READING of Red Lights: Tommy B. Smith

Tommy B. Smith is a writer of dark fiction, award-winning author of The Mourner’s Cradle, Poisonous, the short story collection Pieces of Chaos, and the coming of age novel Anybody Want to Play WAR? His presence currently infests Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he resides with his wife and cats. More information can be found on his website.

Following the Quake of ’79, a terrible force came to the city of St. Charles. This was the Living Poison. In Lilac Chambers, it may have found the perfect host. As she finds herself changing, becoming increasingly dangerous to everyone around her, it becomes apparent that her state of being is no accident of nature. She is becoming a prime vehicle for the Living Poison’s destructive swath through the streets of St. Charles. Detective Brandt McCullough has seen the Living Poison’s brutality. John Sutterfield, ringmaster of Sutterfield’s Circus of the Fantastic, is discovering its malignancy festering within the very circus he founded. These two are the only ones who might stand in the way of a force greater than anything they have ever known, one which threatens to wash the streets in red and swallow the city into chaos, but the stakes may be higher than either of them can imagine. St. Charles—indeed, the world—may tremble.

READING from Ashley’s Tale: Mike Duke

Ashley’s Tale
Ashley, a young college student with a horrific past, is immediately thrust into a living hell when she is kidnapped. In the lair of her captor, she will be forced to choose between submission and defiance, between folding under his punishment or finding the strength to endure and escape.

But Ashley will also have to face the horrors of her past in this twisted game. Can she prevail against the demons that made her weak, as well as the tortures the sadist set before her? If so, what could she become in the process?

Mike was a cop for almost 12 years, but for the last 14 years, he’s been teaching Military, Law Enforcement, and Bodyguards high speed, tactical, and off-road driving as well as hand-to-hand Combatives and Blade tactics. He enjoys martial arts and has been a practitioner since 1989 of various styles. Filipino blade arts are his favorite. Since he was a teenager, he’s loved reading, writing, and watching movies, particularly in the horror and sci-fi genre. He’s also been a prolific reader of theology and has dabbled in philosophy as well. He has a beautiful, smart wife who is amazingly supportive and a son and daughter who are both graduated. His babies now are a German Shepherd named Ziva, a Daddy’s girl who loves to play… even when he’s writing, and a Border Collie mix named Joey “The Bandit” who will steal anything and everything he can, even the toys right out of Ziva’s mouth. Mike is a lover of music, as well, and it is an integral part of his writing ritual.

READING of a SHORT STORY: Christa Carmen

In Which Two Squirrels Nest in an Abandoned Attic & Amuse Themselves with the Relics of Humanity

Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked won the 2018 Indie Horror Book Award for Best Debut Collection, and additional work has been published in places such as Year’s Best Hardcore Horror, Fireside, Not All Monsters, and Behold the Undead of Dracula.

These days when I’m not writing, I keep chickens, read books like Mary, Who Wrote Frankenstein and The Gashlycrumb Tinies to my daughter, forget to pull a daily tarot card, and tinker with a dog food recipe concocted to make my beagle live forever.

Most of my work comes from gazing upon the ghosts of the past or else into the dark corners of nature, those places where whorls of bark become owl eyes and deer step through tunnels of hanging leaves and creeping briars only to disappear.

Something Borrowed, Something Blood Soaked
A young woman’s fears regarding the gruesome photos appearing on her cell phone prove justified in a ghastly and unexpected way. A chainsaw-wielding Evil Dead fan defends herself against a trio of undead intruders. A bride-to-be comes to wish that the door between the physical and spiritual worlds had stayed shut on All Hallows’ Eve. A lone passenger on a midnight train finds that the engineer has rerouted them toward a past she’d prefer to forget. A mother abandons a life she no longer recognizes as her own to walk up a mysterious staircase in the woods.

In her debut collection, Christa Carmen combines horror, charm, humor, and social critique to shape thirteen haunting, harrowing narratives of women struggling with both otherworldly and real-world problems. From grief, substance abuse, and mental health disorders, to a post-apocalyptic exodus, a seemingly sinister babysitter with unusual motivations, and a group of pesky ex-boyfriends who won’t stay dead, Something Borrowed, Something Blood-Soaked is a compelling exploration of horrors both supernatural and psychological, and an undeniable affirmation of Carmen’s flair for short fiction.

READING from Stalker Stalked: Matthew Lee Goldberg

Stalker Stalked
Lexi Mazur is a depressed, alcoholic, pill-popper whose only joy has become her reality TV shows, often fantasizing that the people on TV are a part of her world. After her boyfriend Steve leaves her, she fixates on the show Socialites and its star Magnolia Artois, following every facet of the girl’s life on social media in the hopes of befriending and becoming more like her.

But stalking isn’t new to Lexi. She ultimately won over her ex Steve by following and manipulating every minute detail about him so he’d fall for her. In fact, she landed her other ex-boyfriend Jeremy in the same way. Being a pharma rep, she’s used to manipulation to get doctors to buy her drugs, along with the perk of saving pills for herself.

But what happens when the stalker gets stalked?

Recently, Lexi has felt someone watching her: in her apartment in Queens, at her job. At first, she thinks her mind’s playing tricks, but the watcher is behaving just like she would. And soon they begin leaving threatening clues like she starts to do to Magnolia once her obsession grows more dangerous. Is it one of her exes out for revenge? Her only real friend from childhood who she’s always had an unhealthy rivalry? A detective who may have figured her out? The reality star Magnolia trying to turn the tables? Or even someone she might not know?

Lexi learns the only way to beat her stalker is to use her own stalking prowess to outsmart them at their own game. But has she finally met her match?

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of eight novels including THE ANCESTOR and THE MENTOR, currently in development as a film off his original script, and the YA series RUNAWAY TRAIN. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the Prix du Polar. STALKER STALKED will be out in Fall ’21. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared as a contributor in Pipeline Artists, The Los Angeles Review of Books, The Millions, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, LitReactor, Monkeybicycle, Fiction Writers Review, Cagibi, Necessary Fiction, Hypertext, If My Book, Past Ten, the anthology Dirty Boulevard, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Book Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series and lives in New York City.

A HALLOWEEN RECIPE by Paige Boggs: Monkey Brains

I love coming up with creepy remixes on fun desserts, so I had a lot of fun coming up with this idea for Meghan’s amazing Halloween Extravaganza! You can rest assured, no actual monkeys were harmed in the making of this delicious pull apart bread. It will, however, be a perfect addition to your next spooky gathering!


3 cans refrigerated biscuit dough
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup butter (one stick)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 can cherry pie filling
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2-3 tablespoons milk
Red food coloring


Step 1:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees (175 degrees C). Grease one bundt pan.

Step 2:
Mix white sugar and cinnamon in a plastic bag. Cut biscuits into quarters, spoon a tiny amount of cherry pie filling into each quarter and form them into balls.

Step 3:
Shake 6 to 8 biscuit balls in the cinnamon sugar mix. Arrange pieces in the bottom of the prepared pan. Continue until all biscuits are coated and placed in pan.

Step 4:
In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar over medium heat. Boil for 1 minute. Pour over the biscuits.

Step 5:
Bake for 35 minutes, or until dough is cooked through. Let bread cool slightly.

Step 6:
Mix the powdered sugar, milk, and a few drops of the red food coloring in a small bowl, using enough food coloring to give off a “bloody” appearance. Drizzle over the top of the bread.

Step 7:
Pull apart/cut to serve.

I’m one of those people that is absolutely terrible about talking about myself. I can get a book out there like nobody’s business, but when it comes to selling myself, I tend to falter. More often than not, you can find me with a cup of coffee in hand and my Pomeranian, Lil Bell, nearby – usually rather jealous I’m paying too much attention to my laptop and not enough to her crazy antics. I love going on fun adventures with my dorky, perfect boyfriend, awesome friends, or my zany-but-amazing family. Be it random, hole-in-the-wall shops or yard sales, riding roller coasters, going to book signings, or the front row adrenaline of Emarosa and Dance Gavin Dance concerts – I love exploring places I’ve never been before and trying new things along the way. I’m super thankful for my Kindle app because I always have to have a stack of books with me and a box of paperbacks can take up a lot of room on a road trip.

When I’m not exploring the world around me, watching awesome horror movies, and living in the fictional worlds within my favorite books, I am helping authors find readers for their books and murdering people in my own debut (I’m writing a thriller – I’m a nice girl, honest). Playing matchmaker for books and readers is one of my favorite things, and I adore coming up with creative marketing and publicity campaigns that help make things happen.

I’m always up for a chat so if you have any questions, shoot me an email or join our horror-themed Facebook group, Thrills Chills & Kills. You can also find me at my website, or on Twitter, Instagram, or TikTok.