Friday, March 25, 2016

On the couch with Yolanda Renee's dysfunctional love-birds

Today, I’m sitting in on a session with Sarah and Steven, the protagonists of Yolanda Renee’s terrific mystery series. But these characters need serious help. The doctor is in!
 SRW: Steven…Sarah…this isn’t high school. Why do you guys break up to make up?

Steven: You ever hear of make up sex?

Sarah: STEVEN!

Steven: Sorry. The truth Doc, Sarah did what she felt was right. Circumstances, stupid circumstances that we've overcome.

SRW: Sure, you’ve been through the ringer. More serial killers than a ranch-full of Mansonites. Still no excuse to sabotage your relationship. You guys are in love, right?

Sarah: Of course we are.

Steven: Right. Stupid question, old man.

SRW: Wait...what? "Old man?" I'll have you know 59 is the new 38! Ahem. Where was I?  Oh!…why do you keep reaching for new obstacles? There’s Scott from Sarah’s past. There’s the floozy psychiatrist Steven dallied with (the less said about her, the better). Show me love, guys, show it!

Sarah: Don't be silly.

SRW: Yes, well…I didn’t mean that literally. Anyway…start working together as a couple. You guys are always off on your own tangent. Not to be cruel or anything…but do you know how many lives might’ve been saved if you weren’t both so danged stubborn?

Steven: Off on our own tangent? Lives saved? What lives? These murderers had their own agenda. Nothing I did or Sarah did could've changed that.

SRW: Maybe not, but communication’s everything, guys. Do you communicate? No, not really. Stephen doesn’t read Sarah’s emails and Sarah, you just shut down. Walk up on a hill or something. Really? Let’s try an experiment. Have you both been honest with each other? Tell each other one thing you haven’t been honest about.

Steven: Yeah, okay, you win on that. I was stubborn. Stupid really, and I've admitted that.

Sarah: And I've forgiven him. But you're right, I do shut down when the stress becomes extreme. I just need to think. I can't do that in a crowd or with people yelling at me from all sides. My security team, always thinking they know best, talking like I'm not even in the room. Deciding what's good for me like I'm a child. I have the right to make my own decisions. Even if they're wrong!

SRW: Of course, but let's continue. Share something you haven't been honest about.

Steven: Despite Sarah's confidence and strength – I'll always feel as though I should protect her.

Sarah: When Alice entered the picture, I truly thought he'd choose her over me. 

SRW: Um, guys, do you really want to be making out at my hourly rate? You can get a room later. Please! Look…I keep hearing you two talk about love. But you’re two different, very obstinate people going down their own paths. Isn’t love supposed to be about companionship?


Steven: Exactly what do you want us to say? We love one another, and each of these incidents has only brought us closer.

Sarah: Yes, doctor. What do you want?

SRW: Fine. I'll explain. Steven…the next time you get on a big serial killer case, how’re you going to treat Sarah?

Steven: I've already arranged double security 24/7. And, we'll talk about the case. Discuss the issues. Sarah has a natural insight. I won't overlook it again.

SRW: You’re not off the hook, Sarah. The next time a stalkery killer comes after you (which seems to happen a lot…something we need to address in a future solo session), how will you handle it? Holing up and painting? Or sharing it with your partner?

Sarah: We've agreed to share everything. No more secrets.

SRW: Steven, you’re more obsessed with Sarah’s ex-love, Scott, than she is. Issues much?

Steven: If you only knew the stunts he's pulled!

SRW: Let's use our indoor voices please. So...he's still a thorn in your side?

Steven: (Crickets.)

Sarah: We'll be married soon. Scott will lose interest then, I'm sure.

SRW: Sarah, open your heart. I mean, not in a gross clinical way. But, you seem to be frozen in your emotional being. Let’s take a few minutes, find our inner selves.
Sarah: (Shooting eye daggers.) Frozen, doctor? What does that mean exactly? I don't respond the way you want? I don't start cat-fights with rivals. I don't break down crying because someone's threatening my life. Instead, I've learned to shoot a gun. I prefer facing things head on. It keeps me from going off half-cocked. 
SRW: Yes. Well...hmm. Sarah, who’s after you these days?

Sarah: No one. At least not that I know of. Why, have you heard something?

Steven: (Takes Sarah's hand.) The doctor just wanted to see your reaction. There is no threat. Is there doctor?

SRW: No. But what if there was/ What’re you gonna do about it, Steven? Retire to your coppish man cave?

Steven: (Glowers in silence. Tough room, tough room.)

SRW: Um, maybe we better move on. Let’s play a game. I want you to use “I” statements. No judgment. For instance, “I feel I can’t go to the bathroom because I’m constipated.” Um…just an example. Steven, you start.

Steven: I think it's time Sarah and I left. You obviously don't appreciate that a man can solve such unusual cases and still hold onto the love of a woman as unique as Sarah, despite the obstacles. This session might have been a lark for you, but for us it only brings home the rightness of our choice.

Sarah: I am a very blessed woman. Thank you, doctor, for pointing that out.

SRW: Great! I see I've been a big help. I accept credit cards, cash, but no personal checks. Wait! Where're you going? You still have--

(They left arm in arm, eyes only for the other. Not even a thank you. They deserve happiness...but I wonder if they'll ever find it...)


Murder & Obsession: On sale here!


Love is never easy, but for Detective Steve Quaid and his fiancée, Sarah, their road to happiness is laden with minefields.

Steven’s countless hours reconverting his grandfather’s cabin into the perfect honeymoon retreat for Sarah soon becomes a bloody crime scene detailing her death. Accused, Steven escapes into the Alaskan mountains, biding his time to find the truth…

Who killed his beloved?

A seasoned woodsman, he outsmarts even the cleverest of trackers. All but one…

Mauled by a grizzly, a half-dead Steven barely escapes.

But will he live to bring the true murderer to justice?

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Secret Origin of Kobal!

My first Samhain book, Demon with a Comb-Over, had a curious beginning, befitting its strange otherworldly nature. And contrary to the title, it's not about Donald Trump.

When I first started writing Demon, all I knew is that it’d be about a failing stand-up comedian who makes the huge mistake of heckling a demon. One with a comb-over. I needed a name for the demon, though.  A darkly appropriate, amusing, yet foreboding name.

Delving into intense research (um, Wikipedia), I found a long list of demonic names (who compiles these lists, anyway? Moreover…why?). Instead of beginning with the letter “A”—the way I’ve chosen some names in the past—I jumped to “K,” a nice middle-set letter. 


Name sounded good. I read on. Couldn’t believe it. “The demon prince of mockery; the archangel of laughter.” Perfect. First  time out. Fit the tale beautifully.

Now. I’m not one to believe in paranormal situations, supernatural circumstances. But if I didn’t know better, I’d think that Kobal had been leading me to his name. He wants his story told.

His name is Kobal. Fear him. But never, ever mock him.

Demon with a Comb-Over by Stuart R. West. 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Assteroid Apocalypse!

I have a secret. A dirty, dark secret. For twenty years, I've been living a lie. I've been putting on a happy front but have been covertly living in agony.


Okay, let's all get it out in the open, have a chuckle or two about it. Hang on a minute, I have a picture from my ANALysis here somewhere...

You know what it's like to sit on razor blades? I do!

Why, you ask, have I suffered in silence for twenty years without doing a dang thing about it? Chalk it up to stupid male pride. And embarrassment. I mean, honestly, who wants to 'fess up to having bottom issues? Even worse, spreading cheeks wide for a stranger. Gah. Besides, when I'm on the slender side of things, the pain subsides. But, human yo-yo that I am and currently tipping the scales again, the pain came raging back. With a fiery, itchy vengeance.

I thought to myself, "Hmm. Something's not right down south."

So. After much cajoling from my wife and constant burning torture, I bit the bullet. Made an appointment with a rectal specialist. (And what a thankless job that's gotta be, right?)

Here's the thing...I was expecting a mean, round, elderly doctor. Who wouldn't be dour after looking at troubled arses year round? Alas, she was younger, nearly a super-model. Uh-oh. I didn't sign up for that.

With great hesitation, I dropped trou. The doctor then brought in her entourage, two other women. More women came in, nurses, receptionists, next door neighbors, gawkers. I think even the janitor moseyed in.

"Hey, you gotta check out this guy's butt, Allison! It's one for the record book!"

A party! Everyone checking out my bottom. Just, you know, not in a good way. I was prodded, poked, probed, pickled and deeply mortified. The physical pain was unbearable. But when the doctor exclaimed, "Oh!" things took a decided turn toward the dark side (not my dark side, but...ah, never mind).

Ladies and gentlemen, I hit the anal trifecta! Huzzah! The doctor was frankly stymied, said it was unusual for anyone to have the three--three, count 'em, three!--arse trauma issues I suffered.

I won't bludgeon you with the gory details. (Where are those damn photos?) But, through the miracle of modern science and operations, over the months to come I should make a recovery. Don't know if my fragile male ego will, though.

Click here for thrills, chills, spills and good deals!

Friday, March 4, 2016

How in the World Did I Kill Abe Vigoda?

You heard me right.

But, please, readers, before you judge me too harshly, allow me to present my case to you...
Not too long ago, my wife and I were discussing Abe Vigoda. Not really sure why. It's not like he comes up a lot in daily conversation.

I asked, "When did Abe Vigoda die?"

"I think he's still alive," my wife replied.

Immediately, I flashed back to childhood years, watching
Barney Miller episodes. "That can't be! He looked like a walking corpse back in 1974! He was like...what, 90, or something! Just not possible."

My wife's fingers flew across her IPad as she searched for proof. "Yep. Says he's still alive."

"Huh," I said.

Two days later, Abe Vigoda died.

I know, I know, right? Clearly, I don't know the extent of my full-on psychic powers. But it was an accident! I swear! I didn't even know Mr. Vigoda, let alone wish him harm. 

My wife and I held a small memorial. Mostly to assuage my guilt. 

I'm not even going to tell you how we discussed David Bowie's new CD and how old he was. We all know how that ended. To which I'm incredibly sorry.

So, my wife says, "We've really got to quit talking about celebrities."

I thought about it, said, "What about Trump? Can we talk about Trump? Lots and lotsa talk about Trump?"

"Let's talk about Trump!"