Monday 31 October 2011

My Guest for a Coffin Hop Halloween: Author Gordon A Kessler

Today is Halloween and the last day of the Coffin Hop Web Tour.  For an extra special treat, author Gordon A Kessler joins the blog as the last stop on the blog tour for his new horror thriller, Jezebel.  He'll be talking about writing horror and giving us a sneak peek at Jezebel.  In addition, there is a chance to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card, so be sure to leave a comment!

First a look at Jezebel:

Sleep lightly tonight…

A madman has come to town seeking a diabolical revenge and large dogs begin attacking their masters for no apparent reason and with heinous results.
Animal Control Director Tony Parker must find out why and stop the murderous attacks. Meanwhile, Jezebel, a huge black Great Dane has killed her master and is loose, terrorizing the city and stalking Parker and his family. Parker and Sarah Hill, his beautiful and seductive young assistant, attempt to unravel the mystery and stop the terrible carnage while dealing with their own demons and lusty desires.
The attacks must be stopped. Jezebel must be found-and soon, you see--there is one other complication. Parker seems to have come down with an annoying little virus. No, it's not one of those irritating summer colds. It's certain death.
She's a murderess, huge and black as a hell-bound night.
Beware. Jezebel is on the loose!

Quick Excerpt from Jezebel:

In the grayish soup, a dark vision appeared. Floating down the middle of the street, it slowly formed into a recognizable shape.

An animal. A large black animal. A huge Great Dane. It walked with confidence. Long, thin legs. Mouth closed, head and eyes fixed straight ahead. Occasionally, its feet splashed one of the pools. Light from the streetlights caused a sparkle from underneath its neck with every step of its left forefoot. A large diamond, set on a gold tag, captured the light and shot it out like a laser. The dog maintained its pace for what seemed like minutes.
Finally, it stopped. With its body still pointing down the street, it slowly turned its head to the right and looked up a sidewalk leading to the front door of a house. It stared, still emotionless, at the door. At Tony Parker’s door.

Here’s how to find out more about his thriller novels Jezebel, Brainstorm and Dead Reckoning:
The book trailers on YouTube for Jezebel at
And Brainstorm at

Now introducing my guest, Gordon A Kessler...

On Writing Horror

You’ve probably heard that writing horror is a lot like humor; to really work, the horrific or “scare” scenes have to be set up. One way to set up a horror scene entails placing or “planting” information early on that will be used later. This set up can be made by mentioning a quirk that will be revisited, a door that hasn’t been opened for twenty years, a scary house or a dark and frightening alley that must be passed. Perhaps that alley is passed every night without incident, until that faithful night when…. The plant can even be a radio report that a murderer is loose (or a huge, black Great Dane—like in Jezebel).
After the setup, suspense is key to a successful scare. The most common mistake many beginning writers make is to rush through the “boo”—taking the wind out of any good fright. Suspense must be drawn out to be successful in creating and building the maximum amount of tension and fear in a story. The doorknob must be turned slowly, the creaking outside the room should start and stop, then start again. The face outside the window must not appear just as the heroine glances out, but pop up when she draws closer to better see what is caught on the tree limb outside and blowing in the wind.

Another key to a high score on the scare meter is that the reader needs to somehow identify with the character(s) in jeopardy. If the reader in some way relates to the character, and especially if she sees that the soon-to-be victim(s) is sympathetic at least in some way to the world around them, the reader will begin to feel the same fear of danger, will actually empathize with the character(s) in jeopardy.

One last concern for a good horror writer is body count. Depending on the audience, a high body count—especially of characters that the reader identifies with or feels for—may be important to keep the reader on the edge of her seat. That said, with some horror sub genres, especially with young audiences, perhaps a story with no body count will work just fine. In these stories, the suspense is created just by the fear the character(s) have and the knowledge that the risk they are involved with is extremely high.

I think Jezebel is the perfect Halloween novel—and there’s actually a Halloween scene in it that I think will give readers a chill up their spine and a pause to consider.

Jezebel is my only horror novel. But with my thrillers Brainstorm and Dead Reckoning, setting up the suspense and drawing it out is critical. A good thriller is packed with not only action, but suspense as well.

Bloggers, how about giving me your comments; what makes a good scare for you?

Thanks again for hosting me on your wonderful blog! I hope you and all your bloggers have a really frightening but fun Halloween!

Author Bio:
Gordon A Kessler is a former US Marine parachutist, recon scout, and Super Squad team leader, with a bachelor's degree in creative writing. He is a Master Instructor for Johnson County Community College, National Academy of Railroad Sciences, and the BNSF Railway. He has taught novel writing for Butler County Community College, English Composition for Hutchinson Junior College and has previously indie-published the thriller novels Brainstorm and Dead Reckoning, and a book about the novel-writing craft, Novel Writing Made Simple.
He is a founder and current president of the Kansas Writers Association and tries to stay connected to writers and the writing industry by doing speaking engagements at writers conferences and for writers organizations, and does his own "The Storyteller" seminar in Wichita, Lincoln (Nebraska), Kansas City, and other Midwestern cities based on his Novel Writing Made Simple book.
His websites, and are landing pages for writers to help them in their writing endeavors. His author website is
Other links:

You can find his books at any online bookstore, including Amazon, B&N, iBooks, Nook, etc. All three of his thrillers are currently on sale in eBook formats for only $.99.  You can also find them in traditional paperback and hardcover at reasonable prices. His book, Novel Writing Made Simple is an excellent resource for both the beginning and seasoned novelist and you can find the spiral bound and paperback on Amazon, or the ebook version from iBooks.

Check out the rest of the stops on Gordon's book tour here:

Saturday 29 October 2011

Coffin Hop Book Review: Symphony of Blood

Today for Coffin Hop I offer up a delcious book review of the dark and deadly...

My Review of Symphony of Blood: A Hank Mondale Supernatural Case

The novel Symphony of Blood by Adam Pepper is a fascinating mix of hard-boiled detective novel and paranormal thriller. It melds two genres in an excellent fast paced style that keeps you turning the page.

Hank Mondale is a down-on-his-luck private investigator who drinks too much and gambles too much. In need of some quick cash he takes a new case where the rich client has an unusual problem: a monster is trying to kill his daughter. Hank doesn’t believe in monsters, but takes the case anyway, only to find the facts leading him into the unknown.

Symphony of Blood was a chilling delight to read. The book is basically divided into three parts, with parts one and three telling the story from Hank’s point of view. These sections are an old school, hard-boiled mystery story, unfolding Hank’s investigation slowly, and playing out the tension before we return to his voice for the conclusion. Both parts are well told, have nice flow with gritty atmosphere and substance, engaging characters, and I enjoyed what I read. But it was the second part of the novel that truly excelled for me, when the author unexpectedly switched points of view and told the story through the killer/monster’s eyes. Here, the story is woven from an alien perspective and draws the reader in with fascination, repulsion and even sympathy. Secrets hinted at are now revealed and the subtle contrasts and truths give depth to the plot. I adored this section of the novel and the sudden change between characters was seamless.

I did have some small disappointment with the ending, though. It wasn’t that it was badly written or a cheat, and it wrapped up all the threads conclusively, but it just felt a bit detached to me. I think I would have liked something a bit less restrained. Still, I can happily recommend Symphony of Blood as a great book.

Where you can find Symphony of Blood:

Friday 28 October 2011

Coffin Hop Part Three: Halloween in Prose and Poetry

To start off the hauntingly good weekend leading into Halloween (and for another excuse to post for Coffin Hop) I'm sharing a few dark Halloween themed poems and a short excerpt from my Gothic horror mishmash WIP, Gothic Cavalcade.

All commenters will have a chance to win an free copy (via Smashwords) of my ebook, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie... 
And don't forget to check out the rest of the hoppers by scrolling down to the List at the end of this blog or popping over to the Author List at the Coffin Hop main page.

The Poems:

Night of the Hunter’s Moon 

They come by the moonlight
off the mountain, from the mist,
riding in the darkened night.
They come by the moonlight,
for their eve of haunting flight.
Hear the horn, by Death be kissed
They come by the moonlight
off the mountain from the mist

Darkness, under a full moon 

Once, under a full moon
a shadow grew.
Just a spot by the yew tree
where blood soiled the ground.
Where anger ended a soul
and bones still lie unmourned.
The earth fed on flesh and fury,
haunted screams and marrow,
until unholy life was born.

Once, under a full moon
a shadow hated.
From its grave by the yew tree,
it waits, it seethes, it hungers.
Drawn from this earth too soon,
it wants to come back, to roam.
To spew its venom and revenge
to shriek its pain and horror,
until blood is spilled for blood.

Once, under a full moon
clawed into the world.

Celestial Season

Blood Moon, Hunter’s Moon.
Ghosts wail to you in the night,
Queen of the Harvest.

The moon of white turns to red
with the coming of the frost.

Through the barren trees
voices beyond call to you,
Sovereign of the Wood.

Luminous fingers entwine
that first and last icy breath.


Dark is the night of fear, still of all sound.
This haunted eve, the silver Moon is queen;
in the shadows, the undead ghouls come ’round.
They dance, they play, with souls on Halloween.

You can hear them whisper behind your ear;
shiver when the cold chills run down your spine.
Aren’t you thankful it comes but once a year,
this time to hunt, to roam, so they can dine?

Close tight your doors when the goblins do creep
and the knocking shall echo through the dim hall.
Eerie ghosts stray, know there’s plunder to reap,
alarming chills, bats, howls and things that crawl.

So fill your bowls high with candy to eat
For those scary children that trick or treat.

Excerpt from Gothic Cavalcade:

Althea stood in the center of the circle. The family surrounded her, those strange denizens of the carnival she trusted in blind faith. The palpitating tin sound of the calliope electrified her skin and pushed through her pores to infest her flesh and bones. The notes snaked their way into her mind, twining around her will until the pulsing rhythm controlled her rational thought.

Her consciousness drifted, suspended in the melodic spell and her body swayed with the tune. She tumbled in mental freefall -a lingering pawn aimless in focus and influence- as her sanity danced with the song of the calliope and a feeling of euphoria engulfed her senses. But somewhere, locked away in a deep recess of her brain, fear crawled.

The music grew louder, more insistent, opposing other sound from reaching her ears. Every vibration of the melody shredded into her body unravelling her being. Althea cried out as the notes of the song coursed through her nerves and pain sang its way through her body to consume the essence of her inner self. She screamed, defiant, as she felt hands touch her, pull at her, the family’s voices mingling with the sound of the music...

Wednesday 26 October 2011

Coffin Hop Part Two: Interview with Coral Russell

Here's my second post for the week long Coffin Hop Web Tour, an interview with fellow Coffin Hopper and horror author, Coral Russell.  As with the first post all people who comment on the post get a shot at a three ebook prize pack of my books, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie..., Killers and Demons, and Ruined City.
Also when you're done here, to continue the Hop, just scroll down to the Author Linky List at the end of my blog and click on a link or pop over to the Author List on the main Coffin Hop page.

An Interview with Horror Author, Coral Russell.

1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

I always say I'm a nobody. I like to think I'm fairly normal. I'm married to a wonderful husband and have one daughter, three step-children, and three grandbabies. I have a little dynasty going on here. I live in the SW which is a strange place to write horror/paranormal because it is always so freakin' sunny and bright here.

2. Could you tell us about your latest book, Amador Lockdown.

It's inspired by a real lockdown at the real Amador Hotel that I went to with my step-son. He and a friend helped with a rap that I used in the book. The pictures in the book trailer are real and were taken at the Amador. It is about a paranormal case gone wrong and also a father who tries to save his son. It has a twist ending that everyone whose read the story so far said they never saw coming.

3. What attracted you to write in the paranormal/horror genre?

It's the one genre that I feel I know pretty darn well and when it came time to start writing, the story just naturally leaned in that direction.

4. What is the hardest part of writing horror fiction?

Nothing. That was the first genre I cut my teeth on as a teenager. Not only in books but also movies. I guess I just like to be scared. Not grossed out mind you. I like the anticipation and tension that you get from a good horror story.

5. You started out writing non-fiction. Was it hard to make the transition to fiction?

Terribly hard! Horribly hard! Fiction is such a different animal. My poor crit partners have been so supportive and patiently corrected every wordy sentence and awkward phrasing that I churn out in a draft. I love them for taking the time to teach and support me. They understand what my background is and I'm learning... Slowly... BUT, I can say that I'm one of those freaks that loves research and I still do a lot of research (physical, books, Internet, movies) for every fiction story that I write because I like how it fleshes out the story and makes it seem 'real'.

6. Where do your ideas originate and what is your greatest challenge as a writer?

I've done a lot of living and I always wondered what I was going to do with all those experiences. I ended up moving back to the Southwest to be closer to family and went to my 25th High School reunion. My friend Chef Ruli at Rulis International Kitchen said that in the end 'our stories' were the only thing we're left with. That made sense to me and I had the idea that I could write those down in the form of fiction. Also I have strong opinions and voicing them through characters seemed like an ideal way to get that out without getting into trouble. My biggest challenges as a writer are those darn passive and awkward sentences I seem to love.

7. Do you have any favourite authors of paranormal or horror fiction, and did they inspire you as a writer?

Stephen King is the grand-daddy of them all and I've read everything by Laurel K. Hamilton as well. I loved Frank Herbert, John Saul, Peter Straub, but the one writer that had a whole section on her website about writing advice was Emma Holly, an erotica writer. That's where I got my first resources about writing fiction. I've learned that writers that selflessly share their information, are the best people on the planet. I try to do that myself in that anything I learn I'm more than happy to pass on to whoever wants to listen about my experience.

8. What advice would you give writers thinking about writing in the paranormal/horror genre?

I took Lawrence Block's advice in that you should know and be very well read in the genre that you chose to write in. I believe that's what has made it so easy for me to start with the horror genre. So take his excellent, expert advice. If you plan to write in a certain genre, read all the books you can in that genre so you know what readers expect.

9. What’s next for you?

I thought I would want to take a break after Amador Lockdown, but a detective anthology offer came up. When I went to outline the story, it turned out to be a novella or full-length novel, not a short story, so now I'm excited about working on that for maybe NaNoWriMo. Then I happened across an email and that gave me a great idea for a follow-up story to the Paranormal Posse in Amador Lockdown. I hope to finish both these stories in 2012.

Author Bio:

Coral Russell won the 2003 McCaleb Peace Initiative which produced the non-fiction articles Peace on the Peninsula about South Korean's view on reunification. You can also find various articles written by her on Technorati and BlogCritics. After winning a fiction writing contest (a fluke), she caught the fiction bug. An encounter with something paranormal on a local ghost tour inspired her to start writing the ghost hunter series.
Her titles include Peace on the Peninsula, Twelve Worlds, Playing with Fire, The DIY Guide to Social Media Marketing and eBook Publishing, and Amador Lockdown.
Ms. Russell runs the blog
You can also stalk the author on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Google+

And check out my spotlight of her book Amador Lockdown

And be sure to pop back in on Halloween as I welcome a guest, author Gordon A. Kessler, who talks about his new scary thriller, Jezebel and getting that scare right when writing horror.

Monday 24 October 2011

Coffin Hop Begins: An Interview with Balthazar, Demon Bounty Hunter

It's official, the Coffin Hop Web Tour starts today!
As part of the Coffin Hop Web Tour, and in the spirit of Halloween, my demon character from the story Victorian Shadows (as seen in the ebook, Killers and Demons) has kindly consented to be interviewed.

Plus one lucky commentator will win a three ebook prize pack (via free Smashwords download coupons) of my books Once Upon a Dark and Eerie..., Killers and Demons, and Ruined City.
All you need to do for a chance to win is leave a comment!

Interview with Balthazar, Demon Bounty Hunter:

Welcome Balthazar. Could you tell us a little about yourself?

I would be delighted to regale your readers with a small sample of my life.
I am an ancient Hell-spawned demon living on Earth, engaged primarily in returning escaped fugitives to Hell where they belong. I occasionally do a few side jobs, such as soul reaping or corrupting innocents.
For enjoyment, I kill random people and read quality literature, or partake in a dinner of rare steak and a glass of fine red wine. I find very few creatures can live up to my standards, so I rarely socialize with you pitiable humans or my fellow, lesser demons.

Could you please describe your physical appearance for the readers?

In human form, I am tall and svelte, with dark eyes and straight black hair. I have a wicked smile and a lean build. I believe one should always look one’s best, and cut a dashing figure, so I don the latest styles, whatever the century. I prefer dressing in basic black, for the maximum intimidating effect. As a demon, I expect you would find me rather gruesome, all scales, fangs, claws and red eyes.

How did you end up as Hell’s bounty hunter?

The previous demon that held my position met an untimely end. It seems he was double-dealing favours to the escapees. When this was brought to the attention of the powers-that-be in Hell, he was removed from his post, in pieces. I was adroit enough to obtain his place.

There was a great deal of interest in Victorian Shadows, the story of your hunt of the thief Sally. Can you tell us a bit of the back-story?

No. I would prefer not to talk of that nasty, annoying woman. That little low-class waif gave me no end of trouble. If I could, I would roast her flesh over Hellfire on a spit.

Obviously some issues there, so on to the next question.  What would you consider your best feature?

There are so many, I would be hard-pressed to choose, but I suppose my exceptional intelligence would be my most astounding trait.

Interesting choice.  And what would be your worst feature?

I deem myself quite flawless, but some others have commented that I do have a temper. Personally I believe that’s an asset in my line of work.

Okay then.  Do you have any family?

I was one of several demons spawned by my father, but alas they were all killed in a rather nasty family feud. I personally dispatched six of them, and Father slaughtered the rest. Then I betrayed and murdered him, so I am now happily without family.

I can see how that might be preferable for you.  Do you have any hobbies?

I used to collect skulls, but I tired of that in the 1920’s. These days I tend to stick to hunting. There is a lovely array of humans living on the streets that make excellent prey.

Well, that's disturbing.  Are you afraid of anything?

My Master, the grand and feared ruler of Hell. But every denizen in Hell is afraid of Him.

You have lived a very long time. Care to relate any of your more exciting adventures?

My early life was spent mostly in Hell, and your readers might get a bit squeamish about my escapades there. I find humans don’t usually enjoy stories about brimstone, torture and damned souls. Your species is very odd that way.
After leaving Hell, I had many fascinating exploits. In between my duties as a bounty hunter, I have been a medieval assassin, worked for the Royal Court of Spain during the Inquisition, and I sailed the seas as a pirate. I enjoyed the pirate life; I once turned a double-crossing scoundrel of a shipmate into the ship’s figurehead. When the ship sunk in a storm a year later, he went down to the bottom with it. Such good memories.

Thank you Balthazar, for joining us today. Now I’ll leave the readers with a quick peek at your activities from Killers and Demons.

An excerpt of the story Victorian Shadows (from the book Killers and Demons):

He waited, hidden by familiar darkness. An hour had passed already, but he was patient. He sniffed the air and grinned. The unmistakable scent of his quarry wafted sweetly on the air.

Balthazar twisted the top of his cane, muscles tense, as footsteps grew closer. A shadow passed his vision, and in one strike he buried the knife housed in his cane deep in the back of a man. Balthazar stood quietly and watched his victim’s lifeblood slowly pool on the cobblestones.

He sighed. “Too easy. He didn’t even scream.”

Balthazar removed his knife, admiring the line of the steel. He brought the knife to his mouth.

“Now, to find out what I want.” He casually licked the blood off the blade, his tongue lapping every drop. As the warm liquid flowed down his throat, the memories of his victim slid into Balthazar’s mind, the blood feeding him the facts he needed.

Balthazar grinned. “I am coming for you, my darling Sally.”

He slid the knife into the cane and walked away, back into the night.

Now if you please, scroll way, way down to the end of my blog, find the Linky List, close your eyes, make a wish and click on a link to continue the Coffin Hop Web Tour.

You can also check out my side hop, a quiz about the TV show Supernatural, at my other blog, In the Spotlight.  

Saturday 22 October 2011

Celebrate the Villains

Every writer has their favourite characters, the ones they adored creating. For me it is not the heroes to whom I loathe to say farewell, but the villains. Here’s a few of my favourite wicked creations:

Henri Forain: One of the vampires from Chronicles of the Undead, he is an unrepentant killer. He is handsome, charming and sophisticated Frenchman, willing to suck the blood out of your veins until you are dead. He fits easily into 17th century English society, spreading death and corruption where his whims take him.

Balthazar: The rakish and ruthless demon bounty hunter from Victorian Shadows, Balthazar is a centuries old killer with a fierce temper who holds a grudge. He has no problem killing enemies, friends of his enemies or innocent bystanders if it gets him what he wants. He will be back for more adventures, including his brief escapade as a pirate.

Fluffy the Clown: Some sort of demonic spirit (he hasn’t told me what type yet, and I’m not about to ask) that has a penchant for children’s books and toys. A disembodied phantom with a mile long murderous streak, he haunts the Fluffy the Clown storybooks and dolls (hence his name; I’m sure he has another, but again he’s not talking). He uses mind manipulation when possessing the books to corrupt others into doing his killing (as seen in Fluffy the Clown and the Mystery Writer) and seems to possess the dolls directly for hands-on mayhem (as in Dear Mom).

Emily Langley: A nasty killer of children who was executed for being a witch. But she didn’t let a little thing like death stop her from pursuing her hobby of murder and mayhem. Existing across the ages as a ghostly legend, her spirit, accompanied by her ghost dogs, comes back to wreak bloody vengeance. She was last seen in The Legend of the Haunted Tree killing off a bunch of hapless teenagers on Halloween.

Rjsh the Night Wraith: This supernatural creature makes his appearance in Ruined City (although not by name) and is an unrepentant killer. He is a carnivore by nature, and his chosen meat is human. He is a hunter and loves to play with his food before devouring it at his leisure (quite often while the food is still alive).

Stories and Books:

Victorian Shadows can be found in the ebook Killers and Demons

Fluffy the Clown and the Mystery Writer can be found in the ebook, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...

Dear Mom can be found for free on my Goodreads Profile

The Legend of the Haunted Tree can be found in the ebook, Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...

Chronicles of the Undead is my vampire novella

Ruined City is my dark fantasy book

And don't forget to check out the Coffin Hop Web Tour, Monday Oct. 24th.

Wednesday 19 October 2011

Excerpt of Horror

Another tale of horror is being told today, with an excerpt from my book Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...
And don't forget to check out the Coffin Blog Hop, starting Oct 24th.   Once Upon a Dark and Eerie... is going to part of my ebook prize pack giveaway for the Coffin Hop.

So, I offer up for your reading pleasure a story of a werewolf and its hunter: 

Come the Moon

Only the bare bones remained. 

The kill I had left behind me was just like the others.  The body had been chewed clean of the flesh, all the meat that was once a mother of two stripped away and eaten.  Her existence had been reduced to a pile bones with bite marks.

I really hate werewolves.

I had been tracking this particular werewolf for three lunar cycles, being witness to his killing spree, with nine dead bodies left like a trail of bloody breadcrumbs.  I watched the aftermath of his murderous rampage, as the families of his victims learned the worst truth.   I said prayers for wives, husbands, brothers, and daughters and beheld all the tragedy and the sorrow.   Pain and guilt were becoming very familiar.
I had been hunting werewolves and beings like them a long time, but this one...this one was special, personal.  I needed to make sure I could end the hunt.  If I couldn’t, I wasn’t certain I could live with the consequences.  I pulled every skill out of my bag of tricks, but until tonight I had always been one step behind.  The beast had made a mistake and left a trail.  I might have missed saving his latest victim, but I had finally traced his lair.

Tonight I was my chance to kill the beast and put an end to this misery.

The creature had retreated to an old abandoned shed at the edge of the woods he had made his killing ground.  It was some old storage hut, paint peeling, one side dented, with every window broken.  I was downwind so he couldn’t smell me, looking for a decent way to sneak in, but there wasn’t one; he would know I was coming.  I’d get one shot at him before he tore me to shreds.
I loaded the rifle before I went in for the kill, with a full clip of custom-made silver bullets.  I set up in a good vantage point, took a deep breath and waited; he would come for me as soon as he caught my scent.
It didn’t take long.  A few minutes, and I had a raging hungry werewolf lunging full force across the ground, intent on killing me.  I could see the red eyes through the scope, the slavering jaws, hear those animal howls.  I pulled the trigger, once twice, three times.
The bullets hit home, tearing straight into the brain, pulsing the silver poison into his system.  The beast went down, twitching, convulsing and then it was still.  I walked over to the body, rifle ready, but it was dead.  Jack was dead.
I wanted to cry, looking at him, that bleeding, monstrous corpse I once knew as a laughing, fearless human.  We had hunted together, stalked the predators, those things that go bump in the night, the nightmares most people believe are just pretend.  But that was when he was human, before one of those things turned him.
That was when he was still my husband.

Where you can find Once Upon a Dark and Eerie...

Monday 17 October 2011

Introducing Coffin Hop

Turn On the Lights and Hide Under the Covers! 
The Coffin Hop Starts Soon!

This Blog Hop Horror Fest starts Oct. 24th and runs until Oct 31st, with scares aplenty.  I've signed up for this bouncy blog tour and until the end of the month you will be bombarded with all things horror and Halloween!

 A sneak peek at some of my goodies:

  • I will celebrate some of the villains I've created for my readers
  • I'll  post excerpts from  my books
  • The character from Victorian Shadows, the demon Balthazar, stops by for an interview (This will be the actual Oct 24th Coffin Hop post)
  • Author Coral Russell stops by for an interview and to talk about her paranormal/horror books
  • Gordon Kessler, author of the horror thriller Jezebel, guest blogs for Halloween

For today's offering, I give you an excerpt from my new book, Ruined City.  While not a horror book (it's more of a dark fantasy) this particular sample will curl your toes (I hope):

Excerpt from Ruined City:

I sniff the air.  The wind is ripe with the stink of human scent and I follow the smell.  I meld into the night’s shadows and slither along the streets.
I see them through the darkness, walking, laughing, touching.  It is disgusting.  I will enjoy killing this repulsive pair.
I pace them, stalking.  I growl to unnerve them.  They stop, afraid, and I step into the light so they might see me.
The female shrieks and the male yells and then they run.  Silly, silly humans, do they not know I like to give chase.  I even give them a generous head start to be fair.
The man is quick, faster than the woman; he manages to get inside a structure before I catch them.  He leaves the female outside pounding and grasping at the door and yanking at the latch.  She is shouting to be let in, but it is too late.
I pry her fingers from the wood and toss her into the street where I snap the bones in her legs so she cannot run. I adore her cries of pain and the mask of agony on her face.  I leap on top of her body and she beats at me with a futile flailing of her tiny fists.
“Get away from me!  Get away!”  Her foolish shrieks whet my appetite, and I slice through her yielding skin with my claws.  I drip her warm blood on my tongue; she tastes good. I slice a fleshy piece of her arm as she screeches and cries.  I chew slowly, to enjoy my first taste of her meat.

For more on the participants in Coffin Hop scroll down to the bottom of this blog and check out the official  list.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Storyteller: Guest Author Sheila Deeth

Please welcome author Sheila Deeth to the blog today.  She is currently on a blog tour for her new book, Flower Child, and she's stopping by today to talk about her books and writing.  Take it away Sheila...

I Tell Stories.

I used to tell children’s stories in church and called them children’s sermons. But I tell stories for littler kids too, with pictures; and big kids’ stories, with words; and grown-up stories, short and long and all points in-between; and they’re all stories. One day I tried to call myself a writer and the first question anyone asked me was, of course,

What do you write?

An answer that covers every possible age-group and genre might not be quite what the questioner’s looking for. So I looked at the books I’ve had “properly” published (as opposed to published by myself). I’ve got three ebooks out with Gypsy Shadow, and tried to decide what genre they’d fit into.

It wasn’t easy. My books don’t seem to have an awful lot in common. Refracted’s set in the future, except it’s the past, and the present, and all points in between. Perhaps it’s sci-fi. Time-travel? Something like that. Meanwhile Black Widow’s firmly set in the past—except it’s a slightly altered past where sorceresses can reinvent themselves and Holy Grails can change the world. My new ebook, Flower Child, is set in the present, except… Well, except it’s a present where a mother grieving her miscarriage can develop a relationship with her unborn child. Maybe that word “except” is the common factor.

Actually, my books do have some things in common. They’re all speculative, in that they all tell about things we can’t analyze or hope to understand. They’re all spiritual too, in that they’re linked by Biblical symbols and hints of stories from the Bible. They’re all fiction—well, obviously. And they all involve some element of someone searching for identity.

In fact, I suspect most of my writing, as well as my search for a genre, has identity issues. I’m not quite sure what that says about me. But at least I have an answer to the question now.

What do you write?

I write spiritual speculative fiction and other things too…

You can find the “other things” as well as the Gypsy Shadow books on my websites:

Or find links to all my pages at

About Flower Child:
When Megan miscarries her first pregnancy it feels like the end of everything; instead it’s the start of a curious relationship between the grieving mother and an unborn child who hovers somewhere between ghost and angel. Angela, Megan’s “little angel,” has character and dreams all her own, friends who may or may not be real angels, and a little brother who brings hope to her mother’s world. But Angela’s dream-world has a secret and one day Angela might learn how to be real.

Where to find Flower Child:

On Gypsy Shadow’s site:

On Amazon:

On Smashwords:

About the Author:

Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States with her husband and sons, she enjoys reading, writing, drawing, telling stories, running a local writers' group, and meeting her neighbors’ dogs on the green.

Sheila describes herself as a Mongrel Christian Mathematician. Her short stories, book reviews and articles can be found in VoiceCatcher 4, Murder on the Wind, Poetic Monthly, Nights and Weekends, the Shine Journal and Joyful Online. Besides her Gypsy Shadow ebooks, Sheila has several self-published works available from Amazon and Lulu, and a full-length novel under contract to come out next year.

You can find all the stops on her Flower Child Blour Tour Here:

Wednesday 5 October 2011

Interview with author Gail M Baugniet

Today, please welcome Gail M Baugniet, author of the FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences.  She is on a blog tour, and has stopped by to share  tidbits about her writing and her book, the first novel in the Pepper Bibeau mystery series.

1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

In my earlier years, I lived in the cold northern states of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota. Now that I can stay “thawed-out” year round in Hawaii, I find myself traveling to cool spots like Anchorage in May and Green Bay in September.
It is possible I have a disproportionate fondness for the research phase of my writing. I just spent two weeks in my home state of Wisconsin gathering information for my second novel. I had an opportunity to discuss specific topics with a police investigator and visited several interesting locations that play key roles in the story. I also took plenty of colorful photographs that will aid me in writing more detailed descriptions of select scenes.

2. How did you become interested in writing?

I have always enjoyed reading mysteries. When I was nine, I wrote a mystery novel that never went public. Over the years, I composed poetry for personal enjoyment as well as Japanese haiku to describe some of the photographs I took around Hawaii. After researching my family’s genealogy and compiling family newsletters for ten years, I decided to write my first mystery novel as an adult. Writing proved to be a relaxing and emotionally rewarding activity for me.

3. Can you tell us about your book, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences?

Yes, the story opens with a cut-and-dried homicide case that has insurance investigator Pepper Bibeau clearing up loose ends on the subsequent life insurance claim. But her routine questions set off a chain of events that lead to the murder of a close friend.
Police are already stretched to the breaking point with the city’s escalating crises when the detective most determined to solve her friend’s murder is ordered off the case for personal reasons.
Pepper continues to piece together information until she is attacked and winds up in a hospital for observation. Mounting evidence indicates widespread drug dealings and she is eventually forced to consider members of her support team as suspects.
The book is in print at
It is also available in print at, in Kindle format and as an ebook at

4. You’re planning a sequel to your book, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences. Did you always intend to write a mystery series or did your character Pepper Bibeau inspire you to continue her story?

Before I finished the first draft of FOR EVERY ACTION, I used my computer genealogy program to create a family of characters for my protagonist, Pepper Bibeau. I wanted to write a mystery series featuring Pepper as an insurance investigator whose cases sometimes involve murder. Once I established her career choice and a“family” for her, I felt confident that the series could expand and remain interesting.

5. Why did you decide to write in the Mystery/Crime genre?

There was never a conscious decision to write in the specific genre of mystery/crime fiction, it was more an inherent given. My father introduced me to Dashiell Hammett novels and my mother enjoyed reading Agatha Christie mysteries. I enjoy reading all the subgenres, including suspense, thriller, and police procedurals. Writing mysteries was a natural extension of reading them.

6. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

The first draft of my manuscript is more a narrative outline of the main plot with a description of protagonist Pepper Bibeau’s current insurance investigation. Then I construct a story around and through this plot, fitting the story lines together and bringing everything full circle.
My ideas come from articles I’ve read about an unusual topic, one that doesn’t normally come up in cocktail-party small talk. The idea for the opening chapter of my first novel, FOR EVERY ACTION There Are Consequences, was sparked by a newspaper article I read about an elderly man who repeatedly stabbed his wife.
To complete the first draft of FOR EVERY ACTION, I wrote for four hours every week day evening. Since then, I have no set pattern for writing. I am usually reading or writing. And I do assign myself general goals to complete a first draft and accomplish each step required to publish a final manuscript.

7. What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

When I awake in the morning, there are many ideas and plans floating around in my head. It is tempting to continue a mental construction of these thoughts rather than acting upon them. The difficult part is to write down the information, then sort it out and apply it toward a set goal. I guess this is just a roundabout way of saying my greatest challenge as a writer is to write.

8. What sort of research do you do for your books?

As I mentioned earlier, I love the research part of writing a novel. I visit the town library of the story’s setting to print copies of newspaper articles and weather reports for the dates involved. I also drive around in the town and countryside where events occur within the novel. For detailed medical information and back story, I read relevant books and search the Internet or encyclopedia for specific topics. Though all the events within my stories are strictly fiction, I choose locations where I once lived or vacationed. Of course, any mention of food is strictly from first-hand knowledge.

9. Who has inspired you as an author?

My family has always encouraged me in whatever choices I make. Now that I have found my niche writing novels, no one could be more pleased and supportive than they are.

10. What’s next for you?

My focus is on marketing my first novel and completing the second novel in my Pepper Bibeau mystery series. I also have a good start on what I call my genealogical novel, several short stories based on the lives of my ancestors that flow into a cohesive tale, inspired by Susan Vreeland’s Girl in Hyacinth Blue.

You can find Gail M Baugniet at her blogsite:

And you can check out her entire blog tour schedule here:

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