Book Review
Heart-Shaped-Box

HEART-SHAPED BOX was the 2007 debut horror novel by Joe Hill, son of undisputed horror master, Stephen King. It was published by William Morrow. The hero of this story, a fearsome-looking aging heavy-metal rockstar self-named Judas “Jude” Coyne, has a few pastimes that fill his days nearing retirement, in addition to managing his band’s music legacy. He’s got his dogs, he fixes old cars, he’s always got one or another Goth girlfriend in tow, and he collects weird, rare objects. The title, Heart-shaped Box, refers to a large chocolate box that a “dead man’s suit” arrived in, bought on the Internet, because it allegedly has a ghost attached to it. So, at the start of the tale, our brave but idle hero has purchased a ghost in good faith because: awesome. The person who sold it to him didn’t quite give him the whole story about the ghost, however, and Jude soon finds himself, and everyone he cares for, in mortal danger because along with that heart-shaped box, he got much more trouble than he bargained for. These are no sweets for the sweet. Jude is not a nice man, but he’s not a bad one, either. Getting himself and his present girlfriend, Georgia, out of this heap of trouble, takes them on a journey to find closure about several things that I won’t spoil here. But, in the end, he’ll either have evolved, finally, and become a better man who finds the stones to overcome this terrible trial, or he’ll fail not […]

BOOK PREVIEW
forgettingroom-promopic

THE FORGETTING ROOM available for .99 via amazon.com >> A woman confesses to a man that she’s disturbed by a story that she knows very well but doesn’t know how she knows it or what it means. The story begins with two orphaned sisters adopted by their aunt. Within the day, one goes missing. The sister left behind becomes obsessed with finding her sister and understanding what happened the night she disappeared… A psychological mystery within a mystery. The disturbed woman’s story takes place in a contemporary American Gothic setting: the humble, refurbished Häussler Cider Mill apartments in Westchester, Virginia, U.S.A. Read it, solve the mystery. If you were in the man’s place, what would you tell her the story means? ==== A sample from The Forgetting Room: …it was dark…so dark… So much fluttering in the dark. Several of the flappy things landed on her. She screamed. They were some sort of insect. She remembered the moth from earlier — a moth had flown out of the hatbox. The scent of moonflower was intoxicating. It almost obscured the …something awful …that she’d smelled earlier. Almost. Everything was wet. Worse, the wetness came with a slime. Slime that sometimes …moved. She heard a cat meow and it echoed, cluing her into the enormity of the cavern she’d found herself in. She heard a different kind of rustling movement, but also, multiple things slithering in the water. One of them brushed past her foot in the water, and she squealed in terror, […]

BOOK PREVIEW
mien collector

THE MIEN COLLECTOR available for .99 via amazon.com >> Struggling to make a deadline for his latest coffee table book, contemporary pottery critic, Richard Burke, is joined by his charming and ridiculously good-looking assistant, Josh, as they rush from coast-to-coast, purchasing the best in contemporary American pottery. Years previously, Richard found all the respect and notoriety he could want, yet, at the very pinnacle of success, he faltered in his conviction — what was it all for? Now, with Josh at his side, with finances hanging in the balance, and many miles left between Richard and his goal, he is uncomfortably reminded that his motives to excel are not quite what he presents them to be. In some parts of the world it’s considered a curse to find what you’re looking for. Amid the sunlit foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, a stranger will show Richard the truth of his heart’s darkest desire …and exactly what he’s willing to do to obtain it. ==== A sample from The Mien Collector: …locking eyes with Richard, he slammed the door in Richard’s dejected face. “Good boy,” Richard heard the man in the room say. “My turn now.” Shut out, left hopeless in the dark hall, Richard began to comprehend his shock at the whole surreal encounter, but particularly because Josh was strictly heterosexual — he’d always been quite clear on that point. Dazed, Richard remembered to turn and see who had tapped his shoulder and startled him. It was Ben Krueger. Mr. Touchy. “Having a […]

BOOK PREVIEW
Hot Toddies Aren't Enough

HOT TODDIES AREN’T ENOUGH — Available for $2.99 Great Sex, Good Times… It’s all fun and games until someone dies. Sold in ebook format at: Amazon ==== A sample from Hot Toddies Aren’t Enough: …He’d thrown this party together hastily and told his buddies to tell their girlfriends to bring friends. If they were from out-of-town, so much the better. Simon’s reputation would not precede him. Connie had showed up to the party rather early, before Simon had a chance to hook up with any of the young girls. It was fine. Connie was a good stand-by. She had no illusions about his willingness to commit. She’d lured him into the sauna, which he had just added the finishing touches to by sanding the wood bench and walls smooth, then installing them in place. The sauna heater was new out of the box, though had sat around for years, while the sauna was incomplete. Connie stripped their clothes off until they were totally nude, then clicked on the heater. They had sex in the hot, dark box. A small window let in light from the hallway. Some drunk neighbor barged in at some point, thinking it was the bathroom and got a flash of Connie bouncing up and down on Simon’s lap. He said, “Whoa, yeah, baby,” and did not leave, but beckoned a pal to come watch the show. Simon barked at them to fuck off and they closed the door. *** “Stairway to Heaven” resounded now off the […]

BOOK PREVIEW
Pale Hunter

PALE HUNTER — Set in 1666, a pair of European traders make first contact with something unexpected. Terrified, they attempt to flee back to the forts of New France. Even if they make it, will they be safe there? Can anyone protect them from the wrath of the manitou? Sold in ebook format at: Amazon Smashwords Barnes & Noble Kobo ==== A sample from Pale Hunter: …I didn’t know what a witiko was and Wild Song was only too happy to describe it, as it was a means to scare me further, in case I still had any residual notion of stealing one of their precious snow fox. He said that while things were in balance, the great manitou had lived in peace and harmony with the indigenous and with all creatures. That changed around the time that white people had arrived. The Europeans’ mercenary ways shocked and lured it to them. He came in the bodily form of a witiko to terrorize them and eat their fear. Voracious now, the witiko/manitou ate evil thoughts and preyed on those who did the most cruel deeds, sometimes by possessing evil humans and stirring up discord. Subsequently, they would kill one another off in warfare. It especially loved to prey on those who preyed on their own blood kin. When Wild Song had made his pact with the fox, they became family. So if he preyed on the snow fox or the snow fox preyed on him, it would be cannibalism. But […]

BOOK PREVIEW
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SOUL OF STONES — In a remote valley that was the site of the largest mass suicide in history, wealthy local playboy, Michel Gloster, invests the last of his inheritance making a B-movie horror flick that will capitalize on all the free publicity caused by the infamous tragic event. He’s assembled a small film crew, even charmed two promising actors into slumming this film as a personal favor to him. It seems their venture can’t go wrong. Yet as the first day on the set passes into night, Michel can’t shake the feeling that they’re not alone in the valley nor in the ancient house that resides there. Add in some magic mushrooms and he’s fascinated and convinced there’s something ineffable there — a mystery, an elusive emotion, a belonging… Unfortunately, if you get too close to something bad, don’t be surprised when it notices you back. Sold in ebook format at: Amazon Barnes & Noble Smashwords Kobo ==== A sample from Soul of Stones “Did you notice cellphones don’t work in this valley,” said Terry between mouthfuls of potato salad. “Nothing works in this valley,” countered Trudy. “Nevermind that, this valley is going to work for us,” said Michel, “We’re all going to be famous, thanks to this wretched old house. Just you remember that. We have to be careful to keep it as wretched as possible.” Everyone laughed. “We’re preservationists,” said Poole. “Doing a public service,” said Michel, “I’ll drink to that.” They raised their various beverages and […]

FILM PREVIEW
honeymoon2014

HONEYMOON (2014) — On Demand | DVD | Blue-ray Young newlyweds Paul (Harry Treadaway) and Bea (Rose Leslie) honeymoon at Bea’s family’s lake cottage. Read CJ’s film review (no spoilers)

FILM REVIEW
honeymoon2014

  HONEYMOON (2014) Leigh Janiak’s Honeymoon isn’t top tier, but if you’re a fan of horror films, it’s worth checking out, if for no other reason than to satisfy a morbid curiosity to see actors Rose Leslie (aka Ygritte in Game of Thrones) and Harry Treadaway (Dr. Frankenstein in Penny Dreadful) play sickeningly sweet newlyweds in a contemporary French-Canadian woods setting. Quell horreur! With a few wise editing changes, it would have been a much better film. But, hey, it’s Janiak’s first time out in a director role. Next up, she directs the remake of The Craft. What’s established in Honeymoon in the first 15 minutes or so: OR, skip ahead to my review >> The film starts out with young newlyweds, Paul and Bea, recording a video that characterizes the details of the wedding and reception they’d concocted together, which was filled with meaningful symbolism related to how they met and fell in love. They depart for their honeymoon in traditional fashion, with tin cans trailing after their car and set out to honeymoon at Bea’s family’s remote lake cottage, located somewhere in French Canada (although it was actually filmed in Hendersonville, North Carolina) where it’s probably too deep in the woods for cell phones or social media distractions. Once settled in, the first night they have the sort of fun you’d expect. The next morning: pancakes and debate over if they should have a baby (they decide not to think about it on their honeymoon.) They take the family boat out on the lake, but, as it’s not quite summer, the […]

FILM PREVIEW
The Cutting Room

THE CUTTING ROOM — Yaay! Ginger Nuts of Horror’s Jim McLeod informed me that, thanks to the good folks at Three Wolves Ltd, I won a free copy of The Cutting Room, the latest film from Warren Dudley. Jim will be mailing it to Asheville, all the way from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK. Thinking back, the last thing sent to me from almost that far was a wooden boxed set of the original, sixties-era Wicker Man film on DVD — which is cool, and wasn’t exactly cheap. But, it’s even more cool to win a FREE copy of a 2015 indie film from the UK, especially when the competition was limited to UK residents, and I was just chiming in, even though I didn’t think I’d win anything. I think I wrote Ginger Nuts of Horror rocks or something. And this just proves it, right? Absolutely. After The Cutting Room arrives, I’ll make a point to post a review since there doesn’t seem to be much awareness of it outside of the UK, and since Jim’s sending it all that way. Meanwhile, here’s the trailer: The Cutting Room horror film website | The Cutting Room horror DVD via Amazon UK Director, Warren Dudley messaged me on twitter with an update that they’re looking at a September 1st release in the US. Lead Cast: Parry Glasspool – Raz Scott Lucy-Jane Quinlan – Charlie Miller Lydia Orange – Jess Danns Lead Crew: Warren Dudley – Director Ed White – Director of Photography Charlie Bentley – 1st Assistant Director

POLITICAL OPINION
sanders

So, you think you’re a Green and want to vote for Bernie Sanders? um, yeah. I mean this respectfully, but there needs to be clarification: About these “greens” who get upset over the negativity towards Bernie Sanders, have a fit, and leave The Green Party. With much drama… Listen, no matter what the political quiz told you, not every liberal or “progressive” is actually a Green. Some of you are just progressive Democrats or are Democratic-Socialist, or whatever, and that’s perfectly okay. But Greens need to clarify one important difference between a big G Greens and a little g green and that’s our vision and strategy. Greens (big G) are first and foremost members of a political party and are believers in reform. We stick to Green values. Greens don’t compromise our agenda to pacify everyone. There’s a moral to this story: If you try to please everyone, you’ll end up pleasing no one. And in the end, you’ll either quit politics or vote Democrat. If you think you’re a Green, but don’t agree with The Ten Key Values, and can’t prioritize doing the political legwork of a political party, and can’t commit to voting Green, then you’re just sympathetic to the Green cause, but you’re not one of us. Because that takes commitment and authenticity. And Greens value allies, don’t get me wrong. But allies mustn’t dominate the conversation, and allies don’t send off parting shots because Greens aren’t voting Democrat. Don’t even think we need you to justify your bias for Bernie — we get it. […]

POLITICAL OPINION
AMBOY

WEST ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA — I saw a post on Facebook by candidate for city council, Rich Lee, about his promoting the issue of safer streets and communities in his campaign. That’s why I hope he’ll do something about the area between Short Michigan and State Street. Here’s an article about public gardens that illustrates that residents in the area rely on public transportation. However they’re not all pedestrians. If you drive through Pisgah View, you’ll see there’s also a lot of vehicles. 1. There should be a stoplight at Short Michigan and Amboy, which is the entrance to Carrier Park and also, the inlet to an apartment community. This point becomes quite dangerous several times throughout the day and during events at Carrier Park. When my husband, Lewis Sellers, was involved in a serious car accident at this unsafe intersection, I wrote about it and complained about it to fellow residents, but nothing has come of it. Another problem at that intersection and reason for putting in a stoplight is that visibility is poor there because to the left, there’s a slight bend in the road and the property is often not maintained so you can’t see oncoming cars well. The speed limit is 45 so heavy vehicles come along there very quickly — sometimes too quickly for someone crossing to react or the oncoming vehicle to slow. It’s more dangerous if you’re turning left, but a lot of people use Short Michigan to take the exit onto the highway. […]

FILM REVIEW
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DOG SOLDIERS — I agree with this review by George Daniel Lea over at Ginger Nuts of Horror for the most part, though I think it was a mistake to make the monsters so visible in the backlight. But that wasn’t a deal-breaker. It’s one of those films that seemed to me like a B horror indie film that was bound to suck, then it was surprisingly good. After he followed Dog Soldier with The Descent, I’ve added Dog Soldiers’ director, writer, editor Neil Marshall to my list of directors to watch for.