“Death is like a box of chocolates.”  Lori R. Lopez will tingle your spine while tickling your funny bone in short stories from two of her collections:  Out-Of-Mind Experiences and The Macabre Mind Of Lori R. Lopez.  Zombies, ghosts, an abused homicidal feline, an ear devil and other creeps abound — haunting an amusement park, possessing a windmill, opening a gate to the Inferno . . .  This horror sampler of six uniquely eerie tales is prefaced by the titular poem “Chocolate-Covered Eyes”.  Beware of strangers offering candy.  Or take a bite out of fright.  You know you can’t resist!

Can the living and the undead co-exist in peace? A zombie defender must question his principles when a hunter becomes infected by the zombie plague and threatens the boy’s mother in “Heartbeat”.

Would the tormented pet of a psycho, after witnessing countless abominations, begin to exhibit disturbing behavior? Find out in “Unleashed”.

“Beyond The Stump” is the dark harrowing tale of a young woman who must assume her mother’s role of Gatekeeper.

“Nuance” unfolds the humorously poignant Cinderfella tale of a spooky carnival and a misfit who discovers the truth behind his sorry circumstances.

“Bedeviled” reveals a trail of madness featuring a parasitic ear sprite that causes folks to go berserk and the likable loons who try to halt his wacky head trip.

In “Macabre”, a young woman confronts her darkest fears in the specter of a decrepit windmill possessed by The Night Frights.

The print edition contains original artwork by the author.

 

This short story collection is currently being enhanced for a Second Edition!

Sample

Excerpt

SOMETHING DREADFUL KNOCKED late at night.  It howled and thumped and quaked the door.

~ from the short story Unleashed:  Tail One

Mister Strange pulled out a rectangular container

That inspired a tiny yip to escape my yap.

Displaying the grim sepulcher’s cubic retainer,

Hunched over, he compared it to a Venus Fly Trap.

~ from the poem Chocolate-Covered Eyes

Chocolate-Covered Eyes
 

Coarse bitter wind swirled around my form

As I crunched toward the end of a leafened lane,

Where mournful specters could screech and swarm

Like banshee breeze o’er a desolate plain.

But this was no realm to which spirits might flock.

I had less than the ghost of a chance to survive.

Angry and sullen, lifeless as rock,

Like a tomb the gray manor left no cheer alive.

For there on cursed ground could the brave die of fright,

Midst a plot of land where the Sun feared to shine

And daylight beheld as the darkest of night.

Upon entering that door I had crossed every line.

No more could I breathe without feeling a hitch

In my chest and my pulse, a quickening sob.

No more would my innocent gaze lack a twitch.

I had forfeited youth with a turn of the knob.

Friends begged me “Don’t go!” but I always knew best.

I thought the trespassing would prove to be fun.

Instead I’m a wreck from a foolhardy quest.

Let my epitaph read I surrendered to none.

Pride can be folly in the course of disaster.

Beyond the threshold was too late to change.

That abandoned abode urged my heart to beat faster,

Then I came face to face with the tall Mister Strange —

Chocolate-Covered Eyes

HEARTBEAT

Nuance

Unleashed: Tail One

Beyond The Stump

BEDEVILED

Macabre

Artwork

(From the Illustrated Print Edition. Printed in black and white.)

Praise

“Spooky, Scary, Smart, Funny, Original.  I am not typically drawn to horror anthologies, but I find Lori Lopez’s tales an easy read.  Although sometimes gory and scary, they always have a touch of playful humor and punny words which lighten them just enough to be enjoyable.  The poem CHOCOLATE COVERED EYES is just such a tale.  You’ll cringe, shudder, laugh, and then cringe again.  HEARTBEAT on the other hand is chock full of zombies.  I see it as a metaphor for our world today.  I did not see the end coming!  And when it comes to story telling; isn’t that what we all hope for?  A surprise at the end!  NUANCE, I think, is the story of the human ability to rise above it all.  With spectral assistance or on our own, we triumph just as Clarence — errr — Clark did.  UNLEASHED:  TAIL ONE — Cats, love them or hate them, they all have personalities.  Some have more than any of us realized.  BEYOND THE STUMP resonated with me.  Haven’t we all, at one time or another, felt we had a greater purpose in life?  BEDEVILED is just plain scary.  We all fear catching a ‘bug’.  Careful, what you fear may be real-er than you think!  And finally, MACABRE — My best [advice] after reading this story is don’t go tilting at windmills; you never know when they might tilt back.”

Geri/G.M. Graham
Barnes & Noble, Goodreads Reviews

“Who’s up for some Chocolate Covered Eyes? So how many of you remember back in elementary school and junior high you would have these book fairs? There was always one I always searched for, Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark, and I think they did a few of them. They were my favorite books of all time growing up. When I first got my hands on this and heard about the collection of short stories within it reminded me of those books. And did I mention I love the title, Chocolate Covered Eyes….absolutely wonderful.

I must say this collection of stories were wonderful and just keep me going from the first page. I love this book it has everything, a bone chilling twisted factor and something that will make you laugh out loud. This book has zombies, a twisted kind of Cinderella, and the [question] of can the living and [living] dead coexist? I mean this woman has some [talent]. I loved it and would recommend it to anyone.”

Zoey Sweete
THE SWEETE SPOT Review Blog; Amazon Review

“Lori Lopez is carving her own unique niche into the mountain of literary history.  No genre can define her.  No voice can imitate her.

 

Begin with the style of Edgar Allen Poe.  Dark with quick traces of wry humor.  Not too short or too long.  Poetic license stretched to the point of breaking.  Delving into levels of human depravity the rest of us would never imagine.

 

Toss in just a pinch of Anne Rice.  Creative mythological creatures and their possible twisted origins.  Good vs evil expressed in completely new ways.  Thankfully without being long-winded or including gratuitous, disturbing and ridiculously detailed sex scenes or nonsensical romance.

 

To finish, pour in a generous helping of Alfred Hitchcock’s innovative treatment of and incredibly varied subject matter.  In this collection alone we’re introduced to small killer animals, demons, zombies, possession, dangerous secrets and more!

 

Now that the mixture is ready, Lori tops it with her special all-original blend of gore, trauma, creative imagery, and a healthy dose of wry insight.  If you haven’t read Lori Lopez, this sample platter is an excellent place to begin!  Every story has its own unique flavor.  I strongly advise taking at least a bite of each.”

Tiffiny Sarradet “Read for the journey”
AMAZON REVIEW

“I just finished this book last night and all I can say is AMAZING!!!!

 

******

 

I love horror, always have and I just want you to know that if you are thinking about getting this book you will not be disappointed.  There is something in Chocolate-Covered Eyes:  A Sampler Of Horror for everyone.  Each story is amazingly [different] and as fun to read as the one before.  Very well written where the stories just flow from the page.”

Jennifer Thomas
Goodreads and Smashwords Reviews

“Ms. Lori has a very unique style of writing, and she can captivate you . . .  There are stories of zombies, shifters, ghosts, zombie rights, carnivals, an ear-monster ( I dunno what to technically list him as), curses, hauntings, and choices 🙂  If that doesn’t intrigue you, I dunno if you can be helped hahaha . . . all have interesting concepts and plots that drive them, so they are fun, easy, short, but great stories 🙂  Yes, I know, such a short review, but really, I can’t say too much, or I will give away all the goodies, so get it yourself :)”

Maghon Thomas
Barnes & Noble, Goodreads Reviews

“Very interesting stories of the intelligent kind.  Not light reading by any means.  Lori Lopez strings words together that create an alliteration of word salad that blend together and create a Gestalt of visuals that will keep you thinking long into the night.

 

Well done.”

Malina Roos
ONLY FIVE STAR REVIEWS; Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

“Lori’s style was initially a bit of a shock to me . . .  If you are looking for some light reading, run away now… Lori is intense, emotion evoking, gigglesome in parts, never dull and exhausting in her descriptions.  To start with, I tried to “just” read Lori’s wondrous outpourings, but oh no, you need to digest them, allow them to flow over you and get lost in her unique worlds….  I love her ideas and the way she teaches me new words on nearly every page!

 

OK…so to this actual book!  Not sure I will ever accept chocolate treats off of a monster [ever] again!  The off the blocks starter poem was funny yet gruesome! loved it!

 

Heartbeat — Zombies rule! but so do cool kids and chocolate!  [T]he vision of brains being soup du jour will take awhile to [dissolve]!  I so wanted to hug this young chap at the end of the story…

 

Nuance — this was a complex story which I had trouble reading and enjoying the first time, but when read over again I romped through it!!  Lori has such complex ways of describing characters that you have trouble keeping track of who is who (my only complaint!) leaving me a little bamboozled! however, how can you not love carnival freaks & ghosties as a topic!  My favourite line was “nature, nurture, adopted, abducted [what’s] the difference!” made me giggle!

 

Tail One — I love cats and have now amended my behavior towards them…. they are the masters I am the slave!!  [L]ooking forward to [kitty’s] travels… such a unique perspective!!

 

Beyond the Stump — Social Services have [a lot] to answer for.  Lori manages to single out your emotion nerve and then wring it for all its worth in this murdersome tale… is it ok to empathise with the “bad” guy?

 

Bedeviled — read this as a stand alone novel…  MUCH better the 2nd time, which seems to be how to read Lori’s work… you get sooooo much more the next time, you wonder how you missed it!  (I did find the constant descriptions of characters instead of their names a bit confusing!)  Not your usual horror stuff but I dare you not to sleep with ear plugs in after this little tale!

 

Macabre — the old Haunted House/Ghost story slammed into your face and rubbed around in the maggottygoo!!  [G]ently, gently, SLAM is how I felt… and unusually left wanting to know more…

 

A fantastic collection….  Lori Lopez is not a quick read, she mostly definitely needs cogitating but is so worth the effort as her characters and stories revolve in your head long after the book is shut.”

Vix Kirkpatrick
THE FLUFFY RED FOX REVIEW; Barnes & Noble, Goodreads Reviews

“Ambrosia for the imagination…Chocolate Covered Eyes is a collections of poetry (just one) & short stories by the amazingly talented Lori Lopez.  Each individual story has a life all [its] own, while being able to illustrate Lori’s writing style.  The stories [are not] for the [faint] of heart, and definitely require you to be able to think out…side the box.  I don’t want to reveal too much, for fear of giving the stories away, but I will go on the record stating that this book has something for everyone, and that all of the stories are amazingly written.  After reading this, I’m a Lori Lopez fan for life!!!  Well done my dear lady, well done…..”

Susan McSherry
Smashwords Review

“A great irreverent, enjoyable, dark anthology.  This is a collection of six of Lori’s best stories preceded by a poem called ‘Chocolate Covered Eyes’.  All the stories have a horror theme and are slightly macabre.  This is the first taste I have had of Lori’s work and I think I shall be coming back for more.  She has an irreverent, humorous style that certainly appeals.  The stories were deliciously dark, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.  If I have one criticism, it would be the constant use of long and ‘fancy’ words — I found myself reaching my dictionary quite a lot!  On the plus side I have expanded my vocabulary by some way.  This is just a minor niggle though and I still recommend this as a great and enjoyable anthology.”

Kim Tomsett-Fowler
WISTFULSKIMMIES BOOK REVIEWS; Smashwords and Goodreads Review

“In CHOCOLATE COVERED EYES (2011) Lori R. Lopez combines the real and the fantastic to create her own blend of magic realism.  First off, this book is a collection of one poem and six stories, a confectionaire’s sampling of candied horrors.  . . .  Here we see Lopez comment on social conventions with her incorporation of horror and normal life.

 

In the first story, HEARTBEAT, the realism of a fifties era family is set against a zombie infestation, where the government is under the illusion that they are in charge while the zombies have become just another facet of the neighborhood where the kids establish the rules for zombie/human interaction (a comment on gangs, perhaps?).  As Lori puts it, “Always too much red tape and rights to consider. [The government] still think[s] they’re in charge, and they don’t want to risk provoking riots on top of everything else, as the so-called civilized world clings by a thread to an illusion of Normal.”  This seems to be a social comment on single parenting set against the hardships of growing up in an impoverished neighborhood.  Its poignant ending shows the government’s inadequacy to protect the single parent.

 

In a language usually reserved for poetry, our second candy of horror, NUANCE, places the “Normal” within the freaks and fiends of a carnival, the ever reliable symbol for the life of a gypsy, or transitory existence.  The governing of a sideshow life is established by the carnies, and thus we have a microcosm of a city.  Even the dreams of one boy reflect the hopes of such a morose existence:  “The only chance of salvation was to believe in a boy who could fly, traverse walls, render magical feats.”  Within the existence of the noncorformist life, dreams are your only salvation and the carrot on the stick that death proudly holds up for you.  The fantastic in normalcy is that we all share the same fate.

 

In UNLEASHED:  TAIL ONE, Lori blends the normal with the fantastic by use of perspectives.  The reader switches from the point of view of a detective, a dog, and a cat.  Our world is askew — but only because we can perceive of other ways of seeing things, “real” things, depending on your point of view.  We have seen some combination of these narratives in others works, such as James Herbert’s FLUKE, but without the magic realism.  The use of such a narrative style comments on a cold government, one-sided in its decisions, versus the empathetic view that incorporates even opposing visions.

 

BEYOND THE STUMP also combines various perspectives in a magic realism approach.  The narrator describes it as, “Most people I’ve observed while walking on two limbs exist in a fantasy realm composed of past and future.  They view little of the world around them, always focused somewhere else, ignoring what is there though scarcely noticed.  The ordinary details.  I cling to those details, endeavoring to not look back or ahead, for the present is all I have.  All I can endure.”  We think back to the ghosts of Marquez in the city of Macondo where past and present and future are trapped in the family curse.  The narrator of Stump hangs in a similar time trap, between madness and reality, striding social strata.  We forget how we saw the world from the height of our childhood.  Lopez reminds us of this point of view with horrific results.

 

BEDEVILED strides two worlds as well — that of the cats and that of the humans, at once ordinary pets and owners, and witch and familiar.  In the author’s words, “‘You cannot forget the sun that departs but is always there.’  Lonely and sad, the boy repeated this often to wring some droplet of wisdom which could heal his sorrow.  The words tattered, dulled, lost all significance.  He remembered darkness — shared only by insects and spiders.  A friend taught him to look between the shadows.”  The time trap of magic realism here lies in the exaggeration of time as represented by the sunrise and sunset, and all time in between.  The horror comes from the “ear goblin” that resides in dark madness.  It is real in a surreal narrative.  Where does the dark begin and the light begin?

 

In MACABRE, ghosts and the living reside together.  The Murther Mill and the neighboring house are specters of a bygone time, “they endured as shabby blights on the sterile landscape, a flat expanse of scantily inhabited terrain — unremarkable; unmemorable; contradicted solely by fenceposts and telephone poles, an occasional tree.”  These were grim reminders of the “curse”; even the shadows meant bad luck if they touched you.  The supernatural clings to the ordinary old fixtures by way of rumors and gossip by those who fear these ancient presences.  In the dust of the modern buildings that sit atop the land that held these antique structures are the spirits of the past, spirits that someday will return to dust.

 

Lori R. Lopez uses magic realism in a modernistic approach, blending elements of poetry and horror to mead out narratives that both amaze and attract readers.  As Marquez and Amado combined the real with the unreal, the natural with the supernatural, and the ordinary with the odd, in order to take the reader to a moral plateau of didactic proportions, so too does Lopez traverse a merger of extremes in her stories, not only to teach but to terrorize the reader.  If the writing seems a bit heavy-handed at times, it is intentional in order for you to get inside the narrator’s frame of mind and view his surroundings through his ordinary madness.  Worth a second and third reading, these stories by Lori R. Lopez demand at least a single read.”

Anthony Servante
THE BLACK GLOVE; SERVANTE OF DARKNESS

“Chocolate-Covered Eyes:  A Sampler of Horror by Lori R. Lopez has a little something for everyone.  I am always eager to read something by somebody I have never read before.  It is how you find that special gem.  This book is one of those gems.

 

Having said that, I enjoyed MOST of the stories found in this tome.  Yet, to be fair, I have never read a collection or anthology and loved EVERY story.  First and foremost, as an indie title, I will applaud how clean this book reads.  Many indies tend to be sloppy with spelling, grammar, and punctuation issues.  That is not the case here.  We always miss a few, but this is a well edited book.

 

So, from the beginning:  Chocolate-Covered Eyes — this was my first encounter with horror poetry outside of Poe.  It was clever and fun.  There were some very creative rhymes.  My favorite was “mouthful of clippers” and “heavy-duty nail clippers”.  I actually chuckled a few times and when I finished, I had to find my wife and read it out loud to her.

 

Heartbeat — was a fun take on a zombie story from a kid’s perspective.  It was not standard apocalypse material.  There was a strange co-existence.  It could easily be seen as every youth of a single mother viewing his world and seeing a mother’s potential suitors as monsters.  Overall, this story left me feeling like I would like to revisit the central character and his band of cohorts.

 

Nuance — for some reason, I just couldn’t get into this tale.  Here is where Ms. Lopez’s use of words hurt her in my opinion.  This had the makings of a gritty story.  However, she let her prose style that works so well in her poetry get in the way.  Too many (as my college writing teacher used to call them…and probably still does) five-dollar words.  You don’t need masticate when chew works just as well.  The word choice took the edge off the story and I simply could not immerse myself in it.

 

Unleashed:  Tail One — hands down my favorite of the bunch.  There is a lot more going on here than first glance leads you to believe.  Having the POV switch from a dog to a cat to a detective was done with spectacular results.  I actually bookmarked this for my daughter because she loves quirky stories.  By story’s end, I was fairly certain the detective was up to no good, but Lopez makes no attempt to answer all the reader’s questions, which lets the mind stew on this piece long after you read it.

 

Beyond The Stump — This story takes advantage of the style that worked against Lopez in Nuance.  There is a dark, gothic undertone that feeds the reader with images of grainy black-and-white horror classics.  This is an ideal candidate for a screenplay, provided it is done sans color.  The Tree as the central figure is powerfully symbolic and used with storytelling expertise that would make Mary Shelly proud.  It is a piece of horror-lit you can hand to your snobby friends who tell you comedies should not be nominated for Academy Awards as they sip from a ten dollar bottle of water and nibble on a cheese with a name you can’t begin to pronounce.

 

Bedeviled — I immediately thought of Scott Sigler’s book, Infected.  The story is not flashy, but it is engrossing.  It is a fast read and my second favorite in the collection.  Be warned, if you get the heeby-jeebies watching insect documentaries…stuff cotton in your ears before engaging yourself with this tale.

 

Macabre — When I pick closers for my anthologies, I try to put the strongest story at the end to leave an imprint.  This story was okay, just not my favorite.  I don’t think I ever got swept up by the main character.  I found the narrative to be too long-winded at times. It was good, but not great.

 

All in all, this is a fine collection.  It has intrigued me enough to want to read more works by Lori R. Lopez.”

T.W. Brown
MAY-DECEMBER PUBLICATIONS; Smashwords and Goodreads Reviews

“Chocolate-Covered Eyes is an anthology that has something for everyone.  I won’t go into detail about each individual story as the summary given by the author is enough information to allow you an opportunity to gauge your interest in the content.  I will, however, make it known that while I did not love each and every tale the author had to share, I did, in fact, enjoy her writing style.  This is not an anthology for the weak minded.  And it is absolutely not a simple bathroom reader.

 

Lopez’s unique writing style creates wonderfully vivid images.  She has a style of writing that can easily evoke a variety of emotions, laughter, fear, joy and what seems like every other emotion in between.  Nearly every character within each story of Chocolate-Covered Eyes somehow manages to get so deeply imprinted in your head that even days after reading the story, you just keep thinking back.

 

For those who enjoy a thoughtful, scary, thrilling anthology, pick-up a copy of Chocolate-Covered Eyes.  [You’ll] never look at chocolate the same.”

Heather Faville, “Headshot Heather”
DOUBLESHOT REVIEWS; Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

““A good [short story] would take me out of myself and then stuff me back in, outsized, now, and uneasy with the fit.” — David Sedaris

 

[T]his is an excellent literary collection of stories that [I] relished and loved.  [I] was amazed by the author’s writing style.  [U]sing a wide range of vocabulary, she still managed to make everything readable and accessible.  [O]ut of the six eerie tales and one poem, my choice picks from this sampler are Heartbeat, Unleashed:  Tail One, Bedeviled and Macabre.”

Aobibliophile
Barnes & Noble, Goodreads Reviews

“The lady can write!

 

A frightful, yet sometime humorous romp into the world of Ms. Lopez.  Her stories will keep you on the edge of your seat as you turn the pages with glee.  I recommend this collection for a great [evening’s] reading.  Lori has a way of twisting words into pure literary enjoyment.”

Jerry McKinney
Barnes & Noble, Goodreads Reviews

“I enjoyed this excellent book, a complete mix of tales, from shudders to smiles.  A read that you will remember!

 

*****

 

This book has everything you need.  Well written, good dialogue and humour.  Meet zombies, [heroes] and much much more in this great book by Lori Lopez!”

Jackie/J.G. Williams
Smashwords and Amazon Reviews

“Heartbeat:  A fun zombie story from a young boy’s perspective.  Good characters and tight plotting make this a good addition to the zombie sub-genre.

 

Nuance:  This one had the guts of a good story strangled by a dozen ten-dollar words.

 

Unleashed:  Tail One:  Absolutely my favorite and worth the read.  The point of view switches between the family dog, a devilish cat and a detective, with wondrous results.  I’d love to see more of this!

 

Beyond The Stump:  The story of a tree and its part in the narrator’s life.  Again, an interesting premise buried under tons of unnecessary “literary” prose.

 

Bedeviled:  A good story and fast read.  My second favorite in the collection.  Warning:  contains insects! *shudder*

 

Macabre:  An okay entry, a bit over-long.  The central character never grabbed my attention.

 

All in all, the author’s attempts at literary prose are overstuffed and unnecessary — Lopez has a good voice, when she lets it breathe, but Chocolate-Covered Eyes does contain a few stories worth the read.”

Gabryyl Pierce
PARAYOURNORMAL “PYN” (Another dimension…or next door.)

“Through the eyes, one views the soul. Not everything we witness is pleasant but, once seen, it cannot be unseen. This is a group of short stories introduced by a poem, which is where the collection gets its name. The deliciously odd tale in verse sets the tone for what comes after. “Heartbeat” is a story of that which is closest to a child’s heart, and what they will do to defend it. In “Nuance,” the ties that bind can either choke or enable one to finally breathe freely. “Unleashed: Tail One” gives a changing perspective, the focus being those that are not human. “Beyond the Stump” sheds a chilling light onto an abusive relationship taken to an even darker place. In “Bedeviled,” young men seek out an unknown species, but bring back only mischief and mayhem. And finally, “Macabre” tells the story of a young woman discovering the key to her haunted existence.

It can be quite a task to digest what is seen. Perhaps, it would be easier to ingest that which sees. Gruesome as it seems, sometimes, with the addition of a little chocolate, the most disgusting things can become palatable. After all, everything is better with chocolate…”

Donald White
Amazon Review

“This book is hard to explain for me, as the writing is very different from what I am used to.  . . .

If you look at it from a poetry/[descriptive] writing point of view then I would say it’s extremely well written and Lori is a very talented writer in this sense.  . . .  If [you’re] into horror and some different stories then I would [definitely] give this book a go.”

Michelle Fita
Goodreads Review

“IT MADE ME CRY WITH JOY:  Fun.  Entertaining.  Visual.  These are just some of the words that come to my mind, after reading Unleashed:  Tail One.  Lori Lopez concocted such an amazing (and incredible) tale it should be a blockbuster.  Not reading this is like going to Paris and neglecting Eiffel Tower; you’re missing something on your life trip.  Really.

 

I had to read several books these days.  Some were of my liking, others were awful.  It’s my personal policy to just review those I enjoyed and deserving at least 4 stars.  This went beyond.  I’d give it 8 stars if I could, because Lori Lopez’s style is truly innovative and her multitasking creativity clearly shows in her writing.  In this tale you get three points of view:  a dog, a detective, and a cat.  Each one acts perfectly in character, with a lot of humor (dark and otherwise), and pleasant details.

 

The main persona — Midnight the cat — had me laugh and shiver at the same time, and some of her lines (her thoughts) brought me back at Showtime’s Dexter … with a touch of Ray Bradbury. 

I think that Lori Lopez is one of the most gifted writers in the genre and should get more attention by the general public.  She gets the instinct of a natural storyteller, yet she doesn’t disdain prose, playing with words in a funny way, Lopez never bogs you down into the intricacies of English language.  I’m very glad having read this.”

(Review of UNLEASHED)
Jeffrey Kosh
Smashwords and Amazon Reviews

“(From a review of Chocolate-Covered Eyes):  Cats, love them or hate them, they all have personalities.  Some have more than any of us realized.

 

*****

 

Did you know that domestic cats are the only animal, besides man that is, who kill for pleasure?  Only in the imagination of Lori Lopez could a cat learn the true pleasure of revenge from its psychopathic owner.  Told from the perspective of a disturbed cat, a desperate-to-please puppy next door, and a prototypical cop, this story will make you look at cats in a whole new light!

 

*****

 

Humor and Horror in equal measure:  I’ve long suspected cats know more than we think.  This story confirms my worst suspicions.  It’s funny, scary, ironic, and a great read.  Follow this kitty’s antics as it goes about avenging itself for [its owner’s] misdeeds.  I highly recommend it as an intriguing and funny look into the mind of a very vengeful cat.”

(Review of UNLEASHED)
Geri Graham
Smashwords, Barnes & Noble Reviews

“Loved this tail…I mean tale.  A brilliant story told by the dog, the cat and a cop about the serial killer next door.  Humor and vivid prose make this an enjoyable story to read.  And yes that is how cats think.”

(Review of UNLEASHED)
Malina Roos
Smashwords and Goodreads Reviews

“I must start off by saying that I do not normally read short stories.  I like to really get “into” the books I read, and shorts usually don’t give me enough time to do that.  This was an exception for me.  I read the blurb and was intrigued, and I was hooked by the second page.

 

Unleashed:  Tail One is a short story told from three points of view:  a detective investigating a death, the neighbor’s dog, and a kitty that has slipped over the edge into post-traumatic stress-induced psychosis.  The detective is a bit of a bumbler, the dog does his job as protector, but the cat is the star.  She tells her story with dark humor, and lets us know in no uncertain terms that she believes in payback!

 

I greatly enjoyed this author’s writing style.  It’s different from anything I’ve read lately, and a very refreshing change.  I look forward to reading more books by Ms. Lopez!”

(Review of UNLEASHED)
Sara Smolarek
Smashwords, Barnes & Noble Reviews

“This is the story of a cat, a dog, a family and a detective hell bent on getting to the bottom of a ‘suspicious’ death.  The old man next door has been found dead and the Smiths reported a commotion at their door on the same night.  Detective MacKowski is determined to find out what happened whatever the cost….this was a humorously dark little tale.  Told in different points of view from the cat, dog and the detective.  [i]t was an interesting read, and certainly made me look at my cats in a whole new light, wondering what they get up to when we are all asleep!  I giggled to myself as the cat plotted and ingratiated herself into the Smith family, leaving the devoted dog out in the cold.  The detective was brilliant as a bumbling fool, dedicated to his cause no matter the cost.  I recommend this for animal lovers and dark tale lovers alike.”

(Review of UNLEASHED)
Kim Tomsett-Fowler
WISTFULSKIMMIES BOOK REVIEWS; Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

“Unleashed:  Tail One is downright funny.  From the beginning to the end it elicits giggles and grins.

 

A serial murderer is stalking the neighborhood and the police detective is sure he knows who it is.  Now only if he could prove it.  Of course, if he does prove it, how is he going to catch the perpetrator?  This criminal is slick, [wily] and doesn’t stand still long enough to be interrogated.

 

A cat with PTSD, [a] dog with a nose for mystery, a bumbling detective and a neighbour family under suspicion simply because they aren’t suspicious come together in this rollicking story of death and mayhem.  Short at only 18 pages this is a fun little adventure you will enjoy and recommend to your friends.”

(Review of UNLEASHED)
Karen Bryant Doering
PARENTS’ LITTLE BLACK BOOK; Smashwords and Amazon Reviews

“[A] meooowingly good tail!  [Lori’s] writing style is exceptionally flavour filled, reminiscent of poetry!  She is expansive in her using of describing words… often had to stop and look up the words!! how exciting!

 

3 differing perspectives on the same crime… was [at] first a little confusing as no heading to differentiate…. but soon [got] the hang of it!

 

I was not sure if I felt sorry or horrified by the poor pusscat!!  [A]s a cat owner I will never leave my stinky socks in their bed (my laundry basket!) again, just in case!

 

[A] brilliant book to introduce me to a clever, funny and articulate author!

 

*****

 

(From a review of Chocolate-Covered Eyes):  Tail One — I love cats and have now amended my behavior towards them…. they are the masters I am the slave!! . . . such a unique perspective!!”

(Review of UNLEASHED)
Vix Kirkpatrick
THE FLUFFY RED FOX REVIEWS; Barnes & Noble, Goodreads Reviews

“Okay, I’ll admit, I was fully prepared to hate this one.  After all, mystery stories involving a cat… well, that’s not really my bag, baby.  Luckily, this is a great story!  Sure, there’s a cat involved, but not in the way you’d expect.  There are POV sections for both the cat and its neighbouring dog, both of which are great characters.  The narrative has a noir-ish, hardboiled detective feel, peppered here and there with some deranged rantings from the psychotic killer.  While a little off-putting at first, the way Lopez jumps from head to head in the narrative, it soon begins to flow naturally.  It’s not a tale to be taken seriously, and that’s just fine.  This is a fun, fast read and one I can definitely recommend.”

(Review of UNLEASHED)
Douglas Prince
Goodreads Review

“This is the story of an ear demon. Two insect researchers go to Africa to try and find an undiscovered bug. Unbeknownst to themselves, one of them brings back a demon lodged in his ear. Chaos and confusion then ensue.

This was quite a funny little story but it made you think as well. It has a sort of ‘what if?’ feel about it. I don’t necessarily mean what if about ear demons but bugs lodged in ears etc. George underwent seven shades of hell trying to dislodge the demon and the chaos that was caused in the meantime was hilarious. I like stories like this. You can see what the outcome will be in your mind’s eye but are powerless to do anything about it. Fantastic, and darn funny to boot.”

Kim Tomsett-Fowler
WISTFULSKIMMIES BOOK REVIEWS; Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

“DISTURBINGLY SCARY – RIOTOUSLY FUNNY:  Two ne’er do well buddies set off on the ultimate trip of exploration little realizing the adventure what awaits them on their return home.  Ear demons indeed!  You’ll cringe when you realize what has happened to one of them and laugh til tears roll down your cheeks as you follow these bumbling buddies to the calamatous conclusion of their story.”

(Review of BEDEVILED)
Geri Graham
Smashwords; Barnes & Noble Reviews

“This is a short story involving a delightfully devious diminutive demon dwelling deep inside your ear canal.  Yes, you read that right!  He lives.  In your.  HEAD!

 

Few things are more unsettling than the thought of any creature living in our heads.  Just take a look at short story horror through the ages.  We’ve all heard the variations of the story describing the horror of a spider laying eggs in a girl’s ear while she slept.  There are similar tales involving roaches and various other creepy crawlies.  Ms. Lopez has found a new way to prey upon an old fear — now the thing putting down roots deep in our ear is not a mindless insect but a fully sentient evil little man!  What lengths would you go to in order to dislodge such a creature?  What extreme havoc do you think he could wreak?  I guarantee whatever you can imagine doesn’t hold a candle to the events in this story!”

(Review of BEDEVILED)
Tiffiny Sarradet
Amazon Review

“Gillian has long sensed something nefarious in the windmill [she] can see through her bedroom window. When her parents go out of town, her fears begin to get the best of her. The result is a mental and physical crumbling of her reality.

This story was well written and engaging. I thought the parallel between Gillian’s mental breakdown and the breakdown of all that surrounds her was a beautifully unique twist. “Macabre” is a short, quick read, one I highly recommend.”

(Review of MACABRE)
Lisa Lane/Leigh M. Lane
THE CEREBRAL WRITER; Amazon Review

“What amazing pacing! I think I was panting a little the entire time that I was reading this long short story.

The story is ostensibly about the Night Terrors, those nasty things that well up as the shadows rise, but it’s really a coming of age story. If I liked the little girl better, I would find it so sweet that I would have to add that extra star to the rating, but I really, really don’t like her at all. The story, though, it’s great.”

(Review of MACABRE)
Robin Edman
Goodreads Review

“This is the story of Gilly. She lives next door to a haunted windmill. All she wants to do is get away from town. All her life she has suffered nightmares and she wonders if the windmill is the key.

This is more of a simple (if a story of Lori’s could be described as simple!) haunted house type story. It had a nice pace and good imagery. Gilly was fantastic as the needy, whiny teenager trying to work out what is going [on] whilst trying desperately to get away. I love haunted house stories because of the imagery they conjure up and this was no exception.”

(Review of MACABRE)
Kim Tomsett-Fowler
WISTFULSKIMMIES BOOK REVIEWS; Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

“Lori Lopez is one of the most talented new authors I’ve read in the last decade.  Lori’s writing is flawless.  She’s the first self-published author I’ve seen whose work isn’t riddled with grammatical errors.  Thank you for that, Ms. Lopez!

 

This story is twisted, disturbing, horrifying and yet sensitive with an innocent overall feel.  Told from the perspective of a 12 year old boy, the tale manages to give readers the gore we crave while maintaining a charming naivete.  Ms. Lopez is talented and highly intelligent, displaying an excellent understanding of people of all ages (IMO, the single most important quality a writer must possess).  This story is the kind you start reading after your coffee cup is full and you’ve found a comfortable spot to snuggle into.  You’ll need to prepare yourself to read it and make sure you won’t be disturbed for a while, because once you start there is no stopping!”

(Review of HEARTBEAT)
Tiffiny Sarradet
Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

“Today I read Lori R. Lopez’ Heartbeat.  Not having read anything she’d written before I started reading with the notion I would get through a little bit of her story tonight and get back to it another time but found that I was unable to stop until I reached the end.  Lori’s story is exceptional!  Her writing is superior, better than most of today’s well known [authors] and of equal caliber as [writers] like Stephen King and John Grisham.  With a writing style that is unique and masterful, her descriptive writing is flawless.  Lori captivated me with her opening paragraph.  No, her first sentence actually hooked me. . . . Take a bow Lori R. Lopez, you are an incredible author!”

(Review of HEARTBEAT)
Quinn Cullen
Amazon; Goodreads Review

“Favorite zombie book:  The best zombie story I’ve read so far.  I love how the author wrote the main character’s voice.  He was fun to read.  He is a zombie protector with a group of his friends.  Something has happened to his mother’s boyfriend and he was left with two choices:  kill zombies or protect his mother.  It was a wild and fun read.  It was a quick read too.  Highly recommended to everyone to check this out.  I most certainly want to keep reading anything Lori R. Lopez had written.”

(Review of HEARTBEAT)
Sean
HEARTS ON FIRE; Goodreads Review

“Once again, Ms. Lopez has caught me in her web and drawn me into suspension of disbelief.  This time she only took one paragraph to do it.  To say Ms. Lopez has talent would be an understatement.  She takes ordinary words and turns them into extraordinary stories.

 

The world has gone mad.  The zombies have taken to the streets and are now the majority.  But all will be well if only the government would take on the care and feeding of them.  After all they are, or were, citizens, aren’t they?  Into the chasm of neglect come the self described geeks.  Zombies have been around their entire lives.  There is nothing new here.  But feeding them?  Now that takes genius.  But even the best laid plans can go awry and when your mother is at risk the game changes.  I am not going to say anymore since I don’t want to ruin the story.”

(Review of HEARTBEAT)
Karen Bryant Doering
PARENTS’ LITTLE BLACK BOOK; Smashwords and Amazon Reviews

“I liked HEARTBEAT.  A plague has fallen on earth.  Zombies are roaming the streets.  Not everyone is affected.  People are learning to live with their new reality.  Kids are still kids – curious, adaptive, funny, cute, and very, very protective of their moms.  This story will tug at your heartstrings while scaring your pants off.”

(Review of HEARTBEAT)
Geri Small Graham
Barnes & Noble, Smashwords Reviews

“Both sad, funny and horrific this little tale packs a potent punch.
From visions of Zombie Elvis hunters to a strange, horrifying future… but at least chocolate remains a priority!
Lori has such a blunt way of stating the horrors that you need to read the sentence twice to make sure you read it correctly, then the real horror hits you… not in the gore-fest but the possible truth.
[A]gain, Lori, manages to astound me with little phrases that no American should know! and excites me with a new descriptive word that I need to dash off and look up!”

(Review of HEARTBEAT)
Vix Kirkpatrick
THE FLUFFY RED FOX REVIEWS; Amazon U.K.

“This was my first Lori Lopez read and it will [definitely] not be my last!  Lori does a great job with her characters and “showing” me her scenes.  I loved the group of “geeks” who were out to save their part of the world from the all to common, zombie invasion.  A short story, but very well written and kept my attention to the very last word!  Highly recommended!”

(Review of HEARTBEAT)
Leslie Whitaker
Amazon and Goodreads Review

“Bittersweet:  This is a zombie tale with a difference.  Zombies are about but treated more like the homeless.  A group of kids try to ‘tame’ them by feeding them cadavers brains, so they won’t need to go hunting . . . an interesting take on the zombie genre.  Zombies have become the norm but are still more or less shunned by society, but there is a group of boys who ‘sympathise’ with them and their plight whilst still realising how dangerous they are.  . . .  It raises an interesting ethical question.  Is it OK to dispatch so long as it is someone you don’t know?  Beautifully written with great pathos.  I recommend this.”

(Review of HEARTBEAT)
Kim Tomsett-Fowler
WISTFULSKIMMIES BOOK REVIEWS; Amazon and Goodreads Reviews

About The Author & Artist


Lori R. Lopez prefers Dark Chocolates, preferably without centers that blink at her or wink.  Her mind was typically dwelling on Chocolate when she came up with the title and Title Poem for a book that kind of just happened, as things will if you let them or happen to not be looking while they do.

Perhaps I should start over and make more sense.  In Twenty Eleven she decided to put together a Horror Sampler out of stories from her first published book, Out-Of-Mind Experiences, and her first full horror collection, The Macabre Mind Of Lori R. Lopez, which was not yet published.  The Sampler Of Horror became her first E-book release, and it seemed that Firsts were piling up . . . filling her Sock and Handkerchief Drawers because her Spare Drawers were crammed with the notes she likes to scribble in the middle of the night on tiny pages to remind her of ideas and things.  Unfortunately, after stuffing these pages into a drawer she would usually forget to read them.  But that’s another topic entirely and I suggest you ignore it completely.

You may be wondering what kind of person would think of a title like Chocolate-Covered Eyes.  It’s a fair question.  The same kind of person who might describe her mental state as macabre.  The fact of the matter is that Lori’s brain was stolen by mischievous Elves or Gypsies when she was just a baby.  Okay, it wasn’t really.  Elves and Gypsies do not go around stealing people’s minds!  That is a vicious rumor.  It’s gravediggers and sidekick henchmen who steal brains, as you very well ought to know if you know anything about Horror!  And if you don’t, you are probably in the wrong book and should put it down immediately.  Well, now it’s too late.  I saw you reading it.  You were.  I saw you.

Lori’s brain was abducted for Scientific Research at the tender age of six months and replaced with a Hawaiian coconut.  This is why she can hear the sea if she tilts her ear a certain angle.  It’s why she can dance a pretty mean Hula, with or without a Hoop.  Or a safety net.  It is also the reason she hated wearing a Muumuu as a little girl and liked wearing shorts.  It is how she could stand on her head so well, any surface, even concrete or cement.  And why to this day she has intermittent cravings for dessert yet a terrible phobia involving Cream Pies in the face!

You are possibly wondering, too, what ever happened to Baby Lori’s lost mind.  She can only shrug in response.  Nobody knows, least of all her since she has a coconut for a brain.  Try thinking a clear thought with your faculties in shreds!

Now that you have been let in on the author’s little secret, please refrain from mentioning it to anyone else.  Especially all of your friends and relatives, and everyone you know.  Shhhhh!

Learn more about Lori R. Lopez.

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