Sunday, September 30, 2018

October Frights Takeover!

Get in on the pre-October Frights Fun!!

Visit the October Frights FB October Frights events page for some contests, Halloween chats & more  today - Sunday, Sept. 30 and Monday, Oct. 1! It begins at 11 a.m. EST  - 10 a.m. Central.

I'll be up on Monday, Oct. 1 at 1 pm EST - Noon Central.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Lizzie Borden book mention with Lizzie movie review!

* Very cool! Just saw this:

'The Problem with Reimagining Lizzie Borden'  -review on the new Lizzie Borden movie, "Lizzie" at Vulture:

The problem with “reimagining” the story of Ms. Lizzie Andrew Borden is that, by 2018, there is nothing new under the Fall River sun. Unless you’re willing to produce something like Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, any artist who decides to retell the story is left shuffling and reshuffling the million pieces of Bordenalia that we have from the trial, and all the weird theories that historians and biographers have come up with over the decades. (See my website for more book details.)

Monday, September 17, 2018

#Halloween is Coming!

Just a quick post so you know I'm alive and planning out here...

Is it too early to say Halloween is coming? I say a big NO! 


On the decorating front: I've had my Halloween mini decorated porch all set up and am working on a mini half scale haunted house. My Halloween light strings are up so I'm ahead of the game! I even ordered some real life Halloween pillow covers, so can't wait to see them. Been wanting to do that for awhile!

Writing and other ideas are also brewing!

Coming up in October:

* October Frights Blog Hop, Oct. 10-15. A bunch of authors will be offering prizes, freebies, stories and more! I'll also be posting a huge October Reading List and special posts all that week. Keep watching for details.

*I have an interview coming up in the October issue of the Blood Reign Lit Magazine. Lizzie Borden, anyone? Perfect Halloween ghoulishness, I'd say.

* I mentioned previously that my ghostly story, Jake's Nightmare, will be in a cool ghost short story anthology being put out by The Horror Zine. They're shopping it around so we'll see what happens.

* Other stuff will be coming along, so stay tuned!


* And if you want to do some spooky reading to get you in a Halloween mood, check out my books, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, 2: The Axe Will Fall,  and my related ghostly novella, The Haunting of Dr. Bowen. 


Thursday, September 13, 2018

September Reading List #Mystery #Horror #Dark Fantasy #Zombie

The trees are hinting at their Fall colors here in the Midwest. Halloween is near. That means it's time to get some new books for your inside reading pleasure! A bunch of new ones are coming out, too! Next time, I'll have a bunch of horror and dark books for October!

Dark Fantasy
 Darkbeam, Part II, (Book 2, Dragonian Series), (Pre-order - Releases Nov. 6,) Adrienne Woods -  Everyone knows the Rubicon is predestined for evil, and the alpha dragon does nothing to change their opinions of him. What they don't know is that he harbors a secret, a secret that can set him free, but also trap him forever. Refusing to give in to that which can lead him to a path of freedom, Blake Leaf allows the darkness to attempt to claim his soul. But there is always a shining light somewhere, and sometimes it's just too dark to see it. Will Blake find his way back to light, or is it too late for him? Darkbeam Part II is about the events of Thunderlight and Frostbite (Book 2 and 3 in The Dragonian Series) told from Blake Leaf's point of view. 

Horror Anthologies


A World of Horror, Eric. J. Guignard, Editor - Twenty-two new dark and speculative horror stories from around the globe exploring myths, monsters, fables and fears from the authors' homelands. Includes illustrations.

Best Horror of the Year, Ellen Datlow, Editor - Includes: Introduction: Summation 2017—Ellen Datlow; Better You Believe—Carole Johnstone; 
Liquid Air—Inna Effress; Holiday Romance—Mark Morris
Furtherest—Kaaron Warren; Where’s the Harm?—Rebecca Lloyd
Whatever Comes After Calcutta—David Erik Nelson; A Human Stain—Kelly Robson
The Stories We Tell about Ghosts—A. C. Wise; Endoskeletal—Sarah Read
West of Matamoros, North of Hell—Brian Hodge; Alligator Point—S. P. Miskowski
Dark Warm Heart—Rich Larson; There and Back Again—Carmen Maria Machado
Shepherd’s Business—Stephen Gallagher; You Can Stay All Day—Mira Grant
Harvest Song, Gathering Song—A. C. Wise; The Granfalloon—Orrin Grey
Fail-Safe—Philip Fracassi; The Starry Crown—Marc E. Fitch
Eqalussuaq—Tim Major; Lost in the Dark—John Langan; Honorable Mentions

Year's Best Hardcore Horror, Volume 3 - Randy Chandler, Cheryl Mullenax, Editors - Twenty stories of hardcore darkness from authors Tim Waggoner, Brian Hodge and others. 

** Check out NPR's list of 100 Best Horror Novels.

The Last Hellfighter, Thomas S. Flowers In the year 2044, reporters from the Public Relations Ministry gather at the home of Benjamin Harker, Black WWI fighter, the last surviving member of the Harlem Hellfighters turned vampire hunter. At the age of 144, he is the oldest recorded man alive. Hidden among them, Clyde Bruner is looking for a different kind of story. Across the United States, despite the Great Walls and patrol drones built to keep America secure, something has found its way in. And now towns are vanishing during the night. Entire populations, gone. Only to return after the sun sets, changed, unholy, and lethal. And whatever this evil is, its spreading west. 


 Past and Present, A Marketville Mystery, Judy Penz Sheluk - (Pre-order, Releases Sept. 21) Sometimes the past reaches out to the present...
It’s been thirteen months since Calamity (Callie) Barnstable inherited a house in Marketville under the condition that she search for the person who murdered her mother thirty years earlier. She solves the mystery, but what next? Unemployment? Another nine-to-five job in Toronto?
   Callie decides to set down roots in Marketville, take the skills and knowledge she acquired over the past year, and start her own business: Past & Present Investigations. She and her new business partner pa
rtner, best friend Chantelle Marchand, get their first client: a woman who wants to find out everything she can about her grandmother, Anneliese Prei, and how she came to a “bad end” in 1956. It sounds like a perfect first assignment. Except for one thing: Anneliese’s past winds its way into Callie’s present, and not in a manner anyone—least of all Callie—could have predicted.  

                           Mystery  - Historical - Paranormal

 I Am Number 13 (Nowhere Series), Andra Watkins - (Pre-order, Releases Nov. 13When Emmaline Cagney’s father dies on her graduation day, she foregoes college and heads to Honduras to volunteer with Nicaraguan refugees. It’s 1986. The Sandinista-Contra war rages in the jungles all around her. But when General James Wilkinson reenters her life during a hurricane, can she trust him? Or should she flee?
   Because of his unsolved death, Wilkinson is stuck in an in-between world called Nowhere, a place he’s always used for his evil designs. Will he stick to his mission to help the Contras? Or will he ditch his mission to finally possess Emmaline?

Mystery - Historical 

The Innocents (Innocents Mystery Series Book 1), C.A. Asbrey Pinkerton Detective Abigail MacKay is a master of disguises—and of new crime-solving technology! But she’ll have to move fast to stay a step ahead of Nat Quinn and Jake Conroy. 
    Nat and Jake are the ringleaders of The Innocents, a western gang that specializes in holding up trains carrying payrolls—and Nat is pretty savvy when it comes to using the new sciences of 1868 in committing his crimes. Charismatic Nat and handsome Jake are on the run, and they’ve always gotten away before—before Abi. But when Abi is caught by another band of outlaws during the chase, there’s no other choice for Nat and Jake but to save her life. Abi owes them, and she agrees to help them bring in the murderer of a family friend. The web of criminal activity grows more entangled with each passing day, but Nat, Jake, and Abi are united in their efforts to find the murderer. Once that happens, all bets are off, and Abi will be turning Nat and Jake over to the law. But can she do it?

Speculative Fiction

The Rust Maidens, Gwendolyn Kiste , (Pre-order, Releases Nov. 16)Something’s happening to the girls on Denton Street. It’s the summer of 1980 in Cleveland, Ohio, and Phoebe Shaw and her best friend Jacqueline have just graduated high school, only to confront an ugly, uncertain future. Across the city, abandoned factories populate the skyline; meanwhile at the shore, one strong spark, and the Cuyahoga River might catch fire. But none of that compares to what’s happening in their own west side neighborhood. The girls Phoebe and Jacqueline have grown up with are changing. It starts with footprints of dark water on the sidewalk. Then, one by one, the girls’ bodies wither away, their fingernails turning to broken glass, and their bones exposed like corroded metal beneath their flesh. Soon government men to tourist arive to see the "Rust Maidens" in metamorphosis. 
    Whispering in secret, they know more than they’re telling, and Phoebe realizes her former friends are quietly preparing for something that will tear their neighborhood apart. Alternating between past and present, Phoebe struggles to unravel the mystery of the Rust Maidens—and her own unwitting role in the transformations—before she loses everything she’s held dear: her home, her best friend, and even perhaps her own body.

                                                        Supernatural Spy Thriller

The Judas Hit, - W.D. Gagliani James Bond meets Constantine with sly dark humor and kick-ass action sequences set against a Dan Brown-flavored background. It's all action with a hefty serving of the supernatural. 
    Playboy lady-killer, lover, assassin, immortal (almost), Betrayer...if the shadowy Vatican Secret Service used the double-0 tag, he'd be 008. This century he's just known as Simon Pound. But Simon has a secret--he is Judas Iscariot, who made a certain Deal right after putting the rope around his own neck. Now an expert assassin for the VSS, his assignment is to guard against evil and protect the papacy from its enemies. Most of his missions are routine assassinations, but occasionally Simon also assumes the role of avenger and executioner. So what's a vile religious artifact--that had once been safely locked away in the famed secret Vatican archives--doing beneath a mall construction site in Queens?

Terrorist- Thriller

Deep Silence, A Joe Ledger Novel #10, Jonathan Maberry (Pre-order, Releases Oct. 30) Terrorists-for-hire have created a weapon that can induce earthquakes and cause dormant volcanoes to erupt. One terrifying side-effect of the weapon is that prior to the devastation, the vibrations drive ordinary people to suicide and violence. A wave of madness begins sweeping the country beginning with a mass shooting in Congress. Joe Ledger and his team go on a wild hunt to stop the terrorists and uncover the global super-power secretly funding them. At every step the stakes increase as it becomes clear that the end-game of this campaign of terror is igniting the Yellowstone caldera, the super-volcano that could destroy America.

    Deep Silence pits Joe Ledger against terrorists with bleeding-edge science weapons, an international conspiracy, ancient technologies from Atlantis and Lemuria, and an escalating threat that could crack open the entire Earth.


Jillybean & the First Giants: An Undead World Expansion, Peter Meredith - Six-year-old Jillybean finds herself alone for the first time in months. She’s in between wars, assassins aren’t after her, and she hasn’t killed anyone, accidentally or on purpose in almost an entire week. What ever will she do with herself?   If you know anything about Jillybean the answer is unsurprising: She destroys a million-dollar racing car, sets a town on fire, falls in love, and awakens the first of the hideous giant zombies that will eventually come to rule the world and drive humanity into the sewers where they will scrounge like rats, pecking out a bleak existence. 

Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter, C.A. Verstraete - 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?
    ** Continue the story in book two, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter 2: The Axe Will Fall 
Night of the Living Dead Coloring Book with 24 illustrations inspired by the classic Romero movie. Join in on the Kickstarter. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Borderline #Mystery Blog Tour

Today I welcome Joseph Badal, award-winning author of  the mystery/suspense thriller, Borderline, (Lassiter/Martinez Case Files Book 1)

About the Book:

Barbara Lassiter and Susan Martinez, two New Mexico homicide detectives, are assigned to investigate the murder of a wealthy Albuquerque socialite. They soon discover that the victim, a narcissistic borderline personality, played a lifetime game of destroying people’s lives. As a result, the list of suspects in her murder is extensive.
   The detectives find themselves enmeshed in a helix of possible perpetrators with opportunity, means, and motive—and soon question giving their best efforts to solve the case the more they learn about the victim’s hideous past.
  Their job gets tougher when the victim’s psychiatrist is murdered and DVDs turn up that show the doctor had serial sexual relationships with a large number of his female patients, including the murder victim. 
   “Borderline” presents a fascinating cast of characters, including two heroic female detective-protagonists and a diabolical villain; a rollercoaster ride of suspense; and an ending that will surprise and shock the reader. (And... continue the story in Dark Angel , (Lassiter/Martinez Case Files, Book 2).

* Also get it at: 

About the Author:
Prior to a long finance career, including serving as a senior executive and board member of a NYSE-listed company, Joseph Badal served for six years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army in critical, highly classified positions in the U.S. and overseas, including tours of duty in Greece and Vietnam. He earned numerous military decorations.
   He is the author of 13 suspense novels and is a two-time winner of the Tony Hillerman Prize for Best Fiction Book of the Year. He also received three Gold Medals from The Military Writers Society of America.  His short stories have been published in the “Uncommon Assassins,” “Someone Wicked,” and “Insidious Assassins” anthologies. Learn more at his Twitter and Facebook pages.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Tuesday's Writing Tip

A new short post I'll be adding as I think of things.

No surprise to anyone that Amazon is glutted with books. Everyone, it seems, has a story they want to tell. I'll be honest - some shouldn't. At least not right away.

Today's Tip:

I learned a great tip a while back from one of my good author friends which I still keep in mind - cut the was's. 

What does that mean?

Simple. Be active, not passive. 

Too many times I look at the beginning of a book on Amazon and I'll see not one, but several was's and were's in the first paragraph alone. The first page - and the book - is filled with them.

This is a  simple example, but you'll get the idea:

Example: Sarah was tired. Her body was weighted down from lack of sleep.

Revision: Sarah dragged her body out of bed, her eyes at half-mast. Her arms felt heavy, like she'd lifted weights all night instead of sleeping. 

See the difference?

Start with action. It's not saying you can't use was once-in-a-while. Yes, you can use it. I have, but the key is - don't overdo it. Keep your main sentences and beginning active, not passive. Use it sparingly.  (The same goes for ly adverbs. There are better, and stronger, word choices.) 

The book/story is only only better and tighter by making it active, but it's more immediate.  It draws the reader into the action. 

 Interesting thing is that some readers were surprised that I started my book, Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter like I did, but the focus was the crime, so I had to put Lizzie right in the middle of the action. Why would I wait? The top quotes in each chapter are taken from inquest records and newspapers of the time.

Here's how I started it and part of the first chapter:

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

 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?”