Tag Archives: Shock Totem #1

Kindle Users: Free Shock Totem

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.

Thanks!

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Screaming in Digital

It’s been a long time coming, but it’s finally happened. All four issues of Shock Totem plus our brand-new holiday e-book are now available for the Kindle (other formats coming soon). The first two issues and the holiday issue are $0.99, while issues 3 and 4 are $1.99 (because they’re nearly double in size).


[ from one of my all-time favorite albums ]

I originally paid to have issue #1 done by a “professional.” I wasn’t too impressed. So I decided to attempt to teach myself. Easier said that done when you’re as busy as me. But when we decided to do this new holiday issue, which was to be an e-book release, I had no choice but to buckle down and learn the formatting. I wasn’t paying anyone $150 for a two-month turnaround on a rather unimpressive-for-the-cost product.

So this past Monday, after Anthocon, I sat down and began teaching myself how to rock this formatting. A week later, and all our issues are done, including a redesign of issue #1 so that it matches the others.

If you’ve been waiting to check us out, now is the perfect time. All four main issues and the holiday issue for LESS THAN $7! That’s a wicked deal.

Click here to purchase them from Amazon.com, or click the DIGITAL link at the top of our site for additional options.

And please, if you see any issues with the layout, let me know. As I mentioned, I’m a total noob at this e-design stuff. Thanks!

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And the 2011 Flash Fiction Contest Winner is…

Little Knife Houses
by Jaelithe Ingold


As many of you know, throughout the year we host a bi-monthly flash fiction contest on our forum (not to be confused with the bi-weekly one-hour flash challenge). From those bi-monthly winners, an overall winner is chosen by a neutral judge, to be published in the next issue of Shock Totem.

This year’s judge was James Newman, and from the five stories he chose “Little Knife Houses,” by Jaelithe Ingold, which was based on the artwork for our third issue.

Ah, but now we have to break Newton’s Law, the rule we set forth in issue #2, which, after publishing Kurt Newton in our first two issues, stated that we would never again publish an author back-to-back.

Jaelithe, however, was featured in issue #4, with her story “Fade to Black”—which, incidentally, was also the contest-winning story for Café Doom’s 2010 short-story contest. So…rule broken.

And for a good reason! You’ll be able to read “Little Knife Houses” in issue #5 (see the cover and more info on that issue here).

Congratulations, Jaelithe!

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The Dangerous Red Thief of Broken Redemption

I first heard the name Mehitobel Wilson during the historic Shock Totem John Skipp interview of 2009, which first appeared in Shock Totem #1. Skipp is a walking Rolodex of information, and hers was a name that was mentioned a few times during the phone call. I added her work to my list of things to seek out.

I finally procured a copy of her collection, Dangerous Red, and now see why Skipp touted it so heavily. Wilson doesn’t just kick ass, she straps on gigantic Herman Munster-style boots with razored cleats and stomps your ass. It is a brilliant collection of fresh dark fiction and then some.

While I liked most of the stories, I will only name check a few. “Cut Glass” is a wondrous ghost story. “Madeline in Effigy” gives us new reasons to second-guess the vain. “Blind in the House of the Headsman” is a gory, sexually-depraved surreal sketch…maybe. “The Mannerly Man” has done its best to make politeness a thing to be fearful of. Then there is my absolute favorite of the collection, “Strays,” which takes on the issue of homelessness and sprinkles it with enough dread and disturbing imagery to give you nightmares for weeks.

Wilson’s prose is quick and artful, the images and ideas strong and haunting. I look forward to reading more from her.

Weston Ochse is another writer I have not read enough of. My first Ochse story was the brilliant “Playlist at the end,” which we published in Shock Totem #4.

When I came across a copy of his chapbook Redemption Roadshow, I picked it up. Ochse writes in a clean style, and his characters are aching and have a depth you can immediately connect with. This story concerns Dolan Gibb, an Arizona highway patrolman who discovers you can’t outrun guilt and that the past will always catch up. Dolan discovers a group—almost a sideshow troupe—that seem ever present at roadside memorial shrines. Among them is the “Long Cool Woman,” a medium who bridges the space between the living and the dead, with unexpected consequences.

This short tale is so packed with grippingly heavy images, I found myself thinking about it for days after I had finished it.

I also recently rectified the fact that I am sadly under-read in the Tim Lebbon category.

I had read The Nature of Balance, and loved its dark dreamy images and language. When my friend, Simon, recommended The Thief of Broken Toys to me, I listened. I’m glad I did.

In this novella, Lebbon explores the deepening shades of grief and how loss is a thing of many facets. Ray is a broken man, slowly drowning in a self-made sea of loss and alienation. His only son has died and his wife has left him. Every day is a weighted exercise in existence. He comes to believe through honoring promises made to the dead, he can win back the slivers of time and love lost. He begins with the promises to fix his son’s damaged playthings. He then meets the Thief of Broken Toys, who helps in ways unimaginable and teaches him things that can’t be unlearned.

And then things start to change.

Lebbon has created a heartbreaking story with The Thief of Broken Toys. The loss and longing of Ray are painted so adeptly that I felt that heaviness in my chest, tears threatening to show themselves. Very subtle in its horror, but it is indeed there. One of the best, I’ve read this year. Available from Chizine Publications.

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Screaming in Digital

Shock Totem has finally entered the digital realm!

Our debut issue is now available on the Kindle through Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk and Amazon.de. You can also download the .mobi and .epub versions from Drive-Thru Horror. If you have a Nook, Barnes & Noble is your ticket.

Other online digital retailers will follow, as well as the other issues, including our upcoming issue #4.

The digital version is available for $1.99. Visit our Shock Totem Digital page for more details.

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Fatally Yours Reviews Issue #3

Sarah Jahier has reviewed issue #3 on her horror zine Fatally Yours. Sarah has been great to us over the years, giving praise to issue #1 and issue #2, so the pressure is on when we send something new to her.

Thankfully, she still likes us. You can read her review of issue #3 here.

And please support Fatally Yours by reading, commenting, sharing links, and so on. Dig!

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