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Posts tagged “short stories

Book Featurette: Into Fear


22 tales of despair and dread. Zombies, Godless beasts, Eldritch horrors, serial killers and more lurk between its pages in wait to lure you into dreams, into nightmares, Into Fear! Featuring a Foreword by Tim Dedopolus, author and co-owner of Ghostwoods Books. 22 stories – Dreadmill, Gamarada Rock, Be Nimble, A Class of their Own, The Heartstone, Ball of Thread, Isophase Light, Le Ciel De Chocolat, Yo-Ho-Oh-No!, Daryl Duncan, Head Librarian, In the Bleak Midwinter, Continuity and Permanence, Good Morning, Mr. Murray, Bait Box, Conductive Salts, Zabobon, Titanomachy, The Beast of Bowline Moor, Shunned Stew House Special, The Ring of Karnak and The Royal.  Afterword by critically acclaimed author Thomas S. Flowers.

What readers are saying about Into Fear:

“This is an excellent collection of stories- an eclectic mix of dark humor, gothic/classic horror, folklore, fantasy, and sci-fi tinged tales. One of my favorite tales is “Daryl Duncan,” about a man without a memory who awakes to find a copy of “Metamorphosis” and blood dripping from the ceiling. Fans of grim humor will find much to love in Into Fear.” -Amazon Reviewer

“This is quite an eclectic mix of stories and genres. I think the tagline for the book of ‘tales of dread and despair’ is spot on, rather than calling this an out and out horror story book. Don’t get me wrong, it is horrific in many parts, but the overriding feeling in the book is exactly what it says on the tin; dread and despair.” Nev Murray, Confessions of a Reviewer (read Nev’s full review here.)

“Some of the best short stories I’ve read in years, and definitely one of the top ten single-author collections I’ve read ever. Chant has put together something special here – a mix of stories from dark fantasy to pastiche, atmospheric dread to full-on horror, and literary mashups. Do yourself a favor and grab this book!” -Duncan Ralston

You can get YOUR copy of Into Fear for $2.99



Daniel Marc Chant is a frequent flyer here on Machine Mean. He has reviewed for us both The Mummy (1932) and The Creature Walks Among Us (1956), as well as Eli Roth’s strange horror flick Clown (2014). Mr. Chant is the published author of several terrifying tales, including Maldicion, Burning House, and his venture into feline horror, Mr. Robespierre.  Daniel is also one of the founders of The Sinister Horror Company, the publishing team that brought us such frights as, The Black Room Manuscripts Vol 1 & Vol 2, and God Bomb!. You can follow Daniel on his blog, here. And you can read his review on Mummy here.

Book Featurette: Breaking Point



A Cyclist is knocked unconscious on his way home and wakes up in a nightmare…
A devoted husband begins to suspect all is not well with his marriage…
A desperate family man, running out of time and options, turns to an old schoolmate from the wrong side of the tracks – looking for work – any work…
A young man’s world is thrown into chaos as his father is abducted…
Four tales of people pushed to BREAKING POINT.

What readers are saying about Breaking Point:

“Power gets splatterpunk in a way that few do.” – Bracken MacLeod

“One of the best novellas I’ve had the pleasure to read.” – Duncan Ralston

“This is my second book by Kit Power. I loved it as much as I loved GODBOMB. This collection of 4 short stories are well written and full of suspense. Each one will keep you on the edge of your seat and just about leave you breathless by the last page. Move this to the top of your to be read pile!! You won’t be sorry.” -Tina Marie.

“WOW! This book of short tales by the talented Kit Power is a stunning read. Like the famous book on anti-gravity, I couldn’t put it down. Genesis, the prequel to his superb novel GodBomb, blew me away with its emotional power and brutality. The Lifeline Trilogy consisting of ‘The Loving Husband and the Faithful Wife’, ‘The Debt’ and ‘Lifeline’ are extremely dark and made even more terrifying due to the fact that Kit Power has steered away from the realms of fantasy, and lingered uncomfortably within the domain of the feasible. Intense, and sinister is a great combination and Kit Power nails it yet again.” -Amazon Reviewer

You can get your copy of Breaking Point on Amazon for $2.99!



Kit Power lives in the UK and writes fiction that lurks at the boundaries of the horror, fantasy, and thriller genres, trying to bum a smoke or hitch a ride from the unwary. In his secret alter ego of Kit Gonzo, he also performs as the frontman (and occasionally blogs) for death cult and popular beat combo The Disciples Of Gonzo, Kit is no stranger to Machine Mean, you can read his phenomenal essay on Bride of Frankenstein here. And you can keep up with all his publications here.

Book Featurette: Final Review


Warning: Some Scenes May Disturb. Every author knows that paying too much attention to bad reviews will only lead to trouble, and Emma’s about to find this out the hard way, thanks to her boyfriend, Wade. After the success and praise received from her first book, the two that followed haven’t done so well, and the less than shining reviews have disheartened Emma to the point where she considers pulling her books and perhaps even giving up writing altogether. Wade will have none of that, however. When Emma tells Wade reviewers are calling her books “unrealistic,” Wade sets out to teach Emma how to add realism to her horror stories. Just how “real” things get goes far beyond Emma’s expectations.

What readers are saying about Final Review:

“DC + JL’s ‘Final Review’ is a train-wreck of a story, and I mean that in the nicest possible way. You stop, you stare, you gape. Eventually, you realize there will be no order to the chaos and destruction and watch with one eye closed and jaw clenched tight. To brave this well-written but totally insane journey through the rigors of human hell (kidnapping, torture, rape, murder etc.) is a trip that will never be forgotten. Read at your own peril. You may just get thrown under the train.” -Amazon Reviewer.

“Another great extreme horror story from Dawn. She is one of the best authors of this type of story. I look daily for her new books and was sure worth the wait from her last book. I hope we get another great extreme story sooner than later. This was sad but a great story.” -Amazon Reviewer

“Speaking of bad reviews, here’s mine. I absolutely hated this story. Had I known there was so much sex in it, I wouldn’t have got it. I love horror, but not erotic, torture horror. I kept reading because I adore Dawn Cano’s writing, and there’s usually a kicker at the end. I should have just stopped. The only reason I gave this tale 3 stars is because it was well written, and most people who like extreme horror will probably like this also. I’ll be back for Dawn’s next story, but I should’ve passed on this one.” -Lisa

“Oh boy, just when you think Dawn Cano hasn’t had enough wine after cooking babies, endearing hit men, here comes Final Review. A bats**it crazy writer (but not Dawn, ok are we clear?) who goes on a ‘let’s create a story from experience’ adventure with her boyfriend. Just when you think you cannot possibly get more disturbed, Dawn Cano is your answer. obviously more wine has to head your way!” -Colleen Cassidy

You can get your copy of Final Review for $0.99!!!



Dawn Cano, aka The Queen of Extreme, is the author of Final Review(w/ John Ledger), Cash Out, Violent Delights (w/ Lewis Duncan), and several other extreme horror stories. Her latest project, editor for VS: US Vs. UK, which is a horror anthology that is currently a top seller on Amazon, pulling several up and coming authors. She also writes reviews for The Ginger Nuts of Horror. You can keep up with her work here.

Book Featurette: Roulette


A young man pushed to the edge. A barrel in his mouth–one last time to reflect on his life.

What reviewers are saying about Roulette:

“I initially gave this 4 stars, but the more I thought about it, I think this short vignette deserves a full 5 because this is one that really sticks with you. I can’t really talk much about the text without giving away the whole thing, but the protagonist/narrator starts off in a very dark place but experiences a sort of rebirth and redemption. I see that this is the author’s first publication, and he’s come out of the gate really strongly. I very much look forward to watching the author as he progresses. If this is any indication, he’s going to go far.” -Geordon Vantassle

“Amazingly written!!! I was immediately hooked from the first to the last sentence! I can’t wait to see more from Kurt Thingvold!!!” -Amazon Reviewer.
“The juxtaposition of one man’s heaven and hell, combined with the elegance and realism of the writing makes this a definite page turner!” -Amazon Reviewer. 
“Dark and twisted, triumphant yet mournful. The author manages to capture an entire lifetime worth of haunted memories in just a few pages. This is a suspenseful short story that will have you rapidly turning from page to page.” -Light Seeker

You can get your copy of Roulette for less than a cup of coffee, $0.99 cents!

Kurt Thingvold was born and raised in IL. He finds passion in writing, that helps calm his demons. He grew up in a tough household that encouraged reading and studying. He spends his time writing in multiple of genres. When not writing he can be found playing games, reading, or attempting to slay the beast known as “Customer Service”, which, he fails at almost every day. Kurt is a frequent flyer here on Machine Mean, you can also check out his review on Ridly Scott’s legacy movie Alien here


Opus Questions with Jeffery X Martin

Beyond the sunlit world exists a land of shadow and myth. Are you ready to enter? On this episode of Opus Questions we’ll have the unfortunate pleasure of hearing from Jeffery X Martin, a twisted brilliant mind of dark and unpleasant words.  If you’ve been following this chain of segments, Opus Questions is all about traveling that dark and narrow road to discover what horror writers enjoy reading, what books tickle their fancy, what novelizations have terrified them, haunted them, forced them to turn on the light. Opus Questions is also about finding what books have inspired these up and coming wordsmiths of the strange and unusual. For every writer has their favorites, the ones they hold dear. Because part of being a good writer, you have to be a good reader as well. So, to keep things interesting and to be a bit villainess on my part, I’ve asked my guests to tell us what their favorite books are and why. And they can pick only two. You heard me. Just two!!! (laughs manically) So, without further ado, here is…

Jeffery X Martin:

You’re on the bus after a long day at work. It’s a Friday, and you want nothing more than to take off your pants, fix a stiff neat drink and hope to hell your head clears out. Not on the bus. That would be weird. Note to self: Must keep pants on while riding public transit.

An old woman has decided to sit next to you, of all places. There are easily fifteen empty seats on the bus, but she plants herself right beside you. She smells faintly of denture adhesive and knee sweat. On her purse is a giant white button, which reads in bright red letters, “ASK ME ABOUT MY GRANDCHILDREN!” You catch her maneuvering her bag on her lap, making sure you can’t help but see the button. The sweet message is now a challenge. Her matriarchal pride looms over the two of you like a hot cloud.

You know asking her is a terrible idea. There is never just one grandchild. She is the Mother of Nations. She will have to tell you about each and every dismount, in alphabetical order, stating their latest developmental milestones like new commandments, cooing their names like she can wish them into her presence. Her anticipation and nervousness are getting to you now, and you can feel a fine film of sweat forming on your forearms.

You don’t want to ask.
You need to ask.

THAT is precisely what Thomas S Flowers has done by asking what my two favorite books are. He has put himself in that situation. He has done it to you, also, Reader. I am shifting in my seat, a small smile on my face.

Come here.
Let me tell you about my two favorite books.

There’s nothing more punk rock than a good short story. Get in, make your point, and get out. Leave an impact. Make someone feel something without having to wrap them up in a blanket of flowery prose. Do that, and you have done something amazing not only for your reader, but for yourself as a human being. You’ve communicated effectively. Not even politicians understand how to do that.

Dark Forces, Kirby McCauley, 1980

Dark Forces, Kirby McCauley, 1980

But legendary editor Kirby McCauley understood. He got it. When he put together the anthology, Dark Forces, he created the perfect snapshot of horror at that time. I was eleven years old when I read that book and it changed my life. That’s not hyperbole.

Each story by itself is a prime example of fierce writing, even Stephen King’s novella The Mist, which sets itself up with comic-book like quickness and delivers on every level. It introduced me to the lonely highways of Dennis Etchison and the poetic dread of Lisa Tuttle. Robert Bloch’s tale, “The Night before Christmas,” was a direct influence on one of the stories in my book, Black Friday. It was a crazy collection, a gonzo mixture of old and new. It was also the first time I thought of short stories as something other than homework. They were viable vessels of fear.

The more I became involved in horror, the more I wanted to read. New stuff, old stuff, whatever. The Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural read like a full college course in horror fiction. It was even divided up into a “Classics” section and a “Modern Masters” section. Eclectic? You bet. This book has horror stories from Truman Capote, William Faulkner and Winston Churchill. The modern stories are equally as fantastic, featuring Ramsey Campbell, Charles L. Grant, and one of Karl Edward Wagner’s best stories, “Sticks.”

The Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural

The Arbor House Treasury of Horror and the Supernatural

I credit these two books for helping me pass English classes. If the Arbor House book with the crazy long name was my college education, Dark Forces was my extra-curricular reading. I absorbed them. I learned structure by osmosis. I figured out character development through repeated reading. It’s like that anti-drug PSA from the Eighties.

I learned it by watching them.

Thanks to Mr. Flowers for allowing me to bogart his blog. I’m sure you’ve already bought his new book, Reinheit, and are looking forward to his story in The Black Room Manuscripts. I’m going to go back to the beginning of this blog entry and finish that story I started.

Blame Arbor House and Kirby McCauley.



I want to thank Jeffery X Martin for taking the time and telling us a bit about the books and collections that have helped shaped his darkly twisted mind. You can find Jeffery X Martin lurking somewhere in the Great American Southland, where his name is whispered in fear around dying campfires on humid nights at the edge of summer. He enjoys Italian horror movies, professional wrestling and a nice sunset. He can be heard on several podcasts, including Kiss the Goat, a show about Devil movies he co-hosts with his wife, Hannah. His latest book, Short Stories about You, is available on Amazon. You can also follow him on Twitter: @JefferyXMartin.


VHS: Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the horror short story

No, this isn’t a post about some lament over the good old VHS days of home video. Though it should be. Its not. No. The VHS to which I am referring is the critically acclaimed film, “VHS.” Critically acclaimed you ask? Why yes, acclaimed critically by those who love the horror genre. And what better critics are there to take on a film such as VHS? I think I made my point! Thank you very much.

Now…what am I getting at here? While yes, I do lament for the days of old home video, the grimy and often fuzzy picture quality I had and often do find irritable and just simply fantastic! Especially for horror movies! But I also lament something else from my childhood. The horror show or movie equivalent of a short story. Yes. Its true. Where have the days gone when Dark Tales or Tales From The Crypt or Twilight Zone ruled the night? It seems as if by the late 90’s early 2000’s we had almost completely forgotten about the shows that kept us sane through High School and replaced them with these long drawn out never ending shows, that by the time they ended, they ended terribly.

However, there is a change on the horizon. Lately, horror has made a somewhat promising return to both the movies and television. And while some have returned laboring the same drawn out seasonal method, others have taken note of horror past successes. Shows like American Horror Story and movies like VHS are getting to the root of horror, horror as a short story.

What do you prefer, the long or the short? What’s your favorite anthology show? Crypt or Zone? Leave your answer in the comments below!