Reviews

For Paper Tigers

“With Paper Tigers Walters gives us a truly unique look at the haunted house story. …deeply emotional and beautifully poetic.”
++++Jonathan Reitan, Cemetery Dance

“Thoroughly original, thought-provoking, and lingering in the mind long after the last page is turned.”
++++Bob Pastorella, This is Horror

“This isn’t just a great novel – it’s one of the best horror novels in recent memory.”
++++Josh Black, Hellnotes

“Paper Tigers is Gothic, in the classic sense: ghosts; a haunted house; a devious, mysterious man; recurring pasts; wavering boundaries between this world and another; and raging danger within one’s deepest desires. Walters plays interestingly with these genre conventions and adds a few horror flashes near the end, but I’ll leave her finest fireworks for the reader to discover.”
++++Schuy R. Weishaar, Cultured Vultures

“More than a horror novel, more than a haunted house novel, this is a novel of survival. A novel filled with real trauma. A novel of someone pushed to the brink of existence, broken and lost. This is a novel filled to the brim with the absence of the things we take for granted in our every day lives: our sanity, our immersion into the world, our lives filled with the love of others, but mostly our self-love.”
++++Christopher Novas, Penboys Review

“It’s a gripping, melancholic novel…one of the most transcendent achievements in prose I’ve had the privilege to read this year.”
++++Benoit Lelievre, Dead End Follies

“An atmospheric and eerie ghost story with psychological undertones that make this a satisfying horror story on several levels.”
++++Tammy Sparks, Books, Bones & Buffy

Paper Tigers is a gorgeous tapestry of pain from an author who specializes in just such intricate needlework. It’s about suffering, and wholeness, fear, longing, insecurity, self-loathing, and the prices we’d pay to get back what we lost.”
++++Christine Morgan, The Horror Fiction Review

“It’s a smartly dark, deftly crafted journey into the depths of damaged humanity.”
++++ Brent R. Oliver, Dread Central

“A beautifully written, chilling haunted house story that is both about the ghosts we create, give life to, and cling to, and the supernatural ones that may find us and use our internal ghosts against us if we are so unlucky.”
++++Audra Figgins, Shelf Stalker

For Sing Me Your Scars

“Love, loss, and the mutable, yet ineluctable, truth of identity are the bedrock, the steely spine of Sing Me Your Scars. The stories comprise a mirror, shattered to 20-odd bits and reassembled and bound within a frame. Each jagged sliver reflects some distortion of the viewer, each shard bends and traps light and pierces the eye, perhaps the soul, with an isolated wound, but step back and back and a kaleidoscopic effect takes hold. Behold a powerful, important statement writ in the weird.”
++++Laird Barron, Locus Magazine

“Like the best horror fiction, this collection is at once subversive and invested in the peculiar delights of the genre. The result is a full-body experience, packed with gasps and shivers, pulse-pounding jolts and moments of intense instinctive recoil — shocking, yes, but completely enthralling and oddly uplifting as well.”
++++Helen Marshall, The Los Angeles Review of Books

“I don’t know how it all works, but it does. The paper has to run out somewhere. And then the truth begins. Each mnemonic page a piece left behind to regather.”
++++Des Lewis, Real-Time Reviews

“I’ve read some wonderful pieces of fiction over the years, hundreds and hundreds of fantastic stories that I’ve loved in their own way. But this is something special, something just at a level above all that.”
++++Paul M. Feeney, Ginger Nuts of Horror

“I haven’t felt this way about a collection of short stories since I read Thomas Ligotti’s Songs of a Dead Dreamer. Walters’s collection of short stories is haunting, creepy, and beautiful. The author makes mundane terrors seems otherworldly, and the otherworldly seems strangely familiar.”
++++The Dunwich Review

“…creepy, weird, heartbreaking, and lovely.”
++++Sarah Richardson, Women Write About Comics

“There are two writers I hold in extremely high regard and am happy to call my favourites: Poppy Z Brite and Neil Gaiman. I have read and loved short story collections by both these authors and I would happily shelve Sing Me Your Scars right alongside Wormwood and Fragile Things. Like Brite, …Walters brings beauty to the grotesque with devastatingly exquisite images of both the brutal and macabre. This is a skill I envy as an author and am definitely going to be rereading passages from Sing Me Your Scars as I have reread passages from Lost Souls and Wormwood. Like Gaiman, Walters weaves subtle magic through her stories, sometimes tantalizing with a mere mention of the bizarre while the story remains firmly rooted in the real. Other times, Walters creates a lush fantasy world in which the reader becomes quickly immersed despite the limited word count of these stories. I am in awe of this author’s ability to achieve so much in so few words.”
++++Suzanne van Rooyen, South African Speculative Fiction Review

“If you have not read any of Walters’ work then this collection of short stories is an excellent place to start. Even if you have read some of the stories in other publications, it is worth getting this collection for the eight new stories. ‘Sing Me Your Scars’ by itself is reason enough to part with some money and treat yourself.”
++++Andy Whitaker, SFCrowsnest

“This is the important thing about speculative fiction that Damien most assuredly gets: Sometimes we need those monsters as metaphors because some truths are too ugly and hurt far too much to approach head on. Especially when those truths are about ourselves… From a pure enjoyment perspective, there are few that rival Damien’s style. I will not be the first to talk of how lyrical her prose can be, but I haven’t heard many mention how unobtrusively so it is. It flows easy, like a song, but dammit if she doesn’t manage to pull off the trick of not allowing the wording to distract us from the tale. The images are strong and memorable and the stories are tight…”
++++Anton Cancre, Eviscerating Pen

“I can easily describe this book with one simple word… stunning. But even that one word does not completely do justice to this haunting and beautiful prose that plunges headlong into the deepest hurt of the physical and emotional. It is truly a book that will stay with you long after you’ve read the last page of the last story.”
++++Cynthia Griffin, A Writer’s Wings

“…Sing Me My Scars by Damien Angelica Walters is a sharp treatise on the subject of human pain, in all its forms, and what comes after. Underlying the physical torments endured by Walters’ protagonists are believable emotional horrors with which most readers will relate. Realistic tragedies – loss of love, proxy wars in a messy divorce, parental disinterest, the loss of a relative to Alzheimer’s – are placed side-by-side with more bizarre tribulations, such as the gradual vanishing of a lover’s body, impossible anatomical experimentations, and Inquisitorial ordeals inflicted on wielders of magic.”
++++Christopher Burke, Weird Fiction Review

“Walters’ collection surpassed my expectations in a big way. Each one was strange and unique and unsettling, sad and beautiful and horrible, all those things rolled into sharp, compact observances of pain and loss. Walters takes ideas we’re familiar with—like a dying man who is afraid his wife won’t remember him when he’s gone—and makes them unfamiliar by adding weird twists. Her stories drip with suffering, mostly by women, but each character learns and grows stronger by the end of it.”
++++Tammy Sparks, Books, Bones & Buffy

Sing Me Your Scars is a gripping collection of short stories that provides a number of deeply-felt chills without relying on the crutches of common horror clichés and tropes. …Damien Angelica Walters focuses less on the boogeymen in the shadows and more on inner demons like doubt, insecurity, and dependance. Don’t get me wrong – this is no mundane collection of inner monologues; we’ve got a snake-headed woman you might recognize from Mythology 101, and a robot model of Henry VIII that lives with a stripper, and women who can sing buildings into existence, and many more such wondrous creations. But every single story, no matter how outlandish the window dressing may seem, is grounded in the very real foibles and frailties of human existence. …Walters is a writer that seems prepared to be around for the long haul, and horror fiction as a whole is likely to benefit greatly from her talents.”
++++Blu Gilliand, The October Country

For Short Fiction

“This story was the most emotionally wearing of the collection, leaving the wind knocked from your body, trying to muster enough air to ask: what if?”
++++Matt Micheli for This is Horror on “On the Other Side of the Door, Everything Changes”

“She excels in the depiction of fraught relationships and forms of psychological horror.”
++++Laird Barron in Locus Magazine on “Black Stars on Canvas, a Reproduction in Acrylic”

“A surreal tone here, beginning with the story’s title, which derives from a saying that means, in essence, ‘It’s a mess, but it’s not my problem.’  The author has brought it to life and literalized it in this tale, yet for the elephant, the problems of all the circus denizens are its own problems as well. Except for the monkeys. Nobody cares about the monkeys. Yet the story also reminds us that a circus, so often a symbol of fun and enjoyment, can be a dismal place behind the scenes, and based on abuse, as the elephant bears witness to.”
++++Lois Tilton of Locus Magazine on “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys: The Elephant’s Tale”

“…a fascinating, disturbing and well written story about a woman who is a monster’s consort. The ending of this story is brilliant and will impress readers.”
++++Rising Shadow on “Tooth, Tongue, and Claw”

“‘Sing Me Your Scars‘ first appeared in a collection by the same name which Apex Publications published in March 2015. This is a straight horror story and a fiendishly successful one at that. A scientist creates a living creature from dead human parts a la Dr. Frankenstein. The horrific switch is that each part that is sewn together contains the person’s personality, or soul, so that six humans live in one body. And the doctor is about to replace a part of the body that contains one of the personalities. It’s an eerie nineteenth century setting with the monster as our protagonist with a darker monster that preys on her. This is an excellent dark horror story, creating an aura concisely and maintaining it well.”
++++Tangent Online

“Raw emotion, powerful imagery and a deep sense of loneliness, hurt and strength pervade the story of Olivia, a performance artist with a unique canvas – herself. Born with the rare genetic disorder of being unable to register physical pain, she transfers the emotional pain of her young years into the creation of various self-mutilating artistic installations. As the story flips between past and present, we get a sense of why Olivia does this and how deeply someone who feels nothing on their nerve endings can still be hurt. I utterly loved this piece, it blew me away, so much so, that it inspired me to seek out Damien’s collection, Sing Me Your Scars. Wonderful, heart-rending stuff, the real deal.”
++++Ginger Nuts of Horror on “Girl, With Coin”

Maybe we only wish fiction was stranger than truth, and an escapism. Sometimes fiction wakes us up. This powerful tale is highly recommended.”
++++Jaffalogue on “The Floating Girls: A Documentary”

Wow. Damien Angelica Walters, with ‘The Floating Girls: A Documentary,’ has crafted one of the most powerful stories I have read in recent memory. I wasn’t very far into it before I discovered what it was really about, but that made it even stronger for me. Every word became an identifier—a tell—that reinforced and expanded the underlying theme. The story alternates between flashbacks to childhood (of the documentary’s creator, I can only assume) and the research and interviews related to the day 300,000 young girls simply floated away, never to be seen again. It was a world-wide phenomenon, and one that was quickly covered up. I won’t delve further into the plot than this, as the reader must discover for themselves the meaning. This piece is both beautiful in its ethereal qualities, and horrible in its foundation. I had a hard time classifying this story, though. It starts out reading like soft sf, or possibly fantasy, but ends up neither. This one should be read in groups, and then discussed. Highly recommended.”
++++Tangent Online

“…Damien Angelica Walters’s [work is] lovely and haunting.”
++++Publishers Weekly on “Glass Boxes and Clockwork Gods”

“It was real and gritty, and the more I read, the more the narrator’s experience pained me because it was written so realistically.”
++++Modern Equality on “The Serial Killer’s Astronaut Daughter”

“The most arresting story in the anthology comes from Damien Angelica Walters. ‘U is for Umbrella‘ is both the most fitting piece for the genre and the best example of how to utilise it. Following a mother and her daughter during the last fourteen days before a meteor hits Earth, Walters manages to capture both the humanity of the situation – normal people coping with despair – and the heroism that emerges when faced with adversity. There are no other people in the story apart from a silent neighbour and his dog, and the story take place almost entirely in the same two or three rooms of their house. Using this reduced setting, Walters perfectly shows the hopelessness of an entire world.”
++++Sabotage Reviews

“‘Shall I Whisper to You of Moonlight, of Sorrow, of Pieces of Us?‘ by Damien Angelica Walters is a story every bit as good as its title. A moving tale of loss and grief, Walters gives the reader a ghost story as catharsis rather than horror.”
++++This is Horror