Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books----her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Tag: www.hellfireanddamnationthebook.com

REVIEW of “Hellfire & Damnation” (www.HellfireandDamnationtheBook.com)

Just letting you know that my review of HELLFIRE AND DMANATION is now up at http://www.fright.com/edge/HellfireAndDamnation.htm

I liked the book a lot–hopefully my review will help spread the word!

Adam Groves

On&off Productions

By CONNIE CONCORAN WILSON (Sam’s Dot Press; 2009)

In horror fiction, as in most any other sort, true originality is an increasingly rare commodity.  But it does exist, as proven by Connie Wilson’s HELLFIRE AND DAMNATION, an anthology that is genuinely, blazingly original.

The collection is rigorously structured around the nine circles of Hell as laid out in Dante’s INFERNO, yet the contents couldn’t be more varied in subject matter.  What unites them is the unerringly rational, straightforward prose, which is unlike anything else in horror fiction (usually typified by subjective “you-are-there” descriptions).  Stylistically it’s not unlike Wilson’s previous book GHOSTLY TALES OF ROUTE 66, a journalistic compendium of American folklore that was likewise distinguished by its novelty.  HELLFIRE AND DAMNATION, however, far outpaces the earlier volume in every respect.

“Hotter Than Hell,” categorized under the Gates of Hell, starts things off.  Inspired by the final words of real death row inmates, it’s a gritty and depressing account of prison life.

From there we move into the first circle of Hell, where Pagan souls reside.  Illustrating this is “Rachel and David,” set in Webster Groves, Missouri, and apparently based on folklore from that region.  It’s about a young couple and their fateful meeting with two odd kids.

In Circle Two, Lust, we have three stories.  The first, “Love Never Dies,” is a strange little number set in ancient Rome and headlined by an undead prostitute!  “Konerak” takes a real-life incident, of the man who almost escaped the clutches of the late Jeffrey Dahmer, and spins a wild tale of Oriental sorcery emerging from the Hmong of Laos, who fought for the United States against the Viet Cong (obviously this is the only place you’ll find Eastern mysticism, Jeffrey Dahmer and the Vietnam War combined).  “Effie, We hardly Knew Ye!” is another folklore-based tale, this one of an Oklahoma City hotel haunted by the spirit of its founder’s wronged mistress.

Circle Three is Gluttony, as represented by “Amazing Andy, the Wonder Chicken.”  In this tale a chicken gets its head cut off and still lives–and I’ll leave you to discover the rest of it on your own.

From there it’s on to the circle of Hoarders and Wasters, with “The Lemp Mansion Curse,” a jaunty account of a family curse, and “Queen Bee,” about an all-too appropriate revenge taken on a woman whose personality and social standing are accurately encompassed by the title.

Circle Five is the Wrathful.  It contains “The Ghost Girl of Howard “Pappy” Litch Park,” set along the author’s favorite highway, Route 66.  Here, in what may or may not be a fact-based tale, a father’s wrath causes his young daughter to be whisked away…but glimpses of the girl can of course still be seen in the area.

Heretics populate the Sixth Circle, containing the quietly unnerving “Hell to Pay.”  It combines a look into Amish life with an intriguing speculation on the origins of schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.  Also in the Heretics circle is “On Eagles’ Wings,” concerning a weird cultist, a young girl and an unhealthy obsession with birds.

Circle Number Seven is reserved for The Violent.  It begins with “Going Through Hell,” about a serial killer and his woman police officer victim, and continues with “Living in Hell,” about a young boy who visualizes a serial killer’s crimes in nightmares.  This tale is particularly shivery: the concept isn’t terribly original, but the nasty subject matter and clinical prose make for a skin-crawling read.

Circle Eight consists of The Fraudulent, represented by “Confessions of an Apotemnophile.”  That word refers to an person desiring to amputate his own limbs, in this case a man who’s harbored an all-consuming desire to lose his legs ever since conversing with a like-minded individual as a child.

Circle Nine is the final circle, featuring “An American Girl,” the collection’s creepiest story.  Its subject is the factual murder of a teenage girl in snowy Illinois, with the bulk of the tale taken up with a methodical depiction of the pubescent killers’ attempts at disposing of the corpse.

You won’t find another collection like this one.  Some readers, I’m sure, will be put off by its oddness, yet it fulfills most every expectation one might have for a horror anthology, being readable, entertaining and deeply unsettling in a manner unique to itself.

Short Story Collection “Hellfire & Damnation” Poised to Hit Stores in February

HD2I wanted to share, with loyal friends, the “mock-up” of a trailer that is under construction for my debut short story collection, entitled Hellfire and Damnation. Eventually, there will be a website entitled www.HellfireandDamnationthebook.com and this link will be posted as a trailer on that website.


For now, you can watch the trailer as it progresses from its initial “mock up” by professional trailer maker Kim McDougall of Blazing Trailers) to a finished product. (We’re still tinkering with it.)
I’m awaiting the publisher’s (Sam’s Dot) news of the ISBN number, but, until then, I’ll be working on the promotional aspects such as this trailer, bookmarks, post cards, etc. Look for me to be announcing book signings in the area in February/March.

While it is true that I have written three books of short ghost stories (Ghostly Tales of Route 66, Vols. I, II and III) the requirements for that publisher are that the stories be very “family friendly.” There is a definite formula involved, which is not the case with my short story collection organized around Dante’s Inferno and the various sins punished at each level of hell.

Stay tuned for further developments as Kim and I refine the trailer and continue keeping you posted on the book’s progress. Right now, all I know is that it will retail for $9.95, that you will be able to order it from www.HellfireandDamnationthebook.com and from sdspublishing.com, as well as possibly by phone and from the master site (www.ConnieCWilson.com). I hope that it will also be “up” on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

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