Short Stories

Embers

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“Not a squall, not a blizzard … It’s a pulp horror AVALANCHE! That’s Kenneth W. Cain’s new collection, Embers.” — Mort Castle, Bram Stoker Award® winner

Reviews for Embers:

“I think I can safely say that this collection is one of my all-time favourites.” — Confessions of a reviewer

“Cain’s characters are anything but black and white. They are as multi-faceted as any real person you know. They are presented with difficult decisions and even worse situations, and they do the best that they can. Monster and man both are tested relentlessly, Cain never taking the easy way out. Some of the stories are predominately scary, some are predominately sad. All of them will evoke a range of emotions while you read and long after you’ve finished.” — Charnel House Reviews

“Prepare for the stretching of your mind and the expansion of your imagination as Kenneth W. Cain boldly goes into unexplored territory, sometimes speculative, other times horrific, but always enlightening.” — Mallory Heart Reviews

“Some of these tales take on a poe-esque quality, while others a more Lovecraftian tone, and then we find those that bestow upon us the moral musings of Rod Serling. Yeah, these stories are good!” — Horror Novel Reviews

“If you enjoy your horror with a touch of Lovecraft, I believe you’ll appreciate this body of work from Kenneth W. Cain more than you would otherwise.” — Cemetery Dance (Frank Michaels Errington)

“The market is flooded with short story collections and I sincerely hope that Cain’s Embers finds an audience as he has a strong voice and an obvious writing ability. A really good collection overall” — The Grim Reader

“Each story is connected by a little thread to the next one. Kenneth created a web of weird, sometimes gory, sometimes psychological and always scary threads.” — Banshee Irish Horror Blog

“Embers is a collection that strolls into every corner of horror to gather bits before running them through the spin cycle, dial set to dread.” — Unnerving Magazine

“…from page 1 I enjoyed reading each and every word.” — Terror-Tree

“Books like “Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark” were always a fun read as a child right before bed. Cain’s “Embers” is like an adult version of those novels.” — The Horrific Network

“What makes his work scary is that he takes normal everyday situations with characters just like you and me and twists them into something horrific. These are tales that really could happen to anyone.” — S.J. Budd

“Overall, Embers is a well-constructed and put together collection of horror stories from Kenneth W. Cain that marks another quality release from Crystal Lake Publishing.” — A.E. Siraki

“I thought it was a great collection.” — Sci-Fi and Scary

From the author of the short story collections These Old Tales and Fresh Cut Tales comes his latest effort, Embers: 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 25 short speculative stories represent the smoldering remains of a blaze, the fiery bits meant to ignite the mind with slow-burning imagery and smoky twists and turns. These are the very embers of Cain’s soul.

In this collection, Cain features stories of troubled men and women, both living and dead. Themes of loss and the afterlife take on many forms, as he explores the unknown. For instance, “The Chamber” focuses on a hardened veteran of World War II who has committed heinous crimes. He seeks only to find peace from his conscience, but sometimes that comes at a great loss. “Valerie’s Window” visits a small town amid a tragic end to humanity. Only things are not as they seem, and the more Valerie comes to know herself, the more her reality is revealed. “The Benefit of Being Weighty” has a humorous side, but the theme of this story revolves around fat shaming and the price one must pay for being so ignorant. Hopefully, these three short descriptions have increased your curiosity to read the book.

When the dark comes, light a match. Let the fire burn bright and hot. So that when it dies the embers warm you.

Includes the following stories:

  • The Chamber
  • “Valerie’s Window”
  • “A Window to Dream By”
  • “Each New Day Unknown”
  • “Gone”
  • “Under the Drift of Snow is Another World”
  • “Blackbird’s Breath”
  • “Desolate”
  • “Lost in the Woods”
  • “Final Breaths”
  • “Closer”
  • “Flocking Birds”
  • “Pirouette”
  • “To Save One Life”
  • “Of Both Worlds”
  • “Breathing Cave”
  • “Soul Tapped”
  • “The Water People”
  • “Water Snake”
  • “Evolved”
  • “Buried Beneath the Old Chicago Swamps”
  • “The Bad Men”
  • “Parasite”
  • “Strip Poker, Crabs, and Blue Women”
  • “The Benefit of Being Weighty”

“His Flower, His Treasure”

Available from:
Synopsis of my story:
Kelvin’s forced to prioritize his wants, desires, and possibly his own life upon tracking down a hidden treasure, and the secret guardian.

Between the Lines – Edited by Michael Knost:

Bram Stoker Award-winning editor and author Michael Knost gave his online writing students an opening sentence and a closing sentence and asked them to write a story Between the Lines.

Every story opens with: “Kelvin pressed against the wound as blood seeped around his hands.”

And ends with: “Watching the train disappear into the night, he brought the flower to his nose before tossing it to the tracks.”

This anthology is the amazing results.

Now, prepare yourself for the wonders you’ll find Between the Lines.


“The Reaper’s Fire”

Available from:

Synopsis of my story:
Dana leads her boyfriend out into a cornfield on Halloween night to learn the identity of an arsonist who terrorized their small town in past years. There in the cornfield, among the drying husks, she contemplates her relationship with her father.

Tales From The Lake Volume 3 – Crystal Lake Publishing – Edited by Monique Snyman:

Table of Contents:
“The Owl Builder” – D. Morgan Ballmer
“Tragedy Park” – Chris Pearce
“Enclosures” – Sumiko Saulson
“Woe, Violent Water” – Lily Childs
“The Cruel” – Harper Hull
“Red Scream with Little Smile” – Paul Edmonds
“Maybelle” – Mere Joyce
“Rodent in the Red Room” – Matt Hayward
“The Deeper I Go the Deeper I Fear” – Natalie Carroll
“The Pygmalion Pigs” – Mark Allan Gunnells
“Chemical Oasis” – Tommy B. Smith
“Hush” – Sergio Pereira
“The Reaper’s Fire” – Kenneth W. Cain
“Effigy” – Kate Jonez
“Scents of Fear” – Steve Jenner
“The Bet” – Amy Grech
“A Hand from the Depths” – Dave de Burgh
“The Monster of Biscayne Bay” – Roxanne Dent
“The Song at the Edge of the Unfinished Road” – Jack Bates

 


“By The Crescent Moon”

Available from:

Synopsis of my story:
A disobedient cat leads its owner into a foggy night filled with chaos and happenstance.

State of Horror: North Carolina – Charon Coin Press:

Description:
Horror stories set in the state of North Carolina.

Table of Contents:

  • “Dying Days: Grey Man” by Armand Rosamilia
  • “The Sacred Cave” by Kathryn M. Hearst
  • “The Devil You Know” by Matt Andrew
  • “By the Crescent Moon” by Kenneth W. Cain
  • “Chicken Bingo” by Frank J. Edler
  • “Death with Benefits” by Randal Keith Jackson
  • “Dead Girl Mary” by Susan Hicks Wong
  • “Fourth Point” by Spencer Carvalho
  • “Tools of the Trade” by Margaret L. Colton
  • “A Heartbeat in the Darkness” by Stuart Conover/Kerry Lipp
  • “Paddy Wagon Pete” by L. J.  Heydorn
  • “A Little More Mud in the Pasquotank” by Nathanael Gass
  • “A Feast of Sorrow” by Frank Larnerd

 


“Hired Hand”

Available from:

Available from:

Available from:

Synopsis of my story:
A drunkard gunslinger is forced to standoff against horrible plague local miners brought back with them into town. But if he means to succeed, Hanlin must also find the courage to accept his troubled past.

Reviews for my story:
“For anyone who has watched Philip Kaufman’s The Invasion of the Body Snatchers or (pick any zombie movie) this is the sort of feeling you get from reading this.” ~ SF Site
Largely Deceased:

Description:

Largely Deceased
Ten horrific tales, including:

“Daddy’s Little Girl” by Julie Frost
“Fallen Idol by Lillian” Csernica
“Ye Shall Eat in Haste” by Steve Nagy
“So Praise Him” by Samuel Marzioli
“Saturday” by Evan Dicken
“Of Holes and Craters” by Jenner Michaud
“Hired Hand” by Kenneth W. Cain
“The Last Good Place” by Rhoads Brazos
“Ten to Midnight” by Suzie Lockhart & Bruce Lockhart 2nd
“Fallout” by DJ Tyrer

Presented by DigitalFictionPub.com


Six-Guns Straight From Hell 2 – edited by David B. Riley:

Description:

Weird western, western horror, crossover stories. They’ve been called a lot of things. The one thing no one should call them is some “new kind of horror.” This is a genre that goes back over 100 years. That always seems to surprise people when I’m giving talks on the subject. I don’t know that labels are really important to anyone but the critics, as they seem to have a compulsive need to label everything. I do know I’ve always enjoyed these stories–whether they’re in comic books, the pages of books like this one or even the occasional film.

When I look for a story for a project like this, the main thing I want isn’t just horror elements, but something fun to read. I think the stories that follow in these pages live up to that. Additionally, there is the namesake. You’ve no doubt noticed this is volume two. The first book carrying the name Six Guns Straight From Hellcame out in 2010 and was co-edited with Laura Givens. It was very popular. So, it was time for another one. I hope there are even more to come.

You’ll find a wide variety of horror and dark fantasy in these pages. One story skirts modern times as it tries to deal with some ghosts of the Civil War. Another has an African tie in to an Arizona adventure. Of course we’ve got a haunted mine, complete with a very unusual ghost hunter. And what western-themed book wouldn’t have gunfights? Rest assured, we’ve got ‘em.

So saddle up for a wild ride through the Old West. We open this book with a character from the first volume, starting with a gunfight-laden adventure featuring Joel Jenkins’ popular Native American gunfighter, Lone Crow.

Table of Contents:

  • Joel Jenkins – “Blood for the Jaguar”
  • Dakota Brown – “The Life”
  • Vivian Caethe – “The Feast of Hungry Ghosts”
  • J. A. Campbell – “Brown and the Lost Dutchman Mine”
  • Sam Knightt – ” Uncle Banjamin’s Triple ‘T’ Tonic”
  • Jason Andrew – “A Dream Of A Country Cottage”
  • Kenneth W. Cain – “Hired Hand”
  • Kit Volker – “Another One”
  • David Boop – “The Tale of Uji the Griot”

Cover Art by M. Wayne Miller

 


“A Ring for His Own”

Available from:
 

Synopsis of my story:
When a peculiar man arrives in town selling jewelry, Marshal Ben Donegal finds himself caught in a predicament that may change his life forever.

Jamais Vu Issue #3 – edited by Paul Anderson:

Description from Amazon:
Jamais Vu The Journal of Strange Among the Familiar brings you the best in dark fiction, poetry, factual morsels, criticism, and more 

Table of Contents:

Fiction:

  • Steven Rasnic Tem – “Stick Men”
  • Tom Piccirilli – “That Hideous Beauty”
  • Damien Angelica Walters – “Floating Girls: A Documentary”
  • Kenneth W. Cain – “A Ring for His Own”
  • Kristi DeMeester – “To Sleep Long, to Sleep Deep”

Poetry:

  • Stephanie Wytovich – “Mermaids Can’t Fall in love”
  • John Grey – “So What Caused This?”
  • Christopher Shearer – “In the Beginning”
  • Lauren Michaud – “The Nightmare Room”

 


“Mantid”

Available from:
Synopsis of my story:

A boy tasked with retrieving a crayfish discovers a far more terrifying creature.

Truth or Dare? – edited by Max Booth III

Description:
A Shared World Horror Anthology from Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.

Halloween night. The freaks are out and having the time of their lives. The kids of Greene Point High School have organized a massive bonfire out in the woods. One drunken teen suggests playing a game, a game called Truth or Dare. That’s always a fun game. Always good for a laugh. By the end of this night, nobody will be laughing. Alcohol, sex, deadly secrets, and oceans of blood await them. Do you dare to play? Truth or Dare is a shared-world horror anthology featuring the morbid writings of many prominent authors in the field today, as well as quite a few new kids on the block you’re gonna want to keep an eye on.

Authors included in this anthology:

  • JOE MCKINNEY
  • JEREMY C. SHIPP
  • RICHARD THOMAS
  • WILLIAM MEIKLE
  • JESSICA MCHUGH
  • ELI WILDE
  • JAY WILBURN
  • SANFORD ALLEN
  • CHANTAL NOORDELOOS
  • JAMES CHAMBERS
  • NIK KORPON
  • VINCENZO BILOF
  • KENNETH W. CAIN
  • USMAN T. MALIK
  • PETER GIGLIO
  • SHANNON GIGLIO
  • ERIC J. GUIGNARD
  • T. FOX DUNHAM