Category Archives: Horror

Toxic Ash #teasertuesday

 

 Toxic Ash

(book 2 of the Eldritch Elysium series)

 

Genre: Paranormal fantasy

“”I need to make things right with The Company. I need to know that I’m not in danger of having my services terminated.”

“Rin…”

“I know,” Ash sighed and put a hand to the bridge of her nose, feeling the seeds of a headache taking root behind her eyes.

“Do you really?” Buddy’s gaze gained an added pressure, a weight that she’d never felt before and drew the flutter of fear from deep within her gut. “You know that Jeb was from The Corporation? You know that because of this, relations between them and The Company have soured to the brink of all-out war? Do you know that you’ve been put on review?” The word “review” was like being slapped in the face with an iron gauntlet, Ash felt her legs turn to unexpected noodles and her bladder somehow grow full in an instant. “Now you want to talk to me about making things right? And exactly how does the soldier who fired the first shot put the bullet back in their gun?”

Jenkins was angry, a very rare sight indeed, even so he was forever conscious of the steady stream of passing tourists and his voice never rose to a shout. Instead it grew more and more quite, finally escaping his lips in a venomous hiss that made Ash wish she was facing a cobra instead of her former teacher. Being up for review meant the very real possibility that her worst fears were being realized already.

If the Company decided to terminate her contract—well, from the very beginning, Ash had always known that a contract with The Company could only be ended the same day as her life. Suddenly the organization that had nurtured, embraced and sheltered her was turning its decidedly wicked claws in her direction and she didn’t like it one bit—but, “I didn’t call you lightly Buddy, there’s no one else. Can you—will you—help me?”

 

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Ash of Ambition #teasertuesday

 

Ash of Ambitions

(book 1 of the Eldritch Elysium series)
 

 

Genre: Paranormal Fantasy

“Are you really Caine? Or Caliban?”

“Is your real name Ash?”

“Of course not.”

“Then what makes you think that Caliban was ever my real name?”

It was simple enough to almost be true. “So you’re not denying that you actually are the Caliban?”

“I’m not denying or confirming that one,” he said after a while. “I’m guessing from all the questions that at this point, you know exactly who Caliban is supposed to be?”

Yeah, a monster amongst monsters. “He’s supposed to be one of the best Hitmen currently available for hire. He’s also supposedly ruthless and completely untraceable.”

“Have I been any of those things so far?”

“Just because I’ve seen your face doesn’t make me any less nervous about you. Sure as hell doesn’t make me want to be alone with you in any building, let alone my house.”

“So, you’re thinking I’m going to kill you when I’m done with you?”

“Me and anyone I know that may have seen you.” Ash snorted. “From the rumors I’ve heard, you’re likely to burn the entire town down to the ground just on the off chance that someone will recall you picking up a pint of orange juice at the grocery store one day.”

“I won’t kill you.”

That made her laugh outright. “Pardon me if I don’t really believe that.”

 

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http://www.amazon.com/Ash-Ambitions…/dp/B0070ORXS6/

 

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The Uncertainty of Death

 

 

The Uncertainty of Death

(book 1 of the Four Horsemen series)

 

Genre: Contemporary Fantasy

“Stripped and redressed, Jules balled the shirt she’d been wearing tightly inside of the much less obviously bloody jeans and shoved the whole ball into her bedroom trash, then trooped back to the kitchen, just as the water started to boil.

She rushed for the stove, moving the water off the heat. Trying not to look at her waiting Death, who, she’d noticed in passing as she entered, had removed her hood.

“I’m not dead am I?”

“No.”

She couldn’t help but smile triumphantly as she gathered sugar, lemon, honey and tea bags onto a tray along with the two steaming mugs of water, anything to keep from turning around and having a companionable cup with the thing that was sitting behind her. It might not be Death, but whatever it was it most certainly wasn’t human.

“Not that I’m not ecstatic with joy about that, but why aren’t I dead?”

Tray laden she turned, eyes on the cups, concentrating perhaps a bit too hard on keeping the water in them from sloshing out. Jules heard it sigh as she placed the tray down and started taking things off of it.

“In truth, Ms. Harper, I do not know.”

Finally, Jules took the last mug off of the tray and set it before her guest. She hadn’t realized she was still grinning like a fool until she felt it leave her face as her eyes watched that pale, pale hand grasp the handle and traveled up the arm slowly to look on their face.

No one ever told her Death would be this beautiful.”

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http://www.amazon.com/Uncertainty-Death…/dp/B004KZOTM6

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Happy Halloween

On behalf of Distinguished Press, I wanted to say happy Halloween! Am I saying it too early? No, silly. All of October is a celebration of Halloween, or at least it should be!

Here’s a little Halloween poem I wrote for all of you. Enjoy!

 

I saw a spider on the door

As I reached for the knob.

It spun its web, trapped my hand,

And turned it into one pink blob.

 

I ran to the back door,

Only to be greeted by an army of wasps.

They flapped by my shoulder,

Reminding me that nature is boss.

 

I stared at an empty box

Left in my living room.

And then it opened on its own.

The flaps– like a ghostly flower– bloomed.

 

Spiders, wasps, and ghosts in boxes,

All of this is true.

To cleanse myself from evil.

I jumped in the shower with you.

 

Then my lover said, “come to bed.”

So I crept into the sheets.

But a clown’s face greeted me

With teeth as bloody as beets.

 

I screamed when It bit me,

And the spider cast a web.

Then the wasp formed a nest

And the clown in my bed said:

 

“Happy, happy Halloween

I hope you like my friends!

We’ll be here with you

Until the very end!”

 

A smiling jack-o-lantern

Sat on the window sill.

And with blood running from my face,

I knew that I was so very ill.

 

It was Halloween, all right,

Our greatest fears had come to be.

I had spiders, wasps, and clowns

Horror was all I could see.

 

But I laughed as blood soaked the sheets

And told them they were fools.

You’re messing with the wrong man.

I break all of Halloween’s rules.

 

And so I became the horror

That walked down the street,

To torment and freak

All of those who were meek.

 

On this night, our fears came true.

Do you have strength to fight them?

Because on one night, you will see

The evil only you can imagine.

 

Joe Chianakas is the author of Rabbit in Red, the first book in a horror trilogy with Distinguished Press. Get it here.

Be on the lookout also for Ashwood, an upcoming horror release just in time for Halloween by author C.J. Malarsky! Check out her author Facebook page here!

 

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Why I Want To Be Successful

One of my favorite joys as a professor is writing a student a wonderful letter of recommendation. That’s one of the surprises for which no one prepares you. I love the moments when a hard-working (we hope) student walks through my office door and asks politely and hesitantly, “Do you think you could write me a letter of recommendation?”

I smile and nod. “My pleasure.”

And it truly is. I get to work with the next generation of ambitious leaders as they pursue their dream jobs, and there is little else that gives me the satisfaction of being able to help them achieve that. And not just through classroom lessons, but through that essential reference, the teacher communicating with a future employer and saying, “You’ve got a great candidate here.”

My first novel, Rabbit in Red, releases on September 29. I wake up every morning and pinch myself. “Is this really happening?” But it’s terrifying, too. I ask myself, “Do I need this? Do I really want this?” People are going to see the inside of my head! There will be critics—oh, so many critics! Can I handle all of that?

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One of my college classes. I’m in the back with the maroon shirt. This is my dream job!

Yes. The answer is yes because I think of the smile on a student’s face after they read the rave review I had written for them. I’ve worked hard to be in a position where I am lucky to help others get to where they want to be. I’m lucky to already have my dream job. But I made the decision to never stop developing and chasing new dreams. I set a goal to be a published author, and now it’s happening. I hope for success, of course, but I have to ask: “Why do I want to be successful as an author?” It’s not ego or pride, is it?

No, it’s more than that.

I dream not (just) of being on a bestseller list (although of course I’d be thrilled!). I dream of a day when I can help other writers and artists accomplish their dreams. Isn’t that what would be the absolute coolest thing about being J.K. Rowling or Stephen King? They could get on a Twitter account any hour of any day and make someone a bestseller with a single tweet. Can you imagine?

Oh, I’m sure it’s a terrible pressure, too. But what a beautiful gift.

That’s also why I’ve fallen in love with my publishing home at Distinguished Press. We fight for ourselves, sure, but we’re also fighting for one another. I’ve told my students that when we collaborate with others, when we strive to help others, then we also help ourselves.

If we fight for the success of others, then we, too, will find success.

One day I hope that I possess the beautiful gift of recommending an artist to the world and consequently am able to help that artist achieve all of his or her dreams. THAT is my dream.

Fan art for Rabbit in Red, which releases on September 29!

Fan art for Rabbit in Red, which releases on September 29!

I’ll look back on all the enthusiastic people that have always been my side, and I’ll do anything I can to help them out.

That’s why I want to be successful. That’s why I fight to share my first book with the world and hope to share a dozen more.

I’ll hope you be with me as I take my first steps as a published author.

About the author: Joe Chianakas, 36, teaches communication at Illinois Central College. His first published novel, Rabbit in Red, releases on September 29. Like him on Facebook here, and follow him on Twitter for the latest exciting news!

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How Pregnancy Changed My Writing

In early March I experienced a very strange moment. My breasts had been hurting for a couple days, and when I mentioned it to a friend her immediate response had been to ask, “Are you pregnant?”

Well, I stared at the computer screen for awhile with this dulled, blank look on my face as the consequences of potentially being pregnant washed over me. There were the sort of concerns and fears most people have about being able to afford having a child, health insurance, and (selfishly) how it would change my life if my life wasn’t about me anymore. Would I even be a good mother? I’m a great mom to fur babies, but a human baby is completely different. I’d be responsible for raising a child who would have to interact with society. No pressure.

I’d never felt so many emotions as we drove to the store to stock up on pregnancy tests. Excitement. Fear. The purest of both that I’ve ever felt. We talked about names, jokingly, because joking is how we both deal with stress. I barricaded myself in the bathroom and drank glass after glass of water, and then I called him to the door. I didn’t say a word as he opened it, but he lit up when he said, “Are we having a baby? Oh my God, we’re having a baby, aren’t we?”

I told him I wanted more cold water. Yes, I survived that moment.

I didn’t call him to the door, however, when my bladder was so full I had almost no choice except to pee on the stick. I instead had a private little meltdown by myself that involved a few tears, lots of smiling, and borderline hyperventilating. I had a freaking tiny human growing in me who was utterly reliant on me. I was pregnant.

Before I became pregnant, it seemed like the half-assed way to add drama to a story. Dare I say…the easy way out? PREGNANT would always illicit an eye roll from me, even when it came from the best authors. Gwen in The Kiss of the Highlander by KMM? Blech. The mention of Xhex possibly being pregnant after being raped by Lash was marginally better, although (SPOILER ALERT) she wasn’t. It was with some (many) reservations that I decided to incorporate pregnancy into one of my upcoming novels. I loathe to be a  hypocrite, but was convinced that the end justified the means when it came to moving the development of the character forward. My understanding of pregnancy itself had been shallow and superficial. I greatly underestimated the experience. Perhaps that’s part of why it’s been sitting on my shelf, untouched, while people clamor for this sequel.

I’ve met a version of myself I never knew existed. One who swings through phases of eating all-organic and dotes on onesies before catapulting to the nearest Cinnabon, and laments her misery over a caramel pecanbon to whoever will listen. I’ve become multifaceted to the point of almost multiple personalities. My pregnancy hasn’t been terrible, although neither has it been smooth. My normally dormant Tietze Syndrome has become the bane of my existence and I endure pain 24/7, and my IBD is at war with most of my pregnancy cravings. Being pregnant had never been a viable “excuse” before in regard to how people acted. Now I’m riding a roller coaster where censoring myself into staying well-behaved is…hard. Just today, as I sat trying on my first ever pair of Crocs, some kids walked by and shouted into the store at me. It took almost more self-control than I could muster to not go running after them and berate them. I’m six months pregnant, my feet hurt, and you think it’s smart to mock me trying on Crocs? I’ll show you, you little whippersnappers! In fact, the only thing I think stopping me was the fact that my feet hurt too much to chase after them.

The Red Wedding in Game of Thrones is my worst nightmare. In my head I’m already reacting to situations with the sole interests of protecting the unborn young who is brutally hiccuping and kicking me when I’m trying to sleep. A car accident is my most immediate concern, and it’s constantly on my mind. I’d like to say I’m driving like a grandma, except I think we all know old folk are rather…reckless when they’re on the road. My own grandmother could drive blocker for a truck of illegal Coors. I was reading a book a week ago where the female MC learned she was pregnant, and didn’t tell the father on the basis that his previous (and likewise pregnant) fiancee had been shot dead by the mob. Before pregnancy I would’ve just rolled my eyes until they spun right out of my head. How cliche, how ridiculous. But now? It hit me right in the fucking feels. While I might not be pregnant with the spawn of a mobster (I try to take what blessings I find), I could understand. Or, perhaps a better way to phrase it, I finally understood.

I still intend for my character to be pregnant. I intend it more than ever now because instead of thinking it will change her a certain way, I know for a fact it will. And it will make my story fantastic.

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My writing habits

Greetings once again all,

Summer is coming to close (for me in NL we’ve had maybe 4 weeks of summer weather but such is life here) and like when any season ends I get a little reflective. This month I thought I’d talk about my writing habits/process. Every writer has their own way of being creative, here’s my story (and details.)

For me writing is a time to relax, to dream, to fantasize about mythical creatures and imagine how my life could have turned differently if I had made different choices. I know some people can write in public places with all sorts of noise and people around but for me I need quiet, solitude and something to look at. I also find that generally I am at my most creative in the morning. My best writing occurs when I’ve had a good night’s sleep, get up at 6 or 6:30 and start writing by 7 or 7:30 AM. (Unless I’m on vacation, then it could certainly be later.)

WritingAtaTable

I also find that I need an outline. I like to have a clear idea of where I’m headed in a story so I always plan a novel at least two or three chapters ahead of time. (For book 3 “The Gathering Dark” it was the whole book, now for book 4 “War of the Fangs” about 12 chapters). Before I write I have a look at my outline (especially if I’m at the end of a chapter). Also at least once a month I look over the tips my esteemed editor, Kathy, gave me from book 2 ( and I try to keep in mind all I’ve learned from Karyn as well). I find that generally I only write in short bursts, 30-45 minutes tops then I’ll look out the window, possibly check my e-mail or pet one of my cats if they happen to be on the table with me. Generally I do most of my writing at home but sometimes I use my iPad for on the go. As I mentioned above if I have the time (and my laptop) I have also been known to write on vacation, in airports, at conventions and on weekend trips around the province (I live in Newfoundland, if you want to visit somewhere different, you should come . . .  in August or September only!).

LaptopWriting

With my first book published (by the wonderful people at Distinguished Press), I also find it useful to keep a copy of “The Newfoundland Vampire” nearby, it serves as both an inspiration and a guide as I work on further installments (there will be at least 4, after that, we’ll see). For me I try to write about places that I’ve been (or wish I’d been) and either way I like to look at pictures of that place before I write the scene, sometimes I read histories of a building or a town (for me info about my research methods for writing go here). As the main character, Joseph, is about 90% me, it is always a lot of fun to revisit these places in my mind and see how I would act differently in my imaginary world. For some scenes I try to imagine the whole thing in my head and then get it down on the screen as accurately as possible.

WritingStruggle

When it comes to personal preference, I find I enjoy writing the sex, action and humor scenes the most. Action scenes in particular get me excited and then they writing comes faster. A friend of mine gave me a tip to just set a simple goal, write one page a day every day. I found this very helpful as even one page, single spaced, means a chapter done in a week and of course some days I get inspired and do more Thumbs up.

WritingWithOldPen

The best scenes for me just fly out of my brain and I worry about cleaning up dialogue, punctuation and grammar at later time. While I’m certain writing could be taken with a scientific approach for me its artistic expression and the best way I have to communicate my ideas and feelings to the world. I read once you should write drunk and edit sober, I’m certainly not going to encourage drinking but writing drunk can be fun 😉  I hope you do something creative today and let me know you thoughts. What writing habits do you have? What scenes are the most fun to do? Do write better at certain times of the day? Inquiring minds want to know! Have a good one all, talk to you next month.

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Diaper Parties and books, what will they think of next?

Greetings and salutations all,

This is my first post at the IWAssociation and as a proud member of the Distinguished Press author family. They have been wonderful so far, very welcoming and fun to talk with. I’ve got a great new editor (and owner) and have already made some new friends. Enough about DP though onto my post.

About a month ago I went to a diaper party, what a diaper party some of you may be asking? (I know what it is because I’ve been to a bunch) Let’s see what the good old interwebs has to say:

“This is the male equivalent to a baby shower. When the mother of the child has a baby shower, the father of the child has a Diaper Party, at which his buddies (usually the significant others of the women attending the baby shower) bring cases of diapers and beer.

Hey man, is your Diaper Party the same day as the baby shower?”

women-history-month-sports-no-interest   The above is from urbandictionary.com and it sums it up. It’s the male version of  baby shower, here’s the problem I’ve had, all my friends are geeks. As such I’ve  never had a very good time at any of them. Yes I know what you’re thinking, maybe that’s more my fault than theirs but let me give you an example of how they can get weird from a brief recount of the one I went to last month. So a friend of my brother’s (and I guess a casual friend of mine) who we’ll call Bill invited me to his party. I brought diapers but no beer (I had been at a party the night before and was more than a little hungover) and it wasn’t a BBQ. You know how you have friends that you only see once, twice or maybe three times a year? Bill is that kind of friend for me. So I went and as expected the hockey game was on (Bill’s a geek but a lot of people he invited aren’t). I have zero interest in sports, at least watching, I’ve haven’t followed a team since high school and couldn’t care less about the Olympics or any playoff/championship game. There was food but of course I’m a vegetarian (no one else there was) so about 90% was not what I would eat. To make this party even more strange is the fact that his parents are there (he doesn’t live at home but this is where the party was held) and they invited all these people in their 50-60s who are all bikers. I knew maybe 6 people there out of 30. All this adds up to a rather boring time for me, at least for the first few hours.

(I couldn’t find a picture of a guy who didn’t like sports but it’s okay, I’m a lot cuter than her 😉 So as I’ve noticed during parties after a while when the early birds leave (or in this case they really out of place biker people trying to social with people 30 years younger than them) break into smaller groups where people chat more. This one guy came in the room and started talking about TV shows (in particular Game of Thrones, which is amazing by the way!) books and movies. Naturally my geek antenna went up and once I had my chance I worked my way into the conversation. We had a nice chat about geeky stuff (there’s a ton of comic books movies these days and lots of good TV). Bill felt his social duties to mix with the rest of party ended and he came in too (I quite like Bill if you’re wondering, I’m just not a family man and I find you naturally spend time with childless couples rather than those with them). Eventually we started talk about books and in particular horror ones (which I am something of an expert on).

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We both agreed that “The Dark Tower” (by Steve King of course, if you didn’t know that you may be on the wrong website!) starts off wonderful but eventually turns to almost unreadable garbage (King basically admits that he pumped out the last two books because he thought he was going to die after a bad accident). And no I haven’t read the latest one (which actually takes place earlier in the series) and yes the comics are generally top notch so I don’t condemn everything with “Dark Tower” on it. I finally found a chance to start talking about my books (“The Newfoundland Vampire” books 1 and 2) and I handed out a bookmark (now double sided!). I don’t know if he’ll buy a copy (I don’t remember his name, I’m terrible with them) but I think I made a good impression. (You know I was going to work a plug in here somewhere!) I always like to hear people’s perspective on vampire books/movies/TV shows in particular as I’m in the editing process for the re-issue of book 1 at my new publishing home Distinguished Press and this should hopefully be available right sometime in July of 2015.

So if you’re at a crappy party by advice would be drink more (if you’re of age and get a ride home of course) or just stick it out and wait for the people you want to chat with. As for diaper parties…they’re not going away here in Newfoundland and at least I can buy the biodegradable ones, plus I find there’s always a few geeks everywhere I go.

Have you been to a diaper party? What did you think of it? Until next time everyone!

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