When Victor Frankenstein crafts his infamous creature in Mary Shelley’s masterpiece, he creates something that is a patchwork not only of men but of ideals, of emotions. Out of many, he is one. Indeed, this anthology you read now is something similar, though I do say quite a bit more pleasant to encounter than the fruit of Victor’s labors! What precisely does the word creature conjure in the imagination? Something frightening? Something unknown? The authors of the stories you are about to read had this question to consider and not one of them came up with exactly the same answer as another of their collaborators. The initial reaction to such a question might be to recoil, to think of something unsettling or scary. But then one must consider the creature itself. How does it react to its state of being? It’s surroundings? Does it enjoy killing men or does it loathe violence? Is it predator or prey? Do humans simply fear it or try to combat the creature themselves? It’s the reaction that makes the creature, not the state itself of being an outsider to mankind. You will read in these pages about various supposed monsters, and they all behave differently. The creatures in these stories are everything from horrifying killers to sympathetic lovers to misunderstood beings trying to fit into human society, each one with its creator’s personal stamp placed upon it. This anthology was born out of a desire to come together as authors, out of a sense of community, and the reader can certainly feel this as well. Despite the occasionally-gruesome or unsettling subject matter, this is a labor of love, we promise!The idea to create a compilation was posed by author B.C. Sirrom on the Paranormal and Horror Lovers group on Goodreads in May of 2012. The idea took off immediately, with eight writers contributing to the work and several others offering to help with editing and cover art. But what was to be the topic of such an anthology?After much deliberation, the topic of creatures was chosen, an emphasis placed on the unique and the cultural. The rules were simple: the story must be in the paranormal or horror genre and between five and ten thousand words. While mature content was allowed, it was not required, and contributors had to be willing to assist with editing. With the ground rules in place, the authors set out to craft their tales. This specific topic is one that not only fit the overall theme of the group itself, but also one that allowed the authors room to breathe, room to create and thus, room to craft a collection of well-fitted stories that will entertain, thrill and horrify. No matter what the word ‘creature’ initially brings to mind for you, the reader, that is only the beginning.