Little Darlings by Alicia Dean ~ A Friday the 13th Story Series ~ #Fridaythe13th #ahagrp

Please help me welcome myself with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series,  Little Darlings...

Fun Fact:

I got the idea for my story from my cousin during a family reunion. He mentioned the legend of the Black-Eyed Children and it sparked the idea. (While our family members were discussing their children and grandchildren and swapping recipes, he and I were discussing horror and the best ways to creep people out. :)) Supposedly, people have actually encountered these frightening little beasts, though I haven’t actually heard of the Black-Eyed Kids murdering anyone…until my story. 🙂 The below is an interesting article about the legend:

Black-eyed Kids: The Chilling Legend that Began in Abilene

Blurb:

Mollie Burrows and her friends, Caroline and Beth, rent a cabin in Colorado for a therapeutic getaway. Beth is despondent after a recent miscarriage and Mollie hopes the trip will alleviate Beth’s depression. The owner of the general store in town warns them about the Black-Eyed Kids—supernatural entities who pose as children and terrorize anyone who allows them into their homes—but Mollie scoffs at the ridiculous notion.

Not long after they get settled, four children knock on their door—and their eyes are as black as a starless night. Beth is drawn to them and is ready to offer them shelter, but Mollie and Caroline are freaked out and refuse.

When Mollie discovers the bodies of obviously murdered victims, she realizes the store owner was telling the truth. As the evil children begin their homicidal rampage, their determination to gain entry into the cabin becomes terrifying. Help won’t arrive until the following morning and a long, torturous night looms ahead. Can Mollie and Caroline prevent Beth from opening the door to the Little Darlings? If not, they could all end up dead.

Excerpt:

Taking a deep, fortifying breath, she stood again, this time remaining on her feet. Unsteadily, she crossed the room and gripped the curtain in her hand, tugging it back just enough to peer around it. Involuntarily, she yelped. The same four children stood on the other side of the glass. Rain poured down on them, but they seemed oblivious to the fact they were getting soaked.

The tallest girl swiveled her head toward Mollie, black eyes gleaming beneath the patio light. Mollie’s heart leapt into her throat, and she let the curtain fall back.

“Hey, miss. Please let us in. We’re cold and wet. Won’t you please let us in?”

Mollie pressed her back against the wall, willing her heart to stop racing. What was the deal with these kids? What were they doing all alone at night, and why did they creep her out so badly?

“Come on, miss. We can’t hurt you. We’re just little kids. We just want to play.” That sounded like a boy, though his voice was high. He probably hadn’t yet reached puberty.

Maybe she should call the police. The parents needed to be reported for not keeping a closer eye on their kids. But for now…should she let them in?

On the one hand, she couldn’t stand the thought of leaving children outside alone in the dark, but on the other hand… she was quite frankly terrified. Something was not quite right. And she couldn’t dismiss the stories about the Black-Eyed Kids. Most rumors were based on some kind of fact, so there might have been some truth to the legend…

But then…if there really was a killer on the loose, how would she feel if she found out these kids had been murdered?

She blew out a long breath and shoved the drapes back. She reached for the latch to unlock the patio door but stopped. Her gaze fell on the object the smallest boy held in his hand. A large rock. He hefted it, his black eyes staring through the glass at her. “We wanna play rock with you. Just let us in so we can playyyyy…” The last word was drawn out, ending on a keening wail.

About the Author…

It’s me…I’m the author. 😀 

Alicia Dean began writing stories as a child. At age 10, she wrote her first ever romance (featuring a hero who looked just like Elvis Presley, and who shared the name of Elvis’ character in the movie, Tickle Me), and she still has the tattered, pencil-written copy. Alicia is from Moore, Oklahoma and now lives in Edmond. She has three grown children and a huge network of supportive friends and family. She writes mostly contemporary suspense and paranormal, but has also written in other genres, including a few vintage historicals.

Other than reading and writing, her passions are Elvis Presley (she almost always works in a mention of him into her stories) and watching (and rewatching) her favorite television shows like Ozark, Dexter, Justified, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, and Vampire Diaries. Some of her favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Dennis Lehane, Stephen King, Lee Child, Lisa Gardner, Ridley Pearson, Joseph Finder, and Jonathan Kellerman…to name a few.

Website: http://aliciadean.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorAliciaDean/

Twitter: @Alicia_Dean_

Instagram: AliciaDeanAuthor

BookBub:https://www.bookbub.com/profile/alicia-dean

Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/aliciamdean/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/468339.Alicia_Dean

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13 Sessions by Christopher Farris ~ A Friday the 13th Story Series ~ #Fridaythe13th

Please help me welcome Christopher Farris with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series,  13 Sessions...

Fun Fact:

The story started off as throwback to the character, Renfro, from the novel Dracula. I had initially intended for Patient 13 to be a Renfro-type who brought about the downfall of the doctor. That’s not where it ended up. 😊

Father Dragos Tepesch, asylum administrator, does not fit Dr. David Montaine’s expectations. His new employer is too religious, too old world, too—too, he can’t quite put his finger on it. Frightening, maybe? It doesn’t make sense. The priest is old and frail, his voice kindly. It’s his eyes, David thinks, something in his eyes. Hunger, maybe?

The Wallachian asylum is hopelessly behind the times. His wife, Sally, seems to have left him and, more troubling, his mind is playing tricks on him. Still, this new job is far better than the old. The authorities no longer hound him. The booze is free. He has a whole new practice to build, lunatics desperate for his particular brand of salvation and, right down the hall, Patient Thirteen. She’s silent, young, and oh, so beautiful. Her pain calls to him. And pain, Father Tepesch says, is a meal that must be eaten one bite at time.

Excerpt:

“All considered, Father, I think things are looking—” Movement under Tepesch’s chair caught his eye. A giant rat, black as midnight and scarred from a hundred savage battles, sauntered from under the old man’s soutane, stopped on the oriental rug, and fixed David with a beady, red eye.

He stiffened. A shudder of disgust and fear coursed down his spine. The malevolence in the creature’s eye, the sheer hateful hunger froze him with his hand half-way to his mouth.

Tepesch cocked his head, “David?” He spoke as if he didn’t see the evil thing, though the beast stood not a foot in front of his black boot tips.

The rat rose on its hind legs and sniffed the air, exposing its long, yellowed incisors and its bare belly. The skin, the awful, wattled, bare skin of its underside showing through the wiry hair was too intimate, too… It was too much. And the thing smelled. A reek that settled into his nostrils and clawed its way into his throat. This was no common rodent. His imagination took him to dark places, dank holes and caves, to the morgue deep in the basement, to the trenches of World War I where millions of the damned things had swarmed the dead and dying. When he’d pictured those monsters, they’d look like this in his mind. Two-and-a-half feet tall and savage. No natural rat ever grew so big. He pointed with a quivering hand, “L—look!”

“What David?” Tepesch’s face registered confusion. “What?”

The rat grinned at David and shuffled forward on its hind legs, front paws waving in the air like a dog doing tricks for its dinner.

He shoved the chair back with a shriek. He wanted to cry out. “Don’t you see it? It’s right there? What’s wrong with you? Are you blind!” But all he could manage was a hurk-hurk-hurking sound in the back of his throat.

The animal leapt under the desk. Before he could get his legs up onto the chair, the thing pounced into his lap. Its weight pinned him to the chair, heavy as a bowling ball. The creature’s questing nose nuzzled into the soft flesh of his belly and groin. He screamed and a flush of hot urine spread across his lap as his bladder let go.

About the Author…

Christopher Farris Christopher Farris lives in a very old, very small house in a very old, very small town nestled deep in a valley of the Boston Mountains of Northwest Arkansas. He is not a hillbilly, but he is trying. He has four well-adjusted children and the two best granddaughters available.

His horror novel, The Fountain, was published by The Wild Rose Press in January of 2021. His Christmas novel, Intersection: A Trucker’s Christmas Carol, was published in November of 2021. Both are available at Amazon.com.

The Fountain: Amazon.com: The Fountain eBook : Farris, Christopher: Books

Intersection: A Trucker’s Christmas Carol: Amazon.com: Intersection: A Trucker’s Christmas Carol eBook : Farris, Christopher: Books

Facebook: @ozarkgothic

Facebook: c_farrisauthor

Instagram: c_farrisauthor

 

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Last Train Out by DJ FitzSimons ~ A Friday the 13th Story Series ~ #Fridaythe13th

Please help me welcome DJ FitzSimons with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series,  Last Train Out...

Fun Fact:

I am British and grew up riding trains everywhere. I have always loved them, so I thought it would be great to centre this story around a train ride. On the older trains, with their separate compartments, it was always creepy being in one late at night….

 

Cold-blooded killer Terrance Higgs escapes from a mental institution in the English countryside and manages to catch the last train out. The train is strangely empty, except for one passenger who doesn’t want to talk. The night passes slowly, the train never stopping at other stations until Terrance begins to question where they are going.

The comforting rocking motion of the wheels rolling along the tracks lulls Terrance into a dream-filled sleep. The past replays itself while vivid memories dance through his mind.

But as dawn breaks, Terrance realises this is no ordinary train, nor the journey he planned to take. It’s a terrifying destination he never expected. Has the table finally turned? Is the killer now the victim who’ll have to beg for his life?

Excerpt:

I like the sticky feel of blood on my fingers. In biology lab at school, I always enjoyed picking apart frogs and dissecting stuff. Anatomy is a beautiful thing. Sometimes, I’d even cut myself, just to watch how my blood sort of oozed out the thin slit in my skin, coagulate and then stop. Cool right? How did Mother Nature, or God, or whoever the fuck made us, design creatures with the ability to stop themselves bleeding with some agent in our chemistry?

            Except if you hit an artery. Now that’s like watching your blood getting pumped out by a little motor. I killed this old lady when I was sixteen. I knocked her out, then when she hit the floor, I nicked the carotid artery in her neck and then just watched it go. It was like a tiny volcano erupting. Her blood came out faster than I thought it would and made a hell of a mess, but it was fascinating.

            That was many years ago, but I can close my eyes and be right there. Funny how the mind is. Today’s Friday the thirteenth. I’m not superstitious, but I like the fact it’s one of those weird dates on the calendar, and I’m going to do something memorable. I’m lying on the hard bunk in my tiny, sterile room. We’re on lock-down for the night as it’s gone seven. Well, I should clarify that everyone else is on lock-down except for me. Any minute now, my door’s getting opened.

About the Author…

DJ FitzSimons is a misplaced Londoner living in the Midwest. This is her second collaboration for a Friday the 13th collection. DJ is currently working on a contemporary thriller set in Oklahoma, and a ‘chiklit’ story set in England. DJ also writes gothic mysteries and a monthly blog under the pen name of Jude Bayton.

Website https://www.judebayton.com

Twitter https://twitter.com/JudeBayton

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/judebaytonauthor/?ref=bookmarks

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/judebayton/

Linked In https://www.linkedin.com/in/deb-bayton-fitzsimons-b044129/

 

 

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The Hotel California by Callie Hutton ~ A Friday the 13th Story Series ~ #Fridaythe13th

Please help me welcome Callie Hutton with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series,  The Hotel California...

Fun Fact:

Of course, the book is based on the Eagles song, Hotel California. I just started to imagine what it would be like to be stuck in a place where you can never leave and what would happen while you were there.

 

It had been planned perfectly. Then it all went to hell…

Lauren Adams hadn’t intended to kill her ex-boss. She only wanted his money. Now, with a suitcase full of bills, she’s on the run. But very strange things are happening at the hotel she stopped at along the highway.

 

Excerpt:

She tossed the suitcase on the front seat of the shiny ‘previously owned’ Toyota 4Runner she’d bought that afternoon. The sleazy salesman was so anxious to sell her a car that he let her take it without checking her application or depositing the five thousand dollar check she gave him for the down payment.

On a bank account she closed two days before.

She climbed behind the wheel, her heart pounding. By the time the cops were notified when the men returned Monday morning, she would be far, far away. With a new identity. A quick look in her mirror reflected a woman with glasses, short curly black hair and brown eyes.

So different from Lauren Adams, the long straight blond hair, blue-eyed former clerk at Murphy’s Trucking Company. Plus it had been two weeks since she’d been fired. The truckers probably wouldn’t even remember her, since there was most likely another poor girl fielding their gropes and lewd comments.

But covering all her bases, she carried the driver’s license of Darlene Marshall with Lauren’s new persona on it. Despite having to kill Mr. Murphy, she had no regrets. She’d hated the stupid job, hated her boss, hated the truckers with their constant gross remarks and gestures, and even hated her small, dull, apartment. She was meant for better things. And now she would have them.

Three hours later, her head snapped up when she found herself nodding off as she zipped down the deserted highway. Her headlights reflected the sign coming up. Winslow, 53 miles.

It had been her plan to stop in Winslow for the night before continuing on to California, but she would never make another fifty-three miles. It had taken her longer to kill Murphy and clean out the safe than she’d expected. Who knew the old man would even be there? His threats that the money wasn’t all his confirmed what she’d suspected. He was doing something illegal.

Within minutes a building seemed to rise from the desert on the north side of the highway. Hopefully it would be a hotel or motel so she could spend the night in comfort. The thought of sleeping in her car, no matter how comfortable it was, held no appeal.

She swung her vehicle into the parking lot and parked in front of the building. She grabbed her backpack and suitcase with the money in it, and slid out of the car, grinning as she looked up at the name of the hotel.

About the Author…

USA Today bestselling author, Callie Hutton, is the author of more than forty-five historical romance books and historical cozy mysteries. She writes humorous and spicy Regency and Victorian with “historic elements and sensory details” (The Romance Reviews). With a million novels sold and translated into several languages, she continues to entrance readers with her heartfelt stories.

callie@calliehutton.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5349775.Callie_Hutton

https://www.bookbub.com/authors/callie-hutton

https://www.amazon.com/Callie-Hutton/e/B006O2IF2I%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share

www.calliehutton.com

https://www.facebook.com/calliehuttonsbooks

 

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Thirteen Past Midnight by Stephen B. King ~ A Friday the 13th Story Series ~ #Fridaythe13th

Please help me welcome Stephen B. King with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series,  Thirteen Past Midnight

 

Can dreams foretell the future? Every night Jonathon returns to the same nightmare…where a cat that seems spawned from hell is always waiting for him. The dreams began at the stroke of midnight, but the following dreams happen one minute later than the night before.

A sense of dread looms over him as the clock ticks ever closer to 13 past midnight. Will he realize they’re nothing more than frightening dreams…or will he die in his sleep?

Fun Fact:

I have always been fascinated by dreams, and in my much younger, impressionable days made a bit of a study of all things occult. It started with watching a movie, called, The Devil Rides Out, which I loved and wanted to learn more. I discovered it was based on a book by Dennis Wheatley, so I read it and while by today’s standards it is tame, to an impressionable youth it beckoned its crooked finger. From there I made a trip to the British Museum and spent a few days studying Witchcraft and black magic. I don’t think, looking back, I was ever drawn to trying to be a participant, it was more a deep-seated fascination and thirst to know more.

It was a natural step, after reading more of Mr. Wheatley’s books, to study dreams and in particular Astral Travel, which is the ability of a practitioner to direct their dreams, and even to meet other people on the plane and have different experiences not possible in ‘the real world.’

Of more recent times I saw the movie Inception, and while I accept this is a remarkable work of fiction, scriptwriting and cinematic spectacle, designed to entertain, here again was a concept about directing dreams to achieve an end. Ever since I saw the movie, I think for the fifth time, I wanted to write a story about dreams.

Who knows where random thoughts of inspiration come from? I certainly have no idea where mine originate from. They seem to just hit me from out of the blue. Once I have an idea, I must explore it, and can only do so by writing it chronologically from that point forward and seeing where it takes me. So, while I wanted to write a story about dreams, I still need a spark to get the fire going and it came from Alicia Dean, asking if I would like to contribute a story to the second volume of Friday the 13th and I literally jumped at the chance. My first foray was a lot of fun to write, a tale featuring my favorite character from the Deadly Glimpses Series I’ve written, a criminal psychologist, Patricia Holmes, turned cop, and having her attend a murder-mystery dinner party with other psychologists, but there is an uninvited guest intent on murdering them all for real.

So, when asked to come back for round 2 by Alicia and agreeing obviously meant I had to come up with a story that would suit the theme. That’s when I recalled wanting to pen something around dreams. I love the symbolism of Alicia’s charter: thirteen authors, thirteen chapters etc, and so – yeah shock horror here’s that inspiration I thought of a clock telling the time of 13 past midnight. And so began my favorite question; what if…..

What if someone has a recurring dream, not just recurring, but a continuing dream staggered exactly one minute apart, starting at midnight? The dream appears to be warning of an impending danger a threat of death not to continue, and each night the horror grows. What would happen at the appointed time, death, or worse?

 Jonathon is a troubled young man. He hates his job, is engaged to a wonderful woman who works with lots of incredibly fit Olympic swimmers as a physiotherapist and deep down, he worries. He fears she doesn’t really love him, that she is so much better than he is, and that the baby she carries isn’t his. Then, a woman, who in some lights reminds Jonathon of an evil looking grey cat, wants to commission him to renovate an old house. This house has a history of black magic ceremonies, murder, and suicide. As each nightmare gets closer to 13 past midnight, Jonathon gets better at controlling his dreams, and tries to fight the evil that is coming relentlessly nearer. 

Many thanks to Alicia for inviting me to write this tale, I had so much fun writing it, and I think, though of course I am terribly biased this could be the most interesting story I’ve ever written. What do you think, dear reader?

Excerpt:
I knew I was dreaming when I peered around the trunk of an ancient Red Gum tree in the park to see if I could spot the cat before he saw me. He, or she, I had not been able to discern the sex, was prancing back and forth across the path. It was waiting for me, and it looked pissed. Suddenly it stopped and jerked its head around, and I ducked back behind the trunk, my heart pounding.
The thing has seen me. How the hell did it know I was here? Now what do I do? My mind raged in overdrive.
Why not just wake up? I replied, then closed my eyes, shook my head, and opened them again.
Nope, not working, I’m still here. Any other bright ideas?
Look, dummy, it’s just a cat, what are you so scared of? Just walk up, kick it out of the way, and get to…to…where the fuck am I going in a hurry?
I took a long, slow, calming breath and stuck my head around the tree again.
HISSSSSSSSSSS. The cat had crept up on my hiding place and launched itself at me, claws out. In a second, it would be on my face biting and scratching.
I woke, sweating, frantic rubbing my face, while the alarm clock glowed and flashed three minutes past midnight.
Bio:
Me – just some bits and pieces about – ME!
(Or as my wife often says: “It’s all just about you Steve isn’t it?”)
I’ve said, more than once, life is about the journey, and not the destination, and what a journey my life has been. We are the sum total of our experiences, and not what we eat, in my humble opinion, and when I start talking about my life to people – just before their eyes glaze over – they often say: “You should write a book.” So I have, several in fact.
Thrillers and crime genres have always fascinated me, and in particular, the dark world of serial killers, and while my beginnings were in the ‘Make love not war’ sentiment, I love a good, unputdownable, thriller. You know, the kind you just want to read one more chapter of, and then another, and then you realise you are late for work. Have I succeeded in creating stories that can take people to that place? Boy I hope so.
Drop me an email, and let me know if I have.
steve@stephen-b-king.com
Happy reading
Steve

 

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The End of the Road Hotel by Peggy McKenzie ~ A Friday the 13th Story Series ~ #Fridaythe13th

Please help me welcome Peggy McKenzie with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series,  The End of the Road Hotel

Fun Fact

I write western historical romance, but I needed a genre that offered a change of pace so I wanted to try my hand at something new. That’s when creepy came along. Could I do it? I had no idea, but I wanted to try.

Blurb

Sometimes, the end of the road is just the beginning…

Felicity Simon is at a crossroads in her life. She and her on-again, off-again boyfriend have been together for seven years with no progress toward matrimony. Perhaps it’s time to make a change. Suddenly, she receives the unexpected news that she’s inherited her great aunt’s estate, Could this be the change she’s been looking for?

The moment they arrive at the hauntingly beautiful old Victorian, Felicity senses something is off with their host, but she can’t quite put a finger on the problem. He’s amiable, attentive, and accommodating. And, his handsome face and impeccable manners hold an allure she finds very enticing. And yet…her instincts warn her to be wary.

It doesn’t long before she realizes her instincts were right.

Snippet: 

She and Teddy arrived just outside the closed dining room doors. “Prepare yourself for the thrill of a lifetime, my pet,” he announced with all the flourish and excitement of a boxing ring announcer. My pet? She did not like the sound of that, and she was about to say so when he pushed the double doors open wide, revealing a dining room full of people sitting at a long narrow table covered in white tablecloths, crystal stemware and silver place settings all reflecting the flickering lights of a room full of tall pillar candles. Everyone was dressed in black formal attire from the same era as Teddy’s tux and her dress. So, it was a costume party from the roaring twenties after all. And there was a dining room full of people, which surprised her. She’d convinced herself she was here alone with Teddy. Now, she wished Austin was here for two reasons: she wouldn’t have to worry about him, and she could say “I told you so” with a big, wide grin on her face. No one would have been more shocked than Austin to learn there were other people in this place, after all, and she would have enjoyed the hell out of watching him scramble to apologize for doubting her.

Teddy escorted her into the room on his arm with a flourish as if she were a grand lady on display, but the closer she got to the occupants of the table, the more her brain had trouble processing what her eyes were seeing. What exactly was she looking at? It was as if everyone was frozen in time. Literally. No one was moving at all. “Everyone, I’d like you to meet our special guest, Miss Felicity Simon. Felicity, say hello to everyone. They’re dying to meet you.”

She stared hard at the first person she came to—really stared at her—or rather…it. Finally, realization punched its way through her confusion. And then, she screamed until she lost consciousness.

About the Author: 

Where Love Becomes Legendary…

An Amazon best-selling author, Peggy McKenzie was born and raised in Oklahoma, and she’s been in love with stories of happy endings and second chances since her first fairy tales in grade school. It wasn’t until she became enamored by Miss Kitty and Marshal Dillion’s love story that she decided to write her own romance stories where she makes certain the cowboy ride away with his lady love and they live happily-ever-after.

Now living in East Texas, she’s right smack dab in the middle of cowboy country, and she’s more determined than ever to fill her stories with rugged, flawed heroes and courageous, strong heroines. If you like happy endings and second chances with a touch of humor, you’ll like this author.

“Heartwarming sweet romance at its best.”

Sylvia McDaniel-USA Today Best-Selling Author

“You will not just read a story by Peggy McKenzie, you will live it.”

Hildie McQueen-USA Today Best-Selling Author

To learn more about Peggy and her books,

visit her website: PeggyMcKenzie.com.

Follow Peggy on her adventures through Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, BookBub, and Goodreads. Gain access to her fan-based webpage where she posts exclusive content by joining her monthly newsletter at https://www.peggymckenzie.com/newslettersignup.

Website: www.peggymckenzie.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/peggymckenzieauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/pegmckenziebook

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/mckenzie2346/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/peggy-mckenzie

Amazon Author Central: amazon.com/author/peggymckenzie

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/peggymckenziebooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15276347.Peggy_McKenzie

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Witch Ever Way You Go by Robert Herold ~ A Friday the 13th Story Series ~ #Fridaythe13th

Please help me welcome Robert Herold with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series,  Witch Ever Way You Go

Fun Fact

Witch Ever Way You Go is set in the Seattle area where I live. There is a bit of rivalry between Seattle proper and the suburban areas. Playing with this idea, I envisioned two rival covens, one in Seattle, the other in the wealthy suburb of Baalberith. (Baalberith is the name for a powerful demon who tempts people to engage in blasphemy and murder. Heck, there is a Diablo Dam and Diablo Lake in Washington State. Diablo means devil, so I didn’t think it was much of a stretch to call a Seattle suburb Baalberith!)

I used many other actual locations for the story: the University of Washington, the 520 Bridge (which was under construction in 2015, when the book is set) and neighborhoods on Capitol Hill. One of my favorite places was a decrepit but awesome Victorian house. Here’s a picture of it:

I have a wonderfully grisly scene in that place! I had planned to do an Instagram reel in front of the house to promote my story. Unfortunately, I just discovered it has turned into something really scary:

Bonus fun fact:

As a boy, Robert Herold wanted nothing more than to grow up to be a werewolf. (Is there any wonder why he writes horror?)

Blurb

When an ill-fated graduate student and his girlfriend are lured into a terrifying world of witchcraft and murder, they become targets for human sacrifice. Is there a chance they can escape a bloodthirsty coven of witches and certain death until the curse is lifted? A spellbinding story of modern horror.

Snippet: 

The crowd in the room became more animated, their voices rising until they were shouting. The man standing over the woman turned one way then the other, presenting the dagger. As the crowd continued the deafening chant, he raised the blade as high as possible, then thrust it down, just below the woman’s left breast. He yanked the knife free, and a fountain of blood sprayed over the man’s robe and white tuxedo. The crowd erupted in ecstasy.

My stomach turned in revulsion. We had been flirting just a few minutes earlier, and now she was dead. “Holy fuck.”

About the Author: 

The supernatural always had the allure of forbidden fruit, ever since my mother refused to allow me, as a boy, to watch creature features on late night TV. She caved in. (Well, not literally.)

As a child, fresh snow provided me with the opportunity to walk out onto neighbors’ lawns halfway and then make paw prints with my fingers as far as I could stretch. I would retrace the paw and boot prints, then fetch the neighbor kids and point out that someone turned into a werewolf on their front lawn. (They were skeptical.)

I have pursued many interests over the years (among them being a history teacher and a musician), but the supernatural always called to me. You could say I was haunted. Finally, following the siren’s call as an adult, I began writing horror.

Ultimately, I hope my books give you the creeps, and I mean that in the best way possible.

https://www.amazon.com/Witch-Ever-Way-You-Go-ebook/dp/B09V714SSF

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60624641-witch-ever-way-you-go

https://www.bookbub.com/books/witch-ever-way-you-go-a-friday-the-13th-story-by-robert-herold

https://www.amazon.com/Robert-Herold/e/B07YW82TLR/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Contact info and social media links:

email@robertheroldauthor.com

https://www.robertheroldauthor.com

https://www.instagram.com/robertheroldauthor666/

https://www.facebook.com/bob.herold.31/

https://twitter.com/RobertHerold666

https://www.facebook.com/Fri13thShortStories/

 

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Deadly Illusions by Anna Kittrell ~ A Friday the 13th Story Series ~ #Fridaythe13th

Please help me welcome Anna Kittrell with the next story in the Friday the 13th Series,  Deadly Illusions…

Fun Fact

 A skilled magician (not unlike a skilled writer) can suspend reality, causing the audience to escape into a different realm. Illusionists emit a sense of danger. They captivate and control, challenging us to believe the unbelievable. And who can keep their eyes from that sexy, scantily-clad assistant who drifts and twirls across the stage before succumbing to the handsome magician’s sinister tricks? Add in some mysterious music and billowing smoke—and wow. That’s entertainment! However, magic is predominantly a men’s profession, with less than 8 percent of magicians being female.

While writing Deadly Illusions, my goal was to have the book’s heroine embody the same commanding power and sensuality I’ve seen exhibited in male illusionists. The end result was Melinda Sloan, a beautiful independent woman with a love for magic that sadly, is rivaled only by her love of alcohol. I enjoyed writing a strong main character with real life struggles, who ultimately triumphs when faced with her demons. And the researching of magic tricks and viewing of wildly talented illusionists on YouTube while crafting Melinda’s stage performances was an exciting and unexpected bonus!

Blurb

 When Melinda Sloan’s dream of becoming a professional illusionist comes true, she’s headed for the bigtime—maybe even Vegas. But when a dangerous illusion goes wrong, killing her assistant and closest friend, Celine, Melinda’s dream turns into a nightmare—and a whiskey bottle turns into a friend. Hopeless, she vows to give up magic forever. However, when Melinda is evicted from the family home, her sister, Julia, convinces her to return to magic—and is dead set on being her assistant. Before long, Melinda is onstage in Las Vegas, doing what she loves most. But when her booking agent demands Melinda perform the very trick that caused Celine’s death, Melinda’s refusal results in a breach of contract. Julia persuades her to do the trick—penniless and unemployed, she can’t afford not to. But as she faces the sword-riddled cabinet that holds Julia, her blood runs cold. Is her baby sister lifeless and bleeding inside the sword box? Has she murdered Julia, the way she murdered Celine? Or is the magician being tricked?

Snippet: 

Melinda raised the final sword high in the air, twirled it, then rammed it partially into the box, feeling for Celine’s tug on the blade. With the weight of the audience’s stares on her, seconds felt like hours. What was taking Celine so long?

Finally, she felt a slight tug.

Didn’t she?

The booze swirled in her stomach, making her sweat. She grunted, pretending to struggle as she shoved the sword further into the box—then struggling for real as the blade met with resistance.

The music reached a maddening crescendo, each chord striking a nerve in Melinda’s pounding head.

How much time had passed?

The whiskey clawed at her throat as the room spun.

Just then, she felt a definite tug on the sword blade. Relief flooded her soul. Celine must’ve had a bit of trouble navigating the final blade around the others.

What had it been—five seconds? Ten at most?

Melinda shoved the sword down with all her might, feeling no resistance from Celine. The sword slipped easily through the box, into position.

Confidence soaring, Melinda placed a hand on the box and pranced in a slow circle, turning the platform, showing the spectators every side. She faced the box toward the audience.

Time to retrieve the swords and open the box. She loved this part. Celine would be sitting straight up, beautiful as ever, without a scratch on her. The audience would go wild, like they always did.

Melinda removed the first sword, followed by the others, saving the sword jutting from the top of the box for last. Grasping the handle with both hands and closing her eyes, she made a show of slowly pulling the sword from the opening, Excalibur-style, and holding it above her head.

The music stopped. Shocked cries punched through the silence as something warm dripped onto her face.

“Blood!” Someone shouted.

Who was cruel enough to yell out a thing like that? Sick bastard. The horrible word stuck to her, burning like hot tar.

Sweat rolled down her forehead, into her eyes and mouth. It tasted like whiskey. No. It tasted like blood.

About the Author: 

Anna Kittrell resides in the same small Oklahoma town where she grew up, and has been a secretary at Anadarko Middle School for over twenty years. She married her high-school sweetheart, raised two children, and has an eight-year-old grandson who is her very best friend.  She has written for as long as she can remember and still has many of her tattered childhood creations—stories she used to sell on the playground for a dime, penned on notebook paper. Her love of storytelling has grown throughout the years, and she is thrilled her tales are now worth more than ten cents.

www.annakittrellauthor.com

https://www.facebook.com/AKittrell

https://www.amazon.com/Anna-Kittrell/e/B009OWBPMM?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1648916080&sr=8-1

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Skadegamutc: Monster in the Mirror by Diane L. Kowalyshyn ~ A Friday the 13th Story Series ~ #Fridaythe13th

Happy Friday the 13th! It’s release day for a series of horror short stories revolving around Friday the 13th. I will be sharing each story on my post, one per day. Today, I’m pleased to welcome Diane L. Kowalyshyn with her story,  Skadegamutc: Monster in the Mirror…

Fun Fact:

 

I’m fascinated my Native American mythological creatures. I wrote about the windigo in Crossbones, the skadegamutc in a Friday the 13th Short Story, and the chepitchcalm in When the Earth Moves (WIP). There are two more Native American creatures I’ll be bringing to life in the Earth, Wind and Fire series sequels.

Blurb:

Officer Pauline McCrory arrives at Alma Wildberry’s cabin under the impression the elder died of natural causes before her hungry one-eyed cat consumed parts of her face.

When the medical examiner rules the case a homicide, Pauline must determine who drained six pints of blood and removed a pound of flesh from Alma’s head and neck.

The investigation brings an age-old Passamaquoddy legend, the Skadegamutc to life, and Pauline must find the ghost-witch before it kills again.

Snippet:

Bob. Alma’s one-eyed cat. A bad eye infection forced the local farm vet to remove the diseased orb and sew up the empty orifice. “Hi Bob,” Birdie exclaimed, just to break the sinister silence in the room. “Where’s Alma?”

Bob didn’t pay any attention. He waddled toward the kitchen and disappeared behind the center island separating the two rooms.

A stale smell, like rotting garbage, wafted from the kitchen.  Many locals used a compost heap for table scraps and burned what little garbage they generated. Her footfalls slowed when she noticed broken glass shimmering like sparkle dust on the floor. Slivers crunched underfoot, despite her trying to avoid them.

The antique mirror hanging on the wall between the bedrooms and the kitchen had fallen to the floor. A shattered bulls-eye of beveled glass leaned against the baseboard. Alma loved that mirror. She loved finding and restoring treasures from tag sales and repurposing them.

Bob started to meow. Soon it turned into languishing yowls. The cat had to be hungry.

Birdie’s progress ground to a halt.

Maybe Alma had gone out to gather mushrooms or flowers and herbs to pulverize and dry, but it didn’t make sense she would leave the broken mirror on the floor. It made Birdie worry that Bob might cut himself so she jumped to attention. She’d sweep up the flakes of glass and take the smelly garbage to the compost before Alma returned. She bee-lined for the closet beside the fridge and pulled out the broom and dust bin. When she spun, she saw a pair of moccasin clad feet—feet that had been previously obstructed by the position of the island—jutting out from the end. Bob sat hunched over Alma’s face gnawing on what remained of her nose.

“Oh, my God, no.” The broom and dust bin clattered to the floor and she ran toward her friend.

Birdie’s stomach roiled when she got closer. It sent her reeling over to the sink where she wretched up the remains of her lunch. Several bouts of nausea assailed her. She splashed some water on her cheeks and forehead and when the heaving subsided, she reached into her pocket and dialed.

“911. What’s your emergency?”

“Alma Thornberry is dead. I found her body in her kitchen. I think she’s been gone a while because her cat’s been eating her.”

About the Author:

Diane L. Kowalyshyn writes heart-hammering, high-voltage thrillers—adventures that run on action, intrigue, and romance. Her first book earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. She is an avid sailor who’s listened to her fair share of marine storm warnings and relied on the intermittent pulse of a lighthouse beacon to bring her safely back to port. When she’s not on the water, she loves to travel to faraway lands where she navigates rustic landscapes and meanders through ancient and decaying palaces, and castles. Her books are available in paperback and ebook through Chapters/Indigos, Amazon, Google, Nook, iBook, and Kobo.

http://www.dianelkowalyshyn.com

Crossover, March 2021 (Goodreads)
Double Cross, August 2021 (Goodreads)

Crossbones, February 2022 (Goodreads)

Skadegamutc: Monster in the Mirror by Diane L. Kowalyshyn https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09V5RD8VJ

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#HobbyCareerPassion: Sadira Stone ~ Zodiac Encounters Anthology / Steamy Romance #Blog #AHAgrp

Welcome to my weekly feature where authors share about the hobbies, careers, or passions of their characters.

I’m pleased to introduce today’s guest, Sadira Stone…

Crystals, Palmistry, Astrology & Tarot: Getting Woo-Woo for Zodiac Encounters

My two novellas in the Zodiac Encounters Anthology feature a funky, woo-woo crystal shop in a Washington State beach town. Customers come to Madame Zora’s Psychic Emporium for tarot, palm, and aura readings, or to buy all sorts of esoteric gear like books, crystals, figurines, and don’t forget the tie-dyed socks!

I love browsing this kind of hippie-dippy shop and dabbling in divination. As a teen, I learned palmistry—mainly because my best friend learned to read tarot cards and I wanted a cool party trick like hers. Recently I bought my own tarot deck and am slowly learning how to use them. Fascinating!

A hippie mama at heart, imagine my delight when I was invited to participate in a steamy, astrology-themed romance anthology! My two signs are Capricorn and Taurus, paired with a Scorpio and an Aquarius, respectively, so I had to learn lots about these star signs. I also got my own natal chart done just for kicks. About 80% was spot on, while the rest left me scratching my head. I’m a Leo with Capricorn rising and a Taurus moon! Coincidence? Or a nudge from the universe?

Gemma, my Aquarius heroine, works in her Aunt Zora’s crystal shop, so of course I expanded my crystal collection while writing her story—to add authentic detail, and because pretty rocks are cool! I’ve got carnelian and clear quartz crystal for mental clarity, rose quartz to balance energy, rainbow flourite for productivity and creativity, amber for healing, aragonite for homesickness, labradorite to temper negativity, and amethyst for decision making. The latter also protects from drunkenness, in case I’m every tempted to drink while writing! So far, that’s not a problem, but you never know…

My theory about crystals: just knowing that a certain stone is supposed to help with a certain problem will focus your intentions and actions toward solving that problem. Woo woo? Not necessarily. After moving from Washington State to Las Vegas, I was terribly homesick and having a hard time seeing the pluses of living here. Placing that chunk of aragonite (small brown crystal at 7 o’clock in the photo) on my nightstand and holding it every night and morning, my homesickness has eased—probably because I set the intention of letting go of those sad feelings.

So, I hope you’ll enjoy Madame Zora’s crystal shop and the help she provides to the characters in Capricorn and Taurus. Zodiac Encounters is on sale for just 99¢ (ebook only) for a limited time, so grab your copy from your favorite online bookseller!  Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/bMYOr8

When the stars align, passion sizzles!

Limited time only–grab these 12 spicy, astrology-inspired novellas by bestselling and award-winning romance authors. From Capricorn to Sagittarius, these tales bring the heat!

Which star sign is the most seductive? Hot-blooded? Sensual? Dominant? Twelve fiery couplings showcase the steamy possibilities.

Claim your copy while they last, and experience red-hot, star-fated romance at its finest.  

Excerpt:

From Taurus:

   “Hey, Jesse.”

   He turned toward her with a quizzical scowl.

   “You know about the Esoteric Arts Expo in Portland next month?”

   “Yeah. Got the extra herbs Zora ordered under a bank of grow-lights.”

   “You’ll be there, right?”

   His dark brows drew together. “At the expo? No. Why?”

   Gemma grasped his arms, relishing the feel of firm muscle through his thick woolen coat. “You’ve got an organic herb farm! You could offer teas, tinctures, potted plants. Give me a list of what you grow, and I’ll write up their magical properties.”

   Jesse snorted, which only made him more bull-like. “Listen, I grow culinary herbs, stuff for tea and home remedies, not magic potions.”

   Yup, bull-headed to a fault. She forced her lips to unscowl. Being judgmental would get her nowhere with his type. He needed practical proof. “How could you ignore this huge market? The esoteric community is hungry for local products with integrity.”

   “My business is none of yours.” With another sexy snort, he loomed over her. “You ever actually worked the land, princess? It’s not airy-fairy spirituality. It’s heavy lifting and dirt under your nails.”  He held a broad, dirt-stained palm before her face and wiggled his fingers. Immediately, her imagination zoomed to how those powerful hands would feel on her bare skin, their rough scrape raising goosebumps of pleasure. Would he be a forceful lover? Brutal, even? Or perhaps surprisingly tender?

   Giving her head a little shake, she took his hand and inspected his palm. “Interesting Mount of Venus.” She rubbed the base of his thumb. “Nice and fleshy.”

   She had his attention now. People loved being told about themselves. With narrowed eyes, he peered at the spot she was massaging. “Mount of Venus? What does that mean?”

   “Fullness here shows you’re passionate, sensual. And see this mark? Like a little X?”

   He squinted, rumpling his eyebrows adorably.

   “This means you have a lot of love to give.” She was only quoting the many books on palmistry she’d studied, but a skeptic like him would probably assume she was just spouting pickup lines.

   But now, he simply held her gaze for a long, heated moment. His nostrils flared, but whatever snarky comment he concocted remained behind his tightly pressed lips.

   Focus. Plan. Expo. She forced her shoulders down. “So why not share some of that love with Zora and me? You help us with new products for the Esoteric Expo, and we’ll help you with new customers for your herbs.” See? Practical, logical—just the way you like it, stubborn Taurus.

Universal Book Link: https://books2read.com/u/bMYOr8

Fascinating, Sadira. Thanks so much for sharing. Your anthology soujnds wonderful.

Please tell us a little about yourself…

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, spent most of my adult life in Germany, first as a soldier and then as a teacher on U.S. military bases, moved to Washington State, and recently relocated to Las Vegas to be near my first grandchild. No pets at the moment except my adorable granddogs, two short-haired mini dachshunds. Married to a wonderful guy—ours is a late-in-life love story. One gorgeous, talented daughter from a previous marriage, and one handsome, smart stepson.

I adore writing steamy contemporary romance. Some authors and readers prefer to flee reality in favor of fantasy worlds, but I love plumbing the depths of life in our times—the heartache, the humor, the passion. Themes you’ll find in any Sadira Stone book: heroines who reject confining traditions and roles, and the complex men who cherish them—also chosen family, family reconciliation, and lots of food!

Do you have another occupation, other than writer? If so, what is it and do you like it?

I’m a retired high school teacher—English, French, German, theater. I loved some of the kids like my own, but the constant bureaucracy, negativity, and pointless “educational initiatives” wore me down.

What do you dislike that most people wouldn’t understand?

I just don’t get the appeal of most reality TV. What’s the point? I do like cooking competitions, though.

Do you collect anything?

Crystals and semi-precious stones. Pretty rocks are cool!

What was your first job?

Church secretary. Not fun.

What’s the main thing that you could get rid of in your life that would give you more writing time?

Housework! Alas, the floors don’t clean themselves.

What do you want readers to come away with after they read Zodiac Encounters?

A big, satisfied smile. 😉

What genre have you never written that you’d like to write?

I’ve written, but never published, some slightly sexy cozy romance—but experts in that genre tell me cozy readers want zero sex in their stories. Hmmph. Cozy romantic suspense? I’ll find a bookshelf for them someday.

What is your favorite quote?

Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we’re here, we might as well dance.

Is there one subject you would never write about? What is it?

I don’t enjoy reading dark stories, so I’ll never write about a character being tortured, abused, etc.

What do you want your tombstone to say?

She had a blast.

About the Author:

Award-winning contemporary romance author Sadira Stone spins steamy, smoochy tales set in small businesses—a quirky bookstore, a neighborhood bar, a vintage boutique… Her stories highlight found family, friendship, and the sizzling chemistry that pulls unlikely partners together. When she emerges from her writing cave in Las Vegas, Nevada (which she seldom does), she can be found in belly dance class, or strumming her ukulele, perhaps exploring the West with her charming husband, or cooking up a storm, and always gobbling all the romance books. For a guaranteed HEA (and no cliffhangers!) visit Sadira at sadirastone.com.

 

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