Thursday, July 17, 2014

CHERYL ANNE GARDNER - WOMAN IN HORROR!



http://twistedknickerspublications.wordpress.com/


https://www.facebook.com/cheryl.a.gardner?fref=ts




Cheryl Anne Gardner is my Woman In Horror today! Cheryl is not exactly a straight-laced young lady. She is a gung-ho horror author and editor, but some things cannot be explained completely. For example, she, her husband, and seven ferrets run the show at Twisted Knickers Publications. That should tell you something. I'll have to ask her how the ferrets perform under stress. She appears to be doing quite well.

Her Amazon bio should explain part of what I'm talking about:

Cheryl Anne Gardner is a hopeless dark romantic, lives in a haunted house, and often channels the spirits of Poe, Kafka, and de Sade. She prefers novellas and flash fiction to writing bios because she always seems to forget what point of view she is in. When she isn't writing, she likes to chase marbles on a glass floor, eat lint, play with sharp objects, and make taxidermy dioramas with dead flies. Her writing has been described as "beautifully grotesque," her characters "deliciously disturbed." Her short fiction has been published in dozens of journals including Dustbin, Hobo Pancakes, Carnage Conservatory, Pure Slush, Negative Suck, Danse Macabre, and at The Molotov Cocktail among others. She lives with her husband on the East Coast USA, and she is currently the head fiction editor at Apocrypha and Abstractions Literary Journal.


In an almost normal scenario, Cheryl and I actually share space in a unique newspaper available in Kindle form, and published by Firbolg Publishing, called The Rogues Gallery: The Illustrated Police News.

Book Description

January 14, 2014
A newspaper vendor in the nineteenth century could always ensure sales with the gruesome cry “Murder! ‘Orrible Murder!” Published around 1870, the Victorian tabloid The Illustrated Police News took this sales tactic to heart. It had the largest circulation of any periodical of its time. The public devoured a weekly diet of real-life horrors deliberately calculated to churn the strongest stomach and boost the next issue’s sales. The Rogues Gallery has resurrected these disturbing, morbid images to bring you a collection of flash fiction as equally frightening. Using Victorian England's murder and mayhem as their inspiration, dozens of authors will haunt your nightmares long after the lights go out. Three Gothic tales of terror from the masters Poe, Lovecraft, and Thackeray round out this macabre Rogues Gallery of terror. With an introduction from DarkMedia's Eva Layne, remember this... you have been warned.


Another super book is And Death Dreamt Us All. You can tell by the book description and the review both that this is an amazing book.

Book Description

January 6, 2012
Rowan lives at the edge of reality. After witnessing a terrible childhood tragedy, her life has evolved into a shifting state of death and decay. Barely a night without restlessness, barely a breath without torment, she exists in the periphery, her mind merely a footfall away from the abyss. Within that abyss stirs a creature so vicious, so evil, and it lies in wait, staring back at her, waiting for her to fall.
5.0 out of 5 stars Can a madman know they're mad? February 10, 2012
Format:Paperback
Having read almost all of Cheryl Anne Gardner's books, I always look forward to a new one and try to approach it with a clear mind and give it my full attention. This is because Mrs. Gardner's novellas are often philosophical, poetic, and downright challenging to read. Her prose are full of lyricism and imagery that you will find both stunning and disturbing. And Death Dreamt Us All is no different.

Our protagonist is Rowan, a crime scene photographer, who convinces herself that she is numb to what she captures through the lens. She attempts to remain undisturbed by the human horror and atrocities that she snaps photos of. However, Rowan is instead disturbed by her ability to see evil, envisioning the killers right there who have committed the brutality, seeing everything through their eyes.

In real life, Rowan is sleeping with her therapist, Killy. It's a love-hate relationship fed my liquor, pills, and intense sex. Those who easily blush might want to turn on the fan and pour themselves a glass of ice water before sitting down with this book.

Gardner makes no apologies for the way her characters treat each other, emotionally or physically. But she does have a sense of humor at times which cannot go unappreciated. There is one chapter where Rowan visits a strip club which had me laughing out loud. Her use of the most foul images and descriptions of not just a stripper's body, but of the clientele who frequent this place, right down to the gay Adonis bartender, read so vividly like I was right there in the middle of it all.

Never one to be wax-poetic, the author gives equal treatment to the beauty and the grotesque. At times reminiscent of Poe himself, visual sketches themselves would practically rob you of the sheer essence in art with words that Gardner has such a talent for. There is one scene where a raven actually lands on the hood of Rowan's car. Those well versed in the classics can easily see where Gardner draws her inspiration. Here talent is evident in quotes like this from her lead female character:

"While wallowing in the chaos of my life, I've come to know one true thing. I have seen the world. I have seen the demons: Formless. Timeless. Faith in absentia. I have seen absolute darkness. This is the only reality, the only truth I know. I feel as if I am just beginning to see a faint glimpse of the future - the real future. The end of days. I'm not getting it in any finite detail, but it is perceptible even in the dim light. I can see the action, the reaction, and the consequence, and I have become dreadfully aware of everything around me. I've always feared that someday I might be plagued by madness. It happens often enough in my profession, but I don't think this is madness. One cannot be self-aware and mad at the same time. Can a madman know they're mad?"

And some may think, like her characters, this author is mad. Her writing is definitely not for the faint of heart. Like Poe, like Shirley Jackson even, she celebrates and studies the human condition, whittling it down to the bare bones and blood drops that frighten us but remind us what we are all made of.
 
 
For anyone new to Cheryl's writing, The Kissing Room is free. Once more, my friends, this is no fluffy-lamby tale. This is an excellent opportunity for you to experience the mastery at the craft that belongs to Cheryl.

Book Description

November 26, 2008
Merle tells us her tale of love, longing, and desperation. As she struggles with the guilt over her husband's suicide, Merle's gut-wrenching quest for redemption takes her on a downward spiral into a hell of her own making. Resigned to a life of self-mutilation, abuse, and despair, will she find hope in a mysterious stranger, or will she die, entangled in a sadistic relationship with her husband's best friend.

Editorial Reviews

Review

Cheryl Anne Gardner's passionate first novella, The Kissing Room, is a vivid and compelling tale of love, loss, and renewal. Gardner immerses the reader in hopelessness, destroys all sense of security, then delivers the reader into the comfort of redemption and release. There is an incredible amount of impact ... Her works demand an emotional response, causing the reader to observe the human condition honestly and in its rawest sense. An author that can create this much impact is a rarity, but Gardner has the ability to evoke such intense compassion that readers are left craving for more. --breenibooks.blogspot.com

A vivid and compelling tale of love, loss, and renewal. Ms. Gardner immerses the reader in hopelessness, destroys all sense of security, then delivers the reader into the comfort of redemption and release. There is an incredible amount of impact in this thin wisp of a book. --Breenibooks.blogspot.com

Review

The Kissing Room is a beautifully written story that is both an unexpected love story and a character study. It is really a delight to read and reread this story because of Ms. Gardner's graceful prose and elegant character study.

A beautifully written story that is both an unexpected love story and a character study. the graceful prose and the elegant character study makes The Kissing Room a most enchanting introduction to this author's works.

From the Author

This story began as an experimental short, which, somehow along the way, took on a life of its own. I wanted a raw story, using everyday language and simple, yet poignant dialog. I took liberties with text formatting, strange and unusual fonts and punctuation, and kept to brief cutting chapters, some of which are merely one page. I also chose to blend all of those elements with a smattering of some of my favourite pieces of poetry and thoughts by iconic authors such as Byron and Kafka. Why would an author choose to release an early experimental work ... sometimes you just need to try something different and see what happens.
Will I ever revise it, put out a second edition, or maybe even write it into a novel? It is difficult to answer that question. It all depends on whether or not the story strikes me again in the way that it did the first time.

About the Author

Cheryl Anne Gardner is a writer of dark, often disturbing literary novellas with romantic/erotic undertones. She is an advocate for independent film, music, and books, and prefers to read out of the mainstream Indie published works, foreign translations, and a bit of philosophy. Heavily influenced by the Dark Romantics, her favorite authors are Poe, Lovecraft, and deSade. Sin Eater, to be released in 2010, will be the compilation of all her work to date including an essay on the craft, two short stories, a smattering of poetry, and her never before published novella The Sin Eater.

Cheryl Anne Gardner is a writer of dark, often disturbing, literary Novellas with Romantic/Erotic undertones. She is an avid reader and Indie reviewer with the Podpeople and Breenibooks. She is an advocate for independent film, music, and books, and when at all possible, prefers to read and review out of the mainstream Indie published works, foreign translations, and a bit of philosophy. She lives with her husband and ferrets on the East Coast, USA.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

It looked like any one of a thousand unremarkable nights after closing, the bar lights casting a dim glow from the tiffany styled stained-glass shades,the murky haze, the glistening glassware, and the lingering smell of lager and smoke. And, although nothing at all seemed explicitly out of the ordinary, the thin silence was menacingly oppressive. Portents aside, the pit of my stomach ached as I neared the doorway to the gentlemen's toilets, and nothing could have prepared me. Confronted with the shock of a sudden stressful situation, they always say, `The world seems to go in slow motion, and all your memorable life events pass in front of your eyes.' Well, that is, in fact, what they say, and I can officially say it's absolute rubbish. Who in the hell are THEY anyway? As I stood there staring at the blood-covered walls, nothing came into my mind. The fact that I could no longer breathe was the only thing perceptible to me. There were no words, no tears, and no heartfelt moans. I just stared--a cold, dark, and empty stare. The same stare I had at my husband Jonathan's funeral a week later--the same stare that became a permanent part of me from that moment forward. My entire world had gone to wrack and ruin in Jon's one, brief, painless moment of clarity.
5.0 out of 5 stars Passionate and intense November 23, 2007
Format:Paperback
Cheryl Anne Gardner's passionate first novella, The Kissing Room, is a vivid and compelling tale of love, loss, and renewal. In 56 short pages, Gardner immerses the reader in hopelessness, destroys all sense of security, then delivers the reader into the comfort of redemption and release. There is an incredible amount of impact in this thin wisp of a book.

Gardner's protagonist Merle has been fortunate enough to experience the bliss of true love, to coexist with a soul lover, to feel that depth of emotion in her husband, Jon. When it's all ripped away from her, she falls into the escape of self mutilation. Her dirty little secret is that she allows herself to be payment for the debt her late husband owed. She resigns herself to a life of abuse and despair. She's not expecting it, but her savior is on the horizon in the form of a vagabond that wanders into the pub she has made a home. Is she ready to realize all that she deserves or is Jon's debt eternal?

Set primarily in an Irish pub, what is most intriguing about The Kissing Room is the lack of physical description of the setting, but the clarity with which the reader is able to absorb the surroundings. The setting is created through exploration of the camaraderie and fellowship felt in those that frequent the pub scene. It is interrupted with the darker side effects of alcohol and gambling.

I have the most difficult time reviewing Cheryl Anne Gardner's work because she's just too damned good. Her stories have the ability to move me to tears. Her words are penned so eloquently, that by the time I close the book, any attempt I make of writing something of my own reads like a child's book report. I flounder, procrastinate, type and delete because nothing I can come up with does justice to Gardner's writing. Her works demand an emotional response, causing the reader to observe the human condition honestly and in its rawest sense. An author that can create this much impact is a rarity, but Gardner has the ability to evoke such intense compassion that readers are left craving for more. One taste will create a lifelong fan of Cheryl Anne Gardner's work.


Cheryl Anne Gardner is a Woman In Horror!


Blaze McRob

 

BareBackMagazine: March 2014 by Bare Back, Damon Ferrell Marbut and Peter Jelen (Mar 1, 2014)

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And Death Dreamt Us All by Cheryl Anne Gardner (Jan 6, 2012)

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The Kissing Room by Cheryl Anne Gardner (Nov 26, 2008)

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slut Pure Slush Vol. 1 by Matt Potter, Michael Webb, Cheryl Anne Gardner and Len Kuntz (Jul 10, 2013)

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The DuskHouse by Cheryl Anne Gardner (Nov 22, 2013)

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Logos by Cheryl Anne Gardner (Aug 30, 2010)

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The Splendor of Antiquity by Cheryl Anne Gardner (Nov 24, 2009)

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The Thin Wall by Cheryl Anne Gardner (Mar 31, 2009)

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The Rogues Gallery: The Illustrated Police News by Joshua Skye, B.E. Scully, Blaze McRob and S. Kay Nash (Jan 14, 2014)

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