Free fiction! “Attraction”

Hi there! Here’s a free drabble for you: “Attraction” by me.

***

Meteor inbound.

That’s what the readouts said. All signs pointed to a massive body hurtling toward Earth. We sent bombs—didn’t destroy it. Sent rockets—couldn’t alter its path.

I radioed the Mars colony to let them know we were changing the polarity on their radiation shield to accommodate for an upcoming solar flare. There were less humans on The Red Planet than this one.

“Ma’am?” came the reply.

“Yes?”

“I’m not seeing any danger.”

“You will soon. …Signing off.”

They relied on us. I typed the new code. The meteor would hit them instead.

I sighed and hit enter.

At the Hands of Madness print copies coming soon!

Hey everyone!

Just found out that my latest release, At the Hands of Madness, will be available in print pretty soon. Within 2-4 weeks, most likely.

If you’re waiting for a physical edition, great! If you want to grab an ebook, go here!

If you’ve never heard of this book, here’s the back cover info:

When Medraka first appeared, humanity assumed it’d wipe them out in days. It did worse: it walked the Earth, uncaring, impervious to all attacks, and killing at random. A city disappears, a band of survivors kill each other, a family of four gets turned inside out. It’s easy to see where this psychic kaiju has been. The ravenous Phranna, the man-sized locust creatures that emerge from its flesh, swarm those it leaves behind. Few of the unprepared survive.

Hennessy never expected to survive confronting this nightmare, but found survival worse than death. Now, alongside a group of impulsive misfits that have banded together into a militia to protect Great Bend, he has to face it again. Between an explosives expert, a pyrokinetic lab accident, a mech-building mechanic, a veteran warrior, and a psybernetic superhuman, they might have enough power to keep it from destroying their city. Staying alive will be hard enough. The real question is, will they be able to keep their sanity?

“Holton provides a wild and gritty tour-de-force that pits humans, metahumans, and the combat robots they have built against a horror that combines the nightmares of H.P. Lovecraft, Ishiro Honda, and George Romero. All fans who think of the Apocalypse in terms of zombies only do so because they have yet to meet the Phranna… let alone the titanic terror that spawned them!” –Christofer Nigro, author of Megadrak: Beast of the Apocalypse and Dargolla: A Kaiju Nightmare.

At the Hands of Madness cover reveal and teaser!

Hey everyone! My novel At the Hands of Madness should be out later this week! Check the cover and blurb below:

***

When Medraka first appeared, humanity assumed it’d wipe them out in days. It did worse: it walked the Earth, uncaring, impervious to all attack, and killing at random. A city disappears here, a band of survivors kill each other, a family of four gets turned inside out. It’s easy to see where this psychic kaiju has been. The ravenous Phranna, the man-sized locust creatures that emerge from its flesh, swarm those it leaves behind, leaving few of the unprepared alive.
Hennessy never expected to survive confronting this nightmare, but found survival worse than death. Now, alongside a group of impulsive misfits that have banded together into a militia to protect Great Bend, he has to face it again. Between an explosives expert, a pyrokinetic lab accident, a mech-building mechanic, a veteran warrior, and a psybernetic superhuman, they might have enough power to keep it from destroying their city. Staying alive will be hard enough. The real question is, will they be able to keep their sanity?

hands!!

Cyborg Sunday, update 01.07.2018: #Horror, #Blogging, #AmWriting, #Plotting

Time: an illusion

Waging war against humans.

The hour marches on.

–“Soldier,” A Haiku, by Kevin Holton

 

Hello everyone!

Welcome back to Cyborg Sunday.

To begin, I’ll let you know I’m making plans. I never make plans, so expect something big.

That said, I’ve got a bunch of other things in the works. I recently subbed to a closed call with my old friends at Siren’s Call Publications, where The Nightmare King will be published later this year. I also subbed to the Escape Pod podcast, confirmed a few book reviews for Pleiades, signed a contract for a fictional advertisement with The Mad Scientist Journal, sent my novella Amphibia Maxima to Grinning Skull Press, and sent my novel Absolute Zero off to Apex Book Company.

Grass does not grow under my feet, friends.

I’m also being considered for a job (not gonna jinx it by saying more), and finished the recordings for Harmon Cooper’s Life is a Beautiful Thing Book One.

More fun news, I’ve joined up with The Bold Mom as one of their new Dark Fantasy bloggers! They’re a very dynamic, socially-engaged group of horror writers and reviewers, so I’m looking forward to contributing.

As far as all things cyborg go, I’m officially CONSIDERING the Freestyle Libre. I’ve held out on Continuous Glucose Monitors due to their bulkiness and lack of accuracy, but this is apparently a great model, and my endocrinologist highly recommended it. I’ll be switching to humalog, for insurance reasons, and am going back on the 200 mcg levothyroxine, but hey, chronic illnesses aren’t a sprint. They’re a marathon.

I’m a little more excited for the Eversense system, because contrary to most people, I actually think it sounds really god damn cool to get something implanted in my body to monitor my blood sugar. Moreover, it lasts for 90 or 180 days, which is amazing, because no hassle! Even if I have to get it changed out, I imagine this tech will improve quickly.

ViaCyte is also doing interesting work with stem cells and islet cell transplants, and there’s the TRAFFIC system, and some are still following the Edmonton Protocol, though it’s still a bit short lived. Who knows where we’ll be next year?

All I know is that, for now, I’m going to keep on keepin’ on, as I like to say. Drop me a line below if you found any of this interesting. Talk to you soon!

Free fiction to kick off my 2018 campaign @Patreon!

Hey folks!

To start my 2018 off “write,” I have two stories up on my Patreon account that are FREE to all readers!

If you like what you see there, please consider pledging. The first five pledges of 2018 get a free ebook, and one slot’s already taken, so hop along if you want that special offer!

1 dollar gets you the monthly story and an annual eBook of them all collected,

5 gets you an MP3 recording of me reading the work

10 earns you a “Sponsored by” listing on my website, a link to your page/site/profile, and being personally thanked in my videos

20 gets you signed print copies of the annual collection, AND any single-author book I put out while you’re pledged, not to mention an entire page of my website dedicated to you.

And 100? That’s a special tier. You get a special GOLDEN MYSTERY BOX! (Once a year)

So, here’s a teaser to today’s free story. Head on over to read the rest!

Sacrifices

The front door slams open, then shut, and I hear heavy, rapid footfalls going up the stairs. Damn, I think, looking at the stove, turning the flame down low so that I don’t turn chicken cutlets into charcoal. With a twist of the sink’s knobs, hot water blasts over the carving knife, cleansing it as I follow my sister upstairs. After today, it’s never going to be clean again.

Short Stories, Big Scares: A Review of 100 Nightmares by K. Z. Morano

Hello Travelers,

Today I bring you my review of K. Z. Morano’s 100 Nightmares, a collection of 100 stories of 100 words apiece with illustrations mixed in. I do hope you like what I’ve got to say, because you’d be missing out if you didn’t hop over to Amazon (or lulu or smashwords) and take a look at one of horror’s newer up-and-coming writers.

Best,

Kevin

***

100 Nightmares is a collection of tightly-written, hard-hitting stories that leap from one genre to another as lizards leap from wall to wall. Ranging from realist to Lovecraftian, from dark fairy tales to alien attacks, Morano has no problem exploring a wide range of topics via the oft-done but rarely done well medium of micro-fiction. As an added bonus, this features illustrations from four separate illustrators, breathing color and design in the spaces between each little slice of horror.

As with any collection this size—and especially one that endeavors to make each story only 100 words—there are some phenomenal stories. A number of these set my skin crawling, and once in a while I had to stop and say, “Man, that was… woah,” as they’d left me speechless. The tradeoff is that some aren’t quite as high-caliber. These less impactful tales are still worth reading, but won’t leave the same wide-eyed look on your face.

Some of the twists feature far more disturbing fates than others. Among the most wonderfully disturbing are “Mommy Makes Dinner” and “Contaminated Conception,” the latter of which has a deft change of her usual narrative voice. These kept the stories from running into one another.

The order and placement of stories in any collection is a daunting task that some overlook, but Morano has clearly taken care with where each piece belongs.

Morano’s work sometimes interweaves prose and poetry, creating a musical narrative style that lures the reader into a sort of dark lullaby. This is especially important when featured in stories that otherwise would be weaker, such as “Deep,” a Lovecraft-inspired tale that doesn’t hold the same terror or as visceral a punch as some of the others.

I’m not sure how I feel about the pictures included—in one sense, they’re interesting snapshots that embody a chosen story, giving the reader a change of pace from the rapidly-shifting scenes. For stories like “Golden Locks” and “The Lights Went Out,” the images were captivating. However, with writing that is already both succinct and visually-oriented, some of the pictures seem unnecessary, thereby taking away from the image Morano has already implanted in the readers’ minds, such as that which accompanies “Gingerboy.”

They’re most effective in the Yokai section, which focuses on creatures from Japanese folklore. Both the stories and the illustrations are daring and evocative, composed so that you don’t need to know the original myth to understand the story.

Morano’s skill is most apparent in handling surreal and abstract topics, but the strict length works both in her favor and against her. “Tick-tock,” a piece both disturbing and rife with barbed satire, left me craving more; it was as effective and powerful a story as they get. “Glass Slippers and Lotus Feet” left me wanting more as well, but this time, out of confusion. The majority use their space very well. It’s only the occasional tale that might leave a reader needing more detail to understand what was happening.

Among pieces like “Tick-tock” and “Mommy Makes Dinner” are a number of pieces with a brutal, intriguing psychology, such as: “Johnny’s Horoscope,” which blurs lines between the supernatural and schizophrenia; “Practice Makes Perfect” has a twisted notion of just what we’d sacrifice for those we love; “Witch’s Stew” is one of a raw, macabre desperation to survive. These are but a few of the stand-out shorts in this collection.

K. Z. Morano is definitely one of the better writers on the indie horror circuit, and I know I’ll be keeping an eye out for what work she publishes in the future. You’d be doing yourself a favor if you did the same.