Tag Archives: horror

Review: Caution: Contains Small Parts by Kirstyn McDermott (AWW Challenge #11)

smallpartsThe 12 Planets series from Twelfth Planet Press continues to deliver brilliant stories from amazing women writers. (Yes, I know I have a book in that collection. Please excuse the hubris. The company I share in this series makes me giddy with glee!) Kirstyn McDermott’s Caution: Contains Small Parts, the ninth in the series, is another publication of excellence.

McDermott has a real skill for sneaking up on you with her horror, and then for taking you in unexpected directions. Scenarios you think will be full of gore and terror end up strangely sad and sweet; those who seem like victims might just be perpetrators of a different kind; those who seem cruel may simply have a different perspective. Human motivation is complex, so the relationship of an individual and the strange world they inhabit may not be what you think.

I want to avoid spoilers, and sometimes the shift in perspective offered in these stories is subtle, so in this respect I’ll keep my comments short and possibly cryptic. So… the title story, Caution: Contains Small Parts is possibly my favourite for becoming not at all what I expected, and moving me deeply in the process. As a writer, Horn creeped me out the most as a cautionary tale of unintended consequences. The resolution of What Amanda Wants was horrific, and I feel like maybe I’m a terrible person for finding it so satisfying as well.  The Home For Broken Dolls is sad and lonely, and the elements of what are superficially horror just feel like a personification of justifiable “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take it any longer” rage that ends in a wonderful sense of hope rather than destruction.

I’m not sure how useful that is to you, but honestly, the 12 Planets series is good value for money, individually or as a subscription, so I recommend you just go on over to the site and buy this one, then buy the rest, and wait for the tenth to be released.

Lost and Found 5: Plot Bunny

Plot BunnyShe is small, to hold so much rage in her. Small and ferocious and so, so tired. She had to dig her way out again, and her with no bones, no muscles, just cotton and stuffing, weeping all the while.

Dig she did, though, and she found the sky again, and now she seeks something more. It will take a long time to find it (to take it) she has no doubt.

But revenge is patient, yes it is. Revenge has time enough. A dish best served cold, they say. Has no use-by date, they say.

It is a long way home, but that’s all right. That will give her time to think, to plan, to plot.

The days and weeks and months she’ll spend wending homeward will provide so much careful, burning time to decide which of them to punish – or punish first, at least – and how best to share with her enemies how it felt.

How it felt to be seized in hot, hard jaws and taken away.

How it felt to realise that Beloved Little One didn’t raise a squeak of protest, being too enamoured of the splash of low-breaking waves on the sand to notice or care that the Beast was in motion, Bunny in its mouth.

How it felt to hear Uncaring Adult say in a bored, peeved tone ‘No, Cheezle, put Bunny back; bloody dog,’ as ineffectively as a cat protesting, with no real interest, the closing of a door.

How it felt that no-one came to her rescue.

How it felt that nobody cared, and that Older Bully only laughed when she saw Cheezle carrying Bunny away on the beach.

A heart of cotton and stuffing (but a heart all the same) can still break when it understands the words: ‘I’m not digging my way up and down the beach to find that bloody rabbit. Amelia has plenty of toys at home. Forget it. It’s starting to rain. Let’s leave.’

Bunny, down in her damp and sandy grave, buried there by Cheezle (jealous Cheezle, vicious Beast) was afraid, and then bereft, and then forlorn, and then outraged, and then enraged, and then, oh then, so full of fury and fire and hatred that despite the softness of her unboned limbs, the tatters of her stuffing heart, she began to dig.

Rabbits dig, you know. Even the soft ones. Even the ones made of cotton and polyester and tagged with washing instructions, they can dig, if properly motivated. Usually they burrow into little hearts, making a kindly warren of comfort and safety; days of play and nights of comfort, and those tunnels and dens make memories that keep old hearts gentle down the long, long years.

Bunny’s burrows of love and comfort have been blasted and filled with stones, this day. Instead, Bunny dug up, up, up from the pit where Cheezle (filthy Cheezle, the Beast who will know what it is to be sorry) buried her.

A moment’s pause by the sea, by the vast desert made of millions of pulverised bones and stones and dead things, and then Bunny will be off to fulfill her purpose.

Bunny will take whatever time and effort it takes to retrace her steps; to follow the path that the Metal Toybox on Wheels took to bring her to this cold and loveless shore. She will return to the home she knew and lay waste to Older Bully and Uncaring Adult and Cheezle the foul Beast and even Beloved Little One, faithless tiny bitch that she is, and Bunny will know what it is to be drenched in blood as well as sea and sand.

And they, the family that spurned her, will know what it is to be mauled and buried and left unmourned to be swallowed by the sea.

Oh yes, they will.

Lost and Found is an irregular series of posts about random items I find abandoned on the streets and the stories I make of them.

 

Expendable and Showtime: e-available!

Kitty banner smallGood morrow, good readers! It’s mid July and things that I write continue to wriggle out into the world at every opportunity.

Kitty and Cadaver: Not the Zombie Apocalypse continues to appear, one part at a time, every Monday. The second part of Chapter Three went up on 15 July. If you haven’t checked it out, you can start at Chapter One here.

ExpendableIn the meantime, the second of my erotic spy stories has been published. The Secret Agents, Secret Lives series began with Double Edged, and the story of Spymaster Philip Marsden and his lover, Agent Martine Dubois, continues in Expendable. As the blurb says:

Secret Agent Martine and her spymaster lover, Philip Marsden, are back in action and on the trail of international bad guy Bartos Rigo. Will they have to compromise their love or their honour to get the job done?

You can get both books in digital format from Clan Destine Press for only $1.80 each. Double Edged is also available on Kobo. 

Expendable will follow its footsteps there soon.

In the meantime, you can also get both stories for Kindle on Amazon.com:

Showtime_smlFinally, my Twelfth Planet Press contribution to the Twelve Planets series, Showtime, is now available for Kobo along with a stack of other Twelve Planets titles. These include collections by Tansy Rayner Roberts, Margo Lanagan and Kaaron Warren, who has just won the Shirley Jackson novella award for Sky, which appears in her Twelve Planets collection Through Splintered Walls.

If any of you feel so moved, it would be great if you wrote reviews for any of the Twelfth Planet Press or Encounters books on GoodReads, Amazon or Kobo (or all three!)

 

You gotta have braaaaiiiinsss…

Best New Zombie Tales vol 2I was delighted to receive a box full of books this morning! I ordered a dozen copies of Best Zombie Tales vol 2 a while back, and they’ve finally arrived! They contain a lot of terrific zombie stories, and my own contribution, The Truth About Brains – about a 14 year old girl whose brother gets turned into a zombie, and she’s trying to fix him before mum finds out!

There are a couple of ways to get your hands on these fine zombie tales –

From Amazon.com:

Best New Zombie Tales (Vol. 2) (Paperback)

Best New Zombie Tales (vol. 2) (Kindle)

or you can get a copy from me, for $20 plus postage (or you can get it from me in person). Just let me know in the comments and I’ll send you my Paypal info!