Wednesday, April 30, 2014

LUCY TAYLOR - WOMAN IN HORROR!




https://www.facebook.com/lucy.taylor.142?fref=ts


http://darkfantasy.us/




Lucy Taylor is my Woman In Horror today! Lucy is certainly one of the foremost horror authors around, having won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel from the Horror Writers Association. The Safety Of Unknown Cities is the novel and it is superb. I probably went a bit over-board with the description and reviews I have below for this great novel, but let's face facts: not everyone wins the Bram Stoker, and, if truth be known, I find it very refreshing that an author lays it all out on the table, exposing every taboo supposedly destined to send one to a life of eternal Hell, but, instead, gives us an enormous glimpse into a world of  horror and sexuality that perchance exits more than most of us realize.

Lucy has the talent and the gumption to let the naysayers be drowned out by the power of her written word. She is a master at the craft and a consummate story teller who will not be denied her place, her status, or the respect from her fans who appreciate what a truly awesome author is capable of writing.

When I read, I like to be taken to a place where I ultimately adapt to the conditions. My preference is for an environment where the Dark rules, for the Dark is the truth. Lucy writes about the truth, and though it might be unsettling to some, it is still the truth. Read her tales and immerse yourselves in a world unlike any you have ever seen. Yet, maybe . . . maybe you are not so removed from it.


Book Description

June 18, 2011
[284 Pages in Printed Book]
Winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel from the Horror Writers Association!
Exclusive Introduction for The Overlook Connection Press edition by Lucy Taylor.
"Lucy Taylor's The Safety of Unknown Cities is one of the most impressive debut novels centered around relationship-driven fiction catalyzed by horrific events mostly realistic, sometimes supernatural. The Safety of Unknown Cities is very much a supernatural horror novel. Indeed its sexual, its graphically written, but its also an affecting and powerful novel about heartbreak and the untimely destruction of childhood. If reading the book strikes familiar chords, the resonances might be with either Clive Barker for an unflinching approach to highly charged subject matter, or with Poppy Z. Brite for sheer candor...an adventurous novel of a quality that absolutely demands an audience." -- Edward Bryant, Locus Magazine

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Winner of the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel from the Horror Writers Association! Exclusive Introduction for The Overlook Connection Press edition by Lucy Taylor Original Cover illustration by renowned artist Neal McPheeters

From the Author

Despite the often graphic sex in Cities, the book is also about the desperate human need for connection. Val, of course tries to achieve it by "changing partners with the same frequency that she changed countries." In a less forthright way, Breen suffers from a similar pattern. As a young boy burglarizing houses, he realized that he could, in a sense, become intimate with those he stole from by going through their personal items, their letters, diaries, whatever. Then later, he made the jump to a darker form of intimacy-the perusal of the contents of their bodies. -From the OCP Introduction to Safety of Unknown Cities by Lucy Taylor

About the Author

Lucy Taylor is the award-winning author of several novels and short story collections including: Spree, Close To The Bone, The Flesh Artist, Dancing With Demons and Unnatural Acts

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

The Safety of Unknown Cities Prologue At dinner that night she had stolen a spoon. She had sinned. Had taken something that belonged to the Keepers. The Keepers were always watching, peeking, sneaking looks at her and at the others who were confined here. Behind their sleek, syrupy smiles lay lies and cruelty. That was the least of it. Inside their eyes, she'd realized recently, was concealed a second, vestigial pair of orbs, tiny and dark like beebee shot, like the round, rotating eyes at the end of an insect's antennae stalks. These were the eyes that really saw, that watched her fretting in her sleep, pursued by abominable dreams, that saw her squat on the commode to defecate, that fixed avid attention when her hand went underneath the dressing gown and probed and pinched herself to painful orgasm. How had they missed her taking of the spoon, these omnipotent white-clad Keepers? Unless they wanted her to have it. Unless they knew something ! she did not. What she had really wanted was a knife, but that would have been impossible. They weren't even allowed knives at the dinner table, but cut their meat-their meatloaf tasteless as ground cardboard, their hamburger patties topped with the little square slices of cheap American cheese-with the sides of their forks. Like school children or barbarians. (Which amounted to the same thing, didn't it, she thought, grateful that her years of incarceration had not robbed her entirely of wit.) Seconds before she'd swiped it, the spoon had been inside her mouth, depositing a gelid lump of vanilla pudding on her tongue. Then it had slipped between her fingers and fallen to the floor and she, quite unaware of the miracle being offered her, had bent to retrieve it. And almost set it back upon the plate, until she realized what might be hers and what might be achieved if only she could keep these six inches of curved metal for herself. She was wearing a long-sleeved cardig! an that night and, as always, her watch, although it had stopped ticking over a year ago. No one seemed to care about time here anyway-the stark white walls were gleamingly devoid of calendars and clocks, of anything that might have pulled her from this purgatorial limbo into the stream of linear time with its schedules, its reassuring forward motion. No, that was something else denied them here-the sensation of time's normal flow, of the passing years and seasons of their lives. There was just one season here-and that was Hell. She'd slid the spoon up her sleeve, securing the end beneath the wristband of her watch, and pulling the loose-fitting sweater sleeve down to cover her wrist. And finished eating the pudding with her fork, as though such a thing were normal. As if anything were normal here. Thank you Jesus. The Keepers with their second sets of eyes hadn't even noticed that one minute she was spooning up the pudding, the next minute jabbing at it with! a fork. How was this possible? Unless they wanted her to have the spoon? Had, in fact, arranged for her to get it? Unless they were secretly in league with her? She didn't care. It was the Keepers, she felt sure, who sent the dreams that had been plaguing her for months now. Dreams of such unimaginable vileness, such stomach-turning carnality in a place beyond all salvation, a place she couldn't name or identify, that if she weren't already mad from all the years spent here, she would be soon enough. The visions of perversion and debauchery haunted her sleep and intruded on her waking. She could close her eyes, but this didn't stop the images. She knew that must be because the pictures were inside her eyes, projected there by the sadistic Keepers. Except she had them now. She had the spoon. Oh, thank you Jesus. Thank you. The spoon. That night, behind the locked door of her room, she crouched beside the bed and tried to say her prayers-impossible! Demon i! mages capered inside her eyes, a landscape of perversion unfurled in its unholy splendor. She reached to touch herself and touched, instead, (thank God) the object of her deliverance. Thank you, Jesus. The Keepers must be watching, enjoying this, delighting in her torment. She didn't care. She'd show them. She raised the spoon in both hands and snicked the cold tip underneath the lower lid of one eye. And thought about another lifetime, one of privilege and comfort, when often as not, breakfast was begun with coring out the sections of a grapefruit. Coring out the meaty pulp from its neat triangle, popping the dripping fruit into her mouth to suck the tangy juice. (Oh God, oh God, oh God, ohGodohgodohgodohgod...) Blood filled her head. Adrenalin lanced through her like electric shock. Something warm and oyster-like slimed wetly against her cheek. Now the other one, the other... Again, the sickening struggle with her stubborn flesh. Then it was ! done. She collapsed in pooling blood and holy darkness. "Thank you, Jesus! Thank you!" She screamed it aloud, at the top of her lungs, not caring now who heard. "Thank you, Jesus!" Until the visions started up again in the black of her gutted eye sockets. Then all she did was scream.
5.0 out of 5 stars An "X- rated" can of whup ass for your brain. May 14, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Every so often, you have to step into the abyss and hope that the bungee cord of your belief system -- whether "spirituality," "morality" or "compassion" -- will keep you from breaking your neck.

Reading Lucy Taylor is a step into the abyss, where most of us don't let our minds wander. Most of us don't encounter the highly sexed protagonists she chooses to portray. Most of us, when we think of these people at all, keep them filed somewhere in the back of our mind as something less than human. We call them sluts. We call them promiscuous. We call them poor misguided creatures who are going to burn everlastingly. We call them any number of hateful, hurtful, condescending and childish things - but we never stop and think of them as people. We never consider their humanity.

I think that's one of the things a great story should do, force us to examine aspects of society we might not otherwise consider or at least take people we think of as somehow inferior and make us reconsider them. Of course, no one wants to be preached at. We just want to be entertained, but if you consider a handful of movie comedies, you'll see my point. "Blankman," "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," "Being There," "Rubin and Ed," and "Buba Ho-Tep" - just off the top of my head - take characters who are initially unattractive and, by the time the movie ends, forces you to care about them. I don't know about you, but "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," in spite of the zaniness, always brings a lump to my throat by the time Arthur and Bedivere arrive at castle "Arrrrrrr" in the last reel. The journey has forced us to grow and even thought they use coconuts for horses, we are forced to accept these sometimes silly, arrogant and stupid people as our fellow human beings.

Lucy Taylor's genius lies in her unflinching, uncompromising honesty, her vision which is willing to take us to the furthest edges of insanity and her strong humanistic streak which brings us back. She takes that area of the human psyche everyone else has buried in clichés, brushes it off and then forces us to take another look. This is the hallmark of a GREAT writer - even if the field she chooses to work in is "erotic horror."

Frankly, I have a problem with the label "Erotic Horror." When I hear the term "erotica" I think of it as an euphemism for "porno," material intended to give your libido a buzz - the literary equivalent of a long, slow toke from a bong. Well, "The Safety of Unknown Cities" features some extremely graphic bodily functions and a panoramic view of some of the most demented sexual activity this side of Hieronymus Bosch, but I don't find it arousing. Not that Lucy Taylor couldn't write arousing porno if she wanted, but that's not what this material is about. Sexual desire, once all of the taboos and cultural baggage has been stripped away, is simply another part of the human condition and as such, merits HER hard work and OUR serious, literary consideration.

As for the writing itself, the lady is staggeringly good. There is no deadwood in this novel and not one single passage that reeks of `just moving the plot along.' Her prose and command of the English language are beyond praise.

As to the present work: "The Safety of Unknown Cities" won the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel in 1995 from the Horror Writers Association and the International Horror Guild Award for Best First Novel, also in 1995. It is very much a product of it's time reflecting the influence of Clive Barker (The Hellbound Heart,) Thomas Harris (Silence of the Lambs) and one could ague, "Aliens." However, this is not derivative hackwork, no pale re-telling of stuff you've already read. It's the difference between "The Spanish Tragedy" and "Hamlet:" there are certain similarities but a WORLD of difference.

Briefly, the plot of "Safety of Unknown cities" revolves around Val, an insatiable hedonist driven by internal demons, the madness of her birth mother and an abusive childhood, as she drifts from city to city, love affair to love affair trying to find fulfillment through erotic pleasure. She hears of a magic place called "The City," where pleasure is constant, unending and everlasting and since she's tried everything else, she embarks on a quest to find it. Unknown to her, she is being stalked by obsessive, psychopathic killer and former lover, Arthur Breen. Breen is someone you do not want to meet anywhere but in fiction - the ultimate, obsessive, can't-let-go-of-the-past, twisted, "demon lover." He is made more chilling because you probably know people like this. Beneath the surface urbane sophistication, he is an overgrown, self-centered child self-hypnotized by his own sensualist whims. You easily believe this guy kills for the pleasure of killing. It must have been what Ted Bundy was like behind the charm, what John Wayne Gacy was like behind the clown act.

Serial killers, a powerful demon, magical gateways to parallel worlds: it's all here, but the behavior of the characters against this setting is what's important. Although extreme and "out there," the novel is grounded in the reality of believable characters who are true to their given natures.
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As you probably have surmised, I wasn't immediately sympathetic towards Lucy's self-indulgent protagonist, Val. My initial reaction to "Safety of Unknown Cities" was "Ho hum, it's `Looking for Mr. Goodbar' as written by Clive Barker." But as I started slogging through the depravity, I came to realize that Val doesn't really hurt anybody, outside of a few broken hearts (- and any REAL man has had, or bloody well SHOULD HAVE HAD his heart broken a couple of times. It builds character.)

As the story progresses, Val's own inner-demons, her drives and psychological motivations are revealed, most importantly, to herself. She eventually learns to put aside her quest for the perfect orgasm and place the good of other people above her own pleasures. As a result, we start to care about her - especially when we compare her relatively innocent peccadilloes to the perpetual, demonic freak show in which she eventually finds herself.

And so, on one level, "The Safety of Unknown Cities" is a cautionary tale of what happens when you give too much of your attention to satisfying your libido. It is also a plea for perspective, proportion and tolerance. (One of the most sympathetic characters in the book turns out to be a hermaphrodite. In most circles hermaphrodite is the worst label you can attach to someone -- worse than "Geek" was back in the `50s when it meant 'one who bites the heads off of live chickens,' but again Lucy Taylor reminds us that it is THE BEHAVIOR of the human being, his/her CHARACTER which is important and not that person's appearance, gender, race or sexual preference. The person, the human being, is much more important than the tag or "fetish word" we attach to them.

Don't you love the term "fetish word?" Communicates A LOT in a brief space, doesn't it?

"Fetish Word" is a concept I stole from Lucy's newest collection "Unspeakable," a book that, in my opinion, takes the horror short story about as close to the realm of "pure art" as it's ever going to get. "Unspeakable" is a book that will grab you by the skivvies, hang you up on a coat hook and then gleefully smack you around until you see things a little differently.

Indeed, "The Safety of Unknown Cities," will also force you to examine yourself and hopefully, grow a little. So, as someone who doesn't even like erotica who has been thrust uncomfortably into the role of gushing fan, I've got to give it 5 stars.



LUCY TAY­LOR is the author of seven nov­els, includ­ing Danc­ing with Demons, Spree, Nailed, Sav­ing Souls, Eter­nal Hearts, and the Stoker-​award win­ning The Safety of Unknown Cities. Her sto­ries have appeared in over a hun­dred mag­a­zines and antholo­gies, includ­ing The Mam­moth Book of His­tor­i­cal Erot­ica, The Best of Ceme­tery Dance, Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury Gothic, The Year’s Best Fan­tasy and Hor­ror, and the Century’s Best Hor­ror Fiction.
Most recently her work has appeared in The Mam­moth Book of Hor­ror presents The Best of Lucy Tay­lor, Danse Macabre, Exotic Gothic 5, and the Best Hor­ror of the Year #5.
Tay­lor lives in Pismo Beach, CA, where she vol­un­teers with cat res­cue orga­ni­za­tion, attends Bud­dhist retreats, and plots dar­ing escapes to exotic and fan­tas­ti­cal places.
CLOSE TO THE BONE is avail­able at inde­pen­dent book­stores, Ama­zon, B&N.com, and dis­trib­uted by Ingram and Baker & Tay­lor. You can also pur­chase direct from Over­look Con­nec­tion Press.
Her novel THE SAFETY OF UNKNOWN CITIES won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 1996.
At var­i­ous times in her life, Tay­lor has worked as a dance instruc­tor, a bar­tender and wait­ress, an Eng­lish teacher for a lan­guage school in Tokyo, an artist’s model, sec­re­tary, ghost­writer, news­pa­per reporter, edi­tor, and free­lance travel writer.
Taylor’s love of travel has led to many adven­tures (not to men­tion ideas for plots)! She’s been on safari in Zim­babwe, jogged with a troop of baboons in Zaire, rid­den a camel in Coober Pedy, Aus­tralia, hang­glided in Queen­stown, New Zealand, got­ten mar­ried on a beach in Fiji, scuba dived in St. Lucia, lost her pass­port, plane ticket and wal­let in San Miguel de Allende, Mex­ico, pony trekked in Ice­land, and con­fessed her sins to a priest in Paris.


Lucy Taylor was born in Richmond, VA and never really got the South of her system, as evidenced by the flavor of southern Gothic in many of her works. She's published seven novels, including NAILED, SAVING SOULS, and LEFT TO DIE (under the pseudonym Taylor Kincaid) and over one hundred short stories.
Her novel THE SAFETY OF UNKNOWN CITIES won the Bram Stoker Award for Best First Novel in 1996.
Most recently, her work has appeared in the short story collection UNSPEAKABLE AND OTHER STORIES, the anthology series EXOTIC GOTHIC 1,2,and 3, in 21st CENTURY GOTHIC, THE CENTURY'S BEST HORROR FICTION, and THE BEST OF BEST NEW EROTICA.
She lives in Pismo Beach, CA, where she volunteers with a cat rescue organization and shares her home with an assortment of delightful felines.


It is very obvious that a lady who has the courage, the gumption, and the skills to write the tales she does should be at the top of her game. Lucy Taylor is a Woman In Horror! 


Blaze McRob







UNSPEAKABLE and Other Stories by Taylor, Lucy (Mar 5, 2011)

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Eternal Hearts by Lucy Taylor and John Bolton (Sep 13, 1999)

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Left To Die by Taylor Kincaid (Aug 5, 2003)

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Nailed by Lucy Taylor (Jul 1, 2001)

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Saving Souls by Lucy Taylor (Jul 1, 2002)

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Axes Of Evil: The Heavy Metal Anthology by Lucy Taylor, Sean Leonard, Ray Van Horn Jr. and Grant Wamack (Mar 26, 2014)

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

DO NOT RECYCLE - BY THOMAS BROWN - IS THIS WEEK'S TERROR TUESDAY!




http://penofthedamned.com/2014/04/29/do-not-recycle/


Do Not Recycle, by Thomas Brown, is this week's Terror Tuesday! This is a tale of horror which tugs away at the gray matter, making your brain work at finding out what lurks within the dark recesses of one man's mind. Then, complexity sets in and an entirely new set of parameters is established. This is spooky horror of psychological delight.

Read more of Thomas' stories, as well as those of the other members of The Pen Of The Damned at our website. There is much to be read, and it is all at the price of free.   

Do Not Recycle

From where she sprawls in the overgrown grass the dog snarls wetly, while underneath her bulk, a litter suckles on her teats. She watches Johan as he passes the chicken-wire outside the garden, and he sees madness in her black eyes. The pups feed noisily. Clouds slide beneath the sun, turning her young into a shapeless mass of eager fur.
The house behind is grey and still. Half-light shines in the broken window panes and on the children’s toys in the garden; gaudy plastic tractors and oven sets still speckled with rainfall. There is a potting shed that does not look as though it has seen use in twenty years, flower beds filled with a mixture of daffodils and weeds, and at the front door a thin woman in a dressing gown. She sucks on a cigarette while the door frame supports her weight, and it is not difficult to associate the sounds of the feeding pups with her own lips as they pucker and twitch, milking the cancer stick for every ounce.
He is almost past the house when she catches his gaze. For a few seconds, eyes not unlike those of the bitch on the front lawn, burn into his and he sees the rest of the street reflected in their dejected depths. He does not belong here; a well-fed, clean-shaven man in his work suit, treading the pavement in shoes black not with dirt but strong polish. There is a reason he does not come here often, a reason that he has not visited his sister’s family for over a year. It shines in the woman’s yellow eyes, the yellow fingers by her mouth, the faded yellow lines beside the road; symbols hiding just beneath the surface of the street, in this place where the illusion is shattered and one does not have to strain to see life as it is.
His feet lead him down three more roads no different than the first before he comes to a signpost marked Pasture Street. The house could be any of the terraced red-bricks ahead, and he is thankful its number is committed to his head. He fancies that the street smells cleaner here, the houses newer, the sky brighter at the edges. It is not saying much.
As he walks up the garden path towards the crumbling white-plaster front of the house, his stomach squirms. It is several months since he has spoken to his sister, and they did not part on good terms. That was when she stopped taking his phone calls. He wrote; sometimes defensively, sometimes in anger, even apologetically towards the end, but his correspondence went unanswered.
It did not seem out of place to ask her to move away from here. Theirs was an idyllic childhood, on the farm in rural Sussex. He still remembers days spent running through the paddocks, their fishing lessons with Father, the seasonal festivals heralding summer and winter with wicker offerings; straw men and fruity women paying homage to the spirits of hearth and home.
This hard street is no place for a new family. They deserve better, especially little Chloe.
His finger finds the bell. A shrill sound fills the house, echoed somewhere above by the distant screech of a gull. The seconds tighten his ribs around his heart. He presses the bell again, then knocks against the door.
The windows either side of the house are obscured by curtains of the same floral design they grew up with. Dust clings to the glass. The rooms behind are black, unlit, and it is impossible to see or hear anything within. Hope mingles with concern inside his chest, and he wonders if they have moved house after all, if that is why Liz has not been writing back. Certainly, the battered Vauxhall that he had hated so much is nowhere in sight.
He knocks again, then crouches to the letterbox. His suit trousers ride up the backs of his legs. Lifting the metal sheet, he peers inside. Two wide eyes stare back at him through the slat.
“Chloe?”
His breath catches in his throat as the young girl vanishes from view. His niece would be six now, he guesses, or maybe seven. They haven’t moved, then. He realises he is shaking; nipped at by the teeth of the street, the stress, poisoned by anxiety and more than anything else a deep, underlying worry for his sister and her family. They are his only family now. Everybody needs blood-ties.
Straightening himself up, he stretches, flexes his arms and throws his weight against the door. When it does not immediately give he goes again, hurling himself into the wood. Each crash fills the street but none of the neighbours notice, or if they do, they do not seem to care. On the fifth try the lock splinters and he falls into the house.
Dust swirls on the unsettled air. It fills his eyes, his nose, the back of his mouth. He tastes ash, and the sweet tang of decay. Slowly his eyes adjust to the still dimness of the hallway. A chest-of-drawers emerges, an empty coat-stand, one small pair of child’s shoes, all covered in a grey coating of hoar-dust.
“Chloe?”
For a second he sees her in the kitchen at the end of the hallway; a small, thin shape standing beside the dinner table. Then he steps towards her and she flees from sight behind the door.
“Liz? Chloe?”
The girl is fast. She leads him on a chase throughout the house. Twice he almost catches her, in the sitting room and the kitchen, but each time she slips away. Clouds of dust fill the air, mingling with the rotten aroma of the refuse in the kitchen. Rubbish spills out over the lino. Cupboards leak. The fruit bowl swims darkly by the sink. In the sitting room, dust rises from armchairs like ghosts from beige two-piece tombs. He notices the curtains again; lasting impressions from a different life. A small wicker doll, a remnant from his sister’s childhood, watches him from the mantelpiece. The house shifts with silent whorls in his wake.
“Liz,” he shouts as he returns to the hallway. Ankles like bone flash past the bannisters and he realises Chloe has gone upstairs.
Another smell catches in his throat as he ascends through the house. It is deeper, more sickly, cutting through the squalor from the kitchen, reminding him with numbing dread of his father’s study. He found the man four weeks ago, sitting quite cold at his desk next to the photograph of Mother. When Liz had not attended the funeral or so much as picked up his calls, he had been compelled to come back here, where he had sworn he would never come again.
The second-floor seems brighter, where light falls on the landing. Beside it, shadows pool like moisture in the recesses of the walls. He follows the scuff marks around the landing to the room at the far end. The door is already open. Inside, the curtains are drawn, and after the glimpse of sunlight, it takes his eyes a moment to readjust.
It was Liz and Mark’s bedroom, once. Gradually the furnishings emerge from the gloom: the wardrobe, the dressing table, a television mounted on one wall, the king-sized bed, and mounted atop it, propped up against the headrest, two figures, fully-dressed.
Unease sinks into horror as he glimpses limp arms, tattered clothes, heads lolling where they rest on their shoulders. Almost immediately he turns away.
The bedroom feels colder than the rest of the house. The wall in front of him is cream, speckled with damp near the skirting boards, and something else, steaming on the carpet. He realises it is vomit, and that it has come from his mouth. He wonders if it is the damp that he could smell coming upstairs. He knows it is not.
Forcing himself to turn, he looks up; not at the figures on the bed, but their murky reflection in the dressing table mirror. When he grows familiar with their vague silhouettes, he reaches for a wet-wipe from the dressing table. It has long since stopped being wet, but it proves effective all the same when he lifts it to the mirror.
Dust smears from the glass. Wipe by wipe, the couple on the bed become more visible. Realising that a lump has settled in his throat, he swallows it down. His hands are trembling, but he forces himself to address the sight on the bed.
Something is wrong. Even through his tears, through the dirt-spotted glass, he can see that. The trembles have spread to his arms and legs but he manages to turn from the mirror to the bed.
Mark’s legs are flat. Shoes filled with sticks and stones and clumps of soil sit slightly separate from his hollow trousers. The shirt above might have been white, once. Now it is mustard yellow with stains; rot and the brown juice of the fruits used to stuff it. He can see pips, and things that look like pips but wriggle with small lives of their own.
Liz’s tights are not much better; misshapen cloth-limbs stuffed with more clothes. Liquids seep from her torso and the dark gap between her legs. Something that could pass as a pillowcase fills out her form while arms made of bundled branches drape by her side.
Their faces are white polythene bags, filled with what he cannot begin to guess. Children’s paints and marker pen account for the rest; grinning expressions imbued in black ink that they might last forever. Liz’s mouth is drawn in a wide, vacant smile. Stepping closer, Johan notices more branches, moss, shredded paper, teabags and strips of plastic. Where the figures’ hands meet, black twig fingers intertwine and he realises the white-faced macabre effigies are those of motherhood and fatherhood; thin, skinless things filled with silent love of the undying sort that can only be manufactured from crude oil and recyclable waste.
Wicker-Liz shudders, pitching forward, and Johan falls back from the bed with a shout. Mark moves next, head rolling from one shoulder to regard him with wide, empty eyes. Johan flounders across the floor as a third figure climbs spider-like from behind the debris-dolls.
Chloe does not look to have eaten properly for many weeks. Breaths wheeze through small, near-translucent teeth. Her dress might have been pretty, once, but those days are long behind it. She rests on her haunches between mother and father, and even in the dimness he can see the thin bones in her legs. Long arms grope for Scrap-Mark, her skeletal face finding his squishy fruit-chest. She begins to sing.
He doesn’t know where his sister is, or why Chloe is alone. When he tries to approach her, she clings to her makeshift mother and shrieks until he backs away. Sinking cross-legged to the carpet, he stares up at his niece and smiling Wicker-Liz. Caught in her scribbled eyes, time slips away from him, until Liz as he remembers her stares back; beaming as she runs just ahead of him through warm crops of corn, laughing when she turns back to him, goading him faster through the fields, beneath blue cloudless skies. At some point he joins in Chloe’s song, and for a brief moment, in a dark room, in a house filled with dust and decay of all kinds, a broken family finds ragged peace.
~ Thomas Brown

© Copyright 2014 Thomas Brown. All Rights Reserved





CHANTAL BOUDREAU - WOMAN IN HORROR!

 

 

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http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4446228.Chantal_Boudreau

 

 

 

"I like to include a fair amount of emotion in my stories – some would say that’s a female writer thing. I prefer my characters to be multifaceted, flawed and deep. The problem is finding the balance between adding those things to a story in measured doses and pushing them to a point where you’re resorting to melodrama. You want your character’s plight to reach your readers, to touch them, to move them, but you don’t want the readers overburdened by it. It’s a precarious line for a writer to walk, and I’m not so sure I always get it right." Chantal Boudreau

Chantal Boudreau is my Woman In Horror today! Chantal is another one of my Women In Horror who I share a tale with in the cancer anthology Let's Scare Cancer To Death. Her great story is One Lonely Night. All the sales for this great book go to cancer research.

Chantal is not only a great author, she is a super illustrator as well. I am intrigued by the art on her website http://chantellyb.wordpress.com/  . Also, if you go to Amazon and peruse her books, you will be able to click on the covers and as you read samples of her stories, you can also see her superb art work. Elevation(Fervor), and The Blood Is Strong: The Snowy Barrens Trilogy 1 are great examples. Her art is a grand mixture of Renaissance style. Very cool. In The Blood Is Strong, her art goes to the Native American style.

I enjoyed the sample reading so much I bought The Blood Is Strong: The Snowy Barrens Trilogy #1 and Shear Terror. I know I'll be back for more. 

Her books include an anthology called Tales For The Toilet. Okay, I'm intrigued and this is on my future list.

Chantal was one of my Women In Horror last year and she has added more to her portfolio since then. I am very impressed. No grass is growing under this superb author's feet. Go to her website, Amazon page, and Facebook page-all the links are above, and you will be as intrigued as I am.

Chantal Boudreau is a Woman In Horror!

Blaze McRob  

 

About

Author of the Fervor and Masters & Renegades series, and the Snowy Barrens Trilogy - "Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds."-Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Biography
I am an accountant by day (CMA-MBA) and an author/illustrator on evenings and weekends. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English (minor in French) from Dalhousie University, and a Commerce degree in Accounting as well as my CMA-MBA from St. Mary's University.

My Books so far:
Masters & Renegades Series
Magic University (published)... See More
Description
I have 5 novels published via May December Publications and multiple short stories in a variety of anthologies. While I intend on continuing my Fervor and Masters & Renegades series with MDP, I am looking for an agent and publisher for other completed novels and short stories. I have self published The Blood Is Strong, the first in my Snowy Barrens Trilogy.

Favorite Books:
Anything by Robert Sawyer, Anne McCaffery, Theodore Sturgeon and Ren Garcia. I loved the Hunger Games Trilogy.


“Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.” -St. Francis De Sales - the patron saint of writers


Favorite pastimes:
Writing, reading, drawing, trips to the beach, fishing, gaming, swimming

Amazon bio:

Chantal Boudreau is an accountant by day and an author/illustrator during evenings and weekends, who lives by the ocean in beautiful Nova Scotia, Canada with her husband and two children. In addition to being a CMA-MBA, she has a BA with a major in English from Dalhousie University. A member of the Horror Writers Association, she writes and illustrates predominantly horror, dark fantasy and fantasy and has had several of her short stories published in anthologies, as well as her novelette "Shear Terror", released in digital format. Fervor, her debut novel, a dystopian science fantasy tale, was released in March of 2011 by May December Publications (MDP) followed by sequels Elevation, Transcendence, and Providence. Other releases include her novel, Magic University, the first in her fantasy series, Masters & Renegades, and its sequels, Casualties of War and Prisoners of Fate, as well as her Snowy Barrens Trilogy. She has 2 more novels and a collection of short stories with an anticipated 2014 release as well as more shorts in anthologies on their way.
Chantal is a member of the Horror Writers' Association, and has written more than 80 short stories and 22 novels. Be prepared to see much more from her in future!


 

Mistresses of the Macabre by Michelle, Lori and (T.M.), Mahella (Feb 19, 2013)

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FEAR: A Modern Anthology Of Horror And Terror - Volume 1 by Cat, Crooked and James, Peter (Sep 22, 2012)

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O Little Town of Deathlehem: An Anthology of Holiday Horrors for Charity by Grant, Catherine, Miron, Christopher, McCarty, Michael and McLaughlin, Mark (Dec 19, 2013)

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Let's Scare Cancer to Death by Tufo, Mark, Stallcup, Heath, Thorn, J. and Carrico, Gregory (Mar 8, 2014)

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The Grotesquerie by Royce, Eden (Feb 2, 2014)

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Ten Silver Bullets by Naughton-Shires, David, Robb, Suzanne, Castagna, Douglas Vance and Besser, Rebecca (Feb 5, 2012)

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A Chimerical World: Tales of the Seelie Court by Sandridge, Scott M. and Adirasa, Enggar (Feb 6, 2014)

(3)

The Blood Flows True: The Snowy Barrens Trilogy #3 (Volume 3) by Chantal Boudreau (Mar 26, 2014)

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Masked Mosaic : Canadian Super Stories by Lalumière, Claude, Claude Lalumière, Camille Alexa and Mark Shainblum (Feb 23, 2013)

(1)

Zombie Writing! by Byers, Richard Lee, Brown, Eric S., Clodi, Mark and Hornsby, Jason S. (Jan 16, 2012)

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Tales For The Toilet by Hawkins, Rich, Robinson, John, Castagna, Douglas Vance and Tower, Nathaniel (Oct 5, 2012)

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Midnight Movie Creature Feature by Dries, Aaron, Dimbleby, Eric, Mok, DK and Sylvestry, Jim (Oct 25, 2011)

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Midnight Movie Creature Feature 2 by Conover, Stuart, Boudreau, Chantal, McFarland, Michael and M, Suzi (Mar 16, 2013)

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Shifters by Helmbrecht, Robert, Wellington, David, Wilburn, Jay and Gudmunson, Aaron (Jun 12, 2013)

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Dark Moon Digest - Issue #13: The Horror Fiction Quarterly by Michelle, Lori and Swanson, Stan (Nov 12, 2013)

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First Time Dead 1 by Boudreau, Chantal, Minyard, David and Brown, TW (Feb 13, 2011)

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Barnyard Horror by Kirk, James Ward (Aug 7, 2013)

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ZOMBIE: Lockdown by M, Suzi, Smith, Lisa Ann, MacLeod, Selene and Shimek, Michael (Feb 14, 2013)

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Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys by Day, Holly, Robb, Suzanne, Newsome, Bennie and Snow, Rebecca (Jul 1, 2011)

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Nightmare Stalkers & Dream Walkers by Horrified Press (Oct 13, 2013)

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Prisoners of Fate (Master's & Renegades) by Boudreau, Chantal, Brown, TW and Ogden, Laird (Oct 13, 2013)

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ZERO by Shand, Patrick, Robb, Suzanne, Newsome, Bennie and Garrison, A.A. (Aug 31, 2011)

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Transcendence (Fervor) by Boudreau, Chantal, Brown, TW and Odgen, Laird (Nov 1, 2012)

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Vampires Aren't Pretty by McAbee, Gail, Clague, RB, Coe, Jeremiah and Boudreau, Chantal (Nov 1, 2011)

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Wake the Witch by Boudreau, Chantal, Schoonover, Kristi, Landrum, David and LaSart, CW (Jan 1, 2012)

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Hell Hath No Fury... by Carruthers, Elsa, Tonia Brown, Chantal Boudreau and DA Chaney (May 5, 2011)

(9)

Undead Tales by Rosamilia, Armand, McKinney, Joe, Nicholson, Scott and Brown, Eric S. (Nov 24, 2013)

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Zombie Buffet: An Undead Anthology by Hudson, Kelly, Robb, Suzanne, Hatchell, Dane and Giangregorio, Anthony (Sep 9, 2011)

(1)

Casualties of War (Masters & Renegades) by Boudreau, Chantal, Brown, TW and Conn, Shawn (Jun 19, 2012)

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Elevation (Fervor) by Boudreau, Chantal and Brown, TW (Dec 1, 2011)

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Fervor by Boudreau, Chantal, Brown, TW and Boudreau, Chantal (Mar 8, 2012)

(19)

Magic University (Masters & Renegades) by Boudreau, Chantal and Brown, TW (Sep 14, 2011)

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Providence (Fervor) by Boudreau, Chantal, Brown, TW and Odgen, Laird (Jun 11, 2013)

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The Blood Is Strong: The Snowy Barrens Trilogy #1 by Boudreau, Chantal, Chantal Boudreau and Dianne Gardner (Sep 6, 2012)

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The Blood Runs Deep:The Snowy Barrens Trilogy #2 by Chantal Boudreau (Feb 7, 2013)

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Wake Up Dead by Suzanne Robb, Chantal Boudreau, Douglas Vance Castagna and Adam Millard (Dec 10, 2011)

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Darlings Of Decay by Shannon Mayer, Tamara Rose Blodgett, Kristen Middleton and Chrissy Peebles (Mar 13, 2014)

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Wake Up Dead - An Undead Anthology by Suzanne Robb, Chantal Boudreau, Guy James and Mia Darien (Dec 15, 2011)

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Shear Terror by Chantal Boudreau (Dec 28, 2010)

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