What Price Gory – by Terry M. West – book review

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What Price Gory
Terry M. West

This is a fantastic collection of short stories in the paranormal horror genre. West manages to steer clear of the usual horror tropes that plague the horror market and conjure new ideas and concepts. Most important, he creates real characters that live and breathe, not perfect, but likeable nevertheless. They are interesting people that you feel the need to follow into the dark pits of terror and see their journey to the end. I’ll recap a few of my favorite stories.

In Car Nex, Adam Campbell and some poker buddies are holed up in a barn as a dark and nasty supernatural beast rips apart their town. Adam is the only one with information about the beasts origin, and he has one hell of a confession for his neighbors. Next, Cecil and Bubba aren’t the brightest cards in the deck but they earn an honest… well, fairly honest living. They are hired as bodyguards for a ghost hunter, in an investigation of a house with a bad reputation. Read what happens in Cecil and Bubba Meet a Succubus. In Midnight Snack, follow Colin Winslow on a detour to avoid a traffic jam that leads him straight into a roadside truck stop from Hell – it’s a fantastically amusing story. And finally, What Price Gory is the price one has to pay for horror author glory and to reach the pinnacle of best-seller fame.

Also included is an excerpt/preview from the upcoming book, Cecil and Bubba meet the Thang. I had already taken a liking to these two characters in the short story. The excerpt just builds on that and I can’t wait to find out what happens next.

This is a top-notch collection of supernatural tales featuring authentic characters who are plunged into extraordinary circumstances. These are imaginative concepts in terror that bleed off the pages like gouged flesh and lead you to nightmare destinations. It’s not a gorefest, for those who are questioning the title; these are well-written character driven tales. I recommend it as an entertaining and enjoyable read for the horror fan.

Amazon Kindle Edition

Amazon Paperback Edition

www.terrymwest.com

www.pleasantstorm.com

 

My writing in 2013 – an overview

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Fun facts about my Fiction:

My favorite horror story I’ve written this year: Motel Impressions is a ghost story that takes place in a motel room. It is set in Long Beach NY and was sparked by a true story (of a murder, not ghosts) for which I built a fictional story around.

My favorite creature/monster that I created: The giant tentacled worm from The Gates of Lament is part Lovecraft and partly inspired by my post, Scariest Creatures of the Sea

My best opening line in a story: Upstanding Citizen The moment old lady Ambrose bent over to look in my basement window, I hit her in the back of the head with a hammer… (read more at the Carnage Conservatory)

My favorite character: Jason from The Suitcase is probably most like myself. This story takes place on Long Island and was written in 2011 when the state police were finding the remains of several female victims off of Ocean Parkway.

My favorite message/bigger meaning in a story: Holiday Icon demonstrates the hypocrisy of people during the Christmas holiday. Most of my stories have some alter/bigger meaning, moral or message. Some are more obvious than others.

The two demons in Lessons in Demonology are named after the two moons of Mars, Phobos and Deimos – Greek mythological words that translate to ‘fear’and ‘terror’

In The Gates of Lament, there are three blatant nods to 1970’s Americana in the names of the characters.

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o little town of deathlehem cellar door II small web from beyond the grave Miseria's Chorale -  cover large

A list of published works for 2013:

(story title/place where published/date published)

Upstanding Citizenthe Carnage Conservatory (website) 2/6/13

The Suitcase From Beyond the Grave (anthology) 4/15/13

Lessons in DemonologyTwisted Dreams Magazine 6/1/13

PigShadow Masters: An Anthology From the Horror Zine – 6/23/13

X-Ray Specs SNM Horror Magazine (website) – 7/1/13

Maynard’s Secret SNM Horror Magazine (website) – 8/1/13

AwakeningTwisted Dreams Magazine – 10/1/13

BloodsuckersInfernal Ink Magazine – 10/1/13

Uninvited100 Doors To Madness (anthology) 10/12/13

The Memory ThiefDark Eclipse Magazine – 11/3/13

Motel ImpressionsMiseria’s Chorale (anthology) – 11/26/13

The Gates of LamentCellar Door II (anthology) – 12/06/13

Holiday Icon Oh, Little Town of Deathlehem (anthology) – 12/24/13

total: 13 for 2013 – more info on my Bio page
published stories in the horror fiction short-story market to date
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Visit my Amazon.com Authors Page: Michael Thomas-Knight

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I would like to thank the editors of all the publications for taking the time to work with my fiction and for seeing something original and provoking enough to accept them for publication. Look forward to working with you all in the coming year.

100 doors to madness Infernal Ink Oct 2013 Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00067] dark eclipse #28

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Shadow Masters – new horror fiction book release

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Bentley Little, Yvonne Navarro, Earl Hamner, Ronald Malfi, Melanie Tem, Elizabeth Massie… What do all these famous horror fiction authors have in common? They all have frightening stories in the new horror anthology book, SHADOW MASTERS.

Oh yeah, and I do too!

My short story ‘PIG’ has been published in:
Shadow Masters – An Anthology From The Horror ‘Zine
from Imajin Books.

Other authors include: Scott Nicholson, Simon Clark, Lisa Morton, JG Faherty, Christian Larsen, Cheryl Tardiff, Jeff Bennington and Jeani Rector. Jeani is the publisher of The Horror ‘Zine and pulled together this wonderful collection of horror fiction. She also has a wicked gem of a story in the anthology.

Includes a forward by Joe R. Lansdale

More about my short story, ‘PIG’ –  This tale involves a young woman who wakes in the dead of night to find a demon in a pig costume standing at her bedside. What this demon wants will lead Vickie on a frightening discovery of her own psyche.

Amazon.com – Kindle Version

Amazon.com – Paperback Version

The Horror ‘Zinewww.thehorrorzine.com

Imajin Bookswww.imajinbooks.com

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000041_00009]

Release date: May 27th, 2013

More Horror Fiction by Michael Thomas-Knight

Songs of a Dead Dreamer – Thomas Ligotti – book review

ligotti - songs of a dead dreamerSongs of a Dead Dreamer – Thomas Ligotti (1986)

This is Ligotti’s first collection of stories, a book that is now out-of-print and editions sell for prices ranging from $26 to $260 on Amazon and Ebay. This was the very first book I downloaded onto my Kindle-Fire and may have been part of the reason I even wanted an e-reader in the first place.

This collection encompasses the strange worlds and people in the Ligotti universe. They all start off as rather bland subjects – an artist with no imagination in one, a Christmas Eve at Aunt Elsie’s in another – but take a wicked turn during the course of the tale. The artist stumbles upon a church to an unknown God in a dream, waking to find his latest painting has changed. The young man, tired of Aunt Elsie’s fireside story, leaves the house and is drawn through the fog by twinkling Christmas lights to a house that should be abandoned. They are all weird tales and subtle horror, so do not expect blood and guts violence or dominating monsters to rise from the ashes of nuclear fallout. And this collection from his earliest writings is not super strong on character development. However, the overall absurdness and abstract reality of his writing shines through in many places.

In Dr. Voke and Mr. Veech, the doctor searches a seedy part of town to engage the service of one Mr. Veech. He is told to bring his wife and best friend down a certain block at a certain time. Once there, the cheating spouse and her lover are suddenly plucked from the street by some unknown force. Dr. Voke looks up to see them dangling by strings, somehow turning into wooden puppets before his eyes.

In Sect of the Idiot, a man rents a room in an old town. The town is claustrophobically clustered, with stacked roof peaks overhanging one another, upper stories of shops and homes reaching to unknown heights and blocking out the sky. A knock at the door by a stranger leads the man to a high room in the highest towering structure in the town, where some sort of entomo-aliens sit in commune and oversee the town’s activities. They have a special reason for summoning the man, a fact he will soon learn.

The abandoned mental hospital in Dr. Locrian’s Asylum holds some bad memories of wicked events that took place there. The asylum casts a constant shadow upon the town and a blemish on its good standing. However, when the townsfolk decide to tear it down, they unleash all the trapped souls that have so long been waiting for this day, to exact revenge upon the town that ignored their cries.

Songs… also includes two essays on writing. In Notes on Writing Horror, Ligotti describes different writing styles, then takes one short story and rewrites it in several ways to exemplify those styles. In Professor Nobody’s Little Lectures on Supernatural Horrors, Ligotti attempts to explain man’s want and need for horror from a historical perspective.

While not all the stories share the same persistent voice as his later works – most were written for the small press with common small press themes – in many you can see that Ligotti’s unique style had already solidified. His strange worlds of puppets and clowns, hypnotists, conspiring entities and strange troupes with hidden agendas, rush forward from the darkest places of man’s psyche.

Recommended for fans of Lovecraft, Machen, Blackwood, Poe.

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“Life is a nightmare that leaves its mark upon you in order to prove that it is, in fact, real.”  Thomas Ligotti

V/H/S (2012) – movie review

VHS coverV/H/S (2012) – movie review

This is a fantastic modern anthology worthy of your attention. Directed by Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg, and the filmmaking team, Radio Silence, V/H/S delivers five found footage shorts that are on the cutting edge of horror films. In the first few minutes we are introduced to a rowdy bunch of hooligans, nasty characters for which I could not feel any empathy or concern. I thought I was going to hate the film because of this, but luckily it is just the wrap around story. When these hooligans break into a home in order to find some nasty home-porn VHS tape, the real good stuff begins. One culprit sits to view-search the many vhs tapes as the others search the vacant home. Thus we are introduced to the five stories. ‘Amateur Night’ shows how a one-night-stand/bar pick-up can go horribly wrong. Though it seems like a simple and much used theme, it is done quite well and the strange young lady is interesting, to say the least. ‘Second Honeymoon’ has a couple on vacation in the mid-west, in a story that gets creepy as hell and ends with a shocking plot-twist. ‘Tuesday the 17th’ may be the scariest episode, just because of the visual aspect of the killer in the woods attacking a group of campers. ‘The Sick Thing that Happened…’ was perhaps the best story and had some engaging creepiness in the context of video chats between a guy and his girl. We see some strange things running around the woman’s apartment in the dark behind her concerned ’skype-face’.  ‘10/31/98’ follows a group of young men breaking into a ‘haunted house’ on Halloween. They discover another group of men, religious fanatics in the attic, doing some kind of cleansing ritual to a young woman. They save the young lady from the witch-hunt, only to discover, maybe they shouldn’t have. I know there is a bit of a back-lash to all the found footage films in release these days, but this one is done with the rawness and intentionally sloppy editing that makes the stories seem genuine.
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Michael Thomas-Knight published in The WDC Anthology

Michael Thomas-Knight published in The WDC Anthology

My short story, Department Store, has been chosen for publication in the WDC Anthology. The story is based on a real life event that happened to me when I was a youngster. It contains a strong element of horror in it. The book, published by Wynwidyn Press will be out this November 2012. It is a collection of best stories and poetry that have appeared on the Writing.com website (WDC). For more info on the book, check out this link:
http://wynwidynpress.com/buy-a-book_20.html

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Now would be a good time to tell you about writing.com (aka WDC). Writing.com is a website that hosts your stories, poetry, articles, etc. and allows (and encourages) reviews of your work by your peers. You will get constructive criticism from dozens of reader/reviewers which will enable you to hone your craft and allow your stories to become the best they can be. If you ever wanted to see what readers really think about your work, it is the perfect place to get a start. If you only want praise, this is not the site for you. If you want honest opinions of your work so you can better your writing, WDC will be beneficial to your goals. If you do join the site and start posting your work, you will also be expected to review others work. Check it out at: www.writing.com


Cthulhurotica – book review

Cthulhurotica – edited by Carrie Cuinn
Dagan Books

They say seafood is an aphrodisiac. What if the potential seafood is at least as big as you are, often bigger, and even more often, considered to be an ancient God? Cthulhurotica is an anthology that explores some of the possibilities of love and lust intertwined with the Cthulhu Mythos. We have some potent tales within these pages; ‘Descent of the Wayward Sister’ by Gabrielle Harbowy leads us to a dark basement with an erotic secret. ‘The Assistant from Innsmouth’ by Steven James Scearce, shows us an accountant who hires local help on a project but soon doesn’t know who is assisting who. ‘Infernal Attractions’ by Cody Goodfellow unveils shades of From Beyond as a young woman forces her man to build a Tillinghast Resonator, in order to quench her demanding addictions.

Despite these transgressions, this collection does not portray a far-fetched world of monsters and sex. It relays a world that is very much like it is today with a bit of Cthulhu around the edges of its reality. It is more like an aphrodisiac than the main event and never gets too harsh. So if you are expecting caustic aggressions that would shock as much as they would arouse, this is probably not the anthology you have in mind.

Cthulhurotica made for some enjoyable reading and entertained in its melding of seemingly incompatible worlds. My only concern is that perhaps this is the first step to Twilight-izing the Cthulhu Mythos – to turn the silver-gray and dismal dark shades of alien beasts to lavender and fuchsia, turn the rotting stench of decaying sea-life to a supine fragrance, and turn the slimy, scaly textures of monstrous hide to a subtle oiled leather – creating a more acceptable world for the non-horror reader. The Lovecraft world is an exclusionary one. The people that love it have an instant bond in their knowledge of strange secrets that no others could fathom. The last thing I want is a Lovecraft film staring Robert Pattinson and a bunch of tweens discussing the merits of The Great Old Ones. Did you know that Nyarlathotep’s skin shimmers in daylight?