Once the idea for a story has taken root, the writer looks for the best way of telling it. She makes decisions about point of view, tone, and structure that determine what the story becomes. These are problems of craft. It’s a delight when the writer finds a solution that is ingenious and simple. Most readers will enjoy the story without thinking about why the writer has told it in that particular way, but other writers and discerning readers do notice.
The Nightmare Collection consists of a short story, a novelette, and a novella linked by an overarching story: a monster roams the forest killing people and arranging their bodies in a ritualistic way. On the surface the monster’s motives are simple: it drinks blood to live. But there are hints of an intelligence behind the brutality. “Nightmare at the Freak Show,” the poignant short story that opens the collection, suggests a ruined humanity in this creature that now lives only to kill.
The novelette, “Once upon a December Nightmare,” belongs to a genre familiar to fans of horror movies. Four teenagers go joyriding in the mountains at night. Mysteriously, their truck breaks down. There is no cell-phone reception so they cannot call for help. They must decide whether to stay with the truck until rescued or hike back to the highway. They know from having watched those horror movies not to split up, but the woods are cold and eerie and they want to get home. Caught up in the tensions and obsessions of adolescence, they fail to realize at first just how much danger they’re in.
“Nightmare Ever After,” the concluding novella, blends romance with suspense as a woman who survived an attack by the monster teams up with an FBI agent to track it down. In a familiar trope of romance novels, the two are attracted to each other but often at odds. Reich creates an intimacy between the characters—an intimacy the reader shares—that is not present in the other two narratives. I cared about what happened to them. “Nightmare Ever After” is a gripping tale that kept me turning the pages to the end.
Reich might have structured her story as a novel with a preface and two parts, but it wouldn’t have been as good. She would have lost the flexibility to play around with tone and genre. Instead she has written three distinct works of fiction. All of them deliver the frisson promised by the title. Each stands on its own and can be read and enjoyed on its own, but reading The Nightmare Collection from beginning to end is an even bigger treat.
The Nightmare Collection is available from Smashwords and Kobo. It’s also available for Kindle in the United States, the United Kingdom, Denmark, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan; and for Nook in the United States and the United Kingdom.
About the Author:
A self-proclaimed bookworm, Cherie Reich is a writer, freelance editor, book blogger, and library assistant living in Virginia. Her short stories have appeared in magazines and anthologies. Her e-books include the horror series Nightmare, a short story collection with authors Aubrie Dionne and Lisa Rusczyk titled The Best of Raven and the Writing Desk, the futuristic space fantasy novelette trilogy Gravity, and The Foxwick Chronicles, a series of fantasy stories. She is a member of Valley Writers and the Virginia Writers Club.
Join the fun on The Nightmare Collection blog tour!
I hope you’ll come back to Ancient Children on December 6 for a guest post by Cherie Reich. Meanwhile, follow the The Nightmare Collection blog tour for more guest posts, interviews with the author and her characters, and excerpts from the stories. Scroll to the bottom to enter The Nightmare Collection giveaway.
Monday, December 3
Tuesday, December 4
Wednesday, December 5
Thursday, December 6
Friday, December 7
Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a prize package that includes a signed copy of The Nightmare Collection, a signed copy of Gravity: The Complete Trilogy, and a $10 Amazon Gift Card. The contest is open internationally, and two lucky winners will be chosen.