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Take a Dangerous Dive into “The Quarry.”   Leave a comment

The Quarry Cover

By C. Michael Forsyth

I was delighted to recently learn that fellow horror writer Mark Allan Gunnells lives in Greer, South Carolina, a stone’s throw away from my home in Greenville. What’s more, I discovered, one of his novels is set at the very real Limestone College, 1.8 miles from my door! Intrigued, I immediately downloaded it onto my Kindle.

I wasn’t disappointed. The Quarry is a well-crafted, chilling tale, especially impressive because this was the author’s first novel.

The story centers around Lake Limestone, a former quarry and limestone mine near the campus that was flooded decades ago in the 1950s—deliberately, it turns out, by miners who encountered something horrible there. In the present day, the lake is tranquil and idyllic. That’s until a thrill-seeking jock named Dale gets the bright idea of scuba diving to the bottom in the dead of night. He awakens an ancient evil lurking deep beneath the waters and becomes possessed by it. As Dale undergoes a horrific transformation, his best friend and roommate Emilio tries to save him, while trying to unravel the secret of the Quarry.

Though thoroughly modern in its depiction of college life, the story is in the classic horror tradition. In fact, it reminds me of the 1950s flicks my sister and I used watch on TV every Saturday night as kids. Dale’s struggle against his curse is reminiscent of Teenage Werewolf and The Amazing Colossal Man, in which a decent chap becomes monstrous through no fault of his own.

The Amazing Colossal Man

In the 1957 film The Amazing Colossal Man,  exposure to atomic radiation causes a man to grow 60 feet tall.

 

Gunnels has a sophisticated writing style, with lines such as “Like liquid darkness, the lake enveloped him.” When the increasingly sinister Dale laughs, the sound is “like rocks scraping the bottom of a muddy lake bed.” The author milks the inherent creepiness of certain campus locations for all they’re worth, such as the gloomy basement room that houses the laundry machines, dubbed the Dungeon by students. He often creates suspense by withholding information from the readers, leaving them to uneasily ponder what might be coming next. It’s quite far into the story before we find out the exact nature of the menace in the lake—and believe me, it’s far from what you’d expect. Emilio is also nursing a secret of his own.

An enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to checking out the sequel, The Cult of Ocasta.

C. Michael Forsyth is the author of the horror novel Hour of the Beast.

 

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$275 JEANS ARE ALL HOLES, NO FABRIC   Leave a comment

 

Bottomless cropped

HIGH END jeans are made entirely of holes.

By C. Michael Forsyth

 

Holy moly! A denim company is selling designer jeans that are all holes, no fabric — for a whopping $275!

The spanking new No Holes Barred Jeans have been flying off the shelves since they went on sale on Monday, with chic millennials shelling out big bucks for a chance to wiggle into the trendy designer duds.

“Uber-ripped denim is the hottest fashion trend of 2018, and this is the ultimate extension of the fad,” explains fashion guru and podcaster Carrie Jasperkind. “It’s a playful and sexy look that thumbs its nose at societal norms. To today’s young women, rips signify rebellion. They are both a political statement and a fashion statement.”

 

Kim Kardasian ripped jeans

TREND-SETTER KIM KARDASHIAN

While deliberately ripped jeans date back to the Punk Rock era, the trend has resurfaced with a vengeance in recent years, popularized by major celebrities ranging from Jennifer Aniston to Kim Kardashian. The size of the holes has steadily grown, from slight gaps at the knees to cutouts that now expose large expanses of bare calves, thighs and buttocks.

 

The head-turning No Holes Barred Jeans, sometimes referred to as “invisible jeans,” have been on the market in France and Italy since February.

“They’re very popular in Paris,” confirmed restaurant owner Jean-Claude Archambeau. “You look through the window and you’ll see a gaggle of girls crossing the street in those pants. At first, they caused many minor car accidents, but people are getting used to them.”

While $275 may sound like a bundle to pay for jeans, there’s a reason why No Holes Barred Jeans cost more than most blue jeans that actually have material.

“The manufacturing process takes far longer for ripped jeans than ordinary jeans, and our technique is particularly labor intense,” explained George Nerkham, CEO of No Hold Barred Jeans. “Jeans are very sturdy by design. To create rips, most companies use machines to sandblast the denim or burn holes using laser devices. High end brands like ours use hand ripping exclusively, which is better for the environment.

“Each pair of No Holes Barred Jeans has been painstakingly ripped by hand by a skilled artisan who uses only sheers and a fabric picker. To individually rip and finish a pair, removing every bit of fabric, can take several hours.”

 

Carmar denim extreme cutout jeans $168

These “Extreme Cut-Out Jeans” from Carmar Denim, which sell for $168, are more costly to manufacture than non-ripped jeans.

 

While the pricey jeans may soon grace the derrieres of millions of American college students, models and Hollywood starlets, experts say they may be frowned upon in offices. And most high school students had better think twice before donning a pair, educators warn.

“This sounds like a violations of our dress code,” said a high school principal in Greenville, South Carolina. “We don’t allow holes above the knee.”

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

If you enjoyed this satire, check out C. Michael Forsyth’s collection of way-out news parody, available on Kindle and in other eBook formatsBizarre News Cover 5.

COMPROMISE: SCHOOL SHOOTINGS ONLY O.K. DURING SPECIAL “HUNTING SEASON.”   Leave a comment

huntingfeature

By C. Michael Forsyth

The ongoing battle between the NRA and high schoolers may soon be over. A new compromise has been proposed that would allow shooting inside school buildings, but only with a special license and during a specified season.

“I think that people of good conscience can come together on this issue,” says moderate Neil Gradeaker, founder of the #letsmeethalfway movement. “Young anti-gun activists want schools to be gun-free zones. The NRA wants many people in schools to have guns. The license idea splits it down the middle.”

According to the compromise measure, anyone could apply for a special permit to discharge a firearm within a school building, just as many citizens now obtain hunting licenses. While it’s expected that primarily teachers, coaches, school nurses, janitors and lunch ladies would get the licenses, parents, former students and other visitors who might hope to be the “good guy with the gun” would also be eligible.

“The only current students who would be eligible are seniors who have demonstrated responsibility, have no record of misbehavior and have maintained a GPA of 3.0 or higher,” Gradeaker reveals. “The season would begin in mid-October, when students have had time to settle in and run through early April.”

Gradeaker came up with the middle-of-the-road approach because he was tired of seeing his Facebook friends argue back and forth about gun control.

“It always came down to, ‘You’re stupid,’ ‘No, YOU’RE stupid!’” he explains.

Not everyone agrees that the compromise is a good idea.

“Having a ‘hunting season’ for school shooters is not the solution,” fumed one teenage gun-control activist.

Some Second Amendment crusaders are also taking potshots at the proposal.

“Gun owners shouldn’t need a special license to protect kids on school property,” one declared. “And who’s supposed to protect them before the season begins and after it ends?”

Elmer fudd

Beloved cartoon hunter Elmer Fudd

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

If you enjoyed this news satire by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his collection of incredible stories, available on Kindle and in other eBook formats.

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Meji, a Sword & Sorcery Adventure in Africa   Leave a comment

 

Meji

In Meji, Book One, the epic adventure story of two brother begins.

 

By C. Michael Forsyth

Meji, by Milton J. Davis, is a powerful novel packed with human drama and pulse-pounding action that vividly recreates the glorious kingdoms of long-ago Africa. It is heartbreaking that the book, available at MVmedia, hasn’t received the attention it deserves, and that most African-Americans have never heard of it, because it’s on a par with many Pulitzer-prize-winning novels such as The Color Purple.

The saga begins at a moment of high drama when the Great Wife of the king of the Sesu people struggles to give birth. Her twin sons survive, but in their society, twins are considered an abominations — and must die. From the first scene in which the boys’ father bargains for their lives with the chief shaman, the drama steadily intensifies, the conflicts mount, the stakes keep rising, page after page and chapter after chapter. Separated soon after birth, the “cursed” twins Ndoro and Obaseki are raised in radically different civilizations and bound for very different destinies, one to become a legendary warrior, the other a powerful sorcerer.

Interwoven with this main story line are subplots involving characters from several kingdoms with distinct cultures: mighty warriors, noble kings, medicine priests, queens who, through craftiness and seduction, are the powers behind the throne. Like Game of Thrones, the point of view shifts between characters from chapter to chapter. As in that popular series, court intrigue figures prominently as dynasties wrestle for dominance. There’s as much backstabbing as there are exciting battles.

 

milton

Author Milton J. Davis

The story takes place on the continent of “Uhuru” and the kingdoms are fictitious. But the world is clearly the product of years of research into every aspect of African culture in late medieval times — the political systems, the religious beliefs, the trade, the weapons, the clothing. The author’s sure-footed descriptions of these things always ring true. Yet one never feels overwhelmed by detail. There isn’t a wasted word or wasted scene, no fat, just all lean muscle. The pace is fast, often exhilarating.

 

In one riveting sequence, young Nboro accompanies the veteran warrior Shange on a cattle raid. As I read, it struck me that this was as realistic, well-told and moving as the soldiers’ trek in Norman Mailer’s classic war novel The Naked and the Dead. But unlike Mailer, who served in World War II, Davis never experienced a cattle raid, nor could he have dug up all the needed details in any book. The scenes are written with the authority of someone who has immersed himself so thoroughly in research that he can extrapolate from it to build an entirely believable world.

One critical ingredient of great fiction is that the heroes are flawed and the antagonists are fully realized humans, not flat stereotypical villains. That’s the case there. One key character betrays his king and family, but in the chapter that leads up to that fateful decision, sympathy is built up for the character and we fully understand his actions.

Davis’s writing style lives up to his storytelling and the dialogue is highly memorable. Each character has a distinct voice.

“I am no demon,” Ndoro tells Shange at one point. To which the warrior responds, “That is the thing about demons. A Sesu does not know if he has one inside him. I think all men do. It is what makes us brave and gives us strength.”

I was delighted to hear that the book will be soon be-released in a single volume with Meji, Book Two in a single volume. Hopefully this time at bat, the book will get the attention it merits.

POLL: Should Trump Dump Melania and Make Stormy First Lady?   Leave a comment

Stormy and Melania 2

BATTLE OF THE BABES: Stormy vs. Melania

Feisty adult movie actress Stormy Daniels, President Trump’s alleged gal pal, has won the hearts of millions of Americans. The overnight sensation is so popular, some voters now believe our hot-to-trot commander in chief should kick his wife Melania to the curb—and make the super-sexy porn queen his next First Lady!

“Stormy is not only younger and hotter than Melania, she’s much wittier and more personable–and unlike Melania, she was born right here in America,” enthused one ardent member of team Stormy. “She’s a savvy businesswoman who came from nothing and made it to the top, which is what this country is all about. She would make an unconventional and fascinating First Lady.”

This wouldn’t be the first time President Trump has traded in a spouse for a newer model. He cheated on first wife Ivana Trump and divorced her in 1992 to marry mistress Marla Maples, then cheated on Marla, dumped her in 1999, and married model girlfriend Melania.

Donald Trump, Ivana Trump

Wife No. 1  Ivana Trump

Marla Maples

Wife No. 2 Marla Maples

“If history is any guide, Mr. Trump is due for an upgrade,” points out a Capitol Hill insider. “Melania is 47 and showing wear and tear. Stormy is 38. She also bears as a closer resemblance to his daughter Ivanka as the President himself noted, which is a real plus in his book.”

Most Americans had never heard of the bosomy bombshell until the story surfaced that she and the Prez had a steamy affair. While furious fans of the flamboyant billionaire have raked her over the coals for sullying their leader’s reputation, observers give her high marks for wit in the face of adversity. When one Trump supporter blasted her as a “scank” on Twitter, she calmly tweeted back, “The correct spelling is skank.”

Stormy has won numerous prestigious awards in her industry, including Best New Starlet, Best Breasts and Best Performance in a Safe Sex Scene. The actress was inducted into the AVN Hall of Fame in 2014. What’s more, her brains match her beauty. She’s also an award-winning screenwriter and director. While it may be hard to imagine the bottom-baring blonde rubbing shoulders with Washington big wigs, she’s no stranger to the political scene. Stormy launched a campaign against Republican Senator David Vitter in Louisiana in 2010.

Stormy 2

If Trump marries Stormy, she would be the sexiest First Lady in U.S. history.

However, defenders of Melania insist it’s too soon to count her out. They note that the Slovenian immigrant was given special permission to enter the United States because of an unspecified “special talent.”

“That suggests that she’s sort of a genius in one area,” says a voter who wants Melania to hang onto the First Lady job. “And remember, Stormy is no spring chicken either. Porn sites now describe her as a MILF.”

What do you think? Do you belong to team Melania or team Stormy?

If you enjoyed this political satire by C. Michael Forsyth, check out his books here.

You Can Create The New Step for Trump’s Military Parade!   Leave a comment

marching silly

A distinctive march is critical to the success of a world leader.

 

By C. Michael Forsyth

 

 

 Choreographers, band leaders and military school drill instructors from across America are flooding the White House with suggestions for a unique new marching step for Donald Trump’s upcoming military parade. The proposed steps run the gamut from modified versions of standard marches to highly creative moves inspired by such sources as Hollywood musicals and animal gaits.

“It’s fairly common for world leaders to be honored with personalized marches,” says Eugene Chesterfold, who has choreographed parades for numerous feature films. “Most famously, Adolf Hitler’s troops used the Stechmarsh, better known as the Goose Step, and over the years many other strongmen including Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, Idi Amin, the Shah of Iran and North Korea’s current ruler Kim Jong Un have had distinctive marching styles developed for them.

“For President Trump, our team has come up with a step inspired by his own personal experience with the military. It’s called the Bone Spur Hop. A typical bone spur, like the one that kept Mr. Trump from serving in Vietnam, is the bump a lady gets from wearing high heels, and she may “hop” a bit to keep pressure off that foot. So, the first thing you’ll notice in our march is a jaunty little hop the soldiers take while walking.

“We’ve videotaped a dozen volunteers from the local high school doing the march and submitted it to the White House. Now we’re holding our breath, hoping that our step will be selected for the parade out of the thousands of other submissions.”

Donald Trump military academy

MILITARY MAN: Donald Trump’s vigorous days of drilling at boarding school actually gave him more military experience than most who served in Vietnam, the President says.

The Bone Spur Hop has plenty of stiff competition. The imaginative submissions include some drawn from Hollywood classics such as Yankee Doodle Dandy. Other marches are adapted from the stepping dances made famous by African-American fraternities, or incorporate the movements of movie monsters such as those in The Walking Dead, or animals including chimpanzees and roosters. A step called The Strutting Chicken is considered a strong contender for the Trump military parade. 

Strutting Rooster One

CHICKEN STRUT: The confident stride of a barnyard rooster has inspired a step befitting our “cocky” Commander in Chief.

“Some of these videos just take your breath away when you picture our President standing at a reviewing stand and looking down at his troops marching by behind the tanks and missile carriers,” said a White House source. “Other videos you look at and you just say to yourself, ‘Jesus Christ, what were they thinking?’”

Goose Step

THE GOOSE STEP was popularized by Nazi madman Adolph Hitler.

The Goose Step is of course the most recognizable parade marching style. Troops swing their legs in unison off the ground while keeping each leg straight and unbent. Variations of it—some rather outlandish and flamboyant—are used by militaries in various nations in Asia, Africa and South America. But many other steps are used in military parades across the world. These include the Quick March, typically used by Scotland’s Highland regiments, which march to bagpipe music at 112 paces per minute. The Slow March, in which the feet are kept parallel to the ground and arms are never used, is the traditional step of the French Foreign Legion, and is also commonly used for funeral marches.

March silly name India and Pakistan

The militaries of India and Pakistan are known for their unique marching styles.

Are you interested in proposing a march for President Trump’s military parade? For inspiration, check out this footage of unusual marching styles from around the globe. When you’ve developed your step, recruit a group of friends to practice it. Video your routine and upload it to Youtube, then send the link to the White House . Or put your video on a DVD and mail it to:

Trump Parade Steps, The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Copyright C. Michael Forsyth

If you enjoyed this news satire by fiction writer C. Michael Forsyth, check out his collection of incredible stories, available on Kindle and in other eBook formats.

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Goons Chase the Most Dangerous Game in “Wolf Hunt.”   Leave a comment

Wolf Hunt Cover

By C. Michael Forsyth

Jeff Strand’s Wolf Hunt is a thrill ride that combines witty dialogue with nonstop action and enough gore to fill a swimming pool. It’s one of a tiny handful of books that I’ve read in one sitting. The pages turned as easily as if I were watching a movie. More specifically, it’s as if Quentin Tarantino and Sam Raimi of The Evil Dead fame collaborated on a werewolf movie, Quentin supplying the quirky chit-chat and Sam providing the over-the-top action.

The story begins when George and Lou, a pair of thugs for hire who normally spend their days busting kneecaps on behalf of loan sharks, receive a highly unusual assignment: they must transport an iron cage containing a guy who is supposedly a werewolf from Miami to Tampa. Is the shrimpy, whining jerk named Ivan actually a real werewolf? Spoiler alert: yes he is, and it isn’t long before he busts loose and a wild chase ensues, with an ever-rising body count.

Wolf Hunt ebook

The more subdued eBook cover may be more chilling but doesn’t capture the novel’s manic quality.

I usually don’t enjoy extended action scenes in novels. They’re rarely as effective on the printed page as they are in movies. But Strand writes them beautifully, choreographing the violent encounters between the werewolf and his pursuers with gritty realism. He describes the fights as vividly as if he were an eyewitness to the mayhem caused by claws, fangs, fists, pistols, switchblades, chairs, dynamite, meat cleavers, shotguns, car keys, hand grenades, crossbows, kitchen knives, bottles, car keys and even bowling balls.

The author is just as adept at writing dialogue. Both George and Ivan are smartasses and their sarcastic exchanges are priceless. One of the classic lines in comedy horror history is uttered when the wolfman disarms Lou and is atop a van as the two thugs and a woman they’ve rescued drive along in panic:

“George applied the brakes. ‘You two go back and get in the cage. He can’t bend the bars or he’d have done it before, so you’ll be safe in there!’
‘We won’t be safe! Now we’re up against a werewolf with a gun!’”

With hundreds of novels about werewolves already on the shelves, it’s a challenge to write one that feels fresh. At least three story elements make Wolf Hunt different.

Number one, the protagonists are not your typical steely eyed heroes. George and Lou are the kind beefy henchmen you’ve seen in movies a thousand times. Their roles are usually confined to punching the hero in the gut and escorting him to Mr. Big’s headquarters. I’ve often wondered about the off-duty lives of henchmen. How do you apply for a job with SPECTRE? What’s the training like? Do they have a decent health plan? What are their hopes and dreams? Wolf Hunt takes a pair of ordinary goons and makes them the stars. It reminds me of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, the play in which two hapless henchmen from Hamlet are plucked from obscurity to become the main characters.

Oliver Reed Curse of the Werewolf

Oliver Reed plays a man doomed from birth to become a wolfman in the 1961 movie Curse of the Werewolf.

Number two, Ivan is truly evil. In the Hollywood tradition established by films such as The Werewolf of London, The Wolfman and Curse of the Werewolf, lycanthropy sufferers are sympathetic figures doomed by no fault of their own. The wolf mode is the tragic hero’s rampaging id, but we understand that he has no control over it being unleashed. And of course, thanks to the Twilight series, we’re now accustomed to seeing werewolves as even kinder and gentler; cute hunks with boyfriend potential. By contrast, Ivan is a sadistic sociopath who had plenty of kills under his belt before being a werewolf—which he thoroughly enjoys.

Peter Stubbe

BAD TO THE BONE: A werewolf named Peter Stubbe terrorized the town of Bedburg, Germany in the 1500s, according to court records.

In that regard, Ivan is truly old school. In the lore of the Middle Ages, werewolves were generally evil folks who used black magic to achieve the transformation. One of the best documented case of werewolfism took place in 1589 when a German named Peter Stubbe was convicted of having sold his soul to Satan in order to become a wolfman. According to a contemporary account, “This vile wretch desired neither riches nor promotion, but having a tyrannical heart and a most cruel bloody mind, requested that at his pleasure he might work his malice on men, women and children in the shape of some beast.” Stubbe confessed to having engaged in a killing spree for years in wolf form and was executed. (Caveat: he confessed under torture).

Ivan is of the same breed. He’s the kind of werewolf that haunted my nightmares as a kid: a relentless killing machine that comes after you with claws and teeth. Werewolves have always struck me as far scarier monsters than vampires because they trigger the most primal of all fears: the terror of being eaten.

Number three, Ivan can not only transform at will, he can morph individual body parts. At one point, for example, he terrorizes a motorist by transforming only his mouth and flashing his razor-sharp choppers. This nifty trait makes for some mind-blowing visuals throughout the novel.

What more can you ask for in a horror comedy? My rating for Wolf Hunt is a rare five out of five claws. More good news: the sequel Wolf Hunt 2 is out and I’m looking forward to reading it.

This review was written by C. Michael Forsyth, author of the werewolf novel Hour of the Beast.

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In Hour of the Beast, a young bride is raped by a werewolf on her wedding night. When her sons grow up and head to college, things REALLY get out of hand.

Posted February 19, 2018 by C. Michael Forsyth in Uncategorized

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