Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

From now until Friday, October 14, you can get my supernatural occult horror novels Devil’s Nightmare and Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions, for only 99 cents each! Just in time for some creepy Halloween reading! All you need is an Amazon account and a Kindle. Heck, you don’t even need a Kindle, because Amazon has nifty apps you can download on your iPad, iPhone, or whatever device you use to read e-books.

Below are descriptions of the first two books in the Devil’s Nightmare series with universal links to download each of them from Amazon.

Devil’s Nightmare (Book 1)

Veteran homicide detective Aaron Sanders thought he’d seen it all, but nothing could have prepared the seasoned detective for the mutilated remains of a kid’s parents or the equally vicious deaths of three boys at another crime scene. As Aaron works to solve the cases and protect his only witness, an orphaned child, he learns of an ancient curse that leaves him questioning all he’s ever believed. Now, to save himself and the child, Aaron must confront his own inner demons, and some he never knew existed. But if he does, will he make it out alive?

Devil’s Nightmare is an occult suspense horror novel by Robert Pruneda, who shakes readers with his visually graphic scenes, supernatural twists, and disturbing settings in this first installment of the Devil’s Nightmare series

Get it for $0.99 on Amazon

Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions (Book 2)

Sequel to the bestselling horror novel Devil’s Nightmare, Robert Pruneda brings readers another horrific thriller full of twists, chills, and a shocking conclusion. Two years have passed since Aaron Sanders retired from the Austin Police Department after what the media has labeled The Saint Hedwig Massacre. He moves his family out of the capital city to start a new life as a small town cop in Lost Maples, Texas, where he is once again caught in the middle of a mysterious investigation that has an eerie familiarity. This time, however, something even more sinister is responsible for the violent deaths. Evil knows no boundaries, and it is up to Aaron to figure out how to protect the residents of his community, and his family, from becoming its next victims

Get it for $0.99 on Amazon

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Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

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Creature of Maple Hills (eBook jpg)A novella from author of the best-selling supernatural occult horror novel, Devil’s Nightmare

Parents always tell their children that there are no such things as monsters. They’re only a figment of imagination caused by watching too many horror movies late at night. But what if they were wrong? What if the monsters were real? What if the creature that neighbor kid teased you about really was lurking in the woods behind your home?

On October 31, 1987, one family finds out exactly what it means to believe in monsters. Sometimes the news headlines don’t tell the real story.

Now available worldwide for Kindle and Kindle reading apps:

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Excerpt from Creature of Maple Hills

The wind was gusty when Brayden stepped out to the back yard. The temperature had also dropped several degrees in the past couple of hours. It felt colder than usual for a late October night in central Texas, but it still wasn’t cold enough to light up the fireplace. It could be sixty degrees outside and his mother would want to fire that thing up, a product of being cold-natured. But if the warm-natured family members didn’t make it nice and toasty inside for her, they’d all suffer from the complaints. At least a fireplace kept her from jacking up the heat on the thermostat.

“Hey, dummy,” he heard Cayden yell as he began his trek across the yard.

Brayden turned around, walking backwards. “What?

“Better take this with you.” His brother tossed him a flashlight. “Don’t want to get bitten by a snake.”

“You’re the one that’s afraid of snakes.”

“I’m not afraid of them. I just don’t like the slimy things. There’s a difference.”

“Not really. And they aren’t slimy. They just have smooth scales.”

“Slimy or not, don’t forget about that coral snake we saw in the woodpile last week.”

“I know how to handle snakes, Cayden.” He flipped the flashlight on.

“I’m just saying. If you get bit in the butt, I ain’t sucking the poison out.”

Brayden laughed. “I think I’ll be fine.”

His brother did make a good point. The snake they’d found in the woodpile was only about twelve inches long. Its small, fixed fangs would make it difficult to penetrate his skin—let alone through clothing. But Brayden also knew corals were the second most venomous snakes in the world. If it did manage to get in a lucky strike, it could mean very bad news for him. He wasn’t taking any chances.

He checked the woodpile for snakes, scorpions, tarantulas, or any other critters that his mother—or Cayden—would freak out about if they made it inside the house. Other than a few toads and a couple of small cockroaches, the coast was clear. Before carrying any logs inside, he rolled them around on the ground a few times, shining the light on them. He didn’t want to end up with a roach scurrying down his shirt. Venomous snakes and tarantulas he had no problem with. But cockroaches? Nuh-uh! No thank you. Those nasty things gave him the heebie-jeebies. That last tale in Creepshow sure as heck didn’t help the matter, either. Blah!

The first two logs were clear of any of Stephen King’s cockroaches, but while he inspected another log, something rustled from the edge of the forest nearby. Brayden spun around and shone the light in the direction the noise came from. It was more out of curiosity than fear. He loved animals and anticipated spotting a deer or maybe even a bobcat. That would be so cool! He’d never seen one out in the wild.

A couple of small trees swayed. The bushes rustled again. It couldn’t have been the wind because he’d only felt a slight breeze. Branches popped—big ones from the sound of it. Brayden squinted his eyes. He wasn’t certain, but he thought he caught a glimpse of something just inside the tree line. His eyes widened when something big moved within the shadows of the forest. More branches cracked as it moved. Brayden aimed the beam of light ahead of where he saw the movement. The light reflected off a set of eyes several feet above the ground. They blinked and then he heard a low growl and more twigs and branches snapping. It was moving toward him!

Brayden stepped backwards, tripping over one of the logs. He heard a loud snap and a roar that sounded like a lion. He screamed and sprinted towards the house, leaving the firewood behind. Without looking back, he rushed inside and locked the sliding glass door. His heart pounded in his chest, his breathing labored.

“What the heck?” his twin brother said. “You look like you just saw a ghost.”

Brayden switched off the porch light and yanked on the cord to close the vertical blinds. He peeked through them expecting to see a cougar in the backyard. That in itself would have been a rare and exciting sight, at least from the safety of inside the house. He didn’t see a cougar or any other animal in the darkness. Something was out there, though.

Cayden grabbed his shoulder, making his body jump. “Dude, what’s got you on edge? A bunch of raccoons chase you inside or something?” Cayden pulled the blinds aside. “Or maybe it’s the Creature of Maple Hills. Whoo-oo-oo-oo-oo-oo!” He lifted his hands and twitched his fingers at his brother while he voiced his bad ghost impression.

Brayden didn’t say anything. He just swallowed and gazed at his brother.

“Oh, give it a rest, Cayden,” their father said. The brothers turned around. “Dinner’s almost ready, so—hey, didn’t your mother ask you to get some firewood?”

Brayden nodded.

And? Go get it.”

“He did go out,” Cayden said. “But, chicken shit is too scared of the—”

“Hey! Watch your language, boy,” Brandon said, pointing at Cayden. He then repeated for Brayden to get the firewood.

He shook his head in a rapid tremor. “I’m not going back out there.”

“Why the hell not?”

“I think I heard a cougar . . . or something.”

Cayden laughed. “Oh, please. There’re no mountain lions in Austin.” He snatched the flashlight off the mantel. “I’ll do it.”

“No!” Brayden grabbed his brother’s arm. “Don’t go out there.”

“Dude, let go of my arm.” He pulled away from his brother’s grip and unlocked the patio door.

“I mean it, Cayden. There’s something out there. I saw it. It sounded big.”

Cayden rolled his eyes and shook his head. “You’re pathetic, you know that? I swear we didn’t come from the same sperm.”

“Watch it, Cayden,” his father warned.

“Sorry, Dad.” He glanced at Brayden and shook his head before heading outside.

“I’m not kidding,” Brayden said. “Don’t go out there.”

Cayden ignored the warning and hiked across the large back yard. Brayden pushed the blinds aside and watched his brother trek into the darkness.

* * *

Did you enjoy the excerpt? Download the full story to your Kindle reader here (FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers):

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Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

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Join Sharky’s VIP newsletter for access to exclusive giveaways, updates on new releases, and other goodies! You’ll also receive a gift just for signing up (Hint: It has something to do with this post). Click on the image below (or CLICK HERE) and a link to claim your gift will magically appear in your inbox.

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My favorite holiday of the year (Halloween, of course!) is fast approaching, which also means it’s time for another awesome giveaway for newsletter subscribers. This year I’ve partnered with four super-talented authors in the horror, science fiction, dystopian/post-apocalyptic, and thriller genres. In addition to my own work, I’m very excited to announce that Duncan Ralston, Thomas S. Flowers, AJ Powers, and Michael R. Hicks have graciously donated signed and e-book copies of some of their books for prizes. The only catch is that you sign up for our newsletters (current subscribers to my newsletter can also enter for a chance to win), but don’t worry, we don’t bombard our readers with a bunch of spam. Scroll down the page for more information.

On October 31, one lucky reader is going to walk away with two e-books, eight autographed paperbacks, and a $10 Amazon US gift card. Two of you will receive six e-books, and five of you will receive your choice of one free e-book to add to your digital reading library.

As an added bonus, all newsletter subscribers are entitled to a free e-book copy of my horror novella Creature of Maple Hills. You’ll get this one in an email within 24-48 hours of entering. As a hook, Michael Hicks is also giving away an e-book copy of the first book in his international best-selling Harvest trilogy, Season of the Harvest, and In Her Name series, First Contact. You can get them both free RIGHT HERE.

Here’s the list of all the goodies up for grabs in this year’s Halloween Mega Giveaway. To enter for your chance to win, just fill out the form at the bottom of this post. I’ll announce the winners here and in my newsletter on Halloween night.

GRAND PRIZE (1):

  • Signed paperback copy of Devil’s Nightmare (Devil’s Nightmare, Book 1) by Robert Pruneda
  • Signed paperback copy of Premonitions (Devil’s Nightmare, Book 2) by Robert Pruneda
  • Signed paperback copy of Reinheit by Thomas S. Flowers
  • Signed paperback copy of Dwelling (Subdue, Book 1) by Thomas S. Flowers
  • Signed paperback copy of Season of the Harvest (Harvest Trilogy, Book 1) by Michael R. Hicks
  • Signed paperback copy of Gristle & Bone by Duncan Ralston
  • Signed paperback copy of Salvage by Duncan Ralston
  • Signed paperback copy of As the Ash Fell by AJ Powers
  • eBook copy of The Journal of Avery Moore by Michael R. Hicks
  • eBook copy of The Black Gate by Michael R. Hicks
  • $10 Amazon US gift card

Update (9/10/16): Due to high international shipping costs, physical books will ship to USA and Canada addresses only. Exception: Since this wasn’t clarified in the original post, if you signed up before Sept. 10, 2016 and are overseas, you are still eligible to receive the signed copies (or you can have them sent to an address in the USA or Canada). I apologize for the misunderstanding, and thanks to “Galaxy Curse” for asking about this in the comments. 🙂

Winner will also have the option to receive e-books instead of paperbacks, if that is their preferred format.

SECOND PRIZE (2):

  • eBook copy of Salvage by Duncan Ralston
  • eBook copy of Reinheit by Thomas S. Flowers
  • eBook copy of The Black Gate by Michael R. Hicks
  • eBook copy of As the Ash Fell by AJ Powers
  • eBook copy of Devil’s Nightmare by Robert Pruneda
  • eBook copy Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions by Robert Pruneda

 

THIRD PRIZE (5):

  • Your choice of one e-book from participating authors in this giveaway. 

 

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For your chance to win, fill out the form below to enter the giveaway. Please note, current subscribers to my newsletter can also enter this giveaway, so please be sure to enter below if you already receive my newsletter. More information about the authors and the books included in this giveaway are included below the form. The deadline to enter is Saturday, October 29, at 11:59 p.m. (EDT) Good luck!

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ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Featured Image -- 6213Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Michael HicksBorn in 1963, Michael Hicks grew up in the age of the Apollo program and spent his youth glued to the television watching the original Star Trek series and other science fiction movies, which continue to be a source of entertainment and inspiration. Having spent the majority of his life as a voracious reader, he has been heavily influenced by writers ranging from Robert Heinlein to Jerry Pournelle and Larry Niven, and David Weber to S.M. Stirling. Now living in Florida with his beautiful wife, two wonderful stepsons and two mischievous Siberian cats, he lives his dream of writing full-time and spends as much time on the road in the family RV as possible…when he’s not at the beach!

AJ Powers

AJ Powers is a professional game developer working on some of the biggest franchises in the game world–Halo, Call of Duty, and Borderlands to name a few. However, once he leaves the fluorescent pit of polygons and PBR materials, he switches gears into a reading, writing monster fueled by caffeine and ideas that won’t stop pestering him. His first full-length novel, As the Ash Fell, released in May of 2015 and has become a best seller in both the US and the UK.

In addition to writing, AJ also does his own cover art, as well as covers for various other indie authors.

AJ resides in Ohio with his beautiful wife, Lia, and their two incredible children. They also have a dog that really could use some braces.

Thomas Flowers Profile PicThomas S. Flowers is the published author of several character driven stories of dark fiction. He resides in Houston, Texas, with his wife and daughter. He is published with The Sinister Horror Company’s horror anthology The Black Room Manuscripts. His debut novel, Reinheit, is published with Shadow Work Publishing, along with The Incredible Zilch Von Whitstein and Apocalypse Meow. His military/paranormal thriller series, The Subdue Series, both Dwelling and Emerging and Conceiving (coming soon), are published with Limitless Publishing, LLC. In 2008, he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army where he served for seven years, with three tours serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In 2014, Thomas graduated from University of Houston Clear Lake with a BA in History. He blogs at machinemean[dot]org, where he does author interviews and reviews on a wide range of strange yet oddly related topics.

Duncan Ralston was born in Toronto and spent his teens in small-town Ontario. As a “grownup,” Duncan lives with his girlfriend and their dog in Toronto, where he writes dark fiction about the things that frighten, sicken, and delight him. In addition to his twisted short stories found in GRISTLE & BONE, the anthologies EASTER EGGS & BUNNY BOILERS, WHAT GOES AROUND, DEATH BY CHOCOLATE, FLASH FEAR, and the charity anthologies BURGER VAN and THE BLACK ROOM MANUSCRIPTS Vol. 1, he is the author of the novel, SALVAGE, and the novellas EVERY PART OF THE ANIMAL and WOOM, an extreme horror Black Cover book from Matt Shaw Publications. He is one-third of the horror podcast Screen Kings, dedicated to dissecting Stephen King movies and miniseries.

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ABOUT THE BOOKS

Devils Nightmare

Veteran homicide detective Aaron Sanders thought he’d seen it all, but nothing could have prepared the seasoned detective for the mutilated remains of a kid’s parents or the equally vicious deaths of three boys at another crime scene. As Aaron works to solve the cases and protect his only witness, an orphaned child, he learns of an ancient curse that leaves him questioning all he’s ever believed. Now, to save himself and the child, Aaron must confront his own inner demons, and some he never knew existed. But if he does, will he make it out alive?

Devil’s Nightmare is an occult suspense horror novel by Robert Pruneda, who shakes readers with his visually graphic scenes, supernatural twists, and disturbing settings in this first installment of the Devil’s Nightmare series.

BUY THIS BOOK

PremonitionsEbook

Sequel to the bestselling horror novel Devil’s Nightmare, Robert Pruneda brings readers another horrific thriller full of twists, chills, and a shocking conclusion. Two years have passed since Aaron Sanders retired from the Austin Police Department after what the media has labeled The Saint Hedwig Massacre. He moves his family out of the capital city to start a new life as a small town cop in Lost Maples, Texas, where he is once again caught in the middle of a mysterious investigation that has an eerie familiarity. This time, however, something even more sinister is responsible for the violent deaths. Evil knows no boundaries, and it is up to Aaron to figure out how to protect the residents of his community, and his family, from becoming its next victims

BUY THIS BOOK.

Creature of Maple Hills (eBook jpg)

A novella from author of the best-selling supernatural occult horror novel, Devil’s Nightmare…

Parents always tell their children that there are no such things as monsters. They try to convince them that it’s only a figment of their imaginations. But what if the adults are wrong? What if some monsters were real but just stayed hidden away from civilization? What if the creature that neighbor kid teased you about really was lurking in the woods behind your home?

On October 31, 1987, one family finds out exactly what it means to believe in monsters. And sometimes the news headlines don’t tell the real story

BUY THIS BOOK

harvest-cover-full2-800-259x400

If you’ve enjoyed stories by James Rollins, Michael Crichton, Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, get ready to strap yourself in for a roller coaster ride of terror as you learn that you truly are what you eat…

At a genetics lab where a revolutionary strain of wonder food crops is being developed, FBI Special Agent Jack Dawson’s best friend and fellow agent, Sheldon Crane, is brutally murdered. The killer was looking for very special seeds that Jack’s friend had taken from the lab, and tore his body apart trying to find them…

Jack is convinced that Naomi Perrault, the beautiful geneticist who leads a group of suspected eco-terrorists, is behind the murder. But when FBI agents who aren’t quite who they claim to be show up on Jack’s doorstep after a bomb devastates the FBI lab in Quantico, destroying the evidence from his friend’s murder, Naomi becomes Jack’s only hope of survival.

Framed for murder and confronted by the terrifying truth of what the genetically engineered seeds stolen by his friend are truly for, Jack joins Naomi in a desperate battle across half the globe to save humanity from extermination…

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black-gate-cover-800h-375x600

It is early 1945 and Nazi Germany, reeling under the relentless onslaught of the Allied armies, looks to futuristic superweapons like jet fighters, V-1 buzz bombs, and V-2 rockets for its salvation. But Peter Miller, an analyst at the headquarters of the Office of Strategic Services in Washington D.C., learns of a secret Nazi weapons project that may pose a far greater threat: the Black Gate…

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Avery-Moore-Cover-800h-389x600

Avery Moore is rushed to the hospital with a suspected case of appendicitis. But when he awakens after his procedure, he finds himself in a small white room, strapped to a table and his lips sewn shut. Then he discovers that his nightmare has only just begun…

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first-contact-no-number-800h-386x600

Young Midshipman Ichiro Sato joined the Terran Navy to escape a tyrannical father and find freedom among the stars. He had no idea when he boarded the survey starship Aurora for his first assignment that he and his crew would make humanity’s first contact with a sentient alien species. Little did he know that this fateful encounter would trigger a catastrophic galactic war…

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AtAF_Cover_Kindle

Life in the frozen wastelands of Texas is anything but easy, but for Clay Whitaker there is always more at stake than mere survival.

Yellowstone, along with two other Super Volcanoes, exploded with a tremendous fury following months of heightened seismic activity worldwide. The devastating eruptions released unmeasurable quantities of ash into the atmosphere. Coastlines were changed. New canyons were formed. Temperatures plummeted, dragging economies down, too. With no real way to sustain order, governments around the world began to fold, societies collapsed.

It’s been seven years since the ash rained down from the sky. Populations are thinning. Food is scarce. Despair overwhelming. Clay and his sister Megan have taken a handful of orphaned children into their home—a home soaring 16 stories into the sky. Providing for his adopted family is a 24/7 job for Clay. And with roughly six short months a year to gather enough food and supplies to last the long, brutal winter, Clay is forced to spend much of his time away from home—scavenging, hunting, and bartering.

Despite the vicious, unforgiving world he lives in, Clay has grown accustomed to his new life. That is, until he meets Kelsey Lambert.

Now, with winter rolling in earlier than ever, Clay must swiftly adapt to the changes in his life to ensure the safety of those he cares about.

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Reinheit

Rebecca Moss never questioned the purchase of the strange seductive armchair. She wanted to please Frank. But the armchair has a dark purpose. Nazi officer Major Eric Schröder believed fervently in Hitler’s vision of purity. Now the chair has passed to Frank, an abusive thug who has his own twisted understanding of patriotism. There are those who want to destroy the armchair, to end its curse. But can the armchair be stopped before it completes its work?

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Dwelling FRONT

A group of inseparable childhood friends are now adults, physically and psychologically devastated by war…

A horrifying creature emerges from a sandstorm just before Ricky Smith dies in battle. Forced to leave base housing, his widow Maggie buys a home on Oak Lee Road in the town of Jotham. Maggie is isolated in the historic house…and disconcerted by strange clicking sounds inside the walls.

Jonathan Steele attempts to drink the painful past away…

Jonathan was wounded in that fateful battle and now suffers from PTSD. He wants to put the nightmare behind him, but when Ricky’s ghost appears with cryptic warnings about Maggie’s house, he begins to question his sanity.

Bobby Weeks is a homeless veteran struggling with a lycanthropic curse…

Afraid of bringing harm, Bobby stays far away from those he loves. But after a full moon, a mysterious woman approaches him and reveals a vision about a house with a sinister presence, and he realizes staying away might no longer be an option.

Minister Jake Williams lost his faith on the battlefield…

While Jake will do anything to reconnect with God, he turns to vices to fill the religious void. But a church elder urges him to take a sabbatical, and a ghost tells him to quit the ministry, and his life is more out of control than ever.

When Maggie wakes in a strange subterranean cavern, she can’t deny her home harbors dark secrets. Desperate, she sends letters to her old friends to reunite in Jotham, and events conspire to draw them all to the house…unaware of the danger awaiting them.

The friends have already been through hell, but can any of them survive the evil dwelling beneath the House on Oak Lee?

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Salvage

Something is Lurking Under the Lake…

Struggling to come to terms with the sudden death of his sister, Owen Saddler becomes obsessed with the lake that claimed her life. The remains of a forgotten town rest at the bottom of that dark body of water — along with a host of buried secrets…

Thirty years earlier, the town of Peace Falls had been flooded to build a hydroelectric dam, and its ruins remain below the surface of Chapel Lake. The strange disappearance of the town Pastor, along with many of the parishioners, still haunts the citizens of Chapel Lake. But does the church haunt the lake itself? Is Owen really seeing ghosts… or has he descended into the depths of madness?

SALVAGE is the debut horror novel of author Duncan Ralston (GRISTLE & BONE). A disturbing story of depression, religious fanaticism, and the afterlife, SALVAGE seeks to illuminate the darkness within us all

BUY THIS BOOK.

Gristle & Bone Cover

7 Delectable Tales of Terror

Short and novella-length fiction from the twisted imagination of Duncan Ralston, author of Salvage. Including a new Introduction from Chris Hall of DLS REVIEWS!

Monsters lurk among us. Cannibals. Werewolves. Artificial-Intelligence. The vengeful dead. Some want to harm us. Some, to help. Others seek to enslave us. Whatever their motives, we can’t ignore them any longer. They are in our businesses. Our homes. They are our neighbors and families. They are us.

BUY THIS BOOK

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For your chance to win, fill out the form below to enter the giveaway. Please note, current subscribers to my newsletter can also enter this giveaway, so please be sure to enter below if you already receive my newsletter. Deadline to enter is Saturday, October 29, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. (EDT). Good luck!

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Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Stalk Sharky on Facebook  Stalk Sharky on Twitter  Stalk Sharky on Google Plus  Stalk Sharky on Klout  Stalk Sharky on Goodreads  Watch Videos Posted by Sharky  Pinterest_Badge_Red  BB_Logo    Amazon.com-Logo.svg

Devil's Nightmare Summer Promo

Have I got a deal for you! From now until Friday, July 15, you can get my bestselling supernatural occult horror novel Devil’s Nightmare for FREE! That’s right, zilch, nada, zippo, gratis! But wait, there’s more! (Am I sounding like a late-night infomercial yet?) You can also get the sequel, Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions, for only 99 cents! All you need is an Amazon account and a Kindle. Heck, you don’t even need a Kindle, because Amazon has nifty apps you can download on your iPad, iPhone, or whatever device you use to read e-books.

Below are descriptions of the first two books in the Devil’s Nightmare series with universal links to download each of them from Amazon.

Devil’s Nightmare (Book 1)

Veteran homicide detective Aaron Sanders thought he’d seen it all, but nothing could have prepared the seasoned detective for the mutilated remains of a kid’s parents or the equally vicious deaths of three boys at another crime scene. As Aaron works to solve the cases and protect his only witness, an orphaned child, he learns of an ancient curse that leaves him questioning all he’s ever believed. Now, to save himself and the child, Aaron must confront his own inner demons, and some he never knew existed. But if he does, will he make it out alive?

Devil’s Nightmare is an occult suspense horror novel by Robert Pruneda, who shakes readers with his visually graphic scenes, supernatural twists, and disturbing settings in this first installment of the Devil’s Nightmare series

Get it FREE on Amazon

Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions (Book 2)

Sequel to the bestselling horror novel Devil’s Nightmare, Robert Pruneda brings readers another horrific thriller full of twists, chills, and a shocking conclusion. Two years have passed since Aaron Sanders retired from the Austin Police Department after what the media has labeled The Saint Hedwig Massacre. He moves his family out of the capital city to start a new life as a small town cop in Lost Maples, Texas, where he is once again caught in the middle of a mysterious investigation that has an eerie familiarity. This time, however, something even more sinister is responsible for the violent deaths. Evil knows no boundaries, and it is up to Aaron to figure out how to protect the residents of his community, and his family, from becoming its next victims

Get it for $0.99 on Amazon

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Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

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On Friday afternoon, April 29, 2016 hundreds of authors, editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and book managers received disheartening news that their publisher Booktrope is going out of business. Booktrope is a hybrid publisher that gave new and seasoned authors an alternative to traditional publishing and an innovative option to launch their books without the upfront costs of independent publishing (editing, proofreading, formatting, and cover design). The creative people involved in the process of publishing the books were all freelancers. Instead of getting paid a flat fee, creative team members would get a percentage of royalties. It certainly wasn’t for everyone, but it worked for a lot authors and freelancers. At least for a while. Things began to fall apart over the past year or so as the company attempted to grow and innovate. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great idea, but sadly, it just didn’t work.

My history with Booktrope

A friend of mine was on the staff and had tried to persuade me to relaunch my Amazon best-selling horror novel Devil’s Nightmare with Booktrope a couple of years ago. It was tempting, because my first edition wasn’t professionally edited, but it was still selling well. Long story short, in December, 2014, I decided to take the offer and publish both Devil’s Nightmare novels with Booktrope under their Forsaken horror imprint. I wasn’t thrilled about giving up a chunk of my royalty share, but my books needed professional editing and I couldn’t afford the upfront costs.

After putting together my team, I spent the next six months getting Devil’s Nightmare edited, proofread, new cover designed, laid out, and re-published under Booktrope’s Forsaken horror imprint. After seeing the final product, I knew I had made the right decision. Devil’s Nightmare is much better now. We relaunched it on July 6, 2015 and then relaunched the sequel Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions on February 16, 2015. While the process took longer than I had hoped, it was worth it… until rumors started spreading that Booktrope wasn’t doing well and struggling to stay afloat.

Signs of impending closure

About six months ago, my friend who “recruited” me left the company. He was professional about it and never told me specifically why he left, but I had my suspicions. A number of editors, cover designers, and authors had also jumped ship over the past several months. The company started making changes that I thought were positive, and just recently had gotten Devil’s Nightmare and several other Sci-Fi and Horror authors’ books in a Humble Bundle promotion giving us a lot of new potential readers. Nearly 7,000 bundles were sold in March. And then BookBub (a very popular promotional book club) selected Devil’s Nightmare to be featured in their May 3 newsletter. Things were looking great! Then I got the news that Booktrope was officially going out of business.

A message from Booktrope:

We are deeply saddened to report Booktrope is ceasing business effective May 31, 2016. We are not accepting submissions and production is complete.

Booktrope has helped hundreds of authors get over 4 million copies of their books into the hands of readers. We are proud our creative teams have produced almost 1000 books using our platform. Thank you to all readers, authors, investors, partners, and creative team members who were a part of this journey with us.

Booktrope plans to de-list every book published by them on May 31, which means I will need to re-publish Devil’s Nightmare and Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions once again. This couldn’t have come at a worse time… right as I’m about to launch a big promotion. Needless to say, I’m a bit frustrated.

Moving forward

I don’t regret my decision to publish with Booktrope because of the friendships I’ve made with staff members and fellow authors. I’ve also learned a few things about the publishing industry. But most importantly, I think I’ve learned that I’m an “indie” at heart. So, I’m not going to let this temporary obstacle knock me down. I started my writing career as an indie author and I’ve decided to continue down that path. This has created some unexpected work for me and will delay a couple of projects, but I’m okay with that. It’s just part of this unpredictable business.

Stay tuned for what comes next as I transition back to self-publishing. For those of you who have purchased my books, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude. One door is shutting, but that doesn’t mean I’m giving up on my dreams. I promise to continue to work hard to bring you more stories for years to come. I may also have some really exciting news in the near future. I just can’t say anything, because nothing is official yet. How’s that for a cliffhanger? 🙂

Cheers!

Sharky Teeth

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Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

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april fools post 2

Today, it’s my pleasure to hand over the keys to my friends and fellow authors Sheri Williams and P Mattern to tell you about a special April Fools Day promotion…

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The trees are after you! No wait, not really, don’t run away scared!

Hey there! Are you a fan of April Fools? Like the jokes? Well this in NO JOKE! This April Fools, two spectacular female horror writers are giving you a super non-scary deal. Buy Sheri Williams’ Gothic horror, Forest of Blood (which is on sale for 99 cents) and receive a free copy of P Mattern’s The Forest of Bleeding Trees.

All you need to do is swing by Sheri Williams’ author page HERE and show proof of receipt for Forest of Blood and you can claim your FREE copy of The Forest of Bleeding Trees! It’s an April Fools BOGO!!

Bloody trees April Fools Promo

Sharky Teeth

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Profile Photo (Cropped)

Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Stalk Sharky on Facebook  Stalk Sharky on Twitter  Stalk Sharky on Google Plus  Stalk Sharky on Klout  Stalk Sharky on Goodreads  Watch Videos Posted by Sharky  Pinterest_Badge_Red  BB_Logo

The Humble Book Bundle that launched a couple of weeks ago is ending very soon… Tuesday, March 29, to be exact. The is the last chance to get $120 worth of science fiction and thriller books for an insanely low price. You get to choose the price and decide how the funds are allocated. There are three tiers that unlock different books, but it only takes $15 to get all 24 books in the bundle. Pay what you want. It’s your choice. Here is a list of all the books included in this rare and epic Humble Book Bundle:

“Devils Nightmare” by Robert Pruneda

“Salvage” by Duncan Ralston

“Gristle and Bone” by Duncan Ralston

“Willing Servants” by Eric Turowski

“Trigger” by Jill Meengs

“Destroyer of Worlds” by Dennis Sharpe

“Wednesday” by Dennis Sharpe

“The Reaper’s Daughter” by KM Randall

“Organ Reapers” by Shay West

“Cathedral of Dreams” by Terry Persun

“A Beginners Guide to Invading Earth” by Gerhard Gerhke

“The Girls Guide to the Apocolypse” by Daphne Lamb

“Daimones” by Massimo Marino

“Once Humans” by Massimo Marino

“Shadow in the Flames” by Michael Munz

“Paradise Rot” by Larry Weiner

“Sugar Scars” by Travis Norwood

“Letter From Hell” by H.Lee Mendelson

“Parallel Extinction” by T.R. Stevens

“Awakening” by Samantha Long

“Mission Veritas” by John Murphy

“Reinheit” by Thomas S. Flowers

“Omni” by Andrea Murray

“Life After the Undead” by Pembroke Sinclair

So, why are we offering all of these books at such a ridiculously low price? We want to introduce you to some talented authors you may not have heard of before and raise money for charity at the same time. To take advantage of this awesome deal CLICK HERE, and please share with your friends and family. I’ve included simple links below:

Share on Twitter

Share on Facebook

Share on Google +

Share via Email

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $150.00 Amazon gift card!

Get them all for yourself or choose the gifting option to hook up a friend or family member to fill up their e-book reading device! Enjoy!

Sharky Teeth

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Profile Photo (Cropped)

Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Stalk Sharky on Facebook  Stalk Sharky on Twitter  Stalk Sharky on Google Plus  Stalk Sharky on Klout  Stalk Sharky on Goodreads  Watch Videos Posted by Sharky  Pinterest_Badge_Red  BB_Logo

Humble Bundle Graphic

I’m excited to announce my publisher’s very first Humble Book Bundle that launched on Wednesday and is running for two weeks. My horror novel, Devil’s Nightmare, along with 23 other titles are available together in a special bundle worth over $120 if purchased separately. The cool thing is that a portion of the proceeds go to charity and you get to name the price. There are three tiers that unlock different books, but it only takes $15 to get all 24 books in the bundle. Pay what you want. It’s your choice. Here is a list of all the books included in this rare and epic Humble Book Bundle:

“Devils Nightmare” by Robert Pruneda

“Salvage” by Duncan Ralston

“Gristle and Bone” by Duncan Ralston

“Willing Servants” by Eric Turowski

“Trigger” by Jill Meengs

“Destroyer of Worlds” by Dennis Sharpe

“Wednesday” by Dennis Sharpe

“The Reaper’s Daughter” by KM Randall

“Organ Reapers” by Shay West

“Cathedral of Dreams” by Terry Persun

“A Beginners Guide to Invading Earth” by Gerhard Gerhke

“The Girls Guide to the Apocolypse” by Daphne Lamb

“Daimones” by Massimo Marino

“Once Humans” by Massimo Marino

“Shadow in the Flames” by Michael Munz

“Paradise Rot” by Larry Weiner

“Sugar Scars” by Travis Norwood

“Letter From Hell” by H.Lee Mendelson

“Parallel Extinction” by T.R. Stevens

“Awakening” by Samantha Long

“Mission Veritas” by John Murphy

“Reinheit” by Thomas S. Flowers

“Omni” by Andrea Murray

“Life After the Undead” by Pembroke Sinclair

So, why are we offering all of these books at such a ridiculously low price? We want to introduce you to some talented authors you may not have heard of before and raise money for charity at the same time. To take advantage of this awesome deal CLICK HERE, and please share with your friends and family. I’ve included simple links below:

Share on Twitter

Share on Facebook

Share on Google +

Share via Email

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $150.00 Amazon gift card!

Get them all for yourself or choose the gifting option to hook up a friend or family member to fill up their e-book reading device! Enjoy!

Sharky Teeth

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Profile Photo (Cropped)

Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Stalk Sharky on Facebook  Stalk Sharky on Twitter  Stalk Sharky on Google Plus  Stalk Sharky on Klout  Stalk Sharky on Goodreads  Watch Videos Posted by Sharky  Pinterest_Badge_Red  BB_Logo

Reinheit Banner 851 x 315

Today, I hand over the keys to my website to fellow horror author and friend Thomas S. Flowers to share with us why women make the best protagonists in the horror genre. He’s also here to tell us about his new book Reinheit, which is now available at online book retailers worldwide. Be sure to stick around to the end for an opportunity to win a signed copy of Reinheit by entering his Rafflecopter giveaway.

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Dames de Horreur
By: Thomas S. Flowers

With October being, as we nerds of macabre tend to think, the month of fright, I thought I’d talk a little about the role of women in horror and who some of my favorite lady characters are in the genre. Women have broken boundaries and defied not only gender clichés, but also social and cultural trends as well, with more tenacity than any Joe Shmoe on the block. Now, in all honesty, horror is not without its own stereotypical tropes, but in fairness, horror has also done more to water down those grey stone walls of truism. Slasher movies for one have a nasty habit of typecasting women into weak character roles. Yet, looking at it from another angle, you might notice that as said slasher movie victim is running around bumping into dead things and screaming at the top of her lungs, she survives while typically every single if not 99% of the male character population parishes in some grotesque way. At the very least, perhaps even slasher movies are saying that when the shit hits the fan, women are survivors.

Consider Tina Shepard from Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood, she didn’t need help from hunky would-be boyfriend Nick, she took care of business all her own. In 2013’s home invasion horror movie You’re Next, which may or maybe count as a slasher flick (we’re going to roll with it), but in the film while there are a few damsels in distress, Erin Hanson (played by the beautiful Sharni Vinson) utterly dominates the movie, chewing bubble gum and kicking ass. To say the only contribution women have made for horror is to play the victim is a gross generalization. In movies where women are intended to be the victim, they survive. And then there’s the other side of the road, the villains.

The creepiest characters and monsters of horror, in my humble opinion, have been women. Consider Kathy Bates in Misery and you tell me if her portrayal as Annie Wilkes didn’t creep you the fuck out! Let’s all be honest here guys, put aside our egocentric macho bullshit and come clean. Let’s admit it, women have done more for horror in recent years than men. Boom. I went there.

3D ReinheitAs a writer of dark fiction, the role women play in my stories are typically strong albeit human roles. In my recently published novel, Reinheit, Rebecca Moss is a kind, gentle, comedic woman. She’s not perfect though, as no one is. Rebecca’s weakness is in her stubborn belief people can change. She suffers the wrath of her husband because, well, despite loathing his boiling temperament, she fundamentally loves him. However, as the story continues, we see more of the positive potential in Rebecca, the courageous spirit of the suffering hero. When facing impossible situations, her strength blossoms.

Writing Rebecca was extremely fun as it was tragic. There is a laundry list of fictional characters that I molded Rebecca from, most of which have come from my love of horror and strange television. Here are a few of my favorite women in the genre.

Lina Leandersson as Eli in Let the Right One In released in our most desperate hour, during a very strange and scary time for vampire tropes. I hate to mention it, but it needs to be said, in 2008, vampire lore had been polluted with Twilight-esk glowworm sparkle people making me want to scream! And thank Zeus those days are over. Let the Right One In was a welcomed breath of fresh air, an absolute amazing horror flick. And Lina Leandersson playing the century’s old vampire Eli was magnificent. She was so innocent until she wasn’t. The best scene has to be at the pool when Oskar is confronted with some rather violent bullies. You do not see her inflict the carnage, but when Oskar comes out of the pool and you see all the gore surrounding this small adolescent girl, it is an utter chilling moment in horror history. Her portrayal as his protector was totally believable. The American remake was decent, but I have to go with the original Swedish version. It was by far the superior.

Next, there’s Gillian Anderson as Special Agent Dana Scully in The X-Files (1993-2003, 2008). What can really be said about our favorite doubting Special Agent? The X-Files had a huge impact on my life growing up. And the show is still good. Better than most of what passes as TV nowadays, not to sound like some bitter old man. Gillian Anderson’s portrayal as Dana Scully is interesting. She’s the yin to Fox Mulder’s yang (not to sound dirty). She was the rational part of the relationship, Mulder was the wide eye dreamer who jumped at any and all shadow that spelled conspiracy or extraterrestrial or both. She was a skeptic, sure, but she had to be to level out Mulder’s eccentricism. She was also the scientist, the doctor, the brains of the operation. Her portrayal is interesting because it’s a role typically played by men. Are men not the more rational? DON’T ANSWER THAT! (Cough-cough, wink-wink).

Then we’ve got Sigourney Weaver as Ellen Ripley in Aliens (1986). Though the first time Miss Weaver portrayed Ellen Ripley was in Alien (1979), she did not feel to me as strong of a character as she was in its sequel, Aliens. She was a survivor, for sure in Alien, but in Aliens she kicked some major xenomorphic ass! In James Cameron’s epic sci-fi horror, Ripley was easily the strongest character not only because of what she did, but the fact that she did it while struggling with PTSD, struggling with the memories of the traumatic events from the first film. She was a protector when at times you felt she was the one needing protection. Hell, she came out on top while every single one, save Hicks, of the supposedly badass Marines gets bush whacked! She even goes toe to toe with the “get away from her you bitch” queen bee! Aliens is an excellent movie for many reasons, but the best parts are watching Ripley transform from traumatized survivor to tuff-as-nails She-Ra!

Next on my favorites list is Jane Levy as Mia in The Evil Dead (2013). I have no idea what some nerds have against this movie. It is absolutely fantastic. It wasn’t a reboot, it wasn’t a remake, it wasn’t a continuation; 2013’s The Evil Dead was simply another cabin-in-the-woods movie cast in an Evil Dead universe. The mood from the very beginning is grainy and dark, given the subject matter of Mia’s rehabilitation with drug addiction. And it just gets darker. And her struggles felt real. And when the table turns and her inner-demon, as they say, comes out…her creep factor goes sky high! It was fun watching Mia start off playing the victim of the demon that had taken hold of her, and then in actuality becoming the monster (and a scary one at that!). And it was satisfying seeing her, by the end, transform into a person willing to literally and metaphorically come out swinging. Mia was not some Ash trope, she was her own character, and a strong and realistic one at that.

Next, I’d like to talk about Gaylen Ross who played Francine in Dawn of the Dead (1978). While I struggled between Gaylen as Francine in the original and Sara Polly as Ana in the 2004 remake, because I felt both characters and women are strong in their respective films, in the end I had to go with Gaylen Ross. Blame it on my favoritism to the original classic or on my love for Romero or whatever you want. Regardless, who can deny the magnetism in Ross’ portrayal as Francine? She was a lone woman surrounded by male machismo and was still able to keep her voice heard over all the grunts and farts. From the very get-go, when they land at the mall and she says, “Stephen, I’m afraid. You’re hypnotized by this place. All of you! You don’t see that it’s not a sanctuary, it’s a prison! Let’s just take what we need and get out of here!” Yet, while being overruled by the male majority, she remains patient and lets it slide until her prophecy becomes reality. Of course, her best line is when the boys hatch a plan to secure the mall without consulting her and she confronts them with her own demands, telling Stephen to never leave her without a gun again because (she states mockingly) “I just might know how to use it.” And what’s more interesting is that she is not only the lone woman in the group, but also pregnant. There’s that motherhood qualia going on, which says something to the strength of her character to deal with these boys and keep her cool in the midst of a zombie apocalypse.

Lastly, I’d like to give honorable mention to Ashley Laurence who played Kirsty Cotton in Hellraiser (1987) & Hellbound: Hellraiser II (1988). I want to mention Ashley Laurence’s portrayal as Miss Cotton in both films because she was pretty much the same character types in both films, though you can imagine that in Hellbound she was struggling more with the hellish (no pun intended) events from the first movie. Miss Cotton was a believable loving daughter who did everything she could to get-along her step-mother, but as the classic trope demands, her step-mother was quite wicked and unlovable. I love Cotton’s character. She’s not weak necessarily. She is a survivor. And she most certainly has her wits about her during times of tribulation. Consider the moment in Hellraiser when she first opens Lemarchand’s box (aka The Lament Configuration, aka The Puzzle Box). When the cenobites first appear, though terrified, for obvious reasons, she is still able to keep her cool and hatch a plan to trade her life for Frank’s. And in the end, when the cenobites attempt to alter the deal she sends each and every one of them back to hell via solving the puzzle box. In Hellbound, though traumatized, she not only confronts the return of her wicked step-mother, Julia, but manages to humanize Pinhead (Doug Bradley) and the other cenobites, allowing them to turn back to their original selves. Clare Higgins also deserves mention here. I was not impressed with her portrayal as Julia in the first Hellraiser, her character was too needing of Frank to stand on her own. But in Hellbound, the gloves came off! She was a strong and dominate villain, blood thirsty and seductive, even without skin. Yet, despite strong acting from Higgins, I’m more favorable toward Laurence as Cotton. She was smart and foul mouthed, a perfect combination.

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ReinheitReinheit
Thomas S Flowers

Genre: Thriller

Publisher: Forsaken

Date of Publication: July 29, 2015

ISBN: 1513701673
ASIN: B013118P92

Number of pages: 184
Word Count: 62,200

Cover Artist: Travis Eck

Book Description:

Rebecca Moss never questioned the purchase of the strange seductive armchair. She wanted to please Frank. But the armchair has a dark purpose. Nazi officer Major Eric Schröder believed fervently in Hitler’s vision of purity. Now the chair has passed to Frank, an abusive thug who has his own twisted understanding of patriotism. There are those who want to destroy the armchair, to end its curse. But can the armchair be stopped before it completes its work?

BN   Amazon   Goodreads   Apple

Excerpt:

The Eastern Front, Lithuania. July 1941.

The armchair moaned delightfully as Major Erich Schröder sat. Outside, the sun burst into the mountain ridge, filling the sky with brilliant orange and red flames. Schröder watched out the open window from his seat in front of a dormant fireplace. He poured a glass of Berentzen Doornkaat schnapps from the decanter he had brought with him from home. Helen had packed it for him, wrapped with last month’s funny pages. One of the strips discarded in the waste bin revealed a valiant rosy cheeked Dutchman named Conrad, demonstrating the power of solidarity in the factory workforce. The energetic and turbulent rhythm of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony floated into the room from some far off record player in the barracks. Love this performance. Schröder closed his eyes and sunk farther into the armchair. The cool leather and haunting harmony of Beethoven set his mind at ease, comforting his weary bones. The comfort abated his thoughts, for the moment at least, of what lay ahead and the unordinary expectations levied upon his young shoulders by high command.

Expectations? he thought. God help us. Schröder lifted his glass and took a long gulp, biting down against the burning sensation crawling in his throat. Expectations… Horrible, horrible expectations… But it must be done. Himmler has given the order, and so it must be. Ein Völk, ein Reich, ein Führer. For we are one people, one nation, of one leader…

Schröder had believed in the vision for a thousand-year Reich ever since he was a young boy, serving in the Hitler youth movement, following in the shadow of Herbert Norkus, the child martyr. Schröder believed in his führer fervently and demonstrated so by enlisting in the Waffen officer program when he became of age. And that strong belief made him stand out from among his peers to become a full party member of the Schutzstaffel order, the dreaded and feared SS. And even after receiving his first orders, being forced to follow on the boot heels of the regular army into the Eastern Front, he retained his faith in the great commission, the plan to save Germany, to bring the Fatherland into rebirth, renewal, into purification…but at what cost? he wondered.

“Major?” called a strong male voice from outside the door, interrupting Schröder’s thoughts.

“Who is it?” asked Schröder. He took another long swig before rubbing the cold glass against his temple, struggling to abate the crest of an emerging headache.

“Lieutenant Braun, sir.”

Ah, yes, Braun. The thought of the handsome lieutenant was not unpleasant. Unlike the rest of the old reservists assigned to his unit, Braun was different, younger than Schröder, which wasn’t saying much. But Braun is local, Schröder recalled, just like the other swine. Well…the lieutenant must be the exception, proving not all of Lithuania is as ghastly as it appears. Perhaps there are some redeeming qualities, he thought with a hungry smile.

“Enter,” Schröder finally answered. His face returned to its narrow coldness. He brushed his short-cropped, wavy, blond hair to the side. He crossed his legs and stared into the fireplace, as if contemplating a fire.

The door opened. Schröder listened to the marching of feet coming to a halt directly behind the armchair. He guessed there were at least two men, uniforms flat as iron, brown as earth, with burning red armbands and swastikas on each muscular biceps. The last being a fantasy, of course, most of the men under his command were police reservists from the rural portions of the country, not at all the physique of physically disciplined soldiers. Well, except for Braun. He is most certainly fit. Schröder took another gulp from his favorite schnapps, quietly fantasizing Braun’s undergarments, waiting on either of the reservists to speak, but no one did. Only silence, except for the ice cubes ringing against his crystalline glass.

“What is it?” Schröder asked impatiently, his breath on fire. His head felt dizzy.

“Sir…” began Braun, his voice boyish but prudent.

“For God’s sake, spit it out,” Schröder barked.

“The delivery, sir. It has arrived.”

“Delivery?”

“The cases of schnapps, sir.”

“Oh, yes, good,” said Schröder taking another swig, nearly killing the glass. “Assign a small detail and unload some of the boxes into one of the storage rooms. Keep the rest on the truck,” he ordered with heated breath.

“Yes, major.”

“Use the quartermaster’s room, if you must. When you’re finished, have the rest of the company form up in the courtyard,” Schröder ordered. His mind began to drift between his nearly empty glass and the sound of crows squawking about outside the window, desperately searching for a place to nest before winter. A strong breeze found its way inside. The odor of pine and spruce filled his quaint personal quarters decorated with yellow flower wallpaper and a quaint single bed covered in soft linen sheets. An old quaint oak dresser and vanity sat next to the bed, and a small quaint circular kitchen table, also made of solid oak, sat on the other side of the fireplace. The burgundy leather Queen Ann high back armchair was last of the furniture.

Schröder waved his hand in his usual form of dismissal. He listened to the snapping of boot heels as the men shouted in unison, “Sieg, Heil!”

“And, lieutenant…” Schröder added.

“Yes, major?” asked Braun.

“Keep it quiet.”

“Sir?”

“I don’t want a bunch of questions about why we have the liquor on the truck. I want this done quickly and quietly, understood?”

“Yes, sir.”

The men filed out, leaving Schröder alone again. He sat there and took another sip of schnapps, watching the dead untouched logs with little interest. Outside, the sun had fully disappeared behind the mountain ridge. The sky was black. His mind went to the hundreds of boxes of cheap apple liquor in the cargo truck outside in the courtyard. The men will need it, after today, he thought. After tonight, and the next night, and the night after that, and so on and so forth until this madness is over. Until the solution has been answered. When the vermin are eradicated, removed, liquidated from the purity of the Reich. The rats, the money-grubbing Jews, stabbed us in the back in Versailles, but never again. Schröder smiled weakly and took another gulp, finishing off the glass with a grimace. The ice was cold, but the liquor burned going down, warming his otherwise empty stomach. Licking his lips, he slumped deeper into the armchair. The cushions felt more than welcoming. The Queen Anne was soft, yet sturdy, dependable, and dare he say, comforting? Yes. Yes, even in a waste of a country as Lithuania, given nightmarish orders. Yes, even here, something as simple as a chair could be comforting. It whispered to him. The tall backrest shielded him from the world and told him everything was going be fine. The voice lingered with Schröder like a fat dark cloud caught in a valley before a storm. Where have you been? he wondered. Who last sat on you? Who else have you comforted? Who will you comfort when I’m gone? You’re mine, you know that? You’ll always be mine. His thoughts teased real jealousy.

Schröder recalled when the armchair had first arrived. He remembered when Himmler, the führer’s shadow, had delivered it personally from Latvia. A gift, supposedly, for Schröder’s first command. Himmler arrived in the dead of night and Schröder had thought it odd for someone of his stature to take the time to visit someone new in the order. Or perhaps that was the reason for the visit. Did he come to inspect me, my men, our resolve? Schröder waved the thought away with his empty glass. Does it matter? Was it really so strange for a man like Himmler to drop in, even unannounced? No. Schröder knew of Himmler’s obsessive reputation and the simple fact that the man commanded all of the SS, including all the Einsatzgruppen units, with the entire final solution for the Jewish question residing on his shoulders, was warrant enough for paranoid examinations. I’d do the same thing in his place, Schröder believed. How could he not? While the regular Waffen army served a purpose, driving back the vile communist filth, the Einsatzgruppen, the killing squads, as rumored to be called by some of the men, were given orders of the upmost import. On our shoulders alone sits victory for Germany. Only through us can Himmler succeed and thus Hitler’s final solution be answered. Only through us can the one-thousand-year Reich be achieved. So, when an officer like Himmler drops in unannounced, bearing a gift for your recently awarded commission, you do not turn him away, and you most certainly do not ask questions, Schröder weighed, pouring another glass of schnapps when his door thundered yet again.

Reinheit 99 Cent Sale

“Major?” called Lieutenant Braun in his usual vigor manner.

“Yes?” answered Schröder.

“The detail is done and the men have begun to form up, sir.”

Schröder peeled himself begrudgingly from the armchair. His skin felt as if it were being ripped away from the leather. It was difficult, more than it should have been, for Schröder to get to his feet. It was as if gravity were working against him. The more he moved, the more he didn’t want to move. He hesitated to leave the warm comfort of the high-back armchair, or the warm breeze from the window, or the bottle of schnapps, or even his lonely late-night fantasies of a bare-backed Lieutenant Braun in his chambers. Schröder pictured the young lieutenant naked, erect, pulsating with heat, and smelling of plums. But Schröder knew he had no time for fantasies such as those, not now. Now he had a job to complete, the commission, and until then he would not be able to return home to Munich, to his beloved Helen, and their faux marriage, and her ravenous breasts and plump lips he absolutely had no desire for. But, despite his pretentious social mask, of which he so often hid, that fairy tale existence was more enjoyable and pleasing than the cold nothingness of Lithuania. At least in Munich he could have something more than fantasy. Full moons he could sink his teeth into and lustful adventures out on Blumenstraße’s dark avenue, where men and boys overfilled his cup. A place where names were never asked, never given. Or at least not real names.

God help me if anyone ever found out. He shuddered. They’d stich a pink badge on a pair of rags and send me on the midnight train to Dachau, or worse. Auschwitz-Birkenau. And what would poor Helen think of the charade? That her husband loved the taste of cock? She would be absolutely abashed! Schröder let loose a faint dry laugh despite the remnant fear of being caught lumped heavily in his heart.

There was another soft knock at the door. “Sir?” asked Braun. “Is everything okay?”

“I’ll be out in a moment,” the major barked.

Schröder pulled himself from the comfortable armchair and smoothed out the wrinkles in his black uniform. He noticed a scuff mark on the toe of his otherwise perfectly gloss black boots. Frowning, he crossed over to the small table, set down his empty glass, and picked up a rag. Kneeling, he polished out the blemish in quick sweeps. He stood and looked himself over in the vanity. Satisfied with his appearance, Schröder opened the door to his room. Lieutenant Braun was just outside, alone, and snapping to attention. One hand shot down to his side while the other flew upward, palm down, fingers held firm together and straight, as one might imagine how the Romans may have saluted Caesar.

“Sieg, Heil,” shouted Braun.

Schröder returned the salute, smiling on the inside. Licking his lips. At least there was more than just the lieutenant’s physique and beautiful bright blue eyes that he admired. Braun was, if anything else, dedicated, loyal, and obedient. Qualities one should always surround themselves with.

“Sir,” Braun’s arm returned to his side, “If I may, why have we assembled the men at such an hour?” he asked, nodding toward the dark sky outside the hallway window.

“Judenfrei,” replied Schröder.

Braun did not mask his confusion.

“Do you believe it is possible?” Schröder added, almost singing.

“To be free of Jews? Yes, major.” Braun still looked confused.

“How?”

Major Schröder knew the young lieutenant could not answer. How could he? He had only the slightest idea. A rumor, at best…as for the particulars in how the Reich would free themselves of Jews. Only the higher echelons knew. Most assumed the same fate the POWs met, when the Communist sympathizers and partisan survivors had been gathered to the labor camps, and would think this seemed a possible solution for the Jews as well. Made sense. To collect them and then transport them off to the camps as well. But how can that be? Schröder thought. Of all the camps, certainly they could not hold all the Jews in Lithuania, nor all the POWs, gypsies, criminals, or homosexuals, all of the Reich’s undesirables. There were too many enemies and simply not enough room for them all. Certainly, Braun has mulled through all this.

“Well, lieutenant?” prodded Schröder. “Let’s hear it.” The Major smiled foxily.

Braun looked white, befuddled in his confusion. He almost seemed to laugh. Perhaps a sudden idea had sprung to mind? A terrible idea? Whatever the cause, the lieutenant remained silent. Is he thinking of what I’ve been ordered? Of mass extermination? All of them? Schröder could sense the lieutenant’s unease. He looked flushed and short of breath. He knows. He simply doesn’t want to say it out loud. It would be too horrible, unfathomable to say out loud, the major thought. He understood because he felt the same unease within himself, the unease of exterminating an entire people. The annihilation of European Jewry. The weight of killing not just the men, but women and the children, both the very young and the infirm. But we must, for the nation. For the purity of the Reich.

“Lieutenant, I am going to tell you something that will not be easy to hear. In fact, it’ll be damn near impossible to hear,” Schröder began. “But we must. Such courage will be needed if we are to succeed in our mission…for the purity of the Reich.” Yes, Erich, keep telling yourself that. But at what cost? How much are you willing to pay? At the cost of your own soul? Your sanity? Schröder pushed his weakness away. “Our goal will require the strongest will. Tonight, we will march toward Kovno, arriving at the break of dawn.” Schröder paused. He took a deep breath. “We will then begin the process of eradicating the vermin from the Kovno ghetto. For the purity of the Reich, the infestation must be absolutely eradicated. There can to be no survivors, lieutenant. Do you understand what I am saying?” Schröder watched. Waited.

Braun was a ghost, as white as death. “We are to…kill them, major? All?”

“Is it villainess to put down a diseased dog? Or is it an act of mercy?” asked Schröder.

Braun was silent. He nodded quietly.

Schröder nodded as well, but said nothing. They said nothing for some time. Neither would look at each other. In the silence, Schröder could hear voices stirring from outside through the second floor hallway window. In the courtyard below, Bravo Company was beginning to wonder, no doubt, why they had been ordered into formation at such a late hour in the night. Schröder oddly began to wonder himself what Helen was doing back home. Meeting up with a friend for dinner, perhaps? A male escort? That would be something, he thought numbly. Finally, Schröder looked at Braun, who stood as a specter in the hallway. Schröder wanted to embrace him, to hold his firm chest against his own, to feel the panicked and disturbed heartbeat in rhythm with his. Schröder wanted to brush Braun’s slicked black hair, to part his lips and pull Braun close, and feel his large bulge and well-manicured hands. But Schröder pushed away the fantasy. Instead, he told Braun of Himmler’s orders, the commission of the Einsatzgruppen units. That they were to enter the Eastern Front, in four separate commands. In Kovno, Bravo would herd the Jews into the town square, dividing the men fit for labor from the rest.

The laborers would be ushered to the train yard, destined for Höss’ newly operational Auschwitz camp, while the others would be marched into the nearby forest. They would dig graves deep enough for a city municipal bus and then the Jews would strip. And the brave, ordinary men of Bravo Company would aim their shot with bayonet and fire into the base of the skulls of countless girls, boys, hags, gimps, and the sick. The infants would be bashed against the side of walls to make quick use of their time. One round per Jew… God forgive us, but this is how the Reich will be judenfrei. This is how the Reich will become pure again, Schröder thought, his hands quaking terribly. He gave one last longing look into his bedroom, his gaze settling upon his high-back armchair.

I can do this, I have to do this, and so it must be done,’ a strong whispering voice reassured him. With his eyes still on the chair, tracing the elegant blemishes were blotches of brown grew darker and then lighter, Schröder exhaled, “Ein Völk, ein Reich, ein Führer,” just audible enough for Braun to hear him.

Braun snapped to attention, still ghostly, and threw out his right arm, “Sieg, Heil!”

Schröder returned the salute vigorously. And then the two abandoned the hall to join the men of Bravo Company outside in the courtyard. Nearing the tall pine door entrance, Major Schröder stopped and turned.

“Have my armchair loaded into one of the cargo trucks,” Schröder said. “The Queen Anne will accompany us to Kovno.”

Braun did not question the order.

Schröder did not explain.

Reinheit 99 Cent Sale

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About the Author:

Thomas Flowers Profile PicThomas S Flowers was born in Walter Reed Medical Center, Maryland to a military family. He grew up in RAF Chicksands, England and then later Fort Meade, and finally Roanoke, Virginia. Thomas graduated high school in 2000 and on September 11, 2001, joined the U.S. Army. From 2001-2008, Thomas served in the military police corps, with one tour in South Korea and three tours serving in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. While stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, between deployments, Thomas met his wife and following his third and final tour to Iraq, decided to rejoin the civilian ranks.

Thomas was discharged honorably in February 2008 and moved to Houston, Texas where he found employment and attended night school. In 2014, Thomas graduated with a Bachelor in Arts in History from University of Houston-Clear Lake. Thomas blogs at www.machinemean.org, commenting and reviewing movies, books, shows, and historical content. Thomas is living a rather simple and quite life with his beautiful bride and amazing daughter, just south of Houston, Texas.

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Two Signed Paperbacks of Reinheit (US and Canada)

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Sharky Teeth

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Profile Photo (Cropped)Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.

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UPDATE: Giveaway is now closed, but there will be more in the future. To read the newsletter announcing the winners CLICK HERE!

Over the past month I’ve been putting together a special Halloween treat for my newsletter subscribers. Some of my fellow authors have graciously donated their books for an exclusive Halloween giveaway consisting of twelve e-books, a $20 Amazon US gift card, and a signed copy of Devil’s Nightmare. To enter for a chance to win, simply sign up for Sharky’s VIP Newsletter HERE or click/tap on the graphic below. Current newsletter subscribers are also eligible and are automatically entered.

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One lucky reader will receive the grand prize, but a few of the authors (including myself) will be giving away multiple copies of our books. Even if you don’t win the big prize, you’ll still have an opportunity to win a free e-Book. Here is a list of books that are up for grabs:

  • Devil’s Nightmare by Robert Pruneda (5 copies)
  • Black Dog & Rebel Rose by Danielle Smith
  • Burdin’s End by Alexander Nader (5 copies)
  • A Dark Assortment by Mikey Campling
  • Gristle & Bone by Duncan Ralston
  • Lakeshore Evil and Lakeshore Sanitarium by K.C. Harper (2 sets)
  • Shock of Night and Strident House by P. Mattern & M. Mattern (5 sets)
  • Print copy of Strident House by P. Mattern & M. Mattern
  • Tales of Blood & Sulphur by J.G. Clay
  • The Dead Cat Paradox by S.E. Rise
  • Undead Obsession: Finding Meaning in Zombies by Jessica Robinson

Winners will be notified via email the last week of October and announced in the Halloween newsletter on October 31. So, what are you waiting for? SIGN UP for Sharky’s VIP Newsletter today for a chance to win. You’ll also receive monthly updates on writing projects, other exclusive content (including FREE access to a horror anthology I’m writing), and other special giveaways. Good luck!

Sharky Teeth

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Profile Photo (Cropped)Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is a native Texan, video game “enthusiast” [addict], and fan of all things horror. He left a career in the newspaper industry in 2011 to pursue the life of a nocturnal author, brainstorming new and creative ways to creep out his readers. He doesn’t only write horror though. He also pens the occasional family-oriented tale just to keep from going completely nuts with all those creatures of the night whispering in his ears. When he’s not pulling ideas out of his twisted brain, you’ll likely find him on social media or fighting alongside his fellow gaming buddies where they all get shot up into Swiss cheese (or turned into little bite-sized chunks because of “Sharky’s” obsession with explosives). Medic!

Pursue your dreams . . . and never look back.

To get an email about upcoming projects and new releases, be sure to SIGN UP for Sharky’s VIP newsletter.

Twitter: 

Stalk Sharky on Facebook  Stalk Sharky on Twitter  Stalk Sharky on Google Plus  Stalk Sharky on Klout  Stalk Sharky on Goodreads  Watch Videos Posted by Sharky  Pinterest_Badge_Red