Dale T. Phillips
The third book in the Zack Taylor mystery series is now out: "A Shadow on the Wall" joins "A Memory of Grief" and "A Fall From Grace."
I studied writing with Stephen King, and have published over 25 short stories, story collections, poetry, and articles. I've appeared on stage, television, and in an independent feature film, Throg. I've also appeared on two nationally televised quiz shows, Jeopardy and Think Twice. I co-wrote and acted in The Nine, a short political satire film. I've traveled to all 50 states, Mexico, Canada, and through Europe. I enjoy competitive sports, historical re-enactment, and my family.
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Halls of Horror
This collection of ten tales of horror involves monsters, mayhem, and murder: everything from war to everyday homicide, to otherworldly terrors from hell dimensions. The horror may be internal or external, in your heart or in your cellar. Here are people making bad choices, and people reacting to terrible situations. These are stories to make you think, tremble, and shiver with fright.
The Big Book of Genre Stories
Here are five books combined into one big volume of stories, thirty tales in different genres. Strange new worlds and encounters with the unusual, in stories from light to dark. Some to make you laugh, some to make you think, and some to scare you. Dip into the Big Book for a taste of monsters, mayhem, myth, magic, and murder.
Crime and Mystery
Fables and Fantasies
Shadow of the Wendigo
(5.00 from 2 reviews)
In the snowy Canadian wilderness, a terrifying legend springs to life, sparking a series of gruesome crimes. Government agent Sean Laporte is sent to investigate, and contends with an obsessive, resourceful foe, a hostile environment, and an elusive search for the truth. He is soon pulled between worlds of myth and madness, a present haunted by the past, and a primitive world of mystery and power.
(4.00 from 1 review)
How does the world end? Self-launched bombs, asteroid from space, rain of fire, alien invasion, or virus and pandemic?
Maybe none of those. Maybe it's giant lobsters. Or zombies.
Here are five different takes on the end of the world-- as we know it. It's a tango done at the Apocalypse, dancing as the race of Man comes to a close. Come take a whirl.
(4.00 from 2 reviews)
Here are five tales of people going off the beaten track of reality to experience something completely new and unwordly. Stories of individuals in pain who ride a rollercoaster of odd happenings that show life in a different perspective. People running to something or away from something, or finding something unexpected.
This blend of all previously-published stories crosses many genres: science fiction, crime, fantasy, horror, humor, magic realism, and mainstream. There are fractured fairy tales,
cautionary parables, peeks into disturbed minds, and amusing little romps. Everything from people with problems to giant lobsters, demonic creatures, small-time gangsters, and perverted dwarves.
Five stories of crime and mystery, people who walk crooked paths and pay the price for it. Stories of criminals and heroes, killers (accidental and deliberate), rumrunners, safecrackers, people framed for horrible deeds. Some of these stories have been published in mystery magazines.
Fables and Fantasies
(4.00 from 1 review)
These five tales are a mix of fear, fun, and fantastic elements. Some of these stories are
humorous, some are scary, some end well, some badly, and some have mixed blessings for
those involved. Kind of like life. Fable and fantasy blend to make a journey into other lands and times and magics.
Blades and Butchery
This bawdy, probably offensive, parody of Epic Sword and Sorcery fantasy pays homage to the great Fritz Leiber, and his immortal characters. Here, Fatbird and the Gay Louser are rather far from heroic, but manage to hack and slash their way to fortune, while rescuing a princess.
The Little Guy
A strange little man gets kicked around all his life, but then has a chance for sex, riches, and
glory, when he uses his powers to help a young maiden in dire straits. This is a funny, bawdy take on an old tale.
Our New Queen
When a mysterious enchanted maiden in the forest is awakened by the prince, they marry, and she becomes queen. But she and her little men have a dark secret. This tale of dark fantasy puts a new twist on an old story.
Froggy Went A Courting
The ugly High Count is rich and powerful, and when he demands to wed the daughter of a noble, she cannot refuse, though her heart is not in it. Her mute sister, though, practices the dark arts, and will stop at nothing to save her sister. No matter who gets hurt.
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Smashwords book reviews by Dale T. Phillips
- Just Another Day in Paradise
on Nov. 07, 2010
As this is my first ebook purchase, I was pleased to discover that along with publishing the kind of story I like (the author is editor at Dark Valentine), Katherine Tomlinson also writes the kind of story I like. The collection is superb, well worth the purchase price and the time spent devouring all the stories.
You get the visceral punch right right from the beginning, with the first piece (also the title story). It's written in the second person, always a tough act to bring off, but managed here to effect (as are others later on in the collection). It's a pointed tale of the horrors of modern life, and how easily someone just gets overwhelmed. It's a frightening reminder of how close to the line we all are, and how a simple nudge in the wrong direction can be fatal.
So much of current horror writing is crude, tasteless, terrible, cardboard blood-splattering, but that's not the case here. These well-written stories are full of character, and tell what happens to us when things take a turn to the dark side. This will be a hit with fans of Stephen King, tales in a similar vein, but given a personal stamp by the author.
So when you're in the mood for a shiver of frisson, or "exploring the dark heart of urban living," pick up this collection and settle in for some chills.
- Least Wanted
on Jan. 04, 2011
This is one of the series starring the character of Maryland attorney Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae. Sam is a hard-boiled, tough-gal lawyer who helps the downtrodden, and this book is a slam-bang action ride. In the classic vein, the book opens with the arrival of a troubled (and troubling) client. Sam starts off on a simple matter, and soon becomes entangled with a batch of baddies, bodies, bruises, and blood.
Sam's gritty background and determination enable her to go where others could and would not. She can navigate different worlds, from the street-hard gangbangers to the suited sharks of courtroom and boardroom.
Despite growing frustration and ever-increasing personal danger, Sam is determined to find out the truth, amidst a nest of deceit and depravity. Because she has to keep others safe, her moral code allows for lapses in strict legal conduct. And she admits she can't save the world and everyone in it, but she can try to help a few of those in need.
If you like your mysteries with a hard edge, and enjoy reading of the tribulations of tough lady lawyers, you'll want to meet Sam McRae.
- Fairy Story
on May 21, 2011
Katherine Tomlinson has succeeded in combining absurdly different genres into great entertainment. Her details of the paracrimes investigator Kira Simkins and the alternate reality world around her in a bizarre, horrific L.A. make for exciting reading. Fun stuff, and makes you want more.
- Giving It Away
on Nov. 21, 2011
Ayuh, as we say in Maine. Pete Morin has created a lovely little tale, nice of tone and true of heart. As a former Mainer, I know the setting and characters are dead on. Spiffy moral as well. Great job, and makes me want to read more by this author.
- Uneasy Living
on Nov. 23, 2011
Within these few stories of various length, tone, texture, and ideas, the author has shown us grief, and joy, and love, and pain, and loss. But most importantly, heart. For that is what makes a story, and we have that in abundance. Well done@
- The Women of the Felt: Five Poker Boy Adventures
on Dec. 10, 2011
Dean Wesley Smith has been writing a good long while, and has so many credits and works out, it's hard to know where to dip your toe in to sample his works. I like short stories, and he's got a lot of them. Where to start? Well, his website has a long list of his collections. I saw ones featuring a character named Poker Boy. Since I love poker, I thought that would be a great place to start.
I'm pleased to say, the stories are well worth it. They're fun and easy-breezy, with a recurring cast of characters, who are various gods and the superheroes that serve the gods. Poker Boy is a superhero, constantly being called on to save someone-- or the whole world. His powers are drawn from being near casinos, and with his special jacket and fedora, he's usually up to the task at hand. But sometimes he cannot help the person involved. I like that, because too often there's no tension if you know someone is always going to win.
The Poker Boy stories are a smooth ride with an old pro. Start with any of them-- if you like it, you'll probably like most in the series. Silicon-sucking underground dwellers, Death and his daughter, ladies in trouble, how can you go wrong?
- Fishermen's Justice
on Dec. 26, 2011
Unsettling little tale of the sea, and of the strange things that happen on the water. Violence, revenge, and long-buried secrets make for a spooky Downeaster yarn.
Nice framing story adds just the right touch. Works as a great caution to anyone who thinks they can get a free lobster by pulling someone else's trap. Watch out for those old-time fishermen!
- Wind Castle
on Feb. 22, 2012
In the first book of his new series, Wind Castle, author Brian Hammar has given us a wondrous new world of imagination. Think of Oz, Narnia, and Middle-Earth, with all their glorious strangeness, and yet their perils and lurking dangers.
In this magical land, many of the creatures of mythology and legend reside: griffins, dragons, unicorns, trolls, even Sasquatches. The land itself is alive, giving sustenance and healing. But of course, there is something wrong in this world that must itself be healed-- before it destroys the land and all that dwell within.
On orders from his boss, George Severe goes looking for this rumored place, and finds it-- and finds a lot more than he ever could imagine. Aided by his crusty, folksy, guide Annie, he's soon embroiled in a battle for the soul of the land and its people. A war is brewing, and George must aid a peaceful, embattled folk who know little of defense or aggression. But George is no warrior-- he must find other means to stop the spreading violence of a charismatic, power-seeking madman.
George falls in love with this marvelous magical place, but he's torn by thoughts of his family left behind. We're with him in this conflict, and want him to succeed, but what will he decide? Will he lose himself in saving others?
There is much to enjoy in this debut novel. We are constantly reminded that we're not in Kansas, that this is a place where different rules apply. It is a fully-fleshed-out fantasy world, and one you might like to visit.
- Club Dues
on Feb. 29, 2012
A corker of a classic little mystery tale, with an unlikeable dead guy, his lying and roving wife, and a bunch of suspects with great motives. What sets this apart is the style of the teller, the elan with which he conducts the case and solves the crime. Forced to leave his osso buco to help a friend in trouble, he deftly takes charge like a modern-day Nick Charles. A few days and drinks and questions later, he reveals the murderer. Slick, well-told story.
- Brachman's Underworld
on Aug. 28, 2012
Delilah Brachman is having a tough time. First, she gets killed. Then her problems get worse.
Folks, that is a great way to start a book, as is done here. After her sudden and unexpected death, Delilah plunges into the hideous underworld of an “In-Betweener” afterlife, where people await judgment while trying to dodge demons and deadly foes. Delilah has made terrible life choices, and is destined for a rough ride on the “Tuesday Train,” one of the worst judgment transports.
But Delilah is a fighter, and makes her way through her new nightmare, finding unlikely allies and opponents alike, as she tries to unravel the secret to her fate. If you're killed in this underworld, you're dead for all time, and there are plenty of ways for that to happen. Delilah becomes a pawn in an unholy war between powerful forces, and she must evade the clutches of murderous minions.
The author begins with a tough proposition, a totally unlikeable lead character. Stay with her, though, because her struggle is worthwhile. And the descriptions of the underworld are worth the read, as the author skillfully appeals to all the senses. This is a place of moral and physical darkness, alive with the filth of decay and evil. The book gives many eerie echoes of Stephen King, in a very good way.
Because of the realistic manner in which the horrors are presented, it will not appeal to casual readers of tamer fare. But if you're a horror aficionado, you will enjoy it. Might even give you a few nightmares—a good thing in this genre.
- The Poisoned Teat
on Sep. 11, 2012
In this collection of short fiction, author Katherine Tomlinson gives us unsettling tales of urban noir, dark little twisted strands of pain. She explores the nightmare side of life through mayhem, loss and longing.
The stories are short, like tiny nicks with a sharp razor, and they'll leave their marks on your mind in the same way. The fates of most of these folks are grim and gritty, for the deserving and undeserving alike.
If you like the dark corners of the human existence, if you like to shudder while you read, this collection is for you. Come take a walk down a dangerous alley, and embrace the pain.
on Oct. 21, 2012
In Yorick, author Vlad Vaslyn gives us a well-crafted tale of the macabre. His deft handling of the creepy story of a lonely old woman and her new find ranges from pathos to terror. He brings the characters to life and presents the wonderful unsettled feeling we look for in a good horror yarn. The suspense remains throughout, a tight balance that delivers as it should. Fans of the work of Stephen King will love this eerie little book, and will never look at a muddy riverbank the same way again.
- Buried Treasure
on Dec. 08, 2012
Pete Morin has given us a fun little tale of murder and mayhem on old Cape Cod. We get buried treasure, an ornery suspect who looks like a pirate, boats blowing up, and an intriguing mystery.
The characterizations are sharp and well-drawn. The style shows the writer has a feel for the area and its people.
An entertaining read.
- The Button
on April 13, 2014
The Button is a down-to-earth, scary science fiction story about two brothers who make a creepy discovery, and what they do after that to change everything for their world. Not to give anything away, but let's just say some nasty government officials get involved, and some people trying to reveal the truth, while the clock starts ticking before a Really Bad Thing happens. The bond of the brothers is tested by unfolding events, and all that they are and care about is on the line.
The story moves along with great characters, pulse-pounding action, and questions of who we are and what else may be out there-- and how we might deal with that. There's tremendous tension as all the different forces push against each other, with the highest of stakes.
All in all, a solid tale that will entertain you.