#Review – Some Scary Stories

Here are a few reviews of some short scary stories I read for Halloween. They’re also all currently free (at least at the time I posted this) if you’d like to check them out for yourself.

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The End of the WorldTitle: The End of the World
Author: A.A. McGowan
Rating: 4/5 stars

“It’s autumn and the leaves aren’t the only thing changing. Chuck gathers his thoughts as the end of the world comes to meet him.” (description from Goodreads)

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The End of the World is a quick story of just over 1k words. This doesn’t allow for much world building, but McGowan was able to develop Chuck, his main character, well and get a feel for the way the world is for Chuck.

There’s something going around killing everyone. Chuck calls them Jackals. Not sure exactly where they came from, but they seem vicious and unstoppable. The impending doom Chuck feels made for a great story, even though it telegraphed the ultimate outcome.

As always for me, when there’s little of the “bigger picture”, I’m left wanting that part of the story. But this didn’t take away from my enjoyment. It just adds to my curiosity for more from this author in the same world he introduces in this story.

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You can grab this story from:

Amazon | Smashwords | Kobo | B&N

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Looking the Other WayTitle: Looking the Other Way
Author: Matthew Keville
Rating: 5/5 stars

“Every time you go down into the New York subway, you take a chance that you won’t come out again. That’s just the way it is. Usually, the only thing to fear is your fellow passengers. But there are other things waiting down there in the dark below the City, and sometimes the only way to stay alive is to look the other way.” (description from Goodreads)

Line batThis story was great. It had two levels to the eeriness that really made it stand out for me. The author built up a great mood from the beginning, then throws a curveball once the reader’s in the subway with the main character. That alone gave the story a great horror factor. What added to that was the nonchalance of the other people on the subway platform with the main character, and the attitude that comes over the MC at the end of the story. It could make you wonder just how fictional a story like this could be, and what else is out there.

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You can grab this story from:

Smashwords

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FacelessTitle: Faceless
Author: Crystal Coons
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Maria, Larry, and Joey go into Maria’s grandmother’s attic in search of a recipe book. While searching, Larry finds an old Venetian mask and puts it on. After being scolded by Maria and Joey, Larry is the first to discover the secret of the mask, and this secret changes all of their lives.” (description from Goodreads)

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For such a short story, the author packed in a heavy punch. There’s no time wasted to terrify the reader with what this mysterious mask has in store for these teenagers. I’d have liked a little more of a lead-up, if only to understand the mask and how the grandmother obtained it (and why she’d have such a dangerous object), but aside from that I think this was a great read. It’s a very strong flash piece.

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You can grab this story from:

Smashwords | B&N

#Halloween #FlashFiction and Book Recs

I’ll make this brief so you can go enjoy the stories and recommendations I’m sharing. Today, as we all know, is Halloween. I set out to write a few stories today. Short flash fiction, nothing too in depth or serious. It was a fun exercise and great for a few minutes of reading time during what may be a busy day for people. I’ve also included some spooky reading recommendations at the bottom of this post. Hope you find something good to read!

Enjoy! And if anyone would like to write their own story, I’d be happy to post it in the coming week as a follow-up. Just let me know if you’re interested.

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Story 1

It was a peaceful morning on the lake. It was cool with a light breeze and only a few clouds passed by the rising sun. The old man looked on admiring the view out his window. “The fish will be biting something fierce today,” he mused aloud. “I haven’t been able to feed them for a few weeks.”

A weary looking man on the other side of the cabin toppled off a chair, struggling to loosen his restraints.

“No need for that, son. I already have your friend loaded up in the boat. I’ll be back for you later.” the old man said, grabbing his keys and walking to the door.

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Story 2

Zombie? Yes, they’re around. So are all the animals we only had to fear in fairy tales. Even more of a threat: human nature. It wasn’t too surprising that with the collapse of civilization, the collapse of civilized man occurred, as well.

It’s easy to take down a zombie or two that happens to wander close to camp. They’re slow and the rot makes quick work to crush a skull even with a bare fist. And even though the wolves are braver now that humanity’s hold on nature has weakened, simple measures will keep them away more often than not. No, these aren’t the threats the end of the world has for us now. It only took man a few generations to devolve into savage creatures, no better than the wolves. Now it’s use against them. The ones who are still able to grasp onto what held us high on the food chain and the ones who have fallen, snapped from the isolation, starvation, and other hardships that plague the world after.

 They are the ones lying at my feet. They are the ones whose blood drips from the blade in my hand, my arms, and off my face. There is one less tribe to deal with in the world. In time, we’ll have cleansed the world of these savage creatures. The ones left will be like me: civilized, sane, and now alone.

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Free Recs
(free at time of posting)

Other Recs

#CoverReveal: Make it Last, by @MeganErickson_

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After graduating from Bowler University, the last place Cam Ruiz ever expected to find himself is his hometown. A bad job as a bouncer and worry over his mom’s health make living in Paradise anything but. There’s only one thing that can make his return any harder—running into the only girl he’s ever loved.

Tate Ellison made a mistake when she was eighteen, one that cost her the best thing she’s ever had. She’s always hoped the regret of losing Cam would fade over time. Too bad it’s only grown. She took comfort in the fact she’d never have to face him again, so his presence in Paradise throws her for a loop.

The pull between them is instant and when the truth of what happened years ago tumbles out, they share a mind-blowing kiss…which leads to more. But the past has a way of repeating itself. When all the cards are on the table, Cam and Tate must decide what they are willing to do to make it last.

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 Make it Last is available for pre-order from:
Amazon | B&N | iBooks

And for those still needing to start the series…

Book 1: Make it Count

Amazon | B&N | KoboiBooks

Book 2: Make it Right

Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

Megan EricksonMegan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she’s not tapping away on her laptop, she’s probably listening to the characters in her head who won’t stop talking.

Find out more:

#NewRelease: My Life Beyond the Grave, by @RaggedyAuthor

I have a new release to share with you all today. I recently discovered Kai Kiriyama on Twitter and after checking out what her new book was about, I jumped on board to help you spread the word about her release. Some of you may have seen that I read Dracula a few months ago, for the first time. While it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting from the legendary book, the mythology behind it and what came from it continues to intrigue me. I’ve been gathering some other vampire books and stories every since. Kiriyama’s book is going on my pile for sure.

Before I get to the meat of this release post, here’s a message about her book and love of Dracula to give you a little insight into how this book came to be:

My Life Beyond the Grave is a project dear to my heart, a pet project that combines my love of vampire mythology and my love of macabre history. Dracula has always held me in thrall, ever since I was first introduced to him when I was 10 or so.  (And it was, I must admit, through Dracula Dead and Loving It that I really fell in love with him.) This book represents a love affair that I’ve had with Dracula ever since. I’ve taken history and given it a new life in this book. This is my coming of age Dracula story, a look at the history and an examination of a man who must forever live with the sins he committed as a human. I hope that this book will rekindle your love for Dracula, and for vampires. Thank you for checking me out.

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MyLifeBeyondtheGrave

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I have lived a life worth speaking about, and have seen things that would leave a modern man weeping in fear. I have outlived my entire family and have lived to see a time that one could not think possible. I have traveled the globe, and I have spread an empire greater than anything that I could have ever accomplished in my mortal life.

I am here to speak of these accomplishments, to tell my story for once without the smoke and mirrors of the silver screen, or the whispers in the dark of a pub where it’s better that you pretend you don’t notice the regal, pale man in the corner who hasn’t touched his drink. I don’t expect you to believe everything that I say here in these pages, but this is my truth as I know it to be.

My name is Vlad Tepes Dracul, and I am here to tell you my story.

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If you’d like to read an excerpt from the novel, you can head over to Kia’s

WATTPAD

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You can grab a copy of this book from:

Amazon | Smashwords | B&NKobo | iBooks

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About the Author:

author photo thumbKai Kiriyama is a Canadian Asgardian geek with an affinity for Pokemon and Shakespeare.  Accomplished at divination through crystals, pendulum, tea leaf reading and palmistry, Kai oftentimes frightens herself (and her clients!) with the accuracy of what she predicts. Convinced that both her to-read and to-write piles will never be completed, Kai tries not to worry too much about it. Oftentimes, you can find her hanging around on twitter and dispensing dubious advice through her blog.

Find out more:

From Where I Stand Print Re-release

I’d just like to grab your attention for a few minutes today to tell you about something I was working on for the last few weeks. 

As we all know, once the leaves start to fall and the weather cools down, snow is soon on the way. With this change of seasons and weather comes the holidays…and holiday shopping. As we, the avid readers we all are, know, books are one of the best gifts to give friends and family.

Now for what I’ve been working on: You all know that From Where I Stand, my debut collection, has been out for just about two years. I decided that it needed to be polished up a bit. So now, after MANY long days of working out the kinks with formatting, From Where I Stand has been re-released in print!

What’s different than the edition you may already own? As a little bonus to spice it up a little, I’ve added my poem I Would. This poem was previously only available as an ebook. I know many of you have read it already, so you know what the “fuss” is all about.

I’m not expecting long-time fans to run out and buy a copy of the book. Many of you already own it in print, and have already read the “new” poem. It’s free online anyway. But maybe you have a reader in your life who you’d like to introduce to my work. Maybe a copy of From Where I Stand is just the way you can do that.

For those who’d like to at least check out the book, you can find all the information and links you’ll need over on the books page

From Where I Stand (200X300)HERE

Just a note for those looking to support authors, not just me but all Indies, buying print books directly from Createspace instead of Amazon gives the highest royalty to the author. More of your hard-earned money to the author, for the same price. Depending on the book this could be almost twice the royalty rate.

Just another word about the print book before I let you run off again. I’ve priced it at $5.99. I wanted to price it at the lowest I could to help everyone buying it save money. Any lower and I’d have to pay back money to print it (literally, it’d be a negative royalty). And another price detail…if you just want to read I Would and don’t want to pay for this whole collection, you can head over to its page here on the blog and find links to grab an ecopy for FREE…

I Would for FREE

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P.S. – Sunday’s my birthday. If I’m around the web at all (I might or might not be depending on the time of day) I might be doing a few giveaways on Facebook and/or Twitter. Free ebooks and all that. Keep an eye out.

#Review: Heartless (Episode 1), by @RealJSterling

Heartless Ep 1Title: Heartless (Episode 1 of 3)
Author: J. Sterling
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Elizabeth Lyons has one rule for herself: No Distractions.

No distractions basically translates into No Men; which definitely means HELL NO when it comes to Daniel Alexander.

After a chance meeting at a professional function Daniel is not interested in letting Elizabeth go. No matter how much Elizabeth tries to stay away from Daniel, he’s not the kind of guy who lets something he wants walk out of his life. The question is, will she let him catch her?

This is a SERIAL ROMANCE told over 3 episodes. The first episode is approximately a 90-minute read. (description from Goodreads)

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Because this is the first of three episodes for Sterling’s Heartless serial, what the reader gets in this installment isn’t a full story. Though, to the author’s credit, she was able to bring the story to a good cutoff point. There’s enough in this episode to hook the reader and to be interested in continuing. I don’t feel like it was an abrupt cut, like I’ve found in many other serials. I’ll be one of the readers grabbing the next installment when it’s released.

I enjoyed Elizabeth’s voice and her character. She’s strong and knows what she wants. She also knows what she doesn’t want and is very conscious about her decisions. What threw me off in this story is the few sections that were from Daniel’s point of view. I don’t mind a dual POV story, sometimes this is the only way to get a better look at what’s going on. My issue was Daniel’s voice in his sections. When it was Elizabeth’s POV, she told the story as well as what she was thinking. For Daniel, I felt it was too much of him trying to convince the reader that he wasn’t a bad guy, and wasn’t trying to get into her pants. At this point of the story, this didn’t add anything to the story. It only threw me out of the flow Elizabeth had set up. Daniel wasn’t saying anything that we didn’t see from Elizabeth’s POV. If his POV did more to drive the story forward, I could excuse his obsession with getting us to think he’s good, even though he admits he’s thinking with the wrong head for the most part.

I’m hoping that in the next episode, Daniel’s attitude will tone down a bit, and we’ll get to see who he actually is and whether or not he has more in mind than having sex with this woman he just met. Either that, or just less of Daniel’s POV and sticking to Elizabeth where I felt the story had more strength.

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You can grab a copy of this first episode of Heartless from:

Amazon | Kobo | B&N

Coming Soon…

Episode 2 – 10/27/14

Episode 3 – 11/03/14

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About the Author:

I got fired from my last job. It’s true. I know you’re sitting there thinking “Jenn, how could anyone in their right mind fire someone as amazing and awesome as you???” And i’d love to give you a good reason, but the truth is- being this awesome is clearly very scary to other less awesome people.

So I said screw them and started writing my first book. And you know what I realized? Writing books that mean something to me is a million times better than working for my ass off for someone who doesn’t really care about anything other than the bottom line.

My soul feels more satisfied.
My heart, more full.

So thank you for reading, loving and recommending the stories I write.
I appreciate it more than you know. :)

Find out more:

#Review: Stay With Me, by @Kira_Hawke

Stay With MeTitle: Stay With Me
Author: Kira Hawke
Rating: 4/5 stars

“Logan Woods just survived an attempted murder. Maybe. Left for dead in the sketchiest part of town, Logan has no idea how much time he has left. But through this disaster forms an unlikely friendship that might be worth living for.” (description from Goodreads)

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Stay With Me is a quick story, starting off a bit slow, but soon drew me in once a few things were revealed. There’s a lot to take in even in only a few thousand words. Hawke’s writing built up a great sympathy for Logan, the main character, and I couldn’t have asked for the story to end any better. It’s the type of ending I enjoy seeing from a story of this kind.

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If you’d like to check out this story, you can find it free (at time of posting) over on:

Smashwords

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About the Author:

Kira HawkeKira Hawke is a designer and a GLBT writer with a passion for finding art and beauty in everything. She lives in Ontario Canada with her life partner and is currently working on a YA fantasy novel.

Find out more: