HELLBOUND BOOKS’ NEW RELEASE “THE TOILET ZONE” IS A FIVE STAR RATED WINNER THAT HELPS US MULTI-TASK IN EVERY ROOM OF THE HOUSE!

Toilet Zone cover shot

 

THE TOILET ZONE
HellBound Books
Compiled & Edited by Bret McCormick
August 16, 2019
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

This hot new anthology from HellBound Books was born from a great idea from the fertile mind of Bret McCormick. It’s like this; The folks reading this review are most likely to be what Stephen King calls “constant readers.” Let me shake you firmly by the hand…in spirit anyway! We take books everywhere, whether in physical form or loaded into an electronic device. That’s us, at Taco Bell: Burrito in one hand, book in the other! We read in waiting rooms and on public transportation because it makes the time go faster in an enjoyable fashion, right? That includes the one room we’re obligated to sit in for 10-15 mins per day to take care of business. Even people who aren’t big readers like a diversion in there. What to do?

Enter The Toilet Zone-32 short horror tales best read over water” from HellBound Books! Bathroom boredom will be a thing of the past when you’re reading really awesome short horror stories in there. Some of the tales included, such as Junkie by Anthony Crinella or The Rambler by Steve Simpson might just scare the shit right out of you! Ha! This fun and frightening volume bears cover artwork that references Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone and if you say both titles fast, there’s a definite similarity! But The Toilet Zone is more than just a silly spoof, so stay seated and let’s continue.

That You, Coughlin? By Christopher Brinn takes us to an Oklahoma Territory town in the year 1883. Something strange is happening in Father Bud’s parish. Gunslingers he’s burying in the little cemetery behind the church aren’t staying dead. Is he really burying them more than once? When he asks the creepy Mr. Coughlin, who makes all the coffins for the dead, Father Bud finds out some things he wishes he didn’t know. Will good triumph over evil or will the victor be someone with no connections to the lord?

I don’t know about you, but all the medical technology we have in these modern times is kind of frightening. Just listen to those ads on TV about the latest pharmaceutical miracles! “Dinkzingle 720 EX can relieve your pain and build new muscle fibers!” Great, but it can also destroy the majority of your brain cells, resulting in loss of vision and major anal leakage. Eeeg! The choices aren’t quite so easy then, are they? The main character of James Pyles’ story Retired is an elderly woman who’s undergone a special operation in order to get her brain back on track. While the surgery has been somewhat successful, Leslie’s recovery is not going quite as smoothly. There are vivid memories seeping into her dreams, causing her to behave in ways that the average eighty-year-old doesn’t. Why does she have man hands? Thoughts of campfires that cook up some unique meals? Her son is concerned, but then his mother takes control over her assets and starts doing things by herself. Leslie’s doctor says that means she’s getting better, but is he right?

Want something cool and modern to read? Then try Alan Beauvais’s story SMS which is constructed entirely of text messages. Kat is texting her boyfriend about something strange happening while she’s home alone, but Will jokes with her. However, as the texts continue, it becomes obvious that she’s not joking or being flirty. Can Will solve the mystery before any real harm comes to them? Grab a copy of The Toilet Zone today and find out!

So with all that said, how does this excellent collection of short horror fiction rate? The Toilet Zone rates a BIG FIVE STARS and immediate placement on the “Wall of Fame” in the Skullcave! I think that anyone who reads this collection is going to really enjoy it. You might even see them sneak it out of the restroom to keep reading! And you know what? That’s totally fine because HellBound Books has many anthologies available for purchase. If you check out their site, they also provide some teaser content so that you can decide which ones you like best. Remember…The holiday seasons are creeping up on us quick this year and gifts from HellBound Books might be just what the doctor ordered! Just head on over to: www.hellboundbookspublishing.com for more information! Be sure to sign up for their newsletter and tell ‘em that the Damaged Skull Writer sent ya!

REVISITING JERRY GORDON’S APOCALYPTIC THRILLER “BREAKING THE WORLD” IN THE APEX BOOK COMPANY BACK CATALOG BLOG TOUR!

Breaking the World cover shot

 

AN APPRECIATION OF THE APOCALYPTIC APEX TITLE BREAKING THE WORLD AND ITS AUTHOR JERRY GORDON

 

Hello everyone! The purpose of this article is to celebrate Apex Books’ back catalog. My favorite title is an apocalyptic thriller by Jerry Gordon that will seriously blow your doors off. It features the perfect blend of horror and science fiction that Apex is known for, but its multiple facets give all readers something to grab onto. The writing is also very clean, which I know can be a concern for book buyers, especially if this will be a gift.

Breaking the World seamlessly combines the dramatic and very dangerous fifty-one day standoff between the FBI and the Branch Davidian Church. The U.S. government vs David Koresh-a religious leader with rock star charisma. Gordon presents this tragedy with super researched accuracy, then combines it with a fast-growing pandemic that is changing the world for the worse every second. If that isn’t bad enough, the folks in the white house make a decision that will change the great state of Texas FOREVER! Do the events both fictional and non, prove out Koresh’s prophecies? Did the government lose sanity and abuse their power? Who are “The Fallen” and what are they after?

Told from the viewpoint of 15 year-old Cyrus, Breaking the World is a crazy roller coaster ride that questions everything. Gordon’s use of this character is perfection. Even without being forced to live in a funky religious commune by his divorced mother, Cyrus has a lot going on. He’s standing on the edge of manhood, but still retains the sense of humor of a child. Fireworks and Playboy magazines. He and his friends try to find their place while having to obey a man who often does things they don’t agree with. Readers get a front row seat to the 51 day standoff from inside the Branch Davidian Compound. Changes come hard and fast, keeping your eyes glued to the pages.

My original review of Breaking The World when it came out in April of 2018 was very enthusiastic. I gave it FIVE STARS and a spot on the Skullcave “Wall of Fame.” When I reread it this month I found that it’s still one of the best novels I’ve ever read and it retains its Five Stars. If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy this excellent book. I highly encourage you to get yourself a copy today!

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR JERRY GORDON

jerry gordon

 

BJL: Hi Jerry! All I can say is how amazing it is to reread Breaking the World and find so much more cool stuff to enjoy about it. This is a really complex work!

Jerry Gordon: Thank you! That’s very kind of you to say

BJL: How long did it take you to complete this book, starting from the initial vision to the
paperback I’m reading?

JG: Breaking the World started as a short story set in a post-apocalyptic future that made ominous references to a fallen world with David Koresh and the Branch Davidians. The story was well received, and I ended up pitching the world-ending part of it to a small press publisher as a novella. After I wrote it, the publishing industry took a downturn and the deal fell through. I then decided to sell the novella to another publisher, but a couple of writers convinced me to turn it into a novel. Timeline-wise, I spent three full-time months researching the original novella and about the same amount of time writing it. When it came time to transform that original work into a novel, I spent another six months on research and followed that with a year of writing.

BJL: Thanks for sharing that! I think it’s important for readers and aspiring writers to       have a good understanding of how much time goes into building a book. Not to dishearten anyone more to show them they’re on the right road when they spend time getting it right.

JG: Exactly!

BJL: Another question that I’m sure many readers are wondering about is: How did the fusion of  the Branch Davidian Church standoff with U.S. Law Enforcement and fictional apocalyptic events based on David Koresh’s beliefs along with nuclear warfare come about? Your absolutely seamless integration of these pieces really had me going for a bit! I almost called a friend about the pandemic in Mexico that I’d never heard of previously!

JG:      So many books either skip the actual end of the established world or they give it the “flashback treatment.” I wanted an entire novel to live and breathe in that space where everything falls apart, and not in a generic sense. I wanted to ground the reader in a historic moment that felt so real, the fictional elements of the story   would sneak up on them!

            Twenty-five years ago, over one hundred ATF agents in full body armor stormed the Branch Davidian church in Waco, Texas. Military helicopters circled overhead as both sides traded gunfire. When the smoke cleared, four agents and six church members were dead. A fifty-one day standoff followed the botched raid, dominating the news. Before it was all over, tanks were deployed against a church in America. It’s almost unthinkable!

What made this bit of history so enticing? The fact that the Branch Davidians
believed that government raids signaled the beginning of the end of the world

I took that meticulously researched history and made small deviations, the kind only someone with expert knowledge would recognize. Then I added increasingly larger moments, all designed to seem plausible. ‘I wanted to avoid raising suspicion and leave the reader with a sense that they had forgotten or overlooked some bits of history. I took a lot of inspiration from Orson Wells’ performance of War of the Worlds.

BJL:   Your efforts were very effective. I remember feeling almost panicked as the shift you speak of began to happen. At first, I was convinced that this was a real part of history the government had covered up during the crisis situation with the Branch Davidian Church. Especially with the level of firepower and psychological warfare techniques used. Well played, sir!

JG:      Thanks, Brian. A lot of it came from doing years of research. When you’re connecting to a historical event in time that generated so much interest, randomly making things up isn’t going to win any points with readers.

BJL:   During your time of in depth research for Breaking the World where did you get all this highly detailed information?

JG:      I read just about anything I could get my hands on! Congressional testimony, FBI reports, court cases, and books written by survivors on both sides. I also watched obscure television interviews, read David Koresh’s interpretation of the bible, and even listened to his rock music. In fact, a CD of his music was made for the most unusual giveaway of the book launch! All the while, I was assembling moments to explore and questions to ask. That helped me understand how Koresh thought about the world. I learned the way he talked and how he moved. When Koresh started showing up in my dreams, I knew it was time to stop researching!

BJL:   That being said, why did you choose fifteen year-old Cyrus as the narrator of this very intense book?

JG:      I wanted a neutral point of view to sort out the actions of the Branch Davidians and the FBI. An atheist teenager dragged to the church by his born-again parents gave me a protagonist that could question both sides of the conflict. I also felt that a younger character at the crossroads of adulthood made the situation even scarier. After completing the first draft, I realized I had written the end of the world as a metaphor for growing up. Read into that what you will about my personality!

BJL:   Yeah, when you think about it, a lot of teenagers feel that way. I liked the references to Holden Caulfield and Mick Jagger as the warring personalities inside Cyrus, as well. It gives readers something tangible, instead of random adjectives. Speaking of the way you gave us handholds to grab onto Breaking the World with I think the quotes you inserted between chapters are great.

JG:      Thanks. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with quotes. Originally, I envisioned a quote preceding every chapter, but that seemed to break up the narrative flow a bit too much. So I settled on a quote every other chapter. Most came to mind while I was writing. The hardest one to nail down was the James Kuntsler quote that comes late in the book. It arrives at a moment when you’re not sure if the characters are going to make it or not. It’s a quote about the probable downfall of the human race that perfectly handles the world hanging by a thread. I went through a dozen quotes before settling on that one!

BJL:   Something that many people seem to be stuck on is, why did a “peaceful church group” have all that firepower handy?

JG:      There are a couple reasonable explanations for this. From a practical standpoint, their “stockpile of guns” was truly an inventory for a business that helped keep the church afloat. They partnered with a licensed gun dealer to buy old guns and parts that they could recondition and sell for a profit. When the ATF raided the church, they found the gun room almost empty because all the guns were off at a gun show being sold.

            Beyond the business side of things, many church members lived onsite and owned personal firearms. Texas gun culture is a very real thing and when you pair that with their belief that they were close to the end times, you have some well-prepared people. So it wasn’t as unusual as some readers might think.

BJL:   Breaking the World ends in a fairly open-ended fashion. Was the plan to leave room for a future sequel or more the realization that that your characters were going to be parting ways soon and doing things that wouldn’t line up with the original story?

JG:      When I was a boy, I read Stephen King’s The Mist. The ending of my book is a bit of a love letter to that story. This will be lost on those who’ve only seen the movie, but   King ended that story in a way that allows readers to imagine and retain hope for the characters. I’ve tried to do that with Breaking the World. That being said, there is an outline for a follow up novel, City of Refuge.

BJL:   Well that’s cool on both answers! I’m on the end of those who’ve only read the book, because that’s my favorite way to enjoy Stephen King’s work. My imagination gets to go out and play, just like it did with Breaking the World. Hopefully your work will inspire writers, much like Stephen King’s pushed you in the right direction. It’s certainly inspired me to try my hand at novel writing!

            Thanks a million for agreeing to this interview. It has been a pleasure and I appreciate your encouragement, too!

JG:      Thank you for doing this, as well. Keep writing!

 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this feature as much as I enjoyed being a part of The Apex Books Back Catalog Blog Tour! For more information, please check out www.jerrygordon.net and ApexBookCompany.com Jerry’s work is available through Apex Book Company, Barnes & Noble, and of course Amazon.com where you can also follow Jerry and see what he’s up to next. Thanks for reading Damaged Skull Writer!

 

Scratch cracked and damaged human skull, reflection surface

HERE ARE A COUPLE NEW TOYS THAT COULD BE USED TO CELEBRATE HELLBOUND BOOKS’ NEW RELEASE “THE TOILET ZONE!”

Poop Head Slime Squirter and Squichy Poo Doo

However to make sure we’re all on the right track, THE TOILET ZONE is a swell collection of short horror stories that are “Best Read Over Water”. These toys? Well, they’re semi-hilarious. Especially the “Poop Head Slime Squirter!” I mean, who doesn’t want that? A poop with stoner eyes that doesn’t just sit there on your desk, it also squirts out noxious slime! Squishy Poo Doo is a more mellow stress ball sort of thing which might be useful when your boss gives you a hard time. It’s also bouncy so you can throw it at your boss.

But the best recommendation I have for escaping the blues is to just have the shit scared right out of you by the huge new anthology from HellBound Books “THE TOILET ZONE” It features 32 brand spanking new stories and over 300 pages of tales that will make you forget all about the co-worker that dumps a ton of paperwork into your in box at 4:58 and tells you smugly “Have a NICE day!” Just give them a blast from the Poop Head Slime Squirter and head off to “THE TOILET ZONE” Available from your favorite bookseller now!

Toilet Zone cover art

CORONA BOOKS CONTINUES ITS MISSION TO SCARE READERS AND BRING NEW NAMES TO THE SPOTLIGHT WITH “THE SECOND CORONA BOOK OF HORROR STORIES”-AVAILABLE NOW!

Corona Book of Horror Stories two cover shot

 

The Second Corona Book of HORROR STORIES
Edited by: Lewis Williams
Corona Books UK
October 1, 2018
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Welcome readers! Today I will be spreading the good word about The Second Corona Book of Horror Stories. This is an absolutely stunning collection of short horror stories by writers who you may not be familiar with yet. But after reading this collection, you’ll be actively seeking them out! The First Corona Book of Horror Stories was a delight to read and the second book follows perfectly in its footsteps. Wait, scratch that, book two is even better than the first book! High quality stories that crackle with energy are waiting behind the creepy cover to ambush you with the unexpected and scare the hell out of you! Make sure to use the loo before reading or suffer the consequences. Ready to roll? Then let’s get to it!

The Second Corona Book of Horror Stories contains seventeen great stories that are aptly kicked off by Phillip Drake’s Mr. Cruel. This chilling tale opens up with a sweet scene of a babysitter taking care of young Billy and his baby sister while their folks are away. Billy is quietly drawing at the dining room table and sis is taking a nap. What babysitter wouldn’t want this gig? Seems nice and cozy, right? What could possibly mar this lovely little scene? The babysitter does, by asking young Billy what he’s so busy drawing. His disturbing answers and her meddling unleash a terror that won’t stop until it’s good and ready.

How many times have you heard older people say In My Day…fill in the blank here? Wondra Vanian uses this title very cleverly for her contribution to The Second Corona Book of Horror Stories. An elderly woman is getting on the bus after a long day at the craft market. She’s feeling fussy and tired, but who wouldn’t be after all that? Stuck walking to the back of the bus on aching feet, she finally gets settled and starts knitting to pass the time until her stop. But the boring bus ride turns frightening when a gang of creeps force their way on and start causing trouble. The old woman watches from her seat as until she is forced to do something. But what could an old woman do against burly, gun-toting criminals? To find out the answer, you’ll need to get a copy of The Second Corona Book of Horror!

When you’re a kid, moving can be a real drag. You’re forced to leave your friends behind and the neighborhood where you know all the cool spots to hide out. But what if there were a magical toy store hidden at the rear of your new home in the country? Would that make things better? In The Toy Shop by Sue Eaton, a boy finds himself in this very situation. Trouble is, no one else can see the hidden store and only he can gain entry. Plus the shop keeper seems fixated on the boy and the toys in his store are strange. Is this toy shop a place for fun, or is it all just an elaborate trap? Excellent!

Do you ever wonder if all the smart technology we have is truly safe? I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of a retro guy and to be honest, I don’t really trust all the technological advances we have at our fingertips. I like turning my TV on and off with my own hand. I also prefer adjusting my home’s thermostat manually instead of letting it “learn” what I prefer. I don’t own a smart phone and I don’t use a GPS when I drive. I’ve never asked Alexa or Siri a damn thing and after reading Kisses, Suzi by Joanie Chevalier, I’m not going to start anytime soon. This upsetting tale is about a guy named Jimmie and his girlfriend Brenda taking the road trip from hell. At first, things are pretty light and even funny. Then Brenda notices that her boyfriend’s car is talking to him personally through the GPS unit. Jimmie explains that he just updated the GPS software and this must be a perk. But soon Suzi gets WAY too personal with her words and Brenda is NOT amused. Suzi doesn’t like being yelled at one bit, so she starts flexing her electronic muscles. The results go from bizarre to downright terrifying and…DO NOT REVEAL ANY MORE OF THIS STORY, OR ELSE-SUZI. Okay then! Well that’s all for this story. Be sure to check it out! ZZZAAAPPP! Ow!

Without a doubt, The Second Corona Book of Horror Stories is FIVE STAR collection of great stories that will keep you turning pages until well after midnight! An instant “Wall of Famer” that grabbed my attention right away and didn’t let go until I’d finished the whole book. You need this collection! Big thanks to editor Lewis Williams and contributing author Wondra Vanian (on Twitter@witchybelle4u2) for all the help. Before I go, I’d like to mention how much time and effort Corona Books puts into helping their contributing authors. There are both biography pages and a list of the authors’ Twitter handles and websites in the rear of the book. Follow your favorites and stay informed of what’s next. All words of encouragement are greatly appreciated! Want to know more? Then check out www.coronabooks.com and Twitter@CoronaBooksUK . Thanks again for reading! Also be on the lookout for The Third Corona Book of Horror Stories Coming to your favorite booksellers SOON!

Pleased To Announce That My Short Story “Rest Stop” Will Be Appearing In The HellBound Books Anthology “The Toilet Zone!

Toilet Zone cover art.jpg

Is This Cool, or what? After years of reviewing many of their great titles, I am so excited to be a member of the HellBound Books family! This collection is a spoof on Rod Serling’s “The Twilight Zone” in the best of ways. I like a publisher that enjoys a good chuckle along with their horror! The stories contained in The Toilet Zone are just the right length for you to enjoy a good read while “taking care of business” from the best seat in the house. This collection is going to “dump” a ton of cool stories by awesome writers right into your naked lap. Coming to your zone, SOON! For more info about HellBound Books and how to pre-order The Toilet Zone head on over to http://www.hellboundbookspublishing.com and sign up for their newsletter to be in the loop and get some cool free stuff! Tell them that Damaged Skull Writer sent you!

Are You Ready For Brutality? Morgan Tanner Brings It With His New Short Horror Collection “THE MIND’S PLAGUE” Available August 22!

The Mind's Plague cover shot

THE MIND’S PLAGUE & Other bites of brutality
Morgan K. Tanner
August 22, 2019
Reviewed by Brian James Lewis

A few months ago, Morgan K. Tanner released his debut novel An Army Of Skin on the unsuspecting public and kicked some serious ass! Now he’s back with some bite-sized doses of brutality that masquerade as short stories. But, don’t be fooled! Any one of these ten tales of terror is powerful enough to take your head clean off, leaving an empty hole behind. You have been warned and encouraged by yours truly to check out The Mind’s Plague! Just make sure to be prepared for intensity. Ready? Then read on.

Roaring out of the gate, the title story may result in the following: You, sitting in the middle of your living room, with all the lights on and your laptop smashed into bloody pieces. Why? The Mind’s Plague, which unfortunately is discovered by some teenage boys with extra time on their hands. All they really wanted was some entertainment. What they got was something entirely different. Wear a helmet, Kevlar vest, and some sturdy boots. This one is a KILLER!

Since Morgan Tanner is also a drummer Conflagration Desecration has got to be a tale that’s close to his heart! Steve’s a drummer who’s feeling down about being bandless. Then he reads an ad for what appears to be the perfect gig. But lots of things that appear perfect from afar, aren’t always what they seem. Steve digs the sound of his new band, but what’s up with the outfits and strange behavior? If that wasn’t weird enough, the first show is a mind blower! All I can say is, you will want to read this fiery fable for yourself!

Do you suffer from Reluctant Bloodlust? No worries, man. We all do sometimes. Luckily, there’s a cure! All you gotta do is call the number at the top of your screen and our trained pharmacologists will send a free order of Blue Hardness right to your door! Just call…Oh, whoops! Wrong product write-up! Although this story does take a searing look at another serious lifestyle issue that may be sweeping through your town, so pay attention! Everybody has to eat and no one wants to be alone, right? That’s what Ugh (not his real name, because he can’t remember it) thinks. Just because you’re a member of the undead, that doesn’t excuse you from family duties! With some help from your pack…err, friends, you can take your women on the road. Happy travels!

If you need further proof that Morgan K. Tanner likes writing crazy, twisted stories, then be sure to check out For David, which drops us into the living room of David Brannigan’s “number one fan.” Eek! She continually checks David’s Facebook, visits the same stores he goes to, and even eats the same food. She makes sure to keep the fires burning for David, who seems to be out of the limelight just now. To the naysayers she rages, until her energy starts to fade. Strange things begin happening and our superfan begins to unravel, revealing the reasons for her dedication. I’d love to tell you more, but she’s got a knife. RUN! Run for your lives past what’s in those shoeboxes and the dried up vomit. Because when the truth is revealed, something horrible is going to happen.

FIVE STARS and a spot on the “Wall of Fame” for Morgan K. Tanner’s excellent short horror collection The Mind’s Plague & other bites of brutality! With a release date of August 22, this great book will be available soon, so get ready! A tip of the hat to M.R. Tapia for the creep-o-vision cover of a vastly distressed world with a plague carrier peering from the TV screen. Oh no! The static is filling my head…I need a weapon! Don’t try to outrun me because there’s no escaping my swing! ARRRGGGHHH!

Be sure to check out Morgan K. Tanner on his website www.morgantanner.com or see what brutal mayhem he’s up to on Twitter@morgantanner666 Should you want to prep yourself for what’s to come, consider grabbing a copy of his novel An Army of Skin, available now from Amazon.com and your favorite bookseller.

Hot Dog! It’s Ice Cream Weather!

YUM Ice cream dog

 

I often post pictures of my cats, but not as many of my four-legged pal, Jake. The main reason for that is he hardly ever stops moving long enough to snap a clear shot! Here he is enjoying one of the best things about hot weather-A dish of vanilla ice cream with peanut butter ripple. Life can be pretty sweet sometimes!   

THANKS FOR FOLLOWING DAMAGED SKULL WRITER!

50 Follows!

THANKS TO ALL MY FOLLOWERS! WE ARE FIFTY-ONE MEMBERS STRONG OF CREATIVE PEOPLE CONTRIBUTING GOOD ENERGY TO A WORLD THAT NEEDS IT! ANYONE WHO WOULD LIKE TO JOIN US IS MORE THAN WELCOME-ALL WE ASK IS THAT MINDS ARE KEPT OPEN AND THE BELIEF THAT ALL HUMANS ARE DESERVING OF RESPECT IS UPHELD

 

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BEING PART OF A COMMUNITY IS A GREAT FEELING. WE ARE NOT ALONE AND KNOW THAT SOMEBODY CARES ABOUT US. KEEP ON CREATING, LOVING, AND BEING KIND TO ONE ANOTHER. DON’T FORGET TO SAY A GOOD WORD WHEN YOU CAN TO ANYBODY WHO NEEDS IT.  NO AMOUNT OF MONEY IN THE WORLD CAN BUY HEART.

keep calm and smile on

READY FOR A REFRESHING AND FUN TAKE ON HORROR? THEN CHECK OUT “OUR FRAIL DISORDERED LIVES”BY MARY M. SCHMIDT!

Our Frail Disordered Lives cover shot

 

Our Frail Disordered Lives
Mary M. Schmidt
LuLu Publishing
May 16, 2018
reviewed by Brian James Lewis

As promised in an earlier post, Here is my full review of Our Frail Disordered Lives by writer and poet, Mary M. Schmidt. This book does include both demons and cats, along with a pigheaded man, some powerful sisters, a fool, and a cameo by the Devil himself. Can I get a “Hell yeah?” Thank you! Before we go any further, let me say that this book was a lot of fun to read and shows that life can be rather similar whether you’re above or below. Okay, enough talking, let’s check it out!

The main demon in this surprise-filled book is named Roach, or when in human form, Johnny LaRoche. His name is NOT Mr. Stink Bug. Sorry, I can’t reveal the reason why you should know that, but it is important in the grand scheme of Our Frail Disordered Lives. Roach works for Satan, who unlike the way we often see him in movies, is your typical grumpy boss. He’s never happy with his employees’ performance and has no class. So when Roach shows him the paperwork on his latest soul acquisition, one Larry Kavanaugh, self-proclaimed attorney, Old Scratch reads him the riot act. Roach is tired of getting zero thanks for what he does and decides to go rogue.

Helping him do this difficult thing, is his pal Scorch. Not only is Scorch a great friend, he’s also the IT specialist in Hell. Hey, it’s a modern world everywhere these days! Nobody can get by without the internet, especially Satan. People get up to some pretty naughty stuff in the virtual universe! Like Roach, Scorch is tired of being treated like a plate full of dirty holy water. Together, they get up to some grand mischief, but Roach has a target and something to prove. He’s not going to let Larry Kavanaugh get away with making him look bad, no siree!

But life in the human world is even more complicated than Roach imagined it could be. He can’t just take on one person, Kavanaugh’s got a family. Still, it doesn’t take long for Roach to get his ducks in a row, especially with the help of Scorch. Just as he gets his hooks into Kathleen, Larry’s wife, things take a sudden downward turn. Well, depending on how you look at it. For some, it’s a great thing when Kathleen’s sister Grace comes for an extended stay in the Kavanaugh home. She even brings along her two cats, Dante and Virgil. Larry and Roach are stuck singing the blues, but not for long. Here comes Dorothy Marie Walsh!

Things pick up speed and fortunes go up and down like a roller coaster. Roach may land in the victor’s circle and Larry might make a million with his golden goose. But one thing is for certain, you can’t beat the power of sisterly love! Also, if anyone out there is still questioning the magical powers of cats, Our Frail Disordered Lives will set you straight, once and for all. This a great book that rates FIVE STARS and a solid recommendation from this reviewer! Refreshingly different and full of empowering approaches to bullying, greed, and facing the truth. Often laughter is the best medicine against fear. Our Frail Disordered Lives is currently available from LULU.com and Amazon.com. To learn more about Mary M. Schmidt and Roach, go to: http://roachthedemon.wordpress.com Thanks for reading!

Headed Down The Road In Your Direction “Dime Store Poetry” By Benjamin Blake

Dime Store Poetry arrives

It is always a delight receiving a new book to review! Benjamin Blake’s work never fails to get my motor running, so I am very much looking forward to some great reading! There will be a review along soon. Until then, enjoy the cool cover art and this can of Imperial Chrome Polish from 1958 that I found in my garage. Still works great, too! Always best to keep your ride looking good, no matter where the road  takes you!