‘O Little Town of Deathlehem’ is Horror for the Holiday Season

 

By Stacey Longo

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If you’re wondering what to get the horror fan in your family this holiday season, look no further than Grinning Skull Press’s O Little Town of Deathlehem, a robust collection of holiday horror stories. Edited by Michael J. Evans and Harrison Graves, this anthology, is sure to please the most twisted of souls.

Starting off strong, the anthology opens with “One of His Own” by Catherine Grant, a Krampus tale that offers an almost tender-hearted look at the Christmas demon. Almost. It’s followed by “Christmas Wine” by Matt Cowan, a fun little story about having to make a terrible choice around the holidays. As you turn the page to the next story, and the next, you’ll be happy to realize that each tale is a delightful holiday present of its own.

Other personal favorites in this collection include “All I Want For Christmas” by Raymond Gates, about a writer struggling to finish his novel who unwittingly accepts help without considering the source. John Boden’s “The Antiphon” was a fabulous, lighthearted look at what can happen if you make a spelling mistake when addressing a letter to the big guy at the North Pole. And “Special Delivery” by Simon Bradley reveals a different, more human, and not always jolly side to dear old Saint Nick that you won’t soon forget.

Overall, O Little Town of Deathlehem is an enjoyable read of high-quality stories that is sure to please the hardest people to buy for on your Christmas list this year.

‘From Beyond the Grave’ is a Solid Collection of Ghost Stories

by Stacey Longo

from-beyond-the-graveFrom Beyond the Grave is the debut anthology from Grinning Skull Press, a solid collection of ghost stories from a variety of authors. In the introduction, editor Michael J. Evans states “When I first set out to compile this anthology, I challenged the authors to scare the crap out of me, but they did more than that. Yes, they sent chills down my spine, but they also moved me in ways I wasn’t expecting.” Evans is correct—this collection of 19 ghostly tales is eclectic and intriguing. Personally, I couldn’t put it down.

Standout stories for me included “Cold Calling” by LisaMarie Lamb, the story of an artist who travels door-to-door selling paintings and fails to obey an all- important “no solicitors” sign. The description of the interior of the house and the odd little twist in the tale were vivid and satisfying.

“Spiritus Ex Machina” by Nelson Pyles is the story of a haunted car, and reminds the reader that you can exorcise a demon, but make sure you know where the demon’s headed once you evict it. It conjured up images of James Dean’s cursed silver Spyder and The Exorcist all in one package.

The anthology ends with “It All Comes Around in the End” by Jennifer Word, a modern-day ghost story set in Ireland with roots dating back 600 years. Most intriguing in this story is the farmer, Kell O’Donough, who tells his hapless tourists the history behind his plot of land. It’s a strong narrative with which to end the anthology, which I’m sure the editor was aware of when he was putting this together. Overall, I found this collection to be above par—no real clunkers found amid its pages—and a good, creepy read.

Editor’s Note:

Michael Evans will be at the New England Author Expo – Book Sale in Danvers, MA. next Wednesday (July 31) from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. He will be at the Books & Boos table and will have copies of From Beyond the Grave available for purchase.

Books and Boos and the NEHW at the Upcoming New England Author Expo – Book Sale

The New England Author Expo – Book Sale is a week away. It happens next Wednesday, July 31 from 4 p.m to 9 p.m. in Danvers, MA.

This expo has over 50 authors attending it. You can find out who is attending here.

The Expo will also be attended by artists, illustrators and photographers such as KC Bowman, Brian Codagnone, and Lisa Greenleaf.

There will also be publishing and writing related groups such as Independent Publishers of New England and the New England Horror Writers organization. There are a number of NEHW members attending this show. There will be three members at the NEHW table; Scott Goudsward, Rob Smales, David Price, and Ken Wood. There will be six members at the Books & Boos table; Michael J. Evans, Stacey Longo, Erin Thorne, Rob Watts, and T.T. Zuma. A few members, Tracy Carbone, Dale T. Phillips, and Vlad Vaslyn have their own tables at the expo.

This expo has been happening for a number of years. It was started and is organized by Christopher Obert and his company, Pear Tree Publishing. It takes place in the Harborview Ballroom at the Danversport Yacht Club in Danvers, MA. from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. The yacht club is located at 161 Elliott Street (Rte. 62) in Danvers.

Grinning Skull Press Debuts First Anthology

from-beyond-the-graveGrinnng Skull Press debuted its first anthology, From Beyond the Grave, this month. It contains 19 ghostly tales by authors Michael J. Evans, Carol Weekes, David North-Martino, Jeffrey Kosh, Robert W. Walker, Nelson W. Pyles, Marianne Halbert, Gordon Anthony Bean, Edward J. McFadden III, Jeffrey C. Pettengill, Cynthia Ward,  Michael Thomas-Knight, Tim J. Finn, Rose Blackthorn, Adam Millard, Brent Abell, Scott M. Goriscak,  Jay Wilburn, and Lisamarie Lamb.

From Beyond the Grave is available in print from Amazon and digitally for Kindle, Kobo, and Nook.

Grinning Skull Press isn’t stopping with its freshmen effort. Their second anthology, ATTACK! of the B-Movie Monsters: Night of the Gigantis, will be released this summer.

They are working on even more anthologies. They are currently accepting submissions for a Christmas-themed horror anthology that will benefit the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Submissions can be sent to grinningskullpress@yahoo.com or submissions@grinningskullpress.com.

Evans, the publisher, will soon announce an unthemed horror anthology, Blood on the Moon and another ATTACK! of the B-Movie Monsters except this one will focus on Alien Encounters. The press has other anthologies planned: Gore Whores (ladies only) and Splatter Punks (for the guys), Only the Undead Know Brooklyn (open to NY writers only), and Hockomock: Tales of the Bridgewater Triangle (MA writers only).
For more information on Grinning Skull Press, check out its website here.