Saturday, October 31, 2015
Friday, October 30, 2015
REVIEW: GRAY SHADOWS UNDER A HARVEST MOON: SIX TRICK-OR-TREAT THRILLERS by Roma Gray The title tells you: six delectably scary tales to enlighten and scintillator your Halloween enjoyment. But don't expect the ordinary "oh I'm so scared" stories: Ms. Gray' s offerings are genre-bending and genre-expanding. Not "just" short stories to read and set aside, either. Each of the six represents a chapter in an upcoming novel or novel series by Roma Gray, who also cleverly includes interviews with the fictional characters! My advice: Be Afraid. Be Very Afraid.
This time, David was pretty sure he was being followed.
He drew himself back into the shadows of the alley doorway, watching and listening. From all directions came the nocturnal sounds of the Mardi Gras celebration: shrill, hysterical laughter; three different versions of “When the Saints Come Marching In” blended with modern rock; the sound of dogs barking.
What David did not hear was the sound of footsteps. But he knew someone was there.
“Come on out, you bastard,” he growled.
He didn’t appreciate the interruption. He came to Mardi Gras to hunt; it was a vampire’s right. All the stupid drunks, all the pretty young things looking for a good time, all the policemen overwhelmed with the crowds—it was just too easy. Unfortunately, the vampire wannabes had figured out that Mardi Gras was vampire central. They’d watch, ID a vamp, and then do the usual begging to get turned. Most vampires helped them out, but not David. He didn’t like the competition.
Probably a damn girl, too.
Too many stupid movies about vampires over the past few years. Most of the wannabes turned out to be girls these days. And, to David’s annoyance, his physical appearance fit their sick little fantasies. Girls followed him around for days, carrying on and on about his dreamy aquamarine eyes and movie star good looks. So revolting!
Of course, if she turned out to be cute...
He shook off the thought. No! Girl or not, cute or not, I’ve had enough!
David hated stalkers, hated that his evening had been interrupted. All year he had waited for Mardi Gras. All year!
A sudden movement, an odd quiver. With a sharp gasp, David jerked back from the doorway. He looked down at his hands and realized they were the source; they were shaking. Embarrassed, he glanced around and shoved his hands in his jacket pockets. He inhaled deeply, the cold night air filling his lungs, and then exhaled slowly through his mouth. After repeating this exercise for half a minute, the shaking began to subside. Angry with himself, he stomped out of the shadows and began to walk purposefully down the center of the alley. Time to lure the stalker out! He’d rip his or her throat out for bothering him tonight!
As he walked, he wondered about his odd reaction. Nervous tension, he decided. Vampires are a twitchy lot. When you’re turned, your brain stays human—well, mostly—but your body becomes high strung like a cat. And, he had good reason to be nervous. This Mardi Gras seemed odd. In years past, he had seen dozens of vampires, but not this year. This year he hadn’t seen a single one. Yes, that explained everything. Nonetheless, his cheeks warmed, and he hoped that the vampire-wannabe didn’t witness his humiliating case of nerves.
David caught an odd scent, something metallic. He stopped, feeling strangely alarmed. The air crackled with electricity. He heard a whoosh behind him and whirled around. Nothing; he saw nothing. His entire body began to shake violently. But why? It didn’t make any sense. Since the moment he entered the alley, he had been jittery. No, not jittery or even nervous. Afraid! He was afraid!
You are the vampire! his mind bellowed. You are what they fear! YOU FEAR NOTHING!
And then he knew. As if awakening from a dream, he finally recognized the reality of his situation. His mind, like a normal human’s mind, rationalized everything it experienced; but nothis body. His body had cat-like instincts and it sensed the truth. The thing stalking him wasn’t human, it was something else. Something that didn't fear vampires, something terrible! The realization hit him hard. His heart rate spiked, and his chest ached from the powerful thumping.What could it be? What didn’t fear vampires? Is it some kind of supernatural predator? Cold sweat formed on his forehead and a choking fear rose into his throat. He was overreacting, and he knew it. Yet his fear continued to race out of control.
Don’t just stand there, you idiot! Run!!
David stumbled forward, trying to run, trying to escape, only his legs refused to work. They felt numb and heavy like wet sacks of cement. He tripped over a discarded beer bottle and crashed to the ground.
“Get up, damn it,” he sobbed. “RUN!”
There was a shadow, it was fast. Pain, searing pain, on his neck! He could feel his own blood being drained away. He screamed, kicked, and lashed out, but he never made contact with anything solid. He grew weaker, and his mind slipped away into blackness.
He found himself floating through a dark tunnel toward a bright light. Abruptly, the forward movement stopped, and he began falling backwards: spinning, disoriented, a sense of vertigo, and then nothing.
“Wake up,” came a gruff voice.
David opened his eyes. A large bear of a man stood over him. He was hardly an angel, or God, or even that other guy. He looked pretty plain and ordinary, only big with long, bushy hair. Almost a joke, really. The fear was gone, the spell broken. He leapt to his feet, ready to fight. And then he saw something. Right in front of him, lying on the ground, a dead body—his dead body! He stumbled backwards.
“You’re dead, man,” said the guy. “Not undead-dead, pal. You’re all the way dead this time.”
The guy laughed. “Well, I killed you, so I guess I may as well introduce myself. Name’s Gustaf.”
David stared back at Gustaf, blinked twice, but said nothing.
Gustaf suppressed another laugh and continued. “You know, I was a vampire once. About five years back now. Then one day someone cut my head off, and I came back as a ghost.” He pointed to David’s midsection and added with a slow deliberateness, “Just...like...you.”
David looked down to where Gustaf was pointing. He could see through himself! He felt odd, but not scared. Instead, he felt something else. Something was beginning to build inside of him...
“I changed somehow, beyond dying...hard to explain.” Gustaf rambled on. “I still hungered for blood, but not human blood. Not anymore. Now I craved the blood of vampires. No, more than that. I craved their very life force! It’s a high beyond your imagination! What a rush!” He rubbed his hands together and looked like he was on the verge of a serious giggle. “It was a great gig, man.”
“The fear,” mumbled David in a daze. “The mind-numbing fear! Even as a human, I never...ever...”
“Oooh, did I scare the big bad vampire?” Gustaf’s eyes grew large as he leaned toward David, stopping inches from his nose. David took a step back and Gustaf laughed hysterically.
“It’s all part of the package. Like a python hypnotizing a bird. Helped me catch my prey. I loved watching you guys trip and stumble all over the place. Dinner and entertainment!”
His voice sounded distant and David had trouble concentrating on his words. Waves of dizziness passed through him.
It’s getting worse, so much worse!
Gustaf sighed. “The party’s over now. You were the last one, the last vampire. Didn’t worry me much at first. All vampires sire other vampires, right? Guess I was wrong about that one. I watched you for months, and you wouldn’t do it. Why? Why didn’t you sire another vampire? I can’t tell you how frustrated you made me, man. The hunger! I couldn’t stand the hunger! In the end, my blood lust won out and, well, here we are.”
“And here we are,” repeated David. His words came out flat, almost mechanical.
Gustaf shook his head and let out an exaggerated growl. “No more vampires. Damn! Nothing left to eat! I guess we’re both screwed now.”
“No,” said David with a grave finality. “I’m not screwed yet. Maybe in another few years, but not today. Right now the only person who's screwed is you.”
Before he even realized what he was doing, he attacked Gustaf. He sank his fangs deep into the large man’s throat. It was over in a matter of seconds. Gustaf evaporated into nothing.
David turned and continued to walk down the alley. So the vampire race was extinct now, huh? No wonder he didn’t see any vampires at Mardi Gras! And David had become, what? A ghost who fed on other ghosts? He wondered if the ghosts would go the way of the dinosaurs and the vampires. And why had this happened? Had a witch cursed them? Could evolution be the culprit? He didn’t know.
The only thing David knew was that he was hungry.
Roma Gray is a huge fan of Halloween and has been writing horror, sci-fi, thrillers, and mysteries since she was eight years old. She currently lives in Oregon in a haunted house with a ghost cat she named Koko (no, seriously), and three furry “living” friends, Nicky, Roanoke, and Cricket. 10% of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the Animal Care Clinic’s Cat Adoption Program.
Halloweek Reading to SEIZE THE NIGHT!
Enjoying a great treat is not just for kids on Halloween. Indulge yourself this week and read SEIZE THE NIGHT: NEW TALES OF VAMPIRIC TERROR, the new “stellar anthology of tales” (Publishers WeeklyStarred Review), sure to quench your thirst for a Horrific Halloween read! Conjuring reactions such as “Going back to the heydays of Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot” and “For anyone who likes tales of the creepy sort like Stephen King’s short stories inEverything’s Eventual or Nightmares & Dreamscapes,” how can one resist?
SEIZE THE NIGHT
Edited by Christopher Golden
October 6, 2015
Once upon a time, vampires were figures of terror…and they can be again. Legends of these dark creatures sprang from every corner of the world and infinite variations throughout history—with even more of them waiting in the farthest corners of the imagination. SEIZE THE NIGHT takes hold of a popular culture environment where the vampire has largely lost its ability to inspire fear, and now brings out the dread, showcasing twenty all-new tales of horrifying evil from an extraordinary lineup of twenty contributors:
John Ajvide Lindqvist
Gary A. Braunbeck
Dan Chaon and Lynda Barry
Lucy A. Snyder
The dusk is upon you, and your fright-filled journey to the shadows of the hereafter is about to begin with SEIZE THE NIGHT—old-school vampire fiction at its finest.
“The notion of the romantic vampire is transcended to chilling and even heartbreaking effect in this stellar anthology of tales…These stories move smoothly from the subtle to the horrifying…”
—Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Twenty stories of varying lengths offer quick bites of otherworldly entertainment. Edited by Christopher Golden, this collection takes vampire fiction back to its bloody, frightful roots. Readers looking for old-school horror laden with darkness will appreciate these diverse stories from some of the best writers in the genre…all are entertaining…With new spins on classic traditions and inventive, unexpected twists, it’s the perfect spooky read for Halloween — or any night that calls for a touch of terror.”
—RT Book Reviews
“The twenty-one authors collected in this volume have…succeeded in returning vampires and their ilk back into our nightmares where they belong…each tale delivered the goods. And by goods, I mean terror…These are not your Count Dracula vampire stories, but thankfully they’re not of the friendly variety either. What they all have in common is that each and every story is a cut above the ordinary. My highest recommendation.”
“Seize the Night: New Tales of Vampiric Terror is a highly successful anthology, one that puts vampires back into the shadowy, hidden corners where they belong and makes them creepy, chilling, at times downright frightening…we’re getting back to the old-school roots of vampiric lore, going back to the heydays of Bram Stoker’sDracula and Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot…this is a vital return to form for these stoic, and historic, universal baddies…Seize the Night has the singular aim of making vampires terrifying again, and it heartily succeeds in its mission. Golden and the contributors deserve a fair amount of applause for their work here, and this anthology is a wonderful reminder of what made vampires such a popular horror staple, and why they continue to endure across the ages.”
—Michael Patrick Hicks
“Anthologies have always been one of my favorite things. A chance to read old favorite authors and a chance to also find some new favorites as well, all based on some short stories. Which is, of course, why I chose to read Seize the Night – New Tales of Vampiric Terror…Seize The Night –New Tales of Vampiric Terror is slated to be released on October 6, 2015. Be sure to get your copy before they disappear! Anyone who likes tales of the creepy sort likeStephen King’s short stories inEverything’s Eventual or Nightmares & Dreamscapes should check out Seize the Night.”
—The Goth Girl Reads
“…a diverse and high quality collection of new stories from some great names within the horror and paranormal sub-genres…Quite simply, if you are a fan of vampires, do not miss this one. 4 Throbbing Carotid Arteries for Seize The Night.”
—Horror After Dark
“Sink your teeth into this collection with caution, it'll bite back.”
“I would really recommend this wonderful book to anyone who wants to read a vampire anthology that harks back to the heyday of quality horror fiction.”
—Book Nutter’s Reviews
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Seize The Night…well-written with plenty of frights to keep any horror fan awake at night.”
—Coffee Addicted Writer
“I really prefer my vampires evil, so this anthology was just what I was looking for. It opens with a novelette by Scott Smith, and that one story is worth the price of the book. The victims are suitably disgusting and deserve their fate, which is rapid and brutal. Michael Koryta suggests a rather different cause for vampirism. Charlaine Harris has a very nice story about an energy vampire rather than a blood drinking one. Kelley Armstrong suggests there is a genetic marker for vampirism. Tim Lebbon takes us back to a particularly brutal period of history for his story. John Langan presents a time traveling vampire that can duplicate bodies to ensure it has a steady source of prey…well above average.”
—Don A’mmassa On Horror
“…Brings out the dead and dread, showcasing 20 all-new tales of horrifying evil from a coffin full of different writers who dabble in the undead from various angles, from horrific to heart-wrenching, romantic to rough. We especially feasted on Rio Youers’ “Separator”, set in a typhoon-devastated Philippines where a land developer gets a brutal taste of local legend. Ouch!”
—Examiner.com – A Tricky Treat for Fright Night
“I honestly had nightmares reading this anthology, which is a first for me, and found the writing samples to be strong and powerful tales that twisted an already frightening lore. I definitely recommended reading Seize The Night as a Halloween novel. This book will appeal to readers who enjoy horror, frightening tales, anthologies and short stories, gruesome and violent vampires. I would wholeheartedly recommend reading Seize The Night if you are a horror fan or a supporter of real, gritty vampire novels without the romanticism and moral questions.”
—Silk & Serif
“Now, from some of the biggest names in horror and dark fiction, comes this collection of short stories that make vampires frightening once again.”
—Bookgasm – Halloween-Ready New Release Awaiting You to Treat Yourself
About the Editor
Christopher Golden is the #1 New York Times bestselling and Bram Stoker Award-winning author of such novels as Snowblind,Tin Men, Of Saints and Shadows, and The Boys Are Back in Town. His novel with Mike Mignola, Baltimore; or, the Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire, was the launching pad for the Eisner Award-nominated comic book series Baltimore. As an editor, he has compiled the short story anthologies The New Dead, The Monster’s Corner, and Dark Duets, among others, and has also written and co-written numerous comic books, video games, and screenplays. Golden was born and raised in Massachusetts, where he still lives with his family. His original novels have been published in more than fourteen languages in countries around the world. Please visit him at christophergolden.com.
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