Monday, March 25, 2013

13 Steps [Short Story Review]

Genre - Short/Horror/Western
Year Published - 2013 
(this story has just been released as a stand-alone-short ~ it was originally published in the anthology, 'Welcome to Hell', in 2012)
Length - 22 [digital] pages
Written by Franklin E. Wales

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
Thirteen steps up the gallows to the hangman's noose:
One step to reflect each day that brought Dramos to this point in his life.

There is a lot more to the Circle Star Ranch massacre than the sheriff knows about...

Book Trailer:

Pay close attention to the 1:20 mark... ;-)

Yesterday, I posted the above book trailer. In my excitement, I failed to realize that I was already familiar with this story. (I, of course, recognized the title '13 Steps' and I was familiar with the name Dramos) I just assumed, after having viewed the trailer, that Wales' had expanded upon his original short story (as stated above; previously released in the anthology 'Welcome to Hell: An Anthology of Western Weirdness' - which I mentioned in my June, 2012 blog post...)

Let me explain a little further:
As you all already know, I am a HUGE fan of Wales' work (my favorite Independent author!) I read everything that the man writes! He is a most excellent storyteller!
This being the case, I have been aware that Wales' is creating his own mythos (now, officially titled 'The Dramos Saga' which, after re-reading this story, I have learned that it is going to be a series of stand-alone short stories, each one leading into the other, yet still being able to be read as individual stories...

On a side note, after you have read this story, take my advice and read another of Wales' short stories titled, 'Homecoming' (see my review of it, posted on Jan. 10th)
It is not officially part of the Dramos Saga (to my knowledge) yet it does, in its own way, tie in to Dramos' tale. (without giving anything away, it has to do with Dramos' Italian heritage)
Also, reading both of these stories will also benefit you when Wales' next full-length novel, 'Eaton Falls' is released (coming soon!)

See, I told you that Wales is building his own, unique universe...
I feel as if I am rambling, in my excitement, so I am just going to tell you to get this story!
$1.00 on the Kindle/Kindle App

For only a buck, you will learn a little of Dramos' past - 13 days, in fact, which lead him to the gallows...



Sunday, March 24, 2013

13 Steps [Book Trailer]

Watch "Serpenteens, 13 Steps Book Trailer" on YouTube

Author Franklin E. Wales just released this 1st book in his new Horror/Western E-Book series (The Dramos Saga)
Yes, series!
Are you as excited as I am?!?!?

Download it now, on your Kindle or Kindle App for only $1!
(as of this writing, it is not yet available on Nook - not sure if that will change or not)
If you are a Nook user (as I am) just download the Kindle App on your smartphone and/or tablet - Wales' is worth it, trust me, you won't regret it!

Stay tuned for a review, in the near-future. In the meantime, watch the attached book trailer (do any names look familiar to you?)

*Note: I posted this directly from my phone (1st time doing so) so I am not sure whether the trailer will appear or just a link... If it's just the link, I apologize. Still, please take the time to follow it and read what people are saying about Wales' work!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Act of Faith [Short Film]

Genre - Short/Mystery/Thriller
Year Released - 2011
Running Time - 9 1/2 minutes
Directed by Tim Pieraccini
Written by Tim Pieraccini
Cast Includes: Sochel Rogers, Kimberley Adams, and Nicole Oliverre

Rating: 3 Skulls

Plot Summary:
A ghost(?) story about a troubled girl haunted by a mysterious blindfolded woman...

This short is filmed, in black & white, in the tradition of the old Val Lewton films, which really helped to add to the atmosphere of the story! I loved the music, which set the mood perfectly! Very well made!

The film tells an engrossing tale of a young woman talking with a priest about a "ghost girl" inside of her head. This young woman no longer believes in God, yet the mysterious, blindfolded ghost girl resembles the young woman's "picture" of what God looked like, when she was a little girl.

When the mysterious figure appears to the priest, to test her faith in God, we learn that she is some sort of "agent" - not sent, but summoned...

Rather than say more, you can just watch the short, for yourself, right here:


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Dead Heart [Short Story Review]

Genre - Horror
Year Published - 2012
Length - 49 [digital] pages *Read on my NookApp on my Samsung Galaxy Note II Phone
Written by Brandon Ford

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
This is a dark and disturbing story that shows just how far one man will go to achieve financial gain, and how far another will go to right the wrongs of the past.
(that is all you get on this one - the less you know, the better!)

First, let me just tell you right now that if you own an e-reader (or an e-reader app) you can pick up this delightful short story, for FREE (on both Nook & Kindle!)
But be warned! Once you read this free story, you will be hooked on Brandon Ford, and you will want to read everything else that he has written...! 
(Don't say that I didn't warn you!)

You can read this one, literally, in one sitting (the 49 pages seem like 5!)
All I am going to tell you about this one is the character of Carl, who is an "expert restorative artist" (on corpses) - when a celebrity corpse crosses his path, you will find out what he is really up to, and you won't believe it...!

An excellent introduction into the twisted mind of Ford!


Pay Phone [Book Review]

Genre - Horror
Year Published - 2010 (Published by Arctic Wolf Publishing)
Length - 187 [digital] pages *Read on my NookApp on my Samsung Galaxy Note II Phone
Written by Brandon Ford

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
While a fierce winter falls upon the streets of New York City, a vicious killer is on the hunt for new blood.
From his third floor apartment window, he watches, and waits, using the pay phone across the street to find his victims. With his voice and with his charms, he lures them to his door...

...and one by one they meet their fate.

On a gray morning, he spies someone new. Someone different. Someone who reminds him of someone he knows. Someone very, very special. And he'll stop at nothing to make sure that special someone... is next.

Whatever you do, don't answer the phone. It just might be for you.

Brandon Ford has yet to disappoint!
He is one of those authors who makes you feel as if you know his characters personally.
(I will be telling my wife about the story, and it sounds as if I am talking about people that I actually know...)

This story takes place over a two day span (in early January, 1998) where you first meet Jake - a 27-year-old unemployed man, who spends his days watching the streets below his NYC apartment in search of someone new to murder.
(it is no surprise that you will soon discover just how sadistic and mentally unbalanced Jake is!)

Thrown into the mix of characters are Chelsea & Haley (two roommates who despise one another), Susan (a girl from Jake's past), Arlene (a friend of Chelsea's), and Gladys (Jake's unemployment officer).

Stir the above, and you have the perfect concoction that builds up to a riveting, tension-filled finale! What more can you ask for in a great book?

Ford more than delivers in this one!


Thursday, March 7, 2013

Bigfoot Terror Tales - Volume One: Stories of Sasquatch Horror [Book Review]

Genre - Horror/Anthology
Year Published - 2012
Length - 162 [digital] pages *Read on my Nook
Edited by Eric S. Brown & A. P. Fuchs

Rating: 4 Skulls [Overall]

Plot Summary:
He is Mysterious. . .
He is Legend. . .
He is Bigfoot!

Need I say more?

In this anthology, you get 14 stories that will whet the appetite of any Sasquatch horror fan!

As Eric S. Brown stated in his Introduction, this anthology was put together in "an effort to bring Bigfoot back to his rightful place in the Monster Food Chain."
So, if you love a good tale of horrific, bloody Sasquatch attacks upon humans, then this anthology is for you!

What I'll do is just give you a super-quick rundown of each tale:

#1 - 'Small Town, Big Trouble' (by David Bernstein)
       This was an excellent story to start off with!
       This one is about what a man will do to break a curse upon his town...
        I loved this one!
       5 Skulls

#2 - 'Frame 353' (by Francesco Collia)
       This one is about a filmmaker attempting to capture the "perfect shot"...
       3 Skulls

#3 - 'A Forest of Monsters' (by Giovanna Lagana)
       This is a tale about a lab experiment gone wrong...
       3 Skulls

#4 - 'Revenge of the Blood Creatures' (by Franklin E. Wales)
       This one is about a couple of grindhouse filmmakers on the cusp of the "gore genre", 
       making a film called "Terror of the Missing Link" about the Florida Skunk-Ape.
       4 Skulls

#5 - 'The Thing Under the House' (by R. J. and Rosalind Sevin)
       This one is pretty self explanatory - about "something" taking refuge under a couple's 
       house during a storm.
       3 Skulls

#6 - 'Yeiitsoh' (by Suzanne Robb)
       This one is my favorite of the 14 stories! (as well as the most violent/gruesome)
       This is a story about a mother & daughter who were slaughtered, and the father & son 
       who form a hunting party to go after the attacker.
       5 Skulls

#7 - 'Unleashing Terror' (by Janice Gable Bashman)
       This tale is about a group of captured Bigfoot being held aboard a ship within a ship 
       graveyard. Definitely an interesting approach!
       4 Skulls

#8 - 'Witiko' (by Bruce Durham)
       This one is about a group of British soldiers, who stumble upon an inhabited cave, 
       while investigating an outpost that was attacked.
       3 Skulls

#9 - 'Night Stalkers' (by Jason Hughes)
       This tale is about serial murders taking place in a small town...
       Unfortunately, this one didn't do a whole lot for me.
       2 Skulls

#10 - 'The Lord Helps Those...' (by Tonia Brown)
       This one tells the story of an old farmer who claims to have seen a Bigfoot, yet no one 
       believes him... Great story!
       5 Skulls

#11 - 'In the Forests of the Far Land' (by Christine Morgan)
       This one is about a group of Scandinavian(?) friends whose village is wiped out.
       3 Skulls

#12 - 'Ronald Reagan vs. Bigfoot' (by Eric Dimbleby)
       Yep, you read that title correctly... An 85-year-old Ronald Reagan versus Bigfoot...
       The good news is, that it was a good story!
       4 Skulls

#13 - 'Sti'yaha' (by E. M. MacCallum)
       When one of their own goes missing, some Jr. High kids go in hunt of Bigfoot...
       I am sorry to say that I did not like this story - no offense to the author...
       2 Skulls

#14 - 'Bigfoot vs. Grandpa' (by Eric J. Guignard)
       This one tells the tale of a grandpa telling his grandson how his left hand was bitten 
       off by a Bigfoot.
       (for whatever reason, it brought back memories of the grandfather reading to his sick 
       grandson, in 'The Princess Bride' - not sure why, but it did)
       4 Skulls

So there you have a breakdown of each story...

Until next time,


P. S. About halfway through writing this review, something wonky happened (I have no idea what I did - I tried to fix it, but to no avail) Whatever happened, it made my font all screwy/uneven - I apologize for that - wish I could have figured out how to fix it!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Black Feathers (The Black Dawn: Volume One) [Advanced Book Review]

Genre - Eco-Horror/Dark Fantasy/Young Adult
Year Published - 2013 [*Release Date is April 4th! - Published by Angry Robot Books]
Length - 377 [digital] pages *Read on my Nook
Written by Joseph D'Lacey

Rating: 5 Skulls

Plot Summary:
It is the Black Dawn, a time of environmental apocalypse, the earth wracked and dying.

It is the Bright Day, a time long generations hence, when a peace has descended across the world.

In each era, a child shall be chosen. Their task is to find a dark messiah known only as the Crowman. But is he our saviour - or the final incarnation of evil?

If I had not already stated before that D'Lacey is my favorite UK author, I would be doing so now! D'Lacey (the author of 'Meat', 'The Garbage Man', and 'The Killing Crew') has really matured as a writer - he has become a "storyteller" in its truest sense!

If you recall, back in 2008, I gave his 1st novel, 'Meat' the award for Most Memorable Novel...
I can easily see that same award going to Black Feathers, this year, as well.

D'Lacey is not only a thought-provoking author who has the gift to make you think, he has the gift to make you feel what his characters are feeling as well (their fear, their pain, their emotion)
On top of that, he has such a metaphorical way with words - rather than just say that, let me show you two examples: 
(*Note: Thank you to the author for giving me permission to quote the below!)

"Down at the river the October sun lets the water break its smile into a million pieces of gold, each so brilliant they leave a mote of light inside the eye, each one unique and momentary."

Can you get more descriptive than that?!?
How about the next one?

"The woman sits cross-legged, everything below her waist wrapped in torn, grimy blankets. Above her waist, she is naked. The folds of her belly suggest she has born many children, and her breasts, hanging drained and limp, are testament to this...
Her skin has the look of hide about it, and the wrinkles and cracks it bears are deep. Dirt fills each fold of skin...
Her neck is a mess of folds and wattles, each crease gritty with filth... Her face, too, is a sagging succession of dewlaps, the weight of her skin pulling her lower lids away from her eyes, exposing jaundiced sclera and capillaries that look like rusty fractures in polished ivory."

Now, tell me you didn't feel as if you were sitting directly across from the above woman?
That is how good D'Lacey is!

So, what is the book about exactly?
The story is told in two parts - number one being the Black Dawn, which is basically the dawning of a new Dark Age - the Final Days, if you will, where billions have perished due to famines, sickness, and wars. Technology has become useless, due to constant solar flares, and tsunamis and volcanic eruptions have wracked the earth.
In this time-period we follow a young man in search of the Crowman.

The second part takes place in the future, in the aftermath of the Black Dawn - the Bright Day, where we follow a young woman, who is to become a keeper of the knowledge of what transpired in the past. She to is in search of the Crowman.

Who is this mythical Crowman? (also known as "Black Jack" or simply "the Scarecrow")
Is he good or is he evil?
That will be up to you to decide...!

Black Feathers is the 1st book in the "Black Dawn Duology".
Mark your calendars - it will be available on April 4th - you don't want to miss this one!

The 2nd book, 'The Book of the Crowman' will be forthcoming...
(I so cannot wait!!)