“Crash Code” now accepting submissions!

Hey everyone,

Blood Bound Books is now accepting submissions for Crash Code, an extreme-meets-cyberpunk anthology…

…and I’m the editor!

That’s right, folks. I’ll be guest editing this anthology. It pays 3 cents a word, takes stories 1.5k to 7k words long, and is gonna be bad ass, so hurry up and get your stories in!

See the full submission call here.

4/5 Stars for “Brothel” and “Hysteria” by Stephanie M. Wytovich

If you like dark poetry, you’ve heard her name before. As a long-time fan of her work, I recently gave myself the kick in the seat to actually post reviews of her collections. I’ve only just started Sheet Music to my Acoustic Nightmare, but I have a feeling that’ll be a 5 star rating.

In the meanwhile, here are my thoughts on Hysteria: A Collection of Madness.

No surprise this was nominated for a Bram Stoker award. Horror poetry is hard to come by, but when done right, it’s really compelling. Such is the case with this collection, the debut release of one of the rising stars of dark verse. A few poems didn’t thrill me, but I’m an occult snob, so 666 does nothing for me. Beyond that, these are certainly inventive, and great for anyone looking for horror, poetry, both, or just a solidly good read–or one hell of a coffee table book!

And now, a slightly longer, in-depth review of Brothel.

This truly epic collection of poems by Bram Stoker-winner Stephanie Wytovich continues to combine eloquence with gritty topics. A book titled “Brothel” containing poems like “From Behind” and “Naked” isn’t shy about its contents, and each poem, like another position in the Kama Sutra, embraces a new way to talk about the sleaze and sin of the world’s oldest profession.

The book isn’t all the joys of getting paid to get laid. Some pieces recount struggling with addiction and disorder, while others tell of violent clients who get off on beatings and brandings, but this isn’t a narrator who goes down quietly. This is a fierce collection, told by a narrator who refuses to be a victim. She destroys her abusers, whether physically or through her own voracious appetite, calling to mind Plath’s “Lady Lazarus”: “Out of the ash/ I rise with my red hair/ and I eat men like air.”

Brothel is a book that knows sex is about power, in which succumbing to temptation is simply a part of life. While some individual poems fall flat compared to the more impressive ones, this collection is more than worth the money, so don’t worry. If you’re tempted to read this, hit buy. You’re in for a real good time.

Whether you like or agree with my reviews, you really should be reading her work, so check out the links above to find them on Amazon.

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In the mood to stick around with me for a little while? My Patreon has free fiction, and additional stories for paying subscribers, not to mention a bunch of other goodies. High-paying backers also get promotional opportunities, so it’s great for indie writers and small presses. Check it out!

4/5 Stars for “Gutted” from Crystal Lake Publishing

Another short-but-sweet, though with CLP, I really don’t need to say much. Their books are always worthwhile.

“A collection by Crystal Lake Publishing, considered to be one of, if not the, biggest rising star in the indie horror world, this gathers some of the most sensory stories around.

Between the big names included in this collection, and the blood, sweat, and heart put into every page, there’s definitely a few, if not many, great stories for readers of all sorts of interests.”

Check it here.

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If you’re looking for fiction, did you know I have a few free stories posted up on my Patreon? If you like them, consider pledging to read the rest! Those who stay pledged automatically get at least one book every year. That’s right: one book, possibly more, for just 12 dollars a YEAR. More than worth the money!

4/5 Stars for “Death to Fairy Tales” by Alex S. Johnson

In the mood for something weird? I recently took a look at Death to Fairy Tales. Here’s my review, also posted on Amazon.

Be forewarned: this isn’t a collection of horror or of fairy tales, as you might assume, but an array of some of the strangest, most bizarre stories and poems out there. Granted, there are horror elements I won’t spoil for you, but lets just say that when you ‘meat’ some of these characters, you’ll be glad you don’t know them in real life.

Some parts of the prose are a little too abstract to have a solid landing, but those that work do so quite well. The poetry is more concrete, and the lines that aren’t are mysterious enough to work on multiple levels, leaving the reader thinking rather than confused. One reads, “Future tense/ thrummed its fingers through/ all subsequent galleries,” capturing an ethereal sense of the world that perfectly sums up the New Weird vibe of this collection.

“Death to Fairy Tales” is a kaleidoscopic reinterpretation of the world, and while some of these visions aren’t always clear, they’re all fascinating. Some even have accompanying illustrations, for those of you that enjoy such additions. Perfectly capturing the sense of jamais vu, the strange among the familiar, this is a great collection for those looking for more unusual work.

The collection can be found here.

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5 Stars for Jim Goforth’s “Harvester’s Trade”

Self-published work is sometimes a gamble. This is Jim Goforth’s first foray into the self-pub world, and I assure you, he’s doing it right. Harvester’s Trade is exactly the type of succinct, hard-hitting work an author should be producing, regardless of how they publish. Read it here, or read the review below:

This story of visceral horror is an excellent debut into the world of self-publishing. Jim Goforth, a highly regarded writer of this genre, certainly doesn’t hold back, keeping the adrenaline running from start to finish. It’s a quick read–more a sprint than a marathon–but this need to keep things to the point doesn’t impact the ambiance at all.

With ten characters getting relatively equal page time, it can be hard to keep track of them, but they’re distinct enough, and leave enough of a mark on the story, that this problem goes away within the first few pages. The end has enough twists and drive to leave you wanting more about what’s really going on, powered by visuals that could easily be translated to a pretty exciting film.

This’ll keep you glued to your Kindle all evening, so be sure to pick up a copy.

That’s all for now. Stop back soon for more reviews, news, and other fun.

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If you enjoy my reviews, fiction, writing advice, and other posts, or just like me in general, please check out my Patreon. In exchange for helping me afford things like insulin, you get monthly stories, an annual collection, writing advice, and many other rewards. Thanks, friends!

4/5 Stars for “Horror Haiku: Pas de Deux” by A. F. Stewart

Sometimes, I post lengthy reviews. Others, short and sweet. For a collection of mostly Haiku poetry, you can guess which I went with.

“Tons of good poems in here! As with any collection, they aren’t all winners, and some rely too heavily on genre tropes to convey their scares, but there are many sections overviewing different horror staples. Vampires, zombies, you name it, they’re in here, along with a non-haiku section at the end.

While there are other collections out there more suited to seasoned horror readers, this a great book for those looking to get into dark poetry.”

Check the collection out here.

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Book Review: The Detained, by @KoyoteKris via @PMMPublishing

 

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Kristopher Triana’s latest release, The Detained, from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, is yet another solid novella among his bibliography. It follows five adults called back to their old high school for a 20-year-reunion, forced to face the most traumatic memory from the halcyon days of their youth.

This novella is a harrowing tale that smashes together The Breakfast Club with Darkness on the Edge of Town.

Naturally, this goes south very quickly. When these five are the only ones to arrive, they realize very quickly that something’s wrong. These characters have matured a bit, but wear adulthood like a mask over the self-destructive high school stereotypes they thought they’d left behind.

The opening is a little slow, but this is to be expected. If anything, the slowness as people awkwardly reintroduce themselves feels very natural, which serves to highlight just how different they are as the story continues.

Those who don’t mind pushing through the occasional block of information will be rewarded with a frantic, surreal ending, where the mundane setting the story opens with is soon replaced by a Jacob’s Ladder nightmare world of anguish and dismay.

The Detained moves fast and hits hard. It’s exactly the right length, providing quality description without needing to dwell on subplots and background info just to reach that ‘novel’ status. The end might be a tad predictable to some, while others might thinks it’s either too nice or too sudden, but it’s definitely the right ending for a story like this.

This story, which harbors both abuse and repentance in its heart, is especially relevant for both the younger and older crowds. Combine these universal themes with a few high school tropes we all love to hate, and there’s something for everyone. A good read I’d rate at 4/5 stars, so I recommend you head on over to Amazon and check it out for yourself.