Friday, 27 February 2015

Drabbles of Art - Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí

"Christ of Saint John of the Cross" by www.dali-gallery.com. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia

The image I've chosen for this week's Drabble of Art continues the biblical theme from last week's, although shifting into the New Testament. I first encountered Salvador Dali's 'Christ of Saint John of the Cross' as a young boy and was struck by its unusual perspective. It definitely stood out for me compared to the typical anguished Christ crucifixion depictions I was more used to.

I hope the drabble does something similar with a change in perspective, but in any case the idea for the conversation came to me immediately from the image!

 If you've not read the previous drabbles in the series then you can find them all here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/as-promised-in-last-weeks-final-post-in.html

And if you like them then feel free to share - I don't mind :-)


Christ of Saint John of the Cross by Salvador Dalí

“Father why have you forsaken me in my final hour of need?”

“I haven’t abandoned you my son.”

“Why do I only now hear your voice?”

“Because you became one of them my son. A base creature of flesh and impulse. It is only now as death’s veil approaches that you can hear me once more.”

“My trial has been for naught father. I have gazed down from this cross upon the ages to come and my suffering to wipe away their sins has been wasted. Why father?”

“Oh my son. Whatever made you think it would be so easy?”

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Tales of the Imp - The Plan



The latest drabble in the Tales of the Imp series was featured in yesterday's Indie Book Bargains newsletter. If you want to read the previous drabbles in the series you will find them all here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/tales-of-imp.html


The Plan

“It all comes down to souls,” the Imp told me. “To become an adult demon I need a soul.”

“You have mine.”

“Yes I do, but to become a powerful demon I need more.”

“How many?”

“All of them.”

“That’s impossible.”

“Well obviously not every single soul, but as many as possible. Thankfully, like any true parasite humans reproduce remarkably quickly. It should only take ten or so generations to tip the balance.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You were the first and your children are the first generation.”

“I still don’t understand.”

He sighed.

“What do you know about genetic memory?”

Visit www.indie-book-bargains.co.uk to sign up for a daily drabble and Kindles bargains.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Elite: Legacy Interview on Lave Radio



I've been interviewed by the wonderful team at Lave Radio about the my latest novel Elite: Legacy. You can listen to the interview here:

http://laveradio.com/writers-interview-18-michael-brookes/

Make sure to check out there other episodes while you're there!

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Guest Author Interview - Gabriel Boutros

Gabriel Boutros joins me in this week's Guest Author Interview to tell us about his latest release Face/Mask.

You can discover other indie authors in the Guest Author Interview archive here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/guest-author-interview-archive.html

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
Hi, I’m Gabriel Boutros. I live in Montreal with my wife and two sons. I worked as a defence attorney for 24 years, and for the past ten years or so I’ve been writing pretty regularly. Short stories, at first, and now two full-length novels.

What first inspired you to start writing?
Some people would say that as a trial lawyer I’ve always been a natural story-teller, but the truth is ever since I was a child I enjoyed reading all sorts of books and that eventually led me to wanting to tell tales of my own. Sometimes I see something that I enjoy and want to write about, but more often I write about things that bother me. And, working in the criminal justice system I’ve had the chance to see the best and worst of people, much of which informs my writing.

Have you experienced anything in real life too crazy for fiction?
Sadly, my life has been too boring for fiction. (Although it could have been a Swedish movie from the 1960s, full of long, quiet moments, where nothing much seems to happen; hopefully by the end it will have some meaning.) Clearly that’s why I disappear into my imagination and write stories whenever I can.

If you could write anybody's biography, whose would it be?
First of all, congratulations on coming up with one of the more original questions I’ve gotten in any interviews I’ve done.

Since I’m not a political animal, and more than enough biographies of historical figures have been written, maybe I would stick to my favourite domain of books; preferably someone whose life story hasn’t been told and analysed myriad times. There are a number of authors I would love to learn more about, and tell people about, but I’ll choose sci-fi writer Philip K. Dick. (For those who don’t know, his writings have been made into movies such as Blade Runner, Minority Report, Paycheck and Total Recall. And he wrote many other great books that haven’t been made into films.)

I would love to learn about what kind of life he led which had him questioning so many things that we take for granted nowadays, such as what it means to be human, how trustworthy our memories are, or what is reality. In fact, his books are a combination of entertainment, imagination and philosophy courses.

What do you enjoy most about writing?
I enjoy seeing how some vague, unformed ideas in my mind can be transformed into coherent words on a page. I have no ability to draw or sculpt, so I paint, to the best of my abilities, with words. It’s very satisfying to be able to express those ideas in a way that I can share them with others.

And the least?
Writing is a most solitary art. To write I have to leave my family and friends and lock myself in my little office, with as few distractions as possible. I don’t mind the hours spent, or the frustration of not advancing fast enough, but I’m a naturally gregarious person, and I don’t know if it’s healthy to spend so much time alone.

What advice would you give new and aspiring authors?
I used to answer this question by saying read a lot, and that’s still good advice. But, if I had to give only one piece of advice today, I would say write, and then rewrite and revise until you’re sure you can’t make a single improvement to what you’ve written. And then go back and revise it some more anyway. It seems to me that many new writers are in a rush to get their books onto the market, but they don’t always make sure their work is ready for prime time. Maybe it’s spelling errors, or simply badly structured sentences; sometimes there are obvious inconsistencies in the plot. Self-publishing has made getting books to market so easy, but new writers (and some older ones) should take the time to make sure that what they’re putting out is truly their best effort.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve just published my second full-length novel, called Face/Mask. It’s a far cry from my first book, The Guilty, which reflected many of my experiences in the legal profession. Although Face/Mask fits into the genre of dystopian fiction, it is not science fiction. It takes place only 25 years from now, so the world is still very recognizable, although suffering from constant war and serious environmental problems. I wanted to write about how living in an ugly, decaying world leads people to doing equally ugly things: lying, cheating and betraying each other. The title refers to masks that people must wear to protect themselves from the toxic environment, as well as figurative masks they wear to hide their true natures.

Tell us about your latest work and how we can find out more.
Face/Mask is now available in paperback and Kindle on Amazon, as well as most other book-selling sites.

You can  learn more about Face/Mask, The Guilty and all my other fiction by going to my own website: http://storiesbygabrielboutros.weebly.com

Monday, 23 February 2015

March Short Fiction Contest

Image credit: Radoslaw Walachnia http://www.walachnia.com/
Welcome to March's Short Fiction Contest here on The Cult of Me blog. This month's image is from Radoslaw Walachnia, one of the many talented concept artists I have the pleasure of working with. As well as being well painted it's the fearful look on the robot's face that made me use it for this month's image.

As always the stories can be of any genre. They just have to be inspired by this month's image and no more than 500 words.

Entry to the contest remains free and there are prizes for the three winners. I will also feature any of the stories that don't win but I believe are worth showcasing on this blog.
  • First prize is a £50 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
  • Second prize is a £20 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
  • Third prize is a £10 Amazon gift card or PayPal prize
The money for the prizes come out of my own pocket, although I do make a little from advertising on this blog. So if you see something of interest then feel free to click on the links and purchase away! If you haven't tried my books yet then check them out at the top of the page, as well as buying a good read you'll be helping this contest.

Please make sure to check your story for typos before submitting. I don't mind a few errors, but my enjoyment of a story is diminished if I have to wade through too many.

I'll post the winning entries by April 1st 2015.

As with everything in life there are a few rules:
  • Only one entry per person.
  • The story must not be longer than 500 words.
  • Closing date for submissions is March 22nd 2015.
  • By submitting the story you grant me a non-exclusive license to post the story on this blog. I do ask that I post it here first.
  • You also grant me a one time non-exclusive license to include the story in an e-book release.
  • The judge's decision is final.

Use the form below to enter your submission. After you've submitted please leave a comment on this page stating that you have submitted. And please help spread the word. Great stories deserve great readers!




As well as comments section below you can chat about this competition in any of the threads I've listed below. If you don't know the sites then entering the competition is a good way to introduce yourself. Note that these sites are not affiliated with the competition in any way!




If you've started your own thread or discussion somewhere about this month's competition then let me know and I'll add the link to this page.

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Work in Progress Blog Tour - The Church of Virtual Saints


Alex Roddie has kindly invited me to participate in the Work in Progress blog tour. In this stop I'll post some excerpts from my current work in progress - The Church of Virtual Saints. As well as being a talented editor (he edited The Last True Demon for me) he is also a writer of some reknown mountaineering fiction. That might sound like a niche genre, but I've enjoyed the stories of his that I've read and I have very little knowledge of mountains!

Here are the rules for the blog tour:

1. Link back to the post of the person who nominated you.
2. Write a little about and give the first sentence of the first three chapters of your current work in progress.
3. Nominate some other writers to do the same.

Here's the post on Alex's blog that added me:

http://www.alexroddie.com/2015/02/work-in-progress-blog-tour-invisible.html

The Church of Virtual Saints in the second in Morton and Mitchell series following on from Faust 2.0. In this second book we discover what choice Sarah made and how that has affected her. The excerpts below will give that away for you for those that are waiting to find out!

We discover a bit more about the lawyer Morton and what his role in Misty Felice's crimes in the first book were. The story continues the exploration of technology and what near future concepts can help or harm humanity.

I'm expecting to finish and release The Church of Virtual Saints by the end of the year,

Chapter 1

“We are God.
“That’s a bold statement as I’m sure you’ll agree. It’s easy in the modern age to dismiss the notion of a supreme being as out of date in this modern age. For many of us the world has moved on from an age where we need God to hold our hands in the dark, or to explain the mysteries of existence.

“Yet even with all of our understanding and technology we do not know everything. We don’t even comprehend the most fundamental of questions – what is our purpose?”

Chapter 2

Six months in prison had changed Dan Emmet. Where once he’d been soft, antisocial and rarely left the comforts of his home he now sat upright and watchful in the visiting room. His table was positioned to one side of the room and he scanned the other tables while he waited.

Chapter 3

Sometimes Sarah regretted refusing Morton’s offer.
Usually at six in the morning when the guards banged on the door. Morton had been correct on one point, without his help she would most likely spend the rest of her life in prison.
And in no ordinary prison.
Sarah sometimes wondered if that had been his doing as well.

Well there we have a taster for what is coming in my next novel and it is now time to pass the work in progress blog tour onto the next authors:

David Wailing is the other editor that I often work with and is also the author of the fantastic Auto series.


Kath Middleton is an author who writes in varied genres, but no matter which, her stories are always worth a read:

Friday, 20 February 2015

Book Review - Cybersp@ce by Jeff W. Horton

I wanted to like this, the blurb sounded interesting, the cover was attractive and it has a cool '@' instead of an 'a' in the title.It suckered me in with the some decent, easy to read text. The illusion didn't last long though as the journey through the book had many bumps along the road.

The basic plot is fine, although it is a little bare boned. The first real problem was the principal characters. Not in themselves, but in their interactions with each other. First they have a tendency to congratulate each other for stating the obvious. Although that's probably a good thing as they tended to make some very dumb decisions. They then fail to see the obvious as events unfurl from those decisions.

There were other annoyances and yet I continued reading. Normally I'd just give up and start reading the next in my list, but it kept me involved in the story. I didn't understand why until I approached the end and the villain was laying his dastardly scheme out in the open for the heroes of the story. He was a Bond villain and I'd just read a cyberspace version of a James Bond film.

So was it a good read? Not really, but it was a surprisingly entertaining one.


Click on image to buy from Amazon

A devastating cyber attack leaves 100,000 people in the United States dead, and evidence points to the Chinese, setting the world on the inevitable march towards nuclear war. Nick Reynolds with US Cyber Command soon learns that former KGB agent Nikolai Chervanko, who has long dreamt of rebuilding his beloved Soviet Union, could be behind the massacre, with something even bigger planned. Lacking evidence linking Chervanko, however, outrage over the attack soon forces the United States to declare war on China. With no means to stop another destructive cyber attack and prevent a nuclear conflict, Nick finds help from an unlikely source from Area 51. Will Nick be able to avert a global holocaust? Find out in Cyber Space!


Thursday, 19 February 2015

Drabbles of Art - The Fifth Plague of Egypt by Joseph Mallord William Turner


This week's Drabbles of Art piece is taken from Joseph Mallord William Turner's dramatic painting 'The Fifth Plague of Egypt' . It brought out an interesting 'what if?' drabble.

If you haven't read the previous drabbles in the series (and it's worth it just for some of the paintings!) then you can find them all here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/as-promised-in-last-weeks-final-post-in.html

The Fifth Plague of Egypt by Joseph Mallord William Turner

“How could you do this?”

“I didn’t do this – I simply warned them what would happen.”

“Don’t lie to me Moses. Of all people I know the truth.”

“Then you should know not to question what must be done.”

“But to destroy their entire civilisation?”

“These people have to be released. They must find their way to the Promised Land and be in the appointed place at the right time for him to arrive.”

“And you will lead them?”

“Of course. Who else can?”

“And what of these Egyptians?”

“They will submit or history will forget that they ever existed.”

Monday, 16 February 2015

Guest Author Interview - Pelmus Razvan

Pelmus Razvan joins me in this week's Guest Author Interview to talk about his latest release 'Reborn from Blood'. Discover more below:


Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
To say a few things about me, I am 20 years old, I live in Romania and currently I'm in my second year of college with major in Business Administration. When I am not busy with school I enjoy spending my time writing, reading Ya novels, and going out with friends.


What first inspired you to start writing?
Well one night I finished reading the last book in the Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead, and in the next morning when I woke up I was something like "Hey I really want to write a book.'' And so I started writing and I can't even describe how amazing it felt, it made me feel ''complete''.


Where did the idea for Reborn from Blood come from?
Well, at first I had no idea how the book should be named, but after spending a lot of my free time in writing it just hit "Reborn from Blood'', mainly because the story is revolved around the main character, but that is to be discussed more vividly after I finish writing the second part of it.


Which book has the has the greatest impact on you?
This is a hard question, I have two books that really inspired me on one hand there is "The Alchemist'' by Paulo Coelho in which it presents the force of destiny and on the other hand there is ''The Indigo Spell'' by Richelle Mead in which the main character resembles allot with me.
Both of these books equally inspired me very much to follow my dreams without giving up on hope so I simply cannot choose one between these two.


What makes your writing stand out?
I write what I feel at the moment, I put my feelings on every word I write and that is all that matters in my opinion.


Are you a planner? Or do you prefer to dive straight into writing?
I prefer to dive straight into writing although there are parts which recall allot of planning, like in which direction I want the action to evolve for example.


What are your favourite song lyrics?
I love rock and roll and I want to share with a great song: Ashes remain-On my own
-Every little thing that I've known is every thing I need to let go
You're so much bigger than the world I have made
So I surrender my soul
I'm reaching out for your hope
I lay my weapons down
I'm ready for you now.
It has such a powerful message in my opinion: letting go of past problems.


What are you working on at the moment?
The second part of my last book ''Reborn From Blood'' with more action and more drama than the first.


Tell us about your latest release and how we can find out more.
The paperback version of Reborn from Blood be found on lulu and retail sites such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble etc.
You can follow author page  here: facebook.com/pelmusrazvan
And here; pelmusrazvan.thirdscribe.com/

Sunday, 15 February 2015

Tales of the Imp - A Magic Number


The latest drabble in the Tales of the Imp series has been posted in the Indie Book Bargains newsletter. You can read the previous drabbles in the series here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/tales-of-imp.html

A Magic Number

The news that I was now a father came as quite a shock, but I handled it pretty well.

“How many children do I have?”

“Six hundred and sixty five. With one more due any day now.”

“How can it be so many? I haven’t slept with that many women!”

“Well I provided some help on that front.”

“How?”

“Have you heard of ‘milking the prostate’?”

I shook my head.

“That’s probably for the best. It almost didn’t work anyway because my arms weren’t quite long enough.”

“But why?”

“A good question and it’s time for you to find out.”

Click here to visit Indie Book Bargains and sign up for a daily newsletter of Kindle bargains and a drabble: www.indie-book-bargains.co.uk

Last Week to Enter February's Short Fiction Contest

"Hanoi Water Puppets - Fairy Dance (3695189852)" by Greg Willis from Denver, CO, usa

We've entered the final week of February's Short Fiction Contest, so if you haven't entered yet then you best get started as you only have a few days left! This month's mysterious (and a little creepy) picture of Hanoi water puppets has already inspired some interesting tales.

It's free to enter the contest and the winning story will win a £50 Amazon or PayPal prize. There's prizes for second and third place as well. To enter you need to write a story of no more than 500 words inspired by this month's image. You then submit it through the form on the competition page here:


If you haven't read last month's winners yet then you really should. Check them out here:

Book Review - Beneath the Boards by David Haynes

I should confess that I'm a bit of a fan boy for this author's work. Ever since reading his collection of Victorian era horror 'The Ballet of the Bones' I've been hooked onto his work. In my opinion he's one of the finest indie horror authors out there. His other genre titles are also damn fine reads. So it's with some excitement that I read his latest work.

In short his latest book is amazing. In an ideal world that would be enough for you to immediately download the book and discover how good it is for yourself. As I'm not President of the World (yet) let me tell you why you should.

Story is king so let's start there. Unlike his previous books this is set in contemporary times and gets going right from the first page. To begin with it follows a familiar theme. A man seeking to escape his demons buys a new house in a remote location and sinister events unfold. That might not sound so original but how the story unfolds is where the genius of the story shines.

There's an imagination here that takes the story to some unexpected places. There's some dark horror here, but also a reflection of joy in the dark places we visit. And it's all written in some excellent prose that demonstrates the author's talent for a turn of phrase.

Normally by this stage of a review I will have pointed out the aspects of the story or writing I didn't like. On this occasion I have nothing. This is an excellent read and probably the author's best work to date - I simply can't recommend this enough.

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Beneath Jim Stokes’s shirt is a scar, one last horrific reminder of his old job in the police force.

Beneath the everyday normality of the village Stormark is a shameful secret, haunting people’s dreams.

Beneath the floorboards of the lake house is a hatch, sealed and forgotten for years until Stokes opens it up.

Beneath them all is blackness, and unheard screams, and scratching sounds in the night…

…and her whispers.


Off The KUF: Volume 1


Off the KUF Volume 1 is an anthology of short fiction, guaranteed to appeal to readers of all genres! Whether you're a fan of mysteries, thrillers, historicals, romance, humour, literary fiction, horror or science fiction, Off the KUF will keep you entertained.

Volume 1 brings together 30 quality stories by 25 highly talented authors. Some will be well-known to fans of the indie fiction scene, while others will be new discoveries. All may become firm favourites after sampling their storytelling skills.

As well as short tales of varying lengths, this collection includes some drabbles - stories precisely 100 words long. So you can dip in and out as you wish, or consume the entire book from start to finish and be assured of an exciting degree of variety.


Volume 1 is edited by David Wailing and the contributing authors are (in alphabetical order): H.K. Abell, Andrew Barrett, Helena Hann-Basquiat, Jessica B. Bell, Nigel Bird, Michael Brookes, Anna Faversham, George Hamilton, John Gregory Hancock, Jennifer Hanning, David Haynes, Rick Haynes, Jonathan Hill, Sibel Hodge, K.M. Knight, Ken Magee, Kath Middleton, Cecilia Peartree, Lexi Revellian, Rosen Trevithick, David Wailing, Louise Warman, Lynda Wilcox, Andrew Craig Williams and Anne Wrightwell. The front cover is by Katie Stewart at Magic Owl Designs.

The Off the KUF trilogy of anthologies is brought to you by the Kindle Users Forum (KUF). All proceeds from ebook sales are used to maintain the forum. Join us atwww.kuforum.co.uk.

Look out for Volume 2 in December 2013, and Volume 3 in February 2014!


Buy now from Amazon (US) | Buy now from Amazon (UK)

A Splendid Salmagundi


A Splendid Salmagundi is a delicious salad of short stories seasoned with a light dusting of poems, covering a variety of genres. You will find one or two true stories, some humour, some horror, fantasy, adventure and science fiction. Many are Amazon published authors whose work you may already have read. Others will soon be favourites.

Contributors are alphabetically, D M Andrews, Tim Arnot, R J Askew, Baarbaara, Andrew Barrett, Kath Brinck, Michael Brookes, Alexandra Butcher, DD Chant, Mel Comley, Lexie Conyngham, Raymond Daley, Ian Ellis, Robert Franks, Cornelius Harker, Mark R Faulkner, Vic Heaney, Jonathan Hill, Darren Humphries, Andrew Lawston, Stephen Livingston, Will Macmillan Jones, M T McGuire, Kath Middleton, Marc Nash, Harry Nicholson, Jenny Shaw, Rosen Trevithick, Simon Turpin, David Wailing, Jim Webster, Philip Whiteland.

An Odder Quintet


An Odder Quintet explores a world of dark and strange happenings. From new technology to ancient legends, nothing is quite what it seems.

Prisons without Walls
A prisoner serving a life sentence takes part in an experimental programme that manipulates the perception of time to rehabilitate prisoners and ensure they never reoffend.

The Tapestry
Legend speaks of a Great Loom, operated by three women who guide the fate of every living person. The secret kept for thousands of years has now been found by someone with his own designs for it.

Ghost in the Cloud
Everyone knows not to click on links in strange emails, but what do you do when the link comes from your dead husband?

In the Depths
This story continues from ‘Forced Entry’ in ‘An Odd Quartet’.
Bravo Team took part in a hostage rescue mission in what they thought was a normal suburban house, now trapped in the basement they try to find a way out and only discover only more insanity.

Not Welcome at the Gate
This story continues from ‘The Reluctant Demon’ in ‘An Odd Quartet’.
Morlock failed his possession exam in the most spectacular way possible, now ninety years later he faces returning to Hell.


Review Highlights

"The author excels in imaginative writing that deals with the intangible. His stories often handle the supernatural and the interface between life and death, yet the urgent and compelling nature of the writing makes it seem real enough."

"If you enjoy Twilight Zone tales with a creepy edge then this is for you."

"This group of five stories is sure to enhance Michael Brookes' reputation as a short story teller. I found them all intriguing concepts. The author has an interesting mind!"

"The stories were short, crisp, having an odd, eerie feel of mystery blended with the gothic, and quite enjoyable. I'm glad I bought it!"

An Odder Quintet is available from:
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/13QJbwD
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1qKgdUg
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/17eCX6E
iTunes US: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id693228370
iTunes UK: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/id693228370
Kobo: http://bit.ly/18S3DJI
Page Foundry: http://bit.ly/1kwHEhZ
Scribd: http://www.scribd.com/book/230514632/An-Odder-Quintet

Elite: Legacy


The mining colony Freeholm in the Artemis system is celebrating ten years of independence. Once a penal colony for political prisoners from the neighbouring planet of Laphria, the
station is now a thriving mine and refinery.

The brutal murder of two of the station’s resident traders when ambushed in the surrounding asteroid belt sends shockwaves through the community. With the identity of the attackers unknown, Freeholm’s head of security and hero of the rebellion, Darik Cavus, must discover the deadly conspiracy unfolding against his home.

They cannot face the threat alone. Darik’s daughter, Julia, must travel and find help before the station’s small defence force is overwhelmed. The forces moving against the colony seek to prevent her mission.

Events start to spiral out of control for Julia and her small band of allies, and nothing is as it first seems.


Elite: Legacy is available from the Elite: Dangerous store: 

E-book: https://store.elitedangerous.com/books/elite-dangerous-legacy-ebook.html
Paperback: https://store.elitedangerous.com/books/elite-dangerous-legacy-paperback.html
Hardback: https://store.elitedangerous.com/books/elite-dangerous-legacy-hardcover.html

Follow Elite: Dangerous on Facebook: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24816563-elite
Elite: Legacy on Goodreads: https://www.facebook.com/EliteDangerousOfficial?fref=ts

Elite: Legacy is also available from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1C7q3VI

An Odd Quartet


An Odd Quartet is a collection of four dark short stories, each with a twist in the tale.

The Yellow Lady

A grave robber encounters a ghost from a story he was told as a child.

This Empty Place

At the heat death of the universe, the Grim Reaper contemplates his existence.

Forced Entry

A special forces team enters a suburban house to rescue a family taken hostage, they encounter more than they were trained for.

The Reluctant Demon

A young demon prepares to take his possession exam.

This Drabble Enhanced edition also includes some of my favourite drabbles (100 word stories).


Review Highlights

"This is an intriguing collection which I raced through in an evening. Each tale has an unexpected element to it and this is what makes the book interesting."

"I enjoyed the darkly satisfying twists that surfaced in a couple of the tales, and I loved the imagery throughout."

"All in all a very good and entertaining read with some well executed and different approaches to the stories."

"It has been speculated that writers of the bizarre must have broken minds. I say, they simply have potent imaginations because they are the ones who have the ability to see beyond the edge of reality, capture those images, and truly bring them to life. Michael Brookes is surely in possession of a most potent imagination."

An Odd Quartet is available from these online stores:

Buy now from Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1tRD0ka
Buy now from Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/OK7R3A
Buy now from Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://bit.ly/1o9uqeU
Buy now from iTunes (US): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id636526301
Buy now from iTunes (UK): https://itunes.apple.com/uk/book/id636526301
Buy now from Kobo: http://bit.ly/1iBxFNc
Buy now from Page Foundry: http://bit.ly/1lKmw7q
Read now on Scribd: http://bit.ly/1o9uCe8
Read now on Oyster; http://bit.ly/1NxovLL

Faust 2.0

The Internet witnesses the emergence of a new entity.

Is it the rebirth of an ancient evil in a new realm? Or something more dangerous?

A sexy looking avatar is granting wishes for people across the Internet. But nothing is ever truly free and for those accepting the gifts a terrible price must be paid.

Sarah Mitchell must learn the truth of this creature and stop it while it can still be stopped. She must also find out why a mysterious lawyer is present at every step.

Faust 2.0 is the first book in the new Mitchell & Morton series.


Review Highlights

" Brookes has penned a very different kind of work that is reminiscent of Philip K. Dick’s themes with astounding clarity of thought and a lucid, impeccable, swift and precise narration."

"An interesting, modern take on an ancient tale."

"Over-all, this book is a compelling thriller, which also serves as a warning about letting computers play too big a role in our lives."

"The book has excellent characters, a great plot and a steady pace that always leaves you hungry for more."

"There should be a genre for CRACKING GOOD READ. This book would surely fit in here.
Looking forward to the next!"

Faust 2.0 is available from these online stores:

Buy now from Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/XQ5L77
Buy now from Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/1csv15q
Buy now from Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://bit.ly/1nLA8BX
Buy now from Kobo: http://bit.ly/1rGRItx
Buy now from iTunes (US): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id689253733
Buy now from iTunes (UK): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/id689253733
Buy now from Page Foundry: http://bit.ly/1mSaDT3
Read now on Scribd: http://bit.ly/UWSGqE
Read now onm Oyster: https://www.oysterbooks.com/book/DgeEXfEtWQmBktv3RMzW2L/faust-20-mitchell-and-morton-1

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/#!/Faust2point0
2013 Self-Published and Small Press Awards

The Last True Demon

Click on image to buy from Amazon
The Last True Demon is the concluding book in The Third Path trilogy.

Stealing Lazarus’ miracle granted me immortality. Unfortunately, as I discovered upon a cold slab of stone, it didn’t make me indestructible. According to a dark prophecy I should have been the one who could stop the Antichrist bringing his Father to the Earth.

I learned the hard way as he ripped the miracle from my flesh. Now I’ve passed over and I’m in the ruins of the Garden of Eden with the Friar, Hammond, and Venet, a wounded angel. There’s a slim chance we can save humanity. All we have to do is find God and convince him to intervene and save us all.

The only problem?

He doesn’t believe that we exist…


Available from Amazon:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/15DC64X
Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/1CsvHG9

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Third-Path-Trilogy/135021196680047
The Last True Demon on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24657631-the-last-true-demon

Friday, 13 February 2015

Conversations in the Abyss


The second book in 'The Third Path' trilogy.

Stealing Lazarus’s miracle gifted him immortality. Combined with his natural ability of invading and controlling people’s minds this made him one of the most dangerous people on Earth.

But the miracle came with a price. His punishment was to be imprisoned within the walls of an ancient monastery and tormented by an invisible fire that burned his body perpetually. To escape the pain he retreated deep into his own mind.

There he discovers the truth of the universe and that only he can stop the coming Apocalypse.


Review Highlights

" It is one of those books that you want to share so that you can discuss it with them after they have read it."

"I loved the way this was written and I thoroughly enjoyed the imagery and theories put forward about why and how the world exists."

"Once I got into it I couldn’t put it down and everything else was on hold until it was finished."

Conversations in the Abyss is available from these online stores:

Buy now from Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1ry7evK
Buy now from Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/1kdZR6v
Buy now from Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://bit.ly/1kdZWqL
Buy now from iTunes (US): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/id647298331
Buy now from iTunes (UK): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/id647298331
Buy now from Kobo: http://bit.ly/Radeuc
Buy now from Page Foundry: http://bit.ly/1qKOs1l
Read now on Scribd: http://bit.ly/1mpvJlA

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Third-Path-Trilogy/135021196680047

The Cult of Me


In my youth I developed a talent for reading other people’s minds and with practice, forcing my will upon them. I have never encountered anyone capable of resisting my thoughts and for a time I enjoyed the fruits of my power. A terrible tragedy led me to a darker place and then I wielded my ability not simply to satisfy my desires but to torment and judge the throng of humanity around me.

Years passed until I realised that my life lacked meaning and I lived without purpose. It wasn’t a difficult change to make. And with that choice I have one final act to inflict upon the world and they will remember my name with fear for ages to come.

The Cult of Me is the first book in The Third Path trilogy.


Review Highlights

"An Enjoyable Romp through a Tortured Mind"

"This book is so hard to define. It’s a dark, psychological thriller but also philosophical, metaphysical and totally unusual."

"In The Cult Of Me, Michael Brookes has created one of the most memorable villains I have ever read about - and he is sort of the good guy of the story."

"Whatever genre you read I would recommend this book, it's not quite horror, not quite fantasy and to be honest I'm not entirely sure where this would sit. But, whatever its genre it's good and that's really all that matters."

The Cult of Me is available from these online stores:

Buy now from Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/1onGoyo
Buy now from Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/Ot1Ze1
Buy now from Barnes & Noble (Nook): http://bit.ly/1pGQMUu
Buy now from iTunes (US): https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id639396634
Buy now from iTunes (UK): https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/id639396634
Buy now from Kobo: http://bit.ly/1jrsHxq
Buy now from Page Foundry: http://bit.ly/1o1t6rD
Read now on Scribd: http://bit.ly/1mliOB5
Read now on Oyster: http://bit.ly/1LFbYaJ

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Third-Path-Trilogy/135021196680047
The Cult of Me on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15778078-the-cult-of-me

Sun Dragon


2012: NASA's Curiosity Rover lands on Mars to search for signs of whether microbial life existed on the planet.
2018: The first alien lifeform, a simple wormlike creature is discovered, gripping the world's imagination.
2022: The first manned mission to Mars begins the longest and most dangerous journey ever undertaken by humankind.
From hundreds of potential candidates, six astronauts from countries around the world are selected to crew the historic mission. Led by Commander Samantha Collins, they must travel across the gulf of interplanetary space, over 150 million miles from home and help. Their mission is to investigate alien life, but what they discover is far beyond what anyone ever imagined...

The Sun Dragon story continues in the Tau Ceti Mission


Review Highlights
"The crew went to Mars to find a small worm, evidence of life outside of earth. What they found was amazing. I love this premise and the uncompromising way it played out for the rest of the book."

"At the very end, there is one description that is so stunning that it left me with a great sadness, but also with a great sense of beauty and hope, and it is what Sun Dragon is, really. Look beyond the words, read the book with your imagination."

"I thoroughly enjoyed this. The level of detail about space flight is astounding and for someone, like me, who has fantasised about being an astronaut since I was a lad it's riveting."

Buy now from Amazon (US): http://amzn.to/ZRrQ5v
Buy now from Amazon (UK): http://amzn.to/12zV5eX

Follow on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thetaucetimission/

E-book Versions of Elite: Legacy Now Available

I'm pleased to announce that Elite: Legacy, the official tie-in novel to the Elite: Dangerous game is now available in e-book formats from the Elite: Dangerous store:

https://store.elitedangerous.com/books/elite-dangerous-legacy-ebook.html


The mining colony Freeholm in the Artemis system is celebrating ten years of independence. Once a penal colony for political prisoners from the neighbouring planet of Laphria, the
station is now a thriving mine and refinery.

The brutal murder of two of the station’s resident traders when ambushed in the surrounding asteroid belt sends shockwaves through the community. With the identity of the attackers unknown, Freeholm’s head of security and hero of the rebellion, Darik Cavus, must discover the deadly conspiracy unfolding against his home.

They cannot face the threat alone. Darik’s daughter, Julia, must travel and find help before the station’s small defence force is overwhelmed. The forces moving against the colony seek to prevent her mission.

Events start to spiral out of control for Julia and her small band of allies, and nothing is as it first seems.






Thursday, 12 February 2015

Drabbles of Art - Witches' Sabbath by Francisco Goya


Francisco Goya pays a return visit to the Drabbles of Art series with his painting 'Witches' Sabbath'. The drabble for this didn't go to plan. I had an idea for something more series but then I remembered Terry Prachett's wonderful Discworld witches:-)

You can find the earlier drabbles in this series here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/as-promised-in-last-weeks-final-post-in.html

Witches' Sabbath by Francisco Goya

“What the hell is that?”

“What?”

“The giant stuffed goat.”

“Well, we don’t summon him anymore. Not like the old days, so I brought it to remind us.”

“Even back then we didn’t summon goats. It looks weird.”

“It’s not a goat – it’s Baphomet. Anyway it’s okay for you to bring your baby and who knows what Miriam’s skeletal homunculus is all about!”

“Well the fresh air does the baby good and he likes your goat, so I wouldn’t complain too much if I where you.”

“It sets the mood though, doesn’t it?”

“No, and don’t bring it here again.”

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Tuesday Tease - Beneath the Boards by David Haynes

We have a treat for horror fans in this week's Tuesday Tease and this is an excerpt from David Hayes' latest release 'Beneath the Boards'. I started reading it last night and it's off to a cracking start!

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Beneath the Boards by David Haynes
Chapter 1




Stokes knocked on the door and waited. Four unanswered phone calls and three unreturned text messages had left him with no choice.

“Just answer the door,” he whispered.

Natalie Sutton was a mess. In almost every part of her life she had, at one point or another, made the wrong decision.

Do you want to start smoking cannabis at thirteen, Natalie? “Yes, sir.”

Do you want to have a baby at fourteen, Natalie? “Yes, please.”

Do you want to have another baby at sixteen, Natalie? “Of course! Who wouldn’t?”

What about starting a relationship with a man twice your age? He’s a real catch; he’s beaten every woman he ever knew to a bloody pulp. “Oh, go on then, if you insist.”

He exhaled loudly and banged on the door. “Natalie? It’s DC Stokes, can you open the door please?”

He knew she was in. He’d had a quick look through the lounge window on his way up the driveway. The TV was on and kids’ toys lay strewn about. There was even a half-eaten chocolate biscuit on the carpet.

He crouched and pushed the letterbox open. “Natalie, I only want to ask you a quick question, that’s all. Just open up and I’ll be out of your hair in two minutes.”

He’d worked in the Domestic Violence Unit for the last eight years and in that time he’d investigated just about every crime imaginable. He’d also dealt with the unimaginable ones too.

‘High Risk’ – that was the designation given to the victims he worked with. These were the women who appeared on the front page of the newspaper when they’d been murdered by their devoted boyfriends, husbands and lovers. These were the women he wanted to protect.

He had six other women on his workload and they all needed his help, but there was high risk and then there was Natalie Sutton. She courted violence; she sought it out wherever and in whomever she could. He’d been visiting her for the last six months, trying to make her see, trying to make her understand that there was another way to live. He’d backed her when the other agencies wanted to close the door on her and take the baby into care. He believed in her and he believed he was right.

He walked back to the lounge window and cupped his hands around his face. For a brief moment he looked into his own eyes and saw seventeen years of policing staring back at him. It wasn’t a pretty sight.

The room was the same as it had been just a couple of minutes ago. The half-eaten biscuit, the beaker lying on its side with a purple stain spreading across the carpet. Someone ought to clean that up before it...

The smashed mobile phone.

The cracked television screen and a thin mist of blood up the wallpaper.

Stokes unclipped his radio and lifted it to his mouth. “NA, this is DC Stokes. Can I have another unit to join me at 18 Scarsdale, please?”

“Received. What have you got?”

Stokes walked quickly to the front door and tried the handle. It didn’t move an inch.

“Not sure. Send someone with the big key.”

“Received. One unit en route to you now.”

There were times when things weren’t exactly as they first appeared and there were times when they were spot on, or as near as damn it. He’d been a copper long enough to know this was the latter.

The intelligence on Natalie was that she was in a relationship with Shane Young. He was a nasty, violent shit and Stokes had sent him to court seven years ago for trying to demolish his previous partner’s face with a hammer. Shane Young was not the right man for Natalie Sutton, not now, not ever.

He ran around the side of the house and pushed open the wooden gate. The backyard was a mixture of dog crap, abandoned dolls and rotting marrow bones. The smell was powerful but nothing new, nothing out of the ordinary.

“Natalie!” he called out.

Stokes paused at the patio door and unclipped his baton from the covert harness. He’d been bitten by both dogs and humans before and it was nasty. A sight of the baton usually calmed...

A smear of blood and handprints on the inside of the patio doors which were slightly ajar.

“NA from DC Stokes.”

“Go ahead.”

“There’s blood inside the property and signs of disturbance. What’s the ETA for uniform?”

“They’re en route. Do you need them to come code blue?”

“Yes.” He kept his voice as level as he could but already the adrenal gland was doing what it did best.

How long could he stand there waiting for assistance? He should wait, he knew he should. He should stand down and wait for the uniform lads to come with their wailing sirens and stab-proof vests. But he couldn’t and he wouldn’t.

He gripped the plastic handle and slid the door open.

“Natalie? Are you okay?“ He cocked the baton over his shoulder and listened. There was nothing, not even the sound of a two year old playing. He glanced at the blood on the door and stepped further into the room. It smelled of stale cigarette smoke and blood. It smelled of violence.

The kitchen door was off the lounge, just beside the patio doors and he stepped toward it. The kitchen was an arsenal for someone with the wrong mentality. However he was feeling, he needed to check the rooms systematically, starting with the kitchen. He took another step and froze.

He could hear the sound of a child crying upstairs. It wasn’t a full heartbreaking howl but it was a forlorn whimper. It was the sound of a child used to being ignored; the sound of a child who knew nobody would come however long she cried.

He needed to get up there quickly, before any more blood was spilled. Natalie was vulnerable enough but the little girl needed taking out of this situation. Whatever had happened here, whatever was happening here was toxic and it was time to put a stop to it. His heart was beating like a drum and although he’d been in these situations before, it never felt good. It never felt right.

He took a step forward, toward the hallway and the little baby upstairs when a great roar sounded from behind him. He turned just in time to see the snarling face of Shane Young smash into his own face and knock him backward.

The kitchen. He hadn’t checked it.

The little girl had disturbed him before he’d had a chance to check properly. His eyes immediately filled with tears and for a moment his vision was gone. It was enough time for Young to drive a fist into his face and knock him and his baton to the grubby carpet.

As soon as he hit the floor, Stokes rolled to the side. He couldn’t see anything but he was damned if he was going to make it easy for Young. He just had to last long enough for the uniform to arrive.

“I’ve always wanted to do a pig.”

Stokes blinked and cleared his vision enough to see Young coming toward him with a knife in his hand. He looked around for the baton but it had rolled to the other side of the room in the initial assault. He still had his gas but there wasn’t enough time to unclip it, let alone point and spray it. Think fast, Stokesy, think fast.

He rocked onto his knees and lunged forward, colliding with Young’s shins. The move shocked the other man and he stumbled backward and went down. As soon as he landed, Stokes drove one of his own fists into Young’s nose, sending an arc of blood over them both.

Young yelped and tried to push the knife toward Stokes’s neck but he batted it away easily, sending it skidding across the threadbare carpet. He drew back his fist and punched the man again and this time the fight went out of Young completely. Stokes reached into his harness and pushed the red button on the top of his airwave radio.

“More units to 18 Scarsdale!” he shouted.

A mixture of sweat and blood dripped off the end of his nose and landed on Young’s cheek. Even though the fight had lasted only a matter of seconds, he was exhausted and already his muscles were aching.

He unclipped his cuffs and rolled Young onto his side. “I’m arresting you on suspicion of assault, Shane. You do not have to say...”

“What have you done to him?”

Stokes looked up into the bloodshot and bruised eyes of Natalie Sutton. “Are you all right, Natalie?”

She stared back at him. “If you’ve hurt him I’ll...” Her words were distorted to the point of being almost unrecognisable. Her chin was covered in blood and her vest was a crimson bib. She opened her mouth to say something else, revealing two missing teeth and another which dangled precariously.

“Why didn’t you answer my calls?” Stokes finished handcuffing Young and rose slowly to his feet. Forty-three was too old to be fighting with anyone and every inch of his six-foot frame ached to the point of pain. He’d feel this for the next week.

Natalie looked down on her boyfriend and started to cry. “Look what you’ve done to him. He said you lot were bullies and...”

Stokes took her gently by the shoulders. “Did he do this to you, Natalie?” She looked vacantly at him. It was the look of someone who had nothing, nothing at all.

“Nat...?”

The searing pain in his side stopped him in his tracks. At first he thought might be having a heart attack but the pain was much lower than that. It was somewhere beneath his ribcage. He gasped and tried to steady his breathing.

It was probably just a bad stitch, he really ought to start going to the gym again. Maybe after today he...

He looked down and saw a red bloom spreading across his white shirt. Instinctively he dropped a hand and touched the cotton – it was warm and sticky. Natalie’s lost and desperate eyes met his own and as he opened his mouth to ask her why he was bleeding, a second burst of terrible pain exploded in his side. It squeezed every molecule of air from his lungs.

“Do it babe, do it again!” The sound of Young’s shrill voice echoed in the room. Stokes caught sight of Natalie’s arm thrusting forward again. This is it, he thought, and allowed his legs to collapse under him. Gutted by someone I was trying to protect. The irony of it all.

The sirens screeched and then squealed in the distance and the child upstairs screamed in perfect harmony.


Click here to buy Beneath the Boards from Amazon

About the Author

David Haynes has been making up stories since he was very young. His first story entitled, "How the Greenhouse Actually Got Smashed, Dad!" got him into trouble and went unpublished. Nevertheless, the stories continued and the desire to write them down grew stronger.

David now writes stories in the genre he loves the most - the dark, mysterious and delicious world of horror! The two main influences on his writing are Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe who he considers masters of the shadowy world.

So far he has written a collection of sinister stories set on the dark streets of Victorian London and in the gloriously opulent Paris of the nineteenth century. Both represent his love for the history of our greatest cities and the dark deeds that were done on their shadowy streets.

One day he hopes to be able to write full-time in order to get all those stories out of his own mind and into the minds of others.

The question is - dare you read anymore?

http://macabrecollection.blogspot.co.uk/

Book Review - Four from Below by Daniel P. Coffman

As the name implies this is a collection of four stories, all with a different horror theme. There's an uneven quality from readable to superb so I'll cover each story individually.

The first story stood out for me. The young boy trying to survive being bullied along with home life problems tugs on the heart strings. It's novella length and would have made a strong offering in its own right. The quality of the writing is superb and transformation described really makes the story stand out. My only issue is that while I guessed how it would end when it arrived it felt abrupt. In fairness that's a minor complaint.

The second story has a more traditional feel to it with it being a faustian tale. It's told well and does have a unique angle that elevates it. A strong story and well written.

The third story was the weakest of the four for me. It was well written, but just didn't grab me.

The form returns for the final story with an excellent body horror tale. While the first story was my favourite this one from a purely horror perspective really hits the creepiness meter! It's an unusual story that has some decent menace. Once the story gets going it's not too difficult to figure out where it's going to end. But the twists and turns along the way make the journey more than worthwhile.

All in all it's a worthwhile collection that any horror fan should try.

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Four From Below tells the tales of ordinary people -or so they seem- thrust into extraordinary circumstances:

Ray Deet lives a life of shame. His mother abandons him, and the school bullies single him out for abuse. A chance encounter with a denizen of a world below changes the timid young boy, but are these changes for the better?

Charlie Vos has a scoop. Aging actress Victoria Manwell, his teen fantasy, is now a recluse. She has a tale to tell. But is Charlie ready to hear it?

Alexi Zachas has inherited his grandfather's mansion, and the hidden lab below. Aided by an eager young assistant, this practitioner of the "sideways sciences" hopes to turn back the clock on the human body.

Apri Saluzar has a problem. Several problems, in fact: a domineering mother, insomnia, an unsatisfying job. Oh, and the occasional body part appearing in her home.

Monday, 9 February 2015

Tales of the Imp - Have a Cigar

The latest drabble in the Tales of the Imp series has been featured in today's Indie Book Bargains newsletter. To read the previous drabbles in the series visit here:

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/p/tales-of-imp.html

To discover the origin story of the Imp you need to read the short story in the Off the KUF collection. You can buy your copy from Amazon here:

http://amzn.to/1k9Z1UJ

Have a Cigar

I was so jubilant with his return that I didn’t notice the cigar at first. It stood taller than he did. He flashed his toothy grin and said, “Congratulations”

“Whatever for?”

“I understand that it’s customary to smoke one of these on such occasions.”

He passed it to me. He then produced another from a place best left unmentioned and lit it. He inhaled deeply and blew a smoke ring towards the ceiling.

“I have some good news for you.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re a father.”

“What!?”

“Many times over as a matter of fact.”

Son of a bitch.

Guest Author Interview - Michelle Goff

Mystery author Michelle Goff joins me in this week's Guest Author Interview to tell us about her release 'Murder on Sugar Creek':

Click on image to buy from Amazon

Please introduce yourself, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Michelle Goff and if it weren’t for my dog, I’d be the crazy cat lady. I live with my dog as well as three cats in southeastern Kentucky, a rural mountainous region in the States. When I’m not writing, I can usually be found baking, watching classic movies, or weed eating. I also enjoy a good nap.

What first inspired you to start writing?
I’ve always had an overactive imagination. Even as a child, I made up stories in my head. But it wasn’t until my sixth grade teacher, Mrs. King, read one of my humorous stories aloud to the class that I considered committing more of those stories in my head to paper. The story she read prompted an immediate and positive reaction from my classmates that both inspired and embarrassed me. Indeed, I hid under a desk.

Where did the idea for Murder on Sugar Creek come from?
It didn’t come from one specific idea, but I remember the moment I formulated the basic plot. My dad was ill and, as I drove home from the hospital one night, I started thinking up a murder mystery. It might sound strange that a fictitious murder helped me cope with his illness, but it did. After his death, I began writing Murder on Sugar Creek, and that helped me deal with my grief.

How far have you planned out the future books in the series?
Not very far, I’m afraid. I’m a seat of my pants writer. I have, however, imagined certain scenes that I will incorporate into the subsequent books and a general idea of a future murder victim’s identity.

Which book has had the greatest impact on you?
I read Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar the summer between my freshman and sophomore years at college. It didn’t change my life, but the passage where Esther admits to drinking from a finger bowl has stayed with me. Why? A few weeks before I read the book, I went to dinner with my best friend and her family. It was the first time I tried shrimp and, in my ignorance, I tried to cut off the tail with a knife. An uncomfortable silence fell over the table. My exposure to Esther’s faux pas with the finger bowl came at the perfect time in my life.

What is your favourite song lyric?
“Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true or is it something worse” from The River by Bruce Springsteen. I love Springsteen’s music and consider him my favorite poet.

What is new about your stories?
A cozy is by its very nature formulaic. A reader has a general idea of what to expect – an amateur sleuth investigates a crime in a small community. But eastern Kentucky has never been well represented in popular culture except for a persistent hillbilly stereotype as well as the media’s focus on our high poverty rates and thriving drug culture. The southeastern Kentucky “hollers” populated by multidimensional characters in my stories should provide a new experience for most readers and give them a well-rounded vision of the area.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m completing the second book in the series, Murder at Catfish Corner. As the book opens, the body of a woman is found floating in a pay lake. (For those of you unfamiliar with the term, as its name suggests, it’s a stocked lake that people pay a fee to fish in.) Although the police rule the death accidental, the woman’s sister doubts the official ruling and asks nosy reporter and amateur sleuth Maggie Morgan to investigate.

Tell us about your latest release and how we can find out more.
Murder at Sugar Creek starts as Mac Honaker is beginning his morning with an Iced Honey Bun, a cup of coffee, and a fatal shot to the chest. Mac’s murder stuns Sugar Creek, a small community nestled in the hills and hollows of eastern Kentucky. It also fuels Sugar Creek resident Maggie Morgan’s enthusiasm for true crime, but her interest turns personal when her brother’s childhood friend is arrested for the murder. Maggie dedicates herself to proving his innocence, which puts her in contact with her ex-fiancé the police detective just as she starts a new romance. As Maggie pieces the clues together, an unflattering picture of Mac emerges and she comes to the realization that her brother’s friend might not be so innocent after all.

My Books on Goodreads