The Vampire Washing Machine

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A silly Spooktober treat for fright lovers

By Scott Bury

The power went out with drawn-out squeaks from every electronic device in the house. Rodney noticed the full moon shining through the window.

“Glad I didn’t close the blinds earlier,” he muttered. Then he swore as the soapy plate slipped from his fingers and smashed on the floor. In the dark, he cut a finger on a shard and held back another oath as he heard a growl.

Spooky haunted talking dishwasher by Adrian Loveless

The only light in the kitchen was the moon reflecting off the front of the dishwasher. It growled again and rattling came from the cutlery inside it.

How could it do that when the power’s out, Rodney wondered. He wrapped a paper towel around his cut finger and bit back another oath when he saw a drop of blood, black in the dim light, hit the floor in front of the dishwasher.

The machine growled again and the door flung open. “Goddamn!” Rodney stepped back and tripped, flopping onto his butt on the vinyl floor.

His heart pounding, he looked closer at the dishwasher. Somehow, two steak knives had become tangled in the rack and were hanging down from either side like fangs. To his horror then, the door slowly rose, closing by itself.

“Come closer,” said a voice.

Rodney looked around. “Who said that?”

“You know who—or rather, what. Come closer.”

“The dishwasher?” I’ve been working too hard.

“Not just any dishwasher. Is your finger all right?”

“No, it hurts like hell. I have to put some peroxide on it.”

“Do not do that!” said the dishwasher. “Put your finger in my—that is, on the edge of the door.”

Rodney did not know why he complied, but he put his finger on the lip of the door. It snapped closed with his finger somehow wedged inside and he felt the dishwasher sucking on it. He pulled it out with a gasp. “What are you doing?”

“I want your blood,” said the dishwasher.

“A vampiric dishwasher?” Rodney put his finger in his own mouth. It tasted soapy, but the blood flowed freely. “I’m losing it.”

The door flung open again. “Give me your blood!” the dishwasher cried. A red glow came from deep in the back. Rodney could not tear his eyes from it.

The glow came closer and closer, brighter and brighter until Rodney realized, too late, that his head was completely inside the dishwasher. Obeying a silent command in his head, he twisted around to look up. The door slammed shut and drove his throat onto the steak knife.

Photo by Simon Moore on Unsplash

Rodney only struggled for a few seconds as his blood drained into the dishwasher cavity. When his heart stopped, the dishwasher sighed deeply.

The moonbeam moved off the dishwasher. The door fell forward under Rodney’s weight and his body rolled onto the floor.

The noise drew Kelly, Rodney’s widow, into the kitchen. “Rodney? Are you getting some candles?” In the moonlight that was now reflecting off the toaster, she saw Rodney’s body on the floor.

She didn’t even have time to scream before the toaster-wolf sprang on her from the counter and tore out her throat.

What’s sexier to suburbanite adults today than really great kitchen appliances?

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Cover reveal: The Children of the Seventh Son

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BestSelling Reads author member announces new book

By Scott Bury

BestSelling Reads member Scott Bury has revealed the cover of his upcoming release, The Children of the Seventh Son.

It’s an original image by painter Marc Laisne of Montpelier, France and Ottawa, Canada. The cover design is by another BestSelling Reads member, David C. Cassidy.

“I’m very proud of the cover. Not many independently published books have completely original cover images,” says the author. “Marc Laisne captured perfectly a key scene in the book: where the central character, Javor the Sklavene, faces a choice of three paths to follow.”

The Children of the Seventh Son

The year 600 of the Christian Era is the darkest time of the Dark Age. Young Javor the Sklavene has settled in Constantinople, the last bastion of civilization against dark forces that have shattered the Western Roman Empire.

Wielding two special weapons made from the Bones of the Earth, Javor has become the favourite monster-killer of the secret Gnostic Order. As his young family grows, he is sent to distant, exotic lands to eliminate threats and learn more about why the earth is intent on destroying humanity.

Every mission seems to bring more questions than answers—until he finds the greatest danger comes not from forces from beneath the surface of the world, but from the very civilization he has been defending.

The second book in the Dark Age series, it’s the sequel to The Bones of the Earth. You can enjoy a sample of that book on the author’s website.

The Children of the Seventh Son will publish on Friday, November 13 and is available for pre-order on Amazon now.

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Spooky samples from bestselling writers

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Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

It’s officially spooky season. Even though physical distancing measures will change the way we celebrate Hallowe’en in 2020, we still crave the thrills and chills of the season. Your favorite bestselling authors have stepped forward to tickle your scary bone with a few samples from their spookiest books.

Avengers of Blood

By Gae-Lynn Woods

A wheelbarrow lay on its side against the fence, alongside a toppled step ladder. Closer to the middle of the courtyard, a misshapen pile of red plastic smoldered. A sycamore tree grew in one corner, its smooth-barked trunk rising gracefully from a patch of scraggly dirt.

Goober whimpered as his vision expanded to take in the scene. Only seven feet or so from the ground, the tree’s lowest limb sprung outward at a nearly ninety-degree angle, and from it dangled a zombie, blackened and blazing.

Tongues of orange flame danced in a mouth stretched wide in a silent scream and nibbled at the rope around the zombie’s neck. The concrete beneath him was scorched and heat rose in shimmering waves from its surface.

Rise of the Faire Amanti
(Ascendant Series #3)

By Raine Thomas

“Your cousin Sem is dead,” Vycor sneered.

Ty tried to move, but he couldn’t. Vycor’s Mynders had ambushed him. He was strapped to one of the seats in the palace’s Ritual Chamber…the same seat he had sat in while he mentally tortured Vycor just a couple of lunar cycles before.

They had been so close to defeating the Advisor. His demise had been within their grasp. There had been just one misstep.

One deadly misstep.

“He died screaming for mercy,” Vycor said as he laid out implements beside the altar in the center of the chamber. “He cursed your name, TaeDane. He knew it was your fault that he suffered so long before death claimed him.”

Raine Thomas, new adult, young adult and romance

“You’re lying,” Ty growled. He knew Sem had gotten out of the palace.

He had to have gotten out.

“Am I?”

At a silent command, one of the Mynder guards standing in the chamber brought forth a basket. Ty’s stomach clenched when he saw the blood leaking out of the basket’s bottom and dripping onto the floor, but he controlled his reaction so Vycor couldn’t see his wariness. Without any preamble, the guard dumped the basket at Ty’s feet. Sem’s head flopped out, splashing gore onto Ty’s boots.

“He was still alive when we dismembered him,” Vycor said conversationally, his gaze on Ty’s face. “In fact, his ‘member’ was one of the first things I cut off. I’ll have to be even more inventive when I kill you.”

The Ghost Host

By DelSheree Gladden

There’s a moment where nothing appears to happen, then Echo’s hand moves quickly back to the board, words scrawling out hastily, almost too sloppy to read. Halfway through her message, I feel ice creep up my spine. It takes the others a few mores seconds before mouths drop open and eyes open wide in shock. 

The past is vengeful. Life demands balance. Death even more so. What you took must be repaid. The debt collector is coming. 

DelSheree Gladden

The chalk falls from Echo’s hand and she spins around in disbelief. “Where did she go?” Echo demands, oblivious to the message still. “Where did she go? How’d she get out of the circle?” Panic spins Echo toward Kyran, her gaze dropping to the broken line of salt. She points at him, angry he broke the circle without her explicit instruction, but Kyran points at the chalkboard wordlessly. 

Echo whips around, still angry, but it falls away as soon as her eyes see the message left for her and not some relative of Phibe’s. I barely have a second to react when her eyes roll back. There are heavy steps to my right, voices calling out, but I’m the closest and get my hand under her neck half an inch from her head smacking into the floor. Dad said Echo’s instincts were good, but he didn’t say they bordered on prescient. There’s no way two weeks is going to be enough time. 

The Children of the Seventh Son
The Dark Age, Book 2 (coming soon)

British museum https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=15665648

Scott Bury

As soon as Javor’s foot touched the intersection, Preyatel trembled again and the sky became dark. The other people vanished in a thick, misty gloom, the horses and donkeys and oxen, too. Nighttime chill replaced the afternoon heat. Javor’s skin tingled.

An arch stretched over the crossroads now, which had not been there a second before. Javor turned around to try to see beyond the mist. When he faced the city again, he saw her.

He had no doubt. Hekate, as a slender young girl with long, dark hair. She held a large keyring in her left hand. At her feet, again, the immense black dog sat, its eyes fixed on Javor.

You have not heeded our warnings, she said without moving her mouth.

“I have heeded you,” he answered. “I have not raised a hand against anything that has not attacked me or my family, first.”

Your missions are harmful to both sides of the balance. They will also be futile in themselves.

“The balance again. You mean Earth and Sky.”

You continue to follow masters who lead you away from your destined path. They seek to use you for their gods’ purposes. They seek to use their gods, celestial archons, for their own material wealth. For temporal luxury and power over other humans. They are willful fools. They blind themselves with fantasies of heavenly glory. They abandon the mother who birthed them.

“Do you mean Moist Mother Earth?”

As she had in Javor’s homeland, Hekate changed from a young girl to a mature, beautiful woman, hair curled in Roman style.

One of your words for it, yes. Humanity’s mother. One source of all life.

“The Christians talk about their heavenly father. But you are on the side of the earthly mother.”

Both are needed for life.

Hekate changed again, becoming the crone. Her hair hung limp. Lines creased her face, but she was still beautiful.

Do not believe everything the sky-worshippers tell you. On this mission, you will see an opening. A clue to the direction of deeper truth.

“What does that mean?”

It means you must be awake and aware of every detail.

She changed again, features flowing, hair becoming wavy. The lines on her face faded. Her back straightened, and Hekate was the maiden again.

The dog raised its head and howled. The light grew stronger as Hekate and her hound faded.

“Wait!” Javor stepped forward to keep the vision real, and collided with a bearded man pushing a cart across the intersection.

“Watch where you are going, you twit,” the man snarled, bending to pick up vegetables that Javor had knocked from the cart.

The Children of the Seventh Son will be released on Hallowe’en Day.

The Dark

By David C. Cassidy

Time passed. Kelan’s mind began to drown within that endless sea of white, and he drifted off, to dream within the dream. His eyelids had just dropped shut when the car hit some black ice and skidded onto the shoulder. “Dad!”

The vehicle rocked as his father negotiated the car from gravel to pavement. They slowed just a little. “You okay, Soldier?”

Kelan nodded. He checked their cargo and his heart stuttered. “Dad! It’s out!”

“Calm down, Kelan, it’s not—”

“It IS! The box tipped over and the jar is out!”

“It’s okay, it’s still in the jar—”

“NO, NO! The top is off! It’s OUT!”

Then he saw it, scampering up the seat. How the things moved so quickly terrified him, and now it was free, loose in the car. Almost unconsciously, he unsnapped his belt and brought his legs up, swaying on his haunches. He shrank as small as he was able and steadied his trembling body between the dashboard and seat. Suddenly his lungs begged for air. His eyes grew, and before he could stop it, that grave cold gripped him the way it always did, the way only that thing in the car could.

David C. Cassidy, horror

“Kelan! Sit down! Put your belt back on!”

He wouldn’t . . . couldn’t. The thing was loose, it was coming for him. He could hear it scurrying about, its hairy spider legs clicking the way they did, the way only he could hear, the way the dark‑skinned man with the strange accent had sworn was only his imagination.

He wasn’t imagining this.

The spider was nowhere in sight. He was going to scream and scream and scream, and then he would feel it, that warm wetness growing between his legs.

Click‑click‑click. Faster now. Clickclickclick.

Desperate for any edge that might distance himself, he tried to get higher by extending his legs. His head hit the roof and forced him back down. The thing was under his seat now, he could feel it. He could hear it.

“Kelan Lisk! Sit down this minute!”

His father applied the brakes gently, and the car slid on some ice and fishtailed. Kelan fell sideways toward him and reached out for support. His hand found the steering wheel and gripped it hard. The weight of his body pulled the wheel right, and the vehicle slipped into a spin.

“DAAAAADEEEEE!”

Like those samples? Check out the books on the authors’ BestSelling Reads pages, their websites and at your preferred e-tailers.

We may be limited in where we find our scares these days, but we can bring them to us. Visit our Members page for all the links you need.

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When real life blurs into fiction

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Monday musings by BestSelling Reads authors

We asked your favorite bestselling writers how much of their life makes its way into their writing?

The answers are as varied and as entertaining as their books.

DelSheree Gladden

The main areas of my life that show up in many of my books are the Southwest as a setting and the local mythology used in a variety of ways.

Using some of my personal interests and hobbies as character details adds depth.

I love baking, which lent itself to my Eliza Carlisle series, and many of my characters enjoy art or dancing, and reading.

Gae-Lynn Woods

How much of my life shows up in my writing? Quite a bit, and in three specific ways.

The first is from story ideas. Each of my books is the product of a very real experience in my life or the lives of friends or family. The stories end up looking nothing like the experiences they come from, but each is triggered by a real event.

The second way is in setting. The Cass Elliot novels are set in East Texas, where I currently live. Forney County is imaginary, but the pastureland, forest, and architecture in this area flavor each novel. Cass’s home town, Arcadia, is an amalgamation of two local towns.

The third way my life shows up in my writing is through characters. Although Cass Elliot and Maxine Leverman are their own “people,” each contains elements of my personality. Cass has more of my serious side and Maxine ended up with the smartass part of me that refuses to spend time thinking through consequences.

Other characters come directly from my life. For example, the Grove twins are based on my brothers when they were teenagers; the thee ladies of the Lost and Found Detective Agency are women I work with; and Sheriff Hoffner is based on the worst boss I’ve ever had. One character, Hugo Petchard, is a composite of the many annoying, inept people we’ve all had to work with, and he’s great fun to write!

Alan McDermott

My life is all about my books these days. From the moment I wake I’m on my laptop, and often spend 12 hours at it. I take regular breaks and exercise for an hour each morning, and I cook most nights, but the rest of the time is spent staring at the screen.

I wish it wasn’t like this. I wish I could actually write something—anything—instead of just gazing at the last paragraph for hours on end.

I think my next project will be about an author who has writer’s block, so if I don’t make progress I can just tell myself it’s part of the story!

Scott Bury

I like to insert people I know into my stories and novels, and what I’ve found is that my victims, I mean subjects, are delighted with the idea.

For my first published novel, The Bones of the Earth, I based the hero, Javor, on both my sons. He looks like my older son, and has the personality of the younger. Meanwhile, the wise old man of the story, who turns out not to be so wise, after all, is based on an old university professor of mine, many years ago.

Vanessa Storm, hero of the Hawaiian Storm mystery series, is based on my lovely wife, Roxanne. The villains of the first book in the series, Torn Roots, are based on a certain neighbor and an ex-girlfriend, respectively.

Of course, the biographical Eastern Front Trilogy tells the story of my father-in-law, a Canadian drafted into the Red Army during the Second World War.

I have sprinkled names that readers of this blog may recognize into other books: Corinne O’Flynn, Christine Nolfi and Sam Gilmour, to name three. It’s a lot of fun!

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Nicoli

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A Thursday teaser from the latest crime romance

By Sydney Landon

Warning: explicit language

I shrug nonchalantly.  “Fucking the female version of Rambo has its moments.”  I nod to the weapons on the nearby table before adding, “Isn’t that a bit much even for you?”  And there it is again—the tiniest shifting of her expression.  Shit, most would never notice, but it practically rings alarm bells for me.  What the fuck is she hiding?  Even as I ask myself that question, I dismiss it.  Just because we’re fucking doesn’t mean there’s any major exchanging of the information.  She may live with me and be best friends with Nina, but she’s still a Gavino.  Regardless of her disdain for most of her family, they’re still blood.  And she’s no docile and sweet heir to the proverbial throne.  The exact opposite.  She’s a warrior who will kill to protect those she loves.  She’s dangerous, and she doesn’t pretend to be anything other than what she is.  Hence the stripping of weapons in front of me.  A calculating woman would hide the fact that she rarely goes anywhere without being armed to the teeth.  Possibly because she knows I understand and get off on it.  But likely because she doesn’t give a good fuck what my opinion of her is.  Thinking like a pussy again.  Fuck me. 

“I don’t recall you ever walking out the door without protection.  Why should I be any different?  I’m likely a bigger target than you are, thanks to dear old Dad.”

“Your father is head of the second-biggest mafia family on the East Coast.  We’re not talking PTA president here, Minxy.”   Her mouth twitches slightly at the nickname I’ve taken to calling her.

“Exactly.  So, why are you harassing me about it?  You’d rather some punk looking to make a name for himself take me out?” My cock stirs to life as my eyes drop to linger on the tight leather pants she’s wearing.  So fucking hot.  Those things are a bitch to get off, but her ass looks amazing in them.  It’s even better out of them, but—you get the picture.  I motion toward her spike-heeled black boots before saying, “I don’t think you’d need anything other than those to take care of business.  But yeah, I feel you.  Always better to be prepared for anything.  We damn sure know by now to expect the unexpected.”  Even though months have passed since the utter mindfuck of Angelica Moretti’s betrayal, a glance at Minka’s haunted expressions tells me that we’re both sifting through the pain brought on by my careless choice of words.  We stare at each other for a long moment, as if each waiting for the other to break the silence that has fallen between us.

Nicoli: Pierced, Lucian & Lia, Book 9

What do you do when those closest to you are not who they appear to be? For a man as loyal as Nicoli Moretti it’s the ultimate betrayal. As the top lieutenant and best friend to the head of the Moretti family, he thought he knew everything about the man he considered a brother—but he was so very wrong. Still reeling from that blow, he discovers that not only did the woman he loves know before him, but she also has secrets of her own—ones that could well get her killed.

His thirst for revenge is almost overwhelming—yet so is his love for Minka Gavino. A relationship with someone from another mafia family would be complicated on a good day, but is it even worth fighting for now? Once the trust is gone, can it ever be rebuilt? Or, will he walk away from the only life he’s ever known and the only woman he’s ever loved?

Get it on

Sydney Landon

is the New York Times & USA Today best selling author of:  Weekends Required, Not Planning on You, Fall For Me, Fighting For You, Betting on You, No Denying You, Always Loving You, Pierced and Fractured.  Sydney is currently working on the next book in the Danvers’ Series as well as the Pierced Series.

When she isn’t writing romantic erotica or romance, Sydney enjoys reading, swimming and the beach.

She lives with her family in Greenville, South Carolina.

Get to know more about Sydney:

Her BestSelling Reads author page   |    Website    |    Amazon Author page    |    Barnes & Noble    |    Kobo    |    Google Play    |    iBooks

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If I could turn back time

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Monday musings on writing

by Raine Thomas

Photo by Fabrizio Verrecchia on Unsplash

You may have noticed that we’ve had a few posts by other Bestselling Reads authors in recent weeks discussing what they’d do differently in their first book if they could do it all over again. The funny thing is, I contributed this blog topic to the group. Yet when it came time to think about my own response, I struggled.

I’m one of those people who believes that everything happens for a reason and it happens at the pace it’s meant to. I also believe in the value of mistakes. They help us learn, grow, and, in many cases, thrive.

That said, there are certainly things I would do differently if I could turn back time. I have learned a lot in the nearly ten years since publishing my Daughters of Saraqael trilogy. Indeed, since I published those books when indie publishing was just hitting its stride, one could argue that the industry as a whole has changed since then.

The first thing I would do if I could go back in “publishing time” is get more prepared for engaging with fans before publishing. I had less than twenty Twitter followers when I decided to self-publish. I think I had less on Facebook. I made some unknowingly smart decisions by publishing all three books in the trilogy at once and using Becoming’s cover as my avatar. It resulted in almost immediate interest and a rapid boost in my social media following. If I had done the work to build my social media platforms before publishing, it stands to reason the books would have been exponentially more successful.

Hindsight and all that.

Another thing I would do differently is broaden my beta reader pool. My first beta readers were all people I knew well. That’s never the best idea! It’s rare for someone who cares about you to give you honest, unfiltered feedback. Don’t get me wrong, I got plenty of constructive input, but there are things I could’ve tightened up with more objective insights.

Photo by Dave Photoz on Unsplash

Marketing is something else I’d do differently if I could go back to that fateful day when I first clicked the publish button. Options for indies were more limited back then, but I didn’t so much as think about researching avenues to promote my books. I should have worked on developing relationships with book bloggers ahead of time. I should have looked into paid and free advertising. In short, I should have done more than create a website and a couple of social media accounts and pray for readers to find my books.

Would I change anything in those first three books if I could go back in time? Maybe. But I’ve developed a strong fan base of readers who love the books just as they are. So that’s a tough call. As I work on my next project, a novella in my baseball romance series called Ready for the Curve, I am drawing on all the experience I’ve gained since publishing the Daughters of Saraqael trilogy. I’m also participating in courses and trainings to enhance what I’ve learned. The crafts of writing and publishing are ever-evolving, and I’m determined to evolve with them!

Raine Thomas

is the award-winning author of bestselling Young Adult and New Adult fiction.

Known for character-driven stories that inspire the imagination, Raine has signed with multiple award-winning producer Chase Chenowith of Back Fence Productions to bring her popular Daughters of Saraqael trilogy to the big screen.

She’s a proud indie author who is living the dream. When she isn’t writing or glued to e-mail or social networking sites, Raine can usually be found vacationing with her husband and daughter on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches, and will soon be crossing the border again to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Get to know Raine at her

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