* originally published for the 2013 Holiday Horror Binge & Purge event on DECEMBER 29, 2013
I’ve completed my [Goodreads] ˙·٠•●♥ 2013 Reading Challenge ♥●•٠·˙ – (ahead of schedule, and beyond my personal goal – go, me!) But, I’m still sitting here wishing I had read so much more! I need more time! More hours in the day, more days in the week… UGH! It’s so frustrating!
I started reading titles from StrangeHouse Books in 2013, and I wish I could say that I’m ending this year all caught up, that I’ve devoured them all quicker than a Cannibal in Fat Camp! ::sigh:: That, however, is not the case. But, it gives me a goal for 2014!!
“This collection of 9 twisted tales of Christmas horror brings together weirdo literary talent from around the world, all with the sole purpose of turning the most sacred of holidays on its head, and making sweet, sweet love to its defenseless ear holes!”
“Join SHB ring leader Kevin Strange, as well as StrangeHouse anthology alumni Rich Bottles Jr., Jesse Wheeler, KM Tepe, and newcomers like Lindsey Goddard and MP Johnson on this sometimes magical, always fucked up journey to the north pole. We promise you’ll never look at Christmas the same way ever again!”
For last year’s ‘HOLIDAY HORROR BINGE & PURGE’ event, my main Holiday book to read, and review, was A HACKED-UP HOLIDAY MASSACRE. (It turned out to be a book of all holidays, not just Christmas, but ‘Irreverent Merriment, Diabolical Debauchery, and Gory Good Times‘ were had by all!!) This year, I started earlier and got to fit in many more books from my holiday horror wish list. Two of this year’s reads are fighting for the top spot on my Happy List – A Very StrangeHouse Christmas is one of the two.
INTRODUCTION: Kevin Strange
Kafka’s Run by Billy Tea:
The Kafka’s are Gift Heads & they’re in the run. Gift Heads are a slave race to the fat man. Raised in prison camps, tended to by elves, and eventually beheaded when they reach maturity. Their severed gift-heads are offered as sacrifice to appease the tiny Earth Gods. Fantastic story.
The Unlisted by Jesse Wheeler:
YOU WANT NAUGHTY? You got it with this story! Sex, debauchery, violence, & more!
Things in here had me cracking up (in between a gag, or a cringe) – one hilarious fact about these elves… they shit the cookie dough that Mrs. Claus bakes for Santa. When TSHTF, there’s a line about an elf who got so scared “he nearly nogged his pants”!! (It makes perfect sense that they pee egg nog, if they shit dough, right?!) WARM & FRESH!
Dear Santa Claus by K.M. Tepe:
A letter to Santa from the Naughty K.M. Tepe – If I were the fat man, I’d make sure every item on that list was specially delivered with added bows made of cash…
*Message for K.M. Tepe:
Ever since I opened up my very first MySpace account, I’ve used the same line in the About Me section of practically every account – still using it today.
After reading your bio in the back of this book, I just wanted to make a note of it just in case you see it yourself somewhere. There’s no “This town ain’t big enough fir the both of us” reasoning or mentality behind this note – It’s more like a brunch invitation! If you’re ever in Detroit, look me up… we can hang out in the alley behind Poetry Slam, guzzling coffee, and poking the corpse of Wino Willie!
Blood On The Highway by Lindsey Goddard:
The anguish of a mother’s loss is not bound by species.
A woman, her husband, and his brother are driving through a terrible storm, on they’re way for what was supposed to be a relaxing holiday. This is a very good SS! I’m hoping that Lindsey sees this and can recommend a better pic – one that looks like the inside of her brain!
Kathi the Sexy Elf by Rich Bottles Jr.:
A department store Santa, who is following in his dad’s footprints as the jolly fat man for the same store, decides to do something remarkably sweet for his ‘Helper’ this year. The helper, Kathi, makes a very sexy elf, and she has some surprises of her own in store for Santa…
I can’t wait to read some of the stories in Rich’s ‘humorrorotica‘ genre! Some links are provided at the bottom.
Christmas with the Family by Jonathan Byrd:
This one should be called “A FUCKED UP FAMILY CHRISTMAS”.
Other Jonathan Byrd titles on Amazon include –
BIG, The Jar, UNSHACKLED, and The Mommies Club. But, after reading this short, I’m not entirely convinced that it’s the same guy!! 🙂
The Witch who Fucked Christmas by Kevin Strange:
This story is a tie in to one of Kev’s movies, but it stands alone just fine.
Set in STRANGEVILLE, ILLINOIS, a worn out & broke down Santa is about to go head to head with The Hag of Horrors herself – Sasparilla, The Weed Witch. The victor will hold the bag that contains all the magic of Christmas. But, you can’t expect the Hag of Horrors to play fair… can you?
Nixon and Hogan Smoke Christmas YouTube trailer
Hack Films / Kevin Strange on YouTube
I’m Dreaming of a White Doomsday by Mike Lombardo:
Save the best for last, Kev? Yeah. I’m going to get this review posted, then go slit my wrists. xxoo ♥
I’ve been adding and updating this section since the original post, and I’m still not finished.
I would like to include as much info as possible for each author that is/was involved with SHB while the books below were published.
This section will eventually become a StrangeHouse Spotlight Page
**If YOU are one of those authors, please – contact me! I’d like to post any info/links that you would like fans to know about!!***
A VERY STRANGEHOUSE CHRISTMAS on Goodreads
Kevin Strange on Goodreads
K.M. Tepe on Goodreads
Rich Bottles Jr. on Goodreads
Mike Lombardo on Goodreads
Lindsey Goddard on Goodreads
Jesse Wheeler on Goodreads
Billy Tea on Goodreads
M.P. Johnson on Goodreads
Jonathan Byrd on Goodreads
DO YOU THINK YOU KNOW KEVIN STRANGE?
Take this quiz and find out!! Post your results in the comments, I’d love to see them – I’ll Make sure that I get a link to Kevin, so he can see your results, too!
MORE SHB ANTHOLOGIES – GET SOME STRANGE!
The Last Gig On Planet Earth And Other Strange Stories
Strange Versus Lovecraft
Tales of Questionable Taste
Zombie! Zombie! Brain Bang!
Scary Fucking Stories: A Strange Collection
VOYEURISM, in 140 characters or less –
Other Books from Rich Bottles Jr.
“[…] makes Deliverance look like a family raft trip down the Lower Gauley”
‘Hellhole West Virginia‘
“Eco-friendly vampires, beach-yearning zombies and sex-starved she-devils.”
“What happens when twin brothers lease out the former West Virginia State Penitentiary with the false purpose of filming a documentary on supernatural phenomena, but their true intention is to make a pornographic movie? Chaos ensues as the disturbed spirits of murdered convicts, along with the reanimated dead from the neighboring Indian Burial Mound, take their vengeance on the unwary and undressed trespassers. Zombies, ghosts, mobsters and porn collide in this bizarro tale from horror author Rich Bottles Jr.”
*I HAVE TO GET THIS BOOK!* (Update – Rich sent me a copy of this, along with some awesome author swag! Thanks, Rich!!)
Check out ‘Gross-Out Author’ Jesse Wheeler’s Dinner at the Vomitropolis – I have this, but haven’t had the nerve to start reading it yet.
Visit the official website of Mike Lombardo’s Reel Splatter Productions! They’re a small independent horror-comedy troupe based out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania whose goal is to prove artistic expression can involve necrophilia & chainsaws! Visit RSP now, and see some horrible monstrosities commit unspeakable acts! YAY!!
Writer/Director/FX Artist and author of this book’s SS titled ‘I’M DREAMING OF A WHITE DOOMSDAY‘ – Mike “Dr.Chud” Lombardo just released ‘THE STALL‘ on DVD and it is ready to ship!
It’s the story of a young pizza shop employee whi finds himself trapped in a public restroom during the Lovecraftian apocalypse. The DVD contains buckets of exclusive bloody extras that aren’t available on YouTube.
A Very StrangeHouse Christmas on Amazon
In 1975 the small town of Hulis was ground zero in a frantic search for 10 year-old Merrie Frances Callahan, as well as an intense manhunt for her abductor.
35 years later, it seems the FBI would like to pretend it never happened.
Special Agent Constance Mandalay didn’t get that memo…
IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER is based on the short teaser novella MERRIE AXEMAS: A Killer Holiday Tale, (see below) but it tells the whole story of ten-year-old Merrie Frances Callahan’s 1975 abduction, and the present day murders that are somehow intricately linked to that event.
⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆
5/5 Holiday Stars
I’ve been a Rowan Gant fan since I picked up my first copy of HARM NONE (I got it autographed, too – teehee), and I am so happy that SA Constance Mandalay got her own story! (soon-to-be-series 🙂 I can’t wait for Book 2: INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE!!). ITBM is going to impact the rest of the RGI Series for me. Constance was already growing on me, but I like her character much more now. Getting to go along with her on this investigation, and see how she handles the (I’m quoting Ben here…) “Twilight Zone” stuff without Rowan being there is eye-opening. I definitely see her a little differently, and have more respect for her. She has earned her place in The Ghoul Squad, haha! I would LOVE to see both Constance and Ben shake off their traditional beliefs and… well… a girl can dream. ♥ Blessed Be!
SA Constance Mandalay is assigned what appears to be a 7-year-old cold case that echos the events of the 35-year-old child abduction. Unfortunately for all involved, the case heats up for a short time each year with a brutal murder that appears eerily staged, and occurs under impossible circumstances.
Undaunted, she faces the task with no backup, a mysteriously redacted case file, and the inevitable murder fast approaching.
Mandalay’s experience as the ‘handler’ for an FBI occult/paranormal expert (Rowan Gant) makes her the perfect choice for this investigation. However, even her brushes with the unexplained still cannot prepare her for the answer she was not supposed to discover…
You can find In The Bleak Midwinter: A Special Agent Constance Mandalay Novel @
You can find Merrie Axemas: A Killer Holiday Tale (#FREE) @
Where to find M. R. Sellars online:
M. R. Land, Amazon, Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Smashwords, YouTube, StoryFind, and if he ever decides to get back to pinning – Pintrest. I’m still trying to recruit all you horror lovers to switch to SlashBoard instead – it’s Pintrest for Horror Lovers! Maybe we can follow him there soon series 😉
Merrie Axemas – Book 0.5 of the Constance Mandalay Series
LITTLE MERRIE CALLAHAN MAY BE ALL GROWN UP, BUT SHE STILL HAS AN AXE TO GRIND WITH THE MAN IN THE RED SUIT…
INTO THE LAKE OF FIRE: Book 2 of the Constance Mandalay series
THE END IS NEAR, IT JUST NEEDS A LITTLE PUSH…
Check out the entire Rowan Gant Investigation [RGI] series – I highly recommend the books I’ve read so far, and I’ll bet I say the same as I finish the rest of them.
My autographed copy of HARM NONE can’t be replaced, so I was especially giddy when I saw that M. R. Sellars uses AuthorGraph! Now my ebooks are virtually signed 🙂 Stop by and get your new M. R. Sellars ebooks personalized, too!
Be sure to check out all of the M. R. Sellars and other WillowTree Press Author logo-ed swag available @ On The Edge Graphics: Purveyors Of Official Author Swag & Other Graphical Oddities http://www.cafepress.com/otegraphics
“Follow only if you be men of valor, for the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and lived!
Bones of full fifty men lie strewn about its lair, so brave knights, if you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further!”
“For death awaits you all with nasty big pointy teeth.”
‘Experience demented rabbits, chocolate obsessed children drowning in their own greed, serial killers, resurrection and more in this collection guaranteed to kill the cravings of your sweet tooth.’
Desert by Matt Shaw
“If you’re good – you get chocolate! If you’re bad… He hops right on by…”
Matt Shaw kicks off this collection with a dark tale about a boy who is on Easter break from school, but wishing he was anywhere but home at the moment.
There is a strange noise coming from the hallway – had someone broken in to abduct him, or to hurt his family? Terrified, he grabs a cricket bat and ventures out to see what is lurking in the shadows…
On a more personal note…
DESERT is a heartbreaking short story – ‘Justin’ is such a brave, wise, and generous little boy who is continuously hurt by the man who is supposed to love him unconditionally. Reading this (and please forgive me for saying this…), makes me want to hunt down the “Senior Sperm Donor” and punch him in the face. So… Happy Fucking Easter – let’s move on.
Bastard Bunny by David Owain Hughes Don’t make fun of the guy in the bunny suit – you never know when he could just SNAP and lose his shit! Take a lesson from the people who survive office massacres – throw the weirdos a Snickers every once in a while, and keep your comments to yourself.
Duncan Ralston provides us with an entirely different definition of ‘resurrection’ in His Is Risen!
Want to know more about this SS? There is only one way to find out what is behind the door…
*Bonus points for teaching me ‘DRWS MARWOLAETH’.
The Chickens and the 3 Gods by Kit Power
The chickens loved C’ra and R’ak. They tried their best to please, and defer to their Hen & Cock Humans – until the day they brought the mini-human, B’rok to the garden. B’rok brought terror and destruction, yet C’ra and R’ak did nothing to save them. The chickens had been forsaken by their Gods, and now a change in power is in order.
Wicker Baskets by Kindra Sowder
Little Jesse loves any holiday that brings with it the promise of candy. He goes to bed excited to find out what the Easter Bunny will bring him in the morning. What he finds when he wakes up will make this an Easter that he will never forget.
My Last Easter by Jack Rollins First off, kudos to the author for the name of his main character! Way to show some love, Jack! Second – the little sister, Charlotte, grated my nerves… what a whine-y, tattle tale little bitch! I’d look forward to my last Easter if I had to be around that every day.
Lepus by Stuart Keane
SK puts a modern horror spin onto the mythology, astrology, and lexology of Lepus – and it’s genius.
Little Bunny by Glenn Rolfe
The fluffy brown bunny draws Marlow Shuman deep into Brenner’s Woods where the line between her nightmares and reality is blurred. She comes face to face with the past, and things aren’t what they seemed – but which version of “the truth” is correct, and who can be trusted?
Run Rabbit Run by Michael Bray
Gerald Rose is going to make a statement this year and show people the error of their ways. Easter isn’t about gorging Cadburry eggs & marshmallow Peeps – no sir. Reverend Rose is going to show people the true meaning of Easter.
When A Bunny Snaps by Jim Goforth
Josiah is celebrating Easter at one of his favorite bars – Fantasy Dress. He’s on the wrong side of sober when he sees Bunny sneak out for a smoke break, and he decides to follow her to have a little ‘chat’. Beaten, bloody, and bruised in the alley behind the bar – she can take no more. Something in her snaps, and nothing is going to stop her from getting the payback that she deserves.
Help Me by Neil Buchanan
Jo wakes up from a wicked bender with very hazy snapshots of the night before starting to come into focus. There’s also a little voice calling out for help inside his head – which he is not in the mood for right now.
However, Ishtar is in no mood to be ignored.
Educating Horace by Matt Hickman
Being 14 isn’t a picnic for any kid, but for Horace Davidson it is a nightmare. He has been coddled by his mother his entire life, becoming an overweight, under-educated misfit bullied relentlessly by his peers. He escapes the torment by losing himself in daydreams & fantasies, but not today. Today is Easter, and his mom has more than chocolate to put in his wicker basket this year.
Deb Loves Robbie by Mark West
This short made me feel like I was riding through a Romeo and Juliet themed Tunnel of Love, if it were created by David Lynch, and George Romero!
♥ ‘Robbie & Deb ~ Nor Death Do Us Part’ ♥
The Tradition is explained to us by Kyle M. Scott. Local legend says that the true spirit of Easter, embodied by a creature that predates Christianity, demands sacrifice in order to keep the children of Abbington Wood safe year after year.
The first born child of any household, under the age of 18, has to paint themselves onto an egg and offer it up to the creature. If the representation of the soul isn’t offered up willingly, the creature will come to collect the real thing. You don’t want to do things the hard way.
* recently released as book four of the Razorblade Candies series.
Hey-Zeus by Duncan P. Bradshaw
Easter Eve is one of the biggest bar nights of the year, I’ve missed more than one Easter Sunday breakfast with the fam because I was too hungover to even think about smelling ham & deviled eggs 😡
Ed, Guy, and Harry party like goddamn rock stars on Maundy Thursday. I thought I’ve partied, but I’ve NEVER reenacted The Easter Story with my friends! 3:)
Feldman’s Rabbit by Rich Hawkins
The man that entered the old house was shivering, starving, and half-frozen, but determined to survive. He can sustain with the Easter basket he found – “Feldman’s going to be just fine.” But, is he? Is the house driving him mad, the chocolate Easter eggs he consumed, or was he half-mad to begin with? It doesn’t matter, because Feldman is happier than he could ever remember being.
On The Third Day by Graeme Reynolds
What have I been telling you all these years?
“If it shambles like a zombie, and groans like a zombie…”
…you know how to finish that sentence.
Easter Eggs by Chantal Noordeloos
If a newly pregnant Rosemary Woodhouse traveled to Summerisle with her husband for a pagan holiday ritual with the fam – it might turn out something like EASTER EGGS. Chantal has captured elements of two iconic horror films and weaved them into a darkly original story that will stay with you long after you’ve finished.
Easter Hunt by author JR Park
Old Pat was hiding this year’s batch of chocolate eggs for the Church’s annual Easter Egg Hunt when he disappeared into the odd, cream colored mist. Once Sunday services were over, and the strange mist dissipated, the town’s children run towards the field to begin their search. They find a lot more than eggs to put in their baskets this year!
The Jesus Loophole by Luke Smitherd
Forget about bunnies & eggs; Easter is about Christ’s torture porn style death as atonement for all the sins of man, allowing us to ask for – and receive – forgiveness. But… what if you feel no remorse for you sins? Is it possible to “cheat the system”? If you want to find a loophole in God’s law there are two men you can ask… Kevin Smith, and Luke Smitherd.
CONNECT WITH THE AUTHORS
Matt Shaw Facebook @
Graeme Reynolds Facebook @
Luke Smitherd Facebook @
Jim Goforth Facebook @
Stuart Keane Facebook @
Kit Power Facebook @
Jack Rollins Facebook @
David Owain Hughes Facebook @
Rich Hawkins Facebook @
Duncan Ralston Facebook @
Kyle M. Scott Facebook @
Duncan P. Bradshaw Facebook
J R Park Facebook @
Glenn Rolfe Facebook @
Chantal Noordeloos Facebook @
Kindra Sowder Facebook @
Matt Hickman Facebook @
Neil Buchanan Facebook @
Mark West Facebook @MarkEWest
Michael Bray Facebook @
Need something new to read over the holidays?
Here are two new releases that I’m very excited about, and just bought them both…
William Malmborg’s Santa Took Them
feels like a Christmas-y version of HALLOWEEN – I can’t wait to read it. Here’s a quote from one Amazon reviewer – “Santa Took Them is a fun horror read for the season.”
Christmas Eve 2005. Eight year old Michelle Harper is the only survivor in a horrific massacre that has left her four siblings decapitated, and her mother slowly dying as her innards ooze out onto the second floor landing, the words SANTA TOOK THEM written in blood on the bedroom wall.
Ten years later, having been released from a psychiatric hospital for children, Michelle disappears, her uncle and his girlfriend found hacked to death with a knife before being decapitated, the words SANTA TOOK THEM once again written in blood on the wall.
Dr. Samantha Loomis had no plans for the holidays, and was hoping to spend the time simply relaxing in her home. That all changes when the police begin asking her questions about Michelle, questions that make it fairly clear that they believe her to be guilty of the recent slayings.
No one in Holly Brook, IL has forgotten the horror that unfolded on Christmas Eve all those years ago, and now, as a terrifying blizzard descends upon the small isolated town, and teens begin disappearing one by one, it looks as if that gruesome night was only the beginning.
Matt Shaw’s A Christmas Cackle: F*cked-Up Festive Shorts is from his Fucked Up Shorts collection – written mainly for KU subscribers, but still a steal at $.99! (IMO: All the books in the white cover series are worth owning!)
“These Christmas short stories are for hardcore horror fans.”
Christmas is a time for love and peace and…. oh, bollocks to that! Bah Humbug and all that! Give me Halloween over Christmas any time! Think of me as The Grinch! Think of me as Scrooge! Think of me as the miserable git who won’t be buying you a present this year because… Well…. You don’t deserve one and I am tighter than a duck’s arse! And – as for this book – think of this as short stories based around Christmas in typical Matt Shaw style. An ‘up yours’ to the festive period containing dark tales of horror and twists that you don’t see coming no matter how many Shaw books you have read.
Contained within this book:
The Night Before
Author Facts (based around Christmas no less)
And the short story “This is HORROR” which introduces you to a key character coming in 2016…
PLEASE NOTE: There is VERY bad language in this book. If easily offended – do yourself a favour and sod off. This book isn’t for you.
‘Blood for the blood God.
Love, yes, we love God.
Take from us this gift of gore.
Keep the devil from our doors.’
This book contains two new twisted short stories for the holidays.
The title story, Season’s Bleedings, is Jacob Rayne’s version of how we came to follow certain traditions at Christmas – brightly decorated pine trees, gifts, and the man in the red suit with his magical sleigh.
In The Curse of Harry Land, a teacher knows that the best way to get kids to do something that you want them to do is to tell them not to do it. Miss Hopper warns her students to avoid the house of Harry Land this Halloween.
‘It’s Hallowe’en, time for a scare,
If you trickor treat you’d best beware,
Don’t knock on the door of Harry Land,
Or the devil will come and chop off your hand.’
Season’s Bleedings also contains a bonus sample of The Lazarus Contagion.
Santa Claus is coming to town…at least, that was the plan, but now his elves have started going missing, kidnapped by some insidious figure in a black cloak, and despite the magic swirling about the place, the toys aren’t going to put themselves together. So begins a terrifying game of cat and mouse as Kris Kringle searches The Land of Christmas for his abducted minions, unaware that he is to play an integral part in his foe’s plans.
Krampus is pissed at Santa after lending him his snowblower and never getting it back. His punishment? To build a Human Santapede long enough to stretch around The Land of Christmas, and at its helm, the jolly fat man himself. Can Santa – aided by his best foreman, Finklefoot – get his elves back, defeat Krampus, and save Christmas before it is too late, or will Krampus succeed in creating the ghastliest single-file organism the North Pole has ever seen?
Ho-Ho-Holy Shit, things are about to get messy…
First, have you seen The Human Centipede (First Sequence), or The Full Sequence, or The Final Sequence? It may not be necessary to see the movie(s), but it gives you a better feel for just how bad things are going to get, and just how bad that ‘we had curry for dinner’ joke really is! (South Park spoofed it pretty disgustingly). I’m only kidding – Adam has re-imagined yet another *[beloved] classic, and made The **[in]Human Santapede into what is sure to be one of my favorite things for many upcoming holiday seasons!
Taking subtle shots at Warwick Davis, Furbys, and E.L. James, Adam had me cracking up through another story that ended way to soon.
In the Land of Christmas, joy & laughter are spread like wildfire & chlamydia. Mrs. Claus is a ex-stripper, and a bitch-faced whore, who (in my mind) looks like a filthy, filthy Jessica Rabbit. Elves are missing, and Rudolph is nowhere to be seen. Someone is out to ruin the holiday this year, and Finklefoot is going to find out who it is!
Finklefoot isn’t about to save Christmas, or The Fat Bastard, for free. No sir. He, (and every other elf), wants a song written about him – one that will tell his story, and get stuck in the minds of humans everywhere for years to come.
Will Finklefoot save Christmas, and get a Holiday Song of his very own, (like that slacker Rudolph)?
* – “…you start putting brackets in things, you’re just going to make things worse. That’s why Meatloaf songs are terrible.”
** – “…you start putting brackets in things, you’re just going to make things worse. That’s why Meatloaf songs are terrible.”