Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Enter the Secret World of the Strangers and Monsters Among Us

Delve into the secret world of the monsters and strangers among us. Here are examples from my novels:

Fulfillment: Satan and his minions; Nathan, an evil-possessed killer posing as a would-be lover; and Bezalel, a Captain of the King’s Guard who would kill anyone on the king’s orders, including innocent babies.

Hags: Denise Appleby, a hag as old as the middle ages and as young and pretty as a girl of twenty; Lionel Langdon, a merciless serial killer and rapist; Ahlman Brown, a demon posing as a wealthy philanthropist; Barbara Mathers, an attractive  young lady with a deep, dark secret; and of course, Micah Probert, the new guy in town who has a past.

Steel Pennies: Yes, there are strangers among us that we don’t recognize, killers and secret evil doers. Steel Pennies will test your prejudices and deductive reasoning skills as you learn who the killer is in this mystery thriller, hopefully before someone else is murdered.

Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters: With a title like this, you know you’re in for visits from strangers and monsters. Snpgrdxz is certainly a stranger with a name like that, but does this teenage alien shape shifter stand for good or evil? Throw in Turpelator in all his out of time manifestations and you have a daemon bent on trouble. Don’t forget all the creatures who go bump in the night in this nonstop action adventure, horror, scifi, fantasy, romance – yeah, you get the idea. And is Jennifer Hawkins the most dangerous evil-doer of them all? Or is she a sweet, innocent teenager? Or both? Find out when you read the Snpgrdxz series.

Offbeat writing
My offbeat writing style combines noir with a twist of humor. Here are the opening lines to get you started:

Fulfillment: A loud roar shook the house. 

Hags: From the mattress on the floor of the back bedroom of his antique Victorian fixer-upper, Micah Probert heard a far off scream.

Steel Pennies: I gawked at the eye holes, gasped, and dropped a chunk of somebody’s skull at Bob’s feet.

Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters: From where she stood at the foot of my bed, fifteen-year-old Jennifer Hawkins couldn’t miss, but would this sweet girl shoot me?

Is this place for real?
My stories take place in real neighborhoods, perhaps one near you. The exceptions are Fulfillment which is set in the ancient world and Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters which starts in Wheaton, an ordinary suburb of Chicago but moves quickly to an underworld that can best be described as Dante’s first circle of Hell. From there the time travelers, including a teenage space alien shape shifter, end up back in Wheaton but the time is 1923 and the strangers and monsters abound at every step of the journey. Hags is set in modern day Naperville, Illinois. Steel Pennies takes place in 1960 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, which is a university town located about 30 miles west of Philadelphia.

Characters who talk the way real people talk
Dialogue brings a story to life. Here’s a sample from Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters:

By the time we escaped Lincoln High that afternoon, the sun waited for us, the trees stirred, and the ninety-plus temperature blasted our faces. I offered Jennifer Hawkins a ride home.

“I can’t, Bryan. You have to stop asking me for a date.”

“It wasn’t an invitation for a date. It’s transportation. Gilbert will ride with us. We’re safe.”

“I don’t think I’m allowed to ride in cars with boys.” Gilbert’s falsetto pierced my ears as he tossed his backpack on the backseat of my mom’s Malibu.

“Gilbert, you ride with me every day.” I opened the front passenger door for Jennifer.

“Oh, right. What about Jennifer?” Gilbert jumped in the backseat.

“I don’t mind riding in cars with boys, Gilbert. I’m not sure I’m supposed to, and I’m forbidden to date them until I’m older.” Jennifer threw her backpack into the Malibu.

“How much older?” I asked.

“Not until I’m forty.” Give Jennifer credit. She kept a straight face.

I could feel my jaw bounce once on my chest.

Jennifer noticed I wasn’t breathing. “I’m kidding, Bryan. I’m supposed to wait until I’m sixteen.”

“Oh. So that’s why you said no to me?” I fumbled with my keys and dropped them.

“It’s a reason.” Jennifer hopped in the front seat while I put my tongue back in my mouth and pushed my jaw closed. My heart resumed beating. I took in the aroma of sweet flowers that wafted into the Malibu with her.

I located my keys by crawling under the car to coat myself with hot tarmac and gravel. Back in the Chevy, I drove north on Main Street through downtown across the railroad tracks and past the coffee shop and other stores of old Wheaton. Jennifer asked me to turn right at Jefferson. A few blocks later, she said to make another right. She pointed out one of those Victorians from the Middle Ages near the college and asked me to drop her off.

I pulled over to the curb and stopped.

She unlatched the door, but didn’t open it. Instead she gazed into my eyes. “Just because I’m not allowed to date doesn’t mean I don’t like you, Bryan Ganarski.”

She leaned across the seat and planted one full on my lips. I forgot about Gilbert in the backseat while Jennifer and I made out for a few minutes. We pulled back from each other. Jennifer flashed the biggest smile ever aimed at me by a girl, giggled once, and stepped out of my mom’s Chevy.

“I never did that before.” She galloped up to her front porch and disappeared inside her house.

I about peed my pants a minute later when Gilbert said, “Guess you guys are like a couple, now.”

I had forgotten about him. But it soon turned crazier. Not as insane as the midnight visits to my bedroom, but almost. As I pulled up to Gilbert’s house, Daniel Brickmaster said, “Hey, this isn’t where I live.”

I slammed on the brakes and checked the rearview mirror. Brickmaster grinned at me. Gilbert had vanished.

Interested? Click here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What was Satan up to while God was about the business of saving the world?

What does Satan, as the most powerful demon in the universe, do to stop Jesus from saving the world when Jesus is too powerful to take on directly? As I contemplated that question, I pictured two answers that derive from the obvious fact that Satan failed.

My first vision showed scene after scene of a bungling demon trying to kill the child Jesus but something always comes up to destroy his best laid plans. Fans of Pinky and the Brain will know what I’m talking about here.

The second vision, the one that led me to write Fulfillment, was simple: Kill the mother.

Frank Peretti meets Stephen King in this tale of first century intrigue, mystery and evil beyond all imagining. Well, most imagining anyway. After all I did imagine it, didn’t I? And you will, too, when you read about how Mary lived in happy ignorance until that fateful day when she became the central figure in a drama beyond her wildest imaginings.

Angels we have heard on high
An angel announcement and a broken engagement catch an unwed pregnant teenager in a web of peril in an age when stoning was the punishment for fornication. Mary's situation attracts evil spirits, a king who would destroy any threat to his throne, the king’s unquestioning soldiers, and a would-be lover all bent on destroying Mary. Let’s also throw in a soldier who does ask questions, but asks them too late.

Mary’s journey, while steeped with betrayal and the foul stench of the ultimate demon, is a setup for an even bigger story. She discovers a lost love found, the promise of a newborn king, and a wealth of new friends from a dwarf with the heart of a warrior to the young mother whose husband and children face their own death sentence in a bloody massacre.

Moxie and connections
Fulfillment is the first century suspense drama with a huge twist of horror when Satan discovers he isn’t messing with an ordinary teenage girl. This kid has moxie and connections in high places.

If the thought of Satan out to get you isn’t enough to keep you awake at night, how about reading Fulfillment? It will. Click here to purchase the paperback or Kindle versions on Amazon.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Amazing New-Fangled Games

Amazing new type of game: Uses all text with no pictures.

No pix? No way!

Yes, way.

What’s amazing is the action pops up inside your head. No screen needed. And not only do you see the pictures but the whole thing comes alive like a 3D movie with surround sound.

But wait, there’s more.

These games don’t require an artist to draw the graphics so the game makers save a bundle on production and pass the savings on to you. Prices start as low as $.99. That’s 99 cents, less than a buck and you get the whole game, not just a teaser version. Check it out on Amazon

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why Do We Even Celebrate Christmas?

Ever wonder why Christmas is so important to Christians when the real story of Christianity is the miracle of Easter morning when Jesus rose from the dead? In the world of horror stories where at least some of my novels hang out, rising from the dead is no big deal. Vampires do it every day. But in the real world, we only know of one person who pulled it off successfully.

Christmas is about the birth of the child who would grow up to become Messiah. Yes, the Easter story works better if the man rising from the dead was born in the first place, but his birth is a minor point hardly worth noting. One of the four Gospels doesn’t even mention the birth of Jesus. Another makes brief reference to it using the symbolism of poetry where we read, “The word was made flesh and lived among us.” (Say what?) While short on details, the author gets his theological point across to knowledgeable readers.

For the rest of us, Christians and nonbelievers both, it’s enough to hear about the angel visit, the virgin birth, the shepherds and the wise men.  Meanwhile pass the gravy, and are you sure we opened all the presents? Oh, and what time did you say the game starts?

What we never hear about, until recently when I published Fulfillment, is how Satan tried to stop the birth of Christ in the first place. The genesis of Fulfillment (hee, hee, hee) happened the day it occurred to me that Satan knew Christ would be way too powerful to kill. Christ is the son of God so you have to figure he’s more of a Superman type than Batman, for example. (Surely you’ve noticed the similarities between Superman’s origin story and the biblical account of Jesus’s birth? And do you really want to start comparing Batman and Satan? Don’t go there because it gets scary. There’s a reason he’s called “The Dark Knight.”)

Instead, read Fulfillment, which one critic described as “the most unique version of the Christian Nativity story ever written.”

Click here to purchase the paperback and Kindle versions. What a cool present to give to your Christian friends.

Monday, December 8, 2014

What did Mary’s Mom and Dad say when she announced she was pregnant?

And followed that up by insisting that God was the child’s father?

What? Wait? God did it? Give me break. God’s a spirit. Spirits don’t have sex even when you consider both meanings of the word. (1. Doing it. 2. Having the tools to do it with.)

With Christmas around the corner, it's time to consider how the parents reacted when Mary made her big announcement.

Dad may have said, “Well, you know, Mary, that wasn’t a very good decision on your part. And who is this kid named God? I mean his very name is blasphemous. And when did you find time to do it with all your studies this semester? This is what comes from wearing such provocative short skirts. Why I can see your toes, for crying out loud.”


We don’t really  know what was said in that conversation, but you may rest assured old daddy was more than furious. We’re talking about the first century of the Common Era (C.E.) here. Good old A.D. as in anno domini. The rule with pregnant teenage girls in those days was you sent them out to the public square where everyone in town gathered around with their favorite rock in hand. They played catch with the pregnant teenage girl. And yes, everyone threw fastballs or rather fast rocks. The life expectancy of your average unwed pregnant teenager was three months for discovery followed by the local religious leader’s cry of “Play Ball!”

In Mary’s case, as a citizen of Nazareth, she could expect a crowd of about 10,000. The city was built on the side of a mountain at the edge of a cliff, so guess where Mary would have gotten to stand. A rock up the side of the head right before a sky dive sans parachute is not the best start to the rest of your life as a pregnant teenager.

Well, it didn’t look good for Mary if you were her dad or mom. Or one of the 10,000 volunteer rock throwers.

What was the scene like the morning Mary showed up for breakfast carrying her barf bucket for just-in-case?

Fortunately, you don’t have to wonder. I’ve already speculated for you in my novel of the first Christmas. Dad was more interested in throwing things than talking to Mary. Mom was more interested in calming dad down than in Mary’s little issue with tossing cookies in the morning.

And what about Satan? You may be curious about where he comes into the story. He does. Trust me on this one because despite what anyone may try to tell you, the great God of the universe really was the father of Mary’s baby. And you just know Satan would do anything to wreck God’s best laid plans. And he’d start by playing “Let’s kill the mother.”

Fulfillment is available in paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. Click here.