“XX” Showcases All Female Horror Anthology

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Holy Shit, Dudes! Are you ready to sink your teeth into an all female horror anthology film? I know I am!

From what I’ve been hearing, “XX” is a horror anthology film with four stories in it that were written and directed by some badass women. We have Annie Clark directing THE BIRTHDAY PARTY, Karyn Kusama directing HER ONLY LIVING SON, Roxanne Benjamin directing DON’T FALL, Jovanka Vuckovic directing THE BOX, and Sofia Carrillo ties it all together.

If you haven’t checked out the work they’ve been previously involved with you really should. I recognize Kusama from the film THE INVITATION. I will be writing a review for that one later. Just know that I really liked it and it’s on Netflix so check it out.

Anyway, I’m excited to see what these ladies have for us. Remember “XX” will be available February 17 on VOD and in select cities. Check it out and let me know what you think!

ANYONE ELSE CURIOUS ABOUT “THE BOX”?

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Spook Lights: Southern Gothic Horror

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Southern gothic horror is uniquely (under-appreciated!) American literature, and too often written by white men. Imagine my surprise when stumbling across Eden Royce’s self-published anthology collection on GoodReads. A  black horror author with roots in Hoodoo/Conjure. Yasssss. I downloaded her book without hesitation and read it while listening to my old delta blues records. The proper way to enjoy a southern gothic is on a porch swing while the sweet, idle songs from grasshoppers rise up from the brush. Unfortunately, congested, downtown Chicago makes that impossible. So listening to Skip James was the next best thang, y’all. I’m also a little homesick and I miss my Gulf side of Texas. Reading “Spook Lights” was the perfect escapism for this reluctant city gal.

Connect with the author on

@edenroyce on Twitter  or her website, edenroyce.com, or blog

Or better, just buy her book on Amazon  or Lulu

There are 12 short stories in all, but my three favorites were “Doc Buzzard’s Coffin,” “Hag Ride,” and “The Choking Kind.” Royce’s melodic writing is full of texture, atmosphere, and characters that invoke the South. I felt the swelter and stale, human sweat rise through each word. Descriptive language meets Black folklore to create a leisurely atmosphere. Think ghost stories told around the campfire. Think of the fairytales your grandmother read to you when you were a child. Reading Spook Lights is more of an experience best enjoyed when not rushed. The horror element is subtle, often ironic, and I found myself able to predict most of the stories’ conclusions, however, the author’s charm and folksy delivery kept me squirming in my seat until the end of them. Most of the short stories are cautionary tales, where the main character often does something stupid, only to be punished or chastised by a vengeful spirit or magical spell later. There’s Hoodoo, Voodoo, murders driven by passion, and quests for revenge.

There’s also strong thread of female (often motherly) wisdom and jilted love in this collection. I appreciated the strong female protagonists of color. The women were often victims of their own making, but learned along the way how to find themselves. You don’t have to be from the south, Black, or a woman to understand the overall concept of this book, which I love. The author does a lovely job blending mythology for contemporary tastes. This is a book to kick back with and savor, bit by bit. It’s down-to-earth, like crackling bacon grease in a hot pan or like cold, tap water from the kitchen sink. Let the stories do the heavy lifting for you–Royce’s subtlety is masterful.

I enjoyed Spook Lights for its storytelling, not necessarily for innovation, horror, or plots. That said, I’m giving this anthology collection a solid 5/5. I heartily recommend Spook Lights to those looking for an enjoyable read rich with Southern atmosphere and non-traditional folktales told from Native American, Black, and a Caribbean perspective. Eden Royce’s ability to entertain is a dream. I will be reading more of her work.

 

Submission Call: Mothership Zeta!!!!

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Mothership Zeta is OPEN FOR SUBMISSIONS from July 12 – July 25. They’re particularly interested in horror and sci-fi from diverse authors. What constitutes diverse?

Mothership Zeta welcomes submissions from writers of all backgrounds. We are especially interested in seeing more submissions from people of backgrounds that have been historically underrepresented or excluded from traditional publishing, including, but not limited to, women, people of color, LGBTQ or non-binary gender people, persons with disabilities, members of religious minorities, and people from outside the United States.  Our goal is to publish fiction that reflects the diversity of the human race, so we strongly encourage submissions from these or any other underrepresented groups.

Submissions up to 6,000 words. Paying $0.06/word for original short stories and $30 flat rate for original flash fiction.

They do NOT want:

  • Graphic horror
  • Erotica
  • Fanfiction
  • Rape, torture, child abuse, etc.

So…get cracking this weekend, minions! May the odds be ever in your favor. Check out the links for more information and good luck. 🙂

Watch “Horror Hotel” episodes online!

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Horror Hotel is a 6 episode miniseries you can watch online.

Horror Hotel is an online anthology web series in the spirit of Alfred Hitchcock and the Twilight Zone. I knew nothing about the web series before sitting down to watch it. Luckily (thankfully?) the episodes are all under 20min and you can watch the entire first season in just an hour.

And the best part is it’s free! Take your pick on Hulu, Youtube, or  just watch them all HERE:

http://www.horrorhotelwebseries.com/

Best episode, “Guillotine:”

Some of the episodes are laughably bad, like “Bookworm,” which I wouldn’t recommend anyone watch. “Tesla’s Tooth” has a unique, premise about telepathy and inventions. “Guillotine” is about a cutthroat beauty queen (pun intended, har har har…I hate myself) who covets Marie Antoinette’s cursed beauty token. All the episodes are a little on the goofy side, but I’ve come to expect that from anthology horror films. The quality varies from episode to episode. If you’re bored and not opposed to campy acting or ugly wallpaper, give this web series a go.

I don’t know if I would watch season two unless there was absolutely nothing else on. Last night was such a night. I’ll probably watch season two with the same tired reluctance I brought with the first.

“Bookworm” is just 1omin. Because I’m a little sadistic, I’ll include it here. Fair warning, it’s terrible. But I do this for you, my minions…

60 Black Women in Horror Writing

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Sixty Black Women in Horror Writing compiled by Sumiko Saulson

February is my favorite month to discover new authors. It is both Black History Month and Women In Horror Month (WiHM). Woohoo, double win! Sumiko Saulson’s unique compilation, 60 Black Women In Horror Writing is celebrates both holidays in grand style.

Some of the women profiled in this book are literary geniuses you’ve read before (Octavia E. Butler, Zora Neale Hurston, and Toni Morrison) but Saulson also introduces us to talented women we’ve never never heard of, too. This book is comprised of interviews, essays, and short stories from the author, herself, and Crystal Connor and Eden Royce. Of the short stories I liked Crystal Connor’s “Amber’s New Friend” the best. I’m a sucker for southern gothic ghost stories, however all of the stories presented are worth a read.

Who Fears Death written by Nnedi Okorafor

 

All 60 women profiled at the beginning of the book are intriguing but I enjoyed Saulson’s seven author interviews most. I’m looking forward to reading Nnedi Okorafor’s “Who Fears Death.” No doubt influenced by two Nigerian (Igbo) parents, Okorafor’s novel combines magical realism and traditional African storytelling with a speculative, post apocalyptic edge. The main character is a shaman, Onyesonwu, whose name means “who fears death” in English. I adore speculative fiction of all stripes, but I especially go weak for marginalized narratives set outside of the West. Women of color are a rare sight in horror and by god we need to see more of them on the shelves! I say that as a woman of color who writes horror and as an unabashed lover of the genre. Neil Gaiman and Stephen King are great but there are other incredible horror sf/f authors out there, too. Let’s uplift them.

I know what cool books I’ll be adding to my To-Be-Read list this year. 60 Black Women in Horror is a welcome addition to any to-be-read list, don’t you think? Tell your friends, share, and please support these horror authors.

Women in horror unite!

 

This Way Darkness (anthology review)

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Supernatural creeps and bizarre creatures lurk behind the pages in “This Way Darkness” written by indie horror author, Latashia Figueroa. I was hunting for a well-rounded horror anthology to read this summer–y’know something spooky, well-written but short. Like waiting-for-your-pedicure-to-dry short. (Doesn’t everybody read axe murderer stories at the salon? No? Just me? ‘Kay) These three spine-tingling stories were just the little perk I needed.

Wrapped in Small Flesh and Bone | Figueroa opens the anthology with a tale reminiscent of The Omen; a familiar and predictable storyline, however entertaining. Unable to conceive, a desperate husband and his wife visit a mysterious witch. The husband realizes their mistake when the witch refuses to touch his crucifix necklace. Predictably, the wife becomes pregnant a short time after meeting the witch and then their child, Jenny, is born. Jenny is a lot like Damien. She talks to “imaginary friends” and always seems to be near or at the scene of a crime. I won’t spoil the ending. Ha, if you’re familiar with The Omen I don’t have to. Although I knew how the story would end, it didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the story. I think creepy kids are adorable.

The Alternative | The second story has more gore and violence. I thought the rape scene was the predominant horror element…but no. Hell no. This story took a direction I didn’t expect at all! If there’s such a thing as a fate worse than rape, Figueroa presents it here. There’s a religious thread throughout all of her stories, but this one was the most interesting and dare I say philosophical? “The Alternative” explores the Christian perspective of death and the afterlife. Traumatized by the death of her mother, the main character develops an intense fear of old age and dying. She does not think death is her ticket to salvation and so she turns her back on God. Literally. The plot rambles in places. Not my favorite in the collection but I’d say it was worth the read.

The Retreat | Everyone is familiar with the secret cult trope, right? Well here it is again. Like all of the stories in this anthology, the plot is very straightforward. A dude goes off on a religious retreat for self-empowerment only to be tortured and terrorized by his fellow campers. Their camp leader convinces his flock that everyone is their own god and therefore are above human laws. First the campers kill a deer. Then a priest. There’s even a homicidal vegetarian who goes apeshit. What an entertaining romp! I knew where the story would go, but I enjoyed the author’s route.

All in all I’d give this anthology a solid 4/5 stars. No, the book wasn’t inventive…and yes, it relied heavily on well-worn horror tropes. But still I found the anthology to be funny in some places and easy to read. I would recommend this delightful anthology for horror lovers who are looking for a light summer snack. It’ll fly by quickly–but you won’t be bored while reading it!

Fever: A Review

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I think I might be a vain writer. I was lucky enough to have one of my stories selected to be the anthology “Under the Stairs” edited by Jessica A. Weiss, but I never took the time to see what other lucky ones are in this book. So, while I was getting a pedicure, I flipped through and picked one that I would review.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Here is “Fever” by Christine Rains. The story centers around a kind-hearted nurse who is thrown into a possible epidemic scenario. What makes matters worse is that the disease itself is a mystery and not only does she have to worry about her ailing patients, but she has to worry about her own life.

Wow! One of the things I look for in a story is how believable that world is. This short gem is centered in a hospital so medical terminology is important. I was impressed because it wasn’t complicated terminology, but it wasn’t random gibberish either. I was also to follow along quite well. It was also an intense ride because diseases are scary. To me anyway. Especially when the news always features a news catastrophic illness (bird flu and swine flu).

So it played with a realistic fear and was able to make you believe in the world of that story. I’d suggest looking into anything else that Ms. Rains has to offer. Check out her website at http://christinerains.net/index.html