In our debut community sampler, Rise Above, we have a “calendar” featuring a number of titles by month throughout 2023. Seeing as we are now entering March and the sampler won’t be out until April, here are the featured titles we’ll be printing for the first two months of the year within Rise Above:
Descriptions in quotation have been selected from their NetGalley listings. Other descriptions have been provided by the authors or written by the editor.
Mouse Trap – by Caryn Larrinaga … 1/3 – Timber Ghost
“Death haunts the Scott family home. Twenty years ago, Dakota Scott’s baby brother died falling down the back stairs. Twenty-four hours ago, her older brother, Lennox, wasted away into nothing in the same house. Two deaths, just floors apart, yet no one suspects a connection. Settling Lennox’s affairs lures Dakota back to the family’s old Victorian home overlooking Astoria. It has changed over the years–what was once a happy home is, now filled with sadness, strange memories, and lights that won’t stay lit. In the ever-growing darkness, a sinister force has awakened from a long slumber, and it is far from finished with Dakota. Her life and sanity hang in the balance—alongside everything she holds dear.”
Tell Me I’m Worthless – by Alison Rumfitt … 1/17 – Macmillan-Tor/Forge, Tor Nightfire
“Three years ago, Alice spent one night in an abandoned house with her friends, Ila and Hannah. Since then, Alice’s life has spiraled. She lives a haunted existence, selling videos of herself for money, going to parties she hates, drinking herself to sleep. Memories of that night torment Alice, but when Ila asks her to return to the House, to go past the KEEP OUT sign and over the sick earth where teenagers dare each other to venture, Alice knows she must go. Together, Alice and Ila must face the horrors that happened there, must pull themselves apart from the inside out, put their differences aside, and try to rescue Hannah, whom the House has chosen to make its own.”
The Broken Darkness – by Theresa Braun … 1/26 – Gorgon Blood Press
“In her debut collection, Theresa Braun explores the inner workings of the human heart and what it is we most desire—forgiveness, acceptance, love, fame, or merely to escape who we really are. Whether we are battling ghosts, demons, mythical monsters, the past, or other dimensions, we are really facing the deepest parts of ourselves. These thirteen tales of horror and dark fantasy may appear to be a matter of good versus evil, but they are all a reflection of the hidden corners of the soul that are often shades of broken darkness. The characters in these stories must face their inner and outer terrors, or else suffer the consequences.”
Melinda West – by KC Griftant … 2/2 – Brigids Gate Press
“In an Old West overrun by monsters, a stoic gunslinger must embark on a dangerous quest to save her friends and stop a supernatural war. The Witcher meets Bonnie and Clyde in a re-imagined Old West full of diverse characters, desolate landscapes, and fast-paced adventure.”
Ancient Images – by Ramsey Campbell … 2/7 – Flame Tree
After a lost horror film starring Karloff and Lugosi is located, the historian responsible dies during an attempted escape from something horrible he’s seen. Now his friend, Sandy Allan, must prove who located the film while also staying out of view of an uncanny guardian protecting a family secret.
Wasps in the Ice Cream – by Tim McGregor … 2/7 – Raw Dog Screaming
In the late 1980s, a group of friends decide to play a cruel prank on the reclusive Farrow sisters. One of them, Mark, wishes he could take it back and returns to the Farrow sisters to make amends. He is soon drawn into their world and forced to decide where he belongs.
Vandal: Stories of Damage – by Kaaron Warren, Aaron Dries, J.S. Breukelaar … 2/16 – Crystal Lake Publishing
“Three unflinching novellas of cursed objects, folk horror, and dark family secrets…
The Deathplace Set by Kaaron Warren: Gloria inherits a set of cigarette cards, 24 beautifully illustrated, historically accurate cards depicting death scenes. Once she meets her future husband, they become obsessed with cards, determined to visit each of the locations, driven by a force they don’t understand. They profit from this obsession, flipping haunted houses from dumps to delights, selling them for a good return. Their family grows and their five children join the exploration, learning to live with the ghosts, the constant moves, the underlying smell of death that follows them. The family vandalize each place they live in, knowing that you need to destroy in order to rebuild.
It’s only once the ghost of a young boy is roused that the true history of the cards is revealed and the true sacrifice to obsession begins.
We Called it Graffitiville by Aaron Dries: Well intentioned virtue-hunters, Dan and Kiki, are two young Australian volunteers posted in Samoa. They met in-country, fell in love, and believe they are making a difference to the local communities. But over the past few months, the value of their work has been challenged. Their love has started to crumble, too. A trip to the southern part of the island proves to be a last-ditch effort to keep their relationship intact… but nature intervenes. A catastrophic tsunami obliterates the coastline, forcing Dan and Kiki inland. They seek refuge in an abandoned village on the side of a dormant volcano. Only this village–notable for the humanoid graffiti on the walls of its old churches and houses– is not as empty as it at first seems. By night, these graffiti figures come alive and hunt Dan and Kiki through the surrounding jungle, desperate to drag them back to Graffitiville where the couple must participate in an ancient sacrificial rite.
Quicksilver by J.S. Breukelaar: Some curses don’t know how to die. Over two centuries, the artists, Ahava, Alex and Angel inherit a family curse passed down aunt-to-niece through the generations. The curse goes all the way back to a village in Poland where a mad uncle sold his soul to a witch for a shot at eternity. Although the witch gave his female heirs a fifth word to transform the curse into a blessing, this has forced them into a strange ritual of desecrating their own art in order to keep it sacred, an act of self-vandalism that consumes their bodies and their minds. A ritual that cannibalises their friendships, their love affairs, their lives, the darkness always just a brush stroke away. Until one day, one year and in one city, the curse comes too close to home, and the final niece learns the true meaning of wearing your he/art on your sleeve.”
HorrorScope: A Zodiac Anthology – Edited by H. Everend … 2/20 – H. Everend
Aries. Taurus. Gemini. Cancer. Leo. Virgo. Libra. Scorpio. Sagittarius. Capricorn. Aquarius. Pisces. It is said that destiny is determined by the stars. The signs of the Zodiac can predict who you’ll love, who you’ll hate, and who you’ll become. But the fates written in the stars are not always kind. Sometimes, they’re terrifying. Includes 36 dark fantasy poems and short stories.
The Monsters in Our Shadows – by Edward J. Cymbal … 2/28 – Lovecraft Press
“It’s been a century since “the great consumption.” Humanity has been devoured to the edge of extinction by the ever-ravenous Shivers – terrifying, shapeless creatures that latch onto their hosts, tormenting them over time before consuming them all at once. The last of civilization lives in the crumbling city of Atlas, where they subsist on processed insects and await their inevitable fate. Anthem is the city Exilist, tasked with trapping the Shivers and banishing them to the malevolent Deadlands outside the city walls. But Anthem is ailing and destined to soon fall victim to his own Shiver, a fate he’s reluctantly accepted. As Anthem begins to withdraw from his world, a threat he’s unprepared for comes hurtling home. If he is to save anyone, he will have to travel into the Deadlands in search of a remedy to tame these creatures. But no Atlas dweller has ever made it back alive, and Anthem must confront his own darkness before humankind is forever lost to the monsters in our shadows.”