Fridays 5 03/26/2021

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This week I ask: What is the hardest part of writing?

I’m honored that Thomas F. Monteleone , and Eric A Shelman have agreed to participate. If you write horror, sci-fi, or fantasy, and would like to join in, follow this link Fridays 5. Click on the authors name or photo to be taken to their website or amazon author page.

David A Simpson

A: Finding the time and still having the energy to pour into it.

Bio: David A. Simpson is an Amazon bestselling author of the Zombie Road and Feral Children series. He loves to travel and has a long list of places to visit on his bucket list. He likes weird things and will drive a hundred miles out of his way to see a weird sculpture made from junkyard parts or a Bonnie and Clyde museum.

Graham Masterton

A: Continuously thinking about plot developments night and day. The world inside a writer’s head is just as real as the world outside it.

Bio: Graham Masterton has published more than thirty-five horror novels and three short story collections: his debut novel, The Manitou, was an instant bestseller. He is an Edgar Award and Bram Stoker Award-winner and a World Fantasy Award-nominee. Born in Edinburgh in 1946, he lives in Surrey in England where he is currently working on his next horror novel. 

Eric A Shelman

A: The hardest thing about being a writer is finding the right story. A story you’re not excited about will not inspire you to write.

Bio: Eric lives in southwest Florida with his wife, Linda. A fan of horror since he was young, he’s been writing since his teens. Growing up his room was filled with monster models, including The Wolfman, Dr. Phibes, Frankenstein’s Monster, and many others. His first novel, A Reason To Kill, was about a serial killer before he moved on to his true passion with The Witches of Laguna Beach. In 2009, after a 12 year hiatus, he wrote Dead Hunger. He currently has over 20 books to his credit, all but two of which are novels.

David Winset

A: The first draft when I have to start with nothing and create the initial story and characters. Once that is down, the second, third and so on drafts are much easier.

Bio: David A. Wimsett’s stories contain female and male characters who examine themselves and their place in the world. He is the author of the women’s fiction novel Beyond the Shallow Bank and The Carandir Saga, an epic fantasy series consisting of Dragons Unremembered and Half Awakened Dreams. The third volume, Covenant with the Dragons, will be released for Christmas of 2021.

 He is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Canadian Freelance Guild and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia where he sits on the Writer’s Council. He lives in Nova Scotia, Canada near the sea.

Thomas F. Monteleone

A: Forcing yourself to do it every day… even on the days when you have other stuff you must do or don’t feel the urging of the muse.

Bio: Thomas F. Monteleone is an American science fiction author and horror fiction author. His first novel, Seeds of Change was the lead-off title in the critically unsuccessful Laser Books line of science fiction titles, but he went on to become a popular writer of supernatural thrillers.

Monteleone has been a professional writer since 1972, and 4-time winner of the Bram Stoker Award. He has published more than 100 short stories in numerous magazines and anthologies. His stories have been nominated for many awards and have appeared in many best-of-the-year compilations.

Click on cover for more info or to order.

Cursed

“…a page turner that’s extremely hard to put down.”

“A great story that integrates true love and loss into a folk tale.”

“…creepy and exciting.”

“..cleverly plotted and well-paced.”

“…a story line that had me engaged from the start.”

“a cool, old fashioned ghost story.”

Weekly Writing Challenge 03/24/2021

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I know where I want this story to end, and I believe I have a plausible ending figured out, but we’ll see. I do know this will by its nature be a short one. I managed another 409 words and I estimate the story will come in at a little over 1200 words. So next week should be the last segment.

I’d spend my nights dreaming about what could have been. One day Simon’s wife showed up along with their son and my dreams drifted into more erotic territory as I imagined what I’d like to do to her. She was a short little blond with a heart shaped face, full red lips and a pert little nose turned up a little at the tip. She wore a tight-fitting dress that accentuated her curves and fueled my fantasies as I imagined what it might be like to unwrap that present.  

It was Simon’s birthday and she had come to surprise him. Some of us on the line caught a glimpse of her in the hallway that led to the break room. Several of the less couth offered up lewd suggestions of what they’d like to do to her. Going into more detail than was necessary and it made me just a bit uncomfortable. She deserved better than that. Hell, she deserved better than Simon. Were she my wife I’d never let her near this place. But Simon took the comments in stride, and I believe he was a little proud of the fact her presence had elicited such a response. It was sad really. The only way he could earn respect was by letting those on the line talk about he woman he was supposed to love.

There was no love there, and that would be my way in. Get Simon out of the way. It wouldn’t be too hard to stage an accident on the line. Wait till he was distracted and knock him into the rails that carried the work to us. The line didn’t stop for anything, and it wouldn’t stop for him. The more I thought about my plan the more it looked like it would work without a hitch. But it was these thoughts that proved to be my downfall. I became so focused on getting rid of Simon my work started to suffer. My dimes were not as nice as they once were, and I was leaving small gaps I my welds.

It wasn’t long before they pulled me from the line, and I had to endure my first ever quality interview as they tried to figure out what was wrong with me. I could have told them easy enough what was wrong, but they wouldn’t have listened. The inspectors have only one thing on their mind, getting the line moving as it should.

To be continued!

Have you read All Roads Lead to Terror?

Book 1 This Lawless Land

In a chaotic, post-apocalyptic world, an endless night is closing in, and only the strong will survive. In the midst of the turmoil, fourteen-year-old Meat, and his three closest friends, embark on a mission to rescue kidnapped children from the compound enslaving them.

Battling their way through treacherous terrain and immeasurable odds, the boys must learn to lean on each other if they hope to survive. Little do they know fate has far greater plans for them. For they represent the trinity, a symbol older than time itself, that keeps the darkness at bay.

They are three, bound by a fourth, destined to save mankind.

With time running out, and the cloak of eternal night descending, can the boys find a way to turn the tables on evil?

Or will they be the next to join the growing legion of the dead?

You can check it out here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B016MLXM32

New This Week 03/22/2021

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Click on the cover image for more info or to order.

The Night Stockers: Ryan Harding & Kristopher Triana (03/26/2021)

Synopsis: Attention shoppers!

The employees of the Freshway grocery store aren’t too happy about having to do an overnight shift, but they’re about to be even unhappier. Their rival store, Devil’s Food, is about to lay siege upon them with extreme prejudice. This is no ordinary grocery chain. Devil’s Food is run by a cult of murderous Satanists committed to killing the competition—literally.

Armed with hatchets, knives, maces and motorcycles, they enter the store and start picking off their victims in the most ghastly and depraved ways possible. The Freshway’s only chance of survival is to fight, and this leads to a bloody battle royal of crazed cashiers, knife-wielding demo ladies, brutal butchers, and teenage clerks determined to make their favorite death metal albums come true.

The Night Stockers is a gory horror comedy by Splatterpunk Award-Winning authors Kristopher Triana and Ryan Harding, the men who brought you Full Brutal and Genital Grinder. Filled with bone-crushing carnage and the heaviest metal, this one promises customer satisfaction.

Halloween Land: Kevin J. Kennedy

Synopsis: An action-packed, coming of age horror tale, full of twists, turns and unexpected adventures.

Zak and Wendy are a couple of horror buffs who love Halloween.
In their sleepy, run-down little town, an exciting attraction promises to inject some life into the place for one special night only. A travelling carnival, making its debut on Halloween.

Anticipation builds, and the mysterious ‘Halloween Land’ carnival is the talk of the town; the calliope music, bright lights, and sweet and savoury smells from the pop-up carnival lure in the crowds flocking to the pier. The two teenage friends Zak and Wendy are eager to be among the first.
Revelations unfold, mysteries peek from the outer limits. The kids have to think and act fast to defeat the evil that’s come to town and it’s nothing like in the movies!

This tale is full of mystery, fun, magic, tension and dread.

Step up for the ride, give your ticket to the clown, she’ll show you a good time; no one can say where you will end up, but it’ll be a wicked ride!

A Predisposition for Madness: Aurelio Lopez III

Synopsis: The indication of suffering with madness under peculiar situations; dire consequences and a baggage of other genre bending horror verse with a propensity of violence. This substantial collection depicts a deathly theme that arrays in no particular order and inks madness in all its forms. Aurelio’s lunacy is sometimes gruesome, haunting, or cadaverous—the tendency that something is likely to happen is heavy and leaves no burdens behind.

The cover images contain affiliate links that help offset the cost of maintaining this website. If you see something you like I’d appreciate it if you used the link provided for your purchase. I don’t earn much from each click but every little bet helps. Thanks.

Fridays 5 03/19/2021

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How did you feel upon publication of your first completed project?

Authors name and image links to authors website or amazon author page.

Graham Masterton

A: I was a newspaper reporter before my first book was published and so loads of articles and features had been published with my byline every week for years, so not particularly thrilled.

Bio: Graham Masterton has published more than thirty-five horror novels and three short story collections: his debut novel, The Manitou, was an instant bestseller. His more recent critically acclaimed novels include The Chosen Child, Trauma, Spirit, and Prey. He is an Edgar Award and Bram Stoker Award-winner and a World Fantasy Award-nominee. Born in Edinburgh in 1946, he lives with his wife Wiescka in a Gothic mansion in Cork, Ireland, where he is currently working on his next horror novel. 

https://www.grahammasterton.co.uk/

Pete Mesling

A: I’ll go back to my very first short story publication. It was actually my first time publishing a poem, too. Both appeared in the very last print issue of Black Petals Magazine. I was pleased to have my first publishing credit in a print publication, especially since I had submitted my work by snail mail. I felt like I got the classic writer’s experience out of the gate, and of course times were about to change drastically in the publishing world, so that was becoming an unlikely scenario by 2007.

Bio: Pete Mesling has published poetry and fiction widely, including two highly regarded horror collections, a book of poetry, and a novel of intrigue and suspense. Other publishing highlights include All-American Horror of the 21st Century, the First Decade: 2000 – 2010 (Independent Legions Publishing); Survive the Night: Three at Dusk, Two at Dawn (forthcoming from Dark Regions Press); Shallow Waters, Vol. 3 (Crystal Lake Publishing); and two of the Poetry Showcase anthologies put out by the Horror Writers Association. Mesling is the official Clive Barker proofreader for Gauntlet Press.

http://www.petemesling.com

Justin Boote

A: Coinciding with my answer to question no.1, I would say it made me feel that maybe I was capable of writing something that not only people enjoy reading but that publishers are prepared to pay for. That made a big difference as opposed to just hearing friends tell you they love your work. It was a confirmation of sorts.

Bio: Justin Boote is an Englishman living in Barcelona for over 25 years and has been writing horror stories for 5 years. In this time, he has had around 40 short stories published in a variety of anthologies and has published 4 short stories on Amazon plus 2 story collections and now dedicates his time to writing novel series. In the summer he hopes to release the first of his series on Amazon-The Ghosts of Northgate.

https://www.facebook.com/BooteJustin

Diane Johnson

A: I was nervous with my first publication. I’m sure everyone is. I’m not good at self promotion, and it was a self published book, so there’s a little bit of a stigma with that. Imposter syndrome is real! But I was also excited to get that first book out there, to have something finished and in my hands.

Bio: Diane graduated from Binghamton University with a B.A. in Film Theory. She first embarked on her storytelling journey as a screenwriter, and she apologizes. She has a husband. And kids. And if this writing thing takes off, maybe she’ll invest in a dog. A rescue, of course!

https://dj-screenwriter.blogspot.com/

Alice Sobo

A: Ecstatic! I think it was an essay for a local free magazine – small beans in the writing world – but it was a thrill. I snatched a ton of copies and mailed them to all my friends.

Bio: Alice Sabo is the author of character driven stories in post-apocalyptic, space opera, fantasy, and mystery series. Across genres, her characters deal with trying to make positive choices in difficult and often dangerous situations. Whether seeking lost cultures in an unforgiving galaxy or finding a murderer on the streets of LA, her books have strong world building, multi-layered characters, and a satisfying culmination.

https://www.amazon.com/Alice-Sabo/e/B006VG041W

Weekly Writing Challenge 03/17/2021

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Real life has intruded once again and I was unable to update the current story in progress. I believe it has a lot more to do with the fact I’m trying something new with this story, stretching my literary muscles if you will. I lack the confidence to continue, but continue I will. In its place I’m sharing a snippet from my current work in progress, my novel, Bitter Hollow. I’m shooting for a late summer release for this one. I’ll keep you posted. Here is a little taste of chapter 2.

A shadow washed across Harold’s face, contorting his features. The dog barking in the back yard came to me as if from a million miles away. The old man smiled and opened his mouth to speak, darkness escaping the prison behind his teeth as I fired again, aiming higher this time. Harold’s head whipped back, a bloody wound forming a third eye in the center of his forehead. Something old and terrifying crawled through my belly when Harold lowered his head to look at me with those flat, dead, eyes. A wicked smile bisecting the bottom of his face.

The old man fired a third time, the round embedding itself in the wood at my feet as I returned fire. Harold took another staggering step, driven by an unseen darkness that wrapped him in its embrace. The pistol, a well-worn .22 revolver, slipped from Harold’s hand and fell to the surface of the deck. He took another step, reaching for me with bloodied hands as blind panic overwhelmed reason.

“Why won’t you die?” I screamed as the old man crumpled to the deck.

The world shifted around me and I realized I’d fallen onto my ass, sitting with my back against the railing as Harold pulled himself towards me. His fingernails, dirty and cracked, dug into the wooden surface softened by past rains and the passage of time. Harold’s hands flexed, each finger digging into the wood. Several nails had broken as a result, peeling back from his fingertips, blood spotting the wood a soft pink.

I realized Harold was looking at me, his eyes filled with an impenetrable emptiness that reached out to envelope me in an endless despair.

I tried to warn him, Harold’s words whispered in my mind.

 Laura’s face swam into view, her features twisted into a grimace of pain and terror, and it filled me with a blind rage. From somewhere a dog barked hysterically and I searched for the source, only to find a vast emptiness that lay spread out all around me. I felt like I was lost,

The sound of a distant siren was punctuated by that frightened whiny bark. I looked back at the old man sprawled out before me. One hand outstretched, the fingers curled into a partially closed fist, and in it I spotted an object that glittered with a light all its own.

It held all the answers, and I wanted it. I leaned forward to retrieve the object as the siren filled the world around me. Running steps and voices came as a hand pulled me back until I was resting against the railing. I glanced into Sheriff Burris’s face, noting the worry in his eyes, then looked at the shimmering object as others gathered around the body.

It knew the answers to all my questions. Why Laura left. Why I’d been fired. Why Harold did what he’d done. Everything I needed to know lay hidden in that soft glow.

I tried to reach the object, only to be pushed back by a paramedic working on my wounded shoulder. Someone was shouting my name and I glanced at Sheriff Burris, then back to the glittering object in the old man’s hand. I had to have it.

Something poked me in the arm, and I was overwhelmed by a desire to lay down and take a nap. But I couldn’t. I had to have it. Michaels knelt next to Harold’s hand and retrieved the shiny object. No, that’s mine, I wanted to scream but found no voice as a mind-numbing cloud enveloped me. I’ve earned it, it’s mine, the thoughts whispered as the world dimmed.

New This Week 03/15/2021

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Click on the cover image to order.

Howls From Hell (Assorted Authors)Available 05/18/2021

Synopsis: Spacefaring researchers disturb an ancient horror. An enchanted object curses a grieving widow. A haunted reel torments a film student. A murder trial hinges on a chilling testimony.

In Howls From Hell, sixteen emerging horror writers pave the way for the future of the genre. Fans of dark and macabre fiction will savor this exhibition of all-original tales born from one of the fastest-growing horror communities in the world: HOWL Society.

With a foreword by GRADY HENDRIX, this anthology unveils the horror writers of tomorrow with spine-tingling stories from:

P.L. McMillan, J.W. Donley, Shane Hawk, Christopher O’Halloran, Alex Wolfgang, Amanda Nevada DeMel, Lindsey Ragsdale, Solomon Forse, Justin Faull, M. David Clarkson, B.O.B. Jenkin, S.E. Denton, Thea Maeve, Joseph Andre Thomas, Joe Radkins, and Quinn Fern

The Devil’s Mistress: David Barclay Available 03/16/2021

Synopsis: Virginia, 1705

Darkness has come to the town of Blackfriar. The beloved millwright, John Ashford, has been poisoned. His daughter, Isabella, stands trial for murder. Rumor has it that she consorted with the Devil to do the deed. That she’s become a witch.

The worst thing, however, is what the townsfolk don’t know: Isabella is innocent.

After visiting the local enchantress for a simple love spell, her life is beset by catastrophe. Her father turns up dead. Her sadistic fiancé spurns her. Now in shackles, Isabella faces torture and death. Her only friend, the enchantress. The old crone offers Isabella a new choice: continue to suffer at the hands of her tormentors, or become the very thing they fear.

Agoraphobia: A Short Story: Rami Ungar Available 03/16/2021

Synopsis: Peyton fears the outside world. It has brought him nothing but pain and misery. He even bought and renovated an entire house to get away. However, when a hurricane threatens his home, he must contemplate leaving for the first time in years. Especially when the hurricane throws something living into his sanctuary. Something with teeth and claws.

Fridays 5 03/12/2021

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In addition to writing, what else are you passionate about?

Click on authors name or image to be taken to their website or amazon author page.

Pete Mesling

A: Music, especially writing acoustic guitar music. It’s been one of the sacrifices I’ve had to make in order to bring fiction writing front and center, but I hope to be able to return to making music in a more serious way again. Music is really the other side of the coin for me, on par with fiction. And I’m talking about reading/listening as much as writing/composing.

Bio: Pete Mesling has published poetry and fiction widely, including two highly regarded horror collections, a book of poetry, and a novel of intrigue and suspense. Other publishing highlights include All-American Horror of the 21st Century, the First Decade: 2000 – 2010 (Independent Legions Publishing); Survive the Night: Three at Dusk, Two at Dawn (forthcoming from Dark Regions Press); Shallow Waters, Vol. 3 (Crystal Lake Publishing); and two of the Poetry Showcase anthologies put out by the Horror Writers Association. Mesling is the official Clive Barker proofreader for Gauntlet Press. Learn more at http://www.petemesling.com.

Diane Johnson

A: I have a passion for movies. As I said, my writing focus began with screenplays. I’m a big fan of the TV series Supernatural, no longer in production. I even wrote a few spec scripts that did well in competition—the Austin Film Festival, for one. But the underlying theme of that horror series was about family. I have two boys, and I wish the best for them everywhere and always.

Bio: Diane graduated from Binghamton University with a B.A. in Film Theory. She first embarked on her storytelling journey as a screenwriter, and she apologizes. She has a husband. And kids. And if this writing thing takes off, maybe she’ll invest in a dog. A rescue, of course!

David A Simpson

A: Cars. I have entirely too many and I want entirely too many more. I do a bit of racing and have held a couple of world records. I seem meet up with car community guys a lot more often than I do the writing community folks.

Bio: David A. Simpson is an Amazon bestselling author of the Zombie Road and Feral Children series. He loves to travel and has a long list of places to visit on his bucket list. He likes weird things and will drive a hundred miles out of his way to see a weird sculpture made from junkyard parts or a Bonnie and Clyde museum.

David Wimset

A: I am a composer, an actor, a film maker, a photographer and a journalist.

Bio: David A. Wimsett’s stories contain female and male characters who examine themselves and their place in the world. He is the author of the women’s fiction novel Beyond the Shallow Bank and The Carandir Saga, an epic fantasy series consisting of Dragons Unremembered and Half Awakened Dreams. The third volume, Covenant with the Dragons, will be released for Christmas of 2021.

 He is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Canadian Freelance Guild and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia where he sits on the Writer’s Council. He lives in Nova Scotia, Canada near the sea.

S. J. Krandall

A: In addition to writing I am most passionate about my family. Family life is important to me and I enjoy spending time with my sons sharing their interests as well. I have also worked for many years with children so I advocate for students in need when given the chance.  Photography and art is another passion of mine and I will often be found working on various projects.  I have many passions and enjoy life to its fullest. 

Bio: S. J. Krandall is a horror author whose recent work was published in summer of 2020.  She was born in Florida but raised in New Jersey where she still resides with my husband, their two sons and two dogs. For more than twenty years she has worked with children with varying abilities as both a teacher and an aide. Now, a stay a home mom, she cares for her family and takes time to enjoy other interests. Her work in progress includes her second book to her series and a variety of short stories. 

Weekly Writing Challenge 03/10/2021

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This week I’ve rolled the dice and I’m starting a new story. No title yet but the roll is as follows.

Character roll: Clock face, time? Maze? Machinery. Is my MC a factory worker? An assembly line drone? Factory worker on the graveyard shift. Infestation? Reminiscent of night shift. Don’t want to go in that direction. Gonna try something different. Main Character is a disgruntled worker pissed at being passed over for a promotion.

Story roll:

Beginning: Question mark / theater faces, happy, sad / Insect, bug

Middle: Moon / Eye / Sleeping figure

End: Fire / Embarrassed expression / Scales

You’re welcome to use the roll to create our own story. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Managed 514 words, I’ve an idea of where this is headed, but I’m not sure if I can pull it off. We’ll see.

It was the story of my life, a day late and a dollar short. Take my job for instance, I’m a welder on an assembly line. I’m the fastest they’ve got and can lay a line of dimes that would make any welder worth his salt jealous. Every weld, every time is as near perfect as possible. Yet when they needed someone to oversee the line, who do they get? Not me. That’s for sure. No, they gave the job to that pencil neck Simon. All he does is wander the line with his hands in his pocket, making sure we do our jobs right. The bastard doesn’t even know how to weld. I’ve never seen him weld anything and I’ve been here since the beginning. Why don’t they give the job to someone who actually knows what they’re doing, instead of a college kid whose only smarts come from between the covers of a book.

In a way you could say I shot myself in the foot. After all those who can do, and those who can’t, oversee the rest of us. I understand why they wouldn’t want to pull me from the line. I mean since I’d been here over ninety percent of my work has come down the line like it’s supposed to. In the beginning it wasn’t like that, we call gotta start somewhere, but I proved to be a fast learner and picked up the knack for welding pretty quick. But now I’ve got this wannabe watching over my shoulder and it more than a little irritating. The thought has crossed my mind to screw up a few times, just to see their reaction, but it’s not in my nature to do that. I guess the best thing I can do is let this all blow over, but still, it irks me no end.

I can’t believe this asshole. He came to me today to tell me, in front of everyone else, that I needed to adjust my welds. They were a tad bit off, he said. Little pencil neck prick couldn’t tell an undercut from an underfill and he’s gonna tell me I need to adjust my welds. I had half a mind to walk right into the CEO’s office and tell the whole board to kiss my rosy, red ass. But I didn’t, I took it like a man, and turned back to the line to adjust my weld as he said. But I will tell you this. If I see the prick outside of work, I’m not gonna be so kind.

One day led to the next and I kept my head down, focused on the work at hand. Simon wandered the line every day, a constant reminder of my failings, and my thoughts, I’m ashamed to say, drifted into more frightening territory. The line’s a dangerous place to work. You’ve got heavy equipment moving about, the line itself moves of its own accord and there have been several instances in the past when hapless workers became distracted long enough for the line to get them. It was never a pretty sight, but I couldn’t help smiling at the thought of Simon falling victim to the line.

To be continued.

New This Week 03/08/2021

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Click on the cover image for more info or to order.

His Own Devices: Douglas Wynne

Synopsis: In 2016 an occult cabal activates a psychic trigger in a popular video game and a countdown to chaos begins.


While her husband is deployed in Afghanistan, Jessica Ritter finds herself navigating the pitfalls of parenting on her own. That includes moderating her ten-year-old son’s screen time—an obsession that hits a fever pitch when YouTube sensation Rainbow Dave releases an addictive new iPad game. Gavin knows he isn’t supposed to keep secrets from his parents, but when his achievements in the game unlock personal messages from Dave instructing him to embark on real world mini-quests, he can’t resist.

In the aftermath of an ambush that leaves her husband missing in action, Jessica grapples with fear and sorrow while clues to a threat closer to home evade her detection. Rainbow Dave, the charismatic host of Scream Time, is America’s cool big brother—a gamer who built a video empire on the strength of his personality. He is also the focus of a shadowy conspiracy hell-bent on sowing chaos with vast technological resources. Dave’s anonymous benefactors have granted him a glimpse of paradise between the pixels, and the real world hasn’t looked the same since. Now, wired with a head full of unholy revelations and a crate full of dangerous devices, he’s on a mission to help his fans “level up” at a live event. Scream Time is coming to town, and it may be too late to stop a deadly game.

The Feverish Stars: John Shirley (Collection)

Synopsis: New and uncollected stories by Bram Stoker Award Winner John Shirley. From the Introduction by Richard Christian Matheson: “In the brooding precincts of dark fiction, Byronic gangster John Shirley’s writing is distinguished by swans and knives of style; divine menace. Twenty of his finest stories are gathered in this volume of poetic distress calls and whether horror, artful heresy, or a cosmos seeping bleak karma, Shirley’s visions autopsy and awaken. Amid such torrents, the many addicted to his brilliance savor Shirley’s work as sodium-pentothal and grace, ground zero of the real deal.” Cover art by Luke Spooner.

Always Beside You: Damir Salkovic

Synopsis: Help her open the door. It wants to come through…

First, the dream. Now this message from the mouth of a stranger. It was too much of a coincidence for Nate Carver, and has him dropping everything to help a woman he hasn’t even thought about in eight years, not since the overdose that almost took Cathy Deveraux’s life.

The prison escape of Thomas Elbert stirs up memories for Detective Alec Palmer, and the man’s death raises questions. Why would a catatonic convicted killer suddenly wake up and escape, only to commit suicide days later? Or was it murder? And what connection did he have to Nate Carver, a man on the run with a daughter he never knew he had?

All roads lead to Boston, where, in their search for answers, they will be drawn into the dark world of the occult and mysticism. Of parallel worlds and alternate realities. Of doors that open onto other times and other worlds. Of dreams that won’t be denied.

By the time they realize they are merely pawns in a much bigger game, a game where the fate of the world is at stake, will it be too late?

Fridays 5 03/05/2021

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If you could ask any author, living or dead, one question, what would it be?

Click on the authors name to be taken to their website or amazon author page.

Alice Sobo

A: That’s a tough one. It would probably be the author of the last book I was reading, and my question would be – “And then what happened?”

Bio: Alice Sabo is the author of character driven stories in post-apocalyptic, space opera, fantasy and mystery series. Across genres, her characters deal with trying to make positive choices in difficult and often dangerous situations. Whether seeking lost cultures in an unforgiving galaxy or finding a murderer on the streets of LA, her books have strong world building, multi-layered characters and a satisfying culmination.

Dave Wimset

A: I would ask J.R.R. Tolkien about how he created the many elements of his world.

Bio: David A. Wimsett’s stories contain female and male characters who examine themselves and their place in the world. He is the author of the women’s fiction novel Beyond the Shallow Bank and The Carandir Saga, an epic fantasy series consisting of Dragons Unremembered and Half Awakened Dreams. The third volume, Covenant with the Dragons, will be released for Christmas of 2021.

 He is a member of the Writers’ Union of Canada, the Canadian Freelance Guild and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia where he sits on the Writer’s Council. He lives in Nova Scotia, Canada near the sea.

A. M. Harte

A: To Neil Gaiman: Would you give me your brain?

Bio: A.M. Harte writes twisted speculative fiction, such as the zombie love anthology Hungry For You. She is excellent at missing deadlines, has long forgotten what ‘free time’ means, and is utterly addicted to chocolate.

Justin Boote

A: The one thing I’ve always wanted to ask Stephen King for example is how they would go about things today with how big and easy self-publishing has become. Still continue submitting to publishers or go the self-publishing route?

Bio: Justin Boote is an Englishman living in Barcelona for over 25 years and has been writing horror stories for 5 years. In this time, he has had around 40 short stories published in a variety of anthologies and has published 4 short stories on Amazon plus 2 story collections and now dedicates his time to writing novel series. In the summer he hopes to release the first of his series on Amazon-The Ghosts of Northgate.

Pete Mesling

A: This is the kind of question that makes me slap my forehead. I’ve probably come up with a couple dozen beautiful hypotheticals in this vein over the years. Can I think of a single one right now? No. But I can say who I’d most like to meet: Charles Dickens. All the Victorians would be amazing company, I’d imagine, though they wouldn’t know what the hell to make of me. Poe would also be great fun. Maybe I’d ask Poe if he’d like to collaborate on a story.

Bio: Pete Mesling has published poetry and fiction widely, including two highly regarded horror collections, a book of poetry, and a novel of intrigue and suspense. Other publishing highlights include All-American Horror of the 21st Century, the First Decade: 2000 – 2010 (Independent Legions Publishing); Survive the Night: Three at Dusk, Two at Dawn (forthcoming from Dark Regions Press); Shallow Waters, Vol. 3 (Crystal Lake Publishing); and two of the Poetry Showcase anthologies put out by the Horror Writers Association. Mesling is the official Clive Barker proofreader for Gauntlet Press. Learn more at http://www.petemesling.com.