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Award-winning author Karen Wiesner is the founder of Jewels of the Quill, an award-winning group of authors in all genres banded together to promote their books. The group also does anthologies together. Woodcutter’s Grim Series—Classic Tales of Horror Retold is a compilation of the first two novellas in the series that Karen contributed to Jewels of the Quill anthologies, plus two bonus stories in the series never before published!
For the ten generations since the evil first came to Woodcutter’s Grim, the Guardians have sworn an oath to protect the town from the childhood horrors that lurk in the black woods. Without them, the town would be defenseless…and the terrors would escape to the world at large.
This autumn day in Woodcutter’s Grim could only be considered perfect. Chilly, Diane Anders-Jones decided, but still warm enough for just a shawl wrapped securely around the torso. Colorful leaves in bright yellow and orange, russet and red, drifted lazily toward the ground. They produced a satisfying crackle under her shoes that put her in mind of long walks in the woods and Halloween. Like the town itself, both were picturesque and terrifying prospects.
Crisp and clean air, pollution-free. Another benefit of living away from the city. I could never live anywhere else again. Never.
With the string encircling her wrist, she swung the velvet case that held her rosewood fife, and walked south toward home on the sidewalk along the quiet residential street. Smiling, she contentedly waved to those out raking leaves and others passively enjoying the ideal Fall day from a rocking chair on the porch.
Diane had grown up in this small town. She knew everyone and, for the most part, liked them all, and she believed they felt the same about her. They’d wordlessly forgiven her one private indiscretion that had, somehow and not surprisingly, become fodder for town gossip—when it was the only thing worth talking about for more months than she’d appreciated.
“Missus Jones!” a small girl playing on the sidewalk in front of one of the houses called. Tansy Newman rose and rushed to her. At four, Tansy was already looking forward to starting kindergarten next year. When the child grabbed her hand, Diane followed along obediently. “Come see my pit-sirs, Missus Jones!” Tansy exclaimed.
Tansy had drawn Halloween ghosts and goblins in chalk on the sidewalk in front of the house. Her mother Rachel had gone to school with Diane’s oldest brother. She’d gotten pregnant when she was only fourteen and just last year finally divorced her abusive husband. “Hi, Di. How was school today?”
“Good. Some kids out sick.” Diane served as the music teacher at Woodcutter’s Grim’s Reece Public School, which housed the elementary, middle and high schools in one large, sprawling building.
She crouched before the chalk art. “Tansy, these are lovely. Did you do them all by yourself?”
Diane looked up. The vigorously nodding little girl had a wide, nearly toothless smile. “And you’ve got the chalk to prove it,” Diane teased, wiping a bit of orange and black dust from her nose. She looked down at the pictures again. “You’ve making me eager for Halloween, Tansy. You’ve got ghosts, skeletons, pumpkins… What are those?”
“Rats,” Tansy said as if rats were a normal part of the holiday.
Diane glanced up at Rachel, who shook her head and said, “Don’t ask me.”
“Rats, huh?” Speaking of which, she hoped Kurt had caught the one that’d been making her allergic for the last few days…
Diane stood and tugged gently on Tansy’s braid. “You’re still coming to my Halloween bash, right?”
“Are you kidding?” Rachel said while Tansy jumped up and down in excitement. “It’s all the kids in Woodcutter’s talk about in October. Tansy and Van will be there.”
Van was Tansy’s brother, a freshman in high school. From preschoolers all the way up to high school, the kids in town attended Diane and her husband’s annual Halloween lock-in.
Diane continued down the street, only a few blocks from home now. Up ahead, on the opposite side of the road, she saw Maggie Moore getting her mail. Maggie turned, rounded with eight months of pregnant belly. She saw Diane and waved.
Diane crossed the street to her. “How’s Alvin? I didn’t see him in school today.”
Maggie nodded, looking a little worried and run-down. “He has a fever. No other symptoms, but the fever got pretty high this morning.”
“WOODCUTTER’S GRIM SERIES: CLASSIC TALES OF HORROR RETOLD by Karen Wiesner is a spooky read that will have you re-thinking classic fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, and The Pied Piper of Hamelin. I was instantly sucked into this book from page one and spent my whole afternoon engrossed in this scary tale. I would like to applaud Mrs. Wiesner for her graphic imagination that had her intertwine romance and horror around every corner.
One minute I was smiling because there was a bit of romance, then the next I was scared and had goose bumps! I hope she continues to write these types of stories because I would love to get my hands on another one of these books. I will recommend this book to everyone that I can.” A Dark Angel Recommended Read! Becky Gaede, Dark Angel Reviews
Dark Angel Reviews Recommended Read! "Welcome to Woodcutter's Grim, where your own horrors come to life and the evil ones follow the classic children's fairy tales, adding a little blood and death in the mix. The ancient Seven Guardians will do anything in their power to keep everyone in this little town alive, but when evil ups the ante will, it be enough to keep everyone safe? "Papa" is one wickedly twisted story that runs parallel with Hansel and Gretel, but it's ten times more exciting. I loved this story from beginning to ending. Rand and Amy are having one heck of a time with the death of Rand's kids and Amy is having a much harder time yet because she feels somewhat responsible for their deaths. I was so happy that they were able to work on their love and relationship, even when they were being chased by the evil. I also loved that Rand gets to play the hero. It makes the story that much better. I have to tell you, the horror elements in this story were both bone-chilling and exciting at the same time. I read page for page, as fast as I possible could. Ms. Wiesner knows how to mix horror and romance together so you are scared and yet happy that the couple is in love. Wow, "Blood of Amethyst" was a great blood-curdling story. We get to learn a little more about the wicked ways of the town known as Woodcutter's Grim and also the Guardians sworn to protect this little town. I once again was amaze at the depth of horror I felt when Ms. Wiesner described the wicked evil that lurked out in the woods. Rumpelstiltskin is the classic tale this one is based on and I will never forget the pictures that came to mind while I read this story. I loved how Gabe was so excited about his life with Amethyst and their new baby to be. The contract between the loving, caring man and the sheriff and guardian of the town was a great addition to the story. We get to see two great sides of the sexy man. "Dancing to the Grave" was a great love story with a twist of evil demise thrown in
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
No. of Pages: 358
Paper Weight (lb): 6.0
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