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Tales From The Dark Web by J.T. Withelder

Published April 30, 2020 by Shadow Girl
TalesFrom-1587404941

Publication Date: May 7th, 2020

Pre-Order on Amazon now!

 

Burial:
Allen has made some mistakes in his life, and they’re coming back to haunt him! Unfortunately…he keeps making them while trying to keep the old one buried!
This had me on the edge of my seat, and yelling – out loud – at Allen.

Smart:
At first I didn’t understand why Adderall wasn’t the drug of choice for this story – it’s exactly what Andy needs.
Now I understand why the author chose the nootropics with the blood root.

Gambler:
Charlie found a sure fire way to cure his gambling addiction. I don’t believe Don will ever place another bet in his life now, either.

Delivery:
Zach works delivering food for an app similar to ‘Door Dash’. He picks up your order from one of the multiple participating restaurants, and brings it right to your door.
A minor fender bender on his way to a delivery starts a chain of events that put more that his job in jeopardy.
This is a great, and very original short story!
Side note: I wish there was a similar app for getting cigarettes, beer, and whatever else my lazy ass doesn’t want to leave the house for!

Cure:
“Life is not worth living without a little bit of risk.”
Could it be considered Stockholm Syndrome if it’s a doctor holding your psyche hostage, instead of a kidnapper holding your body hostage?
Ooo… how about Munchausen By-Proxy By Psychotic Physician?!
“Now…how does that make you feel?”

This is the first book I’ve read by J.T. Withelder, and I am looking forward to reading more.
His work is fresh, and fast-paced!

Connect with J.T. Withelder on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Amazon

VS: US vs. UK Horror

Published February 21, 2017 by Shadow Girl

LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLE!!

A BATTLE ROYALE OF US AND UK
INDIE HORROR HEAVYWEIGHTS!

vs. cover

Who writes the best horror: the US or the UK?

Find out for yourself in VS: US vs UK, a competition anthology featuring some of the year’s best horror, judged by horror enthusiasts and us: the readers. DON’T FORGET TO CAST YOUR VOTE!

 

The Contenders…

Duncan Ralston vs Rich Hawkins 
James Ward Kirk vs Kit Power
Glenn Rolfe vs Lex H. Jones
Tim Miller vs Daniel I. Russel
John Ledger vs Jim Goforth
Essel Pratt vs Daniel Marc Chant
Thomas S. Flowers vs Kyle M. Scott
Jonathan Ondrashek vs David Owain Hughes
T.S. Woolard vs Toneye Eyenot
Michael Noe vs Dani Brown
Sisters of Slaughter vs Matt Hickman
Salome Jones vs Kitty Kane
Peter Oliver Wonder vs Kevin J Kennedy

This was so much fun to read!
And – you could feel that everyone was having fun while putting this book together, that shines through.
As for the winners… I tended to agree with the other judges, for the most part –  I’m not going to say which stories, or authors that I voted for – you should read this collection, and make up your own mind!

Peace, Love & Necrophilia ♥
 ~ sg

All proceeds from the purchase of this book will be donated to the Second Chance Center for Animals (US) and the West Wales Poundies Dog Rescue (UK) charities.

 

 

MIDNIGHT SNACK by Terry M. West

Published November 9, 2014 by Shadow Girl

Midnight Snack (Single Shot Short Story Series)Midnight Snack by Terry M. West
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Due to a nasty wreck on the interstate, Calvin decided to get off on an unfamiliar exit and take a long-cut home. His stomach was reminding him that it was past dinner time, and he wasn’t looking forward to his plate of leftovers that his wife had waiting for him. His mind was wandering while he was traveling down the lonely road, and he didn’t take notice of how long he’d been driving, or how desolate the area was.
Not only was Calvin lost, but he got lost in a dead zone, no cellular signal, no gps, and a minimal radio signal. He encounters another stranded traveler on the side of the road, and things just keep feeling stranger to Calvin. When they hit the drive-thru of the only restaurant on their lost highway, things go from strange to about an 11 on the wierd-shit-o-meter.

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MIDNIGHT SNACK on Amazon

MORSEL by Terry M. West

Published November 9, 2014 by Shadow Girl

Morsel (Single Shot Short Story Series)Morsel by Terry M. West
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fetish and dark fantasy are the key to making the unhappy man happy.
He needs to be in control, and the hooker that he calls to his hotel room was more than happy to play along, until she accidentally defended herself a bit too aggressively.
The unhappy man’s appetite is satiated, and he is the happy man. For now. But the desire to have another morsel will come back all too soon.

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Terry M. West
Morsel

THE GIVING OF THINGS COLD & CURSED by Terry M. West

Published November 9, 2014 by Shadow Girl

The Giving of Things Cold & Cursed (Single Shot Short Story Series Book 9)The Giving of Things Cold & Cursed by Terry M. West
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Johnson’s are keepers of cursed objects. Baker and his uncle are like Sam & Dean Winchester, hunting down these rare pieces to keep the world safe from evil.
After his uncles death he arrives at the deceased’s apartment; what he finds when he gets there chills him to the core.
The Giving of Things Cold & Cursed is the most recent short story that I’ve read by Terry M. West, and they all have managed to turn the creep-o-meter up to an eleven so far.

See more of my reviews, visit Terry on his site, and on Amazon!

GRISTLE & BONE by Duncan Ralston

Published October 31, 2014 by Shadow Girl

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Gristle & Bone ~ 7 Delectable Tales of Terror from Duncan Ralston

When successful restaurant owners Jim and Leanne Taymor confess to a grisly series of small town murders, their neighbor learns the gruesome truth that led them to kill. A young couple discovers the secret of a tourist town’s prosperity may lie in its sinfully delicious cuisine. Gonzo pornographers learn a brutal lesson following a tragedy they caused when life imitated “art.” Disgraced soldier Dean Vogel returns to his hometown and confronts the bullies, and a traumatic event, from his past. A reporter uncovers what really happened to the latest internet sensation, a troubled girl who disappeared on camera.

Gristle & Bone includes the novella, Scavengers, 4 novelettes, and 2 short stories.

Cannibalism, monsters, vengeful spirits, the apocalypse–chock-full of blood, mayhem, psychological horror, and good old fashioned gross-outs, Gristle & Bone is a tasty treat for horror fans!

LIFE DOESN’T ALWAYS HAVE A HAPPY ENDING

I cannot praise this book highly enough.
Each short story pulled me into Duncan Ralston’s world a little bit further, and his world is a scary place to be. Not in the gross out and gory way that I’m usually going on about, but on a psychological level that is terrifying.
BABY TEETH:
Candace and Joel McMurray have fallen into a joyless routine, living more like a brother and sister than husband and wife. The doctor informed the couple that they would never be able to have a baby. He literally called Candace ‘barren’, and said that it was most likely caused by years of taking childhood antidepressants. Not caring how callous she sounded, Candace said that she wanted her own children – not someone else’s.
As determined as she was to not let the news affect their sex life, the depression and despair wouldn’t stay outside of the bedroom. They crept in when she wasn’t paying attention, and within a month even Joel stopped trying to initiate sex. They developed individual hobbies to keep them occupied. Candice started scrapbooking, and Joel started masturbating. Little did they know that by summertime, they’d be hearing the pitter-patter of little feet in their home.

FAT OF THE LAND:
June hated the temper tantrums that that her husband threw. When one of her girlfriends asked her if she and her husband ever wanted to have kids, she was only partially joking when she replied with “I’ve already got one kid to worry about, thanks”. They’re multi-tasking a vacation this weekend – attending the wedding/union of their friends Max & Darrin, June’s photo shoot to help scout locations for an upcoming movie, and the annual 4th of July party held in a multi-million dollar mansion in the same town. Today’s tantrum was brought on when David couldn’t find the letter inviting them to the ultra-exclusive Independence Day party.
June was only trying to calm her husband down and pacify him by saying that perhaps the maid had mistaken the letter for trash, and accidently threw it away. David jumped on the opportunity to place the blame on anyone other than on himself, and promptly complained to the front desk. Again, trying to keep any semblance of peace, June jumped in when the clerk asked how the hotel could make up for the negligence of one of their employees. She asked the clerk if she could recommend a restaurant – the couple referred to themselves as Foodies, and were always on the lookout for something special – a diamond in the rough.
Whatever the reason – the staff at the Seaside Inn directed the couple to Ambrosia. The smells and the atmosphere pulled them in immediately, and they fell into a kind of trance while listening to the Chef prepare their meals – only coming back to their senses when they were back in their car and David was vomiting up his spleen.
Something had come over them while they were in that restaurant, and when June returned to Ambrosia unannounced the next day – the nightmare truely began.

BEWARE OF DOG:
Dean Vogel returned to his hometown after being dishonorably discharged from the armed forces.
He has been placed in the care of his aging parents, and is about to start his court ordered therapy. Therapy that he had no intention of finishing. By his fourth session, Dean was on the verge of a major breakthrough.
With help from Dr. Baswell, the skeletons that have been hiding away in Dean’s subconscious have started moving again – and they were ready to come out once and for all. Dean is about to remember the truth behind the incident from his childhood, and the truth doesn’t always set you free.

//END USER:
Mason Adler is a paranoid man, he can be summed up pretty neatly by the t-shirts that read “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me”. The relationship that develops between Mason and Jenna, (his CPU), started out like the relationship that Joaquin Phoenix had with Scarlett Johansson in the movie HER, but it took a left turn at Albuquerque – and things got really messed up from there!

VIRAL:
If forced to choose a favorite from Gristle & Bone, VIRAL would be it. It centers around a fourteen year old girl, and a video that was uploaded on YouTube moments before she disappeared.
Daria Walker’s story isn’t a new one, she is picked on at school, and feels invisible in her home. She started cutting when she was twelve, and she used it as a way to deal with her depression. It was never about wanting attention, or crying out for help or sympathy. What sets Daria’s video apart from others like it, is the same thing that caught the attention of reporter Tara Maxwell – the teenager didn’t just end up missing, she literally disappeared – right in front of the camera.
Most of the people who have seen the video call it a hoax. But, Tara sees something else. She can see the pain in Daria’s eyes, and can hear the desperation in her voice. She sees herself at that age, and that is what is pulling her into the story. Tara knows what it is like to feel invisible at home, and wish to become invisible at school. She knows each and every one of those feels. That is what is driving Tara to find out exactly what happened to Daria.
If she can help Daria, will she be able to save herself in the process?
ARTIFACT (#37):

ILEGITIMI NON CARBORUNDUM
This SS has the feel of a Girls Gone Wild video, with a little bit of Boogie Nights sprinkled on top. Throw in a vengeful spirit, and let the fun begin!!  It’s hard to talk about each story individually when they’re all so damn good!

SCAVENGERS:
I started this story, and fell into a Grant Mazzy trance…

 Grant Mazzy: Mrs. French’s cat is missing. The signs are posted all over town. “Have you seen Honey?” We’ve all seen the posters, but nobody has seen Honey the cat. Nobody. Until last Thursday morning, when Miss Colette Piscine swerved her car to miss Honey the cat as she drove across a bridge. Well this bridge, now slightly damaged, is a bit of a local treasure and even has its own fancy name; Pont de Flaque. Now Collette, that sounds like Culotte. That’s Panty in French. And Piscine means Pool. Panty pool. Flaque also means pool in French, so Colete Piscine, in French Panty Pool, drives over the Pont de Flaque, the Pont de Pool if you will, to avoid hitting Mrs. French’s cat that has been missing in Pontypool. Pontypool. Pontypool. Panty pool. Pont de Flaque. What does it mean? Well, Norman Mailer, he had an interesting theory that he used to explain the strange coincidences in the aftermath of the JFK assasination. In the wake of huge events, after them and before them, physical details they spasm for a moment; they sort of unlock and when they come back into focus they suddenly coincide in a weird way. Street names and birthdates and middle names, all kind of superfluous things appear related to eachother. It’s a ripple effect. So, what does it mean? Well… it means something’s going to happen. Something big. But then, something’s always about to happen.

But this isn’t Pontypool, and these Scavengers are more the LURKER type.
(If you don’t know Pontypool – yes, this is a huge compliment)

http://www.amazon.com/Duncan-Ralston/e/B00F23Y41Q

http://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=stories+horror%2CB00L3ETNLE

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Ddigital-text&field-keywords=stories+horror%2CB00L3ETNLE

http://duncanralston.com/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7509031.Duncan_Ralston

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https://www.facebook.com/duncanralstonfiction

PORTRAIT OF A PSYCHOPATH AS A YOUNG WOMAN by Ed Lee & Elisabeth Steffen

Published June 13, 2014 by Shadow Girl

Portrait of the Psychopath as a Young WomanPortrait of the Psychopath as a Young Woman by Edward Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this one started a little slow for me.
I started reading it two different times before now, and set it down – accidentally forgetting about it.
Ok, maybe that’s not quite right. It didn’t start slow, necessarily. It didn’t start off as Ed Lee. When you’re in the mood for depravity, Lee usually just throws you in head-first – no chance to buckle up. Portrait of the Psychopath as a Young Woman didn’t do that, it eased you in.
I started over again yesterday, just finished it, and WOW! As a whole – Holy Shit!! When my brain started firing and putting things together, I wished I could read faster.
The depravity is there, buckets full of it! Mixed with gore, and painfully uncomfortable scenes of torture. It’s all surrounded by a story that is as uncomfortable as the torture scenes!
A woman who could be described as a modern day, more feminist (I hate the term, but, roll with me here), version of Dear Abby, is contacted by a killer – a woman who describes her sessions in chilling detail, and adds a little ‘proof’ that she’s not a phony. The detective on the case fucks with her relentlessly, and the wishy-washy love interest tries to be dominant, but someone from her past is the most dominating man in her head.
I’m very impressed with the story now, and I plan to look up Lee’s co-author, Elisabeth Steffen.

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Right To Life by Jack Ketchum

Published June 9, 2014 by Shadow Girl

Right to Life (Cemetery Dance Novella Series, #4)Right to Life by Jack Ketchum
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book, but the entire time I was reading it – I kept comparing it to Perfect Victim: The True Story of “The Girl in the Box”. The stories aren’t just similar – some details are practically identical (once artistic license is removed).
Colleen Stan was threatened with stories of ‘The Organization’, and the head-box was so detailed that it couldn’t have been from anywhere else.
It’s a good story, but the true story of Colleen Stan is horrifying.
If you’re a fan of True Crime, read Perfect Victim: The True Story of “The Girl in the Box”.

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HARD LUCK • A ‘Burnt Offerings’ Anthology

Published June 5, 2014 by Shadow Girl

HARD LUCKA ‘Bend-Over’ Anthology

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– Because sometimes HARD LUCK is the only kind of luck you’ve got.
– Because you’ve got to play your hands with the cards you’re dealt, and – the house always wins.

I was really diggin this book while reading it!
Not only because the collection has the perfect blend of stories & authors that compliment each other perfectly, but, also because I just got a huge ‘bend-over’ from life myself, and to put it eloquently (and act like I’m a bro…) – she didn’t even give me a reach-around. While reading the Foreword, written by Scott Lefebvre, I just kept nodding…with an ironic smirk on my face, because, you can’t get a quickie from life. When one thing goes, the rest follow suit. Scott wrote a line that I have said in blog posts, status updates, tweets, and, I’ve even said it out loud… “Sorry I haven’t finished “______” yet, but – life happened.” & “Sorry, but… Life keeps getting in the way.” And, to quote Scott… “It continues to happen.”
If you’ve ever gone through a rough patch, ever considered ending it – rather than doing just. one. more. day. Even if you’ve just had one epically bad day, you’ll be able to relate to something in this collection.
So, grab your drink and get comfy!
Misery loves company, and misery is on tap!

“Whenever someone asks me for something, and I don’t owe them anything, I make them tell me a story. Even if the story is a lie, it’s usually interesting. You have to pay the monkey if you want to hear the music.”
Scott Lefebvre

THE WINNING by James Dorr
James Dorr sure knows how to capture paranoia, and as the character is breaking down – you are decending with them.

HAUNTED LOVE by Dusty Davis
I can’t think of a worse insult than finding your spouse or lover in bed with someone else. It’s bad enough to find out they’re cheating, but – to walk in on it… to never be able to wipe that imagery out of your mind… that’s unforgivable. But, after Chris cools down a little, that’s exactly what he does – he forgives Ashley, and tries to go back to the way things were.
Dusty Davis knows – “You can never go back.”

FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP by Michael McGlade
Elizabeth has found herself ‘kidnapped’, by two men she doesn’t know, but she is damn sure going to find out why. When the tears and sobs didn’t work, she proceeds to just be herself – and she may just make it out of this mess in better shape than she came in.

GARY by Michael Kanuckel
I know Gary. We all know Gary. Or, at least his type. He’s big, he’s loud, he’s a bragger, ans and a bore. Always with a story, connected, untouchable, and knows people. You know you can’t trust anything he says – because his stories at least begin with a modicum of truth. You just don’t know how deep that seed is planted.
I loved this one. I really enjoy Michael Kanuckel’s style.

HELL AND BACK by Lucas Mangum
Wally is a preacher. A preacher who was left by his wife, and dismissed by his church. A preacher who started drinking again, and stopped talking to God. He’s in his personal Hell now, no waiting for an afterlife for this guy.
When his old mate, Danny, walked into the bar – Wally knew something was wrong. He’s about to visit the deeper levels of Hell, because his friend needs his help. Why was he always so damn helpful?
Another favorite of mine in this anthology. I’ll be looking for more by Lucas Mangum – who I keep wanting to call Magnum…

GOOD SAMARITAN by Joe Powers
Wally is a preacher. A preacher who was left by his wife, and dismissed by his church. A preacher who started drinking again, and stopped talking to God. He’s in his personal Hell now, no waiting for an afterlife for this guy.
When his old mate, Danny, walked into the bar – Wally knew something was wrong. He’s about to visit the deeper levels of Hell, because his friend needs his help. Why was he always so damn helpful?
Another favorite of mine in this anthology. I’ll be looking for more by Lucas Mangum – who I keep wanting to call Magnum…

LADY LUCK by Mae March
Mae March is said to be a fairly new comer to the horror writing community, but, I would have never guessed it by reading LADY LUCK. It’s a story about the last seven days of Derek Whittaker’s life. The luckiest seven days he’s EVER had. The luck is from a Zippo type lighter with a pin-up girl on it.
Unfortunately, Derek’s luck comes with a very high price-tag. He doesn’t have to pay the bill, but that is driving him to slowly losing his mind instead.
Awesome. Very awesome. Can’t wait to see what else Mae has out there!

RIGHT, WRONG, OR INDIFFERENT by C.L. Quigley
C.J. Quigley makes his publishing debut with this story – and this is a hard one to review. If you’ve been in the shoes of either character – this is going to hurt. Hell, even if you’ve played the roll of innocent, advice giving, third party – you’ll see someone you know & love as one if these characters.
Outstanding work.

BIGGER FISH by Stephen Pope
This is a kick ass story, one where I had no flippin idea who would be the winner, or who would be the loser. A twist at the end proved all my theories incorrect. What’s better than this story, is the first line if Stephen Pope’s author bio – which is the best, and funniest damn thing I’ve heard since…. I can’t even say when!!

CHRISTINA’S WORLD by Sean Douglas
Sean Douglas may not be interested to know how much I loved this, but I may head over to his Facebook page to leave some unsolicited praise.
I’m on a rare second day off in a row, and was feeling antsy, so I threw this story on my tts and have been cleaning odds & ends while listening.
I’m not sure when I sat down, but when this story was almost over, I caught myself sitting on the edge of the bed, and I had tears in my eyes.
Yes, that’s a good thing.

BARNACLE BRAT by Adrian Baldwin

Published May 29, 2014 by Shadow Girl

BARNACLE BRAT by Adrian Baldwin

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5/5 Bloody Towel Hooks
– (if you don’t giggle at the reference – you don’t know
your Dark Comedy 101
)

‘When there is absolutely nothing left to do, you HAVE to pull the trigger.”

It begins with an upside down Betty.
Betty is a V.W. Bug. But, her occupants are upside down too. Lester & Veronica are hanging by their seat belts in the back seat – (sixty year olds looks much older upside down), while the also upside down driver, Leon, is arguing with a dummy (“I’m a mannequin!”) in the front.
This is the opening of BARNACLE BRAT, and even though it’s tagged as a Dark Comedy For Grown-Ups, I never imagined it would live up to my definition of a dark comedy. (Not saying I wear a cape of Super Wit, just saying I have a pretty messed up sense of humor!)

* The Urban Dictionary defines a big girls blouse as –
A male displaying percieved feminine characteristics through actions which cause his peers to think less of him. Being a big girls blouse is much worse than being just a girls blouse, thus it’s highly insulting nature.Also used to force a man to do something they fear through peer pressure.
See also: pink fluffy curtain; gaylord

Leon Blank is enough of a character to fill this book.
He’s a bit … ‘touched’. He hears voices, (and answers them), he sees things (side effect of being sexually frustrated?), and speaking of sexually frustrated – his tastes are a tad unconventional – Voyeurism; Feederism; Shoes – that kind of thing. Since the accident, these things seem to be escalating. Saying he’s ‘easily distracted’ doesn’t quite grasp his level of – oh look! A duck!
Now, add in the cast of characters that surround Leon, and you get 400 pages of a book that you can’t put down. When you HAVE to put it down, for pesky things like sleep or work, it calls out to you. I thought about Leon when I wasn’t reading about him. I admit that it took me a little longer than usual to finish this book, but I chalk that up to rereading sections that I listened to on my commute to & from work.

* The Urban Dictionary defines (in part) Feederism as –
An underground sexual fetish which involves one partner (the feeder) feeding the other, both to obtain sexual arousal and to encourage weight gain in the feedee.
Some feeder relationships are not undertaken with the purpose of weight gain at all but for the enjoyment of food in an intimate context.

Leon seems to get constantly used and taken advantage of by those closest to him – his ‘agoraphobic’, “Im not lazy, I’m just not well”, brother Richard, his grandparents Bill & Norma- who always seem to be busy, (unless they want some of his money, then they’ll spare 5 minutes), and even the people he considers friends, like Wayne. But, he’s nearing the end of his rope. I was wishing he’d go balls-out on some of these people; it made me feel better that he KNEW what was happening, (for the most part), and I wasn’t in a rage because he was clueless & naive.

“Silence is argument carried out by other means.”
Che Guevara

The evil clown, the one that reminds him of John Wayne Gacy’s ‘Pogo’ character, has started following him more vigorously, and he’s carrying a baseball bat! And now – who a that big, wrestler-looking dude with him?
He fears he’s losing his grip, he’s definitely losing time. Did he talk to that girl earlier today, or was it a week ago?
He’s going to start keeping track of things. Writing it down, a journal to keep track of the weird things.
And there is no lack of weird things in this book!

Even listed as a dark comedy, don’t think that everything is a barrel of laughs. There were times that I’d be pissed off, and other times where I felt I wanted to cry. I also laughed out loud – a couple times I laughed out loud while listening to the book, and people think I’m a lunatic!
If you have the choice, let me recommend the physical copy of this book. (I have both – e-book and a [signed] physical copy). The electronic version doesn’t do justice to the stunning cover-art, or the different fonts used.

Awesome gift from author Adrian Baldwin!

Awesome gift from author Adrian Baldwin!

**A note to film-maker/photographer/artist MIKE ZAFFINO –
Again, Marco (Mike for a bit, in my head :/ ) – my deepest & heartfelt apologies to you.
I have a weird sense of humor, and have an odd need to quote movies at every possible moment. While I think I’m hilarious most of the time, I forget that people who have never met me, or even heard my name, have no clue as to what I may be thinking at any given moment. I want to publicly say that I’m sorry – I came off rude when I meant to be funny. I hope we can start fresh!!

I have a special little video that I want to share here, kind of an ‘inside’ joke for Adrian & some of his buddies. (They’ve got a Molly and they know how to use it!)
If you haven’t read the book yet, or the acknowledgements at the end, that’s ok – because you can enjoy the video for what it is. Someone on YouTube, COYOTE STARRK, made this video for Jonathon Culton’s song re: your brains – and it’s been one of my favorite things for a long time.

Adrian on FACEBOOK

Adrian website:

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