An Excerpt from Hometown – #1


Hey, all.

As promised, here is the first of the excerpts from my longest work, the horror novel Hometown:

It’s the Fall of 1994 in the small milltown of Belford, New York. The leaves are turning, the kids are going back to school, and the heat of Summer is giving way to a cool, misty season. It happens every Fall.

Only this Fall, people are disappearing into that mist. Some people are found torn apart, some people are found dead for no reason, and some people aren’t found at all. Other people see strange things in the mist: ghosts and campfire stories.

There’s something out there in that mist. Something old. Something that has slept for a long time, but has now woken up hungry. Maybe the people of Belford could resist it, but as the terrible Fall wears on, more and more of them start…changing. Acting bizarre and violent. In the end, only a small group of teenage defenders are left to make their stand.

That’s the cover blurb.  You’ll probably see it again.  Meanwhile, the plan here is to keep giving you excerpts at the rate of one or two per week, until you’ve seen everything that’s publicly available from Amazon, then give you a few previews from later in the book.  With that in mind, check below the fold (it’s a touch NSFW) for the opening scene to Hometown.

Continue reading “An Excerpt from Hometown – #1″

Found a Marvelous Story: Cat Pictures Please

A few days ago, I was reading Amanda Marcotte’s Salon column on the alt-right hijacking of the Hugo Awards, and it quite naturally mentioned some of the winners.  There was actually a link to the winner of the short stories category, Cat Pictures Please by Naomi Kritzer, so I took a look.  You should too. It’s a heartwarming little story about an AI that just wants to help, and thinks the greatest things humans ever created was cat pictures.  I finished it in the time it took me to take the subway home, so it’s just a quick, satisfying little literary snack that richly deserves the award it won.


An Excerpt from Changeling

Changeling Title

Hey, all!  Tomorrow is the last day that Changeling is available for free download at Amazon.  If you haven’t downloaded a copy yet, here’s a taste of what you’re missing:

“Who are you, mortal, that you dare to approach the banshee?”

The woman just smiled and held out a hand hardened by a lifetime of work. “The name’s Bridget Flanagan,” She answered. “And you?”

The banshee held up a hand that looked…remarkably similar to her own…and wagged a finger at her. “Oh, no you don’t,” it said. “You’re not getting my name out of me that easily, mortal.”

Bridget dropped her hand and shook her head.

“You’re too used to dealing with wise women and cunning men,” She chuckled. “I’m neither. Just makin’ me manners.”

“So you say,” the banshee retorted. “But you people never seek out the Fair Folk unless you want something. You go after the fairies for wishes and the leprechauns for gold, and I can guess what you want from a Banshee. Who is it?”

Bridget’s face fell. She’d never heard tell of a fae who was shrewd, for all their mischief, or who had no interest in playing games.

Everyone learns, I s’pose, and forever’s a lot more time to do it than twoscore years and seven. Best to be about it, then.

“Me daughter,” she answered. “First birth is always the hardest, but she’s as strong as her old mum. She’d have been fine if she hadn’t taken fever.”

“ Rotten luck,” The banshee said. And did she actually sound…sympathetic? “I’m sorry, truly, but there are rules. And spirits, be we angel, devil, or sidhe, don’t have choices about following rules. That’s for you mortals. I sing death; that’s what I am. There’s nothing to be done.”

But Bridget Flanagan wasn’t one to be put off so easily. “ Nothing?” She countered. “My Patrick has been run in by the law enough times for me to know that some rules have more give than others. Sometimes, yes, you go in the lock-up…but other times, you pay your fine and go your way.”

“ Oh, human…” the banshee sighed. “What are you trying to do?”

“You say you sing death,” Bridget pressed. “Does it have to be anybody’s death in particular?”

The banshee raised its hands and shook its hooded head.

“Human…Bridget…no. Just stop. I’ve heard this so many times before. What you want is forbidden.”

“Ah, there now, that’s an interesting thing,” Bridget said triumphantly, pointing as she always did when she had someone good and pinned down. “You tell me it’s forbidden, but nobody bothers to forbid something that can’t be done.  There’s no laws against counterfeiting by shitting gold coins, after all.”

“Bridget,” The banshee said, taking hold of the pointing hand and – not ungently – moving it away. “If I could do what you wish, not a child would die in this world as long as there was a parent left to say ‘take me instead’.”

Bridget just shook her head. “Oh, come now, what kind of fool do you take me for? Fool enough to think Old Man Death would find taking me sooner rather than later to be a deal worth making?”

“What deal are you making, then?”

Bridget grinned to herself. She had the spirit’s attention now. “This isn’t the first time you’ve been to these parts, you know. Do you remember?”

“I’ve been to all of Ireland,” The banshee answered “I remember it all, but I don’t know which part you want me to remember right now.”

“When last you were here, you sang for my husband.”

There was a long moment of silence. If the banshee had been human, Bridget would have guessed that it was stunned at being confronted by someone who’d been hurt by its work, at being forced to think of that person as someone who hurt instead of a simple singing engagement.

But it wasn’t human, now was it? Surely a creature who “sang death” couldn’t feel such things.

But sure, and didn’t that sound like a sigh that came out from under its hood before it spoke again. “Bridget, I’m sorry. I really am. But I’m afraid that doesn’t change anything.”

“I didna think it would. And there’s no need to be sorry.”


“…what’s that again?”

“Jimmy Flanagan was a good man, God rest his soul, and I loved him.” Bridget said. “But his death was no harder than most I’ve seen – a heart attack is head and shoulders above what our Meaghan is facing right now – and my heart didn’t break when he died.”


Bridget shook her head. “No. I loved him, but I never could love him the way other wives loved their husbands. When he took me to bed, it was doin’ me duty, not kickin’ up me heels like it is for most women at least once in a while.” She interrupted herself to shake a finger at her spectral companion. “And not because his idea of getting me ready was ‘brace yourself, Bridey’. Jimmy did the best he could, poor man.” She paused a moment then, and her eyes went very far away, and when she spoke it was much softer. “And I never knew why. Why I couldn’t love him like that, I mean…until I heard you sing, and it was like a mermaid instead of a banshee.”

The eerie blue lights within the cowl blinked, and the hooded head cocked. “What in the name of Oberon’s knickers do you mean by that?”

Bridget rolled her eyes. “Ye bewitched me, that’s what I mean. I couldn’t tear meself away. If I’d known ye would be this easy to find, I would’ve come to you on the moment.”

“Well most people don’t want to find – “ The banshee began. Then she realized what she was saying. “Are ye daft, woman?”

“Most likely,” Bridget admitted. “I certainly thought the other girls mad when they acted like I’m acting. Thought my way with my Jimmy was more sensible. Now they’re thirty years past it and I’m acting like a girl with her tits just starting to bud making calf eyes at a boy at her first dance.”

“And I’m…the boy?” The banshee asked, still struggling to understand just what this mad human was saying to her.

“You are.”

For the rest of the story, head on over and download yourself a free copy of Changeling from Amazon.

And while you’re there, of course, check out the rest of the library.

Coming Attractions

Hey, all.

Just wanted to give you a heads-up about some upcoming events here at


First of all, I’m going to start a big push on the book that, for now at least, remains my magnum opus.

I’m not sure exactly how many years I spent working on Hometown; there was a long period where it was just sitting on my hard drive, untouched.  But it wouldn’t let me rest while the work was unfinished.  That story needed to be told.

A lot of my heart went into that story.  Pretty much everything I needed to say about the first eighteen years of my life went into Hometown.  Never mind that it’s a supernatural horror story: fiction is about using lies to tell the truth, and the truth of Hometown is the truth of the small town that you need to escape.

As you can imagine, I want that story to be heard.  So be on the lookout for excerpts, behind-the-scenes commentary, character profiles, illustrations, and promotions.

Cover for Complete Book

I’ve got a number of stories that are coming to Amazon soon, but the first of them will be part 1 of Turning the Curse, a romance story about a Sweet Innocent Heroine using the Love of a Good Woman to protect her village from the man she loves, who has become a werewolf…and to protect him from them.

(Darn thing was inspired by an old Hammer film, and it was originally supposed to be just a short story, but it’s already growing to the size of a novella.  Thus the Part 1.)

I’m taking a bit of a chance with this one.  I’ve had stories with explicit scenes in them before – two of them are up in The Grindhouse right now – but this will be my first piece of outright erotica.  Let’s see how this works.

Spotlighted Link: Aetherial Engines

Here’s another one I’ve been meaning to do for a while.

I don’t remember how I discovered Aetherial Engines, but I’m glad I did.  For one thing, Aetherial Engineer and I have become friends of a sort – the sort of friend you make on the internet, talking about stories in the comment sections of each other’s blogs.

More importantly – for this blog, at least – is that Engineer tells the most marvelous stories.  Most are fantasy romances (which I like), but the ones that really caught my attention are things like a World War II superhero story like you’ve never seen before (involving quite a few real heroes), and a unique twist on vampire slaying.  Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing plenty of those stories here, so you’ll soon know what I mean.

Changeling is Available for Free Download Now Through Thursday!

Changeling Title

I thought that I’d change it up a little this week, and have the featured story be a romance instead of horror.  Of course, being who I am, even the romance is a bit uncanny.

If you want to see what I mean, head on over and download yourself a free copy of Changeling from Amazon.

And while you’re there, of course, check out the rest of the library.

An Excerpt from Chrysalis

Chrysalis Cover

Tomorrow is the last day that Chrysalis is available for free download at Amazon.  If you haven’t downloaded it yet, here’s a taste of what you’re missing:

Overnight, the Old Pine Pass Meteorite made Corriman internationally famous in the scientific community, not to mention putting Old Pine Pass on the map for tourists and sightseers.

For one thing, it was huge. At ten feet by ten feet by ten feet, it was larger than even the Hoba meteorite. For another, it was made of some substance that had never been encountered on Earth before. Most meteorites the Old Pine’s size consist of iron or iron alloys, but the Old Pine seemed to be some kind of multicolored crystal or gemstone, which was fortunate: if it had, in fact, been iron, it would have stayed right in Jake Halsey’s north forty. Sixty tons is a lot harder to move than the three the Old Pine actually weighed.

Of no particular scientific interest but certainly helpful for tourism, the thing was breathtakingly beautiful. Instead of being scorched and pitted by atmospheric re-entry, it seemed to have been…polished. What was more, the bands and whorls and patterns of brilliant, gemlike colors – sapphire, ruby, emerald, amethyst, topaz – actually moved. Too slow for the eye to easily follow, to be sure, but quickly enough that you were never looking at the exact same stone any two days in a row. How that was possible for a rock was, of course, a mystery, so perhaps the Old Pine’s beauty was of scientific interest after all.

Other, bigger schools and museums tried to obtain the Old Pine, of course, and the faculty knew that they would probably have to let it go eventually. The money that any one of those schools or museums would “donate” to Corriman in exchange for the Old Pine would be a huge boon, of course, but there was something more important to consider: the Old Pine was just wasted as the primary exhibit of Corriman’s three-room “Hall of Geology”. It belonged in the Smithsonian. But until that day, Corriman and Old Pine Pass would enjoy their claim to fame, and geologists would continue to take samples and make observations and run analyses and perform experiments that always created more questions than they answered.




Again, in the normal course of things, that would have been enough to bring Old Pine Pass and Corriman lasting (if rather specialized) fame. But that spring, yet another strange, unprecedented occurrence brought scientific attention to Old Pine Pass. This time, the science in question was entomology.

It was a bright spring day very near to the end of the semester (which was the only time bright spring days really came to Corriman – once, it had snowed on Mother’s Day and the reaction had been annoyed, but not particularly surprised), and the school’s lawns were crowded with students playing Frisbee and classes being held outdoors. Several dorms and frat houses had moved their lounge furniture outside, and the hip hop blasting from the Beta house was blending with Pachelbel’s Canon in D blaring from the Artist Guild to create a surprisingly interesting hybrid. George himself was just out of his last class of the morning, heading to the Student Center for a burger and enjoying his favorite springtime sights (coeds in bikinis sunning themselves) when the Historical Event happened: a cloud of butterflies descended on the Quad.

Even if they’d been ordinary butterflies, that would have been enough to make everyone who hadn’t fallen asleep in the sun pause in what they were doing so they could ooh and aah. George had never seen such a huge swarm of butterflies in his life.

But they weren’t ordinary butterflies. Their wings were iridescent, and the very air seemed to shimmer as they filled the Quad.

“Look! Mommy, Daddy, look!” A little girl cried. Mommy and Daddy no doubt did exactly that. George himself couldn’t help but glance over out of sheer reflex. Larry Cooper from English had his family with him for some reason, and his five-year-old daughter was standing there with a glittering pane of iridescence balanced on her hand. “Look, Daddy!” Little…Jennifer, yes, that’s right, her name was Jennifer…repeated. “I just held out my hand, and one landed right on my finger!”

“Wow, that’s…” Larry’s eyes went very wide. “That’s great honey.” He raised his head, looked around, spotted George standing there, and waved him over. “George!” He whisper-shouted. “Get over here! You need to see this!”

George was already curious, so he hurried over willingly enough. When he got there, he was glad he had.

Little Jennifer thrust her hand out at him, proud to show off her “catch”. The butterfly didn’t seem to mind. It was pretty big as such things go, almost the size of a hummingbird, and its wings – in addition to being iridescent – were a gorgeous fractal pattern.

A pattern that kept changing.

Colors and patterns flowed and wheeled and spiraled across the butterfly’s wings like the northern lights had flowed and wheeled and spiraled across the sky.

“How is it doing that?” Larry asked. “Is it some kind of chameleon thing?”

“Heck if I know,” George answered. “Call Maria over in Biology and get her over here quick. I don’t have my cell phone.”

“I wanna keep it!” Jennifer announced as her father reached into his pocket.

“Oh, honey, I don’t know,” Her mother said. “We don’t know anything about it.”

“But I want it!” Jennifer protested, her whine reminding George why he’d never wanted kids as she cupped her hand over her new pet. “I promise I’ll – ow!

The butterfly fluttered away as she clutched her hand and wailed.

“Are you okay?” Mommy asked, kneeling to examine her wounded offspring. “What happened?”

It bit me!” Jennifer shrieked, cradling her hand against her chest.

“Take it easy now, little bear,” her father soothed. “Butterflies don’t – ”

This was, of course, the exact moment that Mommy managed to coax Little Bear’s hand away from her chest and reveal that the finger that had supported the butterfly was bleeding.

“- bite?”

Just then, other shouts and exclamations of pain started to spring up from here and there all over the Quad.

Beautiful as they were, these butterflies were apparently a touch nastier than was strictly standard.

The quad was clear in less than two minutes.

For the rest of the story, head on over to Amazon and download a copy.

And while you’re there, check out the rest of the library as well!


Chrysalis is Available for Free Download Now Through Thursday!

Chrysalis Cover

The world is ending not in fire or ice, but in terrible beauty.  Download the chronicle of beautiful doom free at Amazon now through Thursday!

And while you’re there, check out the rest of the library as well!

An Excerpt from Facing The Music

Facing music with title

Tomorrow is the last day of the free giveaway for Facing The Music.  If you haven’t downloaded your copy yet, here’s a taste of what you’re missing:

New Year’s Day – Posted January 3, 2016

I woke up beside my boyfriend with a pounding headache, a throbbing bladder, and aches in places I didn’t know I could ache.

With a groan, I rolled out of bed so I could go to the bathroom and empty out all of the booze (Lewis Grizzard once wrote that a professional drinker drinks every night of the year except New Year’s Eve, because that’s Amateur Night. Steve and I might not be professional drinkers, but no one can say that we didn’t make the most of amateur night). On the way, I found myself having trouble walking. Go ahead and snicker, it means exactly what you think it means.

After I finished taking care of business (more ouch…we must have been out of our minds last night), I returned to bed. Steve was still asleep – so deep he was still curled up facing the wall, instead of sprawled to fill the empty space like he usually did when I got up first. I wanted nothing more than to join him, but it was already past noon, and we both hated missing too much of the day, even for hangovers.

“Steve? Steve, baby—” I nudged him. Not even a groan. How much did we drink last night?

That brought me up short. How much did we drink last night? I couldn’t remember, and that was weird. I’d been pretty seriously drunk in my day (for an amateur), but I’d never had a blackout. All I could remember after maybe ten o’clock – and we weren’t really drinking that hard at that point – was something about…bells. Tolling bells, counting down to Midnight.

I shuddered, then wondered why. Counting down to Midnight was a good thing on New Year’s Eve, wasn’t it?

Enough with the weird thoughts. I must still be drunk. I nudged Steve again, then harder and more until finally I’m shaking him. “Steve? Steve, wake up, honey, it’s after noon. Steve? Steve? Steve?” By then, I was shaking him hard and he was kind of flopping around and I already knew why he wouldn’t wake up but I didn’t stop shaking because I must be wrong it’s just not possible, he’s only twenty-eight.

“Baby, wake up, baby please!” I finally pulled him far enough toward me that he flopped over on his back, and that’s when I started to scream.

His eyes were wide open and blank, staring at the ceiling. Worse, the pillow was all bloody where his head had been. My first thought was Alcohol poisoning, but there was no puke anywhere – not even on his breath – and besides, alcohol poisoning doesn’t make your ears bleed, does it?

I didn’t know CPR, not really – we’d had a few days on it in Health Class in High School, but that was nine years ago – so I didn’t even try. I just snatched up my cell and dialed 911.

Nothing. No answer. It just rang and rang and rang.

How is that possible? They don’t have holidays off at 911.

After two or three tries, I gave up on that and tried calling a hospital directly. But I didn’t know any hospital numbers, so I dialed 411, then 0.


That was when I ran out into the hallway and started pounding on doors, screaming for help. I started with Mrs. Rosario, who’s a nurse at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt.

Nothing. No one.

Finally, I just ran out into the street, barefoot and still in my PJs, screaming for help from someone, anyone, my boyfriend was dead.

Which was when I saw the New Year’s revelers, lining the sidewalks of Manhattan, still tricked out in their party clothes and hats and streamers and sparkles, lying still on the ground with dried trickles of blood coming from their ears.

And that’s where I lose track of myself for a little while. All I can remember after that point is running through the slushy streets of New York, trying to find anyone alive. That, and something about the sound of bells.


The Rest of The Story – Posted January 3, 2016

The next few hours are just…lost. I still have no idea what I did between the moment I started running and the time I woke up in a stranger’s apartment.

Well, that’s not completely true. There are a few fragments of memory, like bits of pottery dug up at an archaeological dig:

Running through streets, calling out for somebody, anybody, until my bare feet felt like dead, frozen fish slapping the pavement.

Calling friends and family, boss and co-workers, the guy I met in a bar and dated once back before I met Steve, my bank’s emergency number for if you get your card stolen – anything to make contact. Nothing.

Then I remember this…feeling. A pressure, like a vast weight hanging over my head or a storm front moving in, charging the air with something thick and dark and heavy and smothering, something that burned on the skin instead of tingled. Something that rang like bells instead of thundered.

That drove me inside when January in New York couldn’t. Some instinct told me that being outside under that pressure, that sound, the curtain of darkness advancing down Fifth Avenue, was the worst thing in the world, far worse than entering a dwelling of the dead. I was a mouse in a hawk’s shadow, and I took whatever shelter I could.

Anybody else know what I’m talking about? What was that thing? Could it have had something to do with

For the rest, head on over to Amazon and download yourself a copy.  And while you’re there, check out the rest of the library.  Keep watching for further promotions, and new stories coming soon.

Facing The Music Is Available For Free Download Now Through Thursday!

Facing music with title

The story of Lovecraftian doom and courage at the end of the world is available for free download at Amazon now through Thursday!

While you’re there, check out the rest of the library!