Saturday, June 15, 2024

Cover Reveal: Screaming Intensifies


I am pleased to share the cover art for my short story collection, Screaming Intensifies - coming soon from Whiskey City Press. Many thanks to John Patrick Robbins, editor and cover designer, as well as Skaja Evans and Scott Simmons. 

Screaming Intensifies is fifteen strange and fantastic tales: A man stranded on a deserted island is menaced by a mermaid. A seemingly idyllic Midwest farm is situated on the edge of a forest where strange creatures dwell. A sin eater attempts to help a man on death row. Demons, ghouls, weird west settings, fairy tale retellings, a horse-headed lady, and more dark imaginings haunt these pages. 

Here is an excerpt from the opening story, "Feather and Scale":

When Ash first glimpsed the mermaid, he thought he was hallucinating.

It was not an unreasonable assumption. He’d been on the island for ninety days now, give or take. He hadn’t kept track at first, his arrival a blur of heat and pounding headaches and denial. It was like he’d left his body and was watching someone else perform one series of grim tasks after another.

Plus, the creature he’d just glimpsed had resembled Jenna. For a second, he’d thought it was Jenna, her copper-bright hair distinct against the blue sea, only about twenty yards off the south side of the island. He’d almost called out to her, but then she’d arched her body in a dolphin dive and he could see where the fair skin graded into silvery scales. He’d watched as she’d disappeared beneath the surface, astonished at the length of her fishy lower body.

He kept the binoculars trained on the reef. A few minutes later, the mermaid emerged again in the shallows, foraging among the sponges and polyps. Her movements reminded him of a deer hovering at the edge of a clearing, nosing around in the clover. The mermaid scooped something out of the water into her mouth. It was too small for him to make out what it was. Her hand had pale, almost translucent webbing between the fingers.

She was there for less than ten minutes. When she finished grazing, she turned and glided back out into the open water. Again, she dove. This time, she did not resurface.

Stunned, he lowered the binoculars. “Whoo, boy, Jenna,” he muttered. “You’re not gonna believe this.”