Wednesday, January 28, 2015


Beneath the Lake offers readers/authors some of the best non-fiction essays and articles on the web, including behind the scenes glimpses into the lives of horror writers. Crystal Lake Publishing's owner and operator, Joe Mynhardt, also interviews the amazing list of authors who have graced our book…
                                                            *    *    *    *

From Joe Mynhardt comes word of his latest venture: The Deep End.

                                                           *    *    *    *

Do you have a new book coming out soon? Is there a deeper meaning to your book, or perhaps a tough journey you had to go through to write this book?
Then send an email to with the following information:
Your name and surname
Book title
Publisher (self-published books are accepted)
Formats available (paperback, Kindle, audiobook etc.)
Release date
Your website URL
The opening 500 words of your book
A 100 to 150 word summary of what your guest post will be about (your book’s deeper meaning or your personal journey writing it)

If we like what we see, we’ll ask you to write a guest blog post about your book’s deeper meaning or your personal journey. Or perhaps both. Then we’ll publish the blog on the day of your book’s release on our Beneath the Lake blog under the heading "The Deep End." 

Books that have already been published (unless this is a relaunch) will not be accepted. Your book must be Dark Fiction (Horror, Sci-Fi, Supernatural, Noir, Thriller, Suspense, Weird, Dark Fantasy, etc.) and published in English. We will accept guest blog posts on novels, novellas, short story collections, and poetry collections. 
To save on admin, you will only hear from us if we’re interested in your blog post.

                                           *    *    *    * 

This is a great opportunity for some fantastic promotional opportunities for Dark Fiction authors. It's also perfect for readers who love to find out more about their favorite books and authors.

Get in on this super deal! 

Blaze McRob


2015 Wyoming Writers Conference Faculty Wyoming Writers 2015 Conference Presenters By Tom Spence MARK THE DATE If you have the 2015 edition of your calendar (the one with the Harley Davidson motorcycles, or mountain scenes, or vintage cars, or fuzzy pets) write it in– June 5, 6, 7. Put the…

                                                          *    *    *    *

Wyoming Writers, Inc. 41st Annual Conference in Cheyenne, WY will be coming to Cheyenne, Wyoming on June 5, 6, 7. Just take a look at the outstanding authors, editors, and poet extraordinaire who will be here. I know I will be there for sure. Writing is a learning experience, and that learning never stops. 

Come join me. This is open to everyone. Learn what's happening in the industry. Pitch your great stories. All this and more. June is a great month in Wyoming. It just got better.

Take a peek below as further enticements for you to come.

Blaze McRob 


 Milkweed Editions editor Patrick Thomas is coming to the Wyoming Writers, Inc. 41st Annual Conference in Cheyenne to present a workshop on the state of publishing, and to receive pitches. June 5-7, 2015.


 More news from our upcoming Conference 2015, Cheyenne: Meghan Saar, senior editor of True West Magazine wants to hear pitches and give advice on the non-fiction of Western lore—history, memoir, remembrances. That is the focus of True West Magazine.


“Kent Nelson has published more short stories than almost any other American writer in our time.” (Kent Haruf, best-selling author of Plainsong). “(Nelson’s)… descriptions of land and light create perfect backgrounds for characters who struggle to find meaningful ways to live their lives….This new collection [Spirit Bird: Stories; University of Pittsburgh Press; 2014; winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize.] shows why he’s so frequently published. It’s simply because he’s so good.”
The Wyoming Writers Board is proud and excited that Kent is coming to our 2015 Conference. He will be discussing many aspects of short fiction, not just crafting a good story, but getting it placed, anthologized; or...

Tiffany Schofield, a University of Maine graduate, joined Five Star Publishing in 1999, and her passion is all things Five Star. She currently manages the Five Star Publishing list, as well as managing the western fiction large print lists for Thorndike Press and Wheeler Publishing, cousin imprints to Five Star. Tiffany oversees the editorial process of acquiring eighty-four unpublished manuscript projects each year for the three Five Star Publishing genre lists which are Western, Mystery, and Frontier Fiction. She enjoys working with writers and agents directly and is passionate about discovering exciting new voices in fiction publishing. Under Tiffany’s vigilant editorial leadership, several Five Star Publishing novels have been selected as award finalists and winners. In 2013, Five Star Publishing was awarded the Western Writers of America Lariat Award. This special award is given to those who have achieved distinction in their support of Western Writers of America and the literature of the West.
Tiffany is looking for all types of crime fiction from cozy to thriller, as well as traditional western fiction and Frontier Fiction stories that are set in the pre-1920s American West

Laura Pritchett will be our featured presenter on the novel—not just the big picture and big problems, but the nitty-gritty too. Her “breakout” novel, Stars Go Blue (Counterpoint Press, 2014) was “starred” by Booklist and the Library Journal: “…a brilliant novel filled with heartache and humor that will strike a chord with many readers. A heart-wrenching exploration of a family in crisis.” Laura’s collection of stories, Hell’s Bottom Colorado (Milkweed Editions, 2014), was the winner of the PEN USA award and the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.
Laura has a B. A. and an M. A. from Colorado State University, and PhD. in English from Purdue University. She is a member of the faculty of Pacific University’s MFA program. But, that’s not all. She does non-fiction, essay and memoir, writes nature and environmental issues; she has a fondness for re-cyclers (see: Going Green: True Tales from Gleaners, Scavengers, and Dumpster Divers; University of Oklahoma Press; 2009.).

The Board of Wyoming Writers is excited to have the poet, Aaron Abeyta, from Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, as our presenter in poetry workshops, and as our keynote speaker. When the word got out that Aaron was coming, we got messages from people praising the choice. Poets, writers, and teachers who have had the privilege of working with Aaron in a variety of workshop and classroom settings were enthusiastic about both his writing and his thoughtful approach to teaching and motivating poetry from the roots up.
Aaron says: “The poet must be both ‘piper’ and ‘bard,’ tender and turbulent, dangerous and comforting; the poet must be able to understand, as Czeslaw Milosz put it: ‘In the very essence of poetry there is something indecent: a thing brought forth which we didn’t know we had in us, so we blink our eyes….’ ( Ars Poetica)” In our correspondence he excerpted another poet from workshop material, the American, Mary Oliver: “‘…just/ pay attention, then patch/ a few words together and don’t try/ to make them elaborate, this isn’t/ a contest but the doorway…’ (from Praying). In short, we must be observant and ‘prayerful’ in our watchfulness of the world around us.”
Aaron has a B. A. in English, and an M. F. A. in Poetry from Colorado State University. His most recent collection: Letters from the Headwaters (Western Press Books) in out this year. An earlier collection, Colcha won the American Book Award for Poetry, and the Colorado Book Award. His list of publications and appearances is lengthy.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


Holocaust Memorial Day: remembering the horror of Auschwitz 70 years on - Telegraph

I have a few pictures and links for a day we can never be allowed to forget. I have many Jewish friends and it pains me that a number of them relayed the horrors of Auschwitz to me in my younger days. Their eyes showed such pain and grief. For too long, many people denied that the wholesale slaughter of innocents even occurred. How dare they! And even today there are those who either don't care or feel guilt for what their forebears did and don't want to accept the truth for what it is. Wake up, people! This could happen to any race or creed. This is a painful lesson for humanity to have to accept, but it happened. We can't take it back. 
Like the picture with the candle in it says, Never Again.
I want to praise  Merna Kirschenbaum Shapiro, a schoolmate of mine from Memorial High School in West New York, New Jersey. She was the happiest kid in the school, always laughing, always having a good time. But, she became involved with the cause . . . the cause that we never forget what happened. I am proud of her hard work over the years! I bow to you, my friend. 
The deaths at these camps represent real life horror at their absolute worst. Remember. Always.
Blaze McRob 

Footage of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, Dachau, and Auschwitz filmed by British soldiers and shaped into a documentary by Alfred Hitchcock and others, has never...

Monday, January 26, 2015


Time for another piece in my Minimum Wage for authors series. Pretty much, I have been discussing ebooks. For a while, ebooks were going crazy. Readers were filling up their Kindles with tons of cheap and free books. Bingo! The Kindles are either filled up or readers want to read what they have on their readers first. Makes sense to me. I'm not saying you can't make money selling ebooks, but it's not as easy as it was last year.

So, what do you do? Well, you could write books that are so good they knock everyones' socks off and the word of mouth travels faster than a raging forest fire fanned by 50 mph winds. That's what you should be doing anyway. This is step one.

Step two. Get your short story collections, novellas, and novels in paper form. Yes, you're saying, "Blaze is a flaming idiot. My ebooks are not getting me the money I want. Who will fork over $10.00 to $15.00 or more for a paper back?"

Wipe that stupid thinking inside the box theory from your mind. You are smart enough to write a great book. Now market it! Hire a Publicist. You will be amazed at the difference that makes. Your name is everywhere. Get on Twitter and retweet for other people. It will come back to you. Get an author page on Facebook. Don't be spammy. Tell folks about other authors' books. Make certain your website is more about others than it is you. Once more, you will be making friends everywhere. What a pleasant way to find great new authors and friends too.

Now we come to some Blaze McRob tactics. Take your books to the local bars in your town. Arrange with the owners or managers to allow you to have book signings. Guess what happens? They give you a look that says, "How do I get this Bozo out of here?" Until . . . until you say, "I'll make it worth your while. Let me put up a sign at my table that says, 'Buy a book, and I'll buy you a beer' " Wham. You have their attention now. Make sure you allow at least $1.00 tip for the waitress or bartender. They will send folks to your table.

I've mentioned this in another article a ways back. Authors are still reluctant to try this out. Hey, I can't force you. I am merely suggesting. Simple math once more. You have a book that sells on Amazon for $15.00. If you self-publish, that book can be bought by you on Createspace for about $4.50. Okay: You order in bulk to cut down on the shipping costs and you might pay .80 a book. You're up to $5.30 now. add in $4.00 for a beer, and  a $1.00 tip, and your expense is $10.30 now. You make $4.70 per book. The naysayers in the back of the room are screaming that that's ridiculous. If someone buys that same book on Amazon, by the time Amazon takes out their piece of the pie, you're making anywhere from $2.00 to $3.00 on average. Doesn't sound so stupid now, does it. And there is no limit to the number of bars you can do this in.

For those who don't drink or care to go to bars, this can be done in coffee shops as well.

How about libraries? Get your book in there, and have signings there as well. Now, you're the local famous author. Swag can be easily arranged there: fancy bookmarks, coupons for coffee shops - even better if the library has their own coffee shop - and more. Have buy two and get one free if you have multiple titles. Or buy one and get one of lesser cost for free. It all works.

Set yourself up at craft shows, flea markets, festivals, and other things of like nature.

Antique shops are good. How do I know? I sell used books, comics, and new books there in my store within a store. I'm the only horror author in the city, and perhaps the entire state of Wyoming for all I know. Which books sell the best? My books. Why? Because I'm local. People like to know a real author.

Another thing you can do at a signing is to get ebook codes for the paper backs you're selling   and if a reader buys a paper version, give them the code to get a free ebook as well. What if they don't want an ebook of that title? Have other codes, or get their email address and send it to them. This is particularly handy with Smashwords. By the way, you do have a plan set in place on Amazon where if someone buys a paper back they get the ebook for free, right? If you don't, shame on you!

Now, I have a completely different approach to selling paper backs at book signings. I was going to divulge this later, after a particular novel of mine was published. Also, I have a collaboration book I was going to do this with as well. This is so simple as to make me wonder why other people are not doing this. In my novel, a friend of mine is the hero. I use his full name. Okay, so I am always the hero in my stories, but it is through my buddy that my escapades are brought to life. Come book signing time, he and I both will sit down at the table and sign the books. I worked with Ed for a number of years, and we will have the first signings at our work place. Since Ed works in my home city of Cheyenne, we can do it all over the place. Ed is very excited about this, and I am too. You don't think this will work? I'll give you facts and figures when we do it.

Yes, some of these things I have mentioned you have heard of before. Some you haven't and maybe you won't consider doing these things. You can have a table set up close to the restrooms in a book store like a friend of mine did, or you walk in as if you own the place and tell them you can sell some books and you would like table space in the front of the store.

Ed and I know what we're going to do. We're going to party hearty as we sell some books. Look us up when you're in Cheyenne. I'll buy you a beer.

Blaze McRob

Sunday, January 25, 2015


Shadows Over Main Street, published by Hazardous Press, will be out January 30th. Keep your eyes peeled, my friends.

I stole the words below from Okay, so I'm a dog.

                                                             *    *    *    *

Shadows Over Main Street received some kind words from a respected author.

Shadows Over Main Street demonstrates most convincingly that fear lurks in our towns and villages, in darkened alleys, and in the shadowy human heart. This anthology represents a dynamic cross section of contemporary horror.”
- Laird Barron, Bram Stoker Award winning author of THE BEAUTIFUL THING THAT AWAITS US ALL
As far as being a Lovecraftian feather in your cap (tentacle in your cap?) words of praise from Mr. Barron rank pretty high up there. We are delighted that he enjoyed the book and was kind enough to share his thoughts.

                                                       *    *    *    *

Great praise indeed. I will keep you posted if anything changes.

Blaze McRob

Saturday, January 24, 2015


You want creatures? Oh, the Damned have creatures... LAKE LURKERS, this week's newest ‪#‎horror‬ ‪#‎fiction‬ by Jon Olson, only from Pen of the Damned.
Martin Maddox wiped the sweat off his forehead with the back of his hand and resumed hacking away at a particularly thick tree branch with his hatchet. He was halfway up his ladder preparing the la...
                                                                 *    *    *    *

Lake Lurkers, by Jon Olson, is this week's Scary Saturday Tale. Jon gives us a new breed of monster this week. It is so refreshing to find something that not everyone writes about lurking around us. Excitement abounds! You do like Damned Dark Lurkers, don't you? We have them here for you.

Go to the link above and read this great story. Jon has many more great tales for you to read also. Don't miss out. They are all for the price of free. Pen Of The Damned likes to supply horrific tales for your reading pleasure.

Blaze McRob

Thursday, January 22, 2015


This is my Friday Frights for this week. Our theme this month is psychological horror. Let's go back to the 40's and early 50's. Radio was king then, and the theater of the mind ruled . . . 

The Creaking Door

The quarter moon playing a game of hide and seek within the clouds creates shadows of all shapes and sizes in my room. They dance wildly one moment and ease to nothingness the next as they work their magic on the ceiling and walls. My brother is asleep, head under the blankets. Unlike me, the shadows frighten him.

They are my friends. My only friends.

This dingy, dirt-bag apartment is the closest we have come to a decent abode. But then again, what do I know? I'm only three years old. But I remember: everything. How can one forget the beatings, the constant moving around, the foul stench of cheap booze and cigarettes everywhere. And . . . and the steady arguing between my parents.

It won't be long now. I wait for the walk down the hallway and the peering in to make sure we are asleep.  She comes, playing tag with the walls again, her drunken status quite evident. 240 pounds of mean is approaching.

Her enormous shadow fills the entire room when she opens the door. Jesus, the woman reeks! Mom needs a bath pronto, but that would take time away from the important things in life: booze, smokes, and sex. I almost barf just thinking about that. How anyone could get that close to her now is a mystery to me, but once the booze is gone, the arguing will stop and the two of them will get together once more.

She stumbles around in my room. No, don't fall on me again!

I'm lucky this time around. She manages to catch hold of the dresser and rights herself. Breathing as if she's been running laps in the apartment, she shakes her head and slowly leaves the room.

Out the door and down the hall, bitch. C'mon, hurry up. 

Sounds reverberate everywhere, the walls and floor releasing their secrets to me. She's so drunk tonight they might not do anything in bed. But . . . but the radio! They have to play it!

The lights in the hallway stay on. Damn! How can I sneak down in full light?

I get out of bed and put my ear to the door. The radio is playing. Alrighty!

"Damn it, Dorothy, you drunken bitch! You left the lights on in the hallway again," my dad hollers.

"Talk about the bottle calling the shot glass drunk, Charlie! Turn the fucking lights off if they irritate you."

Dad wobbles around as much as mom did earlier, but the light vanishes from under my door. Trembling as I do it, for fear they will hear me, I turn the door knob and venture out into the darkened hallway. One cautious step at a time and I will make it.

I hug the left wall, keeping low, my feet moving mere inches with each step. Yet even with this amount of caution, the solid wood floors moan from my weight. Little squeals follow me all the way down the hallway. 

Don't betray me, feet!

Closer I get to the living room, hearing the lead in show is still on. Yay! I'll get to hear the entire broadcast. Other than the sound from the radio, I hear nothing else. Can it be they both fell asleep in a drunken stupor? Their bedroom is on the other side of the living room. Maybe they dragged themselves in there.

All the light is blocked from the hallway. She looms ahead of me! As drunk as she is, her focus is still sharp. She's on a mission, one that involves me, the end result being pain.

I strand up straight, backing up slowly towards my room. Maybe she'll fall in her haste to get to me. Yes! that would be great, but . . . but she walks steadier than she did mere minutes before. The anticipation of the beating I am to receive has given her life anew.

"You little bastard!" she hollers. "You know you're not allowed to listen to the show. How many beatings will it take for that to sink in, you little shit?"

No words come from my mouth. It wouldn't make any difference anyway. Her stubbornness would make her refuse to listen anyway.

"Dorothy! Leave him alone! He's still a baby for God's sake."

"Fuck you, Charlie!"

Dad stands there, the whiskey bottle in his right hand. With his left hand, he shoves my mother into the wall. She loses her balance and slips to the floor. Reaching up, using him as a ladder, she gets back up and starts slapping him. He tries to pin her to the wall, but the booze has weakened him and she manages to grab the bottle from his hand. Over and over again she hits him on the head until the bottle breaks and the shards of glass turn his face to a bleeding, pulpy mass.

His eyes turn glassy then see no more as he falls to floor.

Enraged, my mother advances towards me with the broken bottle in her hand. "You . . . you made me do this. It's your fault your dad is dead."

I turn to run, but I trip on a loose board and my mother, a crazed sneer on her face, rushes in for the kill, the bottle aimed at my chest. The lights go out in the hallway and the living room. And they return. My friends.

The shadows fill the entire hallway: walls, floor, and ceiling. They pulse with delight, pulling my mother away from me. The longest tendril grabs the bottle from her hand and methodically slices away at her body. Piece after piece of flesh find a new home on the floor. She cries out in pain, but I do nothing. She asked for this, not me. My beatings from the bitch are over.

At the pinnacle of the torture, the bottle is slammed into her heart. I watch the blood drain from her body and see her bowels and bladder empty and mingle with the red, life-giving fluid. 

I stand up and tip-toe around the two of them, walk to the living room, and sit in my dad's chair. The saving shadows join me as my radio show starts.
A door with squeaky hinges is slowly opened. An organ begins to play.

"Good evening, friends of the Inner Sanctum. This is your host. I'm glad you came tonight."

I'm glad my friends came tonight . . .

Blaze McRob

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Tonia Brown's photo.
Hauling Ash Launch PARTAY!
Thursday, January 29 at 7:00pm in EST
Right here on Facebook

                                                            *    *    *    * 

Tonia Brown is having a book launch party on Facebook on Thursday, January 29th. The link is above. If by any chance you're not able to access it, send me a Personal Message on Facebook and I will give you an official invite. 

In the meantime, you have a pre-order option on Amazon. Everything Tonia writes is different. Hey, that's great. Hauling Ash combines horror, the mob, humor, and the sea into one genre-bending display of hilarity. 

Keep your eyes peeled for the party. Tonia Brown will light the evening up!

Blaze McRob 

Book Description

January 27, 2015
When the spirit of his recently deceased uncle appears in his kitchen, lonely mortician Octavious Waldorf can only guess the ghost isn’t there just for the coffee. His miserly uncle reveals the location of a hidden fortune with the promise of more if Otto will spread the dead man’s ashes across the Caribbean Sea. Through a simple mistake Otto ends up with almost a million of the mafia’s money instead of his uncle’s simple few thousand. Otto does what any desperate man would do and flees the country aboard a cruise ship headed to the Bahamas to fulfill his uncle’s last request. With the money, his dead uncle’s ashes, and a nervous schnauzer in tow, Otto sets out to change his fortune and life.

That near million just so happens to belong to crime boss and all around bad guy Tony “Waldorf” Maloney (no relation), who happens to be on the same cruise. Maloney isn’t interested in just getting the money back. Along with the help of the much feared hired hit man Mr. Banjo, as well as the blonde bombshell Penny Lane, Maloney plans on squeezing the money as well as a few vital juices from Otto’s cold, dead corpse.

On the other end of the law, the FBI is hot on Maloney’s tail. Special Agents Frank Wallace and Larry Lawrence aren’t sure who this Otto guy is, or how he fits into Maloney’s organization, but they don’t plan on letting either of them get away. Maybe it’s time for the nearly retired Frank to take a much needed cruise to the Bahamas.

It’s a comedy noir of hilarious errors as Otto learns that sometimes money does buy happiness.

Editorial Reviews


“When you take an old fashioned, mad-cap slapstick comedy of errors, and then give it an evil little Tonia Brown twist, you know that the end result is going to be something special. And that is exactly what "Hauling Ash" delivers. This book is the most fun read you will have all year. I guarantee it.”
~Graeme Reynolds, author of the High Moor series

Book Description

At the behest of his dead uncle’s spirit, Otto Waldorf seeks out a hidden fortune, only to end up with a quarter million of the mafia’s money. With both the mob and the FBI on his tail, this lonely mortician flees the country with money in tow. Throw in a nervous schnauzer, a moody hit man, and a blonde bombshell for a comedy noir of haunting proportions.


I have a couple articles in this great book and am quite honored to be included in it and to have us reach this point. Joe Mynhardt and Emma Audsley did a fantastic job compiling the super articles and handling the editing. Thank you Joe and Emma for allowing me to be a part of this.

Way to go Crystal Lake Publishing! You rock!

Blaze McRob

The statement below is written by Joe Mynhardt:  

I'm very pleased to announce that HORROR 101: THE WAY FORWARD has made it onto the Preliminary Ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards.
Thanks first of all to the authors who contributed to this labor of love, and thanks to everyone who voted for HORROR 101.
Congratulations to all the amazing people who also made the ballot. I'm even happier to call you friends and colleagues.
Amazon Universal Link:
Or check out the stellar line-up and more reviews right here: