WASATCH WITCHES, a Horror Anthology was written by Utah Horror Writers, contains twenty-five short stories and poems centered around the darkness of witches and witchcraft, an arcane tome meant to terrify and titillate your senses.
‘Be warned, once you pick this book up, you just might hear cackling coming from the darkness!’
Though the stories and poems in WASATCH WITCHES didn’t terrify me, they most certainly titillated this reader’s, horror-filled heart. More, Please!
The following are my favorites, including snippets from each:
‘The Pestilence’ – by Vince Font
‘They came up the mountain with their torches and their bibles and their godly heads held high. Boots plunged into snow-packed earth and scarves drew over ears as winter’s icy breath blew down the Wasatch Range. At the end of the path where the Devil dwelt, the men stopped and formed a hard line.
‘Within the darkened cottage, nothing stirred. The serpent lay in wait.’
‘The Witch’s House’ – by Jesse N. White – Love this one!
“‘Quite the spooky place you got here, Miss Why-chel,” Paul remarked, purposely mispronouncing their host’s name as he walked over and casually cupped the mannequin’s breasts. “ I love the decor.”’
‘Olivia smirked at Paul and gave Angie a wink. “Not quite what you were expecting? Nothing here frightens you, Mister Olmstead?” She cackled as she swirled and allowed her dress to fall off her shoulder.
‘She motioned the couple further into the house. “Well, not to worry. A float session is meant to relax…”’
‘Wasatch Witches’ – by C.H. Lindsay
‘[O]nce the sun has gone to sleep,/they stalk the night ‘mid shadows deep./
‘In graveyards cold,/ through darkest night,/they harvest names while moon is bright.’
‘The Crazy Cat Lady’ – by Jo Schneider – Love It!
‘A high-pitched yowl came from inside. I leaned forward. Was that a cougar cub? Or a regular cat? The sound stopped abruptly, and the door clicked open. I jumped back, straightened my shoulders, and smiled.
The Cougar Lady had never agreed to be interviewed before. Her stipulation to let me come had been that I kept all of this a secret until I published the article.
‘Persona Non Grata’ – by Lehua Parker
‘The doorbell won’t stop, not for God or love or money. I open the door just wide enough to scowl at the woman on my front porch. She’s not alone, but doesn’t know it.’
‘For Scrying Out Loud’ – by Caryn Larrinaga – Love it!
‘Here’s the crappy thing about scrying: the mirror doesn’t always tell you what you want to know. It only shows you what you need to see. . . . And don’t be surprised if it shows you something you didn’t want to see—even when you didn’t ask it a question.’
‘Rip to Reset’ – by Sariah Horowitz – That was really good!
‘Mark was near perfection; dark hair, bright brown eyes, kind, and understanding. Marie assumed that when they reached high school, they would be dating, attend the same college, then marriage, and spend the rest of their lives together.’
‘But then that Nancy Hanks ruined all of it.’
‘Frankenbear’ — by C.H. Lindsay
‘In autumn’s chill/ the witches watch/for teddy bears/ in graveyards dark. . . . .Beneath full moon/ the witches chant/ for graveyard bears to coalesce.’
‘Cadmium Blue’ — by Jeff Dosser – Love The Ending!
‘Cadmium blue. Emily Ray lowered her binoculars and studied the children. The girl’s aura was a brilliant cadmium blue. . . . Satisfied, she lifted her binoculars and studied the children once again. They sat beneath a rusted ‘Bus Stop’ sign. The boy was nothing special, virtually no aura at all, but the girl….’
‘Why Are Children So Delicious?’ — by Joshua P. Sorensen
‘I’ll fatten up my neighbors/ With cookies and with cake,/ Chocolate ice cream, custard,/And sweets that I will bake/When they’re fat and plump,/ With pudgy little toes,/ I’ll roughly grab and toss them;/In my oven they will go.’
‘The Warlock of Kay’s Creek’ — by Bryan Stubbles
‘Johnnie’s death made dusk’s chill all that more miserable. Sixteen-year-old Mabel looked on from afar as the hushed graveside service quickly concluded. Not even Johnnie’s parents attended the funeral.’
‘Only the Presbyterian minister, his wife, and the gravedigger attended. None of the Mormons—many of them related to Johnnie by blood or marriage or both—could be bothered.’
‘Welcome to 1894 Kaysville.’
‘Danara’s Coven’ — by C.H. Lindsay
‘The clinking of the prismatic wind chimes drew Danara’s attention to the rainbows dancing across the ceiling. How many times had their magic—her magic—drawn her back? . . . Time held no meaning for her anymore; only the addition of another presence, another voice.’
‘They were here with her now, whispering to each other that another woman would die that night.’
‘Miss Fortune – Anastasia’ — by Natasha MorningStarr
‘You would expect to see her floating overhead on a broom. Instead, she struts with grace in Louboutin pumps—reminiscent of Meryl Streep, only melanated—she walks with the Devil wearing Prada . . .The essence of her roots is magick. Her presence pulses with a subtle vibration known to draw people into a trance. One beat of her drum, and you’ll do her dance.’
‘Her name is Anastasia.’
‘Unfruitful Works’ – by D. J. Moore – Love It!
‘I first met her outside the gates of Temple Square. In the spot where you usually see a bagpiper playing Amazing Grace for loose change. Arianna Plemmons. . . . Both arms were raised high above her head, fingers twitching as if playing upon an invisible instrument. . . . [F]ollowing the gazes of several people in the audience, I saw a young man dressed in a white shirt with a red tie jerking about in a kind of marionette dance.
‘Like a puppet dangling from unseen strings.’
‘Vice’ – by Donald Evans – Love This One!
‘I grabbed the first envelope on the top of the slush pile. What kind of life do you have when you spend your day looking through a slush pile? I read about ten pages and threw it in the trash. . . . After reading it, I felt like washing my hands to get the icky off. The next story had something to do with toast and a guy who stares at the toast for like nine pages. I picked up the next package, and I felt cold run up my wrist. . . The packaging was nondescript, but it bothered me. I couldn’t tell you why. I didn’t want to open it.’
‘I opened it.’
‘What Happens in Salem’ – by Angela Hartley – Love It!
‘I can hear their thoughts as I walk down the hall of Salem High. Hate rolls off them in waves as they give me a wide six-foot berth. Even the teachers keep their distance as if my presence were a dangerous pathogen.’
‘They aren’t wrong. I am dangerous, especially to small-minded humans in a little town like Salem, Utah.’
Thank you, Fear Knocks Press LLC.For providing me with an eGalley of WASATCH WITCHES in a request for an honest review.
~About the Author~
Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels THE ANCESTOR, THE MENTOR, THE DESIRE CARD and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar.
As well as the sci-fi novel, ORANGE City, his first YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN is forthcoming in 2021.
After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others.
He is the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of-the-box.
His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests.
He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City. Follow him at LeeMatthewGoldberg.com
What would you do, by way of a second chance at life, if you were selected to live in a hidden City—a place for felons and deformed outcasts, a place for rehabilitation wherein everyone gets a job, a place to live, but there’s one catch—you can never leave—would you agree?
And, what would a dystopian world be without a dictator to rule over its citizens—keeping them firmly under his thumbs as he watches their every move through the pupil on top of the Eye Tower, who has eyes everywhere—they call him the ‘Man,’ a looming, Stalin idolizing figure with multiple robotic limbs the likeness of a monstrous, demented spider as seen by the expendable flys caught in his web.
*Insert full-body-cringe here*
Through fear of being exiled into the apocalyptic region known as the Empty Zone, everyone follows the ‘Mans’ every order to make Promised Land stronger, including Graham Weathered.
Graham Weathered, the book’s main character, who, after ten years working as an advertising executive in the Factory Region of the City, is given the job of testing different flavors of Pow! Soda, Warton, Mind & Donovan Advertising and Concepts’ newest client.
It is only when Graham becomes addicted to the mood-altering soda that he sees the puppeteer holding the strings in his newfound variegated reality, but is it too late to cut the ties that bind him?
You will have to read the book and find out. 😉
ORANGE CITY is the second book that I have read and reviewed by author Lee Matthew Goldberg, THE ANCESTOR being the first—you can read my review here ~THE ANCESTOR~
Though the first half of the ORANGE CITY is a slow build, it is not difficult to like, root for, and get invested in some of the characters—many pawns themselves under the oppressive thumb of the ‘Man,’ specifically Graham, who’s the most fleshed-out within the dystopian world Goldberg created.
I am a huge fan of dystopian, apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, survivalist stories, so I look forward to reading Book II, LEMONWORLD.
Thank you, Blackthorn Book Tours and Atmosphere Press, for providing me with an eBook of ORANGE CITY in the request of an honest review.
‘Charlie didn’t want her at the book club. Matthew wouldn’t listen.’
‘And that’s how Charlie finds himself slumped beside his husband’s body, their son sitting silently at the dinner table, while Rachel calls 999, the bloody knife still gripped in her hand.’
THE DINNER GUEST is a multi-perspective narrative written in alternating chapters and timelines as seen through the eyes of Charles Allerton-Jones’—husband to Matthew and Father of fifteen-year-old Titus, and Rachel—a perfect stranger Charles meets at a Bookstore and later the market where Matthew insists on inviting her to his Book Club and upon doing so, their lives.
I wanted to like this book, but…
I couldn’t stand many of the characters (which is the author’s intent) specifically, Charles, a prudish elitist snob who looks down upon Rachel, who he considers one of the lower-class poor, undeserving of being a part of or in the presence of the Upper-class collective.
Don’t get me wrong, I love a book with a deplorable villain and even one that has some redeemable qualities, however, having to be submerged in Charles’ mindset for the majority of the narrative was nauseating, to say the least.
The one aspect of the synopsis that drew me to want to read the book is that it’s a who-done-it, so having characters depicted with potential motives for murder are essential. However, I personally would have preferred to view it from the perspective of an outsider looking in.
Thank you, NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishing UK, for loaning me an eGalley of THE DINNER GUEST in the request of an honest review.
About the Author:
Ann Harth writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. Strong, interesting characters creep into most of her books and stories, and many arrive with a sense of humour.
Before becoming a writer, mentor and developmental editor in Far North Queensland, Ann studied psychology, waited tables, bar-tended, picked strawberries, worked as a clown and punched keys on various tills. She also spent ten years working with children with special needs. Ann taught writing for the Australian College of Journalism for eight years before taking the leap into freelance work.
Ann has had a number of fiction and non-fiction children’s books published in Australia and the UK and over 120 short stories sold internationally.
After five years (2015-2020) she has stepped down from her position as Far North Queensland representative for The Society of Children’s Book Writers and illustrators as Bernice is eager to dive into another book.
When not tapping the keys, Ann stuffs a notebook into her pack and searches for remote places to camp, hike or explore.
Bernice Peppercorn was not a morning person, her little brother Jake, on the other hand, was. Ugh!
Breakfast was often bickering on toast, that is until Mum read in that day’s morning newspaper that local celebrity Crystal Bell’s mansion was broken into the night before.
‘It looks like family members will be dealing with the authorities because Ms. Bell is shooting a film in India.’
Bernice and her best friend Maggie want to be just like Crystal Bell who is calm, cool, smart, knows karate, can get out of any situation, solve mysteries, and outwit any bad guy who tries to mess with her.
The next day, armed with her Crystal Bell secret spy watch, notebook, and Crystal Bell pencil, Bernice must dive into detective mode alone (Maggie is stuck at home with Chickenpox) and stumbles across some vital clues. Oh, what imagination and adventure she has!
Age Range: 9 to 12
Genre: Children’s Action And Adventure
I had a blast reading BERNICE TAKES A PLUNGE, which brought me back to The Stone Age when I was a wee girl, and we had to read Judy Blume’s books on stone tablets. *sigh* #memories
BERNICE TAKES A PLUNGE – A Funny Adventure/Mystery That I Highly Recommend!
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During his waking hours Mawson Bear thinks about the perfect nap while his friend Scottie Bear daydreams about being a brave King or a great guitarist, Professors Caddy and Bree Bear have high hopes for their new inventions, and Samantha sees wondrous things all around her.
You too can join The Seekers journey to the edge of the world, as long as you return by bedtime. 😉
Take It Back is a harrowing and twisting courtroom thriller that keeps you guessing until the last page is turned.
Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a brilliant legal career. But her decisions came at a high cost, and now, battling her own demons, she has exchanged her high profile career for a job at a sexual assault center, helping victims who need her the most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.
When Jodie, a sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, accuses four boys in her class of an unthinkable crime, the community is torn apart. After all, these four teenage defendants are from hard-working immigrant families and they all have proven alibis. Even Jodie’s best friend doesn’t believe her.But Zara does—and she is determined to fight for Jodie—to find the truth in the face of public outcry. And as issues of sex, race and social justice collide, the most explosive criminal trial of the year builds to a shocking conclusion.
‘Take It Back is an intense courtroom thriller that had this reader riding an emotional rollercoaster until the very end. Highly Recommend!‘
— ~D.K. Hundt
~More Praise For Take It Back~
“Riveting, thought-provoking legal thriller… Abdullah is definitely a writer to watch.” – Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Abdullah has done an exemplary job of character development and is especially good at ratcheting up suspense as the trial proceeds.” – Booklist, starred review
“A thought-provoking and sparklingly intelligent novel, with the welcome bonus of an unguessable ending.” —The Telegraph
KIA ABDULLAH is an author and travel writer. She has contributed to The Guardian, BBC, Channel 4 News, and The New York Times. Kia currently travels the world as one half of the travel blog Atlas & Boots, which receives over 200,000 views per month.
She watched her reflection in the empty glass bottle as the truth crept in with the wine in her veins. It curled around her stomach and squeezed tight, whispering words that paused before they stung, like a paper cut cutting deep: colorless at first and then vibrant with blood. You are such a fucking cliché, it whispered—an accusation, a statement, a fact. The words stung because Zara Kaleel’s self-image was built on the singular belief that she was different. She was different from the two tribes of women that haunted her youth. She was not a docile housewife, fingers yellowed by turmeric like the quiet heroines of the second-gen literature she hated so much. Nor was she a rebel, using her sexuality to subvert her culture. And yet here she was, lying in freshly stained sheets, skin gleaming with sweat and regret.
Luka’s post-coital pillow talk echoed in her ear: It’s always the religious ones. She smiled a mirthless smile. The alcohol, the pills, the unholy foreskin—it was all so fucking predictable. Was it even rebellious anymore? Isn’t this what middle-class Muslim kids did on weekends?
Luka’s footsteps in the hall jarred her thoughts. She shook out her long dark hair, parted her lips, and threw aside the sheets, secure in the knowledge that it would drive him wild. Women like Zara were never meant to be virgins. It’s little wonder her youth was shrouded in hijab.
He walked in, a climber’s body naked from the waist up, his dirty blond hair lightly tracing a line down his chest. Zara blinked languidly, inviting his touch. He leaned forward and kissed the delicate hollow of her neck, his week-old stubble marking tiny white lines in her skin. A sense of happiness, svelte and ribbon-like, pattered against her chest, searching for a way inside. She fought the sensation as she lay in his arms, her legs wrapped with his like twine.
“You are something else,” he said, his light Colorado drawl softer than usual. “You’re going to get me into a lot of trouble.”
He was right. She’d probably break his heart, but what did he expect screwing a Muslim girl? She slipped from his embrace and wordlessly reached for her phone, the latest of small but frequent reminders that they could not be more than what they were. She swiped through her phone and read a new message: “Can you call when you get a sec?” She re-read the message, then deleted it. Her family, like most, was best loved from afar.Read More
When a serial killer pulls Dale and Jessica into his world of torture and murder, they are left fighting to escape the clutches of a sadistic cult leader.
Dale simply wanted to rebound from a failed relationship. Now, he is fighting to escape abduction.
Jessica’s curiosity led her onto the dark web where she found The Silent Red Room Show. She admired the show from afar…until she found herself sucked in.
Will these perfect strangers survive the dark web? Or will they become a part of a vicious serial killer’s deadly collection?
‘Most people are unaware of what lurks on the other side of Google or Yahoo. […]There’s a huge space, the deep web, that’s full of cyber trash and noise. Nothingness, really. Then there is the other side. The darknet.
‘What was it going to be? A hatchet to the knee? A butcher knife to the lips? Would they make him remove that blindfold? Did they want the poor bastard to see the artist at work? Envy coursed through her veins. If only she were there. Watching. Learning. Partaking.‘
All I can say, with a sinister grin on my crimson lips, is ‘Welcome To The Dark Side—of the internet, that is. K.T. Rose has no trouble pulling this reader into the tangled web she weaves, kicking, and screaming will be had, though, not by me.
As the reader, you will soon get acquainted with two of the main characters; Dale—broken-hearted—is introduced to the world of online dating by his well-meaning sister, Diane. Then we have the impressionable fifteen-year-old, Jessica, who’s allured by the dark web and the macabre within.
Don’t be fooled into thinking there is nothing but gore filling the one-hundred and twenty-nine pages. Rose created characters I care about, each given enough back story that paints a picture of who they are for the reader, as in life, flaws, and all.
Will they survive?
You will have to read the book and discover that for yourself. 😉
NETTED: THE BEGINNING – Highly Recommend!
K.T. Rose is a horror, thriller, and dark fiction writer from Detroit, Michigan. She posts suspense and horror flash fiction on her blog at kyrobooks.com and is the author of a suspenseful short story series titled Trinity of Horror, an erotic thriller novel titled When We Swing, and A Dark Web Horror Series. She also writes supernatural and paranormal horror novels and short stories.
Newlywed Will Battese finds himself homesick and overwhelmed after following his ambitious wife, Shannon, to New York City. When a surprise pregnancy shreds their already meager budget, Will drops out of college and settles for work at a low-end diner. There, a small act of kindness draws the attention of Victor Degas, a man with an unsettling presence and deformed eyes. Unbeknownst to Will, Degas belongs to an ancient, sophisticated cult known as the Edens and believes Will to be the key to gaining otherworldly power. As the sun sets on Good Friday, Degas orchestrates a home invasion in which Will and his baby boy, Gideon, are kidnapped, leaving Shannon to join forces with an unreliable agent from the Roman Catholic Church. While Will struggles to save other innocents from the Eden parish below the city, Shannon discovers that the cult plans to use her family for an unimaginable demonic ritual, and that the Vatican may let it happen. With no one to trust but themselves, Shannon and Will must fight not only to survive, but to keep their humanity intact. THE CULT OF EDEN is the first volume in The Unrisen saga.
Bill Halpin was born and raised in Orlando, Florida, where he grew up on the horror genre. After graduating from the University of Central Florida, Bill moved on to New York City and earned a degree in Optometry from SUNY. Now, he lives and practices in Saratoga Springs, NY and writes in between his appointments. The Cult of Eden is his debut novel.
A man wakes up in present-day Alaskan wilderness with no idea who he is, nothing on him save an empty journal with the date 1898 and a mirror. He sees another man hunting nearby, astounded that they look exactly alike. After following this other man home, he witnesses a wife and child that brings forth a rush of memories of his own wife and child, except he’s certain they do not exist in modern times—but from his life in the late 1800s. After recalling his name is Wyatt, he worms his way into his doppelganger Travis Barlow’s life. Memories become unearthed the more time he spends, making him believe that he’d been frozen after coming to Alaska during the Gold Rush and that Travis is his great-great grandson. Wyatt is certain gold still exists in the area and finding it with Travis will ingratiate himself to the family, especially with Travis’s wife Callie, once Wyatt falls in love. This turns into a dangerous obsession affecting the Barlows and everyone in their small town, since Wyatt can’t be tamed until he also discovers the meaning of why he was able to be preserved on ice for over a century.
Okay, I’m going to be honest with you and say that my hackles were up as soon I read the opening scene.
PICTURE IT…SICILY, 1922. Just kidding, but seriously…PICTURE IT, Alaska, 2020…
Two of the main characters are out in the Alaskan wilderness rifle hunting for Caribou when they shoot and kill three Caribou for food…
They lift two Caribou into the truck and plan on leaving the third there because there’s not enough room–THIS is the moment I throw a flag on the play, my coffee goes flying, and blurt out (scaring the crap out of my cat by the way). ‘Why didn’t you do a field dressing?!?’ ‘You could have fit all three in the back of the truck!’
Don’t worry, no coffee went flying and no hackles were raised at any time when reading THE ANCESTOR 😉
My Dad used to be a Hunters Safety instructor, so I’m guessing it was his voice in my head at that moment.
Seriously though, I really enjoyed reading THE ANCESTOR, which I just finished about three this morning. There are some cringeworthy, absolutely heartbreaking, and surprising moments in this book, and I’m not going to spoil any of them for you.
I will say, as the reader, at times, it’s easy to empathize with Wyatt throughout the book, that is–up to a point.
THE ANCESTOR – Recommend!
‘[A]s I’ve learned from life, happiness sometimes only greets us in fits and starts. For tragedy often follows merriment. Without strife, we would not know the true meaning of gaiety. That’s what I like to tell myself to ease the pain.’
~About Lee Matthew Goldberg~
Lee is the author of the novels THE DESIRE CARD, THE MENTOR, and SLOW DOWN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming in 2020, along with his first Sci-Fi novel ORANGE CITY. His new endeavor will be as the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Fringe Press and Fringe Digital, dedicated to publishing fiction that’s outside-of- the-box. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests.
After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City.
Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com.