Thursday, 13 February 2014

Celebrating Women Horror Writers Challenge Results

So how many took the challenge and read the last six pieces to see which ones were written by women? We had lots of discussion in Kindle Horror Books and on various pages; heard some mention they were all written by 'chicks'; others said they honestly could not tell. But, what I found most interesting is no one jumped in with both fangs and said 'Hey, I think this one is a women because XYZ and this one is a male because of 123'.

I did have one person question whether the pieces were written for the article, which I thought was a damn good question. No they weren't. These were all existing pieces of work. Otherwise we (I) could have skewed the results.

I find that interesting. I posted this article on my wall in FB, on Google +, others shared it on their walls and groups and ......nada.......

Why? Too afraid to take a guess and be wrong? Not interested? Have no opinion? I certainly heard a lot of opinions as to why women could not write horror. Nothing scientific, no empirical data, nothing concrete or anything that said women cannot write horror because they ______  (fill in the blank). But a lot of spouting off to say men were better. And I find that odd.

More men than women write horror, absolutely. More men also fail miserably at it than women. I read well over 300 books a year, all horror. Most are male authors, and most books lack several things:

  1. Editing: most of the time I will grit my teeth and highlight the errors in a book. If I feel generous, I will contact the author and tell him of his mistakes. Most of the time it is appreciated. Sometimes it isn't. And then I wonder, if you go to all that trouble to write, to conceive a baby of little black and white words, marks and squiggles on the page, to lose sleep over plot, theme, idea, journey, etc and then throw that child into the market without being properly dressed, what the hell were you thinking? I have heard male authors say 'I know this isn't edited, but here it is and please pay me $2.99 for it'. Arrogance? Laziness? Ineptitude? Or do they simply think their work is strong enough to go out without editing?
  2. A consistent, or varying pace: it's either all action and plot with no down time, or it is one grand soliloquy after another. Just the other day I read a piece and I think I must have skimmed more than three quarters of it because I was bored to tears.
  3. No likeable characters: there is no one to root for; no one to cheer on. No one to feel sad about if they get killed. Yes jerks exist. I get it. Bad neighbourhoods exist. People of both genders being assholes exist. But if I lived in a world like that, I would seriously have to hide the sharp objects. There is not one person who is completely evil. Not one person who has no redeeming qualities or character or something that can make a reader want something better for that person. Can you imagine if Ira Levin wrote Rosemary's Baby and she was a whining, cursing, nagging, shrew of a harpy who smoked, ate with her mouth hanging open and and scratched her private parts in public. The novel would have gone nowhere. Now, bad people in books can be completely evil, absolutely, but your main character better have something going for them or you lose the reader.
  4. Making the female characters too weak: biggest pet peeve of the movie The Shining was Shelley Duvall's character taken from being a strong female who had a mind of her own, to a screaming, flailing, simpering mess of a one dimensional character. The screaming, the flailing, oh wait in this scene you flail, and then scream. Really? Yes writing is difficult, and writing another gender even more so, but while the end of the world is crashing down around your ears, your last thought, as a female, as you are being chased by vampires through a New York subway system, is not to stop running and have sex. Sorry. Plot Hole. Ginormous plot hole. Or if a woman has just given birth and  then is invited to spend the weekend on a secluded, un-escapable cannibal island, I am positive she would say no.  But apparently one male author thought this was plausible.Then there was the police officer who was in uniform while her long, blonde cascading hair fell down her back. Again. Nope, ain't gonna happen. 
The other thing that happened was a lot of posts bashing Women in Horror Month. Bashing the logo, bashing women, bashing women writers. Just a whole lot of angry comments, and again, I found that.....typical.

I work in a male dominated field, and in a male dominated sub field. I hear it. The snide comments. The off hand remarks. The 'oh we were only joking' put downs. And I think to myself, we really have not evolved all that far as a species here in North America.

I raised my kids to be people, not gender specific roles. I taught them respect for one another and instilled in them a need to question. If someone tells you, you cannot do this because of your gender, ask them why. My boys played with Barbies, and no, they are not gay. My daughter was the first girl in Manitoba to join the Boy Scouts because she hated what the Girl Guides did. And my kids are very well adjusted, normal, kind, loving adults.

So what started out as a simple question grew into so much more.......and by the way, entries 1,2 and 4 were women writers. 

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Celebrating Women Horror Writers: Do Women Write Horror Differently Than Men?

I have heard the comments growing up; women can't be professional race car drivers; women can't be professional chefs; women can't do comedy and women can't do horror. These comments usually came from men. And I often wondered what it was about these professions and gender that sealed the deal. No one could tell me or pin point the error, other than saying women weren't funny or couldn't cook professionally. I found it interesting that girls develop language earlier than boys, read easier and faster because of brain development, write quicker and neater for the same reason, so why could they not write horror? If they developed these skills at an early age and worked on them longer, why was horror the one thing they could not write? Do we not have the stomach for it? Do we not give enough detail? Too much emotion? Not enough sex or violence? Too subtle? Pretty it up too much? Add sparkles....oh, wait.

Then came crime. Women weren't sexual predators. Women weren't serial killers. Women weren't sadists. And again I pondered this mythos our society perpetuates about gender. I have known many female sexual predators that went after both male and female children. I have known women that tortured people, women that enjoyed inflicting pain, women that sought it out and women that led the chase.

Granted, they were fewer in number when it came to getting caught and in serial murders, but in sexual crimes the numbers were almost as high.

So what's the problem? As an impromptu question on Facebook, I asked, Do you read female authors? Why or why not? Most of the people had only positive things to say, and that gender did not factor in. Others pointed out that there were more male authors than females, which is correct. But some did say nope. Won't read them. And they pointed out things like females hold back and men are more disturbing. Others said women writers dissolve in to dark romance. I am not going to argue with these people because they are correct. I remember when paranormal meant anything vaguely paranormal related. Now, it is usually a term for paranormal romance writers (not all of whom are women, by the way).

But I do think there are some women that knock it out of the park; Chantal Noordeloos, Billie Sue Mosiman, Penelope Crowe, Suzi M, Allison Dickinson, Lisa Lane and there are many, many more.

Do women write horror differently than men? You be the judge. I am going to post six pieces.One of them is mine. What makes these pieces work? Not work? Which were written by the women? How can you tell?


Sherryl felt a rush of impotent, bitter anger. She brushed a tear from the corner of her eye. A cramp tore through her. She drained her teacup and set it down on the table and drew her legs up on the couch, feeling it sinking and settling. “I'm so sorry, Noko,” she said. “I wish there was some way to fix it, to go back.” Noko shook her head. “So do I. They thought they were helping us. Kill the Indian in us, they said. They killed a lot more. My boy.” Sherryl raised her head to look at Noko over the side of the couch. The older woman's face was drawn, set in lines from years of pain. Shadows stretched her eyes into skull sockets. “Oh, Noko. What happened?” Noko took a deep breath and folded her hands in her lap, where they twisted like small animals burrowing. “I was gigishkaage,” she said. “Pregnant. How old were you?” Noko nodded. “Thirteen, maybe fourteen. We were supposed to be in school until sixteen, but a lot of us didn't last that long.” Sherryl had to stifle a sarcastic, inappropriate laugh, as if it was an understatement. She thought of another story, about a nun who had struck a child so hard the child's neck broke and the nun's instructions to the other children: step over the body and get back to class. “I was able to hide it most of the year,” Noko continued. “It was winter, late and cold and I couldn't hide it anymore. The people who ran the school, they were mean but not stupid.” “How did they find out?” Noko shrugged. “They saw it. Or maybe somebody told. Who knows? The matron, she beat me, but what was she going to do? I wouldn't tell her who the father was.” “What happened to the baby?” As far as she had ever known, her Uncle Ray was Noko's first born. Then her mother and her Aunt Bess. Noko looked at the moving pictures on the silent television. She stared for so long, Sherryl was about to give up and turn the sound back on, when Noko spoke again.


It wasn't until the titanium blade caressed her flawless cheek that she shook and wept, silently screaming under the duct tape. I pressed a little harder and the blade bit into her skin causing a scarlet trail of blood in its wake. She screamed but the duct tape muffled it well. I set the knife down and saw a moment of relief in her. Can’t have that now can we? Relief is no fun. I picked up the pliers and put her fleshy earlobe between the vice of the pliers. I then squeezed as hard as I could, delighting in her wincing and repressed screams. I had some more fun with the pliers on other parts of her body. Paying particular attention to her fingers. What can I say? I enjoyed the sickening crunch of her cartilage being mangled by the steely jaws. Several times she passed out from the pain, every single time I grabbed the smelling salts and brought her to.


For some reason he figured that must be his destination. Would getting there end the Hunt? Was there any end to the Hunt? There must be, for by the time he actually made it to the trailer he was in the Splatterhouse; walls dripping red blood, organs sticking to them as if they had been flung forcibly against them. Hands snatched at him, tried to trip him up, tried to grab his clothes and hair; disembodied extremities falling off the walls with fingers curling around his ankles. His progress was stunted by this, it felt worse than when he was being pursued by the masked chasers in the narrow tunnel bordered by canine fiends as he seemed to be getting nowhere. Every step he took shook the Splatterhouse walls and cascaded more blood down them, shook more mutilated flesh off them to fall upon him. A tangle of entrails dropped in ghastly ropes around his neck, an eyeball bounced off his cranium. Rolled along the plane of the floor, splashing into a puddle of congealing blood, staring at him. The masked Hunters came right through the walls. They ripped through them with their blades, sliced great holes and jagged rends in them as if they were actually composed of flesh, forcing their bodies through their created apertures, looking like mutated creatures in the midst of a gruesome birth.


Scarlet snarled and palmed her knife, holding the sharp blade just above Grandmother’s heart and plunged it deep with both hands. She closed her eyes, breathed in deeply, a moan of satisfaction escaped from her lips. She pulled out the knife and the spear and then rolled the body over, kicking it with her foot.  She licked the blood from the blade. It was still slightly warm, salty.
A hunger overtook her, consumed her. An overwhelming sensation enveloped her mind, like a mist which wrapped its nebulous folds around her synapses and nerves compelling her to consume the flesh. ‘Eat’ it insisted.
Scarlet sank to her knees and whimpered, fighting the command, while at the same time her hands moved willingly along the body, tearing at the clothes and discarding them in a pile. The knife traced the  sagittal line on the body neatly dividing it into two halves. The skin parted and Scarlet help separate it from the bone, and the internal organs spilled from their casing. Blood, gore, muscle and fat oozed onto the floor. Intestines and stomach contents collapsed into a gelatinous puddle of offal. Scarlet plunged her hands and arms into the mess, feeling the warm innards wrap themselves around her skinny arms. She rubbed the organs over her face and body, trying to fight the impulse to bite into the organs, but her hands kept shoving the body pieces closer and closer to her mouth. Gagging, Scarlet’s hand reached for the heart and pulled it out of the chest cavity. She gripped the muscle and yanked it out of its home, ripping it free with a slurping sound. Blood ran down her arms. Sobbing, gagging and turning her head, her hand forced the heart to her mouth, her mouth opening wider and wider. The heart was warm and slightly heavy in her hands, a myriad of red and blue veins and arteries. Scarlet slowly sunk her teeth into the muscle, the blood squelching between her teeth. She ripped into the meat and tore it in half with her teeth. She chewed and swallowed, chewed and swallowed and ate the entire thing and fell asleep amongst the mess.


The voice is in Denny’s head; a lilting sing-song, scolding him for something. His eyes remain clenched; he’s afraid to open them, terrified, though he has no idea why. Something’s not right. A stench fills his nostrils, familiar, surrounding him…drenching him. “Bad, bad daddy.” Harsher this time, as though through gritted teeth, the voice clotted, congested. No, the voice is not in his head. He slowly peels his eyelids apart, looks around at the blurred bedroom from where he huddles in the corner. Like a scene viewed through a lens smeared with grease everything is distorted, runny. The only color he can make out is a deep, violent red. And this red is everywhere, in Rorschach splotches and splashes, in rivulets and puddles. Everywhere.


“Nine months,” Susan said to her living room—her mourning room.  “Nine months, to-day.  And today’s the day, isn’t it?”
            No answer.  Why would there be?  She was alone, had been practically the entire time.
            No suprise.
            Her baby was coming.  And she knew, knew with knowledge and feeling, she wasn’t going to survive.  Nor did she deserve to.
            Little Susie Bruisey had messed around , yessiree.  Had messed around with a Tall, Dark and Handsome, and, as her mother would have said, had landed in the soup.
            Soup, hell, daddy would’ve added—you’re chin-deep in the chowder.
            She sat down on her couch, disgusted with the mess she had allowed to fester: pizza boxes, Chinese from Wong’s (“We Speak English/We Delivery” written on the side of their van), Stouffer’s by the ton (Lasagna Italiano, Macaroni and Cheese, Salisbury Steak, Meatloaf, shrimp scampi, and more), OJ cartons and bottles ... candy wrappers, and One A Day Women’s that she had taken by the triple (her baby was needy, and there’d been no OB/GYN prescribing prenatals), and that was just some of the food-stuffs.  There was also the piles of laundry, all dirty, full of filth and bile and crusted clumps of tissue and blood.  Way too much blood.  She hadn’t dealt with occasional spotting, no.  She had gushed, again and again, for months. 
            The price to pay.  And the bleeding had seemed the least of it.
            Hair had gone, too.  First, she lost her perm.  Then her hair went flat, its life gone.  It turned gray, then corpse white.  A sunrise or two later, started staying on her pillow.  Ugly warning patches of witch’s-tress.  Next, was its washing down the drain, freaking her out as it inch-wormed down her shower’s walls and snaked its way past her feet toward oblivion.
            She did have some teeth left. 
That was nice.
            But then there was the arthritis, the insomnia, the back-pain (let alone her arms, hands, legs and feet).  Oh, sweet Susie, let’s not forget about the incontinence—her favorite.  Or the bonus round of eczema that fruited everywhere save her healthy, rosy-glow stomach.  No carny would dare guess her age, which could be anything from 90 to 175. 
She used to be so, so pretty. 
            Last month she’d turned 22.
            Had it been worth it?
            But almost, she thought.  Oh, yes, almost.  She’d bedded an angel.  How many could say that?  A beautiful angel—a son of God.
            “I thought there’d be wings.”
            “No, Susan Thorpe.  No wings.  Angels don’t have wings … only the Seraphim on the Ark of the Covenant.  The wings are symbolic.”
            His voice had been magick, a mesmerizing croon.  And though there’d been no wings—“... Angels don’t have wings.”—there’d been that glow, his glow, flashing up the bedroom in its mystifying black-light, more romantic than a single or a thousand perfectly placed candles, a radiant smolder of the divine that shrouded the room, and her heart, in a blazing puissant embrace.
            He’d enveloped her.  One thrust.  That was all.  One thrust as she lay back, legs splayed, knees impossibly high, sex beckoning—begging, pillow under her bottom ... and that one seed-driving thrust.  A single plunge enforced by gripping, manly hands.  Just one singular, stabbing pitch of power and ... then he stopped, freeze-framed, shivered, yelled and—
            —she’d yelled with him, an orgasmic bellow beyond knowing that simultaneously was also a keening wail, an exhalation of release so pleasurably-traumatic it would kill her, would have to.  Would indeed be the highest blessing for which she could ever hope—to die with his coming and hers, her body and soul’s. 
            Yet, she’d somehow lived through to gasp another breath … then another.
            Her angel had left.  But not that nirvanic peak.  Oh, no—that remained on hold, ready to explode any time she flipped the switch.
            Still would, if she willed it.
            Her angel’s parting dowry, the anesthesia that kept her going through all these long and horrifically short months, the ability to put herself back into that cumming moment.  A perfect drug on mental tap that she could draw down on demand, any time, in any mood, day or night—the perfect distraction while her body channeled all its resources for the baby.  Don’t like going bald?  Go have a ten-hour orgasm.  Don’t like puking up your left lung?  Go twitch and drool through the night.
 How jealous Amy Winehouse would’ve been. 
At least she hadn’t had to worry about anything else.  All his promises had been kept: the place to stay, the DVD player, the big TV, all the food and utilities taken care of, all the clothes she could want—a full-blown complete blank-check.  Her job?  Sit back, zone out.  Feed her baby: its food, its fluids, her life. 
She only had to get through nine months, before, like a good little girl, it would be time to quietly slip away.
That’s almost what she had done.
            Till six days ago, when she’d said enough’s enough.  No more.  Till six days ago when a moment’s realization came that she was damned, her baby destined for the same … twice-over, that Little Susie Bruisey was going to Hell and how that would break her daddy’s heart, her mother’s … how her baby becoming his, would break hers. 
She’d said no more, and started to pray again, like when she’d been a little girl, even an early teen, well before discovering boys and how much fun it was to twirl them ’round slim fingers.  Well before discovering the intoxication inherent in saying fuck-all to her parents’ stooped rules.  Before she’d learned to say no, but to them, not drugs.  Yes, before all that.  Back to when she’d known how to pray, with an honest and believing heart. 
She’d tapped into those memories and brought back those blessed ways.  Humbled herself and begged.  For herself, sure.  It was inevitable.  Pure survival instinct.  But really, in her heart of hearts, she had pleaded for her unborn—for him (and it would be a him) to have a chance at redemption, for something better than the life of blasphemy and murder his father had planned.
            And then there was today, her seventh day of sobriety.  Wonderful number seven.  It was a good number. 
It was her last. 
Tonight was, after all, the night. 
Her baby was coming. 
            She looked at the good-bye letter, enveloped and scented with Love’s Baby Soft, like she’d used as a girl to mark all her birthday, Christmas, Mother’s and Father’s Day cards.  She’d even found enough strength to clean a spot on the disaster-strewn coffee table so it woudn’t get dirty.  Mommy and daddy were going to love it. 
            Colors had been one of her gifts.  She knew ’em all.  Collected them, too: pencils, pens, ink bottles and paints.  For her letter, there’d be nothing plain; a ball-point would’ve been an abomination.  She’d written her letter in calligraphy using a quill dipped in her favorite ink bottle: a small, circa 1950, cobalt-blue (her favorite color) glass affair, labeled, New Parker/Super Quick/Permanent Black/2 Fl. Oz.59cc/Made in USA. 
            The ink was a hell of a lot newer.  Still, Jane Austen would have been proud.
If she had any tears left, she’d let ’em fly. 
Her parents deserved so much better. 
Spilt milk. 
            She thought of her words, spat out some of the room’s stink, and thought of her words—of their total inadequacy:

            Dearest Daddy and Mums,
Remember your little girl ... do you?  Falling out of that apple tree, Daddy?  Busting her lip in the swimming pool, Mommy?  Always getting hurt, always sorry and ready to do better?  Well, she’s back.  Loving God again, and back.  And so sorry.  So very, very sorry.  Understand?
            I’m sorry.
            I’ve been bad, and I’ve gotten hurt again.  But it’s for the last time.  I’ll never be bad again, because I’m back in His loving arms—for good.  Don’t worry, no more and never.  Don’t cry, either, at least not more thanna little.  You’ll see me again … here, there, or in the air—I promise.  I’ve found the Lord again, and I’m okay. 
            Again, If I could just take it all back, everything, for being gone for so long, for torturing you two.  But that’s all over, and this time, as hard as it is to believe, I’m telling the truth.  Or like when I was littles and waiting for my new uppers: I’m tellin’ the troof.
Thank you for everything, and know that you were right.  You were right about it all.
            Loves and Misses,
                        Your Susan
xxx/ooo 4-ever and evers

            In retrospect, she supposed there were too many sorries in the letter.  They made her sound like some kind of ’tard, but that was okay.  She wasn’t going to change a thing. 
            She sniffled.
KFC napkin in-hand, she wiped her tears.  Guess, I wasn’t out after all, she thought. 
Then her doorbell rang, the first time in all these months. 
Christ a’mighty, what now?
            She thought about getting up and waddling to the door, scrawny left hand in vain trying to support her back, and then she thought better.  Why go to all the trouble?  The door wasn’t locked—never had been.  Why should it be?  She was safe as safe could get.  She was going to have his baby, after all.  Nothing on Earth could touch her.
            “Come ON IN.”  Old instincts started to drive her hands for some last-second hair fixin’, but she quickly corrected herself.  What was the point?  “Door’s unlocked.”
            The front door opened and two men in white stuck their heads inside.  Susan almost gasped.  Next to her angel, the two were the most handsome men she’d ever seen, their eyes almost glowing, almost golden—almost.  “Can I help you?”
            One of the men, the brown-haired one that made Brad Pitt look like a hairy-ass, said, “The Agency sent us.  Somebody having a baby?”
            “You could say that.”
            The other man answered her rhetorical statement: “Super.  We’re here to help you through it.”  And then they came in, each one carrying one of those medical kits she’d seen EMTs use on TV. 
            “Now who sent you guys?”
            Brown hair again, “The Agency.  Can we get started?”
            “Uh ….”
            Then the other guy, face and form perfect, hair blonde as a sunbeam, “Yeah, the Agency.  Now, what we’re going to do is set up, clean this place, and give you all the help you asked for and more.”
            “All the h—”
            “Shh,” blondie hushed.  “Don’t worry about a thing.  You were heard.  Now drink this.”  He opened his kit and pulled out a bottle of water made by some company called “Living Springs” and handed it to her.  “It’ll make you feel better, I promise, and then we’ll get crackin’.”
            The other guy smiled.  “Trust him.  He never lies.”
            “Never-ever.”  Blondie grinned and got moving.
            She opened the bottle and drank, and immediately felt all her fears melt.  She stared into the brown-haired man’s eyes, and for a second, the briefest of flickering moments, they were golden … shiny, heart-melting golden orbs.  She blinked and then they were blue again, but shifting … from lightning bolt to Nordic to gentian … others, all the blues in the universe, the kind she could just fall in forever and 4-ever. 
“Thank you, my name’s Susie Bruisey.”
            “Not any more, Lady Susan,” the two answered together.  “Not anymore.”

Ok begin your guesses........six entries, which ones are which?

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Solstice List: The Best Horror Stories and Novels of 2013 Not to be Missed

Solstice List: The Best Horror Stories and Novels of 2013 Not to be Missed

December 21, 2013 at 10:11am
It's that time of year again where the culmination of all my reading is condensed to one small list of all the best horror I have read over the past twelve months. This year was very difficult. There were too many novels, not enough anthologies, a few true stories and too many great choices. Even as I write this, I still have no clear winner in each category.

Please check them out. These are very diverse stories and very, very talented writers. Some of them are seasoned; some brand new; some are old friends and others, I have just met.

This week my father-in-law unexpectedly passed away. He had not been sick and was to be here for Solstice. He was a voracious reader and often "borrowed" my books when he flew back home to Montreal. He and I read the same kinds of books and shared the love for similar authors. Last summer when he visited, I broke down and told him I was writing a story about him and I explained a bit about it. I would listen intently when he told his war stories about being a fighter pilot in Sweden and Canada, and then, went on to become a flight safety investigator and then, one of the world's leading authorities on flight accident investigation. I would sneak in and out of the room writing notes, copying phrases he had just spoken so I could use something, anything, in a story. An idea occurred to me last year and I started writing a piece about a pilot that flew around the world and brought home trophies. With a gleam in his eye and a smile on his face, he laughed and told me he thought it was wonderful. He knew I wrote horror and this would not end well. I loved him and thought of him as the father I never had.

I dedicate this list to him. He would appreciate a lot of these authors,as he gave me a my first book of Roald Dahl short horror stories.


1. Hooked: A True Faerie Tale Michaelbrent Collings 
2. An Ill Wind Blows  Lori R. Lopez
3. Sapphire Bryan Alaspa


1. Zippered Flesh 2 Weldon Burge 
2. Sinister: Tales of Dread  Billie Sue Mosiman 
3. Limbus  Anne Petty
4. Dolly and Other Stories  Peter Dudar
5. Devil Let Me Go Nathan Robinson
6. Deeply Twisted Chantal Noordeloos
7. Death Quartet William Cook
8. Wrapped In Red Jennifer L. Greene
9. Satan's Toybox: Terrifying Teddies Stacey Turner
10. Kayla, Enchanted: Dark Fairy Tales with a Modern Twist  Christine Sutton

1.  A True Haunting  Edwin Becker 
2.  The Girl Next Door Jack Ketchum
3.  In the Footsteps of Dracula Stephen P. Unger
4.  These Things Happened Scott Nicholson


1.  Way of the Witch  Mark Parker

2.  Taut  Shaun Meeks
3.  Insulation Craig Saunders
4.  Interview With a Psycho Billie Sue Mosiman
5.  Devil Inside William Cook
6.  Candy Lady Neil Davies
7.  Yule Cat J.G. Faherty
8.  Strings Allison Dickinson
9.  Jugular Lori R. Lopez
10. The Demon's Tale Suzi M
11. Unleashed: Tale One Lori R. Lopez

1. Walls of Madness Craig Saunders
2. Angel of Death Peter Dudar
3. The 8th Matt Shaw
4. Failure John  Everson
5. Creep William Cook


1. On Call: Brooklyn Hudson

1. The Missing Years of Thomas Pritchard Matt Shaw

2. Strangers Michaelbrent Collings
3. Darkbound Michaelbrent Collings
4. The Estate Craig Saunders
5. The Bloodline: Birth of the Vampir Shaun McGinnis and Rod Garcia
6. The Evolutionist Rena Mason
7. The Devil Stood Up Chris Dougherty
8. Starers Nathan Robinson
9. Love of the Dead Craig Saunders
10. Death Perception Lee Allen Howard
11. ASBO: A Novel of Terror Iain Rain Winters
12. Hard Winter Neil Davies
13. Disintegration Scott Nicholson
14. Devil's Nightmare Robert Pruneda
15. Nikki's Secret William Malmborg
16. The Burning Time J.G. Faherty

Best Stories and Novels of the Year 2013
Best Stories and Novels of the Year 2013
Maj Sven Olof William Fritsch, CD, R.C.A.F. (Ret) Sept 25 1929 - Dec 15 2013

Celebrating Women Horror Writers

I love horror! I love women horror writers! There, I said it. I know, horror is a man's world, but, dammit, I want to play too. Apparently there are a lot of us out there that really know how to make things bleed, bump in the night, get possessed, get re-possessed, and so on.....

I, personally, love stabby things. It is visceral, up close and personal. None of that gun crap for me. I want to see my victim's life dwindle from their fear-worn eyes. I want to feel the life force pulsate and throb in my hands. Huh. I guess I want to be a surgeon and play God. But that will have to wait for another life.

In this one, I control my fears, my anger, my depression, my outrage and my disgust with pithy sayings with sharp objects. And I like it. In fact, I love it. I control everything in this marvelous little world I create in my head. I control people like marionettes and move the strings.

Writing is difficult. Most people think anyone can do it, and trust me, anyone cannot. I have read terrible poetry, blogs, stories and novels and I sigh. But I guess they are trying. Writing horror is a niche all unto itself because it is about an emotion. There is a cathartic process that happens in horror: the author writes the basis of her fear or stress, and the winds the words along the path in a way that connects with a reader so that the reader is engaged, entertained and, at the same time enthralled in the journey. This is a delicate procedure. It takes a certain finesse to pull this off. You don't need to pull in the romance, or the sex or the gore to write great horror. But you can, if that's how you feel.

I like subtle, realistic horror. Now, anyone that has read what I have written will gasp and delicately dab their upper brow and say, surely those awful things don't exist in this world and I laugh and laugh, because, yeah.............. they do.

Anyone who has ever been a school teacher or a parent or child and lived in the real world for five minutes will have seen the horrors out there. For example, Super Bowl Sunday Weekend will contribute to millions of dollars in the child sex trade and human trafficking. This is the biggest industry since the drug wars.

So, I write horror to take out my frustration on an uncaring and goddless society. And dammit, that makes me happy.

What I Learned From Six Feet Under

I finally watched all of Six Feet Under again and I loved it just as much the second time around and eight years later, than I did the first time around. I also made some interesting correlations between the show and life in general, and Nate Fischer's death and my life.

First of all, if you are a parent, children will hide information from you regardless if you can help them or not. Doesn't matter what kind of parent you were or are, it's a fact of life. Children grow in a different trajectory once they hit puberty and they become people all on their own...whether you want them to or not. And that hurts. It hurts the parent and it hurts the kid, however, they will not see this until they have kids of their own. It's like an unwritten rule. Everything in their life becomes much  more meaningful and all consuming other than their parents. And as a parent, you stand back and watch the pieces fall, try to pick them up, try to become involved, try to back off, try to become nonchalant, over-absorbed, over-obsessed or all of the above all at the same time and pray they come back to you on some level. Part of life. Hopefully they come back and we all move on.

We all hide parts of ourselves form ourselves and others. We are all in pain and we all deal with it the best way we know how. Like Brenda with her multiple sex partners, we have multiple frustrations and dance partners we deal with; depression, anxiety, illness, stress, PTSD, OCD, frustration, death of dreams, a life lived we had not planned, and hopes dashed before they had a chance to grasp hold. And we are all alone. No matter what is going on, we are alone. No matter how many siblings we have, how close we are, when the chips are down, we are alone. I know that sounds harsh, but it is a fact.

We all want the same things; people to love us for who we are; a place where we are safe; confidence that what we are doing is the right thing and a life free from as many obstacles as possible.

Nate Fischer died from AVM, Arteriovenous malformation, basically an abnormality present since birth that causes brain bleeds. He died from a brain bleed. And I completely forgot that part. Watching him convulse on the floor, be in the hospital, and die beside his brother brought back all the fear back again. Wondering if this is how it is going to work for me. Granted, I live with that thought every single day. But seeing it on the screen was weird. It was like stepping outside myself and seeing this moment through someone else's eyes.

I write horror. I think I know why.