Sunday, December 16, 2012

KILL CITY: Chapter Three



It took me two days to drive back to L.A. from the Seattle area. It would have been quicker if I’d flown, of course.  But traveling by air is not ideal for someone like me. I don’t like being around large numbers of people in the first place, and ever since the World Trade Center it’s been increasingly difficult for me to smuggle my switchblade past security. Plus the airlines keep cutting back on the leg room—I honestly don’t know how the average human can stand to fly coach anymore.
I’d rather take a bullet to the chest or a knife to the lung than spend hours sandwiched, cheek-to-cheek, between a computer analyst and an insurance adjuster.  Besides, it’s not like I punch a time clock for Vampires-B-Gone. If I want to take a nice, leisurely drive down the Pacific Coast Highway, that’s nobody’s business but my own.
I pulled the metal garage door shut against the coming dawn, pausing only long enough to glance at the graffiti mural covering the wall across the alleyway. I inherited Indigo Imports from my friend and mentor, Erich Ghilardi, over thirty years ago. I relocated the home office to West Hollywood in 2004, just around the corner from Pink’s. Save for the blacked-out front windows and a sign that reads: “By Appointment Only”, it doesn't look that different from similar boutiques along Melrose. 
I wound my way through the maze of antiques, shrouded under their drop cloths.The ground floor was taken up by the bulkier pieces, while the second floor served double duty as my living space and storage for the more valuable items that have found their way into my possession.    As I stooped to pick up the bills and circulars piled below the mail-slot set into the triple-locked front door, I spotted an envelope with a red wax seal that bore the initial ‘H’ embossed into its center. You can always tell those accustomed to wealth and power simply by the quality of their stationery.
I cracked open the seal and removed a single piece of tri-folded paper. Attached to one corner by a paperclip was a color photograph of an ornamental dagger. I frowned and looked at the letter, which was written in a masculine, yet tremulous hand, suggesting that the correspondent was either elderly or infirm, if not both. 
   Dear Ms. Blue: Please forgive me contacting you in such a manner, but I have it on good authority from a close mutual acquaintance that you are a dealer in certain macabre items. I have in my possession one such piece—the so-called Bluebeard Knife, used by the notorious Gilles de Rais. Should you be interested in this item, you can reach me via the phone number written on the reverse of the enclosed photograph. I await your call. Sincerely, Senator Miles Holden
I studied the photo as I climbed the stairs to the second floor. If the dagger belonging to Holden was a fake, someone had gone to a lot of trouble to replicate an item only a handful of antiquaries had heard of, and even fewer would be interested in. 
You see, Indigo Imports does not merely serve as a front to cover for my vampire hunting around the globe, but also provides me with the raw materials  I need in order to  conduct business deals with certain… consultants.
The Bard did not lie when he wrote ‘the evil that men do lives after them’. All of the things that find their way to me possess a malign physic residue--evil, if you will. It’s like catnip to demons—they can’t get enough of it. For example, there’s this one demon down in New Orleans, who is an information broker. I use the pieces I find to barter with the bastard for his services. Normally he requires a human soul in exchange for his help, but, like most infernals manifested on the material plane, he has a serious jones for evil—the more depraved the better. 
That’s why I’m always in the market for personal items associated with notorious serial killers, mass-murderers, and other such wastes of skin. I’m not talking bad clown paintings by John Wayne Gacy, cranked out from behind prison bars for morbid hipsters, but the real deal—things like Jack the Ripper’s valise, Countess Bathory’s bathtub, and Mengele’s scalpel. Hell, I’ve even got the guillotine that stood in the Place de la Revolution during the Reign of Terror sitting on the shop floor. 
The Bluebeard Knife would, indeed, be a major score, but only if it proved to be the real thing. And the only way to know for sure if something is genuinely evil or not is if I handle it. Authenticating items is never a pleasant task, but there is no getting around it in my line of work.
I flipped the photo over and punched the number into one of the burner phones I keep for such occasions. Despite the earliness of the hour, it only rang a couple times before someone picked up.
 “Hello, Ms. Blue.” The gravelly voice on the other end was that of an elderly man. “I’ve been awaiting your call.”
“I assume I am speaking to Senator Holden then?”
“Indeed you are.”
“Please forgive my calling so early in the morning, but I’ve been away on business,” I explained. “I’ve only just returned to the city, and I called as soon as I read your letter. Do you still have the knife?”
“At my age, sleep is more accident than activity,” Holden replied with a dry chuckle. “And, yes, I still have it. I take it you are interested?”
“Yes, I am. But I must personally verify its authenticity before I can make an offer.”
“Of course,” he agreed. “However, I do not keep the knife at my home. I will have my assistant retrieve it from my safety deposit box once my bank opens. I can have it available for inspection early this evening—How does seven o’clock sound?”
“Perfect.”
“Very good. I live in Calabasas. The address is 24520 Rancho Peligro Drive. Just give your name at the gate.” 
“May I ask exactly who it was that told you about me, Senator?”
“That will have to wait until we meet face-to-face, Ms. Blue,” the Senator replied. “Goodbye until then.”
***
            Come sundown, I was back in my car, headed toward the 101 and the Santa Monica Mountains. Located in the hills of the southwestern San Fernando Valley, Calabasas is one of several enclaves of super-wealth that ring the outskirts of the city. It is a place of lush, rolling hills overlooking scenic canyons, perfect for multi-million dollar faux-Tuscan villas and sprawling horse-ranches. I heaved a sigh of relief as I spotted my exit. Even with superhuman reflexes, driving on the Ventura Freeway within two hours of either side of rush hour is nerve-wracking. 
Holden’s estate was located high in the foothills, on a tight road with hairpin curves, far removed from the television producers and Hollywood celebrities who call the suburb their home.  As I piloted my way up the twisting road, I suddenly found an all-too-familiar voice murmuring in my ear:   How do you know it’s not a trap?
“I checked out Holden,” I replied to the empty air. “He’s legit. He was a California state senator for over twenty years until he fell off a horse. Since then he’s been paralyzed from the waist down. He’s known for collecting fine antiques, so it makes sense he might come into possession of something like the Bluebeard Knife.”      
Who put him onto you in the first place?
            “I’m rather curious about that, myself,” I admitted.
             What does he want?
            “He wants to sell me an antique dagger.”
            No, what does he really want? There has to be another reason for him luring you out here.
            “You’re paranoid, you know that?” I sighed. “You always suspect everyone of hidden agendas. You have a really low opinion of humanity, you know that?”
            Because I’m not one of them, The Other replied.  And neither are you. You would do well to remember that.
            “Shut up and leave me alone,” I growled, digging my fingernails into the flesh of my upper thigh. My invisible passenger fell silent, but I could still feel it in the back of my head, watching me like a cat standing guard outside a mouse hole.
            A couple minutes later the car came to halt in front of a high stone wall and a pair of imposing metal gates.  A man dressed like a farm hand with an Uzi slung over his shoulder, emerged from a small hut on the other side.  I stuck my head out of the driver’s side window and saw the guard frown as he realized I was wearing mirrored sunglasses after dark.
            “My name is Sonja Blue,” I said. “The Senator is expecting me.”
            The guard nodded and stepped back inside the building. There was a buzzing noise as the gates swung open, allowing me to continue my journey. A mile later, after passing several paddocks and a sizable stable, I finally reached the main house. It was a Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion that gleamed white as a tomb in the glow from the security lights.
 A tall, muscular man in his early thirties stood waiting for me in the front court yard. He was dressed in a nicely tailored suit that did its best to try and hide the bulge from his shoulder-holster. As I got out of the car, I caught a tiny flicker of concern as he took in my leather biker’s jacket, steel-toed boots and sunglasses. 
            “Good evening, Ms. Blue,” the bodyguard said with a practiced smile. “My name is Vickers. I am the Senator’s personal assistant. He sent me to formally welcome you to Rancho Peligro, as he is unable to do so himself.”
            “How considerate,” I grunted.
            “The Senator does not get many visitors nowadays,” Vickers explained, gesturing for me to follow him into the mansion. “He is most eager to meet with you.”
            The foyer of the house was vast, with decorated tile flooring and a huge wrought-iron chandelier hanging suspended from the exposed ceiling timbers like a medieval piñata.  Just beyond the entry were twin stairways, each with elaborately scrolled metal balustrades, which branched off to separate wings of the mansion.
Looking down from the left-hand landing was a blonde woman in a designer cocktail dress, holding a martini glass in one finely manicured hand. It was hard to tell her exact age, as her face possessed the waxy, wrinkle-free sheen of the perpetually Botoxed, but she appeared to be in her early forties.
 “Is that the Blue woman?” she asked in an over-loud, slightly slurred voice.
            “Yes it is, Mrs. Holden,” Vickers replied, speaking in a tone usually reserved for small children and pets. “I’m taking her to see the Senator.”     
            “About time she showed up,” the blonde said as she drained what remained of her drink.
            “Is that the Senator’s wife?” I asked as Vickers led me through an archway off the main foyer that opened onto a loggia decorated with Renaissance bronze and marble statues.
            “The Senator is a widower,” the assistant explained matter-of-factly. “The woman you saw is his daughter-in-law, Estelle.”
            Upon reaching the end of the gallery, Vickers opened an oaken door with hand-forged fittings with a key that looked like it belonged to a pirate’s treasure chest. I stepped into a large rotunda-like room, the walls of which were hung with original El Greco and Velázquez canvasses.  At its center was a mahogany desk big enough to play ping pong on, behind which was Miles Holden, seated in what could best he described as a motorized executive’s chair.  
“Good evening, Ms. Blue,” the Senator smiled. From the shoulders up he looked no different than he had in his campaign posters, save that his salt-and-pepper hair had finally turned silver.  From the waist down, however, his body was as gnarled as a cypress stump. He reminded me of a living, breathing Pez dispenser. “I trust Vickers has officially welcomed you to my humble abode?”
“That he has,” I replied. “Nice place for horses you’ve got here.”
“Yes, it was,” he agreed, a hint of sadness in his voice.  “I had them all put down after the accident. I didn’t see any point in having them if I couldn’t ride them.” He motioned to one of the club chairs opposite him. “Please have a seat, Ms. Blue.”
“Senator Holden—you mentioned that we shared a mutual acquaintance in your letter. Who exactly was it who recommended me to you?”
“All in good time, Ms. Blue,” he assured me. “But first allow me to show you the knife.” He nodded to Vickers, who opened one of the desk drawers and removed a black leather clam shell case. The bodyguard walked over to where I was seated and flipped open the box, holding it so I could examine its contents.
The dagger lay on a bed of black velvet like a piece of fine jewelry. From its blue lapis lazuli pommel to its sterling silver knife point, it measured eight inches in length, and had an eighteen-carat white gold hilt studded with diamonds and sapphires.
“Beautiful, isn’t it?” Holden said. “Hard to believe something so lovely was used to slit the throats of over a hundred young boys while observing black Sabbath rituals.”
“It is stunning,” I agreed. “Of course, I need to handle it in order to verify whether or not it is the genuine article.”
“Be my guest.”   
I took a deep breath, steeling myself against what might come next, and carefully lifted the jeweled dagger from its velvet-lined resting place. As my fingers wrapped about the handle, I experienced a slight electric shock, as if I had brushed against an ungrounded wire, followed by the sound of a small child wailing in fear and pain. Within the space of a heartbeat the single voice doubled, tripled, quadrupled—until it was a children’s choir of terrified screams. I quickly let the knife drop back into the case. 
            “It is authentic,” I said, wiping my hands against my leather jacket. “I have no doubt that this was used by Giles de Rais. How much do you want?”
            “I’m not looking to sell it,” the Senator replied.
            “If that’s the case, why did you bother contacting me in the first place?” I snapped. “Did you simply drag me out here just to authenticate it?”
            “Hold on—there’s no need to become angry. Let me explains. While I’m not interested in selling the Bluebeard Knife, I am willing to make a trade…”
            “Trade? For what?” I frowned.
            “Your services as a vampire hunter.”
            The pit of my stomach dropped away, and for a single, paralyzing second I felt as vulnerable and exposed as I had that night in London, decades ago, when I found myself trapped in the backseat of a car with a lord of the undead. 
        “I’m sorry, Senator,” I said, quickly regaining my composure. “Everyone knows there are no such things as vampires!”
“Just like everyone used to know the world was flat and the moon made of green cheese, eh?” the statesman said with a humorless laugh. “I didn’t believe in them, either, until a week ago—when one of the bastards stole my granddaughter. But now I know they’re real—just like I know you’re the only one who can get her back.”
“If this is a joke, it is in very poor taste,” I said, getting to my feet. “I may not be as rich and famous as other people you’re accustomed to dealing with, Senator, but my time is valuable to me, and I don’t appreciate having it wasted in such a manner!” With that, I turned my back on Holden and headed for the door.
            “You wanted to know who it was that told me about you?” he called out after me. “Very well, I’ll tell you his name: Jacob Thorne.”
            I froze in my tracks and then slowly turned back to stare at Holden, who sat there watching me with a confident smile on his face. 
            “How do you know my father?” I asked.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Kick Off Cyber Monday With A Free Ebook From Hopedale Press!


Tis The Season To Be Jolly! 

So why would anyone want to celebrate it by reading tales of super/natural terror? Tradition, that's why! 

While most of you are no doubt familiar with the mythic figure known as St. Nicholas/ Santa Claus/Father Christmas/Papa Noel/Sinterklaas, who flies about the world to bring presents to good little girls and boys, many in the United States are unaware of the Jolly Old Elf's darker half, a demonic creature called the Krampus, who travels alongside St. Nicholas, searching for naughty children to stuff in its sack and carry away to its lair, to be fattened up and devoured for Christmas dinner. How's that for good ol' fashioned nightmare fuel, as well as a sure-fire means of making sure the kids stay in their beds while you're putting together the damned bicycle?

Yep,  yuletide and ghostly stories of the weird, strange and downright horrifying go together like How The Grinch Stole Christmas and A Christmas CarolAnd the good people at Hopedale Press (meaning me) have decided to continue the time-honored tradition of creeping people out for the holidays by giving readers one ebook for free and discounting three others by 50%. The Krampus couldn't beat that deal with a bundle of switches!




Wait, Did I Hear You Type 'Free Ebook'?

Yes, you did. For a limited time during November and December, THE ICE WEDDING is offered free on Kindle. (Sorry, epub readers, but until iTunes and Nook start making it easier to do similar promotions, you'll have to be on the outside looking in.) 

The Happy Holidays From Hopedale Press Special starts 3am EST on November 26th  and runs to 3am EST November 29th, 2012

If you miss that freebie window, you get a second crack at it during The Hopedale Press Krampus Special, which runs from 3am December 23rd to 3am December 25th, 2012  

And what, exactly, is The Ice Wedding about, you ask? Well, its a gothic fairy tale based on a real-life event. In this case, how the Empress Anna punished an unfortunate Russian nobleman, first by commanding that he become a royal jester, and then by forcing him to marry her chambermaid. The newlyweds were then told they could earn their freedom by spending their wedding night in a cottage made entirely out of ice, during the coldest winter Moscow had ever seen. Chilling, isn't it?



You Also Said Something About 50% Off Ebooks, Didn't You?

Indeed, I did. 

To celebrate the Season of Giving, I have decided to slash prices on three of my $4.99 ebooks by 50%: Hell Come Sundown, Lynch: A Gothik Western, and Walking Wolf.  The sale will run from November 26th until December 31st, 2012 and will be available via Kindle, iTunes, Kobo, Nook, Sony and Smashwords.  

Hell Come Sundown: Sam Hell, a former Texas Ranger turned ghostbreaker, and his traveling companion, the Comanche shamaness Pretty Woman, search the Mexican border for Sangre, the vampire conquistador who turned him into one of the undead. Was $4.99--now $2.99 until Dec. 31st.

Smashwords

Lynch: A Gothik Western: A Frankenstein gunslinger and his flesh-eating zombie horse ride out in search of the rogue cavalry officer responsible for lynching him and murdering his pregnant wife. Cover by Stephen R. Bissette. Was $4.99--now $2.99 until Dec. 31st.

Walking Wolf:  An infant werewolf is found by a Comanche warrior at the site of a massacre and raises him as his own. When Walking Wolf's darker nature leads him to kill the woman he loves and his best friend, he decides to venture into the White Man's world in hopes of better understanding who, and what, he truly is. Was $4.99--now $2.99 until Dec. 31st.



A Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah/Happy Yule/Jumpin' Junkanoo/Happy Kwanzaa/Swinging Saturnalia/ Festive Festivus To All, And To All A Good Night!

And Watch Out For The Krampus!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Kill City: The New Sonja Blue Novel




Kickstarter campaign has been started to raise money to fund the completion and publication of KILL CITY, the first new novel in the Sonja Blue series in ten years. Should the Kickstarter campaign meet its stated goal amount, KILL CITY will be the first traditional ‘physical’ novel published by Hopedale Press.

After the initial book proposal for KILL CITY was deemed ‘uncommercial’ by traditional publishers—largely due to a biting take on a certain popular series of vampire novels aimed at the Young Adult market—I decided to forego drastically re-tooling the plot in favor of taking my case directly to the fans of the Sonja Blue series.

 While mainstream publishers might not feel there’s enough demand to warrant the outlay for KILL CITY, I believe otherwise. I know there’s an audience out there for this novel. Every day I get emails and posts on my Facebook page from different fans throughout the world, wanting to know when Sonja Blue will be making her return. In today’s radically changing publishing world, there is no longer any need for the author of a widely read series—one that won awards and has been reprinted in ten different languages—to simply accept the say-so of a publisher as to what is commercially viable and worthy of production.

Incentives offered to potential supporters range from DRM-free ebook editions and T-shirts to the distinction of being killed (in print, that is) by vampire slayer Sonja Blue. The Kickstarter page also provides fans a chance to read a never-before seenexcerpt from the unpublished KILL CITY,  as well as new music video showcasing the character of Sonja Blue that includes awide array of artwork from both professional creators and fans.

SUNGLASSES AFTER DARK, the debut novel in the Sonja Blue series, won the Horror Writers Association’s Bram Stoker Award for First Novel, the British Fantasy Society’s Icarus Award, and the Dal Coger Memorial Hall of Fame Award, and was nominated for the James Tiptree Award and the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. It was also adapted into a comic book series by Glenn Danzig’s Verotik Publications.

The Kill City Kickstarter Campaign runs from October 29th to the 28th of November.  

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Happy Hopedale Halloween Giveaway!




Hopedale Press is pleased to announce its celebrating its very first Halloween season with a special promotion: The Happy Hopedale Halloween Giveaway!

Starting  Midnight (PST) Monday, October 22nd  and running until the Witching Hour (PST)  Thursday, October 26th, every Halloween-themed ebook in the Hopedale Press catalog will be available for free on Amazon Kindle. The ebooks that comprise the giveaway promotion are The Pumpkin Child, Judgment Night and Calaverada (which is set during Dia de los Muertos, but why split hairs?).

In THE PUMPKIN CHILD, a desperate man makes a deal with a witch to exchange his luck with that of the man he envies most, only to have his chickens come home to roost on a dark Halloween night.  



In JUDGMENT NIGHT, bored, outcast kids decide to break into a house on Halloween night in order to vandalize it, only to find themselves at the mercy of a depraved serial killer.  



In CALAVERADA, a band of hired killers arrive in Old Mexico in search of outlaws on the Day Of The Dead



HAPPY HALLOWEEN FROM HOPEDALE PRESS!





Friday, October 12, 2012

LYNCH: A GOTHIK WESTERN Now On Audiobook!



Lynch: A Gothik Western is now available on audiobook from Audible.com 
Lucas D. Smith narrates the tale of a Frankenstein gunslinger and his zombie horse as they ride out in search of revenge. 3 hours + of  gripping story-telling for $14.95.



Thursday, October 11, 2012

Hopedale Press Titles Now Available On Bkclb.com


Starting October 12th, Hopedale Press ebooks will be available for purchase from Bkclb.co, a new ebook platform that is attempting to meet the needs of both readers and indie publishers.

Ebooks bought through Bkclb.co are DRM-free and come in both EPUB and Mobi formats. They accept Mastercard, Visa, Amex, debit card and PayPal. And those of you who Tweet about the Hopedale Press ebooks for sale at Bkclb.co can get anywhere from 5% to 20% off the purchase of the book!


Someone's In The Kitchen: Haunted Home Cooking To Die For...




George Pruitt rented a summer house in the country in hopes of getting away from the Manhattan rat race on the weekends. However, he didn't count on the place coming with its own in-home cook--one that's been dead for over forty years.




Monday, October 8, 2012

The Pumpkin Child: A Southern Gothic Halloween Story

Hollis Railsback returned home from World War Two to find both his family business and his high school sweetheart stolen by the same man: Virgil Bayliss. Hollis had always envied Virgil's luck: everything seemed to come so easily to Bayliss, while he had to fight for everything he had. 

Then one night,after taking a wrong turn on an old dirt road, Hollis finds himself at the shack of Granny Grimes, the old witchy-woman who lives in the middle of a pumpkin patch. Granny Grimes offers to swap his luck with that of Virgil--but once his luck is changed, he can never switch it back. The very next day his luck begins to while, at the same time, Virgil Bayliss contracts polio.

But, after years of good fortune in business and love, when he and his wife experienced trouble having children, Hollis decides to push his luck yet again--only to have his chickens come home to roost one dark Halloween night.




CHARITY: A Hospital Horror Story

As if undergoing surgery without the benefit of health insurance wasn't scary enough...

The only thing worse than having to go to the notorious Charity Hospital in New Orleans for major surgery is having to keep watch for the cancer monster.




Sometimes the walking dead hunger not for flesh, but for justice...


Over the last 30 years Virgil Marsalis has watched his friends and family die, one by one, of cancer--the result of the water table in his rural Louisiana parish being contaminated by run off from the local chemical plant. But now the time has finally come for the dead to cast aside their shrouds and speak their piece.








The One-Eyed King: A Dark Tale of Robin Hood

The battle between Robin Hood and the Sheriff of Nottingham is over. Robin has been given back his land and titles and granted a royal pardon by King Richard. The Merry Men have disbanded and Robin and Marian are now man and wife. But the peace that has come to Sherwood proves short lived upon the discovery of a trio of horrible torture-murders.

Although Sir Guy of Gisborne is no more, Robin Hood now finds himself facing a new and far more terrible foe--his long-lost evil twin brother, the murderous bandit Tamlane the Dragon, and his own dark, twisted version of the Merry Men, known as The Dragon's Teeth.

Caution: Contains some adult subject matter




Monday, October 1, 2012

Lynch: A Gothik Western

For years Johnny Pearl tried to escape his demons by being a gunslinger. With his killer’s cool and famous pearl-handled pistol, he made a name for himself in the years following the Civil War as an outlaw. But fame has proved hollow, and Johnny finds himself on the outskirts of the Wyoming Territory, on the verge of taking his own life after one gunfight too many, until he finds redemption in the smile of Katie Small Dove.

Katie understands Johnny Pearl’s pain and helps heal his broken soul, giving him the strength to turn his back on his old life of death and destruction, and build a new future. Within a year he has a wife, a homestead, and a baby on the way, and for the first time in his life Johnny knows true happiness. Of course it can not last.

Johnny Pearl’s idyllic new world is suddenly and irrevocably shattered by the arrival of Captain Antioch Drake, a psychotic cavalry officer determined to avenge the recent massacre at Little Big Horn. Within minutes of Drake and his men arriving, the homestead is ablaze, his wife and unborn child cruelly slain, and Johnny left to hang from a cottonwood. 

Normally, this would be the end of Johnny Pearl’s story—if not for the unexpected appearance of a medicine show wagon, driven by a strange old man called Doc Mirablis, who claims to have once been a friend and colleague of a certain Viktor Von Frankenstein.

The life and times of outlaw Johnny Pearl are over. But the adventures of the undead gunslinger called Lynch have just begun…


Cover illustration by SWAMP THING artist Stephen R. Bissette. 


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Werewolves of the Old West: Walking Wolf

Walking Wolf a/k/a Billy Skillet is the orphaned son of white settlers, found as an infant and raised to be a proud Comanche warrior. He also happens to be a werewolf. When he loses control of his darker nature and ends up killing the woman he loves and his best friend, Walking Wolf heads out into the White Man's world to learn more about who--and what--he is. This is his story of self-discovery as he travels the Old West, crossing the paths of a couple of deranged serial killers, a traveling medicine show, a vampire gunslinger, even a fellow werewolf, as well as such historical figures as Quanah Parker and Sitting Bull. But all the dangers he finds himself facing, none is as deadly as the bounty hunter known as Witchfinder Jones, who holds the secret of Walking Wolf's origins. 

Award-winning novelist Nancy A. Collins, author of Sunglasses After Dark, spins a tale of strange doings on the high plains, in the vein of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.


The Two-Headed Man: A Different Kind of Threesome

Louise is a waitress at Kelly's Stop, a greasy spoon diner in a small Arkansas town. When she's not waiting on the locals and the occasional traveler, Louise dreams of the day her Handsome Prince will finally deliver her from her dead-end job by a rich, handsome Prince. But time is slowly slipping away, and the odds of her finding her Prince dwindle with each passing day. Then one cold, wintry night, a handsome stranger named Gary arrives just before closing--and Louise finds herself face-to-face with the man she has fantasized about all her life.She is unprepared, however, for the 'Human Worm' he carries on his back--a man born without arms and legs. Louise invites Gary and his strange companion back to her trailer--and quickly finds herself involved in the strangest, and most intense, erotic experience of her life.

The Two-Headed Man was originally sold to Playboy Magazine via the "slush pile" and was scheduled for the 1990 February issue, only to be pulled at the last moment for being "too weird". Now's your chance to read what freaked out Hugh Hefner .

Contains graphic sexual content.


The Tortuga Hill Gang's Ride: A Tale of Rootin'-Tootin' Monster Shootin'

The Tortuga Hill Gang, lead by "Black Hat" Johnson, was one of the Old West's more colorful, and mysterious, outlaw groups. Rumored to be able to float safes like toy balloons and walk though bank walls, the six desperadoes--Johnson, the twin Chandler Brothers, Horseflesh Donnegan, Coyote Pete and the giant known as "Little Red"--disappeared without a trace in the 1890s. What really happened to the notorious Tortuga Hill Gang? Some say they met their fate at the hands of the Federalis. Others say the Devil came and dragged them to Hell. The only person who claims to know for sure is an old man who says he's the sole surviving member of the gang. But is he crazy or a liar--or perhaps both?



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Hopedale Press Makes Apple Australia's Top 100 Horror List


The Thing From Lover's Lane made Apple Australia's Top 100 Horror 

Chart this past week, peaking at #42 and currently hovering around 

#102. I have no idea what this means in terms of sales, but it is the first 

time a Hopedale Press ebook has made the Apple Top 100 in any

country!



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Return To Hell House: An Authorized Prequel to Hell House

1927: Infamous millionaire occultist Emeric Belasco disappears without a trace, leaving behind dozens of dead bodies in the rambling, isolated mansion known as Hell House

1931: A team of parapsychologists enter Hell House in order to solve the riddle of Belasco's ultimate fate, only to meet with horror, insanity and death. The doors to Hell House are closed and locked for nine years.


1940: A second team of psychic and scientific experts, including the 15 year-old "Ghost Boy" Benjamin Franklin Fischer--the most gifted physical medium in modern history--return to explore the secrets of the most haunted house in the world--only to find Hell House eagerly awaiting its newest guests. 

This novella was written, with permission from Richard Matheson, as a prequel to his classic haunted house novel, Hell House (1971), and originally appeared in the tribute anthology He Is Legend (Gauntlet Press, 2009). 

Warning: Contains Graphic Sex Scenes






Monday, September 17, 2012

The Thing From Lover's Lane: Finalist for the 1996 HWA Bram Stoker Award for Best Novelette

It's the 1950s and Misty Valley is just another sleepy, All-American town, nestled along the Miskatonic River. Unlike sister cities Arkham and Dunwich, Misty Valley has managed to avoid the peculiar occurrences that have plagued the region since the days of the colonial witch trials. 

That is, until the night Carol Anne Fairweather and her boyfriend, Billy Mahan, parked too far down on Lover's Lane. On that old, foggy night Billy was attacked and knocked unconscious, while Carol Anne was brutally raped by someone--or something--that came out of the woods. 

Now, in order to clear his name, Billy must discover what really happened that horrible night. But can his mind withstand the awful truth he uncovers? Or will he end up as mad as Old Gooney, the crazed hermit who claims to keep watch against the dark forces that would make Misty Valley their own? 





The Reflected Ones: A Tribute To Robert Bloch

A murderer uses an ancient book of arcane spells to escape justice by going through the looking glass--only to find that the other side of the mirror is far more dangerous than he ever imagined. 

I wrote this short story as a tribute to one of my favorite authors, Robert Bloch, whose short fiction, such as The Weird Tailor, Yours Truly Jack The Ripper, and A Case Of The Stubborns, proved highly inspirational. 




The Love Of Monsters: A Paranormal Romance

A vampire and a werewolf break the greatest of all taboos and fall in love with one another. Now they must flee their own people in hopes of starting a new new life--and a new family--together.

This is the short story that lead me to sue the creators of the Underworld film series.