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About Gwendolyn Kiste
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In her debut collection, Gwendolyn Kiste delves into the gathering darkness where beauty embraces the monstrous, and where even the most tranquil worlds are not to be trusted. From fairy tale kingdoms and desolate carnivals, to wedding ceremonies and summer camps that aren’t as joyful as they seem, these fourteen tales of horror and dark fantasy explore death, rebirth, and illusion all through the eyes of those on the outside—the forgotten, the forsaken, the Other, none of whom will stay in the dark any longer.
It starts with rapping in the ceiling and spirit boards that know them a little too well.
Everly and her best friend aren’t your typical college students. Instead of raucous Saturday night parties, they spend their weekends conjuring up things from the beyond. Ectoplasm, levitation, death photography—you name it, and Everly knows all about it. But while this obsession with the supernatural is only supposed to be in good fun, the girls soon discover themselves drifting deeper into magic and further from each other. Then when one evening ends with an inadvertently broken promise, everything they’ve ever known is shattered in an instant, sending them spiraling into a surreal haunting. Now Everly must learn how to control the spectral forces she’s unleashed if she wants any chance of escaping a ghost more dangerous than all the witchcraft she can summon.
A tale of the occult, unlikely phantoms, and complicated friendships, The Invention of Ghosts is the latest strange vision from the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Rust Maidens.
2019. The year certainly made its mark on the world—and more than its share of scars. It also made for a bounty of good horror stories of the extreme kind, the best of which the tales herein serve to illustrate.
2019 was the year Year's Best Hardcore Horror went global. Not by design but because the stories inside just happened to have been written by authors hailing from various parts of the globe. From Australia by way of South Africa, to Italy, Scotland, Norway, Taiwan, North America and India--the common denominator being that their tales come from darkest regions of imagination.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GOING GLOBAL: INTRODUCTION by Randy Chandler & Cheryl Mullenax
FEAST FOR SMALL PIECES by Hailey Piper
GODDESS OF GALLOWS by Kristopher Triana
LATE NIGHT INCIDENT AT THE WHITE TRASH MOTEL by Duane Bradley
A NEW MOTHER’S GUIDE TO RAISING AN ABOMINATION by Gwendolyn Kiste
UPPER CRUST by Michael Paul Gonzalez
REDLESS by Annie Neugebauer
A TOUCH OF MADNESS by Tim Waggoner
PARADISUM VOLUPTATIS by Joanna Koch
RADIX MALORUM by Sean Patrick Hazlett
LACKERS by Leo X. Roberson
WHY DO BIRDS SUDDENLY APPEAR? by Rajiv Moté
DARJEELING by Syon Das
MRSA ME by Alicia Hilton
WHAT DID YOU DO TO THE CHILDREN? by David L Tamarin
HAVE A HEART by Matthew V. Brockmeyer
SWINGS AND SUSPENSIONS by D.A. Xiaolin Spires
KIRTI by Alessandro Manzetti
THE TEA AND SUGAR TRAIN by DEBORAH SHELDON
SCREAMS FOR STARGIRL by Ben Pienaar
QUEER WEATHER by Scáth Beorh
A Bram Stoker Award Finalist!
From the Bram Stoker Award-nominated editor of the 2018 This is Horror Anthology of the Year, ASHES AND ENTROPY, comes a new vision of weird and horrific ambiguity. NOX PAREIDOLIA is fully color-illustrated by Luke Spooner and includes stories by Laird Barron, S.P. Miskowski, Brian Evenson, Kristi DeMeester, Michael Wehunt, Gwendolyn Kiste, Zin E. Rocklyn, Christopher Ropes, Doungjai Gam, Alvaro Zinos-Amaro, Carrie Laben, Kurt Fawver, David Peak, Don Webb and Duane Pesice, Paul Jessup, K.H. Vaughan, and more.
It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh.
As rumors spread about the grotesque transformations, soon everyone from nosy tourists to clinic doctors and government men start arriving on Denton Street, eager to catch sight of “the Rust Maidens” in metamorphosis. But even with all the onlookers, nobody can explain what’s happening or why—except perhaps the Rust Maidens themselves. Whispering in secret, they know more than they’re telling, and Phoebe realizes her former friends are quietly preparing for something that will tear their neighborhood apart.
Alternating between past and present, Phoebe struggles to unravel the mystery of the Rust Maidens—and her own unwitting role in the transformations—before she loses everything she’s held dear: her home, her best friend, and even perhaps her own body.
It starts with crows tumbling out of the clouds and spectral voices on the wind that won’t leave her alone. Then there are those midnight visits to the graveyard that Odette can’t quite remember in the morning. Odette wants to forget magic, but her magic doesn’t want to forget her.
Odette soon discovers her worst nightmare is about to come true—the witchfinders are returning. And this time, the decree is clear: to burn the witch that got away.
"By the time you hurtle toward the epic conclusion, you will be wowed and left wanting more from this master storyteller and weaver of magic tales. Buy all of Gwendolyn Kiste’s books if you haven’t already. As well, award jurors and influencers should take note, because this book deserves to take home all of the prizes." (Cemetery Dance)
"Kiste’s writing style moves fluidly back and forth through time with lyrical language describing awful things. Readers will hang on every word, cringe and cheer through the action, and passionately root for Odette." (Library Journal, starred review)
"[Kiste} effectively creates an intense quasi-Jacobean world where witchfinders rule, and ably depicts a culture of fear, despair, and wonder among the persecuted witches. Recommended for historical fantasy fans and general readers alike." (Booklist)
"Kiste’s vivid descriptions bring Odette’s desperate story to life. This grim tale of magic and resilience is sure to please." (Publishers Weekly)
"Gwendolyn Kiste takes the magical and makes it real, makes beautiful the macabre. I really loved this book, I've read it twice already . . . I ended up racing through this book as once the pace picks up it keeps going in an exhilarating journey with lots of twists and turns." (S.J. Budd)
You don’t know their fire is coming until it’s too late. That’s exactly the way the witchfinders like it. As an isolated enchantress, Odette knows this too well—she lost nearly her whole family to the last round of executions, barely escaping with her own life. All the magic she could conjure wasn’t enough to protect her mother and sister, a burden that leaves a despondent Odette practically wishing she’d burned with the rest.
Now it’s five years later, and as the last witch left from her village, Odette has exiled herself to the nearby woods where she’s sworn off all magic, hoping instead for quiet and for safety. But no witch has ever been permitted a peaceful life.
It starts with crows tumbling out of the clouds and spectral voices on the wind that won’t leave her alone. Then there are those midnight visits to the graveyard that she can’t quite remember in the morning and the strange children following her everywhere she goes. Odette wants to forget magic, but her magic doesn’t want to forget her. Meanwhile, the former friends she left behind in the village are cowering together, hiding from the ghostly birds they believe she’s sent to torment them for abandoning her. But that’s only the beginning of their problems, as Odette soon discovers their worst nightmare is about to come true—the witchfinders are returning. And this time, the decree is clear: to burn the witch that got away.
With the men drawing nearer to the village, Odette must face the whispers from the dead and confront her fear of her own growing power if she wants any chance of stopping the army of witchfinders determined to rid the countryside of magic once and for all.
- Evan Dicken, "Every House a Home"
No one understands strange places like people who have been there. Mad Scientist Journal has brought together twenty-two tales of people who have visited places both beautiful and horrifying. Some places heal, some places destroy, some places just want to see the world. Haunted houses share a neighborhood in these pages with dimensional rifts, hidden skyscrapers, and abandoned spacecraft.
Included in this collection are stories from Ali Abbas, Nyri Bakkalian, S. E. Casey, Julian Dexter, Evan Dicken, Carolyn A. Drake, Dorian Graves, Diana Hauer, Georgie Hinojosa, Michael M. Jones, Gwendolyn Kiste, M. Lopes da Silva, Christine Lucas, Audrey Mack, Lyndsie Manusos, Alanna McFall, Alexander Nachaj, Timothy Nakayama, Betty Rocksteady, Ian M. Smith, Kathryn Yelinek, and E. R. Zhang. Includes art by Ray McCaughey, Kristen Nyht, Scarlett O'Hairdye, and Luke Spooner.
A dazzling collection of the most gripping tales of horror, vividly told.
In the antique mirror, call her name three times, and Bloody Mary will appear. Outside, wandering through a garden of poisonous flowers is Mistress Mary, Quite Contrary, a nursery rhyme come to gruesome life. Downstairs is another jump-rope rhyme—Mary Mack, forever conscripted to build her own coffin. And brooding in the corner with her horse skull is the restless Mari Lwyd.
They are the Marys, the embodiment of urban legend and what goes bump in the night. Every evening, they gather around the table and share nightmares like fine wine, savoring the flavors of those they’ve terrified.
But other than these brief moments together, the Marys are alone, haunting a solitary gloom that knows them better than they know themselves. That’s because they don’t remember who they were before—or even if there was a before. And worst of all, they don’t know how to escape this fate.
That is, until a moment of rage inspires Rhee to leap from the highway—and into the mirror with Bloody Mary. Suddenly, the Marys are learning how to move between their worlds, all while realizing how much stronger they are together.
But just when freedom is within their reach, something in the gloom fights back—something that isn’t ready to let them go. Now with her sisters in danger of slipping into the darkness, Rhee must unravel the mystery of who the Marys were before they were every child’s nightmare. And she’ll have to do it before what’s in the shadows comes to claim her for its own.
PRETTY MARYS ALL IN A ROW is dark urban fantasy that follows the (after)lives and times of five ghosts and their haunts. The novella combines contemporary fairy tale and urban legend in a story that shows that being dead isn't always a bed of roses.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING
"Underneath the creepy images and ghostly lore, Gwendolyn Kiste has created a story about the power of women's friendships, a subject often handled with all the cloying sweetness of a bag of candy corn. But these Marys are wicked and wonderful—just the gals you'll want to hang out with on a dark and stormy night. A darkly fantastic delight!" (Wendy N. Wagner, author of An Oath of Dogs)
"Gwendolyn Kiste excels in creating subtle, unsettling disturbia. Her writing is clever, imaginative, eerily beautiful. It lingers with you days later—perhaps long into the night as you stare at the shifting light on the ceiling—twining itself through your thoughts. Pretty Marys harkens back to the writing of Shirley Jackson and Daphne DuMaurier, whose work speaks to the fears of women and our struggle to find and keep our space in the world. The fear of not being heard. Of being replaceable. Perhaps most nerve-wracking of all: being forced to confront the darkness that lies inside all of us, telling us we’re not worthy, we’re not enough. Kiste writes empowering horror, handling these challenging subjects deftly and with a tough tenderness that lets the reader know: yes, there will be a fight... but you can do this." (Eden Royce, author of Spook Lights)
"Wholly original and profoundly haunting, Pretty Marys All in a Row is Gwendolyn Kiste’s finest work to date. Her prose glides effortlessly through the (after) lives of her protagonists, adding an unfamiliar humanity to the women of myth that we feared as children—a humanity that will resonate within the darkest heart.
The classic monsters have returned… again!
During the gothic horror revival of the late 1950s through the 1970s, vampires, witches, devil worshipers, occultists, spirits, ghouls, and grave-robbing mad scientists returned to terrify a new generation of thrill-seeking movie audiences. Influenced by the social and cultural upheavals of the time and the ever-present specter of nuclear war, these classic terrors became more violent, more subversive—and more seductive.
Behold the Undead of Dracula features stories inspired by the films of the gothic horror revival, dripping with blazing bright-red blood and radiating sex appeal. Eleven of the best authors in underground horror fiction offer up unique and terrifying takes on this special era of cinematic history, summoning spine-tingling tales sure to frighten and seduce unwary readers.
Grab your popcorn, take a seat, and watch as the curtain rises on these neo-gothic nightmares. Bear witness to the lurid and sensual horrors of...
Behold the Undead of Dracula!
All proceeds from the sales go to support the American Indian College Fund.Survival.
It’s that difference between you and the end of the line, and that one thing that keeps you from slipping over the edge forever. Deep down, when faced with impossible odds, we find a way. A way to keep moving. A way to overcome. Whether death is a disease or a storm, an addiction, or a psychotic killer, or sometimes even our own mind, human beings find a way. We are resilient. We are strong. We are survivors. Even in death, we carry on.
Here are sixteen stories of survival.
Sixteen unique voices calling out... can you hear them?