Thursday, July 24, 2014


Rena Mason is my Woman In Horror today! I'm sure most of you have heard by now that Rena is the winner of the 2013 Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel for her novel The Evolutionist. Rena has not been writing very long, so this is quite an accomplishment. Her mastery of taking horror from a dream world is awesome. How many times have we heard the advice not to write about dreams? Hmmn. Just shows you not to listen to every piece of advice reaching your ears. Her Amazon bio will give you a glimpse into the personal side of Rena:

Rena Mason is the Bram Stoker Award® winning author of The Evolutionist and East End Girls. A longtime fan of murder mysteries, horror, sci-fi, and history, she began writing stories to incorporate her favorite genres along with career and life experiences into suburbia.
Currently, she is a resident of Las Vegas, Nevada with her family but she grew up as a military brat and has lived in eight states ranging from Hawai'i to the Florida Keys. An avid SCUBA diver for over twenty years, she has done some wreck diving, ice diving, and just about everything in between. Travel has always been a big part of her life, and her favorite place to vacation is The South Pacific. To learn more about this author visit her website at:

Go to Rena's website  and pick up some very interesting insight into the lady as well as her views on horror.

A book description and reviews for The Evolutionist.

Book Description

December 8, 2013
Winner of the 2013 Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in a First Novel!

Las Vegas suburbanite, Stacy Troy, dreams that everyone is dead. She dismembers the bodies of loved ones, stuffs them into a shopping cart, then takes them two at a time to the pile where she will burn their remains and say her last goodbyes.

Waking nightly to her own screams, Stacy is convinced she’s on the brink of a mid-life crisis and begins secretly seeing a psychiatrist. Dr. Light and his methods seem strange and unconventional, but his treatments work, and her circumstances improve. Until the nightmares return with a vengeance, taking on a life of their own.

Uncertain what to believe, Stacy carries on living the only life she remembers. Nosebleeds and head-splitting alarms only she can hear, become a regular occurrence. In physical and mental decline, the nocturnal world in her mind refuses to die. The images it reveals hold clues that lead her to a shocking discovery.

Threatening to unravel the last thread of her sanity, Stacy must make a heartrending decision...before her post-apocalyptic nightmares come true.

“Rena Mason is a fine writer. Write her name down, underline it, stick it on the fridge with the other reminders. Then, buy everything she writes. You will not be disappointed, because she is indeed a: Rising Star.”

“The next time somebody tells me there’s nothing new in genre fiction, I’m going to hand them this and ask that they let me get a safe distance away before their presumptions are blown to smithereens.”
—Lisa Morton, Bram Stoker Award Winning author of THE CASTLE OF LOS ANGELES and TRICK OR TREAT.

"In this bold debut, Rena Mason has constructed an upper middle-class nightmare for the entire human race that will long stay with me. Read this book, and be prepared!”
—Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Bram Stoker Award Winning author of BLACK & ORANGE and DUNGEON BRAIN.

"Rena Mason’s The Evolutionist is one of the best debut novels I’ve ever read. A psychological thrill ride that is both literary and visceral. Wildly original, smart as hell, and highly recommended!"
—Peter Giglio, author of Stealing Night and Sunfall Manor

"The Evolutionist runs its icy fingers up your spine, grabs you by the brain, and compels you to read on to the final chilling page."
—Fran Friel, Two-Time Bram Stoker Award Finalist.

"Riveting, intense, smart, and thought-provoking. THE EVOLUTIONIST burns with such ferocity, it feels as if the pages might spontaneously combust!"
—R.J. Cavender, editor of the Bram Stoker Award-nominated +Horror Library+ anthology series.

Editorial Reviews


"Author Rena Mason's debut novel is a highly imaginative, ambitious tale of supernatural themes. Her use of dreams and the subconscious to showcase the gory macabre is nothing shy of brilliant. We virtually feel the melancholy and despair within her character as she suffers a loss of intimacy with her friends, her absent husband, and her increasingly estranged teenage son. Her dreams depict a ghastly slaughter with an apocalyptic back drop as each of her neighbors and loved ones are dismembered and rendered helpless. The descriptions of Stacy's visions and dreams are so vivid we sense a virtual kaleidoscope of living Technicolor spiraling before us. This novel would make an excellent translation unto the big screen if directed properly. The surrealistic feel and unexpected plot twists within the final act are reminiscent of a veteran author, most comfortable on the New York Times best sellers list. Make way for a new Madam of Macabre for Rena Mason has arrived." -Hellnotes

"Mason's individual style is refreshing as a first person point of view. It's a challenging persona to undertake yet she executes it with ease refraining from the mundane all the while expressing a wide range of deep emotion. The interpersonal relationships with her husband, parents, son and friends are created effectively bound to emphasize the way in which the readership holds relationships in their own lives. It creates a sense of suspended belief, enhancing the tale with an endearing sentiment." -Horror News
5.0 out of 5 stars WOW....... July 15, 2013
It's been well over ten days and thirteen books ago that I finished The Evolutionist and I cannot get that story out of my head. Between the taut prose, the clever turning of a phrase, the Stepford-esque clique of friends and the degradation of Stacy's mental health, it all fits together beautifully like a hermetically sealed Rubik's Cube.
This story brought so many memories to mind; the fifties housewives with a twinge of Patrick Bateman from American Psycho as to who could outdo whom, The Twilight Zone, and, of course, Outer Limits. Now by reading this, you are likely thinking this cannot be good. But it is. It is brilliant.
The nuances and control Mason has over the words she has chosen reflect how brilliant a story can be and how it continues to haunt the reader much longer than when you have read, the end. I am really hoping there is a sequel to this, because it cannot end like it did.
One of the best things I have read this year.
 Another great book that Rena is in is actually two books in one. Read below and see what Only The Thunder Knows-East End Girls(JournalStone's Double Down Series Book 1) is about. Rena was up for a Stoker for this book in Long Fiction.

Book Description

June 3, 2013
William (Billy) Burke and William Hare were two real-life, beer-swilling, fist-fighting lowlifes who managed to stumble their way into infamy in Edinburgh, Scotland in the late 1820's. Step by step, they graduated from the unemployment line to petty thievery, to grave robbing, and then on to cold bloody murder - ultimately becoming Britain's first documented serial killers. What history doesn't know about, or consider is the possibility that Burke and Hare may not have been acting on their own; and the blame for those heinous crimes might not entirely be theirs. Two mysterious strangers have arrived in the city - an old sculptor and a stunningly beautiful actress - both of which use their money and influence to manipulate the young Irishmen into searching for an ancient artifact rumored to have the awesome power of Heaven and Hell combined.

Seized by the vicious killings of Jack the Ripper, Victorian London's, East End is on the brink of ruin. Elizabeth Covington, desperate and failing to follow in her beloved father's footsteps, risks practicing medicine in the dangerous and neglected Whitechapel District to improve her studies. News of a second brutal murder spreads. Elizabeth crosses paths with a man she believes is the villain, triggering a personal downward spiral taking her to a depth of evil she never knew existed. Only she knows the truth that drives the madness of a murderer.

Editorial Reviews


     "JournalStone launches its Double Down tĂȘte-bĂȘche series with two novellas based on lurid British crimes. "Only the Thunder Knows" is a wild historical melee of 19th-century graverobbers William Burke and William Hare. A surprise conclusion sets Hare straight and leads into the dark world of "East End Girls," where Eliza, a young aristocrat and medical student, is torn between lofty career goals and her imminent marriage. Readers who enjoy toying with alternate-historical hypotheses and can endure gore should find these lively accounts appealing. (June)" -Publishers Weekly

     "Gord Rollo's use of characters Burke and Hare, two actual, notorious body snatchers and convicted murderers breathes a chilling voice of suspended reality unto the readers, paired with Rena Mason's rendition of a classic unsolved mystery, will inspire countless conversations in literary and conspiracy theorist circles alike for years to come. I commend JournalStone's innovation and ingenuity for a bold, exciting concept in formatting, pitting two of contemporary horror's most talented authors on the rise." - Horror News

     "Only the Thunder Knows is a wonderfully written story by Gord Rollo, possibly his very best writing (which is saying quite a bit.) The story starts with two grave robbers but it moves into unexpected territory as it continues and by the end I was totally enthralled. I was amazed at the skill Rollo brings to the table to be able to pull this off. Very highly recommended!" -John R. Little

     "East End Girls takes the story of Jack the Ripper and turns it upside down and inside out with the precision of a surgeon. It is a marvelous read from beginning to end, with delightfully bloody twists and turns that are as dark and dangerous as an East End alley. With this book, Rena Mason proves she is a rising new voice in horror." -JG Faherty, author of The Burning Time

"It takes a lot of guts to take a stab at historical facts and add new twists to them. The narratives are absolutely flawless---Rollo and Mason know their craft well. The writing styles are easily readable, their pacing is excellent and the re-imagined factual story lines are a windfall. The twists of both stories are very unexpected and done in a compelling way. Horror fans won't be disappointed with these well-crafted novellas. A satisfying read indeed." --- Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

From the Author

     The authors would like to thank Alan M. Clark for the cover art. Alan M. Clark grew up in Tennessee in a house full of bones and old medical books. He has created illustrations for hundreds of books, including works of fiction of various genre, non-fiction, textbooks, young adult fiction, and childrens books. Awards for his illustration work include the World Fantasy Award and four Chesley Awards. Alan M. Clark and his wife, Melody, live in Oregon. ovellas, one from an established writer and another from a relatively new voice in horror. If this effort is any indication of what to expect in the future, then the future looks so bright I gotta wear shades.

Both stories take known events and extrapolate them into entertaining tales of horror. First up is Only the Thunder Knows from Gord Rollo who was born in St. Andrews, Scotland, and now lives in Ontario, Canada. Fittingly he choose the story of William (Billy) Burke and his friend William Hare who took to bodysnatching in Edinburgh, Scotland as a way to make easy money. They would dig up the recently dead and sell them to Dr. Robert Knox for use in his dissection school. That much is history, but where Gord Rollo takes us from there is wonderful.

I enjoyed much of Rollo's prose as he placed me right into the midst of the action, "No, it was the fog he truly despised, the thick Edinburgh pea-soupers that left the cobbles invisible beneath his feet as he trudged along the empty streets." And later, "That was how he liked to think of it - not that the fog came and hid the houses but that it took them away to some distant land where if the sleepers awoke they would see wonders aplenty through their shuttered windows."

Aside from being a well written story about the Ressurectionist period in Great Britain, it takes a number of dark twists and turns into the eternal fight between good and evil. No spoilers from me, but I think most readers will will enjoy the twists in this story.

The second novella is East End Girls from newcomer Rena Mason. Rena takes another famous villian from Great Britain's past and weaves a believable tale of Jack the Ripper where Catherine Elizabeth Covington is studying to be a doctor and performing abortions on the street for East End prostitutes. When one of those abortions goes bad Eliza manages to do a fairly convincing Ripper copy-cat. Although, not at all what I expected, I found East End Girls captivating and well realized on the page and I absolutely loved the final twist.

Only the Thunder Knows/East End Girls is available now in a Signed, Limited Edition flip book. This is where you read one story and then flip the book over to read the other, and in e-book format as well. JournalStone Books plans another in the Double Down series in September from Lisa Morton and Eric J. Guignard. I'm already looking forward to that one.

 I think it is pretty obvious that Rena Mason is a Woman In Horror!

Blaze McRob


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