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TWISTED YARNS with Kevin Holton

From Loving Seeds

Kevin Holton

Writers are often asked, “Where do your ideas come from?” In this case, my answer is simple: my mom.

Skipping past all the ‘my mom thinks I’m cool’ jokes (fun fact: she does), she’s always loved her gardens. Though she tends to fill more of a traditional father’s role—tearing down laths from the ceiling, putting up sheetrock, building fences, grilling all the time—she’s always loved gardening, and takes time off work every spring to seed all sorts of carefully arranged plants. I really should know what kinds of things she grows, given that I’m often the one doing the shoveling, fertilizing, and whatnot, but I digress.

The origin of this story is far simpler than having grown up watching her out in the dirt. One day, I was bored and standing around in the kitchen, so I said to her, “I’m looking to write a new short story, but don’t know what. Give me an idea, a word, something, I don’t know. I’ll write on that. Whatever you decide.”

Mom looked pensive for a second, then said, “A woman in her garden—”

The idea came to me in one image, which I won’t go into here because it would spoil the ending of the story, but I could see the scene, knew the protagonist, smelled the flowers, felt the loss underlying the events, and I might’ve needed a beginning, but I knew how the story would end.

“—and she—” Mom was still talking.

“That’s alright,” I said, cutting her off. “I’ve got it.”

“What?”

“I know how it’s going to play out. I’m going to go work on it now,” I grinned.

She rolled her eyes and, of course, went out to garden. It was mid-summer, after all, so no one was surprised to find me at the computer. I like the outdoors, mind you, I just need a reason to be outside, like lawn work, camping, or exercise. Otherwise, I just get bored.

I suppose it all boils down to love. Just as love factors heavily into this story, it plays a major part in how it was written. Mom has spent hours, if not days at a time, outside, digging around, throwing out her back, and getting sunburned to make sure her gardens thrive. Her love for her plants is nothing if not inspiring. In this case, her passion just so happened to inspire an obsession.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Kevin Holton is the author of more than twenty poems and thirty short stories. His work has been featured in numerous anthologies as well as Pleiades, RiverSedge, and The Literary Hatchet. He is a member of the Horror Writer’s Association and Mensa. When not writing short fiction, he can be found working on essays or novel-length prose.

Twitter: @kevinjlholton

Website: www.kevinholton.com

***

Twisted_Yarns_FrontCover_PromosizeTwisted Yarns is a collection of eleven depraved stories that will warp your mind and spark your curiosity for tales best muttered in hushed tones and dark corners.

Imagine finding a baby in a dumpster; how far would you go to protect it? Picture yourself trapped in a maze with a monstrous creature that wants nothing more than to spill your blood while others bet on the outcome of your life; would you run to survive? Do you think you could – run or survive? Perhaps you’re clinging to a lost love so strongly that your rational mind doesn’t realize how strongly it’s clinging to you; is it bliss or torture? Come to think of it, is it safe to accept that tasty sample the kindly gentleman who works at the grocery story is offering you? It couldn’t be anything but harmless, could it?

If you prefer your horror twisted with a bit of grit sprinkled on top for flavor, this is the perfect anthology for you!

Featuring:

Blood Oranges — R.k. Kombrinck

Polandrio — Trevor Firetog

Kin — Elizabeth Allen

Dumpster Baby Blues — Bob Macumber

Dead World Protocol — Glynn Owen Barrass

The Road Less Taken — J.T. Seate

Countdown — Danielle Allen

A Walk in Moonlight — Sharon L. Higa

David — John Mc Caffrey

Geo — Micheal Lizarraga

The Garden of Love — Kevin Holton

***

Twisted Yarns is available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Australia | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

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OUT OF PHASE with DJ Tyrer

Formless Horror

DJ Tyrer

What awaits us in the cold, uncaring worlds beyond the Earth? That was the initial thought that led to my writing of Grey Sands.

The story derives most obviously from the Cthulhu Mythos, with a dash of The Walls of Eryx and a good deal of thought as to what might await the unwary in the dash to colonize and exploit other worlds. Phantoms by Dean Koontz was a major influence on the story, although I suspect a little influence from the movie The Ghosts of Mars crept in, too. The land trains in the story, although deriving in part from real-world designs, were primarily inspired by the wonderful Amtrak Wars series of novels. As for the background to the setting, I am enamoured by the idea that the integration of Polish immigrants into modern Britain could create a very different post-EU union.

Although it is very much a horror story, I wanted to get across something of the world in which the protagonist lives and works, even if that was mostly through the discovery that nothing was how it should be. Rather than a mere backdrop for the story, I wanted a background that existed in its own right, which, hopefully, is plausible.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — DJ Tyrer is the person behind Atlantean Publishing and has been widely published, most recently in The Sirens Call and Tigershark ezines, Amok! (April Moon Books), In Creeps The Night (J.A.Mes Press), State of Horror: Illinois (Charon Coin Press), Steampunk Cthulhu (Chaosium), Tales of the Dark Arts (Hazardous Press) and Cosmic Horror (Dark Hall Press), as well as in Sorcery & Sanctity: A Homage to Arthur Machen (Hieroglyphics Press), All Hallow’s Evil and Undead of Winter (both Mystery & Horror LLC) and Fossil Lake (Sabledrake Enterprises), and in addition, has a Kindle novella available, The Yellow House (Dunhams Manor Press).

Website: http://djtyrer.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter: @djtyrer

***

OutOfPhase_Front_CoverHorror and science fiction blend seamlessly in the twelve stories contained within this anthology. Whether it’s mutation, creation, invention, machinery gone awry, or space/time travel, each of the authors included took on the challenge of weaving a tale that not only stood up against scientific possibilities, but will scare the proverbial pants off readers.

Imagine a world where the skies are protected from giant insects by men and women who climb into flying steel contraptions. Or perhaps you like the idea of nanobots quietly working in the background to effect positive change, only to find out that maybe those changes aren’t completely beneficial. How about genetic manipulation gone horribly wrong? Fiction that may not be too far from fact…

All of these terrifying, yet thought provoking scenarios are part of this collection of tales that definitely have some genuine kick!

Featuring:

Dead Serious: A Story of the Invaders — Paul M. Feeney

Hive Mind — Alex Woolf

The Unity Contagion — B. David Spicer

SkyDogs — Richard Farren Barber

Grey Sands — DJ Tyrer

Waiting Time — Rivka Jacobs

First Second — Jason D’Aprile

Idle Puppet — Dev Jarrett

Face Value — P.N. Roberts

The Forgotten Ones — J. D. Waye

What Really Happened on Green Moon 764… — Sergio Palumbo

Under The Twin Eyes — Matthew Smallwood

***

Out of Phase is available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Australia | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

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ODD AND BIZARRE with Georgina Morales

Behind The Process

Georgina Morales

Writers come in all shapes and forms, our backgrounds and interests as varied as book genres. The questions we get asked the most, however, are basically the same: Why did we choose to write in a certain genre, and where do we get our ideas?

Answering these can be difficult, especially for horror writers. In my case, I always tell people how I spent my late formative days (and nights) in hospitals, working on my medical degree and experiencing all kinds of horrors—both with human and inhuman protagonists. Then I add that for the longest time I actually wanted to work in the forensic field and explain how I ended up with a major in Experimental Pathology. Suddenly, a cloud lifts from their eyes: They understand. Their following statement is usually, “But you look so normal!”

It’s been ten years since I left the hospital life behind, and though I don’t regret it, sometimes I really miss it. The Process is the result of one of those longing periods. Back in the 80s, an exposition like no other showed the general public what anatomy museums in universities had showed medical students for generations. Except this was a really cool museum. The man behind it, Gunther Von Hagen, had created a process by which human corpses retained a life-like appearance. Muscles, tissues, and organs could be studied in detail because plastination arrested decomposition without swelling or altering the cells. His genius, however, came in the idea that a museum crammed full of actual human corpses would attract people outside of Med School.

The Human Body Exposition became an instant success across the world.

Three years ago when the exposition came to Montreal, my family decided to treat ourselves to a visit for Mother’s day. I had a blast, (I bet that surprised you), but not only that, my kids—then 6 and 7—LOVED IT. At the time, they were also completely obsessed with the movie A Night at the Museum, which they watched pretty much non-stop. Leave it to a horror writer to make a connection between those two ideas…

The story took about a year and a half of writing, re-writing, and re-re-writing to get to the point where I actually liked it. It then took the better part of two years for The Process to find a home, being its quirky, morbid little self. I, however, can’t think of a better place for it than among the pages of this anthology.

Horror: Odd and Bizarre. Has there ever been a better home for a museum of magically animated corpses?

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Georgina Morales writes horror, mystery, and everything else that might give you nightmares. 2011 saw the debut of her first novel “Perpetual Night”. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies such as Dark Moon Digest, Padwolf Publishing, and Gothic Blue Book. She lives in New England along with her husband, two daughters, their beagle, and their old, grumpy cat.

Twitter: @GinaAuthor

Facebook: Georgina Morales

***

HorrorOddAndBizarre_FrontCover_promosizeTake two steps to the left of normal and you’ll find the type of stories offered in Horror: Odd and Bizarre. Consider them the red-headed step children of the genre…

From a museum process that not only preserves the dead but brings them back to life to a phone that warns you of the impending apocalypse, each tale hits on a different level of the bizarre. Maybe a killer clown epidemic that preys on everything you hold dear, or a painting that subtly changes to spell out your doom, piques your odd meter instead—don’t worry, they’re in there too.

If you like horror with a unique spin, a bizarre thread that straddles the line, or a tale that just a little off, you’ll definitely enjoy each odd morsel and bizarre bite contained within!

Featuring:

Phantom Pain — Kayce Bennett

All Aboard — C.R. Langille

Self Portrait — Ben Pienaar

The Process — Georgina Morales

A Man Called Cup — Jason A. Wyckoff

Fingers — Maynard Blackoak

A Clown of Thorns — Ken MacGregor

Into The Dream Never — S.E. Foley

Hi — Calypso Kane

Beep — Kristal Stittle

A Clown and a Dragon Walk Into a Bar — Rob E. Boley

Ivy’s First Kiss — Matthew R. Davis

***

Horror: Odd and Bizarre can be found online at:

Amazon: US | UK | Australia | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

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OUT OF PHASE with Richard Farren Barber

SkyDogs: Storm Clouds and Books

Richard Farren Barber

It’s always raining in Stoke. I suspect that’s not necessarily true, but it certainly feels that whenever I’m passing through the town, the rain clouds gather overhead. I was traveling through Stoke with my family and the black clouds were boiling when I came up with the idea for SkyDogs. As with many of my stories, the origin of SkyDogs came from the clash of two ideas. The first was my observation about Stoke and the second was a scene in Robert Westall’s novel Futuretrack 5. It’s a small scene in which the main character, Kitson, watches cloud-seeding over the sea so that the rain falls off the coast. It occurred to me that Stoke would benefit from a similar idea.

And SkyDogs was born. The idea that in the future we would have the capacity to farm the clouds. Only it wouldn’t be rain cannons or drones doing the work, it would be people. I wanted an industrial vibe to the work – along the lines of Oil Riggers and Trawlermen. I imagined that cutting through clouds would be a hard slog; manual and dangerous. The primary danger of working a few hundred feet in the air was the potential of falling down to earth, and that is never far from the thoughts of the workers, but at the same time they’re professionals, and that brings with it a certain familiarity and nonchalance.

For me, SkyDogs is about camaraderie. Not the romantic view of one for all and all for one, but a harder, more realistic fellowship that exists; whether you’re working down a coal mine or on a farm or out in rough seas. It’s about the recognition that if you don’t have faith in the people you’re working with then you can’t trust them with your life. And when you go up in the air on a Mule and start cutting into the clouds with a wand, you need someone who has got your back.

In SkyDogs, Raif is a new recruit whose innocence leaves him vulnerable when he rises up into the sky on his first day. When something comes out of the clouds, something dangerous and unknown, Raif doesn’t have enough experience to understand when to run… When to be afraid.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Richard Farren Barber was born in Nottingham in July 1970. After studying in London he returned to the East Midlands. He lives with his wife and son and works as a Manager for a local university. He has written over 200 short stories and has had short stories published in Alt-Dead, Alt-Zombie, Blood Oranges, , ePocalypse – Tales from the End, , Murky Depths, Midnight Echo, Midnight Street, Morpheus Tales, , Night Terrors II, Siblings, The House of Horror, Trembles, and broadcast on BBC Radio Derby, The Wicked Library and Pseudopod. Richard’s novella “The Power of Nothing” was be published by Damnation Books in 2013 and his novella “The Sleeping Dead” was published by DarkFuse in 2014.

Website: www.richardfarrenbarber.co.uk

***

OutOfPhase_Front_CoverHorror and science fiction blend seamlessly in the twelve stories contained within this anthology. Whether it’s mutation, creation, invention, machinery gone awry, or space/time travel, each of the authors included took on the challenge of weaving a tale that not only stood up against scientific possibilities, but will scare the proverbial pants off readers.

Imagine a world where the skies are protected from giant insects by men and women who climb into flying steel contraptions. Or perhaps you like the idea of nanobots quietly working in the background to effect positive change, only to find out that maybe those changes aren’t completely beneficial. How about genetic manipulation gone horribly wrong? Fiction that may not be too far from fact…

All of these terrifying, yet thought provoking scenarios are part of this collection of tales that definitely have some genuine kick!

Featuring:

Dead Serious: A Story of the Invaders — Paul M. Feeney

Hive Mind — Alex Woolf

The Unity Contagion — B. David Spicer

SkyDogs — Richard Farren Barber

Grey Sands — DJ Tyrer

Waiting Time — Rivka Jacobs

First Second — Jason D’Aprile

Idle Puppet — Dev Jarrett

Face Value — P.N. Roberts

The Forgotten Ones — J. D. Waye

What Really Happened on Green Moon 764… — Sergio Palumbo

Under The Twin Eyes — Matthew Smallwood

***

Out of Phase is available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Australia | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

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TWISTED YARNS with R.k. Kombrinck

The Inspiration Behind Blood Oranges

R.k. Kombrinck

The idea that led to Blood Oranges took shape a thousand years ago when I was a teenager. I worked in a grocery store that was older and run-down (they’ve since turned them all into bright, shiny superstores). I was a cashier, a bagger, and also a produce clerk. The back areas were always a little creepy—dark and empty. We used to get crates of fruit that we had to pull out of the cold room to stock the store and I was always worried I’d stumble onto a tarantula or something similarly horrible. I never found anything like that but once I did open a crate of melons and they had some weird disease or genetic abnormality. They were covered with weird bumps and this fuzzy fungus that webbed them together, separate but part of the same whole. It was really gross. I showed it to all my friends who were properly impressed and disgusted. After that I started drawing pictures of weird sentient fruits and vegetables as well as monsters—big bugs, and bats, and trolls, and things—and I’d hang them up in the break room and write on them, ‘What I saw hiding in the compactor’ or, ‘What I found in the walk-in’ and everybody got a kick out of those. Eventually when I started to write, (or tried to write anyway), I thought a story about something haunting the back of a grocery store would be cool… something that one guy knew about and protected. Maybe even fed. It never occurred to me that this was basically the plot of Little Shop of Horrors. I wrote the story and promptly put it away. It was silly.

So years later, I wanted to write something about people who were at a crossroads in their lives. I like protagonists who aren’t necessarily ‘good’ or ‘bad’ but just ‘real.’ I wanted to write about someone who was trying hard to put their life back together after pissing off all their friends and family. Someone who was fighting their way back from rock bottom, and finding that it wasn’t all rewarding sobriety chips and pats on the back. I wanted to have this character moving through a mundane existence suddenly find themselves in a situation that forced them to question their perceptions, and ultimately have to decide to be that ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person. Nothing is more mundane than a grocery store job and I remembered my long ago juvenile story idea. I reworked it, coming at it from a more serious and experienced place and it became Blood Oranges.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — R.k. Kombrinck is a writer and artist who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with his wife and two sons.  He is a founding cast-member of the popular horror podcast “Night of the Living Podcast.”  He enjoys iced-tea (unsweet) and genuinely believes in Sasquatch.

Twitter: @kelleynotlp

Blog: www.notlp.com/blog

***

Twisted_Yarns_FrontCover_PromosizeTwisted Yarns is a collection of eleven depraved stories that will warp your mind and spark your curiosity for tales best muttered in hushed tones and dark corners.

Imagine finding a baby in a dumpster; how far would you go to protect it? Picture yourself trapped in a maze with a monstrous creature that wants nothing more than to spill your blood while others bet on the outcome of your life; would you run to survive? Do you think you could – run or survive? Perhaps you’re clinging to a lost love so strongly that your rational mind doesn’t realize how strongly it’s clinging to you; is it bliss or torture? Come to think of it, is it safe to accept that tasty sample the kindly gentleman who works at the grocery story is offering you? It couldn’t be anything but harmless, could it?

If you prefer your horror twisted with a bit of grit sprinkled on top for flavor, this is the perfect anthology for you!

Featuring:

Blood Oranges — R.k. Kombrinck

Polandrio — Trevor Firetog

Kin — Elizabeth Allen

Dumpster Baby Blues — Bob Macumber

Dead World Protocol — Glynn Owen Barrass

The Road Less Taken — J.T. Seate

Countdown — Danielle Allen

A Walk in Moonlight — Sharon L. Higa

David — John Mc Caffrey

Geo — Micheal Lizarraga

The Garden of Love — Kevin Holton

***

Twisted Yarns is available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Australia | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

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OUT OF PHASE with P.N. Roberts

Face Value – What Inspired Me

P.N. Roberts

First off I’m going to give you a spoiler alert. In writing this I’ve tried not to give away too much of Face Value, but inevitably there has been a little slippage. In culinary terms, I’m hoping it’s more a case of you catching an alluring smell or a few tempting crumbs than getting half the meal in your lap. I want you to feel hungry for more, not calling for the manager.

I grew up reading science-fiction. It started with a Dr Who novel on my sixth or seventh birthday and I was immediately hooked. Before too long, Asimov, Heinlein and Bester had become my fixes of choice, and that trend has continued. I adore Banks’ work, most especially his Culture novels, and I discovered Martin not through Game of Thrones, but by chancing across the sublime Tuf Voyaging in my local library (that very book, purchased in one of the library’s regular sales, sits within arm’s reach as I write).

However, I don’t often get a chance to indulge myself by exploring that genre, yet alone the peculiar subset so demanding of genuine scientific rigour which is known as hard sci-fi, so when the chance came to write exactly that, I jumped at it.

I trained as a science teacher and even took a second degree in Physics so that I could do so, but while the vocation to teach was efficiently snuffed out, I remain, at heart, a scientist. Notice how I capitalised Physics? I can’t help it. I do it with Universe too, but never chemistry (ask Rutherford his opinion of that discipline and you might understand why the enmity between Physicists and chemists exists).

I still adore Physics. I thrill to the surreal concepts delineated by esoteric combinations of numbers and letters (be they Latin, or Greek). Ask me about the difference between Δt and δt and I will smile, the equation pV=nRT brings me actual physical pleasure and the mere mention of calculus has me trending towards ecstasy. The fact that the world’s most popular sit-com is about a group of Physics geeks – or, as I see them, my kind of people – fills me with joy unbounded and leads me gently by the slide-rule toward the gates of Nerdvana.

So I knew that I could handle the necessary science for my story, but more than that, I decided my central protagonist – no, my hero – was going to be a Physicist.

The next decision was the central conceit to drive the story forward and I opted for a staple of sci-fi which has always fascinated me – first contact. Could there be anything more paradigm-shifting than actual proof we are not unique in creation? Arthur C Clarke said: “Two possibilities exist: either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.” Damn right.

And so I deconstructed the idea, breaking it down into a series of reasonable events which I could explore and follow through my protagonist. How would contact be initiated and maintained over the vast interstellar distances involved? What paths might lead from that? What would a meeting between two sentient species be like? Turns out it’s not so dissimilar to internet dating (although that’s a practice I’ve discovered is better suited to horror than sci-fi).

Finally, there was the denouement. If you’ve read any of my work you will know I love a twisted tail, and I don’t like my endings to be predictable. Having said that, there is still a need for a story’s conclusion to be logical, for there to be a certain inevitability which is clear in retrospect. Much like a black swan event, you have to be able to look back at it and go “yup – that all makes sense now”. In Face Value I manage to twist and turn not just once, but twice in that final stretch. I guarantee you won’t see those endings coming, but I’ll bet when you’re finished you’ll be asking yourself if my conclusion might not just be bang on the money because it’s so wonderfully obvious. You may even wonder how you could have missed it.

Hopefully you’ll have found the experience enjoyable too.

Now go. Read. It’s the safest way to explore strange, new Universes.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — P.N. Roberts is the pen-name of Neil Roberts, a self-confessed geek born and still residing in the county of Cornwall in the South West of England. Having loved books from a precociously early age he none-the-less came to writing late in life, but has already had factual articles, fiction and even poetry published around the world. No-one is more surprised at this than Neil. He remains unmarried and has a history devoid of the interesting jobs and exotic pets that every other author seems to have acquired. He has been blessed with three great loves in his life, only one of which is food.

Twitter: @WriterRoberts

***

OutOfPhase_Front_CoverHorror and science fiction blend seamlessly in the twelve stories contained within this anthology. Whether it’s mutation, creation, invention, machinery gone awry, or space/time travel, each of the authors included took on the challenge of weaving a tale that not only stood up against scientific possibilities, but will scare the proverbial pants off readers.

Imagine a world where the skies are protected from giant insects by men and women who climb into flying steel contraptions. Or perhaps you like the idea of nanobots quietly working in the background to effect positive change, only to find out that maybe those changes aren’t completely beneficial. How about genetic manipulation gone horribly wrong? Fiction that may not be too far from fact…

All of these terrifying, yet thought provoking scenarios are part of this collection of tales that definitely have some genuine kick!

Featuring:

Dead Serious: A Story of the Invaders — Paul M. Feeney

Hive Mind — Alex Woolf

The Unity Contagion — B. David Spicer

SkyDogs — Richard Farren Barber

Grey Sands — DJ Tyrer

Waiting Time — Rivka Jacobs

First Second — Jason D’Aprile

Idle Puppet — Dev Jarrett

Face Value — P.N. Roberts

The Forgotten Ones — J. D. Waye

What Really Happened on Green Moon 764… — Sergio Palumbo

Under The Twin Eyes — Matthew Smallwood

***

Out of Phase is available on:

Amazon: US | UK | Australia | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

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ODD AND BIZARRE with Ken Macgregor

Why A Clown of Thorns?

Ken MacGregor

First, I need to give you some background. Before I started regularly writing fiction, I was doing a lot of acting. I even had an agent for a while and got some pretty good paying gigs. I found a casting call for a short horror film and auditioned. I was cast as a thug. It was fun. The director and I became friends and did a few other films together, including a short horror/comedy zombie movie (The Quirk and the Dead – it’s 16 minutes long and available to watch on YouTube).

The director said one of his goals was to make the scariest movie ever. So, naturally, I tried to write one. I churned out a few scripts, but mostly they were too special effects intensive and more than we could take on with our meager, independent budget. These scripts sat around on my hard drive for a long time, in the hopes that someday I might have enough money to make them into movies.

But, then I saw a call for weird horror fiction from one of my favorite publishers. I thought, “Hey… I have a weird horror screenplay. Maybe I can turn it into prose.” This, by the way, is not as easy as you might think. They are two radically different mediums.

But, I persevered and I’m glad I did. The story, A Clown of Thorns, lent itself well to the page and I’m happy with the result.

I got the idea from several sources. First, a lot of people are coulrophobic (afraid of clowns) so they are good villains.

Second, I had this sort of ideal, post-apocalyptic family who was armed and dangerous, but still your basic upper-middle class suburbanites. They sip lemonade on the front lawn, but are a well-oiled killing machine when needed.

Third, I wanted to include the religious undertones, though it’s obviously pretty tongue-in-cheek.

This is one of those stories where I have a hard time deciding which character I like more: the protagonist or the antagonist. When I originally wrote Mitch for the screen, I fully intended to play him. I have a sword and am competent with its use. So, clearly, I have some love for the guy.

But, Boots, our villain, the Bad Clown, was so, so much fun to write. He has (virtually) no lines, because clowns don’t talk in my world. Yet, his personality shines through his greasepaint.

This is an oddball piece, to be sure. I think it’s funny and different and at times pretty damn creepy. I tried to have fun with it, and I hope you do, too.

Thanks for hanging out with me. Why don’t you pull up a chair here by the mirror? I have plenty of greasepaint you can use.

Don’t forget the nose. That’s the best part.

***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR — Ken MacGregor’s work has appeared in dozens of anthologies, magazines and podcasts. Ken is a member of The Great Lakes Association of Horror Writers and an Affiliate member of HWA. Ken’s the kind of guy that, if he found himself stranded somewhere with you, would probably eat you to survive. Ken lives in Michigan with his family and two unstable cats.

Twitter: @KenMacGregor

Website: http://ken-macgregor.com

***

HorrorOddAndBizarre_FrontCover_promosizeTake two steps to the left of normal and you’ll find the type of stories offered in Horror: Odd and Bizarre. Consider them the red-headed step children of the genre…

From a museum process that not only preserves the dead but brings them back to life to a phone that warns you of the impending apocalypse, each tale hits on a different level of the bizarre. Maybe a killer clown epidemic that preys on everything you hold dear, or a painting that subtly changes to spell out your doom, piques your odd meter instead—don’t worry, they’re in there too.

If you like horror with a unique spin, a bizarre thread that straddles the line, or a tale that just a little off, you’ll definitely enjoy each odd morsel and bizarre bite contained within!

Featuring:

Phantom Pain — Kayce Bennett

All Aboard — C.R. Langille

Self Portrait — Ben Pienaar

The Process — Georgina Morales

A Man Called Cup — Jason A. Wyckoff

Fingers — Maynard Blackoak

A Clown of Thorns — Ken MacGregor

Into The Dream Never — S.E. Foley

Hi — Calypso Kane

Beep — Kristal Stittle

A Clown and a Dragon Walk Into a Bar — Rob E. Boley

Ivy’s First Kiss — Matthew R. Davis

***

Horror: Odd and Bizarre can be found online at:

Amazon: US | UK | Australia | Canada | Germany | Italy | France | Spain | Japan | Mexico | Brazil | India | The Netherlands

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