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When it Rains by [Mark Allan Gunnells, Crystal Lake Publishing]

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When it Rains Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 47 ratings

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From the Publisher

Editorial Reviews


★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "When It Rains is a dark look into humanity's responses during a crisis that will have you considering your own reactions to fear and the unknown. Whilst not a typical horror story, the novella's scary side lies within its realism..."—The Emerald Archer

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"In the "new normal" we're now experiencing, this story couldn't have come at a better time, and I truly can't recommend it enough."—John J. Questore

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
"By far, the best story to date by Mark Allan Gunnells!"—Paula Limbaugh

★ ★ ★ ★
"The human mind truly is the source of all horror, and Gunnells does a great job of exploring that in this well-paced novella."—Kurt Hohmann, Goodreads

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "
The story centres on a group of random people taking refuge in a café at the local University. This is a story of human reaction to an adverse situation; how normal people drastically change to situations out of their control."—Monkey Reviews

"When it Rains was entertaining company for a couple of hours which skilfully sidestepped most of the features you might expect to see in this type of fiction and instead keeps things nicely restrained and both character and emotional centred."Ginger Nuts of Horror

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "When it Rains
is a character-based novella with all the elements of a thriller. It's got a little science fiction at its roots, but like most of Mark Allan Gunnells' work, ultimately deals in humanity."—Dead Headspace

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "
This novella, reminiscent of an episode from the Twilight Zone, is a mysterious and addictive read, with a brilliant and surprising twist at the end!"—A Reader's Review

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "
What I love the most about this story is the characters. Everyone felt very realistic. Not everyone is likeable... just like real life. Everyone just felt so real, with honest different reactions to a crisis."—Creature from the Black Lagoon

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ "When It Rains
is an excellent reminder of the old adage about good things coming in small packages. Gunnells adroitly presents the central moral dilemma in such a way that the reader both understands and empathizes with the difficult consensus reached while simultaneously reviling those coming to said consensus. Insightfully, Gunnells shows us that humanity and inhumanity lie somewhere along a spectrum and that the sliding scale of our decisions is often fraught with moral ambiguity and lots of gray space in between the extremes."—Dark Scribe Magazine

From the Author

Back in early 2020, I was working on a queer coming of age novel called 
The Advantaged, as well as tinkering with a two-act play to amuse myself. Both projects were enjoyable but giving me problems. However, greater problems were just around the corner.

As you know, around March of that year the world changed. Even now, almost exactly two years later, it feels like a weird fever dream. Everything shut down, people were put out of work, toilet paper was impossible to find. In my lifetime, I had never seen anything like it.

And I'm not ashamed to admit, I was afraid. That fear grew exponentially when I was furloughed from my job. I work at a university bookstore, and the students had all been sent home to do remote learning for the rest of the semester, so I knew it was only a matter of time before we were told to stop coming to work. That didn't make it any less shocking the day I walked in and my supervisor told us that after that day we weren't to report back to work until further notice.

The thing that caused the most anxiety was that everything was so uncertain. We had no idea how long we would be furloughed, and even though I was able to apply for unemployment, the process itself was confusing and complicated and there was a long delay before payments started coming in.

All this left me feeling frustrated and almost sick with dread. I knew that I couldn't continue on stewing in all those negative emotions, so I had to find some way to occupy myself. Therefore, I turned to what I often turn to - my imagination.

I sat down with my husband and discussed the situation. He is a nurse and therefore he kept working through it all, and since I would be alone in the house for long periods of time, I felt the best way to keep my brain from constantly turning to worry and panic was to kind of trick it. I decided that while I was furloughed, I would pretend I was a full-time writer. I would get up every morning and tell myself that my job was to write and that was my only job. I acted as if I had a contract and an editor waiting for the finished manuscript.

I thought it best to temporarily put on hold the two projects I was struggling with and start something new and fresh. I had an inkling of an idea that at first I thought might be inappropriate for the time, considering that the storyline dealt with the paranoia and panic spread by a possible contagion, but then I realized that was exactly what I needed. To escape the real world by creating a world I could control.

So on the very first day of my furlough, I saw my husband off to work and came here to my office, opened a new document, and wrote the words 
When it Rains A novella by Mark Allan Gunnells. From there, I simply tunneled in.

And to my amazement, my little mental sleight-of-hand worked. Not that I forgot what was happening in the world, not that I didn't still worry, but it kept my anxiety manageable because I had a mission, to write this story. I became extremely disciplined, getting up every morning and writing, no matter what. After all, it was my job.

I ended up being furloughed for a little over two months, and as it worked out, I finished the first draft of the novella one week before returning to the day job. Almost as if it were meant to be.
I think that 
When it Rains is a good story, exciting with authentic characters and I hope a few surprises along the way, but it means more to me than just a good story. I won't go so far as to say the novella saved my life, but it saved my sanity. During a frightening time, it gave me purpose and focus and a vehicle into which I could channel all my anxiety and fear.

For that reason alone, it will always be one of my favorite pieces.
Inspiration can come from so many different places. A snatch of conversation you overhear on the street, a past experience of your own, world events, sometimes out of the blue with no clearly definable antecedent. Quite often, a combination of these things.

For my novella 
When it Rains, the inspiration came from a real-life event followed by a rousing game of What-if?

My husband loves to watch videos and read articles about unexplained phenomena. He finds that kind of thing fascinating, and frankly so do I. So it's not unusual to find us snuggled up in bed watching videos on YouTube about missing persons or supposedly haunted places. One night a few years ago, we happened to watch a video about the "Oakville Blobs."
If you are unfamiliar with this story, back in the late summer of 1994, a small town in Washington became the focus of a very odd occurrence that has never satisfactorily been explained. At 3 a.m. on the morning of August 7th, it began to rain in Oakville. Yet the rain was unlike any other the townspeople had experienced. The rain was slimy and gelatinous. A police officer in the town described it as feeling "almost like if you had jello in your hand."  This strange rain would fall on the town five more times during the next three weeks.

Several residents of the town who had come into direct contact with the rain reported becoming sick with flu-like symptoms, which they attributed to the rain itself though that was never definitively confirmed. No one actually died from this sickness, but it did heighten the mystery surrounding the rain.

Over the decades since this happened, many theories have arisen. Everything from a commercial plane illegally dumping its waste as it flew over the town to naval bombing runs at sea sending parts of jellyfish into the atmosphere. None of these theories have ever been substantiated.

You can imagine how such a story might get the attention of a horror writer. My husband and I discussed how fascinating and mysterious the whole thing was. I believe my husband was the first to suggest I write something based on the event, but the wheels in my mind were already in motion. As I said, a rousing game of What-if?

What if the rain fell again, but what if this time instead of one small town it simultaneously fell all over the world? What if the fear of the possibility the rain might contain something contagious created worldwide panic and paranoia? What if I narrowed the action to focus on one setting, a university bookstore like the one in which I work? And what if I tied it all together with excerpts from a fictional book about the phenomenon?

The idea intrigued and excited me, but it wasn't until I worked out the ending in my head that I knew I had a real story. I could work with a cast of characters, switching back and forth between different perspectives, to bring the concept to life in a way that I hoped would be authentic.

When I finally sat down to write it, the thing really flowed. In two months' time, I had a completed first draft of a novella of which I was extremely proud. As luck would have it, right as I was finishing up 
When it Rains, Crystal Lake Publishing announced they were opening up for submissions so I sent it in with my fingers crossed.

They accepted it and now I am offering the story to the world. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
--This text refers to the paperback edition.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09TPVCSCQ
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Crystal Lake Publishing (March 25, 2022)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ March 25, 2022
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 3755 KB
  • Simultaneous device usage ‏ : ‎ Unlimited
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Screen Reader ‏ : ‎ Supported
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Sticky notes ‏ : ‎ On Kindle Scribe
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 146 pages
  • Page numbers source ISBN ‏ : ‎ 1957133031
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 out of 5 stars 47 ratings

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Customer reviews

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Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 17, 2022
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 29, 2022
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great sci-fi vibes with present day representation and references
By Leighann on March 29, 2022
I love this novella! The strange “rain” and it’s aftermath have Dean Koontz/Stephen King vibes. I also loved seeing gay relationships represented front and center, references to the current socio-political climate, and a subtle nod to the ugly side of humanity the world saw during the pandemic. Fast-paced, intertwined with real places, and does not end quite like you might expect. I loved it!
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Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 3, 2022
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4.0 out of 5 stars The true horror of how humanity reacts to the unknown
By The Nerdy Narrative on June 3, 2022
When It Rains by Mark Allan Gunnells is the epitome of horror realism. This is my first piece of literature to read by this author and I have already grabbed another one, Before He Wakes .

What do I mean by that? The author nailed how humanity reacts to the unknown. The confusion that leads to fear, fear that spawns rumors, rumors that are taken as the gospel truth which results in anger, accusation and violence.

In the spirit of full disclosure, the amazing publisher of this story, Crystal Lake Publishing, generously mailed me a physical copy of this novella to see if I'd like to read and review it.

The story opens up on a college campus in Greenville, SC on a day that had absolutely no chance of rain in the forecast. We zoom in a bit to the campus bookstore - this is where the bulk of our adventure takes place. The bookstore is fairly busy with customers and when the rain starts falling, others nearby take shelter inside the store.

The rain - it's not water - it's a foul-smelling, slimy goo. The surprise "shower" that starts in Greenville spreads across the entire globe. Fear grows and spreads because no one knows what this rain is made up of - is it safe? Here is where the brilliance of the author's storytelling really shines.

The atmosphere was spot on - it gave me the same feelings as I had when I read one of my other favorite novellas of all time, Stephen Kings The Mist . It wasn't just the plot and atmosphere that kept me turning those pages, it was also the characters. The author wrote them all in such a way that I quickly found myself invested in them as a group and as individuals.

I honestly can't decide where I stood the whole time I was reading this one - what was I scared of most? I was equal parts scared of the unknown as I was to know what the rain was and what caused it.

Fans of Stephen King, Josh Malerman, Richard Thomas and Daniel Barnett would love this one!
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