Friday, October 22, 2021

Halloween Flash Fiction by Celia Breslin #HauntedHalloweenSpooktacular #PNR

Happy Halloween Month, Everyone! For Halloween every year, I like to share my favorite spooky story from my family’s arsenal of tales about the Fae. In this one, my Irish grandmother recounts her personal encounter with a Banshee when she was a teenager. Enjoy!

Bumped by the Banshee

by Celia Breslin

… I lived in a large two-story house with my parents, younger sister, and grandmother. It was a cold, winter evening, nothing special or out of the ordinary. My family dined together, then my sister and I cleaned up while our parents and grandmother drank tea. We joined them at the dining table to do our homework, but my grandmother said she was tired and went upstairs to bed. My parents followed shortly after that, but my father paused on the landing.

“Maeve, it’s going to be a cold night. Fetch us some coal, please.”

I abandoned my homework, grabbed the empty coal bucket from the kitchen, and went down into the cellar. I filled my bucket and returned to the stairs. I had one foot on the first step when the temperature in the cellar, already cold, dropped dramatically. Chills ran down my back. Behind me, someone moaned.

But how could that be? I was alone...

Terror rooted me to the spot. The keening grew louder. I dropped my bucket and covered my ears. A cold wind bumped against my back. I stumbled forward as the shrieking wind rushed over me and up the stairs.

But how could that be? The cellar had no windows...

Above me, the cellar door slammed shut. The sound broke me from my stupor. I screamed and ran up the stairs and out of the cellar, through the kitchen and dining room, and up the stairs to my room. My parents and sister found me under my bed, shaking like a puppy lost in a snowstorm.

“Maeve! Maeve! What is it? What’s wrong?” They asked me, while pulling me from my hiding place.

“I heard the Banshee wail.”

We stared at each other in silence, all of us reaching the same conclusion moments later. We hurried to my grandmother’s room.

She was dead.

(Copyright 2021, Celia Breslin. All rights reserved.)


A Demon's Embrace
Cupid Dating Agency 
Book Four
Celia Breslin

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Celia Breslin
Date of Publication: December 2020
ISBN: 9781393692881
Number of pages: 124
Word Count: 30K
Cover Artist: Brantwijn Serrah

Tagline: She believes him the enemy. He's determined to prove her wrong.

Book Description:

Former relic-hunter and soldier for Hell, Stryker spends his days of redemption running a holiday store in a cheery little town in the California wine country. He’s not complaining. The gig puts him across the street from his one and only heart’s desire—a blue-eyed angel with a clever brain, a hot bod, and the wickedest right hook this side of Heaven. Too bad his delectable Angel Cake won’t give him the time of day.

Warrior-class angel and restaurateur, Zara keeps busy designing interesting foods and beverages for the eateries and gym she owns with her celestial teammates. She certainly has zero time or interest in the annoyingly sexy, darkly bronzed demon who drove her bonkers for eons while working for the other side.

But then a freak storm complete with hell beasties rampages their hometown, and God and the cupids order the pair to team up to investigate. Frustrating news for Zara. Fantastic for Stryker. His new mission? Show his feisty angel their partnership is meant to extend far beyond this one job for Heaven...

Amazon US       Angus and Robertson       Apple Books

BN      Kobo       Scribd      Vivlio


Stryker and Zara's First Kiss...

Location: Charon's boat, River Styx, the Underworld...

...The boat heaved upward as if struck from below, sending her airborne. Before she could conjure her wings, Stryker shot up and snatched her around the waist, hauling them both to the deck.

Flat on his back with her sprawled atop his hard body, he grinned, much too pleased with himself for her liking. “Told you it gets rough,” he shouted over the rush of water. “I never lie to you, Angel Face.”

“That in itself is a lie,” she shot back, wedging her fingers in the gaps between the bone flooring and gripping tight while the chopping river tossed their ride. She could list thousands of his deceptions. Fine, they were revisiting his loathsome past behavior. “What about the time you stole the Ark of the Covenant? Or the Holy Chalice? The Vatican heist? Or when you took Joan’s sword and—”

“Aw, c’mon, she deserved it. She cut off the tip of my wing.”

“It regenerated, and you had no right to bother her in the first place when she was busy saving—

“Hey, I gave it back.”

“I made you give it back, demon.”

He laughed but the sound was lost in the great roar of the river. Its turmoil increased, waves thrashing over the bow as if their presence angered the river.

“Buckle up, baby.” Stryker held her tight to his chest. The boat bucked upward and bashed down, again and again. Freezing water sprayed everywhere, drenching them in seconds. Zara shuddered, chilled to the bone, half expecting ice to form on her frame.

Cheek to cheek, Stryker clutched her close with a hand cupping her head and one massive arm banded around her torso. “Hang on Angel Cake, I’ve got you.” Warmth slid into her quivering body, a soothing heat wafting from the demon. “Nice trick, right?” he murmured into her ear, lips grazing her skin.

Teeth chattering, she didn’t reply, too caught up in the sensation of his surprisingly soft lips on the shell of her ear, and his spicy scent, an intriguing blend of cardamom, cinnamon, and earthy, masculine musk.

Desire danced through her, followed fast by denial. No. Please, no. Eternal enemy. Archnemesis. He’s the bad guy. But her libido didn’t seem to care one bit about their battle-filled past, or even their more recent clashes. Her treacherous body relaxed against his, basking in the continued warmth emanating from him.

“Yes, baby. That’s it.” His hand slid to her nape, and he exhaled against the sensitive skin of her neck, setting off a flurry of butterflies in her stomach.

Trap. This had to be a trap, right? Nothing good could come of a tryst with a demon. It didn’t matter how loudly the hum chimed in her, or how wonderful his hard body felt under hers, they couldn’t possibly—

Oh, no, now his clever fingers kneaded the knots in her muscles, massaging the tension from her neck and shoulders, making her melt.

His warm lips brushed her ear once again. “Angel…”

She should stop him. Really, she should. Then he nuzzled the hollow of her shoulder, and his soft kisses eroded her superego’s usual iron will. […] Maybe, if she explored the cosmic hum trying to call them together instead of running from it, she would discover it meant nothing at all. Maybe, she could simply kiss him and move on.

She turned her head. He stilled, one hot palm planted between her shoulder blades, the other lounging on her lower back, his mouth so close their breath mingled. Goose bumps tracked over her and not from the cold since she had Stryker as her personal space heater.

Zara didn’t dare look into his eyes, instead digging deep one last time to stop this insanity, dredging up reasons this was a bad idea. Demon. D’uh. Longtime foe. Brash, blunt, devious, conniving, opinionated, manipulative, flirtatious, and yes, flirting was bad, so very, very ba—

[...] Lord help her, she wanted him too. Her gaze clashed with his. Such pretty eyes for a demon, like black onyx flecked with amber. He went statue-still beneath her, seemed to be holding his breath now, waiting for her to…

Make a move?

She wrapped a lock of his shoulder-length hair around her finger. Damp from the crashing river. Shiny, deepest black. Silky, and as warm as his body. She tugged on it.

A groan escaped him, and he kissed her. 

About the Author:

Celia lives in California with her husband, daughter, and two feisty cats. She writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance, and has a particular fondness for werewolves, vampires, and the Fae. When not writing, you’ll find Celia exercising, reading a good book, hanging with her family, or indulging her addiction to fantasy TV shows and movies.









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Interview - Demon Shadow by Timothy Patrick Means #Horror

How did you become an author?

While at my job,I picked up a book and read it in its entirety one day. At the end of the book I thought, I could write better than that. So, I started to put my thoughts together on pencil and paper.

What made you decide to publish?

My mother’s response to seeing a few pages I’d written down on paper. Her expression was moving, especially when she asked me, “Do they find her daughter?” To me, it was as though I had captured her imagination.

What is a funny thing that happened on the way to getting published?

I saw my book covers displaying my imagination in living color. I beheld my words in printed form. Of course, I was excited about the prospects of the future. The strange thing to me was when people would say, “How exciting, you wrote a book” To me, it was nothing to imagine 180,000 words. I'm still doing it today!

If your book was made into a movie…

It would be a badass movie. First of all, it would be filled with all manner of emotions: anger, sadness, and revenge. The battle between good and evil has plagued humankind since the beginning. The wizard, Tobias, doesn’t give a damn about humanity, his only desire to come back to life. My desire is not to see my charters as weaklings but strong in moral fiber. Barbara is not weak; once she discovers the truth about her daughter’s abduction, she begins to call upon all types of bizarre characters, but nothing or no one is too strange to resist her will in her fight to save her daughter.

Can you give us a few random thoughts about yourself, something that might surprise your readers? 

• I had a distinguished career in aerospace. I once worked on rockets and the space station. Years ago, while I was testing a high-pressure vessel, it blew up. I survived the blast behind a bomb shelter door, a foot thick. Gratefully, the bomb shelter had two sets of bulletproof glass windows, that survived the blast, otherwise while I was eyeing the sphere, I would have killed. The explosion blew off the roof. Later, it was discovered that there was a failure in the heat treatment process.

• I was born premature and almost died. Looking at me now, the fatness on my bones, none would guess that I was dying and only survived by the instruction from a nurse who told my mother to feed me goat’s milk. It worked.

• My mother and four sisters raised me. When my mother'swas pregnant with me, my older sister died of pneumonia in my mother's arms while going to the hospital. A close bond existed from that time onward. The reason she fought so much to save my life; I suppose.

What are your hobbies or other interests that get you away from the stress of writing?

I enjoy fishing, playing my Xbox, going to the park, and playing with the children.

Demon Shadow
The Bishops’ Sacrifice 
Book One
Timothy Patrick Means

Genre: Horror
Publisher: Mad Dog Press
Date of Publication: 10/01/2021
ISBN: 978-1-7376017-0-8
Number of pages: 179
Word Count: 47831
Cover Artist: Eric Labacz

Book Description: 

The 16-year-old girl disappeared after school on an October afternoon. The police have exhausted all leads. It’s been weeks, but her mother, Barbara, will not stop searching for Melissa.

Her husband, Mark, has given up…and started drinking. Her younger daughter Rachel feels neglected. The police think she is a nuisance. Her job is in jeopardy.
But even more mysterious things begin happening around Barbara. The shadows that have no source…a dark form glimpsed beneath Melissa’s bed…the ravens that have congregated on the lawn.

Desperate, Barbara turns to the mysterious Sterling, a man the police scorn as a psychic, a fraud, and maybe worse.

Can Sterling help Barbara find her daughter before it is too late? And what is the mysterious Bishops’ Curse that has haunted Barbara’s family for centuries?

The Demon Shadow is the first in a series of haunting thrillers that will keep you on the edge of your seat.


She hurried down the hallway with the crystal in her hand. As she passed Melissa’s bedroom, the crystal began to glow brighter and brighter. Pausing just outside the door, she stopped and didn’t move. The crystal burned with such intensity that she could hardly look at it.

She held her palm flat, the object resting in the center. She was compelled to walk into Melissa’s bedroom. As she took a step inside, the crystal’s light became blindingly bright, reaching into the darkest corners of the room, filling every murky space with beams of shimmering light. She realized with a shock that she hadn’t turned on any lights; the object glowed more brightly with each step she took.

As she stood silently, watching the effects of the light against the blackest of the shadows. Something moved! Frightened, she wanted to run away but instead stood transfixed as a pair of long, bony arms reached out from under Melissa’s bed.

Somehow, she knew that the dark, shadowy figure was trying to crawl from some other place into this world. As she watched in silent horror, it slowly pulled its body upward from under the bed. A dark and menacing fog swirled and grew until it assumed the shape of a tiny human skull with two bulging eyes embedded in deep sockets, eagerly watching Barbara with keen interest.

Frozen in fear and unable to move or retreat, she stood perfectly still. The dark body changed, blending within the blackness in front of her—this thing was death itself.

Slowly, it rose from the floor and became erect— alive. The air in Melissa’s bedroom was becoming frigid, and Barbara shivered in the sudden cold. All she could do was to stand immobile and watch intently as the apparition came to life.

The body of the ghastly image was almost transparent, with dark, oily skin. Now that it was upright, Barbara could see that it stood close to six feet tall with a body as black as a moonless night.

The creature unfolded two broad, enormous wings; they stretched halfway across the room. To her horror, it opened its mouth wide and let out an ear-piercing scream as if it had just been wounded. Flinching, she clamped her hands over her ears.

Questions flooded her mind. Why is this creature here in Melissa’s bedroom? What can this all possibly mean? Only one thing mattered: How could she defeat this creature that threatening her life?

The answer to that question, she realized, was in the palm of her hand. As the dark demon fully materialized, the small object she held burned ever more brightly. As the entity grew in strength and magnification, the burning brightness in the room increased as well. Somehow, she understood that this object was inflicting the pain the creature felt. Was kind of weapon was it?

More importantly, if this small object caused this beast such enormous pain, how could she use it to defeat the monster?

The light restrained the creature, but it fought against it. In one final attempt to get at her, the creature stuck out its long, skeletal fingers; its razor-sharp nails tried to stop the incandescent light from penetrating its hazy body. Still, every time it drew closer to harm her, the shining brilliance from the crystal object became even brighter and held the creature back.

Inside herself, something suddenly changed; she would not surrender to her fears. She would show this creature no mercy or weakness. She stepped toward the being, holding the light before her. As she did, the creature’s menacing shape began to change. It was no longer the threatening being it once had been, and it began to draw inward. Its once proudly displayed wings collapsed into its body. Its form seemed to lower in submission; the strange creature looked as though it bowed before her.

The incandescent light from the small crystal penetrated deep into its dark body as it began to creep backward under Melissa’s bed, retreating into the world in which it lived. As it withdrew, it took on a much smaller form than before.

Her courage renewed; Barbara took another step closer. As she looked upon the inky body, it shrank to nothingness and disappeared from her sight.

She took a deep breath. It was gone. But she knew it had only been subdued for now. It had had no choice but to retreat to the abyss of its home, in that other world where darkness lived.

But it would be back?

About the Author:
Timothy was raised on the sunny beaches of Southern California. As a young boy, he spent many summers swimming and playing in the ocean without care. Later as the man, he was fortunate enough to land a job in Aerospace, working for McDonnell Douglas. There he worked on military aircraft and, most exciting of all, rockets! All types of space hardware, including the space station, space shuttle, and the Delta rocket.

His life has always been interesting—a father to four children and two stepchildren, Grandfather to 14. He’s given away his heart to all. In his life, he’s always loved writing. His first experience at being creative was describing his feelings through poetry that seemed to get mixed emotions. But it wasn’t until he put pencil to the paper that his imagination soared, and he was set free to explore all the possibilities of creating an exciting story.

Here and now is the result of his work. A new world created from his imagination, where everything was possible, including the dangers and pitfalls.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Dead Man Walking by Zach Adams #Horror

Dead Man Walking
The Ivyverse 
Book One 
Zach Adams

Genre: Contemporary fantasy, mystery, horror
Publisher: Adams/Valentine
Date of Publication: September 19th, 2021
ISBN Print: 978-1-7370775-0-3
ISBN Kindle: 978-1-7370775-3-4 
ISBN PDF: 978-1-7370775-2-7
Number of pages: 288
Word Count: 78,098
Cover Artist: Touqeer Shahid

Tagline: “Unlocking the door to the dead”

Book Description: 

Dead Man Walking by Zach Adams is a compelling contemporary fantasy novel full of twists and turns that will leave readers captivated until the last page. Focusing on Isaac Falcone, a young library assistant, this novel follows the man as he realizes that his life is becoming infested with otherworldly creatures, many of whom mean to do him harm. After discovering a magic book, Isaac is attacked by a swarm of the undead, but is rescued by an elven man named L’æon. The elf suddenly appears in Isaac’s life more and more, allegedly protecting him from the malicious forces that mean to do him harm. But nothing can prepare Isaac for the penultimate evil that he will have to face in order to save himself...and his entire reality.

Author Store      Amazon

Excerpt :

Wax-face seemed to notice Isaac for the first time, widening his eyes - which Isaac saw were gray with cataracts, streaked with red - and leering at the librarian with a predatory fascination. His jaw slowly fell open, a stream of blood flowing down his chin to the floor.
Isaac attempted to flee, but his feet were giving his brain the silent treatment. The best he got out of himself was turning his head to look over his shoulder. Two more lumbering, waxy, blood-dripping freaks limped out from behind bookshelves and toward Isaac.

Our hero would claim for most of his life beyond this event that the sound he emitted was a leonine roar as he suddenly found the courage to fight his attackers off and escape.

However, he knew completely well that the noise which escaped his lungs was a high-pitched, birdlike screech as he attempted to mediate a debate between Panic and Rage over the course of a second or two;

Oh fuck, zombies.

Don’t be ridiculous.

Find a weapon!

You don’t even know how to use any.

Find one anyway!

It’s a library, are we going to papercut them back to death?

Do we think this is the zombie apocalypse?

I feel like we’re wasting a lot of time here.

Panic ceased its babbling and made a noise not unlike a police siren. Rage decided now was as good a time as any to hop on a dream-bus and see the world before the useless skin-sack they inhabited got himself killed, offering Isaac no more survival pointers.

Isaac jerked back around to face the original zombie (a word he was still hesitant to use but had now become the only discernible thought he could latch onto).

The monster had completed its examination, raised its raspy wheeze to a blood-curdling shriek, and made a mad dash for its prey, blood flying every which way from his gaping mouth. Isaac could hear the two behind him do the same.

Well, there you go you useless lump, you went and got us killed.

It’s not his fault, there was nothing in orientation about an after-hours zombie attack.
The argument in Isaac’s head descended into a cacophonic volley of insults, mocking tones, and detailed instructions for the other to misbehave with a tree.

Isaac reminded his debating thoughts that they were all part of the same person, so tree sap on one’s privates is tree sap on the others. Also, he added that the zombies may have been close enough that he could smell iron on their breath, but the well-dressed gentleman with silver hair in the doorway seemed calm and ready to help. By all laws of logic and probability he was aware of, Isaac would be dead in three and a half seconds anyway, so no need for extra stress.

Panic and Rage stared out through Isaac’s eyes. They agreed that there was indeed a rather pale man with silver hair and an incongruously cheerful smirk standing at the fair end of the room, absent the blurry gray doppelganger Isaac normally saw with people and seeming to emit a faint glow. He was dressed in a white suit with vague green specks all over it, with a feathery gold and silver cape to go with it.

Whoever he was, he seemed more-or-less qualified to handle such an unexpected threat.

The new arrival was pointing the palm of his left hand at the scene, his thumb extended at a right angle. He twitched his hand down at the wrist and every molecule in the room sang out in unison, connected by static electricity.


A razor-thin hemisphere of light erupted in a three-foot radius around Isaac. The zombies, all of whom had just taken a flying leap for his neck, landed on the bubble and bounced off.

They each landed on their backsides with a dull thud, totally incapable of processing this development. They caught the pale man’s scent and turned on him, assuming he would make a decent meal as well.

The suited man shut his eyes and delicately pressed his fingertips together, then his palms before he turned them toward the zombies. He intoned a series of syllables in a steady waltzing rhythm, continuing to use the molecular structure of the library as a network of loudspeakers.

“Tä’gläcí äy æ’chévän.”

They all froze, and a few of Isaac’s rapid heartbeats later the monsters disappeared into thin air. As they went, the electric buzz throughout the area died down until it vanished entirely, along with the bubble around Isaac.

Without a word, the new arrival sniffed the air like a bloodhound while wandering toward Isaac. He stopped every few steps and screwed up his face in concentration. He finally followed his nose to Isaac and began sniffing the young man’s scalp, seeming to not notice there was a person under the hair. He jumped back in surprise when he finally did.

“Oh, I am so sorry! I did not realize that you were a person.” The new man said with a grin and an accent with traces from most of Western Europe. His voice, though still bouncy and full of life, had lost the musical quality it had when the entire building spoke for him.

“Who are you?” The stranger asked.

Isaac stared at him without blinking, “Uh…Buh” floating through his mind again. He waded through a mess of scattered vocabulary to find a coherent response until he finally landed on, “I-Isaac Falc-cone.”

The activation of the various anatomical components required for speech set off a domino effect which rattled every other bit of their host, who began to shake violently as tears once again fell down his face.

The newcomer twitched slightly. “Just a fair warning, Uh-Buh, you ought to take care not to give away so much of your name to strangers. I mean you no harm, but many entities may take it as an invitation.”

“Inv… Wha…” Isaac stammered.

The man with the silver hair smiled, grabbed Isaac’s wrist, and helped him to his feet. He swept some loose zombie dust from Isaac’s clothes, looked him in the eye, and spoke with extraordinary calm. Isaac couldn’t decide if he was comforted by or terrified of the stranger.

“Unimportant. Uh-Buh I-Isaac Falc-Cone, nice to meet you,” The visitor said, still holding on to Isaac’s wrist. “You may call me L’æon. Næ’vös shívæ!”

About the Author: 

Author Zach Adams has had a passion for writing and storytelling his entire life. However, he didn’t decide to pursue it as a profession until he realized that working in retail was completely draining his remaining life force.  And so, Adams set out to create a fascinating and captivating novel, which he achieved in his debut work, “Dead Man Walking”.

Having a general distaste for his current reality, Zach aspires to escape into the science fiction and fantasy worlds that he creates. And by doing so, he aims to share this escapism with his readers (who are probably also incredibly tired of the current state of things).

Zach was raised by an anthropomorphic ostrich, and is a seasoned time traveler. Coincidentally, he also enjoys making up utter nonsense about himself. Currently, Adams lives in Alaska with his cat Gamora (who he does not plan to sacrifice on Vormir).

Tour Giveaway 

5 winners of  an ecopy of “Dead Man Walking” 

will be chosen randomly from those who join the mailing list 


during the tour time frame

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Urbantasm Book Three The Darkest Road by Connor Coyne #YA #MagicalRealism #TeenNoir

Urbantasm Book Three
The Darkest Road
Connor Coyne

Genre: General Fiction / Young Adult
Subgenres: Magical Realism, Teen Noir, Edgy YA
Publisher: Gothic Funk Press
Date of Publication: 9/22/2021
ISBN: 978-0989920292 (Print)
Page Count 639
Word Count: About 230,000
Cover Artist: Sam Perkins-Harbin

Urbantasm: The Empty Room is the third book in the magical teen noir serial novel inspired by the author’s experiences growing up in and around Flint, Michigan. It will be published in September, 2021.

Junior high was hard. John Bridge has made and lost friends, experienced and forsaken love, and discovered his true passions. But after his harrowing experience on the roof of St. Christopher’s hospital, John has decided to turn the page of his own life and plan for his future. Now he has new friends, a new girlfriend, and a powerful new goal: to get into Chicago and leave Akawe forever.

But Akawe might not want to let John go. The city is full of memories and ghosts — urbantasms, according his former friend Selby — and they leave traces of questions that John cannot easily escape: What happened to his abducted classmate Cora Braille? How does the Chalks street gang keep replenishing its stock of O-Sugar, a drug with seemingly magical properties? And why is Selby suddenly hanging out with a notorious drug dealer? Does it have anything to do with a man with a knife or some mysterious blue sunglasses?

John has a feeling that the dreadful answers to these questions might take him to a place that he does not want to go: a dark road in a forgotten corner of his dying city. Possibly the darkest road of all.

As a serial novel, Urbantasm has to be read in order. 
New readers will want to start with Book One The Dying City.

Excerpt Book 3:

The summer dusk gave way to interstitial twilight. There was no sense in riding an hour back home in the dark just to turn around and come back the next morning. Instead, my friends and I bummed our way back to Camp Jellystone, where we got to camp in tents on the gravel and weeds off of the RV lot for five dollars a night. We sat around a fire and drank pop while the older actors – our mentors – went through six-packs of beer and homilized on their atheist Bibles. They quoted SNL routines, Monty Python, GURPS, Cthulhu, and the Digital Underground until we were all too tired to see straight. We all said goodnight and made our way back to our tents. But my tent had flooded during the week, and inside I found dead earwigs floating in slow circles.
            I didn’t mind.
            I was glad that this had happened.
            I gathered up my sleeping bag, which Eddie had dropped off in the morning before heading back to Akawe, and stumbled back through the purple dark to Omara’s tent.
            “Knock knock,” I said.
            I heard her sigh. “You got your own tent, John.”
            “Not tonight,” I said. “It’s flooded. Will you let me stay here?”
            “Fine,” she said. “If this ever gets back to my dad, he’ll murder you.”
            “I don’t think he will. I don’t think he’d murder a fly.”
            She didn’t argue. She knew that I was right. She unzipped the tent and beckoned me inside.
            In more than a year of going out, Omara and I hadn’t had sex. We hadn’t even been naked together. The driving thirst and curiosity that I had felt in seventh grade had been quenched by my confusing tumbles with Crystal. By my guilty nescience with Lucy. Still, here I was, sleeping bag in hand, stooped under the slope of the tent roof, wearing soccer shorts and a too-small t-shirt, and Omara stood before me, more stooped because she was taller than I was, her white panties and tank top bright against her dark skin. We unzipped our sleeping bags, made a bed between them, and lay down. Omara turned away from me, and I pressed into her back. I put my arm around her waist with my palm against her bare stomach. I could feel her shapes against mine, though there was still cloth between us.
            “It was a long day today,” she said.
            “Uh-huh,” I said.
            “We’d better get some sleep. It’s gonna be a long weekend. We got two more days to go. Then school. You know I got that job at the Olan Farm? It’s gonna be almost like this. I mean, I guess I’ll dress up like a milkmaid, like The Little House on the Prairie or something. But it’ll be acting, you know?”
            I sighed.
            “I’m not tired,” I said.
            “Me neither,” she said. And then, in a burst: “I can’t stop thinking about that woman on your block. Who murdered her baby.”
            I pushed myself against her. I held my breath. I said, “I can’t think about that. I mean. There’s nothing I can do about that. It makes me sick, but what does that even accomplish?”
            “But doesn’t it just stick with you? The idea of it? How awful it –”
            “I don’t want it to, okay? Anyway, it’s far away. We’re here now. Let’s stay here.”
            “We can’t stay here.” I felt the tenseness in Omara’s back.

“Yeah. But someday, we’ll leave Akawe for good. And anyway. We aren’t there now.”
            “Aren’t you afraid your dad’s gonna lose his job?”
            “My father? Yeah. He’s already driving two hours each day ever since they transferred him to Canton. Ever since that strike ended last year, it seems like X is closing everything fast as they can. You know? I mean, they closed the Benedict Main. Most of the Old Benedict. Probably RAN, too. ‘Course, my aunt says they were going to close them all anyway.”
            Omara laughed. A slight untensing. “Sounds like you have thought about it.”
            “I think about lots of things a lot. Some things I don’t want to think about and some things I do. I mean, I think about you a lot.”
            I was trying to move toward her. In, you know, ways. But she wasn’t taking the bait.
            “Aren’t you afraid they won’t be able to pay for college?”
            She’d finally succeeded. Omara’s fears had become my fears.
            “No,” I said. “I mean, my mother is working at that new job at XAI. And even if my father gets laid off, he’s got options. Right? Transfer to other plants. Stuff like that. What about you? Why are you worried? Didn’t your grandparents get you a savings bond or something?”
            “Yeah. But I keep thinking someone’s gonna open a trapdoor beneath me or something. I guess ... I guess I keep thinking I’ll believe in college when I get there. And not before. It just seems a bad idea to get my hopes up, you know?”
            “You don’t have to worry about it for a while. It’s still years off. I mean, we just have to keep working, don’t we? It’ll happen. We just need to be patient or some shit, you know?”
            The wind buffeted the tent over our heads. I could hear low talking outside. Low chuckles. Through the tent wall, I could see the embers of the fire flickering faintly. Some of the older actors would be slouching in their folding chairs until the sky started to gray with dawn. That was still several hours away. I listened to it for a long, slow minute.
            “I do worry,” I confided. “I worry that something will happen that I don’t expect, and I’ll get stuck. That I’ll fail a class, fail a test I need to pass ... and I won’t get into college in Chicago, or I won’t get into college anywhere. I worry that my parents are lying about everything, and they can’t pay for shit. I worry that I’m just being set up to fail. I even worry ...” I caught my breath. Saying this all out loud was hard. Trusting a human being was hard. But at least I wasn’t looking into her eyes. At least the darkness of a September tent wrapped us and kept our secrets from everyone else.
            “I worry,” I whispered, “that you’ll go away to college in Chicago, and I’ll be stuck in Akawe, and I’ll never get out.”
            I heard a deep breath from Omara. I felt her belly raise beneath my cupped palm. She had fallen asleep, and I was grateful.

Urbantasm Book Two
The Empty Room
Connor Coyne

Publisher: Gothic Funk Press
Date of Publication: September 2019      
Number of pages:
Word Count: 175,000      
Cover Artist: Sam Perkins-Harbin, Forge22 Design

Book Description:  

Urbantasm: The Empty Room is the second book in the magical teen noir serial novel inspired by the author’s experiences growing up in and around Flint, Michigan.

John Bridge is only two months into junior high and his previously boring life has already been turned upside-down. His best friend has gone missing, his father has been laid-off from the factory, and John keeps looking over his shoulder for a mysterious adversary: a man with a knife and some perfect blue sunglasses.

As if all this wasn’t bad enough, John must now confront his complicated feelings for a classmate who has helped him out of one scrape after another, although he knows little about who she is and what she wants. What does it mean to want somebody? How can you want them if you don’t understand them? Does anybody understand anyone, ever? These are hard questions made harder in the struggling city of Akawe, where the factories are closing, the schools are closing, the schools are crumbling, and even the streetlights can’t be kept on all night.

John and his friends are only thirteen, but they are fighting for their lives and futures. Will they save Akawe, will they escape, or are they doomed? They might find their answers in an empty room… in a city with ten thousand abandoned houses, there will be plenty to choose from.

Urbantasm Book One
The Dying City
Connor Coyne
Genre: YA, Magical Realism, New Adult, Teen Noir, Lit Fic
Publisher: Gothic Funk Press
Date of Publication: September 6, 2018
ISBN: 978-0989920230
ASIN: 0989920232
Number of pages: 450 pages
Word Count: 85,000
Cover Artist: Sam Perkins-Harbin,
Forge22 Design

Book Description:

Urbantasm is a magical teen noir serial novel inspired by the author’s experiences growing up in and around Flint, Michigan.

Thirteen-year-old John Bridge’s plans include hooking up with an eighth-grade girl and becoming one of the most popular kids at Radcliffe Junior High, but when he steals a pair of strange blue sunglasses from a homeless person, it drops him into the middle of a gang war overwhelming the once-great Rust Belt town of Akawe.

John doesn’t understand why the sunglasses are such a big deal, but everything, it seems, is on the table. Perhaps he accidentally offended the Chalks, a white supremacist gang trying to expand across the city. Maybe the feud involves his friend Selby, whose father died under mysterious circumstances. It could even have something to do with O-Sugar, a homegrown drug with the seeming ability to distort space. On the night before school began, a group of teenagers took O-Sugar and leapt to their deaths from an abandoned hospital.

John struggles to untangle these mysteries while adjusting to his new school, even as his parents confront looming unemployment and as his city fractures and burns.

 “A novel of wonder and horror.”— William Shunn, author of The Accidental Terrorist

About the Author:

Connor Coyne is a writer living and working in Flint, Michigan.

His serial novel Urbantasm is winner of numerous awards. Hugo- and Nebula-nominee William Shunn has praised Urbantasm as “a novel of wonder and horror.”
Connor has also authored two other celebrated novels, Hungry Rats and Shattering Glass, as well as Atlas, a collection of short stories.

Connor’s essay “Bathtime” was included in the Picador anthology Voices from the Rust Belt. His work has been published by Vox.comBelt MagazineSanta Clara Review, and elsewhere. 

Connor is Director of Gothic Funk Press.  He has served on the planning committee for the Flint Festival of Writers and represented Flint’s 7th Ward as its artist-in-residence for the National Endowment for the Arts’ Our Town grant. In 2007, he earned his Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from the New School.

Connor lives in Flint, Michigan less than a mile from the house where he grew up.


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Shadow Slayer by Laura A.H. Elliott #YAPNR

Shadow Slayer
Shadow Series 
Book Two
Laura A.H. Elliott

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Ghost Press
Date of Publication:  September 28, 2012
ISBN: 978-1479388189
Number of pages: 184
Word Count:  54,298
Cover Artist: Laura Elliott 

Tagline: Shadows Will Do Anything To Become Human

Book Description: 

Shadows will do anything to become human. You see their influence every day. You say things you don’t mean or do things that aren’t like you. You look different. Friends you’ve known forever suddenly never call. 

As a freshman, Roxie just wants to fit in which is impossible because she barely runs into her friends at her huge high school. Adrianne’s disappearance and Hayden’s attention rock Roxie’s world. But nothing rocks it like the most gorgeous guy at school, Drew. And nothing is more important to Roxie than astral projecting back to Planet Popular to solve the mystery of the map. 

But that changes when Drew invites Roxie to homecoming. Hayden warns her that something’s wrong. Why would a guy like Drew like Roxie anyway? Drew must want something. Hayden’s right. Drew is different. Planet Popular was just the beginning. Part of a bigger world, the Shadow World. 

There’s a war brewing between the world of humans and the world of shadows. When the shadow invasion begins at Roxie’s high school, she’ll not only fight for her life but the lives of her family and friends when she discovers she’s the Shadow Slayer, the one human who can save Earth from the shadow onslaught. But Roxie can’t even kill a spider. 

Oh yeah, there's an evil English teacher, an enchanted play, a sword of Sandonian steel, a homecoming of horrors, and seven magic words too.

Book Trailer:  



I stroke one cheek and then the other with blush and remember standing with Drew at the bonfire. The last night we went out as boyfriend and girlfriend. The last night he was human.

On your 13th birthday, you get the call. By your 14th birthday you find out what the call is.

Everyone I know is in the audience tonight––Ally, Mom, Dad, Brian, even my brother, Mitch, because he came home for my birthday. We’re having our family dinner tomorrow night since tonight the cast party’s at Drew's house, unless I decapitate him first.

“Roxie five minutes,” Hayden yells into the girl’s locker room. As usual I’m the last one out. I sweep my hair up to the side and try to remember my first line. For some reason it’s the one I always forget.

I open locker 316, grab my sword and just as I step outside of the locker room, Wanda runs up to me and starts talking non-stop about her nerves and how they’re getting worse and worse.

“What’s that?” she asks. I stop cold in my tracks at the backstage door.

“There are lots of words for things that don’t exist––the unseen. Like monsters and aliens and dragons and vampires and ghosts,” I say sort of in a trance.

“Yeah, so?” Wanda says, wringing her hands.

“If they don’t exist, why are there words for them? All the stuff I thought was crazy really isn’t crazy at all,” I say, finally getting what Drew was trying to tell me at the bonfire at the estate at homecoming. What the human Drew said before I danced with his shadow. My role in the unseen, the shadow world. Still, I don’t know so many things. Like, what happens to a shadow once I slay it? And where do humans go when their shadows invade? How can I save my human friends?

“Roxie, I caught you! I was so late because Brian’s car got a flat. He fixed it so great, I couldn’t believe it. It’s like he went to badass school or something,” Ally says, laughing.

“Ally. Finally!” We hug. I swallow hard. Brian. Fixed. A. Flat. I mean it’s not brain surgery. But believe me, if it doesn’t have an LCD screen, my brother Brian doesn't think it exists. He doesn’t know how to fix a flat. O.M.G. Brian is probably a shadow too.

About the Author:

As a teenager, Laura’s love for story began in the Amazon where she waterskied with piranha while learning of head hunters and curses. In addition to being a ghost, she’s the author of five books and is a contributor to lifestyle and travel magazines. She has a passion for travel, particularly life at sea, and makes her home in Santa Cruz, CA with her husband, daughters, and their families. No matter the language barrier, perceived danger, altitude, squalls, fashion faux pas, or ingested gluten, she writes to inspire with a focus on journeys of the heart—always on the lookout for great champagne and a pair of red shoes.

You can find her at, @Laurawriting on Twitter, @book_laurasmagicday on TikTok, and on Goodreads too.

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