Tuesday, December 31, 2013

My 5-Star review for Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror

Fear comes in many forms and speaks with countless voices. This is a collection of stories from authors living in diverse places. It is a tapestry woven from these disparate elements and presented all for the love of horror.

The introduction is a selection from W.J. Renehan's "The Art of Darkness: Meditations on the Effect of Horror Fiction." Entitled "Why We Turn to Horror," it is an illuminating piece on the very attraction of horror in all its many forms.

Launching into the book, we find Scathe meic Beorh's "God of the Winds." It is a vision of human depravity with a taste of ancient terrors. Ramsey Campbell's "Welcomeland" takes you on a journey into an amusement park, forgotten by time but not by the memories which lurk within its depths. Lily Childs brings us "Strange Tastes," a tale of secret hungers revealed.

In "Nouri and the Beetles," Lincoln Crisler tells of primal desires and awful betrayal. Jack Dann's "Camps" takes us into the mind of a dying man with nightmares of a haunted past. In "High Rise," Robert Dunbar reveals a deadly seduction while Thomas A. Erb's "Spencer Weaver Gets Rebooted" is a shocking tale of vengeance.

Brandon Ford's "Scare Me" tells of a woman forced to drive to an inevitable fate. In "Raised," Carole Gill tells of ancient magic and an obsession with death. Lindsey Beth Goddard weaves a tale of unspeakable tragedy and the price to change one's fate in "The Tooth Collector."

In "Love Hurts," J.F. Gonzalez speaks of a love for pain taken to a horrific level. Dane Hatchell's "The `takers" is about a mind's descent into madness, while in "Justice through Twelve Steps," E.A. Irwin speaks of insanity talking to those who will hear.

Charlee Jacob brings us "Locked Inside the Buzzword Box," a story about devouring hunger. K. Trap Jones speaks of a demon hunter faced with a deadly choice in "Demon Eyed Blind." Tim Jones' "Protein" is a fight for survival against cannibal hunger.

Vada Katherine's "Block" describes the hunt for a killer and the desire for release. Roy C. Booth and Axel Kohagen tell of a man facing a lover's vengeance in "Just Another Ex." Shane McKenzie's "So Much Pain, So Much Death" is about a father finding his daughter, only to discover an awful truth.

Shaun Meeks brings us "Perfection Through Silence," the tale of a man constantly vexed by a disturbing noise. In Adam Millard's "The Incongruous Mr. Marwick," a boy learns that some solitary souls are better left alone. Christine Morgan's "Nails of the Dead" is a disturbing journey into mythological depths.

Billie Sue Mosiman's "Verboten" tells of sisterly love with fatal results. D.F. Noble's "Psych" pulls you into the psych ward to learn what hideous presence lurks in the shadows. In "The Door," Chantal Noordeloos reminds us dangers can be found on either side.

W.H. Pugmire's "Darkness Dancing in Your Eyes" is about a lost being and that which it sees in the depths of a mirror. William Todd Rose gives us the seduction of an urban legend in "The Grave Dancer," while Anna Taborska's "Out of the Light" speaks of a soul's desire pulling a man into the darkness.

William Cook has truly brought us a fresh perspective, like a sharpened blade that cuts to the quick. The forms of fear are many and you will find them all waiting for you here. For just like flesh, horror will decay... unless you keep it fresh.

Fresh Fear: Contemporary Horror can be found here:


Thursday, December 19, 2013

Shutter Speed by Mark Taylor

Jimmy Tasker is an ordinary child. He loves to take pictures: has an eye for it. When some common bullies take things too far, Jimmy ends up burned… and different. It starts when his father is killed in a mysterious house fire. Him and his mother move away… change names… disappear.

Some years later a group of friends are finding it tough. They are unemployed, short of cash, and one of them comes up with a great idea. A robbery. But they are a rag-tag bunch, and Steve declines, leaving the other three, a misogynist, an addict, and poor, easily led Peter, to pull off the “robbery of the century”.

But Jimmy is still in there, somewhere…

…and he’s killing for fun.

Shutter Speed is available here:

Thursday, December 12, 2013

An excerpt from Hallowed: The Collection

An excerpt from Hallowed: The Collection:

It was the time of the gathering. Cloaked figures assembled once more around the stone table. They had come, as they did every year to hear great tales of terror. Garbed as they were, one could barely tell one face from another. Were they male or female? It was hard to know.

Each stood silently, waiting for the Lore Master to speak. He studied them all from beneath his cowl. His robes did not distinguish him. Only his deep, resonant voice set him apart. “Welcome, to the gathering. Open your ears to hear what must be heard. Open your minds and be guided to understanding. Open your hearts and receive these gifts, to the enrichment of the soul.”

Those assembled, bowed their heads and a chanting began, “To hear what must be heard. A guide to understanding. Enrichment of the soul.” Then, they grew silent once more.

The Lore Master continued, “In darkness men stumble. But it is the darkness within that they live with every day. Cast off the evil and purge the filth from your souls by the reading of the word.”

And they chanted, “The reading of the word.”

Spreading out his hands, the Lore Master proclaimed, “It is a glorious day of awakening. Learn from the folly of others, and you shall find the peace you seek. May our hearts be as one.”

They responded, “May our hearts be as one.”

Hallowed: The Collection is available here:



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

My 4-Star review for Coyote: The Outlander by Chantal Noordeloos

Know your enemy. Charlotte Webb aka `Coyote' is a bounty hunter. She hunts Outlanders, those beings who enter through the rips between worlds. And she has been hired by the Pinkerton agency to track down an especially dangerous one...

The world of this work has a western flavor with a touch of science fiction thrown in for good measure. It is an intoxicating brew, one that will carry you on into the heart of the dream. The main character is tough, yet troubled. In her imperfections, we see her humanity.

An interesting group of people surround her: from quiet associate Caesar to the wise shaman Tokala. The world is full of strangeness and wonder. There are twists and a few unexpected turns along the way. And all along, Coyote must make choices for good or for ill.

The task is simple: kill the Outlander. And it is amazing how complicated such a simple thing can be. In the crossroads of America, Coyote will come to her own crossroads. Nothing worth doing is easy, and the hardest person to look at is the one in the mirror. Coyotes hunt and kill. But what a tragedy it would be for a young woman to turn into a beast...

You can find Coyote: The Outlander here:

Saturday, November 23, 2013

An interview with April M. Reign

This week, the Writer’s Blog welcomes the one and only April M. Reign. So, tell us a little bit about yourself.


First, let me thank you for giving me this opportunity to do an interview with you, Donald. It’s always a pleasure to share a moment interacting with you and your readers/fans.

I’m a full time author and full time single mother.  Two years ago, I was lucky enough to be able to resign from corporate America and write full time. I live in Southern California where I was born and raised. Living near the beach is perfect for me because I find my most tranquil, serene place to write near any body of water.

I believe you are in the process of writing five different series? How do you write so much and still avoid repetition?


That’s a great question, Donald. I think my advantage is that I don’t write all of my series in the same genre. The second thing is the connection I have with my characters. Each character has to be different and unique in the same way that real-life people are different and unique. That way when I’m writing their story, I don’t confuse them with other characters from my other series. They become friends. And like our real-life friends, they are usually quite different from each other.

World-building is an art form, and one which you excel at. What do you think about when creating a place for your characters to live?


Everything! WHO and WHAT they are is very important. Obviously, I wouldn’t have my vampires living in a house with windows and no window coverings, if they lived out in sunny Florida. I, first, try to understand who my characters are, what their personalities are like and what the basic plot of the story is going to be. Then I ask myself: where would they live, who would they surround themselves with as friends and what their world around them would look like. I will even visit places that I envision as a home for my characters. Then I study the small things like the kind of homes in the area, the structures and buildings and the type of stores that cater to that location.

You also create beautiful covers. How do you find the right image to capture the desired feel?


Thank you for calling my covers beautiful. Finding the right image can be a challenge at times. At this point, I’m limited to stock photos, so I search and search until I find the photo that fits the description of my characters. Then I try to come up with a background that is relevant to the story. I have been known to pick out my characters from the stock photos first and describe them from the visual. That makes the cover easier.

If you could have one supernatural power, what would it be?


You’d think this question would be easy, but I found it hard to answer. A supernatural power reminds me of a creative gift given to artists of all kinds. It’s hard to pick just one of the many gifts that are out there. But If I had to choose one supernatural power, it would have to be the ability to teleport myself to different locations. I have family and friends around the world. It would be fun to see them more often without the time involved in travel. It would have other advantages too. Imagine being able to appear in Rome or the pyramids in Egypt. But what if that ability came at a price? Oh no, I’m coming up with a story idea… ha. Thanks, Donald! :D

Since you are also a mother, tell us about your family. How have they inspired your literary efforts?


I have a very close family. My parents are still happily married after 46 years. My sisters are my best friends and my two sons are my pride and joy. Being a single mother, raising two children, wasn’t an easy task. Not because they were out of control, but because aside from writing in my spare time, I worked a full time job and didn’t get to spend the kind of time with them that I would have liked.

But… my sons are supportive and understanding dipped in a bunch of patience. J Because of that, I was able to divide my time and still make them a priority. They are my heroes and I marvel at the young men that they’ve become today.

The Mystical Witch Series combines mythology with modern conceptions. Do you have a favorite character from mythology?


Oh no, I don’t have one favorite. I find many characters of mythology fascinating for many different reasons.

The Turning Book 3, Vampire Vengeance was recently released. What should we expect from Vampire Vengeance?


Vampire Vengeance is the 3rd book in The Turning Series. This is the summary of book 3:

His sister is in the hands of the enemy.

The town where he lives claims that the woman he loves is dead.

The Sanguis clan leader has disappeared.

And Apollo is running out of time.

In a harrowing attempt to find the woman he loves, Apollo confronts his adversaries and the dark secrets of his birthplace. One clue leads to another until he runs into a dead end. As the clock to rescue his sister runs out of time, Apollo leads the remaining Sanguis clan to the werewolf compound in Spain. Once inside and behind enemy lines, he will come face to face with his most dangerous enemies, unravel family secrets and discover an heirloom with powers far stronger than he knew existed. As he leaves one life behind, he will discover another, where he will be forced to choose between good and evil, family and solitude.

You write books, create covers, and even sell merchandise. Do you have any advice for self-published authors trying to market their work?


Treat your writing like a business. Remember that you are sharing your brand with the world, not just your books. You are your brand, so be the kind of business that you can be proud of. Set up a professional website, make a presence on social media and treat everyone with respect. The same way you’d like to be treated. If you’re a self-published author then you have the creative ability to think outside the box and explore new ways to get your brand to the public. Make it fun, but make it professional.

Being a bestselling author on Amazon, with legions of fans, what would you suggest is the best way for a writer to connect with their audience?


Be available. Be willing to share information or connect with your readers. Every person is important and every bridge you build creates a stronger network of fans who become friends. As a writer, we spill our hearts and minds onto the pages of our books. In many ways, that alone, creates a bond with the reader. But when someone takes the time to express how your books touched them in one way or another, I believe it’s our responsibility and honor to take a moment to interact—to form that reader/author bond.  Social media has enabled us to know our readers and to give our readers an opportunity to know us. Utilize the power of this phenomenal opportunity.

Thank you for joining us on the Writer’s blog, April. We look forward to Vampire Vengeance and all the literary excellence to come…


Thank you so much, Donald. I enjoyed these thought-provoking questions and I hope that those who visit your site will get something from my answers.

You can find April M. Reign's work here:


April M. Reign is the bestselling author of The Mancini Saga, The Mystical Witch Series, The Disciples of the Damned Series and The Turning Series. She started her writing career long before she could read or write. While bundled around a campfire at the beach in Southern California with her family, she'd share stories about sea monsters and land creatures.

In her teenage years, authors such as Nora Roberts, Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Jude Deveraux, Anne Rice and many others were the influence that shaped her career as an author.

April lives in Southern California with her two teenage sons, her attention-seeking cat and the glorious beach, which is almost close enough to be her backyard.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My 5-Star review for CIMMY by John W. Charpentier

The ravages of time tear lovers asunder. Dash Hamilton is a Civil War soldier, in love with a former slave named Cimmy. But a trip through a mysterious fog takes him to another time: one where a young woman is endangered.

This is a wild ride, with plenty of surprises along the way. The reader goes in skeptical of the premise, but by the end they are completely sold. Full of engaging characters, many of whom are a bit rough around the edges, Cimmy is a love story and an adventure. The author tells of Civil War times in a compelling and captivating fashion. There is humor throughout, and the characters play well off one another.

Can Dash save young C J Parker from a group of assassins? Why are they trying to kill her? And what will they do to those around her? The heart of a warrior knows no time. Its every beat is a struggle against the darkness. Love can reach beyond the barriers, but how far can it stretch when the distance is years?

CIMMY is available here:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Mystical Witch Series by April M Reign

Dhellia has a whole new look!

Book 1: Witch Road to Take
Dhellia has run away from home to escape her undesirable duties as princess of the underworld. A three-month road trip “upstairs” convinces her human-witch side that Earth is where she belongs.
Unfortunately, her father isn't seeing things her way. Her brother, who is a soul catcher and her protector, snatches her away and hides her in the apartment of a bumbling wizard who casts a cloaking spell on her, and a geeky vampire rock ‘n roll singer who is allergic to human blood.
Dhellia gets a job in a law office and suddenly, her future is full of possibilities—that is, until a collision of fate and destiny create the perfect storm, which puts her and her friends in peril. Once again on the run from her father's minions, Dhellia and her friends must find a way to survive while she discovers the powers that lie within her.
Dhellia is a funny, fresh and sassy, fast-paced series about a young woman whose birthright is the underworld—she’s mad as Hell about it, and is determined to use her powers to beat her father at his own game!
Available now:
Book 2: Quest for the Keys
Dhellia is still on the run from her father who wants her to take her rightful place as princess of the underworld, which would include duties that conflict with her compassionate, witty and half-witch personality.
Dhellia has a falling-out with her sweet but annoying roommates, a falling-in with her handsome boss, Quinn, and a conflict with her brother, Damien, who is really taking a lot of heat from their father for her disappearance. To make matters worse, Damien also disapproves of her growing connection with Quinn, whom he doesn't trust one bit. That alone has pitted the siblings against each other as Dhellia searches for her independence and Damien tries to keep her safe.
While on a quest for the other “keys,” Dhellia recovers two artifacts that contain the most dangerous secrets on Earth, ones that could, in the wrong hands, turn the tables between good and evil. Dhellia gears up to prepare to battle “downstairs” in a way that no witch ever has--aside from her mother.
Dhellia is a funny, fresh and sassy, fast-paced series about a young woman whose birthright is princess of the underworld—she’s mad as Hell about it, and is determined to use her powers to beat her father at his own game!
Available now:
Book 3: Trial by Fire - Coming soon

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bad Sunset by Alex S. Johnson

The little southwest border town of Malpuesta Del Sol is no stranger to trouble. But when a routine saloon brawl knocks a hole in space-time and a creeping black ooze slithers in, it's going to take more than the usual jabber and bravado to set things straight. Featuring Jesus Christ, a 6,000-year-old medicine man who rides a salamander, the Devil in a red dress, a Pre-Columbian death god, Aztec b-ball, zombies, steampunk bondage, Smallification, the ultimate archetypal showdown and much more, Bad Sunset stretches the conventions of the Western genre farther than anything you've ever seen. From the author of Doctor Flesh and Black Tongues of the Illuminati comes the wildest ride yet. Prepare yourself for an unforgettable journey, back to a time when the West was Weird.

Bad Sunset is available here:

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

An excerpt from Hallowed Volume II

An excerpt from my story "Temple of the Life-Giver," part of Hallowed Volume II:

Frank finally held up his hand. “Settle down, now. Settle down. The door is closed shut. We can’t get out that way. But there has to be an exit in here somewhere. We just need to find it.”

Eddie frantically informed, “We’re trapped in here! If there were another entrance, don’t you think we would have seen it?!”

Old Pete shook his head, “Quite a predicament.”

Bartleby reminded, “I don’t like it in here, Frank.”

Jesse asked, “What can we do?”

Frank shouted, “I said settle down!” He studied their faces in the torchlight. “Now, the one thing we’re not going to do is panic. You got me? Any man loses it, and I’ll kill him myself.” He pulled out his knife and swiped the air a few times, for good measure.

They stared back at him, but remained silent.

He continued, “Now, we can’t get back out the way we came in. So, we find another way. Meanwhile, we keep looking for the treasure. No sense in wasting time or what may be our limited supply of air. Although, I just have to believe that there is some ventilation built into this place.” He moved down the darkened hall, and then reached up with the torch in his hand. When he pulled it away, a growing light remained. Frank explained, “This place is too dark to conduct a proper ritual. So there are lamps installed all along the halls. Spread out and let’s shed a little light on the subject.”

Reluctantly they moved about, lighting lamps until the surrounding area began to glow with reflected radiance. There was enough light to see by, but the temple still had a gloomy appearance.

Jesse whispered to his brother, “How long do you think the oil will last?”

Frank replied, “Long enough, I hope.”

Available now, for $1.99:

Saturday, October 12, 2013

My 5-Star review for Storyscape by T.K. Wade

Stories are like dreaming when one is awake. But what if you could enter these dreams, just by staring into the eyes of another?

Richard Sable has a gift: look into his eyes and you will experience a story of his making. Just recently, he shared this ability with his daughter Katy. The young girl was caught up in a world of wonder, where anything is possible and adventure awaits. But the ‘storyscape’ holds a hidden danger…

This is a tale of loss, and renewed hope. You can easily see what the girl sees, and get caught up in the stories that her father prepares for her in his mind’s eye. In the midst of this, is the drama of a man grieving over his comatose wife.

And Richard is forced to make a difficult choice: continue to grieve or be grateful for what he has left. Can a father face his worst fears and deepest regrets? Or will he risk everything to get back the one he loves? Dreams become nightmares and one man is sent spinning into the web he has weaved. A story can begin by will alone, but a happy ending must always be earned…

Storyscape is available here:


Thursday, October 10, 2013

My 5-Star review for Eldritchville by Shawn O'Toole

What would a man give for his soul? A simple drive leads John Elderberry, his daughter Grace and her best friend Annie into a town that should not be: Eldritchville.

The author takes us to a place where the barriers have broken, and the inhumanity of humanity is on display. Wolves hunt sheep, and monsters roam the streets. One man’s slow descent into madness is clearly seen in vivid detail.

The two girls are morsels of innocence in the midst of this wicked stew. Grace will learn a terrible truth, and her awful destiny: for magic has a price, and the Teacher intends to exact said toll in his pursuit of power.

John Elderberry will face his worst enemy: himself. Can he hold onto his sanity? Or will he be consumed by a fire that destroys from within? Trapped in a town that should not be, one man struggles to save his soul. But how much blood will be shed for him to be made pure?

Eldritchville is available here:


Sunday, October 6, 2013

An excerpt from Hallowed

An excerpt from my story "The Golden City," part of the Hallowed collection:

And a voice spoke, “Senses for the senseless, Joey.”

Joe felt a chill go up his spine and the short hairs on the back of his neck prickled. That voice, rich but not deep.
The tone was that of an announcer, but it was snarling in the background. Joe stared ahead, and gasped.
There was someone standing in the path!

All at once, Joe Thompson knew the voice had been no dream hallucination. The gnawing sensation in the pit of his stomach told him that.

Shining even in the shimmering mist, the chalk whiteness of the face contrasted with the darkness around the eyes and covering the mouth. And the sharp points of blackness extended beyond the lips like a smile. An ever-widening smile… “Come into my playroom, said the spider to the fly…”

Joe’s eyes went wide. “I want to go to another realm. Please?”

And the snarling sound grew louder. “Pleas? Do I hear pleas, Joey? Pleas of fear? Fear from the fearful? Oh, how sweet a sound… Ahh… Don’t you hear it? It’s the sound of pain…”

“You’re not real.”

“I’m as real as you, Joey. As real as the playroom.” The thing bowed its head. “You remember the playroom, don’t you?”

Available now, for $1.99:

My 5-Star review for Sha'Daa: Pawns

Once every 10,000 years, the walls between dimensions weaken, and the forces of evil surge forth to wreak havoc on our world. This series of tales from disparate authors is actually one big story incorporating common elements. The enigmatic Johnny the Salesman appears throughout: tall and gaunt, clad in a long black trenchcoat and fedora with one gold tooth that gleams forth like a signal flare. And the battle commences!

Edward F. McKeown brings us "Forces of Evil." A vampire and a werewolf, forced to fight against those they have befriended, decide to team up instead and take on their wicked masters. From the mind of John D. Manning, "Asylum" is a tale of an indigent drawn into a dangerous and deadly cult. "Hunter's Run" by Arthur Sanchez is told from the perspective and through the eyes of a deadly beast, whose bloody quest is the stuff of legends.

Jeff Barnes' "Fall from Grace" is about a demon who crosses the barrier between dimensions only to find himself a child's plaything. In "Lifeguard" by Michael H. Hanson, we learn the secret of one man's pain and the ruinous desire for vengeance. Sarah Wagner brings us "Dust": an alien shapeshifter moves through the populace, preparing for the destruction to come.

"Door 790" by Diane Arrelle is the story of a demon trapped in human form, who finds the key to his release. In "Bloodstone" by Gustavo Bondoni, an old man finds his courage, and the means to fight back. Leona Wisoker gives us "Silver and Iron": an ancient being plots to sacrifice the one she loves.

In "Gloom" by Michael Griffiths, unsuspecting campers must face unspeakable horrors. "Double Cross" by Paul Barrett: a couple of teens ensnare a demon, only to fall for an infernal scheme. Richard Groller's "The Bokor" casts us into the midst of a monstrous struggle where one man will confront his dark past in a desperate fight for survival.

Mallory Makepeace gives us "Gypsy Curse": a false disgrace will give rise to a bloody reprisal. In "The Saglek Incident" by Bruce Durham, a demonic huntress learns that time has changed the game. Jamie K. Schmidt's "Soul Provider" is the story of an aspiring dancer imperiled by an implacable evil.

Larry Atchley Jr. gives us "Time for a Change": a group of musicians are lured into a dark ritual, which will unleash hell upon their world. In "Crouching Seal, Sleeping Dragon" by Jason Cordova, an ancient serpent will face a modern assault. And in "Northlight" by Deborah Koren, an alien entity will confront his own, to save an innocent. Once more, the Sha'Daa is upon us! And who can stand in this hellish storm?

Sha'Daa: Pawns is available here:


Twisted Pathways of Murder and Death: a collection by Rebecca Besser

When emotions go to extremes murder happens.

Sometimes it’s because of betrayal.

Sometimes it’s in revenge.

Sometimes it’s to hide a lie or in self-defense.

Sometimes it’s to feed a secret hunger.

Whatever the reason, the human mind lends itself to twisted pathways that lead to murder and death…

Twisted Pathways of Murder and Death is available here:


Monday, September 30, 2013

An excerpt from The Visions of Sandy Brown

An excerpt from The Visions of Sandy Brown:

“What I want?!” It began to chuckle hoarsely. “I want your death, human. It is such an easy thing. It feels so good to shed your blood.” The entity held up its hands. “But I cannot touch. I canno
t feel. I am imprisoned here.” A chaos of emotion could be seen in the childlike face. The thing gritted its teeth, and crimson began to drip from the eyes.

Sandy managed to stand up and started backing away.

The Becky thing smirked, and walked after her. “This is not the world of flesh and blood. I cannot touch them, but I can touch you!”

Available now, for just $1.99:



My 5-Star review for Cadaver Island by Kevin Rodgers

In a dark future, Princess Angelique Bosc of the city of Thyme races to Cadaver Island. She is accompanied by Dr. Laurent Stine, her dog Razor and owl Stanley in an attempt to free her lover Sir Zachary Plate from execution at the hands of the ruthless Sir Xavier Thames. 

Things go steadily from bad to worse as a surprise attack is made and the entire supply of batteries for her mechanical heart are seized and carried away. Now, she and her friends must reach Cadaver Island before her energy runs out and she goes into cardiac arrest. 

Dangers abound on this perilous quest, and the group must face monstrous creatures, dangerous cults, and hordes of the undead along the way. Though resilient, the band must fight constantly for survival and victory is not without sacrifice. Join them as they face horrors untold, struggle against their darkest fears and forge ahead toward the cursed isle.

Cadaver Island can be found here:


The Devil's Hand Book 1: Crossing Guard by Mark Taylor

One is a killer. One is the right hand of the Devil. Which is worse?

Angela Mitchell hates her life. When debonair stranger, Marcel, turns up in her library one night things look to be on the up. But neither of them saw Darin in the shadows.

Angela certainly never saw Hell coming to earth. 

When Marcel and Darin clash, Angela is dragged through the sulfur stench of Hades, has to fight for her life, and drinks wine. Lots of wine. 

Crossing Guard is part one of The Devil’s Hand series, a dark fantasy with spatters of humor and a dash of inter-dimensional romance.

Available here:


Thursday, September 19, 2013

An interview with William Cook

The Writer’s Blog welcomes the inimitable William Cook! Please tell us a little about yourself.

William Cook:  

Hi and thanks for having me here Donald. I like to think of myself as primarily a writer first and an artist second. I live in New Zealand at the foot of the world, happily married with four daughters, in charge of the house and looking after the two youngest girls. I have been writing weird stories ever since I was a kid. My first published works were poems in various literary journals in NZ and a few in the States. Back in 1996 I published a collection of verse titled 'Journey: The Search for Something' and had the occasional poem and short story published online, but nothing really of note until 2010 when Lee Pletzers from Triskaideka Books accepted my story 'The Devil Inside' for the 2010 Masters of Horror Anthology. I have always loved the Horror genre and dark literature, so this really inspired me to write what I loved rather than what I thought other people wanted to read and it has finally started to pay off. The thing I love about the Horror/Thriller genres is that a good story will get your pulse racing and your heart thumping. I feel it is the best medium to create a world where the reader feels alive because they are experiencing fear of some sort. Sounds sadistic I know, but I personally find that no other genre gives me the thrills I seek when I immerse myself in a fictional world. I have since had quite a few Horror shorts published in various anthologies.
My novel 'Blood Related,' was re-released by Black Bed Sheet Books Halloween 2012. Writing it was a labor of love and took me roughly six years to write and it wasn't until I changed day-jobs that I had the time to bring it all together as my debut novel. The novel is about a disturbed young man called Caleb Cunningham, whose violent father is a suspected serial killer and mother, an insane alcoholic. After his father's suicide, Cunningham's disturbing fantasy-life becomes reality, as he begins his killing spree in earnest. His identical twin brother Charlie is released from an asylum and all hell is about to break loose, when the brothers combine their deviant talents. Blood Related is a serial-killer/crime novel told in a first-person narrative style from the killer's (Caleb's) point-of-view.
I have been privileged to have authors I look up to, give me feedback on Blood Related. People like Jonathan Nasaw, Guy N Smith, Laird Barron, Mark Edward Hall, John Paul Allen, and Nicholas Grabowsky, have all been kind enough to read and review my work - something I would never have believed possible until now.

Not only a talented author, but you are also an excellent artist. Tell us what it is like to create such gruesome works of art.

William Cook:

Well it all depends on the work of course but generally speaking, for some reason I can’t explain, my preference has always been depicting darkly ghoulish things. I have recently moved away from using traditional painting/drawing methods and now do 90% of all my work with Photoshop and digital mediums. I get my inspiration from my dreams and the various pop-cultural works I peruse, i.e. film, comics, fiction and music. I will usually start with a small sketch in a notebook or write down an idea of an art-piece that comes to mind (descriptively) before taking digital photographs of textures, trees, people and other subjects that interest me. I’ll then bring everything together via Photoshop and use it to add darkness, depth and dimension to my original vision. It is hardly ever reproduced physically apart from the occasional print or book cover so I like to call it my ‘virtual dark art.’ With each passing year I am less interested in the visceral gore-infused stuff that I used to produce, instead, I am leaning towards ‘quiet’ horror these days and subtlety is something I strive for in both my visual and written work.

Blood Related was your first novel and, arguably, most controversial work to date. Explain how you were able to get into the minds of the two main characters.

William Cook:

Blood Related combined a lifelong interest in the macabre with a lot of research into true crime and serial killers. I can trace my interest in this morbid subject to an event in my life when I was younger, whereby my best friend shot another friend of mine (his ex-girlfriend) and then killed himself. Obviously, this would leave a lasting impression on most people as it did to me. Subsequently I began to wonder why a large percentage of humans treat each other so badly and have a tendency towards self-destruction and nihilistic behavior. This aspect of my inquiring mind is constantly reinforced (the questions) by the media who use such occurrences to perpetually sensationalize ‘news’ and by our so-called leaders who use fear to drive political agendas. The politics of fear are very much a staple diet of news-hungry consumers who seem to relish lurid accounts of human cruelty and abuse, and (so it seems) probably the same reasons fiction is full of the horrors of human behavior.
             There are plenty of fictional books that deal with the subject of serial murder and during the research I conducted for BR, a perceptible ‘canon’ of such literature dating all the way back to Gutenberg and beyond (The Bible/Quran etc) became apparent to me. Apart from being of interest for research purposes, serial killer fiction has always intrigued me and some of the first ‘adult’ books I ever read as a young teenager dealt with the subject. Probably the two biggest influences on my writing of BR were Colin Wilson’s ‘The Killer’ and James Ellroy’s brutal ‘Killer on the Road.’ I have always wanted to write a first-person novel and the six years I spent writing BR were the result of this desire. I never thought the book would see the light of day but it all seemed to come together quickly when I bought a new lap-top and within three months of shopping it around to various indie presses it was published. I’m not sure that I would write another first-person serial killer novel as it (the subject matter and the book) consumed my thoughts for a long time. I found it a lot more disturbing to write about psychopathic humans than I do writing tales of horror that deal with more supernatural and fantastical elements. The most frightening aspect, to writing BR and creating believable characterizations of serial killers, is how easy it was to contemplate and describe such characters and their sordid crimes. BR lends itself to a sequel and I have made sure that the next book will be told in the third person, for the sake of my own sanity.

You are also quite the poet, having released two collections: Moment of Freedom and Temper of the Tide. How does one achieve true feeling in verse?

William Cook:

Before I began writing stories I wrote poems. The first ‘real’ poem I remember was Blake’s ‘Tyger’ and I have enjoyed reading and writing verse ever since. My first published work was in verse-form and my first published book was a collection of my poems back in 1996, titled ‘Journey: the Search for Something.’ The verse has nearly always ‘written itself’ and generally comes after periods of introspection or strong emotional experience. Most of my early work was terrible heart-wrought angst spewed onto the page as fast as I could write it and thankfully, with a bit of experience and a more temperate lifestyle, I have stopped referring to my emotions when I write poetry. ‘True feeling’ is a completely subjective experience, both on and off the page; the only thing I can suggest in response to your question is that honesty needs to be employed when writing poetry that deals with emotion or the translation thereof. Cadence is also important and I have always tried to use onomatopoeia in my verse in order to convey the ‘sense’ of whatever it is I’m trying to impart. Simplicity is also important; there is no point writing convoluted expressionistic verse, if no one is ever going to understand what it is you are trying to say! After writing poetry for over twenty years I think I have finally began to find my voice and I think it is important to have your own voice as a poet, in a medium so canonically reliant on style and form. In other words, write from the heart with the mind as your guiding light, in a voice of your own making. Easier said than done, right?

Tell us about your work with JWK Fiction. What advice would you give writers looking to submit stories?

William Cook:

JWK Fiction [http://jwkfiction.com/] has published quite a few poems and short stories of mine and I’m happy to recommend James and the team to any aspiring writer of Horror and Speculative fiction. I think that a large part of having stories accepted for publication in the indie presses, is to write well (obviously) and to read the submission guidelines carefully. A lot of writers out there have a hard-drive full of stories that they want to see published, make sure the story you submit is what the publisher is looking for. It sounds basic but if you’re going to spend time tailoring a previously written story to fit a submission call you may as well start fresh and write something new with the guidelines in mind. I made this mistake (reanimating old work) when I was first starting out and the rejections came in thick and fast, as soon as I started writing fresh stories for specific guidelines I started having success with my submissions. If you submit a lot of stories I would also suggest keeping a record of your subs including story titles, word counts and dates etc. It saves embarrassment and time wasting if you’re simultaneously submitting stories and then having to remember if they’ve been accepted elsewhere etc.

Who are your three favorite authors and how have they influenced your work?

William Cook:

Robert Bloch, Flannery O’Connor, Sherwood Anderson (I have more than three). I love the way they convey human emotion, particularly fear, through the short story medium. They are the writers of psychological drama who I enjoy reading the most. Without reading these writers I probably would have never written short stories – very inspirational and efficient writers, who better to emulate.

What are you working on right now?

William Cook:

I am midway through the sequel to Blood Related titled ‘Blood Trail’, finishing edits on an anthology that JWK Fiction is publishing called ‘Fresh Fear’ [http://www.williamcookwriter.com/p/blog-page_26.html] with stories from the likes of Ramsey Campbell, Billie Sue Mosiman, JF Gonzalez, Jack Dann, Robert Dunbar, amongst others, and working on two separate collections of my short fiction and poetry.

Thank you for joining us on The Writer's Blog, William. We look forward to more horrific masterpieces to come...

You can find William Cook's literary works here:


Online Portfolio:


William Cook is a writer of the macabre from New Zealand, a small antipodean island group in the South Pacific. When not writing, he looks after two small daughters and designs book covers that are designed to scare the hell out of people. Having held down a multitude of jobs before becoming a "Domestic Manager", he brings to his writing a vast array of experience that translates to the page in the form of strange characters and situations that bleed horror. From slinging timber in lumber yards, cutting plastic film in a meat packaging company, making rat-poison and acid cleaning products, working on a prawn trawler in the Gulf of Carpenteria, selling ads, and teaching English in Korea, to name a few of the roles he has performed - being a starving writer of Horror fiction seemed like a completely viable occupation.

Currently working on a sequel to his debut novel 'Blood related', titled 'Blood Trail', it is due for completion mid-year and for publication by his amazing publisher Black Bed Sheet Books sometime in the hereafter.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

An excerpt from The Monster

An excerpt from The Monster:

The woman froze in her tracks. Her mind was alive with what her eyes now beheld. There was Alice, lying motionless on the ground, just beyond the reach of the pond’s waters. But it was the hulking mass that leaned over the girl, which caused the nanny’s blood to run cold.

The creature’s skin was dark and the moonlight illuminated the broad, sharp features, and the burning yellow eyes that gazed upon her unmoving charge...

The Monster is available for just $1.99: