typicalbooks 23 – Zombie – Joyce Carol Oates – Horror Booktube Review

A PSA to start – Toronto Police are searching for information on the death of Tess Richey. See the surveillance image of the last person to see her in November 2017, and if you have any information contact police right away – http://ift.tt/2Bm5kbW

Zombie by Joyce Carol Oates follows the mental deterioration of one Quentin P. Obsessed with his revolting and dark fantasies, he bounces between failing school and warped visits to a psychologist never quite fitting in either place. And that makes sense, where Quentin fits is somewhere between the most vile serial killer and manipulative creep imaginable.

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Suggest a book! I like violent and visceral horror. Comment here or at http://twitter.com/typicallydia or find my email address on http://nightface.ca

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I cover books I have read that have taught me something about my own writing or were printed in an atypical way. Sometimes, I just have something to say about typicalbooks.

Find my work, Nightface, Pray Lied Eve 2, and other fiction at http://nightface.ca or my Amazon author page http://ift.tt/2j3lJXS

if you want to hear more of my voice, listen to myself and Wes ‘Dead Air’ Knipe on the Dead Air Podcast at:


The perfect thunderclap by Acclivity was found at Freesound http://ift.tt/nE9Tb5 thank you!

All excerpts used for review purposes only, with all respective copyright retained by original owners.

Filming, editing and all other black magic by Lydia.

via https://youtu.be/yBnFoRhBhTk
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Spiders In the Daffodils by Nelson W. Pyles – Review by Lydia Peever

Doc said “everything here is a nightmare,” and that sure does ring a bell. Readers of Pyles’ fiction, specifically his collected works in “Everything Here is a Nightmare” will recognize these characters from the story “Just Enough Rope”. With cover art by Jeanette Andromedea, ‘Spiders in the Daffodils‘ is an expansion on the western theme was long awaited by followers of the author.

We follow the strange journey of Tom Wall from a young man to esteemed Texas Ranger, one of the fastest guns in his jurisdiction. That jurisdiction, fittingly, is wherever he finds himself to be. From thieves and scum to whores, Tom had seen it all, and among the whores he discovers the feisty Veronique. In a blink, he is drawn into her world and her history, and while the two are separated but a blink in time afterward, they cross paths much later. By then he is young enough to start again but retired from Ranger life and she has wound up the sheriff of a small town herself. Together, they hunt down the supernatural forces that have dogged them for years. Now, there is much more at stake with their daughter Josephine in the mix and the little girl has secrets of her own.

As wonderfully juxtaposed as the title images are, the idea of a supernatural creature at home in the Old West mingles well In Pyles’ latest novel. We have our hero, in the gruff Ranger named Tom Wall. As unmovable as he seems, we have the resourceful and lovely Veronique who clings to his emotional cracks then flourishes, blooming into a hero alongside him. Between them, there is romance and mystery set in a world of gunslingers where the heat bakes the earth and whip cracks sting more than horseflesh.

In episode 402 of The 9th Story podcast, alongside Dan Foytik and Jeanette the artist herself, there is talk of the development of ‘Spiders in the Daffodils’ and Pyles reads a short excerpt. This is a two-part interview and discussion with the author that offers valuable insight into where the book came from and unearths gems of the writing process as they talk. With this, we meet Stephan Trask, a formidable foe, which really rounds the story out and introduces the devastation of the monstrous supernatural forces secreted in the saloon backrooms and blasting out of flimsy jail cells across the west.

As the book begins with a young girl subject to depraved gore and vampiric destruction in Romania at the dawn of the 19th century, we are no stranger to the creatures. By the time we have hints they have persisted one hundred years later, we are eager to meet them again. Or fearful, as we should be since even Veronique and Tom hardly know what they are up against. Nelson has created a very pleasing and terrifying amalgam of creatures known and imagined with the strigoi style of long-lived, seemingly immortal creatures that prey upon humans while living mingled among them for centuries. On one hand, we have their incredible strength and bloodlust, and as with any great supra-human lays a certain enchantment, be it beauty or artful guile.

Coming to ‘Spiders in the Daffodils’ for either the horror and adventure serve the reader well with a well-written dose of genre dabbling they may not have bargained for. A happy accident, if you approached Pyles’ work without knowing his style which is rooted in writing great relationships, really knowable characters, visceral gore when needed, and dark tints to the most brightly lit horizons ahead. The story never needlessly meanders so the goals as they unfold are compelling with the whimsy of new creatures along with natural jargon of the time that works wonderfully in this well-tended garden.

Addendum! I’d entirely left out the most wonderful full disclosure here, as Nelson is not only a fellow author and friend, but as original host and creator of The Wicked Library – he is a hero who I am forever in debt to. Giving a voice to my stories and the stories of hundreds more is something special. Not many readers and authors get to pay it forward so far in advance as Nelson. Cheers, for starting one of the premier short horror story shows, and cheers on this book release. Here is to many more, sir!


This was a review written of my own free will, with a graciously supplied copy of the e-book by the author. Thank you, Nelson! Otherwise, I have taken a position reviewing books from independent authors. While not all are horror, there is a thread of darkness through them regardless of genre. As with honest paid reviews, there will be personal reaction as well as comparative and critical analysis. If you are an author that would like me to review your work, contact me for rates and a summary of your novel, short story, or collection. 

Editing a Short Story – Notes from the OIW Workshop

On November 21, Matt Moore and I hosted a short story writing workshop with the Ottawa Independent Writers. It was a wonderful evening and as we ran a little long on time, a few points fell off the end. One of the most important – and fun – notes dealt with editing a short story.

Many techniques can be used in self-editing and some are kind of taxing for novel-length work. Shorts give us a little more room for experimentation. These are some techniques I use and a few I’ve heard mentioned in author interviews.

Reading it aloud

  • This is easier with a short because it won’t take more than a half hour in general.
  • Record yourself reading it. During the recording process you may notice sections to tighten up, or upon listening back you get a little closer to the reader experience.

Pick up editing in the middle

  • Since you can keep the events of a short story in your head, try editing the middle of the story first so you are looking at word choice and description, not plot.
  • Or, start at the end and go paragraph by paragraph, backwards.


Some novelists do this but with a short it is a fairly quick procedure. If you’ve printed out a draft and want to slow down your reading, retyping it can reveal all kinds of flow errors or just give you room to make new decisions on sentence structure.

Beta readers

Nothing new here, but it may be easier to garner readers for a short over a novel. You can also get feedback fairly quickly from…

  • Workshops and writer’s groups
  • Goodreads groups
  • Absolute Write and Amazon Kindle forums
  • Association forums if you have joined any
  • Facebook and Twitter – useful to call out to readers you may not expect
  • Your newsletter subscribers if you use one

The Road To Hell Is Paved With Adverbs sayeth Stephen King

Yes, in short fiction you don’t have the space to spare, but eliminating every adverb, passive tense, cliche or alliteration may cost you style.

All of these steps should weed out the worst offenders so no need to rev up the chainsaw when a scalpel will do!