Tag Archives: horror

Vlada, A Dracula Tale by Chris Denmead Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

A horror tale as iconic as the genre itself takes the story fans to know and love and gives it a gender reversed turn as readers take in the story that is Vlada, A Dracula Tale by author Chris Denmead.

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The Synopsis

Gender Swapped the Cast of Dracula in a new and unique take on the characters with some new twists.

The Review

This was such a fantastic twist on the iconic horror story. The author found the perfect chord of harmonious storytelling between classic scenes from the original Stoker version of the narrative and updated details from the author himself. The artwork that accompanies this read is stunning, taking on that iconic and classic gothic horror feel that felt so close to the original novel’s era while maintaining a more updated setting.

The obvious yet still engaging change to this narrative was the gender-reversed roles of many of the characters. Turning Vlad Dracula into Vlada was such an important new direction to take the character, exploring the dark yet seductive nature of the character and yet giving readers a host of powerful female heroines and villains to face off against in this retelling, making the narrative feel more alive. Even the inclusion of some new characters really elevated the drama and familiar yet still entertaining narrative. 

The Verdict

A mesmerizing, haunting, and delightfully chilling read, author Chris Denmead’s “Vlada: A Dracula Tale” is a must-read horror story that will delight those unfamiliar with the tale and yet engage with longtime fans of the lore of this narrative. The balance of nostalgia and updated horror and action and a twist ending to the narrative will leave readers eager to read more from this incredible author, and one can only hope we get more updated twists on iconic horror tales in the future. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Christopher Denmead is a passionate horror fan who wants to bring more awareness to the beauty and rawness of female vampires and treat them like the queens they are.

https://www.facebook.com/Vladagraphicnovel/

Interview with Author and Podcaster Alan McGill

1) Tell us a little bit about yourself. How did you get into writing?

My father was a third-generation coal miner who grew up in a small town in rural Pennsylvania. My father told humorous stories about life in a coal mining town involving various antics he was involved in as a child. He was a gifted storyteller, but he also taught me to be respectful, polite, and kind. He always talked about helping those who were unable to stand up for themselves. As the president of a local with the UMWA, he represented this type of attitude. The example was also set by my maternal grandfather with whom I was very close. He was a WWII Navy veteran at Normandy with a gift for storytelling and was always there to help anyone in need. 

At a young age I read a lot of comics and admired heroes. Anyone who helped or stood up for those who couldn’t. When I was young, I was bullied for several years until I could defend myself. I tried to help or defend those who couldn’t when I was able. I failed more times than I succeeded, but it was always what drove me. 

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2) What inspired you to write your book?

I had been writing since I was in my early teens. I have written several books but never published any. In the late 90’s I was playing an online war game involving various teams and races of beings including undead creatures. Part of the game involved message boards with teammates. I took to writing elaborate short stories about battles and threw in little romantic elements to round out the stories. A couple of years later I wrote A Cry in the Moon’s Light about undead creatures but centering around werewolves and witches. 

The story sat for over twenty years until 2019 when I decided to self-publish. I had started doing podcasts as a hobby and was receiving positive feedback about my voice. I thought it would be a good idea to start there. I edited the story as an audiobook in the spirit of old radio. I narrated the story, voiced all the characters, bought sound effects, and commission an original score. I edited everything together and released it on Halloween night 2020. 

It took a little while to catch on, but within six months I had over 10,000 downloads and the comments were all positive. Now we have over 27,000 downloads and the people really seem to enjoy the story. That gave me the confidence to self-publish. Because I love artwork so much, I decided to publish an artbook/guidebook alongside the main title as well.

3) What theme or message do you hope readers will take away from your book?

The first is that love defeats evil. That is the subtitle of the book, but it is the underlying theme. It’s a horror/fantasy book with a bit of romance. Despite the magic, weapons, relics that are in the story, the only thing that really defeats the horror and darkness is true love. It the story of two people that love each other so deeply they care more about the other’s wellbeing than themselves. It’s also the story of true heroism. Doing more for others than yourself. 

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4) What drew you into this particular genre?

It’s kind of a mix of genres. I bill it as a horror/romance, but it has a lot of fantasy, action, adventure, bit of mystery. Those are generally my favorite things to read or watch, but I have a wide range of tastes in many things. There isn’t one type of genre over another to me. It just needs to be a great story that captures my imagination and that is what I try to do as a storyteller.

5) If you could sit down with any character in your book, what would you ask them and why?

Such a good question. I really like Colonel Voelker and in this book you never really know which side he is on. But I probably would pick mi, Lady. She is a bit mysterious at times, but her love for Seth is absolute. I would want to know why she loves him so deeply. What was it that made her fall so madly in love with him? So in love that nothing else mattered to her except his well-being.

6) What social media site has been the most helpful in developing your readership?

Without exception, Twitter. I don’t have a million followers or anything, but it introduced me to Ed Bajek Publishing Services introduced me to Sal Borriello of the Reading List. Sal company provides professional editing services and Ed’s company does marketing and various other author related services. This sparks to expanding readership in other social media, catalogs, bookstores, etc. Sal turned it into a beautiful book and Ed puts it in front of potential readers. Without those two, it wouldn’t go far. Twitter also introduced me to artists and the cover designer which are all necessary elements in making this book be the best it can be for a reader. 

7) What advice would you give to aspiring or just starting authors out there?

First, write the story and worry about making it great later.  

Second, you should really love the story. You are probably going to be spending a lot of time there, editing, re-editing, etc. so you might want to make sure you like it. Even if you get picked up by a publisher, you will be involved in editing and re-editing.

If you are self-publishing, hire a professional editing service. I know a lot of people can’t afford this and that is okay. Your story deserves to be out there if you want it to. But make it the best it can be. If you can’t afford a pro editor, take your time and keep going over it again and again until it’s right. 

Watch out for scams. Vetting is important. Do a little research on anyone you will pay to work on your book. There are lots of scams out there. Editing, marketing, etc. 

Keep your expectations realistic. Know your goals. Mine was just to write a good story and produce a beautiful book. Anything after that is a bonus. 

8) What does the future hold in store for you? Any new books/projects on the horizon?

I just finished book two of A Cry in the Moon’s Light. It is about double the size and the world is completely expanded. It has the same elements as the first, horror, romance, and mystery. But this time our characters find themselves in the middle of a war with the undead. There are a lot of previews in the artbook/guidebook that are out now titled Father Daniels Compendium of the Undead. I hope to publish this in 2022 along with season two of the podcast. 

I also have a surprise about A Cry in the Moon’s Light coming in 2022 as well. It has a little bit more and is a beautiful piece of work.

Lastly, I am also working on a historical fiction book which centers around my family immigrating to a small coal-mining town in western Pennsylvania. The main character is my grandmother Rose. We follow her as a young girl growing up in the early 1900s, through the Great Depression, and carving a life in Manhattan. It will also have a lot of action, adventure, and some horror with a romance side. I just haven’t decided yet if this will have any fantasy elements yet or not. 

I’m really excited about all three of these projects and I hope readers are too. 

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About the Author

Alan McGill is an American author who lives in an old farmhouse with a clowder of cats. Alan was close to his grandparents, who grew up during the Great Depression. They were married young and remained together until his grandmother’s passing. His grandfather served in the Navy during WWII and was a gifted storyteller who wove humorous tales about tough events. Alan grew up listening to these stories of right and wrong and watching fictional heroes–such as the Lone Ranger, Adam West’s Batman, and Captain America–stand up to bullies and protect those who count not protect themselves. This inspired him to always do what was right in his own life and shaped his love of storytelling. He is a multigenre author whose debut novel, A Cry in the Moon’s Light, combines horror, romance, and mystery. As with all his books, A Cry in the Moon’s Light centers on characters who strive to do the right thing regardless of the adversity they face. The book focuses on the theme of love–a pure and deep love that defeats all evil.

https://cryinthemoonslight.podbean.com/

https://www.instagram.com/alanmcgill14/

Father Daniel’s Compendium of the Undead (A Cry in the Moon’s Light) by Alan McGill Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Alan McGill brings readers an exclusive and truly inspiring new collection of the history, the characters, the lore, and the information you’ve been waiting to get your hands on as he takes you into the world of his fantasy and horror series, (A Cry in the Moon’s Light), with this brand new collection, “Father Daniel’s Compendium of the Undead”. 

The Synopsis

Father Daniel and his Right Hand of God Order are a secret society fighting hideous creatures of the night. Gathering relics and creating weapons for decades at a place called The Forge. The Forge was built at the face of a silver mine below the Abbey on Feldberg mountain. The monks there compiled this Compendium at the Abbey in hopes it may help you understand the story that is A Cry in the Moon’s Light. Dispelling myths, retelling legends and digging deeper into the characters and places you love from the story. There are over 75 illustrations from various artists along with detailed descriptions and some spoilers where the past and future collide! Everything you need to fight evil.

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The Review

The author did such a brilliant job of taking readers into the world that he created. From the incredible artwork that brought so many of these characters and settings to life for the readers to enjoy, to the complete breakdown of the character’s histories, along with the various myths and legends that made up this fantasy narrative, made this companion book to the first novel in this series such an important and integral book within itself to have. 

The way the author incorporates historical figures, iconic myths, and local legends within the Eastern European setting into the background as subtly as possible was such an inspired and instrumental choice when developing this entire mythos. These established elements added weight and genuine curiosity to the narrative, allowing readers to delve deeper and deeper into the newly crafted history this story employed and getting fans eager to jump head-first into more stories if the author should add more to this vastly grown world.

The Verdict

An informative, fun and exciting new compendium and partner read to an already amazing fantasy horror series, author Alan McGill’s “Father Daniel’s Compendium of the UnDead” was a must-read collection for fans of the first book in this A Cry in the Moon’s Light series. The detailed approach to this mythology and the emotional connections established to this world will have readers on the edge of their seats wanting more, and that is always the sign of such a truly talented writer and gripping fantasy series. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Alan McGill is an American author who lives in an old farmhouse with a clowder of cats. Alan was close to his grandparents, who grew up during the Great Depression. They were married young and remained together until his grandmother’s passing. His grandfather served in the Navy during WWII and was a gifted storyteller who wove humorous tales about tough events. Alan grew up listening to these stories of right and wrong and watching fictional heroes–such as the Lone Ranger, Adam West’s Batman and Captain America–stand up to bullies and protect those who count not protect themselves. This inspired him to always do what was right in his own life and shaped his love of storytelling. He is a multi-genre author whose debut novel, A Cry in the Moon’s Light, combines horror, romance, and mystery. As with all his books, A Cry in the Moon’s Light centers on characters who strive to do the right thing regardless of the adversity they face. The book focuses on the theme of love–a pure and deep love that defeats all evil.

https://www.instagram.com/alanmcgill14/

https://cryinthemoonslight.podbean.com/

Reboots: Undead Can Dance by Mercedes Lackey & Cody Martin Review/Preview

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

An oddball crew of paranormal creatures face their own strange issues and the threats of space as they travel together in this space opera paranormal sci-fi read, “Reboots: Undead Can Dance” by Mercedes Lackey & Cody Martin.

The Synopsis

Say hello to Humph the Boggart, the principled, down-on-his-luck private detective, Skinny Jim the zombie, and Fred the werewolf, in this film noir-style space opera.

Humans aren’t alone anymore—in fact, they share a planet with undead and near-dead beings, living in…semi-harmony, depending on who you ask!

This is the world of Reboots—where zombies, vampires, and werewolves live side-by-side with humans, taking whatever jobs they can in order to coexist peacefully. So, what better job to give almost-dead or dead beings, than one that consists of no air, cosmic radiation, and a lack of life-sustaining essentials?

In comes a cast of interesting, unique, and downright paranormal creatures as they travel through space.

Consisting of four parts, Reboots: Undead Can Dance is a space opera destined to become a favorite, written by beloved and world-renowned fantasy author, Mercedes Lackey, and Cody Martin.

Follow Skinny Jim, a zombie who conceals his ability to speak to avoid being exterminated after an ill-fated war launched by a zombie emperor, leading to an alliance between Norms, the Fangs, and the Furs. And then there’s Humph the Boggart, an ethereal parahuman private investigator who navigates interspecies relationships in claustrophobic extraterrestrial environments with his friends, including Fred the werewolf.

And what happens when you put them all together in a confined space?

Lackey and Martin have created a perfect, witty, fast-paced read that you won’t be able to put down, and will leave you craving more.

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The Review

This was brilliant, humorous, and the vastly expansive world the authors have crafted. The characters were so unique and captivating to read, as their own unique backstories and connection to the paranormal world made their interactions and developing relationships with one another feel vibrant and captivating. 

What truly captured my attention though was the world-building and mythos that the authors developed in the narrative. Early on in the story, the authors begin to delve into this vast universe of paranormal uniqueness, from corporations run by the humans or the “Norms”, to the way the characters allude to a zombie war years before that left zombies forced to hide if they gained intelligence, to the increased power a werewolf gains if exposed to more than one moon.

 Each story and chapter only served to ignite more and more world-building, which also greatly impacted the growing narrative surrounding this truly oddball detective agency that turned the plot into a full-blown noir thriller. The genre-melding that happened in this story was truly mind-blowing, and yet kept me so enraptured with the narrative that I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

The Verdict

A memorable, fun, and exhilarating paranormal sci-fi thriller, authors Mercedes Lackey and Cody Martin’s “Reboots: Undead Can Dance” is a must-read book this fall and winter. The humor and wit that the characters showed balanced out the greater mythos of the paranormal world and the space exploration that they delved into, making this a truly exciting book that I can’t wait to dive back into again. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy on November 30th, 2021!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Mercedes entered this world on June 24, 1950, in Chicago, had a normal childhood and graduated from Purdue University in 1972. During the late 70’s she worked as an artist’s model and then went into the computer programming field, ending up with American Airlines in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In addition to her fantasy writing, she has written lyrics for and recorded nearly fifty songs for Firebird Arts & Music, a small recording company specializing in science fiction folk music.

“I’m a storyteller; that’s what I see as ‘my job’. My stories come out of my characters; how those characters would react to the given situation. Maybe that’s why I get letters from readers as young as thirteen and as old as sixty-odd. One of the reasons I write song lyrics is because I see songs as a kind of ‘story pill’ — they reduce a story to the barest essentials or encapsulate a particular crucial moment in time. I frequently will write a lyric when I am attempting to get to the heart of a crucial scene; I find that when I have done so, the scene has become absolutely clear in my mind, and I can write exactly what I wanted to say. Another reason is because of the kind of novels I am writing: that is, fantasy, set in an other-world semi-medieval atmosphere. Music is very important to medieval peoples; bards are the chief newsbringers. When I write the ‘folk music’ of these peoples, I am enriching my whole world, whether I actually use the song in the text or not.

“I began writing out of boredom; I continue out of addiction. I can’t ‘not’ write, and as a result I have no social life! I began writing fantasy because I love it, but I try to construct my fantasy worlds with all the care of a ‘high-tech’ science fiction writer. I apply the principle of TANSTAAFL [‘There ain’t no such thing as free lunch’, credited to Robert Heinlein) to magic, for instance; in my worlds, magic is paid for, and the cost to the magician is frequently a high one. I try to keep my world as solid and real as possible; people deal with stubborn pumps, bugs in the porridge, and love-lives that refuse to become untangled, right along with invading armies and evil magicians. And I try to make all of my characters, even the ‘evil magicians,’ something more than flat stereotypes. Even evil magicians get up in the night and look for cookies, sometimes.

“I suppose that in everything I write I try to expound the creed I gave my character Diana Tregarde in Burning Water:

“There’s no such thing as ‘one, true way’; the only answers worth having are the ones you find for yourself; leave the world better than you found it. Love, freedom, and the chance to do some good — they’re the things worth living and dying for, and if you aren’t willing to die for the things worth living for, you might as well turn in your membership in the human race.”

Also writes as Misty Lackey

Author’s website 

The Awakening (Warriors of Potentia Book 2) by J.J. Angelus Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A deadly and gruesome alien threat begins to infiltrate a corporate scientific company, two young boys must work together alongside a powerful guide to find artifacts and sources of power needed to repel the threat for good in author J.J. Angelus’s “The Awakening”, the second book in the Warriors of Potentia series. 

The Synopsis 

The prestigious SETE Corp is about to encounter something unlike anything known to man. With an alien virus threatening to cause a global pandemic, the scientists of SETE must work quickly to find a solution but an unexpected visitor has other plans. Meanwhile, Rupert, Amare, and even Ya’asha come together to find the cosmic and magical artifacts to prevent the total annihilation of Earth, but with the evil growing stronger things are about to take a turn for the worse and a shocking revelation will soon come to the light.

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The Review

This was such a gripping and powerful read. The balance the author struck between the chilling nature of the infectious alien presence within the SETE Corp and the coming of age, hero’s journey of Amare and Rupert was truly creative and entertaining to read. The narrative itself seemed to capture a haunting tone and atmosphere, bringing a lot of tension and action that will keep readers poised on the edge of their seats, eager to jump further and further into the evolving story and mythos the author has crafted.

The thing that stood out to me was the expertly woven narrative that found a harmonious approach to the multiple genres this story produced. The sci-fi elements of the mythology of the source of power known as Potentia and the growing fantasy elements of the main character’s journeys really elevated the narrative, but what struck such a unique chord from other books in this genre blend was the amount of horror the threat of the Umbrae produced. Setesh especially was a powerful threat, viscously attacking the scientists and the heroes challenging his mission without mercy, and the descriptive nature of the alien virus’s mutation on its victims will leave readers with goosebumps to be sure. 

The Verdict

Haunting, shocking, and engaging, author J.J. Angelus’s “The Awakening” is the perfect sci-fi and horror fantasy read for the fall 2021 season. An incredible sequel to the author’s already fantastic first book in this new series, the story very much felt like Stranger Things meets John Carpenter’s The Thing, and with a shocking cliffhanger of an ending that will chill readers to the bone, fans won’t want to miss this exhilarating new YA Thriller! If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Quirky blerd on a mission pursuing creativity. Author/creator of Warriors of Potentia and other works of fiction.

@warriorsofp

Warriors of Potentia makes a spooktacular read this Halloween. Book 1 & 2… 👻 #scarybooks #sciencefantasy #horrorbook #horrortok

♬ Spooky Ooky – NotYeti

Instagram: @warriorsofpotentia

TikTok: @warriorsofp

Facebook: Warriors of Potentia

Web: jjangelus.com

Kindle Link (Awakening): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09H6C3DHK

Series Link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08CFNNKCJ?binding=kindle_edition&ref=dbs_dp_rwt_sb_tukn

Slewfoot by Brom Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

A young Englishwoman who moved to a Puritan Colony alongside her new husband finds herself quickly a widow and must learn to survive in a patriarchal society. At the same time, a powerful spirit awakens, and together with the woman they must discover who they are and how to survive in this judgmental and deadly world in author Brom’s “Slewfoot”.

The Synopsis

A spirited young Englishwoman, Abitha, arrives at a Puritan colony betrothed to a stranger – only to become quickly widowed when her husband dies under mysterious circumstances. All alone in this pious and patriarchal society, Abitha fights for what little freedom she can grasp onto while trying to stay true to herself and her past.

Enter Slewfoot, a powerful spirit of antiquity newly woken… and trying to find his own role in the world. Healer or destroyer? Protector or predator? But as the shadows walk and villagers start dying, a new rumor is whispered: Witch.

Both Abitha and Slewfoot must swiftly decide who they are, and what they must do to survive in a world intent on hanging any who meddle in the dark arts.

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The Review

This was such a brilliantly written novel. The author did an incredible job of finding a balance between the historical fiction aspect of the narrative by exploring the Puritanical society of that era and the way it mirrors modern-day sexism, and the mythology and culture of the land settled originally by the Native American people, and later taken over by the Puritans. This clash of cultures allowed for the exploration of magic, nature spirits and so much more in this dark fantasy and horror read. 

What really stuck out as awe-inspiring though was the character growth of the cast of characters. The strength and evolution of protagonist Abitha were fantastic to read, as she represented the women who were mercilessly targeted in this society for daring to go in any other direction other than “God’s Will”. The villainous townsfolk who target Abitha is complex yet gripping as the protagonist’s foil in this narrative, while the mysterious and powerful being of many names, including Slewfoot, gave a challenging performance that straddled the line between hopeful ally and bloodthirsty demon. 

The Verdict

A remarkable, magical, and entertaining read, author Brom’s “Slewfoot” is a perfect horror read this Halloween. The folklore, mythos, and chilling atmosphere and tone will thrust readers into this haunting historical fiction and dark fantasy thriller, and the author’s incredibly chilling artwork will keep readers up at night for sure. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Born in the deep dark south in the mid-sixties. Brom, an army brat, spent his entire youth on the move and unabashedly blames living in such places as Japan, Hawaii, Germany, and Alabama for all his afflictions. From his earliest memories, Brom has been obsessed with the creation of the weird, the monstrous, and the beautiful.

At age twenty, Brom began working full-time as a commercial illustrator in Atlanta, Georgia. Three years later he entered the field of fantastic art he’d loved his whole life, making his mark developing and illustrating for TSR’s best-selling role-playing worlds.

He has since gone on to lend his distinctive vision to all facets of the creative industries, from novels and games to comics and film, receiving numerous awards such as the Spectrum Fantastic Art Grand Master award and the Chesley Lifetime Achievement award. He is also the author of a series of award-winning illustrated horror novels: Slewfoot, Lost Gods, Krampus the Yule Lord, The Child Thief, The Plucker, and The Devil’s Rose. Brom is currently kept in a dank cellar somewhere just outside of Seattle.

https://www.bromart.com/

Famuli Cani: A Supernatural Horror by Alan Golbourn Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Two friends face terrifying odds when strange happenings around a farmhouse in the Scottish countryside bring ancient Scottish folklore into reality in author Alan Golbourn’s “Famuli Cani: A Supernatural Horror”. 

The Synopsis

PENITUS IN NEMUS

Dating back centuries, an old evil has returned to within Rothiemurchus Forest. With stories of people having disappeared down the years and fires in the forest at night, wildlife are now being found dead — mutilated and slaughtered.

When a farm, surrounded by the rich forest, becomes affected by sinister and unexplainable events, a group, including an uncle and nephew, soon face unimaginable horrors, beyond comprehension …

From the Back Cover:

EVIL IN THE FOREST

When best friends, David and John, are made redundant, they decide to go away with another close friend, Grant, to David’s uncle’s farm up in Scotland in Rothiemurchus Forest. David soon learns of strange and terrible things happening on the farm, where some of the animals are found mysteriously mutilated and slaughtered.

David’s uncle also informs his nephew of other strange phenomena — including whispers in the wind, and a strange and constant sensation of being watched by someone or something. Driven by his concerns for his aunt and uncle and fuelled by curiosity, David is determined to travel up north, against the wishes of his uncle.

Things soon start happening even before David and his friends set off. They become targeted with frightening and inexplicable events, and messages warning them to STAY AWAY, so that one friend is too scared to go, leaving only the two to make the long-distance drive up to Scotland. Despite more frightening and unimaginable things happening on their way up to the Highlands, the two friends, now fearing for their lives, remain determined to reach the farm.

With their minds racing to all sorts of theories, they will soon face an unparalleled horror, with pure evil awaiting them, and an old Scottish folklore proving to be terrifyingly true …

Set at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park and its beautiful scenery, a contrasting dark and evil secret is about to be revealed …

A debut novel with strong characters, Famuli Cani is an original, chilling, suspenseful and engrossing story, that will keep you guessing right up to its horrifying climax.

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The Review

This was such a truly engaging and highly creative read. The author found a way to balance the iconic horror tropes found within the narrative surrounding cults and demons, and added a breath of fresh air with Scottish folklore and settings, making for an original horror tale like no other. The pacing and atmosphere shifted back and forth between extended character interaction and mythology building with quick-paced chills and scares that readers with a vivid imagination will watch unfold in their mind in delightful terror. 

The character development was well-thought-out and developed in this narrative. The author found a means of making the characters feel real and relatable, which helped ground the story enough to make the paranormal/supernatural elements of the story feel real enough to be spine-chilling. The thing that stood out to me was the book’s length. While many would probably be hard-pressed to engage with a novel of this length, I would advise them to stay with this book, for it felt like reading a whole new horror mythos coming to life before my eyes. The author kept enough twists and turns going to keep drawing me back in time and time again, making this a truly memorable read.

The Verdict

An adrenaline-fueled, chill-inducing, and entertaining horror read, author Alan Golbourn’s “Famuli Cani: A Supernatural Horror” is a must-read novel of 2021! The perfect fall and Halloween horror read, the balance of terrifying threats both human and non-human mixed with thought-provoking world-building and well-rounded characters made this a standout read, and I highly recommend checking this out for yourselves this fall season. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Alan Golbourn was born in Essex, England. He enjoyed writing stories at a young age and was known for his writing abilities. Amongst several interests and hobbies including football and computer games, he holds love and compassion for animals.

Shadowman: Book One by Cullen Bunn & Valiant Comics Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

As terrifying forces begin to tear at the very fabric of reality, Shadowman rises to face a growing and sinister new threat in writer Cullen Bunn and Valiant Comics new collection, “Shadowman: Book One”.

The Synopsis

The forces of darkness are awakening and they are hungry for life.

Jack Boniface, a.k.a. Shadowman, faces the terrors that tear at the fabric of humanity’s world. As the forces of darkness pry open doorways across the nation, the Shadowman will make a cross-country descent into horror… as something far more sinister emerges from the shadows.

From the bestselling master of horror Cullen Bunn (Venom) and bone-chilling artist Jon Davis-Hunt (Clean Room) comes a shocking supernatural odyssey!

Collecting SHADOWMAN (2020) #1–4.

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The Review

Such a brilliant reintroduction into the world of Shadowman for both newcomers and longtime fans of the character and Valiant’s universe overall. The balance that the collection found between visceral and gritty artwork and layered mythology building and character growth was amazing to watch unfold. The way the author wrote the narrative to showcase these self-contained battles in each issue, each representing a battle within humanity itself, while also alluding to an all-connecting source that is growing out of control was so well executed and kept me as a reader invested greatly.

The almost muted tones of the scenery in each panel did a great job of highlighting the horror and carnage these creatures left behind as the Shadowman worked to seal these breaches in the veil. What was great to read through was Jack’s evolution as a character, seeing him being thrust into new situations as the rules of these battles and the creatures he is facing seems to be changing before his eyes, giving the hero a new challenge that reinvents the character’s arc overall.

The Verdict

A chilling, heart-pounding, and action-packed volume of comics, author Cullen Bunn and Valiant Comics’s “Shadowman: Book One” is a must-read book of 2021, and the perfect read for fans of both graphic novels and the spooky/Halloween season. The tone and atmosphere seemed to be a blend of Ghost Rider, Buffy the Vampire Slayer mythos building, and Blade’s maturity all rolled into one ass-kicking horror thriller, and I cannot wait to dive into the next volume. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10

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About the Author

Cullen grew up in rural North Carolina, but now lives in the St. Louis area with his wife Cindy and his son Jackson. His noir/horror comic (and first collaboration with Brian Hurtt), The Damned, was published in 2007 by Oni Press. The follow-up, The Damned: Prodigal Sons, was released in 2008. In addition to The Sixth Gun, his current projects include Crooked Hills, a middle reader horror prose series from Evileye Books; The Tooth, an original graphic novel from Oni Press; and various work for Marvel and DC. Somewhere along the way, Cullen founded Undaunted Press and edited the critically acclaimed small press horror magazine, Whispers from the Shattered Forum.

All writers must pay their dues, and Cullen has worked various odd jobs, including Alien Autopsy Specialist, Rodeo Clown, Professional Wrestler Manager, and Sasquatch Wrangler.

And, yes, he has fought for his life against mountain lions and he did perform on stage as the World’s Youngest Hypnotist. Buy him a drink sometime, and he’ll tell you all about it.

Visit his website at www.cullenbunn.com

Interview with Author Bill Richardson

  1. Congratulations on the release of your novel, Hell Fighters: 21st Century Lovecraft!  For those who may be unfamiliar, how would you describe the book’s premise, and what inspired you to tell this story?

Professor Max Heller stumbles upon a remote area in the woods that challenges everything he thought he knew about the world. There is an evil in this place that defies logic. An evil with murderous intent. An evil that can destroy the world. Heller then joins a self-proclaimed group of Hell Fighters who wants to defeat this evil. Together this ragtag bunch of misfits embarks on a journey to save the world from an evil that is so great that it can barely fit into the human mind. The story has cults, giant monsters, otherworldly beings, doomsday preppers, survivalists, ancient gods, mystical technologies and more. It will shock you, scare you, challenge you intellectually and awe you. 

I wrote the book for several reasons, but one was that I wanted to play in the wonderful world that Lovecraft created. The evil in HP’s work is so foreign and otherworldly that it is difficult to even conceive of a way to combat it. In most of his stories the evil either wins or the main character escapes it. No one ever really defeats it. 

When I was a boy reading Lovecraft, it often left me unsatisfied. I wanted more. I wanted more detail. I wanted to see the monsters and understand the evil. The forces he shows us are on this grand scale but he always wrote about them in these very short works. It was like a mosaic that revealed different parts but never the whole. I wanted to gather up all those fascinating threads Lovecraft created and weave them into a big, cohesive tale that is accessible to a modern reader. The story features the Quantum Resonator, Arkham, Miskatonic University, an aspect of the Elder Gods, malformed monstrosities and many other elements of Lovecraft. But it’s also book you can enjoy if you’ve never read any of Lovecraft’s stories. 

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  1. The novel deftly combines fantasy and Lovecraftian horror.  What can you share with us about your creative process in weaving these narratives together, and what have been some of your creative influences?

As to influences, I read horror, sci if, fantasy, crime, non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, classics and literary fiction. How that becomes what I write is something of a mystery to me. I’ve always leaned toward dark stories and most of what I write has a dark edge to it. But I also do a lot of humor, so go figure. As to process, I keep cramming stuff into my head until something comes out. I go to bookstore and browse covers and titles. I’m also a visual artist and sometimes I’ll create an image that will spark a story idea. I read, listen to audiobooks, watch movies and daydream about stories. Every waking minute, I’m either immersing myself in creative content or trying to create it myself.

  1. At Fanbase Press, our #StoriesMatter initiative endeavors to highlight the impact that stories can have on audiences of various mediums.  How do you feel that Heller’s story will connect with and impact readers, and why do you feel that this story was important for you to bring to life?

Heller is a person who has always used his intellect to solve his problems. But he comes face to face with something so foreign and otherworldly that it defies all logic. So it requires him to use other skills to take on the enormous challenges he faces. He has to get out of his comfort zone and become something of a man of action. I’m interested in the idea that there is a hero in all of us. If put in the right situation we can all rise to the occasion and be heroic in our own way. Churchill was a mediocre politician before the war and after it too. But when the challenge of the Nazi invasion came, he was able to rise to meet it and become something more than he was before, or even after. What is a hero? A hero is someone who takes on a challenge that they think is too big for them and meets that challenge. We can all do that in our lives. I want people to realize that they can be more than they think they are. 

  1. Do you foresee expanding the novel into subsequent books, if given the opportunity?

I would like to continue Heller’s story and the Hell Fighters as well. Another thing I explore in the book is how the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. How a group of people with different skills and failings can come together and do more than any of them could do alone. It’s like how the Beatles or the Stones or any other musical group you can name is better together than they are separately. I would like to explore that more with these characters. I have entire story arcs for each of them in my head. I leave the book open for the possibility that there can be more and I have several ideas. But I really enjoy exploring new worlds and new characters and at this point I’m more comfortable with that. Honestly it will come down to what fans want. If they want more, I’ll give it to them. 

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  1. In addition, you also have the audiobook version of More Than Evil coming to Audible.  What can you share with us about the premise of this book, and how would you describe your creative process in bringing it to life?

In More Than Evil a group of coal miners release an evil force that has been trapped in the earth for millennia. It begins to spread through their isolated town, overtaking its citizens and turning them into virtually unkillable monstrosities. Harlan is the local sheriff and he has to figure out a way to stop these unstoppable creatures before the evil spreads to the wider world.

More Than Evil and Hell Fighters are very different in tone. More Than Evil is quite visceral. It’s not gore for the sake of gore. The blood is central go the plot and the nature of the evil we encounter but there is plenty of it. It’s kind of like Clive Barker’s early writing in that way. 

I wanted to make the audiobook for More Than Evil a different experience than reading the novel. As a result, I used my years of filmmaking experience to create what I like to call, a movie for your ears. I created a rich 3D soundscape with tons of music and effects. The audiobook has both dark and light humor in it that the prose version doesn’t. This was done with music and effects, not by changing the text. The idea is that you can enjoy each version in a different way. Horror really lends itself to the kind of audio treatment I used in this audiobook but it rarely gets it. That’s what sets it apart and elevates it. It’s a very different listening experience than you’re used to.

  1. Are there any upcoming projects on which you are currently working that you would like to share with our readers?

I have a book on Kindle Vella called Two Girls Save the World. It’s basically YA adventure/horror. You can read almost half of it for free on that platform. And the appeal of that book is broader than the title or genre might lead you to believe. Guys will like it and adults will too. I have a lot of other stuff in the can and I’m trying to figure out which one to release next. The genres range from SF to fantasy to historical fiction. There will be a new release the 2nd half of February for sure. My intention is to have a release schedule of February and September of each year. 

  1. Lastly, what is the best way for our readers to find more information about Hell Fighters, More Than Evil, and your other work? 

My website is https://bilrichardson.com  and below is a link to my Amazon author page. I’m on Goodreads and twitter @billrichardso10 as well. 

Let me say in closing that I appreciate every person who gives my work a chance and reads it. It is a struggle for every author to build an audience. My number one rule is, don’t be boring. I’ve got a 4+ star rating across all platforms, so a lot of people have liked my work. I feel confident that readers who try my books will enjoy them. 

I’ve been fortunate to do a lot of cool things in my life. I’ve been a film and TV producer, a nationally know historian, artist and writer. I’ve been inside the great pyramids of Egypt, embraced the pillars at Stonehenge, seen the world’s greatest works of art in person. Those things brought me great joy, but not as much as writing does. I hope folks will come along on my writing journey with me. I promise it will be a blast. 

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About the Author

As a filmmaker Bil Richardson has produced feature films, documentaries, commercials and a 16 episode series for the History Channel.

He has appeared on numerous national TV shows including CBS This Morning, CBS Sunday Morning, American Pickers, Mysteries at the Museum, the National Geographic Channel’s Diggers and Discovery Networks’ Blood Feuds.  

His films are being used as teaching tools at such prestigious universities as UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon and Marquette; and are part of the U.S. Library of Congress holdings. 

Bil has been quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, Washington Post, London Times and hundreds of other newspapers.  He was a contributing author on the Random House book, The Appalachians, the West Virginia Encyclopedia and has published both fiction and non-fiction. 

Professor Richardson has been featured as a speaker both nationally and internationally and his work has been supported by the National Endowment for the Arts. 

Among his many other creative ventures Bill has done covers for books, magazines and graphic novels.