by M.L.Roos

I have read a lot of books in the last two years. Well, I have always read a lot of books but in the past eighteen months I started tracking just how many I read. I am up to 623. There were a lot of good books and a few great ones. Fortunately only about a dozen or so were bad, really, really bad. This year I also joined the Horror Writers Association and with that honor I nominated a few great stories. Don’t know if they made it all the way through, but I guess we will find out in a few months. The only down side to this is books can only be nominated in the year they were published. That left out a lot of great books; books that people read a year or more after publication, or books that were written by authors unsure of the HWA and were not members. So I decided to publish my own list of great reads. 

All of these stories touched me in some way. Either the way the author used prose, the depth of characters, or the story. I only had a couple of rules; the story must be edited, no typos, grammatical, or punctual errors. I don’t care about style. If an author chooses to write about a character with a speech impediment, or accent, so be it. But to publish something that has numerous errors makes my teeth itch. If I get to chapter two and already have enough highlighted areas on the pages to make a black and white page look like it is printed on yellow paper, I toss it. Did that to about a dozen novels. Irritated the heck out of me. If you as an author, spend time and energy creating a story, spend some time or money or both, editing it. Please. 

Second rule was it had to make me think or engage me in a way to let me get lost in it. That brings me back to rule number one … if I am reading a story, I want to become lost. I want to wander down the trail of well-spun prose and sharp descriptives and I don’t want to trip over poor editing and fall on my face. 

That was it. Now the problem … I wanted a Top Ten List. I have 40 … so, since this is my list I took the liberty of separating the stories and books into categories, because I can. I have the Solstice Top Twelve, Short Stories and Long Fiction, Solstice Top Novels, Solstice Anthologies and Series.

On this list you will find a myriad of authors, writing styles and publishing dates. You will also find a variation on theme, voice, tone and style. One thing they all have in common though is brilliant writing, great storytelling and a way to stick in your mind. Keep in mind these tomes have not all been published in 2012. These are the stories I have read this year that I believe are top notch.

Best Short Stories and Longer Fiction

1. “Flesh & Blood” Jerry McKinney
2. “Tears of Love” Jerry McKinney
3. “Prison Planet” Billie Sue Mosiman
4. “Mourning Mansion” Billie Sue Mossiman
5. “The Girl” Bryan Hall
6. “Pisswidget” Franklin E Wales
7. “Mama Said” Lee Allen Howard
8. “Unleashed: Tail One” Lori R Lopez
9. “Feed” Jerry McKinney
10. “Frankenstein” Billie Sue Mosiman
11. “Labour Pains” David Tanner
12. “Severed Relations” Lee Allen Howard

Best Anthologies And Collections of 2012

1. Zippered Flesh: Tales of Body Enhancements Gone Bad Weldon Burge*
2. Dark Blessings John Paul Allen
3. Dead in the Trunk: A Short Story Collection Craig Saunders
4. Midnight Hour Neil Davies
5. World’s Collider: A Shared-World Anthology  Richard Salter
6. Nightsound: Terrors of the soul collection  Jerry McKinney

Best Novels 

1. Scars on the Face of God Chris Bauer
2. 100 Unfortunate Days Penelope Crowe**
3. Apparition Michaelbrent Collings**
4. Gifted Trust John Paul Allen***
5. Seven Point Star Craig Saunders
6. Requiem for Dead Flies Peter Dudar
7. Nightwhere John Everson*
8. Selection Event Wayne Wightman
9. Wishbone Brooklyn Hudson
10. Shining in Crimson Robert S Wilson
11. Don of the Living Dead Robert DeCouteau****
12. Critique Daniel I Russel**
13. Pressure Jeff Strand
14. The Vampire Club Scott Nicholson****
15. One Night Stan’s Greg Sisco****
16. Zomblog Todd Brown
17. The Plague Lisa Hinsley
18. Widow Billie Sue Mosiman
19. World Mart Leigh M Lane
20. Anon Pete Giglio

Series

1. Chronicles of the Vampire Hunters: Creation (Book 1) Judgement (Book 2) Extermination (Book 3) Dustin Palmer
2. Scrolls of the Dead Legions of the Dark, Rise of the Legen, and Hunter of the Dead  Billie Sue Mosiman

* Dark
** Disturbing
*** Dark and Disturbing
**** Hillarious

Do yourself a favor and read these books. Read all of them. If you are a writer, read them and see what makes these great. If you are a reader, read them for entertainment and pleasure. I know I will be reading them again and again and again…

About M.L. Roos

M.L. Roos lives in Winnipeg, Canada. She started writing horror at a very early age and has stuck with that genre ever since. She tried romance once, but it ended badly with the young couple trying to kiss and getting ensnared in the axes imbedded in their heads. Took an entire day to free them, then there was the mess. She is an avid reader, reviews horror for several sites, and is the creator of the annual The Solstice List: Best Horror Not to be Missed. She has been published in Death to the Brother's Grimm, Dead Harvest, Zippered Flesh and several of the Spinetingler magazines.

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