Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction by Kenneth W. CainEmbers: A Collection of Dark Fiction by Kenneth W. Cain

Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction

byKenneth W. Cain

Paperback | March 29, 2017

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Where darkness dwells, embers light the way.

From the author of the short story collections These Old Tales and Fresh Cut Tales comes his latest effort, Embers: A Collection of Dark Fiction. In his youth Cain developed a sense of wonderment owed in part to TV shows like The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, One Step Beyond and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Now Cain seeks the same dark overtones in his writing.

There’s a little something for every reader. These 25 short speculative stories represent the smoldering remains of a blaze, the fiery bits meant to ignite the mind with slow-burning imagery and smoky twists and turns. These are the very embers of Cain’s soul.

In this collection, Cain features stories of troubled men and women, both living and dead. Themes of loss and the afterlife take on many forms, as he explores the unknown. For instance, “The Chamber” focuses on a hardened veteran of World War II who has committed heinous crimes. He seeks only to find peace from his conscience, but sometimes that comes at a great loss. “Valerie’s Window” visits a small town amid a tragic end to humanity. Only things are not as they seem, and the more Valerie comes to know herself, the more her reality is revealed. “The Benefit of Being Weighty” has a humorous side, but the theme of this story revolves around fat shaming and the price one must pay for being so ignorant. Hopefully, these three short descriptions have increased your curiosity.

When the dark comes, light a match. Let the fire burn bright and hot. So that when it dies the embers warm you.

Interview with the author:

So what makes this collection of Dark Fiction so special?

Cain: There are many qualities that go into making a book special for someone, which makes it hard to define. I’ve put my all into this collection of dark fiction, as I do each and every story I write. For me, it’s all about growth, and hopefully that continues to show in my work—that I’m growing as an author.

Which short story is your favorite and why?

Cain: I’m quite fond of “Valerie’s Window,” which is a bit of an urban fantasy. I like her internal conflict, what horrors she must overcome in order to set herself free. Without giving too much away, Valerie’s is a personal struggle, which often best reflects actual life.

Why should readers give your short fiction a try?

Cain: I think many readers will enjoy the stories, maybe even see a part of themselves battling evil forces. As I stated before, my primary goal in writing has always been growth, but I also strive to connect with my readers. I want to take them on an adventure. In this case, many short voyages, the sort you can go on during your lunch break or while you eat dinner. And I think readers will enjoy the wide variety of journeys I’ve set up for them in this collection.

How would you classify your writing style?

Cain: For short stories, I like them lean. I want my stories to move at a certain pace and voice, depending on the feel. I often refer to my work as being dark fiction, but it’s really a mix of genres: horror, suspense, thriller, noir, fantasy, dark fiction, urban fantasy, science fiction, or even weird fiction. I like to mash genres together, to blend them and see where that leads my characters, but there’s almost always a dark tone to each story.

Title:Embers: A Collection of Dark FictionFormat:PaperbackDimensions:318 pages, 7.81 × 5.06 × 0.67 inPublished:March 29, 2017Publisher:Crystal Lake PublishingLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1640074783

ISBN - 13:9781640074781

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Table of Contents

  • The Chamber
  • “Valerie’s Window”
  • “A Window to Dream By”
  • “Each New Day Unknown”
  • “Gone”
  • “Under the Drift of Snow is Another World”
  • “Blackbird’s Breath”
  • “Desolate”
  • “Lost in the Woods”
  • “Final Breaths”
  • “Closer”
  • “Flocking Birds”
  • “Pirouette”
  • “To Save One Life”
  • “Of Both Worlds”
  • “Breathing Cave”
  • “Soul Tapped”
  • “The Water People”
  • “Water Snake”
  • “Evolved”
  • “Buried Beneath the Old Chicago Swamps”
  • “The Bad Men”
  • “Parasite”
  • “Strip Poker, Crabs, and Blue Women”
  • “The Benefit of Being Weighty”

Editorial Reviews

“Not a squall, not a blizzard ... It's a pulp horror AVALANCHE! That's Kenneth W. Cain's new collection, Embers.”—Mort Castle, Bram Stoker Award® winner“Collections such as this are the reason that, even after 45 years, I still enjoy reading horror!”—Douglas Draa, Editor of Weirdbook Magazine“Kenneth W. Cain’s imagination is on full display here. He will take you by the hand, lead you into the darkest places, and you’ll be thanking him every harrowing step of the way. A bright new talent in horror.”—Ben Eads, author of CRACKED SKY“With prose that is sometimes poignant, sometimes unsettling, but always incredibly dark, Kenneth W. Cain takes readers on a macabre journey with the smouldering burn of ‘Embers.’ A master of weaving tales around seemingly simple premises and ordinary situations with every day folk, Cain never fails to turn a story on its head and deliver a long-lasting sting. You’ll need some genuine embers to warm you after this, for some of these tales will chill you to the core.”—JIM GOFORTH, author of PLEBS and THE SLEEP