Monsters

Monsters

Monsters by Ashleigh Galvin  This time of year, there is only one thing on people’s minds. Vampires, witches, and werewolves (oh my). These three ‘monsters’ occupy a large portion of fiction. Most bookshops I’ve been to even have their own vampire section. The epic plight for ‘top spot’ between creatures of the night has raged on for centuries, constantly vied for by shape-changing hairy men and those who have waited too long to see the dentist. They’ve become tropes and, like all tropes, people will tire of them when the next big thing sweeps through. What will the next big monster be? This article touches on some of the lesser-known horrors and will help you begin to create your own nightmare. Let’s get straight into it. The big blue deep is often associated with all manner of horrific and in some cases, quite unique monsters. A large factor behind these scary depths is the fear of the unknown. To this day, we are discovering new animals with amazing abilities (search pistol shrimp and you’ll know what I mean). This is simply due to the size of the oceans. They’re huge and if you’ve seen a whale, you know these vast bodies of water can house huge creatures as well. Due to the popularity of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies, there is one sea monster getting a surge in popularity: the humble Kraken. Heralding from Norse mythology, Kraken are squids of tremendous proportions said to be able to tear ships apart and eat them. Remember, monsters don’t have to be huge to be scary—small lakes also house those who wish to feast. The Kelpie are great examples of this. Celtic mythology tells of a water horse that transforms into a beautiful woman that lures men to their watery grave. The Kelpie also entice children to ride them. Once the child is on its back, its skin would turn sticky and the poor child is unable to escape as the Kelpie returns back to the bottom of its lake. If you thought staying out of the water would keep you safe, I’m afraid you’re dead wrong. Terra firma is also home to a host of horrors waiting to seal your fate. Let’s start with a creature you may recognize, the Dullahan. The name may be unfamiliar, but it is a classic specter of death. The Dullahan is a headless horse rider that carries it’s own rotting head under arm. Doors and gates open by themselves when a Dullahan approaches. Another great evil to stay away from is the often overlooked Mummy. Losing popularly slightly, the Mummy was once among the most feared monsters. While Mummies were written about as early...

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Halloween Reads

Halloween Reads

Something for all the Ghouls and Boils… by Merethe Walther There is little more compelling in horror stories than the unexplained and hidden things that go ‘bump’ in the night. And why not? Fear is a riveting source of entertainment. Why else would we sit, huddled in the dark around a television set, eyes glued to the screen, waiting for the monster or killer to jump out and scare not only the characters in the story, but also us, our pulses jumping just a *little* bit faster? For those of you who like the thrill of being terrified, the elation of a ghost story in the cemetery, and the fright of hearing noises when you know no one is there—we’ve got a little something for you. If you’re looking for a spine-tingling good tale, why settle just for one? Disturbing holds a collection of seven heart-hammering stories of the terrifying and the unknown. Disturbing is a compilation of the frightening; a tome of relentless, hauntingly creepy stories that leave goosebumps and uncertainty in their wake. Take a step outside of the ordinary and into a world where anything is possible, and everything is… Disturbing. “Truce.” She carefully unhooked her arm and reached up to clasp his hand. With help, Annie climbed up, swung her leg over the railing, and dropped to her feet on the other side. An odd, shivery sensation passed between them, leaving her a little disoriented when she eventually slipped her hand from his. His remained outstretched for a moment, suspended in the space where their palms had touched, until slowly, he curled his fingers closed and let his arm drop. His gaze never wavered from hers. Annie shifted away from his scrutiny and looked around. The dark expanse of bring yawned into the night from either side, with a single, sickly streetlamp to light the way. Something didn’t seem quite right, though she couldn’t explain why. “So,” Annie hugged her arms to her chest to ward off the sudden chill, “What are you doing out here? Really.” Her words frosted the evening air with little clouds of white. “Oh, you know,” he said. “Stalking.” “Yeah, right,” she looked at him, incredulous. “And girls on bridges just so happen to be on the venue tonight, huh?” He shrugged. “Those are the best kind, aren’t they?” Maybe you’re hungry for something a bit more gruesome than some ghost stories? Perhaps you’ve got a craving for something more to whet your horror appetite? How about a good old-fashioned, nail-biting, clawing, terror-inducing zombie attack to sate that craving? Welcome to a world in which the zombie apocalypse really happened, and see it from the view of those who kill...

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The Darkest Age Interview

The Darkest Age Interview

by Judy Spring Spectacle Publishing Media Group has recently published a horror role-playing game, The Darkest Age, collaboratively written by Eric Staggs, Rob Gee, and Julia Gengenbach. Based on the d20 OGL system, The Darkest Age is set in 14th century Europe where an unusual strain of the bubonic plague creates a world full of zombies, corruption, fear, and paranoia. Eric Staggs has answered a few development questions to give us insight to the frightening experience that is DA. Where did The Darkest Age originate? What was the motivation behind the role-playing game? There have been quite a few attempts in the tabletop gaming world to capitalize on the zombie craze. I wrote an elaborate research paper on the sub-genre of zombies when I was doing my undergrad. work and since then have spent much time considering this phenomenon. I wanted to try to explain all the inconsistencies, to create a viable game world that would allow players to explore a dangerous environment, yet without the futility of a true “extinction level event.” How did the project mature or expand over time? The initial idea was intense—profound almost. What happens when the Black Plague, which killed ¾ of Europe, also turns the infected into zombies? We had to determine how the world would react, how would a medieval/pre-Renaissance society survive? Could they at all? We had to do some detailed anthropological work, as well as extrapolate concepts from other writers, like Max Brooks (Zombie Survival Guide and WWZ). What aspects of DA are different from other RPGs? First, DA has unique character classes. Most character classes are based on a cultural concept—the Skald for example. We worked hard to find a way to logically create a measure of gender equality in this historical setting. The Midwife and Mystic are great examples. The mystic is a historical figure not often mentioned in church history—a heretic or prophet [with powers] a church official thought they might use to their own advantage. It’s pretty shady stuff, but imagine if you were accused of witchcraft, yet offered this chance to have the ear of a bishop? The midwife has evolved into something much more powerful than a nurse or medicine woman. They’ve become an organized power group that literally has control over the future of humanity. Further, The Darkest Age is a role-playing game. The precarious grip of this civilization requires players to be clever, and to think. The typical, “I draw my sword and attack,” scenario simply won’t work. What aspects were important to keep the same, and why? Well, it’s still a d20 based game system. This is important because anyone who’s played Dungeons and Dragons 3.0 or above will know...

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Twist of Fate is now available!

Twist of Fate is now available!

We are truly excited about the December release of TWIST OF FATE. Genilee Swope Parente and F. Sharon Swope dedicated countless hours to perfecting their unique romance/mystery, something we’re sure our readers will love just as much as we do. If you get a moment, check out their blog to learn what inspires these writers to create their wonderful tales. http://swopeparente.com/   Get it at Amazon! Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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Heron’s Path arriving April 1st

Heron’s Path arriving April 1st

Alethea Eason’s newest book, The Heron’s Path, has all the grace of the river that flows through its pages. One steps lithely into the world of Katy and her delicate sister Celeste. It is a world where the old and the new mingle, the Old Ones hold a knowing but genteel sway and the country man perhaps shouldn’t be so trusting of his dulled senses. Will Celeste come to know the purpose of her wanderings and dreams? Will Katy and aged Olena be able to keep her from the clutches of the evil we-nei-la? Follow them “north to the true wilderness, dark with ancient trees, where the Nanchuti struggle to keep their sacred songs from vanishing.” Like the current of the river Talum that witnesses all within these pages, you too will be swept along in the adventure, sometimes in reflective pools, sometimes drawn inexorably to the falls… to find the Heron’s Path.   Check out Amazon or Barnes and Noble to find your copy of Heron’s Path. Read a short sample of Heron’s Path right here. To learn more about Alethea visit her website:  Heron’s Path Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Like this:Like...

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