#BadMoonRising Raising Hell by Phillip T. Stephens #satire #darkhumor

Since today’s author was found in a pumpkin patch on the eve of Halloween, I guess today is his birthday? Harvest anniversary day? See which movie gave him night terrors for months as a ten-year-old. Welcome Phillip T. Stephens!

Has a movie or book scared you so much you couldn’t sleep?  Which one?

Absolutely. Believe it or not, Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy. I was ten, and my father, a Baptist Minister, dragged me and my sister to a high school retreat because he didn’t want to pay a babysitter. And the movie they showed that night was Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy, which I’ve seen several times since then and find the effects in the scene that scared me laughable (a bomb destroys the mummy leaving nothing but a box of bones, over in an instant). I went to sleep that night, but in the morning my father insisted I go with the high schoolers on a walk and I saw a stick rising from a creek that looked like a bone and that triggered night terrors for months. Who knows why? My father was too cheap to send me to a shrink even if he wanted to, which as a Baptist minister in 1960 he would have found the equivalent of turning over to the devil. So, I slept with a light on for several months and finally the terrors went away.

If you were in a horror movie, would you rather have a loaded gun or a car that wouldn’t break down?

If I were in a horror movie, I don’t think either one would matter. That’s how horror movies work. Bullets can’t hurt monsters, and your car always breaks down. I would choose a bus ride out of town. But then the monsters in my movie would be hive minded swarm creatures who upend the bus. I’m f$*%#d either way.

Would you rather put your hand in a box and feel something slimy or furry?

Furry, and hopefully the kitten will be alive, but we won’t know until I put my hand in there.

If you had to give up snacks or drinks during writing sessions, which would be more difficult?

I don’t snack when I write, but I’m a coffee addict. Easy choice.

Which comes first for you – plot or characters?

It can be anything, an image, a setting, a situation, a person or a scenario.

Describe your writing space.

I prefer my living room or bedroom, but wherever I have my laptop or iPad, I can write.

A clueless optimist ruins a perfectly good hell.

Pity poor Lucifer. He rules hell with a vice grip. Demons and damned scatter at the sound of his footsteps. The Supreme Butt In hasn’t pestered him in eons. Lucifer’s future looks perfect, pitch black, until an administrative error sticks him with an innocent soul—an overweight optimist who calls himself Pilgrim and who believes he must be in hell to do good. Lucifer never considers sending him back. Why waste a second chance to corrupt an innocent soul? He orders his subordinates to torture, degrade and humiliate Pilgrim until he promises to become evil if only it will ease the pain. Unfortunately, Pilgrim makes the best of the worst possible experiences. Always polite and well-mannered, he makes Pollyanna seem like a prophet of doom. Even worse, the damned start catching on, and set about making hell into the most enjoyable place of everlasting torment they can. 

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Raising Hell eBook

Raising Hell paperback

Author Bio

Phillip T. Stephens was found in a pumpkin patch on the eve of Halloween by two teenagers looking to make costumes out of Jack-O-Lanterns. The Jolly Green Giant was a popular character in advertising, and they wanted to create the Jolly Orange Giant and his Jolly Orange brother. Not sure what to do with the child they consulted a local Baptist minister who realized a child in a pumpkin patch on Halloween must be the AntiChrist. So, the minister and his wife adopted him and exposed him only to the Bible and Gospel records.

When he turned 18, they realized they had raised a smart ass and not the AntiChrist, so, they turned him loose on the world where he spent the rest of his life chronicling accounts of these bizarre creatures called humans for his pumpkin kin. Unfortunately, he hasn’t met any.

His art was most recently featured in Maintenant and Duende, and most recent stories appear in the Kill Switch, Monsters We Forgot and On Time horror anthologies.

Other than their association with him, his wife and son are completely normal, although pumpkin pies are never served at their house.  

Stephens is a leading proponent of Pumpkin Squash Zucchini Cantaloupe Cucumber and Gourd Rights but has been unable to garner support for the cause. You can support the movement at pszccg.org.

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Twitter: @stephens_pt



The Writer’s Reading Corner: Michael Reed #IndieAuthor #humor #satire

Happy Friday!  Our weather forecast has flipped back and forth over whether we’re expecting snow tomorrow night.  In April.  It’s not like I live very far north, or even in Canada.  That being said, some humor might make me feel a little better about it all, and Michael Reed brings us two humor-related books today.  Enjoy!

I’ve read quite a few good books lately, but I’ve decided to make my recommendation for “Generation Dementia” by Michael Hartnett. It’s an indie book that could certainly use more attention than it’s gotten so far. I chose it based on a promotional blurb and a quick look at the writing style. That’s how I end up reading most works by people I’m unfamiliar with. I’d call the book a cautionary tale except it’s too wickedly funny to be viewed in such a narrow way.

At the center of this intricate tale of urban angst is narrator Hash O’Connell, who as an intern in a trash pickup program discovers a box of old 5¼ floppy disks at the home of a recently deceased Pulitzer Prize winning reporter Levon Gallagher. As Hash reads the disks’ content intermittantly throughout the book, he learns not only about past technologies, but also about Gallagher’s link to his family. The result leaves him a changed person. There are other secrets to be found as well, but I think it’s best to leave discovering the rest to new readers.

I will say that along the way, the trash program becomes wildly popular with other troubled teens, and three of its participants, which include what I’ll describe as a garbage kleptomaniac and a trash-hauling violinist become reality TV stars – certainly seemed apropos of our times. In truth, there is a lot of Pynchon in Hartnett’s worldview, at least in this novel.  That said fear not, this tale is more accessible than the bulk of Pynchon’s work. The writing is crisp and for me the pages flew by. “Generation Dementia” strikes that rare balance between side-splitting humor and thought-provoking (though never preachy) social commentary that is hard to come by.


As for my latest release, “Songs From Richmond Avenue,”  deals mostly with drunks as I’ve started telling people who ask me to pigeon-hole my book, which I think fits best under the heading of literary fiction or urban satire.

It’s primarily about the denizens of the Relix Club, who wile away the hours engaged in their two favorite activities – drinking and betting. Until recently that was good enough for our storyteller, a journalist of questionable work ethic, who undergoes an epiphany following a bus stop meeting with pretty Michelle, a woman he declares has “skin so perfect I doubted she even had pores.”

Could she be his redemption? Maybe, but first he’d better contend with her baseball bat-wielding former beau, her nihilistic stripper roommate and the suspicious death of a friend, who fancies himself the father of Brute Generation poetry.

I’m told it’s wildly unpredictable and mostly centers on whether the protagonist of “Songs From Richmond Avenue” will put down his beer long enough to learn anything of true value.


Michael Reed, a finalist for the 2017 McGrath House indie book award for fiction, is a Texas journalist, meaning he’s used to living in inexpensive apartments and driving paid-for used cars. He does not have a wife or children, which is probably best for all concerned, and has never owned a washer or drier, something he takes great pride in. “Songs From Richmond Avenue,” which recently received a Literary Titan Gold Award, is the Southern Illinois University graduate’s first novel.

Indie Author Friday: Deek Rhew #IndieAuthor #satire #thriller #suspense @DeekRhewBooks

Today is Indie Author Friday and Deek Rhew is here with two books to share.  Deek loves getting to know his characters, and it sounds like he’s created a doozy of a villain in 122 Rules.  I have to agree with Deek – I love a good bad guy.

A federal assassin grows a conscious just when he’s about to pull the trigger.

He has decision to make: Finish his assignment, or follow his gut and save his quarry.

Read #122Rules to join the fray

Birth of an American Gigolo

If you’ve even been betrayed.

If you’ve ever been cheated.

If you’ve ever wanted to serve up a can of whoopass on someone that desperately deserved it

but never got the chance…

It’s time for you to get the revenge you so truly deserve.

A Husband.

A Mistress.

A #WifesRevenge

Get your revenge.




What character in your book are you least likely to get along with?

Now, before I answer this question, let me preface it by telling you I LOVE a good bad guy. What the heck good is a good guy, if there’s no one to play their arch nemesis. Check out my blog post for Mystery Thriller Week, Villains. That being said, I don’t actually think I’d get along with the villain, Tyron Erebus, from my thriller, 122 Rules – Redemption. He’s a slasher with ‘tude.

Lots of ‘tude.

He has come under the illusion that he has been selected by a dark deity to purify the world…one victim at a time. As much as I’d hate to see Skynet take over the world, I’d rather exchange backrubs with a Cyberdyne Terminator 9000, than to have Erebus pull up a chair during Sunday brunch.

What do you love most about the writing process?

I completely adore getting to know my characters! My latest work in progress, eXractors, is a sci-fi about a gent named Jeff who finds himself the victim of a hostile takeover. The virtual reality company he built from an idea, took public, and has made an industry leader, became a target for a super mogul who wants to use it, and him, for her own nefarious purposes.

As I wrote it and the bones of the story started to reveal themselves, I’ve gotten to know Jeff and Federal Agent, Sandy, as their lives become intermixed, caught up in an international terrorist organization. Now that the rough draft is done and these guys have shown me a bit of their lives and personalities, I’m learning so much more about them as I work through the first round of edits.

Sandy is funny, loves his wife and children, and is dedicated to his country. Jeff, I just discovered, has a temper and is technically brilliant, but socially impatient bordering on incompetent. Though, he doesn’t put up with crap and will fling poo at someone that deserves it.

I’m totally stoked to learn more about these guys as I finish up this first round of edits.

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I’ve learned to trust myself. It can be daunting to face a blank page, but what I’ve discovered is that as long as I know where a chapter starts, the characters show me the way. For instance, I knew where eXtractors started, and I had a vague image of the shape of the story. Like seeing someone swimming under water. You think you know what they look like, but you don’t really know until they surface.

Since I knew where the story started, I wrote that. As I finish each chapter, I learn where the next begins and just trust that I’ll discover the way as I go.

What’s the last thing you watched on TV/Netflix?

Erin and I don’t have cable. Instead we watch either Amazon, HBO, or Netflix. On Amazon, we just finished watching Suits. Funny, lawyers are pompous, over-paid, soulless automatons, yet we love TV shows about them.

Go figure.

Right now, Erin and I started watching Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix. OMH No one would be better paired for Joel and Sheila than Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore.

On HBO we are beyond stoked for the next season of Game of Thrones to start. Can. Not. Wait.

If you were a box of cereal, which one would you be?

I’d be a couple loops shy of a box of Fruit Loops. ‘nuf said.

If you were an animated character, who would you be and why?

Well, Superman would is my ultimate hero, and even though he’s got an animated series, I think of him as a live-action sorta guy. So, I’ll say Inspector Gadget. I always thought it would be awesome to have a gadget, helicopter in my hat for instance, any time, any place.

Author Bio

Deek Rhew is a transplant from a rainy pocket in the Pacific Northwest. Deek now lives in a sultry corner of the US of A where the sun shines bright, the sweet tea flows, and the hush puppies are hot and delicious.

He and his brilliant, but stunning author bride, Erin Rhew, live a simple life with their writing assistant, a fat tabby named Trinity. They enjoy lingering in the mornings, and often late into the night, caught up Erin’s fantastic fantasy worlds of noble princes and knights and entwined in Deek’s dark underworld of the FBI and drug lords.

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