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“Dead Witch Walking” by Kim Harrison

dead witch walking

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, although nothing really to share at this time.  I’ve been busy working on recording an audiobook, housework, reading, and some writing, although not as much writing as I’d like to be doing.  I am starting a new schedule when it comes to blogging, writing, and recording and hopefully that will get me back into doing each without taking too much from the others.  For the time being, you can expect to see Casa blog posts every two weeks.  Along with the Casa, I am also writing pieces for HorrorAddicts.net, and recording a small piece in their podcast called Nightmare fuel.  Check out the season premier this weekend.

This week I offer you the first in a unique thirteen book series, “Dead Witch Walking” by Kim Harrison.  The story follows a young witch named Rachel Morgan in a world where half the population is changed.into enchanted beings by a virus spread by tomatoes.  Vampires, werewolves, witches and all other forms of supernatural and magical beings are a regular part of everyday life, although not necessarily an accepted one.  Rachel is a runner, an enchanted version of our police force, and she hates her job.  Her boss doesn’t like her and gives her the poor assignments in the hope to force her to quit.  When she she finally decides to strike out on her own, she is surprised to find her current pixie partner and her former partner, a vampiress, join her in her endeavor.  Soon, Rachel finds herself with a price on her head and she realizes just who she can trust with her life and just how far her friends are willing to go to help keep her alive.  To complicate matters more, the young witch decides to go after the one man people suspect of illegal dealings, but who can never be tied to anything.

I found this to be a quirky story, but a very fun and satisfying read.  There is quite a bit of romantic tension weaved throughout the book, along with action and humor.  If the book has any faults, it is that it didn’t seem like a three act story, but only the first half of the performance, although that might just be me.  Overall, I rate the book a 3.5 our of 5.

You can find “Dead Witch Walking” at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookstore.  Until next we meet…

Donald “DJ” Pitsiladis

P.S. — Check out the HorrorAddicts.net season premier this weekend for a little Nightmare Fuel.

Publishing news — The Horror Society Presents: Abandoned Places

Forgotten places

Hello ladies and gentlemen!  Welcome to the Casa!

After a busy, but rather unproductive February, March is here and I feel a renewed sense of creativity.  I am still working on the novel re-writes, writing a new short story, and recording an audiobook for another author.  Add the excitement of another story coming out in print, and you have the makings of a great beginning to March.

My short story, “Church” was included in the story collection, “The Horror Society Presents:  Abandoned Places” which debuted this past Tuesday on Amazon.  It is my second story to appear in a physical book and the first of hopefully many more this year, so I’m pretty excited about it.  If you are looking for horror stories to take you down memory lane on a dark night, then check it out.  You won’t be sorry you did.

You can find “The Horror Society Presents: Abandoned Places” on Amazon in both print and Kindle editions.  Help us spread the word!

The Casa will return next week with a review of the book, “Dead Witch Walking” by Kim Harrison.

Until next week…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Connect with me on Facebook, Google +, and Twitter.

Master of Macabre and Wicked Women Writers 2015

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the Casa!

I’ve been keeping busy in the past week between working on some re-writes for a novel I originally wrote three years ago titled “Coffeehouse”.  It was sitting around while I thought of a way to streamline the story and figure out the ending I really wanted compared to the one I ended up with.  The muse finally graced me with the inspiration I needed.  I hope to have the improved story ready to be sent out within the next couple of months, and I’ll share more details as things progresses.

This week I thought I’d share what, to me, has become an annual tradition — The Wicked Women Writer and Master of Macabre writing contests.  If you are a fan of the Food Network television show “Chopped”, you will have a good feel for how these contests run.  For those who aren’t, the idea is to write a short story using specifically selected elements that fit into a theme.  Past “ingredients” have included locations, items, disasters, and phobias.  This year, both contests share a common theme — Tarot Cards.   Every contestant, male and female, will be assigned a card from the Major Arcana along with an evil being/supernatural entity. The rest of the story is up to you.  Pretty simple, right?

In addition to the shared theme, this year also has the added twist when it comes to recording the audio portion.  The story will need to be recorded as an audio drama with at least two reader voices.  While this may sound daunting or intimidating to newer writers, there are people willing to help.  Based on my own experiences, it isn’t as hard as you may think.

Check out https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/www/ and  https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/master-of-macabre-contest/ for more details, contest rules, and deadlines for each contest.

Well, I hear the work bell ringing, so it’s time to head back to work.  I hope to find your names among those striving to become the 2015 Master of Macabre or Most Wicked Woman Writer.

Until next week…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Connect with me on Facebook, Google +, and Twitter.

“The Monarch” by Jack Soren

the monarch

Hello ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to the Casa!

Last month was a busy one for me. Between edits for a short story I have coming out in “There’s a Magic Portal Under My Sink”, recording the beginning of my first audiobook project through ACX, and having my sons over almost every weekend, it was a busy, happy, and tiring month, but well worth it, of course.  Now, without further ado, let’s jump right in to this week’s book review. I offer for your literary consideration… “The Monarch” by Jack Soren.

A serial killer who carves butterflies into the flesh of his victims is making his rounds in New York City.  When one of the bodies is found in a museum fountain with a painting long thought recovered jammed down his throat, it becomes clear to the FBI agent that the murderer is playing to a particular audience.  The painting is one of a group of paintings liberated by an art thief known only as The Monarch.  The hunt for The Monarch begins with an author considered by many to be the authority on his escapades,

As the hunt for a killer begins,  Jonathan Hall is struggling to provide a life for his daughter.  He has the means to do so, but accessing it means breaking a deathbed promise made to his wife to keep his previous life a secret from their daughter.  When his former partner arrives at his doorstep, both men know the time has come for The Monarch to return and stop the serial killer from besmirching their shared identity.

What starts out as a cop and killer story quickly becomes a thrill ride with the introduction of a dying billionaire and the lengths he is willing to go in a search for a cure to his disease.  Nathan Kring proves there is nothing he isn’t willing to do for control over the lives of everyone possible, including his daughters.  It all climaxes into an explosive ending you have to see to believe.  My ranking for “The Monarch” is a 4.5 out of 5.

You can find this book via Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and your favorite local bookstore.

Well, I’m afraid I must bid you adieu for the week.  I feel another part of a balance life calling me… a nice soft bed and a good night’s sleep cuddled up with my fiancee.  Until next week…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Connect with me on Facebook, Google +, and Twitter.

Happy New Year and “Lumps” by Ian Woodhead

lumps

Hello ladies and gentlemen!  Welcome to the Casa!

Happy New Year! It’s been a busy holiday season spent with my fiancée and children, as well as some much-needed relaxation.  2014 wasn’t exactly the best of years, but now we are in a new year that offers new possibilities across the board.  Two of my short stories will be coming out in the near future, and I am halfway through one novel and a quarter of the way through another.  There will also be weekly blog posts here at the Casa as well as on the HorrorAddicts.net blog.  2015 will be a busy and successful year, I can just feel it.

This week, I offer you a review of a short story by Ian Woodhead named, “Lumps”.  David Kerrigan is a boy with a bit of a dilemma, he sees lumps on the walls of his home.  They aren’t always there, and they don’t stay in the same place all the time.  In fact, the more he sees them, the more they move and the bigger they get.  His parents tell him to stop making up stories for attention, but there is something in their eyes that makes him wonder otherwise.

This is a fun little horror story that offers a nice break away from the daily grind with a just a pinch of Lovecraft for spice.  It conveys a good feel for the emotions and fear young David feels as he watches the lumps multiply and grow.  You feel for the boy as things spiral deeper and deeper.  I rate this little story a four out of five.

You can find “Lumps” at Smashwords, and the Barnes and Noble stores in e-book format.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, I must bid you adieu.  There is a story just begging to be written.  Until next week…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

Finding enjoyment in the writing process, “White Zombie” review

white zombie

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

I’ve been busy in the last two weeks that I spoke with you last.  I have started writing a new thriller novel since the earlier stories I’ve tried to tell have fallen beyond flat in my excitement of writing them.  I will be re-visiting them in the near future, but I felt a need to cleanse my palate so to speak of the writing processes I tried with them.  As writers sometimes we need to test out different ways to work on our prose to see if possibly a different method to getting the story down will work.  I tried plotting stories, focusing on the events of the story, even rotating into stories a chapter at  a time.  While the last one did seem to work kind of okay, the first two really didn’t click for me.  When I started my current project, I decided to try focusing on writing by the seat of my pants and putting the focus of my narrative on the characters.  I’m letting them progress the story instead of reacting to it.  So far, it is all working.  The story is progressing well, I have a better feel for the characters, and, most of all, I’m having fun in writing a novel again.  I can’t wait to finish it and see what other people think of it.

To any of you new writers out there, feeling things out and figuring out the best way for you to work, I do have one piece of advice.  You will have plenty of writers and creative type people making suggestions on the best way to create.  I’ve heard many anecdotes from people about how their one way is the best and only way to put out good art (and yes, story telling is an art).  They are all wrong, and yet they are right too.  The best and only way to put out good art is to sit down and create it, and different methods will work for different people.  My advice is to try the different ways, at least once.  You may find that it doesn’t work, but, then again, you may find that it brings out even better creations than before.  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  In fact, it’s that kind of thinking to brings me to this week’s book review, “White Zombie, Volume 1″ created by Richard Evans and edited by Andrew Ardizzi.

I’m sure by now, everyone is familiar with zombie stories.  It’s everywhere you look.  What it there were people who were immune to the virus, and this immunity was based on your race?  That is the premise behind the short stories in “White Zombie, Volume 1″  There is a flu-like virus spreading across the globe.  Once you get it, you have 24 hours before it kills and re-animates you.  The only people directly unaffected by the virus are people of African decent.  The stories chronicle the immune and what they must experience to survive.

I’m almost as white as they come, and I’ll admit I didn’t know what to expect when I read the book.  I almost expected a very heavy racial overtones, and, since I do this mostly for fun, wasn’t sure I wanted to dive into something so heavy.  After reading the stories, I’m glad I dove in with both feet.  The stories by themselves were wonderful and, aside from the person’s ethnicity affecting whether they became infected after a zombie bite, I really didn’t think anything about the color of the characters’ skin.  That’s not to say there weren’t some racial undertones to the stories, but they fit into them in a natural way.  I for one am looking forward to the next volumes in the series.  My rating is a 4 out of 5.

You can find “White Zombie, Volume 1″ at Amazon, Smashwords, and the Itunes book stores in e-book format.

Well, I’m afraid I must bid you adieu for the week.  I feel another part of a balance life calling me… a nice soft bed and a good night’s sleep cuddled up with my fiancee.  Until next week…

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

A post is coming

Hello ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Casa!

I just wanted to drop a quick note before work to let you know that a post is coming today.  I’ll be reviewing the zombie anthology “White Zombie”.  See you later today.

Donald “D.J.” Pitsiladis

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