Category Archives: The Arcana Chronicles

The Word Count Podcast 9th Halloween Special

Murder, Mayhem, and Horror

Welcome to the 9th Halloween Special of the #WordCountPodcast!

A few stories for your listening terror this time around. The theme, along with the picture above, is all about Murder, Mayhem, and Horror. I’ve just finished the edits on my Supernatural Thriller Bayou Whispers and that inspired this season’s Halloween Special prompt.

Listen to the show here:

This will be the last show of the 9th season of the WCP. We’ll be back in January with season ten and many more original stories for your FREE listening pleasure.

A reminder that we are looking to increase the number of likes on the show’s Facebook Page, so hope on over there and tell your friends about us (use the #WordCountPodcast hashtag).

Second, as always, the WCP is FREE to download and listen via iTunes or Libsyn. This show is brought to you by writers who love the opportunity to share their stories with you. In many ways, the #WordCountPodcast is a hobby for us, as there are no advertisers or revenue streams. It’s just us, a microphone, a four-channel mixing board, and a passion for sharing our words with you.

We are not asking, nor have ever asked, for monetary compensation. This is our playground, and once a month we invite you to join us around a virtual campfire and listen for a bit.

However, I and my colleagues would very much appreciate it if you shared links for the podcast on social media, and perhaps check out each author’s links and bios (posted below).

In the meantime, allow me to introduce you to my talented friends:

Our Guests:

Bill Kirton – “The Path”

Bill Kirton was born in Plymouth, England, studied French at Exeter University and graduated in 1962. While teaching at Hardye’s School, Dorchester, he started his PhD on the theatre of Victor Hugo and was a lecturer at Aberdeen University from 1968 to 1989.

He’s also been a voice-over artist, TV presenter and has extensive experience of acting and directing. His directing credits include many French language plays as well as works by Shakespeare, Orton, Beckett and Ionesco. He spent a sabbatical year at the University of Rhode Island Theater Department, which commissioned translations of 3 Molière plays from him, one of which he directed himself. The script also won third prize in the British Comparative Literature Association’s Annual Translation competition, 1999.

Bill wrote and performed songs and sketches in revues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, stage plays, two of which were commissioned by Aberdeen Children’s Theatre, and radio plays for the BBC, two of which were also broadcast in Australia.

Since the late 1990s, his writing has concentrated on prose fiction. He has written many short stories and ten novels, three of which have won awards, with another being long-listed for the Rubery International Book Award.

Bill has held posts as a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at universities in Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews and, since 2015, has been organiser of a Scotland-wide scheme which places professional writers in schools to help students with the transition to writing at university. He still gives workshops in schools from Orkney to Dundee as part of the scheme and he’s written five books in Pearson Educational’s ‘Brilliant’ series on study, writing and workplace skills. Bill also co-authored ‘Just Write’ for Routledge.

Website (and blog): http://www.billkirton.com

Facebook pages: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620980849 https://www.facebook.com/bill.kirton/

Twitter: @carver22

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Bill-Kirton/e/B001KDNSLY

 

Maria Haskins – “Essie’s Chain”

Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and translator. She grew up in Sweden, but now lives in Canada, just outside Vancouver, with a husband, two kids, and a very large black dog. Her fiction has appeared in various anthologies and publications, and she loves flash fiction with every fiber of her old and shriveled heart.

Website: https://mariahaskins.wordpress.com

Twitter: @mariahaskins

R. B. Wood – “Balloon Animals”

R. B. Wood is a recent MFA graduate of Emerson College and a writer of speculative and dark fiction. Mr. Wood recently has been published online via SickLit Magazine and HorrorAddicts.net and appeared in the award-winning anthology “Offbeat: Nine Spins on Song” from Wicked ink Books.  Along with his writing passion, R. B. is the host of The Word Count Podcast—a show of original flash fiction.

R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner Tina, a multitude of cats, and various other critters that visit from time to time.

Around the web:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon’s R.B. Wood page

 

Eden Baylee – “Chasing Freedom”
Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres.

She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction ~ SPRING INTO SUMMER, FALL INTO WINTER, and HOT FLASH.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her STRANGER TRILOGY with Dr. Kate Hampton–a psychological mystery/suspense called “Stranger at Sunset.” In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created the LAINEY LEE SERIES about a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! 

 

Submissions now open for The Word Count Podcast 9th Halloween Special!

9th Halloween Special

This will be the Ninth #WordCountPodcast Halloween Spook-tacular Special!

We’ll be exploring Murder, Mayhem, and Horror this year, so get ready to feel the fear!

Following along with the Season’s theme of landscapes. here is your prompt:

So for this, the #WordCountPodcast‘s NINTH Halloween Special, I want you to cook up a story about the Murder, Mayhem, and Horror.

Make it scary.

We have a Facebook Page that we have a goal of reaching a thousand likes this year. So give it a like or share it with your friends. The more listeners and contributors we have, the better the shows will be.

There are  over 500 original stories at this point—all free for your listening pleasure, all we ask is for people to help get the word out. Click the link:

The Word Count Podcast Facebook Page

If you want to listen to past (free) shows, the links below will take you to them:

LIBSYN

or

iTUNES

There are 90 shows available right now!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

THE WORD COUNT PODCAST – EPISODE 91 “Murder, Mayhem, and Horror.

GENRE: Horror, Dark Fiction

DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by Saturday 26th October 2019 by MIDNIGHT Eastern time.

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original horror or dark fiction story.

Do NOT exceed SEVEN minutes.

As this is a podcast, I need to receive a file of YOU, a friend or multiple friends reading (singing or otherwise performing) your work. MP3 FORMAT ONLY, and please attach your MP3 file to an e-mail or contact me for a Dropbox link.

Your submission MUST also contain the following:

• Your pen name
• Your latest bio (DO NOT ASSUME I HAVE YOUR LATEST)
• Links to your website(s) – Include your personal site, Facebook Fanpage etc.
• Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
• A photo of you I can use for the show notes
• At the end of your recording, please add “This is author of and you’re listening to The Word Count Podcast.”
• Permission to use your recording in the podcast.
• PLEASE Make sure you have included ALL ARTIFACTS I have asked for. Do not assume I can “Get your picture from the internet” or can “Pull your bio from your web page.”

Send your file to me@rbwood.com (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by 26 October 2019. You can also e-mail me with questions beforehand. I do reserve the right NOT to post your submission, but will communicate that to you should it be the case. I add the ‘Explicit’ tag to the ‘cast, so if your story uses adult themes or language that’s ok—but it should be necessary for the story.

***NOTE: I will NOT accept stories that are discriminatory in ANY WAY (whether it be by race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc.) or that include rape. ***

Peace

 

 

The Word Count Podcast: Episode 90

Summer Goeth Before the Fall

Here in New England, the evenings are getting colder and the trees are donning their “technicolor dream-coats.”

My favorite season is here. I wanted to select a prompt for our #WordCountIrregulars that would show the transition

And as you know, the theme this year is Landscapes.

I think this fits the bill, don’t you?

Three stories by four authors are on tap for you this month and are presented to you FREE for your listening pleasure!

Now, for those of you who are impatient, you can listen to the latest show here:

Before we get on with the show notes, a reminder that we are looking to increase the number of likes on the show’s Facebook Page, so hop on over there and tell your friends about us (use the #WordCountPodcast hashtag).

Second, as always, the WCP is FREE to download and listen via iTunes or Libsyn. This show is brought to you by writers who love the opportunity to share their stories with you. In many ways, the #WordCountPodcast is a hobby for us, as there are no advertisers or revenue streams. It’s just us, a microphone, a four-channel mixing board and a passion for sharing our words with you.

We are not asking, nor have ever asked, for monetary compensation. This is our playground, and once a month we invite you to join us around a virtual campfire and listen for a bit.

However, I and my colleagues would very much appreciate it if you shared links for the podcast on social media, and perhaps check out each author’s links and bios (posted below).

In the meantime, allow me to introduce you to my talented friendsand their literary works based on the prompt above:

Our Guests:

Maria Haskins – “Becca and the River”

Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and translator. She grew up in Sweden, but now lives in Canada, just outside Vancouver, with a husband, two kids, and a very large black dog. Her fiction has appeared in various anthologies and publications, and she loves flash fiction with every fiber of her old and shriveled heart.

Website: https://mariahaskins.wordpress.com

Twitter: @mariahaskins


W. B. J. Williams – 
“A Fall into Autumn”

W. B. J. Williams holds advanced degrees in anthropology and archeology. He is an avid historian, mystic, poet, and author who manages an information security program at a prominent New England firm. He is noted for his bad puns, and willingness to argue from any perspective. He is endured by his beloved wife and two daughters, and lives in Sharon Massachusetts. When he is not at home or at his computer, he can often be found haunting the various used bookstores of Boston.

Websites: http://www.wbj-williams.net https://www.facebook.com/wbjwilliams http://wbjwilliams.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @wbjwilliams

Eden Baylee & Bill Kirton  – “A Walk In the Woods”

Eden Baylee left a twenty-year banking career to write and is now a full-time author of multiple genres.

She has written three collections of erotic novellas and flash fiction ~ SPRING INTO SUMMER, FALL INTO WINTER, and HOT FLASH.

In 2014, she launched the first novel of her STRANGER TRILOGY with Dr. Kate Hampton–a psychological mystery/suspense called “Stranger at Sunset.” In addition to working on her next novel, Eden created the LAINEY LEE SERIES about a feisty divorcée who finds adventure and romance in Hawaii.

An introvert by nature and an extrovert by design, Eden is most comfortable at home with her laptop surrounded by books. She is an online Scrabble junkie and a social media enthusiast, but she really needs to get out more often! 

Bill Kirton was born in Plymouth, England, studied French at Exeter University and graduated in 1962. While teaching at Hardye’s School, Dorchester, he started his PhD on the theatre of Victor Hugo and was a lecturer at Aberdeen University from 1968 to 1989.

He’s also been a voice-over artist, TV presenter and has extensive experience of acting and directing. His directing credits include many French language plays as well as works by Shakespeare, Orton, Beckett and Ionesco. He spent a sabbatical year at the University of Rhode Island Theater Department, which commissioned translations of 3 Molière plays from him, one of which he directed himself. The script also won third prize in the British Comparative Literature Association’s Annual Translation competition, 1999.

Bill wrote and performed songs and sketches in revues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, stage plays, two of which were commissioned by Aberdeen Children’s Theatre, and radio plays for the BBC, two of which were also broadcast in Australia.

Since the late 1990s, his writing has concentrated on prose fiction. He has written many short stories and ten novels, three of which have won awards, with another being long-listed for the Rubery International Book Award.

Bill has held posts as a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at universities in Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews and, since 2015, has been organiser of a Scotland-wide scheme which places professional writers in schools to help students with the transition to writing at university. He still gives workshops in schools from Orkney to Dundee as part of the scheme and he’s written five books in Pearson Educational’s ‘Brilliant’ series on study, writing and workplace skills. Bill also co-authored ‘Just Write’ for Routledge.

Website (and blog): http://www.billkirton.com

Facebook pages: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620980849 https://www.facebook.com/bill.kirton/

Twitter: @carver22

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Bill-Kirton/e/B001KDNSLY

 

Submissions Open: The Word Count Podcast: Episode 90

Summer Goeth Before the Fall

I cannot believe that Summer is waning.

#WordCountPodcast episode 90 is now open for public submissions once again.

This month, we have a prompt from rural Pennsylvania the fits in nicely with both the coming autumn and our season theme of Landscapes:

In all honesty, Fall is my favorite season, and I think this month’s prompt catches the spirit of the seasonal transition rather well.

The guidelines for submission to the show are below–and anyone can send in a story for consideration.  I’m always open to new writers and new ideas.

I would love to hear from you, either with a story submission or via social media. I have a Facebook Page that could use a few ‘likes.’ The more listeners and contributors we have, the better the shows can be.

There are over 500 original stories at this point—all free for your listening pleasure; all we ask is for people to help get the word out. Click the link:

The Word Count Podcast Facebook Page

If you want to listen to the past (free) shows, the links below will take you to them:

LIBSYN

or

iTunes

There are eighty-nine shows available right now!

SUBMISSION GUIDELINES

THE WORD COUNT PODCAST – EPISODE 90 “Summer Goeth Before the Fall”

GENRE: Any.

DEADLINE: I must receive your submission by Saturday 27 September 2019 by MIDNIGHT Eastern time.

THE DETAILS: The work must be an original story in English based on the picture theme above.

Do NOT exceed SEVEN minutes.

As this is a podcast, I need to receive a file of YOU, a friend, or multiple friends reading (singing or otherwise performing) your work. MP3 FORMAT ONLY, and please attach your MP3 file to an e-mail or contact me for a Dropbox link.

Your submission MUST also contain the following:

• Your pen name
• Your latest bio (DO NOT ASSUME I HAVE YOUR LATEST)
• Links to your website(s) – Include your personal site, Facebook Fan page, etc.
• Your Twitter handle (if you have one)
• A photo of you I can use for the show notes
• At the end of your recording, please add “This is the author of […] and you’re listening to The Word Count Podcast.
• Permission to use your recording in the podcast.
• PLEASE Make sure you have included ALL ARTIFACTS I have asked for. Do not assume I can “Get your picture from the internet” or can “Pull your bio from your web page.”

Send your file to me@rbwood.com (or via the dropbox link I can provide) by 27 September 2019. You can also e-mail me with questions beforehand. I do reserve the right NOT to post your submission, but I will communicate that to you should it be the case. I add the ‘Explicit’ tag to the ‘cast, so if your story uses adult themes or language that’s ok—but it should be necessary for the story.

***NOTE: I will NOT accept stories that are discriminatory in ANY WAY (whether it be by race, sexual orientation, gender, religion, etc.), or that include rape. ***

 

The Word Count Podcast: Episode 89

Where Giants Walk

A lovely follow-up show to our LIVE show last month is in store for you, dear listener! I lived in the Republic of Ireland for five or so years back in the late nineties, early aughts. While a wonderful experience in of itself, my favorite bit about living in Europe was the amount of travel I got to do.

As you know, the theme this year  is Landscapes.

This is a shot of the famous ‘Giant’s causeway’ in Northern Ireland–those six counties still owned by the British:

Stunning, right?

Four stories have been submitted and are presented to you for your listening pleasure!

Now, for those of you who are impatient, you can listen to the latest show here:

Before we get on with the show notes, a reminder that we are looking to increase the number of likes on the show’s Facebook Page, so hop on over there and tell your friends about us (use the #WordCountPodcast hashtag).

Second, as always, the WCP is FREE to download and listen via iTunes or Libsyn. This show is brought to you by writers who love the opportunity to share their stories with you. In many ways, the #WordCountPodcast is a hobby for us, as there are no advertisers or revenue streams. It’s just us, a microphone, a four channel mixing board and a passion for sharing our words with you.

We are not asking, nor have ever asked, for monetary compensation. This is our playground, and once a month we invite you to join us around a virtual campfire and listen for a bit.

However, I and my colleagues would very much appreciate it if you shared links for the podcast on social media, and perhaps check out each author’s links and bios (posted below).

In the meantime, allow me to introduce you to my talented friends:

Our Guests:

Maria Haskins – “For Old Time’s Sake”

Maria Haskins is a Swedish-Canadian writer and translator. She grew up in Sweden, but now lives in Canada, just outside Vancouver, with a husband, two kids, and a very large black dog. Her fiction has appeared in various anthologies and publications, and she loves flash fiction with every fiber of her old and shriveled heart.

Website: https://mariahaskins.wordpress.com

Twitter: @mariahaskins

 

Bill Kirton – “The Card”

Bill Kirton was born in Plymouth, England, studied French at Exeter University and graduated in 1962. While teaching at Hardye’s School, Dorchester, he started his PhD on the theatre of Victor Hugo and was a lecturer at Aberdeen University from 1968 to 1989.

He’s also been a voice-over artist, TV presenter and has extensive experience of acting and directing. His directing credits include many French language plays as well as works by Shakespeare, Orton, Beckett and Ionesco. He spent a sabbatical year at the University of Rhode Island Theater Department, which commissioned translations of 3 Molière plays from him, one of which he directed himself. The script also won third prize in the British Comparative Literature Association’s Annual Translation competition, 1999.

Bill wrote and performed songs and sketches in revues at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, stage plays, two of which were commissioned by Aberdeen Children’s Theatre, and radio plays for the BBC, two of which were also broadcast in Australia.

Since the late 1990s, his writing has concentrated on prose fiction. He has written many short stories and ten novels, three of which have won awards, with another being long-listed for the Rubery International Book Award.

Bill has held posts as a Royal Literary Fund Writing Fellow at universities in Aberdeen, Dundee and St Andrews and, since 2015, has been organiser of a Scotland-wide scheme which places professional writers in schools to help students with the transition to writing at university. He still gives workshops in schools from Orkney to Dundee as part of the scheme and he’s written five books in Pearson Educational’s ‘Brilliant’ series on study, writing and workplace skills. Bill also co-authored ‘Just Write’ for Routledge.

Website (and blog): http://www.billkirton.com

Facebook pages: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=620980849 https://www.facebook.com/bill.kirton/

Twitter: @carver22

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Bill-Kirton/e/B001KDNSLY


W. B. J. Williams – 
“The Giant’s Causeway”

W. B. J. Williams holds advanced degrees in anthropology and archeology. He is an avid historian, mystic, poet, and author who manages an information security program at a prominent New England firm. He is noted for his bad puns, and willingness to argue from any perspective. He is endured by his beloved wife and two daughters, and lives in Sharon Massachusetts. When he is not at home or at his computer, he can often be found haunting the various used bookstores of Boston.

Websites: http://www.wbj-williams.net https://www.facebook.com/wbjwilliams http://wbjwilliams.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @wbjwilliams

Rob Edwards – “Work Trip”

Rob Edwards is a British born writer and podcaster, currently living in Finland. His podcast, StorycastRob, features readings from his short stories and chapters from his novel Writ in Blood and Silver. His work can also be found in anthologies from Inklings Press, the Sci-fi Roundtable and in the superhero anthology Somebody, Save Me!

Podcast: www.storycastrob.co.uk

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/StorycastRob/

Amazon page: https://author.to/StorycastRob

The Word Count Podcast LIVE from READERCON (Episode 88)

LIVE from ReaderCON 30

My posts from the con will be up later in the month as I knock out this episode of the podcast and prepare for the next con this weekend in Rhode Island.

Between getting the book ready for the Beta readers, two cons, and my upcoming thesis defense, so of COURSE I agreed to do a live show at ReaderCon this year. I mean, why the hell not?

Only two of the Word Count Irregulars were on hand for our second live show, so we amped up the story times to 20ish minutes and had a ball putting on a show in Salon C at the Quincy Marriott on Sunday, 14 July.

Here was the prompt for the episode:

You can listen to  the latest show here:

Before we get on with the show notes, a reminder that we are looking to increase the number of likes on the show’s Facebook Page, so hop on over there and tell your friends about us (use the #WordCountPodcast hashtag).

Second, as always, the WCP is FREE to download and listen via iTunes or Libsyn. This show is brought to you by writers who love the opportunity to share their stories with you. In many ways, the #WordCountPodcast is a hobby for us, as there are no advertisers or revenue streams. It’s just us, a microphone, a four channel mixing board and a passion for sharing our words with you.

We are not asking, nor have ever asked, for monetary compensation. This is our playground, and once a month we invite you to join us around a virtual campfire and listen for a bit.

However, I and my colleagues would very much appreciate it if you shared links for the podcast on social media, and perhaps check out each author’s links and bios (posted below).

In the meantime, allow me to introduce you to my talented friends:

Our Guests:

W. B. J. Williams – “Rebirth”

W. B. J. Williams holds advanced degrees in anthropology and archeology. He is an avid historian, mystic, poet, and author who manages an information security program at a prominent New England firm. He is noted for his bad puns, and willingness to argue from any perspective. He is endured by his beloved wife and two daughters, and lives in Sharon Massachusetts. When he is not at home or at his computer, he can often be found haunting the various used bookstores of Boston.

Websites: http://www.wbj-williams.net https://www.facebook.com/wbjwilliams http://wbjwilliams.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @wbjwilliams

R. B. Wood – “Dear Dad”

R. B. Wood is a recent MFA graduate of Emerson College and a writer of speculative and dark fiction. Mr. Wood recently has been published online via SickLit Magazine and HorrorAddicts.net and appeared in the award-winning anthology “Offbeat: Nine Spins on Song” from Wicked ink Books.  Along with his writing passion, R. B. is the host of The Word Count Podcast—a show of original flash fiction.

R. B. currently lives in Boston with his partner Tina, a multitude of cats, and various other critters that visit from time to time.

Around the web:
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Amazon’s R.B. Wood page

July 2019:The Month of Shenanigans

Hi Everyone!

I hope the celebrations last week found you all in good form and relaxing with family in friends. I, myself, have been of two-minds for the last couple of years celebrating the 4th of July—so it’s good I had something else to focus on!

My upcoming novel, Bayou Whispers continues to progress. While I was delighted to type “The End” at the bottom of the last page of the manuscript, the end (in this case) is just the beginning of fine-tuning the story.

I currently have over 230 notes from the development editor I’ve been working with. She’s been a huge supporter, friend, and mentor to me during the final push to complete my first book in nearly seven years.

Walt and I will be doing the live show at ReaderCON together…

July is ‘the month of shenanigans” for several reasons this year. First, I have two conventions I’m attending (ReaderCON 30 in Quincy, Massachusetts, July 11-14–where I will be recording a live episode of my podcast The Word Count–and I’ll be at NECON in Rhode Island July 18-21). Second, along with the conventions this month, I’m just coming off a week visit with both my grown children. A fun-filled and hectic week, to be sure! An, of course, Third is the novel which is due to the Emerson Faculty reading committee on the 22nd of this month.

There also may be a series of announcements coming up regarding teaching and new releases–but that’s post-July.

When the current shenanigans are over.

NECON: German for “Shenanigans with Fucking Scotch”

That’s it for now…more in a week or so. Thank you again for being with me on this journey!

Peace, love, and hair grease,

R

Review: Sal & Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez

Rubber Chickens for EVERYBODY!!

Review of

SAL & GABI Break the Universe

by Carlos Hernandez

5/5 Stars

First, a few words about the marvelous work the Rick Riordan Presents imprint is doing in bringing to the forefront of young adult literature amazing stories for different cultures, peoples, and perspectives.

While Riordan is known for his mythic tales of gods, demi-gods, and magic, Carlos Hernandez graces us with his own brand of magic filled with Cuban-American culture, cuisine and a delightful smattering of specific slang and flavor of Spanish experienced in the community of which he hails.

I meant it when I wrote ‘magic.’ Sal is an aspiring magician—and I ordered a rubber chicken in Sal and Carlos’ honor!

But what really makes the story soar are the characters and characterizations in the novel. These kids (and these days, anyone under thirty is a kid to this old man) feel extraordinarily real to me. How they speak, how they act, and how they interact felt perfect. They aren’t orphans or “Peanuts kids” (no parents around). Nor is anyone the pure “Christ figure” or the “Devil figure.”

The “bully” at the beginning of the story isn’t a bully at all. Gabi is NOT the brilliant “Hermione-Granger” type she starts off as. No one is all perfect or all flaws.

Just like…real people.

Of course, real people can’t yank things back and forth between Universes, but that sort of whimsical ability plays into the situational adventure Hernandez weaves here. Tension is created by events and we get to watch (me rather gleefully) as these delightful characters react in ways that are unexpected at first but make sense as you close the back cover.

It’s how Hernandez plays with the expected character buckets and tropes of the genre (helped by exquisite prose) that make this story so much fun.

If you aren’t cheering for Sal, Gabi, and Yasmany throughout the story, I don’t know what to say to you.

My only negative is the duration of the wait until we find out how Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe. Oh, book two…I need you now!

But I’ll be on the line at the book store day one of the sequel’s release to get me a copy. Of that, you can be sure.

Carlos at a reading, BOSKONE 2017 and his signature in his book “The Assimilated Cuban’s Guide to Quantum Santeria”

 

Review: Blood Standard by Laird Barron

Violence Was His Day Job

Review of

Blood Standard

by Laird Barron

 

 

4.5/5 Stars

Blood Standard by Laird Barron Is a violent, noir-esque mystery where the “hardboiled detective” is a mixed race (Maori/Caucasian) ex-mobster/hitter from Alaska.

Isaiah Coleridge’s love of animals gets him in trouble when he attacks a made-man of “the Outfit” who was heading up an illegal Walrus hunt to indulge in the black market ivory trade. Coleridge finds himself exiled to Upstate New York as a result and becomes a farm hand at a small, independent horse ranch. Where trouble is never less than a step behind the former hit man. When a local young woman with a troubled past goes missing, Isaiah quickly finds himself caught between local law enforcement, the Feds, mobsters, and street gangs–Familiar territory for Coleridge.

Barron does his normal Steller job creating deep characters who all walk in the grey areas between light and dark. His horror story background is used well in building tension and in creating a narrative full of twists and violence.

Laird Barron has crafted a terrific new series, and his fans from the horror genre should enjoy this fast-paced yet introspective tale typical of his writing. With the second in the series out now, I look forward to my next adventure with Isaiah and the quirky characters of rural New York.

Personal note: I had a wonderful hour-long conversation with Laird at the Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival last October, where we discussed his Coleridge series. He was the one who convinced me to take my upcoming novel Bayou Whispers and change it from a horror novel to a Supernatural Thriller.

 

Review: Good Omens

Armageddon Will Be Quirky

Review of

GOOD OMENS: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch

By Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett

4/5 Stars

This one has been on my “To Be Read” pile for far too long, and with the Amazon Prime series coming up, I thought it might be high time to give it a go.

I love Pratchett and I love Gaiman, so why not?

In a world that was created on Sunday, 21 October, 4004 B.C. at 9:00 AM GMT (give or take 15 minutes), this quirky and delightfully funny take on Good vs. Evil begins a weird ride with the birth (and subsequent misplacement) of the anti-Christ.

But a demon (Crowley) and an angel (Aziraphale) like the world as it is, thank you very much and would prefer Armageddon be put off indefinitely.

What follows is a mish-mash of perspectives and misadventures for the demon and angel, an Anti-Christ child named Adam and his little Gang called the Them, who has no idea who the child is, but Adam keeps making his conspiracy theories come true, a hell-hound named Dog who is a cute and fluffy mutt, a descendant of the titular Agnes Nutter, the last two Witchfinders in England and the Four Horsemen.

The story is more akin the Hitchhiker’s Guide in tone and lightness of prose than some of either author’s darker works. It’s a fun read, but I pulled a star for the significant amount of head-hopping that is, at times, confusing.

Overall, a good read. As always, I recommend reading the source material before seeing the movie/TV show