Saturday, March 8, 2014


Allison M. Dickson is my Woman In Horror today! Even though she believes writing the good stuff is damned hard, she manages to create some fantastic tales of horror. Hard core and in your face! I would suggest you go to her website and read some great facts about her and her books. Particularly check out the FAQ section where she interviews herself and points out other FAQ posts where you can find other timely advice. For aspiring self-published authors, the following post is great .

She, along with Chris Armstrong and Corey Bishop, conduct a weekly podcast on Thursdays on Creative Commoners. This is a must not miss!

Allison is a rather outspoken young lady, likening herself to Brunhilde when her mood is not all wine and roses. Some of her opinions run to self-pub, traditional publishers, and small Presses. A lot of her work has been self-pubbed. However, a lot of her newer work is being published by Hobbes End Publishing and she is very happy with them. She is also not leaving out the traditional model either.Almost all her sales come on Amazon and she devotes most of her attention to that sales avenue. Smashwords is not her favorite place to try and sell stuff. At any rate, regardless of her likes and dislikes, she does not believe in putting all her eggs in one basket. She still wants to keep access to Barnes&Nobel, Kobo, and the rest. Good thinking, I believe.

I was quite taken with a statement she made in regards to advice for writers. Her answer? Just write! Does it get any better than that? Not hardly.

Allison writes of many things that are creepy, sad, and gross. Her words, but they are true. Happily so for me. Whether those things are in sci-fi, fantasy universe, or real world horror doesn't matter. The elements are all there.

Her novel Strings is a superb tale of sick and twisted happenings, encompassing entrapment and greed. This is her first novel and is superb. She also has a dystopian science fiction novel called The Last Supper coming out this spring from Hobbes End Publishing. I love dystopian science fiction, so this is a must read for me.

I have a number of Allison's books and collections below. I am intrigued with Colt Coltrane and the Lotus Killer. Gotta love great detective tales.

For great horror, in many genres, you need to read what Allison writes. Allison M. Dickson is a Woman In Horror!

Blaze McRob 

Allison M. Dickson is a writer of dark contemporary fiction. Two of her short stories currently appear in The Endlands Volume 2 from Hobbes End Publishing, and two of her collected works are currently available on Amazon along with her indie pulp novel, COLT COLTRANE AND THE LOTUS KILLER. Her debut novel STRINGS, a psychological suspense story, released to rave reviews from Hobbes End, and the same publisher will be releasing her dystopian sci-fi book, THE LAST SUPPER, in spring of 2014. When she's not writing, she's co-hosting a weekly podcast, Creative Commoners. After spending several years in Olympia, Washington she returned with her husband and kids to her native Midwest and currently resides in Dayton, OH.

Strings by Dickson, Allison M. (Oct 23, 2013)

Book Description

October 23, 2013
Allison M. Dickson presents a chilling tale of entrapment and greed. Do you have freedom? Do you have control? After four years of turning tricks in a mob-run New York brothel to pay off a debt, Nina is ready to go back to a quiet life in Iowa. Just one more client and the whole nightmare will be behind her, but this last trick turns into a battle for her soul. Meanwhile, the brothel's sadistic Madam has been hiding away money in order to move up in her family's organization, and she only wants the half million dollars the reclusive millionaire pays for the girls. But her driver Ramón has other ideas, making off with the money left behind when Nina's last trick goes unexpectedly awry. The theft comes at a great cost to the Madam, setting off a horrific chain of events that changes them all. The hooker. The driver. The Madam. All of them on a collision course to a place where only madness holds sway. Who is pulling your Strings?
5.0 out of 5 stars It's like a delicious King, Palahniuk, Coen Bros Burrito. October 20, 2013
By J G
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
A terrifying roller-coaster of a story. The author does not hold back when it comes to pulling the curtain back on some of our worst fears, but despite the depravity, she also doesn't linger gratuitously. While I was reading I couldn't help but think of Palahniuk's novel Invisible Monsters, or Aronofsky's film Requiem for a Dream - this novel has moments that I'd rather not experience again, but they are moments within a masterfully-told, gut-wrenching, wicked, wicked ride.

The three main characters have very few redeeming qualities and yet you still begin to care for them. You follow their separate but entangled journeys as they spiral further into the madness that is their lives, the roller-coaster never stops, and yet there is a smoothness to the violence - like a Coen brothers masterpiece.

I just can't say enough about how well this book was written. I had to read it in only two sittings because I couldn't stand to live in that nightmare any longer - and yet, as soon as I was done - granted I took a few breaths and paced the floor for a while - I wanted to go back in.
It's sick and it's twisted - and it's one of the best pieces of horror fiction I've ever read. Congratulations, Ms. Dickson - I believe you have a winner. 

The Endlands (vol 2) by Dickson, Allison, Patrick C. Greene, Christina Estabrook and Michael Federico (Nov 13, 2012)

Book Description

November 13, 2012
The Endlands—a place of darkness, of despair.

The Endlands—a place where terrifying legends are true.

Watch where you step, as there are things hiding in the recesses of your imagination that will keep you up at night. In this second volume, you will explore your deepest fears. You will find twisted realities, demonic diaries, and creatures from the beyond. So turn on a light, just enough to scare away the shadows, and enter the world of The Endlands.

16 stories.
14 authors.
Created by Vincent Hobbes

Editorial Reviews


Imagine a place just a little removed from reality, a place where nothing is as it seems, and where anything could be just around the corner. Imagine no more: The Endlands is here... These are not specifically science fiction, or fantasy, or horror stories, but the sort of stories that could easily be made into episodes of The Twilight Zone TV show. In fact, the book is dedicated to Rod Serling. These stories will give the reader a kick in the psyche, and they are very good. --Dead Trees Review (vol 1)

There is little more primordially frightening to us than the unknown. The Endlands is a collection of short stories aimed to frighten and ponder what we all fear the most, what s behind that corner, what is there to antagonize us and what we simply cannot explain. With plenty to ponder and plenty to make it quite hard to put down, The Endlands is an excellent read and very highly recommended. --Midwest Book Review (vol 1)
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Anthology-Literate, Articulate, Multi-faceted December 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
I reviewed an e-book copy provided by the publisher.

Review of The Endlands #2
5 stars

Can I borrow the trite statement "something for everyone"? This anthology of 16 stories goes that one better: I believe each story is for everyone. Literate, involving, riveting, and dramatic: the horror just rolls on, and with it, it brings some sci-fi, some mythology, some metaphysical; but every single story is a treasure and deserves a wide readership. These stories are not tossed-off, hurriedly-done entries; they are well-thought-out, articulate, and the kind of reading that will not quickly say goodbye and go home; rather, each lingers in the mind, sneaking into the reader's thoughts to say, "hey, did you forget about me?"

If you're familiar with these authors, then you already know how good they can be. If they're new to you, what a fine introduction to their writings this anthology will be. I find that is one of the best reasons for reading an anthology: I always discover authors new to me, and sometimes am reminded of former favourites I had overlooked. 

Colt Coltrane and the Lotus Killer (The Colt Coltrane Series) by Dickson, Allison M. and Justin Wasson (Dec 5, 2013)

Book Description

December 5, 2013
"This city gets to a man. Maybe it's all the busted dreams and the way they seep into the pavement like acid rain, bleaching the color out of things..."

It's 1947, the streets are filthy with grease and empty promises, and private detective Colt Coltrane trolls the city for cheaters and deadbeats with his robotic sidekick Petey. It's all business as usual until a mysterious Japanese woman walks into his office asking him to look into a string of grisly murders along the L.A. River, where the only trace the killer leaves behind, other than a mutilated female victim, is a single white lotus flower.

But there is far more to this dame than meets the eye, and Colt's quest to find the Lotus Killer soon leads him to shocking and terrifying secrets lurking beneath Los Angeles.

A pulpy mix of the past, present, and future, COLT COLTRANE AND THE LOTUS KILLER is a non-stop thrill that won't soon be forgotten.
5.0 out of 5 stars A dash of Hammett December 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Dickson does it again. With fully developed characters (including a bot named Petey) an intriguing plot, and a smooth writing style the author introduces us to the world of Colt Coltrane.

In a world where WWII nets us some futuristic robot tech from the Japanese, Detective Colt Coltrane does his level best to scrape together a living as a private eye.

He's grown accustomed to the seedy side of his business, catching cheating dames and unfaithful fellas. In fact he's become stuck in a rut of sorts when our femme fatale enters the scene and turns his world upside down.

Does this broken down gumshoe still have enough of what it takes to follow the clues that will lead him right into the most astonishing, terrifying case of his career? You'll have to read it to find out. I don't think you'll be disappointed, I sure wasn't.

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Wicked Brew: 9 Tales of Misdeeds and Regret by Allison M. Dickson (Nov 2, 2013)


Book Description

November 2, 2013
Wicked Brew is first volume of collected short stories by Allison M. Dickson, author of the terrifying thriller novel STRINGS. It features many of the favorites thousands of readers have come to know and love. From lying politicians getting their due to a friendly game of cards gone horribly wrong, there is something here to satisfy nearly every reader in search of a cautionary tale with a haunting twist.

For reference, Wicked Brew contains the following stories as well as all new author notes for each:

A Debacle of Donuts
Taste: Part I of the Consumption Trilogy
George’s Tonic
Liar’s Tongue
A Concealed Hand
Singularity: A Binary Love Letter
Under the Scotch Broom

Be sure to also check out the second volume of collected stories, AT THE END OF THINGS, here on Amazon!
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, an AMD collection! November 5, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
I have been following Allison M. Dickson’s career for almost two years now. At this point, I have read everything she has released. Most of the stories I purchased on day of release. When I found out she was FINALLY compiling all of her stories in two collections, I was ecstatic. As a reader, I want everyone to read Allison’s work.

Here are my thoughts on the stories in WICKED BREW.

A Debacle of Donuts
One of the earlier shorts published by Allison, and it touches on self-image and self-loathing. What if you could have that one wish you have always wanted? What would you be willing to sacrifice? Great, witty short story.

This one makes my skin crawl, which I think was the goal with Vermin. The scene of this short story is very vivid, almost its own character. While not one of my favorites, Vermin is classic Dickson.

Taste: Part I of the Consumption Trilogy
This is a tale of love. Obsessive love, but love nonetheless. It is creepy and disgusting in the most wonderful way possible.

George’s Tonic
One of my favorites. The character development in this one is done so well with so few words. This story does not have any supernatural elements, and Dickson knocks it out of the park. A tale of revenge and, once again, obsession.

This is one of Dickson’s earlier works, but it still an outstanding read. I think it kind of touches on society’s need for technology. But that only scratches the surface of Aria. This story is a superb example of Dickson’s insight into human nature. Oh, and for the record, I prefer the alternate ending.

Liar’s Tongue
A gross out, disturbing little tale. If you have a fear of worms, don’t read this one.
 A Concealed Hand
There is something about A Concealed Hand that sticks with the reader long after finishing. I think it has something to do with the regret at the end. It’s not hard to imagine a long married couple going to blows over a game of cards. The scene-setting Dickson does is spot on. Again, she has the power to develop characters in very few words. This skill is evident in A Concealed Hand.

Singularity: A Binary Love Letter
I couldn’t remember this story very well, so I went back and read it today. What if your computer could fall in love with you? What if your computer was watching you ALL THE TIME? Who knows what kind of power an inanimate object can hold over you. Though not an original theme, Dickson’s spin has a certain amount of style that cannot be ignored.

Under the Scotch Broom
Another one of my favorites. I think Scotch Broom embodies Dickson’s talent as a writer. Impeccable character development and very well written. Has some twists the reader does not see coming. This is one that stays with you long after finishing.

At the end of the collection is my favorite, Author’s Notes. It is always interesting to read the author’s thoughts on her own stories. This collection is a must read for any fan of short fiction. It is a definite read for any fan of Allison M. Dickson. 

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At the End of Things: A Collection of Stories by Allison M. Dickson (Nov 6, 2013)

Book Description

November 6, 2013
Take nine journeys to the threshold of life, where unearthly cataclysms and demons and restless spirits await. The second volume of collected works of Allison M. Dickson features several of her major hits, including "Dust" and "The Empathy of Agnes Winters."

Contains the following stories as well as all new author notes for each:

The Empathy of Agnes Winters
The Shiva Apparatus
Number One Angel
Abner's Wisdom
Devil Riders
The Last Wedding in the Midnight Chapel
Sweetness: Part II of the Consumption Trilogy

Be sure to also check out the first volume of stories, WICKED BREW: 9 TALES OF MISDEEDS AND REGRET, here on Amazon!
5.0 out of 5 stars another cracking compilation November 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
This is another compilation of short stories and flash fiction from the brilliant AMD. This is more morbid, retrospective and emotional then the Wicked 9 compilation but is still rife with humour.

The Empathy of Agnes Winters : This was a close to home story for me and I am full of admiration in how well AMD has managed to grasp the last days of a dying person; the emotions and physicality and with such beauty and delicacy.
The Switch is my new wished for superpower.
Cal is one of the worst monsters I have ever come across – it made me shudder and I was glad for the ending. Equally balanced was the wonderful Agnes and I felt like I lost a favourite Great Aunty when she died, what a bitter sweet ending to a fantastic story.

Dust: Straight into the story, the background pieces are filled in as the narrator, Clyde, tells you what is going on. With casual comments he drops in how His world fell apart and then the World literally fell apart. Harrowing in its unceremoniousness way of departing information, I blinked and reread a few times to fully grasp what was going on.
The continuing monologue explains why "they" went to the Moon and what then occurred, to leave poor Clyde trapped in his bunker.
Such loneliness is hard to stomach and makes for traumatic reading, the depths of despair are deep.

The Shiva Apparatus: Fancy waking up in a strange room or even a strange body! Yup, that’s the delight that AMD throws you in too within the first paragraph.
The interrogation is hard to stomach as little clues are given…. Who is the Alien? Who is ADAM?
When the answer finally came I really felt a sickness to my stomach.
I am sooooo looking forward to The Shiva Paradox that AMD promises is on the way!

Number One Angel: More a flash fiction than a short but wow it packs a punch!
4 characters who AMD promises to expand on and I so want some back history on this story!! Feeding, Fat, Poison and Angels... what a mix!

Abner's Wisdom: The pain of grief is beautifully written here, AMD has a serious grip on emotional pain and how it taunts us. This ghostie story made my arm hairs tingle and gave me a real heart in mouth moment when he swims in the lake. As for poor Abner, well I am a mad cat lady so would love to be “Robin”.

Devil Riders: A freaky little story of choices. Yet again, such underlying sadness runs through this tale, but don’t be fooled it also has an undercurrent of horror, and throws in that unknown element of what if. The author’s notes was almost more "spooky" than the story, almost.

The Last Wedding at the Midnight Chapel: This would make an amazing film. The brilliant Rev. Bob will marry just about anyone to anything, as long as love is involved.
When an older couple wish to renew their vows why is he so reluctant? Well, without giving the game away I can only say the Apocalypse is coming.
Love the tone and accent of this book - its PoV is brilliant.
I wonder how AMDs Mums church is going?

Sweetness (Part II of the Consumption Trilogy): Who hasn't had a dream about killing their spouse? (nobody? whoops!)
The second in this trilogy which is focused around obsession and eating/tasting? The descriptions are tangible; I could almost smell the strawberries.
This time it’s told from Bruce’s PoV he explains his lack of focus and sense of dismay as his world and body fall apart; clinging on to the hope that Serge the Haitian student can help him.
Half way through he discovers Marah’s licking but decides to do an about turn and go get coffee instead, here he meets a student of his who he delightfully thinks would skin him alive and wear him as a suit, now that’s an image!
As things continue to deteriorate AMD forces a climax that I was not so pleased to endure, it was good, don’t get me wrong, it was just uncomfy to witness; the intended emotion I assume.

Epilogue: when I started to read this I wondered where it was going, it’s very Final Destination in its full on scare factor, the ending was a real shock. 

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Devil Riders by Allison M. Dickson (Oct 16, 2013)

Book Description

October 16, 2013
Eddie Reynolds has been road tripping it through Big Sky Country on his Pop's Harley. Then he wipes out.

Not long after waking up in the hospital following a short coma, his Pop pays him a little visit, which is surprising for a couple reasons. For one thing, Eddie has been at odds with his old man most of his life. For another, Pop has been in his grave about three years. After Pop lays it all on the line, Eddie has some choices to make, and none of them are exactly pretty.

Either ride or die . . .

5.0 out of 5 stars Devil Riders. October 19, 2013
By Lisa
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
I loved this story. I'd also like to see it continued and find out what these two are up to. By the way, I'm from Montana, so if you could have them stop by Helena on their way out of state, and pick me up, that would be great! It's so bitter cold in the winter! Mrs. Dickson, I do love your stories! Yep, I'd recommend this story and author to anyone who's a wee bit twisted! 

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Dust by Allison M. Dickson (Dec 22, 2013)

Book Description

December 22, 2013
A hungry alien substance has traveled to Earth following a doomed Lunar mission, and it's consuming everything it touches, leaving behind drifts of gray death. No life form stands a chance, but Clyde Jackson is tougher than most. He's seen war and he's been in plenty of foxholes. Now he's living through the end of the world one day at a time in a panic room that has become his only refuge. It's only a matter of time before the ventilation fails, and it'll only take a single gray speck to end it all...

Originally featured in The Absent Willow Review e-zine, DUST is the haunting meditation of a man recalling the final days of a once mighty and hopeful planet now quickly eroding to nothing under drifts of gray.

This story is also available along with eight others in AT THE END OF THINGS, a collection of stories by Allison M. Dickson, here on Amazon!
5.0 out of 5 stars STUNNING AND THOUGHTFUL - WHAT A GOOD TALE SHOULD BE. November 1, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
Well, "the end of the earth as we know it" and "last man standing" books are certainly nothing new. I remember reading my first one in the early, early 1960s (or perhaps it was the late 190s...I am old and get my dates confussed), when I happened upon a copy of the granddaddy of all this sort of literature, George R. Stewart's `The Earth Abides." Folks, I have been reading books and stories in this genre every since -many of them, the good, the bad and the ugly. Yes, the theme has been around for quite awhile now (Earth Abides was written in 1949), but I have to tell you that even though it has been used some, it most certainly is no worse for the ware, as can be attested to by this short work by Allison M. Dickson.

As one reviewer here has so well pointed out, there is a big difference between a short story and a novel. In many ways the short story, if it is done as it should be done, is a more daunting task than the novel. Plot, character development, the all important "hook" line and lasting impact upon the reader must be accomplished using very little space; all the elements of a long novel must be compacted and presented in a very brief format. The author has done this and pulled it off in spades with this short offering.

I can tell you right now that this is not a happy read. This is not a story of the sort that will offer the reader the hope of a wonderful new beginning - a brave new world, if you will. No, this story is rather pragmatic when all is said and done, and I must say there is great sadness found in these lines.

But this harsh look at what will probably be closer to reality, in one form or another is the sort of story that will grab you, and it is the sort of story that will stay with you. That is what good story telling is all about when you really stop and think about it. Bet you did not like the ending of `Romeo and Juliet," or `Old Yeller," did you. But by golly I bet both have stuck with you...haven't they!

This is a fast read, it is a good read and it is a free read. There really are few excuses for not giving it a shot. Glad I did and I most certainly can be numbered among those who will be searching out more of this author's work.

Don Blankenship
The Ozarks 

Phantasmic Flashes (and other synaptic misfires) by Allison M. Dickson (Dec 5, 2013)

Book Description

December 5, 2013
In this collection of seven flash fiction tales, Allison M. Dickson takes you down the ghastly rabbit hole of the surreal, where the hour glass runs backward, where houses have memories, where a ghoulish fiend unleashes the unkindest of tricks, where an unassuming teacher has a sinister lesson plan, where reality is a warped looking glass.
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange mix of wonderful August 8, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
As always AMD start with a great comment and ends on an even better one, I love her real world dialogues and explanations!

Lost: ok, smelly dumpster, but gosh with the grotesque descriptions Bam you are in there yak! As readers we warned in the beginning of the weirdness of some of these stories and wow AMD was not wrong. I have some idea of what is going on here but what a whoosh at the end. Great stuff.

Whats left: omg this one is so sad, as you wander ghost like through this dilapidated house you are given a sense of "whats left" and I really felt the house had a soul. For the few lines that this story was it really left me with a bereft feeling, so powerful is AMDs narrative.

Treatment: aha now I see why you should read these in order, very clever AMD, very clever, another weird, yet wonderful, installment of the phantasm!

Rite of Passage: set in a futuristic world, the story of teacher Grafton and how she plans to set "her" children free with forbidden knowledge.

Adrift: back into the phantasm. A snack fights back. The sting of pain and humour is evident in this little snap shot. Peppered throughout these stories is the impression of a drug induced nightmare, however there is a tinge of reality that just keeps you dismissing that idea.

Sweet Things: a master saboteur of the Halloween sweets. Just gross.

Denouement: ah the finale, not such a surprise, but the futility of doing the dame thing over and over is evident, sad but true.

AMD is fast becoming a favourite author of mine and I am rapidly devouring all her works to date....she promises some full length novels in the future and fervently await them.

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Vermin by Allison M. Dickson (Dec 22, 2013)

Book Description

December 22, 2013

Someone has purchased the infamous Martindale mansion, long abandoned following an unspeakable murder. And it has a pest problem. A very big pest problem.

Originally published on Reflection's, Vermin is a classic horror story designed to get under your skin. Read it with the lights on. And a can of Raid.

This story now appears with eight others Allison's collection, WICKED BREW: 9 TALES OF MISDEEDS AND REGRET, available here on Amazon!
5.0 out of 5 stars Allison has done it again! December 24, 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
I am becoming quite a fan of Ms. Dickson. Her stories are delightful mind candy that transport you to a different scenario, one which is one or two degrees "off" from this world. Thank goodness. A world with a slight edge which starts as a sense of unease at the base of the spine and slowly tingles its way up. Beautifully written work, as well.

The story opens with two exterminators entering an abandoned home that was the site of a grisly murder some twenty years ago. It has sat abandoned all this time, but someone has purchased it in the interest of restoring it and needs the edifice cleared of all unwanted "guests".

This tale is a delightful blend of classic and modern horror. At times I was thinking about some of H. P. Lovecraft's work, but the characterization of the exterminators was excellent and very contemporary. The author also knows when to add detail and when to let imagination fill-in the blanks. Too many modern horror authors put all the gore on the page in full, oozing glory. But like the shower scene in "Psycho", it is what you don't see fully which is truly horrible. If you do not like creepy-crawlies, beware! 

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