Monday, August 31, 2020

Auden Johnson's Top Ten Favorite Horror Novels #darkfantasy #horror


I didn’t get into fantasy by reading Tolkien or Sanderson. When I started writing, I intended to be a horror author but my stories always leaned towards creepy stuff happening to characters with powers in a fantasy location. That’s more dark fantasy. I don’t know why my stories turned out like that but I went with it. Here are the 10 horror books that influenced me over the years. 

Tales of Mystery and Imagination Edgar Allen Poe

I don’t remember exactly when I fell in love with horror but I know Poe had a hand in that. 

Dark Corner by Brandon Massey

Before I discovered Brandon Massey, I never saw characters who looked like me in horror stories. Until Dark Corner, I thought I could only write urban books.  

The Good House by Tananarive Due

Massey opened the door for different kinds of horror novels. I started searching and came across Tananarive Due. The Good House was the first book of hers that I read and I loved it. For a while, I was only reading those two authors. 

Gyo by Junji Ito

Gyo introduced to me to Junji Ito. By then, I’d been reading horror for years. It was hard to find a story that creeped me out. Then, I saw the monsters in Gyo and had to put down the manga for a moment. May as well have called this book Nope. 



Uzumaki by Junji Ito

Probably my favorite Junji Ito manga. The artwork is a special kind of terrifying. That stuff sticks with you. The story kept taking turns I never expected. 

The Return by Bentley Little

I enjoy Stephen King’s books but I wanted to find some little known authors. I wouldn’t say Bentley Little isn’t well known but he doesn’t have as large a section in the bookstore. I love this author. Most of his books are gruesome. Some are difficult to reread. The Return was the first book I read by Little.

The Ignored by Bentley Little 

Probably my favorite book by this author. It’s also one of his milder stories. Not a lot of gruesome monsters or gore.  A man discovers one day that people don’t see him and those that do forget him minutes later. It’s an interesting concept done well.

The Vanishing by Bentley Little

This is not one of his milder books but it is one I don’t mind reading over and over again. I love that Little isn’t afraid to go there. 

Great Ghost Stories edited by R. Chetwynd-Hayes and Stephen Jones

I have a special kind of love for classic horror stories. The descriptions and atmosphere are on point. With Great Ghost Stories, I wrote notes in the margins. 

Elements of the Apocalypse 

These stories can be hard to read at times but I love this book. A pretty creative story collection.



This list could go on and on. I haven’t even touched on Anne Rice, Richard Matheson and Hunter Shea. Then there’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula. We have newer stories like Hammer on Bone by Cassandra Khaw and The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht. See what I mean? I could talk about horror all day. 

The Unburned Island
Other Investigator Series
Book One
Auden Johnson

Genre: Dark Fantasy Horror
Publisher: Aubey LLC
Date of Publication: April 2017
ISBN: 9780996423427
ASIN: B06XX2RSBY
Number of pages: 148 pages
Word Count: 30,000
Cover Artist: Auden Johnson

Tagline: A haunted island. An unusual demon. Can this team of magical investigators solve the mystery of the Unburned Island? 

Book Description:




The entire island was on fire yet only one schoolhouse burned. Everyone disappeared. Several tried taking it over but were never successful. People no longer talk about Unburned Island. It was left to rot.


Years later, Kiran, En, and a team of magical investigators travel to the island to banish whatever haunts an old building. With En acting strange, they knew this wouldn't be a simple job. Kiran develops a second ability, making their investigation both easier and harder.

 It takes them no time to realize the building isn't the problem. The island is. They never anticipated the terrible secrets hidden within the school’s campus. Maybe some of the residents deserved their fate.

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Excerpt 2:

She needed to see what was behind that door but didn’t want to get lost. She slipped her hand into someone’s. En’s. She walked. En didn’t stop her. No one objected.
Dark emotions fought inside her. She wanted to hide, kill someone and cry all at once.
They were at the door. Kiran remembered moving but she couldn’t recall getting closer. The air was mud. Heat flashed across her skin. Her arms itched. She scratched and scratched but the itch returned.
The door was different than the others, thicker. An imposing lock kept out unwanted people. She didn’t want to go in there.
It was also closed. Did the shadow come from here? Kiran remembered seeing it by an open doorway. Did she hallucinate that? She was supposed to be here.
Kiran was a puppet. Her will didn’t matter. The puppeteer wanted her in this room. She pushed open the door. No one was objecting. It couldn’t be too dangerous.
Her flashlight beam shone on stone steps.
She couldn’t breathe. Hot and cold took turns assaulting her body. Kiran’s bones became twigs. She couldn’t stop trembling. She didn’t want to go forward.
They climbed the steps.
The room was wide with a low ceiling. Protection circles covered the floor, walls and ceiling. They were all wrong, drawn by a novice. Kiran used to make circles like these when she was in school. They worked, but they didn’t do what you wanted.
A prickly hot feeling settled in her chest. It built like water behind a blocked drain. It screamed for release. A hand touched her. If she destroyed that hand, she’d feel better.
She lunged at the person only to grab air. She needed to see blood. They needed to feel her pain.
“Kiran stop,” the voice said.
Her body stopped moving even though her mind demanded blood.
A coldness replaced the hot feeling. Moving was pointless. Thinking was pointless. Each breath was a painful chore. Death would end her torment. The window would save her. 
Fingers brushed her wet face. When did she start crying?
“Please explore this place quickly,” En said beside her. “You can move now,” he whispered in Kiran’s ear.
She sank to the ground. En brushed his finger across her cheek. His touch eased the warring emotions. She leaned into him. En always smelled like honey. Was it cologne? He wouldn’t wear something so useless on a job. Maybe it was his soap. He smelled like he’d taste delicious.
Where did that thought come from? A spirit must’ve put that in her head. 
“Something terrible happened here.” Kiran hadn’t meant to say that out loud.
Only negative emotions lived in this room.
A soothing yet prickly sensation brushed her hand. Kiran didn’t see anyone touching her hand but it felt like it. She didn’t sense any spirits nearby. The sensation stopped. Was that Jason? Why couldn’t she see or sense him?
“I think we found why this building wasn’t burned down.” Sona clicked his tongue. “The one place that deserved to be destroyed was unharmed.”
“I’ve seen pictures of rooms like these,” En said. “Around the time humans realized Others existed, they learned even their children could be born hosting a demonic spirit. Children suspected of housing a demon were sent away to be cured. They were tortured in places like these all in the name of purification.”

About the Author:


An artist at heart, Auden Johnson loves photography, graphic design, and writing beautifully dark stories. She has published 13 dark fantasy stories featuring diverse characters with powers and questionable morals. She enjoys taking her camera on a long hike and photographing the scenic views. Most of her landscape photos are on sale online. Auden has a Masters in Publishing: Digital and Print and a Masters in Information and Library Science. She lives in Brooklyn with her writing buddy Oreo.







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