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2013-05-02

  01:12:51 pm, by

Sneak Peek for Nefarious North

 

Here is a sneak peek at the cover of Nefarious North, A Collection of Crime Short Stories.

The anthology is due out in September.

 

2013-04-02

  09:39:07 am, by

Release Day for Going Up!


 

 

It's release day! My new horror story Going Up is now available from Samhain Publishing!

Below is an excerpt from Going Up...

In this scene, Beckett is determined to find out what's been riding in the abandoned elevator she's discovered on the resort property.

 

Blurb:

Some secrets should remain hidden.

Investigative journalist Beckett Hayes hopes a stay at a Caribbean resort is just what she needs to recharge her batteries. But mysterious clanging in the night doesn’t let her get much rest. Outside her hotel room, she finds an overgrown, seemingly abandoned elevator leading up the hill. The hotel staff insists the elevator hasn’t worked in years, but Beckett can’t shake the feeling they’re hiding something. Sensing a story, she’s determined to find out the truth. But will she be alive to tell it when she finds out what awaits her at the top of the hill?

 

Excerpt from Going Up:

Below her the trees in the grotto that hid the elevator booth swayed. She heard the unmistakable grinding of the lift engaging. Its motor hummed. Well, not hummed exactly, more like coughed and sputtered. Metal grated against metal in an ear-splitting screech. She wondered how anyone in the resort could miss it. Then again, most people were either still at dinner or down at the beach bar. As if on cue, the reggae band started up, covering most of the sound.

The elevator rose, winding through the shrubbery. She followed its progress by the trees left swaying in its wake. It ground toward her, lurching up the hill, screeching and clanging and crunching any branch that tried to hinder its passage.

Ducking below the balcony’s railing, Beckett watched it pass. In the darkness all she could see was a dim glow from a light on the instrument panel. As far as she could tell, the booth was empty, but she was too afraid to stand up and show herself. It passed the block that housed her room, curving behind the building. Rising a little to peer above the railing, Beckett watched it continue up the hillside until the track’s curvature stole her view.

Once it had chugged out of sight, the music from the beach covered the sounds of its passage. Anyone on the path likely wouldn’t notice now. If they did hear the generator running, they’d probably just think it was providing the resort’s power. Sleep forgotten, Beckett stood and glanced around the corner of the balcony.

Occasionally she could see the dull flicker of the light on the instrument panel through the trees. She followed its progress until it came to a screeching halt at the top of the hill.

She could no longer see the booth where it came to rest amongst the shrubbery at the top of the hill. The twin palm trees at the top of the hill jutted against the darker sky. The band down at the beach bar took a break. Conversation drifted up the hill.

Beckett waited for several long moments, frozen in the darkness, pressed against the balcony’s concrete side. Then, from above came a deep clang as the machinery engaged. Trees swayed as the elevator booth crunched down the slope toward her. The band picked that moment to begin their second set.

Beneath her the balcony vibrated as the machine lurched past. She ducked back below the railing, hoping the darkness would hide her. She peeked above as the booth went screeching past. The tiny light on the indicator panel gave the interior a sickening glow.

She risked rising above the railing for a better look, straining her eyes to see through the gloom.

Something huge occupied the booth, nearly filling it. Something huge, black and horribly misshapen. She tried to put the pieces of the puzzle together in her mind. Was that a shoulder shoved high above its head? Was that meaty black appendage an arm?

The booth chugged past her. As if sensing her staring, the booth’s occupant shuffled around in its tight quarters. Golden eyes reflected the dull gleam of the indicator light. Its gaze pinned her to the balcony, sighting her as unerringly as if someone had shone a spotlight on her.

With a gasp Beckett ducked beneath the railing, squatting on the balcony floor. The elevator continued down the hill.

For a moment she could only hunch there, her heart beating furiously. Then reason kicked in.

Had she really seen something terrible in that booth, or had it merely been a trick of the light? It could have been someone wearing a coat or carrying a knapsack that produced such an unusual silhouette. Though, why someone would want to wear a coat in this heat was beyond her. Had its eyes really gleamed in the darkness?

Forgetting her earlier terror, she darted from the balcony, back through the sliding glass doors. She pulled the chair from beneath the door and quickly locked up before slipping down the staircase.

The path was empty as she rushed across the concrete toward the grotto that housed the elevator terminus. Music from the beach bar covered whatever sounds might have come from the metal tracks. She thought she heard a clang as the mechanism engaged, stopping the booth’s progress. Crouching in the bushes, she waited to see what might emerge.

From within the grotto came the snap of twigs. Bushes rustled. Wet feet slapped the concrete steps. Brush parted. A large black shape darted between the trees.

It moved deceptively fast for something so bulky. It kept to the shadows cast by the bushes that lined the pathway, keeping out of the revealing light of the globe lamps. Bending low to keep out of sight, she followed it.

It moved with an odd swaying gait. It did have one shoulder hunched higher than the other. She couldn’t see much in the dim light, but it seemed like its whole body had been mashed and put back together. By its lurching movement, she guessed one leg was longer than the other. Its feet slapped the pavement, first one side then the other, in an odd cadence.

It headed past the beach bar where the party still carried on. Music drifted out across the water, covering the sounds of its progress. Still keeping to the shadows, it stumbled onward until the bushes ended and it reached the little bridge that led to the water. Beckett hung back, waiting to see what it would do next.

A couple walked by on the beachfront. It lingered in the shadows, watching their progress. They wandered into the light from the patio and up to the bar.

The black figure took that moment to dart across the narrow space, over the bridge and into the black water.

Slinking along the side of the bridge, Beckett followed.

 

 

2013-03-24

  11:17:09 am, by

Dark Dreams Print Edition Now Available

 

 

 

I'm happy to announce that the print edition of my horror collection Dark Dreams is now available from Amazon.com.

 

A quintet of dark dreams…

The old legend warns that you should never keep a pumpkin past Christmas. He should have paid attention. As our skeptical gardener is about to find out, a vampire pumpkin is a very bad thing to have around the house.

A medical photographer discovers a strange, parasitic life force lurking within the hospital. Can she stop it before it kills again?

An old furnace develops a taste for warm-blooded, living things.

A long weekend at a remote cottage seems like the perfect party opportunity for Paige and her friends. But as night falls, the forest comes alive with terror. The group suddenly finds themselves in a desperate fight for their lives.

A dark, lonely road. A driver on the edge of exhaustion. A sudden shape appears in the headlights. No time to react. What he hits turns out to be far more terrifying than he could ever imagine.

 

Dark Dreams includes stories : PunkinHead, Bio Hazard, The Furnace Man, Long Weekend and Miles To Go.

 

 

Excerpt from the story Miles To Go:

Wet ground crept by in a pool of yellow light. His hands were sweaty now where they gripped the  steering wheel as he prowled slowly back through the alien, white landscape.

Each column of parting fog renewed the terror of what he might find. His imagination eagerly supplied the gruesome details: a dying raccoon, desperately trying to drag itself from the road. Worse still, the vacant eyes of a dead man staring accusingly back at him.

Or perhaps that he had completely lost his mind and dreamed the whole incident.

The ground began to slope upwards. He breathed a sigh of relief.

Then, in the fog-shortened beam of his headlights, he saw a lump of something dark against the black ribbon of the road.

Weston slammed the car into park. Leaving the motor running and the lights on, he crept toward the black shape in the road. The car's key alarm dinged several times, then fell silent.

Too big for a cat or a fox, he thought, stopping to examine the thing from a few feet away. The way its back hunched toward him, it couldn't be a dog, unless the spine was broken. At least it wasn't a person. Raccoon maybe. He crept closer. Not like any raccoon he'd ever seen.

For one thing, it had no fur...

 

 

 

2013-02-23

  12:31:00 pm, by

Sneak Peek for Going Up

 

Here is a sneak peek at the cover and the blurb for my horror story Going Up, due to be released from Samhain Publishing on April 2nd.

Hope you enjoy it!

 

Blurb for Going Up:

Investigative journalist Beckett Hayes hopes a stay at a Caribbean resort is just what she needs to recharge her batteries. But mysterious clanging in the night doesn’t let her get much rest.

Outside her hotel room, she finds an overgrown, seemingly abandoned elevator leading up the hill. The hotel staff insists the elevator hasn’t worked in years, but Beckett can’t shake the feeling they’re hiding something.

Sensing a story, she’s determined to find out the truth. But will she be alive to tell it when she finds out what awaits her at the top of the hill?

 

 

 

2013-01-19

  10:05:25 am, by

Newly Released - Witch Island Print Edition

 

I'm excited to announce that the print edition of my paranormal romance Witch Island is now available from Ellora's Cave.

Here is the blurb and the excerpt. Enjoy!

 

Blurb:

Roxanne Gerik's business is facing bankruptcy when a reclusive millionaire throws her a lifeline — one hundred thousand dollars for private computer tutoring. It's only after signing the contract that she discovers the lessons will take place on Mr. Nevan's private island.

The journey across the water is perilous. Once on shore, the storm that chased Roxanne to the island breaks, knocking out phones, electricity and the dock, promptly stranding her. But the biggest surprise is her host — who's not the stuffy old man she expected. Aidan Nevan appears to be young, handsome and charming, and despite the apprehension shadowing her, Roxanne finds herself drawn to the mysterious man.

But Aidan is hiding sinister secrets. The staff whispers in hushed tones, strange creatures wander the woods of the island and the very trees seem intent on harming her. As the unnatural storm grows worse, Roxanne begins to wonder if any of them will get off the island alive.

 

Excerpt from Witch Island:

“Why don’t you show me where you want the equipment set up,” Roxanne offered. “Then after I meet with Mr. Nevan briefly, I’ll be on my way.”

“But that won’t be possible,” the housekeeper blurted. “Mr. Nevan isn’t due back for several hours.”

The fear that had plagued Roxanne since she’d left her home threatened to steal her breath. She forced herself to relax, to state her case logically the way she did with all unreasonable clients. “But I have other appointments. I have to get back to the city as soon as possible.”

“It’s far too dangerous to be on the open water right now,” Horace said. As if on cue the wind howled through the trees outside, sending branches scraping against the windows. “The storm is getting worse.”

“Then how is Mr. Nevan going to get home?” she asked. They had to do as she requested. Roxanne refused to stay in the spooky old house one second longer than was necessary.

“Oh now don’t you worry about Mr. Nevan,” the housekeeper said. “He can take care of himself.”

“Well, if it’s possible for Mr. Nevan to get home safely, then he can arrange for me to go home too,” Roxanne insisted.


“You accepted Mr. Nevan’s contract,” Horace threatened.

Keeping the conversation pleasant while she disagreed with them was a balancing act. Roxanne knew that much from experience. And she was getting good at walking that tightrope. “I saw nothing in the contract that stated I had to be a resident on the island until it was completed.” She crossed her arms over her chest, mirroring Horace’s confrontational posture. “In fact, I don’t remember an island even being mentioned!”

Tension stretched between them in the shadows of the dark manor. Agnes Peterson was the first to break it.


“Goodness!” the housekeeper exclaimed. “The girl is soaking wet! Horace, fetch a towel for the girl. She’ll think we’ve forgotten ourselves altogether! Come,” she propelled Roxanne by the arm, “sit by the fire and warm up.”

Roxanne looked back in time to see Mrs. Peterson cast a glance at Horace, a pointed stare that practically shouted, “Be quiet!” Horace opened his mouth as if there was a great deal more he would say then abruptly shut it.

“I’ll put the boxes in Mr. Nevan’s study,” he said instead. He’d taken only one step toward the pile in the entry hall when something crashed against one of the windows. Wind roared through the trees outside. The chandelier above him flickered then went out. From the direction of the hall, Roxanne heard a refrigerator motor winding down before stopping altogether.

“Heavens,” said the housekeeper. “There goes the power again.”

Roxanne stared into absolute darkness. She couldn’t see much of the lake through the unshuttered windows but she imagined its uniform flat blackness surrounding them on all sides. The island had no lampposts, no streetlights. Dark clouds hid the moon, stealing the only source of illumination. A gray line marked the only differentiation between water and sky.


She turned away from the windows as Mrs. Peterson led her toward the fireplace in the next room. With the fire roaring in the huge hearth, the sitting room was more welcoming than the dark entry hall.

The reflection of the fire’s crimson flames warmed the dark walls and cast a rosy glow on the housekeeper’s face. Even Horace looked friendlier in its warm light. But no matter how welcome its warmth after a trip on the cold lake, Roxanne knew she couldn’t stay here.

The creaking old manor house would have given her the creeps even if it stood in the center of town. As the only building on an isolated island, the house was positively scary, and Roxanne fought the constant instinct to run. If only she could.


“Look,” she said as Mrs. Peterson settled her into a deep, comfortable armchair. “There’s no sense me staying here any longer. I can’t do anything until the power comes back on and Mr. Nevan isn’t here, so why don’t we just set another time to meet—like first thing tomorrow morning.”

“I’m afraid that won’t be possible,” said a deep voice from the shadows behind her. “The storm has blown out the dock.”

 

 

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