Review: Ignited Melodies by Emberly Lily Summers

cover of Ignited MelodiesIgnited Melodies by Emberly Lily Summers
Independently Published (March 2021)
128 pages; $7.24 paperback, $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Emberly Lily Summers (Lauren Adele) is native to Baltimore, Maryland, and has been writing for the last ten years. She is a blind author and writes poetry, paranormal romance, and urban fantasy. Her debut novel HUNTED: The Immortal’s Kiss cowritten with Luna Nyx Frost is available on Amazon. She has had several poems featured in Maryland’s Best Emerging Poets 2019 by Z Publishing and Fae Thee Well: An Anthology and Rogues and Rebels: An Anthology both published by Dreampunk Press. Her inspiration comes from nature, the fantasy and paranormal literature, classic musicals such as The Phantom of the Opera and Wicked and of course, her favorite music ranging from showtunes to punk rock. Emberly also loves reading about magic, mythology, faeries, witches, and dragons. Her newest collection is Ignited Melodies.Continue Reading

Review: Slow Burn by Mike Allen

cover of Slow BurnSlow Burn by Mike Allen
Mythic Delirium Books (July 16, 2024)
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

As Christina Sng writes in the introduction to this collection, “Mike Allen is synonymous with the mysterious and the macabre.” He’s been a Nebula, Shirley Jackson, and World Fantasy Award finalist. He’s won three Rhyslings from the Science Fiction Poetry Association. He’s edited a number of award-winning books and anthologies. It’s no surprise, therefore, that his newest collection, Slow Burn, is yet another incredible read by an incredible horror author and editor. This collection of horror and dark fantasy poetry and short fiction needs to be on the shelf of any horror reader. Continue Reading

Review: Unwelcome Guests by David Kopaska-Merkel

cover of Unwelcome GuestsUnwelcome Guests by David Kopaska-Merkel
Weird House Books (June 2024)
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

David C. Kopaska-Merkel is the editor and publisher of Dreams and Nightmares magazine, and was for six years the editor of Star*Line, the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. Thirty-two books and thousands of poems and stories have been published in over a thousand venues since the early 1980s. The latest poetry collection is Unwelcome Guests.Continue Reading

Review: Shadows Abyss by L. N. Frost

cover of Shadows AbyssShadows Abyss by L. N. Frost
Independently Published (December 2020)
116 pages; $10.24 paperback, $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Luna Nyx Frost (Nicole) is a native to Baltimore, Maryland, and has been writing for the last twenty years. She is a blind author and writes poetry, urban fantasy, and paranormal. Her debut novel HUNTED: The Immortal’s Kiss cowritten with Emberly Lily Summers is available on Amazon. After publishing her poetry book. Shadow Abyss: A Book of Poetry, she has had other poems featured in anthologies such as Maryland’s Best Emerging Poets by Z Publishing and in Fae Thee Well by Dreampunk Press. Her passion for writing and reading doesn’t stop at sonnets and novels. Her inspiration mostly comes from nature, ancient history, and classic literature. Luna has also looked up to the magnificent work of poets such as Edgar Allen Poe and Emily Dickens. She has also read many works by Shakespeare and fables by The Brothers Grimm. Luna has also been intrigued by the great ancient civilizations. Her collection, Shadows Abyss, is available now. Continue Reading

Review: Where the Worm Never Dies by Quinn Hernandez

cover of Where the Worm Never DiesWhere the Worm Never Dies by Quinn Hernandez 
Swann + Bedlam (June 1, 2024)
114 pages; $18.00 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Quinn Hernandez loves the full spectrum of speculative fiction, and he is currently working on expanding his fiction universe. His poetry collection Life and Other Unfortunate Horrors is available from Madness Heart Press, and his short story collection Viva La Muerte! is available from Nightmare Press. His second poetry collection Where the Worm Never Dies is forthcoming from Swann and Bedlam Press.Continue Reading

Review: Inkblots by Jeff Oliver

cover of InkblotsInkblots by Jeff Oliver
300 South Media Group (February 2024)
240 pages; $16.99 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Jeff Oliver is a writer of intense emotions, having started composing his dark poetry at just 11 years old. His poetry has an ethereal quality. When others may have been destroyed by such devastating darkness, he manages to weave lyrical justice into an otherwise unfair world. His newest collection of poetry is Inkblots.Continue Reading

Review: Creep This Way – How to Become a Horror Writer With 24 Steps to Get You Ghouling by Rebecca Cuthbert

Creep This Way: How to Become a Horror Writer With 24 Steps to Get You Ghouling by Rebecca Cuthbert
Seamus & Nunzio Productions (January 15, 2024)
92 pages; $7.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

cover of Creep This WayRebecca Cuthbert is a dark fiction and poetry writer living in Western New York. She loves ghost stories, folklore, witchy women, and anything that involves nature getting revenge. Her debut poetry collection, In Memory of Exoskeletons, is out now with Alien Buddha Press, and her hybrid poetry and story collection, Self-Made Monsters, will arrive in Fall of 2024. Her non-fiction book, Creep This Way: How to Become a Horror Writer With 24 Steps to Get You Ghouling will be out in January 2024 from Seamus & Nunzio Productions.Continue Reading

Review: On the Subject of Blackberries by Stephanie M. Wytovich

cover of On the Subject of BlackberriesOn the Subject of Blackberries by Stephanie M. Wytovich
Raw Dog Screaming Press (September 2023)
128 pages; hardcover $24.95
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Stephanie M. Wytovich is an American poet, novelist, and essayist. Her work has been showcased in numerous magazines and anthologies such as Weird Tales, Nightmare Magazine, Southwest Review, Year’s Best Hardcore Horror: Volume 2, The Best Horror of the Year: Volume 8, as well as many others. Wytovich is the Poetry Editor for Raw Dog Screaming Press, an adjunct at Western Connecticut State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Point Park University, and a mentor with Crystal Lake Publishing.  Her newest poetry collection is On the Subject of BlackberriesContinue Reading

Review: Thirsty for Love by Carmen Pizarro and David Ocampo

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cover of Thirsty for LoveThirsty for Love by Carmen Pizarro and David Ocampo
Independently Published (2022)
48 pages; $15.00 perfect bound collector’s edition of 100
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Thirsty for Love is a clever monster graphic novel written by David Ocampo and illustrated by Carmen Pizarro. When Emily goes missing, her friend Josie thinks she knows what happens. She’s aware of the new girl, Charlotte Smith, and suspects she’s responsible for Emily’s disappearance. When she confronts Charlotte, Josie discovers that her suspicions are not only wrong, but that the truth is far worse than she could ever imagine. Continue Reading

Review: Shadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas edited by Carina Bissett, Hillary Dodge, and Joshua Viola

cover of Shadow AtlasShadow Atlas: Dark Landscapes of the Americas edited by Carina Bissett, Hillary Dodge, and Joshua Viola
Hex Publishers (November 30, 2021)
461 pages; $26.99 hardcover
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

The Shadow Atlas is a really clever concept for an anthology. It is described as follows: “Ancient peoples knew there were lands given over to shadow and spirit. The world is full of haunted places that exact a terrible toll on trespassers. Our forebears paid a heavy price to earn the wisdom and the warning they bequeathed to future generations. Their stories are maps revealing the topography and contours of landscapes unimaginable and dark. The Shadow Atlas collects their adventures.” This idea, that authors and writers will be looking at various locations and landscapes throughout the Americas and writing the horror specific to those locales is intriguing, and while this is a mixed bag (as any anthology is going to be), it’s a really strong showing of thematic writing that horror fans will enjoy. Continue Reading

Review: Split Scream Vol. 4 by D. Matthew Urban and Holly Lyn Walrath

cover of Split ScreamSplit Scream Vol. 4 by D. Matthew Urban and Holly Lyn Walrath
Tenebrous Press (October 2023)
152 pages; $13 paperback; $3.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

This book begins with an introduction by the series editor Alex Ebenstein regarding the novelette. He describes it as “longer than a short story and shorter than a novella,” or between ten to twenty thousand words. As such, the book is presented as a “double feature” of sorts, pairing “Nonsense Words” by D. Matthew Urban with “Bone Light” by Holly Lyn Walrath. The stories have nothing to do with each other beyond being well written and scary, and the whole concept of this book is really quite clever and appealing. Continue Reading

Review: Under Her Eye: A Women in Horror Poetry Collection, Vol II edited by Lindy Ryan and Lee Murray

cover of Under Her EyeUnder Her Eye: A Women in Horror Poetry Collection, Vol II edited by Lindy Ryan and Lee Murray
Black Spot Books (November 7, 2023)
200 pages; $14.95 paperback; $4.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

 In her introduction, Regina Yau writes “The Pixel Project is a global virtual volunteer-run 501c3 anti-violence against women non-profit whose mission is to raise awareness, funds, and volunteer power for the cause to end violence against women (VAW) through activism and advocacy at the intersection of social media, new technologies, and popular culture/the Arts. In 2022, Black Spot Books proposed putting together a poetry collection in benefit of The Pixel Project’s anti-VAW work. Co-editors Lindy Ryan and Lee Murray rallied 112 female and non-binary poets from across the world to contribute poems to the collection that would become Under Her Eye.”
This book is, unfortunately, a necessary collection on the shelf of every horror reader, not just because of its cause, but also because of its message.

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Review: Blood and Verse by Chris McAuley and Jeff Oliver, illustrated By Dan Verkys

cover of Blood and VerseBlood and Verse by Chris McAuley and Jeff Oliver, illustrated By Dan Verkys
Cosby Media Productions (October 2023)
183 pages; $19.99; $5.99 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Chris McAuley and Jeff Oliver are no strangers to horror writing, nor to the character of Dracula. Chris McAuley is a writer of prose novels, magazine short stories, video and tabletop games and audio dramas. Together with Bram Stoker’s Great-Grand nephew Dacre Stoker, he has created the StokerVerse franchise. Jeff Oliver is a writer of intense emotions, having started composing his dark poetry at just 11 years old. Together, they have written a sequel to Bram Stoker’s Dracula titled Blood and VerseContinue Reading

Review: Planet of the Zombie Zonnets: Seasons 1 & 2 by Juan Manuel Perez

cover of Planet of the Zombie ZonnetsPlanet of the Zombie Zonnets: Seasons 1 & 2 by Juan Manuel Perez
Hungry Buzzard Press (August 31, 2021)
76 pages; $10.84 digital
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Juan Manuel Pérez, a Mexican-American poet of indigenous descent. He is the 2021 Horror Authors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award Winner. He is also the recipient of the Horror Writers Association Diversity Grant (2021) and the Poet Laureate for Corpus Christi, Texas (2019-2020). His newest collection is Planet of the Zombie Zonnets: Seasons 1 & 2.Continue Reading

Review: Songs in the Key of Death by JG Faherty

covers of Songs in the Key of DeathSongs in the Key of Death by JG Faherty
Lvp Publications (October 3, 2023)
148 pages; $16.99 hardcover; $9.99 paperback
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

A life-long resident of New York’s haunted Hudson Valley, JG Faherty is the author of 19 books and more than 85 short stories, and he’s been a finalist for both the Bram Stoker Award (2x) and ITW Thriller Award. Songs in the Key of Death arrives ready to entertain horror poetry readers.Continue Reading