The Edge of the Cemetery by Margaret Millmore

EDGE
The Edge of the Cemetery by Margaret Millmore
Ghost Killer Book 2
Publisher: Creative Publishing
Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: Full Length (225 pages)
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by Orchid

Voted BoM by LASR Readers 2013 copy

There are ghosts and demons that wander among the living; they do not haunt in the traditional sense. Instead, they plague mankind with diseases and physical deformities, and once a ghost finds its victim it will haunt them for a lifetime. When George Sinclair discovered he could see these ghosts, and more importantly, he could kill them and save their victims, his life changed from ordinary to extraordinary, he’d become a ghost killer, one of the most powerful to be born in some time. George has embraced this new life and now works alongside his new friends, Billy Wilkinson and Phil James. Together they assist the Watchers, an international group of ghost killers and supernatural experts who monitor the world for ghostly sightings and demon infestations to maintain the balance between the living and the dead.

When San Francisco and the surrounding area are suddenly plagued by rogue groups of ghosts and demons, who appeared to have a leader of sorts, a 17th century musketeer demon, the Watchers know it isn’t random, nor was it the usual form in which ghosts and demons prefer to haunt. These monsters were also possessing their victims and forcing them to hurt others, and once the ghost killers arrived, the demons directed their human weapons on them. The question was, who was this musketeer demon and why was he directing these attacks?

As George, Billy, Phil and the Watchers investigate, they discover the 17th century demon is teamed up with a teenage boy, who they come to realize is a powerful ghost killer himself and more importantly, they believe he is being controlled by the demon and is now using its energy to kill people at will. Their search for the teenager and his demon lead them to the discovery of an enemy from their past and a mysterious prophecy. As they decipher the true meaning of the prophecy, they uncover a plot for murderous revenge involving a secret vault containing numerous malevolent souls and a plan to return those wicked dead to human form as directed by Satan himself. Unfortunately, they also discover the true purpose of the demon musketeer’s involvement, which is to become one with the powerful teenage ghost killer, creating a monster that cannot be defeated. With the clock ticking against them, they must find the vault and destroy it before it can be opened and kill the demon and his teenage host.

Written in the first person, this story is about ghost killers. Apparently ghosts have died fairly recently, but demons died many years ago, the longer they are dead, the stronger they become. Ghost killers help them to pass over, sometimes willingly but usually in the case of demons, unwillingly.

George and his friend and neighbor Billy are very strong ghost killers so when a very old demon is determined to take over a young boy and then release hundreds of evil ghosts into the world, it’s up to the ghost killers to stop them. Unfortunately all is not how it seems, and chaos begins to take over. Billy and George belong to the Watchers, a group of people who watch for unusual behavior and possible haunting.

This book was extremely well written and the story captivated me, keeping me reading until I reached the end. A sense of lightheartedness came into the story with George’s weapon of choice, a number two pencil. Billy uses a chopstick. Unusual weapons but they definitely work, sending the spirits to the other side. Several eerie scenes gave me the good old ghost shivers and it was surprising how the story fitted into everyday life.

Author Interview: Gail Bridges

Long and Short Reviews welcomes Gail Bridges whose latest book, Inn at the Edge, was released in December.  Inn at the Edge is an erotic horror.   All the characters in the book are artistic.  The main character, Angie, is a painter and her husband is a classical guitarist.  There’s also a writer, a fiber artist, a jeweler, a dancer, and a singer in the book.  Gail told me she had a lot of fun bringing all those talented people together in a single story.

 

I asked Gail how many books she had written and which was her favorite.

“How can you ask such a thing? It’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child! I can’t choose. I love them all equally.

“Fine. I’ll answer. If you insist.

“I have five books.  My first is Grayland, which is a Science Fiction survival story pitting modern-day humans against scientists of the distant future; and the second is In the Village of White Tents, a memoir about my adventures in the bizarre-yet-wonderful world of craft shows. Neither book is a romance, and neither is the least bit erotic.

“My next three books are published by Ellora’s Cave, and they’re as steamy as it gets without causing fires. The first is Paint Job, which is a novella about a young woman’s sexual awakening during the creation of a stunning work of body art.

“The second, a novel-length book, is America’s Darlings, the story of sexual gymnasts in a future Olympiad. (They have sex in front of an audience – and they get scored by international Olympic judges on how well they do. Think about it: mounts and dismounts. Floor routines. Coaches. Sexual malfunctions…crazy erotic fun!)

“My favorite book (okay, so I do have a favorite!) is also my most recent. Inn on the Edge was published December 2013 – and it’s erotic horror. It features a dangerous sex demon who captures a newlywed couple and initiates them into a delicious world of magic inspired sexual exploits.  Until the demon decides he has to marry our heroine. No matter she’s already married…”

“Do you ever suffer from writer’s block?” I asked.

“I’ve always thought I was immune to writer’s block – but, ha, the joke was on me. I finished writing my last novel, Inn on the Edge, about five months ago, and then I did…nothing. I wanted to begin my next big novel. I had a great plot and interesting characters, I’d even received my editor’s go-ahead – but I couldn’t seem to get it started. I’d sit at my laptop and think about the characters from Inn on the Edge.

“I couldn’t seem to move on. I recently realized (to be honest, it was my husband who pointed it out to me) that I was spending hours each day doing marketing and promoting of Inn on the Edge, which kept it alive in my mind; I was still there. He was right. Each time I’d write a bit of my new book, I’d catch myself wondering: What would Angie (the heroine of Inn on the Edge) have done in this situation? It made for very rough going.

“I’m pretty much over it now. I’ve started working on a fantastic new erotic horror novel about a sexual healer who gets drawn into things she doesn’t understand – and finds herself tangling with demons. The working title is A Touch of Dahlia.”

Gail has been surprised to discover how much she enjoys writing erotic horror.  

“My books aren’t blood-soaked, slash-and-kill horror, their horror derives from psychological terror, suspense, and the reader’s knowledge that something isn’t right,” she explained.

Gail’s work explores things that many authors haven’t yet touched on. The erotic horror field is in its infancy and Gail shared with me that her publisher, Ellora’s Cave, is actively trying to build their library of erotic horror.

“You’ve mentioned erotic horror a lot. How do you personally distinguish between pornography, erotica, and erotic romance?”

“Someone at a recent Romance Conference (the Emerald City Writers Conference) asked me this – and luckily, I had an answer for her. This is how I understand it: Erotic Romance is hot and explicit and may have as much sexual action as straight-up erotica, but the storylines of all Erotic Romances follow the arc of the romance. If there was no romance, there would be no story.

“Erotica, on the other hand, follows a character’s sexual journey. There may be romance and many of the same elements found in erotic romance, such as great storytelling – but the romance itself does not take center stage, the sexual journey does. In my mind, this opens up a story for more interesting plot lines.

“I love writing erotica, and erotic horror.”

Gail’s strangest writing quirk is that she can’t bear to delete anything from her writing.  However, she’s come up with a fix for that.

“I have a document for each novel that I call ‘deleted material.’ I cut-and-paste all rejected writing into it, no matter how long or how short the section – because I might end up needing it later! The ‘deleted material; document for Inn on the Edge ran to sixty-nine whopping pages,” she admitted. “But guess what? I didn’t end up needing any of it.”

“What comes first for you, the plot or characters?” I wondered.

“I suppose it would be plot before characters. But for me, there is a step even before that. The first thing I dream up for a new story is a scenario.

“For example: What would happen if humans of the future forgot how to have sex? What if it were bred right out of them? What if a very special young woman of a future civilization gathered her courage and went back through time to experience sensuality for the first time? What if she means to go back to her own time and share what she’s learned – but she falls in love with the man who initiates her into the world of sexual pleasure and finds herself torn between staying with him and fulfilling her destiny?

“(Nice!)

“Seriously, I’m re-reading that little scenario I just wrote, and I’m liking it. I’m liking it a lot. I’m even starting to get a feel for what the main character might be like, what a plot might look like. The wheels are churning in my head! This is a great demonstration of my creative process.  I’m going to copy and paste this scenario into my ‘Great Story Ideas’ folder for future consideration. Perhaps one day it might see the light of day.”

In addition to writing erotica, Gail also writes mainstream work under her real name, Evelyn Arvey.

“Gail Bridges is a combination of my middle name and my grandmother’s maiden name.  Unlike many authors (who have very good reasons), I make no effort to hide the connection between my two writing personas,” she told me. “Gail Bridges writes erotica, of course, and Evelyn Arvey doesn’t. I created my pen name because I would hate for readers of my mainstream work to stumble onto my erotica without warning.”

I asked Gail to tell us about her writing space.

“I have two favorite places. The first is where I happen to be right now: at the kitchen table. One of my cats is sitting so near my left hand that occasionally I have to backspace and get rid of random Qs and Ws. (Thank you, Linky.) The beauty of the kitchen table is that I am part of things and available to my family and don’t feel lonely. The problem is that – you guessed it – I am part of things and available to my family!

“The second place I love to write is at my local coffee shop, Zoka. Several times a week, for maybe three hours, I nab one of the small square tables in front of the long bank of windows. I order a mocha, maybe an almond croissant, and set up my laptop. The hum of background noise doesn’t bother me at all.

“Except for earlier today, that is. When I was about to pack up and leave the coffee shop, two women sat down at the table nearest to me. I couldn’t help but hear the interview that the older woman was conducting for the younger one, about a job that involved reading. Lots of reading.

“Reading? Very interesting!

“My ears perked up. Manuscripts were mentioned. Publishers were brought up.

“I scootched my chair a bit closer, trying to look innocent. They began talking about plots, and two-page synopses, and authors who don’t know a Story Arc from Noah’s Ark – and I realized that the older woman was a literary agent. Wow! They actually exist in the wild! Unfortunately, I had to leave the coffee shop after only a few minutes. There was dinner to prepare. And I was in danger of falling onto their table, I was eavesdropping so hard. Enough was enough.”

 

About the Author: 2_3 gail bridges Evelyn Arvey Author PhotoI have three grown children. I live in Seattle, Washington with my husband and our five cats. In the past I have worked in a variety of different artistic media. I have a BFA in painting from the University of Washington, and  for over fifteen years I made award-winning Fine Art Jewelry (silver and handmade ceramics) and sold my work at local and regional Fine Art and Craft shows. My business, Vivid Arts, flourished – but always, I felt driven to write. Two years ago, no longer able to deny the writing muse, I took an open-ended sabbatical from my art shows. Since then, I’ve written two novels and a number of published and unpublished short stories.

Website ~ Blog ~ Twitter: @GailWBridges ~ Facebook Author Page

2_3 gail bridges innontheedge_msrAngela and her brand-new husband Josh have just arrived at their honeymoon destination, a romantic bed-and-breakfast hotel on the breath-taking Washington coast – the Inn on the Edge.

But everything isn’t as it seems. The lessons that come free with the room aren’t for painting the lovely coastal scenery – the lessons are for better sex. Angie and Josh, shocked and titillated, immerse themselves in every sensual offering, with each other and with the three other newlywed couples at the inn.

It doesn’t take long for things to go horribly wrong. The discover that the old man running the place is a sex demon, who has been stealing their sensual energy. Worse, he’s dangerously in love with Angie and he has plans for her – plans involving an heirloom wedding ring.

Inside Scoop: This book contains scenes of unbridled demon-inspired passion—girls with girls, boys with boys, twosomes, threesomes and more!

A Romantica® erotic horror romance from Ellora’s Cavel

INTERVIEW: JAMES S. DORR

Long and Short Reviews welcomes James S. Dorr, whose newest book The Tears of Isis is scheduled for release on May 15 by Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing.  The book is already available for pre-order, though, so be sure and check out the links at the bottom of this interview. Also, the publisher is offering five free copies of The Tears of Isis up until May 15 on the book’s site on Goodreads.

James told me that the easy answer to “what inspired him to start writing” might be that it was a great way to meet girls–and he did, including meeting the Woman Who Was to Become His Ex-Wife.  Actually, though, he came a bit late to writing–having first been interested in the visual arts.

“In college, for instance, I was art editor on the undergraduate humor magazine, though I read a lot too, and the editorial post sometimes included doing some fill-in writing,” he explained.  “Then I was also doing some writing (and meeting girls) for the school science fiction club and, when I went to graduate school, I became a columnist and then an editor on a campus underground magazine, and then editor on a literary newspaper.  At that point I also got an graduate assistantship with the college’s academic computing center which ultimately became a full time ‘real job’ as a technical writer and editor.  This takes us to around the 1980s where, recession times striking the Midwest where I was located, I started freelancing real estate, business, and consumer topics for a series of newsletters.  Eventually I got a new ‘real job’ outside of writing but that gave me breathing room to get back to the artistic side of writing with short fiction and poetry.”

The Tears of Isis is a collection of short stories.  Seventeen stories in all  plus a poem to begin it.  Most of these have been previously published, but some are original, and with one exception none of these are printed in other collections of his work.  This would make this a collection of stories that will probably be new to the reader.

“If my selection does what I hope it will do, both in the stories I picked and in the order of their presentation, once you’ve finished you may have a feeling of having read something bigger than just the sum of the individual stories themselves,” he told me.

James has a series of short stories he’s been writing set on a far future, dying Earth in and around a vast necropolis called The Tombs.  Something more than a dozen of these have been published in various places, including three (two reprints and one for the first time) in The Tears of Isis, “The Ice Maiden,” “Mara’s Room,” and “River Red”  (another new one, “Raising the Dead,” is also scheduled for later this year in the White Cat Publications steampunk anthology Airships and Automatons).  At one time he had been in discussion with a publisher about a possible novel made up of Tombs stories as a sort of future history, somewhat along the lines of the late Ray Bradbury’s The Martian Chronicles, though problems with the economy at large seem to have put that on hold for now — at least for the moment.   He’s also being more aggressive in trying to place older stories as reprints in various anthologies, partly to get them back into circulation but also as a response to a weak economy. Also, he published a book of vampire poetry, Vamps (A Retrospective), with Sam’s Dot Publishing  two years ago and is thinking about the possibility of a second volume, possibly something like Vamps (And Friends) to allow in some poetry about zombies, werewolves, monsters and the like.

In the “Tombs” stories James began with a map–different areas were defined in terms of the people who lived there. More or less “normal” people lived in the New City and the Tombs; ghouls resided in the Old City;  boat gypsies lived on the river–they were fairly normal, but prone to disease from the river’s poisons, thus leading short but more intense lives;  more or less normal people again lived in the Port City but had a higher proportion of mutants.

“I asked myself how people made a living (in the Tombs itself, for instance, in trades related to undertaking: digging graves, guards to protect from corpse robbers, but also tombstone artists and carvers, curators for record keeping), and then what the social structure would tend to (in the New City an exaggerated version of parts of current America with rich getting richer and more privileged and poor getting poorer — and with hierarchies among hierarchies, as in varying levels of respect even among the city’s beggars),” he explained. “I asked about male-female relations (in New City, especially among the wealthy, rather ‘male chauvenist piggy’; on the river more rigid but also with the sexes more equal; in the Tombs the society in general tending to more individuality but also more collectivist when it comes to meeting mutual threats).  The physical world is a dying Earth with mixed levels of technology (the New City, for instance has electricity, but boats on the river are powered by sail) and with a sun that’s gradually swelling, becoming hotter to the point that it’s dangerous to go out in daytime, so part of the game is watching people within their various societies adapt themselves to a nocturnal existence,  But the thing is, you start with these strictures, then have to work through them to their logical conclusions (one story, as yet unpublished, shows how the New City can still be electrified; another, ‘Mara’s Room,’ reprinted in The Tears of Isis, alludes to a exodus from Earth at some time in the past, so the people we have now are those who were left behind).”

The names in the “Tombs” stories also follow conventions–arbitrary and somewhat of a whimsicality on James’s part, but conventions he feels can be useful to the readers as they become familiar with them. Males in the New City with names ending in “ar” are usually from the more wealthy, higher status classes (but not necessarily always since, after all, a once wealthy family could fall on hard times);  high-status women among the boat people have names that end in “an” (or “ann” or “anne”); ghouls almost always have names that begin with “m.”  In one story, a high caste boatwoman refers to herself as “Ana,” which, it’s explained, is a suffix without an actual name to precede it meaning she’s to be taken as “Everywoman”.

I asked him to describe his writing space.

“I have a particular room I use as an office with an off-line desk computer, file cabinets, and lots and lots and lots of bookshelves crammed with books, a lot of them reference.  Dictionaries. encyclopedias, atlases, travel guides, you name it.  Plus papers and who knows what else scattered all over when I’m in the middle of a project — I’m a messy worker.  I refer to this sometimes as the ‘computer cave,’ but there’s an outer part of the computer cave too, a second on-line computer on a table (with monitor stuffed onto a bookcase) and hooked to the phone for dial-up internet (I also refer sometimes to myself as the ‘caveman of computing’) in a corner of what was the dining room, that I use for email and for submissions, doing original writing on floppy disks which I can then switch to the second computer.  A lot of the equipment I use is second hand and cheap, but that’s my protection, too, from things like computer viruses:  important files are always backed up, and, should a computer become infected, I just replace it.   But also, as sort of a computer annex, I’ll also do work like downloading larger files, or files in more sophisticated form than the home computers are comfortable with, at the public library, thus getting some needed exercise too by usually walking downtown to get there.”

Finally I asked, “What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?”

“One word:  perseverance.  Some might even say pigheadedness.   But seriously writing takes time to develop so be prepared for lots of disappointments before the acceptance letters (emails these days) begin to come – and even then there’ll be lots of editors who, for one reason or another, may turn you down.  Don’t quit your day job.  You’ve heard that before,  but it’s true.  Even fairly steady success, especially if you’re into short fiction and poetry, is unlikely to bring in a lot of money, though there can always be exceptions (novels are better, but if you really want to make a living writing, go for nonfiction).  But then, money aside and, I think, most important,  find joy in writing whether you feel successful or not.  I think it’s the same with any art – if the joy isn’t there it isn’t worth doing.”

 

About the Author: 

5_7 Dorr-SMJames Dorr combines the charm of a gentleman born in the US South with the wiles of a near-New York City upbringing, the canniness of a one-time New England resident, and the guile of an outwardly stolid Midwesterner, or so he says.  It is known that he was born in Florida, grew up in New Jersey, went to college in Massachusetts, and currently lives in Indiana where he also harbors a cat named Wednesday.  He is a short story writer and poet working mainly in dark fantasy and horror with forays into science fiction and mystery, and  has previously worked as a technical writer for an academic computing center, associate editor on a city magazine, a nonfiction freelance writer, and a semi-professional Renaissance musician.

Dorr’s previous books include two collections from Dark Regions Press, Strange Mistresses: Tales of Wonder and Romance and Darker Loves: Tales of Mystery and Regret; a poetry collection Vamps (A Retrospective), from Sam,’s Dot Publishing (now part of White Cat Publications); and several electronic chapbooks from Untreed Reads and elsewhere, along with nearly four hundred individual appearances from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine to Xenophilia.  An active member of SFWA and HWA, Dorr recently wrote the introduction to Telling Tales of Terror: Essays on Writing Horror & Dark Fiction (Damnation Books, Dec. 2012).

http://jamesdorrwriter.wordpress.com

https://www.facebook.com/james.dorr.9

5_7 TheTearsOfIsisWhat do Medusa and the goddess Isis have in common?  Are both creatresses through destruction?  And why was Isis oftentimes depicted as weeping?

Herewith are some answers as parts of a journey through art and creation, of sculpture and blood-drinking, crafting musical instruments from bone, revisiting legends of Cinderella and the Golden Fleece, of Sleeping Beauty and Dragons and Snow White — some of these, of course, well disguised.  For is not art both the recasting of what is, as well as the invention of what is not?

The Elizabethan poet Sir Philip Sidney spoke of art as “making things either better than nature bringeth forth, or, quite anew, forms such as never were in nature,” so here there be vampires, and ghouls, and insects perhaps from outer space as well as from this Earth, and visions of Saturn and life in the sea, and other wonders “such as never were in nature,” but, above all, Isis.  The Weeping Isis.  Isis with vulture wings, breasts bare and smeared with blood as in the earliest forms of her myth.

And of course, as well, Medusa.

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