Ibitsu comes from the Japanese word for “twisted,” and it follows a creepy urban legend. The main character Kazuki is walking along at night when he sees someone dressed in Gothic Lolita style sitting in the garbage. Lolita is a fashion style in Japan with lots of frills and Victorian influences that has multiple substyles. One of those substyles is Gothic Lolita, where the frills and little girl look is also strongly influenced by gothic, morbid and dark imagery.
Kazuki thinks she’s creepy, especially because it looks as if blood might be seeping from her, and it looks as if her arm had been ripped open and then sewn back together. She asks him, “Would you . . . have a little sister?”Continue Reading
Imagine a world where public opinion is measured by real units and offending people whose behavior results in accumulating a high amount of units, get shipped off to an isolated location to live out a predetermined sentence.
The concept of Saltblood by T.C. Parker is quite terrifying, actually. Public opinion is so fickle and subjective. I hate the thought of a majority of people who don’t really know you passing judgment with real consequences based on perceived reality; your reputation and not your character. No facts, just opinions. The power to strip you from your life and throw you away.
Utterly horrifying.Continue Reading
Pangaea: Prose and Poetry by Hinnah Mian Central Avenue Publishing (February 8, 2022) 128 pages; $16.99 paperback Reviewed by Joshua Gage
Hinnah Mian is a Pakistani American poet and author whose work has appeared in Harness Magazine, JUMP, Blue Minaret, and The Rising Phoenix Review. Her first book, To Build a Home, won silver in the Readers’ Favorite International Book Awards. She spends her time journaling, exploring, and living out her days with the love of her life — her dog, Felix. Her newest collection, Pangaea: Prose and Poetry explores the horrors and traumas inflicted on one’s body in a striking and poignant collection.Continue Reading
Long-time staffer Brian James Freeman here. Today marks my final day working full-time for CD, the only workplace I’ve known since graduating college nearly 20 years ago. I’ve loved getting to know our amazing collectors, authors, artists, designers, booksellers, and vendors over the years. Working with Rich, Mindy, Norman, Dan, and everyone else has been an absolutely incredible experience.
My new job is something I honestly never thought would be possible: writing short stories for a living! If you know this business, you know that was a pretty insane dream to have. After all, when was the last time writers could earn enough from their short stories to pay their bills?
But thanks to some dedicated supporters of my Patreon, I have the opportunity to do just that, and I can’t wait to see where this new adventure takes me. (Of course, because creating small press special editions really is a ton of fun, I will continue publishing a few of my friends over at my own press, Lividian Publications.)
Here are a few links for anyone who wants to follow along with what comes next:
In the first of a series of video interviews, college professor, rock critic and horror author Michael Aronovitz discusses the interesting genesis of Lynne Hansen’s cover for his Cemetery Dance short story collection, Dancing With Tombstones — including the story of how he and Hansen first “met”!
Dancing With Tombstonesis available in paperback on Amazon and available as an ebook at the special preorder price of 99 cents on January 21st.
There’s an old saying that water can wear away stone, but only over hundreds of years. In a classic Stephen King novel, Christine, a character, argues that people are not stone, but mortal.
Spencer Hamilton’s Sister Funtime untethers this phrase from such limitations and instead strangles it into a festering devout, sinister power — something inhuman and hungry for flesh. Continue Reading
In Coffin Honey, Todd Davis explores themes of violence and how people hurt each other. The book is broken into sections, each one reading like a short story told in narrative poems, which makes for some haunting connections between the poems. For example, the first section contains the poem “Taxidermy: Cathartes Aura” with lines like:
The bird’s spiraling descent was unexpected, like when his uncle touched him in the cellar as he shoveled coal for winter, telling him he couldn’t have the fried doughnuts sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar if he screamed or told his mother.
Exposed Nerves is a collection of feminist horror poems, mostly in the narrative or lyric vein. Lucy A. Snyder excels at taking a known trope — the big bad wolf in “Wolf Waltz” or rapists in “My Neighbor Defends Her Champion” — and flipping the perspective. A lot of these poems use their subjects to make social commentary, which is one of the main purposes of horror. Snyder often takes the women in her poems and allows them to triumph over evil. In “turnt,” for example, a teenage girl is lured into a older boy’s automobile until she can’t help but turning into a ferocious beast:
pulse hammering inside the secluded car skin splitting over hairy muscle, scarlet claws and he’s screaming, wailing like he’s burning
Here the hunted becomes the hunter, and while the idea of a teenage werewolf is certainly nothing new, Snyder’s imagery and metaphorical language makes the redemptive story fresh and interesting for readers.
There are times when Snyder’s poems, however, seem to teeter into weak craft decisions. “The Unforgiving King,” for example, has stanzas that seem based on a haiku “syllable count” (which is, of course, a linguistic misunderstanding that has been disputed and disproven by poetry scholars) but show no understanding of how the haiku form works. “The Invisible Woman,” a poem written with Gary A. Braunbeck, suffers from weak lines and poorly executed line breaks, but its strong imagery and overriding metaphor overwhelm its flawed structure. How much of this is Snyder’s fault or just poor curation or editing one can’t tell, but these flaws are few and far between, and the collection doesn’t suffer greatly because of them.
Overall, Exposed Nerves by Lucy A. Snyder is a relatively strong collection of feminist horror poems. While there are a few misses, most of the poems stand up to scrutiny and the overarching themes within the collection — angry defiance against a threatening patriarchy and a thirst for revenge and justice — are current and necessary. This is a solid collection of horror poetry which readers will very much enjoy.
by Bentley Little Now Available As An eBook!
We’re pleased to announce that Bentley Little’s brand new novel Gloria is now available as an eBook, and this one is strange and wonderful in that perfectly Bentley Little way! Here are some quick links for ordering:
About the Book:
Considering she had just attended her mother’s funeral, Gloria Jaymes never expected to see the woman again, but then her dead mom shows up at her house.
Gloria’s mom is… different. She’s younger than when she died, dressed in clothes from the 1980s. And nobody else in Gloria’s family seems to recognize her.
As Gloria tries to figure out the reason for her mother’s reappearance — and the odd behaviors the woman begins to exhibit — other bizarre events occur. The changes to Gloria’s world are small and subtle, at first… then they become much more startling.
The freaky situation might just be connected to a mysterious shed in a small California town. The strangers who gather around the shed seem to know Gloria’s name… and maybe they aren’t strangers after all.
With Gloria, Bentley Little presents one of his most complex and compelling novels — one that is certain to surprise readers on every page.
After a string of successful releases, Hairspray & Switchblades (Unnerving Press) Goddess of Filth (Creature Publishing) and Queen of the Cicadas(Flame Tree Press) V. Castro unleashes her first short story collection, Mestiza Blood.
A short story collection of nightmares, dreams, desires, & visions of the chicana experience
There will be cover artwork for BOTH sides by Ben Baldwin (the Gwendy series), interior artwork by Mark Edward Geyer (The Green Mile), and exclusive artwork for the special editions by François Vaillancourt (Revival).
In addition to a trade hardcover edition for the bookstores, there will also be an artist signed Artist Gift Edition, which is already selling very quickly! Please don’t wait if you want one because that edition will not last long!
Catriona Ward’s The Last House on Needless Street promises a serial killer, a kidnapped child, a religious cat, and falsities scattered in every direction — one misstep and the trap snaps.
The main character, Ted, carries childhood trauma, a strange attachment to his abusive mother, and a dangerous, twisted side that reminds me of the real-world serial killer, Ed Gein, who went on to inspire characters like Norman Bates and Thomas Harris’ Buffalo Bill.
In Burner by Robert Ford, readers are introduced to two characters, Iris and Audrey. We follow their story through “then” and “now” timelines told in short, bingeable chapters that switch back and forth between the two women.
If you read the preface, you will know that Burner deals with a heavy subject and has the potential to cause emotional trauma, so I recommend reading the preface. Bob Ford does a great job setting early expectations.Continue Reading