Release Day!


Today is the official release day for my new coming-of-age, urban legend novella The Girl Who Hid in the Trees!!  This is my 8th release (not counting my kids stuff) and I feel like I’m really truly hitting my stride.

I am so excited.  This one was a story that struck me in the head and I threw it down quickly.  That might explain why most people can read it in about an hour!

Haven’t snagged it yet!

US Link (ebook and paperback available!)

I stretched out the pre-orders a bit longer than normal for this one, as I wanted to try a few different things to promote it and so far it looks like it worked!

One thing I did was offering up the free four story PDF.  Haven’t snagged that?  It’s right here!

To everyone who already snagged both, thank you so much!

If you want to see what folks are thinking about the release so far, head here;

So welcome to the world officially, The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.

May you bring joy and terror to all who it you!


One Week!

Happy Friday friends!

Today’s blog is brought to you by the one week countdown until The Girl Who Hid in the Trees unleashes!!!  (Technically it drops next Thursday but… oh well!)

This week has been a fantastic showing of love for the book, which I wasn’t expecting at all!  Even though I’m a member of the Kendall Review team and consider Gavin a good friend, I had no idea that not one but TWO reviews of TGWHitT was going to be featured!

Interview #1 by Miranda!

Interview #2 by D.K!

Blown away!

Recently Becca also featured TGWHitT as well!

How amazing is that!  They all gave some great feedback!

I tweeted about what I was going to be featuring here this week, so I’m going to stick to the script!

How are pre-orders going?

A-MAHHHH-ZING!  I’m shocked!  We in the indie horror game typically don’t talk/discuss/reveal numbers of sales.  But I like to be up front with you all and keep you abreast!  I have the book listed for $2.99, which is where I like to price all my Novellas.  I find it’s a very nice, non-aggressive number!  Less than a cup of coffee some say!

Anyways, from that $2.99 I get $2.07 from each sale.  If you recall, all proceeds from this release are going to my good friend and fellow author Justin M. Woodward mom and her battle against cancer.  This morning we hit 40 pre sales!!!!  I’m so excited!  Truthfully, even if you ordered my book simply to support them, that’s so greatly appreciated!!!

If you haven’t here is the US Amazon link!

As for paperbacks – they’ve been formatted, and will officially be out for the release date, but if you’re a keen shopper/book type person, you may be able to find them already… hint hint.

I also dropped by Kendall Reviews for another follow up interview!

What I’m working on;

No real updates here.

The Stranger – copy edits happening now, out with a sensitive reader for beta-reading

Ritual – 75% done rewrites

What I’m reading;


Reading four books right now!

  • The Dark Game – Jonathan Janz.  So, so good!
  • A God in the Shed – J-F Dubeau.  Simply stunning!
  • Crow Shine – Alan Baxter.  This is a short story collection and each story so far has been so good!
  • Beyond the Black Gate – Joseph Sale.  I’m beta-reading this for an April release and I’m actually doing my second read through.  Sale is amazing!

Tactful review responses;

I just wanted to share a quick story here about reviews.  Every single review is a gift.  Someone has read your work and either loved it, hated it or was disinterested.  Every response is OK.  Last year I gave an author a two star review and a no star review (same author of both.)  They messaged me and thanked me for the constructive criticism.

When I released Left Hand Path, I was proud of it.  I loved the stories.  Unfortunately the editing SUCKED!  A few 1 and 2 star reviews brought this too my attention.  I thanked the people, unpublished it, had someone re-edit it and re-released it.

That is how 1 and 2 star reviews can help authors become better!

I always thank people for their reviews.  As many people say – “reviews are for readers not authors,” but in some cases they can help us be better!

New Kendall Reviews Monthly Column;

As you all know, I’m a member of the Kendall Reviews review team.  I submit probably 95% of my reviews there for featuring.  After chatting with Gavin, we’ve come up with an idea for me to do a monthly column that’s essentially a music playlist from what I’ve been listening too during my writing sessions.  I feature stuff here each week, but that will be completely separate and don’t expect crossover.  I’ll do my best to keep things fresh!

Tentative column title – “Tunes From the Crypt.”

Which brings me to what I’m currently listening too!

This last few weeks have seen me focusing on a few projects, and as you know, I like my releases bleak and sad.  So that’s typically reflected in what I’m jamming with.

First up is a band that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing and meeting!

Gojira.  They recently released a professional, full length concert performance and it crushes!

I have another live video for you as well!

God Seed – Sign of an Open Eye/Awake

God Seed rose from the ashes of the Gorgoroth name dispute to release an amazing studio album as well as a live album.  This performance always makes me want to live in a cave and drink from a skull.


Type O Negative – In Praise of Bacchus

Now if you’re thinking about sad, depressing but phenomenal music, Type O Negative is usually at the top of the list.  In Praise of Bacchus is probably my favourite TON song.


Solstafir – Fjara

I’m new to the Solstafir world, but these guys are just haunting.  Hailing from Iceland, they started as a black metal outfit before morphing into this post-rock atmospheric sorrow band.  Stunning.  Love it.



What’s up in life!?

Things are super busy, as it always is for all of us.  Auryn has been enjoying his soccer sessions and over the last few days he’s started to count to five on his own and identify so many colors and vehicles.  Its so awesome to see!

We also have a dog that we love dearly, OJ and we’re both probably guilty of us not sharing his photos enough!

OJ is turning 9 in October.  He’s an American Bulldog who we adopted and we love him too pieces.  He suffered a spinal stroke about 6 years ago.  He jumped off our bed and ruptured his spine losing the ability to use his back legs.  We did extensive rehab with him to get him walking again!  His only real side effect that he has is the loss of the ability to jump high and a constant shake if he stands for any period of time!  His resilience during his recovery was so inspiring and his trips to aqua therapy and his time in the pool became a thing of legend!

20190221_185702 Sorry for the blurry photo but he was licking me like crazy!

That’s it for this week!

Thanks as always for checking this blog out!


Book Review: The Red Labyrinth

One of the first movies I remember watching when I was a kid was Labyrinth from Jim Henson. The fantasy tale starring Jennifer Connelly as Sarah and David Bowie as the goblin King Jareth gripped me from the start. I was about 8 or 9 when I first saw it and since that fateful first viewing, I’ve probably watched it over 1000 times. Also since that fateful first viewing, I’ve easily been intrigued by any movie or book that focuses on labyrinths.

Which brings me to The Red Labyrinth.

I’m a newer Net Galley person, and I thank the author, publisher and website for sending me an ARC copy to review. I still feel such a rush and it’s such a privilege to be approved to review a book.
I typically don’t read many YA releases, but over the last number of years, I’ve become more intrigued with the burgeoning genre. Mix in some sci-fi and fantasy and I knew I’d enjoy this tale. The cover art hooked me and I couldn’t wait to delve into it.

I found Meredith to be a deft story teller. She laid out the basic premise of this post-apocalyptic world quickly and efficiently and I believed in the “new way” of life rapidly. The town they live in has two types of people, Skilled and Blanks. Skilled have powers, physical abilities that allow them to do different things. Your number (1, 2, 3 etc) indicates how many Skills you’ve been born with. Blanks have none and are considered the low class citizens. They’re either tossed outside the border wall that surrounds the town or they’re enslaved to work in the mines.

Zadie, the main character is a Blank. The story follows her as she tries to reconcile her past with her current life. She’s best friends with Limitless Landon, the towns golden boy. They’ve been friends for ages and it’s now bordering on love.

In the middle of the town lies the labyrinth. Myth has it that it was created to protect the Leader, who lives in the centre in his golden palace.

The Labyrinth is a mysterious fixture. Within is the character Dex who’s a monster and is blamed for the mindless blanks that return to the town after entering for one reason or another.
The story gets going after the town is held hostage by some new arrivals and Landon goes missing. Zadie decides to enter the Labyrinth and hopes Dex will help her get to the palace in order to save her mom, sister and Landon.

The story starts to lose some of its luster the further along we go through the labyrinth. It’s clear this story was written to be a part of a longer story arc, I’m assuming a trilogy, and Tate gives us bits and pieces of character back story as it goes, compelling us to continue reading and getting further into the tale.

The ending fell rushed and jumbled. As though everything we’ve read up to that point was undone within a few paragraphs and I was left angry and confused over this odd turn of events. I think it would’ve been better served overall to have ended the story when the palace comes into play and let the ideas after it be expanded upon in a second book.

As much as it fell apart at about the 75% mark, I still want to know what happens. I want to find out the resolution for these characters and find out just what the heck the end game is. That speaks to Tate’s character development and how invested I was able to get into this story.

Overall a decent introduction to this world, but I was left wanting more.

Cover reveal: 4 Dark Tales


Happy Friday friends!  Today marks an exciting announcement!

It is three weeks until The Girl Who Hid in the Trees is officially unleashed!

Today I’m proud to announce the cover reveal for a special bonus I’m doing for all current fans, as well as though who are new to my work.

Here is the fantastic cover for 4 Dark Tales.  This will be a FREE pdf download featuring 4 dark tales from me, which will be available next Friday exclusively at Kendall Reviews!

4 tales

The cover was once again created by my buddy Mason McDonald, who’s done a number of my covers now! (Wagon Buddy, YURI, Dim the Sun, Left Hand Path, Invisible and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees)

The pdf will feature the short story Eaten, which was included in the Dim the Sun dark poetry collection.  It will also feature the three short stories included with The Girl Who Hid in the Trees release.  I’m hoping by offering this up, more people will want to check out my work!

And as a friendly reminder, all pre-release proceeds are still going towards my friend Justin M. Woodward’s moms cancer treatment!  Here is the direct link to her Go Fund Me;

For full synopsis of each story, please check out the Good Reads link!

As well the pre-order link for US can be found here;

Now normally I do a bit about what I’m reading and what I’m up to, but I’m going to postpone that until next week.  I’m getting over a bit of a cold and trying to play a bit of catch up at work!

Take care!


Book Review: The Girl Without Skin by Mads Peder Nordbo

I wanted so much more from this.

The cover intrigued me and the synopsis intrigued me. It had everything I wanted and more.

But it became a formulaic, paint-by-numbers thriller, which felt more like it was written from a movie storyboard than written to be read.

The story is straightforward – Matthew now resides in Nuuk, Greenland, after a horrific experience changed his life. He accepts a journalist position and begins to create a little life for himself. Then a discovery – the suspected mummified body of a viking.

Things begin to unravel quickly when the photographers studio is ransacked and the guard assigned to ensure the body isn’t moved is brutally murdered. Matthew learns that in 1973 similar murders had occurred as well and then story bounces back and forth.

The characters were decent, although I was thoroughly annoyed with the first interactions between Matthew and a specific female character, and I found that even though the book was translated to English, the prose had a nice flow to it, with limited odd phrases.

Overall, I think this book was written specifically with the hopes it would be adapted to film, and it lost some of its depth for me because of that.

3/5 Stars

Originally published on Goodreads;

Book Review: Self Help by Al Snow

My entire childhood was based around spending weekends at my grandparents (who lived just down the street from us) and watching WWF. Back in those days we would start our wrestling day with some Canadian based All-Star Wrestling, then sit back and enjoy the superstars of the WWF.

I stayed a wrestling fan for many years, and stopped when the WWF (by then the WWE) purchased WCW and began to introduce some of their characters.

Maybe it’s nostalgia, maybe it’s curiosity, but I find myself devouring documentaries and biographies about a lot of the superstars from my wrestling watching days now. There were so many crazy antics behind the scenes, it blows my mind that they were even able to perform.

Which brings me to Al Snow’s biography Self Help.

This was a really fun read. I was never a fan of Al’s ‘Head’ gimmick personally, and I thought a number of times the gimmick went beyond the realm of “good taste” or beyond PG13. Saying that, he was always an incredibly talented performer and his battles with Mankind were amazing.

This book chronicles his journey from humble beginnings, trying to break into the business all the way through to the here and now.

Throughout Al pops in a number of life lessons that he learned along the way, which range from practical to hysterical. I found myself brought back to a time and place I loved, and reliving a number classic matches again.

I think this book will appeal to those who’ve loved wrestling their entire lives, the casual fan, and the non-fan. If you’re looking for a book about never giving up, believing in yourself and working your butt off to make your dreams come true, then you’ve found it!

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC approval!

5/5 stars!

Original review can be found at;


Book Review: A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World – C.A. Fletcher

I know I’m late to the game, but I recently discovered Netgalley and signed up to review.  I wasn’t too sure how many books I’d get approved for, and when I spotted the cover for A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World, I was immediately drawn in.  Reading the synopsis pulled me in further.  I have a soft spot for dog fiction.  Even though I typically try to limit how many post-apocalypse themed books I read, I knew I needed to give this one a shot.  This was the very first book that I was approved to read through the website, which I think made it a bit sentimental.

The narrative in this book is great.  It’s been some time since I’ve read a book told in diary form and specifically talking to the reader, but as it turns out, I’ve now read two back-to-back.  (The other was Will Haunt You by Brian Kirk, which was a phenomenal read for you horror fans out there.)

The story follows a young boy a number of years after the world began its demise.  The “apocalypse” in this tale was a fantastic twist on the genre and it made me stop and think about how it’s something that could very well happen.

The boy and his family live on a small island somewhere near the United Kingdom.

Then one day a boat is spotted and a stranger arrives.  The man is worldly, enthralling, but also different.  Leaving the boy with a sense of unease towards the stranger, his beard and his smile.

When the boy wakes up and the stranger has left with his beloved dog, the story begins, as the boy gives chase.

Overall this was a fantastic telling of the lengths a human will go towards their pet.  But as most of us dog owners know, our pets are more than just pets, they are family.

The boy has to overcome a number of obstacles, setbacks and roadblocks along the way, as he tracks his dog and the stranger that stole it.

I found there was a few bogged down moments in the middle of the book, which slowed the story and added details that didn’t move the plot along.

However, C.A. Fletcher rights this quickly, which leads us to an ending that I didn’t see coming, but it wrapped everything up and brought the entire story to a phenomenal close.

This tale I think will situate itself nicely with many YA, post-apocalyptic novels, while also separating itself purely with how it is written and the themes shared within.

4/5 stars for an enjoyable romp across an unfriendly landscape.

Original Review:

Apocalyptic Friday!

Hey all!  Welcome back!  As I said last week, Friday will be my main post where I update you all on what’s up in Steve’s existence.

During the week I’ll post random stuff, book reviews etc etc, but Friday will be the big one!

So, as introduced last week, here it is in an easy to follow format!

What’s up in my life:

Things are always busy in the Stred household.  Our son is learning so much stuff right now.  He counted from 1-5 on his own yesterday and is now saying a lot of colors which is fantastic.  He’s still identifying a bunch of dinosaurs and now its moved over into the world of monster trucks as well haha!

He’s had a couple of soccer sessions now and really enjoys the kicking the ball part, but not so much the standing and being patient part!

Here in Edmonton today its -20C feels like -35 with wind chill, which is -4 Fahrenheit for my Celsius challenged friends.  We’re currently under a snowfall warning.  We got about 10 cms over night, but we’re projected to get another 40 cms over night.

My next release, The Girl Who Hid in the Trees has been seeing some great reviews coming in!  Here’s one of the most recent ones from Becca;

It officially comes out February 28th, 2019 and the ebook is up for pre-order.  It is $2.99 and all proceeds are still going towards the Go Fund Me for my friend Justin M. Woodward’s mom’s Cancer battle.  If you want to find out more or donate directly, here is the link;

The link for US pre-orders for the book is here:


On Friday, February 8th, I’ll be releasing some info on a freebie that will be released in relation to The Girl Who Hid in the Trees, so watch this space and Kendall Reviews!

Works in Progress:

The Stranger.  I just wrapped up my last go through of this, sharing my THE END post yesterday.  This was a tough one to write, but I loved it.  I think it’s a timely piece of horror/unease filled with gore!  As always, expect bleak and dark.

The Ritual. As mentioned last week, this is my second novella that will come out this year.  I’m still planning an October release, but will be working on my third go through/rewrite on this messed up tale.  It’s horrible in the best way possible.

Young Prince Auryn (working title).  As some of you know, I’ve released 3 kids books.  Each one has been specifically written for my nieces and nephews.  I’ve got 5 of the 6 stories written in one of my notebooks for my son.  I’m starting to plot together this release, which I’m thinking will be my last kids release.  I want it to be a special keepsake so I’m looking at releasing this as a hardcover, paperback and ebook.  I’ll keep you updated!

What I’m Reading:

Ararat – Christopher Golden.  I really wanted to finish this last night!  I’m at 85% but got super tired and had to put it down.  My kindle tells me I have 35 minutes remaining.  I was hoping this would’ve been my 20th read of January, but finished the month at 19.

Darkest Hours – Mike Thorn.  Just started this short story collection and really digging it.  Funny enough, I had no idea Mike was a fellow Albertan, living 3 hours south in Calgary.  Found this out when Facebook told me he was interested in an event near me hahah!

A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World – C.A. Fletcher

Have to admit, this started out really well, but I’ve found this middle section to be a bit slow and bogged down.  Lots of repetition.  Hoping it bumps out of this.  I’m sitting at 50% so want to try and finish this up by mid-week.

Recent Reviews:

I have a few reviews pending over at Kendall Reviews to be officially posted.

I just read We Haunt You by Brian Kirk (5/5) and Occasional Beasts: Tales by John Claude Smith (4/5)

I also finished Who Goes There? by John W. Campbell.  You can see my thoughts here;

What I’m Listening To:

While I was knee deep in my final write through of The Stranger, I was listening to some fantastically nasty stuff.  Last week I shared a song from some bands, but these first three links are the full albums.

Batushka – Litourgiya.  Love these guys.  If you want to see some amazing live performances, I suggest youtube-ing more of their stuff.  Its phenomenal and the visuals are stunning.


Mgla – Exercises in Futility.  God this album is so amazing.  This is what I hear when I write.


Belphegor – Totenritual.  I first started listening to these guys when Bondage Goat Zombie was released and saw them live around that same time.  This latest album is stellar.


Now for the other stuff.  The not heavy stuff.  These have been on steady rotation for a while now, but both keep popping up for my 2020 release Wound Upon Wound.

Gunship – When You Grow Up, Your Heart Dies.  Gavin from Kendall Reviews introduced me to Gunship and I’m so thankful.  Their latest album Dark All Day was probably my fav 2018 release.  This song is one of the best on their and the second half I consider to maybe be one of my all-time favourite pieces of music I’ve ever heard.


Wintersleep – Weighty Ghost.  Some more great Canadian content for you all.  Last week I shared The Trews, Sam Roberts Band and Arcade Fire, three of our top bands.  Wintersleep keeps putting out solid stuff, but this is their most popular song and it’s a good one.


Thanks for checking this out!  We’ll see you next week, same place, same fun!