It’s been a while since I had a guest showcase their work on this blog, and I’m very happy to welcome A.F. Stewart on the Manicheans! I got to know her through the #CoffinHop blog tour that happens every year around Halloween. She is a prolific author, writes fantasy spiced up with horror, and her books can be found on Amazon, Smashwords, B&N and iTunes.
For those who don’t know her yet, here’s a little biography:
A. F. Stewart is from Nova Scotia, Canada, is fond of good books (especially science fiction/fantasy), action movies, and oil painting as a hobby. Ms. Stewart has been writing for several years, her main focus being in the fantasy genre. She also has a great interest in history and mythology, often working those themes into her books and stories. To date she has authored and published several short novels, collections of poetry and short fiction and non-fiction entertainment guides. Her most well-known books are Killers and Demons, Ruined City and Chronicles of the Undead.
Killers and Demons is available for purchase as of Oct 4.
Evil is back, with a greater appetite for death.
They lurk forever in the shadows, smile at you in the morning, and haunt your dreams at night. You can’t hide, you can’t run, and there’s no escape. You can only scream when they come for you.
Killers and Demons II: They Return is a collection of thirteen tales, blending short stories and flash fiction, tales where the blood lingers on your tongue or spurts quickly from the swift cut.
The Villainous Roster:
Wade, every parent’s nightmare
Hannah and Mr. Greeley. Who is the victim and who is the villain?
Simon and Zoe, a married couple who are dying to be single again.
Norman and his “cookie” of a wife, Mabel.
Millicent and Jane, a delightful duo you shouldn’t invite to your Regency tea party
Amanda, who literally has a skeleton in her closet
Balthazar, the demon bounty hunter on the hunt once more.
Sarah, a young woman going through some changes and craving new tastes
Emmeline, burned as a witch, now back from the dead for revenge
Gabrielle, a woman haunted by shadows
The Dollmaker, she showers death, and an umbrella won’t help
Nightmare Demons, bent on driving a town insane
And then there’s Alice, a little girl locked in the basement by her Daddy…
Together they form a spine-chilling cadre of predators.
And now without further ado, I will let Ms. Stewart steer the rest of this post.
Turning the Sweet, Sour, by A.F. Stewart
Like all writers, I have a bag of preferred tricks and tropes, and one of my favourite themes when writing horror is a little innocent corruption. I love to take a normal situation or ingenuous person and turn them into something terrifying, to rip away the pretty veneer, and let the maggots crawl out. To me, there is something especially chilling about sweet innocence transformed into a horrific nightmare. It’s a theme I use frequently, in both my fantasy writing and my horror stories, and one that seems to strike a primordial response with readers. I think having your ordinary perceptions suddenly turned askew, even fictionally, generates an inherent reaction in people.
Perhaps that’s because we all have preconceptions, and fall easily into the traditional tropes of fiction. We assume that children will be sweet and innocent, toys are harmless enjoyment, and all fairy tales end happily ever after. I love to play with those notions, and in the past I’ve created killer clown dolls, skewed those fairy tales deadly, and once turned a simple conversation into a deal with the devil. It’s all about spicing up the story with that unexpected, malevolent glare, that jaw-dropping matter-of-fact statement of murder, or having the easy-going protagonist do something absolutely vile.
My new book, Killers and Demons II: They Return, expands on my favourite concept, containing such themes such as marriage, relationships, family, the innocence of children, all turned bitter and creepy. To find the horror in the every day, I warp societal norms and coax out the evil lurking under the surface. That seemingly perfect marriage now holds dark secrets, an average, dissatisfied teen starts listening to a bad, supernatural influence, and a lonely woman looking to belong discovers a very strange heritage. Two stories in particular from the book, The Dollmaker and Alice in the Basement, unearth the evil lurking under the innocence. In The Dollmaker, I subvert the natural instinct to assist a seemingly lost little girl, distorting a good deed so it ends with horrific and gruesome consequences. And as for Alice, well, I’ll let you meet her for yourself. I wouldn’t want to spoil the nasty surprise.
And that’s what I think makes the best horror, those disquieting, sudden surprises. So join me while I throw a bit of corruption into my stories, and take my victims, I mean characters, down the dark road.
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If you’d like to purchase A.F. Stewart’s latest book, please visit these links:
Thanks as always for reading!!