Friday, June 29, 2018

Monthly May-June Wrap-Up

I've been working on some other things so blogging was quiet this week.

It's the end of the month, so thought I'd share the month's highlights. I wanted to do this sooner but you know how intentions go.... 

* I'm going to include April and May's highlights here as well:

* June 1: Anniversary, death of Lizzie Borden

* June 5: Anniversary of start of Lizzie Borden trial

* June 8: June Reading List  (See all the lists with some great suggestions on the top tab)

* June 12: 5 Questions with Horror Author Loren Rhoads

* June 23: Cool mention and story at; link at blog 

* May 7: Release Week! Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter  and Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall

* May 8: May Reading List

* May 16: 1 Line Wednesday (and it's a good one!)

* May 31: Important Lizzie Borden dates in June

* April 1: April A to Z Blog Challenge schedule  - lots of good books and topics from writing to TV tropes and more  all month. See schedule.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Lizzie Borden, #Zombie Hunter Could Be True....

Great new story on Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter @ Dead Entertainment  says "Lizzie Borden, #Zombie Hunter Probably Not a True Story, But Could Be." 

(Though yes, the parts in the book on the trial and some of the other events are based on actual, real-life events.) The book also contains excerpts from actual records and newspapers. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Lizzie Borden Found Not Guilty! Or Was She?

Today in History:

June 20, 1893 

Lizzie Borden declared not guilty!

See The Taunton, MA Gazette.

But.... what if she was guilty? What if she committed the crime because her father and stepmother had become... zombies?

See more info at my website. 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Vote for Summer #Horror!

I figure it doesn't hurt to ask.

NPR has a summer reading poll up - for horror! 

Please nominate Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete  (click yes to series) to the poll on the NPR site below.  You can copy and paste info. Thanks, I appreciate it! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

5 Questions with #Horror Author Loren Rhoads

Recently, I answered 5 Questions at author Loren Rhoads' blog. So now it's her turn.

Loren Rhoads is the author of the space opera trilogy In the Wake of the Templars. She is co-author (with Brian Thomas) of Lost Angels, the first in a series about a succubus and her angel. Loren is also the author of the nonfiction travel guides 199 Cemeteries to See Before You Die and Wish You Were Here: Adventures in Cemetery Travel.

Her latest and second collection of stories features Alondra DeCourval, a young witch with a passion to make things right.  In Alondra’s Investigations,,  Alondra discovers a book that claims to have destroyed Atlantis, faces the things that ghosts fear, and makes the hardest sacrifice in New Orleans. (See book 1, Alondra's Experiments, for more stories including magical creatures and the limit she'll go for love.

The Alondra stories have appeared in the books Best New Horror #27, Strange CaliforniaFright Mare: Women Write HorrorSins of the Sirens: Fourteen Stories of Dark DesireThe Haunted Mansion Project: Year OneThe Ghostbreakers: New Horrors, and nEvermore: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and the Macabre, as well as in upcoming issues of Occult Detective Quarterly and Weirdbook.

Five Questions: 

Did something in the real world inspire Alondra’s Investigations?

Yes, all three of the stories in the chapbook came from things that really happened to me.  “Last-Born” grew out of visiting New Orleans.  The tropical storms that come every afternoon to flood the streets in late summer inspired me to pit Alondra against the weather. Elijah Rousseau is a tribute to a man I met at the Voodoo Museum, before my friend Wendy, who lived in New Orleans, warned me away from the place.

“A Curiosity of Shadows” was born during the first Haunted Mansion Writers Retreat, where several of my fellow writers were menaced by a dense black shadow.  The shadow was even caught on video!  I wanted to explore the Mansion’s ghosts and pay tribute to the séances I went to in high school.

What is your favorite scene in the book — and why?

That’s a touch choice, but I think the scene where the creatures of Air come to parlay in “The Fatal Book.”  I struggled to describe elementals without visible bodies until one day I saw the wind playing with a newspaper.  San Francisco is a very windy city, particularly in the afternoon when the tide changes.  The wind rolls Styrofoam cups down the sidewalks or chases fallen leaves in spirals or dances with papers into the air. I thought: what if that’s not the wind?

What was your writing process like as you wrote Alondra’s Investigations?

“Last-Born” took a long time to write, because I got stalled after the first couple of scenes.  Brian Thomas, with whom I wrote the succubus novel Lost Angels, suggested some dialogue for Simon LeBranche, Alondra’s cursed boyfriend, and the story took off from there.  I wrote the last couple of scenes sitting in Golden Gate Park, scribbling into a notebook when I was supposed to be exercising.  “The Fatal Book” was written in a torrent after I got invited to do a reading with the writing group I grew up in.  The best part of researching that story was asking Alan Beatts from Borderlands Bookstore how books used to be printed and bound. I’m really fascinated by books bound in human skin.  “A Curiosity of Shadows” was written for the first Haunted Mansion Project anthology and came together in a rush in order to make a very short deadline.

What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?

T. Thorn Coyle, who I’ve admired for years, gave me the best blurb.  

What do you have planned next?

 I’m almost done with the third of these chapbooks, Alondra’s Adventures.  One of the stories made the long list for the British Science Fiction Association Award. Another made Ellen Datlow’s Honorable Mentions in The Year’s Best Horror #9. The third was published in Best New Horror #27.  That collection should be out before the end of June. The War Between Fire & Air, a new Alondra novella, will be released for Kindle in August.  Get the latest news at her website. 

Monday, June 11, 2018

Lizzie Borden, #Zombie Hunter 2 Sale! #Horror #Sci Fi #Fantasy Deals!

All Kinds of Monday Deals!! 

What happened to accused, but acquitted, axe murderess Lizzie Borden after the trial??

In real life, Lizzie lived a mostly quiet life, moving into a fancier home in the exclusive part of town, and hosting parties for a famous actress and friends. Living it up on ill-gotten gains? Maybe, maybe not.

In fiction... ahh.... what if her life had turned out differently? What if she had to fight the undead--again? Could she? Would she? And, could she or did she ever fall in love????

Some of those questions are answered in the Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter sequel - Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter: The Axe Will Fall.

SALE!!! Get both quick while they're on SALE!!!

Lizzie Borden Zombie Hunter is on sale 99 cents.

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter: The Axe Will Fall. is on sale 99 cents and $1.99 June 11 to June 18. 

** Get the set before the price axe falls!!!

** Want more deals? Visit the Art of the Arcane Page to June 14! 

* Bonus! Samples, previews and more! June 10-July 4

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Looking for New Creepy Reads? #Zombie #Horror #thriller

Starts today! 
Try out some new or new-to-you authors - freebie stories, samples, books, previews and more!

I included a sampler to whet your appetite of all the Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter books in the series - book 1, 2: Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall and the related novella, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen. Enjoy! See link below!


Free books, stories & more. Includes previews of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter series! June 10-July 4. Get it now!

Friday, June 8, 2018

June Reading List! #Zombie #Horror #Steampunk #Paranormal

It's June. Already??? 
What have you read? What're you gonna read?? Here are some GREAT suggestions!


Free books, stories & more. Includes previews of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter series! June 10-July 4. Get it now!


'50sVille, Paul Ibbetson - Welcome to ‘50sVille: The town you will absolutely love, or else…
Imagine a town where the people perpetually live in the 1950s, a place where time has all but stopped and where everyone loves his family, job, and life. In this strange place, only a select few people ever leave the city limits and even then, they leave reluctantly. Benjamin Granault , 15 1/2, finds himself living in a town where he can never talk about modern technology or current events, a place where being an outsider can cost a person his life and being part of the community may very well cost more.

The Outsider, Stephen King - An eleven-year-old boy’s violated corpse is found in a town park. Eyewitnesses and fingerprints point unmistakably to one of Flint City’s most popular citizens, Little League Coach/Husband/Teacher/Father, Terry Maitland, le League coach, Detective Ralph Anderson, whose son Maitland once coached, orders a quick and very public arrest. Maitland has an alibi, but Anderson and the district attorney soon add DNA evidence to go with the fingerprints and witnesses. Their case seems ironclad. As the investigation expands and horrifying answers begin to emerge, Terry Maitland seems like a nice guy, but is he wearing another face? 

Horror Anthologies

Little Killers A to Z: An Alphabet of Horror, Howard Odentz
- 26 tales about the youngest predators among us...

Hark! The Herald Angels Scream, Christopher Golden - (Pre-order, releases Oct.23) Eighteen stories of Christmas horror from bestselling, acclaimed authors including Scott Smith, Seanan McGuire, Josh Malerman, Jonathan Maberry, Michael Koryta, Sarah Pinborough, and others.

Best Horror of the Year (Series 8), Ellen Datlow - 21 stories
of horror from Neil Gaiman, Kelley Armstrong and others.


Magic Deals: Mysteries, Paranormal and More! to June 10; Speculative fiction, June 9-15; Paperwhite giveaway, too!

The Devil You Know (Book 1, Hellfire Series), Jena Grigoire - (Pre-Order, Releases June 5) SOMETIMES YOU HAVE TO FIGHT FIRE WITH FIRE. Following a drunken night together, the vampire Michael “Vegas” Tremayne takes off with no explanation, leaving Deziree Davanzati to wonder if they’d made a terrible mistake. With the Sentinel Stone missing, they’re down to the wire and don’t know who to trust. Will Dez and Vegas stop the demon in time? Or will Hell itself be unleashed upon the world?


Alphas and Airships: A Steampunk Fairy Tale (Steampunk Red Riding Hood Book 2), Melanie Karsak - With Lionheart as the new alpha, the streets of London are quiet. But above the realm, mischief is brewing.

While airship pirates are a common plague upon the kingdom, the airship Fenrir proves particularly troublesome--especially on a full moon.Clemeny must take to the skies before these shape-shifting Vikings kick off a new Ragnarok. Easier said than done now that she's down one good eye, a partner, and not to mention the fact that she gets motion sick.

Vampires - New Adult

Hotline to Hell, Emily Cyr (Pre-order. Releases June 14) - THERE’S NO HANGING UP NOW. Kayel Cleary is a phone sex operator. All she wants to do is get through law school, and if that means late-night phone calls with men who think she’s something she’s not, then so be it. That is, until one of her long-time clients is murdered – and she hears it all.


LIZZIE BORDEN, ZOMBIE HUNTER (2nd edition), C.A. Verstraete - still on sale - 99 cents! (for now!)  What if Lizzie did it... because she had no other choice? 

LIZZIE BORDEN, ZOMBIE HUNTER 2 , C.A. Verstraete  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: The book does contain spoilers if you have not read the first book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter.

The Apocalypse Crusade, War of the Undead One: A Zombie Tale , Peter Meredith - Once an apocalyse occurs, not even death is certain. Sometimes death is only the beginning.

Zombie - Children's  - Fantasy

Undead Ifs, (The Ifs Book 3), Pembroke Sinclair - Landon and Broden have been successful in defeating Gage twice. With him safely trapped in the hourglass and locked away, they can go on with their lives without a care in the world.The boys discover more than good times hanging out with the Ifs, however. It doesn’t take long for them to realize that something sinister is buried just beneath the surface of celebration and fun. Something is in the trees, hiding in the shadows, something that may or may not be undead. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Today in History: Lizzie Borden on Trial #zombie #horror

The trial of Lizzie Borden for the double axe murders of her father and mother began today on June 5, 1893 at the New Bedford Courthouse.

Here's an excerpt from Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter by C.A. Verstraete based on the real-life events, and a few surprise twists on the story.

Chapter Seventeen

Those who saw Miss Borden for the first time were very much astonished. Her newspaper portraits have done her no justice at all. Some have made her out a hard and hideous fright, and others have flattered her. She is, in truth, a very plain-looking old maid.
The Boston Daily Globe, June 5, 1893

izzie held her head high as she rose and addressed the court to formally enter her plea. “Not guilty,” she stated, her voice and conscience clear. “If you please, I will rely on my attorney, Mr. Andrew Jennings, to speak for me from now on.”
   With that, she sat down to the sound of pencils scratching across paper as the court artists faithfully replicated her every feature and article of clothing. As the reporters wrote about the least of her reactions during the legal proceedings, she took care to keep her face emotionless. She ducked her head to stare at her hands clasped firmly together in her lap. How long she could maintain such behavior was yet unknown, though she knew her very life depended on her looking calm—not like the prosecution’s image of a crazed killer.
   That didn’t mean it came easy. She smoothed the front of her plain black brocade dress, a fashion some would call rather schoolmarmish; even old-fashioned. True, maybe, as she was never a slave to the latest fashion trends, though she did appreciate looking presentable. What she did resent was one newspaper’s description of her as “a plain old maid” and detailing a look of wear on her face. Well, given what she was going through and the night’s horrific encounter, she suspected anyone would look tired and far from their best.
    Of course, this was only the start. Lizzie tried not to fret, especially as the daily barrage of newspaper reports and speculations kept on. Add to this the stress from the nightly noises of the other inmates housed near her, the taunts—Chop-chop, Lizzie, they’d yell—and the undead creatures parading outside the cell, and it all took its toll. Even the carriage ride to a larger cell in New Bedford, normally used for the ill and infirm, offered its stresses. She felt like a museum specimen, but remained stoic and outwardly calm. It all amounted to pretty good reasons for having perpetually dark circles under her eyes.
   Interestingly, despite the jailhouse noises, the curious eyes peering at her window from outside, and the way some jail staff eyed her though they tried not to show it, Lizzie felt almost glad for the semi-privacy her cell offered after a day in court. At least she was away from the public and the newspaper writers’ constant prying.
   As she spent another grueling morning in court, listening to her attorneys haggle with the district attorney over appropriate jury choices and such, her mind wandered in illogical directions. At one point she wondered—would any women in the temperance union, or her church associations, sit on her jury if they could? What did they say about her as they talked with their husbands at home? Of course she’d seen enough cold stares and unfriendly faces to guess the answers to both questions. She decided not to dwell on that further lest she fall deeper into the black hole of melancholy beckoning her.

   Back in her dreary cell, Lizzie walked aimlessly in a circle as exercise and tried fluffing the rock-hard pillow in an attempt to use up her nervous energy. Minutes later, the jingle of the matron’s keys let her know she had a most-welcome visitor, likely John or Emma, the only two besides Mr. Jennings she could count on these days.
   She stepped back and waited, hands folded primly in front, as the door swung open to the mood-lifting sight of her sister.
   The matron relocked the door with her usual warning, “I’ll be back in half an hour.”
   Lizzie reached out and gave Emma a hug. “It’s so good to see you.”
   Of course, when she glanced over the courtroom each day, she saw Emma faithfully seated in the first row. But being able to converse with her sister and touch her, to feel like someone cared, was much different. To Lizzie, it felt wonderful to be in contact with someone who would offer cheery conversation, even if was often one-sided. It still helped to hear about some bit of news; anything, besides her grim situation.
   Emma returned her hug and after a minute pulled back, waving the woven basket in front of her. “So, what do we have for today’s special?”
   Lizzie crossed the room in a few steps, patted the bed, and urged Emma to sit down. She eyed the basket with a big smile, followed by a grimace. “How about cranberry-apple-prune?”
   She laughed and removed the cloth napkin cover from the basket, revealing a pile of nicely browned cookies. Even if she could eat just about anything at this point other than what passed for meals here, nothing equaled Emma’s homemade oatmeal raisin cookies. She grabbed one and bit into it, savoring the sweetness and the chewy texture.
   “Emma, these are wonderful, thank you. I never thought a cookie could taste so good. Do you have any news? Find anything of interest in the papers from the warehouse?”
   “I have some names.” Emma offered a paper covered with neatly written rows. “Well, they’re mostly the initials and first names of persons I found in the papers. I also listed the activities or goods linked to them if it was included. Most involved office supplies or unspecified items.”
   Lizzie looked at what Emma had carefully recorded. Her hopeful feeling soon turned to disappointment. “Yes, I see here, SS, wooden crates. BC, shipping containers. Well, more initials, not much hope there, I fear, unless we can positively identify the person.”
   Letter after letter flew past her eyes. She saw nothing but initials, until she turned to the other side. “This looks more promising. Adelaide, typewriting.” Lizzie glanced up at Emma. “No surname, no initial. Did you look at the class list I had in my drawer, or the potential applicants list from the church? Maybe there aren’t many Adelaides who expressed interest.”
   Emma shook her head. “Not yet. I haven’t had a chance. I hope to do it next if I can. With everything going on…”
   Nothing more needed to be said, of course. Lizzie went back to the list. “Wait, here’s one thing. Bottles, Samuel S. The other warehouse we were at…” She paused and tried to remember. “Yes, Samuel Smith. He was listed as the owner of that dreadful place. We’ll have to look through the rest of the papers, see who else he’s connected to. Father bought a lot of bottles, I see. I can’t imagine why.”
   “He must have used these bottles for something particular at his business,” Emma stated.
   But what? Lizzie wondered. An image of all the papers and boxes in that abandoned warehouse, especially one box with the word BOTT on it—for bottles, she realized—flit through her mind. The thought gnawed at her. She shrugged and pushed it away to figure out later. “I suppose.”
   Emma’s departure left her with plenty of time to sit and think about her case, not that she wanted to do more of that. She shifted through the stack of papers half-heartedly, noting page after page of mundane supplies. The actions made her feel more discouraged and disheartened, not the kinds of sentiments that would help her get through this ordeal, she knew.
   To her surprise, the jangle of keys announced another visitor. She stood and waited for the matron to open the cell door, her eyes widening in surprise to see John again so soon. He nodded to the matron. “Thank you. I should be done in about ten minutes.”
   Once the matron disappeared down the hall, Lizzie let all caution go and rushed to give him a hug. “I miss you.”
   To her chagrin, he gave her arm an almost brotherly squeeze and stepped away. What was going on? Her shock at his unexpected coldness left her almost breathless, but she forgot that as his next bit of news unnerved her even more.
   He lowered his voice. “I’m sorry, Liz, I don’t have much time. I wanted to let you know what’s been happening before the matron returns. I suppose you have heard what seems like more disturbing sounds at night?”
   She agreed and whispered back, “Yes, I do try to get used to it, but it does seem like there are more of them out there wandering around. I can usually hear them somewhere outside my window.”
   He shook his head and raked a hand through his hair. “We’ve observed a new pattern in the last week. Remember I said we think someone is keeping these monsters confined and letting them out?”
   At her nod, he continued, “Our crews are seeing triple the number of creatures out on the streets during the day. We’ve doubled patrols, but the danger is spreading. A woman downtown just missed being attacked when one of the creatures lurched out of an alleyway. Two of the Society members intervened before it could do any harm. We told the woman we were police and the man was sick. A fortunate turn is she didn’t get a good look at him.”
   “That is alarming.” Lizzie gasped, fearing for Emma’s safety. She wrung her hands, her worry levels rising. “Have they harmed anyone?”
   John shrugged and went on. “We can’t be sure. Police have been checking on several recent incidents of missing persons, but they can’t say with certainty what happened. You may not view it as such, and I regret saying this, but the press is too busy with your trial to bother with much else.”
   Lizzie gave him a sour look. “Yes, how ironic.”
  He shrugged. “All I can say is any reports have mostly been ignored. The police did issue warnings about being alert, isolated attacks, and being aware of suspicious, ill persons roaming about. They were buried in the back section of the papers.”

--(c) 2018 C. Verstraete. More information on the murders can be found at the author's website.

Friday, June 1, 2018

Death of Lizzie Borden

A chapter of history was closed on this date in 1927 with the death of accused but acquitted murderess Lizzie Borden. She died at age 67 on June 1, 1927.

It was the end of an era, yet the continuation of a never-solved mystery: Did 32-year-old Lizzie Borden hack her father, Andrew Borden, and stepmother, Abby Durfee Borden to death on August 4, 1892?

Lizzie was acquitted of the crimes after a two-week trial that garnered coverage from across the country. Sadly, we still don't know the full truth about what really happened that day.

Many, of course, say she committed the murders for the oldest of reasons, greed, jealousy, anger. Did she want more in life after taking her Grand Tour trip to Europe? 

She certainly wasted no time after the murders, moving to a grand house up on "The Hill," the more prestigious part of town. That home, which she dubbed "Maplecroft," will be opening soon as a new B&B (see inside photos and story) by the same owners of her original home, the murder house and now the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast Museum on Second St.

Judging from Lizzie's will, she lived well. See details of her will here.

In fiction, of course, anything can happen. What if Lizzie's life had turned out differently? What if she had to commit the murders because her father and stepmother had become... zombies?  See Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter.

What if Lizzie thought her life was back to "normal," or as normal as it can be after the murders. Then... the zombies come back and she is forced, albeit reluctantly, to pick up her axe again... That's what happens in the sequel, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall.