The Shadow of Oz has continued to perform far better than I had hoped. To celebrate, I’m keeping the book only 99 cents for a few more weeks! It’s horror, it’s dark fantasy, it’s everything you love about Oz but darker and full of nightmares. Is Oz real, or just a delusion? One way to find out…
In only one day you made this my most watched video ever! It’s just shy of 20,000 views as I write this. Thank you so much and keep your eyes out on my youtube channel for more music, books, and everything nerd and beyond. I love you all!
I’ve never been very good about blogging. I prefer speaking to writing in this case, which is very odd considering I’m an author, but I truly had a good reason to not have blogged in a while. The last 9 months have been the most up and down rollercoaster of my life, but it led to a very happy place and the writing of what I think might be my best piece of work yet, The Shadow of Oz–a dark twisted retelling of the Wizard of Oz, but I’m getting ahead of myself. How did I get it written? Well…
It all started when the girl who I made vows to spend the rest of my life with decided to leave me for a guy she met at CHURCH. AT CHURCH! That is possibly the greatest ‘what the fuck, god?’ moment I have ever had. She eventually told me how she knew we were never meant to be together, which broke my heart, not because of her, but because of the three beautiful children she had that knew me as their only father. I tried to work with her, even went out of my way doing things making sure that my daughters (and they ARE my daughters, I don’t care what DNA says) were taken care of. Those three were my angels. I rocked them when they were sick. I kissed booboos. I was there for nightmares, wetting the bed, and just all around needing loved and cuddled. I got to be a daddy and I loved it, but because said ex-girlfriend kept breaking her promises to me, it led to her pulling all contact from the children from me and there’s nothing legally I can do, because being an ex-boyfriend gives me zero rights, no matter how the scene was set and how we lived. Needless to say, it shattered me.
I’m going to open up here and maybe give away too much information, but I have suffered and fought with depression since I was 8 years old. I am a survivor of multiple suicide attempts. It was a monster I thought I had beaten, but having my daughters taken from me brought me back to the darkness. I was falling to pieces, considering options I shouldn’t have and making attempts to get my last affairs in order. Then, fate stepped in.
I had a date with a girl where I got stood up. It seemed about right for the way life was treating me lately. So I called an ex-girlfriend of mine, thinking she’d get a good laugh out of it. Well, come to find out I was only about an hour away from seeing her. I hadn’t seen her in nearly six years. This was the best decision of my life. I met her for lunch and the minute I saw her smile, I was hooked. Just like that. Like the old fights didn’t matter, the break up didn’t matter, all I wanted was to see her again. So, we decided to give it one more try.
Okay, so how does Oz work into this? Well, Oz was meant to be part of a box set. I signed on to doing it somewhere between the “banging a dude at church” and “you can never see your kids again.” Made it nearly impossible to think, but I wanted in this box set. I wanted to take that chance and go for being a best seller.
The muse started working again, and Dorothy’s demented story began to come to me… and that’s when I had the craziest 24 hours of my life. While visiting my beloved, her roommate decides “it’s time to die,” and proceeds to try and hang himself with a belt. Yea, what the fuck indeed. Police get called. Police chase crazy man through woods. Man gets away. By the time this finally finished, it was 4 am. What a night! But it wasn’t over yet. I then get a call from a long-time friend who got himself so sleep deprived from talking to a girl he met online that he fell for, that he had a full snap from reality and threatened to murder me. Not even like, “I’m gonna kill you,” but “I am not afraid of prison, I will put you in the ground for reals kill you/kill you.” Yea, blindsided.
So I end up moving in with my Faith into a room that you could stretch across and touch either wall. It was tight, it was cramped, and it forced us to move in together well before we were ready to do it. All this, while a deadline breathed down my neck.
Luckily, found an apartment that we fell in love with and was out of there in about a month. Now, for 3 weeks we were sleeping on couches and loveseats b/c that’s all we had, but I kept plugging along at the book what I could. When I finally got a proper work space to operate in, I had a month to write a novel more or less. It took me to the very last minute, but i finished.
But there’s even more to this story than that. You see, “Shadow” is a name that is very dear to me. One of my best friends was named Jessi, and my nickname for her was Shadow (which she spelled Shadeau). We helped each other through so much. I know I talked her down off a lege a dozen times and she talked me down at least that or more. I literally would not be here without her, and a few years ago she ended her life. She was the first dreamer I truly loved. We both wanted to be writers. She never got to see me accomplish my dream. The Shadow of Oz is dedicated to Jessi, and, in many ways, Dorothy IS Jessi. I couldn’t stand the thought of her being gone. Now she can live forever in the pages of a book. I love you, Jess. Wacka-chicka sauce, bitch!
And as for my beloved, Faith, I was alway meant to be with you. Glad we finally realized it. I love you so much. Thank you for your support.
If you’d like to check out “The Shadow of Oz,” you can do it here: viewbook.at/shadowofoz
It’s got dragons, witches, necromancy, revenge, murder, madness… everything Jess would have loved.
Keep your chins up, people. heads on high!
Cue the REM people, because it’s the end of the world as we know it. So, <Joey from Friends voice> How you doin’? Well, the main character from Sarah Johnson’s new release, Infractus (coming April 10th), well, he ain’t doin’ so well. The end of the world is upon us and there’s… there’s… they be hearin’ voices y’all. Action, horror, and intrigue await you. Come on into the Kobold Tavern and have a few drinks with us, will ya? *cheers* to Sarah and her release. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.
Connect with Sarah: www.sarahljohnson.com
Pre-Order Infractus: http://amzn.to/2G3YaLJ
Greetings, my darlings! In this, our most holiest of months for horror authors, I present to you eight interwoven tales meant to both delight and chill you to your very soul. There are nightmares to be explored, adventures to be had. Come into my darkness and dance with Devil for me.
The novel that began the madness which has unfolded is The Spider’s Web (Talon book 1). This book is brought to you by Burning Willow Press who are a wonderful company to work for.
Talon, perhaps more than anything, is the exploration of redemption. When you’ve known nothing but the violence and killing of being a Vampire and buried your mortal memories, what happens when something reminds you of who you used to be? Can Nicky save Katie, the girl who looks the spitting image of his mortal sister? What does it mean to suddenly have a purpose after having known nothing but chaos? Can he save the girl? Can he save himself?
Talon: The Spider’s web can be purchased HERE.
Talon is only the beginning. From here, all the other stories branch off and intertwine.
Demons, Devils & Denizens of Hell is a special anthology to me as it let a certain Demon named Mephistopheles truly shine. You will know Mephistopheles from Talon: The Spider’s Web. What truly made this piece special to me is that Pricilla and Persephone (From “The Ballad of Priscilla and Persephone” in Crossroads in the Dark 3: Monsters Under Your Bed) and Patches (From the story “Patches” in the Haunted Souls: A Halloween Anthology) make cameo appearances. Also, a character from one of my horror shorts (“The Girl on Fire”) located in the Alabama Nightmares & Urban Legends makes and appearance. This is my way of letting it be known, the world of Talon is also the setting for my horror collection.
My story in this collection is entitled, “Walker County is Small and Smith Lake is Deep.” It’s like a local warning to the residents. You can be found and you will be dealt with if necessary. A young man, having found his girlfriend and best friend having a jolly-good time in the bedroom, goes over the edge. He has committed a crime so vile, that all of Hell is watching him. When they come, do the bring offerings, or do they demand sacrifice?
I was invited by P. Mattern (Mama Fang) herself to participate in this anthology and I’d like to thank her for her support and faith in my abilities. Maybe I’ve been lucky, but I don’t really have any nightmare author stories. I have been blessed to have some wickedly talented and deliciously evil writers come part of my circle. I tip my hat to all of you.
You can get this book HERE.
Here is perhaps the most surprising of our entrants. Chasing Fireflies: A Summer Romance anthology is a bit something different. It was my first attempt at writing a true romance story. Now there’s still plenty of magick, curses, Demons, and warrior-priests around, so you’ll get all the action of a Talon piece, just with an awkward romance thrown in. “The Doctor and the Demon” is a story that I believe you can enjoy action fan or not, romance fan or not. There’s a bit of something for everyone here.
The main character is a cursed doctor named Marcus. He comes to have a Demon as a patient and he’s faced with the dilemma of handing her over to Estabon, an Eastern Orthodox Vampire Slayer, or risk his life to protect the woman he can’t even confess to that he loves.
Marcus, Cecilia (the Demon), and Estabon, are all characters from the Talon universe. Marcus will appear in Talon: Russian Roulette (book 2 of the series) and Estabon will appear later as well. It’s a closer look to what will become a Talon major player. Find out about him before he unleashes death upon the world.
The other authors in this are simply wonderful and if romance is your thing, you should most definitely give it a look.
Buy this book HERE.
“A tisket, a tasket, the twins are out their caskets. Drowning souls in swimming holes of everyone who passes…” –local nursery rhyme about Priscilla and Persephone
This anthology contains my story “The Ballad of Priscilla and Persephone.” These girls were buried before Smith Lake (yes, the same Smith Lake from the Demons story) was created and, when it was, their graves were left beneath the murky waters. They’re lonely. They only want to play. Won’t you go for a swim?
As I stated before, the twins appear in the Demons anthology story. Their wickedness is not just bound to the world of horror. They are bound to our very reality.
This book has an amazing line-up of authors. If you haven’t bought this, what’s wrong with you?
Buy this book HERE.
Haunted Souls: A Halloween Anthology is special to me because it includes one of my new favorite characters, Patches (from the same-titled story), and it was the first time I got to appear with my cousin, the author TJ Penn.
This story is about vengeance from the grave. How far would you go to get your daughter justice?
Get this story HERE.
My story in Damsels of Distress is called “Harmony’s Rhapsody.” You will a Catholic Vampire Slayer and her friend attempt to apprehend a certain doctor named Marcus. Yes, the Marcus from the Chasing Fireflies book. What you see here is Marcus just after he leaves book 2 and Harmony just before she enters book 3. If you like Vampires and lots of slaying, you’ll love this story! This anthology has a release date of October 28th, 2017.
There’s even more stories coming to add to this list, and I’m also releasing my own horror novelette for Halloween. A little gift to my beloved darlings. Fair thee all well, and may the darkness on the page be the only darkness in your life. Cheers!
Jay Michael Wright II (jmw2author)
I hate to be the one to break it to you, but the entire world you know is a lie. While you’re complaining about his politician or that, planning your protests and counter-protests, and trolling anyone’s comment who doesn’t believe in the exact same things as you, there’s a world hidden right in front of your face. Just beneath the surface of reality, you will find that Hell is, indeed, real. I found this out the hard way at the tender age of 12. That’s when the veil was pulled back and I was finally able to see the world as it truly is.
It was a Sunday, like every other Sunday that had ever been. My parents and I went to church that morning and when the service ended, we headed to my grandmother’s house for lunch. Grandma lived in a small community called Parrish. Her house was small, and rather dark even in the daytime, but you could feel the love radiating from every corner.
After lunch, I went for my normal walk alongside the creek. I spent hours of my life there, listening to the water bubble as it flowed over the fallen log and the rock formations that made up the creek-bed. It was perfectly tranquil. I stayed there until the sunset and made my way slowly back to grandma’s house. Halfway up the hill is when I heard the first screams.
At first, I froze. I was only 12 and I hadn’t learned the things I know now. I was too afraid to move. The second scream changed that. I remember running as fast as I could. I made it to grandma’s front door in record time, but froze at what I saw.
The screen door was smeared with blood, more blood than I had ever seen. I may have stayed there, frozen in fright, but I heard a loud crash inside the house and grandma shriek out in pain.
Without thinking of the dangers, I flung the screen door open and ran inside the house. The entranceway was all but flooded with blood. Every step I took produced another splash, sending ripples out in all directions. What could have done this? What is going on?
I heard another crash in the back bedroom. I don’t know what I was thinking. I didn’t have so much as a pocketknife to defend myself, but I charged headfirst into danger anyway. I made it to back bedroom and had to stop to process what I was seeing.
There was a wolf, and not just any wolf, this thing was standing on its hind legs and had to be well over six feet tall. It turned to face me with my grandma’s fresh blood dripping from its fangs. It snarled and my legs decided on their own that it was time to get out of there.
I ran for the next bedroom and slammed the door shut. I knew I wouldn’t hold him, so I slid an old vanity mirror and dresser over in front of the door. I spun around looking for a weapon to grab and that’s when I noticed my parent’s bodies on top of the bed.
Their throats had been ripped out and their lifeless eyes were still open, faces locked in a horrible death-gasp. I covered my mouth and started crying. I walked over to their bodies and began shaking their legs. “Mama! Daddy! Get up! Why won’t you get up?”
I knew damn well why they weren’t getting up. I just didn’t want to face the facts. I couldn’t believe they were gone and I was now all alone in the world.
The door broke into pieces as the wolf charged into it. The dresser scooted out nearly six inches from the first impact. I knew it wouldn’t be long before he got inside the room. I stood there, hopeless, and simply prepared to join my family on the other side.
The barricade completely broke and the wolf came walking into the room with drool dripping from its mouth. It howled and the intensity of it felt like it might shatter my eardrums. It was absolutely terrifying. I felt a chill run down my spine so cold I thought I’d freeze to death before the wolf could eat me.
Suddenly, a man dressed in white whom I’d never seen before burst into the room carrying an ax. With one mighty swing he took the creature’s front-right paw completely off. The wolf howled in agony and ran away. I stood there, completely in shock of what I’d seen. I think for a moment; my mind was shutting down. I blacked out on the spot.
I woke up in the backseat of a car being driven down the highway. I sat up and my head felt woozy. I heard a man’s voice in the front-seat say, “Just lay down. You’ve had a very traumatizing experience.”
I wanted to stay upright almost out of spite, but the way the world spun convinced me to lay back down. I may have been on my back, but I was still full of questions. “What happened back there? What about my family?”
The man sighed. “I’m sorry to tell you, but your family is dead.”
I already knew that was true, but hearing it made the tears start rolling down my cheeks. I wiped them away and asked, “Where are we going?”
“Somewhere safe,” the man responded. “Somewhere that Werewolf will never find you.”
“Werewolf?” I asked. Surely, he was kidding. I mean, Werewolves are the things of fairy tales and horror movies. They weren’t real.
“Yes, my dear, a Werewolf. There’s a lot you don’t know about this world, but I’m willing teach you if you wish to learn. Do you want to avenge your family?”
I sniffled and nodded my head. “Yes.”
“Then I will teach you everything you need, but not today. We’ll start that tomorrow. As for now, who’d like some pancakes?”
And that’s how my apprenticeship started. For six years the man in white trained me. He heightened my senses, my reflexes. He made me stronger than I ever dreamt of being. In all those years, he never told me his name. He simply told me to refer to him as “M.”
On my eighteenth birthday I awoke to find my master gone. There was a present on the table, complete with a giant red bow. I opened it and discovered a red cape complete with a cloak. I figured it part of my master’s twisted sense of humor. He loved comparing my life to that of Little Red Riding Hood. He even called my “Red” because of my copper colored hair.
Along with the hood came a note: “My darling Red, enclosed you will find a cape that will keep you hidden and move you as silently as the stealthiest of Vampires. The pockets are enchanted. Each will provide you a limitless supply of a different weapon you’ll need to avenge your family. Go out there and make me proud! One day, I will call on you for a small favor for what I have done this day, but that day is far off. I’ll be watching you always and my fondness for you knows no bounds. Love, M.”
My name is Willow Ferrell, but you can call me Red. This is how my story begins. This is how I became a Werewolf-slayer.
So, another Vampire series? I know, there are million of them. Well, there are things that I think will set Talon apart from the rest. Let’s take a little look.
1–The story is a mash-up. It’s a little bit action/adventure, dark urban fantasy, and a touch of paranormal romance (no, not the make you gag Sparkling Vampire kind) with elements of thriller and horror in it. Life isn’t one genre. Why should a novel be? I love blending different elements together to make a story. There’s something in here for just about everybody.
2–The female characters are some of the strongest in the series. In The Spider’s Web, that role is carried out by Sadie. She’s a mortal with a power she can’t explain and barely knows how to control. She’s wild, independent, and has a mouth like a sailor. Being a former preacher’s daughter, she is the very spirit of a rebellious daughter. Not only this, but SHE saves the Vampire instead of the other way around. Wait, did I really just say that the mortal girl lead in the series saves the 400 year trained to be a killing machine Vampire lead in this story? I did. Sadie is living chaos, but she does it oh so well. Also, you’ll get a glimpse at Nicky’s Sire Tessa in the first book. You want a badass female character…you got it.
3–Sadie, the female lead, is also not your typical body type for Vampire novels. Sookie Stackhouse and Bella were both quite petite female leads. I wanted to kind of move away from that, so Sadie I made a curvy girl. I thought it’d be my way to send some love to the ladies out there with a real figure. The song is even in the book, “Fat Bottomed Girls” make the rockin’ world go ’round!
4–Vampire are alpha-predators again. A great deal of the Talon series and prequels deals with the monstrosity which Vampires truly are. There are no punches pulled at times. It is unapologetic brutality. Why? Because that’s what, to me, true Vampires would be. None of this going to high school for a century crap. No overly romanticized version of what was once the most terrifying of all creatures. Nicky softens in the series and falls in love with Sadie but his dark tendencies to kill and slaughter brutally sticks with him through it all.
5–Talon is set in a much larger universe. There are witches, Slayers, Angels, Demons, Lycans, the full spectrum of supernatural creatures. I have not so subtly “hidden” pieces of the Talon universe in different places. “Any Port in a Storm” from the Creepy Collection anthology (found HERE.) was the first appearance of Nicky, his sire Tessa, and Molly in print. The story is told in the third person from a mortal’s perspective as he made to play one of Tessa’s favorite games.
“Walker County is Small and Smith Lake is Deep” from the Demons, Devils, and Denizens of Hell anthology (found HERE. –prerelease live, launches August 4th) features an appearance by someone that you’ll become extremely familiar with through the series: Mephistopheles. It also has a cameo by the sadistic sisters of Smith Lake, Priscilla and Persephone, from “The Ballad of Priscilla and Persephone” found in Crossroads in the Dark 2: Urban Legends (found HERE.) I have already submitted to the Demons anthology sequel, and this story also connects to the Talonverse in two ways. Once I hear it’s accepted or not, I will make the reveal to HOW this story ties in.
I have two more submissions that tie into the Talonverse appending approval. I wrote a piece for the Like a Woman anthology sponsored by Mirren Hogan and am working on a piece for the Damsels in Distress anthology sponsored by Lily Luchesi. Both of these stories will tie into the universe and give you glimpses into some very important characters’ side stories.
The last “hidden” piece of the Talonverse out there is “The Demon and the Doctor” from the Chasing Fireflies romance anthology (Found HERE..) Romance? Yea, but there’s way more than just that going on. You’ll get to meet Marcus Von Zarovich, former partner of Victor Frankenstein and cursed doctor. He meets a beautiful Demon and nurses her back to health, all while trying to avoid the priest out to kill her. See, mash-up style.
So in conclusion, Talon has a little bit of everything. It’s a series that is going to take you all the way through to Armageddon. There’s a much larger game afoot than it first appears. Just wait, this series will take you from the depths of Hell to the heights of Heaven. Lucifer, God, they all make appearances. So come check out Talon today. You won’t regret it.