#BookReview of #Horror #Anthology – Dark Visions – Compiled and edited by Dan Alatorre

Marje, author and blogger at mjmallon.com blog has written a lovely review of Dark Visions horror anthology. I have two short stories in this anthology that includes 34 stories by 27 authors.

M J Mallon YA/Paranormal Author

This second installment of The Box Under the Bed series, Dark Visions, is filled with strange and creepy stories sure to keep your heart racing. Enter into a dark world of the macabre, the mystical and the malevolent, featuring 33 spine tingling tales that just may keep you up at night. Edited and compiled by Amazon bestselling author Dan Alatorre, this anthology of horror stories brings together the minds and pens of twenty seven authors:

34 stories by 27 authors. A few bestselling authors on that list, and quite a few prize winning authors.

Prologue: Now Comes Death, part one
1. The Corner Shop – Dan Alatorre
2. The Stranger – Allison Maruska
3. The Right Time To Move On – Jenifer Ruff
4. Devil’s Hollow – Adele Marie Park
5. Where The Black Tree Grows – MD Walker
6. The Storm – J A Allen
7. The…

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#NewBook #Authorinterview – Academic Curveball by James J. Cudney

Author James J. Cudney has a new book available today, Academic Curveball. I have already pre-ordered my copy and expecting delivery very soon. It really does sound exciting.

In honour of the exciting occasion of a new “book baby”, Michael and I have invited Jay over for an author interview.

Tell us a bit about yourself and how you became an author

If there were ever a picture of a regular guy in the dictionary, I think it’d be me. We all have our talents, best features, positive traits, but we also have a few on the other side of that coin. When I add it all up, I just feel normal across the board. I like being normal because it gives me an ability to see, connect with, and interpret a huge variety of things in life. I’m an only child which I think shaped a lot about who I am today. I’m generally very quiet and introspective. I tend to look for like-minded people but also for approval on anything I do. I like to fit in and see the more positive sides of life and people.

This is a picture of Jay. I don’t think he looks ordinary at all.

When I’m not writing, I am usually researching, reading, watching television, or hanging out with Baxter (my dog). I have a few other hobbies (genealogy, cooking, gym) to keep me entertained, but ultimately, I’m such a creature of habit (90% of the time, the other 10% can be wild!) that it’s quite predictable where I am or what I’m doing. Writing became a way to express all those things in my head that I wasn’t personally experiencing. Whether it was the dynamics in a large family or a web of deception and mystery, images and stories flood my head constantly. I will never lack for ideas, just the time to write and edit them into discrete novels and posts for people to read. When I quit my job in 2016 to take a step back from a very complex and time-consuming career, I went back to my roots and started creating things using my words and imagination. Before I knew it, I had a whole novel ready to go and shared it with a few online readers who knew not even my real name. From there, confidence increased and the book improved, and within a year, I had found a publisher willing to take a risk on me.

This is a picture of Baxter – isn’t he cute?

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Where do your ideas for your books come from i.e. personal experience or pure imagination

It’s probably a combination of both, but it always starts out as pure imagination. A character or a plot appears, then I just download into an outline. From there, distinct people take shape. That’s when I’ll incorporate real-life experiences into dialog, setting, and narrative. Often it’s a tidbit of a conversation I overheard, or a personality trait from someone in my life that we all joke about. In the end, I want only to make people laugh and relax.

Have you always like writing

I have. Writing is a general term for me. There’s fiction and non-fiction, creative and business, etc. Within writing, there is the creative side and the formulaic side, e.g. editing, proofreading, consistency, etc. I’m very strong at creating ideas and characters, mapping out scenes from chapter to chapter, and coming up with imagery to transport readers into a setting. But I can get caught up in the semantics and technical aspects, e.g. ‘had gone’ versus ‘went,’ inclusion or exclusion of ‘that,’ at al. I do not like that part of writing because it’s often difficult to please people. That’s why I love working with an editor who can handle all of that for me!

How do you market your books

My publisher handles Amazon, BookBub, and a few other areas like that. They’re fantastic at finding new readers through those avenues. I mostly handle social media and blogs by sharing when I have free or discounted promotions available or if I’m telling everyone the status of a new book. I need to do more of it because it’s a 24/7 activity in today’s age. I try to review everything I receive on social media or the blog in the morning and again in late afternoon. I used to have more time to chat but that’s slowly had to be capped in order to have enough time to write and market.

As a writer who just had his one year anniversary of being published (10/8), I am still building fans and followers. Part of my approach is about sharing my writing, but it’s also about connecting through the 150 book reviews I write each year and by reading other social media sites and blogs to find people I have things in common with. It’s a balance between just being yourself / letting it happen naturally versus being proactive to search out readers. If I had a team of marketing specialists, I’d let them handle it, but I’m still new and early in this career, so I have to stay very hands on and connect with people myself. I enjoy it, so it works out all around.

Where do you see yourself in five years time

From a literary standpoint, I’d like to be in a place where I have a core group of readers and followers who support my work enough that I do not have to work full-time in a different career. I intend to publish 1 stand-alone novel each year and 2 to 3 smaller books in my mystery series each year. I want to have a variety of options because I read and write in different genres, and hopefully there is cross-over because my style and voice are what people like most. I also would like to help other new writers as I grow and move forward, work with folks in the publishing industry on marketing and advertising for books, and attend conferences and award programs. Outside of the book world, I hope everything keeps going as well as it is, so all my friends, family, and loved ones are happy. I’m likely to be out of the NYC area in five years to gain more space and less expenses!

Academic Curveball

The Blurb

When Kellan Ayrwick returns home for his father’s retirement from Braxton College, he finds a dead body in Diamond Hall’s stairwell.

Unfortunately, Kellan has a connection to the victim, and so do several members of his family. Could one of them be guilty of murder? Soon after, the college’s athletic program receives mysterious donations, a nasty blog denounces his father and someone attempts to change students’ grades.

Someone is playing games on campus, but none of the facts add up. With the help of his eccentric and trouble-making nana, Kellan tries to stay out of the sheriff’s way. And if that wasn’t enough already, his own past comes spiraling back to change his life forever.

In the debut novel in the Braxton Campus Mysteries Series, you’ll discover a cozy, secluded Pennsylvania village full of quirky, sarcastic and nosy residents.

Purchase Academic Curveball

Link up with James J. Cudney

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/James-J.-Cudney/e/B076B6PB3M/ref=dp_byline_cont_ebooks_1

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JamesJCudneyIVAuthor/?eid=ARA-fCOYDbGbxEd-WpNzCysn-7UMGzT8Sla_38iEifGn_4ov9uWiWuF5GdiY5NBJrT1nczaBoDpf1W3v

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jamescudney4

#Sundaystills – Texture is all around us

Terri Webster Schrandt has a weekly Sunday Stills photography challenge.

I don’t consider myself to be a photographer of much note so I don’t participate that often but this week the topic was textures:

“This week’s Sunday Stills Photography challenge is all about texture. Textures occur both in nature and in human-made materials, and it all around us. A random photo of a mundane item can yield extraordinary textures you might not have noticed with just the naked eye.” You can join in the challenge here: https://secondwindleisure.com/2018/10/14/sunday-stills-texture-is-all-around-us/

If you were a baker, could you resist a topic like that?

Today, I iced the giant fruit cake for my mom’s 80th birthday party next Saturday. I attached twelve of the fondant flowers I have made to date – Sir Chocolate has been really busy!

I made the last twenty hibiscus flowers for the cake. I use a shell tool and a ball tool to give them the texture of real flowers. I rolled the center pieces in yellow-coloured sugar to give them a rough texture.

I made a red velvet cake and a chocolate and vanilla marble cake as the last two layers for the five-tier cake. The texture of the red cake batter and the baked chocolate and vanilla marble cake is very different.

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Last but not least, last week I made a rag doll cake. Her hair and dress had some interesting textures that I created with butter icing.

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#SOCS – Precious

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When I was a young girl, we were asked to do a school project on birthstones. I am a Pisces star sign and a bit of research revealed that my birthstone was an amethyst. I was very disappointed. Other star signs had, what seemed to me then, much better birthstones than mine. One friend had the pearl and another, the diamond. An amethyst was only a semi-precious stone with little monetary value. I was sad that I was a Pisces.

As I grew older I came to recognise the value of some of my Piscean traits. People born in late February and early March are dreamers. We see the world through rose coloured spectacles, rarely seeing the bad in anything. This quality has served me well over the years during periods when I had to deal with chronically ill children, a mother enduring chemotherapy and other breast cancer treatments and during times of anxiety in other aspects of my life.

Pisces people are also known to be very devoted to the important people in their lives. I know this trait comes out very strongly in my relationships with my parents, husband and children. They are very precious to me and, my mother in particular, has always sat upon the golden throne of my adoration. My mother can do little wrong in my eyes and I go into a complete tailspin when she is ill. My two sons sit upon similar puffy white clouds although I do try to be a bit strict with them so that they learn the value of hard work and perseverance.

I have come to realise over the years that while my birthstone might not be the most valuable of them all, I am very blessed to have a fairly well-regulated and happy temperament which I attribute partially to my star sign. Happiness with your choices and chosen path in life is a very precious thing indeed.

What star sign are you? Do you think you exhibit any of the attributed character traits?

 

 

#Poetrychallenge – colour and creepy

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The bees – a haiban

The bees were swarming. The children watched from behind the safety of the window glass as the vicious creatures swept through the garden; a threatening cloud of angry insects, attacking anything in their path.

A number of the bees hit the glass, smashing into it like kamikazi pilots. The loud buzzing of the swarm could be heard through the glass, a frightening sound to the children who had experienced swarming before. They had watch a similar swarm attack their dog the previous summer, stinging the poor animal over fifty times. George had died later at the veterinary clinic.

When the swarm had passed on the children inspected the many dead bodies on the window sill and ground underneath the window. There was a certain grim pleasure in seeing so much death.

The poison moved fast

Threatening her existence

Who would have believed

A bee sting could change a life

setting a different tone

***

Stormy weather – a tanka

Threatening clouds group

Staining the sky a dark grey

Nature has a plan

Thunder shatters the stillness

And saturating rain falls

by Robbie Cheadle

These poems were written for Colleen Chesebro’s weekly poetry challenge. You can join in the fun here: https://colleenchesebro.com/2018/10/09/colleens-weekly-tanka-tuesday-poetry-challenge-no-105-color-creepy-synonymsonly/