The Horror Writers Association has announced the final ballot for the 2014 Bram Stoker Awards®. We at Nameless Digest are absolutely thrilled to see our own Cycatrix Press anthology, A Darke Phantastique, among many other fine contenders, as well as editor Jason V Brock’s nonfiction book, Disorders of Magnitude (Rowman & Littlefield), and managing editor S. T. Joshi’s Lovecraft and… Continue reading Final Ballot Announced for 2015 Bram Stoker Awards®
The Horror Writers Association has announced the preliminary ballot for the 2014 Bram Stoker Awards®. We at Nameless Digest are proud to see our own Cycatrix Press anthology, A Darke Phantastique, among many other fine contenders, as well as editor Jason V Brock’s nonfiction book, Disorders of Magnitude (Rowman & Littlefield), and managing editor S. T. Joshi’s Lovecraft… Continue reading Preliminary Ballot Announced for the 2014 Bram Stoker Awards®
Vampires, Zombies and Wanton Souls
By Marge Simon and Sandy DeLuca
$17.00; 156 pages; February, 2012
Elektrik Milk Bath Press
It’s not very often that I judge a book by its cover, but in the case of Vampires, Zombies and Wanton Souls, it’s hard not to. Draped in a colorful palette of reds, grays, and blues, DeLuca wraps both the cover and the spine in a woman’s hair, concocting a gentle, yet vicious maelstrom of curls. The female looks off into in the distance, refusing the viewer’s eyes in a seductive glance, eyes wide open, piercing blue, lost in focus. The brushstrokes lead the viewer in, and then push them away, much like Simon’s women between the pages. In a stunning marriage between poetry and art, the two artists not only call to the definition of the feminine, but question its innocence and ferocity. Are these women misunderstood angels? Devils? Or perhaps maybe they are something much, much worse.
What’s most beautiful about this collection is the way that Simon and DeLuca feed off each other’s muse, off each other’s interpretation of the lifeline of their characters. The vampires, the zombies, the wanton souls… Simon and DeLuca don’t just write and paint them. They become them. They devour the girl’s stories, their heartbreaks, their sins, and then they retell their deaths and rebirths with ink and color, metaphor and line.
And it’s frightful what these women have done.
Simon tells the story of the seductress, the victim, the murderer, and DeLuca paints the blood on her face and the circles under her eyes. If you flip through the collection, you’ll meet a flash of color—bright and dull, absent and vibrant—and catch the stares of many a woman wronged, not to mention the wrath of a woman scorned. Simon speaks of love taken to the edge of a cliff, of back-alley sex after the stars go blank. DeLuca siphons souls with the curves and strokes of her girls, hypnotizes men with the full pout of luscious lips. It’s hard to imagine who’s deadlier: the ladies on the page, or the ladies creating them?
Take this collection as a cup of tea, but one mixed with rose petals and poison. There is great beauty here—women who have survived, conquered, thrived—but there is also death, destruction, power. It’s easy to be attracted to danger, especially when she bats her eyes at you, and whispers promises in your ear. It’s hard to walk away from fate, to push past the desire, the need to explore and sate your curiosity. But sometimes the people we want the most, the people we yearn for the deepest, are devils masked in the moonlight, sirens walking the earth. This collection is a warning as much as it is a celebration.
Readers and viewers beware: beauty can kill you, but it can also bring you back.
But as something different. Something darker.
Something with fangs. With cravings.
Something without a soul.
—Stephanie M. Wytovich
Hysteria: A Collection of Madness
Stephanie M. Wytovich
2013, Raw Dog Screaming Press
ISBN: 978-1-935738-49-7, 160 pages; $13.95
Horror and poetry don’t often come together in a collection as entertaining and disturbing as Stephanie M. Wytovich’s Hysteria. By turns, this is a wild romp through a cast of unhinged minds: serial killers, violated corpses, mental patients, betrayed lovers, and suicidal lunatics play out their darkest fantasies in Wytovich’s demented verse.
Although most of the entries are quite brief, there are just over 100 poems–each piece delightfully dark and many sexy, perverse, horrible moments to be savored. So many of them in fact, that a singular complaint may be that it seems the editor gave up on any semblance of organization of the book, opting to simply deliver all of the content as one contiguous section in alphabetic order by title. Regardless, the presentation does offer an arbitrary randomness which likens it to the proverbial “box of chocolates,” allowing the reader freedom to choose how best to tackle to consumption by either dipping in and out, or selecting a predetermined order.
To illustrate, one could pick a number, for example, 73, turn to the page and sample, in this case, the title poem, “Hysteria”:
. . .You’re diseased, he said
But I can cure you
If you let me
He turned the lights off
A vibrator up my cunt
And told me to
Told me to relax and
Let go. . .
By David L. Day
$11.00; 244 pages; March, 2013
Tearstone is a fast-paced, character-driven plunge into the occult where a strange artifact unleashes its rage on a small town with a dark secret. Two brothers, Tom and Kyle Burton, are brought back together again after their father’s suicide, forcing them to relive old memories that should have stayed buried. While Tom searches for answers to his father’s death—reading diaries, searching the house, asking questions—Kyle seeks out relief for a decade’s worth of guilt, guilt both he and his family share. But in a town where murder breeds faster than lust, revisiting their past might surface more trouble than either of them is ready to handle.
David Day combines the tropes of classic religious horror—control, memory loss, pregnancy, idolatry—with fresh ideas and thrills that will possess readers to keep turning the page in an attempt to figure out the monster within. His prose is direct and full, painting a clear picture that can be studied from every angle. It’s Day’s ability to utilize imagery as a way to instill panic and fear that is his greatest strength, as there are scenes and phrases that will continue to haunt me, not to mention the fact that I’ll never be able to walk into a library again without thinking of this novel.
His words will stay with you.
Day also uses a combination of strong female characters—Cassy, a deputy obsessed by the disappearance of her cousin, and Elana, a librarian and religious fanatic—and couples them against the secondary characters of Dorthea and Jessica, two lovers whose lives have been turned upside down after Dorthea became pregnant during a night neither of them can fully remember. These women each play a frightening role as they change, learn, and come to understand their positions in a town consumed by obsession, a fixation that stemmed from the unearthing of a stone, “polished smooth as glass, the color of fresh cut grass and streaked with red” (Day 12). But it’s not until a group of children go missing, and three graves show up—one of them empty—that their world’s truly go up in flames. Add on a few cases of murder, domestic violence, and a steady occurrence of miscarriages, and it’s hard to keep a town—not to mention its inhabitants—from falling apart.
Tearstone, Day’s debut novel, shows what happens when people ask too many questions and play with forces they don’t understand. It’s a novel of obsession—of physical objects and of mental strain—and it shows readers what happens when the dead don’t’ stay buried, and the living can’t control their actions. In the tradition of Rosemary’s Baby, and Storm of the Century, Day plays with the notion of a child bringing about a new age, a new beginning, but the twists and turns he adds along the way will have readers begging for more as the ending is almost as shocking as Elana’s spiritual revelation in the library.
–Stephanie M. Wytovich
Dark Duet $8.99; 94 pages; January, 2013 ISBN-13: 978-1481902649 By Linda D. Addison and Stephen M. Wilson Necon E-Books Reading this poetry collection was like watching two artists dance with words and paint with language. I felt drawn in from the fist piece, as Addison’s lyrical verse wrapped me in song, and sent me… Continue reading POETRY REVIEW – Dark Duet
Ashes: A Collection of Dark Poetry by Donna Burgess ASIN: B0084IE128 $.99; 199pgs; May, 2012 E-Volve Books Poetry is a window into a soulless nightmare stuck on repeat. It haunts the mind, waltzing through memories like a phantom cloaked in pain, and it preys on what we fear the most. It twists our realities,… Continue reading Ashes: A Collection of Dark Poetry