Thursday, January 31, 2013

Book Review: 'Bad Juju: A Novel of Raw Terror' by Randy Chandler

*Please note: These are reviews that have been removed from Amazon for whatever reason. Lots of these books may be out of print, but are still available on Kindle. Purchase links are up to date for the purpose of these reviews. Thank you. 

Purchase: AmazonBarnes & Noble

“Bad Juju: A Novel of Raw Terror”

by Randy Chandler

reviewed by Hydra M. Star

It’s difficult to summarize this novel. After a rather mundane start, mundane in the sense that not much of a supernatural nature happens until nearly halfway through the book, the story turns into a kind of traditional zombie story with a lot of extra bits and excitement thrown in. Here, I mean ‘traditional zombie’ in the sense that Mr. Chandler invokes elements of voodoo and backwoods hoodoo in order to tell this fast paced story. That is the other great thing about this book, there isn’t a single dull moment in the small Southern town of Vinewood.

Christian elements and themes are also invoked to fight against the darkness that is literally taking over the town, but this is far from the usual God verses the Devil version of good verses evil that many other authors have used to wrap up a story neatly and happily. Luke, the book’s hero, is a complex man with a history that makes faith a difficult thing for him to possess. The bad guys and gals, and other good guys and gals, for there part are all equally imperfect. So, I really enjoyed these religious aspects of the book a lot more then is usual.

The book itself is not perfect either, much is left unexplained, but I truly believe most readers who enjoy gore and horror will find it a worthy read. If nothing else, it offers an interesting take on the legend of the dragon.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Author Interview: Walki Freedreamer Tinkanesh

1. Please tell us a little known fact about you.

While I am a chocolate addict, chocolate is not my favorite ice cream flavor. I prefer pistachio
and coffee.


2. What was your favorite genre to read growing up? Is this the genre you currently write in?

As a child, I loved reading The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. As a teenager, I was reading
novels about boy scouts and girl scouts. No, I do not write about siblings, or teenagers camping
in the wild. I involve monsters in my writings because monsters help me to bend genres and
genders.


3. What inspires you to write?

The Universe.

4. What sort of atmosphere do you need to write?

I still have to find it! But occasionally insomnia helps.


5. What is your all time favorite book?

Maybe ‘The Northern Girl’ by Elizabeth A. Lynn (however I could mention a few). This one
is a fantasy novel first published in 1980 I think. It is a feminist fantasy novel mostly set in a
city called Kendra On The Delta that haunted me since the first time I ever read this book back
in the late 80’s. The style is captivating and wrapped up with musical words and legendary
loyalties.


6. Who is your all time favorite character that is not your own?

I believe it is currently Morte from Elyse Draper’s (long) short story ‘I Am Morte’. I am
fascinated by the portrayal and the genderlessness of death in this story. It is written in a
soberly elegant style with words as precise as a scalpel. The fact that death fascinates me
certainly is a factor in my answer to this question.


7. Who is your favorite character of your own creation?

Maybe Hillary from my short story ‘End of the World’. She is a vet because she prefers animals
to people. It is a profession I considered a long time ago. Also, Hillary drives my current
favorite car (I don’t drive).


8. When did you decide to become a writer?

I think I always wanted to write, even if learning to write was a slow and painful process, even
if gaining the experience of life necessary to write properly took a great while to gather.


9. Where are you from?

Where I am from is irrelevant as it doesn’t define me.

10. Why do you write?

I write because I need to. It is one aspect of creative expression, along with music and art, and
creative expression seems to be central to my life. I write because it helps me to comprehend the
world, people, and myself. Sometimes I write to exorcise people’s projections.


11. What’s the best piece of writing advice you have ever been given?

Insomnia: “Write now. You know you want to.”

12. What’s the worst thing someone has ever said about your work?

(About one of my short story) “That’s too many characters! You should cut down!”

13. Has your writing ever been compared to another, famous author? If so, who?

While my music work at some point earned me a comparison to Patti Smith (one of my favorite
musicians), I don’t remember being compared to any famous author.


14. ~ What is your favorite meal?

Pancakes. As long as I am not exhausted, I make great buckwheat pancakes, with raisins.

‘Outsider’ blurb: Rooted in the music scene of London, UK, and inspired by a life-long passion for
music and a peculiar interest in private dark sides, ‘Outsider’ is a study of human emotions,
disturbed by vampires and punctuated with rock music.
Sid is a medicated musician who has lost her rhythm, but strangely is finding her voice as a
writer. Her involvement in this story starts when she attends one of Second Look’s gigs for the
first time. The rock band inspires her to write short stories sprinkled with monsters.
For Joy, the bored blood-drinker, it might have started when a powerful vampire turned her
into a creature of the night at the dawn of the 20th century. Death would probably claim that it
started at Sid’s birth, when she thought this soul would make a perfect travelling companion.
For Toni and Dee-Dee, it was the night the mighty predator made the unwilling musician into
an extremely angry fledgling. The entity known as Life, meddling with mortals’ private lives
and nights, clinched her own private deal.
The curious Sid wonders and inquires about vampires. The cynical Joy rediscovers the art of
feeling and finds herself willing to protect her mortal lover, even against an over-righteous
vampire.
Is everything as it seems? Is everyone as they appear? With offbeat sense of humor and twisted
realism, the author guides you down a trail of bodies (alive, dead and undead) until the final
showdown.

 ‘Army of Skeletons’ blurb: Shaddock is a musician on the anarchist scene. One night she meets an
intriguing womon. When she finds her again, and when her friend Taylor meets someone, too,
their lives take a weird turn.......



 ‘The Green Loch’ blurb: Jax is an artist and a musician. She sculpts monsters out of wood. She is also a
lonely person who generally shies away from crowds. One evening she notices someone in her
local pub.







My Smashwords page with links for my novel ‘Outsider’ and my short stories ‘Army of Skeletons’
and ‘The Green Loch’ as downloads.

The Lulu link for my novel ‘Outsider’ as a paperback.

My Amazon Kindle page with links for my novel ‘Outsider’, and the anthology ‘No One Makes It Out
Alive’ featuring two of my short stories.

Facebook ‘like’ page for writing, music, and art.

Twitter: @LordWalkiWolf

LinkedIn page.

My Google+ page.

Author bio: Little is known about the apparently quiet W. Freedreamer Tinkanesh. The few unearthed
bones are still disconnected: dreams, books, no gender, tattoos, wolves, invisible energies,
permanent puzzlement. W would be (in alphabetical order) a versatile artist, a chocolate fiend,
an independent musician, and a tree hugger.
The cats know more, but refuse to talk: one will stare you down; the other one will fight you.
W’s writings have appeared in unknown, obscure zines and in the last ten years in various
anthologies: ‘Write Now’ (UK, 2001), ‘Threads’ (UK, 2009, edited by Cassandra Lee aka
Shawn-A-Lee McCutcheon-Bell), ‘Eclectica’ (2011, edited by Andrea Dean Van Scoyoc), 'No
One Makes It Out Alive (2012, edited by Hydra M. Star).
W. Freedreamer Tinkanesh is currently a member of The Bermondsey Square Writers.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Book Review: 'Traumatized' by Alexander S. Brown

*Please note: These are reviews that have been removed from Amazon for whatever reason. Lots of these books may be out of print, but are still available on Kindle. Purchase links are up to date for the purpose of these reviews. Thank you.  


“Traumatized”

by Alexander S. Brown

reviewed by Hydra M. Star

In this collection Alexander S. Brown offers up fifteen horror stories featuring traumatized character that just might traumatized the reader as well;

“Bloodlines”, the tale of a group of people who win an overnight visit to a Civil War era mansion is a classic ghost story with a few minor twists. The story makes several references to karma and the past dirty deeds of the characters. This more or less sets the tone for the rest of the collection, as many of the following stories follow this same theme of wrong doers getting what they having coming.

April the title character from the next story in the collection, “April”, is a teen girl in her last year of high school who may or may not be losing her mind. She is experiencing nightly black outs and losing time. The only person to which she feels she can turn is her older sister who quickly tries to convince her that she has a personality disorder, but this answer just doesn’t feel right to April.

“The God Complex”, a gut wrenching story about a charismatic small town preacher who not only takes advantage of his congregation but also feeds them drugs. One woman it seems is the only person in the town that sees through his act, but will she have the courage to stand up to him? Or will she keep up the act of devoted follower in order to keep getting her fix?

“From Midnight to One”, is said to be the witching hour and one lonely housewife is about to get a visit from the witches in the woods behind her country home. This story plays on the old tales of witches out to steal the life of children and blood from other women in order to make themselves young. It is also one of the few in the collection where the evil is not overcome. For this reason I liked it, though it is not a horribly original story line.

“The Acquired Taste”, the horrific recounting of a family dinner out that ends in madness and murder. There are some aspects of this story that don’t seem exactly logical, but it’s still a fun read for those who like gore.

In “It’s All True” a paranormal writer spend Halloween night in a Civil War era haunted house, all alone with his confidence that ghosts cannot hurt him. Like the first story in the collection this one is pretty much a straightforward old fashioned ghost story. I’m not going to nitpick it, but there are some holes in the plot of this one as well, but they give the story a sort of urban legend feel.

“Live Through This”, is the story of how a stalker and his prey fell in love, sort of. Not to spoil the story for anyone, it IS revealed fairly early on anyway, but both of the characters in this story are men and only the stalker is gay. This adds a whole other level to the distress the prey finds himself in, but might come off as homophobic to the more politically correct and overly sensitive reader. I personally thought this ‘twist’ worked well for this story and it is one of my favorites in this collection.

In “Two Miles” a man takes a walk through his life as replayed on a desert landscape. It is revealed fairly early on that the desert he is in is Hell, though this truth is not believed by the main character, who writes off all the strange events and sights around him as him having been drugged. Normally, I’d find this kind of story, a deserved soul being delivered into Hell, to be rather predictable and boring, but the way in which Mr. Brown handles the recounting of the life of this soul is powerful.

In “The End of Summer”, the main character, Summer, returns with the man she plans to marry to clear out her great-aunt’s decaying house. The couple find a few magical surprised among the older ladies things and Summer’s future husband quickly becomes obsessed with the old lady’s collection of occult books he insists upon keeping. Throw in some pretty powerful displays of magic and an ex-boyfriend playing the ‘we can still be friends routine’ and the situation quickly begins to spiral out of control.

“Feast of the Pigs”, a story wherein the cops eat well and criminal are on the menu. This story to me has some pretty big holes in the plot, which were hard to over look. For example, how would five cops working in a large city be able to gain so much privacy within their station, which was describe as being far too small for it’s location. However, the gore level in this one is high and that makes up for some of this holes and saves it from being a waste.

“A Dead Ringer” is about a woman and her lover who together murder her husband, the town’s undertaker. It’s all a rather neat set-up. The lover and wife will plant the husband in the ground and take his money and leave town. No one will ever suspect that they killed him, unless of course he’s not really dead.

In the “House by the River” lives a man who with an interest in murder and voices in his head. It’s only a matter of time before bodies are planted in the watermelon patch beside his house. The only issue I had while reading this is why in the name of all things bloody and gore covered did the women in this man’s life continue to speak to him and go over and have dinner with him AFTER he showed up one night at her house carrying an ax and looking deranged? She was smart enough to hide outside of his view when she looked out and saw him that night, but she goes over for dinner a few days later like nothing happened. That just didn’t make much sense to me. Love and attractions only go so far.

A modern day Jack the Ripper is killing prostitutes in “Althea’s Last Dance”, but will he be smart enough to heed the warnings of the witches of New Orleans before the tides turn and he finds himself in danger? Or will he keep on his current path?

There is a monster on “Bliss Hill” that’s been terrorizing the farmer and his family who live there, for generations. The shortest story in the collection this to me was the most fun story to read. I found the backwater thinking and speech of Bliss Hill to be quite charming and a departure from the style and voice Mr. Brown uses throughout the rest of the collection.

In the final story, “Zoe’s Swan Song”, a darling of the music and modeling industry, Zoe, contemplates her fame and her beauty and is offered a deal by a mysterious stranger which she believes will improve both. She quickly discovers, however, that she’s going to get more then she bargained for and the cost will be much higher then she dreamed. This is also by far the most gory story of the collection. Truly the only one that made me squirm.

All together I found Mr. Brown’s writing to be imaginative and interesting. Though he does tend to repeat himself a bit, harping on certain ideas or emotions more then was needed, he uses phrases and descriptions one is not likely to find in any other writer’s work. This talent for word play is missing in a lot of what passes for creative writing these days and Mr. Brown deserves great praise for this.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Book Review: 'Burden of Blood' by Wenona Hulsey

*Please note: These are reviews that have been removed from Amazon for whatever reason. Lots of these books may be out of print, but are still available on Kindle. Purchase links are up to date for the purpose of these reviews. Thank you.

 Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble 

“Burden of Blood”

by Wenona Hulsey

reviewed by Hydra M. Star

Nicole is a small town Southern police officer with a big secret, and she doesn’t even know the half of how deep this secret goes. Nicole can hear people’s thoughts, but not just any thoughts. She can only hear the evil or criminal thoughts of the the people near her. This comes in quite handy in her line of work, but also isolates her from the world. She will not allow herself to have romantic feelings for anyone. She is unwilling to bring a lover into her strange and paranormal world, because she fears it is all just too strange for any man to handle. Little does Nicole know, but what she has for so long considered strange is about too look normal.

Yes, reading minds starts to look normal when immortal warriors honor bound to protect the royal family of the fairy realm show up and start calling Nicole their princess. However, what’s worse is a sect of these warriors as rebelled against the fairy kingdom and are out to kidnap and control her, for she is the key to controlling the flow of power in fairyland. These evil warriors are willing to stop at nothing in order to have her and so Nicole quickly finds herself, and those close to her, in more danger then her small town police training could have ever prepared her for.

This book is filed under the genre of Paranormal Romance and that’s exactly what it is, complete with rippling muscles and pounding hearts, but this book also has it’s share of non-romantic action. In fact, this book has significantly less erotic play then I personally would have preferred. Yes, I’m a great lover of smut. I freely admit that and this book isn’t smut. This is the sort of romance novel most parents could feel good about their teenager reading and is certainly better then most of what is out there in that particular market.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Book Review: 'The Clearing' by Elaine Markowicz

*Please note: These are reviews that have been removed from Amazon for whatever reason. Lots of these books may be out of print, but are still available on Kindle. Purchase links are up to date for the purpose of these reviews. Thank you.

 Purchase: Amazon, Lulu

“The Clearing”

by Eliane Markowicz

Reviewed by Hydra M. Star

The Clearing is a vampire romance; pure and simple and with main of the common themes and
“cliches” the genre is known for. Yet, to Mrs Markowicz’s credit this story offers the reader twists,
turns, and interesting characters that make it an interesting, even if not completely unique, read. Plus,
the story’s destination is not entirely what is expected.

Centering around the character of Chloe and written in the first person this book tells the tale of a
young woman returning to the small town she visited often as a child to settle her grandmother’s
estate. Right way it is revealed that something horrible happen to one of Chloe’s friends during her
last childhood summer vacation there; something Chloe does not quite remember but might have been
responsible for. Or at least this is what some people in the town think and they accuse her of causing
the harm. Naturally, being a head strong and independent young woman Chloe wants to know the truth
and to understand why she was never allowed to return to her grandmother’s home.

From there the reader is introduced to Chloe’s old, and gay, best friend Brian. Every girl needs a
gay boyfriend, right? Her mother and her dog are also introduced to use. Her dog actually being a
somewhat major character in the book; something I as an animal lover enjoyed. But it is a mysterious
youth by the name of Alexi, who becomes obsessed with Chloe, and her relationship and reactions to
him that drives the story. This is also the relationship which gives this book most of its erotic elements,
though I would stop short of calling this book erotica. The sex scenes simply are not steamy or well-
defined enough for such a label, but plenty hot for romance. Maybe not a book for the prudish, but
nothing that’s going to shocked the more seasoned reader.

Though not something to be taken overly seriously this books is head and shoulders above most of
what has been passing for vampire romance of late, both in character development and plot, and in
general a fun read.

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Releases: 'Emergence' by C. Michelle Jeffries


A Hitman with a Conscience.
Assassin Antony Danic has never killed an innocent man. At least the corporation he works for has never given him a reason to think otherwise until now. Reeling from a series of demanding assignments, Antony is desperate for some downtime. As he sits on a beach in Tahiti watching his wife play in the ocean, a messenger from his employer delivers a death threat. Suddenly, the hunter has become the hunted. While Antony struggles to find a way out of his till death do us part contract, he's faced with the decision of a lifetime: kill another man who may be innocent, or do what's right even if it puts his family in jeopardy.


C. Michelle Jefferies practically grew up in a library. The oldest daughter of four, she spent hours devouring books with her mother. When she was ten, she realized that she wanted to write stories like the science fiction books she loved to read. In high school, she met another writer that inspired her to write a novel instead of just short stories. She finished that 189 page handwritten novel the summer of her junior year.
A mother of seven, she put her writing on the back burner while she focused on raising her young children, and volunteering as a breastfeeding counselor in her community. When her children were old enough for her to spend a few hours on the computer, without them burning the house down, she returned to writing and hasn’t stopped since. Often writing or editing with a baby in her arms or under her feet.
Married to the guy her high school boyfriend introduced her to; she claims the last 20 + years as her education and mission experience. With a love for natural mothering, and a passion for secret agents and all things Asian she writes about bad boys turned good and fantasy of the urban type. All while beating herself up three times a week in Karate class as she works toward her black belt in Tang Soo Do.

Where to get the books:
Where to find C. Michelle Jeffries:
Website     Blog

Friday, January 4, 2013

Book Review: 'Shades of Green' by Ian Woodhead

*Please note: These are reviews that have been removed from Amazon for whatever reason. Lots of these books may be out of print, but are still available on Kindle. Purchase links are up to date for the purpose of these reviews. Thank you.

 Purchase: Amazon

“Shades of Green”

by Ian Woodhead

Reviewed by Hydra M. Star

I read and review self-published works fairly frequently and because I am a writer myself I know how
difficult it is to by one’s self fully polish a piece and prepare it for publication, especially with limited
resources (i.e. the money to pay a professional editor). So, I tend to be more forgiving of editing issues
when it comes to books published by their authors and rarely mention such errors in my reviews.
However, in this case I feel I must warn future readers that there are quite a few small errors and
awkward sentences throughout this volume.

To be completely fair, some of the “awkwardness” might be due to the fact that the story is written in
large part in the working class British lingo and slang of its characters. All the same these, to my mind,
awkward sounding lines and their accompaniment by numerous typos and grammatical errors made the
story a bit difficult for me to “get into”. Instead of relaxing into the story, my brain went into proof-
reading mode and I found myself pausing every few lines to make mental corrections. I would strongly
suggest that Mr. Woodhead hire or otherwise engage a good proof-reader prior to self-publishing any
future works.

With that harshness aside this is a wonderfully weird story. There is quite a bit of shifting from dream
state to reality and bits of reality that seem like nightmares. Some readers might think this a little
disjointed, but I personally felt this method and style really worked quite well for this story and set
a compelling tone and mood; a tone that is continued until the very end. There aren’t a lot of hard
answers given as to just what it is that befalls the town of Holburn or exactly what it is that lays
beneath the town and turns its residence and even the animal population into monsters. We are instead
given enough eyewitness accounts concerning the happenings leading up to the outbreak to draw some
conclusions for ourselves, though it is strongly suggested that the events are demonic in nature.

There is also room left open at the end for a second book... Will this happen? Will we get more details
about the tunnels beneath Holburn? I don’t know, but I’d be ready and willing to give Holburn another
visit if or when Mr. Woodhead decides to organize a return trip.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Let's Begin the New Year Right

Our schedule is to the left, in the sidebar. If you have something you'd like to share with us, by all means, drop us a line. You can find that info under the contact tab.

Since it is Thursday, here are some reviews of books by Word Weavers members that have been removed from Amazon:

“In Sickness: Stories from a Very Dark Place”

by L.L. Soares & Laura Cooney




Reviewed by Hydra M. Star



As an astute reader might deduce from the title, this collection is penned by a husband and wife writing
team; L.L. Soares and Laura Cooney. have known of Mr. Soares and his writing for sometime now,
both through the Cinema Knife Fight movie reviews he does with Michael Arruda, which are often just
as entertaining as the movies they review,and his various personal and character profiles on Facebook
and formally MySpace. Mr. Soares is in and of himself quite a character and so I knew I was in for a
ride with this one. Mrs. Cooney and her work were prior to picking up this book completely unknown
to me, but the first part of the collection are all stories written by her and so I got to know her writing
soon enough.

Five stories in total, from Laura Cooney, make up the first part of the collection; “Wasps”, “The
Hirsute You”, “Puppy Love”, “A Crown of Mushrooms”, and “Number 808”. “Wasps”, the tale of
a young ghost who comes back from the dead to pester the boy who was forced to be nice to her in
life, is by far my favorite of the five. It is hard for me to say what it was that made this story stand out
from the others without sounding as though I am speaking disparagingly of the rest, which is not my
intent, but I found the characters in this story to be better developed and the plot and story line a little
more clear. That comment aside, I would say these five stories fit and flow together very nicely. In
many ways they feel to me like the dreams of the same woman written down; Mrs. Cooney’s dreams
perhaps? This style of writing, dreamlike in nature, does not always lend itself well to creating a
concise storyline There are some “gaps” in these stories where I feel a bit too much information is left
out and left up to the reader to fill in. For example, was Nancy in “Puppy Love” really named Katie? If
so, why did she say her name was Nancy. I must, however, give kudos to Mrs. Cooney for introducing
me to a phrase and description of person I most truly love; “psychic cannibals”; a person who feeds
off of others mentally and emotionally through displays of anger and irrationality. I know and have
witnessed more then a few real life characters who fit this description.

The second part of the collection consist of six stories written by L.L. Soares; “Little Black Dress”,
“Second Chances”, “Mating Room”, “Head Games”, “The No! Place”, and “Private Exhibition”. Of
this section I would say my favorite was “Mating Room” because it brings into question just how much
of human sexuality is animal nature and how far one scientist will go to answer that question. I also
really liked “Head Games” and “The No! Place”. Both of these stories took somewhat unexpected turns
at the end. I don’t like stories that are predictable and can’t imagine many people do. Plus, anyone who
has followed Soares’s online exploits has to have expected there would be at least one story with super
smart monkeys.

The final section of the book is the collaborated work of Cooney and Soares. This section contains one
story, “In Sickness”. The title story of the collection. In this, the longest of the short stories of the book,
we return to the town of Blue Clay, which was first introduced to us in Soares’s “Second Chances”.
To me the two set in Blue Clay have a timeless sort of quality about them. Though there are references
which make it clear the story is set in the modern day this story still very much feels to me like a
step back in time to the 1950s. This is due in large part, in the case of the “In Sickness”, to Maddy’s
character, a housewife with a drinking problem who’s tormented by the ghosts of lost children, and

Zach her long suffering husband who starts out the story fantasizing about killing her.

This final story, like the collect itself, was a quick paced and fun read. I have no doubt that some will
find the subject matter of not only this last story but others in the collection distasteful and disturbing,
but that’s what horror is all about.