The Cold Is Coming. The Cold Is Here


Winter’s here and he’s coming in with a Siberian blast of air ‘so cold the dogs are sticking to the sidewalks‘ this weekend.

Every year I plan on doing more with this blog. Every year I seem to start off strong. Every year I stray from the goal and wander off into some other realm. Maybe 2023 will be the year I get my crap back together and can focus on reaching out more. I’m not going to dwell too much on what 2022 brought – or didn’t bring – but I will say I am very proud and happy that it was the year I was able to FINALLY gather together my collection of short stories and make them available for all the world to read. Not Your Grandma’s Fairy Tales was my first foray into the realm of twisted fairy tales but it will not be my last. I’m already working on more. I also saw one of my short stories selected and published in the anthology Old Scratch: Demon Tales & Devil Hells put out by Crimson Pinnacle Press. I’m proud of that, too.

But, that’s NOT what I’m here to talk about today. No. Today, I’m going to share a story about a certain cold and stormy Christmas Eve night and what awaited three young brothers when they dared step out into The Cold.


© 2019 – Pamela Morris  

Wind howled outside the window, rattling the panes and whipping the snow into little tornadoes down by the barn. It was Christmas Eve. There was talk on TV that Santa might not be able to get through.

Myles remained hopeful. Santa was magical. He could do anything. He’d not let subzero temperatures and gale force winds get in his way. Besides, something had awoken Myles only moments ago and even as he lie there, tucked beside his younger brother with whom he shared a bed, he could hear movement outside. Over the gusting wind, there was a tapping sound.

Myles inched his way out from under the heavy blankets. The hardwood floor pressed frigid against his bare feet. He tip-toed passed his brother Ryan, sleeping soundly in his own bed, crept to the frosty window, and pulled back the curtains. He couldn’t see anything, but the tapping was louder. It mixed with the sounds of something digging in the snow. He’d seen plenty of deer do that in the winter looking for food.

Myles unlocked the window latch and strained against the frozen pane. It wasn’t going to budge, not a bit. He needed something to pry it with, remembered the screwdriver Ryan had been using earlier that day, and nabbed it from his brother’s beside table.

The window only needed to open a little bit, just so he could peek out and see what was making that noise. He jammed the flat end of the tool into the crack, hit it twice with the heel of his hand and levered it down. The ice on the other side protested briefly before it yielded with the hard crack of something frozen snapping apart. The raw metallic breath of winter bit into his face and stung his lungs.

A shadow fluttered on the other side of the opaque glass followed by the strange, soft shuffling creak of what Myles thought must be Santa’s boots in the frigid snow.

“Close the window, stupid!” Ryan snarled from across the room.

Myles jumped!

“Yeah, shut it!” six-year-old Kyle whined from under a heap of blankets. “You want me to get moan-yah?” Kyle already had the sniffles.

“But, Santa …”

“Screw Santa,” Ryan, who was ten, the eldest and therefore wisest of the brothers, snapped. “Close it before we freeze to death.”

It was highly unlikely the three of them would do that. Gramps kept the wood stove stoked high and hot. If they left their bedroom door open the room stayed toasty warm. It was only because of Christmas Eve that the door had been shut tonight, creating the chill. As soon as Santa was done out there, the door would be open. That’s what Grammy had told them.

They’d been living with their grandparents for almost a year. It had been touch and go for about a week while Child Protective Services sorted out who was best able to take care of them after the plane crash. They all missed their mom and dad, but at least they had Gramps and Grammy and that, as Grammy liked to say, was a blessing.

Gramps coughed and hacked from the other room. It was a small, single-story house with two bedrooms, one bath, and an open concept kitchen, dining, and living room. Their father, an only child, had been raised in this house. His old bedroom was now theirs.

“You should see the doctor about that cough,” Grammy’s muffled voice stated from the other side of the door.

“Bah. It’s just a damn cold,” Gramps grumbled. His chair squawked as he kicked up the footrest. “Doctors’ll kill ya. Cain’t help me no better than this here cup of warm brandy will.”

With a reluctant sigh, Myles squinted against the cold wind blowing through the three-inch gap at the bottom of the window. All he could make out was the side of the big Maple tree being pelted with snow. The white fence by the road was already half-buried.

The noises had stopped. Maybe it hadn’t been Santa at all. He’d not come with Gramps and Grammy still awake. Myles pushed the window back down, returned the latch to its locked position, and pulled the curtains shut.

Shivering, he crawled back under the blankets. He’d just have to wait it out and hope for the best. Santa wouldn’t let him down. Santa knew how hard it was for him and his brothers not to fight. Surely, he’d forgive them for anything bad they’d done under the circumstances.

Myles closed his eyes, relaxing as the warmth of his and his brother’s body heat mingled to push away the cold.

Outside, the wind continued to whistle and moan around the corners of the house, garage, and barn. Something flapped in the wintery darkness beyond the window; probably just a blue tarp that had come loose; Myles couldn’t help but imagine something else.

Flying reindeer don’t have wings, though, do they? No. It was just a tarp. Myles resisted the urge to get back out of bed. He wanted to see what was going on out there. At the very least he wanted to open the bedroom door just a little bit to let some heat in. But he mustn’t. The longer he was awake, the longer it would take for Santa to get here, and the longer the bedroom door would stay closed. It was best to tough it out.

Myles pulled the blankets up and over his head.


“Myles! Wake up!” Someone was nudging his shoulder and whispering in his ear. “Myles.” Kyle.

“What?” Myles mumbled back.

“I gotta pee.”

He rolled away, curling deeper into the warm pocket between the sheets. “Get up and go then.”

“Come with me.”

“What for?”

“It’s too scary alone. Something’s out there.”

Myles opened his eyes, suddenly very awake. He swallowed, listened over the too loud throbbing of his own heartbeat.

There it was, the same tapping and scraping and shifting of something just outside the outer bedroom wall, only now it was closer. It wasn’t on the other side at all. It was in it.

“Hear it?” Kyle’s voice trembled.

Myles nodded, “Uh-huh. Probably just a mouse.”

“It sounds a lot bigger than a mouse,” Kyle said.

Myles agreed but didn’t admit it.

“Come with me,” Kyle repeated. “I gotta pee bad.”

Better to take him than have him pee the bed. “All right. Let’s go.”

Pushing back the blankets, he quickly realized he could see his breath and that their bedroom door remained closed. Myles swung his attention towards the window thinking maybe it hadn’t latched shut. The curtains hung motionless and tightly drawn. The pane and sash were pressed together. The lock was securely in place.

Kyle squirmed in place, holding one hand against his crotch as he waited by the door. “Myles, c’mon.”

Shuddering with the chill of the room and a fear he’d never confess to in the moment, Myles pulled the door open.

Warmth trickled in. As Kyle scampered down the short hallway to the bathroom, Myles stood in the soft glow of twinkling white Christmas tree lights. Wrapped gifts had appeared under the tree he, his brothers, and Gramps had searched for, cut down, and dragged home a week before. Grammy had been waiting with foamy mugs of hot chocolate and a box full of decorations on their return. By nightfall, the tree had been decorated and the chill of pulling it through knee-deep snow had faded into forgetfulness.

The tips of icy teeth nibbled at Myles’ fingers and toes. The room was considerably warmer than theirs, but not as warm as it should be. A draft whispered around his bare ankles.

Myles peeked into his grandparents’ bedroom, his eyes adjusting to the dim light until he could see their bed. It was empty. He crossed the threshold, “Gramps? Grammy?” while trembling fingers searched for the light switch, switched it on.

Grammy’s wide eyes and silently screaming mouth gaped back at him from her rocking chair – both frozen open in an expression of pure terror. Blankets had been wrapped around her body and over her head. The toes of her slippers stuck out from the bottom. Her face, lips rigid and touched with the blue-gray hue of death; her eyes, cast over like frosted windows, stared blankly at the opposite wall.

Myles stumbled back into the hallway, unable to breathe.

Something knocked outside the window, scratching at the thick frost on the glass so hard Myles could clearly see the shuddering gashes it left behind. A deep and forlorn howl rose, taking with it the hairs on the back of his neck and up his arms.

Myles retreated until his back hit the wall behind him, limbs trembling for greater reasons than the chill wind that swept around him.

The toilet flushed down the hall.

Kyle emerged, yawning and rubbing an eye with the knuckles of one fist.

He stopped dead when he saw Myles. “What’s the matter?” Kyle peeked into the bedroom and let out a shriek.

Outside, something let out a scream of its own and wrapped itself around the house, rattling all the old windows at the same time. Myles wanted to believe it was the wind.

From the direction of the kitchen something heavy crashed, releasing an icy blast of air that rushed across the room. Sparkles of snow danced across the worn linoleum floor and flipped the pages of the wall calendar hanging next to the refrigerator.

“What happened to Grammy? Where’s Gramps?” Kyle, who now clung to his older brother’s side, was on the verge of bawling. Myles wasn’t far behind.

“I don’t know,” he stammered.

Ryan emerged from their bedroom visibly annoyed. “What’s …” he blinked, rubbing at one eye with his fingertips. “What’s going on?”

Kyle pointed towards the open doorway that led into his grandparent’s bedroom.

Ryan strode over and stopped at the threshold, going no further than the others had. He didn’t move for what felt like forever. “Grammy?” he whispered. “Where’s Gramps?” Ryan finally added.

“Don’t know,” Myles gulped in reply.

Ryan found the nerve to reach out and close the bedroom door before turning away from the nightmare image of their grandmother.

Another gust of winter exhaled through the house, rustling the papers on the kitchen table and rocking the wall calendar. Ryan hurried in that direction. Myles, with his clinging baby brother in tow, followed.

The kitchen door hung wide open. Beyond, something had pushed its way through the deepening snow. It had to have been Gramps.

Ryan must have shared the assumption. He stood at the doorway, bracing himself against the frame. “GRAMPS!” he shouted against the blustering wind.

The wind roared back, reached in with icicle claws and cut them to the bone with cold.

“GRAMPS! ARE YOU OUT THERE?!” Ryan yelled against the assault, his face wet with melting snow spray.

Gramps didn’t answer. If he did, they couldn’t hear him.

With all the strength he could muster from his thin, ten-year-old arms, Ryan forced the door shut and made sure it was latched. Something in the treetops cried out in protest.

“What do we do?” Myles asked.

“First, we need to put more wood in the stove. You two do that and I’ll call 9-1-1.”

Myles nodded but didn’t move. “What about Grammy?”

Ryan bit his lip. “I don’t think we can do anything about Grammy,” his voice squeaked.

“Something scared her,” Kyle shivered, not yet willing to surrender his hold on Myles. Myles was perfectly okay with that. “And something got Gramps.”

“Nothing got Gramps,” Ryan snapped. “He’s – he’s probably just out in the garage, trying to get the car started or something, to get Grammy to the hospital.”

“Why didn’t he answer you?” Kyle trembled.

“Cuz he didn’t hear me is all, now go put more wood in the stove,” he ordered.

Gramps had shown all the boys how to tend to the woodstove, how to adjust the bottom and top vents so it would burn just right, low and slow and steady all night long. Now, as Myles stood there looking at it, he saw both were open a lot more than they should have been. It was as if Gramps had been about to load the old cast-iron piece up for the night. There was a thick bed of coals on the bottom, but even they wouldn’t last much longer without more fuel. He and Kyle set to work, doing what they’d been taught until Ryan padded back to them looking somber.

“Phone’s dead,” he said. “Can’t call anyone.”

“If Gramps is in the garage, he’ll be back in soon,” Myles tried to sound sure of that.

“Yeah,” Ryan agreed. “He’ll be back in soon, I think.”

The two older boys made eye contact, each seeing the fear and doubt in the other’s gaze.

“Yeah,” Myles said as he swallowed down the hard lump in his throat.

As they waited for their grandfather’s return, the boys put on socks, slippers and robes and huddled around the growing warmth of the woodstove. Thirty minutes ticked by, then an hour.

“He should be back by now,” Myles whispered, no longer cold but still shivering deep inside.

“Something got him,” Kyle whimpered. “Something got him just like it got Grammy.”

“Nothing got him,” Ryan’s voice squeaked.

Myles swallowed hard. “We should check,” he said. “He could have fallen on the ice or something.”

Myles saw horror in his older brother’s eyes. “Yeah,” Ryan admitted slowly. “Maybe we should at least check. Just to make sure. But I’m sure he’s fine. He just can’t get the car started ‘cuz it’s so cold.”

They got dressed as if heading out for a fun-filled day of sledding and snowballs fights, but the grim, black and white starkness of the landscape beyond was anything but playful.

The wind screamed in their faces as they trudged out. Ryan was first and carried a flashlight; Kyle followed close behind. Myles made sure to close the door behind them. They marched with their heads down, pushing their way through the blowing depths of snow.

The path Gramps had made was already drifting in. Had they waited another hour, there would have been no sign of it. The brothers plodded along, bent forward against the cold and wind. The dim light offered by the jittering flashlight was of little help, but they knew the way. Though it felt like miles, the garage wasn’t far, barely thirty feet from the kitchen door.

“Shit,” Myles heard Ryan cuss over the roar of the wind as he came to a sudden halt.

Eyes stinging with tears brought on by the cold, Myles dared look up.

The garage door was open. Lights were on inside. Gramps’ car sat in its place surrounded by pegboard walls full of neatly-placed tools. As for Gramps, he lay in the driveway flat on his back; eyes closed, the snow shovel not far away. Snow had accumulated on his exposed face.

“Gramps!” the boys shouted in near perfect unison, their pace doubling until they reached the old man and fell to their knees by his side. “Gramps? You okay? Gramps! Wake up, wake up!”

Kyle picked up the pipe that had fallen from between their grandfather’s frozen lips, clutching it tight his small mitten-covered hands. “Gramps?” shuddered from between his chattering teeth.

A sudden gust of wind roared around the corner of the garage like the wintery exhale of a snow dragon, creating a short but powerful squall that made it impossible to see beyond their tiny circle of bodies. The boys crouched into their fallen guardian’s sprawled form.

A heavy, throaty growl erupted from the other side of the house. Whatever it was, it was in the backyard. The sound intensified, moaning out a terrifying, guttural wail that ended with the unmistakable noise of very large, very sharp, gnashing teeth.

“It’s coming,” Myles, eyes wide and staring at the wavering movements he could just see above the house’s roofline, moving right to left.

The ground shook.

“We should get him into the garage,” Ryan shouted over the chaotic sounds of creaking limbs and winter’s snarling breath. His face had gone as white as the storm around them. “Myles, grab his other arm! Kyle, get his feet!”

They sprang into action, pivoting their grandfather’s body, dragging it inch by agonizingly slow inch, cleared the open door, leaned him against the vehicles back fender. Ryan yanked the door down, letting it slam shut with a weighted, reassuring thud. Gramps’ head flopped lifelessly to the side.

Safe. Out of the snow. Out of the wind. Out of sight of whatever was out there stalking them.

“Gramps!” Kyle practically sat on the old man’s lap, shaking his shoulders. “Grampy! Grampa! C’mon, get up. Wake up!”

“He’s dead,” Ryan’s tone came out hollow.

“Don’t say that. He’s not!” their baby brother retorted. “He’s not dead!” Tears burned lines down the boy’s already rosy cheeks.

Myles pushed his own urge to cry aside. “What do we do? We should turn off the lights.” He looked towards the row of windows along the top of the garage door. From inside, all he could see was the blackness of night and whirling, whipping pellets of sleet. “That thing’s out there,” he added.

“What thing?” Ryan looked up from his attempts to calm his littlest brother.

“The thing I heard,” Myles explained. “It woke me up. I heard it walking around and digging in the snow. Something made a shadow on the bedroom window, too. I thought it was Santa and the reindeer,” he managed a dry swallow, “but I don’t think that’s what it was. You heard it, too, just now. It’s out there, behind the house.”

Kyle started to wail all over again. “It’s gonna kill us next!” he sobbed. “Don’t let it kill us, Ryan.”

Ryan held Kyle closer and tighter as his eyes smoldered at Myles, “You just shut up! Nothing’s out there. Nothing’s coming to kill us.” But Myles saw the fear and worry etched into his big brother’s eyes. “You’re scaring Kyle so just shut the hell up right now.”

Myles pressed his lips together and glared back.

Kyle’s sobs rose and fell, his whole body shaking.

“We should go back to the house,” Myles suggested. “It’s cold out here and …”

“What about Gramps?!” Kyle sniffed his stuffed-up noise.

“Ain’t nothing we can do for Gramps now,” Ryan said as tenderly as possible. “C’mon. Myles is right. We need to get back to the house. At least it’s warm in there and I’ll make some hot chocolate. Grammy showed me how.”

Above their heads, the roof groaned and shuddered. Something big and sharp dragged and thumped at the thin asphalt shingles.

Myles stared at the stark, open rafters where Gramps stored long pieces of wood, two by fours, and the like. “It’s up there,” his whispered voice breathed out a plume of white mist. Fingernails, he thought, the same ones that had scratched at their bedroom window and left jittery trails in the frost outside.

“We have to get to the house,” Ryan insisted. “It’ll be faster this time. We made a better path.”

“It’s big,” Myles went on. “I saw it moving over the roof of the house.” He couldn’t stop looking up.

Kyle whimpered. “I don’t like it out here.”

“We’re going back to the house,” Ryan assured him. “We’re going to make a run for it.”

Myles pulled his attention from the roof, “We need weapons.” His gaze darted around the garage. Gramps’ sharp and well-used axe rested to the left of the side door. Myles raced over and hauled the axe into his hands. It was heavy, too heavy for him to wield effectively. He twisted his lips in thought. “You see the kindling axe anywhere?” he asked.

His brothers had risen to their feet beside the slumped body of their white-whiskered grandfather. Thank God his eyes were closed.

Kyle pointed towards the wheelbarrow.

On top of a mound of kindling, Gramps’ smaller axe winked. Myles thrust the handle of the larger axe towards his big brother, “You take this one. I’ll get the other,” Myles snatched the second weapon and took a few practice swings. “Perfect.”

The walls of the garage trembled and moaned followed by the sharp scritch-scratch-scritch of whatever was on the roof and the raging groan of another blast of cold air racing around the corners of the structure.

“What if it gets us?” Kyle shook along with the rattling of the garage windows.

“It won’t get us,” Ryan’s back grew straighter, making him a couple inches taller and stronger-looking. “We’ll be back to the kitchen door before it even sees us.”

“Then what?”

“Then we wait. Someone will come. We got lots of food and plenty of wood for the fire. It’ll be fine.”

Myles gave a nod and said, “Yeah, it’ll be fine,” but didn’t quite believe it. “Ready?”

His brothers nodded. “Myles you go first,” Ryan offered. “Kyle in the middle and I’ll protect our backs with the big axe.”

Myles wasn’t so sure about being the first to expose himself to the dangers that awaited beyond the door. But, on the bright side, he’d be the first one in the house. He nodded in agreement. “Let’s do this.”

“Don’t look around and don’t do nothing but run straight to the house. Got it?”  Kyle nodded. Myles nodded. Ryan exhaled slowly. “Open it.”

They ran.

Snow flew up from under their heels.

Hearts raced rabbit-fast in their chests.

Lungs inhaled air so frigid it burned.

Fingers squeezed axe handles and Gramps’ rescued pipe.

The wind pushed against them, throwing pellets of ice into their faces, like hundreds of tiny needles, slapping their cheeks with frozen razors and breathing blasts of the Arctic down the backs of their necks. A yowling scream filled the darkness around them.

The pace quickened.

Myles wanted to look back, to see just what lurked on top of the garage roof, but he didn’t dare. It would slow them down.

He grabbed the doorknob, twisted, pulled.

It didn’t budge.


He turned it again and again, yanking desperately to be let in.

“Open the door!” Ryan shoved him aside.

“Open it,” Kyle cried. “Open it, open it!”

“I’m trying,” Ryan bellowed. “It’s stuck. It’s …”

Not stuck. Locked. Locked!

Ryan’s eyes were on fire when he turned back around and growled at his brother. “You locked the damn door, you moron!”

“I didn’t,” Myles stammered. “I didn’t. Not on purpose, I didn’t!”

“We’re locked out!”

Across the road, from the direction of the barn, the same flapping sound Myles had heard earlier rose. Crunching and metallic and leathery at the same time and loud, so very loud. Louder and closer and too dark to see what it was; Myles didn’t want to see. He shoved at his big brother who looked about ready to throat punch him. “It wasn’t on purpose. Go back!” he shouted in Ryan’s face. “Go back to the garage.”

Ryan grabbed Kyle by the arm and yanked him off the porch and back into the thickening snow. “Run,” Myles heard him say over the roaring wind.

Myles raced after them and dared a glance at the garage roof.

He felt his bladder release.

It was up there. It was big and dark. Its thick body covered the entire backside of the roof, crouching. He couldn’t make out any legs, but it had a long neck and was covered in spines with a rack of antlers so massive Myles couldn’t even begin to count all the points. One arm seemed to be reaching out towards him, the tips of its myriad of fingernails shifting with menace.

Then he was tumbling into the garage again, falling against the car, the side door slamming behind him.

“I saw it,” he panted. “I saw it. It’s on the roof.”

“Get in the car,” Ryan commanded.

They all piled into the front seat, huddling and shivering together.

Kyle was crying again. “I’m cold,” he breathed through his mouth, whining.

“Start the door,” Myles said. “We can start the car to get warm.”

“Good idea,” Ryan agreed. “Keys?”

“In the ignition,” Myles noted. “Gramps must have been gonna shovel the drive then warm up the car before going back to get Grammy.”

Ryan reached down to twist the key as they’d seen their grandfather do a million times. Nothing happened. The key turned but the car didn’t start. The engine let out a weak grunt. The gas indicator pointed to E. Ryan tried again, turning the key backwards then forwards. It tried to turn over but only gasped, sputtered, and gave up.

Outside, winter’s demon screamed and thrashed and tore at the shingles, determined to be let in.

The boys shrank down in the front seat.

A sudden and heavy avalanche of snow covered the windshield. Wood cracked and splintered. Nails shrieked as they were pulled out of place.

The last thing Myles remembered seeing was an arm as big around as a bedpost reaching towards them; its fingers, way more than ten, stretched forwards, shattered the windshield, and clawed against his face.

Myles’ scream joined those of his brothers.


Bright, colorful lights pulsed across the garage’s back wall, making the tools twinkle with what might have been Christmas cheer under different circumstances.

“Hello? Boys? Mr. Phillips?” Officer Graham eased his way into the garage. This didn’t look good. The hard knot in his stomach grew even tighter when he saw the body of Albert Phillips propped up next to the car. There was no point in taking a pulse. The old man’s a ghastly blue-gray skin told him all he needed to know.

Officer Graham stepped over the man’s extended legs with a shudder. The massive tree had sliced through the garage roof with ease, crushing the car beneath it as if the vehicle were made of aluminum foil. “Fuck,” he groaned. He didn’t want to look inside, but he had to.

The officer barely made it out of the garage before his Christmas dinner hurled up and out of his throat.


“Mr. and Mrs. Phillips both had heart attacks,” the coroner would report several days later. “He must have been trying to get her to a hospital but shoveling all that snow got the better of him.”

“Christ,” Officer Graham twisted his gloves in his fists. “What about the kids?”

“Well, it wasn’t the tree that killed the boys, at least not entirely,” the doctor said. “They couldn’t get out of the car once the tree fell on it. Poor kids. They must have been terrified.”

“Why do you suppose they were out there at all?” his assistant asked. “It doesn’t make sense the old man would have them out there in the car like that. And why not just call for help?”

“Phone lines may have already been down by then,” the police officer replied.

The medical examiner shook his head and shrugged. “We’ll probably never know, but it was definitely hypothermia that did them in, simple as that.”

“It was damn cold that night,” Graham shivered, remembering the icy bite of the wind.

The medical man frowned. “Damn cold.”





Playing The Numbers; Or Are They Playing Me?

No, I haven’t taken up gambling or blowing all my hard-earned money on lottery tickets. But I have been seeing a lot of number sequences. 222, 333, 555. I keep seeing these kinds of numbers, mostly on digital clocks, and not just now and then. Over the past three or four months, since around October 2021, this has been happening on a daily basis, several times a day. Being the kind of person I am, I wondered, “What does it mean?”

I don’t believe in coincidence, so when odd things like this happen and I actually notice, I tend to look for some kind of reason for it, especially when it happens so frequently. And being as I’m interested in numerology – despite sucking at math – my first thoughts went in that direction. In all the years I’ve read about and studied these sorts of things, I’d never come across this particular topic. Was it even a thing? Of course, the Interwebz has plenty of ideas on the concept, both magically and scientifically.

Let’s start with the much more fun magical-spiritual aspects of the phenomenon. I couldn’t find any one term used for the it but the concept of ‘spiritual synchronicity’ came up a lot as did “angel numbers” and “master numbers”. I’m going to call it ‘Numeric Synchronicity’ just for ease of reference.

Once I learned it indeed IS a thing, I selected the three numbers I was seeing the most, 222, 333, and 555 before I went any deeper. I didn’t want to be influenced by what I might find when picking the number that might have the most significance to anything going on in my life. I’m still wary of all of it, mind you. These interpretations, like horoscopes, are often written in such a way as to apply to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Everyone can relate. It all has meaning to something in your life if you read in the right way. I was seeing 555 most frequently followed by 333 and 222 the least. And as any numerologist worth their salt will be quick to point out, 333 + 222 = 555. So, off I went, in quest of the meaning, or at the very least, to have a bit of fun on this little numeric adventure.

555 could not have struck home any harder. From the Law of Attraction website: “If you are seeing 555 everywhere, then there is momentum to move in a new direction. Make sure you are looking for new opportunities at this time and are ready to seize them when they come your way. Do not be afraid of change. Do not try to fight it. It is YOUR time. It is time to move forward with new experiences.” Okay, well, that’s pretty spot on, but what do OTHER ‘authorities’ on the matter say. I tried a different website for a meaning. I went to Times of India next. “You’re looking forward to the next phase or chapter of your life. It simply means that change is inevitable and that embracing it will only make things easier and more adventurous. Do not hold yourself back and welcome every new opportunity that passes your way.” And being as I was taught to cross reference at least three different sources, I found myself over at a place called AstroStyle and was told this. The headline for 5:55 reads, “Change is afoot,” followed by, “Change is in the air when you see 5:55. Like a fast moving current or a gentle breeze, there is momentum to move in a new direction. There was more, but you get the theme here.

Alrighty then! Embrace that change that’s on the brink of occurring. I get it. I’m working on it. It’s not easy. It won’t be easy but I’m looking forward to it despite my fears and worries and doubts. But these aren’t exactly the most scientific of articles. Granted, Numerology itself isn’t considered scientific by a lot of people. So, if you’re more of the scientific mind and find all this Numeric Synchronicity just a bunch of foolish hokum, the phenomenon could also be The Reticular Activating System or RAS.

From the Science Direct website, we get this definition, “The reticular activating system (RAS) is a network of neurons located in the brain stem that project anteriorly to the hypothalamus to mediate behavior, as well as both posteriorly to the thalamus and directly to the cortex for activation of awake, desynchronized cortical EEG patterns.” Well, that’s a headscratcher, isn’t it? What? Moving on I looked for something a bit less scientifically worded. Study dot com had this to say, “The RAS has a very important role: it’s the gatekeeper of information that is let into the conscious mind. This little bit of brain matter is responsible for filtering the massive amounts of information your sensory organs are constantly throwing at it and selecting the ones that are most important for your conscious mind to pay attention to.” Hm. Interesting, interesting. That makes a bit more sense. So, is my brain’s RAS trying to draw my attention to 555 or away from it? I still wasn’t sure. I moved on to randomly selected website number three, The Movement Paradigm in hopes of more data. It wasn’t quite what I was looking for but it certainly proved interesting. The article on RAS there started out with, “Do you want to unlock the power of extreme focus and be able to use your mental energy to do whatever you want? Well, let’s start by waking up the reticular activating system of your brain.” It then gave this example that I think most of us can relate to in some way. “Have you ever decided to buy a car, or if you’ve bought a car and you’ve picked a certain color and now you see that everywhere? When I decided that I wanted a Jeep, I began to see Jeeps everywhere. My Reticular Activating System has brought to my attention, to my consciousness, that all these Jeeps were around all along, but now, I am noticing them. The Reticular Activating System (RAS) is a bundle of neurons located inside of the Reticular Formation, which is in the brain stem. This is the most primitive part of our brain. The Reticular Formation is responsible for cardiovascular function, pain perception, sleep cycle, consciousness, and habituation, which is directly linked to the Reticular Activating System.”

The article goes on to give tips on what is basically a much more belief-based practice than anything to do with scientific reasoning and one I am well familiar with; visualize and make manifest the things you want in life through meditation and be aware of and focus your consciousness on those things. If you want Car X, then focus, visualize, and manifest Car X in your brain, make it real in your RAS and it will become real in the physical world. Or as I know it as, “Thoughts become things.”

Through all this research, the question still remains, what, if anything, does it mean? Whether it’s merely neurons located in my brain stem projecting anteriorly to the hypothalamus or the pseudoscientific belief in a mystical relationship between a number and one or more coinciding events, I don’t think it really matters. What matters is that both these concepts give me some level of comfort and confidence in the future and those major life changes I have ahead of me. Each time I see a 222 or a 333 or a 555, the feeling that I’m doing the right thing and on the right path fills me with a sense of calm, that little boost of confidence I need.

I’d love to hear your thoughts and/or experiences on this phenomenon in the comments.

Speaking of changes, I haven’t put out a substantial Horror release since September 2020 when my last novel, The Inheritance: A Texas Gothic Horror, came out. This is about to change. Sales and reviews for The Inheritance have been slow, but I hope as we have now gotten settled into 2022, you’ll see fit to check it out and read about the adventures of twins Choice and Liberty Hill as they set out into the West Texas desert to try and inherit the family estate and $33 million. Of course, nothing is that easy. They’ve got several rather unpleasant obstacles to deal with, least of which involves a band of outlaw Texas bikers known as The Widow Makers.

2021 wasn’t completely devoid of Horror output from me. I was blessed to be included in an anthology put out by Crimson Pinnacle Press titled Twisted Legends: An Urban Legend Anthology. The anthology contains other notable authors such as Jason Myers, RJ Roles, Ruthann Jagge, and Thomas R. Clark.

In 2005 I wrote my first twisted fairytale, a little something called Good Spider, Bad Spider. In early January 2022, I finished my seventh and am planning on releasing the short story collection, Not Your Grandma’s Fairy Tales at some point this year. Horror has returned, but I’ve also added a bit of sci-fi, a dribble of fantasy, and a dab of futuristic dystopia to the menu. Fun stuff. You can read one of the included stories, Cinnamon & Cyanide, right here on my website for FREE!

The return of writing Horror does not by any means mean that The Many Adventures of Bill The Worm will be going to the wayside. Bill The Worm is here to stay. He’s a busy, busy worm and a new release, Bill The Worm Counts To Ten, will be happening this Spring! Bill is already trying to decide which of his many adventures he’s going to share with me next. Additionally, he has a brand-new website to pass the word on to his friends about when these stories are ready to be shared! Be sure and visit Bill The Worm’s website to stay up-to-date along with liking and following his Facebook page, Friends of Bill The Worm.

Last but not least, if you’re old like me or love that classic rock, I put up Part 2 of My Kiss Kollection video series over on YouTube yesterday. Check it out.

This wraps things up this month! I hope you all are having a good year so far and staying safe and healthy in a world that sometimes feels like Hell in a hand basket! We’ll get through this wiser and hopefully with a lot more gratitude for all that we have.

The Proof Is In The Guest Room Closet

We’re into week what now? 16? 17? I have it written down somewhere. Time is both crawling and flying in the same moment. I may be returning to work in the office this month, or I may not. My boss hasn’t gone back yet. I imagine she’ll go in for a week to assess the situation before calling me in. I think it will be another couple of weeks at the very least. I’ll get a week’s notice at any rate.

I’m still doing that Audiovisual Transcript Remediation as reported back in April. I think I’m on my twentieth video now. Something like that. What a wide range of topics I’ve been doing. The creation of 4-H, Child Development, Home Economics, a Haiku poetry reading, philosophers discussing Kant, Heidegger, and Aristotle, film makers talking about their films, authors reading one of their short stories, retirement migration in the US, the creation of Land Grant universities, the vision that one of the creators of Cornell had, and many more. Like the number of weeks that have passed, it’s all written down.

I like to keep track of things, I guess. I’ve kept a journal in the normal sense of the word since 1977. I’ve kept and abandoned numerous dream journals over the decades, too. Somewhere there’s a record of a whole bunch of Ouija board sessions documented that go back as far as the mid-1980s. Haven’t touched one of those bad boys in at least ten years. Not out of fear or anything like that, just have kind of lost interest in it, I guess.

When I’m not learning about some obscure topic through a Cornell video or working my way through the online class I’m taking via EdX and Georgetown University (Sign Language Science: Emergence & Evolution of Sign Language – Part 1), or trying to do my own writing, or trying to come up with catchy song lyrics for The Hubby’s tunes, I’ve been sorting out things in the guest bedroom. God, but I have a lot of crap!

I dove into the closet last weekend with much fear and trepidation because, ya know… spiders, that and boxes, boxes, boxes of things I’ve not looked at in more years than I can remember. I’ve not even touched the boxes on the upper shelves, but I did dare to drag out one that was on the floor Sunday afternoon. I had no idea what was in it, but dang, it was heavy. I found a clear spot on the bed and pulled off the lid and was greeted by a series of mismatched notebook spines; old spiral bindings, comb-bindings, spines that were nothing more than the edges of the pages in between thin, cardboard covers. I knew immediately it was all mine but what, exactly, was it?

I pulled out one of them. The cover was labeled, “Misc.”. Boy, that narrowed it down! First, a hand-written essays from high school; Nazi Germany, then Concentration Camps, then a biography on comedian Steve Martin, a report on witchcraft in Salem followed, and a speech outline on the general topic of witchcraft, an outline for a paper on ‘The Vampire’, a random dream, and a plot summary for a short story I must have wanted to write at some point, then… pay dirt, my friends! PAY DIRT!

I started to grin, rather foolishly I’m sure. “Ah-ha!” my brain chuckled. “Told you so and here’s the proof!” Last time I blogged, I mentioned my mom’s old Smith-Corona typewriter and the meticulous hours I spent at it doing then for fun what I’m doing now for pay, the aforementioned A/V transcription.

Before me, in all its Smith-Corona glory was my first A/V transcription; “The Cemetery” From: “The Night Gallery” 1969. The entire thing, character names and descriptions, Serling’s introduction, and then seven pages of the entire dialogue and short scene descriptors. I was downright giddy! Next was “The Legend of Hell House” 1973, (18 pages), Dracula 1972 (29 pages), and 16 pages worth of the parts in “The Exorcist” when the demon is talking. Is it just me or does someone else detect a theme here? And this was all in just ONE of the nearly dozen notebooks I’d just unearthed.

My earliest A/V transcription. “The Cemetery”
from Rod Serling’s series “The Night Gallery”

The others held story after story after story. Most of these seem to have been written (rather poorly) when I was around sixteen. Dreams and more dreams could be found in another notebook, and there was even a hard copy of the first novel I ever wrote, a fantasy tale called “The Pride”. Yeah, I guess I like to write things to keep track of them, don’t I? I’m not sure if that’s a blessing or a curse.

All these notebooks will be added to my file cabinet that’s already got a ton of family genealogy documents in it, various research articles, the handful of children’s stories I’ve written, poetry, and the like. Maybe some day I’ll have the time to give these all a more complete read and knowing me, typing up everything that’s still handwritten.

Though, God knows why, I’d still not be able to part with the originals!

Top 10 Reads of 2019

10. The Dead Lands by Benjamin Percy

War and global destruction has once more befallen Earth and we find ourselves in the desert dictatorship community of St. Louis, Missouri. It ain’t pretty when the book starts. It’s even uglier at the end – but in a good way, I suppose you could say. Meanwhile, a dozen residents of St. Louis, led by a mute stranger who has recently escaped the death penalty, decide to make a run for it and take their chances beyond the wall of “The Sanctuary”. Cross country adventure ensues. This, along with the status of St. Louis after their departure, is our plot.

9. Ghost Mine by Hunter Shea

Ghost Mine takes us out to Hecla, Wyoming where mysterious shenanigans are taking place. President Teddy Roosevelt wants this place checked out and hires two of his former Rough Riders for the task.

As with all of Hunter’s work, it doesn’t take long for our adventurers to be flung into the fray and fighting for their lives against the strange and powerful entities that populate the book.

8. The Gordon Place by Isaac Thorne

Lee Gordon just wants to live his life, unfortunately, he wants to do it at the expense of his son having a life, too.

The beginning was a little slow for me, but once things started happening it was an enjoyable read that kept me turning pages. The dog was pretty creepy and all the main characters were well-rounded, believable, and relatable. That’s really important to me when it comes to enjoying a book – even though Lee was about as repugnant a person as can be – you knew where he stood and what he stood for. Not overly scary and the gore factor is pretty low. I’m not into gore so that was fine by me. But, there was enough going on outside of that to keep me interested. I wasn’t expecting that ending at all, either.

7. All Hallows by W. Sheridan Bradford

All Hallows follows the old and cantankerous witch, Maren Glover as she tries to make her way home on Halloween Night. All of them are sorely tempted by a high bounty placed on Maren’s head. But, Maren, old and road-weary as she is, keeps her handy-dandy bowling bag of tricks always on hand and she isn’t about to go quietly or easily into that sweet night.

The first half is slow, but then the narrative quickens. The dialogue and characters blossomed and were a delight. They drove all the action forward at a wonderful pace. It became a book I couldn’t wait to have time to sit down and get back into. Had the first half been written like the second half, I would have easily given it a higher rank without a second thought.

6. Devoured by Jason Brant

Are they zombies? Are they vampires? Are they lab experiments pumped up on Incredible Hulk steroids that never run out of anger? I’ve no idea at this stage and frankly, it doesn’t matter.

What really matters is getting the hell out of their way and praying to God they never find you. Just ask Lance and Cass, strangers who have found each other while running for their lives and themselves in the middle of the mayhem, doing everything in their power to survive in the madness that has become Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Fast-paced, gory, and yes, even mildly funny.

5. The Taking by Dean Koontz

H.P. Lovecraft meet H.G. Wells. From day one, page one, I did not want to put this book down, but work and sleep required it in stretches way too long. Told from Molly’s perspective, we are draw minute by minute into the weird and terrifying realm of an alien invasion.

I was anxious and horrified. I was completely and utterly entertained. I loved every aching, ugly, terrified minute of those twenty-four hours. By far, the best Dean Koontz book I’ve read.

4. Reaping The Aurora by Jason Palmatier

The final book in the Erenthall series is chock full of battles both large and small, concluding with a war that could be the last this Fantasy world ever sees. The very fabric of reality sits in the balance and it’s up to Kara, her friends, and war-weary allies to try and fix it. Time is running out. Complete annihilation could happen at any time – it’s this premise that pushes Reaping The Aurora towards its monumental conclusion.

I really enjoyed this trilogy and am looking forward to exploring even more of his work.

3. Those Who Came Before by J.H. Moncrieff

Not I expected and it kept me engaged all the way through. The creature in question isn’t one that’s written about in fiction all that often and it was nice to have something different. The characters were engaging and realistic. The backstory was really interesting and fed into the current events going on perfectly. Writing style was easy to read, no filler or fluff. Moncrieff jumped right into the story and didn’t dilly-dally around with anything.

2. Eight Minutes, Thirty-two Seconds by Peter Adam Salomon

The Apocalypse is here. Two people have survived.

They have no idea what happened, how they ended up in this vast network of corridors and rooms. They don’t even know their own names. They simply go by L. and M. What they do know is that they can access the former lives and memories of six other people, people from the world that was, but only for eight minutes and thirty-two seconds at a time and they have to die in order to do that.

Where is everyone? Why are they the only two left? And why are there so many rooms and locked doors and so many supplies as if the place were meant to house thousands?

Read this 200 page novella in two days! BAM! Read every spare minute I could find. If you’re into books about the Apocalypse, you’re going to love “Eight Minutes, Thirty-Two Seconds”.

1. In The Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson

Over the past forty years literally hundreds of other vampire novels and short stories have crossed my path. Most of them have been quite forgettable. Andy Davidson’s In The Valley Of The Sun is not one of them.

First, it’s original. The word vampire is never used and the effects of becoming one of the undead doesn’t adhere to the traditional.

Set in West Texas, we follow the wretched and lost life of Travis Stillwell, a deeply disturbed and traumatized Vietnam Vet. Even before he meets up with Rue, he’s not a particularly pleasant fellow. After they meet, well – it goes from ugly to absolutely monstrous.

It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book of this length (almost 400 pages) in less than 10 days and that’s always a good thing. Loved this book to pieces and would recommend it as a MUST READ to anyone who loves the vampire genre as much as I do.

Now with …

Adventures / Fresh Air & Sunshine / Gothic Fiction / Haunted / Horror

Research for my recently completed first draft of “The Inheritance” began in October 2018 as my husband and I headed out from Salado, TX to Terlingua, TX some 400+ miles west. He came up with the main character’s name – Liberty Hill – years earlier. After a couple false starts, a plot began to form. I’ve been a fan of Gothic Literature for a good many years and decided the isolated locations we visited in West Texas would be perfect for that genre. I took copious notes and lots of pictures. Some of the scenes in the book actually happened to my husband and I.

Once we were back home, I began to write. Over on Twitter (@pamelamorris65) I post updates on my progress, being as vague as possible so as not to give anything away, but still make it interesting. They are meant to be amusing\silly and I’ll often pick the most obscure of details to share. What follows are those updates. Enjoy.

Mar 3: 9am on a Sunday and I’ve already managed to add over 1200 words to my Texas Gothic Horror novel “The Inheritance” – now with the tall, dark, and handsome caretaker’s son – Miguel Alvirez. #amwriting #Texas #gothichorror

Mar 6: +1269 words. And so ends Act 1 of the current WiP – “The Inheritance” at nearly 30K — now with an Irish bar, members of The Widow Makers MC, and vomit. Good times! #amwriting #writerslife

Mar 16: +1055 words during this morning’s writing work on “The Inheritance”. Now with bikers, bikers, and oh, yeah, bikers. Not bad, not bad at all. #amwriting #Texas #GothicHorror

Mar. 20: Final scene of Chapt. 12 finished on my Texas Gothic Horror novel, “The Inheritance”. Now, with shiny gold buttons and a pocket watch. #amwriting #Texas #gothichorror

Mar. 25: +2674 words this weekend on my current WiP novel, “The Inheritance” – now with a link to Greenbrier Plantation, more poisonous & biting Texas critters, and an outhouse. #amwriting #Texas #GothicHorror

Mar. 31: A mere +2244 accomplished on current WiP during the week (Mon-Fri). Nothing yesterday. Maybe today will prove productive. At least now we have a flirtatious farm hand, an old family album, and obituaries to work with. #amwriting #Texas #GothicHorror

Apr. 10: Sneaking up on the 50K word-count mark for my Texas Gothic Horror novel “The Inheritance” – now with a hysterical Mexican housekeeper, booming shotgun blasts, and ROMANCE! #amwriting #Texas #gothic #horror

May 17: So hey – writing work accomplished at Goodyear while I waited for my ‘tars’ to be changed! Now with flags in the desert, people that were possibly burned and/or buried alive, and a farmer’s market. #amwriting #TexasGothic #horror

May 26: Over the past two days I’ve managed to scrape together 1659 for my #Texas #Gothic #Horror novel “The Inheritance”. I wish it were more, but progress is progress. Now with a western wear shop, cemetery notes, & five drops of rain on an old pick-up truck. #amwriting

June 4: Sun-Mon word count for my #Texas #Gothic #Horror ‘The Inheritance’ +1632. Most of it achieved on Sunday. Now with a taxidermy antelope head, an angry Texas cowboy, & a Horny Toad Harley-Davidson t-shirt.

June 19: +674 words later, Chapt. 25 of my WIP “The Inheritance” wraps out. Now with El Paso TX, White Sands NM, & an Apache arrowhead. On to the next… #amwriting #Texas #gothic #horror

June 27: +738 words on my #Texas #Gothic #Horror novel “The Inheritance” Chapt. 27 done. Now with Perro Loco, a pillow case, and shaky, dark camera work on a cheap cellphone. #amwriting

July 6: Writing finally happened. +1177 words added to my #Texas #Gothic #Horror novel “The Inheritance”. Now with a small haboob, funny biker nicknames, and a BIG BOOM – possibly a cannon, but maybe just thunder. Chapt. 29 done. #amwriting On to the next.

Aug. 15: Yesterday was pretty productive on the writing front. +2342 added my #Texas #gothic #horror novel “The Inheritance” now with a biker threatening to kick another biker’s ass, permits to carry concealed, and about 20 ATF officers. Total word count: 93,180.

Aug. 24: 2 days + 3420 words = 99,740. Now with bikers in a Cadillac, a West Texas ghost town & cemetery, an attempt to enjoy some beers, and a yapping Chihuahua. #amwriting #WritingCommnunity #WIP

Sept. 16: It took almost two weeks, but finally +2711 words added to the WIP and was able to finish Chapt. 41 – now with fresh chicken eggs, freshly unearthed human skulls, and fresh from the oven pizza! #FeelingFresh #amwriting

Sept. 20: +2299 words added to my WIP, The Inheritance. Now with an oily darkness that tastes and smells of death, an eye-shaped tunnel, and a nearly impenetrable cold fog. #amwriting #Texas #gothic #horror

Sept . 26: I am happy to report that the First Draft of my Texas Gothic Horror novel, “The Inheritance” is now DONE at 114k words.

As I begin the editing process, some of these ‘Now With…” events may vanish, but I thought this would be a fun way to show you all a bit of my writing process and demonstrate how long it takes me to write a first draft. “The Inheritance” will be available in early 2020.

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 and sign up for the newsletter.

All images provided by author Tim Meyer and used with his permission. (c) 2018


Movie Review – Dark Secret of Harvest Home (1978)

Starring: Bette Davis, David Ackroyd, Rosanna Arquette, and Joanna Miles. Directed by Leo Penn

With a job he abhors, a marriage on the rocks, and an asthmatic daughter who must pay protection money to a gang so she can make it safely to and from her piano lessons, Nick Constantine has had enough of life in the Big Apple.  When his wife suddenly inherits a small fortune from her father, the family decides a trip to the country will do them all a world of good.

They soon stumble upon the small farming community of Cornwall Coombe, Connecticut. By the looks of it, the inhabitants live in a world that bears a striking resemblance to that of the Amish or the original Puritans who settled the area back in the 1600s. They are dressed in old style clothing and are plowing and planting the fields for corn using horses and good old-fashioned elbow grease. Nick, his wife Beth, and daughter Kate are immediately charmed by everything and everyone in the Coombe and before they know it, they have left New York City behind to start a life that they hope will heal all their family’s wounds and woes.

Guided by The Widow (Bette Davis), the Constantine’s have a lot to learn about the Coombe and its traditions, known as The Ways. Everyone lives and everything is done according to The Ways. If you don’t follow, obey, and respect The Ways, you’ll quickly find yourself in a heap of trouble. Beth and Kate happily fall into the Coombe’s lifestyle. Nick, not so much. His curiosity leads him down a maze of strange and increasingly disturbing stories about the Coombe’s history. The closer the community draws to the greatest festival of all, known as Harvest Home, and the more Nick puts his nose where it doesn’t belong, the weirder and darker things become.

Based on the novel “Harvest Home” by Thomas Tryon, The Dark Secret of Harvest Home, appeared on the small screen in 1978 as a two-part mini-series. For my young and impressionable brain, it became an instant and unforgettable hit. Forty years later, I still adore it. This is the sort of suspense and intrigue I love in a movie. Deep back stories, characters I can relate to, villains that don’t seem so bad at first, layers of mystery that build one atop the others and an conclusion that gathers it all together in a bundle of satisfaction so amazing it almost makes me want to lean back and have a cigarette after … and I don’t even smoke.

Despite the poor visual quality of the version I found free on YouTube, I can’t recommend this one enough.

Raven Rating: 5 out of 5 caws!

The Raven Scale:
1 Raven: Yuck! Don’t eat that.
2 Ravens: Bread crumbs, but it’ll keep us alive.
3 Ravens: Oh, hey! Peanuts, popcorn and cat kibble!
4 Ravens: Lunch time pizza place dumpster. Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit, Fellas! Fresh Road Kill!

Author Interview – Jason Brant

  1. For me, writing has been a life-long passion. When did you first get the writing bug and what were some of the earliest stories you wrote about?

I never even considered writing fiction until I was 30. No shorts or abandoned novels or anything. I was miserable working a government job and I just up and quit one day. While sitting around my house, enjoying unemployment, I stumbled across JA Konrath’s blog and read up on self-publishing. A few weeks later, I was typing away every day. It sure beats working for the government.

Ash1-ebook-webThe first piece of fiction I ever worked on was a novella titled Echoes, which centered around a man who gained telepathic abilities from a traumatic brain injury. It sucked. But I published it anyway, because I didn’t realize how bad it was at the time. A year or two later, I took it down and rewrote it into a novel titled Ash which is now the most popular work I have.

The second story I attempted was my West of Hell series. I haven’t gone back to them since I finished them, so I can’t imagine they’re any good either. (Note from Pamela – I’ve read the first two books in the West of Hell series and really enjoyed them. Need to get Book 3 one of these days.)


  1. You frequently mention your Asher Benson series and it seems these books are the ones people are most familiar with, but what about your three standalone novels? Could you tell me a bit more about those?

The Gate is a sort of Lovecraftian story that pokes fun at ghost hunters. It was my first novel and a total blast to write. Monsters and douchebags. My kinda story.

The Dark is set in the same universe as The Gate, but isn’t a sequel. It revolves around a living darkness that descends upon the city of Aberdeen, MD. Anyone caught without a light source dies a horrible and nearly instantaneous death. This book is the one that kind of put me on the map for a lot of people and allowed me to pay my mortgage.

Aces High is a novel co-written with romance and fantasy author Elle Casey. She’s brilliant and a NYT bestselling author, so who knows why she agreed to write a book with me. I imagine she regrets that decision to this day. The book is very different from my other stuff and is more of a young adult novel than anything else. Elle is hilarious and her humor runs rampant throughout.

  1. Not only are you a writer, but you have several podcasts. How did Drinking With Jason, So Bad It’s Good, and most recently Final Guys come into being.

I initially started Drinking with Jason to meet other authors. Typically, I don’t do book signings or conventions, so I’m a bit on the outside when it comes to knowing others in the community. The podcast was a good way to spend an hour talking to my peers. Unfortunately, I don’t do the show as often as I should because scheduling artists for interviews is akin to herding cats.

So Bad It’s Good is just to express my love for bad movies. It’s an enormous amount of work with no return, but we have a blast doing it. It also suffers from painfully bad production quality, just like the movies we’re enjoying.

Final Guys is an idea I’ve had for a few years now, but finally decided to pounce on in 2017. I consume an enormous amount of horror and haven’t had an avenue to talk about it. Jack and Hunter suffer from the same horror obsession, which made them perfect for co-hosts. We have a lot of fun doing it and between the three of us, we’re able to curate a ton of movies, shows, and books which is hopefully useful to our listeners.

  1. Rumor has it you’re working on some new material. Can you give us a hint at what this is and when it might be ready for the public?

Devoured1-ebook-web I’m close to finishing the fourth book in my series, The Hunger. It’s actually the beginning of a new three-book arc that I’m hoping to finish by the end of the summer. After that, I have more to write in the Asher Benson series and have several ideas for standalone novels.

  1. Where can people find out more about all things Jason Brant? is the best place. You can find my books and social media links there, along with my stupid side projects. And for the podcast and a bunch of horror movie and book reviews.

All images provided by author Jason Brant and used with his permission. (c) 2018

A Penny For Your Thoughts

Gothic Fiction / Horror / Vampires

I will be the first one to tell you that I do not like Hollywood remakes of the classics. Don’t try and fix what isn’t broken. Stop it! Just stop it! I won’t get into any particular ones because that’s not really what this post is about. Suffice to say, with MILLIONS of amazing Indie authors out there, there’s plenty of material Hollywood could get a hold of to create something original.

It was with this extreme prejudice in mind that I sat myself down a few weeks back and started to watch Penny Dreadful on Netflix. (Yes, I know I’m woefully behind on a lot of things – Netflix is one of them.) Right off the bat I’m greeted with Mina Murray, one of the main female leads in the classic novel Dracula by Bram Stoker. Immediately after, Dr. Victor Frankenstein and his monster and Dorian Gray come waltzing into the story and I’m like, “Oh for Christ’s sake… seriously? Is that what this is about? How many frikken ways can these characters be ripped off and distorted in the feeblest way possible?”

Guess what, I’m almost to the end of Season 2 and LOVING IT! Nobody is more surprised than I am, believe you me. The writers of this program have really done an amazing job at breathing new life into these old classic characters. For me, it’s because they aren’t retelling the old tales, but making new plots, scenarios, and relationships between them that fit so well with the existing concept of the characters in question. The monsters suddenly aren’t really monsters. They are people with feelings and struggles and you want them to come out on top – well – more or less. A repugnant and powerful evil lurks at every corner, but the face of that darkness changes. You might think someone is all goodness and light in the beginning, but that could change when you find out exactly who and what they are behind the mask each and every one of them wears.

The atmosphere and settings are both seedy and sumptuous, beautiful and horrific. The acting is spot on. There is enough blood and gore to please those into splatter films and a generous helping of eroticism for those who like some of that with their Horror.

Enjoying this series and glad I pushed my way through the initial urge to shut it off and find something else as soon as I realized what I was getting myself into. I was wrong.

Penny Dreadful is a well-made original take on the classic Horror movie characters I grew up loving.

Well done, Netflix.

Movie Review – WAX (2014)

Movie Review – Wax (2014) Directed by Victor Matellano. Starring Jimmy Shaw, Jack Taylor, and Geraldine Chaplin.

Part Vincent Price’s “House of Wax”, part Hannibal Lecter, WAX invites the viewer to spend a single night inside an alleged haunted wax museum in Barcelona, Spain with journalist Mike through surveillance cameras, some strategically-placed cameras that Mike sets up, along with Mike’s personal hand-held. Mike agrees to be locked in for the night with no method of communication with the outside world other than a one-way telephone. The producer can call in, but he can’t call out.

What makes this museum just a little different is that one of the main displays depicts a still-living serial killer, Dr. Knox. But, don’t worry. He’s been caught and imprisoned. Along with his wax effigy, are a series of videos recorded by the killer himself, showing in rather gruesome details how he bound, gagged, and ate his victims while they were still alive. As the night progresses, odd things start to happen, items go missing and wax effigies have moved. But, his greatest horror comes when Mike looks at the surveillance camera focused on the Dr. Knox display – and the doctor’s figure is gone.

Mike has no way of getting out of the museum or calling for help. Fortunately, the producer calls periodically and he reports what’s going on to her. She assures him she’ll notify the authorities and get him out soon. In the meantime, just sit tight. Help is on the way! I promise!

I was rather enjoying WAX until about twenty minutes from the ending, then it kind of went South and became a little too predictable. The medical torture scenes were done reasonably well without being too utterly disgusting and there are a few decent T&A shots for those who like that in their Horror movies.  For a moment, it even felt a little Freddie Kruger-ish for some reason. The ending left me feeling somewhat disappointed, but it wasn’t the most horrible thing I’ve watched by a long shot.

There are enough mannequin\wax figure scenes to be kind of creepy, enough surgical gore to make you go ‘eww’ a few times, and a very suspenseful score that keeps you wondering what bit of weirdness was going to happen next. If you’re desperate to watch some Horror and nothing else seems worth the trouble, this will do in a pinch.

2 out of 5 Ravens.

The Raven Scale:
1 Raven: Yuck! Don’t eat that.
2 Ravens: Bread crumbs, but it’ll keep us alive.
3 Ravens: Oh, hey! Peanuts, popcorn and cat kibble!
4 Ravens: Lunch time pizza place dumpster. Hell, yeah!
5 Ravens: Holy Shit, Fellas! Fresh Road Kill!