Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winking, Blinking And Oh So Odd by Ken L. Jones

I decided to start a little early with my December holiday posts and when you read this one by Ken L. Jones you will see it is kind of appropriate.



Winking, Blinking And Oh So Odd


Ken L. Jones

Every town has someone somewhat like Odd Charles Oldfield but Yucaipa, California was unlucky enough to have the one they cloned the rest of them from.

He was the sort of guy who took all the fun out of Christmas by shoving it down people’s throats way too soon, way too long and all this was done in a way that was so shrill and frantic that it made you wonder what exactly was wrong with this so-called grown man. While the guy was everything that was garish, commercial and overblown about that time of the year perhaps the most obnoxious thing that he did to celebrate it was what he did to the front lawn of his modest tract house.
Now to put all this into proper perspective you have to understand that Odd Charles was a retired school teacher and people have been making fun of them every since Washington Irving first took quill pen in hand and scored off so comically on poor old Ichabod Crane.

Odd Charles was indeed a direct lineal descendant of Sleepy Hollow’s most famous school master, the inheritor of his mantle if you will. It wasn’t just that he was so fat and over groomed and un-masculine acting that made people want to make sport of him. Now this has always happened with other male school teachers and probably always will but there was something else about Odd Charles that made normal people shun him when they were unlucky enough to get in any kind of proximity to him at all and that was how childish acting he was. He truly was the total personification of a first or second grade child both in his actions and in his very thoughts themselves. People speculated that the reason this was had been because he had spent so much time in the company of children instructing them that he had somehow in the process devolved into one himself. 

Now the greatest manifestation of this childish instability was how he overdid it about any kind of holiday you might care to mention. There weren’t any of them that he didn’t remember or commemorate and if they made obnoxious outdoor decorations for them then he had them out in his front yard days and even weeks too soon to signify just that. Now it was rumored that he went way into debt to accomplish all this and that the fifty foot tall inflatable Easter bunny that he always displayed out in front of his too prim for words little home had drained much of his 401K savings in order to accomplish that but still anything you can imagine about how he did up Christmas would fall short of the true reality of it all.

To give you a little context about all this it is important that you understand a few things about Yucaipa, California and the certain pathetic little street that Odd Charles lived upon. Now to begin with nobody living recalls what Yucaipa really means in any language English or Indian and that says a lot about the place. It is one of those strange towns that has no true industry or fulltime jobs in it nor even such simple amenities as a Wal-Mart or a local bowling alley and strangely most of its inhabitants are militantly proud of that. The one and only town paper which has to give itself away because no one would ever buy it had recently ran an article that stated that Yucaipa had long been negatively loosing population. Those that replaced them these days seemed to be people who resembled the tribesman who tried to kill Indiana Jones with blow guns and spears during the prologue of his first movie.
Indeed they were so far from the run of the mill Hispanics that most Americans have come to know and depend upon that they even truly offended these stalwart if not exactly properly documented immigrants as well. Now these Jivaro types of which I am speaking were everywhere in Yucaipa but the greatest concentration was on and right around where poor Odd Charles had so long owned the house of which he was so proud. They had in quick order turned the area into a war zone of drugs, vandalism and general mayhem that made even the veteran sheriff deputies that Yucaipa rented from the nearby real town of San Bernardino reluctant to patrol in less than groups of five once the sun went down.  
Now all of this would have made a lesser man sell his house and join the fleeing multitudes but Odd Charles wouldn’t hear of that. Indeed it made him more resolved than ever that he would reverse all this urban decay by being the biggest holiday cheer leader ever. Since he was so obsessed with Christmas particularly he vowed to make 2012 the most spectacular Noel in human memory.
His not overly large front yard which was already crammed with every kind of Frosty, Grinch, Santa, elf or reindeer was joined that year by a light up nativity that was so full of rhinestones and blinking geegaws that it more resembled a Liberace concert than anything that may or may not have happened on the night of Jesus’ birth. He became the butt a million new jokes on account of this and the extra lights he then added to what was his already overdone dwelling earned him the new nickname “Clark Griswold Jr.”. Then as the final cherry on the top of this banana split of holiday excess he rented time on a local radio station so that cars could if they so desired tune to a certain station and hear upon their radios Christmas carols while driving by his house. In addition to all of this, this year he for the first time donned a Santa suit and served hot chocolate and candy canes to anyone who would accept them. While doing this he rang a large hand bell of the type that was once used to announce that school was starting while he bellowed out season greetings until his voice faded into a hoarse whisper.

Now all of this started promptly as it always had at midnight on Halloween night when a somewhat lesser version of this that he had put up for Halloween came down and twenty-four hours later it became nothing but Christmas at Odd Charles’s place clear to mid-January. Now all this did indeed again draw a crowd of a curious kind that year. Yet strangely the only people that came around now were what some of the other old timers in Yucaipa referred disparagingly to as “head hunters.”

At first Odd Charles thought that the free hot chocolate and candy canes were attracting them and of course he was right about all that because they did love them but what they seemed even more excited about were the lawn decorations themselves which they stared at and commented breathlessly about in what sounded like the clicking squeaks of bats to Odd Charles’s unlearned ears. Each night their numbers seemed to multiply and every last one of them seemed entranced by the twitching throbbing lights. They drooled on themselves as they gazed at them in complete adoration and Odd Charles took this as a kind of compliment.
 Odd Charles should have been taken aback the next night when all these same people and perhaps even more came bearing reed pan pipes and strange drums and percussion instruments of all kinds but he wasn’t. Indeed he was strangely complimented by it all. Thus it was that he accepted their musical offerings and the withering native dances that they did in time to his loud outdoor speakers which blasted Andy Williams, Nat King Cole, Perry Como and the Ray Coniff singers as they crooned beloved Christmas chestnuts.
 After getting used to the strange intermingling of all this Odd Charles became hopeful that he could lead them to a true understanding of the person who this holiday was being celebrated for. To try to show what a good sport about all this he was he joined in prancing and singing and ringing his hand bell merrily as he did so. Now all of this continued every night until December 21, and since every news source had been long harping and overplaying this so-called end of the world Odd Charles thought that he might pay it at least some lip service if only as an excuse to get in a word or two about his Jesus to these joyful and child like folks.

So it was as darkness came on blacker and more full of stars than Odd Charles had ever seen it before that he was indeed astonished by the crowd of so-called “headhunters” that gathered at his place at dusk. He guessed that it was because of the day that it was that they were done up in all kinds of strange native outfits. Several of them had on skull faced makeup and had giant feathered headdresses on and had bumpy knives stuck into their soiled canvas loincloths.
Still Odd Charles tried to deal with all this strangeness as best he could if only because he reasoned that so far he knew all these people to be good folks at heart who were probably just scared about all this end of the world hoopla. So Santa suit on and with bell in hand he went out onto his pulsating lawn which glowed and seemed like some combination of Coney Island and the Las Vegas strip. At first he waved and clanged the bell and did a merry little jig like he had been doing on previous nights only this time it seemed to have quite the opposite effect on the crowd. Out of nowhere they formed a circle around him that didn’t seem very friendly and before he could plan any strategy he felt rough fingers snatch at him and raise him above the throng as if he was crowd surfing at a rock and roll concert.
Seconds later he was placed on what was supposed to be Mrs. Claus’s cookie making table and was secured to it by crude hemp ropes. Terrified beyond all reason he tried to use logic to figure out what to do next but nothing came to him. The people he once thought were going to be his friends began to dance and chant and play shrill scary sounding music as if to mock his terror. Then those among them who were painted up as skulls started hovering over him flashing their strange knives with leering grins on their faces. Helpless he looked up at the stars which now seemed different somehow than they were last night. It was as if they had completely shifted positions if such a thing was even scientifically possible.
Then in the midst of chants older than so-called human history Odd Charles was reaped for his heart which he was shown still beating before he succumbed to a death he never could have ever quite imaged. As he died the last thing that he heard were these “neighbors” of his joyously cheering all that they had so carefully brought to transpire. Then something even more amazing than that happened as Odd Charles’s blood and organs were gathered by these same supplicants and then all of his yard decorations were anointed with them. Once this was accomplished the very night sky above them ruptured and formed a vast vortex. In its center beams of sickly shaded purple shot down from this maw and touched every blinking yard ornament there causing them to quiver as they did so. Seconds later as they took on an unholy life all of their own all the natives that had caused this to happen fell on their faces and started worshiping them. Then every blood stained Santa, Rudolph, Frosty and Holy Family member went shambling into the community to help establish the long prophesied new age.
An hour later after all of them were all gone and every last “headhunter”  had left too, a whimsical looking garden gnome began to stir in Odd Charles’s flower bed as well as a large ceramic frog, a plastic lawn flamingo and a very racist looking lawn jockey.
They gathered in a small huddle there and the lawn gnome who was obviously their leader said, “Let these flamboyant Christmas decorations and all the others like them everywhere on the Earth have their day oh my brothers. We will lurk in the shadows a little while longer. Let them do our dirty work for us and expunge these humans from the Earth. When that is accomplished we will then take the planet away from these vain and foolish creatures. That is only fair. After all we’ve been waiting to do this a lot longer than they have and in the final analysis that will account for who will truly rule the Earth in the end.”
The lawn jockey and the others all smiled and then returned to the dimness from which they had came where they once again patiently bided their time as only true conquerors can.

Monday, November 26, 2012

REVIEW: City Under the Moon by Hugh Sterbakov

Book's Web Site

I will admit I have grown somewhat weary of vampires, werewolves and zombies. They are just too many novels, movies and TV shows about these creatures, same as I am a bit tired of doctors, cops and lawyers when it comes to TV.


This said, I believe The Walking Dead is the best show on TV right now, and I love Dracula and the first three Anne Rice vampire books and the original version of The Wolfman. So, while I still think there’s a glut on these creatures I am open-minded.


When Hugh Sterbakov offered me a review copy of City under the Moon, once the initial sigh of “it’s a werewolf novel” was over, I read his synopsis and could tell right away it was something different and likely special as well.

City under the Moon is more of a science and military thriller than outright horror, while at the same time incorporating plenty of horror elements and werewolf lore. The other aspect of Sterbakov’s email offering the review copy was his statement that:

 During two years of meticulous research, I worked with a USC virologist, several physicists, an FBI agent, a USMC sniper, and an Army helicopter pilot and retired colonel to realistically dramatize the horror unfolding at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the White House war rooms, FBI strategy centers and on the streets of Manhattan.”

This got my attention and was the final element that broke down my resistance to give this particular “werewolf novel” a try—and I am glad I did.

Here is Sterbakov’s own plot summary:

A werewolf epidemic tears through Manhattan, unleashed as a form of bioterrorism. It spreads exponentially with each rise of the moon, testing the might of our armed forces and pushing the government to prepare a dire solution. The madman behind it has only one demand: Find a cure.

 A horror, science, political and military thriller all in one, City Under the Moon puts the reader in the military landing zones in New York, the White House Situation Room, and the laboratories of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The FBI’s most ruthless counterterrorism agent, Brianna Tildascow, must collaborate Lon Toller, with a misanthropic blogger and self-proclaimed werewolf expert. Together, they’ll undertake an international hunt for the man behind the werewolves, and meet a mysterious stranger who uncovers a shocking historical revelation.

 Brianna and Lon, like all the novel's main characters and some of the minor ones, are provided full back stories and Sterbakov does a tremendous job getting readers into their POVs. The President of the United States is even a full-blown character for a change—I find in a lot of thrillers he or she is a shadowy figure rarely fleshed out.

While all the characters are interesting, I find the use of Lon particularly useful to add a unique twist to the story. Getting the impressions of an actual “werewolf event” from the POV of a kind of geeky fanboy is a smart move on Sternakov’s part.

This is a page turner with great characters, lots of action and a satisfying conclusion. Also, the research shows—it is all the more frightening because you believe the events are possible. It’s kind of like a Michael Crichton thriller crossed with the great characterizations of Stephen King, but that is just a comparison. It is not derivative—Sterbakov has his own unique voice.

Holiday Themed Poetry and Prose Coming Soon--Send it yours!


Visit this blog often to discover some great fiction and poetry in the speculative genre but with a holiday theme.

My frequent contributors, Ken L. Jones, David S. Pointer and Dorothy Davies, have already sent me some material and I am cooking up something of my own.

There is still plenty of room if you would like to submit something. The only requirements are that the piece be speculative fiction or poetry and it have a holiday theme. No real length restrictions, just keep in mind bloggers don't normally read long posts.

This is non-paying, just for exposure and fun.

You can send your submission in the body of an email or as an attachment to geojazz (at) sbcglobal (dot) net. Feel free to email questions or use the comment area for this post.

Also, please join me and other writers for the Zombie Blog Hop, December 7th. Click the button on the sidebar for more information.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


brb always

You have one your choice of free books.


Thanks again to all who stopped by. I was amazed at the volume of visitors for a one day hop, and thanks Carrie Ann for hosting!

Thursday, November 22, 2012



While everyone else is bustling about, stuck in traffic and long check-out lines, we invite you to spend Black Friday blog hopping, meeting new writers, and entering contests to win some great prizes.

CARRIE ANN'S BLOG HOPS is giving away THREE grand prizes. Also, you as a reader can go to EACH blog and comment with your email address and be entered to win. Yep, you can enter over 200 times!--see below for my giveaway.
1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet
2nd Grand Prize: A $75 Amazon or B&N Gift Card
3rd Grand Prize: A Swag Pack that contains paperbacks, ebooks, 50+ bookmarks, cover flats, magnets, pens, coffee cozies, and more!



"A vicious gangster is driven to the edge of insanity by – of all things – a custom made wardrobe...a combat soldier and the teen girl whose life he saved strive to avoid a strange new species in a world devoid of human life...desperate to find his missing wife, a man experiments with a mind-altering drug that pushes him to the brink of self-destruction...

Raw, gritty, and mind-bending, each of the eight stories in On The Verge Of Madness is an exercise in genuine horror."

Learn more about this collection of supernatural tales and read more reviews on the On the Verge of Madness Page of this blog.

When the Blight overwhelms the earth, humanity's only defense is to stay awake from dusk until dawn. Tonight, Sean will learn how lethal insomnia is in this new world.
In "Fatal Insomnia" and other stories in Silhouette of Darkness, author George Wilhite explores the horror in unusual places.
Enter this dark realm and experience first-hand “a writer that makes a much-needed contribution to this genre, giving us weird fiction/neo-pulp fiction fans something to sink our teeth into that brings to mind that lost age of fiction.” (Bitten by Books).
Read more about this new collection of 13 horror tales at the Silhouette of Darkness Page of this blog.


Anyone can enter the contest by posting a comment on the blog. You can leave me feedback on the blog itself, comment on your experience with the blog hop, or say something about your Black Friday experiences.

Please be sure to provide your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you are a winner.

The contest begins at Midnight, November 22, 2012 and ends at Midnight November 23, 2012. ONE DAY ONLY!

Two winners will be chosen. Both winners can choose either the signed print copy of On the Verge of Madness or an electronic copy of my new ebook release Silhouette of Darkness.

You will need to provide a shipping address if you choose the print book.

The winners of my contest will be announced on this blog and my facebook page no later than November 25, 2012.

Carrie Ann's Blog Hops will post the grand prize winners at:

Thanks for participating and good luck!


Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Chat with Shane Collins, Editor in Chief of The Speculative Edge

Today, my guest is Shane Collins, Editor in Chief, over at THE SPECULATIVE EDGE, a monthly magazine of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, interviews and reviews in the speculative fiction genres. We discuss his decision to start up the magazine and check in on how the first four months are going.


Welcome, Shane. We met as fellow editors of Static Movement themed anthologies. What made you decide to move toward publishing a monthly magazine instead?

Thanks, George, for interviewing me. I’m excited to be here! Static Movement was the perfect stepping stone after working as an editor at my college’s undergraduate literary journal. Creatively, it gave me 100% autonomy. I could pick themes like “apocalyptic” or “colonizing the solar system” and choose any stories I wanted. But after I finalized the manuscript, that was the end of my involvement. I really wanted to try my hand at the other side of editing a publication. I wanted to distribute to libraries and small book stores. I wanted to choose the  artwork, collaborate with other editors and market on Facebook and other social media. I knew the creative end of editing but I hadn’t tried the business side and a monthly magazine seemed like the best medium.

Okay, so you decided to edit a monthly magazine. Why speculative fiction?

I think – like you – I was raised on a diet of science fiction movies. I was raised watching Star Wars and Star Trek. The first movie I remember seeing in the theater was Jurassic Park. The first book I loved reading was The Hobbit. In college, though, I really delved into the literary classics. My own writing started to evolve too. For years I had only written science fiction and fantasy and suddenly I was dabbling in mainstream fiction. However, rather than ditching my love of science fiction for literary fiction, they fused together. The idea that science fiction could have literary merit was my basis for what I wanted The Speculative Edge to be.

Well, Shane, I am impressed that so far, you are right on time--four months, four issues. I understand you and your staff have other jobs. How do you find the time to get everything done?

Haha. It’s not easy. All three of us editors have lots of other things going on. Danielle – the assistant editor – is finishing her last semester at the University of Wisconsin in Parkside. She also currently edits for Static Movement and a third publication – Straylight Magazine. Chloe – the poetry editor – works one job at a law firm and another at a bird sanctuary. And I work as a substitute teacher at a local elementary school and as a tour guide at the Harpoon beer brewery. We’re a diverse bunch.

Now that the magazine has been up and running a few months, we’ve kind of gotten into a rhythm. During the week, I can usually get two or three days to dedicate to working on the magazine. That gives me enough time to (try to) keep up with submissions, to keep the website and Facebook page up to date, to answer emails and get feedback to and from authors, along with a million other tasks. This month, in addition to our regular issues, we’re also judging our first poetry contest, and are getting ready to release our “Best of the Year” collection so it’s feeling especially overwhelming.

 Tell us about your staff.

Aside from the editors, there are a lot of other people who make The Speculative Edge such a cool magazine. John Carney is our film critic. He eats, sleeps, and breathes movies. He works on various film sets in Connecticut – last month he was working with Cuba Gooding Jr. Trevor is our book critic. Not including what he reviews for the magazine, I think he must read a book a week. Lately, he’s been into George RR Martin and one of Steven King’s series. He’s a student at Parkside along with Danielle.

Brooke – our highly esteemed intern – is a college student in Michigan. She completely handles our blog, she helps me read through submissions, and she’s currently working on an essay for an upcoming issue.

And last but not least, we have Blaise Lucey who handles all of our email marketing. If you get our newsletters, he’s the reason they’ve gotten so much prettier over the last few weeks. He’s also a think-tank for strategizing how to market the magazine and coming up with ideas for new content. He lives in the North Shore of Massachusetts and works as Constant Contact.

For our readers that may want to contribute, are you actively seeking submissions? If so, where should one go for guidelines?

We’re always looking for more submissions. We have a couple of themed issues coming up and the guidelines for our first annual Summer Fiction Contest will be going up online in a month or two. You can check out all of our guidelines here:

What ingredients are you looking for in fiction and poetry?

Like any other publication, we’re looking for the best quality work we can find. For fiction, that means work that has depth to it. It should have memorable characters that develop over the story. Stylistically, I tend to love work that is dark and gritty. I think the best way to see what we’re looking for would be to get a copy of our “Best of the Year” collection when it comes out and check out the six stories I nominated for the Pushcart.

Tell us about some content you have lined up for future issues. What does the future hold for The Speculative Edge?

We’ve got some great stuff coming out soon. For December, we have an apocalyptic issue to celebrate the end of the Mayan calendar. It has a HUGE fiction section. Apocalyptic fiction has always been one of my favorite genres – I may even be slipping one of my own stories in there. We’ll be interviewing Jo Cannon – a UK author who published a great collection of apocalyptic stories a couple years back. And, with the rising popularity of survivalism and shows like Doomsday Preppers, we’re publishing an essay by James Wesley Rawles, author of How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It, about prepping.

After that, Danielle will be guest editing a romance issue for February and also something special for April Fool’s Day. We’re currently conducting a reader survey that will help us decide where to go from there. We’re hoping to revamp the website in the future – that’s one of our big goals to do in the next six months.

Are you working on any other projects?

Oh, man, am I. Haha. I recently finished editing a pair of novels and am looking for representation. One is the first book of two in an epic military science fiction series about the first navy in space. The second book is a coming-of-age new adult book about a typical college student on a road trip with his ex girlfriend but with one caveat – he’s in ROTC and is about to become an active duty officer in the army for the next seven years.

And this January, I will be going on an adventure to the final frontier: beginning graduate school to get my MFA in Fiction at the Stonecoast program alongside Danielle.

Thanks for the interview, George!

Thanks to you for stopping by. You can visit The Speculative Edge by clicking on the link at the beginning of this post or right here:

Please take the time to check out this exciting new magazine.




Monday, November 12, 2012

Do You Believe in Ghosts? Stories in my new book SILHOUETTE OF DARKNESS Explore this Universal Theme

It is wonderful that five thousand years have now elapsed since the creation of the world, and still it is undecided whether or not there has ever been an instance of the spirit of any person appearing after death. All argument is against it; but all belief is for it.

-SAMUEL JOHNSON, The Life of Samuel Johnson

This quote is as true today as ever. Even though the show Ghost Hunters and its countless imitators has offered a certain level of proof spirits exist, most often that evidence is still not nearly enough to win over stanch skeptics.

Over two hundred more years have passed since Johnson wrote this—two hundred years of vast technological advancement—and still, this subject comes down to the simple notion of belief vs. disbelief.
Fiction provides an effective venue where this debate can be mediated in a safe environment. While readers entertain the notion that ghost smay exist, we are safe in this created world we can leave at any time, compared to a more extreme form of experiment, such as agreeing to attend a séance or serious session with a Ouija board.

In his book The Fantastic (Ithaca: Cornell UP, 1975), Tsvetan Todorov offers one of the best explanations of how readers participate in a “gothic hesitation” to sort out this potentially disturbing subject.

The fantastic, we have seen, lasts only as long as a certain hesitation: a hesitation common to reader and character, who must decide whether or not what they perceive derives from reality as it exists in the common opinion. At the story's end, the reader makes a decision even if the character does not; he opts for one solution or the other, and thereby emerges from the fantastic. If he decides that the laws of reality remain intact and permit an explanation of the phenomena described, we say that the work belongs to another genre: the uncanny. If, on the contrary, he decides that new laws of nature must be entertained to account for the phenomena, we enter the genre of the marvelous.

I have had my own brushes with the uncanny and found there is always a frustration when trying to relay the experience to a friend later on. In the moment, I was positive I was faced with the “new laws of nature” Todorov presents, and that “all belief was for it,” but once I began explaining it to another person, the certainty became diminished with each passing word I tried to place upon it.

This is why ghost stories are so popular. We read the book, or watch the film, and can safely entertain the notion, in the guise of fiction, that we accept the supernatural as real. We are safe there. We wander the halls of The Overlook or Hill House expecting entertainment but also to enter the world of the what if, the Todorovian hesitation that allows for the real possibility that the spirit world is real.

My new collection, Silhouette of Darkness includes two ghost stories.

The Blues in A Minor
Since surviving a tragic accident, Mona is troubled by blackouts. Waking from one of these spells, she enters an eerie tenement and discovers Zach, a young man who plays blues guitar that speaks to her soul.

An Act of Naming
Norman wanders the streets after a night of drinking and meets Angela, a homeless amnesiac. The moment their eyes meet is the beginning of an evening of mystery.

These stories are not meant to frighten or disturb, as are most of the other selections in Silhouette of Darkness. Rather, they explore the classic themes at the heart of every ghost story—who are the ghosts and more importantly why are they spirits? What has trapped them in the region between life and whatever exists beyond death?
To read these ghost stories, and eleven other tales of horror and dark fantasy, check out Silhouette of Darkness, available in all electronic formats through Musa Publishing  here:

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

And I Swear This is True--My anthology of Urban Legends

is a great small press for beginning writers and editors alike. Since it is non-paying, there is less competition than one faces if trying to answer a call for submissions with semi-pro or better rates. Though there is no pay involved, the process gives writers exposure and also the chance to work with an editor.

One of my first completed Static Movement anthologies as editor was
AND I SWEAR THIS IS TRUE, stories inspired by urban legends. I left the theme wide open, encouraging writers to conceive their own legends or an original twist on a well-known one.

While some writers did use an existing concept for their launching point (e.g. Chupacabra by Jonathan Savill eorThe Zodiac Killer by Andy Echevarria) each offered unique twists on the legends.

Most of the stories, however, are the writer’s own invention, but all still have the exciting qualities of urban legends—the insistence that (hence this book’s title) the narrator “swears it is true,” the small shred of evidence left behind that can be passed off as coincidence only by the most tenacious skeptic. There are several stories of haunted places and for some reason quite a few involving spiders.

Some of the writers explore the reasons these legends might be so prevalent. The Devil and Rich Levi by Ken L. Jones is dedicated in part to Washington Irving and emulates that writer’s style well. It also reinforces the idea that urban legends are not a new phenomenon at all.

In one way or another, some character in each of the tales "swears it is true." Skeptics requiring proof write the supernatural off as nonsense. The tales collected here provide enough evidence to the contrary to leave the incredulous reader a little less certain about that stance.
We believers have always known there is a world of shadow beneath reality.

Urban legends are simply the stories where the layer between those two planes is paper thin.

You can purchase this exciting anthology at Amazon here:

Monday, November 5, 2012

Jeffrey Thomas Talks Punktown in a New Interview with Taylor Preston

In a new blog post, Taylor Preston (author of BLOOD RED MARS) interviews writer Jeffrey Thomas on world-building in science fiction, and the creation of his dark future setting "Punktown":

Friday, November 2, 2012

AUDIO PODCAST: The Gangster's New Clothes, A Dark Fantasy Tale


A Tale of Dark Fantasy from
On the Verge of Madness
by George Wilhite 

This audio presentation is a slightly edited version of this story, read by J.B. Goodspeed, originally presented on the Well Told Tales podcast.

Lars, a hitman waiting for his mark to arrive, bored stiff, held up in a one-horse town, decides to indulge himself in a new suit.

A convenience store owner suggests a tailor, which Lars finds kind of odd, but he makes the fateful decision to visit Hymie, the purveyor of "a perfect fit."

This Twilight Zone inspired tale from my self-published debut collection On the Verge of Madness finds Lars wandering the city streets in his new suit, soon doubting his sanity as the world shifts around him in space and time.

Hear the whole story here:

If you like what you hear, check out this blog's  On the Verge of Madness page by clicking on the link below the cover:


Thursday, November 1, 2012

For Dorothy Who Took Forever To Understand the Truth About The Ruby Slippers by KEN L. JONES

For Dorothy Who Took Forever to Understand the Truth About

The Ruby Slippers

Ken L. Jones

A constellation of stars led to all that I touched

Turning to solid gold long ago in a land of planted corn

Where I seized its pretty bird songs

And trapped them in a jewel encrusted cage

And like a stray cat shredding the vanishing dusk

I cast my gold coins of great sadness

Out over the unending sea until they

Turned into beautiful butterflies

To the tune of a singing harp that

Could also lay golden eggs when asked to by me

I want to be transformed into a beautiful swan

I want to escape past the pigsty gate

I want to enlist the four winds to fly me to a castle

That lies east of the old red barn’s drooping weather vane

But the forest is now all covered long by snow

Harsh winter guards it like some trickster tiger

And some unseen long dead Tsar has decreed

That I will never achieve all that my heart desires.

Ken L. Jones has been writing professionally for several decades. Although he has written everything from Donald Duck comic books to putting words in the mouth of Freddy Krueger in the movies he likes to think of himself first last and always as a poet.Currently he is working on a short horror movie with his son and sometimes collaborator Kevin for horror director David Todd Ocvirk. When not doing that he is also writing an insane amount of horror and other types of genre short stories and novellas and is editing three or four huge collections of his never ending flow of poetry including a volume of his much published horror work Blood Is Red which will be his second solo book of horror poetry.




has won a copy of The “Collector’s EP” (electronic preview)  of the upcoming Coffin Hop: Death By Drive-In anthology

Jeanette J
the fishing widow  

both win their choice of a free copy of my ebook "Silhouette of Darkness" or a signed copy of my book "On the Verge of Madness"

Julianne Snow

has won a copy of Haunted.

Julianne and the fishing widow: I do not have your email addresses, so please email me at with your contact information.

Thanks to all who stopped by.