Monday, 24 October 2016

Halloween Week Begins With The Dark Man

Today, I officially kick off the beginning of my Halloween Week, (October 24th-31st) a spooky extravaganza of fun to celebrate the season. I have stories, poetry, a character interview with Lizzie Borden (from Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter), and some book spotlights, including one for the new release,  Furr by Axel Howerton. And don't forget to enter my Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway (live until October 31st) by clicking on the Giveaway Tab at the top of the blog or this link: Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway!  So come join me if you dare.

Now, settle in for my story based on another variation of the headless horsemen, this time a death rider from Ireland called The Dullahan. So don't walk alone at night and beware the Dark Man...

The Dark Man

On the blackest of evenings, when not a star nor moonbeam lit the sky and the clouds seemed made of soot and charcoal, a solitary figure walked the road home. His gait swayed and his liquor-laden breath puffed grey in the cold, while the lantern in his hand swung shadows across his footsteps. A jaunty, but off-tune, whistle played from his lips, and a grin lit his face.
“The best of nights it was!” He shouted raucous joy to the darkened heavens, before returning to his whistling.
His words echoed through the trees, a shiver to disturb the night birds and other things...
A shadow far beyond the road, the trees, or thoughts of drunken evenings, stirred. A scrape and a thump, a rhythmic pounding, and shudder of inky damnation set an ill-wind blowing across the countryside. And spinning on its eddy, came the sound of a name.
The whistling man stopped at the chime of his name and turned, holding the lantern high and peering down the path he left behind. Hollow emptiness met his eyes and a chill breeze scattering the leaves of autumn.
“Hello. Is anyone there? If it’s you Fergus, you’ve had your laugh. Come on out.”
The only answer was the hoot of an owl.
Conall shrugged. “I’m hearing things, I suppose. Silly imaginings.”
He swung himself and his lantern roundabout, and took three steps forward before his name again travelled down the road to his ears.
He shivered, but glanced back shining his light. Once more to see an empty road, devoid of any living soul. He shook his head, and turned back...
Another noise echoed, a faint thrash of hoofbeats. Conall spun, and saw nothing but a scatter of dust filling the air in the far distance. But no horse, no rider. Only the sound of a galloping beast and a spray of dirt.
He trembled, a shimmer of panic coursing through blood and bone. Then he ran, lantern waving wildly, racing as if the devil himself chased him. Breath heaving, feet pounding, his heart thumping a thunder boom in his chest, Conall bolted, while ever behind him rose the reverberation of a galloping horse. Closer, closer, louder, louder, until the rhythmic hammer of the sound smashed against his head, driving him faster into his mad flight.
He cried out, “What are you?!” as a immense shadow closed over him, and a great wind blew past him.
No not past, it felt as if the gale went through him. Chilled to the marrow, each breath an agony, Conall pulled short his frantic escape, stumbling over his feet as he stopped. A foul stench made him choke and he shuddered, his body rife with a damp stickiness. He looked down at his hands. They were covered in blood. His hands, his clothes his skin, his hair, all soaked in blood. On the tattered ends of his scream, he heard his name.
Slowly, fearfully, he lifted his gaze. Before him was a massive black steed pawing at the ground. The creature tossed its head, snorting ruddy sparks from its nostrils and small flames from its mouth and staring at Conall with radiant crimson eyes. But as fearsome as the creature was, the rider atop its back seized Conall’s blood and soul in unspeakable dread.
It held all semblance of a man dressed in black, save it had no head, or rather a head tucked in the crook of its right arm. This severed cranium shimmered in a translucent glow and it grinned at him, a hideous grimace stretching from ear to lopsided ear. Blue veins snaked across sallow skin, and its coal-black eyes darted like summer mosquitoes. A low chuckle emanated from its mouth, followed by  another utterance of his name.
Conall clutched his chest, choking out, “God save me!”
“It is too late for that.” The figure raised its left arm, and Conall spied a great whip made from the bones of a human spine. He fell to his knees, terror ripping through his guts.
“Spare me!”
Without word or mercy the creature brandished its whip, the malleable bones lashing around the flesh of Conall, and permeating to his very core. He screamed, the thousand times despair of the damned piercing him, and then he died, the soul shredded from his mortal form.
Farewell, Conall.”

© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved 

And please, return and join me tomorrow for my dark poetry corner.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Drabble Wednesday: Undead Things

Today on Drabble Wednesday, come spend a day among the undead...

Fading Memories

A tangerine and cherry red sunset. The clouds seem to dance with the colours. My mother used to say the sky gave us fireworks to welcome the night.
I wonder if I’ll remember her, or sunsets. When it happens. When this me is gone.
I breathe the smell of the dewy grass, and the stink of rotting corpse. You can’t escape that smell anymore.
Damn. Why wasn’t I more careful?
What’s careful anymore? You live until your luck runs out. Like mine did.
I glance at the remains of mutilated zombie, and then at its bite mark on my arm.



I can still hear the screams.
That’s what happens when you crash your own funeral as a walking corpse. Not that I wanted to attend as the risen undead, or even die for that matter, but I didn’t get a choice. A car accident cut short my life and for the other thing...
Never have an affair with a woman who dabbles in the occult.
Break ups get unnaturally messy.
But I did have the last say, because she screwed up whatever the hell she did.
Now she’s dead with the rest of the funeral party.
She was tasty though.



The stench of brimstone clings to me. Even inhabiting this corpse I can smell it. In these clothes, the hair, on the skin. I wanted to escape Hell, not bring it with me.
I sigh. Best ignore and keep moving.
I scurry forward, staying to the shadows. I’ve slipped into the body of a woman, that much I know. Someone knifed in an alley, guessing from the blood and where I woke up. At least the wound is healing.
Now I just need to avoid the bounty hunters and kill my back-stabbing husband.
Then we can be in Hell together.

© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 16 October 2016

The #OctoberFrights Giveaway Winners

The Day After...

First, I want to thank all my fellow October Frights Hoppers who provided a week full of wickedly dark delights in the form of folklore, wonderful stories, and fascinating peeks at their books. It was a thoroughly enjoyable hop. I'd also like to thank everyone for all the shares and comments, and everyone who stopped by to view and read.

And now for the giveaway winners.

Here are the winners of my October Frights Rafflecopter Giveaway.

The winner of the prize of an ebook copy of Horror Haiku and Other Poems:

Joey Ross

The winner of  the prize of an ebook copy of Killers and Demons II: They Return:

Judi Torres


Both winners have been notified.

In the event the prize can not be awarded to a winner, an alternative name will be chosen.

And if you didn't win, you still have a shot at a copy of Horror Haiku and Other Poems, plus a really cool poster of the cover, in my Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway

So adieu from the October Frights Blog Hop.

The blog shall return to its regularly scheduled programming next week.

And don't forget my Halloween Week starts October 24th!

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Brain to Books Cyber Convention: Blood Spring - #OctoberFrights Day 6

Welcome to the end!

Day 6 of the October Frights Blog Hop

Today we sadly bid farewell to the October Frights Blog Hop, but I am finishing the journey with a look at another great event happening in April, Brain to Books Cyber Convention and Book Expo. This fabulous virtual convention is open to most genres, including horror. And I'll also have a little flash fiction for you after the convention spotlight, plus the last day for one giveaway (but the other is on until Halloween).

So on with the show...

What is the B2BCyCon?

The Brain to Books Cyber Convention and Book Expo—or B2BCyCon for short—is an online event modeled in the likeness of a State Fair and a comic book convention. Authors have virtual tables or “booths” just like at a real fair where readers can go and browse the selection. But unlike other events, the B2BCyCon is not just an event on Goodreads. It's not just an event on Facebook. It's not simply a blogging or website event. The Convention is a single three-day event stretched across all the internet world wide. We are on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, more than three dozen websites, and We are on video, podcasts, the radio…We are in Greece, Japan, Australia, Bristol, New York, California, Alaska, Hawaii, South Africa, Jamaica, Israel, and India! If you found us through Goodreads, you found only a small branch of the Convention. If you found us through word of mouth, you only saw a sliver. With 160 in our first year, we quickly grew to 800 in our second year. Our third year projects an attendance of more than 2,000.

We are the event for book lovers. That is what we are.

Now for some of the goodies.

Quick Facts:

The Brain to Books Cyber Convention and Book Expo happens April 7th-9th, 2017
Registration is now open until March 17th
The convention is organized by, and the focus is on, genre.
Events, authors, and books will be grouped into their own genre niche.
The horror banner is under the title, Blood Spring. 

And here's a nifty graphic 

Some Event Highlights:

Book Expo
(A showcase for your books. Limit 3 per author.)

Genre Tour 
(Blog tours done to showcase each genre.)

Blog Hop
(Genre focused blog hop for websites)

Character Tournaments
(Characters face off against other characters. Voted on by readers. Winner wins free advertising from Brain to Books for 1 year. Limit 1 submission)

Character CosPlay
(Dress up as your character, snap that selfie, and submit. Voted on by readers. Winner of “Best Costume” wins free advertising from Brain to Books for 1 year. Limit 1 submission)

Cover Wars
(Add your book to the cover wars. Readers vote for their favorites. Winner receives 50% of the funds collected from this event. Free B2B Membership Required. Limit 1 submission)

Story Time
(Submit an excerpt for reading in the reading circle. Limit 1 submission)

Panel Discussions
(Live discussions broadcast on YouTube. For horror authors specifically, there is the Horror, Thriller, Suspense…What is the difference? panel, but be aware spots are limited with the panels)

Plus, many more events, so there's something for everyone.
You can dip in your toe, or jump in with both feet.

What's more, I'm overseeing the horror authors this year, so this is your official invitation to come check us out. I'd love to have a robust turnout this year and really showcase horror and its talented authors.

And even if you're not a horror author, come join the convention. 

Here's where you can find more information:

Now back to October Frights, and a little tidbit of a story to sail you off into the horizon...

Salt Wind and Bones

The frame of the boat creaked as it tossed on the waters, salty brine splashing its decks and through the rotting cracks of its wood. It lay heavy in the seas, its bowels drowning slowly. Wind blew the boat aimlessly, catching its sails with capricious whims, and whispering silent words to the sun-bleached skulls of the long dead crew.
And always, a lingering sigh greeted the sea’s breeze; a revenant of life, not quite dead but abandoned. A figure, ethereal as the morning fog, draped in translucent white, black locks flowing down her back, salty and damp. She drifted above the deck, among the bones, keeping watch. Hoping one day, they would find home…


And now for the Giveaways!

You can check out my Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway! (live until October 31st) by clicking on the Giveaway Tab at the top of the blog or this link: Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway!

And it's the last day for my October Frights Book Giveaway!
Winners should be announced tomorrow.

And now you can continue on this final day of your journey, and check out the rest of the Blog Hop and the delights these wonderful people have in store.

Friday, 14 October 2016

#OctoberFrights Day 5: The Horseman

Welcome to Day 5 of the October Frights Blog Hop!

Today I you bring a flash fiction story, a little homage to a sleepy hollow...

The Horseman

The ancient oak tree stood at the top of the hill, all gnarled and bare, its fallen autumn leaves a crumpled shroud over lifeless grass. A few ebony crows roosted in its branches; dark solemn harbingers of death, awaiting the coming of the midnight hours.
Still air breathed an unnatural silence, while the rising moon bathed the sky in a nebulous pale glow. The night dripped an ambience, an expectation that held suspense and terror in its sway. As if it knew. As if it rejoiced.
The Horseman was coming.
A tinge of sulphur slithered from the loam beneath the leafy rot, the breath of Hell released by untrodden footsteps. The limbs of the oak quivered in the breezeless sky, while the crows screeched a raucous caw and twitched their wings in restless flapping. In the distance the drumming rhythmic thud of hoofbeats sounded their harbinger echo. A fog of sepia dust and ash grey unfurled along the hillside cloaking its vista and shrinking the world to misty obscurity.
The Horseman was riding.
A stygian nightmare emerged from the fog, an onyx wraith atop a ghostly sable steed. The creature’s long coat flailed in a cloud of malodorous smoke as it rode, its beast’s hoofprints leaving burning impressions in their wake. Petrified skin pulled taunt over its bones, as bony hands gripped the reins, and crimson eyes glared at the world. A tattered uniform of coal cloth and stained brass buttons, along with scuffed black boots, clothed the spectre, a remnant of a persistent but forgotten past. It ran long dead fingers through thin wisps of ebon hair and drew its mount to a halt beneath the oak tree. High in the branches the crows stayed silent and still.
The Horseman had arrived.
The fog parted, in whirl of choking grime and fetid rot, leaving a clear view of the land beyond. Below the hill, nestled a village in a tranquil hollow, dark and sleeping. The fearsome apparition looked down upon the quaint houses and exhaled, the crackle of fire in its eyes and the whiff brimstone on its breath. It nudged its horse forward and began the canter down the hill. High in the oak tree the crows cawed a futile warning.
And the Horseman laughed.

© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved

And now for the Giveaways!

You can check out my Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway! (live until October 31st) by clicking on the Giveaway Tab at the top of the blog or this link: Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway!

And here's my October Frights Book Giveaway!

And now you can continue on your journey, and check out the rest of the Blog Hop and the delights these wonderful people have in store.

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