Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Mordecai the Bloodsucker


To start at the beginning of this story, please click here.

Episode 3 of Jude Nerdworthy, Monster Fighter, in Vampires in the Corn

Mordecai would have sucked our blood if it wasn’t for the hobgoblins. They were pissed that the werewolf put a big dent in the car they had just waxed and they wanted to know who did it. They asked Mordecai but he hissed at them. Never hiss at a hobgoblin.

Six hobgoblins sprung from Mom’s Malibu while six more jumped from Iorg’s Dad’s Toyota. Mordecai Blount had been a vampire in Warrenville, Illinois, since at least World War I, maybe earlier. He knew a thing or two about hobgoblins. In the form of a bat, Mordecai flew into the dark night above the cornfield.

I held up the holy water and silver knife in hopes of discouraging the remaining two monsters, but at that moment the werewolf yelped in pain and tore off for the corn. Werewolves are party animals when you get down to it. They don’t have the need to stick around when the going gets bloody, especially if it’s a vampire sucking your bloody head wound.

“I guess you’re my food now.” Dorothy sauntered towards us.

Albert Bringlebaum tossed a short chunk of pipe to Dorothy.

She caught it. “What’s this supposed to be?”

“Pipe bomb stuffed full of wood pellets. Three... Two…”

Dorothy rubbed her ruby slippers together. “There’s no place like home.” She vanished.

The pipe bomb fell to the ground.

“Dud?” George Howbert asked.

“Works every time.” Albert picked up his fake pipe bomb and stuffed it into his backpack.

We returned to our campfire despite no longer having the ingredients for s’mores in our possession. Iorg suggested we sing songs, but before anyone could think of one besides Kumbaya, the leprechaun stopped by our campfire to warm his hands.

THE END

May I recommend...

Steel Pennies

When you are finished reading this thriller novel, contact me with your comments at paul @ zuklloyd dot com. (Don’t forget to mush the address all together and use a real dot.) Put “Reader Comment” in the subject line so I don't think your important missive is spam.

As your reward, I’ll email a free PDF copy of my “solve-it-yourself” mystery book – The Case of the Knife-Tossing Networker: 12 Mysteries Requiring Deductive Reasoning. BUT BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR AMAZON.COM ORDER NUMBER AS PROOF OF PURCHASE IN YOUR EMAIL. THIS NUMBER IS WRITTEN ON YOUR RECEIPT FROM AMAZON.COM.

Steel Pennies is racially-charged murder, mayhem and mischief wrapped around a teenage romance gone wild. It explores forbidden love during the early days of the civil rights movement. It's a thriller written in a noir style laced with biting humor and oddball characters.

As another author wrote:
“Machine-gun sentences.  Fast.  Intense.  Mickey Spillane-style.  No way around it.  Paul is a top-notch noir writer.  Top-notch.”
Thomas Phillips author of The Molech Prophecy

Please click here to begin reading Steel Pennies.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

From Vampire to Werewolf, Dorothy Minglebocker Gets Around


To start at the beginning of this story, please click here.

Episode 2 of Jude Nerdworthy, Monster Fighter, in Vampires in the Corn

The werewolf growled at two vampires. It stood five-feet high at the shoulders and its growl would give a lion pause. Not that a lion needed pause, but that’s another story and another spelling.

The werewolf leaped at our lead car just as Hubert the hobgoblin opened the driver side front door knocking the werewolf for a loop. It was more like a pop fly as the car door acted like a baseball bat and the werewolf’s head behaved as you would expect a baseball to react to being struck by a bat. The resulting twang noise slowed us down, but didn’t keep us from scampering into the car. Now, Marylou Brombach, Iorg Baring, George Howbert, Becky Stewart, Gloria Beeswax and Albert Bringlebaum all squished together in my mother’s Malibu along with six pint-sized hobgoblins.

Iorg mushed his lips against the back door window and mumbled something that I think was, “Where are the keys?”

“The hobgoblins ate them,” I said. You have to watch your hobgoblins. They’ll eat you out of car and home if you don’t. And they like to eat keys. Always remember that. I don’t know what it is about keys, but hobgoblins treat them like candy.

While I rummaged for another mallet to go with my stake and a silver knife for the werewolf, the werewolf growled, shook its bump-laden head and charged. What could I do? I was the one holding the holy water (couldn’t find the spare mallet) and the silver knife. I charged.

That night was the first time for me. Yep, I stuck it in all the way. Despite the werewolf’s top fangs being within a quarter inch of my right ear and his bottom fangs within the same distance of my left ear, I managed to pull my head out of his mouth with but two werewolf licks and nary a scratch. The werewolf’s breath left much to be desired.

My survival depended less on my skills as a teenaged monster fighter and more on the speed at which Dorothy Minglebocker traveled from Mordecai’s chest to the werewolf. She knocked me to the ground and the werewolf for a loop. After looping twice through the air together, they both hit the ground hard. They wrestled as we gawped at them.

“I bet on the vampire,” said George. “They have more power and more weapons than dumb dog werewolves.”

“I wonder what you get if you cross a werewolf with a vampire?” Gloria Beeswax asked.

“I bet the vampire blows the werewolf away,” said Albert.

“I bet I suck your blood,” said Mordecai.

Please click here to continue.

May I recommend...

Steel Pennies

When you are finished reading this thriller novel, contact me with your comments at paul @ zuklloyd dot com. (Don’t forget to mush the address all together and use a real dot.) Put “Reader Comment” in the subject line so I don't think your important missive is spam.

As your reward, I’ll email a free PDF copy of my “solve-it-yourself” mystery book – The Case of the Knife-Tossing Networker: 12 Mysteries Requiring Deductive Reasoning. BUT BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR AMAZON.COM ORDER NUMBER AS PROOF OF PURCHASE IN YOUR EMAIL. THIS NUMBER IS WRITTEN ON YOUR RECEIPT FROM AMAZON.COM.

Steel Pennies is racially-charged murder, mayhem and mischief wrapped around a teenage romance gone wild. It explores forbidden love during the early days of the civil rights movement. It's a thriller written in a noir style laced with biting humor and oddball characters.

As another author wrote:
“Machine-gun sentences.  Fast.  Intense.  Mickey Spillane-style.  No way around it.  Paul is a top-notch noir writer.  Top-notch.”
Thomas Phillips author of The Molech Prophecy

Please click here to begin reading Steel Pennies.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Vampires in the Corn


Episode 1 of Jude Nerdworthy, Monster Fighter, in Vampires in the Corn

Mordecai Blount’s mouth gaped a foot wide when his two frontal fangs descended. He hissed in the direction of our campfire. As an experienced teenage monster fighter, I was less surprised than my friends to spy a vampire clamber out of the corn at midnight.

“How nice to discover so many blood bags in one lonely spot. Thanks for arranging this little soirĂ©e, Jude. And now to begin the evening’s festivities.” Mordecai took a nosedive in the direction of Marylou Brombach, who at the time was my screaming girlfriend.

Dorothy Minglebocker, Iorg Baring’s blind date for the evening, chose that moment to tackle Mordecai Blount. She straddled his chest. “Hold on, buster. I was here first.” Dorothy bared her fangs along with her short-skirted legs. Her fangs, which hung down a bit less than twelve inches from her upper gum, came with a complete set of body sparkles making Dorothy easy to find in a dark cornfield.

“We could share,” suggested Mordecai.

“I could stake you if it wasn’t against vampire union regs.” Dorothy bounced on Mordecai’s chest.

While I rummaged in my backpack, the rest of the group cowered behind Albert Bringlebaum who held up two crossed metal rolls that we all hoped were pipe bombs stuffed with wood pellets. Wood works wonders as a personal blood loss preventative when inserted into a vampire’s heart before it bites you. As our class terrorist, Albert could be counted on to have a pipe bomb available on any occasion.

“He’s cute.” Gloria Beeswax, Albert’s date, didn’t quite get the idea of vampire’s sucking blood despite their unnatural sexual attraction. Of course she could have been referring to Albert, but that’s not likely given his penchant for pipe bombs and the resultant facial scars.

“Thanks,” said Albert.

“Huh?” sighed Gloria. “Oh, you, too.” She rubbed up against Albert to warm his heart while taking in the glow of Mordecai’s magnetic personality.

By this time I had my crucifix, oak stake, and mallet out of my handy campout backpack. While Dorothy continued to hold Mordecai in place, I moved into position with my wood stake over his heart. I swung the mallet.

Okay, I would have swung the mallet if one of the hobgoblins cleaning our two cars in exchange for eating all our s’mores hadn’t selected that moment to borrow my mallet. I ended up swinging an empty hand and almost impaling myself on the wrong end of the stake.

Mordecai selected that moment to slither away as a snake. “The monster fighter is mine,” he hissed.

“I told you I called dibs already on all of them,” Dorothy shouted.

“The cars,” Marylou screeched.

We ran to our autos, but the hobgoblins were cleaning the interiors and had locked the doors. George Howbert banged away on the windshield. His date, the ever aroused Becky Stewart, pounded on him. George was a normal enough teenager, but Becky was a teenager who time traveled by being kidnapped by a flying saucer in 1958 and dropped in my parent’s driveway last summer along with 28 of her clones. Becky looked like Annette Funicello from those beach party movies your grandparents watched while her clones looked like 12-year-old little dancing mouseketeer Annettes.

Iorg Baring said, “Dorothy, are you a vampire?”

“Yes,” we all shouted.

“Sorry to spoil our date, Iorg, but I planned to save you for last.”

“And that makes a difference how?” Iorg asked.

Dorothy might have answered Iorg if the werewolf didn’t pick that moment to leap out of the corn to attack us.

Please click here to continue.

May I recommend...

Steel Pennies

When you are finished reading this thriller novel, contact me with your comments at paul @ zuklloyd dot com. (Don’t forget to mush the address all together and use a real dot.) Put “Reader Comment” in the subject line so I don't think your important missive is spam.

As your reward, I’ll email a free PDF copy of my “solve-it-yourself” mystery book – The Case of the Knife-Tossing Networker: 12 Mysteries Requiring Deductive Reasoning. BUT BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR AMAZON.COM ORDER NUMBER AS PROOF OF PURCHASE IN YOUR EMAIL. THIS NUMBER IS WRITTEN ON YOUR RECEIPT FROM AMAZON.COM.

Steel Pennies is racially-charged murder, mayhem and mischief wrapped around a teenage romance gone wild. It explores forbidden love during the early days of the civil rights movement. It's a thriller written in a noir style laced with biting humor and oddball characters.

As another author wrote:
“Machine-gun sentences.  Fast.  Intense.  Mickey Spillane-style.  No way around it.  Paul is a top-notch noir writer.  Top-notch.”
Thomas Phillips author of The Molech Prophecy

Please click here to begin reading Steel Pennies.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Questions for Readers


Yesterday, I posted the two rules for readers. By “readers” I refer, of course, to those unfortunate individuals who happen to know an author well enough to be asked to “read” their novel before the author publishes it. The idea is to provide brief comments, both positive and negative.

Oh yes, one more thing before you volunteer to become a reader… the writer is not asking you to edit the book so there’s no need to note all the typos, grammar errors or other stupid mistakes. It’s okay to note them if you wish, and the writer will appreciate anything so noted, but that’s not the job of the reader. Your job is to read, enjoy and then make a few comments about what you liked and didn’t like about the novel. So here are the three questions the writer most wants answered:

  1. Did you read the entire novel? If not, what chapter or page did you stop on? (This question is important in case multiple readers stop on the same page or chapter because it tells the writer that something is amiss with that part of the book.)
  2. What three things did you like most about the novel?
  3. What three things did you like least about the novel?
There. That doesn’t sound so difficult, does it? Enjoy.

If at all possible, please respond to the writer within two or three weeks.

How to practice to become a “reader”
If you wish to practice being a reader, may I recommend starting with my thriller novel Steel Pennies? When you are finished, contact me with your comments at paul @ zuklloyd dot com. (Don’t forget to mush the address all together and use a real dot.) Put “Reader Comment” in the subject line so I don't think your important missive is spam although a piece of Spam with a bit of mustard might go well at the moment.

As your reward, I’ll email a free PDF copy of my “solve-it-yourself” mystery book – The Case of the Knife-Tossing Networker: 12 Mysteries Requiring Deductive Reasoning. BUT BE SURE TO INCLUDE YOUR AMAZON.COM ORDER NUMBER AS PROOF OF PURCHASE IN YOUR EMAIL. THIS NUMBER IS WRITTEN ON YOUR RECEIPT FROM AMAZON.COM.

Since I do not use an autoresponder like those online marketing gurus recommend, please allow a few days to hear back from me. If you don’t hear within a week, check the email address you sent it to. Or use the link at the bottom of the Me page (see links above).

Steel Pennies is racially-charged murder, mayhem and mischief wrapped around a teenage romance gone wild. It explores racial tension and forbidden love during the early days of the civil rights movement. It's a thriller written in a noir style laced with biting humor and oddball characters.

As another author wrote:
“Machine-gun sentences.  Fast.  Intense.  Mickey Spillane-style.  No way around it.  Paul is a top-notch noir writer.  Top-notch.”
Thomas Phillips author of The Molech Prophecy

Please click here to begin reading Steel Pennies.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Two Rules for “Readers”


Have you ever been asked to be a “reader” for an author? It’s a fun way to read a novel for free before it’s released. I recently sent the first book of my new novel series to my readers for comment. Here’s what I told them…

Dear Reader:
Thanks for agreeing to read my new novel. A novel “reader” is a person who helps a writer complete a novel by – you’ll never guess – actually reading it. But you also have one other big important task. This second task is the one the writer needs completed before the novel goes into print – your job is to tell the writer what you think of the book.

Rule 1: Give negative feedback
The negative helps the writer understand what needs fixing before releasing the novel upon an unsuspecting public. The things you find wrong with the book are what the writer is blind to due to “forest-for-the-trees” syndrome. An example includes using the word “mountain” ten times in one paragraph. Another is killing off Bob in chapter two only to have him show up alive and well in chapter eight. One more example is noticing that nothing actually happens in the middle of the novel.

Negative Feedback Massages the Author
Readers often are afraid to give negative feedback because they don’t want to hurt the writer’s feelings. Let me assure you that is never the case. Here’s why…

Seven Secret Steps for handling negative feedback
There are the seven secret steps the writer goes through when presented with negative feedback:
  1. Go into deep mourning characterized by great weeping and gnashing of teeth. This lasts for a full day usually, sometimes a bit longer.
  2. Blame the reader. Yes, the problems you pointed out in the novel will be your fault for about two or three days.
  3. Review the reader’s mean, nasty negative comments and realize they actually make sense and some minor revisions may help improve the novel.
  4. With great reluctance, make the changes needed by the novel. Usually major improvements happen during this step.
  5. Notice that the changes actually do improve the novel.
  6. Become deeply appreciative of the reader’s comments and contributions to making the novel better. The writer might even express gratitude to you for your contributions to improving the novel, but don’t count on it depending on the timing of Step 7.
  7. Totally forget that the reader made the comments in the first place and think it was all the writer’s idea to make the changes which of course results in the writer’s ego being massaged.
As you can see, expressing negative comments to the writer results in massaging the writer’s ego in a nice, positive way. So be sure to make some. Make them up if you have to, but let’s not get carried away.

Rule 2: Make positive comments even when you have none
The positive comments you choose to make massage the writer’s ego as well, but they also can prove useful in promoting the novel. Make stuff up if you have to. Your positive comments assure the author remains among the living a little longer while supplying the kind of promotional copy usually only available from professional advertising agency copy writers and liars (redundancy planned).


Friday, February 7, 2014

Where is The Promise Garden?


If you started to read my novel The Promise Garden on this blog, but didn’t finish it, you may be curious to know where it went. The answer is simple: I took it down to prepare it for publication. It will be released in the near future for Kindle and paperback versions on Amazon.

In the meantime, I’ll return to this blog with more fiction soon. And if you haven’t read my other novels yet, please click here to visit my author page on Amazon. I encourage you to click on the book cover shown on Amazon to read several chapters of any of my novels before you buy. Usually, if the preview holds your interest, the novel will too.

My most popular novel so far is Hags with Fulfillment a close second. I find this interesting because Steel Pennies is the one I expected to achieve the greatest success. If you want to know why Steel Pennies is a must read, please click over to Amazon and read the free portion. Steel Pennies simply holds your attention and doesn’t let go. Click here to check it out.

My most popular short story so far is Little Miss Forgotten. I believe it’s the title that grabs people’s attention. Little Miss Forgotten is a fun story about war, peace, death and slumming angels. It’s a love story set in the Vietnam era, but don’t let the time stop you. Little Miss Forgotten is a timeless love story you’ll enjoy. Another story, one that readers often overlook in selecting one to purchase, is Egbert. Egbert is Chicago’s most unlikely vampire and a fun read.