This blog is primarily about Leonbergers and Leonberger books but on rare occasion I write a review for a book or story that I find to be exceptional and therefore want to promote. Yesterday I read a horror story on my kindle that I found to be unprecedented and therefore I want to promote it. Incidentally, strange things happened today, which tells me this is going to be an interesting Halloween. The Hay Bale Kindle Edition by Priscilla Bettis is a short story that cost $0.99 or nothing if you have Kindle Unlimited, which I don’t. However, one dollar is quite frankly almost nothing. It is 42 pages, was released in January 2022 and the ASIN number is B09P4PJQLT.
Horror is not the literary category I primarily focus on, but I do like horror, and I’ve read a significant amount of horror literature including some classic horror, Stephen King’s books and several of Clive Barker’s books, such as Hell bound Heart and Mister. B Gone. I especially loved Clive Barker’s Books of Blood, which are collections of his short stories. I and my son are also inscribed into Dracula’s or Vlad III (Vlad the Impaler’s) family of protectors, which happened in a ceremony led by Dracula’s monk at the Snagov monastery in Romania. Therefore, horror is not a literary category that is foreign to me. It should be noted that the ceremony was a tourist ploy. We are not really vampires.
A few decades ago, Stephen King said of Clive Barker; I have seen the future of horror and his name is Clive Barker. Considering that “The Hay Bale” is the best short horror story I’ve ever read and assuming Priscilla Bettis will continue writing great short horror stories I would like to say, “I have seen the future of horror and her name is Priscilla Bettis”.
The Hay Bale is creepy, disturbing, scary and odd. The main character Claire is a Microbiologist. She is separated from her ex-husband Dan, who seems to have emotionally abused her. She has also suffered several miscarriages and is unable to adopt due to her emotional state. To get away for a while she rents a home in rural Virginia for the summer. The setting is a bit “children of the corn” like, perhaps “midsommar” like, whilst the story development reminded me of some of the stories in the Books of Blood.
What Claire experiences is both creepy and bizarre but unlike many of Clive Barker’s stories it’s not too adult, which I personally appreciate. It also makes the story readable by both adults as well as teenagers. The story is fast paced, unsettling, atmospheric, and it’s full of creepy imagery. I read the story while drinking two Halloween themed Texas beers, which I almost forgot to drink because I couldn’t take my eyes of the Kindle. I should add that Priscilla has her own unique style. She is not a Clive Barker clone. I am very much looking forward to more of her stories.
I should mention that following my Amazon review for the story and me posting about it in a dozen beer groups with around 30,000 members something strange happened. It is possible someone played a prank on us. This afternoon my daughter and I saw a horror movie and then we sat outside in the backyard and discussed it, Dracula and this story. That’s when she noticed that there was an old rusty medieval axe in our backyard. Someone must have placed it into our fenced in backyard today. But who? The strange Axe is included in the photo below. Where is this axe coming from? Any suggestions?
Finally, I would like to promote my book about Bronco and Leonbergers. It has a lot of color photos, amusing Leonberger stories, and Leonberger information that has been verified and is also based on personal information.
Below is a list of where you can find the book. Click on the links to go to the respective store. However, if your favorite bookstore is not listed below you can search for it using the ISBN or ASIN numbers.
ISBN number for printed edition: 978-0998084954
ASIN number for the e-book edition: B0B5NN32SR
4 replies on “The Hay Bale Better Horror Than the Books of Blood”
(Squeals so loud the cats run for cover.) This is the best review EVER! Thank you so much, Thomas!
I didn’t think you were a vampire at all. I just figured you for a vampire’s Familiar.:-)
Weird about the axe. I am WAY too gullible to tell whether or not you’re pulling our legs. Hmm…
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Ha ha yes that was just a Dracula themed trip to Transylvania/Romania. A tourist thing. About the axe I was not pulling anyone’s leg but it just didn’t click yesterday. Today we have a better idea today about what happened. I remembered that about a decade ago when our boys were teenagers we allowed them to buy medieval weaponry at the Scarborough Faire. However, we changed our minds since it could be dangerous and we asked them to dispose of the weaponry. I don’t remember the details but I think we just found out how they disposed of it. We had gardeners turning over soil yesterday and they must have found the buried axe but forgot to tell us and just left it out. We haven’t asked the boys yet but I’m pretty sure that’s what must have happened. Anyway, thank you so much for a really great read. It’s going to be a spooky Halloween.
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Funny, many years ago I got a rejection on one of my horror novels because “Not everyone wants to read things like ‘The Books of Blood’ by Clive Barker”. Well, yeah, of course not, but clearly SOME people do! 😁
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Yes, what a strange thing to say. Not everyone wants to read children’s fantasy but I don’t think that J.K. Rowling is worried about that. I will get a few of your books.