Tag Archives: Horror

THE SPITTING POST- Book Blitz

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THE SPITTING POST
Jason R. Barden
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Genre: Horror, Dark Fantasy
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Publication Date: December 8, 2017
Vincent must find the Spitting Post, but only the purple swan knows the way.
Vincent Carpenter’s life is a wreck. He has given up his dreams. He has lost his job after an economic disaster. His ten-year marriage is crumbling. Then he awakens in a maniacal land of frighteningly vivid realism with skull trees, glowing forests, ravenous beasts, and other psychologically haunting adversity.
While traveling through this demented unearthly world, he has a chance encounter with a beautiful maiden dressed in green; before he can start a conversation, she disappears into the unknown. Vincent must try to find her at a fantastical place known as the Spitting Post. But first he must overcome many macabre misfortunes and face nightmares that question his sanity. Will he reach her? What will the Spitting Post reveal? Will he suffer more disappointment and tragedy? Or will he find peace at last?

Review from The Romance Reviews

Vincent Carpenter isn’t having a good day. It’s the weekend and he forgot to turn off his alarm. When he rolls out of bed, he’s surprised to see that his wife, Erika, isn’t there. When he does find her, he mentions the dinner reservations he’d made for their tenth anniversary but she doesn’t want to go. What follows is a slow trip down a rabbit hole to the land of the mundane.
Until it isn’t.
Suddenly, he awakens in a strange world where nothing is normal. From the glowing forests to the skull trees, Vincent is lost in a world that would rival the minds of some modern masters of the macabre. A chance meeting with the Green Maiden forces Vincent through this nightmare world in search of a place called the Spitting Post but to get there, he must face some intense nightmares that could destroy even the strongest of psyches.
I had no idea what to expect when I started reading this story and I found it as intriguing as it was disturbing and that’s a good thing. With each new ordeal/event, Vincent finds himself more immersed in his nightmares, and we as readers, gain a bit more information. So much so that once you reach the end (Spoilers!), you’ll find yourself going back to reread sections again.
For when you do: “You must rethink everything you thought you knew. You must let your mind go back to the beginning and reconsider what it is you thought was truth, what you thought was reality, and what you thought was a dream,” and even then, THE SPITTING POST will surprise you.
Reprinted with permission from The Romance Reviews
The Spitting Post Teaser

Excerpt

When night settled in, the trees began their song of despair and completely blocked out any other noise. This is great, I thought. The beast could be right on me, and I would never even hear it. But the trees continued their sad symphony just the same.
With the thought of the beast ripping at my body and consuming my insides and the tree’s wailing, I found myself at the edge of lunacy. When dawn finally broke, the trees stopped their wailing, and the silence became deafening yet again. At last, peace and quiet. I picked myself up from the madness and marched onward. I was not a bit hungry, and my stomach was far too nervous for breakfast, so I went without. I also knew this would save time. One extra moment in this place was one too many.
Again I found my thoughts racing as fast as my feet. It would be a complete triumph when I escaped this land, or so I thought. If only I could make it to the bridge, then maybe I would be safe. As I raced on like a frightened animal about to become the beast’s dinner, I thought about the townspeople. I hoped they were safe in their new home far from here; I felt empathy for them knowing what fear the beast inspired.
I was lost in thought when again I heard the violin’s call. It was close this time—too close. I stopped and surveyed the land with terrified eyes, growing more anxious with each passing note. The ambient tune working itself into a manic frenzy. Can’t they shut up? With that racket the beast would find us, and I knew what would happen when it did. There would be no more violin playing for that musician, and I would never find The Green Maiden.
I scanned the countryside for the insane violinist and spotted him on a small hill just to my right. When I saw his ghastly appearance, I almost wished I hadn’t found him. He was a stout man dressed in total blackness with a red violin resting against his shoulder. His skin was a brilliant white, as white as a bed sheet. On his head was a black top hat, and he wore a twisted grin on his porcelain face.
“What are you doing?” I yelled. “It will hear us!”
The man said nothing and kept playing his maddening melody.
“Are you crazy?”
The man opened his mouth wide and without moving his lips, he said, “Precisely.”
Then he began to cry tears of blood, yet still he played. The blood rolled down his face and pooled on the grass. Then I came to a grotesque realization. He was not playing for amusement; he was calling the beast.

About Jason R. Barden

Jason R. Barden

Jason R. Barden began writing poetry around the age of thirteen. At age thirty three he decided to transition into fiction writing with his first novel The Spitting Post. In addition to writing he enjoys hiking and photography. Jason lives in Fort Worth, Texas where he is currently working on a collection of his poems.
Social media link: Facebook | Goodreads Author Page

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Nadia’s Heart Part Hart Two – Blitz

 

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YA Fantasy, Horror
Date Published: 11/11/2017
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In Nadia’s Heart, Part One, amnesiac Nadia knew that something was wrong, so she went in search of her missing heart. What she encountered has only brought more questions: about her origins and her ties to the people of the Land of Silence. She learned that her heart was indeed removed, and that her memory was erased by an evil Voice. But why?
Now Nadia and her glowing-eyed companion, Georgeonus, must help recover the stolen hearts of the children of the Land of Silence. In Part Two, they will do battle against the evil Voice and travel to frightening places. They receive help from a powerful Witch and Wizard, and Nadia gets her heart back—but it’s not at all what she expected. Can they rescue the stolen children’s hearts in time?
Excerpts
From Chapter VII: The Nether Regions:
“Mabel,” said Nadia, “how did you get down here? Did Georgeonus and Holofernes make it? Are they okay?”
Mabel smiled patiently, helping Nadia to step away from the table.
“Oh, I suspect they’re fine now” was her reply.
“But—”
“Come,” she said, turning. She pulled her wand from her pocket, pointed it at the cloth, and the wrap sewed itself into pants and a belted tunic.
“But—”
“We cannot linger here,” Mabel warned, turning to walk briskly.
Nadia caught up to her. “Aren’t we in the canyon?”
“No, Nadia.”
“Then where are we?”
“We are in the Otherworld. We mustn’t linger!”
Nadia did not press the matter, but followed Mabel closely, striving to keep up. She had the feeling that they were neither in the underworld nor in a canyon. She remembered the ice castle constructed by the Voice. It seemed so long ago now. In that castle, when her thoughts perceived that perhaps it was not there at all, it would come into and out of view, disappearing before her. It was the same with this canyon. This time, she perceived her own illusion. When it faded, all she could see was light.
“Take my hand, Nadia!” said Mabel urgently, in a tone which alarmed her, and in a moment Nadia’s hand found Mabel’s, which clutched hers back. Mabel’s other hand came around Nadia’s waist and drew her close, and suddenly they were being sucked through some type of funnel. It was not comfortable; it felt dangerous, and there was great pressure all around penetrating Nadia’s cells.
From Chapter IV: The Silver Witch:
They remembered that her visit had been preceded by a magick dust.
The dust came from above, the air tingled, and miniscule, silver particles glistened as they fell. It was musical, and as they breathed, they smelled fresh air like new spring, and they felt an excitement of imminent magick. She appeared suddenly, and at first no one knew where she had come from or how; she was just there on the road. She came as naturally as if she had approached them from the road. But as the magick dust settled, they realized—remembered—that the Silver Witch had dropped out of the sky.
As she stood there smiling at them, they remembered that they had looked up at the sky at a circling dot which descended. As it approached, it formed the shape of a square, floating quilt. The Witch was soon revealed to be sitting on top in black garb and hat, her silvery skin thick and rubbery. With both hands placed on diagonal corners of the quilt, she jumped off and shook the fabric out like clean laundry and parachuted down to them, the tennis sneakers on her feet ready for the road. Softly she landed, snapping the quilt upward and folding it once, twice, three times, and again and again until it was a small square deposited into one of her pockets.
 
From Chapter III: Fighting Back:
They headed for the road, away from the castle tumbling toward them, hoping the mountain itself would hold until they could get to the bottom. But what awaited them at the bottom was a sheet of ice, and it too could crack and send them down into the frigid deep.
She had never driven a sleigh nor a team of dogs before. The pure instinct of survival now taught her. As they rounded the rough road, more slippery now as they gathered speed, their path looked grim. Giant chunks of the castle came descending down, hitting the mountain’s jagged sides and causing avalanches of huge falling debris. The children screamed, and Nadia wanted to do the same and take refuge closer in toward the mountain, but there was nothing that would shelter them. She kept focused on the dogs in front of her, thinking only of getting to the bottom. Cascading from above came another rock, and the children held onto the sleighs, terrified. Nadia tried to turn the sleigh toward the mountain to avoid it. They swerved dangerously around the edge of the road.
Something also descended from the sky. It was a black figure, but Nadia could not even think about another potential threat as the second sleigh bore down upon them, rushing behind her. They swerved back to a straight course, barely missing the rolling boulder which crashed onto the road.
About the Author

Wendy Altshuler is a writer-producer who explores myth in new media. She writes fantasy novels and creates works in stop motion animation.  Her credits include award-winning screenwriting and WGA-accredited representation. With a degree in psychology and a Master of Arts from Columbia University, Altshuler documented the work of international choreographers and wrote and produced regional programming. Her short plays have been performed at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, at regional schools and most recently, Puppet Showplace Theatre. Altshuler’s young adult book series has been hailed as “emotionally moving, uplifting and wholesome,” and “spirited and haunting. . .with much symbolism and beauty.”
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Screams You Hear – Blitz

 

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Horror
Date Published: January 22, 2018
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Murder and madness infect a small town
For sixteen-year-old Ruthie Stroud, life on tiny Hemlock Island in the Pacific Northwest is an endless sea of boring green, in a place where everybody knows everybody’s business and nothing ever happens. Then her world is ripped apart when her parents divorce and a new man enters her mother’s life. But worse is yet to come.
When she drifts ashore on the mainland, hideously burned, Ruthie has a harrowing tale to tell. It begins with the murder of a family. It ends with her being the sole survivor of a cataclysm that sweeps her little island. As a detective attempts to unravel Ruthie’s story of murder and madness, only one horrifying conclusion can be drawn: whatever was isolated on remote Hemlock Island may now have come to the mainland. Is Ruthie safe? Is anyone?
Excerpt
Chapter One
I wake to pain, pain beyond comprehension, my skin on fire, only to find myself in a hospital bed, my arms bandaged, and wires snaking into machines. The burns are covered in white gauze and every motion, no matter how small, sends my nerves screaming. The air is heavy against my skin. And that smell. I can still smell the bitterness of my singed hair. I feel my head, expecting strands of hair, thick and wavy, but it’s gone. There are only splotches of emptiness, a topography of touch that alarms me. I wonder if it will ever grow back.
Tendrils of anxiety course through me, pulsing steadily. I need to wake up from whatever this is.
In spite of the pain, I caress my face and I have no eyebrows. Only stubble. No matter where I touch, my skin isn’t soft; it’s leather, a mask that rests too tightly against my skull. It’s like my skin is both expanding and contracting, pushing and pulling.
In the cyclone of terror, I remember. I remember everything.
I wish I didn’t. I wish it all away.
Around the room, there are no mirrors, and I know it’s no accident. It’s small comfort. I don’t want to see myself. I may never look in a mirror again. It’s only me and a bed, and colorful murals of elephants and giraffes on the wall, their cartoon smiles mocking me. I must be in the children’s wing, even though I’m sixteen. Next to me, an IV recedes into my vein. To my left is a button. It could be to call for assistance. Or to adjust the bed. But I think it’s something else. I think it’s for pain.
I could press it and disappear into numbness.
I could press it and just drift.
But there is something about pain. It’s the price of being alive.
The button is my litmus test.
I am stronger than my pain. I need to focus on something—anything. I need to distract myself.
I am not my pain.
I am Ruthie Stroud. I live at— wait—not anymore. I have a brother—no, not anymore.
I shut my eyes. I can’t shut them hard enough. Through the darkness, I still see fire. My world engulfed with flickering orange and reds. And the all-encompassing heat, heat beyond boiling, bordering on oblivion. Melting.
My last memory is coming ashore on the mainland, alone and fiercely tired. I didn’t walk, didn’t run. I moved, floating, held aloft by the most invisible of strings, my eyes on the horizon, people on the edges of my vision. Adults. I felt their gaze. The air was cool and moist and my skin so hot. Moving and moving; people staring. I hear them, words like police and 911 and oh my God. They surround me, a horde. They’re feral creatures, circling, their faces distorted. They are coming for me. I have no escape.
I scream and my world goes dark.
“Ruthie?”
I open my eyes. A woman stands in the hospital room doorway. Her skin is the color of teak, her black hair pulled into a tight ponytail, and without a uniform, she’s clearly no nurse. I look down her button-down shirt and a badge is attached to her belt, a gun holstered at her side.
She says, not unkindly, “I’m Detective Perez from the Washington State Police.”
I knew the cops would get involved, even though they’re late. Far too late.
She waits for me to invite her in. “May I?”
I nod and my skin crinkles and cracks. She enters, pulling a chair beside my bed and sits down. Her brown eyes rest on me and then dart away. She can’t bear to look. I must seem a monster. She asks, “How are you feeling?”
I don’t know how to answer that question.
“I’m sorry,” she says.
Down the hall, I hear a child scream. From surgery or fear, I don’t know. I think fight the pain, fight the pain.
She speaks to me in soothing tones. “I need to ask you a few questions. About what happened. Can you talk?”
My mouth is dry, my throat sore, my vocal chords thrashed. I’d forgotten how much I screamed. I feel my skin wrinkle into deep crevices as I move my jaw, and it’s an effort to form words. Even my tongue feels burned; this strange muscle in my mouth. “Is my dad coming?”
“He’s on his way.” We share a bit of silence and I stare at the woman she is, the beautiful woman I will never be, and she says, “I’d like to start at the beginning. And if there’s ever a point where you need to stop, just let me know, okay?”
“There’s just one thing,” and I clear my throat. I force her to find my eyes. To see. To look. To understand.
“What’s that?”
“Don’t judge me,” I tell her. “I did what I had to.”
About the Author

James Morris is a former television writer who now works in digital media. He is the author of the Kindle Scout selectees What Lies Within and Melophobia, as well as the young adult suspense Feel Me Fall and trio of short stories Abraham Lincoln Must Die. Catch him at jamesmorriswriter.com.
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Clown Moon – Sale Blitz

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Horror
Date Published: February 2017
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Former Marine sniper Sam Asher enjoys his casual civilian life. He’s content with his mundane job, steady girlfriend, and halfway decent apartment, until tragedy strikes too close to home, in a manner that appears to be related to a nationwide epidemic of creepy clown sightings.
Bent on vengeance, Sam hits the road to track down a deranged killer. Accompanied by his brother Jake, and pursued by an overly ambitious Homeland Security Agent, Sam will need to use every resource, every skill, and every friend he’s ever had to find the madman.
As the “clown crisis” ramps up, receiving constant coverage from the media and keeping regular folks hiding in their homes, a rash of murders takes Sam halfway across the country on his quest for justice. The battle-tested Marine will be sucked into a vortex of madness at the hands of a psychopath, engaging in a battle of will and wits that will test his heart, mind and loyalty.
About the Author

Alex Jameson is a regular guy who happens to love scaring his audience and inspiring nightmares. His fantastic debut novel, Clown Moon, has been followed by a darkly humorous series, The 100 Deaths of Lucas Graves.
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Shadows and Teeth Vol. 3 – Blitz

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Horror
Date Published: June 15, 2017
Publisher: Darkwater Syndicate, Inc.
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Out of the shadows and meaner than ever, volume three of this award-winning horror series packs international star power. Featuring ten brand-new stories by the legendary Guy N. Smith, the prolific Adam Millard, master of horror Nicholas Paschall, and others, this collection is certain to keep you up at night. Take care as you reach into these dark places, for the things here bite, and you may withdraw a hand short of a few fingers.
Excerpt
 
My body crumpled forward, my forehead resting on the floorboards. I would have remained this way, if I had not been roused by a shout from behind me. Rosario roared and shook his head like an enraged bull, stamping his feet and frothing between gritted teeth. He clutched his temples and shook his head, and when he had gathered enough clarity of mind, he leveled a penetrating stare at the djinni and yelled, “Enough!”
All around Rosario, the peasant men stood frozen as though they were statues, eyes on the djinni. Clenching his jaw, he staggered forward a step, inadvertently brushing against one of the men. The man instantly spilled to his knees in supplication, droning, “I adore thee, oh my lord!” in such rapid succession that the words were hardly perceptible.
Scowling with rage at this irreverence, Rosario let fly an uppercut swing with his hook. The metal flashed in the dim candlelight and caught the man in the crook of his lower mandible. The man did not so much as scream, so overawed was he by the djinni.
Rosario raised his arm aloft, lifting the man fully erect, looking like a fisherman with a prize catch. Then he tore his dagger out of his belt with his opposite hand and plunged it into the side of the man’s neck between the skull and the shoulders. The skin at the peasant’s neck pulled apart, opening his throat as though his shoulders were yawning wide, until at last the weight of his collapsing body snapped his head off his neck. The body slumped to its knees and spilled headlong, gushing blood in spurts from its severed arteries.
Something like a sigh came from the djinni. Then it said, “Man is a foolish child who calls many things gods. Man knows not the gods.”
Its skin seemed to dull, losing some of the magnificent radiance it exuded, and I found that I was no longer overawed in its presence. Rosario helped me to my feet and together we addressed the djinni. The remaining three peasants all were unconscious, seemingly asleep on the floor.
“In the name of the most high, I command you to speak your name, djinni!” I yelled, thinking it could be cowed in the same manner as a demon might.
The djinni’s eyes widened. If it had eyebrows, they would surely have bobbed at my effrontery. Its eyes narrowed into angry slits that contained all the deadly chill of a winter snowstorm. “Hadst thou instead come to visit me, I would have attended thee in the manner befitting of a guest. I would have filled thy mouth with rotten pus until thy belly were full. Thou wouldst have told me a great many wondrous things of thy life, and I, having learned such, would have sent thee home with an anus so full of scorpions the trail of blood behind thee would stretch for miles.”
The images each word represented, along with the concepts and sensations those phrases conveyed, flashed in my mind as the djinni spoke. They are as vivid now as then—by God, I still taste the pus! These images are always in the forefront of my mind, constantly playing out before my eyes, and it is hard to focus on anything else except through purposeful concentration.
“Wherefore hast thou brought me here?” it asked.
Seeing how my last attempt at communication had failed, I bowed my head and spoke in lowered tones. “Djinni, we have called you to ask a favor.”
“Indeed,” it cut me short, “it is always so when mortals call upon the djinn. Impudent humans! What boon seeketh ye? Be it pleasure? I shall show ye such pain that the greatest pleasure would be anticipating its end! I ask again: wherefore disturbest me thou?”
It was then I explained we sought to spare your daughter from the ailment that would surely take her, and requested the djinni’s succor.
The djinni sighed, if otherworldly beings can be said to sigh. “Alas, thy mortality is a concept thy limited intellect can only dimly grasp.” It looked down at the floor as it considered this, then raised its gaze to make eye contact with me. “What wouldst thou have me do? The child is already dead.”
An image of her flashed in my mind’s eye. I was there, in the room with Bernadette as she languished in her bed, delirious with fever. The eyes I saw her with were not my physical eyes, as they saw more than human eyes could ever hope to detect. Bernadette’s body was like a red-hot fireplace poker, glowing orange from her core. The glow collapsed on itself, giving way to lifeless, cold black, shriveling into her center like a bonfire shrunk to embers. I knew she was dead when the light faltered and snuffed out, leaving nothing but a dreadful stillness in its passing.
Brother, do not think for a moment that so terse an account of your daughter’s death should mean I was hard-hearted about the matter. Nothing could be further from the truth. She was my niece, and—by God!—my only living relative; that is, save for you of course, if ever you should return to read this.
Her passing crushed me. It opened wounds in me, wounds that weep much as my eyes might weep. And while time has dried my tears, it has done nothing to soothe the ache of missing her.
I was flashed back to my study with the djinni standing before me. The realization that Bernadette was dead weighted my body; I crumpled to my knees and collapsed to all fours.
All of this, for naught! Frustration churned the searing bile in my stomach. “You must be able to do something,” I pleaded.
The djinni cocked its head to one side. “Thou hast misunderstood. I can do a great many things.”
“You could not save her!”
“Thou didst not ask.”
My mouth went dry on realizing it was right—I had not asked it to save her from the disease. “Save her!” I blurted, figuring this was as good a time to ask as any.
“I cannot. She has died.”
I plunged my fingers into my hair and clawed at my scalp. “Quit speaking in circles!”
“I speak as plainly as I can. Ye men possess little aptitude for understanding.”
“If you cannot save her, then…” I stammered. At the time, I did not know why I had broken off; I was only aware that I had stopped mid-sentence. I had found that strange, especially since I had already deliberated on what it was I wanted to say before saying it. In retrospect, I think I know what halted my tongue—some combination of my conscience and divine intervention giving me one last chance before I could commit a heinous sin.
“Then… bring her back,” I finished my sentence.
“It is already done.”
I blinked, and then again, looking upon the djinni in mute shock as its words sunk into my mind. Was Bernadette alive? When had she been brought back—when I asked, or sometime prior? Had she even died? It was not lost on me that the djinni could be lying, but before I could ask any questions, it said, “Thy niece lies upon her deathbed. Lay her body down in this circle before moonrise tomorrow night, and thou shall have what thou seeketh.”
A thought occurred to me then that I wanted to give voice to, but I stopped myself. To even reflect upon it sent shivers down my spine. What might the djinni want of me in exchange?
As if it had sensed my thoughts, the djinni said, “Thou wonderest what thou must offer to uphold the bargain. Rest assured, human, thy debt is paid in advance.”
About the Author

Our award-winning horror series brings together the very best in international horror. Volume three features the UK’s legendary Guy N. Smith, the prolific Adam Millard, and master of horror Nicholas Paschall, among other established names in the genre.
Bio For Series Editor, Ramiro Perez: 
Born in Cuba in 1941, Ramiro Perez de Pereda has seen it all. Growing up in a time when then-democratic Cuba was experiencing unprecedented foreign investment, he was exposed to the U.S. pop culture items of the day. Among them: pulp fiction magazines, which young Ramiro avidly read and collected. Far and away, his favorites were the Conan the Barbarian stories by Robert E. Howard. Ramiro, now retired from the corporate life, is a grandfather of five. He devotes himself to his family, his writing, and the occasional pen-and-ink sketch. He writes poetry and short fiction under the name R. Perez de Pereda. He serves Darkwater Syndicate as its Head Acquisitions Editor—he heads the department, he does not collect heads, which is a point he has grown quite fond of making. Indeed, it’s one reason he likes his job so much.
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