Guest blog from Emerian Rich: Kill Switch!

Here is a guest blog post from horror author and FIEND, I mean FRIEND, Emerian Rich!

New book from HorrorAddicts.net Press: Kill Switch!!!

As technology takes over more of our lives, what will it mean to be human, and will we fear what we’ve created? What horrors will our technological hubris bring us in the future?

Join us as we walk the line between progressive convenience and the nightmares these advancements can breed. From faulty medical nanos and AI gone berserk to ghost-attracting audio-tech and one very ambitious Mow-Bot, we bring you tech horror that will keep you up at night. Will you reach the Kill Switch in time?

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A sneak peek inside…

REMS
by TIM O’NEAL

“Just sign the liability waiver and we’ll get started. This should be a quick painless procedure.” Dr. Charles E. Windygate depressed the plunger, dispensing morphine into his patient’s IV on top of the local anesthesia already administered to his burned lower extremities.

“I trust you. Let’s get this done.” The patient, Larry Dougherty, scribbled his signature and handed the clipboard back without glancing at the print. A simple gold wedding band gleamed on his ring finger. Well-defined muscles rippled in his arms, chest, and torso, but his legs were an oozing blackened mess.

Moments later, Larry gave a loopy grin. “Gosh, I feel better already, Doc.” A fireman by trade, Larry had raced into a burning house to save a toddler trapped on an upper floor. Just as he’d reached the girl, the wooden floor had given way. As they’d fallen, Dougherty had clutched her to his chest, using his body to cushion the impact. When he’d awoken in the hospital, he’d learned his squad had dragged them out. The kid was completely unharmed, but third-degree burns covered his own legs.

Word traveled fast in a hospital and so Dr. Windygate had quickly learned about the fireman’s traumatic burns. Immediately after the man was admitted, Windygate had popped in to ask if he wanted to participate in an experimental wound debridement procedure. Given the chance to stop the immense pain and perhaps save his charred legs, Dougherty had readily accepted.

Sterile white fluorescent light blazed down, harshly illuminating the operating theater. It gleamed off the stainless-steel tables and counters, sparkled off the tile walls, and glinted off sharp, clean, surgical instruments. The hospital smelled of disinfectant and gauzy bandages. Floor polish tickled the nose like an alcohol-soaked cotton ball.

Dr. Windygate ignored the two young medical students standing by to assist—a tall Latina and a rather short, geeky male. He didn’t know their names. He didn’t care. They were only present to comply with hospital research policy, but this was his project, dammit! He’d spent a decade developing this technology on his own. He would not share the glory with just anyone, let alone two upstart medical students. If they cared about their careers in medicine, they’d stay well away and keep their mouths shut.

Dr. Windygate’s hands shook with excitement as he accepted the clipboard from Mr. Dougherty. If this new procedure was successful, he would make medical history, cementing his name in medical texts alongside Linus Pauling, Louis Pasteur, and Edward Jenner. He smirked, adjusting his tiny spectacles. He could almost taste the fame. To conceal his anticipation, he coughed twice and headed to the tiny surgical sink.

“You all set, my good man?” he called, lathering his hands.

“Ready when you are, Doc.”

“There’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Nope, nothing at all.” Returning to the bedside, Windygate snapped on sterile blue latex gloves.

“Do anything. I don’t care. Just fix my legs.”

Windygate shrugged away a dribble of nervous perspiration. “Yes, of course. I went to Oxford Medical. I’ve been practicing for twenty years. I’m perfectly relaxed, well-rested, and prepared for this. You’ve absolutely nothing to fear.”

Dougherty’s brow furrowed. He chuckled uneasily. “You trying to convince me or yourself, Doc?”

Windygate inhaled a deep breath, swelling his body like a balloon. “I’m just excited. It’s not every day I get to test out a new surgical technique, is it?” Grinning, he toyed with a scalpel. It gleamed and flashed.

The fireman frowned, considering. “Wait. New? How new?”

“Actually…you’ll be the first human subject. The waiver gave your consent to test this new wound debridement procedure. You still okay with that?”

“I guess,” Dougherty said slowly. “It has been tested though, right? On animals or something?”

“Oh goodness, yes.” Windygate nodded. “Thoroughly tried and tested in the veterinary setting with startling successes. Works in both theory and practice. I perfected it myself. I can assure you, it’s completely safe.”

“Let’s get on with it.”

“I’ll be using new robot technology to debride those burns and accelerate the healing.”

Dougherty propped himself on his elbows. “Robots? Really! Why didn’t you say so? What could be more precise than robots? Seems today’s new technology makes everything safer.”

Windygate gently pressed him back down. “Yes, quite. But, as with any new technology, it still requires a spot of testing. Hence, you.”

He turned to his instrument tray and picked up a squat clear plastic container filled with several hundred, small, white, beads. Twisting the lid, he broke the seal and retrieved a handful of the tiny smooth spheres. Carefully, he extended his cupped gloved hand.

“Take a look, but do be careful, they cost a thousand dollars apiece. My research grant paid for them and I do hope to re-use them.”

Dougherty leaned over, craning his neck. “Huh. They’re tiny. Don’t look scary at all! What are they?”

“I call them: Remote-controlled Electronic Maggots. REMs for short.”

“Maggots, ugh!” Dougherty recoiled, making a face.

“Nominally only, for how they break down the dead tissue like maggots. But never you worry, they’re entirely controlled by this remote. See?”

Windygate plucked a gray rectangular object about the size of a cell phone from his instrument tray. Its hard rubber face had six smooth, raised buttons—four blue directional arrows, one red square, and one green circle. He passed it to Dougherty.

“A remote control, eh? Like something my boys might drive their toy cars with.” He handed it back.

“Yes, but in case you have any residual worries, my REMs have two built-in failsafe mechanisms,” Windygate bragged. “The red button kills their power, immediately stopping them. Second, they work by sensing inflammatory biomarkers near the wound. If they’re not in contact with necrotic skin, they won’t move. Prevents them from damaging any healthy tissue. See, here on my glove, it doesn’t move at all. There’s nothing for it to do. But, when I put it on your leg, it activates.”

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EDITED BY:

DAN SHAURETTE & EMERIAN RICH

STORIES BY:

H.E. ROULO, TIM O’NEAL, JERRY J. DAVIS, EMERIAN RICH, BILL DAVIDSON, DANA HAMMER, NACHING T. KASSA, GARRETT ROWLAN, DAPHNE STRASERT, PHILLIP T. STEVENS, LAUREL ANNE HILL, CHANTAL BOUDREAU, GARTH VON BUCHHOLZ

Available on Amazon!

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Guest Blog: Crescendo of Darkness

I was asked to post a guest blog on May 19 for HorrorAddicts.net. Here it is now (a little late, darn it)! As a writer getting into making audio stories, this is educational! (I will be voicing a nervous teenager for an upcoming anthology by Emerian Rich, one of the editors and story contributors for Crescendo of Darkness.)

Music has the power to soothe the soul, drive people to obsession, and soundtrack evil plots. Is music the instigator of madness, or the key that unhinges the psychosis within? From guitar lessons in a graveyard and a baby allergic to music, to an infectious homicidal demo and melancholy tunes in a haunted lighthouse, Crescendo of Darkness will quench your thirst for horrifying audio fiction.

HorrorAddicts.net is proud to present fourteen tales of murderous music, demonic performers, and cursed audiophiles.

Please enjoy an excerpt below from Crescendo of Darkness.

“Loved to Death” by Sam Morgan Phillips

Death explores his dream of being a rock star, but can’t avoid his purpose when a young woman forces him to live up to his destiny.

Death sat in his dressing room, getting ready for the show. He went through his vocal exercises and psyched himself up. He looked at the beer fridge and wished he could have a drink, but he knew it wouldn’t have any effect.

The door was locked for a good reason. He had yet to put on his mask and gloves and pull the black cowl up over his head. He looked at himself in the mirror.

His face of rotting flesh stretched over his skull made him look severe and terrifying. A black robe was both his costume and habitual dress. He pulled it closed over an exposed ribcage. He flexed his skeletal hands and wondered if he was doing the right thing.

He wasn’t ashamed of who he was. He was Death. He didn’t hide behind his costume or his on stage persona. In fact, they represented him perfectly. It was just that he couldn’t be exactly who he was. Not for real. He had to hide it behind art. There was no other way to get his message across. No other way to be understood.

And he so desperately wanted to be understood.

He heaved an otherworldly sigh born of supernatural vigour rather than from lungs. It rasped through his teeth, harsh and metallic.

I can do this. I’m not my father. I have my own my way. I’m Death now.

There was a knock at the door and the muffled sound of words spoken—show time. He put on his mask. It was made of hard black plastic. Painted on the front was a stylised version of his face. It captured the form, but not the essence. He knew how terrifying his true face was.

He pulled on his gloves of black leather. He raised the cowl over his head of thin flesh and exposed bone and went out through the door of his dressing room, clicking the heels of his black army boots on the floor.

As he made his way through the dimly lit backstage area, guided by a roadie, he heard the crowd chanting, calling for him.

“Death, Death, Death!” It lifted his spirits.

His band, The Minions of Death, had already taken the stage and their intro track played. It was the sound of many people screaming. He had recorded and mixed it over the years, overlapping the terrified sounds people made when he came for them. To him it was an elegy, dedicated to the dead, and celebrating the purpose of his life. He felt at home as he walked up the steps at the side of the stage.

The lights flashed red and a smoke machine filled the stage with volumes of bilious gas. The smell of sweat and stale beer filled the long hall, a metal club in the city, jam-packed with people. He stepped up to the microphone and the crowd erupted.

“Put your horns in the air!”

They obeyed, hands raised in the universal metal salute. He raised both of his arms in benediction, cutting a Christ-like pose.

“Tremble before me, mere mortals—for I am Death!”

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To read the rest of this story and thirteen other horror music shorts, check out: 

Crescendo of Darkness

Direct link: https://www.amazon.com/Crescendo-Darkness-Jeremiah-Donaldson/dp/1987708156

Edited by Jeremiah Donaldson

Cover by Carmen Masloski

HorrorAddicts.net Press 

Let music unlock your fear within.

Guest Blog: Emerian Rich’s book Dusk’s Warriors

My writer friend Emerian Rich asked me to post for her book today. I did a reading at a kid’s birthday party this evening, or I would have posted earlier. But it ain’t midnight yet! Take it away, Emerian! (P.S. I feel for her. I also get the ‘It’s a book not a comic’ thing.)

With all the excitement over comics and their spinoffs like The Walking Dead and Preacher, I’ve recently been asked what comic my vampire series is most like. Well, for now let’s leave the issue with how wrong this is to ask a fiction writer (It’s a book not a comic damnit!) and go on to the pressing question.

Of all the comics I’ve read over the years, I would say it’s most like a hybrid of Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, Garth Ennis’s Preacher: Gone to Texas, and Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire comic-zations.

My vampires start in the real world: San Francisco, England, Rio, Texas, and Alaska. They drink blood, but they aren’t overly gorey. At the end of the first book, they find out about their origin and end up in a world much like ours which they refer to as Heaven.

In this new sequel, they start out in the Heaven as gods who can conjure, create, and affect the lives of people here on Earth. Dusk—the goddess of the time between Day and Night—sends her warriors to Earth to battle the devil, whom they thought was dead for good. They were wrong.

So if you like dark urban fantasy with a splash of heaven, hell, and conjurers, you will like Dusk’s Warriors. Are their vampires? Yes! And four different kinds, but there is also a trip into Hell, a look into Heaven, and a race around Earth in this action-packed fiction book. And hey, if you know a good comic artist, send them my way.

Dusk’s Warriors by Emerian Rich

Heaven has opened up and welcomed the vampires of Night’s Knights into a new reality. As they struggle to find their place in their new world, trouble brews on Earth.

Demon servant, Ridge, is causing havoc by gathering up all the souls on Earth that have been touched by immortality. When he injures one of the Night’s Knights crew, he launches a war between the vampires of Heaven, the Big Bad in Hell, and a mortal street gang of vigilante misfits.

Will Julien, Markham, and Reidar be able to defeat the evil that’s returned, or will they once again need Jespa’s help?

Praise for Dusk’s Warriors:

“All hail, the queen of Night’s Knights has returned! Emerian Rich’s unique take on vampires delights my black little heart.” ~Dan Shuarette, Lilith’s Love

“A world of horror with realistic characters in a fast paced thriller you won’t be able to put down.” ~David Watson, The All Night Library

Praise for Night’s Knights:

“Fresh, original, and thoroughly entertaining.” ~Mark Eller, Traitor

“Emerian brought the Vampire Novel back from the dead.” ~C. E. Dorsett, Shine Like Thunder

Available now at Amazon.com in print and eBook

https://www.amazon.com/Dusks-Warriors-Nights-Knights-Vampire/dp/1544628803

Emerian Rich is an artist, horror host, and author of the vampire series, Night’s Knights. She is the hostess of the internationally acclaimed podcast, HorrorAddicts.net. Under the name Emmy Z. Madrigal, she writes the musical romance series, Sweet Dreams and she’s the Editorial Director for the Bay Area magazine, SEARCH. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and son.