Invierno Niño

Hey, y’all!

This month, Meghan’s eventful and wonderfully rich blog is having a Christmas-themed collection of posts and stories by authors both amateur and seasoned to provide additional cheer and fear all throughout it.

It just so happens that my short story about a young hispanic family living in a South Texas town being overtaken by the sinister, overwhelming, and busy-body spirit of Christmas was recently shared on her site.

Check it out here and tell me what you think! I worked awfully hard on this one. Never wrote a holiday themed anything before, let alone a horror-centric one, at least not intentionally, before Invierno Niño.

Again, check it out here.

-TDR

@RogersDrue

P.S.

Special thanks to my mother-in-law for providing a solid premise that left a lot of room for interpretation, allowing me to just run with it.

Two-Feature Showing at Meghan’s Harvest House of Books

I’m a day late in sharing this, but Meghan’s Harvest House of Books is hosting an interview with me about storytelling and an article I wrote about no longer taking Halloween and holiday decorations for granted. The guest article I wrote is about a subject that is so dear to my heart now that I have a son. It was a lot of fun to better explore the history of my family and their traditions.

The interview is here.

The article I wrote is here.

Check out the rest of Meghan’s blog periodically as she updates often, especially during the holidays with a revolving door of authors thrown into the mix.

It’s a lot of fun.

-TDR

Reception by Kenzie Jennings REVIEW

***This review contains mild spoilers***

Let me start this review off by saying that–as a recently married man–I found the chapters leading up to the climax of this story to be the most accurate modern description of pre-wedding events that I have ever read. Not all horror entails the grotesque. Some of the scariest moments in life involve the mixing of one’s odd family with another, sharing completely disparate views and values, only to be forced to watch it all unfold with a smile presented across your face. That is truly terrifying, even as I have survived it.

Yet, with a glorious (gore-ious?) debut of a novel like Reception, written by Kenzie Jennings and published by Death’s Head Press, things are not entirely as they seem. Utilizing a book cover showcasing a twisted family’s idea of a home cooked dinner meant to startingly compete with the likes of both The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, allow me to explain that this story has both the chilling appetite and the uproarious humor of the former and latter, respectively, without losing sight of the small moments that keep a reader enthused beyond the simple shock value trappings that many first time horror authors find difficulty in elevating their work beyond.

Ansley Boone is the black sheep of her little sister, Shay’s, side of the wedding party. She’s just come from rehab and all eyes are on her, expecting the inevitable, that she’ll make a mockery of herself and her family in front of the groom’s. All of this is good and well until Ansley discovers that her special kind of crazy had been set upon every single ear that she’d meet, adding even more tension as she slowly loses her composure, wading through the narrative already built for her sans her own participation. Her anxiety, stomach, and overall instincts battling it out as the story progressively gets worse for her, through no small fault of everyone involved.

One particular scene involved the breakfast before the ceremony. Leading up to my first “what the actual fuck” moment had Ansley already unknowingly sleeping with an engaged groomsmen. Afterward, with the women on both sides hilariously bickering about hair styles, cake decorations, make-up, et. cetera, the maid of honor’s four year old son, Bryceson, complains about a German sausage tasting nothing like a hot dog–nothing at all. My jaw dropped as the kid said this and while more and more uneasy conversations unfolded, I had to remind myself to unclench my jaw by the time the story approached the most realistically awkward beginnings of a toast by the sister of the bride, Ansley herself, in front of the entirety of the wedding.

This is when shit hit the fan.

At first, I didn’t like the main character too much. This isn’t a make or break it with me, but as time went on her snarky attitude and coarse understanding of the world allowed her honest moments with her mother and sister to shine through in spades. We aren’t meant to like her right off because she is us. She’s at times a spoiled, ungrateful, longing child and when confronted by a past which your family won’t ever seem to let you forget, you’d be a bitch, too. Ansley Boone is one of the great first person POV’s in a realm occupied by far too many mediocre attempts to comprehensively name.

Kenzie Jennings has boldly used as her debut novel to examine family intersectionality and mental trauma, mixing it with a telling of a concept that under a lesser author, could be extremely kitsch, but instead comes off as leaps and bounds above her contemporaries. I will readily await her upcoming works with wide eyes and a clenched jaw for she is something special and we need to prepare for whatever she has in store for us, her victims, next.

Bravo. Bravo.

Purchase Reception here.

21st Century Freedom

My short story featuring a young body builder hell-bent on quitting his regimented lifestyle and living a new life of decadence is out now, serialized in 6 parts for Weird Mask Zine.

Pretty excited about this story being published. It’s a darkly comedic attempt at an R-rated Kafkaesque trip through a man’s mind, and a lot of it rhymes! So if that sounds fun and you like transgressive horror fiction, check it out and share it, please.

Part 1 available here.

Part 2 is here.

Part 3 here.

Part 4 here.

Part 5 here.

Finale here.

-TDR

Great company to be in!

‘FIRE BURN & CAULDRON BUBBLE’ OCTOBER 2019

Vamp Cat has released their “Fire Burn & Cauldron Bubble” issue for this October, featuring my little story about a sentient disembodied skull named Ca$h Money.

Double, double toil and trouble;

Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

—William Shakespeare, Macbeth

Read it here and then keep the spirit flowing by checking out the rest that this Spook-tacular issue has to offer!

-TDR