Friday, June 24, 2011

Turning by Dawn Kirby

Game Plan

Thomas eyed the girl Lanie had brought over carefully. Pretty, slender, blond. He should have known she’d pick a friend with all the qualities she hated. Had Lanie looked a little harder she would have seen this young lady may not have been the best candidate. Her mind was strong. Not so strong that he couldn’t get in, but it would take a lot more time than he’d originally planned.

Reprogramming the human was a fairly simple procedure. In fact it was his specialty. But even Thomas had to admit Lanie’s friend would be a challenge. With this girl he’d have to make a physical as well as a mental connection to Nicholas. Mere pictures wouldn’t work here. To do that he needed to catch his friend off guard. If his plan was to be successful, Nicholas couldn’t remember seeing her at all. At least not in his presence.

At that moment a plan hit him. He spied Lanie’s phone on the patio table and smiled. A simple text from a simple girl would do the trick quite nicely. Nicholas already knew how scatterbrained Lanie could be at times. Her not remembering one teensy text message out of who knows how many she sent out a night would be no surprise.

As soon as he picked through her brain for the pass code, he found “Nicky’s” number. The message he sent was short and sweet…“Some 1 u shld meet! C U soon!”

He tossed the phone back on the table and stepped back into the house. The girls were so busy enjoying the hot tub they hadn’t even noticed he’d been there. Lanie would be surprised to see Nicholas, sure. Most likely confused when he asked about the text. Though he was sure she’d play it off nicely. She always did. Irregardless, the bait girl would have him on her mind when the time came for Thomas to beat her to a bloody pulp.

A cold laugh rang through the house when he thought of the image he could conjure up. Oh yes, she would get the beating of her life. Even though it would be him doing it, the only man she would see would be Nicholas. Ah, he could see her reaction now. The fear he’ll instill in her will be more than enough to convince Alana.

Once he decided to reveal himself to Alana this girl would be such an important part of her life there would be no way she would ever let him in. Not when she sees how much her new friend fears him. Nicholas would object to her claims, but against the word, the horrific memory he’d place inside her mind, he’d fail miserably.

Thomas rounded the corner and descended down into the cool basement thoroughly pleased with himself. Two days ago he’d had little more than a vague idea about how to win Alana’s favor. Now he held not only one trump card, but two.

“Stupid, stupid man,” he chuckled as he flipped the light on. He made his way to the canopy bed at the back of the room. A nasty smile plastered on his face. “It’s truly a shame this thing has turned out to be so simple. Really Nicholas, I would have expected so much more from you.”

Pulling the sheer curtain back, he sat down on the bed to check his new protégé’s progress. One night was unfortunately not enough. He’d need at least two more before the transformation was complete. If Thomas was stern he could acclimate the man to the change quickly and Plan B could proceed. “Plan B” meaning Plan Ben.

Another laugh filled the air. This one as chilling as the room itself. The news was already reporting the miraculous escape of a very dangerous, very disturbed criminal. Police were combing the nearby towns for him. Staking out Alana’s house. Scouring his relatives homes and businesses looking for him. Little did they know he’d been the fortunate victim of a half ass assassination attempt.

“Stupid man,” he repeated. “You let your anger control the kill. How many times have I told you to focus on the heart? The brain? You left him too soon, dear friend.” He sighed deeply, closing his eyes, remembering the magnificent feeling of giving his life to another. “How fortunate for me.”

He looked down at the lifeless man, curious to see what kind of vampire a man like him would make. A nasty one for sure. A heartless one? Definitely. Poor Alana. She’ll have many, many sleepless nights ahead of her. And if all goes well Thomas will be the one she turns to for comfort. Once he has his fun, and oh yes it will be fun, he’ll release the dog lying before him now and she’ll sleep forever. Of course he’ll make Ben wait to kill her until he knows Nicholas has been completely and utterly destroyed. This whole plan would be a waste otherwise.

Nicholas would no doubt take the blame for Ben being turned. After all, he’d been the one to put the pieces in place. He’ll probably even confess as much to her in her dreams. Thomas planned to make sure that would be the only way he’d be able to get to her. But by then it would be too late. She’ll feel nothing but contempt for him thanks to the future “victim” currently sitting in his hot tub. Dear, sweet, sincere Nicholas will be turned into a monster by one brilliantly placed memory. Albeit a false one…

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Writing Wrongs by Julie Morrigan

I'm really happy to welcome Julie Morrigan to My Friends Call Me Kate.  She's been kind enough to take some time out of her schedule to discuss with us some Writing Wrongs.  Excellent advice!

When Sabrina asked me if I would like to write a guest blog post, I jumped at the chance. Then I had to decide what on earth to write about. Since I’m a writer, I decided to write about writing, partly because wherever I look lately it seems that someone’s dictating what it is that writers should and shouldn’t do. Some of these people have experience and credibility and what they say makes sense, others … well, let’s draw a veil over the others. But why — other than in relation to spelling and grammar — do we need rules in the first place?

For me, rules are like directions: they keep me on track. Having said that, if from time to time I want to take a shortcut through the woods or even ramble along the scenic coastal route, I will. Half the fun of rules is bending them to suit your desires. So, for good or ill, I want to share with you some of the directions I follow when I’m writing.

1. Keep things clean. Use ‘said’ more often than any other word when writing dialogue. Use exclamation marks sparingly, if at all. Keep adverbs to a bare minimum. Don’t repeat yourself. Don’t pad the word count with pretty words, phrases or scenes that don’t move the story forward.

2. Write what you enjoy reading. If you aren’t having fun with your writing, how do you expect anyone else to? And if there isn’t some sort of payoff for the effort, why are they going to read it in the first place? If you want to read something that isn’t currently available — kangaroo cops, vampires in space — the chances are other people will be interested in that stuff, too. (Although it might be a good idea to steer clear of stories about milk-fed kitten gimps or zombie nuns on acid, just ‘cos … you know … your mum wouldn’t understand.)

While we’re on the subject of writing what you want to read, let’s have a go at the seemingly ubiquitous advice to ‘write what you know’. And, once and for all, shoot it dead. Imagine if Philip K Dick or HP Lovecraft or, for that matter, Raymond Chandler had written about only what they knew? The world would be a poorer place for them not having allowed their imagination free rein. Of course what we write is coloured by our personal experiences, likes and dislikes, but that doesn’t mean that our writing can’t transcend those experiences. ‘What if …?’ questions are a great way to get things moving. For my money, it’s far better to write what you can imagine. And you can incorporate what you know on that bigger, broader canvas by using your knowledge and experience of people, conflict, jealousy, love, hatred …

3. Get to the end, no matter what. Some days, the words will sulk onto the page like goths into a sports bar, other days they’ll pour forth like laughing pixies at a fairy wedding. However they’re moving, get ‘em all out and be done with your tale. Type ‘The End’. When you’ve finished, let it mature: especially with longer pieces, let them sit awhile before you go back and edit them. Stephen King recommends six weeks minimum. I have done this and it truly works — you get some distance, you can look at stuff with perspective, and that first read through of something that has both a freshness and a familiarity (it’s your words written in your style, after all) is an absolute blast, even if you also end up with a ‘fix it’ list a mile long.

4: The most important thing is to end up with the best story you can possibly write, whether it’s a flash piece or a seven book series. Write it, edit it, have someone else edit it, polish it, proofread it … and then, when it is all spick and span, dressed in a fresh pinafore, hair beribboned, eager little face all shiny and clean (or more likely, when it’s wearing smudged eyeliner, scarlet lipstick, six inch heels and ripped fishnets) only then let it out into the world. The world will love you for it. Your story will rock.

As I mentioned at the start, these are my directions, they help me to get to where I want to go. There are admittedly times when I slip up a little, but as a general set of directions they serve me well. You may find that some or all of these help you — or they may hinder you. You’ll no doubt, if you haven’t already, develop your own set of directions to help you get to where you want to go.

In the interests of being helpful to everyone, I’d like to give the last word on the subject to Allan Guthrie, who with his tipsheet Hunting Down The Pleonasm created something truly useful. He even gives us permission to ignore what he says. That’s my kind of rulebook.

Thanks, Sabrina, for letting me camp out on your blog. It’s been great fun (for me, at least!)

Julie Morrigan lives by the seaside in the north east of England. You can find her blogging at

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Gone Bad by Julie Morrigan

A few years ago my husband's work took him to Jackson Hole, Wyoming to help with the building of the Four Season's Resort.  He lived in Jackson Hole for two years, coming home on the weekends when he could and on occasion I would make the drive his way. During one particular visit I presented him with a landscaping plan to complete the back and front yard (we were in a newer home and the work still needed to be done in the back and I decided to add some different landscaping to the front while we were at it).  I can name a thousand things that bug me about my yard, but the one thing that I'm always reminded of when people make comments about it is the alleged affair that came with it.

I had hired a friend of a friend who owned a landscaping company to do the work for us.  They worked during the day while I was at work and would leave shortly after I arrived home. They started the work in September right around the time the days were getting shorter and  the nights were arriving earlier. (Okay that sentence totally wasn't necessary, but I'm leaving it 'cause it totally sounds like me).

Anyway... the day before a big shipment of rocks were going to be delivered I came home from work to find none of the landscapers there. In fact, it was pretty obvious no one had been there at all that day. I thought it strange since I never received any calls about a problem, and I even started worrying when it was clear the rest of the watering system pipes weren't going to be completed before the next days rock delivery.

I was just getting ready to call my friend when the doorbell rang. It was Brad. You could tell by looking at him that there was a problem, but before I could even ask him what was wrong he started to tell me.

"My sister-in-law committed suicide today. I've been with the family and at the hospital making arrangements with them and trying to take care of my wife who is, as you can imagine, devastated. We had no idea anything was wrong with her, Sabrina. We're all in shock. I was wondering if you'd mind if I worked late into the night to complete the pipes. I brought a couple of outdoor lights, and I'm thinking that if you open all of the blinds and turn on the interior lighting I'll have enough light to complete the job tonight. I'll be back in a couple of days to move the rocks and get the boulders set."

Obviously I didn't care if he worked late. I even offered to help. And even if I had known my neighbors would be watching the clock and reporting back to my spouse... I still would have had him work late.  It wasn't until the phone rang early the next morning that I was informed of my misdeed.  Those of you that know me probably can imagine how well that went over.

And now you're probably wondering how this leads into my review of Gone Bad by Julie Morrigan, aren't you?  Well let me tell you. Gone Bad is a collection of 18 tales of crime ranging from little child killers, rapists, murderers, people making bad assumptions, and other people being cruel just because they can be.  The interesting thing about all of the stories is that they are told in such a way that you can actually imagine them happening to you, eh... scratch that part. What I'm trying to say is that the stories are written with an incredible sense of realism. The descriptions. The conversations. You literally see the scenes unfold before you, and the endings for some of the stories come fast and they hit hard. 

The story Watching was the most powerful for me because I've been a victim of people watching me from the sidelines and making assumptions about my activities.  Watching is a story about a father who has never really cared for his son-in-law. In fact, his dislike for him is so strong he hires people to follow him around and snap photos.  True, his son-in-law has a standing appointment every Tuesday and Thursday inside a house with a female, but that doesn't mean anything inappropriate is going on, does it? Does it?  I guess you'll have to read the story and find out.

I also enjoyed Searching, the story about a search for a missing girl. Short and shocking is the only way I can describe this one.  From the beginning of the story you think you know the truth, but can't possibly believe it to be the truth when the story is over.  I had such a sense of disbelief when I finished this story that I actually read it over again.  I read it again tonight before writing this review and I'm still in awe.

Devlin, Me and Cherry B is a story that will put the brakes on any idea you might be having about starting an affair with... well, with any one. Really. Just when you start to think there is going to be a happy ending, everything gets knocked off balance and your left screaming at your Kindle begging Ange to get out before it's too late. "Walk away from the eye-candy with the blue and chocolate brown eyes, Ange. Walk. Away."  Yeah, this story... made me scared.

Gone Bad by Julie Morrigan is an amazing collection of short stories that you should definitely add to your Kindle.

Gone Bad is available on the Kindle and Smashwords for $0.99.

Julie Morrigan lives by the seaside in the north east of England. You can find her blogging at

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Click x 3

I picked up three great things for my Kindle this week. 

Nothing but goodness abounds in this collection, and the first story... it totally ROCKS!  Okay... ALL the stories rock in this collection, but the main character in the first story is named Sabrina. Excellent story, Joelle! You done good. =)

All I know about this book is that it was recommended by someone on Twitter and after reading some of the reviews I thought it would be a great series to follow from the beginning.  According to reviews, Jack Lassiter is a former pro-football player turned trial lawyer. I hear he has an attitude... I'm thinking he might be cute, too.

"From the trenches of WWI to the abandoned rowhomes of Baltimore; From a rural charnel house to the Texas-Mexican border these six stories explore the dark heart of crime fiction today... Speedloader is six stories slammed home and ready to kill."

Friday, June 17, 2011

Turning by Dawn Kirby

Sweet Revenge

Ben stretched out on the bed, staring at the ceiling, lost in his thoughts. Flashes of his life over the past three years raced through his head. Infatuation, love, lies and finally revenge. All of it had been Alana’s fault. All she had to do was understand.

The “cheating” as she referred to it had been a simple one night stand. He couldn’t help it if he’d gotten a little drunk while she was away. Who knew some hot chick was gonna come up to him at the bar and bang him in the bathroom? Certainly not him. But who was he to say no? Last time he checked it was okay to be lonely.

Furious he kicked the wall. The pain shooting through his naked foot reminded him of exactly where his anger had led.

“Damn you, Alana,” he whispered, sitting up to rub his toes. “You put me here.”

“No, you put you here,” a cool voice said. Ben strained his eyes to see the speaker with no luck. A cold chill ran up his spine. Had he fallen asleep and missed them tossing this guy in with him? “We are alone, yes?”

“Who are you?” he asked desperately. Ben hadn’t had a roommate in months. Though he did miss the company, he wasn’t real sure he wanted to be anywhere near this haunting voice. “How did you get in here?”

“How I got here is not important,” the man said. Ben jumped realizing the voice was now standing right in front of him. “The reason I’m here however is.”

“An-n-nd what would that be?” he asked reaching for the shank he kept stuffed inside his thin pillow.

“You’ve committed a horrible crime.”

“That wasn’t my fault.” One second the weapon was in his hand and the next it was gone.

“Not your fault?” Nicholas let invisibility fall to the wayside. He wanted to look this bastard in the eye. Ben jumped back, slamming his head against the wall behind him. “Coward.”

“Dude, you try watching some guy just pop in here sometime. See how you react.” He rubbed his head trying to ease the pain. “You’re lucky I didn’t crack it open. I’d had your head for that.”

“Doubtful,” Nicholas said flatly. He turned the shank over on his hand and looked curiously at Ben. “You expected to defend yourself with this?”

“I did,” Ben said trying to steel his nerves.

“You would have failed.” No longer interested, he tossed it back to Ben. He knew the idiot would try to use it, but turned his back on him anyway.

“Would I?” Ben launched himself off the bed and plunged the knife deep into Nicholas’ side. “Looks like I did just fine. Now what?”

Nicholas turned around to face him and yanked the knife from his side. A slight trickle of blood oozed from the wound. A calm smile appeared as he watched the color drain from Ben’s face. This was going to be fun.

“Who the hell are you?”

“My name is Nicholas,” he said, bowing his curtly. “I am a friend of Alana’s. That makes you my enemy.”

“Whoa, bud.” A sudden need to be as far away from this guy as possible overtook him. He slipped past Nicholas and into a corner. “I love that woman. I only did what I did because she makes me crazy. Seeing her with that guy-”

“Her friend,” Nicholas reminded him. “That young man was her friend. Nothing more.”

“Whatever dude,” Ben said looking around the room for an escape. “She never shoulda been with him. I warned her.”

“Benjamin, I cannot begin to tell you how much I loathe being called a dude,” Nicholas sighed. “I gave you my name for a reason. Please use it.”

“Do you see where you are?” Ben snorted. “This is my house. I’ll call you whatever I want to.”

In less than a second he closed the distance between them. He simply couldn’t stomach the attitude anymore. Ben’s eyes grew to the size of saucers when he saw the pristine white glint of fangs peek out from underneath Nicholas’ upper lip. Shock gave way to paralyzing fear. Nicholas seized his opportunity and sank his teeth deep into Ben’s shoulder.

Nicholas projected the memory of his hands on Alana’s body, exploring her, touching her into his victim’s mind. Ben’s anger, even in this state, boiled over. Nicholas fed off it. His hunger grew tenfold. Ben’s blood pumped harder; faster as he devoured every drop. Only when the flow slowed did he break his hold.

“Alana belongs to me,” Nicholas told him. Blood trickled down his chin. Ben’s pulse slowed to a crawl. “You’ve terrorized her. You’ve hurt her. For that I send you straight to hell.”

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Drawn From Reality by Rachel Hubbell

A couple of weeks before I was married my father called to tell me that he had been in contact with a daughter that none of his children had ever met. Long story short... he was married to a woman before my mother. They had a child. They divorced. He never saw her again. The only picture we had of her was from when she was two.

Her name was Becky.

Becky kind of floated into our lives with no warning. She attended my wedding with our father; it was awkward with it being our first meeting and all. She eventually packed her things from Pennsylvania and moved to the Oregon Coast. She bought a house and had my father move in... and she created a family unit out of a family that never really existed.

We all grew to love Becky. She was wonderful, really. Always giving. Always wanting us to grow closer as a family; to forget the past and start new.

In all honesty, it was the greatest three years of my life.

Becky was diagnosed with colon cancer and died three years after she had become a true part of the family. It was heart breaking. For a family that was still struggling from the loss of a wife and mother several, several years before, Becky's death became a reminder, for some, of all the bad in the world. 

I think Becky knew that we'd become discouraged. I think she knew that she was the only thing that was making us function as a family. And I think she knew deep down that she couldn't keep us united as a family after she died, but could at least give us a part of her to keep with us as a reminder of how good things used to be...

She created books for us that held her poetry, personal thoughts, journal entries and pictures that she would doodle.  I love my copies and I still find myself reading through the pages and remembering the few activities that we did spend together as a family. It's a nice reminder to have and it also helps with those days when I'm looking for a little extra something to get me through the day.

Drawn From Reality by Rachel Hubbell is a collection of poems and personal thoughts born out of personal struggle and perseverance.  Extremely moving, this collection is full of one woman's love and excitement for the opportunity to just live life.  Rachel Hubbell has battled breast cancer twice, and now struggles with life as a woman living with Lupus Nephritis.

With many uplifting thoughts and poems to choose from, FOREVER, was the one that touched me the most.

today is different enveloped inside of assurance,
of days gone by
repetition is eventful
repetition is known
tomorrow is the same
enclosed inside of regret for future days to come
repetition is eventful
repetition is known
looking through the eyes of the unborn
knowing not what the future will hold
if any at all
repetition is inevitable
repetition is the end...
ever moving forward,
uncertainty all around
unable to stop...
venturing ever forward
the future, past and present
the unknown synonymous with each other...
a term
which never
ends, never

I'm touched by Rachel's collection of poetry because I know what it's like to struggle and endure and persevere and succeed. I'm touched by Rachel because of her excitement to live life and to share goodness with others.

And I'm touched by her simplicity. She shared this is about the "why" behind her writing...

I started writing at age 5 about the abuse I suffered at the hands of a family member and as a release it just flourished. When I had cancer twice and abusive marriages I poured it out into my poems in hopes that it would inspire and help others through any difficult times in their lives. It has been very cathartic for me and I write every day, I even carry a pad with me and recorder to document that inspiration in life.
Drawn by Reality is a wonderful collection of inspiring poems and thoughts and even come with pages available to encourage the reader to write their own. I think knowing some of the reasons behind why Rachel writes makes the collection that much more valuable to the reader. You can read more about Rachel Hubbell on her website at


I was playing with my purchase order and trying to figure out how comes up with their shipping costs when my hubby interrupted me so I could talk with the Comcast girl that came knockin' on our door. Instead of just walking away I decided to just finish through the last remaining steps... checked the shipping box I was willing to pay for... entered the discount code... placed the order.  Nothing unusual, really. 

Then I went upstairs to chat with Ms. Comcast.  While she was on the phone talking to her people, my husband gets a phone call from some company wanting to do an unscheduled phone interview to discuss a job application and leaves the room. 

I'm stuck. No place to go. No where to hide. Just me and Ms. Comcast and two dogs fighting over their rawhide bones. 

Thirty minutes later and I'm sitting at the table listening to the sounds of Ms. Comcast chatting away with her network of people on her cell phone and my husband on his cell phone in the master bedroom tripping over every word because he's not prepared for a phone interview with some super secret spy plane company at seven in the evening with no warning.

And what am I doing?  I'm at the kitchen table trying to remember if I had changed the number of copies of NEEDLE I was going to order when I decided to play around with their shipping costs.

That's when I get an email to my phone. is sending me a copy of my purchase order and...

The discount code worked.

The shipping didn't cost as much as I thought it would.

I have 9 copies of NEEDLE coming to me, which means...


Send your addresses to  I went with the slowest shipping date possible for the cheapest rate... (thank goodness). As soon as these puppies land in my hot little hands, they'll be shipped back out to you. 

But... shhhhhhhhh! This little screw up is our little secret, k?

You got to love Ms. Comcast tonight!

Monday, June 13, 2011

NEEDLE: A Magazine of Noir

The Spring 2011 issue is ready, and to celebrate I'm giving away two copies!

I've talked about NEEDLE before, but just in case you're new to the blog and don't know...

NEEDLE is a thrice-yearly magazine with the best kick-ass collection of short stories you'll ever find in one place.  NEEDLE be AWESOME! 

And the writers... they ROCK! 

All you need to do to get your hands on a copy is leave a comment. I'll choose a winner at random on Wednesday! If you don't leave an email address for me, make sure to check the blog Wednesday night! 

For my coworkers that would like a copy of NEEDLE, I will be placing an order in a couple of days. I believe I can get a 20% discount, so now would be the time to order.  If you want one just let me know.  The cost is $7.50 minus 20%. You do the math, k? And so there is NO confusion for my coworkers... If you leave a comment you'll be entered in the drawing to win a copy. But... if you don't win and still want one, let me know. 

You can order your own copy of NEEDLE... HERE!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Click x 6 and A Little Extra

Another week and six more clicks have landed me with some pretty good deals on my Kindle.

FREE  L.A. Noire: The Collected Stories by Rockstar Games

$3.99  Dust Devils by Roger Smith

$2.99  The Fixer: A Lawson Vampire Novel 1 by John F. Merz

$2.99  Follow the Money by Fingers Murphy

$0.99  Street Raised by Pearce Hansen

$0.99  Adventures of Cash Laramie and Gideon Miles by Edward A. Grainger

In other news:

A twitter friend of mine, Anthony Schiavino, is giving us access to his incredibly cool comic SERGEANT ZERO for FREE!

JOSEPH SINCLAIR, a soldier top-of-his-class, is approached by R.A.D.I.O. (Research And Defense Initiative Organization) just before WWII to take part in a top-secret government program. One that will prepare America for what is about to come, and her last hope in the ‘ZERO HOUR.’ Over the course of months, through draconian surgery and previously failed experimentation, Joe is transformed and given a code name for the masses: SERGEANT ZERO.

Scenes from Reigning Fire

He sees action for the first time in the Black Forest, Germany. His unit, complete with photographer for propaganda initiatives (pulps, slicks, and celluloid), goes over the border from southern France, to a small town in the heart of the forest where they find Krieger Keep. Intelligence believes this to be a place of interest to Hitler. What they find, however, is something more sinister than any tangible artifact: a gateway into a Lovecraftian world.

Flash forward ten years. Joe wakes from night tremors in his downtown tenement. Memories of his tour twisted and different somehow, not at all what he experienced.

It could be the post traumatic stress.

It could be something more.

SERGEANT ZERO has all but faded from the public’s memory.

Coming back from the war, he’s vowed to never again pick up a gun. Even to protect himself. But the headlines read of rape and murder throughout the Lower East End, and when young newspaper girl Elizabeth Parker is threatened by a serial killer, Joe must break his vow.

His soul be damned.

You can find out more about Anthony Schiavino and SERGEANT ZERO HERE! There's even a really cool video you can watch! Oh, and before I forget... Anthony is CURRENTLY LOOKING FOR AN ARTIST. INTERESTED?

Friday, June 10, 2011

Turning by Dawn Kirby


Nicholas followed Alana up the stairs and into her bedroom. He stopped abruptly at the door, inhaling the scent deeply. The room smelled like her; a warm mixture of newly bloomed roses and vanilla. Never again would he see a rose quite the same way again.

As he stepped over the threshold, Alana disappeared into the bathroom leaving a trail of clothes behind her. Instead of using the power of invisibility to slip inside the bathroom and watch every graceful move she made, he chose to sit in the chase lounge and wait for her. There would be plenty of nights they would share the shower together.

A rare smile appeared thanks to that thought. After caressing her soft skin last night, tasting her sweet lips; being with her again had been all he could think about. He wanted to explore every inch of her body with his lips. He wanted to run his fingers through her hair as her body writhed against his. Dear God how he wanted her.

His thoughts were cut short when he heard the shower cut off. Within minutes he was treated to the beautiful sight of his future companion, wrapped in nothing more than a plush towel, fall into bed. She pulled the pillow close and closed her eyes. A harsh knock outside her door startled them both. Nicholas stood up ready to defend her. Thomas’s challenge to win Alana’s affections first had never really left his mind.

“Sis? You awake?” Matt asked from the doorway.

“If I was, I’m not now,” she mumbled. She rolled over to look at him. “If you’re here to lecture me again you can forget it. It’s late and I’m tired.”

“I’m not,” he assured her. Thanks to his long legs, it took him all of five strides to be at her bedside. “I just wanted to tell you I’m sorry. I shouldn’t push you like that.”

“You shouldn’t, but I know why you do.” She sat up, securing her towel tightly. “One day maybe I will find somebody. Maybe even have a family. Right now though. Right now I just can’t think of things like that. Ben did a number on me, Matt. I can’t just forgive, forget and move on just like that. I need time.”

“The nightmares are back, aren’t they?” His eyes begged her to tell him different, but he already knew she couldn’t.

“I had one last night.”

Matt’s green eyes shot to a scar just visible above the fold of the towel. Nicholas looked closer. Anger rose when he realized it was in the shape of the heel of a boot. The son of a bitch had stomped on her chest so hard he’d left an imprint. How could he have missed that the night before?

“Does it still hurt? Your chest I mean.” For months after the attack she’d told him it felt like needles were constantly being shoved through her chest. Even after x-rays and MRI’s none of the doctors could say why. “They did say it wo-”

“Not as much anymore,” she said covering the spot quickly. “I’m really tired, Matt. Can we have this talk some other time?”

“Nah, we don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.” He leaned over and kissed her forehead. “I wasn’t kidding when I said I was sorry. As much as I hate seeing you this way, its time I learned to accept that this is the way things are for you.”

“Thank you.” She wanted to say more, but tears of relief had choked off the words.

“None necessary,” he said. “I should’ve accepted things a long time ago.”

Alana laid back and stared up at the ceiling. Leave it to him to knock the relaxed feeling right out of her. Her brother always means well, but he never will understand exactly how much his questions hurt. Physical pain is all he sees. The emotional scars are the ones that run the deepest for her. The scar on her chest was nothing compared to the scar she now wore on her soul.

Suddenly a feeling of security settled over her. It covered her with the warmth of a freshly dried blanket. Nicholas had crawled into bed unseen beside her. His power of persuasion tricking her mind. She couldn’t remember what she’d been thinking. It was unpleasant; that she could recall, but as to what the thought was specifically she had not a clue.

Nicholas placed his cool hand on her cheek slowly taking her memories and etching them into his. She would never forget the pain of her brutal attack, but he could make them harder to remember.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Rabid Child by Pete Risley

I was first introduced to roaches when I lived in Hawaii during my sixth grade year.  They were big bugs, and some even had wings. I remember one night while washing dishes at the kitchen sink I kept getting the distinct feeling that I was being watched, and sure enough... I looked up and there on the edge of the paper towel dispenser was the biggest roach I had ever seen. I'm talking two inches long with those feeler things that stood out past his head another inch, maybe even more. And before I even had a chance to freak out and do the sudden scream, flap my arms like a bird, and turn around and run maneuver... he took flight.

I'd never seen a roach fly before. Up until that point, all of the roaches I had ever encountered only skittered across the floor as if in a drunken dance. Well this guy wasn't skittering anywhere, he was flying. Right at me. Right at my head! So I ducked. Then I chased him down with a frying pan. 

I never caught him. 


If there was anything good that came from this experience, it helped to prepare me for life as a missionary living in the poverty stricken area of Las Vegas where apartment complex owners NEVER bothered to spray for bugs. 

We lived in this one apartment where we would sleep with our head under the covers and the blankets tucked in around us. During the night we'd hear distinct *thuds* as the roaches would fall from the ceiling and land on our beds.  We could never sit on the furniture because if we did, the roaches would be crawling on us within seconds. SECONDS.

In your hair. Down your shirt. Across your legs.  They lived in the refrigerator and the cupboards. They lived in the bathroom. They lived in our clothes in the closet. And they lived in the oven. We only found out about the oven residents when we decided to cook a casserole for dinner and upon removing it from the oven, found it decorated with roaches.

It was disgusting. Truly disgusting.

Okay. So what does all of this have to do with the book I read? Not much of anything, really. I mean, there were a couple of scenes where roaches were mentioned. I think one was on a lampshade at the beginning of the book, and the next time they were mentioned, one was crawling across the TV. But the mere fact that I knew they were in the house where Desmond Cray found himself living again, was enough to freak me out. Seriously. When he'd go to sleep at night, all I could see were roaches.  The thought made me cringe. I dreamt of roaches for days.

In Pete Risley's, Rabid Child you'll read about the unusual life of Desmond Cray. Desmond ran away from  his foster parents after an incident had taken place, and at the beginning of the book you find him homeless. Desmond doesn't have any friends and he has a very unusual habit. Or... a strange addiction. 

Out and about one night doing things that most people wouldn't be doing, he is discovered by his former foster mother that happens to be driving by.  After insisting that he come home with her, Desmond is thrown into a world full of disgusting chaos caused from the dementia of the foster mother, the psychological melt down of her daughter, the sick and twisted needs of an elderly gentleman living there, the horrific ideals of the wealthy, and of course his past, which inevitably catches up with him.

From the ramblings of a woman that clearly lost her sanity years ago, from  a daughter struggling to find  the best way to care for her demented mother, the world created by Pete Risley is often disturbing, creepy, downright vile, and just plain bizarre.

Part of Desmond wants to leave, but he never does until the end of the book where everything that could possibly go wrong, does.  The hardest part for me while reading this book was actually fooling myself into thinking something good was finely going to happen in Desmond's life.  I honestly thought he had a future full of love and happiness.

Boy was I wrong.

Which is good.  I think I enjoyed the surprises that kept coming. I mean, seriously. Just when I thought I had read the worst that could possibly happen in the book, another incident would take place leaving me shaking my head. And just when I thought the book was about to settle down again and that a happy ending was just around the corner... I'd be wrong.  And a little worried.  Worried because the book ends with Desmond Cray on the run again.  Leaving me to wonder if there might be a sequel to Desmond's life.

I really am curious to know what happens next. Does Desmond get help? Does he continue on the same path of personal destruction?  Will you ever give him a happy ending, Mr. Risley?  I really want to know if he's forever taking up residence in the drain pipe where he moves "swiftly and silently, under the shadows, away from the light."

Disturbing. Shocking.  This won't be an average read for many.  Christopher Ransom, author of The Birthing House, says that Rabid Child by Pete Risley is "a perverse and disturbing tale of broken souls searching for love that is bracing but surprisingly affecting."   Yep. That about sums it up!   As bizarre as the book was, I actually enjoyed it,  and look forward to reading more work written by Pete Risley.

PETE RISLEY lives alone in a tiny, cluttered house in a deteriorating neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. You can sample Pete's writing at Pulp Metal Magazine HERE!

Rabid Child is available on the KINDLE  for $3.99.

DISCLAIMER:  "Up until that point, all the roaches I had ever encountered only skittered across the floor as if in a drunken dance." This sentence was created using feedback from some of my most awesome-est twitter friends.  The word "skitter" was suggested to describe a roach running across the floor when I asked my twitter friends for another word to describe them. "Drunken dance" came from my friend Spencer. I told him ahead of time I planned to use this sentence in my review.  =)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Click x 5

I might have been home sick with a fever on May 31, 2011, but that didn't stop me from downloading Matthew J. McBride's debut novel, Frank Sinatra in a Blender.  That afternoon, as I lay in bed dying from the worst case of whatever it was I was suffering from, I checked my twitter feed and stumbled across a tweet letting the world know that it was available for purchase a day early. And as you have probably guessed... I couldn't resist the urge to click the button. I started the book a few minutes later and finished reading just before 10pm.  It was the greatest sick day ever! Truly. And before you even ask... Yes. There will be a review!

This is what I snagged last week for my Kindle.

$7.77 The price may be more than what you might be willing to pay for an e-book, but I promise you it is worth every penny. Every. Penny.

One Too Many Blows to the Head by Eric Beetner and JB Kohl -
On sale for $0.99!

On sale for $0.99!

Only $0.99


Friday, June 3, 2011

Turning by Dawn Kirby


Nicholas slipped quietly through Alana’s back door. Having cleverly gained entry the night before; he had the freedom to roam the house anytime he liked. Not that he planned to alert either occupant to his presence. For now, he would simply hide in the shadows and wait. He wanted her whole; healed.

Judging by the conversation he heard drifting from the living room “healed” was a long way off. As he eased down the hallway one of the voices, Matt’s he assumed, grew louder yet his tone was gentle. Nicholas smiled. Poor guy was fighting a lost cause and he didn’t even seem to care.

“I’m telling you, sis,” Matt was saying, “if you’d just stop thinking about that asshole you’d be able to move on a lot faster. It’s not good for you to hide out here night after night.”

“Let’s see how quickly you move on after having one of your best friends killed right in front of you,” Alana snapped balling her hands into fists. “You’ll see then how hard “moving on” actually is.”

Dear Lord, why couldn’t people just get off her back? Why did they feel this need to tell her to forget? Didn’t they think she would if she possibly could? Did they think she got some perverse kick out of reliving Paul’s death and her attack every time she closed her eyes?

“Lana, you gotta stop thinking like that. It’s like I said before, get out there. Find you a good guy and have yourself a couple of chubby babies. That’s been your dream since you were little. You shouldn’t let it die just because some psycho showed up.”

“And it’s like I told you. Kids are not an option. I won’t bring one into a world as cruel as this one.” She laid her head on the arm of the leather couch and sighed. Mere feet from her Nicholas felt like jumping for joy. He had heard that right after all. Knowing she didn’t want a family would make turning her so much easier. “You want kids so all fired bad, you go make a few. I’m pretty sure there’s a few girls out there that would just love to help make that happen.”

“No, no, no,” Matt said shaking his head vigorously. “I think I’d enjoy being an uncle a lot more than being a dad. Least that way I can spoil the little boogers and then give ‘em back to you.”

“You’re not helping your case any. You realize that, don’t you?”

“Maybe not,” he shrugged. “Really, all I want is for you to be happy again. I don’t think I’ve seen you smile since you met Ben. Certainly not since Paul passed a-”

“Dammit Matt! Paul didn’t just pass away. He was murdered. Killed right in front of me, because of me! If I hadn’t been so blind he might still be alive.”

Nicholas felt the sudden surge of anger flow through him like a shot. It took everything he had not to rush to her side. He’d never felt the need to protect anybody before, but with her it was different. He didn’t want her to feel pain of any kind. Anger, in his mind anyway, was the worst kind of pain. The kind that breeds misery.


“Yes, blind. I knew Ben was unstable, but did that stop me?”

Matt slid off his recliner to look at her eye to eye. He hated seeing her this way. All he really wanted was to have his sister back the way she used to be. Alana used to be so confident so outgoing. People would literally light up when she walked into a room. She’d had such a bright future ahead of her. If Ben had just let her go she still would.

“Tell me this,” he said keeping his voice low. “You told Paul about the problems you’d be having with him, yes?” she nodded. “He said and I’m using his words here, that he could care less, correct?” Another nod. “Then how is what happened to him your fault?”

“I should have said no, Matt,” she said. She got off the couch and started towards the steps. “No would’ve saved his life.”

“I give up,” he said, shaking his head. “I can’t help you if you won’t open your mind.”

“I don’t want to open my mind. I want y’all to let me live my life the way I want too. Why is that so hard for everybody to understand?”

“Because none of us want this for you.”

“And that’s why you can’t see what’s best for me.”

She turned away from him and trudged to her room. Tonight would be another night of fitful dreams and sweat soaked sheets. Ben had been on her mind too much today to avoid it.

Little did she know there would be someone there from now on to make sure bad dreams never bothered her again. Her waking thoughts however, he would do nothing to stop. If there was to be a good relationship between him and Alana one day, she had to face each one head on.