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Audio Book Review — “Closet Treats” by Paul E. Cooley

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Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to The Casa!

For the first audio book, I thought we’d start with a bit of psychological horror.  “Closet Treats” was my introduction to works of Paul E Cooley, but it is far from the end of it.  I heard about the podcast version of this book via advertisement on a different author’s podcast.  I thought the premise sounded cool, so I took a listen.  Am I ever glad I did.

The story centers around a man named Trey Leger, a telecommuting computer programmer, who has issues with his mind.  From petit mal siezures brought on by stress to visions of the Closet Man, a hideous man beast that tortures him every chance he gets.  He’s been able to keep most of that at bay with medication, but all of that is ready to crumble after one look at the driver of a new ice cream van in the neighborhood.  from the moment he locks eyes with the ice cream man, a rollercoaster of events is set in motion.  Is what Trey sees reality, or his mind finally unravelling even more?

This story brought back memories of why I started reading Stephen King stories in the first place.  There is the slow burn of tension building all the way to the end of the story where it releases in one big torrent of viscera.  The story isn’t about blood and gore just for the sake of it, everything that occurs fits perfectly together.  I’ve listened to the story read by both Paul and John Mireau.  Both are really good at telling the story and capturing the personalities of the characters, so picking between the two is impossible for me to do.  What I can do is  direct you to Audible or http://www.shadowpublications.com to get yourself a copy to listen to or read.  if you enjoy stories that play with your mind, this one is for you.

Until next week…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Book Review: “Still Water” by Justin R. Macumber

still water

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

I’m going to be attempting a new schedule and format for the blog.  While I cannot guarantee how well it will work, I will still be making a strong try to become a more regular host while also expanding what I share with you fans.  What I’m hoping to do is to write a post weekly with a review of work in different mediums.  One week it will be a review of books I’ve read, the next week will be a Podiobook or audio book, followed up by a movie, and then a status report on the various projects I am working on, and news in general.  Occasionally, there may even be a short story waiting for you all.  My hope is to build a routine once again, one that will only be interrupted when my child is born within the next two months.  With any luck, this will become a habit that will be hard to break.  This week, as promised, I want to share a review of “Still Water”, written by Justin R. Macumber.

Kyle, the proverbial “prodigal son”, returns to the small mining town of Stillwater, WV, after leaving six years prior.   The reason for the return is a strange message from his sister that says, “PLEASE COME HOME. IM SCARED”.  She is the one and only reason he returned to the town whose mine shafts took the lives of many – physically, mentally, and emotionally.  He wasn’t prepared for what his family and the town became in his absence.

Maya is a paranormal investigator with the ability to hear and see things most others were unable to.  Her latest case is researching and investigating the town of Stillwater, WV.  From the moment she first sees the town, she knows that something isn’t right about it.  As she investigates further, she realizes just how wrong she is.  An ancient evil is awake, and Stillwater is just the beginning.

This story was a really good thrill ride with a lot of twists and turns, much like the mine cart roller coasters you see in the movies.  You start out on a fairly level spot, knowing something bad is going on, and as the story progresses, it just takes you deeper and deeper.  There is definitely an H.P. Lovecraft feel about the story, and nothing about it felt out-of-place, forced, or unnatural (in a story writer’s way).  There was a good flow about it, and you genuinely feel concern for the characters and whether they will make it out of their predicaments.  I recommend this book to anyone who likes the elder god stories of Lovecraft and his ilk, as well as for fans of Dean R. Koontz.  The only real fault I give the book is the early death of a character who I felt might have given us a slightly different view of Maya.  I rate it 4 out of 5.

Now, it is time for me to finish preparing for the day job and start planning the next Nightmare Fuel piece for HorrorAddicts.net.  Until next time, loyal patrons…

D.J. Pitsiladis

 

July 2016 updates

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

How is everyone’s summer going?  Well so far, I hope.  Here in sunny North Dakota, we’ve been topping out around one hundred degrees Fahrenheit (37.8 degrees Celsius).  It has made audio book recording in my studio space a bit unbearable at times, so I’ve been limiting it to mornings, before it gets very hot.  I continue to work on the recording, and will let you all know when it is released so you can check it out.  While I can’t release the name of the book yet, what I can tell you is that I’m not the author, and where it takes place has a personal tie in for me… Pittsburgh, PA.  That’s right.  It takes place in my old stomping grounds.  It is a good post-apocalyptic story that I can’t wait for you to listen to.

Things have been busy this summer, but for the first time in a long time, it is for good reasons.  Our son is due in roughly two months, so I’ve been busy between home improvements, the day job, writing, recording, and spending time with my sons.  By the time our baby boy arrives, there will be some additional news I’ll be able to share.

On the writing front, I’ve finished the first draft on a novel I started around Halloween of last year.  As I’m writing this, I’m giving it a week to rest and finish cooking in my brain before I start working on edits.  My goal is to have it submission ready by the end of summer as well.  In the meantime, I’ve started work on an erotica short story and edits/re-writes of my first HorrorAddicts.net Master of Macabre entry, “The Problem with Neighbors”.  I’m not certain at this time if I will be attempting to shop it around or if I will self-publish the story.  Stay tuned to the Casa for upcoming news.

Well, I need to scat for now, but I will be back in a week with a review of “Still Water”, by Justin R Macumber.  Until next time, loyal patrons…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Updates and “Along Came A Demon” by Linda Welch

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Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

It’s been a bit since we last had a chance to talk.  I hope things are going well for you all.  My wife’s pregnancy has made it to the halfway point, and it has been a little rougher compared to the first trimester.  Even with all of that, mama and baby are still going well.

Work has been progressing on the writing projects, but I’ve had to change my focus from three or four at a time to just one.  As excited as I am to work on them all, between the day job and trying to record audiobooks for ACX, there is a finite amount of time in the day.  That all being said, I now have a schedule of what stories to work on, both in novel and short story forms.  My hope is that this will help get those projects done, edited, and into agents/publishers hands quicker.  I am still toying with the idea of podcasting some of them, but will depend on whether I can free up enough time to work on the audio editing.  I will keep you all posted on all of it.

For this week’s book review, I thought a little paranormal romance might be in order.  Today we talk a glance at “Along Came a Demon” by Linda Welch.  Tiff Banks can see dead people.  Not just any dead folks, but those who died violently.  She uses those talents as a consultant with the Clarion, UT police department to solve otherwise unsolvable murders and disappearances.  When one such spirit shows up in her front yard, stark naked and soaking wet, she is annoyed at first.  When she finds out that the woman’s child is missing and that the spirit shouldn’t be in her yard since it wasn’t where she died, she decides to look into it.  The problem is there is no evidence of a child living with her at the time of her death.  Soon, she comes into the crosshairs of the only other entities she can see clearly, what she refers to demons.  Will she be able to find the child the ghost woman referred to without falling getting killed herself?

Normally, paranormal romances aren’t my cup of tea.  What few I’ve read either weren’t well written or the character development lacked proper development.  This story snuck up on me, and I admit to enjoying it tremendously.  There were some hang-ups along the way, mostly in how often the demons seemed to want to strip Tiff down to nothing, but for the most part, it fit into the story telling pretty well.  There was usually a very good reason for it.  Personally, I think they played out the big twist way too early in the series, but that is just me.  I rate this book a 4 out of 5.

Until next time… And I promise it will not be so long until then…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Master of Macabre, Wicked Women Writers, and “Homecoming” by Scott Langrel

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Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

It’s that time of year again, open season for the HorrorAddicts.net Master of Macabre and Wicked Women Writers writing contests.  Just like in past years, the contestants are given three elements, which they must include in their story.  Last year was the introduction of turning the story into an audio drama with no less than two people voicing characters, which carries over to this year.  The 2016 theme is Twisted Urban Legends.  You will be given an urban legend, a setting, and an obscure item.  After taking a year off from the contest last year, I intend to enter, but there is also the possibility of having one or two of my sons also competing for the prize of Master of Macabre.  For more details on these contests, check out Master of Macabre or Wicked Women Writers.  You can also check out HorrorAddicts.net for more announcements and horror themed nuggets of information, including details on a recently announced anthology that is accepting submissions.

In returning to my book reviewing roots, this week I thought I’d share “Homecoming” by Scott Langrel.  This is the first book in the Finn McCoy Paranormal Thrillers.  Finn is a paranormal handler, someone who deals with, and sometimes cleans up after, members of the fae and other mythical creatures.  He is often called in to situations normal paranormal investigators are unable to handle, and he sets things back into balance.  The first book finds our hero being called back to his old hometown of Shallow Springs, VA, which he left fifteen years prior, to help deal with a series of murders.  In the past, the town’s sheriff maintained a balance with the mystical elements of the forest.  The creatures were permitted to take and kill a limited amount of people they found in the woods in exchange for them not entering the town itself.  A new leader has emerged within one of the magical races, and they don’t like abiding by the truce.  Finn’s job is to keep the people of the town safe, while re-establishing the balance of things between magical and non-magical.

I thought this was a pretty fun read that didn’t try to be something larger than it needed to be.  There was just enough hinting at prior events with the characters, while not having that overshadow the current story taking place.  If the rest of the series is like this one, I think I’ll be reading the rest in short order.  That being said, there were a few things that did defy some level of logic, but none that I can mention because they delve to closely into spoiler territory.  I can say that none of them take you out of the story or take you out of the story.  My rating is a 4 out of 5.

You can find “Homecoming” on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or order it through your local book store.

Check out the latest season of HorrorAddicts.net to catch my contribution, Nightmare Fuel.  It is a different topic every week about something horror, paranormal, and creepy, most of which with a basis or legend in real life.  For the season premier, I touch on black-eyed children, with an assist from my youngest three sons.  The episode will be ready for download or listening on the HorrorAddicts.net website this weekend.

Until next time…

D.J.Pitsiladis

Updates

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

It’s been about a month since we last talked, and I just wanted to give you an update on things.   Baby and mother are still doing well, especially since they have now entered the second trimester.  We are so far still set for the arrival in less than six months.  We are very excited and are looking forward to meeting it and introducing him/her to the world.  (There is a story about why this pregnancy is especially poignant, but I’ll save that for another time).

I have been busy in the past month, between getting some house projects done in preparation for some renovations being done this summer, to writing and the day job.  I am currently working on three new novel/novella length projects as well as a re-write of the first novel I ever finished writing.  Add to the mix resuming blogging duties with HorrorAddicts.net, audiobook auditioning and a full-time day job, you can see why time has been a bit tight.  I want you to know that I have not forgotten about any of you, and I am working updating this blog back into my regular schedule again with more reviews of books, movies, and (possibly) television shows.

With all that being said, next week I will return with another book review and the start of what I hope will be a return to a regular schedule again.  Also,check out the season premiere of HorrorAddicts.net on 04/23 because the latest edition of Nightmare Fuel will include the podcast debuts of my three youngest (so far) sons.  It’s something they are excited for.  I hope you like it.

Well, I need to go for now and get ready for the day job and some writing.  Until next week…

D.J. Pitsiladis

Busy times ahead

Hello ladies and gentlemen.  Welcome to the Casa!

I apologize for my absence the past couple of weeks, but I was busy between work at the day job, work on writing projects, and recovering from a war between hay fever and a cold.  Now that I’m better adjusted to my new work schedule, it is time to return my focus to wordsmithing and voice acting work.  I am already lining up ideas for my portion of the HorrorAddicts.net blog and podcast as well as audition pieces for Audible.com and some other podcasts.  I am also busy working on two novel rough drafts and editing a short story or two.  Things are busy, but it is some of the happiest times of my life.

Work isn’t the only reason why I’m so happy this year.  I’ve been married to my wife for six months now, with a lifetime ahead of us.  I am spend a lot of quality time with my children, with plans of taking my two oldest to our first Con next month.  I’m also ecstatic because a real blessing has been bestowed upon us. My wife and I found out last month that she is pregnant, and that another little Pitsiladis will be scampering about by the end of the year.  We still have a long road ahead of us before the finish line, but the payout at the end is worth it.

My friends at HorrorAddicts.net have also announced the themes of this year’s Wicked Women Writers and Master of Macabre writing contests.  This year’s theme is “Twisted Urban Legends”.  I think this year’s contest will be something to look at for not just myself, but possibly my two oldest children as that is but one of their interests.  For more details, check out Wicked Women Writers (https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/www/), or Master of Macabre (https://horroraddicts.wordpress.com/master-of-macabre-contest/).

And with that, I must bid you adieu.  The day job is beckoning, and with a baby on the way… you get the picture.  I will be back next Wednesday with another book review.  Until then, dear patrons…

D.J. Pitsiladis

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