickstarter! Masterton, Ketchum, Nolan and more!

Zippered Flesh 3 horror anthology Kickstarter

Click the link above to check out a super cool trailer for Zippered Flesh 3: Yet More Tales of Body Enhancement Gone Bad!

A fantastic lineup of dark fiction authors is lined up for this anthology, including a trio of legends: Jack Ketchum, Graham Masterton, and William F. Nolan.

My story, "Reduced to Tears" is also slated for publication... but it will ONLY happen if the publisher reaches their Kickstarter goal to fund this project!

Take a look at MANY incentives and gifts you will get for pledging to this outstanding horror anthology.







Editor Weldon Burge is a pleasure to work with. My story "Slay it Forward" appears in the anthology Insidious Assassins, which he edited. Several of the stories were so engaging I felt as if Death were standing just over my shoulder...

Hmm. Anyway, I hope you'll take a look and consider pledging (don't forget the Thank You gifts)! Every dollar helps!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Novelette "Bottled Spirits" now available!

My brand new standalone novelette, Bottled Spirits, is now available. 58 pages of weird western action and adventure, with threats both supernatural and true-to-life.

Available from Amazon as a Kindle download, you can get Bottled Spirits  for only 99 cents right here!

Later (perhaps in the spring) it will be collected with two other historical horror novelettes in a paperback edition.

"Truman Bonner is used to battling personal demons, but an encounter with a parasitic imp leaves him shaken to the core. He locks the imp in a secret cell beneath Deadwood, hoping never to encounter the evil entity again. Then Truman's wife disappears from their homestead after a late-night argument, and Truman and his son, Isaac, set out to bring her safely home. Confronted by a series of harrowing supernatural ordeals, the trail leads them back to the imp's macabre prison. Casualties mount, innocence is lost, and before the family is reunited, more than one person will have made a deal with the devil."



Additionally, Weldon Burge at Smart Rhino Publications has launched a Kickstarter campaign for a body horror anthology called "Zippered Flesh 3". Check out the trailer and consider pledging HERE!


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