“Malignant”

Co-authored with Steve Thompson
Synopsis of our story:

A man fleeing a creature of pure evil gets unexpected help from a brave knight looking for redemption..

Crystal Lake Publishing

Shallow Waters Vol.2: A Flash Fiction Anthology – edited by Joe Mynhardt:

Description from Amazon:
Shallow Waters—where nothing stays buried.

With 26 dark tales diving beneath the surface of life, death, and the pain between them.

The TOC includes Jess Landry, Dan Weatherer, Mark Cassell, Michael Harris Cohen, Mark Allan Gunnells, Chad A. Clark, John Boden, Chad Lutzke, Dani Brown, David Charlesworth, Kenneth W. Cain, Steve Thompson, Raven Dane, Linsey Knerl, Andrew Garvey, Darryl Foster, Austin James, and Pedro Iniguez. With more names to be announced.

Shallow Waters is the official monthly flash fiction challenge hosted by the award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing. Every month a new challenge is posted online, with authors submitting via email. The best submissions are then posted on Crystal Lake’s Patreon page, where patrons read daily entries and vote for the winner. What you’ll find in these Shallow Waters anthologies include the best of our finalists.

Stay tuned for more volumes in this series, or find Crystal Lake Publishing on Patreon to enter or vote on future challenges.

Volume two includes horror, thrillers, suspense, and stories of life after death, the supernatural, murder, and the beauty beneath it all.

Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

“Standing Tall”

Synopsis of my story:
An ancient soul finds himself and his people threatened by an ever-growing hostile race.

Crystal Lake Publishing

Shallow Waters Vol.2: A Flash Fiction Anthology – edited by Joe Mynhardt:

Description from Amazon:
Shallow Waters—where nothing stays buried.

With 26 dark tales diving beneath the surface of life, death, and the pain between them.

The TOC includes Jess Landry, Dan Weatherer, Mark Cassell, Michael Harris Cohen, Mark Allan Gunnells, Chad A. Clark, John Boden, Chad Lutzke, Dani Brown, David Charlesworth, Kenneth W. Cain, Steve Thompson, Raven Dane, Linsey Knerl, Andrew Garvey, Darryl Foster, Austin James, and Pedro Iniguez. With more names to be announced.

Shallow Waters is the official monthly flash fiction challenge hosted by the award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing. Every month a new challenge is posted online, with authors submitting via email. The best submissions are then posted on Crystal Lake’s Patreon page, where patrons read daily entries and vote for the winner. What you’ll find in these Shallow Waters anthologies include the best of our finalists.

Stay tuned for more volumes in this series, or find Crystal Lake Publishing on Patreon to enter or vote on future challenges.

Volume two includes horror, thrillers, suspense, and stories of life after death, the supernatural, murder, and the beauty beneath it all.

Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

“Not Your Average Monster”

Synopsis of my story:
In our ever-changing world, what we view as a monster is constantly evolving but at what cost?

Crystal Lake Publishing

Shallow Waters Vol.1: A Flash Fiction Anthology – edited by Joe Mynhardt:

Description from Amazon:
Shallow Waters—where nothing stays buried.

With twenty-two dark tales diving beneath the surface of loss, love, and life.

Shallow Waters is the official monthly flash fiction challenge hosted by the award-winning Crystal Lake Publishing. Every month a new challenge is posted online, with authors submitting via email. The best submissions are then posted on Crystal Lake’s Patreon page, where patrons read daily entries and vote for the winner. What you’ll find in these Shallow Waters anthologies include the most popular of our finalists.

Stay tuned for more volumes in this series, or find Crystal Lake Publishing on Patreon to enter or vote on future challenges.

Volume one includes horror, thrillers, suspense, and stories of love lost, death, 2nd chances, the monsters within, and the beauty beneath it all.

Introduction by Joe Mynhardt
“Closure on a Bed of Nails” by Chad Lutzke
“Fast Car” by Tracy Fahey
“Tears of Buddy” by Patrick R. McDonough
“Puzzle Pieces” by Armand Rosamilia
“Pretty Like Butterflies” by Tim Waggoner
“S1:E7” by Robert Ford
“Pain is Your Teacher” by Michael Harris Cohen
“Memory Lane” by Red Lagoe
“The Silence of the Sirens” by Loren Rhoads
“It’s Me Not You” by Jonathan Winn
“Sisters of Loss” by Mark Allan Gunnells
“Talisman” by Jezzy Wolfe
“The Melting of Your Gods” by Mercedes M. Yardley
“Charms” by Dino Parenti
“Not Your Average Monster” by Kenneth W. Cain
“Where the Children Run in Darkness” by Guy Medley
“Tunnels” by Tom Over (winner)
“The Truth about Dani” by Joe Mercer
“Baby Savannah” by M.J. Sydney
“Rats Scratched in the Linen Cupboard” by Dani Brown
“Raining” by John Boden
“The Death Experience” by Leigh Ann Story


In this volume…

  • Taunted by a cactus, a man copes with grief after the loss of his wife.
  • Alondra DeCourval visits Franz Kafka’s grave to think about death.
  • A lovestruck woman strives to connect with a man she’s convinced is The One.
  • The perfect funeral for a child—all according to a Mother’s well-crafted plan. The exception is one small, unexpected development no one could have ever prepared for.
  • A short meditation on the haunting nature of love and loss, and the aftermath of both.
  • Victor’s sanity has been threaded together by the memory of his daughter’s voice, until now, when her laughter falls silent.
  • An adrenaline junkie believes he can take on the ultimate challenge—coming back from the dead.
  • Sisters share everything. The good…and the bad.
  • Sometimes being a hoarder is dangerous…
  • In our ever-changing world, what we view as a monster is constantly evolving…but at what cost?
  • Buddy’s heart aches for his family’s arrival.
  • Bright colors may be beautiful, but sometimes they can be dangerous.
  • Sometimes the darkness we harbor within is best left behind closed doors.
  • Rats scratch in the children’s ward.
  • A surprise wedding present from daughter to father, built over a lifetime, reveals his true nature to all his guests.
  • Can a mourning Mallory find comfort before she loses her mind?
  • While coming to terms with the death of his mother a man learns that he harbours a strange ability, one that could threaten to tear his reality apart.
  • A woman’s last letter to her abusive ex-husband returns the favor of his tutelage.
  • Lillian’s search for her daughter’s doll leads her on a journey through tragedy, loss, and madness.
  • The brutal murder a man’s only child leaves him burdened with a question only he can answer.

Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

“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