Monday, March 31, 2014


Kim Despins is my Woman In Horror today! She lives in Colorado, only about an hour's drive from me. The Keeper is Kim's first novel. It is a tale of the men in a family shifting into wolves when the moon becomes full. This takes place in a town where this ancient curse has plagued the residents for years. But . . . but is it really a curse? Kim makes the story come alive before your eyes and presents so much believability to the tale that one wonders what if?

Okay, I'm part Native American and cling to some of the old beliefs. Shape-shifting is nothing new to many tribes. Also, I keep an open mind about everything. No one has all the answers to the happenings in the cosmos. But Kim presents a tale of horror that just could be true, and that, my friends, is what makes for great reading. It doesn't matter what you believe, just hang on for a super ride into some great hard-hitting horror. By the way, the fire and brimstone preacher in this story reminds me of any number of do-gooders, those who have their own agenda and want to foist it upon others.

Kim is able to work great sub-plots into her novel, allowing for a lot of depth and breadth that many authors don't seem to acquire the skills for. In many ways, I would compare this great book to the great Dean Koontz novel Lightning. Not in the story line, by any means, but by bringing in side plots as you read the tale to explain what is happening now, and what has happened in the past. She does this with an exemplary use of back-story, a little here, a little there, not subjecting the reader to a whole, huge explanation of what went on before and turning the reader off. There is nothing to detract from the horror of the moment. It just keeps on a rolling!

So, my friends, if you enjoy reading stories from a master at the craft, one who does not dumb down to the readers, and a talent who spins an intelligent, believable story, you have found your woman. Kim Despins is a Woman In Horror!

Blaze McRob

Kim Despins lives and plays in Colorado. Her work has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines including Shocklines: Fresh Voices in Terror (forthcoming from Cemetery Dance) and On Spec magazine.
She collaborated with her writing group Snutch to create Tales from the Yellow Rose Diner and Fill Station, a well-received and unique collection of stories that explore some of the ugliest moments in the lives of the diner's patrons.
Kim's greatest desire is to spend a single night with S. Clayton Yurpecs, drinking decent wine and painting each other's toenails.
The Keeper is her first novel.

Horror Library, Volume 4 by Strand, Jeff, Little, Bentley, Dinan, Kurt and Bain, Matt (Jan 1, 2012)

Book Description

January 1, 2012
Spanning the universe of modern literary horror, this volume features 29 genre rich short stories by 29 cutting edge authors, some well known, some soon to be. If you'd like a snapshot of where this genre is headed, you have found the right book.
5.0 out of 5 stars Horror for the thinking man January 14, 2012
By Darkeva
There's certainly no shortage of "Best of" or themed anthologies on the horror and fantasy shelves with the usual suspects-Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, Clive Barker, Caitlin R. Kiernan, Simon R. Green, George R.R. Martin, etc, and although Horror Library Volume 4 contains works mostly by new and emerging authors like Nate Kenyon, Jeff Strand, Tim Waggoner, Lee Thomas, and Bentley Little among others, you'll find some of the best short horror fiction within the pages of this anthology.

It's so hard to choose favourites, because each of the pieces has something different to offer and is unique in its own way. You've got it all in this anthology of awe-inspiring tales that, even though it doesn't have some of the bigger names you may traditionally be used to seeing, contains gut-wrenching, provocative, thought-provoking and dare I say literary horror fiction-horror for the thinking man (or woman) :-) . Not that a good old-fashioned vampire or zombie apocalypse plot isn't great, but put the predictable stuff away and pick something up that's got a lot more bite. 

+Horror Library+ Volume 2 by Various, R.J. Cavender, David A. Magitis and Ian Rogers (Mar 29, 2007)This anthology features thirty powerful stories, collectively representing the array of themes that one would expect to find in a library dedicated to horror. Each story was written by a unique up and coming author. This book has received praise in a number of reviews and has been recommended for an HWA Bram Stoker Award, and winning one is the highest honor one can achieve in the Horror Genre

 First Class By S. Sommerville on May 4, 2009

Format: Paperback
The first volume from the Horror Library was great as it featured a lot of variety as far as style, theme and atmosphere. Only it was inconsistant as far as quality; some stories being flat out brilliant, while others had no business being published.

This one takes it to the next level. The quality is excellent.

Out of the 29 stories, I found only 3 that I didn't care for, 16 that were good, solid reads and 10 that were fantastic:

The fantastic:

John Rector's "A Season of Sleep," was a beautifully written zombie tale. In its prose it weaved beautifully worded sentences only to create a story that wrenched the gut as well as the heart.

"I am Meat, I am in Daycare," by Cameron Pierce. From the opening sentence, "When Ted Branson called to ask the rate for Susan's daycare, she didn't realize that his son was a hunk of meat." this one never let up. A truly bizarre nightmare of a story that actually seemed to contain some greater meaning (or maybe I read too much into it, but either way, twas an entertaining read)

"Trapped Light Medium" by Sunil Sadanand was the tale of a narcissistic psychic who sees horrific events before they happen and capitalizes on them to make money as a photographer. Depressing and very well written, this one was among the most memorable and satisfying.

Ron McGillvray's "The Garbage Collectors," was probably the scariest of the bunch. A young family moves to a town in which there is not only no escape but in which every couple must decide which of their children will be fed to the Garbage Collectors.

"Bound," by Alan Smale was one of those that I cannot for the life of me figure out why I liked it so much. A man is bound in cloth and tossed in the air on a blanket continuously by a cult-ish group of mysterious people. Does he finally get a chance to see what lurks over the wall?

"Alien Fajitas," by Boyd E. Harris was one I'll have to go back and read again next year. An ambitious restaurant-chain corporate family man gets a chance to save his career by closing a deal to buy a restaurant concept in New Mexico centered around Roswell. Their popular alien fajitas feature chicken with a green marinade. The secret is appalling and the ending oh, so sweet...

"The Trauma Statement" by Stephen Bacon was another winner. A recent widower who reflects on the near dissolve of his marriage months before his wife's death uncovers a horrifying secret that consumes him. This was among the more terrifying stories.

My personal favorite of the bunch was Daniel L Naden's "Drawn." A young couple give birth to a beautiful little girl with super telekinetic powers. The ending will blow your mind.

Paul Walther's "We Fall on each Other," was another one of those subtle tales that crept up on me and left me wanting to know more. The mood created within builds up in creepiness and is expertly written.

"The Show Must Live on," by Matt Hults was probably the sickest of the lot. A clown chained up in a shack within a deserted amusement park is able to fulfill wishes for those willing to pay. This read like Bentley Little at his sickest and weirdest.

Also noteworthy was Clinton Green's "The Horror in the Bookstore," in which he nailed down Lovecraft's prose and created an enjoyable story. "Immortal Remains" by Tom Pendergrass was a twisted humdinger of a military yarn. Ian Rogers' "Charlotte's Frequency" was an original concept well executed as was "Apple," by Marc Paoletti and "H19N1" by M. Louis Dixon.

Most of the stories were shorter than what is typically found in mass market anthologies, but overall the product was sheer quality-- the editing professional, the stories well chosen, the styles varied the wide spectrum of horror fiction and I am sure you will walk away satisfied as this old jaded horror reader was.

I look forward to delving into volume 3! 

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The Keeper by Despins, Kim, Turner, Stacey and Treadway, Rebecca (May 31, 2013)

Book Description

May 31, 2013
The town of Anton has kept the secret of Aksonas farm for generations. Townspeople whisper and worry their children will be chosen and cursed to live an unnatural life in a makeshift family of wolves.

When the moon rises, the men in Olivia’s family become wolves and prowl the countryside to protect their farm from predators. When Olivia stumbles upon the body of the church caretaker on their land, she’s forced to face the possibility that one of her family may have gone rogue.

When she turns to the Sheriff for help in solving the murder, her family turns on her, forcing her to face the townspeople and the ghosts of her past alone. To make matters worse, a fire and brimstone preacher has decided to rid Anton of the ancient curse once and for all, no matter the cost.
5.0 out of 5 stars Werewoves? Sign me up. June 7, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase
With the glut of zombies and sparkly vampires out there on the horror shelves, it's nice to see a true blue werewolf story pop up. You'd think there'd be more of them but here's the thing, it's hard to write a decent werewolf novel. I mean, it's man then beast and then man. And when they're in beast mode, it's not like they're telling you about their depression or how much they hate eating people. Nah, they're ripping your liver out with their giant fangs, man!

So, it's hard unless you resort to a "been there done that" like The Wolf Man or a comedy like American Werewolf in London or something along the lines of Thomas Tessier's The Nightwalker (where you never really see the beast because it's all internal changes from his POV).

Not so hard for Kim Despins. She delivers a solid, well-told werewolf novel. But it's not your trope filled, silver bullet, full moon werewolf book. Nope, it's a complicated one. Intricate. The implications of a family curse; the impact on a town; superstitions become violent reality; the large community (town) vs the small community (family); family vs family; Christianity vs Paganism; and love. Yeah, there's some love in there.

Point is, Kim doesn't go for the cheep thrill or the gore fest that say, someone like I would pen. No, her novel is full of depth, intelligence, and well-molded characters that will sit with you long after you finish the book. There is pain; an uncomfortable sense of dread rippling through these pages.

This is a damn good book.

Oh, and there's some pretty cool werewolf violence, too. Can't forget that! 

Tales from The Yellow Rose Diner and Fill Station by Williams, Erik, Anderson, Sam W., Miller, Petra and Dinan, Kurt (May 14, 2013)

Book Description

May 14, 2013

At a lonely roadside diner, six patrons will answer this very question. Haunted by choices they made in the past, choices bearing tragic and devastating consequences, these lost souls are forced to relive events that forever changed their lives. In the Yellow Rose's booths, you will meet...

...A photographer, whose quest to get the perfect photo leads him to witness life-altering depravity?

...A drunk driver, whose trail of lies lead to a dark secret...

...A girl who discovers that some gypsy fortune tellers are not frauds, and that dark magic is very real...

...A psychiatrist, whose plan to play mind games with a bigoted patient has dangerous consequences...

...A convict, whose ability to recognize impending death in the faces of those he meets leads to a devastating discovery...

...A teenager, whose self-destructive efforts to rebel against her squeaky-clean image spawn frightful results...

Welcome to the Yellow Rose Diner and Fill Station, where the menu offers generous helpings of human slavery, murder, bigotry, promiscuity, and death. A dark, mosaic novel from the minds of Snutch Labs.

Erik Williams - "Dying of the Light"
John Mantooth - "This is Where the Road Ends"
Kim Despins - "Doshala"
Sam W. Anderson - "Hate Crimes and Therapy over Creamed Chipped Beef"
Petra Miller - "Knowing the Deal"
Kurt Dinan - "The Darkness Game"
5.0 out of 5 stars Makes ya think! March 10, 2013
By VWolf
Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase
Not like your typical scary stories. I felt a strange connection with the characters, although they aren't what you might describe as good people. I loved all of the stories, but the one about the gypsy curse was deinitely my personal favorite.
Fun and easy to read.... Though it does leave you thinking.

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