Tag Archives: Ross E. Lockhart

She Said Destroy and Tales from a Talking Board nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award

Big news this week: Two Word Horde titles, Nadia Bulkin’s collection She Said Destroy and Ross E. Lockhart’s anthology Tales from a Talking Board have both been nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award. Needless to say, we are honored to have received this recognition, and to be included among so many talented authors and remarkable books. Read the full list of nominees here.

In other news, David Peak’s black metal novel Corpsepaint has been reviewed by This Is Horror, who say, “Bleak is a word used to describe so many releases within the horror and dark fiction worlds… With Corpsepaint, David Peak seeks to raise the bar in the reader’s understanding of what bleak really means.” Read the full review at this link.

And an interview with David Peak is featured this week at Hellnotes, where he talks about the origins of Corpsepaint, black metal, misanthropy, and Romanticism (among other things). Read the full interview here.

Eternal Frankenstein Trade Paperback

2018 marks the bicentennial of the publication of Mary Shelley’s groundbreaking novel, Frankenstein. This February, Word Horde releases tribute anthology Eternal Frankenstein in a colorful new trade paperback edition, featuring cover art by Patrick Jones. This anthology, edited by Ross E. Lockhart, features sixteen original tales of terror and wonder by Siobhan Carroll, Nathan Carson, Autumn Christian, Rios de la Luz, Kristi DeMeester, G. D. Falksen, Orrin Grey, Michael Griffin, Scott R. Jones, Anya Martin, Edward Morris, Amber-Rose Reed, Betty Rocksteady, Tiffany Scandal, David Templeton, and Damien Angelica Walters. Preorder your copy today, or ask for Eternal Frankenstein by name where better books are sold. Here’s just some of the critical acclaim Eternal Frankenstein has received so far:

Eternal Frankenstein edited by Ross E Lockhart

“Ross E. Lockhart and Word Horde have a reputation for putting out some wonderful anthologies, among those are The Book of Cthulhu and Giallo Fantastique. Eternal Frankenstein shines alongside them with an intensely dark and beautifully macabre mix of tales. This anthology is dedicated to Mary, and her monster. The writing within is a true testament to the love shared for the classic penned by Shelley, even after so many years have passed her inspiration endures. Each story is its own take on the making of monsters, the defiance of god and the realization that death can be more than an ending. […] For fans of not only the original monster but those also seeking tales what lies beyond death, from the far away corners of Russia to Hollywood to alternate futures and even your ordinary neighborhood, these stories and characters are sewn together to create one hell of an exquisite monster.” —This Is Horror

“This is an anthology of stories that all pay tribute to the Mary Shelley creation. Be it the doctor or his creation, these stories explore many differing interpretations and shades of creation and god complex. Ross E. Lockhart has done a fantastic job of corralling a wonderful selection of intriguing tales, all warming themselves around the same fire. […] I can easily recommend this book, it would make for a most enjoyable winter read, in a drafty castle as one nestles by a roaring fire.” —Ginger Nuts of Horror

Eternal Frankenstein is best read a couple of stories at a time. While the themes and motifs overlap a bit, each author builds a new and fresh creation out of the flesh and blood of monster movies and tales past. Frankenstein transcended the boundaries of life and death and, as this book proves, his legacy—and that of Mary Shelley, his own creator—will live on eternal.” —Muzzleland Press

“Lockhart is an insightful and meticulous editor who often picks stories that seem to be in dialogue with each other. […] Like a good selection, there is a type of horror story for every horror reader. If you like Frankenstein, if you wonder about the capability, and morality, of humans creating human life, you should check out Eternal Frankenstein.” —Fantasy Literature

“Here’s another smash hit from Word Horde … an entire book of new, diverse, wonderfully creepy takes on the classic original tale that launched basically an entire genre.” –Christine Morgan, author of The Raven’s Table

Order your copy of the Eternal Frankenstein trade paperback today!

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2017 Last Minute Xmas Coupon

It’s been a busy year. So busy that it’s quite possible you just realized (like us) that the holiday season is in full swing, and that you’ve got less than two weeks to get your Xmas shopping done. So, we decided to run a last minute year-end coupon. Just use coupon code word2017, and save 30% on all Word Horde books (excluding Scratch-and-Dent titles). Here’s where to order:

https://www.wordhorde.com

This year, we published five books: The Raven’s Table, by Christine Morgan; Beneath, by Kristi DeMeester; An Augmented Fourth, by Tony McMillen, She Said Destroy, by Nadia Bulkin; and Tales from a Talking Board, edited by Ross E. Lockhart, featuring fourteen all-new stories of the strange and supernatural by Matthew M. Bartlett, Nadia Bulkin, Nathan Carson, Kristi DeMeester, Orrin Grey, Scott R Jones, David James Keaton, Anya Martin, J. M. McDermott, S.P. Miskowski, Amber-Rose Reed, Tiffany Scandal, David Templeton, and Wendy N. Wagner.

We also picked up a few awards, with Word Horde selected as Publisher of the Year 2016, Livia Llewellyn’s Furnace receiving Short Story Collection of the Year 2016, and John Langan’s The Fisherman landing Novel of the Year 2016 in the This Is Horror Awards, and John Langan’s The Fisherman capturing the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Novel. Don’t forget to nominate your favorite 2017 Word Horde titles in your favorite genre awards!

Here’s just some of the critical acclaim our 2017 titles have received (so far):

“These works have the sure, solid feel of a talented author deeply engaged with her source material and genre. They’re an excellent read for those who enjoy myths and legends of all kinds.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The Raven’s Table

The Raven’s Table is a must-have for anyone with an interest in stories based on Nordic mythology and lore.” —GreyDogTales on The Raven’s Table

“This novel is going to propel DeMeester onto that list of authors you’ll want to follow.” —John Boden, Ginger Nuts of Horror on Beneath

“…one of the most upsetting and horrifying tomes of dark fiction in recent memory.” —This Is Horror on Beneath

“Tony McMillen’s An Augmented Fourth (2017) is heavy metal rock and roll horror at its wailing-guitar best. Set in 1980, the point of transition from heavy metal to punk, An Augmented Fourth blends inter-dimensional eldritch horror, David-Cronenberg-movie grotesquerie, and psychedelia in a thrash-metal twenty-minute-guitar-solo of a story.” —Fantasy Literature

“This is a wildly entertaining novel that is both a hilarious deconstruction and a tender love letter to rock and roll. McMillen has a knack for dialogue and that helps the action and the story move forward at breackneck speed. […] If you think you’d dig watching a psychedelia-infused version of The Thing while blasting awesome tunes and having a great acid trip, then you need to pick this one up.” —LitReactor on An Augmented Fourth

“Weird fiction has been stuck in the era of new-fangled radio sets and fifteen-cent pulp magazines for ninety years. Finally, Nadia Bulkin has come to drag us kicking and screaming into the horrors of The Endless Now with a collection of hip, ultracontemporary, politically astute, and chilling stories.” —Nick Mamatas, author of I Am Providence on She Said Destroy

“Bulkin delivers a dose of delicious darkness with her debut collection.” —World Fantasy Award-winning editor Silvia Moreno-Garcia on She Said Destroy

“Striking debut collection” —The New York Times on She Said Destroy

Tales from a Talking Board (Word Horde) is a brilliant collection of 14 short stories by some of today’s greatest authors, centered around the theme of the Ouija board, in its various forms and incarnations […] It’s an eerie compilation of tales that belongs in the personal libraries and/or Kindles of everyone who loves the macabre.” —Douglas Cobb, What’s New in Book Reviews

Tales from a Talking Board is a seasonal treat meant for crackling fires in the fireplace and dark spooky evenings. Enjoy.” —Marion Deeds, Fantasy Literature

“A blast to read.” —TheShadesofOrange on Tales from a Talking Board

Remember: Use coupon code word2017, and save 30% on all Word Horde books (excluding Scratch-and-Dent titles). Here’s where to order:

https://www.wordhorde.com

Awards Eligibility

As we come to the end of another year, it is traditional to look back through the last 365 days and take stock of one’s accomplishments. In 2017, Word Horde published five books: The Raven’s Table, by Christine Morgan; Beneath, by Kristi DeMeester; An Augmented Fourth, by Tony McMillen, She Said Destroy, by Nadia Bulkin; and Tales from a Talking Board, edited by Ross E. Lockhart.

If you read and enjoyed any (or all) of these Word Horde books in 2017, we ask that you consider nominating those books in their respective categories in the Hugos, Locus Awards, Nebulas, Bram Stoker Awards, This Is Horror Awards, or similar awards. Likewise, the Novellas, Novelettes, and Short Stories we published this year that are eligible for your awards consideration. Plus, we’ve included a list of Related Works you may have otherwise missed. Thanks for your consideration, it means the world to us!

Best Collection:
The Raven’s Table, by Christine Morgan
She Said Destroy, by Nadia Bulkin

Best Novel:
Beneath, by Kristi DeMeester
An Augmented Fourth, by Tony McMillen

Best First Novel:
Beneath, by Kristi DeMeester

Best Anthology:
Tales from a Talking Board, edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Best Short Story:
“Deep Into the Skin” by Matthew M. Bartlett (5215 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“May You Live In Interesting Times” by Nadia Bulkin (5431 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“When the Evil Days Come Not” by Nathan Carson (5229 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“YesNoGoodbye” by Kristi DeMeester (3013 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“Harupscate or Scry” by Orrin Grey (5300 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“Worse than Demons” by Scott R Jones (4170 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“Spin the Throttle” by David James Keaton (4900 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“Weegee Weegee, Tell Me Do” by Anya Martin (6664 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“The Devil and the Bugle Boys” by J. M. McDermott (3784 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“Pins” by S.P. Miskowski (2618 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“The Empress and the Three of Swords” by Amber-Rose Reed (2200 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“Grief” by Tiffany Scandal (3259 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“Questions and Answers” by David Templeton (5000 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“The Burnt Sugar Stench” by Wendy N. Wagner (4100 words, Tales from a Talking Board)
“The Seven Ravens” by Christine Morgan (5010 words, The Raven’s Table)

Best Novelette
“Brynja’s Beacon” by Christine Morgan (9600 words, The Raven’s Table)

Best Novella
“No Gods, No Masters” by Nadia Bulkin (11900 words, She Said Destroy)

Best Poem
“The Shield-Wall” by Christine Morgan (480 words, The Raven’s Table)
“As We Drown and Die” by Christine Morgan (2070 words, The Raven’s Table)

Best Publisher:
Word Horde

Best Editor, Short Form:
Ross E. Lockhart

Best Editor, Long Form:
Ross E. Lockhart

Best Original Cover Art:
An Augmented Fourth, Alan M. Clark
Tales from a Talking Board, Yves Tourigny

Related Works:
Music from the Novel An Augmented Fourth: “Beyond This Sleepless Dream”/”Frivilous Black” by Frivilous Black/Tony McMillen

Sing “The Soul of You,” a Jack the Ripper-themed contest

Today marks 129 years since Jack the Ripper began his deadly spree. To mark the occasion, we’re giving three lucky winners two free books: 1) a copy of Alan M. Clark’s novel A Brutal Chill in August, which tells the story of Polly Nichols, Jack the Ripper’s first victim, and 2) A copy of the anthology Tales of Jack the Ripper, which includes stories by Laird Barron, Ramsey Campbell, Joe R. Lansdale, E. Catherine Tobler, and Mercedes M. Yardley, among others.

The catch? To win, you have to post a video of you singing “The Soul of You,” the Bonehill Ghost’s song from A Brutal Chill in August, and tag Word Horde in your post. A link to the original music video is below. Contest ends November 9, 2017.

We’re looking forward to hearing you sing. And to giving you cool books.

Coming in 2017 from Word Horde

We’ve got some great books on tap for you in 2017, starting with Christine Morgan’s The Raven’s Table, a collection of Viking-themed stories that Publishers Weekly calls “an excellent read for those who enjoy myths and legends of all kinds.”

The Raven's Table by Christine Morgan

The Raven’s Table is available for pre-order now, and will be shipping later this month, but here’s a preview of what else is coming this year:

Coming April 2017

Beneath, by Kristi DeMeester

When reporter Cora Mayburn is assigned to cover a story about a snake-handling cult in rural Appalachia, she is dismayed, for the world of cruel fundamentalist stricture, repression, glossolalia, and abuse is something she has long since put behind her in favor of a more tolerant urban existence. But she accepts the assignment, dredging up long-buried memories as she seeks the truth.

As Cora begins to uncover the secrets concealed by a veneer of faith and tradition, something ancient and long concealed begins to awaken. What secrets do the townsfolk know? What might the handsome young pastor be hiding? What will happen when occulted horrors writhe to the surface, when pallid and forgotten things rise to reclaim the Earth?

Will Cora—and the earth—survive? The answers—and pure terror—can only be found in one place: Beneath.

Coming June 2017

An Augmented Fourth, by Tony McMillen

Black Sabbath meets John Carpenter’s The Thing in An Augmented Fourth, the new novel from Tony McMillen (Nefarious Twit).

Coming August 2017

She Said Destroy, by Nadia Bulkin

Word Horde presents the debut collection from critically-acclaimed Weird Fiction author Nadia Bulkin. Dreamlike, poignant, and unabashedly socio-political, She Said Destroy includes three stories nominated for the Shirley Jackson Award, four included in Year’s Best anthologies, and one original tale.

Coming October 2017

Tales from a Talking Board, edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Can we speak with the spirits of the dead? Is it possible to know the future? What effect do auspicious omens and cautionary portents have upon our lives?

Tales from a Talking Board examines these questions with stories of divination and fortune telling, through devices like Ouija boards, tarot cards, and stranger things.

Watch for cover reveals and pre-order information coming soon!

Obligatory Awards Eligibility Post

As we come to the end of another year, it is traditional to look back through the last 365 days and take stock of one’s accomplishments. In 2016, Word Horde published five books: Furnace, by Livia Llewellyn; The Lure of Devouring Light, by Michael Griffin; The Fisherman, by John Langan; A Brutal Chill in August, by Alan M. Clark, and Eternal Frankenstein, edited by Ross E. Lockhart.

If you read and enjoyed any (or all) of these Word Horde books in 2016, we ask that you consider nominating those books in their respective categories in the Hugos, Locus Awards, Nebulas, Bram Stoker Awards, or similar awards. Likewise, the Novellas, Novelettes, and Short Stories we published this year that are eligible for your awards consideration. Plus, we’ve included a list of Related Works you may have otherwise missed. Thanks for your consideration, it means the world to us!

Best Collection:
Furnace, by Livia Llewellyn
The Lure of Devouring Light, by Michael Griffin

Best Novel:
The Fisherman, by John Langan
A Brutal Chill in August, by Alan M. Clark

Best Anthology:
Eternal Frankenstein, edited by Ross E. Lockhart

Best Novella:
“The New Soviet Man”, by G. D. Falksen (10738 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“The Black Vein Runs Deep”, by Michael Griffin (38620 words, The Lure of Devouring Light)
“The Human Alchemy”, by Michael Griffin (11043 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“The Un-Bride; or, No Gods and Marxists”, by Anya Martin (11669 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“Mary Shelley’s Body”, by David Templeton (27611 words, Eternal Frankenstein)

Best Novelette:
“Wither on the Vine, or Strickfadden’s Monster”, by Nathan Carson (9342 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“The Jewel in the Eye”, by Michael Griffin (8862 words, The Lure of Devouring Light)

Best Short Story:
“Thermidor”, by Siobhan Carroll (3490 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“Sewn Into Her Fingers”, by Autumn Christian (5540 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“Orchids by the Sea”, by Rios de la Luz (1772 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“The Beautiful Thing We Will Becone”, by Kristi DeMeester (4010 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“Baron von Werewolf Presents: Frankenstein Against the Phantom Planet”, by Orrin Grey (5874 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“Dreaming Awake in the Tree of the World”, by Michael Griffin (4248 words, The Lure of Devouring Light)
“The Accident of Survival”, by Michael Griffin (3609 words, The Lure of Devouring Light)
“The Book of Shattered Mornings”, by Michael Griffin (3948 words, The Lure of Devouring Light)
“Living”, by Scott R Jones (2759 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“In the Court of King Cupressaceae, 1982”, by Livia Llewellyn (6256 words, Furnace)
“Frankenstein Triptych”, by Edward Morris (3180 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“Postpartum”, by Betty Rocksteady (6649 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“Torso Heart Head”, by Amber-Rose Reed (1312 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“They Call Me Monster”, by Tiffany Scandal (3233 words, Eternal Frankenstein)
“Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice”, by Damien Angelica Walters (4900 words, Eternal Frankenstein)

Best Publisher:
Word Horde

Best Editor, Short Form:
Ross E. Lockhart

Best Editor, Long Form:
Ross E. Lockhart

Best Original Cover Art:
A Brutal Chill in August, Alan M. Clark
Eternal Frankenstein, Matthew Revert

Best Related Work:
Word Horde Presents John Langan, interview by Sean M. Thompson
“The Soul of You” Music Video, (“The Soul of You” as sung by the Bonehill Ghost in the novel A Brutal Chill in August by Alan M. Clark. Song produced by Matt Hayward. Lyrics by Alan m. Clark. Music by Michael Green. Vocals by Gerard Smith. Piano by Anna Muhlbach.)
Facebook Live: Eternal Frankenstein Launch Party at Copperfield’s Books
Live-Blogging Jack London’s The People of the Abyss, Alan M. Clark

 

REVIEWERS: If you missed any of these books, drop us a line and we’ll be happy to send you an electronic reading copy for consideration. publicity[at]wordhorde[dot]com.

There’s Still Time to Read the Best Books of 2016 Before the End of the Year

If a Word Horde book was one of your favorite reads of 2016, we hope you’ll help us tell the world by sharing a link, posting a review, telling a friend, or nominating for an award.

And with that, here’s our 2016 lineup. Books make great holiday gifts! Thanks for helping us make 2016 our best year yet!

 

Furnace, by Livia Llewellyn.

furnace“Beautiful and hideous in the same breath, its 13 tales of erotic, surreal, existential horror pack a logic-shattering punch. […] Llewellyn is steeped in the eerie tradition of H.P. Lovecraft and Thomas Ligotti, and a sympathetic sense of dislocation and dread permeates Furnace. […] Bursting with blood and shadow and dust, with horror and wonder.” –Jason Heller, NPR

 

The Lure of Devouring Light, by Michael Griffin

lure“Michael Griffin’s The Lure of Devouring Light is one of those rare first story collections that defines both the writer and the genre, with stories that linger long after the last page is turned. In a year already full of amazing collections from established as well as new writers, we feel this is one collection that will remain one of your favorites for years to come.” —This Is Horror

 

The Fisherman, by John Langan

fisherman“In his superb new novel The Fisherman, John Langan also manages to sustain the focused effect of a short story or a poem over the course of a long horror narrative, and it’s an especially remarkable feat because this is a novel that goes back and forth in time, alternates lengthy stretches of calm with extended passages of vigorous and complex action, and features a very, very large monster.” —The New York Times Book Review

 

A Brutal Chill in August, by Alan M. Clark

abcia“Everything about this novel inspires admiration. It reveals terrible things about the world of London’s poor, yet it is a work of great beauty, ceaselessly entertaining and compellingly readable. The rigging of a ship burning in the fire at the London Docks ‘sparkles like a spider web dripping with dew at sunrise’. When we finally meet Jack the Ripper, he emerges from the darkness like an ordinary man, smelling of sulphur and soap. A Brutal Chill in August is a triumph.” —Ripperologist Magazine

 

Eternal Frankenstein, edited by Ross E. Lockhart

frank“This impressive compendium contains a rich array of short stories inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. […] All of the writing is high quality, all the stories are suspenseful, and though most involve reanimation of the dead, the perspectives all differ, as do the historical time periods. […] The anthology would make an excellent college classroom companion to Frankenstein because of its relatable narratives interwoven with history and biography, as well as some vivid present-day tales (particularly Tiffany Scandal’s “They Call Me Monster” and Damien Angelica Walters’s “Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice”) that address bullying, loneliness, and body image.” —Publishers Weekly, Starred Review

 

A shout-out to the crew at Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma, CA for helping us show off our books.

 

PS: Just noted at Tor.com: John Langan’s The Fisherman and Livia Llewellyn’s Furnace make the list: Reviewers’ Choice: Best Books of 2016:

“Langan’s novel is deliberate, elegant, and beautifully written; the horror and trauma of these two men is explored to the bone, and in the end, knowing them so well only makes the horrors to come that much more terrifying. If you enjoy horror, I’d highly recommend this incredible novel.”

“…the collection that most stayed with me—I read it back in January—was Livia Llewellyn’s Furnace and Other Stories. Vicious, beautiful, and darkly erotic, these stories got under my skin in the best possible way.”

 

Launch Party for Eternal Frankenstein

This Friday night, October 28 at 7 pm, join us at Copperfield’s Books in Petaluma, CA as we launch Eternal Frankenstein. There will be tricks, treats, and author readings by Amber-Rose Reed, Anya Martin, David Templeton, and Ross E. Lockhart.

frankiesinatra

Two hundred years ago, a young woman staying in a chalet in Switzerland, after an evening of ghost stories shared with friends and lovers, had a frightening dream. That dream became the seed that inspired Mary Shelley to write Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, a tale of galvanism, philosophy, and the re-animated dead. Today, Frankenstein has become a modern myth without rival, influencing countless works of fiction, music, and film. We all know Frankenstein. But how much do we really know about Frankenstein?

Word Horde is proud to publish Eternal Frankenstein, an anthology edited by Ross E. Lockhart, paying tribute to Mary Shelley, her Monster, and their entwined legacy.

Featuring sixteen resurrecting tales of terror and wonder by:

Siobhan Carroll
Nathan Carson
Autumn Christian
Rios de la Luz
Kristi DeMeester
G. D. Falksen
Orrin Grey
Michael Griffin
Scott R. Jones
Anya Martin
Edward Morris
Amber-Rose Reed
Betty Rocksteady
Tiffany Scandal
David Templeton
Damien Angelica Walters

Eternal Frankenstein edited by Ross E. Lockhart

RSVP and more details here.

Giallo July

There’s something colorful in the air, things seem super-saturated, and a synthesizer soundtrack just cut in, so we are declaring this month to be Giallo July. To celebrate, we’ve dropped the price of the Giallo Fantastique ebook to just $2.99 (Kindle, Kobo, Nook) for the duration of the month. What’s your favorite shade of horror?

GialloJuly

An anthology of original strange stories at the intersection of crime, terror, and supernatural fiction. Inspired by and drawing from the highly stylized cinematic thrillers of Argento, Bava, and Fulci; American noir and crime fiction; and the grim fantasies of Edgar Allan Poe, Guy de Maupassant, and Jean Ray, Giallo Fantastique seeks to unnerve readers through virtuoso storytelling and startlingly colorful imagery.

Table of Contents:

Introduction – Ross E. Lockhart
Minerva – Michael Kazepis
In the Flat Light – Adam Cesare
Terror in the House of Broken Belles – Nikki Guerlain
The Strange Vice of ZLA-313 – MP Johnson
Sensoria – Anya Martin
The Red Church – Orrin Grey
Balch Creek – Cameron Pierce
Hello, Handsome – Garrett Cook (audio at the link!)
We Can Only Become Monsters – Ennis Drake
The Threshold of Waking Light – E. Catherine Tobler
The Communion of Saints – John Langan
Exit Strategies – Brian Keene

“Lockhart translates giallo fantastique as weird crime, and each story, while very different in style and tone, melds crime and supernatural horror with panache and verve. […] The stories’ conclusions are never definitive, leaving the reader with a delicious sense of lingering unease.” —Publishers Weekly

“A lavish, sumptuous tapestry of luxurious surrealism and strangeness.” –Christine Morgan, The Horror Fiction Review

“…ultimately satisfying, with a few tales that skirt tantalizingly close to brilliance.” –Mer Whinery, Muzzleland Press