Book Review: Who Goes There?

Who Goes There? – John W. Campbell Jr. (4/5)

Otherwise known as the novella that inspired the movie The Thing.

 

Like a lot of lovers of horror – both written and cinematic, The Thing has always held a spot as one of my favourite movies. It really speaks to what I try and accomplish in my own writing – isolation, extreme situations and something wrecking havoc.

I can’t remember if I’ve actually read this before. That’s one of the problems when you’ve read so much, but only started putting your reads on Goodreads last year haha! I feel like I have, but decided to jump back in for one very special reason! Last year I actually supported a Kickstarter project called Frozen Hell. Apparently Who Goes There? was originally from a longer manuscript that had been unknown for some time. Then it was unearthed and a Kickstarter was made to get the book released.

Overall I loved Who Goes There? The story is very similar to the movie The Thing and from Campbell’s descriptions and sense of dread, John Carpenter was provided with a solid source material. The way he portrays the fear and anxiety the men have, while barely using the thing is amazing and shows why’s he considered a master of science fiction writing. As the men spiral further into madness, realizing they’ll have to die in order to protect the rest of the world from being overtaken by this unknown creature was truly gripping.

My only negative/only annoyance was sometimes the dialogue felt like it went on and on. Tedious passages of a character saying something and saying the exact same thing in the next paragraph. But it was a minor thing.

4/5 crazy stars for this classic piece of literature. Now I can’t wait to dive into Frozen Hell and see what Campbell had originally had in store for us!

 

To see this review on Goodreads, or to follow my reviews there, please follow the link;

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2679138425

New blog post, new sharesies.

 

Happy Friday friends!  This is gonna be a longer blog post, as I’m going over a few things!  So hang in there!

This is blog #1 of how things are gonna be ran around here!  If you don’t like it… uh… sorry? 🙂

From now on I’m gonna try and personalize the blog a bit more.  So to that end, each Friday (when I try to make sure I release something here) will include a bit about what I’m currently working on (or my WIP), what I’m reading, what I’m listening too and any recent reviews I’ve released.  I’ll also share a little bit more about my personal life.  If you follow me on the socials (that’s what they call em right?) I’ve always shared most of that anyways, but for those folks and friends/family who don’t, well here you go!

But first things first!  This blog here;

https://stevestredauthor.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/please-share-this-blog/

We ain’t stopping.  Please take a read and share that blog.  My good friend Justin M. Woodward got some shit news.  Horrible news.  His mom needs help and we’re gonna help.  So as I stated, all proceeds from pre-orders are going to her and the go fund me!  So please share and if you haven’t please pre-order or donate directly.  I am so over joyed with the response.  I am immensely proud of this new release, I think it’s one of the best things I’ve done and the feedback so far for The Girl Who Hid in the Trees has stunned and humbled me.  To find out book details;

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43255766-the-girl-who-hid-in-the-trees

Now for the new stuff!

Works in Progress:

  • The Stranger.  This is my next novel that will be out summer of this year.  I’m currently going through draft #3 and touching up stuff adding stuff.  Very excited for this.  I don’t want to give away too much yet, but it’s (like a lot of my stuff) a wilderness based horror tale about survival.  It also answers a bunch of questions about our friend the tall, skinny man in the expensive suit, as well as touches on a bit of where the Creator and Jane came from, from my Jane: the 816 Chronicles.
  • Ritual. This will be my second novella of the year.  I’m going through draft #2 at a snails pace.  This is trending towards a Halloween release.  I’ll keep you posted!
  • Wound Upon Wound.  That’s a title reveal right there.  This will be my first release of 2020 and it’s a glorious piece.  Coming-of-age tale.  I’ll give you a teaser here; it’s set in the small town’s I grew up in.  Burton and Nakusp.  It’s very much in the same vein as Invisible, Jim, To the Moon – Joy, Wagon Buddy.  Horror but not ripping your face off.  I write 95% of my stuff at work and this one’s been tough because a lot of it is nearly making me cry.  I’d say I’m 25% done.

What I’m Reading:

Recent Reviews:

You can find a complete listing of all the reviews that have been hosted on Kendall Reviews on my main menu under Kendall Reviews!

Bleed Away the Sky – Brian Fatah Steele (3.5/5)

http://kendallreviews.com/bleed-away-the-sky-brian-fatah-steele-kendall-review/

Dead Leaves – Kealan Patrick Burke (4.5/5)

http://kendallreviews.com/dead-leaves-9-tales-from-the-witching-season-kealan-patrick-burke-kendall-review/

Dead of Winter – Kealan Patrick Burke (5/5)

http://kendallreviews.com/dead-of-winter-kealan-patrick-burke-kendall-review/

What I’m Listening to:

I’ve been listening to a wide range of stuff, as per normal, but here’s a few tracks that have really been on high rotation lately!

Time’s Speeding Up – The Trews.  The Trews are one of my fav bands and their new album came out recently.  This song’s fantastic and they always have a way of bringing a smile to my face.

 

Roll With the Spirits – Sam Roberts Band.  Another of my favs.  Love the rhythm of this song.

 

The Suburbs – Arcade Fire.  Another fantastic song.  This ones from a few albums ago, but this is another tune that’s heavily influencing my next release, Wound Upon Wound.

 

Wester Vespertine – Cradle of Filth.  I don’t know why but the latest Cradle of Filth album took me forever to get into, but once I did, it’s stunning.  This song was very influential on The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, but also on Wound Upon Wound.

 

Lastly for this week, here’s a tune I haven’t stopped listening to since it came out.

Hornet’s Nest – Power Trip.  So fun, so thrash.  Love the lyrics.

 

What I’m up to in real life:

I recently had a longer work trip to Peace River, Alberta for one of our regional clinics.  My wife and son went to my mother and father in laws for the week, and that was a looooong week.  Missed them a ton!

I picked them up last Sunday, which was also Auryn’s first day of Little Kickers.  He had a blast and seemed to really enjoy it!  This Sunday will be his second session and I think he’ll be super excited when he sees us get his uniform out!

So thanks for hanging in there until the end!

Let me know if you like this new format/information!

Cheers!

Steve

Please Share this Blog!

So this blog post is a bit different than most of my other ones.

This was going to be the big ole exciting “PREORDERS ARE OPEN!” blog post that I had planned for this coming Friday.  I’ve decided to push it up.

Why?

A friend and his family need help.

If you have followed my literary career (my short, just starting literary career), there have been a few key players throughout.  Folks who have, time and time again, stepped up and gone out of their way to help me, give me advice and guidance and who’ve always wanted me to succeed.

Justin M. Woodward has been there since day 1.

If you haven’t followed me (and that’s totally fine J) you may recognize his name from his releases; The Variant, Candy and Tamer Animals.

Now before I get too far into this – I just want to make it abundantly clear, that I have discussed this with Justin already, and was given my blessing to post this.  I would never do something like this without getting his consent first.

So – yesterday the news began to trickle out that Justin’s mother Tonya has recently been diagnosed with Stage 4 Bone Cancer.  This was discovered after she had an MRI.  News like this is devastating.  We all know someone who has been touched by Cancer in some way, some reading this may have already battled it.  She begins radiation today in fact, January 21, 2019.  The goal with the radiation is to reduce her pain and prolong her time with her family and friends.

 

That brings us to this blog post.  On February 28, 2019, my next harrowing release arrives; The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.  And pre-orders are now live!  In fact, they’ve been live for about a week already but Amazon was having some issues with my display image, so I waited until it was cleared up to share.  Gavin at Kendall Reviews (who wrote one of the most fantastic and nicest forewords ever!) shared it on twitter, but I wanted to make sure things looked good.  So far there’s already been 9 pre-orders!  Which is insane.  Technically 10, but the first one was mine J

I want to help Tonya, Justin and his family out.  To that end, I want to let you all know that (with Justin’s blessing) all of the proceeds from the pre-orders will be going directly to Tonya and their Go Fund Me.  The United States unfortunately is a place where people can rack up medical expenses quickly, so I want to help out and try and reduce any financial burden.  As well, all of the paperback proceeds from the first month will be going their way as well.

Additionally – if you feel that you just want to go ahead and donate directly through their Go Fund Me page, if you donate $50 or more, I will send you a 5 Ebook package, which will include my Novel Invisible, my three Novellas; Jane: the 816 Chronicles, Wagon Buddy and YURI and my first short story collection Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery.

Below you will find the links to the Go Fund Me, and the pre-order links for the book for Canada, USA and the UK.

I will be rolling out the promotional machine as planned, to try and get the pre-order links in front of as many folks as I can, but I would really, really appreciate it, if you all could share this blog post and let’s help keep Tonya and family smiling.

GO FUND ME

https://www.gofundme.com/help-tonya-beat-stage-4-cancer

Canada Pre-order: https://www.amazon.ca/Girl-Who-Hid-Trees-ebook/dp/B07MJ851BH

USA Pre-order: https://www.amazon.com/Girl-Who-Hid-Trees-ebook/dp/B07MJ851BH

UK Pre-order: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Girl-Who-Hid-Trees-ebook/dp/B07MJ851BH

 

 

 

Abraham, Look to the Sky

Here we go friends!  As we get closer and closer to the February 28th, 2019 release date for The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, I’ve promised to continue to give you some sneak peaks and other goodies!

The Girl Who Hid in the Trees has been receiving some fantastic buzz already over on Goodreads!  I’m so happy with the kind words.  Truly blown away.  Next week, on January 25th, I’ll officially be launching the pre-order links!  If you look closely though, you just may find that they already exist…. 🙂

As I promised a few weeks back, after initially sharing the Prologue, I am sharing the first of three short stories included with the release.

Up first we have what could be described as cosmic-flash fiction.

This quick story is maybe the first time I’ve written anything that could be considered cosmic horror.  Maybe not?  I’m honestly not too sure, as some of my releases walk a very fine line and could be perceived as cosmic horror.  Either way, this one is a straight forward cosmic horror tale.

I came up with this during the Christmas break.  One night I was lying in bed, not able to sleep.  I currently co-sleep with my son, so I had my phone within reach and while he snoozed, cuddled up to me using my right arm as a pillow, I emailed myself draft #1.  The idea came from the sky above.  I couldn’t tell you why it popped into my head.  It just did haha!  I had this picture of an old man staring at a corn field, while above him the clouds churned.  So fifteen minutes later, draft #1 was done and emailed to myself.  Few small tweaks and voila, here you go.

So please enjoy ‘Abraham, Look to the Sky.’

 

Abraham, Look to the Sky

“How long you says he’s been sitting there?”

Zack took a second, spit out a wad of chew through the open pick-up window and looked out at the fields beyond.

“Mah says’sm going on twenty years least.  Say’sm he’s convinced the sky gonna go dark, that heaven’s gonna turn tah hell, and then we’s done for,” he replied, listening to the trucks engine clatter.  The RPM gauge worked decently well, so when Zack saw the needle popping up and down between five hundred RPM’s to three thousand and back, he knew it was past time to get some work done on it.

He knew he also wanted to feel Hazel’s massive set of jugs again, so when she asked to drive out to see the old man sitting at the t-intersection in exchange for whatever he wanted, he readily agreed.

Now here they sat.  To their right; cornfield.  Fifty acres of Jeremiah’s finest.  Still months from harvesting, but it was all Zack could do to not jump out, rip a cob off and just eat it raw.  Jeremiah often bragged about his farming prowess, and for once Zack wasn’t going to call the man out for making up some bullshit.

Straight ahead; the dirt road.  It stretched out for another twelve miles before it crossed over into the states jurisdiction and became paved.

To their left; the other section of dirt road.  It travelled away, surrounded by wheat fields and cows.

And sitting there facing the corn field was old man Abraham.

He had hauled a wooden chair out to the intersection years before the red stop sign had even been installed.

Now he sat, day in and day out, long piece of wheat sticking out of his cracked lips.  His cowboy hat was three sizes too big and his jean overalls hung loosely around his leather-bound frame.

Having never worn a shirt a day in his life, the sun had done a number on his skin.

But there he sat.  Whether kids raced by him, spraying him with dust or rocks, whether the ladies from the church brought him lemonade and begged him to repent his sinful thoughts, he sat.  Abraham wasn’t moving for no one.

As he daydreamed about the crazy old man, Zack heard the passenger door close and he realized Hazel had exited the truck.  She was now walking towards the senior.

“Ah, fuck a duck,” he exclaimed as he climbed out, not even taking the time to turn the truck off.

As he jogged to catch up, he heard Hazel start to talk to the old man.

“Hey mister, whatcha doing?”

Abraham turned and studied her for a minute.  Zack thought she’d make quite a study.  Forty years old, straggly bleach blonde hair, eight kids from eight daddies, her stomach hanging out from the bottom of her tank top, looking like it might devour her short jean skirt.  Hazel had already removed her dentures in the truck, prepping for some fun with Zack, so now her words were terse when spoken.

“Hey mister, don’t mean ya no harm.  Just curious about you sitting here in the sun’s all.”

At this Zack saw the man’s body relax and he turned to look at the duo.

“Doing my wife’s bidding, if you two must know.  See’s that there?”  He pointed to the clear, cloudless blue sky above.  They both nodded.

“Just before she died and cancer claimed another one of its victims she said, ‘Abraham, look to the sky.  For when the world ends the beasts will come from above.’  So now’s I wait.  They’re a comin’, I’m sure of that.”

Then ole Abraham turned back to the corn, leaving Hazel and Zack with their mouths hanging open.

When they got back in the truck, Zack finally spoke.

“Well, there it is.  He’s crazy.  I didn’t the stories were true but…”

Hazel began to rapidly shake Zack’s arm, getting his attention.

“What the fuck woman?” He asked but then saw what she was pointing at.

Old man Abraham was now kneeling on the dirt road, arms extended above, as though waiting on an angelic hug.

“The sky…” Hazel whispered, still shaking his arm, “It’s turning black.”

Zack craned his neck over to see what she was yammering on about and sure enough, the once pristine sky was now completely covered in the darkest, thickest clouds Zack had ever seen.

“We need to leave,” he said, but didn’t move.  They sat there as the sky opened up and the first rain in two months fell upon them.  They didn’t move when Abraham stripped naked and began to ‘bathe’ himself with gravel, making his thin skin slice open and bleed. And they didn’t leave when the lightning began to pierce the clouds and then stab the land all around them.

Zack thought Mother Nature was putting on quite the show.  Then Hazel began to scream.  She screamed so loudly the rear-view mirror cracked and Zack was convinced his ear nearest her had burst.  Hazel screamed to such an extent that her voice box shredded and blood poured forth from her mouth, drenching her shirt and cleavage.

Zack didn’t care.  For he was fixated on what Hazel was screaming at.

The clouds above Abraham, the nude, bleeding nut-job had parted.  From that opening a dozen massive tentacles had descended, the enormous, round suckers flexing and opening, searching for contact.

When they finally arrived at Abraham, he embraced their communion, even as the thick hook within punctured his body.

As the man was hoisted skyward Zack simply sat, staring in disbelief, Abraham’s screams growing quiet as he ascended.

The man’s wife had been right.  And as the skies opened and more and more tentacles came to end the world, Zack looked to the sky as well.  Zack looked for his saviour to come and pluck him from obscurity.

END.

 

Copyright Steve Stred 2019

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue Teaser

Ok friends!  So this will be a little bit of a longer post today!  Yesterday over on Twitter and my Facebook Author Page I ran a poll asking what you would like to see as a teaser today, for the my upcoming release The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.  This coming-of-age, urban legend tale is already garnering a bit of buzz from the pre-release reviews and I am over the moon with delight!

So today (after counting the votes!) I’m sharing the Prologue as a thank you.  In two weeks, on Friday January 18th, I will share the first bonus short story Abraham, Look to the Sky.  That story is a gritty, cosmic-horror, flash fiction piece and I think you’ll all like it!

So please keep reading, and enjoy the Prologue!

 

Prologue

August 5, 1884

“Abigail, don’t stray too far, ok?”

Abigail heard her mom but ignored her.  After all, she was now seven years old, and could take care of herself.

She walked through the deep grass beside McConnell’s Forest, plucking petals from the daisy she had picked.

“He loves me, he loves me not.  He loves me, he loves me not,” she sung as she casually strolled away from their camp site.

It wasn’t until she had plucked all the petals off the flower and discarded it over her shoulder that she realized she had wandered down the path into the woods.  She turned around and around, scared, finding she was lost and unable see her mom.

“Mom?” She called out feebly.

“Mom?  Please mom?”

She heard a noise close by.

“Hello?”

Abigail took a few steps towards the sound, and spotted yellowed eyes watching her from behind a bush.

“Who’s there?”

She watched with awe as a girl close to her age danced out from behind the foliage and smiled at her.  Her teeth matched the color of her eyes, yellow and dark.  Her dress was caked in filth and mud.  But the girl smiled and waved.

“Hello, who are you?  Can you help me find my mom?” Abigail asked.

The girl giggled and turned, walking down the path away from Abigail, the morning sun cascading a bright aura around her.

“Please, please help me,” she cried out, rushing towards the girl.

Then she was gone.  Disappeared.

“What?  No, where did you go?  Please help me?”  She called out.

From behind her the voice sang out.

Help you?  But no one helped me.  Now we count, one, two, three.”

Abigail didn’t feel any pain as the girl ripped her spine from her body.

The girl left Abigail there in the path and disappeared into the trees as though she’d never even been there.

 

The Girl Who Hid in the Trees will be unleashed on Thursday, February 28th, 2019 and will be available in both ebook and paperback format.  This fast paced novella will feature a foreword by Gavin Kendall from the horror site Kendall Reviews, as well as three bonus tales; Abraham, Look to the Sky, The Tooth Collector and The Navajo Nightmare.

The cover artwork has been done by Mason McDonald once again, who has previously created the covers for Wagon Buddy, YURI, Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, Dim the Sun, and the new cover of Invisible.

I’m working to get pre-orders up asap!

For more information, including a full synopsis and pre-release reviews, check out the Goodreads link below!

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43255766-the-girl-who-hid-in-the-trees

 

The Girl Who Hid in the Trees

 

Upcoming Release: The Girl Who Hid in the Trees by Steve Stred.

Check out this great run-through of my forth coming release ‘The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.’

MirandaCrites

Thanks to Steve Stred for sending me an e-copy of his soon-to-be-released short story, The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. It will release in ebook and paperback formats on February 28. It will also feature three bonus short stories from Steve.

I hope you enjoy your stay in McConnell’s Forest as much as I did.

IMG_4705.jpg

The children who live near McConnell’s Forest know better than to risk going into the woods, or at least they should. Years ago, when Jason was a little boy, he lost his older brother when he entered the forest to deflate an ages old urban legend.

Now that Jason is a teenager himself, he wants to learn what happened to his brother and what is really going on in the forest first-hand.

He persuades his group of friends to camp in the forest overnight so they can figure out this legend and try to…

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