historical

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New #Horror: Gods & Monsters by SH Roddey

Published August 17, 2017 by admin

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What can I say, it’s just a promote-y kind of week. Today I’m not talking about myself, though (for once). When one of my co-conspirators has something awesome out, it makes me want to cheer and smash it in everyone’s face. What can I say. So yeah, S.H. Roddey is writing again, which makes me incredibly happy. And her

new one looks awesome.

 

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Title:         Gods & Monsters
Subtitle:   A Shadow Council Case Files Novella
Author:    S.H. Roddey
Genre:      Dark Fantasy, Historical Horror
Buy Link: https://www.amazon.com/Gods-Monsters-Council-Archives-Novella-ebook/dp/B0745XLWSN

Series Info

They have worked behind the scenes of society for centuries, protecting humans from threats beyond their understanding. They are The Shadow Council, and these Archives are the stories of their members and adventures throughout recorded history. From folk heroes to monsters out of darkest nightmare, the Shadow Council Archives explore the world beyond mundane understanding.

He is the original horror novel. He is the first science fiction hero. He is Adam, creation of Victor Frankenstein, and he is more than dead, but less than alive. And he is being hunted.

From the pages of the Quincy Harker novellas comes this original tale of Adam, Frankenstein’s monster, in his earliest days. Wandering Europe shortly after the death of his “father,” Victor, Adam encounters a secret society determined to unlock the mysteries of life and death. He’s seen this obsession before. It never ends well.

Blood, lust, life, death, and friendship are all explored in this incredible look into the mind of the original monster.

This Shadow Council urban fantasy novella comes from the world of Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter. Similar in length to Bookshots, these novellas provide a glimpse behind the curtain at an urban fantasy world where demons walk the earth, and the monster may well be the hero.

Cover Blurb

“My scars, my disfigurement…those were things I could not change. But who I was? That was entirely up to me. I, Adam, Son of Frankenstein, could, at long last, be a man.

Decades after the death of Victor Frankenstein, Adam returns to Ingolstadt in search of answers and acceptance.  What he finds is not what he expects: a beautiful woman spiraling into insanity, a murderous cult determined to harness the power of creation, and his worst fears coming to fruition. An offer of assistance from a mysterious stranger turns his world on end and sets him on a path toward both salvation and destruction.

 

First Chapter

 

Victor Frankenstein is dead.

This startling revelation settled in my mind on a clear day in February as I sat atop a snow-capped mountain and watched the lights of Selfoss wink on in the evening gloom below. Iceland as a whole slept under cover of darkness, soft and secure in the thoughts that monsters did not exist. If only they knew… Though to me it seemed the true monster was gone at last. It had been some time since I looked over my shoulder in search of his maddened visage, and longer still since word of his pursuit reached my ears.

With the revelation came a near-crippling release of emotion. Relief flooded my senses, and had my tear ducts been operational, I might have shed tears of joy. My long-suffering countenance could finally clear, and I might, for the first time in my miserable existence, have the opportunity to experience life without the specter of my past. Time was no longer my enemy. My father could no longer hurt me. I could accept my beginnings and move on from them. In that instant, I made a series of choices.

I chose, to the best of my ability, to integrate myself more with the creatures from whose stock I was built. I chose morality. I chose humanity. I chose to let my demons lie and embrace the things I could be. My scars, my disfigurement…those were things I could not change. But who I was…that was entirely up to me.

I, Adam, Son of Frankenstein, could at long last be a man.

I stood and crept down the mountain. The tiny hamlet contained roughly a dozen buildings, all in varying stages of disrepair. Many had roofs made of straw and thatch; others bore wood plank walls with large pockmarks packed hard with ice. In very few windows did lanterns burn. The only building that could, in fact, be considered habitable by European society’s standards was the inn. A puff of white smoke billowed from the chimney, and inside sat the majority of Selfoss’ inhabitants.

I’d watched them for weeks now from a cave above them. They were an industrious people who rarely saw outsiders. These men and women were isolated from the world by the ice, the mountains, and the waterfalls. It seemed as good a place as any to begin my attempt at humanity.

I took a deep breath and entered the inn. My hood was pulled tight around my face to hide from the occupants. As I crossed the room, I pulled a purse from the pocket of my coat. The innkeeper smiled as I approached, but when I stepped up to the counter, I pulled back my hood. All movement in the building halted as three dozen pairs of eyes turned curiously toward me. A woman’s frightened gasp filled the air as she leaned into her husband’s side.

“A room for a weary traveler, please,” I said in their brusque language. Eyebrows rose in surprise.

The innkeeper—though disturbed by my excessive height, the sharp angle of my jaw, and the angry scars bisecting my face—nodded, accepted my money as if I were an average man, and handed me a key.

“Upstairs,” he replied, then hesitated. He glanced around at his patrons, then back up at me. “There’s stew in the kettle if you’re hungry.” He pointed to the heavy cauldron hanging in the fireplace.

“Thank you,” I said with a nod. “Perhaps soon. I am still frozen from my travels.”

He nodded and gave me a tentative smile. “Of course. Enjoy your stay.”

The ice in my chest thawed a bit at this man’s show of kindness. I would not tell him I did not require sustenance, but to know that it was possible to be treated as any of his other guests was enough. And because of his unexpected kindness, I allowed myself to feel at ease. And because of my ease in this place, I slept. For the first time in my miserable existence, I found myself able to slip into unconsciousness with absolutely no fear of attack.

I should have expected the worst.

 

*****

 

I woke with a start well after midnight to a series of bindings crossing my body. Cold hands scrabbled at my wrists and ankles, tying ropes and anchoring chains. Hushed voices whispered around me, frantic, frightened, and deadly. Undoubtedly, I’d slept harder than I thought, as I found myself completely immobilized.

My back hit the floor, knocking the wind from my lungs, and I was dragged from the room. They pulled me down the stairs, my head banging against each step as I coughed and gasped, no doubt carving out divots with the impact. Tables and chairs flew aside, bouncing against my legs and arms as my captors struggled to move me through the deserted tavern by the ropes around my ankles. I didn’t fight. I’d promised myself I wouldn’t hurt anyone else unnecessarily. I wanted to know their plans before I retaliated.

So, I allowed these terrified men to drag me into the cold, through the uneven and sleeping streets to the edge of town where a copse of snow-capped trees stood. The crunch of dirt and gravel muted as they pulled me off the path, their boots sinking deep into the drifts of snow collected at their feet. Even from this distance, I could hear the water rushing over the falls. The air around us was calm and quiet, devoid of any sound except that of the water and their labored breaths. I did not struggle as they dropped me into the muddy snow and kicked at me—I would not risk breaking my promise to myself and injuring another man. I accepted that they were frightened of me, of my face and my size, of the scars and waxiness of my skin. A booted foot crashed down on my nose, breaking the cartilage and sending warm, thick streams of blood across my face. My sinus cavity filled with blood, and I coughed it away involuntarily, holding in a cry of pain as another landed a blow in the soft meat between my ribs and my hip. Perhaps they meant only to drive me from their sleepy, little hamlet. I was an interloper, a thing to be feared. I would allow them to run me away.

Then the rope came around my neck. Boots continued to connect with my chest and ribs. Blood poured from my ruined nose. My bones ached. My skin burned. Then they pulled—six men it took to drag me from the ground—and I realized their true intent: they wanted to kill me. They feared me so greatly that they could not suffer me to exist a moment longer.

My airway constricted under the pull of the rope as my feet left the ground, inch by torturous inch. It was not the first time I’d been hanged, and though I knew it would not kill me, it hurt nonetheless. I had done nothing to these people!

My anger boiled. I wanted to destroy them all, yet I remained motionless and allowed the noose to tighten. I would hold onto my convictions, anger be damned. I would not become the monster they saw.

“Why won’t it die?” one of my attackers asked.

“Because it’s a demon,” another said.

“It’s not a demon,” the first replied.

“It is! Why else won’t its neck break?”

“How do we kill it?” another asked, this voice young—no more than a teenager by my estimation.

“Do we burn it?”

“Stab it!”

“Cut its head off!” came another voice, and the cries of assent rallied around this call to action.

Then the branch snapped, and I collapsed to the ground. Pain flared through my feet and ankles from the impact, and all six men fell backward with a series shouts and grunts. The others moved backward as a single unit, afraid of being within my reach…as they should. The noose loosened, and I flexed my arms, breaking the bindings around them. Even the chains they’d used to drag me fell away. I jerked my legs free and planted my bare feet on the snowy ground. Metal and rope pooled at my feet as I stood, towering over the cowering, crying men. They backed up farther, those with torches holding them toward me as if to ward off an attack. I laughed.

“Shoot it, Agnar!” one screamed, and I heard the cock of a revolver’s hammer.

“Yes,” I replied in their own language, turning toward the gunman. Those who had not been present for my arrival gasped in surprise. I imagined they did not think me capable of intelligent speech. I took the barrel of the gun in my hand and stepped forward, pressing it into my chest to mark my heart. Should it work, I would be out of this eternal misery…and if not, I would continue as I always had: alone.

“Shoot me. End my existence. Prove me human, Agnar.”

The man’s hand shook so violently he could not keep the weapon trained on me. I stared down at him, still as stone as tears poured down his face. His lip trembled. Mucus ran from his nose in slimy strings, and saliva dripped from his bottom lip. He wiped a gloved hand across his face, smearing the mess to his cheek. He blinked away tears, and the trembling intensified. Finally, unable to hold my gaze, the terrified man threw down the gun and turned to run.

I caught him mid-stride, my hand closing around his throat. His windpipe collapsed as I squeezed. His eyes bulged, and when I released him, he fell to the icy ground, dead. Sightless eyes stared up at the canopy of trees. Blood leaked into the soft white snow from his nose and the corner of his open mouth. The rest of the mob remained motionless, stunned into silence as they stared at their dead comrade. The gun lay between them and me, and had any of them thought to grab it, the battle may have ended differently.

Then again, perhaps not.

A new combatant appeared from the mass of trembling men, brandishing a knife. A second followed him. One after another they attacked, driven out of fear—knives and guns, sticks and rocks. Each man charged, fueled entirely by the instinct to destroy, and each died with a look of shock upon his face. I crushed one man’s skull in my hand, broke another’s neck. A third I slammed face first into the very tree from which they’d attempted to hang me. One fired a round at me and missed, hitting his comrade in the chest and knocking him backward into a snow drift. I tore those men apart, leaving their bloody carcasses scattered beneath the trees. Still, the rush of water over the falls in the distance sang out, uncaring of the carnage.

At last I stood in the grove, the powdery, white ground stained muddy red beneath my feet. Blood soaked into my clothing. I needed to return to the inn and retrieve my boots and coat. I needed to leave this place before I was found.

It wasn’t until I started to walk away that I recognized the face of the innkeeper among the dead.

Author Bio

South Carolina native S.H. Roddey has been writing for fun since she was a child and still enjoys building worlds across the speculative fiction spectrum filled with mystery and intrigue.  She brings to the literary world a unique blend of humor, emotion, and wild ideas filled with dark themes and strong characters. In her spare time, she offers professional book formatting services and writes romance as her imaginary friend, Siobhan Kinkade.

In addition to writing she is also a voracious reader, wannabe chef, and video game addict with two full-time jobs: administrative social media professional, and mom to a cat, a young twenty-something, and a pair of precocious youngsters with an affinity for computer keyboards. She also works as the formatter and cover artist for www.ClickingKeys.com and enjoys the perks of being married to her best friend and full-time muse.

Author Contact Info

Website: http://www.shroddey.com
Blog: http://creepyauthorgirl.wordpress.com
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/AuthorSHRoddey
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/draickinphoenix
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/draickinphoenix
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/author/shroddey
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/draickinphoenix
Spotify: http://open.spotify.com/user/1235345680

As Siobhan Kinkade:
Blog: http://siobhankinkade.wordpress.com
Facebook Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorSiobhanKinkade
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/siobhankinkade
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/author/siobhankinkade

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Weeping in the Wings by Terry Lynn Thomas

Published August 31, 2016 by admin

Weeping-in-the-Wings-Blitz-Banner

Time for another look at a new book! This week, we’re exploring Weeping in the Wings by Terry Lynn Thomas.

Weeping-in-the-Wings

 

Title:  Weeping in the Wings

Series:  Grace Bennett Mysteries, Book 2

Author:  Terry Lynn Thomas

Published:  August 11, 2016

Publisher:  Black Opal Books

Genre:   Historical Gothic Mystery

Synopsis:

San Francisco, March 1943

Sarah Bennett harbors two secrets: She sees ghosts, and she’s in love with a spy.

When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr. Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her—a spirit whose incessant weeping only she can hear.

Meanwhile, as Sarah struggles to cope with the relentless weeping, she comes face to face with Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is ostensibly convalescing from injuries suffered in an alleged accident. But Zeke has secrets of his own, and Sarah’s love and trust are soon put to the test.

Things take an even darker turn when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, and Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead. Unsure who she can trust, she must unlock the mystery of the weeping ghost in order to save Dr. Geisler—and herself—from an unknown enemy.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | GoodReads

After he left, I worked straight through until 11:30 and had just put my completed work on Dr. Geisler’s desk when a scream pierced the quietude of my office. I ran out into the corridor and followed the hysterical sounds toward the foyer. Bethany and I met in the hallway. Together we raced toward the noise.

The screaming turned into a hysterical incantation. “No, no. Please. No.”

Minna. She stood near the front door, a black dressing gown flowing over her bony frame like a witch’s cloak. Her hair hung in wild curls the color of spun silver. She looked as though she could have raised her arms and cast a spell or hopped on a broom and flown away. Instead she held a piece of paper in her trembling hand. Scattered around her feet were the petals and stems of a desiccated bouquet of roses, a flower box from Podesta Baldocchi lay on its side, tossed away in the chaos.

Chloe sat at her desk, observing everything, missing nothing, her eyes huge. The maid, a young girl in a uniform two sizes too big, froze, holding the dust rag suspended in midair.

I moved toward Minna, desperate to help her, but Bethany waved me off.

“Minna, what’s wrong?”

“Sarah. Bethany.” She waved the paper she held in her hand through the air. “It’s Gregory. He’s alive.” Her breathing became heavy and deep. She tore the letter up, threw the pieces on the floor, covered her face with her hands, and wept. Deep racking sobs coursed through her body, threatening to topple her.

Bethany swept in and put a comforting arm around Minna’s shoulder. She spoke to her in the same sweet, disarming voice she had used on Mr. Collins. “Come on, dear. Let’s get you someplace safe. We’ll lock the house and make sure that Gregory isn’t here. I’ll see to it personally.” She spoke to the maid. “It’s all right, young lady. Go see Mrs. McDougal for a cup of hot cocoa. There’s a good girl.”

“You’ll protect me, won’t you, Bethany? And Matthew. He’ll come for Matthew.”

“Of course.” Bethany spoke in a soothing voice. “I’ll take care of everything.” Minna allowed herself to be led away. The two women made their way toward the staircase, while Bethany muttered comforting words in Minna’s ear.

Just as they were about to reach the first landing and slip out of sight, Bethany called to me. “Find my husband. Tell him to hurry.”

Before heading off to search for Dr. Geisler, I picked up the torn pieces of paper that Minna had thrown on the floor and tucked them into my pocket. I had every intention of finding out the truth about Gregory Geisler.

Terry-Lynn-Thomas

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Terry Lynn Thomas married the love of her life, who promised to buy her a horse if she relocated to Mississippi with him. Now that she has relocated, she has discovered that she can be happy anywhere as long as she has her man, her horse and time to write. Terry Lynn devoured novels by Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Daphne Du Maurier as a child. These gothic mysteries captured her imagination, never let go, and influence her writing today. When she is not writing or riding her horse, she visits historical houses and cemeteries, hunting for story ideas.

Amazon Author Page | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads

 

The Spirit of Grace by Terry Lynn Thomas

Published July 30, 2016 by admin

The-Spirit-of-Grace-Blitz-Banner

 

Time for another look at a stellar new book! This week, we’re taking a peep at The Spirit of Grace by Terry Lynn Thomas.

Spirit-of-Grace

Title:   The Spirit of Grace

Author:   Terry Lynn Thomas

Published:  January 16th, 2016

Publisher:   BlackOpal Books

Genre:  Historical Gothic Mystery

Synopsis:

Sarah Bennett doesn’t remember the night her mother tumbled down the stairs at Bennett House, despite allegedly witnessing the fatal fall. There was talk of foul play, dark whispers, and sidelong glances, all aimed at Sarah, prompting her family to send her to The Laurels, an exclusive asylum in San Francisco, under a cloud of suspicion. Now, on the one-year anniversary of her mother’s murder, Sarah has been summoned home. Convinced of her innocence, she returns to Bennett House, hoping to put the broken pieces of her life back together. But when another murder occurs shortly after her arrival, Sarah once again finds herself a suspect, as she is drawn into a web of suspicion and lies.

In order to clear her name, Sarah must remember what happened the fateful night her mother died. But as she works to regain her memory, the real murderer watches, ready to kill again to protect a dark family secret.

The Spirit of Grace is similar to the Gothic style of Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney.

Buy Links:

Amazon  http://smarturl.it/SpiritGraceJG

GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/28634142-the-spirit-of-grace

Barnes and Noble  http://tinyurl.com/hsuld33

I had just put the silver away and was in the process of laying the used dish towels near the stove so they could dry overnight, when I saw Zeke in the back corridor. Something stopped me from speaking to him or asking what he was doing back here. He must have gone upstairs and come back down again on the servant’s staircase, which no one ever used except Anca and me.

I ducked behind a huge parka and watched as Zeke bent over Grace’s camera bag, unzipped it, and slipped out a black canister of film, all in one quick fluid motion. After he did that, he took another canister of film out of his pocket and slipped that into the camera bag in place of the film he had taken. He didn’t see me standing in the shadows spying on him. He headed back up the stairs, his footsteps quiet as passing time.

I walked back into the foyer and up the main staircase to my own room. Once inside, I locked the door behind me. I changed out of the black dress, fumbling with one hand. The image of Zeke switching the film in Grace’s camera bag ran over and over in my head. I tried to convince myself that he hadn’t been doing anything harmful. Maybe he just needed to borrow some film. But I knew what I had seen. I knew what I had heard this afternoon—Zeke speaking flawless German on the telephone.

The magic I had felt earlier, the possibility of a future with him had been clouded now. Our future together wouldn’t be a happy one. How could it be? I had fallen in love with a spy.

Terry-Lynn-Thomas-300x296

Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Terry Lynn Thomas married the love of her life, who promised to buy her a horse if she relocated to Mississippi with him. Now that she has relocated, she has discovered that she can be happy anywhere as long as she has her man, her horse and time to write. Terry Lynn devoured novels by Mary Stewart, Victoria Holt, and Daphne Du Maurier as a child. These gothic mysteries captured her imagination, never let go, and influence her writing today. When she is not writing or riding her horse, she visits historical houses and cemeteries, hunting for story ideas.

Amazon Author Page  http://tinyurl.com/h77mc8a

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/terry.thomas.908579

Twitter  https://twitter.com/TLThomasBooks

GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14324807.Terry_Lynn_Thomas

 

 

WeWriWa: Drink Up!

Published November 1, 2015 by admin

Since it’s the day after Halloween, I thought I’d stay with my creepy theme a little longer and give you some horror! Since I love vampires and I love historical fiction, here’s a bit of Mooner to help you recover from your Halloween! And remember – for a look at more authors, be sure to check out weekend writing warriors!

***

“What can I do for you for a drink, boy? I’ve got a terrible thirst.” His teeth glistened wetly and he waited in the middle of the room as if he had all the time in the world.

The entire saloon had gone silent and Bill looked at his feet, uneasy. He could handle himself in a fight well enough if he had to, but he hated to have to. “You’ve got two drinks right there waitin’ for you,” he mumbled.

“Aye, but I’ve got a terrible, terrible thirst,” Tom repeated. “Isn’t there anything you’d like to see me do? I’d do anything, anything for a drink. Anything at all.”

Mooner72dpi

Kindle         Nook      MMP Store

Like many young men at the end of the 1800s, Bill signed on to work in a logging camp. The work is brutal, but it promised a fast paycheck with which he can start his life. Unfortunately, his role model is Big John. Not only is he the camp’s hero, but he’s known for spending his pay as fast as he makes it. On a cold Saturday night they enter Red’s Saloon to forget the work that takes the sweat and lives of so many men their age. Red may have plans for their whiskey money, but something else lurks in the shadows. It watches and badly wants a drink that has nothing to do with alcohol. Can Bill make it back out the shabby door, or does someone else have their own plans for his future?

Excerpt: Mooner (or vampires and lumberjacks rock my world)

Published September 11, 2015 by admin

Today, I feel like vampires. So vampires it shall be. Well…lumberjacks that run into vampires, because in my world that combination is a beautiful thing and it’s still my birthday week, so there you go. This bit is from Mooner, an e-book title of mine that combines my love of pioneer history with my love of wrecking pioneer history…and also vampires. Because they’re awesome. Basically all you need to know is a group of lumberjacks walk into a bar on their night off, and things spiral downward from there…

***

Nancy shook her head. “I ain’t scared of you and your boys, John, and neither should you be,” she added to Bill. Her rolling eyes were framed by laugh lines, though at the moment her face was stern and cold as a sudden blizzard. “I know how you boys are and don’t think for a minute I approve of you trying to put your ways on a nice young lad like him.”

The men turned a cold shoulder to her like usual. She was only of use to them if she was carrying a loaded tray. Only Bill shot her a sympathetic glance. The older woman tucked a graying curl under her hat and strode off to deliver drinks to the tables. “Don’t you let him get you full, boy. The last thing you need is to depend on them to get you back when you’re dead drunk.”

“Bah, what does she know? C’mon, lad, drink up!” John urged, and his more naïve companion steeled himself before knocking back the firewater. “There you go, Bill! Let’s have another!” he laughed, inhaling his own whiskey before presenting his empty to Red. “To a lucky son of a bitch!” he roared, clapping the younger man across the back so hard the youth bent over the bar top. “You boys won’t believe it, but Bill here has the biggest string of luck you ever saw! I don’t know how many times I’ve looked up and thought he was a goner, almost catching his foot on a tree root running from a falling fir! And don’t get me started on the time I thought he’d fallen to his death while limbing out!”

The boy shrugged with embarrassment and ran a hand through sandy hair. “Either luck or a higher power’s been with me. All I want is enough to send back to Ma and settle down.”

A few of the others sprawled along the bar muttered in disdain. “Don’t have time for no dunghisters,” a craggy-faced logger croaked into his glass, practically spitting the derogatory term for farmer.

For a brief moment a snide glitter crept into Big John’s eyes as he glanced towards the sack clenched tightly in Bill’s fist.

“Settle down! Luck or no, it isn’t a bad idea to be careful,” Red advised, fully knowing that there were plenty who’d take the boy’s decision as an insult to the profession. He was quick to replenish glasses and change the subject. “Besides, it’s not spring yet. Your pal Joe closed the door and ended up a resident of the undertaker’s down the road last Saturday.”

For once John blanched and set his drink back on the bar. “I thought he just went out to get his teeth fixed!”

Red rolled his eyes. “A man would have to be desperate to travel ten miles to the nearest girl house in this kind of cold.”

Bill’s shock reached him through the warm haze of the whiskey. “Was he sluiced?”

“Well he didn’t just drop dead!” The barkeep shook his head and snapped his fingers at the youth employed to keep the peace. “Jack, you missed one! Lars has his caulks on and I don’t want no cases of smallpox in my saloon, you hear me?”

They watched as the local youth encouraged the sawyer out the door. After a few moments the Norwegian returned, sans his spiked boots, cursing the air blue.

“They don’t know what got him,” Red mumbled. “He was found outside last Saturday night after I closed, blood all over the snow.”

“Caulks don’t do that,” Bill offered for lack of something better to say.

“Boy, a knife couldn’t even do that. Catcher’s ax, maybe. Half his chest was ripped out and strung from one end of the street to the other.”

Bill shuddered in the heavy warmth of his bright green mackinaw and grabbed for the glass that John had shoved towards him. “What the devil could do that to a man?” he murmured, the alcohol slowly warming the chill of fear away.

“Don’t worry about it. I’ve seen a lot in my time, and it’s probably a fluke. Can’t be helped, at any rate.” John’s mutter was dark as he scanned the room in search of some new amusement. His younger friend’s gaze drifted as well, and he rested his sack on the bar to keep it in sight.

For a moment Bill thought he was imagining things or was having a particularly bad reaction to the rotgut. Blinking a few times refocused his tired gaze and proved that there was, indeed, a moving pile of…something at a table close to the other end of the bar.

Mooner72dpi

Kindle         Nook      MMP Store

Like many young men at the end of the 1800s, Bill signed on to work in a logging camp. The work is brutal, but it promised a fast paycheck with which he can start his life. Unfortunately, his role model is Big John. Not only is he the camp’s hero, but he’s known for spending his pay as fast as he makes it. On a cold Saturday night they enter Red’s Saloon to forget the work that takes the sweat and lives of so many men their age. Red may have plans for their whiskey money, but something else lurks in the shadows. It watches and badly wants a drink that has nothing to do with alcohol. Can Bill make it back out the shabby door, or does someone else have their own plans for his future?

Wanna talk vampires with me? I’m in Louisville all weekend at the Imaginarium Convention!

Also, don’t forget to enter the Night Owl Reviews summer scavenger hunt…the hidden word on my blog miiiight be under one of the links at the top of the page.

Available again! Mooner

Published June 28, 2014 by admin

It’s back it’s back it’s back! I’m so very excited to have Mooner back in print through Mocha Memoirs Press. Not only did it give me a chance to tighten up parts of the story, but I’ve also been able to include a glossary of Lumberjack Vocabulary, as well! For those who aren’t familiar with the title, this is my take on historical vampire fiction via 1800’s lumber camp life. It combines my love of history, my love of vampires, my love of creepy, slow-burn stories into something that I’m really quite proud of. So let’s take a look, because it’s my blog and I can totally do that.

 

Mooner72dpi

Kindle         Nook      MMP Store

Like many young men at the end of the 1800s, Bill signed on to work in a logging camp. The work is brutal, but it promised a fast paycheck with which he can start his life. Unfortunately, his role model is Big John. Not only is he the camp’s hero, but he’s known for spending his pay as fast as he makes it. On a cold Saturday night they enter Red’s Saloon to forget the work that takes the sweat and lives of so many men their age. Red may have plans for their whiskey money, but something else lurks in the shadows. It watches and badly wants a drink that has nothing to do with alcohol. Can Bill make it back out the shabby door, or does someone else have their own plans for his future?

And now, let’s have an excerpt since it’s been so very long…

Nancy shuffled back towards the bar, casting a wary look over her shoulder. “Red, he’s back,” she breathed as she scooped up another tray and fled to the other side of the room. Upon closer inspection the youth realized that it wasn’t a pile of something. It was a figure draped in a patchwork of skins then cloaked with half-torn, moldy furs. Most who passed his way quickly avoided him, though whether it was because of his odd looks or his smell it was hard to say.

Red hissed through his teeth and ran a sweating hand through his thick, flame-colored mane. “Tom Haskins,” he mumbled under his breath for the benefit of those crowded around him.

“I thought he lived on the edge of town,” Jack replied, equally low, and glared down the length of the bar.

“He tried to start a dry good store and it didn’t go over too well. He had it in his mind that he could make up his loss with fur, though he ain’t no trapper. Moved out to the woods weeks ago and comes into town every so often to hang round and get his fix. Just when I think he’s finally died out there he comes round again.”

Not once did the saloon proprietor take his eyes off the body hunched over a table. Every breath made his ragtag cloak shudder and every moldy hair on him quivered.

“You want me to kick him out?” Jack offered, already shifting his weight.

“Nah, let him warm up at least. He doesn’t do much; just pesters everyone for drink now that he can’t afford it for himself. Give him time and he’ll be up to his tricks.”

Bill couldn’t stop staring. The pile of sloughed animals slumped as the man’s head rose. His skin was a cold gray and stretched taught across his face and hands. His hair had all but fallen out, but what was still left of it hung in clumps of long, ragtag strands that were paler than dried straw. His thin-lipped mouth was open and he sucked in air in painful, erratic pants.

“Look at ‘im! Actin’ like a piglet pulled away from its ma’s teat!” Big John sneered. “I bet his clothes are fulla maggots!”

“It’s too cold for maggots,” Ben snorted. “His clothes are thin. Wonder how the hell he stands bein’ out in the woods in weather like this.”

“We do it,” Bill muttered.

The recluse’s head jerked at the sound of his voice. The young man immediately snapped his mouth shut.

“Yeah, but we’re used to it! And younger’n he ever was!” John’s voice was purposefully loud and it carried the haughty tone that won him admiration from the other loggers. “He’s durn crazy, that’s why he don’t notice. All that time on your own turn you yaps, man?”

Tom’s head very slowly shifted towards them and Bill shuddered. There were days he’d survived the logging camp and the extreme conditions by willpower and prayer alone, all the while wondering in the back of his head what it would be like if he didn’t have even that. Looking at the vagrant, he knew.

Ben was cursing behind them. “I saw him not more than a month ago and he didn’t look like that. Solitary life don’t turn a man in that short a’ time! Maybe he’s got rabies or fever ‘n’ ague.”

Tom’s eyes sat so far back in his skull that it was impossible to tell what color they were, though they harbored a steady, unsettling gleam. They roved over the huddled group, searching hungrily for an easy mark. Bill’s heart plummeted to his boots when the hollow glitter locked onto him. He was suddenly as cold as he was when a seventh-year blizzard hit. All the frustrations and hell he’d endured since joining the logging team, all his good intentions and reasons, all that he was trying to move forward to swelled and jumbled together in a brief, howling wind of thought. The two distant stars in Tom’s eyes were the only thing that pegged him as a stable man in his otherwise rotting and dozy appearance.

All around the little group the saloon’s weekend life went on. The distant sound of swearing and dice clattering across the floor mixed with discordant harmonies and a half-hearted mouth organ. But in the area by the bar, all was muffled and still. It was like the snows had come without warning over the forest, smothering everything in their path with chilled silence. Bill shuddered and out of the corner of his eye he noticed Red do the same.

“You want I should knock his ears down, Red?” John’s bravado was the sudden yell that knocked the snow from the treetops, for good or ill. He had the relaxed look of a man who’d been in his cup just enough to throw caution to the wind. “I’ll toss him out and give ‘im a case of smallpox he won’t forget!”

“Leave be, John,” the barkeep muttered. His hand never stopped wiping down the bar and though his head was tilted down to his task, his eyes were set on their target across the room.

“What…what you want me to do for a drink?” At first it didn’t register that Tom had actually spoken. His voice was high and reedy and cracked the way the thinnest ice along the river did.

“Pardon?”

“What you want me to do for a drink?” His lips cracked when his mouth moved. A thin trail of spittle dripped off his lower lip and was quickly caught up by the tip of the derelict’s seeking tongue. The distant gleam in Tom’s eyes burned as his mouth formed the last word. Otherwise, it was hard to say how he’d made it into the saloon; he looked more than a little dim.

The rustle of skirts made Bill look behind him. Nancy had come around once more and was sliding her empty tray on the bar with more hesitation than usual. “Don’t you boys take the bait. Last time he came in here he swallowed a handful of live spiders. I’ve seen him gulp down tadpoles and minnows, too.”

“Why?” Bill breathed, though the word was a vague whisper in his own ears.

“The woods didn’t make him picky, that’s for certain,” Nancy muttered.

“I’ve seen him bite the heads off rodents, and even a chicken. The body still wriggled for a good minute after,” Red agreed. “When he says he’ll do anything, he means it.”

John’s rugged, dirty face lit like a beacon that was up to no good. “Will he now?”

The vagrant scratched himself somewhere under the skins and let himself be regarded by the knot of loggers.

“Whatever you’re planning to do, leave be!” Nancy hissed. “Red, can’t you just pour him somethin’?”

“If I do that for him I’ll end up startin’ a riot.”

“Then we’ll settle this like men,” John breezed, rolling up the sleeves of his mackinaw to show the lines of scars received as proof of his time on skid road. “So what, exactly, will you do for a shot of ol’ Red’s firewater, huh Tom?”

***

What, indeed, heh.

Also, feel free to check out some blog posts relating to horror and  Mooner that I’ve done lately.

A post talking about the different sorts of vampires that I like in fiction and film, with some recommendations is here 

A post talking about how family vacations, a love of vampires, and my love of history warped me for life can be found here

And, slightly related, I’m talking about being a woman and writing horror here

Interviewed by G.L. Giles!

Published August 16, 2013 by admin

I was interviewed earlier this week by the lovely G.L. Giles, and boy did I have a blast! She asked some really insightful questions that made me think (and think…and think, lol). I love talking about my creative endeavors, and this was a fun chance to do so. To see what I had to say about my upcoming titles and other artistic endeavors, check out the article on G.L.’s blog. While you’re there, check out her fantastic work, as well!