Book Review: Whalefall by Daniel Kraus


Title: Whalefall

Author: Daniel Kraus

Release date: August 8th, 2023

Firstly – HUGE, MASSIVE THANK YOU!!!! to Randall at Simon and Schuster for scoring me an ARC of this novel this past weekend while in Toronto. I can’t thank you enough for this kind gift!

Since this novel was announced, I was on the edge of my seat. A diver gets swallowed by a whale. This past weekend, while in Toronto at the Andrew Pyper/The Demonologist event, this novel was continuously brought up, and, time-and-time-again, each and every person, whether a horror writer or reader said the same thing – “That is my biggest fear.”

It’s crazy isn’t it? The oceans remain largely unexplored and we really don’t know much, if anything about all of its secrets and what lives below where the light can no longer reach. And for the most part, what we do know is frightening as hell. You go too deep – KABOOM! – the pressure of the water crushes you. You surface too fast – KABOOM! – the gas inside you destroys you. You spend too much time in the water, the gases you breathe in make you delirious and you drunkenly drown. And of course – you’re always in danger of being stung by a poisonous animal, or ripped apart by a shark and its massive teeth.

The ocean is inherently scary place. Yet, being swallowed by a massive whale ramps up that fear factor to another level.

There’s been dozens (if not more) books over the years discussing this and many of us remember the Pinocchio scene from childhood, but Daniel Kraus has done something truly special here. I wasn’t sure just how special until I finished reading it, but even while cruising through the pages where I was staying in Toronto or while flying home, I knew I was reading a modern masterpiece.

What I liked: The story follows Jay, a young man on the verge of graduating high school and moving on with his life, a life he wants to leave behind. A life filled with people who idolized his dad and who blames him for turning his back on the man. His father, Mitt, was a local legend, a man who’d dived more than any and who knew everything there is to know about that world.

On this day, Jay is going on his final dive, a dive revolving around his father and while down there, he is accidentally entangled with a squid and swallowed by a whale.

From here, Kraus does a phenomenal job of keeping us compelled to continue on, to learn more and more about Mitt and Jay’s estranged relationship, what happened after their last time on a boat together and just how much of Mitt’s life-long lessons he’d bestowed on Jay, that Jay’s remembered. He needs to remember them because that’s the only way he’ll have a chance at making it out of this massive Sperm Whale alive.

I’ve seen comparisons to ‘The Martian’ for this one, and I can say that is pretty accurate. Displaced man in an inhospitable environment with time running out before they die. The similarities were fascinating considering one was on Mars while the other was inside a 60-ton whale, but it worked so well and I think it’s a great way to get folks captivated in a story that they may otherwise not take a chance on.

The father-son relationship was such an emotional element and was a highlight throughout. In fact – and I don’t think this is a spoiler – Jay isn’t swallowed by a whale until right around page 120 or so. But Kraus did such an amazing job of throwing us into the parent-child dynamic and the nature of their relationship that I was holy invested. In fact, I would’ve been content to continue reading about Jay’s dive regarding his father and what he’s trying to do and rehashing their differences, without even a whale aspect. Of course, the whale comes along and takes this to a whole other level, but Kraus’ portrayal of those two was spot-on and held me rapt from the very beginning until the whale arrives.

The ending was pristine, powerful and an ending befitting the nature of the story and the events that brought us to the final page.

What I didn’t like: While I loved the ending, I could’ve handled a bit more about the after. About what takes place post finale. I really can’t say more – spoilers and such – but what we do get is pretty vague, as though looking at the details through smudged binoculars.

Why you should buy this: I mean, a guy gets swallowed by a whale. If just reading that has you amped – get on this – preorder and sit back and count down the days until it loads on your Kindle or ships to your house. If you’re still on the fence, consider the father-son story line, the powerfulness Kraus infuses in the age-old story of a parent and a child at odds and both wondering how they can patch up their relationship while neither want to take that step. This one was just so, so very good and Kraus has absolutely delivered.


Book Review: Seed by Ania Ahlborn


Title: Seed

Author: Ania Ahlborn

Release date: May 28th, 2011

I had the oddest experience reading ‘Seed.’ Or re-reading it. I’m not too sure now.

As many of you may know, I read a lot. Back when I began to discover other horror authors outside of Stephen King, Ania Ahlborn was one of the first with her fantastic novels ‘Brother,’ and ‘The Devil Crept In.’ After reading those two, I purchased almost all of her others books that’d been out by that point. The next one I had on my TBR was ‘Seed.’

And this is where my confusion sets in. I’m 99% certain I started reading it previously. I’m 99% certain I didn’t finish it due to one more or another. But, the odd thing is, now having read it from front to back, I’m 99% certain I have read it before, as everything came back to me and I knew what was going to happen well before it did. It was so odd and I’ve never experienced anything like that before.

Saying all of that – I was excited to dive into this one for what I thought was my first reading of it. I love stories of entities spying, things coming to kids and latching on and how the past can haunt you, no matter how far away you move from it.

What I liked: The story follows Jack, a husband and father, doing his best to provide for his wife and kids while fighting the crushing sense of not being good enough and not providing enough. He plays part-time in a band and he has kept a secret from his wife for as long as they’ve known each other – that he’s running from something from his past and he’s afraid it’ll find him.

And you know what? It does.

It’s from this point on that Ahlborn does what she does best – creep the reader the fuck out. Few authors have a way of making even the most mundane moments drip with tension, but Ania has found a way to have each word carry a shadow throughout.

The pacing is fantastic, the family dynamics work so very well and as the back story unfolds more and more, you can see how frightened Jack truly is.

The ending is repulsively delicious – cruel but necessary – especially if you’ve been reading a lot of books that fall into this subgenre of horror fiction.

What I didn’t like: I wasn’t too keen on how long it takes for the reader to get a good morsel of back story. I think the dread (which is phenomenal and palpable) would’ve been ramped up even more if we got more of Jack’s childhood sooner than the teaser’s we get for half the book or so.

Why you should buy this: Having conclusively read this now, I have to say, it holds up as one of Ahlborn’s best and showcases just why she’s such an amazing author. Dark, violent, visceral and creepy as hell, ‘Seed,’ contains an atmosphere that few authors can conjure and never once does it waver. Not even when we all discover the horror that awaits us at the very end.


Book Review: Down in the Deep, Dark Places by Jason Parent


Title: Down in the Deep, Dark Places

Author: Jason Parent

Huge thanks to Jason for sending me an e-ARC of this one!

I’ve become a really huge fan of Jason’s work over the last number of years and one big reason is that he writes with such conviction across multiple genres. Sci-fi, horror, dark fantasy, you name it and Jason’s gonna nail it.

He also writes very cinematically, painting phenomenal pictures in the readers minds and really bringing the reader down into the muck and the grime.

It was with all of that in mind that I ravenously dove into his collection.

What I liked: The collection is solidly themed across the board (see title for that!) and features stories that border on flash fiction, all of the way up to novella length. It really allows us to see Parent’s ability to craft remarkable related and memorable characters.

The stories that stood out the most for me were;

‘Revenge is a Dish’ – the story of Maurice, a chef, taking a job with unexpected results. This one goes in a direction I never imagined when I began it and we get into a full on survival/island carnage tale in short order. HA! Pun intended!

‘Desert Shadows’ – perhaps the runner up as to being my favorite story in the collection, this one follows a WW2 plane crash and those that survive attempt to hike out and find safety/get help. Again, this is such a prime example of Parent’s cinematic prose-crafting that you’ll potentially develop a fear of flying AND hiking once you’re done.

‘The Exchange’ – this was a blast of a story. Ramsey wakes up, completely unsure of where he is, but he knows he’s sick and not doing so well. From here, it’s survive at all costs and we rip along at a breakneck pace. Just a fun time.

‘Down in the Deep, Dark Places’ – the title story is a rampaging mix of ‘The Thing’ meets ‘The Abyss’ and a part of me was frustrated that this wasn’t a stand alone novella or novel. This one is worth the admission price alone.

‘A Boy and His Dog (and Zombies)’ – this was (surprisingly to me) my favorite story of the batch. We follow Jack, and his dog Benny, as they escape from his dad’s apartment when they burst in and seemingly devour his dad. Once out, it’s survive at all costs and hopefully find his mom, who was stuck elsewhere when the zombie apocalypse arrived. This was just a really well done, emotional story and I loved reading about these two.

The stories throughout are all really great, but those ones stood out for me.

What I didn’t like: A few stories weren’t for me, but that’s the standard for collections and anthologies. Some will work for you that don’t for me and vice versa.

Why you should buy this: Parent is about as close to a sure thing as you can get with dark fiction writers. You know it’s gonna be a solid story with great characters and moments that’ll have you close to a panic attack. This collection is no different and definitely one you don’t want to miss!


Down in The Deep Dark Places

Book Review: House of Rot by Danger Slater


Title: House of Rot

Author: Danger Slater

Release date: June 14th, 2023

Huge thanks to Tenebrous Press for sending me a digital ARC of Danger Slater’s next release!

Over the last number of years, I’ve really grown to love Danger’s unique take on storytelling. I do struggle with Bizarro as a genre, but Danger has always had these underlaying aspects of extreme horror slowly growing and mutating more and more with each release. Now, with ‘House of Rot,’ we’ve arrived at his first ‘official’ take on horror. If you’ve read ‘I Will Rot Without You,’ or even ‘Impossible James,’ you’ll have a strong idea of what to expect with this one. A body horror story that is designed to distract us from the narrative of the human condition and relationship bonds that float just beneath the repulsive.

What I liked: The story follows newlyweds Elenya and Myles, who’ve just moved into their first place together. They’re excited – the future for them starts now – but almost immediately, things begin to happen that are unsettling.

First – it’s footsteps throughout the house at night. When they look, there’s no one there.

Second – a mold begins to grow and infest everything, even sealing the windows and door shut, preventing them from leaving the place.

Danger uses this all as a distraction behind what is actually happening and I’m sad when I think about how much this will be spoiled for readers as the book rolls out and reviews share the truth. It was wonderful and will remind you of some of your favorite movies as a kid, but it worked so well to be teased out that the clues subtlety wrapped within will be big massive billboards if you know the ‘why’ of what Elenya and Myles and experiencing.

The ending was really well done. It was emotional – as most Slater books are – but quantified the message Danger was going for. This was a love letter, masked in the form of a body horror novella, and I’d gather that a lot of what Danger is saying is really meant for his real-life significant other.

What I didn’t like: Can I just say Brad and leave it with that? Because (and I know he was purposefully like that) I hated Brad. I wanted to punch Brad. Well done, Danger, the next Brad I see today is gonna get punched.

I will also say, there were a few rambling moments, when Myles discusses different commercials or a similar thing, that just felt unnecessarily long. I suspect it was to show Myles’ character and offer some comic relief, but for me, I found them to be a bit out of place.

Why you should buy this: I’ve said it in probably every Slater review I’ve written – I would love to see him do a straight forward horror story, and while this is more weird/body horror than straight forward, this may very well be as close to that from Slater – and he nailed it. Danger always writes from the heart, his characters feel like your group of friends and the body horror components here were fantastically squirm-inducing.

Danger’s finally done it and this reader and reviewer smiled the entire time he read the book.

Thanks, Danger. Well done.


Book Review: Cadaverous by Jay Bower


Title: Cadaverous

Author: Jay Bower

Release date: April 25, 2023

When this one was announced, I was stoked. I’m a huge fan of heavy metal, demons and that age-old-classic tale of selling one’s soul to become famous. It’s a tale that seems to really play out more in the music world than other areas – it’s not often you see a story where a law student sells his soul to become the world’s greatest public defender – but it also works so well because every single person in the world understands that to become a huge and famous musician you need skill, determination and luck. And all at the exact same time.

I’ve not read any Bower prior to this, though I do have a number of his books on my Kindle, but with this one, I knew I needed to bump it way up the TBR line and get to it as soon as I could.

What I liked: We’re initially introduced to the story as an examination of events that occurred, based on the blog postings of our main character. From there, each chapter represents a blog post, where Gaige Penrod, lead singer of Cadaverous (THE WORLD’S MOST DANGEROUS BAND!), recalls the rise and brutal fall of their band.

Bower does a great job of setting the scene, one that’s typical and relatable. Small town USA. A group of misfit high school friends jam together at Gaige’s. When a huge metal show comes, they all go, seeing their heroes perform live. But when Ozzy Osbourne takes the stage, Gaige sees something nobody else does and from there, the story takes off. Making a deal with the entity he saw, with the aid of his new girlfriend, Lisa, Gaige instantly transforms into the best guitar player and is able to see the music in his head without having to learn it.

But in order for the band to rise, blood must be shed, and it’s at their first few concerts where they create a name for themselves, as audience members brutally die and nobody knows how or why its happening.

We get a really great mix of teenage angst, of Gaige struggling with how far he’d go to leave the town behind, leave his deadbeat, abusive father in the rearview mirror and get rid of his bullies once and for all. As the story rolls along, Bower makes sure to up the extreme levels of carnage and works really well to mimic or feel like you’re reading a song. You get to that moment, that crescendo when you know the breakdown is about to hit and when it does, the reader is pummeled with an action packed finale.

What I didn’t like: I understand the aspect of the blog posts, but it reads more like chapters of a book than an attempt at epistolary storytelling, which worked really well for me, but if you go in thinking this is more straightforward epistolary you’ll be mistaken.

The afterword felt off. Throughout there was no comments or observations by the researcher, so when they returned at the end, I only then remembered that it had started like that.

Lastly, I personally didn’t enjoy that another band member was randomly involved in the demonic aspect. It didn’t detract from the story, but it did make a few prior events feel odd, considering they knew about the demon beforehand.

Why you should buy this: If you like heavy metal, blood, demons and brutality, this one will be right up your alley. If you’re looking for a very solid “Behind the Music” type horror novel, this one fits that bill perfectly. The pacing was spot on and the characters were a blast and of course, the demonic entity was fantastic.

Really dug this one.


Book Review: The Wild Dark by Katherine Silva


Title: The Wild Dark

Author: Katherine Silva

Release date: October 12, 2021

Huge thanks to Katherine for sending me a digital copy of this and the upcoming sequel, ‘The Wild Fall,’ which will be released on August 3rd, 2023. When Katherine reached out, I asked if I had to have read this before the sequel and she said it was a must, so I dove into book one, to prepare for book two.

Honestly, I’d seen this one promoted a lot and people had been raving about it, but it remained on my ‘to buy list’ for some time. I’ve got book two preordered now and will be snagging book one shortly as a thanks to her kindness.

What I liked: I went into this one fairly blind. I’d read the synopsis a while back, but I couldn’t completely remember what it was about. I knew that it involved a former cop and a sudden change in life as we know it, but other than that I didn’t re-read the synopsis beforehand, deciding to let the story take me where it wanted.

The novel follows Liz, former police officer who has isolated herself from the world following the death of her partner, Brody. As a snowstorm hits the cabin she’s at, she begins to see odd shadows in the trees and hears strange sounds.

From there, Silva does a wonderful job of creating a new type of apocalypse. Some people can see their dead loved ones. The woods begin to overtake everything and massive, blood-thirsty wolves prowl the trees. Those who can’t see their loved ones believe the others are infected, and the world’s infrastructure crumbles as nature overtakes the cities.

Liz is a damaged character, one who not only recently broke up with her long-time fiancée, but is also struggling with the death of her partner, a man she loved, and blames herself for his demise. This haunting lingers, this sorrow threatens to drag her down, but it also dictates her decisions and this makes for a great protagonist, someone who we want to root for and want to see succeed, all the while they’re making decisions that can be frustrating and head-scratching.

The ending was great. It was filled with an emotional explosion of events but also does a nice job of setting up where the sequel may very well go. It’s also a cathartic ending and taken as a singular novel, you could very well read this and consider it done and wrapped up.

What I didn’t like: The novel jumps back and forth between ‘Now’ and ‘Then.’ While it works really well to fill us in on how Liz got to where she is now and the various relationship dynamics at play between her, Josh and Brody, I found that as the novel went on, it worked to slow the pace and dampen the anxiety and tension that the ‘Now’ chapters were building. I think a lot of it could’ve been condensed and the later quarter would’ve been phenomenally paced if it was purely made up of ‘Now’ chapters.

Why you should buy this: Silva has created a really great character with Liz. You love her, you loathe her and you can’t not follow her story. The setting is fantastic and while I would’ve loved to learn more about the wolves, they worked so well to keep tension high, especially anytime the characters were outside or in the wilderness.

This was a fun take on the ‘end of the world’ trope and I’m excited to see where Silva goes in the sequel.


3Q’s Special – Van Essler shares her Vial Thoughts!

We got an awesome 3Q’s today for all you folks out there who’ve been awaiting the next one!

Today’s guest joins us days before the release of her debut novel, ‘Vial Thoughts.’ Billed as a horror/steampunk mashup, people have been really excited to see this one arrive through Raw Dog Screaming Press!

Please, welcome Van!

Steve: What does your process look like once you finish your first draft? Do you immediately dive back into it, or do you take some time away?

Van: I always feel like finishing the first draft is an impressive accomplishment, so I try to take some time to quietly enjoy the moment before revising. Giving myself a few weeks to bask in the glow of getting the draft done helps me get a little distance from it. Oddly enough, I tend to prefer revising a project while I write something new. That way, my imagination is obsessed with the new project, and I can approach revising the other project with a more critical eye.

Steve: Do you believe cryptozoological creatures exist? If so, which one do you think has the best chance of being proven to exist?

Van: This is a tough one—I would love for cryptozoological creatures to exist, but little evidence to supports it. Actually, it’s probably best that way. Such fantastical creatures are far more appealing as mysterious, fleeting shadows people barely glimpse rather than something we could observe and study. If any of them did exist, I would put my money on Sasquatch. I live in the Pacific Northwest, so I have to support my local cryptid. Other Seattle area locals often tell me about their Bigfoot sightings or their latest expedition to seek him out. With the sheer amount of people hunting Sasquatch, they would have the best chance at finding some concrete evidence of his existence.

Steve: Of the books or stories you’ve released, which is your personal favorite and why?

Van: Now, that’s not a fair question at all. Hahaha. It’s hard to play favorites with stories; it’s like saying you have a favorite child. You love them all for their own unique qualities. If anything, my favorite is the one I’m currently focused on, so my debut novel, Vial Thoughts, is the story I’m doting on at the moment. Although there’s a lot of darkness in this one, but I’m particularly fond of the characters and how they engage themes like feminism throughout the story in a subtle way. I love reading books with layers of meaning and symbolism that doesn’t distract from the overall story, which I feel works really well in this steampunk gothic horror novel.

Steve: Bonus Fun Question – What was the best practical joke you’ve ever been involved in?

Van: I’m afraid I’m not much of a prankster. If anything, I’m the one being pranked. However, in my day job as a teacher, I can occasionally sneak one in on my students. This last year, Rick Rolling has resurged amongst the kids. They were constantly pranking each other with the song. I suppose they didn’t think I noticed or knew about the video, which gave me the opportunity to Rick Roll them good at the end of the school year with a last minute “important” video before our final project presentations. When everyone leaves snickering, I call it a successful prank.

Steve: Oh, that is fantastic!

Thank you so much for doing this Van and best of luck with the book launch!

To follow along, check the links!




Book Review: The Queen of the Cicadas by V. Castro


Title: The Queen of the Cicadas

Author: V. Castro

Release date: June 22, 2021

From the beginning, V. Castro has been one of my biggest supporters. I’m always humbled when people continuously show up for you, and V.’s always done that. From reading and posting about my work, to sharing in celebratory news and blurbing some of my releases, I can’t thank her enough.

In that same time, I’ve been trying to keep up on my reading with her written output, but she’s been super prolific and with my TBR getting to the point of giving my Kindle a migraine, I’ve fallen a bit behind.

So, it was, that I was excited to see this one, her Bram Stoker-nominated, Flame Tree Press novel arrive at the top of my list. I’ll be diving into her ‘Alien’ franchise novel soon, but this one was up first and I began with an anxiousness that I’d not felt in some time.

What I liked: The novel is split into two time periods, the 50’s and present day, and in each, we’re given strong women characters to root for. In the 50’s, its Milagros, a young, Mexican woman who has moved to the States to work on a farm and earn money to send home to her family. In the present day, its Belinda, a Mexican woman trying to find her path in life after some setbacks – personal and professional – but who has a connection with Milagros.

Set on the sprawling farm where a horrific event took Milagros from this earth, Belinda desperately wants to bring Milagros closure, while also trying to get to the bottom of what happened and why the land is cursed.

The scenes between Belinda and the Queen of Death were phenomenal and felt much like what Barker had done with his Cenobites and human characters. It was unnerving, creepy as hell and showed that she had power and restraint.

The folklore/Mexican-lore that influenced this and drove the narrative was really well done and it gave the story a textured and aromatic presence, bringing you directly into each scene as V. wrote like a possessed author pouring forth her soul.

The ending – while expected – still contained an emotional wallop, one that will hit the reader in the guts before pushing you to the floor and driving in deeper with your assailants heel.

What I didn’t like: I found that the novel suffered a few pacing stutters. We would be racing along only for someone to go to bed or they’d wake up the next day and seemingly not want to continue following what had been happening.

As well, there was a huge missed opportunity to create a truly frightening scene, when a Scy Fy ghost hunting show came to the farm. I was expecting a significant portion devoted to them filming, discovering and revealing what was happening, but instead everything involving them was over and done with in five or six paragraphs.

Why you should buy this: V. Castro has found her storytelling voice and fuck if it isn’t powerful and a refreshing change. Strong characters, women who want to have sex, not be taken advantage of and who’ll rip someone’s heart out if they look at them the wrong way. I’ve long been a fan of Castro’s work, but seeing her literary rise has been nothing but amazing and inspiring and this one is a solid read from start to finish.


Book Review: Blood Opus by L.J. Dougherty

Title: Blood Opus (Espionage Horror #3)

Author: L.J. Dougherty

Release date: April 3rd, 2023

I’ll be the first to admit, this is typically not the type of book (or movie) that I’d be drawn towards. I’ve never been a fan of James Bond, and spy books and movies/TV shows just don’t get me excited. But – and this is where L.J. has caught my attention – I do love creature-feature stories, and after following photographer-turned Nazi Hunter, Jimmy Knotts through two novels, I couldn’t wait to see what L.J. pummeled us with this time.

You 100% absolutely have to have read the first two novels in the series to read this one, so if you’ve not read those yet, stop here and go grab ‘Beasts of the Caliber Lodge’ now. Once done that and the follow up, ‘Primal Reserve,’ then you’ll be here and ready to roll through this, the third novel.

Jimmy Knotts is hot on the trail of his partner, Levi, and not knowing what he’s in for, as he seems to do, he heads in head-first, asking questions later.

What I liked: With ‘Blood Opus,’ you know what you’re in for, for the third novel. We’re going to get deception, double-crossing and a rip-roaring adventure story where our MC, Jimmy Knotts, is doing whatever he can to bring Nazi’s to justice, but to also stay one step ahead of death.

In this one, Jimmy follows the clues to a strange, secretive party in Germany. Dougherty is a master at painting the picture for setting – from what everyone is wearing, what they’re eating and the mood of the evening. It is fantastic and done in such as way that it’s not overboard. We don’t get 3,000 words on the food, but we get enough to have you practically salivate over how real the food feels.

As the story goes on, Jimmy has to partner with a foe, an M16 agent that he can’t decide whether he can trust him or not, as well as with a CIA operative that comes to help, just when Jimmy needs it most.

With this one, L.J. delivers perhaps his beast creature yet, a winged-harbinger-of-death that is driven by blood and swoops in to rip, shred and suck out the marrow. Every time the book introduces/re-introduces this creature, the tensions rise even more and from what Jimmy’s been through over the first two books, that’s saying something.

This one ended with a fitting finale, one that can be interpreted as the closing of the story and the end of the trilogy, or, setting up for potentially more adventures featuring Jimmy.

What I didn’t like: Like the first two novels, it does take some time before the creature shows up. This will either work or not for the reader, depending on just how much they love spy thrillers. As well, there’s a few characters that felt elevated but ultimately fizzled out, so the introduction of them felt a bit flat when it was all said and done.

Why you should buy this: If you’ve read the first two, the third is a no-brainer. L.J. writes so cinematically and everything is fully formed and easy to picture and see the action, not just read it. Dougherty has hit a home run here, Jimmy Knotts being one of the best main characters you’ll come across.

I only hope we get more in this series.


3Q’s Special – Ali Seay flirts with danger!


Hey hey!! Hello friends!

I know it’s been a little bit, but we’re back today with a wonderful 3Q’s from the also wonderful (and author of some truly brutal horror) Ali Seay!

Welcome Ali!


Steve: What does your writing time look like? Do you try and write at the same time each day? Do you have a word count you attempt to hit?

Ali: It looks like chaos most days. I get up somewhere between 8 and 10. I drink some sort of caffeinated beverage and I often write with that first cup. Some days I don’t get to it until after lunch or even later. The goal, most days, is to write before my afternoon walk. If my brain won’t cooperate, I recalculate. I used to be much more rigid, but I’ve calmed down a bit.

Most days I try to and manage to hit at least 1,000 words. That’s the low-key goal. Some days it can be triple that, others it will only be half that. Some days, I know my brain needs a break, so I don’t write at all.

I’m currently adding a day job to the mix so that should make things even more interesting.

Steve: You end up at an estate sale and discover an unpublished manuscript from an author you love. Do you keep it just for yourself or do you share it with the world?

Ali: I would absolutely have to share it with the world. After I read it first and savored the experience of course. But yeah, it’s no fun to discover something that amazing and then keep it to yourself. Everyone needs to know how lucky you were (and how generous you are).

Steve: Tell me about your newest release and why someone should read it!

Ali: My newest is slated for July 2023 with Grindhouse. It’s called Hysteria: Lolly & Lady Vanity. It contains 2 novelettes that feature women coming undone. It’s my (quite bloody) love letter to being a woman and the stresses that come attached whether you’re young or old. I wrote both pieces a while back and knew they’d need a special publisher to give them a home. No surprise that they found an excellent home at Grindhouse. I’m so excited for its release I can’t stand it.

Steve: Bonus Question! You receive an invitation in the mail from one of these two people. The invitation invites you to have dinner and spend the night in their home. Do you accept the invitation from Victor Frankenstein or Dracula and why?

Ali: Hmm. That’s a hard one. I would have to lean toward Dracula, I guess. I like to flirt with danger (at least in my mind) and I think a blood thirsty host with the ability to glamour and shapeshift is a pretty dangerous scenario. In my mind, all I see when I think of Dracula, is the deliciously vivid movie version with Gary Oldman. A visually stunning tale of love and death. I’d definitely have to traipse through the fog to see what that was all about.


Steve: Great choice!

Thank you so much for doing this, Ali!

To find more of her awesome work, check the links!