book reviews, books, eBooks, Horror, My Work, NaNoWriMo, Random thoughts and ramblings, reading, short stories, Short Story Collection, writing

Buttons, Hallowe’en and Belief…

It’s the 31st October today.

It means different things to different people.

To kids all over the world, Hallowe’en is time to dress up and collect so many sweets they’ll either be sick from eating them all at once ( I have experienced that one… never again) or they’ll be able to eke out all the goodies until Christmas.

To Teenagers, it’s time to dare each other to watch the goriest, scariest horror films that they can. To watch Pinhead torture another victim of the Chinese Puzzle Box or the Puzzle Killer slice another abductee into tiny pieces…

and yes, I have done that one as well… once more, never again.

To the Pagan community, it’s Samhain. This is the end of the Harvest true; but it’s also the night of the year when the veil between the worlds is thinnest and the Dead can visit us from the Spirit World…

…hence why we decorate our houses with ghosts and witches (not every pagan is a witch by the way) and carve pumpkins and turnips into lanterns to scare the evil spirits from our doors…

…then spend the 1st of November (Day of the Dead, All Saints Day) remembering those of our families who have passed on.

It’s also NaNoEve – the day before NaNoWriMo when those writers taking part are preparing themselves for midnight, to write 1677 words and upload their wordcount in celebration of writing without editing…

… I’m doing it again this year – did the change of Web Banner and addition of the NaNoWriMo Word Counter in the sidebar not give it away?

So in the spirit of both NaNo and Hallowe’en, I’m going to Treat you to some words  –

Firstly a couple of reviews of  “The Button Man” by Wayne DePriest

The Button Man takes a button when he takes a victim. And he takes a victim whenever he wants. The authorities don’t know he exists, though he leaves them ample evidence of his existence. They just don’t see it.

As a rookie patrolman, Detective Dan Finney met The Button Man in Maria Kuroshchepova’s apartment. Finney discovered her body, tucked neatly into her bed. A decade later the case is still unsolved and Detective Finney has seen the handiwork of The Button Man again and again without knowing it.

Saddled with a partner who seems hellbent on destroying both their careers and a girlfriend who just might take what sanity he has left, Finney gradually becomes aware of a sinister force loose in the city, a man who has gotten away with murder time and time again. As the picture of The Button Man becomes clearer, Finney comes face to face with his worst nightmare.

I’ll be adding my own review of this book a little later, but until then, here’s a couple of Amazon Reviews, warts’n’all…

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5.0 out of 5 starsSerial Killer, Dedicated Dectective and a final Plot Twist makes for a good read.,March 15, 2014
By J Faye “J Faye”
This review is from: The Button Man (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed reading The Button Man, not only once, but twice. The characters were well developed, the dialogue was well written and there were even a few pearls of wisdom thrown in here and there. I have enjoyed reading some of Mr DePriest’s other works and expected a lot from this story. I was not disappointed.
If you want to read a story about a wily serial killer and a dedicated detective who match wits and ride a plot twist through to the end, this is your book.

 * * *

3.0 out of 5 starsNice story, but too many tangents., May 28, 2014
By Pelagicus
This review is from: The Button Man (Kindle Edition)
I liked this story, it was very well written, but it was detracted by the fact that it took too many tangents, and too many characters were introduced, that didn’t really add to the story. I wanted to identify with the main character, but it seemed to jump around too much chronologically, so I could never get a handle on who the character really was. His relationships with the many secondary characters attempted to do this, but even these detracted from the main story. The strongest character was the villain, the Button Man, and the one that I could identify with the best, because he was simple, straightforward, motivated by the basest of instincts. if this story was pared down and stripped to its barest, rawest elements, it would be a great story.
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And here is one of my short stories –

A Dieter’s Halloween Nightmare

I have flashes of inspiration sometimes. This story is one that occurred to me during Halloween 2009 and was accepted for publication by House of Horror in December of the same year. It also found its way into their “Best of 2009“ Anthology.

The inspiration came from listening to everyone at my Slimmer’s club complaining about the amount of sweets and chocolate there was in the shops…

* * *

I’m walking down the stairs. It’s midnight on Hallowe’en and there is a noise in the kitchen. Gripping the cat tightly, I creep towards the door. An unearthly green light shines from beneath it and the rustling, crunching noise is getting louder.

I get ready to swing the cat, in best baseball batting fashion and using my foot, I push the door open. It swings away from me, creaking fit to wake the dead and the light blinds me. I tense as the noise stops and then I can see through the light…

A huge bar of dark G & B stands in the centre of the room, googly eyes whirling round and a huge Cheshire cat grin on the dark brown wrapper, “I’ve been waiting for you…” it whispers seductively and the wrapper begins to strip away, revealing the golden foil beneath.

As the eyes and grin float up above the bar, the gold foil rustles and starts to peel away. I can smell the deep chocolately aroma and my mouth begins to water.

“Eat me…” the seductive voice floats down from the grin.

“I can’t, I’m on a healthy eating plan.” I reply, dropping the cat to the floor and taking an involuntary step forward.

“Eat me. It’s Hallowe’en, you can have sweets at Hallowe’en.”

“No, I can’t… I mustn’t…” I struggle against the force pulling me into the kitchen. The gold foil drops to the floor and I can see the huge chunks of chocolate in front of me.

“No! I lost half a stone this week, I have to keep eating healthily!” I cry out weakly.

“Eat me…” the bar floats towards me, breaking apart into delectable pieces. I reach out, my feet stuck to the kitchen tiles

“NO!” I pull my arms in and take a step backwards. It tears the skin from my bare feet and I leave bloody foot prints on the floor as I step backward again.

The chunks of chocolate melt together to form a huge fanged mouth, the googly eyes resting on top of it. It opens and the deep chocolately smell draws me closer. I close my eyes to savour the aroma and I step forward again. I feel a sudden sharp pain in my hands and open my eyes to see the blood fountain from my wrists. The mouth gulps it down and I become weaker.

“If you won’t eat me then… I’ll just have to eat you!” the voice roars.

The tongue inside swipes out and curls around me, dragging me inside. The mouth closes and for an instant I am in chocolate heaven. Warm, melted chocolate pours in around me, down my throat, up my nose… and it’s wonderful.

Then pain explodes all over me and I realise, it’s not Heaven.

It’s Hell.

– Taken from:

The mind is a strange place. Darkness and Light are normally equally balanced within, but when the balance tilts toward the Darkness, dangerous things can happen…

This collection of Short Stories comes to you from A. E. Churchyard’s Darkness. Follow her as she walks the paths less trod within… just make sure you bring a torch… teddy bears optional.

A good assortment of horror (or Variations on a Scream!)., 14 Dec 2012 By Paul T.
This review is from: Darkness in Mind: A Short Story Collection (Kindle Edition)

Mention horror, and I would probably have thought ancient houses, creaky floorboards and unquiet spirits. Until, that is, I came across this collection of horror-themed short stories.

Churchyard does an excellent job of demonstrating that horror can cover a very wide range. There’s techno-horror, comedy horror, food horror, romantic horror – and more besides. There’s even a story involving a tragic death and a restless spirit that isn’t at all horrible, just to turn the genre on its head! And, yes, there are a few ancient houses, some creaky floorboards, and a fair bit of gore splashed around here and there!

All the stories, however, display a vivid imagination and a smooth flow of words that will draw you in to your doom… you have been warned!

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Well written tales, June 10, 2014 By Shari Rood
This review is from: Darkness in Mind: A Short Story Collection (Kindle Edition)
I enjoyed this book of short stories. Well written and often clever and thought provoking. The only thing I would say is that I didn’t find them at all scary or frightening and the title seemed to suggest that they might be. Still, these are very good and written by a very talented author and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a well crafted collection of stories.

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And finally, here’s something I ran across the other day:

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