Monday, 20 February 2017

WiHM Blog Talks: Roh Morgan And Her Weapons of Choice

Today, I am pleased to be playing host for Women in Horror Month Blog Talks, organized by author W. J. Howard, where female writers discuss different aspects of horror. My guest today is author Roh Morgan and her topic is...

 Weapons of Choice

Roh Morgon writes fantasy and horror for middle grade, young adult, and adult readers. She’s best known for her vampire series that begins with Watcher: Book I of The Chosen.

When I first read the topic for today’s post – Choice of Weapons – my initial thoughts were of the fangs and claws wielded by the creatures in Watcher: Book I of The Chosen and my other stories in the series.

I mean, what could be more primal than tearing the throat from an enemy — or a victim — using the deadly tips of one’s own fingers? The sweeping slash, the parting skin, the spray of blood arcing in a crimson fountain to paint the air itself. Or perhaps a rapier-like thrust to bury five daggers deep, then the squeeze to crush the airway as its gore pulses down.

Even more intimate would be the fatal kiss of one’s own lips as they part, allowing lethal fangs to sink into hot flesh coursing with life itself. The taking of that life swallow by swallow while twisting love’s caress into a battle with death and the eternal dance of predator and prey.

How could the wielder of a chainsaw or a bullet or even a blade experience anything remotely like killing something with the weapons nature bestowed upon you? They won’t feel the life pumping across their skin or down their throats or into their souls. Their satisfaction is like that of a one-hit bong compared to mainline heroin, weak, without substance, without that all-encompassing ‘ahh’ of being sated down to your very core.

But then I thought about an even deadlier weapon than those above – the weapon of words.

Words can rip the heart apart, can wound beyond repair, can crush the very soul of their target when they are employed with skill and precision. They can cripple a lover and condemn them to a life of living hell, or worse, drive that lover into death’s welcoming embrace.

Make no mistake. Words are the deadliest weapon in any arsenal. Be sure to use them wisely.

Giveaway: Anyone who adds a comment of at least three words to my post will receive a free digital copy of my latest book, The Games Monsters Play in the format of their choice (.mobi, .epub, or .pdf).

I'd like to thank Roh Morgan for joining us today.

You can find more about her writing and books at these sites:

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Book Spotlight: Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders

Today I have a horror spotlight for the short story collection Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders by David Sharp. Enjoy.

Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders by David Sharp

Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders is a compendium of stories following queer, punk, outsiders in worlds of chaos crossing genres of queer fiction, horror, and dark fantasy. Experience The Carny Cage, a prison story, with Dirk, whose life is like the carnival ride The Zipper locked up and spinning out of control. Follow Dean on his journey, Where the Road Roams, to find his brother and piece together the past in a fragmented and cut-up tale. Break taboos with a mysterious hitcher in, The Deadfall, as he takes a ride with a van full of coeds into the wilderness where they descend into terror beyond the limits. Witness the Death Tarp. Daniel goes beyond death to return as his shroud, a panel of the AIDS quilt, in a supernatural tale of disease and revenge. Invoke the Dark with a goth youth and his companions as he opens the gates of hell with dark rites. Discover the secret of Under the Moonbow through intense therapy sessions as Maleki, tattooed with the story of his past, schemes to be free of Ponoko Asylum and the covenant with his captor, Dr. West. All of this and more await you inside Anarchy.

Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders is available on Amazon

Excerpt from the short story “Dark" included in Anarchy

Surely this was a sign, enough of its own.
The third pine was away in the distance, but the triangle shape it formed with the others was there as powerful as the pyramids. The church sat quietly behind him watching something older than the Christian rites held inside unfold on its doorstep. The dark blue sky called out, stars seemed bright, and small wispy clouds sleekly flew by the full solemn moon. The craters and crevices were more visible than ever like they were magnified. Damon looked at his hands. He was still a boy, but the change into a man had begun.
This is it…all that is past will be forgotten. I will have a clean slate. I will do right by you this time.
Placing his hands together in a kneeling position, he closed his eyes to his shame. Darkness engulfed. Thoughts floated to the surface trying to distract with trivial worries.
No…no…got to remain clear.
A deep breath went out of him.
This is the time.
Damon cracked his neck and started counting.
A tingling sensation traveled from the solid earth into his lower body.
A head rush hit him more so than the first time he got high or even huffed Freon.
Fear rose.
Is someone watching? Was that a light of a car…a police car?
Fighting panic he willed it away.
Sexual confusion came in waves of sex and shame intertwined.
The wind chilled him forcibly blowing his hair and clothes.
The cross vibrated in his palm that clasped it almost burning, but that is impossible. Damon opened his eyes and the world was — different. Space unfolded in clarity. He was uncertain if it was really changed or if he was actually seeing it without distraction. A shooting star sparked across the deep blue sky with other shades and swirls above.
Surely this is a sign.
Damon rose meeting the wind. In the moment, he pulled the cross free from his neck to push it to the bleeding bark of the stricken pine. Sap flowed freely and thick to hold the cross firm in its grasp. In amazement, he watched as his grandmother’s heirloom was covered.
No going back — it is done. Are the demons really gone?
Damon took a tentative step forward not wanting to leave the site of a possible miracle without more concrete proof. Proud, but tinged with slight doubt haunting the back of his mind, he walked away not daring to look back lest it find him again. Another star shot across the heavens as the wind gusted.
This is really it?
Resigned yet uncertain, Damon sighed softly and spoke in a whisper, “There is always the next time…”
Damon walked the lonely path home. The solitary, haunting sound of a far away train followed him back into the dark to wait some more.

Author Bio:

David Sharp is a writer of creative fiction. A dreamer, he grew up identifying with the outsider from his teenage punk years on. His stories are filled with characters on the fringe of society, from troubled youth and thrill seekers to hardened gunslingers and mysterious loners. Each one is on a journey to find themselves and pursue their desires across exciting and sometimes dangerous landscapes. A Texan by birth, he currently lives in Chicago with his partner Bo. 

Anarchy - Strange Tales of Outsiders is his first self-published book now that he has the rights to his past works. He is an affiliate member of the Horror Writer’s Association and you can follow him at and FB @Writer.DavidSharp.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Bloody Valentine Horror Event: Wedding Day

It's that time of year again, the time to embrace the bad side of love: the rejected lovers, the spurned spouses, and the generally lovelorn. It is a celebration of everything anti-valentine and down with romance. It's time for...

The Bloody Valentine Horror Event!

This is my annual Facebook/Blog Event for everything anti-valentine. This is an open posting extravaganza so anyone can join in on the macabre fun. And today's blog portion is a horror tale of the wedding from Hell...

Wedding Day

Noah remembered the nightmare. The stone room. The monstrous creatures.
The pain.
He remembered screaming.
And now... the soft comfort of his bed.
I’m awake. I’m awake. It’s over.
He lay in his bed, his heart racing, and stared at his bedroom ceiling. He counted the grooves in the cornices and the decorative plaster roses until his breathing eased and the fright subsided. Then he turned his head, and glanced at the window; slivers of the morning sun crept past the half-open drapes. His new wedding attire hung carefully on a rack beside the casement. Ready. Waiting.
I’m getting married today.
He smiled. Becky.
He sat upright, and then climbed out of bed. As his feet touched the ornate rug, pain stabbed into his back and he tumbled to the floor. Agony sliced through his body and he shrieked, his eyes shutting tight. His body spasmed, and then curled into a ball. He felt a cold hand stroking his cheek, and Becky’s voice whispered, “Don’t fight it. Let the pain take you. Let go...”
The words chased him into oblivion.

Noah heard voices.
“Get him up. It’s time.”
“He’s ready?”
“He’s been prepared. Anymore and he might die.”
“You’re right. These humans are so fragile.”
Humans? Who’s talking? What’s happening to me?
Noah didn’t want to open his eyes, but he did.
Fangs, horns and red eyes stared at him. Clawed hands held his limp body upright. His noticed his shirt was missing, and his skin... what he could see of his body was covered in arcane tattoos.
What have they done to me!  
Noah screamed. He thrashed in the strong grip of his captors.
“Hold him still! Pin his arms! We need to deliver him on time!”
Noah fought, but he had no strength. He could not prevent them from dragging him from his cell.
“Please let me wake up,” he mumbled as unconscious darkness claimed him.

Noah heard music. He opened his eyes.
He stood in front of an altar in his wedding suit. Becky walked down the aisle towards him.
It was just a nightmare. I’m getting married. To my sweet, adoring Becky.
He smiled as his bride stopped in front of him. She lifted her hand and stroked his cheek. He couldn’t stop staring at her.
Noah heard a voice say, “Do you take this female to be your wedded wife?”
“I do.” he replied.
“And do you take this male human to be your wedded husband?”
“I do.”
Noah’s heart raced.
“Then I pronounce you bonded in unholy matrimony! One in blood and in fire for eternity!”
Wait that’s not right. Why would he say that? Noah’s hands trembled, his body shook.
Becky stroked his cheek once more. “Shut your eyes, Noah. And remember.”
Noah dutifully closed his eyes.
Pain shuddered through his body.
Becky’s voice commanded, “Open your eyes, Noah!
His eyelids snapped open. The church, the music, the beautiful wedding, disappeared. Replaced by him tied spread-eagled to iron spikes, encircled by fire and monsters.
But Becky, his beautiful Becky, still stood in front of him.
Still dressed in her wedding... the light shifted, her face changed. Became— Noah gasped.
No, no! That’s not Becky! Red skin, horns, fangs... That thing can’t be... but it has her eyes, her beautiful green eyes.
You can’t be Becky!”
“Oh, but I am. The very one you fell in love with. And married, only moments ago.” The thing that was Becky stepped closer, and stroked his cheek, her claws scratching his skin. “But it is nice to finally show you my true self.” She smiled, her rows of razor-sharp teeth glistening in the firelight. “Hello, husband. Time to kiss the bride.” Noah nearly gagged as she kissed him, her forked tongue flicking down his throat. As she withdrew, the same tongue licked across his lips. Noah shuddered. “No, no, it can’t be.” The whisper resonated in the air, like a mocking chuckle. “We were—this isn’t—the church—our wedding...”
“Sorry, love. All illusions conjured by your mind. You’ve been here for months, my dear."
“Hell, of course. Since the day you asked me to marry you. Or rather asked that human skin I fabricated.” She traced a claw over his tattooed skin. “It takes time to make a human ready.”
“Ready?” Noah’s voice trembled. “Ready for what?”
“To wed a demon.” She smiled, her tongue licking his neck, her claws scraping across his chest. “These symbols bind you to me, bind you to Hell.” She pressed her face next to his; he felt her hot breath wash over his skin. “You are mine, Noah. Our little ritual will bring me great power, and you great pain. Welcome to married life, my love. Welcome to unholy wedded bliss!”
Noah felt something sharp stab into his abdomen, his agony ripping a shriek from his throat. He glanced down to see his wife's claws piercing his body.
"Does that hurt, husband? Too bad, for what wedding would be complete without a feast? Shall we start with your spleen?" She sliced open his stomach and extracted his organ. She took a bite and ate it slowly while he watched. "Very tasty. Perhaps the liver next?"
"Please, please, no!" He moaned, pleading for mercy.
"Shh, shh, Noah." She stroked his cheek and he shied at her touch. "Don't worry, my love. Nothing I do here will kill you. That's what the binding is for. I will eat your insides piece by piece and fill your hollow shell with Hellfire. Then you will be one of us. Won't that be fun?" With a smile, she reached back inside of his abdomen. "Yes, I definitely think the liver, next."
Noah’s unending scream echoed on the trail of her laughter.

© A. F. Stewart 2017 All Rights Reserved 

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Monday, 13 February 2017

Interview With Author Mark Wallace Maguire

Today I have the second part of a two part feature for Mark Wallace Maguire and his book Alexandria Rising with an author interview. Enjoy!

Interview with Mark Wallace Maguire

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself?

I was raised in over a dozen cities throughout the South. I now live south of Atlanta in what I like to call Red Clay Country. My novel, "Alexandria Rising" was published in October 2016. In 2015, my non-fiction book, "Letters from Red Clay Country" was published which featured a selection of my award-winning columns and essays on Southern culture. My writing has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and literary reviews and he has been honored by organizations such as The Associated Press and The Georgia Poetry Society.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

Here is the gist of it without giving away any spoilers: Rand O'Neal, an ambition-less newspaper reporter, is given a single task upon the death of his grandfather: Destroy a mysterious map. What should be a simple errand thrusts Rand into a journey across three countries chased by unknown pursuers into a world he never could have imagined. This book is labelled an action adventure, but contains elements of science fiction, suspense and mystery. It is also the first in a trilogy and a series of prequels. It is also linked to a multi-media website which allows readers to engage with the experience in video, images and interactive appendices.

Why did you decide to write in the action-adventure/sci fi genre?

About three years ago, I had finished a book - unpublished - which was semi-autobiographical. It was a good catharsis, but not very fun to write. I decided then if I was going to write a novel, I wanted to have fun writing it. I had a great time writing ‘Alexandria Rising’ and the readers I’ve talked to enjoyed it as well, so I think having a positive, creative outlook really came through in the words.

What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

I wrote ‘Alexandria Rising’ as an outlet and a way to channel my imagination. Along the way, I was introduced to the ideas of world creation which - while I was aware of i.e. J.R.R. Tolkien, George Lucas, etc. I had not done before to this extent. Discovering that path and challenge has been loads of fun.

What did you find most challenging about writing your book?

Choosing what to leave out can be tough. Also, sometimes boiling things down and trying to make the complicated accessible. That is a chief goal of mine. You don’t want to talk down to your readers so I usually try to disseminate complex ideas through dialogue. 

What did you hope to accomplish by publishing your book?

I hope to become a full time writer. I currently work in media and, while I enjoy my work, I would like to be able to write for a living. 

What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

Time. Finding time is always a challenge. I have a full time job and a family so I write in the margins of life so to speak.

Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

There are so many tremendous writers out there, but, I would really have to name J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Ludlum, Susanna Clarke, C.S. Lewis, T.S. Eliot and Pat Conroy as my top influences. Lewis, Tolkien, Ludlum and Clarke have outstanding imaginations and Conroy and Eliot are simply masters of description.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Any hobbies? My number one passion outside of writing is playing and composing music. I am actually working with a number of musicians now on a musical companion to my novel entitled, ‘Alexandria Rising Rhythms.’ I hope to release it by July.

Are you working on another book?

I am currently working on the sequel to ‘Alexandria Rising’ tentatively called, ‘Alexandria Reborn.’ I am about 48,000 words into the third draft and hope to have it on the market by fall 2017. As I write it, however, I also find myself writing bits and pieces to the prequels as I work to create a world and history around the characters and such. 

About the Author 

Mark Wallace Maguire is a writer, musician and creator who lives south Atlanta in Red Clay Country. He hails from all over the South, having lived in 15 cities across that beautiful and bizarre region. His works include the novel Alexandria Rising and a book of columns and essays on Southern Culture, “Letters from Red Clay Country”. His writing has appeared in dozens of other publications and he is currently working in media in metro Atlanta.

You can read more about his work on his website.

And Alexandria Rising can be found at Amazon

Rand O'Neal, an ambition-less newspaper reporter, is given a single task upon the death of his grandfather: Destroy a mysterious map. What should be a simple errand thrusts Rand into a journey across three countries chased by unknown pursuers into a world he never could have imagined.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

A Fireside Chat with Kent St. James from Alexandria Rising

Today, dear readers, I have another Fireside Chat. Our intrepid fictional interviewer Richard Dale sits down with Kent St. James from the thriller Alexandria Rising by author Mark Wallace Maguire. Plus, be sure to stop by tomorrow as well when I present an interview with the author of Alexandria Rising, Mark Wallace Maguire. Now enjoy the Fireside Chat!

Fireside Chat with Kent St. James

“Welcome everyone, to another Fireside Chat. Im Richard Dale, your host. Today, our guest is the enigmatic Kent St. James, secret society member and Director of The Organization. Welcome Mr. St. James.” Richard Dale holds out a hand in greeting.

St. James takes the hand warmly, holds onto the hand a bit too long for Richards comfort and stares hard into his eyes. A silence bordering on uncomfortable surrounds the two before Kent finally says: “Of course, thank you, Richard, though enigmatic might be a bit over the top.”

“Why dont we begin with some personal tidbits, shall we? Exactly who is Kent St. James? What makes you tick?”

“What an interesting question. You can call me The Director. I oversee the efforts of what we now call The Organization, but, prior has been called everything from The Guardians to – in a nod to our Latin roots - The Tutores. My job – such a vulgar word isnt it? – or rather my calling has me overseeing the work of The Organization which is engaged in everything from cultural manipulation to neo-psychological research and archaeology across the globe. And, what makes one tick? Were all motivated by something, are we not? If anything makes me tick it is the betterment of our species I am always seeking to create new avenues to improve on our speciescondition. Rather faux noble or hubristic some might say but true nonetheless.”

Richard Dale smiles. “Fascinating. Such views makes one ponder your upbringing. Which brings me to my next question. What is your fondest childhood memory?”

“This might sound trite, but we had a gardener, Old Eckbert. He was rather harmless, but was large, strong, quite muscular. One day, he dug up some peonies by mistake. He only scooped out one or two and they could have easily been re-planted, but the way my father handled him made a deep impression on me. He did not yell or even raise his voice, but with his sheer words, he had the man trembling and, soon thereafter, weeping. I learned then that while brute force is important there are other, more potent ways in which to control your inferiors. I also realized then that my father was not ordinary and I wanted to be like him.”

I see.” A slight note of disapproval creeps into Richard Dale’s tone. “While at Oxford University a close friend of yours died under mysterious circumstances. How did you deal with that incident, and how did it effect you?

“Pardon me? How did you come across that — er- information? Richard von Licht was my friend. A close friend. As to how he died, I have no idea. I was in Surrey visiting my mother that weekend. They found him on the chapel steps at Magdalen College at Oxford. Rather frightening….That is all I have to say on the matter. I was cleared by the police, you know. That happened more than 50 years ago. I am afraid I cant help you much there, old boy. Sorry.”

Richard leans forward slightly. “Why are you a member of a secret society Mr. St. James? Why did you join the Organization?”

“I guess the question would truly be, ‘why not?I was recruited, rather invited, to join The Organization to help develop this orb into a better place. I did not seek it, they, rather, sought me. It is an honor and one I do not hold lightly, Richard, and so should you if you care to finish this interview.”

Richard chuckles slightly.“It wouldn’t be the first time someone walked out on an interview Mr. St. James. But as you’re still here, care to elaborate on the workings of this society? Perhaps in regards to the Slendoc Meridian?”

“Ah, well, if we’ve waded this far, I will humor you. The Slendoc Meridian is a curvature of stones that runs through the earth’s core. Slendoc: The name is of old Atlantean origin so, of course, you dont recognize it. It means quite simply, ‘sacredfor lack of a better word though it has also been interpreted as ‘magicor ‘light-giving’ – ‘illuminated.It is not a straight line, like latitude and longitude, but a curvature. We’ve lost large portions of it, however, due to time. Plates shift. Earthquakes and the like. But, back to your point, we, The Organization, work to gather, secure these stones. Then we harness its power to grant us illumination which we then use to aid humanity. Real power is not in conquering land or shaping politics – though we do have a hand in that as well - but in true change. Like the birth of the Industrial Age, the discovery of flight, the Atomic Bomb, this technological revolution were undergoing right now. We’ve been gathering the fragments from The Meridian for the last hundreds of years. We hope to make some major breakthroughs soon.”

Ah, theres Jenkins with our refreshment. What do you have today, Jenkins?”
“I have a delightful English Breakfast tea, sir. And fresh from the over blueberry scones with clotted cream and raspberry jam.” Jenkins turns to Kent St. James. “Would you care for a cup and a scone, sir?” Jenkins sets the tray down and waits.

“No scone for me. And tea? Are we old ladies? I prefer something more fortifying. Do you mind if I smoke?”

Richard nods politely at his guest. “Go ahead.” He turns back to Jenkins. “It looks scrumptious as always, our guest’s loss for not partaking. I’ll have my usual cup, and a scone with jam.”

As Kent St. James lights a cigarette, Jenkins pours one cup and prepares the scone. He serves Richard before retreating.

Richard Dale sips his tea and asks, “In your own opinion, what is your best feature, and your worst habit?”

“My best features are my intelligence, my lack of fear and my ability to act without hesitation. All traits of a good leader. My worst habit? I really dont have any, though  I have been told I enjoy tobacco too much for my own good.”

“What is your opinion of human beings, Mr. St. James?”

“We are a fairly dreadful species who cant seem to stay out of own way. We are weak. Despondent. Easily distracted. We need help, direction and motivation and that is what The Organization does.”

“Who, Mr. St. James, would you consider your enemies?”

“Until recently, I thought I had none. Now, I am gathering reports of a splinter group within the Organization. I do not know who they are, but, trust me, they will be dealt with strictly when they are discovered. And discovered they will be."

To end on a lighter note, what is your favourite era of human history?

“The one I am about to enact.”

Richard Dale leans back into his chair with a cold smile. “Thank you, Kent St. James, for this intriguing interview.”

And don't forget, tomorrow we have an interview with the author of Alexandria Rising, Mark Wallace Maguire. 

Alexandria Rising by Mark Wallace Maguire

Rand O'Neal, an ambition-less newspaper reporter, is given a single task upon the death of his grandfather: Destroy a mysterious map. What should be a simple errand thrusts Rand into a journey across three countries chased by unknown pursuers into a world he never could have imagined.

Alexandria Rising is available on Amazon

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