Sale on Lost Angels

Right now, my succubus/angel novel (written with Brian Thomas) is on sale at Smashwords. You can try it out in any ebook format for $2.99. Just follow this link: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/624284

In the days before the Flood, Azaziel had been a Watcher, sent down to help God’s creatures on Earth.  He fell in love with one of Cain’s granddaughters and he rescued her from the Flood. They passed her mortal life in bliss. Now he’s imprisoned in the Los Angeles basin. His angelic brethren, Heaven’s misfits, don’t understand the longing Aza feels:  once he had been loved entirely for himself.

The succubus Lorelei doesn’t know any of this when she sets her sights on Azaziel in her boss’s bar.  All she knows is that the angel’s fall will bring glory to Hell and acclaim to any succubus who accomplishes it.

Of course, it never occurs to Lorelei that Azaziel might try to tame her by possessing her with a mortal girl’s soul.

Can the succubus find an exorcist before the fury of Hell is unleashed?

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Get the paperback at Amazon: https://amzn.to/2SpCJs6

Get a mobi, epub, pdf or text at Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/624284

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5 Questions for Tim Prasil

20160804_125838b&w1I met Tim Prasil through the Occult Detective Quarterly group on Facebook. His blog has a wealth of information about occult — or psychic — detectives in fiction from the Victorian era to the present. I discovered he writes these great short stories, too!

In fact, Tim Prasil writes fiction, plays, and the occasional limerick. He also researches quirky genres of fiction from the 1800s and early 1900s, from occult detective fiction to tales of sinister hypnotists. From this research, Tim edits entertaining and informative anthologies. In 2017, he started Brom Bones Books as a publishing “cottage” for his work. Visit brombonesbooks.com to learn about Tim’s upcoming projects.

One more thing. Tim Prasil rhymes with “grim fossil.” Flattering, ain’t it?

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Guilt Is a Ghost: A Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery:

In 1899, a séance was held at the Morley Mansion in Boston, Massachusetts. The millionaire Roderick Morley was desperate to contact his murdered friend. He hoped to clear himself of suspicion by identifying the true killer. The séance went horribly wrong, though, and Morley left the room—to commit suicide.

By 1903, the Morley Mansion was deemed haunted! The new owner hired Vera Van Slyke, an odd but brilliant ghost hunter. With her assistant, Lucille Parsell, Vera quickly realized that, to banish the ghost, the two would have to solve the murder.

But a fugitive murderer wasn’t the only shadow cast over the Morley Mansion. A fake medium had performed at that séance, a shame-ridden woman who called herself  “Lucille Parsell.”

Sometimes, guilt is a ghost that can never be banished.

Did something in the real world inspire Guilt Is a Ghost: A Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mystery?

There was nothing specific in terms of the main plotline, but one key story event involves a Spiritualist medium being debunked. Of course, that really happened from time to time in the late 1800s/early 1900s, which is when the novel is set. In addition, there are two main characters who were real people: William James, the Harvard Psychology professor who also pursued “psychical research” (now known as paranormal investigation) and William B. Watts, the Chief Inspector at Boston’s Criminal Investigation Bureau. I mention actual cases handled by Watts—from Jack the Slugger, a street thug who killed some of his victims, to Francis Truth, a faith healer who conned people on a national scale. I also used a 1903 map of Boston to get names and places right.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

I’m torn between two scenes. Guilt Is a Ghost is more a mystery than a spooky ghost story, but I did include a scene that’s pretty eerie. One character recounts living alone in the novel’s haunted house and having a series of encounters with a crouching phantom, one with dark splotches instead of eyes. (I tried to represent this apparition on the book’s cover.) The other scene involves my ragtag team of crime-fighters, introduced one by one throughout the novel. Toward the end, they assemble at a tavern called The Pitcher and Coach to discuss how they’re going to expose the criminal mastermind—and the terrible dangers that go with their plan. Partly, I like these characters a lot, so it’s fun seeing them join forces. Partly, I like that The Pitcher and Coach is a sideways reference to Cheers, the Boston bar in the TV series. (Yes, my tavern gets its name from a pitcher for serving beverages and a horse-drawn coach—but in Cheers, the bartenders are Sam Malone, who had been a pitcher for the Red Sox, and Coach, who had served as a his coach.) Similarly, I tossed in nods to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and even The Great Gatsby.

What was your writing process like as you wrote the book?This novel has a slightly crazy history. In 2012, I outlined a stage play. It was titled Guilt Is a Ghost and introduced a ghost hunter named Vera Van Slyke. I sent the outline to a theatre troupe in Dallas. Turned out, they weren’t interested in developing/producing it because it wasn’t strictly linear. There were flashbacks, in other words. So I said, “Well, maybe it’s a novel and Vera Van Slyke is a series character!”

To test whether or not Vera could sustain interest and evolve through several adventures—and to make sure I wouldn’t wind up repeating myself—I wrote Help for the Haunted: A Decade of Vera Van Slyke Ghostly Mysteries. It’s a composite novel/short story cycle that includes thirteen discreet yet interwoven supernatural investigations. The many positive reviews at Amazon assured me that Vera could easily sustain a series.

Having discovered that, I then went back and wrote Guilt Is a Ghost as a novel, which I realized it was probably meant to be all along.

What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?I really enjoyed hearing from the readers who had fallen in love with Vera when reading Help for the Haunted discuss how much they were looking forward to reading Guilt Is a Ghost. And hearing from fans who had completed Guilt say they felt it very much seemed to be in keeping with the previous book.

That said, I’d like to mention that readers can start with either book. Help covers 1899-1909; Guilt opens in 1899 and then jumps to 1903. Timewise, they overlap—and each book fills in some details of the other. If you prefer traditional novels, you might start with Guilt Is a Ghost, which delves deeply into Vera’s first meeting with Lucille Parsell, who becomes her “Dr. Watson,” and then presents their investigation of a complex haunting that, in important ways, resulted from that meeting. If you’re partial to short stories, you might begin with Help for the Haunted. They’re very much companion books.

What do you have planned next?

Right now, I’m editing an anthology called Ghostly Clients and Demonic Culprits: The Roots of Occult Detective Fiction. Vera Van Slyke is in the occult detective tradition, along with characters such as Agents Mulder and Scully of The X-Files or Sam and Dean Winchester of Supernatural. The book I’m currently working on traces the deep roots of this narrative tradition and, along the way, presents some interesting challenges to the standard history of mystery fiction.

Further down the line, I’ll add more novels to the Vera Van Slyke series.

Learn more about Tim’s books at https://brombonesbooks.com/ or at his Amazon page: https://amzn.to/2JpEimT.

You can order a copy of Guilt is a Ghost from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2YLtrJl.

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Shallow Waters

Shallow waters vol 1I have a very short story in this new horror anthology by Crystal Lake Publishing. It’s for sale on Amazon for the Kindle for only 99 cents:  https://amzn.to/2XBKg81

The amazing cover is by Ben Baldwin.

In this volume…
• Taunted by a cactus, a man copes with grief after the loss of his wife.
• Alondra DeCourval visits Franz Kafka’s grave to think about death.
• A lovestruck woman strives to connect with a man she’s convinced is The One.
• The perfect funeral for a child—all according to a Mother’s well-crafted plan. The exception is one small, unexpected development no one could have ever prepared for.
• A short meditation on the haunting nature of love and loss, and the aftermath of both.
• Victor’s sanity has been threaded together by the memory of his daughter’s voice, until now, when her laughter falls silent.
• An adrenaline junkie believes he can take on the ultimate challenge—coming back from the dead.
• Sisters share everything. The good…and the bad.
• Sometimes being a hoarder is dangerous…
• In our ever-changing world, what we view as a monster is constantly evolving…but at what cost?
• Buddy’s heart aches for his family’s arrival.
• Bright colors may be beautiful, but sometimes they can be dangerous.
• Sometimes the darkness we harbor within is best left behind closed doors.
• Rats scratch in the children’s ward.
• A surprise wedding present from daughter to father, built over a lifetime, reveals his true nature to all his guests.
• Can a mourning Mallory find comfort before she loses her mind?
• While coming to terms with the death of his mother a man learns that he harbours a strange ability, one that could threaten to tear his reality apart.
• A woman’s last letter to her abusive ex-husband returns the favor of his tutelage.
• Lillian’s search for her daughter’s doll leads her on a journey through tragedy, loss, and madness.
• The brutal murder a man’s only child leaves him burdened with a question only he can answer.

Here’s that Table of Contents:

“Closure on a Bed of Nails” by Chad Lutzke
“Fast Car” by Tracy Fahey
“Tears of Buddy” by Patrick R. McDonough
“Puzzle Pieces” by Armand Rosamilia
“Pretty Like Butterflies” by Tim Waggoner
“S1:E7” by Robert Ford
“Pain is Your Teacher” by Michael Harris Cohen
“Memory Lane” by Red Lagoe
“The Silence of the Sirens” by Loren Rhoads
“It’s Me Not You” by Jonathan Winn
“Sisters of Loss” by Mark Allan Gunnells
“Talisman” by Jezzy Wolfe
“The Melting of Your Gods” by Mercedes M. Yardley
“Charms” by Dino Parenti
“Not Your Average Monster” by Kenneth W. Cain
“Where the Children Run in Darkness” by Guy Medley
“Tunnels” by Tom Over (winner)
“The Truth about Dani” by Joe Mercer
“Baby Savannah” by M.J. Sydney
“Rats Scratched in the Linen Cupboard” by Dani Brown
“Raining” by John Boden
“The Death Experience” by L.A. Story

Proudly brought to you by Crystal Lake Publishing—Tales from the Darkest Depths.

 

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5 Questions for John Linwood Grant

raggedauthorI met John Linwood Grant through his work as editor at Occult Detective Quarterly magazine. (I was lucky enough to sell him an Alondra story for issue #5.)  I learned more about his own writing when I interviewed Alan M. Clark in November last year. When John’s newest editing project was announced, I was fascinated.

John Linwood Grant is a professional writer/editor from Yorkshire who lives with a pack of lurchers and a beard. Widely published in anthologies and magazines such as Weirdbook, Vastarien and Lackington’s, he writes contemporary weird fiction, plus stories of murder, madness and the supernatural for his Tales of the Last Edwardian series. His latest novel is The Assassin’s Coin, featuring Mr. Dry, whose exploits also turn up in the new collection, A Persistence of Geraniums. He is editor of the magazine Occult Detective Quarterly, plus anthologies such as ODQ Presents and Hell’s Empire. Find him on Facebook or at his popular greydogtales.com.

John describes Hell’s Empire:

HEFrontCoverFinalHELL’S EMPIRE: Tales of the Incursion. Being an account of the Incursion of the Inferno into Victoria’s Britain, as Hell seeks a foothold on Earth.

“Each local victory was matched by utter defeat elsewhere. Faith and resolve strengthened in some, but weakened in many others, who saw no end to this fight except death or servitude. Clergy faltered and died; supply lines failed. Surviving towns and cities struggled with refugees, becoming unwilling enclaves of resistance rather than mighty fortresses against the brimstone.

“Many waited with hope for returning troop-ships, particularly from South Africa, but with the loss of HMS Camforth off the Isle of Wight, that hope was dashed. Witnesses in Ventnor saw the brave vessel torn open as it hove in sight, grasped by tendrils of a monstrous size which carried weeping sores upon their mottled length. Hell was determined that there would be no relief…”

A unique anthology of two Thrones at war, told in fourteen tales of horror, victory, and defeat. 300 pages of brand new stories, edited by John Linwood Grant, for Ulthar Press.

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Did something in the real world inspire Hell’s Empire?

Better to say something from the real historical world (if history is indeed real). A chunky third or more of my writing, and often my editing, concerns the late Victorian and Edwardian periods. And I do a lot of research – to the point where I forget I’m supposed to be writing. Rather than just steal quick incidents as story fodder, I like to disappear into the biographical, social, and political detail of the periods. One of my favourite books is one entirely about Edwardian trawlermen and their practices, which makes me sound either studious or tragic. Or both.

In that research process, you become entangled with people’s genuine lives and experiences. So part of the inspiration for Hell’s Empire were those folk at home in Britain and Ireland during the period. I’d been looking at how they responded to disasters, to news of British military defeats in other lands including the colonies, to civil disturbance and bombings at home, and so forth. And that’s why I made it clear when I wrote the guidelines that I didn’t want steampunk or alternate history stories. The question was: How would a range of often quite ordinary people in late Victorian Britain face up to something generally beyond comprehension?

There was always the underlying fear that writers would respond to the concept with nothing but tales of brave British soldiers being slaughtered or triumphing across the fields of the home counties. In fact, I was delighted when I found I had a very different kettle of donkeys on my hands. The majority of submissions included many examples of  – drum roll – basically quite ordinary people facing catastrophe. Look at some of our protagonists: an inexperienced ship’s lad; a Welsh village lass; two troubled Fenians; a working-class bloke in London; an aspiring stage girl, a young Army private, and more like them.

In short, I sought human responses to a nightmare, and got them. These characters and their friends and families react in different ways, of course – some rise to heroic deeds, others plod through with determination, and some simply suffer. Crucial to the anthology is that each story is quite different, not just in style, but in tone, perspective, and outcome.

We’ve included military disasters, personal tragedies, occult challenges, and both psychological and physical horror in these pages. A number of stories also have a folk horror feel, which is rather neat. So it’s not the sort of anthology where you can read one story, and then say this book’s not for me. The contents range from wry and curious to very dark. I hope that readers will dip in and out at their leisure.

What is your favorite scene in the book?

That’s almost impossible to answer – and in many cases, might spoil the stories for those who haven’t read them. There are a LOT of twists and turns in some of the tales – and some very powerful moments. But I’ll give a taste of three ‘episodes’ I like which might intrigue different kinds of readers. I’ll also apologise to the authors I don’t mention – it would be a very long answer otherwise.

Part One, “Opening Shots,” contains a lovely story by Charlotte Bond called “The Singing Stones,” which comes from the perspective of a minor demon supposed to help scout out the path for the Incursion. It’s a perfect contrast to some of the other, bleaker tales, yet contains its own threats, and is entirely in keeping with the theme.

In Part Two, “The Struggle,” I surprised myself by taking a tale – “Reinforcements” by Frank Coffman – with Arthurian roots. I would have thought the Arthurian stuff pretty much done to death by now, but Frank managed to produce a voice, that of an impressionable young soldier in the face of combat, which gave it fresh life.

And to go down a far harsher road, in Part Three, “Days of Doubt,” we have Jack Deel’s “Profaned by Feelings Dark,” a story of the real situation in Ireland at the time and of men who conceive of a desperate response to political actuality. It’s harrowing and fine.

What was your editing process like as you assembled the book?

This one was a bit different. The guidelines I laid out were fairly comprehensive. Although the anthology was open to anyone, I encouraged pitches so that I could say if the writer was anywhere near what we were after. I also had the invaluable help of writers Matthew Willis and Charles R. Rutledge, who were asked to write an opening story and a closing one respectively. They provided the anchors, but none of the other writers saw these beforehand. We wanted imaginations to run fairly wild, which turned out to be the right move.

I then looked at the most interesting or innovative stories, sadly having to lose a few which might just have fitted. It soon became apparent that the final selection could be presented not as a general tapestry, but in a defined order, and so the three sections came into shape. After that, and a little editorial revision and polishing of the submissions, I wrote five or six thousand words of linking text, providing a framework and additional background on the progress of the Incursion.

The single ‘deviation’ from the plan was that the talented British poet Phil Breach volunteered two substantial pieces of verse. I had no plans to use any poetry, but these were too appropriate and delightful not to include, so I split the sections with his wonderful new piece “The Nowl of Tubal-Qayin” and his Tennysonian satire “The Charge of the Wight Brigade.”

We had produced, in effect, one long, sequential narrative from many different viewpoints: Tales of the Incursion from start to finish (or so the Victorians hoped). A themed anthology which also told a single grand story. Weird how things turn out.

What was the best thing that happened during your promotion of the book?

Well, promotion is underway. The only thing I can say at this point is how good the writers themselves have been, sharing posts, images and so forth on social media. That’s the sort of backing you need for word of mouth to do its work. They’re a talented crew.

What do you have planned next?

Too much. I’m currently going through submissions for an anthology I’m editing for Belanger Books, Holmes and the Occult Detectives. I have another anthology almost done, Their Coats All Red for 18thWall Productions, a range of weird Imperial tales from outside Britain – some new, some unusual period pieces – and plans completed for an anthology Room Enough for Fear, collecting classic stories of haunted rooms, which will again have some little known tales in it alongside the standards. And Dave Brzeski and I are putting Occult Detective Quarterly #6 together for Ulthar Press, due this Summer.

Mind you, I’m actually primarily a weird fiction writer. The editing was a bit of an accident, so I should be focusing on writing again soon. My expanded collection of Edwardian murder, madness, and the supernatural A Persistence of Geraniums came out not long ago, and I have a number of new weird stories due out over the year in various anthologies, with settings from the 1970s to contemporary. Another collection is also entirely possible, if I concentrate hard enough.

Order your copy of Hell’s Empire: Tales of the Incursion from Amazon: https://amzn.to/31Lrmii

Check out all of John Linwood Grant’s books: https://amzn.to/31HW9MZ 

Or follow John on his blog at http://greydogtales.com/blog/

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The Dangerous Type

TDT ad 2019Today is The Dangerous Type’s 4th birthday. Four years ago today, the book came out from Night Shade Books.

There were things I loved about the book release: that cover image is one.  It captures the attitude of the main character, the sense of danger in the books, the amount of violence.  I loved working with my editor, who pushed me to up the level of tech in the story, which led to some of my favorite bits.  Even though it was brutal to write under those conditions, I loved having all three books out in the same year, so people could binge through them.

Unfortunately, the publisher (an imprint of Skyhorse Books) didn’t support the books very well.  They didn’t put any emphasis on the binge-ability of the series.  There was no promotion that all three would all be out in a six-month span.  They didn’t put ads in the back of the first book, touting the second one would be out two months later.  They didn’t even list the other two books’ titles in any of the trilogy.  In other words, I worked myself into pneumonia to get the books written on time, then the publisher simply put them out without comment.

Over the 18 months I worked with Skyhorse, I had four publicists. That made it hard to get any momentum going with any of them, but they did score me a guest shot on Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog, which got my book in front of more people than I’d ever reached before. I wrote about my experiments in persona for her My Favorite Bit blog feature: http://maryrobinettekowal.com/journal/my-favorite-bit-loren-rhoads-talks-about-the-dangerous-type/

Related to that, I wrote on Lisa Lane’s Cerebral Writer blog about how point of view affects The Dangerous Typehttp://www.cerebralwriter.com/blog/loren-rhoads-shaping-your-story-through-point-of-view

At Tracie McBride’s Exquisite Corpse, I answered Publishers Weekly’s charge that I’m trying to bring grimdark to space opera: https://traciemcbridewriter.wordpress.com/2015/07/24/guest-post-grimdark-and-the-dangerous-type-by-loren-rhoads/

HorrorAddicts.net invited me to talk about where my claustrophobia came from and how it inspired The Dangerous Typehttps://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/2015/07/28/claustrophobia-and-the-dangerous-type/

The Dangerous Type also made a couple of must-read lists:

9 Space Operas to Read while you’re waiting for Ancillary Mercyhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/9-space-operas-to-read-while-you-wait-for-ancillary-mercy/

io9’s Must-Read Science Fiction for July 2015: http://io9.com/there-are-too-many-must-read-science-fiction-and-fantas-1715535068

B&N Bookseller’s Picks for July 2015: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/sci-fi-fantasy/bn-booksellers-picks-for-july-2015/

The Dangerous Type is available on AmazonBarnes & NobleIndie Bound, or at Borderlands Books in San Francisco.  The audibook is available from Amazon or on Audible.

You can read a sample of the book here. I hope you’ll check it out.

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