I’ve always been a lover of short story collections. Even more so than novels perhaps. I find something infinitely satisfying about the short form, and I think a single author collection is a great way to introduce yourself to a writer, the range of which he or she is capable. Multiple author anthologies can provide of smorgasbord of different talent, introducing me to writers I may have missed otherwise.
The first short story collection that really grabbed my attention was The Twilight Zone. I know what you’re thinking – that wasn’t a collection but a television show. Well, yes, but it was an anthologytelevision show. Instead of providing one continuous story with recurring characters, instead it offered the TV equivalent of short stories. Each episode was a self-contained tale with a beginning, middle, and end. One week I might get science fiction, another suspense, another horror. It was my first experience with that sort of storytelling, and I instantly fell in love with it.
So when I got older and became a voracious reader, it is not at all surprising that I would be drawn to short story collections. One of the first books I ever read by Stephen King was his first collection Night Shift, and I delighted in all the different tales I found between the covers. To this day, I get excited when I find out a writer I like is coming out with a new collection. And I love writers who release multiple collections. King, Gaiman, Lansdale, Hodge, etc.
I also became a huge fan of anthologies. In my formative years, I remember devouring anthologies with titles like Under the Fang, Prime Evil, Book of the Dead, Shock Rock…eclectic collections of stories by some of the top talent in the horror genre of the day. Every new anthology was like a trip to heaven for me. So much treasure in one book.
As a writer, I enjoy writing novellas and novels and even the occasional poem, but short fiction has always been my truest love and greatest passion. And I dreamed of having multiple collections out there, just like my favorite writers.
And I’m thrilled that I have made that dream come true. I’ve been lucky enough to have had the privilege of working with a myriad of wonderful publishers who also believe in the power of short fiction.
My latest collection is BOOK HAVEN AND OTHER CURIOSITIES (April 26th) from Crystal Lake Publishing. I published a previous collection with them, and what really impressed me about them is that they promote a collection as hard as a novel. BOOK HAVEN contains the title novella as well as 20 short stories of various lengths. I touch on different subjects, different tones and themes. A lot of horror, some straight dramatic pieces, and even a few poems. The reader will definitely see the Twilight Zoneinfluence in a couple of the pieces.
I am beyond ecstatic to have a new collection coming out into the world. I think this is an assembly of strong stories, and I look forward to getting feedback from writers.
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Stop by Mark’s Amazon page and keep an eye out for the book: https://amzn.to/2OCdVva
Synopsis of my story:
“Nothing like a good old “creature” story.” ~ Frank Michaels Errington’s Horrible Book Reviews
Tick – tock
Your time is running out. When the clock strikes 13, all manners of hell will break loose.
When the Clock Strikes 13 is a collection of thirteen short horror stories by some of the best horror and dark fiction authors writing today. Inside, you will find stories to frighten, shock and gnaw at your inner fears, and take you places that belong only in the dark recesses of your mind. There are monsters on these pages; some are human, some are not.
Table of Contents:
“Wildly varied and always surprising, Darker Days is a fantastic collection of dark wonders. Cain is a gifted storyteller and a writer to watch.” — Jonathan Janz
“I’ve said before that the way to assess the health of a genre is to look at the number of excellent young writers it attracts. There is a new wave of excellent writers showing up in Horror. Kenneth W. Cain is one of these very good writers. His prose is precise, his plotting and pace move seamlessly and quickly, and his stories are compelling. Darker Days is a good example of some of his best work—highly recommended.” — Gene O’Neill, The White Plague Chronicles
“A feast for the senses no matter your tastes! Kenneth W. Cain does it again with Darker Days: A Collection of Dark Fiction.” — Rena Mason, Bram Stoker Award® winning author of The Evolutionist and East End Girls
“Darker Days, the latest collection of short stories by Kenneth W. Cain, delivers on its title’s promise. From the very first story readers are dragged into seemingly ordinary situations that serve as cover for dark secrets. Ranging from subtle horror to downright terror, from science fiction to weird fantasy, Cain demonstrates a breadth of styles that keeps you off balance as you move from one story to the next. There is something for everyone in this collection—as long as you don’t want to sleep at night!” — JG Faherty, author of The Cure, Carnival of Fear, and The Burning Time
Reviews for Darker Days:
“Kenneth Cain has the ability to bring up hard topics without driving them into the ground or beating you over the head with them.” — SciFi & Scary
“There’s a lot of interesting content in DARKER DAYS. What makes this twenty-six story collection memorable is the diversity of genres and the variety of themes.” — Pop Culture Podium
“Darker Days, by Kenneth Cain, is a great collection of tales that any fan of horror fiction would enjoy. There’s something in this book for everyone. The subject matter of the tales therein includes ghosts, cosmic horror, zombies, vampires, weird creatures, aliens, kaiju, and demons. While there were stories I enjoyed more than others, there wasn’t a single dud in this collection.” — HorrorAddicts.net
“Kenneth W. Cain is an exceptional writer. His stories never fail to provide the chills and thrills you want from a horror anthology. Highly recommended.” — Goodreads review
Now that you’ve warmed by the embers, submerse in darker days.
The author of the short story collections These Old Tales, Fresh Cut Tales, and Embers presents Darker Days: A Collection of Dark Fiction. In his youth Cain developed a sense of wonderment owed in part to TV shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Now Cain seeks the same dark overtones in his writing.
There’s a little something for every reader within this collection. These 26 short speculative stories arise from a void, escaping shadows that ebb and weave through minds like worms, planting the larvae that live just under the skin, thriving upon fear. These are Cain’s darker days.
In this collection, Cain features stories from the Old West, of past lives and future days, the living and the dead, new and unique monsters as well as fresh takes on those of lore. Once more he tackles themes of loss and grief and the afterlife, always exploring the greater unknown. In “The Sanguine Wars,” Cain takes us to a future where soldiers are made to endure the horrors of war. He explores the complexities of global warming and what lengths men and women alike sink to in “The Reassignment Project.” And, as often is the case, he ends on a lighter note, with “Lenny’s New Eyes” and “A Very Different Sort of Apocalypse.”
When the darkness comes, embrace it. Let it wrap you up in cold. Don’t worry, it’s not your time…yet.
Includes the following stories:
“If you’re a short story reader, this is an absolute must-read. Volume five is even better than the four preceding volumes, which is a very hard bar to hit. Go buy this!” — John R. Little, author of The Memory Tree, Miranda, and Soul Mates
Reviews for Tales from the Lake Volume 5:
“Taken all together, Tales From The Lake – Volume 5 is an absolute triumph, a wonderfully inclusive celebration of the best that the Horror genre can produce, unhindered by the constraints of themes or specific topics. The individual stories within the collection are uniformly of a very high quality, and have been expertly brought together and edited by Kenneth W. Cain and Crystal Lake Publishing.” – Sci-Fi and Fantasy Reviews
“edited by Kenneth Cain, one of the as yet unsung heroes of dark horror fiction–an author in his own right who deserves much more attention and spotlighting.” – The Haunted Reading Room
“This anthology from Crystal Lake Publishing is by far the best volume yet in the Tales from the Lake series!” – Amazon review
“Though the stories in Tales from the Lake Volume 5 are not themed in the traditional sense, they form a cohesive unit. Threads connect each to the others as if the authors had conspired to give the anthology its unique flavor.” — HorrorAddicts.net
“The current and previous have been a huge improvement and I enjoyed them immensely.” – Amazon review
“The most terrifying thing in the world is not a vampire or zombie, it is mankind and what we are capable of doing to each other. This collection from editor Kenneth W. Cain will eat at you for a long time. Horrifying, haunting, and unforgettable!” – Goodreads review
“I’ve been a fan of the Tales From The Lake anthology since the first volume and it’s amazing to see how much it has evolved over the years. Volume 5 is quite possibly the best yet.” – Goodreads review
“Kenneth W. Cain did an excellent job of weaving the stories together and they flow from one to another leaving the reader on a journey of terror and entertainment.” – Goodreads review
“Over the years I’ve read enough anthologies, short story collections and fiction magazines to refine my expectations for what comprises a premium horror story. So when I declare that I thoroughly enjoyed two-thirds of the fiction in TALES FROM THE LAKE VOLUME 5 – – that says a lot about the high quality of the contents.” – Pop Culture Podium
“…this one has some seriously fantastic offerings.” – A.E. Siraki
The Legend Continues…
In the spirit of popular Dark Fiction and Horror anthologies such as Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories and Behold: Oddities, Curiosities and Undefinable Wonders, and the best of Stephen King’s short fiction, comes Crystal Lake Publishing’s Tales from The Lake anthologies.
Where are the real horrors? Whether they be a family member returning from the dead, exploring the depths of depression or the deterioration of the mind, you’ll find them here.
This anthology contains twenty-two tales and three poems to elicit unexpected emotions, to bring you into the story. Welcome to my lake, where dreams really do come true… As nightmares!
This fifth volume of speculative fiction contains:
With an introduction by editor Kenneth W. Cain. Cover art by Ben Baldwin. Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from The Darkest Depths.