Publication date: February 22nd, 2021 Her Grandfather took her father’s life, and now Jess wants revenge. Heir to a multi-verse kingdom Jess...

Guest Post || VK Tritschler, Author of Revenge Seeker


Publication date: February 22nd, 2021

Her Grandfather took her father’s life, and now Jess wants revenge.

Heir to a multi-verse kingdom Jess should be the most powerful woman in the world, able to keep her loved ones safe and bring peace to the realms. But with her newfound powers, came newfound dangers.

Jess is determined to protect the people she loves. To keep her sister, mother and boyfriend Peter safe, she sends them away, where her enemies can’t find them. When, Peter’s parents find out she’s the offspring of their mortal enemy, they are determined to keep them apart forever.

Going alone is perilous, and it’s hard to tell the difference between friend and foe. Determined to bring down her maniacal Grandfather, Jess is just beginning to realize the depth of her ties to those around her and the strength they bring to her.

Will she become the great protector or is she more like her Grandfather than she wants to admit?



the inspiration of cats


Recently I received an emergency phone call from a lady I know locally who helps rescue cats. She had picked up two barely born kittens, one with an injured leg, and since I was one of the few people she knew who had bottled fed newborns before, and she wanted to know if I would help out. Of course, I replied instantly. Who doesn’t want to help a small creature in need?

I had forgotten how hard work they are. The two hourly feed, the unenviable task of wiping their wriggling backside, and the replacement of bedding to keep it clean and warm. There were moments in the small hours of the night when I am warming up the bottle yet again, I wondered about my sanity. It was similar to when I get a story stuck in my mind keeping me awake at night.

Unfortunately, due to the injuries of her sibling only she survived, so we name her Uno. As I write this, she is chasing her tail across the lounge floor in the later afternoon sunshine. She has escaped the tragedy of growing up as a feral and will never know how lucky she was.

She is a beautiful black cat, which through the sunlight you can see the flecks of her true tiger self. And watching her at play I begin to daydream of another of my great entertainments. Magical creatures.

Last year I wrote a couple books (with the third due out next year) about werepanthers in Australia. There was a show on local television about people who believed they had seen these big cats in various locations and held grainy photos or imagery to prove their point. Fascinated with the idea, I wrote a series in which werepanthers are a set of shifter packs who reside here and are occasionally spotted by accident. The beauty of these creatures is they had blended capabilities, part human and part beast. Which allowed me as an author to explore beyond the mere human capacity of my characters.

More recently I expanded on magical worlds, with idea of a multiverse. My characters now not only held extraordinary abilities, but they could move through worlds which were limitless. And I just loved writing it! There are mermaids, and royalty, scientists, and adventures. It was one of the most freeing stories I have ever written because the only boundary was my imagination. I remember at one point almost losing myself in the pleasure of a new world and the creatures that could exist there.

As an author allowing your imagination free reign is both rewarding and challenging. Uno is now 
sleeping through the night, curled into a little back ball with tiger sized dreams rushing through her head. But sadly, I cannot join her, for my own mind is drawn into the next great adventure already,
the twists and turns unravelling in my mind before they join together on the page.

Perhaps a new world will emerge that is ruled by cats?

However, I feel like perhaps I have seen that firsthand already.








VK Tritschler is the definition of very busy. Having both a fulltime job, a growing family and a career as an author she has a lot going on both around her and in her imagination. She lives on the amazing Eyre Peninsula in South Australia, having moved there from her hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. Her family consists of a very patient husband, two rampant boys, and too many pets to mention.
She has a wonderful set of amazing writers who support her in the form of Eyre Writers, and in return, she offers crowd control services for the Youth section who are the future best-selling Australian authors.
Her first book “The Secret Life of Sarah Meads” was released in 2018 and since then she has participated in the NYC Writing Challenge, the Clunes Booktown, and helped organise and run the Eyre Writers Festival. Next came the paranormal anthology of "Magic & Mischief" with her story "Vital Impetus" which came out in July 2020.
After this, "The Risky Business of Romance" was released in October 2020 - a romantic suspense set in rural South Australia, and Trade Secrets is a rom-com based in Adelaide came out in December 2020. "A Town Called Nowhere" a paranormal romance about were-panthers set in rural Australia, was released in April 2021, with the second book out in October 2021.


Ever available to her readership you can find her at:

Today's mini-reviews are anthologies Chlorophobia and Wild Violence and collection The Corpse Garden by S.H. Cooper. A group of explor...

Mini Reviews || Chlorophobia, Wild Violence, and The Corpse Garden



Today's mini-reviews are anthologies Chlorophobia and Wild Violence and collection The Corpse Garden by S.H. Cooper.




A group of explorers stumble upon a new species of plant in the depths of the rainforest. A novel virus drives humankind to flee the Earth. A killer fog rolls in off the sea, decimating everything in its path. Eco-horror is one of the hottest and most relevant subgenres around in 2021, and inside this anthology you'll find punchy, eye-catching flash fiction and poetry by no fewer than fifty talented authors. Plants, animals, weather phenomena… It’s time for Mother Nature to fight back.

Contributors:

Allison Floyd, Armand Rosamilia, Ashley Van Elswyk, Birgit K. Gaiser, Charlotte Reynolds, Chloe Spencer, Clay F. Johnson, Clint White, Corey Farrenkopf, Corey Niles, Cormack Baldwin, D.R. Roberts, Danielle Davis, Elecia Page, Freydís Moon, G.B. Lindsey, Hannah Hulbert, Hazel Ragaire, Ian A. Bain, Isaac Menuza, J.R. Handfield, Jameson Grey, Jasmine Arch, Jennifer Lee Rossman, Jennifer Shneiderman, Katherine Silva, Keely O'Shaughnessy, Lerah Mae Barcenilla, Lindsay King-Miller, Lucas Carroll-Garrett, Maggie D. Brace, Marisca Pichette, Micah Castle, Michael Bettendorf, Nico Bell, Nikki R. Leigh, Philine Schiller, Rose Taylor, Sally Hughes, Sam Lesek, Samuel Best, Sanaya Deas, Sara Crocoll Smith, SJ Townend, Sonora Taylor, Stephanie M. Wytovich, Steven Lombardi, Tonya Walter, Victoria Audley, Zé Burns 

Publication date: November 24th 2021 by Ghost Orchid Press
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My Thoughts...

Eco-horror has quickly become one of my favorite subgenres of horror. There's something about the earth fighting back against what humanity has wrought that cheers my horror-loving heart. This anthology contains 37 short stories and 13 poems of all kinds of plant life, floral and fauna, insects, sea creatures and more. Some standouts from the collection:

In Sonora Taylor's "Farm-to-Table", a couple on a terrible first date experience a botanical takeover. There's some great body horror imagery to make you squirm. 

"Chrysanthemum" by Victoria Audley tells us of the secret darkness the language of flowers can reveal. 

"Imitation of Life" by J.R. Handfield teaches us the lesson the narrator had yet to comprehend—the invasiveness of the water hyacinth. 

Sanaya Deas gives us an unyielding voraciousness in the form of seemingly innocuous red berries in "The Hunger".

In spite of an unfulfilled expectation of the protagonist to be a Snow White or a Briar Rose, "The Heartwood" by Sally Hughes ends up sounding like the darkest of fairytales. This one was a favorite with its Perrault-like feel. 
 
Chlorophobia is more than a pretty cover. It's a scary good collection of stories ranging from surreal to dreadful. While there were some stories that didn't work so well for me, most were a lot of fun.



Wild Violence
 is the third anthology from Blood Rites Horror, and with a theme of nature and wildlife, this time we're bringing you eleven bursts of gut-wrenching, pulse-shredding horror from twelve fantastic authors. From big cats to poisonous plants, forests harbouring dark secrets to bloodthirsty insects acting on instinct, lovers of violent, descriptive horror will find something to chew on here. 

Publication date:  April 11th 2021  by Blood Rite horror
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My Thoughts...

Blood Rite Horror has released a trilogy of anthologies: Bitter Chills, a composition of winter themed horror; Parasite Gods, tales of gods and monsters; and now Wild Violence with its nature and wildlife motif. Of course, in all anthologies there are stories that resonate more than others with certain readers. My favorites:

Spencer Hamilton's "The Overnight Forest" was a brutal way of kicking off this anthology with its censure of the Catholic Church's sins. 

"Islands of Trees" by Aiden Merchant follows a man and his dog through a post-apocalyptical landscape of monstrous plants and animals. I'm always a sucker for a dog but the world building was so intriguing I wanted more. 

In "Furry Skins" by L. Pine, hunter Jack Shaw is up against an unknown creature. Jack's a stereotypical macho type so I was rooting for the beast from the start.
 
Carla Eliot's "In the Beginning" tackled religion as well, in the form of the Garden of Eden and Adam and Eve. 

Bloody and ferocious, this was a solid anthology with a great range of topics and themes. 

 

A collection of fourteen short horror stories that chronicle obsession, loss, and why you should be afraid of things that go bump in the night. From a young boy with with an unhealthy fixation on what could go wrong to a man who can't accept that his wife wants to leave him, traipsing through The Corpse Garden certainly isn't for the faint of heart.

Author S.H. Cooper presents a combination of works popularized on Reddit's NoSleep and four, previously unreleased stories for brand new thrills and chills that are best read with the lights on.

Publication date: December 17th 2016
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My Thoughts...

This collection of 14 short stories by S. H. Cooper was a treat. There's no hesitation or false starts as the author places the reader directly into the meat of the story. Her narrative is deliberate and eerie as she weaves her characters in dark and twisty ways, bestowing an almost campfire tale feel on all her stories. Her narrators are varied and distinct from each other. l enjoyed all the stories but the extra shivery ones were:

In "The Way The Shadows Whisper" a little girl tells her new psychiatrist about the Shadows. Little kids are always creepy so this one was chilling. 

A new house comes with an odd visitor in the form of a crow in “Murder In My Backyard”. I love how the Crow (named Poe of course) helps to solve a mystery. It's clever and sinister all at the same time.

“I Buried My Fiancé On Our Wedding Day” has a unexpected but extremely satisfying ending. 

A grandson inherits an inn in “Whitemoore House” that comes with a long list of rules that must be obeyed. Haunting and bleak, this one was easy to imagine. 

I haven't read such a singular compilations of short stories in a long time. There wasn't a single dud in the bunch. 

It's time again to check another box on the  Scaredy Cat Bingo Challenge   which consists of 25 reading prompts on a bingo board.  Not p...

It's time again to check another box on the 

Scaredy Cat Bingo Challenge 

which consists of 25 reading prompts on a bingo board. 

Not playing yet?  

Jump in anytime here



Today's prompt:

Let's Summon Demons 


Is there anything scarier than demons and possession in the horror genre? I don't think so. The thought that something can overtake you and that you won't have control over your own mind and body. *shudders* 

Today's prompt is all about possession, though it might not be in the expected way. 



Grab your crucifix and some holy water. 

Here are 18 books about possession to keep you up at night!
MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM BY GRADY HENDRIX

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act….different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?


A HEAD FULL OF GHOSTS BY PAUL TREMBLAY
The lives of the Barretts, a normal suburban New England family, are torn apart when fourteen-year-old Marjorie begins to display signs of acute schizophrenia.

To her parents' despair, the doctors are unable to stop Marjorie's descent into madness. As their stable home devolves into a house of horrors, they reluctantly turn to a local Catholic priest for help. Father Wanderly suggests an exorcism; he believes the vulnerable teenager is the victim of demonic possession. He also contacts a production company that is eager to document the Barretts' plight. With John, Marjorie's father, out of work for more than a year and the medical bills looming, the family agrees to be filmed, and soon find themselves the unwitting stars of The Possession, a hit reality television show. When events in the Barrett household explode in tragedy, the show and the shocking incidents it captures become the stuff of urban legend.

Fifteen years later, a bestselling writer interviews Marjorie's younger sister, Merry. As she recalls those long ago events that took place when she was just eight years old, long-buried secrets and painful memories that clash with what was broadcast on television begin to surface--and a mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising vexing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil. 


The Fervor by Alma Katsu

1944: As World War II rages on, the threat has come to the home front. In a remote corner of Idaho, Meiko Briggs and her daughter, Aiko, are desperate to return home. Following Meiko's husband's enlistment as an air force pilot in the Pacific months prior, Meiko and Aiko were taken from their home in Seattle and sent to one of the internment camps in the Midwest. It didn’t matter that Aiko was American-born: They were Japanese, and therefore considered a threat by the American government.

Mother and daughter attempt to hold on to elements of their old life in the camp when a mysterious disease begins to spread among those interned. What starts as a minor cold quickly becomes spontaneous fits of violence and aggression, even death. And when a disconcerting team of doctors arrive, nearly more threatening than the illness itself, Meiko and her daughter team up with a newspaper reporter and widowed missionary to investigate, and it becomes clear to them that something more sinister is afoot, a demon from the stories of Meiko’s childhood, hell-bent on infiltrating their already strange world.


GODDESS OF FILTH BY V. CASTRO

One hot summer night, best friends Lourdes, Fernanda, Ana, Perla, and Pauline hold a séance. It’s all fun and games at first, but their tipsy laughter turns to terror when the flames burn straight through their prayer candles and Fernanda starts crawling toward her friends and chanting in Nahuatl, the language of their Aztec ancestors.

Over the next few weeks, shy, modest Fernanda starts acting strangely—smearing herself in black makeup, shredding her hands on rose thorns, sucking sin out of the mouths of the guilty. The local priest is convinced it's a demon, but Lourdes begins to suspect it’s something else—something far more ancient and powerful.

As Father Moreno's obsession with Fernanda grows, Lourdes enlists the help of her “bruja Craft crew” and a professor, Dr. Camacho, to understand what is happening to her friend in this unholy tale of possession-gone-right. 
Evil Librarian by Michelle Knudsen

#EvilLibrarian He’s young. He’s hot. He’s also evil. He’s . . . the librarian.

When Cynthia Rothschild’s best friend, Annie, falls head over heels for the new high-school librarian, Cyn can totally see why. He’s really young and super cute and thinks Annie would make an excellent library monitor. But after meeting Mr. Gabriel, Cyn realizes something isn’t quite right. Maybe it’s the creepy look in the librarian’s eyes, or the weird feeling Cyn gets whenever she’s around him. Before long Cyn realizes that Mr. Gabriel is, in fact . . . a demon. Now, in addition to saving the school musical from technical disaster and trying not to make a fool of herself with her own hopeless crush, Cyn has to save her best friend from the clutches of the evil librarian, who also seems to be slowly sucking the life force out of the entire student body! From best-selling author Michelle Knudsen, here is the perfect novel for teens who like their horror served up with a bit of romance, plenty of humor, and some pretty hot guys (of both the good and evil variety).
 


The Gates by John Connolly

Young Samuel Johnson and his dachshund, Boswell, are trying to show initiative by trick-or-treating a full three days before Halloween which is how they come to witness strange goings-on at 666 Crowley Road. The Abernathys don't mean any harm by their flirtation with the underworld, but when they unknowingly call forth Satan himself, they create a gap in the universe. A gap in which a pair of enormous gates is visible. The gates to Hell. And there are some pretty terrifying beings just itching to get out...

Can one small boy defeat evil? Can he harness the power of science, faith, and love to save the world as we know it?

Bursting with imagination, The Gates is about the pull between good and evil, physics and fantasy. It is about a quirky and eccentric boy who is impossible not to love, and the unlikely cast of characters who give him the strength to stand up to a demonic power.


Come Closer by Sara Gran

There was no reason to assume anything out of the ordinary was going on.
Strange noises in the apartment.
Impulsive behaviour.
Intense dreams.
It wasn't like everything went wrong all at once.
Shoplifting.
Fighting.
Blackouts.
There must be a reasonable explanation for all this.



Margaret Willow has never met an eleven-year-old as dangerous as Natalie Glasgow. Natalie spends her days comatose, but at night she prowls her mother’s home, unnaturally strong and insatiably carnivorous. With doctors baffled, Natalie’s mother reaches out to Margaret, an expert in the supernatural. But even Margaret is mystified and terrified by Natalie’s condition. She’s dying, and before she dies, she might kill someone. Has a demon clawed its way inside an eleven-year-old girl? Or does the source of this nightmare lie with Natalie’s dead father?

A tight, tense novella, The Possession of Natalie Glasgow twists the exorcism tale at every turn down to its final grave confrontation
Mister. B. Gone by Clive Barker

The Mister B. of the title is Jakabob Botch, a demon whose ghastly past could make even the most merciless sociopath whimper in sympathy. Born in the deepest regions of hell, the spawn of an abusive drunkard and his whorish wife, Jakabob escapes to the world above after suffering fiendish torture. Once topside, he lands conveniently in 15th-century Mainz, the home of printing inventor Johannes Gutenberg. However, Mister B. isn't interested in merely observing history; like any other self-respecting diabolical being, he's just searching for a new demonic angle. A ghoulishly good fright fest. 


The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

Four decades after it first terrified the world, William Peter Blatty’s The Exorcist is back! An extraordinary classic work of horror and dark paranormal suspense. In this stunning 40th Anniversary Edition, a desperate mother and two priests fight to free the soul of a little girl from a supernatural entity of pure malevolence.


RING SHOUT BY P. DJÈLÍ CLARK

In America, demons wear white hoods.

In 1915, The Birth of a Nation cast a spell across America, swelling the Klan's ranks and drinking deep from the darkest thoughts of white folk. All across the nation they ride, spreading fear and violence among the vulnerable. They plan to bring Hell to Earth. But even Ku Kluxes can die.

Standing in their way is Maryse Boudreaux and her fellow resistance fighters, a foul-mouthed sharpshooter and a Harlem Hellfighter. Armed with blade, bullet, and bomb, they hunt their hunters and send the Klan's demons straight to Hell. But something awful's brewing in Macon, and the war on Hell is about to heat up.

Can Maryse stop the Klan before it ends the world? 

BUILD YOUR HOUSE AROUND MY BODY BY VIOLET KUPERSMITH

Two young women go missing decades apart. Both are fearless, both are lost. And both will have their revenge.

1986
 The teenage daughter of a wealthy Vietnamese family loses her way in an abandoned rubber plantation while fleeing her angry father and is forever changed.

2011
 A young, unhappy Vietnamese American woman disappears from her new home in Saigon without a trace.

The fates of these two women are inescapably linked, bound together by past generations, by ghosts and ancestors, by the history of possessed bodies and possessed lands. Alongside them, we meet a young boy who is sent to a boarding school for the métis children of French expatriates, just before Vietnam declares its independence from colonial rule; two Frenchmen who are trying to start a business with the Vietnam War on the horizon; and the employees of the Saigon Spirit Eradication Co., who find themselves investigating strange occurrences in a farmhouse on the edge of a forest. Each new character and timeline brings us one step closer to understanding what binds them all.


Part puzzle, part revenge tale, part ghost story, this book takes us from colonial mansions to ramshackle zoos, from sweaty nightclubs to the jostling seats of motorbikes, from ex-pat flats to sizzling back-alley street carts. Spanning more than fifty years of Vietnamese history and barreling toward an unforgettable conclusion, this is a time-traveling, heart-pounding, border-crossing fever dream of a novel that will haunt you long after the last page.



In the realm of Awara, where gods, monsters, and humans exist side by side, Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe, if uneventful, existence as an innkeeper’s daughter. But when Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life. Aided by a thieving magpie spirit and continuously thwarted by a demon prince, Miuko must outfox tricksters, escape demon hunters, and negotiate with feral gods if she wants to make it home again. But with her transformation comes power and freedom she never even dreamed of, and she’ll have to decide if saving her soul is worth trying to cram herself back into an ordinary life that no longer fits her… and perhaps never did. 
A reluctant medium discovers the ties that bind can unleash a dangerous power in this compelling Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy.

Jessamyn Teoh is closeted, broke and moving back to Malaysia, a country she left when she was a toddler. So when Jess starts hearing voices, she chalks it up to stress. But there's only one voice in her head, and it claims to be the ghost of her estranged grandmother, Ah Ma. In life Ah Ma was a spirit medium, the avatar of a mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. Now she's determined to settle a score against a gang boss who has offended the god--and she's decided Jess is going to help her do it.

Drawn into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets, Jess finds that making deals with capricious spirits is a dangerous business. As Jess fights for retribution for Ah Ma, she'll also need to regain control of her body and destiny. If she fails, the Black Water Sister may finish her off for good.
 


Exorcist Falls by Jonathan Janz 

Chicago is gripped by terror. The Sweet Sixteen Killer is brutally murdering young women, and the authorities are baffled.

When the police are called to an affluent home in the middle of the night, they learn that a seemingly normal fourteen-year-old boy has attacked his family. The boy exhibits signs of demonic possession, and even more troublingly, he knows too much about the Sweet Sixteen killings. Father Jason Crowder, a young priest assigned to the case, must marshal his courage in order to save the boy and the entire city from the forces of evil.

But this is a darkness mankind has never encountered before. It craves more than blood. And it won’t rest until it possesses Father Crowder’s soul.

This volume brings together the original novella that started it all—Exorcist Road—and an all-new full-length novel (Exorcist Falls) for a shattering experience in supernatural terror.


Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Vera Martinez wants nothing more than to escape Roaring Creek and her parents' reputation as demonologists. Not to mention she's the family outcast, lacking her parents' innate abilities, and is terrified of the occult things lurking in their basement.

Maxwell Oliver is supposed to be enjoying the summer before his senior year, spending his days thinking about parties and friends. Instead he's taking care of his little sister while his mom slowly becomes someone he doesn't recognize. Soon he suspects that what he thought was grief over his father's death might be something more...sinister.

When Maxwell and Vera join forces, they come face to face with deeply disturbing true stories of cults, death worship, and the very nature that drives people to evil.


The Devil You Know by Mike Carey

Felix Castor is a freelance exorcist, and London is his stamping ground. It may seem like a good ghost buster can charge what he likes and enjoy a hell of a lifestyle--but there's a risk: Sooner or later he's going to take on a spirit that's too strong for him. While trying to back out of this ill-conceived career, Castor accepts a seemingly simple ghost-hunting case at a museum in the shadowy heart of London - just to pay the bills, you understand. But what should have been a perfectly straightforward exorcism is rapidly turning into the Who Can Kill Castor First Show, with demons and ghosts all keen to claim the big prize. That's OK: Castor knows how to deal with the dead. It's the living who piss him off... 


  

I don't know about you but I'm so excited for some of this month's new releases. Paranormal, sci-fi, creatures, apocalyptic...th...

This Month in Horror || March 2022





I don't know about you but I'm so excited for some of this month's new releases. Paranormal, sci-fi, creatures, apocalyptic...they are all here!

Take a gander below at this month's roundup of anticipated horror releases for March 2022.