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Conceiving Evil by Kathy Lynn Blaylock (2006 Publish America.)  Read more about the author and the novel  here.

     There seems to be many sides to author Kathy Blaylock, a plethora of writing styles and genre skipping.....I mean, take for example  Mel's Journal: The Journey Home or Along Life's Winding Roads, and take in particular The Adventures of Buddy Fairy and Friends (where Buddy Fairy and Nay-Nay Rabbit embark on an adventure to catch the smallest fairy in Fairyland: the Purple Moonshine Butterfly), and you

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(All reviews copyright 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009  by Nicholas Grabowsky and Diverse Media, all rights reserved.   All book cover images are owned by their respective owners and used by permission.)

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must ask yourself, "how can a writer possibly jump from penning a book about Nay-Nay Rabbit and into the sick and twisted realms of gut-bursting violence and explicit grisly and obscenely sexual depravity such as what is found in Conceiving Evil?" 

Maybe a few swigs of Purple Moonshine are responsible.

Actually, I think there's more truth to the notion that versatility as a writer shows off talent.  Besides, take a look at Roald  Dahl, who did some damn good horror stuff as well as James & the Giant Peach and the two Willy Wonka books.  I know as well as anyone, there are many facets and complications frolicking about between the lines of inspiration and imagination.  There are many reasons why a writer is driven to write in one direction or another, but I can tell you, in the case of Kathy Lynn Blaylock, and with the work of supernatural horror I'm reviewing, none of them matter because it works, bottom line.

Conceiving Evil basically takes your average concept/sub genre of devil-impregnating-woman-for-a-birth-into-this-world-with-the-intent-to-destroy-it Anti-Christ-esque/Demon Seed premise and brings flair and original concepts to the table, along with an avalanche of  enough mayhem and gore to satisfy the sickest (literarily speaking) among us.  The writing itself is unseasoned, but the tale itself along with its crisp characters and plot devices is more than enough to compensate for any shortcomings Blaylock has in any lack of poetic flow and vivid description where further practice promises to make more perfect her technique.  She gets the job done, which is what matters.  Venturing further down this road of darker fiction, this author, with Conceiving Evil, demands our attention and this gruesome and entertaining entry is a damn good start for a boisterous voice in horror fiction in works to come.     

Despairs & Delights by Lincoln Crisler (2008 Arctic Wolf Publishing.)  Read more about the author and the novel  here.


   Lincoln Crisler is one of those voices with a name such attached that you cannot forget it, and so it is with his stories.  As quoted online, Lincoln has written for Rochester's Northwest Times and Democrat and Chronicle newspapers, and his fiction has appeared in print and online venues such as The Horror Library, The Late Late Show, Down in the Cellar and Shroud Magazine's 

     I first became familiar with T.M. Mason with Triad Publishing's first and only horror anthology, From the Shadows, in which I did a forward and story contribution, and Mason's contribution was The Town.  With Black Crystal, Ebon Death, I'm presented with a book-length example of the same writing style he incorporated into that short

Black Crystal, Ebon Death by T.M. Mason (2008 A Kendall Publication.)  Read more about the authors and the book  here.

Abominations anthology, and I myself have been well familiar with his name for over awhile now to the point that I to date am publishing his follow-up to this particular book I'm reviewing (Magick & Misery).  He's also, most notably but on a side note, a United States veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (currently serving as of this writing), as well as a passionate bassist and drummer.  He's come far in his life, and his writing, though just a few years into it as a serious career venture, is as solid as what makes for a great voice in genre literature.

This collection makes for fantastic leisure reading to those of the horror/supernatural persuasion, should be on every dark enthusiast's coffee table.  It's simple, well-written, fireside fare, composed of ten short stories including the zombie-esque and satisfying Knight of the Living Dead, a werewolf-wanting-to-die tale in The Hitchhiker, the tight and eerie witches' tale of Organic.  The collection is introduced by Bailey Hunter of Dark Recesses Press.  This awesome little bite of the macabre and surreal makes for an entertaining and delightfully scary read in one late-night sitting, when nothing on post witching-hour television compares to your bed, the bedside nightstand lamp, and a good book of innovative and well-crafted snippets of horror/fantasy.  Such is the case with Crisler's Despairs & Delights.

work, and in expressing my thoughts about the novel I find I must first acquire an understanding of this particular style that he uses, because he seems to purposely write this way, rather than for lack of storytelling skill that greatly improves the more one writes. 

Firstly, before I get into that, I admire Mason's vision and passion which drives him to write.  That out of the way, he writes primarily in thought fragments, slices of dramatic description and feeling which accumulatively lose the reader in an onslaught of incomplete sentences followed by a comma and series of periods, like I,......for example, doing here.  Many paragraphs start off as incomplete sentences and run rabid without punctuation and good narrative prose guiding us along.  Oftentimes, I had no idea what was happening in the story, mostly due to how it was written.  I can see talent here;  I think this is one of those cases where a potential literary visionary has to re-evaluate how he expresses his story on paper so that others could see it the way he's seen it in his head.  I think his method of being poetic and dramatic outshines what would be better enjoyable in layman's terms and sentence structure that's less distracting, especially in the case of Black Crystal, Ebon Death, because it is a balls-out sword-and-sorcery work and is also told in the literary spirit of such works, with the English language modified toward the flavor of the genre just short of using thou's and thine's.   Basically, the book entails the long and dark journey of Lv'an, a young half-Elven, towards his destiny in a dark and dangerous world full of dragons and sorcerers and magic.

Now, I admire T.M. Mason.  He's extremely opinionated, philosophical, and is very passionate about his writing, and increasingly prolific.  My honesty regarding my personal experience and opinion of this particular work is what it is.    He writes what he writes, from War of the Storms: Souls of Chaos to the Dark Fathers Saga, short stories, and essays on politics, theology, and psychology.  Mason is also, and I quote from, "a firm believer that the populace has been beguiled by the 'hair splitting, re-defining' of the common usage of phrase-ology and wordage."

There may be a method to his madness in going off-road in the way he writes, and don't let this one solitary review fool you.  If Mason tightens the harness a little bit and rides off in the right direction, and seriously considers this review as constructive, he can do exceptionally well in this realm of Fantasy and get his works in the hands of a broader audience who, with a more proper presentation, eats this kind of stuff for breakfast after purchasing it eagerly the day before.