My Review of talented author Isabel Castruita’s, ” Hell’s Guardian Chronicles: Crimson Savior


Zyra Falls had been in Witness Protection her whole life until the Red System attacked. Struggling to survive, she has to learn to become a Hunter and control her latent powers. But will Queen Velika take her revenge out on Zyra and the innocent Lugat? Or will Zyra do what she must do to save them from her wrath?


My review:  I gave this book 5 Stars it is Wickedly engaging  

I think this is one wickedly engaging book by Author Isabel Castruita. From page one to the very end. This story keeps your adrenaline pumping, and I loved the main protagonist of Zyra Falls. Immediately the pacing in the story begins as Zyra is trying to stay under hiding but then the red system attacks and it all changes for her. This Book one by author Castruita is entitled, Crimson Savior ( Hell’s Guardian Book 1 also introduces other characters which come into play in Zyra’s story. This is one book that keeps you going and at the edge of your seats. I am excited to read the next one.


If you have not picked up this book yet you should do so:  It is available:




Isabel Castruita is the author of YA urban fantasy novels. Born and raised in Colorado, she works on her two series full-time. A Gemini, who became inspired to become a writer after reading novels like Tithe: A Modern Faerie Tale, the Resident Evil series by S.D. Perry, and the Vampire Academy and Bloodline series by Richelle Mead. A lifelong reader, Isabel has always had a fascination with the supernatural and the paranormal as well as folklore. She enjoys watching creepy ghost shows and is obsessed with anime. Isabel recently signed with: Stitched Smile Publications and her books are being re-released in March 2016.


Visualizing the Story

I wrote a story called Beneath the Floodwaters. Currently it is in submission phase for an anthology (fingers crossed). The story summary is this: Some college kids decided to hang out in the park one day to drink. Since the park didn’t allow alcohol or even glass bottles they hiked into the woods with their booze and got lost. A storm hit and the park was already flooding when they finally found their way outside the woods. They got under a shelter and stayed there to ride out the storm. While I can’t give away what happened to them, (You’ll have to buy the book if it is accepted into the anthology), and I can say that within a matter of hours this park has flooded to a couple feet deep and after a day it is at least four feet deep. Now this sounds like an exaggeration, right? You would think that, but I based this story on a park that I drive through on the way to work normally. So I know how fast it can flood.

Well, last week this park flooded. The park from my story! I’m sure everyone has heard about it on the news by now and the pictures of our city of Houston have ‘flooded’ the internet. But a friend posted this picture and I think this sums it all up. This is Clay Road, which spans the northern part of this park. You can see the median in the middle of the street. I’d like to tell you which side the park is on but to be honest, I just can’t tell. You can see the street ahead is easily at least four feet deep. The park is lower than the street so you can imagine how deep that actually got; deeper than the four feet that I wrote in my story – much deeper.

As the title insinuates there is something beneath the floodwaters. Hopefully at the real Bear Creek Park, there’s nothing like it there. But it makes for great Horror!ClayRoad deer

Being an Intern at Stitched Smile Publications

I know it has only been a couple of months, but I wanted to say how pleased I am to have selected to be an intern at Stitched Smile Publications.  Wow, from the first day that I began as an editing intern for this fabulous group of people it was an instant fit.   Lisa Vasquez, who is the Ceo, was so warm and welcoming and from the get go just took me under her wing and introduced me to this great team that is just so organized but above all work together and help one another.   I loved meeting everyone from Jackie Chin, who is another amazing Marketing Director to all the other wonderful editors and authors.  Stitched Smile Publications is going far and it is a great place to begin an internship if you want to learn about what it takes to be an Author, Editor, Marketing Director, and also about Graphic design.  There are so many talented people here from the amazing editors, assistant editors, Authors and Graphic Designers.   There are also those involved in Beta Reads, Street Teams.   I am enjoying working with the Authors, and helping the other editors and learning so much about it.   I am now also helping to learn more about Marketing with the talented Jackie Chin and also hoping to learn more from our Ceo Lisa Vasquez, who is also an amazing author and Graphic designer.     When I graduated from Southern New Hampshire with a Master’s Degree in English and Creative Writing at SNHU, I always thought I would be interning before graduating but never found a right fit.   Luckily, I found SSP through my Career Advisor at SNHU Recruit and I am now focusing all of my energies on becoming the best editor I can be for the other authors while also learning so much about what it takes to be a successful Author and creating your own brand through Stitched Smile Publications which is only an added bonus for myself as an indie Author.     I love being a part of this amazing team and I hope to only grow with them.  wpid-fb_img_1446066964666.jpg

Teaser: Dredging Up Memories

Dredging Up Memories is almost here. On May 7th, 2016, Stitched Smile Publications will release the story of Hank Walker in a zombie infested world. To whet your appetites here is the first 1100 words or so. Enjoy…

Five Weeks After It All Started…

The rifle was light. Unlike Pop’s shotgun; that thing was heavier than any firearm should be, and the kickback could knock you on your ass if you weren’t ready for it. Pop called it Ox—I guess it was an appropriate name for something so powerful. It always reminded me of Babe the blue ox, Paul Bunyan’s companion. I reckon that’s how Pop saw his shotgun—more as a companion than a weapon or hunting tool.

One time my brother, Leland, thought he was man enough to wield old Ox and took him out of the gun rack in Pop’s shop. He handed it to me, and I almost dropped it. The wood stock was cold, the barrel like ice and my nerves were frazzled. You see, Leland was the oldest of the four of us, and I was his sidekick little brother. He played jokes on all of us and did things that the rest of us wouldn’t think of doing. Like pulling Ox off the gun rack.

“Come on,” he said and took the shotgun from me. I had never been so relieved in my fourteen years.

“I don’t think this is a good idea, Lee.”

He shook his head, and his hair—which was down to his shoulders—moved from side to side. “Don’t be a wuss face, Hank. Dad will never know. We’ll go out to the fence behind the barn and shoot a couple of shells and put it back. Easy as pie, little brother.”

Easy as pie?  Nothing is ever easy as pie.

I set up a can on one of the old fence posts by the chicken coop and then got behind him. Leland took aim, the shotgun in the crook of his shoulder, right in the socket where the collarbone and shoulder come together. He squeezed the trigger with no hesitation.

A bomb went off in my head, and my ears rang for most of the rest of that day. Leland went backward and ended up on his back, unconscious. Seven hours later, he came home from the hospital, arm in a sling; shoulder dislocated and collar bone broken. He had a lump on the back of his head where it hit the ground, resulting in a concussion that gave him headaches for months after.

“Did I hit the can?” he asked me before he went to bed that night.

“Nope. But you did take out one of the fence runners.”

Memories. It’s the hardest part of this whole…end of the world thing? If that’s what it could be called. That’s all I have now: the memories of loved ones and friends passed on and, in many cases, rose up. How odd does that sound? Rose up? Like anyone thought the dead really could get up and walk.

I guess it was possible after all, wasn’t it? Shows how much we knew.

I stood from my pickup, slung my pack over my shoulder, and closed the door, leaving the keys in the ignition. Just in case. I shouldered my pack and walked to the center of the street, rifle in both hands. An old, blue sedan sat off to the left, its wheels up on a curb, its front end crumpled by the light pole it had hit. The left front tire sat at an odd angle, a dead person beneath it. I moved to the front of the vehicle. Another dead man slumped over the steering wheel, his skull ruptured. Hair and bits of tissue clung to the windshield, the glass spider-webbed from where his head struck. Flies buzzed about, zipping through the broken window and lighting on the man’s head and shoulders and probably the rest of him as well. The stench of death hung in the air and reminded me of roadkill after three days in the summer sun: a cloying, heavy odor that turned the stomach and lingered with a reach much further than anything—rotten or pleasant—should.

I let out a long breath. Recognition could sometimes bring you to tears, but not in this case. It only brought back old memories. “I’ll come back for you in a little while, Mr. Martin. Get you out of there, okay?”

He had been my baseball coach in another time, back when it was safe to play games. Back when there was no fear of something dead coming out of the woods or around a corner to rip you apart. From the looks of him, he wouldn’t be getting up and joining the ranks of the undead.

The man underneath the car was a different story. His head twitched a movement that was so insignificant but so startling at the same time. One of his hands moved, then his eyes opened. No matter how many times I’ve seen it, I still can’t get used to seeing the dead move, get up, and walk around. I certainly can’t get used to seeing them eating people. His mouth opened, and he hissed a deep, throaty sound.

I didn’t recognize him. He could have been a neighbor or a friend or just another dead head that shambled into our little town. It didn’t matter; he was a rotter even if he was a person at one time. I took aim with my rifle then stopped. Instead of shooting him, I brought the heel of my boot down on his forehead.  His head slipped beneath my foot, and he groaned. I brought my heel down again, this time in the center of his face. His nose shattered, and my heel broke through rotten skin. A third time and there was a hollow crunch that made me shiver. My stomach rolled, and for a moment, I thought I would throw up. The man stilled.

I scanned the small neighborhood—an odd cul-de-sac, not quite a square but nowhere near a circle either. The six houses formed a U of small homes and overgrown yards. A few skeletal remains lay about here and there. The one lying in the second yard to my right was a woman at one time, and from the flower print skirt she still had around her decomposing hips, I guessed she was still fairly young, maybe not even thirty yet.

Jeanette entered my thoughts. I tried to shove her back into the deepest corner of my soul. Swallowing hard, I shook my head and hoped she and Bobby were okay, that Jake had managed to get them to a safe zone before the dead managed to swarm our small town. I closed my eyes and saw her, the fear on her face, the look of disbelief as Jake pulled her away by her arms.

“Go!” I yelled.


I had stayed behind with Leland and Pop and Davey Blaylock. Someone had to fight. The military wasn’t going to be coming to Sipping Creek, South Carolina. Like thousands of little do-nothing towns all across the country, it existed just to exist.

Forbes on Fiction: Audience and the Author, or Something

Forbes on Fiction: Audience and the Author, or Something

Audience and the Author, or Something

I was watching Vince McMahon in a slight stupor, having probably one too many Coke and Courvoisier (is that how I spell that? I don’t know, don’t give a shit you know the cognac, Jesus, man) and he was talking about paying attention to the consumer, and he knows, because he destroyed all competition so that now every wrestler in America is either an employee of his or just sits around in high school gyms shooting steroids and cursing Vince’s name like peasants in the east used to curse the Golden Horde.

Paying attention to the consumer. I don’t understand this. I spent my formative years as a vicious communist who spat on the name of capitalism until I found out how fun it was to have some money. I missed out on things like customer service, general decency, stuff like that. Paying attention to the consumer, well. I guess I should do that.

But what does that mean? Sometimes I think authors pay too much attention to the consumer. Now that sounds silly. Counter-intuitive. You should pay attention, right? You should think about how your audience, your consumer, thinks about the material and how’d they react. You should think about what they want to read about, right? Give the people what they want, right? That’s an American tradition, like apple pie and road trips.

Whatever, bro. I think naught. Look at the state of movies in America right now. There’s an awful lot of supposed blockbusters and films out there now that do “what the people wanted.”

And what do you get? Same old shit. These creations, involving hundreds of talented people on and off stage, with millions of dollars, churn out some regurgitated mess where every surprise is already known, where every “twist” is lame, where we all know the bad guys are going to lose and the good guys when and blah blah blah I’m already tired writing about this stuff.

So many films (and increasingly, gasp, books) follow the same old tired formulas time and time again. It’s because of this audience worship bullshit that’s out there. I’m sorry, audience. But deal with some change. You’ll like it. Remember, your whole life has been taking chances about stuff that’s weird or new. When you were a kid, you probably were scared of rollercoasters but found them to be awesome to do. Same thing with sex and drugs and armed robbery. Like me.

Authors and screenwriters should remember that all great successes were done even though they were scary to pull off. Think about it. Come on.

The Godfather.
You thought you were going to see a film about Marlon Brando being an Italian gangster with a speech impediment and what do you got? He was shot and out of the movie for like forty minutes, and you’re following around his son played by this nobody Al Pacino, who has to take the reigns. Interesting, yes? Formulaic? Nope.

Breaking Bad. A chemistry teacher becomes an asshole drug lord? And he just becomes more unlikeable as time goes on with little redeeming qualities other than using a robot machine gun to kill Nazis? What? Typical audience stuff for sure.

The Stand. So the end of the world is just the beginning of the story? Credits aren’t rolling, and the anti-Christ doom figure shows up, and the good guys follow around a 108-year-old African American woman from Nebraska who is a prophet of God?

Watership Down. Typical ultra-violent rabbit stuff that we’ve all read a million times.


See what I did? Those films, shows and books, all huge successes, never ever played into audience expectations. True originality at work. There was no audience to work with before hand, no consumer base in mind (and good luck explaining the premise before they read/see it- think about explaining Avatar or Terminator 2 by only explaining the plot). The authors and writers of these works decided to basically do what they thought was awesome and go for it. Yes, it could be a major disaster a la Cop Rock with its singing police thing or whatever that tv show was, but it could be a chance to really break out of the pack.

Too many times, authors just want to do a paint by numbers and hope that the audience gets suckered into and digs it.

That works too. Unfortunately. Vince McMahon has millions of dollars doing the same shit over the last fifteen years since the end of the Attitude Era of the WWF (now WWE) and still rakes in cash. Fast and Furious will never die anytime soon. They play up to what the audience wants. Cars, muscles, explosions, quips sequel hooks, more quips. Guns. Every Michael Bay movie made.

Wait, what was my point then? Don’t know anymore. Shit. I guess you should pay attention to the audience and then not, or- maybe it’s because WWE has- I don’t know. Lost track here.

All I know is that if I attach my name to something, it should be original. Nobody is bragging about being a writer on the WWE. Or Fast and the Furious.

Pride means something, I suppose. This is America.

 Connect with Forbes West at the Benbow Inn:

Getting personal with David Owian Hughes

Today I had the pleasure of talking to David. He is charming, smart and has a wicked sense of humor that I just love. His accent will drive the girls wild. His stories are full of dark and evil things and for a mature audience (I know I’m not mature😁) and will get your blood pumping.

How old were you when you wrote your first story?
I would have been but a schoolboy. English was my favourite lesson, and the only one I did any work for, so I was constantly writing blood-thirsty tales about ghouls and terror! This was back in the 80s when I was hooked on sleazy b-movies, killers behind masks and the latest scream queen’s tits. Hey, I was only eleven or twelve – give a lad a break.Don’t get me wrong, these stories I wrote back in the day were shockingly bad, but they were fun and imaginative, much to my teachers’ disgust. Even though they were appalled, and gave me appalling grades, they often told me I had a good imagination, so it’s not hard to see why I’m still telling yarns.
And still practicing my skill.

2. How many books have you written?
Damn, I had to sit and think about this question – mathematics was never a strong point! The only figures I’m good with, are…Never mind. I’ve written eleven. That’s including books which haven’t found publishers yes and two that I co-wrote with the fantastic Alice J. Black and Sarah Dale. I also have two more planned to write this year, so that will take my tally up to unlucky thirteen…

3. Anything you won’t write about?
No, I don’t think so. If there is, I’ve not discovered it yet. I’m pretty numb to taboo subjects – I’ve written some shocking stuff up to this point, so I’ll continue to do so. At one time, I would have told you that I wouldn’t write about animal cruelty or the harm of children. I broke both those rules years ago! When the situation arises, I’ll pretty much put anything down on paper. Why? Because I’m a sick, perverted degenerate, who likes licking the rims of toilets; well, rims in general, to be fair.

Don’t look at me like that! I can’t help being proud of it.

4. Tell me about you. Age (if you don’t mind answering), married, kids, do you have another job, etc…
Age: 604. My secret, you ask? Smearing the semen of my dead enemies over my face; as you can see, it works a charm. Not married, never have been. However, I am engaged. I have one son, Gethin, who’s seven-years-old. Nicola, my fiancée, is carrying my second child. We’re told it’s a girl, so we have decided on the name Ruby Storm Leigh Hughes.

Interesting fact (which you’ll hear here first): Ruby and Storm are the main characters in my upcoming novel Man-Eating Fucks. Some very bad things happen to these girls, which I won’t go into, but I’d just like to say that the novel was written well before Nicola fell pregnant. It just so happens we like the names.
I’m sick, but I’m not THAT sick.


I have a part-time job at my local Frankie and Benny’s – I’m the cleaner. And I don’t mean I work for the mob!

5. What’s your favorite book you have written?
It’s a toss up between Man-Eating Fucks and Wind-Up Toy – they are the latest novels I wrote, and so the writing, I feel, is pretty damn solid. My skill as an author has matured over time, and I think my writing is getting better by the book/short story. I still have a lot to learn, and I hope my readers stick by me as I continue to shape my talent. It’s a long road…

6. Who or what inspired you to write?
Well, I have to say that growing up around horror from a very young age helped lay a solid foundation. Filmmakers such as George A. Romero, Sam Raimi, Wes Craven and Sean S. Cunningham helped influence me – they created some great monsters/stories on screen, which fuelled my imagination. I may have been heavily influenced by film, and had a huge passion for it, but I wasn’t interested in making films. I wanted to tell stories – to write them. Whereas film and filmmakers played a hand in my love for horror/writing, two other people did – Richard Laymon and Alice Cooper. Laymon for his books and Cooper for his visual horror on stage; both of these men have inspired many of my stories.

7. What do you like to do for fun?
*Giggles like a schoolgirl as he whispers ‘Sex and Masturbating.’* When I’m not pulling my back out with sex or giving myself a wrist-ache, I do like to socialise – I may visit with a friend, have a few beers or just chill with Nicola in front of the TV. I also like to go to the beach on sunny days, take in a movie at the cinema or play retro games – I’m a big fun of old games such as Final Fight, Street Fighter, Streets of Rage, etc…I have quite the collection.

A collection of severed heads, that is!

8. Any traditions you do when you finish a book?
We’re back to masturbating again!

9. Where do you write? Quite or music?
I have a spare room in my house that I use as an office. It doubles as my son’s room, but he only spends the weekends with us. Definitely music. I put my CD player on in the other room and set the volume to ear-bleed!

Hey, if it’s too loud, you’re too old, right?!

10. Anything you would change about your writing?
Not really, no. Obviously, I would love to be much better, but I hope that will come in time.
11. What is your dream? Famous writer?
To be mega famous and have to hire a hot PA! She would be kitted-out in a short skirt, stockings, and high-heels…Of course, I kid. *smirks like a naughty schoolboy.* In all honesty, I think I’m currently living my dream – I’m writing and drinking tea full-time. I may not be making any form of income off my writing, but that’s not the point. I do it out of love. To want to tell stories. I just hope my words reach lots of eyes, and that they like what they see. Make ‘em stick around and look at some more of my stuff. Who knows.
12. Where do you live?
South Wales, U.K. Wales is a small country that helps make up the rest of the U.K, along with England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
13. Pets?
Just the gimp.

14. What’s your favorite thing about writing?
It means I get to stay at home and sit around in nothing but my panties all day, every day!

David has recently signed with Matt Shaw to write his newest book.

So, your new book…dark?

Man-Eating Fucks is pretty fucked up, yes. Darker than the rest of my stuff? Possibly. Everything I write tends to lean towards splatterpunk/extreme – I love it. I always try to push the line that little bit further…So yes, rest assured, Man-Eating Fucks isn’t for the faint of heart – it has more nutters, perverts and blood and guts to keep the hardcore fans happy.

What made you decide to write this book?

This book has actually been rotting on my hard drive for about four years – it took someone like Matt Shaw to see its potential, and to have the balls to go with it, I suppose. As I said above, my writing is pretty close to the bone. No subject is taboo. I just write it as I want to write it – I’m not one for making changes, either – I stick to my guns on extreme content. Without giving too much away, this book was written as a love letter to Wes Craven and one of his films…It needed to be written, just like my first novel Walled In was written out of my love and respect of George A. Romero and his Dead films.

Is this book out of the norm for you?

Definitely not. It’s couldn’t be more in the norm if it tried! This story is the type of stuff I love doing – I find it easy, and it’s so much fun, and I think people that love this kind of extreme will eat-up Man-Eating Fucks. Get it, eat-up! Okay, never mind. I’m urging people to take a punt, as I know they will enjoy this off-the-wall tale. For £1.99, you can’t go wrong…So come on people, and have a bash…If you’re not too scared, that is!

What was it like to work with Shaw?

I didn’t really get to know Shaw until a few weeks back – poor bastard hadn’t heard of me until some lunatic suggested to him I should be in his up-and-coming Easter anthology, Easter Eggs, and Bunny Boilers. After accepting my story, Shaw and I got chatting, and I haven’t looked back since. I have to say; he’s a pretty great guy who knows his shit. He knows what works and what doesn’t. I’m really excited to see where Man-Eating Fucks could go…

Also, Shaw has a cute arse and dazzling eyes. He paid me to say that, by the way…

Will you write more like this book?

Most definitely! Extreme is the field I write in, so you can expect a lot more from me in the future. Having said that, I do plan to write a thriller at the end of this year; the plot will revolve around a down-and-out gumshoe, who has a love for jazz and Gin.

Tell me a little about it

I don’t want to give too much away, so I’ll leave the synopsis here. I know, I’m a bastard. I think Shaw likes that about me. X

Man-Eating Fucks: Matt Shaw Presents David Owain Hughes’ “Man-Eating F*cks”…

An average teenage girl and her father find themselves caught up in a brutal nightmare at their local recreational centre when an age-old enemy comes stumbling out of the woods to crash a heavy-metal gig; a gig that has all the promises of being killer.

This is one blood-soaked gig you won’t want to miss!

Endorsement: Man-Eating Fucks is old school horror, but with a new, blood-soaked twist! David Owain Hughes effectively creates enjoyable and lethal characters in this tale that is sure to keep you up at night. This is the type of tale that you need to read with a light on…I’m serious. You better put your seatbelt on ‘cause you’re in for one helluva ride. Look out; Hughes might very well be headed to the major leagues after this twisted tale! Highly recommended!”

~Ty Schwamberger, author of The Fields, Deep Dark Woods & The Death of a Horror Writer

Thank you for taking the time to let us all get to know you better David. It has been my pleasure getting to know you. I wish you best of luck with your books. Not that you will need it!

Deciding to Write

9a. When did you decide to be a writer?

I stared at the question on my screen. I don’t know that I have seen more than a handful of author interviews where this question was not asked, so it wasn’t a surprise to find it here. I skipped it, finished the blog interview form I was filling out and came back to it. According to my friends, I am prone to overthinking simple things.  No idea what they mean.

Most answers I’ve read go something like this:

I made my own books in junior high. I have written my own stories since I was three.  My mom played Mozart while I used my fetal typewriter to compose sonnets. 

I’m not saying I don’t buy it.  Hell, I envy the certitude if that’s the case.  I have said that I always wanted to be a writer.  I also wanted to be an astronaut and a marine biologist.  One of these things is not like the others. I had an equal understanding of what it would take to be any of the three (none), yet one is actually happening. As I stared at question 9a, I started thinking about why writing turned out different.

No, this is not a, “Write everyday-BANG!-you’re a writer.” post.  While semantically true, that isn’t what the question is asking either.  If it were, I suspect the question would be asked far less.  As much as that is good advice for output, what the reader really wants to know is when and how you developed the mindset that drives you to do what they want to do.

That takes more than wanting something. It takes full knowledge of the cost involved and a willingness to pay that price. You have to find a reason to want it when you shouldn’t.  Being a writer takes active, constant determination. I have heard it said, in the Norse religion you are gothi (priest/chieftain) when you can stand up, say you are, and no one, yourself included, laughs you out of the hall.  That fits.  Somewhere along the way, I said I was a writer, meant it, and didn’t feel the need to justify that statement.  I simply was.

So, when did that happen?

It happened when I wrote a story in high school that turned the stomach of my classmates but lit up the face of the teacher (Shout out Ms. Bashara). I knew I had made a world they believed in and reacted to viscerally.

It happened when I submitted my first story to a magazine, five or six years later, that promptly shuttered the windows, locked the doors, and never appeared again.  I always imagined the editor reading my story, setting it aside, and calmly saying, “Well, I am done with all this.” Right before purchasing gas cans and matches for the office.  I try not to take it personally.

It happened over a decade later when, spurred by the happiness of a friend living her dream, I sat down at a keyboard with the intent to write stories again, for myself, if no one else. She still says I place far too much credit on her for this.  I say when you are lost and stop to ask someone for directions (I’m a guy, I have this information only second hand) you thank them.

It happened with every rejection.

It happened with the first acceptance, the first edits, the first contract.

It is a decision you make every step of the way to append that title to your name.  Good or bad.  It starts silent, a secret just for you.  Eventually, it slips out, you try it on, and realize now it fits. Then you keep wearing it because now you are naked without it.  You put it on every day.

9a. When did you decide to be a writer?


R. Judas Brown has appeared in several anthologies, is working with The Ed Greenwood Group, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Quincy Writers Guild in Quincy, IL. You can follow him on Twitter @RJudasBrown, at, or visit his website at





Release Party for Strigoi The First Family



On March 30, 2016, Stitched Smile Publications had another release party.    This time, it was for Donelle Pardee Whiting who is not only an editor for SSP but also a first-time author.    But this release party included SSP’s Graphic Designer, Filmmaker, and Author Michael Freeman.   You see both Donelle and Michael collaborated together on these two amazing books entitled Strigoi & Strychnine Book release event.    The event was called Strigoi The First Family, and it was held on FaceBook from 6-9 p.m. central.    This event was very exciting and included other authors such as Jeff Brown, who is another SSP author, Anthony R. Vidal, Derrick Lacombe, Heath Stallcup and Mike Evans.    This event began with both authors Donelle and Michael headlining their big releases.   I was so excited to take part in attending as an editing intern.  I really enjoyed this amazing online party.   Kudos goes out to the entire Stitched Smile Publications Staff, especially our boss Lisa Vasquez and also to our Marketing Director, Jackie Chin.


If you have not gotten your copy of these two amazing books:   Check them out now.   I hope you will get your copy today.




Summary of Strigoi:


Not all monsters are made. Some are born. And sometimes, history gets it wrong.

A freelance writer is invited to an elderly man’s home to witness his telling of the family history to his sons. The patriarch’s reason for requesting a stranger into his home as he shares his tale is a simple one. He wants the young man to write the true history of Family Dracul, to trace the lineage back to the very first member of a family cursed. But, the old man has another agenda. He wants to warn humanity; what happened in the past was nothing compared to what is to come.









Summary of Strychnine:



What if the Zombie Apocalypse was man made, but not the way we think? It wasn’t some virus that started with patient zero resulting in an accidental outbreak. It is true, it was a bio-weapon that when released failed to accomplish what scientists created it to do, and it had an unintended side effect.

And, what if werewolves did exist, but they haven’t been our enemy for years until one ruthless man bent on domination is turned?

Strychnine is the story of two brothers torn apart by an experiment forcing them to fight against one another. It is also the name of a metal band made up of another set of brothers and their girlfriends.

Life for Thorne, his girlfriend, Blaze; his brother, Seminole; and Seminole’s girlfriend, Spaz, is about to be flipped on end as they find out zombies are real, werewolves have always been real, and certain werewolves are mankind’s saviors and its enemies at the same time.

After being bitten by a werewolf fighting for mankind’s survival, Thorne unwittingly creates his small pack to continue the fight over the worst kind of terrorist, one with large fangs and claws.



Class tomorrow! Independent and Dependent Clauses

One thing that I love about Stitched Smile Publications is how much we’re already setting ourselves apart. We offer Stitched Smile University: writing, editing, and publishing classes provided exclusively to authors and staff. I am excited to be teaching my first grammar class on Sunday the 10th on independent and dependent clauses! Here is a peek at what will be covered.


Most sentences are comprised of two parts: independent and dependent clauses. A clause must have a subject and a verb but does not necessarily have to be a complete thought. If it is missing a subject or a verb, it is just a phrase.

Independent clauses are the easy part; they can stand alone as a sentence.

John ate ribs.

Dependent clauses have a subject and a verb but don’t form a complete thought.

Until he was interrupted…

They depend on independent clauses to help them form a complete sentence. They often contain dependent markers, usually subordinating conjunctions, such as “since,” “unless,” “until,” “if,” “because,” “even though,” or “wherever.”

John still stood since the shot missed him.

Even though “the shot missed him” can stand alone, the addition of “since” makes the second clause dependent, and without that word, the sentence doesn’t make sense.

Connecting a dependent clause to an independent clause or vice versa is simple; use a coordinating conjunction (and, but, or, so, nor, for, yet) or an independent marker, such as “also,” “however,” “therefore,” or “furthermore.”

He turned toward the noise and dropped the rib.

Be careful with independent markers; if you use one to connect two independent clauses, you need a semicolon before the independent marker. Likewise, with coordinating conjunctions, you need a comma before the conjunction when joining two independent clauses.

Fresh meat had appeared; furthermore, it seemed to be frozen in fear.

Sometimes, you can connect a dependent clause with a comma. This is most commonly done with introductory clauses, a type of dependent clause.

When he was finished, John licked his lips.

Another type of dependent clause is a relative clause, which is an adjective clause that begins with a relative adverb (when, where, why) or relative pronoun (that, which, who, whom), has a verb, and functions as an adjective. Relative clauses function relative to the main subject of the sentence.

John was the last one that we saw moving.

This sentence uses a relative pronoun, “that,” to refer to what John is: a zombie. If he was a human, I would have written “who.” The verb is “saw.” The main subject of this sentence, John, determines the meaning of the relative clause. The whole relative clause is “that we saw moving.” It describes John from the perspective of “we” and further clarifies that there were more people like John but that none of them are moving anymore.

Independent and dependent clauses can be joined to form complex, compound, and even more complicated sentences. The possibilities are endless.

The End of the World, You Jerk.

Have you? I don’t think so. I know that for a fact. Really, I do. You see, you are here, sitting in front of your computer, complacent as a cat on a warm windowsill, thinking, well the end will never come for me. I’m just going to play with a ball of yarn and think of sweet nothings…

BUT…. DUN DUN DUUUUUUUN. IT CAN. Crack open a history book, Jack. It does. Oh yeah. Sick stuff happens. Oh yeah, sometimes the stars are just right… Gotta remember that. Things go south, and things get real ugly, like when you try to use a Diner’s Club card at Buffalo Wild Wings and that punk P.O.S. waiter with the acne looks at you like you just unzipped your fly and used the guacamole as a urinal. Remember the old Romans in Britain? They saw the last legion take off and leave them to the who-evers. Braveheart looking guys, from what I suspect, with murder and burning on their mind. Or maybe those poor Iraqis in Baghdad who saw the Mongols come swooping in, burning their libraries and then tossing their Caliph into a rug and then running it over with a thousand horses? They saw the “end of the world” and civilization as they knew it. Don’t get smart with me you know that’s a real thing. Civilizations end. Dinosaurs die. Jurassic Park is no more.

Continuing on a dark and uncomfortable theme, do you know how many times the world has almost ended for the entire human race? Twice in the 20th century, which most of us grew up, you say? You’d be right. Three times if you count the Cuban Missile Crisis. But you know all about that, smart guy. Hell four times, actually. You’ll see.

You see, World War Two was a close moment. I mean, it could’ve thrown us back into the dark ages. Nazis get Atomics; Nazis run the world, Japanese people making us bow to them in San Francisco under threat of Samurai attack, all that grim possible stuff. It would have been for every educated and decent soul a decent into total darkness and death if the Axis powers (Germany, Japan and their comedic relief partner Italy had won). The Cuban Missile Crisis like I said before. Or for example, if that guy in Russia hadn’t had stopped an automatic response to a radar glitch that could have caused World War Three in 1983. That could have been the end for a lot of us living right now.


Don’t know about him? Look him up, rube. Stanislav Petrov. Lieutenant Colonel. In charge of an early warning system in the Soviet Union that malfunctioned and believed that the USA was launching five nuclear missiles at the Russian heartland on September 26, 1983. Ignored it for multiple reasons, went against standing orders, didn’t report the launches to his gerontocracy of superiors that would have more than likely lead to the Soviet Union splattering U.S. cities with high grade hydrogen weapons that would have made Washington, D.C. and a helluva lot of other cities smoldering radioactive ruins that you could play Fallout 4 in for real. Because, if they launch, we would launch, and join everyone in a final dance of ultra-violence. That’s how people thought in the 1980s. Take the other bastards down, make them burn or eat radiation if they were doing the same to us. That wasn’t that long ago. Back to the Future was set in 1985 and that movie was crazy good, and everyone saw that.

So think about. You knew about two. Did you know about the third one? During most of our lifetimes, a simple man sitting in a small probably smelly bunker with nothing but Vodka and time saved the world. And you didn’t know about it. You had no idea. That’s how close the entire human race came to living in some cool Mad Max-esque poophole. You had no clue. I didn’t at all for the longest time. I didn’t know my life was owed to some Russian guy. So when I heard about this whole escapade, I wondered, wow, my life could be totally different (or totally not existing because I would be vaporized in the first wave).

It made me think about the end of the world, really. First off, I realized one truth. That one truth was when you die one day; that’s the end of the world. That’s your personal apocalypse. You’ll feel that deep in your bones and want to avoid it. But nope. LOL. By the way, that’s totally going to happen. Sorry. Bet you didn’t see that coming.

Second, and on a happier note, what will you do when the world ends? In that sort of civilization-ending sense, not your personal existence being blown out to oblivion sense which will happen no matter what?

Sorry for the reminder on that first thing I just said.

Well, I know what I will do. If the big red balloon goes up and there’s nothing I can do about it, I’ll probably drink myself into a stupor and get up on the biggest high-rise in the area and watch it all play out like a Greek tragedy played by high schoolers.

Or… if it’s a cooler ending, and just like the world ended but I’m still alive, I think I’ll start a gang of cannibals who ride in diesel trucks. I’m a smooth talker, and I can present a damn fine power point presentation about the need to sack nearby still living towns for human flesh.

I’m sorry I don’t have anything more to say about that. But maybe you should think about it. The world could end. The Apocalypse could show up, and it could get weird soon. You should think about it.

And death. That’s gonna suck. That Apocalypse is always here for you.

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