Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Tis the Season For Death Valley Superstars

Duke Haney released Death Valley Superstars last December with Delancy Street Press. 
You can purchase a copy, and purchase a copy you should, here
Btw, the Kindle version is just 1.99. I mean, seriously, go get the dang thing!

Though its tone is sometimes comic, “Death Valley Superstars“ is nevertheless a livre noir, and no liquor says noir to me like whisky, whether bourbon, scotch, Irish, or Canadian. Steve Cochran, a noir figure both on- and offscreen and one of the short-lived subjects of “Death Valley Superstars,” had a taste for whisky, as did another of the book’s subjects, Jim Morrison, who sang famously, “Oh, show me the way to the next whisky bar,” while I once passed out on the floor of Morrison’s bygone residence in West Hollywood after a night of drinking—what else?—whisky. This incident, which includes a visit from Morrison’s ghost, is recounted in ”Death Valley Superstars,” but I’m afraid whisky is not typically sold alongside the book. 


“If it goes by, I’ve always known it was fickle,” Marilyn Monroe once said of fame, an overriding theme in this collection of essays, profiles, and memoir by showbiz survivor Duke Haney. Fame proved faithful, of course, to Monroe, the book’s most iconic subject, while others, like Steve Cochran, a villain in movies and a “hard-drinking, bed-hopping cop magnet” in reality, were widely forgotten before their untimely, often mysterious deaths. Taking an experimental tack in some instances, Haney employs a psychic medium to conduct a séance at Jim Morrison’s former residence and an astrologer to interpret the birth chart of an astrology-crazed film star-turned-bank robber. He attends the funeral of the “next James Dean” who became a raggedy street person, performs a cringeworthy nude scene in a movie produced by “King of the Bs” Roger Corman, and searches for the camper van where funk trailblazer Sly Stone has been reduced to living.

Painstakingly researched and compulsively readable, Death Valley Superstars offers a kind of midnight tour of Los Angeles past and present, highlighting hidden corridors and seldom-heard anecdotes about a few of the many who, fooled by Hollywood’s mirages, found themselves caught in its quicksand.


"The book is brilliantly sequenced. If you’ve ever wanted to hear scalpel slices of backlot dreams … perhaps nightmares … or Gnosis remarks that refer to Las Vegas and Hollywood … then Duke Haney … with sly wit burning … with unknown and known old-school celebrities … certainly delivers." - Heavy Feather Review

"Haney has produced a fantastic, thoroughly readable book. His unique literary flair and his obvious passion and knowledge makes for a rich and interesting collection, no matter how much or how little you may know about the subject." - Storgy

"I was humbled and dazzled by Duke's writing. It's just so good....one I recommend regardless of whether one thinks they have an interest in mid to late 20th century Hollywood. It is well worth the read just to experience the immense talent of an extremely under-appreciated writer." - Jonathan Dunkle

"...we owe him our thanks for Death Valley Superstars, a dream of a collection." - LARB

" “Death Valley Superstars” forms a kind of homage to a grittier, pre-gentrified Hollywood." - AV Press


Duke Haney, aka Daryl Haney, has spent most of his adult life working in the movie business, with twenty feature-film credits as an actor and twenty-two as a screenwriter.  He used pseudonyms for some of the screenplays and went by “D. R. Haney” as the author of a novel, Banned for Life, and an essay collection, Subversia. After he was struck by a car in a crosswalk on Sunset Boulevard, a friend claimed he walked like John “Duke” Wayne and gave him the nickname by which most people know him and he has taken belatedly as his pen name. He plans to follow Death Valley Superstars with a novel tentatively titled XXX. 

Friday, December 27, 2019

Tis the Season for Relief By Execution

Gint Aras released Relief By Execution back in October with Little Bound Books. 
You can purchase a copy, and purchase a copy you should, here

Relief by Execution: A Visit to Mauthausen goes best with whatever happens to be around, and at the time of this composition, it happened to be around a bottle of Lagavulin 16. It does well beside a bottle of Austrian beer---Gösser, Stiegl or Wieselburger---and it breathes sighs of presence when accompanied by a tall glass of any Lithuanian lager, perhaps Švyturys or Vilkmergė. 

Its soul is similar to Lagavulin’s: equal parts intensity and warmth, equal notes of wood and salted air, qualities of earth and fire, and a finish that provides both invitation and closure. Never water it down. Drink it neat. 


Between the years of 1996-1999, Gint Aras lived a hapless bohemian’s life in Linz, Austria. Decades later, a random conversation with a Polish immigrant in a Chicago coffeehouse provokes a question: why didn’t Aras ever visit Mauthausen, or any of the other holocaust sites close to his former home? The answer compels him to visit the concentration camp in the winter of 2017, bringing with him the baggage of a childhood shaped by his family of Lithuanian WWII refugees. The result is this meditative inquiry, at once lyrical and piercing, on the nature of ethnic identity, the constructs of race and nation, and the lasting consequences of collective trauma. 


"A thoughtful meditation on the painful process of self-knowledge." - Kirkus Review 

"This is blistering nonfiction." - After the Pause 

"Aras is sparse with words but big on impact...This is a thoughtful, beautifully written essay that packs in many sharp questions about how people function." - New City Lit 

"Gint Aras’s story is urgently important. We need books like these, full of honest writing, earnest exploration, and profound insight." - Bookends Review 

"...it’s the best meditation on that strange brew of privilege and cultural heritage I’ve as yet had the pleasure to read. " - Untoward Magazine 

"Relief by Execution is probably one of the most poignant nonfiction books I have read in a long time. It unpacks questions of identity, explores curiosities of what it means be a victim, and reflects on the importance of telling your own story. " - Independent Book Review


Gint Aras (Karolis Gintaras Žukauskas) has been trapped on planet Earth since 1973. His prose considers the constructs that determine our identity, and what impact trauma has on perception. Translations, essays and short fiction have appeared in Quarterly West, Hypertext, The St. Petersburg Review, STIR Journal, Dialogo, Antique Children and other publications. He’s the author of the novels Finding the Moon in Sugar (Infinity, 2009), The Fugue (Tortoise Books, 2016), and the memoir Relief by Execution: A Visit to Mauthausen (Homebound Publications, 2019). A father of two, he splits his time between Chicago, Illinois and Klaipėda, Lithuania.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Tis the Season for Ghosts Of You

Cathy Ulrich released Ghosts of You back in back in October with Okay Donkey Press. 
Go on and grab yourself a copy here

The book goes great with a Black Dahlia....

To drink with "Ghosts of You," I'd recommend a Black Dahlia. I got this recipe from a cheesy TV drama with switched identities and faked deaths and all sorts of goodness!

To make a Black Dahlia, you take three ounces vodka, one ounce creme de cassis and a splash of raspberry liqueur. I usually just pour them straight into the glass, but using a cocktail shaker works great too.

The drink, of course, is named after Elizabeth Short, more famously known by the moniker she was dubbed by the Hearst newspapers after her murder: The Black Dahlia. She's referenced in a story in "Ghosts of You," and she is the epitome of a girl whose death set the plot in motion.


Ghosts of You is a collection of short stories about seeking the lost and finding the person behind the sensationalism. It examines the tropes of mystery/crime storytelling in which the narrative always begins with the body of yet another murdered woman. They are mothers and daughters, teachers and students, lovers and wives, actresses and extras. They have been taken, but their stories still remain. This is how they set the plot in motion.


"She tackles moments of intense grief without flinching, and balances them within a kaleidoscope of poignant moments. ghosts of you is intense, but not exhausting. Each piece is as unique as the murdered woman who starts it. Collectively, they challenge our treatment of the murdered woman." - Bookends Review

"Ulrich digs deep to expose and underscore the disposability of women; the way our lives are measured by those we leave behind; they way we only matter as a plot device." - Dianah @ Powell's 

"Like a seasoned gumshoe, Ulrich dirties her hands, digs through sensationalism, and ignores the obvious to search for clues. She opens up the spaces between what the readers think they understand and the truth. " - Heavy Feather Review

"Ulrich’s writing is revelatory, bone-shaking. ...This is flash fiction that will sink into your bloodstream and keep circulating long after the final line." - After the Pause

"Cathy Ulrich is a puppeteer with the short story craft...For fans of literary fiction and murder mysteries, you’ve met your match with this book." Independent Book Review 

"There’s a timelessness to Ghosts of You, and even after many readings, there’s still fresh meaning and details. Ulrich is giving these women their due, breaking open the wounds, bringing them to the foreground and transforming their stories." - Emily @ Smokelong


Cathy Ulrich is the founding editor of Milk Candy Review, a journal of flash fiction. Her work has been published in various journals, including Black Warrior Review, Passages North, and Wigleaf and can be found in Best Microfiction 2019, Best Small Fictions 2019 and Wigleaf's Top 50 Very Short Fictions 2017 and 2019. She lives in Montana with her daughter and various small animals.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Bronwyn Reviews: Guesthouse for Ganesha

Guesthouse for Ganesha by Judith Teitelman
Publisher: She Writes Press
Released: 2019

reviewed by Bronwyn Mauldin


For people of faith, the idea of some kind of supernatural being keeping watch over you every day, I imagine to be both a comfort and a terror. Your needs, fears, and desires are under constant scrutiny. One day you will fail your god. But what if you are watched over without your knowledge? What if the god is of a faith and culture not your own? This is the intriguing starting point for Judith Teitelman’s Guesthouse for Ganesha.

When Esther Grünspan is abandoned by her fiancé on her wedding day in 1923, she flees her tight-knit Polish shtetl and travels to Köln, Germany, to make her heartbroken way in the world. Trained as a seamstress from childhood, she earns her living by her unrivaled skill with needle and thread. As she struggles to survive, to learn language and culture, she hardens her heart to love and friendship. She seems to want to be entirely unseen. Look at my work, her actions cry out, not at me.

A loveless marriage follows, then the Nazis. A network of good people move Esther from home to apartment to boarding house, from country to country. They provide false papers and sewing assignments, everything from simple hems to elaborate gowns. Sewing is both her refuge and livelihood.

Esther’s life expands and contracts across a backdrop of some of the greatest horrors of the 20th century; we see crimes against humanity play out in the life of one woman. Watching with us is the elephant-headed god Ganesha of the Hindu pantheon. She encounters him in park in Köln, but does not know him as a god. His role in her life as a remover of obstacles is invisible to her. She does not see him give a cookie to distract her fretful daughter so she can finish a gown for a wealthy socialite in time for a party. She does not see him turn a head at just the right moment or move a hand to sign a document that allows her to escape to safety.

Still, like so many gods and superheroes, Teitelman’s Ganesha is not omnipotent. He can soothe a querulous child and save a single life, but he cannot prevent the Holocaust.

In the aftermath of the war, the story of Guesthouse for Ganesha takes a startling turn to fantasy. So, too, did arts and literature abandon the limitations of realism in the post-war period. Esther walks away from a life that has both sustained and constrained her, opening herself to a Hindu god of letters and learning who has, she discovers, watched over her with love and compassion all along.

Bronwyn Mauldin writes fiction and facts, and is creator of The Democracy Series zine collection. Her newest short story appears in the 2019 Gold Man Review. More at bronwynmauldin.com.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Where Writers Write: Alex Myers

Welcome to another installment of TNBBC's Where Writers Write!

Where Writers Write is a series in which authors showcase their writing spaces using short form essay, photos, and/or video. As a lover of books and all of the hard work that goes into creating them, I thought it would be fun to see where the authors roll up their sleeves and make the magic happen. 

This is Alex Myers.

Alex is a teacher, speaker, writer, and advocate for transgender rights. Since coming out as transgender in 1995, he has worked with schools across the country, helping them create gender inclusive policies, practices, and facilities. Alex's essays have appeared in the Guardian, Slate, Newsweek, Salon, and variety of other journals. He has published two novels, Revolutionary (Simon & Schuster, 2014) and Continental Divide (The University of New Orleans, 2019), as well as a third, The Story of Silence, forthcoming from HarperCollins (2020). Alex teaches English at Phillips Exeter Academy.

Where Alex Myers Writes

It isn't pretty. It isn't fancy. But it works for me. What is it? It's my father's old desk with an ikea tv stand on top of it, which makes it the perfect height for me to stand at to type or write by hand. It's a heap of paper and notes, all of it totally messy to an outsider and completely organized to me. 

I've got a window that looks out into a parking lot; the afternoon light is great. I've got two cats who vie to sit on the desk whenever the heat is on (the radiator is right there underneath) or whenever the trash is being picked up in the parking lot (somehow, they think they can take on a trash truck). 

Something you might not notice: the dark stain on the wood floor right in front of the desk. That's where I stand. Where my feet hit the ground. I mostly stand there barefoot, and maybe the mark is a testament to the corrosive properties of my foot sweat, but I like to think that it actually speaks to how much I stand there. Every day. At least for a little bit.

In an ideal world, I could write anywhere, and sometimes I have to. But the truth is, this is my happy writing spot. Everything I need is close at hand; I'm used to the noises the space makes, the light across the desk, the warmth of the room. When I write in the afternoon, I can watch the sunset, and this view is how I mark the seasons; I catch the first yellow-green of spring fuzz on the maple tree; I watch the progress of the shadows across the roof as the sun roams the sky in summer. Then, it's on to New England's gorgeous display of red-orange fall. Arriving at where I am today. Writing. Looking at the window, a cat purring nearby, the branches bare and ready for winter and me, warm and waiting to write.

Monday, November 25, 2019

Indie Ink Runs Deep: Meagan Lucas

Every now and then I manage to talk a small press author into showing us a little skin... tattooed skin, that is. I know there are websites and books out there that have been-there-done-that already, but I hadn't seen one with a specific focus on the authors and publishers of the small press community. Whether it's the influence for their book, influenced by their book, or completely unrelated to the book, we get to hear the story behind their indie ink....


Today's ink story comes from Meagan Lucas, who's novel Songbirds and Stray Dogs recently released with Main Street Rag Press. 

“Don’t it hurt, doing that?” they ask, and I don’t know if they mean the ink on my skin or the words on my page. Doesn’t really matter I suppose, the answer is the same, “yes.”

For me, writing and being tattooed have been parallel journeys. In my early adulthood, I dabbled in both. Small pieces - easy to hide, easy to forget and nothing I was particularly attached to. My first tattoo was a Celtic knot on my lower back, scratched in the minute I turned 18, and hidden under the waist band of my pants. My first written pieces: a blog I wrote mostly to process my feelings and combat the loneliness of moving to a new country for grad school. Both the tattoo and the blog, as innocuous as they sound, ended up being sore spots. The tattoo was poorly done requiring a lot of touchups - even now almost 20 years later I can find its raised edges with my fingertips. The blog, a vent that I thought was a secret, was found by my boyfriend at the time who was surprised and upset to find out he was not my only boyfriend – a discovery that was painful for both of us and ended that friendship. As a result, I stepped away from both tattooing and writing for a number of years.

In 2011 my daughter was born, and post-partum depression gripped me, although I didn’t know it at the time. All I knew was that I was unhappy, disappointed, and afraid. I found myself writing essays about motherhood. I published on some small blogs. It felt good to express myself, and to create connections, to feel like I was using my education and communicating with adults. In 2013 my son was born, and with a toddler and an infant, I was nearly drowned in depression and anxiety. I gained a lot of weight. I was sad and angry all the time. I know that I was not fun to be around. I saw a therapist. She helped me understand that taking care of myself was not selfish, but necessary. I lost some weight. I began to write more seriously. I discovered two things: 1) that between pregnancy and weight my body no longer felt like it belonged to me, and 2) the essays I was writing were getting more and more personal and I felt like they were becoming unfair to people I loved.   

In retrospect, it isn’t a surprise that I began to work on my leg tattoo project (flowers - symbolizing my rebirth and my love of plants), and my novel (Songbirds and Stray Dogs just recently published) around the same time. I’d discovered that with fiction I could write about the issues that I wanted to under the guise of telling tales – that the lies and stories pointed at bigger truths than my real life experience ever could. And, that I needed a way to take my body back and that a large leg piece would be a start, to reclaim my skin as my own. The needle did for my body what the pen did for my mind.

Yes, being beneath a needle for 50+ hours (and more to come), and probing the emotional corners of my soul for story ideas are painful. But it’s a healing sort of pain, like when a broken bone aches as it knits itself back together, or the cleansing pain of rubbing alcohol on a skinned knee. With each chapter and story, and each visit to my tattoo artist (Phil Theoret, Asheville, NC), I am stronger and better and more *me.*


Meagan Lucas is the author of the Southern Literary Fiction novel Songbirds and Stray Dogs. Her short work has appeared in: The Santa Fe Writer’s Project, The New Southern Fugitives, Still: The Journal, and The Blue Mountain Review among others. She has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she won the 2017 Scythe Prize for Fiction. Taylor Brown says Meagan is: “a brave new voice in Southern Fiction,” and Steph Post describes Songbirds and Stray Dogs as a “stunning, startling novel.” Meagan teaches English Composition at Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College, and is the Fiction Editor at Barren Magazine. She lives with her husband and children in Hendersonville, NC. Read more, or connect with Meagan on Social Media, here: https://linktr.ee/meaganlucas

Monday, November 18, 2019

Bronwyn Reviews: Bright

translated from the Thai by Mui Poopoksakul
Publisher: Two Lines Press
Released: 2019

reviewed by Bronwyn Mauldin

Bright opens with a slow-motion heartbreak. A father tells his five year-old son, Kampol, to wait here, I’ll be back in a bit, then drives away with his baby brother. You, the reader, know he isn’t coming back. His mother left a few days ago after a nasty fight. Kampol sees his father drive away, then paces back and forth for hours, watching the curve in the road for his return.

The neighbors, residents of a small Thai village, do what they can. Over the course of the novel, Kampol’s basic needs and more are met by an assortment of people with varying degrees of caring and, at times, resentment. He has food, shelter, clothes, toys, and friendship. The village shopkeeper, Hia Chong, makes sure he learns to read. Uncle Dang occasionally asks him to give him a massage by walking up and down on his back. This turns out to simply be an excuse to give Kampol a few baht to spend. Uncle Dum, Aunt Tongbai, Old Jai, Mon, and others take turns stretching their meals to feed him, giving him a corner in their homes to sleep.

The title of this book, Bright, is a translation of Kampol’s family name, Changsamran. The word can also mean “joy,” which might appear as a contradiction of the hardships of this boy’s life. However, as Pimwana has said, “when the readers finish the story, they’ll likely find that the name is not ironic at all, for sadness in a story can be mixed with happiness.”

Pimwana is well known in Thailand for her short story collections. While Bright is a novel, it reads more as a collection of interconnected stories. This book was originally published in 2003, earning for Pimwana Southeast Asia’s most prestigious literary prize, the S.E.A. Write Award. It has only now been published in English by Two Lines Press. In fact, they say this is the first novel by a female Thai writer ever to be published in English.

Pimwana shows, never tells, with her prose. We see Kampol laugh and we see him cry, but we are seldom inside his five year-old mind, or the mind of any other character. This puts the reader at some distance them. We learn the motives of one character from their actions and from what other characters say about them.  

This distance does not dull the heartache we feel for Kampol as he goes about his ordinary days, or when he goes off on adventures like seeing a likay troupe perform, taking a bus to the beach by himself, or sneaking into a wedding with friends to try to cadge a free meal. For example, one day, Kampol announces to his friend Oan that not having parents isn’t all bad, telling him,

“I have more freedom than other people, that’s why. I don’t have to keep asking my mama for money. I can buy all the snacks I want, I can play wherever I want; I don’t have to ask permission from anybody.”  

These stories give a view into the lives of the people who make up a Thai village, and a universal but very particular boy’s life.

Bronwyn Mauldin writes fiction and poetry and is creator of The Democracy Series zine collection. Her newest short story appears in the 2019 Gold Man Review. More at bronwynmauldin.com.

Friday, November 1, 2019

Audio Series: Whispers in the Ear of a Dreaming Ape

Our audio series "The Authors Read. We Listen."  was hatched in a NYC club during BEA back in 2012. It's a fun little series, where authors record themselves reading an excerpt from their own novels, in their own voices, the way their stories were meant to be heard.

Today, Joshua Chaplinsky will be reading an excerpt from his most recent collection Whispers in the Ear of a Dreaming Ape. Joshua 
is the Managing Editor of LitReactor.com. He is the author of ‘Kanye West—Reanimator’ and the story collection 'Whispers in the Ear of A Dreaming Ape.' His short fiction has been published by Motherboard, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, Thuglit, Severed Press, Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing, Clash Books, Pantheon Magazine and Broken River Books. Follow him on Twitter at @jaceycockrobin. More info at joshuachaplinsky.com.  

Click on the soundcloud bar below to listen to Joshua read from his collection:

What it's about: 

The debut short story collection from Joshua Chaplinsky, author of Kanye West—Reanimator. Thirteen weird pieces of literary genre fiction. Singularities, ciphers, and reappearing limbs. Alien messiahs and murderous medieval hydrocephalics. A dark collection that twists dreams into nightmares in an attempt to find a whisper of truth.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Indie Spotlight: ML Kennedy

In today's spotlight, we're hanging out with ML Kennedy as he gnaws on the definition of "indie" and then lists out eight questions and answers about his latest book Things You Leave Behind...

I’m not sure if I really qualify as Indie. I mean, sure, my first publisher put my books together on his kitchen table with Gorilla glue. And yeah, on this last book I might have done all the writing, editing, formatting, and marketing by myself. And sure, I even booked the space, made the cookies, and set up the chairs for my launch party, but does that really make me Indie?

. . . I suppose I do run a writing group in Chicago called “Indie City Writers.” But aren’t we beyond labels?

8 Questions about Things You Leave Behind

What is it?
Things You Leave Behind is a novel about a young woman named Angela. She’s out of college and waiting for her life to really begin. She’s stuck in a rut and just wants to move forward. Unfortunately for her, she does and she wakes up ten years in the future.
Can Angela survive this crazy future world of 2014?

Why does it look like that?
Things You Leave Behind is an odd little book that is almost precisely the size of a VHS tape. It’s a gimmick, to be certain, but thematically it’s appropriate. The novel is about pop culture, memories, nostalgia, and a few other things that might spoil some surprises in store for future readers.

What genre is it?
The genre of this book is life. To quote professional lunatic Alan Moore, “Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel. You know, with a bit of pornography if you are lucky.”

My local bookstore just put it in sci-fi. I guess that works too.

So, does this book teach us the meaning of life?
Anyone who says that they have the meaning of life is some either an idiot, a liar, or is trying to sell you something.

 In my own way, I am all those things.

So, yes. Yes, it does.

Why does she wake up ten years in the future?
You have to read the book to find that out.

Who is the ideal reader for this book?
The ideal reader for this book was born between 1975 and 1985, grew up middle class, and has a passing knowledge of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” a general familiarity of the works of Dave Foley, a mild obsession with the songs of Townes Van Zandt, and vague fondness for the cartoon “Ducktales.”

So, It’s pretty much for everybody.

What makes you a writer?
Like all writers, I am a self-loathing narcissist.

Where can I buy your books?
If you are in Chicago, I keep a stock at a few local bookstores. 57th street books in Hyde Park is my home base. Everything is available on Amazon of course. You can also just message me on twitter (@wbxylo ) and I can send you a signed copy of the book for 20 bucks.


ML Kennedy has worked for The DVD Lounge, Popcorn Junkies, Beyond the Threshold, Moodspins, and Diehard GameFAN reviewing DVDs, movies, video games, wrestling shows, supernatural claims, and running an advice column. He is also one of leaders of the Indie City Writers group that meets weekly on the South side of Chicago. 

Despite his cheery disposition, ML Kennedy is not always perceived as a positive person. In fact, a film director once tried to get him fired after reading his completely fair review of her movie. Luckily she proved her own incompetence by reading the review off of an illegal copy website and complaining to the editor of yet a third website.

He lives in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago with his awesome wife and precocious daughter and used to maintains a blog dedicated to the culinary arts at letsmakesomefood.blogspot.com.

Monday, October 21, 2019

C.R. Richards' Guide to Books & Booze

Time to grab a book and get tipsy!

Books & Booze challenges participating authors to make up their own drinks, name and all, or create a drink list for their characters and/or readers using drinks that already exist. 

Today, C R Richards  is throwing all the booze at the her upcoming book Creed of the Guardian, which drops on October 18th.

Ready to get your booze on???


Swamp Thing Cider

Creed of the Guardian, Book Three in the Heart of the Warrior series, documents the exploits of Seth the Ice Lion and his faithful squire, Riley Logan as they head to their first duty station with Andara’s Legion. North Marsh Outpost is built upon the only dry spot in the middle of deadly bogs and forgotten ruins. It’s damp, it’s cold and it’s boring.

Seth and the rest of the unlucky Apprentice Rangers spend their time marching in knee deep mud. Cold rain drizzles constantly as they circle about inside the massive stone walls of the outpost. Their only solace is the promise of rum with their meal of boiled meat and vegetables. It’s a dull assignment with bland food.

If I had the chance for a quick visit to the outpost, I’d bring along a special treat to liven things up. It’s Halloween. Why not add a bit of spooky fun too?

Swamp Thing Cider

In a cauldron cursed by three witches, bring the potion to a medium boil for 5 minutes. Then simmer on low heat for 15 minutes.

Apple cider
Cinnamon Sticks (amount depends on the size of your cauldron)

Ladle the prepared cider into a cup. Leave plenty of room for Spiced Rum (Captain Morgan is a good choice)

Omit the rum for your little ghosts and ghouls.

NOTE: If you don’t own a cauldron or aren’t acquainted with friendly witches, then a sauce pan on the stovetop works just fine. Blending this for a party? Try making the cider in a crockpot. Let simmer for 2 to 3 hours.

Happy Halloween!


C.R. Richards’ literary career began when she interned as a part-time columnist for a small entertainment newspaper. She wore several hats: food critic, entertainment reviewer and cranky editor. A co-author of horror and urban fantasy novels, her first solo fiction project - The Mutant Casebook Series - was published by Whiskey Creek Press in 2013. Phantom Harvest (Book One in the series) is the winner of the 2014 EPIC eBook Awards for Fantasy Fiction. Cynthia is an active member of the Horror Writers Association, EPIC and Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. For more information about her books, visit her website: www.crrichards.com