Thursday, February 22, 2024

Aestrangel the Fallen by Maria DeVivo #DarkUrbanFantasy

Aestrangel the Fallen 
The Aestrangel Trinity 
Part 1
Maria DeVivo

Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
Publisher: 4 Horsemen Publications
Date of Publication: September 2023
ISBN: 1644509261
Number of pages: 240
Word Count: 63K

Tagline: Hell hath no fury like an angel scorned!

Book Description: 

Aestra, favorite teenaged angel of The Lord, has been sent to Earth to ensure that high school senior, Jake Parker, pursues the correct path. He is teetering between two options that may seem innocuous, but only one will lead him to positively impact the lives of millions of humans.

But what happens when the heart chooses love over responsibility? For Aestra, one fateful night will set into motion a chain of events unforeseen by even her infallible Creator.


From Chapter One: Learning the Ways

They tell me I should be dreaming by now, that the images and scenarios should be well-embedded into my brand-new subconsciousness, but for me, all there has been is color. No. That’s not right. When I close my brand-new eyes, all that consumes me are the shifting shades of grays and blacks, and I’m not sure if this is something I should be worried about or not. I’ve been in this human simulation environment for quite some time now, and I’m guessing that part of my “humanness” hasn’t kicked in yet. But I’ve heard the others talking and describing their dreams, and I’m getting anxious for my first one. Revalia, the closest thing I have to what humans call a “best friend,” has told me the fabulous tales of her dreams. She says sometimes she doesn’t even want to wake up. She says the images and sounds and smells are so overpowering, so overwhelming, that when she wakes up, she desperately longs to go back to that dreamy, lazy place between the conscious and unconscious mind. I wish I knew what she was talking about.

I know my lack of dreams worries Camael. He has told me many times the human experience is multi-pronged and multi-faceted, and in order for me to complete my calling, I must be immersed in the most basic of human functions. There’s no other way for me to complete my mission because there’s no other way for me to be a “believable” Guardian to the human I am assigned. And if I don’t complete my mission successfully, I will never move up the ranks and become a Guardian Angel. Camael is in a higher order of angels than I am—the Dominions. He’s my mentor, and it’s his job to prepare me for the journey that I’m about to embark upon.

Yes, I’m an angel—we all are: Camael, Revalia, the others, and me. But, my rank right now is that of angel—the lowest rung on the ladder. My goal is to move up to Guardian, and hopefully beyond. It’s the natural progression for my kind, and I’m excited to serve the Creator (or God, as the humans refer to Him) and all of His glorious wonders.

There is no time—not the way humans divide time up at least. I’ve always existed, yet there are others and elders who were here in Ilarium before I was created, and since I’ve been given the ability to communicate in human language, it seems hard for me to put into words all the thoughts and feelings that I had before. Before, there was just love and peace and a willingness to serve and please, but now there is an actual lexicon, a vocabulary of tens of thousands of words, that I’m still trying to figure out how to effectively communicate and verbalize what’s in my heart. Never having had a heart before, it takes some getting used to.

We angels who are preparing for our callings have been thrust into a human-like world in order to become accustomed to the actual life of a human. The Powers That Be have replicated the physical world and have created buildings and structures for us, given us languages, infused us with feelings, and given us body shapes all in preparation for our descent to Earth.

While angels are neither male nor female, I have the body of a woman now, and I will be assigned female attributes from here forward. I rather do like the contour of the female form, I always have, and perhaps my partiality towards women is what prompted the Creator to put me in a woman’s body. My wings are more defined too; they are heavy on my shoulders with the feathered tips almost irritating the backs of my arms and legs. As the human notion of time becomes more ingrained into our routine, the weight of my wings becomes more and more cumbersome. Camael has said that the awareness of our wings was important so when we lose them on our descent, the shock wouldn’t be so bad. I don’t know; I’m still trying to understand all my teachings. Like how we’re going to be given a set of human memories specific to us and our assignment, yet have all the knowledge of our angelic lives. The thought of blending the two perplexes me.

This leads me to right now. This time. This place. The unfamiliarity of it all. Camael says this is a school, and the human I am assigned to help goes to one. I know this. I’ve seen them, the humans. I’ve watched them from up high, but actually being in a school—the four white walls and chairs called desks filed in rows with children sitting at them—is quite an adjustment. I sit in the front of a single aisle. We’re in alphabetical order, and I’m Aestra, so that means I’m first in the row. Revalia is a few desks behind me. I turn my head to try to catch her attention, but she’s staring out the window, deep in what Camael calls a “daydream.” I look at her a few seconds longer hoping my gaze can break her trance, but she’s too far gone, mesmerized in her human thoughts. The one disadvantage to being in this human shape is we angels can no longer feel the thoughts and emotions of others without speaking them. If I had been free from this woman body, I would have been able to read Revalia’s mind, but then again, if we weren’t in these human forms, Revalia wouldn’t be having such thoughts as hypnotizing daydreams…

About the Author: 

Maria is the Author of the Amazon bestselling and award-winning series The Coal Elf Chronicles, the YA psychological horror series The Altered Experience, and the NA Urban Fantasy series The Aestrangel Trinity. When not writing about dark fantasy and horror, she teaches Language Arts and Journalism to middle school students in Florida. A lover of all things dark and demented, she takes pleasure in warping the comfort factor in her readers’ minds. Just when you think you’ve reached a safe space in her stories, she snaps you back into her twisted reality.


The World of Gnomes- Guest Blog with Jessica Ash #DarkFantasyRomance

I’m Jessica Ash, fantasy romance author and expert on all things faerie. I want to thank Paranormalists for having me as your tour guide today as we explore the fabulous world of gnomes. 

There are four different types of gnomes in my fantasy romance world of Underhill: Galentian, Scalian, the common cave gnome, and the garden gnome.  Each of them requires careful consideration when approaching. Today we’ll discuss garden gnomes, as they are the most likely kind of gnome you’ll encounter.

Garden gnomes are small, but surprisingly fierce. They’ve been known to attack for little or no provocation and are very protective of their homes. The good news? If you are lucky enough to have a dedicated garden gnome at your house, you have an excellent guard for your front door. They’ll keep a careful eye out for strangers and make sure your belongings, especially lawn decorations, are left alone. However, if you are ever lost in the fae world of Underhill, be wary of the garden gnomes. They will see you as an outsider and can be dangerous.

In my fantasy romance, A SWORD OF BLOOD AND ROSES, my fae hero, Logan, has no fear of gnomes. As what we humans call an elf, Logan is tall, strong, and possesses a very powerful magical Gift. To an upper fae like Logan, a garden gnome is nothing but a nuisance, but the wild fae have long memories. Luckily, Logan and Trina are off on their own adventure solving the mystery of why the Black Queen wants all of Trina’s family dead, and they leave the garden gnome far behind.

As you read the rest of my fairy tale fantasy romance series you’ll encounter more than grumpy garden gnomes and arrogant alpha elves. There are evil queens, trolls, and of course, my cheeky puca, Solanum—a mischief making shape-shifter who is chaos incarnate. If you love a deep, well-developed fantasy world, fairy tale romance, and alpha heros who steal lovers away to faerie, then you’ll love the HUNTED BY THE FAERIE QUEEN series. Come to the Dark Forest, there’s no cookies but there’s definitely magic!

A Sword of Blood and Roses
Hunted by the Faerie Queen 
Book One
Jessica Ash

Genre: Dark Fantasy Romance
Date of Publication:  June 30, 2022
ISBN: 9798201496227 
Number of pages: 322
Word Count: 85,000
Cover Artist: Firda Graphic

Tagline: When the Queen of the Fae is after you, sometimes your best bet is falling in love with the enemy.

Book Description:

Enemies to Lovers Dark Fantasy Romance...

He was supposed to kill me...Now I'm his prisoner.

I was supposed to hate him...Now I'm falling in love.

But neither love nor magic can save me. And Now time is running out.

When the Queen of the Fae is after you sometimes your best bet is falling in love with the enemy, even when he's your kidnapper…

Read all five books in Kindle Unlimited. Discover enemies to lovers romance like you've never read before.


Riding into the dry-as-bones mountains on the back of the puca, Logan’s anger seared bitter in his chest. It rolled off him in waves, pulling thunder down from the sky. He toyed idly with the storm letting his anger draw the danger of the lightning to him as he seethed.
Fifteen years away from his hounds. Fifteen years of Solanum’s running wild, the puca causing havoc wherever he went. Fifteen years of Logan’s life eaten away in the hole of the queen’s dungeons.

And now he was to kill witches for the queen—a fact that rubbed him raw.

Humans were amusing companions, why create trouble? Irritated with the brief flare of morality, he smothered it with brutal force. It didn’t fucking matter what he wanted. It never had.
Lightning cracked. The eerily silent hounds of the Dark Hunt tightened around him, their tense glances and snapping teeth reflections of his flaring emotions.

He had no room for second thoughts tonight. The Black Queen had given him no reason why she needed these witches killed, but if he satisfied her it might give him his freedom. At the very least it would give him some space. Maybe some time to figure out a way to stay out of the dungeons. And time to figure out how to truly extricate himself from her bloody dominion.

Because no matter what she had promised him, he knew, there was no way she would simply let him go. Not after the way he had betrayed her.

Solanum tossed his head and bucked. “Quit squeezing my ribs.” Lurid green faery flames leapt from his hooves, igniting short-lived cold fires in the dry Wyoming brush.

“Cease, horse,” Logan said, squeezing his legs a little more. Punching Solanum’s buttons felt good, really good. Just like his wrath at the queen felt good. Justified.

The puca tossed his long mane into Logan’s eyes. “Lay off, or you’ll be eating dirt,” he snarled, nostrils flaring red in the dimming light.

Solanum’s irritation put a hard smile on Logan’s lips. He tightened his legs and drove the puca harder down the hill through the brewing storm.

A hound pushed in too close. Solanum’s hoof lashed out, connecting with a solid thud. The hound’s yipe sounded inside Logan’s head as he regained his balance, cursing the hound’s behavior and the puca’s intolerance.

He was back. The hounds would get used to him again. And Solanum too.

Thunder crashed in the sky, following him down into the shadowed hills as he approached the witches’ lair. Nostrils burning from the ozone, nerves tingling, he distracted himself with the dark moist wind, manipulating it to blow through the dry autumn brush like a child's tantrum.

He laughed, the spiteful wind stealing away the dark sound as cracks of thunder echoed off the mountains. He let the anger simmer and the lightning moved further away. He wasn’t free yet, and he wasn’t suicidal. What he was, was trapped. And it pissed him off, the frustration riding him like a hag.

What could he do when the queen changed her mind and refused to release him from her service? What if the bitch thought she could use him then put him back into her dungeons Underhill, calling him to her side like a lapdog? He needed a way to show her there would be repercussions. He needed leverage.

In the distance, thunder rumbled. They tipped over the edge of the valley in search of the witch. A wavering glow of candles shone above the last few rocks.

Almost there.

The telltale traces of a spell raised the hair on the back of his neck. He extended his Gift to perceive what he couldn’t yet see. A labyrinth set by a single inexperienced witch. His lips twitched. As protection it might have worked, had the Faery Queen sent her regular henchman. Unluckily for the witch, the queen had unleashed him. The Dark Huntsman.

He would kill the wench, and be done with this thing between himself and the queen of the Tuatha De Danann. And when the queen refused to release him? He’d deal with that when the time came.

The wind carried the hot dry smell of sage mixed with the smell of fear and musky female. He inhaled the raw flavor of the witch, the taste of her fear and anger and power, slid down his throat, easing his rage.
The anxious hounds shifted around him, sensing the proximity of their prey. Solanum rounded the rock.

And there she was.

The sight of her rocked him back like a blow, almost knocking him to the ground. And he realized—despite the stasis, fifteen years had been too long a time to be without a woman.

Glimmers of power limned her naked body and the silver blade of the athame that gleamed between her breasts. Her legs were spread slightly apart, tensed for battle. Long black hair crackled and lifted with static. Her expressive face was poised on the edge of dilemma, her body caught between the need to hold the spell and the need for action.

He paused to let the feel of power and woman roll through him.



Green, almond-shaped eyes widened. Her stance firmed, her shoulders pulled back, and her full breasts rose, nipples tightened with cold or fear. Something wild and raw he hadn’t felt in a hundred years stabbed low in his gut.

His agenda changed.

The queen wanted to kill the witch. Why? His plan of placating the queen suddenly seemed weak. She’d never let him go without leverage, and here was leverage standing naked and lovely before him. He had a new plan.

Screw the queen.



Thunder boomed.

Trina glanced up the valley. The dying light made it impossible for her to see much more than the silhouette of a horse and rider barreling through the boulders and uneven terrain, tearing down the rocky hillside at an impossible speed. But no barrel racer would endanger their mount careening down the mountain in a thunderstorm. Or ride a horse the color of the absence of light with freakish red eyes. Only something truly inhuman would light up her inner sight with that particular eerie blue glow.

The acid in her stomach rose into her throat.

An elven lord.

Oh fuck! I’m screwed.

She swallowed the fear down. Her trap, her best effort, all her hard work. Dumb. Stupid.

Pathetic. None of it would hold an elven lord—a full adult fae whose power would make her trap look like an art project. She wished she could hide the evidence, like a small child wiping up the crumbs of stolen cookies.

Horse and rider skidded and slowed in a shower of ricocheting rocks. The enormous red  hounds flowed out, surrounding the labyrinth as the cloaked rider and his dark mount advanced.

She held still, athame at the ready in sweaty hands, prepared to bolt if she had the chance. Her eyes flicked from the approaching rider, distracted by the lesser threat of the huge, sharp-toothed,  yellow-eyed hounds encircling the labyrinth like silent sharks waiting for the command to take their prey.


“Damn shame to kill you, witch.” His voice was smooth, well-aged whiskey with a hint of brogue.

 “Then don’t.”

“What will you give me instead? A life requires a powerful exchange. And I was sent for your death.”

Trina tried to keep her face even and not reveal her panic. She had nothing he could want.

Anything of true power that a fae like this one might consider valuable, was safely out of reach and driving down the road in the van. Gone. Along with any reinforcements.

“How about honesty?” She offered in desperation.

“Funny girl.” The dark presence leaned forward, his impatient mount’s feet shifting on the gravel.

The nervous sweat on her back grew cold.

“Although I would enjoy taking the time,” his voice carried easily over the wind and thunder, “we shouldn't stand here bargaining. The queen awaits my report.”

The lord’s level tone distracted her and she was unprepared when the horse moved. The pair crashed effortlessly into the labyrinth, cutting a destroying swath across the short, brushy sage and heading for her at the center. Spectacular violent explosions burst into cascades of colored lights, as if her carefully constructed wards were merely firecrackers, instead of huge magical grenades.

The overwhelming smell of crushed sage rose, and she swore the evil-eyed horse laughed. She reached inside for what was left of her power, losing her grip on it when he leaned over and grabbed her arm. With no apparent effort, he hoisted her up.
She scrabbled for a handhold in an effort to not fly over the horse into the waiting sea of teeth and dogs. She tangled one hand in the long black mane and held tight to her slippery knife with the other.

Strong arms wrapped in leather tightened around her, forcing her upright, her toes dangling sidesaddle. Everything happening too fast. She barely had a grip in the long black mane when the creature flexed under her and they flew over the candles.

The flames blew out.

They landed on the other side of the labyrinth in a hard jolt. She slipped.

If I fall, I could run.

Before the thought had been and gone, her grip on the mane loosened. She slid to the side. Hot breath and the scrape of teeth on her ankle warned her, just in time. She yanked her foot out of range of the snapping jaws, and lost her balance. Making an instinctive grab for the mane with her right hand—she dropped the knife.

Her kidnapper growled and tightened his grip on her stomach.

She gasped for her voice. “Put me down!”

“I’m afraid it’s too late for that. I either kill you or take you with me.” The sparkling black blade of his laughter cut deep into her soul.

Accelerating faster and faster, they wove in and out of the treacherous rocks in a mad, blurring rush up the side of the valley. If she fell off now and hit a rock, she’d be roadkill. She anchored both hands firmly in the mane and leaned back into the solid chest of her attacker.

They raced on, licks of green fire lighting up the hill behind them. A deep maw of black within purple mist formed ahead, transforming the familiar landscape into a horror. The knowledge of where they headed slammed inside her brain.

Trina’s heart sped into a sharp staccato.

Words of denial formed in her constricted throat, gone long before she had a chance to know what they were.

Don’t make me go.

They rocketed to the top of the valley, the piranha hounds schooling tightly around them as they raced to the looming mouth of the portal. Steely muscles bunched and flexed under her.

Launching into the air, they flew into the mix of fog and darkness encased in the sound of her scream.

About the Author:

Jessica Ash loves dragons, magic, and romance, and is lucky enough to write about all three while consuming boatloads of chocolate. Her favorite fantasy is taking a luxury cruise up the Rhine where she could stare at the castles along the water and dream of faery. She writes dark fae fantasy romance where evil queens are on the hunt and strong heroes and heroines fall in love.


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Friday, February 16, 2024

Rebecca Rook's Top Ten Favorite Horror Novels #YAHorror

False Haven is a young adult paranormal horror novel that’s a cross between Holes and The Haunting of Hill House. In this novel, Vivienne Barston’s life has fallen apart. With her mother recently passed, her father disappears into his grief – leaving Viv to deal with her sadness and anger alone. Viv turns to destructive behaviors like petty vandalism, but after a disturbing stint in a juvenile detention center frightens her, Viv agrees to a court mandated service opportunity designed to expunge her record. The deal: work for six weeks with a trail conservation crew in the rural woods of southern Oregon, and she’ll be free with a clean slate.

She knows it’s her last chance to fix her life.

As Viv arrives at the small town of Hard Luck, Oregon, she meets her crewmates, all with troubles of their own. The unusual group travels to Grafton Stake, a remote and derelict former asylum with a haunted history–and now Viv must face the ghosts of the past while fighting for her future.

In celebration of the publication of False Haven, here is a list of my top ten favorite horror novels.

T. Kingfisher, What Moves the Dead.

This incredible and imaginative retelling of The Fall of the House of Usher is simply remarkable. By commenting on how the natural world that surrounds this storied family has clearly transformed into something unnatural, Kingfisher expertly sets the stage for an eerie experience.

Paul Tremblay, Head Full of Ghosts.

With obvious nods to The Exorcist and contemporary reality television, this novel is a chilling exploration of how impossible it is to obtain the truth.

Grady Hendrix, Final Girl Support Group.

Grady Hendrix is a must read for me. He writes female characters particularly well, and I love the nuance and complexity he’s able to evoke in the interpersonal dynamics between characters in the story.

Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box.

Metal music meets horror. This one kept me up all night and kept the lights on until dawn. Absolutely fantastic.

P. Jeli Clark, Ring Shout.

One of the most original novellas I’ve ever read. A fantastic examination of how the horrors of white nationalism were hellish and demonic.

Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Mexican Gothic.

Rebecca but in 1920s Mexico. This novel was lush, eerie, and nuanced, especially when examining class, gender, and race dynamics during this era.

Han Kang, The Vegetarian.

A body horror tale of subverting cultural norms in a collectivist society in pursuit of individual freedom, and the consequences that follow. Eerie and unforgettable.

Shaun Hamill, A Cosmology of Monsters.

The most tender Eldritch horror novel I’ve ever read. It’s hard to describe but a joy to read. Don’t miss this one.

Kendare Blake, Anna Dressed in Blood.

Absolute fun to read. This young adult horror romance has big Supernatural energy and is a fast paced read.

Caitlin Starling, The Luminous Dead.

A space opera paranormal horror story set within a cave system on another planet and narrated by an exploratory technician who oversold her skills to get a plum job. When things go wrong, they go really wrong.


False Haven
Rebecca Rook

Genre: Young Adult Horror
Publisher: Hellebore House
Date of Publication: February 13, 2024

ISBN: Print: 979-8-9894253-2-7 
ISBN: e-book: 979-8-9894253-3-4
Number of pages: 250
Word Count: 60,000
Cover Artist: Paper & Sage Designs

Tagline: Her last chance may end her life.

Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Vivienne Barston’s life has fallen apart.

With her mother recently dead, her father disappears into his grief – leaving Viv to deal with her sadness and anger alone. To cope, Viv turns to destructive behaviors like petty vandalism, and after a disturbing stint in a juvenile detention center frightens her, Viv agrees to a court mandated service opportunity designed to expunge her record. The deal: work for six weeks with a trail conservation crew in the rural woods of southern Oregon, and she’ll be free with a clean slate.

She knows it’s her last chance to fix her life.

When Viv arrives at the small town of Hard Luck, Oregon, she meets her motley crewmates, all with troubles of their own. The unusual group travels to Grafton Stake, a remote and derelict former asylum with a haunted history–and now Viv must face the ghosts of the past while fighting for her future.


Five faces looked up at her entrance: two girls and three guys. They sat around a conference table in office chairs that were sleek, professional, and out of place in the rustic lodge. An open box of cheap pastries rested at the center of the table, surrounded by water bottles, sodas, and napkins. A pile of hiker’s backpacks rested in the corner of the room. Viv cast the others a quick glance, then placed her pack next to the pile. She picked a chair at the end of the table, closest to the door.

Viv found five pairs of eyes studying her. She felt grubby after a long day on public transportation and tried not to squirm under the scrutiny.

“What’s your name?” one of the girls demanded.

“Viv.” She didn’t inquire about their names. None of them were there to make friends.

The girl who had demanded Viv’s name opened her mouth to say more but was interrupted by the arrival of a woman in her thirties with thin black hair pulled into a low ponytail, nut-brown skin, and a stocky, muscular build. The woman walked with authority and purpose, her shoulders back and her head upright, and when she came to a stop at the head of the conference table, she cast an assessing gaze over Viv.

“You must be Vivienne.” It wasn’t a question.

Viv nodded.

“Welcome.” The woman didn’t smile. “I’m Helen Whiteaker, and I run this program. You will report to me for the duration of your time here.” Helen’s dark eyes held a steel promise of order.

Viv found herself sitting up a bit straighter.

Helen swept a glance around the room. “We’re all here, so let’s start.” She then eyed the pastries in the center of the table. “I’d eat those if I were you. Our meals over the next six weeks won’t be spectacular.”

One of the boys reached for a Danish.

This seemed to satisfy Helen. “Welcome to the Conservation Corps for Teens. Let’s discuss what you’re here to work on for the next six weeks. At the direction of the Bureau of Land Management and the local county council, we’ll be providing the grunt labor for the demolition and cleanup of Grafton Stake, a local institution with several old buildings. We will also build a trail system, campsites, and recreational day sites around the area. The goal of our work is to help create a park-like setting for a future campground and visitor’s center.”
Helen paused. “Does anyone have questions?”

No one responded. The boy with the Danish ate loudly, without closing his mouth. Viv winced at the sight, then looked away. The squelching noise turned her stomach.

Helen eyed Danish Boy with a flicker of amusement in her eyes before continuing. “We have a tight schedule and will need to work fast. We work eight hours a day, every Monday through Friday, with lunches and breaks. Weekends will be spent at the campsite, or in town for short durations.”

Helen paused again and looked around the conference room with her eyebrows raised. When no one said anything, she sighed. “I’m going to be blunt: none of you are here because you want to be here.”

Viv felt the impact of the words like a dash of cold water across the face. She saw the others react, too, shifting uncomfortably in their seats or staring at the floor or the ceiling.

Helen stared at the table. “For various legal and privacy reasons, I do not know the specifics of why you are here, but I will not tolerate any insubordination or disruption on my team. If you misbehave, I will ship you home without a second chance. This is a job. You will be paid a stipend at the end of the six weeks—or a prorated amount for the time you’ve spent in this program. I expect professional behavior from each of you, towards me and towards each other.

That means no sex, no drugs, no shit talking, and no fights.”

The conference room was still. Viv’s stomach roiled with anxiety. She almost admired how efficiently Helen had asserted control over the group.

“Really?” Helen cast a skeptical glance around the room. “No questions at all?”

About the Author:

Rebecca Rook is a hard of hearing person who designs tabletop games, manages a little free library dedicated to sequential art and comics, and lives in the Pacific Northwest with two wonderful dogs. A 2021-2022 Hugo House Fellow in Seattle, WA, she also attended the 2021 Tin House YA Fiction Workshop in Portland, OR. Prior to this, she completed the wonderful Yearlong Workshop for Young Adult and Middle Grade Fiction at Hugo House. She writes young adult fiction in the fantasy, thriller, and horror genres.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Five Tips for Dating a Soul Master with K.R. Gastreich #PNR

Just be you! 

If he can’t love you for the amazing mortal you are, there’s no point going past the first date. Show him your truth, not the truth you think he wants to see.

Beware of his age. 

Young and inexperienced Soul Masters may not have what it takes to defend their realm against vile elements. (And vile elements will come after you, if you start messing with a Soul Master.) 

On the other hand, old Soul Masters are…Well, old. Even Soul Masters can get stuck in their ways. Anyone born before the Renaissance might be positively medieval - or worse.

Those in the know say the sweet spot for partnering up with a Soul Master is when they’re between 300 and 500 years old. No matter what the age, be on the lookout for bad habits from previous centuries!

Don’t worry about your age.

Fact is, the older you are when you start dating a Soul Master, the better. More than youth or physical beauty, Soul Masters appreciate the wisdom and experience gained from living a full life. 

And yes, being an “old soul” counts as old in a Soul Master’s eyes.

Details matter.

If he’s not treating you to dinner or getting you flowers or calling when he says he’s going to, just get out. Do not accept lame excuses like interdimensional travel and battles with demons. 

You are a queen. You should be treated like one. And if anyone knows how to treat a queen, it’s someone who was born three centuries ago when queens were still a thing. 

If you aren’t number one in his life, he doesn’t deserve you.

Make sure there’s an option for you to be turned. 

Honestly, if you can’t become an immortal too, what’s the point?

But don’t let him turn you without thinking it through carefully. After all, forever is a long time to be stuck with the same Soul Master. 

Soul Masters: The Hunting Grounds
Soul Masters
Book One
K.R. Gastreich

Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: February 7, 2024
ISBN: 978-1509253302
Number of pages: 320
Word Count: 90k
Cover Artist: Kristian Norris

Tagline: He wants to claim her soul. But can she capture his heart?

Book Description:

On a hike through the forest, Mayela stumbles into a terrifying world where immortals hunt souls. To survive she secures protection from a Soul Master. When he demands payment, Mayela fights back. But how can she fight the desire consuming her heart?

Every soul Nathan claims expands the power of his realm. In Mayela, he finds a rare gift that could guarantee his place among the Soul Masters. All he must do is secure her allegiance without losing his heart. And Nathan has no heart to lose. Or does he?  

With eternity at stake, Mayela and Nathan ignite a transcendent passion that breaks all the rules. Among the Soul Masters, a malevolent force awakens. The final hunt is on…

Amazon      BN     Bookshop


Then everything froze. Joni, the customers, the cars outside. All movement simply stopped. The chime on the front door sounded. My throat went dry. Somehow, I knew what was happening. I knew who had arrived, though I didn’t understand how or why.
Twisting around, I peered over the rim of the booth. Standing in the doorway was the man from my hallucinations, a creature of the dark plains. Tall and slim, broad-shouldered, dark in aspect. That same man had beheaded a snake in my kitchen. Not my kitchen, I reminded myself. The illusion of my kitchen, part of the same hallucination of an impossible world. The Hunting Grounds, he’d called it. Where we go to hunt souls.

My mind spun with the impossibility of what I was seeing. He couldn’t be real.  Yet here he was, in Joni’s shop. Except, he looked different. His hair was peppered gray instead of black. His skin seemed a shade darker. Or maybe lighter? It was like wrapping my head around a mirage, trying to remember what he looked like in my nightmares. But the simple force of his presence, the quiet luminescence of his spirit, was unmistakable. That was him.
Without so much as a glance in my direction, the man stepped into the shop and started toward the counter. Everything stirred at once. Several people looked his way. Joni let go a long, low whistle.

“Well, I’ll be!” she exclaimed. "We haven’t had anyone that drop-dead gorgeous walk in here since…Well, ever!”

She kept staring, mouth agape, as he ordered coffee. Then her face lit up, and she jumped into action, wiping down the table next to me.

“I’ve got an idea,” she said. “I think you should go for him.”

“What?” I croaked.

“He’s totally your style.”

“I don’t date men in suits.”

“What are you talking about?” She laughed. “Look at him! It’s fate. I can feel it.”

“Joni –”

“Sir!” She called. “Sir, we’ve got an empty table right over here. Next to the windows.”

Holy crap! I sank deeper into my seat. “I’m serious, Joni! Send him somewhere else.”

“Straighten up, beautiful.” She patted me on the shoulder. “Give it a shot. What’ve you got to lose?”

Then she was gone. I cast about frantically for an escape, but there was no back exit from the booth. Unless I wanted to crash through the window. Could I do that? Crash through the window?

Yeah, I could do that. But I’d have to leave my insects behind, and –
And there he was, taking the table next to me. His chair scraped against the floor. His clothes rustled as he settled in. Minutes passed while my heart pounded inside my chest. I kept my face turned, pretended to stare out the window, wondered whether it would hurt to feel the glass shatter against my skin.

Idle talk filled the coffee shop. Customers came and went, orders were taken, steam forced through frothing milk.

Still the man said nothing.

I snuck a glance in his direction. Damn, he was handsome. Heart stoppingly so. Desire tugged at my gut, a strangely familiar sense of attraction, as if we’d known each other before this moment. As if I’d been bound to him in a time before memory.

About the Author:

K.R. Gastreich is a recipient of the OZMA Award for fantasy fiction and the Andrews Forest Writer’s Residency, as well as a winner of the Women on Writing Flash Fiction Contest. Her fantasy novels feature high-stakes romance, gripping battles, and darkly lyrical prose. In addition to Soul Masters and The Silver Web trilogy, she has published short stories in Zahir, Adventures for the Average Woman, 69 Flavors of Paranoia, and World Jumping.

A proud native of the American Midwest, K.R. Gastreich lived for many years in Texas and then in Latin America before returning to the Kansas City Metro where she grew up. When not writing she enjoys hiking, camping, studying dance, and spending time with her family.

To learn about new releases and other events, visit K.R. Gastreich’s website at, or follow her on Instagram @EolynChronicles.

Friday, February 9, 2024

Author Advice with Connor Coyne #AuthorAdvice



How many times have I been at a party when someone has asked me what I do, and when I answer, “I am a writer,” they don’t respond with a question – “what do you write?” “how long have you been writing?” – but by saying something along the lines of “someday I’m going to write a book too.”

Imagine if you were to answer the same question with “I’m a neurosurgeon,” and the reply was “someday I’m going to cut open someone’s brain.” What if you were to say I’m a civil engineer only to hear “I’m planning a bridge and I’m going to build it.” As if these were straightforward and easy undertakings that someone could simply attempt on a whim.

They are not: these are professions that require decades of education, training, and practice. And so is writing. Yet there is somehow the widespread perception – and particularly at parties where alcoholic lubrication is on the table – that writing is something that anyone – especially the person speaking – can do and does do well.

While figures vary widely, there is broad consensus that in the 2020s, up to four million books are published per year, with anywhere from 75-85% of these being self-published.  As recently as 2010, when self-publishing was still a new endeavor, that overall number was as low as 300,000, and you could rewind a hundred years to 1907 when only 9,260 books were published

Over the last 117 years, the global population has grown by a factor of eight, and the number of books published per year has grown by a factor of 400. A reader today has roughly 50 times as many books to choose from as a reader in 1907. That might sound like a good thing, but have all of those books been proofread? Have they all been edited? Have they all been selected for publication on the basis of their quality, relevance, usefulness, depth? The answers to all of these questions are obviously “no.” And how many readers, having to sift through an additional 49 books simply to locate the book they actually want to read are going to understandably give up and reach for their phones?

At least on TikTok you’ll know whether you’ll enjoy the content within a matter of seconds.  Many books require hours of time to reach the same conclusion.

Historically, traditional publishers have served many functions, one of which has been to act as gatekeepers: poorly written, poorly conceived, irrelevant concepts were stopped at the door. Knowing that some minimum standards of quality, however biased or contradictory, were applied to every work of literature resulted in better bookshelves and more dedicated readers.

Widespread self-publishing, made broadly available through print-on-demand technology, e-publishing options, and user-friendly platforms like by monopolies like Amazon have succeeded in flinging the doors wide for any partygoer to “write a book” as they want. But far from enabling a broader readership able to access an infinitely vast field of options, reading is down worldwide. Self-publishing did blow the lid off the industry, but what it really opened was a Pandora’s box of mediocre writing!


How many brilliant minds, how many potentially luminous literary talents have had their ambitions snuffed by impatient and judgmental voices sneering them down when they dare to say, “someday I’m going to write a book?”

It is true that writing, like neurosurgery or engineering, is a delicate craft that takes natural gifts, careful observation, and years of practice to fully hone. But writing is also a form of storytelling via the written word. Unlike neurosurgery or engineering, some capacity for storytelling is embedded in every human who tells their parents about a fight they witnessed at recess or the frustrations of a conflict at work. Given this innate storytelling ability, why should we be so dismissive of someone who has declared their intent to write a book?

Much has been made of the value of publishers as gatekeepers of quality. These arguments tend to conveniently forget that mainstream publishers brought us Lance Armstrong’s memoir and Hillary Duff’s young adult trilogy. The seeming illogic of barely-proofread junk you can find at any Meijer’s at a time when most publishers have given up responding to well-crafted queries has an almost offensively obvious answer: publishers aren’t that interested in quality, except when it can affect sales. That is because, as Nicholas Sparks once confessed: “Publishing is a business. Writing may be art, but publishing, when all is said and done, comes down to dollars.”

Once you accept the truth that writers are artists working in a relentlessly for-profit industry, the liabilities of “traditional publishing” come into sharp relief.  When the industry is so oriented, it is also not surprising that while “Non-Hispanic white people account for 60 percent of the U.S. population; in 2018, they wrote 89 percent of the books.”  Arguments in favor of gatekeepers might imply that non-privileged groups are simply writing less or inferior work, but the more accurate assessment is that they are simply less-represented by a for-profit industry seeking to sell books to a more affluent majority.

In the long, long history of publishing, writers of unconventional work of merit, as well as racial, gender, social, and other minority groups would simply be out-of-luck if they couldn’t contrive a way for their writing to be seen as profitable by a profit-driven industry.

In the last twenty years, this has substantially changed. Widespread self-publishing, made broadly available through print-on-demand technology, e-publishing options, and user-friendly platforms (including KDP) have indeed flung the doors wide for many new authors to write and publish their work. And the result, as we have earlier seen, is the proliferation of millions of stories, many of which would have gone unshared and unheard in the past.


Sometimes, when I am at a party, and someone says that “someday I’m going to write a book,” they follow up with sincere and thoughtful questions about how it is going to work. I usually start with both a validation of the craft (“writing and storytelling is noble and essential work”) and some real talk about the challenges involved (“you are likely to spend far more time writing and querying and promoting than you are to be hearing from readers what they think of your stories”).

But usually, the conversation turns at some point to the mechanics of publishing, and especially what is better: publishing or self-publishing?

My answer is almost invariably, “it depends.”

My first several books were self-published and I am sure I will self-publish again in the future. On the creative end of the spectrum, self-publishing empowers writers to develop their storytelling without privileging profit or the desires of a mainstream readership. It allows authors to take control of the entire project, resulting in fewer creative compromises. It allows them to take chances that a risk-averse industry would shy away from (I self-published a four-part serial novel; no mainstream publisher would have touched such a project from an unestablished writer)!  You will also, certainly, receive a higher profit share than you would under any traditional publishing contract.

As for the critiques of self-publishing, most of them have solutions: do hire an editor and proofreader to offer insights and corrections you might miss on their own. Do hire a designer to craft your all-important book cover.  Accept that you are going to pay a price by going it alone, and that many contests, institutions, and other readers will take you less seriously as your traditionally published peers; that just means that you will need to think creatively and flexibly about marketing and promotions.

I have also benefited from the opportunity to have my work published in more traditional venues, and the advantages should not be lightly written off.  On the creative end of the spectrum, you will be working with editors and designers who you likely do not know personally and who will be unsparing in their recommendations. Sometimes, hearing “no” from an emotionally detached reader does result in a better story. It is also far easier for your book to reach readers you do not know personally, since you will be leveraging both your network and the publishers’.  And if your share in the profits is proportionally less, you are likely to make a greater overall profit, either in the form of advances or in reaching a larger community of readers.

As for the critiques of traditional publishing, many of them are not as dire as they have been in the past. The number of small presses, far from languishing in the digital era has proliferated wildly.  This means that you don’t have to settle for a vanilla, bland mass-market publisher; you have opportunities to reach niches less accessible or visible as in the past. Creative differences diminish when you are working with a publisher (and their editors and designers) who have passion and understanding and who believe in the writing you are doing.

In short, there is no cut-and-dry answer as to “which is better,” self-publishing or traditional publishing. Both have liabilities and advantages. Sussing out what is a better fit at a certain time and for a certain project is an effort that takes creativity, dedication, and discipline.

Fortunately, those are not qualities uncommon in the best writers today.

Connor Coyne

Genre: LGBTQ+, Literary, Magical Realism
Publisher: Lethe Press
Date of Publication: Feb. 3, 2024
ISBN: 9781590215944
Number of pages: 97
Word Count: About 24,000
Cover Artist: Inkspiral

Tagline: A new American myth for readers who enjoy a bit of madness in their weird fiction.

Book Description: 

Anxious Ophelia steps off the elevated train in the big city, hoping to start a new life with her summer hookup, far from her dissolving family and all of the traumas of industrial Rockville. 

Over the course of the next few hours Ophelia will lose her roommate, her money, and eventually, her sense of sanity when she sees a mile-long shark out on the lake, unwitnessed by anyone else, but obviously there, because if it wasn't how did she get so soaked? 

Ophelia cannot go back to who she was before sighting the beast, and the friends and opportunities she discovers all proceed from what and how she acts on that first, fierce, drunken night.


One August afternoon, in the midst of the hottest years ever recorded, with the nation crashing through wars, the stock market climbing like Icarus toward the sun, and the City funneling its poor people inland as it closed and demolished the last of the projects, Ophelia got off the Red Line elevated train at the Thorndale stop, squinted in the sunlight, and kicked her foot against the platform to free a stone from her sandal.

“Home at last?” she asked herself.

She certainly hoped so. There was so much here, and all of it everywhere: dozens of dark smears from murdered bubble-gum on each sidewalk square, hundreds of quartz-bright sidewalk squares lassoing each block, and thousands of glowing, sweltering blocks throughout the City with its millions of people.

To the west, between the tracks and Broadway, Ophelia made out a video store, a laundromat, and an internet café, all noisy with activity at four in the afternoon. To the east, between the tracks and the lake, she saw a canyon of tenement apartments—mostly brick, fronted with stoic windows, several stories high—going out for three blocks before the real high rises rose from the beach, blue and white and glass and concrete, almost unimaginably tall. Their heights arrowed sunlight back toward Ophelia, hitting her from all sides. And here, too, she saw people coming and going in the glow of late summer.

“Please,” she said. “Let this be my home.”

But who was going to answer her? Not the smartly dressed Black men talking in low voices, laughing softly, leaning out over the tracks to look for the next train. Not the old Polish woman in the headscarf murmuring her rosary to herself. Not the train attendant patrolling the platform. Or the sun, the steel high-rises, the brick tenements, the video store, or the laundromat.
Since nobody would answer Ophelia, she descended the stairs, passed through the station, and went out into the City.

* * * * *

Five minutes later, Ophelia stood in the lobby of her new apartment building, buzzing for the super to come down and give her the keys. The building stood near the corner of Kenmore and Ardmore, just one block from Sheridan Road and the lake. At eight stories high, it was the tallest of its neighbors, though still dwarfed by the towers just a block away. A white stucco lobby. Moll carpet. Plastic plants standing in shell-shaped alcoves cut into the wall. Nothing fancy, but with a breeze coursing down the hall from an open fire escape, Ophelia’s new home felt luxurious.

The super arrived and eyed her new tenant suspiciously. Ophelia wasn’t tall, but she was so skinny, especially about her face, that it created an illusion of height. When she looked in the mirror, her prominent cheekbones reminded her sometimes of a skull and sometimes of a praying mantis. Ophelia was white, pale even, with fine brown hair that wisped gently about her shoulders. She generally considered herself a fairly okay-looking person, whatever her other defects might be. Still, she knew wrinkles and exhaustion were about the corners of her eyes. Anyone could see this. Everyone noticed. She was only in her early 20s but seldom got carded for alcohol.

The super frowned but must have decided Ophelia was harmless because the woman hit the button in the wall, and the elevator dinged in reply. The super pulled open the accordion gate, and as they rose through the building, Ophelia watched each floor sinking out of view. She tried to ignore the stench of stale piss. They got off at the seventh door. The woman fumbled with the keys, swearing under her breath in some Slavic language, and opened the door to Ophelia’s apartment.

She’d seen Tasia’s pictures, but they didn’t do justice to the place. The hallway opened into a long white living room with a white carpet and a bay window looking out to the east. Slivers of blue water peeked in from between the lakeside towers. An arch to the left led into a slender kitchen, all Formica and old appliances, while another hall exited the back of the living room, passing the first bedroom and the bathroom and ending at a second bedroom with plenty of closets and built-in shelves along the way. Ophelia spotted a cockroach crawling across the stovetop and another in the back bedroom. Still, there was something so happy and fierce about the light and the skylike linearity of the lake that hope welled up in her chest anyway. This was fine. No, glorious! She’d deal with the roaches later. Maybe after Tasia arrived.

As Ophelia carried out her inspection, the super stood in the living room with her hands on her hips, waiting, but there wasn’t much else for Ophelia to do: everything had already been settled.

Several months ago, she had told Tasia that she was going to off herself before the end of summer if she didn’t get out of Rockville. “Let’s move to the City,” Tasia had said. “Get jobs. Get a cheap apartment. Hit the beach. Hit the good stuff.” The joke came up several times before the friends realized that they took the idea seriously. Even though Tasia’d gotten her Associates from the community college, she seemed stuck in dead-end cashier’s jobs and was dying of boredom. Rockville was killing her slowly.

And killing me quickly, Ophelia thought. She’d only been half kidding about surviving the summer. So, before she knew it, the two were creating profiles on, Googling neighborhoods, and emailing old friends from high school who had moved to the City. Tasia drove out one weekend, picked up some job applications, toured the apartment on Kenmore, and signed the lease. She’d gotten in on a special promo: no security deposit required. Ophelia had faxed her signature. They were in.
But if Tasia had set the whole thing up, she also needed another week to tie up the last loose ends at Spencer’s Gifts. “My manager got caught stealing inventory,” she’d said. “They want to promote me. I haven’t broken the news to them yet.” So, Tasia stayed behind while Ophelia went ahead with her sleeping bag and a backpack full of cleaning supplies. To get the new place ready. To make it homey.

Ophelia thought back to the 4th of July weekend when she’d lain in Tasia’s bed with Tasia on top of her and Rockville’s fireworks bursting out the windows. The taste of shandy on Tasia’s lips and her sturdy weight pressed down. How all the wretchedness and sorrow of all those years had collapsed that one drunken night. So ... were they friends now? Roommates? Lovers? Friends-with-benefits? With all the planning for their big move, this was one thing they hadn’t discussed. Ophelia wasn’t sure if it complicated things or simplified them.

“Okay?” asked the super.

“Thanks,” said Ophelia. “It’s wonderful.”


As if on cue, a dull thudding sound—four-to-the-floor with the bass bass bass—started thrumming down from the apartment overhead. The eighth-floor penthouse.

“Uhhhhh,” groaned the super. “They never stop.”

She let herself out, leaving Ophelia with the music.

* * * * *

It took Ophelia only a short time to unpack. She chose the second bedroom, near the back. It didn’t have a view of the lake, but it got more sun, and she could see the long sweep of high-rises following the shore and rising toward their downtown crescendo. Since she didn’t have a dresser or bed, Ophelia stacked her clothes in neat piles along the wall, unrolled her sleeping bag in the middle of the floor, and crushed a cockroach with her shoe before it could scurry for cover. Then, with the music still thudding overhead, she shouldered her backpack and left the building.

Ophelia found a supermarket just past the Thorndale stop on the other side of the tracks and spent the next half-hour in a reverie, pushing a shopping cart up and down each aisle and wondering what the next month held in store. I could apply to be a cashier here, she thought. I could apply to be a teller at that bank across the street. I wonder if I could apply to work for the El trains. I’ll need to make money somewhere! She didn’t worry a whole lot about what she did or didn’t need to buy. She had a crisp hundred in her wallet—a parting gift from her grandpa and some keychain pepper spray—but this was just the first of many shopping trips. Right now, she just needed to make it through the next week. She bought some Bisquick, some eggs, and milk. Instant coffee. Bananas and apples. Bread and peanut butter. A dollar box of cookies. A six-pack of cheap beer. Paper plates and plastic forks. A tall can of Raid. A small pillow. It ate up half of her money, but it was enough. She was halfway home before realizing she had nothing to cook the pancakes in or boil water for coffee. I can go back tomorrow, she thought. The peanut butter and beer will keep me going for tonight.

When Ophelia made it back, the sun was lower in the sky, and shadows covered the streets below. The thudding upstairs continued. She set her keys and phone on the counter, massaged her sore arms, and noticed that she’d missed a call from Tasia.

“Tasia?” she said when her friend answered.

Tasia gasped. “I didn’t think you’d call back so quick!” she said.

“Why wouldn’t I call back quick? I was carrying groceries. What’s up?”

“I’m bursting! I’m bursting! I can’t lie! I can’t come to the City with you!”


“I was going to turn down the manager job, O, but that was before they made the offer. I didn’t know it came with such a huge raise. They’re gonna pay me twelve an hour. That’s, like, twice what I make now! No way I will get a job in the City that pays that much. And you know how expensive it is there ... have you seen the gas prices yet?! We didn’t think this through, O. I can’t move now. It would be crazy. I mean, it would be fucking stupid. I mean, I’m gonna get fucking health care!”

“Slow down, Taze. We have been planning this for months!”

“I know, I know, I’m so sorry, it was my mistake too. It was just a dream, you know? It was a silly dream. A summer thing.”

“But our names are on the lease!”

“No security deposit, remember? So, we’re out that first month, but I’ll make that up in like a month. Maybe two. Point is, I’ll make it up quick! You could get out. It was my fuckup. I signed the lease. We just walk away. Hey, I’m the manager here now. I can hire you. Think how fun that’ll be. We can work at the mall together. Lunch at the food court. You know you love them burritos!”

Ophelia’s heart was sinking. It was already in the basement laundry room, and maybe it wouldn’t settle until it reached the bottom of the lake.

“I don’t know, Taze,” she said. “I was ... I was really excited about this. For us. I ... went shopping.”

“Oh, shit. How much money do you spend on us, O? It’s okay, I can pay you back. Now I’m, like, rolling in money! Compared to what I have been. You’ll come back to Rockville, right?”

Ophelia looked helplessly out the window. A seagull sailed down the street, caught between cool breezes from the lake and the warmer currents wafting off the brick buildings.
“I don’t know, Taze. I don’t know anything right now. You shocked me. I mean, you surprised me.” She took another long pause. “I have to think about it.”

“I understand. I’m sooo sorry to just drop this. But I’d be crazy not to, you know?”

“I know. I get it.”

“Call me when you make up your mind. I’d love to hook you up.”

Would you love to hook up?! Ophelia cried out in her brain. What does this mean? What did that mean? What does anything mean?

“I will,” she said. “I’ll call you soon.”

“Hey, nothing else, we’re paid up through the end of September. Take a vacation in the City before you come back!”

* * * * *

It wasn’t anything, Ophelia thought. It couldn’t have been much. She was drunk, and I guess I was desperate.

Am desperate.

Ophelia went into the kitchen and took another look at the food she had bought. She probably had enough money left over for a pot and a pan, but she wasn’t sure that would leave enough for public transit, and if she wanted to get a job, she’d need some train fare. She decided that she could boil water for coffee in a pan, leaving her enough to take the train downtown for a week. That’s ridiculous, she thought. Who lives like this? If I go back home, I’ve got a sure thing at the mall. I can go back to Grandpa and Grandma’s. Maybe save up. Maybe try again in a year. Or two. Maybe Tasia and I get a thing going ... if she wasn’t just drunk. If she really meant it. A car on the street below started honking. The honking continued, and Ophelia realized the driver was waiting for someone to come out of another apartment. She was drunk. She didn’t mean it. There’s no way I can stay here, and there’s nothing for me to go back to there, either.

Between the thudding bass and the car honking, Ophelia was starting to get a headache.

She wanted to bang against the ceiling with a broom but didn’t have one. She opened a beer with the bathroom towel bar, using the trick her brother had taught her. She shotgunned the beer, then had a second and a third, and then she was halfway done, so she went to the bathroom for a pee and drank the rest of the beers on the toilet. By then, she was getting dizzy, but at least drunkenness was a temporary relief. The honking had finally stopped, but the bass thudded on.

Ophelia went into her bedroom and shut the door, thinking it might muffle the sound, but it didn’t. An elevated train of alcohol slammed into her skull. She giggled sadly and reeled. Ophelia knew she was just as drunk as she’d been when she’d tumbled into bed with Tasia, but she was all alone this time. The walls and windows swirled around her, the bile danced in her stomach, and her ears popped like fireworks.

“Shut up!” Ophelia said and fell asleep.

About the Author:

Connor Coyne (he/him) is a writer living and working in Flint, Michigan.

Connor has published several novels and a short story collection, and his work has been featured in, Belt Magazine, and elsewhere. He is the director of the Flint-based Gothic Funk Press and is facilitator for the Gloria Coles Flint Public Library‘s writing workshops.

Connor is a graduate of the University of Chicago and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the New School. Today, he lives with his wife and two daughters in Flint’s College Cultural Neighborhood (aka the East Village), less than a mile from the house where he grew up.