The word inspires images of mold-encrusted carpets in abandoned hotels, forgotten toys in the rain, and rusting roller coasters. Those of us who call ourselves urban explorers are obsessed with it, perhaps because of its profound sense of sadness; if we are still and listen, we can hear the whispers of a brighter past.
This pervasive ghost doesn’t only haunt the physical world; it invades our bodies, minds, relationships, and societies. It is inevitable; we are helpless to stop it.
In these stories, one man is suddenly stalked by the same hooded figure that pursued his terminally ill father, while another stalks the world’s evil at great cost to himself. A woman who’s recently picked up smoking undergoes a monstrous transformation, another reels when she sees her boyfriend for what he truly is, and North Pole elves experience heartbreak for the first time. There are more; fifteen tales in all.
These are the things we lose; we die a little each day.
Some of us just more quickly than others.
Get it in paperback or for Kindle (also in Kindle Unlimited)
And we still have Freebies for #FridayReads!
Grab some free Fantasy and Horror reads for the weekend ahead!
Click on the covers to download from Amazon’s Kindle Store, and enjoy your free read!
Note that some books may only be free on the date of this post, though others may be still be free on Saturday, Feb. 3rd and onwards.
Revisit Strange Fictions Zine every Friday for new Fantasy and Horror freebies!
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Fantasy Friday Freebies
|Prison Made of Mirrors by Jennifer Loring|
Prison Made of Mirrors is a gripping and grim dark fantasy fairy tale, retold through the myths and legends of the Ancient Celts and Vikings.
Aithne is a Celtic warrior woman kidnapped from her homeland during a Viking invasion and forced to marry her captor. Shortly before the raid that claims his life, she becomes pregnant with a child whom she believes cursed. Spurred by the dark sorcery she learns from relics her late husband’s mother left behind—including a magic mirror—Aithne descends into a madness that threatens not only her child’s life but also the lives of everyone around her.
In this fairy tale retelling, Breanna is exiled by her mother and taken in by a clan of dwarves who treat her like their own. They soon learn that no one is immune to Aithne’s lunacy—not even the prince to whom Brenna was once betrothed. Brenna must face and conquer death itself if she is to save the land that rightfully belongs to her, and to break her mother’s terrible spell on the man she loves.
|Genre: Dark Fantasy|
|Knight Prisoner by Mark J. Mitchell|
A hilarious romp through an alternative 15th century, where two great literary minds meet and pull off a jailbreak of legend.
In 1470, in the great City of London, the great French poet, François Villon, was in trouble. He had a talent for it. Carted off to Newgate prison, he is thrown into the company of that master of English crime and prose, Sir Thomas Malory.
This humorous medieval alternative history tale is told by Fremin—Villon’s put-upon secretary -- who has never had an adventure of his own. He tells the story of the meeting of these two masters of writing and crime, while looking back at their early criminal adventures. Both men’s lives curiously echo their literary work. It also becomes the story of Fremin himself, as he grows from being the servant of two great men, into his own manhood.
The legal and romantic situations go from bad to worse until there is only one man they can turn to, the old Knight in the prison.
|Genre: Alternative History|
|Butterfly Islands by Chris Seabranch|
Casey is only fifteen years old when her stepfather tries to marry her to a perverted and brutal man twice her age. However, minutes before the wedding, Casey flees into the jungle where she is rescued from her pursuers by a mysterious woman who sets the terrified young girl on a path to becoming a pirate - a path full of adventure, danger, personal struggles, and self-discovery.
Struggling with her own fears and desires, Casey hovers between being an innocent teenage girl confused about love and her own sexuality, and becoming a ruthless pirate seeking revenge on those who have taken all she cherished away from her.
|Genre: Romantic Fantasy|
|Graveyard Shift by Angela Roquet|
Lana Harvey is a reaper, and a lousy one at that. She resides in Limbo City, the modern capital of the collective afterlives, where she likes to stick it to the man (the legendary Grim Reaper himself) by harvesting the bare minimum of souls required of her. She’d much rather be hanging out with Gabriel, her favorite archangel, at Purgatory Lounge. But when a shocking promotion falls in Lana's lap, she learns something that could unravel the very fabric of Eternity. If the job isn’t completed, there could be some real hell to pay.
|Genre: Urban Fantasy|
|Magic of Thieves by C. Greenwood|
In a province where magic is forbidden and its possessors are murdered by the cruel Praetor, young Ilan, born with the powerful gift of her ancestors, has only one hope for survival. Concealment. In the shadow of Dimmingwood, she finds temporary protection with a band of forest brigands led by the infamous outlaw Rideon the Red Hand.
|Genre: Epic Fantasy|
|Forever Road by Catie Rhodes|
A world full of ghosts. A reluctant psychic medium. Destiny only knocks once—then it kicks down the door.
Peri Jean Mace thinks seeing ghosts is a curse, but her murdered trailer trash cousin doesn’t care. She wants Peri Jean to expose her killer.
Peri Jean figures out everyone in her one-stoplight East Texas town has something to hide. And one of them will kill to hide the truth. In over her head, Peri Jean has to face her curse or end up the next victim.
|Genre: Paranormal Fantasy|
Fright Night Friday Freebies
|Wormfood Island by Ken La Salle|
You thought zombies could just eat you…
Wormfood Island is the story of a family on the verge of collapse. When they win a trip to a hedonism resort out of the country, Kevin Miller hopes this is the chance they need to save their marriage. But instead, they find themselves quickly facing a quest for survival against an infestation of parasitic worms that cause the infected to gain monstrous sexual appetites…which quickly turns to an appetite for living flesh.
|Genre: Humorous Zombie Horror|
|This Poisoned Ground by Kristi Petersen Schoonover|
They say you hurt the ones you love most.
No one ever talks about when they hurt you back.
Just after dawn on the hottest day East Providence has endured in a hundred summers, Todd, a bit of a ladies’ man, finds his prized rose bush dead. This is only the first in an ever-more-ominous series of events, and someone…or something…is trying to invade his home.
In the tradition of The Fall of the House of Usher, Ligeia, and Aura comes a gripping tale of love, lust…and regret.
|Genre: Horror Short|
|Killing the Dead by Richard Murray|
Ryan has always lived quietly. He barely knows his neighbours, keeps apart from co-workers and is happy to be left alone. No one knows that he is a serial killer in the north of England. When Lily knocks at his door, pursued by the undead he soon realizes that everything has changed.
With the zombies growing in number, Ryan is more than happy to put his skills to the test by killing the dead. Anything to avoid that much greater challenge of learning to live and work with other people to survive.
|Genre: Zombie Apocalypse Horror|
|Green Lake by S.K. Epperson|
The suicide of Madeleine Heron’s husband leaves her at her sister’s lake house for the summer, until she can ‘sort things out’ for herself and find a new direction, but life in the lake community is anything but conducive to calm; right away a three year old girl goes missing from the dam, Madeleine is nearly assaulted when her truck breaks down, and she discovers her neighbors have an affinity for digging holes and burying things in their yard, usually things they find floating in the lake, like a hand, or an arm… Native American conservation officer Eris Renard appears to be the only sane person around, and without warning Madeleine finds herself falling for him, but he’s an adopted Indian who’s just found his birth mother, a famous artist who hates Madeleine.
|Moorehead Manor by David McMullen-Sullivan|
Three teenagers stumble into a haunted mansion that traps them in a deadly nightmare. In order to escape alive, they must uncover the house's dark secrets of murder and prejudice.
|Genre: Young Adult Horror|
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