anthology

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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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Where Are They Now: Toy Davis

Published August 5, 2013 by administrator

Mornin’, Creeps. We’re back for another round of Where Are They Now, sponsored by the now defunct No Boundaries Press. Today’s victim guest is the lovely Toy Davis, here to tell us a little bit about where she has been and where she’s going.

*****

From the Mouth of Toy:

“Since I left NBP I was picked up by Nevermore Press. one if the co-owners was an editor for NBP, and worked on my book. Since she knew my work she happily welcomed me into their family, which was good because I was crushed when NBP closed. included is the book information of my first release with Nevermore Press :)”

Author Toy DavisAbout Toy

Toy Davis has always used writing as an escape from the boring reality she found herself in. She writes stories she enjoys, and hopes others will enjoy it as well. A lot of her stories and novels begin with a ‘what if’, and then become so much more. She loves food and dancing as well, and this is usually reflected in writing. Today she lives in California with her long time boyfriend, and two bratty cats.

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About Secrets & Sins

Secrets and Sins is a collection of dark tales, where you can take a look into the minds of beings that would rather remain in the dark. Join us and visit worlds you may not want to know about, but once there you will get lost in it. Follow a tale of a girl whose sickness can end a life with a simple touch, or so she thinks. Fall into Not Again twisted world where humans are not in charge. Find the Darkness Within where you learn the errors of your ways, and see what the evil within can really do to someone.

SecretsSins

Excerpt

Not Again

The cold concrete pressing against Jerry’s flesh woke him up. With a heavy head, he pushed himself up. “What the?” He didn’t remember going outside. He was surrounded by plastic buildings and walking animals. “What the fuck?”

The dog couple walking past him stared as if they had never seen a human before. His brows frowned when a cat sniffed the air as it walked passed him. This can’t be real– he shook his head. It can’t.

Costumes, he told himself as he placed a smile on his lips. “Of course, it’s one of those hidden camera shows.” Feeling better, he rose to his feet.

Another cat slowed its pace when it saw the human. Arching an intrigued eyebrow, it continued on its way. Jerry pulled his shoulders back as he faced the striped being. “Great costume.”

“Excuse me pet,” he hissed. His lids lowered with disgust.

He took a step forward to face him. “You heard me, great costume.”

“Costume?” His head fell to the side in thought. “What’s a costume?”

“This is.” Without warning, he lunged forward to rip the head off the costume. Hissing, he extended his claws. Jerry felt them dig into his upper arms. “Shit,” he cursed. He desperately searched for the bottom of the mask. There was no bottom. Zipper, there has to be a zipper, he told himself. Fear gripped him.

The cat’s hair stood on end as it snapped at his neck. Ducking, he circled around it. No zipper appeared. Before he could rip off his shirt, he bounced around to face him. “You shall pay for that human. How dare you touch me!” His eyes filled with burning silver fury.

“Human? We are both human man,” he smiled, shock numbing him.

“How dare you!” He rose to his full height to tower over him. His claws rose into the air, ready to strike. “You shall die.”

Swallowing his fear, he had no idea what to do. His blood was already dripping down his arms. “There he is,” a deep voice yelled. Jerry heard footsteps rushing towards him. He was too scared to turn away from the enraged cat before him.

“He attacked me,” the cat pointed at him.

With his brows frowning, he finally turned. Stern dogs in uniform and carrying nets, glared at him. “We’ll add it to his charges,” one assured the cat.

Pleased, the cat nodded.

“Charges? What,” stunned he stared up at them. “Where am I?” It’s a dream, he thought, still refusing to believe.

One of the dog cops tightened its hold on the net. “So human,” he snarled the title. “Are you going to come along with us easy or not?”

“Come easy?”

He smiled, making him appear scarier than before. “Good.”

Slowly, they moved in on him. They’re going to take me in, he realized. Fear shot through his body, making him move. He ran the other way.

The dog cop’s smile dropped from his lips. “He’s going to make it hard.”

“Don’t they always?” The other one sighed.

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.

Bad Guys Gone…Good?

Published April 10, 2013 by administrator

I wrote a story. [Imagine that!] And it was about a very, very bad guy. Charles Black is the worst kind of creature, too. He’s rude and nasty and has absolutely no consideration for human life. He’s a complete bastard, I admit. He’s also a werewolf. Over the course of his story, he eats a few people, makes a few mistakes, and gets in a little bit of trouble. But you know what? He’s the main character, so while he’s a big, bad monster, he’s pretty damn good at it.

I wrote “Wolfy” on a whim after seeing an anthology call from my friend John Hartness. He created what is soon to be known as “Big Bad”, an anthology of evil. I was one of the 20 or so lucky ones that was accepted because let’s face it, it’s not every day you get to read a story about the Big Bad Wolf taking out the three little “pigs”, or eating Little Red Riding Hooker on the side of the road.

What I love about this anthology is that it showcases the baddest of the bad in a way that makes them entertaining. I’ve always been one to focus on the story of the villain, so when given the opportunity to slap my name on the list for this one, I was on it like white on rice. It’s not often enough that the bad guy gets to be in the spotlight. Plus with this anthology we get to justify their reasons for being bad.

I have noticed lately though that there seems to be a definite up-surge in apathetic heroes, anti-heroes, and villains winning the day. Movies seem to be my go-to lately because they’re easily accessible and don’t take as long to sit through if they’re awful.

THIS IS THE POINT WHEN SPOILER POLICE
NEED TO LOOK AWAY.

I’m going to talk about details of movies some of might not have seen.
Disappointed? Yeah, you’ll be okay.

Let’s take a good long look at Sinister. It’s a great movie. Scary as hell. And if you haven’t seen it I suggest you do.

Bughuul

My loving husband took me to see it for our 5th wedding anniversary [Nothing says romance like a little horror!], and I enjoyed every minute of it. It’s an interesting take on the story of the boogeyman, even if it does take a few creative liberties with Pagan mythos. Granted the idea of something nasty coming to eat a writer sort of hits close to home too, but I’m not particularly concerned with that part. The idea of Bughuul really trips my wires because he’s justifiably evil. He has a purpose and he sticks to it, so when he wins, it’s satisfying.

Quite unlike what happened in The Grudge. But Japanese horror movies are a bit off the rails anyway.  I can’t for the life of me understand why you would fix a problem only to have it continue. I get that it’s all shock value and necessary to get that One.Last.Scare. in so people pee themselves on the way out of the theater. But damn. Come on, people! I’m going to be a lot more afraid if there’s a reason why something happens.

The Grudge screen shot

Yes, that kid is freaking creepy. But still. Gimme something substantial to go on! Don’t just hand me a pair of kids that want to kill the world just because something bad may or may not have happened. Don’t think you’re going to make me believe the mythos when there isn’t a mythos behind it.

Ahem… That movie infuriates me on so many levels it’s not even funny.

Moving on.

Next on my list of “hey, the bad guy’s gonna win!” flicks is Insidious. The ending felt a little tacked-on for that one final scare, but the basic idea is pretty cool.  Realistically when you look at the concept of Astral Projection, what is there to stop something else from entering your body while you’re not in it?

Insidious Screen Shot

Regardless of which monster wins, the point is that one does. The ending isn’t as satisfying as I’d have liked considering how it was handled, but I’m okay with it so long as there’s a well-executed sequel that lets what-his-face beat out the demon and regain himself.

Yeah, I think I went off into left field there for a bit. Anywho, I’ll shut up now.  Today I’ll leave you with a final thought:

There are three requirements for making the bad guy the hero:

  1. Justification. He needs to have a valid reason to do the things he does.

  2. No small amount of apathy. If he’s too invested in his victims, he’s going to lose his edge.

  3. A really cool name. Just because, you know, cool names make cool characters.