Anthologies

All posts in the Anthologies category

Big Bad II – Available Now!

Published February 25, 2015 by administrator

Here at last for your reading pleasure… Big Bad II, now with bigger, badder villains! Gorgeous cover, beautifully disturbing stories, and a nice, healthy dose of WTF. John Hartness & Emily Leverett have really outdone themselves this time, folks. This is a serious cast list author-wise, and I’m honored to be included among such talented people. The very idea of an anthology filled with stories about bad guys makes me happy.

This book… and all of us in it… we are the reason why YOU should be afraid of the dark.

HORROR

Publication Date: February 24, 2015 Dark Oak Press

Everybody loves the bad guys, and this second edition of The Big Bad brings you more to love! A collection of best-selling fantasy and horror writers brings you twenty-four all-new tales of vampires, demons, ghosts, zombies, and the most terrifying monsters of all – humans. Crack open the pages, if you dare, and explore two dozen tales of humor and horror by some of the brightest names in the business!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | B&N Hardcover

The list of authors includes:

John Glover                 John Hartness
Selah Janel                  Gail Martin

Jason Corner               S.H. Roddey
Kasidy Mansico           James R. Tuck
Sara Taylor Woods      Eden Royce
Sarah Adams              Jay Requard

Riley Miller                  Edmund Schubert
Stuart Jaffe
                 Emily Leverett
Bobby Nash                Nicole Kurtz
Lindsey Lewis             Eric Guy
Matthew Saunders      Neal Litherland
Misty Massey              M. B. Weston
David B. Coe

My contribution is called “Skippin’ Stones”, and here’s the first part of it:


Skippin’ stones down by the crick…

That was where any momma could find her little boy on a Saturday afternoon in Rock Mountain, Tennessee. We would line up, one by one in even spaces all up and down the loamy crick-bed, searchin’ for the best, shiniest river-rocks to thump across the surface of that little offshoot of the Tennessee River. Sometimes we would all huddle up together and compare stones before havin’ a contest to see who could skip the farthest, or who could drag the most jumps outta our rocks. There weren’t no television or nothin’ like that, so us kids had to entertain ourselves. Skippin’ stones meant we got to throw things without getting’ in trouble.

Me, I always liked the little, flat ones. Perfectly round, and light-colored. Sometimes I picked up ones with veins of dark sumthin-or-other runnin’ through ‘em, but most of the time I went for the white or light gray ones. Call it superstition, but those light colors always did me good. I still believe it, too, ‘cause the day I met the Devil, I was skippin’ rocks with dark streaks in ‘em.

Me an’ Jimmy Tanner was out by the crick one afternoon when we was six and Jimmy’s momma came lookin’ for him, mad as a wet hen and armed with her favorite whippin’ stick.

“Get yo’self back to that house right his minute, Jimmy-boy!” she screeched, wavin’ her hands around like her tail was on fire. That skinny little stick wobbled around in the air, but we knowed better than to think it would break. Them green wood switches she picked would bend into all sortsa knots before they’d up and break. “Yo’ daddy is gonna ring yo’ neck for what you done gone and did!” The boy took off runnin’ like his tail was gonna be on fire…and it prob’ly was, too, cause his momma really liked her whippin’ sticks. She caught me ‘cross the knees one time for smartin’ off to her. I never did it again, I tell you what.

After Jimmy run off and left me standin’ knee-deep in the cool water with my shoes up on a sunny rock, I bent down and picked up somethin’ outta the water. It was a stone; the flattest, shiniest one I ever seen. It was bright white, but it had a streak of sparkly black runnin’ right down its middle.

I’m gonna have your soul, Mickey.

I felt the voice, like a cold chill of goosebumps up my back and my arms. It sounded like the wind, like nature had found her voice and wasn’t too happy with me.

You can’t run, and you can’t hide, Mickey. I’m gonna take your soul straight to Hell.

“Who’s there?” I called out. Now, don’t get me wrong…I was scared. So scared I didn’t notice the warm trickle down the inside of my right leg ‘til long after I’d gone screamin’ home and crawled up cryin’ in my momma’s arms.

You know who I am, Mickey. Don’t play dumb.

“Now you listen to me, you dirty ol’ Devil!” I screamed. I know I sound a lot braver than I was, but when you’re eight years old, you ain’t got the good sense God gave a wet paper bag. “You gonna turn right back around and you is gonna go straight back to Heck!” I couldn’t say Hell yet. Momma woulda washed my mouth out for sure. It didn’t matter. The Devil knew what I was talking about.

Tell me, Mickey… what’s it like to be afraid of something you can’t see?

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Ha Ha! Made You Look!

Published February 11, 2015 by administrator

’cause, you know, I’m just sneaky like that.

Here’s a new book. Everyone should go out and buy it RIGHT NOW. I’ve read a couple of the stories in it so far, and as with its sister books set in Illinois and New Jersey, it’ll definitely give you the creeps.

State of Horror North Carolina

State of Horror: North Carolina

Edited by Jerry E. Benns
Artwork by Natasha Alterici

Charon Coin Press

WHAT IS YOUR STATE OF HORROR?

The State of Horror series makes another stop on the tour of the United States. This time we visit the Tar Heel state—North Carolina. Come with us as we find out if the Grey Man truly brings warnings of impending forces of nature. Meet Alice, a visitor to the state who has a knack for picking the numbers in a game of Chicken Bingo. How far will a man go to find his beloved cat? What is the link between a dog and a transient? Ghosts visit the living, ancient entities come to collect their due, a unique neighborhood where things are not as they seem, and the realization that some monsters are of the human kind, are all stops along the tour.

Stories by: Nathanael Gass, Frank Larnerd, Randal Keith Jackson, Kathryn M. Hearst, Spencer Carvalho, Kenneth W. Cain, Frank J. Edler, Stuart Conover/Kerry Lipp, Susan Hicks Wong, Matt Andrew, L.J. Heydorn, Margaret L. Colton, and Armand Rosamilia

BUY IT HERE

CCP Web Store | Amazon | Createspace | Barnes & Noble |iBookstore | Kobo

 

Pleasant Nightmares, creeps… and don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Coming Soon to a #Horror Shelf Near You!

Published January 30, 2015 by administrator

I’ve been waiting for the go-ahead on this one for quite some time. I’m finally ready to show off now.

Remember how I had a story featured in The Big Bad: Anthology of Evil? Well, Volume 2 is almost here, and I’m in it again! This book just happens to house one of my favorite things I’ve ever written as well. The story is called “Skippin’ Stones”, and it’s the product of a sleepless night after meeting the devil in a dream. My brain works in some pretty strange ways.

The book is due out on 2/24, so everyone should be ready to run out and buy it right that minute. It’s a great collection, and one I’m proud to be part of. But since the book isn’t here yet, I’ll leave you with the awesometastic and super-creepy cover. I have to say…I’m in love.

Big Bad 2

Halloween Reads

Published October 31, 2014 by administrator

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.

 

Dollface

by Alexandra Christian

Dollface

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.


Mooner

by Selah Janel

Mooner

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

Hellscapes

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.


Haunted

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

Week O’ Releases: Hero’s Best Friend

Published February 12, 2014 by administrator

Next event in the Release Week Marathon:

Hero's Best Friend
From the good people at Seventh Star Press, we have Hero’s Best Friend. Here we have an anthology of Animal Companions, edited by the illustrious Scott Sandridge! I have a story in this one called Look What the Cat Dragged In. Miko, a tuxedo cat with an expansive vocabulary, gets to take center stage in this unusual murder mystery.

Here’s the blurb from the book:

How far would Gandalf have gotten without Shadowfax? Where would the Vault Dweller be without Dogmeat? And could the Beastmaster been the Beastmaster without his fuzzy allies? Animal companions are more than just sidekicks. Animals can be heroes, too!

Found within are twenty stories of heroic action that focuses on the furries and scalies who have long been the unsung heroes pulling their foolish human buddies out of the fire, and often at great sacrifice—from authors both established and new, including Frank Creed, S. H. Roddey, and Steven S. Long.

Whether you’re a fan of Epic Fantasy, Sword & Sorcery, Science Fiction, or just animal stories in general, this is the anthology for you!

So sit back, kick your feet up, and find out what it truly means to be the Hero’s Best Friend.

Buy it here:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

HARKEN TO THE SOUNDS OF BATTLE!

Published August 11, 2013 by administrator

Ladies and Germs, it’s finally here…

THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD IS FOR SALE!

Thunder on the Battlefield Cover Art

Volume 1: Sword   |  Volume 2: Sorcery

I’m so ridiculously proud of these books… you just have no idea. I’m honored to be a part of this project, and have never been happier to announce that I’m published again. Seriously, though, these books are amazing. I’ve read a few of the stories in them already (because I know like EVERYBODY in them), and I’m astounded by the amount of talent contained within these pages. And we have an ultra-awesome editor for these things: James R. Tuck.  If you haven’t read it stuff, you should definitely pick it up too, because he’s a kickass writer and all around great guy.

These books are definitely worth a look – inside you’ll find stories from Selah Janel, Stephen Zimmer, John F. Allen, Jay Requard, M.B. Weston, Brady Allen, Steven Shrewsbury, D.A. Adams, and a host of other amazing authors.

While you’re going, be sure to check out all the other authors and their amazing work!

THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD!

Published August 6, 2013 by administrator

I have absolutely no idea how to start off except by saying this:

WHEEEEEEEEE!

Since finding that pretty acceptance email in my inbox from the wonderfully talented James R. Tuck all those months ago, I have barely been able to contain myself. I’m a fantasy nut, and when given the opportunity to submit not just for a sword & sorcery anthology, but to James as the editor and Seventh Star Press as the publisher, I was absolutely over the moon. I didn’t think I’d make it, of course.

You know, girls aren’t supposed to be able to write good speculative fiction. *coughbullshitcough*

Then James decided he liked me (he says it’s my story but I don’t believe him) enough to let me come play in his universe. Then edits came (and I made a few diva-ish comments that he seemed to ignore) and went, and then we waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Then he sent this glorious email with the cover art proof and I immediately decided I wanted to print it out in wide format and wrap myself in it because it’s so gorgeous. Wanna see?

Thunder on the Battlefield Cover Art

Yes, kids, it’s a two-book deal. One piece of artwork, two gorgeous books. My story, Black Ice, is in Volume 2. Oh, and the book hits E-shelves Thursday. It’ll be in print later in the month as well.

Wanna know more? How about a little teaser from my story?

*****

Excerpt From

BLACK ICE

The fetid stench of garbage permeated the woods near Kossuth. Serath Frostbourne knew it was Kossuth not from experience, but from the stories of her Barbarian brethren. As a Tarulan woman certain things were expected of her, including an impeccable memory for storytelling and the strength of a warrior disguised by the grace of a thief.

She had those traits.

She remembered well.

And she wanted to vomit as she huffed shallow breaths against the disgusting odor around her.

Even on this dark, moonless night she knew she neared her destination. Outside the weak circle of torchlight, the pitch threatened to consumer her, to snuff out the thin sliver of peace she carried. This tiny ball of visibility afforded her only three clear steps ahead and behind, but it bled on her right into another dim circle of flame. No matter. She would press on, if not for herself then for her suffering kin waiting in Tarulas.

At the very edge of her light, something moved. In a flash the blade across her back – nearly taller than she – flew, snicking softly against its hide sheath as she drew it and cut the night. A small cloud of dust puffed as the blade sank several inches into the ground, severing the offender’s head from its body. The menace tensed, convulsed, and died as she watched.

“Come on, Serath! You didn’t have to do that!” her companion cried, breaking the silence surrounding them. Nesting crows squawked from their high perches, their wings flapping against the dry winter branches. “It wasn’t going to hurt you!”

“I hate snakes,” Serath gave a delicate shudder. “The only good snake is a dead snake, Mungo.” Pulling the blade from the ground, she carefully wiped away the fine trail of blood from its face before sheathing it.

Mungo Shortwick – who lived up to his name by being the shortest creature she’d ever met, even for a Borean halfling – thrust his torch into her hand and knelt to retrieve the carcass.

“Best not to let it go to waste,” he said.

Serath huffed impatiently.

“Don’t be in such a rush to sell yourself, girl!”

“It isn’t that,” she replied tartly.

“Are you still afraid those monkeys your brother hired are going to catch you and drag you home to marry that other monkey?”

Serath cut her eyes at Mungo, but it did no good. His short back was turned as he drained the blood from the dead snake’s long body. “Hardly,” she scoffed. “I need to get to that well.”

“I know!” Mungo snorted and hooked the snake’s fangs over a glass vial to remove the venom. “I know you feel compelled to save the lives of your people – people who all but cast you out, might I remind you! But you can’t know that this fool plan will work.”

“I do know. I have faith.”

“Faith?” The Halfling laughed and tucked his treasures into his belt pouch. “I thought the only religion the Tarulans subscribed to was war.”

“Not all Barbarians are warmongers, nimrod.”

Mungo snorted. “So now we’re reduced to juvenile name calling?”

“Anything to get you moving, short stuff.” 

He turned to her and extended his hand. “Hello pot. I’m kettle. So very nice to meet you.”

“Shut up, Mungo.”

*****

To find out what happens to this unlikely pair, you’ll have to buy the book.

 

Lost in the Shadows Cover Reveal!

Published July 18, 2013 by administrator

I know I’ve been quiet, but it’s for a really good reason. I’ve been busy. Well, Selah and I have. We’ve been scrambling to put together this super-secret collection of short stuff to share with the world. It’s an experiment and an adventure. We’re self-publishing this puppy, so it has been a lot of work. We’ve argued over cover art and finagled formatting and as of last night, sent it on its merry way to CreateSpace. When it’s available for purchase, you guys will be the first to know.

So, without further ado, here’s our precioussssssssss new cover:

 

Lost in the Shadows Cover

Ain’t it gorgeous? I think so anyway.  It’s 300 pages of speculative goodness for your reading pleasure in paperback and eBook! Come on, Creeps…you know you want a copy.

And while we’re here, how about a Teaser? I’ll share one of my more interesting pieces with the world. This one is included in the book

TOOLS

My love is my vengeance.

I only hope he knew that when he looked at me that last time.  I never expected my love to go quite so asunder, and when he came home covered in blood, the skin on his neck flayed open like the wings of a bloody vulture, I knew there was no going back.

Having spent the last ten years as a zombie hunter, when I left my home, I always tried to warn him that he could not follow.  He had no right, and he knew it.  Still, my beloved Charles did not understand my reluctant profession, as incidental as it may be, nor could he trust that which he feared.   He had to see for himself the very thing that would ultimately bring an end to our union.  Had I known he had crept along to watch, I would not have been out so long.  I would not have been forced to face my ultimate fear.

****

It was late when I opened the door that led into the darkened, silent kitchen.  The house was empty again.  With a sigh I removed my boots, poured a glass of tea, and returned to the porch, hoping Charles would avoid trouble and come home safely.

Hours passed in silence, ticking slowly away while the anticipation at the back of my mind grew.  I needed to go find him.  He was never gone so long without calling.  With each second that ticked past, the rapid beat of my heart increased.

When something in the bushes next to me moved, the nervous energy inside me exploded and I found myself on alert, crouched close to the warped floorboards with weapons in hand.

I anticipated my nemesis, but prayed for a small animal.  What greeted me was not either lost scavenger, but my Charles, his mouth unhinged, wrenched open in a perpetual, silent scream, his throat reduced to ragged meat-on-bone at the hands of some unknown undead.

     His skin had already begun to pale and wither. The humanity was gone from his eyes, following the life that had been pushed out by the infectious bite.  This thing was no longer a man, no longer my lover. He had become a demon.

Charles finally understood my burden, too late though it may have been.  Dead hands reached for me, his eyes avoiding mine. Aslow, bloody slobber started at the corner of his mouth, leaving a pink stain on his blue-hued skin and turning to a puddle on his torn t-shirt.

     When the thing did look at me, it paused and a glimmer of Charles came back to its eyes.  It hesitated as I backed away.  My machete was still clutched in my right hand, drawn of its own accord; a natural reaction to the sight before me.

     I knew not to hesitate even as I did it.  It would have meant my ruin as well, had this not been a familiar monster.  His focus was quivering, death struggling to overcome the last shreds of humanity, and soon he would strike. Charles was leaving forever.

     “Forgive me, my love,” I begged tearfully and raised the weapon.  The sharpened blade severed bone and nerve easily, and the body collapsed, the brain separated from the nervous system.  The limbs twitched as if they were attached to electrodes, and those beautiful, haunted, dead eyes stared up at me while I struggled to reconcile the destruction with the murder of my husband.

I would never again hear his laugh, or feel his hands along my spine.  I would have to live with the memories of his warmth next to me in our bed, and the gentle patience he exuded when listening to my constant complaints about my thankless job.  And I would always remember that it was I who stole his life, who ended his existence.

 ****

 His blood still stains my hands, and his head lies at my feet.  I fall to my knees, tears streaming from my eyes with the grief of my own loss.

“I love you,” I whisper, my voice a disembodied sound as I lift the head from its place in the dirt and press my lips to his.  The skin is cold and stiff, and the smell of death rises from the stilled, black blood dripping from its neck. The body twitches one last time and is still.  I can feel my heart breaking in two as I lay the decapitated head in the dirt and with my fingertips close the eyes I love so much.  My lover is dead.

Enough, I tell myself as I rise and walk away.  There is no room for sorrow in my life.  The time for mourning will come with the rise of the sun, and only then will I be allowed to begin the healing process.  My life is not over.  My job is unfinished.  Right now, I still have work to do, and I need to find a shovel before dawn.