Friday 29 April 2016

Jessica Palmer's Other Visions of Heaven and Hell now available

Jessica Palmer has had 28 books published, both fiction and nonfiction. Her novels – horror, fantasy and science fiction – were released by Pocket Books in the United States and Scholastic in the United Kingdom. She has written two textbooks about Native American history, which were published by McFarland, and an encyclopedia of natural history released by Harper Collins’ label Element Books and later by Thorson in the UK.
Palmer has also written ten science-and-technology manuals on the topics of explosives and radiation. These were distributed globally. It was this work that brought her to Great Britain in 1988.
The daughter of a professional clown, Palmer refers to her switch to writing fiction as an exercise in damage limitation. She taught classes and conducted workshops on creative writing and publishing at North Shropshire College in Whitchurch, Stanmore College and the Islington Arts Factory in London.
As a journalist, Palmer won awards in New Mexico and Texas for writing features, public service and breaking news – the most recent in 2013. Palmer has also written satirical columns for newspapers, including “A Slice of Life” and “How to Make Love to your Personal Computer.”
Her two loves are writing and animals. She started a nonprofit in Kansas for wildlife rescue and has held a wildlife rehabilitation permit since 2002.
Other Visions of Heaven and Hell are a series of sometimes inter-related stories about our ideas of Heaven and Hell, sometimes hilarious - sometimes horrific - but always entertaining.

Contents are:
Devil's Due
The Faithful
And now, a Word from our Sponsor
Heavenly Bodies
On the Wings of a Prayer
Fallen Angel
A Stitch in Time
No Good Turn
Leap of Faith
Divine Comedy
Force of Habit
The Gates of Hell
Hell on Wheels
Cinderella Revisited
Last Laugh
A Cold Day in Hell
Cheap Shots
What the Dickens
When Hell Freezes Over
Bad Medicine
Wrong Number
A Snowball's Chance
Devil Woman
To Be or Not
The King's Plate
An Afterthought
About the Author

Last Laugh was first published in Weirdbook #28, Autumn 1993, edited by W. Paul Ganley
Cinderella Revisited was first published in Weirdbook #29, Autumn 1995, edited by W. Paul Ganley
What the Dickens was first published in Substance Sept 1995

trade paperback: £8.99   $11.99

ebook: £2.99     $4.30

Tuesday 26 April 2016

Andrew Darlington's A Saucerful of Secrets reviewed on the Vault of Evil

Cover Art: Vincent Chong
Andrew Darlington's brilliant collection of stories, A Saucerful of Secrets, has been reviewed on the Vault of Evil by Kevin Demant.

The Strange Laudanum Dream of Branwell Brontë
London Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down
Thuesday to Fryday
The Door to Anywhere
Beast of the Baskervilles
Derek Edge and the Saucerful of Secrets
The Non-Expanding Universe
Big Bad John
Terminator Zero and the Dream Demons
A Grotesque Romance
This World Holds Space Enough
And the Earth Has No End

Andrew Darlington has had masses of material published in all manner of strange and obscure places, magazines, websites, anthologies and books. He's also worked as a Stand-Up Poet on the ‘Alternative Cabaret Circuit’, and has interviewed very many people from the worlds of Literature, SF-Fantasy, Art and Rock-Music for a variety of publications (a selection of favourite interviews collected into the ‘Headpress’ book ‘I WAS ELVIS PRESLEY’S BASTARD LOVE-CHILD’). His latest music biography is ‘DON'T CALL ME nigger, WHITEY: SLY STONE & BLACK POWER’ (Leaky Boot Press).

The Kitchen Sink Gothic anthology is not without its bizarre moments, and perhaps the most unconventional story of all is Derek And The Sunspots. Derek is back in this latest genre bending début (?) collection from Andrew Darlington, and this time he's brought along all his friends.

There will be strangeness.

The Strange Laudanum Dream of Branwell Brontë: (DS Davidson [ed.], Tigershark #3, 2014). "I witnessed my own death. I am but thirty years old. And I know the very day when approaching death will quench life's feeble ember."

Our hero heads through the snow for The Black Bull and another night on the booze. But what's this? Loitering on the path, a metal spacecraft and a a human-size, talking bee from another dimension. The bee is perfectly civil. It explains that his are an inquisitive race who delve beyond record history to seek out "uncomfortable truths." Unfortunately, this has not met with the approval of the Slithy Toves, lizard-like creatures who act as an intergalactic secret police. After the briefest guided tour of the craft, the bee-man ushers Branwell into a parallel world where he, and not his talented sisters wrote Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. It is even inscribed on his headstone.

It has all been an enlightening experience for Branwell, but the adventure takes a turn for the terrifying when the pair are set upon by an armed lizard.

London Bridge is Falling Down, Falling Down: Last days of Queen Victoria's reign. The Capital's most deprived districts come under attack from a plague of genetically enhanced six-legged rats, venomous frogs, ferocious foxes and cockroaches "the size of your fist." Who is responsible for this outrage? In their desperation, Her Majesty's Government reanimate Professor James Moriarty as a last resort. The criminal mastermind has been fitted with an electro-magnetic heart to be switched off by Sir Frederick Trouton immediately he proves uncooperative (shades of Robert Lory's classic Dracula Returns). Moriarty duly traces the culprit to Bedlam, where Dr. Conrad Van Herder, MAD FOREIGN VIVISECTIONIST, social-Darwinist, misguided ecologist, etc., is manufacturing abominations in a bid to cleanse an over-populated world of it's "weaklings." Begins with a grisly attack on a tosher working the mudflats beneath Blackfriars Bridge and includes enough horrific vignettes to qualify as a superior When Animals Attack! entry.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

The Winter Hunt reviewed on The Vault of Evil

Kevin Demant, who runs the splendid Vault of Evil website, is currently writing a detailed review of Steve Lockley and Paul Lewis's The Winter Hunt:

Steve Lockley & Paul Lewis - The Winter Hunt & Other Stories (Parallel Universe, 2016)

Joe Young

Paul Finch - Introduction: Calm Waters Run Very, Very Deep

The Winter Hunt
Gabriel Restrained
Family Ties
The Woman On The Stairs
Never Go Back
Last Day
The Worst Part
City Of Woes
Death Knock
De Profundis
Puca Muc
Shadows Of Paint

Steve Lockley and Paul Lewis, a two-man, Swansea-based writing-team (though they have written individually as well, and excellently too) are contemporary authors in the best sense of the phrase. They are also hugely respectful of and clearly motivated by some of the great work done in the past. So often their stories, at first glance, may be ‘kitchen sink’ in tone. By that, I mean they could be set on a drear council estate, or in a bus station café, or a second-hand shoe shop, or a seaside boarding house on a dull day in the off-season. But never be fooled by any of that, because these calm waters run very, very deep indeed. - From Paul Finch's introduction.

The Winter Hunt: (L. H Maynard, M. P. N. Sims & David Howe [eds.], F20, BFS, 2000). A freak snow blizzard hits Swansea. Meanwhile Angharad, a thirty year old shoe-shop assistant, is bemoaning her sorry lot. Ten years ago she sacrificed any hope of a decent future away from this hell-hole sink estate out of duty to an alcoholic Dad and hopelessly dependent kid brother, Gareth. Then there's her irresponsible boyfriend, Mark, who spends too much time hanging around with local ne'er do well, 'Monkey' Jackson, whose hobbies include stealing cars to torch in Penllergaer Woods. Jackson's antics have even made the local news. To crown it all, Gareth and Mark now come crying to her claiming their ne'er do well mate has been brutally murdered by an implacable huntsman and attendant spectral pack of hounds. With luck like Angharad's dare she not believe them?

Ideal entry point to the downbeat, Welsh Tales of Terror-meetsKitchen Sink Gothic world of Messrs. L & L. The winter huntsman is as relentless as the cowled, scythe-swinging horror in Stephen Laws' The Crawl

Gabriel Restrained: (L. H Maynard & M. P. N. Sims, [eds.], Darkness Rising Two: Night's Soft Pains, Cosmos, 2001). The Monkey's Paw gone to Hell. Duncan and Annie Matthias, God-fearing chapel goers of sixty years standing, face the most agonizing crisis of conscience. God in His infinite mercy has cured Annie of her cancer, but did he have to send an Angel to earth to do so? What to do with beautiful 'Gabriel' now he has performed this miracle? Annie insists they keep him imprisoned in the spare bedroom as insurance against the return of the disease. Duncan reluctantly agrees. But what about little Peter Daniels, the nine year old tumour boy, and his poor family? Shouldn't they, too, share in God's bounty? Gabriel duly heals the sick child, but someone close to Peter's family can't help but go running to the local press ....

Family Ties: (Charles Black [ed.] The Third Black Book of Horror, Mortbury Press, 2008). The zombie apocalypse reaches the tiny hamlet of Mumbles off Swansea Bay. While Peter is out foraging for food and medical supplies, Helen, heavily pregnant, frets inside the cottage. He really should be back by now! Her thoughts turn to the rifle. They've discussed it often enough, but would she be capable of shooting Peter's brains out if anything went wrong?

Helen drags herself down to the beach. Peter's boat has washed up ashore, the provisions abandoned in the water, but no sign of her husband. A shambling figure approaches across the sand....

The Woman On The Stairs: Janet, a stressed-out single mum, sees recently dead people - not for very long, and invariably in the company of a silent old lady, leading them up the stairwell and on to the roof of the Baron Court estate. They seem bewildered. Predictably, teenage daughter Catherine is unsympathetic to her mounting concern. Is Janet seeing ghosts or has her alcoholism reached the point where she's suffering from the DTs? Perhaps the tedium of working the supermarket checkout has finally driven her insane. And what are the paramedics doing in her front room?

To be continued

Monday 4 April 2016

Frontispiece for Fishhead - Artist: Jim Pitts

This is the artwork produced by award-winning artist Jim Pitts for the frontispiece to Irvin S. Cobb's forthcoming collection, Fishhead: The Darker Tales of Irving S. Cobb.