A nice little list of Halloween stories

There is nothing more Halloween than a good scary story.  In fact it is the most Halloween thing there is.  While some of us pretty much treat the entire year like All Hallow’s Eve; October is a fine time to break out the good stuff.  If you happen to be looking for a good book, or short story, to get into the spirit, then here are a few of my suggestions.  Admittedly, a few of these are fairly standard but that’s why they have stood the test of time. (Of course, Night Shall Overtake should be on your list already.  *wink, wink*)

Novels –
Dracula – Bram Stoker : Read it when I was 11 years old and it creeped me out.  Still the standard bearer for the dark and spooky.  Victorian horror at it’s best.

Exorcist – William Peter Blatty: One of the few books I have ever read, finished, and them immediately turned back to the first page and read it again.  Everything you could possibly want in good horror.

Lost Souls & Drawing Blood – Poppy Brite: Poppy Brite (now Billy Martin) published these two novels full of sex, drugs, and music that profoundly influenced me in so many ways.  Both of these novels, while completely separate stories, usually get read together when I pick them up. Bloody and dangerous, these aren’t your daddy’s horror.

Let the Right One In – John Ajvide Lindqvist: Stark, cold, and disturbing.  Set in a cold Norwegian winter, it seems as if the sun never emerges to chase away the dark narrative.  It reminds us that vampires are not always the tortured romantics we’ve had lately. Both movies are worth a watch, but the novel has a texture that makes it nearly impossible to put it down, or forget.

It – Stephen King: Okay, just hear me out.  I know that it is expected now that the movie is out.  While I haven’t seen it yet (and I’m sure I will once it shows up on Netflix) it has to be better than the made-for-tv movie. (no disrespect to Tim Curry who gave a generation of kids a fear of clowns)  The book, however, is one of King’s best. It’s one of the few that would creep me out as a kid, and still do so as an adult.

Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury: Just a fantastic story. Nice and dark with all that Bradbury goodness.  Still a little surprised Disney made a movie out of it.  Both should be a seasonal tradition.

The Damnation Game – Clive Barker: I am such a huge fan of Clive Barker’s writing, it’s slightly absurd.  Most of his writing is more on the side of dark fantastique, but his earlier stuff, like Books of Blood, were great frightfests.  The Damnation Game is a little bit of both and just one hell of a good ride.

Soul Sister – G.W. Wright: Recently finished this novel and it needs to be on a list such as this.  Creepy, dark, and poignant; it’s one that will go quick simply because you will be hard pressed to put it down.

The Horror Squad – T.J. Weeks: My current read (sorry T.J., just now getting to it) and you should be thankful that I put it down long enough to write all this.  It’s fun, bloody, and action-packed. It’s also spawned it’s own series and a comic adaption.

Masterpiece of Terror series – Edited by Marvin Kaye: These anthologies, edited by Marvin Kaye, and often with covers illustrated by Edward Gorey, were my favorites to check out at the library when I was younger.  Stories ranging from Stoker and La Fanu, to more contemporary like Oates and Matheson, filled these with some of my favorite stories ever.  Some editions were just supernatural stories, other more thematic, such as the Devils and Demons edition.  If you can find them, grab them immediately.

The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson: Do I really need to say anything about this one?  THE classic haunted house story.

Honorable mentions:

The Keep – F. Paul Wilson: Yes, the one they made that very avante-horror movie of in the 80’s.  Nothing like Nazi’s trying to control the supernatural, only to have the tables turned. The story is fairly standard, but the atmosphere is totally worth it.

Servants of Twilight – Dean Koontz: To be honest, I haven’t read this one.  I have it on good authority (my better half, Melody) that it is amazing, creepy, and everything a good horror story should be. Because I trust her taste in the macabre implicitly, I felt this list incomplete without it.

Joyce Carol Oates – Despite her family epics and deep fictions, few realize the Oates can spin a spooky yarn.  She has put out more than a few scary short stories and novels.  Mysteries of Winterthurn and Bellefluer are great novels, or try The Others for shorter fare.

Short stories: (maybe some tales to tell around the bonfire?)

Dracula’s Guest – Bram Stoker: Published posthumously by Stoker’s widow, I can only assume that it was part of an alternate chapter from Dracula that didn’t make the cut. A great gloomy tale of everyone’s favorite vampire. (You might try The Judge’s Guest, by Stoker, as well.  A nice little spine-tingler.)

Carmilla – Sheridan La Fanu: A vampire tale as classic and beloved as Dracula, Carmilla is a delicate and bloody tale that is both subtle and blatant in its LGBT overtones.

The Night Wire – H.F. Arnold: While I’m not sure this is the original, it’s a story that’s been readapted many times.  The classic haunted technology story where the dire warnings come from beyond the grave. (I think Dickens may have started this traditional tale with his ghost story No.1 Branch Line – The Signal-Man. Someone should look into it.)

The Sixth Sentinel – Poppy Brite: From her Wormwood collection, a fun little story of cohabitation from the ghost’s perspective.

Shuggoth’s Old Peculiar – Neil Gaiman: A properly slimy and dank nod to H.P. Lovecraft.

The Yattering and Jack – Clive Barker: Squaring off with a demon isn’t all fun and games.  You’ll find yourself gritting your teeth along with Jack in this man vs. damnation tale.

Dying in Bangkok – Dan Simmons: From the NSFW anthology Little Deaths, this rather adult tale is another take on the vampire that will stick with you.

Those of you who have been paying attention noticed that I haven’t mentioned any stories from Edgar Allen Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, or even Mary Shelly.  That’s because these are givens.  Poe and Shelly should be mandatory for any Halloween reading, in my humble opinion. Lovecraft, though a favorite, isn’t for everyone.

So there we are, a few suggestions for some October reading.  While not even close to complete, it’s a good place to start. Check out my book review page as well.  There are even more suggestions there.  Happy (spooky) reading!

Remember kids: stay in school, don’t drink and drive, and read something that scares you.




It’s that season again!  Halloween! Time for all the creepy, and crawlies, to come out and go ‘oogie boogie’.  Probably no surprise that I get all sorts of excited about it.  In that spirit (get it…spirit…halloween…) I will be posting more often with spooky and creepy themed stuff.  I’ll cover movies, books, old horror comics, just what the hell ever I can, for the season.

To kick things off, we’re going to do something that’s kind of a tradition for me.  I’ve always loved old time radio shows; the scary ones, my favorite.  Because they are only audio, I think it lends an even creepier element to them, making the stories even more effective. I’ve had these posted for a couple years now, and with luck I’ll find some new ones.  So without further ado: some Halloween radio goodness.

Remember kids: stay in school, don’t drink and drive, and stay spooky.

Bi Week II: Electric Bugalloo

It’s another Bisexual Appreciation Week, or Bi Week.  This year has seen a little more coverage than previous ones, and that is a good sign.  More eyes and ears means another chance to help people gain awareness and understanding.  We are not ‘more privileged’, ‘fence-sitting’, nor are we ‘indecisive’. We are who we are, no different than anyone else.

The coverage is great, as is the fact that more and more celebrities are coming out and being honest with it, despite the possibility of backlash from both sides of the rainbow flag.  Of course, I take this with a few grains of salt, because I’m why I can’t have nice things.  My reasoning comes from the fact that I hate celebrity culture.  I don’t give two shits about what famous people do and why.  Sure it’s mildly interesting,once in awhile, when someone famous has a similar interest or some strange thing they like to do.  When they do good things, or horrible things, it’s nice to know if we should support their projects.  But we, collectively, put waaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy too much on famous people, to the point that some folks treat them better than family (the good kind of family, not the ones wish you weren’t related to).  But I understand why we need to have our celebrities come out and to be open and honest with us.  Our media is part of our view of the world, and in some ways, helps shape who we wish to be.  It also shapes our status quos, for better or for worse, and that’s why it is important that we have out celebrities.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is that in the last year, I’ve seen our Bi+ community come together more than ever.  We have, not only been building stronger connections, but we’ve also made more of a point to reach out to the ‘+’ in Bi+.  As always, sexuality is a spectrum, and as spectrums do, there are overlaps.  One can be Asexual and Bi, for example.  I am glad that we are doing more to make sure people are not being left out.

To my Pansexual folks, I see Bisexual as non-binary as Pansexual.  I don’t buy into this Bi vs. Pan malarkey.  We are both valid and both family. And ultimately I would like for all of us, and I do mean ALL, to be family.  As we strive for awareness, as we build our community, and as we reach out to everyone else, let’s resist the urge to circle the wagons.  Yes we face oppression.  Often times it’s from the people we expected the most support from.  If we get shit from the other letters of the acronym (LGBTQ+, for those who forgot your code books) lets resist the urge to turn nasty about it. Let’s resist the urge to bitch and bicker about labels and flags.  They are there to help us identify and represent, not to fuel descent. Maybe we can be the ones who finally connect all the communities into one.  Maybe we can show the haters a more appealing point of view.

I dunno, man.  Some days it feels like a pipe dream, other times it feels like we’re almost there.  I guess the main thing, for at least this week (because we gotta take it week to week, moment to moment, sometimes) is keep each other safe.  It’s dangerous out there, for us, for our allies, for our family, and every one else.  Keep an eye out on each other, and yourself.  Keep getting the word out.  Let people know that we are just as valid as anyone else.


….aaaaand now shameless self-promotion time!! (didn’t think you were going to get away that easy did you??)

Everyone’s favorite weird uncle has had a story published in this year’s Shadows & Light Anthology.  It’s a story, set in the future (or is it….) about man’s effect on nature, and nature responding in kind.  The more I think about, it seems to have a lot of parallels with what I just spoke of above.  (Where do writer’s get their ideas?  I guess you just found out.)  It’s  a future history told by a man who lived in the midst of a biomechanical evolution.
Get it here at Amazon or Createspace.

Don’t forget to buy a Bi book.  Pale Winter Sun is an appropriate read for this Bi Week.  Also check out A.M. Leibowitz, and Bi-Bliography for more lists of Bi+ authors.

Also appropriate for this week’s festivities is to stop over at Our Stories at The Bicast.  We are collecting your stories.  We need a chronicle of our lives and our community.  We can learn from each other, and sometimes, just getting the tales of our own experiences is as cathartic as hearing others.  Listen or submit here ==> https://thebicast.org/category/our-stories/

Remember kids; stay in school, don’t drink and drive, and let’s all be safe out there.

Systems Within Systems + Loud & Queer

Yesterday was a pretty eventful day in my little published world.  To start out with, an excerpt of Pale Winter Sun has been published in this month’s issue of Loud & Queer.  This is an arts and letters magazine focusing on works from, you guessed it, the queer community.  There is some seriously amazing art in this issue and I am pleased, as I can possibly be, to have a piece of PWS in its pages.  Which part of the book did I choose to excerpt?  I guess you’ll just have to get a copy for yourself and find out.



Next up: My short story has been included in Shadows & Light Anthology 2017.  ‘Systems Within Systems’, a biomechanical history of the future, is nestled in with the works of other fantastic authors.  While I doubt I’ll get my next novel published this year, this will be my reminder to the world that I’m still here and still creating.  Wanna taste?  Sure you do.


‘The first child born with biomechanical parts caused an uproar the likes of which history had not often seen.  It did little good by that point though; we had gone too far for that.  After so long adding and grafting bionic devices to ourselves, nature took over. Simple things like auditory and ocular implants started it.  Then we went with fully robotic limbs and organs. Some did it to overcome deformities, for ease of use, or simply to get an advantage they felt somehow justified over others. It had become a rite of passage to get your first implant or robotic appendage. At one point it wasn’t simply unfashionable to lack cybernetics; people would take offence if you didn’t have at least a little something.

History is long but memory is short.  Bionics became second nature for so long that an unaltered person remained only in bored lessons from the past.  I’d like to say that it created new and differing complications for the human experience, but it didn’t.  Really they were the same complications in a different medium. Sure we had grown used to seeing people with cybernetic enhancements.  But they were elective, a decision. I suppose, in their own way, the practice could be seen as a mockery of humanity.  What we have now is humanity, or a new humanity, at least.  Instead of a mockery of it, it’s a mockery of what humanity had done to themselves.’


Read the rest by picking up a copy of Shadows & Light.

Remember kids: stay in school, don’t drink and drive, and support your locals arts.

#putalittleloveinyourheart weekend

-Update- Promotion is over.  Thanks to all those that supported it.

As part of the #putalittleloveinyourheart weekend, myself and other authors, are putting a title up for free.  This way we all have a chance to take a break, read a book, and regroup.  It’s been a rough few months, so why not? I’ve put Pale Winter Sun up for free this weekend.  Just put the hashtag in Facebook or Twitter to find other authors who are doing the same.  

Here is a list of the other participating authors.

Christian (The Protectors Book 1), L. Ann Marie – Pen Page http://a.co/74J1d0C        

Cupcakes & Kisses, Barbi Barnard http://mybook.to/C                

Collecting Scars, Tee Smith


Burning Suns: Conflagration (Book One), Lisa Wylie (Wyles77 Writes) https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/681292        

Swole: Chest Day, Author Golden Czermak http://myBook.to/Swole1        

Quiet Country (Satan’s Sinners M.C. Book 2), Author Colbie Kay http://amzn.com/B00YJW0G72        

With My Whole Heart, MariaLisa deMora http://getBook.at/WithMyWholeHeart        

Rocking Fate (Hells Fire MC Book 1), Author Erin Trejo http://amzn.to/2voYyL8        

Love Me Like You Do (Love Me Series Book 1), Jaime Russell, Author http://amzn.to/2xdW0ld        

Savage Fire #2, Savage Angels MC, Author Kathleen Kelly http://apple.co/1bUfYW8        

To Russia With Love: A Romantic Suspense Novel in the Countermeasure Series, Chris Almeida and Cecilia Aubrey https://www.amazon.com/dp/B008ND8EVI/        

Leaps of Faith, A. M. Leibowitz https://www.books2read.com/u/b5M2Zp        

Choose the eBook of your choice!, S. H. Pratt http://shpratt701.wixsite.com/books-by-s-h-pratt/books

Review – Cigarettes & Wine by J. E. Sumerau

Imagine the terror and exhilaration of a first sexual experience in a church where you could be caught at any moment. In Cigarettes & Wine, this is where we meet an unnamed teenage narrator in a small southern town trying to make sense of their own bisexuality, gender variance, and emerging adulthood. When our narrator leaves the church, we watch their teen years unfold alongside one first love wrestling with his own sexuality and his desire for a relationship with God, and another first love seeking to find herself as she moves away from town. Through the narrator’s eyes, we also encounter a newly arrived neighbor who appears to be an all American boy, but has secrets and pain hidden behind his charming smile and athletic ability, and their oldest friend who is on the verge of romantic, artistic, and sexual transformations of her own. Along the way, these friends confront questions about gender and sexuality, violence and substance abuse, and the intricacies of love and selfhood in the shadow of churches, families, and a small southern town in the 1990’s. Alongside academic and media portrayals that generally only acknowledge binary sexual and gender options, Cigarettes & Wine offers an illustration of non-binary sexual and gender experience, and provides a first person view of the ways the people, places, and narratives we encounter shape who we become. While fictional, Cigarettes & Wine is loosely grounded in hundreds of formal and informal interviews with LGBTQ people in the south as well as years of research into intersections of sexualities, gender, religion, and health. Cigarettes & Wine can be read purely for pleasure or used as supplemental reading in a variety of courses in sexualities, gender, relationships, families, religion, the life course, narratives, the American south, identities, culture, intersectionality, and arts-based research.

For those of us who lived in the 90’s, for those of us who came from smaller towns, for those of us that felt constricted with the need to hide our ‘strangeness’ from others, Cigarettes & Wine puts you right back there, ready or not. Our unnamed protagonist navigates their teen years dealing with love, friendship, sex, and growing up.

Nothing about adolescence is cut and dried, despite what we might think at the time.  It’s like stepping on eggshells in a minefield. Adding in issues of gender and identity only make it more difficult. Our narrator is unapologitic for who he is, which I think is putting a positive example out there for any youths reading this book. There is no sugar coating here: drinking, smoking, and sex happen; also heartbreak, elation, fear, and happiness.  These are all things that happen, and I think it’s an excellent thing to see portrayed honestly, and not demonized or glorified.  It’s also good to see the topic of poly relationships pop up.

The storytelling is solid and the narrative flows well. It definitely kept me interested. The fact that it is also a part of the Social Fictions Series, crafted from interviews and research, back it with authenticity.  I appreciated the fact that it also had topics of discussion and assignments for a classroom setting. It’s not just dealing with ‘LGBTQ+ subjects’ it’s dealing with people in all their various forms in different ways that can be gleaned from this story and its characters. Overall, Cigarettes & Wine is an enjoyable and thought provoking story that I highly recommend.

Buy here==>