Thursday 27 April 2017

Book Spotlight: The Dread Lords Rising

Today I have a book spotlight for everyone, on the fantasy novel The Dread Lords Rising by J. David Phillips. Enjoy!

The Dread Lords Rising by J. David Phillips

Centuries ago, the human race was nearly crushed in its struggle to defeat the evil forces of Aboleth. Led by a powerful order known as the Valier, humankind prevailed, but at a terrible price. In their desperate attempt to achieve victory at any cost, the Valier fell and became a curse on civilization known as The Dread Lords.
Time has passed. The world has moved on. The Lake Valleys of Sheridan has known peace for centuries. Only, for Niam Maldies, life has been anything but tranquil.  All of his life he has been hounded by a gang of ruthless bullies; and to make matters worse, a year ago, his brother and sister died in a mysterious accident that left him reeling in pain.
When Niam hears a mysterious Voice that leads him into a series of dangerous situations, he and his two best friends are set on a collision course with an evil sorcerer. As the three friends struggle to uncover the culprit behind a string of ghastly and supernatural murders, they discover a greater plot that may spell doom for their homeland. Now they must rely on the strength of their friendships if they are to survive, for they were born in fulfillment of a dire prophecy: The Dread Lords must rise once again if mankind is to survive its most ancient and implacable enemy.

The Dread Lords Rising is available on Amazon

Author Bio:

J. David Phillips lives in on the Atlantic coast in beautiful Southport, NC, where he currently divides his time between writing and working in the local school system. He graduated from Western Carolina University with a BA in English, and earned an MA in English from UNC Pembroke. The Sorcerer's Fury, sequel to The Dread Lords Rising, will be out by December 25th. I Scream of Genie, the first novel in the comic fantasy Demon's Playground series will be arriving on June 3rd.

Wednesday 26 April 2017

Drabble Wednesday: Silence

Today on Drabble Wednesday, travel with me past the noise, beyond the chatter into the eerie world of macabre silence...


Painted masks and mute tongues.
That thought races in my brain as I stare at the three shrouded figures standing in judgement.
In judgement? Yes, that’s how I feel.
I know they wait for me at the end of this dark corridor, bathed in a soft blue light. I watch them, fear shuddering through my body.
Why am I frightened?
Perhaps because I feel compelled to move towards them. Perhaps I cower because I’m screaming, but no sound comes from my mouth.
I don’t want to face them. 
Perhaps I fear my sins wait at the end of the corridor. 



It is peaceful here.
In this empty room. Only four walls, a floor and a ceiling.
Nothing else.
Not even sound.
Not even my own voice.
Then again, it is hard to speak without a tongue. I lost that appendage somewhere along the way. I don’t remember where, or when. A few other parts are missing too.
She took them, the little girl with black eyes. She appears sometimes and whispers in my ear. Her mouth never moves, but I hear her in my head. That’s when pieces of me go missing.
I expect she’ll take all of me eventually.



Welcome to the Perfect Metropolis! Welcome to Solaris!
The flashing sign blinked noiselessly on the outskirts of the colony. A beacon leading into an urban sprawl of symmetrical spires and towers, all pristine silver and grey. Immaculate streets, no trash, no debris, no traffic.
Blocks of apartment complexes, office buildings, city structures, municipal centers, hospitals, security headquarters, laid out in neat rows. All lifeless. But not empty.
Robotic maintenance still moved, silent shadows doing their duty. Sweeping, cleaning, recycling the air. Keeping the oh so quiet city running.
While the flesh of the colonists’ corpses slowly rotted from their bones.

© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved

Saturday 22 April 2017

Interview With Author David Malcolm

Today I have another great interview. This time author David Malcolm stops by to chat about his writing and his latest book, the spy thriller The German Messenger. Enjoy.

Interview with David Malcolm

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

I was born and grew up in Aberdeen in the north east of Scotland. I went to the same school as Lord Byron did briefly over a hundred years earlier. I went to university in Aberdeen, Zürich, and London. I worked for a while in rural Oxfordshire. Then I went to Japan, Poland, and the USA. I lived in Poland for four years in the mid-1980s, and after six years in the USA I went back there in 1994. I’ve lived in Poland ever since in a little seaside resort called Sopot, near Gdańsk.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

The German Messenger is a spy thriller set mostly in England and Scotland in late 1916 and early 1917. There are sections that go back into the past and to continental Europe. The main character, Harry Draffen, is an agent of the British Empire who is asked to unravel a mysterious plot that the Central Powers seem to be weaving against Britain. He’s a clever but hugely damaged and embittered man, and in his investigations into the German plot he brings death and troubles with him everywhere.

Why did you decide to write in the spy thriller genre?

It’s all about lies, illusion, and betrayal. These seem to me to be what a lot of our lives are wrapped up in and made up of.

What is the hardest part of writing spy thriller fiction?

For me, it’s finding a plot that is complicated and credible enough. That’s because I’m more interested in setting, atmosphere, and character – both in the spy fiction that I write and that I read. But the demands of writing a good solid plot are much more difficult to meet than they were in, say, John Buchan’s day.

You write in several genres. Do you have a favourite? And if so, why?

I’ve been writing recently in lots of different genres and mostly short stories – crime, noir, supernatural, apocalyptic-future, Western, as well as thrillers. My favourite is, I suppose, the one that I’m writing just now. I like the possibilities that different genres lay out for you. You can go to the mean streets of LA one time, and to a post-apocalyptic England the next.

What was your inspiration?

The inspiration for The German Messenger  is clearly John Buchan’s The Thirty-Nine Steps, the classic thriller from 1915. I thought it would be interesting to rewrite that very good novel, with a very different narrator and some very different twists in the story. I’m also a great admirer of US movies from the 1940s and 1950s. Film noir has its echoes in The German Messenger even though it’s set in an earlier world.

What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

I find the time commitment required for writing a novel daunting. The novel gives you space to do all kinds of things. But it ties up years of your time – especially if you’re not a full-time writer. That’s why I like writing short stories. You finish them faster.

Did anything surprise you about the process of writing your book?

I was very surprised by some of the things that happened in the novel and what the characters did as I was writing it. Obviously that’s nonsense. I was writing it. I had the final word. But then a character would suddenly want to do something, and I would let him or her do it. It was very strange.

What’s your next project?

To finish the prequel to The German Messenger. I have part of it already. But there’s another section to be written, set in London, Paris, Lodz, and Reval (Tallinn) in 1908, involving anarhists, Tsarist agents, the Wilhelmstrasse, and the Bund (the Jewish workers’ organization). Then there’s all the other Draffen novels that are piling up in my mind. The Polish-Bolshevik War. Izmir/Smyrna. And a series of thrillers set in late 1940s and 1950s Europe with a Scottish secret agent digging into all the nastiness left over from the War. All I need is time.

You can find The German Messenger on Amazon

David Malcolm was born in Scotland. He was educated in Aberdeen, Zürich, and London.
For over thirty years he has lived and worked in Japan, the USA, and Poland. He currently resides in Sopot, Poland. His collection of short fiction, Radio Moscow and Other Stories was published by Blackwitch Press in 2015.

Friday 21 April 2017

Interview With Author Mary Woldering

Today I have an interesting treat, a re-post of an author interview from Our Write Side with writer Mary Woldering. She is the author of the intriguing historical fantasy series, Children of Stone. Enjoy!

Interview With Author Mary Woldering

(Please note: Two of the questions, #9 and #19, have been slightly altered to adjust for the passage of time. None of the answers have been changed.)

1. How long have you been writing?  
About the time I could write a sentence on paper. Poetry was first. Novels began at about age 14

2. What kind(s) of writing do you do?  
Some poetry, but mostly novels. The genre is Historical Fantasy.

3. Why did you choose that particular field or genre?
It chose me. I have always looked at period in history and thought about “What if?” or found the offbeat stories and myths more interesting than the standard tales.

4. What inspires you?  
My dreams and meditations inspire me. Life and people’s journey through life has always fascinated me.  I am a chronicler of dreams.

5. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing, etc. come from?  
I can’t think of a specific place.  I always loved adventure stories and theater. When I was older I discovered my father was a writer of mostly scientific articles. He self-published a few copies of a fiction series.

6. How do you find or make time to write?  
I try to write every day.  I can do more of it now that I am retired.

7. Do you write more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two? Summarize your writing process.
I write by intuition exclusively.  There was a standing joke about me being all right brain and the antithesis of logic. I agree with that assessment.

8. How did you get to be where you are in your life today?  
I lived and experienced life.

9. What are some of your latest projects?  
Book 3 of my Children of Stone Series Opener of the Sky and a short story spin-off in the Steampunk genre that features two characters from the novels.

10.  What process did you go through to get your work published?  
Many years ago I tried traditional publishing but never sold a manuscript. In 2012 I discovered Indie Publishing and the following year published my first of the Children of Stone Series.

11. What is the hardest part of writing for you?  
The mechanics and the revision are hard...Marketing is worse.

12. What do you enjoy most about writing? Share your favorite work.  
Telling a good story with characters people can actually care about. My ONLY work so far is the Children of Stone yes that one.

13. What is the biggest thing people THINK they know about your subject/genre, that isn't true?  
I have no idea what they think about the genre. As my stories deal with unconventional concepts of mythology and ancient history/culture/religion, some might find it hard to understand or might disagree with the worlds I build.

14. What is the most important thing that people DON'T know about your subject/genre, that they should?  
That it can include the paranormal, sci-fi, romance, and epic… It takes real history and actual historical figures and re-casts them in fantasy. So far, no actual person has risen from the grave to bother me about my depiction of them...yet.

15. For those interested in exploring the subject/theme of your work, where should they start?  
Study history, art and culture. Look at what exists from the literature of the day.

16. What are some ways in which you promote your writing? Do you find that these add or detract from your writing time?  
Marketing ALWAYS cuts into my writing time. I wish I had the money to pay other people to do it. I try anything that isn’t illegal, immoral or fattening.

17. Who are some of your favorite authors?
Robert E. Howard, Evangeline Walton,  Joseph Campbell, Herman Melville. I love adventure, personal journey, mythology and legends.

18. What makes your writing stand out from the crowd?
I have been told my writing is “very deep” and mystical; that it makes you think. I’ve been told that my characters are very, very real and that people care what happens to them.

19. What have you read recently?  
The Lost Princess of Mona - Guy Donovan

20. What do you think is the future of reading/writing?
As long as there are stories to be told...  

You can check out the Children of Stone series on Amazon.

And if you'd like to lend social media support to the Children of Stone Thunderclap, check it out here:

Author Bio:

Mary R. Woldering is an author, artisan and art historian, devoted wife to Dr. Jackie Woldering, mother of two and grandmother of three. She lives in Euclid, OH

Thursday 20 April 2017

Book Spotlight: Edging

Today I shine the spotlight on the horror novel, Edging by Michael Schutz. I have a look at the book, an excerpt, plus the book trailer. Enjoy!

Edging by Michael Schutz

Intenze is the newest designer drug. Take it, and nightmares come alive. The fears of all those who “edge” summon the Thirst—a living miasma that thrives on terror. Rick Carlson needs to protect his family and dear friends from the horrifying storm that’s coming, but they don’t all want to be saved. And time is running out.

Edging is available at Amazon


Steven loved scary movies, same as his girlfriend, Trish. Horror fiction not so much, she had confided to him, though she’d read all the bestsellers. No, she liked to see the faces full of terror, watch movement in the shadows of good cinematography, and hear the heartbeat thumps of a menacing score.
That’s why Steven thought she’d love to edge.
His upstairs neighbor had come knocking just as Steven was heading out for the gym. Kenny’s dark unlined face and retro Jheri curl placed his age anyway from twenty to forty. In the past they’d struck up a friendly rapport at the mailboxes out front. He invited Kenny in, feeling underdressed in his own apartment. Kenny was decked out in an olive green suit with red shirt and red pocket square while Steven wore his blue track suit with his Brewers cap hiding his unkempt shaggy brown hair.
Facing each other on the couch, Kenny stared at Steven with red-ringed brown eyes throbbing with intensity while the gentle cadences of his pitchman’s speech lulled Steven into a sort of trance.
“It’s a further distillation of lysergic acid diethylamide.” Kenny sounded like a marijuana aficionado waxing philosophical about strains of Kush.
 “Yeah. Paired with a particular strain of psilocybin. The drug targets the fear center of the brain to induce mild panic, hallucinations, stressed heart rate—”
“It gives you a bad trip.”
Kenny shrugged. “What’s ‘bad’? People shell out millions of dollars a year at Six Flags. Every summer, some new Destination or Scream movie rakes in at the box office. All to scare people who can afford a hundred bucks to take the family out.” He held up a flat, tiny white disc on the tip of his finger. “This baby’s just twenty bucks for the same thing. It’s called edging.”
Steven took the little pill into his hand. It weighed nothing and looked so innocuous lying in his palm that he found it hard to argue with his neighbor’s rationale.
“It looks like aspirin.” He turned it over. The imprint on the other side read 1N10Z.
“Actually,” Kenny said, “it was. Now it’s the delivery mechanism. That there,” he pointed to the imprint, “is where this baby gets its name—Intenze.”
“Listen, Kenny, I don’t do drugs.”
Kenny shrugged again and reached to take the pill away. Steven pulled his hand back an inch.
“But you say it’s just, like, entertainment?”
Kenny smiled. “Its physical effects are like riding that big coaster at Disneyland. The hallucinations are like walking through a Halloween haunted house: spooky faces, shadows stalking around. But it’s different for everyone. Auditory sometimes—voices, you know?”
“That doesn’t sound fun.”
“This only lasts half a minute.”
Steven laughed. “And that sounds like a rip-off!”
“Brother,” Kenny lowered his voice, “you take this, it’s the most intense horror movie you’ve ever seen. Because you’re in it. It’s all around you, and you’re participating. It’s one freight train of a rush. But, c’mon, if that kind of high lasted too long, you’d blow your circuits.”

Book Trailer


Author Bio:

Michael Schutz was born and raised in the frozen tundra of Wisconsin, where the macabre tales of Ray Bradbury and Stephen King kept him warm at night. He’s seen way too many horror movies to be healthy and blogs and podcasts about them on Darkness Dwells. He is the author of the novels Edging and Blood Vengeance and the novella Uninoch. His short fiction has been featured most recently in Crossroads in the Dark II: Urban LegendsDark Moon DigestSanitarium, and the anthologies Beasts: Revelations, Beyond the Nightlight, and Cranial Leakage: Tales from the Grinning Skull. He lives with his three naughty cat-children in northern California. You can keep tabs on him at:

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Drabble Wednesday: Bitter Endings

Today on Drabble Wednesday all things must come to a end... sometimes permanently.

Turnabout and All is Fair

“Sorry my dear, we had fun, but a job is a job.” I raised my gun with a smile, an odd twitch in my hand.
She answered my smile. “I understand, and agree. So I hope you won’t mind what I slipped into your wine. It’s hard to pull a trigger with shaky fingers.”
A cold seizure gripped my gut. A whisper of panic fled my throat. “No.” The gun felt heavy... I couldn’t... “Why?”
“To clear my debt. I kill you, my last employer forgives my botching the previous job. It seems he didn’t like you killing his son.”


Last Piece

I feel the pain dig into my palm from the broken edges, and the sticky flow of my blood. I don’t let go. I can’t let go. It’s all I have left. A damaged picture frame and torn photo under half-shattered glass.
Unless you count their bodies. Buried in the rubble of our house.
I don’t know why I survived. One person in the carnage. Left in the wreckage of our life, our street, maybe the city. Hell, maybe the world.
I don’t know how far the war extends.
But I’m staying here, where my life ended.
Waiting to die.



When the clock winds down, the space between ticks seems infinite. Yet, it’s simply a wish, a hope for more time. We want a cheat, a reprieve, a stay on our execution. One more breath, one more kiss, one more chance at life. We want a another shot at all those regrets, things left undone.
In those last moments, it all seems so precious. We cling to it in desperation, knowing our fate is beyond our control. No one wants to die. No one wants the end of everything.
Now it too late. 
The death of the universe has begun.

© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved

Tuesday 18 April 2017

Interview With Author Tony Knighton

Today I have another great interview, this time with crime author Tony Knighton. He stops by to talk writing and his books, including his upcoming novel, Three Hours Past Midnight. Enjoy!

Interview With Author Tony Knighton

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

I’m a lieutenant in the Philadelphia Fire Department. I’ve been on the job since 1985. I began writing in the early morning hours at home, and work when I could. As I got serious about writing, I took some courses at the Community College of Philadelphia.
My novella and story collection Happy Hour and Other Philadelphia Cruelties was published in 2015 by Crime Wave Press. My story “The Scavengers” is included in the anthologies Shocklines: Fresh Voices in Terror, published by Cemetery Dance, and Year’s Best Hardcore Horror Volume One, published by Comet Press. My story “Sunrise” is included in the anthology Equilibrium Overturned, published by Grey Matter Press. I have also published short fiction in Crime Factory, Static Movement Online and Dark Reveries

Could you tell us a little about your latest book?

I’m happy to. My latest is a novel titled Three Hours Past Midnight and will be published this spring by Crime Wave Press. In the first few pages the narrator and his partner burglarize the home of a wealthy, jailed Philadelphia politician. Shortly, the partner is dead and the goods missing. The narrator spends the rest of the night hunting for his money and the killer.  Along the way, he learns this was a job best left alone.

Why did you write this book?  What was your inspiration?

There’s a private home in Philadelphia, a mansion near Center City, that everyone mistakenly thinks belongs to a real-life, notorious, long-time state senator. I liked the idea of a crew breaking into the house and stealing something from him.  As Eryk Pruitt says, some people in this world need to be robbed.

Do you have a favorite character?  If so, why?

Yes, my narrator from Three Hours. I first wrote this character into a story titled “Mister Wonderful,” from my collection Happy Hour and Other Philadelphia Cruelties. That story opens with him strapped in the driver’s seat of a car that has come to rest upside down in a shallow, icy streambed.  He’s got a broken collarbone and he hears a siren go by on the roadway above him.  The story was great fun to write, and one of the few that I began with only a premise – no clear idea of what was going to happen.  By the end, I knew I wanted to do more with him. I like him because he’s smart and resourceful, but very human. He makes mistakes. I get bored reading stories that feature a superman or know-it-all.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

Early on.  I didn’t get around to it for a long time. I think I was afraid to try. I got started during a prolonged bout with insomnia. I needed to do something quiet that felt productive.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I have many favorites; it would be unfair for me to name only one so I’ll pick out a few: I love the Richard Stark books, Jim Thompson, Dashiell Hammett and James Ellroy.  Ray Banks is really good.  I have a special fondness for George V. Higgins’ The Friends of Eddie Coyle.
My inspiration to write came while reading books poorly written.  I’d think, “I could do better than this.”

How do you research books?

I find someone who knows what I need and ask them questions. I have a network of experts – cops, a few lawyers, people in the trades, etc. People like to talk about what they know or what they do.  Often, I’ve gotten more than I expected – bits of information that took me in directions I didn’t anticipate.  No one has ever told me they didn’t want to talk. I know a locksmith who thanked me for asking.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

It takes a while to develop any skill, so don’t be discouraged if your early pieces fail to live up to your expectations. Keep writing. Revision is essential. Your stuff will get better.

Are you working on another book?

Two. I’ve started another featuring my narrator. He returns to the locale of the short story “Mister Wonderful.”  I’m also finishing a book that I’d left idle a while ago, a story about a fire investigator, set during a four-day political convention. 

Thank you for this opportunity – it was great fun!


You can find out more about Tony Knighton and his books on his Amazon profile.

Thursday 13 April 2017

Book Spotlight: Collected Easter Horror Shorts

Today I have a spotlight on the new anthology, Collected Easter Horror Shorts. Enjoy!

Collected Easter Horror Shorts

From the darkest recesses of some of the horror world’s most chilling minds, Kevin J. Kennedy brings back together some of the authors that brought you Collected Christmas Horror Shorts, alongside several new authors, from upcoming indie stars to Amazon top sellers. 

Whether you like Easter or not, you’ll certainly have a different view of it after you read the stories contained within these pages. 

Grab an Easter egg, dim the lights, get cosy and get ready for some chilling tales by some of the horror world’s finest.

Collected Easter Horror Shorts is available on Amazon

The Authors and Stories:

C.S.Anderson – He Has Risen
Christopher Motz - Magic Awaits
Veronica Smith - It’s Not All About Bunnies and Chocolates
Peter Oliver Wonder - Easter Gunny
Mark Cassell - The Rebirth
Andrew Lennon - Trying To Write A Horror Story
Mark Lukens - Mia's Easter Basket
Lex Jones - SonnesHill
JC Michael - Lord of The Dance
Steven Stacy - Echoes of The Bunny-Man
Weston Kincade & David Chrisley - An Easter Prayer
Christina Bergling - Hatch
James Matthew Byers - Killer Jelly Beans from Outer Space (poem)
Jeff Menapace - Paying It Forward
Jeff Strand - Rotten Eggs
Lisa Vasquez - Bunny and Clyde
Mark Fleming - Sulphur
Suzanne Fox - Last Supper
Briana Robertson - Baby Blues
Latashia Figueroa - Easter Eggs
Amy Cross - Lamb to Slaughter
Kevin J. Kennedy - A Town Called Easter

Wednesday 12 April 2017

Drabble Wednesday: Nasty Things

Today on Drabble Wednesday, take a journey to the darkest underbellies of worlds beyond this realm...


The oblique glances, the careful sidestep to avoid me on the street.
I see it. I see it all.
They are afraid. As well they should be, for I could snuff out their pitiful lives with ease. I am the creature society shuns, the thing those supposed upstanding denizens consider undesirable.
Until they need me.
Then they slink into my presence to toss their gold at my feet and give me the names of those they want killed. They hire their assassin and I do my work.
Then I kill the true undesired and drink my fill of their blood.


Imagined Things

Skitters in the shadows, incoherent whispers lost in the dark wind, thumps that make you walk faster, have you casting glances into the night. You scoff, while shivering. Your pulse races as you scold yourself. Only in your imagination. Not real. Just the mind playing tricks.
What if it isn’t in your head?
What if something truly lurks in the dark?
Because we do.
Bumps, bangs, and bogeymen. Skulking, creeping, coming out to play when the sun goes down.
We are behind you. Following you.
Waiting for the right moment.
And you won’t be going home tonight.
Or ever again.


The Ruling Elite

Everyone falls from grace. Sooner or later.
Riding high one day and in the gutter the next. I’ve seen them all.
The nature of this cesspool kingdom. Kings and queens think they can hold on to their power, but it don’t last. They lose their grip on the crown and they’re gone. And someone else’s ass is sitting on the throne. Until they get the boot. Or the ax.
Yeah, they all fall out of favour.
Or get pushed.
That’s where I come in. My specialty that.
For the right amount of gold.
A gal’s got to make a living.

© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved

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