Friday, October 18, 2013

Flashlight Stories, Horror Anthology

I had a great time writing Flashlight Stories.  My earlier mental roadblocks while attempting to write full-length novels seemed nonexistent while I was working on this horror anthology.

Flashlight Stories is a collection of horror stories.  There’s a story about a witch, one about a vampire, one about a shadow demon, and more.  Like many other authors who write anthologies, I wanted to explore different ideas.  The freedom to write quick, snappy stories to completion was a breath of fresh air for me.

The only negative experience I had was after publishing the book.  I downloaded a copy to my Kindle, and began reading.  I was happy to see my work published on an electronic reading device.  I had the same happy feeling after publishing Disclosure and The Journal of the Missing Day.  I was so satisfied with my new book that I kept reading, even though I had been reading it nonstop before publishing.  That’s when I started finding some errors.

Maybe the topic of flaws is taboo to write about if it’s about your own book, but I don’t think it’s that big of a deal; people make mistakes, and learn.  It’s all part of the process.  Besides, this blog is about my personal experiences with writing.  Just to be clear, the problems were fixed shortly after the first release.  At least, I have read the entire book (again) on my Kindle, found (and fixed) problems that were overlooked while I was editing the book on my computer, and uploaded the new file to Amazon.

My overall experience is extremely positive.  I love my book, and I’ve read it a couple of times for my own entertainment (something I didn’t think would be possible with my own stories).  I love the cover, I love the content, and I love the reactions.  Writing this anthology has me excited to work on the next one.

But first, here’s what’s inside of Flashlight Stories:

The Calm (Before the Storm): A flash fiction introduction

The House at the End of the Street: A young boy works up the courage to enter the witch's house, located at the end of the street

Twelve Feet Under: A boy's father will go to extreme lengths (and depths) for his son's love

Being the Reaper: A man must take on the task of being the Grim Reaper to pay for the sins he committed during life

Afraid of Clowns: A clown with a silly name terrifies a young boy

The Last Vampire: Old legends come alive when the last vampire is trapped by hunters

What's Buried in the Barn: A deal with the Devil, and an unholy secret

Your Friends are Coming: A man's past comes back for revenge

Buried Alive: It's worse than you might think

It Man: A story about a shadow demon who lives off fear

The Storm:  Flash fiction closer that continues from the opener

If you want a taste of Flashlight Stories, just go to Amazon or Smashwords and download the free sample.  You’ll get the first two stories for free.  The first story is extremely short, because it’s a flash fiction opener, but the second story is longer, and one of my favorite stories in the book.  I urge all of my friends to read the freebies, at least.  Thanks for being a fan, and I hope to hear from all of you very soon.

Flashlight Stories is still only 99 cents, but not for long.  After Halloween, the price will be set to $1.99.  Grab the story now, and let me what you think at

Friday, October 4, 2013

Indie Book Review: Between These Pages, by Catherine MacKenzie, Part 2 of 2

      This is the second half of my review for Between These Pages, a short story anthology by Catherine MacKenzie.
      The first half of Between These Pages was good, but the second half is definitely my favorite.  With respect to the other authors I’ve reviewed, Between These Pages is probably the best book by an independent author that I’ve read over the course of this year.  It was well-written, and contains a lot of interesting topics, especially the half I’m about to review.
           Quota:  This interesting story stood out almost as much as Island Lovers, but, being a fan of science fiction, I enjoyed this one more.  This sci-fi story could best be described as a population-control horror story (if such a genre ever existed).  A man must fill his quota of death, or else.
       Between the Good and the Bad:  This is an erotic story about a character (Vanessa) that is a cross between witch and vampire.  The main character uses her abilities to kill people who she believes deserve to die, because they are evil, or to end their misery.  One of my favorites.
      The Mannequin:  One of the most memorable stories in the entire book, a wife pretends to be the mannequin that was created in her likeness in order to catch her husband having an affair.
      Molly Mulligan:  This is a story about secrets.  Molly Mulligan has a family secret, and her children want to know the truth.
      Afterword:  In one of the more tragically compelling stories of this book, a woman kills her husband, assuming he was having an affair on her.  This story is extremely well written, and memorable.
      Trapped in the Swallow:  A man and wife go on vacation to New Zealand, and one of our main characters finds herself stuck in a sinkhole.
      Tart Thorns among Silken Threads:  This is a story about a woman who continues to marry men, and kill them, to inherit their possessions and live a life of luxury.
      Footprints in the Snow: Catherine MacKenzie pushes boundaries with this story about a controversial topic.  A woman once requested to be put out of her misery if her illness took away her quality of life.  Will her husband live up to his end of the bargain?  Will she still want him to when the time comes?
      Blood Dreams:  An old woman claims that her caretakers are draining her blood, but people think she’s delusional.  The marks on her body are real, but what about the bats flying overhead?

Who would like this book?  Previously, in the first half of this review, I said Between These Pages was geared toward women.  That remains true for the second half as well.  However, Catherine MacKenzie has written a book that can be enjoyed by a variety of different readers.

Here are some of my personal reactions to the second half of Between These Pages:

“Afterward”:  This was the story that had me on the edge of my seat.

“Quota”:  The first, and only, science fiction story in the book.  I was happy to see something from the sci-fi genre in this book, and even happier to see how well it fit in with the rest of the stories.

“Between the Good and the Bad”:  I’m not an expert in the commercial success of books, but if I could make a suggestion to Catherine MacKenzie it would be MAKE AN ENTIRE SERIES BASED ON THIS CHARACTER!  The main character of this story, Vanessa, is sexy, violent, and already has a great story.  She’s a witch and a vampire.  She’s a renegade who kills people based on her own judgment.  She’s sexually promiscuous without shame or apology.  Vanessa, in my opinion, could sell a lot of books.

“Footprints in the Snow”:  This is my favorite story in the entire book.  The story evokes strong emotions of what it means to be alive, and what it means to experience the process of dying.  Cathy MacKenzie tells her story as a work of fiction, but the real-world implications are hard to ignore.

Between These Pages was an excellent read.  Support Catherine MacKenzie by downloading her book, and let her know what you think of her stories.

Email Catherine MacKenzie at

Joshua Hicks recently released Flashlight Stories, an anthology of short stories that are meant to terrify.  The book is only 99 cents until after Halloween.  Get the first story free (plus a flash fiction introduction) with any sample download.  Enjoy!