Ursula K Raphael (AstraDaemon)
Ursula K Raphael is the real name behind the online alias AstraDaemon. She had many adventures in various locations before settling down in west Michigan. When she isn't writing about books and other media, she spends time on persoal projects, and prepares for any possible apocalyptic event.
In September 2011, Ursula released her first post-apocalyptic short story, The Survivor. In April 2015, she released her first fantasy short story, Out of the Ashes.
Where to find Ursula K Raphael (AstraDaemon) online
Where to buy in print
This member has not published any books.
Smashwords book reviews by Ursula K Raphael (AstraDaemon)
- Say Goodnight to the Bad Guys
on Aug. 07, 2011
Chinked by Aaron Garrison was one of the stories with supernatural elements, and it was bad guy vs. bad guy, leaving the reader to decide which is the lesser of the two evils.
30 Minutes or Less by Matthew W. Williamson was about a disillusioned guy using his pizza delivery job to cleanse the "evil" from society.
Silence in the Court by Chantal Boudreau was told from the POV of a female stroke victim attending the trial for a man who has been charged with murdering her daughter.
Abraham of Harlon by Harley Pitts was about an escaped convict who escapes prison, only to find himself in a worse situation.
The Caged Doll by Adam Millard is a good example of why people shouldn't take shortcuts at night.
Detour by Bennie L. Newsome serves as a warning to tailgaters, and one of my favorites.
A Twisted Garden by Joe DiBuduo & Kate Robinson was another story with supernatural elements, and little action. I suppose, since I didn’t like this one as much as the other stories in the anthology, I’m going to be buried in a garden one day. ;)
All Things Being Equal by Ian Brazee-Cannon was mostly a drawn out flashback from an asylum patient, with a fantastic build-up of suspense...very nicely done.
Red Badge by John Lemut is another story with more than one bad guy; one of the bad guys is a hitman who brags to the wrong guy.
Feeding The Hunger by Suzanne Robb featured a spectacular battle of the wills between a victim and her captor.
Dear Susan by Holly Day describes one man’s porn addiction fueling his obsession with a woman that he wants to impress.
Rat Man by Nicholas Conley was a disturbing story – one of my favorites in the anthology – but, the bad guy was simply not that bad, and I suspect that most readers will feel sorry for the main character, rather than his victims.
Eighteen by Joseph Schwartzy is told by a golfer reminiscing about his killing streak; it was also another story with a sympathetic bad guy who isn’t anywhere as evil as the bad guys in all the previous stories.
Throughout the anthology are stories that speak to the question, "What does it mean to be a bad guy?" The answers provided by the various authors are diverse, chilling, and will have you looking over your shoulder wherever you are.
- Alien Apocalypse - The Hunger
on Nov. 20, 2011
This story is very brief glimpse of what happened before Alien Apocalypse: The Storm. Readers are shown the murder that resulted in Leon's prison sentence, as well as Elliot's personal reaction to the fate of his parents. The most interesting part is the POV of the alien entity, describing the journey to Earth and the way the entity views our planet.
While the alien POV was a nice touch, I prefer the way Leon was written in The Storm. This prequel was somewhat inconsistent with the writing style of the first book.
I still can't wait for the sequel to Th Storm. Giles is an excellent sci-fi author.
- Uncivil Dead
on Dec. 01, 2011
At first, both Union and Confederate soldiers think they are dealing with rabid cannibals, but it doesn’t take them very long to figure out they are dealing with the walking dead; it does, however, take the Union soldiers nearly halfway through the book before they realize it takes a head shot to kill the zombies…the Confederate soldiers weren’t nearly as fortunate. There is a Union doctor who tries to study the infected by tying infected to trees, but he can’t find the cause or a cure.
Eventually the two opposing forces come to the conclusion that they need each other to survive the outbreak, but it’s too little, too late. Coe kept me guessing about who might make it to the end of the book, which was refreshing -- I don’t care for predictable storylines. The virus was just as mysterious; it spread to both humans and animals, but the source was never mentioned or even hinted at. Coe wrote in such stunning historical detail that I did some research to see if there was a real Walnut Woods where troops from both the North and South went missing without explanation, but, apparently, Coe just has a very vivid imagination. SPOILER ALERT: While Coe took some major liberties with the timeline of known American History, the North still wins.
If you enjoy historical fiction and the zombie genre, you might enjoy this mix of the two, but don't expect as much gore as the more modern zombie stories.
- Midnight Movie: Creature Feature
on Dec. 06, 2011
In my opinion, this anthology is the best one that MDP has put forth so far. If they continue to increase the quality of their story collections in this manner, I think they will lead the market in horror anthologies, the way Permuted Press leads the pack in zombie novels. Even the introduction by TW Brown was much better than previous intros in other MDP anthologies. Other than the distracting little icons throughout the book, I was really pleased overall with the editing job this time around.
I have no idea how MDP selects the authors, but this was a stellar cross-section of horror writers. There were a couple of stories I would have replaced with something by established MDP authors like Michael Evans or DA Chaney, but maybe the ones that didn't appeal to me will appeal to others nonetheless. When I read such incredible original stories like these, I wonder why more people don't give the horror genre more credit for its literary accomplishments.
A Golem In Ozone Park by Jim Sylvestry was based in serious Jewish mythology and mysticism, and that really appealed to me on a personal level. Unfortunately, I felt like the author was stressing the Jewish-ness of the story more than the actual horror. I didn't think this made a very good lead-in for the anthology, but at least it was entertaining.
The Lure by Chantal Boudreau was a perfect example of what a short story should be: went straight to the terror, like a double-tap with a pen instead of a gun. If you happen to be a fan of the show [[ASIN:B002LW9IMG River Monsters]], you will LOVE this story. It will scare you senseless with the imagery.
A Zinger Must Die by David Perlmutter is a mix of sci-fi and horror with some campiness for flavor...a "cartoon race" of beings really made this story stand out from the rest with a brilliant mix of comedy and tragedy.
The Pit by Terry Alexander kind of looked like a rough draft version of a werewolf tale. The plot was pretty decent with a man trying to get his daughter back from the pack leader.
The Spine-Tingling Tale of the Crystal Golem by Tom Ribas symbolized the true spirit of the anthology, complete with the cheesiness of weekly horror movie cinema series (think black & white movies). The beginning was a great hook, but I didn't find anything really frightening in this story. The ending was actually charming.
Just The Two of Us by Anthony Bell was one of my favorites in this collection, about a boy, a bully and a monster. Kids should have to read this; pretty sure this would end school-bullying and then some...then again, kids would probably need therapy if they read this.
The Fish Boy by Eric Dumbleby was another favorite: completely disturbing and gruesome tale about why you shouldn't get drunk when you're camping by the river with your kids.
And The Dark Growls Back by Aaron Dries is a great example of a horrifying story without a fictional monster...sometimes real life is bad enough.
The Visitor by Kelley Kombrick is kind of like a Bigfoot story, but with a slow set-up, and more description than action. Nice use of suspense though.
Frightening Clichés by Bennie Newsome was an AWESOME story about swamp monsters...one of the best in the anthology!! MDP should seriously consider releasing this as an independent e-story *hint, hint* The ending was superb! I want to use lots of caps and exclamation points to tell you how much I LOVED THIS STORY!!! I would really enjoy reading a full-length novel based on the main character.
Dead Planet by Ryan Hills was a space zombie story -- a theme I've seen before... this story simply wasn't as original or fear-provoking as the anthology stories...but nice to see zombies somewhere other than Texas for a change.
Hayride by Joseph A Polega is a story that reminded me of the good ol' days when Stephen King used to write about scary stuff...LOVE THIS STORY! I thought the Mom did a great job of consoling her young son on a hayride with a brutal ending.
Fish Out of Water by Carl Barker was kind of like Jules Verne on crystal meth...incredibly intense and severely alarming.
From Rebirth to Reburial by MW Williamson was demonic adventure in horror that is a must-read in the anthology.
North by MJ Wesolowski had a great story concept that, thankfully, did not include the typical snow monsters (definitely NOT Yetis)...heavy on the descriptions, but necessary to prepare the reader for the stunning finale. I LOVED the manipulation of the timeline. The writing style worked very well for this chilling tale.
Revenge of the Zombie [...] Eaters by Craig Wallwork has a censored title, so I could post this review intact. The author wastes no time with a set-up, and jumps directly into the gore (nice touch with the tampon detail...eeewwww). BEST. ZOMBIE. TWIST. EVER...title is not an attempt to be shocking, but rather quite literal. Also qualifies as WEIRDEST. STORY. EVER. I will never think of genitals the same way again. This story needs its own genre...for now, I would place it somewhere near bizarro.
Keeping It Together by DK Mok was mesmerizing: a mix of undead...zombie vs. vampire, with lots of other supernatural stuff tossed in, but nothing traditional or glittering about this story. I enjoyed the intimacy of the POV as well. Not sure if I will ever order pizza again though...nice ending to the anthology.
If I could, I would give this 4.5 stars, but there are plenty of fabulous 5-star stories in this anthology that deserve the attention, so I'm giving this anthology 5-stars. I hope MDP sticks to this formula for future anthologies. I would enjoy a Volume Two of this particular theme. *hint, hint*
- Verchiel: Never Ending Question (Tales of the Executioners)
on Aug. 17, 2017
Verchiel: Never Ending Question is, I think, the third book in the Executioner series by Joleene Naylor, based on the publication date, but I can't be certain because of some discrepancies between product information on Smashwords, Amazon and the author's website.
In any case, unlike the first two, Verchiel's story is set in the distant past, when he is first turned. I'm not sure if his amnesia is a blessing or a curse...the loss of memory seems to make killing easier for him, but it seems to put him at a serious disadvantage with his maker, Kateesha. There is far more bloody action in this story than the previous two. With each installment, I feel readers are given another piece of the puzzle that is to be the essence of the Executioners.
- Byrn: At Christmas (Tales of the Executioners)
on Aug. 20, 2017
Byrn by Joleene Naylor features an executioner who does not appear in any of the main novels, and the Guild is fairly new in this setting. A bit more is revealed about Malick's personality, but the story is so short, not much can be said about it. The least interesting in the series, so far.
- Bren: In the Dark (Tales of the Executioners)
on Aug. 20, 2017
Bren by Joleene Naylor appears to be the sixth book, but, once again, there appears to be a discrepancy between the author's website and the book's description. The story is not really about Bren...rather, it's about the final moments of a victim killed by the coven he's tasked with punishing. I think the story would've had more of an impact if the format had been the actual text exchange between Trista, Robert and Bree. However, it is an interesting mix of social media and vampire activity.