Black Petals Issue #86, Winter, 2019

Mars-News, Views and Commentary
Eric Roseman's Poem-Fiction by Jacob Austin
New Orleans Take-Out-Fiction by Roy Dorman
Napper's Holler-Chapter 7-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler-Chapter 8-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Napper's Holler-Chapter 9-Fiction by A. M. Stickel
Not This Time-Flash Fiction by Roy Dorman
Our Neighbors, The Zombies-Fiction by Jon A. Park
The Art of Dream-napping-Fiction by Mark J. Kevlock
The Night Side of Eden-Fiction by George Rosas
The Sump-Fiction by Anthony Lukas
Tingles-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Winter's Gnome-Poem by Janet C. Ro
Saucer, Schmosser-Four Poems by Richard Stevenson

January 15th, 2019




By Editor A.M. Stickel

Game of Groans/No Mercy



We may be grownups, but we’re never too old for certain scares we learned to love in childhood. This time around, BP is taking a look at a quality short story collection by Matt Spencer, STORY TIME WITH CRAZY UNCLE MATT, “a tangle of yarns” which is definitely not for kids.

Set in haunted Vermont or mythical sword-and-sorcery Deschemb, we are given glimpses into the truly warped imagination of an author who builds his dark fiction of the odd and evil upon his own life experiences. The flow of the stories and nearly typo-free copy make for an easy read, revealing experience gained from his having put out 7 other books. These include: THE NIGHT AND THE LAND, THE TRAIL OF THE BEAST, CULT OF THE STARS, CHAPEL OF THE FALCON, SUMMER REAPING ON THE FIELDS OF NOWHERE, SHADOW BALLADS, and THE DRIFTING SOUL.

In the hands of a dedicated artist, tales woven on the loom of depravity, filth, and frailty present a vivid contrast to but not a negation of the redemptive and uplifting aspects of life. The language, even in the sword-and-sorcery tales, is modern without any pretense at elegance. Sympathetic protagonists are drawn in the same hard lines as villains/antagonists. The Story Notes at the end of the collection explain the origins for the story ideas, a unique addendum well worth the read. The 13 collected stories have been published separately elsewhere first; here is a title sampling: “Have Some Dragon’s Blood,” “Just Chew Your Way Out,” “Island of Skulls,” and “The Reverend.”

       Appropriately, the book, copyright 2018, is published by Back Roads Carnival Books, Brattleboro, Vermont. The ISBN is 978-0-692-15638-4, and the price is $10 (U.S.). Laura Janisieski is the cover artist. If you want to experience genuine professionalism, as well as being given a broad horror sampling, then BP highly recommends this read: 5 out of 5 Black Roses. See also 

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