Good morning, lovelies, and welcome to this week’s roundup of interesting reads. This is where I try to assemble a collection of books and stories that have a unique approach, or look, by blurb or cover, as if they’re going to explore an angle that isn’t often seen. The storyteller, in other words, is eschewing the well-explored path in order to work off the edge of the map. That’s where the best stories wait to be tracked down and captured, so let’s get right into them!
This week’s collection begins with a very special promotion, the work of several friends and fellow authors, DeadSteam, curated by Bryce Raffle. Reader beware: to open this tome is to invite dread into your heart. Every page you turn will bring you closer to something wicked. And when the dead begin to rise from the steaming pits of hell, only then will you discover that it is already too late. Your life is forfeit. Featuring an introduction by Leanna Renee Hieber, author of the Eterna Files and Strangely Beautiful saga, DeadSteam plays host to the scintillating writing of David Lee Summers (Owl Dance, The Brazen Shark), Jen Ponce (The Bazaar, Demon’s Cradle), Wendy Nikel (The Continuum), Karen J Carlisle (The Adventures of Viola Stewart), Jonah Buck (Carrion Safari), and more. With seventeen chilling tales of dreadpunk, gaslamp, and dark steampunk, DeadSteam will leave you tearing at the pages, desperate for more. For within these pages, the dead rise from their graves to haunt the London Underground, witches whisper their incantations to the wind, a sisterhood of bitten necks hunts fog-drenched alleyways lit only by gaslight, and only one thing is certain: that dread will follow you until you turn that final page. And that sinking feeling in the pit of your chest? That fear that something is following you, watching you, hunting you? It is not for nothing. Look over your shoulder, dear reader. Watch behind you. Listen to the whispers in the darkness. But know this: it is all inevitable. $2.99 on Kindle.
Ribbons of Death by Edita A. Petrick. Stella Hunter wrote a controversial book that cost not only her marriage but her career. A history professor with a passion for archeology, she has no other place to hide but in a hamlet in Montana where she was raised by her aunt and uncle. Then one evening, a stranger with a horribly scarred face stomps onto her porch, holding her controversial book. He points to the bloody fingerprints of the book’s now deceased owner, marking a passage of the Peacetaker myth. What would drive a man to travel for hours in a vicious blizzard to find an academic whose book has been out of print for years? And are there really secrets in an obscure book of myths and legends that all the security agencies missed? 99¢ on Kindle.
In the Belly of the Beast by Ben Monroe. “It is absolutely necessary, for the peace and safety of mankind, that some of earth’s dark, dead corners and unplumbed depths be let alone; lest sleeping abnormalities wake to resurgent life, and blasphemously surviving nightmares squirm and splash out of their black lairs to newer and wider conquests…”
– H.P. Lovecraft
In the Belly of the Beast is inspired by the works of H. P. Lovecraft and the epic tabletop game Cthulhu Wars, published by Petersen Games. The novel, In the Belly of the Beast, tells the story of a small group of human survivors trying to find a safe haven amidst the ruins of civilization. While traveling through a treacherous mountain pass, they find themselves caught between rival cults, and discover there are worse things in the cold places of the world than frostbite. $4.99 on Kindle.
A Storm on Mars by Troy Mitchell Scott. Phoenix Murphy insisted on living her dreams which began in a small Kentucky town and would take her on a trip to try and save the universe, all while she is just trying to get back home. 99¢ on Kindle.
The Reversible Man by Charles A. Cornell. Professor Atticus Carr is accused of murdering a rich aristocrat he’d never met, in a place he’d never been before or traveled since, at a time when he lay sick with fever. But the evidence against him is overwhelming. Witnesses attest to the professor’s attendance at the crime scene and to his exact description, down to the details of his famous goatee and wearing the theatrical clothes that made him a celebrity as an illusionist at the Theatre Macabre. Professor Carr proclaims his innocence and surmises he fell victim to a deranged doctor whose Trans-Aural Topographical Machine duplicated the professor’s face, allowing him to abscond with the professor’s identity. As The Reversible Man initiates more high crimes, how can Professor Carr exonerate himself before he’s hung for murder? Does your heart beat faster in the dark than in the daylight? Do your hands tingle under the touch of copper and brass? Then The Most Peculiar Tales are sure to satisfy. Six paranormal tales set in a steampunk world. 99¢ on Kindle.
Second Self by J.W. Robitaille. When Sergeant Cory Marin and Marty Washington begin to investigate the ritualistic murder of an international student, the leads and suspects keep multiplying. Is the killing tied to a similar one twenty years ago? Is the girlfriend’s possessive ex-boyfriend responsible? Do the victim’s fraternity brothers have a reason to want him dead? Or are the victim’s girlfriend or best friend involved? When they discover a tie-in with the virtual world, Second Life, events take a bizarre twist. As her avatar tracks down leads in Second Life, Cory is faced with a new threat from Fletcher Manning. Luckily, she has Marty Washington, and her father, Jack Riley, in her corner, but can they protect her from Fletcher? 99¢ on Kindle.
Phoenix One by Chase MacLeod. The end of the world is just the beginning! The decay of Earth’s atmosphere forces mankind to move off-world, with the help of their alien neighbors. A massive undertaking to build a replacement as time runs out, but someone has other ideas. Someone doesn’t want the project to succeed and already tense interspecies relations are pushed to their limit. Devin Slade, an outcast relegated to life on the surface, witnesses the destruction of a floating city housing thousands of people, alien and human alike. Initially a suspect, he must prove his innocence while fighting to survive the hostile world around him. Meanwhile, an undercover agent working for The Human Collective Government catches wind of a sinister plot that could mean the end of mankind. Is it possible to make a new home, with new neighbors, when forces conspire against humanities last hope? $2.99 on Kindle.
Heirs of Power by Kay MacLeod. After stumbling upon an otherworldly ritual, Kitty Fairlow discovers that her own incredible hunting skills are not merely due to a lifetime of training. She’s been gifted powers from an ancient spirit, passed down by her father. She is a Constellation. And she’s not the only one. A new generation of heroes have each inherited unique abilities to prevent the corruption of their world by the Tenebri, a race that thrives on life energy. Kitty, along with a high-born dancer and a snarky juggler, must find their allies before the Tenebri army picks them off. With the powerful enemy emerging, can the Constellations gather in time to put an end to the threat for good, or will their foe succeed and wreak the same destruction they have unleashed on their own world? $3.90 on Kindle.
Banana Sandwich by Steve Bargdill. “These nights are very dark. I hear all the sounds. My heart beat, the blood pulsing through my wrists, it is like the hollow echo broadcast from the rings of Saturn, empty and surging and crying out for someone to listen.” Carol struggles with an inherited mental disorder. When she decides to be better, it is the city that goes insane. Then, her ex-boyfriend murders her roommate. To fight back, she must decide how she is to live her life.
My five minute elevator pitch for Banana Sandwich has always been that it’s a book about a bi-polar pizza delivery driver who lives in her van down by the river. The line gets laughs, but the other day I met someone who is truly hurting from this condition, and the two-day conversation reminded me why I wrote this novel in the first place. Any mental disorder is a hard reality to live with. If I can bring awareness to that issue through my literature, then that is one of my goals for this book. $4.99 on Kindle.
Wanderlost by Simon Williams. From being trapped in a plane with broken landing gear high above the Grand Canyon, to facing arrest in Hong Kong for holding up traffic in a bathrobe, to being accosted by three aggressive locals entering a men’s washroom in New Delhi Airport, what else can go wrong on a trip? These are one man’s enthralling stories of wandering our planet that the Travel Channel doesn’t want you to know. Simon explains exactly what not to do when you find yourself in a hairy situation. Nobody travels like this anymore. Maybe for good reason. Simon Williams doesn’t go looking for trouble in life, but when he finds it he never keeps his sarcastic mouth shut.
“Travelling – it leaves you speechless then turns you into story tellers.” ~Ibn Battuta $2.99 on Kindle.
And that’s 30 for this issue. Enjoy the reading, and be sure to check in Sunday when I’ll have a special edition to celebrate my 70th birthday. See you then!