Black Heart Boys' Choir
by Curtis M. Lawson
Great art demands sacrifice.
Lucien Beaumont is a teenage misfit and musical prodigy ostracized by his peers and haunted by familial tragedy. When he discovers an unfinished song composed by his dead father—a song that holds terrible power—Lucien becomes obsessed. As he chases after the secret nature of his father's music, the line between gruesome fantasy and real life violence begins to blur.
To complete his father's work Lucien believes that he and his group of outcast friends must appease a demonic force trapped within the music with increasingly sadistic offerings. As things spiral out of control he finds that the cost of his art will be the lives of everyone around him, and perhaps his very soul.
Curtis M. Lawson is a writer of unapologetically weird, dark fiction and poetry. His work includes Black Heart Boys' Choir, It's a Bad, Bad, Bad, Bad World, and The Devoured.
Curtis is a member of the Horror Writer's Association, and the organizer of the Wyrd live horror reading series. He lives in Salem, MA with his wife and their son. When he is not writing, Curtis enjoys tabletop RPGs, underground music, playing guitar, and the ocean
Sister of Embers & Echoes
My eyes narrowed over the rim of my teacup. My grandmother crossed her legs, matching my glare as she sipped her own tea. In all likelihood, she was holding in a laugh. Bernadette had seen oceans rise and fall, empires crumble to dust, entire civilizations wiped from the face of the earth. As one of the first demons in Hell, nothing short of a full-blown apocalypse was going to phase her.
Especially not my paltry little glare.
Uncrossing my legs, I folded them underneath me, sucking down another sip of my tea as I settled deeper into the overstuffed armchair. I wasn’t a big tea kind of person, but the herbal blend I’d concocted in a fit of nerves last week seemed to be growing on me. I’d been doing a lot of things like that—things that Maria would have done herself if she’d just freaking wake up.
“I’m not setting foot in Aether until Maria wakes up, and that’s final.”
Like that word ever stopped my grandmother. I was pretty sure if she had even a single shred less class, she’d have given the Fates the old double middle-finger salute while telling them to kiss her ass.
That last bit might just be wishful thinking on my part. At least it was amusing to think about.
“It’s been a week, Maxima,” Bernadette chided softly, her voice full of understanding, but her message clear. I couldn’t wait much longer to interrogate Elias. The Fates were running out of patience, and I was running out of time.
“Have they gotten anything out of him at all?” I asked, unable to keep my gaze from shifting from Bernadette to Maria’s closed bedroom door.
I didn’t like being on this side of it. I didn’t like that I wasn’t watching her.
I didn’t like that I couldn’t figure out a way to help.
A week ago, Elias Flynn tried to use my sister as a sacrifice by offering her up to a demon as a host. Bernadette helped me stop him, but Maria still wasn’t awake. The longer her sleep lasted, the more I realized we might not have been as successful as I once thought.
If we were successful at all.
Daughter of the Sun
Cult of the Cat Book 1
by Zoe Kalo
Genre: YA Contemporary Mythological Fantasy
EGYPTOLOGY. MAGIC. MYSTERY. AND CATS, LOTS OF CATS...
Sixteen-year-old Trinity was born during a solar eclipse and left at the doorsteps of a convent along with a torn piece of papyrus covered with ancient symbols. Raised by nuns in the English countryside, she leads a quiet life until she’s whisked away to the Island of Cats and a grandmother she never knew.
But before they can get to know each other, her grandmother dies. All that Trinity has left is a mysterious eye-shaped ring. And a thousand grieving cats. As Trinity tries to solve the enigma of the torn papyrus, she discovers a world of bloody sacrifices and evil curses, and a prophecy that points to her and her new feline abilities.
Unwilling to believe that any of the Egyptian gods could still be alive, Trinity turns to eighteen-year-old Seth and is instantly pulled into a vortex of sensations that forces her to confront her true self—and a horrifying destiny.
Storyteller at heart...
A certified bookworm and ailurophile, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has remained. Today, Zoe passes her stories to you with lots of mystery, adventure, a hint of romance, and the delicious sweep of magic.
Currently, she balances writing with spending time with her family, taking care of her clowder of cats, and searching for the perfect bottle of pinot noir.
Connect with Zoe Kalo on the web.
An ancient Egyptian themed gift related to the book (I need to decide which, as I have several possibilities)
by Zoe Kalo
Genre: YA Paranormal Psychological Suspense
FIVE GIRLS. AN ISOLATED CONVENT. A SUPERNATURAL PRESENCE. A DARK SECRET.
SHORTLISTED for the 2017 Dante Rossetti Awards for Young Adult Fiction!
I can't believe it has come to this. The way things have blown out of proportion. I only wanted to contact my dead father. Ask his forgiveness.
Seven months isn't that long, is it?
I'll go through the motions, no need to make friends that I’ll never see again. When you get close to people, you end up getting hurt.
Puerto Rico, 1973
17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia.
At night, the waterfall’s dark music haunts her dreams of drowning…
When Paloma holds another séance, she accidentally awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. The body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…
Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?
If you love the vibes in "The Orphanage," "The Craft" and "Pretty Little Liars," you'll enjoy this mess-with-your-head, YA supernatural/psychological thriller!
A certified bookworm, Zoe Kalo has always been obsessed with books and reading. Reading led to writing—compulsively. No surprise that at 16, she wrote her first novel, which her classmates read and passed around secretly. The pleasure of writing and sharing her fantasy worlds has stayed with her, so now she wants to pass her stories to you with no secrecy—but with lots of mystery…
She’s had the good fortune of living on 3 continents, learning 4 languages, and experiencing a multicultural life. She holds a BA in Creative Writing and an MA in Comparative Literature. She lives in Belgium with her husband and two evil cats.
$25 cash paypal
The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist's Solution
by Lisa de Nikolits
Genre: Humorous Thriller
Publisher: Inanna Poetry and Fiction Series
Publication Date: September 30, 2019
The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution is about a couple experiencing a crisis. The husband, Lyndon, loses his job as editor of a financial magazine. Neither are happy with aging. Lyndon has gotten by with charm and frozen emotions. The wife, Margaux, has no idea how angry she is with him for his detachment. It is her idea to sell the house and just travel. But he is not coping well with retirement, so he simply walks off a ferry in Australia and leaves her. He steals a cat (well, he steals an expensive SUV that happens to have a cat onboard) and he flees Sydney, ending up in Apollo Bay, a few hours south-west of Melbourne, where he falls in with a group of anarchists and punk rockers in a tattoo parlour, planning revolution.
Meanwhile, Margaux sits tight in Sydney with no idea of where her husband might be or what happened. She moves into the red-light Kings Cross area, befriending the owner of the hostel, a seventy-year-old ex-cop drag queen from Saint John, New Brunswick, and waits to hear from her husband.
When she learns that her husband is fine, she is consumed by wrath and she invokes the angry spirit of an evil nurse, a key player in the terrible Chelmsworth sleep therapy in which many patients died (historical fact). While Lyndon gets in touch with his original career ambition to become an artist and wrestles with anarchism versus capitalism, Margaux learns to deal with her rage.
A serio-comedic thriller about a couple who embark on an unintentionally life-changing around-the-world adventure, The Occult Persuasion and the Anarchist’s Solution is about the meaning of life, healing from old wounds, romantic love at all ages, and how love and passion can make a difference, at any age.
Lisa de Nikolits is the international award-winning author of nine novels (all Inanna Publications). No Fury Like That was published in Italian in 2019 by Edizione Le Assassine as Una furia dell’altro mondo. Her short fiction and poetry have also been published in various anthologies and journals internationally. She is a member of the Mesdames of Mayhem, the Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, The Australian Crime Writers, The Short Fiction Mystery Association and the International Thriller Writers. Originally from South Africa, Lisa de Nikolits came to Canada in 2000. She lives and writes in Toronto.
The Last Starling
The shed door creaks as Dad swings it open. Heaving Jordy inside, I lay him on the dirt floor and peel off his covers. Heat rises from his body as I strip him down. I check his pulse—steady—and roll him onto his stomach, turning his face to one side. Balling up his sheets and clothing, I race outside and hand them to Mom.
She takes them in numb silence. The shed door closes with a bang, but she doesn’t flinch. She just turns and walks back to the house, Pip at her heels. My heart aches for her. She shouldn’t have to do this. Her life shouldn’t include leaving her disabled son naked in the dirt, alone, with a Shift coming and nothing to ease his pain.
“Jayce. It’s time.”
The strain in my dad’s voice knocks me back to reality. He’s kneeling beside the shed, fully undressed, his back arched. He groans, and I know what I have to do.
My heart pounds.
I shed the last of my clothing, then drop to my hands and knees. The wild thump of my heart initiates the process. Blood races through my body, activating the gene that jump-starts my transformation. Every inch of my skin tingles, itches, thickens.
Fine brown hair sprouts from my body. Claws force their way through my fingers and toes. My ears throb with pain as they widen, then extend into points. The cartilage in my nose bellows out. Elongates. Makes it hard to breathe. I open my mouth and suck in a lungful of cool air.
The exterior is done.
Now for the hellish part.
My back arches. I cry out as the bones in my spine crack. They start at the top of my neck and work their way down, breaking. Reforming. My tailbone fills out. It lengthens, piercing my skin, and I yelp. Dig my hands and knees into the grass.
Groan. Sweat profusely.
Muscles knot and twist. My body hitches as each bone in my ribcage expands, creating a chest cavity with room for bigger, stronger lungs. Arm bones break. Then the ones in my legs. They reshape, curving into limbs that can run like the wind. My hands and feet lengthen, my heels push up. Snout extends.
The morphing of my internal organs is excruciating. Liver, lungs, stomach, eyes—they go from human to canine in seconds. In those seconds, I can’t move or breathe. Time stops. The world blurs.
My existence reduces to one blinding pinpoint of pain.
I come out of it with a snort. Shake out my body, look around. The yard is different, ripe with colors I didn’t see before and smells that weren’t as strong. My ears twitch as they pick up the sound of an approaching vehicle. Dad is already loping for the house. I test my muscles, find them strong, and follow him.
We stop at the porch. Gramps is there, waiting on the truck that careens to a halt in the driveway. Two husky males—my uncle and cousin—jump out and race for us. They shuck their clothes.
Drop to the ground.
As they Shift, my wolf-eyes scan the trees for Boo. He’s always around for the hunt, and we understand each other better when I’m like this. Spying him in the tree line, I chuff softly at him. He hoots back a reply. He’s ready.
So are we.
Gramps projects a wolf-thought to bring us close. He sniffs the air, and we do the same. The smell of the Trespasser is still there. Dark and menacing. Something lurks in the Starling, a territory long forbidden to those who drink blood to survive. My pack growls in unison. For us, this is more than just a threat.
It’s an insult.
Tipping back his head, Gramps draws a deep breath. He expels it in one long, drawn-out howl. A howl that pierces the night, uniting us as a pack and sending a message to our enemy. We know you’re out there, it says. You’re not welcome here.
Dad sprints for the woods. We follow in pack hierarchy—my uncle, then me, my cousin last. Our minds link, connecting mentally to each other and Gramps.
As we break through the tree line, our Alpha howls again. One last time. A message to the creature roaming our hallowed ground.
We’re coming for you.
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