Wednesday, August 31, 2016

New #Horror Flash #fiction free Siren's Call Mag

The #28 Aug. '16 issue of Siren's Call is out. 160 pages of free flash and  short horror fiction, plus original artwork. Includes my story, "Jars,". (pg. 41). Download the PDF issue here free.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Author Solves Lizzie Borden Murder

Featured in

Author Solves 100-Plus-Year-Old Lizzie Borden Murder

Wisconsin author C.A. (Christine) Verstraete claims to have solved the 1892 mystery of who killed Fall River, Mass. businessman Andrew Borden and his wife Abby Durfee Borden, saying the clues are in the photos.
“After looking at the autopsy photos online from the Lizzie Borden murder trial, I realized there’s one solution that has not been offered up until now, especially given the gruesome nature of the crimes,” says Verstraete, author of the book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter. “It’s clear from the photos and the murder method that the Bordens had turned into zombies.”
Read the rest at above link.

About the Book:
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?
Pre-order! 99 cents - Limited Time Sale!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Excerpt: Skeletons in the Attic Mystery!

Welcome today's special guest, Judy Penz Sheluk.

You know me, I couldn't resist a book with the word skeletons in it. Add in a murder, mystery and psychics, and it sounds like a winner! So enjoy a preview from today's guest and her brand new work!

About the Book:

What goes on behind closed doors doesn’t always stay there…

Calamity (Callie) Barnstable isn’t surprised to learn she’s the sole beneficiary of her late father’s estate, though she is shocked to discover she has inherited a house in the town of Marketville—a house she didn’t know existed. However, there are conditions attached to Callie’s inheritance: she must move to Marketville, live in the house, and solve her mother’s murder.

Callie’s not keen on dredging up a thirty-year-old mystery, but if she doesn’t do it, there’s a scheming psychic named Misty Rivers who is more than happy to expose the Barnstable family secrets. Determined to thwart Misty and fulfill her father’s wishes, Callie accepts the challenge. But is she ready to face the skeletons hidden in the attic?

* Just released!! Get it at Imajin Books -

Excerpt from Skeletons in the Attic:
By Judy Penz Sheluk

I stared at Leith Hampton open-mouthed. “What the hell are you talking about? My mother wasn’t murdered. She left us when I was about six.” I may not have had a clear recollection of my mother, but I still remembered the way kids talked about it at school, their parents the obvious source of information. Small town floozy finds a new man and makes tracks for a better life. Until now I had no idea the gossip had surfaced anywhere other than Toronto.
“Apparently your father came to believe otherwise,” Leith said, folding his arms in front of his chest.
This surprised me. Growing up, my mother’s name was seldom mentioned. Most of the time it felt as if she’d never existed. My natural curiosity about who she was and where she went had been far from sated. The few things my father told me about her, usually after a couple of beers, hardly counted. That her name was Abigail; that she liked to bake; that she loved old movies, especially musicals from the 1950s.
“So you’re saying the Marketville house never used to be part of his will?”
“The house was always part of the will, and you were always the beneficiary. The codicil is the part where you have to go live in the house for a year and try to solve your mother’s alleged murder, or failing that, discover the real reason behind her disappearance.” Leith shook his head. “I’ll admit I didn’t support the idea, but he insisted. I did my best to talk him out of it, but you know how obstinate your father could be.”
I did. Look up stubborn in the dictionary and you might just find a picture of James David Barnstable. It was a trait I had inherited, right along with his unruly mop of chestnut brown hair and black-rimmed hazel eyes. The hair I could straighten into submission, given enough product and enough patience with a blow dryer and flat iron, and the eyes were probably my best feature. But the stubborn streak had almost proved my undoing on more than one occasion. My father’s, too. 
“Do you know what led to his fixation?”
“I know he hired a private investigator when your mother first left, but nothing came of it. It was as if she’d vanished into thin air. There may have been some other attempts that I’m not aware of. But it was his last tenant in the Marketville house that reignited the fire.”
“How so?”
Leith gave a dry chuckle, but there was no humor in the sound. “Apparently the tenant was a psychic, or at least she claimed to be. A woman by the name of Misty Rivers.”
As someone named after Calamity Jane, a Wild West frontierswoman of questionable repute, I wasn’t about to criticize anyone else’s moniker. I was just grateful my parents had the good sense to give me a different middle name. “What did this Misty Rivers do or say to get my father’s attention?”
“She told him the house was haunted by someone who once lived there, someone who loved lilacs.”
“And from that he reached the conclusion my mother had been murdered?”
“It’s a reach, I know. But in the past another tenant had complained of weird noises. Creaking in the basement, footsteps in the attic, that sort of thing. We both dismissed the complaint as the tenant’s attempt to get out of her lease. If that was the objective, it worked. She moved out early without paying a penalty.”
“But then after the psychic—”
“Exactly. After Misty Rivers, your father wasn’t so sure. When you moved out of the Marketville house, he’d locked up all of your mother’s things in the attic. He said he couldn’t bear to go through them after she left, then the years just ticked on by. Misty made him believe there might be clues hidden amongst your mother’s belongings.”
It was as if Leith was talking about a stranger. “He never told me about any of this.”
“He wanted to be sure, to protect you from getting hurt. He didn’t want you believing in what might only have been a fairy tale.”
A fairy tale. Except this one didn’t seem to have a happy ending.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Killer Nashville Award Winners #mystery #paranormal

Congrats to writers Don Bingle and Jean Rabe, who won not one, but.... get this --- 3!!!! --- awards in the Killer Nashville 2016  Silver Falchion Award contest!

Best Fantasy (peer voted)  - Best Urban Fantasy and Best Multi-Genre Work (judges' awards)

Donald J. Bingle and Jean Rabe - The Love-Haight Case Files
 About the Book:

San Francisco. Haight-Ashbury. It is midnight in the Summer of Love. 
    Thomas Brock and Evelyn Love are attorneys who crusade for the rights of OTs—Other-Than-Humans. Their clients include ghosts, gargoyles, vampires, and things that have not yet been given names. The city’s OT element is sometimes malevolent, sometimes misunderstood, and often discriminated against. Brock and Love represent them, whatever the case, whatever the species. 

I'm still trying to find the other winners (they sure don't update the website quick). 

Congrats also to Kaye George for 
Best Fiction Short Story Anthology
   Kaye George - Murder on Wheels
About the Book:
Eight authors from the Austin Mystery Writers “put the pedal to the floor” in 11 stories set on an 18th century sailing ship to the roads of modern Texas.

INTRODUCTION, by Kaye George

A NICE SET OF WHEELS, by Kathy Waller

FAMILY BUSINESS, by Reavis Z. Wortham

ROTA FORTUNAE, by V. P. Chandler

MOME RATH, MY SWEET, by Gale Albright


BUON VIAGGIO, by Laura Oles

APORKALYPSE NOW, by Gale Albright

HAVE A NICE TRIP, by Kaye George


HELL ON WHEELS, by Kathy Waller

RED’S WHITE F-150 BLUES, by Scott Montgomery

Monday, August 22, 2016

Lizzie Borden Excerpt- Probable Cause for Murder

Today is a momentous date in Lizzie Borden history - 

* On Aug. 22(-23), 1892:

In a preliminary hearing, Judge Josiah Blaisdell finds probable cause to try Lizzie Borden for the Aug. 4th murders of her father Andrew Borden and stepmother Abby Durfee Borden. 

** Here's what happened that fateful day, at least according to my version of events in Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter:

Excerpt: Chapter 1
Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete

** Pre-Order Sale Now for Kindle! (You can also use the free Kindle app on your tablet or PC!)

Chapter One

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, Fall River Courtroom

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 oclock 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 stairand paused outside the partially opened door. The strange moans coming from the room sent a shiver up her back.
Lizzie pushed the door open wider and stared. 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 womans hair looked like it had never been combed and stuck out like porcupine quills. Her usually spotless housedress appeared wrinkled and torn. Yet, that wasnt the worst. Dark red spotsBlood, Lizzies mind whispered—dotted the floor and streaked the sides of the older womans dress and sleeves.
Lizzie gazed about the room in alarm. The tips of Fathers slippers peeking out from beneath the bed also glistened with the same viscoured 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. Abbys 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 some distance between her and Mrs. Bordens 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 cried out at the strange feeling of her stepmothers
clammy, cold hand around her wrist. Abby, what happened? Whatwrong with you?”
Mrs. Borden said nothing and moved in closer. Her mouth opened and closed, revealing bloodstained teeth.
“No! Stay away! Lizzie yelled. “Stop!
She didnt. Instead, Mrs. Borden scratched and clawed at her. Lizzie leaned back, barely escaping the snap of the madwomans teeth at her neck.
Mrs. BorAbby! No, no! Stop!
Lizzies slight advantage of a few inches in height offered no protection against her shorter stepmothers almost demonic and inhuman strength. The oldewoman bit and snapped like a rabid dog. Lizzistruggled to fight her off, and shoved her away, yet Mrs. Borden attacked again and again, her hands grabbing, her teeth seeking the tender flesh covered by Lizzies long, full sleeves.
The two of them grappled and wrestled, bumping into the bedposts and banging into furniture. Lizzie yelped each time her soft flesh hit something  hard.  She  felt  her  strength  wane  as  the  crazed  womans gnarled hands clawed at her. Lizzie wondered how much more she could endure.
Lizzies cries for help came out hoarse and weak. “Em-Emma!” She tried again. “Help! Help me! She knew Emma had come in late last night from her trip out of town. But if Emma already woke and went downstairs, will she even hear me?
Lizzie reeled back, her panic growing as her spine pressed against the fireplace. She pushed and fought in an attempt to keep this monster away, yet Mrs. Bordens ugly face and snapping teeth edged closer and closer.
Then Lizzie spotted it: the worn hatchet Father had left behind after hed last brought in the newly chopped wood. No, no! Her mind filled with  horror,  but  when  her  stepmother  came  at  her  again,  Lizzie whispered a prayer for forgiveness and grabbed the handle. She lifted the hatchet high overhead and swung as hard as she could. It hit her stepmother’s skull with a sickening thud.
As impossible as it seemed, Mrs. Borden snarled and continued her attack.
Lizzie hit her again, and again, and again. The blows raked her stepmother’s face and scraped deep furrows into tender flesh. The metal hatchet head pounded her stepmothers shoulders and arms, the bones giving  way  with  sickening  crunches.  Mrs.  Bordens  broken  arms dangled, hanging limp and ugly at her sides and yet, dear God, yet she continued her attack.
With the last bit of her strength, Lizzie raised the hatchet again and brought it down on Mrs. Bordens head. Only then did her stepmother crumple and fall into a pile at Lizzies feet.
It took a few minutes for Lizzie to comprehend the horrible scene. It didnt seem real, but it was. With a cry, she threw the bloodied hatchet aside. She gagged as the weapon caught in the braided artificial hairpiechanging from the back of Mrs. Bordens gore-encrusted scalp.
Retching, Lizzie ran to the other side of the bed, bent over, and vomited into the chamber pot. She crossed the room and leaned against the wall, her shoulders shaking with each heart-rending sob.
Her hands trembled so hard she could barely hold them still, but she managed to cover her eyes in a feeble attempt to block out the carnage. It didnt stop the horrific images that flashed in her mind, or the many questions. And it certainly did nothing for the soul-crushing guilt that filled her.
Why? she cried. Why? Dear God, what have I done? What have done?

** A couple cool mentions  -

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter got mentioned in the 8/20 issue of Boring Dead

And was picked up under Horror Highlights on The Daily Dead 

** Don't forget.... Limited Time Pre-Order SALE for Kindle! GET it Now!!!