Friday, October 16, 2020

New #Horror: Farewell Ghost, Rock 'N Roll Never Dies

 Rock 'N Roll never dies...right? Today I'm featuring a new book with an interesting premise... 

Farewell Ghost, Larry Caldwell - (Just released!) When rock-star Rocco Boyle dies at the height of his fame, guitarist Clay Harper losses the idol whose life he always wanted. In his wildest dreams, Clay never imagined that he’d soon be living on the infamous estate where Boyle spent his last night. 

Or that Boyle would still be in residence…. 

But in the hills of Los Angeles, things are seldom what they seem, and despite all warnings, Clay ventures deep into the city’s underbelly—touring its famous rock clubs and hangouts, auditioning for a rising local band led by the talented and alluring Savy Marquez— to discover what really happened the night Boyle died…. And though the answer is terrifying, uncovering it may be the very thing that launches Clay to stardom.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

#OctoberFrights: Something Scary #Halloween Story excerpt

 Welcome to another day of celebrating up to Halloween!

😈  Start at October Frights 1  & Giveaways

* Don't forget to stop by the other October Frights blogs!


Are You Afraid of the Dark? - Night to Dawn Magazine & Books LLC

Hawk's Happenings - Heidi Angell - Curiosities


💀Today I'm featuring a scary story excerpt... read with the lights on....


"Nightless Dreams"

By James Noonan 

He ran faster and faster, the rainbow of primordial energy pulsated toward him giving him strength. Grandfather held the key. 

Grandfather was the key.

Grandfather was the gatekeeper as well as the gate. And Grandfather favored him.

Jacob bolted upright, drenched in cold sweat. Another dream fleeting in the moments after waking. Nothing except the sound of thin flutes. Piping mindlessly their never ending song.          

 He rubbed his eyes and looked at his phone. Its screen blinding him in the darkness. Jacob groaned, it was only three-thirty in the morning. Jacob laid for a moment in the soft embrace of his bed. Momentarily wrestling with the idea of going back to sleep. The thought terrified him, so he decided now was as good of time as any to get back to work. He couldn't shake that awful feeling, however, of something in the darkness glaring at him with the intensity that one might study an insect. It triggered a primal fear deep inside.

He pulled up the pictures he had been going over, and some Sanskrit texts to compare them to. The odd thing is where the writings were found. A cave in the Grand Canyon. These along with some oddly misshapen figures carved from different minerals. Many seemed onyx or obsidian but there was a greenish tint deep within the black stone. The team was waiting to hear from the mineralogy department on some conclusive answer on exactly what it is. All of them grotesque and misshapen beasts of nightmarish design, yet, somehow, holding a master craft level of skill in the other worldly carvings. 

Jacob was tasked to see if anything pointed as to why or how these things would have ended up thousands of miles from such similar discoveries. He was having no luck in this endeavor. He let out another loud sigh, "Suppose I could just blame aliens..." He proclaimed with sleepiness in his mocking tone. He rubbed his temples.

 So far what the texts found was just nonsense about other worlds and giant creatures living in the darkness. He wondered what kind of religion or warped human mind could create such wild tales. Translating it was slow going. Jacob was the one to first crack the strange new writing. Jacob noticed a vague similarity to cuneiform with pictographs that looked suspiciously Central American and worked back from that. He could be wrong for all he knew. His colleagues seemed to agree, mostly, on his translations however.

Maybe the carved figures are this malformed pantheon, he pondered. As he sank deeper and deeper into his own thoughts reading through the most bizarre tales, a pit in his stomach began to form. He knew that such things were not meant for the eyes of sane men. The texts spoke of races long past and those yet to come. They spoke of blasphemous rituals to steal a body and hurdle one through space. They spoke of the end of all mankind. His mind started to panic. He began to sweat. The sudden vibration of his phone made him jump, bringing him out of the trance-like state.

 "Hello, sir. Yes, I have been working on the translations, but nothing so far." He wiped his brow, flicking his hand dry. "Most of it is talking nonsense about gods and the like...Yes sir, if I do find anything related to this 'dark star', I will contact you immediately." 

For reasons he couldn't start to figure, Jacob began to sweat more. Why call now? It was so late, or early Jacob supposed. How could they have known I was awake? After a moment Jacob was able to take the phone away from his ear, as he tried, without luck, to reason it away as nothing but an early riser getting a jump start on their work.

He was under the employ of some unknown private investor working through several of the Ivy League schools of the area. He had never spoken to Jacob, but his lawyer "Roberts" is the one who kept track of Jacob's progress. 

Roberts was as close to the devil as Jacob ever wanted to come.

 Roberts was a pale man and awkwardly tall. Balding almost completely although he claimed to be barely thirty-five. He must have been heavier at one time, Jacob thought, for he had several folds around his tightly buttoned collar. He also had large eyes that seemed to never blink no matter how long Jacob stared into them. Always glaring his ugly stare. 

Worst of all was a particular smell Roberts seemed to leave in his wake. Like he ate something he found rotting under a dock in the Charles. The whole set-up of the thing made Jacob uncomfortably paranoid. Like he was in a bad movie. He sank back into the chair, cradling his head in his hands, trying to shake off the awful feeling of the unknown...  ##

(The author, James, is new to writing, but no surprise he's been inspired as he also works at the Lizzie Borden B&B, the original home of accused ax murderess Lizzie Borden.


*  For another take on the 1892 Borden murders, see my Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter series.)


Was Lizzie Borden's doctor haunted? 

A ghostly love story. Halloween Sale! 99 cents.

The Haunting of Dr. Bowen: A Mystery in Lizzie Borden's Fall River 

Bwa-ha-ha! Hope you enjoyed the stories this week! Be sure to stop back for more Halloween fun!

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

#OctoberFrights: #Halloween Story, Pumpkin Patch

 * Go to October Frights 1 & Giveaway! - Next: Day 5: Story excerpt, James Noonan

Today I thought I'd reprint one of my favorite little Halloween tales. A little twist on that perfect Halloween centerpiece, you could say...heh-heh.

* Don't forget to stop by the other October Frights blogs!



The Pumpkin Patch

Every year he sat in the pumpkin patch, waiting for that one special person to come his way.
   Day after day, he grew larger and a vivid, brighter orange as he turned into a grand specimen of the pumpkin family.
   Then it happened. A cute little boy with a big smile and freckles almost as orange as his skin came and picked him up.
   The boy’s hug felt nice, so good, just like his ancestors had told him it would.
   The others rustled their big green leaves on the vine in goodbye as the man carried him to the family’s car.
   He rode to his new home nestled in the arms of the boy. He relished the warmth of the boy’s hands around him. The pumpkin patch seemed far away now.
   The boy insisted on carrying him in. Wait, what was that? A flash of orange on the porch step caught his eye. Another pumpkin. But-but what was wrong with that pumpkin’s face?
   He didn’t have the chance to see enough as they carried him inside. A rustle of paper. He sat on the table waiting to be set in the place of honor. That’s all he’d heard as he grew up in the pumpkin patch—that the one chosen had a place of honor in the family’s home.
   “All right,” the father said. “Scary or funny?”
   “Funny!” the boy cried.
   Wait . . . what-what was happening? ARGGGH! Something sharp cut into his brain. No-No! What are they doing?
   Oh, the pain! The cutting, the searing pain, the stabbing, seemed to last forever.
   Then the worst came. The horrible humans dug inside, scooping out his innards—his heart, his brain—until he sat there, nothing but an empty shell.
   Through the magic of the pumpkin patch, he still felt, though. He still followed their motions. The little boy, who had seemed so good, so loving, turned his gap-toothed smile of terror in his direction. The man gave an evil leer and leaned ever closer with that instrument of torture.
   He quivered in fear as the man cut into his soft, tender flesh. One cut, and then another, and soon a big evil smile with five little pointed teeth decorated his face.
   In surprise, he blinked, his vision sharp and clear as the man cut two triangular eyes above his newly formed mouth and nose.
   The electric candle they put inside him gave an eerie glow and lit the space around him. He looked out from his place of honor by the fireplace, listening as the house quieted and the family went to bed.
   Slowly, carefully, he rolled and bumped his way off the fireplace bricks. He slid along the wood floor, going down the hall. At the door, he stopped and listened to the soft breathing where the little boy slept.
   Longing filled him.
   Chomping his teeth, he slipped into the room without a sound, eager to be with the one who had given him new life. ## 

* C.A. (Christine) Verstraete is the author of the Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter series and the spooky ghost-love story novella, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen (now on sale, 99 cts!). See her website for more details. 

Monday, October 12, 2020

#OctoberFrights Reading List #Halloween #Horror #Monsters

** See October Frights schedule and giveaway on Day 1.  Next: Day 4 

* Don't forget to stop by the other October Frights blogs!

It's Halloween!!! 
I haven't done a reading list in a few months, so what better time to do one, right? Be sure to scroll down for new releases, some different titles, hey, even monster coloring!

So, I looked around to see what interesting and new scary - creepy - eerie books, magazines and anthologies I could find and here's the result. Have fun reading (and even coloring!) in the dark. Bwaaaaahhhh!

Horror Anthologies


Don't Turn Out the Lights, A Tribute to Alvin Schwartz's Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, Editor Jonathan Maberry -HWA anthology features stories by noted authors R.L. Stine, Madeline Roux and others. From flesh-hungry ogres, to haunted houses and spiders in brains, 35 stories to give you the chills.

The Monsters We Forgot, Book 1A demonic wolf that hunts its quarry to the ends of the earth…An inhuman abomination hidden deep in the Mexican countryside…A bloodthirsty spirit perpetuating the brutal horrors he committed in life…A beautiful god with a single, horrific command… First of a trilogy of original folk tales, chilling myths and more.

The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories, Editors Jeff VanderMeer, Ann VanderMeer - The collection explores the weird, strange and macabre in stories published from 1907 to 2010 including classics by Lovecraft and Kafka.

Write Like Hell, Horror and Dark Fantasy - Sentinel Creatives. Adapted from the zine released under the same name, "Write Like Hell" features stories from Scott Miller, Justin Probyn, and Mitchell Luthi. (Free)

Ghosts - Haunted Houses



A House of Ghosts, Murder Mystery, W.C. Ryan - Finalist for the Irish Book Award for Crime Fiction Book of the Year, a Classic Cozy Big-House Mystery Haunted by the Specters of World War One—For Readers of Agatha Christie and Simone St. James. 

Winter 1917. As the First World War enters its most brutal phase, back home in England, everyone is seeking answers to the darkness that has seeped into their lives. At Blackwater Abbey, on an island off the Devon coast, armaments manufacturer Lord Highmount has arranged a spiritualist gathering to contact his two sons, both of whom died at the front. Then, when a storm descends, they find themselves trapped on the island. Soon one of their number will die. For Blackwater Abbey is haunted in more ways than one . . . .

Berkley Street Series 1-9: Haunted House and Ghost Stories Collection, Ron Ripley, Scare Street - Shane Ryan returns to his hometown of Nashua, and the childhood memories that have haunted him throughout his life. Something sinister prowls the shadows of his family home. And a darkness threatens to destroy all he holds dear.To confront this malevolent evil, Shane must peel back the secrets of his former home. His investigation will take him on a journey that challenges everything he thought he knew about himself and his past. But can he banish his demons once and for all? 

Hidden Connections, The Hallows Book 1, (Pre-order, Releases Oct. 23) Jennifer Felton - Welcome to The Hallows Bed & Breakfast! You may check in, but you might not check out...Charlie sees dead people. Or, rather, she sees her dead twin brother Josh. But ghosts aren't real. At least, that's what her parents, the psychiatrist, and the therapists kept telling her. She knows they're wrong but learns to pretend so she can be released from the psychiatric facility her parents checked her into. Her anger mounts when Brad, a boy who lives down the street, fills her in on the secret her parents kept from her - the bed and breakfast they renovated, used to be an abandoned asylum!

Despite her uneasiness inside The Hallows Bed and Breakfast, she learns to love the place - mostly. Until opening weekend, when one of the guests inadvertently releases the spirits of the people who died the night the asylum closed. Now they've locked everyone inside, and it’s up to Charlie and Brad to find a way to trap the spirits once again.

** Get more Haunted Reads in KU through Halloween ** 

 The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, A Mystery
 in Lizzie's Borden's Fall River, C. A. Verstraete (On sale, 99 cts.!) - A ghostly mystery/love story companion novella to Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter from the viewpoint of Lizzie's doctor and neighbor, Dr. Seabury Bowen. Bowen was the first official on the horrific axe murder scene in 1892 of Borden's father and stepmother. 143 pgs.

Dr. Seabury Bowen—physician to the infamous Lizzie Borden—swears he’s being stalked by spirits, though his beloved wife thinks it’s merely his imagination. But the retired doctor insists that neither greed nor anger provoked the recent sensational axe murders in Fall River. Rather, he believes the city is poisoned by bad blood and a thirst for revenge dating back to the Indian and Colonial wars. Now, two years after the Borden murders, Dr. Bowen is determined to uncover the mysteries stirring up the city’s ancient, bloodthirsty specters. Can he discover who, or what, is shattering the peace before Fall River runs red? Or will he be the next victim?

* Get some Haunting Reads! Deals through Halloween! ** 



Halloween Adult Coloring Book 100 designs, witches, Halloween, pumpkins, skulls and more. 207 pgs.

Halloween Season, Lucy A. Snyder - A collection of short stories to celebrate the season of the dead or to summon those heady autumn vibes whenever you like. You may even find a couple of tales that evoke a certain winter holiday that keeps trying to crowd in on the fun. In the worlds within this book, every day is Halloween! (Cute cover, it reminds me of a dollhouse scene!)

I Spy Halloween, Paulo Press - Picture book with interactive guessing games from A-Z for ages 2-5.

Mystery Weekly Magazine, Oct. 2020 - Double Sherlock Holmes issue, includes a few Halloween themed stories, even an attack by a... mummy?! 241 pages.

** Check out some cool Paranormal Tales to Oct. 30.



Human Taxidermy: The story of what I did to my husband, Anfaney Gladwin - I came across this and it definitely is in the creepy category! An old man who owns a taxidermy shop is also the head of a major drug business. In the basement of his shop, he enjoys ripping out the hearts of his enemies and attaching it to the victim's left hand when he turns them into a human taxidermy mount. With all of his rivals now turned into mounts, he is ready to sell his shop, but who would want to buy it? 160 pgs.

The Beauty of Horror Coloring Book, Alan Robert - Burial grounds, zombies and more. 80 pgs.


The Devil's Instinct, Instinct Series #14, Robert W. Walker - Dr. Jessica Coran, Medical Examiner and forensic profiler is called in on a case in Marietta, Georgia to help track down the elusive Eye-Snatcher, a gruesome serial killer who leaves his victims to choke to death on their own gouged out eyeballs.Jessica had dealt with all manner of the cruelest and most vile human monsters to walk the streets and alleyways of America, but no monster like Roadkill Joe has ever crossed her path before--not in or out of a federal prison for the insane where he belongs.

The Rain: A Dystopian Science Fiction Horror, Mutant Rain Book 1, L.A. Frederick -  A mutated superhero. An evil scientist. When justice comes to the corrupt-ridden metropolis, will anyone survive?  When the raindrops touch him, mutant Reinhardt’s enhanced strength and awareness pulse through his green-glowing veins. Using his superhuman abilities, the mysterious vigilante stalks those who turned his home into an anarchic chaos of violence. But when his activities attract the attention of a demented genius, Reinhardt is forced to mount an attack… or become the hunted.

When Dolls Talk, A Collection of Short Horror Stories, Joel R. Dennstedt - Thirteen creepy stories that tell you what the dolls think... and say, if you really want to know... 144 pgs. (I like dolls, not sure I want to know. ha!)

Horror Magazines


Interesting as I look around, there seem to be quite a few horror fiction magazines. Enjoy!

Cosmic Horror Monthly #4 - Stories on something sinister in the corn to a girl seeking the help of a warlock,and more. 92 pgs.

Ghostlight, The Magazine of Terror #6 - Fall issue of creepy, scary stories from the Great Lakes Horror Writers Assn. 133 pgs.

Night Frights Magazine Issue 1 - New young adult horror stories from Dark Moon Digest. Monsters take revenge on a school board who cancels Halloween; a kid and some teens try to get a balloon out of a tree; witches recruit a little girl; a father will get a babysitter by any means necessary; a teenager is harassed by a strange creature only she can see; a housesitter gets an unexpected guest; a boy claims to have met a mummy, and more. 110 pgs.


Nightmare Magazine, Issue 91 - Sept. issue features assorted horror fiction. Ben Peek's take on vampires in his new short "See You on a Dark Night." Millie Ho's new story, "A Moonlit Savagery," uses two different kinds of monster to span the gap between Bangkok and the Toronto suburbs. Reprints by Dan Stintzi ("Surrogate") and A.C. Wise ("And the Carnival Leaves Town"). In the "The H Word," Evan Peterson talks about some of the stigmas against mental illness that exist within the horror genre. Plus author spotlights and a media review from Adam-Troy Castro. 112 pgs

Space and Time Magazine, Issue 137, June - Oldest, continuously published spec fiction mag. a dozen authors, 17 poets and numerous artists present stories and art that speak of other realities, Sci Fi, Horror, Fantasy. 94 pgs. See website for news on upcoming issues. #138 will be coming out soon.

Speculative North Magazine Issue 2 - Sci Fi, Fantasy and Horror -  Issue #2 includes: “Bathwater Mermaid”, by Avra Margariti; “Not a Vampire”, by Jeremiah Kleckner; “Vat Life”, by Franco Amati; “Turtle Hatchlings”, by Victoria Feistner; “Nominative Determination”, by Maureen Bowden; “Restraint”, by John Mavin; “To Sift the Sacred”, by Brian Rappatta; “Witching”, by Erin Kirsh; “Star Trip(tych)”, by M.X. Kelly. Non-fiction content includes an interview with fantasy author Scott Thrower. 134 pgs.



Creature Feature, A Horrid Comedy, Steven Paul Leiva - It is 1962. Kathy Anderson, a serious actress who took her training at the Actors Studio in New York, is stuck playing Vivacia, the Vampire Woman on Vivacia’s House of Horrors for a local Chicago TV station. On her way to Broadway, she stops off to visit her parents and old friends in Placidville, the all-American, middle-class, blissfully normal Midwest small town she grew up in.  But she finds things are strange in Placidville.Kathy’s parents, her best friend from high school, the local druggist, even the Oberhausen twins are all acting curiously creepy, odiously odd, and wholly weird. Especially the town’s super geeky nerd, Gerald, who warns of dark days ahead.

Dr. Cushing's Chamber of Horrors, Stephen D. Sullivan; Cover: Mark Maddox - The monsters aren’t only in the museum! Despite a lifetime of traveling with their father to collect strange artifacts, twins Topaz and Opal Cushing have never fully believed in monsters or the supernatural. Oh, sure, they share an eerie psychic connection, and their tarot card readings often come true, but… Werewolves? Vampires? Living mummies? Since the girls’ father has been away, though, strange things have been happening in the family’s little exhibit—and in the waxworks studio that shares their dilapidated Victorian mansion on the outskirts of London. Now, the twins’ dreams of a fun, romantic summer season are turning into a nightmare, and the monsters are running...

Goatbusters, Chicaghosts, Old Fart Squad #3, Robert W. Walker (Free to 10/14) - Humor, Horror & Chicago History! After the infamous Gone Gorilla and the Monster Pit cases, the Old Fart Squad suspects their special skills to tackle those cases no self-respecting Chicago Police detective would touch with a ten-foot pole. They tackle the reality of Urban Legends that happen to be more than legend but fact! A stuffed gorilla comes to life, Lovecraftian creatures crawl out of a monster hole, and now everything is calm in the city, so who needs the Senior Squad of retired detectives? That is until trail bikers and kayakers are suddenly disappearing along a stretch of the Chicago River, disappearing into the river with a bizarr0 creature ripping them apart and feeding them to its babies. Where'd the monster come from? What was its origin story, and how could it be conquered? 

Monster She Wrote: The Women Who Pioneered Horror and Speculative Fiction, Lisa Kroger, Melanie R. Anderson -  You know Mary Shelley, author of Frankenstein, but have you heard of Marget "Mad Madge" Cavendish, who wrote a sci fi classic 150 years earlier? Details on icons to forgotten authors, reader's guides and a curated reading list.


 SLAY: Stories of the Vampire Noire —  (New! Releases today.)  SLAY is a unique anthology celebrating vampires of the African Diaspora. Few creatures in contemporary horror are as compelling as the vampire, who manages to captivate us in a simultaneous state of fear and desire. Drawing from a variety of cultural and mythological backgrounds, SLAY imagines a world of horror and wonder where Black protagonists take center stage — as vampires, as hunters, as heroes. 

From immortal African deities to resistance fighters; matriarchal vampire broods to monster hunting fathers; coming of age stories to end of life stories, SLAY features anchor stories by award winning authors Sheree Renée Thomas, Craig L. Gidney, Milton Davis, Jessica Cage, Michele Tracy Berger, Alicia McCalla, Jeff Carroll, and Steven Van Patten. Additional Contributing Authors: Penelope Flynn, Lynette Hoag, Steve Van Samson, Ekpeki Oghenechovwe Donald, Balogun Ojetade, Valjeanne Jeffers, Samantha Bryant, Vonnie Winslow Crist, Miranda J. Riley, K.R.S. McEntire, Alledria Hurt, Kai Leakes, John Linwood Grant, Sumiko Saulson, Dicey Grenor, L. Marie Wood, LH Moore, Delizhia D. Jenkins, Colin Cloud Dance, and V.G. Harrison.

 Vampire Babies, Bloodscreams #9, Robert W. Walker -   (Free on 10/13, today)  'Some graves are best left undisturbed'. But it may well be too late for the young and the foolish archeological students and 'owners' of this particularly frightful dig. Perhaps they've already dug themselves into a place of total loss. A trap they can never escape from, as that place is inside their craniums -- their minds. Abe Stroud, too, learns the truth of mind vampires, and that perhaps they can never be beaten back, for once risen from the grave as a fog they find refuge and new life within a man or woman. 



Dead City Chicago, Michael Kuciak - In this first of a noir horror-thriller story series, the zombie apocalypse has come and gone, leaving civilization in ashes, and humanity on the brink of extinction. But there is an unexpected twist... A tiny percentage of the undead, calling themselves "the reborn," have been able to maintain their intelligence. The reborn have gathered as many of the last, few living they can find in Chicago and, working together, have erected a barricade around the city to keep the millions of feral zombies at bay. Into this dark and harrowing near-future come Kray (living) and his partner, Zelda (reborn), two members of the police force that has been cobbled together in a desperate hope to create a degree of peace. 124 pgs.

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, C.A. Verstraete - Think you know the Lizzie Borden story? You know... Lizzie Borden took an axe.... She was acquitted but... what if she did kill her father and stepmother for a good reason? They'd turned into.... zombies! Follows the real-life events of the trial with some twists!

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall, C.A. Verstraete - The story continues past the trial. Now Lizzie and the citizens of Fall River must battle a new surge of flesh-eaters, this time with a heartbreaking twist: the infected creatures are friends and family, hidden away by their grief-stricken caregivers. When her sister Emma becomes a pawn in the growing war against the undead, Lizzie has no choice but to pick up her axe again. With the help of her charming self-defense instructor, Pierre, she vows to end the horrific zombie menace, once and for all. But can she overcome her personal demons and the rampaging monsters, no matter the cost? NOTE: There are spoilers if you haven't read book 1.


Planet Dead, Sylvester Barzey - It’s 2019, the wall is built. The president is missing and an unknown virus has quickly taken over the world. People are dying but like an 80s b-rated horror movie, they won’t stay dead for long. Planet Dead has every bit of nightmare fuel to keep you up for days. Can a modern day wonder woman survive long enough to be reunited with her family or is hope the only thing that stays dead in the Apocalypse?

Red Runs the River, A Zombie Apocalypse Thriller, Life of the Dead Book 5, Tony Urban - Survivors face the future while Wim grapples with the cruel truth of a vaccine that probably won't work... his wife will likely become a zombie. See how it starts in book 1, Hell on Earth.

Zombie Coloring Book, Ava Browne - Why not? Thirty-one drawings to color. 63 pgs.