Planning Adventures.

As I write this Sunday afternoon in December, the SUN IS SHINING! It’s something we haven’t seen much of  in the past few weeks so after this little blurb, I plan on going outside for a bit to enjoy it while it’s there. It’s freakin’ cold for too long and the days are so short this time of year, every drop of sunlight counts to get me through the darkness.

Some of you may be aware of the plans my husband and I have of moving out to Texas after I reach 55. That’s a lot closer than I care to admit. I’d be a liar if I said I’m not scared at the idea at all. Frankly, I’m pretty terrified! I’ve never lived more than thirty miles from the small town I grew up in. My family has been in this area since the late 1700s. My roots are very, very deep in this little pocket of the world and the fear of becoming homesick runs pretty high.  BUT … it’s one of those things in life my Heart tells me I want to experience. I have to try! I’d regret it for the rest of my life if I don’t.

JohnsonCityTX

LBJ Ranch in Johnson City, TX

My first trip was in January 2013 when I bought a one-way ticket to Austin! We did all the tourist things! Visiting the capital building, checking out Luckenbach, Waco, The Dr. Pepper Museum, the Texas Ranger Museum, and me just being amazed it’s not all desert! This was also the year that marked my not-yet-husband moving to New York so we could be together.

SaladoCreekHouse

Salado Creek House, Salado, TX

We went twice in 2014. Once in July then again in October. These were not the happiest of times as my husband’s father was very ill and we were going to see him while we still could. The second trip was actually for the funeral. Despite that, we did our best to keep the trip positive and went out exploring, finding this little gem of an abandoned house by the creek one afternoon.

WSMR

Down there is where my life story began, White Sands, NM

A third trip in 2015 included Oklahoma and New Mexico. This was the dream trip of a lifetime. My dad was in the Army and stationed at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico when I was born, but the family moved back east when I was only six months old. Growing up I always talked about going back. I wanted more than just pictures of the place and myself as an infant. I wanted my own memories. In some strange way, I have always thought of the place as being home just as much as where I’ve spent the majority of my life living. Meeting a man who spent all his high school years and then some living there, too, was not a coincidence. So, off we went!

BigBend

In Big Bend National Park

There was a wedding to fund in 2016 which postponed another trip until just this past October-November. Each time I grow to love the landscape more and more. The more wild and desolate and desert-y it is, the more I seem to like it. I’m totally in love with the west Texas desert and were I a rich woman, you’d bet I’d have a home out there. Full time living, maybe not, but a couple months out of the year, you bet!

Terlingua

Terlingua, Texas

What is it about this place that inspires the artist in me so much? Story ideas come to me constantly. I want to set up an art studio and paint! I want to take up basket weaving and try my hand at making pottery. The colors are so vibrant that if I didn’t think it would drive everyone else in the house mad, it would all be bursting at the seams here. It’s already infiltrating my New York home, but I want more!!

And then … The Fear comes rolling in, the thoughts of swapping out the home I’ve always known for the one I dream of.  I don’t know where this journey is taking me, but I know I can’t back away from it. It’s there. It’s nagged me for over fifty years. The adventure is waiting. I need to take it and see what happens despite the terror that wells up inside me every time I think about it. Facing fears in the past has always led me down some pretty awesome paths and once in motion, things were NEVER has scary as I imagined them to be.

And so, as the furnace kicks on to keep away the cold and the sun is still shining, I’m thinking of the warmth and the future and facing another of life’s fears with the promise of dreams coming true. They certainly won’t if I don’t give them a shot, will they? Here’s to the fast-approaching new year and each day that pulls me ever closer to another of my life’s greatest adventures!

Be well, all – or should I say y’all to get myself into the habit?

Author Interview – Brian Rathbone

Twitter’s been a great venue for me to find fellow writers and share our unique senses of humor. One of the funniest I’ve come across is Fantasy author, Brian Rathbone. His quick one-liners always crack me up and made me very curious about the man lurking behind all those dragon jokes. And so, without further delay, here’s what I was able to find out. 

Hi, everybody! I’m Brian and I’m weird but it’s okay. I promise.

Some writers come to writing later in life, almost accidentally, while others have been honing their skills from a very young age. How did your journey as a writer begin? What were some of your favorite books as a child and can you tell me a bit more about your children’s book, “The Silliest Dragon”?

As a kid, I hated reading. It was a forced act lumped in my mind with homework and making my bed—things to avoid at all cost! Then I read a Wrinkle in Time. It was unlike anything else I had read, and I was able to get lost in it. My tastes soon shifted to fantasy and series like Dragonlance, The Belgariad, Incarnations of Immortality, and other requisite fantasy reading of the 1980’s and 1990’s. I knew from that point that I would someday write my own stories, it was something I told my wife of 25 years on our first date, but it took some time and a couple false starts before the magic could happen.

May, 2005, in the Atlanta Airport, I inherently knew my time with my current employer would soon end. I flipped open my laptop and started writing a story I’d been thinking about for 15 years. It took another five years to have any success, and more than a decade to produce the twelve books that currently make up the World of Godsland fantasy series.

SILLY_cover-gpThe Silliest Dragon was also the result of workplace drama. After a meeting that left me so angry I could barely contain myself, I drove home and somehow managed to channel my rage and disgust into a message of hope, laughter, silliness, and love (I really have no idea how or why that works.) My friend Matt Ostrom is the one who really brought The Silliest Dragon to life in two dimensions, three dimensions, and even augmented reality. The 3D printed Silliest Dragon is the first of my characters I can hold in my hand. How cool is that? And the Silliest Dragon AR app lets The Silliest Dragon come to life whenever the camera is aimed at a print copy of the Silliest Dragon.

The little purple guy has become very popular in the India as well as the US, and now he has two more books coming out.

The Silliest Dragon Goes to School
The Silliest Dragon Goes to the Zoo

Speaking of dragons – you Tweet about them a lot! Clearly they are your favorite mythical beast. But, what about unicorns? I hear you spend a great deal of time thinking about them, too. Where do they stand in the Brian Rathbone Universe?

Unicorns are a dangerous subject. Very pointy… In all honesty, I find dragons easier to write in a credible way, although my horse training experience would seem more relevant there than with dragons, but that’s not how it has worked out. I may find a way to work the magical creatures into my fiction at some point, but mixing them with dragons just seems like a vet bill waiting to happen.

My tweets, while inspired by my fiction, have a flavor and personality all their own. When throwing things at the wall to see what sticks, unicorn jokes almost always stick. This is why so many of them end up as short-order cooks in little “hole-in-the-wall” places. It’s just physics.

Setting a mood for a story is one of the most important parts of writing, but what about setting the mood for yourself as you sit down to write? Do you have a special time and place, or maybe some music you like to put on to get your creative juices flowing for a good session?

My process is to walk and work on the scene in my mind until it plays smoothly, taking hand-written notes along the way. I will often listen to classic and progressive rock to set the mood. The Wind Blew Them All Away by Transatlantic is a particular favorite. When scene plays like a movie in my mind, I sit down and try to get the scene to go from my brain, through my fingers, and into keyboard. That never works. I muddle through anyway leaving a trail of typos and errant tildes just for flavor. I then go back through my hand-written notes and make sure I didn’t miss any gems. Repeat this process four to five times per writing day, and I can complete a rough draft in three weeks. I then bask in the glory of being a writer for a week or two before knocking myself back down a few pegs during the editing process.

Despite all the memes that keep screaming at authors to be writing during every waking moment, all occupations require some downtime. When you’re not writing, what activities allow you to relax and regroup?

I’m weird. Have I mentioned that? I haven’t written fiction in three years. When I write, I tend to binge write. I fight and scrape to find dedicated blocks of time where I can concentrate and write more cohesive novels. In some ways, writing fiction is how I regroup from the other things I do, and vice versa. Professionally, I am a technology generalist, programmer, inventor, tinkerer, and computer networking jack-of-all-trades. I’ve written software that manages the manufacturing of sofas, fruit salads, and car mirrors. Sometimes I get them mixed up. If your sofa tastes funny, don’t blame me, it’s closer than it appears.

I also write technical non-fiction, mostly for state and federal agencies regarding the mapping and expansion of broadband internet access in underserved areas. Telling dragon jokes on Twitter is like a vacation from it all, and I don’t get to spend nearly as much time interacting these days as I would like.

When I’m not doing those things, I really enjoy online auto racing—the more realistic the better. I’ve been known to take a car with dragons painted on it to victory lane. You should see the burnouts!

Godsland-Bundle-webI know there must be several works in progress going on. Can you tell me what’s up next for you and about any recent releases? Where can people learn more about your work?

I’m so excited to begin the fourth trilogy in the main Godsland story line. This trilogy will complete the primary story line. I also have a sequel to Dragon Airways to write, and I have an idea I’ve been honing for a couple years now for a stand-alone fantasy novel that is more suitable for traditional publication. While I haven’t written any fiction for years, I have continued to hone the characters and stories in my mind. It’s always fun when I get to brain dump a nearly completed novel.

Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to share a bit of yourself with my readers and me.

Thanks to you and your readers for playing along.

Brian is stalkable on Twitter as Fantasy Author @BrianRathbone. You can find Brian’s work on his website www.brianrathbone.com or visit his Google Play Store.

Book Review – “Creature” by Hunter Shea (2018) Flame Tree Press

I started reading Shea’s work several years ago and have been Hooked On Hunter ever since. From ghost stories to crazy, blood-thirsty cryptids, he packs it all into a fast-paced read that I don’t seem able to get enough of. But, I’d hear that if you’re a fan of Shea’s monster books, you’re in for something very different with “Creature” – and you won’t be disappointed.

Andrew Woodson rents an idyllic lakeside cabin in the woods of Maine as a place for his chronically ill wife Kate and he to get away from all the doctors, hospitals and medical procedures – if only for a few months. But, it doesn’t take long before they realize there’s something in the woods beyond happily twittering birds and a chattering squirrels. There’s something big out there, really big and really, really pissed off.  At first they think maybe it’s just a moose or a bear and briefly convince themselves it’s a deer. But, can any of those creatures throw huge rocks onto the roof or slam so hard into the walls of their vacation home as to knock items off shelves? When Kate’s brother and sister-in-law arrive for a visit, things only get worse.

As mentioned, this isn’t your ordinary Hunter Shea novel. Oh, there’s monster mayhem, but what that monster is and why it’s gone completely insane remains a mystery until the agonizing end. There’s a lot of pain in this book, physically and emotionally. It’s a story of fighting for your life, be it against a possibly terminal illness or a mysterious monster stalking you and your family. How do you fight back against something you can’t see, or when you don’t even know what that something is?

I was warned, but didn’t believe, that I’d be crying at the end of this one. I was.

5 out of 5 Ravens

The Raven Scale
1 Raven: Ew. Yuck. Don’t Eat That.
2 Ravens: Bread Crumbs, A Bit Dry & Flavorless, But It’ll Keep Us Alive.
3 Ravens: Peanuts, Popcorn, And Cat Kibble! Nom-nom.
4 Ravens: Pizza Place Dumpster After Lunch! Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit! Fresh Road Kill, Dudes!

Author Interview – Kasey Hill

For the month of October, we’re stepping into the wonderfully witchy & macabre world of author Kasey Hill who’s been writing since Kindergarten!

1. Much like myself, I know you began reading and writing from an early age, elementary school. I’d love to know a little bit more about that. What were some of your favorite books as a child and do you remember the first story you ever wrote?

KaseyHillI was all over genres growing. I read the entire Babysitter’s Little Sister’s Club books when I was 8 in like 2 weeks. I loved science fiction, fantasy, any kind of books I devoured. The first story I remember writing was in Kindergarten. I wrote a 500 word story about a princess and a castle. The second one was in 4th grade and I wrote a mix of Freddy Krueger, Jason, and the Devil coming after me on Halloween. I then started writing more the next year. My mom bought a typewriter and I started writing stories on the typewriter. This was before computers were really affordable or used often. I would write stories and read them in class the next day. I remember having an Animorphs fan fiction story with vampires. This was before fan fiction was even a thing.

2. The occult and anything paranormal always piques my interest. What can you tell me about the work you’ve done with Nancy Chandler and Trinitarian Wicca?

Nancy Chandler and I have been working together for 10 years on a follow up book to her debut book “Christian Wicca: The Trinitarian Tradition”. She quickly realized that her book was taken out of context. We are currently working on rewriting that book and finishing up Book 2 about the Goddess. (Note from Pamela:  Due to the lengthy answer needed to explain Trinitarian Wicca, Kasey & I agreed to cut her replay a bit short. – If you are interested in learning more about the concepts behind Trinitarian Wicca check out the website: Trinitarian Wicca)

Haunting_Hill3. Setting a mood for a story is one of the most important parts of writing, but what about setting the mood for yourself as you sit down to write? Do you have a special time and place, or maybe some music you like to put on to get your creative juices flowing for a good session?

Actually, no. Unless my kids are misbehaving to the point it’s a distraction, I don’t really need anything to set the mood so to speak. The story just has to be there. The story paints a picture for me like a movie and I type as I see it in my head. The characters are very real to me and jump off the movie screen into the story.

I recently finished one book and published it under my maiden name Kasey Thompson, Surviving Sarah, which I did use music for but for a different reason than most would. The book centered on depression and suicide, and since it was very close to home, I used the music I listen to during dark days to get into character. I recently overcame a really bad bout of depression and it was harder getting back into character, so the music that aided me I used to write.

4. I recently had the pleasure of seeing the Wicked Witch of the West’s gazing ball used on the set of the original Wizard of Oz movie. I’m a HUGE fan of Oz. Tell us about your Return To Oz series and when can we expect to read more?

WastelandOzI decided to write the Return to Oz series because there really isn’t a continuation of the story. Dorothy is in Oz at the end of Baum’s books and will never grow old or die, or so they think. I wanted to make it more realistic and after the death of her aunt and uncle, she returns to the real world to start her life. It’s much later in years, but she has riches from the kingdom to sustain her new venture. She has a daughter that becomes the main focal point of the spinoff. I actually reassigned the stories to a pen name since my children are now in school. I didn’t want my young adult books tainted. So Isobel Ingram is the new penman of the series and I hoping to finish book 2 this year to release.

5. Speaking of reading more, what’s next on the agenda for you? Any works in progress you can tell us a teaser about and where can we find your work and learn more about you?

I have 4 series in progress right now. I recently started a ghost story series about the haunting of my land. I also have Books 3 through 4 pending writes for sequels to my Guardians of Light series (Firefly of Immortality). I have a coauthored book with Nancy Chandler about vampires that we are doing Book 2 for The House Sarkozy series as well as the Wicca books. I also have the sequel to Dombie: A Love Story to finish that I also gave to another pen name Girty Thompson. I counted up all the story ideas I have started and unfinished just the other day and have well over 50 to do before I die. I plan to get each one out. Don’t even ask me about my poetry books. LOL. I write poetry nonstop and have a poetic series I am launching called Tattered Wings.

You can follow me on social media I am EVERYWHERE! www.facebook.com/kasey.hill.author
www.twitter.com/kdt02201988
www.instagram.com/kaseyhillauthor
kaseyhillauthor.wordpress.com
kaseyhillauthor.tumblr.com

And you can find my books on Amazon or any book retailer outlet

When Death Comes Cawing

As anyone who follows me knows, there’s a sacred place in my heart for crows.

For the past three-plus years I have fed and even earned a small level of trust from a small murder. What started as two (dubbed Elvira and Edgar) grew to three (Sunny) with an occasional forth (Unnamed). This year, that number went up to six when two fledglings joined the group. They were quickly dubbed Ruckus and Rowdy because they were so darn noisy as they followed their parents around begging for food.

Sadly, today it went down to five. I found one of my beautiful friends dead in the neighbor’s yard. No marks of any kind on it. Not a feather out of place. Not a drop of blood. I wonder if maybe it simply died of old age. His/Her family flew over and circled several times, clearly very upset and cawing loudly.

I knew I couldn’t just leave my dearly departed where it was to be ripped apart by some other creature or worse, have the neighbor get hold of it and just chuck it heartlessly into the nearby brush pile. (The house in question is actually vacant. A fire gutted it about five years ago and it has been in the process of being rebuilt ever since. However, there is a person who mows the lawn and construction workers do show up from time to time to work on the place.) I could all too clearly see one of these people not respecting ‘my’ bird and that was just unacceptable.

CrowDaddy

One of ‘my’ crows in their favorite pine tree.

With a heavy heart, I got the shovel from the garage and dug a hole under the pine tree where one of their numbers would often perch to call me out for peanuts and crow chow (aka high quality cat food). From this tree, too, they would wait and watch until the coast was clear before flying down to eat.

It doesn’t matter that I don’t know which of ‘my’ birds I buried this afternoon. I was sorely tempted to pluck a feather from its wing as a bit of memento mori, but I simply couldn’t do it. Its life had already been taken. Taking even more felt wrong.

As I placed it in the ground, tears welling up, I looked into its eyes and told it how beautiful it was and how much joy it had brought me. I thanked it for trusting me even if only a little bit and how dearly it would be missed.

These birds are not my pets. They are wild and free to come and go as they please, but that doesn’t lessen the affection I’ve grown to have for them nor the sadness I feel at losing even a single one.

Good bye, dear winged friend.

To Learn More About Crow Funerals:

Book Review – The Siren and The Specter by Jonathan Janz (2018) Flame Tree Press

I love me a good ghost\haunted house story. This wasn’t good. It was GREAT!

Professional paranormal skeptic, researcher, and author, David Caine, is given the chance of a lifetime when his best friend from college invites him into the infamously haunted Alexander House. Chris and his wife Katherine have given David full access to the place for a month. David is positive he can squash all the rumors that the place is haunted by an 18th century maniac by the name of Judson Alexander. Numerous murders and suicides are the catalyst behind the supposed haunting. David has faced such presumed evils before and written several best-selling books on the subject, debunking one alleged haunting after another.

Almost immediately, the Alexander House starts to flex its muscles and even this total non-believers starts feeling, seeing, and hearing things he simply can’t explain no matter how hard he tries. His nearest neighbors aren’t much help. Ralph Hooper, a friendly old man who lives in a small house nearby, is convinced the place is cursed. While the Shelby family, further down, is far more interested in porn, kinky sex, child abuse, and booze than what’s going on in their local haunted mansion. The longer David stays, the more intense and maddening the situation becomes, driving him closer and closer to the brink of belief.

There are some pretty intense scenes here that pulled me deep into the book and made the characters relatable. I cringed when I met the Shelby parents! Great, well-written tale of the afterlife with an ending that made my jaw drop just a little bit.

5 out of 5 Ravens

The Raven Scale
1 Raven: Ew. Yuck. Don’t Eat That.
2 Ravens: Bread Crumbs, A Bit Dry & Flavorless, But It’ll Keep Us Alive.
3 Ravens: Peanuts, Popcorn, And Cat Kibble! Nom-nom.
4 Ravens: Pizza Place Dumpster After Lunch! Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit! Fresh Road Kill, Dudes!

Book Review – The Mouth of the Dark by Tim Waggoner (2018) Flame Tree Press

His mother did try to warn him that the world is a dangerous place.

Emory Lewis is missing and her estranged father Jayce means to find her. He’ll be the first to admit he’s never been the greatest father in the world, but it’s time to change that. Little does Jayce know that in order to find his only child, he’s going to have to enter a lecherous and disturbing underworld of inhuman creatures and madness where almost anything goes.

I loved this book! Waggoner sucked me in from page one and didn’t let go until I’d reached the end. There were so many weird, unexpected twists that I was forever wondering what could possibly be next. I hated having to put the book down and do other things. There was never a dull moment and never a time when I got lost or confused or didn’t understand motives or actions. Despite it all, Jayce pushes forward, desperate to find his daughter. I liked Jayce and found his struggle and desperation believable. Nicola, a woman who understands the dark realm Jayce had stumbled into and agrees to help him, was also likable. Waggoner did a great job of making you trust her and not trust her at the same time; the same could be said of all the characters we meet throughout Jayce’s adventure.

Highly recommend this book. These aren’t your typical monsters with the typical motives and Jayce Lewis is anything but your typical father.

5 out of 5 Ravens

The Raven Scale
1 Raven:  Ew. Yuck. Don’t Eat That.
2 Ravens: Bread Crumbs, A Bit Dry & Flavorless, But It’ll Keep Us Alive.
3 Ravens: Peanuts, Popcorn, And Cat Kibble! Nom-nom.
4 Ravens: Pizza Place Dumpster After Lunch! Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit! Fresh Road Kill, Dudes!

Author Interview – Tim Meyer

authorphoto1 (1)Getting to know Tim Meyer started on Twitter a couple years ago. Since then, I’ve discovered his warped wit with a crazy bunch of Horror Cvlt Live Chat members and enjoyed a little Fun In The Sun time with him just off the Mexican coast via his novel Sharkwater Beach. After reading that, I knew I just had to get an interview. Thankfully, Tim thought it was a good idea, too!

1. Stephen King is quoted as saying, “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or tools) to write.” Every writer I know also spends a great amount of time reading. What was your favorite book as a kid and how have the books you read back then influenced you as a writer today?

Great question! Hard to pick just one, but Jurassic Park was a book I read a lot when it first came out. I was around eight at the time and I remember reading it over and over again. Still have that paperback copy and it has pretty much fallen apart since then. Also the GOOSEBUMPS series by R.L. Stine. I had every single book and read them constantly. Those really influenced me as a writer and were also my “gateway” into horror fiction – authors like Stephen King and Robert McCammon. I fell in love with the genre, hard. I think when you read my stuff today, you can definitely see the impression GOOSEBUMPS left. I always enjoyed how Stine took your average kid with real-life issues and threw them into these crazy situations – much like King does too. I think you can see a lot of that in my work.

2. For some writers quiet and solitude are paramount to a successful writing session. Others seem perfectly capable of writing in crowded and noisy coffee houses. Describe your writing space and what works best for you when it comes to writing productively.

I have my own office. It’s surrounded by horror movies, toys, and a giant bookcase with way too many books! I do most of my writing there. I try to wake up at 5 every morning, before my wife and three-year-old. Doesn’t always happen, but usually I can do that five days of the week. I’m most productive during those early hours. I listen to music and drink about 40oz of coffee an hour. Okay, maybe not that much. But, coffee. A good amount of that. I’ll also try to steal moments here and there. If my wife is working late, I’ll try to squeeze in 1,000 words before bed. I’m not opposed to writing in a coffee shop or in loud places. I’ve gotten pretty good at writing with Mickey Mouse on in the background. I also enjoy a good writing session at the local library, but that doesn’t happen too often.

khccover3. Earlier I asked about your favorite book growing up. When did you actually start writing stories for yourself? Was it something you’ve always been interested in or did it happen later in life? What was the very first story you can remember writing?

I’ve been interested in writing as early as the fourth grade. My fourth-grade teacher made us write a novel for a class project. It had to be ten pages or so with pictures. I, of course, wrote about me and my friends crash-landing on a deserted island populated by carnivorous dinosaurs. After that, I guess you can say I had been bitten by the story bug. I started writing stories, doodling comics, and making movies with friends. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories, no matter the medium.

4. “A writer never takes a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing,” or so once said playwright Eugene Ionesco. I couldn’t agree with him more, but there are times when I’m not writing and pursuing other interests. What others activities or hobbies do you have that are totally unrelated to being an author?

Well, I love spending time with my wife and kid. That’s the best. I’m a big sports fan, so I enjoy watching and playing sports. Big into fantasy football. I enjoy craft beer, exploring different breweries and sampling their various concoctions. I’m a movie buff, so I watch a lot of them. I podcast, co-host the Aperture Hour Podcast on The Project Entertainment Network. We talk about movies and TV shows and have weekly trivia. It’s a lot of fun. I buy way too many horror t-shirts.

switchhouse2225. Tell us a bit about your latest release and what can we expect next? I know you must have something in the works! Where can readers learn more about what you already have available and keep up-to-date on all things Tim Meyer?

I recently had two books come out. The first is called THE SWITCH HOUSE. It’s about a husband and wife who come back home after going on a house-swapping reality television program, only to find their house not the way they left it – in the spiritual sense. They think it might be haunted or cursed, and that’s when the crazy stuff happens. It’s getting a lot of good reviews and I’m really proud of how it’s being received by readers. The other is a nasty novel titled KILL HILL CARNAGE. You can probably tell by the title that it’s about puppies and rainbows and happiness. Nah, it’s basically EVIL DEAD meets FROM BEYOND meets LEON: THE PROFESSIONAL. It’s my love letter to late 80s/early 90s horror.

I have a bunch of stuff in the works. Currently shopping a novel called DEAD DAUGHTERS. Just finished the first draft on a lost world/adventure horror novel involving inter-dimensional time travel and lots of dinosaurs. Recently wrapped up a novel I’m co-authoring – that one is about pirate ghosts and ancient sea monsters. Oh, and I’m also in the middle of plotting out the final two books of the SUNFALL series, which I co-author with Chad Scanlon and Pete Draper. Might have a new short story collection available next year. So, all that and a bunch of other projects that I can’t talk about yet. Best way to keep up with me is probably Twitter (@timmmeyer11) or over on Timmeyerwrites.com and sign up for the newsletter.

 

Be she alive or be she dead?

As we slip into September and the leaves start to change, folks such as I, and probably you too if you’re reading this, start to think of Halloween. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin spice, Halloween costume planning, hot apple cider, and cooler nights. The perfect time to snuggle in and settle down with something a little spine-tingling.

Have you ever been out driving and seen an old abandoned farm house and wondered what happened? Why has it just been left to rot? Who owns it now? Who lived there last and what did they leave behind? My ex-husband and I did this a lot back in the 1980s. Oh, the places we found and explored. Urban spelunking they call it. Back then it was just called breaking and entering.

On a dead end road in rural Pennsylvania, a house such as this stands and waits. If you should happen to find it, consider yourself warned. It may not be as abandoned as it appears. I’d strongly advise against taking a memento.

Want to know more about this house and its final occupants? Check out this year’s horror release – Dark Hollow Road – available in paperback, Kindle and FREE if you have KindleUnlimited.

 

Book Review – Thirteen Days By Sunset Beach by Ramsey Campbell (2018) Flame Tree Press

Though not entirely oblivious of Ramsey Campbell’s name and work, I am hard-pressed to recall what stories or novels of his I’ve read in the past and I know I have. Likely way back in the 80’s when I easily devoured a novel a week and paid little attention to the author’s name. When I saw this book on the list of titles I’d be getting with the other Flame Tree Press ARCs I requested, I was pretty excited to refresh my memory on Campbell’s work.

As a fan of the genre and the monstrous beings that inhabit it, I quickly picked up on what Ray, his wife Sandra, and the rest of their family were about to encounter on the Greek island of Vasilema during a two-week-long family vacation. Over the course of the holiday, Sandra – who is dying – finds herself feeling rejuvenated while her teenage grandchildren act like dark and brooding teens forced to endure quality family time in a family that seems hell-bent on squabbling among themselves.

I struggled a quite bit with the dialogue, the main reason I gave it 3 instead of 4 stars. At times it didn’t seem to flow as naturally as it could have and I kept wondering if maybe I was having a hard time because of a difference between British layout vs. American. One too many times I found myself puzzled over who was speaking or thinking what was being said by a particular character didn’t come across as being age-appropriate.

Other than that, Campbell handles the subject matter well and in such a way that other readers, maybe not so familiar with it, will find themselves deeper into the novel before they realize where the danger lurks. Despite knowing, I was still pulled in wondering when these people would come to their collective senses and take some precautionary measures to protect themselves and not leave poor Ray floundering all alone with his suspicions. How is Ray ever going to be able to convince them that there’s more going on that just make-believe stories and local legends? Is he going to be able to protect his wife, children, and grandchildren from any of it? Will they be able to get off the island before it’s too late?

I found Thirteen Days By Sunset Beach a very unique take on the genre – something that is increasingly hard to come by. For that reason alone would recommend it to others who are looking for something outside the normal hum-drum way of presenting it.

3 out of 5 Ravens

The Raven Scale
1 Raven:  Ew. Yuck. Don’t Eat That.
2 Ravens: Bread Crumbs, A Bit Dry & Flavorless, But It’ll Keep Us Alive.
3 Ravens: Peanuts, Popcorn, And Cat Kibble! Nom-nom.
4 Ravens: Pizza Place Dumpster After Lunch! Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit! Fresh Road Kill, Dudes!