Wow, what a gem! This anthology of short stories from these great Independent Authors will now be the standard, for me. Each writer, all with their unique styles came together to give their reading audience one heck of a show.
First, Jason Gurley sets the scene about a peculiar old man with a tale to tell; a tale he has been trying to tell since he returned from The Winter Lands.
Brian Spangler gives us a horrifying glimpse of consequences when we try to correct mother nature in Going Gray.
Kate Danley breathes life into a terrifying tale of a woman named Joanna who becomes Queen out of duty and fear. Soon after the nuptials to the reticent King, Queen Joanna‘s nightmare begins. At first, she is pleased her King shows no interest in her. But she has promised to win the Kings heart so that peace resumes in the land. But Joanna is constantly warned from an image in the mirror, to “staaayy awaaay.” The tension builds perfectly in this very creepy story and the ending is wonderfully done.
In Mouth Breathers, Hugh Howey tells a story of a boy who is suffering from homesickness and growing pains when he and his family relocates from Earth to Mars.
Ernie Lindsey‘s story, The Man With Two Legs, is surprisingly touching and full of insight. As a child, Cray escaped the cruelty of a government that oppresses his people. But as a young man he goes on a nearly impossible mission: return to the place he escaped to rescue the mother he believed died years before.
In Cipher, Australian Author Sara Foster‘s short story about a woman named Beatrice who leaves her home in a frustrated huff one day and finds herself missing the family that has frustrated her hours
later before. A bomb has gone off, you see. And the city she once knew has become unrecognizable. She has survived the blast of the bomb, but has her family? Beatrice meets a stranger who offers her, his company and an explanation of what has happened to the city. This story made me feel like I was in a race against time and I wasn’t quite sure why, until the end.
Anne Frasier wonderfully original Vampire story Made Of Stars about two star struck lovers, Lila and Gabriel; the living and the undead. Gabriel is a vampire who is a beta tester for Sinclair, a genius vampire who has created something magical for the night creatures. Sinclair has created a gateway that allows vampires to experience what their immortal lives is void of: true love. Gabriel has fallen in love with Lila; an unknowing but passively willing accomplice who is quite taken with Gabriel “the pale boy.” The magic, the formula, whatever it is, has not been perfected; there are a few flaws and Gabriel, the beta tester, reports every one to Sinclair.His biggest complaint being that Sinclair has created an experience that is too real.
Kevin Heritage’s weaves a beautifully strange, yet familiar story in Gyre- Witchery, about superstitions, fear and the result of them. Tamina is a dim-witted girl who has been accused of witchery from the natives. They blame her for the unwanted developments of their island: The sun is getting colder, they starve yet Tamina is quite plump and healthy. It doesn’t help that animals seem to worship her and that her eyes are green. But if Tamina possesses a power, she is unaware of it. The natives have decided to rid themselves of their witch but Tamina, with unexpected help and a revelation, learns her roll.
In The War Veteran, Australian writer Susan May tells a story of an eighty-something -year old man who cannot forget the horrors of war. Suffering from PTSD, he relives the horrors of June 6, 1944 on Omaha Beach. The visions, hallucinations usually go away soon after they start, but one night, the terrible event that haunts Jack Baker’s soul is brought to his doorstep. And he must face the past and his guilt to put the nightmare to rest. Susan May really did her research for this short story. A bit of a tear-jerker.
In For The Greater Good an awesome suspense tale is told by another Australian writer Mel Hearse. A mysterious car accident on a road Lanie cannot remember. A neurosurgeon husband whose aloof behavior brings about suspicions from his wife, Lanie. And a pretty red-head named Leila who is seen with the doctor husband by Lanie on more than one occasion. Believe me, it’s not what you think!
Michael Bunker‘s gives a refreshing account in his post apocalyptic story- REDOUBT. In an already strained world, three military trained men decide to vacation in New Mexico. They meet an artist who they quickly befriend. And then as the four enjoy a good old-fashioned snow ball fight, they get “the call.” Something has indeed gone terribly wrong. A third of the country’s electronic communications have been severed. Not the end of the world, but the end as we know it. This story made me want more and I must purchase “Wick” (REDOUBT parallels the story). I became a bit teary eyed at the end. I was not expecting that.
Written by Australian writer Peter Cawdron, The Man Who Remembered Today had me on the edge of my seat (or my bed as I read this late at night). Egyptian born but clearly an American citizen, Kareem wakes up as if in a fog. He believes he is suffering from a hangover until he gets a look at himself in the mirror. Clearly something more has happened. But he cannot remember yesterday. As the day unfolds in a busy NYC, news reports of a terrorist attack unfold. Kareem can’t explain how but knows he must stop the next one at all cost. This is one of those stories where you are screaming “Nooo, it can’t end now!
This book of anthologies will take you away to strange lands, futuristic worlds, introduce you to both strange and sympathetic characters, and remind you of very real and present dangers.
Did I mention that I loved it?