Short Story: Does She Smile at Home? out now on Amazon

This month I’ll be releasing not one, but two stories, exclusively on Amazon. The first (a short story) is titled Does She Smile at Home?

The illustration on this cover was drawn by my young nephew, Zach.

The illustration on this cover was drawn by my young nephew, Zach.

Plot Synopsis for Does She Smile at Home?

In the midst of an existential crisis, a middle-aged man comes upon Dolores, a lowly grocery store clerk who never seems to smile. Confused and haunted by this woman’s poisonous demeanor, and suspecting the riddle of her existence will somehow solve his own emotional puzzle, the man follows her home to see what her life is like. What he discovers stirs him to his very core, and changes him forever.

You can check out this short story for just .99 cents on Amazon. CLICK HERE to buy.

Note: You can read the story on any Kindle device or on your phone, computer or tablet just by downloading the Kindle app.

Some Background for Does She Smile at Home?

This powerful, inspirational drama strays from my standard comforts of the thriller/sci-fi/horror genre and explores the nature of hope, depression, and social/economic struggle through an existential lens. Rich with moody characters, brisk fall imagery and thoughtful metaphor, the story is meant for those who struggle to make ends meet, but hope for a better day.

Also, if you haven’t already, check out my thrilling short stories, The Stray Cats and The Horror. Both stories only .99 cents each. CLICK HERE to buy your copies today!

The Horror:

What if the horrors of a seemingly innocent and fun haunted house attraction were real? What if someone were inside with you, stalking you and feeding on your fear? What if every corner of the maze were deadly? What if you couldn’t get out?

The Horror tells the story of Lisa and Alan, two college teens visiting a theatrical haunted maze themed after local urban legends. Once inside it becomes clear that the macabre, grisly sights are not just smoke and mirrors, and gallons of fake blood, but the gory work of a deranged psychopath who is inside the house, hunting them.

The Stray Cats:

Jennifer Riley is trying to pick up the shattered pieces of her life in the aftermath of an abusive husband. Despite her positive outlook, Jennifer feels an emptiness in her heart. That’s when Callie, an adorable tabby cat, appears on her doorstep seeking shelter. Jennifer allows the feline into her home, but soon another cat shows up at her doorstep … and another … and another … and another. What is causing this strange preponderance of cats? Is it Jennifer’s bizarre neighbors, each one seemingly weirder than the next? Is it her own selfish desire to fill her lonely days? Or is there something far more deadly at play? … something fiendish lurking within the woods surrounding Forest Street.

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Stay tuned for more news regarding my second short (a novelette). It’s a “to be titled” straight-faced Christmas parody, due on Black Friday. More on that story in the coming days.

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The Horror is Out Now!

My latest, terrifying novelette, THE HORROR is now available on Amazon Kindle (BUY HERE).

NOTE: You don’t need to own a Kindle device to read the story. All you need is the Kindle app, which is available on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet.

TheHorrorCoversmaller

Synopsis: 

What if the horrors of a seemingly innocent and fun haunted house attraction were real? What if someone were inside with you, stalking you and feeding on your fear? What if every corner of the maze were deadly? What if you couldn’t get out?

The Horror tells the story of Lisa and Alan, two college teens visiting a theatrical haunted maze themed after local urban legends. Once inside it becomes clear that the macabre sights are not just smoke and mirrors, and gallons of fake blood, but the gory work of a deranged psychopath who is inside the house, hunting them. The two lovers must attempt to escape before this crazed lunatic tracks them down and completes his grisly ritual.

Background:

With The Horror, I wanted to craft a special short story for the Halloween season, and I wanted this story to be something “balls to the wall” scary. Ultimately, The Horror was inspired by one of my wife’s worst fears: that someone inside a haunted house might have nefarious plans for the guests. While the core story of The Horror has been swimming around my noggin for close to a decade, the plot began to truly form this September, when my wife and I visited the haunted houses at Universal Studios.

The result is a haunting, atmospheric ride through a terrifying, nail-biting narrative that simply doesn’t let up. But it’s also a story designed to make you think. The Horror explores the nature of trauma and death through brutal metaphor. It examines what we really fear and how our culture deals with disaster. The story is a response to those who criticize horror as exploitation or entertainment, all while fueling a reader’s fears through thrilling set pieces, unnerving suspense, vivid description and meaningful characters.

I hope you will enjoy The Horror as much as I enjoyed writing and editing it. Keep in mind, the story is quite scary, so I would definitely recommend this one to hardcore horror readers, especially lovers of the slasher genre.

Happy Halloween!

Wicked Neighborhood #1 is out now!

Wicked Neighborhood #1The Stray Cats is now available on Amazon Kindle. The short story is just $.99!

Click Here to buy your copy!

And, if you like the short, please feel free to review it on Amazon, post a link on Facebook or Twitter, or write a review on your own blog. Spread the word if you want to see more issues of the series!

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A little back-story on The Stray Cats:

The short was inspired by an encounter my wife had with a small tabby cat one morning. She was taking out the trash when a loving orange cat came knocking on our door. Over the next few weeks, Callie (as we came to name her), would visit our home almost daily. Unfortunately, our cat DeDe (pronounced DD), isn’t the most friendly feline of the bunch, and even the sight of Callie outdoors seemed to rattle her ego a little too much, so we couldn’t take her in.

We tried to find Callie a home, but got very few bites. Sadly, after a few weeks, the orange tabby mysteriously disappeared. We hope she found a good home and is living and loving to the best of her abilities. She was easily the friendliest stray I have ever seen and I trust she found a good home.

Here are a few photos of Callie:

Callie's first encounter with my wife - this moment ended up in the story

Callie’s first encounter with my wife – this moment ended up in the story.

Callie on our deck.

Callie lounging on our deck.

Oddly, Callie isn’t the only stray that’s come to visit our humble home. There’s Poline, who sleeps every day on our trampoline, baking in the glow of the afternoon sun. There was also an absolutely adorable kitten who followed my wife and I for almost half a mile during one of our early evening walks. We didn’t even notice her, at first. Our neighbor asked us, “Who’s your friend?” I replied with confusion and our neighbor pointed out the small gray cat who was eagerly trailing behind us.

I began writing The Stray Cats out of a love and affection for felines, though I wanted to tell a story that wasn’t just cute and cuddly. I wanted something creepy … something a little scary. The Stray Cats represents a delicious blend of adorable and terrifying, and I truly hope you enjoy it. I also hope that, once you read the tale, you will contemplate the story’s bitter subtext.

What’s in store for Wicked Neighborhood #2?

The second issue of the series is tentatively titled “The Foot,” and will focus on Jennifer’s neighbor, Ernie Graham, a man with a rather curious ailment. Look for it in late October, just in time for Halloween!

Anthology series, Wicked Neighborhood, is coming!

The launch issue of my short story anthology series, Wicked Neighborhood, will be hitting the Amazon Kindle store very soon.

The first issue, The Stray Cats, follows Jennifer Riley, a young woman trying to pick up the shattered pieces of her life in the aftermath of an abusive husband. Despite her positive outlook, Jennifer feels an emptiness in her heart. That’s when Callie, an adorable tabby cat, appears on her doorstep seeking shelter. Jennifer gladly allows the feline into her home, but soon another cat shows up at her doorstep … and another … and another … and another. What is causing this strange preponderance of cats? Is it Jennifer’s bizarre neighbors, each one seemingly weirder than the next? Is it her own selfish desire to fill her lonely days? Or is there something far more deadly at play? … something fiendish lurking within the woods.

TheStrayCatsCover

Here is a sneak peek at the cover of Wicked Neighborhood #1!

The short stories will be split over seven issues, with the possibility for future “seasons” of Wicked Neighborhood if the stories prove popular.

The series is loosely inspired by/hyperbolized from my own neighborhood, a strange suburban cage located in northern Ohio riddled with more than a few odd birds. Each issue of the series will focus on one particular household seated on the seemingly quiet stretch of land known as Forest Street.

The upcoming stories are connected by characters, incidents and events on the street. That said, it is not necessary that you read every single tale in the series to delight in what I have in store for you … though you will be missing quite a lot of fun. Also, as future issues appear, you are welcome to read them in any order you desire.

I will update this blog as soon as The Stray Cats goes live on Amazon. Stay tuned!