Specter of Love

My last review was for Wade Radford’s movie, Necrophiliac, and now he’s back with a very different love story. Switching mediums for this project, Wade jumps into fiction writing. While he’s done this before, it’s certainly not what the UK based indie artist is known for. And he’s definitely not known for love stories mixed in with ghostly musings.

 

All the Way to Mundesley Bay is a quick read, as is befitting a novella, but there’s so much to chew on and digest, that you speed through it at your own peril. This is a story to be savored, like a morning cup of coffee as you sit on a porch watching the sun rise. It’s a respite from the hectic, 24 hour news cycle bombarding us with half truths and reality TV.

Mundesley Bay tells the deceptively simple story of two young men, Tom and JD who are meeting for the first time at a small cottage by the sea. We are privy to their innermost thoughts, fears, desires and hopes. Also inhabiting the cottage is a ghost who has been there for 500+ years. We learn about him throughout the book, as well as his family, other ghosts, and his own fears as well.

That’s all you need to know for the setup, and even that may be too much. When Wade told me about the book, prior to his writing, I didn’t know what to expect, other than it would be interesting, and I looked forward to seeing him work outside his comfort zone. What I wasn’t prepared for was the steep philosophical meditations on life, death, love, and what happens after we die.

Those are all topics that we can relate to, especially those of us closer to the end of the line than the beginning. I was truly moved to tears several times while reading this potent piece. I found myself thinking about some of the ideas long after I finished reading. And while JD and Tom are presented as the main characters, it is the ghost I became enraptured with. It was the ghost I wanted to know more about and wished above all he had a happy ending. In fact it is his love story that is the heart of the story, and not the burgeoning romance between the boys.

JD and Tom may seem like characters from Radford’s other works like Sex, Lies, and Depravity, they are still wholly original and well developed. These are real people painted as such, and you believe in them, and root for them, even as red flags are thrown up. It’s a fine line Radford crosses and he does so with the maturity of writers twice his age. In fact, my first thought after reading Mundesley Bay was, “I wish I’d written this.”

It’s always difficult reviewing work by someone who is a close and dear friend, as the reader is likely to assume it’s all bullshit. In this case it’s not. I genuinely love this little book, and I urge everyone to grab a copy in ebook or paperback. It’s an antidote to the negativity we face within ourselves and the outer world.. All the Way to Mundesely Bay deserves to be read, and it deserves to be read now. You’ll thank me for it later.

You can pick up your copy at Amazon.com

Release Day and Contest!

While it may be a cliche, and minimizes the pain women endure, a book release is like giving birth. After months of gestating, it gets released, leaving the author in a state of exhaustion and relief.

That’s simply my long winded way of saying Life in Amber is now available! The paperback is exclusive to Amazon, while the e-book is waiting for you not only at Amazon, but every ebook retailer imaginable, including Apple and Walmart.

You may notice there’s a difference between the two covers of each version, and there’s a reason for that. The e-book cover, for whatever reason kept creating errors when uploading to Amazon. It was rejected 3 times and I finally had to redo the entire thing. I really want to change it to what it should be, but afraid to touch it. Anyway, I still like it, and will probably leave it as is.

That aside, I’m running a contest starting on Monday September 10th, 2018, and closing on Friday September 14th. The task you have is to name the 10 movies that had an impact on me, which I posted on Facebook, and then name the play I wrote, which I talk about on the next episode of The Imaginarium. Post your answer on my FB page and the winner gets an autographed copy of the book! Easy Peasy, right? In case of a tie winner will be chosen at random, through the old fashioned name out of a hat, Good luck!

You can also purchase this and my other books here 

Enter contest here

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Link for podcast 

http://www.podcastcity.net/the-imaginarium.html

Life in Amber: Excerpt

September 7th, 2018. Mark that date on your calendar as that is when my new novel Life in Amber comes out! Until then, here’s the Prologue to whet your appetite!

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Prologue

 

             It begins, as every thorough account of the paranormal does: with a dream. I’m sitting in an overstuffed chair in the lobby of a hotel. There’s not a soul around, aside from myself and the clerk. His back is to me as he does some paperwork, unconcerned about the lack of customers.

             A Mylar balloon floats by at knee level. It’s losing helium and is folding in on itself. There’s a cartoon on it, SpongeBob SquarePants. I watch it get taken away by the breeze from the air conditioning, and in a moment it disappears behind a column. I stand up, knees popping, and hips aching, to follow the low flyer. I have no idea where it came from; instead, I’m more curious about where it’s going. Air conditioning aside, it seems to move with purpose, as if it’s on a mission. There is a white string attached to it that drags along the ground like a shadow.

            I follow behind, walking carefully, almost afraid to make my presence known. No, not almost, I am scared. On the surface, there is nothing to fear. The hotel itself is unduly bright, the fluorescent lights bleaching everything of its usual color. The balloon is innocuous enough, yet…

 Yet…there is something still not quite right. It stops, slowly turning and pauses as if looking at me with the vast, blue SpongeBob eyes. I hold my breath, not wanting to make a sound. It turns to the side and floats down the left-hand corridor. The hum of the air conditioning stops, and the silence becomes pervasive, almost as if someone has stuck cotton balls in my ears. I trail behind as pressure begins to build inside my head. I clamp a thumb and forefinger around my nose and hold my breath to get my ears to pop, but this only seems to intensify the clogged feeling. At the far end of the corridor are double doors, the entranceway to a suite or conference room.

            The balloon seems to pick up speed, and when it bounces against the doors, they open gradually. A brilliant light starts to pour out, but it isn’t blinding; it is, if not soothing, then at least makes me feel a bit more relaxed. There’s a humming sound, not the air conditioning this time; it comes from inside the room as well, though it has a higher pitch and is faster. Rhythmic.

             The balloon disappears into the chamber, and I follow after. It takes my eyes a bit to adjust to the brightness, and when they do, I emit a soundless scream. I may as well be in the vacuum of space, as any noise I make is siphoned away.

            This is no conference room. It’s nothing I have ever seen before. Coffins made of amber line the expanse; they are all on stainless steel tables with drains beneath them. I look at one and see the remains of my Uncle Albert who had died decades earlier. His blue eyes bulge and his mouth opens and closes like the gills of a fish in its death throes. His gaze turns to me and pleads for me to do something. My heart sinks; Uncle Albert had always been my favorite Uncle. He was Uncle Al, the kiddies pal. While that may sound a bit creepy in today’s world, back then there was no malicious intent at all.

             I place my hand on top of the amber and feel it vibrate. His eyes widen and are the first parts of his body to explode. His blood and gore paint the inside of the coffin. I turn away, hand over my mouth. I look at the wall in front of me and see children pinned to it, the way you’d pin butterflies in a collection.

             Unlike the butterflies, these children are alive. There is one large pin through the abdomen and four smaller bolts in the hands and feet. Their eyes and mouths are sewn shut, and they wriggle weakly. In spite of the mutilations, I recognize them-they are classmates of mine from elementary school. The bullies, brats and hostile childrenbullies, brats and hostile children of divorce. As if sensing my presence their struggle intensifies, and while I can’t hear anything they mumble, I feel their emotions. The hate and judgment and blame are all directed at me as if I’m responsible for nailing them to the walls.

            There are six of them stuck to the wall. Each has on a white t-shirt with a number scrawled on it in their own blood? Ichor? It made no difference, as I memorize the digits, 6, 27, 32, 11, 47, and 52. There seems to be no discernible pattern to the almost randomly generated lottery numbers. As this thought enters and occupies my mind, the light in the room blossoms until I can no longer see. I’m hesitant to walk, not wanting to bump into the amber coffins. I shuffle along with my hands out in front of me, and I feel the balloon brush against my face. I’m finally able to let loose a scream, and it coincides with the balloon popping.

 

The sounds jolted me out of my sleep. Sweat covered my body and drenched the thin sheet over me, in spite of the chill in the room. I grabbed my phone, opened the note app and fumble typed the numbers I’d seen before I forgot them. I set the phone down and looked for a pack of cigarettes, forgetting for a moment I had quit two years earlier. I sat on the edge of the bed, a futon truth be told, and hugged myself, as the cold air dried the sweat on my aging skin.

 

I picked up my phone again and saw the date, September 13th. My birthday.

I was 50.

Stuffing my feet into my slippers, I rose, and began my day, even as the dream started to fade. It was time for my insulin. Birthday or not, diabetes doesn’t take a vacation. I could have been 10, or 20, or hell, even 80 for all that mattered, the fact was, I didn’t care.

Not about birthdays, not about me, and not about life.

 

Four Long Nights at Camp Blood, Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood

Meet the new blood, same as the old blood. This was the installment that was supposed to have the Jason and Freddie Kreuger showdown, but as these things go, that didn’t happen until much later. Fifteen years later to be precise. The idea was then floated about  that it could be a Jason vs Carrie, which the producer’s liked. One producer in particular wanted this installment to be unlike any other of the sequels, and had even suggested Fellini direct it.

Well, Fellini didn’t pan out, so we got makeup effects wizard, John Carl Buechler. While not the strongest entry, it’s certainly not the worst, and will be remembered for several things: 1) Kane Hodder’s first appearance as Jason 2) Jason’s iconic look was cemented in this entry, and 3) death by sleeping bag. The second one can really be attributed to Kane Hodder as his mere presence onscreen is enough to make one shit their pants. He;s big, imposing, and more importantly, silent and seemingly everywhere.

Like other past sequels this one opens up with a montage of the previous movies to remind everyone of the Dickensian plot and characters.  After all it had been a whole two years since the last movie, and people had forgotten this masterpiece of cinema. Once that’s over, we see a little girl Tina, who is telekinetic, and kills her father in a fit of rage after he hit her mother. The dock collapses under him and he drowns.  By sheer coincidence it happens to be the same lake that Jason was left in, in the last movie.

We flash forward ten years or so, and Tina and her mother, plus her psychiatrist are going back to the house on the lake so Tina can confront her past and move on. She apparently has been in a mental hospital for the past decade. Her shrink, Dr. Crews is played by none other than the Weekend at Bernie’s corpse, Terry Kiser. In another coincidence he gets to play a corpse here as well, at least for a little while anyway. It becomes quite clear that the good doctor has no interest in treating Tina, he only cares about her abilities.

After a particularly tense session with him, Tina runs to the dock, and ends up raising Jason from the (un)dead. As far as reviving Jason goes, this is pretty original, in a check your brain at the door type way. Since Jason has never been one to waste time, he sets about killing people immediately. He comes across a couple lost on the woods. They’re on their way to the other house for a surprise birthday party. Surprise may be an understatement here, as Jason makes short work of both of them and then goes on the hunt for more.

Lucky for him there are plenty to choose from. We have the token minority, the geek, the bitch, the bookworm, the slut, and the stoner, to name just a few. One of the members, let’s say the bad boy who’s repented, takes an interest in Tina, and even when she freaks out because she sees a vision of someone being murdered, he still goes after her. As it turns out, Jason does murder the person she sees in her vision, the cousin of Nick, and the reason for the party. Jason also kills his girlfriend and another couple off gallivanting in the woods.

Tina has a row with her Doctor who threatens to commit her against the mother’s wishes, and she runs from the house. The mother and doctor go after her and run into Mr. V with yet another sharp bladed instrument. I’m not sure where he gets all of these things but the kills are far more entertaining for having them. The Doctor uses Tina’s mother as a shield and Jason kills her. He runs away but it’s not too long before he’s tracked down and dispatched with. Because the producer on this sequel wanted to class it up a bit, the kills are virtually bloodless. You don’t see a ton of gore, and most of the effects were left on the cutting room floor. While it doesn’t necessarily take away from the movie, it certainly seems to defeat the purpose. What this producer didn’t understand is the things she disliked are exactly what the audiences wanted to see. As a result the picture suffers for it, but not for lack of trying on Buechler’s part.

As one can imagine when dealing with a teen with telekinesis, there’s a showdown with Jason and it’s actually pretty good, if a bit cheesy. The special effects aren’t bad for the time, and it’s fun to watch. Jason of course gets blown up in the house, yet somehow manages to return intact, only to be dragged to the bottom of the lake by Tina’s father. If the movie has a weakness it’s this second ending with Jason returning and the father comes out of the lake. It’s silly, pointless and seems like a cheap trick.

Buechler does a commendable job on a script that really could have been far worse, and by rights it should have been worse, yet he lifted it up. While he’ll never be known as a classic director of the genre, he certainly can make an entertaining movie, and in the end that’s about all you can hope for.

I give Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood 6 machetes.

All The King’s Ploughs

As it’s NaNoWriMo time again, I thought I would share something from the piece I’m working on.  This is a bit of an odd one, as what follows will most likely not make into the final product.  What started out as a lighthearted idea, quickly became something a bit darker, more twisted. It seems no matter how much I try, the horrific elements seem to follow me.

Also of note is none of the following has been edited. This is as crude as a draft can be.  I post it because even though I may not use it, I like the scene quite a bit, and thought it made a good opening.

In the Sewers

 

Kharisi skewered the sewer rat with the tip of his iron sword. He watched with more than a little delight as the vermin wriggled, even as its little rat guts clung to the weapon. Kharisi turned and shook it at his dwarven companion. “Didn’t you mention lunch but a moment ago?’

Slate Fistcrunch glared at his companion, and stroked at a long, luxurious beard that was no longer there. Realizing his old habit, he let out a fart in Kharisi’s direction.

“The most sense you’ve made all day Slate.” Kharisi said with a small edge in his voice. He lowered the sword, and with one foot pushed the dead animal off his sword, and stepped on its head, grinding bone and brain beneath his boot. He walked a few paces ahead of his companion, the sound of dripping water echoing off of moss covered walls. “Well dwarf, which way?” Kharisi didn’t look behind him, but could hear the stocky Slate catching up to him.

Slate stood by the elf’s side and looked around. He held out the burning torch in front of him and squinted. They were at a three way intersection and he immediately dismissed the path in front of them as it was barred by an iron grate. To the left was a nothing but a dark shaft, and to the right, he could sense a slight wind and with it the smell of offal. “This way,” he said.

“Lead the way,” Kharisi said, motioning the dwarf to move ahead of him. AS they started to move to the rightward tunnel, Slate stopped, held up a hand, and drew his axe.

“What is it?” Kharisi asked, and the sound of multiple legs scurrying up behind them answered his question. Kharisi laid a hand on the hilt of his sword and he could feel the hairs from the enormous spider brush the back of his neck. He held his breath, his grip tightening on the sword, as the spider started to raise itself up to strike. Kharisi turned, his motion a blur, sword out and plunging into the largest of the six eyes. The spider let out something like a scream which chilled Kharisi to the marrow. It backed away, blood and gore dripping from the wound. Slate not wanting to miss out on the fun, took a short leap and plunged the fire end of the torch in the ruined orbit.

The now flaming spider moved back even further, hissing and spitting phlegm-like wads of venom that sizzled as they hit the damp floor of the sewers. “Kill it you damned useless dwarf!”

Slate grunted, and muttered curses under his breath. He dislodged the torch which managed to remain lit, and replaced it with his axe, chopping away at the spider, avoiding the venom, and still managing to get his by gouts of blood. Not for the first time he cursed the Bards for making the slaughtering of beasts sound so easy. One quick thrust my ass, he thought. As he hacked away He saw Kharisi move swift as the wind to the backside of the spider and climbing on its back, he shoved his sword into its head.  It gave one final squall and slumped, dead as can be.

Kharisi sheathed his sword, jumped down from the corpse and looked down at the dwarf. “All that hack and mucking about wastes too much energy. A deftly placed sword works every time. Ask the Bards.”

Slate grumbled something impolite and put his axe away. He pushed Kharisi out of the way and stormed ahead. As he set off to follow the dwarf, he noticed something glimmer in the muck, and bent down to pick it up-pocketing it before Slate could see.

He smiled and continued on.

 

“How much more of this place is there?” Slate asked. Kharisi gave a small shrug. “After the Arnisian War decimated the country King Saerus’ grandfather ordered these to be built for any emergency or need to escape. They’ve been built upon since, and seeing as how peace reigns-however fleeting-our good King has seen fit to make it a sewer, fit only for vermin and shit.”

Slate looked up at Kharisi, studied the elf’s emerald green eyes that were almost translucent. The alabaster skin only heightened their deep color. “Are you sure? I’ve never seen anyone working on them, or digging.”

“Mages perhaps.”

Slate let out a laugh that was closer to a bark. “As if a mage would sully their precious feet and robes down here.”

Kharisi pondered this for a moment, wondering if at first it was a jab against elves, as most wielded magic. Kharisi could as well, but it was weak-his strong suit had always been that of a Warrior. In spite of race, Kharisi was a few inches taller than most elves, and possessed a physique befitting the Arnisians from the North. A stocky, fierce nation, all but wiped out after King Haveron destroyed it with the use of a mana bomb. Much as he hated to admit it, Slate was probably right-Elven Mages were a rather prissy group.  He sighed and continued walking. “Be that is it may, it changes not one fact that these sewers do seem to be getting bigger. I remember as a boy, when these were first being built, I would come down and practice my swordplay on the rats. There were very few places to go, or hide for that matter, and the rats then were smaller, weaker and far more frightened of me, than I of them.”

They soon reached a dead end, with the only other option to go back. “Did we miss a turn?” Slate asked. He leaned against the stone wall, and when it gave way , he fell back into the opening it had created. Kharisi grabbed the torch that had tumbled from the dwarf’s grip and held it out after extending his arm into the entry just created.

“My my, you’ve earned your gold piece for today my friend.” He patted the top of Slate’s head, who took a not so serious swipe at the elf’s hand.

“All you’ve earned is an ass kicking, now let’s see where this goes.”

Kharisi had to duck to get into the opening, and what they found themselves in wasn’t another corridor, but a large room. In the center was a fire that threw off no smoke. A cauldron sat on the floor next to it, big enough for someone to sit inside. Slate and Kharisi looked at one another, unease enveloping both of them. “Stay close,” Kharisi said in a hushed tone. “Put the torch out,” he added, we don’t want to be too obvious.”

“Like Elder beasts in the plains,” a voice rang out. It sounded old and haggard as if it took everything the owner had just to say that. Both knew not to let their guard down, as Crones were known to be very tricky. “Come, come, I won’t….bite!” A cackle of laughter and a flash of light blinded them briefly and when they could see again there was a shadowy figure next to the cauldron, hunched, withered, and covered with a cowl that had straggles of straw coarse gray hair.

“I said, come.”

The duo found themselves walking towards the elevated platform where the Crone and her pot waited. Despite the chill from the stone walls and Fall weather outside of the walls, sweat began beading on their foreheads, this despite the fact the fire she had going gave off no heat. Slate was the first to climb up the three shallow steps and stood within striking distance of the Crone, though he gave no appearance he would do so.  The Crone eyed Slate, scanning him with an intensity that Kharisi found frightening.  “I’ve no interest in you dwarf!” She said, and with a small flick of her wrist, Slate flung backwards as an unseen force blew him off the altar.

“You, Elf, give to me what is mine,” flames danced in her white blinded eyes. There was a sliver of saliva dripping from the corner of her toothless mouth. The nostrils on her sharp nose twitched with impatience.

“I have nothing for you hag, not even a stiff wand for you to fondle.”

“Hag?” she cried, her stooped posture stretching itself out until she stood straight and tall. “Watch your tongue Elf! You killed my precious Eolanda, then stole the ring I gave to her. Tread carefully. Hand it to me and you may even live.”

Kharisi had no doubt she was serious, and while Crones weren’t necessarily good, they never went out of their way to harm a stranger. That was until Kharisi met this crone, whose heart was as black as the robes she wore. Must be very important if she’s threatening. Must not let her have it then. “Perhaps in your old age you’ve forgotten things, it happened to my grandmother. Besides, why would you give a ring to a spider?

“That is not yours to know.  Give me the ring.” Her voice was cold and frosty.  Kharisi stood there, unmoving, barely blinking.

“Once more, I know nothing about it.”

“Liar! I saw you pocket it, look into the cauldron as instructed, and saw the fight with the spider on the oily surface. He watched as Slate kept chipping away and Kharisi snuck around to deal the final blow. He saw himself pocket the plain looking ring and catch up to Slate.

Kharisi refused to admit his thievery and remained silent. He put his hand in his pocket and closed his fist around the jewelry. As he pulled his hand out, Kharisi opened his hand, showing the ring on his sweat slick palm. The crone snatched for it but was too slow, as Kharisi moved his hand then unclenched his fist to show the ring had disappeared.

“Enough games,” the crone said with a quiet voice. “That ring is mine and I want to have it.” From within the sleeve of her robe she pulled out a gnarled branch of a wand, and pointed it at Kharisi. A thin blue beam of light pulsed from the stick and sent a wave of cold over Kharisi’s body, he could feel his toes starting to freeze to the point he was unable to wiggle them. His teeth chattered, as his torso shivered. Kharisi’s eyes began to burn as he couldn’t blink, and the tears which tried to fall became little shards of ice. As he tried to close his mouth, his jaw froze in an O position, which he thought would bring no shortage of amusement to anyone who might see.

The Crone moved closer and the cold became stronger. She cackled and was so intent on Kharisi, that she hadn’t noticed Slatesneaking around behind her, axe held high. “That’ll be enough of that!” he said, and swung horizontally, cutting the Crone’s head clean from her body. The head flew through air, as the body crumbled to the floor. Her wand fell to the ground, bounced and hit Kharisi between his now thawing legs. In almost an instant, his bulge grew and distorted the front of his leggings. Slate pretended not to notice and grabbed the wand but it crumbled in his hand leaving nothing but shavings.

You had the ring all this time and said nothing? Slate said, his face turning red as much from anger as embarrassment.

“I had a ring. But it’s so plain I had no idea it was the one we were searching for.” He made no attempt to hide his engorgement, though he was still feeling the effects of the Crone’s freezing spell, he may not have even noticed were it not for the fact Slate kept glancing at his. Kharisi looked down and grinned. “Apparently something is still frozen. Care to warm it up?’

Slate gave him a look of disgust and turned away. “Let’s just get out of here,” he said, walking away. Kharisi remained quiet and followed, kicking the Crone’s bloody head out of the way out of spite.

Phobophobia

 

Several weeks ago my friend Joe made a mock up cover using a photo I had played with on my phone. The title, Phobophobia, was his idea. The only problem was, I didn’t have anything I was writing that might fit the title.  I liked his idea for the cover a lot, and put it on the back burner as I continued working on Lonely Are The Dead.

As it so happens, progress on LATD began to become a fight to get anything written. I sort of know where I want to go, but the ending has been eluding me. Everytime I would open the file, I’d stare, and edit what I’d already written, but couldn’t-and still can’t-figure out the right ending. The one I had in mind would serve its purpose of tying the tale up, but it’s not one I’m happy with.

 

And then last night in a conversation on facebook, Joe asked me if I was working on anything new. I had a couple of ideas for a short story for the next Fossil Lake anthology, but instead I wrote, “I have an idea for my next one, which I kind of got from that phobophobia cover you did. Lots of bugs, boils, and a serial killing priest.” Thus surprised me as I did have an idea involving bugs and boils, but the serial killing priest was a new element. However, it intrigued me, and I started thinking about it. I went to bed, and when I woke up this morning I knew how the first chapter would go. I banged it out in about an hour, and very happy with the results.

As I was writing it, I was struck with another inspiration: I would not only connect it with Barbed Wire Kisses, but also introduce the main character in LATD, psychic detective Napoleon Santierre.  What follows is part of the first chapter from Phobophobia. A one sentence synopsis would be: Father Rossi is a serial killer priest who chooses his victims based on his phobias, and Santierre, with the help of his victims and other ghosts sets out to uncover and stop him.

 

As always this is coprighted by myself and none may be used or excerpted without my express permission. Enjoy.

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Phobophobia

One:

Our Lady of Perpetual Dispensation

 

Father Rossi sat in the confessional, and wiped sweat from his smooth upper lip. He could feel it beading on his hairless scalp, and felt it trickle down his brow. Some errant droplets slid down into his eyes, stinging them. When that happened he would push the frames of his bifocals up and wipe at the tear ducts with a dainty finger. Even with his thin frame, the confessional was cramped, and with the air conditioning on the fritz, and claustrophobia beginning to kick in, hearing the sins of his parishioners seemed unbearable.

Not for the first time, Rossi pictured himself as the Lord wandering through the desert,. Dried, on the verge of bleeding skin buffeted by hot wind. as sand ripped at the flesh and blinding him at the same time. Arizona was no place to be without working air conditioning, particularly in the summer. Rossi sighed and opened the door. It had been almost fifteen minutes since the last sinner had bleated their litany of crimes against God, and he wasn’t surprised to find the church empty. The only noise to pierce the quiet was the repairman on the roof tending to the cooling units.

The priest took his walking stick which was leaning against the flimsy panel that separated him from the confessor and stepped into the oppressive heat of Our Lady of Immaculate Dispensation. He surveyed the small area as he always did when he finished his obligation, and wondered, again, as he always did, what he’d ever done to be placed in such an unremarkable, almost forgotten parish. The wooden pews were ancient, even when he’d arrived almost a decade prior, and almost unbearable to sit on for any length of time. The hymnals, on the rare times they raised their voice in song, were tattered. Pages were missing, and indeed, so were some of the covers. What remained of them had yellowing pages with fading ink. Rossi had continually asked for the funds from the Bishop to renovate or at the very least replace the hymnals but his requests had always been rebuffed. “Tough times, declining numbers, maybe another time…” is all he heard. When Rossi heard the Bishop was driving a new Lincoln town car he stopped asking.

The priest walked up the aisle, eyes focused on the altar and the large crucifix attached to the back wall. The eyes of a Christ in agony seemed to follow him. He knelt before the creaking altar, genuflected, and jumped as the sound of something crashing came from above. Rossi looked up and saw some of the plaster floating down like dirty snow. “What in blazes?” he said under his breath. He turned around, marched down the center of the church and opened the front doors and was accosted by the ruthless heat and blazing sun. Rossi for once ignored the weather, and walked around the wood and stone building to the back. There was a rickety wooden stairwell that led to the roof, as well as the bell tower though there hadn’t been a bell in place since the late 1800’s. Holding his cane in one hand and grabbing the splinter laden banister with the other, Father Rossi climbed up what was essentially a fancy ladder and peered over the Spanish tile roof top.

“Everything okay?”

 

There was no response. Rossi set his cane down on the edge of the roof, careful to not let it fall over. He pulled up the hem of his cassock so as not to trip on it and set a foot on the roof. With great care so he didn’t go falling off either, he pulled his other foot onto the fragile terra cotta shingles and held out his hands to gain his balance. After a moment, he made his way to the middle where the rusty evaporative cooler sat like a malignant growth, and saw the repairman straining to lift it back onto the metallic shelf it had fallen from.

“Need a hand?” he asked.

The repairman looked up, eyes hidden behind a pair of 99 cent store sunglasses. “About six of them.”

Rossi gave a slight smile, and bent down on his haunches, and the repairman waved him away. “No need, this ain’t going anywhere, ‘cept maybe through this roof if we mess with it.” He stood, and offered a hand to help the priest up. Rossi accepted the help, and heard his knees pop as he stood. He reached into the slit in the side of his cassock, and pulled a handkerchief from his back pocket. Rossi wiped the sweat from his face, and ran it around the damp collar.

“I’d give this last rites father. It’s done for.” He then went on to explain everything that was wrong, and how he might be able to get parts, but no guarantees as this model was so old, and should have been replaced years ago. Rossi nodded, a fake smile amidst a darkening face. He would nod, and give an “I see,” once in awhile, but all he could think of was the sweat.

The soiled clothing, the wet skin, and the bacteria that could form in the excretion. While no doctor, he knew that sweat could be cesspools for any kind of bug and cause ringworm, illness, and God knew what else.

No, I’ll have none of that, he thought. Rossi processed all he’d been told and concluded that despite its age, the cooler could be fixed, but the repairman didn’t want to. Already he was gathering up his tools, and placing them in a canvas bag, his work here done. What the priest saw was a lazy sinner only intent on sending Mother Church a hefty bill for doing absolutely nothing except get a tan.

The repairman zipped up the bag, grabbed it by the handle and made his way to the staircase. He noticed the can laying on the roof, and bent to pick it up. He gripped it by the bottom and offered the handle end to the priest. Rossi took it and held firm. Before the repairman could release it, Rossi gave a hard shove, throwing the worker off balance. He yanked his cane away and poked him in the chest sending him back and over the side of the church. Rossi heard the satisfying sound of his skull cracking on an exposed rock.

Rossi climbed down, careful to fall himself, and when he reached the bottom, stood over the repairman. Blood and gore leaked from the open wound, as his eyes fluttered in his sockets and his limbs twitched. He stepped over the soon to be dead man in search of a glass of water.

Then maybe he’d use the phone in his rectory.

Writing Updates

Those who follow me on twitter or facebook know some of this, but for those who don’t, (and why not?), here’s an update on what I’m working on.

 

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You may notice that it says narrator. Yes, Barbed Wire Kisses is an audiobook! Or will be, in about 10-14 business days. My narrator Wayne Messmer did an incredible job, and I can’t wait for everyone to hear it! Details on where and how to get it will be posted as soon as it goes live.

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With another great cover by Joseph K. Adams, this is a compilation of my John Waters essays from talkbacker.com. I’ve gone in and reedited them, and in some cases added more material.  There’s a great foreword by Nick NIghtly and an introduction by myself. This is in the end stages of editing and formatting, and will be available as an ebook in mid July.

 

And last but not least there’s:

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My original intention was to have this out by mid summer. As with all plans, it’s not going to work out that way. I’ve had problems with getting an ending I’m satisfied with, and while it’s very close, it;s just not where I want it to be. My plan is for a Fall release. Possibly Halloween.  I know people are excited to read this, and I apologize for the delay, but I don’t want to disappoint anyone.

 

I’m also going to be working on a story for the next Fossil Lake anthology, as well as a radio play about H.P. Lovecraft. And of course there’s the articles at talkbacker.

I thank each and everyone of you for your support, and hope you enjoy everything I do.

Wilf Nelson: New Author To Watch For

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One of the reasons I like Google+ so much is being able to discover new authors, talk to them and have a level of interaction that I don’t get from Facebook or twitter (and endless self promo spamming doesn’t count as an interaction). Wilf Nelson is one such author. I was very impressed with his intelligence, and love for writing, and when I learned he had a book coming out, I wanted to take an opportunity to interview him. What follows was conducted via email over hte past couple of days,

 Tell us about yourself

I am a psychology student at the university of Birmingham My scientific, logical passion is psychology and researching the mind; my creative passion is writing novels, making stories people enjoy and figuring out new ways to tell stories or themes. I love films and video games as well as books because they offer a more visual and sometimes more interactive art for people. When it comes to books I love the old Victorian science fiction as well as Fitzgerald and Ian McEwan to name a few.
 What can you tell us about your novel, 3 days to Earth?
It is a bit of a satire of how paranoid science fiction and crime novels can be. The blurb is the best way to get a quick view of the book, not to mention the 10% freeavailable on the Kindle store.

“3 days on Earth looks at a world we all know, a post apocalyptic disaster with the world scarred, the population crippled and aliens making contact. But it is not the end, the aliens called the Helpers rebuild the world for us and let us live in a beautiful world of tomorrow capable of supporting the millions of those blind after the radiation bloom from Earth’s destruction.

The story follows Mark Trayler, a detective versed in burglaries and household arguments, now having to solve the first murder in twenty years. With the world watching him for the answers Mark becomes one of the most important figures in the world

What drew you to science fiction as opposed to other genres?

My stepfather when I was young was the only one up as early as me on the weekends. He would watch doctor who omnibus as well as old or cult science fiction films. Once i was a bit older i began to read H.G. Wells, H. Beam Piper, Harry Harrison, Edgar Rice Burroughs. These authors showed me the future and what we were heading towards, but also how to solve the problems and if it is humanity’s nature. So when i found myself wanting to write about people, the fear of aliens, the fear of the apocalypse it felt like a natural choice.

Who are some of your favourite writers?

I guess I’ve mostly answered this but H.G. Wells, Ian McEwan, Fitzgerald. These writers create very fun, very clever novels where you have to pick apart the narrator not just the plot. Also they write (spare Ian McEwan) very short novels most of the time that I can read on the weekends between finishing one book I’m writing and starting another.

What do you hope to readers will take away from 3 days on Earth?

That literature doesn’t have to be dark to be interesting, that the villain doesn’t have to enjoy or even want to do what they are doing and really just to enjoy the nice parts of the books as they make you smile while the dark parts only make you sad in the end.

 What are you currently working on?

My new book doesn’t have a name right now. It is about an ‘Oxfam’ like company in the future where instead of going to countries in distress they go to times of distress. It is set in the Black Death where they are handing out painkillers and muscle relaxants secretively to help. It is not done for profit nor did the company cause the Black Death as friends and family have guessed; just people trying to help others. There is more but for now that is all i want to say.

Is 3 Days On Earth a stand alone novel, or the beginning of a series? Will it be ebook only or are there plans foe a paperback copy?
3 days on earth is not a stand alone book. It’s sequel is the Clockwork Men that will be out this winter
As for the paperback both 3 days on earth and clockwork men will have a paperback version on amazon by the end of the year. If you cannot get the book on kindle it will be on other ebook formats within a fortnight.

 Where can readers pick up your book?

Right now it is available on a kindle or kindle ready devices such as iOS (apple products) and Android devices.

U.S. Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/3-Days-Earth-Ambassador-ebook/dp/B00FC6V498/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1380077983&sr=8-1&keywords=wilf+nelson

UK Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/3-Days-Earth-Ambassador-ebook/dp/B00FC6V498/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1379794199&sr=1-1&keywords=3+days+on+earth

The Impotence of Being Nickolaus

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In his latest whinefest, attention whoring, incoherent rambling, Nickistiltskin regales us with his latest bad idea: his new full length non fiction piece (of tripe).

Two artists came forward to wanting to illustrate the book,

I’m not sure wanting to cover it in graffiti rife with penises is the same thing, but hey, it’s his delusion.

 I will be doing some of the illustration duties.

Yes, because his artwork is so much better than his writing. This is much like saying dog poop is better than cat poop.

The background of the body of the book is my illustration from 2000.

So he won’t even being doing anything new, but recycling past bad work. At least when the Fremen in Dune recycled their own urine it was useful.

 and taking pictures that were taken by the ex-room mate of me and pictures that were taken as I was going out to Scott Davidson’s birthday bash in 2011 as C. Pacione took the picture of me in the full denim and a leather blazer that my cousin loaned me as I was staying with them in their Ravenswood condo.

So he’s either confused about what taking pictures means, or he’s taking pictures of other pictures. In either event, nothing scream bad ass horror author like a blazer in a condo. totally goth!

 I am looking for artwork that is a balance between Tourniquet and Cradle of Filth with the dark imagery of their music and lyrics portray.

So he wants illustrators to rip off the work of other people? Yeah, that will go down well.

This is not going to be an easy project to pull off

The only thing he can pull off is…nah, that’s too easy.

I am going to introduce my name logo for this book in this post here so you get to see the ominous nature of the logo for the book.

The fact he’s writing anything is ominous enough, but want to guess what isn’t in the post like he said?

 I am doing everything via HTML here.

Geocities graphics coming right up!

The hard part is getting all the artists in tune with what I am trying to accomplish with this masterpiece.

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!!! Masterpiece!! Wait, I need to catch my breath! He can’t even get in tune with being coherent, much less get an artist worth a lick of salt to understand his utter ineptness.

 The full length ties together Collectives, Collected, An Eye In Shadows, and Dirty Black Winter — then the anthologies will be tied together.

Oh you naughty devil, always thinking of bondage. I imagine them bound together in a sleepsack that  only shows stains under blacklight.

 It is the Nickolaus Pacione companion as written by Nickolaus Pacione himself.

lolwut? Lloyd too busy to put it together?

 As for Melany, you know nothing about my friends in Chicago.

Nicky, we all know your friends in Chicago: they consist of your left and right hand.