Sunday, May 28, 2017


The post below appeared on Rebecca Treadway's blog a number of years ago. The first part is hers; the second part is mine. This year I'm putting it here. It is just as timely today. Thank you Rebecca for sharing this with me!

It's not a "Holiday"

          There are three days on the U.S. Calendar that I pretty much consider offensive. I keep it to myself, as it gets tiring when someone tells me "Happy Thanksgiving" and I sometimes reply "Happy Thankstaking" back. Same with Independence Day. If you know American history and the way this country really was "founded" you'd be thankful for every day. At any rate. This past weekend, people have been throwing around "Happy Memorial Day" to me like it's something to be happy about.  It's not a "Holiday" - it's a day of remembrance.
Don't get me wrong. I'm glad I live in America and enjoy the relative freedom this country provides and the liberties I don't take for granted. I simply don't wait for a Holiday in the real world in which to give thanks. This is related to writing, believe it or not. My work in progress features people I know in my own area, "character models" who are Veterans of the Vietnam War. 
     Some are homeless, some are still shell-shocked (now called PTSD) and though the novel is a supernatural tale, the horrors of War are not fiction nor a "Holiday" I use as a reason to say Happy Day to some one and go to barbecue.
      I recently became acquainted with someone who I asked to act as an extra pair of eyes to beta read my WIP. He is also a Vietnam Vet.  My post today is a guest post to honor the fallen, and as a remembrance to those who served and still serve. 
That guest is fellow Indie Horror writer Blaze McRob

Memorial day is here, along with everything that it entails. No, I’m not talking about the picnics, trips to the mountains to do some fishing or whatever. I’m talking about the reasons the holiday was established.
     Okay, I should straighten this out now: I don’t believe Memorial day is a holiday. It’s a day of remembrance for those who suffered during war; for those who didn’t return. How the hell do you make a holiday out of death? You don’t.
     Every year I go to the cemetery and see tears flowing, vets who can hardly walk, and some with missing limbs. Others have no apparent physical ailments, but one look at their faces tells you a story of inner personal strife: demons trapped inside with no release in sight. They’re remembering; they’re not celebrating.
     So what do we do? Do we allow the festering inside to cause us to rot away?

         I’m a vet. I served in Vietnam in 1966 and 1967. There was much I saw, much I experienced, much that is beyond comprehension. It was fucking war! You know what? Wars aren’t nice. Wars suck!  As if that wasn’t bad enough, I came back to the states to a country gone mad: long- haired hippies with their signs saying we were baby killers and other shit. Peace signs were everywhere, but these so-called flower children saw fit to attack us with their signs. Some of those who were attacked hobbled along on crutches with only one leg. Others were in wheelchairs. Nice people, these hippies. Okay, I wasn’t in great shape myself, but I was damned if I was going to put up with that shit. I put a number of them down with their own signs before the MPs and cops stopped it all.

     Present day, the country has changed their opinions about the war over there. Maybe it wasn’t so bad after all; maybe we should have been shown some respect. Yeah, make it easier for us to get treated for things at the VA. PTSD is bandied about like these snot-nosed kid doctors in mental health hold all the answers. Put us all on drugs to mellow us out, help us forget about the war. Shut us up.

     Number one: it’s too late for people my age who didn’t serve to say they are sorry for what happened. Forty years ago was the right time. Not now. It’s like they’re offering us a gift that we should thank them profusely for. What?! They need the medication I threw away. While we endured what we did, they went to college and prepared themselves for a life of wealth and greed. Now the small peace offering arrives to assuage their guilt. Let them be guilty. I want nothing to do with cowards or false “friends.”

     Number two: I don’t want to forget. I want to remember every moment of it. Why do I want to remember the pain and horror? It’s a part of who I am and why I am. We learn from the past. Everything, bad and good, parades before us, warning us that moments are so easy to be recaptured in the worst of ways. A lot of the new crop of politicos on the scene have no knowledge of war. They never experienced any of the traumas associated with it, nor were they given a chance to rise up from the worst of the worst and become a real man or a real woman. In fact, so many schools nowadays are downplaying the teaching of history in schools so that our children will not learn the truth except from those who were there.

     I now bring horror into the horror. Blaze writes horror tales. Guess what? My horror is not all fiction. My soul screams for me to tell the world of true terrors lurking in the real world. And so I do. However, I don’t want to write a story about what happened to Blaze when he served. 
     Yes, there will be some juicy little tidbits scattered around: rats running over bodies half submerged in rice-paddies; bamboo shoots stuck up body orifices never designed for such attacks; dirt floors of single dwelling shacks in prison camps, covered with crawling vermin attracted to the hole in the corner which passes for hygienic toilet facilities. I think you get the picture. These goodies are to be shared with one’s readers in such a way that maybe they think these things actually happened or maybe they didn’t. Personal perception. Carole Gill says the worst horror is non-fiction, and she is so right.

     By instilling these truths into the façade of horror, we say what is without actually saying it is. A paradox of words, dealing with the mind in such a way as to instill truths and fears within the guise of story telling. We awaken minds, making them receptive to our message. In my way of thinking, we are presenting an honest subliminal message to our dear readers.
     We allow the reader to wonder what if? Yes, maybe it’s horror, but that doesn’t mean it’s all about gore and violence. The novel “1984” is a great example of this. I know I always pondered the possibilities.     
     The novel I just finished and am editing contains scenes of war, as well as other real-life health issues and betrayal I experienced in the past. Is this cheating, digging up moments from my life? I don’t really care. These are my moments; they belong to me; if they are altered to fit the story, so what! I’m writing fiction. Life is grand.     
We all fight our battles in different ways. I cleanse my soul with the release of my inner demons within the tales I write. Why should I write about fun-filled ditties? Isn’t it better to get rid of the bad and keep the good within.
      Memorial Day. Don’t pity us vets. Respect us for what we did. If you can’t do that then leave us alone: we don’t need you; we don’t want you.

On Memorial Day take some time out today and give our Warriors, past, present and future a moment of silence.
That includes your Twitter!

Friday, May 26, 2017


Witches Among Us, by Kathryn Meyer Griffith, is out now. This is The Fourth Spookie Town Murder Mystery ( Spookie Town Murder Mysteries Book 4 ). Kathryn is one fantastic author, and you will not want to miss this great book! Go to the free sample on Amazon and see if you don't agree with me. I know you'll want to purchase her book.

You can also find Kathryn's books on Smashwords.

Blaze McRob

Book description:

Spookie is a quaint village often cloaked in fog and filled with mysteries. The usual eccentric characters are here for their fourth murder mystery and the case is one which really hits close to home this time for Myrtle, the town’s Perry Como singing and wagon-pulling bag lady. Her sister Evelyn, the local animal hoarder, is missing. Strange miniature figures fashioned of twigs are found hanging from one of Evelyn’s trees as warnings. Because of them Myrtle fears a coven of wanted-to-be witches she once knew, and escaped from, almost sixty year ago could be behind the kidnapping because she stole their ancient black grimoire–and they want it back. But Myrtle doesn’t want to let them have it because she believes the grimoire is dangerously real. The book mustn’t fall into the wrong hands and the old coven’s hands are covered in blood. So Myrtle again seeks Frank and Abigail’s help in getting her sister back, alive, and protecting the grimoire. What they don’t know is a fourth addition to their team of sleuths, a mysterious psychic and new addition to the town, will emerge and join the battle…but whose side will she be on? Is she merely a psychic or is she something more? And will they get Evelyn back alive or will the old witches find and possess the grimoire first? The fourth Spookie Town Murder Mystery.

Sunday, May 21, 2017


Mary G. Fortier-Schütz II's Nighty Nightmare has a new home! And that's not all. It is now in audio. You can actually hear Mary as she spins her tales to you via her horror-sculpted ( yet sweet ) voice. And, as if that's not enough, she has been selected in the HEAR Now: The Audio Fiction and Arts Festival!

Congratulations, Mary!

Don't miss these great podcasts, my friends. My favorite is her telling of graveyards. But they are all great! Catch you over there.

Blaze McRob

Thursday, May 18, 2017


Nurse Blood, by Rebecca Besser, is waiting for you. This is a fantastic mystery, suspense, medical, crime thriller. Ahah! I bet I have your interest now. Rebecca is a great author and comes up with super on the edge of your seat tales. I recommend this novel highly!

Blaze McRob

Book description:

 Sonya Garret roams the bar scene hoping to steal the heart of an unsuspecting victim—literally…

Sonya, better known as Nurse Blood, is part of a team of lethal organ harvesters who seek out the weak to seduce, kill, and part out for profit on the black market. When Sonya meets Daniel McCoy, a young man recovering from a broken engagement, he’s just another kill to line her pockets with quick cash.

Agent David McCoy vows to find out how and why his twin brother Daniel disappeared…

Daniel’s body hasn’t been found, and the leads are slim to none, but it won’t stop David from dedicating his life to solving his brother’s case. When the evidence finally uncovers the shocking truth that Daniel’s disappearance is linked to organ harvesters, David knows his brother is most likely dead. But he’s determined to stop the villains’ killing spree before they strike again.

One last harvest is all Sonya and her team need to put their murderous past behind them…

A family with the rarest blood type in the world is the only thing standing between Sonya and retirement. David McCoy and the FBI are hot on their trail, though, and multiple targets make this the most complicated harvest yet. Will David unravel Sonya’s wicked plans in time to avenge his brother and save an innocent family? Or will Sonya cash in her final kill and escape for good?

Murder for profit stops for no man when you’re Nurse Blood.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017


Suffer The Children is John Saul's first novel. I read it many years ago and became an instant John Saul fan. There's not a novel of his I don't like. I can't say that about a number of other horror authors. Check this one out and you'll feel the same as me.

Happy reading!

Blaze McRob

Book description:

One hundred years ago in Port Arbello a pretty little girl began to scream. And struggle. And die. No one heard. No one saw. Just one man whose guilty heart burst in pain as he dashed himself to death in the sea. Now something peculiar is happening in Port Arbello. The children are disappearing, one by one. An evil history is repeating itself. And one strange, terrified child has ended her silence with a scream that began a hundred years ago.

Monday, May 1, 2017


Ruth Barrett is my Woman In Horror today! She has numerous stories published by traditional publishers. Now she has chosen to take the bull by the horns, goes her own route, and publishes on her own. Thus, we have Spirited Words Book Company. This does not mean she skimps on any part of producing quality work. She takes her time to make certain her books receive proper editing, get great covers, and receive the utmost care in every way.

Visit her Facebook page at and get caught up in some great sayings, pictures, and mind provoking tid-bits.

Now I come to a more somber place in this post. Read some of Ruth's posts at  What you will find is a strong lady writing tough words. Horror authors are a special breed. We've been kicked around, bullied in all matter of ways, and been attacked by things we have no control over. That's why we write what we do. No fluff. Just truth. Sure, we embellish it, but it's there. Read what Ruth says on her website. I need not say any more.

Amazon Bio:

Ruth Barrett was born in Pointe Claire, Quebec, and now makes her home in Stratford, Ontario. Between then and now, she studied English Literature at Trent University and the University of Leeds, and classical acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). Ruth pursued an acting career in Toronto where her love of the stage saw her perform in everything from Shakespeare to sketch comedy, eventually settling into voice-over work. Transforming herself into a writer has provided a rewarding new way for her to explore character and spin tales. Ruth has published numerous short stories in various anthologies and periodicals, and she formed her own Spirited Words Book Co. in Summer 2011. 'Base Spirits' is her first novel. For a quick creepy read, try 'Family Secrets'-- the first of many Kindle short stories.

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Base Spirits

Book Description
September 2, 2011
In 1605, Sir Walter Calverley’s murderous rampage leaves a family shattered. The killer suffers a torturous execution… but is it truly the end? A noble Yorkshire house stands forever tarnished by blood and possessed by anguished spirits.

Some crimes are so horrific, they reverberate through the centuries.

As an unhappy modern couple vacation in the guesthouse at Calverley Old Hall, playwright Clara, and her scholar husband, Scott, unwittingly awaken a dark history. Clara is trapped and forced back in time to bear witness to a family’s bloody saga. Overtaken by the malevolent echoes, Scott is pushed over the edge from possessive husband to wholly possessed…

‘Murder has took this chamber with full hands
And will ne’er out as long as the house stands.’
~A Yorkshire Tragedy, Act I, Sc. v

Inspired by a true-life drama in Shakespeare’s day, this is itself a play within a play: a supernatural thriller with a historical core.

Only one player can survive.

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ruth Barrett studied English Literature at Trent University and the University of Leeds, Classical Acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA), and was mentored by two-time Booker prize winner Peter Carey through the Humber School for Writers. During her years as an actor, Ruth performed in a little-known play called 'A Yorkshire Tragedy' sometimes attributed to Shakespeare. The story of the murderous Yorkshire nobleman and his long-suffering wife proved fascinating well beyond the stage... the eerie Calverley Old Hall was explored, and a haunting idea for a novel emerged. Ruth has published numerous short works of quirky and creepy fiction in various anthologies. 'Base Spirits' is her first full-length book, and her suspenseful short story 'Family Secrets' is also available on Kindle. Look for more of Ruth's writing in the future through the Spirited Words Book Co.

5.0 out of 5 stars My first experience with this author... February 22, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I just read Base Spirits by Ruth Barrett. I had not read anything before by this author so I didn't really have any expectations other than what I had picked up from the reviews here on Amazon. My kindle, and some very generous authors putting their work up at reduced rates, has offered me the option of trying new authors and genres that I may not have tried otherwise. After reading Base Spirits I can only say, 'thank you so much' to Ruth Barrett for her generosity in sharing such a wonderful story and to serendipity for my coming across it as I did.

Rarely have I been transported so thoroughly to another place or time that I actually was surprised to recall that there was another part of the story waiting in that original place and time. Strong characters, vivid descriptions and historical detail join together to create a world where I could lose all thought of myself and dive headlong into the unknown and not want it to end. Having to stop reading was a jolt to my system and I couldn't wait to get back to the story and find out what happened to these lives I had become a part of. What evil awaits them in the darkness?

I recommend this book to those who don't normally try this genre but appreciate a well crafted tale, interesting and flawed characters, and a bit of mystery to round things out. I believe that you will enjoy what you find here. I know I certainly did!

5.0 out of 5 stars Very creepy thriller... February 16, 2012
By Spot
Format:Kindle Edition
I can't say enough good things about this book. It grabbed me from the beginning and sucked me in to the story. Ruth Barrett weaves an incredible tale of suspense and horror and tragedy. The events of the past are rendered in truly aching detail, it's obvious she's done her historical homework. Your heart will ache for the players in this tragedy of days gone by.

The modern part of the book is also painstakingly real. From Clara's fear and feelings of isolation, to her husband's jealous and possessive rages, the emotions ring clear and true. The book really picks up speed and rushes torwards the inevitable trainwreck where past meets present in a tragic climax.

Honestly, there wasn't anything I didn't enjoy about this book. I'm hesitant to give out five star reviews (they're flung out so willy nilly these days that who really believes them?) but this time I will. Anyone who enjoys history, ghosts, possessions, England, or horror in general, is going to enjoy this book. I don't know how many people know who Barbara Erskine is, but her novels are what this book put me in mind of. And I'm a huge Barbara Erskine fan. Which makes me a huge Ruth Barrett fan. 
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Base Spirits is my cup of tea. Time travel, murder, secrets, horror, mystery, and much more. I admire people willing to do the research to get a time period right. The suspense, horror, and tragedy suck you into the novel, taking you on a thrill ride not within any preconceived concepts of rationality you might possess. Toss everything away and be ready for what lies around the next corner.

It is interesting to note that this novel is based, in part, on an old Shakespearean play which was based on real life horror. Weaving everything together like this is not easy when time periods whiz back and forth between the story people. Ruth creates something special here: a novel which is much like live theater. The characters in the book are brought to life in the theater of the mind.

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 Family Secrets

Book Description

February 24, 2012
A sinister short story about a family's long-buried secret...

Even as a young child, Jill had instinctively hated her grandfather-- and he'd always despised her just as deeply. Turns out her feelings were far from irrational...

During a summer vacation at the family cottage, Jill unearths the evil behind her Grandpa's dark personality. For years, everyone accepted that Grandma Annabelle's death had been a tragic accident. But what if Grandpa was guilty of her murder? Jill learns the horrible truth. Worse yet, Grandpa knows she's discovered his secret.

If an old man once committed a brutal murder, how far will he go to keep his past crime hidden? His terrified granddaughter is about to find out-- as Grandpa is due to visit over an extended family holiday...

(Includes a bonus novel excerpt from the author's acclaimed historical ghost thriller-- 'Base Spirits'.)
5.0 out of 5 stars Ruth Barrett an Author to Watch May 22, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
By now, you already know what Family Secrets by Ruth Barrett is about, so I'll spare you the blurb and just get right on down to the juicy stuff!

I picked this up because I've been following Ms. Barrett for a while but had not had a chance to read anything of hers yet. I thought this would be a great introductory piece, and boy was I wrong! Not because the story was bad, but because I'm kicking myself for only grabbing the short story.

I fully enjoyed the author's voice. It has a natural flow to it and I'm amazed at how well the author executed the thoughts of such a young girl. The plot does not force and does not feel contrived. Instead, it goes at a natural, enjoyable pace. You don't feel the need to skip over extra writing nor do you feel like you have to back up and reread a section because you missed something. Very precise writing. Emotions, actions, descriptions are all wonderfully believable and descriptive, making this a very enjoyable read that I finished in less than an hour.

As mentioned, I'm only sorry that I didn't grab a full length novel by Ms. Barrett first. Ruth Barrett has definitely made into my circle of authors to watch for in the future. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to purchase Base Spirits for more Ruth Barrett. =)

Format: Kindle Edition
My Family Secrets is one of the best horror short stories on the market. Here, novelist Ruth Barrett delves into the fears of a ten-year-old girl. When she tells her parents about it, her concerns go relatively unnoticed, until... Now go and pick this one up to find out the rest of the story, and the shocking, disturbing Family Secrets that abound.

on April 28, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
FAMILY SECRETS by Ruth Barrett is a short story about a child's fears. Told from the point of view of ten-year-old Jill, the tone is understated, at times, humorous. It is a story about the horror of a ten-year-old whose parents do not deal with their daughter's fears because they won't deal with their own emotions and family secrets. Rather, they suffocate the past with lies and drown sensitivity in platitudes. Fear mounts. Tension builds. And the reader wonders what will happen next. It is a gem of a story. Ms. Barrett's prose sparkles and I recommend FAMILY SECRETS to anyone who enjoys a refreshing read with a surprising end.
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This is one amazing story, and at the price of only .99 it is an absolute gem that is not to be overlooked. How many of us have buried skeletons in our closets? But are they as bad as these? I think not.
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So, my friends, Ruth is not only a master of the craft, but she is also a master at life. The bad as well as the good.

Ruth Barrett is a Woman In Horror!

Blaze McRob