Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Murder, Machinery & Snowflakes

 


You guys patiently waiting for the Kindle version of my Christmas book, Murder Machinery & Snowflakes... it's finally up for pre-order with the release date less than a week away (December 1st).

As for those who've put their name down for a signed copy, you need to know they're sitting on the kitchen table awaiting my attention.

And I have a handful left if anyone else wants to nab a copy. Perfect for a stocking filler!

As always, my thanks.

M.


Available from AMAZON ~ 99p / 99c




Paperbacks are available direct from Amazon:

Thursday, 19 November 2020

A question



Would you sign up for a clinical trial?

With one novel on a publisher's desk and a new one in development, I'm now burying myself in research. Namely: clinical trials.

Yeah, I'm unintentionally keeping things topical.

After the success of Monster Double Feature I'm revisiting a concept featured in one of the stories. Several reviewers mentioned how they'd love to read more of the fictional company CellCore from the cyber-horror tale "Reanimation Channel." As a result I've found my next book expanding their unethical pursuits...

So the novel I'm now attacking is a modern day tale blending medieval apparatus and cybertech, featuring a plot thread that leans a little on clinical trials.

My questions for you:

  • What would compel you to join a clinical trial?
  • What side effects would you fear the most?
  • Have you, or anyone you know, ever signed up for one?

As promised with Parasite Crop, I'll give you a shout in the acknowledgements if any of your answers make it into the manuscript.

Thanks!

M.




What the reviewers say about "Reanimation Channel"

"... is a gloriously over the top creature feature, mixing body horror, eco-horror (fight me it's there I see it), with dark, dark humour this is an expansive short story that will raise as many smiles as gasps of horror. I loved how this went from being a tight domestic horror to something much more. Cassell's ability to keep the escalation of events logical and believable, well as plausible as they can be in a story of this nature, shows an author with an assured and gifted sense of storytelling.

While the story itself is entirely self-contained, I'd love to read more about the dark web villains and their reanimation company."
- Ginger Nuts of Horror


"... is a cyber horror piece whose unusual monster is just as brutal as it is original."
- Melissa Maaser


"Cassell created a really unique ‘channel’ and I loved how it sucked the man into watching it and interacting with it, even when he knew better and knew he needed to call the police. The “thing” that is described in this story is utterly amazing and will make readers wish and hope for this creature to be featured elsewhere. As a first time reader of Cassell, I honestly can’t tell you if this is related to any of his other works, but I sure hope so. If not – MARK, GET ON IT!"
- Kendall Reviews

"... is a disturbingly original story, tense, ferocious, and engaging."
- P.J. Blakey-Novis


One final review


This is my new favourite review of "Reanimation Channel" in which a little more of the plot is revealed:

"Scott’s neighbour Adrian is nearly always at home. Which is good for Scott because it means any deliveries that turn up at his house whilst he’s out, will be taken in by Adrian.

It’s this simple task of collecting a parcel from a neighbour, which causes events to spiral out of control. The discovery of a dead body and a mysterious online game leads to an amalgam of flesh and blood that makes the end of Akira look like a lump of clay with some Lego jammed in its surface."
- Mark Green

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Friday, 13 November 2020

Flash Fiction and Freebies

I'm full of freebies right now.


Firstly, have a flash fiction story written by your truly. And afterwards you'll find a bunch of links that'll give you dozens of free ebooks.


THE GOLDEN AGE OF TELEVISION

(1,000 words)


by 

Mark Cassell


It was my wife who’d insisted we purchase our first television set. She’d explained how the Johnsons had one (those neighbors were always a step ahead of us all) and it brought their family closer.

 

Ruth’s comment was undoubtedly a reference to how our son had distanced himself since his older sister lost her life in a traffic accident. A year on and he had retreated into himself, only ever leaving the house for school. A teenager should be out socialising and, dare I say it, coming home with black eyes and heartaches. But not our Jimmy.

 

As a successful encyclopaedia salesman known throughout Chicago as Eddiepedia—while Ruth only ever called me Edward—I feared the advent of television would stunt society's desire to educate themselves. Regardless, I soon brought one home. When I first plugged it in under Ruth’s eager eye, Jimmy ventured from his bedroom into a lounge filled with the roar of static. He leaned against the doorframe watching me angle the antenna for the best picture.

 

From that moment television shows entertained us whenever we ate.

 

Despite sharing mealtimes with his mom and I rather than staying in his room, Jimmy shared little conversation. No matter that we each hunched on the sofa, all eyes on the small screen across the room, what mattered was that we were together, a family rebuilding our home using television as adhesive. Yet, regardless of what they say about time heals wounds, our daughter’s name hid on an averted glance or secret quivering lips. Sad how it becomes taboo to utter the name of a passed loved one. I would often catch the dark look on Ruth’s face, indeed an expression I recognised in the bathroom mirror when shaving.

 

With television a part of our lives, that was the way of it for several weeks. On the night everything truly went to hell, I came home to an aroma of roasting chicken. As always Jimmy sat in the lounge watching television, school bag at his feet.

 

“Hello, son.”

 

He didn't acknowledge me. After heaping my briefcase and sample editions onto the dining table, I walked into the kitchen.

 

“Hey, honey.” I kissed the back of Ruth’s head as she sliced a carrot. “Seen my toolbox? It's not in the garage.”

 

“No. Did you get that sale?”

 

“Station wagon has a headlamp out again,” I said, ignoring the question. “Loose connection I reckon. Now these newer models are without wooden panels, the wiring seems shot.”

 

The knife paused over the next carrot, her knuckles whitening. Whenever the car was mentioned she would cool. She had, after all, been the one driving when the accident happened and had ever since blamed herself for our daughter’s untimely death.

 

I went into the lounge where Adventures of Superman stole my attention, just as it had Jimmy’s, until steaming dinner trays landed quite literally on our laps.

 

Jimmy wore sleeves pulled down over his wrists and, with the summer heat raging even at night, this should have raised questions. Such is the way television reels us in, I did not think much of it. Perhaps had I voiced my observation things would have transpired differently.

 

After an evening of television, entirely forgetting the station wagon’s headlamp, we went to bed. Nothing unusual.

 

That is, until I needed a bathroom break in the early hours.

 

Returning toward our bedroom with shuffling feet and squinty eyes, I spotted a faint light beneath Jimmy’s door. It flickered white and blue.

 

In seconds I was pressing my ear against the cool wood. Faint yet unmistakable: Static, similar to when the television antenna needs adjusting. I twisted and pushed the handle in one movement. The door swung inward and stopped halfway to hit my upturned toolbox. Its contents littered the carpet, mingled with our entire collection of family photographs and glass shards from broken frames. Faint sparks leapt around and between everything.

 

A clean, chlorine-like smell filled the air.

 

“Jimmy…”

 

He slumped in a shadowy corner, his stomach a raw hole of meaty folds and glistening pipes. Shards that reflected electricity protruded from all angles around the gaping mess.

 

My heart punched my throat, and my knees buckled.

 

Hidden earlier by sleeves, wires and electrical components were stitched into both his wrists, scabbed around the edges and weeping pus. The wounds connected trailing cables, sparking blue-white electricity powered by the unscrewed outlet across the room. My screwdriver and wrench were jammed behind the plate, with bare wires twisted around each tool.

 

I fought the urge to vomit.

 

The horrific exhibit wasn’t only my son’s dead eyes staring at the ceiling, his mouth slightly open, it was also the large framed photograph of our daughter.

 

Her delightful smile filled the picture taken on our vacation in the Rockies. Using that frame as a kind of screen, Jimmy had constructed a miniature imitation of a television set. The other frames, smeared with bloody fingerprints, were glued at imperfect angles to create the box itself, from which bulged more cables and wires, all crackling electricity.

 

My daughter’s eyes flickered red and her face pressed against the glass, features distorting. There was a crack… a shatter, and in a rush of darkness and glass fragments, her silhouette poured across the carpet like gasoline. Miniature lightning sparked at the epicentre and then it bulged, rising like a giant blister. Stretching, unmistakably my daughter’s figure, tall and proud. Only dark, as though laced with shadow.

 

It swept upwards, shrieking over my head in twists of darkness and electrical flashes. Broken glass winked and shards glinted.

 

Ruth emerged from our bedroom, fumbling the belt of her gown.

 

“Patricia?” she said, eyes wide.

 

The billowing darkness, surely a demonic replica of our daughter rather than her spirit, corkscrewed down the hallway toward my wife.

 

Her scream cut short as her gown flapped and glass shredded her flesh. Blood spattered the walls.

 

She slumped, gurgling, then collapsed. Her body twitched as the shadow that was our daughter vanished.

 

I was left staring at Ruth’s gushing remains.



(c)Mark Cassell, 2020


It's nearly Christmas.


By the way, I'm thrilled to announce that the coverwrap to my Christmas chapbook has been approved by the publisher.

Thanks to all who've so far pre-ordered a signed copy!





More Freebies


Horror ebooks:

No Fear November

The Thrill of November


Sci-Fi ebooks:

Art of the Arcane's SciFi Giveaway

Out of This World


Other Genre ebooks:

Black Friday All Genre Giveaway Event


Not free but I'm sharing this one :

Bump In the Night


Authors with free books:

Miranda Kate

Ian Woodhead

Duncan Ralston

Andrew Lennon



As always, thanks for the attention!

M.


Sunday, 1 November 2020

How to survive in this world

 

The only way to survive

I'm here with four links that allow you access to dozens of free ebooks (available on all formats, not just Kindle).
 
CHILLING FREEBIES
https://books.bookfunnel.com/chillingfreebies/5yb1zkut1r
 
MARLOW
https://books.bookfunnel.com/lhi4we57eq/4otfy8xpuh

DARK FANTASY FUN
https://books.bookfunnel.com/darkfantasy2020/o5nucu0pkw

NO FEAR NOVEMBER
https://books.bookfunnel.com/nofearnovember2020/q4b7nvd8ts

Other stuff

Ian Woodhead is releasing the second instalment to The Immersion Seeds series, titled Dragonvoid.

Author buddies with free books:

I'm still taking pre-orders for signed copies of Murder, Machinery & Snowflakes, a chapbook containing three festive short stories.

 

 

Thanks for the attention, and see you all soon!

M.
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Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Please accept my apologies

 

Sorry to do this...

Yep, I'm shouting about Christmas when Halloween isn't even here.

Following on from the first in my chapbook range, Monster Double Feature, this next one contains three horrific tales. It  goes by the not-so-subtle title of Murder, Machinery & Snowflakes, and is a 70-page chapbook featuring a trio of festive terror:
 
SANTA’S ELITE
While human population fast approaches eight billion, it’s up to Santa’s special branch to lessen his seasonal workload.
 
AWAY IN A MANGLER
There’s a shop, selling unique gifts, whose proprietor has a horrifying secret or two he does not want shared.
 
HO HO HOLLOW
Something out in the woods turns a family Christmas into a day of death and despair.
 
I'm already taking pre-orders for signed copies... And it's not even Christmas yet. Ha!
Click HERE to get on the Signed Copy list!

Upcoming anthologies featuring my work

 

The Many Deaths of Edgar Allan Poe
feat. "The Space Between Spaces"

It Came from the Darkness
feat. "Tavern Whispers"

Corona-Nation Street
feat. "Don't Swear in Mum's House"

Trick and Treat
feat. "Pile of Dirt"

(Some of these anthologies feature a few "names" like Shaun Hutson and Tim Lebbon - and I'm proud to share pages with those guys!)

Author buddies with free books:


 
Remember, I'm taking pre-orders for signed copies of Murder, Machinery & Snowflakes if you want a piece of the chapbook action.

See ya next time!

M.
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Sunday, 4 October 2020

October Lands!

 

A Special Thanks

Since Monster Double Feature was released back in August it's received a whole bunch of great reviews. A big thanks to those who've bought it and reviewed it. We authors rely on reviews to get the word out there!

"... a straightforward, punchy read with well-rounded characterizations and genuine dread. The prose is sumptuous and the images are visual. Full marks from me."

"... Cassell executes such stories very well. His writing is clear, yet creative, and the stories themselves are at once both disturbing and absorbing. Without giving anything away, the first story, River of Nine Tails, is one of ritual, bloodshed, an awful cycle, and ultimately transformation. The second, Reanimation Channel, is a cyber horror piece whose unusual monster is just as brutal as it is original."
I still have several paperbacks left if you fancy a signed copy!
MONSTER DOUBLE FEATURE

Other Stuff

Puscifer – "Apocalyptical"

I've been a fan of the bands Tool and A Perfect Circle since the turn of the century (damn, that makes me feel old), so anything Maynard James Keenan has a hand in I'm bound to love. During lockdown his other project Puscifer released an incredibly weird video. I'll say no more.

Watch Video >>

The Bride's Curse

Way back in my early days of writing (circa 2013) I attended a workshop run by Rayne Hall. She soon became my mentor and a good friend, and quite frankly without her wise words when I first stepped into this game I'd not be where I am today.

Rayne's latest book The Bride's Curse has landed on my kindle. Here's the blurb:

Bulgarian Gothic Ghost and Horror Stories - 13 creepy, suspenseful tales set in Bulgaria.

Welcome to Bulgaria, my adopted country in the south east of Europe, a land of snow-blanketed mountains and sun-baked plains, deep pine forests and fragrant rose plantations, studded with remnants of past eras – ancient Thracian and Roman, medieval, Ottoman and Communist.

Join me on a fictional journey to remote villages where you'll meet native Bulgarians, travellers and expatriates, demons and ghosts. I’ve blended my personal experiences with Bulgarian folklore and mythology, and let my imagination roam. All the events and characters are my inventions, yet they’re steeped in Bulgarian myth and reality.

The tales in this book belong to the ‘quiet’ horror category – more creepy than gory, rich in atmosphere and suspense. Instead of throwing you into a whirl of violent action, I’ll take you on a gentle visit to experience Bulgaria – the wealth of her nature, her economic poverty, her legends and traditions, her creepy abandoned homes and her timeless beauty – all from the safety of your armchair.

The stories are personal, arising from my perceptions and imagination. Still, I hope you’ll gain a ‘feel’ for the country. After each story, I’ll tell you a little about the genesis of that tale, the sources of my inspiration.

Bulgarian artist Savina Mantovska from Sofia has created beautiful illustrations, enriching each story with her vision.

Come and join me under the grape arbour while the sinking sun streaks the mountains with crimson and purple. Sip a blood-red pomegranate juice or a fiery rakia, and enjoy my creepy tales. 

View on Amazon >>
MONSTER DOUBLE FEATURE
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