Meli & Jason Discuss ZIPPERED FLESH

As most of you probably know, we launched the Dreadful Tales Book of the Month Club, a book club for macabre maniacs hosted by The Mortuary, this past April with a reading of Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad!. This short story anthology was initially on my radar because it included “Paraphilia” by one of my favorite authors, Lisa Mannetti, but it turned out to be a perfect collection for a horror book club, wonderfully morbid with widely diverse content. Zippered Flesh, edited by Weldon Burge and published by Smart Rhino Publications, contains 20 short stories by genre veterans and relative unknowns, but all share one common theme: (as you may have guessed) body enhancements.

Undoubtedly, each reader has their own expectation of what constitutes body enhancement and how that will be presented in Zippered Flesh, but you will find there are more imaginative horrors to body modification than strangely placed tattoos, piercings, or plastic surgery for wannabe Barbies.

One woman tries to become the ultimate sex object in Graham Masterton’s aptly titled “Sex Object.” Don’t be fooled though, this story isn’t concerned with ridiculously large breast implants or liposuction; rather we are introduced to a doctor that “used his surgical genius to create such erotic aberrations…”

There are historical pieces, like the deadly delights on the high seas in Elliot Capon’s “By Hook” and P.I. Barrington’s “Independence Day.” A couple stories present frighteningly realistic psychopaths while others still exist in the supernatural realm of our darkest fantasies.

Zippered Flesh features psychological drama with an unbelievable twist like Charles Colyott’s “Comfort;” straight science fiction, for example in “Unplugged” by Adrienne Jones; and future worlds offering body modification to unbelievable extremes like Jonathan Templar’s darkly humorous “Marvin’s Angry Angel.” This is a truly exceptional collection of stories sure to hit the hot spot of any horror fiction fan. Almost every tale is burned into my memory and with 20 entries that is phenomenal.

I could go on and on about how wonderful this collection is, and I do along with Jason Darrick in our Zippered Flesh podchat.

Be warned, there could be cursing, bad grammar, mispronunciation of author names and just regular English words! Please send all hate mail or complaints to the head of our complaint department, Jason Darrick. You can find him on Twitter or Facebook. Direct all compliments to the head of the compliment department, me (Meli)! You can post praise and romantic flourishes here or here. We can also be reached at dreadfultales AT gmail DOT com.


(If you are interested in joining the book club, we are currently wrapping up Greg Lamberson’s zombie road novella Carnage Road. This is a short one, so a great time to start. We’re discussing the book here.)  

A Slice of Indie

This is a brand new feature here on Dreadful Tales, and one that we’re excited about. You all know that we know our stuff when it comes to the big names and publishers, and we’re damn good with the mid-sized presses. What we’re going to look at here are indie authors – or self-published authors if you prefer – and small press. While there has been a great deal of discussion on the quality of the work produced by independent/self-published authors, rest assured that we (I) have filtered through and will only be bringing you news and reviews of quality work. The only difference will be that you may not have heard of the authors before.

For this piece, we’re going to stick with announcements/on-sales from both December and January. Without further ado, here’s some good reading from folks you might not necessarily know. Click on the author or publisher’s name to be taken to their site.

Thea Isis Gregory – 3rd installment of her Zombie Bedtime Stories, Deadlocked was released just before Christmas. I’ve read her teaser story The Zombie’s Bride, her style is both satirical and brutal.

Guido Henkel – The 11th story in his Jason Dark series, Fu Manchu’s Vampire is scheduled to release sometime in January. Henkel has also compiled the first 3 books of the Jason Dark series into the Jason Dark Supernatural Mystery Collection 1. Books 1-3 are some of Guido’s strongest works, check them out.

Dark Moon Books – Their quarterly magazine Dark Moon Digest has just hit shelves with its 6th installment. They are also open for submissions from January 1 – February 29th.

William CookAngelic Knight Press have released Blood Related for Kindle on December 27th. The book has some fantastic blurbs from well respected authors. Keep an eye out on the press as well for their anthologies, they’re often accepting submissions.

Brian Johnson – Released his novel Hell To Pay some time ago digitally, but as of December 18th, the book is available on paperback.

Marissa Farrar – Has re-released her novel The Dark Road on Kindle, with print dates forthcoming.

Miranda Doerfler – Will be releasing her fourth short story collection Shadows At Dusk in early January. Colum had a chance to review one of her earlier works here.

Red TashThis Brilliant Darkness is now exclusive to Amazon, has a number of wonderful reviews and is now available in paperback.

CW LaSart – Plans to unleash Ad Nauseum – 13 Tales of Extreme Horror will be released in early January in every format imaginable.

G.R. Yeates – Expects to continue his Vetala Cycle series with the third installment Hell’s Teeth on January 20th.

Carole Gill – Released 13 Short Sharp Tales of Horror on December 8th.

Dark Continents Publishing – Have released Scott Nicholson‘s Monster’s Ink as of December 15th. Scott is an avid ambassador for the indie movement, and helps indie authors through the Indie Book Blog.

That’s all I’ve got for this edition. Remember to make Dreadful Tales your homepage, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter. If you’d like to be included in a future post, or find out what’s going on in my world, here’s my blog or follow me on Twitter.

Thunderstorm Releases Ronald Kelly Essentials

Starting this past October, Thunderstorm Books is releasing the Ronald Kelly Essentials – a collection featuring all 8 of Kelly’s books published by Zebra in the 90s.

While Thunderstorm will not be publishing these in any particular order, the collection will be released with their original (pre-Zebra) titles, will boast the same top-notch production values as Thunderstorm’s Black Voltage titles, and will also feature the incredible art of Alex McVey. When complete, the spines of the collection will create a finished piece by McVey, a feature that I’m always really excited to see.

The attention to detail in this collection looks phenomenal, and includes everything from a “The Writing of…” feature, detailing the thoughts and process behind each novel, and a new novella/novelette using characters and settings from each story, in each volume. Any fan of Kelly can get behind this idea. If you haven’t heard of this author (because you live under a rock), you can (and should) start rectifying that right now.

The Essentials will be released on a quarterly basis, starting with Undertaker’s Moon and Fear, are limited to a print run of 125, and priced at $65 each.

As a bonus, direct customers who buy all 8 volumes, will also receive a free hardcover chapbook featuring new stories by Bryan Smith, Scott Nicholson, Nate Southard and James Newman. A fantastic incentive.

For more information, check out Thunderstorm Books and Ronald Kelly’s website.


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.



If you are a regular reader of this site, you know that I absolutely love Bizarro which means I am a regular over at  (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.


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!”