Deadly Ever After

Archive for the tag “Mark Matthews”

In Which You Learn About ALL SMOKE RISES by Mark Matthews and He Gushes About Me But I Didn’t Ask Him To.

TODAY’S BREW: Blizzard Brew by New England Coffee and it is STRONG.

By Julie

As an editor, I get to play with books before anyone else, and sometimes I feel like I’m finding treasure. ALL SMOKE RISES by Mark Matthews, a long-time friend published alongside me at Books of the Dead Press, is one of those glinting jewels. Visceral, beautiful, horrible, speaking of the human condition and of what it could be for both good and bad, frightening and hopeful and destitute. In this post that I SWEAR he asked me to put up, I didn’t as HIM to put up, he raves until I’m in tears about how awesome I am as an editor, but let me tell you that Matthews has a style and unique perspective on his subject matter and in his craft that gleams like a shiny apple. Not to mention that I got to spend time with him at a convention once and it was awesome. He’s just the most genuine, thoughtful and hilarious guy, and it shows in this book.

 

 

All Smoke Rises releases this week, a follow up to my last novella, Milk-Blood. While it takes place just weeks after Milk-Blood ends, it also serves as a stand-alone read. *Hi, this is Julie. It totally stands alone. It will beg you to read MILK-BLOOD, though.* The book tackles drug addiction, urban decay, mental illness, and a host of other real-life horrors.

 

Even though it’s a story, it doesn’t mean it’s not true. The material is not fiction. It’s happening, right now. Addicts are roaming the streets, craving heroin the way a vampire craves blood. Children are living in urban squalor, with poverty so deep their best meals of the day come when they go to school. As Kealan Patrick Burke so generously wrote in the introduction, “All Smoke Rises perfectly encapsulates horror as a reflection of real life.”

 

The inspiration for writing All Smoke Rises came from my own work as a substance abuse therapist. For nearly 20 years, I’ve worked with hundreds of addicts from the Detroit area, many of them indigent. Before this time, I spent years in my own addiction. I woke up each day and my daily efforts were how to get high and get by. I now have 23 years clean and sober, and will never forget the immense power addiction has over the human soul.

 

All Smoke Rises is a book I’m damn proud of, but certainly did not create it on my own. I’ve got a long list of beta-readers and an incredible editor. Julie Hutchings. The most demure woman in the twitterverse. *It’s true, I am.*

I should point out, before I go on, that it was my idea, not hers, to guest blog and thank her for what a great job she did in editing my manuscript.

 

Readers would thank her, too, if they could, for the book they would have read would have been a much lesser piece had not Ms. Hutchings poured her own heart into the story.

 

Nuts and bolts were tightened. Extra parts were thrown away as needed. Paragraphs were reshaped, certain sentences were turned into stand-alone paragraphs, others were ended on a different note to keep the plot flowing. Overused phrases and words were smashed over my head until I saw stars. Rewording these descriptors made me work harder as a writer and created a better product.

 

If you’ve ever had a word document edited, you’ve come to know those little comment bubbles on the side. Well, Julie’s comments were different. They came alive. They spoke to me, made me laugh, or reached out from the screen and gave me nugies. If a nugie wasn’t enough, they grabbed me by the neck and squeezed until I heard my own esophagus crack. All of this to challenge me to be the best version of myself, and I responded in kind best as I could.

 

I’m so incredibly excited for this book. The producer of Monkey Knuckle Films is reading it now, and I hope some of the plot-line will be included into the movie adaptation of Milk-Blood. John F.D. Taff said, “All Smoke Rises makes Milk-Blood look like a freshman writing assignment.” Kealan Patrick Burke agreed to do the introduction after giving it a read, and seeing what he wrote was a highlight of my writing career.

 

But I did not write it alone, so thank you, Julie, for your invaluable contributions. Worth adding that, if you are only a digital friend of Julie, she is exactly as you would think in real life. I spent just a few hours hanging with Hutchings at a convention, and it was like swimming in a pool full of her tweets. She’s genuine good people, with genuine editing skills that I’d recommend to anyone who listens.

 

 

 

ALL SMOKE RISES

Ten year old Lilly is the victim of a terrible house fire and a wretched family. Her father is an addict with mental illness, her mother was murdered and then buried across the street, and her uncle got her addicted to heroin. Lilly’s tragic story has been told in the book ALL SMOKE RISES, and it may be true, for the author has broken into your house, and placed Lilly’s body on your kitchen counter. He demands you read the manuscript, before cutting his own wrists and bleeding out on your floor. Now you have decisions to make, for Lilly’s body may not be dead, and her family is coming for her.

 

“Make no mistake, when it comes to citations of true horror, you will be hard pressed to find a deeper and more challenging example than you will here. Matthews knows the heartbreak and tragedy of his subject. By the time you are done reading this, you will too.” ~KEALAN PATRICK BURKE, Bram Stoker Award winning author of KIN and Sour Candy

******

 

ADVANCE PRAISE “Heartbreakingly sad, overwhelmingly disturbing, creepy, violent and poignant. Highly recommended.” ~JOHN FD TAFF Bram Stoker Finalist “Filled with such dread and depravity that even the most desensitized among us will feel the pain. Matthews’s prose vividly shows the viciousness and hopelessness of drug addiction, and the beautifully horrifying images will stay with you long after the final page is digested.” ~JON BASSOFF, author of Corrosion, winner of the Darkfuse Reader’s Choice Award “True reality horror, with supernatural elements that only serve to make it more believable.” ~MICHAEL BRADFORD, Executive Producer, Monkey Knuckle Films.

 

Check out ALL SMOKE RISES on Amazon. Just $2.99 for kindle

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MARK MATTHEWS GOT A BOOK DEAL! And you can get a free book!

TODAY’S BREW: Like you need to ask. Pumpkin. Pfft. Obvs.

By Julie

Many of you know I got my start with Books of the Dead Press, who published RUNNING HOME and RUNNING AWAY. In addition to introducing me to the world of publishing, Books of the Dead did something else for me–introduced me to a few amazing friends. Mark Matthews’ ON THE LIPS OF CHILDREN was published alongside RUNNING HOME a few years back with Books of the Dead, and since then Mark has become a very close friend that I trust, rely on, and just plain love. He’s very kind, incredibly funny, and someone I’m better for knowing. Look at him, he’s so pleasant!

mark matthews

(go find Mark on Twitter https://twitter.com/matthews_mark.)

So when I got the news that his novel, MILK-BLOOD got a movie deal? Well, yeah, I cried, and I begged to be part of announcing it for a lot of reasons. It’s wonderful to see my friend have such success, and it’s fantastic that MILK-BLOOD was self-published.

YES. MOVIE DEALS HAPPEN FOR INDIE AUTHORS, FOLKS.

MILK-BLOODFinalCover.jpgMKF

MILK-BLOOD, a novel by Mark Matthews, has been optioned for a full length feature film by Monkey Knuckle Films. The option includes rights to the short story, The Damage Done, a companion piece to the novel.
damaged
“MILK-BLOOD is true reality horror, with supernatural elements that only serve to make it more believable,” explains executive producer Michael Bradford. “The story will certainly hold an audience.”

MILK-BLOOD is the story of a ten year old girl named Lilly, born with a heart defect, who lives on a Detroit street where poverty, urban despair, addiction, and both the living and the dead threaten her outside her doorstep. The author has tapped into this experience as a
social worker to create what one review site calls, “an Urban legend in the making.”  The author’s previous novel, On the Lips of Children, was a number one best-selling kindle novel on amazon.

The title, ”Milk-Blood,” comes from the Neil Young song, “The Needle and the Damage Done” and refers to the extensive lengths a heroin addict will go to in order to maintain their high.

Monkey Knuckle Films is a newly created LLC, but the founders have a long history of horror, and have worked with actors such as Sid Haig from The Devil’s Rejects, and much of the cast of The Evil Dead. They are currently in post-production for the horror film, “Elder Island“, set for release in 2016. MILK-BLOOD was a semi-finalist for the 2015 Best Kindle Book Awards and is available in paperback, kindle, or audiobook on amazon.

A sequel to MILK-BLOOD is scheduled for release in early 2016. (And I, Julie Hutchings, gets to edit it!) “The sequel is some twisted material,” says Matthews, “but with a purpose. Horror without heart doesn’t appeal to me, and I don’t think to many readers.”
To celebrate the movie contract, the author is offering up to ten vouchers for a free kindle download on amazon. Just email your request to WickedRunPress@gmail.com

Interested in some MILK-BLOOD? Well, you’re in luck. Below are five codes for free Kindle Versions. Just be the first to enter one of the codes into this link here: www.amazon.com/acceptgift  and BAMN! free MILK-BLOOD to your kindle.
Gift Claim Code GS9TU9RCKPGTSAC
Gift Claim Code GS4WEEN9X355NCZ
Gift Claim Code GS6QTAT5HMSRFYC
Gift Claim Code GS99HX2C245U5DT
Gift Claim Code GSR4X27F4W8JWC9
Mark, congratulations, from the bottom of my heart. Couldn’t happen to a better guy.
 

PENGUICON PENGUICON PENGUICON

TODAY’S BREW: All of It. Don’t mess with me, it’s all mine.

By Julie

THIS IS PENGUICON. http://2014.penguicon.org/about-penguicon/

http://2014.penguicon.org/about-penguicon/

And that looks cool, but THIS YEAR WAS THE BIGGEST ONE YET AND IT WAS TEN TIMES FUCKING AWESOMER THAN THAT AND EVEN THE SIGNS WERE BIGGER AND MORE EXCITING.

Here’s some dream-come-true crap right here. The Head of Hospitality for Penguicon read RUNNING HOME, and fell so in love with it that she asked me to come to the convention and stay in the hospitality suite and just be me, and work in the ConSuite. (For all of you who know me, you know what they were in for.) I realize this was a run-on sentence. MY WHOLE WEEKEND WAS A RUN-ON SENTENCE OF ENTHUSIASM.

I’ll be doing a few posts on Penguicon, because it was that monumental, but today I’ll focus on some of the cooler shit that springs to my fuzzy, exhausted mind. In no particular order:

  • MET JOHN SCALZI. Yeah. I KNOW. Cannot wait for REDSHIRTS, the TV series. I said I was going to find him, and I did.
  • Liquid Nitrogen ice cream made by a dude in a kilt named Phil. APPLE PIE MOONSHINE LIQUID NITROGEN ICE CREAM. It’s as awesome as it sounds.
  • Cory Doctorow tweeted me. That happened.
  • I hung out with, talked shop, handled various meats and cheeses and on occasion slept next to some of my most beloved Twitter people. It’s not as filthy as it comes across.
  • Bump into this lovely lady in the elevator. We just look at each other and know that we need a little more quiet than we’re getting. I ask her if she’s getting coffee before heading where she’s heading, force her to get one with me, and discover she’s awesome Mary Lynne Gibbs, author of the same kind of stuff I write, and soon to be sitting on a panel with John Scalzi, and we exchanged phone numbers and now we’re friends and this happened in like, four seconds flat.
  • I got to serve so many hot dogs in the Con Suite. This is my other calling in life. Bonded over hot dog love for 3 days with author Jim Leach. Best friends now.
  • PANELS. It’s like being in school but for fun, and that guy next to you is dressed like Boba Fett.  One of my favorites was The Obligatory Undead Panel where we got to talk all about the irritation of “X Undead subject is SOOOOO overdone” and why society always needs an undead mascot of sorts. (Also came up with THE BEST FUCKING ZOMBIE BOOK IDEA EVER WITH AUTHOR MARK MATTHEWS WHO WAS SITTING RIGHT NEXT TO ME. No, won’t tell you.) Killer Worldbuilding panel with Kevin Siembieda, creator of—well, Jesus Christ, so much, look at all this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Siembieda. Figured out a ton of shit that’s going to make this book I’m working on burst into life and could not be more excited about it. (I scribbled notes on the plane that made me look like a lunatic to the dude next to me.)
  • Being thanked by 8 million people every time I moved for feeding them in Con Suite and for all our hard work. So thoughtful and appreciative. (Not to mention the number of volunteers that throw themselves at us staff members, begging to help. Amazing.)
  • THE DEALER ROOM. I all but peed my pants in the Dealer Room where I got to not only walk around with my pseudo little sister from Twitter that I died with excitement about meeting, but THE BOOKS AND THE COMICS AND THE TEE SHIRTS AND THE JEWELRY AND ARTWORK AND THE BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS AND I GOT A 1984 TOTE BAG WITH BIG BROTHER ON IT AND ALSO A HANDFUL OF TINY RUBBER CHICKENS FOR BENNETT AND I COULD HAVE STAYED THERE ALL DAY AND YOU GET TO TALK TO THE CREATORS AND WRITERS AND BAAAAAAAAGH I WANT TO LIVE THERE.
  • I got to work beside some of the most amazingly hard working, good natured people in existence, including Twitter buddies J. Liz Hill, Rhiannon Llewellyn, and the incomparable Lithie Dubois, who is the most determined and dedicated woman in history.

There is so much more, but I can’t still quite feel my brain after this weekend. I’ll be doing posts on how to make a con work for you when you have no idea what to expect, behind the scenes con stuff and some more stuff when I can think again.

THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE UNBELIEVABLE PENGUICON STAFF AND VOLUNTEERS AND THE MOST INCREDIBLE HOTEL STAFF I’VE EVER SEEN, AT THE WESTIN, SOUTHFIELD, MI

Julie’s Bookie Gifty Recommendations

TODAY’S BREW: Pumpkin Spice. Because I will love it forever.

By Julie

CHRISTMAS IS COMING! IT’S PRACTICALLY HERE!

Today I shall give you my book recommendations for when you inevitably screech “OH SHIT I NEED TO GET AUNT TRUDIE A PRESENT AND SHE’S SO RACIST AND SO MEAN AND SHE COOKS LIKE SHIT! WHAT DO I GET A PERSON LIKE THAT?!”

You’ll get that bitch what I get everyone on earth, or wish everyone would get for me. BOOKS. I give books that I like. Period. Don’t be afraid to get someone a book they might not get themselves, but that you love. Fucking discovery and shit. It’s science. I shall give you both paperback and eBooks. Commence reading!

These books, in particular:

  1. Oh yeah, it’s happening. RUNNING HOME. Seriously, it has snow, and Christmas, and romance, but weird romance, and betrayal and blood. And more Christmas, and even Christmas ornaments. And it smells like peppermint brownies. http://t.co/wXBPE87nMX. And the cover is so pretty!
  2. SHIVER by Maggie Stiefvater. I’ve read this series over and over. Again, beautiful snowy feel to it, but with a dynamic cast of characters and a fantastic, intriguing storyline, written by a true poet. Gorgeous. http://www.amazon.com/Shiver-Wolves-Mercy-Maggie-Stiefvater-ebook/dp/B002JWD6AS/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1
  3. THE SHINING, Stephen King. It’s a classic holiday horror, and even if they’ve read it before, fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. This book is worth reading every year. http://www.amazon.com/The-Shining-Stephen-King/dp/0307743659/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1387466695&sr=8-1&keywords=the+shining
  4. SHADOW AND BONE, Leigh Bardugo. This book took me completely by surprise with its stunning imagery, complex relationships, incredibly original plotlines and worldbuilding. One of my favorite books of the year by far. http://www.amazon.com/Shadow-Bone-Grisha-Trilogy/dp/1250027438
  5. NEVERWHERE, Neil Gaiman. You can’t go wrong giving someone who’s never read Gaiman this book. If they don’t like it, they don’t get any present next year at all. http://www.amazon.com/Neverwhere-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0380789019
  6. BLACKBIRDS, Chuck Wendig. I’m in love with Miriam Black, her story, her mouth, her abilities, and I’m in love with the attention Chuck gives to making sure there is a complexity to this story. Holes Black gets herself into that you pray she can find her way out of. An incredible read with endless possibility. http://www.amazon.com/Blackbirds-Chuck-Wendig/dp/0857662309/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1387467578&sr=1-4&keywords=chuck+wendig
  7. DISCOREDIA, J.C. Michael. Brand new author who’s been poring over this novel for a long time. I have waited over a year for the paperback of this book to come out to hold in my grubby little mitts, and now I can have it. And it’s set at New Year’s, so winning. http://www.amazon.com/Discoredia-J-C-Michael/dp/1927112214
  8. AGENTS OF LIGHT AND DARKNESS, Simon R. Green. I’ve given this book to so many people, I might be on Green’s PR staff now. He’s my favorite author and this is my favorite work of his. I can’t say enough. http://www.amazon.com/Agents-Light-Darkness-Nightside-Book/dp/0441011136
  9. HOLIDAYS ON ICE, David Sedaris. I read this book years ago, and it never left me. Perfect for this time of year, and it’s a sure winner with any reader. http://www.amazon.com/Holidays-Ice-David-Sedaris/dp/0316078913
  10. DEEP KISS OF WINTER, Kresley Cole and Gena Showalter. I’m reading this right now, and really enjoying it. I wanted something with bite, but light enough to feel like an escape at the end of the day. This is it. It would be a great gift. http://www.amazon.com/Deep-Kiss-Winter-Kresley-Cole/dp/1451600054

AND FOR THE PEOPLE YOU DON’T WANT TO SPEND MORE THAN 5 BUCKS ON, E-BOOKS.

  1. BECAUSE THE NIGHT, by our very own Kristen Strassel will be under everyone’s E-tree this year. http://www.amazon.com/Because-Night-The-Songs-Collection-ebook/dp/B00GFCRJRO
  2. ON THE LIPS OF CHILDREN, by my brother at Books of the Dead Press, Mark Matthews is only 99 cents right now, and wow, what a goddamn read. I love this book so hard. http://www.amazon.com/On-Lips-Children-Mark-Matthews-ebook/dp/B00D71FE0Kv
  3. BOUND, by J. Liz Hill. For Chrissakes, the cover is so goddamn pretty. http://www.amazon.com/Bound-Mirrors-Bershan-Elizabeth-Hill-ebook/dp/B00A92CWOQ
  4. SINGULARITY, by Joe Hart. I love the way the man writes, and impatiently await my copy of his new book in the mail. http://www.amazon.com/Singularity-Joe-Hart-ebook/dp/B00B7CI62Y
  5. UNTETHERED, by Katie Hayoz. “Sylvie isn’t comfortable in her own skin.  In fact, there are times she can’t even manage to stay inside it.” That’s all I need to hear. http://www.amazon.com/Untethered-YA-paranormal-ebook/dp/B00C7A8YW2/

Flash Fiction Friday Favorites

TODAY’S BREW: In light of my Trick or Treating hangover (because yes, my neighbors do serve drinks), I shall have inappropriate relations with vast amounts of coffee.

By Julie

This Halloween was a blast. So much amazing flash fiction flying around out there. I loved Joe Hart’s 31 Days of Flash Fiction (http://t.co/Y0U66xfRMP), and The Dark Carnival on Pen and Muse was incredible. (My favorite was Mark Matthew’s http://t.co/6lVaxoROWQ.)  Here’s a link to my very own story there that went up last night, featuring the Tunnel of Love. LOVE CONSUMES US. http://t.co/Y0U66xfRMP, and if you missed it, Kristen’s incredible story, HEAVEN’S ON FIRE is here http://t.co/oxJeu1l85f, and it’s the perfect thing to gear us up for release of BECAUSE THE NIGHT in just four short days!

For our special Halloween treat, however, Kristen and I put our fiendish minds together to bring our vampires that you love to hate into the same bloody room. See what happens when our worlds collide. Chris Lynch, my serial killing attorney turned vamp, and Tristan, Kristen’s rock star bad boy make interesting company.

BLOOD STAKES

The Clash of the Vampires

Her skin was so tan, it begged to be cracked and broken open like a tropical fruit, to let me taste the sweetness inside until it was gone.

Not here. I threw the dice again, willing myself not to look at the tan one, or even to feel the slowly lapping tongue of the chubby blonde in my ear on the other side as she crawled up and down my suit, wrinkling it. There would be a busty maid waiting to pick up my suit no matter what time I got back to the room, and when that busty maid quietly disappeared, another would replace her. Just like magic. This was Vegas, and magic happened all the time.

I needed to get the hell out of New Hampshire for a while, to somewhere with some refinery that appreciated a man with taste, and with taste for a special kind of sin. Looking around the high roller room, I thought I’d found it. Until my eyes landed on him.

Surrounded by a swarm of bimbos that made my dates look like choir girls, hair and leather sprawled out from the chair at the table.  He didn’t have a glass in front of him, but a bottle, that he lifted to his lips in between sucking on the necks of the girls closest to him.  He didn’t even look at them, how could he, his eyes open little more than slits.

“Young lady,” I said quietly to the waitress, a pristine thing in black and white, an old movie waiting to be colored red. She came to me quickly, smiling shyly.

“Yes, Mr. Lynch?” she said, a melodious voice that I wanted to hear scream.

“Can we please,” I glanced to the over-active corner, “tidy up a bit?”

Her eyes widened, her lips moving with a childlike uncertainty. “Oh, sir,” she said. “That is Tristan Trevosier.”

I ran a finger down her arm, feeling the goosebumps rise under my cool touch. “Why should that matter to me, darling girl?”

“He’s famous, you know?  He’s in Immortal Dilemma.”  Her eyes widened and she jerked her head back to the spectacle at the table in the corner.

“Still doesn’t matter.” My words were little more than breath against her skin.  She shivered as I spoke. “Why would that make him special?”

“I’ve heard he’s a…” She turned back again, looking nervous and lowering her voice.  “Vampire.”

“Do you know what vampires do?”

She was trembling, and it hurt to look at it. I would crush her butterfly wings to stop them from shaking. “Are you saying you think they’re real?”

“I don’t have to think it.” My shield was a fluttering thing around us, but still strong enough to keep the women I escorted from seeing as I leaned in, sniffing deeply her hot pink aroma.

“Mr. Lynch?” she squeaked, eyes darting to the shimmering air around us.

“Sssshhh.” And I plunged my fangs into the warm pulsing vein in her throat, my hand over her mouth so I could feel the scream. I’d been drinking, and my shield was a near failure. I would never be the strongest vampire. The thought of that made me drink deeper, squeeze her cheeks harder, want to consume and obliterate all at once.

“Hey! Hey, man. What the fuck are you doing?” The famous vampire approached me, snapping me out of my thrall.  There was delicious suction when I pulled my mouth from the waitress, her blood salty and thick.  She whimpered softly against my hand, now wet with her tears.  Gasps and murmurs swirled around us.  “We don’t do that shit in public.”

“You…you saw that?” It was my turn to be surprised.

The rockstar already slid his hands around the waist of my waitress, again making the swarm of on lookers and hangers-on cry out with objection or envy. He pressed her against his body, concealing her open wound.  “Yeah.  That’s not how you do it.  You do it like this. Are you ready, sweetheart?”

Drowsy, the waitress nodded as Tristan ran his tongue along her neck then laid her down over the lip of the craps table, so her legs were up above her head.  He ran his hands along her thighs, pushing up her already barely there uniform skirt and biting into the tender flesh of her inner thigh.

“What are you doing over here?” the chubby blonde bitched at the rock star. “Lynch, what is he doing?” she said, turning to me as I wiped a smear of blood off my chin. She noticed, and came quickly to look at it. “Are you okay?”

So she hadn’t seen me take the waitress’s blood. Only he had. He actually was a vampire.

I tapped him on the shoulder as he ravaged the waitress’s thigh. “I think you should go back to your hole in the earth, little boy, before I take your harem away from you.”

He raised his head just enough for me to see the blood glisten against his chin.  His eyes burned black and he bared his fangs to me.  “Try it.” He growled.

Faster than he could think, I took him by the mane of hair, wishing I didn’t have to touch it all the same, and slammed his face hard into the table next to the waitress. She screamed, a tinkling sound in this place, but only had the life left to curl in a ball on top of the game.

Tristan sprung from the table, but swayed when he stood. And I was the undisciplined one? He was a raging mess of a boy, with bloodshot eyes and a drug-thinned body. He ran at me, and I hit him, sending him back against the table. The girls were all screaming, mine and his alike. It made my teeth gnash and my heart pound.

My interests were no longer on him.

“Alright, man, I get it, you’re strong,” the rock star said.

If he said anything else, I didn’t care.  The plump blonde cried out, pushed away from the table by Tristan.  She somehow made her way into a chair, her arms wrapped loosely around her body in a hug. Nothing was going to bring her comfort tonight. I walked to her, going down on one knee and smiling into her tear brimmed eyes. I pulled her arms away from her stomach, pulling her body to mine, to taste the sweet nectar she held inside.

“Stop screaming,” I said through a smile. “It makes me crazy.”

But all the screaming around me, a cacophony of songbirds, had my teeth roaring to sink in to any one of them and all of them.

Her soft belly was in front of me and I pinned her to the chair, ripping my teeth into the flesh of it while she writhed like she loved it. The wound was wide, and she wouldn’t live long enough to enjoy me finishing her blood.

When I drained her, I moved to the next one, and the next one, wondering how long I had before the cameras caught on through the shield. I saw Tristan flash by as he did the same, laboring over the sucking of each girls’ thighs and chests, while I relished the distress of the others. It was a beautiful tragedy, perfection of destruction.

All too soon, the bystanders were reduced to bodies strewn on the carpet like emptied drink cups.  The rock star sat back down at his game table and ran his fingers through his hair.  He raised his bottle to me. “Cheers.”

Invigorated from our little competition, I couldn’t help but ask. “So what else is there to do around here on a Friday night?”

***You can find more Lynch in Running Home and more Tristan in Because The Night.***

RUNNING HOME and All Books of the Dead Titles Have a Celebration Sale!

TODAY’S BREW: Not cider. Drank it all.

By Julie

THINGS HAVE HAPPENED! My publisher, Books of the Dead Press’s blog has hit a quarter million views, and so to celebrate

ALL BOOKS OF THE DEAD NOVELS ARE 99 CENTS THIS WEEK!!!!

Yes, that means Running Home, which you can get here, for the same price as shitty 7-11 coffee. http://t.co/wXBPE87nMX

You’ve also heard me babble incessantly about my good friend, J.C. who wrote the horror I fangirl over, Discoredia. HIS book is less than a buck, too. If you like the hidden themes and story within a story style of my writing, Discoredia is for you. I’m hard put to find a novelist that can create something so frightening, but with so much poetic beauty to it. There’s no cheap thrills here, I actually started talking to J.C. on Authonomy, when I got my first review and it was a little overly critical, perhaps. This guy came out of nowhere and told my critic to shut up, and then I got a peek at Discoredia, and was instantly hooked on his writing style. We became close friends over the last year and a half, and that became even thicker when we both got picked up by Books of the Dead. Discoredia was one of the rare books to make it to the Harper Collins editor’s desk at Authonomy, and they had actual good things to say about it! There’s a rarity.

“Readers also won’t be surprised to learn that I swear a lot, have a bad temper, and have been known to display a nasty streak at times. Marriage and fatherhood have mellowed me, but Discoredia was written in, and belongs to, the period of my life before that,” J.C. said to me, when I told him I want people to know him the way I do.

The reason I think the book works so well is because J.C. never wrote it to be published. “I wrote Discoredia because I was challenged to write a novel. It was written for two people, myself and the person that made that challenge. I never aimed on it being published. That’s why it’s so personal, and also why it’s quite commercially naive in that it doesn’t “fit” the genre. Now it’s not about me any more, it’s about something which other people will hopefully enjoy. So click here to buy it y’fuckers.”  YES, THIS IS LITERALLY FRESH OUT THE EMAIL HE SENT ME. http://t.co/UZXLvCqGcD

The band of freaks that Books of the Dead Press picked up this past spring became fast friends, but Mark Matthews and I clicked and are constantly in each other’s faces these days. One of the most genuine guys on the planet, but Jesus, Mary and Joseph, that man can creep me out with the shit he comes up with in a mere tweet, let alone the insane stories he comes up with. (If you don’t believe me, check out last Friday’s flash fiction bit from Mark right here.  http://wp.me/p2x7oj-y3. His writing is so crisp, so evocative and deeply disturbing, I just shake my head at how he comes up with it. SO FOR A BUCK, BUY On the Lips of Children right here. http://t.co/mFzbjq8rNL. Thank me later via check or credit card.

TO SEE ALL OF THE TITLES THAT ARE 99CENTS, GO SLAP AROUND BOOKS OF THE DEAD PRESS HERE http://t.co/3YowvUPte4. (Shut up and buy Mountain Home by Bracken MacLeod, too. Shut up, baby, I won’t recommend any more books, I swear to God.)

My Infection by Mark Matthews for Flash Fiction Friday

TODAY’S BREW: Hazelnut times a zillion

By Julie

At Books of the Dead Press, I met some great people. Mark Matthews and I hit it off fast and have become really good friends. He also happens to be a fantastic author, and the world is finally figuring it out. His latest creation, On the Lips of Children just hit the top 100 in horror on Amazon. If you haven’t read this uniquely disturbing novel, trust me, do so. You won’t be the same after. Get this book. NOW. http://t.co/mFzbjq8rNL.

NOW GET EXCITED BECAUSE I MADE MARK WRITE THIS CREEPY ASS STORY FOR FLASH FICTION FRDAY. Enjoy.

MY INFECTION

By Mark Matthews

Puddles of mud.
After she confessed her eyes became puddles of mud, like tears had fallen upon dirty eye sockets and left a muddy mess. “Okay, yes, we had sex,” she squeaked. “Three times only. I didn’t meant to. Will you still take care of us?”
Latrice only confessed because she was caught. The paternity test showed 99 percent chance I wasn’t the father. She held the child of Puckett in her womb.
“Will you take care of us?” she asked again. It wasn’t a question, she was giving me a challenge.
“I will take care of things,” I answered, but I didn’t say the rest that I wanted to, which was “because the day I fucked you I caught an infection and now I have it for life.”
“What about Puckett? Will you take care of him like you usually do?”
“Yes, I will.”
I had to. Because now Puckeet has the infection too, and I can’t have him talking smack about me taking care of his baby.
Puckeett spent 3 more days alive before I found him. Suffocation by choking has always been my choice when I want others to think for a moment on whose hands is killing them. Later, they shall swim deep. The Detroit River doesn’t give up its dead easy. And my Latrice loved it when I killed for her.
The birthing room was lit like a spaceship and reminded me of Vegas. No windows. I couldn’t tell if it was day or night only that that hours passed. New kinds of liquid flowed from between Latrice’s propped up legs. She sweat and spasmed, and when the head crowned, I felt both nauseous bile and warm shivers of hope.
There was a one percent chance that the baby would have my ebony flesh. But she did not. In fact, her flesh was so white it was see through. Nearly blue and fucking see through.
A heart condition kept the child in intensive care for days, in an incubater, looking like a frog ready to be dissected. I peeked at her, tried to make eye contact, did make eye contact. This infant seemed to be my very own heart beating in front of me, shriveled with doctors prodding it to keep her alive.
“She’s going to die,” Latrice repeated again and again. “I can’t take this, I can’t see her. You do it, you take care of her.”
I did, and stayed in the hospital and put my finger in the sterile glove and touched an index finger to her forehead.
Where’s my mother? she asked with tiny motions of her incubated arms.
“Soon you will see her. I am here. This is how it is,” I answered.
Days later I brought the child home to Latrice. Life had grown stronger in the nameless infant, but she was still barely bigger than the palm of my hand. At home the child shrieked and wailed as if she held the pain from a thousands past lives.
“This is not how it’s supposed to be,” Latrice said, watching me hold the child at 3:36 a:m: in the rocker on a Tuesday.
“This is how its going to be.”
I slept with the week old flesh on mine. It was skin so thin you could see her insides, like she was made of rubbery glass. I put her on my chest, rocked her until 4:25 a:m: and she beat with my heart.
The rocker was to be where the baby fed, yet it refused to take the breast of her mother.
Medications the baby did take. I injected them into an IV port in her neck. Warnings from doctors rang in my ears. Too large of an injection can lead to affixiation. Failure to administer will do the same.
Latrice curled up into a ball much of the time, like a fetus afraid to be born into her new life. Her hair, unwashed for days, became stringy like a broom. Pill bottles with the prescription label rubbed off sat on the counter. Oxy’s or Xanax or both.
The infant tears came at night, sometimes causing trips to the hospital wrapping ourselves in jackets gainst the cold, only to be sent back home again. Sleeplessness weighed us down like soaking wet clothes.
“This isn’t how its supposed to be,” she said.
“This is how it is,” I answered.
“No. You can take care of this. Take care of her like you do. Make it like it was before. She’s not meant to be alive.” Her eyes become the muddy puddles of tears and dirt. They pleaded to me. The infection bubbled in my veins.
Killing again would be easy. The pillow held down with my weight covered her whole face. Things were fragile, and it was just tiny breaths to take away this time.
The body fit easily in the trunk. The night felt cold. The car seats were frigid leather. Soon the car would heat up, and things would be better. I whispered my middle of the night words to my passenger in the back seat.
“We’re taking mommy to the river. Then we’ll be home, and I will give you a name, and I will take care of you”.
My infection was gone.

The Good Cringe: Julie Shoots Off At The Mouth About On The Lips Of Children

TODAY’S BREW: All The Coffee, All Flavors and Sizes

By Julie

http://www.amazon.com/On-Lips-Children-ebook/dp/B00D71FE0K/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1371001356&sr=1-1&keywords=mark+matthews

“Their tongues were dry, her milk was gone, and the last bit of water in the plastic jug had evaporated. She wondered if her monthly bleeding would arrive to help her measure the time. She urinated often at first, but this had stopped, and there was little bowel to pass. Her fingers clamored over the flesh of her children, always feeling their skin, comforting every piece, holding them against her flesh, cradling them together. They may have been better off had their eyes never opened.”

Yeah, that’s just part of the prologue of  Mark Matthews’ new novel, On the Lips of Children, the story of a tattoo artist, his human canvas, and their child who get kidnapped by a blood-thirsty tweaker family raising their twin children in a drug tunnel.

Because I am spoiled, and Mark is being published alongside me at Books of the Dead Press, I got to read this before the rest of you jimooks. This book is one of the rare ones that I could only read in small bits and pieces because it made me so emotional and wore on me so heavily. The wording is incredibly vivid and gut-wrenching, but it’s the sheer possibility of the premise that makes this such an intense read. I’d challenge any parent to be able to read it and not cringe at the thought that this could be you and your children.  Mark says, “mother is indeed the name for God on the lips of all children, and love for family is at the core of this story.”

So, how the hell did this grim shit crop up in the gentleman’s mind? “The idea came from a predawn, dark run in San Diego. It was so dark I could barely see the trail, and ran by faith, not by sight.  As I ran, bodies of sleeping homeless men were strewn about the trail, some of them shuffling as I passed, some rising, and my imagination grew. What if these men were part of some insidious network, what if they were after me? I felt the specter of Tijuana not far from me, and eventually did more research into drug cartels and Tijuana kidnappings.

I came up with the idea of a mother who was trapped with her babies in a drug tunnel and would do anything for their survival, even if it meant feeding off the bodies of others. The twins are raised this way, and it changes them forever.”

Mark’s writing playlist of  Nine Inch Nails and The White Stripes, plus some influence from Cujo show through in the novel’s grim tone. I thought it was very cool that Mark actually has been to the area he wrote about. He said, “The exotic nature of the Tijuana to San Diego drug tunnel needed as much care in developing as any character. I have been deep into the bowels of Tijuana to places I wouldn’t go back.”

Also, Mark says cool stuff. I read books written by people who say cool stuff.  He said this, for example. “I see fiction as life with the volume turned up, and nothing turns up the volume of life like a little darkness to outline the glow of the human spirit.  You need the dark to see the stars, as the character Dante says after snorting some bath-salts.” Obviously, he can write.

I never want to go there either, but I would go back to On the Lips of Children.

Mark Matthews has worked in the behavioral health field for nearly 20 years, including psychiatric hospitals, runaway shelters, and substance abuse treatment centers. His first novel, Stray, is based on experiences working in a treatment center with an animal shelter right next door within barking distance. He is an avid runner, and his second novel, The Jade Rabbit, is the story of a woman, adopted from China, who is raised in Detroit and runs marathons to deal with lingering trauma. Follow Mark’s blog,  Running, Writing, and Chasing the Dragon.  Bother him on Twitter @matthews_mark .

 

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