Book Spotlight – “Mirrors & Thorns” by OWS Ink, LLC Catterfly Publishing

Book Blurb

Where the fairy tales ends and the reflection begins….
A dark fairy tale collection from the twisted pens of:
J.M. Ames, Kerry E.B. Black, J.K. Allen, C.L. Bledsoe, Lucy Palmer, Stacy Overby, T.S. Dickerson, Edward Ahern, Melanie Noell Bernard, S.L. Scott, Sarah Chamma, Paul Stansbury, Cassidy Taylor, and J. Lee Strickland.

OWS Ink, LLC is very excited to announce the publication of our 2017 anthology, Mirror & Thorns. Just in time for Halloween, these fourteen stories from fourteen different authors will have you curled up on the couch ignoring those trick or treaters! These exceptional tales will stay with you long after the last page. This collection of short stories releases on Wednesday, October, 25th, 2017, and a Facebook Release Party open to the public occurs on October 21, 2017.

The authors have weaved each one of these enchanting stories with quirky and intriguing characters as well as plots with compelling twists. You can learn more about these authors and the anthology by following along with the book blog tour which begins on ourwriteside.com on October 20th. Preorders will begin at the Facebook event on the 21st.

Pre-order Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

From the Author

Stephanie and Amanda (A.L.) were partnered up during a writing project nearly 10 years ago. They learned they had much more than just writing in common and bonded right away. Over the years, they have supported each other’s other writing and have grown together, eventually adding Heidi to their dynamic duo. This writing relationship naturally evolved into a dream: to build a writing community that would offer others the support they found in each other. Our Write Side was launched in October of 2015 and has seen incredible growth since.

Where To Find OWS Ink, LLC Catterfly Publishing

Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, Website, Newsletter

Advertisements

Author Spotlight – Toi Thomas

Introducing Toi Thomas

I’ve been at this for about 10 years. I’ve entertained paranormal fans with my Eternal Curse series, an angels, demons, and others tale with a Christian world view. I stretch minds and imaginations with my short story collection, Legend of the Boy…, featuring works of science fiction, paranormal, fantasy, romance, and suspense. Glorie Townson, my pen name, brings along a bit of romance and comedy in the first book of my Sayings Series, It’s Like the Full Moon. I’ve even delved into the world of educational children’s books to enlighten and entertain little minds. Something for the whole family, here.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

A self-proclaimed techie and foodie, I was born in Texas, but consider Virginia, USA to be home. I enjoy reading, cooking, painting, geek culture, collecting vinyl records, and spending time with my family. Currently working as a special education teacher’s assistant while blogging and writing full-time, I find comfort and peace of mind in chocolate, green tea, and naps. My husband and I have been married for twelve years and share our home with a tortoise named Betty and a Redbone Coonhound named Margie, who’s sure to inspire future publications.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

I’m currently working on two different sequels, but the one that’s pulling me the most is for my Eternal Curse Series. When I first wrote Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel it was a pivotal moment in my life. I had no idea I was writing a book. I just thought I was piecing together remnants of a reoccurring dream so it would finally go away.
As I developed the story, I realized that I didn’t want it to end. I’d grown attached to the gray man, who later became Giovanni. Giovanni was a sad and secluded character, and it was my job to fill his world with purpose, wonder, and even a few companions. What I created, still to this day, blows my mind. I don’t think it’s the greatest story ever conceived, but the fact that it came from me, humbles me.
Giovanni’s story makes me laugh and cry and wonder; what if? By the time I finished the first draft, I realized it was a book and had finally decided to share it with a small few for feedback while starting a blog to help me plan out the developmental details. It was amazing to see Giovanni’s tale of literal and emotional transformation evolve and develop into the story it is now.

Who is your intended readership?

Most of my work is written for adults, but is suitable for teens. I write adult fiction, mostly in the speculative genres, which is why I took on the pen name, Glorie Townson, when I decided to delve into romantic comedy.  Recently, I allowed my day job to influence my writing by developing four educational children’s books. For those, I saw no need to take on another pen name; it’s simply an extension, another part of my writing spectrum.  Most of my promotion is split between catering to adult readers of speculative fiction or readers of contemporary or romantic fiction. The children’s books tend to be bonuses discovered by satisfied moms or dads.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

When I look back in retrospect, it’s clear that I’ve always been a writer. I’ve found old notebooks filled with stories, drawings, bad poetry, character ideas, and more. For me, though, writing was never something I considered as a career. I’ve also loved technology since I was a kid and got my degree in computers, even interning for a short time with N.A.S.A Langley. When I begin to crave a creative outlet beyond my amateurish paintings and baking from scratch, I began to develop a love of reading and writing that I’d let slip away from me.
When a reoccurring dream began to haunt my days with figments of a story that made no sense, I began to write it down until I had something to base a whole book on. Once I completed that story, I knew writing was the one thing missing from my life. I’ve never stopped since. I may not always pursue publication, but I will always write.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

This question requires two answers, sort of. When I look back at the many stories I read in my youth, before school work tainted my love of reading, there were so many authors who made me feel like I could do anything. There was one, however, who brought out my creativity. What would now be considered fanfiction, as a kid, I paid homage to J.M.Barrie with by writing my own tales of Neverland with me as one of the many lost boys. That story, at the time, made we want to create new worlds and characters.
As an adult, I’m influence by everything around me; of course, that includes what I read. I try not to take what I’m reading too seriously, unless it’s nonfiction. I’ve rekindled my love of reading simply for pleasure and try not to let my writer’s mind get in the way. At the moment, I’d say my favorite authors are Stacey Rourke, Marissa Mayer, Deborah Harkness, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and Tricia Drammeh.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

For a young or aspiring writer, I’d say it’s important to know why you are writing.  I think the why is one of the most overlooked, yet powerful, struggles a writer faces. Are you writing for pleasure? Are you writing for therapy or understanding? Are you writing for publication, just to put something out there? Are you writing for money? Are you writing for fame? The why will determine the course of action you take in your writing life. It will decide if or how much research and effort will go into the development of your work. It will decide if or how much time and or money will be spent on promotion, and so much more.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

I once wrote a short story about a gray cat who stalked me and my sister around the little town in Texas, where we lived at the time. Everyone thought it was a good and creepy story I wrote for the Halloween season, but in reality, it was a true story. Yes, there were some exaggerations, but it really happened.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I’m a geekgirl. I collect comic books and action figures (guess that makes me a bit of a collector too). I also collect vinyl records. I love the cinema and taking pictures of my family and my dog, Margie. I like to bake and cook, from scratch when I can, but it’s not required. I’ve been struggling to find the right balance between my faith and all my other interests, and since I’m still seeking, I feel like I’m on the right path (I don’t feel lost and I haven’t given up).

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

I have a ridiculously long list of WIPs at the moment. Because of this, I’m taking a year off from attending major live events and am scaling back on my blogging. Aside from the sequels in the works for the Eternal Curse Series and my Saying Series, I have a new fantasy I hope to release soon. It’s set in a world were magic is tied to the land and should be used, but is being suppressed. A garden hidden in a library and an unknowing young mage are about to change this world forever.

Eternal Curse: Giovanni’s Angel


“You have plenty of time to change your mind. You have not yet seen the monster I can be.”
Giovanni has been waiting his whole life to meet someone like Mira, someone from the outside world who might be able to help him. He wonders if there really is help for him as he continues to hold tightly onto dark secrets and even darker memories. Giovanni wants to be hopeful and he wants to accept Mira’s help, but first he has to look himself in the mirror and face what he truly is- and that is a reality no one is quite ready to accept.
Searching for new purpose and meaning in her life, Mira meets Giovanni online and an exciting and, in some ways, scary friendship is developed. Mira decides one day to meet Giovanni in person, at his secluded country home, in order to aid him on his journey of self-discovery. What these two are able to discover will not only test their strength and will, but it will stretch the limits of their minds and catapult them into a world where earth, Heaven, and Hell collide.
Giovanni’s Angel is the story of a man who may just be the answer to a spiritual war swiftly heading his way- but for now, he just wants to be a man.

Buy Now: Paperback, E-Book

Author Pages:

Amazon

Where to find Toi Thomas:

Website & Blog (The ToiBox of Words), Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook

Book Spotlight – “A Haunting of Words” by K.N. Johnson

Book Blurb

From Scout Media comes A Haunting of Words—the third volume in an ongoing short story anthology series featuring authors from all over the world.

In this installation, the reader will experience a multi-genre journey beyond traditional haunts; from comedy, to drama, fantasy, romance, and horror, these stories put eclectic spins on the every-day ghost tale. Whether you are running from the ghost of a vengeful mother, falling in love with an apparition, touring with a deceased famous musician, saving a newborn from a possessed crib, or having a specter cat as a sidekick, these stories of hauntings and apparitions will warm your heart, send shivers down your spine, and tickle your funny bone.

Whether to be enlightened, entertained, or momentarily caught up in another world, these selections convey the true spirit of the short story.

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback

From the Author

K.N. Johnson’s dark tale “Frigid” won Mythraeum’s Pygmalion contest and is being developed into a short film by Mythraeum, LLC and Loste Films. Filming begins January 2018. Johnson’s work has appeared in Proximity Magazine and Incandescent Mind literary journal. Her short stories are included in the anthologies A Journey of Words, A Haunting of Words, and Polterguests. Her dark science fiction story “Regolith” will appear in Kristell Ink’s upcoming anthology Terra Nullius. “The Clearing” will appear in the anthology On Fire published by Transmundane Press.
For more: Check me out on Facebook

Where To Find K.N. Johnson

Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Website, Newsletter

Book Spotlight – “The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove” by Mackenzie Flohr

Book Blurb

A collection of strange tales is set in Graves Grove, a small town in the province of British Columbia, Canada. It sits in a valley between the mountains of the Canadian Rockies. The town is shrouded in mystery, unsolved crimes, and intrigue. The people seem normal superficially, they function well enough. But each one is deeply disturbed, wrapped in secrets and neuroses which drive them to strange behaviors.

Buy Your Copy Now! E-Book, Paperback, Hardback

From the Author

Mackenzie Flohr is the author of the popular YA Fantasy series The Rite of Wands, published with BHC Press. Mackenzie grew up in the heartland of America, chasing leprechauns and rainbows and dreaming of angels. A storyteller at heart, she loves to inspire the imagination. Mackenzie makes her home in Michigan, where she is currently penning her next adventure.

Where To Find Mackenzie Flohr

Twitter, Facebook, E-mail, Instagram, Blog, Website, Newsletter

Author Spotlight – Stephanie Ayers

Introducing Stephanie Ayers

A published author with a knack for twisted tales, Stephanie Ayers is the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a community for writers and readers alike. She loves a good thriller, fairies, things that go bump in the night, and sappy stories. When she is not writing, she can be found in Creative Cloud designing book covers and promotional graphics for authors.

Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself.

What can I say? I am me, and that is all I am. I’m quirky, weird.. I talk to myself. I have 8 children altogether, cats, dogs. I’m married. I met my best friend through a writing group who paired us up as writing partners and we started a writing community in 2015, and have grown into a publishing house more recently. I enjoy book creation from cover to formatting, and am currently more interested in designing than writing. I am a fierce football/soccer/basketball mom. and I decompress by reading, playing Oz: Broken Kingdom, or watching tv/movies. I am one of those “I like anything” types who listens to all types of music and reads all types of books. I am easy to get along with, suffer depression and anxiety, am diabetic and deaf, and very passionate about my friends and my family.

Could you tell us a bit about your latest book?

I found myself to be fond of writing short stories vs the traditional novel. I like the brevity and the ability to turn the tables with unexpected twists. The 13 is definitely a book full of twisted stories. It began as a collection of soul collector type stories and turned into a different project as I hand selected each story from my library and polished them to a shine. It starts with my favorite poem, Soul Survivor, and moves to a camera with ill intent, a haunted house, an electric chair, supernatural creatures, evil pixies, gypsy magic, ghosts, and a serial killer or two. it’s hard to narrow down the characters as they are all lively on their own, but perhaps Mr. Worthington , Logan, and Abigail are 3 of the best. You’ll have to decide for yourself.

Who is your intended readership?

This particular book is definitely intended for an adult readership, and one that loves horror, macabre, and good twists. This book has a little bit of everything wicked in it, from stolen children, to sexual predators, to seductive ghosts, and much of everything in between. It’s definitely not a read for the squeamish or the easily frightened. If you’re not into horror, this is not the book for you. It’s well and above Til Death Do Us Part, as I have learned to let many of my inhibitions go in order to tell the story the way it deserves to be told. That said, there isn’t a lot of slasher type gore within the pages. They are more psychological terrors than anything else. A lot of What If? and real possibilities went into the creation of these stories.

When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I wrote my first story in 3rd grade. The teacher read it aloud to the class as an example of how stories should be written. This definitely made me write more. Life got in the way for a while and I stuck to mostly poetry writing in my late teens through my 20s. When I became a single mom, the writing took a backseat. It was not until 2010 when I started my blog that writing became a thing for me again, and when I wrote my first story for the first time in forever via The Red Dress Club writing group, my soul was complete.

Do you have a favorite author, or writing inspiration?

I don’t have one favorite author, I have several. Stephen King is an author I read a lot of as I grew up, and he has probably had the most impact in my writing style. I also love Terry Brooks and his Shannara series, Tolkien with the Lord of the Rings, both of whom play a role in my fantasy writing. My current favorite reads are from indie authors like Andy Peloquin, EC Jarvis, John Ryder, and A.L. Mabry.

What advice would you give beginning writers?

“The blank page is the canvas on which a writer paints a story.” Stephanie Ayers. “A single letter cures the blank page.” Stephanie Ayers.

Do you have any amusing writing stories or anecdotes to share?

I used to run a blog called The Scoop on Poop. The premise was a humorous look at the daily life of my family as a special needs mom with kids in a large age gap and coparenting.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Any hobbies?

I am passionate about suicide prevention. As a former suicide candidate myself, and mother to a suicide candidate, and after losing a beloved friend to suicide, it is one of my highly passionate parts of my life. The other parts I am passionate about are my graphics and my family. Wanna meet my momma bear? Mess with my family.

What’s your next project? Any upcoming book secrets you care to reveal?

While I am busy reworking websites, creating book covers, and formatting books, I am also working on getting book one in my fantasy series The Master of the Relics ready for editing. I need to add the finish to Elven Games, and finish writing my novella, Say Say Oh Playmate. And then, I have another story collection I want to put together titled Cheap Thrills. I keep busy, but it’s the only way I stay sane.

The 13: Tales of Illusory


Can you survive all 13?

13 enchanted horrors. 13 spine-chilling tales. Down down in the depths they fell, bodies in the dark of a liquid hell. Can you survive all 13?

Buy Now: Paperback, E-Book

Author Pages:

Amazon, Smashwords

Where to find Stephanie Ayers:

Website (Stephanie Ayers: word whisperer, coffee guzzler, creative ninja), Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook

Storytime: “Shade’s Shadow” by Assaph Mehr

I should not have been out that night.

I knew better, or at least I should have.

There are three unlucky nights in the year. Three nights where the stone slabs over the mundus cerialis stood open. An ancient tradition, whose reasons were forgotten but its ritual strictly adhered to, dictated that the stone doors to this hemispherical pit located in a declivity near the temple of Ceres be opened on three nights — even though they represented the gates to the underworld.

A night with the doors to Dis wide open.

A night with — according to custom — the shades of the dead free to roam about.

A biting November wind was chilling me to the bones. I was limping home from a rather nasty assignment, involving some of society’s undesirables, an orphan, an enchanted signet ring, and several pig carcasses. I wasn’t planning for it to go that way or for that long, but it did — and now I had to make my way home across the deserted city. The cruelest master would not risk slaves out on this night. Even stray dogs slunk away to their hiding holes, and the sliver of moon hid behind grey clouds.

I made my way home as quickly as I could in my battered condition.

I took shortcuts.

I made a wrong turn.

I faced a blank wall at the end of an alley, and had to turn back. At the opening of the alley, silhouetted against the sky, was a half-translucent grey shape. It advanced upon me, and I retreated the few steps I could. It advanced further, closer, closer.

I started to mutter prayers to all the numina I could think of, promising offerings if I lived to see the morning.

It stopped three paces away from me.

It raised its grey arm.

It reached with its grey hand to its grey mouth, and pulled out the coin that tradition dictated should be used to pay the ferryman to Dis.

“Payment,” it croaked, and reached out its hand with the coin towards me.

I stared at it, dumbstruck. The night was clear of clouds, and the stars twinkled above us. I could make out the shape of the shade. It was that of a woman, young, well dressed, high class — or at least wrapped in a rich woman’s funeral shroud.

I found my voice at last. “To guide you back to the mundus?”

“No,” it croaked again. “Revenge.”

***

By noon, I had almost convinced myself it was a dream. Almost – because the coin was sitting on my table, the profile of a long dead consul showing his disdain at my vacillations.

I went over in my mind about the details. I tried to avoid exactly how it felt when the shade of the woman — Licinia — had imparted this information, and concentrated on the facts.

The time was about fifty years ago, well before I was born. Licinia was just married to a senator’s son, part of her father’s political alliances. According to her, marriage was a short, brutal, hell. It ended when her husband strangled her one night, during what would have been referred to as rape were they not married.

She wanted me to bring him to justice.

A fifty year old case, with nothing but the say so of a dead woman’s shade.

And to complicate things, I knew the man.

Not personally, no. But I knew of him.

Just like everyone else in Egretia, I knew him.

He was a famed rhone, former consul, and current censor. Doesn’t get more famous than that.

After fifty years, there was no way I could find evidence to tie him to her murder.

Neither could I bring him to court for it, because as paterfamilias he was within his rights to treat her as he liked. Even kill her.

Which apparently he did.

But that coin, and that voice, and the memory of those haunting, luminous eyes in the grey face…

***

I had two options. I could try to bring him to formal justice — on Licinia’s behalf or any other charges that might get him exiled or executed — or I could exact a more direct revenge. Public humiliation in the courts would have been ideal, but I doubted my chances of successfully bearing suit against him.

I decided to get his measure first. ‘Start with the slaves; always start with the slaves’ was the advice I got from an old mentor. I found his domus, situated high up on the slopes of Vergu, and lurked about. There was plenty of traffic coming in and going out of the house. The hour was early afternoon. Slaves and freedmen were finishing up their errands and returning, messengers were going back and forth, and even some respectable citizens and minor dignitaries — no doubts clients of the master — were still coming and going.

I was munching on a squid-on-a-stick bought from a nearby stall, considering whom should I approach first, when I saw a muscular man come out of a side gate, pushing ahead a wheelbarrow containing some old sheets. He was accompanied by a slender girl, a slave as well by her short tunic. They never spoke, never looked up, just trudged along, slinking on the side of the street.

I have no idea why, but I felt a chill as they passed me. I was drawn to follow them, and I did. We walked down the mountain, the slaves leading in silence, and me following behind. They reached the Porta Alta, the gate in the city walls on the road that leads up Vergu. A short distance later they took a small track that branched left and led down the hills and towards the Fulvius river. It has fallen into disuse over the years, the majority of human traffic going through the city streets. They quickened their pace, and though the path was broken their steps were lighter. I had the impression they were glad to be away from other humans.

I kept a respectable distance as we walked, though they seemed to care little. When we reached the flat grounds closer to the river, I was not surprised they were not interested in any of the small gardens, minor estates, and occasional trade post that lay outside the sacred perimeter of the city. They kept going, avoiding people, heading to the river. We reached the Pons Mors, an old wooden bridge, with a foreboding name to match its history. They crossed it and started to trek up the hill toward the sacred hill of Libitina, where the records of the dead and the graves of the poor were.

They made their way to the lye pits, where unclaimed corpses are discarded. I took out a writing wax tablet I keep to take notes, quickened my steps, and got to them just as they stopped next to an open pit.

“Excuse me!” I said and put my hand out. The girl recoiled as if I struck her, while the man pushing the cart froze completely.

I softened my tone. “I didn’t mean to scare you. I just need to ask you a few questions.”

“Please, domine — my dominus instructed us to be quick about our task,” she answered without lifting her eyes.

“That’s alright, I just need a name and cause of death for our records,” I waved the wax tablet.

“She was called Victoria,” said the girl.

“Grand name for a slave.”

“Our dominus likes to name us after the gods.”

“And the cause of death?” I asked and flipped over the rags covering the body in the wheelbarrow.

And immediately wished I hadn’t. A short, curvy girl. Long, brown hair framing a face out of which brown eyes stared out unblinking, never to see again. The slave girl didn’t answer my question, but the scars were obvious. The poor girls has been whipped over the years, certainly, but that was not what finally killed her. On her fair skin I saw the same scars as I’ve seen before at military sieges, though these looked deliberate. She was slowly and repeatedly scalded by hot oil, the red burn scars snaking around her young body as someone flung the oil at her time after time. Her legs from the knees down looked like they have been boiled in the oil. I could not imagine the workings of a twisted mind that would do such a thing to a defenceless girl, though I would guess he was getting off by savagely attacking symbols for gods.

“And who shall I write as brought her here?” I asked after I covered the body back with the rags.

“He calls me Concordia. He said I am next,” she said without lifting her eyes, or showing any emotion.

***

It was almost a month later, when I had everything in place. On the start of the last nundinus of December, on the day and night we celebrate the mythic woman Acca Larentia for having nursed the three brothers who founded our city. This winter celebration is on the side of the ending year, and thus most offerings are for the dead.

I made her my own offering in advance, all as prescribed. I asked her a favour, to speak on my behalf with Dea Tacita, the mute one, goddess of the dead, for they share the same festival day. This matter concerned the Dea Tacita, for it was the shades of the dead girls that were denied their eternal rest, but I was not so rash as to apply directly to the mute one.

I had to organise things carefully. I had to coincide any ceremony I would carry out with general festivals, so as to hide behind the noise of public magia and escape notice of the Collegium Incantatorum. Understand, the times where everyone sacrifices for the gods, even when the magia is not properly directed and the public ceremonies are bordering more on superstition than on real incantation, still provide me enough background noise to mask any dark deeds.

On the celebration of the Larentalia the censor was invited to be present at the rites carried out just outside our walls, on the wide ledge where funerals are held. This was one of the progression of special events marking the end of the year. A necessary ceremony, to propitiate the numina, and ensure that a new year will start after the intercalaris, that countless period over the winter between December and the beginning of the new year on the first new moon of the spring solstice.

I was standing to the side of the sparse crowd of citizens, further up the slope and away from the city. The censor, resplendent in his white toga with wide purple stripes, the brass buckles on his crimson shoes flaring with the last rays of sunlight, was standing at the centre of the row of dignitaries as befitting his position, with a look of boredom and disdain that betrayed true feelings.

When the rites were over, I uttered a small incantation and spoke his name softly. The wind sighed, and carried it to his ears alone. He turned his head. Behind me, two girls — one dressed as Diana and the other as Fortuna — disappeared quickly behind a bend in the road. He stared at me for a moment, shook his head, and turned.

I signalled the girls, and spoke the incantation again. As he turned, the girls looked up, laughed, and ducked back behind the rock. I walked towards him, slowly, keeping my eyes locked on his, letting the crowd wend their way down the hill and leave us alone. He stayed, mesmerised, looking at me and the tantalising visions of girls in goddesses costumes peeking behind me, and dismissed his retinue with a wave. The men around us hurried down, before full darkness set in.

By the time I reached him, we were alone.

“I’ve heard you’re in the market for some slave girls. Particularly ones that know how to dress up and act like goddesses,” I said.

He stared at me for a moment, licked his lips, and said, “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”

“I have a young woman to sell. Well read, cultured, pretty. Her father was forced to sell the family into slavery to repay a gambling debt. Can recite Andronicus and Terentius. Likes to dress up as Diana the Huntress. Give her a bow, and she’ll look just like a temple statue.”

My sources and hunches were right, for I could see him waver. “I have her right here for you. You can check her out, sample her… recitation skills. It won’t take a moment.”

He followed me. We went just around the bend. “Just in here,” I pointed at a shallow recess. He just wasn’t expecting me to hit him on the side of the head with a leather pouch full of sand as I turned to show him the way.

I caught him as he collapsed.

I tied him down, with special leather tongs that have been inscribed with sigils marked by teeth.

I laid him neatly in the recess.

In the centre of a circle drawn in blood and bones.

We waited for the moon to rise.

He woke up.

He threatened.

He pleaded.

Threatened again.

Cried.

The waning moon finally sailed past the peak of Vergu to light our little hollow on the western side.

I chanted the necessary prayer. I made the right sacrifices. I gave it direction and focus, beyond mere superstition, yet without the callous hubris of an incantator channeling the magia.

I stood back.

We didn’t have to wait long. Deeper shadows amidst the scree shifted, morphed, advanced. With halting movements, in bursts that seemed always to be at the periphery of my vision, shadowy figures drew closer.

Until finally they resolved themselves into human shapes, rising from the rocks to stand around us. Against their grey skin I could make out the luminous yellow eyes, the webbed hands, the sharpened teeth.

They looked at me unblinkingly. I spoke the last words of the prayer, promising the Dea Tacita that which was hers, and backed away.

Their eyes shifted from me to the gibbering censor in the centre of the circle.

And descended upon him.

Beyond the circle of writhing bodies, I saw the grey shape of Licinia, looking emotionless at her killer being killed.

I took out the coin from the fold of my toga, looked again at the face of a long dead consul. I balanced it on thumb and forefinger, and flicked it above the circle and over the grey lemures at Licinia.

She caught it deftly, placed it in her mouth, and began to fade away.

I could almost hear a faint ‘thank you’ over the sounds of ripping flesh and crunching bones.

I turned away, and made my way down the mountain, back into our city and its lights, towards the nearest cup of wine, hoping that Licinia would now find peace across the river Styx.

From the Author

Assaph has been a bibliophile since he learnt to read at the age of five, and a Romanophile ever since he first got his hands on Asterix, way back in elementary school. This exacerbated when his parents took him on a trip to Rome and Italy – he whinged horribly when they dragged him to “yet another church with baby angels on the ceiling”, yet was happy to skip all day around ancient ruins and museums for Etruscan art.

He has since been feeding his addiction for books with stories of mystery and fantasy of all kinds. A few years ago he randomly picked a copy of a Lindsay Davis’ Marcus Didius Falco novel in a used book fair, and fell in love with Rome all over again, this time from the view-point of a cynical adult. His main influences in writing are Steven Saylor, Lindsey Davis, Barry Hughart and Boris Akunin.

Assaph now lives in Sydney, Australia with his wife Julia, four kids and two cats. By day he is a software product manager, bridging the gap between developers and users, and by night he’s writing – he seems to do his best writing after midnight.

Where To Find Assaph Mehr

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Blog, Website

31 Days Of Halloween – Here’s What’s Coming Up

October is a month where I have a lot to celebrate. October 1st marks the anniversary of “Under A Hunter’s Moon” first appearing in print, and takes place on Halloween Eve itself.

This year the story turns three years old, so I decided to create a huge Halloween event, celebrating the work of my fellow indie authors. Everyone involved has submitted a Book Spotlight, Author Spotlight, Story, or Guest Post.

So What’s Happening? [updated @ 11:10 pm (AKST) 10.20.17]

Here is a full listing of posts and events that are happening throughout the month.
The links in the Author column will take you to the individual author’s websites.
The links in the Topic column will take you to the posts, once they are live. Please note that posts will not be live until around 8am EST on the date of release. (This post will be updated as more authors join the event).

Date Author Topic
10/01/17 Anita Stewart Book Spotlight – “Horror Haiku Pas De Deux
10/02/17 Assaph Mehr Storytime – “Shade’s Shadow”
10/03/17 Anaïs Chartschenko Book Spotlight – “Bright Needles”
10/04/17 Stephanie Ayers Author Spotlight
10/05/17 Suzanna J. Linton Guest Post – “Black Cats On All Hallows Eve”
10/06/17 Angela B. Chrysler Event Spotlight – 4th Annual Brain To Books CyCon
10/07/17 Angela B. Chrysler Book Spotlight – “Broken”
10/08/17 Marnie Cate Book Spotlight – “Envy”
10/09/17 Angela B. Chrysler Book Spotlight – “Zombies From Outer Space… and Vampires”
10/10/17 Joe Compton Book Spotlight – “Amongst The Killing”
10/11/17 Kayla Matt Book Spotlight – “Hell Bent Arc 1”
10/12/17 Timothy Bateson “Asteroids In Film & Fiction”
10/13/17 Mackenzie Flohr Book Spotlight – “The Whispered Tales of Graves Grove”
10/14/17 Renee Scattersgood Author Spotlight
10/15/17 Timothy Bateson Top 10 Scary Superheroes & Super Villains
10/16/17 Heidi Angell Book Spotlight – “Elements of a Broken Mind”
10/17/17 K.N. Johnson Book Spotlight – “A Haunting Of Words”
10/18/17 Ariel Marie Book Spotlight – “Mating Two Dragons”
10/19/17 Timothy Bateson Top 10 Haunted Locations
10/20/17 Toi Thomas Author Spotlight
10/21/17 Catterfly Publishing Book Spotlight – “Mirrors & Thorns”
10/22/17 Ed Ireland Storytime – “The Iconic Face”
10/23/17 Ani Manjikian Book Spotlight – “Do You Believe In Legend?”
10/24/17 A.L. Mabry Author Spotlight
10/25/17 A.L. Mabry Character Interview – “Miranda Spencer”
10/26/17 Tiffany Apan Book Spotlight – “Descent”
10/27/17 Timothy Bateson Book Spotlight – “Under A Hunter’s Moon”
10/28/17
10/29/17
10/30/17
10/31/17 Timothy Bateson “31 Days Of Halloween – Happy Halloween”
10/27/17 thru 10/31/17 Timothy Bateson “Under A Hunter’s Moon (Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels #1)” will be FREE over on Amazon