Preorder Blitz Malice and Forethought

Malice and Forethought cover

Malice and Forethought:

Short Stories of Malice and Murder

by Felicia Denise

Cover Design: perry elisabeth design

Genre: Crime Thriller / Suspense / Short Stories

Release Date: June 1, 2020

Malice – noun; mal·ice | ˈma-ləs
1 : desire to cause pain, injury, or distress to another
2 : intent to commit an unlawful act or cause harm without legal justification or excuse
//ruined her reputation and did it with malice
Everyone is capable of malice and no one is immune to its outcome.
A Hint of Malice – When her last living relative commits suicide after having her identity and assets stolen, a grieving niece longs for justice.
Burned – When the masterminds behind a major drug operation get off with a slap on the wrists, a frustrated police detective warns them their wealth cannot shield them from everything.
The Marshall Sisters – After seeing her sister mistreated by far too many men, Leslie Marshall is proud of Paula for standing up for herself and accompanies her on a cold winter’s night to confront her boyfriend, but even Leslie isn’t ready for the new, assertive Paula.
The Watcher – Shamed into exiled by his family because of his sexual fetish and hanging on to the shreds of his sanity, a man plots the ultimate date night with his new neighbor.
What’s done in the dark always comes to the light.

~ PreOrder ~


Malice 3D mockup


Bloggers needed for preorder and/or release day blitzes!


About the Author
After writing as a hobby for most of her life, at the urging of a good friend, Felicia took on the challenge of NaNoWriMo in 2015, writing what would become her first published work, In the Best Interest of the Child. It was released in the fall of 2016. Free, a Novella, which began as a three-installment series on her website, was published as a short story in May 2017.
Currently working on projects in several genres, Felicia plans to release book 2 of In the Best Interest of the Child – Family Matters, as well as anthologies of her suspense and women’s fiction short stories in 2020.
A long-time blogger, she also features books by indie authors daily on her blog, Nesie’s Place.
Felicia lost her husband of nearly 36 years of May of 2019, and is a strong advocate and supporter of the National Kidney Foundation. She has three adult children, four grand-pups, and as one of nine children, she has too much extended family to even go into!
In her free time-when not reading-Felicia sews and enjoys experimenting with new dishes in the kitchen. She always has a cup of robust coffee and far too many pun jokes nearby.

~ Stalk Felicia on Social Media ~

Author Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Amazon Author Page

Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads | Newsletter



Book Excerpt from Masquerade

February Fiesta artwork

Introducing… Hannah Fielding

Portrait of Hannah Fielding and photos of where she writes.

Portrait of Hannah Fielding and photos of where she writes.

Hannah Fielding is an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: writing full time at her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breath-taking views of the Mediterranean.
To date, Hannah has published four passionate, evocative novels: Burning Embers, a ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’, set in Kenya; the award-winning Echoes of Love, ‘an epic love story that is beautifully told’, set in Italy; and books 1 and 2 of the Andalusian Nights trilogy, set in sultry Spain, entitled Indiscretion and Masquerade. She is currently working on her fifth book, Legacy, which will publish this spring.

A glimpse of Masquerade

The loud noise of shrill klaxons and roaring motors brought them down to earth again with a bang, their breathing fast and uneven as they drew back from each other in alarm. Leandro looked at Luz enquiringly, still exhaling heavily.

‘Oh, no,’ she protested, her hand to her mouth, ‘it must be one o’clock. The guests will be leaving. You must go, Leandro! I have to get back to the hacienda before I’m missed.’

A faint smile crossed his handsome face as his eyes stroked her mouth but it was edged with frustration. ‘Pity, querida. We were getting on so well.’

‘Will I see you again?’ A shadow darkened her eyes. Why was he suddenly looking so desolate? ‘Where can I find you? Where can we meet?’ she asked desperately. Luz surprised herself, realizing only too well how forward she must sound and how far she had wanted – and still wanted – to go with this man who had so bewitched her.

Leandro’s eyes slid away as he stood up, a strange figure, sombre as his own shadow. Then he looked back at her with an intense, absorbing stare that held her in its spell.

‘I am forgetting myself, querida.’ He pulled the scarf back over his face so only the glimmer of his green eyes was visible once more. ‘Flowers in the darkness of night have an intoxicating scent,’ he murmured. ‘Are you sure that in the cold light of day you won’t turn away from it?’ But he didn’t wait for a reply. He looked her over with hooded eyes, bowed and then was gone, sucked up by the black hole of the night.

As his shadow disappeared behind the trees Luz blinked, disorientated. She sat for a moment, looking after him uneasily, biting her lower lip. Then she turned her attention back to the lake. The evening had ended a little too abruptly and she had the vague impression that Leandro’s mood had darkened. Had he been hurt by the fact that she had asked him to go? His parting words had undertones of bitterness, somehow intimating that Luz might be one of those society belles who got a kick out of flirting with gypsies. How wrong he was; she had lost her heart to him, she knew that now. Whenever he was there, everything else was eclipsed. She was twenty-four and had never fallen in love. If he wanted, she would follow him anywhere.

She shivered. The air had turned cold and a gentle wind sighed through the trees, penetrating her flimsy garments. She started back to the hacienda, a little heavy-hearted.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Excerpt and Giveaway for Blood Orchid

Blood Orchid“So what do you intend to do?” Hugh asked Emily as he sank into the soft cushioned chair with a sigh of gratitude. They had returned to Emily’s current home and were sitting in comfort within a large parlour. “Now you’ve openly declared your colours.” A quiet servant brought over a tray of drinks and pastries and retreated quietly from view.

Emily waited until the parlour door shut behind the maid before she settled herself on the chair opposite Hugh and rearranged her skirts. “I fancy I shall have to watch out for John.”

“Well that is rather obvious.” Hugh replied as he picked up his quizzing glass and began to polish it with a finely embroidered handkerchief. “But I’m interested in your more immediate concerns and plans.” He breathed lightly on the lens and regarded the blonde steadily. “Your actions this night will not have found favour with Justin. I fancy he will be upset with you.”

“As I’ve already said Hugh.” She reached out and picked up a pastry from the table beside her. “I don’t care if I have made friends or not.” Biting into the flaky confection, she chewed carefully, ignoring Hugh’s exasperated tut. “Justin needed the De Vire girl,” She announced as she brushed the crumbs from her skirts. “And not just for companionship, if it were only sex I wouldn’t be going to the trouble.”

“Would that be because you serve as his lover from time to time?” Hugh returned the handkerchief to his pocket and flourished his quizzing glass with the other hand.

“Don’t be a bore Hugh.” Emily replied with a petulant twist to her lips. “Yes Justin and I have been lovers over the years. We are not in love.” She stood and walked over to the fireplace. She poked the embers with the nearby poker and stared into the glowing coals, a faraway look on her face.

“Then what is it between you two?” Hugh asked as he leant forward, trying to see the expression on her face. “Don’t forget how long I’ve known you.” He reached out for a glass of brandy and took a small sip. “If you aren’t in love with him, then why are you so bitter towards the De Vire girl?” He didn’t miss the tension in her body as she listened to his words. Emily liked to think that people could not see her emotions, but he could read her like a book. The silence lengthened as she stared into the fire, trying to avoid answering his questions. With a sigh, he pulled himself from the chair and walked over to her. As he reached her side, he caught hold of her arm and slowly turned her to face him. “and why would you change her if you would prefer to keep Justin for yourself?” Hugh watched her expressive blue eyes change with interest and waited for her to speak.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Guest Post The Legend of Waterhole Branch

I’m hosting a guest post today by Lucas Wright, author of “The Legend of Waterhole Branch”.


Guest post by author, Lucas WrightThe Legend of Waterhole Branch

My inspiration for writing a book was simple. Primitive even. It was to impress women and make money. That is essentially the basis for all my decisions in life: women and money. Hell, if it wasn’t for the desire of women and money, I would be probably be a high school baseball coach catching fly balls on a sunny afternoon, living in a shoebox apartment, making twenty-five grand a year with a three month paid summer vacation. Alas, the desire of massive fortunes and beautiful women compelled me to forego my stress free future for the long hours and tireless work required in high finance. And writing books.

As you might imagine, the release of my novel, The Legend of Waterhole Branch, yielded no money and no women. Shocking, I know. Luckily, I had some other inspirations that were a little more grounded in reality.

The truth is that I always wanted to write stories. I enjoyed reading as a child, my mother did a lot of writing, and I enjoyed certain aspects of writing throughout my life. There was a particular story that I had developed in my head, and I tried to get my mother to write it for years. Earlier this year, she conceded that health issues wouldn’t allow her to put forth the necessary hours to write a novel, so I decided that I should give it a shot. I mean, how hard could it be?

Turns out writing, a novel isn’t very hard. Writing a good novel is the issue. Nevertheless, I decided to give it a shot despite lacking formal writing training or any sort of developed writing skills. All I had was a story. The characters, the conflict, and the scenes – they had been building in my mind for years. I knew every anecdote that I wanted to tell and how they all came together before I put a single word on paper. So all I had to do was put them on paper? Seems simple enough.

My day job requires an immense amount of time as I help people buy and sell companies. Being an M&A consultant is a cool gig. I get to leverage my analytical brain to help with valuation, strategy, and myriad of other issues that are involved in a financial transaction. What is not readily available from the aforementioned lifestyle is time. Specifically, time to pound out a 90,000-word novel. This was the largest hurdle to overcome once I developed the inspiration to write. But the time became available in the strangest way. It unfolded just like you would expect for a 32 year old that just admitted his life is heavily influenced by women and money.

One upon a time, I had just returned from a two-week winter vacation retreat to the Caribbean with a girl I was seeing. There wasn’t much seeing thereafter, but that is beside the point. I spent an insane amount of money on the luxurious vacation sparing no expense, and it turns out she wasn’t the one. Work is slow during the winter months, so I wasn’t working my usual weekends, but I was newly single and I figured that time would be best spent replacing what’s-her-name. I was actually looking forward to getting out on the town and getting back into the game. Everyone loves the chase. Well, a cursory glance at my bank account quickly revealed that I was not going to be gallivanting out on the town. Or anywhere. I did want any broke bachelor would do and I stocked up on peanut butter, jelly, and bread. I figured this would keep me alive while I replenished the funds. It was during this time of poverty and boredom that I decided to write my story.

I sat down at my computer on a Saturday morning and starting banging out narrative describing each of the characters, their background, their interests, their conflicts, and how they might conquer all the challenges they faced. This particular weekend included a holiday on Monday, and by the end of the third day of writing, I had 25,000 words on papers. And probably twice that many spelling and grammatical errors. The following weekend, I decided that I didn’t like the fact that I had started the book in first person, and spent both Saturday and Sunday converting all the “I’s” to “he’s”. That was miserable. The next weekend, I went to New York for work and was able to take a girl out on a long distance blind date. I thought the date went well, but she effectively told me to get lost. I still had two full days in New York courtesy of my company and no money to spend, so I sat in a hotel room plowed through more plot. Within five weekends, during the course of the entire March Madness basketball tournament, I had completed the rough draft 90,000 word manuscript. I had more fun writing this book than I ever did going out to the bars chasing women. It was a great experience.

The moral of the story – don’t spend two weeks in the Caribbean with a woman unless you have a novel you want to write when you return and like peanut butter and jelly.


More information on Lucas’s book, please visit him online:


Official Website:


Twitter @LucasRWright –

Amazon –

Barnes & Noble –


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Excerpt and Giveaway Atlas Tour


I’m going to share an excerpt with you from military science fiction novel “Atlas”. There’s also a tour-wide giveaway for a $25 Amazon gift card, 3 paperback copies of “Atlas” and 3 eBook copies. Find out more about the giveaway below the excerpt!

Book Excerpt

“Hey Tahoe,” I said. “Bet you wish you could grow a chin rug like this, huh? Maybe I should snip off a piece for you? With some glue and a little creativity we could give you some decent facial furniture. You’d look very manly.”

“My genetics,” Tahoe said, sighing. “I’ll never live them down.”

I didn’t turn to look back at him, and from the muffled sound to his own voice, I knew that he hadn’t glanced back from his own defensive position by the doorway either.

I waited a few more minutes, passing my rifle’s site from house to house, and finally the frustration of having no targets got to me.

I turned to Alejandro. “Well, it’s been about three hours. Your turn big boy.”

Alejandro rubbed his eyes. “How many did you get?” he said.

“Nada. Haven’t seen an enemy the entire watch.”

“Mmm.” Alejandro relaxed into a sniping position on the bedroll, eye on his scope.

I closed my eyes and after about ten seconds I heard him fire.

“I hate your guts,” I said.

“Hey,” Alejandro said. “Not my fault if the bad guys decide to show themselves when I’m on watch.”

“Maybe they find Alejandro more attractive,” Tahoe said behind me, from his position by the door.

“What?” I said. “With his ugly face? Right.”

“Hey.” Tahoe raised his hands defensively. “I’m just saying, maybe the bad guys have a thing for ugly. You’ve heard of the similarity theory of personal attraction? You know, ugly attracts ugly?”

“Now you’re talking my kind of language baby.” I sat up and gave Tahoe a fist bump.

“Well, if that were true,” Alejandro said. “Then Tahoe would be getting all the baddies.”

“Hey I’m married.” Tahoe sounded affronted. “I can’t be ugly.”

“Who says?” Alejandro pressed. “Have you tried asking your wife?”

“Hell no. She’d be the first person to tell you I’m ugly.”

“Then why did she marry you?” Alejandro said.

“I’m an artist in bed.”

Alejandro chuckled. “That’s fine, that’s mighty fine. But it’s not going to help you in the end. You do know that the divorce rate for MOTHs is ninety percent, right? What do you think your mamacita’s doing back home right now? When the cat’s away…”

“Hey.” Tahoe stood up. “Don’t you be talking about my wife like that.”

Alejandro shifted beside me. “Relax bro. I was kidding. Of course she’s keeping all alone and to herself right now, raising those kids of yours. Of course she’s not giving the plumber a special bonus payment involving lube and latex.”

“That’s it!” Tahoe locked his M60 and sloughed it off his shoulder.

I sat up. “Get back to your post Tahoe. Get right back. Do your job.”

“Well tell him to quit provoking me,” Tahoe said, picking up his M60 reluctantly.

“He’s just mad because I’m getting all the baddies,” Alejandro said.

I made my voice as stern as possible. “Stop provoking him, Alejandro. Now.”

“Yes sir.” He glanced back at Tahoe. “Rade here thinks he’s our leading petty officer.”

“Every second you take your eyes away from the scope is a second one of our guys could die. Remember that, Alejandro.”

He shook his head, and put his eye back on the rifle site.

About Atlas

ATLAS_Cover-five-hundred-by-six-hundredTitle: Atlas

Author: Isaac Hooke

Genre: Military Science Fiction

Rade Galaal enrolls in the hardest military training known to man to become a member of the MOTHs, the most elite fighting unit in the galaxy. MOTHs are tacticians, corpsmen, snipers, astronauts and commandos rolled into one. They also happen to pilot the atomic-powered ATLAS mechs, specialized military hardware that brings new meaning to the phrase “one-man-army.”

When Special Warfare Command orders MOTH Team Seven on a covert operation 8,000 light-years beyond the furthest reaches of explored space, Rade realizes he’s signed up for more than he bargained for…

Author Bio

0B29DE19-765F-48BF-BCE5-613BFD2BCCAAIsaac Hooke is the author of the upcoming military science fiction novel, ATLAS. His experimental genre-bending action novel THE FOREVER GATE was an Amazon #1 bestseller in both the science fiction and fantasy categories when it was released in May 2013.

When Isaac isn’t writing, publishing, and blogging, he’s busy cycling and taking pictures in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

He’s been writing since 1997, and he has a degree in Engineering Physics.

You can follow Isaac on Twitter @IsaacHooke and his website


ATLAS comes out Christmas 2013. Sign-up to be notified here:

In the meantime, you can check out a couple of short stories set in the ATLAS universe:

“Just Another Day” –

and “Caterpillar Without A Callsign” –

Goodreads link:


There’s a tour-wide giveaway for a $25 Amazon Gift Card, 3 paperback copies of Atlas, and 3 digital copies of Atlas. Participate here:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review Surrounded by Ghosts by Janet Larkin

17436874Title: Surrounded by Ghosts

Author: Janet Larkin

Genre: Non Fiction, True Haunting

Rating: 3 stars

Publisher: Llewellyn Worldwide

Purchase: Amazon, B&N

Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

As a newborn, Janet Larkin died and came back to life. At three her sister drove over her skull with a tractor. And when she was eight years old, she had a conversation with her dead grandmother.

So began a life full of ghostly encounters. When she was still a girl, Janet received forewarning of a triple homicide next door and saw the ghost of one of the victims. In their Memphis apartment, she experienced a terrifying being posing as her husband. Growing up on an orchard in the 1950s, Janet has seen more than her fare share of spirits and spooks. In Surrounded by Ghosts, Janet recalls her creepiest stories and grapples to make sense of a life overflowing with unexplained phenomena.

Surrounded by Ghosts is the written account of Janet Larkin, who has been seeing ghosts ever since she was eight years old. When she was a newborn, Janet died and came back to life. She had another traumatizing accident during her youth, and when she was eight, she had a dream in which she met her deceased grandmother. If her ability to see the dead and communicate with them is because of her passing away and coming back to life, remains to be seen, but it certainly seems plausible. Ever since she met her deceased grandmother, Janet has been seeing ghosts way too often to ignore.

One of the accounts in the book is how Janet received a forewarning of a triple homicide about to happen next door. She deals with this quite well, in a very rational way, not blaming herself for being unable to do something about it – which lots of others certainly would have. That’s an example of how she behaves throughout her life as chronicled in the rest of the book, with a certain passivity when it comes to the supernatural. She’s not an actor, more like a victim, a person who dreadful things happen to. Instead of taking charge of her abilities, she appears content to let them slumber.

Then there’s the demons and angels, which turned an otherwise believable and relatable story into something almost unbelievable. At some point, Janet has an encounter with a demonic entity posing as her husband in her appartment. I’m wondering if maybe this wasn’t a hallucination. Why would a demonic entity pose as her husband once, and then leave her alone for the rest of the time? Why would they have it in for her? And why, after this encounter, did they leave her alone?

When taking only the ghostly encounters into account, the book is an easy read, and it’s not hyped or sensationalized. I liked the writing style – it was simple and to the point, and didn’t distract the reader from what Janet Larkin had to say. Overall, this was a decent read, but it could’ve done without the demonic encounter or the angels – especially if so little proof was given.

Book Review: Shades: Eight Tales of Terror by D. Nathan Hilliard

16187498Title: Shades: Eight Tales of Terror
Author: D. Nathan Hilliard
Genre: Ghosts, Horror, Short Story Collection
Publisher: Amazon
Publication Date: March 18th, 2012
Goodreads | B&N | Amazon (Paperback) | Amazon (Kindle)
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for honest review.

Here there be ghosts…
Within these pages lurks a cast of phantoms who have returned from the grave with a vengeance. You will find no friendly ghosts here, just eight deathly horrors with their own personal bones to pick with the living. These are the ghosts of our nightmares. Whether driven by madness, vengeance, pain, bloody evil, or primordial rage…they are all specters that are as dangerous as they are frightening. So get comfortable, get that night light ready, and find out who survives and who doesn’t in this anthology of the baleful dead. Stories within include…
Death and White Satin – A young bride-to-be unearths the wrong wedding dress and discovers that horror and madness can echo down through the decades.
An Echo of Blood and Mirrors – A young man is surprised in the boy’s bathroom by the head cheerleader. But things quickly take a turn for the worse as he discovers she’s on the run from a triple murderer who has been dead for over a century.
Dance of the Ancients – Three lawmen search for a missing state trooper on a hill doomed to disappear under the rising waters of a new lake. Fearing the worst, they find something even worse than they feared.
A Memory of Me – A night spent in a forgotten graveyard lands three college boys in a situation that none of their classes have prepared them for.
Legacy of Flies – A young woman discovers she is the heir of a vast family fortune. But she also finds her inheritance comes with a ghoulish legacy that may very well be the death of her.
Storm Chase – A hurricane approaches and Bernie March’s wife is standing down the hill beside the tractor he needs to bring in ahead of the storm…exactly where he buried her three years earlier.
A Singularity of Purpose – A callous young punk discovers that returning from the dead isn’t just the prerogative of humans when he finds himself in one last desperate race with the dog he tormented in life.
A Long, Cold Forever of a Night – On a humid July night, a middle-aged couple find themselves alone in a deserted rural intersection…with the deadly phantom of a high school classmate who died in an ice storm decades earlier.

Shades: Eight Tales of Terror is a collection of short stories that focus on ghosts. Some of these ghosts are terrifying and murderous, while others are less frightening. What these stories have in common is that all of them leave shivers running down your spine. I had to glance behind me several times while reading this collection, in order to make sure a phantom wasn’t standing behind me, breathing down my neck. Scariness guaranteed.

“Death and White Satin” is the first story of the collection and immediately starts out strong. Jessica is getting ready to get married to the love of her life, when she discovers an old wedding dress from a dusty box on the attic of her mother-in-law’s home. The mother-in-law, Marge, is anything but pleased to see the wretched thing belonging once to the woman who murdered her brother, Priscilla Hatcher. She tells Jessica the story of Priscilla, a young woman who was beautiful and superficial, and murderous on top of that. When Marge leaves afterward to go to the shop, Jessica is alone in the house with the wedding dress…And Priscilla’s ghost decides this is the perfect time to pay a visit to the future bride-to-be. I liked this story, mainly because it gave an original spin to the supposed ‘haunted wedding dress’ urban legend I’ve heard plenty of times before. It’s great when an author manages to take things that have been done before, but add an original spin to it.

“An Echo of Blood and Mirrors” is a dark, gruesome story. Corvin and his classmates visit a museum located in a house once belonging to a supposed mad man, nicknamed The Necromancer. One of his class maters decides to impress his girlfriend by stealing a pen from the museum, thus unleashing the spirit of the mad man. Since she has the pen, Laura’s been chased by strange apparitions in mirrors and glass windows, apparitions of the murderer. Although Corvin is initially convinced the dead can’t harm them, he may have to rethink that assumption…This story was a bit too bloody for my tastes, especially toward the end. I did enjoy it though, but it wasn’t my favorite.

“Dance of the Ancients” however, was one of my favorite stories in the collection. Sherrif Carl Gartner is forced to go to a small island, once called Deerhunter Hill, to recover a missing trooper. The island is inhabited by a man named Luther Cole, who was always a bit eccentric, but grew crazy during the time he spend on the island. What the Sherrif and his officers find on the island however, is a lot more than they bargained for. Mutilated corpses and ancient spirits are only the tip of the iceberg. What I liked here was the originality of the plot, and Sherrif Carl – he was an intriguing character, complex and well-developed, which isn’t an easy feat in short stories.

“A Memory of Me” added another nice twist to a well-known story. Three friends spend the night at a graveyard, and one of them, Jack, destroys a grave marker. Unfortunately, that sets loose a murderous spirits who will kill them one by one if they don’t remember her name. I’ve heard plenty of times of teens spending the night at the graveyard and then being chased by a spirit, but never because they destroyed her grave marker and she doesn’t want to be forgotten. It’s a nice twist, and this story was fast-paced and enjoyable.

“Legacy of Flies” was disturbing, horrific, and exciting at the same time. Janie is asked to come to the large, majestic estate of her family, a family she’s never known, being the bastard child of one of its ancestors. The current ladies of the house need her help: the family fortune will keep decreasing unless there is a ‘master of the house’, a descendent of the family, present in the house. Persuaded by luxuries and money, Janie agrees. She goes outside to sit near a tree where something horrible happened centuries ago, not expecting to be tormented by the spirit of the boy who had his father murdered by Janie’s ancestor…Because of its originality and unique approach, its great descriptions and oppressive, claustrophobic atmosphere at the end, this was my favorite story of the entire collection. I actually read it twice – that’s how much I enjoyed it.

“Storm Chase” went more down a familiar road than the previous stories, and left me with a lot of questions. One day, Bernie sees the spirit of his deceased wife – a wife he and his mistress murdered – down the hill of his house. Convinced his wife has come to claim him and take her bloody revenge, he flees. It’s not a bad story, it’s definitely scary and fast-paced, but continuously I wondered: why now? Why does Charlotte decide to rise from the dead after being dead and buried for three years? It’s never properly explained – or if it is, then I missed it – and this kind of made me like the story not that much. It makes no sense, unless something strange happened to anger her spirit, that she’d come back now of all days.

“A Singularity of Purpose” is about a ghost dog, and well, I never thought ghostly animals could be scary as well, but I’ve now changed my mind. Russell takes the same route home every day, straight through the territory of Purvis, a dog who likes nothing more than to chase Russell and try to bite him. This day though, he’s not being chased and soon after, Russell finds out why: the dog is dead. Unfortunately that doesn’t keep Purvis from following him home, and appearing seemingly out of nowhere, ready to do in death what he couldn’t accomplish in life. I loved this story. Purvis may not be the typical villain one has in mind when thinking ghost stories, but he’s delightfully creepy. I didn’t like Russell – he could’ve just stopped going through the neighbor’s territory – and I actually liked Purvis’ revenge on him (I wouldn’t like it in real life, of course, just saying that as this is a story, the revenge seemed fitting).

“A Long, Cold Forever of a Night” brought me on the verge of tears. A ghost is haunting the road Carol and her husband stranded on, the ghost of a girl who died there many years ago, a fellow schoolmate of theirs. A terrible accident happened on that road, and while all students helped each other, they all forgot about the poor girl. She was found with her face half frozen. Her spirit still haunts the road, but soon enough, Carol and her husband will learn that all the girl wants is not to be left alone…This story isn’t as horrifying as it is saddening, and I really felt for the girl ghost. It must’ve been terrible to be left all alone, in the coldest night in history, slowly dying with no one around to safe you.

As a whole, this collection offers a wide variation of ghost stories, from surprisingly original ones to stories offering a surprise twist to more classic tales. Some of these stories left chills running down my spine, while others, especially the last one, brought me near tears. The writing throughout the collection is strong and solid. The characters are well-developed, and come from various social and cultural backgrounds as well. There’s variety here: something for everyone.

I highly recommend this collection as a Halloween read, and to all fans of ghost stories.

Author Interview

I asked author D. Nathan Hilliard some questions about his writing, his short story collection Shades and his upcoming work.

1) When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

After I came down with Charcot Marie Tooth in my forties, I started hunting around for something new to do since I could no longer do any of the jobs I had held in the past. I remembered that I had been pretty good at writing in high school, so I decided to try and approach that with the same seriousness that I would any of my former jobs.

2) What was the inspiration behind Shades: Eight Tales of Terror?

Having grown up in assorted small towns in Texas, I was exposed to different tales of ghosts and hauntings that had a decidedly local flavor to them. They usually involved ordinary, small-town people and combined a sense of local history with a flair for the ghastly. These tales were usually told by kids to each other, although I imagine they were handed down from their elders. I tried to capture some of that flavor in this anthology.

3) Which short story in the collection did you enjoy to write the most?

‘Storm Chase’ came the easiest, because I actually incorporated a lot of elements from a recurrent childhood nightmare in that one. I used to dream as a child of looking out my bedroom window and seeing a distant ghost getting closer and closer to the house. So I got to get that one out of my system.

4) Which story was the most difficult for you to write?

I would say ‘A Long, Cold Forever of a Night’ due to the issues and emotions involved in that story. Life is sometimes monstrously unfair, and takes things from people in the cruelest ways. Yet in the end, it’s up to us to find a way to make things right as best as we can and go on. Because this story dealt with those issues, it ends in a different tone than the rest.

5) How long did it take you to write Shades: Eight Tales of Terror?

About eight months. It was originally going to be a simple anthology of horror tales, some of which I had already written, but about two months into the project I decided to make it a more focused work that dealt exclusively with ghost stories.

6) Which story did you find the scariest?

Depends on the setting. ‘Death and White Satin’ is the one that comes to mind when I’m alone in a house, but if I’m taking a walk outside alone then ‘A Singularity of Purpose” is the one I don’t want to think about. That’s the one my sister complained about when walking down to mailbox out at her house in the country.

7) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

Right now may be one of the most exciting times in history to be a writer. The opportunity to get your work published has never been greater. So go for it, because the only thing that is holding you back is you. But it’s also important to remember that due to that opportunity there is a lot of poorly written and edited work out there, so it is vitally important to take the time and effort to apply that extra layer of polish and editing to your story. In this field, your work is your resume.

8) Are you working on something right now? If so, can you tell us more about it?

I have just released my latest novel, Dead Stop. It is the story of a diverse group of people trapped in a rural Texas truck stop during a howling storm by the denizens of a nearby graveyard. The dead are now staring in the windows and they discover they only have until dawn to escape. Now that I have that one published, I’m studying different ideas, and also a couple of unfinished novels, before starting on my next project.

Thank you for answering my interview questions!


Mr. Hilliard was kind enough to offer an eBook copy of Shades: Eight Tales of Terror for giveaway. Fill in the Rafflecopter form to participate!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: 13 Horror Stories by John McDonnell

9476932Title: 13 Horror Stories
Author: John McDonnell
Genre: Short Story Collection, Horror
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication Date: September 21st 2010
Goodreads | Smashwords | Amazon | B&N

13 bone-chilling stories about ghosts, vengeful lovers, scary mothers, and crazy girlfriends. In these stories time and space are no barrier to some truly horrible happenings. Each story is short enough to be read in a few minutes, but they’re guaranteed to haunt your thoughts for a lot longer than that. Whether it’s subtle horror or downright blood-curdling God-help-me fear, you’ll find it here. This collection is a good introduction to the horror writing of John McDonnell.

13 Horror Stories is a short story collection with several short stories written by author John McDonnell. This book is a very fast read – I think it was just under thirty pages. The stories are more like flash fiction than actual short stories, but I definitely didn’t mind. It’s my first time reading a flash fiction collection in the horror genre, and I definitely had a blast.

I liked “The Beauty Part”. It was well written, and left me in the dark until the end – I love this in horror. “Stuck” was dark, horrifying and scary, one of my favorites in the collection. “The Thing in the Basement” was my absolute favorite though. We’ve all been scared of basements at some time or other, and little Billy is no different, but his uncle’s basement holds more sinister secrets than mine ever did. “The Box” touches a bit upon myths and legends, and I didn’t like it that much. I didn’t think it was scary enough to be considered in a collection named 13 Horror Stories.

“Conclusions” isn’t exactly horror. It’s more like…weird. It would perhaps be scary if it happened in real life, and it’s a great piece of flash fiction, but I wouldn’t classify it as horror. I did enjoy reading it though. “This Won’t Hurt a Bit” on the other hand ventured back into horror territory, and did so very well. We’re all paranoid at some time or other, and maybe we have good reasons to be so, if you take this story into account. “Sin of the Flesh” was a nice, disturbing read as well.

“Don’t You Just Love Weddings?” was very short, a bit too short for me to get an exact grip on the horror elements of this story. I enjoyed “Heart Stopping Beauty” a lot more, it was a mysterious, interesting story. “Prime Cut” was one of the absolute top stories of this collection though. It was truly, wickedly disturbing, and left me wanting to read more. Definitely a nice warning for guys who decide they want to cheat on their girlfriends.

“The Smell of Love” was another nice one, and reminded me slightly of the book “Perfume”. I liked “Tick Tock” as well, the next story, although it could’ve probably been a bit scarier. It did make me think about how people would react to immortality. The last story, “The Returning” was one of the bests as well. It was your typical ghost story, but bloody and horrific.

All in all, I thought some of these flash fiction stories were outstanding, while others didn’t give me chills. I think it’s natural for all story collections: you’re bound to like some stories more than others. These stories were ideal to tell while sitting around a campfire, or on Halloween night when you want to spook your friends. I’m definitely going to use one or two of these to scare my friends on Halloween.

If you want a quick read before you’re leaving to somewhere, or if you’re a fan of flash fiction horror, you don’t want to miss out on this collection.

Author Interview

I asked author John McDonnell some interview questions to go with the review.

1) When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

I’ve always loved reading and writing, since I was a little kid. One of my favorite things was to ride my bike to my grandparents’ house and stop at the library on the way, pick up a few books, and then read the books in this little room they had near the kitchen, while my grandmother was making supper. In eighth grade I won a citywide essay contest, and in high school I had a lot of encouragement from an English teacher. It just seemed natural to me to write, and I always thought I’d be writing in some fashion.

2) What inspired you to write short story collections as opposed to full-length novels?

Short stories have always been my favorite form. I like the immediacy, the condensed form, the way short stories can grab you from the first word. I still prefer reading a short story by Hemingway, Flannery O’Conner, Stephen King, or one of my other favorite writers to almost any novel.

3) Why did you decide to write in the horror genre?

I always liked to be scared. I remember reading a short story collection by Stephen King years ago when I was alone in a house, and realizing all of a sudden that it was 3:00 in the morning and I was all alone, and it was very quiet. . . I just like that feeling.

4) Which story in “13 Horror Stories” did you enjoy to write the most? Which one was most challenging to write?

I enjoyed writing “Heart Stopping Beauty” the most, because it has a sense of urgency, the main character has to get his watch fixed, and I liked creating that sense of urgency. The most challenging one was “The Returning” because it has a dreamlike quality, and yet it takes place at two separate time periods.

5) Which story in “13 Horror Stories” did you find the scariest?

I found “The Returning” the scariest, because of the last scene, which I thought was truly terrifying.

6) How long did it take you to write “13 Horror Stories” from start to finish?

I wrote the stories in “13 Horror Stories” over several years. A lot of them started out as exercises in writing groups I belonged to, and I’d continue to edit and refine them as time went on. I have a lot of stories on my computer, and when I put out another horror collection I choose the ones that I think will fit best.

7) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?

My advice for aspiring authors is to just keep writing and publishing. There’s so much going on that you can spend all your time just reading about the new opportunities out there, or interacting with other writers on social networks, or marketing yourself. If you love to write you should just keep writing, and getting better at your craft. Don’t get distracted; just write.

8) Are you working on something right now? If so, can you tell us more about it?

I’m actually working on a novel now. I love short stories, but I know that the majority of readers like to sink their teeth into something longer. I’m working on a historical novel with some romance in it, and maybe a few supernatural elements. It will be part of a trilogy, and the first book will come out in early 2013.


I’m glad to host a giveaway for another short story collection by John McDonell, “13 Scary Stories”. The giveaway is for an eBook copy of “13 Scary Stories”. If you want to participate, just fill in the Rafflecopter form below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: Undead on Arrival by Justin Robinson

15733320Title: Undead on Arrival
Author: Justin Robinson
Genre: Horror, Zombies
Publisher: Solstice Publishing
Publication Date: June 21st, 2012
Goodreads | B&N | Amazon (Paperback) | Amazon (Kindle)
Review copy provided by the author in exchange for honest review.

Today is the last day of Glen Novak’s life.
Five years after the end of the world, the few remaining humans are barricaded in a small vacation town on the California coast, beset by hordes of the undead.
A single bite turns a man into a walking corpse. There’s no cure and no hope.
Someone made sure Novak was bitten and now he has one day to put things in order, protect his people and, most importantly, exact revenge.

Undead on Arrival isn’t your typical zombie Apocalypse book. It takes place after the end of the world has happened, and focuses on the remaining survivors. The protagonist, Glen Novak, isn’t a person you’d normally like, or would even talk to. He has a position of power in this new world, but he’s still coping with the guilt he’s carried with him all these years – guilt over his dead wife, guilt over the children he abandoned when the world crumbled apart. He lives in a secluded village, slightly more than a compound, and tries to survive. Unfortunately that may become a hassle when someone lets a zombie head loose in his house, and the zombie manages to bite him. The rule is to kill everyone who’s been bitten. There is no cure to becoming a zombie. There is no hope for those infected. But Glen Novak is determined to find the man or woman who did this to him. And by extracting his revenge, he may end up causing more harm than he initially bargained for…

What is so unique about this book that I liked it from the moment I started reading is the author’s fresh take on the zombie apocalypse. Usually when I read a zombie book or watch a zombie movie, I see people running for their lives practically three fourth of the time. Here, not so much. Humanity has settled down. They’ve made make-shift cities, they’ve tried to survive in a world that’s suddenly become hostile. They still have memories of life before, and are trying to place those. Some are overwhelmed by grief. Others by guilt. Everyone has their story and the burden they carry, but they work together, as good or as bad as the circumstances let them, and try to make it through another day. They come across a large number of problems: food shortage, gasoline shortage, no electricity, no internet. And the most difficult thing of all: some of them have lost their family, and have no clue whether or not they’re still alive. Maybe they’re wondering out there somewhere, still human, looking for their loved ones as well. That thought along is chilling, it’s such a strong, thought-provoking idea it lingered in my mind during the entire read.

Undead on Arrival spans little more than twenty-four hours, but a lot can happen in that time. Glen Novak gets to the bottom of the secrets buried at his new home, at The Athena, a mighty and large hotel overlooking the compound, and the people behind it. We see the worst in humanity, as well as the best. All characters Glen meets during his search for vengeance are well-defined, complex human beings. They could walk straight out of the book. Some of them I hated from the start, others I grew to like as the story progressed. Hardly ever have I seen an author put that much care and thought into the side characters, developing them until the point they could become protagonists themselves.

The first half of the book sets the mood. It begins slow, painting for us the circumstances of the afterwar of the apocalypse, the daily life of survivors, and the quest to solve the mystery Glen Novak wants to solve before he dies. But then a zombie attack happens, and we’re thrown in the middle of the action, fighting along with the characters for our lives. It’s a vivid experience for a reader when you can say action scenes are so well described you feel like you’re playing in them – and that’s the case here.

The writing is sublime. It was spot on, every single time. Slow when needing to set the mood, fast and relentless when the action started. Mr. Robinson is obviously a very talented author, and one I hope to read several more novels from. He has described the zombie apocalypse in a way no one else has, and I’m truly amazed at how well he portrayed all characters in this book.

If you want to survive the zombie apocalypse, you better read Undead on Arrival.

Author Interview

I’m delighted I could ask Mr. Robinson some interview questions about his book, Undead on Arrival.

1) When did you know you wanted to become a writer?

I don’t know if there was ever an exact moment. I’ve been writing all my life, but there were periods where I stopped. I decided to write novels after working as a script doctor for an animation studio, and working in the comics industry. Writing novels is more rewarding because you’re writing for people who legitimately love to read.

2) What inspired you to write Undead on Arrival?

I love film noir, and am a huge fan of DOA. I wanted to do a riff on that classic story using zombies.

3) Which character did you like to write about the most? Which was your least favorite character?

The first is Pulaski, with Cheeseman a close second. I really liked the concept that the biggest bad ass in town was a transvestite, and his voice was a lot of fun to channel. With Cheeseman, he sort of symbolized the main character’s self-loathing, so I had a good time giving voice to the fact that Novak really isn’t a good guy.

I had trouble with Calomiris and Rippey, the other two town fathers. They’re noir villains so they had to be pretty reprehensible, but I also didn’t want them to be cartoonish monsters. It was a tough line to walk and I’m not sure I succeeded.

4) How long did it take you to write Undead on Arrival from start to finish?

Outlining and the first draft took about three months, and I think I took around three months on subsequent drafts.

5) What was the most challenging part about writing Undead on Arrival?

Writing the main character, Glen Novak. He had to be a bad guy, so that there were enough people who wanted him dead. But I also had to make him sympathetic enough so that the reader wasn’t actively rooting for him to die. I tried to do that by making him a bad person by our standards, but maybe not as much for his time and place. I tried to use Novak’s self-awareness to mitigate some of his worse qualities.

6) Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

Read every day. Write every day. And always use outlines.

7) Are you working on something right now? If so, please tell us more about it!

I just finished a draft of a comedy noir novel that’s sort of like The Big Lebowski if David Huddleston was a giant eyeball.

I’m looking forward to reading more of your books, and thanks for answering my interview questions!


On top of that, Mr. Robinson agreed to give away a paperback copy of Undead on Arrival to one lucky winner. And guess what? The contest is international. If you want to participate, just fill in the Rafflecopter form!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Forever Man Book Tour: Guest Post and Giveaway


Today I’m happy to host author January Bain on my blog with a guest post and giveaway. January will talk about the value of a penname – I must say that I personally don’t use one, but I do understand why some people prefer pennames rather than their actual name.

The giveaway is for an eBook copy of Forever Man. You can participate by filling in the Rafflecopter widget below this post.

Anyway, I’ll hide in the shadows, and give the stage to January!

The Value of a Penname

Hi, old friends and new! Hope you’re having a good day. This has been such a lovely summer break for me. Years of slaving away (albeit happily) on my computer are coming to the first round of completion. The first novel in the Forever series has been released by Champagne Books: FOREVER MAN.

And what a journey it has been! I cannot thank everyone enough for all the good they have done for my heart with their embracing of my book and my heroine, Ellie. My first novel is a tender love story that gives me a warm feeling still when I think of all the good Ellie can do in this harsh world. Sure, I know that my writing has matured since I wrote it in the first person (I normally write in the third now) and that my editor, Judy Griffith Gill, has taught me much about how to become a better writer, but still it speaks to my heart as she was such a wonderful person to share time with.

Though my first book has just come out I am actually writing my ninth book and find my perspective on my writing style and technique is quickly evolving. The journey is becoming steadily more complex with writing beginning to take over my life. I live to write these days and know I will ride this imaginary train for many years to come if I am so blessed as to get to continue. Human beings are fragile, that I have learned, though very resilient which is what I am counting on.

I’ve just recently realized that some parts of me are not writing as full out as they would do if I had a pen name. So I’m getting one. I’m choosing one of the characters from the Forever Series. Winter Kennedy, a personal favorite, the heroine of my second book, FOREVER WOMAN being released October 1st from Champagne Books. I love her for her intelligence, spunk, belief in true love and her concern for humanity. Writing as Winter will free me up to write stories to the ninth, not having to worry about my day job as a teacher. It’s already working as my writing takes on a new found depth of sexuality I have not allowed myself before this. What a journey this is proving to be. I can only hope to take many of you with me on it!

What does a penname mean to you?

Fondest regards,
January Bain

About Forever Man

15740322Title: Forever Man
Author: January Blain
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Champagne Books

What if you had been given the gift of healing and could save those you loved? And furthermore, discovered you could save the one you love from a vampire’s kiss. There is a catch; of course, the cost of such a healing could mean your own death…
Ellie Hightower is discovering such gifts in the novel, Forever Man by January Bain. She is telepathic, young and bright and has been running from these new found gifts all the way to Nome, Alaska where she encounters the man of her dreams, Mike Stone and an ancient evil force out to take him away from her. Will having goodness and light on her side be enough to save them from Katrianna, a newly resurrected vampire that looks to enslave Mike in her nefarious web?

To find out the truth you will need to read, Forever Man, the first in the FOREVER SERIES by January Bain.

Author Bio

January Bain hails from Ashern, Manitoba, Canada. Married to the love of her life, her husband Don, she has combined her love of romance with her interest in the paranormal and vampires to produce the FOREVER SERIES of books. She teaches English and Computer courses during the day, and writes at night and in very spare moment she has. She hopes to touch your heart with this first book in the series, Forever Man and would very much enjoy hearing from her readers.
Website | Publisher | The Writer’s Vineyard | Blog | Linked In | Facebook | Twitter


a Rafflecopter giveaway