I Have a dream. A wet dream. A gory, sloppy, and terrifying vision for the future and it all started with a present given to me in 2018—DOA III: An Anthology of Extreme Horror. I like dark stuff. Always have. But my palate had never sampled anything quite like the stories in that book. Some of my favorite authors like Chuck Palahniuk had definitely touched on similar themes and graphic depictions. But there was something about the writing in the short stories of DOA III that was unique. After a little digging on the contributing authors, I uncovered entire sub-genres of horror I didn’t even know existed—some of it ended up being more ‘mainstream’ than I ever realized too.
The more extreme, bizarro, erotic, and weird fiction I read, the more fascinated I became. Soon I was no longer idly browsing the titles, I was enjoying the stories and actively trying to find better and better books! That’s when I got that wonderfully horrible idea….
As a lifelong book lover, I’d always been curious as to what being an author was like. In the past, I’d tried my hand at random short stories here and there. Looking back though, all my attempts were lame recreations of plots I already knew well. However, as I heeded the call from the darkest of all sub-genres, I found new inspiration. A vast majority of the plots were new to me, and I felt a creativity I hadn’t known before. As I got to know more authors and readers in the community, I found that the more absurd and graphic a story was—as long as it was well written—the better. Being able to shock someone in the community is like a badge of honor. And I found myself wanting to shock and to be shocked in return.
The getting shocked part was easy. I read Ed Lee…lol.
Shocking others though was the tricky part. I couldn’t expect to pick up a pen and jump into a culture I’d only just discovered. That’s when RedRum Reviews was born. The reviews are my honest reactions to this new journey into horror. In the beginning I had a whole post on my welcome page about how I was going to dive in headfirst and invited everyone to join me—but to go easy as it was my first time 😉 As I interacted and met great people I was being asked if I loved this author or that book, and I had to keep saying 'No, I don’t know them'. It’s hard being the new kid, but a pleasant side-effect was my To-Be-Read (TBR) Pile grew quick. I bought, and was given, more books than I could probably read in three years—a fantastic problem to have by the way.
However, despite all the great book recommendations, I found myself gravitating to ‘small press’ releases. Truth be told, it was the small press anthology that had opened the door to me and so I have a soft spot for the ‘underdogs’ as it were. There are some damn awesome and more widely known extreme books that I will read. I promise. But for now, I still want to help spread the word of all the lesser-known authors who have turned me on to a new style of writing and a whole new world of books. I have basically re-discovered my love of reading, and now writing, by being exposed to a new medium of art. Yes, some stuff in the small press/self-pub arena is pretty bad, but some stuff is pretty much better than anything you’d find in a brick and mortar bookstore supplied by a ‘traditional’ publisher.
In addition to spreading the word, my wet dream is to write alongside these fascinating authors. I want to compose something that would make Kristopher Triana or Ed Lee say, “Damn, Nikki, that’s fucked up!” Hehe. I want to push the envelope and see how bizarro and horrific I can be while still having an overall positive message to share with both readers and authors. So, I read and review and write and do my best to keep up.
Not gonna lie. This is actually pretty hard work. Finding time to write when you have family obligations, a full-time job, and LIFE is not easy. So all these small-press/self-pubbed authors out there are pretty amazing! I am becoming familiar with the struggles that I didn’t fully understand or appreciate as much when I was solely a reader. And big props to everyone who does their part to share about these great books and authors. Doesn’t have to be a website. Even your bookstagram pics or telling a friend about a quality small press helps. So thank you!
When you do an actual review company though, it can get hard. Besides the normal obstacles of starting an online company, there is only so much reading one person can do. My FB messenger gets around 20 DMs a day. I’m sure other people get way more, but that was a total shock to me. If I forget to check—and sometimes I’m almost terrified to check—I’m buried in messages. True, most are junk. Lots of people waving or asking if they can ask a question. What’s up with that? But I’m sure I’ve missed some legitimate messages or seemed rude when I didn’t respond because the thread got lost amongst the landslide. Email is often the same.
When it comes to manuscripts, I try to take everything queried to me, but I also try to be very clear that I can only feature a few books. I can’t read them all, so I pick the plots I think I’ll most enjoy. It’s never personal. The other hard part, worse than having to leave so many good books far down in the TBR pile, is not being able to give a five-star review to some of the books you do read. Especially when the authors are people you enjoy talking with and learning from online. It’s just that a lot of books don’t connect with me at this point in time. Doesn’t mean they’re bad books.
Even though I figure most people understand the obstacles, it still gets to me sometimes. I wish I could do more. However, after much research and guidance, I think I have a solution mapped out for the future of Redrum Reviews. Updating the website and creating the new content is gonna take some time though, so it may seem a little quiet over here and on my other social media platforms. Rest assured I’m not going anywhere. Just getting some cocoon time, preparing for this new transformation.
While I’m updating the site, I’m happy to say that I will also be learning how to market my new novella WATCHERS OF THE BLACK RITE. It is available for pre-order now and will officially release on September 14th—something wicked for the full moon. Since I’m self-pubbing this, I’m hitting the books so to speak to learn what I can about connecting great books with the audiences who will love them. Fingers crossed that when September hits, I’ll be able to unveil the new site, my novella, and more knowledge to help authors and readers connect.
Here’s a glimpse at what the future holds:
- Possibly some new wonderfully horrific ladies to help me with readings and reviews
- Paid writing contests – each month authors will be given a prompt and seven days to pen a tale. Winning submission, voted on by readers, gets cash prize and published on RedRum Reviews. Anyone can enter
- More consistent giveaways
- Horror Conventions and Book signings
It you’d like to support my wet and gory dreams, please check out WATCHERS OF THE BLACK RITE
See you soon.