Monday, 31 October 2016

Halloween Week: Book Spotlight - Doll


For our last Halloween Week post, I bring you a look at the YA horror novel Doll by Miracle Austin.


Doll by Miracle Austin 




Welcome to Frost High; I bet you’ve heard about or currently may be attending. Small school, lots of secrets, a popular mean girl, Pepper Fox, and of course a few outcasts--Tomie Dupuy, Sarifena Green, and Opal Dawn--who all shined on Pepper’s tormented list, since junior high. Opal shined the brightest. Tomie, Sari, and Opal made a pact and traveled to Monroe Creek, Louisiana with the goal to end their torment in an untraditional way. Sometimes things don’t end up, as we wish. Fate always possesses a way to redirect everything. Will they finally find the solution to their agonizing problem or will all spiral out of control, as they never anticipated?

Be Careful What You Wish For… 



"Doll is a frightening 5 star read with enough scary voodoo magic to give just the right amount of twists and turns." 
~Brandy Corona, best-selling author of Midnight Outbreak~


Doll is available at:





Author Bio:


YA/NA Cross-Genre Hybrid Author


Miracle Austin works in the social work arena by day and in the writer’s world at night and weekends. She’s been writing since junior high and Drive by The Cars being one of her biggest inspirations.

She enjoys writing short stories with horror/suspense being her favorite genres; however, she’s not limited to.

Her debut release was a YA/NA paranormal novel, Doll, which released on 2-14-16. Doll won the Purple Dragonfly Award 2nd place in the Young Adult Fiction category 2016. Her second release will be a very eclectic collection of short storie of diverse themes--Boundless, to be released in the Winter of 2016.

She enjoys attending diverse book festivals and comic conventions, where she has been so honored to be one of the panelists on some. She hopes to conduct more author visits at junior high and high schools in the future. Miracle resides in Texas with her family.



Twitter: @MiracleAustin
InstaGram: MiracleAustin7


“Lingering fiction that ignites diverse mind journeys and beyond…”



Happy Halloween!





Sunday, 30 October 2016

Halloween Week: Book Spotlight On The Witch of Willow Lake by Leta Hawk


Today's post for Halloween Week is another book spotlight, this time on the paranormal mystery, The Witch of Willow Lake by Leta Hawk. This is the newest edition to her Kyrie Carter: Supernatural Sleuth series, and I have a look at the book and an excerpt. Enjoy!


The Witch of Willow Lake by Leta Hawk





A book of local folklore may hold the key to solving a mystery…

Left with unanswered questions after the paranormal investigation at Willow Lake College, Kyrie Carter vows to discover the events leading up to the fire in Appleton Hall’s bell tower that took Mary Bollinger’s life in 1958. Her research leads to a book of legends written by a local historian. Kyr’s sense of obligation borders on obsession as she redoubles her efforts to locate the out-of-print book. She is cautiously optimistic when the book arrives anonymously to her workplace.

…but is it also a portal for an evil from the past?

Almost immediately, Kyr is plagued by terrifying visions—a cabin in the woods,  a mysterious woman who calls to her, ominous words chanted in an unfamiliar language. Discovering evidence of a witch in Willow Lake’s past leads Kyr to believe her visions are more than bad dreams, and that there is more to Mary Bollinger’s story than anyone realized.
When Mary’s fiancé, Warren McKnight, agrees to break his decades-long silence about the fire, Kyr and Spook return to Willow Lake. Something in Warren’s account of that tragic night tells Kyr that she was not the witch’s first target, and she will not be the last, unless she can find a way to defeat the evil spirit.


The Witch of Willow Lake is available at:




Excerpt:


Without warning, my vision suddenly narrowed as it had earlier, and Sean’s cabin again wavered and morphed into the same primitive structure I’d seen when we first arrived. The air around me shimmered, and I couldn’t tell if it was day or night. The familiar sounds of the woods faded into a muffled rushing sound that made me wonder if I were dreaming, even though I knew I was awake. I wanted to cry out, but my throat constricted so that I could barely breathe, let alone speak. I doubted anyone would hear me anyway.
The shimmering air settled, and the noise in my ears silenced. A single shutter partially covered the window of the little cabin, and I watched as a figure passed by. At the same time, I became aware of the now-familiar voice chanting inside the house. A soft gasp escaped my throat, and the chanting ceased abruptly. As though the person inside sensed my presence, she came closer to the window, and a gnarled hand threw the shutter open. I ducked behind the closest tree, which wasn’t anywhere near being wide enough to hide even my slim frame.
After a moment the figure left the window and moved in the direction of the door. My heart pounded loudly in my ears as I heard the latch being lifted, and then the door slowly opened. A short, heavyset woman stood silhouetted in the doorway. The firelight behind her made a reddish glow around her form. Although I couldn’t make out any features, I knew this woman was malicious. My eyes widened in horror as she turned to face the very tree I hid behind. She raised a hand and beckoned to me. “We’ve been waiting for you. Come; it is time.”
My feet began to move of their own accord towards the little cabin. A second voice, one I didn’t recognize, spoke in my mind. Don’t go to her! You must escape, now! Ione’s voice joined the other one. Be careful, Kyr. She means to do you harm! My own voice joined the others, screaming for my body to stop moving towards the cabin, to run in the opposite direction, but my feet would not comply. Step by halting step I kept walking towards the cabin, until suddenly, my foot came down on a twig, snapping it in two.
The sound wrenched me out of my stupor and broke whatever spell I was under. I shouted, “No! Leave me alone!” Dropping the lantern in the path, I dashed back to the outhouse, slamming the door and sitting on the ground with my back against the door, heedless of dirt, bugs, or whatever else might have been in there with me. I drew my knees up to my chest, covered my ears with my fists, and squeezed my eyes shut.


Author Bio:



Leta Hawk had her first encounter with a ghost at four years of age. Since then, she has been fascinated with ghoulies and ghosties and all things that go bump in the night, and now she writes about them. She lives vicariously as a ghost-chasing mystery solver through her Kyrie Carter: Supernatural Sleuth series, which includes The Newbie, School Spirits, and The Witch of Willow Lake.
When Leta isn’t penning spooky stories, she can be found rounding up dust bunnies, or tackling Mt. Dishmore and Laundrypile Peak in her Central Pennsylvania home, which she shares with her husband Mike, sons Wesley and Wayde, and black lab Raven (but no ghosts).







And so ends today's post for Halloween Week, but be sure to pop by tomorrow on Halloween. And don't forget my Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway (live until October 31st) You can find it by clicking on the Giveaway Tab at the top of the blog or this link: Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway!


Saturday, 29 October 2016

Halloween Week: A Fireside Chat with Lizzie Borden



Today, I have a special treat with another Fireside Chat. Our favourite fictional interviewer, Richard Dale, sits down with Lizzie Borden (from Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter), to talk monsters and murder.  Plus, there's a quick peek at the book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete. Enjoy.





Fireside Chat with Lizzie Borden




"Welcome everyone, to another Fireside Chat. I’m Richard Dale, your host. Today, we have a most special and infamous guest, none other than Lizzie Borden." Richard grins with obvious excitement and delight. “It is a most delightful pleasure and honour to have you here, Miss Borden.

"Thank you. I am pleased to be here."

“Your story is been told many times and, dare I say, even become part of American folklore. Yet, the dark truth of the matter has remained shrouded over the years. I think our audience would like to hear your version, about who you are. Would you care to a bit about this tale of tragedy?”

(Sighs.) "I still find it difficult to talk about, as you may understand. That August 4th was a terrible day. You see, people have it all wrong." (Sniffs and wipes her eyes.) "I-I had no choice! I didn’t want to do it. I didn’t! But when Mrs. Borden came at me so… (Shudders.) It was ghastly. I’ve never seen anything like that before—and I hope I never do again."

“Before this unnatural event, did you believe in paranormal forces, Miss Borden?”

"I never believed in such things before. I had sneakily read a copy of Miss Shelley’s Frankenstein. It is not my reading taste, but I had heard others speak of it. It’s pretty gruesome. But you never expect such things to be real. Not at all. Not ever."

“Has it been hard, living with secrets?”

(Sighs again.) "I have been a private person, but with the attacks and murder of my father and stepmother, and then the trial, of course, I was thrust into the center of something I never dreamed would happen. The hardest part was not telling anyone the whole truth, the real truth, of what happened that day for fear of compromising the Society’s work in stopping this terrible scourge. All I wanted was for it to go away and never threaten my family again."

Richard leans forward the look on his face intense. “Tell us about John, Miss Borden.”

(Her face turns red.) "John? Mr. Fremont was a big help as part of my legal team and a good friend. He introduced me to the St Alphonsus Society. I don’t know what else I can really say."

Any further discussion is interrupted by the arrival of a gentleman carrying a tea tray. “Is it time for tea, Jenkins?”

“Indeed, sir. I have a lovely Earl Grey today.” The butler turns to Lizzie. “Would you care for a cup, Miss Borden? We have milk and lemon for the tea, and sugar should you take your tea that way. And some lovely cinnamon tea cakes as well.”

"Thank you. Yes, I believe I will have a cup. I’m feeling rather parched."

Jenkins pours two cups, and discreetly withdraws, leaving the tray.

“Shall we return to the interview?” Richard smiles softly and sips his tea, not waiting for her answer. “What would you consider your greatest character flaw?”

"That’s a rather personal question." (Clears throat.) "We all have our flaws, don’t we?" 
(She looks to the side and then dabs her eyes.) "My one flaw, my greatest regret, may be in not being firmer that my sister, Emma, not be so involved in fighting off those monsters. She just isn’t as strong as I am. I should’ve insisted she stay inside and let me or our instructor Pierre handle things."

Much of the world regards you as a bit of a villain, but your story is more complicated now isn’t it? So I ask, do you consider your actions heroic?”

"I’m neither a villain nor a hero. I’m simply someone who wanted to protect her family and her hometown from the horrors unleashed on us. I wanted the scourge to end and see our family name cleared. I’m not sure I succeeded in that."

“What one word best describes you, Miss Borden?”

"Determined."

“How do you think your life would have turned out, under more normal circumstance?”

"Emma and I had plans. Once we moved into my beloved Maplecroft, we felt comfortable and almost free of the spirits of the past. We wanted to travel more. We both enjoy the theater. But life doesn’t always turn out as you expect, does it?"

“Any violent actions aside, what is your biggest regret?”

"I think I’ve addressed that already. I really don’t have much else to say on the subject."

Well thank you Miss Borden, for agreeing to this interview. It has been illuminating.


~*~




Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete:

Every family has its secrets…

One hot August morning in 1892, Lizzie Borden picked up an axe and murdered her father and stepmother. Newspapers claim she did it for the oldest of reasons: family conflicts, jealousy and greed. But what if her parents were already dead? What if Lizzie slaughtered them because they’d become... zombies?


Available on: 
Amazon, Print & Kindle - also on Kindle Unlimited: http://getbook.at/LizzieBordenZombieHunter

Add it on Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/hp9rvyd





For more about the author, C. A. Verstraete, check out these sites:

  

Friday, 28 October 2016

Halloween Week: Killer Clowns?



Today, I welcome author Jim McDonald as a guest to talk a little Halloween, and to give a couple of quick shout outs to some charitable projects he’s involved in. Take it away Jim…


Over the last few weeks, the leaves have exposed their hidden colors and many have taken their quick trip to the ground to be blown to the wind. Others fight to hold onto their green color to soak up just a few more of the fleeting hours of sunlight.
I walk into the stores, and much like the trees, the shelves are shedding their aisles of horrors abound for ones laden in cheerful faces, colorful bobbles, and blinking lights. Which is the real nightmare?
Please, can’t we get through Halloween first?
Yes, I resist the urge to put devil horns on Santa, or a bloody dagger in the hand of an elf on the shelf. Mostly.
And what am I hearing the most about?
Nothing less than that beast of nightmares.
Am I speaking of vampires? Werewolves? Political pollsters?
No.
Clowns.



And no, no the variety running for office either.
I’ve never been a real big fan of clowns, but I’ve never been scared of them either. But I do know a lot of people who are. And I don’t just mean they don’t like clowns. A pure visceral reaction, worse than to spiders.
Being that I’m fascinated by people and behavior, I’ve often wondered about this. Granted, I’m the sick kind of person that will put up a picture of Pennywise from Stephen King’s IT with a note that says Happy Humpday.
Our culture often shows clowns as people to be feared. The Joker is a prime example.
And now?
We have a rash of clown sightings, not only in the US, but worldwide. Clowns hiding in the woods, allegedly attempting to kidnap people.
Is it a cultural meme whose time has taken hold? A PR stunt gone wrong?
No one seems to know, but now, many schools and localities have gone so far as to ban the clown costume.
Really?
So now we have taken to banning those things that scare us. Pass an ordinance, or a law.
Yep, that’s effective. How do we even really define “Clown?” Must we also ban the Joker?
But I digress.
Why do clowns scare us? Why is an image of something seemingly innocent so easily turned into something so terrifying, it should be banned?
Psychologists suggest it’s the twisting of the visual and verbal queues we rely on to communicate. A fixed and unchanging smile (or grimace). Oversized eyes. Bright and startling colors. It takes us back to our childhood, to a time when everything had the ability to scare us.
It’s also the power of having a mask. The clown makeup not only obscures the details of the person’s face, it allows the clown to step into a new identity, a new persona. We as people depend on understanding the people around us, especially the ones we don’t know. Instinctively, we see a person in a mask as someone having something to hide.
Clowns, under the guise of many names and many identities are one of the oldest and many ways most important functions in society. In tribal cultures, many of them have a clown-like figure who wears a mask to embody the fears of the tribe.  Court Jesters and harlequins served much the same purpose, but had even more power. They had the ability to mock and jeer the ruling elite, using humor and barbs to relieve the stress of the people and yet communicate with the ruling class in a mostly safe way. The comedians and political pundits of the day.
Even today, we have seen people don the guise for nefarious purposes (I’m looking at you, John Wayne Gacy).
But why do we seem to fear this costume over all others?
I think it’s all of the above.
Which is why it’s important.
Every culture of the world has a person or group that serves this purpose. We need to have that embodiment of our doubts and fears we can see and confront. That we can take out of the shadows. That wears a mask.
Halloween is the time of year every one of us is called to face our fears, and laugh at them. It’s why we dress up like the characters that frighten us. It gives us power.
So this Halloween, when you are debating between dressing like a princess, a politician, or a clown, pick the one that terrifies you.
But this year, I’d probably put some body armor underneath the clown costume while you hunt for the Great Pumpkin.
Or just go with a werewolf.  Clowns will always be in vogue.

Happy Halloween!


For others, this can be too much to handle. For those who have survived real horrors. I’ve been honored to contribute to the #HoldOnToTheLight campaign with over a hundred other authors writing about #MentalHealth, #PTSD, and #Depression. Please check out the web page

Also, just released, I was honored to be a contributor to We Are Not This: Carolina Writers for Equality. Please check out this charity anthology on Amazon



I want to thank Jim for appearing in my Halloween Week, and be sure to check out the website and his charity anthology.  You can also find out more about him and his books at his website. And come back tomorrow for a chat with Lizzie Borden.




Thursday, 27 October 2016

Halloween Week: Spotlight on Furr by Axel Howerton


Today's Halloween Week post shines the spotlight of a new release, the urban fantasy novel, Furr: A Modern Gothic Fairytale by Axel Howerton. Enjoy!


Furr: A Modern Gothic Fairytale by Axel Howerton



From the South three sisters fair ran athwart the gloom.
Dressed of fur and fierce of tooth... the maidens of the moon.

Jimmy Finn is having a real bad day. He woke up drunk and on the wrong end of a nightstick. He lost his job, had to see his shrink, and he's fallen way off the wagon. Now the cops are after him, he's falling apart, and his only friend is a volatile drug lord. How could it get any worse?

As smoke envelopes the city, he finds himself on the run, and out of time. He's either losing his mind, or becoming a monster. Or maybe it's both. Jimmy Finn has one last hope. A long-buried family secret, lost somewhere in a mysterious town in the Rocky Mountains, a town full of bizarre shadows and a strange girl that haunts his memories.



Furr is available at:




AUTHOR BIO:

Axel Howerton is the author of the Arthur Ellis Award nominated "Hot Sinatra", the gothic urban fantasy "Furr" and the forthcoming "Wolf & Devil" series. His work, including short stories, columns, poetry and essays, have appeared the world over, in no fewer than five languages. Axel is the Prairies director of the Crime Writers of Canada and a member of the Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association, the Calgary Crime Writers, and the Kintsugi Poets. He is also the editor of the books "Death by Drive-In", "AB Negative", and "Tall Tales of the Weird West", and is the organizer behind one of Canada's first recurring "Noir At The Bar" events, #NoirBarYYC.

Visit Axel online at www.axelhow.com to sign up for the GotHow? email list and receive free exclusive ebook collections, sneak peeks, and more. #AxelHow #GotHow




That's it for today, but don't forget my Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway (live until October 31st) You can find it by clicking on the Giveaway Tab at the top of the blog or this link: Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway!


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Halloween Week - Drabble Wednesday: Infernal Ghosts



Welcome to the Halloween Week Edition of Drabble Wednesday. Today I bring you spectres, spooks and phantoms from the deepest, darkest bowels of the underworld...





Twilight Whispers

The clouds hung the sky in muted grey, settling low to meld with the horizon. The gloom of dusk stole the last burnished rays of sunset and crept up to meet the clouds. The air spread a leaden cast, a hint of dampness clinging to a vigorous wind.
From the old burial ground, with its sunken earth and broken gravestones, came a scratching, rasping, slithering sound. A noise of crawlers and claws, of burrowing and hiss. Dirt bulged and ground erupted, in a spray of grime and worms.
And momentary silence.
To be broken by skittering whispers.
Death is coming...

~*~



Autumn in the Country

The cold howl of the not-yet-winter wind as it blew through the bare branched trees. The smell of leaf rot and smoke, of apple cider. Sweet memories of my uncle’s home, the grand Marbury Estate.
We visited him every autumn, my parents and I, each weekend until the last week in October. I so enjoyed the visits, I never questioned the reasons.
Until it was too late.
Why didn’t I ask? Why didn’t I wonder?
They might be alive if I had.
Oh, what that thing did to them...
What it made me do...
I don’t want to kill again.

~*~



Mislaid

Another teenager has gone missing.
The third one in eight months. Plus two more from last year.
I hear the murmurs from the townsfolk as they pass, the scared voices wondering what happened to the boy and the others. Some say they were kidnapped, some say crazy Old Man Potter killed them, others think they simply ran off. Teenagers do that, you know.
Of course, they’re all wrong. They never left. All the town’s missing are so close.
You see, each missing teen trespassed in the abandoned Pritchard house.
My house.
So I tucked them away.
Even ghosts need company.




© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved







That's it for today, but don't forget my Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway (live until October 31st) You can find it by clicking on the Giveaway Tab at the top of the blog or this link: Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway!

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Halloween Week: Dark Poetry Corner


Welcome to Day Two of my Halloween Week. Today we explore the darker side of verse, where words drip in blood. To start us off, here’s a little nursery rhyme, tweaked ever so slightly…


Mary, Mary, quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With red, red blood, soaked in mud
And grinning skulls all in a row.





And now for my featured poems.





SQUALLS OF INSANITY

Nightmares breathe inside out
my waking dreams of madness
in the dark hallows hurricane

Hallucinatory ambience
and fractured existence askew
Nightmares breathe inside out

Screams, screams, shattered fear
Voices, faces, that melding maelstrom
my waking dreams of madness

To close, too late
all shattered bone and blood
in the dark hallows hurricane


© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved




BITTEN BY DEATH

Immortality, that ephemeral beguile
Souls’ reaper, eternity’s keeper,
cast adrift your last breath’s smile
Immortality, that ephemeral beguile
An undulating shadow, a drifting exile
into death wandering ever deeper
Immortality, that ephemeral beguile
Souls’ reaper, eternity’s keeper



© A. F. Stewart 2016 All Rights Reserved




And if these dark poetic delights have tantalized your appetite, please check out my new book of horror poetry, Horror Haiku and Other Poems.


Horror Haiku and Other Poems

Words linger...
In the darkness of shadows, in the distant screams.
They whisper past the drip, drip of blood.
The strange beauty of words hide, waiting for you.
Embrace the horror.

Venture past safe reality, into the world of terror told in verse. Horror Haiku and Other Poems brings forth surreal dread and spins it in artistic countenance. From small chilling bites of poetry, to murky morsels of fright, come find where the words haunt you, where they live and die.





You also have a chance to win Horror Haiku and Other Poems prizes in my Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway (live until October 31st). Just click on the Giveaway Tab at the top of the blog or this link: Halloween Horror Haiku Giveaway!





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.
“Conall.”
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.
“Conall.”
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.
“Conall.”
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.”
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.

~*~





Eulogy

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.

~*~




Return

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


Congratulations!


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 www.b2bcycon.com. 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.


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