The Need by Hellen Phillips

I am always interested when a book is not marketed. Then you read and it reads like horror. At that point I just want to scream “IT IS HORROR.” Alas, you can’t do that without upsetting the people around you. Horror can be very subjective to the person reading or watching it. However, as a parent these fears can be so deep that some horror can get under your skin. The Need does that very well.

Synopsis: A overworked and under rested paleobotanist finds some weird artifacts which leads to an unraveling of her life.

What I liked: There is so much to like about this story. Philip’s writing was anxiety inducing, in a good way. Her characterizations really made you feel like you had crawled inside the characters head to feel her pain and tiredness. The exhaustion was palatable through out the novel and by the end you are just as tired as the main character. The writing in this novel feels very personal, like it isn’t just a story that is being told but the frustrations and fears of any mother. There were a lot of feelings while I was reading this: anxiety, fear and anger especially when the main character wasn’t doing what you wanted her to do. But the plot was so clever and I can’t wait to read more from Phillips.

What I didn’t like: The artifacts did add a bit of a different angle on the story but we didn’t seem to get to delve too deeply into what their actual meaning was. I understood that they meant that there are other time lines and univereses but I would have liked to know more about t

Star Rating: 4 Stars

My Thoughts: As I was reading this I had a lot of thoughts. A lot! This whole book it about motherhood and being more than one thing. Personally, I find the topic of being more than one thing fascinating. Women have the inherient ability to be: boss, mother, sister, daughter, wife, friend and co-worker. But the question is what about her as a person. What happens when she slips and she isn’t sure who she is anymore. Who is a woman when she is be herself looking at herself in the mirror. I think that is a hard one and can’t be answered in a paragraph. This book also has really strong themes of postpartum depression/anxiety running through it. The what can and what might happen, thoughts that people have when the lights go out. I really hope that more people pick up this book. It was on the National Book Foundation Awards long list and I can see why.

Guest Post: Steve Stred

A couple of months ago the LOHF received an email from a lovely author that personally blew me away. He wanted to partner up and offer a grant based on the pre-sale of his poetry book he was putting together. I thought it was an amazingly generous offer that really made my heart happy. The LOHF took Steve up on his offer and a couple of us offered up guest spots to help promote the LOHF Grant. Enough of reading me waffle about. Steve sent a guest post with a little taste of The Night Crawls In by Steve Stred.


Hey Everyone! 

The news has been gaining steam and from what I’ve seen – many people are excited about this partnership between myself and the LOHF. We were really please to announce the 1stAnnual Writer’s Grant. I wanted to find a way to give back to the horror community and the Ladies of Horror Fiction are all about helping facilitate this!

For full details and how to apply, please click here.

To help fund the initial grant disbursement, I’m releasing a poetry/drabbles collection. On September 1st, 2019 The Night Crawls In will arrive. Containing 33 drabbles and 17 poems, all ebook presales and 1stday paperback sales will go towards funding the first grant. All additional sales there-after will be put towards future grants!

I worked with Mason McDonald once again to create some killer artwork for the cover, which you can see here as well!

I’m here to share two drabbles and a poem that will be featured in The Night Crawls In!

Autopsy. (A Drabble)

“Patient appears to be fifty years old. Male. Approximate height is five feet eight inches. Approximate weight is two hundred pounds. Body has multiple slash marks across his face, neck and torso, exposing his organs behind. Weapon could possibly be a machete or a large knife. Male has a large protrusion in his lower abdomen. May be a pre-existing hernia. Will begin incision at navel.”

The coroner applies light pressure to the deceased man’s stomach, the blade of the scalpel slicing easily through the skin. As the man moves along the skin ruptures.

“Good lord… there’s… something in here… moving.”

END

Ocean Breeze. (A Drabble)

We stood on the sandy beach, holding hands.

We thought of the old days – falling in love, our kids, our pets, the life we had lived together.

We looked at each other, waiting for the sun to rise and warm our bones.

She smiled, the lines on her face telling their tales.

I smiled back, my eyes sunken, my spirit fading.

As the sun rose, we took off our hats, our hair long since gone.

The doctor’s had tried their best, but there wasn’t any way to save us now.

With tears in our eyes, we walked into the water.

END

New Friends. (A Poem)

I lay on the ground and watch all of the leaves

Leap to their deaths from high in the trees.

From behind comes a noise that makes my skin shrink

A beast has appeared and is taking a drink.

It doesn’t know that I’m so very close

But it stops all movements when I kiss its nose.

Instant friends now, I hear it purr

And the woods part before us as I wrap into its fur.

END

Now, a bit about each of the shared drabbles and poem.

Autopsy, was an idea I had come to me when I was watching one of those amazing ‘TOP 10’ videos on Youtube.  You know, those videos that take you down the worm hole of endless click bait lists. I saw a video titled something like “Ten Most Shocking Autopsy Moments.” The mortician/coroner guy was blacked out and voice disguised. I won’t tell you what was actually inside the person, but it was unique.

Ocean Breeze, is obviously (on the surface… sorry!) a sad tale, but it’s also a happy story. I was inspired by a news story I had heard years and years ago. A husband and wife who were married for 3 or 4 decades were both diagnosed with terminal cancer. They tried treatments and nothing worked. Then a few weeks later their truck was found at the end of a logging road. They’d left a note saying essentially that they wanted to spend their last moments together and simply walked into the woods, never to be seen again.

New Friends, is a poem that I wrote that was originally going to be included in my son’s story book. Then I realized after re-reading it – it’s a bit dark for a kid’s book! So here it is!

Thank you to the amazing crew at Ladies of Horror Fiction – both for hearing my idea and jumping on board. I hope we can work to growing the grant bigger and better every year!


About Steve Stred

Steve Stred is an up-an-coming dark, bleak horror author.  

Steve is the author of the novels Invisible & The Stranger, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: The 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.

On September 1st, 2019 his second collection of dark poetry and drabbles called The Night Crawls In will be released.

Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.

Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.