Posts Tagged ‘Ohio horror’

About two weeks ago, I posted that some friends/fellow Ohio horror authors and I had formed a small publishing press, Cracked Skull Press, with the goal of producing an anthology that highlights Ohio horror writers. (You can read that blog post here.) This anthology, “That Which Cannot Be Undone,” will be full of stories revolving around the theme “that which cannot be undone” (hence the title), set in Ohio, and, of course, written by Ohio horror writers.

Of course, these books don’t come out of nowhere, and that’s why we’re turning to you. We’re running a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to raise the funds for production, paying the authors and the editor, and other costs. The total we’ll need is around ten thousand dollars, and if you pledge to help us, you can get some really awesome perks, including your own copy of the book. Some of them are even signed!

And, if we’re not able to make our crowdfunding goals, you won’t get charged! You only get charged if we make our goals.

All that being said, we really hope you will support this project. Ohio is mostly known for its sports teams and for being a swing state. Yet we have a strong community of horror writers, some of whom are award winners! Case in point, already signed onto this project are Bram Stoker-winning authors Lucy Snyder, Tim Waggoner, and Gary Braunbeck, and New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Megan Hart, all of whom are longtime Ohio residents. Not to mention lots of other writers that aren’t as well-known but have talent that deserves recognition.

Oh, and there’s this one guy named Rami Ungar. You might have heard of him? He’s okay, I guess. He deserves more recognition as well.

Anyway, supporting this campaign and this anthology will help shine a light on a group of horror writers who have plenty of stories to tell. Why not give them a spotlight and help contribute to Ohio horror?

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll include the link for the crowdfunding campaign below. I hope you’ll support our efforts and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish with that support. Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and Happy Hanukkah!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crackedskullproject1/that-which-cannot-be-undone-an-ohio-horror-anthology

Well, I found my least favorite novel of 2021. Given how much hype it’s been getting since 2020, I’m disappointed.

Drawing on Japanese folklore and mythology (gee, who do I know who’s done that before?), the story follows five college grads who go to an old Japanese mansion for a wedding ceremony (sounds like my dream wedding). The mansion is supposedly haunted by a bride whose fiancĂ© died on the way to the wedding, and then had herself buried alive underneath the house. As night falls, strange things occur in the mansion, putting everyone at risk.

I hate to be negative about a novel. I know how hard it is to get your work published. But that being said, I’m still not sure how this novel got published in the first place. There’s so much to hate!

While the location and the concept are cool and the climax did make things more interesting, the rest is a hot mess. For one thing, I barely know these characters, because very little time is spent actually developing them. I know even less about our narrator, Cat, because what we learn about her is mainly just hints. We understand that she has depression and it messed with her pretty bad, but the specifics aren’t given and it just leaves the reader so confused.

As for the other characters, there’s nothing to like about them. One’s a “perfect” billionaire who’s sorry about something he did to the narrator (what, I don’t know); another is supposed to be the narrator’s best friend, but I don’t know anything about him to really get me to like him; one is supposed to come off as funny and instead just comes off as annoying; and the ironically most developed character is the best friend’s fiancĂ©e, who just hates the narrator because she’s insecure and think the narrator wants her man. They all seem to hate each other, yet insist that they’re all friends and should get along. Why they hang out with one another, I have no idea.

At least looking up hitobashira put that one Junji Ito story into context. Didn’t make it any scarier, but it did make it easier to understand.

As for the rest of the novel, there’s a scary story hidden in there that wants to come out, but it’s buried under a lot of problems. The language is trying to be flowery, but there are words in here that I’ve never read before. In the English language, no less! It feels like the author was trying to out-Lovecraft Lovecraft with the wordplay, and succeeded in all the wrong ways! Not to mention the Japanese stuff is never explained. I had to look up most of it myself, which is not a good sign if the book doesn’t spell it out for the unfamiliar reader.*

And finally, the psychological stuff is trying and failing to be psychological. It’s just wacky. Like watching a bunch of people on drugs trying to be profound and get into your mind. And the characters are drunk, but that’s no excuse. If you’re going to go for psychological, at least make sure it’s effective!

On a scale of 1 to 5, I’m going to award Nothing But Blackened Teeth by Cassandra Khaw a 1.3. One reviewer on the book’s back cover called it “The Haunting of Hill House for this century,” and I agree, in the sense that it takes the worst parts of that book and coalesces it into another haunted house. Avoid this one, and go read something else. Trust me, your time will be much better spent on other books.

*When I was editing Rose, I made sure that the Japanese concepts of kami and oni were spelled out because I knew plenty of my readers, including my parents, wouldn’t know anything about them. The novel has gotten a couple of negative reviews, but nobody’s criticized it for not understanding the Japanese mythology/folklore/religious stuff.

I won’t say Rose is better because of that, though. I’ll leave that up to the readers to decide. I’m just explaining what I did differently.


Just a note, Followers of Fear: today marks one week till the crowdfunding campaign for That Which Cannot Be Undone goes live. If you’re not aware, some of my fellow Ohio horror writers and I came together to create a small publisher, Cracked Skull Press, with the goal of putting a spotlight on Ohio horror writers. We’re gearing up for our first anthology, That Which Cannot Be Undone, the stories of which will be set around the theme “that which cannot be undone,” set in Ohio, and written entirely by Ohio horror authors.

Of course, we’re going to need your help to make it happen. We’re doing a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter starting November 29th and hoping to raise ten thousand dollars for paying the authors and editor, as well as other costs. And if you support the anthology, not only will you help us shine a light on Ohio horror, but there are perks to be gained for pledging your support.

And if we don’t make our goal, you won’t be charged for it. So your pledge won’t be taken unless we make our goal. That being said, we hope and think we’ll make our goal, so we hope you’ll join us. You can check out the project and sign up for notifications using the link below.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crackedskullproject1/that-which-cannot-be-undone-an-ohio-horror-anthology

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’m off to work so I can work on my stories later. Until next time, good night, pleasant nightmares, and, if I don’t check in before Thursday, Happy Thanksgiving!

It’s time I tell you about something exciting. A project I’ve been working on in secret with my friends and fellow Ohio horror writers.

So, for a while now, my friends and I in the Ohio chapter of the Horror Writers Association have wanted to put together an anthology of Ohio horror and bring some attention to the writers here. I mean, we’ve got Bram Stoker nominees and winners here, for the love of God! But the HWA has its own anthologies and standards for those anthologies, so chapters can’t do their own anthologies under the HWA banner. The only solution was to either partner with a publisher, or to form a publishing press ourselves.

Some of my friends in HWA Ohio and I decided to go the latter route.

Over the course of the pandemic, we formed Cracked Skull Press, did a ton of research and planning, and now, we’re working on putting out our first anthology: “That Which Cannot Be Undone: An Anthology of Ohio Horror.” This anthology will be full of stories set in Ohio, written by Ohio horror authors, and revolving around the theme “That which cannot be undone.” We’ve already brought on Bram Stoker winners Lucy Snyder, Tim Waggoner, and Gary Braunbeck, as well as NYT and USA Today bestselling author Megan Hart, as well as Bram Stoker winner Jess Landry to edit the anthology. My friends and I are super excited for this anthology and we can’t wait for you to read what we come up with!

However, to get this project off the ground, we’re crowdfunding the anthology on Kickstarter. We’re looking to raise $10,000 to pay authors, cover Ms. Landry’s editing fees, and take care of other costs. And that’s where you come in: we’re hoping you’ll support us in this endeavor. All pledges are voluntary, and you won’t be charged unless the campaign is successful. Plus, there are all sorts of perks with pledging, such as swag and copies of the final project!

And like I said, it’s all voluntary, so you don’t have to pledge if you don’t want to. However, we hope you’ll support us and make this project a reality. As I said, we’ve got a lot of talented horror writers here in Ohio, and we want to show people that. And who doesn’t like new horror? Besides non-horror fans, I mean.

Anyway, the campaign starts on November 29th and runs for 60 days. You can check it out using the link below and sign up for notifications from the campaign. My friends and I at Cracked Skull Press thank you for your support and we can’t wait to show you what we Ohio horror writers can come up with.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/crackedskullproject1/that-which-cannot-be-undone-an-ohio-horror-anthology

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ve got a YouTube video to make for the campaign and then a new short story to finish (it’s literally consuming me from the inside out!). Until next time, good night and pleasant nightmares!

As you’ve probably heard by now, my novelette “Blood and Paper Skin” was accepted by The Dark Sire, a local Ohio horror publication, for serialization over three issues. And, as of today, The Dark Sire, Issue 8 is available for purchase!

For those of you who don’t know, “Blood and Paper Skin” is about a bunch of young adults who go out to buy some drugs, only to be kidnapped and thrown into a prison-like room. There, they meet their captor, who goes by Old Man, and has brought them to this place for a sinister purpose.

I’m so excited for you all to read it, and I hope you enjoy reading it over the next several months. Part 2 will be serialized in late October, I believe. Right in time for Halloween! I’ll let you know for certain when it’s available.

And please make sure to leave your thoughts once you’ve read the issue. The Dark Sire is a great magazine of horror and psychological fiction that tries to support its authors as much as possible. With that in mind, the support from readers is quite important. I hope you’ll support them and even subscribe to the magazine, so it can continue to publish and give voice to a new generations of authors.

Though honestly, that cover should give you all the reason to read it and provide feedback. I mean look at that cover! Look at it!

Also, make sure to check out the other recent publication I’m in, the undersea horror Into the Deep. It has my novelette “Cressida” in it, as well as a number of great stories from a variety of authors. Actually, it’s been high in Amazon’s rankings since release, and just got its first review the other day (thank you, Priscilla Bettis, my loyal Follower of Fear). The paperback is now available, so make sure to order a copy if you wanted one.

That’s all for now, my Followers of Fear. I’ll be up early on Saturday for a special release event for Issue 8 from The Dark Sire themselves. Until next time, pleasant nightmares!

The Dark Sire, Issue 8: Print

Into the Deep: Ebook, Paperback