Trapped Within

Hello there, interested in the charity horror anthology, Trapped Within, which I put together? Of course you are! All proceeds are going to the Stroke Association, a charity close to my heart, as my father in law suffered from one over ten years ago, its effects still impact my wife’s family today.

I asked twenty three authors if they would be willing to provide a story for this anthology, and after writing something myself, to make a nice even twenty four, I can confirm the full table of contents, and a little background on each, which I hope will whet your appetite and get you to pre-order this. So without further ado…

First up is a story that, when I read it, I did so with the voice of Michael Rooker narrating it. James has a wonderful writing style, and it is evidenced perfectly with this story of a brother and sister, who encounter something voracious in the forest.

Recommended Reading – I’ve just started this, but ODD MAN OUT, is living up to the hype surrounding it, and is really rather engrossing.

The first story I received back, and it set the bar high for everything I was sent in after. Christine writes in a number of different genres, and I’ve yet to find anything of hers which is less than amazing. This little tale follows a downtrodden mother and sister, offered a respite from her troubles.

Recommended Reading – THE VIKINGS TABLE has only been out for a few months, but it sounds EPIC, it’s got Vikings in it for Pete’s sake.

I first met Jonathan at an event at the excellent Southcart Books, in Walsall, an independent book store that does regular reading events. This tall guy, resplendent as Patrick Bateman, read a story which will quite possibly stay with me forever. His story in Trapped Within, is a wonderful cocktail of body horror, morality and broken homes.

Recommended Reading – Read for yourself, the story that introduced me to Mr Butcher…THE CHOCOLATEMAN.

I met Daryl on that there Facebook, and you can’t help but gravitate towards him. He pimps books out, makes these excellent little pictures of people, which picks you up when you’re having a crappy day. Then, I met him in person, and he’s even better in the flesh. He’s part of Dead On Films, which made their own zombie flick, Vapours, and he writes kickass tales. His story in this, is weird and wonderful.

Recommended Reading – There’s a character in Vapours, who steals every scene he’s in, read more about him, in the titular SKUD.

There are a couple of nautically themed stories in Trapped Within, and this is the first. Diving to explore the sunken German WW2 ship, the Scharnhorst, this story of two friends takes a number of rather cool twists and turns.

Recommended Reading – Ken is best known for his JOE COFFIN series, and manages to make vampires worth reading about again, start off with Book One. For that is a good place to start.

When you’re a kid, the oddest thing can get stuck in your head, and scare the crap out of you. Mark Cassell uses this excellently in this creepy story about childhood memories and the lasting effects on you.

Recommended Reading – This is a no brainer, get stuck into his SHADOW FABRIC MYTHOS.

If I was Adam, I’d probably be sick of being asked what it was like winning the Stephen King ‘On Writing’ competition. Thing is, when you write as well as he does, and have the depth of knowledge on seemingly anything as he possesses, it certainly more than compensates for it. His was one of the first names on my wish list for this anthology, and Bad John is a wonderfully dark, yet humorous tale, written as only he can write it.

Recommended Reading – You have to get DIE DOG OR EAT THE HATCHET, it’s three novellas in one book, and the titular story has one moment in it that made me feel ill, which is a rare feat indeed.

Some people are masters of one specialty, not so Garrett Cook. Mentor, editor, writer, hat wearer, Garrett does anything he puts his mind to, well. It was through his novella workshop, that I took my first steps into bizarro. This story is wonderful, painting an edgy picture, where you’re never sure what will happen next.

Recommended Reading – Whilst best known for his bizarro work, my favourite is still MURDERLAND. In an America where murder is legal, serial killers are the new stars of TV.

I’m probably better known as writing stories with a comedic element to them, so it may come as a surprise that my story in Trapped Within, is 100% straight laced. With elements of personal experience, this teeters on the edge of insanity, and personal introspection.

Recommended Reading – Hey! It’s my article, so…ya know. Personally, the favourite thing that I’ve written is HEXAGRAM, my time-spanning, historical epic, charting the course of an ancient Inca ritual.

The Welsh filthmonger is on a roll, even if he may disagree. His Wind Up Toy books made a serious wave last year, and it’s so good to see it get so much love. David’s story in Trapped Within follows a group of bank robbers, who bite off way more than they can handle in their latest heist.

Recommended Reading – Start with the first WIND UP TOY book, pick it up, and pray you can hold onto your lunch.

For one, Andy is an Evertonian, and that in my book, means that he could push out a log on my gravel, (not a euphemism) and I’d barely bat an eyelid. Second, he’s in a cluster of authors bubbling within the extreme horror genre. This story is mild, by his standards, but still bound to send a shiver down your back.

Recommended Reading – Simple choice this one, get EVERY TWISTED THOUGHT, and own all of his collected works. BOOM.

The joy in these types of anthologies, is finding a new favourite author. The joy in putting them together, is getting someone, in this case one of my dearest friends, to break their writing cherry and share pages with some established names. Lou has been writing since I first met her over ten years ago, and her tale of a chap who suffers some nasty side effects following an accident, is a belter.

Recommended Reading – Though she has yet to release something, check out this sublime flash piece she wrote as part of the Women in Horror month, over at Dark Chapter Press.

I first met Craig when he did a reading at FantasyCon a few years back, after annoying him by asking the same question, but worded differently (I was drunk), what he read made an impression. Digging through his back catalogue, it’s not hard to see why. This short story leaves a big impression.

Recommended Reading – Craig has a wealth of titles to choose from, you should check out RAIN, and go from there.

Justin’s stories tend to have an air of not quite knowing what’s going on first off, leaving you to fill in the gaps with your own imagination, fused together with his descriptions. The Darkling follows in this vein, as a man waits in his late grandmother’s house, waiting to see what he’s been left. What are those sounds coming from upstairs?

Recommended Reading – To get a hint of what he’s about, pick up PUNCH, a slow burner, but by the end, your loyalty will be tested.

What does a priest do with all the sins he absolves? Alice has a suggestion, this action packed supernatural tale, will show you another side to faith.

Recommended Reading – Something a little different, this YA/mystery novel, THE DOORS, her debut, is definitely worth a read

Dan is one of those annoying people that is seemingly good at everything he touches, (I mean that in a good way), and this story about three boys who investigate tree sprites, is a wonderful slow burn of a read.

Recommended Reading – His collection, NEVERLIGHT, never lets you settle into a rut, with a wide range of stories.

Famed for her extreme work, her story here is no exception. When a veterinarian hears about animals being abused, they decide to do something about it. Uncompromising and brutal.

Recommended Reading – If you like your horror of the extreme variety, read SLEEP DEPRIVED.

Andrew takes us on a different vibe, with the most action packed story in the entire anthology. After falling from the heavens, an offer of a lift is not what it seems. Get a bag of popcorn, kick back and enjoy.

Recommended Reading – Yet to release his full on own book, I loved his short story, THE BOY WHO NEVER DIED, in this Christmas themed anthology, BAH HUMBUG! Plus, it’s for charity.

Kitty takes us into the courtroom, where a judge begins to uncover similarities in her latest case, and a childhood trauma. Definitely not Judge Judy.

Recommended Reading – Read her entry in the VS charity anthology, as she takes on Salome Jones.

A weekend away in a cottage, in the back of beyond with your (hopefully) soon to be fiancé. Sounds like a dream come true, huh? This little sojourn takes a nasty twist, ending in a fight for survival, with a surprise revelation for the beau.

Recommended Reading – Whilst waiting for his debut novel, (which I’ve read, and thoroughly enjoyed), pick up his collection ZOMBIES, VAMPS AND FIENDS

Okay, I’m gonna gush slightly, (not like THAT), Adam is without a doubt one of the nicest guys out there in the indie horror world. Not just an amazing writer, he owns Crowded Quarantine, one of the finest small presses out there, is a freelance editor and sports the meanest mohawk I’ve ever seen. Every time I’ve asked him a question, he’s answered with good grace, and put up with my horrible butchering of the English language. His story in this anthology is a tale of a momentary lapse which costs dear, and that consequences come at a cost.

Recommended Reading – Where do I even begin? You have to read his Larry books, but my personal favourite is still VINYL DESTINATION.

With the best Lahndan accent that someone can possess, Ben loves his weird Western stories, and oodles of horror. The second nautically themed story, tells of a captain trying to hold together his crew, as the seams of reality begin to come undone.

Recommended Reading – Dark Minds Press have got an amazing line of novellas at the moment, each one is a belter. It started with Ben’s SLAUGHTER BEACH, which sets the tone for the books that follow.

I love stories which lead you down one path, only to pull the rug away and leave you standing, shivering and alone, realizing that the real horror is something completely unforeseen. Rat-A-Tat does this so well. When a house appears overnight in a quiet town, the ramifications for one couple are life changing.

Recommended Reading – Her story, Skin, in the first Black Room Manuscripts was an absolute belter, but being a zombie-addict, I gotta point you towards BITEY BACHMAN, a short story on the apocalypse, with a twist.

Define horror. You, me, and everyone else will come up with something different. Though axe wielding serial killers are one thing, there is a wonderful vein within horror which I call ‘quiet-horror’. Where the stories are as likely to make you wonder who’s cutting onions, as they do unsettle you. When I read this story, I knew that it would be the perfect closer for this book. Utterly breathtaking.

Recommended Reading – This story is taken from Damien’s collection, SING ME YOUR SCARS. It is simply mind blowing.


So there you go, a brief taster of each story contained inside TRAPPED WITHIN. There are some truly excellent stories inside, and I believe that there is something for everyone. Check out the work of the Stroke Association at the link below, and I hope that once you start reading this anthology, that you don’t become Trapped Within.