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Pam Lecky was featured earlier this month on the Unusual Fiction blog. I have read some of Pam’s stories, and they are very good, so I thought I would share her interview here, too.
A special thank you to Fiona Cooke for also featuring some amazing women of horror on her blog this month.
With all the attention given among the Indie community to the removal of book reviews by Amazon, I’m amazed at the number of authors who still post dirty links to their books on social media. This is a rookie-level mistake that can actually do more harm than good.
A dirty link helps the algorithm at Amazon to determine if there are connections between author and reader that might suggest collusion or partiality.. Even if a review is from a verified purchase, a simple connection via a shared link can be enough to make them suspect that it’s not unbiased or from an unrelated party.
If the link used by multiple customers can be traced directly back to the author, that’s one of the reasons they will start flagging and eventually removing reviews.
The simple solution is to ensure your links are clean before you post them.
A dirty link occurs when one copies and pastes a URL without removing all the extra information that gets tacked onto it by searching for a product, copying links from a website, linking from another product, or using a bookmark created from a searched item.For example, if I search for one of my books on Google and click on the Amazon link, I get this as the URL:
This is more information than is needed to actually find my book. In the image below, I’ve denoted the “dirty” part of the link by making it red.
The highlighted part of this link is the “dirty” part. If I were to give this link to someone else to use, it tells Amazon how they got the link.
All you need to post is the part of the link that directly goes to your book page. In the link above, that’s the part that is still black. Once the link identifies which display page your book has, no further information is necessary.
You can check the clean link you want to post by pasting it into a new browser window and seeing that it goes directly to your book product page.
Even if you use a link shortening service like bit.ly or buff.ly, or a customised branded link, you must ensure that the links you provide are clean. Just because you and your audience don’t see the extra information on a shortened or customised link doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
That way, stores will have no reason to suspect you or your readers’ integrity, and your verified purchase reviews will remain proudly on your book page.
Women in Horror Month: Featured Author: Carmilla Voiez
Carmilla Voiez is a proudly bisexual and mildly autistic introvert who finds writing much easier than verbal communication. A life long Goth, living with two kids, two cats and a poet by the sea. She is passionate about horror, the alt scene, intersectional feminism, art, nature and animals. When not writing, she gets paid to hang out in a stately home and entertain tourists.
Her books are both extraordinarily personal and universally challenging. As Jef Withonef of Houston Press once said – “You do not read her books, you survive them.”
Carmilla’s bibliography includes Starblood (Vamptasy Publishing, Dec 2018), Starblood the graphic novel, Psychonaut the graphic novel, The Ballerina and the Revolutionary, Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales.
Carmilla writes horror that is female-orientated supernatural horror, full of demons and seriously flawed women.
Book 1 of 4 in the Starblood series.
Star craves freedom, but her lover, Satori, refuses to let her go. He casts a spell to make her love him again, opening a gateway through which Lilith, mother of demons, enters their lives. Lilith serves no man. Instead she seduces Star, assuring her that there is no shame in love, only completion. Thus begins a strange and terrible love triangle that leads them to Scotland and the Cairngorm mountains.
Reader Review: “ A genius work of contemporary fiction. Should become a future Horror classic. Highly recommend *****” on Amazon
Broken Mirror and Other Morbid Tales
Thirteen tales of the macabre from horror author Carmilla Voiez. Meet a confused ghost, a vampire, searching for love, and a woman bent on revenge; visit a gateway to hell, a hotel in faery and an abandoned asylum, in this unique collection of stories. Includes the novella Basement Beauty.
Reader Review: “ I found my mind drifting back to the various tales at all times of the day, they got under my skin and haunted me long after I powered down my kindle. At the end of a story, you emerge bloodied, battered and genuinely grateful to have survived. It’s what horror should be like; raw, frightening and thought provoking.” on Amazon
Women in Horror Month: Featured Author: Joanne Van Leerdam
Joanne is an Australian writer of horror, poetry, and occasionally fantasy stories. Her tag line is ‘Poetry with soul. Horror with none.”
She lives near Warrnambool in regional Victoria, Australia, with her husband and two furbabies. She spends four days a week teaching senior high school English, History and Drama/Production. She is an active member and performer in Camperdown Theatre Company. Her hobbies include reading, music, travel and photography.
Joanne loves travelling, and has visited many places in Australia as well as holidaying in New Zealand, Fiji, the USA and Canada at different times. Other than Australia, eastern Canada is her favourite place in the world, and she’s proud to have been adopted as an ‘honorary Canadian’.
Joanne is the author of thought-provoking and profound poetry, horror and short stories. She has won a number of awards for her books ‘New Horizons’, ‘Nova’ and ‘The Silver Feather’.
Joanne writes horror with a strong element of poetic justice, especially those stories that focus on Friday, a magical black cat with a devilishly strong sense of right and wrong.
Other stories explore various types of horror – fright, the unexplained, fear of the unknown, and the macabre.
The Silver Feather
A confrontation with evil personified.
When Phil loses the girl he loves, life as he knows it comes to a screeching halt. Little does he realise that there is so much more yet to be lost.
A haunting, macabre tale that will please all lovers of horror and dark fiction.
Reader Review: ” A delightful tale that begins in the prosaic world of unrequited high school romance, only to suddenly veer into a shadowed realm of loss, violence and evil. Van Leerdam’s writing is crisp and insightful, her protagonist achingly real, and I guarantee you will devour this dark confection in a single sitting. Highly recommended.” on Amazon
Lac du Mort and Other Stories
From the macabre to the deeply disturbing, Lac Du Mort and Other Stories delivers eight chilling tales that will please lovers of horror and dark fiction.
These macabre tales that will make you look over your shoulder at moments you never expected to.
Reader Review: “Well written, fresh horror grabbing at the reader from a the first story. A few tales stab at the mind, some tear away at blood and bone. We get one visit to hell. I am a fan.” on Amazon
Stories about a magical black cat, superstition and strange events.
Friday is a black cat with a lucky habit of being present when curious things take place.He’s highly intelligent, fiercely loyal and devilishly handsome.
Curious Things delivers thirteen stories of people encountering justice for their wrongdoings, all as Friday watches on. Is he responsible? Or is it just lucky coincidence that he is present when these strange events take place?
If you’ve ever wished for karma to move a little faster, indulged in uncharitable thoughts about certain annoying people, or suspected that having a black cat cross your path was not quite as unlucky as people seem to think, this book is for you.
Reader Review: “Vengeance may be sweet—but, meting out justice vigilante-style just isn’t practical. Then along comes Friday, a black cat whose intelligence and curiosity gets the better of those who deserve their just desserts. Obvious or implied, Friday shows up where the wrath of Biblical justice is called for. And, it’s so gratifying to watch the gruesome details unfold!” on Amazon
The Bold Mom knows horror and fantasy.
That’s why I always pay attention to her book recommendations .
Here, she gives her suggestions for books to read for Valentines Day… or Halloween… whenever.
Welcome everyone to my first guest blogger @theBoldMom who is a prolific reader of all things dark and wonderful. Today she will share some lovely book recommendations for Valentine’s Day.
Very often I see myself swimming between books and stories that could step in horror and dark fantasy. The limit? It certainly depends on the reader and the level of darkness they are able to absorb. I think I’m not alone on this island, so I’d like to talk about some books which fantasy and
horror lovers will enjoy, each one from a different perspective.
DESERT SHADOWS by Joshua Dowidat is one of the books I have deeply enjoyed. Dowidat sets
a stage of darkness and childhood memories to afterwards, holding your hand through a forest of ghosts and demons where you can’t flee from. I’m never tired of recommending this book.
SHADOWMANCER by Jeremy Mac
Jeremy Mac is a…
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Sylvermoon Chronicles is an annual short story anthology created by The Confederacy of the Quill, an international writers’ cooperative. I am very proud to have one of my stories, Contaminus, included in the 2019 issue of this highly regarded anthology series.
While the book releases on Valentines Day, it should not be mistaken for a romance collection.
Rather, I like to think of it as a gift for those who, like me, would sooner read genres other than lovey-dovey romance, and a welcome distraction from all the kissy-face sentimentality often associated with February 14th. The Sylvermoon Chronicles series features stories in the genres of Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, and Adventure.
It is an honor to be published in a series which I have very much enjoyed as a reader, alongside a number of authors whose work I have previously read, reviewed and fangirled over. I was both excited and slightly surprised when my story was accepted, especially given the inspiration behind the writing of Contaminus.
New worlds await you in the newest Sylvermoon Chronicles collection, which hit the shelves today. The ebook is widely available now, and the paperback will be available soon.
It’s Valentines Day.
I know some people make a big deal of it, but that tends to diminish over the years when a couple have been together for a long time.
As half of one of those couples, I decided to create some attractive yet practical greetings that might come in handy for couples like us. In the interests of quality assurance, these have been road-tested on my husband, who laughed a bit.
You’re welcome to use any or all of these in order to win favor with your beloved, or just for a bit of fun.
I remember as a child going to visit friends of my parents’ for dinner, and being served a dessert called Ambrosia. I had never heard of it before, and I remember being amazed by how sweet and delightful it was. The sensation of wanting more when the little dish set before me was empty is still a very clear memory.
When I was a bit older and started reading about history, I discovered that ambrosia was a mythical substance that, having been brought to the Ancient Greek Gods by doves, became their food of choice, along with their favoured drink, nectar. Ambrosia and nectar may have even originally been the same thing, but Homer and Sappho both distinguish between them. Given that they were present in Ancient Greece and I was not. their authority on the matter is something I am willing to accept.
Ambrosia was understood to be fragrant, powerful and reserved for the gods, who adored it because of its healing and cleansing powers, and because it took years off their physical ages. It filled them with passion and made them desirable. Little wonder, then, that they wanted to keep it for themselves!
In time, ‘ambrosia’ was a term that became popular among the Romans as any delightful essence or concoction of food or drink, and then may have given rise to the idea of “the elixir of life” that people have been searching for ever since.
It was the concept of drinking something that resulted in passion that lasted for eternity that caused me to write my poem Ambrosia about the power of a lover’s effect on one’s life and soul. I wanted to capture that heady, addictive feeling between lovers that makes them believe nothing and nobody else matters, and that their love transcends time, place and physical limitations.
Anyone who has experienced those feelings will relate. Anyone who has landed hard on their posterior after doing something stupid for love will probably relate, but may also mutter uncharitable things about love and romance under their breath. Those who haven’t experienced it may scoff.
Yet the feelings and experiences described in the poem do exist, and they are what the celebration of Valentine’s Day has come to be all about: it’s the kind of love that everyone wants to find and experience, although it’s fair to say that not everyone does.
We must remember, after all, that the legend of Valentines Day was never about flowers, candlelight dinners and fairy-tale, kissy-face wedding proposals: it began with a man being executed for something he believed in.
At any rate, I wrote Ambrosia in honour of the love of my life who, after many years together, still hasn’t driven me to drink. I have, however, been known to do take a risk or two for the love of him from time to time, so it’s an appropriate poem to share on Valentine’s Day.
If you appreciated this post or my poem, please click “like” so that it becomes visible to more people.
Ambrosia is publshed in my book, Smoke and Shadows.
Women In Horror Month: Featured Author: Lily Luchesi
Lily Luchesi is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of the Paranormal Detectives Series, published by Vamptasy Publishing. She also has short stories included in multiple bestselling anthologies, and a successful dark erotica retelling of Dracula.
Her Coven Series has successfully topped Amazon’s Hot New Releases list consecutively.
She is also the editor, curator and contributing author of Vamptasy Publishing’s Damsels of Distress anthology, which celebrates strong female characters in horror and paranormal fiction.
Lily was born in Chicago, Illinois, and now resides in Los Angeles, California. Ever since she was a toddler her mother noticed her tendency for being interested in all things “dark”. At two she became infatuated with vampires and ghosts, and that infatuation turned into a lifestyle. She is also an out member of the LGBT+ community. When she’s not writing, she’s going to rock concerts, getting tattooed, watching the CW, or reading manga. And drinking copious amounts of coffee.
In Lily’s Own Words:
The horror I write is mostly urban fantasy mixed with horror. My author tagline is “horror with heart” because I believe, deep down, everything has light in it. Whether it’s a rogue vampire in the streets of Downtown Chicago or demons controlled by Nazis in World War Two, a story has to be more than just darkness, more than the “gore factor”. A true horror story has to have heart. It’s why the horror elements are elevated: when characters (and readers) are given something to care about, what rips it away is even worse. And I firmly believe, even in the most horrific situations, light wins in the end.
My stories are more than violence, though I have plenty of that. My stories are about people. The characters drive the stories, and in caring about them, you find yourself cringing when they’re injured, or when they fail to prevent an innocent victim from being torn to pieces or having their soul eaten.My books are about the half vampire who hates existing, disgusted by her hunger for blood. They’re about a psychic who wants to die rather than dream about those he cares for being tortured. A siren who was persecuted, first for being a monster and again for being Jewish. They’re about a teenage girl who has to fight against the evil that lives in her veins.Horror is more than a monster or torture. Horror is what lurks in the dark corners of our minds.
Stake-Out (Paranormal Detectives Book One)
In a city overrun with the undead, an ex-cop is given a chance to get revenge…
Danny Mancini is on a case, following a murder suspect. When he catches him, he finds out that the perp isn’t even human: he’s a 200 year old rogue vampire!
The department doesn’t believe him, and puts him on early retirement, despite his many years of service to the Chicago Police Department, which sends him into a downward spiral.
Two years later, Danny gets an invitation from the beautiful, young and very attractive Detective Angelica Cross to join a secret branch of the FBI to help her track down Vincent, the wayward vamp.
But renegade werewolves, meddling immortal witches and Danny’s strange visions of a life lived a century ago with Angelica make things more difficult than it should be.
Reader Review: “Fast paced, action packed, entertaining and emotional.”—Adventures of Sacakat
The Coven Princess (The Coven Series Book One)
Your blood does not define you.
Harley Torrance’s parents were killed in a home invasion when she was three. Adopted by a nice couple, Harley begins to develop strange powers. At fourteen she brews a potion so strong it gains the attention of the Coven King, and changes her world forever.
She’s not human, she’s a witch.
Now a part of the magical community, Harley must learn to control her powers lest the Darkness already in her blood overcomes her. Can she dampen her lust for power in order to stop the Dark from taking over the Coven and killing everyone in their way?
Reader Review: “Luchesi kept the whimsy and wonder inherent in magical YA novels while exploring the darker side of the magical world and those who dwell in it. It’s everything I dreamed of in a magical YA novel and more!”— On My Kindle
In this standalone spin-off of the Paranormal Detectives Series, we discover the true horrors during Hitler’s reign.
In World War Two, not all monsters were human.
Male siren Sean Wireman was ostracised from his small village in Israel in the sixteenth century, forced to wander the world until he settled in America in the 1920’s. Since he doesn’t age like a normal person, he was fit to fight in World War Two, to defend the heritage he spent his whole life running from.
Seventy years later, after he has lived a whole other life since Hitler was defeated, from attending law school to becoming a bona fide rock star, the monsters the Nazis released upon the Jews in concentration camps have returned, and he is the only one who can destroy them.
But can he save his people once again, or will this fight take a deadly toll?
Reader Review: “The truthful elements woven into the fantastical produced an unstoppable read that will surely please current fans and those looking for a historical ride filled with both legitimacy and the dark paranormal. The rich historical elements were expertly dropped in context instead of sounding like a lesson, serving to add a realistic twist to Sean’s life and anchoring the reader to his story.”—Knightingale Reviews
I have just finished reading ‘Never Again’, and it really is an excellent horror read. Make sure you check Book Squirrel’s book blog for the review!
Women in Horror Month: Featured Author: Suzi Albracht
In Suzi’s own words:
I always feel a little naked when asked to talk about myself. So let me put something on first. Ahhhh, that’s better. So they call me The Queen of Scream. If you’ve read any of my work, you know it is a well-earned moniker.
I live near Annapolis, Maryland in a town called Bowie with my boyfriend, Tim. That places me halfway between Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, MD.
My Supernatural Horror Crime Thriller books in The Devil’s Due Collection take place in these metro areas so anyone who lives here will recognize some of the locations. I also have a Paranormal Romance/Ghost series – An OBX Haunting – that takes place in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
I’ve had many interesting things happen to me along my life’s path. The first President Bush gave me a shoulder/back rub when I was visiting the compound in Maine one hot August. I went to church with Princess Diana and Prince Charles. I’ve been to Las Vegas to play competitive pool in the APA World Championship.
I won’t share all of my adventures. Where would the mystery be if I expose all?
I would consider myself to be a fair and giving person who loves hard. I am nice, but if you do me wrong, I will never forget. I may forgive, just to get past it, but you will never get close to me again. I am loyal to a fault. I’m into shoes and purses, they have their own room here.And now I am naked again.
Suzi writes Supernatural Horror Crime Thrillers. Her novels are psychologically scary. She utilizes everyday characters who find themselves tangled up in horrible situations that seem inescapable. She likes her characters to have intense personal relationships that complicate their situations.
Death Most Wicked
Mikael was six years old when he learned his father was a murderer.His mother, Sofia, knew there was more to it. Her husband wasn’t just a murderer, no, he was fiendish. She tried to shield Mikael from his father’s savage deeds. But when she discovered her husband, Dimitry Ivanovitch, had demonic plans for their son, she made a decision that would prove deadly if she were caught. In the dead of night, she snatched her son from his bed and fled to the safety of America. There, no longer living in fear, Mikael grew up and became a decorated homicide detective. Sofia, however, kept constant watch for signs that her husband had located them.
One hot August day, Mikael is assigned a string of kidnapping/murders of young girls. Soon another body turns up, and then another. With no suspects and no clues, the pressure proves too great for Mikael’s partner who commits suicide. Just when Mikael thinks things cannot get any worse, his father tracks him down. And now Ivanovitch is deeply involved with the Devil. He attempts to lure Mikael into his cult by dangling the name of the murderer in front of him. But the name comes with a steep price tag. Can Mikael escape his father’s clutches again? Or will he choose a fate worse than death to save the next little girl?
If you like sagas such as The Godfather and Goodfellas because of their heart-pounding action, and any of Stephen King’s books for thrilling terror, this book will have you turning pages all night long. Don’t miss out on Death Most Wicked.
The Devil’s Lieutenant
A night at the local bar proves deadly for three friends when they fail to notice the rotting stink of evil coming from the far corner of the room.
Brothers Jake and Bobby Holyfield along with Max Wilson catch the eye of Dimitry Ivanovitch, the Devil’s right-hand man who is seeking victims for his Satanic cult. With one phone call, he discovers that Max is chronically unemployed and desperate for money. And that Bobby has an insatiable fiancé who is cheating on him, however Jake has no weaknesses or secrets. Ivanovitch sets out to take the souls of all three but realizes Jake’s will be harder to steal.
Meanwhile, Jake is promoted to homicide detective. His first case is a perplexing one that appears unsolvable. Around the same time, Jake hears that Max is suddenly flush with unexplained money. Jake fears that Max has taken a dark turn. And then Jake gets unexpected help from an angel and another detective who contacts him with intel that is crucial to not only his case but to the survival of humanity. However, now Jake’s worse fears are confirmed. Will Ivanovitch succeed in stealing Max and Bobby’s souls? Will he turn a good cop bad? Or will Jake rise up and save everyone?
The Devil’s Lieutenant reads like a mish-mash of the best scenes from the Godfather saga and the Exorcist. It is not your mama’s lullaby. Pick it up, and you will be reading far into the night. The Devil’s Lieutenant is Book 2 in the Devil’s Due Collection.
Today, I woke up in another man’s coffin, under some poor soul’s limp body. It is so dark in here, but God help me, I think I know whose body it is.
This can’t be happening. Not now. I mean come on, I may be a short, balding guy with a thick waistline, but I’ve also got pockets full of money. Sure, most of it is family money, my wife’s family but it’s in my pockets. This is the time of my life, for crap’s sake. Can this really be happening? I swear when I was dragged up to the coffin, I saw my dead father-in-law in the corner of the room, his fingers crusted with dirt and dried roses from digging himself out of his grave. And he was clutching that damned contract he made me sign in my own blood.
Maybe fear is causing me to hallucinate but I think that monster, Royce, cut off my thumb before slamming the lid shut. I must be bleeding but I can’t lift my arm to check. Oh my God, the furnace just fired up. It’s rocking my coffin. My head was spinning from the drugs, but I know my formerly loving wife helped shove my body into this cramped chariot to hell. Surely, she’s just punishing me for my indiscretion with the lovely Karina. She’s going to come back and let me out with a reprimand, right? Wait a minute… is that crackling I hear? My toes are burning.
If you enjoy Twilight Zone-like books, you will enjoy Scorn Kills. And if snarky characters, ironic circumstances, and horror are your thing, this book will keep you enthralled, page after page. One reviewer has even asked, “how can a book so funny be so frightening?” This is a “can’t resist reading it” book.