Friday, January 29, 2016

Yolanda Renee's Murder & Obsession: Cover Reveal!

Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.
To be Released March, 10 2016
As wedding bells echo like the ring of toasting champagne glasses in the ice carved mountains of Anchorage Alaska, detective Steven Quaid rehabs his grandfather’s cabin into a honeymoon cottage for his new bride.

When he returns from a hunting trip, Steven’s faced with five police officers, who “Want to talk.” Plagued by two unsolved murders, the Department is searching for answers.

The conversation comes to a deafening halt as the team finds a bloody crime scene in the bridal suite. "Where's her body?" is a question Steven cannot fathom.
Steven’s jaw clenches and his heart races. Images of Sarah streak through his mind. 

The silence breaks as an explosion of accusations vibrate through every fiber of his being. 

Steven bolts…

Although running is never the smart thing to do, Steven’s not thinking clearly and his escape into the wilderness of the Brooks Range proves almost fatal. 

This Steven Quaid mystery is both personal and heartbreaking.
   Yolanda Renee
At one time Alaska called to me and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I've traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries, and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.
Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two wonderful sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!
You can find Yolanda at:
New Covers:
After a gritty detective becomes involved with a beautiful widow suspected of murder, rumor and obsession obstruct his quest for justice.
World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective. 

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sporing up the dead with Tamara Jones

Give a big hollah to Tamara Jones, author of the wickedly wild and wooly horror epic, Spore.

TJ: Hollah back! Thanks for having me. :)

SRW: Okay, Tamara, lets talk turkey. Spore is a zombie book, yet not.  Its creepy in a good way, but doesnt deal with brain-eating zombies. Tell everyone what the books about. And dont be boring about it. Cause the books anything but boring.

TJ: The elevator pitch version is SPORE's about people who used to be dead and the comic artist who tries to save them. To expand a bit more, Sean Casey, a haunted, financially struggling artist, becomes the focus of community - and ultimately global - panic and desperation after dead people return to life due to a fungus in the water table. If the dead rising wasn't bad enough, one of the 'Spores' was a murder victim whose killer wants her to resume being dead, and someone else is killing children in ways that match Sean's worsening nightmares. 

SRW: Your protagonist is a foul-mouthed comic book artist. Cool! How has your background as an artist helped to form the book?

TJ: Actually, not as much as you might think. I was a graphic designer who mostly created retail packaging and corporate advertising. I had to research comic drawing just as much as any other topic for a novel. About my only freebie was knowing what the tools are, since I'd used many of them in college. The job itself - and Sean's frustrations with it - came straight from research and talking to comic people.

SRW: I have an affinity with you, my friend. I slaved away for 25 years in the art/corporate world. Enough was enough. I quit. Are you still toiling in the art world? 

TJ: Absolutely not. I do some of my own ad work, and I made the social media Chapter Graphics in the print version of the novel. That's about it.

SRW: What I really liked about Spore was the satirical elements regarding the fringe groups surrounding the revived. Lots of groups forming. Do you think this is a reality?

TJ: I think it very well could be. While we - as both a species and a nation - have always had splinter groups, factions, and protesters, social media has really amplified the ability to group with your own 'tribe'. Major events - like people coming back to life - only amplify that clumping together of like-minded individuals. It was fun dumping the various shouting, and often conflicting, factions into Sean's life.

SRW: So if the dead start coming back to life, whats the first thing youre gonna do?

TJ: A lot depends on how they are at arrival. If they're brain eating zombies, I'd hole up, grab a baseball bat, and wait it out as best as possible. If they're like the Spores, I'd probably be one of the people holding signs welcoming them back.

SRW: Spore, in my opinion, was more of a sci-fi tinged thriller than straight-up horror. Is that how you position yourself as an author?

TJ: Generally speaking, yes. I'm a speculative thriller author. 

SRW: I liked the easy-going, sexy nature of the two protagonists relationship. Based on reality? Can we expect a romance from you?

TJ: I'm not sure which of the protagonists you're talking about - Sean and Mare? Some of their relationship is like mine with my husband, only the roles are reversed. He's the no-nonsense, stalwart one, I'm the idealistic artist type. If you're talking about the other two, they're completely different from my life. As for a romance novel? I'm not ruling anything out, but it's not likely. That's not where my skill set lies.

SRW: Good!

My wifes a scientist. She took you to task about the title, Spore. Because she said it truly wasnt about spores. Feedback?

TJ: Well, it is, obliquely, about a spreading fungus (spreading panic, Sean's ever-increasing nightmares infecting his life, etc), and the people are called 'spores', so for me - and my editor - the title works. Are they actually reproductive bodies or seeds that grow new organisms? No. Of course not. They're people. ;)

SRW: I enjoyed the subplot about the spored woman coming back to life. Sorta made it feel epic. Plus, we dont usually get tertiary tales about characters like that. Very well done, Tamara. Was this something you always had in mind, or did it develop organically? Sporically?

TJ: Sporically? lol All of my books include intertwined yet independent story lines and I try to use them to show other sides of the main story that the primary protagonist doesn't see or experience. I think it gives a rounder, more layered experience. Plus it's just how my brain works. This character, and her journey, weren't specifically planned as much as unearthed as the story unfolded. I knew her name, and that she'd been killed but came back. The rest was a surprise.

SRW: You told me theres a graphic novel coming out based on the protagonist, Seans, work. This sounds uber-cool. Fill us in.

TJ: GhoulBane (the comic Sean draws throughout the novel) was picked up by Cohesion Press last summer. An 80-page graphic novel, GhoulBane - Attack on Minos, written by me and illustrated by Monty Borror, will be available worldwide sometime later this year (I don't have a release date yet). It's violent, funny, and a bit snarky. Very fun to write!

SRW: I wanna read more of your books. Whats your hawt genre? What have you written? Whats firing up your keyboard now?

TJ: I write Forensic Fantasy novels (aka The Dubric Byerly Mysteries) for Bantam as Tamara Siler Jones, so you can pick up Ghosts in the Snow, Threads of Malice, and Valley of the Soul pretty much anywhere. I have some ebook original short stories too, SPORE, GhoulBane coming up, and my agent's shopping around a quirky women's fiction thriller along with another graphic novel based within the Dubric universe. After that, I don't know. I have several things in progress including a book about two kids with special powers on the run from a murder rap and an assassin, and another Dubric novel about an arsonist. Everything else is still in the planning stage. You can check out my entire bibliography and read sample chapters at

SRW: There you go, folks. Check out Spore. Its very good.

Thanks for having me!


Amazon Page:

Barnes & Noble:




Friday, January 15, 2016

Hippie Check-Out Girl

I used to hate going to the grocery store with my wife. But that's all changed. There's a check-out girl that makes going to the store seem like a trip to Disneyland. She wears plastic flowers in her hair. A 70's styled-blouse balloons over her apron, the chaotic colors of the Scooby-Doo van. Unfortunately I was out of town over Christmas, but I just knew--absolutely so--she would be wearing antlers and a red nose.
But it's her endless patter that's the best: caffeine fueled, breathy and full of sing-songy cadences.

"What's a good-looking couple like you doing out on a day like this?" 

"Buying some stewed tomatoes for my mother," I answered.

"That sounds like an absolutely wonderful thing to do. You must be a very good son. And these stewed tomatoes are great."
My wife was dumb-founded, said nothing. But I wanted to keep the good times rolling, rocking with the early '70's.

"Oh, you've got some of the great sushi here," she said. "I recommend this one." Pokity-poke went her finger into the plastic cover. "Good for you, too. It's a shame not more people eat healthy. Honestly, I believe that we'd be a much healthier, happier country. I mean, is it too much to ask..."

She went on and on while I stood, fully enraptured.

At the end of our first encounter, she sang some sorta jingle. Told us to have a "wonderfully, blessed day."

Service like this, I don't usually expect. 

And then my glorious encounter ended on a glum note. The bag boy (baggist? bagger?) was sullen, the dark flipside of hippy girl, staring at me with stoned eyes.

"Thanks," I told him.

"Yeah, whatever, man." He looked at me, considering his follow-up. "Have a nice night." Then his gaze wandered outside. "Or day. Whatever. Just as long as you have a good."

Not only couldn't he get the time of day right, but he was night to Miss Glory Hippie's day.

My wife threw down the gauntlet and swore she'd never get in Miss Glory's line again. I, on the other hand, search her out every time I grocer.

Nothing changes in her sparkly, psychedelic, unicorn world. Always ready with a wonderful compliment. Makes me feel proud to purchase pork. But I have to wonder how does a kid become a hippy in the self-entitled, self-indulgent 21st century?

If it were up to me, in a grocery-store democracy, I'd vote her in as "Employee of the Decade." Just a few decades removed.

Speaking of hippies, there're two of 'em in my new comedy mystery, Bad Day in a Banana Hammock.  Along with a buncha other strange characters. Just sayin'.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Author J.G. Faherty's got The Cure for what ails you!

This week on Twisted Tales from Tornado Alley, I’m interviewing J.G. Faherty, author of the immensely entertaining horror suspense thriller The Cure.
SRW: Welcome, J.G! So…what’s J.G. stand for? Or will you have to kill me if I find out?

J.G: No, I’m a relatively peaceful guy, as long as you don’t try stealing food off my plate! I guard tacos religiously. JG stands for James Gregory. When I first started writing, I didn’t want to use the same name as what I use for business (Greg), so that when people search me they don’t get confused.

SRW: I have to say I really enjoyed The Cure. Why don’t you start by telling the readers what the tale’s about?

J.G: In The Cure, Leah DeGarmo is a veterinarian with the ability to cure animals—or people—just by laying hands on them. But there’s a twist. She only has a few hours to pass on whatever illness or injury she’s taken in or she suffers it herself. Some very bad people get wind of this and decide she’d make a great weapon, and she ends up on the run from both criminals and the military. Along the way, she discovers her powers are more complex than she ever realized.

SRW: Now, The Cure is being marketed as horror. While there’re definitely some horrific elements to Leah’s predicament and curse, I found it to be more of a suspenseful conspiracy thriller with light science-fiction overtones. It reminded me of some of John Farris’s earlier works (The Fury, etc.) and of Stephen King’s Firestarter. Am I way off base here? Is that what you were aiming for?

J.G: I never considered it horror. To me, it’s a supernatural thriller, or maybe a paranormal thriller, whatever they’re calling them these days. I think it got labeled horror by so many people because I’m known more for that than anything else, and because it came out through a publisher that does mostly horror (Samhain Publishing). I think Firestarter is an apt comparison; so is F. Paul Wilson’s The Touch.

SRW: I’m a sucker for colorful villains. In The Cure, you’ve created three: Tal, Del and Marsh. Bad guys every one of them. Not to take anything away from your protagonist, Leah, but when the trio of villains took center-stage, things become really interesting. Are you a villain fan? And where did you dream these bad boys up?

J.G: You can’t have a great protagonist without an equally strong villain. Yin and Yang. As for where they came from, Marsh was easy. I needed a corporate bigwig. Del and Tal came about because they are again two side of the same coin. Both evil, but Tal is stone cold and stubborn whereas Del is more complex, he has a sense of humor and is very adaptable, yet he’s just as nasty.

SRW: We share an affinity for four-legged pets (particularly dogs in my case). In The Cure, there’re a few scenes that made me cringe regarding animal cruelty. (Movie-makers can kill off the entire boat-load of occupants of the Titanic and I don’t shed a tear; put a dog in peril and I lose it). From your forward in the book, I know you’re against cruel animal exploitation and experimentation. Did you write this book in part as a pro-animal message?

J.G.: I don’t think I wrote it with that kind of message in mind, although it does seem like it. I am a big animal rights person, though, and for me nothing is worse than hurting an animal. I can’t even watch Will Smith’s version of I Am Legend because the damn dog dies. So, for me, there couldn’t be anything more evil than a villain who hurts animals, and nothing more gut-twisting than a veterinarian who can only cure the sick if she hurts another animal.

SRW: Furthermore, you’re pretty cruel to your heroine at times (and the hero as well). Nature of the genre, I suppose. As a writer of horror and suspense myself, at times I wonder if I’ve gone too far by torturing my protagonists. But sometimes you have to “kill your darlings,” so to speak. Level with me…did you want to pull back at all?

J.G: I don’t believe in pulling back, although I don’t believe in going too far, either. Whatever is appropriate for the plot, both from the writer’s standpoint and the reader’s. I’m cruel to the characters in the book, but never gratuitous. 

SRW: You paint a pretty negative image of today’s U.S. military super-power.  As a person (not a writer), do you believe the military’s capable of kidnapping a civilian and putting her through horrific scenarios as you’ve created?

J.G: Of course. I don’t think there’s anyone today who doesn’t think that. Our military buys and sells cocaine, supplies anti-US militants with weapons, and regularly co-opts academic research for weapons and defense purposes. You’d have to be foolish not to think they’d want to study the perfect assassin. I’m no conspiracy theorist, but my head’s not buried in the sand, either.

SRW: Without giving anything away, you’ve left the book open for a sequel. Hedging your bets, J.G? Or is one planned? If a sequel's forthcoming, what can you tell us about it (again without giving any spoilers! A hard task, I know.)?

J.G: I’d like to do a sequel someday. I have some ideas. But as of right now, it’s not in the works.

SRW: And here I thought I’ve been prolific! You’ve written a volley of other works, J.G. Tell the readers a little about your work over-all. And do it in iambic pentameter for fun! (Or anything else you can think of to break up the monotony of listing a huge paragraph about your other books.)

J.G: I won’t do a huge paragraph, not my style! 5 novels, 9 novellas, more than 50 short stories. Compared to some of the other people who started writing around the same time as me, I’m a turtle in a race with hares. If you want to get an idea of what I write, start with Carnival of Fear, my first novel, or my book of short stories, The Monster Inside. If you’ve got a tween or teen in the house, my Stoker-nominated YA novel Ghosts of Coronado Bay would be a good choice.
SRW: You have an interesting and varied background, J.G. How has this played into your writing? How about your haunted upbringing?

J.G: Well, I personally wasn’t haunted. Not that I know of, anyhow. But living in the Hudson Valley of New York, I grew up in an area known for ghosts, hauntings, monsters in the woods, cursed lands and roads, and Revolutionary War cemeteries. It’s also the UFO capital of the East Coast. So... yeah, lots of fodder for stories!

SRW: What’s next on your laptop? What can readers look forward to?

J.G: My next novella, Death Do Us Part, comes out Jan. 5th. It’s an homage to the old Tales from the Crypt stories, full of revenge, mayhem, and the living dead. After that.... who knows?

SRW: There you have it, folks. Go get The Cure and check out J.G.’s other tales of horror and suspense while you’re at it. J.G. can be found here:


Friday, January 1, 2016

The 12 Disasters of Christmas!

Yeah, sure, The 12 Disasters of Christmas is a lousy SyFy movie (which I, um, have seen, of course) dealing with a star appearing and bringing on unprecedented disasters. Or something. It didn't make a lick of sense.

Kinda like the weather patterns during the last week.

Ye gads, winter storm Goliath brought down a mess during the week of Christmas. While everyone's traveling, natch. In Kansas City, ice laid down a nice platform for its friend, snow, to follow. My daughter was in Iowa picking up her newest car (the third in her very short driving tenure if you're keeping track; here's hoping she doesn't blow this one up). One day, Iowa temperatures reached a high of 4 degrees! FOUR DEGREES! And the day my daughter was set to drive back in a Brand New Car, a blizzard hit. 

Meanwhile, my wife and I were in Oklahoma visiting her family. Christmas Day was a balmy near 70 degrees! Hawaiian shirt weather. Then some cosmic jokester decided to pull the rug out from under us. The next day, the temperature plummeted down into the 30's. It poured three straight days and nights, never stopping. Noah type weather. My in-law's back acreage turned into a swamp. Winds were crazy, impossible to battle. At one point, we couldn't get our car doors open. Once we did, items flew out in a crazy Dorothy from Oz tornadic swirl. For the first time, I actually heard the wind howl! Not in a horror book either! A flag post rattled, sounding like a flock of geese heading South. All night long, the winds hammered at the windows, shaking the house, wanting to come in from the cold. Grocery carts were blown into busy streets causing mass chaos. Then ice and snow swept in as the temperatures kept dropping.

And the poor people residing in the Southwest? They have no idea what snow is.

"What are these strange white flecks in the air, Ma?"

"Hope it ain't nuclear fall-out, Pa."

Yep. The 12 Disasters of Christmas. At our doorstep. We don't need a cheezy SyFy flick to tell us the end-times are near!

On that cheery note, there's one thing that remains constant on Christmas. Two things, really. The first is family. They're always there, always open and loving. The second thing, of course, is a special tradition at my in-law's house. Without fail, every year on Christmas, the power goes out. (Some traditions are better left to the past and fond memories, I think). One year, a squirrel sat on a power line and pulled everything down. Another year, the storm of the century knocked everything out. This year the winds were the culprit. A Christmas miracle! Every year!
Here's hoping the weather straightens itself out in the new year (I'm giving you a stern look, Weather!).

Speaking of screwy things, my new comedy mystery,  Bad Day in a Banana Hammock, is now out. Read it now, yell at me later.