NEWS: Wrapped In Black

Allison M. Dickson, anthology, horror, James Glass, NEWS, Patrick C. Greene, Sekhmet Press LLC, short stories, Solomon Archer PhD, Suzi M, Wrapped Anthologies, Wrapped Authors, Wrapped In Black

We are very proud to announce the contributors for

WRAPPED IN BLACK: Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

WrappedinBlack NEW COVERIt wasn’t easy to narrow down the fantastic submissions we received, but we think we’ve picked 13 amazing stories from 13 talented authors and we hope you will agree. 

Stay tuned for more links, interviews, excerpts, release date, cover reveal and more!

CLICK the NAMES to visit their Facebook Author pages.

Patrick C. Greene

Rose Blackthorn

James Glass

Aaron Gudmunson

Michael G. Williams

Eric Nash

Shenoa Carroll-Bradd

Mike Lester

Gregory L. Norris

Gordon White

Nick Kimbro

Solomon Archer

and Special Guest

Allison M. Dickson

Wrapped In Black – Coming this Fall!

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black witch hatThe submission window is closed and we are about to begin the reading process for

WRAPPED IN BLACK

 Thirteen Tales of Witches and the Occult

#13WitchTales

We received the largest submission response yet to one of our anthologies and hopefully that means we are doing something right! A big THANK YOU to everyone who submitted!

Check back here to keep up with the latest. We will announce the selected authors by the end of July. We will be sharing excerpts, author bios and interviews, and GIVEAWAYS! Bookmark SekhmetPress.com, LIKE us on Facebook, FOLLOW us on Twitter, and stalk us on Pinterest and Tumblr.

And don’t forget to check out our previous anthologies

Wrapped In Red

 Thirteen Tales of Vampiric Horror

and

Wrapped in White CoverWrapped In White

Thirteen Tales of Spectres, Ghosts, and Spirits

 

Thirteen Gossamer Shrouds of Woe and Weirdness

Allison M. Dickson, anthology, Ghosts, horror, horror short, Patrick C. Greene, Sekhmet Press LLC, Wrapped In White

 

wiw promo fb editNOW AVAILABLE!!

Amazon PAPERBACK
Amazon KINDLE

Other e-book retailers

Barnes & Noble
iTUNES
KOBO
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CreateSpace PAPERBACK

from the creators of  WRAPPED IN RED

WRAPPED IN WHITE

Thirteen Tales of Spectres, Ghosts, and Spirits

(meet the authors here)

Tragedy begets terror, then circles back on itself, and a cycle is born that ripples through the worlds of the living and dead eternally, until satisfied by love, tears–or blood…

The creators of Wrapped In Red have struck again, unfurling thirteen gossamer shrouds of woe and weirdness, laying bare the faces of fear that watch and wait in the shadows of cemeteries, the corners of ancient structures, the thoughts we wish we didn’t think . Some will crawl under your skin, some will batter you senseless with limitless otherworldly power, others will walk a line as thin as the veil between us and them.

Leave the lights on for this collection–but know that no precaution will keep its tales from haunting you even into the noonday sun…

CLICK to view on GOODREADS

Open Call * Submissions * Horror Anthology – CLOSED

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As we approach the March 25th release of

WRAPPED IN WHITE

wiw NEW COVER

Thirteen Tales of Spectres, Ghosts, and Spirits

Sekhmet Press is pleased to announce

our next anthology in the successful WRAPPED series!

wrapped in blackWRAPPED IN BLACK

Thirteen Tales

of

Witches and the Occult

Here is your chance to be a WRAPPED contributor!
We are very excited about this third anthology and we look forward to filling available slots through open-call submissions. You may submit your story as an attachment to sekhmetpress@gmail.com between May 18, 2014 and June 8, 2014. Contributors will be announced in July. Expected release date for Wrapped in Black is October 2014.
Original stories only please. No reprints.
Any submissions or inquiries sent anywhere other than sekhmetpress@gmail.com  will be deleted. Submissions received before or after open call dates will be deleted.
Stories should range from 2,500 to 5,000 words.
We are not looking for stories reflecting religious dogma.
In your email, make sure to include your full name, the title of the work you are submitting, and a word count.
A short Bio will be requested upon acceptance of story.
Please spend time proofing and editing your submissions before sending them. Submissions with incorrect grammar, misspellings or formatting will be automatically excluded from the review process. Those submissions that are accepted must be open to receiving minor editorial corrections.
If your story is chosen, pay rate is $0.01 per word, within 30 days of acceptance/signed contract and one paperback copy of WRAPPED IN BLACK within 90 days of publication. Publisher will retain first worldwide publication rights for one year from publication date.
Good luck

Submission Guidelines:

TITLE
Author Name
Word count
e-mail address

12pt Garamond or equivalent

Single Spaced

Do not use TAB key. New paragraphs should be formatted with a 0.3 indent.

Do not use symbols such as # or * between sections. A single blank space is sufficient.

Now go write a story!

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Spotlight On: Patrick C. Greene

anthology, Patrick C. Greene

STILL DYING 2 #zombies

ARMAND ROSAMILIA

patrick alley

SPOTLIGHT ON: Patrick C. Greene

 

What is the title of your story in Still Dying 2?

How Me And Bozy Became Dads

 

Quick description of it (no spoilers)

A road side inmate clean-up crew find themselves caught in the middle just as a plague takes hold of the city. Small time hoods Randall and Bozy find freedom—which just became worse than imprisonment.

 

Something unique about it.

Unexpectedly heartwarming? Filled with zombie loving? A brewing bromance? Yes and no to all of them. 

 

Your promo links.

http://fearwriter.wordpress.com/

 

Your short Bio.

 Some dark serendipity plopped a young Patrick C. Greene in front of a series of ever stranger films-and experiences-in his formative years, leading to a unique viewpoint. His odd interests have led to pursuits in film acting, paranormal investigation, martial arts, quantum physics, bizarre folklore and eastern philosophy. These elements flavor his screenplays and fiction works…

View original post 64 more words

Author Spotlight – Michael D. Matula

anthology, vampires, Wrapped Authors, Wrapped In Red

Michael David Matula

is the author of the short story

MY BOSS IS A VAMPIRE in the

NEW Vampire Anthology

WRAPPED IN RED

He is also the author of

 TRY NOT TO BURN

michael matula2

Excerpt from:

MY BOSS IS A VAMPIRE

“Well, Ms. Bailor, do you have any prior experience as a personal assistant?  Bartholomew Gannen expects a certain level of professionalism and know-how out of his employees.”

Cameron Bailor shrugged, the warm Louisiana air feeling stale in the mansion’s extravagant drawing room.  The whole place smelled of dust and antiques; almost like the mansion had hardly been lived in over the past century or two.

Mr. Haberson noticed her eyes wander down to the bandage plastered to his neck, half covered by the collar of his gray mock turtleneck.  Strangely, the bandage looked like it had been applied by a seven-year-old in the midst of a coughing fit.

Two rather distressing splotches of red had seeped through the gauze, and were starting to bleed into the fabric of his shirt.

Clearing his throat, Haberson shifted his backside in the premium leather of the lounge chair, angling his torso so his injury would be less noticeable.

“Not exactly,” Cameron replied, her eyes skipping back up to his face now that the seeping neck wound was hidden from view.  After looking at his sallow, droopy cheeks for a few seconds, she found herself starting to miss the neck wound.  “I can make a mean cup of coffee, though.  The kids I used to babysit for would absolutely rave about my cappuccinos.”

A frown drew his hangdog features even lower, looking like he’d just tasted something sour.  “I see.”

It took all of her restraint not to face-palm, as she could almost feel her ice-breaker falling flat and shattering the surface of the lake.

Why did she say that?  Why did she even attempt to crack a joke?  She wasn’t funny, not in the slightest.  She was the last person who should be cracking wise in the middle of a harrowing job interview.

Cameron could see him judging her in his bloodshot little eyes.  She couldn’t say she hadn’t been judging him from the moment she walked in the door, but still, it never felt particularly good to be on the receiving end of such withering contempt.

Should she tell him it was an attempt at humor?  That she wasn’t actually a caffeine pusher for toddlers?  Or would that be an insult to his intelligence?  Perhaps he knew it was a joke, and he was simply judging Cameron for her poor comedic timing.

“Do you mind if I ask…” she started to say, hoping to switch his mind off of her own shortcomings as a comedian and onto something he’d prefer thinking about.

Namely, himself.  Men loved talking about themselves.  If there was one thing she knew about men, that was it.

Except for when they had something to hide, of course.

“…what happened to your neck?” she finished asking, realizing the folly of her ways the moment the lead-laced words had fallen onto what remained of the proverbial ice.

She couldn’t help but wince at his complete lack of an expression.

“I’d rather not talk about it,” he grunted.

Of course he didn’t want to talk about it.  It was the one thing he’d been hoping she wouldn’t notice.  Why couldn’t she have asked him about the weather or something equally bland and unalienating?  Why couldn’t she have complimented him on his fashion sense?  No, that might have actually made him like her.

After all, he probably injured himself in some sort of kinky asphyxiation thing, and no one wanted to discuss their deviant sexual practices with a total stranger.  Much less a pushy twenty-six-year-old who seemed to be unable to keep her mouth shut.

Mr. Haberson sighed.  “Ms. Bailor, I’m sure you know that Bartholomew Gannen is a very important man.  He may have retired from the limelight, but he still requires a capable, sturdy individual to fend off negative press and overeager fans.  He needs someone who is willing to work long daytime hours, and someone who doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty.  Do you really think you would be capable of handling these responsibilities?”

Cameron tried to pull herself together.  He was still talking to her.  That was a good sign, wasn’t it?  At least he hadn’t grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and tossed her sorry derriere out onto the regal front porch of the mansion.

She still had a fighting chance.  And she still had four full “release-in-case-of-emergency” buttons to go through on the blouse.  She had undone the first one in the car.  She’d wanted that casual look.

The second button would show that she could be playful.  She wasn’t desperate enough to release button number two yet, but she was getting there.

If she undid button number three, it would show that she could be saucy.  A real firecracker.  A fourth button would cross the line into epic levels of inappropriateness.  But she might still get the job.

She’d never had to go four full buttons before.  She knew the day would have to come eventually, though.

“Absolutely.”  Cameron’s mousy voice did its best to sound confident.

“Interesting.”

Interesting?

“I must admit, Ms. Bailor,” Mr. Haberson continued, “that I’m somewhat short on time this afternoon.  Today was the only day I could interview replacements for my job in person, for I’ll be unable to work days following tonight.”

“Um-hm.”  There you go, Cam.  Smile and nod.  Keep eye contact.  Don’t look at the gross sex bandage…

All right.  Well, don’t look at it again.

“It saddens me to say,” he told her with substantial hesitation, “that you’ve got the job, Ms. Bailor.”

Cameron flashed her best “deer in the face of blinding headlights” look.

“Really?  This isn’t some sort of joke, is it?”

“It saddens me to say,” he added, with just as much hesitation as before, “that it is not.  We haven’t had many applicants for the position, and I find myself unable to wait for anyone else.  If Mr. Gannen is not satisfied with your work, then he’ll deal with you later.”  Haberson cleared his throat.  “He’ll hire someone later, I should say.”

“Sure.”

She actually got the job?  Seriously?  With only one button undone?

She must be better at this whole interview thing than she thought.

Mr. Haberson knitted his fingers together.  “I must insist that you begin working immediately, however, as there is much you need to do, and I have limited time before the dawn arrives on the morrow.”  He inclined his head toward the rather fusty coffee table to his left.  “Your job responsibilities have been printed on the parchment there.  Mr. Gannen has been somewhat… quiet, shall we say, over the last few days, so I took an educated guess at what some of his needs would be.  If you require anything, try my mobile phone.  The number’s at the top of the page.  My flight’s at three o’clock this afternoon, though, so you may have some difficulty reaching me after that.”

So, two and a half hours from now.  Well, that should give her enough time to look over

the list and see if she…

“It’s settled, then.”  Haberson unfurled his fingers and rose to his feet, extending his right hand toward Cameron.  “Welcome aboard, Ms. Bailor.  Do strive to do your best, whatever that amounts to in your particular case, as Mr. Gannen is rather quick to do away with incompetents.”

She accepted his hand, too giddy about the fact she just got the job to concern herself with the heavy-handed dose of condescension.

He grunted daintily as he lifted up his suitcase, then started to power walk through the mansion toward the entrance hall.

“You’re leaving already?” she asked his rapidly retreating form.

“You know how the rat race can get,” he called back to her as the door creaked open.  “Busy busy busy.”

The door slammed shut behind him.

She waited to hear the tires squeal as he raced away in madcap cartoon fashion, but the walls and blacked-out windows of the mansion were much too thick to allow for it.

With him gone, Cameron finally allowed herself to take her first real gander around the place.  She hadn’t wanted to look like she was casing the joint in front of Haberson before.

As antiquated as it was, the mansion was still quite impressive, absolutely dripping with Southern charm and class.  Aside from Mr. Gannen’s apparent love of doilies, that was, as it looked like he had allowed his great grandmother to decorate the place.

“You’ve finally made it, Cam,” she said, talking to herself and referring to herself by name, which was by no means the mark of a crazy person.  “Actual, honest-to-goodness employment.  A career, if I can keep from screwing things up like I normally do.”

No more selling electronics of varying legality out of the trunk of her car.

Nope, she was in an actual building this time.  A mansion.  The kind of house that little houses wished they could be when they grew up. READ MORE

______________________________________

Michael Matula is a novelist and story writer from Chicago, IL. He was born on a Friday the 13th, which could explain some of the darker themes in his writing. He once dreamed of becoming a comic artist, sketching pictures and caption bubbles in class when he really should have been studying. Unable to draw fast enough to keep up with all the words and images tumbling in his head, he started writing stories based on his characters instead. He ended up falling in love with writing and never really looked back.

The INTERVIEW with Fiona

Name Michael Matula

Age  35

Where are you from

I was born and raised in the Chicago area.

A little about yourself `ie your education Family life etc.

There isn’t too much to say.  I went to Glenbard North High School, enjoy watching movies when I can scrape up the time, and I find that I’m getting more obsessive-compulsive as each day goes by.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

My latest short story, “My Boss is a Vampire,” will be appearing in Wrapped in Red, the new anthology from Sekhmet Press, on October 29th.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I always wanted to be a comic book artist.  I wrote and drew my own comics as a teenager, usually during study hall, but occasionally during classes.  But I had too many ideas for the stories, and I couldn’t draw fast enough to keep up with everything I wanted to do.  Nor could I quite match the images that I was seeing in my mind.  So I wrote out a side story for one of my characters, and I never really looked back after that.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

Pretty much right away.  I finished writing my first book in high school.  Looking back, it wasn’t very well-written, and I’d probably die of embarrassment if anyone read it now, but I still hold a lot of the characters and the story very close to my heart, and I hope to one day rewrite it.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your story?

I had an idea for a woman who was not too dissimilar to me.  She’s struggling to find work, doing lots of odd jobs while trying to be a writer in an age where print is dead.  And basically, every job she takes goes wrong somehow, though she would never admit to it ever being her own fault.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I mostly just write the story as the character, placing myself in their heads as much as possible, and whatever they would think is usually how I tell it.  I always think that the key to writing is to find characters you like.  Then, the characters do most of the heavy lifting for you.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I think I had the title before I actually wrote the story, which is often how I do things.  A good title can give you inspiration for the story, and makes me excited to write it.

Fiona: Is there a message in your story that you want readers to grasp?

Be wary of kids who learn voodoo curses off the internet.  You might have career trouble later in life.

Fiona: How much of the story is realistic?

Not much, if I’m being honest.  It’s part parody, part suspense, and hopefully all fun.  If any parts of it are realistic, then it’s probably unintentional.

Fiona: What books have influenced your life most?

Sunglasses After Dark was one of the books that made me want to be a writer.  That, and the Wheel of Time series, along with some of Michael Crichton’s books.

Fiona: What are your current projects?

I just completed the sequel to my first novel, Try Not To Burn, which is about three people struggling to escape eternal damnation and redeem their sins.  It’s part suspense, part psychological thriller, and part monster movie.

Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

A teacher I had in elementary school, Mrs. McArdle, pushed me to join an advanced program, which may have helped steer me into a creative path.  I also remember one time that I was supposed to write down an answer to a question “What’s one thing you do better than anyone else?” It was supposed to just be a fun thing, a throwaway question, but I didn’t have an answer, as I’ve never felt particularly special.  So I asked her, and she said I was better at making her laugh than anyone else.  It was something that will always stick with me, and it was one of the first times as a kid that I’d ever felt like I mattered.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

I’d love it to be.  There’s nothing I’d rather do full-time than write. READ MORE

Author Spotlight – Mark Parker

anthology, short stories, vampires, Wrapped Authors, Wrapped In Red

Mark Parker is the author of the short story

 THE SCARLET GALLEON in the

NEW Vampire Anthology

WRAPPED IN RED

He is also the author of WAY OF THE WITCH and HALLOWEEN NIGHT

mark parker headshot

Excerpt from:

THE SCARLET GALLEON

ADRIFT – 1634 A.D., Somewhere off the Coast of Spain

The Orenta has been at sea for so many days, my crew has nearly lost count.  Days melt into nights, nights bleed back into days, until sunlight, starlight, and moonlight together, have become one relentless fabric of waning hope. Teasing us like an all-too-distant mirage. Tempting the weak of heart, and causing even further suspicion, in the minds of those seafaring souls who have lived long and hard enough – to not be misled by the beguiling vixens that are the celestial bodies above.

Santos Consuega, Captain of the Orenta, had all but run out of excuses to offer his men for all this maddening drifting they’d been forced to endure.  The war had not been kind to the Orenta.  Her sails had been irreparably damaged by round after round of cannon fire, and her two main masts were listing – much like the Captain’s own flagging spirits.  And, if that wasn’t enough, night was once again upon them.In deep, velvety folds, the night air stood deft and infernal around the Orenta, much like the abysmal nothingness of Hell itself, had only the Fates been merciful enough to deliver the vessel and her bereft crew to its obsidian shores.

But alas – as of yet – it had not.

Rather, Consuega and his men had been consigned to this earthly hell of supposition, knowing full well that land must be out there somewhere…perhaps neither close nor far…but surely within enough proximity to keep the Captain’s mind from forever guessing of its whereabouts.

If only I could deliver the galleon and my crew to the hope of some distant shore by the fanciful endeavor of imagining it so.

 In his despair, Consuega knew nothing could be further from the truth.

Even now he found himself wondering if he and his men would ever see land again.  But then, as if in answer to his unarticulated question – not yet voiced to the entombed silence of the listless night around him – came a clamorous sound that all but tore the night in two.  It was as if the stalwart crust of the earth itself had somehow risen up through countless fathoms to meet the vessel’s sea-ravaged bow, just as the wayward warship’s bulk came to a sudden and hull-shearing halt beneath Consuega’s own uncertain footing.

The mind-rending thought was like a sulfurous thing; exploding and re-exploding in the Captain’s mind until he was able to wrap the breadth of his well-schooled intellect around the enormity of the matter.  The Orentahis Orenta – had run aground under the blackened veil of night.

Once the sky-splitting cacophony of the vessel’s grounding had subsided, all the creaks and growls gradually put to rest, there came a moment of the most unnerving silence, the likes of which Consuega had never before encountered.  Such voluminous silence caused the Captain’s already unsteady mind to question whether the grounding had occurred at all.

Despite the caustic heat of his surroundings, the air in Consuega’s lungs had frozen.  His mind was a jumble; thoughts colliding one into the other.  He desperately fought to seize upon anything that might help stabilize his battle weary mind and reconnect him to at least some sort of rooted truth.

Try as he might, Consuega couldn’t find a single thing to latch onto.  Not one moment’s worth of consolation to stave off his most disparaging of fears.  There was no vestige of reprieve to glean strength from, nothing to rightly exorcise the thrashing tangle of demons that assaulted him from all sides; tearing at his weakened will with their most tortuous of tests.

The Orenta’s grounding was a fate he and his crew would be forced to endure together, just as they had so much since first departing from their beloved Spain all those months ago.

Although the Orenta boasted a crew of a hundred men or more, Consuega had never felt more alone in his life.  Such deafening silence threatened to undo him at any moment.  A solitary soul adrift on a sea of malignant isolation; a man desperate to find his way home.

In the expanse of a single well-drawn breath, the Captain could feel the weight of his current predicament seated upon his chest, as if the Orenta itself had somehow been hoisted upon him – the weight threatening to crush the very life out of him where he stood.

The warship’s waywardness had been dreadful enough, to be sure, but it was his orders alone that had caused the vessel to veer so completely off course, to encounter grounding as it had.  With the supine expanse of blackened night draped over them like a moisture-laden funeral pall, it was as if they were already dead. READ MORE

_______________________________________

Mark Parker was born in the Midwest, but has lived all over the country, partly while serving in the United States Navy.  For much of his life, he has called coastal New England home—a place rich in literary history—with authors such as Melville, Lovecraft, Poe, Hawthorne, and King, to influence his own mixed brand of horror, suspense, and mystery fiction.

The INTERVIEW with Fiona

Name: Mark Parker

Age: 50

Location: Boston, Massachusetts

Tell us a little about yourself (education, family life, etc.)

I studied at Boston College and hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, and two years towards my Master’s Degree in Theology.

Share some of your latest news.

I recently debuted on Amazon with two short pieces of fiction.  First one is what I would term a “quiet little vampire story” titled BIOLOGY OF BLOOD.  Second, a short “psychosexual-thriller” titled LUCKY YOU.

When and why did you begin writing?

I first began writing when I was twelve or thirteen.  I remember creating a neat little story titled THE ICE CREAM MAN.  My mother loved it and encouraged me to “keep on with it.”  She even bought me a manual typewriter that I clunked away on for years.  The thing was my prized possession, and I was elated to have it.  I remember the story had quite a frightening premise that I still think would make for a cool read today.  And I guess I first knew I wanted to write, when I came across a blood-splattered mass market edition of Stephen King’s CARRIE in 1974 or so.  I think it must’ve been the movie-tie in that had Sissy Spacek on the cover.  It wasn’t so much the story itself that made me want to write—or even the fact that it was horror—but rather that a world could be created with words, and could exist between the foil-lettered covers.  I can remember thinking that was very cool.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?

That’s a tough one.  I’ve had people tell me “Writer’s write, so therefore you’re a writer.”  But I guess it was when I first saw my stories go live on Amazon, that it all began to sink in.  I might’ve even said to myself, “Okay, now it’s real…you’re officiallya writer.”  That’s big, heady stuff for someone who’s been dreaming about such a day all his life.  Part of me still thinks I won’t really believe it all until my work is represented by an agent and published by one of the BIG New York publishers.  I supposed if that day ever comes, I’ll know I’ve truly arrived.

What inspired you to write your first book?

The first book I ever wrote was a literary thriller titled FOR THE SAKE OF THE STORY.  I remember it beginning with the question: “How far would you go to get published?” That line was the inspiration for the story and kept me thinking it would be cool if a has-been author met up with a cocky (but talented) young Turk, who might just possibly reinvigorate his waning career and help put him back ON TOP if the two were to collaborate on a project that might even become a bestseller.  I still want to write and publish that novel.  I think it might need to undergo a title change however.  Perhaps something simple like THE COLLABORATION or THE BESTSELLER.  I’m open to title suggestions.

Do you have a specific writing style?

I have been told by some that I have an “old world” style.  What I feel about my writing is that while I aim to entertain, chill, and even terrify, I tend to do it all in an admittedly “quieter” way than most.  In my opinion subtlety is a lost art and is very effective if done right.  I have always loved stories like Shirley Jackson’s THE LOTTERY for that very reason; the creep-up-on-you factor I guess you would say.  That is the way I write or the style I tend to most readily implement.  I have a very diverse taste in stories, which is either a plus or minus.  I am interested in writing all kinds of stories, but they most definitely need to have that unexpected element to them; the twist at the end.  When I’m reading a story or a novel, the puzzle is everything for me.  If there isn’t anything for me to figure out or discover for myself, I’m simply not engaged.  An opening with the proverbial hook is what I love and do my best to strive for when beginning a story.  For some reason straight fiction doesn’t hold my interest very much.  Slice of life stories are okay, but again they have to have that element of shock or surprise.  I am most interested in the horror, mystery, and suspense genres, and have most particularly been influenced by the literary works of Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Shirley Jackson—and even the classic works of writers like Melville, Dickens, Poe, and Hawthorne.  I’m currently working on a series of whaling mystery chapbooks that are written in an “old world” gaslight dock style, and have American whaling as their atmospheric backdrop.  For me atmosphere is extremely important.  I oftentimes find myself drawn to a story’s setting as much, if not more, than I am to its plot.  For me, mood is essential. READ MORE

Author Spotlight – Brian D. Mazur

anthology, short stories, Wrapped Authors, Wrapped In Red

Brian D. Mazur is the author of the short story

SHATTERING GLASS in the

NEW Vampire Anthology

WRAPPED IN RED

He is also the author of the short story DUMAINE in the anthology Dying to Live.

Brian D. Mazur

Excerpt from:

SHATTERING GLASS

It was the second time that Harry Kirkland’s life had changed; it was also the last. It began with a knock at the door as he sat watching the news, a human-interest story. The knock was light, but authoritative. It was a small hand he decided, shuffling to the door.

Rap music boomed from somewhere in the condominium complex, greeting Harry and ushering in a pair of women standing on his front stoop. The older of the two was an attractive woman, about thirty-five or so, he guessed. Her brown hair, short, swept across her forehead, trimmed neatly framed around ears that displayed silver earrings in the shape of feathers that sparkled in the setting sun. She wore a dress brushed with the colors of the rainbow. Her eyes were emerald green and she greeted Harry through a Mary Tyler Moore smile with big gleaming teeth.

Next to her stood a young woman, about the older woman’s height, but not so effervescent in her appearance. She was thin, hollow cheeked, rather morose as she stared at Harry with dull, lifeless eyes. Her hair was straight, dull brown, well past her shoulders, lying lightly on a dress that was too big and seemed as if it should have the same design as her companion’s, but like her, lacked color, life. She hung on almost desperately to the older woman, her right arm intertwined with the woman’s left, hand clutched tightly into her companions until her knuckles were white, her left hand grasping the woman’s upper arm.

Harry thought that he’d seen them before.

“Hello,” the older woman said, brightly, her free arm extended in greeting. “My name is Jennifer Warston. This is my daughter Melissa. We moved into the complex a short time ago. We’ve been so busy that we haven’t had time to introduce ourselves.”

Harry realized that he was still staring at the young woman. He found that looking into Melissa’s eyes a little longer that, yes, he had seen them before. They’d moved in about three months back. It was as if they were just suddenly here. There had been no moving van of any kind. None of the activity normally associated with moving. They had just been . . . here.

“I’m sorry. Harry Kirkland.”  He shook her hand. “Welcome to the neighborhood. Actually, I think that introductions should have been my responsibility. I have seen you and your daughter around but neglected to introduce myself.”

She didn’t respond, only smiling a very pretty smile.

“Won’t you come in for a moment?” he stepped back and swung the door open wider. “If you don’t mind the bachelor’s ambiance that  . . .”

Jennifer shook her head vigorously, her earrings dancing with slivers of sunlight off its metal.

“No, no, no, thank you anyway. Melissa and I have to get to the grocery store. We just came by to introduce ourselves and to invite you to dinner tomorrow night at our place. Number twenty-four.”  She turned and pointed back across the court.

Harry glanced quickly to Melissa, who was staring blindly, still clutching at her mother as if she were about to be taken away forever. He looked back to Jennifer who was still smiling.

“Can you make it, Harry?”

Harry considered the invitation for a moment and the twinge of guilt that rode with his thoughts. He hadn’t realized his devotion to Lois was still so strong, but there it was.

It came at first, the changing of his life, in total silence. It greeted him, as he stood in the entranceway of the old Victorian, unmoving; the house vibrating with what was not in the air. When he came home, he would always hear Lois singing in the kitchen as she cooked. That night being their fortieth anniversary, he had expected her to be singing loud and clear with that alto warbling voice of hers.

“Lois?” he called out.

He placed his lunch bag on the little table between the umbrella stand and a fifty-year-old cherry wood coat tree. His gaze skidded along the immaculately polished wood floor of the short hallway ahead, to the kitchen door at the end. A yellowish white glow around the doorjamb reflected white pools on the floor and on the thirty years of memories that covered the walls on either side.

He stepped forward with some hesitation. Something wasn’t right. It was too quiet.  READ MORE

____________________________

In the summer of 2009, Brian’s short story “Raven and the Darkness” appeared in Horror Bound’s anthology Return of the Raven.  2011 saw “What She Dreams” in another Horror Bound publication, Fear of the Dark. In 2012 his short story, “Home Coming”, was published in Wicked East Press’, Behind Locked Doors and from Jaletta Celgg & Frances Pauli, the weedy anthology Wandering Weeds: Tale of Rabid Vegetation, is his horror/dark fantasy influenced, “Oh, Dark Tumbleweed”. The last twenty years have seen numerous publications in smaller press magazines as well.

Brian also leads a local writing group of no specific genre, from which evolved his first public reading, June 2013.

Author Spotlight – Justine Dimabayao

anthology, vampires, Wrapped Authors, Wrapped In Red

Justine Dimabayao

 is the author of the short story

BORN OF THE EARTH

in the

NEW Vampire Anthology

WRAPPED IN RED

justine headshot

Excerpt from:

BORN OF THE EARTH

The pebbled balustrade is cool against my hands, which look ghostly against the moonlight. The moon at the zenith is waxing–due to reach fullness by tomorrow. Like myself, my family’s vineyard–at least, what is left of it–is practically a ghost of its former self. The leaves have fallen, and the branches have shriveled up.

I close my eyes and inhale the nocturnal air. I could almost smell those fresh grapes as my family’s employees picked them bunch by bunch. Then I imagine daylight glowing through my eyelids as I oversee this vineyard myself.

Mama would have been proud. Or perhaps not–she was conventional, to say the least.

My family ran a vineyard in Cotnari, Bukovina, and we were considerably wealthy. Being the only daughter among seven children, I had little idea of what was to become of me. My mother was contented with having a man to support her and sons to follow their father’s footsteps. Unfortunately, I shared my brothers’ adventurous spirit.

Time and again, I would listen in the shadows of our mansion as my oldest brothers bragged about how many women they had taken and the youngest ones dreamed about going across the Carpathian Mountains to see the rest of Romania and if they could, cross the Black Sea and explore Constantinople before sailing into the Aegean.

Every other time, my mother would find me in the hallway leading to the bar and reprimand me, claiming that what I heard from my brothers was not meant for a lady’s ears. Often, she would pull me out of the dark and put me back in my bright bedroom. She would put me in front of the mirror and brush my luxuriant golden locks. In order to take my brothers’ ambitions off my head, she would praise my beauty and call it my greatest asset.

“You are lucky, Aranka,” she would tell me. “Most girls are happy to have one man running after them. But you will have many. You will be free to choose which one would make the best husband. He will provide for you, as your father has done for me. You will never have to work or worry. …”

My mother’s words were prophetic: as soon as I turned fifteen, boys of varying degrees of boldness offered me almost everything from love notes to jewelry in exchange for my attention and companionship. Having many suitors made me rather pleased with myself. For the first time, I truly acknowledged how beautiful I was. For once, my parents and the household servants weren’t the only ones telling me so. No matter how much I dreaded seeing myself as a wife doing nothing but admire her husband’s marvelous work, I liked being pampered. I delighted in being showered with gifts and compliments–by rich and handsome young men, no less.

In return, I did my best to be a respectable young lady. My mother taught me everything I needed to know about etiquette. Learning punctilious manners was exceedingly boring, but I practiced them all in my eagerness for favor. My father, on the other hand, valued intelligence as much as manners; he would instruct me to read one or two books every week. He would make me read everything from the Bible to Romantic novels. I found this activity surprisingly enjoyable. I liked reading anthologies of Slavic myths the most. Once or twice, when I would join my three youngest brothers in exploring the forest, I would imagine Rusalka waiting for us in muddy ponds, or the hauntingly beautiful Iele dancing among the trees. We were also careful not to stay out past sunset. Vampires were not easy to hide from; they were also talented shape-shifters; they could appear harmless or enticing if they pleased. They could appear as the mist settled on the forest floor, the shadows between the trees, or the bats hovering over our heads. READ MORE


 

Born April 16, 1988, Justine Dimabayao came into the world with a flair for the arts. An introverted bibliophile who grew up in an Air Base in the Philippines and was educated in a Catholic school, Justine was exposed to a wide array of reading materials. It was not until she saw Bram Stoker’s Dracula when she was 7 years old and read the movie’s source material when she was 13 that she became fond of vampires and the mythology surrounding them. Inspired by Stephen King and J.K. Rowling, Justine aspires to be a novelist.

The INTERVIEW with Fiona

Name: Justine Dimabayao

Age: 25

Where are you from: Philippines

A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect

I’ve always been artistically inclined. I am lucky to belong in a family that encourages my penchant for the arts. The Catholic school I was educated in also encouraged my talents for drawing and writing. I was raised bilingual (English is the second language), and by the time I was in elementary school, I was among the best to express myself in English. I also love drawing and singing, and I’m also pretty good at both.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news?

I’m currently working on my first novel. It’s been in progress since I was about 13 years old. I’m glad I didn’t hurry too much to get it published; it’s gone through several revisions at this point, each better than the last.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

I’ve had a good grasp at writing with good grammar in both English and Filipino by elementary school, but I didn’t know I can make a career out of writing until I was 11 or 12, when my best friend encouraged me to write Harry Potterfan fiction.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I decided to make an original works of fiction.

Fiona: What inspired you to write your story?

“Born of the Earth” is actually part of a larger story telling the life of the blonde “bride” living with Count Dracula in his castle. It was initially my response to the whole Twilight craze, but when the pop culture obsession with vampire fiction died out on its own, it’s just simply my take on the vampire mythos and my expression for my love of vampire fiction.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?

I don’t quite know how to describe my writing style. My writing style can shift slightly depending on the setting and/or the main character. However, I make it a point to strike a balance between simple and concise and elegant and elaborate.

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I am fond of the version of vampirism where the new vampire literally rises from the grave, so I used that image in the story itself. “Born of the Earth” is also a reference to the main character’s name Aranka, which means “golden.” It comes from the same etymology (aurum) as the names Aurelius, Aurelio, and Aurelia. READ MORE

WRAPPED IN RED: Thirteen Tales of Vampiric Horror

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Wrapped In Red Master PromoThirteen crimson concoctions sure to tempt your teeth,

from the ancient to the modern,

from the Carpathian Mountains

to the Atlantic Ocean

to the Wild West,

you are sure to find your… type –

Wrapped In Red.

13 Authors.

13 Stories.

Unlimited Vampire Nightmares.

Sekhmet Press Logo 2013

Presents

MASTER eBook Cover

“Wrapped in Red is an anthology that includes not one or two great stories, but all thirteen stories in this collection are strong and well written. These vampires are old school, without a bit of sparkling in sight, for which I was truly grateful. From authors I love (i.e., Billie Sue Mosiman, Patrick Green, Suzi M and Chantal Noordeloos) to authors I’ve never read before, I enjoyed every story in this book.

Just plain good old fashioned horror, well written, well edited and worth a read. When I was asked to review this by the publisher, I wasn’t really sure. But in the end, I sat down and read the entire collection in a day, so if that isn’t a collection worth a 5 star rating, I’m not sure what is.” Kat Yares Vine™ Voice reviewer.