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!   


50 Follows!





keep calm and smile on


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 and To learn more about Mary M. Schmidt and Roach, go to: 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!

FANGORIA Says That Thom Carnell Knows Horror and Damaged Skull Writer Agrees! Check Out “A STRING OF PEARLS” For Great Stories With Heart!

A String of Pearls cover

A String Of Pearls
Thom Carnell
Crossroad Press
February 8, 2019
reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Howdy friends, ready to venture into the darkness once more? Then tie your shoes, zip your fly, and throw away that horrible tie (I mean just look at that thing! Isn’t a collection of scary stories enough?) Today’s subject for dissection is A String Of Pearls by the one and only Thom Carnell! While Thom has many fans, one of the most famous is the highly revered Clive Barker. He says, “No one has done more for legitimizing the beauty of the horror genre than Thom Carnell.” How about THAT for an endorsement? FANGORIA also speaks highly of Carnell’s work and now it’s Damaged Skull Writer’s turn to share Thom Carnell’s work with you. I’ve actually been blessed with three of Tom’s powerful books but we’re going to take them one at a time, so that I don’t run out of space!

Something unique about Carnell as a writer, is how personal his work is. You feel like he is talking to you while your read because he adds quotes from people such as Winston Churchill and they really fit. He also offers brief intros to many of the pieces making up A String of Pearls, as if we’re sitting around a campfire listening to his tales. If you like warm and personal in your reading experience, then you are in for a treat! One more thing I really like about these books is all the attention to detail. The cover looks like something from a cheap drugstore magazine rack. Very vintage and weathered as if we’ve plucked this selection from a time capsule. High ratings in coolness are happening here!

Okay, I know you didn’t tune in to hear me ramble on about how great this book looks. What you want is some proof about my earlier claims of greatness, right? Okay then! Let’s start with my absolutely favorite story in here Family Man. This piece of fiction is seriously terrifying! As kids we look up to our parents for values and how we’re supposed to behave in the big, bad world outside the doors of our homes. Carnell paints us a beautiful picture of a conservative All-American family. I mean, gosh, aren’t they terrific? But wait, someone is doing something unusual to some bottles of Gatorade that requires the use of syringes. An AM radio sways oddly in the garage while Dad works, projecting a voice full of anger and vitriol about people who are living their lives “wrong.” It is important that these mistakes are corrected and there are ways to do just that. Very final ways and this Gatorade method seems flawless. How will anyone know what happened? Be sure to check this one out!

People always want to talk about haunted houses as if that’s the only place you could possibly meet up with a malevolent force from the other world. But what if I told you that in a brand new, high tech hospital, a demon lies strapped to a bed? What about that then? Would you just chuckle and shoo me along, or would you listen? In The Sword of St. Michael, a powerful priest is called to a hospital to deal with something more powerful than most people’s worst nightmares. A little boy in a hospital bed? What kind of a threat is that? Do NOT be fooled. When people from “the agency” and Dr. Flemish are involved, this isn’t just a kid with colic. We’re talking about the potential end of the world. Will Father Thorpe’s powers be enough to avert disaster?

There are many great stories in A String Of Pearls, but I’m just going to peek in on one more to leave you fine folks plenty of goodies to discover on your own. The beautiful sincerity of Life, Death, and The Girl in the Cloth Covered Box will touch your heart and make you think a whole lot about what truly is valuable. I’m definitely a fan of Cecil Warburton and of this whole piece takes a hard look at things we humans are most afraid of. Death is scary, but as Warburton says, “Growing old is not for wimps.” But possibly the worst thing is being alone and stuck in a home, crammed full of dope and being cut off from the real world. Maybe not hell, but certainly purgatory to the undeserving whose offspring just can’t be bothered. Great layers of sweet warmth, chilling reality, with a crust of determination. Dig it.

That leaves such gems as the novella Song of the Dragon. Sorority-which is about a unique group of sisters, and The Choppa, which continues the legend of Cleese an amazing fighter who we will find out more about in an upcoming review, and a bunch more really cool stories to discover. Seriously good reading with thought inducing quotes tucked into each story. It should be no surprise that I’m rating A String of Pearls FIVE BIG STARS! This will make a great beach read, but don’t be surprised if people keep stopping by to ask you about it. Want to know more? Than check out Crossroad Press at  Want to order your own copies of Thom Carnell’s works? Then go to and enter the code FIRSTBOOK to get 20% off your first order from their store! Check them out TODAY!

As You Travel This Summer, Watch Out For Sleepy Little Towns In The Middle Of Nowhere. For The Reason Why, Read Matt Hayward’s Excellent Novel THE FAITHFUL

The Faithful-Hayward-cover shot

The Faithful
Matt Hayward
Sinister Grin Press
October 15, 2018
reviewed by Brian James Lewis

Sinister Grin Press has done it again! The Faithful by Matt Hayward is a freaking mind blower with an ending that you won’t expect. Under promising and over delivering times ten! I knew this book was going to be good but as the story unfolded and picked up speed, good was left in the dust as GREAT took the lead. Damn, I’m excited just talking about it! But, enough with the flim-flam, let’s head for Elswich!

The Faithful starts in a mysterious way. A fella by the name of Jonesy is hanging out on the porch of a dilapidated rooming house playing guitar when some kids come along. They want a peek at this stranger that their parents are speaking ill of. But chuckles turn sour pretty quick when Jonesy informs one of the boys about a secret he knows. If not for the surprise arrival of a dude in a vintage Winnebago, the beginning of this novel could have been the end. But what the hell is he doing in weird little southern town well off the beaten path?

Vooop! Rewind tape to an earlier date and time. Famous comedian Leo Cartwright is wrapping up his thirty plus year career as a stand-up delivery service for jokes and funny stories with a final show in his hometown. After the night’s over he plans to hop in the big white Winnie and see the good old U.S. of A. It was something he was supposed to do with his wife, Margery, but cancer got her first. Leo is feeling a bit lost until a young man with cerebral palsy insists on talking to him after the show. Christopher Tate tells Leo wild tales about dreams that seem real in a place called No Man’s Land and that its resident, Jarrad Prescott, said they should get together. Not only that, but he says that Leo is a “truth seeker.” Hmm…

Leo is skeptical and very tired, so he kindly wishes the troubled young man well and heads home. But he can’t shake loose of Christopher Tate’s influence while he’s asleep and has a troubling dream that only gets worse when he’s woken by the hard news that Chris is dead. Not only that, but this person he barely knew left him a cryptic note consisting of the word Elswich and a picture of a scary looking creature. At first, he resists, but something tells him that this is more important than he thinks. Why not at least try to find some answers?

Morning finds him rolling down the road in the RV with some freshly printed directions to a town called Elswich even though he can’t find the place on any paper map. Weird. Not only that, but someone or something keeps leaving creepy notes on his vehicle when he isn’t looking. They refer to him as Funnyman and let him know that his trip is certainly not going unnoticed. Leo’s lived multiple decades and is a level-headed guy, but even he is getting unnerved. He hopes that once he gets to this Elswich, that all will be revealed, and he can return to his original plan of seeing the states through a windshield. Turns out that finding Elswich is just the beginning of a frightening journey. Especially when he picks up Jonesy and his kid, saving all three of them from a very unpleasant death.

But their reprieve from danger is a very short one in an action filled story that has them constantly fighting for their lives. See, Elswich ain’t no friendly little hick town trying to sell you eggs and goat cheese. No, it’s the home of The Faithful a very dangerous group of folks who follow the ancient god, Aypep of Otherworld. While they have worship services for their god in that nice church on the front cover, nothing holy is happening in there. We’re talking human sacrifice and hosting of the most awful creatures. We’re talking about a magic book of spells called the Necronomicon that enables its users to summon forces older than time. Leo, Jonesy, Caleb, and Kate might seem an unlikely team to stop The Faithful and their ancient god from fulfilling evil plans. But if they don’t, it might just mean the end of our world. Forever.

I’d like to keep on talking. But it’s going to be a lot better if you read Matt Hayward’s book. This thing is a killer and a thriller with more twists and turns than a motorcycle race track. FIVE STARS, BABY!!!  I enjoyed The Faithful immensely! Sinister Grin Press never disappoints. They put out high level books with cool cover art and solid editors such as Erin Al Me-Hairi. This my first time reading Matt Hayward’s work, but after The Faithful, I’m a fan! His writing comes across like a right hook to the jaw. There is mystery and suspense, but he never leads the reader so far afield that there is confusion or loss of the storyline. Bravo!

The balance employed in this novel between Lovecraft story elements and Hayward’s writing is perfect. Nice dashes of reference, but not overly so and I think that’s just as it should be. Those worlds exist and we are all part of the legend, but allowing Hayward’s characters to shine makes The Faithful a very special book that harnesses the power of storytelling. Unlikely heroes are often the best kind and it’s what you can’t see that’ll git ya! I highly encourage you to grab a copy of The Faithful today, so that you can also enjoy the magic woven by Matt Hayward! Check out all that Sinister Grin Press has to offer at and Matt Hayward at Oh, and one last thing…Watch out for those quiet little towns in the middle of nowhere!