All posts by kclark809@gmail.com

#8sunday

Happy Sunday everyone! A little late in the day – it was a long three hour drive home with a new puppy and many stops.

This is a snippet from a piece I’m working on for a short story submission.  Keresa, a death spirit with a conscience, has just been ambushed by her siblings, Kerry and Thane, who delight in her misery. Thane has injured the cop with Keresa and forces her to test her strength.

“There we go Keresa, be a good girl and just take a smidgen,” Thane dropped the man to the ground and I crouched in front of him. I locked my eyes with his, reaching to the root of his fear and tugging. The man sighed and I placed my hand over his heart. I was so empty; his life force flowed into me like a damn erupting. I reached for the medallion around my neck, frantic for help; to pull my hand away but unable to do so. The man listed to the side, his eyes glassy and unseeing before the metal in my hand had even begun to warm. I felt heat radiate through me and I turned to Kerry, who was hovering seductively near the hood of the car and giggling. I spooled the fear I had ripped from the man and threw out my hand, aiming for Kerry’s chest.

Check out more awesome writers at www.wewriwa.com .

Girl on a Train ~ Paula Hawkins

While not categorized as a horror book, Girl on a Train was edgy, dark, and a fabulous psychological thriller.I was unable to put this book down; I flipped each page faster than the last, the nail-biting tension ratcheted high throughout the entirety of the book.

The narration switches between the present, where Rachel struggles with alcoholism and her past, to the past, where we follow Meg’s journey right up until the night of her violent murder.

Hawkins brilliantly captures the neurosis and  struggle that occurs in a self-doubting and abused mind. It is easy to simultaneously be disgusted by Rachel’s actions and still root for her, even as she tries to numb her pain at the bottom of a bottle.

Rachel’s quest to discover Meg’s killer takes her from her vision of a sweet couple she sees from a train, to the dark and twisty streets of what had once been a dream home for her.

The book peaks as Rachel confronts her violent and manipulative ex husband, trying to save the woman who displaced her. The two women form an unlikely bond when they “defend” themselves against him.

I recommend this book for anyone looking for a fast-paced, character driven book full of suspense and with an unlikely hero.

“I need to find something that I must do, something undeniable”

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Dead Witch Walking – Kim Harrison

Forewarning: This review might be gushy as Kim Harrison is one of my all time favourite authors.

Demons, witches, and vampires -oh my! “Dead Witch Walking” has it all. Strong female character who is flawed and loyal to a fault. Check. Fully developed and unique secondary characters. Check. Magic, magic, and more magic. Check.

Harrison has set up this world with so many realistic layers, that it makes it plausible that this alternate world could exist. She cites something called the “Turn”, where genetically modified tomatoes wiped out most of the human race, leaving a gap for supernaturals to make themselves known and to step into positions of power. Having an explanation that explains the public acknowledgment of magic is something that is important to me in urban fantasy and horror stories. This book delivers.

The main character, Rachel Morgan, takes her life in her hands when she quits the I.S. (think police that focus on supernatural crimes), taking their best runner with her. Her rash decision is characteristic of how Rachel seems to make her choices. She acts on emotion, something which causes her to have more than one close call with her fiery temper.
Trying to pay off the bounty on her head, Rachel sets up her own investigation firm with her new partners, Ivy (a living vampire) and Jenks (pixie and backup extraordinare). The three of them set up shop in an abandoned church, trying to stay one step ahead of the witch assassins gunning for the bounty on Rachel’s head. Their investigations lead them to a wealthy business owner and manufacturer of illegal drugs (recreational and medicinal), Trent Kalamack. To investigate his shady dealings, Rachel turns herself into a rodent, only to get caught by Kalamack. Trent enters her in rat fighting contests, where she helps another human-turned-rodent escape from the ring. As if her life couldn’t get more complicated, a demon, Al, is summoned to kill both her and Trent.  Rachel barely escapes with her life  and to send the demon back to the ever after, she and Trent make a deal that seems to foreshadow more interactions in future books.

   “Your death is going to be a pleasure for both of us, Rachel Mariana Morgan. Such a twisted way to die – in pleasure”…

“What are you?” I rasped.

It smiled. “Whatever scares you.” 

In the end, Rachel is granted her independence from the I.S., but is left with a rodent-turned-human boyfriend, a pixy backup, a deal with an illegal drug manufacturer, and a demon mark. I recommend this book to any lover of fantasy, horror, and just an overall great story.

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#8sunday

This week’s #8sunday features my new favourite character, Lex. This is an earlier scene in Lex’s story. Her brother, revealed as a werewolf to the public, is sentenced to death for his alleged violent crimes. Ordered to stay at home, Lex watches her brother’s fate be determined.

I paced my kitchen, making laps into my living room to check the tv every few seconds. The streets were empty, the world held its breath while they tried the first werewolf on live television. I paused as I saw a familiar face come on the screen, my throat tightening at his bruised and swollen face.
We knew there would be no fairness in the trial, the humans were terrified, united as a species against a single enemy for the first time in history. They didn’t drag it out, their verdict was announced within an hour and my brother was paraded past the crowds that had swarmed to the courthouse. He shuffled past cameras and I closed my eyes. I knew it was dangerous but I couldn’t let him be alone. I reached into that part of me that felt like the earth, smelled of home, and where I could communicate with my pack as easily as breathing.

Thanks for reading! Check out other awesome writers at www.wewriwa.com

#8sunday

For my first 8sunday, I am posting the beginning to an urban fantasy story set in Northern Ontario where werewolf hunting has been legalized. Lex is one of two rogue werewolves hiding in her town. This particular night she has been kept at work too late and is trying to make it home before she turns.

My biceps were burning and shaking, sweat poured down my face as I concentrated on making it to my house. The streetlamp blurred, and I fell to my knee as I felt my ankle pop. I gritted my teeth. I was a half block away and could see my front gate, mostly obscured by the creeper vine I had overtaking my front yard. I pulled myself up using the mailbox and stiffened as a young couple rounded the corner, arm in arm. I limped forward, head bowed; hoping my curtain of black hair would make me unnoticeable.   It was not my lucky night.

I am more comfortable writing about magic and witches, but I have to say I kind of loved writing something with a creature beast in it and look forward to where Lex’s story will lead. Happy Sunday all, please check out other writers at www.wewriwa.com

Hell House – Richard Matheson

“Isn’t it just another so-called haunted house?”
“I’m afraid it isn’t. It’s the Mount Everest of haunted houses.”

Complex.Terrifying. Suspenseful. Creepy. I read Hell House since it was next on my list of recommendations from the Horror Writer’s Association book. After reading this gruesome and gory tale, I agree with reviews of it standing as one of the great haunted house tales.

Set in the 70’s,the story begins with old man Deutsch, an eccentric and wealthy man. Nearing the end of his life, he hires a group of specialists to stay at ‘Hell House’ and report to him if they find evidence of the afterlife. The first duo are Mr. and Mrs. Lionel Barrett. Barrett is a parapsychologist who views the stay as the opportunity to complete his life’s research and prove the scientific, rather than supernatural, basis for the hauntings at Hell House. His young wife, Edith, joins him, only to fall victim to the house’s salacious ghosts. Two mediums round off the foursome. The first, Pastor Florence, endures physical and psychological torment from the ghosts. Her beliefs in the afterlife are put down again and again as rubbish by Barrett.The second medium,Peter, was the lone survivor from a group that had entered the house decades earlier. Too afraid to open himself to the House again, his decision not to join forces with Florence results in her violent demise.

The characters’ are pitted against one another – their desires and vulnerabilities drawn out by the dark force living in the bowels of Hell House.

Matheson is able to elicit a real visceral reaction to the terrors and depravities of the house and its previous guests. The characters make you feel pity for them while also feeling disgusted and horrified by the events they are put through.
I recommend this book to those with a hard stomach, and a taste for the suspenseful and horrific.

Conjure Wife – Fritz Leiber

Recommended by the Horror Writers Association as one of the most influential novels ever written in the horror genre, Conjure Wife delivered.  Written by Fritz Leiber in the early 1940’s, this is an urban fantasy classic, bringing together ritualistic magic and suburban America of the forties. This unique perspective on witchcraft as a gender specific practice is set within the politically-fraught college life. The protagonist, Norman Saylor, is professor of sociology at a distinguished college. Finding poppets from magic rituals amongst his wife, Tansy’s, belongings, he forces her to destroy them all. He believes his wife is delusional, and resists the notion of magic, even after it has caused him harm.

Norman Saylor is a realistic character, we feel for him as he clings to the reality and order that he knows. This is made more difficult for him as his career begins to take a nosedive, now unaided by his wife. As a successful professor, and now unprotected, Norman becomes the target of malicious magic, crafted by other Professor’s wives.

Presenting this world as exactly the same as what we know today, with one small, dark change, makes it easier to relate to and to understand, especially as we are taken through Norman’s logic and reasoning regarding the existence of real magic. He tries to use logic, even as he is wading through a curse that has been set upon him

“Thoughts are dangerous, he told himself, and thoughts against all science, all sanity, all civilized intelligence, are the most dangerous of all. He felt their presence here and there in his brain, like pockets of poison, harmless as long as you left them encysted and did not prick them.”

Norman and Tansy’s connection is sweet, making you root for them as they fight together against dark forces, a stone dragon, and a rare coven of  witches out for power.

I recommend this book to any lover of urban fantasy, witches, and the supernatural.

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Ghoulish Behaviour

“Finn, I don’t want to…we should just go home it’s getting late”

“Don’t be a baby, Henry, you’re a big boy now, you’re ten.” Finn teased his younger brother, pointing at him with the tip of his plastic sword.

“I’m not a baby!” Henry swung his bag of candy at his brother, but Finn danced out of the way.

“Prove it. Go into the graveyard, touch the angel tombstone and come back out.” Finn stood with his hand on his hip, his smile smug as he showed off for his friend.

“Fine. But don’t leave while I’m doing it,” Henry stuck out his chin towards the two older boys.

“Watch out for ghosts and ghouls,” Finn’s friend, Bradey, said in a menacing voice, his zombie makeup running rivulets down his sweaty face.

“G-Ghouls?” Henry stopped at the entrance, looking back.

“Yeah, they come out at Halloween and eat the skin off of little boys. They eat everything, leaving behind only blood and bones” Bradey said, leering at Henry.

“Finn?” Henry turned to his brother, imploring him to come with him.

“Fine, Henry, we’ll all go. You’ll see what a baby you’re being,” Finn sighed, joining his brother and motioning for Bradey to follow.  The wind picked up as the boys picked their way through the tombstones, leaves crunching underfoot and blowing around their legs.

“Finn, how much further is the angel one?” Henry asked, turning in circles when he didn’t get a response.

“Finn?! Where’d ya go? This isn’t funny! Finn! Bradey! Fine, you’re both babies, I’m gonna go touch it,” Henry yelled into the wind, his voice swallowed up in the gusty weather.

“Henrrryyyyy,” A high-pitched voice reached him and he spun, tripping over a root and falling on his bottom.

“Henrrryyyy….I want to eat….your…skin….Henrrryyyy,”

“Stop it! Guys!” Henry wiped his sleeve across his face, trying to blink back tears and see into the darkened cemetery. He thought he saw shapes ahead of him, creeping between the plots and he started towards them. When he reached the spot he thought he had seen the shapes moving, there was nothing but two creepy looking stone creatures. He thought he saw them move and shook his head, trying to get ahold of himself. He circled the tombstones with the weird creature-markers, looking for Finn. When he looked back at the stones, only one had a creature perched on it. His heart started to beat hard and he could smell rotting eggs. The wind seemed to push at him and he broke into a run, looking right and left for the other boys. He tripped again, landing face first in a pile of mud. His glasses bent and he couldn’t hold back the tears anymore.

“Is baby crying?” Bradey asked, laughing as he came out from behind a tree.

“Sorry Henry, geez, didn’t think you’d believe us,” Finn said, coming towards his brother. He crouched down, wiping the dirt from his brother’s twisted frames before sliding them back onto his face.

“Finn…that…that wasn’t funny,” Henry sniffled, “Why were you guys creeping between all the stones?”

“We weren’t, we were right behind you the whole time bud,” Finn said, looking around. “Come on, Bradey, let’s go,” he said, helping Henry up.

“Are you kidding? No way, you guys wait here. I’ll go be the only non scaredy-cat,” Bradey said before disappearing into the darkness.

“He’ll be a minute, we can stay here. When we get home we can pig out. I’m really sorry Henry. You’re not gonna tell mom, are you?”

“No, it’s ok. I won’t tell her if you give me one of your full sized chocolate bars,” Henry smiled.

“You got it,” Finn laughed, looking around for his friend.

“What is that?” Henry asked, smelling the bad egg smell again.

“I don’t –“ Finn’s words were cut off by a loud scream. It came from the direction that Bradey had gone. Henry and Finn ran towards the sound, candy bags forgotten.

They got to the angel tombstone and saw Bradey’s candy bag, chips bags strewn over the grass.

“Bradey?” Finn called, keeping a hand on his brother’s arm.

“Dude, this isn’t funny anymore, let’s go,” Finn tried again. His foot crunched on something and he lifted it, seeing he had stepped on a white stick. He realised it was a bone, not a stick, and that it was covered in something dark and glistening.

“Henry, we gotta go,” Finn said, backing away, his hand biting into Henry’s when he saw more bones scattered amongst the candy.

The boys turned and fled, and the creatures that had been stalking them watched their departure with red eyes and full bellies.

Thanksgiving

Trevor balanced the casserole dish in his left hand, using the right to ring the doorbell. He heard the chiming from deep in the house, followed by barking and yelling. The door was pulled open by his statuesque sister-in-law. She had her Rottweiler pinched between her calves and smiled.

“Hey, sorry, come on in, he’s a little crazy today for some reason”

“Probably the turkey smells, thanks Kate” Trevor said, stepping inside and handing the dish into Kate’s outstretched, manicured hands.

“Mmm, these potatoes smell delicious Trev. Go on through, Nick is watching the game with your Dad. I’ll just pop this in the kitchen.”

“Can I help you with anything?”

“No no, go ahead,” Kate smiled, heading towards the kitchen with the barrel-chested Rottweiler at her heels.

Trevor wandered into the hunting-lodge style living room to join his brother and father.

“Hey Trev, beer’s in the cooler on the porch. Patriots are up by two. Don’t let Frankie out when you open the door,” Nick greeted his brother, not moving from the plush leather couch.

“Hey, Thanks,” Trevor said, grabbing a chilled beer from the red cooler.

Trevor waved at his Dad, whose eyes were glued to the television. His Dad waved back, that mere acknowledgement and second not watching the game his way of showing affection. Trevor sat down with his cold bottle. The couch seemed to sigh as he settled his weight into it.

“Happy Thanksgiving,” Nick clinked bottles with Trevor and they sat watching the game for a few minutes in silence.

At half time, Nick turned to Trevor, “Where’s Jenna?”

“She’s at home, she’s just not comfortable with Frankie yet,” Trevor said, watching the bikini models advertise the truck on television.

“Ah well, she’ll come around. Kate did. She’ll’ see what a big softie he can be.”

“yeah, hopefully.”

The Rottweiler bounded into the livingroom, his massive paws on Nick’s knees in an effort to lick his face.

“Speaking of softies,” Trevor joked and their Dad gave a dry laugh that turned into a wracking cough.

“Dinner’s ready, folks!” Kate called from the kitchen.

Trevor headed towards the formal dining room, Nick’s teenage boys already seated and munching on warm rolls.

“Hey Uncle Trev, when’d ya get here?” the younger one, Will, asked.

“Hey guys. Not too long ago. How’s school going?”

“Good, I’ve been off this week though. Frankie bit me and it got infected,” Will said, wide eyes darting to the kitchen.

Trevor looked startled, “What? Your Dad never said. Why’d he bite you?”

“Mom’s got him on a new diet or something that makes him grumpy,” Will answered, his brother kicking him under the table.

“I’m sorry that happened bud,” Trevor said. He heard a crash from the kitchen followed by growling and he hurried towards the sounds.

“Frankie, it’s ok. We’re all gonna eat together now,” Kate’s soothing voice reached Trevor as he rounded the corner.

Kate was backed against the butcher block island, her hands out in front of her in a placating gesture.

Trevor moved to where Nick lay, face down on the tile. He had a bruise swelling up on his temple, but his chest was rising and falling rhythmically.

“Good boy, Leo,” Trevor whispered to the rottie, who stood over Nick in a protective stance. Reassurred about Nick, Trevor turned to his youngest brother.

“Frankie, good to see ya buddy. What’s going on?” Trevor smiled, creeping in front of Kate.

“I won’t eat in the basement today,” Frankie said in his soft monotone, cocking his head to the side as his dull gray eyes roved the kitchen. His cargo shorts were ripped and his thumbs stuck through holes in the arms of his sweater.

“You’ll eat right now, with us,” Trevor said, his tone even.

Frankie focused on Trevor, loosening his grip on the baseball bat in his hand.

“That’s it, give me the bat,” Trevor said.

“Eat now? Everyone?”  Frankie asked, his eyebrows crooked.

“Sure, bud,” Trevor started forward as his Dad walked in.

“Frankie, what the hell?” He roared, his voice raspy from a lifetime of smoking cigars. Startled, Frankie turned, swinging the bat.

The wood connected with the old man’s skull and he crumpled to the ground.

“No!” Kate screamed and Leo lunged forward, his teeth clamping onto Frankie’s calf.

Frankie kicked out and the dog hit the kitchen wall with a crash and a whimper.

The sounds brought Nick’s sons into the kitchen, their eyes wide as they took in the violent scene.

Frankie lurched to the side, grabbing Kate by the hair and dragging her backward a few feet. Getting out of the way, Will ran towards the front hall.

“Too much trouble. Too much noise. I won’t eat in the basement today,” Frankie kept muttering, his motions jerky and frantic.

Trevor spoke in soothing tones, trying to keep pace as Frankie edged towards the front door, his meaty hand around Kate’s throat as she struggled. Suddenly, Frankie’s eyes widened and he dropped Kate. He looked down in shock at the fire poker sticking out of his stomach.

“Dinner time?” He asked, confused, as he fell forwards. Will stood behind him, his small, bloody hands held out in front of him.

Thanks For Stopping By

Hey there! Thanks for stopping by and welcome! This is my first blog posting on my first blog…ever. I may be behind the times but I have always been a lover of a sharp pencil and a crisp, clean, piece of paper. I’ve heard that the only way to reach people is online, so, on that note, I’ll keep this first post short and sweet; I don’t want to scare you off just yet.

This past year my grandfather passed away, though I felt that I lost him a couple years before. Alzheimer’s is a scary disease, creeping in in between jokes about misplaced car keys and sighs from listening to the same story for the fifth time. Before the disease progressed, my grandfather was a brilliant, quick-witted, loving and generous man. We all have those loved ones who seem to really “get” us and who encourage our true passions. For me, that was him.My 6-year old stories were just as interesting as whatever mystery novel he was reading – and he made sure I felt that way. When he died in February, I hated the idea of writing or reading, and tried to avoid anything that reminded me of him. I have made too many excuses and procrastinated away too many hours and thought, “why not today?”

Now that I have bared that tiny part of my soul to you, dear reader, I invite you into the darker parts of my mind as we explore.