Monday, April 4, 2016

Illusions of a Quiet Cul-de-Sac

Usually, on this blog, I write about my publishing and writing experiences. But something happened on March 25 that put our cul-de-sac in our subdivision in the local news, and not for a good reason.

I never heard the gunshot(s). And the presence of police cruisers and an ambulance in our cul-de-sac normally didn't raise any undue concern.

But the yellow crime scene tape promised a different story, one that would involve someone I knew.

The ambulance slipped away, sans siren.

For the first time, a murder had occurred on our street. Supposedly, a young man had shot and killed his girlfriend. (I'm only saying this because although there's been an arrest, the suspect's preliminary hearing isn't until tomorrow.)

My husband knew the suspect, and we both knew another man who also lived in the house where the shooting took place a few doors down from us. This is the closest I've been to knowing someone who's been directly or indirectly involved in a murder.

The police had put crime scene tape up at the end of our street. That's where the reporters had set up cameras and interviewed neighbors, including a woman who claimed the suspect had sped through the stop sign. I can believe it.

Our driveway wasn't blocked, but police had put up crime scene tape across the street close to the crime scene, using mail boxes to tie the tape around. I counted four or five police cruisers on our end of the cul-de-sac, with one cruiser at the end of our street. Occasionally, another cruiser joined the latter, effectively cutting off access to our street.

We'd experienced the same thing last summer when the SWAT team had been summoned the next street over.

Quiet neighborhood? Yeah, right. Since I've lived here, besides the SWAT incident, we've had a field set on fire, a break-in next door, a break-in in a local church, and a self-inflicted gun shooting. Before that? My husband told me a fire had broken out in the woods nearby, and a bullet had nearly hit his daughter during deer hunting season.

But this was the first time we'd experienced a murder.

That day was the first time I met a homicide detective working a case. We gave him some information we had, but I'll say no more here. If it helps the investigation, so much the better.

Now I know what the back interior of a CSU vehicle looks like (at least here), and I watched crime scene investigators, homicide detectives, and the deputy coroner work the crime scene inasmuch as I could.

Eight hours later, they took down the yellow tape.

Crime scene investigation fascinates me, but I prefer to watch it on a station like the Justice Network. Because when it hits close to home, it has a profound effect, not only on the victim and suspect and their friends and family, but also on those who live in the area.

Before the murder, I wondered how many people even knew this street existed. Now we do, in infamy. Yes, the memory will fade as people resume their lives. But for those of us involved in some way, however small, the memory will linger much longer.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Guest Blog: John F. Allen's Codename: Knight Ranger

Everyone, please welcome John F. Allen, author of the urban fantasy/spy-fi novel, Codename: Knight Ranger, to Darkling Delights. 

1. Genetically modified soldiers - an advantage or possible detriment? Both? Why?
ANSWER: There is a distinct advantage, as with most weapons, when only one side possesses the technology. However, when that same tech is acquired by the other side, it becomes somewhat of a stalemate. As for being a detriment, that is certainly true with the side that doesn’t yet possess said tech. In the long run it is also a detriment or sorts that it pushes both sides to develop even more deadly and destructive tech. The ramifications of this technology will definitely be explored in future adventures of Knight Ranger, along with how this all ties into remnants of weapons technology left over from the Cold War.

2. How has your military experience played a part in writing Codename: Knight Ranger?
ANSWER: Yes, it definitely has. As a veteran, I readily recognize the sacrifices and achievements of soldiers and exactly what that entails. In fact, it was that which initially inspired me to create the character of Knight Ranger, because I wanted to explore the devastating effects of war, not only on the soldier, but their family, their caregivers and those they encounter. I also wanted to show how war not only scars a soldier in a physical sense, but also in an emotional, mental and spiritual sense as well.

3. What inspired you to write an UF/Spy-fi novel?
ANSWER: I grew up watching The Avengers (the British TV show), the Six Million Dollar Man, as well as reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Don Pendleton’s Mack Bolan series and I was always inspired by Marvel Comics. Combining elements of these different tropes, I knew I wanted to give a nod to the American soldier and to all of those genre shows and books which had been formative to me as a writer.

4. What new Ivoryverse books are you currently working on?
ANSWER: I’m working on Book II of the Ivory Blaque series, titled “The Conclave”, which should be out in 2016. Also, I have Book II of the Knight Ranger series, titled “The God Particle Conspiracy” due out before the end of 2015 with Book III out in 2016 as one bound volume of the three novellas, an expansion of a short story titled “Witch Way Is Up” a collection of novellas tentatively titled, “Tales From The Ivoryverse”, which will feature several spin off characters from the Ivory Blaque and Knight Ranger series and lastly.

5. If you could be any character from the Ivoryverse, who would it be?
ANSWER: Captain Alexandre “Neal” Du Bois...hands down! He is the epitome of what a distinguished, honorable and morally steadfast character should be. Plus, he has the perfect body and mind…’nuff said!

6. Tell readers your plans for 2016, including any signings or cons they might find you at.
ANSWER: I will of course be attending Imaginarium 2016 in Louisville, Kentucky on October 7-9, 2016. However, before then I will be attending Meet the Artists, sponsored by the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library sometime in March of 2016, Indiana Comic Con in late April 2016, InConJunction 2016, July 1-3 2016,  as well as other TBA events which will be posted on my website:

Book Synopsis for Codename: Knight Ranger: Captain Alexandre Cornelius “Neal” Du Bois is a US Army Ranger and decorated war hero. When his unit is ambushed by supernatural hostile forces while in Afghanistan, only Neal survives. When he wakes up in a secret government facility, Neal discovers that his whole life has changed forever.

A shadowy government agent named Elijah Bishop arranges for Neal’s brain to be transplanted, without his permission, into a bio-engineered body capable of amazing feats. Armed with advanced body armor and weaponry, he becomes the epitome of the Ultra Soldier.

To protect his family and those closest to him, he must let the world and everyone he loves believe he is dead. With assistance from Dr. Avery Clarkson–the scientist responsible for his new body–Neal reluctantly utilizes his superhuman abilities to work for Bishop and his organization called G.E.N.E.S.I.S. (Global Espionage Network of Elite Supernatural Intelligence and Surveillance), in order to track down those responsible for the slaughter of his unit and keep the world safe from supernatural terrorist forces.

Amazon Links for Codename: Knight Ranger

Print Version:

About the author:  John F. Allen is an American writer born in Indianapolis, IN. He is a member of the Speculative Fiction Guild and the Indiana Writers Center. He began writing stories as early as the second grade and pursued all forms of writing at some point, throughout his career. John studied Liberal Arts at IUPUI with a focus in Creative Writing, received an honorable discharge from the United States Air Force and is a current member of the American Legion. John’s debut novel, The God Killers was published in 2013 by Seventh Star Press.

John currently resides in Indianapolis, Indiana with his wife, son and daughter.

Author Links:




Tour Schedule and Activities
11/2  On Cloud Eight-and-a-Half Guest Post
A Charmed Life Review
Creatives Help Board. How may I direct your call? Author Interview
Armand Rosamilia, Horror Author Guest Post
Book in the Bag Interview
RJ Sullivan Top 5 List
Darkling Delights Interview
Beauty in Ruins Guest Post
Sheila's Blog Guest Post
Bee's Knees Reviews Review
The Infamous Scribbler Review/Interview
Vampires, Witches, & Me Oh My! Top Ten List
Sapphyria's Book Reviews Guest Post

Monday, October 12, 2015

My Top Five Horror Anime/Manga

It's October. You know what that means. A celebration of all things horror. People are listing their favorite horror movies and books, but I decided to be a bit different. I'm listing my top five favorite horror anime/manga.

In no particular order:

5. Hellsing
A manga by Kouta Hirano, Hellsing is the story of Alucard (get it?) who works with the Royal Order of Protestant Knights, led by Integra Hellsing, descendant of Abraham Van Helsing. The manga and anime don't shy away from the violence and bloodshed, and Alucard revels in attacking and defeating his enemies. That's what makes this manga and anime such a guilty pleasure.

4. Tokyo Ghoul
I've only started watching the anime version of this, but it's an interesting and disturbing premise. A young man is attacked by a ghoul and becomes one himself. His struggle to deal with his impending change, while trying to retain his human qualities, is complicated by society's belief that all ghouls are dangerous. I'm interested to see where this anime goes and to check out the manga.

3. Tomie 
A manga by Junji Ito. I've read a few of his collections, and he's very effective as a horror manga-ka. Tomie is a disturbing story of a young woman who will not die, even after being hacked to pieces. She's the quintessential undead character, a woman whose beauty and desire drive people to murder her, but who always comes back. Always. Always.

2. Vampire Princess Miyu
At first glance, this beautiful, ethereal young vampire doesn't seem at all disturbing. Until you find out that eternal happiness is a horrible alternative from reality. Narumi Kakinouchi's vampire/guardian is an interesting anti-heroine. She returns the Shinma (god-demons) to the dark, but the impact her and these beings have on human life beg the question of who might be more dangerous.

1. Mermaid Saga
If only Rumiko Takahashi would continue and/or finish her saga of the 500-year old immortal Yuta and his equally immortal companion, Mana. A fisherman in ages past, Yuta ate the flesh of a mermaid. Not only did he survive the encounter, he watched his friends either die a horrifying death, or turn into monsters when they consumed the same flesh. The stories that comprise the Mermaid Saga (Mermaid Forest, Mermaid's Scar, Mermaid's Gaze, etc.) spin a cautionary tale of immortality and the horrifying results that can manifest from people desperate to attain eternal life.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Guest Post: Blue Spirit Blog Tour with E. Chris Garrison

Since it is the first date of the tour, I'd do something introductory in nature about the book and the Tipsy Fairy Tales, kind of an intro thing.

Once upon a time, a drunk gamer girl named Skye was possessed by a demon. She got better. But something amazing happened to Skye: she became two people. You see, when the demon took possession, it left a little hole where her soul leaked out, just a little bit. When the hole was healed, that little bit became its own person. Because there's no such thing as half a soul. Cut it in two, and you've got two souls, not two halves.

This new soul formed a tiny being that lives entirely in the spirit world that opened up to Skye after her possession. The new being looked like a miniature Skye, except squat and sort of Gothic, since Skye's gaming alter ego is a Vampire Baroness, it must have influenced her form. Skye, being a whimsical sort of girl, called the new being “Minnie”, as in her “mini-me”. Minnie took this with good grace, and is Skye's constant companion, like a twin sister or her own Jiminy Cricket. Because Skye's awfully prone to getting into trouble.

The only thing about this arrangement is that Skye, having been drunk when it all started, can only properly perceive and interact with Minnie and the world she lives in when she's in a similar state.

And it can be vitally important that Skye keep in touch with Minnie and her world, because many things in her own world are not what they seem. Passengers on the bus who seem like shabby homeless teenagers show their true colors in the spirit world as wolf-people, satrys, and other strange fairy creatures.

Oops. Don't use the F-word. No, that one. As Minnie would tell you, “fairy” is a bad word to the creatures in the spirit world. Humans have told far too many ridiculous stories for that word to mean anything close to reality. Call them what you will, these are powerful and dangerous interdimensional entities, not something cute and musical from Never Never Land or Fern Gully. No, the Grimm brothers got some of their stories right; their so-called fairy tales contained bits of truth among the fables. The visitors from the fairy-- I mean spirit world, haven't got the same kind of morals we have, they're all about keeping bargains (like an evil genie) and telling the truth (just not ALL of the truth) and amassing power. And there's power in belief, whether in an ugly truth or a pretty lie.

The Tipsy Fairy Tales are set in Skye's home, modern day Indianapolis. She gets around on the bus system, which is ruled by a (mostly) benevolent spirit called the Transit King, a sort of Fairy Godfather who gives generous favors to those in need, with the expectation of calling those favors in one day.

So join Skye as her worlds collide and she's set down some dark paths to protect her friends, Minnie, and herself, from the machinations of a very unscrupulous Fairy Queen. Oops, there's that word again.

Book Synopsis for Blue Spirit: Gamer girl Skye MacLeod can see fairies, but only when she's tipsy. More Grimm than enchanting, some of these fairies are out to ruin her life, wreaking havoc with her job, her home, and her relationships.

With the help of her tiny fairy friend Minnie, Skye has to protect her vampire wannabe gamer friends from all-too-real supernatural threats only she can see. Can she keep it together and hold fast against a wicked fairy Queen's plot?

Blue Spirit is the first book of A Tipsy Fairy Tale series!



Barnes and Noble Link:

About the Author: E. Chris Garrison (who also writes as Eric Garrison) is active in the writing community in Indianapolis, Indiana. He lives in the Circle City with his wife, step-daughter and a cabal of cats. He also enjoys gaming, home brewing beer, and finding innovative uses for duct tape.

Chris’ novel, Reality Check, is a science fiction adventure released by Hydra Publications. Reality Check reached #1 in Science Fiction on during a promotion in July 2013.

Seventh Star Press is the home of Chris’ supernatural fantasy series, Road Ghosts, including Four ‘til Late, Sinking Down, and Me and the Devil.

Author Links:
Facebook page:


Tour Schedule and Activities
8/24 Obsessive Book Nerd Review
Darkling Delights Guest Post
Reading Away the Days Author Interview
Shells Interviews Guest Post
Marian Allen, Author Lady Guest Post
Deal Sharing Aunt Author Interview
The Southern Belle from Hell Author Interview
Jorie Loves a Story Review
Coffintree Hill Guest Post
Bee’s Knees Reviews Review
A Work in Progress Guest Post
Armand Rosamilia, Author Guest Post

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fiends: Ten Tales of Demons Guest Author: Douglas Kolacki

Cover Art by Jamie Chapman
Author Douglas Kolacki is my guest today . He's talking about his demon story "The Devil Never Takes a Vacation and Neither Do I." Please welcome him to Darkling Delights. 

Thanks for hosting me.

My short story, "The Devil Never Takes a Vacation and Neither Do I," appears in Rayne Hall's upcoming anthology Fiends: Ten Tales of Demons.

After getting serious about writing a long time ago (1988) and far away (Naples, Italy), I placed stories in Christian publications like Dreams & Visions, Dragons Knights & Angels, and The Sword Review. These ranged from end times science fantasy to steampunk. I've also appeared in a number of Sunday School papers, digest-sized publications featuring 1200 to 1500-word stories about various aspects of the Christian life.

I've rarely written stories about supernatural evils. There are "demonstorms" in my novel Elijah's Chariot, but other than that I can recall only one yarn starring real, honest-to-goodness demons.

So, why a demon story now?

I'm a believer. If anyone asks if I'm religious, I always say I try to be. But I seem to be the rare Christian who loves weird tales: reading them, watching them and, most of all, writing them. I'm thrilled to be living in H.P. Lovecraft's hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. My apartment, in fact, is only a few suburban blocks from his birthplace. So I guess it was inevitable I'd arrive at this subject sooner or later.

The few Christian stories I've seen about demons, generally involve tackling them with "spiritual warfare," like The Exorcist with a happier ending. Christ banished a whole legion of them at once.

But folks, we're not Christ. We're human, and we have our weaknesses. Our faults, our errors in the system.

And if the minions of hell know them, they're bound to try to exploit them. They're said to be clever, like, really clever; they could clever us under the table. The serpent tricked Eve pretty quickly into eating the forbidden fruit--maybe she was hungry at the time? Could the devil have known, somehow, that she wanted something to eat, and waited till then to make his move?

When Rayne told us she was seeking stories for a demon anthology, I could have followed the standard Out-in-the-name-of-Jesus format. I'd read it in novels, and in a comic book. But something nagged at me, an issue I wanted to address.

During my San Diego days, I met a young pastor who worked for the local megachurch. This guy was a fiery Type A, a regular pinball always ricocheting from his church work, to riding with the police as their chaplain, to leading our Tuesday night Bible study, to studying for his Master's degree, to participating in a retreat, to jetting off--always, it seemed, he was jetting off on a missionary trip somewhere. I knew him about a year, and he was like that the whole time.

I was astonished. I mean, how much can any person have in the tank? I didn't fault his achievements, but I thought someone should caution him that there is such a thing as spiritual burnout. It's happened enough times, to enough fiery Type A's, for someone to coin that term and for that term to stick.

When I told him, he looked astonished. Flabbergasted, almost. As if he couldn't believe I would say such a thing.

So when brainstorming for a demon story, I pictured someone along those lines, the most well-intentioned, dedicated, and most of all, hard-working man there is. Someone with a sense of mission, of wanting to make a difference. And there's certainly nothing wrong with that.

But be on your toes. For as the pastor in the story himself notes, the devil really does prowl about like a roaring lion, seeking human dinner. And as someone once told me, "That's how Satan works--subtle."

Perhaps more subtle than we the character finds out.

Fiends: Ten Tales of Demons is available on Amazon:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Fandom Fest 2015 Recap

Author & filmmaker Amy McCorkle manning her table.
I have to admit to being nervous about Fandom Fest this year. It would be the first time I drove up to the loading dock, and while getting in proved fairly easy, getting out was a different story entirely. (Yes, I admit, I needed help. And no, I will never qualify as a semi driver.)

This was the first year of the concurrent Fantasmagorical Film Festival, and my screenplay adaptation of my short angel paranormal novel Death Sword was a finalist. Alas, it didn't win.

However, I scored with parking this year, finding a lot a short walk away. Only cost $5.00/day.

Everything seemed to run smoothly from what I can tell. Glad to hear some of the literary panels were full. I was only on  the manga/anime panel, which went well.

Book sales also went well. I brought a few copies of The Ripper's Daughter and Malice and Mayhem: Tales of the Macabre. Sold them all.

Next convention is the Indie Gathering Film Festival at the end of this month, then Imaginarium in September.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Death Sword Character Mini Retro Interview: Samael

Out of all the characters in Death Sword, Samael has proven to be the most infuriating and confounding I've ever created. Initially the antagonist, he's demanded to tell his side of the story, and has ended up becoming an impact character, as well as somewhat of an anti-hero in Serpent Fire and Devil Inside, two current WIPs that follow Death Sword.

The following is an interview written while I was creating the characters. Of course, Samael would only think it appropriate I interview him first.

Q. What do you want to accomplish?

A.  I want Xariel back. The Seraphim forced us apart, but they forget that when I want something, I won't give up until I get it.

Q. There are those who say you use your powers to control and manipulate Xariel and his new partner, Karla.

A.  Look, you have to understand something. Xariel and I were lovers a long time ago. And then he left me. Just like that. Do you know what rejection feels like? Then Metatron decides this half-human, half-angel girl is worthy of being an angel of death? Please! It's an insult to me and others of my kind. At least I have pride, even if no one else does. All I'm doing is making sure others remember their place.

Q.  What about Azrael? Rumor has it you put a binding spell on him and exiled him to his island of apple orchards.

A.  Well, there it is. I'm obviously not the cruel angel you think if I put him under "house arrest" as it were. So yes, I did put a binding spell on him. But he tried to cross me and turn Metatron and the other angels of death against me. He forgot my role as chief of satans. Just because God gave him the role as archangel of death was no reason to try to usurp my role under Metatron.

Q.  Despite your difficult relationships with the other angels, you seem to get along with Metatron, despite your differences.

A.  Definitely. He relates to us, doesn't think he's superior, despite his rank as king of angels.

Q.  Thank you for your time.

A.  You're welcome.

Death Sword Blurb:

The only thing more dangerous than an angel of death is one obsessed with vengeance. 

Karla Black has always known she's different from other people. She learns just how different after she's fatally stabbed and brought back to life as a half-human angel of death.With new found power comes a new found boss. Samael despises her. He considers Karla impure and resents her relationship with her partner Xariel. . .who also happens to be Samael's ex-lover. When he takes that hatred to a higher level, Karla vows vengeance – a task easier said than done. 

With the loss of their angelic powers, Karla and Xariel face a dilemma – how will they defeat an unstoppable Samael, whose poisoned rapier can kill human and angel alike? 

If Karla doesn't awaken to her true identity, both heaven and earth are in danger of annihilation.

Buy Links:

Amazon Kindle

Barnes and Noble Nook