Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

The 31 Days of Halloween project is now complete. It's a little hard to believe that it's over, but it went very well (despite the few delays in publishing this past week). Some of the Halloween Street stories even hit bestseller status in the Horror Short Stories category on Amazon. Wow! Only in my wildest dreams could I have imagined my work sharing a top 100 list with the likes of Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I am shocked and humbled! Thank you so much to everyone who read my stories. You guys rock! :)



Happy Halloween, everyone! :D

Halloween Street - Day 31 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween comes to a close with Halloween Street #31: Black Cat's Tale!


Short Blurb:
A black house cat, allowed out to roam just one night a year, encounters a creepy little creature and experiences his own strange adventure on Halloween night.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Halloween Street - Day 30 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #30: Nighty Night!


Short Blurb:
After a night of trick or treating, a young boy is terrified to go to sleep for fear his candy will attract monsters.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Thursday, October 30, 2014

And again...

I know Amazon has been having technical issues the last several days, so I just want to mention again that #30 in the Halloween Street series seems to be delayed in the publishing process. It's almost 8pm where I am (I think Amazon works on PST though), and the story may not be up til tomorrow, along with #31. I'm gonna send them a quick email as that seemed to help push things along the last time, but I'm not sure how much it'll speed things up.

I'll post again when the book is up.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 29 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #29: Razor Blades!



Short Blurb:
After a child gets injured from a razor blade found in his candy, a nurse investigates who did it.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Halloween Street - Day 28 of 31 Days of Halloween (Finally!)

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #28: Lost!


Short Blurb:
Thirteen years after the disappearance of her sister, a young woman returns to Halloween Street to finally discover the truth of what happened to her.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Just a Heads Up...

Oy, here we go again. Amazon's publishing services have been down all night, so I wasn't able to publish the next Halloween Street story yet. . It's now 7am here, and I've been up all night, so I'm gonna go get some shut-eye and try again later. Hopefully, it gets sorted out and there won't be any major delays. In the 2+ years I've been publishing, I've never seen this happen before, so I don't know what to expect.

We're down to the final four stories, so if I see any huge delays going on with the next story, I'll just publish the last three ASAP. I kind of hope it doesn't come to that, as I feel like it might spoil the whole 31 Days of Halloween idea, but I'm at the mercy of Amazon, and I definitely want the stories to be released in time for Halloween. Just gotta wait and see what happens.

UPDATE:  Well, it's 10pm right now where I am, and #28 in the Halloween Street series is still in the process of being published and hasn't gone "live" yet. I have a feeling it won't be up until tomorrow at the earliest :( So...this sort of messes up my 31 Days of Halloween project, but these things happen. I'm trying not to dwell on it. I just hope Amazon sorts this out fast enough so that the final four stories are up in time for Halloween.

UPDATE #2: Almost 5:30 am on October 29th, and #28 is still stuck in "publishing" status :( I went ahead and pulled the trigger on #29. Hoping they both go live later on today *fingers crossed*. I've been up again all night, dead tired, gonna get some sleep. I hope I wake up to two newly published books.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 27 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #27: The Cursed!


Short Blurb:

An elderly woman collects rare Halloween treasures, but her latest find brings her nothing but bad luck.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
The inspiration for this story came from an auction that was up on eBay years ago for a supposed haunted/possessed teddy bear. The story behind the bear was really interesting and creepy, but whether it was true or not is certainly up for debate. It was definitely a bizarre item to see on eBay at the time, and it really stuck with me. The original listing is long gone but a lot of it is preserved here, if you're curious.

Strangely enough, at Christmas that year or the one after, my sister gave me a large black teddy bear as a gift, and I was a little unsettled by it. I remember I finally admitted to her that the reason I never displayed it was because of the creepy eBay auction and it made me feel a little uneasy. To make matters even stranger (or funnier, depending on your point of view), she was trying to make me feel better about the bear by saying it's really cute and it "loves you", and she was acting a little silly and lightening the mood. I was sitting at my computer at the time, and my sister was saying all this from across the room while holding the bear, and she playfully ended up throwing it at me, and the bear stuck to my back. She of course thought it was hilarious and ran to get her camera to take a picture of it (which I wish I had at the time of writing this). I of course ended up hating the little bugger all the more. It just seemed so odd that she threw it with just the right amount of force that it didn't bounce right off. Writing about it now, it does seem really silly that I was so creeped out by the whole thing, but it led me to writing this story now eight years later, so I guess I can't be too hard on myself ;)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 26 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #26: Monster Movies!


Short Blurb:
An agoraphobic young woman alone on Halloween night gets a nasty surprise while watching a monster movie marathon.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 25 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #25: The Abandoned House!


Short Blurb:
A group of kids dare the new kid to spend Halloween night in a supposed haunted house...with dire consequences.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
The song featured in this story is called "The Ghost of John" (sometimes called "The Ghost of Tom") and is an old American folk song. The origins of it are a bit of a mystery, but it's a very creepy song that, for some reason, kids like me learned in elementary school. The original song consists of one verse, often sung in a round. I added a couple extra lyrics to suit my story.

Original Lyrics:
Have you seen the ghost of John?
Long white bones and the rest all gone.
Ooo ooo ooo...OOOooo ooo oo.
Wouldn't it be chilly with no skin on?

Friday, October 24, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 24 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #24: Trick or Treat!


Short Blurb:
A school teacher receives visits from a series of strange trick-or-treaters who seem to know her deepest, darkest secrets.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!
This is another story like "Something Different About Them" that was originally planned as a novel. Years ago in 2000, I started a book called "Lizzie The Great" that was basically about a middle-aged woman who was beloved in her community, until a dark secret from her past reared its ugly head and everyone turns on her. It was originally supposed to be written as a drama and as a commentary for how society judges certain issues and how anyone can become ostracized. The novel never really got off the ground however, and I no longer had an interest in writing it as it was originally planned. I retooled it as a short, psychological horror story, and again, I think it stands as a stronger story this way.

I think sometimes it's easier to deal with certain issues within the horror genre, as opposed to more "realistic" fiction genres, because there's an element of fantasy that distances it from the horrors of reality. In fact, I think part of the appeal of horror in general, is that it helps us face and reconcile frightening issues within our minds in a "safe" way. The horrors in fiction aren't real, even if they sometimes mirror or mimic the horrors of real life.

Unexpected Delay on Halloween Street #24

Well, things were just going too smoothly apparently. I published the next installment of my Halloween Street series last night around midnight, like I always do, and Amazon hasn't published it yet. Now, it typically takes under 12 hours for them to publish my stories, so I don't know what the problem is. It's now 17 hours and counting. I sent them an email and hopefully it'll get sorted out before the end of the day. Just wanted to keep everyone up to speed, especially those of you who are reading the entire series! Halloween Street #24 is coming! It's out of my hands at the moment though.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 23 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #23: Candy Skulls!


Short Blurb:
Four children are given mysterious Day of the Dead candy skulls that carry a terrible side effect. 

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 22 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #22: Caller!


Short Blurb:

A woman caring for her father begins receiving strange phone calls on Halloween night.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 21 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #21: Haunted Garage!


Short Blurb:
A young boy explores a neighbor's homemade haunted garage attraction, only to discover the horrors inside are real.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
One Halloween when my sister and I were out trick or treating, we were walking down the street to the next house when a cop car pulled up alongside us. We were good kids, but of course our first thought was that we were in trouble for something (probably for being too old to trick or treat :P). Of all the strange things, he stopped us to tell us about a neighbor who had a "haunted garage" attraction that we should check out. He also gave us some candy from a bag on his front passenger seat and then went on his merry way. Probably one of the oddest Halloween memories I have because it just seemed so random. My sister and I did end up checking out the "haunted garage" and it was very cool. Well worth the moment of panic of having a cop stop us on the street. This little memory served as the inspiration for this story.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 20 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #20: Boo!


Short Blurb:
A cruel nurse who neglects and abuses the elderly patients at a nursing home, gets her comeuppance on Halloween night.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 19 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #19: Doyle's Village!


Short Blurb:
A man obsessed with his model Halloween village soon finds himself living there.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
The idea for this story came from a memory I have of looking at my own ceramic model Halloween village and wishing I could live there. This moment happened years ago, when I was still pretty young and having an "anywhere but here" kind of yearning. As I thought back to this, I realized how strange a thought it was, even if it was fleeting, and decided to write this story based on it.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 18 of 31 Days of Halloween

A quick shout out to my dad, whose birthday is today and loves Halloween almost as much as I do! Happy Birthday, Dad! :)

Now back to business!

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #18: Brain Eater!


Short Blurb:
Three brothers ring the doorbell of a recluse who’s rumored to be a murderer that consumes human brains.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Friday, October 17, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 17 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #17: Stalked! 
 

Short Blurb:
A paranoid housewife spends Halloween night alone...or does she?


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 16 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #16: Something Different About Them!



Short Blurb:
A teen girl meets her new neighbors, a family who share a strange deformity.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
I came up with the idea for story when I was just sixteen years-old and started to write it as a novel in 1999. I only got a couple of pages in when I got stuck as to how to make entire novel out of the premise. When I started jotting down ideas for stories I wanted to include in my Halloween Street series, I remembered the early draft of Something Different About Them and decided it was time to revive the lost story. In the end, I think it works better as a short, rather than a full-length novel.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 15 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #15: The Scarecrow!


Short Blurb:
After a night of mischief, a bully gets taught a lesson by a sinister scarecrow.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~
Fun Fact!  
Scarecrows have been an intrigue of mine since I was a kid. I always loved them, probably starting with the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz book and movie. He was always my favorite character. When I was about eight or nine, something changed. Scarecrows became a source of fear, after I read the short story "Harold" from Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark 3 by Alvin Schwartz. The story revolved around a scarecrow who was mistreated by the two farmers who made him and ultimately seeks revenge. This story has stuck with me my whole life, I think about it a lot, and it gave me a lifelong love/hate relationship with scarecrows. On one hand, I love them, I think they're charming. On the other hand, there is something creepy about a stuffed man hanging from a post. My story "The Scarecrow" basically represents my torn feelings about them, and is also a bit of an homage to "Harold". Is the scarecrow in my story evil? That's up to you, the reader, to decide :)

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 14 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #14: Treat Bag!



Short Blurb:
A little boy finds a magical treat bag on Halloween night that gives him whatever he wants...for a price.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Monday, October 13, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 13 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #13: Pumpkin Carver!


Short Blurb:
A lonely man and master pumpkin carver holds an unsettling secret.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 12 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #12: Unchained!



Short Blurb:
Life imitates fiction when a horror writer's words begin to manifest and create the monster from his story.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 11 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #11: Retro TV!



Short Blurb:
A man takes a trip back in time to a past Halloween that has haunted him for fifty years.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Friday, October 10, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 10 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #10: Bloody Mary!


Short Blurb:
A little girl's slumber party turns into a waking nightmare after a game of Bloody Mary.


Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
Bloody Mary is a well known urban legend, and a like a lot of kids, I used to play the game with my friends in my youth. The game is interesting to me because it actually kind of works. Okay, no, you don't really summon the spirit of Bloody Mary, but spinning around three times in the dark and then looking at your reflection does give you the illusion that someone else is looking back at you, even if just for a second or two. As a kid, that was usually enough to freak me out. Mirrors have always been unsettling to me, as they do seem like a gateway to a parallel world. I'm sure this stems from the multiple movies I saw and stories I read when I was young about just that, but the games of Bloody Mary probably didn't help either!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 9 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #9: Dollie Dreadful!


Short Blurb:
A toy store sells a limited edition doll that turns its collectors into savages.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
When I was young, it was very common for drug stores and even grocery stores to have Halloween promotions where they would sell inexpensive Halloween themed dolls and plush toys as a way of getting shoppers. It seemed to be popular during the whole Beanie Baby craze, and stores were basically trying to cash in on the "collector mentality". This has fallen along the wayside, at least where I live, but it was something I really bought into in my youth. Back before the internet and eBay, if you missed out on a "limited edition" item, there was a real feeling of loss, because the likelihood of coming across it again was pretty low. But on the other hand, when I did find and buy something rare or possibly collectible, there was a brief "high" and excitement, but it was never very long lasting. It's the thrill of the hunt, I suppose, whereas the capture isn't quite as fulfilling as one might assume it's going to be. So, when I sat down to write this story, I wanted to explore a sort of extreme collector mentality, mob mentality, and obsession.

And just as a side note, as I'm typing this I'm surrounded by many Halloween items I've collected over the years, items I deem precious, so the collector is still alive and well in me.

Be afraid. Be very afraid ;)

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 8 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #8: Late Shift!



Short Blurb:
A security guard working the night shift soon discovers he may not be alone in the building. Are the mysterious sights and sounds just his imagination...or something else?

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 7 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #7: Night Moves!


Short Blurb:
A teen couple encounter a large, monstrous beast who eats anything and everything in its path.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Monday, October 6, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 6 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #6: Monster Mash!



Short Blurb:
A Halloween party turns frighteningly real as the party guests transform into monsters.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
This story was written as an homage to Bobby Pickett, who co-wrote and performed of the song "Monster Mash".  "Monster Mash" is a Halloween staple and has been one of my favorite songs to listen to at this time of year for as long as I can remember. When I decided to write this series, I knew I had to include a story that incorporated it in some way. It actually became a bigger part of the story than I even originally planned for, and I'm really happy I could pay tribute to a great man who kept Halloween alive and well for so many years.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 5 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #5: Dead Things!



Short Blurb:
A gravedigger finds a mysterious book that brings his wife back from the dead.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 4 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #4: Graveyard Air!




Short Blurb:
A group of kids spend Halloween night in a graveyard to try and raise the dead.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
When I was about twelve years-old, I would sometimes attempt to write songs. Unfortunately, I was never musically gifted, so the results were rather...bad. One of the earliest songs I wrote was entitled "Graveyard Air", and as lame as the song and lyrics were, I actually always really liked that title. So, I figured since I would never let that song see the light of day, I could at least recycle the title for something worthwhile.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 3 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #3: The Beast Inside!



Short Blurb:
An abusive husband gets a taste of his own medicine on Halloween night.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 2 of 31 Days of Halloween

31 Days of Halloween continues with Halloween Street #2: Witches' Brew!



Short Blurb:
Three young sisters meet a trio of witches, who teach them that some monsters are real.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
When I sat down to write my Halloween Street series, I knew I wanted to draw from my own Halloween experiences and utilize pieces of my nostalgia in order to give the series a more personal touch. The title of this story is borrowed from the first Halloween song I ever remember learning, which was "Witches' Brew" by Hap Palmer. I was about five at the time, and I loved the song so much, I would sing it all the time (my sister can attest to that!). Sophie, the youngest sister in the story, is loosely inspired by my own child self (my favorite color is and always has been purple!).

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Halloween Street - Day 1 of 31 Days of Halloween!

Well, 31 days of Halloween has officially begun! The first story is Danse Macabre, #1 in the Halloween Street series.


Short Blurb:
An old woman receives a ghostly visitor on Halloween night.

Buy or Borrow (via Kindle Unlimited) Here: Amazon.com

~~~

Fun Fact!
The original title of this story was "The Last Dance". As I was making the teaser video for the series, the classical piece by Camille Saint-Saens "Danse Macabre" had the best tone and pacing for background music, and I decided it would make a perfect title tie-in to launch the series! The music is also mentioned within the story itself.