Book Review & Author Interview: What One Wouldn’t Do Anthology edited by Scott J. Moses

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Release Date: September 27, 2021

Price: $13.99 (paperback)

Plot Summary:

What One Wouldn’t Do for…what?

Power? Safety? Love? Revenge?

Here’s to the lengths one might go to for everything.

With dark fiction from J.A.W. McCarthy, Avra Margariti, Marisca Pichette, Stephanie Ellis, Christina Wilder, Donna Lynch, Katie Young, Scott J. Moses, Angela Sylvaine, tom reed, Cheri Kamei, Shane Douglas Keene, J.V. Gachs, Tim McGregor, Emma E. Murray, Nick Younker, Jennifer Crow, Joanna Koch, Lex Vranick, Laurel Hightower, Eric Raglin, Eric LaRocca, Daniel Barnett, Bob Johnson, Simone le Roux, Hailey Piper, Bryson Richard, Jena Brown, and Christi Nogle.

Grade: A

Review:

This anthology has some really excellent stories that explore the theme of what are the lengths you’d go to for something you really want? Of course with horror, the lengths are very extreme and sometimes very gory. Here are some of my fave stories from this collection (in no particular order):

“Mos Teutonis” by Bryson Richard: A beautiful tale of lust and lunacy, so dark and seductive.

“The Thread That Dreams Are Made Of: by Hailey Piper: I’m a total whore for fairtytales and fairytale retellings so I’m so here for a Rumpelstiltskin and Sleeping Beauty mashup.

“Silver Dollar Eye” by Laurel Hightower: This story pretty much sums up all the reasons why I’ve never meddled with the afterlife, some things are best left unknown.

“Ella Minnow” by Nick Younker: This story is the brutal tale of the lengths a father will go to in order to find out what happened to his missing daughter. The ending blew me away.

“Blood is Thicker,” by Angela Sylvaine: I’ve had the pleasure of having this author in two of my own anthologies, so I was excited to read a new story from her. I loved this tale of two twin sisters who will go to extreme lengths to succeed as painters.

“The Witch of Flora Pass,” by Scott J. Moses: This was one very creepy and dark story that now left me wary of rivers.

“With Animals,” by J.A.W. McCarthy: This story truly explored the extreme lengths someone would go to for a friend. Very gut-wrenching.

“Moira and Ellie,” by Marisca Pichette: In this story, almost every child has an imaginary friend for a limited amount of time and when you find out how and why these imaginary friends exist, it’s very chilling.

There are many more stories in this anthology that I thoroughly enjoyed, and those above are only a couple that stuck with me long after reading them. It’s a very well put together anthology and I truly recommend it for anyone whose a fan of horror and especially of indie horror.

*Thank you so much to the author for the digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Short Q & A with Author

What made you select the particular theme you chose for the anthology?

I remember finishing Laurel Hightower’s CROSSROADS, and thinking, “How has no one done an anthology around this topic before?” When I got serious about the idea a couple months later, I already knew I wanted Laurel to introduce What One Wouldn’t Do.

A lot of the short stories selected deal with grief – same as your personal short story collection Hunger Pangs – why do you lean towards grief horror more than other subgenres?

You know, that’s a good question. Why do any of us write what we do? I think it’s just in us and that’s that. That said, I’ve always graduated toward the sadder things in life, and think that they, along with bittersweet endings, can shed the most light and hope on the things we’re afraid of or have yet to face.

Which horror authors have got you really excited about their work right now? Any cool books you’ve read this year that you may want to recommend?

Such a tough question, but here goes. A few authors I think deserve more readership are Eric Raglin, J.A.W McCarthy, Joanna Koch, and Daniel Barnett. They’re all astounding to me, and I highly recommend Raglin’s Nightmare Yearnings, McCarthy’s Sometimes We’re Cruel, Koch’s The Wingspan of Severed Hands, and Barnett’s Nightmareland Chronicles.

What are the pros and cons of being an editor for an anthology?

Pros: Reading tons of great submissions, discovering so many writers I really dig, having complete control of the project, and sending acceptances. And honestly, you learn so much about the submission process when you curate an anthology. Great stories are rejected all the time because they just don’t fit with the flow which forms as you read through the slush, or for example, say two stories have similar themes, monsters, and tone. To have both would be redundant, so one has to go, even if it’s amazing. It taught me a lot about rejections with my own work and that there are far more reasons a story gets rejected than it’s quality. Cons: Sending rejections is the worst. Period. Also, wading through the subs that didn’t bother to follow the guidelines. Quick tip: from my experience on this and the 423 submissions I got for WOWD, those who followed the guidelines we’re already ahead of the 30% that did not. That’s a pretty huge percentage when you think about it, yeah? Another con was that in me self-funding this project in its entirety, I didn’t have the resources to buy all the stories I would’ve liked. The spirit was willing, but the wallet was weak.

Are you currently working on any new projects?

I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus from writing these last months, but have stories publishing this year in various venues and more on submission. I’m thinking I’ll either keep adding to my sophomore collection or toss around this idea for a novella I’ve been sitting on. Thanks for having me, Azzurra. As per usual, you rule.

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