the frozen flesh

A month later the frozen flesh had started to tighten, the nails were coming loose, the eyes had shriveled and sunk, and the barest hint of marbling appeared from her armpits and around her neck. His plaything had become unpleasant.

– Colton Carryage, Eidolon Avenue, Apt. 1C

Eidolon-Click-crop

Jan 2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing

Four for Free

Yep, that’s right. Four books for free. Today only.

So now it’s The Wounded King and The Elder as well as Red and Gold

Red & Gold Final-cover

and the full-length Martuk the Holy.

Martuk-Ebook-Cover-Tim-Amazon

Do you need to know Martuk’s story before reading TWK, The Elder and R and G? Nope. Those three — and The Martuk Series in general — are not only a prequel to what happens in Martuk, but also a continuing narrative removed from — and, in some cases, watching from a distance — what’s happening as this Man from the Mountains arrives.

Already familiar with what happened in Martuk? Then TWK, The Elder and R and G will offer a deeper, richer backstory, a more detailed fleshing out of these “secondary” characters, and a Why for the What of what they did (some of it horrific) in Martuk. It will help you see the human consequence behind the cruelty and reveal the wounded heart driving the monster.

In short, they’re a wonderful addition to what was started in the novel while being their own stand-alone reads.

So, today only. Four for free.

Pick ’em up. 🙂

utterly Umbra

Another peek at Eidolon Avenue, due out in early-2016 from Crystal Lake Publishing.

Really looking forward to seeing this book come together. ESPECIALLY the cover! There are some great ideas and some amazing creative back-and-forth going on with that. Sure to be frickin’ amazing. 🙂

And now, onto Umbra! (pronounced ewm-bra)

There was something living in the walls.

Still wearing her only black dress, a rose taken from the cemetery in one hand, her bright pink backpack in the other, she’d watched the stain in her new bedroom. Round and raised in the middle, like a bubble, it was different than the others.

And it was alive.

She’d known it the moment she’d walked in. Had felt it as she’d turned to put her backpack on the creaky bed. Had expected, when she first saw the stain two weeks ago, to see a face, two eyes, lips, a nose and cheeks and teeth, pushing from the wall.

But there’d only been a wide brown circle. A stain that wasn’t a stain. One that wasn’t long and dark like the others. One that hadn’t dripped from the ceiling to the floor. One that sat alone, removed from the others. Just like her.

“What kind of name is ‘Umbra’?” were the first words Gran had said when the big lady with the onion bagel breath first dropped her off. The State had decided this was where she had to be. With her dad as flat as a pancake under the car in the garage and her mom, after belting back her fifth Jack and Coke of the morning, shredding her throat by eating the glass, she’d had nowhere else to go.

“Worthless cunt never could hold her liquor,” Gran had said with a laugh.

Had she known there’d be a new home, a new school, new classes, and new kids, all making fun of the skinny girl with the boney knees who walked too slow and read too much, she wouldn’t have sorta accidentally wished her folks dead.

Ramsey Ketchum Morton Lee

… otherwise known as How to Become a Hybrid in One Fell Swoop. ‘Cause that’s what I am now, kids. Self-published and, with this, traditionally pubbed. Or at least Indie Pubbed.

Learned today that Forever Dark, a short story I wrote, will be in the upcoming edition of Tales from the Lake, Vol. 2, the sequel to the successful Tales from the Lake, Vol. 1 from Crystal Lake Publishing.  

Why does this matter? One, because how cool is it to actually be chosen out of all those amazing entries from, no doubt, equally amazing writers.

And, two, I’ll be sharing the pages with the likes of Ramsey Campbell, Jack Ketchum, Lisa Morton and Edward Lee as well as Tim Lebbon, Raven Dane, Rocky Alexander, Jim Goforth, Hal Bodner, Glen Johnson, Steven Savile, Richard Chizmar, Rena Mason, Ben Eads, Aaron Dries and Jan Edwards.

If you don’t know these names, you should. 

More details to follow.  🙂 

The Wounded King – FREE

Yep, you read that right.  The Wounded King, Book One in The Martuk Series, an ongoing collection of Short Fiction based on my award-winning debut novel Martuk … the Holy, will be FREE for one day and one day only, March 27th.

Curious?  Here’s an excerpt:

 

“I eat,” Mother suddenly said.

“The flesh –”

She interrupted me with a nod.

“It’s hungry,” she said, her voice low, the words almost a whisper. “Its stomach desperate for the meat, the muscle, the skin. If I don’t feed It, there’s pain.”

Her hand on her stomach, she continued.

“I am powerless, my son. I don’t want to. I don’t want this. It’s disgusting, it sickens me, it’s something I cannot stop, and it’s destroyed me. The taste, the feel of it in my mouth, the smell on my hands, my fingers –”

She stopped, this brief moment of lucidity gone as quickly as it began.

Closing her eyes, she cocked her head, distracted by something only she could hear. The morning had grown dark, the sun shadowed by a rare cloud.

I looked up to see a clear blue sky.

The shadows grew.

“A God is being born,” she finally said. “The pain, the anguish I endure, is this body dying so that this God, this Dark God, can be born. And I, as that God, will rule.”

The dark grew darker.

I moved closer to her.

“Mother …” I began, “the shadows, they’re moving.”

“Yes, It moves and It is only one shadow.”

It quickened, the dark, as it slid along the ground, vaporous fingers reaching out to my Mother as she spoke.

“It needed the flesh, you see. An eternity caressing all those bodies as they slept, lifetimes licking the skin, the flesh on its tongue only a taste, ephemeral, quickly gone.

“It needed to eat. Finally. Needed more. It needed to feel the life in Its mouth. It needed to tear the skin and rip the muscle and gnaw the bone. Experience being alive, experience living, all those deaths feeding It.

“And now It will live through me, with me, as me.”

The shadow grew, an immense cloud around us, the dust lifting from the ground to churn in the black, the warmth of day now the moist, steamy heat of something uncontrollable, unknowable, and wrong.

“Mother, It will eat you.”

She no longer heard me, the silent song of these shadows obsessing her.

I grabbed her hand.

“Please …” I began as the Darkness lifted me.

churning and turning and whipping

An excerpt from The Wounded King, the first book in The Martuk Series, an ongoing collection of short fiction inspired by Martuk … the Holy:

 

I ran.

The shadows followed.

It had dropped me, the Darkness, Its strength not yet great enough to hold me.

But I had climbed to my feet, the dark unbelievably dark, my ankles stained by the moist heat as I tripped and then stumbled and, tumbling down the hill, ran.

She was on the ground, Mother, oblivious, the dirt against her cheek, her hands buried in the earth, the shadow rolling and twisting around her as It ate her whispers, her sighs, her tears.

And now I sprinted toward the city under the glare of a bright sun as It chased me, churning and turning and whipping in the dust.

My heart pounded in my ears as the rocks cut my feet, the Darkness’s desire for me inflamed by the blood staining the ground.

The city drew near, the thick walls and heavy gates in sight.

In the quiet calm of morning she had urged me to leave the city with her.  Had insisted on passing through the gate to climb the small hill so we could speak away from those who would see, our secrets unknown to those who would hear.

She had lied, my Mother.

I stumbled and fell.

The heat was on me, the moist fingers wrapped around my ankle, my calf burning in the heat, the flesh raw under Its touch.

I kicked It free as I crawled, my hands pawing at the dirt as I climbed to my feet to run again.

It reared back, the shadow lunging forward like a snake before It followed, the Dark rolling on the ground like a wave.

I was close, so close, to the city.  To safety.

What if the Darkness followed me beyond the gates?, I suddenly thought as my heart beat in my ears.  What’s to stop It were it to slip into the city and torment me there?  Is there anything to keep It from swallowing me while I sleep?

What if this monstrosity were inescapable?

The guards recognized me, the brawny men in a rush to open the gates for the Almost King.

I darted through.

The Darkness followed.

I felt It on my heels, my calves, the back of my thighs, my back, my neck, the fingers around my skull as I ran and ran, the pain a constant sting, the burn excruciating as the Darkness took hold of me.

I had lost.

 

The Wounded King Final - cover

a new Wounded King

Sorry, kids, but there ain’t nothing better than getting a brand spanking new cover for one of your books.

And that’s what’s happening with The Martuk Series, an ongoing collection of Short Fiction inspired by my award-winning full-length novel Martuk … the Holy.

First up for the face lift was The Wounded King, next will be The Elder, and then Red and Gold, the third in the series, will be making its debut.

But I don’t want to jump the gun and upload the new TWK cover until the one for The Elder is finished, so … here’s a teeny, tiny sneakity peek.

 

The-Wounded-King-Aug13-crop

 

And that’s just a glimpse of the awesomeness to come.  🙂

 

Best. Sentence. Ever.

From the newly released The Elder, the next installment in The Martuk Series:

“She then closed her eyes as she bent back, back, back, her bones snapping with a crack as she broke her back, the golden locks of her silken hair touching the delicate heels of her tiny feet.”

Creepy? Yes. Maybe sick and twisted? Yep. Too many kinds of awesome to count? Oh yeah.

I. Love. It.

Check out another excerpt over at amschultz’s site

Don’t know that name? You should. He does all my kick-ass covers. 🙂