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A Midnight Clear
SIX STORIES OF NOT-SO-MERRY YULETIDE WHIMSY
You'd better watch out...
Coming just in time for the holidays: the perfect stocking stuffer for the fantasy lover! These six stories of not-so-merry Yuletide whimsy contain enough winter chills and thrills to satisfy every lover of speculative fiction.
Black Spot Books’ first anthology, A Midnight Clear [November 5, 2019], features stories from the house’s leading and bestselling authors and includes tales by the in-house authors that write them the best, ranging from humorous dark fantasy (Hooker, Soul Remains) to a ghostly Christmastime murder (Windwalker, Preacher Sam), and new spins on old winter fables (Storm, The Hungry Ghost; Jane, The Isle of Gold).
A woman so cold she hardens to ice on a winter’s eve. Risen from his grave before his time, a winter god alters the balance between seasons. A wolf’s holiday season is interrupted by a strange curse. From a murder at the Stanley Hotel to demons of Christmas past, present, and future, and a mad elf and Santa’s Candy Court. In A Midnight Clear [Black Spot Books, November 5, 2019] the authors of Black Spot Books share their love for winter holidays in this collection of dark winter tales, destined to chill your bones and warm your heart for the Yuletide season.
"Winter is a time of darkness. The nights grow longer and colder, and all around us the world comes to a pause. For thousands of years people have waited through the season, keeping warm with family and friends and fire and anxiously awaiting the return of the light,” says publisher Lindy Ryan.
About the Authors
Sam Hooker writes darkly humorous fantasy novels about things like tyrannical despots and the masked scoundrels who tickle them without mercy. He knows all the best swear words, though he refuses to repeat them. Peril in the Old Country, The Winter Riddle, Soul Remains
Alcy Leyva is a Bronx-born writer, teacher, and pizza enthusiast. He graduated from Hunter College with a B.A. in English (Creative Writing) and an MFA in Fiction from The New School. And Then There Were Crows, And Then There Were Dragons
Laura Morrison lives in the Metro Detroit area. She has a B.S. in applied ecology and environmental science from Michigan Technological University. Before she was a writer and stay-at-home mom, she battled invasive species and researched turtles. Come Back to the Swamp
Cassondra Windwalker is a poet and novelist writing full time from the coast of the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Her hobbies include hiking, photography, and having other people's demons over for tea. Bury the Lead, Preacher Sam
Dalena Storm has lived in India, Japan, Germany, and on both United States coasts. She currently resides in a converted general store in the woods of Western Massachusetts with a rare Burmese temple cat, a professor of magic, and an infant with an astonishing ability to resist sleep. The Hungry Ghost
Seven Jane is a bestselling author of dark fantasy and speculative fiction. She is a member of the Women's Fiction Writing Association. She is a contributor to The Nerd Daily and is represented by Gandolfo, Helin & Fountain. The Isle of Gold
A Midnight Clear will be available in paperback and e-book formats through all major retailers and distributors on November 5, 2019.
ISBN (print): 978-1-7335994-4-3
ISBN (EPUB): 978-1-7335995-5-0
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A DISGRACED FORMER PREACHER UNCOVERS THE TRUTH ABOUT THE MURDER OF ONE OF HIS PARISHIONERS
Confession is good for the soul.
Disgraced former preacher Sam Geisler may not be Broadripple, Indiana’s favorite son, but his peculiar gift for listening has earned him the moniker murder-whisperer, and the police need his help on what should be an open-and-shut case—again. A woman has killed her best friend in cold blood, but although Amanda’s confessed to the crime there’s no clear motive and the evidence doesn’t stack up. And, she’s not talking—not to the detectives, the victim’s family, or even her own attorney. There is one person the suspect will talk to, though: Preacher Sam.
No one is more qualified to understand the blackest hearts than a disgraced, porn-addicted former preacher who is still in love with his estranged wife. Floundering for direction and beset by the needs of his well-meaning but aggravating atheist sister and her seven-year-old son, Sam Geisler is trying to put his past behind him when the murder of one of his former parishioners by another drags him back into the world he thought he left behind. Proving Amanda’s innocence, and solving the crime of who really killed Amy Randolph, will mean confronting both the aftermath of Sam's own dark secret and figuring out how to survive someone else's.
In the first installment of Cassondra Windwalker’s new Sam Geisler, Murder Whisperer series, Preacher Sam [Black Spot Books, September 17, 2019] introduces readers to a flawed but loveable hero in Sam Geisler, a man trying to overcome his own darkness while looking for the good in everyone else.
Fighting for his marriage, fighting with his sister, and fighting against his own demons, in Preacher Sam, Sam may be the only one who hears what the real murderer is all but shouting—but will it be enough to drive back his own darkness?
"Sometimes Sam Geisler is the person we all wish we were—warm, funny, compassionate, loyal,” says Windwalker. “But sometimes he's who we're all afraid of becoming, and even he doesn't know which side is stronger. Do murderers trust him because he offers them grace, or because of something darker they recognize in him that breathes in themselves?"
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AND THEN THERE WERE DRAGONS
FANTASY, ADVENTURE, CRIPPLING SOCIAL ANXIETY, AND A WHOLE NEW WORLD OF WEIRD
Hell claimed Amanda Grey's soul. Someone should have checked the return policy.
For Amanda Grey, stopping the all-encompassing Apocalypse fated to plunge mankind’s entire existence into never-ending darkness ... just kind of sucked. Sure, she managed to capture every demon set loose on New York City. And yes, she ended up thwarting an evil angel’s plans to destroy humanity. But she also lost her sister, her apartment, and—oh yeah—Amanda Grey totally died and got her soul banished to Hell as a result.
Luckily, she’s not the type to take that kind of thing lying down.
In the second installment of Alcy Leyva’s Shades of Hell series, And Then There Were Dragons [Black Spot Books, July 30, 2019] thrusts Amanda Grey into a whole new world of weird as she ventures out into the fiery wastelands, decrepit cities, and Olive Gardens of the afterlife in search of her sister. As the penultimate entry in the Shades of Hell series, Amanda will come face-to-face with the truth behind the demon Shades, as well as a destiny she sure as hell didn't ask for.
Leyva’s And Then There Were Crows established Amanda Grey—a recluse with crippling social anxiety—as an unwilling hero during the End of Days. In her next adventure, Leyva brings the same twisted sense of adventure to And Then There Were Dragons, which sees Grey coming into her own. With a little hellfire—and some timely help from some unlikely characters from her past—Amanda Grey must fight off the violent hordes of Hell in order to save the soul of her sister, finding her own true potential—and the closest thing she can find to redemption—in the process. This new journey serves as both a stage for self-reflection and the basis for a new life through death, and sets the stage for what’s to come in Amanda’s next chapter.
“I really wanted to evolve Amanda Grey as a character in Dragons,” says Leyva. “I wanted to explore what happens when someone who has been bound by social anxiety sheds those chains and comes into her own. To me, this sequel is the next step in Amanda Grey's journey to rewrite her story and become stronger as she faces everything that’s thrown at her—from losing her family, to conquering her inner demons, to taking on the very powers of Hell itself.”
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THE HUNGRY GHOST
A MEDITATION ON MODERN LOVE, DIVORCE, AND THE DARK SIDE OF DESIRE
She’ll eat you up.
In debut-author Dalena Storm’s The Hungry Ghost [Black Spot Books, June 11, 2019] a hungry ghost takes possession of a woman’s unconscious body and attempts to consume everything she once loved—including her ex-husband, her lesbian lover, and her own mother.
Six-months freshly out of a divorce from Peter, her alcoholic husband, and downtrodden after a lifetime of putting herself second, Sam is struggling to take the next steps with her much younger paramour, Madeline. When a freak accident puts Sam in a coma, she finds herself in a newfound world of tranquility while, in the waking world of her hospital room, both Peter and Madeline continue to lust hungrily after the woman who is the object of their heart’s desires.
Unbeknownst to anyone, Sam’s selfish lovers’ unrequited desire is enough to stoke the appetite of a hungry ghost that is lurking on the other side of existence, waiting for an opportunity to escape its captivity. While Sam sleeps, Peter, Madeline, and Sam's well-meaning family all endeavor to prove their love for Sam: Peter is consumed with the desire to win his wife back, Madeline to capture Sam’s heart forever, and her mother, Bianca, just wants her baby girl alive and well. While Sam’s consciousness explores life outside the confines of her everyday reality, the hungry ghost claims Sam’s body, awakening from the accident-induced coma and entering the world of the living, where it has one, singular goal: to consume. Meanwhile, on the other side of Boston, Sam’s consciousness has found a new home in the body of a kitten just born in a pet store owned by a man who believes in the power of magic.
As the ghost gains its footing in the human world, Peter, Sam, and Bianca all see that Sam is changed, but assume her insatiable hunger and diminished vocabulary is a result of the coma. Blinded by their love for Sam and placated by the promises of recovery, each of Sam’s loved ones attempts to win her favor, not recognizing their desire for Sam is now being reflected by the nature of the hungry ghost itself.
By the time Sam is released from the hospital on Thanksgiving, the ghost is ready to take control and claim what it truly wants—starting with Sam's family, who have come to enjoy the holiday feast. Peter, Madeline, and Bianca are forced to abandon their own selfish pursuits for Sam when it becomes clear that the woman they once craved so desperately may be lost to them forever. With the help of a mysterious kitten with strikingly familiar eyes, Peter and Madeline will have to simultaneously stop Sam and let her go before The Hungry Ghost destroys them—and everyone else Sam once loved.
In this unforgivably bold and LGTBTQ+ positive novella, Dalena Storm weaves an unsettling tale about the accidental and oft-consuming nature of unrequited desire. One part ghost story and one part tragedy, The Hungry Ghost illustrates that sometimes the farther out of reach something is, the more desirable it seems.
“The Hungry Ghost is a novel about desire and how when taken to its extreme, desire can become a consuming, violent, and even destructive force,” says Storm. “Though The Hungry Ghost a bit of a thriller, I think it’s also rather heartwarming—and is a testament to how the greatest loves can survive even death—though perhaps not in the way you might think.”
The Hungry Ghost will be available in paperback and e-book formats on June 11, 2019.
ISBN (print): 978-1-7329357-5-4 | ISBN (epub): 978-1-7329357-6-1
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AN UNLIKELY HERO GOES SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS. MUCH TO HIS CHAGRIN, HE FINDS THEM.
The Old Country hasn’t seen the end of Peril.
Where do goblins come from? Why do they only turn up in the Old Country, and why do they like swearing so much?
In the second installment of Sam Hooker’s Terribly Serious Darkness series, Soul Remains [Black Spot Books, April 23, 2019] sees Sloot Peril—a “hero” who’s staunchly averse to heroics—go searching for answers. Much to his chagrin, he finds them.
Everything changed after the Fall of Salzstadt, but try telling that to the people of the city, whose capacity for denial is unmatched. They have yet to acknowledge that Vlad the Invader cut a bloody swath through their city, that the dead are walking the streets, or that the Domnitor—long may he reign—has fled to wherever despots go on very long vacations while goblin infestations take care of themselves.
The worst of villains holds all of the power, unspeakable dark forces are on the rise, and everyone wants to kidnap the Domnitor—long may he reign—for their own nefarious ends. If all of that weren’t bad enough, Sloot’s got the fate of his own soul to worry about.
Can Sloot’s girlfriend help him save the Old Country from annihilation? Is Myrtle really even his girlfriend? If all goes well for Sloot—which it never does—he might just sort it all out before the Dark swallows them all up.
With the same absurdist humor that drew readers to Peril in the Old Country, Soul Remains is a farcical tale of dystopian fantasy, told as only Sam Hooker can tell it—and with a hero as unlikely and endearing as Sloot Peril.
“The best heroes want nothing to do with heroics,” says Hooker. “Well, not the best ones. The ones who are the most fun to write about, at least. Peril in the Old Country was a tour de farce, the first in a series of torments to be visited upon Sloot Peril. In Soul Remains, he'll find out that death is the least of his worries.”
PRAISE FOR SAM HOOKER
"Hooker demonstrates a delightfully firm grasp on absurdist fantasy...a gleeful caper rife with literary influences." - Publishers Weekly
"Five stars.... the best kind of bad fun." - Foreword Reviews
"A kaleidoscope of absurdist humor, stunning imagery, and a fantastical plot. Hooker is an expert when it comes to dark humor, and it clearly shows." - Booktrib
"Darker than the Douglas Adams universe, but lighter than Game Of Thrones, Peril In The Old Country hooks you in with its intriguing world-building, compelling characters, fantastical elements, interesting twists on the supernatural, and perfectly absurd dark humor." - Geeks of Doom