Saturday, December 12, 2015

Richard Schiver talks about his characters in "All Roads Lead to Terror"

Today, I'm turning my blog over to the awesome Richard Schiver to talk a bit about his new release, All Roads Lead to Terror. Enjoy!

Who inspired the characters.

I grew up watching westerns every Saturday morning. Some of you may remember the old black and white weekly television shows featuring characters like Roy Rogers, Tom Mix, and the singing cowboy Gene Autry. Did you know Gene Autry was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in WWII?

I’m full of odd little tid-bits of information like that.

As I grew older my tastes matured, yet my love of Westerns remained strong. I became an early fan of Clint Eastwood when he appeared in the Rawhide series. I know, we’re getting into ancient history here. I’ve followed Clint’s career through the spaghetti westerns of the late sixties early seventies, his Dirty Harry phase, “Make my day.” And beyond. In my mind his best western will always be The Outlaw Josey Wales. “Hell is coming to breakfast.”

But what does all this have to do with Zombies and post apocalyptic fiction? You may be asking.

I’m getting to that.

The biggest reason I liked westerns, and I feel confident enough to say it may be a major reason why post apocalyptic fiction is so popular, is that feeling of being an explorer in a new world. A place of wide open spaces that offered elbow room to roam, a lawless land where the strong backed their words with the firepower they carried as they carved out a new life for themselves.

One of my favorite western movies is Tombstone with Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp. “I’m bringing hell with me!”  He played along side Bill Paxton and Sam Elliot who portrayed brothers Virgil and ????. The last member of this quartet was Doc Holiday played by Val Kilmer. “Who’s your huckleberry?

When I first started writing the story that has become All Roads Lead To Terror I envisioned my main character Meat as a blend of the ruthlessness of Clint Eastwood, with the courage of John Wayne, and the wisdom of James Arness who portrayed sheriff Matt Dillon on Gunsmoke. Meat was born at the height of the Zombie apocalypse, upon his birth his mother took one look at him and pronounced him meat before she abandoned him with the man that would raise him. He grew up in a reality where they were all nothing more than walking bags of meat, so in his mind the name fit perfectly.

Window, his best friend, is pure Val Kilmer as Doc Holiday. Very quiet, studious with an ever watchful eye and a quick hand. To him friendship was the most important thing in the world. His family had perished in the ruthless times after the awakening and his temperament had been forged in the fire that took them from him. His friends were all he had left so he watched over them with a jealously protective nature strengthened by the sense of invulnerability all boys his age embraced. 

Backed by a quick hand with the .44 he’d used to kill the men who had raped and killed his mother. 
The remaining members of this quartet are Einstein who had been born within the compound at Bremo Bluff after the apocalypse occurred. Having spent his life behind the fence he has no first hand knowledge of how brutal the world has become beyond the fence. As his name implies he’s the smartest in the group, as well the most innocent. While that innocence helps to soften the ruthlessness of the other three, it also serves to drive a wedge into their friendship. But he will discover just how terrifying the world beyond the fence has become.

The final member is Billie-Bob, one half of a set of twins who appeared outside the fence several years earlier. Your typical class clown his mouth runs a mile a minute, if he isn’t sharing overused jokes about Zombies, he’s whispering the passages from a book his mother used to read to him when he was younger, a chant that provides him with a degree of comfort. Billie-Bob is unique in that at the tender age of eleven he has proven himself to be a natural born sniper with a willingness to use his special talent to protect his friends.

All of them had been born during the apocalypse, growing up in the time after, surviving in a world that had little sympathy for those unable to defend themselves. It is said we are  the product of our environment, these four boys have shouldered the responsibilities of an adult long before their pre-awakening counterparts would have been required to. They became survivors in a ruthless world that had as yet to reveal the true depths of its depravity.

I believe post-apocalyptic fiction is the modern western. But unlike the westerns of old, where the ability to go back and experience it first hand would require a time machine. These modern tales of strong characters surviving in a wide open places has the added potential to become reality. 


Richard was born in Frostburg, Maryland, in the winter of '58' and currently lives eight miles away. A five-year stint with the military allowed him to see what he wanted of the world. Married with four grown children and eight grandchildren, he and his wife provide a home to four pets that are spoiled beyond rotten.

In addition to writing daily he works a full time job in retail, and piddles around in his wood-shop making one mess after another when time permits.

Richard can be found online at:

Facebook: http://www.facebook/RichardSchiver

Follow Richard on Twitter: @RichardSchiver

Written in Blood is Richard's personal blog where he shares his thoughts on writing, and whatever else might strike his fancy.

He can be contacted directly at and would be delighted to hear from you.

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All Roads Lead to Terror (synopsis)

The horrors of the past meet the brutality of the present.

Four boys strengthen the bonds of their friendship, while taking their first hesitant steps into adulthood, as they face the brutality of an old, new world. They will be tested at every step in their journey, as they travel through a blasted land where the only hope is for a swift death followed by an endless sleep. Survival lay in the firepower they carried, coupled with their willingness to use it, and their ability to trust each other with their own lives.

The world has become a wild place filled with wild things, and into this new reality each of them had been born. Coming of age at the end of days, where savagery was the norm, and man's inhumanity to man was on daily display. Where the only law was the firepower one carried and the only hope was for a swift death followed by an endless sleep.

Meat was born at the height of the Zombie apocalypse, upon his birth his mother took one look at him and pronounced him meat. He grew up in a reality where they were all nothing more than walking bags of meat, so in his mind the name fit perfectly.

Window, his best friend, is very quiet, and ever watchful with a quick hand. To him friendship was the most important thing in the world. His family had perished in the ruthless times after the awakening and his temperament had been forged in the fire that took them from him. His friends were all he had left so he watched over them with a jealously protective nature strengthened by that sense of invulnerability all boys his age embraced. Further backed up by a quick hand with the .44 he'd used to kill the men who had raped his mother.

The remaining members of this quartet are Einstein who had been born within the compound at Bremo Bluff after the apocalypse. Having spent his life behind the fence he had no first hand knowledge of how brutal the world has become. As his name implies he's the smartest in the group, as well the most innocent. While that innocence helps to soften the ruthlessness of the other three, it will serve to drive a wedge into their friendship. On this trip he will discover just how terrifying the world beyond the fence has become.

The final member is Billie-Bob, one half of a set of twins who appeared outside the fence several years earlier. Your typical class clown whose mouth runs a mile a minute, if he isn't sharing overused jokes about Zombies, he's whispering the passages from a book his mother used to read to him when he was younger, a chant that provides him with a degree of comfort. Billie-Bob is unique in that at the tender age of eleven he has proven himself to be a natural born sniper with a willingness to use his special talent to protect his friends.

The trail they follow leads them East, into the Dreadlands, from which those who had dared venture in the past never returned. There are places where the fabric of reality is at its thinnest. Where nightmare creatures roam the shadowy corners of a well lit world. Existing at the edge of man consciousness, an indistinct blur briefly glimpsed in our peripheral vision. Their presence felt on a primitive level that reached our consciousness as a faint whisper in the night. Their touch the soft caress of chilled fingers dancing along the spine like the half remembered terrors lurking within the childhood memories of every person who had ever feared the night.

In Richmond they will be confronted by a savage cult of children who worship a creature of the night. A nightmare being that feasted upon the fear of its victims, delving into their innermost secrets, revealing half forgotten terrors that lay like a rotting carcass at the heart of their souls. For these creatures, that were once considered nightmare imaginings, are now awake in a world where the population that once served as their food source has been reduced.

Awake and very, very, hungry.

Buy Links:

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Food, Family, Fun, and a Book Signing

This week we had a pretty full schedule. We had twenty six people for Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, followed by our awesome niece's birthday party Friday, then a really lovely baby shower for my wonderful sister in law on Saturday.

Seems like no big deal, a normal all-the-family-is-in-town-so-let's-do-it-all-at-once kind of event. Everybody has these times in their family. Unfortunately, I have missed so many of these times. Until last year, when my doctor put me on Plaquenil, I wouldn't have been able to handle three functions in a row.

In fact, this year was the first Thanksgiving in three years I haven't been too sick to eat with the family and it was damn good, baby! I was able to get everything cleaned on time and we had a delicious dinner courtesy of my husband and our family.

I have so many things to be thankful for this year and I really don't have time to list them all, but rest assured you are probably on that list if you're reading this. Thanks to all of you for all the support and encouragement you've given me over the years.

Which brings me to something else I'm thankful for. I'm going to be doing a book signing during Ortonville's Christmas Festival. Come on down, enjoy the festival, and visit me at Thompson's Hardware, 30 South Street, Ortonville, Michigan (MI) from 1-4pm EST.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving leftovers

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I figured I'd give you guys a bit of a turkey day treat with a free short story I wrote last year. CLICK HERE TO READ THE STORY

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Flash... ah-ahhhhhh!

So, I thought I'd do something I haven't done in awhile and give you a small story to read, just to thank you guys for all you do. I wrote this shortie a long time ago when I was really interested in the goings on in mob controlled New York during the Great Depression.

                 “1932 was a pretty good year for me. For the rest of the country it was the height of the Great Depression but, for me, business was good. I’ll never forget that year. It was above and beyond any others.
          “Jack Benny aired his radio show for the first time. Gas was ten cents a gallon, you could grab a cup of coffee for around 2 cents and a movie ticket cost a whopping twenty-five cents.
          “Dwight Eisenhower ran for President and you couldn’t go near a radio without hearing Happy Days Are Here Again. Not that there was anything wrong with that, it was a great campaign song and it gave hope to many jobless schmoes who were left broken by the economic draught.
          “As I said before, my work never suffered once. In fact the Great Depression lined my pockets well. I truly believe if I hadn’t been in the line of business I was, I would’ve probably been hurting like the rest of the country.
          “The regular joe saw pay cuts of up to thirty percent and over thirteen million people were out of work. Banks were shutting down left and right taking every penny some folks had with them.
          “Even with all that misery going on I managed to carve out some happiness for myself. If cash was king I had enough of it to at least call myself a Duke. While the country was suffering I saw over a quarter million dollars in my bank account.
          “My job was as an enforcer for the mob. As far as politics went, Luciano had basically taken over Tammany Hall, along with Costello and Lansky, using the vast amounts of money he was accruing from his liquor sales during prohibition. He bought just about every cop, politician, and judge in New York.
          “Over seventy five percent of the New York Justice system was in Lucky’s pocket. Good for me, not so much for the people who owed him money.
          “My job was a simple one. I beat the living snot out of any idiot dumb enough to borrow cash from the coffers and not pay it back on time or with the approved (insanely high) interest rate.
          “Did I like my job? No. The Castellammarese War made it all even more difficult as the battle Luciano started between the Maranzano and Masseria families targeted all sorts of mobbies, including us knucklemen.
          “Don’t ask me how Lucky got so smart as to take up the man on his offer. But, as requested, he set up Don Masseria in return for becoming Maranzano’s second in command.
          “In ’31, after killing Masseria, Meyer Lansky took a group of guys posing as cops and G-men to Maranzano’s office and two of them questioned Maranzano inside. When I say questioned I hope you get that I mean beating and stabbing. On their way out they ran into, and took out, the hitter that was hired to do Luciano.
          “The truly amazing part is that Maranzano had been planning on having Luciano killed at the exact same time he was being killed himself. Now that’s some Lucky justice. Heh. Anyway, these are things I’m sure everyone knows by now.
          “I never got to meet any of the Young Turks myself, I was way too low on the totem pole for them to even notice me, but I sure noticed them –kinda hard not to when Luciano was pulling down twelve million a year at a time when good people were starving in the streets.
          “My job didn’t bring me in contact with any of the big guns. No, sir, the highest I got was the street boss. He gave me my orders and told me where, when, who, and how much to collect or break.
          “I didn’t much care for Vinny but I liked the money and I liked being alive so I did as I was told. Mostly it was pretty simple; go to their homes or storefronts, remind them how much they owed and how much time they had to pay. Then I was to remind them of the consequences of nonpayment.
          “On the day the money was due I’d go back and get either the money or break a finger, the next day they gave me the money or they’d lose a finger, permanently.
          “I’d continue breaking bones, and collecting digits, until the money was repaid. Sometimes seeing the fear in their eyes and knowing they couldn’t pay made me feel lousy but it didn’t stop me from doing my job.
          “Before you think I’m some completely heartless mook you oughta know that occasionally I put up my own money for the ones I felt had been duped by Vinny.
          “Along with the loans Vin also ran a protection racket. It became part of my job to go and scare all those business people into giving up their hard earned money to a joker like him so he wouldn’t have me trash their store. Me and Paulie, my partner, didn’t smash as much as we were supposed to.
          “Those were the jobs I hated the most. All those good people hit hard by The Depression and I was pretty much in charge of robbing them blind. Yet it wasn’t all bad as those were also the days I made the most money for myself.
          “As much as I loathed my work I loved my wife and kids and wanted to keep them well cared for. My wife had an inkling of what I did and every night she’d make me confess to God in our closet with the door closed.
          “I don’t think she ever wanted to know for sure what I did because while I was in the closet she’d head to the kitchen and, when I was done with confession, I’d come find her and we’d pray for my soul.
          “I love her more than words can say. Always have and always will, God rest her soul. Every morning when I stared into that mirror to shave I worried that one day all this pain I’ve created will be thrown back onto me, you understand?”
          “I think I do, son. Why do I get the feeling you have more you need to tell me?” The priest was smart.
          I wasn’t sure why he was calling me son, though, as I lay here on my death bed I was at least twenty some years older than he.
          “Because there is more, Father. I didn’t just harm people. In November of ’32 I made my first and only kill.” I went into a coughing spasm then and the priest brought me some water and angled the straw so I could sip it.
          “Here, drink this.”
          “Thank you.” I took a sip, then continued, “Anyway, it was November and the weather was crummy as usual –it had stayed around thirty for most of the month. We had some sleet that day and there was a man that Vinny told me hadn’t paid.
          “I didn’t remember this man and told my street boss as much. He said another collection agent was in charge of the case and that this other man was indisposed today and I’d have to go in and collect the money or the man’s head.
          “He literally meant his head. Apparently this guy had secured the loan through The Man himself. So, by not paying, he had snubbed Meyer Lansky in the worse possible way.
          “That snub meant a father of three, a good man by all accounts, was to lose his life and not even get a decent burial. I did as Vinny requested and I will never forgive myself for it.
          “I went home that night, vomited several times, and spent the rest of that horrible night on my knees begging for God’s forgiveness. My little Johnny was only two at the time and he woke up and came in.
          ‘Dadda’ he said ‘God love you. Sleepy time now.’ He gave me the most beatific smile, hugged me tight, turned on his heel with his arms outstretched and went back to bed.
          “I sobbed for the next four hours as I realized the children whose father I had taken would never feel the warm arms of their Dadda around them again. God may have forgiven me, Father, but I will never forgive myself.
          “After that day I told Vin I was no hitter, just muscle. I thought for sure he’d take me out but he nodded and said, ‘Okay John. I get it. I’m not cut out for that avenue of this business either.’
          “That was all he ever said on the subject because we never spoke of it again. I went on with my threatening and bone breaking for a good twenty years. Stayed at it until Vinny died and I was given the chance to be the street boss. I turned it down and retired.
          “I had made over five million dollars in my time and spent it on good investments and real estate. What I have now is worth over twenty two million. Sad to say, but all that money couldn’t keep karma at bay. All the pain I’d inflicted over the years came back to me in the form of cancer. Docs say I’ll be dead by morning.
          “That’s why I called you, Father. I was hoping you’d give me my last rites. I understand if you refuse given what I’ve just told you. But I also have a check for ten million dollars that I want given to charity, whatever one you see fit. Please give it in Jesus’ name.
          “My kids understand and are set for life with the other twelve million. Will you help me, Father? Will you give me absolution and my last rites?”
          “I will, son. You have confessed all your sins?” He looked at me worriedly. I don’t think he wanted to hear more.
          “Yes, Father.”
          “Then pray with me and God shall absolve you.”
          “You promise?”
          “I do.”
          The priest I sat and prayed for my soul. Exhaustion overtook me and I laid back in my hospital bed with the prayer echoing in my ears. A smile crossed my face as my soul slipped from this world.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Hello, my name is...

Hiya, folks. Today I've turned over my blog to an absolutely wonderful author whom I had the pleasure of meeting in person at the 2014 World Horror Con in Portland. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did.

Hello, my name is…
Loren Rhoads

My mother was a librarian, so I grew up surrounded by books.  Once she showed me where the science fiction shelf was, I’d sit down and work my way through it.

It didn’t take long for me to notice all the writers (in those misty, far off days) were men.  Even the few women wrote under male names: Andre Norton, C.J. Cherryh, James Tiptree Jr., and the ambiguously gendered (to me) Leigh Brackett and Marion Zimmer Bradley.

The message I took from it was that women were welcome in small numbers, as long as they passed socially as men.  It was a message I had already internalized. I never felt like my given name fit me.  From an early age, I called myself George – long before I knew that was the nickname of Nancy Drew’s female friend.

I could dress up with the other girls, put on lipstick and curl my hair, but it always felt like a costume, a show of femininity.  I never felt male, really.  I just never felt traditionally female, either.

I chose my new name before I applied to Clarion.  Loren summed me up.  It was a masculine form of a name when written, but when heard, the gender was ambiguous.  People could guess which gender fit, according to their preferences, but when they met me, they needed to reconcile the gender of the name with the obvious gender of my body.

I understood that science fiction was, at that time, written about men.  So I wrote about the men I knew, my gay friends from high school.

The story that got me into Clarion was about a transgender prostitute named Tolly.  Thomas Disch, one of my Clarion instructors, was extremely disappointed when he met me and my gender didn’t match his expectations, based on the spelling of my name and the subject of my story.  The same story, when written by a woman, meant something completely different to him.

Thirty years later, I’m looking at the problem from the other direction.  When my publishers approached me about The Dangerous Type books, they asked if I would consider using a more feminine pen name.  It could be an open secret, like Seanan McGuire/Mira Grant.  They just wanted readers to be able to look at the front of the book and know it was written by a woman.

I got out of that by pointing out I would need to begin my social media connections from scratch under the new name.

It makes me wonder, though:  how much are we really influenced – as book shoppers – by the unfamiliar name on a book cover?  Does gender trump cover art or blurb or back cover description?


Loren’s new novel is The Dangerous Type, first of a trilogy called In the Wake of the Templars.  The other books – Kill by Numbers and No More Heroes – will be published by Night Shade Books before the end of the year.

Enslaved, trained as a killer, betrayed, entombed, and abandoned: you can see why Raena Zacari might have a chip on her shoulder. In the grimdark universe of Rhoads’s propulsive, action-heavy debut, the universe’s deadliest assassin sets off on a mission of vengeance into a galaxy destabilized by genocidal warfare. Her target, the despotic warlord Thallian, is on the run for war crimes but determined to reclaim what he believes is his by right. The stage is set for a revenge tale constructed from a web of complex, strained relationships made messier by two decades of forced separation.

Loren’s blog:

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Women in Horror Month: Stacey Turner takes over and talks about gender inequality

Today for Women in Horror month I have a really amazing author/editor I first met in person at WHC 2013. She's one of the most loving people I know and she can spin a yarn that'll make you want more, I give to you, the awesome Stacey Turner.

Hey ya’ll, it’s “Women in Horror Month” again. But I don’t want to talk about glass ceilings, equal rights, or gender discrepancy in the workplace. Mostly because *gasp* I don’t pay a lot of attention to it. Here’s the thing: you can spend a lot of time and effort pondering, bemoaning, and shrieking about something, or you can do your thing. I’m not saying it’s not an issue in the horror (and writing in general) community. I’m just saying I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the issue. I just do me.

What I do want to talk about is being a female writer/editor/former publisher. Because gender inequality isn’t restricted to the work place, it’s all over the kitchen/living room/bathroom. I see you working moms out there nodding your heads. And let’s get this straight… I’m not “man bashing” because I know some stay at home Dads, some who are writers trying to work from home, some who are just doing the stay at home thing, and they say the same thing about their partners (be they female or male) that I hear my female friends say about their husbands. So maybe the term I really want is “partner inequality,” but since I’m a female and it’s Women in Horror month, it’s coming from my point of view.

And first, let me accept my responsibility in this issue. I created the monster. For many years I was a sahm who did everything. I cleaned the house, cooked the meals, raised the kids, managed the budget, and coordinated the calendar. I was your quintessential 50’s housewife. All I lacked was the pretty dresses and heels. (And possibly cigarettes, valium, and booze) I did everything related to our family’s daily living. My husband had taken on a new job that kept him busy pretty much around the clock and out of the house for most of it. But you can bet when he was there the house was clean, his laundry was done, and there was a plate of food waiting on him. I even homeschooled our kids. ( I know, you’re wondering wth was wrong with me. I like to call it “Marth Stewart-it is”) 

I make no apologies to the feminists reading this for that period of time. It worked for us. And it was how it had to be. And I honestly enjoyed spending time with my children. But then things changed. The kids grew up. I had some free time. I found I wanted to do something that didn’t involve Mr. Clean or the grocery store. I wanted a career. My family took this hard. What? You don’t want to continue devoting every waking hour to our needs? WHAT? I think their attitude is best illustrated by this partial post from a blog I wrote at the time. My daughter is 19 at the time of the post and my son is 17, both have graduated from high school, my daughter worked full time, my son was “deciding what to do with his life.”

I know my children are nearly adults. They know they are nearly adults. Somehow they just forget to act like it sometimes. And they still don't seem to realize that "working from home" includes the key phrase "working". Because I'm home most days, it still seems to fall to me to cook, clean & run our lives. You know—schedule doctor’s appts, grocery shop, deal with insurance, balance checkbooks, make travel arrangements, keep the calendar updated so people know when they're coming and going and who else is where. Oh, and keep bored people entertained. And this is why my Facebook statuses so often proclaim that I'm incredibly happy to be home alone. Those are the days when I get things done. Those are the days when I spend from the time I get up until the time I go to bed working. And even after I go to bed if I'm reading an upcoming review book on my Kindle. Here are a few conversations we've had about my work lately:

Molly: (after coming home from work around 10 pm) Did you even call the insurance lady today?

Me: Of course I called her. Why would you think that I wouldn't?

Molly: Because you were working when I mentioned it before I left and when you work you're in your own little world so I wasn't sure you even heard me.

Me: It's called time management. I come up for air around 11:30 and take a shower, eat lunch, and do any pressing household business before going back to work. But your utter lack of confidence in my abilities is heartwarming. Thanks.

After Sean got home from Scouts:

Sean: So all the guys were complaining about their mornings today and I told them how hard mine was. How I had to roll out of bed at 8:30 and then I had to eat Pop-tarts even though I hate them because you wouldn't make me breakfast.

Me: I was working. And you're a big boy.

Sean: Then they all wanted to know why you were still home at that time so I had to explain that you work at home and how you're a writer and all. They were hugely impressed.

Me: Aw. Thanks.

Sean: Well they were impressed until I told them about how you never used to burn supper and now you do it all the time because you're so caught up in work.

Me: Thanks. Thanks for that.

And now they’re out of my house, living on their own, and my husband’s job isn’t quite as demanding as it used to be. I still do everything. Oh, he’ll pitch in if I ask, but he never spontaneously does the dishes or vacuums the floors. And he rarely cooks dinner. My adult children who live in other states still call when they need advice or have some particularly pesky task they are pretty sure they can con me into doing for them. Or just to talk. Or to ask me to come visit. And you know what? I do it. Because, family, you know? So, this being my experience, I’m in total awe of the many talented female horror writers who manage to write and raise children and keep house and the million other things they do behind the scenes that equal family life. So many of them are doing it with small children. I can’t even imagine what that’s like. Some are doing it while holding down full time jobs. Some are doing it while coping with debilitating diseases.

So instead of ranting about the issues confronting women in the horror genre, I’d just like to give a standing ovation to each and every one of them—dreaming the dream, pursuing her passion, getting it done. ALL of it. You go, girl!!

Don’t miss Grimm Mistresses coming from Ragnarok Publications’ horror imprint Angelic Knight Press February 23rd. Featuring modern retellings of some of Grimm’s darkest Faery Tales. With stories by C.W. LaSart, Mercedes M. Yardley, Allison M. Dickson, S.R. Cambridge, and Stacey Turner.


Stacey Turner lives in West Central Illinois.  Three wonderful, adult children call her “Mom,” and two beautiful little boys call her “Mimi” (Grandma). She is owned by cats. She is the managing editor for the Angelic Knight Press imprint of Ragnarok Publications. She spends her days writing and editing, but still finds time to review books & interview authors, as well as blog about her absolutely ridiculous family and other adventures.  You can find her Author blog at or follow her on twitter: @Spot_Speaks or Facebook:

Her Amazon author page is found at

To contact her about her freelance editing, you can email her at

She enjoys editing because she’s bossy. And also because she revels in helping an author polish their work. She has edited several anthologies, including the upcoming No Place like Home: Tales from a Fractured Future and the more recent Fairly Wicked Tales, as well as many novels & novellas for a variety of authors.

She has been published in several anthologies and online magazines. When not working, she enjoys photographing cemeteries, playing “what if,” and discussing the imminent zombie apocalypse. She does not enjoy scarecrows, creepy dolls, birds (of any sort), snakes, clowns, or garden gnomes.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Women in Horror Month: Christine Sutton takes over

So, my guest for the day is not just an author whose work I admire, she's also one of my dearest friends. She is a fellow proponent for gender equality within the horror genre and an extremely prolific author as well. Without further ado, I give you the ever-awesome Christine Sutton...

“But, you can’t do that!”
This is something I have heard quite often in relation to authors. In relation to me as an author as a matter of fact. In relation to me as a female author. In relation to me as a female horror author, specifically. Women are better at writing romance! I may write a romance one day if the mood strikes me!

Le Gasp!

Okay, I probably won’t ever write a romance in all honesty, but if I want to, there should be no problems. If I want to write a balls out, gore filled cannibal story that would make Jeffrey Dahmer lose his lunch, there should be no problem with that, either.
There are still some naysayers that will tell you that women are no good at writing horror.

I call bullshit! So does Snape.
Women are great at writing horror. They are amazing at gore, paranormal, thrillers, horror comedy, and anything else they choose to write. Just like men.
I am pleased to see that there is a sharp decline in those naysayers mentioned above. The misogyny is finally dying. It seems that many readers are seeing that women are just as sharp with a pen as their male counterparts. I have one thing to say about that…

Speak it, Leo!

With the commercial success of so many female authors in all genres, people are seeing that no genre is an island, horror included.
Publishers seem to be aware that female authors can be huge money makers, and that is where it all begins.
Money is the root of all evil, evil is the basis for horror, therefore horror equals money, right?
Okay, it might be a stretch. But not much.
Hopefully, with the success of books like Twilight, Harry Potter, Divergent, The Hunger Games, Gone Girl, and yes, even Fifty Shades of Grey the book/movie industry will start to see that maybe women would be a safe bet in the horror genre. When that happens, readers will follow. You just have to get the titles out there. 

If you write it, they will come…and read it. Even that pervert, Betty White.
So, let’s get some more butts in the seats, or eyes on the page, as it were. Women, take up your pens, or your keyboards and let your horror flag fly! Readers, be gender blind and pick up a book because it sounds cool. Don’t pass it by because it was written sans penis. 

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Women in Horror Month: Meet the awesome Emerian Rich!

I run a group for women that work in the horror genre (Ladies of Horror) and I met my guest today through that group. She's an extremely kind, hard working, and talented author as well as a pretty damned cool Lady. Without further ado, I turn over my blog to the incomparable Emerian Rich.

I'm a Little Goth Writer in a Big Genre Box by Emerian Rich

So, you know that movie Jumpin' Jack Flash, starring Whoopi Goldberg? I love that movie. When I was a teenager, I knew all the words and my best friend and I would recite it as it played for the 400th time on cable. You might be asking why a horror author is talking about Jumpin' Jack Flash, it really has nothing to do with writing horror, does it?
That's where I'll prove you wrong. Writing horror as a woman is EXACTLY like Jumpin' Jack Flash. First, like Whoopi Goldberg, I always feel like I'm in trouble and being called on the carpet by the higher-ups or about to get fired. Why is it we constantly have to justify that we can be just as scary or scarier than male horror writers? Second, superior white guys are always trying to kill us (metaphorically speaking). Don't believe me? Try being a female horror writer on a panel of men at the next convention you go to, you'll see. I'm not saying all male writers are jerks, but there are a whole lot of them out there that back up my story. They talk over you, deny your points to be heard, discount what you've just said, and tell the audience not to listen to your BS. Don't even get me started on the little sexist or chauvinistic comments made before and after panel.

If you still don't believe me, here is a list quotes from Jumpin' Jack Flash to illustrate just how similar Whoopi's life in that movie and mine are.
1. "I'm a little black woman, in a big silver box, and the top of it says PHONE. Help!"
Only, my quote would be..."I'm a little goth writer in a big genre box, and the top of it says: WOMAN. Help!" People love to pigeonhole you into what they think your writing is like, even before they read a cover blurb. "You are a woman and write about vampires? You must write that Twilight fluff." These are not my words, but those of an actual convention attendee. How 'bout, "Gothic writers always write about Satan. Is this about his witches cause you're a chick?" True, comments like this make me laugh when I think about them later.

2. "I've got to have that promotion! I've gotta have it!"
Getting noticed as a female horror writer is like begging for a promotion. Please read my book, please, please! Want it for 99 cents? Want it free for a week? Free review copy? Sure! No problem! I only worked three years to complete it. Not as bad as the last one you got for free, that one took me ten years! So, like after you read this one, can you review it... PLEASE??

3. "Some guy, callin' himself Jumpin' Jack Flash hacks into my computer."
Better known as a virus, spam attack, stalker, or even the dreaded Microsoft Word crash when you are ten pages in and haven't saved in awhile. Losing text or even edits can feel like someone shaved a few years off your life.

4. "Get Larry, the heavy-set guard!"
There have been many times when I wished I had a "Larry" at my disposal. Not only to ward off those rare cases of stalkerish fans at gatherings, but also to tackle anyone asking for money, drunk, or close-talking who bothers me when I'm writing out and about. They bother you when you are sitting peacefully at a picnic table or park, there is really nothing to do about that, because you are in a public place. But they also knock on your window when you take refuge in your car!

5. "Oh look, a tropical fish and his mate!"
This is what I say when I look in the mirror after a late night of writing or editing. I have various colors of hair at any given time and when I sleep especially hard, I wake up with my bangs sticking straight up in the air. Those who have had the misfortune of witnessing this, can't stop themselves from bursting out in laughter. The Flock of Seagulls ain't got nothing on me. My pj's are generally disheveled, and there are sometimes pieces of paper stuck in my hair. Don't even get me started on if I fell asleep writing and now have chapter five imprinted onto my cheek from a not-quite-dry ink pen.

6. "See this face? This is the face of a woman on the edge!"
You have a deadline due with three chapters left to go, it's grocery day, your to do list is a mile long,  and the school calls to say your child is sick and needs picked up. Yeah, get the picture? You probably don't want to be in the store next to me that day. If I even make it to the store. Provided the son is really sick, I'll be trying to concoct some sort of make-do dinner with ramen, canned meat, and that can of popcorn left over from Christmas. Ewe.

7. "I was born... in a cauliflower hurricane... No wait, crossfire hurricane."
Only, when we get the words wrong, it's usually on a blog or article and broadcasted across all of social media before we catch it. And we all know how smart-alec the social media fans are, right? God forbid we have a typos in a published book, you would think we shot someone.
Now, I don't want you to think that I hate my job or that I don't love those of you who actually take the time to read and enjoy what I produce. Far from it! And really, being a female horror writer is just as the Jumpin' Jack Flash song says... "It's a gas, gas, gas." This piece was just to let you know what a tough road we've come in on and perhaps you'll give us a break every once in awhile. And if you see we're in one of those "woman on the edge" moods, give us a wide berth, and make it a little easier on us by giving our work a chance before you shoot it down as chick fluff.

Emerian Rich is a female horror writer and horror hostess of the internationally acclaimed podcast, To find out more about her, go to

Click to be taken to the Amazon sales page for the book

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Pain, kids, construction, and deadlines

Most of you know I suffer from a chronic illness. The last week it kicked my ass. I don't mean like slapped me around a bit. No, I'm talking a real sweep-the-leg-Johnny, crane-kick-to-the-face, wax-on-wax-off complete with bad 80s hairband playing in the background old fashioned ass beating. *Shrugs* It happens from time to time, it still sucks though.

"Sweep the leg."

While I was dealing with this horrific shoulder pain --that wound up causing a baseball sized lump (not exaggerating here) on the back of my neck-- my husband was rewiring part of our foyer and living room. See, while we have the ceiling open to take care of the restructuring we figured it'd be smart to get rid of the knob and tube wiring and run copper.

I have to admit the knob and tube was run so beautifully.

With that construction comes torn up floors in our youngest's bedroom (we wanted to save what we originally thought was an original plaster medallion on the foyer ceiling so we opened the floor above to run the electrical through. So many projects in this house, so little time.

In amongst all that insanity I'm doing my damnedest to stay as close to a couple deadlines for my work as I can. I'm really excited to finish the novel I've been working on as well as introduce you to the next Bob novella. My muse has been kind this week and the writing has been flowing. Of course, I've also had a bit more time to write this week. It's the plus side of being unable to move much, I mean I can't do stairs, and that sucks, but I can still write so, woo hoo!

I am, honest!

While all this was happening the universe looked down on me and said, "No, still not enough stress. We better add more." It decided to give both kids a nasty cough and cold. Calgon, take me away, and don't bring me back for five, maybe six, days. But, wait, there's more! Along with the kids being sick our dog really injured his shoulder chasing the cat down the stairs. You'd think that'd learn him --as my old boss from B'ham would say-- but, no, Howie is still chasing the cat up and down stairs. Even if he has to limp fiercely the whole way.

What a 'ruff' life.

We've got him on some tranquilizers to keep him calm and resting so that he can heal up. There was nothing major wrong, just a bad sprain. I have a feeling this coming week is going to be a little better and I'm really looking forward to not only the projects I'm currently working on but some that I have scheduled for the future as well. One of them has got me so excited because I get to work with some of my most favorite people. I wish I could tell you more, muahahahahaha.

This year is bringing me a lot of amazing opportunity and I am so very grateful for it. I'm also pretty grateful for the people I have in my life that understand. I don't know what I would do without you folks.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Blue hair, zombies, construction, and reconnections.

Well, let me start by saying that though 2015 is only thirteen days old it has brought a lot of amazing changes already. Firstly, I dyed my hair turquoise and blue because, well, why the hell not? It's something I've wanted to do for awhile and I finally decided to do it. I love it, it makes me smile. I tell you, smiling is so much more important than I ever realized. It doesn't just make you feel better but it also cheers up those around you. Smile more, people, it's good for you!

The second awesome thing that happened was the release party for my novella collection, The Misadventures of Bob the Zombie. I had so much fun during the festivities. I met some amazing new readers (well, new to Bob) and am so excited to continue with this series.

I have had a lot going on with my house, Havenwood Manor, we are doing some structural support for our second floor and we ripped open our living room ceiling this month to sister in some joists. We are doing all the work to this house ourselves to save money so it's kind of slow going. At the same time I have to say I gained a new appreciation for the beauty that this house holds. It was so well built and very obviously a labor of love. I'm grateful it came to us to become its caretaker.

The third, and most awesome, thing that has happened in this new year has been the reconnection between me and one of my favorite people in this world, my cousin Cary. She was always the coolest person I have ever known and when I followed my path to be a zookeeper I lost touch with everyone, not that this will surprise anyone who knows me. I have no real concept of time and tend to lose it without even realizing it. Not in a fugue sort of way, just in an absentminded professor --minus the flubber-- way.

I hope this year keeps going in this direction, it's been so wonderful so far and with as damned awful as last year was I'm really enjoying the good. I hope 2015 brings us all some happiness, peace, prosperity, love, joy, and lots of good luck.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

John Smith pays me a visit

Today I am lucky enough to be joined by one of the greatest gumshoes of this century. John Smith, a man without knowledge of his past and a private dick determined to figure it out, is here and he has some stuff he wants to talk about. Without further ado I present my guest for the day.


It’s been an eventful ride, I won’t lie. Usually when you sign up to be a private detective the last thing you expect is to be taken on as the personal on-call dick for both Heaven and Hell, but here we are.
…. And where is here, exactly? Somewhere out in the etherverse. I was invited here by the lovely Jaime Johnesee to do a guest blog. I’m a newb at this, to be honest, so be patient, folks. Jaime asked me to talk about my latest case, so here goes.

My name is John Smith. It used to be Virgil Calahan a long time ago, circa World War I, but I’ll be damned if I wear that moniker again. Long story. Read the books. Yes, I look great for my age, thank you. I started off taking local cases in the quiet town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania until one day two demons walked into my office and my life was never the same after that.

Another thing about me, I apparently wear my heart on my sleeve for any lady who comes along – or rather just one lady who came along. Cherry is one of those women who gets under your skin because you can’t get under hers first. We had a past together, and I thought we had a future until I met Lily and then things got complicated real fast. They were like two sides of the same coin, one side sex and the other side love. You take your pick which one’s which. After spending a whiskey-drenched night in the honeymoon suite of the Gettysburg Hotel with a demon passed out drunk in the bathtub I have zero desire to get hitched. 

This latest case hit closer to home, and maybe that’s the reason I didn’t see all the signs in front of me. What should have been obvious was clouded by the promise of carnal adventures, so when the vampires showed up it kind of threw me for a loop. Now before you start looking down on me for associating with dirt nappers, they were my clients and they were paying some very good money for me to take their case. And just to set the record straight, it turns out they have lovely homes and prefer to sleep in a bed as it’s more comfortable.

Just when the vampire case seemed to be hitting an undead end (get it?) I got to meet Lily’s husband. Yeah, I had no idea she was married either. It’s all a blur after that.
So here I sit in the pub on the square writing a blog entry on a napkin and drowning my sorrows. My mental roomie, aka Metatron, assures me of fish and seas or something equally cliché, and I find myself wondering if I’ll ever be able to look in a mirror and see only my own reflection looking back at me, or if the angel will always be there, lurking in the background, waiting to give me advice.


Thanks for dropping by, John. It was really great to see you again and I am so looking forward to your next adventure!

Murdered Metatron and The Dispossessed are available at the links below. I highly recommend them if you like awesome hard boiled detective stories with a paranormal theme. If you don't, well, you are missing out big time. 

The Murdered Metatron:

The Dispossessed:

Apocrypha of the Apocalypse:

Crescendo of Darkness

Today I turn my blog over to the amazingly talented and seriously awesome folks at H...