Posts tagged “Dark fantasy horror

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”

Lifeblood

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Follow the tale of Lara as she transitions from a shy young woman to a shameless vampire, empowering her need for love. Lara’s passion is soon tested when a strange man confronts her. Her every thought is of being in his arms, as his woman, but Lowell is strong-willed and knows much of what their union means.

Lara’s world is further shaken when a young girl named Millicent enters her life and helps her rediscover and understand the woman she once was. Everything Lara once believed of herself is turned upside down. With love blooming, Lara discovers she is unwilling to fully break with her humanity. This unexpected passion forces her to cling to it with every fiber of her being.

But all love comes at a price, and Lara soon realizes that even with her newfound powers, she can still be hurt. All can be taken from her at any time. Together with Lowell they must fight for their relationship, and battle strange enemies to protect their unusual family from dangers Lara does not yet fully comprehend. This woman who once struggled to fit in is now forced to face a reality where her emotions will define her future. Find out what mysteries lay ahead for Lara.


Jade

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When Earth falls victim to a horde of zombies, bloodthirsty aliens, and a landslide of deceit only one young woman can save them. In the not so distant future, Earth suffers a devastating blow when a space freighter returns with a strange virus. With much of humanity turned, those inhabitants who endure this affliction find themselves a dying breed, near extinction. They must fight the zombie apocalypse or mankind will cease to exist.

When matters seem dire apparent salvation comes in the form of an extraterrestrial race. While these peculiar aliens appear humanoid at first glance, their true intentions are to protect the primary resource by which they sustain their own lives. As survivors learn this truth, they find themselves caught between the hardships of two ravenous foes.

But there are secrets to ensure the people of Earth will continue to thrive. Deceptive vampires plot against their kind to ensure this end, by creating a special breed of warrior. All of this leads our young heroine, Jade, to embark on an epic journey.

Join as she battle zombies, vampires, and evil twisted humans. Can humanity survive these horrors? What must they do to free themselves, so they can begin to rebuild? And what role will young Jade play in this future?


The Adventures of Alexin

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Sometimes, those you trust most are the ones prone to stab you in the back. Alexin has no choice but to fight, to protect the world she lives in from the unseen evils. But there is a core that would see her world burned down. And because of this, Alexin is thrown into a role she has not yet fully embraced.

Evil lurks around every corner. It hides behind each and every wall, always waiting. She must remain vigilant, ready when called into action, for her life is but an adventure and she must use whatever means possible to achieve her goals. While the mysteries of life have never frightened her, she is haunted by the choices she must make. She is left uncertain of love and friendship, and yet there is always the job.

But things are not always as they seem for our young adventurer. Alexin must discover for herself who can be trusted. And when she does it will shake the foundation of her world, testing her will to survive.


Fresh Cut Tales

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“Solid combination from a writer to watch.” — Mort Castle, Bram Stoker Award winning author of New Moon on the Water

From the author of the short story collection These Old Tales comes Fresh Cut Tales: 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 sixteen short speculative stories are a winding road of pain where each curve may not be seen. These are the freshest cuts from Cain’s mind.

“Enthralling, eclectic collection of unputdownable speculative fiction.” — Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Bram Stoker Award winning author of Black & Orange and Bottled Abyss

  • Of Shadows – Somewhere beyond this world are places where the innocent are tested. This story is about such a place. Can Ellen escape her reality?
  • Avenged – Life doesn’t matter when it comes to avenging death. Cole Stryder tries to account for the murder of his men, but matters unfold unexpectedly.
  • Ordering Out – A troubled bloodsucker has difficulty obtaining sustenance.
  • Perfect Little Hands – Dallas faces the truth about his relationship to his stepdaughter at her funeral.
  • Inside Out – Richie Harden tells his story to a local reporter, detailing facts about a handicapped boy who isn’t as bad off as he seems.

“Expect the unexpected in this macabre and thoroughly entertaining collection.” — Mike Davis, The Lovecraft Ezine

  • Shards – Gerald, a man who has long avoided children, must now face the reality of his demented nature.
  • Twist of Pain – A short, troubling journey home is enough to break young Sarah.
  • Old Habits – A man and wife find their marriage split by an undead situation.
  • In the Shadow of the Equine – Finding themselves trapped on a scenic island with a mob of mind~controlled zealots, a man desperately tries to protect his son.
  • Split Ends – A bizarre hair disease follows a woman’s family history, but can her daughter escape the infliction?

“Twisted tales that are guaranteed to keep you up at night.” — Michael McCarty, author of I Kissed a Ghoul

  • Spaceship Earth – A hiking trip reveals unexplained mysteries that endanger Earth. Some places aren’t meant to be discovered.
  • Warmth Within They Depths – In the vast unwater world, exploration reveals unexpected horrors.
  • Never Free – Small towns fables are often shared among children, but none so harrowing as that of the Easton Park Statue.
  • Ahote’s Spirit – A Native~American discovers a creature unlike any other.
  • Rebirth – A scientist attempts to soothe his daughter about the loss of her mother.
  • Redpath, Stu – A classic themed horror story finds Steven in an isolated diner, enjoying the company of old~timers.

Draw up the covers and turn on the lights. Prepare for a journey into the weird, wild, and creepy in this collection of dark fiction stories.

Reviews for FRESH CUT TALES:


 


United States of the Dead: Civil War, Zombies, and the End of America

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Originally released as:

“Think Patrick Henry goes to Zombieland” — Joe McKinney, author of Mutated and Inheritance

The United States of the Dead immerses the reader in post-apocalyptic America where survivors struggle against extreme odds. They battle mutated creatures, many of which seem more like animals than humans. Once men and women, these infected creatures run in packs and attack as a horde. Relying on her intuition and the sharp edge of her sword, Sydney Forrester leads a small group of survivors. Their mission: to uncover the mystery of how this affliction started and determine whether it’s possible to put an end to the contamination. Expect a post-apocalyptic USA, treachery, mutated undead, and various plot twists in this action-packed dystopian thriller that will feed any undead hunger.

This author was featured on bargainbooksy.com


These Old Tales

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“Cain’s unique eye for the macabre makes this collection more than worth it!” — To The Bone Reviews

2014 Nominee for Best Short Story Collection at eFestival of Words.

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 he seeks the same dark overtones in his writing. There’s a little something for every reader within this collection. These 30 short speculative stories represent a time when a discouraged Cain asked his wife what he should do with “these old tales.” Within these pages are those heartbreaks he could not escape.

  • The Patrol – A soldier dreads the solitude of a foxhole when a peculiar visitor surprises him.
  • Molt – While on a business trip, Kyle’s bad day leads to a poor choice.
  • Satisfied – A doctor struggles with playing god.
  • Gladiator David – After the zombie apocalypse our world is reborn in an old familiar place where humans celebrate their revenge.
  • After the Ocolitz – A young girl discovers her father’s fate after the apocalypse.
  • The Necessary Bits – Albi reminisces over his deceased love’s death.
  • Nocturnal – Darkness surrounds George who must battle fear if he means to escape alive.
  • An Eye Remembered – Harry suspects his boss of something terrible and decides to take matters into his own hands.
  • Pieces – A quick story about drowning.
  • The Lucky Shrimp – The grass is always greener, but one who plays with the fates should beware of consequences.

“Cain’s skill as a writer is his ability to take mundane things most of us would never notice and turn them into true terror.” — Blog Review

  • Empty Spaces – Dr. Donald Tomlinson helps a desperate boy reconnect to a grim past where he unwillingly killed his mother.
  • Visitors – A son struggles to convey that his father must leave the nursing home, but his father has made other plans.
  • Working From Home – Sometimes the worst jobs are those you do from home. Such is the case on this dark and stormy night.
  • What’s This Line For? – Abel finds himself standing in line, but can’t remember why.
  • The Evil Within – When the evil becomes too much, Derrick turns to his blade and seeks help at a local church.
  • Meeting Roger – Roger Digsby sounds like a heck of a guy. Unfortunately, Roger’s been murdered and Nick must now interrogate the suspect.
  • The Daily News – Sometimes the news isn’t what you expect. Other times it’s outright maddening.
  • Moving On – A man is forced to acknowledge his past, present, and future.
  • Silt – Tommy and his friends happen upon an atrocity in a local pond.
  • Limbs – Neighbors squabble over the bushes that separate their properties.

“The author deftly inhabits the minds of his protagonists, turning each piece into a sharp characterization that resonates long after it’s (usually) morbid conclusion.” — Goodreads Review

  • New Life – Creation has its consequences.
  • Dark Reflections – Eli lost his friends, family, and others to a strange force buried in the junkyard. Now he must try to save them.
  • Fragments – Caleb’s hunger outweighs all other needs. But in his pursuit he encounters someone he hadn’t expected.
  • Edgar’s Church – Edgar troubled past and present is the result of witnessing his father’s death.
  • Anger, Hurt, Pain – A dismal story of suicide.
  • Branded – In this weird western, two men stand off, but a lot can happen while counting to ten.
  • The Regrettable – An old doctor finds himself stranded in his childhood home, faced with an opportunity for redemption.
  • The Way Out – A younger brother escapes his older brother’s wrath.
  • Determination – Tuesday is different, but in this futuristic society, anything but different is expected.
  • Harvest – Even the Amish have horror stories. Discover what this local farmer’s been up to.

Draw up the covers and turn on the lights. Prepare for a journey into the weird, wild, and creepy in this collection of dark fiction stories.

Reviews for THESE OLD TALES:

The Grim Reaper Stalks a Cemetery