Shock Totem Radio
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Author Archives: K. Allen Wood
Ready for more? We are proud to announce our seventh issue, to be released this coming July.
Once again the cover art was created by the brilliant Mikio Murakami, who has done all our magazine artwork since issue #3.
Check out the official Table of Contents:
* TBD (Editorial)
* Consumption, by Victoria Jakes
* Among the Elephants, by Amberle L. Husbands
* The Four Horsemen of the Parking Lot, by Kurt Newton (Narrative Nonfiction)
* Untitled: A Conversation with Adam Cesare, by K. Allen Wood
* The Gates of Emile Plimpkin: The Gravedigger’s Legacy, by S. Clayton Rhodes (Novelette)
* Smoking, The Old Sergeant, by Dominik Parisien (Poetry)
* Strange Goods and Other Oddities (Reviews)
*The Horror That Et My Pap—And Other Swamp Stuff, by William F. Nolan
* Shall I Whisper to You of Moonlight, of Sorrow, of Pieces of Us? by Damien Walters Grintalis
* Bloodstains & Blue Suede Shoes, Part 5, by John Boden and Simon Marshall-Jones (Article)
* The Long Road, by Kristi DeMeester
* Thing in a Bag, M. Bennardo
* Howling Through the Keyhole (Author Notes)
Packed with veteran authors and up-and-comers, we feel this is another strong issue, one which sits well with our past issues but also uniquely stands out as its own. No other issue can boast such long titles, that’s for sure!
Look for it soon in print and digital formats. You can pre-order the print edition here.
As always, thank you for your continued support!
Shades of Lovecraft collects eight tales that are competent and thoughtful tributes to one of the genres founding fathers, heavy on influence and tentacles.
We begin with “Dead City.” After a flood, a town resident refuses to evacuate with most of the populace, he bonds with a strange old man as they realize this flood is merely a doorway to bigger, beastlier things.
“Ensnared” finds the crew of a fishing vessel in haunted waters, hauling in a catch they would have done better to have cut loose.
“The Shimmering” is a wonderful old-school adventure into the more science fiction side of Lovecraftian tributes. A man is the sole heir of his missing uncle’s estate. Upon moving in he makes odd discoveries through reading the volumes in the library. Then he notices bizarre lights in the woods, and upon exploring them finds that there are things much stranger than the lights out there.
All the stories in this collection are strong and well-written. But as it is with a lot of Lovecraft’s original work, they can get a little tedious. Rather, they don’t all resonate. The stories that left an impression, I singled out above; and while I didn’t mention the rest, it doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy them.
With Shades of Lovecraft, Paul Melniczek delivers a lovingly rendered homage to one of the true masters of modern horror literature. Recommended.
Every other month we host a flash fiction contest on our forum. The next contest begins on Friday, March 1, 2013.
Participants have one week to write a story based on a prompt that we provide. The prompt must be integral to the story. This requirement, we hope, forces writers to pen a brand-new tale rather than submit some previously written or reworked story.
When the week is up, the stories are anonymously posted in the hidden contest forum. The entrants then have three weeks to read each story and vote on their top three. Additionally, most give feedback on each story, thus ensuring everyone gets something out of the contest.
The final contest of the year is in September. Once that winner is announced, all five individual winners throughout the year will be given to a neutral judge, who will then pick his or her favorite. That story will be published in the next issue of Shock Totem!
If interested, sign up here. It’s a good time.
John Skipp has reviewed Shock Totem #6 on Fangoria’s website.
“[Jack] Ketchum and I are in firm agreement that Shock Totem is living proof that we’re in a golden age when it comes to the short horror story. Some of the best stories ever written are being written right now.”
I have long been a fan of all things cryptozoological—along with UFOs, treasure hunting, archeology, and just about every other “nerdist” pursuit one could think of in the realm of mystery. But cryptozoology, the study of “hidden animals,” is the one I find most interesting, as it refers to the search for undiscovered—though quite possibly nonexistent—animals such as Bigfoot, Loch Ness, Champ, and the chupacabra.
Animals that could very well be—and indeed in some cases likely are—lurking in our own backyards.
Around my hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts, we have the Bridgewater Triangle, an area of about 200 square miles that encompasses the Hockomock Swamp (Hockomock meaning the “place where spirits dwell”). For centuries it has been the location of UFO and Bigfoot sightings, as well as giant birds and mysterious lights. There have been reports of ghosts, of Satanic rituals being performed. Though I’ve not witnessed anything out of the norm in the triangle—and I’ve looked—it has nonetheless fascinated me since childhood.
The small town of Fouke, Arkansas, has been that place of fascination and mystery for many people, as well, specifically musician and author Lyle Blackburn. And his first book, The Beast of Boggy Creek: The True Story of the Fouke Monster, is a testament to this.
Lyle Blackburn is probably best known as Count Lyle, lead singer/guitarist for the gothabilly horror-punk band Ghoultown. But he’s also a damn good writer, and The Beast of Boggy Creek showcases this.
The book attempts to compile the complete history behind the legendary cryptid known as the Fouke Monster, from possible sightings in centuries past to more modern-day sightings, specifically the 1971 sightings that sparked the backwoods legend we now know as the Fouke Monster. Obviously it covers the classic horror film, The Legend of Boggy Creek, in depth, as would be expected, but it goes beyond that.
Peppered throughout The Beast of Boggy Creek are detailed eye-witness accounts, collected theories, a chronicle of sightings of “hairy bipedal man-ape creatures within 50 miles of Fouke” (though not a comprehensive list of all sightings, as that alone would take up an entire book itself, if not more). There are also personal anecdotes from the author, maps, illustrations, photos, and an exhaustive bibliography for the would-be crypto-geek.
This is a detailed and engrossing history lesson, one that could only have been written by someone with a passion for the subject matter and the inherent mysteries that surround cryptozoology. Perhaps the best thing about this book, however, is not that it is such a comprehensive look at the Fouke Monster, but that it is presented as a compelling, personal story. Lyle Blackburn doesn’t just give you the details in a stale, here-are-the-facts manner, as is often the case with similar works of nonfiction; he presents it all as if he were on stage with Ghoultown—it’s a show, it’s entertainment, and for all intents and purposes, it’s real.
Whether you’re a hardened believer, a skeptic, or something in between, The Beast of Boggy Creek is a highly recommended and entertaining read.
And if you want more, check out Lyle’s Monstro Bizarro column over at the Rue Morgue website for additional crypto reads.
A short clip of Lyle’s appearance on Discovery Channel’s new series, Monsters & Mysteries in America“
This review originally appeared in Shock Totem #5, July 2012.
Attention Kindle owners: Through Sunday, the Kindle edition of The Wicked, by James Newman, is on sale for 99 cents!
It’s currently enjoying a spell in the #1 slot under Horror/Occult on Amazon. It’s #2 under Horror, in the shadow of World War Z. Think we can oust it from the #1 slot? You can help!
Newman is considered by many to be one of the unsung greats of the horror genre. We agree, and the reviews for The Wicked, his ode to 1980s small-town horror novels, reflect this as well.
And now you can see what all the hype is about for next to nothing!
[ click for full image ]
To download, click here.
(Amazon has given the print version a slight discount as well, at $13.49.)
As previously noted, The Wicked has been revised by the author, expanded with a new foreword by Mark Allan Gunnells, a new afterword by the author, and brilliant new artwork and illustrations by Jesse David Young (with additional cover layout by Yannick Bouchard). Also included is a brand new, exclusive tie-in short story written specifically for this release.
So what are you waiting for? Please download this great novel and help us spread the word by sharing the link!
This week only we’re running promos on the first five issues of Shock Totem (not including the special holiday issue). Starting today, Kindle users will be able to download issue #1 for free. Tomorrow, issue #2 will be free, Wednesday, issue #3, and so on.
Click the links below to download!
Monday/Tuesday: Shock Totem 1: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Tuesday/Wednesday: Shock Totem 2: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Wednesday/Thursday: Shock Totem 3: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Thursday/Friday: Shock Totem 4: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
Friday/Saturday: Shock Totem 5: Curious Tales of the Macabre and Twisted
We ran a similar promo a little over a year ago, and it generated 10,000 downloads. We hope to once again reach thousands of new readers. If you haven’t read all—or any—of our issues, now is the perfect time. If you have, please encourage others to give us a shot.
Michael Wehunt won with his story “Everything That Can’t Heal Itself.” This is his second First Place finish and fifth time in the top three—in six contests! Impressive.
About this month’s prompt: I often look through our site stats to see how people are finding our website. One recent visitor arrived hear after searching for this…
I thought it very curious, so I scribbled it down. When it came time for this month’s contest prompt, those three words seemed like a good idea. And so that’s what this month’s contest was based upon, though I requested that participants write a tale without referencing plague suits or plague doctors of the past.
Michael Wehunt stepped up and dominated. “Everything That Can’t Heal Itself” received nearly double the Second Place votes.
In Second Place was “A Plague of the Most Beautiful Finery, by Kurt Fawver. And Third Place was taken by L. Pittenger, with his tale “Birdman.”
So a big congratulations to all!