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Guest Post & Giveaway from Tabitha Short


15765423The Formula for a Horror Story

For many, the purpose of reading is to be entertained. In such, each genre has its own way of entertaining. Young adult fiction teaches lessons in love and life while telling likely stories that create a combination of happiness, sadness, and adventure. Erotica sets out to stimulate sexual desires by telling of fantasies. Horror seeks to leave an individual feeling unsettled, scared, and even squeamish. 

To create horror, one must think about creating uneasiness and fear inside of people. What was your last nightmare about? That’s a good place to start. Analyze and dissect what specifically created the feelings of uneasiness and fear. It could be a number of things. For example, a terrifying chase or the presence of an evil entity. Failing to protect one’s family, especially children, would create an unsavory feeling. Another good example is witnessing or being the victim of an atrocity, such as a murder or a brutal torture. It can also be something psychological as opposed to physical.

The important thing is to go for the ‘wow’ factor. When someone reads the story, you want their jaw to drop because they can’t believe what they’ve just read. In The Corpses of Old Farm Hill Road: The Arrogant Man, I did this by creating a character that everyone will despise. He is egotistical and cares only for himself. He treats others like they are crap on the bottom of his shoe. Very early in the story the reader learns to hate him so later when he’s at the mercy of the serial killing women, the reader is torn. Do they want him to escape and get out alive? Or do they want him to be tortured and die? This creates an inner turmoil in the reader and leaves them unsettled. These are the feelings that a horror story sets out to create and leave behind.

So what’s the formula for a good horror story? I use the following:


  1. Start with the ordinary.
    1. In my horror short The Please DO Feed the Animals ZOO, I started with an ordinary father-son relationship and their ordinary outing.
  2. Make it unordinary.
    1. Their outing becomes disturbing when the zoo they decide to go to becomes alarmingly real.
  3. Create a problem.
    1. They’re trapped in a zoo filled with ferocious man-eating animals. How will they escape them?
  4. Don’t forget the imagery.
    1. It’s a horror story, get dirty. Go into detail with the gory scenes.
  5. End with a bang.
    1. The crucial part of a horror story is the ending. Your reader has to walk away feeling grossed out, sick and/or terrified. They have to feel like they might possibly find themselves in the same predicaments of your characters.


What is your formula for a horror story?


Happy Halloween!


You can find The Please DO Feed the Animals ZOO and The Corpses of Old Farm Hill Road: The Arrogant Man as well as other horror short stories on or your favorite online eBook retail store.

Other Books by Tabitha Short: Her Sister’s Murderer  and Arena Games: Legend of Petrova (Volume 1) (You can find more on Amazon, Goodreads, etc)


Giveaway of The Please DO Feed the Animals Zoo and The Corpses of Old Farm Hill Road: The Arrogant Man

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jason Brant’s ‘The Gate’ Review/Giveaway (Giveaway Closed!)

Jason Brant outdid himself this time! The Gate is twice the length of his other books, and though I liked them all, this one is my favorite.

The Gate starts off with two college boys, Bryan and Kyle, being accepted as interns on a television show called The Specter Slayers. Bryan is the studious one and his fiancé just broke off their engagement, leaving him depressed. Kyle is the hot football player that scores all the chicks. The Specter Slayers is a show about paranormal investigators that go into supposedly haunted churches and prove that there is paranormal activity in them.

Bryan is not thrilled about this opportunity, but Kyle talks him into it with the enticement of what airtime will do to his resume. This starts their journey to the Danver church, a church that an eccentric old man bought, and then supposedly killed a whole group of his friends in.

They get to the church after a long drive, and not being able to find it, through woods that seem to get mysteriously darker and creepier the farther they drive into them. Once there, they meet the Specter Slayers, two creeps that do not believe in the paranormal, they just like to cash in, plus their nerdy tech guy. Bryan and Kyle are told that famous horror author, Katie Upshaw, will be joining them for their night in the Danver church.

But Katie has secrets that she is hesitant to share. Secrets about the church…secrets that might get them all killed…

I really cannot tell you more because if I do, it will ruin the surprise. And believe me, I never knew what was coming! It is not at all what you will expect, I will tell you that. It is about as far from normal as you could ever imagine.

This book is full of humor, at least in the first half. I laughed my way through it, never knowing what was waiting for me right around the corner. When I did get passed the humor, I spent the rest of the book with my jaw hanging open, not knowing what to expect next. I will admit to my heart jumping up in my throat a time or two as well. Delving into Satanic rituals and biblical theories (NOT in a boring way!), The Gate will have you holding your breath, and pulling the covers up to your eyes at night, fearfully hoping you are not the next to get sucked in.

Quotes from the book:

“First, I never want to see you swivel your hips like that again.  Second, you stepped in my mashed potatoes.”

“Jesus jumped up Christ, look at the size of that crack!”

“We saw something that she couldn’t handle…”

“We don’t need it coming back because it heard you.”

Once again, if I have talked you into reading this book, please leave the author a review where you bought it. I will put links to everywhere it is available underneath the cover picture. I hope you give it a chance. You will not be disappointed.

Amazon: The Gate

Barnes and Noble: The Gate

Smashwords: The Gate

Kobo: The Gate 


The Giveaway:

This will be an easy entry as always, with the chance to get extra entries. 1 ebook of The Gate is up for grabs. To enter simply comment on this post and tell me Why you want to read this book. The comment is MANDATORY if you want to win. For extra entries, show some author love 🙂

Like Jason on Facebook: Click HERE

Friend or Follow on Goodreads: Click HERE

Add The Gate to TBR List on Goodreads: Click HERE

Like The Gate on Amazon: Click The Gate

Like Jason’s Author Page on Amazon: Click HERE

Make sure you tell me what you do and BE HONEST! Contest ends 8/14 at 8am CST. Good Luck!

D.S. Hellen’s ‘Chasing Evil’s Shadow’ Review/Giveaway (CONTEST CLOSED)

(3 signed copies of Chasing Evil’s Shadow Giveaway Below: Please read review first)

Chasing Evil’s Shadow

D.S. Hellen created a world in which nightmares walk. As most of you know, I am a scaredy-cat lol, and I usually do not read horror books, but Chasing Evil’s Shadow is one I let slip through the cracks…and I am glad I did. This book kept me awake long after I finished the last page, as I lay in bed and looked in the shadows for the Cipes. The fog that I wake up to most mornings at my house became less about the beauty of the morning and more about what faceless, soul-sucking creatures could be lurking out in it.

The Traveler and the Hunter hunt the Cipes, which are soul-stealing demons that are from a different realm. Cipes are brought to our realm by the souls that scream to be taken, such as the worst people that humanity has to offer. When they are brought here by those souls, other souls along the way hang in the balance. The family members of the people whose souls get taken suffer horribly because of that. Along the journey the Traveler and the Hunter meet two men whose lives are intertwined with their own. These two men brave all sorts of battles to keep their souls intact, while grieving for the loss of many of their loved ones along the way. The characters of this book make it as you will really relate to them. Some of the scenes will have your stomach feeling uneasy and nervous. D.S. Hellen also takes some of lives more private moments, and makes them perverse, not in a sexual way, but in a super creepy way. It all works with the subject of the book though.

Pick up this book and journey with these men on an adventure that will have you holding your breath, looking over your shoulder, and hiding inside when you see creeping tendrils of fog lingering outside. I give this book four stars for creativity and for making it hard for me to sleep at night! It is well-written and the short chapters make it an easy, page turning read. It is also the first volume in a series and it leaves itself wide open for the next installment.

Quotes from the book:

“Your kitty lost his head. You get to keep yours…but your life is mine.”

“A thick fog draped over him, like it was trying to hide him or something, and I thought it was going to take me too.”

“Recently, everything had more flavor, colors were brighter, and the smells were more intriguing.”

 Once again, if I have talked you into reading this book, please leave a review where you bought it. Every review helps the author. I will place a link for the book below the cover.

Kindle: Chasing Evil’s Shadow

Paperback: Chasing Evil’s Shadow (Volume 1)



I have THREE SIGNED COPIES of Chasing Evil’s Shadow to give away this weekend. This will be an easy entry. All you have to do is comment on this post and tell me WHY you want to read this book.

For an EXTRA entry, simply go to Chasing Evil’s Shadow Facebook page and give it a like. Click HERE to like the page. Let me know in a comment that you did or if you already have.

Contest ends 8/6 at 8am CST. Names will go in a random name generator however many time you answered, and the first three names it gives me will be owners of a signed copy 🙂 Good Luck!