13 Drops of Blood - By James Roy Daley

When I started putting this collection together I figured everything would fall under a single, simple heading: horror. After all, I consider myself a horror writer at heart. Now, for those of you keeping score, I’m well aware that being labeled a ‘horror’ writer in today’s literary world is like being labeled a ‘porno’ director in the film world, but I, for one, don’t care. Horror is that thing I grew up on, that friend Mom says is a bad influence. Some of my earliest memories connected to the genre include me curled up in a ball, watching Jaws while my mother and father discussed whether or not I was old enough to be seeing such a thing. I remember being absolutely captivated by ‘Salem’s Lot late one evening, alone in my brother’s bedroom, the feeling of terror consuming me as Ben Mears and Mark Petrie made their into the basement of the Marsten house, weapons in hand, danger all around them. I could hear my family in the room below––safe, secure, acting as if everything was normal in the world. For me, it wasn’t. I had a pillow covering half my face, my knees were nailed to my chest, and my heart was pounding clean out of my body as the goosebumps on my arms tried to crawl from my skin and hide in the corner; I couldn’t believe the images on television could be so intolerably wrong. Who would create such a thing?

And I loved it. Oh boy, did I ever.

Strange, huh?

Well, maybe not for you. Maybe not to the people that figure reading a book called 13 Drops of Blood is a good way to go.

Horror. I can’t imagine myself hiding behind sub-labels such as Dark Fantasy, Dark Suspense, Visceral, Supernatural, Gothic, Noir, Dark Fiction, or my least favorite of all––at least when dealing with horror stories––Speculative Fiction. Ugh. This is where I shake my head.

For me, a horror writer hiding behind a label that’s currently more accepted by the tea-sippers is a writer embracing the art of selling the reader lies. And why? Marketing? Is that the reason? Or is it to appease some eccentric echelon of self-value, to demonstrate the arc of personal growth?

It’s sort of sad, really. Sad, unless of course, the writer in question believes the art falls under such a label. Then it’s a different thing: to each his own. But still, something doesn’t add up here. It’s disappointing to watch millions of people embrace horror on the big screen, knowing that if you crack open a book the same story will need to be toned down and slapped with a different label… a softer label.

What are you reading, honey?

Who me? Oh, I’m reading a fantastic Dark Suspense novel. It’s about this cannibal that owns a chainsaw store. He runs around town, chopping off people’s heads with the newest power tools. I think you’d like it. It’s called ‘Conscious Desires.’ What are you reading?

I’m reading a very interesting Speculative Fiction book called ‘The Passion.’ You should totally check it out. It’s about a guy that gets buried alive and ends up chewing on a corpse to survive. It reminds me of that Viscerally Gothic novel about the family that lived in the sewers for so long they mutated into werewolves. You know the one… ‘Irresistible Amour.’

That’s nice, dear. Sounds very literary.


I’m a horror man. I always have been, I suspect I always will be.

That being said, I did notice that the stories in this anthology didn’t exactly fall under the same category. Some were slanted one way while some were slanted another.

I considered pulling some of them from the book and putting together a different type of collection, one with an unfailing direction. I decided against it. The range of stories inside this book sits well with me.

A writer compiling a collection of stories is, in many ways, like a musician assembling an album. Sometimes the music on the album will have a consistent flow, and each track will touch the listener in a similar manner. Sometimes an album will take the listener on a journey; each song will be distinctly different than the one before it. Either way, there is no right or wrong. There is only the art form, the artist, and those that appreciate what has been offered. In the end, the artist puts together a collection that feels right. Everything past that is fodder for public scrutiny.

This collection is an excursion rooted in horror. It will take you, literate