Halloween Reads

Mornin’, Creeps!

Today is my favorite day of the year. I love the costumes and the candy and everything else that goes with it. But I also love the history of Halloween and what it symbolizes. And it helps that Rocky Horror Picture Show will be on later this evening. It appeals to the creepy and the corny in me. More than anything though, I enjoy the  atmosphere: thrill of terror, the anticipation that comes with a well-told story. It’s hard to please me because I’ve spent so much time reading and researching, but I have to say there are still things out there capable of making me hide under the covers. I’ll be taking my little girl trick or treating tonight, but until then I have some time to kill.

Which means I have a treat for you… the creepiest list of books you’ve probably not heard of. Click on the titles to check them out.



by Alexandra Christian


It’s available once again, but this time as a free read on her blog.
It’s an odd little tale of love and obsession in a funeral home.
Poor Caroline is a talented reconstructive artist, but her unrequited love for Scott may have dangerous ramifications.


by Selah Janel


Historical. Lumberjack. Vampires.

This is an amazing book. I know the premise sounds a bit quirky,
but trust me…it’s worth a read. It’s sort of fascinating to learn how a vampire survives in a different age.

Death’s Dance

by Crymsyn Hart

Death's Dance

Grim Reapers, ghost hunters, and plot twists… oh, my!

This is a fun, quirky horror read with a good smattering of humor.  Anything
goes in a ghost town when nobody’s looking.

The cover is pretty awesome too.

State of Horror: Illinois

edited by Jerry E. Benns

State of Horror Illinois

A solid, creepy collection of stories. I bought this one at a convention a month and a half ago and
have been working my way through it and it’s sister anthology about New Jersey.
So far I’ve not found a single story I didn’t like. There’s guaranteed to be something for everyone in these books.

Hellscapes Vol. 1

by Stephen Zimmer


I reviewed this collection of horror novellas awhile back so you may
recognize that creepy cover. Each of the stories is set in the character’s own
personal form of hell. Some are sad, some are frightening, and some are oddly poignant.
FYI, Drowning in Tears will break your black, little heart.

The Sticks

by Andy Deane

The Sticks

Most people now Andy Deane as the front man of goth band Bella Morte,
but he’s actually a pretty damn good writer too. This is currently one of
my favorite werewolf books, and the voice is so vastly different from anything
else I’ve read lately that I constantly come back and find myself rereading passages.
My only complaint? I wish it was longer.

Cinema of Shadows

Cinema of Shadows

by Michael West

I love this series. I’ve read the first two so far and the third is on the TBR pile.
It’s creepy and entertaining, and there’s nothing better than psychics and haunted movie theaters.

The Spirit Box

by J.H. Glaze

The Spirit Box

Definitely an interesting one. There are so many occult detective
stories out there these days, but this one is definitely among my favorites. I’m definitely
curious to see what else John Hazard gets into in later installments.

Southern Haunts: Spirits that Walk Among Us

edited by Alexander S. Brown & J.L. Mulvihill

Southern Haunts

A very good, very eerie collection of ghost stories. Every story in the book
is set in the south or southwest, and some of them provide interesting insight into local folklore.
One of the authors gave me a copy and I’m now on a quest to collect autographs. Yes, I’m a nerd. Shut up.


by S.H. Roddey

Haunted by S.H. Roddey

And last, but not least…

So I’m plugging my own book? So what? It’s good, I promise.
We have ghosts, possession, creepy pseudo-incestual feelings,
and beer for breakfast. What’s not to love?

So there you have it… go forth and be frightened. Happy Halloween, y’all!

jack o'lantern

So This Happened…

Armageddon Rising - Cover

I wrote this book. and Seventh Star Press released it. And the world is right.
And because it’s awesome, everyone should go out and buy a copy right now. Seriously.


At eighteen years old, Lydia St. Clair made a deal with the devil. Three years later, she made a second deal to save her father’s life. Now a bounty hunter by trade, she uses her skills to locate missing monsters and find any object Lucifer desires.

When she wakes from a memory-based nightmare, she follows the smell of brimstone to her kitchen where she discovers a single clue regarding her next job: a half-burned slip of parchment with the word “Armageddon” scrawled upon it. Lucifer can tell her little about the job except how the Scroll of Damnation, a holy relic prophesized to bring about the end of the world in the Book of Revelation, has been stolen from its home in Odin’s vault in Asgard. Gaea’s Council, unsure of the thief’s identity or location, prepares for war, and the fate of the outside world hangs in the balance.

With a hobgoblin named Nix as a sidekick, a series of gifts from the Council, and her own street smarts, Lydia embarks on an impossible quest and a race against time. If she succeeds in finding the scroll and returning it to the council before all seven seals can be broken, she saves the world. If not…

Armageddon Rising is Book One of The Soul Collectors Series.


Amazon (Kindle & Paperback) | Barnes & Noble (Kindle & Paperback) | Kobo

TCM Presents: Shadows Over Somerset by Bob Freeman

Good mornin’ Creeps… time for another round of 20 Questions, courtesy of the good folks at Seventh Star Press. Today’s victim is the ultra-talented Bob Freeman, here to talk about himself and his new book, Shadows Over Somerset. This book is gorgeous, kids. Start to finish, it’s one of the prettiest books I’ve ever held. Haven’t had the chance to read it yet, but it promises to make me very happy.

But enough about me… come on in and let’s see what Mr. Freeman has to say…


About Shadows Over Somerset

ShadowsOverSomersetCoverMichael Somers is brought to Cairnwood, an isolated manor in rural Indiana, to sit at the deathbed of a grandfather he never knew existed. He soon finds himself drawn into a strange and esoteric world filled with werewolves, vampires, witches… and a family curse that dates back to fourteenth century Scotland.

In the sleepy little town of Somerset, an ancient evil awakens, hungering for blood and vengeance… and if Michael is to survive he must face his inner demons and embrace his family’s dark past.

Shadows Over Somerset is the first Cairnwood Manor Novel.

Buy It:
Kindle | Print



20 Questions with Bob Freeman

Tell us a bit about yourself:

I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content.

Or, I’m a husband and father by day, and an author, artist, and paranormal adventurer by night. I live on the outskirts of a tiny little rural town in northern Indiana, roughly two miles from the farm where I was born and raised.

I studied anthropology in college, with a focus on witchcraft, magic, and religion, and have been something of an amateur occult detective since 1983.

 How long have you been writing?

43 years, give or take, if you count me writing short stories as a weeling by cribbing from Mighty Thor comics. If we’re being more honest and using first publication as the high-water mark, then a little more than ten years.

What is a typical day in your life like?

I work seven days a week, either in office or on call, as the manager of the tech support office of a small ISP. That equates to roughly 96 hours a week. My typical day is me trying to talk your grandma off the roof of her house because she either hasn’t received the latest church newsletter in her inbox or Farmville has locked up her computer and she desperately needs to water her strawberries.

In between that, wrestling with my 10 year old son, and gazing lovingly into my wife’s pretty blue eyes, I manage to squeeze out some writing time. Luckily I type fast. Sometimes.

Favorite author?

Robert E. Howard, without a doubt. I discovered Howard as a boy, when I snatched up a Boris-covered copy of Conan the Freebooter in a Marion bookstore. The first story I read was “A Witch Shall Be Born” and it blew me away. It literally changed my life. I have been Howard obsessed ever since.

Howard, for me, embodies that kinetic prose that fires the imagination and drips blood off the page. It is fierce and brutal and bristling with a feral energy unmatched by any author since.

And the characters — Conan, Solomon Kane, Steve Harrison, Kull, Bran Mak Morn, and so many more… In twelve short years, Howard had more than 100 stories published in pulp magazines. The vast majority of them were pure freakin’ gold.

Favorite book?

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

When people emigrated to America, what happened to the gods they left behind? This is the question Gaiman tackles in his ambitious American Gods. But more than that, through Shadow’s eyes we see America for what it really is, in the undercurrent of reality, and we see what shape reality takes when the blinders come off.

A brilliant, evocative piece of work, and one I revisit often.

Favorite movie?

Spectre — a 1977 TV Movie (Failed Pilot), Directed by Clive Donner, Written by Gene Roddenberry and Samuel A. Peeples, Starring Robert Culp as William Sebastian, Gig Young as Dr. Amos Hamilton, and John Hurt as Mitri Cyon.

I’d already begun to have a fascination for occult detectives prior to Spectre. There was The Night Stalker, The Norliss Tapes, The Sixth Sense on Night Gallery, and a host of stories I’d fell upon by Howard, Hodgson, Quinn, Wellman, and the like. But there was something altogether special about Robert Culp’s potrail of criminologist and occult detective William Sebastian. Sure, some of the symbolism is dodgy and the effects rather cheesey, but the essence of the tale, the heart of the matter, was pure.

Favorite song?

The Rain Song by Led Zeppelin

When I was younger, I referred to this as the song one should be married and buried to. Richly textured, the song defies classification. At its core, it is a ballad, but it swells between melancholy and triumphant elation, beautifully orchestrated and performed by these legendary and iconic rock gods.

Page’s guitar is sublime and magical. Plant’s lyric and vocal, transcendent.

Before I die and drift off into the great hereafter, it is this song that I want to carry me over the Abyss.

What’s worse for you: a bad reader review, or a bad review from a fellow author?

Neither. You can’t be a slave to the opinions of others. You have to write for yourself and be true to your vision. To pay too much attention to reader and peer reviews is the way of madness.

When choosing reading material, what factors are important to you?

World-building, internal consistency, and emotional resonance.

 Tell us about your most recent book and how we can get it:

Shadow Over Somerset is a gothic romance with testosterone.

Michael Somers is brought to Cairnwood, an isolated manor on the outskirts of the sleepy little town of Somerset in rural Indiana, to sit at the deathbed of a grandfather he never knew existed. He soon finds himself drawn into a strange and esoteric world filled with werewolves, vampires, witches… and a family curse that dates back to fourteenth century Scotland.

Shadows Over Somerset, the first novel in the Cairnwood Manor series, is available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble in electronic and trade paperback formats..

Of your backlist/coming soon agenda, what’s your favorite story? Why?

Mourn Not the Sleepless Children, originally published in 2009 by Burning Effigy Press in the anthology Fresh Blood.

Mourn was the first story I’d written that got serious critical acclaim. It, likeShadows, had a gothic romance feel to it, and I think it really showcased the kind of prose I was capable of.

Mourn Not the Sleepless Children will be republished in First Born, the first book in my Liber Monstrorum series, in 2015 by Seventh Star Press.

How many genres do you write in?  Which is your favorite? 

All the stories I have published thus far have been in the horror genre, though many might rightly be called urban fantasies, gothic romances, or the like. My preference is to write within the occult detective genre, and is what I am best known for. I do have a keen interest in the sword and sorcery genre and hope to address it more fully in the future.

Your inspiration – is it from your imagination or from personal experience?

If I were to guess, I’d say it’s in the neighborhood of 30% imagination. 70% personal experience. I live and die by the old adage, write what you know.

Are the blood and guts necessary? Why or why not?

Not by a long shot. For me, it’s mood. It’s atmosphere. Gore is all about shock factor. Without the proper ambiance, it rings hollow and untrue.

Plotter of Pantser? Is there an advantage to either?

Seat of my pants, all the way. I enjoy the sense of discovery one gets from not knowing where the story is going. I’ve never been able to follow an outline and hate pitching synopsis’ for unwritten stories. I don’t know how plotters do it, to be honest. For me, an outline sucks the energy write off of the page.

How do you go about researching your stories?

Research? Is that a thing? Honestly, I’ve been investigating the paranormal for more than 30 years, I just cull from the best cases and, sometimes, amp them up a bit.

I also, typically, write about places not too far removed from my backyard, or, at the very least, locations I’ve spent a fair amount of time in.

As an author, what’s next for you?

From Seventh Star Press, I have two Cairnwood Manor novels on the horizon,Keepers of the Dead and Shadow of the Wolf, and the Liber Monstrorum series, which will consist of First Born, Descendant, Born Again, and Afterbirth.

For Permuted Press, I am co-writing a horror novel with Brendan Deneen calledUnderhill.

 Best monster ever: vampire, werewolf, or zombie?

Werewolf. Traditionally they’re terrifying, feral creatures, cursed with a ravenous hunger for human flesh, enslaved to the course of the moon overhead. Theirs is an existence of horrific torment, forced to live as man andbeast, but never being able to fully embrace either.

If you could live in any period throughout history, which would it be and why?

I have a fondness for modern conveniences, but I can’t help but wonder what it might have been like to live during the late 19th and early 20th Century. I would have dearly liked to have been a part of the Hermetic and Spiritualist movements of the time period and to have rubbed shoulders with the giants of that era. And later, to have wormed my way into the Lovecraft Circle, by hook or by crook.


About Bob Freeman

BobFreemanBob Freeman doesn’t just write and draw occult detectives, he’s also a card carrying paranormal adventurer who founded Nightstalkers of Indiana in 1983.

A lifelong student of witchcraft, magic, and religion, Bob’s studies are reflected in his art, both as an author and illustrator.

Bob lives in rural Indiana with his wife Kim and son Connor.

He can be found online at



Twitter: @OccultDetective



Be sure to to check out the rest of Bob’s Blog Tour at:

TCM Presents: Death’s Dance By Crymsyn Hart

Death's Dance Tour Badge

Well hello again!

It’s time for another victim…and this one, well, she’s near and dear to my black little heart. She’s a writing buddy, a friend, a partner in crime… and she’s one of the lovely Seventh Starlight Angels. I love this chick. She’s awesome. I should probably tell you who it is, huh?

The lovely Crymsyn Hart is with me today to talk about her new horror novel with Seventh Star Press, Death’s Dance. So take a seat, have a drink, and listen to what she has to say. On, and you might want to leave a light on. Just sayin’.


Death’s Voice


The Handwriting on the wall. Six Feet Under. Keeling over. All in…

Basically Death.

Let’s face it, we are all going to die. I’m not trying to be morbid and I’m not fixated on death or dying. I just have a thing for grim reapers. Why? Well…I’ve asked myself that question many times. First, off I’m a Scorpio so according to my astrological sign I’m drawn to death. Chalk up my pull toward death with my ghostly encounters or my psychic abilities, who knows. But I can say I did have a profound experience that pushed me in the first of liking reapers.

A friend of mine let me borrow her copy of Our Name of Melancholy by Leliah Wendell and I read it when I was nineteen. It took me a while because it’s a dense book, but the subject matter stuck a chord within me. Was it real? I don’t know, but the author wrote with conviction and it just felt right. It hit home so much I went to New Orleans and met Leliah, briefly collected her artwork, and the Tarot deck she did. However, the most interesting experience I had was well, my own encounter with death. I won’t go into details, sorry folks, but it was a spiritualty moving moment and cemented my view and attachment to death.

I took Azrael and made him more than an archetype and constructed a story around him to make that part of him mind and wove him into the Soul Reaper Series, but the more I wrote other books in the paranormal genre, the more Azrael popped up to remind me was one of my muses and that death is everywhere. Over eighty books later Azrael is in at least half of them, building a little bit more on his previous appearances and giving me more insight. It was a clear progression from there that I would write about grim reapers.

And that is how Death’s Dance was born. My “obsession” with death doesn’t drive me to sleep in a coffin, although I have one in my dining room, or invite reapers over for dinner. I’m not killing people, in real life, I just wanted to give Death a voice.

We all have one, why can’t he?


About Death’s Dance

Death's Dance CoverBeing a psychic, you would think talking to the dead was a walk in the park. However, it’s not always that simple. The hooded specter haunting me is one I’ve been dreaming about since I was a kid. One day, he appeared in my bedroom mirror. Good. Evil. I don’t know what his true intentions are.

Enter Jackson, ghost hunting show host extraordinaire, and my ex, to save me from the big bad ghost.

From there…well…it’s been a world wind of complications. My house burnt down. I’m being stalked by an ancient evil and gotten myself back into the world of being a ghost hunting psychic. Jackson dragged me, along with a few other psychics, to a ghost town wiped off the map called Death’s Dance.

From there things went from bad to worse.


Death’s Dance Buy Links:

Amazon           Barnes & Noble          Kobo



About Crymsyn Hart
Crymsyn Hart

Crymsyn is a National Bestselling author of over seventy paranormal romance and horror novels. Her experiences as a psychic have given her a lot of material to use in her books. She currently resides in Charlotte, NC with her hubby and her three dogs. If she’s not writing, she’s curled up with the dogs watching a good horror movie or off with friends.

Twitter: @crymsynhart
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Don’t miss the rest of Crymsyn’s Tour!
Check it out at Tomorrow Comes Media!

Thursday Shenanigans!


I love that word. It’s fun to say, and saying it means having fun.  For those of you that don’t know, there are LIVE Shenanigans on Thursday nights. Alexandra Christian, Crymsyn Hart, and I have a standing date on Thursday evenings at 7pm at the Starbucks in Rock Hill, SC. It’s a writer’s group of sorts, in that we’re writers and we get together.

I say that because the topic of today’s Shenanigans Post is just that: Writer’s Groups.

Let me preface this by saying the following: THIS IS MY OPINION. THIS IS ONLY MY OPINION. This is my personal take on this topic based on my experiences and the experiences of my friends. I am not belittling anyone or attempting to cause trouble. I am stating an opinion.

Now, shall we begin?

When it comes to writing groups, I have to say I’m not a fan. I mean yeah, I love the idea of getting together with my writing friends and discussing the craft and our books over a cup of coffee, but when we get together, we’re doing so in the spirit of…well…shenanigans. We’re there to have fun, to vent our frustrations, and to get things done. But we’re not a traditional writing group, nor are we a critique group.

Granted, if I email the ladies and ask them for an opinion on something, I’m going to get it. But that’s not what this is about.

There’s another group of writers that meets in Starbucks on Thursdays from time to time. There are about eight of them, and they’re very serious about it. They come in with their manuscripts and their sharpies and determinedly comb over each other’s work. I applaud them for their dedication to their group and their cause, even if I don’t agree with it. That sort of writing group, in my experience, often causes more harm than good. I’ve seen good authors have their confidence ripped to shreds, often by people who have no business picking up a pen. I’ve witnessed meltdowns and accusations of plagiarism. I’ve seen friendships destroyed.

I guess at this point what I’m saying is that writing groups – people who get together to write and share experiences – are fine, but critique groups are a bad idea. And let me tell you why.

1. Jealousy: Not every person in a critique group is at the same level when it comes to talent and experience. Often I hear horror stories about how wonderful authors are beaten down time and again, their work ripped to shreds and completely bastardized by their fellow critiquers, and it always boils down to jealousy. The ones that are violently mean are usually the ones that know their limitations but refuse to admit them. I hate seeing anyone get hurt, especially by those they consider friends in the industry. Jealousy breeds contempt, and people can be cruel and spiteful.

2. Plagiarism: Let’s face it, not every person on the planet is on the up and up. More often than not, critique group horror stories involve some fool stealing someone else’s work. I’ve seen it more times than I care to. But then again, if celebrities (ahem, Shia Laboeuf) aren’t capable of keeping their fingers out of other people’s intellectual pots, who says us normal schlubs have to do it? PLAGIARISM IS WRONG, PEOPLE! It’s every author’s worst nightmare, to wake up and find that someone has stolen our work and potentially profited from it in some way. I only share my unpublished work with my nearest and dearest – as in people I know and trust not to run off with it. I’m leery of handing whole chapters of my work over to relative strangers because I don’t know what’s going to happen.

Now that I’ve pissed off everyone in the room, let me end by saying that yes, every author needs a strong group behind him or her. while having strangers read your work can provide interesting insight, the writing process itself should be supported by those who will support you, not tear you down. Speaking from experience, it’s nice to have people there to bounce ideas off of, who can talk me down from the Delete-Key ledge, and who remind me that no, writing isn’t easy, but I don’t want to be doing anything else.

Just my thoughts. And I can say from experience, I wouldn’t trade my ladies for the world.

Writer Wednesday: Hellscapes Review

Mornin’ kids… I’m on a roll!

So y’all know I like to read. A lot. And then I like to talk about what I read so other people can read it too. Today’s post is all about something I read. My good friend, Stephen Zimmer, published a collection of short horror stories last year entitled Hellscapes. (By the way, he totally doesn’t know I’m doing this, so his reaction will be big fun!) When it went on sale earlier this year, I snapped up my copy, and over the last few months I’ve been reading the stories one at a time.

One at a time is good for this collection. Trust me. More than one will give you nightmares.




First, let’s talk about the book:

Hellscapes by Stephen Zimmer

Release Date: September 3, 2013
Publisher: Seventh Star Press
Cover Artist: Matt Perry

Journey into realms of darkness and explore the regions where angels fear to tread! Welcome to the Hellscapes, featuring tales of the infernal in settings where the horror never ends and the inhabitants experience the ultimate nightmare.

In “Blood Dreams” follow the tale of a woman who knew great political authority and influence in life, as she discovers the reward awaiting her in the next world.

“The Grove” welcomes a new arrival, a wealthy man who is looking forward to a weekend of indulging in lust and libation, as he has for many years in this secluded convocation for the elite. Something is different this time, though, and he soon finds that his visit will be taking a very different turn.

In “The Smallest Fish”, the story is told of a ruthless business mogul who finds himself in an abandoned, ruined version of the city he knew well, in life. This city won’t be remaining vacant for long.

“Drowning in Tears” tells the story of a young man’s unhealthy obsession for a suicidal girlfriend that leads him on a path of severe transformation.

The final tale of Volume 1, “Lords of War”, follows the story of a man who wielded military power on a worldwide scale as a Secretary of Defense, who now learns the deeper nature of war and what kinds of monstrosities it breeds.

Hellscapes, Volume 1 is the first release in an exciting new themed horror collection from Stephen Zimmer.


Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo |iBookstore

And now…my thoughts.

In a word: TWISTED. This book is dark, kids. It’s creepy, it’s scary, and it’s deeply poignant. Psychological and situational horror combine to bring you a brand new set of nightmares. Just as the title promises, each story is a glimpse into the personal Hell of its main character. There’s chaos and destruction, debauchery, and even a little bit of a sad love story. Human emotions are powerful things, as is evidenced in every story in this collection.

If I had to pick a favorite, I think it would have to be The Grove. I knew what was happening long before the main character did, but that just made the anticipation even sweeter. A close second would have to be Drowning in Tears. It’s a horrifically beautiful display of obsession. To be honest, there isn’t a bad story in the bunch. They’re all good, all frightening, and all perfectly executed.

The reason I said reading them one at a time is wise is because they truly are frightening.  More than one is almost guaranteed to induce nightmares in even the strongest of minds.

Overall, an excellent display of literary terror.

Tuesday Teaser: Haunted

So I have this novella. It’s a pretty good one, and it’s been through a few versions in the span of its short life. Mocha Memoirs Press has done an outstanding job bringing it to life. Between Michael’s top of the line editing and Nancy’s beautiful cover, I’m absolutely thrilled to see it out and about in the world.

It’s scary.And I’m going to let y’all read a little of it.

Oh, and its cover looks like this:

Haunted by S.H. Roddey

The Blurb:

When Bobby Gaston walks into a diner and orders a beer with his breakfast, he can’t quite remember why he needs the fortification. While he wants to remember, he’s pretty sure he doesn’t want to know what happened. He strikes up a conversation with the cute little waitress, Sheila, who offers him a ride back to the house on Normandy Road where he claims his ghost-hunter friends are sleeping after a night of exploration in the spooky old mansion.

Only, Bobby knows his friends aren’t just sleeping. He inherited the house from his grandfather, and while his memory is hazy, his unerring knowledge that something evil lurks inside makes him hesitate. But with the spunky and impetuous Sheila by his side, the darkness doesn’t seem so bad… until she leaves him hanging.

Bobby is left with two options: turn tail and run, or face his personal demons while fighting against the evil that waits for him.


The Snippet:

This is the first few pages of the book. I’d love to know what y’all think. And if you want to read the rest, you can buy it at Amazon, B&N, or the MMP Store.


“I’ll have an egg-white sandwich with a side of sausage. And a beer, if you’ve got one.”

The waitress couldn’t have been more than sixteen. She looked at me strangely for a moment with her faded blue eyes, shot a sideways glance at the clock, then shrugged and turned to call in my order. It was a greasy spoon, and it was deserted, save my ragged presence. From the girl’s reaction, nobody had come in here asking for a beer in nearly two years.

“Hey Rick!” she called to the guy on the other side of the pass-through. “Do we have any beer?” Either I was sitting too low, or the guy was really short, because all I could see was the tip of a greasy, white paper hat.

“You know you’re too young to drink, Sheila!” he called back. “But for a fee I’ll see what I can do for you, hon.” I could hear the sarcasm and sleaze dripping from his voice. He had been trying to get into this girl’s pants for a while now.

“Not for me, jackass!” she snapped and punched her hands against her hips impatiently. “You know I can buy it any time I want! This guy wants a beer.”

“At six in the morning?” he asked, sounding dumbfounded. I suspected confusion was a typical state of mind for him. “Check the blue box in the closet,” he replied, his voice much flatter than before.

The girl, Sheila, smiled weakly over her shoulder at me and disappeared behind a grimy, unplugged jukebox. While she was gone, the heavenly scent of frying sausage filled the dusty air of the little diner, and though I wasn’t particularly hungry, my stomach started doing backflips.

After what I’d been through, what I could remember of it, I doubted I’d ever be able to eat again.

Sheila reappeared a moment later, her oily pigtails bouncing alongside her ears as she skipped back toward the counter. She blew a thick layer of dust from around the bottle cap, and the telltale blue ring of PBR caught my attention.

“Sorry if it’s a little old,” she said, nodding her head slightly as she popped the top, “but we don’t get much demand for beer around here.” She handed the bottle to me, and from the moment my fingers touched it, I knew it was not only flat, but skunked. It didn’t matter; I needed the fortification.

I held my breath and took a long draught from the bottle. It was every bit as disgusting as PBR should be, and then some. But it was beer, and it wasn’t overly hot. Despite the bile creeping back up my throat to dispel the ghastly taste, the alcohol grounded me slightly. My fingers ceased their shaking a little, and my vision didn’t seem like it was confined by quite so long a tunnel.

“What’s got you drinking beer at six in the morning, sugar?” Sheila asked me, though she couldn’t have sounded more disinterested. “You act like you seen a ghost or something.” I cringed at her horrible grammar, but kept the comments to myself. Suppose I did tell her I’d seen a ghost; would she believe me? Not likely.

“Just a kick start,” I lied, and fought to swallow the beer that was steadily rising in my gullet. I washed it down with another long swig. “Long night.”

“So, who’s the lucky lady?” she asked, turning those pretty blue eyes back to me. Now she was interested, which was strange. Nobody ever paid attention to me unless I’d done something wrong.

“No lady tonight, hon,” I replied and tried to smile. It must have worked, because she smiled just before her lip turned downward into an apologetic pout.

“That’s too bad,” she said with returning disinterest. Not really, I thought. “What’s your name, darlin’?”

“Bobby,” I said.

She nodded, and I could see the gears in her brain turning to process the new information. She looked me in the eyes again, this time with building curiosity.

“Well, Bobby,” she started, but Rick quickly cut in with a smack to the bell in the window and a loud shout.

“Order up!” he called a little too loudly into the emptiness of the restaurant.

“Jeez Louise, Rick!” Sheila snapped, turning her attention to him. “I’m standin’ right here!”

“Just wanted to make sure ya heard me, doll.”

“Can it, dickweed!” she snarled, her pretty little pink mouth curling downward into a sneer that could have stopped a truck. Something about the shape of her lips as the word fell from them was disturbingly erotic.

She lifted one perfectly-manicured hand to pick up the plate and turned back to me with another of those flashy smiles. She was definitely too young; her teeth were still too white and too many to belong to an early-morning waitress. She was as dingy-looking as the establishment around her, but that radiant grin could cut through any layer of grime.

“So, Bobby,” she repeated and set the plate in front of me, shooting a dirty look over her shoulder I was certain Rick wouldn’t be tall enough to see, “what brings you into The Breakfast Bowl so early?” As she said it, she motioned to the empty building. “We usually don’t see customers until after the sun comes up.”

Normally I wouldn’t have had a problem answering that question. This morning, though, was a different story. I picked up my fork and toyed with a sliver of egg hanging off the toast. The night had been one for the books, no doubt. I couldn’t really remember much of it, but I knew there had been blood. Lots of blood. The memory of it nearly brought back the stale beer.

“Just headed home,” I said over the rampage of my own memories, and the sudden eruption of gastric juices settled.

“Where ya from?”

“Wellington, just on the other side of Wichita.”

“Well, what’re you doing in Newton at this hour if you’re from Wellington, Bobby?”

I discovered I couldn’t answer her. The events of the night – the clear parts – were still too surreal for me, though when the sun came up and the house was discovered in its current state, it would be all too real. I knew the police would come for me, even though it wasn’t my fault.

“Waiting for my friends to wake up,” I heard myself say, though the sound of my own voice was distant and alien, “so I can catch a ride home.”

“Where are your friends?” she asked.

“Normandy Road.”

“Well, what are they doing over there?” she asked, wide-eyed and innocent. In the kitchen, I could hear Rick grumbling about something and slamming dishes. All I could gather was he was angry over my presence interrupting his attempt to woo her.

I hesitated in answering her again. I couldn’t just announce what they were doing on Normandy Road was lying dead in someone else’s home. That would scare her for sure. No, I definitely couldn’t tell her that.

Monday Mix Tape: The Soul Collectors

Mornin’ creeps!

I figured we’d kick this thing of right. As y’all know, thanks to Seventh Star Press, Devil’s Daughter is back in the spotlight, and its sister novel, Armageddon Rising is coming up fast behind it. I’ve spent a lot of time in this world over the last two years (we won’t rehash the story, I promise), so I thought it fitting to share a taste of the playlist that’s building this world. It’s a four-and-a-half hour playlist right now, and while it’s metal-centric, there’s some interesting variety.

The whole list can be found here through Spotify: Soul Collectors


Apocalyptica: Worlds Collide

Melodic, heavy instrumental with cellos. One of my favorite contemporary instrumentals, and it definitely sets the mood for when I climb into Lydia’s head.


REM: Losing My Religion

I’ve loved this song for years, but it’s sort of the anti-theme song for Lydia. I think through her trials being the Devil’s right hand, she’s actually gaining a little ground there.

Slayer: Raining Blood

Vicious, violent, and excellent for writing a good fight scene.


Black Veil Brides: Wretched and Divine

It fits the theme. Beautifully. And I just love this song in a big, stupid way.

Nine Inch Nails: Meet Your Master

We’re not going to talk about my longstanding and unhealthy love affair with Nine Inch Nails. We’re going to talk about how this is pretty much the theme song of Devil’s Daughter. The master becoming the servant and the end is nigh? Yeah. Works pretty well. And this man has quite possibly the sexiest voice ever. But we weren’t going to talk about that…

Shinedown: Second Chance

This one is self explanatory for anyone who knows the series, the characters, and the story. I do love this song too.

God Module: Levitation

Yeah. This just sort of says it all. Have a listen. Read the lyrics. Yeah.


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