Tagged: Crystal Lake Publishing

Epeolatry Book Review: Floaters by Garrett Boatman


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Title: Floaters
Author: Garrett Boatman
Genre: Horror
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing
Release Date: 1oth September, 2021

Synopsis: London 1890s. Out of the Thames’ fetid depths the undead rise to feast upon the living. While floaters seek blood, another army takes advantage of the chaos. Boiling out of their rookeries of crime, marauders swarm through London’s affluent neighborhoods looting and burning.

While the beleaguered police and the Queen’s army battle twin plagues—human and inhuman—London’s criminal youth gangs join forces to save their city. Will Tagget, leader of the Lambeth Lads, together with his enemies Bill Drummond of the Drury Lane Gang, bull-necked George Fish of the Elephant and Castle Gang, shillelagh-wielding Dirk Bogart of the New Cut Gang, Quincy Bird of City Road, along with their female counterparts—Lambeth Kate, Queen Jane, New Cut Beth, Razor Lil and Dirty Deidre—set out on an adventure the telling of which might earn a man a lifetime of free drinks. If he lives to tell it.

Will these violent youths be able to put aside their rivalries long enough to get the job done?

The synopsis of this novella promises rival gangs in Victorian London and zombies. The book certainly delivers. The author did his research on the time period, which is evident in the reading. For the most part this is welcome, although at times there was too much history and too little plot. (This coming from someone who studied history in college). For example, in one part of the book, the author lists all of the different gangs present at a meeting. I’m talking a paragraph of them. When introducing characters and during dialogue, the reader is also often given information regarding what gang said character is affiliated with. I get why; the point is that rival gangs who hate each other have come together to fight the more immediate threat of the undead. But it might have been better handled with more subtlety. As it is, I felt hit over the head with this theme repeatedly.

Another minor complaint I have is the sheer number of exclamation points used in internal monologue, though admittedly, this might just be a pet peeve of mine. Additionally, the repetitive use of certain phrases/ideas bothered me. The biggest offender is the phrase “and no mistake.” 

For this reader, the strongest part of this work was the opening chapters where the characters discover the threat and first come together to face it. Boatman captures the time period and the atmosphere well, and the fear is palpable. The author’s style flows well, and even scenes with blood and gore are written in lovely prose.

Recommended for those with special interest in Victorian England, gangs in aforementioned setting, historical fiction, and zombies. Ideally, all of those things combined. 

3 out of 5 ravens

Available from Amazon.

Book Review: ‘Writers on Writing Volume 1 – 4 Omnibus: An Author’s Guide’

Crystal Lake Publishing has combined its four releases of ‘Writers on Writing’ in one very complete omnibus and I’m sure a few authors out there are wondering if this one is worth picking up or not. This is a collection of quite a few authors out there who are taking the time to “share their ultimate secrets in becoming and being an author.” It is a collection from quite a few authors about their writing styles, what they focus on in their writing, their thoughts on rejection, and so much more.

While Crystal Lake Publishing is more known for its horror content much as Horror Tree initially was known for before we switched to embracing all genre and speculative fiction, ‘Writers on Writing’ includes interviews and commentary from authors in all aspects of their career and genres. You aren’t going to just be reading the thoughts of authors in a single niche market here which should help give a wider range of diversity in the information that is being shared.

The table of contents is pretty easy to find online but if you’re seeing the collection here first I’ll do a quick inclusion of it:

  • The Infrastructure of the Gods by Brian Hodge
  • The Writer’s Purgatory by Monique Snyman
  • Why Rejection is Still Important by Kevin Lucia
  • Real Writers Steal Time by Mercedes M. Yardley
  • What Right Do I Have to Write by Jasper Bark
  • Go Pace Yourself by Jack Ketchum
  • A Little Infusion of Magic by Dave-Brendon de Burgh
  • Confronting Your Fears in Fiction by Todd Keisling
  • Once More with Feeling by Tim Waggoner
  • Embracing Your Inner Shitness by James Everington
  • The Forgotten Art of Short Story by Mark Allan Gunnells
  • Adventures in Teaching Creative Writing by Lucy A. Snyder
  • Submit (to psychology) for Acceptance by Daniel I. Russell
  • Character Building by Theresa Derwin
  • Heroes and Villains by Paul Kane
  • Do Your Worst by Jonathan Winn
  • Creating Effective Characters by Hal Bodner
  • Fictional Emotions; Emotional Fictions by James Everington
  • Home Sweet Home by Ben Eads
  • You by Kealan Patrick Burke
  • The art of becoming a book reviewer by Nerine Dorman
  • Treating Fiction like a Relationship by Jonathan Janz
  • How to Write Killer Poetry by Stephanie M. Wytovich
  • Happy Little Trees by Michael Knost
  • In Lieu of Patience Bring Diversity by Kenneth W. Cain
  • Networking is Scary, but Essential by Doug Murano
  • Are You In The Mood? by Sheldon Higdon
  • What if Every Novel is a Horror Novel? by Steve Diamond
  • Description by Patrick Freivald
  • A First-time Novelist’s Odyssey by William Gorman
  • I Am Setting by J.S. Breukelaar
  • Finding Your Voice by Lynda E. Rucker

We’ve spoken about a few of the subjects here though quite a bit hasn’t been covered. This is a great central resource of material on the craft of writing and the collection of essays can, in many cases, be used as a fantastic reference guide.

I honestly feel that for myself “The Writer’s Purgatory” was my favorite essay as it examines getting yourself to get from the first draft of a work to your final version. This is an area I personally often suffer from but is just a small instance of the diverse set of topics that are covered.

Jack Ketchum explains his views on pacing in a novel from size to sentence structure in “Go Pace Yourself” while Tim Waggoner hits up how emotion can be a bigger building block than you might initially think in “Once More, With Feeling.” Another favorite though was Paul Kane’s “Heroes and Villains” which goes into detail on not just how different they are but how when done right they play off each other on page in a way that will capture the reader’s imagination and invest them into both characters.

This is a fantastic set of essays that cover a variety of topics on writing and one that is worth your time to read through.

Available on Amazon.

Writers on Writing Volume 1 – 4 Omnibus: An Author’s Guide
Publisher: Crystal Lake Publishing (November 29, 2016)
Publication Date: November 29, 2016