Tag Archives: dark fiction

Expanded Version of My BREATHE. BREATHE. Mixed Dark Fiction Collection is Here!

BreatheBreatheHey all, so today my mixed dark fiction collection, BREATHE. BREATHE., came out in its expanded edition and also in print and e-book format. When it first published in July, it was a handmade, limited edition chapbook from Unnerving (a Canadian magazine and book publisher), and it sold out. Now, I worked feverishly and and added 50% more poems and added three more short stories to accompany the previous two. I am really happy with how this turned out and how all the various themes mesh together under the large umbrella of breathing – through trauma, pain, murder, depression, anxiety, etc. And yet I also weaved folklore, history, mystery, and murder into it the poetry and the stories. There is also revenge, anger, fear, and madness tucked into the pages and wrapped in a Gothic atmosphere.

Selcouth Station remarked on the content in the limited edition that it was: “Raw, risky, and brave. Breathe Breathe could tear itself apart withthe amount of raw emotion contained in its fifty-seven pages. Al-Mehairi sheds light on difficult topics such as abuse, anxiety, loneliness, and love that hurts more than heals.”

I hope you’ll take a chance on my collection. It has a lovely foreword from the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk (We Are Monsters) to touchingly lead readers into the work. The response has been so kind and I am so humbled by the support and the thoughts on my work. I look forward to hearing from any readers who want to offer their thoughts too.

You can find it in paperback and kindle now on Amazon, or Kobo, but more online sites should pop up soon too. I’ll be back to offer more updates. And please do review or add my book to your TBR shelf on GoodReads too!

What’s it about?

Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.

In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.

In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.

In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.

Amid these pages the haunting themes of oppression, isolation, revenge, and madness unfold through folklore, nightmares, and often times, raw, impulsive passion crafted to sear from the inside out.

With a touching foreword by the Bram Stoker nominated author Brian Kirk (We Are Monsters), Breathe. Breathe. will at times unsettle you, and at times embrace you.

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, a veteran writer and editor of the written word, offers up a mixed set of pieces, identifying her as a strong, new voice in dark fiction that will tear the heart from your chest, all the while reminding you to breathe.

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Praise for Breathe. Breathe.

“It’s full of the unexpected – bits of lace cut through with the odd and the horrible and the beautiful. Through it all I sense the power of a survivor!! And I love that!”

  • Sue Harrison, internationally best-selling author of Mother Earth Father Sky

“In Breathe. Breathe., Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi employs sharp, jagged words arranged in sparse, disturbingly visceral clusters to force readers to “breathe” through the fear and pain of abuse and personal terror. It’s a sense reinforced by the deceptively quiet but disquieting story, “Dandelion Yellow.” Filled with sharp sensory detail, the highlight is “Life-Giver of the Nile,” an evocative circular time-shift tale in which an Egyptologist’s soul is required by Anuket, ancient and modern goddess of the Nile, for a greater purpose. Whether in poetry or prose, dark kernels nestled within horror tropes indicate that Al-Mehairi writes from the gut and from the heart but with the fierceness of a survivor, the soul of a fearless champion. This mixed collection is a fine introduction to a strong, intriguing new voice in dark fiction.”

  • W.D. Gagliani, Bram Stoker Finalist, author of Wolf’s Trap (Nick Lupo Series)

“Breathe. Breathe. is at times haunting, visceral, bittersweet, and tender. Erin Al Mehairi bares her soul and invites readers to devour it whole.”

  • Hunter Shea, author of We Are Always Watching

“Erin Al-Mehairi weaves a web of narrative and poetry both beautiful and nightmare-inducing in Breathe. Breathe., invoking heartache and the need to see through the shining masks life presents us to confront the darkness it truly holds.”

  • Michelle Garza, co-author of Bram Stoker nominated Mayan Blue

”I loved Dandelion Yellow.  I was hyperventilating at the end, but it was such a beautiful, painful and artful tale.  I’ll be saying that last line to myself for weeks at least. Just beautiful.  I’m re-reading the rest.  One read just isn’t enough because DAYUM.  Beautiful.”

  • Somer Canon, author of Vicki Beautiful and The Killer Chronicles

“A tireless champion of horror fiction, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi breaks into the genre with her debut collection BREATHE. BREATHE. Her dark and vivid poetry and short stories will be sure to delight fans of dark fiction! “Night Stalked” is definitely one of the stand-out poems you will find within.”

  • Rich Duncan, The Horror Bookshelf

“Raw, risky, and brave. Breathe Breathe could tear itself apart with the amount of raw emotion contained in its fifty-seven pages. Al-Mehairi sheds light on difficult topics such as abuse, anxiety, loneliness, and love that hurts more than heals.”

  • Selcouth Station

“Wonderful writing that explores the dark corners of your mind, where fear grabs you, and you struggle to breathe.”

  • David Spell, The Scary Reviews

Erin, Biograpy –

Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi has Bachelor of Arts degrees in English, Journalism, and History. She has 20 years of experience in the communication fields and is currently a writer, a journalist, a publicist, and an editor among many other things.

She writes fiction, essays, stories, and poetry and is an avid reader of many genres. She has edited poetry anthologies, novels, fiction pieces, and other various non-fiction and journalistic pieces. As a journalist, she’s written, interviewed, and edited for various newspapers, magazines, media outlets, and online news sources at both ends of the spectrum in media and public relations.

As an entrepreneur, she owns two businesses: Addison’s Compass Public Relations and Hook of a Book Media, in which she acts as a PR/Marketing Consultant, publicist, and editor. She also handles marketing and PR for Sinister Grin Press, where she is also an editor. Her third pursuit is writing her own works for publication. She volunteers her time in the community and is the chairwoman on the board of directors for a local mental health center and rape crisis and domestic violence safe haven.

She is the mother of three school-aged children and a cat. She lives with her family in rural Ohio nestled in the forest—a place just ripe for nightmares. Her passions are reading, writing, book hunting, hiking, and entertainment such as movies/film, television, and music. Oh, and she bakes, because you can’t do any of that without cookies.

Erin is a co-host with her Marketing Morsels segment on Project Entertainment Network’s The Mando Method, an award-winning weekly podcast for new and veteran writers.

Breathe. Breathe., published by Unnerving, is her debut collection and a mix of dark poetry and short stories. She will also be featured in the upcoming anthology from Unnerving called Hardened Hearts coming in at the end of 2017. Many other works in various genres are in progress as well.

You can e-mail her at hookofabook (at) hotmail (dot) com and find her easily at www.hookofabook.wordpress.com. You’ll also find her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest where she loves new friends.

 

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Foreword Author Announced for My Chapbook BREATHE. BREATHE.

I’m SO SO thrilled to announce who wrote the foreward to my dark poetry and short fiction chapbook – BREATHE. BREATHE. It’s elegantly written by gifted writer, Bram Stoker finalist, and my good good friend Brian Kirk!! He’s been such a constant support of me and my work, and my poetry especially, and is always lending a listening ear and emotional and talented eye to my words and thoughts. To me, he was the perfect person to ask as his work has always touched me deeply as well.

brian kirk

Hi Brian!

Brian was nominated for a Bram Stoker award for his debut novel, We Are Monsters from Samhainand had a very heart-wrenching story, “Picking Splinters from a Sex Slave,” in the Bram Stoker nominated for superior achievement in an anthology, Gutted: Beautiful Horror Stories, from Crystal Lake Publishing, where his acclaimed story was read alongside Neil Gaiman, Ramsey Campbell, Clive Barker, and more. He will also be in a highly anticipated upcoming anthology also from them called Behold! ⭐️⭐️⭐️ THANK YOU BRIAN for adding another layer of class to my chapbook!

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BREATHE. BREATHE. – by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi – 44 limited edition handcrafted chapbooks made in the wilds of Canada and available from Unnerving Magazine and publisher Eddie Generous! At the time of this posting there were only a few left of this special edition – a one time only buy and keepsake! PRE-ORDER HERE.

More news to come. Thanks so much for your support everyone. If you missed my last post with the mock-up of the cover and the information on the book, head HERE.

Red Brick Wall

Mock-up of Outside Cover Going on Handmade Books – I love it!

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Pre-Order My Poetry/Fiction Chapbook and View the Cover Mock-Up!

I’m so pleased to announce, to those who haven’t already heard on social media, that I am having a limited edition chapbook of my dark poetry and short story fiction published by Unnerving Magazine, run by the editor/publisher Eddie Generous.

It’s called BREATHE. BREATHE.

And I am so excited! Thanks so much to Eddie for choosing my work to be published.

I have a hard time making decisions for myself, so finalizing a title was taking a bit, but with the help of two special industry friends (thanks Brian Kirk and Duncan Ralston) the process was made simpler – they totally had great insight as always, and Eddie, the publisher, was reassuring as well. Many of my poems, and some of my short fiction, is inspired from breathing through anxiety, pain, recovery, or from characters running for their lives, taking their last breath, allegories to breathing/living, or being isolated, hostage, etc. Breath and breathing was the main thought that ran through my head linking things I didn’t even think would be linked. When I started to collate what I had together and work on a few new pieces, I realized the theme was prevalent. Many times some people who have read a sect of my poetry have also remarked how they had to take a breath afterward, as it was like reading an action sequence.

Besides my dark poetry, it contains at least two short stories. One is about a child’s sadness that comes when Crayola does away with their dandelion yellow crayon. There are all sorts of allegories involved with the shade of yellow. The other features an ancient Egyptian goddess – Anuket – set in modern Egypt and a reoccuring nightmare from my youth. There might be more surprises.

Eddie is handcrafting each of these books separately in the wilds of Canada (no kidding!) and the price is low due to shipping being a tad more. There are only 44 original handmade print copies available so get it while you can!

I am also happy to premiere the cover below which he will use to construct the outside, along with a lip of color on the edge. I think it’s going to look very different than what readers might be used to, but very old-fashioned and cool too! It’s perfect for me. I was so shocked when he sent me over the idea for the outside wrap around. I actually shed a tear. It was spot on to use the lungs in correlation with the title and when you read it, you’ll see why. It’s simple and open and breathable and he used his signature font that he uses on most of the Unnerving work.

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Thanks for following me on this part of my writing journey so far! Talking about it and your encouragement inspires me to get it completed on time, but I only have a very little left to do. If life wasn’t throwing us curve balls and work wasn’t so insane, I’d be done, so wish me luck!

Eddie has my collection up for PRE-ORDER. Please support me by purchasing and I’d be so grateful. I’d love to sell out the 44 so he will give me an e-book option on it! Because I have so many people from all walks of life reading my updates, I will disclaimer and say remember please that this is a dark fiction magazine and site and also that my stuff is darker in this collection!

Also there are several other handcrafted chapbooks available too – some short story mash ups – and I am in two more of them! One with a story of mine Eddie mashed up – very happy my lake trolls found a home – and one in which I mash up Eddie’s story. You can find those for pre-order too at the same site.

Thank you for your support!!!!! It means the world to me.

Erin

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The Mourning House by Ronald Malfi: A 5-Star Haunting Psychological Adventure

I’ve been on a wonderful streak lately of having the pleasure of reading some amazing authors who are blazing the trails of publishing today across many genres. I know reading them makes me a better writer myself and I strive to showcase here only the best literature available today.

Last weekend I read The Mourning House  by Ronald Malifi (published by Delirium Books, an imprint of DarkFuse). Since then I’ve been savoring it, even kicking around the idea of re-reading it, because I know it will be even better a second time.  It’s taken me a week to find the right words for my review. It’s THAT good. It’s more than good. This long fiction novella is phenomenal!!  (review continued after synopsis)

The Mourning House

The Mourning House, Synopsis~

Devastated by tragedy, Dr. Sam Hatch is a shadow of his former self. He travels the by roads of America, running away from a past he cannot escape. There is no salvation for him.

And then he sees the house. Like a siren, it calls to him. Yet the house is not what it appears to be. Is it a blessing, a gift…or a curse?

Review continued~

It’s really no wonder that it made the preliminary ballot for the 2012 Bram Stoker Award (announced Jan 2013 by HWA). Even though it didn’t recently make the final five voting list as a nominee, it certainly deserves to be honored for its hauntingly poetic prose.  The Mourning House is literary excellence.  Ronald Malfi is by far one of the best writers across most major categories.

In regards to his December 2012 release of The Mourning House, in no way did I feel that I was left wanting more or that I had even read a novella. It was so superbly structured from character development, to plot, to twists, to emotional connection, to allegory that I felt I had absorbed an entire full-length novel in one sitting. Time evaporated as I read it and I remained awake the entire night brooding over it. 

His nuances within the text that came from the protagonist’s mind, or maybe it was our own mind?….or the house’s banter….I’m not sure, but it’s been playing nonsense in my head since.  It’s wriggled into my brain with its lingering madness. Its subtle haunting seeps into my thoughts. Now, I’m sure I’ll read it again. And I urge you to read it, and then again.

When you read The Mourning House, and I recommend you do, think beyond just the highest plane of the story and the plot of the protagonist. Think about if there are any lessons for life Malfi is referring to. Any allegorical levels. Any emotional dance it tips taps within your head. I promise afterwards you’ll not return the same.

Malfi’s mainstream-style of dark, suspenseful, and eerie fiction will appeal to anybody whose a lover of fine fiction. With novels under his pen to boast about, such as the Gold IPPY awarded and Bram Stoker nominated Floating Staircase, this kudos adorned author is one of the best in the field and The Mourning House is no exception to a long list of must-read works. It’s horror, but to make the distinction, it’s the haunting kind reminiscent for me of eerie Twilight Zone episodes or even Alfred Hitchcock. It’s psychological writing in its best form, with an antiquated feel.

Malfi recently re-released The Fall of Never this week with Samhain Publishing/Horror and will re-release Cradle Lake with Medallion Press in June. He’s releasing December Park in March of 2014 with Medallion Press. I really can’t wait to read everything and anything I can get my hands on by Ronald Malfi.

And I have an interview coming up with him too where I can drain more of his brain power….

Praise For The Mourning House from Publisher’s Weekly~

“Lyrical prose creates an atmosphere of eerie claustrophobia, flawless pacing, and a plot that unfolds into a quietly shattering climax. Fans of literary horror will enjoy this compelling, haunting story.” —Publishers Weekly

The Mourning HouseThe Mourning House Details~

  • File Size: 231 KB
  • Print Length: 69 pages
  • Publisher: Delirium Books (December 12, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English

Purchase it for download here:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Mourning-House-ebook/dp/B00ANW13U6%3FSubscriptionId%3DAKIAI4TO6S3PL2YRT2YA%26tag%3Ddarkfuseshop-20%26linkCode%3Dxm2%26camp%3D2025%26creative%3D165953%26creativeASIN%3DB00ANW13U6

Ronald Malfi, Biography~

Ron_MalfiRonald Malfi is the award-winning author of several horror novels, mysteries, and thrillers. In 2009, his crime drama Shamrock Alley won a Silver IPPY Award. In 2011, his ghost story/mystery Floating Staircase was nominated by the Horror Writers Association for best novel; the book also won a Gold IPPY Award for best horror novel. Most recognized for his haunting, literary style and memorable characters, Malfi’s dark fiction has gained acceptance among readers of all genres. He currently lives along the Chesapeake Bay with his wife and daughter, where he is at work on his next book. He can be reached online at www.ronmalfi.com.

Malfi is pictured in his most recent author photo with his super sized smile, but….

But this is my FAVORITE~

Malfi 2

 

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