Monthly Archives: October 2013

Numbers and Fear by Shawn Micallef

Fear is a physical reaction to stimuli that gives the appearance of danger. It is a word that Jason knew very well but never saw it used to describe him. He was what many people called fearless. The man was cool under pressure and instead of running from a fire he would run towards it.

This lack of knowing fear had put Jason into many dangerous situations. He had been shot at during a bank robbery. He refused to drop to the floor when ordered to by the robber. This act allowed a guard to get the drop on the would be robber and the situation was resulted with no one getting hurt, except the robber.

There was another situation where an exploding gas tank led to first degree burns on his body when his shirt caught fire.  He had just pulled a small child out of a burning car and as he rushed the child to safety the gas tank exploded.  The blast forced him to fall to his knees and some of the debris hit his back causing the burns.

Friends of his had tried to test his fearlessness for much of his life. They played practical jokes on him all the time. They would try to scare him from the dark jump out and wearing a mask to scare him. After a few broken noses they gave up on those attempts. Plastic spiders were left in his car, his office, and even a real snake was left in his sock drawer.  He learned at that time it was important to lock his front door when leaving for an errand.

It was like this for his life up to the year 2013 as he turned thirty three just in time for Halloween.  He prepared as always to give out full size candy bars to the children in his neighborhood. He knew the kids loved to stop at his home and often they try and scare him as well.  He would smile at the children and often tell them nice try and it was like that Halloween as well.

He had put up with his friends trying a new tactic of trying to use superstition to get to him this year. They pointed out that this year he had too many threes to be safe this year.  As usual he laughed them off and pointed out how any number can be seen as evil if given that reasoning. He knew that the number three had been told to have a bad connotation to it much like the number six. Fate was tempted one night when a friend would not let the thing drop. So, Jason yelled out the numbers three and six multiple times repeating each one three time. His friend had enough asked him to stop and even made the sign of the cross over his chest.  Jason rolled his eyes at that time and asked his buddy who was the scared and superstitious one?

Halloween had come and he had just turned off his light that night after giving out nearly all the candy bars he had purchased that year. He had about two to three bars left and was about to open one for himself when a knock came from his door. He shook his head, rolled his eyes and went to the door while he put the candy bar back into the small bucket.

He opened the door and found a cute little girl dressed in the oddest of costumes. She had a princess costume on but instead of being pink it was black.  She had small horns by her ears and blood red lips that were a contrast to her pale white face.  Her hair was jet black and oddly tied up in dual pony tails that did nothing to hide those horns. He took in her appearance and just told her that he only had a few candy bars left and asked what she’d like from the bucket.

The young girl looked up at him, as she stood no more than four feet tall. She smiled her cheeks rose and split to show small dimples. There was no sign of cracking makeup when she did this and he saw her eyes were pure black.

“I do not want your candy, but instead I am here for you.”

His right eyebrow rose as he let those words sink into his mind.  He stepped out a bit and looked to the right and left to see if any of his friends or neighbors were around.

“Did someone put you up to a joke or is this someone’s attempt to scare me?”

Her smile faded into a stern look and if possible flames may have escaped her eyes as she stared at him. Her mouth opened so slight and he heard a small voice come from her, but it was loud within his head.

“I am here for you.  The man of no fear in the year of his threes who has summoned me.”

“Excuse me, but what are you getting at little girl? “

“You have summoned us, and your time is nigh and I am here to collect you for the one who collects those of three.”

“Hey are you guys out there? It’s not cool to use a girl to scare me you know this won’t work.”

“No one shall hear the words from your throat, you yell to the nothingness that now will claim you.”

He hadn’t noticed, but as he looked around he saw no street lights, no life, just a pale glow on the girl coming from the lights inside his home.  A shudder spread down his spine and he began to sweat.

He questioned himself silently, is this what fear feels like.

She repeated her claims again to Jason.

“You have summoned us, and your time is nigh and I am here to collect you for the one who collects those of three.”

“I heard you the first time. If this is some joke to get me scared it is fucking working. You can tell those who are pulling this prank off congratulations. After thirty three years they finally got me. Now will you please get off my porch as I do not want to slam my door on a little girl.”

He attempted to shut the door as he backed into his house but the door did not move. She just looked at him and grinned. Her mouth parted this time to show teeth that were pointed like daggers.  She then parted those teeth and used a fork tongue to lick those blood red lips. She stepped toward him and through the door again a small whisper of a voice said.

“I am here for you.  The man of no fear in the year of his threes who summoned us as you will not be shutting me out.”

He tried again to slam the door the fear he held onto for so many years finally claimed his body. The sweat ran down his body causing his shirt to turn wet. His heart raced and he saw images of the close calls from his life. The robber, the fire the snake, it and so much more came to his mind at that moment. The girl just stared at him and slowly walked further into the home the door closed itself.

A loud scream pierced the neighborhoods silence. People turned on their lights again to see if they saw the source. Children stopped in their tracks as they were heading home and all turned toward his now darken house. The scream echoed one more time in the night and as smaller kids dropped their bags of candy and ran home, neighbors slammed doors and lights turned out.

Someone in the neighborhood had enough sense to call the police and the darken street was again lit up by lights. These being a mixture of blue and red from the police cars and ambulance that came to Jason’s home. After hearing the door being broken down from the sound of wood being shattered some neighbors finally braved the cold night air and went outside.

Some ran back into their homes, others stared on with eyes wide open, jaws gapped at the sight that met their eyes. Some of the men in blue were seen running back outside the broken door and were vomiting on the once green grass. Another officer was seen coming out shaken and the sounds of deep sobbing heard from the man. A paramedic came out doing the sign of the cross over his chest as he let the blood covering his hands paint the white uniform where his finger tipped had touched his uniform.

A neighbor finally had the courage to walk up the street to get a view and hoped to talk to a member of the police. He was turned back by an officer as he got close. The officer only saying that what they saw inside was worse than any acts of violence they’d seen in a cheap horror film. The neighbor tried to stand on his toes to see into the open doorway but could not. He finally got a glimpse through the reflection in a police car window and he collapsed on the spot dead from a sudden heart attack the coroner’s report stated.

Over the next two weeks the police put up a twenty four hour watch on the home. No one was allowed to enter and the press briefings were very simple.  All the police would say is that the scene was under investigation and a man was presumed dead from the amount of blood found at the scene.  Neighbors were questioned on what they had seen and heard that dreadful night. All any could remember was the odd girl in the black princess dress they saw skipping around the corner near Jason’s home singing a song. The only words anyone could remember were;

“One, two, three,

I come for thee,

Four, five, six,

Beware what I will inflict.”




Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Short Stories


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Family by Aurora Torchia

Below is the submission, Family, by Aurora Torchia. The work was only edited for spacing and is Aurora’s work.  I hope you enjoy this submission for the Halloween week on the blog.

“Family”  by Aurora Torchia 

The history of that house , huh?

I will tell you, as old Joe once told me …

They had arrived two months earlier.

An odd couple, according to everyone: young, but already gray-haired and with deep eye wrinkles.

It was a wonder how they could give birth to such a lively and lovely child: a black haired angel who did nothing but run here and there. You could not imagine anyone more at odds with those two pale and insipid parents.

It took only one week for all the neighborhood to start grumbling about the strange screams and chants that could be heard coming from the crumbling walls of the house.

Witchcraft, they said .

The gypsy who lived in the cabin east of the river had hung strange pieces of cloth on the tent that served as a door, and had stopped going out of the house after dark. She said that evil had come into the valley. She said it was their fault if animals died and children fell prey to fevers.

And that was not all.

The wife was always on the front porch or in the kitchen: when on the porch, she stared into space stroking her cats and when in the kitchen she kept staring into space but … cooked the cats.

Or at least that was what kids in the neighborhood said.

They rarely saw the husband. Nobody knew what kind of job he had, but he went out every morning at dawn, dragging bags that smelled of rotten meat.

The children told their mothers their new friend had always strange bruises around her neck and burst into tears every time she saw a cat. She was afraid .

People were terrified, but first and foremost they felt sorry for the poor creature. How could they move that innocent child away from that sacrilegious house?!

Old Joe, who lived right across the street, kept thinking about it every night. Pipe in his mouth , sitting on his porch, how many times he had seen the little girl sneak out in the middle of the night to escape screams and beatings?

He had to do something!

Finally, one night, the man’s cries had become high to the point that old Joe took courage – and his rifle – and went toward the house, determined to stop that crazy couple. Once the door was opened wide, he saw a scene that froze the blood in his veins: the little girl, standing on the table, was beating her mother on her back with a long stick.

From the oven, a nauseating smell and pathetic moans came.

“How dare you try to kill me again? You… Stupid warlock!” she screamed with that childish voice, mad with anger, towards the oven. “I am the servant Satan gave you!”

The woman then grabbed her by the arm, enduring the beating.

“Kill her!” She begged old Joe. “Burn everything!”

When, in the morning, the flames had been tamed, next to the woman’s charred body, they found a giant rat’s corpse: it had a bullet hole in its skull.

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Posted by on October 28, 2013 in Short Stories


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Small Hour Stories by Michele Roger & Angie Nutt

small hour (2)Horror is often seen to be the real of primarily male writers with some female authors are making strides, and some outselling their male counterparts. This is an accomplishment that is rare and often comes as an encouragement to other female authors.  Michele Roger and Angie Nutt are two women that are putting their digital footprint out in the realm of horror. The two women have come together to create the anthology, Small Hour Stories.

The book contains five unique stories within its pages and each story gives the reader a hint of what is available for the ladies of Horror.  These are short stories by each of the two talented women and were thankfully published by Infinite Page Press. The great cover art is from illustrator Tom Duncan.

The book opens with the story Taste of the Dead by Michele Roger. The story will take the reader into the moment when a woman finds out her boyfriend is a bit more than obsessive. The man is bent on keeping the woman for himself and this means doing all he can to convince her to become like him. The story reads as you follow what goes through her mind as she must make a life and death decision.

The following story, by author Angie Nutt, involves an equally important decision of life and death. A housewife is home alone and afraid to go down her own stairs.  She senses, and sees, something at the bottom of her stairs. Whatever the shape is it has her deafly afraid to go down those stairs.  What is a woman to do? Is it her imagination or is what she saw real?

The book continues with two more short stories from Michele Rogers and another by author Angie Nutt.  The stories range from the unique fertilizer technique of women, to the dangers of owning a stray cat. In either case the stories will capture the reader’s attention.  The last story will show how far we will go for those we have loved after they passed to see them one last time.

Small Hour Stories may seem like a quick read at its size, but the stories are well written. Each woman uses her imagination to bring the reader well developed stories. Their work helps to show that although horror can appear male dominated there are women writing tales that are just as scary and though provoking.


Below is a video featuring author Michele Roger giving potential readers a taste of the book.

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Posted by on October 23, 2013 in Reviews


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Division by Karen A Wyle

DivisionTwins have a unique existence that many in the world may find themselves being envious of. People may have romanticized the way they have a sibling of the same age to grow up with. They may think of how much fun it would be to have someone to share experiences.  There is also the fact it is possible they have the joy of being identical and thus can try to blame the other when trouble comes calling.

Just ask yourself how many times have you seen stories on twins, ones that dress and act alike. There are also those who think twins have a unique unbreakable bond that allows them to feel when the other is in trouble. Now imagine if that bond was not through some mystical telepathic link but through the body.

Author Karen A Wyle takes the reader into just such a situation when she introduces the reader to conjoined twins Gordon and Jonny in the book, Division.

The story opens with a prologue where you get a small introduction to the boy’s mother, Ellen, and her love for her sons. The story will progress and we begin to see the family lives in an advanced world from ours, but some of the same issues are found.  There is hatred of those not “normal” and those who have such a strong believe they even threaten harm due to their ignorance, not the families.

The reader will find that Ellen and the boy’s stepfather Frank have a good life. It’s a very happy family where the mother has done as much as she can to protect the boys from the world around them. She tries to protect them from the stares and rudeness of others.  She tries to give them a normal life and the boys are able to excel from her love.

Johnny and Gordon share the body and each has control of one side of their body.  The boys have learned as they grew how to work together and share their lives. This will all come to a head by a simple statement one of the brothers makes. He does not realize what he says would have the repercussions on their lives it does but it will start a path that ends up in court.

The path in question is in the setting of the book society has advanced medicine and it may now be possible for the boys to live apart. This is a decision Johnny forces when he sues to separate from his brother. Gordon is devastated from this decision and it puts the boys at odds and leaves their mother in the middle. There are others impacted by this decision as there is also a long time friend both boys had dreamt of one day being together with.

I do not want to give too much away on this well written book. The story is complex and well thought out and will have the reader maybe choosing sides. The reader may feel sorrow for Gordon who wishes to live their live as they have together. Others may understand why Johnny wants to be able to separate and enjoy his own life.

Division is a book that will bring  you not only into the struggles of the boys but their triumphs. It will show you how the family unit is the one who really suffers.  The family is also the ones who conqueror the adversity brought by Johnny’s choice.  The book will reside will with those who came up in a family with multiple children, or those who have had to face hard choices. It is a book that may even bring a tear to your eye, but at the same time a smile in triumph.

**Note: I received an advance copy of the book and is why the books link is to Smashwords. If you find that this book maybe something you want to read keep an eye out for it as I personally enjoyed the book.

Division is available at this time for pre-ordering at B&N and Kobobooks and will be available on Amazon and Smashwords on October 29, 2013.

If you wish to pre-order here are the links. 

–B&N (pre-order link):

–Kobobooks (pre-order link):


Division is now available and for sale at the above retailers, Amazon and Smashwords.

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Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Reviews


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Midnight Syndicate Kickstarter Campaign Oct 7, 2013 – Nov 10, 2013

I’ve been fortunate enough to have done some reviews for Midnight Syndicate over the years. I say over the years as I got to review their film The Dead Matter in the past. Recently you will find their two latest CD’s on the blog having been given the opportunity to review those.  It is why I’m thrilled to be bring to your attention the fact the band has started a Kickstarter Campaign for a brilliant idea for a show.  Below is the press release for the campaign and if you can help out this great band.  Period for the campaign are Oct 7, 2013 – Nov 10, 2013.

MLiveMidnight Syndicate launches Kickstarter campaign in support of MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE LIVE! multimedia Halloween horror concert.

October 7, 2013 (Cleveland, OH) – After seventeen studio albums, including three horror movie scores and a motion picture of their own,  Gothic Halloween Horror music composers Midnight Syndicate have launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a multimedia concert experience.   Entitled MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE LIVE! the Halloween horror-themed show will feature  a unique blend of live Midnight Syndicate music, original films, music videos, and live theatre.

“We want it to be a feast for the eyes as much as the ears,” said Gavin Goszka, “a unique show that is not only a Midnight Syndicate concert but also something that stands on its own as a great horror multimedia experience.”  In order create the visual elements of the show, the band is teaming up with of veterans from the special FX, film, and haunted house industries.   The initial group includes special FX legend  Robert Kurtzman (Creature Corps, FROM DUSK TILL DAWN, KNB EFX), director Gary Jones (XENA, AXE GIANT), David “House” Greathouse (FACEOFF, Mushroomhead), Jason Carter (BABYLON 5, THE DEAD MATTER), Beki Ingram (FACEOFF), and Jason Blaszczak of Screamline Studios (Rob Zombie’s AMERICAN NIGHTMARE).  “Because of the style of our music and our ties to the film, roleplaying game, and haunted house industries we’re in the perfect position to put together a unique show that blends the best of these different worlds,” said Edward Douglas.  “It’s a project almost two decades in the making.   We want to bring your nightmares to life,” added Gavin Goszka.

“We’ve always been our own label and distributor with little commercial radio airplay, so it’s really been the fans’ support over these past seventeen years that has allowed Midnight Syndicate to continue to grow.  They really are the best fans in the world,” said Edward Douglas.   “This live concert is something that our fans have been asking us to do for many years.  The Kickstarter campaign is giving us the opportunity to involve them from the beginning and allowing us to take this exciting next step together.”

MIDNIGHT SYNDICATE LIVE! Kickstarter Campaign:

Midnight Syndicate Official Website:



For almost two decades, composers Edward Douglas and Gavin Goszka have been known as Midnight Syndicate, creating symphonic soundtracks to imaginary films that facilitate a transcendental and adventurous escape into the secret dimensions of the mind’s eye. To many of their fans, they are Gothic music pioneers brewing a signature blend of orchestral horror music and movie-style sound effects. To others, they remain the first “haunted house band” that forever changed the Halloween music genre and became a staple of the October holiday season. And some know them as the duo that teamed up with Hasbro and Wizards of the Coast to produce the first official soundtrack to the legendary Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game. Their critically-acclaimed works are reminiscent of sweeping, complex masterpieces by artists such as James Horner, Danny Elfman, Black Sabbath and King Diamond and have been featured as a part of films, television shows, video games and at haunted attractions, amusement parks, and live performances worldwide.

Midnight Syndicate’s music has become integral to setting a powerful mood at top-rated haunted attractions and amusement parks as well as at costume shops, gaming and Halloween parties and Halloween-themed cruises from Siberia and Hong Kong, to Europe and the United States. The duo has released 15 studio albums since 1997, and Douglas and Goszka’s original, work also been used at Hugh Hefner’s Halloween parties, on episodes of The Barbara Walters Special and in the drive-in film THE RAGE, Universal Studio’s Horror Nights XVIII as well as by Monday Night Football and by artists Insane Clown Posse, Three Six Mafia, Twiztid and The Misfits. In 2010, Midnight Syndicate released a full-length horror film called THE DEAD MATTER, directed, scored and co-produced by Douglas alongside special FX legend Robert Kurtzman and director/producer Gary Jones.

Midnight Syndicate continues to pursue its quest to use instrumental music to tell explicit stories full of tension, twists and turns. Most recently, the band completed the score to the grindhouse thriller AXE GIANT: THE WRATH OF PAUL BUNYAN. In summer, 2013, Midnight Syndicate released the soundtrack to that film along with MONSTERS OF LEGEND a tribute to the classic Universal, Hammer and Euro horror films that gave birth to horror cinema.  MONSTERS OF LEGEND has quickly become the band’s most critically-acclaimed album to date.

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Posted by on October 14, 2013 in Reviews


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A Horrorific Opportunity for YOU!

WritingThere have been certain holidays in the past where I have posted some original work that fits the theme of the holiday.  This year life has kept me busy and I’m personally just thrilled I’ve been able to keep up with the book reviews. 

All I’ll say about this year’s fun is that home ownership finally got to be a bit expensive this year. It was about time as the house has been ours for many years. So who would be shocked when a water heater from the late 1990’s finally calls it quits? I also learned a good plumbing lesson as a power vent system is more expensive.  So yeah I’ve had enough home horrors that I could write something on that.  

However, I want to try something and I realize upfront that this could be a futile (Borg Voice) endeavor. 

What I’m doing is putting out an open call to all the followers, readers, and lurkers of the blog to put on your thinking caps.  It can be something from a real life experience, a short story from grammar school, a crazy idea, or just a dream that keeps you up at night. So what am I talking about, err writing about here? 

I’m offering anyone the opportunity to have a piece of your work; yes I said it YOUR work posted on the blog. The post will be made during the week of October 28, 2013.  Why the year?  You never know when this could be read as things do stay on the internet for some time. 

So that’s right if you have a piece of writing you have wanted to share but have no outlet, this is your chance. I just ask that you keep the story creepy and please no worse than an R-rating.  This means gratuitous violence, swearing, and limited nudity are acceptable. Granted who cares about nudity as there will be NO pictures of that on the blog. (laughs)  The only limitation I have is please NO SEX (sorry 1980’s slasher film fans), or previously published work.  The story must also have an element of fear to work with the Halloween Holiday. 

The stories can come from anyone as the point is to allow others a chance to get a feature. I wish I could say there is a prize for best story but you read about the home ownership being costly. (Smiles) 

If this at all sounds like something you’d be interested in taking part in get writing.  Send any submission you have to my email address which is just below. To avoid, hopefully, spammers I did write out the email completely.   

Send your stories, real, fictions, or ludicrous to: 


Please put Submission in the subject line and keep the story to fewer than 8000 words.

If you happen to have an image, blog or website you wanted mentioned in your posting please include with the email.


The Legal and Submission Guidelines:


All rights will remain with the owner of the original writing, and will not be edited for content.  If at any time the author wishes work to be removed, it will be removed.


I am the final decision on if the piece will be published, and when it will be published during that week.

Deadline is 10/23/2013.


Story should either be in body of email, or attached as Word Format or PDF.

Any images requested to show in story should be in JPEG format.


Include Title of story and how you want your name to appear.  (I do have the right to go with anonymous for those who give an obvious crude fake name.)


Email Subject: Submission

Body of message should contain: 


How you want name to appear in posting

Story Title 

The story itself or mention attachment and any photos.


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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Short Stories


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Ten + 1 Questions with Author Jane Dougherty

JaneThose who go over to Jane Dougherty’s blog will find something very interesting. This factoid is that The Dark Citadel is her FIRST published book.  This will explain why her answer to questions 5 and 6 are left with the N/R tag.  It’s hard to comment on those questions when this is your first book. Another factor is that her book was only published on 10/4/2013 and the review and the interview are within a week of that publishing.  So without further comment on this woman lets get on to the questions. Please be sure to go to the bottom as there is the book trailer for The Dark Citadel.


Question 1:

What inspired you to write The Dark Citadel?

I had been writing for a couple of years, novels and short stories, and decided I would like to write something for my children, the oldest being teenagers with very definite ideas about what they did and didn’t appreciate in a story. A scene came to me of a classroom full of girls all dressed in grey and having a miserable time. Not a very auspicious opening for a teen drama maybe, but one of the girls raised her head to stare out of the window, and I decided I wanted to write about that particular girl and how she got out of that awful grey world.

Question 2:

Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters?

None whatsoever! The world of The Green Woman requires that everyone has a name drawn from religious or mythological texts so none of the names are inventions. The characters seemed to appear with names already attached! I didn’t have to agonize over any of them. I have tried not to let my personal likes and dislikes get in the way of the names that ‘appeared’. I don’t much like the characters in Greek myth, for example, but I’ve tried to sprinkle them fairly among the good and the bad characters.

Question 3:

During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories?

Only one memory, I think. I didn’t start school in September with all the other five-year-olds, but the following January. My mother had her fourth baby in September and with three under fours in the house and my dad working strange hours, there was nobody to take me to school and pick me up again in the afternoon. Needless to say we lived in a semi-rural area miles from the school and we didn’t have a car. The other kids had already settled in by the time I arrived and I remember deciding that what they were doing didn’t interest me and I was going to do my own thing in a corner. I remember repeated incidents where the teacher would come over to where I had pushed a table and a chair against the wall to get on with my own drawings and scribbling quietly on my own, eat my biscuits, talk to myself, or whatever, and ask me to turn around and join in with everybody else. Deborah in embryo maybe.

Question 4:

What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I was very slow learning to read. My mother was an artist and we were all encouraged to draw, so I drew. When I did decide I could read, I started on real books without going through the readers. The first book that I read over and over was a Patricia Lynch, The Bookshop on the Quay. I went on to read many more of her books and when I tried to get hold of them for my own children was shocked to find they are all now out of print. John Masefield’s The Box of Delights is a book I still read now and again. All of the Moomin stories enchanted me when I was young and still do. T.H. White’s Once and Future King stories about King Arthur, and Henry Treece’s stories set among the Vikings were also constant companions.

Question 5:

Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?


Question 6:

What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?


Question 7:

Do you continue to write?

I write all the time, from novels, through short stories to flash fiction and poetry. The Green Woman trilogy is finished with the second and third volumes waiting to be edited. I have a collection of in-world stories which I hope to release in the next couple of months, as well as stories based on Irish and Norse mythologies. My next full length novel project is a historical fantasy drawn from Celtic and Norse sources.

Question 8:

What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

I’m not sure I like the idea of a there being a message behind the story. However, one of the things that irks me in many fantasy novels is the total lack of moral values. The kind of behaviour associated with the armies of totalitarian regimes often appears to be condoned by the author because none of the characters takes a stand against it. I don’t want to come over as preachy, but if something is wrong, like murder, even if your protagonists are under twenty, they should still react against it, otherwise it should be made clear that their behaviour is reprehensible. My opinion only. I like real heroes, not just hulks with magic swords.

Question 9:

If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

I already have. In fact I’ve already written it, so you’ll have to wait for the books to come out to find out! I want Deborah to be happy. She isn’t a perfect character, but life didn’t deal her many aces. Love and affection were in short supply when she was a child and her own emotions except for anger are underdeveloped. She grows in the course of the series, learns to give as well as take, and she deserves to find what she’s looking for.

Question 10:
Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?

The book is dedicated to my husband, enough said. There are several people who have been important to the writing of the book, however. I have had the good fortune to get to know a really tremendous writer, Harriet McWatters who first encouraged me to think The Dark Citadel had merit, then proceeded to show me how it could be improved. Once Harriet had knocked it into shape, my editor, Susan Sipal, who instantly empathized with the story and the writing style, rounded off the last edges and straightened out the last inconsistencies. Last, I have to send a posthumous thank you to my father, John William Dougherty and my grandfather, James Brennan, both writers and poets, from whom I inherited a love of words, and the ability to fit them together in an intelligible way.

The + 1 Question:

If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

If ever I had the opportunity to go on a book tour with real paper copies of a book to set up like battlements in front of me on a bookshop table, it would probably be to Inishowen where my father’s people came from. As a place for a book tour it would be hardly more profitable than the Gobi Desert in terms of population, but there is a debt of gratitude to be repaid, and even if it is a lonely, wild corner of the world, I would love to be able to say this is where the story started.



Posted by on October 9, 2013 in Interview


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The Dark Citadel (The Green Woman) by Jane Dougherty

Dark CitadelHow was the Earth created and how will it be destroyed are questions that not only plaque scientists but also those of a religious belief.  Many in the world argue that the world was created by a higher being and this belief is that of those who believe in creationism.   This story tells of how God created the world in seven days driving out the darkness and bring light to the world.

The book The Dark Citadel takes a version of this story and completely turns things around. Instead of a creation born of light, darkness has taken over.  This darkness shows how the reckless abandon of war can change the world and how a rebirth of the planet will cause the light to be pushed aside in favor of this abandonment.

The book opens with a bleak look at the Earth and how the world appears to be barren of life except for the city of Providence. The world becomes the playground of the thing called Abbadon who rebuilds it in his version brings all the foul things up from hell.  The demons and creatures are set upon the world and allowed to multiply to bring the darkness to the land, water and the air.

There is one lone outpost to this disaster and that is the domed city of Providence, but nothing can escape Abbadon’s touch. Even in this city the leaders are corrupted into creating a merciless city controlled through ignorance and brutality.  It’s a city in which its leadership struck a deal to with Abbadon to stay safe and controlling.

There is still hope in this dark world and it lays in a special family. In truth it lays in the memories of a family.  These memories have a possibility to correct what has happened to the world, but it will not be easy.

The book will take the reader into the life of the “Serpentspawn”, Deborah, who must live within the walls of Providence. A world that sees women as second class citizens who’s true plight is to raise the children who will go on to work within the city.  Each family is only allowed to have one boy and one girl and if an imbalance happens it is arranged to keep balance in the city by taking a child and giving it to another family.

There is a reason Deborah has that unique moniker of “Serpentspawn” and it has to do with her mother and the importance of memories.

The Dark Citadel is the first book in, The Green Woman trilogy of books. The author Jane Dougherty introduces the reader into a well described world of destruction and hopelessness. The book can be related to creationism but should not be seen as a book that pushes religion. The book instead pushes that beyond all loss of hope there is still hope.

The book is a great opening for the trilogy and will help set the reader up in the world that Dougherty paints so well with her words. Deborah may seem alone at the beginning but as the reader finds out others will come into her life. They will assist her with her journey and others will find themselves on a duplicate path. The story is more than just a setup for the upcoming books as you will find yourself engrossed with the characters and wants to find out what happens to them. The book is published by Musa Publishing and for those overseas you can find the book Amazon UK.

For those who prefer to shop on Smashwords find the book here.


Posted by on October 7, 2013 in Reviews


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Ten + 1 Questions with author John Macgregor



John wrote his book Propinquity back in the 1980’s and the photo for John needs a small bit of explanation.  John’s current occupation has him in the country of Cambodia where he is an aid worker. In the photo he provided to me he is helping to deliver food and medicine. Shows that he is a caring man and to me is even more insight to the author behind Propinquity.

Question 1: What inspired you to write Propinquity? 

I was in my 20s, and I had always planned to be a writer. It seemed from early on to be the medium I was good at.

I was also spiritually oriented in those days. I’d been living in an ashram (monastery) for some years, and was still caught up in what would today be politely termed a “new religious movement”.

Question 2: Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters? 

My main characters are Clive Lean and Samantha Goode. One reader suggested this might be a reference to the seven lean years and seven good years that Joseph foretold from the Pharoah’s dream in Genesis – which was ingenious but inaccurate.

I’ve always been ambivalent about giving characters names that are clues to their personalities (e.g. Willy Loman). It’s not generally what happens in life, notwithstanding the occasional optometrist named Dr C Wright.

I liked Clive because it was so unusual – there are very few Clives in my generation – so I thought it might stick in people’s heads.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories? 

Writing a novel is a major psychological self-exploration, akin to a long series of therapeutic encounters – so yes.

Lots of my own childhood went into Clive’s backstory. Emotionally absent parents play a role, as does the need to fill the void later – finding an ancient mystery to solve in Clive’s case, finding a cult in mine.

The school stuff was pretty much straight from my own schooling.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up? 

Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited was my favourite. That richness of language is something we see little of these days. I still think of it as the perfect novel. It’s my archetype.

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

I get a fair bit of mail.

For many years it was only literary critics who reviewed Propinquity: these days the readers get to have their say, which is a great thing. There are quite a few reviews piling up on Amazon and elsewhere now.

Propinquity was written 27 years ago, and few people then thought that searching for truth was unacceptable. But things have changed a lot in the interim, mostly thanks to the New Atheists, probably. So today we’re in an era where spirituality is no longer intellectually respectable. I think many readers like Propinquity because it explores things that present-day novels don’t, much.

Others just like a good ecclesiastical adventure story.

When I re-released Propinquity this year, I thought some readers may think I’d lifted the plot from The Da Vinci Code: the basic story is quite similar. But people grasped that Propinquity was written 17 years earlier, so I needn’t have worried.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book?  

It was delicious.

I loved Maureen Prichard’s cover right off, and still do.

 Question 7: Do you continue to write? 

Yep, but I’ve written more journalism in recent years – New York Times, New Scientist, and elsewhere. That’s all on my website.

I’m now wondering if Propinquity merits a sequel, or if maybe I should go off on another track fiction-wise.

Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book? 

Probably at the time I would have wanted people to investigate the religious cult I was caught up in. That, strangely enough, is where I got some of the ideas. (Cults are 49% good in my opinion, which is how they attract people.)

These days I’d be happy for people to derive any message or none.

Personally I’m an agnostic, but I want that this new intellectual orthodoxy – atheism – doesn’t cow people who want to explore spirituality. It’s nothing to be afraid of, and nor is it voodoo: it’s just the psychology we had before we had psychology.

Religion is worth exploring as psychology alone.

 Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

That’s an interesting question. He would probably have hit his mid-life watershed, and radically changed his lifestyle and outlook I think. His drinking habit would have dwindled away to nothing (likewise his smoking), and he would have got seriously interested in diet, exercise and longevity. Basically the opposite of everything he does in the book.

The second half of life (if you play it right) is like the white section of the Tao symbol: darkness is implanted in it, but it’s mostly light. But the first half can be very confused.

Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?   

Propinquity is dedicated to Gough Whitlam, the Prime Minister who brought my country, Australia, into the modern world. He went to Beijing and shook hands with Mao (well before Kissinger); and pulled Australia out of the Vietnam War – saving thousands of lives.

At home, Whitlam introduced subsidised medical for all citizens – which is still with us – as is most of the new infrastructure he built. As a consequence, Australia 40 years on is a fairly pleasant place to live in.

The + 1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why? 

Probably New York City, because it’s the capital city of the world, and because among New Yorkers one doesn’t have to apologise for being a thinking person. Even the cab drivers are intellectuals in NYC.

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Posted by on October 3, 2013 in Interview


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