JournalStone’s Amazon only e-book holiday sale!


Are you interested in some holiday reading?  JournalStone is having a HUGE holiday sale on some select e-books.  The sale is this week, and only on Amazon – ending December 21, 2014.  Take a look at the list and get ready to rock some great books at rock bottom prices with authors like Jonathan Maberry, Joe McKinney, Weston Ochse, Lisa Morton, and many many more!!!   DarkNet – John R. Little – $0.99 cents - Dead World Resurrection – Joe McKinney – $0.99 - The Burning Time – J.G. Fahertiy – $0.99 - … [Read more...]


There are not many authors that I like enough that I would read a romantic comedy. Jeff Strand is one of the rare breed that I would follow anywhere, though. So when I found out that his latest, KUMQUAT, is, at heart, a romantic comedy, I decided that he’d built up enough goodwill with me that I could suck it up, take one for the team, and give it a shot…. Jeff Strand is best-known as the author of darkly comedic Horror novels/novellas/short stories such as I HAVE A BAD FEELING ABOUT THIS, DEAD CLOWN BARBECUE, WOLF HUNT, KUTTER, and literally tons and tons more. I’ve never read a thing he’s written that I didn’t absolutely love, or at least like a whole, whole lot, so….bring on the romantic comedy. Worst case scenario: I’d hate it. But the silver lining would be that if anyone ever asked me if I had read a romantic comedy novel, I would now be able to answer “Yes. Yes, I have.” So, having read KUMQUAT, I can now say that not only have I read a romantic … [Read more...]

NIGHTMARES ILLUMINATED. The column for horror evangelists. 051

There is a lot that needs stating. No order of address presents itself as superior. Here then is a random brain dump. That is right, illuminated instead of illustrated. How come? Well, if you read the final couple of entries that were published under the latter banner then you already know why. To sum up, I no longer wanted to concentrate solely on comics and graphic novels in a column, preferring to take a more general and esoteric view of horror, periodically focusing on literature, music, and film. After a few years I suffered a comics overload. I needed to vary my diet. Here it is. “Illuminated is a little pretentious, isn’t it chubs?” Sure, I can see how it might sound that way. My thought here is I am shining a light, so to speak, on things I have seen/heard, not that I am explaining anything to anybody. Thing is, I wanted to keep the “NI” shorthand, and I wanted to column to sound about the same, title-wise, as before. Under these conditions, there are … [Read more...]

Forgotten Souls


Chapter 1 Whispers of the dead passed through his little fingers. Hushed exclamations suddenly erupted from all sides, echoing a fury of tangled words into a common center of boiling excitement. It's him! It's him! She could almost see their translucent fingers being pointed at the boy standing before her, their misty shapes surrounding him with arms that wanted, but were unable, to embrace him within the halo of their presence. They existed at the periphery of her vision, like the faint illumination of distant stars, quick to disappear if she should look directly at them. He's the one! The bellow of a man's voice-commanding, powerful. Oh, sweet goodness, it's almost time! Quivering syllables of an elderly woman on the brink of ecstatic laughter. The Chosen One is here . . . A subtle whisper soon swallowed by the surrounding fever of discovery. More whispers. Rising in pitch, quickly becoming shouts and screams of joy. They traveled the … [Read more...]

Bloodstained Oz


Gayle stood up and glanced around, and again the scarecrow in the cornfield caught her eye. She was nearer to it now, and something made her frown and stare harder. It was the hat, she decided. It was black and pointed and didn't look right. In fact, she was sure it was not the same hat that the scarecrow had always worn.Slowly, dolls clutched in her hands, she walked across the yard to the cornfield and made her way to the scarecrow. There wasn't a bird in sight, so it must have been doing its job. The dolls felt strangely heavy in her arms and, where their porcelain faces touched her bareskin, they were cold. At first, Gayle stood and blinked at the scarecrow. It didn't look right at all. Their scarecrow had a brown jacket, faded from the sun,and green pants. This one wore different clothes-clothes that had never belonged to her daddy. It was a different scarecrow altogether. And where the other scarecrow - the one that had broken off and blown away - had been … [Read more...]

Coffin County

Chapter One 1 "My quiver is once again empty ..." 2 This may seem a bit helter-skelter at first, jumping around like water on a hot griddle, rolling like leaves across an autumn sidewalk, tumbling about like a paper cup caught in the wind; but just as the millions of meaningless individual dots in a newspaper photograph will merge into a single, identifiable image when viewed as a whole, everything will gradually be connected. It has to be. The dead demand it of us. And they must not be ignored. They will not be ignored. That's been tried before. Didn't exactly work out. 3 Around here I'm know as "The Reverend," and I need for you to come along with me for a while. Admittedly, that doesn't quite have the poetic punch of such classic attention-grabbers as, say, "Call me Ishmael," or "My name is Arthur Gordon Pym," or "I am by birth a Genevese, and my family is one of the most distinguished of that republic," so let's establish right off the … [Read more...]

Mr Hands

The place is called Hangman’s Tavern, one of the most legendary watering holes in the self-proclaimed “ Land of Legend.” It’s located halfway between Cedar Hill and Buckeye Lake, but if you look for a clearly-marked sign to guide you there, you’ll never find it; instead, you need to watch for the crossroad two miles after you get off the I-70 exit toward Buckeye Lake. Can’t miss it. If the weather’s bad and visibility is low, then keep an eye peeled for the eight-foot “T” post on the left, the one with the noose sculpted in iron dangling from it. The Ku Klux Klan used to bring their victims out here and hang them, then go on down the road for a few drinks. That’s how the business came by its name. Grant McCullers, owner/bartender/sometimes short-order cook (who can play a mean harmonica despite a severely arthritic hand), is the latest – but hopefully not the last – of the men in his family to own the place; although Grant’s great-grandfather was Klan and built … [Read more...]


Chapter One When he becomes you, then who are you? Say again, what’s the question? Okay, listen to this: It’s in us. We make it happen. Somehow. Does that make sense? Not that I’d believe for one minute that you’d understand from the start what was happening to us. After all, the mechanics of it are a mystery to us as much as anyone else. But I can’t stress this enough: it is important you do understand, because if the kind of trouble I’m facing now comes your way, then what I write here might help you not only make sense of it, but fight it. And stay alive. I guess this isn’t clear, what I’m telling you. But I’m going to try as hard as I can to make it understandable. Damn, this feels like I’m sitting on my stupid butt and lecturing you. As if I’m just about to say, “Take out your textbook, turn to page thirty-one, and compare and contrast the merits of killing with a knife or a shotgun....” And that’s a bunch of balls—big, hairy balls with fucking … [Read more...]


PROLOGUE The cliff. It called to him. Touched him with . . . darkness. Taunted him with a promise made long ago. So long had he known, so long had he felt its pull that today, tonight, was an anticlimax. A breath of the promise slid over the edge and tickled his nose. James inhaled, savoring its salty tang, its gravestone cold reminder. The cliff would kill him. The pressure was firm at his back. There was no return, no escape. Was there a presence just there, in the wash of black ahead? In the rush of wind that slid naked across the booming surf below and drove hard up the steel grey rock to kiss his own salty cheeks? James cried aloud, his feeling caught, twisted and drained by the yawning night wind. The vibration of the waves was palpable in the air here. It rippled through his body. Its touch was icy, its grip absolute. He’d been born for this, spent nineteen years in preparation, and yet, now that the moment was upon him, he … [Read more...]

Letting Go

Originally published in the collection Needles & Sins Necro Publications, October 2007 She was newly born; her face gave it away. The shadows of death hadn't marked her yet. The smudgepot glow of the stagelight flickered bloodily on lily pure cheeks as she gaped, aghast at the spectacle. I moved to intercept before some other eater caught the scent of her naivet�. She was angelfood. Pure vanilla-­spun sugar. �Just another Saturday night,� I said, slipping an arm wreathed in the ink of demons and skulls around her shoulders. She didn't shrug me away, as I'd expected. I chalked her accept­ance down to shock, not invitation. �I don't understand,� she said. Her voice was a whisper of sadness. The lovers before us mortified her. I didn't know how she had ended up here. Maybe she was reborn right there, in that spot, and opened her eyes to see the depraved sex show as the first vision in her new home; it happens. Regardless, she remained utterly … [Read more...]

A Ripple in the Veil


Classic source: Arthur Machen A parliament of rooks passes over my house every day. In the morning they fly south, presumably to the fields and woods where they feed. During the evening they head back north, a great black cloud dragging dusk behind. I never tire of watching them; there’s something intensely spooky about it, as if I’m witnessing something that should be unseen, or a sight so far beyond humanity’s control – so of nature we can barely understand it – that it seems truly alien. And yet I love to watch, because it offers me a glimpse of the grandeur and wonder of the power that sits around us all the time. Usually that power whispers its presence in the meanderings of a bee, or hums its possibilities in the slow turning of a rose to face the sun. But the rooks are a scream. It amazes me how, when seen from a distance, they seem to move and flow like a single living organism. There’s order in there, and design; and the movement of the flock displays … [Read more...]

The Scrubs A Novella

Author’s Note Wormwood Scrubs is the actual name of a functioning prison located in London, which is known affectionately as The Scrubs. The Wormwood Scrubs described in this story is wholly fictional. * * * * * * Chapter One The North Wing The steel mesh sang with the impact of their boots. It was the only sound to be heard in the cellblock, other than the grumbles of disapproval trickling out from behind brick cell walls. Keeler tried not to listen to his fellow inmates. He knew what they thought of anyone volunteering for the North Wing project. In most of their minds, he wasn’t much better than a squealer. Bollocks to ‘em. If it got him a pardon, what did he care? He was buggered if he was going to rot in the Scrubs until he died. Keeler stopped and waited for the first prison screw to descend the encaged spiral staircase before he followed. The second screw followed Keeler. The screws didn’t say anything to him. Their opinions weren’t much … [Read more...]

We All Fall Down

Prologue The BMW 530i’s engine screamed, but it was unclear whether it was in agony or ecstasy. Vee8 squashed the gas pedal deeper into the carpet and tipped the balance into the pain barrier. The car accelerated through the narrow car-lined street, occasionally clipping door mirrors as it sped by. “Spank it, Vee8. Spank it,” Donkey shrieked hysterically and thumped the passenger side dash with his fist. In chorus, D.J. and Trey seconded Donkey’s request from the back seat. Donkey might have been hung like one but he was sure as shit as dumb as one. Vee8 didn’t need Donkey telling him what to do. He’d been jacking cars since he was fourteen and in four years, he’d thrashed, crashed and cremated over three hundred of them without ever being caught. The cops had chased him across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area, but they’d never come close to netting him. Many had tried and all had failed. Several had woken up in the hospital to discover that sorry fact. … [Read more...]

Paying the Piper


Chapter One Scott leaned on his horn and roared through the red light. Six lanes of traffic on Van Ness with the green light on their side lurched forward then slithered to a halt in the same breath. A barrage of blaring car horns trailed after him. Geary Boulevard rose up on the other side of the intersection. Scott tightened his grip on the wheel and braced for the jarring impact. His Honda sedan bottomed out on the steep incline, but maintained its speed. With the gas pedal floored, the car accelerated and closed in on a slow moving SUV switching lanes. Scott jumped on his horn again. The SUV froze, straddling both lanes to block his path. “Idiot,” he snarled and shouldered his way past the other driver. Traffic was everywhere, but when wasn’t it in San Francisco? He weaved between two cars, jerked out from behind a MUNI bus and still had a stream of vehicles ahead. His cell phone rang. He snatched it from its holder on the dashboard. … [Read more...]

Accidents Waiting To Happen

Chapter One Josh Michaels took liberties with the speed limit on the quiet, two-lane highway. And why shouldn’t he? He was celebrating. His meeting with the supplier had proved worth the overnight stay in Bakersfield. He was looking forward to his performance bonus when the drinking water plant came online. He rewarded himself by taking the winding highways instead of I-5 back to Sacramento. He enjoyed the challenge of the sharper bends and shorter straights that he couldn’t experience outside of a racetrack. The lack of patrolling police cars on the back roads gave him the opportunity to bend the law as much as he wanted. And Goddamn it, the reason he used the highways and not the freeway was because it was fun. One hand on the wheel, Josh removed his cell phone from his shirt pocket. He selected a speed dial number and the phone chirped in his ear as it dialed. “Hello, the Michaels’ Residence,” a young girl’s voice said. “Hi, can I speak to the lady … [Read more...]