"An exquisitely powerful anthology... gripping scenarios that are hard to put down and unforgettable literary productions."
The photos are real. The places are not.
From the creative team behind the award-winning Shadows And Teeth horror series comes a reality-bending anthology that combines eerie vintage photos with terrifying stories.
Features 25 new stories by horror luminaries Guy N. Smith, Adam Millard, Nicholas Paschall, and more!
The places in this book are shunned, abandoned and forgotten. They do not exist, and yet here you will find the stories of people who have gone and survived to tell their tales, complete with photographs. These are the postcards from the void, frightful evidence of places that should not be, and yet exist in our nightmares. Should you dare to venture into these blighted places, remember: don't talk to strangers; don't stray far from home; and never, ever go in alone.
Click the button to purchase your copy, or watch the trailer, below.
It was bound to happen eventually. We're just surprised it didn't happen sooner.
In case you haven't been following along, the two head honchos here at Darkwater Syndicate are fantasy authors. Dragons feature prominently in their works, and the dragons in their stories couldn't be any more different. Over the years, this difference of opinion has led to heated discussions, near-fistfights, and the errant thrown shoe.
Today, the two seek to resolve their differences in a debate over whose depiction of dragons is the most accurate. But before we get into that discussion, let's introduce the debaters.
[MODERATOR]: Mr. Simon will begin the discussion. If you would...
[ASJ]: Gladly. If you're going to talk about dragons as a viable race, you need to take a page from science and see what works and what doesn't, from an evolutionary standpoint. Dragons can't be big, lumbering, cold-blooded brutes for the same reason dinosaurs aren't alive today. Why? Much as that fiery death-comet helped speed things along, any creature designed along the same lines as dinosaurs would be inefficient, and nature has a way of making inefficient creatures go extinct.
That's why I put forth that dragons: (1) are warm-blooded, (2) small, (3) intelligent, and (4) social.
Warm-blooded animals can live in almost any environment. What's more, their level of activity isn't dependent on their body temperature. An iguana caught in a freak cold snap will likely become so sluggish as to fall out of its tree, where it will lie helpless, unable to move until the temperature rises.
The dragons in my fantasy books have built a country of their own that is jockeying for advantage on the world stage. The series is set in the age of sail—massive trade fleets exploit foreign markets, dodging pirates to bring home a wealth of cargo.
The dragons' culture is unique in a world largely inhabited by humans, but it's also fragile because of all the new ideas they're being exposed to from foreign sources. Dria, a dragon princess and the female lead, understands that sticking to tradition will only stagnate her people; but leading her people into the modern day will introduce new ways of thinking that risks forever destroying their heritage.
[MODERATOR]: Mr. Perez, you have the floor.
[RPP]: Thank you. Maybe it's because I'm old, but I'm a traditionalist. For me, dragons are: (1) big, (2) ferocious, and (3) exist to make a point. That last one topic may sound a bit esoteric, but I'll explain fully when I get there.
Why big? Why not? What you have to keep in mind, at all times, is that you are writing fantasy. Fantasy is not constrained (or often concerned with) such real world concepts as true-to-life physics. Maybe, if you were writing hard science fiction a la Asimov, you would be obliged to "show your work," as my grade-school math teachers used to say in our long division lessons. Otherwise, the genre allows you to magically do away with such things, so far as you can push the reader's suspension of disbelief. Thus, if you want big dragons, you can have them, because you're writing the story.
Why ferocious? For the same reason the dragon exists in your story in the first place. Let's look at the technical aspects of writing a story. You need to ensure that every character serves a purpose. If you're writing a story where a knight must save a princess from her nasty dragon captor, the audience expects that at some point there's going to be a big, bloody fight between these two characters. How better to ramp up the drama and show off your hero's prowess than by having him vanquish a mighty opponent? Here, the dragon character serves a discrete purpose—to make the hero look good. That's its purpose, the point you're trying to get across. The dragon is there because it reminds you to cheer for the good guy. Why else do you think St. George and the Dragon has been painted so many times across the Renaissance by so many different artists?
Each of the dragons encountered serves a purpose in the overall story. Cyan, the main character, is an impulsive jerk who'd sooner lop off heads with his battle-ax than shake your hand. He's on a quest, only, he doesn't actually know that what he seeks is something far greater than what he's set his sights on. Without spoiling the biggest twist in the book, through battling the dragons, Cyan comes to grips with the most negative parts of his life, and—however inadvertently—learns why he's been wrong for so long.
[MODERATOR]: Thank you, Mr. Perez. And now, to Mr. Simon for the rebuttal...
[???]: Stop! Stop right his minute!
[MODERATOR]: Ladies and gentlemen, please stand by as there's been an unforeseen interruption to today's discussion. Someone's approaching the microphone table... And who might you be?
[MODERATOR]: This is a discussion of dragons in fiction. Simon describes dragons as being small and social, while Perez describes them as big and scary. Whose book are you in?
[AM]: I don't think you thought that through completely before speaking.
[MODERATOR]: So... then how are you here?
[AM]: I walked. My office is two doors down the hall. Look, I'd really appreciate it if you could keep it down in here—I've got a stack of submissions I need to get through by this Friday...
[MODERATOR]: Well, I... I mean, yes, I... I'm sorry. We'll try to be a little quieter. Oh, but before you go—would you consider yourself small, lightweight, and warm-blooded; or huge and ferocious?
[AM]: My coffee's getting cold.
[MODERATOR]: Well, that's all the time we have, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for tuning in to our discussion, and good bye for now. Please keep the discussion going and let us know what you think in the comments!
Our ambitious horror anthology Postcards From The Void is only days away from its September 30th release. To celebrate, we're giving you a taste of the horror to come with these four free stories. Click their covers to download them to your Kindle. And to all who enter these blighted places, beware...
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