Backlist Bash: Lucy Blue

It’s the final day and we’re going out with a bang! Please welcome my final guest, the lovely and oh, so talented JAYEL WYLIE. Some of you may know her as Lucy Blue as we. We’re talking about her Medieval Romance novel, This Dangerous Magic.

SHR: What makes this particular book your favorite?

JW: Medieval romance, particularly with magic, was always my favorite as a kid; I’m a total knights & sorcery freak.  And This Dangerous Magic feeds that need for me better than anything else I’ve ever written.  Writing teachers always tell you to write what you want to read – this is the book I always wanted and could never find.

I also really love the characters.  Malinda has been called a difficult heroine, and she is a brat, no question.  She’s got great power, and she’s been very much cherished throughout her childhood, protected by parents who are also powerful in different ways and sheltered from a lot of things that if she had seen them might have made her grow up a lot faster.  That makes her reckless and willful.  But she’s also incredibly loving and accepting, and she’s brilliantly smart.  Once she has all the information, she figures things out really quickly and adapts. 

And Tarquin is just my dude.  If anybody’s ever curious about what my ultimate romantic hero would be, he’s it.  I like’em mean and damaged; I love that idea of the brute that loves completely.

SHR: Who published it? When?

JW: Pocket Books/Simon & Schuster in 2002 – I can’t believe it was ten years ago!

SHR: Tell us a little about what you went through to get it published.

JW: When I did my first book with Pocket, A Falcon’s Heart, it was with the understanding that it would be the first in a series of at least two, probably three, and This Dangerous Magic is that second book.  Malinda is the daughter of the hero and heroine of the first book, and Tarquin appears in the first one as a child.  My editor knew they were going to be my main characters, and I had told her it was going to be more of a sorceress story than A Falcon’s Heart, which, while it has magic in it, is a much more traditional medieval love story.  But when I sent her the manuscript, her first reaction was, and I quote, “Holy crap!”  She loved it, but she said she had never read any romance like it.

And as it turned out, that was the book’s strength as a book and the book’s curse as a publishing commodity.  The marketing people just didn’t know what to do with it.  The most obvious issue I can show you is the cover – I absolutely loathe the cover; ten years on, I still shudder every time I see it.  The great gurus of marketing had deemed that the cover of the first book, which is very fairytale-like and which I love, was too juvenile; they said it made the book look too Young Adult.  Somehow correcting that translated into a weird mash-up of the necklace from Titanic possessed by a couple of “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from The Little Mermaid.

SHR: On writing in general: What’s the hardest part for you? Why?

JW: Right now, the biggest problem I have is finding the time and energy to do it.  I have a day job that peevishly insists on my attention for eight hours every day; I have a husband I adore and want to play with every day; I have friends and family and all the same stuff everybody else has.  So like everybody else, I have to make a concentrated effort to take my brain off by itself and make stuff up, and that can be hard.  But once I do that, once I put the headphones on my head and sit down with my notebook or at the computer and put myself back into that story, I still love it better than any other non-human thing.  It’s like those bumper stickers fisherman have, even a bad day of writing is better than a good day at work. 



SHR: Unrelated: What’s your favorite color?

JW: Purple.



Medieval Romance


What the publisher said (heaven save us):

From Jayel Wylie, one of romantic fiction’s most brilliant new stars, comes a breathtaking tale that seamlessly blends passion, magic, and the enchantment of true love.

After twelve years Tarquin FitzBruel, the most fearsome warrior in all of England, returns to Brinlaw Castle to keep a promise to his half-sister, Nan. Yet he vows to leave quickly before the demon that lurks within him can destroy the only people he truly loves, including the willful Malinda — the spoiled beauty who haunts his dreams.

Malinda Brinlaw does not take well to being denied something she wants. After all, she is a sorceress. So when she meets Tarquin FitzBruel, she ignores her family’s warnings and uses her faerie magic to cast a love spell on the unsuspecting warrior. Their clash of wills turns into a white-hot passion so intense that a connection is forged between them forever. But the darkness that plagues Tarquin’s soul threatens to tear the destined lovers apart…unless the tortured warrior can make the fearful choice that will save them.

What Lucy says (which might be worse):

Tarquin FitzBruel is literally a son of a witch, a pirate, mercenary, and failed Crusader who believes he was cursed at birth, a demon in human form.  When his knightly mentor, Will Brinlaw, asks him to give up the mercenary life to watch over Will’s daughter, the single-minded sorceress Malinda, he tries to tell him it’s a terrible idea.  But Will won’t listen, and Tarquin is doomed.

Malinda thinks all she wants is the freedom to practice magic and to be a lady-in-waiting to her idol,   Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine.  But when she meets Tarquin, everything changes.  All this spoiled hellion wants is him, and she’s not afraid to call on her considerable gifts to have him, whether he agrees or not.  Using her powers to get her way, she puts them both in more danger than either of them could have imagined.  Only a connection that goes beyond magic can save them.



Tarquin’s back was turned to the camp, but he felt more than heard her approach, her little feet almost silent on the grass.  “I’m not invisible this time,” she said, laying a hand on his arm.  “And I’m dressed.”

He looked down and almost smiled.  “Nearly, anyway,” he answered.  “You never gave my shirt back, by the way.”

“Nor will I ever.”  He looked away, even the half smile gone.  “I wanted to apologize,” she pressed on, refusing to be daunted.  “I know I’ve been rather difficult.”  He didn’t answer.  “I am sorry,” she finished in a teasing tone that sounded anything but.

“Are you?”  He turned to face her, his back against the tree, his arms crossed over his chest.  “I didn’t notice you were being much different, but I don’t know you well.”  She looked like a faery princess from some ancient tale, the mist rising from the warm, wet ground enhancing the illusion.  “You should be asleep,” he said, looking away.

“So should you.”  The woods were full of sound, birds and crickets celebrating the end of the rain.  Standing under the canopy of glistening leaves, they might have been alone in all the world.  “I should have brought Rufus,” she mused, looking up.

“Why call him Rufus?” he asked.  “Why not Hannibal or Buzzy or Jack?”

“I don’t know,” she laughed.  “Rufus just seemed to be his name.”

“You sound like Nan,” he smiled.  “She used to have three different dogs named Virgil, all at the same time.”

“Yes, I know,” she said.  “As a matter of fact, unless he’s met with some misfortune in the past month or so, one of the Virgils is waiting for us at home.”

“You can’t be serious—“

“Oh yes.”  She reached up and touched a branch, sending a shiver of raindrops falling over them both.  “Nan wept to leave him, but he couldn’t make the trip to Bruel any more, much less France.  He’s old as Methuseleh, for a dog at least, half blind, smells atrocious.  But she loves him just the same.”

“Nan has that gift,” Tarquin answered.  “Loving creatures no one else could.”

“Like you, I suppose you mean.”


“And my mother?  Is she gifted this way as well?”


“I see.”  She wanted to reach out and touch him, whether he willed it or not, and not just to torment him.  She thought of the child she had seen, the same look in his eyes.  She thought of the brush of his lips in the woods before she had run and again in his room at Bruel when she had kissed him first, and all her careful plans for vengeance dissolved into an instinct far more profound.  “Why don’t you want me?” she heard herself say aloud.

Tarquin just stared at her, unable to form an answer.  She sounded so tender, so genuinely hurt.  I do, he longed to answer, to take her into his arms and kiss her fears away.  For a single, heady moment, he let himself imagine what might be if she were only his.  He thought of her first kiss, innocent and fearless.  She had known him—but no, she had not.  She knew the lie her parents knew, the mask he kept so carefully intact.  Only once had she caught a glimpse of his true self, in the woods at Bruel.  All unknowing, he had touched her, and she had run away.  “Why do you care?” he said aloud.

“I . . . I don’t,” she stammered, her own mask falling into place—the careless brat again—but it was hopeless.  He had already seen the truth.  She tried to think of something else to say, something callous and hurtful to rebuild her defenses, but before she could speak, he was kissing her, and she was lost.








Backlist Bash: Selah Janel

Welcome to a Thursday edition of the Backlist Bash featuring Selah Janel. She’s with me today to tell you about Mooner, an interesting piece of speculative goodness involving vampires. Oh, and lumberjacks.


SHR: What makes this particular book your favorite?

SJ: I love horror, for one. I love that creepy, creature in the woods-style story, so this was a lot of fun for me to write. I also really love American history, especially the eras that tend to get overlooked. I love pioneer history, so delving into the lumberjack way of life was really interesting. There was a lot to work with. I knew I was on the right track when I discovered that they actually had a word in their lingo for a weird, legendary creature that lived in the woods; that’s where the title Mooner comes from.

Lumberjacks lived such a hard life, and their vocabulary was so rough and musical, that I just found a lot to work with. It was a vibrant playground for a writer, especially when I added in the vampire character. I also really like the idea of exploring relationships. In this case, everyone seems to have an idea of what’s best for Bill, but even those with good intentions have dark and sundry methods. I love exploring motivation and emotion like that.


SHR: Who published it? When?SJ: No Boundaries Press published it in January, 2012.


SHR: Tell us a little about what you went through to get it published.

SJ: I had originally submitted it to a handful of alternate history places, who weren’t too keen on something this gory or dark. I really liked the piece, so I figured other people would, but it wasn’t until a friend put me on the trail of No Boundaries that I really believed that other people were interested.

SHR: On writing in general: What’s the hardest part for you? Why?

SJ: The pacing. It takes me a while to figure out how long a piece should be, or what exactly to show and what to tell. It’s why I prefer to have a loose plot but I don’t latch on until I have a really defined character. That character helps me get an “in” to the plot, a little window where I can more easily see how things should work. Then it’s just getting the words out and editing. And re-editing. And editing some more.


SHR: Unrelated: What’s your favorite color?

SJ: Purple. And green. And blue. And black. And sometimes silver. Sepia on occasion.





Like many young men at the end of the 1800s Bill has signed on to work in a logging camp to earn a fast paycheck to start his life. Unfortunately his role model is Big John, the camp’s golden boy known for blowing 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 the lives of so many. Red may have plans for their whiskey money, but something else lurks in the shadows, something that badly wants a drink that has nothing to do with alcohol. Can Bill make it back out the shabby door or does someone have their own plans for his future?



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 will power 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, 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 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, 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 better 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 pat on the lip he won’t forget!”

“Leave be, John,” the barkeep muttered. His hand never stopped wiping down the bar. Though his head was tilted down towards 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 that thing, that man, had actually spoken. His voice was high and reedy, and cracked the way the thinnest ice along the river did.


“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 even say how he’d made it into the saloon; he looked more than a little dim.







And be sure to check out NO BOUNDARIES PRESS!


Happy Halloween!

Welcome to another day of our Backlist Bash. Today I’m being selfish, but it’s my blog and they’re my rules, so that’s allowed, right? Anyway, today’s book-in-question is one of mine. It’s a dark urban fantasy with some nasty horror elements, and it’s called Devil’s Daughter. And yes, kids, I get to answer my own questions!

SHR: What makes this particular book your favorite?

It’s very close to my heart. As many people know my father passed away six months ago, and this story is a direct response to his death. I started writing it an hour after he died, and by his funeral four days later, the first draft was finished. I don’t remember writing large portions of the story, but I do know that I was able to give my main character, Lydia, the opportunity to save her father’s life, which is something I couldn’t do myself. The process of writing Devil’s Daughter was cathartic and it helped me begin to deal with the loss.


SHR: Who published it? When?


No Boundaries Press, August 2012.


SHR: Tell us a little about what you went through to get it published.

The real trouble was before it was contracted. I wrote it, and it was rough. Very rough. Thanks to a beta reader with a lot of patience, I worked through the syntax and continuity issues and turned it into something publishable. Then Kharisma at NBP was wonderfully patient with me as I slogged through edits and threw a temper tantrum over cover art. It’s a wonder she didn’t hang me for being a brat.

SHR: On writing in general: What’s the hardest part for you? Why?

I’d say writing, but that would be cheating. I have trouble not with the writing part, but with the promotion part. There’s only so much time in a day and my days are full of a real job and a baby, so I walk a fine line between writing and getting my name out there. If I had more money, I’d hire a publicist so I could focus on the stories instead of the sales.


SHR: Unrelated: What’s your favorite color?

Purple. Especially if there’s red close by. Red Hat Lady in training? I hope not…




Dark Urban Fantasy


“The Devil is a busy man.”

Lydia St. Clair was seventeen when she made her first deal with The Devil. Now twenty-one years old and a professional bounty hunter, Lydia possesses a unique set of skills that make her valuable to Lucifer’s grand plans. In the four years since that fateful night she has come full-circle, and now her nemesis has come back to collect on that debt.

Unfortunately for Lydia, He has leverage that will leave her questioning her own humanity.




The Devil is a sneaky bastard and he knows how to play upon the weak. He twists lies just enough to make them true, and when his victims are confused, he strikes. That’s how he got me. My name is Lydia St. Clair and I murdered my father.

Don’t look at me that way. It wasn’t like I signed up to be one of his henchmen. Not consciously, anyway. I didn’t understand what I was getting myself into. I was young and sloppy and didn’t know anything at all. Kids never do, but part of being a kid is that you can’t tell the little buggers anything at all.

My problem was that I was a little wild…okay, so I was a lot wild. My Daddy did his best with me, but I was one of those lost causes from the start. Stable suburban childhood. Supportive, God-fearing parents. Successful, intelligent older brother who was a complete suck-up.

Me? I was a bad egg.

I smoked. I snorted. I tripped. I drank. And yeah, I drove around a lot while doing all of those things. I was invincible, after all.




My story starts the night my life ended. I’m still alive, but this life isn’t mine anymore. I gave up my rights to it in a drunken stupor on my seventeenth birthday.

As usual, I was out far too late and I was so messed up I couldn’t make heads or tails of the world. And I was driving. It was 2 a.m. and I’d just dropped my boyfriend off outside his apartment. Kellen was twenty-five, by the way. And yeah, my parents hated him. But he has nothing to do with this story.

The inside of my car still smelled of pot, sex and vodka. My vision was blurry because I was drunk and high and still tripping in the afterglow. Heavy metal blasted from my speakers and I was too busy sucking on the cancer-stick between my lips to pay much attention to my surroundings.

I tore through the sleeping neighborhood at about sixty miles an hour and wheeled my car into the driveway before ever consciously thinking to hit the brakes. A lot happened in the next thirty seconds but it wasn’t until the following morning that I processed any of it. And it went something like this:

I hit the brakes but I’d already put the car through the garage door. When I stumbled out, stunned by the impact, I heard a voice. Pinned between the front of the car and the overturned lawnmower was my Mom’s favorite lawn chair.

And my father.

He’d decided to camp out in the driveway and wait for me to show that they knew what I was out doing and that I was sneaking in late, not that much sneaking ever went on. I ended up taking him, the garage door, the lawnmower and the lawn chair out in one fell swoop. Totaled all four.

At some point I sobered up enough to focus on his voice and found him draped over the hood of my car, crushed, unconscious and bleeding, but still alive. I think I screamed. I know I started sobbing as I tried to pull him free. Each tug raked my knuckles against the mangled grille of the car, but I didn’t feel it. All I felt was the tiny pieces of my heart breaking loose as my Daddy drew nearer and nearer to death. The whole time I apologized and begged him not to die.

It was about then that time stopped. The steam from the ruined engine paused mid-air and hung there like a heavy cloud. My Daddy stopped moving. I stumbled a little because the earth stopped moving, too. A rank, burning smell filled my nose and made the bile rise in my throat. I wobbled a second time, and not because of the sudden stillness.

And then he was just there. A beautiful, blond man in a crisp, white suit and shiny, black shoes. He carried a black fedora with a long, white feather in its buckle in his left hand and an obsidian cane in his right. His blue eyes burned like hellfire. He smiled, and a chill ran up my spine.

“He’s dead,” He said, and the tears ran down my face like rivers.






And be sure to check out NO BOUNDARIES PRESS!



We’re taking a break (sort of) from our party this week to welcome the lovely and talented TYFFANI CLARK KEMP!

She’s here today promoting her debut novel, SCORNED.  It’s the first in the LeKrista Scott, Vampire Hunted Series. While the story is a very new release, technically it fits into the Backlist Bash theme. After all, she’s an author with a book to sell! Let’s see what she has to say about it:



LeKrista Scott has killed a vampire, and now his lover wants revenge.

After months of watching her from the shadows, Lucretious, a millennia old vampire, finally makes his attack during a party thrown by his maker, Roman – a party where Roman proclaims his protection over LeKrista. Roman steps in and saves her life, but not before she deals Lucretious the true death in front of his lover, Perdita. Now LeKrista is running for her life and Roman is trying to save it, but she’s not sure if he really cares or if he has some underhanded reason for keeping her alive. She seeks help from Mages but they refuse to help her, even though she exhibits high potential as a Mage herself. In a last ditch effort, Roman whisks LeKrista away, but Perdita finds them. LeKrista must eliminate Perdita one way or another.



Amazon Kindle Store


Who Published Scorned?

TCK: I self published to Kindle on October 15.

Tell us a little bit about what you had to go through to get this story published. 

TCK: Just a lot of rewrites and the hard decision of whether I really wanted to go Indie or not.  It’s not an easy choice.  You look at people like Amanda Hocking and E. L. James and you think “I want that!!!” but you know in your head – you really have to force yourself to believe – that it isn’t going to happen like that for you.  At the same time, you eliminate a lot of middle men when you go Indie.  I didn’t submit this story at all, but I have rewritten a lot to make sure it’s the best that it can be.  Then I sent it out to friends and complete strangers so they could tell me where it needed work, if it was any good.  That was hard.  It scares me to have people read my work.  I know it’s good, but that doesn’t mean anyone else will.  This story was originally the first and second in the series, but I deleted a lot and mushed the two together so I had a better story and we got to the point a little faster.

On Writing: What’s the hardest part for you? 

TCK: The first one hundred pages and the rewrites.  Until I get to the 100th page I just don’t feel like the story is moving along at all.  And Edits…ugh.  I’d rather be slogging through the first 100 pages of a new piece than going over something I’ve already done.

Editors: Good or Evil? 

Eh.  Depends.  I’ve had good ones, I’ve had bad ones.  I think they are necessary, but I don’t think they should try to write the book for me. lol

Now that this book has been released into the world, what’s next for you? 

TCK: I’m working on editing the first in another series.  It’s called Whisper and it’s completely different, more along the lines of what I usually write.  Vampires are relatively new for me.  My favorite thing to write is science fiction.  I love aliens!  Whisper is about a school teacher who gets caught up in a political conspiracy when her husband chooses to be unfaithful with the Governor Candidates daughter.  I was hoping to have that one out this year also.  We will see what happens.

Random: If you could go back in time and change one event, what would it be?  

TCK: I normally try to just learn from experiences, but I recently had a roommate that screwed me over pretty bad.  I’d change that if I could, but it was also a good learning experience. I know better now.


Be sure to catch Tyffani on her next stop
November 5th at

Backlist Bash: Tom Olbert

Welcome, welcome, welcome to another day of our Backlist Bash! Today I’m sitting down with TOM OLBERT to talk about his Science Fiction story Long Haul.


SHR: What makes this particular book your favorite?

TO: It was unlike anything I’ve ever done, before or since.  My first attempt at first person narrative.  It flows like a grade-B action movie.  I don’t usually go in for that type of screw-ball action/humor; I really had a ball with it.  I just cut loose and let it go where it led me.

SHR: Who published it? When?

TO: Mocha Memoirs Press published it, earlier this year.


SHR: Tell us a little about what you went through to get it published.

TO: I had four rejections before getting it placed with Mocha Memoirs.  Mocha was high on a list of book publishers I’d found on line, mainly through Ralan’s Webstravaganza (an excellent marketing resource, BTW).  The folks at Mocha did a fine job editing and getting Long Haul to market quickly, and they’ve been very supportive and creative in helping their authors to promote.  It’s been a very enjoyable experience working with them.

 SHR: On writing in general: What’s the hardest part for you? Why?

TO: The hardest part is keeping the life flowing through the point-of-view character, scene by scene; keeping the audience in the character’s skin and caring what happens to him or her.  You have to keep up a visceral, continuous life process without being repetitive, while at the same time concentrating on the flow of the story and character development.  You’re trying to give the character room to breath and grow while still concentrating on the physical mechanics of each scene.  It’s really multi-tasking.


SHR: Unrelated: What’s your favorite color?

TO: Blue.




Science Fiction


In the near future, physicists have stumbled on a way to channel dark energy, making it possible to instantaneously travel anywhere in the world by passing through parallel universes as they intersect with our continuum at given points in time and space. Daredevil truck drivers like Garth Jenkins and his trucking partner Sally Drake, earn hazardous duty pay by trucking cargo through perilous alternate universes often infested with deadly alien predators. Garth and Sally are offered a mysterious and possibly illegal contract to deliver some unknown cargo to unknown buyers in another universe. En route to the transdimensional drop-off point, their truck is hijacked by Keira Takahashi, a beautiful and radical young college student who claims they are carrying a nuclear device and are being used by evil alien forces intent on destroying another universe. At first, Garth and Sally dismiss the young woman’s story as madness, until hostile aliens in undead human bodies make an attempt on her life. Finding themselves on the run and not knowing whom they can trust, Garth and Sally embark on a crooked road through dangerous alien universes and remote time periods, with the fate of a cosmos at stake.


The ‘verse Red mapped us through was on a smuggler’s route.  Way off the official roads.  Hardly anybody ever used it.  I could see why.  We were crossing a gray desert under a night sky that was bright enough to read by.  The stars were like nothin’ I’d ever seen.  There were about a half-dozen galaxies in the sky, like bright spiral whirlpools of white-hot fire, washing the desert in a dull blue glow.

“This must be a small, contracting universe,” Keira said, sounding scared.  “With the stars packed this tightly together, the radiation count must be pretty high.”

“She’s right,” Sal said, tapping her finger on the Geiger counter.  I glanced over and saw the needle inching up into the red zone.  “Don’t worry, baby,” Sally said softly, stroking Keira’s hair.  “The EM (electro-magnetic) field is rigged to kick in automatically once that needle hits the red.  We’re safe as long as we stay in the cab.”

“Don’t bet on it,” I said, my heart racing as one big dust storm came rushin’ at us across the desert. Not a dust storm, really, but a damn stampede.  Don’t ask me of what. Whatever they were, I could see ‘em charging fast, dark shadows forming out of the dust cloud they were stirrin’ up.  Big black things about the size of draw-horses.  Twelve-legged, by my count.  Not quite sure how to describe ‘em.  Sort of like spiders, sort of like lobsters, sort of like scorpions.  A hundred or more, comin’ at us fast.

“Keep your head down, sweetie,” Sally said as she reached back into the sleeper and pulled out that AK47.  She rolled down her window and opened up on those buggers as they charged us, blasting them like clay pigeons at a shooting gallery.  Sal howled like a bull rider at a rodeo, blasting off one burst after another, those big long-legs screaming like nails on a chalkboard as she blasted them to pieces.  A few of ‘em cut onto the road in front of us, trying to cut us off.  I swerved and floored the gas pedal, crushing a few of ‘em under the wheels.  Pieces of their black-shelled hides and bits of their legs hit the windshield.

One of ‘em latched itself onto the bumper and bit down into the hood.  It had rows of pointed teeth that shined like diamonds, crunching down through the hood like it was a peanut shell.  It looked like that damn thing was gonna eat our engine block.

“Sal, get that one off the hood!” I yelled.  She leaned half out the window and blasted that sucker off the hood.  “Good shootin’, partner!”

The window shattered at my side and another one of those things reached in.  Keira screamed.  The thing’s serrated claw was pressing against my throat. I could feel its breath on my face, like a hot wind out of a furnace.  “Sal, for God’s sake!!”

She reached across the cab and blasted that bugger off me with her 45.  It screamed as its face exploded.  “Thanks, Sal,” I muttered, once I could breathe again.

“Oh, my God, look!!” Keira screamed, pointing out the passenger-side window.

I glanced over.  My jaw dropped.  “Oh, Jesus…”

A big mama long-legs was pulling itself up out from under the desert sand.  That damn sucker was big as a freight train with legs like bridge supports and a maw like a railway tunnel.  Five or six rows of diamond teeth long as jackhammers, blue electrical flashes cracklin’ across ‘em.  It was comin’ toward us fast.  The ground shook like an earthquake when it moved.







And be sure to check out MOCHA MEMOIRS PRESS!

Backlist Bash – The Update Edition

Y’know, real life really needs to stop getting in the way of my fun.  While the Backlist Bash has kept my blog moving without me, I’m ashamed to say I haven’t had much to do with its success. Real job and family issues derailed me for a large portion of the month.

I had a series of posts scheduled to go up last week that managed to get eaten by the internet gods, but never fear… the unfortunate authors who fell victim to my digital illiteracy will have their moments to shine.  Because I screwed up, I’m extending our little party to November 2.

And here’s what’s on tap for the remainder of the Bash:

10/26: Tom Olbert
10/29: Scorned Book Tour (Tyffani Clark)
10/30: Tuesday Tales
10/31: ME! (Shameless Plug? YOU BET.)
11/01: Selah Janel
11/02: Lucy Blue

After this week, I suppose it’s up to me to get off my duff and start entertaining the masses, huh? I’ll work on that… I think. As long as someone tells work and real life to GO AWAY for awhile.

Backlist Bash: E.A. Black

Half-way through Week 3 of our little party, and in the hotseat today is E.A. BLACK, here to give us a peek at a few of her horror stories.

SHR: What makes these particular books your favorite?

EAB: Both are favorites because they’re my first published horror stories. Now, I’m working on a horror novel. I hope to have it finished within a year. I’ve been writing erotic romance for several years but my true love is horror. I wanted to make a go of it as a horror writer, and I think I’m off to a fine start. I especially like “Mirages” because I’m in such good company – Joe Lansdale, Tom Piccirilli, Trent Zelazny, Joe Pulver, and many others.


SHR: Who published them? When?

EAB: “The Oily” was published by Stupefying Stories, the November, 2011 issue.Rampant Loon Press publishes Stupefying Stories.

“Shattering The Meat Tunnel” was published in the anthology “Mirages: Tales From Authors Of The Macabre”. Black Curtain Press published the book.


SHR: Tell us a little about what you went through to get them published.

EAB: “The Oily” is a result of a lifetime of a love of haunted house and ghost stories. It was easy for me to write since I already created the house, the family, and the island on which the story takes place in an unpublished (for now) thriller novel. That one is being edited at this very moment. “Shattering The Meat Tunnel” came from a very strange phone call I had late at night. A woman called my house at 11 pm and I answered the phone. She sounded very angry and demanded to speak to Ralph. I said I didn’t know anyone named Ralph, and I thought she had a wrong number. She laughed with relief and said she was sorry she freaked me out so late at night. I told her I thought she was probably more freaked out than I was. LOL I also told her I hoped she found Ralph. And thus a short, weird story was born.

 SHR: On writing in general: What’s the hardest part for you? Why?

EAB: Keeping up confidence is hard when times are slow or when I don’t get much feedback. A slew of rejections in a row can get me down, too.


SHR: Unrelated: What’s your favorite color?

EAB: Caution Orange? Gangreen? Black vomit? (It’s an ebola thing. Look it up. LOL) Metalflake red and metalflake yellow – those are the colors I want on my the VW Baja bug I’m going to buy someday. My favorite color to wear is black, since I used to work as a stagehand. I wore stage blacks everywhere and the habit just stuck.




Horror Short Stories


Stupefying Stories: The second volume in award-winning writer Bruce Bethke’s new e-book only original anthology series gets bigger and better, with nine all-new tales of the fantastic, frightening, and funny by Aaron Bradford Starr, Clare L. Deming, Anatoly Belilovsky, Sarah Frost, Rebecca Roland, Henry Vogel, and many more.

Mirages: Tales From Authors Of The Macabre: Something illusory, without substance or reality. The sticky threads that communicate the meaningless in a thousand different ways. Collected here are 17 tales of darkness and dread, teetering on the edge of reality and unreality, nightmares and dreams, brought to you by some of the best voices in dark fiction. Tom Piccirilli, Jeffrey Thomas, Barb Lien-Cooper & Park Cooper Lee Allen Howard, Tina Swain, Joseph S. Pulver, Sr., Gerald Hausman, Billie Sue Mosiman, Scott Bradley & Peter Giglio, Kealan Patrick Burke, Lori R. Lopez, Jason S. Ridler, Leigh M. Lane, Joe R. Lansdale, Curt Jarrell, E. A. Black, Edward Morris.




She leaned against the windowsill and stared out into the dank afternoon, watching Strangeman’s Swamp as if demons lurked in the bramble far below.

No demons lived in Strangeman’s Swamp. No ghosts, either. Only creatures born of rock and wood, sticker bushes, vines choking the life out of trees, mud, water and wild flowering shrubs. Nothing human lived in Strangeman’s Swamp or The Oily. Whatever lurked there felt nothing for humanity and only wanted to end mankind’s encroachment in its territory.

Lights flashed in the distance. What were cars doing on the road so close to the swamp? Especially during a thunderstorm?

Then she remembered no road ran along the swamp’s edge.

Lights blinked on and off like fireflies, but there were no fireflies on Caleb’s Woe. She watched the glowing pinpricks and wondered what they were. Will o’ the wisp? Saint Elmo’s fire? Swamp gas? Phosphorescence?

Corpse candles?

They migrated from the edges of the swamp to meet in the center, circling each other like cats around a carcass. They danced and twirled, some only inches above the muddy waters and others high in the trees. They met in the center of the swamp. Once they reached The Oily they stopped moving.

Then they crept towards the house.

Lara stood riveted to the window, unable to move. Dread coiled at the base of her spine, whispering to her in a voice harsh with terror. She could only watch the spectacle taking place below, worrying what intelligence moved those lights in en mass like a swarm of angry bees.

The lights floated on the breeze until they disappeared beneath the covered porch. Lara waited until the glow from below crept up the screen. Heart thumping and mouth dry with fear, she froze to her spot, unable to lower the window despite her desperate urge to slam it down. Knowing something horrid was about to happen, eyes wide and unblinking, she stared out the window at the growing glow, waiting. Fetid air hung around her smelling of low tide and dead fish. The stink clung to her skin, absorbing into her pores. In disgust, she scratched her arms to scrape it off but its grip only tightened.



I can’t sleep at night. My mind races so much I doze off for only an hour at a time, and when I wake up my heart is racing so hard I can’t breathe. It’s scary. I don’t know what’s wrong. I felt so great yesterday! Can you have panic attacks when you’re asleep? I’ve tried everything – warm milk (and I hate warm milk), a hot bath, choking myself with a belt, reading, soft music, pot, masturbating, cutting my arms and thighs, sleeping pills, booze. Nothing works.

And I itch.

I’ve scratched my hands and fingers so hard I’ve scraped my skin off, and my arms sting. It’s like something is squirming beneath my skin, and I can’t get to it, but it’s not bugs. I’m not crazy. I wish my husband were here. He used to stay up all night with me when I felt like this. Then the baby came and everything changed. I know he still loves me because he wanted me in the hospital instead of a jail. And I got better. I just have to prove it to him. Once I do he’ll take me back. I know he will.

Something’s scraped the dirt by my back sliding door, trying to get into my apartment. The puppy dug up some of the herbs I planted next to my living room window. Little bastard keeps interfering with my cable reception. I don’t know how it’s doing it. Every time it runs by the TV blinks out. I had to reboot the cable box three times before I could get the signal to work properly. I try watching TV to calm myself but it doesn’t work. Some woman in full bondage leather regalia was spanking a fat white dude wearing a diaper on Springer when the phone rang.


Nothing except for that familiar breathing.


“I found her.”

I’m glad he called. I needed to hear a familiar voice, that way I wouldn’t feel so nervous. I wanted to keep him on the phone long enough to help me calm down.

“Ah, you used Scope_Me.” I swear that search engine can find information on anyone, even people who are dead and moved on. My husband moved four times trying to hide from me, and I used Scope_Me to find him. That same web site introduced me to his new wife. I wasn’t going to let that woman replace me. He belonged with me.

His laugh was deep and jarring, like fingernails on a blackboard. “Yes, I found her.”

“Go on.”

“She’s living in Beverly, Massachusetts. I even know where she goes to church. Where’d you find that web site? It’s amazing. It even found me, and I went out of my way to make myself anonymous on the Internet.”

I smiled and said nothing. After we rang off the last time I ran a reverse lookup on him and found out where he lived. He hadn’t told me his name but it was displayed on my phone the first time he called. He was easy to find. I had already mailed him a special package with instructions to follow when he received it. His first phone call was no accident. He called at exactly 12:34 a. m. 1. 2. 3. 4. That had to mean something.








Backlist Bash: Sebastian St. Anders

We’ve reached the end of Week 2 of the Backlist Bash, and today’s guest is SEBASTIAN ST. ANDERS, here to promote his self-published horror title Black Angels.

SHR: What makes this particular book your favorite?

SSA: I’ve always been attracted to the Hardboiled school, the language and the grittiness of Hammett and Chandler, but after living in a city like Oakland, the idea of murder as entertainment feels ludicrous.  So for me, writing a straight up mystery just doesn’t cut it. But other aspects of the pre-war period mirror our current day—the sudden, huge influx of scientific discovery, the flood of new technology, and all in the face of a failing economy—this spoke to me.  While Sam Spade and the Continental Op worked San Francisco, and Philip Marlowe worked Los Angeles, the fundamental turning point in law enforcement was going on in Cleveland. First, the department reorganized under Elliot Ness to cut out the corruption; second, the Cleveland PD utilized the up-and-coming technology to fight crime; and third, and most important, the earliest (and one of the most brutal) American serial killer surfaced there in 1935.  In a way, the modern world of law enforcement begins in Depression Era Cleveland. The urge to mix the crime genre with the push of scientific frontiers proved irresistible. And I love the results.


SHR: Who published it? When?
SSA: I had to do this one myself.

SHR: Tell us a little about what you went through to get it published.

SSA: My publisher, who had the right to first refusal, went under. And, while I love the book, marketing people at publishing companies couldn’t put the book in a box, so my agent couldn’t sell it.  The genres are too mixed, too blended. It isn’t a police procedural, or a horror novel, or science fiction, or a historic novel, or a straight thriller, and yet it’s all of those things. Ironically, had this been a juvenile novel, the genre mix would’ve been far less of a problem. Despite the interesting things coming out in the juvenile market, I haven’t seen a lot of decapitation murders as the subject. Frankly, I’ve found electronic publishing to be liberating. I’m not writing to make a publisher or an agent happy, I’m writing to make readers happy.  And I’ll be pretty tough to deal with for publishers should any of these e-reader projects pan out.

 SHR: On writing in general: What’s the hardest part for you? Why?

SSA: I used to think the hardest part was finding time, between working, eating and sleeping, to sit down and do it. Turns out, that’s the fun part. The truth is, the hard part is marketing. Embracing the electronic and social media goes against the grain for me. Regardless, it’s a necessity. The last book tour I did (under a different name) involved a preceding wave of social networking, trying to interest people in big cities in California, or small towns in Ohio, or wherever, before arriving to sign books. For every hour I sat in a bookstore, my wife and I did five or ten hours of social media and worked on various attempts at mass networking.  And sometimes, I’d sit next to my pile of books while people avoided eye contact and wonder if it was worth it. And sometimes, I’d get an actual turnout that made a store manager happy. But, man, even online, I feel like a five-year-old showoff, jumping up and down, yelling “look at my book!” Again, goes against the grain, but it’s a necessity.


SHR: Unrelated: What’s your favorite color?

SSA: That color that looks black, until you see it under direct sunlight, and it turns out to be blue. Hey, that’s almost a haiku.




Horror / Thriller


Cleveland, 1936: Hardboiled cop Victor Sigorski follows a trail of headless bodies from the hobo jungles to the highest echelon of Depression-era Cleveland society. Pitted against the likes of Eliot Ness and the federal government, will Sigorski uncover the bizarre secret of the decapitation murders, or end up on the stack of unidentified corpses littering Kingsbury Run?