AUGUST’S EYES is coming soon! (Enjoy this excerpt)

Hey guys!

If you haven’t already done so, now is the perfect time to pre-order your hardcover/paperback/eBook copy of my upcoming release, AUGUST’S EYES.
If you enjoy dark thrillers, true crime, or supernatural horror, you will love this one.
Pre-orders are important for writers and publishers…check it out:
“First-week sales numbers are based heavily on preorders. While you might preorder a May book in January, the actual sale doesn’t count until the day the book is released when, ostensibly, the book is set to ship.
That means, thanks to preorders, you have sold all of those books on the first day, which bumps up your rankings and bumps up your potential for a bestseller list that first week on sale.”
I hope you’ll consider adding a copy to your cart.
Stay safe, stay positive, and watch out for green vans!

Here’s the prologue:

Prologue

Spears Corner never knew it had an uninvited guest in its midst that August afternoon. One that would make the skin crawl on every parent in town if they understood what kind of monster was roaming their streets. In a green Dodge van, it searched for the next boy to quench a thirst and an urge that never faded, never eased, never disappeared. The downtown area, a two-block stretch along Water Street, was full of adults and children alike enjoying a beautiful sunny day. Squeals of laughter bellowed from little ones chasing each other up the brick sidewalks. The group of teens standing in Nirvana and Liz Phair t-shirts on the corner flung curses at the monster as he passed by: “Look, its Chester the Molester and his fuck van!” “Fuck off, creep!” “Suck it, asshole!” The van rolled along. Just down the street, an old Credence Clearwater Revival song was being murdered by a howling kid with a beat-up acoustic guitar on the steps of the Spears Corner Public Library. This one caused the monster to brake. Salivating, its sweaty hands clenching the steering wheel, a desperate heartbeat throbbing in its neck, it always liked the loners. They made the best company. 

Police sirens blared to life behind the van. Startled, the monster let off the brake and pulled ahead. The two police cruisers, their lights flashing, sped by.

The moment had passed. The van moved along, driving out of the crowded downtown area, and up the hill toward quieter parts of the town.

…..

“Crap, Johnny,” the new kid, Ethan, said, “that was close.”

Johnny Colby was still shaking. He’d barely avoided getting run down by the asshole in the red Ford Escort. He hated riding bikes through the Shop n’ Save parking lot. He’d nearly been clipped a dozen times. Nobody seemed to watch where the hell they were going. This guy had come out of nowhere and actually made contact. Johnny had been quick enough to raise his foot up and had his sneaker on the guy’s hood before being bumped from his bike and landing hard on the blacktop.

“I just need a minute,” Johnny said.

The jerk in the car shouted, “Stay out of the Goddamn way” before hurrying off.

Asshole.

Ethan, a tall, scrawny kid, leaned his BMX against the bench and joined Johnny. “That cut looks pretty bad, man. You want to run in and see if they have some Band-Aids? I have a couple bucks left.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Johnny said. He pulled the red bandana off his head and wrapped it tightly around his bloodied knee. He felt fortunate to come away with this wound and the scrape on his shoulder, and not to have his skull cracked all over the pavement. “It’ll stop bleeding. Let’s just get the hell out of here.”

It wasn’t until a couple hours later, when they were up the hill near the Spears Corner Common, that Johnny noticed the ugly van he’d seen twice already parked up ahead. He’d also caught it cruising by the front of the sports card shop earlier, and before that while they were skipping rocks into Jefferson Stream near the trestles. He hadn’t liked the look of it or the way the vehicle seemed to have moved twice as slow as the rest of traffic. He’d grown up watching 20/20 with his mom every Friday night. The weekly program had filled him with its share of nightmares – everything from catching AIDS from a dirty needle used on him at the doctor’s like Ryan White, to being savagely attacked by an unleashed pit bull, or forced into a Satanic cult by older kids who listened to old bands like Slayer or that new group, Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids – but it also gave him a heightened sense of stranger danger, and this ugly van had his warning alarms going haywire.

“Let’s cross the road,” he said.

Ethan didn’t ask why, he just followed.

When they crossed again further up the street, Johnny looked back and saw the van was gone.

Good.

Bikes in the grass, armed with Pepsis they’d picked up from the 7-Eleven on the other side of the road, Johnny and Ethan sat in the gazebo at the heart of the Spears Corner Commons.

“You think I could spend the night at your place tonight?” Ethan said.

“Ah, I don’t know. I’d have to talk to my mom.” Johnny didn’t really know Ethan Ripley that well. The kid had just come to Spears Corner Junior High at the end of sixth grade a couple months ago. He liked the kid well enough, but enough to have to hang out with him all night? He wasn’t sure.

“That’s okay,” Ethan said, dropping his chin and staring at the plastic bottle cupped in his hands. “It’s just that my mom kind of sucks.”

“Yeah, they all do, sometimes,” Johnny said, unsure whether this kid was going to start crying or spill some sad, sappy story on him.

“She’s…I think she’s worse than most.”

Aw crap, Johnny thought. He’s gonna spill.

“My mom…she drinks a lot. Like, she’s drunk all the time, ya know?”

“Sorry, man,” Johnny said. He sipped from his soda, hoping his ‘sorry’ was enough.

“And my dad,” Ethan began. Tears leaked from both of his deep brown eyes. “He lives up near camp, and when I’m at his place, he hits me pretty good. Sometimes, I don’t know if I can take it anymore. If I should run away, ya know? Or just….”

Johnny had never seen a kid his own age fall apart before his eyes, except maybe in a movie. He was sure Ethan was about to come completely undone. That his skin was going to unzip and flood the gazebo with every bit of hurt and pain he had inside.

“Oh, shit, man,” Ethan said, standing up and wiping at his eyes. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I told you all that.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Johnny said. “Life sucks, sometimes, right?”

Ethan, red eyed, the front of his Counting Crows t-shirt wet from his tears, nodded and gave a weak, weepy laugh.

Johnny wanted to change the subject. He pointed to Ethan’s shirt. “You like them?”

“Counting Crows? Yeah, they’re my favorite band.” His gaze dipped, his hand nervously scratching at his neck. “I hope you don’t think that’s too lame.”

“They’re okay,” Johnny said. “’Mr.Jones,’ right?”

“Yeah, but the whole tape is really special. I mean, it is to me. It’s like every song on there speaks to me in some way. Have you ever had a tape like that?”

 He thought about it. He really liked a lot of different bands and their albums. He couldn’t really pick just one. “I don’t know,” Johnny said. “Sure, like, Nevermind or Ten, maybe.”

“Yeah, those are really good ones,” Ethan said. After a few seconds of silence, he added, “I can make you a copy if you want to check it out.”

“Is that the name of the tape?” Johnny said, pointing to the words scrawled across Ethan’s shirt.

“Yeah, August and Everything After.”

“Cool,” Johnny said rising from the bench lining the inside of the gazebo. “Come on, you ever been out to the Pits?”

“What is it?”

Johnny led him down the steps to where their bikes lay. “It’s a bunch of huge sand piles the city uses for all sorts of stuff. Tons of people go out there with four-wheelers and dirt bikes or just to go shoot shit for like target practice.”

“Are we supposed to go there?” Ethan asked.

“I don’t know, really. My buddy Paul and his dad always go out there and ride. I’ve been with them a bunch of times and I’ve never seen any cops. Come on.”

By the time they reached the Pits off Brunswick Avenue, they’d both wished they’d brought some more soda.

“The sun sucks today,” Ethan said as they rode in through the open gate.

“There’s another store, New Mills Market, just down that way,” Johnny said. “Let’s get a few jumps in, and then we can use those last couple bucks of yours to get something.”

“Okay,” Ethan said. The kid was finally smiling.

Good, Johnny thought. He didn’t think he could stand another waterworks display from the guy.

“Wait,” Johnny said, looking at Ethan’s funny hand. “Are you going to be able to land okay, I mean, with your hand and everything?”

“Yeah, it’s not as useless as it looks,” Ethan said. He clutched his bike grip to prove it.

“Cool.”

Johnny was curious as to what happened to his hand, but never felt right to ask. Ethan would tell him if he felt like it.

Johnny took the first two jumps off a smaller dirt pile before Ethan gave it a try. The kid made his first jump like a pro, getting some serious air and sticking the landing better than Johnny ever had.

“Wow,” Johnny said, cruising over next to him. “That was freaking awesome. You must have done this before.”

“I used to ride dirt bikes with my Uncle Pete before we moved.”

“Well, shit, man, you’re gonna have to show me how you do it.”

Ethan’s gaze drifted over Johnny’s shoulder. Johnny turned to see what he was looking at.

“What is it?” Johnny asked, and then he saw.

The green van. The same creepy Dodge junk box he’d seen earlier sat parked near one of the taller sand piles a little farther in the pits.

“Oh my God,” Ethan said. “Let’s go see if he’s all right.”

Johnny didn’t know what the kid was talking about until he noticed the man down on his hands and knees toward the back tire of the van.

His stranger danger alarms blared again.

“Ethan, wait.”

But Ethan was pedaling toward the van in a hurry.

Johnny stepped on his pedal but couldn’t force himself to follow. His insides felt cold. Gooseflesh broke over his arms. They shouldn’t go near that man or his damn van.

He sat frozen as he watched Ethan dump his BMX to the dirt and walk over to the man on the ground. He appeared to be helping the man to his feet when the man snatched him by the hair and slammed Ethan’s head into the side of the van. The man clubbed Ethan until the boy collapsed to the ground.

That’s when the creep stood and pointed at Johnny.

Oh no, oh God, no.

Johnny wet his pants. The man grabbed Ethan up from the dirt, carried him behind the van, opened the back door and piled him inside. Slamming the doors shut, the stranger turned toward Johnny, who hadn’t been able to move. Johnny’s entire body trembled. He was crying as the man started for him.

The awful man had closed half the distance by the time Johnny finally busted loose from his paralysis and turned his bike around.

He couldn’t go for Brunswick Avenue. The man would go back to his van, catch him, and run him down. There was a path they used to use that went all the way to Talbot Hill, which would bring him over to Bruton Street. From there he could hurry down Church Street and over to the police station.

Johnny pedaled as fast as he could. It felt like the strange man was Carl Lewis, like he was going to break another Olympic record and run him down. Johnny was going to get stuffed in the back of that van.

As he left the sand and dirt behind, his bike tires eating up the grass of the path, he dared a quick glance over his shoulder.

The stranger was no longer behind him. 

He didn’t look back again. He pedaled to Talbot Hill. When he got there, he saw his English teacher, Mr. Janz. He asked if he could use his phone, but Johnny never made it to the police. Instead, he called his mom to come pick him up.

He never told anyone what happened to Ethan Ripley. He was too afraid he would he get in trouble for not helping him. For not stopping that man.

After the police pulled Ethan’s body from Litchfield Pond, Johnny cried himself to sleep.

__________________________________________________________________________________

AUGUST’S EYES Copyright © 2021 by Glenn Rolfe

Flame Tree Press 2021 Distributed by Simon and Schuster


All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.

The characters and events in this book are fictitious.
Any similarity to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.

Pre-order your copy from Amazon HERE

Pre-order from your favorite retailer or bookseller HERE

(Share the Horror Review) THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES by Grady Hendrix

Wow, that was awesome! I tried to read this on my Kindle last summer (2020), but I must not have been in the mood for it. I stopped reading about 10% in. Then, I saw the hardcover at the bookstore a couple of months ago and decided to give it another try. I bought that copy and once I started, I didn’t want to put it down.

I loved everything about this book. It had me so wrapped up in frustration and anger at the husbands) and fear for the children, and damn that James right to hell!

Fantastic storytelling, an amazing emotional journey, some serious social commentary, and the ending was perfect.

My only complaint was that Hendrix writes James Harris 99% of the time, rather than just “James”. After the first couple of chapters with him in it, we knew who he was. Minor complaint, not a dent in the rating.

5 stars all day!

New York Times bestselling author Grady Hendrix makes up lies and sells them to people. His novels include HORRORSTÖR about a haunted IKEA, MY BEST FRIEND’S EXORCISM, which is basically “Beaches” meets “The Exorcist”, WE SOLD OUR SOULS, a heavy metal horror epic, THE SOUTHERN BOOK CLUB’S GUIDE TO SLAYING VAMPIRES, and THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP, coming on July 13, 2021. He’s also the author of PAPERBACKS FROM HELL, an award-winning history of the horror paperback boom of the Seventies and Eighties. He wrote the screenplay for, MOHAWK, a horror flick about the War of 1812, and SATANIC PANIC about a pizza delivery woman fighting rich Satanists. You can discover more ridiculous facts about him at www.gradyhendrix.com

(Share the Horror Review) GOBLIN by Josh Malerman

Much like King’s Castle Rock or Lucia’s Clifton Heights, Goblin is a strange and creepy place that I could read about for years to come! While I’ve had a harder time than most I know of getting into Malerman’s books (outside of BIRD BOX), GOBLIN was a pleasant surprise for me. Style-wise, it’s much more in the vein of the storytelling I enjoy most. There’s no super vague plot going on, mystery, yes, but there are answers to be found in each tale. I really was able to connect with a number of the characters here and their actions made sense, and there’s even full-on creepiness (hello, the Goblin Police) and heart (Mr. Sherman).

I hope Malerman will take us back to Goblin very soon.

My Review:

This was probably my favorite thing yet by Malerman. While I didn’t like all of the novellas in the book, the ones I did get into were freaking awesome. So, let’s focus on those.

My favorite parts in here overall were the prologue and the epilogue, sort of their own start and finish of a story. A man is paid to deliver a crate to an address in Goblin and told that if it’s not delivered by a certain time then he is to destroy it. Love this setup. Also, it gave me major Salem’s Lot vibes from when the guy is paid to deliver Barlow to the Marsten House.

I also dug A MAN IN SLICES. How much would you give for love? This one was great and had an awesome ending.

My second favorite was KAMP. This one had echoes of Peter Straub’s GHOST STORY, and I really enjoyed the characters in this one the most.

The other novella in here I loved was THE HEDGES. Again, you can’t help but think of King’s work, like the topiary in THE SHINING. The Goblin police steal the show in this one as the creepiest things in this entire book. I would love to see a book just about them! There was also the first real bit of heart in the book here with Mr. Sherman’s heartbreaking side of the story.

Based just on the pieces in here that I liked, I’m giving GOBLIN 4 stars!
I’m ready to go back anytime Malerman wants to take me.

Josh Malerman is an American novelist, short story writer, film producer, and one of two singer/songwriters for the rock band The High Strung. He is best known for writing his post-apocalyptic novel, Bird Box, which was the inspiration of the Netflix film Bird Box.

For more on this author, check out his website:

JoshMalerman.Com

AZRAEL (Preview) AAP brings you book 3 in the White Wolf series.

Splatterpunk Award nominated author Jackson R. Thomas has leveled you with THE BEAST OF BRENTON WOODS and RISE…Now, he offers the third book in the White Wolf series, AZRAEL.

Wendi has survived werewolf attacks, prevailed in the face of tragedy, and raised her son far away from her horrific past. She’s learning how to trust again, and how to prepare for what comes next.

In the California seaside town of San Bardeen, a cult has waited decades for the arrival of the one beast that will deliver unto them the promise and the true power of the moonlight. Setting their sights on the boy, they believe they’ve found their salvation.

Heroes of the past clash with flesh and bone monsters of the here and now in a battle for the one called…Azrael.

Alien Agenda Publishing presents the next ferocious installment of Splatterpunk Award-nominated author, Jackson R. Thomas’ White Wolf series.

Pre-order: HERE

Read on for a PREVIEW of AZRAEL

AZRAEL

Jackson R. Thomas

Alien Agenda Publishing October, 2021
AZRAEL © by Jackson R. Thomas 2021

Dedication

For the wolf sisters and brothers out there howling through the night.


CHAPTER ONE

“Azrael!”
Smoke swept through the thicket of trees hammering her lungs and threatening much worse. The winds here were no joke. Half of the damn counties near San Bernardino were on fire. California was ablaze for the third straight year and the president had told the state they could eat shit. Not in so many words, but pretty fucking much.
Wendi knew danger. She knew hardships and loss and pain and suffering. She no longer feared for herself. She had Azrael and he was her everything.
“Azrael!”
Out here in the chaos, he was working his way through them all like a chainsaw. Cutting those that stood tall and seemed forever immovable like they were nothing. It was the conflagration that frightened her. As savage and formidable as her son might be, everyone could be incinerated.
Even a werewolf.
The gut-wrenching scream came from deeper in the smoke. A woman.
Wendi closed her eyes and remembered.
Thought of the fear.
The pain.
The hurt.
The beast.
Wendi ran forward, like a hero with a death wish. Her baby boy would not perish. Not while she still walked this Earth.
Whoever the woman was lost amongst the flames, she cried out until she could no longer.
And there he stood before her.
White fur drenched in blood and rain reveling in his own private heaven.
“Azrael,” she shouted. “We need to move. Now!”
Grunting, low guttural noises, her baby boy in his beast mode, gazed upon her with yellow eyes and bolted.
She was about to follow when she watched his fur catch fire…

Sitting bolt upright in her bed, Wendi nearly hyperventilated as the dream released her.
“Mama?” Azrael said standing in her doorway. “Are you okay?”
She wiped the sweat from her forehead with the back of her hand.
“Yes, baby boy, I’m okay. Just a bad dream.”
“Again?”
She’d been suffering from these nightmares for months. She knew the reason. Her son was not like everyone else. And sooner rather than later, he would discover this. His innocence would be shattered. But would his heart? She hoped not. She vowed to keep him safe, not only from the people he might one day threaten, but also from himself.
“Yeah, I should know better than to watch scary movies, before bed, huh?”
“Do you want some water?” he asked.
Her sweet, sweet boy. Thoughtful, caring… it wasn’t fair.
“That’d be nice, baby boy.
“Okay.”
He took off running.
Wendi slid her feet from beneath the damp sheets and to the carpet.
Before Areal returned, she peeled off the sweat-drenched t-shirt and grabbed a fresh green tank top from her bureau.
Azrael reappeared holding out a Snoopy mug of water. “Can we go to the beach today?”
She accepted the ceramic mug and swallowed down its thirst quenching promise. “I can’t think of anything better to do on a Saturday. Let mama take a quick shower. We’ll stop at Krispy Kreme on the way. How’s that sound?”
He hopped up and down as only a boy charged up on too much sugar or at the promise of too much sugar will do.
“Yes! Yes! Yes! Woo hoo!” He began running in tiny circles and pumping his fist.
“Okay, okay,” she said walking over to him and taking his head in her hands. Looking into his hazel eyes, she always s got lost at the golden specs within his irises’’ “I still need that shower. Can you go watch cartoons for a bit?”
“Ah-huh, ah-huh,” he said, his eyes smiling the way only his eyes could.
She ruffled is hair, and said, “Go on. I’ll make it quick.”
Bolting out the door, he yelled back, “You’ve got five minutes.”
“Thanks, buddy,” she said, though he was most certainly out of range.

Beneath the steaming water, Wendi let the heat sooth her aches and worries. They’d been here in San Bardeen for two years, more than three thousand miles from Coopers Mills and the horrors of her past. She only wished she could relax, even if just for a week or two. The nightmares never allowed her to forget. She could never even pretend that her Azrael’s lives were normal. She’d buried the memories of his creation deep down where it was no longer a blip on her screen. That part had been surprisingly easy. She had her boy to focus on. In dreams, though… that’s where the evil lurked unbound.
She shut the water off, ran her hand through her hair and squeezed the excess from her long hair. Stepping out, she wiped the fog from the mirror and tried to smile. She’d never taken another lover and often wondered, as she was now, if there could ever be a somebody, a man, in her life.
There’d been a dream of a man, some handsome guy from a TV show she couldn’t
remember… they’d been on the sofa, loud music in the background, kissing…and Azrael or some grown up monstrous version of him smashed through the window unleashing a blood curdling howl…
In the mirror, her lips drooped at the corners.
She sighed and went about getting dressed.

“Don’t go out too far. The waves are getting pretty big.”
“I won’t,” he said. Azrael stopped at the water’s edge as it reached as far as it could before receding back to the Pacific. “Mom?”
Yeah?”
“Will you come in with me, just for a little bit?”
“I will, just let me finish my drink and I’ll be right in.”
“Oaky.” He smiled and then bolted after the waves.
She watched him dive headfirst into one the same size as him. She gasped, sitting up prepared to dash after him. She was holding her breath when he popped up and hooted out a loud awoooo!
“Azrael,” she said.
He looked over to her.
“Come back in a little.”
“Mom,” he whined.
“Look out,” she yelled.
Another wave swept over him, taking him under again. She was on her feet as he popped up and howled again as he waded back toward her.
“Are you trying to kill me?” she asked.
“We come here all the time. I know how to swim, mom.”
“Yeah, well, the ocean is powerful. It can take you quicker than you think.”
His chin dropped as kicked the sand.
“Sorry,” he said. “I’ll be more careful.”
“Thank you, baby boy.”
“Mom,” he whispered, looking at her sideways. “Don’t call me that.”
He was growing up too fast.
“Oh, right, you don’t scare the crap out of me by going in over your head,” she leaned to his ear and lowered her voice. “And I won’t embarrass you in public. Deal?”
“Deal.”

As he darted for the water, going in almost too deep again, she noticed a man standing down the shore gazing in their direction. He was dressed funny for being at the beach on a day with temps up in the low-90s. Long brown pants, black boots, and a tan long sleeve shirt. His flop of white hair looked like it was dying; wispy strands flopped in the gentle breeze coming off the sea. His leathery face said he’d been under the sun much of his life.
His gaze left hers and fell upon Azrael. A plummeting feeling sunk to the bottom of her stomach.
Hurrying into the water, she placed herself between the strange man and her son.
“What is it, mom?”
When she turned back the man was gone.
Wendi scanned the beach for him and thought she might be losing her mind until she caught a glimpse of his wispy white hair dancing with the wind. He was already beyond the last of the beach goers and heading toward the restrooms.
“Mom? Are you okay?”
“Ye,” she lied.

That night after tucking Azrael in and reading him a few chapters of Vlad the World’s Worst Vampire, Wendi wound down with a glass of Merlot and a couple of melatonin. Lying on the sofa, a box fan doing its best to lessen the heat, she lay sweating and half watching an episode of Criminal Minds.
As her eyes grew heavy, the sleep supplement and the wine working their magic, she prayed that she wouldn’t see that man in her dreams. She never wanted to see him again.

CHAPTER TWO

San Bardeen, California was a small beach town. It had been port of interest in the early days of America’s pursuit to tame the West. It was not without its tragedies. Upon its failure of taking over Oregon and the fishing markets up North, Captain Oswald Townsend, a former employee from the Freeman Arks Fishing Company, landed in San Bardeen with his wife Tilda and their children Micha and Ruth Ann. The Natives, a tribe of Chumash, welcomed them, but Townsend never grew comfortable around them after what happened to the Trevor up in Oregon. He never would trust a savage again. Shortly after finishing his family’s home and getting his own business up and running sending word to Jefferson of the new site, Townsend was found drowned washed upon the rocky shore of Kessel Bay. The Americans that began to show up and help build the town and the new port grew angry with Tilda Townsend. Though her husband had never trusted the Natives, she had, and eventually fell in love and married Tahiel a strong hunter from the local Chumash tribe. When the newly arrived men discovered this, it was surmised that Tilda and the Native had fallen in love prior to Oswald Townsend’s death and therefor certainly plotted his murder
Tilda and her children were forced from their home as the men burned it to the ground and forced to live among Tahiel’s family in their dome shaped hut of willow branches. Still, this wasn’t good enough for the self-righteous Americans; they soon managed to kidnap the new husband and wife in the night and hanged them not far from burnt husk that once was the Townsend home.
Over the next decade the tribe and the newcomers fought, until eventually a truce was called. The Americans once again, betrayed the Chumash and forced them from the area altogether.
Samuel Bardeen had been the town’s first mayor. He was discovered dead on the one year anniversary of the exile of the Chumash people. Bardeen was seen the night before foaming at the mouth, acting out violently and nearly killing his own wife in his fit of rage. When his wife found him the next morning he was dead and naked in on the back lawn of their home. The official word was he’d died from rabies. He’d been attacked while out hunting and grew sick soon after returning home.
For one group now residing on the outskirts of San Bardeen, the tale of Samuel Bardeen is not so cut and dry. For Everett Cotton, there’s a much more supernatural explanation behind Bardeen’s death. For years, the disease lie persisted, passed along as gospel. It was Everett’s grandfather who told him the truth and invited him into the coven.

“I want to thank you for being here tonight” Everett said from the pulpit. “I truly do. I mean that. Looking out at all your beautiful faces, I know our strength and our spirits, the love and faith in our hearts continues to grow.” He gripped the side of the wooden podium and grinned. He so cherished these moments among them. “I know how hard the outsiders try to take away your sight.”
The crowd, seated in the series of pews nodded and mmm-hmmed.
“They don’t see. They don’t believe.”
More murmurs of agreement and nodding.
“But we know better, don’t we?”
Everett took in a deep breath and exhaled in dramatic fashion, sweeping his arms out to his sides. “You and I, all of those among us today, we breathe the truth. We live in its knowledge, we don’t hide from it. We are not afraid of it.” His gazed landed upon a pretty redhead in the front row. “Peggy.”
“Yes?” she said, her cheeks reddening.
“Would you come on up here for a minute?”
She stood, quickly touching her hair and smoothing out any bits that might have come undone.
Once she was standing next to Everett, he asked, “How long have you been with us?”
“Oh, gosh, since my mother started bringing me. I was ten then.”
“And how old are you now?”
“Twenty-two.”
“Mm hmm.”
“And you believe the truth with all your heart, don’t you?”
“I do.”
“And, Peggy, what is that truth?”
Her gaze went dead serious, all traces of nerves gone in a flash. “That the full moon delivers the beast. And one day, we will all join him.”
“Yes, I couldn’t have said it better myself.” He motioned to the seat she’d occupied. “Thank you, Peggy. You may sit back down.”
As soon as she took her seat next to her mother, Everett continued. “The full moon…delivers the beast. Mmm, I like that. In all my years here in San Bardeen, do you know how many times we have seen the beast?”
The room was silent.
“Not since our town’s namesake has there been tangible proof of the beast’s existence…yet, we still believe.”
Uh-huh, mm, hmm, the crowd murmured.
“Over the years, many have tried to divide us. Many have tried to convince us to give it up. Some of us have even wilted and let their seeds of doubt ruin the truth. It has happened, as I’m sure it will again.” His eyes locked ever so briefly with Gunner Ferrero’s. Only those watching closely would have noticed, and those listening would understand. Everett turned and stared upon the massive painting adorning the wall behind him. In it a white haired beast, hulking and powerful, mighty and unbound by society stood over a whimpering man dressed in plain black clothes and clutching a Bible.
“It’s funny, isn’t it? They are allowed to believe a man, whom most of them probably envision as a white man, was the son of God and traded his life so that they could go to Heaven.”
He turned to his congregation. “They believe…what they have never seen. They believe…and they are controlled. They are contained. They are good. Good people. Good people who cheat and lie and steal from one another. Good people that hold their women under thumb. That cling to outdated ideologies and vaguely disguised discrimination of many of their God’s own people. Good people. But you see, it’s not their fault. How do I mean that? Let me tell you. When the foundation you’ve built your house upon is full of cracks and crumbling more and more with every year, with every scientific discovery, you can’t help but deny what you can see and feel is happening. To admit or even give levity to the mere thought that your good book and it’s good word, and your good people might be wrong….well, that would just ruin your security, and rip up you golden ticket to the party train that’s supposed to take you to the glory of His kingdom. Wouldn’t it?”
Everett glanced over Gunner Ferrero again–the man was fidgeting in his seat. When their eyes met, in that instant, Gunner dropped his chin.
“Every month, the moon reveals itself above us. We see it. But it’s more than that, isn’t it. We don’t just see it. We feel it. Just as sure as the hearts beating in our chests.” Everett made a fist and began to pound his chest, mimicking his own heartbeat.
Thump-thump
Thump-thump
“Yes. Yes, I feel that. Do you feel that? Yes?”
“Yes,” the room echoed.
“Do it with me.”
The congregation began thumping their chests along in unison.
Thump-thump
Thump-thump
Everett stopped, and said, “Keep it going. Feel the primal power of the moonlight.”
As they did, he stepped from behind his podium and slowly made his way to the right, meeting each of them in the eyes as he passed by.
“This is good. This is real. You feel that? Yes?”
“Yes.”
He nodded and continued around the room.
Thump-thump
Thump-thump
“That’s the true spirit. That’s the real power that walks this Earth. Let me hear you. Let me hear your spirit.”
They began to howl. Every last one of them, even the young ones.
Nearly all of them. Everett’s eyes found one mouth merely moving along with the others.
Amongst the howls filling the room, a chorus of bestial promise, Everett snatched Gunner by the throat. The howls and thumping carried on as he pulled the man from his pew.
Thump-thump
Thump-thump
Everett was old but still held the strength of his younger self. Gunner stumbled and hit the ground at Everett’s feet. Weeping and begging for mercy……

Secure your copy of AZRAEL by Jackson R. Thomas HERE

Out October 1st, 2021 from Alien Agenda Publishing

Arrooooooo!

THE DAILY DEAD INTERVIEW

It was an honor to talk to Heather Wixson for DAILY DEAD. I could talk about vampires, 80s horror, and Van Halen all day! Here’s a peek at our interview, click the link below for the full feature.

As someone who is a sucker for summer horror and vampires, Glenn Rolfe’s Until Summer Comes Around sank its fangs right into me and didn’t let go until the very end of the story. Rolfe has written a bunch of different genre books over the years (and has more coming later this year and beyond), so I thought it would be fun to chat with him about this most recent work of his, and we discussed everything from favorite vampire stories to our shared love of Van Halen’s 5150 and more.

If you want to learn more about Rolfe and his work, you can check out his site HERE, and to grab a copy of Until Summer Comes Around for yourself, head over to Amazon HERE.

What was the inspiration behind the story you created in Until Summer Comes Around?

Glenn Rolfe: I’m a huge fan of coming-of-age stories. I’m also, like you, a major fan of The Lost Boys. My older brother introduced me to that movie in 1988, I think, and I’ve watched it so damn much over the years. It’s just fucking perfect. Here in Maine, my favorite place to go in the summer is Old Orchard Beach. It has that Santa Clara vibe, for sure. We don’t have a sexy dude in yoga pants blowing on a sax and singing from the depths of his soul, but we do have a boardwalk of sorts, a Ferris wheel, and an amazing collection of tourists in the summer. I felt like what would happen if a boy saw the girl of his dreams on the beach and found out she was, well, a monster. As for all the ’80s stuff in the book, I was eight in 1986, so I had this vicarious way of living through my older brother and cousin. They went to all the shows I wished I could go to. They saw Ozzy, Mötley Crüe, Bullet Boys, White Lion, and so many other great bands from that era. I saw all this stuff and wished I could hang with them. This was my way of going back to that time and living a summer as one of them, except, you know, if I fell in love with a vampire.

How different was the writing process for this book versus the others you’ve written?

READ MORE

ALSO! If you haven’t yet, go grab this week’s new releases from Janine Pipe and Stave Stred & David Sodergren

Share The Horror (Book Review) CHILDREN OF CHICAGO by Cynthia Pelayo

Children of Chicago by Cynthia Pelayo

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Wow, this book was much darker than I thought it was going to be… and I loved it! I mean, it’s about the Pied Piper, so I should have known it was going to be grim.
The characters were done so well, as was the dialog. There were moments of terror (like when one kid is laughing like a maniac when she certainly shouldn’t be), some bloody goodness, and enough mystery to keep me turning the (Kindle) pages like a madman.

Children of Chicago was my first read from Cynthia Pelayo, but it will not be my last.
Definitely recommend this one to you horror creeps out there!



View all my reviews

Cynthia “Cina” Pelayo is two-time Bram Stoker Awards® nominated poet and author. She is the author of LOTERIA, SANTA MUERTE, THE MISSING, and POEMS OF MY NIGHT, all of which have been nominated for International Latino Book Awards. POEMS OF MY NIGHT was also nominated for an Elgin Award. Her recent collection of poetry, INTO THE FOREST AND ALL THE WAY THROUGH explores true crime, that of the epidemic of missing and murdered women in the United States. Her modern day horror retelling of the Pied Piper fairy tale, CHILDREN OF CHICAGO will be released by Agora Books on 2/9/21. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, a Master of Science in Marketing, a Master of Fine Arts in Writing, and is a Doctoral Candidate in Business Psychology. Cina was raised in inner city Chicago, where she lives with her husband and children. Find her online at www.cinapelayo.com and on Twitter @cinapelayo.

My Favorite Reads of 2020

These are my top reads of 2020 (released in 2020). They’re sort of in order, the top three (Magpie/Survivor/Ring) being too close for me to choose. It was probably the best year in horror fiction that I can remember. There’s always a bunch of good books, but this year was super packed. If you don’t own these books, make a list and start grabbing them! And I strongly believe this year is going to be just as freaking good.

As I always do, here’s the list of other great books just outside of my Top 11:

MISFITS by Hunter Shea, TOMB OF GODS by Brian Moreland, TRUE CRIME by Samantha Kolesnik, THE BELL CHIME by Mona Kabbani, MYSTERY ROAD by Kevin Lucia, and THE INVENTION OF GHOSTS by Gwendolyn Kiste

Other books that I enjoyed Best non 2020 reads WHERE THE CRAWDAD’S SING by Delia Owens, DECEMBER PARK by Ronald Malfi, DEAR MARTIN by Nic Stone

Favorite Non Fiction: AMERICAN PREDATOR by Maureen Callahan (not from 2020) END OF THE ROAD by Brian Keene

Favorite Anthology: Bludgeon Tools edited by K. Trap Jones and Survive With Me edited by Kenneth W. Cain

Feel free to check out my GoodReads page for my reviews. https://www.goodreads.com/user/year_in_books/2020/16739484

If you haven’t read my 2020 release (UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND) check it out. Definitely for fans of 80s/coming of age/vampire stories.

Stay safe, stay positive!

-Glenn

2 upcoming novels and 5 future releases. 2021-2022 is time to #GetRolfed

Everything has been announced through official channels, so I can now share with you what I’ve been up to.

As of tonight, I am finishing up revisions on my next novel. That book is ASCENSION AGENDA. This is the sequel to my 2015 Samhain Publishing novella, BOOM TOWN. The book should be out from Jack Bantry’s Splatterpunk Books this spring with a cover from the great Zach McCain. Stay tuned for that cover and release date.

I’m also finishing up edits for my next Flame Tree Press novel AUGUST’S EYES. This one drops August 17th. ARCs should be available in February or March.

You can pre-order from your preferred retailer here: AUGUST’S EYS

The official edition of my 3rd short story collection NOCTURNAL PURSUITS will be released November 30th as the first of my 4-book deal with Silver Shamrock Publishing.

NOT the official cover

The deal with Silver Shamrock includes the collection and three separate novellas.

The first of those novellas is nearly finished and is titled SOMETHING IN THE GROOVE. This one features Lee and Rhiannon from my novel THE HAUNTED HALLS. It also is a tie-in with my short story “Master of Beyond” from the WELCOME TO THE SHOW anthology (Crystal Lake Publishing). Urban shaman Lee Buhl must track down a haunted vinyl record. What he finds is much, much worse than he bargained for, and now he needs the help of an old friend to keep the evil forces connected to the record from unleashing upon the earth. Scheduled for release January 11th, 2022

Next up is THE COBBS. It’s a sequel to my splatterpunk novella CHASING GHOSTS (Sinister Grin Press). If you wondered what became of the surviving members of the savage Cobb family…you will soon find out. Scheduled for release on March 29th, 2022

The third and final Silver Shamrock novella will be titled VINCENT. I’ll give you more details on that one down the road. VINCENT is scheduled for release August 30th, 2022.

And last but not least:

My contribution to the excellent Splatter Western series from Death’s Head Press. BLOOD PREDILECTION is a short novel and will appear as part of the books released from DHP sometime in 2022.

By the end of 2022, I’m sure you’ll all be sick of me and demand I take a break. That’s the plan, but I think I say that once a year. 🙂

I don’t expect you to buy all these books, but I’ll love and appreciate every purchase, review, and/or share you’re willing to help me and these great publishers out with when the time comes.

Until then, stay positive and stay safe!

-Glenn

2020: It Wasn’t All Bad

I was grateful to have a number of releases this year, a strange time to put out books, but things turned out all right. My small publishing company (Alien Agenda Publishing) also managed to come through the pandemic with some of our best works yet.

Without further ado….

Early on, Alien Agenda Publishing released the latest Jackson R. Thomas novel: RISE

In May, my first book with Flame Tree Press, UNTIL SUMMER COMES AROUND, finally landed.

In November, Alien Agenda Publishing released its first charity anthology, SURVIVE WITH ME. All the proceeds will be donated to the American Indian College Fund.

November also saw the release of my latest audio book. Signing on with Fireside Horror was a no brainer and the outstanding performances by an all-out phenomenal cast of vocal talent made my short story collection, LAND OF BONES, come to life like a movie.

And December delivered the ALIEN AGENDA PUBLISHING 2020 SAMPLER.

2021 promises much more, including my next Flame Tree Press book (AUGUST’S EYES), my first with Splatterpunk Books (ASCENSION AGENDA), and my third short story collection, this one with Silver Shamrock Publishing (NOCTURNAL PURSUITS). There may also be a few surprises along the way.

From Alien Agenda Publishing… I’m hopeful we’ll see new works from Brian Fatah Steele and Jackson R. Thomas (no contracts signed yet, so stay tuned).

To all my publishers-thank you. To all my editors–thank you. To all the writers that supplied the stories for the anthologies–thank you. To all my readers–thank you. to all the artists working on the covers or behind the scenes–thank you. To all the reviewers who gave my works the time of day when they did not have to do so, whether they loved it or hated it–thank you. To all my friends–thank you.

I hope you guys stay safe and well. Let’s make 2021 the best thing ever.

#Staypositive #staysafe

Chris Cornell

I thought it would be cool to share some interviews I really enjoyed watching this year. These are older, but up first is Chris Cornell