Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Halloween Children are coming

THE HALLOWEEN CHILDREN, Brian James Freeman and Norman Prentiss, Earthling Publications, $40, reviewed by Jim Brock.

“You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, and I’m telling you why” – THE HALLOWEEN CHILDREN will be trick or treating this October. Bet you didn’t see that coming. You better hope you don’t see these kids at your door.

Instead of a caretaker husband with a wife and son in an Overlook Hotel ala THE SHINING, this book has a maintenance man wife a wife and a son and daughter in an apartment complex. Written from viewpoints but primarily that of the husband and wife, THE HALLOWEEN CHILDREN is frankly one of the more disturbing books I have ever read.

From page to page my opinion of who was the monster behind what was going on changed from husband to wife to the children and then back. I was shocked and startled, grossed out and horrified – and I enjoyed every minute of it. And in the end, I still wasn’t sure who was the craziest – myself included.
Freeman (with whom I was familiar) and Prentiss (with whom I confess I was not) have created a disturbing tale with images so vivid they leapt from the page into brilliantly colored pictures in the mind. This is one powerful book. Treat yourself to this one for Halloween but be warned – have plenty of candy on hand for THE HALLOWEEN CHILDREN should come knocking.

//Kudos to the writers and Paul Miller for possibly giving us the most horrifying novel in his Halloween series. Not often does a book raise the hairs on my arms, but this is one that did. I don’t wish to disagree with Jim, but I’m pretty sure he has read INVISIBLE FENCES by Prentiss and possibly some of his other works. Remember we are both having “Senior Moments” and don’t always remember everything. Barry//

Monday, July 14, 2014

New Reviews

Flesh And Blood
Daniel Dersch
47North, $14.95
ISBN: 9781477817469

At the hospital, Dr. John Harris explains to New York reporter Claire Hagen that her sister Amanda should remain under their medical watch at least until they can calm her down as the distraught twentyish woman suffers from either a severe nervous breakdown or schizophrenia. Harris furthermore explains Amanda’s deep delusional fear is of a vampire drinking her blood.

Although horrified with what mentally has happened to her younger sibling especially when she thinks back to the guilt of failing Mandy when they were little; Claire needs to know why this has happened to her. Soon Claire finds impossible evidence that vampires apparently are real and bloodthirsty while Mandy seems to be changing into something nonhuman. When Claire comes under attack, which she concludes is to silence her investigation, George Powell, a survivor of Nazi blood science research, saves her life. The pair forges an alliance to rescue Mandy while also being attracted to one another. Meanwhile powerful adversaries, some with the backing of the Vatican, target her for execution and him for further experimentation as the source to eradicate the unholy undead.

This is an exciting action-packed vampire thriller that for the most part never slows down (except for occasional overdrawn clarifying soliloquys) from the moment a shocked Claire learns from Harris that her sister suffers from delusional fear of vampires until the stunning climatic twist. The fast-paced storyline insures the feral vampires come across as genuine as does the Vatican demanding their extermination while the lead couple is caught in the middle. Harriet Klausner

Clockwork Dagger
Beth Cato
Harper Voyager, Sep 16 2014, $14.99
ISBN: 9780062313843

In the kingdom of Caskentia where war with the Waste is a constant, orphaned healer Octavia Leander rides the airship to her new position of medician knowing to adhere to her mentor Miss Percival’s three rules of travel. However, someone assaults her onboard roommate Mrs. Stout and almost immediately afterward Octavia. Mrs. Viola Stout and Alonzo Garrett the steward help her thwart the attempt to kill her.

Confused over why anyone would stalk a non like her, Octavia learns the kingdom and the breakaway Dallows Province have placed her in the middle of a rebellion though she wonders why her. Other violent incidents including murder occur in which Octavia survives more efforts to assassinate her as if she was important; while now also questioning who her two defenders truly are.

Clockwork Dagger is a great steampunk fantasy starring a tremendous bewildered heroine who holds the storyline focused. Fast-paced and filled with action and dangerous intrigue (readers will think twice before riding an airship) yet with a strong support cast inside the vivid Cato magical world, subgenre fans will relish Octavia’s opening act while wanting more of her misadventures in Caskentia. Harriet Klausner

The Resurrectionist
Sierra Woods
Harlequin Nocturne, $5.75
ISBN: 9780373886005

In Albuquerque, Dani Wright the resurrectionist understands her job is to right wrong though sometimes morality can confuse which is which. Three years ago her husband Blake’s lover attacked her and cut out her unborn from her womb; she and her baby died, but the Other-siders sent her back to perform the miracles of a resurrectionist. Though attracted to her APD protector Detective Sam Lopez, she distrusts males ever since Blake’s betrayal left her and their child dead; so she refuses to act on her desire.

After working the Ramirez missing child case, her otherworld contact Burton the street skateboarder a-hole informs her that the Others worry that the Dark malevolence is arising after centuries of dormancy. Meanwhile Sam always has her back and even supplements her power on a difficult switch. He admits to Dani he likes her a lot and that his grandmother was an underground illegal resurrectionist. As the couple gets closer and falls in love, the Dark comes for Dani.

This is an entertaining urban fantasy noir. Filled with graveyard humor and a slowly developing romance (which seems right for this fun thriller), readers will believe in Sierra Woods portrayal of The Resurrectionist bringing the enlightenment to New Mexico.
Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Latest VA News

A Letter from the Network Director

As you know, the VA is in the midst of great change as we make rapid and definitive changes to ensure integrity in managing Veterans’ access to timely, quality health care. To accomplish this, in June, the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), of which we are a part, launched the Leading Access and Scheduling Initiative – or LASI.

LASI is a near term plan that is in full swing now and is expected to be fully implemented by the end of September. It is comprised of the following actions:

• Accelerate Care for Veterans Currently Waiting for Care Assess Care Delivery Capacity vs. Health Care Demand to Ensure Resource Levels

• Remove 14-Day Performance Goal from Performance Contracts

• Revise and/or Rescind Scheduling Directive

• Suspend VHA Executive Performance Awards for FY14

• Face-to-Face Engagement with Medical Support Assistants, Clinic Managers and Other Critical Front-line Staff

• Communicate VA Values' Applicability to Day-to-Day Performance

• Review and Modify Performance Plans for Wait Time Accountabilities

• Modify Management Dashboards Designed for Organizational and Operational Levels

• Enhance Patient Satisfaction Monitoring to Assess Satisfaction with Access and Experience

• Implement Medical Center Access Audits, Ongoing Monitoring, Elevation Triggers, and Clear Line Accountability Including Specific Requirements for Regular Inspection and Reporting

• Enhance VHA National Program with Focus on Access to Care

• Implement VHA-Wide Site Inspection Process

• Cross-Organization Surveying of Scheduling and Access Best Practices

• Review Medical Support Assistant Classification to Ensure Correct Grading

• Revise, Enhance and Deploy Scheduling Training

• Assess Position Management Practices and Staffing Required to Fully Support VA Medical Centers

• Establish Wait-Time Based Guidance for Non-VA Care Referral

• Assess Implementation of System-Wide Contracts for Primary Care

Under the direction of the VA’s Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Operations and Management, this initiative is being led nationally by VA Project Managers/Business Leads in seven distinct work groups that support the work and move it forward. The work groups include the following: Accelerating Care and Capacity Assessments; Policies, Directives and Procedures; Performance Management; Program Oversight and Integrity; People and Training; Integrate Non-VA Care; and Organizational Health.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New Reviews to Start Your Day

Shawntelle Madison
Ballantine, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345529176

Once an outcast due to her compulsive obsessive behavior, exiled Natalya Stravinsky looks forward to rejoining her South Toms River, New Jersey werewolf pack. However, before she can come home, the Russian Mafia werewolf pack abducts her father. Putting aside her OCD to hoard holiday ornaments, Nat plans to rescue her dad.

Her ex-lover Thorn Grantham insists on helping her while her current boyfriend Nick the wizard wants to be there for her too. They head to Atlantic City on her quest while a who’s who of the supernatural stalk Nat for the mysterious goods she needs to deliver.

The second Natalya Stravinsky suburban romantic fantasy (See Coveted) is an amusing thriller due to a cast of neurotic and psychotic paranormal from several species. Nat remains a terrific, unique protagonist suffering from OCD, which can just as easily subtract or enhance her kick butt skills. The road trip with Thorn is fun as Nat the hoarder fights her attraction to two males and a sicko paranormal horde. Harriet Klausner

Elisabeth Naughton
Sourcebooks, $7.99
ISBN: 9781402262159

His hybrid daemon-Argonaut twin Orpheus the Eternal Guardian and Skyla of the Siren Order rescued Gryphon from the Underworld (see Enraptured). However they may have saved him physically from the hell of Tartarus, but can do little to help Gryph cope with the persistent voice of Atalanta in his head sweetly asking him to come back to her with the orb she craves. Gryph believes he must kill Atalanta if he is to mute the voice driving him crazy. He knows that the voice is real as Eternal Guardian Titus can hear anyone’s thoughts.

Malea, the daughter of Zeus and Persephone, wants to go home, but must persuade her father that she merits residing in Mt. Olympus. She and Gryph meet to his euphoria because somehow when he stands at her side, the voice vanishes. They team up as they traverse tunnels filled with hellhounds, daemons and much worse as his former brothers in arms including his twin try to prevent Gryph and Malea from completing their quest.

The latest Eternal Guardians romantic fantasy (see Marked and Tempted) is an exhilarating thriller that stars two troubled protagonists fearing but falling in love. The awesome Naughton Greek mythology continues its deep deadly vividness as two wary warriors seek salvation but find love instead. Harriet Klausner

Apollo’s Outcast
Allen Steele
PYR, $16.95
ISBN: 9781616146863

In Burtonsville, Maryland, because of relative gravity, born on the moon Jamey Barlowe is wheelchair bound. In 2097 an assassination of President Wilford as part of a coup in the United States led by Vice President Shapar leaves his widower father concerned for the safety of his three children as the VEEP named him an enemy of the state. As such he sends his teenage son Jamey, his two older daughters and other youngsters to live at the Apollo mining town on the moon.

Jamey begins to learn to walk to achieve his objective to become a Lunar Search and Rescue Ranger. As Jamey achieves his goal, the new American leader plans to invade the moon when Apollo stops sending shipments of valuable Helium-3. Jamey and Rangers prepare for a Luna landing assault.

Apollo’s Outcast is an engaging political science fiction thriller in which the coup and the moon colony seem plausible. Ironically the big picture political-military machinations come across less fascinating than Jamey’s coming of age subplot. Not an easy read, as the geo-political military industrial complex is extremely complex, fans will enjoy Jamey Barlowe’s life on the moon. Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 7, 2014

A New Poem From Ian Ayres

Check this out on

Pete Suicide

My revolver
So easy to get
Cocked in fist
On the way to the grave
Wide open for morning
Loaded and ready
Bullets to blast
My brains to the clay
Of Mother Nature’s womb

Skull full of stars
People that cross
Lost in a garden
Of slab and dirt
Hands from graves
Reach out to shake
Me up so late
Embalmed hands
Amidst the wilt

How I love the Dead
Putting down roots
Echoing whispers
By the time you get it together
You start to fall apart . . .
Skeletal, you know
A jaw drops
Moss will grow
With unknown approach

Living to die, dying to live
Tombstones scream
Or winds grow shrill
Among final faces
Of resting places
My constant family
Who embraces chill
Beneath my feet

Among the Dead
To a bed
Where I sit
Smoking a joint
On that tomb
Sculpture of stone
Near a baby’s

A seedling
How I yearn
To hold you
Your crumbling
New name
Not even a weed

So I sing
A lullaby
And reach out
To cradle you
In my arms
With your rattle
Of bones
Birds Fall

Birds fall
From the trees
From disease
Death is
The rest of
Your life

Some call me a necrophiliac
Who bones the boneyard
Others, a ghoul
Who haunts the Dead
Whatever tickles their tulips
Licking dew drops of lust . . .
Did you know divorce kills?
Divorce kills children
For the rest of their lives

Under-aged children
Kicking the emptiness
Of a beer can
Can no longer feel
Superior over anything
Nothing but luck
Before granite claims
Years of avoidance
In unfulfilled hearts

Finding a family
Like me
In the dead of night
To dance
In moonlight
Every vertebrae
Of our spines

Is white dust
And soul found
In gathering
Ready to be
The one
In the box

To remain
I can always
Be found
Knowing dark
My mind

Thursday, July 3, 2014

DETOURS from Brian James Freeman and Cemetery Dance

Detours edited by Brian James Freeman
Featuring Stephen King, William Peter Blatty, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Michael Koryta, David Morrell, Michael Marshall and Michael Marshall Smith, Chet Williamson, Stewart O'Nan, and Owen King!
Just Announced And Both Editions Are Already More Than 50% Sold Out!

Hi Folks!

We're very pleased to announce we'll be publishing Detours edited by Brian James Freeman, one of our most exciting anthologies in a long time featuring some of the biggest names ever collected in one book!


Both editions of this title are already more than 50% sold out as we're making this public announcement of the project, and there are no other editions anywhere in the world in the works at this time. It could be a long time before this anthology sees print again, if it ever does, so don't wait to place your order!

About the Book:

Every now and then your favorite author takes a detour while writing a new novel: a chapter gets chopped, a connected short story is dreamed up, an essay about the book's origins is composed, or an oddity is created on a day off.

Collected here together for the first time are detours by Stephen King, William Peter Blatty, Dean Koontz, Clive Barker, Peter Straub, Kelley Armstrong, Michael Koryta, David Morrell, Michael Marshall and Michael Marshall Smith, Chet Williamson, Poppy Z. Brite, Stewart O'Nan, and Owen King.

Join these bestselling authors as they share the other works they wrote while they were writing the books you already know and love.

Table of Contents:
"Introduction" by Brian James Freeman
"Memory" by Stephen King
"When I was Twenty-four and Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth" by Dean Koontz
"Peter and PTR: Two Deleted Prefaces and an Introduction" by Peter Straub
"An Abandoned Fragment" by Ray Bradbury
"The Hunt" by Kelley Armstrong
"Winter Takes All" by Michael Koryta
"Dead Image" by David Morrell
"The Curious Odyssey of James Deacon (AKA James Dean)"/ "Where Darkness is the Only Light" by David Morrell
"Spares: The Missing First Chapter" by Michael Marshall Smith
"The Straw Men: Excerpt from Ch. 29, First Draft" by Michael Marshall
"Ash Wednesday: The Missing Chapter" by Chet Williamson
"Lost Chapter From the First Draft of Lost Souls" by Poppy Z. Brite
"The Ghost Ship: An Unfinished Manuscript" by Stewart O'Nan
"If There Were Demons Then Perhaps There Were Angels: William Peter Blatty's Own Story of The Exorcist" by William Peter Blatty
"The Curator" by Owen King
"A Night's Work" by Clive Barker

Limited Edition Signed by the Editor and Artists ($50), Deluxe Lettered Edition Signed by the Editor and Artists ($300)

Read more or place your order today while supplies last!

Thank you, as always, for your continuing support!