The Contrary Canadian


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Jane, Volume 1: Revival (Jane the Hippie Vampire)
Leigh M. Lane
Published by Cerebral Books,
Sept. 24, 2014
193 pages
Dramatic Horror

Jane is a collection of 3 novellas and 1 novelette about a vampire from the 60’s who’s frozen in time as a teenager-turning-adult. We follow her as she travels from town to town, somehow running into trouble wherever she goes. Why does Jane get into trouble? I think it’s because she’s an atypical vampire. First of all she was turned while on the streets running from an abusive father. Then, the vampire who turned her was far worse than her father ever was, raping her in unimaginable and horrific ways. These experiences drive Jane to feed on no one but the evil. Hence, Jane must seek out the evil, which invariably leads her into troublesome situations.

To tell you any more about the stories would be to spoil the surprises which await you in each tale. Let me continue in this way: The only thing that bothered me in these delightful and saucy stories was the soul-searching that Jane should have dealt with 50 years earlier. Much of the time I felt that Jane was a fairly new vampire instead of one who had been turned back in the sixties. Now this could just be me being picky, because the information had to be brought into the stories somehow. I say these things yet I went through the book rapidly, finding it hard to leave the book closed as I worked. I also thought each story was refreshingly original. But the reason I gave Jane a 5 star rating instead of the four it might otherwise have been is this…Jane was fun to read. When did you ever say such a thing about a horror story? Perhaps this is the reason Leigh M. Lane called the book a dramatic horror story. Yes! This book is a drama with horrific passages. And as horrific as some of those passages were, they were not enough to keep me from enjoying the drama. I felt like I was immersed in a television series. As Jane would say, “Cool.”

5 stars



Copyright © 2014 Clayton Clifford Bye

The Contrary Canadian


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Promise Not To Tell

Jennifer McMahon
HarperCollins Publishers, 2007
ISBN: 978-0-06-114331-1
250 pages
Mystery/Ghost Story

Kate Cypher has returned home to deal with her dementia stricken mother. As a nurse Kate knows the answer to all of her mom’s problems is an assisted living home, but as a daughter she feels a lot of guilt. After all, she has been gone for a long time, leaving her mother in the care of friends. She wants to do the right thing, but Kate keeps getting side tracked by some awful things—the day she arrives the daughter of an old school mate is killed in the same manner as her best friend was killed three decades earlier. And other strange happenings prey on her mind until Kate begins to wonder about her sanity. The questions she is left with are, “Who is the murderer?” and “Are ghosts real?”

Promise Not to Tell is an easy book to read. The pages flow by as you wait breathlessly for more information about the “Potato Girl.” Written with two time-lines, Jennifer McMahon could easily have lost her readers. But she goes back and forth almost seamlessly, leaving you to wonder at the fact that this is a debut novel.

This book could have been a thriller if the author had been willing to take us a little deeper into the darkness. As it is, however, McMahon has given us a mystery and a ghost story. Not so frightening as a thriller would have been, nor so scary as a horror story, Promise Not To Tell manages to be something uniquely strange. At times, because of the 30 year-old timeline, the book has a juvenile feel, then in the present it becomes ever more an adult ghost story—to the point that the two strands become completely entwined.

Do I like the book? Yes. Do I think it could have been “more?” Again, yes. But here I must confess that it is the intricate storytelling that even makes the book possible. So, should I really expect “more?” Not if I want to be fair to the author. This leaves me struggling with my gut, which says this is a four star book, and my head which proclaims Promise Not To Tell as a five star performance. Let’s go with the pundits and give Jennifer McMahon five stars for one hell of an effort.

5 stars




Copyright © 2014 Clayton Clifford Bye

The Contrary Canadian

Faithful Place
By Tana French
Hodder & Stoughton, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-340-97761-3
Trade Paperback
434 pages
Character Study/Mystery/Crime

The Blurb:
“The course of Frank Mackey’s life was set by one defining moment when he was nineteen. The moment his girlfriend, Rosie Daly, failed to turn up for their rendezvous in Faithful Place, failed to run away with him to London as they had planned.

Frank never heard from, or of, her again.

Twenty years on, Frank is still in Dublin, working as an undercover cop. He’s cut all ties with his dysfunctional family. Until his sister calls to say that Rosie’s suitcase has been found…”

The Review:
Frank Mackey is what I would call an anti-hero. Having cut all ties with his dysfunctional family, he works hard, drinks hard, has an ex-wife whom he still loves and a child he adores. He tries to be honest but is, on the other hand, ruthless to a fault. And when it appears his first love had been murdered instead of dumping him 20 years earlier, he also throws away the rule book. He takes time off and goes back to his old life.

Nothing has changed. And just when Frank thinks he can’t take any more of his crazy family, his brother Kevin is murdered. To make matters worse the murder squad blames his brother for Rosie’s murder and decides that Kevin killed himself by taking a header out of a window in the same abandoned house where he had supposedly killed her.

Frank knows the investigators have it wrong and he sets out to find the local he knows has killed his brother. But what he finds threatens to be his undoing. Frank feels the whole world breaking apart and he doesn’t know what to do—at first.

It is at this point the novel finally begins to move and take on the feel of a thriller. Prior to Frank’s discovery Faithful Place is a rather plodding sort of mystery. Dealing more with relationships and the creation of characters who are real and interesting, Tana French gets too involved with the little world she’s building, making the novel more of a character study than a mystery or a crime novel. Faithful Place is definitely not the thriller one would expect from French.

1 gold star

1 gold star1 gold star

Copyright © 2014 Clayton Clifford Bye

The Contrary Canadian


Note: this article has been previously published by the author.

A True Story.

I came home one evening from a fourteen-hour workday, having had three hours of sleep the night before. I was tired, cranky and hungry.

My wife met me at the door and said “Can you take us over to the church for Kid’s Club?”

My gut-level response? Gripe!

Yeah, that’s right. I wanted to say no. I wanted to remind her that if she had a driver’s license she wouldn’t need to ask. I wanted to say that the kids could skip their meeting this week. I wanted to ask “What about my dinner?”

But what I wanted wasn’t the best response. It wasn’t even the right response. It was a typical response.

Here’s what I forced myself to do instead: I smiled. I said “Sure.” I trudged out into the cold, scraped the frost off the windows of the car, started it up, went back inside and gave everyone a hug. I did this because it was exactly the opposite of what I wanted to do.

This story took place several years ago, yet similar choices are required of me every day. It’s something that will never change. Success demands you choose actions that are out of the ordinary – every day. Are you prepared to make that commitment?

The Incredible Power Of Contrarianism.

You want a better than average life? Stop doing what most people do. Begin right now. Don’t wait until later today. Don’t put it off until tomorrow. Make some different choices – right now.

I’m serious about this! Change is one of the most universally hated events. You should be prepared to welcome it for that reason alone – just because most other people won’t. Call it Contrarian Thinking or Contrarianism. It’s a way to force yourself to look at your choices from a different perspective.

Here’s the drill… When you want to generate better results than you’ve been getting, consider choosing a behaviour opposite of what you (or most people) would normally select in this particular situation. Now, I’m not saying you have to follow the course of action this exercise points you toward. Just give it serious consideration. Does this choice offer the possibility of better results? Do you have anything to lose by attempting this task? What other alternatives can you think of that might lead you away from the ordinary and toward the extraordinary? Make the best decision for you – based on the results you’re after.

In concise terms, Contrarians believe that the average person isn’t overly healthy, wealthy or happy – that these people just don’t make the right choices, or take the right actions, that lead to a better lifestyle. Contrarian philosophy also suggests outstanding achievement might be as simple a matter as choosing behaviours exactly opposite the average.

Emulate the exceptional not the ineffectual.

Let me ask you a couple of direct questions. Do most of the people you know deal with change well? Do you? If the answer was no (and it should have been), then there’s the justification for becoming a Contrarian. Simply put, if the results most people obtain in a given situation aren’t outstanding, why would you want to behave the way they do?

Let’s use this article as an example of what I’m taking about. A lot of people tend to read self-help literature passively, using the same approach they’d choose when sitting down with a novel. Be a Contrarian; do the opposite! Stop reading the moment you finish this paragraph, and act on what you’ve learned so far. Do something that opposes your normal choices. Not overly affectionate toward your spouse? Get up and give the guy or gal a hug. Say “I love you.” Better yet, put on the coffee, get them something to read and do those dishes they were about to do; show them you love them. It’s the opposite of what you’d normally do, and yet it makes sense, doesn’t it? We all know intuitively that better behaviours lead to better relationships. So, try what I’ve suggested… Put the article aside for awhile, and do something that’s out of character, that’s the exact opposite of what you usually do.

Convinced? Probably not. But that’s alright. Success is a journey, not a destination. The key is to keep moving in the right direction, to make more good decisions than bad.

Let’s look at another example of the kind of success-oriented movement that can be generated through Contrarian thinking. This one deals with procrastination, a problem of epidemic proportions.

Most people, I’m sure you’d agree, have problems with their to-do lists. I know I did. The pressure of things left undone was a constant in my life, and there were always tasks that seemed to get put off until they became so urgent they superceded everything else, wreaking havoc with scheduled work, interfering with more pleasant pastimes, threatening the quality of my life. Solution? Using Contrarian philosophy, I began to do the exact opposite of what I’d been doing. Specifically, I made the commitment to do my unpleasant tasks at the beginning of each day. After these tasks were completed, I’d go through the rest of the day working on a list of prioritized goals, refusing to worry about items shelved for another day because of time constraints. The results not only astounded me, they changed my life.

A Powerful Contrarian Technique.

Step 1: Find the most distasteful job on your to-do list and get it done. Why? The choice represents contrarian philosophy as well as any example I could give you. There’s something invigorating about clearing a repugnant task from your list of things to do – and it’s uncommon behaviour. Try it. You won’t be disappointed.

Step 2: From now on, begin each morning by doing the least preferable job(s) of the day. Chances are you’ll feel so good about yourself procrastination won’t seem half so attractive.

Step 3: Go through the rest of your day working from a list of prioritized goals. Recognize that worrying about things left undone is counterproductive, that a steady, energetic and worry-free progression through your most important goals will leave you further ahead at the end of the day than anything else you could do. It’s another uncommon or Contrarian choice.

Remember: When you’re prioritizing, don’t fall into the habit of putting jobs at the bottom of your list because they’re difficult, or boring, or nasty or… You get my drift, right? Arrange your tasks according to their importance and urgency – not by degree of difficulty.

I have many such examples of Contrarianism in action…

Are you, or have you ever been, a couch potato? I have. Here’s how I beat the habit: I made the decision to give my wife $5 for her personal shopping fund every time I thought about turning on the television or renting a movie. The end result was I don’t watch as much television as I used to, and my wife was able to enjoy several months of shopping at my expense.

Do you have the habit of laying blame when something unpleasant happens? You’re not alone. The Contrarian (and difficult) choice is to take responsibility where most people wouldn’t. After all, there’s a staggering probability that at some point in the chain of events there was an opportunity for you to have done something to change the results you experienced. The Contrarian would also find out what it was they could have done to get better results and would make the decision to alter their behaviour next time around.

Have you got the idea? By identifying the things most people aren’t willing to do – then doing those things yourself – you put yourself way out in front of the pack. So, stop wasting time. Make the change right now. Get contrary. Get different. Get on the high road to success.

Stop doing what most people do, and start doing what successful people do.

Is that all there is to it? Do successful people just choose behaviours that oppose the average? For the most part, yes. In general, successful people set goals they’re going to enjoy pursuing, work hard on a daily basis to achieve those goals, do the best they can within the realm of their abilities and spend little time worrying about what they can’t do or what others think. You must know, you must recognize, that the average person doesn’t go through life this way. The average person is reactive, rather than proactive. The average person doesn’t chart and adhere to a specific course but tends to be at the mercy of the winds of change, a statement supported by the lack of preparedness often exhibited when a strong wind blows through.

Think I’m being too harsh? Then consider this course of action: Get a pen and paper and write down exactly what you want from life, when you want these things to happen and the resources you’ll probably need. Break each of these large goals down into smaller and smaller tasks until you get to something you can do immediately. Do this thing. Then do the next task. And the next. And so on.

What? It’s too hard? It’ll take too much time? Well, you’re right. It should become obvious that this exercise is one without end, that will take you a lifetime to complete. But that’s the point. I’m convinced there are few people in this world who make the decision to spend each of the days they’ve been given on this earth “on purpose.” Yet this is exactly what I’ve observed successful people doing! If there’s one ability these individuals share, it’s focus. Successful people “dig in.” They refuse to be daunted by the lifelong challenge implied by the word “success.” Successful people know what they want and go for it.

Be willing to cultivate experiences which will move you relentlessly toward your goals. Why? Because the average person won’t, and the successful person will.

Spend the rest of your days “on purpose.”

The idea is so elegantly simple. At some level, I believe all successful people recognize that the meaning they choose to place on their experiences determines the direction and shape of their lives. It’s like having a pair of magic glasses to illuminate what’s important and to diminish what’s not, and it bestows the power to make the right choices.

This insight is important! If you can manage to interpret your future experiences in positive, constructive or proactive ways, I’m convinced you can accomplish virtually anything you can envision. Why not begin now?

Get On Purpose.

1. Review the patterns in your life, making a list of things you enjoy doing that you’re also good at. If you come up with zilch, go out and try new experiences until you do find a pastime you can enjoy. Reasoning? If you can’t enjoy what you do, you’ll never achieve an enjoyable lifestyle.

2. Lurking within this list of things you enjoy are thousands of opportunities. Your next job is to find a product, service or idea you can sell that’s related to this list. That’s right – sell. The only way anyone ever makes any money is to sell a product or a service or an idea. Every job in the world is, in some way, a service. All businesses sell something. And behind every one of these businesses and services are ideas people have either discovered or bought. It’s something everyone should think about, if not understand.

3. As for achieving outstanding success in the field you’ve chosen, the procedure is simple… Your earnings will always rise in direct ratio to the following:

a) The demand for what you do.

It’s up to you to find this demand, or create it.

b) How well you do it.

This is where the enjoyment comes in. If you don’t enjoy what you do, you’ll never put in enough practice time to become outstanding at it.

c) How difficult it is to replace you.

The more valuable you make yourself in the eyes of your direct customer, the more difficult it becomes to replace you.

Alright, that was a global approach for getting “on purpose.” But what do you do about staying focused on a daily basis? I like to use what I call the 4 A’s of Achievement. It’s a system I devised for keeping me focused on the results I want from life. The system has helped me to maintain perspective, and it has led me to some outstanding achievements. I know it can do the same for you.

The Four A’s of Achievement.

Awareness: Know what you want – from life, from this day or even from your current task. Plan each leg of your journey “on purpose” and with daily enjoyment in mind.

This is so important! Specific destinations give you a target to aim for, or a direction in which to travel. They give you that all-important thing called focus. Having fun while you’re at it increases the likelihood that you’ll repeat the behaviour.

Action: Get moving! Small achievable steps, taken on a consistent basis, will get you where you want to go.

Virtually any vision you can hold in your mind can be accomplished in time. And as this is a life you’re planning, the only thing with the power to actually stop you is death itself. So, get moving!

Analysis: Keep your eyes open. Learn to recognize when you’re on course and when you’re not.

Think about it: Those miles you rack up every day will only get you to your next port of call if you’re travelling in the right direction. Look for signs. Write things down! Check up on yourself. Stay on course. Get “on purpose.”

Adjustment: If you find a good vehicle or a good road to travel, stick with it long enough to make some progress in the direction of your goal(s). But please! If you take a wrong turn, never hesitate to make a course correction. All good navigators know that staying on course is primarily a matter of small and continuous adjustments to keep from drifting off target.

Be prepared to modify your behaviour and actions as required.

That’s it. The uncomplicated but never easy path to the good life: Consistent and purposeful action over a lifetime – with a vigilant eye on the results.

To recap:

Figure out what you could enjoy doing with the rest of your life, then put your focus on behaviours with the potential to get you living that way. Pay attention to the results you get, making adjustments when needed. Become a Contrarian. Do what others are unwilling to do. Strive to find positive and productive meaning in each experience you have, rather than thinking, feeling, talking and acting as you have in the past. Dare to be different! If nothing else, you’ll end up with a more useful set of beliefs about what you’re capable of and about how the world works. Personally, I think the ride’s going to be more exciting than you could ever imagine. Have fun.

The Contrary Canadian


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The Gone Away World
Nick Harkaway
Alfred A Knopp, 2008
Hard Cover
498 pages
Speculative Fiction

Gonzo William Lubitch and his unnamed best friend and alter ego are important members of the Haulage & HazMat Emergency Civil Freebooting Company of Exmoor County (Corporate HQ the Nameless Bar, Sally J. Culpepper, presiding). When a giant fire at the Jorgmund pipe threatens to destroy what little is left of the old world, they are the go to people. But something sinister is going on. Gonzo’s friend has good instincts and he’s uneasy. When his suspicions come true and the company is almost killed off, Gonzo and his friend end up standing in a torrent of FOX, the stuff that keeps the world from being unmade but that has severe side-effects when dumped on an ordinary human, if you can call Gonzo and his friend ordinary.

The result is unimaginable and changes the superheros forever. To understand all that happens before and after the Jorgmund pipe fire, the author takes us on a psychedelic journey through the life of Gonzo’s friend—who is the narrator of the story. We see him grow up, find an unusual career, fall in love and meet some very strange people along the way.

Then it all ends in the greatest nightmare possible. Gonzo turns on his friend, steals his wife, shoots him full of heavy calibre bullets and kicks him out of a moving vehicle. This is the beginning of the end of The Gone Away World, and if you haven’t been electrified by the brilliant, if unorthodox, storytelling of Nick Harkaway, then you aren’t a true lover of speculative fiction.

The novel is epic, mind bending and brilliant in its development. And the ending is well worth the wait.

5 stars

Copyright © Clayton Clifford Bye

A Review of Stephen King’s Joyland


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Stephen King
A Hard Case Crime Novel
Titan Books, 2013
283 pages

Devin Jones, a college student on the verge of serious heartbreak, makes an impulsive choice to spend the summer working at Joyland, a large carnival stationed at Heaven’s Bay, a small, seaside town. Little does he know that heartbreak is just the beginning of his summer passage to manhood. In his future lies a dark mystery, the death of a special friend, and some other things that will change him forever.

Joyland is both a novel of coming of age and of growing old. It’s about new beginnings and terrible ends. Yet, in between these things, there’s tender love, great passion, personal loss, mystery and even horror.

Written in the vein of such beautiful stories as Stand by Me and Hearts in Atlantis, Joyland holds its own as a work of crime—with a touch of horror. Not as innocent as Stand by Me, nor as deep as Hearts in Atlantis, this story reaches for one man’s understanding of himself during a most unusual summer, both the worst and the best of his life.

This is a mature Stephen King we experience. A man looking back over his own life and attempting, once again, to capture those bittersweet moments that tend to shape us all. A master working his craft as no other can.

5 stars



Copyright © 2014 Clayton Clifford Bye

The Contrary Canadian


Dying is easy. One quick pull of the trigger, a bottle of pills to ease you into a permanent sleep or if you’re really in it bad, the next transport coming around a corner will gladly do the job.

Am I shocking you? When you’re down in the black hole of depression, a funny thing happens to your mind. It turns inward on itself, and thoughts of relief come fast and furious. The pain of living with whatever your particular problems are seems too much  to bear. So much so, that the unthinkable becomes immensely attractive.

How do I know this? I have Bi-Polar Disorder, still known in some countries as Manic-Depressive Disorder. And I don’t have the kind that’s triggered by my environment, what is called situational depression. No, mine is the kind that descends on you like a sort of madness, that creates warped filters for you to look out of and try to find your way. Or in my case to simply recognize, then ride the terror out.

And make no mistake. It’s all about terror, about losing control of who you are, of being replaced by a demon so harsh that it can wreck your world or, when I’m in a schizophrenic state,  replacing it with another world entirely.

When in a Manic Phase I don’t think about killing myself, and maybe you. No, instead I feel grandiose. Money loses meaning, my thoughts and ideas become golden, sleep becomes unnecessary, and I destroy myself in more innovative ways. When in a Depressive Phase, the beast comes out. Then no one is safe. Because your thoughts turn only to ending the pain that’s ripping at your very core. And if you let it do that, then all sorts of narcissistic behaviours become possible. And the darker ones always seem to be the easiest ones to pursue. Much easier than turning yourself in to a hospital or locking yourself in a room or putting your head under a pillow and sleeping the day away. Dying is so quick and painless it’s a siren song for the depressed.

We shouldn’t wonder why people take their lives. That’s easy to understand. We should wonder why more people don’t. Because I can tell you from experience, my friend, when the devil takes your mind, dying is easy.

Copyright © 2014 Clayton Clifford Bye

The Contrary Canadian


Life’s Lottery

Kim Newman

Titan Books, 2014

ISBN: 9781781165560

Mass Market Paperback

605 Pages

Adult Role-Playing Novel


Life’s Lottery asks you to make choices, to take part in the great lottery that is this life. But not is all it seems. This is a story about a man who always makes the wrong choice except, maybe, just one time. And for now, you are that man.

Can you stay the course as you make choice after choice only to die or get murdered or end up living a dismal, sometimes horrifying existence? How many times will you go back to the beginning and try a different selection of choices in order to escape the darkness that seems to follow you like it’s a real thing? And when you become familiar with the various incarnations of characters do you begin to sense there is something very wrong with this disturbing story?

Do you wish to give up? Have you thought about throwing the book in the corner? I bet you have. But you can’t, can you? Life’s lottery had its hooks into you the very first time you came to an unhappy ending and faced the choice: Do I have the courage to go on, or is it time to quit?

Quit? Never. To let Kim Newman beat you to the ground, laughing all the while, is something you just won’t accept. And the shadowy narrator?  He might always be there, but that doesn’t mean you have to run and try to hide.

So, rise to the challenge this articulate, intriguing and quite brilliant author has set for you. You might just win…Life’s Lottery.


Copyright © 2014 Clayton Clifford Bye

The Contrary Canadian

We write books that are DIFFERENT. These are works you will not find on mainstream bookshelves. And yet they are of such quality they are being recognized anyway…

The Preditors & Editors Reader’s Poll for 2013 is now complete. Here are the awesome results (Our member winners are in bold type face).

Standings for Horror Short Stories

1. Waterless, Rose Blackthorn, Buzzy Mag
2. Taut, Shaun Meeks, Smart Rhino Press
3. 9 Vials of Blood, John B. Rosenman, Chase Enterprises Publishing
4. Fish To Die For, Keith Milstead, J. Ellington Ashton Press
5. Game of Straws Origins, SB Knight, Knight Stalker Press
6. The Testament of Charlie Fairweather, Stephen M. DeBock, Gypsy Shadow Publishing, LLC
7. What the Butler didn’t See…, Teel James Glenn, Fiction Vortex
8. Skin Deep, Carson Buckingham, Smart Rhino Press
9. Ophie and the Undertaker, Shebat Legion, Perseid Press
10. Loneliness Makes the Loudest Noise, Monica J. O’Rourke, HW Press
11. Death of the Spider, Micki Peluso, Chase Enterprises Publishing 
11. Butcher, Carrie Lynn Barker, The Foliata Oak
12. The Dying House, B.E. Scully, Anthocon
13. Haunt, Jeffrey Kosh, Grinning Skull Press
13. Darkness, Darkness, Fred Andersen, Uncial Press
13. What About Mom?, E. J. Ruek, Chase Enterprises Publishing
14. Highway 24, Jeff Chapman, MuseItUp Publishing
14. Devil Inside, William Cook, King Billy Publications
14. Forever, in Pieces, Kurt Fawver, Villipede Publications
15. I Live in the Gut, Gary McMahon, Crystal Lake Publishing
15. Welcome to Hell, CK Houghton, Wordsmith Literary Publishers
15. I Sea Monsters, Paul Copeland, J. Ellington Ashton Press
15. Eat Shit and Die, Frank J Edler, StrangeHouse Books
15. The Unknown Caller, Craig D. B. Patton , Anthocon
15. Dead Jimmy and the Selkie, Iseult Murphy, Drabblecast
15. Drowning in Tears, Stephen Zimmer, Hellscapes Volume 1, from Seventh Star Press
15. Ten to Midnight, Suzie & Bruce Lockhart, Horrified Press
15. The Ghouls, Jarod Anderson, The Were-Traveler
15. The Infestation, Kay Jakabs, SNM Horror Magazine
15. Coffin Dirt, Tom Wescott, Mystery and Horror, LLC
15. Shock Therapy, Sam Bellotto Jr, Double Dragon Publishing
15. The Final One Percent, Desmond Warzel, Blood Bound Books

Standings for All other Short Stories

1. Of Jasmine and Pomegranate, Mike Arsuaga, Boroughs Publishing Group
2. Zvonek 08 Feline Intelligence, Anne H Petzer, Gypsy Shadow Publishing
3. Det. Lupèe: The Impossible Cases, James Secor, Chase Enterprises Publishing
4. Lies and Paine, Cyrus Keith, MuseItUp Publishing
5. What the Indian Saw, Teel James Glenn, Pro Se
6. The Midnight Zone, Elizabeth Delisi, Tirgearr Publishing
7. Love Potion #9.5, Kat Holmes, MuseItUp Publishing
7. Ritual, Salvatore Buttaci, All Things That Matter Press
7. Love and Other Wounds, Jordan Harper, Out of the Gutter Online
8. A Christmas Accident, Melissa Keir, Secret Cravings Publishing
8. The Only Gifts We Give, Ian Florida, Every Day Fiction
8. Rags to Riches, Penny Estelle, MuseItUp
9. Forbidden Destiny, Lia Michaels, Sassy Vixen Publishing LLC
10. The Winggirl, Whitley Weston, Secret Cravings Publishing, 10. Daddy’s Girls, Josie Coxx, Pole Publishing

Standings for Anthologies

1. The Soul That Screamed, Horrified Press
2. Nightmare Stalkers & Dream Walkers, Horrified Press
3. The Best of the Horror Society 2013, The Horror Society Press
4. The Speed of Dark, Chase Enterprises Publishing
5. Allegories of the Tarot, Word Webber Press
6. Sharedc Whispers, Champagne Books
6. Dreamers in Hell, Perseid Press
7. Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror, James Ward Kirk Publishing
8. Dandelions of Mars; Tribute to Ray Bradbury, Whortleberry Press
9. Twisted Tails VII: Irreverance, Double Dragon Publishing
10. Still Dying 2, Rymfire Books
11. The Art of Love, Whiskey Creek Press
11. Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera for a New Age, Every Day Publishing
12. Eulogies II: Tales from the Cellar, HW Press
13. Someone Wicked, Smart Rhino Publications
13. Shall We Dance?, Dancing With Bear Publishing
14. ‘Tis the Season for Seduction, Sassy Vixen Publishing LLC
14. Bleed, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing
14. Enter At Your Own Risk: Dark Muses, Spoken Silences, Firbolg Publishing
14. Tales from the SFR Brigade, SFR Brigade
14. The Crimson Rope, Evernight Publishing
15. Horror Library Vol. 5, Cutting Block Press
15. Persephone’s Song Anthology, Keith Publications
15. Shifty, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough
15. Gingersnaps & Candy Canes, Dancing With Bear Publishing
15. Shifters: A Charity Anthology, Hazardous Press
15. After Death…, Dark Moon Books
16. Harboring Secrets, Cherokee McGee
16. Until The End, Horrified Press
16. Mechanized Masterpieces: A Steampunk Anthology, Xchyler Publishing
17. Fear the Reaper, Crystal Lake Publishing
17. Shadow Masters an anthology from The Horror Zine, The Horror Zine
17. Murder, Madness, and Mystery, Feed The World With Words
17. Naughty Sleepover, Decadent Publishing
17. O Little Town of Deathlehem, Grinning Skull Press
17. Roses Are Red, Diamonds Are Blue, Muse It Up
17. Southern Haunts: Spirits That Walk Among Us, Seventh Star Press
17. Zippered Flesh 2: More Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad!, Smart Rhino Publications
17. DOA 2 : Extreme Horror Collection, Blood Bound Books
18. 31 Devotions for Writers, Family Friendly Fiction
18. The Demonolgia Biblica, Western Legends Press
18. Best Tales of the Apocalypse, Permuted Press
18. What We Carry Home, Ascent Aspirations Publishing
18. Falling Over, Infinity Plus
18. Wee See a Different Frontier, Publishing
18. Doorways to Extra Time, Spencer Hill Press
18. A Dash of Madness: A Thriller Anthology, Xchyler Publishing
18. Unidentified Funny Objects 2, UFO Publishing
18. Tales of the Wold Newton Universe, Titan Books
18. Blood Addict, Excessica
18. For the NIght is Dark, Crystal Lake Publishing
18. The Other Half of the Sky, Candlemark & Gleam
18. All Hallows’ Evil, Mystery and Horror LLC

Standings for Book/e-book Cover Artwork

1. Fantastic Futures 13, Roy Mauritsen
2. Walker’s Run A Sanctuary Novel, Book One, Marion Sipe
3. Echoes, Charlene A. Wilson
4. Relics, Maer Wilson
5. Enchanted Skean, Vonnie Winslow Crist
6. Dark Liaison, J.D. Brown
7. An Alexandria Winter Anthology, 2013, Renée Barratt
8. Second Time’s the Charm, Melissa Keir
8. A Wandering Warrior, Aidana WillowRaven
8. Cardinal Desires, Deron Douglas
9. Four Days, Eli Wilde
9. Faizah’s Destiny, C.K. Volnek
10. The Soul That Screamed, Jude Hunt
11. Sirion, Ivano Massari
12. Mortimer, Karri Klawiter
12. Someone Wicked, Cover art by Jamie Mahon, Design by Amy York
12. Blame it on the Sun by Jamie Hill, Cover art by Michelle Lee
12. Harper’s Wish, Krista Ames
12. Itsy Bitsy Spider, Kimberly Shursen
12. In This Kingdom by the Sea, Cover Art by Bev Haynes
13. Haunted Hills, Judith B. Glad
13. Raygun Chronicles: Space Opera For a New Age, Paul Pedersen
13. soundbyte, Cat Connor
13. Detour Trail, Becca Barnes
13. Winter’s Sweet Kiss, Annabelle Blume, Lily Carlyle, Shaya Roy, Michelle Ziegler, Terri Rochenski
14. Blood and Fire, Ally Shields
14. Code Name:Ghost, Natasza Waters
14. Det. Lupèe: The Impossible Cases, James Secor
14. ORACLE, Delilah K Stephans
15. Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror, William Cook
15. She Rides, Adelle Laudan
15. Scent of a Killer, Covers By StruZa
15. Magic in Outer Space, James Hartley
15. Memoirs of a jobseeker, Ivano Massari
15. The Rules, Mark Troy
15. The Partisan’s Wife, Cover art by Michelle Lee
15. Breaking Glass, Lisa Amowitz
15. Christmas Goes Green, Kate Pagel
15. Mai Tais and Mayhem, M. S. Spencer Cover art by Dawne Dominique
15. Quest of the Hart, C.K. Volnek
16. Shh! It’s a Secret, Geoffrey Hewer-Candee
16. Mystical Wonders – Second Chances, Dawne Dominique
16. A MARRIAGE BARGAIN, Blaise Kilgallen
16. The Dsiappearing Rose, Renee Duke
16. Adam and Sheree’s Family Vacation, Giselle Renarde
16. The Finder Series, Renee Barratt
16. STORYTELLING – The Indispensable Art of Entrepreneurism, Rudy A. Mazzocchi
16. Payton’s Woman by Marilyn Yarbrough, Cover art by Sheri McGathy
16. The Speed of Dark, Zentao
16. The Antique Love, C.K. Volnek
16. The Storm-Wing, Lorinda J. Taylor
16. Karma Visited, Chelle Cordero
16. Severed Ties, Angie Skelhorn
16. Outmaneuvered, J.L. Hammer
16. China Blue, Kat Attalla
16. Allegories of the Tarot, Kris Austen Radcliffe
16. Country Captured, S. Willett
16. Anything You Want, Dawne Dominique
16. Anselm, a Metamorphosis, Ardy Scot
16. The Protector Series (Books 1-3), Carolyn Wren, Design by Dawné Dominique

The Speed of Dark Wins

Readers’ Favorite International

Bronze Award for Fiction Anthology


The Speed of Dark Reviewed by Lee Ashford for Readers’ Favorite

“The Speed of Dark” is a horror anthology of short stories written by an assortment of authors, and published by Chase Enterprises Publishing. Editor Clayton Clifford Bye states in his Introduction that “horror” means many things to different people. It can mean an intense feeling of fear or shock or disgust. It can mean terror, dread and fright. He quotes Lovecraft as defining horror as a profound sense of dread. He quotes Stephen King as identifying three levels of “scary”, terror, horror, and revulsion. In “The Speed of Dark” the editors were going for a different level of horror, they hand-picked 27 authors to craft “disturbing” horror stories. They succeeded admirably. Don’t expect to sleep well after reading this book. Some of these stories will stay with you for a long, long time, continuing to disturb you long after you have read them.

Many of the tales in this collection are superbly written. They also happen to be very disturbing. One can be forgiven for wondering about the mental state of some of these authors. But for a fan of horror, there is much to revel in within the pages of this compilation. I believe that every word used above to describe “horror” represents an emotion you will feel during the course of reading this book. Some of the stories have unexpected endings, which create the horror you will feel. Others start out with disturbing circumstances, and maintain that sensation of uncomfortable dread throughout. The editors at Chase Enterprises Publishing have tapped some brilliantly twisted minds to contribute to their anthology. In their effort to produce “disturbing” horror stories they have succeeded far beyond what I expected, even in spite of the introductory warning. Horror fans take note, “The Speed of Dark” is a book you must add to your library. Now.


The Contrary Canadian

Help me welcome self-published children’s author, Linda Hales. Linda has published several books, her latest being “Sunshine And Her Big Blarney Smile.”

ImageA young girl tries to cheer up her great grandfather. Read along as she uses her imagination and her big blarney smile to chase away his sad and angry day.


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