A Note on “Reviews Revisited”

I have to restrain myself from re-reading older reviews sometimes, especially ones from before 2018. I’ve completely rewritten many of them, but the remnants are some sweet cringe. At least to me. Recently, I’ve been revisiting some of these books and I think I will start a new branch of book reviews on ones I’ve already covered, but may think differently about, or think they deserve a better (or worse) review upon another examination. I’ll list them as “Reviews Revisited”, so if you’ve seen the book on here before, you’ll know why. A lot of movie critics will do this, but books I feel take more of an effort to decide if you like it or not, or what it objectively deserves. They consume a lot more time to finish and have a more unusual set of nuances than film.

Not that it matters when you’re just writing reviews for fun, but it’s good to have some spores of integrity. People have worked hard on these, and though many of the authors whose work I’ve written about will never see it, several actually have, so I think on that off-chance, they deserve honesty. And anyway, it takes some effort to get a cruel review from me. It’s got to be some maggot-ridden dumpster fodder to get stamped with a one or zero-star rating.

I grade books a little bit differently from most reviewers, I believe. The Goodreads star system, for example, rates one-star as a standard “I didn’t like it”, but I personally consider two-star to be in that range for me. Two-stars or a low three is just an ordinary bad read for me. I didn’t like it but someone else could. It’s competent as a book, at least, if not enjoyable. One-star I reserve for books that are in some vein harmful, pure idiocy, bad pseudo-science, abusive, slandering, unreadable, poorly written, non-plotted pieces of smoldering, grade-F guano that should be left to rot, if they aren’t already being used as torture devices to get people to confess. It has to really suck, in other words. As far as I recall, only ten or twelve books have ever earned this place. I’ll get to those eventually, too.


Brief Update on Poetry Release Dates

There’s been somewhat of a delay in the publication of my first five poetry chapbooks. Not the first two, which are already out, but the latter three. Fortunately, all versions of the books are complete, there is simply a delay due to the copyright of some individual poems and cover art. The usual problems that crop up, you know. A few poems that were set to be published elsewhere, sadly weren’t able to come out, but that’s alright. Anyway, the next entry should be out in all formats by tomorrow, so be sure to check back and you’ll be able to get a digital copy for free! 😉

New release dates for the chapbook series:
#0 – Absolute Heaven – Published April 2019
#1 – Cosmic Love – Published April 2019
#2 – Blood Ballet – Out by May 17th
#3 – Infinite Summer – Out by May 25th
#4 – MHz – Out by June 3rd

Final News on Cosmic Love

I’ve tried really hard, however tempting it is, to never set explicit publication dates for upcoming publications, because I almost never meet my own deadline for one reason or another. I didn’t this time, either! I fully meant to publish Cosmic Love three days ago, but I’ve had to learn a new paint program and relearn formatting ePubs (which is grueling), so it was held up somewhat.

The good news is, the cover’s done other than adding the title text, so it ought to be out in all formats, worldwide, by the end of the month. The international edition is digital-only, but you can then get it for free in pretty much any country, and after that a paperback and Kindle version will be out in all regions on Amazon. Absolute Heaven will be out directly after it, but only in Kindle and paperback for now. It’s far too large for me to want to type out an ePub version right now.
You really don’t understand how horrible ePub formatting is if you’ve never survived it. I have nightmares about doing it under time constraints. The Kindle version was hard enough with that book’s tricky art and poem formats.

I’ve actually finished editing and typing out the next three in the series, so they should come out pretty cleanly and without delay in mid-May. I won’t be publishing anymore poetry in book form until later this year, so I’ll have time to focus on my fiction and school. Thank you guys so much for reading, liking and following my poetry on here, and the book reviews too. I appreciate it! 🙂

I think that when the first five books are all out in paperback, I’ll be doing a giveaway of the series through Goodreads. And by that, I mean through a Goodreads event because I’m not paying that ridiculously high giveaway fee when they don’t even pay for the shipping. So if you want, follow me on Goodreads to know when that is.

Some News on Upcoming Books

So, I’ve finally got somewhat of a clear idea on when all those books listed on the bookshelf are going to be published. Only took like six months, right!? It feels like it’s been 2019 for decades…

I’ll be doing an eBook giveaway on my entire body of work when the first three in the S.M. Shuford Poetry Collection are out, so be on the lookout if you want to get the whole lot for free. A rough schedule I’ve got mapped out for the time being. The first four books (not counting Absolute Heaven) will be free in their digital formats indefinitely. #5 might be free too, though #6 will cost a dollar. It was more of a challenge than the others, is the only reason. I don’t feel that’s outrageous.

#0 Absolute Heaven – A version of this is already out on Amazon, but a newer one with slight cosmetic and editing changes will be out around April 15-April 20.
#1 Cosmic Love – The old version, which is just haiku and the initial introduction, will be compiled in Absolute Heaven. It’s also in the archives of this blog, as I’ve noted before. The new version, a more realized book, will come out in ePub, Kindle and print sometime around April 16-May 1, around the same time as AH.
#2-#4 – These will probably be finished about April 21-May 5, but may not come out until later in May because poems in them might be featured in other publications first.
#5-#6 – #6 is more or less finished now, but again, there is a wait time, and #5 has to come out first, so these will be out between June and August.
#7-#12 – No idea. These are basically on concept levels only right now. There might be a #13 if I feel like writing it by then.

In other news, I have a traditionally published book of poems and one of short stories coming out in 2020, as well as two novels. But I’m not going to hype those up until their time. There’s not much point right now.

Upcoming Reviews & Books

I’ve been working more on professional book reviews for Realistic Poetry International than the ones I do for pleasure lately. (They are amazing people to work with, by the way, and very welcoming towards indie creators – something truly valuable given the current state of the publishing world!) I haven’t been in much of a spirit to write any reviews for books I’ve read. I don’t feel like there’s been much demand to necessitate rushing them out or anything. But, I’ve finally got a few of them stored up, so here are some to expect.

  •  Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman
  • No Place Like Oz by Danielle Paige
  • More Lovecraft Reviews, including The Colour Out of Space
  • The Mad and the Bad by Jean-Patrick Manchette

And a handful of others I haven’t decided on. But, since we’re on a roll with listing things, I have updated this blog’s bookshelf to include all thirteen entries in my upcoming poetry series. #0 through #4 are more or less finished, they only lack covers and well, being properly published. I have rough versions of #5 and #6, but are not sure of their titles or official content or genre. All of the entries fall into either contemporary or experimental poetry, that could be considered darker or lighter. Anyway, here is the upcoming list for those.

  • #0 – Absolute Heaven – A newer edition and paperback should arrive in April. There is a Kindle version on Amazon that won’t change much, save for a better cover.
  • #1 – Cosmic Love – In eBook formats around April 16th-21st, a print version slightly after.
  • #2 – Blood Ballet – Will likely come out around the same time in both formats.
  • #3 – Infinite Summer – Estimated publication April 16th-May 1st.
  • #4 – MHz – Estimated publication April 21st-May 8th.

Thoughts on a Poetry Series

I’ve been at odds with myself over what to do with these volumes of poetry that I seem to have amassed. The only complete, inerrant one at this point, out of like, eight or so compilations’ worth, is Loverboy. So I’m going to leave that one be, and when I re-release the chapbooks, I’m going to restart them as a series! Just, it’s so much easier! And they’ll be very collectible with matching covers, inspired by the NYRB Classics (whose covers I love – and are mostly made from classic paintings). It’ll be lovely. Or well, lovely in their gruesome way.

I mostly want to gain credit and legitimacy as a self-published author with this collection, even though I will be trying for traditional publishing for certain other works if I can. But poetry I feel should be lending-friendly. It’s like music, it ought to be available to anyone who can benefit from it. It’s not quite the same as novels, and vital in a different way. Am I repeating myself?
Well, anyway, there’s going to be about twelve books + a rerelease of Absolute Heaven as a “book zero” of cut material and best-of poems. I know it’s likely not super-interesting to you before they’re released, but humor me. I like to throw ideas around. They’ll all have different themes, some dark, some not. One in particular warrants a legitimate trigger warning, and I don’t give those out lightly.

I’ll be releasing them randomly, in little sprinkles of beauty throughout the next two years in-between working on larger projects. I want to get into fiction full-time so badly, but poetry just happens! You can’t stop it! So something ought to be done with it all, in any case!

Some Unexpected Progress

Some fortunate news at last! The four chapbooks I’ve been talking about and revamping are currently being primed for publication! To my own surprise after the fact, I was hit with a sudden surge of productivity last week and wrote all four of them from Tuesday to Friday morning. This work needs to be edited, obviously, but barring the completion of illustrations and covers, they’re pretty much done. I expected that to eat up at least another three weeks. The only solution to feeling incredibly tired with having nothing done by the end of the day, apparently, is to do EVERYTHING in a few days.

That being said, I am rather proud of this incarnation. They are cleaner, richer and more resembling legitimate poetry compilations rather than some blog freebies. I ought to get news back soon of a much darker series of poems in the works and when it might be published as well. I don’t want to talk about that one yet, but I genuinely think it was the darkest thing I have or ever will write, and honestly never expected something like that to get picked up for publication.

Cosmic Love, MHz, Blood Ballet and Infinite Summer will return sometime between April 5th and April 25th. They’re going to be free in all eBook formats, but might also be in paperback if they add up to at least 50 pages apiece. I’d rather offer much of my poetry for free, as that’s kind of the nature poetry has always had. It opens it to more readers. I guess the larger ones or ones I’m not in charge of pricing will still cost something, but it’s something I post pretty much every week publicly, so I don’t see the point for the smaller ones. Anyway, I hope you love them and it’s something you anticipate, I promise they far outdo the first (which are still posted back in the archives starting here if you’re curious).

Loss and Returning to Blogging

There’s been a very brief span of dead air over the past two weeks. I realize I didn’t get around to some things I had promised, but I have recently had to trudge through a painful tragedy. These days have been one drawn-out night that will not pass into morning for me. It’s not really something that would be cathartic to discuss or that I’m prepared to discuss publicly – it was an absolutely horrible loss of somebody that I’ve known all of my life. To cope, and this may be the only remote positive that could’ve come out of it, I will be writing a lot more. More than my usual obsession with it compels me to. So, starting this Monday, I’ll likely be posting daily for a long while. I have some articles on writing tropes, a couple of poems, and some mixed-genre reviews in no particular fashion or order.

Unfortunately, given the circumstances, I’ve found a wealth of time for reading. But at a cost that was certainly not worth that. I do look forward to the next month or two at least, and I ought to know soon when I’ll have some more books out, so that will be something pleasant, at least. A series of reviews on the H. P. Lovecraft catalogue is coming up on the horizon throughout the rest of spring, which should be… a colourful ride. A colour out of space, you might even name it.

I should just tell you now that I hate early spring, and thought it fitting to focus on an author whose primary settings are flooded, moldy semi-sentient swamplands, which is the image I automatically get in my head when I think of the first half of spring. Others may see in pink and blue, but I see in grey and green, and not pretty shades of them either.

Bookshelf and Review Update

Just your run-of-the-mill improvements. I’ve renovated the bookshelf on here to include most of the self-published books I’ve written or that are coming out within the next year. I am less certain about ones that may be traditionally published, so they are not listed. Loverboy and the Kindle edition of Absolute Heaven are the only ones out right now. The reason AH doesn’t have a paperback is because I didn’t like the cover and the art will have to be re-scanned to a sharper quality specifically for that. At least if I want it to look good, it will.

Anyway, the reviews I wanted to do for Women in Horror, I really got bored with both of those books so I’ll be doing reviews for two different ones. It was going to be Thicker Than Blood and Alice in Zombieland, but now it will be Rebecca, Dolly by Susan Hill, and The Unfleshed by Lisa Vasquez. I have been extremely busy writing my own work, and was ill-prepared for a theme this month. No real blood lost, I guess.
Some other reviews coming up soon are Leontyne Price: Voice of a Century, and No Place Like Oz by Danielle Page, so stay tuned for those.

Upcoming Reviews and Art

I realize I’ve strayed a bit from reviews lately. I haven’t had and suspect I won’t have much time to read for awhile. I’ve been sprucing up some older ones to bring them up to quality and finish some NetGalley ARCs and abandoned reviews, but it’s not my highest priority in the face of larger projects, so maybe if you’re here for the reviews you’ll forgive me. 😉
It may look otherwise but I’m not actually that fast of a reader, I prefer to spend time with a book and take my time dissecting it. Piecing together a book of my own has really been my focus, so it’s been easier on me to post poetry and little articles.

February will bring a few more reviews, specifically for the events Women in Horror, and Black History Month, which both begin February 1st. There may be some unrelated books scattered in, but the main focus will be on darker fiction by women authors and books by African-American authors.

I am becoming more active on Twitter and DeviantArt after being dormant on most of my social media due to finally recovering from a long, drawn-out illness that kept me from wanting to bother. What else is there to do, really? I will also be redoing the gallery here. Eventually.
You can follow me on Twitter, if you want, though I can’t post some drawings there due to their content, so those will have to be on DA. I become very strange on Twitter though. Fair warning.
I will also be revealing an ambitious project, Haunt Me To Sleep, on there, which is a combination ghost story, poetry and horror fiction compilation, along with some other future shenanigans you might enjoy. It’s on Goodreads, too.

I never announced it formally, but horror-fantasy monstrosity Absolute Heaven has been available on Kindle for awhile. It had some mild problems that I haven’t been well enough to deal with, I don’t know if and when it will come to paperback. The Kindle version looks fine, though. For some reason, it’s never shown up on my author page. Absolute Heaven’s nature as a B-side to Loverboy has caused me never to warm to it, though I think it turned out quite solid if you enjoy experimental, fantastical and dark poetry. It’s only like 2 bucks for a lot of poems, so if you want, check it out. A fellow author wrote a very wonderful review for it that is worth reading if you might be interested.


Crawling Out of the Crater Into 2019

2018, what were you, exactly? Were you the pit or the pendulum? A little of both perhaps? Just a skim against the axe’s edge, but still not as bad as it… could’ve been?
Ah well. There will always be another year for redemption.

Firstly, thank you all for reading my little book blog. This month was its one-year anniversary and I never expected it to do so well. In my spare time, I’ll be revamping it to look cleaner and include a good bookshelf for my finished works.
I have gotten rather unfocused with book reviews due to the poetry books I’ve been trying to perfect and release. Loverboy and Absolute Heaven are both finally out on Kindle if you want a copy. The paperback for Loverboy is available but AH‘s will need a bit of touch-up, as it’s kind of massive for what it is.
You’ll have to be patient with my independent book releases. I have a sensory disorder and other unrelated ghastly stuff tends to happen around publishing time, and it’s only me working on it. Better for the books to come out later than I want than come out incomplete, no?

Anyway, I’ve got so, so much planned for 2019. I have remixed versions of my four chapbooks, two separate poetry compilations (one of which may get traditionally published – yay!), and three rather intriguing fiction works.
I found the chapbooks extremely excrutiating to read in their raw forms, but I never really… received any negative feedback at all? There was like, one or two bad ratings somewhere, I think? So maybe it’s just my perfectionism, I don’t know. The horror ones I definitely found more stupid than the romantic ones, but guess which ones were more popular? Continue reading “Crawling Out of the Crater Into 2019”

Horror Month and Brief Hiatus

I haven’t been in the best of health lately, hence the (comparatively) measly amount of posts I’ve made this month and August. I’m afraid I just haven’t the time, not with illness and the books I have to publish later this year.

However, there is some extremely good news! Besides the publication of my first book around Halloween (Oct. 31st), I have a load of spooky reviews from the depths of nightmare for October. I may schedule them later this week, as my time may be scarce, but there are a ton of very interesting books in store. 🙂 I really appreciate all who have been reading this little blog, it’s not much but I love to create it.

-S. M., September 2018

Dead Air

Hello all! I apologize for the dead air recently. I’ve got a plethora of reviews in store that just need to be cleaned up and published, hopefully starting tomorrow (we’ll see…), but my books and art have monopolized my time, so most of my social media and blogging has been kind of lackluster. It’s a bit overwhelming to me to keep up with them. Come the dying months of 2018, I am completely redoing my galleries and moving it to Tumblr as well. No art I’ve posted is new, it’s all quite old and not very impressive in its current state, even if you like what’s there.

I have four books coming out between October of this year and May of 2019. Fun but not fun, you know. There is a hell of a lot of work involved because they are independent. Two are poetry, one is a concept mix that includes poetry, prose and short stories, and the final is a novel. All are a blend of horror, dark fantasy and romance to different degrees.

October 2018 – Loverboy
November 2018 – Absolute Heaven
January-Feb. 2019 – Haunt Me to Sleep
Spring 2019 – Untitled Horror Novel

-S. M., August 2018

Brief Request Hiatus [July 4-October 1]

Due to personal issues, backlogs and writing-related deadlines, I’m afraid that I’ll be taking a brief hiatus from individual book requests through Blood Red Velvet. It began July 4th and will probably end around the 1st of October. Requests made before July 4th as well as review trades from Goodreads will still be considered and / or accepted as usual, of course, and I will still reply to ones made after if there were any, but unfortunately I can’t accept any new ones until October. My apologies, I love to read new books and am flattered to get requests, it’s just that I have an extreme amount of work ahead of me, and I’m afraid I don’t have enough time to give them the full attention they deserve. Thanks for understanding.

-S. M., July 2018

Cancellation and Review Copies of Poetry

So there’s good and bad news. The bad news is that I’ve decided not to publish the last of my haiku books, Medical Heaven, individually. I honestly have no drive to do this, despite the fact that the previous ones got a surprisingly large number of downloads and views. I’ll still finish the original cover art, but it’ll just be a singular painting.

The good news, however, is that come late July-early August, I’ll be giving away review copies of two poetry collections of mine – Absolute Heaven and Loverboy. The first is an experimental (and massive) compilation including all 10 haiku books and 30+ traditional poems, and Loverboy is a standard collection of “romantic-grotesque” poems. I recommend both for older teens and adults due to dark and sensitive content – including topics of violence, trauma and mental illness. There is little-to-no explicit language, however.

They are early copies and may be missing some material, especially as several poems out of Loverboy may appear in other publications before it comes out. It won’t be anything that effects the book as a whole.

I’m not positive on the final publication date of either – I’m aiming for late 2018 at the earliest, but if you’re a reviewer interested in a free book, now is your chance to sign up for one. There are still about 40 or so copies left. Just let me know, either on Goodreads or in the comments. 🙂

-S. M., June 2018

The Velvet Needs Resewing and Reupholstering

A brief update just so you know why if the site looks odd in the next month. This is nothing invasive or major, and shouldn’t disrupt the blog’s usual posts, but I’m sprucing up and redoing the design on all of my sites. The gallery needs a complete renewal, as none of the artwork there is less than several months old, and just so many other things need doing. I was also hoping to start up a slightly wider variety of artistic posts – encompassing films and video games into the arena as well, at least to a degree.

My donations pages are also getting a makeover, as they are not exactly inspiring, but then again I don’t really promote them heavily either. They are here at Patreon and here at Ko-fi if you want to take a peek. Donating to these will help me afford more space on the site for fuller reviews with photographs as well as artwork, so please consider it if you can. 🙂

The remainder of my NetGalley reviews will be up throughout June, a variety of mostly horror, poetry and mystery books with a few graphic novels and fantasy books mixed in. I’m taking a short break from NetGalley other than extremely short books I may apply for.

Also, if you like haiku, the second-to-last compilation, MHz, will be here in roughly a week. Later this year, all of my haiku, partly finished poems and older poems are getting their own massive collection, fully illustrated! It will act as a sort of B-side for a main compilation that’s coming out as well, but I shan’t say too much… 😉

Brief Update on Art and Art Books

A Jack, or should I say Jane?, of all trades, I have multiple cakes scorching in multiple stoves right now, an important one of which is improving this blog. I don’t think it’s terrible by any means, but anything can be further perfected upon, and this needs a new wardrobe rather desperately. A major point I feel has suffered neglect is all of the art portion of the site – including art books, which like the rest of my reviews are getting a makeover to make them more engaging and just slightly more elaborate. Starting with the next art book review, ones I own will get inside photographs.

As for my own art, rather than just showing the picture in a batch or snippet, I’ve thought of writing a short article to accompany each, also with the goal of making this a far more engaging blog for multiple creative interests. Some of my ruminating lunacy may actually inspire someone, somewhere. Oh, and as a side, as of today (April 16th), I now sell prints on my DeviantArt page, mostly limited to tinted / coloured pieces but if the ink-only ones are popular enough I may add them.

Visit my art gallery on DeviantArt.

Infinite Summer, Friday the 13th, and Donations Launch (What a Mess)



I am mildly joyed (not over-joyed) to announce Infinite Summer, another free eBook gleaned from the depths of my psyche and put on the chopping block, to be cleaned up and published somewhat later this April. The rough line-art for the cover is above, courtesy of myself. I almost rejected that drawing, actually, as I had a more appropriate one in mind but ran out of time.

Anyway, Infinite Summer is softer yet more sorrowful than my previous ones, but I think better since it’s far more recent. I have a massive backlog of these tiny books which I hope to print myself as two omnibuses perhaps next year or around Christmas (if I’m lucky), but since they are so small and really have their own characters (plus I have fun creating the cover art) I wanted to print them all individually.

Which brings me to my next point… unfortunately, I have a few issues which prevent me from working a lot of the time, which are medical, not easy repaired and actually effect my work negatively, so sadly it’s become pretty difficult to balance reviewing, writing, art and blogging along with studies. So I’ve decided to set up both a Patreon and a Ko-Fi (Buy Me a Coffee) page for all who wish to help me out. If you can’t or don’t necessarily want to, which is okay, please consider sharing this page on any social media you prefer. It’s newborn and needs a bit of working out, so I need any help I can get here.

I mentioned these yesterday but thought I should “officially” announce it. Patreon is for long-term or consistent donations, whereas Ko-Fi is for single, small donations.

Join my Patreon page! or Buy Me a Coffee!

100% of any funds donated to my Patreon or Ko-Fi pages goes towards improving this blog, books to review and fixing the issues which cause strain to my artwork, that make what I am passionate about a source of pain. Long-term Patrons may get the chance to win free goodies if it is successful, even if you don’t partake in the tiers.

Murder, Melancholy and Mystique – More NetGalley Picks and Books for Summer / Late Spring

Ah, NetGalley, you blatant sadist. Every time I think I’ve gotten my review backlog to under fifty books, here you come dangling more enticing literature in front of me. Anyway, I’ve been mostly consumed with an attempt at writing a novel and trying to churn out another free book before the month’s end, so unfortunately I still have a large amount of books I own and books generously approved to me by the Galley left to review. However, they will all eventually make it on here in the next few months, including these freshly-picked beauties listed below. This batch includes the mystical intrigue of poetry and romance, juxtaposed alongside the griminess of horror and thriller.

❤️NEW❤️ – My new Patreon page – please consider becoming a Patron or sharing this page on any social media – 100% goes towards improving this blog and all of my work. I can’t promise any large-scale rewards, however Patrons get first notice of all work beforehand and the chance at free advance copies of anything I publish, and if it’s successful will be personally thanked and featured right here on BRV. If you would like to donate but not long-term, I also have a Buy Me a Coffee page. These are brand-new and still in the touching-up phase, so you’ll have to forgive their looks.

Recent NetGalley Approvals

Other Books to Be Featured Soon

  • “The Paying Guests” – Sarah Waters (Historical Fiction / LGBT)
  • “Tipping the Velvet” – Sarah Waters (Historical Fiction / LGBT)
  • “The Sisterhood” – Florence Stevenson (Retro Horror Review)
  • “The Legacy” – Jere Cunningham (Retro Horror Review)
  • “Chasing the Omega” – Jessica Edwards (Independent / Fantasy YA)
  • “The Day is Ready For You” – Alison Malee (Poetry)
  • “Trolls in the Attic” – Joanie K. Findle (Fantasy YA / Short Stories)
  • “California’s Deadly Women” – Michael Thomas Barry (Nonfiction / Crime)
  • Several new artbook reviews with included photographs, of varying genres.

Formatting Fix and New Intro For Last Month’s Free eBook

My apologies to those who downloaded the later ePub version of Cosmic Love between April 1st and April 5th, something went… bizarre with the conversion and it ended up legible, but mangled and difficult to decipher, especially the added introduction. Anyway, as far as I can tell with my own device, it’s fixed and looks normal now.

I have to say, I absolutely detest with my soul Smashwords’ eBook conversion method. I’ve seen a few books mauled into digital hell other than my own, and whereas the ePub versions tend to get “cramped” looking, to fix it causes harm to the PDF version’s looks. It’s a labyrinth of formatting murder. Nonetheless, a new version with a neat introduction exclusive to the eBook and decent formatting is available here:


  If you recognize any errors in my eBooks that need to be bandaged and healed, please let me know in a comment or on my Goodreads page. Thanks. 🙂