In case you aren’t familiar with Todd’s Ugly Little Things, he has penned an eclectic mix of horrific, terrifying and cringe-inducing tales that continue to garner rave reviews (and invoke nightmares). It offers new readers an introduction to his signature dark, introspective style while quelling the hunger of his rabid fanbase just itching for his longer works.
You can grab a pre-order copy for $2.99 at Amazon or for your Nook.
Associated with life and death, disease and luck, corvids have long captured mankind’s attention, showing up in mythology as the companions or manifestations of deities, and starring in stories from Aesop to Poe and beyond.
In Corvidae birds are born of blood and pain, trickster ravens live up to their names, magpies take human form, blue jays battle evil forces, and choughs become prisoners of war. These stories will take you to the Great War, research facilities, frozen mountaintops, steam-powered worlds, remote forest homes, and deep into fairy tales. One thing is for certain, after reading this anthology, you’ll never look the same way at the corvid outside your window.
Featuring works by Jane Yolen, Mike Allen, C.S.E. Cooney, M.L.D. Curelas, Tim Deal, Megan Engelhardt, Megan Fennell, Adria Laycraft, Kat Otis, Michael S. Pack, Sara Puls, Michael M. Rader, Mark Rapacz, Angela Slatter, Laura VanArendonk Baugh, and Leslie Van Zwol.
Wow, isn’t that a fantastic cover?! I’m kicking myself now for not making the deadline for this anthology, but that’s not going to stop me from checking up this stellar line-up of authors.
Edited by Rhonda Parrish and with cover art by Eileen Wiedbrauk, this one looks like a winner!by ]]>
Take a moment to discover what happens when a hardboiled detective story is set in a science fiction world:
A detective with no way out.
A telepath with something to prove…
World-weary detective Charlie Madison has seen more than his share of war. When he stops by the 37th precinct late one night to check on his old friend Sergeant Douglass, the place is as quiet as a morgue. The last thing he expects to find: half a dozen Russian gunmen with a score to settle.
What starts out as a vicious Alamo-style battle soon evolves into something more sinister as Madison’s past comes into play. Will his ties to a branch of the Japanese mafia be a help or a hindrance? And who is the strange man in holding? Why are the Russians determined to break him out?
Struggling to survive the night, one private eye must rely on his wits to solve a mystery where he’s outnumbered, outgunned, and trapped inside a police station with a soulless killing machine.
Available from Musa Publishing
Add Yakuza Territory to your Goodreads bookshelf
Maybe checking in on Sergeant Douglass late that night hadn’t been the best idea. I should have paid more attention to the warning signs right off; things weren’t exactly business as usual at the precinct. The pencil-necked clerk wasn’t at his post, and an eerie quiet held the foyer as still as a morgue. No cops, uniformed or otherwise, to be seen. In a city that never slept, one expected its law enforcement personnel to share the same god-awful insomnia—graveyard shift or no.
The vacant front desk didn’t sway me from my course, though. Little glitches out of the ordinary seldom did. I’d trained myself over the years to file them away, but not focus on them too much. As a detective, it was easy to get distracted by particulars while going after the big picture. Besides, I was suspicious by nature. I questioned everything as a matter of course. But as far as I knew, everybody on duty was partying in back, throwing Douglass a well-deserved soirée after his recent ordeal and return to the land of the visible.
I paused at the unlocked door leading into the bullpen—an open-concept area with clusters of desks for everybody ranked lower than lieutenant. Access into the station’s inner workings wasn’t usually so free and easy. As I quietly stepped inside, I knew without a doubt something was amiss.
The whole room lay empty except for five guys standing in the middle with assault weapons slung over their shoulders—AK-12s and SIG MPXs by the looks of them. Not what your average citizens usually carried around concealed on their person.
“Hey.” I saluted the first one to notice me. “Am I late to the party?”
He glared my way, and I couldn’t help feeling like I was back in high school; once again, I’d forgotten the beer. They weren’t in uniform—unless black nubuck jackets and jeans counted, not to mention the scruffy stubble, slick hair, and stocky frames. Come to think of it, that’s pretty much the look of your standard-issue thug for hire these days.
I would have recognized that Scottish brogue anywhere. I’d already assembled a good enough picture of the situation to know it was in my best interest to hit the floor a split second before the deafening staccato of weapons fire and a hail of bullets headed my way. The rounds blasted straight through computer monitors and potted plants on desks; sparks flew upward along with shards of clay and clouds of potting soil. Chairs disintegrated as I cringed behind a solid steel desk and drew the snubnosed Smith & Wesson from my shoulder holster.
“Sarge, you all right?” I barely heard myself over the stampede of slugs plowing into the steel that sheltered me. The rounds were making some serious dents, but none had punctured through—yet. It was only a matter of time.
I wouldn’t be able to stay put for long.
Get to know the man behind the book:
1. When did you start seriously pursuing writing as a career?
I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but I started submitting my work for publication in the summer of 2009. I’d always thought I would pursue publication at some point—probably after I retired from teaching or turned 40. My first story was published in January 2010, and I’ve had another 96 accepted for publication since then. I won’t turn 40 for a couple more years, and I’m still teaching full-time. Doesn’t look like I’ll be retiring anytime soon!
2. How did you create the character Charlie Madison?
When I was a kid, I learned to type on an old-school manual typewriter. That’s where I learned to write, too. My first novels were messy, full of typos and plot holes. But they were fun. And at age 15, that’s what it was all about for me. Private eye Charlie Madison was one of the first characters I created, based on Box 13 and Dixon Hill, and The Double Murder was his big debut. By the end of it, I had over a hundred pages of snappy banter, mob hits, double-crossing dames, car chases, and even some alligators on leashes. It was a horrible parody, and I knew it.
Halfway through Write1Sub1 2011, I came up with the first Charlie Madison story I’d written in decades: Girl of Great Price. It wasn’t anything like his original case, but he was the same quick-witted, intrepid detective I’d known before. I transplanted him into a more serious and gritty “future noir” sci-fi setting, and once I’d envisioned that world, I knew I’d be back. Immaterial Evidence soon followed, and Yakuza Territory will be available from Musa Publishing on November 7th.
3. Are you working on more Charlie Madison stories?
I’m outlining the follow-up to Yakuza Territory, and it’s going to be full of assassinations, kidnappings, killer robots, and maybe even a mad scientist. The working title is The Gifted Ones, and it follows the origins of the mysterious suprahumans who have appeared in all three Charlie Madison detective stories so far.
Milo James Fowler is a teacher by day and a speculative fictioneer by night. When he’s not grading papers, he’s imagining what the world might be like in a dozen alternate realities. He is an active SFWA member, and his work has appeared in more than 90 publications, including AE SciFi, Cosmos, Daily Science Fiction, Nature, Shimmer, and the Wastelands 2 anthology.
Visit www.milojamesfowler.com and join The Crew for updates about new releases as well as exclusive promotions.by ]]>
She’s back. This time no one is safe.
A skeleton is dug up at the crossing of the ways on Hanging Moor, striking dread into the heart of Old Ma Ramsgill – the elderly matriarch of the village of Thruscross. And with good reason. The eighteenth-century witch, Jennet, has been woken.
A spate of killings by a vicious black dog gives credence to her warnings and the community – in particular her family – realise they are in terrible danger.
Drastic measures are needed to contain her, but with the imminent flooding of the valley to create a new reservoir, do they have the ability to stop her and break her curse?
Old Ma Ramsgill continued her chanting of, ‘I bind thee, Jennet Scot, to this valley. Thee’ll do no more harm here. I bind thee Jennet Scot—’ She screamed as something knocked her down. Screamed again as her body broke. Then resumed her chant.
The storm above the valley intensified.
‘Got you now, bitch,’ Ma whispered. ‘Got you on the run – too busy celebrating your freedom, forgot what was—’ She screamed again as lightning struck nearby.
‘Missed, bitch!’ She cackled into the sudden dark as the lights went out. ‘That all you got? Terrorise my family, would you? Ha!’
Another scream as her leg was twisted and she felt – and heard – another bone break. ‘Do what you like to me – I’ve lived a long life, more than you ever did. Too late to stop me now!’
The fire flared and sparks leapt out into the room.
‘No!’ Old Ma Ramsgill screamed, louder than she had for sixty years. Sparks landed on the pile of journals and bred flames. As they took hold, Ma forced her broken body along the floor and reached out. She found her own journal, dragged it out of the inferno, beat it against the floor, then rolled on top of it to smother the flames. She passed out.
It is free on Smashwords for EPUB and MOBI :
Karen Perkins lives in Yorkshire, where she spends her time writing and publishing as proprietor of LionheART Publishing House. She has been a keen sailor since childhood, competing nationally and internationally until the day she had both National and European Ladies Champion titles. Although she no longer takes to the water, she continues to enjoy sailing in her imagination and fiction – capsizing far less often!
She has written the novella (Ill Wind) and the full-length novel (Dead Reckoning – long-listed in the Mslexia Novel Competition 2011) both of which are number one bestsellers in Sea Adventures on Amazon.co.uk in the Valkyrie Series. Look Sharpe!, Valkyrie 3, has just been released and will shortly be followed by the short story, Where Away and the novel Ready About!.
Karen Perkins has also written the novel, Thores-Cross and the associated short story Cursed in the Yorkshire Ghost Story Series. Dark, haunting tales set in the North Yorkshire Moors about isolation, superstition and persecution, Thores-Cross follows the stories of Emma, a present day writer, and Jennet, an eighteenth century witch. Thores-Cross is a number one bestseller in British Horror on Amazon.com, and will soon be followed by the next book in the series, Knight of Betrayal. Set in both 1170 and modern day, Knight of Betrayal focuses on the four knights – Hugh de Morville, Reginald fitz Urse, William de Tracey and Richard le Bret – who broke the sanctuary of Canterbury Cathedral to murder the Archbishop, Thomas Becket. Hiding out in Knaresborough Castle, the extreme level of their medieval sense of guilt and dishonour has horrific repercussions nearly a millennium later.
Fabulosity Reads Book Promotions is a book touring website that promotes authors and their precious works to an extensive audience using blogs, twitter, Facebook and other Social Media, with the aim of introducing them to an appreciative readership.
They offer a diverse range of both complimentary and affordable products to help the reach of your book go that much further.by ]]>
ABOUT THE COVEN
US | Canada | UK | Australia | Germany | France | Italy | Spain | Brazil | India | Mexico | Japan
Barnes & Noble
Set in Victorian England, The Coven is a story not so much about two warring factions of the fanged creatures, but more about their battle for survival while being pitted against one another.
An insidious faction called The Diocese Club, is hell-bent on destroying all vampires and uses sweeping attacks, blackmail and torture (including burnings with Holy Water, silver crucifixes and interrogations) to keep them in line.
In doing so, the Diocese Club uses one vampire’s disdain for what he has become and devises a plan to achieve their goal of ridding the world of vampires.
In order to remain alive, their captives must hunt and kill their fellow vampires.
There were many things I really liked about this book. First, with a large number of active characters, the author gave many of them distinct characteristics to set them apart and really let them come to life.
A deaf vampire, clairvoyant twin vampires and a half-breed who was never fully transformed and so, could still bleed & die like a mortal. Definitely not your cookie-cutter brooding vampires in velvet brocade or bloodthirsty throat-slashers, The Coven’s cast of characters adds depth and personality to a thrilling story.
Although set in Victorian England, I didn’t find the language overly flowery or off-putting, as sometimes is the tendency with other novels of the same setting. In fact, the story flowed quite well, and it made it easy to sit down and enjoy the well-crafted tale.
Don’t get me wrong though – there is blood-a-plenty in this book, and some fantastic action scenes when brothers and sisters in blood come face-to-face and only the shrewd survive.
All in all, I was very impressed with The Coven, the debut offering from Angie Gallow, and I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next.
AN EXCERPT FROM THE COVEN
“You in or out, then?” Lauren Granger said tossing a coin onto the table as his Cockney accent honeyed the room. A marathon Poker game in the cellar had been in session the majority of the night. Lauren peered over his hand of cards with a toothy, mischievous grin at Sebastien.
“Surely, if you have enough money to cover your loss,” Sebastien retorted, raising one eyebrow. Lauren rolled his eyes and let a sigh pass from between his teeth.
The large round table they sat at was filled with empty glasses that held red residue, cards, coins and banknotes. Sebastien snuffed out his cigarette in a smoking tray, ending the wafting ballet of red smoke only to replace it with a fresh one. It dangled idly from his lips as he lit it and studied his cards as though they were a complex mathematic equation and one misplaced step would ruin his answer. Another coin fell on top of the pile.
“In.” Grace LeVine’s southern accent echoed. She sat beside Lauren at the table. Sebastien glanced up at the small beauty who wore a look of calm indifference as she rearranged the cards in her hand. Grace’s eyes seemed to hold every star in the sky within them and carried a complexion of the finest bowl of butterscotch money could buy.
Lauren leapt up from sitting on one of his loose suspender straps then rearranged himself back in his chair.
“Nervous, comrade?” Octavio Perez grinned sheepishly as he fingered a banknote in his white hands before letting it fall onto the table. His eyes were sharp as knives and he grinned like a plotting villain.
“He never wins, he’s got nothing to be nervous about,” Octavio’s twin sister, LaStacia passed a wink across the table at Sebastien, who chuckled silently behind his cards.
“Bugger off, the lot of you,” Lauren sighed, relieved at the fact he was incapable of turning red.
“Not our fault you play like a dog,” Lee Green’s deaf-accented voice sounded at Lauren. Lauren twisted his nose a bit and looked at Lee with a grimace.
“You just call me a doll, then?”
“He’s said, ‘dog’, love,” Grace looked at her sweetheart then back to Lee, signing what he said back to him. Lee nodded with a light giggle, “Dog,” Grace made the sign for the word, sliding her fingers together as one does to snap them. Grace had learned Lee’s mode of communication in the same fashion she had learned Spanish. Grace would become fluent by hearing any language only once and she was the only person in the entire coven who could communicate effectively with Lee.
Sebastien glanced over his cards once more before a small hand reached passed him for a waiting glass. Calvin Bell was only a head taller than the table. He carried a round tray in his small arms that he would place empty glasses. The little boy circled the table with his tray. No one sitting asked him for much of anything and did their best to ignore the fact that a mortal child was acting as their servant.
Calvin passed Grace, who would carefully slip a series of coins from her own pocket into the lad’s as he moved past her. Calvin smiled lightly and eased past Lauren, who merely took his glass back before Calvin could lift it.
“I got it, lad, no worries,” Lauren would often say whenever Calvin attempted his duties. Finally, as the child finished his rounds, Sebastien lifted the tray from his hands. Calvin looked at Sebastien with sapphire eyes that twinkled innocently.
“Have a seat,” he moved an empty chair closer to the table for Calvin, who did so reluctantly. Sebastien placed a hand fondly on the boy’s head.
Everyone sitting at the table was considered an outcast within the coven. Lauren and Grace’s poverty was apparent the moment they arrived. The only possession of value between them was a pocket watch Lauren inherited after the death of his father at the age of six. Having only been in their twenties when they were transformed and used to living in squalor, Maurice had assigned them quarters near the coven house’s cellars.
Calvin sat quietly at the table, watching the card game. The child was the only mortal within the coven’s walls. He was bound to the place after a group of vampires invaded his home and killed his family; he was found hiding from the slaughter in his bedroom closet. He was carted back to the coven and given to Alaric, under the coven’s strict rules that children were never to be killed. The child was made to earn his keep as the coven’s servant boy and would forever remain.
LaStacia and Octavio were often never trusted; their clairvoyance kept others away. They would often take turns mystifying and otherwise, terrifying coven members with their sight, finding members of the coven and telling them information without warning. It was such a random occurrence that members would be fearful of what they could be told; the intense and thorough insight had forced them out of the coven’s acceptance.
Lee was unknown and deaf. His inability to communicate properly was viewed as something distasteful, like an illness that was contagious should one get too close. Maurice shunned him by appointing him as a personal secretary. He was given an office and enough work to seal him away for as long as needed. It was unknown how he arrived or found out about the coven but despite being locked away, nothing about their home was a mystery to him.
Sebastien had been unable to blend into the well-kept coven. He continued to live the life he was accustomed to; alone and private with few friends. He was never fond of a wealthy lifestyle nor could he comprehend the need for extravagance. The coven house was bathed in dazzling colors, rich ornaments and glossy furnishings. Members were proud to match their new home with decadence, refined etiquette and holier than thou behaviors. Sebastien was often revolted whenever he was made to participate.
He took a swallow from his glass and looked over at Lauren.
“I will see your five shillings,” Sebastien threw coins onto the table, “and raise you… ten more.”
Lauren’s eyes widen at the sight of the money on the table. Calvin giggled at the sight of his twisted expression as Grace placed her hand on his elbow.
Sebastien eyed his competitor with a smirk and Lauren could only blink. Lauren looked down at his cards, holding an incomplete pair and felt his stomach lurch. He threw his head back against the head of the chair and threw down his cards.
Octavio finally revealed his hand; an ace, a king, an eight of clubs and four of hearts. His sister looked at him with contempt, having bet their last banknote. She slapped the back of his head as Octavio cradled his face in his hands. Lee looked around and shrugged, his hand was no better, if not worse than Octavio and Lauren’s. He laid the cards out and took his loss.
Grace and Sebastien eyed one another with competitive glares. Grace had made a career playing every game that one could bet on before her life as a vampire and Sebastien tried to think of new ways to outplay and outthink her.
“Ladies, first,” Sebastien graciously motioned towards Grace.
“Yeah, too bad you called me a ragamuffin earlier,” she countered.
“That was before money was on the table.”
Grace looked down at her cards with a somber gaze for what felt like an eternity. Her nimble fingers teased the edge of the cards as she made the few subtle adjustments to their order. Octavio looked over at her, his elbows still resting on the table in defeat and his sister leaning over as she watched Grace’s unraveled expression. Grace leaned forward as she plucked a card from her hand and raised it just before it hit the tabletop.
A royal flush presented itself on the table and Sebastien’s face fell to the floor. Lauren and Lee let out hearty laughter as Grace’s hand swiped the money from the table. She smiled warmly as Sebastien wiped his face free of tension before letting out a hard sigh. Grace put her money in the front pocket of her trousers. “Maybe now we can buy our way out of the cellars?” she looked at Lauren.
“Good luck with that bargain,” Lauren laughed.
The game ended and the friends went their separate ways. Calvin trailed behind Sebastien like a faithful pup as they climbed the stairs from the parlor. They emerged in the main corridor, greeted with a glowing chandelier that bounced light from whatever surface it touched. Sebastien began down the hall, towards his chambers when Alaric approached him coming from the opposite direction. Calvin was waved along as Alaric stopped short in front of Sebastien.
“I’ve been looking for you all evening.” Alaric placed his arm slightly around Sebastien, turning him in the opposite direction. He spoke in a cagey whisper as he led them down the hall, “Father has an idea that I think we should consider.”
“We?” Sebastien inquired. His suspicions mounted as he recalled the volatile reaction from Maurice months prior, after Sebastien recounted his tale of how he had arrived. He had buried the account in the back of his mind, giving no real thoughts to it as he carried on with his existence. Alaric shushed his friend, telling him to keep his voice low.
“Yes, we,” Alaric affirmed.
They finally stopped and Alaric opened a door and ushered his friend inside. He shut the door behind him and motioned for Sebastien to sit. The room was dim as the two sat across from each other and Sebastien pulled out another cigarette, striking a match.
“Since you’re one of the few survivors who has seen the vampires that have been employed by the Diocese Club, Father wants you to assist with his plans,” Alaric explained.
“What are his plans?” Sebastien’s tone was matter of fact as he eyed his friend intently. Sebastien’s cigarette hissed as he inhaled. Alaric explained that Maurice was drawing plans to capture one of the vampires who had been trained to work for the Diocese Club, saying that Maurice would extract information from the vampire by any means to use against the Diocese. Sebastien closed his eyes and removed the cigarette from between his lips.
“And how does he intend to do this?” the sarcasm in Sebastien’s tone was not missed and Alaric leaned forward.
“That’s where you come in.”
“Excuse me?” Sebastien raised an eyebrow and looked closely at his friend. Contempt grew in his eyes and Sebastien unfolded his legs and leaned forward, “Does it look like I want to be involved with something as insanely dangerous as that? I understand your father’s motives and means to exact revenge but for the love of God! Even with one, two or all of those vampires, we will never have enough information to take down that organization! The attempt at a war is a suicidal plot that I will not be a part of!”
Alaric looked at Sebastien and silently weighed out his friend’s convictions. Alaric continued to stress that the plan would help end the savage attacks on their kind. He continued to say that the plan could assist in finding the other vampires in the hunting group. Yet, the more he talked, the more Sebastien stubbornly shook his head.
“I will not be a part of a campaign that has the strongest potential for our downfall. Tell your father that regardless of any amount of information he extracts, the Diocese Club is too elusive. Hell, where would you even begin to search for one of those vampires?”
Alaric’s face darkened as Sebastien stood from the chair and made his way towards the door.
“We know ourselves well enough to know where to look for them.”
WIN 1 of 5 COPIES of THE COVEN
Sirens Call Publications will be giving away digital copies of The Coven by Angie Gallow to 5 (five) lucky winners! Follow the link to enter for your chance to win!
Win 1 of 5 copies of The Coven by Angie Gallow
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Angie Gallow was born in Chicago and currently attends Columbia College Chicago. This is her first novel.
Twitter | Facebook | GoodReadsby ]]>
Did I whet your appetite? Ready for a sinister little snack?
Today’s excerpt comes from Nameless, the debut novel and the first in a trilogy from author Mercedes Murdock Yardley.
Luna Masterson sees demons. She has been dealing with the demonic all her life, so when her brother gets tangled up with a demon named Sparkles, ‘Luna the Lunatic’ rolls in on her motorcycle to save the day.
Armed with the ability to harm demons, her scathing sarcasm, and a hefty chip on her shoulder, Luna gathers the most unusual of allies, teaming up with a green-eyed heroin addict and a snarky demon ‘of some import.’
After all, outcasts of a feather should stick together…even until the end.
Mercedes M. Yardley is a dark fantasist who wears stilettos and poisonous flowers in her hair. She can be found in many anthologies and magazines, and is a contributing editor for Shock Totem Magazine.
Her short story collection, Beautiful Sorrows, came out in the fall of 2012, and her novella Apocalyptic Montessa and Nuclear Lulu: A Tale of Atomic Love came out in September of 2013.
Her debut novel, Nameless: The Darkness Comes, was released in January 2014. It is the first book in The Bone Angel Trilogy.
Want to read Nameless? Check it out on Amazon, B&N or Goodreads!
Excerpt: Copyright © 2014 Mercedes M. Yardley
The premise sounds innocent enough. Reporter Felix Proust is sent on assignment to Dalton, WV, famous for its line of life-like dolls which have become the town’s bread and butter since the mine closed down in the ‘70’s.
Soon after arriving, Felix begins to see cracks in the sleepy little town’s facade – from the permeating smell of manure to the strange, almost hostile vibe from the town’s children. But Felix can’t exactly ditch the assignment. He’s on thin ice as it is and needs to redeem himself in his boss’ eyes, even if that means putting up with the town’s foul smells and growing apprehension that something sinister is going on behind closed doors.
Solidiering on, Felix encounters one strange incident after the other. But just when he has the sense to skip town and put Dalton and its “special dolls” in his rearview, forces beyond Felix’s control conspire to keep him there. It isn’t until he finally meets Miss Maggie Eloquence herself, the owner of Dalton Dollworks, that he finds out it was no accident that he was summoned to this town, and that his assignment goes much further than just penning an article.
Keisling does not hold back when it comes to penning a skin-crawling, not to mention nose-wrinkling tale. The Harbinger assaults every one of the senses, resulting in a stomach-turning, nerve-rattling tale that channels that classic horror vibe.
This story will absolutely leave you holding your breath, but when you are able to exhale again just remember to breathe through your mouth, not your nose.
To read The Harbinger, pick up your own copy at Amazon. You can find out more about the rest of the stories in the Ugly Little Things series by heading over to Todd’s website.
Don’t forget to check out our review of Radio Free Nowhere, the first story in the ULT series.
A line, a paragraph, a chapter – little morsels from some of my favorite authors that I know you will love too!
Today’s excerpt comes from Brass Stars, the debut novella from author A.G. Carpenter. It’s the tale of a gunslinger and her psychotic cyber-horse who blaze a trail of vengeance across the stars.
It’s a thrilling read with sass, action and a killer sidekick who offers up ample attitude and the perfect travel companion for protagonist Tash.
Check out this excerpt and keep your eyes on this space for my review next month!
Brass Stars – A.G. Carpenter
A bullet hums past, close enough the adrenaline flushes under my skin and instinct takes over.
Brace the butt of the rifle against my hip. It kicks hard every time I tighten my finger on the trigger, hard enough to hurt, but it will pass. The alternative is permanent.
The first one slides off to the side, one foot tangled in his stirrup. The second manages to avoid the lead splitting the air; his horse is not so lucky. The animal goes down with a scream and the beast riding him pitches headfirst onto rock hard dirt. Broken necks all around.
The last one comes around the corner of the house, both guns out, reins in his teeth like an idiot. He’d have been better off keeping his hands on the reins and riding like hell. I put the last bullet in the rifle into the ground under his horse’s feet. It rears back and Jackass goes heels over head into the dirt.
He scrabbles on the ground for a moment, trying to catch his breath. Trying to find his guns.
He’s younger than the rest, the scruff on his chin more fuzz than beard. Young enough I don’t feel a pressing need to kill him.
“Go on back to Brannigan.” I kick his hat toward his hands. “Tell him it’s not going to be that easy.”
He gets his feet up under him, relief in his eyes as he limps a few steps back. Then something ugly settles on him.”Damn squaw.” He spits.
It’s an old epithet. Something like whore and cunt and bitch all rolled into one.
My gun slides out of the holster, easy. We’re standing so close all I have to do is stretch my arm out and pull the trigger. The blood-mist is hot on my skin. Then rapidly cool and stiff.
“Nevermind. I’ll tell him myself.”
© A.G. Carpenter
About Brass Stars
Tashndelu Sand has wandered the known universe on a mission of vengeance. She’s spent years tracking down the gang who murdered her mother. And, with the help of Snyder—a psychotic cyber-horse with an agenda of his own—she’s killed all but one: Brannigan.
Now she’s come to Paradise, a lonely town on a desert planet. Here, Brannigan rules with a new gang. Here, the graveyard is filled with the corpses of gunslingers who have tried, and failed, to kill him.
Get in, kill Brannigan, and get out. That’s the plan. And Tashn is determined to finish what she started. She’ll not be stopped: not by Brannigan’s army; not by her feelings for Johnny, an Extra sapien like her; not even by the darkness she sees in herself.
About A.G Carpenter
A.G. Carpenter writes fiction of (and for) all sorts. She studied film-making in college, but quickly discovered that pen and paper are a less costly medium. She likes: movies where things explode, rainy days, strong tea with lots of milk and sugar. Her favorite color is black.
She lives in the South-eastern United States with her husband, their lively son and a herd of cats.
What do you think of today’s Bloody Bite? Does it make you want to read more or have you already read Brass Stars?
What are you reading now? Is there a tasty little tidbit that you’d like to share? Post it in the comments section.
Todd’s latest release, Radio Free Nowhere, is the first story of his Ugly Little Things, a collection of short stories being released as eBooks on the Kindle.
Ashley and Conrad head out for a little spin through the wilds of West Virginia, but even though it all sounds sultry and romantic, they don’t just hear the dulcet sounds of Chorus Frogs and Hoot Owls. What they encounter is something forgotten, something submerged, something full of false promise.
Have you read “You Know They Got a Hell of a Band” from Stephen King’s Nightmares and Dreamscapes?
In it, King’s couple are driving down a country road, lost and when the husband finally asks for directions, stumbles upon a small town diner with a unique little secret.
In Radio Free Nowhere, the couple is not necessarily lost, but they do encounter something shrouded in those dark and winding roads, and Keisling uses the remoteness to his full advantage.
Now, my fiancee and I are avid road-trippers. Even if it’s only an hour or two drive into cottage country, we like to get out a lot in the spring and summer, sometimes with no particular destination in mind.
And up here, while cruising the radio dial, you’re more likely to encounter college indie rock or French Canadian radio, but that doesn’t mean I’m not going to be a little more leery on our next joyride.
The thing I like about RFN (and King too, perhaps “The Human Finger” notwithstanding) is that the writing doesn’t need flowery language or flashy theatrics to get your attention. Rooting the story in reality, making it come from something any one of us can relate to allows the mind to wonder…“What if that happened to me? Wait…that could happen to me!” That’s what makes good horror.
Subtle horror is at its best when it plants a seed and allows the reader not to be led but to imagine what would happen if put in the main character’s shoes. Keisling does this flawlessly, allowing true terror to slither up the back of your neck and make your skin prickle with the thrill of it.
So, yeah…we’ve taken a few wrong turns and ended up on many a dark, desolate backroad in our various trips over the years. I just pray we don’t hear a sweet voice singing in some strange language I don’t recognize the next time we start cruising the dial.
Radio Free Nowhere is just a teaser of what Todd Keisling has in store for readers, and I can’t wait to read what other Ugly Little Things come next.
About Ugly Little Things Released individually as eBook-shorts for the Kindle, each installment of ULT will come out monthly, with a special hardcover edition hopefully coming this Summer. To read Radio Free Nowhere, check out Amazon, or visit Todd Keisling’s website to find out about the entire release schedule.by ]]>
Starting on Thursday, November 28, The Liminal Man, will be on sale for $2.99. The deal will last a full 24 hours before the price raises to $3.99. That special price will also be available for 24 hours before the book returns to its regular retail price of $4.99.
This is a great deal, not just because you save a few bucks, but The Liminal Man is a fantastic read.
Want to find out of the book is your cup of tea? Check out our review of The Liminal Man.
Still not convinced? There are a bunch of reviews on Goodreads and Amazon that are guaranteed to convince you.
Check out the video here for all the details and then don’t forget to pick up The Liminal Man during the Kindle Countdown from this Thursday, November 28 to Saturday, November 30.by ]]>