An Interview with Emma Audsley of The Horrifically Horrifying Blog

Reblogged with kind permission from James Chambers

"Last month the Horror Writers Association newsletter published my interview with Emma Audsley as part of the Fresh Blood interview series, which spotlights new members. Emma Audsley is editor of The Horrifically Horrifying Blog and founder of Screaming Spires Publishing. I interviewed Emma via e-mail about her work as an author, editor, and joining the HWA for the following article, originally published in the HWA Newsletter, October 2013, Volume 23, Issue 159.

Emma Audsley traces her love of horror back to her childhood years, growing up in a Royal Air Force (RAF) camp until age six when she moved to Manchester. One constant in her life was her love of reading and especially of the horror genre. “Bram Stoker had lead onto Stephen King and just swept me away after that! I’d grown up writing little stories.”
The horror genre is the only genre that has kept her interest throughout her life. The genre attracts Emma because it allows her to “explore all of the central and essential aspects of life safely. This can offer you a deeper perspective upon those aspects that are usually a little tricky to explore head on; death, loss, threats to survival, insanity. You can oversee a character’s plight through the most terrible things that could ever possibly imagine and allow your brain to formulate ideas upon which they could fight back, or perish depending on how you want the ending to be!”
Her love of books and stories led her to study literature and psychology in college. Then, about seven years ago, she returned to the pursuit of writing and editing, reading the work of some of her author friends. After offering advice on their works in progress, she moved on to beta reading and critiquing their work. A course on editing and copy writing followed, and she continued reading for friends, or as Emma put it, “using them as guinea pigs…willing guinea pigs, don’t worry!”
Her first paid edit work came after she completed her course when she connected with David Youngvist of Dark Continents Press. Emma worked on Southern Fried Ghosts, David’s non-fiction collection of accounts of supposed actual hauntings in the American South, a region with a rich tradition of supernatural and ghostly folklore. In addition to editing, Emma contributed some research to the project.
“I love to help,” Emma says about editing. “I’m happy to go above and beyond my call to assist a writer when they’re doing it for the right reasons. It’s a scary thing, releasing your own work, especially if the writer is new to the field. When creativity is to flourish it needs all the essentials to grow, I just help with the watering and pruning… I try to close the gap between editors, agents, and mentors to offer all the support I can.”
After settling into freelance editing novels for a while, Emma decided to challenge herself yet again.
“I started The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog in October 2011, on Halloween just to be as corny as I could get!” Online at, The Horrifically Horrifying Horror Blog boasts the goal of “Inspiring Ghouls of the Fictional World of Horror Everywhere.” The blog features reviews of books and movies, author interviews, writing resources, articles on writing, picture prompts for writers, and several other features.
With the blog up and running, Emma took another big step, making the leap from editor to publisher when she founded Screaming Spires Publishing in the summer of 2012. “I’m currently editing our first anthology When Darkness Calls, a charity publication. It’s to benefit children with autism, something very close to my heart as my own two children are autistic.” Calling on the many friends she’d made through her editing work and The Horrifically Horrifying Blog, Emma found it easy to assemble her first anthology. “I had many friends who wanted to contribute. I’d asked some friends, such as Gary McMahon, Graham Masterton, Allison Littlewood, and Ramsey Campbell if they would consider contributing a short story of good old-fashioned horror…they all came through for me.”

Co-editor of the anthology, Mark Waddington, “started out the same way I did; editing for fun! Donnie Light offered his services as the formatter. As for the cover art and press logo Daniele Serra has been a lifesaver. I’ve always admired his work and when I’d asked for his help he had the initial cover ideas ready in an hour. Ellen Datlow has been a wealth of knowledge too. She’s a great friend and advisor.” With work moving ahead steadily, When Darkness Calls is scheduled for publication this December as Screaming Spire’s inaugural release.
Emma’s work on the anthology has coincided with a difficult time in her life, and she credits the friendship and support of those involved with the project as helping her through it. “I had to have an operation in a cancer unit in late October [2012]. I’d been told it was secondary skin cancer, a melanoma. Thankfully it wasn’t secondary. The surgeons got all of it. But there was a problem with the surgery and some nerves in my leg were severed accidentally. The anthology, my family, and my friends all came through for me, supporting me all the way through being in a wheelchair permanently.” Now starting physical therapy, Emma hopes to regain at least partial use of her leg. There are no guarantees of success, but so far she’s attended a couple of book launches walking with a knee brace and a walking stick.
Another personal challenge for her as an editor and publisher stems from a head injury she received during a physical attack back in 2000. “I developed epilepsy. It’s uncontrollable. My only hope of a more “normal” life will be CAN surgery. Obviously seizures take your consciousness away, and this does get in the way of my working life. But I work around it, over the years I’ve developed little tips and tricks in maintaining my health and well-being to the best of my abilities. That’s what you just have to do; adapt, adopt, and change anything you can. But it is possible to still do what you yearn to do, there’s nothing like a strong will to get you to where you need to be.” Most recently, Emma has endorsed a book by Craig Saunders, The Walls of Madness, published by Crowded Quarantine.
Although Emma admits, “I never seem to finish my own fiction!” she has accomplished much in only a few years, overcoming major health issues to launch two publishing ventures and earn a reputation as an excellent editor. Her next big project on the horizon is a collaborative novel with some of her anthology contributors to be written in 2014.
Emma joined the HWA to become more active in the horror community. The HWA is “such a fantastic source of information and support for writers and professionals with everything to offer. From support and advice on every aspect of writing, to the overseeing of projects, and the awards ceremony is, of course, the highlight… I think it’s great to have such a strong association with so many other professionals involved making sure the pulse of the genre stays strong and steady.”
“I want to become more involved practically within the HWA, it’s vital to keep writers doing what they do best. What would we do without these fantastical worlds they create? Obviously I’d like to…further my skills and capabilities whilst being fully supported within the structure of the association, offer help to writers in need, and help the HWA go from strength to strength, become a part of the  various programs on offer in support of professionals and those seeking to develop their own voice within the genre. Maybe join the board one day? <smiles cheekily>.”"

Find Emma

Five Mistakes KILLING Self-Published Authors

Reblogged from Kristen Lamb's Blog

Rise of the Machines Human Authors in a Digital World, social media authors, Kristen Lamb, WANA, Rise of the Machines
When I began writing I was SO SURE agents would be fighting over my manuscript. Yeah. But after almost thirteen years in the industry, a lot of bloody noses, and even more lessons in humility, I hope that these tips will help you. Self-publishing is AWESOME, and it’s a better fit for certain personalities and even content (um, social media?), but we must be educated before we publish.
Mistake #1 Publishing Before We Are Ready
The problem with the ease of self-publishing is that it is, well, too easy. When we are new, frankly, most of us are too dumb to know what we don’t know. Just because we made As in English, does not automatically qualify us to write a work spanning 60,000-100,000 words. I cannot count how many writers I’ve met who refuse to read fiction, refuse to read craft books, and who only go to pitch agents when they attend conferences at the expense of attending the craft sessions.
Additionally, too many new writers I meet do not properly understand the antagonist. They don’t grasp three-act structure, and most don’t have any idea what I mean when I mention POV, Jungian archetypes, or the phrase, “scene and sequel.”
I see a lot of new writers who believe their story is the exception, that the rules make for “formulaic” writing. No, rules are there for a reason, and, if the writing is too formulaic, it has more to do with execution than the rules.
Three-act structure has been around since Aristotle, and there is a lot of evidence in neuroscience that suggests that three-act structure is actually hard-wired into the human brain. Thus, when we deviate too far from three-act structure, it confuses and frustrates readers. Stories have clear beginnings, middles and ends. Without a clear story objective, it is impossible to generate dramatic tension, and what is left over is drama’s inbred cousin, melodrama. Yet, many writers start off writing a book without properly understanding the basic skeleton of story.
Writing fiction is therapeutic, but it isn’t therapy. Yes, characters should struggle with inner demons, but that does not a plot make. Struggling with weakness, inner demons, insecurity, addictions are all character arc, not plot arc. There should be a core story problem that we can articulate in ONE sentence. The plot arc should serve to drive the character arc. If the character does not grow and change she will fail, but it is the core story problem that drives this change. Without the problem, there is no crucible.
Yes, we are artists, but we need to understand the fundamentals. I played clarinet for years, and yes it was an art. But this didn’t excuse me from having to learn to read music, the finger positions and proper embouchure (the way to position the mouth to play).
The better we are at the basics, the better we know the rules, the more we become true artists.
I’ve received contest winners whose first pages were filled with newbie errors. Yet, when I sent them my critique filled with pages of corrections, I would then receive a reply telling me that the book had already been self-published.
Sometimes there are reasons we are being rejected and we need to take a hard look and be honest. Self-publishing is suffering a stigma from too many writers publishing before they are ready. If you really want to self-publish, I am here to support you and cheer you all the way, but remember, we have to write better than the traditional authors.
Mistake #2 Jumping in Before Understanding the Business Side to the Business
I see a lot of writers rushing into self-publishing without properly preparing to be a small business, yet that is exactly what we are. When we self-publish, we take on new roles and we need to understand them. We need to be willing to fork out money for proper editing, cover design and formatting.
One of the benefits to traditional publishing is they take on all the risk and do the editing, proofing, etc. When we go it alone, we need to prepare for some expenses and do our research. We can be told a million times to not judge a book by its cover, yet that is exactly what readers do. Additionally, we may need to look into becoming an LLC. We need to set up proper accounting procedures and withhold the correct amount of taxes, unemployment, state taxes and on and on.
Mistake #3 Believing that, “If We Write it They Will Come”
There are a lot of writers who mistakenly believe that self-publishing is an easier and faster way to fame and success. Yeah, um no. And those magic beans are really just beans. Sorry.
Self-publishing is A LOT of work, especially if we are starting out this way. I know Bob Mayer and Joe Konrath lecture writers to do less social media and more writing. To an extent I agree, but here is the thing. These guys were branded traditional authors who could slap New York Times Best-Selling in front of their names when they decided to go it alone. If you can’t slap New York Times Best-Selling in front of your name, prepare for a ton of work.
Not only do we need to write good books, but we need to write prolifically. We also need to work our tails off on social media. If you study the successes of the Amanda Hockings and the H.P. Mallorys, they worked like dogs. They wrote a lot of books and also created momentum with social media and newsletters.
When we self-publish, we need a much larger platform because we don’t have New York in our corner. This is one of the reasons self-publishing isn’t for everyone. We need to look at how badly we want the dream, and then ask how many hours are we willing to work? What are we willing to sacrifice?
Mistake #4 Misusing FREE!
There are a lot of problems with giving books away for FREE! We shouldn’t be giving away our work unless it serves some kind of a strategic advantage. There are ways to effectively harness the power of FREE! but too few writers understand how to do this and they just end up giving away their art for no tangible gain. This goes with my above point of us needing to understand the business side of our business. When we do choose to give away stuff for FREE! it needs to serve longer-term business goals.
Mistake #5 Shopping One Book to DEATH
When Joe Konrath and Bob Mayer chastise writers to get off social media and get back to writing more books, they are giving fantastic advice. One of the BIGGEST problems I see with self-published writers is that they publish one book and then they focus every bit of energy on selling THAT book.
They fill up #MyWANA and all the writing hashtags with link spam promoting their books. They keep futzing with the cover, the web site, the promotions. They do blog tours until they drop, and they do everything except what is going to help that book sell a ton of copies…write more books.
Here’s the thing. Self-publishing, in many ways, just allows us to accelerate the career path of the author. Even in traditional publishing, it usually takes about three books to gain traction. In traditional publishing, this takes three years because we are dealing with a publisher’s schedule.
In self-publishing, we can make our own schedule, but it still takes THREE BOOKS MINIMUM. I know there are exceptions, but most self-published successes hit at about book three. The ability to offer multiple titles is a huge part of why John Locke became successful.
This is why it is critical to keep writing. Not only will writing more books make you a better writer, but once people discover they love your writing, they have a number of titles to purchase. Being able to offer multiple titles is how we make money at self-publishing. It also helps us maximize the whole FREE! tactic. Even I am putting my nose to the grindstone to come out with more books in the next six months. I don’t tell you guys to do anything that, I myself, am unwilling to do.
Remember Why We Do This
Self-publishing is a wonderful alternative. Just because we self-publish doesn’t mean we cannot publish other ways, too. I feel the author of the future will actually be a hybrid author, and I do believe that the ability to self-publish is challenging all of us to come up higher. We are striving to be better writers, to be better entrepreneurs, to get better at organization and time-management and to write more books and better books. If we can learn from these mistakes and grow, then the future is ours for the taking.

Reblogged from Kristen Lamb's Blog




From The WEIRD Bookshelf: An Interview with Wilum “Hopfrog” Pugmire

Weird Tales interview with Wilum (not Willum! wink wink) Pugmire.

This week’s featured WEIRD Bookshelf author is that most Lovecraftian of Lovecraftians, Mr. Wilum (not Willum) “Hopfrog” Pugmire!

For those few of you who are not acquainted with Mr. Pugmire you are in for a treat. Mr. Pugmire’s writing has been described none than, respected Lovecraft scholar and editor, Mr. S.T. Joshi as “richly evocative” with a “distinct homoerotic theme or undercurrent that is neither gratuitous nor inconsistent but rather genuine and often central to characterization and storytelling. Author Laird Barron has stated that Mr. Pugmire is “an important figure in the fields of modern horror and the weird”.

Mr. Pugmire has published dozens of stories and prose poems. Enough to fill 16 collections of his work. Mr. Pugmire’s stories have appeared in Weird Tales, The Year’s Best Horror Stories, The Book of Cthulhu, The Weird Fiction Review, The Children of Cthulhu and countless other anthologies and magazines. Mr. Pugmire’s latest collection of tales “Bohemians of Sesqua Valley” was published a few months ago, coinciding with this years NecronomiCON in Providence. It’s a great privilege and joy to present this interview with Mr. Pugmire.

You can visit Mr. Pugmire HERE
Mr. Pugmire’s Amazon Author’s page is HERE

Thank you so very much, Mr. Pugmire, for consenting to this small
interview. I truly appreciate you finding the time.

How did you discover weird fiction and Weird Tales in general? And do you believe that the traditional weird tale is still relevant in today’s world which has become weirder than any of us has ever probably imagined?

As a kid I was a horror film fanatic and published a wee film fanzine, for which I got Robert Bloch to write a tribute to Forry Ackerman. When I went to Ireland to serve my mission for the Mormon church, I wasn’t allowed to go see horror films. Bob was still corresponding with me, and so I began to buy his novels and anthologies in which Bob was one of many writers. Many of the stories had originally been published in WT, and in some of the introductions to the anthologies Weird Tales was mentioned as the place where Bloch, Derleth, Lovecraft & co were first published.

Weird fiction became my keen obsession, and upon returning to the States I began to correspond with other authors who had written for WT; and then I began to collect Arkham House books, and read Lin Carter’s book on the Mythos, wherein the legend of WT and its classic writings was the one of the main themes.

I believe the traditional weird tale is quite relevant today, and that the entire school of genre writing that oozed from Weird Tales echoes in some of the work of today’s finest writers. My own fiction strives to be in the traditional mode, however degenerate some aspects of it may be in regard to my sexuality and such. Traditional weird fiction, as found in the Arkham House books that were published when Derleth lived, was the elixir that I drank as a budding genre artist. I often approach a story idea with the intent of writing in the “Weird Tales tradition.” I soaked up the magazine’s early history and aura when I was a kid. I used to visit H. Warner Munn every weekend, and he shewed me his collection of WT and loaned me the letters he received from editor Farnsworth Wright. All of this has utterly affected the way I approach writing.
Is it more intimidating or flattering to be considered one of the two living writers truly worthy of being heirs to Edgar Allan and H.P. Lovecraft? And is this something you are conscious of while writing?
It is both intimidating and flattering to be considered one of those writers worthy of being heirs to HPL and Poe. It also seems a bit absurd, because however much I love writing weird fiction, I rarely think highly of what I’ve done. My work seems a curious blend of fanboy fanaticism and a serious attempt to create beautiful prose. My imagination is very adolescent, and my prose style strives for utter sophistication. It is indeed a conscious decision, to write stories that pay homage to Lovecraft — that is the guiding death-light of my art; but it has never been my intention to “write like Lovecraft,” and I protest that I do not. My voice is the voice of Henry James and Oscar Wilde as much as it is the voice of H. P. Lovecraft. I often do things that I know are unprofessional, such as when I wrote my own version of Lovecraft’s “The Lurking Fear” for the new issue of Fungi. I had such fun with that, but part of the fun was being a kid who was doing something that seemed so unprofessional, writing one’s own version of another writer’s work, yet striving to make the work one’s own. I wanted that story to read like a work that one would have found in an old issue of Weird Tales, in the old school tradition. To have my work compared not only to Lovecraft’s but also to the work of a genius like Thomas Ligotti – ooo, honey!  Unreal.

Your style, or maybe it’s better to say your “voice” is distinctly Lovecraftian and yet uniquely your own. Is this something that took years to evolve or was it there from the very beginning?
    I strive for a “literary” voice, wishing to create works that are Literary Art. This became my supreme aesthetic obsession after I discovered Henry James, who was also obsessed with writing as an art form. When we read Lovecraft’s letters, we see that he, too, considered good writing a form of art. Part of literature’s spell, for me, is the beauty of the writing; and to strive for such beauty, I think, helps to shape one’s own individual style and voice. It’s an extremely non-commercial attitude, although some of our finest writers such as Laird Barron and Caitlin R. Kiernan have achieved success and sell many books. Part of the striving for excellence in writing also comes from the shame I feel when reading my early work, and wanting to improve my writing, to become more professional. That’s the main reason I am forever rewriting my early tales.
And now for one pretentious philosophical question stolen from Voltaire. If Mr. Lovecraft did not exist, would it be necessary to invent Him? Do you see a need for such visions and stories in our world?
   We could never have invented Lovecraft, because he is so utterly unique. Have you noticed how the current crop of critics and “scholars” online approach HPL? They say such absurd things as “he is our most popular good/bad writer,” or they overemphasize his racism. No one would invent HPL as he was, they would all be trying to edit his peculiarities or alter his core being. He was, as it has been written, his own most fantastic invention. Lovecraft’s brilliant imagination has never been duplicated, and the world has indeed benefited by his originality, by the power of that awesome imagination. I would not be a writer today, I am certain, if Lovecraft had not existed.

Regarding your wonderful “SesquaValley” in the Northwest. Is it based on an actual earthly local or is it purely a place that sadly doesn’t have any mundane parallel but should?

Sesqua Valley is based on Snoqualmie Valley and the town of North Bend, which also served as the inspiration for Twin Peaks. My aunt and her family live in North Bend, and I used to spend two weeks of every summer there as a kid. The twin-peaked mountain, MountSi, always beguiled me, potently and strangely. When I began to seriously write weird fiction, I remembered that Derleth advised Ramsey Campbell to invent his own Lovecraftian locality, a region based on one with which he was familiar. So I knew instantly that North Bend would serve as my own version of Dunwich and Innsmouth. The valley has served me very well, and I love returning to it and discovering more and more of its wondrous secrets.

    Your newest collection, “Bohemians of Sesqua Valley”, was released late last summer just in time for the NecronomiCON 2013 in Providence by your publisher “Arcane Wisdom” on the Kindle platform. What can you tell us about this newest collection of “Valley” novelettes?

    Bohemians came as a surprise. I became so excited about NecronomiCon Providence that I felt this keen ache to write a new book that would celebrate the convention. Also, I wanted to explore writing stories of length, and write a book of novelettes. I love writing at length, although my buddy S. T. Joshi is often rather critical of my longer narratives and prefers my shorter pieces (although he did published one of my best novelettes in his anthology, BLACK WINGS).”  

I wanted, with this book, to write my “definitive” tale of Shub-Niggurath,” and another touching on night-gaunts. I wanted a Night-gaunt on the jacket. I also wanted to explore the emotional realm of my most popular character, Simon Gregory Williams, and his relationship with the valley’s mysterious poet, William Davis Manly. And I wanted to write a book that was Lovecraftian to the core. I had a great time writing that book, and Arcane Wisdom brought it out in such a handsome hardcover edition. I keep hoping they’ll do a pb edition, but I think Kindle is the way of the future and thus replacing paperbacks.

  And before we go is there anything that you want to share with your
  readers and fans? What do we have to look forward to in the future? 
     I am in a very curious phase regarding future writing. I’ve had seven books published in the past three years, and my feeling is “enough is enough.” I am looking for a real job, full-time employment, and that will cut down on my writing time. I’m just not in the mood to work on any new collections, although I have just finished working on a book of tales with my buddy David Barker, Spectres of Lovecraftian Horror, and that will see print in hardcover in Spring. For the next few years I’ll concentrate on writing for a few anthologies, or for magazines and journals who seek me out for Lovecraftian yarns. At the moment, I’d rather read than write. I’d also like to return to doing my regular vignettes for the Lovecraft eZine, but at the moment I am feeling less than inspired and just want to rest. However, I am one of those creatures who need to write, and I will always return to it when inspiration hits, until ye happy day o’ Death.

A portrait of the artist as a young man.

    In closing, I want to thank once again for taking the time from your busy writing schedule to participate in this small interview. It’s been an honour and a genuine pleasure for me. So thank you Mr. Pugmire and I wish you all the success in the world with your upcoming endeavours!


H.P. Lovecraft, Wilum Hopfrog Pugmire, W.H. Pugmire, Weird Tales, Bohemians of Sesqua Valley, S.T. Joshi, Laird Barron, Horror, Forry Ackerman, Robert Bloch, Interview, Author Interview 

New Release - Kim Cresswell's 'Lethal Journey'.

Recently a friend of mine, award-winning author Kim Cresswell, told me about her upcoming release 'Lethal Journey,' and I quickly volunteered to do a feature on her and her book. Kim is a lovely person and her writing is of a quality and standard worthy of praise, so it is without hesitation that I present her and her latest work to you.

Kim lives in Ontario, Canada and has been a story-teller all her life. After working in legal and adult education for most of her adult life she has thankfully returned to her first love, writing.

Her debut thriller, REFLECTION, has won numerous awards, including the UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013), Silicon Valley's Romance Writers of America (RWA) "Gotcha!" Romantic Suspense Winner (2004) and an Honourable Mention in Calgary's (RWA) The Writer's Voice Contest (2006).

LETHAL JOURNEY was a finalist in From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW) Golden Gate Contest (2003).

Her action-packed thrillers have been highly praised by reviewers and readers worldwide. As one reviewer said, "Buckle up, Hang on tight!"

Kim also recently entered the True Crime arena. Her latest story about accused Canadian killer, Cody Legebokoff, will be featured in Serial Killer Quarterly, a new e-magazine published by Grinning Man Press which debuts in December 2013. Her short story collection, Real Life Evil - A True Crime Quickie will release in January 2014.


Lethal Journey is a novella inspired by Kim's fascination with the Mafia and her love of action-packed thrillers.

 Lethal Journey900 

A killer lurks in the shadows of Hyde Park, New York…waiting.

Manhattan District Attorney, Lauren Taylor, is about to take on the most important case of her career, prosecuting Gino Valdina, acting mob boss of New York’s most influential crime syndicate.

For three decades, Gino Valdina has led New York’s Valdina crime family. Since his recent indictment for murder, the leadership of the family is in turmoil, appalled by the death of one of their own, Gino’s wife, Madelina. Without the support of the family behind him, Valdina will do anything to save himself.

But Lauren soon discovers, things aren’t always as they seem when she’s tossed into a mystery, a deadly conspiracy that reaches far beyond the criminal underworld and a journey into the past makes her a target…and anyone she’s ever loved.

Holiday Special! On Sale for a limited time for $0.99!


Purchase a copy now!
Also available in paperback at Amazon and Createspace!


“An entertaining and complex novella with some solid twists at the end.” Cheryl Kaye Tardif, international bestselling author of SUBMERGED


“High tension, high intrigue, and an angry mob boss put young Assistant DA Lauren Taylor on the defensive as she prepares for the biggest courtroom case of her life. All she has to do is stay alive long enough to put the head of one of New York’s biggest crime families behind bars, and the jury is out on whether she can pull that off. Her greatest ally is a man she knew and loved long ago, who shredded her heart as his own demons of guilt tried to drown him in an alcohol induced haze.  
Lethal Journey by Kim Cresswell hits the ground running and does not stop! Are people as they seem or is there more to them? As the attempts on her life escalate and people close to her go missing, Lauren doesn’t have many options on who to trust. Enter the one man who broke her heart, Eric, a homicide detective who has also felt the burn of getting too close to the mob. Can Lauren trust him? Does she have a choice? It would be so much easier if her heart would stay out of it, wouldn’t it?
Kim Cresswell’s talent shines through again! With a talent for setting the stage, bringing in the characters and cuing the action, she held me from page one. She is not afraid to write a tale that is real, where the good guys do not go unscathed and they are not perfect. There is grit in her style, and when she says you are in a warehouse with a stench, you smell it. The romantic tension runs high, and using character flashbacks to the past not only builds on the development of each character as a flesh and blood entity, but serve to eventually bring everything full circle with an ending that you will NOT see coming!”Tome Tender’s Book Blog 


“Lethal Journey, a fast-paced novella hits all the points of a romantic murder mystery. The protagonist is Lauren Taylor, the prosecutor in the trial of a Mafia crime boss who once before slid out from under the punishment he so deserves. Her father is the district attorney, both enmeshed in a tragic family history they can’t leave behind. Eric Brennan is the tough police detective, who moves in and out of Lauren’s life as their sometimes love connection flourishes and then falls apart. There are other great characters in this drama who deftly fill in the blanks as the plot of murder, deception and tenuous connections twist into a knot that defies the reader to solve the mystery and unearth the true antagonist. Be prepared for a surprise ending that will blow you away. It’s a quick read that will keep your attention. Kudos to Kim Cresswell for a job well done.” - Review by Fran Orenstein, Sunwriter

Need more convincing? Here's an excerpt from Lethal Journey

"Eric slowed the Mustang to a crawl and searched the street for his informant, Jimmy Flame. This part of Brooklyn had it all — garbage, graffiti and gangs — a snake pit where debts were paid in blood. As it turned out, he spotted the lanky twenty-something-drug-dealer strolling up the sidewalk.

Eric didn’t trust the scar-faced kid dressed in clothes three sizes too big, but Jimmy knew the streets and somehow stayed clear of the gangs. A real miracle. He also knew Jimmy would be discreet, if he knew what was good for him.

Eric pulled the car over and stopped. Jimmy looked him square in the eye, turned, and kept walking. Eric jumped out of the car and snatched the back of Jimmy’s shirt. “We need to talk.” He whirled him around.

“Hey, you promised you’d only come around at night.” Jimmy scanned up and down the street clearly worried someone might see him with a cop.
“It’s important. Get in.”

Jimmy hopped into the car and scrunched down low in the passenger seat. Eric started the engine and glanced at Jimmy’s low riding jeans. “How the hell can you wear those baggy ass pants? They should be outlawed.”

“What man? You don’t like my gear? These pants are cool.” Jimmy ran his hand over his knee. “What’s so important?”
“Heard anything about prosecutor Stephen Taylor or the new district attorney?” Jimmy kept one hand clutched on the door handle.

Convinced the kid might bolt if he had the chance, Eric sped up.

“I ain’t heard nothing on the DA, but—”

“If you know something, spit it out. I’m not in the mood for games.” Eric looked at him. 

Jimmy’s shaved head glistened with sweat in the early morning sun.

“Man you’re gonna get me killed.” Jimmy sank back into the seat, his fingers tightened around the handle of the door. “Some dude was looking for someone to put the scare into Taylor and the DA. I never saw him, but one of my boys told the guy to hit the road. The deal didn’t smell right. Something was way off.”

“How did Paul Cassico end up dead?”

Jimmy lit a cigarette and took an extra-long drag. “Cassico is a small-time bookie, you know, neighborhood shit, horse races and fights. Valdina learned the guy would be cooperating with the feds so Valdina had one of his crew take him out.”

“Did Cassico ever mention who killed my father?”

“The stupid shit went around flappin’ his gums. Said he knew who shot the cop in the warehouse drug deal. He also said he’d make a large stash when he went to the cops.”

Eric’s heart pounded. “Did he give a name, Jimmy?”


“Shit. I need to find the shooter.”

“I don’t wanna get involved with Valdina’s crew. You’re talking Mafia.” Jimmy shook his head. “Man. I’m too young to die.”

Eric could tell by the quiver in the kid’s voice, he was scared. Something he’d never seen before. “Has someone threatened you?”

“Not yet. They will as soon as I start asking questions.”

“You’re smart. You’ll find a way to get the info. Besides, if you piss me off, I’ll drag your drug-pedalling ass off to jail. You understand?”

Jimmy remained silent for a moment. “Man, you’re a hard-ass.”

“Find out what you can.” Eric steered the car into an empty parking lot and tossed fifty bucks at him. “I’ll be back in a couple of days and watch your back.”

As Eric pulled away, he heard Jimmy call him an asshole. Okay, he deserved that. And yeah, he was tough on the kid when he needed to be. It was all part of the job. He liked Jimmy, but he’d never admit it. From what he just witnessed, Jimmy was scared shitless and that worried Eric even more."

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