Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Vote for Haunting of Dr. Bowen Ghost Story #Horror

Round 2 of the Raven Awards at Uncaged Book Reviews is open until  August 4. The award celebrates top books reviewed in the last year.

Vote for The Haunting of Dr. Bowen by C.A. Verstraete (in the last section, Horror/Psychological Thriller) at the awards page. Top 5 go to the finals!

No email required - just vote! Thank you!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Wet Work #Thriller Blog Tour!

Today I welcome "Writer on Demand" TM  Donald J. Bingle, who's touring for his latest book, Wet Work, a Dick Thornby spy thriller.

About Wet Work:
   Dick Thornby is not Hollywood’s idea of a spy. In his rough and tumble job there are no tailored Italian suits, no bimbos eager to please, and no massive underground fortresses built by evil overlords seeking world domination—just an endless series of sinister threats to the safety and security of the billions of mundane citizens of the planet. Sure, Dick's tough and he knows a few tricks to help him get out of a tight spot, even if his boss accuses him of over-reliance on an abundance of explosives. But he's also got a mortgage, a wife upset by his frequent absences on "business" trips, and an increasingly alienated teen-age son who spends way too much time playing in gaming worlds on the computer.
   After taking personal revenge on the criminal behind both his son’s injuries and the continued disintegration of his marriage, Dick Thornby is teamed with Acacia (“Ace”) Zyreb, a young, female agent from the East European office of the Subsidiary, to deal with the mystery behind coordinated hacking of the braking systems of several car models.
   Doing his best to maintain his vows to his wife, Dick struggles to deal with the inexperience and provocative attitude of Ace on her first non-European mission. Their somewhat combative investigation takes a left turn by uncovering a much more sinister threat to the world and to Dick's family. He's willing to risk his job, his partner, and his life to eliminate the threat, but the clock is ticking.

 ** Buy: ** 
* Amazon -  * Nook -  * Kobo -  * Print  

Favorite Quote:
Here, Dick and his new partner look up at the sky at night:
She heard her companion give out a short huff. “Some people see it that way. Me, I think that if ... just possibly, mind you ... if we’re the only intelligent life in the big, wide universe of which the Milky Way is only an infinitesimal fraction, then keeping the world safe and its inhabitants as happy and healthy as possible is the most important, most monumental, and most sacred task in the universe.” He paused. “And, I think I’d damn well better not screw it up.”

Story Inspiration:
     Well, of course, Wet Work is a new adventure in a series which started with Net Impact, so my biggest inspiration was to find something new for Dick to do that was in the same spirit as the first adventure. And, I don't want to be too specific and create any spoilers for the reader. But, I think there are a couple of hallmarks for my Dick Thornby adventures: The first is that Dick is a regular guy who always does what needs to be done in a situation, despite the personal cost to himself. Secondly, there are a lot of weird facts in the world and a lot of even weirder websites, blogs, YouTube videos, and conspiracy theories about those things on the World Wide Web about those things. I like to both educate the reader about such things and have some fun with the wild theories that get so much attention about those things.

Dick’s foot jabbed repeatedly at the brake, but nothing happened. The car kept picking up speed as it rapidly approached the steeper portion of the unimproved roadway leading hikers to the pathways at the south end of the Route of the Volcanoes.
“Pull the emergency brake,” Dick yelled as he suddenly started yanking the wheel left and right in rapid succession, the car caroming from soft shoulder to soft shoulder, sending dirt and gravel flying.
Was he insane?
She grasped the center-mounted lever for the emergency brake on the second attempt and yanked awkwardly upward. There was no resistance; there was no effect. She stared at Dick in horror for a split second before his gaze shifted to the rock-strewn slope plummeting away on both sides of the steep crest roadway. Dick jerked the gear shift, dropping the transmission into a lower gear, causing the transmission to whine like a banshee. Their momentum slowed and her mood shifted just as rapidly. Then they tilted over to the steeper portion of the descent. In no time, they were plunging just as fast as before. To the right, on the wetter west slope, a tangle of bushes gave way to saplings and trees at lower elevations. Dick continued to slalom from side to side of the narrow roadway as his head jerked from side to side. Ace gritted her teeth as a huge pothole loomed.
Dick seemed to steer straight into it, twisting the steering wheel hard to the right, so the left front tire hit the far edge of the deep divot sideways. She heard an explosive pop as the left front tire burst. The car shuddered for a moment as the corner dipped, slowing the jalopy momentarily before it powered out of the hole, headed for the narrow right shoulder and the rocky slope beyond.
This time her partner didn’t turn the wheel back to the left. Instead, they tilted over the edge and the car picked up even more speed. With the left rim slicing into the shallow volcanic grit, the rear of the vehicle slid faster downslope than the front. Dick once again wrenched the steering wheel hard left. Sharp, heavy volcanic rocks bumped against the bottom, tires, and side of the car. 
If she hadn’t belted in, Ace was sure she would have been thrown into the roll-bar and canvas top of the four-wheel drive, if not thrown out of the vehicle completely. As it was, she hung on for precious life, pressing herself against the seat back, bracing herself as best she could against the terrors of the inevitable, when the car would flip and roll topsy-turvy until it hit a tree or rock too big to dislodge.
Wham! Bam! It was if Dick was aiming for the largest rocks in their path. The car groaned and metal squealed as parts of the undercarriage—exhaust system, oil pan, rocker panels, transmission—were ripped away during their tumultuous descent. The shrubs and trees were coming up faster ... much faster ... than she liked. Seconds before they hit, Dick grabbed the gear shift again, this time forcefully ramming it into reverse. She heard a grinding sound as the car spasmed, a rapid series of jerks slowing the momentum, then a sudden bang as the transmission, no doubt, dropped off the vehicle.
The four-wheel drive jalopy jolted forward, unimpeded by the friction of the gears for a microsecond just as they got to the tree line. She threw her arms over her face to protect herself from being impaled when a branch thrust through the windscreen. She heard the shushing scrape of vegetation envelop the vehicle, then the scraping and snapping of splintering branches, as her body leaned forward from deceleration.
Then, the front of the car seemed to tilt upward and her head nearly bumped into the windshield before the airbags deployed as the jeep slammed to a sudden stop. The airbag thrust her arms hard into her face, which shoved her head into the headrest behind. Then the bag rapidly deflated.
When she lowered her arms and opened her eyes, she saw a miasma of white powder swirling in the air and coating both the car and her. She looked to her left and saw Dick, dusted in white and his face in a fierce expression, like some Kabuki Samurai. His arms were folded over his chest as he gulped in huge breaths of air. His demeanor and his breathing quickly calmed.
Finally, he looked toward her and spoke. “Well, that was interesting.”
Kurva to hovno! “Interesting?” She vibrated in rage. “You almost fucking killed us!”
Dick tilted his head to one side. “How’s that? I didn’t make the brakes fail.”

About the author:
 Donald J. Bingle  is the author of six books and a member of The International Thriller Writers, the Horror Writers Association, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America and the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers. He was once hit by lightning, which might explain his writing more than 50 short stories featuring killer bunnies, Renaissance Faire orcs, giant battling robots, demons, cats, werewolves, time travelers and about everything else.
    He also was the world's top-ranked tournament player of classic roleplaying games like Advanced Dungeons & Dragons for 15 years. Learn more at his website.

Giveaway:  Runs 7/23 thru 8/10
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

New Review! Lizzie Borden,. #Zombie Hunter!

Maybe you're tired of hearing about these, I hope not! I'm excited as I'm now at 39 reviews for Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter!

I'd love to get to the magic 50 number, so please, pretty please, review it, won't you? Even a short sentence helps the book get more exposure!

The latest: Fleur at Post Apocalyptic  Playground  "absolutely loved the twist on twist" and "was hooked on this read." 5 stars.

Also, there was a review that kept disappearing on Amazon, with the number fluctuating. Seems there is a review I didn't see that is on the second page although it's recent. 

It's a fun one too, from Amazon reviewer Helen. Loved this line! "It was horrifying, disgusting, and strangely interesting." And she gets it. See more at my website page.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Lizzie Borden #Zombie #horror Flash Fiction

I've got a new zombie-horror flash fiction story out as part of the Ladies of Horror Flash Project.

The cool thing is the flash stories at Nina D'Arc's blog all start with a picture prompt.

Here's mine - and this one is set somewhere familiar to Lizzie Borden enthusiasts as the title suggests: Midnight in the Oak Grove Cemetery And yes, she's swinging that axe again.

Monday, July 23, 2018

New Series: The Other Side of Writers, Meet #Mystery Author Mary Cunningham

You can't help but wonder sometimes - just who is that person behind the book or story?  What do they do when they're not writing? What are their interests or hobbies?

Well, this new series will lift the veil a bit and show you who these various authors are outside of their creations!

Today, my first guest is Mary Cunningham, author of the middle grade Cynthia's Attic series and the mystery, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder, Andi Anna Jones Mystery Book 1.  (Get Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder on sale half off through July at Smashwords.

She talks about one of my favorite topics, genealogy. And in this case, it seems those old family tales had some truth to them!

Discovering (and writing about) My Ancestors

Thanks, Christine, for inviting me to share my hobby with your blog readers. While I love sports (I’m a tomboy from waaaaay back), swim, and play a little golf, my first love, after reading and writing of course, is genealogy.
   Family Search has become one of my favorite websites. I’ve traced my family tree, on my mother’s side, back to kings and queens in England, France, and Scotland.
   I relax by digging up research about my ancestors. Sometimes I relax, too much, and hours have gone by before I know it! My time and interest in family members and stories paid off, however, by sparking a five-book middle-grade series, Cynthia’s Attic.
   When I realized a recurring dream I’d had for almost 20 years was about a mysterious attic was in the home of my childhood best friend, Cynthia, the writing, and my search for characters, began. It didn’t take long to realize genealogy could provide some interesting characters.
   Like most of us, I had regrets about ignoring my grandparents, and even my parents, when  I was young. Their stories about “the good ol’ days” bored me to tears. (I would’ve much rather been outside, playing baseball.)
   So, when I came up with the book idea to send Augusta Lee (Gus) and her best friend, Cynthia, back in time to meet their 12-year-old grandmothers, Bess and Clara, I found the perfect opportunity to honor my ancestors by sharing adventures with them.
   Besides my grandmother, I wrote about my dad, my mother, great-grandparents, Charles and Samantha, and even my great-great-grandparents; the best story of all!
   As I mentioned above, I had no use, back then, for old family stories; with one exception. According to family legend, my great-great grandfather, Augustus Bulleit, made a living transporting “produce” from his farm in Southern Indiana down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers on a flatboat. He sold his “produce” all the way to New Orleans until, during a fateful trip in 1860, he disappeared. Although some of the “produce”, along with his boat, was recovered, no trace of him, or his remains, was ever found.

   Lots of speculation surrounded his disappearance. Did he simply vanish into the streets of New Orleans to escape the responsibility of providing for five children (four additional children died in infancy) and a wife, Marie Julia, who had a somewhat less than sparkling personality? (See for yourself!) Or... was he murdered for a boat full of corn and soybeans? That sounded implausible, even when I was a 10-year-old!

   Ah-ha! Mystery solved years later when we discovered he was actually the maker and transporter of his own rye bourbon. I suppose those who knew the truth thought his image would be tarnished if it was discovered Gramps made and sold booze for a living. These days his reputation is spread far and wide with sales of Bulleit Frontier Bourbon. A couple of decades back a very smart cousin of mine discovered the old recipe and decided to revive it. Now, it’s one of the leading rye bourbons in the world.
 So, what does this have to do with writing, you ask?
   The third book in the Cynthia’s Attic series, Curse of the Bayou, is loosely based on that fateful trip. The two best friends time-travel back to Louisiana to see if they can discover what happened to Augustus, or Beau, as he’s portrayed in the story. Do they find him? Guess you’ll just have to read the book!

   Bottom line is, I wish I’d spent more time “researching” my relatives while they were still alive. Oh, the stories I could’ve written about their childhood, or what they remembered about their parents and grandparents. While I enjoy writing fantasy, I sometimes wonder how exciting the real story could’ve been. Don’t you?

About the Author:

    Mary Cunningham, grew on the northern side of the Ohio River in Corydon, Indiana. Her first memories are of her dad’s original bedtime stories that no doubt inspired her imagination and love of a well-spun “yarn”. Childhood experiences, and a recurring dream about a mysterious attic, inspired characters, Cynthia and Augusta Lee, for her award-winning middle-grade series, Cynthia's Attic
   Through a horrifying stint as a travel agent and a more rewarding experience teaching travel and tourism, Andi Anna Jones, travel agent/amateur sleuth, sprang to life in her latest, Margaritas, Mayhem & Murder, Andi Anna Jones Mystery Book 1. Book 2 is on the way!
    Cunningham is currently writing another middle-grade series, The Adventures of Max and Maddie, an adult mystery, For the Life of Claire, and the biography of an army brat/former UConn basketball star. She is a member of The Georgia Reading Association, and the Carrollton Writers Guild. 
   When not writing, she enjoys golf, swimming and exploring the mountains of West Georgia  with her husband or spending time with their three children, two granddaughters, a grandson, great-grandson, and an adopted, four-legged, furry daughter, Lucy.

Finding Mary Cunningham

 Thanks, Mary, for sharing your fascinating family story with us and letting us peek into your life. Stay tuned for our next guest!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

New Review: Lizzie Borden, #Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall

Somehow I missed this! Great new 5-star review for

"The thing is, most books don’t have a well enough follow through for me to read
the entire second book to a series or a duo. BUT…. I mean a huge but, C. A.
entire thing! I was captivated by how well the story panned out. It was
Verstraete was able to not only keep my attention, but she friggin’ executed the thrilling in all the right places and not once did it let up on suspense."

* See full review @ the NerdGirl website. 


Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Lydia Pinkham & Lizzie Borden, #1LineWed

I just went back through the last two years of the blog, (yes, I really did that) and updated most of the Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter posts to reflect the new book link. I may have missed a few but the link is also on the pages tab on top or the link and cover photo in the left column.

One thing is that over time, old posts get buried. I found a couple interesting ones, so I'll be updating and re-posting a few for those who haven't seen them. 

A Did You Know? Post for #1LineWed - 1 Line Wednesday:

When you research, you come across all kinds of details. As this type of "medicinal" preparation has something to do with the plot in Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter (new 2nd edition & new cover), I thought I'd share what I found on Lydia Pinkham.

My #1LineWed – 1 Line Wednesday -  from Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter based on the vintage label (sold 1873-1906.):
“… Lydia Pinkham’s… a cure for all those powerful complaints and weaknesses so common to our best female population.”

You have to read the book to learn about the strange connection!! Find out more about Lydia Pinkham.

Lydia Pinkham’s was a herbal remedies firm located in Lynn, Mass. The best-known product, Lydia Pinkham’s Vegetable Compound, was distributed until the 1930s when the FDA labeling laws forced it to change its ingredients. (Patent medicines back then had huge alcohol content and often opium as well.) 

Here's more information on the original product. 

An interesting side-note: Oops! With the new Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 requiring listing of ingredients in patent medicines, the compound was found to have 15% alcohol. (No wonder you felt better - or felt no pain anyway!)

Guess what? A new herbal version for “women’s problems” is still being sold today (by a pharmaceutical company.) 

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

#Zombie Box Set!

 Get it while it's 99 cents! 

The Apocalypse Has Begun!
Today marks the release of this limited edition box set! 13 First-in-series novels of zombie apocalypse fiction! On sale for release week at just .99c! 
Available on Amazon, iBooks, Kobo and Nook!

Monday, July 16, 2018

Blog Followers: Want to be Featured?

There are quite a few of you who follow this blog. So I'd like to open the floor, so to speak, and tell readers about YOU!

** Several authors will be coming up. Stay tuned!! **

Who are you: writer, reader, collector, zombie enthusiast?

Contact me and tell me something about you, your talents and interests. Got a book? Let's share it!

I'll be contacting many of you as I go down the list. The followers list had somehow disappeared off the blog before but now that I look at it, it sounds like a fun idea to share more about you.

Stay tuned! 

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Today: Lake Geneva AuthorFest #Horror Reading at the Lake!

Off to Lake Geneva, Wisc. today to sit out by the lake, enjoying the sun, and lots of books!

Stop by around the Lake Geneva Library on Main Street and say hello!

3rd year! Always a nice event!
​Come enjoy books at the beach!

* Beachside Authorfest! Sat., July 14, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Lake Geneva Public Library
918 W. Main St., Lake Geneva, WI

Friday, July 13, 2018

Friday #Horror Movie Trailer

Ok this one made me jump. ha! Looks like it could be good. I like a good scare without lots of icky bugs like the preview trailer for Slenderman. Ugh, no. What did you see or want to see? 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

New #Ghost Story Coming! #Horror

Finally! YAY!

Happy to report I have a new short story, "Jake's Nightmare" coming out in an anthology that'll be published by The Horror Zine. It's based on an old mine incident that I read about. I loved this story and I got some good suggestions from editor Jeani Rector. Excited to be in this! Some great sounding titles and authors. I'm really looking forward to reading this!

(all original works):
by Lisa Morton
by Sebastian Crow
by Amber Fallon
by Kevin Holton
by Elizabeth Massie
by E. A. Black
by Nicholas Pascall
by Joe R. Lansdale
by J. T. Siems
by Christian A. Larsen
by Jeff Parsons
by Kathryn Staublin
by Bruce Memblatt
by Dan Allen
By C.A. Verstraete

by S. J. Budd
by Claire Fitzpatrick
by Shawn P. Madison
by Tim Waggoner
by Justin Boote
by Dean H. Wild
by Neal Privett
by William R. Eakin
by Rachel Coles
by Kristen Houghton

Monday, July 9, 2018

July #Zombie #Horror #Mystery Reading List

Happy July! Fill up that Kindle with some great books! I'm featuring a horde of zombie books this time for you z-fans! Lots of GREAT books to keep you busy!!!


Apocalyptic - Fantasy

 Storyland Chronicles, Dawn Napier Fairy tale creatures and mythical monsters have crept out of the dark corners of humanity’s imagination, and mankind is now an endangered species. New double book with added chapters!


This is cool! A listing of over 100 of Stephen King's short stories online. 


Abandon - 13 Tales of Impulse, Betrayal, Surrender and Withdrawal  -  Thirteen stories that run the gamut of emotions... Abandon hope all ye who enter. Stories by A.F. Stewart, Chantel Boudreau and others; edited by Julianne Snow. 

Deep Silence: A Joe Ledger Novel (#12), Jonathan Maberry - (Pre-Order, releases Oct. 30) You don't get more excitement than this! Terrorists-for-hire have created a weapon that can induce earthquakes and cause dormant volcanoes to erupt with vibrations that drive  ordinary people to suicide and violence. A wave of madness sweeps the country beginning with a mass shooting in Congress with an end-game that involves igniting Yellowstone's caldera, the super-volcano that could destroy America. Joe Ledger and his team go on a wild hunt to stop the terrorists and uncover the global super-power secretly funding them. 

Lilith - Blood Ink, Dana Fredsti - (Pre-order, releases Nov. 6)  Having killed her last producer, stuntwoman Lee Striga's next film shoot takes her to the voodoo-soaked bayous and haunted back alleys of New Orleans, where sinister supernatural figures stalk the streets. In a dark corner of the French Quarter, an arcane tattoo artist is using his clients in rituals that will open an inter-dimensional gateway for a demon god from beyond the stars.

Vampires of Rome, Peter Joseph Swanson - In 16th century Rome, Giotto remembers how he became a vampire and how his life became entangled with the life of two kings in history. 



In The Dead of Winter, (Book 1, Piper Blackwell Mysteries, new covers and editions!), Jean Rabe - Piper Blackwell faces his first grisly murder, 58 minutes into her first day on the job as the new sheriff in sleepy Spencer County, Ind. She needs her chief deputy's help to solve the murder - a chief deputy who thought the job should've been his - and track down a killer before everything, including her own department, fall apart.

In The Dead of Night (Book 2), Sheriff Piper Blackwell rushes to a clandestine meeting with an aging, paranoid veteran who believes spies are trailing his every move, she is caught in a fierce thunderstorm. Putting a name to the skeleton on the bluff, and searching for the thief who robbed the old veteran of his life’s earnings, sends Piper delving into the sleepy towns that dot her rural county. Now she’s digging into pasts perhaps best left alone.

Stop A Murder - How (Mystery Puzzle Book 1, Puzzles 1-12), J.A. Konrath - Something different. Solve mystery puzzles via clues and answer questions on the killer's website to stop a murder. (Stand-alone, but it's a continuing five-book series. Works best with Kindle Fire or the Kindle App. Uncover more clues in each book.) 

Zombies! Zombies & More Zombies!


Apocalyptic Beginnings, Reanimated Writers Box Set  - (Pre-0rder, releases July 16) - Limited edition from 13 zombie apocalypse authors! Zombies galore! Includes:  
- THEM by M.D. Massey  - Mutation Z 1&2 By Marilyn Peake
- Taking on the Dead by Annie Walls  - Broken World by Kate L. Mary
- Shattered Lives Book 1: Broken Dreams by Rissa Blakeley
- Mom’s Against Zombies By Alathia Paris Morgan  - Since the Sirens by EE Isherwood
- Only the Dead Don't Die By A.D. Popovich  - 100 Days in Deadland By Rachel Aukes
- Highway Z - Genesis By Ana Nix   - Afflicted: Patient Zero By Derek Shupert
- Rising Ash By R.G. Westerman   
- Empty Bodies By Zach 

Generation Z: The Queen of War (Book 3 of series), Peter Meredith - (Pre-order, releases July 20) The war spirals out of control. Now Jillybean's secret is out - she started the war. Her arrest brings with it the first order: Jenn must become queen and execute the woman she once loved.

Infected and Other Stories, Janine R. Pestel -  Ghosts, horror and zombies! Three short stories sure to require the light on! (Love this cover!)

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, C.A. Verstraete - What if Lizzie Borden killed her father and stepmother, because they'd become... zombies?!

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall, C.A. Verstraete - She'd thought life was getting back to some semblance of normal, then they returned. Whether she wants to or not, Lizzie is swinging her axe again...


Only the Dead Don't Die 2: The Hunger's Howl, A.D. Popovich - Just when Scarlett thought they could ride out the Super Summer flu’s un-deadly aftermath . . . their safehouse is shattered. On the run from Ravers, hordes, and a mysterious presence that always seems to find them, Scarlett vows to protect Twila. At all costs!  And, as the pandemic’s survivors flee for the hope of a new life in Last State—so do the hordes.

The Queuing Dead: A Very British Zombie Anthology - How would Londoners react to walkers? Fifteen zombie stories set in the UK by Ian Woodhead and others. 

Zombie Uprising, 4 book series, Mike Robbins From Book 1: A deadly secret lies hidden beneath the arctic tundra, but now the ground is thawing…and the dead are rising...   Jen Reed joins her retired archaeologist father in remote Alaska, hoping to re-establish a long-missing relationship. But when the thawing permafrost outside a village reveals the burial ground of a 19th-century whaling crew, Jen and her father fail to heed the warning of village elders and begin removing bodies for study.