“Detrition of War”

Synopsis of my story:
A soldier stationed in Afghanistan begins to lose his mind and loses the ability to tell what’s real and what’s not.

Reviews:
“Look, when the editor is Kenneth W. Cain, and the introduction is by Joe Mynhardt, you know this has to be something special.” ~ Amazon review

“Nothing like a good old “creature” story.” ~ Frank Michaels Errington’s Horrible Book Reviews

Tick – tock
Tick – tock
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:
Introduction by Joe Mynhardt
“The Boy in the Pond” by Mark Allan Gunnells
“Open Waters” by Richard Thomas
“Memories” by John R. Little
“Detrition of War” by Kenneth W. Cain
“Comes the Red Man” by Tom Deady
“Mommy’s Girl” by Somer Canon
“Taking Up Carpentry” by Justin M. Woodward
“Kill Point Club” by Steve Thompson
“Calm Down Time” by Richard Chizmar
“Carrion: My Wayward Son” by James Newman
“Bear” by Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason
“When Arachnids Attack” by Sheri White
“A Song Above” by Glenn Rolfe
Afterword by Steve Thompson

Tales From The Lake Volume 5

“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:
“…not a “look under the bed for monsters” volume, but one that has a pensive chill. The stories are like a tap on the shoulder; a reminder that good days end and that no one is protected from anguish.” – Hellnotes

“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:

Poetry:

  • “From the Mouths of Plague-Mongers” by Stephanie M. Wytovich – A wonderful look at our world and the cruel reality of it all.
  • “Malign and Chronic Recreation” by Bruce Boston – Where Internet addiction meets sexual addiction.
  • “Final Passage” by Bruce Boston – A breakdown of mental acuity as it leads to the inevitability of death.

Short stories:

  • “Always After Three” by Gemma Files – A young couple discovers that in a downtown condo you almost never know who your neighbours are, or what they might be doing.
  • “In the Family” by Lucy A. Snyder – A former child actress reveals dark family secrets to her long-lost niece.
  • “Voices Like Barbed Wire” by Tim Waggoner – Sometimes forgetting is more painful than remembering.
  • “The Flutter of Silent Wings” by Gene O’Neill – A heartbreaking tribute to a Shirley Jackson classic.
  • “Guardian” by Paul Michael Anderson – Even creatures beyond time and space need friendship.
  • “Farewell Valencia” by Craig Wallwork – When you’ve got no reason to live, there’s a hotel that can give you every reason to die. So book in, unpack, and prepare to be checked out, forever.
  • “A Dream Most Ancient and Alone” by Allison Pang – A lake mermaid with a penchant for eating children forms a tenuous friendship with an abused girl trying to escape her past.
  • “The Monster Told Me To” by Stephanie M. Wytovich – In order for Bria to deal with her past, she must confront the ghosts of her present.
  • “Dead Bodies Don’t Scream” by Michelle Ann King – If the universe won’t give her a miracle, Allie will make one for herself. But dark magic has a price, and paying it is going to hurt.
  • “The Boy” by Cory Cone – Grief-stricken from the sudden loss of her husband, a young woman fears she may lose her son as well, if she hasn’t already.
  • “Starve a Fever” by Jonah Buck – Fleeing down a bayou highway with a sick criminal in the backseat, a getaway driver must sate his passenger’s horrifying needs while evading the police.
  • “Umbilicus” by Lucy Taylor – A father becomes involved in a scheme to rescue a friend’s lost son—with terrifying results.
  • “Nonpareil” by Laura Blackwell – Maisie’s wedding cake business needs every client it can get—especially rich ones—but between the groom’s unpleasant family and the mysterious bride’s strange requests, Maisie has a tough job baking a cake that will please everyone.
  • “The Midland Hotel” by Marge Simon – If walls of a hotel could talk is one thing, but what if it happens to be a sentient collector of souls?
  • “The Weeds and the Wildness Yet” by Robert Stahl – Still reeling over the sudden death of his wife, Charlie stumbles across a mysterious object at a yard sale—a monkey’s paw, like the one in the legendary story. Despite the terrible events that befall that fictional family, he can’t help but want to give it a try.
  • “The Color of Loss and Love” by Jason Sizemore – A couple set out to rescue an unfamiliar couple, only to face an airborne disease that overtook the world.
  • “The Loudest Silence” by Meghan Arcuri – A woman is trapped by her worst enemy: her mind.
  • “The Followers” by Peter Mark May – The Followers are slow, but they never tire. Nor do they or have to stop to drink, eat or sleep like us living. They are on a relentless death march and we are only delaying the inevitable.
  • “A Bathtub at the End of the World” by Lane Waldman – A little girl plays with her toys in a locked bathroom. Everything is fine, except for the zombies outside.
  • “Twelve by Noon” by Joanna Parypinski – An old farmer goes about his routine tending to the nine scarecrows that preside over his field, when three college student show up and cause a strange disturbance.
  • “Hollow Skulls” by Samuel Marzioli – When Orson’s son is born, the memory of a tragedy creeps back into his life, threatening his very sanity.
  • “Maggie” by Andi Rawson – An intense, disturbing relationship between love and murder is exposed.

With an introduction by editor Kenneth W. Cain. Cover art by Ben Baldwin. Proudly represented by Crystal Lake Publishing – Tales from The Darkest Depths.

“His Flower, His Treasure”

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”

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.

Reviews for my story:
“Cain builds up his main character by basing her on a recognisable stereotype (the popular cheerleader) and then giving her layers, quite the feat for such a short story. The author handles the revelation of the culprit wonderfully well and delivers a satisfying ending.” ~ This Is Horror

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”

Synopsis of my story:
A disobedient cat leads its owner into a foggy night filled with chaos and happenstance. (This story is included in DARKER DAYS).

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”

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”

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. (This story is included in DARKER DAYS).

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”