Welcome to Reaper's Harvest Horror.
My recent reemergence into reading has given me a real feeling of identity and personality within the literary world. I've grown to love horror and enjoy many different facets of the genre. Within the past few years, I've met a lot amazing authors and fellow readers who have brought the social aspect of enjoying great books in my life. This blog will be a place to share my reviews and also talk about my book life in general.
If you are an author who wishes me review their title, I am not actively searching for books to review at this time.
In a word, this short story is a masterpiece. I liked this one EVEN MORE than Timothy Meek. What a surprise Paper Flowers was. Read it!!
Find this and more great writing on Gord Rollo's Amazon author page.
Gord Rollo is an amazing writer. I just discovered him in 2015. At 22 pages, this is short, but a real example of fiction done right. I invite you to spend a break time with this one. If you haven't experienced Gord Rollo, this is a good place to start. Solid 5 star effort here.
Find this and some other fine works at his Amazon author page.
Summary - The calm of a suburban evening is shattered by a horrific murder. An average man and his beautiful wife are dead, killed in a horrific orgy of blood. A child is missing, and a disturbed man in a police interrogation room holds the key to everything. A detective is driven to arrive at the truth, but how can he possibly find truth in the mind of a man so deranged?
Warning: This ebook contains extremely disturbing and bloody imagery.
Review - My first short of 2016 and damn what a great little slice of horror. Weighing in at 25 pages, it didn't look like much, but wow... CLEVER!! Shivers is a demented little clown and he has quite a story to tell. If you like your horror mixed with a little grease paint, here is a short to treasure.
Shivers -find it here.
Happy New Year, fellow readers!!
In January, Jonathan Janz will be joining us Horror Aficionados at Goodreads, for a group read of Wolf Land!! He will be available for questions, sharing tidbits with us and just generally being the awesome author that he is. We hope you can join us!
Special thanks go out to Ken McKinley for helping HA put this all together. You can find his blog here:
Into the Macabre.
Feel free to do the same!!
The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.
Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man’s terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen.
Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can’t even comprehend?
One night can—and will—change everything.
The witching season is upon us. The ghosts and monsters are close and the veil is pretty thin this time of year. Werewolves howl and Glenn Rolfe has written a damn near lycanthropic masterpiece.
I generally touch on three things in reviews. Character development, atmosphere, and my overall entertainment with a title.
If Glenn Rolfe never writes another book, he can consider his resume quite filled with this one.
The monster is scary and almost as threatening in human form as he is transformed. Let's face it!! In Blood and Rain, the werewolf is the star. But, Glenn did a fantastic job of creating a great supporting cast for his werewolf yarn. (Joe Fischer, the small town sheriff, is particularly well crafted and very fleshed out. The reader can totally feel his regret about past actions.) The characters as a whole create the feel Glenn was obviously aiming for - small town life, where every one knows your business and life quietly goes unnoticed behind white picket fences. Characters who this reader actually felt pretty bad to witness as werewolf fodder.
The atmosphere written into Blood and Rain is something you can cut with a knife. Maine is a big forest and genuinely creepy in this story and the deserted back roads, back roads just like every small town has, make for a most terrifying setting for the carnage that takes place throughout this story. I can actually hear the crickets and feel the warm breath on my neck from the furry death that creeps in the shadows, death that will rend your flesh and remove your appendages.
As far as entertainment, your could do far worse than THIS werewolf story as Halloween approaches. Just the perfect amount of blood and guts, mixed with fear. Add a dash of silver and the perfect Halloween creature feature for your spooky nights sits ready for your indulgence. Glenn Rolfe has created a monster. Two, if you count the werewolf.
Make sure your doors are locked when you sit down to read Blood and Rain. As solid of a werewolf read as you will find. Happy Halloween from Reaper's Harvest Horror!!!
You can find this excellent title here.
You can follow Glenn or check out some of his other work by following this link to his Amazon author page here.
Reaper's Harvest Horror has been largely inactive for some time now. Life as a whole is pretty busy for me and for those of you who have missed it, I do apologize. I have barely had time to read, let alone review. But then I happened across Blood and Rain by Glenn Rolfe. Admittedly, I'm a big fan of werewolves, but not so much werewolf fiction. (Matter of fact, the last werewolf title I truly enjoyed was Cycle of the Werewolf by the one and only Stephen King.) But Glenn Rolfe is a really cool guy and I thought I would give his new book a shot.
Tomorrow, I will be resurrecting the blog to pay homage to the book that gave me a new appreciation for werewolf fiction - Blood and Rain!!
Stay tuned for the review of that title.
Mark Allan Gunnells has a great perspective on horror... his own. I gave him an opportunity to write a guest blog featuring how he makes horror different. That blog follows.
FAMILIAR SEEN THROUGH UNFAMILIAR EYES
By Mark Allan Gunnells
As a horror fan, you could say I’m a traditionalist.
Not that I don’t appreciate and enjoy stories that are experimental, unique, and shocking. I love it when a book or film surprises me, taking me to places I haven’t been before. However, I find myself always going back to the classic structures—the haunting, the vampire, the zombie, the werewolf, the serial killer. It may sound counterintuitive, but there’s a certain level of comfort in a familiar framework. There can still be surprises and unexpected twists within that framework, but I love the traditional archetypes and storylines.
This carries over to my own writing. I’m always looking for new and original ideas, but truth be told, the allure of the classic tropes and monsters has a strong attraction for me and keeps me coming back. Instead of resisting this pull, I give into it, diving into the familiar waters with abandon and joy.
Don’t get me wrong, this doesn’t mean I simply want to recreate what has already been done before. I always want to redefine and take new and exciting paths into familiar territory. In other words, I want to find untraditional ways to explore the traditional.
The best way for me to explain this will be to give a specific example. In this case, my zombie novella Asylum will serve quite nicely. While I love zombie tales that find imaginative ways of reinventing the monster (and in fact I’m currently writing a zombie novella with Aaron Dries that takes a very different approach to the zombie), I was not interested in reinvention or innovation of the zombie with Asylum. In fact, I wanted to make my undead in the classic Romero image. Even the structure—a motley crew of survivors hold up in a building while the zombie hordes try to get in at them—was familiar. This way, the reader would instantly recognize the type of story they were stepping into.
Of course, I still wanted to surprise the readers and give them a new perspective on the traditional zombie tale. And I decided to do this through character.
Keep in mind Asylum was written before The Walking Dead, and at the time I had never encountered a gay character in any zombie movie or zombie fiction. No matter what the gathering of disparate survivors, gay people didn’t make the cut. It started to seem glaring to me, and I thought, Why not create a zombie tale where the entire cast of characters are gay?
So my group of survivors became a collection of gay men (and one token straight woman) trapped in an afterhours gay club by the undead. So while the monsters were traditional and the setup was familiar, I gave the readers characters they were not used to seeing in this type of story. My hope being that it would make the familiar trope feel suddenly fresh seen through new eyes.
And judging from the reader reaction, I feel like perhaps I succeeded. Readers seemed to appreciate the new voices and perspectives housed within a very traditional zombie structure. I received much feedback to this effect, and it thrilled me to no end. It told me that I could in fact explore familiar tropes and archetypes while still giving the reader something distinctive and fresh.
That’s a goal I’ve tried to achieve with many of my other books. Sequel, for instance, is a serial killer novel that is meant to pay homage to the slasher films I grew up on. Therefore I purposefully tried to fill it with recognizable moments and situations that would be easily identifiable to an audience, but I peopled the story with characters that weren’t so typical. Not just gay characters, but some that would initially seem like the stereotypical one-note characters you might get in a low-grade slasher flick but then hopefully surprise readers with the revelation of unexpected layers of depth. The Quarry is a creature feature, October Roses a possession tale, The Summer of Winters a coming of age mystery, Outcast a book about witches, Whisonant a ghost story, Creatures of the Light a post-apocalyptic tale, Locked Room Misery a locked room mystery—all traditional and classic story types, but with my nontraditional and unexpected characters.
All writers work differently and have their own individual arsenal of tricks, but for me I love to tweak conventional horror tropes not through crazy plot twists but with characters that are not often represented in that particular type of fiction. It sounds like such a simple thing, but it can have a huge impact on the story and on the reader.
I hope you enjoyed Mark's post.
Starting in December of this year (2015), I will be giving away one short story a month. These tales will range from 1,000 to 4,000 words. I am currently testing a way to allow those of you who want to pay for the stories to be able to do so. There will be no delay if you choose to go the freebie route. Day one, you decide if and what you want to pay.
Why am I doing this? I have faith in my readership. I believe that, by offering up these free or Pay-What-You-Want singles, my readers will support my larger ventures. I also a vast majority will not go the free route.
This isn't a Kickstarter or GoFundMe or anything like that where you have to pay or donate before you receive you conten. You will be receiving finished stories that have been through the editing process. Likewise, each story will have its own cover and will be properly formatted. As of right now, I can only offer mobi or PDF files, as I still haven't mastered formatting for epub. You will not have to sign up for a mailing list, either. You decide whether or not you want to receive updates at all by choosing to follow me on Wordpress, Booklikes, and Goodreads.
These stories will not always be horror. I plan on using this venture to experiment in new genres. One idea I am seriously considering is asking you guys what I should write. You give me a genre and/or a trope and I'll write something based on your suggestions. We did this a few months ago with a Flash Friday post and had a lot of fun, so I figured we could expand something like that into a longer piece.
Not only is this post a teaser of what is on the horizon for my fans and followers, but it is also meant to give you a chance to weigh in several months before I begin releasing material. Is there anything you'd like to see me do with this? If you have any suggestions, feel free to comment below.
I'm doing this because you guys have been so good to me. Seeing the success I have by using nothing more than word of mouth proves that you don't have to spam and spend thousands on promotion as long as you're honest and provide quality material. I've gotten where I am thanks to you, and I extend my sincerest appreciation for all that you do.
And finally, a cover reveal for this project's first single, a sequel to my Christmas-themed freebie from last year, The Naughty List. Not only will The Naughty List be available for download again this holiday season, but you can also expect this...
Thank you for all your past, present, and future support.
*hugs and high fives*
Truth be told I have been done with this book for a few weeks, but I wanted to hold on to this posted review until today, Jason Parent's birthday.
So here is said review. If you haven't read this yet, maybe you could find it in your heart to pick this up today to help celebrate Jason's birthday.
Imagine what your life would be like if you saw bad things happening to everyone you touch. Now imagine your closest friend is the detective who found you at a murder scene, your parent's murder scene. Jason Parent's Seeing Evil is an edgy thriller with a good bit of the supernatural sprinkled in for a little extra spice. This is my third thriller in the past month and I felt a little more in my horror element with this one. Parent really poured a good bit of his heart and soul into this title and it shows. I really felt for our young protagonist, Michael, and his situation of being bullied every day. One day, his bully grabs hold of him and, with that touch, Michael sees the future unfold for the bully, and it is horrific. Michael, although scared by his "vision" has the general goodness of heart to try to stop it. Does he? Buy Seeing Evil and see for yourself. A lightning fast book that was not a disappointment for this reader.
There was a good amount of depth put into his two main protagonists. Jason Parent really writes the hell out of Michael and Sam, a hard as nails detective and close confidant of Michael. She has nerves of steel and a heart of gold. She helped Michael at a very young age and has stayed close to him through the years.
The plot to this story is solid. It flows like blood from a wound. There is a killer loose and Michael keeps touching the victims predeath. Can he convince Sam that his visions are real and can they find and stop him before he kills again? Especially when he touches Sam and sees her death at his hand as well.
Pick up Seeing Evil and enjoy this searing hot thriller from the mind of Jason Parent. Enjoy the ride and race to its exciting conclusion.
Here is the link for Seeing Evil.
A man who would do anything for his wife…
A woman who would sacrifice anything to survive the apocalypse…
A teen who would do anything to get back at his tormentors…
All of these and more await you in IMMURE SPIRITS.
Do you dare wake them?
Featuring seven never-before-collected stories, ALL profits from this collection will be donated to the Born This Way Foundation.
|Mark Allan Gunnells' Immure Spirits is a great collection of short stories most of which share a centralized theme. That theme is changing perspective. I will say that this collection, as a whole, shows its readers the width of Mark's writing ability and I think I was pleasantly surprised by the stories within, each horrific in their own way and Mark gave me that Aha moment, as he flips the switch in each of them. If you are a fan of quality writing, or a horror reader, pick this up. There is something in this collection for everyone. My personal favorite was Caged. I'm a dog lover and loved the ending of this one.
But, each of them is a nice experience in changing perspective and the collection is a welcome addition to every reader's bookshelf.
This book actually was more than just a simple read for me. Its reopened my eyes to changed perceptions. That is a lesson that everyone can learn a little about.
I think that it is also important to note that proceeds from purchases of this book will go to charity. So, check it out. Even if you don't ever read the book, you will be helping others with your purchase. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and I think that there are far worse things you could spend a buck on.
I was given a copy of this book by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Mark Allan Gunnells loves to tell stories. He has since he was a kid, penning one-page tales that were Twilight Zone knockoffs. He likes to think he has gotten a little better since then. He has been lucky enough to work with some wonderful publishers such as Apex Publishing, Bad Moon Books, Journalstone, Evil Jester Press, Etopia, Sideshow Press, and Gallows Press. He loves reader feedback, and above all he loves telling stories. He lives in Greer, SC, with his fiance Craig A. Metcalf.
I was lucky enough to informally meet Mark Allan Gunnells recently and he was kind enough to spend some time talking books, writing, and dream gigs with me.
Reaper's Harvest Horror: How long have you been writing?
Mark Allan Gunnells: I wrote my first story at ten.
RHH: Any of your work that you feel shines above the rest?
MAG: That's like asking a parent to pick a favorite, but I'm particularly proud of my short fiction collections.
RHH: I know difficult question.
MAG: Short fiction is my passion so it's very gratifying to have multiple collections out.
RHH: Have you ever written a character who closely resembles you?
MAG: There are bits and pieces of me in several stories, but my coming of age novel THE SUMMER OF WINTERS contains a lot of my actual childhood in it.
RHH: If you could coauthor a book with an author (a dream project), who would you want to write it with?
MAG: Well I've been lucky to work with some wonderful people already--James Newman, Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Aaron Dries. I don't have a list I'm checking off, but I'm always open to working with any authors out there.
RHH: So, no name dropping? Lol. C'mon, Mark, this will be seen by at least 10 people.
MAG: I would never say no to Lansdale or King, but those are just daydreams.
RHH: I knew I could get a name out of you. We have ways of making you talk.
Any advice for someone just starting out as a writer?
MAG: Have fun!! Take it seriously, work at getting better, seek out quality publishers--but above all, have fun.
RHH: Alright, as a writer just starting out, I know I will take that advice to heart. Thanks, Mark.
One last question for you today, Mark.
Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to reveal?
MAG: I have a few things on the burner. First up will be a Halloween collection called HALLOWEEN HOUSE OF HORRORS with Great Old Ones. Also a short story collection called FLOWERS IN A DUMPSTER with Crystal Lake. I've placed two pieces with Sinister Grin, a novella entitled FORT and another collection called COMPANIONS IN RUIN. I have also recently sold a few other books, but I can't discuss those just yet.
RHH: Sounds like you've been pretty busy, so I really wanted to thank you for your time and this interview today.
MAG: Thank you, I enjoyed it.
If you are interested, you can find Mark's books on his Amazon page here.
Shortly, I will be reviewing Immure Spirits. This short story collection was an amazing collection of shorts. It was really more than a book for me. I hope you would consider picking it up and seeing for yourself the magic within its words.
An author friend of mine has just signed his hospice papers. We are not close, but the man has been an inspiration to me. I've watched, through social media, him live in the shadow of this disease.
I'm at a loss here. I don't know what else to do for him or his family, because, like I said, we're not close. I would like your help. If you have five bucks, would you please buy his book. It's good. I can vouch for the quality, as he and I share a publisher. I think it would be cool for him to see his ranking skyrocket one more time.
Here's the link to the announcement of his declining condition.
Here's the link where you can buy his book. It's historical YA.
If you can't help by buying a book, perhaps share this post? Anything you can do I'm sure will be appreciated.
There is only so much time in the day. Reviews to come later in the week on these three great titles.
Thirteen-year-old Rachel and her little brother, Jeff, are looking forward to a weekend of canoeing and spending time with their friends up at the family cottage on Storm Lake. But something terrifying has birthed itself from the trees, and the kids find themselves trapped in an isolated marina fighting for their lives.
Storm Lake is a well written short story about the emergence of a new apex predator that wakes up and devours everything and everyone in its path. We witness this carnage through the eyes of a family vacationing at their summer cabin. There are far too few promising female voices in horror. Val Tobin is one of them to watch. She writes Storm Lake with convincing terror and with characters whom I felt for. I would like to see what else she has in store for her unexpecting readers. I give this atrempt a very solid 4 stars. (My rating would've been closer to 4.5 stars but she broke my one cardinal rule.) If you are a fan of survival
Imagine opening your front door one morning only to have your life horribly ripped apart.
In a moment, you're implicated in the murder of your entire family and hounded by something not of this world.
And the very thing that did this to you is now asking for something more-
My review -
This elusive 5 star rating is well deserved by Joe Hart for the amazing short The Edge of Life. This story is perfect. Well written, atmospheric, and character driven. This truly terrifying premise will send chills down your spine. I highly recommend this short story by Joe Hart. I think he has a real gift and if you are a fan of Tales from the Darkside or the Outer Limits this story will be perfect for your lunch hour.
Pick up this short story here.