Monday, October 12, 2015

Winners! #OctoberFrights 2015 Blog Hop

Just want to thank everyone who participated in this marathon of a blog hop.

I was lucky to hang with some pretty awesome writers and had a great time hearing from readers. But I know why you're here... you want to see the WINNERS!

And here they are...

Michelle Willms wins a print copy of THE HEARTBEAT THIEF
AF Stewart wins a print copy of BOXED & BROKEN
Kerry Alan Denney wins a print copy of M IS FOR MONSTER
Debbie Christiana, Lexa Cain, Jolie du Pre, and Heather Powers each win a Halloween goodie.
And they are totes adorbs...well, my idea of adorable, anyway.
Winners, I'll need your addresses so if you don't already have my email address, just use the contact form at
Thanks again, everyone. I hope everybody found a new favorite book or storyteller on this amazing hop.
And just remember, ghost stories aren't just for Halloween...  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Interview with Alex McGilvery, one of the authors of BEYOND THE WAIL

Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss
What is it about fear and the unknown that pulls so passionately at the human heart? Perhaps we are drawn not to the darkness itself, but to the resolution, the overcoming of what we most deeply dread. After all, the more terrible the struggle, the greater the victory when it comes at last. Presented in this anthology are twelve remarkable stories of the darkness that overshadows us, and the resolution that may be found beyond them. They are stories of fear and oppression, but ultimately stories of hope, stories that will take you BEYOND THE WAIL.
Beyond the Wail is available at

Amazon (Kindle)

Amazon (Paperback)


Xchyler Publishing

OF MICE AND MONSTERS by Tirzah Duncan: Troubled by ghosts within and without, Benjamin struggles to become the man his girlfriend needs instead of the monster he is.

GO GENTLE by Julie Barnson: After the death of her boyfriend, a young musician uses her talents and a fabled violin to stop the fatal accidents at a dead man’s curve.

DEAD WATER by Amanda Banker: A stalled truck, an abandoned graveyard, and a town not found on any map take two brothers on a detour they’ll never forget. 

COLD SPOT by Jay Barnson: When a laptop is stolen from their computer security company, two high school buddies go to extremes to investigate. But, will they manage to return?

THE WEEPING LADY by A. F. Stewart: Eva Douglas must face her mother issues, past and present, when the disappearance of her sister forces a confrontation with a terrifying ghost.

THE POLTERGEIST AND AUNT BETTY by Ginger C. Mann: Aunt Betty is eccentric, but how much is ghost, how much is medication, and how much is just plain crazy?

THE ‘GRIM’ REAPER by L. K. McIntosh: When a soul reaper loses the source of their power,
they must either find the witch who stole it or a new purpose for living.

SHRINE OF MIRRORS by F. M. Longo: A spy on a mission becomes a believer in the supernatural when the theft of three ancient relics threaten to bring down the empire.

DEAD MAN HOCKING by T.N. Payne: A world-weary zombie learns to beware what you wish for, and not all sure bets are worth the gamble.

ST. PETER’S FISH by Alex McGilvery: Sam is a walking disaster of biblical proportions, but how much is he willing to sacrifice to escape, and will the Powers That Be allow it?

THE DIORAMA by Sebastian Bendix: A play set turns life around for Martin Taper, but things take a turn for the worse when he neglects it and the lonely child obsessed with it.

DATE DUE by Danielle E. Shipley: A magic library’s guardian determines to protect her treasured books, whether their authors elect to do things the easy way … or the fatal one.

Interview with one of the authors from BEYOND THE WAIL... Alex McGilvery!

How did you come up with the concept of your story? This one started as a challenge. I was responding to a blog stating never start a story with the weather. I posted the first couple of paragraphs and got a good response. When the contest came up I knew it was time to finish the story.

How did you come up with the title?The fish in the story burps up gold coins. It is a direct reference to a fish Peter caught to pay taxes. 

Please provide some insight into or a secret or two about your story.In the first iteration of the story the climax is a bar fight in Toledo and God is a biker. That either needed a full novel to deal with, or a switch to a heavy comedic tone. I shifted it around to match better with the contest.
What was the most surprising part of writing this book?The fork. I had no idea that blasted fork was going to show up and confuse everyone. In the end I like the concept. 

What was the hardest part of writing your book, and how did you overcome it?The biggest challenge was not to overdo the voice of the story. It would have been so easy to fall into writing the lilt instead of the story. I kept being reminded the story came first and making the words serve the tale, not the voice.

What are some of your other published works? In order of publication, The Unenchanted Princess, Playing on Yggdrasil, Sarcasm is my Superpower, By the Book, and Sparkles and Blood.

What is your advice to writers?Write. Really. You aren’t a writer if you don’t write. Then find someone to help you deconstruct your writing to help you make it better. Then write some more.

What's up next for you? I’m bringing out another collection of novellas in November called The Heronmaster and a middle grade book for Christmas called Unboring the Princess. I’m also resubmitting a fantasy novel which is the first in a trilogy. I’m in the initial planning stages of a collection of my romance stories called ‘Romantic Shorts’.

About the Author: ALEX MCGILVERY
Alex McGilvery is an author living in Flin Flon, Manitoba with his wife, Alex, and three dogs. He has been an avid reader all his life and wrote novels in his early teens. He has been writing short stories and poetry ever since. In addition to his first twenty-year work, he writes a novel every year through NaNoWriMo and another with the 3-Day Novel contest. He also writes reviews, specializing in indie authors, and works on short stories for contests.

He has now published five books, most recently Sparkles and Blood, a collection of horror novellas, edited an anthology along with the Flin Flon Writers Guild, and continues to be active in the Guild. In order to pay for his writing habit, Alex works full time as a minister in the United Church of Canada. Some of his parishioners wonder at the occasionally dark and twisted nature of his writing.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

One of the great horrors of my life:

Children's birthday parties.

I know, it sounds mean, but I'm a veteran mom. I've survived a fair share of kids parties. At-home parties with a billion tiny humans running around chasing the terrified dog. The dreaded McDonald's Playland party with the questionable ball pit. The indoor jungle gym thingie. We even rented a blow-up bounce house one year (and the moms hung out at the cotton candy machine and got blasted on sugar floss. Good times.)

And I survived them all.

But my kids are in high school now. I shouldn't have to live in fear of these things--I'm dealing with drivers permits and impending Social Security insurance options. I should be free and clear. I should be safely in the realm of The End Of The Horror Movie where all the living heave a sigh of relief and run free in the sunlight.

But nah.

My nephews are having a roller skating party. And I am a good aunt. Even though I'm definitely going to end up with a case of PTSD because this place is going to trigger memories of my own 11th birthday party when I thought terry cloth outfits and bandanas were cool and they played J Geils Band and Journey and oh my god makeitstop--

Thank heavens I brought my computer.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who participated in the #October Frights blog hop. In case you missed a post, you can go back and still enter:

I'll be picking winners and posting the list on Monday so be sure to stop back. In the meantime, hop a few of the other sites while you can.

Oh, yeah. Blind Alleys is still free today so if speculative fiction is your thing, help yourself. :) I've got to go scrape my husband off the carpet-covered wall on the skate floor. He's too old for this nonsense and when he can't get out of bed tomorrow there will be NO SYMPATHY.

Got your free book? Get back to the hop...pick your next lucky stop:

Friday, October 9, 2015

October Frights Blog Hop (IX): Welcome to my World


Bleeding Hearts, Blood Rush, & Wolf's Bane
Enter the world of the Demimonde.
Look outside your window. Same old town, same streets, same people, same stories you've lived all your life. Or... are they?
Sophie Galen is an advice columnist from the suburbs of Philly. Like many sensitive women, she's done her best to create a shelter for herself in order to live in a safe, predictable world, protecting her vulnerable self: her mind, her heart, her soul.
Then he came into her life and blew the walls in.
When Marek Thurzo arrived, he brought with him all the secrets she never wanted to know: the world outside was not what she thought. There were people and creatures and powers she'd never dared to believe exist and at the very center of this humongous supernatural web was one single person.
Her. The Sophia. The one hope for redemption for the Demivampire race.
Some days, she still can't wrap her head around the whole thing. Other days...
...she's ready to do whatever it takes to protect her demivamps, no matter the obstacle, no matter the enemy, no matter the personal cost.
While meeting her deadlines, natch. Who says a girl can't multitask while saving the world?

BLEEDING HEARTS: Book One of the Demimonde was my first novel. It's also the first book in the Demimonde trilogy. I suppose once the story pulled me into its world, it wouldn't let me I kept writing.

I love to read fantasy stories, especially the ones that create such realistic and creative worlds that I'd happy move into the book if I could. (Some I'd be a little terrified to move in, but I'm pretty reckless. I'd do it anyway.)

When writing the Demimonde series, I got to play god and re-imagine Philly the way I wish it could be: full of demivamps, witches, and werewolves. I wouldn't even care if it meant avoiding my favorite cheesesteak joint on full moon nights.

In my world, advice columnists may actually be oracles waiting to manifest and German metal bands like Turn of the Wheel *just happen* to be touring. I mean, check out the tour shirts:

That's right. I'm so submerged in the world of the Demimonde that I had tour shirts made. That's dedication. :)

Ready for a chance to enter the October Frights Blog Hop giveaway? All it takes is a comment on this post.

Think about a book you love in part for the lush world-building. If you could introduce one element from that world into our own, what would it be? A creature? An ability? An aspect of human kind as yet undiscovered? Share your fantasy so we can all wish it comes true...

(And those t-shirts are seriously real. If you want one, I can tell you how to order one from Custom Ink. You didn't think I ironed them, did you? I don't even think I own an iron. Ask my husband. He'll vouch.)

Commented? Got your free book? Get back to the hop...pick your next lucky stop:

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

October Frights Blog Hop (VII): Halloween Costumes


Today's Spotlight is on...
Words That Bind
(paranormal romance)
Social worker Tam Kerish can’t keep her cool professionalism when steamy client Mr. Burns kindles a desire for more than a client-therapist relationship—so she drops him. However, they discover she’s the talisman to which Burns, an immortal djinn, has been bound since the days of King Solomon…and that makes it difficult.

Ethical guidelines are unequivocal when it comes to personal relationships with clients. However, the djinn has a thawing effect on the usually non-emotive Tam, who begins to feel true emotion whenever he is near. Tam has to make a difficult choice: to stay on the outside, forever looking in…or to turn her back on her entire world, just for the chance to finally experience what it means to fall in love.

Glad you're back for another October Frights Blog Hop post! Hope you're getting your entries's easy, too: just comment on each post for an entry in the big giveaway!
Today's spotlight book is Words That Bind, a love story about a genie and his therapist.
Mr. Burns, an ancient djinn, spends his time wearing one of a variety of guises. Sometimes, he's Burns, a man who even the normally cool-as-a-cucumber Tam Kerish must admit is attractive. Sometimes, he's a twist of smokeless fire or a screaming whirlwind.
And sometimes, he's a complete animal. 
“So. You’ve destroyed a stereotype for me. A genie who lives in a library. Different.”
“When in Rome, no?” He stirred his cup before setting down the spoon with a light clink against the saucer. “Or, I suppose it is more accurate to say when in human form. When I am Burns, I prefer here.”
“Human form.” It didn’t sound right. Who said things like that, and meant it? “Can you change into anything you want? Any shape at all?”
He stretched out his legs and cocked his head, sliding his gaze up and away. “I suppose I could. I’m getting old and set in my ways. There’s this…” He swept his hands down the line of his body.
Her eyes were unable to keep from following, not even when he lingered over his midsection. Even lounging, his shirt was tightly tucked into his beltline. No belly fat there.
He tilted his head and gave her an upper-teeth smile, nibbling gently at his lower lip. “And apparently this form is pleasing to the eye, so I wear it often. But there are others. Tiger, a favorite. Savage and regal and the colors of flames in the night. Fearsome to behold, but very useful when dealing with physical conditions in which a human form may be outmatched. Plus, I can lash my tail.”
His voice took a teasing, conspirator’s tone. “I love my tail. You’d love it too, if you saw it.”
She trained her eyes firmly upon his. No way would she give him the pleasure of checking out his tail.
If you couldn't tell, Burns really loves the way he looks. I always imagined genies would lean toward the cocky side. Part of the fun in writing that book was describing him in all his various forms of glory.
Maybe that's also why I love Halloween--the excuse to dress up. Wear a costume. Step out of my normal limits and assume the guise of someone else. (Usually, my costumes involve a black cape. And I'm not talking Batman, folks. I dressed like a vampire long before I'd even starting reading Anne Rice. I suppose it was all that parochial schooling that did it to me.)
So that brings us to today's comment-to-enter the giveaway...
If you could change form--be a shape shifter--what form would you choose? And would you want it to be limited, like a Halloween costume for a party? Or would it be something you'd like to slip into every now and then? Tell us in a comment and you're entered into the grand prize giveaway.
And today you can get a bonus entry...if you post your favorite Halloween costume on your social media (or find one you love online) POST A LINK TO THE PICTURE in a separate comment! (Optional: tag me if you'd like in your sosh meeds post and I'll share it along! Use #octoberfrights2015 Twitter @ashkrafton or Instagram @ash_krafton)   

Commented? Got your free book? Get back to the hop...pick your next lucky stop:

Monday, October 5, 2015

October Frights Blog Hop (V): Ghost Stories



Free on Kindle through October 5th!
Today is October 5th, folks, so grab it before it goes away...

 Today's Spotlight is on...">Doorways: Three Tales of No Going Back</a><img src="
Doorways. Life is full of them.

We walk through doorways every day. Sometimes, we don't pay any attention to them as we go. Sometimes, we stumble through and curse them for tripping us up. Sometimes, we put great effort into opening certain doors wide enough to squeeze through, only to have them slam shut behind us again.

In the art of storytelling, a "doorway" refers to a place in the story at which point there is no way for the character to go back and alter their course. It's a point of no return.

Sometimes the character makes the choice to pass through a doorway. Sometimes, the choice is made for them.

Life itself is a series of doorways--a string of rite-of-passage moments that connect the chapters of our lives like boxcars in a train. Like trains, life is often full speed ahead with no reverse. Only the doorways keep us from losing ground.

Doorways: Three Tales of No Going Back is a short story collection. Each tale depicts a doorway through which no character can ever return.

Cross the thresholds with them.

Everyone has a ghost story to'll even find a ghostly tale in Doorways. The story "A Compassionate Death" was inspired by the song "Fiddler on the Green" by Demons & Wizards. (And if that isn't a cool name for a band, I don't know what is.)

A few years ago, we took a family vacation to Gettysburg, PA. Lucky for me I have children who are interested in history and educational trips so going to Gettysburg was a no-brainer. (My teen daughter and her dad were also huge fans of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter so, for them, it was a fan event.)

Although we'd planned all our activities around historical touring, I had a persistent ulterior motive: ghost hunting.

Gettysburg is the site of the three-day battle that ended the Civil War. It was here that Lincoln delivered the famous Gettysburg Address. It was also here that tens of thousands of men died, their lives cut short by the tragedies of war. We saw bullet holes in buildings, field upon field of solemn memorials...and about a gazillion places offering scenic ghost tours.

Do you know how hard it was for me to pass them up? Wednesday is my favorite day of the week because it's usually a Ghost Hunters marathon on SyFy. I LOVE scaring myself. My family, on the other hand, aren't so much into ghost hunting. I really had to bite my tongue and soldier on through a week of no ghost hunting in one of the most haunted towns in the country.

The ghosts of Gettysburg must have sensed my disappointment, though, because, when we didn't go looking for them, they came looking for us.

Here is one of my favorite ghost stories...

As I said, while in Gettysburg, we planned several historic tours. In addition to a guided bus tour of the battlefields, we also visited each of the many museums in town. There was one particular museum that my daughter did not want to visit: The Soldiers' National Museum.

The Soldiers' National Museum is located in the former home of the National Soldier's Orphan Homestead. It's also the site of a spooktacular ghost tour where the brave (or foolish) can descend into the cellars to collection of battlefield relics. It took us a long time to get through the museum and my darling daughter hated the whole thing.
see where the cruel matron chained her children in crude dank dungeons--and worse. My daughter was NOT interested in running into the ghosts of tortured orphans.

I tried a comforting approach when encouraging her to go through the museum. "When we go in," I told her, "Just tell yourself we are a family who is looking to adopt a new brother or sister. That way, if any spirit attaches itself to us, it will be happy, not scary. When we get back to the door, the spirit will pass through and go on to find peace."

She stuck out her chin in stubborn defiance and grumbled at me.

The museum was neat. It had a life-sized scene of soldiers with cannons at the beginning and then went on to display artifacts, detailed dioramas, and a huge hole in the floor of the gift shop where you can peer into the basement, which had served as a dungeon.

She declared she had a headache when we first walked in. Then, as we progressed through the tour, she developed a stomach ache. Her maladies progressed to the point where, by the end of the tour, my husband carried her: she was completely flopped over his shoulder. At twelve, she was already long and lanky and her arms and legs just hung, listless. She was a total wreck.

I couldn't get her to look in the dungeon display at the end, literally a hole in the floor over in the corner. It seems to be an afterthought to the museum but, remembering what I'd told my daughter, I wasn't going to leave without at least acknowledging those poor unfortunates. My poor child moaned and groaned until we walked outside...

...and she had an instant, miraculous recovery.

I passed the whole thing off as her way of protesting the whole visit. Until, that is, when I looked at the pictures I took along the way.

This is the first photo I took in the museum, where my daughter's headache began progressing into her almost-coma. Look closely between the second and third figures. Although we passed through a lot of dark and dusty rooms in the museum, this is the only orb image I captured. If it had been dust, it would have appeared in other pictures--and I took close to thirty in areas like this one.

Take another look, this time at the zoomed image.

Could it be? Did my daughter attract a child's trapped spirit with the promise of a new home and new life? Did she lead it to peace when she took it out of the museum with her? I like to think so.

Leave a comment to earn another entry in the October Frights Giveaway...

What do you think of that ghostly photo? Do you have a ghost story and maybe even a photo of your own to share? I'd love to hear your tales!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

October Frights Blog Hop (III): Dark Poetry

Today's Spotlight is on...
poetry, fantasy, red fist fiction, speculative, dark
"My crow leaps in a sudden sweep of wing and sails past, the scent of his feathers a balm to a soon-broken soul."
This volume opens with a piece that leaves the reader wondering: Is the speaker victim or victor? Shadows can obscure the details that would cement our perceptions of individuals or events.
Sometimes, shadows tell us more than we want to know.
Shadows prevail in each of the poems in The Scent of his Feathers, but Krafton is not afraid of the dark. In this poetry collection, she explores the darkness that surrounds us, dimming the edges of our well-lit worlds. Themes of death, devotion, despair, and desperation are expressed in subtle shades, allowing the reader to determine their own definitions.
How a person interprets these pieces--a collection of tiny everyday deaths--will depend on the reader and the flavor of the shadows within that person’s heart. Join Krafton as she explores the inherent beauty of twilight. Sympathize with the shadows of a soul. Understand what drives a spirit to desperation. And remember: without darkness, there can be no light.

We live our lives surrounded by poetry...even when we can't see the words. Even those who can't quite say they read poetry are still affected the poetry that permeates our world. Song lyrics...memorable movie lines...that's all poetry. Really.

And we absorb it without even realizing.

When I was a kid, I memorized a lot of poetry. It wasn't the cool thing to do; in fact, I'm fairly certain my friends would have thought it was the least cool thing on the planet. (And we're talking back in the 80s. We put a LOT of emphasis on cool.)

Even uncooler was the fact that I was drawn to the shadowy side of poetry. In the 80s everything was neon and geometric and WHAM! and totally tubular...and there was me. Smuggling Stephen King into Girl Scout camp and carrying Poe around in my heart everywhere I went.

I loved poems such as "Sonnet: To Science", in which Poe villainizes science for preying upon the poet's heart and pretty much slaughtering fairy tales and daydreams forever. (And yet, I became a science major in college. Hmm.)

Even more haunting are these lines from Thebaid, written by the Roman poet Statius in the first century CE:

"Pleasant lives droop and fall, [Death] with his sword cuts through the [Fates'] threads, and hurries the stricken city to the shades."

Or this, from his Silvae:

"Lay aside thy fears [for the beloved dead], and be no more in dread of threatening [Death]."

As far as poetry goes, that's epic.

Maybe poetry was my way of paying heed to my heart, even if my brain made me choose a more practical path. That's the coolest thing about poetry--it's duality. You can be a poet without ever writing a word, if only you scratch the words upon your heart.

Enter in the October Frights Blog Hop giveaway by commenting on today's post...

...and here's what I'd love for you to share: a poem or song verse or a few poetic lines, something that is dear to you, words that are forever in your heart. Whether the words are your own or lovingly lent to you by another, share your favorite poetry with us!

And don't forget to pick up a copy of my dark poetry chapbook The Scent of His Feather, free on Kindle through October 5th!

Commented? Got your free book? Get back to the hop...pick your next lucky stop:

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Enter if you dare: NOR HALLOWPALOOZA Scavenger Hunt

Hallowpalooza I'm one of the sponsors of the Night Owl Reviews HALLOWPALOOZA Scavenger Hunt.
During this event I'm going to help you find some great new books. Make sure to check my featured title out along the way. :)

The grand prize is a $100 Amazon Gift Card. The total prize pool is $1,000 with 113 winners.

Contest begins October 1st and runs all the way through to Halloween so you have loads of time to get every single entry in the scavenger hunt. (I've participated before so I'll warn ya...some are pretty tough to find. Don't wait until the last minute to join in!)

Enter HERE:


And there's more...if you enjoy poetry with a dark, romantic theme, check out:

October Frights 2015: Paranormal and Horror Author Blog Tour

Halloween Blog Hop Time!

This year I'm participating in Clarissa Johal's October Frights Blog Hop! (And it's huge...just check out the link list down below)

I'll be posting throughout the hop with different activities so be sure to stop back often :)

This year, I'm thinking along the lines of Prize-a-Palooza:
Print copy of The Heartbeat Thief: historical dark fantasy
Print copy of Boxed & Broken: spec fic anthology
Print copy of M is for Monster: horror
And I'm pretty sure I have some Halloweenish things that would like to creep their way into your home. :)

(Question is, do you trust my judgment?)

Entries will be collected through comment during the duration of the hop. At the end, entries will be placed in a pretend hat and winners drawn. (Actually they'll be numbers and will pick the lucky digits.)

Stop by each post throughout the hop and enter as many times as you please! There are a great bunch of authors participating and this is a great way to get to know everyone a little better...

Frightful Freebies

You might be too old to go door-to-door trick or treating, but that doesn't mean you doesn't deserve sweets. That's why during the blog hop I'll be offering free copies of two of my books on Amazon...grab 'em both!

Free on Kindle October 1-5: Ebook copy of The Scent of his Feathers
Free on Kindle October 6-10: Ebook copy of Blind Alleys

(Download your copy today. Everyone's a winner :)

SO let's get the ball's a mixer so entry will be easy.
Since this is a paranormal and horror author blog hop, you're most likely either a reader or a writer (or both!) Leave a comment telling us which one you are, and tell us one of your favorite books or stories in the genres. That's all! Let's see who's here and what we're most fond of reading....

Stop back tomorrow for another chunk of Halloween Hop fun, but visit the other authors today!

See who else is frightening us: