Review: One Buck Horror – A Surprisingly Happy Swim

by L. Vera

I was very skeptical at first. It’s five short stories for 99 cents. I held my breathe and dove in. I found myself swimming in a very organized book, I can’t believe the amount of kindle books, with bad table of contents and misspellings. The editing is great, professional grade. The book is written for the general public, so I never needed to look any word up. (I always like to at least learn one new word a story.)

The first lap I did was with Ada Hoffman’s “Jenny’s House”. It’s written a bit broken, which is not a flaw, it’s to emphasize the innocents of the main character, a young boy. He recalls finding slime, which he brings to class for show and tell. If the kids weren’t amazed by “show” portion the “tell” part is beyond belief. The story is simple and clean. Nothing frightening but it also influenced me to write a similar piece. By far the best piece in the book.

The next story is “A Lullaby for Caliban” which felt like a story out of the old Goosebump books I used to read a lot as a child. “The Cornfield” was another one that I would group with more of a children’s tale. They were both delightful, but lacked any real fear.

“The Last Nephew” had me swallow some water. We find a little boy who was kidnapped and serving his “Uncle” as a little helper. As soon as his “Uncle” finds out that the boy what’s to know help in more ways, it’s too late. It’s a taboo subject that gave the collection that adult twist the others didn’t have. It’s tasteful and read very well.

The last story was a nice ending. “The Ginger Men” had me full interested. I reached the surface for more air and when I came down found a story about a vengeful mother using magically cookie dough to punish her husband. Did he deserve it? I don’t think so, no one deserves that.

Overall, this is a great buy and I will definitely pick up the others in the future. Don’t expect over the tops scares or even a small bucket full of gore. I personally think the stories are meant for a younger crowd, with the exception of “The Last Nephew” but every single story was told from a child’s perspective. This really seems like speculative fiction than horror, but is still worth the read. So I say you should swim in this pool, no pee; mostly just loving monsters and carnival freaks.

Find it on Amazon.

How To Kill Someone

Killing people is easy, at least for writers. (Now all you weirdoes who came here to see how to really kill people can leave.) Now, the hardest thing to do is to sell the idea. I’ve never killed a person. I don’t really know all the feelings involved. I’m sure most writers don’t so we have to sell the idea that we have, or at least sell the idea that are character can kill someone.

I like to view seeing a story in my head as staring through windows. I open one and sit with my elbows on the sill, a laptop and sometimes a glass of water and stare at the contents. Many times I feel like I have no involvement in it – I’m just a scribe. The story exist as it does and it’s my job to get an accurate description of what happens. Stephen King also describes this in a similar manner in On Writing but as fossils. I like windows.

So there I am, with my laptop – sometimes with my iPad or iPhone – peering out a window watching someone die. That’s a pretty normal day for me. I’ve never killed anyone; but I think of other people doing it all the time, hence all the windows. So this window is one that floats above a grassy, sunny space away from any form of life besides these two people. One is on his knees and the other is holding him down, from the throat. Have I ever seen this event? Not in real life, just in movies, images in my mind and the internet. So let’s continue this as a story, or a window.

The sky is bright, probably too bright for such a scene; but it’s too late now, Jerry had already begun what he thought he would never do. I shuffle and write that in my laptop. Click. Clickty. Click. I know the other man’s name, Leroy. Why? I don’t know, that’s just his name and it will always be his name, even though I’m watching him die. His eyes, bulge, his face reddens first, and then it fades. It fades like a man slowly turning into a ghost, white and it’s sickening. Something in my stomach churns; but I watch and I type. I like watching.

Jerry’s face. It’s different, it’s not full of anger, it’s full of satisfaction. There’s no smile, just that look, a stoic pleasurable form of satisfaction. And Leroy dies, his face blue, his eyes like swollen white berries. Leroy dies. Click. Clickty. Klack. Klack. Klack. 

So how do you kill someone? With what you see. Ignore everything else. Did those things really happen the way I describe? Who knows? That’s the way I see it and that’s all that really matters. After all, are they buying the truth, or a story. Are they reading because what happens in the book is “possible”. No. If you want possible things watch the news. I’m here to show what I see in the windows.

I’ve read reviews where people say, “I don’t believe that’s possible,” or “Come one why would it happen on a sunny, happy grassy knoll.” The truth is I don’t know, it just did and I’m portraying that as best I can (I’m no professional, just another self-pub writer but a happy self-pub writer). Have I ever seen a person’s face turn all those crazy things. Nah. For all I know it doesn’t even happen that way.

Research is important, just for the fact that there’s a lot of douches and trolls ready to pick something apart if you don’t research. They expect our omniscient to be almost godlike. We writers know that isn’t possible, but we try. Try. For gods sake, try. Then with that research, you’ll feel confident. That’s what sells death – confidence. If you truly believe what you see is really happening, people will to.

As a writer, I like to think I’m lenient on a lot of things, I even over look spelling and send the author corrections. Yeah, I’m hardcore. But please do some homework, don’t change names and leave me confused. And not re-reading your story isn’t killing anyone but your readers. When I’m staring out my window watching poeple die, I tend to write too fast and misspell, miswrite, or just plain miss something important. So edit. Edit, edit, edit and then get someone else to edit. Please. Then kill some more people.

-L. Vera

Check out Part 2: How To Kill People The Right Way