Wednesday, October 30, 2013

The Big Black Dog

As the candles are placed in the Jack-O-Lanterns, the dead reach through the veil to visit. Find your way home . . .

I write this on All Hallows Eve eve in preparation of the big day tomorrow. As I heard in a show earlier, It's the one day where we can act as ourselves.  Witches prepare your brooms, goblins sharpen your claws, demons . . . show yourselves.  I give you, the Big Black Dog from Hell to Pay.

In his bedroom, the digital clock burned into Michael Bailey‘s sleep deprived mind as he counted down to the alarm. 3:48am, another night‘s sleep lost. Negative images flowed into the blackness as something moved in the dark room. He turned on the lamp. The light‘s strength made him wince, but reassured privacy.

He turned the lamp off and fell back into the pillow. His eyes ached from the light‘s intrusion and darkness exploded and encompassed the room. The taunting digital alarm clock returned.

As Bailey accepted his insomnia, he heard the noise again. A rustle of movement from the side of the room.

"Not now," Bailey pleaded to the empty walls.

When he reached for the lamp‘s safety again, he intercepted hot, damp fur. It started again. The beast pounced upon his chest and drove out a scream. The big black dog.

It paralyzed Bailey as putrid breath filled his nostrils with a stench of things best left for the grave.
Cold drops of saliva burned his face and the attacker howled with an unearthly pitch, like steel being dropped into a vat of liquid nitrogen.

Maybe tonight it will end.

The weight on his chest subsided, and Bailey dove for the lamp. Light filled the room, gently reflecting the sweat that covered his body. The attacker disappeared.

He choked back a sob and searched for a bottle. His hand hit the empty air where it used to stay, below it, the talisman marking three years sobriety. He picked up the token, slumped out of bed, and paced the threadbare carpet between his bedroom and living room, turning on every available light. Each lamp threatened fire due to the wattage of the bulb inside, but if light kept the thing at bay, so be it.

Out now in E-book (, coming soon in paperback.

Follow me, minions.  Rafflecopter giveaway will be announced tomorrow night.

Crossover to the McHughverse

 A couple Coffin Hops ago, I was introduced to the prolific Jessica McHughs, center nova of the ever expanding McHughniverse at  She’s written novels like Pins, Rabbits in the Garden, has a new adventure novella from Hazardous Press and an edgy YA series coming out next year.  I give you, Jessica McHugh.

Give me a memory about a storm?
My clearest memory of a storm was the Blizzard of 1996. It knocked us kids out of school for at least a week, which was amazing in itself. But the thing I remember most is how high the snow was, lining the driveway. There was too much to shovel the entire driveway, so we did as best we could to clear a walking path. The walls of snow towered beside me, so even in the daytime, I was often in darkness walking the path. Also, the snow was stacked only a few feet below our second floor awning, so I was able to jump into it from my bedroom window. It was one of the best winters of my life.

You have an edgy YA series coming out next year.  Tell me a little about it.  With Edgy YA, at what point do you have to pull yourself back? 
The Darla Decker Diaries begin with the titular character in sixth grade. She’s an outspoken, impatient, and argumentative girl, but she’s also really sensitive and sweet. The character just spoke to me, and in perfect Darla fashion, pretty much demanded that I write her story. The first book “Darla Decker Hates to Wait,” which deals with Darla’s impatience to go on a first date, is due out in May 2014 from Evolved Publishing. The next books “Darla Decker Takes the Cake” and “Darla Decker Shakes the State” will be out several months later.
As for pulling myself back, I’m still just figuring out. I wanted these books to be honest about what it was like to be a pre-teen/teenager, so I make sure to include the dirty stuff. Although sexual acts aren’t yet included in the books, they are mentioned—like kids do. I certainly censored some things, but for the most part, I think the personalities and relationships are realistic, even if certain aspects are negative. I have used my childhood diaries to build this world somewhat, but I’ve also modernized them as necessary. Many of the issues tackled in these books will not be ones I experienced in my childhood, which I’m looking forward to delving into.

Why a YA series?
Man, I don’t know. After the release of three “Dominhydor” books, I said I’d never do a series again. Or at least not for a long time. My only answer is basically what I said before: Darla demanded it. If a character is strong enough to break me like that, she deserves to be obeyed.

We are coming up on the launch of Nanowrimo.  Do you have any Nano rituals before the big day starts? 
This is only the second year I’ve done NaNoWriMo, so I don’t think I have any rituals—unless outlining like a madman counts as a ritual. I do make sure I’m stocked with dozens of pens, though.

What project do you have in mind and what advice do you have for struggling authors during Nanowrimo out there?
I’ll be writing a horror thriller (possibly erotic) called “The Train Derails in Boston.” It centers on the Malone family, though mostly the matriarch, Rebecca. After she discovers a mahjong set in the basement of the Malone’s new house, her life spins out of control with hallucinations, sexual deviances, and grisly murders. Is the game haunted? Or are Rebecca's problems part of a different game, started decades before she was born?Darla 
Honestly, the only advice I can give is to outline prior to November, and to get your ass in that chair. Whether you type or write by hand, you just need to sit down and do it. Make no excuses, use your time effectively, and get those words down.

Tell me a little about you writing platform.
I suppose my platform is Genre-Jumping, Beer-Swilling, Ink-Addicted Smiley Pie. Really, I just write whatever stories I want and speak honestly to my audience about those stories. I’m a goofball and pretty down-to-earth, but I’m also a professional when it comes to my work. I don’t try too hard to market myself. I feel like my honest and excerpts do that pretty well.

Think in ink:  I’ve noticed you have a few tattoos, and I have a feeling some are deeply symbolic. Share one of your tattoos stories?
I joke about it, but truthfully, I do wear book promotion on my sleeve. An illustration of the moon from my book “Danny Marble & the Application for Non-Scary Things” is tattooed on my left forearm. One, I wanted a tattoo to represent my writing (I already had one for Roald Dahl), and two, my husband drew it, so it’s doubly special. Plus, people often ask about it. It’s a great conversation starter, and it’s sold some books for me. Even Peter S. Beagle and Connor Cochran questioned me on it, then wrote down the “Danny Marble” title to look up later. I love all of my tattoos, but the Danny Marble tat is probably my favorite.

Tell me something about your local mythology?
The Snallygaster is a mythical dragon-like creature that inhabits Frederick County, MD, where I live.  It’s described as half-reptile, half-bird and apparently has a metallic beak lined with razor-sharp teeth. In some stories, it even has tentacles. Its nemesis is called the Dwayyo, which also lives in Maryland. That’s a hairy, more mammalian creature, I believe. I was unaware of these creatures until a few years ago, otherwise I think I would’ve written about them. I hope a McHugh Snallygaster story pops out soon, though!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I’ve been alone with a serial killer in my house . . . seriously

In response to the 12 things about me post, here is the story.

Growing up, there was a boogey man in Wichita whose first victims were down the street from my grandmother’s house.  A monster had been born that would strangle his victim’s near the point of death, revive them, then start over again.  This went on for 12 years while a game of cat and mouse progressed between the police and the murderer they dubbed the BTK.  The BTK (short for Bind, Torture, and Kill) went silent in 1977 after his 7th victim was found.    Rumors were that he moved away, had been imprisoned for another crime, or simply died.

Three more victims were killed in 1985, 1986, and 1991 but were later linked.

I lived in Park City, Kansas in a small two bedroom rental house.  A friend and I rented the place, but recently had some issues with a hot water heater threatening to explode and a couple of landlords not willing to fix it.  The hot water heater leaked and sounded like a shotgun going off inside a giant beer can any time it was used.

So we called the Park City Compliance officer.  I met him home alone about mid day.  He didn’t speak much and looked at the issues of the house.  He said we had a good case against the home owners and would write up his inspection.  I’m normally a chatty person and remember him being rather distant.
The owners were furious that we called the Compliance Officer and kept saying how he wouldn’t leave them alone now that we had reported the problems they refused to fix.  We ended up taking the landlords to court, only to find out the paperwork was never filed by the compliance officer.

Several years later, BTK started “talking” to the media and police.  Certain trophies from crime scenes showed up with cryptic puzzles, newspaper clippings, and clues.   A 3 ¼” floppy disk was sent that broke the case.  Police were able to find a deleted word document that came from a local church and had a name on it.
Then on February 25, 2005 they arrested Dennis Rader who was the Compliance Officer for Park City, Kansas and charged him with the BTK murders. 

I never felt at risk from having him in the house.  His main targets were women and at the time he came to the house, older women.  The strange thing is, he was my boogey man.  I stayed at my grandmother’s house a lot as a child and frequently had nightmares of the BTK coming to get me, any scratch at a window, door or creak in the house was him.  I met the boogey Man, shook hands with him, and there we were in Park City looking at a ruined hot water heater together.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Halloween Tree

Greetings and Salutations.  If you are visiting for the Coffin Hop, welcome to my strange area of the internet. I originally published this in Halloween 2011.  I've added some photos down below.

Growing up, I remember Ray Bradbury's "The Halloween Tree".  I wanted one.
I took an old Christmas tree (Thank you Nichole of and seven cans of spray paint.

Now, fair readers, if you ever have the joy of painting something in 3D, don't.  It was a pain.  I inhaled more spray paint in the last few days than a huffer on holiday.

Needless to say, when you are dealing with something with various angles and that sticks out in every direction, it can be difficult.

 Luckily, I like a challenge and have the determination of a pit bull.

Every fifth branch was painted red.  I was originally going to do purple, but the store didn't have a good selection of purple spray paint (Sorry, K State).

I was also cautious about how much paint was applied.

 Red.  Oh watch that the stupid arrow on top of the can.  Because, that's the way it sprays, stupid.

Red also was very tacky after application, and if I do this again for some insane reason, will hang the branches instead of laying them down.

Early assembly, not half bad but don't look too close.

 This is after several touch up coats and my wife saying, "Put that thing outside, it smells."

Good thing I didn't use a Cat Skull as a topper.

Then we ran to Target, ignored the Christmas section (which seems to grow larger every day), and found Halloween Garland, spiders with LED butts, glow in the dark bats and skeletons, and one freaking huge vampire skull for a topper (yes, it's fake).

I used LED lights for the tree for a couple reasons.
1.  not much heat produced.
2.  not sure how inflammable said Halloween tree is with several cans of spray paint added to it.  I have a feeling something was voided in the process.

Then Wah-la.  The Halloween Tree was born.

Now celebrating it's third year.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

12 things you wish you didn't know about me

Welcome Coffin Hoppers.  As I bring this musty list back to life and think about 2013.  There have been changes, some positive, some not so much.  Odd that this is becoming my annual . . .

There is a favorite quote of mine from Richard Bach, "Remember where you came from, where you're going, and why you created the mess you got yourself into in the first place."  I like to revisit this blog post from time to time to introduce myself to new people.  If something here interests you, check out the blog.  I might have talked about it more.

  1. I am an ordained minister . . . the internet can be an evil thing, and I have performed eight marriages and no funerals.
  2. I’ve seen the gateway to Hell (Stull, KS) and been to Hell (somewhere off Grand Cayman Islands)
  3. I’ve been alone with a serial killer in my house . . . seriously
  4. I’m not really afraid of much (not after #3).
  5. I love bad corny jokes and used to tell them for hours.
  6. I went to school midlife for something I absolutely love, graduated, and now can’t find a job in it. now I have a great job in it.
  7.  I have about 6 ½ hours of tattoos on my back from two sessions.  1st 1.5 hours, 2nd 5 hours.
  8.  I’ll drop just about anything I’m doing to go watch a storm.  I think it’s a passion and a sickness.  I've been published by the National Weather Service, NASA, Discovery News, and Yahoo UK.
  9. On the same month I had my book was originally published, I found a gallery that wanted to show my photography, the show went on for two months.
  10. I worked in the Ethanol fuel industry and miss it horribly.  I miss being a chemist and playing in the lab.
  11. Two things in my book happened to me in real life.
  12. There is a pun that travels through the book that has to be explained to most people.
Hell to Pay is back in E-book form.  Coming soon in paperback.

Read the prequel for free on Smashwords:
 The life of a biker gang leader is brief with moments of horror, death, and struggle. Why should Mercy Tyler's be any different?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Hell to Pay

A man who thinks he's losing his soul, meets a man who has.

Detective Michael Bailey is a seasoned homicide detective who can't escape the deaths of twin girls that happened on his watch. Over the years, it slashed at his sanity and sobriety, and now he stands at the crossroads of his life. The murder investigation of a young woman sends him over the edge. 

George Graham is an antique store owner who has fallen for the wrong woman. When rejected and berated in public, George runs home to find a strange old man with an antique box wanting to make a deal. George buys the box and inside finds a matted scalp, a relic of untold power. 

Hell to Pay has been rereleased on Amazon today:

The books prequel, The Ballad of Mercy Tyler is available at Smashwords: 

Interested in reviewing either The Ballad of Mercy Tyler, Hell to Pay, or gasp . . . both?  Leave a message, I may surprise you.

Walking the Roads Alone at Night

I know you can hear it.  The scraping of feet behind you.  You're already walking on what you thought was a lone county road after a freak thunderstorm rolled through.  You hear your own feet sink into the sand, but there is something else . . . an echo.  You look behind you in the dark and see nothing.  Until a flash of lightning shows the road.  Nothing is behind you but footprints . . . hundreds of them.

Come join us and let us adore you.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Diaries of the Damned Launch

 Alex Laybourne rose from his coffin today to release:

The dead have risen and a desperate struggle for power has begun. The military are evacuating all survivors in passenger planes. With their destination unknown, one group of survivors led by a journalist named Paul Larkin, decide to share their experiences with the hope that when combined, their stories will reveal the answers that the government had not been willing to give themselves.

Nine survivors banded together, yet none of them realized, as they stood to tell their tales that they stood on the brink of discovering a conspiracy the likes of which the world has never seen. 

Grab your copy from Amazon today for just $2.99

Thursday, October 24, 2013

It's Time

As the fabric between the worlds begins to weaken, and the dead walk among us once more, it is time for us to celebrate the end of the old year. To the beginnings of the new, and to honor the dead.

Welcome to Coffin Hop 2013.

Whisper your name on a tombstone, if you dare:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Come join the Haunt:

Finally, check out Death at the Drive-In benefiting, an organization supporting child literacy and social improvement the world over.  Find it here:

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Welcome to the Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

Sorry Douglas Adams, but it felt appropriate.

Changes are afoot. My novel, Hell to Pay is currently unavailable due to the publisher ceasing operations.  From these ashes it will arise again.  I am currently in talks about doing an audio version (either reader theater or from me) and working on a rerelease of the novel in e-book (series) form and back into paper as well.  Hang with me, I don't think you'll be disappointed.

Lightning may strike twice in the town of Ashton.

For a beginning to the series, The Ballad of Mercy Tyler is available from Smashwords for free!