The Girl from the Blood Coven by Brian Moreland

thegirlfromthebloodcovenEvery generation has experienced some level of satanic panic. From The Manson Family to the Son of Sam to a rash of bible belters claiming devil worship, we are always reminded that no matter how picture perfect things may look on the outside, there is always a great evil lurking beneath the surface. A sleepy town with a horrible secret seems the perfect backdrop to revive this oft used horror fiction trope. This may not be new ground, but Brian Moreland offers his own interpretation with an unexpected twist in a short story prelude to The Witching House (out from Samhain Horror this August) titled The Girl from the Blood Coven also out from Samhain Horror July 2nd for FREE!

Moreland’s The Girl from the Blood Coven teaser follows East Texas Sheriff Travis Keagan who is drinking at the local watering hole when a girl covered in blood stumbles in. When the Sheriff and his deputy drive her to the crime scene, the local hippy commune known as The Belvins House, it’s immediately apparent that this won’t be a simple case of mass murder (or as simple as that could be anyway). With an entire house painted in red, the smell “a mix of blood, wine and evacuated bowels,” victims with missing heads, and a young survivor singing in unknown tongues, this is no ordinary tale of Satan worship or devil sacrifices. Is this the work of a sick cult? Is the perpetrator of this violence even human? We’ll have to wait for the August release of The Witching House to find out.

We may not have any mysteries solved or questions answered in Moreland’s short story, but he offers just the right amount of blood, guts, and mayhem to give this pre-dinner killer cocktail bite. So sit back and sip on the pungent prelude to Moreland’s satanic summer story. The Girl from the Blood Coven is a vicious little short, it’s FREE! and besides, what says summer like a story about human sacrifice and Satan worship?

Get a FREE! copy of The Girl from the Blood Coven from Samhain Horror tomorrow July 2nd available in a variety of digital formats here. You’ll have to wait until August 6th for the full length novel The Witching House also out from Samhain Horror.

To keep up with all things Brian Moreland visit his website, follow him on Twitter, or like him on Facebook.

-Meli

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Savage Species Part One: Night Terrors by Jonathan Janz Unleashed TODAY!

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This is the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Today, part one of Jonathan Janz’ (and Samhain Horror’s) first serialized novel Savage Species, “Night Terrors,” is unleashed on the public FOR FREE! You read that right, fiends. Part one of this five part series is available today for zero dollars. The other 4 enthrallments (as Dark Mark lovingly calls them) will be available thereafter every two weeks. These five enthrallments feature blood thirsty beasts, bodacious babes, and horrific carnage. A new story being released every two weeks means this is gonna be the best summer ever for horror fiction fans. But, Meli, you ask, who wants to spend their summer with their nose in a book? To which I say, I think you’re at the wrong website, brah.

Dark Mark dubbed this series Dreadfully Approved in his review of the first three parts of the Savage Species series which I would encourage you to read here. Janz was kind enough to answer some of Dark Mark’s questions as well, so be sure to check that out.

You can pick up your copy of “Night Terrors” for FREE FREE FREE today at the Samhain Horror website in various digital formats or Amazon.com.

Be sure to follow Jonathan Janz on Twitter, friend him on Facebook, and keep up with everything Janz on his website.

You can also follow Samhain Horror on Twitter, like them on Facebook, and check out their website for all the horror that’s fit to print.

 -Meli

Click-Clack The Rattlebag by Neil Gaiman

Happy Hallowe’en!

It’s also All Hallows’ Read, a festival that Neil Gaiman thought up 2 years ago, which proposes that on Hallowe’en, or during the week of Hallowe’en, we give each other scary books.  In the spirit of such a fun literary holiday, and also in an effort to suck up to my beloved Gaiman by doing everything he tells me to, I have listened to my very first audio book.

I know, I know.  Some people LOVE audio books; they save time, and they’re portable, and blah blah blah.  But they’ve just never been my thing.  I like to feel and smell and see the words, even as they paint a picture in my mind.  It took me ages to come around to e-books, and even then it was only to allow more room in my suitcase for shoes when I travel.  But my main problem with audio books is the voices.  If the narrator has a particular way of speaking (i.e. annoying), or a strange accent, or even if they just have too much POW! BANG! SLAM! during the exciting parts, it completely distracts me from the story.

All that being said, if anyone could have made me listen to (read?) an audio book, it was Neil Gaiman.  He is my absolute favourite author, whether it be novels, graphic novels, short stories or kids books. So, when Neil announced on his blog that he had teamed up with Audible to release a new, unpublished short story, (for free!), I was willing to give it a shot.  Especially considering it’s also narrated by Neil Gaiman, so I can’t be mad about the voice.  As an added incentive, Audible will donate $1 for every download through Halloween to the education charity DonorsChoose.

 “‘What kind of story would you like me to tell you?’ ‘Well,’ he said, thoughtfully, ‘I don’t think it should be too scary, because then when I go up to bed, I will just be thinking about monsters the whole time. But if it isn’t just a little bit scary, then I won’t be interested. And you make up scary stories, don’t you?'” So begins this sweet, witty, deceptive little tale from master storyteller Neil Gaiman. Lock the doors, turn off the lights, and enjoy. (Audible)

As mentioned, this is a short story, which Neil read at the George Mason Award evening, and it will be published in a forthcoming anthology.  The whole thing is only about 12 minutes long, and starts off with a brief introduction about All Hallows’ Read and the charitable donations.  Around the 2 minute mark, we get into the story, which is being told from the point of view of a guy taking care of his girlfriend’s little brother.  The boy requests a bedtime story, one that’s just the right amount of scary, while they walk through the big, old, and very dark house.  The boy specifically asks for a story about Click-Clack the Rattle Bag, because those are the best kinds of stories, and “Click-Clacks are the best monsters ever”.  They’re even scarier than vampires.

As always, Gaiman does an excellent job of setting up the story, and detailing the surroundings in a way that put a vivid picture in your head.  The use of the first person narration, as well as the language and phrasing used by the little boy, manage to inject you into the conversation.  There are a bare minimum of sound effects here, but they are used wisely to mimic a creaky old house.  The story is obviously a more family-friendly kind of scary, but the description of what Click-Clacks “do to people” is icky enough to give kids pause.

All in all, this is a great little story, and a perfect Hallowe’en treat (to go with the mountain of candy I am currently devouring).  I am intrigued by how different it is to hear a story, as opposed to reading it; it was kinda like listening to a spooky story being told around a campfire.

So, in the words of Neil Gaiman: “Go to www.Audible.com/ScareUs to download it if you’re in the US or the rest of the world except the UK and www.Audible.co.uk/ScareUs to download it if you’re in the UK/Commonwealth. And then download the story. As I may have told you already, it’s free — absolutely, utterly, perfectly free.

Free Fiction Friday

Well, October is over and I’m sure you are all feeling that post Halloween hangover (I know I am!).  What better way to turn that frown upside down than with some amazing free fiction?  We have some really great links for you in this weeks FFF so get to clickin’ and before you know it, you won’t be stressing that you have to wait another 361 days before you can don that Cropsie costume and terrorize those pint sized Trick r’ Treaters!

As many of our faithful readers know, the Dreadful Tales staff loves us some Mike Oliveri. His werewolf noir thriller, Winter Kill, routinely gets mentioned on these pages so imagine our excitement when Indie Pulp offered up a free comic which is a prequel to the events of Winter Kill.  The comic is called Big Bad Wolves and is  available now so get on over to Indie Pulp to check it out.

I love Jeremy Shipp’s whimsical brand of bizarro.  It invokes the innocence of youth while still managing to conjure up some of the frightening images that you’re likely to find this side of a Carlton Mellick III story.  The man has a knock for making you laugh and cringe at a very primal level.  Dog, the piece that Jeremy did for 3:AM Magazine is a wonderful example of his talent.  Take a moment to check it out and then head over to his website and find out what all of the clowns are up to in the attic!

Free Fiction Friday

Well, Halloween weekend is upon us my friends and what better way to get you all spooked up than a few frightening pieces of free fiction.

First up, we have Cullen Bunn’s spooky serial novel, Countless Haints.  This story gets goose bumps out of me every time a new chapter is released and I think it will do the same for you.  Cullen hasn’t released a new chapter in a few weeks so now is your chance to get caught up!

 

One of my favorite short stories comes from none other than Robert McCammon.  Haunted World is an apocalyptic tale of ghosts filtered through some backwoods sensibilities.  This is a fun one, folks!

 

Finally, we have a piece of non-fiction to get you in the Halloween mood.  Kealan Patrick Burke is celebrating Halloween by having some truly amazing guests post articles on his site.  One of my favorite articles came from multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning author, Lisa Morton.  Lisa discusses the real origins of the holiday.

Free Fiction Friday

I guess this may be the strangest entry of Free Fiction Friday to date because neither of the offerings are fiction (in fact, one has nothing to do with reading at all).  I think the pairing of suggestions complement each other in such an obvious and profound way that I couldn’t help but share them with you.  On one hand we have a man (or a God or Satan, depends on who you ask) who seems to be in the “Autumn” of his life as he grapples with his own mortality in a very real and genuine way.  Conversely, we have a 16 year old who is just discovering love and angst and is turning that into some amazing music.  Together these two pieces can be strung together to illustrate the sheer beauty of possibilities that life has to offer.  I don’t want to get too dramatic, so I’ll stop now and present to you this week’s installment of Free Fiction Friday.

First off we have a piece by Brian Keene.  This is a throwback to an old blog that Brian used to keep called Hail Saten.  Hail Saten was an amazing place to read about the inner working of the industry and Brian masterfully scoured his foes and celebrated his comrades.  It was written with a take-no-prisoners attitude that few could ever hope to pull off.  Today, Brian is posting a piece that is very similar in style to the Hail Saten stuff.  It is very personal but even non-Keene fans will appreciate the heart and soul found in every word.  Take a moment to check it out.

Read Brian Keene’s “The Apathy of Autumn” here

Now for something a little more unorthodox – I stumbled upon a musician who goes by the name of Zoo Kid.  Zoo Kid is a 17 year old from London who is making some of the most interesting music I’ve heard in a long time.  He combines some the lo-fi sounds, blips and glitches commonly associated with New Wave to create one of the most unique sounds I’ve heard in a while.  Now, I’m sure you’re asking why I would even bring this up in a literature review site, right? Well, Zoo Kid’s lyrics and music lend themselves very well to reading.  In fact, the last two books that I’ve read have had Zoo Kid as their soundtrack.  I encourage all of you to take a listen and hear for yourself.

It still blows my mind that this EP was released when he was only 16!

Check out zookid.bandcamp.com for more.

Free Fiction Friday

Well, its Friday which means that your friends here at Dreadful Tales have another edition of Free Fiction Friday.  Enjoy!

I know we’ve mentioned it a few times but, WE LOVE JEFF STRAND!!!!!!!!!!  Jeff currently has a free story on his site called, The Drop. The Drop illustrates exactly what Jeff’s “Gleefully Macabre” is all about.

LINK

 

If you are a regular reader of this site, you know that I absolutely love Bizarro which means I am a regular over at BizarroCentral.com.  (Almost) Every Friday they have a free piece of flash fiction from a different author.  The authors range from heavy hitters like Andersen Prunty and Cameron Pierce to extremely talented up-and-comers.  If you’ve ever been curious about this amazing sub-genre, this would serve as a great introduction.

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Scott Nicholson has a free story up on Amazon and Smashwords.  The story is called The Vampire Shortstop.  This is what Scott has to say: “It was an international Writers of the Future award winner in 1999. You don’t have to like baseball or vampires–it’s about a misfit kid looking to belong. I hope you enjoy it!”

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