Monday, January 22, 2018

New #Horror Release: Screms You Hear

Something different for a Monday. Here's an excerpt and preview for Screams You Hear by James Morris, which released today! Don't forget to turn the lights on...

Murder and madness infect a small town

For sixteen-year-old Ruthie Stroud, life on tiny Hemlock Island in the Pacific Northwest is an endless sea of boring green, in a place where everybody knows everybody’s business and nothing ever happens. Then her world is ripped apart when her parents divorce and a new man enters her mother’s life. But worse is yet to come.

When she drifts ashore on the mainland, hideously burned, Ruthie has a harrowing tale to tell. It begins with the murder of a family. It ends with her being the sole survivor of a cataclysm that sweeps her little island. As a detective attempts to unravel Ruthie’s story of murder and madness, only one horrifying conclusion can be drawn: whatever was isolated on remote Hemlock Island may now have come to the mainland. Is Ruthie safe? Is anyone?

* Buy: 
Amazon - iTunes - Kobo

 Chapter One

I wake to pain, pain beyond comprehension, my skin on fire, only to find myself in a hospital bed, my arms bandaged, and wires snaking into machines. The burns are covered in white gauze and every motion, no matter how small, sends my nerves screaming. The air is heavy against my skin. And that smell. I can still smell the bitterness of my singed hair. I feel my head, expecting strands of hair, thick and wavy, but it’s gone. There are only splotches of emptiness, a topography of touch that alarms me. I wonder if it will ever grow back.
Tendrils of anxiety course through me, pulsing steadily. I need to wake up from whatever this is.
In spite of the pain, I caress my face and I have no eyebrows. Only stubble. No matter where I touch, my skin isn’t soft; it’s leather, a mask that rests too tightly against my skull. It’s like my skin is both expanding and contracting, pushing and pulling.
In the cyclone of terror, I remember. I remember everything.
I wish I didn’t. I wish it all away.
Around the room, there are no mirrors, and I know it’s no accident. It’s small comfort. I don’t want to see myself. I may never look in a mirror again. It’s only me and a bed, and colorful murals of elephants and giraffes on the wall, their cartoon smiles mocking me. I must be in the children’s wing, even though I’m sixteen. Next to me, an IV recedes into my vein. To my left is a button. It could be to call for assistance. Or to adjust the bed. But I think it’s something else. I think it’s for pain.
I could press it and disappear into numbness.
I could press it and just drift.
But there is something about pain. It’s the price of being alive.
The button is my litmus test.
I am stronger than my pain. I need to focus on something—anything. I need to distract myself.
I am not my pain.
I am Ruthie Stroud. I live at— wait—not anymore. I have a brother—no, not anymore.
I shut my eyes. I can’t shut them hard enough. Through the darkness, I still see fire. My world engulfed with flickering orange and reds. And the all-encompassing heat, heat beyond boiling, bordering on oblivion. Melting.
My last memory is coming ashore on the mainland, alone and fiercely tired. I didn’t walk, didn’t run. I moved, floating, held aloft by the most invisible of strings, my eyes on the horizon, people on the edges of my vision. Adults. I felt their gaze. The air was cool and moist and my skin so hot. Moving and moving; people staring. I hear them, words like police and 911 and oh my God. They surround me, a horde. They’re feral creatures, circling, their faces distorted. They are coming for me. I have no escape.
I scream and my world goes dark.
I open my eyes. A woman stands in the hospital room doorway. Her skin is the color of teak, her black hair pulled into a tight ponytail, and without a uniform, she’s clearly no nurse. I look down her button-down shirt and a badge is attached to her belt, a gun holstered at her side.
She says, not unkindly, “I’m Detective Perez from the Washington State Police.”
I knew the cops would get involved, even though they’re late. Far too late.
She waits for me to invite her in. “May I?”
I nod and my skin crinkles and cracks. She enters, pulling a chair beside my bed and sits down. Her brown eyes rest on me and then dart away. She can’t bear to look. I must seem a monster. She asks, “How are you feeling?”
I don’t know how to answer that question.
“I’m sorry,” she says.
Down the hall, I hear a child scream. From surgery or fear, I don’t know. I think fight the pain, fight the pain.
She speaks to me in soothing tones. “I need to ask you a few questions. About what happened. Can you talk?”
My mouth is dry, my throat sore, my vocal chords thrashed. I’d forgotten how much I screamed. I feel my skin wrinkle into deep crevices as I move my jaw, and it’s an effort to form words. Even my tongue feels burned; this strange muscle in my mouth. “Is my dad coming?”
“He’s on his way.” We share a bit of silence and I stare at the woman she is, the beautiful woman I will never be, and she says, “I’d like to start at the beginning. And if there’s ever a point where you need to stop, just let me know, okay?”
“There’s just one thing,” and I clear my throat. I force her to find my eyes. To see. To look. To understand.
“What’s that?”

“Don’t judge me,” I tell her. “I did what I had to.”

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Bram Stoker #Horror Awards Preliminary Ballot

The Horror Writers Association released their preliminary ballot for the 2017 Bram Stoker Awards. 

Here are a few short highlights, including writers and books that have been featured on this blog or whose names I recognize or from small presses. You can see the full list here.  Congratulations to all as the nominee ballot is determined next.

Superior Achievement in a Novel
Golden, Christopher – Ararat (St. Martin’s Press)

Superior Achievement in a First Novel
Hartwell, Ash – Tip of the Iceberg (Stitched Smile Publications)

Superior Achievement in Long Fiction
Keisling, Todd – The Final Reconciliation (Crystal Lake Publishing)
McGuire, Seanan – Down Among the Sticks and Bones (
Waggoner, Tim – A Kiss of Thorns (DarkFuse)

Superior Achievement in Short Fiction
Bailey, Michael – “I Will Be the Reflection Until the End” (Tales from the Lake Vol. 4) (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Bodner, Hal – “The Baker of Millepoix” (Behold!: Oddities, Curiosities & Undefinable Wonders) (Crystal Lake Publishing)
Wahl, M.F. – “Absolution” (Feverish Fiction Magazine Issue #6) (Sleazy Viking Press)
Yardley, Mercedes M. – “Loving you Darkly” (F(r)iction Magazine #8) (Tethered by Letters)

Superior Achievement in a Fiction Collection
Cain, Kenneth W. – Embers (Crystal Lake Publishing)

Superior Achievement in an Anthology
Maberry, Jonathan and Romero, George A. – Nights of the Living Dead: An Anthology (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Monday, January 15, 2018

Change yourself! Cartoon & #Zombie!

Hey it's Monday. So have some fun!

Mindless stuff you can do online -

Family Guy Yourself

Now I should take that and turn it zombie right? haa! Ok couldn't resist....

Make Me Zombie - and here's me: haa!

Zombify Yourself on PicMonkey -

Dead Yourself - Walking Dead App, ITunes - and on Google Play

Monday, January 8, 2018

Paris and... #Zombies?

One goal this year: I want to try featuring other blogs and things I come across and find interesting. Today's topic: Paris

Source: free vintage travel posters

Love Paris?

It was interesting reading about and seeing the wonderful photos fellow author and Facebook friend Kaye Wilkinson Barley took during her recent trip to Paris. Here she puts up an amazing list of books about Paris on her Meandering & Muses blog. 

Her book, Whimsey is "a  novel of southern fiction with a splash of magic and a touch of fantasy, topped with a sprinkling of humor. The magic was already there when cigar-smoking matriarch Elizabeth Calhoun established an artist’s colony on an island off the coast of Georgia and named it Whimsey." 

Sounds like a great afternoon read snuggled up with some tea and a comforter!

Now I like to read all kinds of things... And if you think the topic of Paris doesn't fit on this blog? haa!  Guess what? Zombies are everywhere! I got a big kick out of looking this up!!

Yes, there are some books with Paris - and zombies!!  Have fun looking up others! 

 An Alphabet of Paris Zombies, Amy Plum - Gruesome deaths in Paris written in couplets for each letter. Definitely different.

The Plague in Paris, Tyler Omichinski - Mr. Hildebrand and his valet flee the British Isles for Paris amid scandal. Will they survive the chaos there? Dry humor, pulp, 19th century. 

The Undying, Undying Series, Ethan Reid -  A young American in Paris must lead her friends to safety and escape the hungry undying in this apocalyptic thriller. (Great cover!) Book 2: The Undying: Shades: An Apocalyptic Thriller

Friday, January 5, 2018

New Review of Lizzie Borden's Doctor #Paranormal #Mystery

Lizzie Borden's Doctor Mystery, C.A. Verstraete

Hope you had a great start to 2018!

   I started out the new year right with a great new review of my companion book, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen in the Jan. issue of Uncaged Book Reviews  4 stars!  Read the review online.

   Here's part of it: "... An enjoyable story to go along with Lizzie Borden (Zombie Hunter)... Though it explores a slightly different facet of the paranormal genre, it fits nicely into the world Verstraete had already built. Additionally, she added one last bittersweet surprise to the end of the book that reminded me of the story's predecessor..." - Kaitlin, Uncaged Book Reviews, (Jan. 2018, pg. 90), 4 stars 

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy 2018 Lizzie Borden Writing! #zombies #horrror

Well it's 2018! 

I started January 1 on good footing - I laid off my writing of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2 a bit. I reworked parts of Chapter 1, which now works better, and I did a couple other chapters, then felt I really needed to work on the rest of the outline. 

I'm actually starting Chapter 13 (my chapters are short) and knew most of what I wanted to happen next. It's just along the way, I, at least, get bogged down in fearing I'm missing some points and trying to hook all the details together. It's always a big puzzle that needs careful assembly. Why an outline helps. I think I have most of it now and some of it also may get cemented once I write the next parts. That's why the outline is so useful.

Funny, I realize now that I overlooked one point - and I think I'll keep it that way as it would've put the story off in an unneeded direction -- and most of all I did NOT want to kill off a certain character. Not yet anyway.

Real Life? 
I like how the story is going, continuing where Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter ended, and following up on certain points: Are the zombies really gone? What happens to Lizzie after the trial and after she is acquitted of the double murders? What happened to her sister? Does she ever marry or fall in love?

Granted, Lizzie's life was fairly quiet and "normal" after the trial. Not much goes on in real life, so I'm incorporating some real life events from different time periods and of course a lot of it is fictional. Well, zombies, right? But I am still pulling in facts from the murders the year before and the trial since it was the reason why we even know who she was.

Not many chapters to go. This one will be a bit shorter, I think. I won't say much more though I'm going to really concentrate to finish. Kind of a NanoWriMo but in January. I'm late as I wanted to finish sooner, but I'm still on track. Stay tuned for details!