Richard Matheson has written one a book that became one of my favorite movies of all time, What Dreams May Come. I have yet to read that book; the film captured me so much, but it is one I’ll read down the road if I ever come across it. He wrote another one, the one for this review, A Stir of Echoes. Again, this is another book I was introduced to as a film first. The movie and the films always differ, I understand there’s technical reason, budget reasons sometimes, and I don’t know what the case was in this situation, but the book isn’t as good as the movie, in my opinion.

This is a classic ghost story. It’s dark, eerie, and creepy. I appreciate Matheson’s work. I’m not sure if it’s because I enjoyed the film so much, but the book is good–different, but good. I don’t enjoy writing about things I don’t like. I don’t want to bring attention to those things and rarely express a distaste publically, but in this review, I have to say if I had to compare, though the book is good I prefer the movie version better. I enjoy the story, the slow rolling out as if its fog coming into town, but the movie spoiled me. It didn’t ruin things enough for me I won’t read it again. I most likely will, but if you’re going to go into this expecting it to be exactly like the novel, don’t.

The book is best summed up as its own entity. I wish I could have enjoyed it more. I had trouble not comparing it to the movie throughout my reading and I believe I ruined my experience; this is the main reason I’ll return to it later. Perhaps in a few years. The writer is excellent. A great talent. He’s done a lot of movies and television work and I’ve wondered if working in books was harder for him or working in film as many writers, including myself, have described scenes we’re writing as a scene in our head we’re trying to describe into words. Sometimes we fail in the translation and sometimes we’re able to succeed in our attempts.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.

This is not a book written by Dahl. Instead, this is a collection of authors he wanted for a collection with the theme ghost stories. The introduction told helped me fix my initial mistake. I’m glad I usually flip through a few pages and read before picking up and purchasing, read the summary, and really break a book down now that I’m older. It really becomes a matter of ‘is this worth my money’ when I approach a book to enjoy and not because of the industry I work.

E. F. Benson’s story In the Tube stood out the most to me. I really enjoyed it. The other stories included, are very well curated, but I enjoyed this one the most. I found each story to be well written and just the right amount of fear. It seems I come across too many stories that rely on gore to scare in their tales, not enough anticipation with delivery. This collection is the type I enjoy. A dribble here and a dot there of ‘what’s going on’ cleaned up with the reveal and the exhale of making it to the end. A thrill-ride.

In the introduction, the tale of the book’s conception is shared. The struggles of finding a good or even a great story when wanting to create an anthology. I’ve been down this road myself and it can be a frustration, but it also tells of the gems that can be found. A reflection of today, for me. Now and then you come across a book you can really sink your teeth into. This collection is worthy of a chomp again from me.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.

I read this book for the first time in the fifth grade as part of a project on the author Mary Shelley. I admit, back then I really didn’t want to do anyone else. I had never read her work but heard of her and her work in classes. I never knew that this author would become one of my favorites as I grew up. To this day, she along with Poe, Lovecraft, and Rice have become beloved writers to me.

This book, specifically, took me into a world of darkness that I could relate. The character of the monster spoke to me. He was an outsider, and I often felt that way. Misunderstood, the monster, and never accepted. These were all things I could relate to as a young girl new to the area and from a different part of the country. It taught me that ‘the monster’ wasn’t a monster, the true monster was how we treat people different from ourselves. It’s a life lesson I’ve always carried with me and seen, sadly, repeated. The true monster is how cruel people can be and how judgmental people can be.

Shelley’s words were dark and romantic and this style, over time, became one style I favored and cherished most in a book. I love words, the romantic way they can flow; perhaps I can consider her one of my earliest influences on molding me into a writer.

Not wanting to be a book snob here, but there has never been a movie or television version that has captured me the same way as this book has. If you only know this book because of a movie I highly recommend reading the book. Sometimes, I admit, a movie or show can give a book justice, but I have not come across one on this title.


This review is a part of my 2020 yearlong self-challenge to read and review. I have reread some books for the purpose of reviewing them on my website whereas I have read others for the first time. Check out Book Reviews and Recommendations to find other book reviews, book recommendations, and more information about the books I’m reading, have read, or are sharing.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? Do you agree with me? Do you disagree? Let’s have a conversation about it.

So far, the information about this collection is that it will include Human Ouija. This is a collection signed to the wonderful press Dark Books Press publishing company and will be the continuing of a project originally discussed and was in progress when the doors closed at Burning Willow Press. I had already begun collecting short stories, polishing stories, and reworking several unfinished or finished works that needed to be adjusted for publication more.

As of right now, this collection has moved into the editing phase. I still do not have a date for the release as this post goes live, but the publisher and myself have high hopes of it coming out sooner rather than later.

Contents of collection so far:

  • Just Underneath (psychological thriller)
  • A Farmhouse Haunting (ghost story)
  • The Gaze of Destruction (post-apocalypse vampire tale)
  • The Owls (Sci-fi horror)
  • Human Ouija (Paranormal) (Bestselling and Award-winning short story)
  • The Painting of Martel (supernatural, possession, serial-killer)
  • A Man Named Sowder (psychological ghost story)
  • The Clockwork Children (supernatural, emotional)

Readers may recognize many of these stories. Several have been published in other anthologies, mainly in the Crossroads in the Dark series that was published by Burning Willow Press. The Clockwork Children has never been published before. There are a few more stories I want to add to round the collection out, but this is up to my publisher.

Many people struggle with writing, I get it sometime it gets hard, but never give up! Here is a list on how to improve your storytelling! These are tips I have shared for years to help everyone wanting to write stories or even improve their literary role-playing and storytelling. It’s time to bust out your thesaurus or your online dictionaries for what they were meant for!


5. Research

The saying goes: write what you know. I agree fully, but what about everyone else that love writing new things, things they may not know? To that I say: write what you know because research will teach you. If you’re unsure of something fully exhaust yourself researching about a subject. Of course, go fully legal in your research and harm no one.

4. Comparing

The best way for a writer to explain something is to compare it to something more familiar. Recently, I wrote a short story and inside of it I described a UFO as a ‘silver donut’ Seems very simple, but you now know exactly what I’m talking about right.

It’s good to be descriptive, but sometimes simple gets the job done. If you’re writing descriptively enough throughout the story comparing something unfamiliar to something that is recognizable is a great way for the reader to see in their mind what you’re trying to convey.

3. Know Your Characters/World

The best way to write a character or world is to fully flush them out. It may be tedious, but it can help very much during writing. This is also where the jokes authors make of ‘my character wouldn’t let me’ or ‘they told me how they felt’ come in. It’s from, I hope, them flushing out personalities, histories, and all of that before hand.

Ask yourself questions and answer them. Who is this man or woman? Did they overcome what they went through? Did it damage them in anyway? This is also good for world building.

Fully flush out everything, enough of everything at least. I’ve met writers that have gone above and beyond creating interesting worlds and some that have done enough.

2. Pull From Your Own Emotions

This seems easy enough, but sometimes isn’t utilized properly. I have become well known for my ’emotionally driven writing style’ and the secret is this. If I’m writing something more horrific than what I’ve been through I use how I felt to write what it is and try and add upon it.

For example: I’ve never been possessed, but I’ve written about it (Human Ouija, The Blasphemer Series: Harvest, and The Painting of Martel depict different styles of possession). I imagine the worse possible feelings I’ve gone through, wrote them, and then thought more about the character’s situation. Feeling invaded, feeling overwhelmed, and perhaps confused.

1. Remember Your Five Aristotelian Senses

The key to really pulling someone into your story and improving your own writing is remembering the 5 ‘traditional’ senses (also known as the Five Aristotelian Senses). These are touch, taste, hearing, seeing, and smell.

Ask yourself questions.

Touch/Feeling – Is it cold? How does this character feel about that? Can they feel the warmth of their coat or perhaps they feel the chill because they’re not properly dressed. Perhaps your character has picked up something, how did that object feel. You can even describe simply if it was heavy or lighter than expected.

Tasting – Is the food salty or sweet? Did that cause them to moan enjoying the flavor? Say they were hit in the mouth, what did the taste of the blood against the taste buds of their tongue taste like? Perhaps they expected something to taste delicious because it appeared that way, but sadly it was disgusting. You can describe the disgusting flavors, why it was disgusting to that character. How did the food look before they tasted it?

Hearing – If the scene is ‘quiet’ can the character hear the buzzing of the air against their eardrums? Perhaps they do and it’s interrupted by a sudden noise. How did they react to it? Was it a familiar sound of another character coming home or a stranger breaking in? Did they hear glass shattering of a window or a door’s wood breaking when it was kicked in?

Seeing – So much of the story can be based on what is seen or describing a scene in such a way the reader can see it too. Things can be bright, blinding bright, or dark and dim. It is, for me, one of the first descriptors as it puts color to the moment.

Smelling – Smell is said to be the strongest of our senses linked to memories. They can take us to our grandmother’s house because she baked a lot or even to a sad memory of losing someone. For example: After a funeral many bring food to the family that has lost someone. Perhaps in this situation your character cannot stand the smell of pies because they remember losing their mother.

There are all kinds of scents. Sweet, nasty, or something that reminds me of our favorite memories. Apply those to your writing. Did the apple smell delicious or has it rot? You can even mix smelling with feeling and go the route of the air smelt clean and cold. You see? Mixing the senses creates a dynamic surrounding for your character and will add to the world they’re in.

You can even go into how the smell made your character feel. Did the burger joint’s smells make your character hungry or sick because it was overpowering? Use this!

There are more senses, you can learn about them here and here. I recommend this as it can help even further!


YOUR TURN

What did you think? Did this help? Have anything to add to the list above? Do you want me to do more examples? Perhaps show these tips in action?

This book is a shameless plug, but it’s a book. Maxwell Demon is the first book in my series The Blasphemer Series. The synopsis is merely the squishing down summarizing of how deep this story goes. When writing it I cried, I laughed, and really enjoyed the process that, for most writers, is never seen, but if written right the readers can pick up emotionally. The reviews say I wrote it well, but I leave it up to you, the person that may pick up the novella, to determine if you enjoyed my writing style.

This book in my words is a story about a fallen angel that fell in love with the first woman, Lilith, and fought in the Clash of Angels, but on the wrong side. He didn’t accept his punishment, being sent to Hell and the mutilation of his wings, and found himself a way back to Earth. He learned that Lilith too was punished but with reincarnation forever to live and die until she learns why she was punished. He believes if he can find her and help her learn then he can prove redemption and forgiveness is possible, even for her.

His has found her many times, but always too late. He has seen the soulmate die many times and in many ways. This book is her last life recorded, he learns that she will be given no more lives and she will be doomed to Hell, the place for the truly unforgivable. Maxwell goes to Hell when she is kidnapped, he goes through a mythical fantasy realm full of fairies, talking trees, and mythical creatures, and Earth to help her.

It’s more of a dark fantasy story with horror elements than a horror piece. There are references to so many creatures, here’s a small list of them that are in this book and this series:

  • Angels
  • Demons
  • Vampires
  • Werewolves
  • Fallen Angels
  • Witches
  • Fairies
  • Talking Trees
  • Unicorns
  • Boogeyman
  • Ghosts/Spirits

Synopsis:

Maxwell, an angel who fell from Heaven for his part in the corruption of mankind walks a plane of uncertainty on Earth. He was unwilling to fully accept his damnation, so he set out on a mission to save the soul of the woman he loves, Lilith. Now, more than a millennium has passed, and this is his last chance to save her and prove that no one soul is beyond redemption. 
From the gates of Heaven to the fires of Hell he has traveled to save her. He is bound to her by his heart and he will face the ones he once called brothers to rescue her. He will complete this mission.

She is now known as Adele, with no remembrance of him, their love, her betrayal, and it is up to him to show her that her life is worth more than she could ever imagine. He rediscovers why he fell in love with her and along the way, wages war against Hells greatest demons to remind her.

Who is destined to die? Who is destined to live? Who is the real enemy? Is one soul worth the world?

My article, A World without Horror, for Horror Tree, is up! Go there to read the full article.

“Sit back, inhale with your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Now that you’re in a better more comfortable position I want you to do something for me. Imagine for a moment, if you will, a world without horror.
Now that you’re picturing it in your mind’s eye you’ve probably imagined a world without wars, starving children, or intolerance. You may have pictured an ideal location–a utopia if you will, of bliss and happiness. With skies above the shades of the palest of blues and the most romantic of pinks and purples. Clouds dotting along ignorant of anything other than peace and calm, even ignoring the blazing brilliance of a sun rising or perhaps setting depending on the mood upon which you’re imaging. Now that you have pictured this beautiful moment in time, you’re also picturing a world of unadulterated fantasy.
Horror is born of the darkness that rises after the sun sets.” 

by L. Bachman – A World without horror at Horrortree.com