A young man begins the painful journey of recovery by sharing the gristly details of a hellish childhood that changed him forever in author Stephen Ross’ novel “Memoir From Hell”.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
TRIGGER WARNING: This novel contains story elements involving physical and mental abuse (including those involving children), as well as themes of domestic abuse. If these things are too upsetting or triggering for readers, reader discretion is advised.
A young man begins the painful journey of recovery by sharing the gristly details of a hellish childhood that changed him forever in author Stephen Ross’ novel “Memoir From Hell”. Here is the synopsis.
A child’s life should be idyllic: filled with friends, abundant joy, and carefree days of endless possibility. But that was not to be for Jake Malloy and his little sister, Dory. Their lives traversed paths upon which no child should tread.As a young adult trying to overcome the past, Jake chronicles the events that destroyed the possibilities and turned life for the Malloys into a living hell. Will Jake and Dory ever be able to lead normal lives? Only time will tell.A fictional memoir not for the faint of heart.
This is a painful yet important and well written novel. A top read contender for best literary fiction/drama/thriller, author Stephen Ross has expertly brought the heartbreaking reality of domestic abuse and childhood trauma to life. Studying the effects of abuse on the mind a young person who grew up in a truly harmful environment, the author creates realistic and relatable characters that bring the raw emotions of that situation to the forefront, instantly connecting with readers.
The themes and story elements of the story are both powerful and hard to read at times. Yet in this very quick read, the message that comes through has never been more important than it is today, as violence (especially violence against children and domestic violence), seems to be getting worse and more rampant, and the need for the laws to change have never been more apparent.
This is an emotionally charged novel that needs to be read. Haunting and painfully relevant, this novel is a horror story that challenges the concept of monsters, as it proves that the true monsters are often hiding in plain sight, and could be hiding inside the people we should be able to trust the most. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of “Memoir From Hell” by Stephen Ross today!
About the Author
Stephen Ross was born in LeMars, Iowa, in 1948. He lived in Fremont, Nebraska, from the age of five until he left home to attend the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. After college, Stephen taught business courses at Nebraska Technical College for two years prior to moving to Los Angeles, California, to pursue an acting career.
During his eight years in Los Angeles, he not only acted, but gained extensive experience as a waiter. He moved to San Diego, California, in 1981 to attend law school at the University of San Diego, and practiced law there until retiring in 2017.
A mysterious attack leads to a world changing event in author Lachlan Walter’s We Call It Monster.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A mysterious attack leads to a world changing event in author Lachlan Walter’s We Call It Monster. Here is the synopsis.
One ordinary day, an enormous creature dragged itself out of the ocean and laid waste to a city. In the months and years that followed, more and more creatures appeared, until not a single country remained untouched. At first, people tried to fight them. In the end, all they could do was try and stay alive.
We Call It Monster is a story of forces beyond our control, of immense and impossible creatures that make plain how small we really are. It is the story of our fight for survival and our discovery of that which truly matters: community and compassion, love and family, hope and faith.
This is by far one of the most original and “human” stories set in a world filled with larger than life monsters. Bringing the large scale destruction of any Godzilla or King Kong style film and blending it in with the character development and connectivity of a film like Crash, the novel explores a sudden war with mysterious monsters that threatens to end the world as we know it. The author changed the formula up however by focusing not on the monster’s origins or larger than life battles, but instead the relationships and struggles of those affected by these events.
Each section of the novel focuses on specific years in this “war”, from the creatures emergence across the world to the economic struggles and loss of life felt by the people around the world. Each chapter focuses on a character introduced in the previous chapter, allowing readers to see how connected we all are to one another, and allowing us to see how the monster’s arrival affects everyone differently. The emotional impact of these creature’s destruction and the slow decline the planet faces brings a new focus on the monster genre, and creates a truly impactful story like no other.
A true must read novel of 2019, author Lachlan Walter has exceeded the expectations of the genre and created a narrative that is truly original. Exploring the affects the monsters have on our society, on the planet and the people left behind in their wake, the heart of this novel rests in it’s fantastic character development, and will leave readers on the edge of their seat as they witness the slow ride into the end of the world as we know it. If you haven’t yet, be sure to pick up your copy of We Call It Monster today!
Lachlan Walter is a writer, science-fiction critic and nursery-hand (the garden kind, not the baby kind), and is the author of two books: the deeply Australian post-apocalyptic tale The Rain Never Came, and the giant-monster story-cycle We Call It Monster. He also writes science fiction criticism for Aurealis magazine and reviews for the independent ‘weird music’ website Cyclic Defrost, his short fiction can be found floating around online, and he has completed a PhD that critically and creatively explored the relationship between Australian post-apocalyptic fiction and Australian notions of national identity.
He loves all things music-related, the Australian environment, overlooked genres and playing in the garden. He hopes that you’re having a nice day.
The old man shuffled out to the balcony, dusted off an outdoor chair and
then made himself comfortable. The sky was a shade of blue that painters
only dream about; it was a beautiful sight. The old man drank it in,
leaning back in his chair. He sipped at his coffee and smoked a cigarette.
He was happy to wait as long as was necessary – he had all the time in
the world and he wasn’t going anywhere.
The monster finally appeared, a blurry smudge in the distance.
Slowly, but not as slowly as he would have thought, it grew both
closer and more distinct. The old man laughed out loud; it looked like
nothing more than a child’s drawing of something that might have been a
lobster or might have been a spider or might have been both, propped up
on flagpole-like legs that supported a wetly-shining carapace, a beaked
head, and a tail as long as a bus.
It was enormous and ridiculous in equal measure. The old man was
surprised to find that it failed to frighten him.
It drew closer to the city. It stopped suddenly and bit a great chunk
out of a stately old tree lining a boulevard. Chewing slowly and
methodically, it worked its way through the mass of wood and foliage
before throwing its head back and opening its mouth wide. Despite his
deafness, the old man felt the monster’s keening in his bones and in the
pit of his stomach.
He pulled his hearing aid from his pocket, turned it on then slipped it
The beast’s cry was low and mournful, more a melancholy bellow
than a ferocious roar. Thankfully, the klaxon-blare of the evacuation
alarms had stopped. The monster cried out again and it shook the old
man, both literally and metaphorically. The beast shifted its legs,
presumably adjusting its weight, and destroyed an office building in the
Almost comically, it looked down at the destruction it had wrought
and seemed to shake its head.
It looked back up and cried out a third time, and then started walking
again. It seemed to meet the old man’s eye. Without breaking its gaze, the
old man took another sip of coffee before lighting another cigarette.
Slowly-slowly-slowly, the monster drew closer. You could almost see
a smile on the old man’s face.
A Q&A WITH THE AUTHOR
What is it about giant monsters that appeals to you?
Initially, it was a childish fascination with things being smashed. Let’s face it: Every little kid has thrown a tantrum for reasons they can’t explain, broken something and then experienced relief at the wordless release this brings. A giant monster barging through a city for no fathomable reason can reflect our own difficulties in articulating and making sense of our emotions at that age.
This fascination soon turned to awe and wonder at their scale and mystery, a reflection of the feelings inspired in me by my discovery of dinosaurs and cryptozoology (the study of creatures such as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, Yetis and the like). My love of dinosaurs is easy to explain – show me a kid who hasn’t at some point gone through a ‘dinosaur’ phase’ and I’ll eat my hat – while my love of cryptozoology was inspired by a book entitled Creatures From Elsewhere, which my parents gave me and which is actually still sitting on my bookshelf.
Beginning in my teenage years and continuing on into the present day, I’ve loved the metaphorical and symbolic potential that giant monsters possess, and the ways in which they can ‘stand in’ for so many different problems that seem beyond our control and almost impossible to deal with. Nuclear war, our negative impact on the environment, international terrorism, industrial pollution, climate change, the staggering number of displaced people around the world – giant monsters have represented them all.
Why did you decide to write about giant monsters?
As mentioned, I’ve always been fascinated by them. But I’ve also always been a voracious reader, and sometimes an obsessive one. I’ve been known to occasionally get my nerd on for a particular sub or micro-genre, looking up ‘similar title’ and ‘you might also like’ lists online when I should be doing better things with my time. But I still keep searching, because there can’t just be one example of Mystery Sub/Micro-genre X out there.
Giant monster fiction was one such obsession that carried me away, the timing of which coincided with the completion of my first book. I binged on literally anything I could find, looking for something that took giant monsters as seriously as some of the movies do, something that was more than just capital-A action. I found lots of fun, post-modern stuff out there – some of which could even be described as zany – but not much that approached giant monsters with a serious eye.
Looking for a new book to throw myself into writing – a book that I wanted to be distinctly different from my first book – I decided upon a piece of serious giant monster fiction. In other words, I decided to write the book that I wanted to read. Isn’t that what an author does?
Do you need to be a fan of giant monsters to appreciate We Call It Monster?
Nope, but it probably helps… In all seriousness, though – no, you don’t need to be a fan. My aim with We Call It Monster wasn’t only to write a serious piece of giant monster fiction because giant monsters have, historically, rarely been written about in such a way. Instead, I also wanted to write a piece of speculative fiction that does what all good speculative fiction should: Use the speculative element within to make us look at ourselves and our place in the world with fresh eyes.
Despite its title, We Call It Monster is more concerned with people than monsters. It isn’t a ‘wham-bam, shoot-em-up’ but instead a serious look at how we might react to forces beyond our control, and to forces that illuminate the precariousness of our position as world-conquerors sitting atop the food chain. And ultimately, it’s the story of what really matters: community and compassion, love and family and friendship, hope and faith. Anyone that appreciates such people-centric stories should find something within We Call It Monster that they can enjoy.
Why did you decide to write We Call It Monster as a story-cycle/novel-in-stories?
To me, one of reading’s biggest attractions has always been in my sense of engagement with the world being built on the page (a process even more absorbing when reading science fiction and speculative fiction). I think this enjoyment of engagement applies to most people. We all ‘see’ things in written worlds that the author didn’t actually write, even at the most mundane level: we populate a footpath with pedestrians, a street with cars.
A story-cycle/novel-in-stories can increase this sense of engagement to an incredibly strong degree, and their traditional structures allow writers to work magic. They can give us different perspectives on the same events, blocks of ‘missing time’ that exist between stories/chapters, events that are only alluded to rather than seen first-hand, a multiplicity of narrative “voices”, and so much more. But ‘missing time’ begs to be filled; events only alluded to tantalise us; we can’t know the truth when presented with different perspectives, or even if the truth exists. And so our minds do this work for us, conjuring up and giving life to parts of the story the writer has withheld.
The way story-cycles/novels-in-stories allow us to create the world right alongside the writer is a beautiful thing. However, the structures behind them aren’t just beautiful, but also incredibly practical. They can allow a story to cover a span of time longer than a regular person’s life; and help do away with the inevitable and repetitive ‘amazing coincidences’ that prop-up stories where one single character guides us through an incredible sequence of events covering an incredible amount of time; and enable a wider representation of voices from a wider variety of countries and cultures, without also falling back on the aforementioned trope of inevitable and repetitive ‘amazing coincidences’.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A group of strangers with dark pasts find themselves in a never ending nightmare in author C.B. Collins novel “One Night’s Stay”. Here is the synopsis.
Thirteen strangers check into the Sunset Inn hoping to find rest. When one of them is murdered in the middle of the night, the survivors realize they’ve found something else entirely; an ancient evil looking to satisfy an undying hunger. If the guests want to make it through the night, they’ll have to discover the secret behind the motel and the mysterious town it serves. However, in uncovering the truth, they might find that the town’s past is nowhere near as dark as their own.
This was one of the most original horror stories of the year. A twisted tale of damaged souls and great evil coming face to face with something more sinister than any human could imagine, the author does a wonderful job of turning a classic supernatural horror element into a fresh batch of hell. A blend of both supernatural and classic serial killer style horror, the story reads like a mix of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot and Thomas Harris’s The Silence of the Lambs.
The story had equal parts horror, scares and emotional storytelling. Each character had a backstory that was either twisted, sad or highlighted humanity’s struggle with the world around them. The character development nearly outshone the horror story being told, but in the end both showcased truly amazing command over the genre that the author has.
Overall this is a must read novel. Filled with scares, chills and everything in between, the author did a wonderful job of creating a story horror fans will love while giving a wider audience characters that would draw them in. What is the terror facing this unlikely group of survivors? Find out by grabbing your copy of C.B. Collins novel “One Night’s Stay” today.
Published December 1, 2017 by Perfectly Poisoned Anthologies
It’s 1870 in a rural setting on the outskirts of London. Famed surgeon Dr.
Benedict Morrow hosts an elite few surgical trainees at the renowned Morrow
Academy of Anatomy and Science.
Though the days of Burke and Hare are long gone, and body snatching and
grave robbing a seemingly thing of the past, the supply of high-quality fresh
cadavers is still lacking.
Each student of Dr. Morrow must procure a fresh corpse for their very own
study, or face expulsion from the prestigious academy.
These hand-chosen students are the best and brightest in the country. They
are also devious, conniving, and determined to do whatever they must to stay in
the academy and under the tutelage of Dr. Morrow. Even turn against each other
In the cards will be manipulation, murder, betrayal, sex, blackmail, and of
course, money always talks.
Dr. Linnea Lyons has it all. She is beautiful, intelligent,
witty, and charming. All the things a young woman needs to get her way in 1870.
Tasked with procuring a cadaver for her surgical studies,
Linnea decides to use her womanly charms to get what she wants. A visit to the
morgue when only the Deputy Coroner, Dr. Cyril Rhodes is on duty, she asks him
to allow her to watch his embalming process.
Cyril is enthralled with the dark-haired beauty. After all,
it is a rarity to meet a female doctor, let alone one studying the art of
Linnea senses the good doctor is a bit lonely and perhaps an
easy mark to get what she wants.
The first year Dr. Benedict Morrow at the renowned Morrow
Academy of Anatomy and Science considers female students, Louisa Becker is
honored to be chosen. An ocean away from everything she has ever known and
thrust into a highly competitive, if not, demoralizing group of students is
arduous. It intensifies once Dr. Morrow tasks them with procuring their own
fresh corpse or face expulsion.
Residing in the home of a previous student of Dr. Morrow’s
and his teaching assistant, she suspects Edgar Walker guards sinister secrets
and she should fear him. Instead, she observes his skill and technique in class
and respects him. Intrigued and attracted to the withdrawn, brooding man she
watches him from a distance.
One evening following him into London, she witnesses him
commit a grisly crime. Louisa and Edgar forge an unconventional relationship
involving murder, seduction, lust, ambition, and mayhem.
An immigrant, Fredrick Wolf has to succeed at Morrow Academy
of Anatomy and Science. Not only succeed, he has to prove to his peers that he
belongs, that he isn’t a poor local Dr. Morrow accepted out of pity.
Fredrick is willing to do anything to procure a prime
specimen for their special assignment. Calling upon his uncle, his partner in
crime since their move to England, Fredrick plans to use his uncle’s position
at the local gaol to select the perfect candidate.
But not all prisoners are the usual drunkards or petty
thieves. Some possess dark secrets, especially the man known in Clayton Bridge
as Eugene Wallaby. Biding his time, Eugene sees young Fredrick’s murderous plan
as a means of escape, but only if Eugene can survive the night.
No one wants to be successful as a surgeon more than
Scarlett Kensington and no one has as little conscience. She has met every
challenge with skill and talent and by out-thinking her detractors. And when
the great Dr. Morrow demands his students present a cadaver for class, whose
body will it be?
Enzo Mason is a hustler and a thief by nature. After
stealing the most valuable thing he’s ever stolen, he thinks he’s finally on
the path to making a good life for himself. His confidence is tested when Dr.
Morrow reveals the newest challenge that will decide their fate in the surgical
program – procure your own cadaver for study or be dismissed from the Academy.
Will the help of a fellow classmate, who happens to be the most beautiful woman
he’s ever seen, be the one thing that helps him achieve his goals or will his
luck run out?
Jacqueline Kennison is a stunning newcomer to the Morrow
Academy of Anatomy and Science who has caught the eye of a fellow classmate,
Enzo. Jacqueline is determined to see her master plan through, even if it means
teaming up with Enzo. This choice leads to unforeseen dilemmas that she never
expected. Will Enzo be the one to aid in her own self-destruction or will he
surprise her by saving her from herself?
Doctor Elizabeth Chandler is top of her class at the Royal
College of Surgeons of England and has the world in her hand… until it comes
crashing down around her. With the sudden death of her beloved father and her
mother’s convalescence due to a carriage accident, Elizabeth abandons
everything to return to Clayton Bridge and help her family. Traditional
medicine has failed to bring her mother back to consciousness, so when she
hears of Doctor Benedict Morrow and some of the more unusual requirements of
his Academy of Anatomy and Science, this seems like the answer to her prayers.
Blackmail, deceit, and treachery are just a few of the lessons she will learn
along with her surgical studies.
Miranda O’Reily has been struggling with her grades. In a
profession where men are the superior sex, she has a lot to prove to not just
her peers or Doctor Benedict Morrow, but to herself. Coming from an
impoverished home, she was lucky to have an unknown benefactor paying for her
college. The mystery unravels as she tries to identify who this mysterious
wealthy individual is all while struggling to meet the intensity of the
Edward Thatcher, the last mortician she saw denied her a corpse because of her
gender. Infuriated, she vowed to get a body by any means necessary, even if it
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
One man’s journey to rebuild his family after a tragic loss turns into a nightmarish journey to discover who was behind a small town’s grizzly murder in author Alistair Cross’s “Sleep Savannah Sleep”. Here is the synopsis.
The Dead Don’t Always Rest in Peace
Jason Crandall, recently widowed, is left to raise his young daughter and rebellious teenage son on his own – and the old Victorian in Shadow Springs seems like the perfect place for them to start over. But the cracks in Jason’s new world begin to show when he meets Savannah Sturgess, a beautiful socialite who has half the men in town dancing on tangled strings.
When she goes missing, secrets begin to surface, and Jason becomes ensnared in a dangerous web that leads to murder – and he becomes a likely suspect. But who has the answers that will prove his innocence? The jealous husband who’s hell-bent on destroying him? The local sheriff with an incriminating secret? The blind old woman in the house next door who seems to watch him from the windows? Or perhaps the answers lie in the haunting visions and dreams that have recently begun to consume him.
Or maybe, Savannah herself is trying to tell him that things aren’t always as they seem – and that sometimes, the dead don’t rest in peace.
“SLEEP SAVANNAH SLEEP hooks you with a small-town atmosphere that quickly turns ghostly cold. Beware a plethora of twists and turns …” – Michael Aronovitz, author of Alice Walks and Phantom Effect
This was an incredible story. Author Alistair cross continues to shine as one of the horror/thriller genres best writers. Feeling like a successor to greats like Dean Koontz and Stephen King, the author captures the mystery and intrigue of a murder-mystery while bringing in an emotional story of a father trying to hold his family together in one piece after losing his wife.
The story itself is intriguing, as it keeps you guessing all the way to the book’s end who could be behind this senseless violence. It’s a story of family, loss (both physical loss and the loss of a spiritual or mental variety), and the impact the past has on the present. The setting is incredibly vivid, bringing to mind the small town horror stories fans have grown to love from authors like Koontz. It was a roller coaster of emotions as you felt for protagonist Jason. Why was he chosen to be thrust into this investigation, and will he be able to protect his family from the true killer? That’s the quest the author takes readers on.
Overall this is a must read thriller. Filled with action, suspense and fantastic characters that draw the reader in, the novel is incredibly powerful and a prime example of how modern day horror thrillers need to be. If you haven’t yet be sure to grab your copy of Sleep Savannah Sleep by Alistair Cross today.
About the Author
Alistair Cross’ debut novel, The Crimson Corset, a vampiric tale of terror and seduction, was an immediate bestseller earning praise from veteran vampire-lit author, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, and New York Times bestseller, Jay Bonansinga, author of The Walking Dead series.In 2012, Alistair joined forces with international bestseller, Tamara Thorne, and as Thorne & Cross, they write – among other things – the successful Gothic series, The Ravencrest Saga. Their debut collaboration, The Cliffhouse Haunting, was a bestseller. They are currently at work on their next solo novels and a new collaborative project.
In 2014, Alistair and Tamara began the radio show, Thorne & Cross: Haunted Nights LIVE!, which has featured such guests as Anne Rice of The Vampire Chronicles, Charlaine Harris of the Southern Vampire Mysteries and basis of the HBO series True Blood, Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter novels, Jay Bonansinga of TheWalking Dead series, Laurell K. Hamilton of the Anita Blake novels, Peter Atkins, screenwriter of HELLRAISER 2, 3, and 4, worldwide bestseller V.C. Andrews, and New York Times best sellers Preston & Child, Christopher Rice, and Christopher Moore.
On June 24, 2016, THE REAPING will be available in both
print and e-book format. To celebrate the release, the first book in the
DREADLAND CHRONICLES series, ALL ROADS
LEAD TO TERROR will be free from Friday June 24, 2016 until midnight Sunday
June 26, 2016. There will also be a second chance weekend on July 16 & 17
to give those who missed the first free weekend a chance to enter the drawing.
Anyone who downloads a free copy of All roads lead to terror
and leaves a review on Amazon.com before midnight on August 20, 2016,will be
entered into a drawing for a one of a kind candy jar to take place on August
21, 2016. Full details about the giveaway can be found here:
Man is no longer alone at the top
of the food chain.
From the East a new threat to a struggling civilization
emerges, spreading across the land like a cancerous stain, leaving in its wake
the shattered remnants of a species teetering on the brink of extinction.
After the dead walked and society crumbled, mankind
struggled back from the brink of extinction. Having fled the cities, the
survivors lead a more pastoral lifestyle, while the cities to the east stand as
silent monuments to the former progress of man.
But they are not empty.
Not only did mankind leave behind the trappings of his
progress, but the creatures of the night that once fed along the shadowy edges
of a well lit world. Inhabiting that twilight space between day and night, between
what is real and imagined, between dreams and nightmares.
In Bryn Mawr Window is infected when he is bitten by a
Reaper. As he struggles against the rising bloodlust, viewing his friends as a
potential meal, they set out to the East in the search of a cure.
Along the way they learn more about the nature of the world
they inhabit, their own past, and the part they each play in a potential
future. Crossing paths with a shadowy figure who leaves small tokens from each
of their own history. Little objects that carry powerful emotions linked to
major changes in their past lives.
In the nations former capitol they are confronted by the
master who reveals the cold truth about the cosmos as he prepares his own army
of the undead to enslave what remains of mankind.
The horrors of the
past meet the brutality of the present.
On the day of his birth the dead walked and society
crumbled. His mother took one look at him and pronounced him Meat. He survived,
Fourteen years have passed and obscurity means survival in an increasingly
dangerous world. For the survivors compound at Bremo Bluff that obscurity is
threatened when a savage band abducts a group of children from the compound.
Accompanied by his three friends Window, Einstein, and Billie-Bob, Meat embarks
on a quest to rescue the children. A journey that will lead them into
adulthood, with a brief detour through the Dreadlands, as they confront the
harsh reality of a brutal world beyond the barriers that had served to protect
In the dead city of Richmond they will confront that savage cult of children
who worship a creature of the night. These creatures, once considered the
nightmare imaginings of a fevered mind, are now awake in a world where the
population that once served as their food source has been reduced.
They heard her before they saw her, whistling a soft tune, a
haunting melody that was anything but upbeat. Like a funeral dirge best
shared during the procession when the casket takes its final journey to the
grave. From around a bend in the small stream the sound came, competing with
the babble of the water rushing over smooth stone, and the restless voice of a
soft breeze that stirred what leaves remained, their dead bodies chattering
against one another like skeletons dancing a frenzied jig.
Cautiously they approached the sound, coming upon an old woman kneeling on the
bank as she washed clothes in the cold waters of the stream. Her calloused
hands were red with the cold, and as they rounded the bend she pushed herself
to her feet with the help of a gnarled cane, tilting her head to one side like
she could hear their footsteps on the grassy bank.
“I been waiting for you boys to find me. Mama said you would be around,” she
said as the hem of her long dress caught in the moving water and the fabric
drank its fill. She wore a black shawl stretched across her shoulders, her
white hair in stark contrast as it rested against her back.
“Don’t be bashful now, I know you’re out there, I can smell ya.” She turned her
head to look in their direction, the cataracts coating her eyes capturing the
sunlight to lend them a silvery appearance. Her face was a road map of
wrinkles, each one denoting a different emotion, the lines radiating out from
her narrow lips ready at a moments notice to punctuate a smile or a frown.
Window moved past the others, following the narrow strip of brown grass that served
as a bank to keep the stream on its course. She blinked several times as he
approached, taking a hesitant step back as he got closer, his six two frame
towering over her diminutive five three posture.
“He got to you, didn’t he boy?” She said with a faint quiver in her voice. It
was obvious she was frightened by Windows sudden movement, but at the same time
she carried herself like one who was prepared to meet her end. She reached out
with one hand, and gently caressed Windows cheek like a mother comforting her
“How did you know we was coming?” Window said.
She smiled then, relaxing her grip on the walking stick she used to keep
herself upright. “Mama told me back when I was a young un. She said, Sophie,
you help them four boys when they come, you wait right there, don’t go running
off, cause they’s gonna need your help.”
“How long ago was that?” Window said.
“All my life I’ve known, and I’ve waited, cause mama told me I had to. From the
time I was a wee child running barefoot down to old man Winner’s little store,
I’ve known of you.”
“But that was before we were even born,” Window said as the others joined them
and the old woman tilted her head to each in turn.
“You can see us?” Billie-Bob said.
She laughed then, her voice filled with a joy that helped push back the chill
of the late fall day, offering a brief respite from the cold as a spreading
warmth filled each of them at the sound of her merriment.
“Everything that has been, and is yet to be, has been writ down for those who
know where to look,” she said before turning to look in Billie-Bob’s direction.
“I can see you with my heart, and that’s all I need. I can see your pain, you
did something you thought was bad, but it wasn’t. Sometimes we are pushed to do
things we otherwise would not do, for these things we can’t be held
accountable, least ways not to ourselves. Where each of you are going you need
to leave your guilt behind, it’s the only way you will survive, the only way
the world as we know it will continue on its way.”
“What good is this world?” Einstein said, “why should we worry about letting it
continue on its way.”
The old woman reached over and touched Einstein’s cheek, “I feel your pain son,
but sometimes we have to know loss before we can know joy. It’s the way of the
world and it won’t do us any good to fight it. You can’t see that now, but you
“Can you help us?” Meat said.
“That’s why I’m here,” she said as she took Windows hand into her own, “he’s
got something very bad in him,“ she said as she nodded at Window,
"they calls them reapers, I can see it hunkered down next to his soul,
trying to hide from me. I can’t help with that, but I know what you need to do.
Let’s go inside where we can talk.” She looked around, searching the woods
around them for other intruders, the boys followed suit, finding only the empty
When they turned back a small cabin stood behind the old woman. It hadn’t been
there before, Meat was sure of it, it was like it had materialized right out of
the forest behind them.
About the Author
Unlike other writers who knew they wanted to write the
moment they became self aware, Richard’s path to taking up the pen followed a
more leisurely route.
As a child he wanted to be a fighter pilot, later he thought
it would be neat to be a rock star. Unfortunately, as an introvert, he was not
suited for the stage. Once he gave up the guitar, much to the relief of his
parents, he turned his attention to making movies.
Armed with an 8mm movie camera, several rolls of aluminum
foil liberated from the kitchen, and the spare bed sheets, he filmed his first
masterpiece. The story was about a space ship crash landing in the woods behind
his house. His sister starred as the damsel in distress while his little
brother, wrapped like a mummy in the spare bed sheets, chased her through the
His career as a famous director ended before it even got off
the ground when on opening night his mother recognized the missing bed sheets
and aluminum foil resulting in his
grounding for the remainder of that summer.
A voracious reader, he believes writing is the most intimate
form of communication possible. The reader permits the writer access to their
mind, and the readers reality dissolves as they focus on the narrative of the
tale being spun.
His love of the macabre was sparked at an early age when he
would sit on his grandmother’s porch listening to her tell ghost stories.
During the summer he and his cousins would sleep in his grandmother’s back
yard, within sight of the abandoned haunted house next door, and spend the
night scaring one another with gruesome tales of shadowy creatures that went
bump in the night.
During his life he has played a series of roles, husband,
father, son, and lover, but his favorite by far is grandfather. He and his wife
of twenty plus years have raised four children, and helped raise eight
grandchildren. They provide a secure home to a yellow lab named Max and a cat
who will answer to either Flame or Furball. His loving wife, Dena has
experienced first hand the exasperation of living with a writer whose mind has
a tendency to wander at the most inappropriate times. Yet she manages to keep
his feet firmly planted on terra firma.