So it's back to shameless self-promotion! Hold on, hold on...don't go anywhere yet. I promise it'll be easy. If it helps, just read this post in a stilted, hammy William Shatner voice and I swear we'll get through it together.
In an odd manner of serendipity, my brand-spanking-new (First! Evah!) short story collection is also entitled "Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley." Just like my blog! Weird coinkydink, yeah?
This short story collection is full of horror, suspense, dark humor, satire, shameless guffaws, and terrifying edge-of-the-seat, turn-the-lights-on scares. (I hope. YOU be the judge).That was my intention when I began the project, at least.
But the more I got into it--all tales taking place in the Midwestern state of super bizarre Kansas--a theme developed, one not entirely intentional. A few of these stories had appeared before on a blog, but have been extensively revised and altered. Yet all of the tales--particularly the newer, longer ones--started forming a cohesive theme.
As my British critic/artist extraordinaire pal, Karen Ruffles, said, "It's a peek beneath the blankets of Kansas."
It is. And then some. It ain't pretty.
Most of the stories were written directly after the last American presidential election. I was angry. So was the entire (un)United States . It didn't matter which side of the political fence you fell over, everyone was splintered, distraught, shell-shocked, empowered, helpless, you name it. The only thing people had in common were negative feelings and a sense of outrage. A country torn apart, the worst America's been since the Civil War.
Nowhere was this seismic melt-down felt more than in my little Kansas City suburb. The worst in people came out. (Not getting into sides here, but yes, my political party of choice was/is guilty of tossing rocks as well).
Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley can be seen as allegory, social satire even. The stories are still horror and entertaining (again, I hope), but sometimes things just work out the way you hadn't intended. For once, I think my book turned out even cooler than my original vision.
Witness the incredibly bitter, hateful old woman who wages war on trick or treaters (think Big Orange with his dreamed about wall). Pity the guy, insistent he's not racist, who wakes up in the body of a Middle Eastern man. Freak out over the trauma that happens to a young college woman (based loosely on a true incident), who literally goes deep, deep underground into the pits of Hell. Visit the super-secretive night school class where tolerance for vampires and zombies is preached. Break bread with the mafia (yes, the mafia still exists in Kansas City) at a particularly spooky Thanksgiving dinner. Watch Bigfoot deal with marginalization and monster-shaming. See how corporate downsizing ruins a family and chases them into a rural dump of a haunted house.
My wife said the closing, go-for-broke, straight-up, no yoks involved horror novella is the most intense and dark thing I've written. Strong praise from my harshest critic.
There's lots more and I'm really proud of the writing on this book for once. Come see for yourself. Pull up a cracker barrel, sit a spell, lock the doors, and turn down the lights. There's a lotta haunting--perfect for Halloween--both supernaturally and of a nation torn apart (not perfect for any time) in your immediate future.
Pleasant nightmares. From the fine folks at Grinning Skull Press comes Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley.
|One click away from madness!|