Marking Books - WISHES: The Horror Book by G. W. Huber

Through the years I have had the privilege of editing all kinds of writing across many genres. WISHES: The Horror Book has been one of those remarkable gems that was as enjoyable to read as it was to work through. Like one of Michael Forcade’s paintings, WISHES: The Horror Book rolls out a tapestry of life with characters and family histories intricately interwoven into elaborate scenes as delicate as they are dark. Whether it be because of a young man struggling to speak or an old woman lonely for her dead husband, the reader is drawn into the fantasy of what one desires only to be reminded to “watch what you wish for.”

Straightforward and unapologetic, G. W. Huber creates a reality in which real-world difficulties bend and shift, shaped by the dreams of the desperate and the hands of something much more sinister.

Yes, I fully admit this one is close to my heart...

The Atrium

Like pigeons preening
dull double-breasted plumage,
the sales force flock in the open enclosure--
cooing into Bluetooth headsets
and pecking at newly procured iPads.

Beaks rise
to the sound of fated footfalls
as each squab scrambles for position
only to strut away
slow and haughty
as the copy clerk makes her delivery.

Marking Books - The Secrets of Pain by Phil Rickman

Greg introduced me to Mr. Rickman's work over a decade ago and I've been hooked ever since. So, when we finally had our hands on The Secrets of Pain, we were more than eager for "reading time."

Being the eleventh book in the Merrily Watkins series, The Secrets of Pain takes us back to the Vicarage of Ledwardine, Herefordshire to visit with what have become a cast of "old friends." This time around, Merrily, the vicar and diocesan exorcist, finds herself in unwelcome territory for a woman and priest as she faces the Hereford-based SAS while continuing to struggle with her job, her faith, and her now eighteen-year-old daughter. Gomer, Danny, Lol, and Jane are wrapped up in their own not-quite-so-unrelated mess and DI Francis Bliss walks a rail that nearly set me off screaming at him.

Never to disappoint, Phil Rickman blurs the edges between the rational and the unexplained -- twisting reality just enough to make you wonder, all the while serving up a dose of gritty and socially conscious reality that rings as true here in the United States as it does on the Welsh border.

Although I will admit that trying to read aloud dialog from "across the pond" was tongue-tying at times for this Pennsylvanian patriot, with Greg's patience and Mr. Rickman's addictive plots and subplots, I'll be happy to take on the "hexercise" any time.

If you enjoy mystery and suspense and haven't had the pleasure of reading Phil Rickman's work, I invite you to search him out. We still must import his books here in the U.S. -- a shameful thing indeed as we feel his work should readily be available on any store's bookshelf whether it be digital or brick and mortar.

The Goddess Project: Mielikki

I was first introduced to the Finnish goddess of the forest years ago when my brother and I were creating characters in AD&D. Mielikki w...