Archive for the ‘Horror’ Category

I’d like to welcome back fellow horror author and friend Thomas S. Flowers for a special guest post about the unusual inspiration he received from the Tod Browning classic Freaks. Then stick around to check for an excerpt of Thomas’s latest release Dwelling, which is now available to purchase on Kindle and paperback at Amazon.

Thomas Flowers Author Banner

One of the best parts of Tod Browning’s feast of film, Freaks, is the intro. Here’s a sample of what you’ll see as the opening credits roll.

Before proceeding with the showing of the following HIGHLY UNUSUAL ATTRACTION, a few words should be said about the amazing subject matter. BELIEVE IT OR NOT – – – – STRANGE AS IT SEEMS. In ancient times anything that deviated from the normal was considered an omen of ill luck or representative of evil. Gods of misfortune and adversity were invariable cast in the form of monstrosities, and deeds of injustice and hardship have been attributed to the many crippled and deformed tyrants of Europe and Asia. HISTORY, RELIGION, FOLKLORE AND LITERATURE abound in tales of misshapen misfits who have altered the world’s course. GOLIATH, CALABAN, FRANKENSTEIN, GLOUCESTER, TOM THUMB AND KAISER WILHELM are just a few, whose fame is worldwide. The accident of abnormal birth was considered a disgrace and malformed children were placed out in the elements to die. If, perchance, one of these freaks of nature survived, he was always regarded with suspicion. Society shunned him because of his deformity, and a family so hampered was always ashamed of the curse put upon it. Occasionally, one of these unfortunates was takes to court to be jeered at or ridiculed for the amusement of the nobles. Others were left to eke out a living by begging, stealing or starving. For the love of beauty is a deep seated urge which dates back to the beginning of civilization. The revulsion with which we view the abnormal, the malformed and the mutilated is the result of long conditioning by our forefathers. The majority of freaks, themselves, are endowed with normal thoughts and emotions. Their lot is truly a heart-breaking one. They are forced into the most unnatural of lives. Therefore, they have built up among themselves a code of ethics to protect them from the barbs of normal people. Their rules are rigidly adhered to and the hurt of one is the hurt of all; the joy of one is the joy of all. The story about to be revealed is a story based on the effect of this code upon their lives. Never again will such a story be filmed, as modern science and teratology is rapidly eliminating such blunders of nature from the world. With humility for the many injustices done to such a people, (they have no power to control their lot) we present the most startling horror story of the ABNORMAL and THE UNWANTED.”

What a powerful message, right? We are forewarned with a somewhat strange historical account for the philosophical reasons for the most traditional accounts of ethnocentrism. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer’s presentation of Tod Browning’s production of Freaks follows one of the most classic idealizations and horror film motifs, the carnival. According to film historian David Skal, Tod Browning first became enthralled with the carnival when he was sixteen years old, “infatuated with a dancer, a so-called sideshow queen in the Manhattan Fair & Carnival Company” (The Monster Show, pg. 28). The unusual attraction to the carnival for those in my generation is probably best seen through the eyes of Ray Bradbury in his epic novel, “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” Dark images of Ferris wheels silhouetted against dark skies. The circus, as far back as I can recall, has always been a place of strange attraction. We do not venture to the circus to see the mundane, after all. In the history of cinema, film began very in much the same way, as a sideshow vaudeville.

313px-FreaksPosterFreaks takes us through a doomed tale of a trapeze artist named Cleopatra (performed by the ever talented and beautiful Olga Baclanova) who discovers that a circus midget by the name of Hans (Harry Earles) has a sizable inheritance. She knows Hans is in love with her and decides to marry the lovesick performer, all the while concocting a dubious plan to murder him and steal his fortune, running off with her lover, a dim-witted strong man by the name of Hercules (Henry Victor). But everything is not as it seems. Cleopatra is openly disdain towards Hans’ fellow freaks. And when Hans’ friends discover what is going on, they band together and carry out a brutal revenge that leaves both Hercules and Cleopatra knowing what it truly means to be a so-called “freak.” One of the greatest and most historic scenes, I thought, was at the end, during a torrential downpour as both Hercules and Cleopatra are attempting to flee from their would-be assassins. Hercules is caught under one of the wagons and as we watch with him, the freaks, knifes drawn, close in on him. Witnessing these mutilated forms drawing near, crawling through the mud, has always given me this sense of dread one hopes to find in movies such as these. Cleopatra’s fate is probably the most heinous albeit deserving (SPOILERS) when they mutilate her so badly she herself transforms from something of admired beauty to just another disdained sideshow attraction. When we first looked upon her, we swooned with love, and now as the film closes, we can’t help but scream!

There is little doubt that it was Tod Browning’s directorial success with Dracula (1931) which allowed him to work on what many have considered his masterpiece. This is my personal opinion, of course, but I think it is more accurate to say that Freaks was more of a passion project, considering his own past experiences working the sideshow as a geek up and down the Mississippi River. What I find most interesting about Freaks is the time period in which the film was released. Horror during the 1930’s, in my opinion, is retrospective of the decades past Great War. The maiming and grinding machines of war which ended in 1918 found its way into the picture shows of this era, in movies such as Freaks (1932) and even Frankenstein (1931) we find a representation of the mutilated shell-shocked forms of returning soldiers. One need only to look at Lon Chaney’s career to see what his custom-made effects were geared to symbolize, the monster. If this was an intentional use of symbolism is debatable, but nonetheless, especially in the 1920’s-1930’s, it was a familiar image in cinema. Even here in our own age we find the same symbolic gestures. Consider the last season of American Horror Story, subtitled: Freak Show. The season took us to the 1950’s at the encampment of one of the last remaining freak shows struggling to survive, not just financially, but also in discovering their place in the world. Said season is juxtaposed with the (supposed) end of the Iraq War (OIF), or at least the era of the war of which so many of my own generation fought and died or worse, survived —mutilated both externally and internally. Has Tod Browning’s classic 1932 Freaks found a new lost generation, witnesses to the horrors of war and the macabre afterbirths? To each their own, I’m sure. For me, Browning’s Freaks is a marvelous trip into the strange and unusual and was the inspired subtitle chapter in my novel, Dwelling, in which protagonist Johnathan visits Washington, D.C. Veterans Affairs Hospital to talk at a conference with fellow wounded veterans. During his visit, he’s confronted with all these images of mutilated soldiers and servicemen. Even he has been subjugated as one of the mutilated, the amputation of one of his legs after the Battle of Al-Hurriyah. He of course is struggling with his own demons, but during the conference he’s struck with this overwhelming sense of belonging, similar some might say to the kinship of sideshow attractees. Again, we’re drawn back to the opening credits of Tod Browning’s Freaks, “They are forced into the most unnatural of lives. Therefore, they have built up among themselves a code of ethics to protect them from the barbs of normal people. Their rules are rigidly adhered to and the hurt of one is the hurt of all; the joy of one is the joy of all.”


Dwelling FRONTDWELLING by Thomas S. Flowers
Subdue Series, Book 1
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
Release Date: Dec. 8, 2015

: : : SYNOPSIS : : :

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?


: : : PURCHASE LINKS : : :



: : : EXCERPT : : :

(Warning: Adult Language)

Chapter One

Iraq, 2004

Something caught his eye. A glimmer. A shadow in the dark yellow fog.

The fuck? He reached for his binos in the turret. Across the street, Johnathan spied through the dust scratched lens vendors hastily tucking and clutching whatever goods they could get their hands on. Only the most meager of items remained on the street. Even the sound of the Humvees seemed to fade, as if the entire world was holding its breath.

What’s going on? Johnathan shook, his nerves pricked. Hairs stood on-end. His knees locked. He watched, hands resting on the M2 .50-cal. He searched for someone, anyone to put the tightening in his stomach at ease. Where are they going? Shadows snaked in between the empty spaces and seemed to grow larger. The yellow dust whipped the air. Al-Hurriyah was being consumed by it.

Johnathan could feel the lump in his heart become heavy. He pulled his scarf off. He choked on the dust, tasting all the nastiness of the Baghdad ghetto, but paid little heed. The soldier scanned his field of fire. Anticipation boiled in his veins. Then the yellow sand darkened again.

The glimmer returned, taking shape, forming in the dust. His mouth fell agape. “What the fuck is that?” He screamed inside, his mind rattled and confused and terrified.

From the alley across the road the shadows dissolved, giving form to some massive Thing with skin covered in bristle-like hair as black as tar. The bulking torso hissed, and swelled, hissed and swelled. Its thin, but otherwise muscular, fragile-looking legs twitched in the sand, protruding and stretching out, pulling down the tarps of the vender huts near it.

How many legs does this thing have? What is this? I’m dreaming, have to be. This can’t be…

In the dust-whipped wind what looked to be mandibles where its mouth should have been opened and then snapped shut. It was hissing, but the hissing sounded like clicking, the rattle of teeth in a glass jar or a snake poised to strike. On its head was an unmistakable shape, as frightening as it was. Bulging from its head, two swollen red eyes taking up nearly all of the creature’s face glared in the dust, compound, like the eye of a fly, gazing directly at him.

Its antenna drooped low, and then it began talking to him with a wild rush of clicks in its throat. The sound was terrible, reminding him of spring months back home, the swarms of cicadas that blanketed the canopy in his parents’ backyard every few years or so and the eerie sound they made, the clicking, horrible hissing, just like in that one movie Ricky loved to watch when they were kids around the same part of the year, the 1950s atomic-age science fiction flick, the one with the giant ants.

Partially hidden in the dust, the height of the hideous Thing was hard to guess, but whatever is was, it wasn’t possible. None of this was possible. It couldn’t be real, yet there it was all the same, hulking out from across the street, large and hungry looking.

“Are you seeing this?” Johnathan croaked, his voice pained with fear and doubt.

“What?” asked Ricky. He turned in his seat, looking out the driver’s side window. Searching. “I don’t see anything.”

“Are you fucking kidding me!” Johnathan yelled, panic stained in his voice. He kicked the driver’s seat.

“Dude, we’re about to dibby out. Stop being so jumpy,” Ricky scolded. “I don’t see anything, man.”

“Look, you asshole!” Johnathan kicked the driver’s seat again with his boot.

“Dude!” Smith turned fully around and peered in the direction Steele was gesturing. He fell silent for only a moment and then he yelled, “Get down!”

“We need to do more than—” Johnathan had started to say, but was cut short. He looked back to the alley where the Thing had been, but the monster was gone, replaced by a man with a shaved head shouting something terribly familiar and propping an equally terrifying object across his shoulder.
Is that?

“RPG!” Ricky screamed on the radio.

The air sucked back. Johnathan thought he was going to puke as he watched a plume of white smoke rocket toward him. The world was motionless for a second, perhaps less. In that moment he thought of Karen and Tabitha, he thought of his childhood and his friends that filled it. Then the explosion hit, lifting his Humvee upward into the air.

The large metal behemoth came crashing back to earth with a thunderous moan. He fell inside. His head smashed against the gunner’s platform below. He saw nothing, only white, burning light. Outside, he could hear the crackle of gunfire faintly against the ringing in his ears, like fireworks in a neighborhood a block away.
People were shouting. His squad mates, maybe. Language seemed beyond him at the moment. He could smell sulfur and the awful hint of something else…like overcooked meat on the grill, he imagined, dazed and numb. Through the broken window he watched the battle of Al-Hurriyah with disbelieving eyes.

Another explosion struck somewhere nearby. Pebbles or chunks of the police station perhaps rained down on his truck. The radio was abuzz with noise, fire direction, casualties. Someone yelled through the mike, “Death Blossom.” Death Blossom…? Are we under attack…? Yes…Ricky called it out, didn’t he? His head rung with the battle cry.
Johnathan shifted his weight. One of his legs fell from the strap he used as a seat, the other felt strangely dead. He looked. Among the yellow dust and stars that filled his eyes, he could see, though blurred, the gnarled remains of what was once his right leg.

“Shit!” he screamed, clinching at his thigh. I can’t look. I can’t look. Ricky. Ricky? “Smith? Ricky? Are you okay, man?” he winced, straining to get a look at his friend.

No answer.

More rattling pinged off his truck. Someone nearby yelled, “Got you, you fucking bastard!” Another voice screamed in language not entirely unfamiliar.

Must be some of the Iraqi police, he thought vaguely caring. Death Blossom…those assholes are going to ping someone in the back…

Something was pinching his neck. He reached and felt warmth and something hard. He dug whatever it was out and pulled his hand to see. He glared dumbfounded at what looked like a tooth.
Not mine, he thought, testing his teeth with his tongue. He looked at Ricky, but his form was covered in haze.

Gunfire continued to crackle outside, but in the broken and torn Humvee, the world felt like a tomb.

He could see Ricky now, lying awkwardly in his seat, one hand still clutching the radio receiver. Smoke wafted from his body. He didn’t move. And the smell…the smell was terrible.

Johnathan blinked. Not real. Not real. “Ricky, you son of a bitch, answer me! Are you okay?” he yelled. Hot adrenaline coursed through him like a drug, pooling in a venomous sundry of dreadful sorrow and hate, lumping together in his heart, stealing his breath. Maggie’s face flashed in front of him and then Karen’s, but he pushed them away.

Please, God. No.


Dwelling Release picture


: : : MEET THE AUTHOR : : :

Thomas Flowers Profile PicThomas S. Flowers is the published author of several character driven stories of fright. He resides in Houston, Texas, with his wife and daughter. His first novel, Reinheit, was published by Forsaken. He also has a short story, “Lanmò,” in The Sinister Horror Company’s horror anthology The Black Room Manuscripts. 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, where he does author interviews and reviews on a wide range of strange yet oddly related topics.


Sharky Teeth


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.


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

Welcome to Chumming with Sharky™, my blog series where I treat viewers from every corner of the deep blue sea with a taste of talented authors from a myriad of genres. This month, it is my pleasure to join the Gristle & Bone Blog Blitz and Giveaway to welcome fellow Forsaken Horror Hooligan Duncan Ralston. Today, our focus is on the horror entertainment industry, including video games, books, and movies. Duncan made us some appetizers, so grab a tasty plate of canápes with fattened liver, choose a comfy reclining seat, tap or click on the banner below, and enjoy the show . . .

Chumming with Sharky

Duncan Ralston

Sharky Teeth 1

Welcome to Chumming with Sharky™, my blog series where I treat viewers from every corner of the deep blue sea with a taste of talented authors from a myriad of genres. This month, however, we’re switching things up a bit. I’m in the middle of a blog tour promoting the relaunch of Devil’s Nightmare and the gremlins in cyberspace killed the feed for my interview with the folks at Shut Up and Read. Luckily, my trusty team of assassins, ghost hunters, and zombie slayers were able to capture the head gremlin and recover the transcript.  So grab a pail of popcorn and kick back for my interview with Shut Up and Read. Click or tap on any image and enjoy the show.

Chumming with Sharky™

Robert “Sharky” Pruneda

with special guest host “Shut Up and Read.”



That’s right. You read the headline correctly. My manager and I are looking for some folks who are interested in getting their hands on this awesome new Forsaken Edition of my Amazon best-selling supernatural occult horror Devil’s Nightmare. I originally released this novel as an independently published author, and I have been honored by the amount of support I’ve received over the past couple of years. As a new author in the horror industry, it’s hard to describe how it feels to know that thousands of people all over the world have read and enjoyed what I’ve written. Some haven’t, of course, but that just comes with the territory. And that’s okay, because it’s unrealistic to believe everyone will love what you write. I am pleased to know that the vast majority of my readers have enjoyed reading Devil’s Nightmare, though. And that is what helps make this journey so enjoyable. For that, I thank you.

One of the most exciting things that happened to me this year was the opportunity to sign a contract with innovative hybrid publisher Booktrope, and through their horror imprint Forsaken, I have been able to work with a team of very talented professionals to make Devil’s Nightmare even better. And on July 15, Forsaken will publish the second edition, professionally edited, and with a kick-ass new cover that fits the story perfectly. 

Devil's Nightmare Street Team Invitation

Devil’s Nightmare currently has 114 reviews on Amazon, with a 4.1-star average rating, and has been exclusive to Amazon since the summer of 2013 through their Kindle Direct Publishing Select program. However, when we relaunch the Forsaken Edition of Devil’s Nightmare on July 15, we’ll be adding Barnes & Noble and Apple iTunes to our list of e-retailers, thus ending the exclusive e-book deal with Amazon. The Forsaken Edition of Devil’s Nightmare will also be available in paperback format.

Please join us in celebrating the Forsaken Edition release of Devil’s Nightmare. We are requesting reviews from readers, blogs, and fans. You will be provided an advance reader copy (ARC) of Devil’s Nightmare for your enjoyment. If you’re interested in reading and reviewing Devil’s Nightmare, please tap or click on the link below and we’ll transport you to a secure Google sign-up form. Thank you in advance, and I hope you enjoy reading Devil’s Nightmare.

Yes, I would like to receive a free Advance Review Copy of Devil’s Nightmare!


Sharky Teeth

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.


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

PREMONITIONS (Coming Oct 14) BannerFor those of you who have read my first horror thriller Devil’s Nightmare and have been waiting for Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions, I have great news to share. If you have a Kindle (or Kindle reading app) you can now pre-order the anticipated sequel today. I also have a release date. While the manuscript is still in the hands of my team of beta readers, Premonitions will hit the virtual book shelves on Tuesday, October 14 . . . just in time for Halloween. 🙂 


PREMONITIONS (Coming Oct 14)Sequel to the Amazon bestselling horror Devil’s Nightmare, I’m bringing fans of the first novel another horrific thriller full of twists, chills, and a shocking conclusion. Aaron Sanders returns as the main protagonist in Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions and is now employed with the Lost Maples County Sheriff’s Department. Adjusting to the slow pace of small town law enforcement is challenging for Aaron, but he is once again caught in the middle of a mysterious investigation that has an eerie familiarity. This time he knows what is responsible for the violent deaths . . . or does he? The chimera becomes the least of Aaron’s problems after something even more evil and malevolent begins to unleash its wrath in the once quaint little town of Lost Maples, Texas. 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 victim. (more…)


First of all, I would like to thank everyone who participated in my and Sheilagh Lee‘s Birthday “Twins” Book Giveaway. I just received an email from Sheilagh with Rafflecopter’s picks for the winners, and she’s waiting for me to announce my winners so she can link to my website. So, we’ll get right to it. I’m going to start off with the ten lucky readers who will be getting a free copy of Devil’s Nightmare for their Kindles. In no particular order the winners are:

Devils Nightmare1) Deb LeFaivre

2) Lavender Smith

3) Chris Burke

4) Elliot Waugh

5) Colin Quirke

6) Jai Gagne

7) Leigh Francis

8) Martin Chatwin

9) Ross Carrothers

10) Alice Quinn

Congratulations to all of you. I will contact each of you soon to confirm the email you would like me to send Devil’s Nightmare via Amazon’s gifting service. Enjoy!

And now for the grand prize winner of a signed copy of Devil’s Nightmare. Drum roll please! And the winner is . . .

Sharky Teeth 1

Karen Einsel

Sharky Teeth 1

Congratulations, Karen! I’ll contact you soon to get mailing information, so I can get your book shipped out to you soon. I hope Devil’s Nightmare is a nice addition to your horror collection.

To everyone else that participated in this contest, thank you! While you may not have been a winner this time, be sure to subscribe to this blog and sign up for my newsletter for news on upcoming novels and more opportunities to win free stuff!

Have a great week!

Sharky Teeth


Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is author of the Amazon Kindle bestselling horror novel Devil’s Nightmare and the contemporary family motor sports drama Pursuit of a Dream (Victory Lane: The Chronicles). He lives in south Texas and has called the Lone Star State his home all of his life. Pruneda is also very active in social media and an avid gamer who can often be found fighting side-by-side with friends on his favorite first-person shooter . . . but he prefers survival horror.

You can follow Robert on Twitter @SharkbaitWrites and on Facebook at

To receive notifications for future blog posts be sure to follow this blog by clicking the follow button (for WordPress users) or subscribe via email on the sidebar. You can also subscribe to the Sharkbait Writes Newsletter here. Your email address or personal information will never be shared with others.


My Canadian friend and “birthday twin” Sheilagh Lee came up with a great idea for us to celebrate our birthdays by giving away some copies of our books. We share May 28 as our birthday and instead of accepting gifts (although, cheese cake is always welcome), we will be giving out gifts to our readers in the form of some free e-books. I’m also giving away one autographed copy of Devil’s Nightmare to one lucky winner. All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter giveaway posted on Sheilagh Lee’s website.

Click on the image below to be transported to Canada for your opportunity to win.

Skippy the Kangaroo and Devil's Nightmare

11421672_659686480829196_1751638737_nMy buddy and fellow Texas author Nat Russo recently invited me to participate in this author blog tour about the writing process. Nat just published his first novel Necromancer Awakening last month and became an instant success on Amazon, hitting four bestseller lists in just a few short weeks. So, if you enjoy a good dark fantasy read, be sure to visit Nat’s website and grab a copy of Necromancer Awakening for your Kindle.

So, what exactly is The Writing Process Blog Tour? It’s pretty straightforward and simple actually. Each author who is invited to participate in the blog tour answers four questions about the writing process. The author then introduces three other authors. The idea is to help readers discover other authors that they may not have known about otherwise.

So, without further a doo-doo, read on to learn a little bit about what makes my writing gears turn . . .

What am I working on?

My initial intention was to write Devil’s Nightmare—my first stab at a horror novel—and then move on to another project. However, after getting a number of requests for a sequel through social media, I decided why the heck not? So, I put my other project aside and began working on Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions. I wrote the first book from the perspective of my protagonist Detective Aaron Sanders, but Premonitions is in third-person in order for the readers to get a broader picture of the story. This will also allow for readers to “get to know” a few of my other characters a little better.

I have actually found writing in third person a welcomed challenge compared to writing in first person, which is a bit easier for me, because in that style I get to experience the story through my protagonist’s eyes, as does the reader. With third-person writing, it’s almost like stepping back and watching a movie play out in my head. There is a lot more going on that I need to keep up with than just following one main character’s journey. There is still a main protagonist, but in this style of writing I get to reveal more about other characters that I am unable to do in the first-person style. I think it’s going to make Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions an even better novel because of it. Premonitions is slated for an October, 2014 release.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

The short answer . . .

My novels don’t have zombies, vampires, or werewolves in them (although, lycanthropy is definitely something I want to explore further).

Now for the long answer . . .

When I decided to start writing in the horror genre I never thought about how my work would be different than others. I simply wanted to pull the crazy ideas out of my head, get them typed up on screen, and hopefully develop interesting and creepy tales that others would find entertaining as much as I enjoy writing them (and hopefully come back for more). I have had people compare my work to other authors in the horror genre, which I find flattering, but for me it’s all about having fun and sharing my stories with the world. Some readers have also mentioned that my horror writing seems clichéd at times, while others pointed out that it’s a bit difficult not to have some clichés in any horror writing. If you really think about it, most horror novels or movies borrow the same concepts from ages past, but then put a twist or some other unique flavor to it in order to make it their own. With that said, if you read Devil’s Nightmare, you’ll probably point out some of those familiar plot points, but I believe it worked out based on the majority of reviewers having positive things to say about the novel.

When it comes to this genre, my writing is more of a blend of horror, thriller, suspense, mystery, and some drama . . . but the overall theme is horror. Come to think of it, there is one other thing that I think sets me apart from others in the modern horror genre. I’m a risk taker when it comes to certain elements of the horror stories that I’m writing. It will probably remind you of some of the 80s style of horror, which may or may not work for you. This topic brings me to the next question.

Why do I write what I do?

The horror genre is my absolute favorite, whether it is on film or in print. I enjoy watching the classic hack-and-slash campy horror flicks such as Friday the 13th and Nightmare on Elm Street; monster-themed horror flicks such as The Relic and American Werewolf in London, and classic horror tales like Cujo and Jaws, which is a particularly special kind of horror because the stories are built around believable scenarios.

I think the horror genre is starting to make a comeback, particularly in the paranormal arena (and yes, the vampires too). This is something I don’t think we’ve seen since the 70s and 80s. My reason for writing in the horror genre goes much further than simply tapping into a genre that is growing in popularity. In my opinion, that is the worst reason to write in any genre. I feel that you should have a special passion for the genre you are writing in, not just because of thinking you could syphon a quick buck from doing it. If that was the case for me, I’d be writing romance . . . and trust me, you don’t want me writing romance novels. My main character’s poor excuse of flirting skills in Devil’s Nightmare should be all the evidence you need for that. 🙂

Aside from it being my favorite genre, I chose to write horror because I personally want to read more stories that I enjoyed reading and watching when I was a growing up. Now, does this mean my target audience is the teen/young adult demographic? Who knows? Could be, but probably not. My goal is to offer stories that will remind readers of the cult classic horror stories but with a modern setting. I also hope to help introduce the genre to people who may not have tried it before, and according to a few reviews, I have succeeded in bringing at least a few new readers into the dark side of horror. 🙂

The horror genre isn’t for everyone, though. I understand that, so instead of filling my stories with a bunch of blood, guts, sex, and f-bombs, I try to balance the story out enough to where newcomers to the genre can enjoy it and maybe come back for more. For those that live for horror, I hope to deliver what they expect in a good creepy tale. And if not, well, I’m okay with that too, because as I long as I’m having fun writing, it’s all good to me.

How does my writing process work?

First of all, before I begin writing my novel I write a summary of what my story is going to be about. This may be several pages long or just a few paragraphs, but what it absolutely must have is a beginning and an end. I have to know how the story is going to end before I begin writing, but I usually do not use an outline. I’m a “pantser” in that I give my characters the reins and buckle up. This is how I wrote Devil’s Nightmare, and it was one hell of a ride. It was probably one of the most enjoyable experiences I have ever had with any project I have ever been involved with. Even though I knew what was going to happen at the end of the story, I had no idea how I was going to get there. I gave my protagonist a problem and joined him in his attempt to solve it. I believe writing without an outline is one of the main reasons why I have had so many readers tell me that they couldn’t figure out “who the bad guy was” or “how the story was going to end.” That’s because at those same moments, neither did I. 🙂

Now there is a challenge to writing without an outline. The fact that I do not have a road map to get to my final destination I can easily find myself sitting in front of my computer staring at a blank screen, and that happens often. That’s when I have to step away from the manuscript and try to put myself in my character’s shoes. What would he do in this situation? Or what twist could I throw in at this point to make my characters hate me even more? At that point, I rub my hands together with an evil grin and start typing again, often until five or six o’clock in the morning.

One important thing that I do when I write my first draft of any story is not worry too much about the details. The purpose of writing the first draft is getting the story itself on paper, or I should say on screen in my case. I consider my first draft as a skeleton with all the major organs, but not necessarily all of the muscle and skin intact. That’s where the second draft comes into play, which is where I am currently with Devil’s Nightmare: Premonitions. This process is a bit different than what Stephen King mentions in his book On Writing, which I highly recommend that every writer should read. King says that the second draft should be the first draft minus ten percent. Well, I try to follow a lot his advice, but this one I fail at miserably. It’s more like the second draft equals the first draft plus twenty percent. I guess my first draft is kind of an outline in that sense, but not really.

Anyway, writing a novel is a lot of work. I can take anywhere from a few months to a few years from start to finish. Devil’s Nightmare took me just over a year, and Premonitions will probably be closer to the eighteen month range. There is a lot to consider when you decide to write a novel, because the process requires several steps from brainstorming, outlining (if you choose to use one), writing the drafts, sending off the manuscript to beta readers, editing, rewrites, formatting, cover design, and finally publication. Oh, and then there is the whole marketing thing. Click the publish button and just kick back and wait for all those royalties to show up in the bank account, right? Buzz! Wrong! It doesn’t work that way.

The last step in the writing process is the hardest and lengthiest of them all. This is something that I’m still trying to figure out. One thing is for certain, though . . . it requires a good chunk of your time and a bit of luck before people begin to discover your work. Some people get lucky and become instant successes, others start seeing sales months after publication, and some give up right away when they don’t become best sellers within the first month of publication. It takes a lot of patience, dedication, and belief in yourself as an author to reach the level of success that you choose.

Success is defined in many different ways depending on the individual. To me it’s not about the money (although, royalty checks are a nice bonus), it’s about doing what I love most, and that is tapping into that imagination that we’re all born with, and turning it into something that I can share with others. Many enjoy what I write (which is a huge reward in itself) and some have very vocally expressed their hatred towards my writing too. That goes with the territory. At first it bothered me. Now, it just fuels my passion to continue writing and strive to improve my craft.

Final thoughts . . .

Thank you for taking the time to read about my writing process. Now, it’s time to pass the torch on to three other writers. Be sure to subscribe to their blogs to learn more about them and their writing process. First, I send you to my friend from “down under” the lovely and talented Aral Bereux.


Aral Bereux,

“I write so I can visit places that don’t exist, meet people who were never born, and experience life as though it were new again.”
– Aral Bereux

Aral Bereux Profile PicAral Bereux is the author of the international best seller on Amazon, The Julianna Rae Chronicles, available from Barnes & Noble, Angus & Robertson, GoodReads and more. She is also the creator and indie artist advocate for #indiecorner, supporting all walks of independent artistry on her webpage. In her debut dystopian fiction, she outlines the potential of a New World Order and the destructive forces that may await us. Borrowing from the urban fantasy genre, she hopes to soften the blow with the additional suspended reality. But be cautious of her world…this is no scant series of urban/dystopian fiction…her mythical watchers are watching, but then so is Big Brother…and you may very well leave the finished books with a touch of paranoia (or as she likes to refer to it – “dystopias”)

Bereux has studied at university for over 12 years and has worked in a maximum security men’s prison during that time. She theorizes on conspiracy thought; debunks paranormal activity during ghost hunts (but believes in the boogyman); and strives for the truth when the Illuminati and New World Order are mentioned (who would’ve thought?). She draws on her life experiences to write and publish books; and is currently delving into the new world of developing script for gaming applications.


Next up, is a newborn writer in her own words, Marilyn Parel . . .

Marilyn Parel,

Marilyn Parel Profile is my writing space. I’ve written much over the years, but never published. I’m not good at fiction, but enjoy composing short stories, poetry, and the occasional satirical essay. I’ll use this space to park my work.

I always start out being serious about a subject but, somehow, my little mind takes twists and turns and the serious ends up being the humorous; at times, even sounding exaggerated. I can assure you, however, that what I write is based in truth, no matter how preposterous it sounds.

In my previous life, I was a kindergarten teacher. The classroom, of course, provided me a wealth of material for my writing, as did the ancillary characters who helped hone my humor. Prior to that, I wrote marketing and communication plans for major corporations, including crises communications, which I found hilarious (in a good way.)

I enjoy running, good food, good wine, good company, and music.


And last, but certainly not least, I send you to my Canadian “birthday twin” author Sheilagh Lee.

Sheilagh Lee,

Sheilagh Lee Profile Pic (cropped)Sheilagh Lee was born and raised mostly in London, Ontario, Canada. She is the mother of two grown daughters and happily married. She loves a good story and loves to read. You might see her out and about, watching people, or maybe just talking to people. Growing up she feasted on tales of family history, and other imaginative stories; as her family continued the long tradition of passing on stories orally. Those tales and more of her own itch to be told; so she has put pen to paper and fingers to computer to get them all down.

Sharky Teeth

Robert “Sharky” Pruneda is author of the Amazon Kindle bestselling horror novel Devil’s Nightmare and the contemporary family motor sports drama Pursuit of a Dream (Victory Lane: The Chronicles). He lives in south Texas and has called the Lone Star State his home all of his life. Pruneda is also very active in social media and an avid gamer who can often be found fighting side-by-side with friends on his favorite first-person shooter . . . but he prefers survival horror.

You can follow Robert on Twitter @SharkbaitWrites and on Facebook at

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Devil's Nightmare


In case you haven’t heard yet, I’m feeling very generous right now and decided to give away the Kindle version of my horror-thriller Devil’s Nightmare for two days. So, from July 4-5, 2013 you can grab a free copy for your Kindle (or via the free Kindle reading app for other devices). So, why am I doing this? Well, exposure of course! Plus, in return for the freebie all I’m asking for is an honest review on Goodreads or Amazon. In any case, I hope you take advantage of this limited time offer and enjoy my novel!

What others have said about Devil’s Nightmare:

“It’s a page turner. It’s one of those stories where you’ll set the book down to go do the dishes and the whole time you’re wondering, what’s going to happen next and you can’t wait to get back to reading it.” | Karen Einsel, author of The Good Dr. Grant

“What can I say about Devil’s Nightmare . . . other than I LOVED it! It’s very intriguing and keeps you turning the pages.” | Sara Furlong Burr, author of Enigma Black

“From start to finish, it was well told in a great first person style, which I liked very much and made it easy to visualize the insanity happening … kudos! Should be on a best sellers list somewhere, soon!” | Diana B. via

“[Pruneda] did a very good job of keeping things in order and moving smoothly along. This is a good story! The language was real and worked in the context of the story.” | Dannie Hill, author of In Search of a Soul

“If you like Stephen King, then you’ll love Devil’s Nightmare by Robert Pruneda.” | S.G. Lee, author of A Penny Saved, A Murder Earned

“The characters are fleshed out well, description and dialog paint the story vividly, and the mystery takes twists and turns that kept this reader guessing. ” | Donna L. Sadd, author of LUCCI – The No Smoochie Poochie via


Detective Aaron Sanders’ abilities and fortitude are put to the test when he investigates a brutal double-homicide where a boy’s parents are found mutilated inside their home. The boy is the only witness to the crime and his clothes are stained with his parents’ blood. His clothes are also tainted with the blood of other victims from a separate and even more horrific crime scene at a nearby cemetery. All of the victims appear to have been killed in the same manner and the boy knows the true identity of the evil responsible for the multiple deaths, but he is unwilling to talk. No one would believe him. A threat on the boy’s life and a disturbing nightmare causes Detective Sanders to question his beliefs and his own sanity. This investigation ultimately leads Sanders in a fight to save himself and the life of an orphaned boy from an unimaginable evil that is spawned from the curse of the devil’s nightmare.

Available for FREE worldwide on Kindle:Devil's Nightmare by Robert Pruneda



Also available to purchase in paperback:

2-year anniversary-WordpressI just received notification via the WordPress toolbar that my site has been up and running for exactly two years now. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been a couple of years since I started

So, what does one do to celebrate a two-year anniversary? I thought about it for a few minutes while listening to the Skyrim radio station I set up on Pandora and decided I would give away a couple of copies of Devil’s Nightmare. I’m not talking e-books either. I’m talking about a real physical you-can-smell-the paper-and-even-get-a-paper-cut type of book!

So how should I go about selecting a reader for this precious prize? Well, I could make it all complicated and make you click a bunch of buttons with one of those auto-generated promo tools (which would take me forever to figure out how to get working on this site anyway) or I could ask you to help me promote my book with tweets on Twitter or posts on Facebook, etc. Or . . . I could simply ask you why you should get a free copy of Devil’s Nightmare. Yeah, I think we’ll go with that.

Devil's Nightmare 3D Book Cover2So, here it goes . . . If you would like a FREE 6×9 paperback copy of Devil’s Nightmare personalized and autographed simply tell me in the comments below and you’ll be entered for the drawing. There is only one stipulation, though. I can only mail within the U.S. (except Alaska and Hawaii) due to shipping costs. Hey, I’m a poor author, remember? 🙂

Every contest entry comment will be numbered (you can only enter once) and the winner will be selected randomly using the old school method of names written on pieces of paper and drawn from a hat. The five most creative entries will also go into a separate drawing for a $20 Amazon gift card, but I know you’re really going to enter for the book, right? 🙂

Winners for the free books and gift card will be picked on Saturday, May 25 and announced on Sunday, May 26. So, if you aren’t following this blog already be sure to subscribe via email on the sidebar or click the follow button.

I look forward to reading your entries and good luck! Below is a trailer for Devil’s Nightmare.