Spotlight & Excerpt: The Crymost + Giveaway

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The Crymost

by Dean H. Wild

Genre: Supernatural Horror

 

The town of Knoll has a dark secret…

A pact made over fifty years ago to protect the town has expired and a slumbering evil is about to awaken in a sorrowful place just outside of town, The Crymost.

When the last surviving resident of the pact is murdered, it’s up to Mick Logan and a small group of friends to decipher the mystery left behind.

Long-kept secrets will need to be unearthed before the entire town succumbs to the will of a powerful stranger who works hand in hand with the hungry entity crossing Knoll’s borders, invading its homes and executing a soul-draining grip on its citizens.

Join Mick Logan and his small band of friends as they battle The Crymost!

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the crymost excerpt

Luck is a thing that comes in many forms.
The phrase popped into Mick Logan’s head as he climbed the retractable steps into the attic. Hemingway, right here under the shapeless veils of insulation drooping from the underside of his roof and for no good reason other than it might have something to do, vaguely, with the task set before him. Of course, that would make it luck comes in the form of a box. And boxes there were in this narrow third floor area. Stacks of them on the dusty plank floor, each one marked in Judy’s neat handwriting.
He gazed at them, hands on hips. It seemed like such a simple task, to go home, empty the clutter from few cartons and take the empties back to the village hall to use in the clean-up. Looking at them, however, invoked a prediction, a poor man’s premonition of sorts, in which Judy pointed out displaced picture albums and stray fondue pots and asked what in the world he had been thinking. He listened to the unseasonably strong May wind whoop around the eaves outside, and he thought about going back into the morning light empty handed. Maybe come up with another solution to the box problem, one that didn’t involve the controlled and sensibly charged wrath of his dear wife. He still had a few days to get the Village Hall cleaned out before the big vote. And maybe if he checked with Copeland’s gas station again he’d come up with some boxes because he was pretty sure Roger Copeland was holding out.
But things didn’t get done by waiting. It wasn’t how the city-dwelling Mick Logan ran his classroom all those years ago and it wasn’t how the small-town Mick Logan ran his village maintenance job, either. He bit down on his lower lip, harder than usual because it brought a dull flash of pain, and he gave the attic another, more intense once-over. A box caught his eye, a reddish-colored carton with only a corner showing behind the greater bulk, like a shy child shuffled to the back of the crowd. For some reason it seemed like a good place to start.
He dragged it into the open and felt ambushed by recognition as he brushed ten years’ worth of attic dust from the counter-folded flaps at the top.
Written there in his own hand—Classroom.
No revelation, no excitement. Just the last box he’d picked up from the school in those numb and hazy days surrounding the move from Royal Center to Knoll. His hands seemed to slow down as they undid the flaps and folded them back. He considered the jumbled contents with dull reluctance, drawing a mental breath, and then began to pick through the artifacts of his previous working life.
Textbooks and lesson plans were the bulk of it: Intermediate Grammar, Introduction to Great American Literature. A desk plaque reading Mr. Logan was stuck in next to a rolled-up poster of twentieth century authors and poets. He ran his fingers through an assortment of desk pens and paperclips. Touching them was like tapping selected seconds of the past, bits of his time at Lincoln Middle-High trapped inside flint-strikes of memory.
Pushed down next to a faded desktop calendar was a small bag made of sleek gray velvet, and he pulled it out before he could reason his way through whether this was a good idea or a bad one. He let it rest in his palm and considered its drawstring top. He was into it this far, might as well finish it. He opened it and dumped the contents into his waiting palm, his heart thudding with a slow, deliberate cadence.
The items clicked together in his hand, two chess pieces—a horse head knight as gray as the bag it came from and a darker king, each carved from a veined mineral, highly polished. The wind keened across the eaves as he thumbed each piece with slow, thoughtful strokes.
“Robbie Vaughn,” he said at last.
His voice was barely above a whisper.
The house settled around him. Outside, something crashed over in the wind and rattled with a tin bucket sound. His flesh rippled beneath his Village of Knoll uniform shirt. His fist closed over the chess pieces.
The voice awakened in his memory belonged to one of the brightest, funniest kids he’d ever known. “That’s a checkmate, Mr. Logan.”
He made an evaluative, almost congratulatory smile. Despite the remembered voice, his barriers put up long ago against all Robbie Vaughn matters were holding, and he could not let these psychological levees be breeched by this discovery. No images came—not the upstairs school hallway drenched in merciless March sunshine, not the funeral home and its own unsympathetic harshness. All contained, properly cinched and calibrated. Good.
One of the carton’s seams split with a dry popping sound. It made him jump. Books spilled onto the floor. The remainder of the chess pieces, stacked in a loose jumble for the last decade, rolled out and clattered like gumballs. The wind slammed against the house again. If he were the type to believe in omens, he might have found a reason to be uncomfortable under his own roof just then. Instead he dealt the carton a hopeless swat. No longer of use to him. But stacked in the shadows behind it were more boxes. And they were empty. Luck, in one of its many forms.
Before taking the empties downstairs, he repacked the classroom stuff into a new, stronger carton. All but the velvet bag containing the knight and king which he put in his pocket next to his car keys. There was some type of comfort in the act.


Dean H. Wild grew up in east central Wisconsin and has lived in the area, primarily in small towns surrounding the city of Fond du Lac, all his life. He wrote his first short horror story at the tender age of seven and continued to write dark fiction while he pursued careers in retail, the newspaper industry and retail pharmacy. His short stories have seen publication in various magazines and anthologies including Bell, Book & Beyond, A Feast of Frights, Night Terrors II and Horror Library 6. His novel, The Crymost  is an exploration of tradition, superstition and encroaching horror in a small Wisconsin town. He and his wife, Julie, currently reside in the village of Brownsville.


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Spotlight & Excerpt: The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel + Giveaway

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This is my stop during the blog tour for The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel by K.T. Rose. The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel is a new standalone supernatural horror book.

The Haunting of Gallagher HotelThe Haunting of Gallagher Hotel
By K.T. Rose
Genre: Supernatural Horror
Age category: Adult
Release Date: 4 November 2020

Pride and greed infect the soul, anchoring the dead to Gallagher Hotel.

When Chris, a master thief, and Riley, a contract waitress, get mysterious invites to an exclusive party at the haunted Gallagher Hotel, they discover that there is more at play than simple celebrations.

Hidden truths are revealed, and all hell breaks loose. But the “party” has just begun.

Now, Chris and Riley face their demons as they fight to survive a hellish nightmare full of spoiled secrets, carnage, and vengeful spirits lost to the hotel dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

Will they survive the night? Or will their souls be devoured by the most haunted building in Michigan?

You can find The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel on Goodreads

You can buy The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel here on Amazon

Excerpt:

She’ll never forget the day she died.

Torch flames lit up the town’s square, illuminating scowling and shouting faces. They launched stones and spit, pegging Trudy’s arms and face as she trudged through the abhorrent mob. Trudy cringed when a pebble struck her cheek. Pain erupted, shooting through her face like lightning striking the earth.
Deputy Hill yanked her arm, leading her through the narrow path the townspeople opened up. Fists balled, Trudy groaned as the rope around her wrists dug into her skin. Her bare feet picked up glass shards and debris from the cobblestone path as she shuffled along.

She glared around at the angry faces and recognized the men, women, and children of Holloway. She’d done more for them than any God before her. Many of those people owned the very businesses that lined the stone slab she marched across that night. Building and financing the rows of wooden businesses lining the town’s square accounted for half the things she’d done for Holloway. She fed the hungry, made clothes for cold children, and taught woman’s independence. The ever-growing list of the townspeople’s wants was endless. At one point, she didn’t mind the busy work. Fulfilling dreams of the once poor town kept her boisterous and distracted from her bitter reality. Trudy was Holloway’s personal shepherd, making the people her needy sheep.
Hands snagged at her lavender tea gown, adding dirty prints to the blood drops and grime from the beatings in that putrid cell. She glared at the bare-faced man towering over her. The brim of his Deputy hat cast a thick shadow, hiding his dark eyes and pale face.

Deputy would miss her. She was sure of it. He got off on the assaults that bruised her face. His heavy fists pounded her bones and scraped her skin until she confessed. And even her confession, he continued with his evening visits, slamming her body into cinder block walls and passing off open-handed blows to her nose, cheeks and eyes.

Trudy sighed. A bath with lavender and Epsom salt sounded good for the swelling. She didn’t realize how bloated and purple her once beautiful, smooth, fair skin had become until she passed by the picture window in front of the town’s jail just before they began her walk of shame.

Even then, her face pulsed with intense hurt. Pain shot through it whenever she winced.

The sea of convictions roared, growing louder as she drew closer to the opposite end of the square.

“Adulterer,” yelled a woman.

“Traitor,” screeched a boy.

“Murderer,” said a pot-bellied man.

Their accusations sent a sickening jolt through her bones. She watched the path underneath her slowing feet, fighting back tears.

How could they turn on me like this?

“Why’d you do it?” Trudy glared over her shoulder to find the small voice. Off to the right, a pale, round-faced girl sobbed. Arms across her belly, she grasped the sides of her smock dress: one of Trudy’s latest designs. She released it to Mary and Belle’s Boutique not even a month prior. “I looked up to you,” the girl shouted.

Trudy froze. The child would never understand. Holding the girl’s crying eyes in her own, Trudy thought, I did this for you.

She caught the faces of women shouting and screeching, advocating her death.

I did it for all of you.

“Eyes front!” Deputy said; his authoritative baritone struck Trudy in the gut. She frowned and did what she was told: eyes forward; just like the man demanded.  She watched her last stop approach in that ungrateful, dying town. After all the fighting, this is how it ends. She swallowed the ball in her throat, bowed her head, and pressed on.

With every step, she drew closer to the burnt building just beyond the angry mob. Charred and blackened, there it sat, blending with the night beyond the crowd’s orange flames. It moved her to tears to see her building reduced to rubble. The roof caved in, falling through the attic and second floor. The blast left the double-paned windows bare, with nothing to see inside but burnt walls and a black staircase. A crooked beam leaned over the arched door frame where the door held onto the bottom hinges as the top had burned away.
She scoffed. The people got creative, tying the noose to the end of the beam. Underneath it, a wooden crate.

“You people are about to make a serious mistake,” Trudy hissed.

“You should save your breath for your last words,” Deputy said. He led her to the crate. “Step up,” he said.

Legs shaking, she placed a bare foot on the crate and hauled herself up. The ground seemed miles below. Her head lightened and the jitters threatened to knock her onto the charred floor that used to be the honey waxed porch outside the front door.

“Turn around,” Deputy said.

Trudy turned and faced the prosecuting crowd. She grunted when a stone slammed into her forehead, pushing her off balance. She caught her footing and fought to stand straight as a heavy dizziness whipped around her head.
A cluster of women, including her sisters Belle and Mary, stood amongst the mob. Their faces, glossed in tears, glimmered in the flickering lights. They held her glance for what felt like hours, their eyes begging for an answer.

Trudy had an answer for what she did but didn’t see the need in telling them. It was already too late.

Slowly, they turned and pushed their way through the excited crowd, sauntering off in their fine silk lampshade tunics. Trudy remembered the day she’d bought those for them. She bought the boutique and the bakery for the girls, as well. Her heart raced as she cried. She expected backlash from the town, but never from Mary and Belle. As she watched her sisters leave her behind, Trudy went dead inside for the third and final time in her life.

Deputy pulled the loop over her head and tightened the knot, fastening it. Her throat shrank and butterflies circled her belly. Through heavy gasps, she said, “You know this town wouldn’t have grown without me.”

Deputy stepped back and faced the crowd. He pulled a note from his trouser pocket and opened it. Then, he reached into the breast pocket of his deputy button up and pulled his reading glasses free. He placed them on his face and looked over the note.

“You—you people wanted to bring money into this town,” Trudy yelled. “I caught the train over to Detroit and made connections that brought the money here! You people wanted Mayor Tucker out of office. I made him disappear! I paid the price to make Holloway the train-stop town that it is today! I made it Saloon Alley! While you people collected money from tourists and travelers, I was out there making deals that made us rich!”

“Quiet, whore,” a man shouted.

“Hang the killer,” a woman yelled.

Deputy cleared his throat and raised a hand. The crowd fell silent.

“Trudy Mona Lisa Gallagher, you have been charged with the following crimes against the town of Holloway, Michigan: destruction of property, conspiracy to commit murder, murder, and arson. You have been formally convicted by the people of Holloway and I, Sheriff Deputy Davidson Lee Hill. You were not allowed a trial as Judge Benjamin Rowles, District Attorney Allen Clyde Albright, and Sheriff Peter Kyle Louis have all perished on this very spot along with Michigan’s Governor Brighton James Fisher, Mayor Richard Tucker, Mrs. Louise Fisher, Mrs. Patricia Tucker, Mrs. Madeleine Albright, and Mrs. Freda Albany Louis.”

The mob gasped and fell into hushed chatter.

“Also, amongst the dead are nineteen souls including the hotel’s waitstaff, maids, pianist, and bartender. I am sad to say that this will haunt Holloway forever.

“Our investigation concluded that you planted homemade explosives and barred those poor souls inside. You are sentenced to death by hanging on the grounds where your explosions claimed innocent lives. All that stand witness, aside from the townspeople of Holloway, are your two sisters, Mary Karen Welch and Belle Leanora Roth. Your husband, Ulysses Gallagher, God rest his soul, must flip and twist in his grave. He died in the muds of enemy territory for all of us. How you can defy him with your heinous behavior is beyond me.” He moved his eyes from his note and onto the mob. “Trudy Gallagher has lain with politicians and bootleggers alike to push her own sinister agenda. She poisoned the streets of Holloway with hooch, prostitutes, thieves, and brawlers. She is an illness to this town and needs to be extinguished before she harms anyone else.”

He turned to Trudy. “You are a disgrace, and, in my opinion, hanging isn’t enough of a punishment. I wanted the firing squad to take you down.” He flexed his neck and huffed. “However, after days of deliberation by the people of Holloway, this is the conclusion to your life of manipulation, greed, and murder.

“Reverend Pillars wanted to say a prayer for you, but the people would rather not waste any more time. But they will grant you your last words, an attempt at getting an explanation, perhaps. What say you?”

Tears fell down her face. The taunting and accusations made her chest swell. She inhaled deep and pushed a weak breath through her shaking lips. She understood the risks associated with her lifestyle. Keeping up with deals and tracking lies day in and day out was enough to drive anyone mad. But the rewards and freedom that came along with those risks changed her for the better. Trudy became the most powerful woman in Holloway. The reward was well deserved, and in the name of Ulysses, she’d claim the crown even after death.

“Did you hear me?” Deputy asked.

She smirked.

The people groaned and gasped.

Deputy cleared his throat. “Murder is funny to you?”

She sighed and shook her head. “No.” She looked him in the eye. “But I’ve begged no one for anything before, and I won’t start now. Those people deserved what they got and if I had another chance, I’d do it again. No one stands in my way. Not you, not these people, and not the bastards who blew up.” She scoffed. “In fact, if I had the chance, I’d do the same to all you ungrateful imbeciles.” She glared at the faces of her persecutors. Faces that trusted her before. Faces she strived to keep happy. Faces that could burn in hell alongside the others. “I always win, and when you all go to sleep tonight, I want my words to sit deep in your conscience. I don’t beg.” She narrowed her eyes. “I take,” she growled.

Deputy nodded, disdain across his face. It tickled Trudy’s heart to see him disappointed. He might take her life, but he’d never hear her apologize. He didn’t deserve it, and neither did they.

“Burn in hell,” he said.

Cheers filled the square as Deputy kicked the crate, sweeping it from underneath her.

Her body dropped and the sound of snapping bones erupted in her ears.

KT RoseAbout the Author:
K.T. Rose is a horror, thriller, and dark fiction writer from Detroit, Michigan. She posts suspense and horror flash fiction on her blog at kyrobooks.com and is the author of a suspenseful short story series titled Trinity of Horror, an erotic thriller novel titled When We Swing, and A Dark Web Horror Series. She also writes supernatural and paranormal horror novels and short stories.

You can find and contact K.T. Rose here:
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Giveaway
There is a tour wide giveaway for the blog tour of The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel. Three winners will each win a t-shirt, 2 bookmarks, and a $10 Amazon gift card.The Haunting of Gallagher Hotel giveaway prizeFor a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
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This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 1 till 15 December. See the tour schedule here.

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