The Dead Wake Anthology is a collection of horrifically good stories centered around the idea of zombification. Did you write these stories with the intention of building an anthology or did you write them separately over time?
I wrote with intention of building a short story collection of different ways zombies can cause havoc.
My favorite story from the collection is No More Coochy Coochy Coo! Do you have a favorite story from the collection?
I rather liked Gunslinger and have had a lot of readers wanting it to be made into a novel so I’m doing just 🙂
I really enjoyed the character development in your stories. Each character seemed unique and multilayered. What were some themes you wanted to capture in your characters?
I wanted all of my characters to be as real as someone sitting next to you, so no actual themes as such for them, more along the lines of ‘realism’ given they were short stories, that needed to be focused on a lot more.
Are you currently working on volume 2 or are you working on a different story?
Yes, I’ve written and published a volume 2 and it is up for pre-order, released date ‘Halloween’ this one is without zombies. It is my first short story collection of pure horror without a single zombie. I’m sure you’d love it. The title is Death O Death Horror Collection Vol 2 the one I had you review has had a slight name change, it is now titled: The Dead Wake Horror Collection Vol 1. A link to the second volume: https://amzn.to/2SAI7ra.
The Dead Wake Anthology by Ellie Douglas is a collection of thrilling short stories. The anthology investigates the idea of zombification threw a number of avenues, exploring what the impacts of an outbreak would be in a variety of scenarios. The anthology sits well within the horror and thriller genres and makes for an exciting though horrifying read. Ellie Douglas often investigates how the transition from living to dead, to living-dead would progress in the various instances of infection meaning that each story is unique in the ways in which this topic is explored.
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The Newspaperman is an intriguing horror novel that follows Seth as he encounters a newspaperman selling newspapers with bizarre stories. What was the inspiration for the newspaperman and the stories he sells?
The story stemmed from this vision I had of a swarthy-looking, rough-around-the-edges guy—Cedrick, the Newspaperman—who’s trying to be an enthusiastic gentleman but isn’t fooling the main character of the story, Seth Kesler. I liked the idea of such a guy replacing the wholesome image we’ve all seen of the young boy from the 1930s selling newspapers on the corner, so I put Cedrick in Depression-era clothing and let him go to town in the year 2016. That whole image I had of Cedrick on the street corner kind of got the story off and running. In the beginning, the stories in the C-U Journal are legitimate, but they quickly devolve into total garbage, and poor Seth is the only one who can see that. It’s like an episode of The Twilight Zone.
I wrote the first draft of The Newspaperman in one month in December of 2016, not long after graduating with a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I don’t work as a journalist for a living, but at the time I had all this fresh journalism knowledge, and I needed a new project since I wasn’t in school anymore. So the ideas I had for The Newspaperman just came pouring out. It was fun to write.
This is an entertaining story that is high in social commentary. What were some themes you wanted to focus on when writing this book?
Thank you very much. Obviously I was looking to highlight the sordid fake news we’ve all seen, which has become more prevalent in recent years. Some of those fake stories are very well written, so it can be hard to tell what’s what, especially if you don’t read news from legitimate sources that often. I love the character Meghan, Seth’s wife, in The Newspaperman because she’s such a perfect foil to her husband. He’s almost this journalistic snob while Meghan represents the American masses who mindlessly scroll through their phones all day and night looking at useless junk. She’s clueless in some ways but also lovable. Many things are exaggerated in this book to make a point, so readers should go into the story knowing that.
Beyond the issue of fake news, I wanted to write a book that highlighted the importance of journalism to society in general in a non-political way. On subsequent rewrites after the first draft, I really made an effort to do that. I love the portion of the book where readers get to read Seth’s impassioned letter about why good journalism is crucial, and also the part when he and Meghan are in bed and Seth is explaining why he’s on such a crusade to save journalism. Poor Meghan is crying because she loves Seth and doesn’t want him to step in to any danger, but he plows ahead anyway.
Seth is an interesting character that continued to develop as the story progressed. Did you plan his character progression or did it develop organically?
Thanks. I’d have to say the progression of Seth’s character grew organically as I wrote the story and he grew as he faced these issues. I knew from the get-go that Seth was going to be the one sane guy in this story who could rationally see what was going on, and as he was bumping up against these strange characters and observing all this craziness around him, as you said, his character evolved.
Some people have told me they found Seth’s personality to be rather passive considering all the madness around him, but when I read the book and see the things Seth was trying to do, I don’t view him as passive in the least. In my opinion he was trying hard to change what was around him, all the while in disbelief about what was happening.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
This past summer I wrote a 10,000-word story called The Millionaire’s Gift, which is a sequel to a novel I wrote called The Millionaire’s Cross. It’s supposed to be published in an upcoming anthology, and I’m not sure at this point if I’m at liberty to say who the publisher is. But I hope it comes out and it gets some exposure and people read it.
I had another idea for a novel and was thinking of writing it this November in the National Novel Writing Month contest. I guess I’d better decide pretty quickly if I’m going to do that or not!
Seth Kesler is thrilled to discover that the defunct C-U Journal is making a comeback. He loves newspapers and believes it is his—and society’s—civic duty to read them. But something is deeply off about the new publication in Champaign-Urbana, starting with the oily paper-hawker he dubs the Newspaperman, who hand-sells the C-U Journal for a mere dime on a downtown street corner. Seth’s delight soon turns to dismay when he sees the bizarre stories printed as fact and mysterious goings-on at the once-esteemed paper’s main office. He makes it his goal to put a stop to the whole shady operation, even though it means battling news titan Richard W. Fields, a multimillionaire who represents the worst of an exploitive corporate world.
The Newspaperman is a smart horror/mystery that will keep readers intrigued right up until the gut-punch ending.
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“Powderfinger” is a present-day scary horror story set mainly on the decrepit, abandoned but soon to be redeveloped, bank of an old canal between two towns. It centres on an old tar works known as Raven’s Gate. Nick Swann is a world weary mid-forties widower and Assistant Probation Warden at St Joseph’s Hostel for young male criminals, situated overlooking the canal and Raven’s Gate. A woman is brutally killed on the bank opposite the Hostel on a night when Nick is on duty. Nick believes his lads had nothing to do with it, though consequently Nick is suspended for issuing too many late passes at once. Then another woman is killed and Nick becomes drawn into discovering the culprit. He works with DCI Findlay and DS Deacon as the murder toll rises. Together with help from his old friends Alan and Hugo, Nick’s research uncovers a long series of similar murders in the same area, stretching back through the centuries. “Powderfinger” as the killer is dubbed, appears to be some kind of ancient mellifluous, malevolent, murderous being that attacks anyone it considers to be disturbing its peace and quiet. Eventually, as the story climaxes, Findlay, Deacon, Nick and Alan set a trap to lure “Powderfinger” to his doom and rid the area of this beast once and for all. Yet, traps can swing both ways.
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His Father’s Blood follows John and Ada as they navigate their relationship, their family, and their curse. What was the inspiration for the setup to this thrilling novel?
Moll Dyer is a real historic personage, but there is scant official record of her life due to a courthouse fire. There is a local road named after her, and a boulder on display at the county courthouse where it is said she died. There’s also one colonial period letter describing her countenance unfavorably. Despite this, there are as many oral traditions about her life (and death) as there are local families. With book one, I tried to give Moll some peace and a new angle to her story.
In Book 2- His Father’s Blood, I expounded on her tale. As many of the legends associated with Moll included a son, and none covered exactly what happened to him, his was also a tale that begged to be told. As the local native tribes began leaving the area at this same time, it was easy to imagine that John’s ancestor would have followed them…especially as his mother was more at home with them than her own people. I based some of their adventures on the style of tales from the mountains they fled to.
John and Ada are both intriguing characters that are even more interesting when they are with each other. What were some obstacles you felt were important to develop their characters?
Their loyalty had to be rock solid to allow the belief and trust in one another under extraordinary circumstances. Their devotion for one another needed to be absolute to overcome all that was thrown against them and all of the naysayers plotting against them. With such nobility of character, introducing human foibles was essential to make them well rounded and believable.
You continue to develop the Dyer family’s curse in this book. What was something new that you wanted to introduce in this book that was different from the first book in the series?
A theme in both is personal sacrifice and the concept that love conquers all. In book 1, Moll is kept ignorant of her powers and was only briefly exposed to the healing aspects of it. John was exposed to the darkness early in life and fought against it. Moll gave her life in sacrifice to save her son, but in my opinion, John’s price was greater. Moll never knew romantic love and I wanted to explore what might happen if a romantic interest was present. Ada certainly provided that. Moll’s love for her son drove the plot of Sister Witch, but John and Ada’s love was the driving force in His Father’s Blood.
This is book 2 in the Legend of Family Dyer series. When will book 3 be available and where will the story take readers?
I’ve completed the rough draft for Book 3 and hope to have it released early next year. It is set in contemporary times and of course follows Moll’s descendants. Although her name is forgotten by them, she hasn’t forgotten them.
Homesteading on Devil’s Peak, skin-walking shaman John Dyer must fight to save his bloodline. Can the Dyers stand against the horrific desires of a centuries old demon? Can their faith in each other overcome the evil pitted against them?
This historically accurate epic follows John- scion of the Dyer family, and the great-great grandson of the venerable Moll Dyer– in his quest for a new life, and a place to settle down and call home.
The fates conspire against the Dyers, and only their sorely tested faith in each other can overcome the evil set in place against them.
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The House loomed over the city like a beacon of malevolent evil. People spoke of it only in whispers. Others tried to own it, eventually coming out in a body bag. Darkness dripped from its windows, spilt blood made up the foundations of its property, and Satan seemed to have a claim on the land. Houses built along its borders nailed their windows shut so that they wouldn’t have to see it. Evil resided within its ancient walls and did not care who knew it!
Manchester House was a legend – the “Mount Everest” of Haunted Houses!
Professor Jonathon Holzer knew he had scored the opportunity of a lifetime. With an international crew of paranormal investigators, and a mysterious “shaman” named Indrid Night, the man hoped to find some answers. There was one proviso: The City Council was not aware of his venture, and the police could not help him. He would be alone.
Sometimes when one stares into an abyss, the abyss stares back into you!
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As they say, curiosity killed the cat. Rachel, Rob, and Trey, members of the trio band Trinity Beat have an interest in haunted stories and ghost sightings. One day after having visited their friend Woody – who was responsible for telling them the tale about the ship that came ashore in their town in Australia – they decided to check it out themselves. The next thing that happened, Trey was dead. Did Rob really kill him? Was it Rachel? Or was it something darker?
When Darkness Follows by Athena Daniels is a story about a group of friends sneaking into a haunted shipwreck only to disturb a dark force that will change their lives and relationships. I enjoyed how every time a mystery is about to get solved another problem comes up subtlety. Just like when they were about to solve the mystery of the dead captain, Rachel’s sister Elise reveals her own battle. Another one is when Rachel tended to Sally and suddenly something happens in Liam’s room – which reminded me of Game of Thrones’ Hall of Faces – and things just got worse.
I feel like there were good amount of time and development spent on each character, making each one feel unique and interesting. While that’s the case, I would of like more focus to be put on Pia, the psychic. She helped and was a big part of it but I didn’t get to know her character as well as the others. She felt like all business to me. Perhaps that was the intention, but she was an interesting character that I wanted to learn more about.
My favorite moments in the book are Rachel and Daniel’s. The thrill of him having to face somebody who left him hanging and hasn’t been returning his calls since then; of her facing the person she loves but couldn’t. Shouldn’t. The chemistry between them is so strong that often times during their exchanges and steamy sessions I forgot this was a paranormal book.
If you can imagine yourself reading paranormal with romance, steamy scenes and heartbreak then you got to grab When Darkness Follows. This is the 4th book of a series. For me, that makes it even better because while it is ideal to have read the previous three, it still felt like it was standalone. I didn’t feel like I was missing a backstory.
Pages: 304 | ASIN: B07BFKY4Q5
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Book of Matthew Part I is a tale of forbidden love in rural Missouri in 1850 which was a tumultuous time in the U.S. What was the inspiration that inspired the setup to this intriguing novel?
It all began with a conversation. I had just started dating the man who is now my husband and we were still getting to know one another. He asked if I would vote in the upcoming election and I replied, “of course I will. My ancestors fought and died to give me the right to. Without their sacrifices I wouldn’t be able to vote, own property, read, let alone attend my university. I wouldn’t even be able to date you.” After that conversation I started to wonder how difficult it would have been to have an interracial relationship centuries ago and my first book was born.
I have always been a lover of suspense, mystery and horror so I decided to write in these genres. My goal was to create a Jack the Ripper sort of villain, while maintaining the drama, romance and personal conflicts that make characters relatable and memorable.
While growing up I noticed a double standard in regard to history. If you were white and you wanted to trace your lineage back to the Mayflower this was perfectly acceptable. People were intrigued to hear your family’s history and they encouraged and praised your vast knowledge of a bygone era… but if you were black you were often discouraged from learning anything about your ancestry. I was told things like, “Black people need to leave the plantation,” and “Black people live in the past and need to just forget things.” Yearning to educate myself about the past is not the same as living in it. I didn’t desire someone to blame or scapegoat, all I wanted was the same answers that other races of children were encouraged to seek out.
When I received correspondence from readers in England, France, Ireland and several countries in Africa they applauded my stories and said, “Wow! This was a fascinating look at American history.” Not Black history, nor African American history. Other countries acknowledge this topic as American history because that’s exactly what it is. When I am criticized for this subject matter my response remains the same,
I don’t write racist literature. Nor do I write black history. I write American history.
The book touches on sensitive social topics rarely discussed, slavery and the dynamic between master and slave. What were some themes you wanted to capture in this story?
The main theme I wanted to capture was that every form of this institution was morally reprehensible. When I grew up in school most of my teachers refused to teach this subject whatsoever. We would skip over huge chunks of our textbooks just to avoid it. The few who did teach about it romanticized the hell out of it, and made it seem acceptable because “most slaves were like part of the family” …I actually heard this more than once. What I desired to express in this story was that even if you were a house slave who was treated better than others and much like part of the family, merely being owned endangered your life because someone has diminished your social standing from that of a human being to that of a piece of property. This fact alone placed even the best treated of slaves at risk for kidnapping, rape and murder with no law enforcement to save them.
Second, I wanted to make it known that when some of us are slaves, we all are. Destitute white men, minorities and women of all colors were treated as second class citizens because of that system of inequality.
Third, I wanted to acknowledge all the people who were adamantly opposed to slavery and fought against it at every turn. 400 years of Americans are blamed and villainized for what some people did. Though slavery was socially acceptable, not everyone agrees with 100% of what is socially acceptable. Disagreeing with social norms is what makes us individuals. Fighting against corrupt social norms is what makes us heroes. The people who stood against these heinous acts are rarely recognized, but without them our society would’ve failed to evolve.
Sarah is a slave that is targeted by a serial killer that murders with impunity. What were the driving ideals behind Sarah’s character development?
The driving force behind Sarah’s character development was the total lack thereof I have witnessed in similar stories. In many of the plantation novels I have read the slaves are faceless one-dimensional victims who serve as little more than background for white main characters. The female slave characters were poorly developed and served as little more than objects of lust incapable of inspiring true feelings of love and affection. Reading a plantation novel with no black main characters is like reading Memoirs of a Geisha with no geisha. These stories failed to capture my attention and I found the characters unrealistic and totally unrelatable. When I wrote a book I was determined to make sure there were black main characters as well as white ones, and that ALL of my characters have depth and unique personalities. I wanted Sarah’s character to have hopes, dreams, ambitions, drama and romantic conflicts of her own. I yearned to put a human face on a slave character, an aspect rarely seen in books of this nature. Though there have been many forbidden lust stories in this genre I wanted to give Sarah an against all odds forbidden love story readers wouldn’t soon forget.
What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?
Revelations: The Colburn Curse is a prequel to Book of Matthew that traces the Colburn family back to their beginnings in New Orleans, Louisiana. In this story Matt Colburn Sr. is a young plantation heir who has been given the duty of protecting an aristocrat named, Arial. He falls madly in love with the elusive heiress, but she is hiding a deadly secret that has made her the target of the Louisiana Strangler, a secret that endangers everyone she holds dear, especially Matt. This book is already available for purchase on amazon.com.
The Infinity series is based on the many star crossed lifetimes of Sarah and Matthew. I wrote this series for readers who enjoy historical suspense but prefer a tale with less violence and adult content. Three of the ten books are already available on amazon.com.
Book of Matthew II: Ancient Evil will be released December 2018.
Women of color are not a priority of law enforcement in 1800’s Missouri. They are not even considered human. These social injustices allow a serial killer to run rampant. Sarah, a beautiful black slave, finds herself in the crosshairs of a monster who murders with impunity. The only one concerned with her plight is the master’s son. Will Matthew find the strength to rescue this slave girl, even if he lacks the courage to admit he’s in love with her…
It’s Jack the Ripper meets Roots in this pulse pounding historical thriller. House of Whispers packs the chills of a Stephen King book, the romance of a Nicholas Sparks novel and the in your face irony of an M. Night Shyamalan flic.
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Keep the lights on when you read this book! Sour Lake Or, The Beast will transport you back in time to East Texas, 1911. Chapter one is called Pray, and that is your only warning of what is to lie ahead. A brutal and gruesome death of the young school teacher Lenard Dalchau leads you into the world of this small Texas county of Ochiltree. Prejudice and racism run high and the locals want this death solved and forgotten quick. Reeves Duncan, the sheriff however isn’t one to just jump to conclusions and hang the wrong man. Agreeing with the sheriff that this is no ordinary murder case is “Doc” Walter McDivitt that has seen enough brutality for a lifetime. These two take the lead in discovering the truth. Together they discover a truth that no one wants to hear, and no one would believe if they did.
Bruce McCandless III is a talented author that is a cross between Steven King and the voice actor Robert Clotworthy. The historical descriptions and language are offensive to modern society but are accurate for 1911. It is so clear you feel like you are really back in Texas in the early 1900’s and living with this society. I’m not typically a person that enjoys horror novels because my imagination will just keep me up all night with every bump in the dark. McCandless however has written a story so engaging I couldn’t put it down. There are so many surprises in the pages it is hard to reveal much for fear of giving away the next piece of the plot. I can say I fell in love with the character of Sheriff Duncan. A man that lost his wife, became an alcoholic and overcame it. A mild mannered man that wants to be fair and not rock the boat. He does have a conscience and uses that to guide him as the story progresses, that inner instinct and unwillingness to follow a mob mentality. Sheriff Duncan believes in facts, and even when those facts point to things that should not be real he doesn’t discredit it. When all is said and done, he just wants to walk away. But how can you walk away from the nightmares he endured?
This is a novel you just can’t put down, it will draw in readers that like historical fiction, horror, a little sci-fi and a lot of action and gore. All the main characters are given rich back stories so you feel you really know who they are and how they ended up in Ochiltree County. The story line is unique and completely original probably because of when it takes places. Overall, I recommend this book to anyone that needs an escape from modern drama, this book will take you away and make you think, as well as surprise you from one chapter to the next.
Pages: 228 | ASIN: B06XR9T91W
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William Corgel is a clairvoyant medium who is hubris, doubts his faith and a heavy drinker who finds comfort in pills. Believing there is nothing he can’t handle he soon finds himself in a home with a demonic presence and the possession of a teenage girl.The demon continually taunts and attacks him while claiming to know William’s suppressed childhood memory centered on his mother.
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Shadow of the Moon follows Special Agent Trakes and Detective Meeker who are sent to a shocking crime scene where a faceless man sparks the beginning of a thrilling investigation. What interested you the most about writing this novel?
This is, at its core, a werewolf story and we all know the werewolf can be extremely violent. I started the story with the vicious crime to establish that part of the werewolf character. A few years ago, I read a novel and I was really disappointed by how the werewolves were described. The story bothered me and I kept thinking, “I can write a better story than that.” Shadow of the Moon is the result of that process and I hope I accomplished what I set out to do. I wanted to tell a story that held true to the idea of the werewolf being a top of the line predator, but I also wanted the wolf to be caring for the family and have a deeper character than is usually portrayed.
This story provides a lot of really great lore and information about werewolves. What kind of research did you do for this book?
Thank heavens for the internet. I did several searches in an effort to build as complete a history for the animal as I could. I wanted the reader to have a little fun and wonder if they just might be out there.
The story takes place in New York. Why choose this place and time for the setting of the story?
Special Agent Trakes is a throwback to the “G-men” of the 30’s and 40’s. She cares nothing about political ramifications and only focuses on getting the “bad guy.” I wanted her to be placed in a situation where she was handicapped and had to develop other strengths. I also wanted the contrast between the city and the country, where the Lloyds live. I wanted Trakes, who is tough and sure of herself to be off-balance.
What is the next story that you are working on and when will it be available?
“Shadow” will be a trilogy at minimum and book two, “Reflection of the Moon,” is planned to be out early next spring.
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