Wednesday 31 October 2018

Your Mid-Week Update for 10/31/18

I feel like I’m going crazy. It could just be the holidays – you know I love Halloween. It’s my favourite excuse to go Michael Myers on a town.

Did you know I met Stanley Stiers? He was the inspiration for the character Michael Myers in Halloween. He’s dead now but when I was about 11, my family was on vacation and pulled over in a truck stop late at night. No one else was there except for an old man sitting in a corner. While my parents were getting food and directions, my sister and I sat with him. To this day I don’t know why but we both gravitated towards him as soon dad turned his back. We didn’t say anything – just coloured (because we were always colouring and destroying things). He seemed like a nice old man. Never smiled though. When our parents came to get us, he pulled out his wallet and gave my mother money. Presumably for our meal. A photo fell out. There were three children: two girls and one boy. The boy wasn’t smiling. On the back was written: Susie S., Stanley S., and Marie L. ’23. I handed it back but he shook his head. I still have that photo. Years later, I was googling prolific serial killers and psychopaths – for fun of course – and I came across a young man who killed his family and several people in town in 1923. He looked an awful lot like the boy in the photo.

I thought that was a sign. To keep digging. To keep learning. To give in. I had already been killing for years when I found out who he was. But it really was a sign.

I think I’m being followed. Just little things like the feeling of being watched; something in the corner of my eye. There was someone in the house again. I could hear the doors opening and closing, floorboards squeaking. Nothing was touched. So I have to wonder what they wanted.

In my line of work there’s always the chance of being found out and blackmailed or threatened. And being a women – often alone at night – there are those who would see me as a target. I’ve dealt with both. This isn’t that.

Maybe I am just crazy around the holidays but I’m not taking that chance.

I won’t be coming home tonight. And someone of you won’t either.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Your Mid-Week Update for 10/24/18

You’d think I would be on board for The Purge but here’s my thing. People suck. They’re not good at things. They think they understand how the world works and don’t need to understand an art form in order to master it. Murder – like painting, or acting – is an art. It is constantly studied throughout a lifetime. You can’t go to school and learn everything you need to know to be successful. Art takes work. So to allow just anyone to pick up a knife and kill is reckless and irresponsible. There are people who are paid to do this or have spent their lives dedicated to the art. Why not leave it to them and allow others to continue to do what they have trained to do?

The more killers there are, the more demand for murder dies. And there is demand. There are assassins, spies, military men, full-time hobbyists all around. Why would there be so many already if there was nothing to be gained?

I understand the need to release tension and the urge to let loose all the furry that a landscape architect could possibly muster; but it’s just not a viable option. They don’t know what they’re doing but they think they do because they see it on TV. I hate when people think because they read one book or watched movie, they’re suddenly an expert (on any subject). No! You’re just an entitled asshole.

My point is: as much fun as The Purge looks, it’s not a practical. You know what would help reduce stress and anger? A better economic, social, emotional, financial, ecological, political, sexual (any sort of -al) environment. Maybe fix the other broken things before creating more problems.

I’m just saying. The world is already fucked up and this is a problem we can actually avoid. Why make it worse?

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Book Release for Salt & Venom by Amy McNulty

I am so excited that SALT & VENOM by Amy McNulty is available now and that I get to share the news!
If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Amy McNulty, be sure to check out all the details below.
This blitz also includes a giveaway for a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International, courtesy of Amy and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About the Book:
Title: SALT & VENOM (Blood, Bloom, & Water #2)
Author: Amy McNulty
Pub. Date: October 16, 2018
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing 
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 227
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

An emboldened merman. The daring girl who agreed to be his champion. The upcoming battle that threatens to change everything they believe in.
Ivy Sheppard never wanted the ability to turn into a mermaid—though her wicked ice powers are nothing to sneeze at. Now her step-sister is her enemy, the fairy she once trusted may not be the ally she hoped for, and her new boyfriend wants her to transfer schools to avoid the vampires taking over Union High. Between dodging parents’ concerns, pretending she can stand to even look at the step-sister who sided with the bloodsuckers, and still aiming to end it all without violence, Ivy is in over her head. Unfortunately, these ancient enemies are itching to get the conflict started and Ivy may have no choice but to become the warrior the merfolk need her to be.
The second book in the Blood, Bloom, & Water series starts the war between fangs and fins in earnest as the merfolk plan their assault to bring down the unnatural undead vampires once and for all.

About Book 1:

Title: FANGS & FINS A Paranormal Romance (Blood, Bloom, & Water Book 1)
Author: Amy McNulty
Pub. Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Snowy Wings Publishing
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 330
Find it: AmazonGoodreads

A dapper vampire. A sullen merman. Two heirs to a great conflict—and each needs to claim a beloved to become his kindred’s champion.
 High school senior Ember Goodwin never had a sister, but after her mom’s remarriage, she now has two. The eldest is no stranger to her—Ivy is a witty girl in her grade who’s almost never spoken to the shy bookworm before—but she’s surprised to find the popular girl quite amiable. Their burgeoning friendship is tested, however, when Dean Horne, a pale, besuited charmer, shows interest in them both and plans to reveal his appetite for blood to the one who’ll stand by his side.
Seventeen-year-old Ivy Sheppard is tired of splitting her time between her dad’s and her mom’s, particularly when her dad uproots their lives to move them in with his new wife and step-daughter. Used to rolling with her parents’ whims, she tries to make the best of it and befriend her nerdy new step-sister. Her hectic life grows more unwieldy when she catches the eye of junior Calder Poole, whom she swears she sees swap well-toned legs for a pair of fins during a dip in a lake. Now she’s fending off suitors left and right, all while trying to get to the bottom of the strange happenings in her town. 
The first book in the Blood, Bloom, & Water series sets family against family and friend against friend as an epic, ancient war comes to a head in a supposedly sleepy suburb.

Blossom didn’t often have time for me when Autumn was around. Though the cat was no spring chicken, she still had a youthful spring in her step, and only an eight-year-old with mountains of extra energy was up to the task of satiating the calico’s thirst for prey. Usually in the form of a shoestring or curled-up ball of paper.

But Blossom poked her head up beside my bed and mewed, tapping her paw against my shoulder until I couldn’t help but let out a small chuckle. As I lifted the comforter higher, Blossom snuggled right in against my side.

“At least someone won’t ask what’s wrong with me,” I whispered. “She just knows something is.” My fingers traced circles around one of her soft ears.

Why couldn’t I just tell everyone the truth? Hashtag ImAMermaid. Jokes aside, I was seventeen—albeit almost eighteen—and I didn’t know how to handle this on my own.

I had three parents. Why couldn’t I kick and scream and have a tantrum and wind up coddled in my mom’s or dad’s arms?

My phone buzzed on the nightstand. Shifting so as not to bother Blossom, I grabbed it and saw the message from Calder:

Feeling better? I know last night was… A lot. I’ve got you, though. I promise. I need you more than I’ve ever needed anyone. I’ll try to be a worthy prince, my champion.

A tear slipped down one cheek as I felt my face warming. I put down the phone and wiped the moisture away. Why was I crying? It wasn’t like I was madly in love with the guy.

But apparently, the champion of water was kind of the prince’s fiancée. So I had a boyfriend now. I’d never had one who’d lasted more than a few dates.

Now I was tied to one—cute, kind of shy though he might be—possibly for the rest of my life. We could one day lay our merbaby eggs in the blood of my fallen step-sister.

No and no. I still wasn’t planning on either happening.

My phone buzzed again and I swiped away another notification from Paisley. The bits of messages I’d read from her and Lyric asked everything I expected them to, like what in the world had happened last night, was it true that Calder had lost his pants in the Homecoming fire, was I feeling all right and how was Ember, and also, back to the second point, was it true Calder had walked around brazenly with his elephant trunk swinging freely?

I tried not to think about that part. My face was flushing at the memory. I bet the vampires didn’t have cause to go pantsless around their champion. At least not a supernatural one. I wasn’t sure if that was a pro or a con, honestly. Dirty Ivy.

Blossom’s purrs grew louder and louder as she snuggled up beside my cheek, nudging the top of her head against my chin.

“I love you too, Furbaby,” I said, rubbing the back of her neck and being reminded how different the cat at my new place was—Ember’s cat was a scaredy-cat if ever there was one.

The thought of going back there now with how things stood between Ember and me… I couldn’t. But I couldn’t very well explain why I couldn’t to Mom and Dad.

Even if Mom apparently had been hypnotized into accepting Orin as a family friend.

That traitorous faery.

“There she is!” screeched a voice from my partially-open door. Autumn came trotting in—the girl had yet to learn boundaries. Thankfully for her, I was an amazing big sister. If I do say so myself.

“Leave us alone,” I said, just a touch of my grumpy side evident in my voice. Okay, not always an amazing sister.

Autumn flicked on the light switch and padded over to the side of my bed. “Are you cramping?” she asked, twirling a strand of her long, brown hair around her finger. She had on a tie-dyed T-shirt and bright purple zebra pants. The girl could clearly not dress herself, but she was too old for my parents to be picking out outfits for her regardless.

I pushed at her gently, my arm jostling and upsetting the cat. “I’m not on my period every time I’m feeling tired,” I said, grunting. “Geez, you’d have me bleeding twenty-nine days out of thirty.”

“Gross.” She scooped the cat out from beside me, carrying her in her arms like a big, fragile bag of groceries. My sister bounced her up and down and Blossom dug her claws into her human captor’s shoulders, her yellow irises like saucers, but Autumn didn’t even flinch. “Are you still sick from last night?”

“Yes,” I muttered, pulling the cover over my head entirely. “Now go away. And don’t forget to shut off the light.”

“How did you create steam?” she asked. “When you touched that warm blanket they gave you, your hand glowed blue and steam rose out—”

“You were seeing things,” I mumbled. “Now go away.”

“Fine,” she snapped. The pounding of her bare feet against the floor was loud even muffled by the threadbare carpet that ran most of the length of Mom’s townhouse. “Keep your secrets.”

“And stay away from Orin!” I snapped.


“Orin! My boss. My date to Homecoming.” I poked my head out from under the blanket. Mom was hovering behind Autumn in the doorway. Great.

Autumn grinned and Blossom saw her chance to jump down, scattering off into the hallway, my little sister hot on her literal tail.

“How are you feeling?” asked Mom, her fist hovering over the open bedroom door as if it weren’t too late to knock and not be invited in at this point.

“Fine,” I lied, burying my head underneath the blanket once more.

She took that as an invitation because I felt her sit down on the edge of the bed. Her hand touched my shoulder through my barrier of cotton and synthetic fibers keeping me from facing reality and the fact that said reality included faeries, vampires, and merpeople. “Do you want to talk about it?” she asked.

Yes. “No.”

She kept stroking my shoulder in silence.

“Don’t you have work today?” I asked. She always had work and it was supposed to be a Dad day anyway. She’d been a homemaker when she and Dad had been together and though she got some “maintenance,” as they called alimony for some reason, she’d had to take on a minimum-wage job at a superstore to make ends meet. Luckily, she and Dad got along well enough that he pretty much paid any and everything related to Autumn’s or my expenses.

I just didn’t get why they couldn’t have gotten along while they’d been married, then.
Sighing, I buried myself deeper in the blankets, barely hearing Mom’s response. Something about swapping shifts.

She tugged the blanket off my head and I groaned. “Hey, listen to me,” she said.

“I am.” Not true.

She stared hard at me until I was forced to look away.

“Did anyone hurt you last night?”

“No,” I lied again. Not like she was thinking. Not who she was thinking.

“Or Ember?”

“No,” I said again, my nails digging into my palm beneath the blanket. Well, I had hurt her.

“Things just got hectic in the chaos.”

“So hectic that boy lost his pants?” Her eyebrow arched.

“They were wet,” I said. “And on fire,” I added. I supposed the latter would excuse it where the former wouldn’t. Even if that was just a little white lie to add to the mountain of them.

“Wet… and on fire?” Mom asked, her neck bending forward even more.

Don’t test me, woman, I thought. You have no idea… “Wet after being on fire.”

Mom took in a deep, audible breath. “Who was that boy, Ivy?”

“Calder Poole,” I said, the name coming out like a petulant toddler forced to reveal the fact that she’d dug her hand into the cookie jar. “He’s on the swim team. Or he was… He just transferred.”

“Okay…” Mom said. “And is he… Do you know him well? I don’t remember you ever hanging out with him before.”

“That’s because I hang with the baseball team, owing to Paisley’s boyfriend being captain of it. Doesn’t mean I don’t know him.” An itch took over the tip of my nose and I rubbed it into my pillow.

Mom kept patting my shoulder. “He was there with someone else and he just happened to help you and Ember—after his pants caught on fire?”

“He was there with me,” I said, not wanting to get into the debate about why someone from a different school was there without a date from Union High. It wasn’t like he’d transferred that long ago anyway.

“But I thought you and Orin…?” Normally, Mom would be having a fit that I’d dated an “older” guy. Ha, try older than dirt, not a couple of years older. But Orin had made her think he was a dear friend of ours somehow. For some reason.

“He’s just a friend,” I said. “Was a friend. And I’m not working for him anymore.”

Not the right thing to say. “Ivy, I know you might need time off, but I told you it’s important to start working as soon as possible. Look at what happened to me. When your father left—” Her phone rang, playing the Jurassic Park theme song, which I knew meant Dad. They’d gone on their first date to see that movie as freshmen in high school. I didn’t know why Mom would want to be reminded of that.

“Take some time off,” she said, letting the phone continue to ring a moment. “Just keep… what happened to me… in mind. A part-time job would be good for you even throughout college.” Her lips pinched as she stared straight at me, and I flinched. She turned away and answered the call. “Yes?”

I ran a finger over the edge of my nightstand, ignoring the buzz that came from my own phone as I picked up half a conversation between my parents.

“That’s great!” said Mom, a smile on her face. She lowered the phone to whisper to me, “Ember got the all-clear. She’s home and feels fine.”

I flinched. Not that I wanted her to be ill, of course, but… But… She was the enemy now. She’d sealed the deal before I had.

I’d missed some of Mom’s side of the conversation. “He wants you and Autumn to still come over tonight,” she told me, Dad clearly on hold. “They’re going to order in.”

“No!” I shouted, sitting up and practically whapping my poor mother across the face with my blankets.

I could hear the muffled sound of Dad’s voice—he’d probably heard that.

Mom shrank back. “Sunday is usually spent with your dad—”

“Right. Oh, right.” Covering my face with my hands, I winced. My throat was dry. “It’s just… Mom, I barely feel like moving. Maybe Autumn can go and I…” I didn’t say anything more.
Mom turned back to her conversation and spoke in a hushed voice. Then she held the phone out to me. “Your father wants to speak to you.”

“Tell him I’m sick or something,” I said.

“I heard that, young lady,” came Dad’s voice from the speaker.

“Ugh,” I said, bringing my knees up and resting my forehead atop them.

Mom spoke to him again and then hung up a few moments later. “We agreed both you and Autumn can stay here an extra night,” she said. “Ember’s dad is in town anyway. I get the feeling things are… tense between him and Noelle. They thought maybe having a crowd would make things less awkward.”

“They’re inviting him to dinner with them?” I asked. All the more reason not to bother going. Like I needed another awkward thing happening inside my own home when all I wanted to do was sleep for the rest of my life.

“He’s staying at a motel, but yes, he’s coming over for dinner.” Mom sighed as a crash echoed from downstairs—the townhouse was cramped, but there was a kitchen, living room, and half-bath on the first floor. “Autumn?” she called out.

Autumn’s giggling rang out even from a floor and several rooms away.

“We’ll talk more later,” said Mom, patting my shoulder again. She stopped when she reached the hallway, looking back at me over her shoulder. “And you’re at least eating dinner with your sister and me,” she said sternly. “I’m not letting you sleep the whole day away.” She flicked the lights off.

Groaning, I rolled onto my side, nestling myself beneath the covers again. My phone buzzed on the stand beside my head and I reached over, holding the power button and confirming I wanted it turned off so the thing would finally go quiet.

About Amy:
Amy McNulty is an editor and author of books that run the gamut from YA speculative fiction to contemporary romance. A lifelong fiction fanatic, she fangirls over books, anime, manga, comics, movies, games, and TV shows from her home state of Wisconsin. When not reviewing anime professionally or editing her clients’ novels, she’s busy fulfilling her dream by crafting fantastical worlds of her own.

Giveaway Details:

1 winner will receive a $10 Amazon Gift Card, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday 17 October 2018

Your Mid-Week Update for 10/17/18

The quest for stationary murder continues. It’s been mostly a lot of blunt force with heavy objects like staplers or stacks of paper or a cabinet. I have been enjoying the industrial strength paper slicer. For slicing things. Like fingers. And throats - that takes a little finagling. I have tried to electrocute someone in the computer room but I am just not that good with physical computers. I’m not that good with software either but at least I kind of know how things work. Maybe I should ask Jason. I know he wants to stay out of the family business but he can help me learn more about computers, right? It is his major after all.

He’s been doing really well lately. I’m happy. I’ll always worry about him but right now, I don’t have to actively think about worrying about him. I can just... worry normally.

Speaking of normal worrying. You would not believe who called me the other day.

George Clooney.

See, I told you you wouldn’t believe me. That’s because I’m lying.

It was my sister.

Equally as unbelievable.

Father hasn’t been doing well lately - normal old age things - and we’re at the point where we’re discussing moving him into a place with 24 hour care. By “we” I mean my sister and me. If that is the conclusion we come to, mom doesn’t get a say. She gets a choice: to move with him or stay at home.

When I say it like that it sounds harsh but you know my parents. Neither of them would ever admit defeat. They would never admit that they need help. But it’s gotten to a point where my sister and I are actually cooperating on something. I would rather see my father miserably in assisted living than wandering the streets because mom was downstairs and he forgot where he was for a bit.

Did you know he taught me how to kill? Of course I don’t think that was his intention but lessons were very helpful.

He’s been a military man all his life. Even after he retired. Strict and disciplined, a little over-patriotic, and fairly liberal with all manner of available weapon - not just firearms. In fact he was fairly against guns and preferred to use his body as his weapon. Why shoot a man when you can punch him in the face so he knows who’s dealing the blow. He was a traditional man with two gorgeous daughters - according to my sister - so of course, he taught us how to fight. We grew up using knives, and clubs, and fists. When it came time for my first kill, I knew exactly what to do.

Thanks to him, I knew how to defend myself against an attacker and use those same tactics against my victims. For better or worse, my parents taught me how to kill. I got my mother’s ruthlessness and my father’s instincts. So did my sister.

It’s hard seeing your parents get old but it’s something everyone has to face at some point.

Unless, of course, you kill them first.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Tuesday 16 October 2018

Excerpt of Court of Secrets by Dyan Chick

Title: COURT OF SECRETS Reverse Harem Fantasy (Forbidden Queen #1)
Author: Dyan Chick
Pub. Date: October 15, 2018
Publisher: Dyan Chick
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 216
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

Four Sexy Fae Princes. A Changeling Fae. A Secret that could end them all. 
When Cassia’s wedding is ruined by a monster attack, her whole life changes. Destined for the dull and uneventful life of a Baron’s wife, Cassia always dreamed of more. She never thought it would come in the form of three sexy fae princes. 
When she accidentally uses magic, Cassia discovers that she’s not human. She’s a changeling, a fae hidden in the human world. She no longer belongs in the human realm, but she won’t survive on her own in Faerie. 
Now, her only hope is the three sexy fae princes who saved her life on her wedding day. On the run from the monsters that attacked her, Cassia must help the princes hunt them down. Her life depends on them, and by the time this is over, they might need her as much as she needs them. 
Court of Secrets is a full-length Reverse Harem Fantasy Novel
Book 1 of 4 

I walked into the room and tried not to let the fact that Dane was going to be staying the night in the same room as me get to me. The door shut behind me and I could feel the presence of another person even though I wasn’t looking at him.
Even when I was a young child, I had slept in my own room. When I was very young, I remember Nani occasionally sleeping on the floor near my bed if I had nightmares. But when I woke in the morning, she was never there. So I knew she just stayed for a short time and then went to her own sleeping quarters.
It was strange to know that someone else was in there with me. I looked around the room and felt my chest tighten at the sight of the small bed that took up most of the space. It would be difficult to even find enough floor space to stretch out on for a normal person, not to mention someone as tall and broad as Dane. The bed might even be too short for him, but it was wide enough for two people. My cheeks heated when I realized the only logical sleeping arrangement would be for the two of us to share the bed.
I turned around to ask Dane what he thought and let out a squeak of surprise.
Dane froze halfway through removing one of the legs of his trousers.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"You don't expect me to sleep in these filthy clothes, do you?" he asked.
I stared at him, my mouth hanging open, as I tried to think of something to say. He finished removing his trousers and when he dropped them to the floor, a cloud of dust rose from them.
I had to concede that he was right, our clothes were filthy. As much as I didn't want to sleep in the dust from the road, I wasn't sure I was ready to sleep naked next to Dane.
"Surely you've seen men without their clothes on," Dane said as he lifted his tunic over his head.
I stared at him, blinking in silence, taking in every inch of his bare chest. From the firm chest muscles to the rippling muscles of his abdomen and finally, pausing at the V shaped indent of his hips. Thankfully, he was still wearing some undergarments to cover the lower portion. Yet, I found myself curious to know what he looked like completely naked.
"I've never been with a man. Remember you met me on my wedding day. Nothing really happened after that," I said.
"I forget," he said with a knowing smile, "you humans don't let yourself have very much fun."
"You're the ones who keep saying I'm not human. It's very confusing when you keep lumping me in with them," I said, feeling frustrated.

About Dyan:

My story is probably similar to a lot of other writers out there. As a kid, I was creative, imaginative, and loved to write. I’d write scripts for plays and make my sisters act them out. I got excited about the writing prompts for standardized tests in elementary school. I started writing my first (unfinished) novel in 5th grade. Then started another one in middle school. For a long time, I was a closet writer. I didn’t tell anybody that I had a hard drive full of abandoned stories. After years of not finishing anything, I finally took the plunge and started taking writing, and myself as a writer, seriously. My first novel, Heir of Illaria, published January 23, 2017. Book 2 is right around the corner. It’s gone from closet hobby to full on addiction. Thankfully, I have a wonderfully supportive husband who doesn’t look at me like I’m crazy when I talk about my characters as if they’re real.

Giveaway Details:
1 Winner will receive a $10 Amazon GC, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Your Mid-Week Update for 10/10/18

I’ve decided to try an experiment to see how many people I can kill with office equipment. I’m sure I’ve done a game like this before but boredom breeds curiosity. Probably. It does now.

I’m just at a point where I’m waiting. James is looking into Mary’s death but because it’s been so long, the case has virtually been abandoned. I don’t blame the police for prioritizing recent cases – especially when I am the cause of them – but I want to know what happened the that poor woman. If I had my way, she’d still be alive. She had at least a few more months of life before I ended it. It’s so unfair. I just want to know what happened.

I’ve come forward as a bereaved friend to say that her boyfriend was cheating on her. I have to be careful about how much I reveal (lest they find the urge to look through café security footage) but it should be just enough to keep investigators looking into her case.

But until then, there’s nothing engaging going on. I mean yes, fiscal year end is a nightmare but it’s so predictable: late hours, a pile of receipts and so many numbers I can’t see straight. It happens every year.

So sometimes I need to do something to occupy my brain when it’s pressed into a mundane task. This week it’s going to be stationary murders.

Not murders while in a stationary position. Murders WITH stat

That’s not a bad idea as well. See how many victims I can make come to me and then I kill them with some sort of office appliance.

That’s the advanced version of the game. We’ll see how challenging murders with stationary are before we try and add another layer.

Don’t want to overwhelm myself during crunch time; this is just a stress reliever.

I think I’ve been clenching my jaw too much lately. It’s foreseeable stress and yet it gets me every time. I might have to go see someone. We’ll see what my dentist says in a few months.

Remember to take care of your health as well as your job.

See: I’ve got life lessons and advice for you all. Quality content.

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Friday 5 October 2018

The Rules for Survival

There are rules for everything. Rituals for enduring the world. Disobeying yields serious consequences. And there is nothing more superstitious than death and the supernatural.

Death is not to be toyed with. She has rules and if you break even one of her rules, I cannot be held accountable. During Samhain, the veil between the worlds is so thin that death herself can step from the spirit realm and stalk the streets.

These are just a few of her rules:
  • Don’t walk alone at night
  • Don’t answer the door if you don’t know who’s there
  • Don’t split up when you’re in a group
  • Arm yourself with a weapon – any weapon
  • Don’t break tradition
  • Don’t hesitate for even a moment
  • Don’t be curious

  • Don’t. Fall. Asleep.

I cannot stress how important these rules are, especially on All Hallows Eve. That day does not belong to you. It belongs to the spirits - to death. And she is unforgiving.

Of course there are rules related to the more recent tradition associated with “Hallowe'en”. Trick-or-Treating:
  • Always check your candy – do not presume that the world is fair and kind; it never was
  • Wear a Costume – if you must go out, hide from the spirits and they will hide from you
  • Pass out treats – appease the spirits with gifts
  • Never blow out a Jack-o-lantern – they’re there to protect you, I promise; they guard your soul

And the last is not a rule at all, it is your only tool for survival:
  • Don’t ever, for even a moment, imagine that you’re alone

Because you’re not. You never are. They’re always with you. Like a shadow – but so much worse. They know everything about you. They’ve been with you since birth. And if you break a rule – especially on Hallowe’en – they’ll take advantage of the opportunity.

There are rules. They’re not many but they’re strict. I’m telling you the rules so that you know. And you can save yourself.

Tell others. But also…

If you get this message, please, know that I’m sorry. I didn’t understand. She was protecting me. This place. It’s…I didn’t know. If you see someone who looks like me, do not interact with her. I know why they put her in the mirror.

My reflection – my shadow, but so much worse.

I’m so sorry.

I didn’t know.

Wednesday 3 October 2018

Your Mid-Week Update for 10/03/18

And suddenly it’s winter.

I swear, this town doesn’t have four seasons, it only has two and I can never seem to be happy with either. Sure, I can use the awful weather to my advantage but daily life is a struggle when you’re wearing shorts and a tank top one day and a parka the next.

I sometimes wish I could move somewhere where the weather is a little more consistent. I’d have a much more esthetically pleasing wardrobe, the headaches would be gone, I wouldn’t be complaining about it now.

I’d be complaining about something else but not the weather.

I complain about this every season but here’s why I think we all do this. It’s one of the few things that people in a city have in common with each other. It’s something that can bring people together: bitching about the same things over and over.

Routines are a part of humanity, I’ve come to notice. Traditions are connective and comforting. They also are predictable to a point where someone could, say, stalk you for a few days, learn your routine and use it to kill you.

For example.

I didn’t even go into work yesterday because of the fucking snow. But, of course, we still had to work from home. God forbid, you actually get some time away from work.

I will NOT get into a rant about western culture’s misunderstanding of human decency and what’s important in life. It’s too cold for that.

The heat feels like it’s out – I know it’s not – but it’s absolutely freezing. Like, gloves indoors levels of cold. I’m over it. I just want to kill the people and drive safely home to a warm house. Is that too much to ask for?

That’s all. Be warm. Stick to your routines because it makes things easier for me. Stop fucking snowing!

As always, dear readers,

Stay Safe

Tuesday 2 October 2018

Across the Hall - A Short Story

You think about the man across the hall.

He’s lived in the building forever, according to the old woman on the first floor – a nice woman; you should probably visit her more often if you could bring yourself to care. You met him on your second day. You rode the elevator together and for a moment, you wondered if he was following you. It wouldn’t be the first time. It certainly wouldn’t be the last.

His footsteps followed yours, beat by beat. Your eyes darted back to him every few seconds and every time, he was staring back, a small smile on his face. You tightened the grip on the keys in your pocket, with every step, you formulate your plan. You can turn and scream, startle him and attract the attention of your neighbours. Although neighbours in other buildings have previously proven to be less than reliable in coming to anyone’s aid, if you were to throw him off balance, you could make a run for the elevator. Baring that, you could use your keys. Scratch any exposed skin and get out. The goal was to get away from the hallway. Up here, you were trapped. He kept smiling. It was eerily calm and you forced yourself to smile back. Only a few more feet to your door. Time to make a move.

But then he turned left instead of right at the end of the hallway and you felt your chest relax. Your head spun. You held the door for balance but you couldn’t focus. The buzzing in your ears was too strong.

He called to you and your head hit the door when you turned. He said “hello” like nothing was wrong. When you reached out to shake his hand, the ring of keys fell to the floor. He admired your keychain but lingered too long on your apartment key. You gave him your name and his smile brightened. How could you think his intentions were sinister? He seemed friendly and calm but not aggressively approachable. Your fingers brushed when he gave you back your keys. A little too rough but it reminded you of how long it’s been since your fingers brushed anyone else’s. You miss it. You miss him. So, you pulled back and offered a quiet goodbye to the man across the hall.

Objectively, he was quite attractive. Now that you weren’t afraid to walk the halls with him, you took the time to observe him in the elevator. He was sweet; kind to everyone in the building but somehow, his gentleness wasn’t annoying. He became someone you wanted to know better – someone who put you at ease. You looked forward to the days when you would share the elevator or walk down the hall together. Anticipated it, in fact. If you waited ten minutes on Wednesday mornings, you could walk to the main door with him. If you power walked home on Monday nights, you could meet him around the corner. His scheduled was varied but you figured it out, and those few extra minutes with the cutie across the hall always brightened your day. He seemed responsive: holding the door for you, straightening up when he saw you, shyly asking you out one day as you stood in your respective doorways. How could you not say yes?

He walked you down the hall, his steps followed yours, beat by beat. You didn’t feel the need to speak but as you turned your separate ways, he cleared his throat. His voice was quiet, nervous, but his words were sure – rehearsed. He wanted to get to know you better, take you to dinner. Of course, you accepted.

The date was perfect. Even if you had very little in common, he was the perfect gentleman and he cleaned up well. If you didn’t immediately find things in common, you would eventually find things. Relationships are about making it work. This was a relationship, wasn’t it? He liked you, you liked him. What more was there?

You started to watch him – observe him, really. You wanted to know everything about him. You needed to find some common ground. It was hard to find him when you weren’t together. You knew where he worked but didn’t want to bother him and you had a job of your own. But afterwards…where did he disappear to? Surely a boy like that wouldn’t be hard to miss in a crowd. You knew him, could sense him, what was it he didn’t want you to know?

You tell yourself you aren’t obsessing. You’re curious about your partner and want to get to know him better – to borrow his phrase. You’re seeking commonality in order to strengthen your relationship. After six months, you are officially in a relationship.

And then one day, you caught sight of him going down to the basement. The laundry room of course. You aren’t normally in your apartment at this time of day so naturally, you wouldn’t see him. But you were home, sick – did he know that? – so you saw him take a small hamper piled with clothes into the elevator.

You decided to take the stairs. It was an old building. You might even beat him down there.

It turns out you met each other at the bottom. Always in sync. He looked shocked to see you but that was natural: you aren’t normally home at this time of day and you definitely hadn’t told him. But he smiled because he’s happy to see you, and he even opened the door for you.

You helped him unload his laundry and leaned against the other machine as he turned it on. He’s so smooth and his arms are toned but not overly muscular – you don’t like that in a man, anyways. He’s perfect.

And then he opened his mouth.

He told you that he wasn’t interested in you anymore. Everything you worked so hard to develop – your relationship – was suddenly over with no warning. How could he do that?

Your head spun. You couldn’t focus. The buzzing in your ears was too strong.

You see red.

There’s something in your hand.

You were chopping carrots when you heard movement in the hallway and became curious.

You lunge.

His eyes go wide. Those beautiful blue eyes; wide in terror.

He stumbles back and you realize: it really is over.

It’s time to move on.

Clean up the mess made by another man walking out of your life and start again.

Your eyes clear and you breathe deeply, the smell of detergent and iron wafting through the air.

It’s time to leave this place.

Find another love.

You never did learn his name.