Darker Days

“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 Embers:
“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

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:

  • “A Ring For His Own”
  • “Heirloom”
  • “Rust Colored Rain”
  • “Prey”
  • “Passing Time”
  • “What Mama Needs”
  • “My Brother Bit Your Honor Roll Student”
  • “Outcasts: The Sick and Dying 1 – Henry Wentworth”
  • “The Sanguine Wars”
  • “The Hunted”
  • “Her Living Corals”
  • “Puppet Strings”
  • “The Trying of Master William”
  • “By The Crescent Moon”
  • “Mantid”
  • “The Underside of Time and Space”
  • “Outcasts: The Sick and Dying 2 – Gemma Nyle”
  • “The Griffon”
  • “Adaptable”
  • “When They Come”
  • “The Reassignment Project”
  • “Presage”
  • “One Hopeless Night by a Clan Fire”
  • “Lenny’s New Eyes”
  • “Outcasts: The Sick and Dying 3 – Anna Kilpatrick”
  • “A Very Different Sort of Apocalypse”
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“Desolate”

READ IT FOR FREE!

A horrible infection has fallen over a desolate town in this short horror story.

The townsfolk are forced into action to protect themselves from further outbreaks caused by an addicting berry that grows amongst the base of large boulders.

When Emmie returns home to find one of The Lost in her backyard, she suspects the strange berries have grown back, but confronting this horrible human creature unfolds a great realization—one that would challenge her beliefs of The Lost.

This story is merely a glimpse of Kenneth W. Cain’s work, so if you enjoy “Desolate,” be sure to pick up Kenneth’s Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction, available from Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

Also available on other platforms: https://www.books2read.com/u/38gKgL

Embers

“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”

LIKE my book on the Bookmaester Top 100

Lifeblood

Like a mashup between Underworld and Twilight.

A young and shy Lara struggles to find her identity when fate throws something new and unexpected at her after meeting a strange couple at a local bar. She finds herself overcome with desire and a thirst for blood. Despite the strangeness of her situation, Lara quickly adapts, only to find her world shaken when a young girl named Millicent enters her life. And then again when she stumbles across a male werewolf named Lowell. Together, these two individuals help Lara to rediscover her humanity. She soon learns her budding relationship with Lowell is a forbidden love, and the struggle begins to secure their freedom. A journey to ensure their small unique family will remain safe from the vampires, werewolves, and shapeshifters that go bump in the night.

Jade

Like a mashup between Blade and Resident Evil.

In the not so distant future, a starship freighter returns from a far away planet in outer-space, carrying a strange virus. Earth falls victim to a horde of zombies, and the remaining survivors struggle to stay alive, hiding in the wreckage created by a war to eliminate the threat. The survivors are thrown into a tailspin when bloodthirsty alien vampires invade a post-apocalyptic Earth, seemingly to defend the earthlings. With humans quickly becoming a dying breed near extinction, a select few find themselves the unwitting participants in a secret plan to aid mankind. Young Jade leads the charge in this suspenseful thriller, utilizing her newfound special gifts and a specially crafted sword, she embarks on an epic journey with love interest, Trent, to assault the supernatural menace. She soon uncovers a dark web of deceit and must fight to uncover the truth.

Alexin

Like a female version of James Bond meets Tarzan.

The ever-enticing Alexin is thrown into adventure when her nemesis, the Anaconda, becomes her target. Luckily, this isn’t her first adventure. While she doesn’t know who sends her the missions, she’s quite good at her job. Alexin doesn’t mind using her God given talents to uncover the truth. She protects her world from the unseen evils that lurk around every corner, always waiting for her. Alexin must remain vigilant in order to reveal the world of lies the Anaconda appears to be behind. Sometimes the actual truth is the most obvious of all.

Fresh Cut Tales

“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: