One of the most difficult tasks for a new author is introducing their work to the reader. For most, it’s a spin of the roulette wheel. The book is published and you work with your publicist and publisher to run the best campaign possible to get people to crack open the covers or download onto their devices to read. Generally, today, this means social marketing campaigns, interviews on various websites, and some even get video ads placed on YouTube. There are authors out there who come up with much more creative ways of getting the word out, and Roma Gray is one of those authors.
In her anthology, Gray Shadows Under a Harvest Moon: Six Trick or Treat Thrillers, Ms. Gray has done something I have never seen before. Quite simply, she gives you six short stories that introduce her ideas for brand new novels that will be headed to retailers near you, and then she takes it one step further. In the second half of the anthology, Ms. Gray gives information about what will be coming in these novels by “interviewing” one or two of the characters from each story. It’s a genius idea because you can introduce your brand of fiction to the public and generate interest for more.
So, what is Ms. Gray’s brand of fiction and who is her target audience? As I finished up reading her book, I asked her that question, myself. She responded, “My target audience is adult and young adult. The idea being that most of the Halloween-style books out there are aimed at children, but teens and adults like Halloween as well (it doesn’t have to be just for kids.) On the other end of the spectrum, many of us don’t like the hard core horror books, either. It’s seems to me that there is a huge gap between those two extremes and I’m trying to fill that gap.”
After reading her book, I can tell you that she hit her mark. Her stories boast original ideas that are light-hearted while still boasting a host of standard horror creatures: zombies, vampires, dark magic practitioners, and even sasquatch. That’s right, guys, Bigfoot makes an appearance in a tale called “The Invisible Carrier” concerning an epidemic in the Pacific Northwest and the sasquatch is the outbreak monkey, carrying the disease from one small town to the next.
I have to be honest here. Ms. Gray’s brand of fiction does not suit me. The tone of the stories and the characters seem like fodder for a slew of movies on the Syfy network. There is a time and a place and even a network for this type of story, but it just isn’t my cup of tea. I do like the darker tales and I like my monsters a bit more monstrous. One story that did stick out for me, however. In “Summer Vacation”, we are introduced to a young man named Sean who is spending the summer with his grandmother. He is a bit of a recluse and has developed, at first as a joke to drive his mother crazy, an interest in dark magic. When Sean begins to realize that his spells are actually working and that from across the country he has somehow set fire to his bed at home and made the water in his parent’s home run red as blood, he begins to get nervous. Once again, the tone of the story is not my taste, but it would be one that I would sit down and read to find out what happens in the end.
I applaud Ms. Gray’s presenting a truly polished work. It is difficult to find digitally published work that is edited this well, even among established authors like King and Rice. It is something that just isn’t given as much time as it should be anymore.
So, to pull this all together, if you’re the kind of horror reader who enjoys your entertainment a bit on the lighter side, this is the book for you and I would urge you to get a copy of Ms. Gray’s anthology today. You can follow the link here to Amazon and score it for only $2.99!