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The Zombie Road Trip Prize Winner Announcement Video!

Today is the day!

Watch the video below to find out who won the Zombie Road Trip Grand Prize!

If you didn’t win and still want to check out some of the awesome books in this promo, please see the prize list below!

If you cannot view the video above for any reason, you can link to it directly here

And the winners are

Runner-Up Prize Package #1 – Lori

Runner-Up Prize Package #2 – Valerie C.

Grand Prize Winner – Dwayne

The Prizes!

David A. Simpson‘s Zombie Road: Convoy of Carnage
“40 desperate survivors. 14 quickly armored trucks.
2,000 miles to the safe zone. It was going to be a Convoy of Carnage”

 

TW Brown‘s Dead: Onset
“Today is the day Evan’s life changes forever,
and it has nothing to do with his new job.”

 

Grivante‘s The Zee Brothers: Curse of the Zombie Omelet
“Two brothers, one job,
keep the zombie apocalypse at bay!”

 

Kristopher & Valerie LioudisAftershock!
“Zombies are taking over the world. People are scrambling to stay alive.
Aftershock follows the men and women racing towards what they pray will be safety,
and not a place worse than the zombie infested wasteland.”

 

E.E. Isherwood‘s Since the Sirens
“Think surviving the zompoc is hard?
Try it with your ancient great-grandmother while being chased
by looters, the military, and the undead.”

 

Daniel ParsonsNecroville
“When a group of ex-students visit a zombie experience facility,
they soon discover the undead actors are very good at their jobs. Too good.”

 

Eli Constant‘s Z-Children

“Our kids are no longer our future… They’re our demise.
Kids have transformed, changed into ravenous beasts that are nightmarishly quick,
disproportionately strong, and void of empathy.”

 

Jamie Thornton‘s Germination
“A fast-paced ride about a group of runaways, a horrifying virus,
and their search for a friend in a world gone mad over hope for a cure.”

If you haven’t joined yet, come be a part of the growing Reanimated Writers Authors & Fan Group on Facebook!

MASHED Monday Author Interview: Calypso Kane

Calypso Kane writes the story, “The Stray” in our anthology, Mashed: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror. “The Stray” is the story of a man’s lifelong dedication to helping strays. But, what happens when one gets a little upset when he announces he is moving away.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I*
*Note: this is the littlest bit I could think of.

When not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Puttering around on the Internet, making peanut butter blossoms, crushing myself under a growing hoard of unread books, and convincing myself I am absolutely definitely assuredly going to get back to writing in, like, ten minutes. Maybe twenty. Thirty tops.

What attracted you to submitting your story to MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror?
It involves food, horror, and getting off. These are my top three favorite things in life. I couldn’t not give it a try.

For your story, “The Stray,” what was your inspiration?
I’ve always thought incubi were really interesting monsters. There’s a sort of foggy overlap between their aims. They’re most infamous for loving up unwitting mortals, for seeding and harvesting nightmares, and for generally being anything from a flesh and blood bogeyman to a creature which dwells in the mind, crawling out of the dreamscape to torment those with sleep paralysis. There’s potential to be either amusingly raunchy or just plain terrifying. In, “The Stray,” the titular incubus starts out as something entertaining; like a big wandering cat who knows what home to go to if he wants to get fed. But, this being a horror anthology, he doesn’t stay randy and silly for very long…

Influences:

When did you first discover that you wanted to be a writer?
Probably around the time I started getting sucked into the literary adolescent cesspool that is fan fiction. I used to churn out whole novellas depicting my favorite characters either doing the do, being sad, or thwarting their enemies, and all because I wanted these things to happen to them but their TV show, movie, or book was just too damn small-minded to let their entire story devolve into tasteful erotica with some plot bits floating around the edges. At some point it occurred to me that if I just had my own characters to terrorize and/or play matchmaker with, I could do whatever I wanted with them. And no one could stop me. Especially not my characters, the poor bastards.

Did you have any writing mentors?
None that I can recall. The closest I got was reading and rereading Stephen King’s intros in his books. When I looked at them it kind of felt like having a coach on paper, waving a banner that said “You Can Do This Too!” I still have, On Writing on a shelf somewhere.

Who are your favorite authors? What are your favorite books?
Stephen King came first. Next came Neil Gaiman, H.P. Lovecraft, Arthur Machen, and the like. My favorite book of all time belongs to none of them. It’s, Shadowland, by Peter Straub: a story of growing up, fairytales, magic, death, and extreme child endangerment. I got it in a thrift store for under a buck and I still regard it as the best bargain I have ever or will ever experience.

What films or books have most influenced you as an author?
John Carpenter’s, The Thing and Spielberg’s, Poltergeist for movies. No contest. Stephen King’s, IT and The Shining jump out for books. Ditto Angela Carter’s, The Bloody Chamber.

Outside of Horror, what other genres do you write in?
Horror seems to flavor just about everything I try to scribble out, but I like playing with fantasy as a rule. I love working with the Fair Folk especially, both the kooky child-friendly ones and the old school eldritch menaces. Lust and love are bound to turn up in there somewhere too.

Is there anything else that has influenced you as a writer?
Honestly, it all comes down to me being that one pedantic jerk who goes:
‘Hey, I want Z.’
‘We’re sorry, ma’am, we only carry X and Y.’
‘But I want Z.’
‘Ma’am, we don’t have Z. Would you like to try X or Y?’
‘I already have X and Y. I want Z now.’
‘Z does not exist, ma’am.’
‘But I want it. Give me it.’
‘Ma’am, I cannot give you something that doesn’t exist on this or any known physical plane.’
‘Why not?’
‘Because no one has made it, ma’am.’
‘Ugh, fine, I guess I’ll have to then.’
‘Ma’am, please leave the building before I have to alert Barnes and Noble security.’
And here I am today. Writing about demons that eat with their genitalia. I’m going to fill that Z niche, people. I’m living the dream.

What is the first book that made you cry?
There is no book like that. Not one. There never was. Ever. Ever*.
*Love You Forever is a picture book by Robert Munsch and it damn near destroyed me as a toddler. I had an existential crisis at five years old, thinking about how one day I would die and—worse—my parents would die first.

On Writing:

How do you describe your writing style?
Too many commas, too many similes, not enough pages.

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started?
When you tell yourself you’ll start writing, ‘right after you finish this,’ you are lying to yourself. It doesn’t matter if, ‘this,’ is eating a meal, making your bed, or spending your fourth straight hour doing absolutely nothing on the Internet. You are lying to yourself. You’re a writer—like actors and artists, you have an automatic Lie Machine in your head and no matter how much you claim to enjoy the act of writing, the Lie Machine knows otherwise and will do everything in its power to convince you to put it off and put it off, keeping you in a perpetual state of ignorance as to how horribly, horribly draining the production of a story is.

That being said, if and when you cease believing the Lie Machine and get to the part where you stare in maddening desperation at the blank document where your story should be, remember to always put down something.

One page. One paragraph. One sentence. Even just a few bullet points about what you want to happen in that bit of the narrative. Progress is progress is progress and having something to save before you inevitably flee the computer will keep you from giving up hope or falling for the Lie Machine’s worst lie—that you have nothing in you worth writing at all.

What part of writing do you find the most difficult?
The part where I press the buttons.

What story are you most proud of?
Being that I am a creature with a fathomless hunger for validation, I’m bound to be proud of anything people tell me they love.

What do you hope your readers take away from your stories?
Joy. Joy at being scared, amused, saddened, aroused, whichever, whatever. As long as I made the reader happy, it’s a win.

What is your next big writing project fans should be on the lookout for?
If you’re looking for something in the immediate future, take a gander at Wicked Ink’s Off Beat anthology, to be released soonish, with my own tale tucked somewhere inside. It involves a cordial walk home and bloodshed.

Write a 6 word story, GO!
Once upon a time, we ended.

Is there anything else you’d like your fans to know?
One day we shall die. There is no amount of exercise or vegan smoothies that will make this untrue. Buy the damn candy bar.

Where else on the internet can you be found?
I’ve got a wee little Twitter account gathering dust under the banner of RubicundRK. If I don’t respond to any greetings of yours within the year, know that it isn’t you. It’s me.*

*And my incredibly specific amnesiac spells which seem to prevent me from remembering I even have a Twitter account to maintain.

Where can readers find more of your stories?
My stuff appears in, Strange Little Girls, Horror: Odd & Bizarre, & Creature Stew., if you want to take a gander.

And now, here’s a special preview of Calypso’s story in MASHED!

 

Everett supposed it wasn’t too odd he’d fallen into this routine. He’d driven his parents crazy with his army of strays. Every skinny cat and bedraggled pup was welcome. He’d once given his mother a heart attack when he revealed a shoebox containing a garter snake. It had previously contained a frog with a bad leg. Everett had left it unattended to bring it some bugs and nature had taken its course. The snake was cooler anyway. His parents had forbidden him to have all these pets, divvying them up among animal shelters and backyard wildernesses as they saw fit.

In the present day Everett could only feed strays which made it to his fifth-floor apartment. He’d hung a bird feeder accordingly. As it happened, birds weren’t the only fauna which traveled at that altitude and were keen to take handouts from the locals.

Enter the stray named Felix.

Or so the various notes claimed. Felix didn’t possess standard human vocal cords despite the otherwise mirrored anatomy. When he became vocal—sometimes to sigh, occasionally to laugh, often to bitch in varied inflections of distaste—it was with a surreal ululation of bass that made Everett’s skull tremble like a tuning fork.

So Felix preferred to write. After burning through three packs of sticky notes in as many days, Everett had picked up a cheap whiteboard and a pack of markers. He’d left them on the TV tray near the backdoor one evening. Two hours later he’d heard the door open and then the stealthy scratching of a marker. Another minute passed before Felix came to him in the bedroom. That night had turned into an ecstatically exhausting one. In the morning the whiteboard was gone. It only returned with Felix’s visits.

So it was tonight, with the whiteboard all but crushed against Everett’s face. Written there was:

WHY BOXES?

This was in reference to the cardboard boxes lining the walls. Everett’s shelves and cupboards were barren. He’d been dismantling a bookcase when Felix found him. Felix noted the screwdriver still in Everett’s hand, frowned, stole the tool, and tapped the board with it.

Tap!

WHY?

TAP!

BOXES?

Everett held back a sigh.

“Because I’m leaving.” Which he’d mentioned a month ago. Each week. Every other night. He reached for the screwdriver. Felix grudgingly relinquished it. Before Everett could resume the whiteboard was in his face again.

WHERE? WHY? GONE HOW LONG?

“One county over. New job. Probably a very long time.” Everett pushed the whiteboard away. There was a hasty scrubbing as Felix erased the message. Everett managed to pry two shelves loose before the whiteboard returned.

HOW LONG IS LONG?

“If things turn out the way I want, many, many years.”

NO. NO YEARS. NO MONTHS. NO NIGHTS.

Another scrubbing, then a final declaration:

NO. 

“Yes. I’ve worked very hard to get this position and the new place I’m going to has—,”

The whiteboard was pulled away, refilled, and swung back so quickly it nearly banged against his nose.

NO GOING. FELIX IS HUNGRY.

“And I’ll feed you in a minute. Just let me finish th—Felix.” The screwdriver was yanked away again. “Don’t be a prick about this.” Felix didn’t break eye contact as he tossed the screwdriver under the couch. “You’re going to be a prick about this.”

Felix gave out a trill Everett had learned to take as a combination of yes and fuck you.

“You’re making this a bigger deal than it is. If you want to keep up our routine, you can just come to the new place.” Felix appeared to mull this over before sticking out his tongue. It was half as long as his arm and curled like a party favor. “Mature.” Felix kept his tongue out as he raised his free hand. He laid his tongue between the fork of his index and pinkie. “Very mature.” Again, the whiteboard:

VERY HUNGRY.

“I know. I’m finishing with the bookcase first. You can wait a minute.” Everett moved past Felix and got on his belly to look under the couch. He was halfway through a thought about the ratty college remnant—Better to leave the damn thing by the road—when a hand landed on the seat of his boxers. Another stroked his back. “Not right now.” Everett grabbed the screwdriver and tried to sit up. Felix pressed him back down. Fingers dipped under the hem of his undershorts. “Cute. Still not feeding you until the bookcase is done.” The groping slowed. There was a pinch. “Come on.” Felix pulled away. “Thank you.” Everett returned to the bookcase.

As he knelt he went on, “The new place is actually a house. Not much of a house, more like a mailbox with a smaller mailbox out front, but it is a house. Which means no downstairs neighbors to give noise complaints, so, you know, automatic plus. Also there’s a garage which means my poor little piece-of-shitmobile is less likely to be keyed by the local bored—,”

A familiar knob jabbed the back of his head.

“—asshole.”

The knob retreated as its owner crouched behind him. Now the knob dug into his lower back. As the folklore declared, it was cool to the touch. Unmentioned in the lore was how warm the rest of the body was. Everett heard a fleshy shifting sound—it made him think unpleasantly of a giant popping his knuckles—as Felix undid his wings from their slots in his back. They folded around Everett in a doubled embrace, Felix’s arms already being locked around his middle and plucking at the waistband of his Hanes. Everett was swaddled in a pocket of heat, skin, and hunger.

…to be continued!

Thanks for joining us for #MASHEDMONDAYS, Find the rest of Calypso’s story and more sensually sinister tales inside MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror

Find more #MASHEDMONDAY Author Interviews here!

June Audiobook Review: Since The Sirens

Run time 9 hrs and 14 minutes, narrated by Nancy Peterson
A 104-year-old zombie slayer? Well, not quite, but In E.E. Isherwood’s, Since the Sirens, we are introduced to Marty Peters and her grandson Liam. I wasn’t sure what to expect when the book started with this old woman in her house alone, I figured she was going to be the first in a long line of zombie food, but I quickly found myself engaged in her plight and what might happen next and who might possibly come save this woman.At first, I didn’t much care for Liam’s slacker attitude, but then I realized he was being transformed by the situation he found himself in and then I was hooked to see how his character would develop.

Enter her 15yo grandson, Liam. At first, I didn’t much care for his slacker attitude, but then I realized he was being transformed by the situation he found himself in and then I was hooked to see how his character would develop. Through mishaps and observation, he begins his hero’s journey.

This is the first book in a series and covers the early stages of the outbreak.

What did I like about this story?
Marty’s character is an absolute delight to follow along with during the zombie apocalypse. She reminds me of all the grandmothers I’ve ever known. They’re awesome! They kick ass and they generally love their grand and great-grandkids like no one else can.

I also really liked watching Liam’s character arc as he developed from bratty, whiny kid to an accidental hero to an actual hero. It was a great journey and well worth the listen.

What didn’t I like about this story?
There were times I couldn’t quite picture the action that was taking place. I like ti when a story paints pictures in my heads and I can see where the characters are and what is going on. There were a few large action scenes where I just didn’t get where everyone was or what was going on. The story still flowed, I just wasn’t able to envision it as clearly as I would’ve liked.

Narration: 
I enjoyed the narration of Nancy Peterson. She did a good job of capturing the characters ages and attitudes.

Conclusion: (Aka: Would I listen to more by this author?)
Yes! As soon as I get through my current review commitments I’ll be circling back to listen to book 2 in this series. I might even do a review when the time comes.

I give this 9 out of 10 stars. (My highest rating to date!)

Get a copy for yourself on Audible!

Check out our other audiobook reviews here!

MASHED Monday Author Interview: Brandon Ketchum

Brandon Ketchum writes the story, “Halloween Nosh” in our anthology, Mashed: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror. “Halloween Nosh” is a love story between two old world vampires, celebrating the holidays as only they can.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a speculative fiction writer working out of Pittsburgh, PA. I have attended the Cascade Writers Workshop and the In Your Write Mind Workshop, and my work has appeared in a variety of publications.

When not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I love reading, sports, TV, movies, bowling, board gaming, and role playing, in particular.

What attracted you to submitting your story to MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror?
I felt that my story was a perfect fit for this anthology. What better place to send a horror story so reliant on food and drink? I mean, it even has nosh in the title.

For your story “Halloween Nosh” what was your inspiration?
I was searching for an idea for a Halloween story, and I thought about how pigeonholed holiday stories get. They’re only ever able to be submitted for one time of the year. I wanted to break the conventions there, and this idea just came to me.

Influences:

When did you first discover that you wanted to be a writer?
Back in high school, when one of my teachers gave me an A+ on a story, with the notation “Worthy of Publication.”

Who are your favorite authors? What are your favorite books?
Wow, this is a loaded question! Robert E. Howard, especially his Conan and Solomon Kane stories. Fritz Leiber‘s Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser stuff. Modern grimdark has become a favorite, with Glen Cook and Joe Abecrombie atop the list.

Outside of Horror, what other genre’s do you write in?
Science fiction and fantasy.

On Writing:

How do you describe your writing style?
A combination of outlining and seat of my pants.

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started?
Write, write, and write some more. You’ll write a lot of crap, but if you write a lot, you’ll eventually get the hang of it and start writing better.

What part of writing do you find the most difficult?
Slogging through the boring but necessary bits.

What do you hope your readers take away from your stories?
I want my readers to have a fun ride.

Write a 6 word story, GO!
The holiday blues cure? Dungeon playtime!

And now, here’s a special preview of Brandon’s story in MASHED!

“Halloween Nosh”

A still-beating human heart twitched in a pool of gore on a cutting board on the dining room table. Wiping sleep from my eyes, I slid into a chair. I rolled up my bathrobe sleeve, curled my fingers around the thumping organ and picked it up. Lifeblood squirted from severed valves onto my wrist and forearm. A single tear squeezed from the corner of my eye.

“She gets me,” I murmured, smiling to myself. “She really gets me.”

I thumbed the red tear from my eye and set the heart down. A good distraction from my traditional Halloween depression.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, my smoofy Vlassy bear,” a honeyed voice called to me from the kitchen.

Illyana leaned against the door frame, a martini glass brimming with blood held in each hand. A crimson nightgown hung open over a frilly red bra and panty set, contrasting the smooth pale skin beneath. She sashayed over, placed a glass before me and wiped the blood from my arm with a napkin.

“I appreciate the outfit, and the nosh and bevy, Illy dear, but it’s not Valentine’s Day. It’s… a different holiday tonight.”

“It’s not Halloween anymore. I decided to shake things up a bit.”

Blood rushed to my head at the mere mention of the word. “Halloween! Every year thousands of stupid little ankle-biters dress up in those ridiculous namby-pamby lace and cape getups like my decrepit second cousin, and traipse around begging for candy.” I banged a fist into the palm of my hand. “And those pitiful excuses for tricks! Egging houses, toilet paper in trees. Why, back in the old country, we’d get up to real tricks. Entrails in your pillow case, human buffets, wolves in —”

She booped my nose with a finger and made a cartoony sound effect to go with it. “Come on, Vlasta. You’re starting to sound like a grumpy old Nosferatu. Drink up.”

“Sorry, Illyana.” I picked up my glass. “Noroc.”

“Noroc,” she echoed, then tipped her glass against mine.

We drank.

“Mmm.” I ran a finger around the rim of the empty glass and sucked it clean. “How exquisite, Illy. It’s rich, without being overly clotted. How did you manage?”

“It’s all in the subject, dear. He was young, and ate lots of red meat, which means high cholesterol, and—”

“—fatty tissue. This heart’s going to be so tender.”

“I’ll fetch some crackers,” she said.

I stared at her ass as she padded into the kitchen. “I’ll carve.”

…to be continued!

Thanks for joining us for #MASHEDMONDAYS, Find the rest of Brandon’s story and more sensually sinister tales inside MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror

Find more #MASHEDMONDAY Author Interviews here!

MASHED Monday Author Interview: Maxine Kollar

Maxine Kollar writes the story, “The Care and Feeding of Your Personal Demon” in our upcoming anthology, Mashed: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror. “The Care and Feeding of Your Personal Demon” is the story of a young man’s dark and demented path, accompanied by his very own personal demon!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I have a degree in political science because I was going to save the world but then I was like… nah. I try to be very careful about the things I say to myself because as a female, multicultural immigrant I don’t want to accuse myself of any bias against me.

When not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I have grudgingly become a pretty accomplished baker. I keep the family in desserts and they keep me around. It’s a win/win. When I’m not bitterly making sweets I also enjoy cleaning, laundering and cooking. I am being a bit sarcastic but the truth is that, to me, home-care is an art and is something to be proud of.

What attracted you to submitting your story to MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror?
The framework of the story was there in that I had this unfortunate boy and this demon trying to make a go of things. I thought it was a pretty good story, but seeing the call for MASHED helped me take the story to a new level. I needed to get more in depth with the culinary and erotic aspects to pass muster. The culinary part was easy because I just happened to be making my world famous beef stew at the time (not sure if my husband is ever going to eat it again). The erotic part was a little harder for a number of reasons but sometimes you just have to channel your inner demon.

For your story “The Care and Feeding of Your Personal Demon” what was your inspiration?
I wrote a drabble about a guy that loved to do horrible things like putting a widow with six kids out on the street because she couldn’t pay the rent. His personal demon tormented him by doing nice things like showing up at the widow’s door with a bagful of money. It got me wondering if we weren’t demonizing demons. Maybe there was a little more to them. The demon in this story is no angel to be sure but I enjoyed putting more layers on him.

Influences:                       

When did you first discover that you wanted to be a writer?
I don’t remember not wanting to be a writer. I have poetry and stories going way back. They are not things I would try to get published but it’s an interesting way to reflect. It’s like reading someone else’s diary; only that someone else is you.

What films or books have most influenced you as an author?
I haven’t seen or read ‘Wicked’ but I love the idea of looking at things from an unexpected perspective. That kind of paradigm shift is just breathtaking to me and gives me something to reach for.

Outside of Horror, what other genre’s do you write in?
I seem to write in most genres. I am working on a fantasy middle grade novel as well as an early chapter book that weaves in societal evolution. When I need a break for the kid-lit world, I work on shorter pieces and it was interesting to discover that I gravitate towards dark speculative fiction.  Also, I’ve had poetry published as well as humor fiction and creative non-fiction.

What is the first book that made you cry?
I don’t remember anything like that from childhood but I probably blocked all those terrifying fairy tales. As an adult, it was Shel Silverstein’s ‘The Giving Tree’ that evoked so many emotions in me. The tree gives the boy everything: fruit, limbs, then trunk. When the boy returns years later, now an old and tired man, the tree just offers its stump for him to rest. I dare you to read it without getting at least a lump in your throat.

On Writing:

How do you describe your writing style?
I have a few literary pieces where I became completely immersed in the smithing and weaving of words.  That kind of writing is immensely rewarding and stretches me, like mental yoga. However, when I have a story that needs to be told, I gravitate towards plot-driven, relatable writing.

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started?
Submit or die. Just keep at it. But don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over again; insanity right. Allow your style to evolve.

What part of writing do you find the most difficult?
I hate editing. I want to strangle editing. I should be like Midas and every word I touch should be pure and priceless.  (Shout out to my Grivante Press editor, Kevin. Patience of a saint, body of a god.)

Unless you write full time, I think carving out the writing time is the hardest part. Discipline is generally difficult for us ‘creative types’ but you have to work on a schedule.

What story are you most proud of?
They are not the stories I am proudest of, but the stories I am most proud of myself for writing are the creative non-fiction pieces. I like the veil of fiction but putting myself out there, literally, with pieces from my past was a real departure for me.

Write a 6-word story, GO!
Demon Dinner: Stewing in Your Juices

Is there anything else you’d like your fans to know?
I just recently started running. It may not sound like a big deal but I have flat feet so I just took it as a matter of course that I would never be a runner. I put insole in my sneakers and mostly run on the treadmill but my sad little trot still feels like flying. There is something for me to learn about not limiting myself and not judging myself by other people’s standards.

And now, here is a special preview of Maxine’s story in MASHED!

“The Care and Feeding of Your Personal Demon”

“Shaddafocup,” quietly in the hallway.

“Shaddafocup,” a little louder in my doorway.

“Shaddafocup!” loudly in my room.

“Daniel Javier Freeman, you better watch your mouth!” seeped in under my door.

My words were screamed through clenched teeth at my mother, who I really do love, and those same words pierced through countless layers of earth and caused a piece of Hell to appear in my room.

Let me catch you up. There is a cauldron of demons in the center of the Earth. All these demons have names. If you call one of their names three times, think Bloody Mary, that demon will fly out of Hell and come to you. I know; I didn’t believe it either until I got the name right.

If you’re the right type of person, you’re going to lose some skin on the quick drag down to Hell but if you’re just an average screw-up, then the demon has to bide his time. Sometimes these demons are really good at housework and baking. It doesn’t bother them to make scones and vacuum in high heels and pearls to pass the time. However, some of them get rather testy and would rather boil in the oils of Hell than hang out and get involved in whatever boring junk you’re up to.

I wanted nothing more than to not see what I was looking at but there he was, looking pissed already. He sniffed me and got really mad because he said I was too innocent to drag back to Hell. The other demons would tease him.

I inexplicably squared my shoulders and retorted that I wasn’t all that innocent. I had to wonder whose side I was on. What happened next, trust me, was even stranger.

The damned demon pulled out a pair of horned rimmed glasses and somehow put them on his misshapen face. A whiteboard of sorts appeared in mid-air and the demon’s index finger extended to an upsetting length so that it could be used as a pointer.

On the white board, the outlines of two screaming humans appeared. They were surrounded by pulsing waves of color that seemed to be tormenting them. The demon explained that all humans are encircled by their own unique ‘moral aura’, if you will. Some psychics and all frauds were able to see these auras but since humans are as dumb as shit, they can’t figure out what demons and animals have known forever; you can also smell and taste these auras. He then pointed to the first figure. The first piece of filth, he went on, was nice and fair and humble and his aura tastes like lint. The other figure, well this guy was an eleven on the ARS (Asshole Richter Scale) and his aura was delicious.

He then took off the glasses and said to the figures, “Thank you, Mason and Preston. You may return to Hell.” The figures nodded and burst into flames as the board faded.

After the demon’s finger withdrew to its regular size, he came very close to my face and growled that he was certain, beyond a doubt, (his nostrils filling and flaring for emphasis) that I was too innocent to take back. However, there were some alternatives he was willing to explore with me.

If I asked nicely, he could drag my mother down to Hell and feast on her intestines until the end of all times. You know, while she screamed in the pain of knowing her fate and knowing who had caused it.  Of course, doing that to a loved one would mess up my soul so badly that I would follow them down yonder. This is what was called a twofer, and those garnered so many high-fives from the other demons. I thought about the laundry and the pastries and declined.

The next option was not much better. Turns out that if I die by my own hand or in any act of violence while linked with him, he could take me to the Core. He ran off a quick list of effective ways to off myself but ended with suggesting I suffocate myself by sticking my head up my ass or maybe diving into the pile of laundry behind my door. He kicked a stiff sock up into my face for emphasis and I felt my face flush red as I grabbed a pair of dingy underwear off my desk. I didn’t love the death option either.

I told him I know plenty of characters that would smell great to him. He looked disgusted, quite a feat, and tells me there are rules he has to abide by. He would gladly take one of those Core-worthy characters but in order to transfer ownership, he takes a moment to bemoan the bureaucratic bullshit of it all, I had to get aforementioned ass-wipe to call his name three times. It was all a bit much, and I needed time to think. He said to take my time mulling things over as he pulled out my stack of ‘art’ magazines from under my bed. I turned my back and began to pick up my laundry as he laid his scale covered body across my comforter and unfolded his massive member.

…to be continued!

Thanks for joining us for #MASHEDMONDAYS, Find the rest of Maxine’s story and more sensually sinister tales inside MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror

Find more #MASHEDMONDAY Author Interviews here!

MASHED Monday Author Interview: Steve Carr

MASHED Monday Author Interview: Steve Carr

Steve Carr writes the story, “Sauce” in our anthology, Mashed: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror.

“Sauce” is the story of a man’s fascination with a new technique in self-satisfcation!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I currently live in Richmond, Virginia but have lived in eight different states and traveled to 48 of the U.S. states as well as overseas. My past includes being in the Army for 3 years and the Navy for 4 years.

When not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
I am a movie buff and read books about artists and art history.

What attracted you to submitting your story to MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror?
The idea immediately sparked my subtle sense of humor.

For your story “Sauce” what was your inspiration?
I like food!

Influences:

When did you first discover that you wanted to be a writer?
I was a junior in high school.

Did you have any writing mentors?
I had terrific English teachers who went out of their way to encourage my interest in writing.

Who are your favorite authors? What are your favorite books?
My all time favorite writer is the British author, W. Somerset Maugham. I have too many favorite books to even narrow it down.

What films or books have most influenced you as an author?
Films that have influenced me include “Raise the Red Lantern,” “Nashville,” “The Maltese Falcon,” “Now, Voyager,” “The Lover,” “The Sterile Cuckoo,” and “The Summer of ‘42.” Books that have influenced me include “Of Human Bondage,” and “The Razor’s Edge,” both by W. Somerset Maugham, “The Stand,” by Stephen King and “Siddhartha,” by Herman Hesse along with the books/writings of J. Krishnamurti.

Outside of Horror, what other genre’s do you write in?
Literary, mainstream, science fiction, fantasy, speculative, and erotica.

Is there anything else that has influenced you as a writer?
Traveling and living in different places and meeting many different people.

What is the first book that made you cry?
It wasn’t a book, but the play “Cyrano De Bergerac” by Edmond Rostand brought tears to my eyes because of the elegance of the writing.

On Writing:
Just tell the story.

How do you describe your writing style?
I experiment with my style. Sometimes I use an economy of words and sometimes I use as much flowery embellishment as I can.

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started?
Listen carefully to the “voice” in your head and write, write, write.

What part of writing do you find the most difficult?
Looking at the blank page on the computer screen before I get started scares the hell out of me.

What story are you most proud of?
“Tenderloin,” that was published in Ricky’s Back Yard magazine.

What do you hope your readers take away from your stories?
I hope they had fun reading them.

What is your next big writing project fans should be on the lookout for?
I submitted my first novel “Redbird” to a publisher and am hopeful they publish it.

Write a 6 word story, GO!
He was lost in the dark.

Where else on the internet can you be found?
Facebook and Twitter.

Where can readers find more of your stories?
My short stories are published frequently and I provide links to those that I can on my Facebook page, or where the anthologies with my stories can  be purchased (mainly on Amazon).

Be sure to check out his short stories featured in these titles.

The Neighbors & One Hundred Voices

And now, here’s a special preview of Steve’s story in MASHED!

“Sauce”

Bart lifted the 150-pound barbell on the rack then sat up on the bench and looked around the gym. For a Friday at midnight, it was surprisingly busy.

He stood up and stretched, flexing his rippling muscles barely hidden beneath his bright red tight sleeveless muscle shirt. As he removed the towel from the bench he had been lying on and draped it around his neck, he wondered if he had caught anyone’s eye. He hadn’t. He went into the locker room. The aroma of sweat and steam from the sauna and showers delighted his senses. He closed his eyes and inhaled.

At his locker, he removed his clothes.

The young man standing at the next locker unabashedly stared. He had a sleeve of fiery tattoos on one arm.

“Hey, if you don’t mind a compliment from another guy, you got a nice bod,” he said

“Thanks,” Bart said as he flashed a brilliantly white smile. “I’ll take compliments wherever I can get them.” Bart followed the trail of flames tattooed from the guy’s wrist up to his deltoids, then glanced across to his defined pectoral muscles. The skin on his chest was blistered and red. “What happened to your chest?”

The man put several fingers on his chest and winced. “A cooking class accident,” he said. He reached out his hand. “My name’s Max.”

“Mine’s Bart,” he said shaking Max’s hand. “Cooking class? You learning to be a chef?”

“I’m a saucier,” Max said. “You a foodie?”

“Not really. I know practically nothing about cooking. What’s a saucier?”

“I’m a chef who prepares sauces,” Max said.

“I know even less about making sauces,” Bart said. “I’m interested in food but between work and coming to the gym I don’t have much time for cooking but I’d like to learn.”

“I belong to an exclusive cooking club that might interest you,” Max said. “After I shower, I’ll get one of my cards for you and hopefully you’ll come to one of our club meetings. Just so you know, our meetings are clothing optional.”

“Nudity is something I do know something about,” Bart said, nonchalantly raising his arms and displaying his melon sized biceps.

Sitting across from Janet, Bart swirled the spoon around in his kelp and blueberry smoothie.

“I’m surprised you called me,” she said. “It’s been months since I last heard from you or saw you.”

“I’ve been busy,” he said. He lifted a spoonful of the smoothie to his lips and licked the cold, pale purple mixture with the tip of his tongue. He put the spoon back in the smoothie. “I was having breakfast this morning and wondering why you and I never took our relationship to the next level.”

She raised a stick of celery out of her cherry and celery smoothie and bit into it. The crunching sound reverberated in the small juice bar. “You’re too busy having a relationship with yourself to include anyone else,” she said.

Bart ran his hand across his chest, feeling the sensation of his shirt against his skin. “That’s harsh,” he said.

She dipped the celery in the mud-colored smoothie then raised the dripping stick to her mouth. “I didn’t say it to be mean but you’re obsessed with your own body and with yourself.” She took another bite.

He put his lips on the straw and sucked a small amount of his smoothie into his mouth and swallowed. “Maybe you’re right,” he said. “I’ve been thinking I should get out more, meet new people. Maybe it would help me be less self-involved.”

“Maybe it would,” she said. She raised her glass to her mouth and took a drink of the smoothie.

“I’ve been invited to an exclusive cooking club,” he said.

She swirled the celery around in her smoothie. “You don’t know anything about cooking. Who invited you?”

“Some guy I met at the gym,” he said. “He’s a saucier. I talked to him on the phone just before I called you. There’s a meeting tonight.” He paused then added “he said clothing was optional.”

Janet leaned back and crossed her arms across her large breasts. “So it’s some sort of kinky nudist thing?”

Bart took another drink of his smoothie. “It sounds pretty harmless, actually.”

She uncrossed her arms and leaned forward over the table. “As I said it’s been a while since I’ve heard from you. Why are you telling me this?”

“The cooking club thing is new, and I thought you’d like hearing that I was going to it,” Bart said.

“So basically you wanted to meet to talk about you?” She stood up. “You’ll never change.”

She turned and walked out of the juice bar.

…to be continued!

Thanks for joining us for #MASHEDMONDAYS, Find the rest of Steve’s story and more sensually sinister tales inside MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror

Find more #MASHEDMONDAY Author Interviews here!

Zombie Road Trip Audiobook Giveaway Prize List!

Zombie Road Trip Audiobook Giveaway Prize List!

The Zombie Road Trip Prize List

1-Grand Prize Winner Wins All 8 Audiobooks Plus a $25 Gas Card

2-Runner-up Prize Packages of 4 Audiobooks Each

Daily Audiobook Flash Prizes from 6/14 – 6/23

GRAND PRIZE & RUNNER-UP PRIZES DRAWN 6/24

Enter to win here!

Runner-up Prize Package #1

David A. Simpson‘s Zombie Road: Convoy of Carnage
“40 desperate survivors. 14 quickly armored trucks.
2,000 miles to the safe zone. It was going to be a Convoy of Carnage”

TW Brown‘s Dead: Onset
“Today is the day Evan’s life changes forever,
and it has nothing to do with his new job.”

Grivante‘s The Zee Brothers: Curse of the Zombie Omelet
“Two brothers, one job,
keep the zombie apocalypse at bay!”

Kristopher & Valerie LioudisAftershock!
“Zombies are taking over the world. People are scrambling to stay alive.
Aftershock follows the men and women racing towards what they pray will be safety,
and not a place worse than the zombie infested wasteland.”

 

Runner-up Prize Package #2

E.E. Isherwood‘s Since the Sirens
“Think surviving the zompoc is hard?
Try it with your ancient great-grandmother while being chased
by looters, the military, and the undead.”

Daniel ParsonsNecroville
“When a group of ex-students visit a zombie experience facility,
they soon discover the undead actors are very good at their jobs. Too good.”

Eli Constant‘s Z-Children“Our kids are no longer our future… They’re our demise.
Kids have transformed, changed into ravenous beasts that are nightmarishly quick,
disproportionately strong, and void of empathy.”

Jamie Thornton‘s Germination
“A fast-paced ride about a group of runaways, a horrifying virus,
and their search for a friend in a world gone mad over hope for a cure.”

If you haven’t yet signed-up, click the picture below to do so now!

MASHED Monday Author Interview: Devon Widmer

MASHED Monday Author Interview: Devon Widmer

Devon Widmer writes the story, “Burnt Scrambled Eggs”in our anthology, Mashed: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror. “Burnt Scrambled Eggs” is the story of a woman and her succubus lover. What happens the morning after? Breakfast of course!

Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I always describe myself as a grumpy graduate student, but then, what graduate student isn’t grumpy? It’s like an unofficial admission requirement. I do, of course, plan on graduating some day soon. Or at least some day. In the meantime, I’m enjoying living on the west coast and complaining about all of the unseemly good weather to my folks back in the Midwest.

When not writing, what do you enjoy doing?
Normally, I list sleeping as my primary hobby, but as the mother to an endlessly energetic toddler, I’m not entirely sure what sleep is any more. I also must enjoy complaining since I seem to spend so much time doing it.

What attracted you to submitting your story to MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror?
I really liked the challenge of combining horror, eroticism, and humor all into one story.

For your story “Burnt Scrambled Eggs” what was your inspiration?
The link between sleep paralysis nightmares and incubi/succubi attacks. Also sexy demon ladies. Mostly sexy demon ladies.

Influences:

When did you first discover that you wanted to be a writer?
When I was five, I dictated my very first novel to my mother. “Where is the Dinosaur?” chronicled the genre-bending adventure of a mother dinosaur in search of her child. (Spoiler alert: the baby dino was neither on the moon nor hiding in Peter Piper’s pepper field).

Who are your favorite authors? What are your favorite books?
My two favorite authors are Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett. I’m a big fan of British humor as well as any author who’s writing can give me a few solid chuckles.

What films or books have most influenced you as an author?
The works of the aforementioned authors as well as all things Monty Python. Nudge nudge. Know what I mean?

Outside of Horror, what other genre’s do you write in?
Fantasy and science fiction.

What is the first book that made you cry?
An unintentionally cruel middle school teacher assigned Where the Red Fern Grows when I was in the fifth grade. Needless to say, there were a lot of red eyes in class that week.

On Writing:

How do you describe your writing style?
An ongoing process.

What advice would you give to new writers just getting started?
Don’t be afraid to write a few crappy stories on the way to writing a great one.

What part of writing do you find the most difficult?
Finishing the rough draft. I love revising crappy writing, so once the draft is completed, I’m a happy little revising clam. But while trying to put those first words down on paper, I’m the opposite of a happy little clam. I’m an… angry giant bratwurst?

What story are you most proud of?
Every story that I manage to finish!

What do you hope your readers take away from your stories?
Hopefully a few enjoyable page turns.

Write a 6 word story, GO!
She served my heart over arugula.

Is there anything else you’d like your fans to know?
Even though I’ve described myself as grumpy several times in this interview, I’m actually quite nice. Drop me a line if you’d like to chat writing/books!

And now, here’s a special preview of Devon’s story in MASHED!

“Burnt Scrambled Eggs”

(AKA When the Succubus Decides to Make You Breakfast the Morning After)

After fishing a wedgie out of her crack, Tammy sighed into the musty refrigerator air. Her midnight snack options were limited to a jar of expired mayonnaise, half a carton of cracked eggs, and a solitary pickle swimming in its juices. Grimacing, she grabbed the pickle jar. But before she could unscrew the top, a puff of cold air tickled the nape of her neck. Startled, she whipped around to face… her empty kitchen.

Back in bed, Tammy savored the combined taste of pickles and toothpaste—Delicious. She folded her hands behind her head. Nothing like getting laid off from the once-in-a-lifetime-shot-at-success-in-the-big-city dream job to really bring on the insomnia. Exactly how much longer would she be able to scrape by before she had to slink back to her parents’ house with her tail between her legs like a chicken?

Wait. Did that even make sense? Tammy rubbed her palms against her eyes and yawned. She seriously needed some sleep. Closing her eyes, she conjured a herd of fluffy white sheep milling along the back of her eyelids. One sheep, two sheep, I want, to sleep…

Creeeeaaaak.

“Who’s there?” Tammy bolted upright—the gravely groan of her bedroom door opening had sent those imaginary sheep running for the imaginary hills. She blinked frantically to bring the dark room into focus. Strange. Her bedroom door was still shut.

Her eyes rolled back in frustration, Tammy drug her fingertips down her cheeks. She’d been spooking herself all night, jumping at every moan of the wind or creak of her upstairs neighbors’ floorboards. It was kinda funny, really. She forced out a loud, “Ha!” and aimed a pair of finger pistols at the offending door. “Nice one, apartment.” She clicked her tongue twice as if firing. “Almost had me there.” Then, after flopping back down onto the bed, she pulled the covers all the way up to her nose.

Tammy’s eyes flitted groggily open. A heavy pressure had settled onto her chest. Breathing shallowly, she tried to sit up but her body refused to respond. Instead, she simply lay limp, gaze immovably fixed on the whirring blades of her ceiling fan.

She’d had dreams like this before, lying in bed, unable to move, asleep but not asleep. It would pass. And hey, at least she was finally getting some rest.

It was hard to feel restful, however, when clacking footsteps, like a dog long overdue for a nail trim, began meandering around the room, halting at last at the foot of the bed. Tammy’s heart raced as the sheets slipped smoothly down her body, settling into a crumpled pile by her feet. She shivered. If she’d known freaky dream monsters would be stealing her covers, she’d have worn more than a nightshirt and panties to bed.

Two clawed fingers glided into view. It’s just a dream. It’s just a dream. Tammy chanted the mantra in her head as the jagged fingertips hovered inches above her eyeballs. She’d had some frightening dreams in her time, but this felt awfully real. The claws descended. After planting firmly on Tammy’s forehead, they slid down, forcibly closing her eyelids.

…to be continued!

Thanks for joining us for #MASHEDMONDAYS, Find the rest of Devon’s story and more sensually sinister tales inside MASHED: The Culinary Delights of Twisted Erotic Horror

Find more #MASHEDMONDAY Author Interviews here!

Want more Horror?

Want more Horror?

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Joe Coffin: Season One Book One, by Ken Preston

Burn The Dead: Quarantine, by Steven Jenkins

Conguise Chronicles: The Rise of the River-Man: Mutter’s Story, by L.S. O’Dea

Breed: Slayer, by Sandra Seymour

Letters To The Damned, by Austin Crawley

A tabloid prints an article about an uncanny post box in an English village that transports letters to dead relatives.