Shooting Creek and Other Stories #spoilerfreebookreview

Shooting Creek and Other Stories is a somber collection of dark, twisted short stories by Scott Loring Sanders. Shooting Creek contains fictional, yet authentic, stories of people trying to solve problems, no matter what the consequences may be. Dead-beat dads and kick-ass women doing bad, money-motivated things.  “Frank’s Beach”, a story of a man who ran from his past, only to find himself in trouble after finding the body of a dead woman on a beach. Is it karma chasing him down, attempting it’s revenge after what he and his cousin Mickey did so many years ago? Johnny and his mom Patricia attempt to bury their revengeful secrets in the woods of “Pleasant Grove”. My favourite spine-tingling story, “Moss Man”, tells the story of a man driven by the strongest force of all – love.

shooting creek

I was sent a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher, Down & Out Books, via Netgalley.

Shooting Creek is expected to be published March 27th 2017 by Down & Out Books



Slasher Girls & Monster Boys: Spoiler-Free Review


Slasher Girls & Monster Boys is a book club selection for the Goodreads ReadingRealm ReadAlong group hosted by Ish, from ReadingRealm Youtube Channel. This anthology is a collection of thriller and horror short stories selected by April Genevieve Tucholke. I loved this collection, and it has inspired me to add these authors to my reading wish list.



1. The Birds of Azalea Street by Nova Ren Suma: inspired by the 1954 film Rear Window and the 1963 film The Birds.
Tasha and her friends Paisley and Katie-Marie are suspicious of their creepy neighbour Leonard.
Nova Ren Suma is the author of the YA novels The Walls around us, 17 & Gone, and Imaginary Girls.


2. In the Forest Dark and Deep by Carrie Ryan: inspired by the 1865 novel Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll and the 1951 animated film Alice in Wonderland.
This story flips back and forth between when Cassidy Evans was seven/eight years old and seventeen/eighteeen years old, telling the story of the March Hare.
Carrie Ryan is the New York Times bestselling author of the Forest of Hands and Teeth series.

3. Emmeline by Cat Winters: inspired by the 1930 film All Quiet on the Western Front by Daphne du Maurier, and the 1922 film Nosferatu.
Northern France, 1918
Young French girl Emmeline, and American soldier named Emerson.
Cat Winters is the author of In the Shadow of Blackbirds, The Cure for Dreaming, and The Uninvited.

4. Verse Chorus Verse by Leigh Bardugo: inspired by Nirvana’s “Frances Farmer Will Have her Revenge on Seattle”.
Overbearing Mom Kara Adams and her famous daughter Jaycee. Jaycee has made some bad decisions, and has ended up in rehab called Wellways, which isn’t your typical rehab center.
Leigh Bardugo is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Grisha Trilogy.

5. Hide-And-Seek by Megan Shepherd: inspired by the 2000 film Final Destination, the 1994 film The Crow, and the 1991 film Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.
“Beware a man who comes in a black coat with a bird on his shoulder. If you see him, it means you are already dead. He is Crow Cultom, death’s harbinger, and the only way to win back your life is to challenge death to a game. But be warned, death has never lost…”
Megan Shepherd is the author of the Madman’s Daughter and the Cage trilogies.

6. The Dark, Scary Parts and All by Danielle Paige: inspired by the 1976 film The Omen and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Marnie and Damien come from broken families – can they find love?
“Imagine being cobbled together. Imagine discovering what you are and knowing that no one will ever love you, not even your maker.”
Danielle Paige, winner of the Writers Guild of America Award, emmy-nominated, New York Times bestselling author of Dorothy Must Die.

7. The Flicker, The Fingers, The Beat, The Sigh by April Genevieve Tucholke: inspired by Stephen King’s Carrie and the 1997 film I know What you Did Last Summer.
Grace, her boyfriend Asher, her brother Theo, and his girlfriend Scout get into trouble, making a bad decision that starts with a strange girl named Canary dying.
April Genevieve Tucholke is the author of Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

8. Fat Girl With a Knife by Jonathan Maberry: inspired by the 2009 film Zombieland and the 1968 film Night of the Living Dead.
Dahlia, had a pretty name but she wasn’t pretty.
Jonathan Maberry is a New York Times bestselling author, multiple Bram Stoker Award winner, and comic book writer.


9. Sleepless by Jay Kristoff: inspired by the 1960 film Psycho and Mudvayne’s “Nothing to Gein”.
Justin, living with his helpless mother, gets to finally meet Cassie, the girl he’s been chatting with online for months.
Jay Kristoff is an award-winning sci-fi/fantasy author of Illuminae.

10. M by Stefan Bachmann: inspired by the 1931 film M and the 1970s tv series Upstairs, Downstairs.
Misha, a blind girl, knows what the murderer smells like, and is hoping to figure out who he is before he finds out what she knows.
Stefan Bachmann is the author of steampunk-faery-fantasies The Peculiar and The Whatnot, and the upcoming YA thriller A Drop of Night.

11. The Girl Without a Face by Marie Lu: inspired by the 2000 film What Lies Beneath and the 2010 film Los Ojos de Julia.
Richard is eighteen but he’s afraid of the closet in his room that only opens in his dreams.
Marie Lu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Legend Trilogy.

12. A Girl Who Dreamed of Snow by McCormick Templeman: inspired by the 1968 film Kuroneko.
Nara, a shaman’s daughter, who had learned to speak the ways of the wind and snow, is being hunted by wicked Sain and his five brothers.
McCormick Templeman is the author of The Little Woods and The Glass Casket.

13. Stitches by A. G. Howard: inspired by Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.
Sage, her identical twin sister Clover, and their little brother Oakley, are left to live with drunk, and evil Pa after their Ma is killed. The Collector comes to help Pa become a better man.
A. G. Howard is the author of Splintered.


14. On the I-5 by Kendare Blake: inspired by the 2007 film Death Proof and the 1986 film The Hitcher.
After getting rid of her beast, EmmaRae Dickson helps another girl get rid of her own beast.
Kendare Blake is the author of six novels, including Anna Dressed in Blood.

Published by Penguin Group in 2015



Excerpt from my story “Rogue’s Hollow”

I’m working on a Paranormal Horror Story for Nanowrimo, here is an excerpt. (unedited, first draft)

“The trees in the backyard are enormous. They’ve been here for ages. Have seen the years roll by, families come and go. Their extended limbs and leaves, have watched the rise and fall of Rogue’s Hollow. It was once a bustling town with lots of businesses from what I’ve heard. They even had a paper mill, and a cheese factory. Stephen’s grandfather, Patrick, grew up around here, he raised all of his kids in the same house he lives in now. Patrick has told me quite a few stories about this old town, such as the fire that burned down half the village. There were once train tracks that came through town, the remnants of which have been turned into a walking trail. It will be nice to take a walk with the baby down the trail, through the woods. It’s quiet here, and smells better than the city. Well, except for when the wind turns and you can smell the cattle from the farm across the street, and chicken shit from the farm up the road.

As we drive down the main street, back up the hill towards Stephen’s Grandpa’s house, I can hear the river rushing, wind rustling in the large trees hanging over the road, birds chirping happily. After living in big cities for the past seven years it would probably do me some good to slow down and live here, at least for a little while. It seems like a great place to raise kids, and almost reminds me of my hometown. Except Rogue’s Hollow is much older, filled with history. I can’t wait to learn more about it, and learn of the secrets the big blue house holds.”

Written by Amanda Hartwick

Dracula by Bram Stoker #Spookathon


Dracula, originally titled The Un-Dead by Bram Stoker is a classic Horror Gothic novel about Count Dracula.This is a macabre tale of vampires, demons, death, friendship, love, loyalty, and courage. The story begins with Jonathan Harker traveling to Castle Dracula in Transylvania, after being summoned by Count Dracula to help him complete a property deal. Harker doesn’t realize that by doing so he will unleash a horrifying, yet charismatic, vampire stronger than twenty men, who can control the weather, and assume the form of any animal.

bram_stoker_1906 Bram Stoker

Professor Abraham Van Helsing (coincidentally same first name as the author), informed about vampire folklore, comes to Harker’s aid, putting together a monster-fighting team including Harker’s intelligent wife Mina, Dr John Seward, American Quincey Morris, and Arthur Holmwood. Over the next six months the squad face many challenges, and their first task is to save Arthur’s betrothed, Mina’s best friend, Lucy Westenra. Dr John Seward, the administrator of an insane asylum located near Dracula’s new home, has an intriguing patient named Renfield.

Dracula was first published in 1897 – I wonder how shocked Stoker would be to find out his novel is still incredibly popular, and argued one of the best horror novels of all time?The first movie adaptation was called Nosferatu released in 1922.

count-orlok Scene from Nosferatu


Dracula is an epistolary novel, in which Abraham “Bram” Stoker employed letters and diary entries written by multiple narrators to tell the same tale from their perspective. This technique sways the reader to believe the story – because we know that if many people tell the same story from their perspective then it must be true.The Collector’s Library edition that I read also includes an attached red ribbon bookmark, which produced the feeling that I was truly reading a diary.

count-orlok-2 Count Orlok, from movie adaptation, Nosferatu

The scientific method versus superstition is a common theme throughout Dracula. You may start the story as a non-believer of the un-dead, myths, vampire folklore, but I’m willing to bet you’ll end it wanting to purchase more garlic to keep around the house. 😉

It may seem like a long novel at 526 pages, and even though the font is small, the pages are half the size of a regular hard-cover novel. Definitely a suspenseful page-turner, with a great pace that keeps you reading. There isn’t a lot of gore, but it is scary, so I would recommend this for ages 16+, and I think even a non-horror fan would still enjoy the way Stoker has told this story.



Sinister Abode Part 1

I wrote a short story called Sinister Abode, for a writing contest a few months ago, after making the decision to get back to writing. It is my first piece of writing in over two decades other than my journals. Here is Part 1.

“Sinister Abode”

By Amanda Drover-Hartwick

“Sleep slowly fades away and almost immediately my head is pounding. I start to stretch and realize I’m not in my bed. Suddenly, I am aware that my face is pressed up against the grass. I open my eyes and sit up fast. UGH not a good idea, now my head is spinning. The sun is just starting to set. Why am I laying on the grass? How in the world did I get here? I’m trying hard to remember what happened and how I ended up here but I’m coming up blank. Ok, Addison – what is the last thing you remember? HEY! I remember I was driving in the car with Zack to the Halloween party. Where IS Zack?


I put both hands around my mouth and yell, “Zack”.


No response. I look around for the car but I don’t see it anywhere. I manage to get to my feet, turn around, and stumble back from shock. Standing before me is the house of my nightmares. It is a huge, old, house that has seen better days. A shiver runs up my spine and I feel as if the house is watching me. Did I just see something move in the upstairs window?


I can feel my heart pounding in my chest and notice I’ve been holding my breath.


I yell out Zack’s name again. I’m listening so hard for a response that I can hear my heart beating in my ears. My hands start shaking and I realize I am all alone, in front of this creepy house, no other houses in sight, and I have absolutely no idea how I got here. I start taking some deep breaths to calm myself down. I can feel my heart rate slowing and immediately hear a cry. What is that? Where is it coming from? Is that Zack? No it’s not Zack, it’s a BABY and it’s coming from inside the house.”

You can find Sinister Abode Part 2 here:

What Scares You the Most?

Scary: causing fear

According to the first known use of the word scary was in 1582. That’s 433 years of humans knowing the name for that feeling of being frightened, terrified, alarmed, horrified, or shocked.

What causes chills up your spine and the hair on the back of your neck to stand up?  What keeps you awake at night?

I’m currently writing a scary short story for a writing contest called “I Made the Darkness” and I’ve been spending this week thinking about all the things that scare me. I’ve always liked scary movies and books, so I’ve been reminiscing about all the scariest movies I’ve seen and books I’ve read.

I remember when I was about 8 years old and I watched The Last Unicorn and was frightened of the Mommy Fortuna character. She is quite a terrifying character for a cartoon. The Exorcist is definitely in my top 10 scariest movies. Along with The Ring, It, The Blair Witch Project, and Poltergeist.

When I was around 12 or 13 years old I read The Amityville Horror – only during the day though. HAHA! I’ve read a lot of Stephen King’s books. Some of the scariest books I’ve read are Cujo, Pet Sematary, Thinner, and of course the work of Edgar Allan Poe.

How about you? What are the scariest movies you’ve seen or books you’ve read? What are your biggest fears?