New Release – Nightlight Tales 2 By Anthony Renfro

Today I have a New Release for you, Nightlight Tales 2, a collection of horror short stories by Anthony Renfro.

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The Headless Fountain Man: A simple photo. A quick snap shot. One woman’s perfect picture is about to become her scariest nightmare.

Fear of the Scarecrow: This short story is about a desperate man hungry for revenge. Sometimes revenge comes with a price.

It Sleeps at Dawn: This short story is about a Vampire who stalks the Appalachian Mountains. A traditional Vampire who uses fangs instead of guns. He hunts. He kills. He sleeps at Dawn.

The Dead of Winter: This short story is about an apocalyptic nightmare in a crisp frozen landscape filled with winter and living corpses.Two men try to find safety in this dead world. Hoping to ride out the night. Hoping to find warmth and shelter. Hoping not to become food for the zombies.

Gluten-Free: Death by Gluten? One man commits suicide in a most unusual way.

The Lot: A Christmas Tree lot isn’t all it seems to be. It hides evil deadly secrets.

The Dragon: A simple machine. Able to answer requests. Able to play music. Able to turn on lights and answer questions. Fun and enjoyable technology, but what happens when this machine is able to manifest actual things. In this short story two guys worst fears will come to life.

Webs: A pyramid in the deep dry desert. What secrets lie within its walls? One explorer is about to find his greatest desire and his worst nightmare inside this ancient artifact.

Gas Station of the Dead: This short story is about a former tanker truck driver who decides to use his skills to deliver gas to those in need during the Zombie Apocalypse.

A Zombie Christmas: This short story is about three men who risk life and limb in a Zombie Apocalypse in order to bring happiness to surviving kids on Christmas Morning.

A Zombie Christmas 2: A boy lost. A family desperate. It’s Christmas in a Zombie Apocalypse and Mike Beem is once again aiming for another Holiday miracle. His goal this year isn’t toys for the kids in the neighborhood. His goal this time is trying to save one small life so another family doesn’t have to suffer the way he suffered.

Flesh for the Zombies: When Mike Beem’s community is savagely attacked, he must exact revenge on those who wronged him. He must put aside all the good he has ever accomplished in order to become someone else. A man without a moral compass. A man without right or wrong. A man who is a cold blooded killer. Will he get his justice or will he die trying? The answers lie within the pages of this short story.

Zombie Beach: Mike Beem has given it all up and run off to live by the beach. Life down on the coast isn’t all that it should be. Days of lying in the sun are replaced with brutal survival. Mike does his best to not only survive, but to rebuild a life among the ruins of these beach side towns.

 

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EXP: The Headless Fountain Man

 Kim was approaching the annual Canadian Comicon when she was startled by a headless statue sitting inside a large silver fountain. This statue had black Chuck Taylor’s on its feet, red socks on its bare ankles, blue jeans, and was wearing a tee-shirt that read “Water you looking at.”  She took out her camera and instead of taking pictures of the various people in cos play costumes (Star Trek, Star Wars, and Frozen seemed to be the lead choices, Frozen, weird, I know, but hey it is a Comicon), she decided to take a picture of this statue, sitting there on its butt, dressed like it was heading for a skateboarding convention, with no head on top of its body. Its head had been replaced with a large white geyser of water that sailed into the air and splashed all over the headless figure and the ground around it.

Her finger froze before she took the shot, something about this statue felt all wrong, something about it didn’t seem right. She focused the lens, and thought she saw the statue raise an arm and wave at her. She paused, and pulled the camera away from her face, opening both eyes. She looked at the statue in the dusky light. It was still sitting there spewing water from its neck, arms and legs unmoving. She shook off the goose bumps, raised the camera to her eye, and snapped the shot. Then she snapped a couple more because you didn’t know which one would be the money shot, best to have backups.

 

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Halloween Promotion – The Curse Of Clyffe House By Will Macmillan Jones

Toady’s promotion is for The Curse Of Clyffe House, book four in the Mister Jones Mysteries, by my friend Will Macmillan Jones.  This is an awesome series.

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The Curse of Clyffe House is the fourth in the Mister Jones Mysteries collection

It was supposed to be a holiday, time away whilst his friend and neighbour wrote a book about their last adventure. But as soon as Mister Jones arrives at the holiday cottage things start to go wrong, and waking up to find a skeleton in his bed is only the start. Terror stalks this cottage and before long Mister Jones discovers an ancient Evil is plotting to wreak devastation across the land; and it will start with his death.

Poison, fear and a horrific Shadow from long ago stand between their survival: can Mister Jones and his friend defeat the Curse of Clyffe House and live?

 

Praise for the Mister Jones Mysteries collection on Amazon:

‘I could not put the book down’

‘Creepy and unsettling’

‘Don’t read alone in the dark’

‘Sparsely told in a classic horror style’

‘A mad rush into danger that horror lovers will adore’

‘A classic, Dennis Wheatley feel’

‘Read it in one sitting’

‘Two days later, I can still remember every detail’

 

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Halloween Promotion – The House Next Door By Will Macmillan Jones

Today’s Promotion is for The House Next Door, book three in the Mister Jones Mysteries, by my friend Will Macmillan Jones.  I highly recommend this series.

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Mister Jones thought he had finished with the supernatural world – but the supernatural hadn’t finished with him…

When Sheila Balsam finds herself compelled to buy a genuine antique in a strange little shop, she didn’t bargain for what came with the statuette – and Mister Jones finds himself once again drawn into the dangerous world of the paranormal : this time via the house next door.

An ancient evil has found a way to break from his enchanted prison and the only one who is going to stand in his way is the unfortunate Mister Jones, who seems destined to live in interesting times.

The House Next Door is the third in the highly regarded ‘Mister Jones’ collection of paranormal mysteries

The Wishing Shelf Awards ARC review said: A chilling story with plenty of twists and turns… keeps the expectant reader on tenterhooks.

What reviewers have said about the first two books: The Showing & Portrait of A Girl

‘An old-fashioned Dennis Wheatley feel’
‘A mad rush into danger that classic Horror lovers will adore’
‘The further I read, the more difficulty I had putting it down’
‘Entertaining, well-written, with a chilling ending!’

 

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Halloween Promotion – Fall Into Nightmares by Lisa Williamson

Today’s promotion is for Fall into Nightmares, book one of the Chaos Wars, by my friend Lisa Williamson.

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The world as we know it has ended…not in fire, not in flood, but with a scream. Creatures from the dark now run the streets and one woman controls them all.

Yet there are three who stand between mankind and utter destruction: The Warrior, The Protector, and The Healer. Only if they survive the collapse of the modern world and unite their strengths will they be able to stop the Mistress of Nightmares.

 

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Halloween Promotion – Portrait Of A Girl By Will Macmillan Jones

Today’s promotion is for Portrait Of A Girl, book two of Mister Jones Mysteries, by my friend Will Macmillan Jones.

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Does lightning ever strike twice? It would seem so for the unfortunate Mister Jones. After a harrowing encounter with the paranormal in The Showing, once again he again finds himself in mortal danger on the borders of that shadowed world.

An antique painting holds a strange fascination for him – and others. What does the girl in the portrait want from Mister Jones and from the others who become entranced by her beauty? And can she be stopped before she unleashes her ancient evil into our modern world in a lake of blood?

‘Portrait of a Girl’ is the second in the collection of Mister Jones paranormal mysteries.

An early reviewer of the book described it in this way:
This is a great read. I literally devoured it in less than 24 hours. If you liked The Showing… it’s better. Spooky. It reads a bit like Sheridan LeFanu or Guy de Maupassant. Awesome. Classic horror short story, except this isn’t short. It’s a full novel. Just wanted to clarify, it READS like a classic horror short story. Tight, spare and invoking tons of imagination.

 

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Halloween Promotion – The Showing by Will Macmillan Jones

Today’s promotion is for The Showing, book one in the Mister Jones Mysteries, by my friend Will Macmillan Jones.  This is a scary series and will keep you on the edge of your seat.  I don’t often read scary stories but I could not put these down.

Will The Showing

 

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‘His visit to the house has awoken that which was sleeping: how many must be taken before IT can be laid to rest?’

For Sale again is Mister Jones’ family home: a house he had known and feared since his childhood. On a nostalgic whim he decides to visit the house, with disastrous results. The house reacts to his appearance and the estate agent who is showing him around vanishes. Shortly afterwards the next agent appointed to handle the sale of the property also disappears.

Mister Jones wants nothing to do with the property. His visit has awoken old memories for him, and the memories are not pleasant. But it is clear that something else has also been awoken by his visit, and when he is begged to help find the young agent who has vanished, he can no longer avoid the responsibility of facing his legacy of evil, and dealing with the curse laid upon the house.

But what will happen when he faces IT, and who will emerge alive?

If you knew just how much of this story is true, how well would you sleep tonight?

The following books in the series of Mister Jones Mysteries are:
Portrait of a Girl
The House Next Door
The Curse of Clyffe House

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Halloween Promotion – The Clayton Chronicles by Edwin Stark

Today’s promotion is for The Clayton Chronicles,  by author Edwin Stark.  We also have the first chapter to enjoy and give you a hint of what is to come.

EDWIN Clayton Chronicles

 

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Strange events are taking place in the small town of Nosfort, Massachusetts.

A corpse turns up with strange marks on its neck, key people in the town are disappearing – and who are those pale, sharp-toothed strangers the townsfolk can’t seem to notice?

For Sheriff Clayton Harris, there can be only one conclusion. But how can one lone lawman take on the nest of bloodsuckers that has taken root in his town? With the help of an undead sidekick, of course. Come inside and meet Sheriff Harris and Sherwin Williams, the sheriff/vampire duo that joins efforts to save the imperiled town of Nosfort from its impending doom.

Hop on a thrill-ride with Sherwin and Harris in an entertaining combination of mystery, biting and fun. Enter the small East Coast town of Nosfort in The Clayton Chronicles!

chapter

NOSFORT, 1971. – SUMMER

Danny Tremain walked intently down Main Street, passing the corner of Chelsea and ignoring Reader Street altogether. He strolled past the candy shop and paid absolutely no heed to the display window in the ToyLand store at the corner of Ashwood Street.

This lack of a pause in front of his preferred loitering spot, where he could gaze for hours at the newly arrived toys and novelties, was pretty unusual. Normally, he would waste away the hours staring at all those toys he could never afford to buy on his own, until its owner, Mr. DeSalle, more often than not a very patient man, gently shooed him away with an impatient gesture of dismissal.

Danny Tremain, ten-years old, would later return to his favorite spot after he dealt with the important matter he had in mind. He was heading to the sheriff’s office to do the right thing. It was a good thing that other kids of his age weren’t with him at the time; they would call him a goody-two-shoes, do-gooder, et cetera, et cetera, and whatever silly names they could come up with for a person who knew his civic duty.

Daniel was glad that he hadn’t met any of his school buddies… yet. What he had to tell the sheriff was his personal secret and no one else’s. So he relished the temporary possession of this dark secret, until the time came to disclose it to someone in Authority.

He had been moseying around the industrial back lot in Elm Street, hoping to find something interesting to do near Hector’s Junkyard since it was mid-summer, Friday, five days past the Fourth of July and school was out. Bored out of his skull, he had peeked in the narrow greenbelt that bordered that crappy Latino scavenger’s lot. There was a small ditch and a drain pipe there, well concealed by the greenery, and Dan used to hang around that place to see what the small current may bring up. It was shady and cool, particularly during these off-school summer days, and he usually made small but interesting discoveries. On one occasion he found a five-dollar bill, which he happily—but wisely—spent on Marvel Comics, two of them each week. On another, a golden chain with a small heart-shaped locket that held the picture of three beautiful girls; he had intended to give this to his mom on her last birthday, but this particular item generally gave him the chills for unknown reasons, and he had briefly reconsidered this notion, saving it for the next Christmas. And in another instance he had found in that ditch a dead, bloated beaver. For Dan, since he had never seen one up-close except in school textbook drawings, it was a very interesting opportunity to thoroughly examine it as best as he could; of course, all this from the safe distance afforded by a long pointed stick he used to turn the dead rodent around.

Today, Dan went near Hector’s Junkyard, and when he entered the greenbelt, he suddenly got more than he had bargained for. He had found a…

Now Daniel stood in front of the sheriff’s office at the corner of Main and Sycamore. It was a red brick and mortar two-storied building, with two big windowpanes in front. Stenciled across each, in a graceful arc of letters, was the word ‘Sheriff’. Directly below were small letters that read, in a less ornate manner, ‘N.P.D.’ Daniel nodded approvingly at the sign and then climbed the three front steps, pulled the door open and entered the sheriff’s office.

* * *

Being inside the sheriff’s office was truly a major source of disappointment for young Daniel. It didn’t resemble any police station he had ever seen on TV. Three desks, each one complemented by a set of file cabinets, and a dozen wooden chairs pretty much summed up the furniture content of its first floor. There was a wrought iron spiral staircase climbing to the top floor of the building and next to it was a barred door that prevented access to a wooden staircase, leading to the lower darkness of a small detention block. Danny felt a certain curiosity about it and briefly considered asking Sheriff Clayton to let him have a look-see—after Dan had told him about what he had found, of course.

Danny quickly glanced at the nameplates on each desk and noticed that Sheriff Clayton’s spot was empty and so was Deputy Hugh Pritchett’s seat. Regrettably, Cliff Golan’s wasn’t. If there was a Sheriff Deputy that ever hated kids as much as Golan did, Danny would certainly like to meet that hypothetical law officer: he’d be worthy of an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. Damn, Dan would even buy a ticket to see a guy like that.

Cliff Golan was sitting at the front desk that served as a reception area, with his feet propped on the desktop while reading the Nosfort Gazette. Danny knew that if Sheriff Clayton once more caught Golan doing that, there would be hell to pay. Sheriff Clayton Harris was truly a professional cop and really didn’t like it when one of his subordinates acted in such an unprincipled manner.

As soon as the entrance door shut at his back, Danny noticed that Deputy Clifford Golan had cast an unconcerned glance over the edge of his Gazette and then had hurriedly sunk behind the pages of the open newspaper, acting as if Dan was the sort of trouble that would disappear from sight if you simply ignore it.

Danny approached Golan’s desk and made a guttural sound with his throat to call the guy’s attention. Golan practically shielded himself with the Gazette and Danny had to resort to this throaty sound, not just once but twice more, before the Deputy finally dropped his reading material with an exasperated gesture and deigned to ask him what he wanted.

“What do you want, kid?” Deputy Golan inquired, with such an emphasis on ‘kid’ it nearly implied that being underage was a crime deserving capital punishment.

“I want to talk with Sheriff Clayton, sir,” Danny replied as courtesy required, fighting the mercifully brief urge to provide to his own ‘sir’ all the creeping ooziness his actual mood was suggesting.

“Sheriff’s up at the second floor, in the archives, kid,” Golan said, pointing his thumb at the spiral staircase.

“Can I go up and talk with him? It’s important,” the kid asked, straightening his spine to show he was serious about it.

Golan eyed him suspiciously. “Nah—you can’t. It’s against regulations. You better take a seat and wait,” he said, thumbing a row of three wooden chairs set against the opposing wall. He cocked his thumb twice as if it was the deadliest weapon in the world and then he raised the Gazette to isolate himself from Danny’s sight. In Golan’s humble opinion, if there ever were a snottier kid than Danny Tremain, he’d gladly buy a ticket to see him.

 * * *

Sheriff Clayton Harris loved his job and that was why he was in the archives upstairs. He wasn’t there trying to track down some relevant information amongst the dusty file cabinets, but making an important personal phone call. With all the insistence he placed on professionalism while lecturing his personnel, he didn’t dare to make this call on the main phone line while sitting at his desk—lest Hugh or Clifford overheard him—so he climbed upstairs, claiming that he was going to rummage through some old files.

Earlier that morning, as he walked from home like he did every day, he had passed in front of Sal’s Basement, the local collectible items store. Sal Schneider traded in antique baseball cards, odd plaster statues from the twenties and thirties, and old comic books.

Today, his storefront sported in the shopping window a rare Vault of Horror #26 that seemed to be in mint condition, nary a crease on the cover or a dog-ear in any of its corners. All day long, Clayton had tried to get hold of Sal on the phone to work some kind of deal over that particular issue.

Danny Tremain, who was sitting one level below, could have told him a thing or two about this obscure yearning, since this sort of compulsive and nearly obsessive behavior was more fitting to a pre-adolescent kid than a thirty-eight-year-old male, who was also the town’s sheriff. Many an eyebrow in town would rise and many town council brows would frown upon discovery of his secret little interest in EC horror comics.

Since it would look bad at the next fund appropriation meeting, up to the archives he went and used the phone extension that was there, being careful to bill the charges to his own home phone.

At last, Sal’s familiar voice answered after a long series of beeping tones. “Sal’s Basement. Sal speaking. How can I help you?”

“Hello, Sal, this is Sheriff Harris.”

“Hello, Clayton,” Sal said. “How are you doing?”

“Quite well, Sal, old chum. Say—did my eyes fool me or did you put a Vault #26 in your display window this morning?”

Sal’s tone of voice suddenly shifted to a more businesslike quality. Clayton Harris could mentally picture him, greedily rubbing one hand against the other.

“Yes—what about it?” Sal said.

“You know that my son Jonathan loves to collect that sort of stuff—he keeps pestering me about the missing issues of his growing collection and Vault #26 seems to be at the top of his major priorities lately,” Sheriff Harris said… and here he started to depart more and more from the truth. Yes, he had a seventeen-year-old son, but Jonathan couldn’t care less for EC comics. Sarah, Clayton’s wife, and Jonathan would shake their heads in disbelief over his vehement departure from the truth. After a short round of bargaining, Sal finally named a two-figure sum that Sheriff Harris found reasonable.

“Would you mind putting it away in your ‘reserved’ box until I drop by a bit later, Sal?” Clayton asked.

Sal agreed to do that and mentioned that it had been a pleasure to do business with him, just a couple of seconds before Harris set the phone receiver back in its cradle.

Sheriff Harris headed toward the circular staircase, while he pulled out his wallet to check on its contents. He nodded appreciatively at the fact that he could cover what Sal asked for the magazine without any major trouble, save that he would be hard-pressed for cash for the next couple of days until payday finally came. Sarah would kill him for this out-of-schedule buy, but that was the price one had to pay for being a knowledgeable collector of memorabilia.

He started his descent of the stairs, clanking down each metal step and whistling a happy tune.

* * *

Harris’s high spirits, however, were short lived. When he reached the lower end of the twisting staircase, he noticed two things. Clifford Golan was shuffling stuff on top of his desk, which meant he had been putting his hoofs over it again. The second was that Danny Tremain was sitting, with that usual stiff and righteous stance of his, on one of those terribly uncomfortable wooden chairs set against the opposite wall. Although the kid was already big enough to set his feet on the ground while sitting, he had managed to find a position that allowed him to dangle and swing them slowly, while softly scuffing the floor with the tips of his sneakers. He looked like a kid two years younger bored by an unjustifiable wait.

Sheriff Clayton momentarily stood at the bottom of the stairs, unsure of how to proceed. Cliff looked particularly irked, most probably by the soft scraping sound that Danny’s feet made—and in this situation it would be bad form to address the kid first. Harris shrugged and asked his Deputy what was up.

“The Tremain kid wants to talk to you, Sheriff,” Golan reported succinctly. Knowing how much Clifford disliked young children, Harris limited himself to replying with a shrewd nod. He then shifted his attention to the young boy.

“Hello, Danny—what’s up?” he asked.

Danny stopped his feet from swinging and reasserted himself in that insufferably upright demeanor of his that seemed to irk everyone else. Oh, boy, Harris thought. This kid’s gonna be a major pain in the ass when he’s a grown-up.

“I have something important to tell you, Sheriff.”

“Well, go ahead Danny.”

Danny Tremain gave Deputy Clifford Golan quite a sour look. Harris sensed Golan stiffen considerably under that stare and sighed inwardly.

“Clifford—will you be a sport and go to Betsy’s Luncheon and bring me a coffee,” Harris said, pausing to eye young master Danny. “And an ice-cream soda for our young visitor here. What flavor, Dan? Chocolate?”

“Vanilla would be nice.”

Vanilla, oh, great. I should have that figured out, Harris thought.

Clifford harrumphed noticeably; his face was flushed by the subdued anger of being suddenly turned into an errand boy, especially when it turned out that he had to bring a treat for a ten-year-old kid. Nevertheless, he got off his chair and headed toward the exit door.

Harris smiled as he heard the door slam shut.

“Ok, that will get him out from our hair for awhile. Step into my office, Danny.”

The ‘Sheriff’s Office’ being the desk farther from the door and the one sided by more file cabinets than the other two, Danny sat in one of the chairs facing it. The kid curiously examined Harris’s nameplate for a second or two and then took the initiative.

“Sheriff, I was bumming around Hector’s Junkyard and found something that you must see.” The kid said this with such a serious and straight face that Harris had to briefly fight the urge to laugh. That certainly would look like bad form.

“Were you alone, Danny?”

The kid nodded wordlessly.

“You know that kids your age shouldn’t be hanging around that area alone, Danny,” Harris commented, matter-of-factly. “It’s one of the most lonesome spots in town and there’s no one at a shouting distance in case you get into trouble—so it’s best if you take a few friends along.”

Danny nodded again.

The sound of the door opening called the attention of both males, Sheriff and kid, toward it. Clifford had returned from Betsy’s Luncheon with the coffee and the ice-cream soda. Damn, he was fast!

“Thanks, Clifford,” Clayton said.

“Thanks, Deputy Golan,” muttered Danny.

Cliff scowled at them both. Then he returned to his desk and buried himself again beneath his copy of the Nosfort Gazette.

Sheriff Harris had pulled out a notepad and a pencil, and was readying himself to take notes, just in case Danny Tremain had stumbled onto something really important. Nosfort was a town caught in the middle of being a big town and a small city, and almost nothing that truly mattered happened there, but you never knew. “Will you tell me now what have you found, Danny? Please?” he asked.

Danny Tremain was noisily slurping the last remains of his vanilla ice-cream soda through the straw, making Harris wonder if the little holier-than-thou twerp had a penchant for the dramatic.

Sheriff Clayton Harris nearly dropped his pencil when Danny finally said what he had come to say: “I found a dead body among the bushes, sir.”

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