(Black) Women in Horror Month: How What We Think Horror Is About Determines Who “Writes” It (Part 1)

Outstanding and thought-provoking blog post from KC Redding-Gonzalez on inclusivity… or the lack of in horror writing.

Zombie Salmon (the Horror Continues)

When it comes to Horror written by “minorities”, one has to wonder: just what are we afraid of?

During this Women in Horror Month we cannot help but look to our most obvious problem: exclusion of writers of color – especially noticeable in the volume of work not-included in the Horror genre… So here we are also in Black History Month in the United States. And here the twain will meet…

Because the off-putting drive to keep contemporary Horror tied to the white Weird Fiction of Lovecraft and not let it breathe and grow is perplexing. The message is clear: keep it clean, guilt-free, and colorless. Write for that prepubescent white male and yet produce “original” fiction – just not too original.

Why is it we still believe that no one wants to read Horror written by women or writers of color? Why is it we still believe that there…

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#Featured “Elemental: Shadows of Otherside Book 1” by Whitney Hill

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Enter an urban fantasy world where elves, vampires, weres, djinn, and others maintain a precarious balance of power in North Carolina. Welcome to Otherside.

Private investigator and sylph Arden Finch is determined to come out of the shadows and practice her forbidden magic. There’s just one problem: the elves have a bounty on elementals like her.

When an elf hires Arden without realizing what she is, she seizes the chance to gain leverage in the dangerous world of Otherside⁠—even if it means risking exposure. But as the case grows more perilous, Arden draws the attention of the region’s deadliest power players.

Fans of Kim Harrison, Faith Hunter, and the early Anita Blake series will find a kick-ass heroine to love in Arden.

Content warnings: swearing, light consensual sex, physical violence, death, slurs (not toward any real racial or ethnic group/identity), threat of sexual violence.

Grand Prize winner of the Writer’s Digest 8th Annual Self-Published E-book Awards (2020)

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#BookReview “Murder: It’s All in Your Head” by Cynthia Hilston

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4/5 Stars!

Emotionally and physically beaten and abused as a child, Helen Hawkins “blacks out” to avoid the horrors. What she at first believes to be daydreams, she realizes are the minds/bodies of other people.  Others who have easier lives where they’re loved and wanted.

Unlike her.

The death of the mother she loved, yet despised for not protecting her, and rejection from the only person she ever fell in love with leave Helen alone with her abuser… her minister father. She also has a new ability. She no longer suffers blackouts, but instead can possess the minds/bodies of others. Furious at never having the love and compassion so many take for granted, Helen will use her “gift” to “escape” and exact revenge on her father… and many others over the next one hundred years.

When two of her victims meet up in a mental hospital, they struggle to come to grips with who they are, especially when no one believes them, but their biggest obstacle is stopping Helen. Is it even possible?

Reminiscent of Denzel Washington’s Fallen, instead of possession by an ageless demon, this mind-bending thriller uses the endless abuses a young girl suffers to not only take her from her own mind (and body) but also make her the villain who wants others to suffer as she did. But could taking over the life of another teenage girl give Helen back her humanity or lead to her own personal hell… again?

Cassie/Randy/Jimmy are some of the well-written characters Helen interacts with who give this read its heart, along with a special mention for nurse Nora.

Enjoy!

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Someone has been getting away with murder for over 100 years in the small town of Hurston, Ohio. But the wrong person has been convicted of those murders every time. In 2018, Cassie Meadows is on her way to school when a bright flash comes out of nowhere, and she wakes in millionaire Randy Davis’s body with blood on her hands…the blood of Randy’s wife, who lies in a pool of crimson in the bathtub with her throat slit. Meanwhile, an old man everyone calls Jimmy Williams raves that he’s the real Randy Davis as he lives out his days in a ward for the criminally insane. In 1914, young Helen Hawkins is unloved and repetitively abused by her father, who is also the town’s pastor. Her only escape is in her dreams, where she wakes in others’ bodies, living other lives, but when her dreams turn out to be reality, the tables are turned on her father. In a story where no one is who they seem, how can Cassie, the latest victim accused of a murder she didn’t commit, end the cycle?

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#BlogTour “Murder: It’s All in Your Head” by Cynthia Hilston

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Someone has been getting away with murder for over 100 years in the small town of Hurston, Ohio. But the wrong person has been convicted of those murders every time. In 2018, Cassie Meadows is on her way to school when a bright flash comes out of nowhere, and she wakes in millionaire Randy Davis’s body with blood on her hands…the blood of Randy’s wife, who lies in a pool of crimson in the bathtub with her throat slit. Meanwhile, an old man everyone calls Jimmy Williams raves that he’s the real Randy Davis as he lives out his days in a ward for the criminally insane. In 1914, young Helen Hawkins is unloved and repetitively abused by her father, who is also the town’s pastor. Her only escape is in her dreams, where she wakes in others’ bodies, living other lives, but when her dreams turn out to be reality, the tables are turned on her father. In a story where no one is who they seem, how can Cassie, the latest victim accused of a murder she didn’t commit, end the cycle?

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Author Bio Cynthia Hilston

Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction. Visit her website at www.cynthiahilston.com for more information.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Supernatural and Outlander, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

Social Media Links  

Website   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Instagram   |   Goodreads  

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#Featured “The Secret Keepers (Black Water Tales Book 1)” by Jean Nicole Rivers

It’s midnight when Regina Dean receives a harrowing phone call. On the other end of the line a scratchy voice whispers, “They found her, Regina…they found her.” Over the phone Regina learns that the corpse of her best friend, Lola Rusher, has been found and she must return to her god-forsaken hometown of Black Water for the funeral of the beloved girl who disappeared when they were both only sixteen years old.

Regina returns to Black Water and is reunited with a cast of old friends. Soon she realizes that the details revealed with the discovery of Lola’s corpse do not make sense, especially the fact that Lola’s body was dug up on the land of their childhood piano teacher.

Determined to lay Lola to rest, Regina launches her own investigation, but someone in Black Water warns Regina to STOP DIGGING. She is thrown into a race to solve the mystery before she loses her mind or meets Lola’s fate.

Though Regina’s hometown is a fun house of disturbing characters and distorted images, the truth about what happened to Lola Rusher will be revealed along with a most unexpected and perverse secret that threatens to expose everyone in Black Water.

Everyone knows something, but no one knows everything…

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#NewRelease “Soul’s Day Boxset: Horror and Paranormal Halloween Anthology”

Old Hallows Eve, when things go bump in the night,
Children come to play, and the witches provide the fright.
For 19 authors, USA Today and international bestselling,
The Halloween tales become more than this foretelling.
In the Soul’s Day Boxset, a mansion feeds on souls,
A gargoyle captures them, and a demon dungeon master makes the calls,
Campers gets picked off one by one,
The Karnaval’s corn dogs are less than fun,
Ghosts lurking around every bend,
‘I do’ at the wedding is the very end.
A boxset of chills and thrills to keep you up at night,
One-click pre-order to snap your copy filled with fright.
On old Hallow’s eve when creatures come to play,
With this spine chilling pages, it’s where you’ll want to stay.

AUTHOR LINE UP

Erin Lee – USA TODAY BESTSELLING
Kristin Ping w/a Judith Holstrom – USA TODAY BESTSELLING
Amber Garr – AWARD AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Ashlee Sinn – AWARD AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
L.L. Hunter – AWARD AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Monique Singleton – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Majanka Verstraete – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Aubrey Wynne – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Stephanie Ayers – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
DM Wolfenden – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Maggie Tideswell – INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING
Sian B. Claven – AWARD WINNING AUTHOR
Kayla Krantz
Yvette Bostic
Brandy Nacole
Jennifer Fish-Ferguson
Azaaa Davis
Lea Cherry
Scarlet Le Clair

99c

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#Featured “The Seven Sisters Cottonwood Omnibus Edition: Includes all 9 books” by M.L. Bullock

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The Seven Sisters Ultimate Cottonwood Saga, including two bonus stories.

When historian Carrie Jo Jardine accepted her dream job as the chief historian at Seven Sisters in Mobile, Alabama, she had no idea what she would encounter.

The moldering old plantation housed more than a few boxes of antebellum artifacts and forgotten oil paintings.

Secrets lived there–and they demanded to be set free.

When young, wealthy Ashland Stuart offered Carrie Jo the job, he had no idea that she had a secret of her own.

An unexpected accident takes Carrie Jo back in time as a witness to life at the plantation over 150 years ago.

An impassioned plea from Ashland puts Carrie Jo in a precarious position as the two work together to find young and beautiful missing heiress Calpurnia Cottonwood.

A collection of journals and a series of dreams give Carrie Jo all the clues she needs to find the missing girl, but both a present-day danger and one from the past try to stop her.

Will Carrie Jo solve the mystery of the house or will she go missing forever herself?

Go up and click ‘Read for Free’ or ‘Buy Now’ and start reading today!

The Seven Sisters Complete Cottonwood Saga Includes:

1. Seven Sisters

2. Moonlight Falls on Seven Sisters

3. Shadows Stir at Seven Sisters

4. The Stars That Fell

5. The Stars We Walked Upon

6. The Sun Rises Over Seven Sisters

7. Christmas at Seven Sisters

8. Ghost on a Swing

9. Beyond Seven Sisters

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#NewRelease “Bitter Ground: A Northern Michigan Asylum Novel” by J.R. Erickson

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More than a decade ago, six kids witnessed unspeakable horror. Not all of them lived to tell.

Riza is no longer that kid – troubled, angry, and filled with secrets. She’s grown up, and when she stumbles upon an on-line forum about the shuttered Northern Michigan Asylum, she tries to pretend it never happened – not the years of experimentation, nor the strange midnight writings, and most of all, not the murders.

But someone wants her to remember.

Deaths shockingly similar to those that occurred in 1989 are happening again.

As the killings get closer to home, Riza is forced to face her past one last time.

Get lost in a chilling story of childhood secrets, unsolved murder, and a malevolent asylum for the insane.

Bitter Ground is the eighth and final installment in the Northern Michigan Asylum Series.

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#CoverReveal “Trapped Within a Dream” by J.P. Uvalle

Trapped Within a Dream By J. P. Uvalle

A Romantic Horror Suspense Short Story

Releases October 30th, 2020

Blurb

They say that when you die in a dream, you die in real life. I can tell you that isn’t true—I died in my dream, and what happened to me was much stranger than that…

Willow Divine, a goal-driven medical student with midterms around the corner, has enough on her plate. When she begins having a recurring dream with a shadow-like entity haunting every corner of her mind, the lines between fantasy and reality start to blend.
Axel, the lead singer of the college rock band, only complicates her situation. She believes his pursuit of her is more sinister than he lets on.
She discovers she’s right a little too late.
Now, Willow is trapped within a dream with no way out in sight.
Can Willow discover the truth
and escape her worst nightmare before she’s trapped forever?

JP takes you on a thrilling supernatural journey, filled with terror and twists at every turn inspired by some of her most horrifying nightmares.


*Not for the faint of heart*

Preorder Here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08H4TJ2XT

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Excerpt

“Willow?” a familiar voice whispered from above.
I reluctantly craned my head up to greet bright brown eyes and a temptingly wicked smile framed by tousled black hair.
The face of sin, the poster boy for all things, dark, brooding, and utterly dangerous.
“Axel.” I went back to my research. I didn’t have time for distractions.
I heard the chair next to me move, and Axel’s broad, muscular body appeared in my peripheral. He moved my chair closer to his, the fraction of his jeans sparked a warmth against my bare thigh. Smirking, he placed a brown paper bag in front of me. “I thought you might be hungry.”
The smell of grease, cheese, and hamburger meat wafted into the musky air tangling with his cedarwood cologne—a potently tantalizing combination. My stomach clenched, a rumbling noise barreling through me. I couldn’t remember the last time I had eaten. Glancing down at my wristwatch, I shook the daze from my head, fully aware of my hunger. I haven’t eaten since breakfast. My momma would take a belt to my hide if she’d known I’d been surviving on coffee alone.
Southerners didn’t play when it came to food. I didn’t grow up in the south, but my momma made sure her rich heritage was ingrained into every aspect of our lives. She brought the southern charm to wherever we were stationed. Our neighbors certainly appreciated her home-style cooking; it kept her busy when my daddy was overseas.
Reminiscing about Southern eats had me biting my lip, anticipating the mouthwatering taste of the juicy, salty cheeseburger.
“Thank you, Axel.” I reached for the bag, but he slapped my hand away.
I turned toward him, pinning him with a glare. I should have known there was a catch attached to this meal. That’s how Axel always wanted somethin’ from me.
“Not so fast.” That devilishly handsome grin I loved to loathe grew wider, consuming his face.
“What do you want now, Axel?” I leaned back, folding my arms over my chest.
His gaze bee-lined to my chest, but with a blink, they have linked with mine again. “Relax. I just want to have a meal with my girl.”
I rolled my eyes, blowing out a breath. This guy was relentless. “I’m not your girl. We ain’t even datin’.”
He leaned closer, his breath heating my ear. “We don’t have to be dating for you to be mine. Just make it easier for both of us and just accept it. Fry?” He dug into the bag and removed the carton of crisp and steaming waffle fries and waved it back and forth as if he were a hypnotist, and I was his powerless victim.
Who in the hell did this guy think he was? My second attempt to snatch the fries away failed, and he pulled them toward his chest.
“Just admit it, Willow, so we can eat.”
“No. I rather starve.” I didn’t understand his pursuit of me. I was startin’ to think he had a bet going with his buddies because there was no way the lead singer of the college’s infamous rock band Devil’s Descent wanted me to be his one true love when he could have any girl on campus.
His lips tugged into a frown. He set the fries down on the table and ran a hand through his shiny black hair. “I want to give you everything, but you just keep breaking my heart.”
“It ain’t my fault you won’t take no for an answer. I’ve been quite clear with how I feel ‘bout you.” My glare remained fixed. My momma warned me about boys like him, and I was giving for nothin’.
He met my glare with his. “Suit yourself.”
He snatched up the fries and shoved them back into the bag, taking the entire thing with him but not before whispering, “Sweet dreams, princess.”
His words froze me still, the chill frosting down my spine. Why on earth would he say that? It was still daylight. Maybe he was being his usually nosey self and noticed what I was reading.
I watched Axel disappear into the dark corner of the library without turning back.
After rolling my shoulders back to release the tension in my body, I continued my search, scanning the pages until a particular section caught my attention.
My heart strummed against my chest, my skin suddenly hot. My eyes widened as I blinked, not wanting to believe what I was reading. Had I found my answer?
The Dream Man:
Over twenty years, there have been reports of young women between the ages of 18-28 who had died in their sleep. In recent years, more deaths have followed before tapering off. The women had mentioned to family members and friends that a shadowy figure was haunting their dreams, nights before their sudden demise…

I snapped the book shut, sliding it across the table, unable to read anymore. My mind was infected with the horror within the pages. That can’t be true. Right? Things of that nature didn’t exist. Those were just myths and urban legends—ghost stories. I shook my head in denial. I’m just really stressed. The shadow…it means nothing.



Follow the Author

Website: https://www.beautifullytwistedpublishing.com/

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/J.P.Uvalle/

https://www.facebook.com/LunaJadeAuthor/

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15064096.J_P_Uvalle

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/20406249.Luna_Jade

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/J.-P.-Uvalle/e/B01COAU85K

https://www.amazon.com/Luna-Jade/e/B089SXSLDH

BookBub:
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/luna-jade

BookBub:
https://www.bookbub.com/authors/j-p-uvalle


#GuestPost “Mindworm” by David Pollard

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Thank you for the opportunity to provide a guest post for your blog.David Pollard

I thought I’d take a look at self-publishing and answer the question, “why did you choose to independently publish your books, including your new release Mindworm?”

Self-publishing actually pre-dates the mass market book publishing industry by some centuries. Even Henry VIII self-published a volume that earned him the title ‘Defender of the Faith’ from the Pope – but then I suppose Henry had no problem getting readers!

Back before technology changed the game most authors who didn’t have ready access to a printing press and a book-binder would wind up paying for those services to get their work produced in a saleable form. Inevitably this fostered the ‘Vanity Press’ where – for large sums of money – the gullible could be told how wonderful their book was and wind up with a thousand hard back copies of unsaleable and unreadable books in their back bedrooms. The ‘Vanity Presses’ are still there – buyer beware – but technology is placing more power in the hands of the author should they choose to use it.

I chose the independent publishing route primarily because I’m only too aware that time is passing. What would be the best investment of my time? Trying to persuade a publishing house that I’d make money for them or trying to find readers who would find my stories entertaining.

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This, I think, points out the essential difference between me as a writer and the commercial publishing industry. I want to be read, to entertain and give readers something to think about and talk about. The industry wants to make a profit with as little risk as possible. Then I suppose I’m lucky that I make my living elsewhere.

Secondly, I wanted to keep control. Certainly control of what I write – although I’m not above listening to my team of trusted beta-readers – I don’t want to be in a position of making fundamental changes to my work to meet a publisher’s vision – with always the threat that failure to comply means the deal is off. It is not just creative control, however. I want to control my time and what I do with it – meeting deadlines and producing a prescribed follow up book is not for me. All of which does not make me a good fit for the commercial publisher anyway.

Self-publishing now, though, also comes with a requirement to learn how to use the technology that’s available. Fortunately, I’m a bit of a nerd like that and I found the process challenging in a good way. When the writing’s done I really enjoy the process of making a book and seeing a saleable item appear at the end of the process. It’s probably a fit because I love books as objects as well as sources of entertainment and enlightenment.

The real shock for a self-publisher comes at the end of the process. The marketing! I’m a typical Brit – keep a stiff upper lip and don’t brag about yourself. It’s taken a while to come to terms with the fact that no-one is going to bang my drum for me – it’s all down to me. And getting a book to market is a pretty special achievement. Now – I’m trying to understand the marketing process and it’s starting to be enjoyable – especially being in contact with my readers – every one of which I cherish.

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The placid life of a college librarian is plunged into a desperate fight for survival when he witnesses the death of his only friend. Suddenly he is forced to confront disturbing changes in his nature and appetites and their consequences. Suspected of murder and pursued by an implacable police detective he runs – but is he running from the law or from himself?

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Author BioPollard

After more than forty years of paid employment David Pollard retired to glorious Hereford and immersed himself in the theatrical activities of the county. He is currently Chair of Hereford County Drama Festival.

David sees himself as a teller of tales – he is a playwright, author of short stories and novels. He has a preference for dark and dystopian material. He is also an actor and theatrical director. Among the many authors admired by David is Robert Louis Stevenson – for his website David adopted the appellation Tuistala – Samoan for ‘Teller of Tales’ which the Samoan people called RLS.

Several of David’s plays have been published by Lazybee Scripts – one of which ‘Aspects of a Betrayal’ was shortlisted for the Kenneth Branagh prize at the Windsor Fringe Festival.

David has two works published on KDP/Amazon:

His Cat and Other Strange Tales – a collection of macabre short stories

The Alienation of Ludovic Weiss – a psychological thriller

A third book, Mindworm, is scheduled for publication in September 2020

When not writing, directing or acting David runs a podcast platform for the streaming of radio plays and short story readings – Hand to Mouth Sound Theatre.

For relaxation David reads voraciously with a liking for history and thriller fiction. He also enjoys country walks of the strolling variety.

Social Media Links

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