Happy Halloween!

Well folks, it’s a great day for kids of all ages– HALLOWEEN!  It’s my favorite holiday that’s not Christmas.  I’m sure that’s a huge surprise, seeing how I’m so rainbows, sunlight and pink bunnies.  Halloween is the one day a year when it’s okay to be a little strange.  To dress up in costumes and stuff yourself with candy.  To squeal with delight at a ridiculously gory movie.  To admit that you really do like being a little scared.  Halloween is a time of year to embrace our fears and confront our own mortality. It’s kind of like thumbing your nose at the Grim Reaper.

So one of my favorite things to do on Halloween night is to curl up on the couch with a bowl full of candy and watch scary movies.  Preferably with a whole group of people with whom you can share some screams.  I thought I’d share some of the movies that I’ll be watching today/tonight to get me in that spooky mood…

1.  Warlock:  OK, so I have selfish reasons for loving this movie.  Well, maybe not selfish but certainly sexually motivated. See… I have a thing for villains.  I always have.  Since the age of 10, I’ve always preferred the dark and evil character.  They’re just more interesting and I seem to be attracted to their power.  And well… when they look like Julian Sands…. *fanning self*.  Ok… so I may be watching this one alone…

2.  Corpse Bride:  This is one you can watch with all ages.  The Tim Burton movie was a lesser succcess than Nightmare Before Christmas, but I actually like this one better.  The music is great, the message is very positive and I just identify with the Corpse Bride. I also like it because the other female character is actually a nice person that we like and want to see happy. And of course it helps that Johnny Depp lends his voice to the unfortunate Victor.

3.  Sweeney Todd:  Speaking of Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.  This one is NOT appropriate for little ones.  It’s been called one of the bloodiest movies ever and I have to say it comes close.  Fair warning, it’s a musical, but the songs are so complex and beautiful that you’ll be mesmerized.  And of course if you listen to the lyrics they’re quite disturbing…

4.  The Others:  BEST GHOST STORY MOVIE EVER!!  If you haven’t seen this, you are missing out.  I’m not going to say much about it because I don’t want to give any spoilers, but this is positively the spookiest movie I’ve ever seen.

Alright, I’m off to buy more gummi eyeballs. REMEMBER– I’m going to be announcning the winner in the Howloween Blog Hop giveaway TONIGHT!!  So keep on checkin’ in….. Be safe trick-or-treating!

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Wicked After Dark: The Horror of Our Love

 

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It’s me again—your old pal Lexxx with a blog about the slightly disturbing genre of horror erotica.  I am going to reveal a disturbing, if not surprising, piece of myself.  I’m into sex and violence.  I think the two go hand in hand, actually.  Think about it—in horror movies, the hero and heroine almost always get busy just before the monster jumps out and annihilates their naked flesh.  It’s always been a rule of slasher films that the first big kill is some girl showing us her white underwear and/or gratuitously large breasts while she runs from the axe murderer that hacked up her lover in the previous frames.  Let’s face it—sex and fear have a lot in common.  Your pulse races, you get short of breath and then at the peak—complete exhilaration.  As I sit here writing this article, I’m watching the movie “Pet Sematary,” based on Stephen King’s brilliant novel.  King is a master of turning the ordinary into the EXTRAordinary.  Love is the most ordinary thing around, sex even more so.  As they say, the birds and the bees do it.  So it only seems natural that love and sex should have starring roles in horror stories. 

My release, “Dollface,” from No Boundaries Press, is about the horror of obsessive love.  We’ve all been there, right?  We’ve all had that person who knew just how to push our buttons in all the right places.  We want to be with them every minute and hang on every word they say.  But what if that person doesn’t return our affections?  Perhaps they just don’t like us “that way,” or aren’t really looking for a relationship.  Maybe it’s because they were an old love whose time has passed, never to be recaptured.  Or worse, your ultimate mate doesn’t even acknowledge that you’re alive.  No matter how you slice it, it hurts.  The pain of unrequited love can turn even the most normal of people into angry harpies that blow up your phone with disturbing text messages.  But what if it was more sadistic than that?  What if the lover was a bit… unbalanced.  That, my friends, is the stuff of erotic horror.

In the genre, over the last several years, we’ve seen a huge surge in blending horror and romance.  Yes, this is the Twilight portion of our little discussion.  Ah, Twilight, a sweet little YA novel about necrophilia.  New girl at school meets popular boy, falls in love and discovers that he’s a bloodsucking creature of the night (or as Corey Haim so aptly put it in “The Lost Boys,”—“A goddamn shit-sucking vampire!”).  Indeed a tale as old as time.  Stephanie Meyer may take credit for it, but Bram Stoker did it back in the Victorian era.  The difference is, Stoker realized the true metaphor of the vampire.  When Dracula says, “The blood is the life,” what he meant was “the blood is the sex.”  And I think that’s what fuels the hatred of Twilight among oversexed adults like me.  Meyer cut Edward Cullen’s balls off and stuck them safely down in her purse.  He doesn’t drink blood—he may as well be impotent.  Vampires are romantic heroes.  They always have been.  Their powers of seduction are necessary to their survival and to take that away so that they can be “the good guys,” just undermines their power as horror figures.  One reaction to that has been erotic horror featuring badass vampires that have no problem fucking your brains out then sucking your blood.  And it gets stranger than that.  I’ve heard of erotic horror featuring zombies, demons, ghosts and witches.  Coming soon to your bookstore:  The Secret Sex Lives of the Loch Ness Monster

So what’s the point?  We all feel like a bit of a monster every now and then.  Love makes us do crazy things and we find ourselves relating to the creatures of the night.  So when you think about it that way, it really isn’t all that strange, this love of all things both erotic and macabre. 

My books can be found  at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks and anywhere quality eBooks are sold.

Wicked After Dark: Sanguine Kiss (WARNING: EXPLICIT NC-17)

 

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We’re drawing closer to Halloween.  That feeling of dread sweeps over us slowly, licking at the back of our necks like a sadistic lover.  We can feel it in the crisp autumn air.  We can hear it in the whistling of the wind around the eaves.  We can smell it like burning leaves, yet it offers no warmth.  Everywhere we can feel the spirits of the dead watching and waiting.  Some of us hide, bundling ourselves in fuzzy sweaters, moving quickly through the streets to the safety of our homes, praying that nothing will follow us there.  Others of us will revel in it.  Those of us that relish the feeling of being scared.  That gasp of surprise, the chill of fear– it is exhilarating and we seek it out.Sanguine Kiss is for us.

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EXCERPT:

There were two cuts, side by side that seemed to drag a couple of inches down his arm. “I thought vampires were invincible.”

He flicked his tongue over the curve of her breast, watching as her skin prickled. “The scar marks us for what we are. You will have one too.” Gillian tensed at his words and he pulled her to him. “The pain lasts only a moment,” he whispered, his lips moving softly against the puckered skin

of her nipple before drawing it into his mouth. He suckled gently at first, worrying it to a swollen bud until she gasped. Only then did he prick the edge of the areola with his teeth. The wound was miniscule and she barely noticed the sting until the tiny pearl of blood appeared. Pulling back from her, he purred deep in his throat upon seeing the deep red rivulets that ran down the side of her breast, following the curving silhouette of her body. Before it could reach the sheets below, he swooped down and captured the drops with his tongue, then lapped at the precious fluid.

Gillian moaned, her heart beating faster. She knew she should be afraid, but she was lost in the sensations he created. He kissed his way back up her torso, alighting on her other breast and biting down hard. She cried out, instinctively trying to push him away. He grabbed her wrists and pinned them to the pillow behind her head. She groaned and struggled, but he was much too strong for her. Closing his mouth over the breast fully, he sucked at the wound until it was bleeding heavily down her front. She watched with eyes blurry with tears, as the thickening sanguine fluid stained her skin. He drank deeply for a few moments, then tore himself away, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. Strangely, she didn’t feel drained as she’d thought she would. Only this heaviness that had settled into her extremities, keeping her still as he slid away from her. “Is that it?” she croaked sleepily, thinking that perhaps she’d been afraid for nothing.

He gave a dark chuckle as he stood up at the side of the bed. A smear of her blood stood out as a harsh streak of black against his skin. “Patience, little one,” he said, pulling at the button on his jeans. “I’ve only just begun. Such a delicious delicacy should be savored, not devoured in one sitting.” She shuddered and he chuckled again, pushing the restricting fabric over his narrow hips and down until he stood before her, a vision of male perfection. His body seemed to be carved of stone, every muscle standing out just under his skin. The bones of his pelvis crossed over his hips, drawing her eye down to his cock which stood out impressively, giving away his own lust. Gillian smiled, feeling somewhat empowered by this show of arousal. She wanted to sit up and go to him, but her body was so heavy. She felt as if he’d restrained her, but there were no bonds.

Seth threw his head back, his black hair spilling over his shoulders as he inhaled her scent on the air. “Fucking hell, Gillian.” He sighed. “Your scent…so much fear, so much desire…it’s like a drug.” He climbed back into the bed, kneeling between her outstretched legs. “I fear that once I start, I won’t be able to stop,” he murmured, grasping the waistband of the pants she wore. With a growl, he pulled at them until they were ripped

completely open and he could jerk them down her legs. “A thousand years of practice and you have me behaving like a fledgling.”

“I’m… I’m sorry…” she stammered, biting her lip as his fingers brushed her thighs.

He leaned over her, kissing just below her navel and swirling his tongue around it. “You’re not sorry,” he replied, opening his mouth wider and grazing the warm skin with his teeth, opening another bloody gash. It dribbled slowly down, pooling in the crease above her mound. She could feel the warm wetness and she reached down to touch it, but he slapped her hand away. With the flat of his tongue he licked at the blood, tasting it and groaning with satisfaction. It wet his lips and when he gazed up at her, he looked like a sinister harlequin with his painted mouth.

The streaks of blood were a map to her center and he followed it without hesitation. He reached out to touch her sex, gathering some of the blood that had collected in the corner of his mouth and using it to paint around her opening, then licking it away until she was arching up against his mouth, begging him for more. He pulled the outer lips of her sex between his lips to kiss each one in turn. With two fingers, he pulled and tugged at the dewy petals until they were plumped with blood.

“Seth…” she sighed, her voice trailing off into an unintelligible moan as he took each side into his mouth in turn, rolling the moist flesh between his lips, careful not to bite. As he teased them, they began to part, revealing those secret destinations deep inside. His fingertips were all too willing to help them along, pulling the lips wide apart and flicking the swollen nub of flesh that was carefully hidden behind. Gillian’s breath was slow, coming in shallow gasps as he kissed and nibbled at her clit. She could feel the moist heat rush to her sex and she struggled to pull her legs further apart to urge him on, but still, every movement was a struggle as the venom crept slowly through her veins. As he kissed at the tiny clitoris, his fingertips slid up her body, swirling in the pools of blood still dripping from her breasts and belly. She looked down, watching as he brought his fingers to his lips, tasting the blood and then pushing his fingers forcefully into her sex. He moved them inside in gentle circles, then stroked them in and out until her blood mixed with the slippery wetness of her sex. He lapped it up like a man dying of thirst. Gillian’s voice rose in octaves, higher and higher as she surrendered to the pleasure of his foreplay. The loss of blood had made her delirious, sighing and crying, out of her head.

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Sanguine Kiss can be found  at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks and anywhere quality eBooks are sold.

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Howloween Blog Hop: The Final Chapter

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Yes, kids.  The 2012 Howloween Blog Hop is drawing to a close today.  I hope you’ve had as much fun as myself and the other authors.  It’s always my privilege to share my work with all of you in the hopes that you’ll enjoy enough to take a chance on my work, but also to connect with new folks and let you know a bit about me.  Today, I thought it might be appropriate to share some of my favorite Halloween reads.

1.        Pet Sematary  by  Stephen King:  This was my very first introduction to true horror fiction. I remember that the movie was coming out and the book had been re-released in paperback.  It was everywhere.  Being a young darkling, I begged my mother to let me read it.  After weeks she finally relented and it remains one of my favorite books of all time. If you haven’t read it, it’s the story of Louis Creed and his family who move into a sleepy little New England town.  They’re seemingly the perfect family—the doctor, his devoted wife and their two adorable children.  Of course there’s an underlying darkness there with past marital turmoil and such, as in most Stephen King books.  It all begins when the daughter’s cat is killed in the road and the Creeds’ kindly neighbor lets Louis in on a dark little town secret.   The mythology of the place is so well-constructed that the town itself is a character.  And though no one has ever mentioned it—the character of Jud is pure genius.  Jud manages to give out a lot of information without being an information dump.  He is both a catalyst for the evil to wield, but also one of the only pure “lawful good” characters in the book.  As always, King’s attention to detail gets you into the story and even though it’s a horror novel, you really care about the characters.  They aren’t just kill fodder.

2.       Dracula by Bram Stoker:  How can you be a horror writer or even just a goth if you’ve never read this book?  Dracula wasn’t the first vampire novel, but it was the first that gave us the archetypes that we now hold near and dear to our hearts.  The entire novel is written as diary entries and letters, which at first don’t seem very foreboding, but as the story goes on and the notes grow darker, the reader is drawn into the world Stoker creates.  It makes the horror closer, somehow.  It also plays on that universal fear of being out of control.  Mina loves Jonathan Harker, but she can’t resist the call of Dracula.  She is out of control of her senses.  And of course, once one becomes a vampire, they are slaves to their bloodlust. 

3.       The Complete Works of Edgar Allan Poe by Edgar Allan Poe:  Let’s keep it goin’ old skool here with some Edgar Allan Poe.  I couldn’t choose just one story or poem to highlight, so I’ve made the decision not to decide.  If you have a prayer of writing a horror story, a paranormal romance, a thriller or an adventure—you must put Poe on your reading list.  Most people think he was this brooding hack who drank himself to death, bitter and alone.  And to a point that’s true.  He was the original goth.  If Stephen King is the master of characterization, Poe is the master of atmosphere and mood.  His words paint such a vivid picture and he literally manipulates the reader to feel however he wants with those words.  I remember reading “The Raven” the first time and feeling the apprehension that the narrator does as he approaches the door.  What would be behind it?  What was that rapping on the chamber door?  I remember screaming in my head “Don’t open it, you idiot!”  And then of course, “The Tell-Tale Heart” is such a good trick because your heart is actually beating faster as you plow toward the inevitable ending.  It gives me shivers just thinking about it.

4.       Deathbird Stories by Harlan Ellison:  Look, however you feel about Ellison as a person you have to admit he’s a fucking genius.  He’s mostly known for floating in that upper echelon of sci-fi writers, but he can spin a good horror story when it’s called for.  One story in the collection that I’m particularly fond of is “Bleeding Stones” about the gargoyles on St. Patrick’s Cathedral coming to life.  The descriptions are deliciously grotesque.  It’s like a primer on “how to gross out your readers.”

5.       Duma Key by Stephen King:  I had to give another nod to Uncle Steve for the last in my horrific Halloween reads.  Anyone who knows me personally knows that I hate winter.  I don’t like cold weather and I tend to get depressed.  And though Halloween isn’t in winter, it puts me in mind of how I always try to find some good books that help me escape the dark months.  Last year, I read Duma Key.  I thought it would be nice since the whole thing takes place on an island off the coast of Florida where it’s warm, even in January.  Folks, it’s one of the creepiest books I’ve ever read.  Now, it’s dense.  You have to be willing to dive in with both feet and not come up for air for a good long while, but it’s so worth it.  It follows the story of a man whose life has fallen apart after a terrible accident.  He’s got some brain damage going on and so he often forgets things—even what words go with what objects.   He goes to The Key with the intention of committing suicide, but he manages to find a new life there and some terrifying secrets.  If you love a good ghost story, this one is just extreme.  Perfection.

Well, kids… it’s been fun hangin’ with ya the last few days.  I’ve made some new friends and I hope added some new followers.  Please feel free to comment, pop over and see me on Facebook, or who knows– maybe we’ll even get to meet sometime.  I’ll be at several Cons this year and I’d love to see you. Don’t forget!  I’ll be announcing the winner of the pdf copies on Halloween Night, so keep checkin’ back!   Until we meet again…

My books can be found  at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, All Romance eBooks and anywhere quality eBooks are sold.

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Howloween Blog Hop: Dollface Excerpt

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Hey there boils and ghouls! It’s me again and I’m back with a little horror for your Halloween.  That’s right, the Belle has written a straight horror piece that’s properly sick and twisted.  Yes, never trust the plain Jane that seems so innocent…just sayin’…

“Pull yourself together, Caroline,” she scolded, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.  “This town is full of boys.  What makes that one so special?”  Getting up from the floor, she crept over to her bed that occupied the center of the cramped little room.  Everything looked cozy and inviting.  Everything was in place as it had been when she’d made the bed earlier.  The same bed she’d had all her life was made up with her mother’s patchwork quilt and lots of fluffy pillows.  The rafters overhead hung with strings of white Christmas lights, offering a soft glow to the room that was almost as good as a fireplace.  All around the room were shelves full of books, mostly romances and her schoolbooks.  Atop each one was a line of dolls that she had been collecting since age three.  All of them peered down at the room through their glassy blue eyes, some of them even winked from years of dust being caught in the eye-hinges. They were her most trusted companions these days.  She could tell them anything and they always smiled back.  They didn’t care if she were pretty or clever.  They didn’t care that she often felt closer to dead bodies than people.

            “Nothing.  They’re all alike.”

             Caroline looked around, hearing the voice so clear that it took her aback.  “ Who’s there?” she called, her voice quivering and cracking. 

            “No one.  No one is here but us.  No one ever will be.”

            She turned to see all of her dolls staring down at her from their perches up above.  Their smiling porcelain faces and bouncy sausage curls seemed to taunt her.  “That’s not true.”

            “Of course it is, Caroline.  No one loves you like we do.”

            “You’re dolls.  Just toys!  You aren’t real!”  Her breath came in short gasps as she covered her ears and tried to block out their laughter. 

            “He laughs at you, Caroline.  Just like everyone.”

            “He does not!  He’s kind!  Not like all the others…”

            “He and that bitch, Ginny, are probably laughing about ‘weird old Caroline’ right now.”

            Caroline sank down to the bed.  “Stop it,” she cried, pulling a pillow over her ears.  “It’s not true!  You aren’t real!”

            “Only a doll could ever love you, Caroline.  Only a doll would never leave you.”

            It was true.  These dolls had been with her since she was an infant.  They were always there.  Always smiling.  And suddenly she knew what she had to do.

*************

That Caroline… she’s a sick little girl.  Who said no harm could come of playing with dolls.  Anyway, dont’ forget to drop me a comment telling me your favorite Halloween tale and an email addy so I can add you to my list of miscreants.  I will be announcing the big wiener on Halloween night here on the blog, on my Facebook Fan Page and of course– I’ll email you too.  Don’t forget… just click the blog hop button at the top to visit MORE fantastic authors!

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Wicked After Dark: Silver Foxes

The hero of my second release, “Second Skin,” is a sexy older man.  This isn’t a

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coincidence, kittens.  The older I’ve gotten, the more I’ve developed an interest in older men.  It’s weird because I never figured that I’d be one of those women that sought out a fifty-something.  Not that I haven’t always liked a mate to be older—my husband, Tally, is five, almost six years older than I.  When we met, my mother was so worried about our age difference.  I was 17 and he was 22—old enough to buy beer.  But I was never interested in boys my age.  I suppose in my eyes they weren’t as mature or mysterious.  As I’ve gotten older, my fascination has gotten worse.  I’m just not interested in the sex symbol of the moment unless he has a little silver in his hair.  Older men are confident, self-assured, dominating— AND THAT MAKES ME HOTTER THAN A TIN ROOF IN THE  MIDDLE OF JULY.  So I’ve attached a wicked little excerpt from “Second Skin” that showcases our hero, the sexy Jack Leannan.  Incidentally, “leannan” is Gaelic for “lover.” 

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Jack Leannan wasn’t like anyone I had ever met before.  And I think I knew we were going to sleep together from the moment I saw him.  We met briefly at a dinner party and I was instantly fascinated.  He was quite a bit older than I, but it didn’t affect his allure at all.  The silvery strands at his temples only served to highlight the cool blue composure of his eyes.  His body was solid, a telltale sign of one who took care of himself, but not overdone.  He had a quiet grace that gave him an air of mystery and dominance.  His accented voice was low with just a tinge of gravel that had me drooling with his first hello.  We stood around in the same circle of strangers, exchanging shallow niceties and bored expressions.  He didn’t say a lot, merely commented when spoken to.  I noticed him laugh quietly to himself at inopportune times and it endeared him to me, though I was afraid to engage him in conversation. 

I didn’t notice when everyone else had left the circle and I still stood there, holding my glass of wine and staring at Jack.  It was as if the entire world had disappeared around us and I couldn’t care less.  “Miss Spencer?  Are you alright?”  He spoke to me and I started.  I hadn’t realized that he even knew my name. 

“Catherine.  Please call me Catherine,” I said, somewhat robotically as I pushed the words from my lips.

He smirked, one eyebrow quirking.  “Are you sure we know each other well enough for that?”

“I’ll risk it,” I replied. 

“As long as we’ve set the ground rules.”  With another smile he offered his hand and we shook politely.  I tried to let go, but he held on tight and then pulled, leading me to a couch nearby.  “I hate parties,” he said casually as he motioned for me to sit.  “Standing around talking to strangers was never my forte.”

“You seem to be doing well so far,” I replied, taking a seat.

“If you’ll notice, the only person I’ve actually spoken to is you.”

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Whew… that Jack is one of my favorite heroes ever.   He’s sexy, smart and he knows just what to say to get my blood boiling.  That’s what’s so hot.  Not just that he’s an older man, but that he seems to know everything poor Catherine needs to hear.  Of course, it’s his downfall.  But I’m not one to give spoilers.

Don’t forget to go in and leave some comments– be sure to tell me about YOUR favorite Silver Fox.  And of course, click Miss Bettie up there to visit the other blog hop participants!

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Howloween Blog Hop: How Much is Too Much

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Welcome to Day 2 of the Howloween 2012 Blog Hop! I’ve had so much fun reading all your comments! Please know that I appreciate each and every one. I’m especially honored by all of the comments and messages saying “This sounds so good. I’m going to put this on my wish list.” I’m always amazed to know that there are people out there that like what I write. But… on to today’s topic…

So how much is too much? Anyone who knows me can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’ve never had too much of anything. I tend to indulge in most things to excess. Which brings me to why we’re here today. In your erotic horror/ paranormal romance—how much sex and blood is too much? Is there a point at which you say, “I can’t read this anymore,”? Of course there are varying degrees. My recent publications have been more on the sex and less on the blood. I haven’t delved into splatterpunk much in my relatively short career, but it’s a genre that is close to my heart. For those of you uneducated on the matter—splatterpunk is a genre that combines horror and erotica in violent and twisted ways. Splatterpunk isn’t really meant to titillate so much as to shock. The tales are generally graphically violent, explicitly sexual and shockingly detailed. Needless to say, I’m a big fan. However, it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. For some, they’d rather have the violence happen behind closed doors. Or at the very least have it brief and painless.

So where is that line? It seems to me in the media that the line gets blurrier and blurrier every day. And it’s almost always bent toward the violent side. For some reason, it is more socially acceptable to depict someone being decapitated by a flying cannonball than to show full on nudity and sex between two people who are obviously in love. The way I see it, one celebrates life and the other celebrates death. Which would you rather see?

The closest I’ve come, at least in my published works, to splatterpunk was in my first novel, Hellsong. In the prologue, one of the main characters is telling the story of how he watched his best friend devoured by a succubus. I chose to use imagery that was both horrific and primal. I wanted it to be graphic and shocking, but also strangely sexual. I’ll let you judge for yourself…

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The first thing I noticed was the smell. Something like dead flowers and decayed earth just under the coppery smell of the blood, which was everywhere. It dripped from the walls and ran in pools across the floor until I could see the canvas of my old sneakers soaking it up. I gasped, unable to find my voice, but when the glass of gin in my hand dropped to the floor, it made a loud noise. The woman’s head whipped around from where she crouched on the bed. Her eyes glowed this impossible yellow color as she glared at me, but she did not speak. Her skin looked leathery and taut under the thick veil of Jackson’s blood. I started to move toward her, wanting to throw her off of my friend even though I was more scared than a man staring at Death himself.

She made kind of a hissing noise at me, baring a mouthful of sharpened pearl teeth. I wanted to scream, to run out of there as fast as I could, but as I turned, my foot caught on something, nearly throwing me down. When I looked down, I saw a mass of red cord wrapped around my ankle. As my eyes started to focus, I realized that the bloody mess was Jackson’s insides, coiled like a snake at my feet. I did scream then and stumbled backward, slipping in the blood and falling hard on my ass. The woman-thing on the bed laughed—a sickening rasping sound that echoes in my nightmares.

I tried to stand up, but I couldn’t get to my feet. I was blinded with alcohol and tears. I began crawling toward the door on my knees. I was sure that she was going to come after me, but then I heard an earsplitting shriek pulled from her throat. She got up on her haunches at the bed, staring hatefully at me as she bellowed again. I looked over my shoulder, sure that someone would come in and see, but no one did—her screams were lost over the symphony of moans and laughter in the corridor. I watched with morbid fascination as she sat straight up on her knees. Her clawed hands held onto the broken down bedpost as she grunted and writhed on the ruined sheets. Before I was sure what was happening, I heard another cry—this one more human.

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