Sunday, November 19, 2023

New Mystery-Crime Story Coming!


Happy to say my story, "Wildfire," will be in the anthology, (I Just) Died In Your Arms: Crime Fiction Inspired by One-Hit Wonders, Volume I. Should be coming out in December.

Always loved this sad song, so I tried to give it justice. Thrilled about this.

The stories included will be a treat to read and are fun, too! Definitely some memorable choices. (I love It's Raining Men! and The Rapper always makes me think of a certain time period. I like 96 Tears, too.)

Included are: 

Christine Verstraete: Wildfire

Song: “Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphey (1975)


Barb Goffman: Teenage Dirtbag

Song: Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus (2000)


Leone Ciporin: Life in a Northern Town

Song: Life in a Northern Town by Dream Academy (1985)


Adam Gorgoni: Bitch

Song: Bitch by Meredith Brooks (1997)


Bev Vincent: Somebody’s Watching

Song: Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell (1984)


Wendy Harrison: It’s Raining Men

Song: It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls (1983)


Josh Pachter: The Rapper

Song: The Rapper by The Jaggerz (1970)


Sandra Murphy: Pigeon Talk

Song: 867-5309/Jenny) by Tommy Tutone


Joseph S. Walker: Come On Eileen

Song: Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)


Jeanne DuBois: Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

Song: Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye by Steam


Vinnie Hansen: 96 Tears

Song: 96 Tears by Question Mark and the Mysterians (1966)


J. M. Taylor: It’s Hard to Die

Song: Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks (1974)

Sunday, November 5, 2023

Stephen King's Holly: Review

 Yes, I'm a Stephen King fan, let's say a "Constant Reader," since way back when. The Stand is still a long-time favorite, both in book and the first mini-series/film. 

I loved The Shining, too, so I was happy when the sequel novel, Dr. Sleep came out, which was so much fun to revisit. I have tended to lean more toward his horror novels, but his foray in recent years to mystery/crime, often with tinges of horror, has been equally satisfying.

Now I admit I didn't finish the whole Mr. Mercedes trilogy as I still have one or two I think yet to read. I loved his last book, Fairy Tale, too, though, it was more a strange fantasy but with a gripping storyline. But I couldn't resist this latest book, Holly. With good reason.

Wow. Marvelous. Grisly, yes, but no one like Stephen King can plumb the evils of man in such a fascinating way that makes perfect, if awful, sense. He has really gotten better and better. His last few books, I think maybe since Billy Summers (I'd have to look at the order again) have been superb, with no extra padding/filler as in the past. Even the author's note at the end had some interesting tidbits. I sure hope Holly takes on another case, too.

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Post Apocalyptic Scavenger Hunt!


Read for a chance to win great prizes!

With 20 different authors, 20 of their hand-picked titles, and a bunch of great prizes to be won!
Here's how it'll work - each author has a question about their book that only somebody who has read it will be able to answer
---The first 10 readers to answer all 20 questions correctly will each win a prize! 🔥🔥
As a bonus, we're also giving away a brand new Kindle Paperwhite for the grand prize winner!
We want this to be as accessible as possible, so all of the books will be available in KU, and we have prizes available for international readers as well 😁
And don't worry if you haven't read ALL the books yet - we'll start accepting everybody's answers in the first week of March so that everyone has a chance to win!

** Join the Written Apocalypse group on Facebook for info.
To make things easy, I've put together the list with book links for all of our participants, plus the list of questions so that you can play along as you go:
So let's get some new books on our TBR piles and start celebrating the end of the world (on paper) 🥳🥳

Friday, October 20, 2023

Sweet Dreams on Creepy Podcast -Live!

UPDATE: My story, "Sweet Dreams," is now up on the episodes page for the Creepy Podcast.  I think it's the second story. Cool, huh? I can't wait to listen, too!

Other Links: 

 Google podcasts:


 I saw the mention on Creepy Podcast's Patreon page, which you can hear now if you're subscribed: My story, Sweet Dreams is the bonus episode, so I'm guessing it's the second story.

I'm guessing it should be up on the episodes page at the Creepy website soon or perhaps tomorrow. I'll update when I know.

31 Days of Horror 2023: Day 21 - I'm Trapped in the Last Hour of Halloween 1993 & Sweet Dreams

Thursday, October 12, 2023

October Frights: Lizzie Borden & Zombies? Excerpt.

WELCOME to another day of OCTOBER FRIGHTS!

And what better day to share zombies, and horror, oh my! Than FRIDAY THE 13TH!!! 

 Get some great horror freebies, read some scary fiction, and all kinds of spooky fun! 

* 10/11:  Spooky reading list and a  bonus giveaway. 

 * Don't forget to check out the 31 Days of Horror on the Creepy Podcast. I'll update when my story, "Sweet Dreams" is scheduled. See website for latest episodes.

* 10/12: Who doesn't like skeletons? See the Skellie Mystery Reading List!

  ** Stop by the participating OCTOBER FRIGHTS blogs and see what they have going on:

Participant List

Today here's an excerpt perfect for Friday the 13th.

Excerpt, Chapter One - Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete

Q. You saw his face covered with blood?

A. Yes, sir.

Q. Did you see his eyeball hanging out?

A. No, sir.

Q. Did you see the gashes where his face was laid open?

A. No, sir.

—Lizzie Borden at inquest, August 9-11, 1892


August 4, 1892

   Lizzie Borden drained the rest of her tea, set down her cup, and listened to the sound of furniture moving upstairs. My, my, for only ten o’clock in the morning my stepmother is certainly energetic. Housecleaning, already?


   For a moment, Lizzie forgot her plans to go shopping downtown. THUMP. There it went again. It sounded like her stepmother was rearranging the whole room. She paused at the bottom stair, her concern growing, when she heard another thump and then, the oddest of sounds—a moan. Uh-oh. What was that? Did she hurt herself?

   “Mrs. Borden?” Lizzie called. “Are you all right?”

   No answer.

   She wondered if her stepmother had taken ill, yet the shuffling, moving, and other unusual noises continued. Lizzie hurried up the stairs and paused outside the partially opened door. The strange moans coming from the room sent a shiver up her back.

   When she pushed the door open wider, all she could do was stare. Mrs. Abby Durfee Borden stood in front of the bureau mirror clawing at her reflected image. And what a horrid image it was! The sixty-seven-year-old woman’s hair looked like it had never been combed and stuck out like porcupine quills. Her usually spotless housedress appeared wrinkled and torn. Yet, that wasn’t the worst. Dark red spots—blood, Lizzie’s mind whispered—dotted the floor and streaked the sides, of the older woman’s dress and sleeves.

   Lizzie gazed about the room in alarm. The tips of Father’s slippers peeking out from beneath the bed also glistened with the same viscous red liquid. All that blood! What happened here? What happened?

   She gasped, which got the attention of Mrs. Borden, who jerked her head and growled. Lizzie choked back a cry of alarm. Abby’s square, plain face now appeared twisted and ashen gray. Her eyes, once bright with interest, stared from under a milky covering as if she had cataracts. She resembled a female version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray. Another growl and a moan, and the older woman lunged, arms rigid, her stubby hands held out like claws.

   “Mrs. Borden, Abby!” Lizzie yelled and stumbled backward as fast as she could. “Abby, do you hear me?”

   Her stepmother shuffled forward, her steps slow but steady. She showed no emotion or sense of recognition. The only utterances she made were those strange low moans.

   Lizzie moved back even further, trying to keep out of reach of Mrs. Borden’s grasping fingers. Then her foot hit something. Lizzie quickly glanced down at the silver hairbrush that had fallen to the floor. Too late, she realized her error.

   “No!” Lizzie shivered at the feel of her stepmother’s clammy, cold hand around her wrist. “Abby, what happened? What’s wrong with you?”

 * Get more details at

 💀******* BONUS: Limited Time Halloween Sale! *********💀

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter & Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall.


Check out these sites also:

October Frights Book Fair:

October Frights Giveaway:

* Thanks for stopping by this week! Stay tuned for more posts and Halloween fun! *

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Halloween Spooky Reads: Skellie Mysteries!

Mysteries with... Skeletons!


 It's that creepy time of year again - OCTOBER FRIGHTS!

First - Be sure to stop by the participating blogs Oct. 10-15 and see what they have going:

Haven't done this for a while but there are sooo many great creepy books out, that I had to make up some Spooky Reading Lists for Halloween!  Image:

(* See more spooky Halloween reads - don't forget the giveaways!) 

* Friday the 13th, Excerpt: Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter


Podcasts - Short stories, Horror

The Creepy Podcast is hosting 31 Days of Horror short audio stories all October. My story, "Sweet Dreams," will be on but I don't know the day yet.

* See the list of stories ahead and sub on Patreon if you want early access.

* Listen to episodes on the Creepy website.

* Listen at other sites: 

Apple Podcasts


Google Podcasts


More Spooky Halloween Reads: 13+ Skeleton Mysteries

Who doesn't love Skellies?  There are some fun, interesting tales out there!


A Skeleton in the Family (A Family Skeleton Mystery Book 1), Leigh Perry - The family's skeleton, Sid, has lived in the house as long as anyone can remember. And yes, he walks, talks and tells jokes... and he may help uncover the mystery of how he died.

A to Z Mysteries: The School Skeleton, Ron Roy -  Dink and friends must follow the clues, er, bones, when someone steals the school's skeleton. Fun new cover for a kid's classic, grades 2-4.

Mister Glow-Bones and Other Halloween Tales, Ronald Kelly -  Eleven stories of Halloween, trick-or-treating and more with a fun cover!

Rattle His Bones: A Daisy Dalrympole Mystery Book 8, Carola Dunn - In the summer of 1923, the Honorable Daisy Dalrympole discovers that the Museum of Natural History is a hothouse of professional rivalry and jealousy. On a later trip, she hears voices, a crash, and one of the curators body's among the dinosaur bones. (Hey it's still a skellie!)

Skeleton in the Art Closet: A Watercolor Mystery (Watercolor Mysteries Book 2), Gail Langer Karwoski - Jane discovers a skeleton in the art closet, and the deeper she digs into secrets of the past, the more she realizes art can be a deadly obsession. (I had to include this beautiful cover, but here's book 1 of the series: A Brush with Murder: A Watercolor Mystery)

Skeleton King, (Detective Damien Drake, Book 4), Patrick Logan - The legend of some serial killers refuse to die. Det. Drake's been saying the man who killed his partner wasn't the real skeleton king. Now he finds another skeleton and everyone believes it's a copycat. It's not. (Det. Damien Drake Book 1: Butterfly Kisses: A Thrilling Serial Killer Novel.)

Skeletons in the Attic (A Marketville Mystery Book 1), Judy Penz Sheluk - When Callie Barnstable inherits her father's unknown-to-her house, she learns it comes with strings - that she move there and solve her mother's murder before a scheming psychic exposes the family's secrets.

Spooky Skeleton (Jane Garbo Mysteries Book 5), Addison Creek - A murder in Shimmerfield has Jane realizing not all is as it seems, and even her own family is keeping secrets. (Spooky Business: Jane Garbo Mysteries Book 1.)

The Bone Shroud, Jean Rabe - Irem Madigan's trip to Rome turns into a desperate search for historical artifacts - and a struggle to stay ahead of a killer. Winner of the 2019 Soon To Be Famous Illinois Author Project, adult fiction category.

The Skeletons of Birkbury: A rural detective mystery (Peter Hatherall Mystery Book 1), Diana J. Febry - When the body of a teenage girl is discovered, the villagers of Birkbury close ranks to protect their secrets. Gossip turns to fear and suspicion as they realize the killer is one of them and is prepared to kill again.

The Squeaky Clean Skeleton (Haunted Housekeeping Series Book 1) ,  R.A. Muth - When Tori Madison, owner of the housecleaning service finds  her client dead in the attic and discovers the cat can turn into a hunky Irish houseguest only she could see, that's not her only problem. How could she keep that secret while catching a killer?

BONUS: Limited Time Halloween Sale! Why did Lizzie Borden really pick up that axe?

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter and Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall.

* Hope you found something good to read - no bones about it! haa! *

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

October Frights - Spooky Halloween Reads!

Read something creepy!

 It's that creepy time of year again - OCTOBER FRIGHTS!


First - Be sure to stop by the participating blogs and see what they have going on:

Participant List

Haven't done this for a while but there are sooo many great creepy books out, that I had to make up a few Spooky Reading Lists for Halloween!  Some may be new to you so keep reading! And look out for the giveaways! 

(See more spooky Halloween reads tomorrow 10/12 - Skellie Mysteries!) 

* Friday the 13th: Excerpt: Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter


Podcasts - Short stories, Horror

The Creepy Podcast is hosting 31 Days of Horror short audio stories all October. My story, "Sweet Dreams," will be on but I don't know the day yet. Will update when scheduled.

* See the list of stories ahead and sub on Patreon if you want early access.

* Listen to episodes on the Creepy website.

* Listen at other sites: 

Apple Podcasts:


Google Podcasts:




Classic Monsters Unleashed - Thirty blood-curdling stories with the old favorites - Dracula, Frankenstein, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and more by bestselling authors. Winner of 2023 RONDO HATTON CLASSIC HORROR AWARD FOR BEST CLASSIC HORROR FICTION.

Found: An anthology of found footage horror stories, Eighteen stories of found footage horror.

Midnight Under the Big Top: Tales of Madness, Murder, and Magic - Two acts of 18 stories with poetry intermission by assorted authors. Plus a short novel by Josh Malerman.

Haunted Houses


Haunted House Evil: 12 book set (Limited time sale!) Twelve haunted houses, a liner, seminary and more, 12 times the scares and horror!

The Spite House, Johnny Compton - On the run from a mysterious past, a father and his two daughters find a new home and a job at a house supposedly built for spite. The job, of proving paranormal activity, offers more horror than any of them expected. 

Enjoyed this strange tale of a house and family with a bad history.  ** Someone shared the book with me, so I'm passing it on to someone else. * US shipping only. Ends Oct. 15.

Edgar Allan Poe

A staple of spooky stories, there's plenty to read here.


A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Dawidziak - TV critic at the Cleveland Plain Dealer examines the mysteries surrounding Poe's life and death in a dual-timeline of Poe's increasingly desperate last months and his life.

Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems - Tales and poems, 156 works of Poe. Includes 69 of Poe's spellbinding tales.

Nevermore: The Haunted Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe, Troy Taylor - Paranormal researcher delves into the mysterious life of the inventor of the mystery. What killed him? Why did he disappear and return incoherent, wearing someone else's clothes?

Nevermore Nook Composition Book - Notebook for your own Poe-inspired work. 120 pages



Blind Rage, (Under the Breaking Sky Book 1), Nick Clausen - The carnage unleashed when a strange object in the sky turns people into blind, raging monsters.

(Limited time Halloween sale!)

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, C.A. Verstraete - 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?  Follows the Borden trial of 1893. (Print, Kindle and audiobook.)

Lizzie Borden,  Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall, C.A. Verstraete - After being acquitted of the brutal axe murders of her family, Lizzie faces a new challenge and a new surge of flesh-eaters, this time with a heartbreaking twist - grief-stricken caregivers are hiding away infected friends and family members.  Lizzie has no choice but to pick up her axe again... but can she overcome her personal demons and the rampaging monsters... no matter the cost?

Check out these sites also:

October Frights Book Fair:

October Frights Giveaway:

(Spite House: If you can't enter, see link. US shipping only. Ends Oct. 15.) ** Bonus entry: sign up for my sporadic newsletter with book news, deals, giveaways, etc. 

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