Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Matt Manochio's #Sentinels - Guest Post

Researching History for My Horror Novel

History can be tricky. You don’t want to get it wrong. Throwaway lines—even one word—can expose a flaw in your research or lack thereof.

I set my new novel, Sentinels, in post-Civil War South Carolina. It’s a rough place. The KKK is killing freedmen and their supporters. Northern soldiers are dispatched to keep the peace in the South. Oh, and there are supernatural forces going around killing both sides, and nobody can figure out why.

People die. Which leads to the question: How were funerals held in the 1870s? What were the customs? What tools were used? Well, the mortician traveled to your place (assuming you died and your viewing is being held at your home, where your spouse lives). That’s right. They fixed you up right there in your sitting room. Oh, and superstitions at the time involved shrouding mirrors, windows, even doorknobs, in black cloth. (Seeing your reflection in a room with a dead body can be bad, apparently.)

Some people might find research annoying. I dig it. I majored in history in college, and even though my fascination lies with WWII (I’m more a fan of modern history), life in the decade following the Civil War was horrendous in the United States. That’s a period of time that many people know little about. I was one of them until writing Sentinels.

First, I had no idea there were five military districts, manned by Northern soldiers, scattered throughout the South to ensure stability. (When you think about it, it makes sense. I mean, we left troops in Germany, Japan and South Korea following war.) But just that one realization helped shape the course of Sentinels. And it’s great when that happens.

And what kind of horse carriages did people operate back in the 1870s? How were outhouses physically built and how far back were they situated from the living quarters? What were the most commonly used firearms? How much did an acre of land cost?

As I said, even throwaway lines can get you in trouble. I mentioned that a character put on a T-shirt and was informed by a reviewer that T-shirts, as we know them, weren’t invented until the 1900s. Words matter in that regard. Undershirt probably would’ve been a better choice.

Such are the perils of writing historical fiction. But those little details matter, even if a large part of your story involves creepy things that physically cannot happen.

About the book
These are no ordinary killers.

They don't distinguish between good and evil. They just kill. South Carolina's a ruthless place after the Civil War. And when Sheriff's Deputy Noah Chandler finds seven Ku Klux Klansmen and two Northern soldiers massacred along a road, he cannot imagine who would murder these two diametrically opposed forces.

When a surviving Klansman babbles about wraiths, and is later murdered inside a heavily guarded jail cell, Noah realizes something sinister stalks his town. He believes a freed slave who's trying to protect his farm from a merciless land baron can help unmask the killers. Soon Noah will have to personally confront the things good men must do to protect their loved ones from evil.

About the author
Matt Manochio was born in 1975 in New Jersey and graduated from The University of Delaware in 1997 with a history/journalism degree.

He spent the majority of his 13-year newspaper career at the Daily Record in Morris County, New Jersey, where he won multiple New Jersey Press Association Awards for his reporting. He wrote about one of his passions, rock 'n' roll giants AC/DC, for USA Today and considers that the highlight of his journalism career.

He left newspapers in 2011 for safer employment, and currently lives in New Jersey with his son.

Praise for Matt Manochio
"Matt Manochio is a natural born storyteller." -Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Savage Dead

"A real page turner. Matt Manochio has gained a fan in me!" -David L. Golemon, New York Times bestselling author of the Event Group Thriller series, on The Dark Servant

"Beautifully crafted and expertly plotted. A clockwork mechanism of terror! Highly recommended!" -Jay Bonansinga, New York Times bestselling author of Shattered, on The Dark Servant

Purchase Links 
Barnes and Noble 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Glenn Rolfe's Blood and Rain - Review and {Giveaway}

My thoughts
Anyone who thinks the werewolf thing has been done...and done again...well, you need to read Blood and Rain. I haven't been this captivated by a werewolf story since seeing "American Werewolf in London" when I was a girl...or maybe "The Howling". It seems these days, werewolves have become less scary, as we get to know their human side before we really know their beast side. I'm talking about "True Blood" or Anne Rice's new werewolf series. Not to discount those awesome storytellers (everyone knows Rice is my favorite author), but it's just refreshing to read about a werewolf and to be really scared and horrified. Rolfe did not pull any punches in this book. We get the fear and we get the gore...and it's luscious (for lack of a better word). I've been reading a lot of great horror lately (via the terrific publicist, Erin of Oh, for the Hook of a Book fame) and this one ranks near the top.

Blood and Rain is a riveting monster novel that keeps you guessing until the end. Thanks for bringing me back to the scary werewolves. It was a wild ride!

About the book
The light of a full moon reveals many secrets.

Gilson Creek, Maine. A safe, rural community. Summer is here. School is out and the warm waters of Emerson Lake await. But one man's terrible secret will unleash a nightmare straight off the silver screen. Under the full moon, a night of terror and death re-awakens horrors long sleeping. Sheriff Joe Fischer, a man fighting for the safety of his daughter, his sanity and his community, must confront the sins of his past. Can Sheriff Fischer set Gilson Creek free from the beast hiding in its shadows, or will a small town die under a curse it can't even comprehend? One night can-and will-change everything.

Find Glenn Rolfe at: as well as Facebook and Twitter.

Stan Springs stared at the curse in the night sky. His curse. He clenched his jaw, and bit back the grunts that demanded release from within his sweat-covered body. His muscles tightened and took turns throwing fits. He could feel his heartbeat’s thunderous barrage at work inside his heaving chest. It was only a matter of minutes before the changes would come.

He ripped his gaze from the clouds, moved away from the window and knelt down next to the bed against the concrete wall. He slipped one shaky hand beneath the mattress and found the small incision he’d made when he first arrived at the institution. He had traded a guard, a heavyset fella by the name of Harold Barnes, his prized Ted Williams rookie card in exchange for a copy of the key. Parting with this gold mine had been necessary. Stan Springs had nothing else of value with which to barter. Harold trusted him enough to make the swap; he told Stan there were crazies here by the dozen, but he could tell that Stan was not one of them.

No, Harold, I’m something far worse.

Key in hand, Stan stepped to the unlocked door and cracked it open. The hallway was clear. He moved down the corridor, as stealthily as during his heydays working on the force in New York. Hearing footfalls ahead and to his left, he fell back and pressed his large frame against the custodial door. Hidden by the entryway’s shadow, he watched Nurse Collins—a tall, thin woman with a dark complexion—pass fifty feet from where he stood, before she disappeared into the nurses’ break room.

Barefoot and dressed in only a Red Sox T-shirt and his sleeping shorts, Stan made a break for the staircase across the hall. His breaths were coming faster now. If he didn’t hurry, he wouldn’t make it outside. He crept down the steps leading to the main hallway.

Through the small window on the stairwell door, he could see Harold Barnes’s haunted jowls illuminated by the laptop screen in front of him. The old man’s eyes were closed, his mouth open. Harold hadn’t even made it an hour into his shift before he was out. Stan knew Harold also ran his own antique shop in the neighboring town of Hallowell. He’d told Stan that working both jobs on the same day, which was sometimes unavoidable, made it difficult for him on the night shift. It was another shared nugget Stan had stored away for nights like this one—the nights the beast in him needed to get out.

Easing the door open, Stan skulked his way along the shadows on the wall, and tiptoed to the main entrance door. Despite the cramps now rampaging through his calves and thighs, he slipped the procured key into the lock, slow and steady. The door clicked open, and he stepped out into the night.

As the cool breeze brushed against the sweat of his brow, the tendons and bones in his face began to shift. The rest of his body followed suit. He dropped to one knee and cried out. His skin, his scalp, his eyes, his muscles were all too tight. He reached behind him and managed to push the door shut.

If you could see me now, Harold.

The private roads out front were deserted. He launched from the building’s stairs and landed on the lawn below, making a beeline for the woods to the left of the large property.

He was twenty feet from the forest when the change hit him like a massive wave, crashing him to the ground. His muscles clenched and squeezed and tore, while the bones of his face continued to crack and grow. His teeth began to fall out in place of the monster’s. Down on all fours, he crawled to the tree cover and vomited. A mix of last night’s cafeteria meat loaf, black coffee, loose teeth, and blood splashed the ferns before him. Stan’s fingers extended as his claws dug into the soft soil of spring’s floor. He moaned and grunted his way through the rest of the fluid process.

In full beast mode, Stan Springs stood and howled at the cloud-covered sky. The creatures of the night became ghosts among the trees. He felt the strength flowing through him and the hunger begging to be sated.

He burst forward, headed north. Despite Stan’s best effort to control the beast’s killing zone, he found himself heading home.

About the author
Glenn Rolfe is an author, singer, songwriter and all around fun loving guy from the haunted woods of New England. He has studied Creative Writing at Southern New Hampshire University, and continues his education in the world of horror by devouring the novels of Stephen King and Richard Laymon. He and his wife, Meghan, have three children, Ruby, Ramona, and Axl. He is grateful to be loved despite his weirdness.

He is the author the novellas, Abram's Bridge, Boom Town, and the forthcoming, Things We Fear (March, 2016), the short fiction collection, Slush, and the novels The Haunted Halls and Blood and Rain (October 2015). His first novella collection, Where Nightmares Begin, will be released in March, 2016.

He is hard at work on many more. Stay tuned!

Praise for Blood and Rain
“A major new talent rises from the Maine woods…Rolfe is the real deal, and Blood and Rain is a classic monster novel, full of blood and teeth and the kind of razor sharp writing that makes the pages sing. Small town horror is back, with a vengeance!” –Nate Kenyon, award-winning author of Sparrow Rock, Diablo: Storm of Light and Day One

"With slashing claws and blood-soaked fur, Blood and Rain will have you howling in terror and delight. A welcome addition to the werewolf mythos, and proof that we're in the presence of a rising star in the genre. Highly recommended!" -Ronald Malfi, author of The Floating Staircase

“Rolfe tells a tale that captures your attention like King without all of the wordiness. He also spills the red stuff like Laymon…” – Into the Macabre

“Blood and Rain is a monumental piece of horror fiction. It represents everything I love about werewolves, creature features, siege films, and everything else in between. It is still early in the year, but this is a clear cut candidate for my favorite book of 2015.” — Horror Underground

“Wow! Easily one of the best werewolf books I’ve ever read.” – Hunter Shea, author of Tortures of the Damned and The Dover Demon

“Some good ‘ol fashion violence and gore…” – Jason Parent, author of Seeing Evil

“Glenn Rolfe takes a swing at the werewolf genre and hits a home run.” – Russell James, author of Q Island and Dreamwalker

“…not just another werewolf story, Rolfe has managed to take the werewolf to a-whole-nother level…” – Horror Novel Reviews

“The best werewolf novel I’ve read since Jeff Strand’s Wolf Hunt.”–Horror After Dark

Buy the book

For a chance to win a print copy of Glenn Rolfe’s short story collection, Slush, or a chance to win your choice of any of his titles in e-book format, go to the link below for the Rafflecopter sign-up. Good luck! The print copy is only good for those in the United States. Questions can be referred to Erin Al-Mehairi, publicist, at hookofabook(at)hotmail(dot)com.

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Sunday, November 1, 2015

Extending Season of the Witch & In Honor of Day of the Dead, a Scary Story by Julie Dawn

Playing With Markers
by Julie Dawn

I fumbled for a marker. Damn Backpack.

“Hurry up. You’re going to get us busted,” Lila said as she smacked her gum.

“Would you quit that?” I whispered, but it echoed off the graffitied walls. The school had been abandoned when grandfather was young. He won’t talk about it, it’s like asking him about the war. Mom says he was changed by the war, he saw things, and I mustn’t talk about it with him.

A long hallway was the only other entrance into the bathroom we were in—other then the broken window we had entered through. It probably led to the classrooms, decorated with picture books and ABC banners. I thought about my days in elementary school, the conformity—the long hours staring out of the windows—the boredom.

Something moved—banged, rolled?—in the hallway. A can, beer bottle?

Lila elbowed me.

There was no way I had come this far to give up now. Probably a stupid mouse.

Lila elbowed me again.

The bottle clinked against the wall. Vibrations rippled through the abandoned school. The floor beneath our feet moved.

Lila’s hand slid off my arm as she fell to the tiled floor.

I glanced at the hallway, but I couldn’t tell. There didn’t seem to be anybody there. Then I thought I saw a … no. There was nothing. Shit. Mom and Dad had warned me to never go to the old school at the top of the hill, through the forest, and set beside the most gorgeous lake one’s eyes could lay upon, glistening beyond the broken window.

In the doorway, a shadow appeared. It looked like a man, only bigger. Its shoulders blocked the threshold.


“Shit.” Lila climbed to her feet and ran past me, to the broken window, clearing it with one jump.

The shadow raised its chest. When it fell back down, another ripple of vibrations crashed over the room. My weight shifted onto my heels and pushed me back, stumbling, caught against a sink.

Lila screamed out my name. I looked at her, but her eyes led me back to the man—now charging me. He rushed me, full force, and then disappeared. A gust of wind puffed against my face. He vanished right in front of my fucking eyes.

I looked at Lila, but she was gone. I can’t believe she left me. I glanced back at the doorway—nothing. A chill rippled down my spin. I grabbed the straps of my backpack and took a step to leave—run like hell—and then yell at Lila for being such a punk. I took another step, but the weight of the marker in my backpack restrained me—stopped me.

Fuck it. I’m doing it. I can’t believe I just said fuck. Man, mom would kill me if she …. I dug through the bag. Where is it? I pushed maxi pads, pencils, and my phone out of the way and then … there it was. I grabbed the marker, but as my fingers tightened, I felt weird. Whatever. I shook my hands out and pressed the marker against the mirror.

A glass bottle rolled down the hallway.

My throat knotted.

The bottle clinked against the wall.

Julie Dawn grew up in southern Jersey, spending the summers collecting bee stingers in her feet. After graduating from Richard Stockton College, she dipped her toes in the environmental field for a few years, got married, moved to North Carolina, and finally got to become a mom. Four years of living in state parks was enough to make her relocate to the Oregon Coast. Under bright stars, she started writing again, determined to change the world one story at a time.


Yosemite Rising: A Zombie Novel by Julie Dawn

A legend that will change the world.
It’s been 150 years since the Ahwahnee Indians lived where Yosemite National Park now stands. Their last surviving Chief appears to Elizabeth Hutchings, a twenty-year-old biology student, the very day her parents die. Within 24 hours, she too is clinging to life as his whispers echo in her thoughts.

An ancient prophecy has begun. A plague rips through the world’s population, taking everyone and everything she has ever cared about. As agents of a mysterious organization called Meadowlark hunt her, she must find the strength to fight the infected even as she struggles to keep herself alive.

Just when she thinks she can’t go on, a man from her past arrives. He holds the key to understanding the prophecy. If she can unravel its secrets, she not only may change her own fate—but the fate of the entire world.

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