Collector’s Edition is a short story written specifically for The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition, featuring a character who appears in another piece of mine releasing later this year. This one introduces Lexie in the setting of the parent story, which readers can delve into in October. Being Extreme, readers can expect graphic sex and a fair amount of bloodshed. The inspiration for Collector’s Edition was ignited by a documentary I had seen about a porn actor suspected of (knowingly) transmitting an STD to a string of professional and personal sexual partners. With that spark, I went down a more alternative path with what was being transmitted and the motivations. Horror buff collectors can be somewhat out of the box in how they cumulate their pieces, and Dave has his kink to feed. Anyway, I had fun with this one. I tend to stick to the U.K. as far as locations. This is the first published story that’s taken place largely overseas (I think)! Though my reoccurring character, Lexie, is from Glasgow, which is where this one opens. If you’re a gig-goer in Scotland, maybe you’ll recognise the venue? I don’t want to give much away, so I’ll leave it there – check out my story along with extreme horror helpings from my fellow TOC buddies in The Horror Collection: Extreme Edition. Featuring all-new original works from; Nic Brady, Matthew A. Clarke, David Owain Hughes, Kevin J. Kennedy, Kyle M. Scott, and Matt Shaw.
This is our second story to be featured by HST — we both had a blast writing this one. Check it out for a free fix of sexy, sleazy horror fiction. As with our last one, Milked— tissues and lube are appropriate condiments to have on standby!
Let’s consider that the creative mind and depression are synonymous. This is not a new idea — even if depression is regarded as a disease of modernity. It doesn’t take much to cast back to common references of such stereotypes as the ‘mad scientist, ‘tortured artist’ throughout human history — there has to be some inherent truth in the link. Personally speaking, there’s a maddening synchronicity to weaving art through mental ill-health. I loathe embracing this affliction as an illness; it’s an evil twin that’s attached itself to my core. But there’s no wavering — it is an illness. Maybe one of the soul as much as the brain. It torments the creative mind like a captor. For some of us, the relationship becomes a sort of Stockholm syndrome, an inescapable symbiotic horrorshow. I abhor it, maybe as much as I was conditioned to despise myself. Then I wonder if that instinctual over-analytic contemplation, the drive to understand and develop answers and solutions — a catalyst of change, a fuel of creation has some essence that fills a need — even when it leads to nowhere on the external. With depression’s tightening hands around life and art’s (those too are synonymous) throat and no words, shapes or colour come in any sort of sense, with the abandon of insanity. And the heavy, sticky, tar-like stuckness of it. With maddening, head-bursting introspectiveness and reactionary to stimulus, even of a thoughtless kind. Those stimuli can be hardest to shake — that processing of depression, like art, can be sickeningly narcissistic to an observer. Beneath that appearance, it can be more from an altruistic nature, one that can never find peace from being consumed by so much needless suffering for deplorable reasoning. An internalised, ever-raging war of sadness, anxiety and frustration and their armies. There’s a kindred spirit amongst those who suffer (I’m not keen on that word too, though it is accurate) at the hands of this demon. Depression; the stalker. It certainly tortures and bates like one. Of course, I point the finger at depression itself, but maybe that creative drive is too a demon of sorts; a need, compulsion, addiction. That need, that drive can be as desperate as the most basic needs to survive. Creativity is the thirst of the soul that demands quenching. While there’s no hard, scientifically proven link that I know of (I could be entirely wrong), its long-running prevalence cannot be denied. Some of the most cherished artists have made their afflictions known; undeniable tales slithered through brush strokes and words and musical notes, pouring blood through ink. Van Gogh, Plath, Woolf, Fitzgerald, Cobain, Staley, Cornell… there’s an endless parade of those who’ve broken into utter submission to their affliction, how many more unknown names bound together alone? Scattering pieces of themselves before their demise, with vultures pecking at the bones for generations after, or they blow away ashes to the wind… forgotten. There is a desperate need to live in some form of immortality living in loops and repeats, words cascading through eyes in minds; breeding and living on when that mind has long ceased being. Depression when it dances with suicide and for those whom it jumps into bed with, it’s an oxymoron in a creative who scatters seeds that, for some outlive, that immortality craving, notes from the grave, the cry for help or the declaration of: this is just how it is, beneath it all. Many years ago, a doctor (or therapist) remarked how maybe there was no way out for me, that my deep dark maddening downward spirals of self-torment and heavy sadness, the depression and suicidal ideations and (at times) planning, were a part of me… Victim blaming? Professional incompetence? She (like several) didn’t know how to help. I’m a hopeless case. Miraculously, therapy didn’t push me straight off the tightrope. I embraced that message to a degree, though. Therapy (for me) was utterly useless. (For some of those, the mentally unwell are fodder to their ego-mania of saviour, even if just in prescribed works, it lines their bellies enough.) More than that embracement, it added to the weight of hopelessness — even with professional intent, sometimes there’s no one to help but oneself — in that, I’ve had no choice in the toughest of times. I sometimes lull around the button. The whisper has never ceased, it bides its time; the one that says, “you’ve fought long enough”, “waited long enough”, “it never gets better for long”, “just give up!”, give in”, “finally, make the pain stop….” Lifelong mental health battles have steeped into my bones, I’m almost convinced it’s the culprit for a multitude of ailments. Dancing with physical pain like a lover, spawning one chronic pain to another. I have my tethers, strands that force my nostrils just above the murky water, choking and gagging with that whisper, taunting to submit to the deep. It’s interesting, though — I mulled over this recently whilst amid a major dip. It’s funny the terms we use for mental ill-health, there’s a flippancy that almost minimises this beast’s brutality. When I hear the buzzword ‘wellbeing’, I feel the same way — it’s wishy-washy, a platitude coined by the utterly clueless desperate to appear to care. A painfully overused marketing ploy. Along with the flippancy, there’s still such stigma for when mental ill-health is discussed sincerely and from places of genuine life experience — not just a mere observer. Not that I dismiss the validity of good, unbiased observations! As a highly sensitive introvert type, I’m an observational questioner — constantly to the point of unbearably annoying. Back to the point — yes, I’m almost sure the creative brain (certainly, my own grey-matter) is in an ever-constant dance-off with depression and her tormenting sisters… I’ve never been a good dancer, they toss me around like dead meat.
Since its conception in 2018, The Horror Collection series has been a firm favourite amongst global horror readers.
With each edition, KJK Publishing has prided itself in bringing audiences new stories from a coalition of brilliant indie talent across the spectrum of horror literature. Putting these stories firmly in the hands of readers, these collections are perfect for those who enjoy shorter works of fiction, those seeking fresh talent in the horror genre and make great reads, as a break between devouring longer works. A novel break, we could say!
This highly anticipated anthology from KJK Publishing is only the third in the series to be specifically themed.
Featuring established and new talent, each with vivid, sickening prowess in executing extreme, gut-churning, explicit, adult horror — Nic Brady, Matthew A. Clarke, David Owain Hughes, Kevin J. Kennedy, Kyle M. Scott, Matt Shaw and Natasha Sinclair have each contributed their slice of extreme in seven never-before-published stories, for your darkest pleasure! Extreme Edition is the unruly weirdo in the family who has no filter. The one that all the good crass, uncomfortable and disturbing stories come from — you wouldn’t trust them alone with your wife or kid! Hell, you don’t exactly want to be caught up alone with them yourself! This one has no boundaries. It’s the social anarchist of the relatively straight-laced bunch — that’s even with the freaky bizarro cousin interwoven through the THC books.
Grab your copies now! And as always, sharing your thoughts by leaving an honest review is always greatly appreciated.
If you are a reviewer of Horror Anthologies and fancy digging into either of the collections, drop me a message or reach out to Kennedy — we are always happy to build contacts in our dark little community.
Pressing, softly through the cracks Fragments of consciousness Piston hissing speckled the dead-night
Moving electricity aside She slips in like butter Melting and reforming to what I once knew
She was melancholy like my heart Sullen of soul My scion mirror
The tunnel formed Attuning the station Between pre and post mortem A hollow in this verse A meeting place
We spoke about mortality Not with words It was all there, though Moths fluttering in the air It’s been a while…
Since we shared space Since we shared time She keeps reminding me, though Those are figments...
Of faux comfort Fool’s restraints Flimsy, weak cortex It’s not everything Not even close
The cat’s body is in the next room Upon the pink bedspread His marbled fur of coppers and black Still as the void I can look if I want, she tells me He won’t stir yet But I can’t leave Paralysed in the serenity Permeating from her form
There’s so much more to that cat
The sun seeps in Glimmers strain against the sides Dagger sharp Fragments tear the space asunder
Summer Solstice Book launch! My solo collection of 9 short stories,Murmur: Collected Horror — the paperback and hardback are available now, the eBook lands tomorrow, 21st June! For an indie, I am generally pretty reserved about sharing and shouting about my work. It is a form of absolute introvert torture but I’m trying to work through that — it’s a slow process! Some of the contents have been published previously, these are spliced with a few never been printed pieces. Writers are often asked where ideas come from or what prompted a story, so each piece in the collection is followed by a few brief words about that. This little personal touch has been received positively by my pre-readers — I hope you enjoy that little insight too. I would love to share a read from the collection in the coming weeks. So, if you read it and have a favourite story — let me know in a review and/or by dropping me a message here, on Facebook or Instagram and I’ll pick the reader’s favourite to share! In time I would love to build on my ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) team for future releases, who would receive a free ARC of my books to read and review before public release. If you read and enjoy my work and this is of interest to you — please drop me a message. I want to hear from you!
My next (tentatively planned) solo release will be that of my debut novel, working title, Backyard Asylum, this may very well change. I’ve been swamped with other projects this year, so it hasn’t had as much attention as I’d hoped by this point. Projects with deadlines have taken president over the novel, but I hope to delve back into this come Autumn and at least have a completed first draft by the end of the year. Genre wise, it’s working out to be a blend of horror sub-genres, with definite elements of psychological and extreme. The working title may suggest the Asylum being a main (trope) feature but it is merely a backdrop at certain points within the story.
That’s a wrap for just now, if you pick up Murmur, I truly hope you are entertained! Thank you for reading and supporting this wee Scottish indie writer!
My solo collection, Murmur: Collected Horror, is up for pre-order. The paperback and hardback are set and will be available on 21st June! I am stoked that Kevin J. Kennedy, one of the UK’s most prominent horror anthologists, was kind enough to write the Foreword for the collection!
Pre-orders for several books that I have stories featured in have landed all at once, including Black Ink Fiction‘s first two books in their Legends of Night series — Infection and Bloodlust. I have ten drabbles between these two books, including my first time co-writing these micro-flash morsels with David Owain Hughes. How on earth do you go about co-writing a drabble?! Yes, I too wondered that — it was surprisingly fun and a touch addictive. Infection is officially released on 29th June, with Bloodlust at its heels on 13th July.
Next up to be available for pre-order is the highly anticipated, Gorefest from The Evil Cookie Publishing. This extreme anthology promises gross, humourous brutality — as a reader I cannot wait to read it! My contribution, Fuckin’ Maggots, is included in the line-up.
As the editor for KJK Publishing, I have also been working with Kennedy on finalising the next two The Horror Collection books, Ruby Edition and Extreme Edition. Some favourite contributors from previous THC books make the invite-only line-up, alongside some newer voices in the field. As always, Kennedy has his finger on the pulse of Indie Horror talent – if you’re a fan of horror and short fiction, these should absolutely be on your summer reading list! Release dates to be confirmed soon.
She was the most beautiful burlesque dancer to join their travelling freakshow; mesmerising. Clownhead couldn’t believe his luck when she reciprocated his sleazy advances.
As he drove his shaft in and out of her moistening pussy, his balls began that familiar thrum. Twin clown-heads hardened inside his sack, swelling and stretching skin; teeth chitter-chattered.
As his orgasm built in the pit of his rolling jelly-belly, with every enthusiastic thrust of his hips – electricity. The sharpening, lengthening teeth tore through his slop sodden sack. Clownhead’s weight pinned her as the twins erupted to enjoy their long-awaited meal in vivacious violent victory.
This is a unique anthology of short stories, to say the least. Each invited author was tasked to contribute their twist on a beloved fairy tale.
The Table of Contents includes;
Piper — M Ennenbach Midnight at the Glass Slipper — Ruthann Jagge Always Time for Tea — Natasha Sinclair She Saw Red: Once Upon a Crime part 1 — Jason Myers Swine of Another Kind: Once Upon a Crime part 2 — RJ Roles Pinnochio the Wooden Hoe — Matthew A. Clarke The Vengeful Little Mermaid — Tara Losacano What Goes into the Forest, Never Comes Out — Lance Dale Tonight, Tonight — Denise Hargrove It’s No Fairy Tale Out There — Kevin J. Kennedy
In celebration of the book launch, Crimson Pinnacle Press’ duo, along with a few of the contributing authors, are gathering for a blether live on Horror Talk Radio. It could be chaos — check it out on YouTube.
If you pick up the book, please leave an honest review!
A little bit about my contribution:
Always Time for Tea was inspired by Alice’s Adventures in wonderland. While the inspiring story, by Lewis Carroll, is about the ‘normal’ turbulent journey of a young girl from childhood to adolescence, in whimsical, masterful, metaphorical prose. Always Time for Tea only touches on that theme, along with some intolerance. Though at an older stage, as my MC’s story begins as a teenager and meanders through a journey of change — through a radically more alternative setting and situation. Led by the protagonist, Alicia Liddell’s adventure in a polyamorous, BDSM relationship and her subsequent initiation into the head table (the elite tea party) at a local fetish club. To which she was introduced to by one of her lovers (Red) and met the other (Chess). This piece, as would be expected, does get rather trippy, thanks (in part) to the cornucopia of mushrooms served at the tea party and the eccentric host, Myrick Hatch — if readers get a mild Red Cap nod from him, you would not be wrong. He was a fusion character of lyrical eccentricity for sure, designed to create a little intense discomfort. This story began with an idea I had pinned from a while back about tight-lacing. But almost reverting backwards from the modern use of steel boning to whalebone – though as opposed to whalebone, I considered how this could be fetishised and even cannibalistic in sourcing human ribs to restrain ribs. That was the original idea, but it became something else entirely when I returned to it for Fairy Tale Horrorshow. Nonetheless, it was loads of fun to write, and I felt freedom in writing this piece, thanks to the inspiring story and the awesome publishers who didn’t impose any boundaries on the submission invitation.