Wednesday, July 17, 2019

BOOK REVIEW How to Survive a Horror Movie All the Skills to Dodge the Kills by Seth Grahame-Smith

How to Survive a Horror Movie
All the Skills to Dodge the Kills
by Seth Grahame-Smith
Pub Date 24 Sep 2019


Written by best-selling author, screenwriter, and producer Seth Grahame-Smith (The Lego Batman Movie; Stephen King’s It), with an introduction by horror icon Wes Craven (A Nightmare on Elm Street), this is a hilarious must-read for any horror movie fan...and it just might save your life.

Are you reading this in a cornfield, at a summer camp, or in an abandoned mental institution? Have you noticed that everything is poorly lit, or that music surges every time you open a door? If the answer is yes, you’re probably trapped in a horror movie. But don’t freak out—just read this book! With it you will learn how to overcome every obstacle found in scary films, including:

• How to determine what type of horror film you’re trapped in
• The five types of slashers and how to defeat them
• How to handle killer dolls, murderous automobiles, and other haunted objects
• How to deal with alien invasions, zombie apocalypses, and other global threats
• What to do if you did something last summer, if your corn has children in it, or if you suspect you’re already dead

Available Editions

$14.99 (USD)

How To Survive a Horror Movie is a revised copy of the book first published in 2007. If you have a copy of the 2007 issue I’d say that you wouldn’t really need to purchase the revised version. On the other hand, if you’ve never read this before then definitely pick yourself up a copy.

Seth has a great sense of humour and it shines through in this tome of surviving the common mistakes characters of modern horror films always seem to make. It is absolutely hilarious, with advice like “The horror movie day is still 24 hours, but 21 of those are night”, and “There are only three months in the horror movie year, July, October and December”.

We all yell the same things at the TV when watching horror movies, in total disbelief at the stupidity of the characters making the same mistakes over and over again leaving to their demise. Seth makes the same observations with his trademark humour.

I’d give this book a 5 out of 5



By John Grey

He rattles off the names –
Dracula, Alucard, Carmilla, Nosferatu, even Vlad.
And he loves to tell their stories.
To him, they’re forever sucking at virgin throats
or impaling the enemy on spikes
or clambering bat-shaped
up the sides of buildings.

He opens his mouth
as if to show his fangs,
but those yellow uppers and lowers
are the teeth he’s always had.
And he raises his arms,
bends fingers into claw shape.
His eyes are red but un-glowing
from a life of alcohol abuse.
“I don’t drink…wine,”
he says
as if he’s making some kind of joke.

Despite his severe arthritis, his cancer,
he believes the undead dwell within him,
even if he can’t get out of bed,
go on a rampage,
slake his thirst on whoever
accidentally crosses his path.

We can only feel sorrow for the man.
He’ll be dead soon enough,
in his coffin, but as a final resting place,
not a hideaway to get him through
the fatal daylight.

For now, he’s undergoing blood transfusion.
It’s the only joy left to him.



By John Grey

In daylight, your ghost
is barely visible.
My breath makes
more of a wisp.

You try to rustle the curtains.
But they don’t budge.

And forget that whisper in my ear.
My dog’s fleas make more
noise than you do.

At night, your performance improves.
Set against the shadows,
those threads of your existence
do stand out a little.

But the haunting needs work.
Your wails
would be much more impressive
if you could turn the volume up.
And what’s the point of having
the right shape,
if you don’t come
with familiar features.

How about a splash
of blood
where the knife went in.
A grim gurgle
like the life
is oozing out of you.

As the phantom of the one I murdered,
you’re severely lacking.
I don’t see you on my conscience
anytime soon.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in That, Dunes Review, Poetry East and North Dakota Quarterly with work upcoming in Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal, Thin Air, Dalhousie Review and failbetter.


By Colin James

The eyes are the window to the soul
not true. One of the first body parts to deteriorate.

Soon posthumously a gooey mess.
No amount of mascara can help.
I would also skip the formal wear
casual always travels best.

Everyone is deserving of better.
A pauper's grave is no reason to despair.
Commiserate, we all have equals.



By Colin James

You had followed my ample derrière
through the maze of its solitude.

Every other viable congruent abstained
either swoon, albeit acknowledgement,
or elbows like yon Grey's
dissuaded the same.

It was the kindness you offered me
that overwhelmed every little inch.

While thoughts are foretasting,
argue if you must.

Better that than not knowing if
I have loved you enough.

FICTION: The Girl I Wanted Murdered By Traci Kenworth

The Girl I Wanted Murdered

Traci Kenworth

I stared at my phone. Amnesty, don’t even do this. No further texts came. Shit. This couldn’t have blown up more in my face than it had.What did I do from here? Raindrops scattered over me. Time to move. I hurried to my white Malibu and slid inside. I checked my phone again. A groan issued from my throat. And I’d said what could go wrong tonight? Everything.

I drove toward the south end of town where we’d agreed to meet. Hoping. Maybe she’d change her mind. Maybe this would all work out in the end. It had before after all. Yeah, but Amnesty had never been angrier. Nor ready to end their relationship. She couldn’t. I wouldn’t let her. Everything I’d become was because of her. I wouldn’t let her drag me down that hole again. I’d matured. Grown out on my own. I’d only come back to settle things. After all, that’s what the student/mentor ratio was supposed to do.

So why wasn’t she playing her part? Drawing her last breath beneath my fingers? Oh, I’d set this right, all right. I paused at a stoplight. How much further? Maybe fifteen minutes. Was she even still at her house? She’d probably gone down to the ground. She knew what was coming.Who was coming. It wasn’t like I’d snuck back into town. No, I’d done it right. Announced my arrival to all our old friends. They’d had panicked expressions on their faces like I knew they would but that couldn’t be helped. They couldn’t interfere. Those were the rules. So who had broken them? Who had offered shelter? I’d get to the bottom of this.

I pulled into the parking lot of Greggory’s. A nice, old fashioned bar. They still served peanuts and a dish of tortilla chips and salsa on the house. Anything else cost a whole body part. Especially the food. I shrugged. I was hungry from waiting out Amnesty. Time to refuel. I ordered a burger and fries. Onion rings and fried mushrooms to boot. Like I said, hungry. The burger was a greasy mess. Just like I liked. If you were going to slum, might as well grease it up while at it. I glanced around. Plenty of regulars. I wiped my hands of my napkins and pushed the empty baskets to the side. With a swig of my Budweiser, I targeted an individual.

Strawberry-red hair, pale as a ghost. And able to shriek bloody hell. It would scare the others to see her ruffled. I smiled. I sat the beer down and approached her. “Melody. Long time no see.”

“Lacey.” Her gaze blinked, widened. “Didn’t expect to run into you.”

“Well, you know. When your prey goes to ground. You flush it out.”

She backed a step, two. “What prey?”

“Why Amnesty, of course.”

“I—I don’t know where she is.”

“Sure, you do. Or one of the runts in this place does.”

She searched the area.

Two big, brawny fellows came over.

“You bothering, Melody?” the first asked.

The other cracked his knuckles. “We don’t like that.”

I smiled sweetly. “Really? How bout I bother you two instead?”

They laughed.

“Where’s Amnesty?”

They glanced at each other.

“Amnesty, who?” the first said.

“Never heard of her,” a second said.

I braced myself. “She’s 5”6’, brunette, gangly, scatterbrained.”

The second leaned over me, his breath strong with alcohol. “Like we said, never heard of her.”

I brought my knee up, right into his groin area. He buckled and fell to his knees. The first dived over him and grabbed me around the throat. “You bitch.”

I butted my head into his. Stars swatted the air. I blinked and gave him a little space as he groaned. “I prefer to think of myself as a slicer.”

He frowned. “A what?”

“A slicer,” I repeated. “You know, it’s my professional trade. Slice and dice.”

“Slice and dice what?”

“You might not want the answer to that question.”

“I think it’s time for you to leave.”

Melody hovered in the background. “Don’t break anything, please. The boss’ll kill me.”

“Then maybe you better back off your boyfriend and talk,” I said.

She glanced between us. “Fine. Back table in five.”

I patted the guy’s head. “Next time I won’t be so friendly.”

He growled at me.

I headed for the back table. When I pulled out one of the higher chairs, I glanced back at the occupants of the bar. Who here would get word to Amnesty? The two guys picked each other up off the floor and left for the back door. Should I follow? Too late. Melody blocked my vision.

“Why you want Amnesty?” she asked.

“Let’s just say we have an appointment to keep.”

“You want her place in the hierarchy?”

I shook my head. “Nah. Just her life.”

“What for?”

“It’ll boost my powers.”

She glared at me. “So, you can take her place.”

“I said I don’t want her position. Just her death.”

“I think you lie.”

I snickered. “I don’t care what you think.”

She brushed off the table with her towel. “Can I get you something?”

“Are we back to that?”

She shook her head. “You’re insufferable.”

“Amnesty taught me to be my best.”

“Fool her.”

I glared back at her. “It’s not that I don’t love Amnesty. I do. But, unfortunately, sometimes we have to kill the ones we love.”


“Let’s just say, it keeps life fresh.”

She clunked a glass of water down. “How many times have you done this?”


“Five too many.”

“Five just right. Until I need six. That’s why I’m here.”

She shivered. “I hope Amnesty messes you up bad.”

I chuckled. “She can try.”

The bar emptied. I stood and sent a scowl Melody’s way. Tomorrow then.

The sun brushed the cot where I slept. Something slipped from my hipbone as I stretched. I glanced down. A note. “Meet me at Oysters. A.”

So, the wolf had been flushed at last.

Or should I say, rabbit?

I scouted the length of the shack called Oysters. I hadn’t been there since I was seventeen. And in love. Karadoman came into memory and I halted. Why had I let the past cause me to hurt again? Karadoman had known the price. He’d gave it willingly. Maybe Amnesty had come to do the same. I shook my head. No. She wouldn’t go so quietly into the night. She’d proved a fighter, all the way. No sign of brute force. Maybe inside then. I kept my back to the door as I entered, ready to flee if necessary. After all, it wasn’t my death I sought.

I took a table and ordered a scotch on the rocks. A moment later, a cheeseburger and fries. Now, all that was to do was wait. Would she show herself? Or send another? I didn’t wait for long. She wore a gold dress down to her bare ankles. Wide hoops swung with her curly, bronze hair. She paused in the middle of the room, surveyed it, and spotted me. She gave me a curt nod and joined me.

“Lacey,” she kissed my cheeks. “How are you?”

“Not as well as you apparently.”

“Sorry to here that.” She gestured for the waitress and ordered a Sunrise.

“Anything else?” the waitress asked.

“How about some gravy and toast?”

I smiled. “Still like your comfort food.”

She gazed me and eyed my meal. “As do you.”

I shrugged. “You know me. I’m hungry before a mission.”

“Same old you.”

Two hulks entered the bar. They looked cousins to the ones from last night.

“Yours?” I raised an eyebrow.

She shook her head. “Melody thinks I need back-up.”

“Do you?”

Her smile half-lit her gaze. “I’m always ready.”

“Good. It’ll make this easier.”

“You sure?”

“I like a challenge the best.”

“Yeah, I remember.”

I sat back. “I remember how deadly you were with just your hands and legs.”

“Still am.” She grinned. “Didn’t think age slowed me, did you?”

“So, to the best reaper.”

“The best reaper.”

I glanced at her. “When do we begin?”

“How about nine p.m.?”

“Fine by me. Where?”

“Outlier’s Bridge.”

I paid the check. “Hoping I’ll be scared of ghosts?”

“If that gives me an advantage.” Her lids half-closed.

“Don’t count on it.”

I slipped out of the bar. The two hulks followed. Halfway down the road, I elevated their spines.

The bridge was long and dark. I picked a spot about midway. Peering over the side, I remembered the tales of how many folks had taken their lives on these bridges. I shook the shiver from my flesh.

“I never pictured us doing this,” Amnesty said from behind me.

I turned. “Nor did I.”

“So, why are you here?”

“I need an upgrade in power. A demon told me the only way was through sacrificing those I cared about.”

She paced the bridge. “Surely, you don’t care about me? We haven’t been in each other’s lives for ages.”

“That doesn’t make the heart miss someone less.”

She paused. “What if I could give you the power you sought without taking my life?”

“I’d just have to come back another time.”

“I see.”

“Do you?”

She shook her head.

“It’s simple: your death equals my advancement. No power you can give me will equal that.”

“Who told you this?”


She scowled at the name. “You’re trusting an old crossroads demon? Washed-up since the angel’s fell?”

“He’s gotten sober.”

“Doesn’t change his past.”

“No, but he’s done his twelve steps. Can you say the same?”

“What do I need to do twelve steps for? I’m not a drunk.”

“You sure do pack it away. Along with the pills.”

“Don’t you worry that defiles my person?”

“If a demon’s not too picky, why should I be?”

She thinned her lips. “And what does Braxius want in return?”

“A jewel called the Cannalist.”

She whistled. “Impossible to find.”

“Not with your help.”

“I’ll never reveal the location.”

“Not while alive.”

Her gaze lit. “Ah, that’s the play then?”

I nodded.

She waved me on.

I circled her. Something stung me on the neck from behind. My body convulsed. “What?” I collapsed to find a needle hovering over me in the hands of two new goons.

“Did we do right, boss?” they asked Amnesty.

She grinned. “You did just right.” She glanced down at me. “See, Lacey, in the game of life, there are winners and losers. I’m looking at the latter right now. That juice you were shot up with will keep you paralyzed for 72 hours. Enough time for my enforcers to see you delivered to my estate where I have my own plans for you.” She nodded. “You weren’t the only one who made a deal with Braxius. He’s taken quite a liking to you and will pay nicely for use of you. Of course, he must also buy my Prex juice.”

The End.

Author Bio

Traci Kenworth Bio: I write all genres of YA. I live in Ohio with my son and daughter and four cats, chasing snippets of whatever story I’m working on at the time. I have been writing since I was old enough to hold a pencil. Writing saved me from a dark period in my life. I will be forever grateful to God for this. It gave me a way to bring in the light and conquer the darkness. That's the type of hero/heroine I write about. A survivor and those they love. I want to give others hope, and a way back when they think everything is lost. Some other things I enjoy: genealogy, riding horseback, and, of course, reading. I hope you will all follow me on my adventure of getting published.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: The Best Horror of the Year Volume Eleven - Ellen Datlow

The Best Horror of the Year Volume Eleven
by Ellen Datlow
Night Shade Books
Pub Date 01 Sep 2019


For more than three decades, Ellen Datlow has been at the center of horror. Bringing you the most frightening and terrifying stories, Datlow always has her finger on the pulse of what horror readers crave. Now, with the tenth volume of the series, Datlow is back again to bring you the stories that will keep you up at night.

Encompassed in the pages of The Best Horror of the Year have been such illustrious writers as:
Neil Gaiman Kim Stanley Robinson Stephen King Linda Nagata Laird Barron Margo Lanagan And many others

With each passing year, science, technology, and the march of time shine light into the craggy corners of the universe, making the fears of an earlier generation seem quaint. But this light creates its own shadows. The Best Horror of the Year chronicles these shifting shadows. It is a catalog of terror, fear, and unpleasantness as articulated by today’s most challenging and exciting writers.

Available Editions

$15.99 (USD)

Ellen Datlow has been at the forefront of selecting the finest short stories in horror for decades now and her name alone sells these Best Horror books. You know that only quality short stories are going to be included in the volume, regardless of if the author is a big-ticket writer like Joe Hill, Stephen King or a relative newbie in the industry.

The Best Horror of the Year Volume Eleven contains 26 top-notch pieces of speculative fiction and vivid horror that will keep you awake at night. As usual with Datlow’s collections, there is mention of other author’s stories that just didn’t make the cut but are worth the read. Which is great if you finish the book and are left wanting more because of the quality of the writing.

There are quick reads starting at a short 1,700 words to decent novelettes at 10,300 words. An interesting piece was written by four authors, each with a different character’s perspective. The writers hail from all across the world with ten stories by women and sixteen by men. Half of the authors have never appeared in a Datlow collection before, so it’s great to see fresh faces amongst those we already know.
Themes range from two strangers waking up in an unfamiliar room, naked and covered with blood with shredded clothes and body parts around the room, to the unsettling story of everyone in the world suffering from uncontrollable rage at the same time. A Post-apocalyptic story about a winter covered world where survival and cannibalism are one and the same. Folk horror, cosmic horror, postapocalyptic horror, cannibalism, urban legends and creature horror are some of the themes covered in these twenty-six tales.

If you have never read short stories before then I would definitely recommend this collection to whet your appetite.
5 out of 5 stars.

BOOK REVIEW: The Legend of Diablo: The Devil's Revolver #4 by V.S. McGrath

Book Review
The Legend of Diablo
The Devil's Revolver #4
by V. S. McGrath

Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles
Pub Date 17 Sep 2019 


Hell’s not so scary when you’ve been there twice already…
It’s been three years since she lost her sister, Abby, to the Division, and Hettie Alabama has gone rogue. Roaming the West with an outlaw posse, robbing banks and stealing magic, she’s broken every rule she once believed in. Nothing matters anymore but finding Abby.
Meanwhile, the world is on fire. Hungry for power, the Division leaches magic from the vulnerable, with dire consequences that set Hettie’s pursuit of her sister on a collision course with dangerous monsters and even more dangerous men. It’s up to Hettie and her cursed revolver, Diablo, to find a way to save the world—or end it.
The Legend of Diablo delivers an action-packed conclusion to the Devil’s Revolver series steeped in violent history, dark magic, and hope that demands an accounting.

A Note From the Publisher

EPUB - 9781948559362
MOBI - 9781948559348
PDF - 9781948559355

Available Editions

$21.95 (USD)

The Legend of Diablo (The Devil’s Revolver #4) is the fourth and final book in The Legend of Diablo series. Set in the wild west of America in the 1890’s with a twist of the supernatural, fans of weird west fiction will find this a great read.

My favourite series of novels is Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series, so I was immediately attracted to this book based on the description. Anything with six guns and sorcery has to be good, right. With organisations titled, Division of Sorcery, The Blackthorn Rogues and Pinkerton Agency, you know that there’s going to be some mischief afoot without even knowing what the book is about.
The main protagonist is a strong woman with almost fatal flaws, Hettie Alabama. Unlike most traditional western novels, plenty of the characters in this story were strong and smart women. The previous three books in the series have had such strong inclusivity and diversity that you don’t normally see in western novels, and that structure continues in this fourth and final book in the series. It isn’t forced like you see in some writing where the author just wants to make everyone from a diverse background at the expense of the actual plot or pace of the story. This novel flows naturally with well developed and believable characters.

The story starts with Jane Pinkerton of Pinkerton Detecting Agency after the blood of Hettie for her murder of a large number of agency staff and police but having to take on other cases until a later date. The first case being one relating to The Devil’s Revolver. The Devils Revolver is a mystical firearm that was reportedly possessed by a demon, Diablo, which took over the wielder’s soul. It’s not long before the two main protagonists paths meet.

McGrath’s character development is excellent and even if you haven’t read the previous books in the series you will still enjoy reading this novel on its own.  It is full of action and flows along at a fast pace.
If you haven’t read the first three books I’d highly recommend reading them as well as the series is just brilliant and if you enjoy this book you will love the rest of the novels.
4 ½ stars out of 5

BOOK REVIEW: Monsters and Mythical Creatures from around the World

Monsters and Mythical Creatures from around the World
by Heather Frigiola Illustrations by Sky Cybele
Red Feather

Pub Date 28 Nov 2019 


Mythical creatures are cultural artifacts—creations of the human imagination from all around the world. From terrifying monsters to sacred mystical beasts, weird-looking humanoids, magical birds, and many other fantastic beings, the mythological creatures in this book are sure to enchant and amaze! Discover myths and legends spanning from ancient times to modern day from every corner of the globe. Learn the cultural origins of 240 different mythical creatures, captured in ten chapters and 100 colorful illustrations. You will find terrifying bogey monsters as well as benevolent guardians. Meet creatures that symbolize obstacles to overcome, ones that explain the occurrence of disease, some that ward away evil, and others that were created simply for amusement. Explore mythology from the Middle East, Africa, India, Japan, Mexico, Europe, Polynesia, and beyond. This guide is a ticket to travel the world and discover its strangest magical beasts from the safety of your own home. 

Available Editions

$24.99 (USD)

Monsters and Mythical Creatures From Around The World is a 220 page tome of nicely illustrated creatures from the folklore and mythos of many cultures from everywhere on the globe. There are 10 chapters of around twenty pages each covering a different region of the world, with one chapter solely covering Ancient Greek and Roman mythos. A total of 240 creatures are explored beautifully through well written and illustrated entries.

The title Monsters and Mythical Creatures could also have included Gods as they are also represented within this tome. I was quite impressed with the inclusion of the Pacific Region Mythology, which is often overlooked in many books on world mythos. The inclusion of the Drop Bear and Rainbow Serpent was an absolute surprise and delight to come across.

Overall, this was a well presented and unique book on Monsters and Creatures of the World’s Mythology.

BOOK REVIEW - Graphic Novel - Tramp: The Trap by Jean-Charles Kraehn and Patrick Jusseaume

1. Tramp:The Trap
by Script by Jean-Charles Kraehn / Art by Patrick Jusseaume
Pub Date 18 Oct 2017   |

The Tramp graphic novel is an adults only comic with some pretty violent themes and scenes set in 1949
The storyline is about a shipping tycoon, De Trichere, who has lost wife in the recent war and is dying of cancer. He is concerned about the future of his pianist daughter has lost her legs and is wheelchair bound. The unscrupulous businessman is said to have an almost incestuous passion for his daughter even though he never showed her anything but distant fatherly authority.

As a result of the war, De Trichere’s business is in severe financial difficulties and he makes some rather terrible decisions that set the theme for the rest of the story. He buys a decrepit shipping boat, tries to bribe an inspector and that’s just the start of his poor decisions. Unfortunately for De Trichere, his secretary has a good moral compass.

The story is slow to start but has some great visual effects with the colouring to emphasis the mood and feeling of the scenes. The colourist does a great job with changing the use of dull and bright colours to add to the atmosphere as appropriate to the story.

I will say that there is a rather violent torture, rape and murder scene that, while in character of the villain of the story, could have been left out as it seemed a bit gratuitous.

Overall, the story was interesting and after a slow start, well-paced and drawn. 

I’d give it a 3 out of 5 stars.

FICTION: Yorn by Scott Wilson

By Scott Wilson
Chapter One – The Creation
Yorn has always had a special place in the heart of the Great Creator, who kept the hollow planet on an ebony stand, he called The Great Axis, in The Study, right next to his autographed copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. You see, Yorn was not just one world but two. The outside of the planet was your typical eighty percent ocean, nineteen percent land and one percent whatever it wanted to be identified as, you know, to keep those pesky elements that don’t identify as land or water happy. The part that the Great Creator was particularly happy with was the second world on the inside of globe. The Great Creator, or GC as his followers called him, thought he was being quite sneaky by having a fully, self-contained second planet inside of the other with its own sun, ecosystem and very pleasant environmental conditions. Now the very ingenious part was how instead of polar caps at each end of the planet, there were large holes that a beautifully crafted, intricately engraved ebony stand slotted into to keep the planet stunningly displayed in The Study.

It wasn’t that the rest of the planets the GC had created and thoughtfully placed strategically throughout the multitude of universes weren’t well designed or beautiful in their own special way. It was more that once the GC had decided the universes were finished, he could be a bit more flamboyant with the last world he designed. So impressed was he with this last world that he couldn’t bear the thought of putting it out in the universe for anyone to play with. What with every creation he made deciding that they had a better idea how each world should look and smell for that matter? No, Yorn was to stay just where it would remain unchanged and exactly how its maker designed it.
The Great Creator’s son had also been warned about playing around in The Study, so there were no worries about Yorn being turned upside down on The Great Axis as a practical joke. No indeed, GC’s son, Eric, knew he was not allowed in The Study without GC being there to supervise him. That’s not to say that Eric never spent time in the study, helping his Father with all important planetary and universal problems that arose daily. Eric was probably in The Study more often than not, but never on his own.

Yorn was populated, both inside and out, with a most excellent choice of friendly and colourful creatures of all kinds, and of course a scattering of humans as they were still the GC’s favourite creation, despite being more defiant than thankful for their existence. The Great Creator was satisfied that everything was now perfect with Yorn and he could finally relax, not having to ever make another planet or universe again. The Great Creator was looking forward to letting everything run its own course and spend some quality time with Eric and doing typical Dad stuff around The Mansion. Everything was good.

Well everything would have been good if the Great Creator’s cat Oscar hadn’t snuck into The Study, just as the GC closed the door on his way out to morning tea. You see, Oscar was a typical cat and didn’t play by anybody’s rules except his own. And a cat’s rules were usually made up on the spot, depending upon what sort of havoc they could cause at that given moment in time. Unfortunately for the GC, this moment in time was supposed to be one of peace and relaxation, but Oscar had other plans. Once The Study door was shut, Oscar proceeded to jump up on the Great Creator’s desk and looked at Yorn with mischief in eyes and contempt in his heart. Now the Great Creator’s desk was situation right under the large double window in the study. Usually, this was the best place for the desk as the windows let in just the right amount of fresh air and light to work by. Oscar loved the window to as he could jump right up onto the Great Creator’s lap, then unexpectedly onto the windowsill at any given moment.

“Meow,” Oscar said, looking from Yorn to the window.

He looked at the window, then at Yorn, then at the window and once again at Yorn. His paw twitched. Even if cats weren’t compelled to knock everything off the table, bookshelf, or in this case desk, Oscar just couldn’t resist the temptation to tap Yorn softly with his giant, fluffy paw. Yorn spun slowly on The Great Axis, pleasing Oscar but not quite enough to leave it at that.

“Meeeoooow,” Oscar said as The Study door opened.

The Great Creator’s jaw dropped and eyes opening so wide that most of the universe was given a bright flash of light akin to a giant solar flare.

“Don’t do it,” the Great Creator said sternly.


“I’m not joking.”

Oscar shrugged his shoulders and turned to jump off the desk. Unfortunately, his large, fluffy tail never seemed to go in the same direction as the rest of his stocky body and caught in The Great Axis as it slowed, almost stopping.

“MEOW!” screeched Oscar.

He scurried off the desk, pulling The Great Axis with him. If you asked the Great Creator what happened next it would be unclear but went something like this. Yorn bounced off the desk, onto the mousepad, then spun on the spot twice before gaining momentum then flew out the window.

Chapter Two

The Council for the Shire of Lesser Yorn held an emergency meeting in the town hall immediately after the world stopped spinning and all council members were able to stand upright without feeling the pressing need to topple over straight away and vomit on the way down for good luck. Truth be told, it was the most humorous meeting ever held by the Council. Every member felt and acted like they’d just woken up from a night of heavy drinking, as did the citizens that were able to find their way to the town hall. Approximately half of the town’s population were still staggering about the streets bouncing off one another and anything else that happened to be anywhere near them. Nobody knew what had happened, but everybody had felt the same thing, well everybody except young Bob who was making love for the first time and thought that Yorn moved for just him at that particular moment in time.

Chairperson Councilwoman Shirley Galsworthy picked up the gavel to open the meeting but had trouble determining if she had picked up the official gavel or some rubber toy that seemed to bend and wobble all over the place. Galsworthy also worried how hitting the gavel would affect her head, as it was still throbbing and swirling around like a carousel. She decided to risk it and managed to tap it on the lectern quite harshly.

“Order, please,” Galsworthy said softly, almost like she was testing her voice for the first time.

“ORDER!” she said quite loudly the second time she spoke.

Slowly, the shaken citizens of Lesser Yorn stopped wobbling about and found seats wherever they could, be it on an actual chair, what looked like a chair or the floor if they happened to tumble over from dizziness.

“Thank you,” Galsworthy said. “I’m sure everybody has the same question as The Council does. 

What the hell just happened?”

A murmur began from the crowd.

“I for one, have absolutely no idea,” Galsworthy said. “It seemed like the world spun around, quick as you like, turning from day to night to day and so forth.”

“…and like Yorn dropped out of the sky too...” someone in the crowd yelled.

“Yes, and like the whole planet dropped suddenly like it had been knocked off its stand,” Galsworthy said.

“We will be getting our best astronomers onto it once they can be found,” Councilman Hershel Rowdybottom added.

“All we can say at the moment is the council will be setting up a committee to assist with disaster relief immediately. We will continue to investigate what has just occurred and send crows worldwide to determine if this was a global incident or just a local issue,” Galsworthy said.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Fringe Is Back

After a decade in hibernation, The Fringe Magazine is back.

We will be accepting submissions for short stories and flash fiction again as well as soliciting book reviews.

Without Adobe Indesign software to produce our monthly pdf magazine the format may look quite different, but we will give it our best to produce a quality digital magazine.

Spread the news and submit your stories.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Fringe Magazine In Limbo

Hi all

My laptop was stolen two months ago, and with it all of the data used for this ezine. Unfortunately this means that I've lost all of my contacts, loggins, lists of books sent to us to review, list of review books sent to which reviewers etc.

My email account was also hacked, probably from the culprit who nicked my laptop. So I can't even access the emails to get this information, or any emailed submissions. So if you haven't had a reply to an email, it's because I haven't got it.

Without a computer, I've been unable to update The Fringe Magazine for some time now, so many apologies to those who I've not responded to. Once I can source a new computer I'll get the ezine up and running again.

Hope to be back soon.

The Fringe Magazine

Thursday, October 20, 2011

FICTION: First Words by Samuel Eden

     The ship swayed and creaked.  He feels every bit of it in his body.  Taking no chances the crew, damnedable pirates, have chained him with no give.  Legs bound in a kneeling position, arms chained to either wall crucifying him to the ship like a perverse figurehead, he’s been their captive long enough to have forgotten the feel of kindness.

     It is a small blessing that their fear of him keeps his gag in place at all times.  It keeps them from coming anywhere near him.  The captain learned a long time ago that he gleans all he needs to live from the moisture in the air, the brine in his eyes.  During storms, when he is strongest, the captain posts guards with him.  They don’t look at him.

     A terrible hope fills him today.  By the movement of the ship and the crew’s curses, he knows that they’re being pursued by another ship.  This ship is a runner, fast.  There’d be little concern of capture if the ship did not gain its quickness from being light, gain its lightness from having little room for armaments or supplies. 

     The pursuers have had them going for a week now and they’d been out of port for at least a month.  He knows from the panic in the crew that the food is all but gone.  Soon they’ll be too weak to load what small guns are aboard.  He’d be surprised if they could remember how to sight the cannons it’s been so long since the captain has ordered them used.

     His hope stems from the pirates’ desperation.  If they succumb to practicality then they’ll come for him.  With frightened hearts and shaking hands, they’ll undo his chains and he’ll get to spend some time under the sky instead of under foot.  So he waits for their desperation to bloom practicality.

     It does not take long.  The first mate comes with three guards and the keys.  It is always the first mate that comes to get him.  The captain coming himself would make him a person that the captain fears, he wouldn’t last long once that got out among the crew.  The first mate is the only one he trusts with the keys to his chains. 

     “The captain wants to see you.”  He speaks with a unique accent that comes with the ship’s pidgin of French, Spanish, and Greek.  His ears hear the gibberish, but his mind provides him with the meaning.

     Slowly, they unchain his arms from the ship and secure them behind his back.  The guards are afraid to touch him, unsure whether he’ll break or they’ll be infected with something.  It strikes him as odd how religious some of these men are.

     Coming onto the deck, sea spray hits him in the face, covers his bare chest.  He instantly feels more alive.  He stands taller, muscles flex, the chains bite into his skin. 

     They take him to the captain, standing at the aft of the ship.  He stands beside the captain looking out at the wide ocean, the only thing marring their perfect view of the horizon the pursuers.  The first mate and guards fold themselves into the three other men standing around them. 

The captain just stands there for a few minutes, ignoring him.  This too is done to show the crew he will do this in his own time, to show that the man he keeps below decks does not frighten him.  Around the gag, behind the locked mouth plate, he smiles.  Only he and the captain know what he is, and he knows that the captain is frightened of that.

“I have use of you.”  From under his coat he draws out the key that only he is allowed to keep.  He inserts into lock for the face plate.  “If you hurt this ship my men will stab you and you will die before you can swim for freedom.  Like always, yeah?”

He nods.  It’s always the same threat.  It vaguely occurs to him that this is only a half life.  But then, the spirits would kill for half a life.  The plate falls away and he spits the wooden wedge from his mouth. 

His tongue sticks out, tasting the salt in the air.  He flexes his jaw, taking in the blue sky, the white clouds, the gentle waves.  He smiles at the captain.  Other than the crew’s swords there is very little compelling him.

Finally, the captain’s annoyance at the delay shows on his face.  He focuses on ship on the horizon.  He tries not to think of the men on the ship.  He knows he will have to answer for his actions one day, but he’s trying to postpone that day for as long as possible.

        The wind stops, the water flattens.  All around the ship, a calm settles.  The crew has stopped its work. 


“AH!”  Lawrence jumps awake in the back of the cab.  The cabby swerves.

“Whoa, buddy.  You okay?”

“I’m fine.  Sorry.”  The cabby’s eyes dart from the road to the rearview mirror and back.  “I’m good.  I’m okay.”  The cabby’s eyes return to the road and stay there, Lawrence was prepared to keep reassuring him for the rest of the drive as long as he didn’t take his eyes off the road.

“That jetlag’s a bitch, isn’t it?” 

“Yeah, jetlag.”  He doesn’t really feel like talking so he looks out the window.  What he sees unsettles him so much that he almost closes his eyes again.  Outside the cab desert stretched on for miles.

When he’d met the cabby at the airport he’d been fine.  They’d been in the middle of a city.  He preferred the buildings and people to the endless dry expanse.  He tried to think of it as a sea of earth but it just made him queasy.  He can’t help it, he closes his eyes. 

“We’re almost there,” the cabby rouses him.

“How long was I out?”

“If I’d of known I wouldn’t have let you sleep at all.  You wouldn’t believe how many people fall asleep in my cab from the airport.”  The cabby keeps up a steady stream of chitchat for the next few minutes.  Lawrence doesn’t say much, but he’s glad for the distraction.

“Here we go, buddy.”  He pulls up in front of an independent diner.  Lawrence can tell the sign was made with care when it was painted, years in the desert sun has faded it badly.  “They got good food here?”

“I don’t know.  This is my first time here.”  He pays the fare and steps out of the air-conditioned interior.  His lips are immediately dry and cracked.  The heat cuts him to the core as fast as it dried his lips, the urge to speak rises in him.  He needs to escape this heat, he’s drowning in dryness.

He rushes inside hoping that they’ll have air-conditioning.  No such luck.  The interior of the restaurant is as faded as the exterior.  He seats himself, impatiently tapping his foot waiting for the waitress.

He can hear the sound of the wind.  Not the dry, lifeless wind of the desert, but the damp, alive wind of the storm.  It’s calling to him, begging him to call out.  He licks his lips with a tongue he can barely feel. 

He can’t help himself, the desert is antithesis for him.  Why had he decided to come here? To satisfy some adolescent curiosity?  He takes one long, shuttering breath.

“What can I get you?”

“Ah.”  His eyes fly open, a thirty year old juicy fruit goddess stands before him.  “A pitcher of ice water.  Please.”

“You need to order something if you want to sit in here, honey.”  She says it as if there’s more than a marginal difference between inside the diner and outside the diner.

“I really need some water.”

“You need to order…”

“The special, two of them, just bring me a pitcher of water.”  His throat feels so dry.  He has to speak now before he loses his chance.

POP!  “How you want that cooked?”  Her artificially flavored breath hits him in the face.  His hands are shaking.

“I don’t care!  Just bring me some water.”

“Hmph!”  With blurry vision he watches her flounce back to the kitchen.  He grabs the edge of the table to steady himself.  He’s clenching his jaw by the time she comes back with a glass for him.

He swallows half of it.  The cool liquid fills him, calming him.  Vision clears, hands stop shaking, the urge lessening.  The torrent of wind in his ears shifts to a gentle breeze.  How close had he come? 

The waitress turns to leave again, he grabs her arm.  “Can I get you anything else?”  She says it in such a way that makes Lawrence wonder if it’s actually a question.  She tired of him he can tell.  She’s too used to bullying the locals.  He doesn’t trying to be nice to her, he just takes out a fifty and lays it on the table.

“This is your tip if you keep bringing me pitchers of water.”  Her eyes gleam slightly as she stares at the bill on the table.  Slowly she puts the pitcher on the table.  “Thank you.”

He drains the rest of his glass and pours another.  He finishes this one in three huge gulps.  He doesn’t feel as trapped now, his breathing has evened out.  He fills the glass a third time, finishing off the pitcher, but only sips this one.  A couple minutes pass, the waitress brings his two specials and another pitcher.

Lawrence only picks at his food.  Between the desert and the age of the equipment in the diner the food is completely dry.  Mainly he just cuts up the food and moves it around on his plate. 

Mainly he watches the people in the restaurant.  He immediately discounts his waitress.  Seeing her move around the diner, speaking with her, she’s spent most of her life trying to get away from this place.  It’s a pity that she’d never really feel like she belongs anywhere.

An old man sits in another booth.  He is weathered, his countenance telling the story of a life in the desert.  Despite the heat of the day he’s drinking coffee.  Lawrence would have considered him a likely candidate if his research didn’t tell him he is looking for someone younger.  Besides the old man doesn’t look like he belongs here, only that he’s gotten used to living here.

It’s an old style diner setup, so Lawrence can see the cook behind the half wall separating the kitchen from the dining area.  Cook would be a wonderful job for who he’s looking for.  The heat rising from the stove providing a fix for the cravings while at work.  Though nothing compared to the natural heat of the desert it would do while at work.  Unfortunately the cook is wearing a sleeveless shirt that’s plastered to his body with sweat.

Lawrence’s heart falls.  He’s not close enough to the cook to pick up a flow from him, but the fact that he’s sweating tells him all he needs to know.  It’s possible his sources were wrong.  It’s not easy to track a Bearer.  The burden/gift they bear making it too hard to get a fix on them.

He’s about to get up, throwing the contents of his glass down his throat, when the kitchen door swings open and a young man steps through.  Lawrence puts his cup down and watches him.  Something in the way he moves is different. 

Somehow his movements come off as light, almost bouncy.  Even just clearing dishes from tables, his movements are quick, precise.  He wears a t-shirt, jeans, and boots, all are cheap, but he still has an air of status.  Lawrence notes that he’s not sweating.

He looks up, checking for more stray dishes.  Lawrence motions him over.  “You finished with this, mister?”  Lawrence inhales and catches the scent of aged stone.

“We need to talk.”  He boy smiles at him, Lawrence guesses he’s only about seventeen, nineteen tops.

“Sorry, mister, I’m just here for the dishes.  You’ll want to try Craiper St. around ten tonight.”  He grabs a plate, Lawrence grabs his wrist.

Sun…Heat…Dry…Sand…Lawrence pulls his hand away, palm red.  Perspiration stands out on the young man’s brow now, fear in his eyes.  He slides into the booth across from Lawrence.  Lawrence pours another glass of water and waits for the boy to say something.

“Holy shit.”  Lawrence couldn’t agree more.  He hadn’t known quite what to expect, but that was intense.

“Tito, what the hell are you doing sitting down?”  The waitress clearly needed more to do.

“I’m…I’m taking my break,” he yells back.

“The dishes aren’t going to wash themselves.”

“I’m on break!”  She throws up her hands and goes back into the kitchen.  Tito smiles at Lawrence.  “Let’s go outside.”  Lawrence downs his water and follows him out and around the diner.

“Who are you,” Tito finally asks when they’re alone.

“I’m, Lawrence Evans.”  Lawrence doesn’t try to shake his hand.  He isn’t offended.

“I’m Benjamin Fuller, but everyone calls me, Tito.  Now who the hell are you?”  It’s a fair question.  If he doesn’t know what he is then he’s probably really freaked out.  Lawrence can’t blame him, he’s been there.

“I’m your Twin.”

“Ha, not likely, man.”  Tito looks skeptical, very skeptical.  There’s at least fifteen years between them.  And while Tito isn’t a full blooded Mexican, Lawrence can tell at least one of his parents is, while Lawrence couldn’t be more white without being an albino.  It’s hard to believe.

“I don’t mean biologically.  I mean spiritually.”  Tito’s face is instantly serious.  “You can feel it, can’t you?  That subtle, tickling at the back of your brain that makes you feel like you know me, even while at your core I unsettle you.”

“Yeah.”  Tito is breathless.

“You’ve been having the dreams since you’ve been thirteen.  The dreams of other people’s lives, dreams of times long past, dreams that are so real that you feel like you’re living them.”

“Yes.”  Tito looks so relieved that it breaks Lawrence’s heart.  He knows what it’s like to finally have this explained.  Lawrence had spent three years in a mental hospital trying to deal by himself.  Tito is a strong young man.

“Where is there open desert?”  Tito points down an alley.  Lawrence starts walking, Tito doesn’t need to be told to follow, he falls into step next to Lawrence careful not to touch him. 

They come out the other end of the alley seeing open land.  For Lawrence it’s as close to nothing as he ever wants to get.  Longing fills Tito’s eyes. 

“I want to share something with you.  Watch out there.”  Lawrence takes a deep breath and centers himself.  The urge to speak has been growing since they stepped out of the diner, the dryness creeping in to all his dark places.      

Tito’s hands fly up to cover his ears.  “Ah!  What the hell?”  FLASH!  BOOM!  The thunder cuts off any further curses.  Tito’s gaze is drawn out to the desert, where black storm clouds have formed out of nowhere.  The fear is back in his eyes, he retreats till his back hits the wall to the building.  “What have you done?”

“I spoke my Word.  We’re Word Bearers, Tito.  You have your own.  Can you feel it?  Deep in core.”  Lawrence can see he’s confused.  He’s frightened, overwhelmed.  FLASHBOOM!  “You can stop this, Tito.  Go ahead.  Say your Word.  I want to hear it.”

“I don’t…I’m not sure.”  Confusion and fear war on Tito’s face.  Lawrence hopes he won’t run.  He didn’t mean to scare the boy.

“Of course you’re sure.  You’ve known it for centuries, you just haven’t spoken it yet.  It’s okay.  I’m here with you.”  His first step is hesitant, his second is firm, his third is confident.  Lawrence realizes he’s holding his breath.  Tito looks up at him, he nods.  Tito fixes his gaze on the storm. 

       There it is.  It’s as quiet as Lawrence’s Word is loud, but no less powerful.  It’s so beautiful.  As Lawrence watches the storm clouds dissipate a tear rolls down his cheek.