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The Darkest Story

Eric Kapitan Author Interview

Eric Kapitan Author Interview

Fireflies of the Dead takes readers on a horrifying journey of blood seeking killers and revenge loving victims. What was the inspiration for this collection of short stories?

I’ve always been a fan of exploitation horror films, which I think really shows in the stories in this collection. I’ve been fascinated with rape revenge films such as Last House on the Left and I Spit on Your Grave for as long as I can remember. The boldness and grit of those films are what really drew me into them. I am a horror fan and as a horror fan I wrote stories that I myself would enjoy reading.

What was your favorite short story in the collection and why?

That is tough for me to answer because each story I like for different reasons. If I had to narrow it down, I would think my favorite is Watching Over Loved. I think it’s the darkest story in the collection. It contains no gore at all but packs a punch.

The stories are preceded by poems that help set the tone of the next story. What made you go with this format for your collection?

My previous books besides Burning Down Paradise were horror poetry collections dealing with extreme horror. As a reader, I’ve always loved reading short story collections. Especially when it’s a collection written by an author I’ve never heard or read before. I thought the poems would both serve as a way to set up the tone of each story as well as serve as stopping points for the reader.

I didn’t notice that any of the stories were connected, but they stood on their own well. Was there any overarching theme you tried to use in the collection?

Yes, some of the stories do share a common theme which might be hard to see through the violence and gore for some readers. In a lot of my work, I focus on themes of loss, loneliness and trying to find one’s place in the world.

Are you currently working on any full-length books? If so, when will the next book be published?

I’m working on a new draft a Novella I do not yet have a title for. It kind of serves as a sequel to my book Burning Down Paradise but yet is a stand alone story as well. I don’t want to give away much right now but I will say it takes place in a prison.

Author Links: GoodReads | Facebook

Fireflies of the DeadFireflies of the Dead is a collection of poetry and short stories. Exposing images of the strange, the grotesque and m+orbidly macabre. 

An alien from a distant world falls to earth with an insatiable craving for human flesh and something even more frightening, a desire to mate! Witness the tragic tale of a lonely man with an unhealthy affection toward the fire. 

Seven short stories and poems that will take you on a blood-soaked thrill ride filled with mayhem and horrific images. 

Fireflies of the Dead will chill your blood. 

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My Journey From Warrior to Gypsy: Poems by Tom Yeager

My Journey from Warrior to Gypsy: Poems by Tom Yeager

My Journey From Warrior to Gypsy, by Tom Yeager, is a poetry collection centered around four main topics that relate to the author’s life: love and romance, riding and jumping horses, travel, and facing adversity. The 41 poems are split among these sections, and in between many of them are half-page, full-color photographs to illustrate the work, each bearing a quote from one of the poems. In general, the collection is written in a modern style with elements of free-form, with occasional uses of a rhyme scheme as well. The dedication hints at a fascinating journey of personal growth, from outcast, to horse-lover, to one who is seeking greater connection with other people. However, the poetry straddles a line between theme and personal remembrance.

I thought Horses and Friends resembled an anecdote containing bewildering detail about the menu, but not much for a reader to empathize with. Reflections On India could easily be a travel itinerary followed by an abrupt quote. However, one of poems I truly enjoyed in the collection is Giving Thanks at Gull Lake. It was one of the poems that resonated with me as it had a selfless purpose which I could relate to. The later Gull Lake and Gibran, on the other hand, begins with an inviting description to set the scene, but becomes a list of food and drink, ending with a quote.

I believe the aim of poetry is to express emotions and ideas over factual information and when the author frees himself from these literal shackles he creates some pleasant poetry. Fearless Daughter and Letting Go cover similar ground, but the best part that they have in common is a greater use of figurative language. The imagery that comes into play in Natural Knowing adds emotional depth and interest, inviting more than a cursory reading.

Ultimately, this is a collection full of touching personal poetry.

Pages: 112 | ASIN: B071VTNR2Y

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Stygian

Stygian

Stygian, by Sean Michael, is a thematic arrangement of 52 poems based on the author’s life, interspersed with occasional quotes. The anthology is completed by an additional three poems in memory of three late friends. Stygian is organised in chronological order, from the author’s tragic childhood to the events that likely contributed to his incarceration, as mentioned in the author’s biography; in this way, the collection presents itself as a poetic autobiography. It’s a frank and dark work, which doesn’t hold back from the usage of swear words or in the stark descriptions of abuse, neglect and self-harm, so readers should use their discretion.

There’s a lot that could be said about this author, but after a read through, what stood out the most was the wide variety of poetic styles he used. The contents range from poems that read almost like a rap, written with short staccato lines and a regular rhyme scheme, to others that feel classical, with long and flowing verses. Partly, this seems to be a stylistic choice, and a clever one, too. Poems from his youth embody the language of a child, such as the word “doggie”, while the adult mind raids the full English lexicon to produce descriptions containing such gems as “empyrean” and “tenebrous”. It’ll give your linguistic knowledge a workout, that’s for sure. Other poems have a more contemporary feel; one appears to be a piece of prose, while The Monster is written entirely in capital letters.

However, there is much to recommend; poems like Sleeping with my Shoes On, which throws away a rhyme scheme to convey a sense of childish excitement, at odds with the glimpses of a deprived childhood. My personal favourites are The Man in the Box and the subsequent Endless Tunnels of Darkness which are beautifully descriptive and flowing summaries of the author’s life (and therefore Stygian) and his emotions about his current situation.

The order of other poems feels like an emotional jump as a reader, yet this is easily explained by the author’s unsettled life – art reflecting life in every way. It is uncomfortable to read the memories described in Away From the Disarray or Something to Cry About, but this is beside the point, which is to honestly portray everything the author has been through.

With this in mind, it can only be said that this is an effective piece of work. Just as no human can be fully understood by another. The content cannot be dismissed, because it is true, although it could be argued that it was still a little raw in places – like the emotions it conveys. The author does show great competency with a range of styles, though, and I would personally love to read more from him on other topics after he has developed some of his ideas further.

Pages: 97 | ASIN: B01G5WFHUE

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Spontaneous and Genuine

Luiz Valerio de Paula Trindade Author Interview

Luiz Valerio de Paula Trindade Author Interview

“In between… life” is a collection of 30 poems capturing a range of emotional experiences in the most apt words possible, but without making it feel inaccessible. What was your goal when writing this collection?

Well, what has driven me is that I have read plenty of poetry books that are all very well done, technically close to perfection and so forth, but that fail to engage the reader, to grasp his/her attention and say, for example, “Wow, that was written to me, that relates do what I think or what I have experienced in my life” you know. This sort of connection I think it is very important, otherwise, it becomes too distant regardless of its technical quality.

Only to give you an illustrative example, there is a female reader who sent me a message through my website saying that she felt like some of the poems had been written specifically for her. For me, as a writer, this sort of spontaneous and genuine feedback is the most valuable reward I could get because it is a clear indicator that my aim has been achieved in connecting the writing with people’s real feelings, sensations and emotions. It is simply priceless.

My favourite poem is “Turning the Page” because of the evocative imagery of unrequited love. What is your favourite poem and why?

If my book was a music album, I would say that some of its working titles would be “Today” and “Especially for you”. The first one I understand that is quite straightforward and evident on its intent right from the first lines, but even so it is also powerful in its message and underlying meaning of attachment and union. With regards to “Especially for you”, it has been written in such a way to initially give the impression that it is addressing male-female love, but as the lines go on it becomes clearer that, in fact, it is talking about another type of love and I appreciate this subtle shift. So, yes, those two are among the ones I like most, even though I could talk about a couple of others as well. But it is fine this way.

I loved the idea behind this collection, of sharing poetry as widely as possible. And the imagery that accompanies each piece is spot on. What was the art direction like in this book? What made you choose each picture?

Well, since the conceiving of this book I had decided that contrary to other titles available in the market, I could try to offer a more substantial reading experience that would transcend the writing. My wish was that the readers could not only read the poems but also visualise them as much as possible and establishing an even stronger bond with their content. Therefore, I have done an extensive research for relevant and meaningful imagery that more than simply illustrating each poem, could ‘translate’ them, so to speak, and convey a subtle complementary message linked to the core idea of the respective poem. Therefore, with this proposition, the book not only becomes differentiated in comparison to many others out there but, more importantly, it offers a unique and broader reading experience. Fortunately, the feedback has been quite positive and people are enjoying the project and fully engaging with its content and design.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

For the time being, I am focusing my energies primarily to promote “In between… life” but for the near future, I may start working on a new prose book eventually for the end of the year or first quarter of 2018.

Author Links: GoodReads | Website | YouTube

In Between... Life: Selected PoemsUnplugged! If there is a single word capable to accurately summarize the atmosphere of this book, that is for sure the most appropriate given that, similarly to an unplugged performance of your favourite band/singer, the selected poems in this book also convey the sensation of filling out the room and taking your senses to a different state of mind. They address topics such as love, romance, perceptions about life around us, and new discoveries. Nonetheless, they are ‘unplugged’ of unnecessary features, meaning that they make the reader feel at ease from the very first lines and engaging you just like an intimate conversation with your closest friend. 

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Black Inked Pearl: A Girl’s Quest

Black Inked Pearl: A Girl's Quest

An epic tale spun from erratic thoughts placed into text and delivered to the world. That is the sense that readers will get from Black Inked Pearl A Girl’s Quest by Ruth Finnegan. Our protagonist, Kate, is searching for something. She is on a journey through years and lifetimes as she seeks out this piece that is required to complete her. We see this world through her eyes, her thoughts and her experiences. The tale is epic not only in page count, but in content as well. We know that Kate has lost something, that she is searching for this thing, but we don’t know exactly what it is. We are left with speculation and can only turn the next page to find out if she has achieved her goal. With songs, poetry and influences of dreams long past, this tale is one that is begging to be heard.

The way this book is written, with its dream-like prose and fractured sentences, allows this epic fantasy novel to be told in a stream of consciousness style of writing. The thoughts are thrown at the reader: fast and unforgiving. At first glance, the reader may think that our protagonist, Kate, has simply gone mad and the first chapters are from her point of view. However, the entire book reads that way and, if you are not paying close attention, you may get lost. Readers are quickly taken from scene to scene and thought to thought with barely a lull. Perfect for readers who like to be fully engaged in a story.

The words are very beautiful. The poetry both original and borrowed lends a mystical air to the story. If you view the entire book as a sort of waking-dream, it begins to make sense. This writing style is wonderful for conveying emotions and we can get a better sense of how Kate is feeling as she continues her search. The blending of a warped reality with a warped sense of fantasy lends well to the thought of this being a dream-like state that Kate has found herself in.

A whirlwind of a read is what you’ll find between the covers of Black Inked Pearl A Girl’s Quest by Ruth Finnegan. The mystical sense of the book is intriguing. This is a book recommended to be finished in one sitting as you may find it hard to pull away. The dream-like madness that seems to grip the pages make for an exciting read, but this can also be overwhelming. This may be a book suited to seasoned readers who are looking for a dreamlike story of epic proportions.

Pages: 286 | ASIN: B0158VRF26

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A World of Wonder

A World of Wonder by [Ford, Brent A., Hazlehurst, Lucy McCullough]

A World of Wonder by Brent A. Ford and Lucy McCullough Hazlehurst is an educational combination of photographs and poetry, designed to be enjoyed by parents and children together. Giving the latter an interest in the world and to act as a starting point for appreciating its wonders. It consists of 41 high-quality, color images of nature and natural phenomena across the globe, each paired with a relevant, short poem – some newly written for the book, and some classics. The interactive copy has links to further information related to each photo.

The first thing that struck me was the quality of the photos, which are expertly-framed, beautiful shots of a range of animals, scenery, and weather across the globe, as well as views from beyond the upper atmosphere. As an adult, I still wonder at many of them, so it must be magical for a child. They evoke multiple emotions – some are dramatic, some cute, some calm – but all are of a suitable nature for young children, as should be expected.

The accompanying poems are apt for the stated age range of 3-8, and grade level K-2; they’re short, accessible and fun to read aloud. Some are humorous, while many are more instructive about the habits of animals or natural processes. They match well with the photos, and explore different aspects of life on Earth.

The combined variety of photos and poems are ideal for promoting conversation of all kinds between parents and children; it’s easy to tell that the authors have experience in education. Not just parents, but teachers could certainly get a lot of use out of this book, too.

It’s not particularly long, and because it’s designed to be picked up and put down, it seems perfect for different attention spans and available periods of time. It could be used at bedtime, or for car journeys.

The amazing choice of photographs enables you to revisit this book many times, so parents can ask different questions to highlight different points and to introduce more complex ideas as their child grows. This flexibility of use would is a huge draw for parents. It would be ideal for guessing games – trying to remember the photo from the poem, or even the poem from the photo. Budding artists could get some great inspiration from it, and it could be a very useful starting point for crafting projects or for guided research about animal habits and habitat.

I appreciate the authors’ aims and the work that they have put into the book in order to achieve them. A World of Wonder truly delivers on the wonder that it promises.

Pages: 88 | ASIN: B072LJWBSZ

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In Between… Life

In Between... Life: Selected Poems

In Between… Life by Luiz Valério de Paula Trindade is a collection of 30 of the Brazilian poet’s English-language works. Each poem is headed by a full-page, colour photograph that is related to the topic of the poem, showcasing the poet’s other loves of photography and travel. In the introduction, he states that his vision for the collection was to capture a range of human emotional experience in the most apt words possible, but without making the poetry feel inaccessible and distant. It’s supposed to feel like a conversation with a friend.

I loved the idea behind this collection, of sharing poetry as widely as possible. I can certainly imagine philosophising about some of the topics late into the night with a friend. Unfortunately, in places this aim detracted from the poetry itself, leading to the telling-rather-than-showing, shallow exploration of Human Dignity, or some of the repetitive, clichéd references to an unapproachable woman in impenetrable armour.

In other places, though, there was evocative imagery that I instantly related to; Turning the Page is a mature description of unrequited love, and it’s expressed as a rounded story. Many of my favourite poems appeared in the latter half of the collection, and most had this same characteristic. The well-chosen order of the lines and stanzas of You Don’t Know allowed me to travel with the main character as their feelings developed, and the ending felt like the cliffhanger in a novel – I wanted to find out what happened next!

Love is a common theme, but I felt as though more aspects of it could have been covered besides the romantic one – Especially For You was a notable exception.  Within the romantic poems, Today stood out for me, written with a beautiful simplicity that was still deeply imbued with meaning. The repetition of similar phrases has a strength of several other poems. How combines this with descriptive imagery which really got me feeling its frustration! The rhythm adds to this nicely, but I thought the ending of it was a little awkward. I put this down to the occasional, unnatural syntax. I can imagine that in the poet’s native Portuguese these phrases would flow smoothly.

The last two poems I want to mention are Why I Write and Words. As a writer, their content resonated with me, and I think their description of the process and the importance of writing could help people who have different creative outlets to understand why I spend so much time doing it!

Overall, I believe the collection did cover a range of aspects of the human experience, and although it didn’t work for all of them, the poems that did benefit from the simple phrasing were very effective in bringing the emotions alive for me.

Pages: 94 | ISBN: 154303988X

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Pearl of the Seas

Pearl of the Seas4 StarsIn this delightfully imaginative tale, two children, Chris and Kate, find a log of driftwood on the beach. They decide to build a boat and sail across the ocean. Whether by magic or imagination, the two friends and their little dog Holly build their ship, name it the Pearl of the Seas, and begin their journey. Like any fairy tale, there are obstacles to overcome, dangers to face, and kind strangers to help them along their way. They rely on friendship, faith, and kindness to see them home to a happy ending.

Intended as a prequel to Black Inked Pearl, a romance novel, this story is dedicated to young teens. I believe it would also appeal to middle-grade youth as well. There’s a real sense of youth-centered discovery and the freedom to let creative fancies bloom into epic adventures. And I don’t use ‘epic’ lightly; the author weaves in themes, events, and allusions borrowed from the Bible, the original Greek epics, tales of Aladdin and Orpheus, and classic narrative poetry. Indeed, poetry is the heart of the tale, and to me, it read less like a novel and more like a prose poem:

“All things stayed silent. Harkening. The gulls sat in white lines along the rocks; on the beach, great seals lay basking and kept time with lazy heads; while silver shoals of fish came up to hearken, and whispered as they broke the shining calm.”

Poems in traditional form are often combined with the prose. Finnegan creates a language that can take some time to get used to the unusual sentence structure and sing-song pattern of the words. In some passages, the child-like way of chaining words together lends an air of playfulness. Since readers (especially young readers) may be inspired to learn more about the poetry and prose of the book, the author includes a section of notes at the end. She offers more information about key phrases and events, poetic references, and the inspiration for some of the key events in the story. I found this to be a big help in deciphering some of the words and concepts of the book.

The characters are charming. Kate and Chris have their own problems in the real world. Kate is perplexed by math and the nuns who teach her; Chris has lost his mother and is being raised by a foster father. Holly, the dog, finds every opportunity for danger and gives both children a chance to play hero and rescue her. Once they’re sailing the sea of dreams, they meet Yahwiel with his riddles, as well as the benevolent King and Queen who live on an Eden-like island. These characters all have an air of the divine, and the lessons they teach are steeped in the Christian faith.

If you’re looking for a unique book for a young reader or a short chapter book to read to very young children, Pearl of the Seas is a unique story that goes beyond mere entertainment. It’s an excellent introduction to poetry, classic literature, and imagination.

Pages: 138 | ISBN: 1625902557

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Hungry Monster Book Awards: August 2016

The Hungry Monster Book Awards are given to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and The Hungry Monster is proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Gold Book AwardGold Award Winners

Death Leaders by Kendra Hadnott

Jabberwocky: A Novella by Theodore Singer

Silver Book AwardSilver Award Winners

Milijun by Clayton Graham

Derailed by Alyssa Rosy Ivy

Bar Nights by Dave Matthes

Death of a Gypsy by Janet Hannah

Mervyn vs. Dennis by Niels Saunders

Stage Door Comedies by Sally Roger

Asana of Malevolence by Kate Abbott

In the Eyes of Madness by Michael Pang

Welcome to Deep Cove by Grant T. Reed

The Six and the Crystals if Ialana by Katlynn Brooke

Thing Bailiwick: A Collection of Horror by Fawn Bonning

Tarbabies: The Shadow Man of Ichabod Lane by Allen Brady

 

Books have the ability to entertain and inform us. They can make the impossible possible. They are vehicles of time travel and windows into perspectives. In books, authors are gods and imagination is their power. Transforming letters into words; words into characters and places; and these into emotions and worlds. Even if we never meet, we are connected by the stories we tell.

 

Visit the Hungry Monster Book Awards page to see more information on the awards. See all award winners.

Because it Touches the Soul

“Highlights both the skill and depth of a maturing poet” – The US Review of Books

“A wonderful poetry collection that will delight readers” – The Columbia Review

Author Interview with Lyman Ditson, author of Please Don’t Ask.

Please Don’t Ask is a collection of 51 poems covering a wide range of topics. Dog Nap is my favorite poem. What is your favorite poem in the collection, and why?

Bracelet. Because it touches the soul. It makes us deal with the inevitability of death. I remember the moment that held so much contrast between my mother’s innocent happiness at getting a bracelet and my sadness that she didn’t understand the meaning of the bracelet.

Some poems cover mundane things, like dogs taking up too much room on the bed, while other poems such as Dear Brother, are beautiful and seem deeply personal. Was there any inspiration pulled from real life that you put into your poems?

Yes. Pretty much all of the poems were either about my experience or were pulled out from my spiritual experiences. Some were just silly such as Frog Heaven.

I liked this collection because I could grasp the meaning of the poems, but they were still complex enough to keep me thinking about them after they were done. Do you have a specific style that you like to write in?

I don’t know if I have a favorite style. I love having diversity of style. Most poetry books from one poet use pretty much the same style and it doesn’t seem as alive after a while of reading as when different styles and subjects are used.

Here is a poem from Lyman Ditson.

Yet

Yet still I wait,

the calling distractions
impale me,

yet

I recall the whisper
of grace
and

yet still I wait

Please Don't AskPlease Don’t Ask is an eclectic mix of spiritual and secular poetry written by Lyman Ditson. You will find inspirational as well as comical work in this book. Do not be surprised by the occasional critique of situations that are happening in the world today. Two poems, Cricketland and Adobe Land will seem very familiar to those who know Austin, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The inspiration for these poems comes from not only a deep commitment spiritually but also an awareness of how day-to-day life can be affected by things outside of our understanding. “Please Don’t Ask” is enjoyable both as a casual read but will also be of interest to students of life in general. “Please Don’t Ask” is suitable for readers of all ages and all students of life.

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