With Sword And Pistol from Crossroad Press

Hot on the heels of my Random House novel Andersonville is With Sword And Pistol, my first fiction collection.

With Sword And Pistol assembles four dark adventure novellas.

First up is the long out of print Red Sails, a horror themed pirate adventure in which a British marine and a Dominican Blackfriar are captured by a cruel vampire captain and marooned on a cannibal isle to be hunted under the full moon by his crew of savage werewolves.

Second is Night of The Jikininki, which originally appeared in Comet Press’ DEADCORE anthology. Three disparate men, a casteless bandit, a sadistic samurai sword tester, and a vile, mad child killer band together to fight their way out of a feudal Japanese prison as it fills with the walking dead.

Next is Sinbad And The Sword Of Solomon, a high fantasy Arabian Nights style sword and soul adventure in which the titular sailor and his motley crew undertake a mission from the Caliph of Baghdad to retrieve a magic sword from a demon on an enchanted island. This one first appeared in Sinbad: The New Voyages Volume 2 from Airship 27.

Finally, my dark urban horror novella Gully Gods, first printed in Four In The Morning, about a young South Houston gangster who joins up with a seemingly unstoppable clique of Liberian ex-child soldiers to take over a Chicago neighborhood from their Latino rivals, and learns the malicious source of their terrible power.

Here’s a peek at the killer cover from Shawn King.

withswordandpistol

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Philopatry Appearing In Flesh Like Smoke from April Moon Books

April Moon Books’ latest anthology Flesh Like Smoke is out now.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/0993718043/ref=cm_sw_r_fa_dp_d0ZLvb1QTWDK9

wolfmanWerewolves are probably my favorite classic monster. I’ve been enthralled by them since Lon Chaney Jr’s two memorable turns as ‘the Wolfman.’ I was also a tremendous fan of Fox’s Werewolf TV series, especially Chuck Connors’ turn as Janos Skorzeny, a salty old one-eyed shapechanging sea captain who made the main character’s life a living hell.

Werewolf_by_Night_Vol_1_4In my middle school years of (appropriately?) middling grades my parents picked up a near complete run of Marvel Comics’ Werewolf By Night at a flea market and used the single issues as a kind of incentive to get me to do my homework. I eventually earned them all, so I guess it worked, but I’ve probably retained more about Jack and Lissa Russell, Topaz, and their best friend Buck and the Darkhold than I ever did about math or science.

When Neil Baker put out the call for a shapeshifter anthology, I whipped up Philopatry, a tale of a South Boston Irish priest who calls on a notorious hitman and ex-altar boy to take out a vicious serial murderer plaguing the neighborhood. The bare bones of this story originated way back in high school, when I wrote and lost a story called The Hit with a similar premise, though set in my native Chicago.

Yuhanna-MercuriusThe story draws inspiration from the hagiography of St. Philopater Mercurius, a Roman soldier who fought the Berbers under Emperor Decius. When Decius saw the numbers of the Berbers, he was afraid, but Mercurius prayed to God and saw a vision of the Archangel Michael bearing a sword, which he then gave to the saint. Mercurius wielded the sword to great affect and routed the Berbers utterly.

It also refers to the ancient Greek writings of the Cynocephalae, the Dog Heads, and proposes that what Michael gave to Mercurius was not a literal ‘sword’ at all.

It’s also a return of sorts to the Gate Of Heaven parish, which featured in my last published story, Thy Just Punishments, in Ragnarok’s That Hoodoo, Voodoo, That You Do.

Here’s an excerpt….

Outside it was still cold but the rain was dying off. The cars swished through the leavings and the gutters gurgled as they sucked the streets down to a tolerable level.

Their breath puffed out like fog as they talked.

“What do you know about the murders at Gate of Heaven last week?” Father Mike asked.

Terry had seen it on the news. A pair of teenaged girls had been found in the alley behind the church on East Fourth Street. The dee-techs were out all over asking questions. You could tell them from the real people by their cheap shoes and neat hair. They looked like wannabe FBI. A little too eager, or a little too old. Kid table feds. Anyway nobody knew enough to tell them.

“Couple of hoodies out after dark,” said Terry. “News said they got done same as that gook kid over on Washington two weeks ago.”

“Do you know what happened to that boy?”

“Somethin’ bad I heard. O’Malley says some sicko cut him up. I don’t know the particulars.”

They stopped at the traffic light, watching a Honda full of drunk townies swerve into the turn. A beer can rattled and spun in the gutter.

“He was torn to pieces, Terry,” said Father Mike, his lips trembling, and not just with the cold. “Like a piece of tissue paper somebody wiped their ass with. His liver and his heart were torn out. They were eaten.”

“Fuck,” said Terry, appreciatively.

Father Mike turned to him as the light changed, splashing his skin red as the Devil’s.

“And I know who the skid is that’s doin’ it, Terry. I know!”

Father Mike looked ready to blow his top. His fists came out of his pockets shaking. One gripped a little brown pill bottle, which he rattled and wrestled with for a minute before Terry reached over.

“Here lemme get that, Fadder.”

Elderly woman opening bottle of cholesterol pills medicationHe twisted the child proof cap. It was a bitch, even for him, let alone an old guy with failing bones in the cold and a weight like he had bearing down on him. He handed it back.

Father Mike turned the bottle over and shook a pill into his quivering palm. He slapped his hand to his mouth.

“What’s that, for your blood pressure, or something?”

“Yeah,” said Father Mike. “I gotta get out of this cold.”

They double timed it up the block to Dunkie’s. Terry sprang for a pair of regulars and skipped the honey dip, but got a box of munchkins for home. He didn’t think he’d have the appetite for it, but who knew what he’d feel like tomorrow.

They took a quiet corner booth and sat holding the coffees between their hands, feeling the warmth radiate. It was bright white in there, like a hospital.

“You zooin’ on me about this, Fadder?”

“God’s honest truth,” Father Mike replied, staring into his coffee but not drinking.

“How you figure you know who the nutjob is doin’ this?”

13_12_20_confessionalThe old man’s eyes flitted up, the steam ascending from the bottom of his face, dissipating in his white hair, a wispy mask of fog.

“The bastard told me as much in the confessional this past Saturday. He told me everything. How he follows them, stalks them, like an animal. What he….does to them.”

He made a rapid sign of the cross, put the hot coffee to his lips. He winced, but kept drinking.

Terry leaned back in his chair.

“Ain’t it a sin for you to be tellin’ me this? I mean, ain’t you got some kinda confidentiality rule about the booth? Like a lawyer?”

“Don’t you think it’s a sin to just let it to go on?” he said, putting the half empty cup down.

“So don’t I,” Terry said, nodding, rubbing his eyes. “So don’t I.”

“Terry,” whispered Father Mike, leaning across the table. “I was told….I asked around. And I was told that you….that you’re….”

Terry gave him a stony look and held up his hand.

Everybody knew Terry Dunne around the parish.

They knew about the shootout in Mattapan back in the 90’s, where four trigger happy micks who’d robbed an armored car and killed the guards under the nose of the Winter Hill outfit had been left bleeding in the gutters and how Terry Dunne started driving a Lincoln after that. Everybody knew who put the body of the wiseguy in the shipping container at Conley’s yard; the one that rotted in there all summer, froze, and blew up in the spring, so the cops had to pour what was left through a colander to find the bullet.

southbayThey knew how Pat Lonnigan, who’d stuck up a Cumbie’s just to get pinched so he wouldn’t have to pay all the horse money he owed Mickey O’Callahan, had somehow rolled out of the top bunk in the cell he shared with Terry at South Bay and busted his head wide open on the floor in the middle of the night. Everybody knew about the Jamaican nurse that had moved into Terry’s ma’s place that week and took care of her till they carried her out.

“If you’re gonna preach to me now….”

“I wouldn’t Terry,” Father Mike said. “Bless you, I wouldn’t. But somebody’s got to put a stop to this.”

Terry shifted in his seat.

fleshlikesmoke

Art by Neil Smith

Art by Neil Smith

Flesh Like Smoke Up For Preorder from April Moon Books

April Moon Books, who put out the great Dark Rites Of Cthulhu anthology a while back and will be publishing my ninth novel, Mindbreaker, is set to publish their lycanthropy anthology Flesh Like Smoke, which includes my short story Philopatry, in which a Catholic priest enlists the help of an ex-convict to stop a streak of serial murders in his south Boston neighborhood after hearing the murderer’s confession.

fls

Also featuring –

Her Father’s Skin – Christine Morgan
Chaney Jr. Overdrive – Glynn Owen Barrass
Blood and Bone – Tim Waggoner
Bruce, Waking Up – Paul McMahon
Purity Ball – Cody Goodfellow
Were…? – Darrell Schweitzer
Scoop – Sam Gafford
Hunter’s Moon – Don Webb & D.A. Madigan
The Abraxas Protocol – Scott R Jones
Claw and Fang, Stone and Bone – Konstantine Paradias
The Weathered Stone – William Meikle
Survival of the Fittest – Sam Stone and David J Howe
Things Change – Pete Rawlik
Though It Be Darkness There – Damien Angelica Walters
Blood and Dust – Brian M. Sammons

And here’s a preview of the illustration accompanying my story, drawn by Neil Smith.

philopatry

Preorder here –

http://www.aprilmoonbooks.com/#!flesh-like-smoke/c1x91

Van Helsing In Texas Places In JournalStone’s $2,000 Advance Contest

Hey all, JournalStone has released the top ten entries in its annual competition for a $2,000 advance and my effort, Terovolas or, Van Helsing In Texas has managed to wrestle a spot.

http://journalstone.com/contest/journalstones-2000-advance-in-2012/

The premise of Van Helsing In Texas is bookended by the concept that Van Helsing was discredited in the academic community following the publication of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and that following his death in the 1930’s, his longtime friend and colleague Dr. Jack Seward comes forward with a series of unpublished personal papers to vindicate Van Helsing’s Name…

‘Following the defeat of Count Dracula, Abraham Van Helsing checks himself into Jack Seward’s Purfleet asylum, suffering violent recurring fantasies related to his destruction of the count’s vampiric wives and centering around Mina Harker.

Upon his discharge, he volunteers to return the ashes and personal affects of the late Quincey P. Morris (the American adventurer who died in battle with the nefarious Count) home to the Morris family ranch inSorefoot,Texas.

Van Helsing arrives to find Quincey’s brother Cole Morris embroiled in an escalating land dispute with a group of neighboring Norwegian ranchers led by the engimatic Sig Skoll. When cattle and men start turning up slaughtered, the locals suspect a wild animal, but Van Helsing thinks a preternatural culprit is afoot. Is a shapechanger stalking theTexasplains? Is a cult of wolf worshipers responsible? Or are the phantasms of his previously disordered mind returning?

The intrepid professor must decide soon, for the life of Skoll’s beautiful new bride may hang in the balance.’

Anyhow, doesn’t mean I’ve won anything, but those of you who know me personally know my family and I could sure benefit from it if I did…haha.

Wish me luck/say a prayer.

-Hasta pronto.