Halloween Extravaganza: Kyle Alexander Romines: Guest Review of Something Other

Book review:
Something Other: A Collection of Horror Stories by Jacob Romines

It’s not every day your cousin writes a book. So when mine began working on a collection of horror stories, I was intrigued.

I eagerly read each story over the year or so it took him to complete the project. I knew at the time the book would be something special. I just didn’t realize how special it would be.

Something Other: A Collection of Horror Stories, was released earlier this year, and the reception has been nothing short of breathtaking. Phrases like “I can’t stop” and “this is the best one I have ever read” continually appear in the reviews. With Halloween just last month, and this celebration making it last even longer, I thought it would be the perfect time to dust off my copy and write a proper review.

Everything you need to know going in is right there in the title. Something Other is a horror anthology themed around otherworldly, existential horror. While each piece stands on its own, the stories weave together to create their own mythos. Although Romines claims inspiration from the works of H.P. Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti, this mythos is as unique and distinctive as you’ll find in contemporary horror.

The book itself is a work of art. The cover depicts a monstrous eye underneath a moonlit pond. The sinister red lettering for the title and author’s name creates an unsettling atmosphere even before opening the book to the first page. Then there’s the blurb, which hints at terrors to come.

Shadowy hints of titanic monsters. Humanesque voices, even faces, that almost seem real.Lures into ancient and incomprehensible jaws. The twisting of human minds and bodies for insidious purposes.Biological corruption and chaos. Encounters with the unknown.

The anthology includes 19 horror stories. Three unnerving poems placed at key intervals add flavor to the book. There is a surprising amount of secret content in the book as well, which I won’t spoil here.

Beneath the Swamp

The narrator recounts a harrowing trip to the Everglades two days before a catastrophic disaster. This excellent, blink-and-you’ll-miss-it short is the perfect story to kick off the book and is a great example of Jacob’s unique voice. Many of Jacob’s stories are told from a first-person POV, which drops you directly into the story’s events in a visceral way. Once you read this story, you’ll find yourself turning to the next.

The Nightstrider

A college student thinks something sinister stocks her campus. What follows is one of the most gripping stories in the entire collection, and one of my personal favorites. Nadia is an incredibly compelling protagonist, which ramps up the tension you feel for her all the more.

A Fable of Crickets

This short aside might seem like an opportunity to let your guard down after the preceding story. Don’t be fooled. It’ll make your hair stand on end once it sinks in.

The Puppeteer

After losing her only son, a widow returns alone to their country farm only to discover that she is very much not alone. This is one of the most unsettling stories in the entire collection. It’s another of my favorites. The entity depicted in the story is something only Jacob could’ve concocted, and he tells it so well, you’ll find yourself imagining the story’ events long after you’ve read it.

The Bad Tree

A young mother with crippling anxiety worries for her young son’s safety in a tale that reads as a companion piece to the previous story.


A camper goes off on his own and discovers something eerie on a lake. Something very eerie.

God’s Prison

A reporter investigates something shady at the Vatican and discovers… well, that would be telling. This story will mess with your head. Jacob has a unique philosophy and perspective on life and man’s place in the universe. This piece blends that perfectly with the distinctive brand of existential horror he has developed over the preceding chapters.

The Threshold

It begins with, “There is a space between wakefulness and dreams, a gray land we must pass through to rest each night,” and ends with, “And the thing laughs.” Another short aside that also serves as a perfect bridge between what has come before and what is yet to come. Jacob’s stories can be read on many levels, and this is another one that will stay with you long after you’ve finished it.

The Soul Eater

An individual suffering from sleep paralysis encounters something called the Soul Eater. This story is as much philosophical and psychological as it is horror. In fact, I’d call it a tale of existential dread. I’ve mentioned a few times already that Jacob’s stories are thought-provoking. That’s true of this story even more than any of the others, which is one reason why it’s generated such a strong response from readers.

The Man on the Tower

Every night, the protagonist watches a man throw himself off a tower, only to do it again. Trust me, you’re going to love the ending.


A man who lost the love of his life encounters her again under a storm drain, only… He’s not quite sure it’s her. This story will hit you where it hurts. It’s a visceral, emotional story that packs a punch. One of my favorites.

Listen to Your Ma

This dark poem shows the true breadth of Jacob’s skill.

They Don’t Lurk Anymore

A college student explains his theory about the DNA of fear. The implications will leave the protagonist, and you, reeling.


A man makes the most dangerous swim of his life.

A Maze

In this short aside, a child discovers a hidden underground maze.

The Praying Fungus

The story begins with: “I killed Jaqueline. I killed my girlfriend. But I killed her because she was going to kill you.” What follows is absolutely horrifying and grotesque. It’s also one of the most well-written stories in the anthology.

With the anthology nearing its end, Jacob hits the gas at the exact point other authors might let off steam. The Praying Fungus, and the stories that following, lower the veil to reveal the true scope of the mythos he’s constructed over the course of the anthology.

Entities of Predatory Consciousness: Introduction

At first, this aside seems disconnected from the previous story. But once you read the next three short stories, you’ll look at The Praying Fungus in a whole new way, which is one reason I recommend reading the anthology at least twice.

The Fungus King

An intelligence officer makes a horrifying archeological discovery in the Middle East. I refuse to say any more than that. It’s another of my favorites.

Out There

This chilling story initially appears to be a simple 4chan post. Instead, it’s the most explicit look behind the curtain of Jacob’s mythos contained in the anthology.

The House in the Middle of Nowhere

Jacob saved the best for last. Quite possibly the most disturbing story in the entire collection. I won’t tell you what this one is about. You’ll have to discover it for yourself. The anthology is worth buying for this story alone.

Now that I’ve finished hinting at the book’s contents, a word about the author. Jacob is a college student. In fact, he was only 18 years old when he started working on this book. Reviewers often mention their surprise that someone so young can be so talented in their reviews. Several have said he is “wise beyond his years.” It’s true. Jacob has a first-class mind and a deep-seated love of learning. His desire to unravel life’s great mysteries couple with a unique perspective on life to create the voice of Something Other. And his talent and skill only continue to grow with each new story. This is your chance to discover greatness before everyone else.

If you’re looking for something spooky, give it a read. You won’t be sorry.

Kyle Alexander Romines is a teller of tales from the hills of Kentucky. He enjoys good reads, thunderstorms, and anything edible. His writing interests include fantasy, science fiction, horror, and western.

Kyle’s debut horror novel, The Keeper of the Crows, appeared on the Preliminary Ballot of the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards in the category of Superior Achievement in a First Novel. He obtained his M.D. from the University of Louisville School of Medicine. 

You can contact Kyle via email. You can also subscribe to his author newsletter to receive email updates and FREE electronic copies of his Warden of Fál prequel short, The Path of Vengeance, AND his horror/science fiction novella, The Chrononaut.

The Keeper of the Crows

No evil can remain buried forever, as disgraced journalist Thomas Brooks discovers when a wave of death grips the rural Kentucky town of Gray Hollow in terror.

Following a very public humiliation, Thomas is looking for a story to get him back on the map-and free of the small town newspaper where he serves out his exile. The apparent murder of a stranger seems to be just what the opportunistic reporter needs, until he discovers the death is merely the start of something bigger.

Also investigating the murder is Sheriff Jezebel Woods, who doesn’t approve of Thomas’ sensationalist intentions. Mounting deaths force the pair to set aside their differences to confront a force that threatens to destroy the entire town.

At the center of the mystery is the disappearance of a boy named Salem Alistair, who designed a series of grotesque scarecrows for his parents’ farm-scarecrows that are turning up at each subsequent crime scene. Thomas begins to doubt his uneasy alliance with the sheriff when he realizes Jezebel has her own secret history with Salem Alistair.

Thomas and Jezebel are completely unprepared to face the supernatural force at odds with Gray Hollow. As the killings continue, and the town slowly begins to yield its dark secrets, the truth will pit Thomas and Jezebel on a collision course with true evil.

The Chrononaut

The future. Millennia of scientific discovery have led to mankind’s greatest feat: the invention of time travel, a technology with a potential for learning and scientific advancement rivaled only by its potential catastrophic consequences. To prevent such outcomes, the world government has carefully restricted the technology, limiting its use and study to a selected few. 

Dr. Amelia Lewis is a temporal historian charged with uncovering humanity’s greatest unsolved historical mysteries during her voyages into the timestream. It is on one of these missions that she witnesses something more terrifying than anything mankind has ever encountered—a monstrous entity that exists outside of time itself. Amelia’s journeys into the past have drawn its gaze, and now it seeks to devour her. 

As she desperately seeks a way a to save herself, Amelia discovers that everyone she cares about is being erased from existence. The fabric of her life is beginning to unravel. Soon, there may not be anything to go back to.

A Sound in the Dark

For Zack Allen, it was supposed to be a chance to get away and relax. A weekend camping trip with a small group of friends seemed like the perfect distraction from a messy personal life, but as Zack and his friends made their way to the camping ground at Drifter’s Folly Memorial Park, he couldn’t shake the feeling something was terribly wrong. 

Zack should have listened to his gut, because he and his friends aren’t the only ones in the forest. Someone else is watching—someone with dark intentions. And he wants to play a game…


The year is 1795. Frankenstein’s monster has given his creator an ultimatum: Victor must build the creature a mate, or watch as the monster destroys everything and everyone he has ever loved. 

You know their story. 

You don’t know hers.

She is born into darkness, her destiny entwined with an unspeakable evil. Her sole companion is her creator, the inscrutable Victor Frankenstein, gatekeeper to a life she has never experienced. As her understanding of humanity takes shape, she must contend with the horrific nature of her intended mate and conflicting feelings for her creator. 

She wants more from life than to be the bride of Frankenstein’s monster, but will she seek freedom, vengeance, or something else entirely?


In the years following the Civil War, lawlessness and corruption reign across the United States and its territories. 

The West is the most dangerous place of all. 

When a deadly gang overruns the small community of Casper, Wyoming, the townspeople find themselves forced to live in constant fear. 

Then a stranger named Christian wanders into town with nothing but a horse and a pair of pistols to his name, and everything changes. Wanting nothing more than to restock on supplies and leave, he soon finds himself reluctantly drawn into the conflict between the outlaws and the townspeople. 

Christian will be faced with the choice to continue running from his past, or to stay and fight and confront his demons.


After the emergence of the destructive, godlike Titans, the world is more dangerous than ever. 

When drone pilot David Hunter is recruited to join a top-secret military program, he learns the government has captured the Titan Prometheus. Once considered a hero by many, Prometheus is now an empty shell, retrofitted with technology to serve as a new kind of drone—and it’s David’s task to use the Titan’s powers on the government’s behalf. 

David has his own reasons to distrust Titans, but when he discovers some vestiges of Prometheus’ consciousness remain, it sets in motion a course of events that will cause him to learn what it means to be a hero.

Warden of Fal 1: The Wrath of Lords

The job sounded simple enough.

Rid the village of an ogre and rescue the girl. In return, the local lord would overlook that ugly business in the church.

It was nothing he hadn’t dealt with before.

That was before he heard the howls coming from the Bog of Móin Alúin. Before he crossed paths with the headless rider. Before he woke to find the witch’s crooked fingers on his face.

Now Berengar must unravel the labyrinth of secrets and lies surrounding the village before a deadly curse claims his life, all while a darker evil looms in the shadows…

Warden of Fal 2: The Blood of Kings

Being a warden is tough work at the best of times. Keeping the tenuous peace between the five kingdoms of Fál is a difficult business, especially in a land of monsters and magic.

Esben Berengar, the realm’s most feared warden, relies on his wits and his axe to deal with unscrupulous rulers, bloodthirsty outlaws, and the occasional witch.

When the king of Munster is murdered, Berengar is called upon to investigate. Many had cause to want the king dead, and treachery lurks behind every corner.

As tensions between humans and all others threaten to boil over, the warden finds himself reluctantly partnered with Morwen, Munster’s court magician, to solve the murder before the killer strikes at the royal family again.

Waden of Fal 3: The City of Thieves

Years ago, when violent purges plunged Dún Aulin into chaos, Warden Esben Berengar was sent to restore order by any means necessary. He did so with such brutal efficiency he became known throughout Fál as the High Queen’s Monster.

All is not forgiven.

When the hunt for a mysterious enemy leads Berengar back to Dún Aulin, an old friend’s request thrusts him headfirst into danger. In the Ceremony of the Cursed Blade, the sword used by the Lord of Shadows in his conquest of Fál will change possession, and it’s up to Berengar to keep the blade from falling into the wrong hands.

To do that he’ll have to survive vengeful goblins, bloodthirsty monster hunters, Leinster’s powerful Thieves Guild, and worse.

Much worse. 

Warden of Fal 4: The Will of Queens

For Esben Berengar, the road home is paved in blood.

Twenty years ago, Berengar left the Kingdom of Ulster and never looked back. But when another of the High Queen’s Wardens vanishes in the icy reaches of Fál’s northernmost realm, only Berengar can find him—even if it means returning to a place he thought he’d left behind forever.

But Ulster is more dangerous than Berengar remembers. Outlaws roam the countryside in open rebellion against the Ice Queen’s reign, while neighboring giants and trolls stand on the brink of war. It isn’t long before Berengar finds himself ensnared in conflict, even as the hunt for his missing friend leads to a far greater threat—one that could mean the destruction of Fál itself.

Halloween Extravaganza: Brian Hodge: My Review of The Spirit of Things

Having the amazing Brian Hodge on the blog for the first time is definitely an honor. Having him write a review of his favorite Halloween story, which is also one of mine… it’s like we’ve known each other forever.

It is inevitable that institutions get watered down by time. Meanings dilute; the reactions they evoke diminish. Solemn rites become superficial pageantry, ever more hollow the further they drift from their original contexts. Given enough familiarity, even villains and monsters evolve into unlikely antiheroes. By now, the only people rooting for the Halloween movies’ Michael Myers to be stopped are those who are bored sick of him.

According to splatterpunk O.G. John Skipp and his early short story “The Spirit of Things,” the problem with Halloween goes back a lot farther in time than its four-decade film franchise, and runs a lot deeper.

To the ancient Celts, the seasonal turning of summer to winter, of old year to new, was a transitional phase that brought a thinning of the veil between our world and everything else on the other side. Spirits, demons, the dead… they could all cross the ephemeral threshold. This is the history that “The Spirit of Things” remembers. This is the reality that, after millennia of eradication and mockery, is reasserting itself with extreme prejudice.

Since it was first published in the mid-1980s, “The Spirit of Things” has remained my favorite Halloween story of all time. Until a couple of moves disappeared my old hardcopies into a boxed storage purgatory from which they’ve yet to be excavated, I read the piece each year like holy canon: first in the December 1986 issue of Twilight Zone Magazine, then in Deadlines, the 1988 novel by Skipp and his then-collaborator Craig Spector. A strange narrative beast, is Dead Lines, at the time described by its authors as a story collection wrapped in a novel about a guy who kills himself because he can’t sell his story collection.

Barely cracking 2300 words, “The Spirit of Things” has the straightforward simplicity of a timeless fable: a single character, a single setting, a single sequence of events that, in real time, would span fifteen minutes, tops. On the scariest night of the year, an armed and desperate blue-collar worker barricades himself in his apartment, listening to the grisly fate of his neighbors and waiting to see what his own will be.

Yet, with this deceptively limited handful of elements, Skipp paints a portrait in miniature of an entire world undergoing breakdown toward a horrifying new normal. To read it is to reposition yourself at the heart of it. It’s not only balding, paunchy Jake Wertzel under siege in his home; it’s you in yours. It’s not just Wertzel finding out how far he’s willing to go when offering sacrifices to petition for his survival; you can’t read this without wondering about your own limits.

The story’s greatest power is in how actively it engages the imagination. Reader participation is mandatory, because while little is actually seen, much is implied and a whole crazy freakin’ lot is heard. As Wertzel’s surroundings periodically erupt with the kinetic mayhem of an Evil Dead film, it’s the chaos of what he can only hear going on all around him — just outside the windows, on the other side of ceilings and walls — that truly brings the terror, forcing you to conjure in your own head what horrors could possibly be making those ghastly sounds… as well as the carnage they’re leaving in their wake. You want to see, but to see will be the end of you.

Because it’s been around more than thirty years, “The Spirit of Things” may require a bit of a hunt to get your hands on one of its various reprintings. But the effort will be of long-term reward: a holiday classic you can revisit on an annual basis, and wonder, “What if, this year…?”

Called “a writer of spectacularly unflinching gifts” by no less than Peter Straub, Brian Hodge is one of those people who always has to be making something. So far, he’s made thirteen novels, over 130 shorter works, five full-length collections, and one soundtrack album.

His most recent works include the novel The Immaculate Void and the collection Skidding Into Oblivion, companion volumes of cosmic horror. His Lovecraftian novella The Same Deep Waters As You is in the early stages of development as a TV series by a London-based production company. More of everything is in the works.

He lives in Colorado, where he also endeavors to sweat every day like he’s being chased by the police. Connect through his website, or Facebook.

The Immaculate Void

“You wouldn’t think events happening years apart, at points in the solar system hundreds of millions of miles distant, would have anything to do with each other.”

When she was six, Daphne was taken into a neighbor’s toolshed, and came within seconds of never coming out alive. Most of the scars healed. Except for the one that went all the way through.

“You wouldn’t think that the serial murders of children, and the one who got away, would have any connection with the strange fate of one of Jupiter’s moons.”

Two decades later, when Daphne goes missing again, it’s nothing new. As her exes might agree, running is what she does best … so her brother Tanner sets out one more time to find her. Whether in the mountains, or in his own family, search—and—rescue is what he does best.

“But it does. It’s all connected. Everything’s connected.”

Down two different paths, along two different timelines, Daphne and Tanner both find themselves trapped in a savage hunt for the rarest people on earth, by those who would slaughter them on behalf of ravenous entities that lurk outside of time.

“So when things start to unravel, it all starts to unravel.”

But in ominous signs that have traveled light—years to be seen by human eyes, and that plummet from the sky, the ultimate truth is revealed:

There are some things in the cosmos that terrify even the gods.

Skidding Into Oblivion

We each inhabit many worlds, often at the same time. From worlds on the inside, to the world on a cosmic scale. Worlds imposed on us, and worlds of our own making.

In time, though, all worlds will end. Bear witness:

After the death of their grandmother, two cousins return to their family’s rural homestead to find a community rotting from the soul outward, and a secret nobody dreamed their matriarch had been keeping.

The survivors of the 1929 raid on H.P. Lovecraft’s town of Innsmouth hold the key to an anomalous new event in the ocean, if only someone could communicate with them.

The ultimate snow day turns into the ultimate nightmare when it just doesn’t stop.

An extreme metal musician compels his harshest critic to live up to the hyperbole of his trolling.

With the last of a generation of grotesquely selfish city fathers on his deathbed, the residents of the town they doomed exercise their right to self-determination one last time.

As history repeats itself and the world shivers through a volcanic winter, a group gathers around the shore of a mountain lake to once again invoke the magic that created the world’s most famous monster.

With Skidding Into Oblivion, his fifth collection, award-winning author Brian Hodge brings together his most concentrated assortment yet of year’s best picks and awards finalists, with one thing in common:

It’s the end of the world as we know it… and we don’t feel fine at all.

Halloween Extravaganza: Russell James: My Review of Corporate Wolf

The werewolf myth is two millennia old. That’s a lot of furry fireside stories, a lot of novels, a lot of movies. The familiarity of the genre means anyone wanting to play in that sandbox needs to bring his A-game.

In CORPORATE WOLF, Stuart West does.

Our hero is Shaun, a worker bee in the huge Lerner Solutions Corporation living a cubicle slave life. He’s a bit adrift in his job, wondering if he’s promotable, wondering if he wants to be. After a corporate retreat goes south, he doesn’t feel like the man he used to be, and that’s where lycanthropy takes the stage.

Shaun is a well-defined everyman, struggling with the ennui and the politics of work life. His “best work buddy” Redmond is the gregarious slacker everyone has worked with at some point in their life. Damon Brogan leads the pack (pun intended) of Lerner managers and is the rah-rah boss people hate to work for. West does a good job painting all his main characters through dialogue and action.

What sets this apart from other werewolf tales is the clear parallels highlighted between the canine Alpha lead/pack mentality and common attributes of the corporate world. By the end you are wondering if there are any leaders in corporate America who AREN’T werewolves.

There are many twists and turns in the plot, so I won’t kill the story by listing any here. There’s a lot of murderous action, but none of the descriptions rise to the splatterpunk level. West also leavens in a bit of humor to break the tension, but not enough to push it into Abbott and Costello Meet the Wolfman territory.

If you are a fan of fur and fangs, this will be howling good horror for you.

Corporate Wolf

The Writing Game

Stuart West might be an unfamiliar name to you. Check on Stuart West’s Amazon Author Page and you’ll be surprised to see over twenty works under his name, none being self-published. How does someone do that and be unknown?

Small presses.

Different from vanity presses you pay to put things in print, small presses still pay you. Usually not with an advance, but definitely with royalties. They are generally selective, unwilling to spend precious time and effort on a work that won’t pay back. They are also usually run by mega fans of the genre, and those folks know what’s good and what isn’t.

The small press problem is raising consumer awareness in an advertising-cluttered world. And that’s how a writer like West keeps leaping the hurdle to make the cut for publication and still you might still not have heard of him.

So I recommend you avert your eyes from the big publishers and the big names every now and then, and look at some titles from established smaller presses and from authors with a track record. Invest a few minutes in those preview pages Amazon makes available. There are diamonds out there like CORPORATE WOLF waiting to be discovered.

Russell James grew up on Long Island, New York and spent too much time watching late night horror. After flying helicopters with the U.S. Army, he now spins twisted tales, including horror thrillers Dark Inspiration, Q Island, and The Playing Card Killer. His Grant Coleman adventure series covers Cavern of the Damned, Monsters in the Clouds, and Curse of the Viper King. He resides in sunny Florida. His wife reads his work, rolls her eyes, and says “There is something seriously wrong with you.”

Website ** Twitter ** Email (say hello)


National Park Service Rangers Kathy West and Nathan Toland are the only ones stationed at Fort Jefferson, a restored Civil War fort sixty miles off Key West, Florida. Two overnight campers go missing, but before the rangers can investigate, shady Homeland Security agent Glen Larsson arrives to close the park due to a purportedly imminent red tide. 

Things quickly escalate out of control when mercenaries arrive to back up Larsson and imprison the rangers. Larsson’s plan is to free a cast of giant crabs to overrun the park, and then Florida beyond.

It’s up to Kathy and Nathan to escape the fort, and then, with the help of an old Coast Guard vet and a scientist with inside knowledge of the plot, to save millions of innocents from rampaging giant crabs. But Larsson’s evil plan has been decades in the making, and the crabs seem indestructible. It will take courage, teamwork, and perhaps the ultimate sacrifice, to avert disaster.

Halloween Extravaganza: Jay Wilburn: Some of My Favorite Books of 2019

I love hearing avid readers talk about their favorite books, always looking for my next favorite book or my next favorite author, so when Jay Wilburn asked if he could write about his favorites so far this year, I quickly said yes. Especially because it was Jay. I’ve read other books he’s called his favorites and haven’t been disappointed yet. Get ready to get your credit card out… or just have your Amazon app open so you can add to your cart easily.

I try to read as much as I can. I grab up the new hot books and then eventually read them. I find some of the most interesting and surprising stories among indie writers. That’s no knock on the bestsellers, but there is a wider range in some of these releases that don’t answer to big publisher marketing departments.

I’ve made a new rule for myself that I can’t buy a book until I’m ready to read it. So, if I’m not going to read it now, I have to wait to buy it. It makes me read a little faster. It keeps me from buying up everything. Friends stare at me like I’m insane when I explain this rule to them.

I will go back and reread older books. I’m still in the process of rereading Stephen King’s books in order. I’m feeling a strong temptation to go back and read Swan Song by Robert McCammon which I haven’t read in years even though I can’t count how many times I’ve reread The Stand by Stephen King.

All that to say my reading habits are a little sporadic. I have managed to read a few things this year that I enjoyed and feel strongly about recommending.

CARNIVOROUS LUNAR ACTIVITIES by Max Booth III is easily one of the greatest werewolf stories I’ve ever read. It is a great book even outside the werewolf subcategory. The dialogue in particular is exceptional in this story. It is great when the story is confined in a location. It is great when it breaks out of that confinement. I’m a huge fan of this book and the writer.

For fun, I contacted each of the writers I included in this list and asked them what they saw as their strongest book, excluding the one I had read and reviewed. Max said the new book he has coming soon might be his best. It’s going to be called TOUCH OF NIGHT. I’m looking forward to that. Of the ones that are out, he said THE NIGHTLY DISEASE is probably his best. Having read that too, I’d have to agree. That book is awesome.

HOUSE OF SIGHS by Aaron Dries is another great book I’ve read this year. The chapters are done in a countdown format like The Running Man. The story barrels forward from beginning to a gut punch of an ending. The characters in the story could have easily been flat stereotypes, but Dries makes them full and interesting. It hurts when they are hurt. Even when you sometimes secretly want them hurt a little bit.

He was a little taken aback when I asked him to name his best book. I imagine he has a little trouble bragging on himself. He finally settled on THE FALLEN BOYS. Based on the strength of HOUSE OF SIGHS, I’m excited to check this one out, too.

A PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS by Bob Ford and Matt Hayward was another great read. Two great authors making a great book is something to behold. This one feels like the story is crawling up out of the dirt and the trouble is building behind every turn. The story felt very tactile to me. Even when they weren’t specifically describing anything, I still felt like I could reach out and touch the scene and really feel the grit on the surface of things. The sequel is in the works and I’m looking forward to that.

When asked about best other books, Bob Ford said SAMSON AND DENIAL while Matt Hayward told me BRAIN DEAD BLUES is probably the best representation of his work. In the case of Brain Dead Blues, it is a collection of short stories which is the type of thing I love to read from a talented author. Short story collections sometimes make me feel like I’m getting a little bit more of the author and a wider range of work. Check out these two works, as well.

I also wanted to talk about a couple works on the way I’m looking forward to. In this case, both are nonfiction books. John Urbancik is a great writer. I’m particularly impressed with his short stories. He did a number of short story collections under the Ink Stains moniker. Now he has a nonfiction INK STAINS work on the subject of creativity in the offing. Review copies are out now and I’m going to grab it up as soon as it is available for purchase.

Tim Waggoner has a book in the works about the process of writing. There are a lot of this kind of book out there. I like the one Stephen King did. Others out there, I’m less impressed with. Considering the source on this one, I can’t wait to read this book when it is finished. From the classes he teaches, the information and questions he shares online, and the blog posts he shares on the subject of writing, his online presence alone contains so many pearls of wisdom on the craft. Having this compiled into a single work is a resource I intend to snatch up.

I feel strongly about the quality of the books mentioned in this article and believe you will likely enjoy them, too. Start reading!

Jay Wilburn is a full-time writer of horror and speculative fiction. His Dead Song Legend series follows music collectors during the zombie apocalypse. The Great Interruption follows and apocalypse of a different sort. He has coauthored The Enemy Held Near and A Yard Full of Bones with Armand Rosamilia. Follow his many dark thoughts at his website, his YouTube channel, and on Twitter.

Halloween Extravaganza: Peter Meredith: My Review of Twilight

When Peter asked me if he could write a review on Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, there was no chance of me saying no. I love hearing people’s opinion on not just these books, but these movies.

Twilight is my sister’s favorite series – something she’s read at least ten times, watched the movies so many times she has them memorized – but something that I could not get into, no matter how much I tried for her sake. But that’s the way it is with this one, isn’t it? There’s the people that loved, it, the people that hated it, and the people who didn’t bother because they had no interest at all.

Is it possible for someone to truly like both Twilight and Pride and Prejudice? I ask because I feel as though I’m about to get kicked in the literary nards again. The last time I stepped on a chick-lit favorite, Jane Austen‘s dull, but well written “romance,” I was described as “someone who lacks the will to understand,” and that was one of the more flattering comments! So you can see why I’m a little hesitant reviewing Twilight.

Here’s my problem with Stephenie Meyer’s debut novel: Twilight reads like a novel written by an average pre-teen, only without any evidence of editing or talent. Tenses are mixed, the plot is paper thin, and the characters are so shallow that they are little more than speaking cardboard cutouts.

The book can best be described as choppy and that’s being nice. Half the time the emotional state of Bella is completely incongruent with the scene she is in. It’s as if Meyer kept a hat near her computer and pulled from it scraps of paper with the words: mopey, or angry, or depressed, written on them. It’s rainy, let’s see what the hat says Bella should feel… hmm… hate. “I hate anything that’s wet.” Yes, that a line from the book and what a great line it is. How long did it take her to think up that one?

Sadly, there are more lines that are even worse. Here’s one that I treasure: “The room was familiar; it had been belonged to me since I was born.”

Been belonged? What the hell is that? And familiar? The room you’ve had since you were born you describe as familiar?

Here’s another line that I just had to read over and over wondering how it made it into the book: “Through their noses, all their features, were straight, perfect, angular.” Through their noses???? I’m clueless what that’s supposed to mean. And, what’s, with, all, the, commas,?
If you can get past all this, you then have to swallow the endless repetitious ‘perfect’ descriptions of Edward: His perfect golden eyes smoldered heatedly out from his flawless and perfect brow so that the ocher perfectly singed me with their perfection and heat–I exaggerate, but only barely.

It makes me wonder how this became a New York Times Editor’s Choice. Or how on earth it could be described as “The best book of the Year” by Publisher’s Weekly? I can only surmise that there weren’t any other books written that year.

I just don’t get it. It is a complete mystery how someone can become a millionaire writing like this. Maybe I should not start stopping, practicing to write weller than I does.

I could be famous too.

PS Can anyone tell me why girls fall for Edward when it’s obvious he’s gay. Let’s look at the facts as presented by the book: He’s a smart dresser. He’s neat and trim. He sparkles, smells fruity, and has a musical voice…la, la, la, la. Clearly he’s not just gay, but flaming, feather boa wearing, “I’m a dancer” gay. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that–it’s just an observation.)

PPS Even more of a question is how anyone can like Bella? She can’t walk to the bathroom without fear of falling in the toilet–trust me when I say it’s not an endearing trait. She’s annoyingly condescending to everyone. To call her moody is a joke. She’s bi-polar with a side-order of vanilla flavored mania. In the space of a minute she can be laughing, glaring angrily and crying. Yet all the boys want her. I get that Edward is using her as cover—“I swear that’s not my feather boa. It must be Bella’s.” But the rest of them? It stretches the limits of fiction.

Peter Meredith is the multi-genre author of thirty-six novels including: The Undead World, a 10 book series, Generation Z Series, The Trilogy of Void, The Hidden Lands Series, The Sacrificial Daughter, A Perfect America, and Sprite.

Peter has written drama, horror, fantasy, apocalypse, and post apocalypse novel.

He is proud to have served in the U.S. Army for four years, serving in the 82nd airborne division and as a medic during Gulf War 1. Also having tried his hand in real estate, and a CEO of a national lighting company, he has come to find that his true addiction is in writing and been blessed to make it his full-time career.

Peter resides in Colorado with his wife, Stacy, of 27 years. They have two grown children and a a grandchild who also live in Colorado.

May you find an unforgettable adventure among my writings!

The Undead World 1: The Apocalypse

Money, terrorism, and simple bad luck conspire to bring mankind to its knees as a viral infection spreads out of control, reducing those infected to undead horrors that feed upon the rest. 

It’s a time of misery and death for most, however there are some who are lucky, some who are fast, and some who are just too damned tough to go down without a fight. This is their story.

The Undead World 2: The Apocalypse Survivors
The Undead World 3: The Apocalypse Outcasts
The Undead World 4: The Apocalypse Fugitives
The Undead World 5: The Apocalypse Renegades
The Undead World 6: The Apocalypse Exile
The Undead World 7: The Apocalypse War
The Undead World 8: The Apocalypse Executioner
The Undead World 9: The Apocalypse Revenge
The Undead World 10: The Apocalypse Sacrifice
The Undead World 10.1: Jillybean’s First Adventure
The Undead World 10.2: Jillybean & the First Giants

Generation Z 1: Generation Z

It’s been twelve years since the undead hordes swept over the earth forcing mankind to the brink of extinction. We now live like rats, scavenging in the ruins of our fallen civilization as the dead hunt us night and day. 

There is little left to scavenge, however. Grocery stores were emptied ages ago, gas tanks have long been dry and bullets are so precious that a man is lucky to have two to his name. 

Still, we survive. 

But for how much longer? Instinct and love have combined to turn Darwin’s theory on its head. The strongest didn’t survive in this world. They were the first to die, leaving behind a generation of orphans. 

It’s a generation that’s never had a full belly. It’s a generation that has no idea what an Xbox did, or what algebra is for. It’s a generation of children who never laugh out loud, and who have learned to cry softly because the dead are always near and the dead are always so very, very hungry.

Generation Z 2: The Queen of the Dead
Generation Z 3: The Queen of War
Generation Z 4: The Queen Unthroned
Generation Z 5: The Queen Enslaved
Generation Z 6: The Queen Unchained

Trilogy of the Void 1: The Horror of the Shade

When Commander William Jern and his wife Gayle are given an opportunity to move into one of the spacious Colonial homes on the Village Green, they jump at the chance. But the Jern’s new dream home quickly becomes an icy nightmare, as death stalks them relentlessly. It comes unheralded out of the night, and like all of us, they are dreadfully unprepared. But regardless, William Jern must face terrors beyond imagination in order to save his daughter whose body had become a frozen vessel for The Horror Of The Shade. With the help of his son Will, a boy struggling to find the courage to be a man, and an old woman, who has foreseen the terrifying manner in which she will die, William undergoes the ultimate test to see how far a man will go to save his child.

Trilogy of the Void 2: An Illusion of Hell
Trilogy of the Void 3: Hell Blade