Friday, September 19, 2014


Ahah! I am the first person to write a review for Bent Metal, Nina D'Arcangela's super thriller. As you can tell from my review, this is a great read. Nina is a master at what she does: telling psychological tales. Buy and read. It's only .99!

Blaze McRob

Book Description

September 16, 2014
Where does reality end and dreamscape begin?

Woken each night by the sounds of screams and twisting metal, Lauren must relive the panic and fear of discovering her brother’s broken body on the asphalt. But each morning, she finds it’s only a dream… One she doesn’t want to keep having.

At what point does a dream become a nightmare, and what if the nightmare was more than a figment of her subconscious?
5.0 out of 5 stars Bent Metal Will Bend Your Mind! September 19, 2014
Verified Purchase
Bent Metal, by Nina D'Arcangela, is one of those mind-blowing tales that takes twists and turns from start to finish. You know the ending, but you really don't. You are pulled into alternate realities that pull at you from all directions, whispering into your ears that what you are reading only hints at the truth, and no matter how it plays out, there will be deep sadness.

Many people say never to write about dreams. No one cares to hear about them. I beg to differ. Dreams are on a plane of existence unlike our waking psyches. Nina's dream world is interlaced with realities, and bonds itself to the physical reality we try to ground ourselves in.

I have had the same dream every night for 47 years. I keep hoping for a different ending so that happiness will finally wash over me. This gives me more insight into the tale Nina shares with us. I understand. I believe. And I can still hope.

Read Bent Metal. Nina D'Arcangela is a master of psychological horror.


Here is a super review for Yesterdays Children, a book of poetry by Jackie G. Williams. The review is by Rob M. Miller. Once I send this post around, I will buy this great book. The free sample, on top of Rob's review, clinched it for me. Yes, folks, reviews can help sell books. Thank you Rob for writing such a fantastic review, and thank you Jackie for writing such a super collection of poetry.

Blaze McRob

Book Description

March 30, 2012
Yesterdays Children is a book of poetry.
Though there are no hearts and flowers here.
It is a hard hitting read about today's society.
Read it if you Care!
3.0 out of 5 stars A flawed, wonderful work that blew me away. September 18, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Though I'm sure to upset some authors and publishers who, understandably, want five-star reviews, I've my own definition of the five-star system.

*One Star: A crime against God and man.
*Two Stars: Poor, or otherwise not ready for publication.
*Three Stars: A solid work worth the money/read.
*Four Stars: A superior, award-worthy achievement.
*Five Stars: A standard setter, a work to stand the test of time, a work to be studied and read again and again....

YESTERDAY(')S CHILDREN ... a three-star journey of pain and connection and regret and anger and a million other stabs....

Seeing this work advertised on Facebook, I was immediately struck by three things:

1) The fantastic cover.
2) The great title.
3) The missing possessive.

Writers tend to be a critical lot, full of bigotry and discrimination, if not of race (there is, after all, the current hub-bub about H.P. Lovecraft and his not-so-finer characteristics), then of ideas, or of genre, of what makes for good prose, and yes, what constitutes good poetry. Writers are opinionated, which is a good, for they need to have hills worthy of their blood.

And they, like George R.R. Martin, are the cruelest of gods, both old and new. Sadists and masochists. Who, even when shedding tears, hang characters from swaying ropes ... and then throw stones.

They need to.

It's a requirement.

Which is why, a prose writer and/or poet, must, above all--be brave.

Not everyone can do it. Not all have either the skill or the necessary spine. If people did, we wouldn't need greeting cards. We wouldn't worship writers. Or at least I wouldn't.

Jackie G. Williams has both the skill and the spine. A brave writer. And one of those special ones who can transmit humanity, in its glory and pain, somehow, through squiggly lines on a page.

It's a kind of magick. And, without a doubt, Williams is a magician.

First, the cons of the book.

1) Formatting could have been better.
2) Editing could have been better.
3) One might argue that illustrations could've enhanced the book ... but with this, I'm now stretching. The words, without any question, paint many a dark and scarring picture.

In sum, it would've been quite nice if a publishing house, one with skill, had sunk some money, time, and effort into this work to really doll it up.

Am I right?

Why, yes!

I'm also one of those opinionated, discriminating writer/editor types (with his own set of flaws).

But here's the proof of Williams's magick.

On a whim, after seeing the work, I visited Amazon. I noticed the page count, a modest 43-pages, I took in the price, a mere bit of change, and I bought it, immediately adding it to my Kindle where 3,000 other titles sit. But then, expecting to just read a few bits, where I might pontificate on why I almost exclusively read "real" poets, like Kipling or Yeats, I started "Yesterdays Children."

And read it, front to back.

YES--front to back.

Front to back.

And sat stunned.

"Yesterdays Children," primarily deals with the horrors of drug use and abuse, but not just in a drugs-are-bad kind of way, for that would have made the work nothing more than a highly effective sedative. Somehow, Williams managed to tap into the humanity of her referenced victims and abusers, the driving demons, the inherent loss and regret.

I've a loved one living on the streets, a victim of mental health problems, bad decisions, and the death-grip of heroin. Perhaps this made me especially vulnerable to "Yesterdays Children's" siren call. If so, fine. Having this predisposition, though, I also came to the table--great cover and title or no--ready to be skeptical, ready to find, perhaps, another "preachy" writer who just didn't get it.

Author Jackie G. Williams more than gets it. "Yesterdays Children" proved it. I read it front to back. And I will be having other family members read it as well. Will the work entertain them? Certainly. But more important, through Williams's powerful--even if dark--pixie dust ... her words ... these people will find a vicarious and carthartic way to express their grief and to expand their knowledge about horrors which are all-too-often all-too-real.

Poetry is the ballet of writing. The most difficult of writing disciplines.

Jackie G. Williams, amongst other things, is a poet.

I read the book in a sitting.

Will be passing it on to my loved ones. Will "Yesterdays Children" connect with everyone? No. No work does. But at 43-pages, and barely over a buck, this author is all but giving away this work, verily this gift.

Hope she sells a million-plus copies.

To the author:

Dear Ms. Williams,

I'm stunned. Wish I had words. And I'm supposed to be a writer. Thank you so very much for this great piece of work.

All my best,

Rob M. Miller
Image of J. G. Williams
J G Williams was born in Wales UK. She is married with three grown children and seven grandchildren. She has always loved horror and ghost stories. From an early age her father told her tales of ghosts and ghouls. That's when her love of horror began. Besides writing, she enjoys art and looking after her menagerie of pets. There's never a dull moment in the Williams household.
She also writes children's books; Tori-Jean's Busy Day, written for young children, is out now. Also book two Tori-Jean's Clever Ideas. Liam and Storm's Space Adventure is due out at the end of July. Great little books for kids.

Thursday, September 18, 2014


This is my Friday Frights for this week. The theme this month is My Bloody Birthday. It must be Bloody Horror Comedy with a Birthday theme.

What could possibly go wrong with a birthday party at a long abandoned African Safari theme park? Nothing of course. But then again, we are talking about Clinton Road, the world's most haunted road. Yet, you're not afraid of these tales, are you? Of course not, my friends . . .

Jungle Habitat Birthday Bash

"What do you think, Jimmy? Do we have your party at Jungle Habitat?"

Jimmy is as much into partying as the next guy, but Jungle Habitat had been closed for many years now. Too much just went wrong at the park. People were attacked by lions and other animals as they drove through the park in their cars. Yes, they should have never rolled down the windows of their cars to get a better view, but still . . .

"I don't know, Pete. There is still talk about the wild animals that escaped from the park, not to mention the stories of everything else that happens on that God-forsaken Clinton Road."

"Give me a break, Jimmy! You can't possibly believe that crap. Satanists, witches, haunted nudist camps, and all, is the figment of some high-wired imagination."

"Call me highly wired then. I've seen some strange things on that road."

"Safety in numbers, me lad. There will be quite a gathering there tonight for your birthday party. Mary Sue is coming, you know."

Mary Sue! Jimmy dreamed of her every night. What a woman! There was nothing he wouldn't do to get close to her.

"Really, Pete?"

"Yes, really."

"Okay. Party hearty at Jungle Habitat it is."

Pete knew all along that as soon as Mary Sue's name was mentioned that Jimmy would grab at the opportunity to go to the old Safari Park.

Everything was all packed and ready to go. There was plenty of beer, wine, food, chairs, and even sleeping bags for more intimate moments. Ah yes. Two people ducking back into the deep woods would be much more comfortable with something soft beneath them as they attended to matters of the heart. Okay, most of it would be sudden passion brought on by a little too much good drink. After all, it was a party, wasn't it?

The ride was uneventful to a point. Probably because of all the legends spinning around inside everyone's heads. Even Pete swore that he saw the mysterious grayish-white wolf with reddish-yellow eyes. But the Hell Hound and ghosts were absent.

Mary Sue was upset at not seeing anyone from the haunted nudist camp. She nestled into Jimmy and said,"Guess the birthday boy will have to show me a thing or two tonight. Can you handle that, Jimmy?"

Jimmy almost didn't get to see his next birthday as he choked on his words. "Ah . . . ah, yes, Mary Sue. I will be happy to."

Mary Sue giggled at Jimmy's words, wondering if perhaps he was a virgin. If he was, there couldn't be a better night to pop his cherry. Her wandering hands had Jimmy so worked up that it was impossible for him to hide the evidence when they piled out of the car.

"Do you want to go for a walk with Mary Sue now, Jimmy?" Pete asked. "We can set everything up here and it will be waiting for you when you return."

Jimmy hated that all-knowing look that Pete gave him. He was all set to give Pete a wise-ass answer when Mary Sue said, " Jimmy and I will do exactly that, Pete. The birthday boy should get dessert before anyone else if he wants it. You do want it, don't you, Jimmy."

No choking on words this time. Jimmy took her by the hand and off they went, listening to the others giggling behind their backs.

The entire area was overgrown to the point that it couldn't be mistaken any more for the park that it once was. Even the trail they were on was close to non-existence. Jimmy knew something was horribly wrong, but how could he show his fear to Mary Sue? No way! He had waited far too long for this moment.

"Oh, Jimmy, this is nice back here!" Mary Sue said. "No one will be able to see anything we do. We're in our own special jungle habitat."

She stepped in the middle of a tiny clearing and coyly put her index finger between her ruby red lips. Jimmy knew what was coming next. It had to be. Yes, he might have been a virgin, but sometimes when the time comes, a person is ready.

Deliberately pausing as she went along, she removed one article of clothing at a time, there still being enough light so Jimmy could see her in all her splendor when she was done.

"One of us is way over-dressed, Jimmy. Would you like me to remove your clothes, or would you rather do it yourself?"

The words were barely out of her mouth when Jimmy stood before her, completely naked, and not intending to hide his arousal this time. Together,  they explored each others bodies, and when the time had come, she drew him to her waiting gash of ecstasy and guided him inside. Her love juices splashed over her entire body as she lunged and retreated, only to guide him back in again. A smile curled up on her lips as she stared at her man coming of age.

"Don't worry about anything, Jimmy. When the time comes for you to experience your orgasm, let yourself go. Cum deep inside me. Show me the man you are."

Jimmy said nothing, choosing to show her how he felt with his actions.

Mary Sue sensed his every urge and skillfully managed to back off at just the right time. They made love for well over an hour and reached ecstasy together. Jimmy rolled over onto his back and caught sight of his lover in the light from the moon hiding behind the clouds. She was gorgeous. Her rock-hard nipples and her still heavily flowing love juices excited him again and he was ready for more loving.

"Oh, my sweet Jimmy, there will be more later. I promise you. Now we need to get back to the others before they send a search party out after us."

Jimmy knew she was speaking the truth and reluctantly put his clothes back on. Good thing it was dark. There was going to be some messy clothing on his body.

They got back to the others and found them to be half tanked already. They had a good fire going and most of them were dancing naked around it, beer and wine in one hand and the other hand fondling whoever was close to them. There was not much food left. They had done a pretty good job of devouring it.

"Sorry," Pete said. "You two must have been quite busy back there. I should have brought more food."

"Not to worry," Mary Sue said. "I'm sure we'll find something to eat, won't we, Jimmy?"

Jimmy wasn't thinking about food at the moment. Something strange was happening to him. He was getting warm. Very warm. And pain was shooting through his body. Everywhere, it seemed. He was dizzy and super-alert at the same time.

"Hey, buddy boy," Pete said. "You don't look too good.

His eyes were changing somehow, his vision showing foggy images of everything around him. But . . . but every other sense was sharpened to a fine point.

"No, Pete, I am actually feeling better than I ever have before. Can you hear what is in the forests around us?"

Pete looked at his friend as if he was crazy. "What do you mean, Jimmy?"

"You don't hear the spirits of the elephants and lions from long ago? The ones who died here? You can't hear the monkeys swinging in the trees?"

Pete laughed and handed him a beer. "You need this, Jimmy. There is nothing in the forests."

"What about the wolves, Pete? Not spirits. Real honest-to-goodness-alive wolves."

"You better drink a lot of beer and settle down, man."

Mary Sue looked into the sky. The moon was coming through the clouds. It was red. Blood red. She removed her clothes and spread her arms and legs far apart. Jimmy threw his beer to the side and did the same thing.

Drunk as they were, the party goers sobered up in a hurry as Mary Sue And Jimmy transformed before their very eyes. Both of them shouted out in pain as their backs arched up and pushed through their flesh, sending torrents of blood to the ground. Their jaws tore apart, to be replaced by longer, thicker mandibles and maxillae. Enormous teeth sprang forth, the tips sharp enough to cut through the thickest bones. And then . . . and then came the magnificent completion to their transformation. Grayish-white fur sprang up all over their bodies, and yellowish-red eyes stared at the party goers.

Mary Sue and Jimmy both attacked their friends mercilessly, the ground covered with blood and gore. Within minutes, not a one of them was alive.

From the surrounding forests, others of their kind came to join in on the feast. When the bones were stripped clean, they left, giving knowing glances to the new members of the pack.

"I promised you another round of love-making," Mary Sue said to Jimmy through her eyes and mind.

Once again, Jimmy was not going to hide his ardor for his new mate . . .

Blaze McRob


Today, I'm reposting another great Meet The Damned post from Nina D'Arcangela's website The Road To Nowhere.

Magenta Nero is a very fascinating woman. I am very proud to call her friend and it is my pleasure to say she is a fellow member of the Pen Of The Damned.

Here is Magenta Nero in her own words!

Blaze McRob

Meet The Damned: Magenta Nero

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Who’s next on the chopping block? Ahhh… here we have a fine little lady currently living in Australia. Don’t let her classic profile or the term ‘lady’ fool you! Ms. Nero can get as smoky as any erotic writer I know. I’ve followed her blog since shortly after she began posting on it, and if you’d like to dip your toes into something a bit steamier, be sure to stop by. Magenta is strutting her way over to the darker, seedier side of the alley and sipping the bitter nectar we call horror.

A Tint of Madness
Magenta Nero

MagentaNeroThe first time I was captivated by horror was when I read The Book of Revelation in the New Testament as a child. The apocalyptic visions of St. John were terrifying but also seductive and romantic. It was a graphic introduction to the idea that the universe is a tension between eternal forces of dark and light. Forces beyond our everyday comprehension, that we imagine; dread and worship.
My morbid fascination with the apocalypse was later fuelled by watching a sensational “documentary” on Nostradamus. It had great shots of infernal scenes set to music by Prince (“tonight we’re gonna party like it’s 1999”). Doomsday prophecies gripped my imagination and the next day I was preaching in the school yard. This took place in suburban Australia in the ‘80s; it’s a rather hilarious picture. Nobody knew what I was on about of course, and my social standing as ‘weirdo chick’ was firmly secured. I didn’t mind because soon after came the X-Files, and in the way that only a TV show can, I was reassured and comforted (the truth is out there and we are not alone).
Since then my favourite pursuit has been investigating the esoteric and mystical, the metaphysical and occult, the mythological and anthropological. I have always been interested in scratching the surface, reading in between the lines and playing with taboos. And it seems my investigations have served a purpose after all, forming a deep lucid pool of ideas to draw from when I write.
The next book to have a significant impact on me was American Psycho by Brett Easton Ellis. I love the way authors, like our favourite musicians, become interwoven with our personal memories anchored to a time and place. There are periods of my life deeply marked by Jeanette Winterson, other times strangely touched by Paulo Coelho. I have vivid recollection of living in a hotel room in a strange country town, downstairs the band roared on all night while I curled under thin blankets, enthralled by American Psycho. I was completely blown away by this truly horrifying, mesmerizing and disturbing work. It was the first time I was shocked by the power of an author.
I have many other favourite authors; some of them are Angela Carter, Alice Walker, Anne Rice, Isabelle Allende, Marguerite Duras, Michele Roberts, Michael Ondaatje, and Ben Okri to name a few.
Nothing kicks your ass more than becoming a parent. Your life is never again simply your own. I’m glad I spent most of my life indulging my whims. I’ve had the good fortune of living in different countries and dallying for many years at art school. I have a BA in Visual Arts, a Diploma in Shiatsu Therapy, and have worked an eclectic array of jobs. So I’m fully qualified to tell you there is no more grueling, less glamorous, less forgiving a job than motherhood. Intensely rewarding in unforeseen ways, it strips away at all the illusions you hold about yourself and, though their merciless influence, children help you to clarify your beliefs.
Words have always been my faithful companions but it is recently that they have become a craft. In some inexplicable and subtle way, it is thanks to my young daughters that the earliest of my ambitions, that of being a writer, has come to the fore. Last year I began my blog, not expecting much from it, but I was amazed to find that people out there read my stuff and they liked it! The support and encouragement from other bloggers and writers has been invaluable, very generous and constantly inspires me.
(By the way, end note; when the clocks tipped over into Y2K, I was sitting on a rooftop, far from home, and secretly hoping, that just maybe, apocalyptic flames really would explode on the horizon and dark horsemen would come galloping to collect the heathens. No such luck. The only screams to be heard were drunken cheers.)
About Magenta:
Magenta Nero is a fiction writer, poet and visual artist. She loves to spin dark creepy tales of speculative fiction, weaving the genres of horror, erotica and fantasy.
Her work has been included in Sirens Call ezine #13 and #15, and on various blogs. She is a contributing writer to Pen Of The Damned.
Magenta was born in Italy and has lived in London, Tokyo and Sydney, assuming a variety of occupations. She currently lives in New South Wales, Australia, with her partner and two young daughters.
You can find Magenta on Twitter at @Magenta_Nero or on her blog, Magenta Nero – deviant desires, beautiful monsters.

Read Magenta’s latest piece on Pen of the Damned

Magenta Nero
There is a cruelty unfolding in me I didn’t know existed. The click of my heels on the pavement echoes down the street, turning heads. I wear higher heels now, shorter skirts. I no longer stick to the safety of busy streets. I tempt fate and wander into the gloom of alleyways where the losers of the city huddle and sleep. The drunken, the homeless, the pickpockets. Petty criminals with petty ambitions. I stroll through their lairs of garbage. Bleary, poisoned eyes watch me pass, staring at me in disbelief.
“Stupid bitch,” they growl at me and they lift their bottles to dying lips. I tread holes in their cardboard beds with my stilettos and kick over their little cups of change. There is nothing they can do, they can barely climb to their feet. I hear the breaking of glass and the retching cough of sickness as I walk away. 
You see, there is nothing in the darkness I fear because I know you’ve got your eye on me. And you won’t let anybody hurt me, will you?
How long has it been now? I can’t remember my life without you. The purring of your engine wakes me at night as you cruise by my house. You wait until I come to the window before driving away. The sound of your breath, barely audible, on the other end of the phone. I can’t say a word. Sometimes you whisper my name in a muffled voice. It has been awhile since you last called. I saw you standing by the curb looking up at my office window. I saw you getting off the bus as I got on. I saw you sitting in the coffee shop. You are a formless shadow, your face a blur. Each time you move like lightning, when I look twice you are gone.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Make certain to listen to David Schutz II on Blog Talk Radio tonight. 9:00 P. M. Eastern time. For those of you who miss it, I'm certain there will be a recording of tonight's show.

Below I have a post from the lovely Mary G. Fortier-Schutz II

Be there, or be square!

Blaze McRob

ATTENTION ALL LOVERS OF THE DARK! Wednesday night, on Viktor Aurelius' "Whispers in the Dark" BlogTalk Radio.
My AMAZINGLY talented husband (David Schütz II) and my INCREDIBLY talented, dearest friend (Rick Powell) will be together in ONE SHOW!
Not to be missed!
David Schütz II, former Shakespearean actor, screenwriter, producer of independent projects, & Horror Fiction author. Published in several anthologies: “Satan’s Holiday,” “Welcome to Your Nightmare,” “Blessings from the Darkness”, “Temporary Skeletons”, “Shadows and Light Magazine” Issues 1 & 2, and the soon to be released “Cellar Door III: Animals” and “Bones III” from James Ward Kirk Publishing. His work has been featured on’s “Horror in a Hundred” series ( David portrays “The Conductor,” and narrates James Ward Kirk Publishing’s “Terror Train” podcast, presenting every story and poem in the anthology, “Terror Train”.
Rick Powell lives in Oak Forest, Illinois with his son, Brad. He is a lover of horror and dark fiction and his poetry and stories have appeared in Radical Dislocations, Wah Lum’s Library, Satan’s Holiday, Welcome To Your Nightmare, Blessings from the Darkness, The Nightmare Engine, Dark Eclipse Magazine, Shadows & Light Magazine, Twisted Dreams Magazine, Cthulhu Haiku II, Temporary Skeletons, and Infernal Ink Magazine. He has just recently released his own book of poetry, My Soul Stained, My Seed Sour.
Read more:

Tuesday, September 16, 2014


Sometimes we reach a point in our lives when decisions need to be made. I have a number of friends who are victims of domestic violence, and so are their children. So what can a single man do to stem the tide? All I can do is do what I do best: write. Then what?

I simply take 100% of the money from a book and donate it to a cause. In this instance, it will be two novels. '68 Buick comes out in a couple of weeks. Mists Of Papoose Pond will be coming out the end of November. I refuse to accept a dime for either of these novels. I am starting up Blaze McRob Safe House For Battered Women And Children. I rather reluctantly put my name here, but it might draw more attention to this cause. I don't want glory.

What I want is for this needless pain and abuse to end. It cannot be ignored. Not on my watch, damn it!

There are more details to be worked out and a banner as well. And then . . . and then we kick the abusers away from the abused. One family at a time, my friends. A dollar here, a dollar there. Share some love with those who need it. Many can not help with money, but smiles are nice. Do what you can. Care. Love. Don't look away.

Real life horror is the worst kind. I write about horror. This particular horror sickens me. My battle begins!

Blaze McRob


What's Underneath, by Zack Kullis, is this week's Terror Tuesday! I have only included a snippet for your reading pleasure. The link above has the entire story. Take a thrilling ride with Connor on his bike from Hell. But remember: a man has to eat . . .

Read this great story and others by Zack on the Pen Of The Damned website. Our tales are Damned Dark. Just the way you like them!

Blaze McRob

What’s Underneath

The throaty growl of the engine rumbled louder as he sped up. Wind whipped his long dark hair behind him as he gunned his motorcycle through the curve. The open road was freedom. It didn’t care who or what you were. He was a nomad, a vagabond whose passing was rarely noticed or remembered. His home had always been the desolate roads and byways where bad things happened.
Connor rode past decomposing roadkill and his stomach growled. His peculiar diet meant he didn’t need to eat often, but it had been a while so he would need to feed soon.
He followed a small group of bikers as they pulled off the highway and made their way down the exit to a small service area with less than a dozen buildings. They rode past a large café and pulled into a gas station. Fortunately for Connor, he needed gas too.
Connor’s bike roared as he pulled into the gas station and stopped across from the pump where the three bikers had started to fill up. All three turned their heads when Connor got off his bike. Connor’s jacket had symbols and patches all over it, and he could hear the other bikers whispering about what club he was with, and whether or not he should be on their turf. Territorial disputes among bikers were an issue Connor had dealt with before.
He listened to their hushed conversations as he filled up his tank. They had almost decided to leave him alone when Connor pulled the nozzle out and turned to put it away. He squeezed the handle as he turned and shot a stream of gasoline onto the bike closest to him. There was an immediate look of wanton violence on the other biker’s faces. The largest of the three walked towards Connor and growled as he spoke. “What the fuck do you think you’re doin’?”

Monday, September 15, 2014


Here I am stealing from Nina D'Arcangela again. I am a real dog. Nina and her website The Road To Nowhere was first posted back in June. I'm running it again for all you lads and lassies. All the members of the Pen Of The Damned are my friends, and I love shouting their praises.Visit The link above for other great posts from Nina.

I give to you Craig McGray and Nina D'Arcangela!

Blaze McRob

Meet The Damned: Craig McGray

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So who are these Pen of the Damned cretins I keep mentioning? Here’s your chance to find out. First up is Craig McGray. Don’t let his mild-mannered looks fool you. This deviant is as twisted as the rest of the bunch! Don’t forget to follow him on twitter and facebook, check out his personal blogs and his Amazon author page for some great reads, and his latest story on Pen of the Damned at the end of this feature. Now, let the flaying begin…
Meet The Damned
Author Craig McGray
CraigMcGray_AuthorPhotoForBlogSeeing as how most of my characters are downright awful human beings, I should come out of this looking like a real peach. Please hold your questions until the end and shut off your cell phones, or at least put them on vibrate, common sense, people.
Maybe I can start by providing a glimpse into what makes me tick as a person. Here goes nothing.
I’m a husband, a father, a writer, an athlete, and at times, the sum of all those in one magnificent being; a little dramatic, I know, but hey, I write fiction, sometimes I have to glorify things that aren’t all that glorious ;-) (Geezus, are there enough commas in there?)
I’m a family man, married for 16 years with two beautiful daughters, ages five and ten. By day, I’m a healthcare administrator working 10 hour days most of the time. In my spare time, which seems like a really stupid phrase since none of us really have time to ’spare‘, I train for and compete in endurance events. I’ve completed countless triathlons and other challenges, ranging in duration from under 1 hour to 14+ hours of pure self-torture and suffering. When people ask me why I do it, I usually respond with a simple ‘Good question’ and kind of shrug it off. That’s the easy-out answer.
In reality, I do those events in order to push my mind and body beyond the boundaries of what seems possible. My wife and children attend many of them and though they see me sprint across the finish line most times, there have been rare occasions where all I could do was hobble across it. One thing they always see though is that once you start something, by God you see it through.
Pain is something I can live with. I can fight through the mental flags that my mind throws up. I’ll persevere when every bit of my mind is telling me: just sit down, you dont have to finish, who cares about this stupid race, and in the final hours of a long event like an Ironman, trust me, it is bordering on insanity to continue the death march that I’ve been reduced to at times. When I do finally cross the finish line, a shambling mess of what I was when I began all those hours ago, there they are – the smiling faces of my wife and kids. The pain subsides, even if for only an instant, because they’ve seen me complete something I started and no matter how tough it was, I didn’t quit. Man, that seems really sappy, but it’s the truth as to why I do the endurance events. I do it for me too, don’t get me wrong: I feed off the challenge. But I also do it to set an example that I hope my kids will learn from and follow. My wife has also competed in several marathons and we want our kids to see how important it is to live an active, healthy lifestyle, and to truly commit to what you begin in life.
Enough of that, what about me as a writer?
Much of what I write is, well let’s just say it’s a bit on the darker side of the fiction spectrum. My mild-mannered persona often gives way to a much darker side when I fire up the old computer to write. I dabble in other genres, but my mind always seems to be sucked toward the creepier side of things. No matter how the story starts off, it never fails that I find myself derailed, careening off the intended path toward something that usual doesn’t end well for those unfortunate enough to be passengers on the runaway locomotive.
My writing process changes from piece to piece. I’ve used outlines, flew blind allowing my characters to dictate the story, birthed stories using a snowflake, and just about every other method out there. I usually seem to come back to just plain writing. My characters tell me where they want to go and it’s my job to put roadblocks in their way and see how far they are willing to go while overcoming them. There’s something thrilling about creating a character and allowing him/her to develop, watching them overcome the obstacles I’ve thrown in front of them.
I guess that gives you a little idea as to what drives me.
Where to find me so you can love me even more!
If you’d like to follow me on social media, I can be found on Facebook at Craig McGray Author; on Twitter @C_McGray_Author; on my blogs – WordPress: From Bright Minds Come Dark Things, on Blogger: From Bright Minds Come Dark Things; by email at:; and I am an extremely proud member of Pen of the Damned.
You can check out some of my work on my Amazon Author Page and also on Pen of the Damned. Check out the other deviously talented authors while you’re there, they are a deeply talented and disturbing bunch which I am extremely proud to call myself a part of.
Thanks for behaving yourselves and I look forward to creeping you out and making you feel unsafe in the near future, only through my writing of course, I rarely stalk my readers – especially after the restraining order is issued.

Craig McGray

Screams filled the tiny cabin as winter’s first snow blanketed the surrounding forest.

The contractions were coming on top of each other now, each wave stronger than the last, as Meredith struggled to keep Agatha calm.

An almost inhuman cry escaped Agatha’s throat as she writhed on the bed, pain biting at her abdomen.

Wiping the young woman’s brow with a damp cloth, Meredith spoke in the low, hushed tone of a midwife. “Dr. Thompson will be here soon, Agatha.”

Meredith placed her experienced hands on Agatha’s swollen belly, feeling the child roll beneath the relentless waves of uterine contractions. “Your baby’s breech. You must wait until the doctor arrives before pushing.”

The request fell upon deaf ears as searing pain radiated through the young girl’s malnourished body and she shivered on the bed, her fever raging out of control.

The door blew open and frigid winter air ransacked the space, extinguishing all but one of the flickering candles and knocking tiny heirlooms from their perches. A strange man shoved the door closed with his shoulder, set his bag on the floor and removed his coat as Agatha screamed out with an intensity that shocked both the midwife and the stranger before succumbing to unconsciousness.

“Who are you?” Meredith asked.

“Dr. Brennan.”

Confusion swept over Meredith. “But where’s Dr. Thompson?”

Dr. Brennan only rolled up his sleeves, ignoring the inquiry. “How long has she been in labor?”

Though he had not answered her question, the urgency of the situation gave Meredith no time to gauge the stranger’s true intentions. “At least four hours. I came to check on her and it had already started.”

He placed his hands on the girl’s abdomen and glanced at Meredith. “The baby’s breech and post-term. Where’s the husband?”

Meredith simply shook her head.

“The father then, where is he?”

“She does not know the name of the father.”

Meredith dabbed the young girl’s forehead as the doctor lowered accusing eyes to Agatha.

“And her parents?”

“They died two years ago, when she was sixteen. She’s been alone since.”

“Obviously not completely alone, my dear.” He motioned toward Agatha as she lay on her back, her knees bent and legs splayed open.

Meredith sensed a sharp edge to his tone, which made her uneasy. “I’ll ask you again, where is Dr. Thompson?”

The doctor looked up, his eyes narrowed atop a hooked nose. “He’s unavailable this evening. He sent me in his place.”

Dr. Brennan was a slight man, yet his demeanor was anything but. With his coat removed and sleeves rolled up, his gangly frame became quite apparent. Meredith’s eyes studied his skin, fair and paper thin, bluish-green veins mapping his forehead.

The door had been closed for several minutes, plenty of time for the fire in the corner of the room to bring the temperature of the small room up again, yet it somehow seemed to have grown colder.

Read the rest on Pen of the Damned…


Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators by Shaman Elizabeth Herrera is a great adventure tale! I love how she is able to spin a web of intrigue about a topic many people ignore: environmental rape. To tell a story such as this requires great dedication and courage. I commend Elizabeth highly. Read this great book!

Blaze McRob

Book Description

April 21, 2014
Enough is Enough! They're Taking the Earth Back!

Earth Sentinels: The Storm Creators is an epic adventure that begins with the fallen angel Bechard somberly observing the world's natural resources being destroyed by mankind's greed, corruption and indifference. Realizing drastic measures are needed, Bechard searches for people who might join his quest to protect the planet before it's too late.

The fallen angel finds the 17-year-old, big-hearted Zachary, who had hoped to take over the family's organic farm until fracking ruined their water supply, and Billy White Smoke, a mysterious Native American who is the young man's mentor. Bechard also discovers Haruto, a courageous woman and spiritual healer living in Fukushima, Japan, who wants to fix the nuclear meltdown that is raging out of control; Mahakanta, a cotton farmer in India, who commits suicide after his GMO crops failed; an Amazonian tribal shaman and his beautiful daughter, Conchita, who are fighting against intruders illegally tearing down their rainforest; and the Bear Claw First Nation Tribe who are dealing with an unstoppable oil spill that is ruining their traditional hunting grounds.

Intriguing blue doors and ethereal mists beckon the characters to a spirit realm where they meet the mastermind Bechard and form an alliance with shamans, totem animals and earth's creatures. Together, they use supernatural powers to grab the world's attention, demanding that the world's leaders implement the changes...or else. But as the events unfold and governments retaliate, the characters are forced to question their motives, fight for their lives and listen to their hearts.

"This compelling adventure shows that our struggles around the world are connected and that ordinary people have the power to change the world for the better." -- Dr. Margaret Flowers, Popular Resistance

Editorial Reviews


"Riveting! The fiction reads as a non-fictional account of the spiritual side of the indigenous people and the problems facing our world today. A must read!" -- Dennis Nighthawk, Healer and Spiritual Leader, and Tribe Member of the White Laurel Band of Cherokee

"Bravo! This book is a page turner to the end. Herrera has woven a cautionary tale with threads of history, revelation and hope." -- Richard O'Shields, Channel and Media Professional, Everyday Connection Radio

"Quick paced with a powerful message." -- Greg Kincaid, New York Times Bestselling Author

About the Author

Shaman Elizabeth Herrera is a healer and author who writes life-changing books. Her stories encourage people to stretch outside their comfort zones and reexamine their own beliefs. Elizabeth was raised in a Christian home, but lost her faith in her early twenties. For over a decade, she searched for something to fill the void, eventually discovering Native American spirituality (shamanism). Through this spiritual practice, she unexpectedly became a catalyst for healing and miracles. These events led her back to a belief in a higher power. Her great-grandfather was a full-blooded Apache, who raised her father. She was fortunate to know her great-grandfather. He smuggled sugar and flour from Mexico into Texas, exchanged gunfire with Texas Rangers and crossed paths with Pancho Villa. She is the author of "Shaman Stone Soup," "Dreams of Dying" and "Earth Sentinels." 

Format:Kindle Edition
I have been reading Ms. Herrera's work for a while now, and can say without question that this is my favorite of her works. The story is staged immediately, and within a few pages the reader is hooked. Covering some of this planets most pressing issues, the story weaves the reader through implications and repercussions of these issues and calls to light (and action) a surprising solution - addressing the root cause. This book is a "no holds barred" piece of literary realism that unapologetically presents fact within the storyline quite expertly – and with a kind of needful urgency that can make some uncomfortable. The author’s ability to point this discomfort out is quite clever, though she allows the reader to face it from behind a book, which I thought humorous and compassionate.

On occasion we all read a book that you know will mark the time of our age. In an age where truth is illegal, communication is regulated and monitored, and humanity is impaled upon the skewer of power and greed, this books message is every bit as telling and accurate as “Animal Farm” and “Fahrenheit 451”. It is a succulent portion of cold hard truth played out with characters you share affinity with, understand, and love.

I read this book in 3 sittings with a very hectic schedule. It’s a page turner, and I was left feeling like I wanted the story to continue. One can only hope this is a series. Quite simply, I LOVED this book. 

Image of Shaman Elizabeth Herrera

Shaman Elizabeth Herrera is a healer and author who writes life-changing books. Her stories encourage people to stretch outside their comfort zones and reexamine their own beliefs.
Elizabeth was raised in a Christian home, but lost her faith in her early twenties. For over a decade, she searched for something to fill the void, eventually discovering Native American spirituality (shamanism). Through this spiritual practice, she unexpectedly became a catalyst for healing and miracles. These events led her back to a belief in a higher power.
Her great-grandfather was a full-blooded Apache, who raised her father. She was fortunate to know her great-grandfather. He smuggled sugar and flour from Mexico into Texas, exchanged gunfire with Texas Rangers and crossed paths with Pancho Villa.
She is the author of "Shaman Stone Soup," "Dreams of Dying" and "Earth Sentinels."