Sneak Peak from FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR by Michael Arruda

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For The Love Of Horror cover8/21/13

 

It’s time for another sneak preview from my short story collection FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR.

 

This collection of short stories is available as an EBook from NECON EBooks at www.neconebooks.com and as a print edition at https://www.createspace.com/4294076.

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR contains 15 short stories, 7 reprints and 8 original stories, plus a wraparound story that ties everything together.  I wrote this with the old Amicus anthology horror movies in mind, films like DR. TERRORS HOUSE OF HORRORS (1965) and THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1971).

 

Today’s excerpt comes from the story “Reconciliation,” a tale of a vampire seeking religious redemption, or is he?  Incidentally, “Reconciliation” happens to be my very first published short story, published back in 1998 in the vampire anthology THE DARKEST THIRST by The Design Image Group.

For your reading pleasure, here is an excerpt from “Reconciliation”—-

RECONCILIATION

By

Michael Arruda

“Bless me Father, for I have sinned.  It has been 200 years since my confession.”

The priest, 62, thought his ears had betrayed him.  Leaning over, he pressed his left ear and the left corner of his mouth against the screened window which separated him from his visitor in the darkened confessional.

“How long has it been?”

“Two hundred years,” the dry male voice repeated.

“I’m afraid I don’t under—.”

“I am a vampire.”

“A vampire?  You mean one of those things from the movies?”

“Would that I were just a Hollywood creation,” the man said, “then I wouldn’t need to be here.”

“Why are you here?”

“To confess my sins.”

“Then perhaps I should hear your confession.”

“Thank you, Father.”

The vampire took a deep breath and began.

“I am disillusioned with the world, Father.  It used to be, way back when, that the worst crime, the worst sin, was murder.  Then we had Nazi Germany, and the world went crazy.  They paved the way for the madness we have today with their attempts at obliterating an entire race, an innocent race, and nearly succeeding.  The Nazi legacy is all around us.  Look at `ethnic cleansing.’  The Middle East.  Terrorism.  The tribal wars in Africa, where families are slaughtered daily, where babies are beheaded in front of their mothers.   If I were a horror fiction writer I’d be told by my editors that the things I just described were too sick for print, but these are true atrocities, having happened not in the dark ages, but here and now in the 21st century!

“And things are no better in this gun-happy country we call home,” the vampire continued,  “where we lose 16 children a day and 40,000 adults a year to people wielding guns, from disgruntled men who take out their frustrations on the world by shooting into crowds of innocent bystanders, to playing children who accidentally blow their best friends’ brains out!  Children.  I feel for them most of all.  Abused, sexually assaulted, forced to— I won’t even go there!  Damn pornographers!  Sex and violence, Father.  We’re a nation addicted to both. How else can you explain the fact that women here are raped every day?  Every day!  What kind of a world allows these sort of things?  The kind that makes the types of sins I have committed in my lifetime fodder for a Disney movie!”

The priest shifted in his seat.  The vampire noticed.

“But I digress.  You must think me crazy.”

The priest did not comment.

“I did not come here today to ramble about generalized atrocities, but I cannot help myself, I am so sickened by it all.  I ask you, how can I not be horrified by the world in which we live, a world gone mad?”

“Yes,” the priest said.  “The world is a difficult place to live in these days.  But, the world is not in this confessional with me.  You are.  Is there anything that you have done that you would like to be absolved for?”

The vampire hesitated before responding.

“Yes.  There is something.  Some things.  That I need to ask forgiveness for.”

He did not elaborate.

“Go on,” the priest said, “and rest assured, that whatever these things are, if you are truly repentant, the Lord will forgive you your sins.”

“Yes, the Lord will forgive— it makes sinning so much easier, doesn’t it?  When you can say you’re sorry and have your sin washed away as if it never happened.  Very convenient.”

The priest opened his mouth to disagree with this cynical comment, to make the point that reconciliation is not about condoning sin, but getting past it, when the vampire beat him to the punch and spoke first.

“I have never harmed a child, and I’m certainly not a rapist.  But I am a vampire, and as such, I have done things that I am sorry for.  Terrible things.”

The priest rubbed his chin.  He was disturbed.

Disturbed by his visitor’s repeated assertion that he was a vampire.

It was an assertion he did not believe.  However, it was quite possible that this man believed it, and in all sincerity thought himself to be a vampire.  If this were the case, then this man may have committed acts which he might be sorry for, which would explain his need to seek God’s forgiveness.  For this reason, the priest listened.

And waited.

Waited for any indication that this was merely a joke.  And if and when he received such a sign, the confession would be terminated.

The vampire continued, “I have lied to women.  Promised them anything they wanted. From money to marriage to simple companionship.  I even promised one young lady a book contract.”

“Why did you make these promises?”  the priest questioned.

“Why?  So that I could become intimate with them.  So that I could hold them, kiss them, sleep with them.”

“Are you married?”  the priest asked.

“No.  I’m not confessing to adultery, Father.  I’m confessing to the reason I wanted to sleep with them.”

“What was the reason?”

“I needed their blood.”

For a moment, neither the priest nor the vampire said a word.

“Father?  Are you still there?”

The priest answered with a question.  “Are you confessing to having murdered these women?”

The vampire paused.

“I do not like the term, `murder.’  It makes what I have done seem less from necessity and more from passion, and this, Father, is certainly not the case.”

The priest ignored the comment.

“Have you committed murder?”

“I have taken lives, yes,” the vampire admitted.

“How many?”

The vampire hesitated but then responded, his voice deep, dark, and threatening.  “More lives than you have touched with your sermons, Father.  Many more lives!”

The vampire’s voice suddenly choked with emotion, “I have been drinking the blood of innocents for 200 years!”

The priest was unimpressed.

“Let’s call it quits, hmm?”

“Excuse me, Father?”

“With this performance.  I’ll give you two thumbs up, and then we’ll call it a day, hmm?”

What?

“Come on!  I know why you’re here!”

“What do you mean?”  the vampire asked, sounding very uncomfortable.

“I mean, I know Halloween is just two nights away!”  the priest answered, sounding angry for the first time.  “The joke’s over!  Go home!”

“You disappoint me, Father.  I thought you a wiser man.  You do not believe me then when I say that I am a vampire?  That I need to drink human blood to survive?  That I have drunk the blood of women the world over for 200 years?”

“Let me tell you what I believe.  I believe that if you don’t leave this confessional in the next 10 seconds, I’ll sound the silent alarm by my side, and the police’ll be here before you can say Bela Lugosi!”

“A silent alarm?”  the vampire said.  “I had no idea.”

“Obviously,” the priest said.  “Some people may consider the sacrament of penance a matter for the dark ages, but our security advisor isn’t one of them!  Now, will you please leave?  While you still can.”

“I assure you, I am being completely sincere,” the vampire said, his voice indeed resonating with a clear and honest authenticity.  “I was born in the 18th century, and I am a vampire.  Do you have a light in there with you, Father?”

“A what?”

“A light.  I would like you to look at my face.  Please, indulge me, and do not yet sound your alarm.  I need the forgiveness of God.  Please.”

The priest remained silent.

The vampire squirmed, shifting his position for the first time since the conversation had begun.

“I beg of you, Father.  Look at my face before you pass judgment.  Keep your finger on the button if you so desire, but wait until your eyes have seen the likes of which few men have seen and lived before you press it.  If only for a moment, if you dare.”

The vampire heard the rustling of the priest’s frock in the darkness- he was moving his arm, reaching for something.  The silent alarm, the light switch, or both.

Click.

Both rooms of the confessional were suddenly bathed in light.

The priest, seated in a comfortable chair, turned to his left and gazed into the screened window.  He gasped.

The face staring at him was chalky white, and the pale flesh of the man on the opposite side of the partition contrasted drastically with his combed forward dark hair, hair as black as ink.  His eyes were wide and red, as if the whites had been cracked open like egg shells, spilling bloody yolks into the empty sockets.  His nose was long and straight, like a nail, and his lips were coal black.

“Please extinguish the light now,” the vampire said.   “It pains me.  My eyes.  Please.”

The priest’s habit rustled again, and once more the confessional was draped in darkness.

“Do you believe me now, Father, after having seen my face?”

“Nice make-up,” the priest said, “although, frankly, I’ve seen better.  Must have bought your stuff at Wal Mart, huh?”

“Do not joke!” the vampire raised his voice, for the first time losing his composure.  “Please, Father, you must believe me!”

“Why?  Why do I have to believe you?  Is that part of the prank, huh?  Get the old priest to admit he believes in vampires?  So you can broadcast it to all your friends?”

“No.  It’s not that way at all.”

“Well, what way is it, then?”  the priest asked.

I — have sinned!  I— need— true forgiveness from God!

The confessional nearly shook.  The vampire’s body was vibrating with anxiety.

“True forgiveness from God,” the priest repeated.  “That’s a curious statement coming from a vampire.

**********************************************

Indeed.

If you’d like to find out what happens next, feel free to order a copy of FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, available as an EBook from NECON EBooks at www.neconebooks.com and as a print edition at https://www.createspace.com/4294076.

As always, thanks so much for reading!

—Michael

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FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR Now Available In Print Edition

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For The Love Of Horror coverI’m happy to announce that my short story collection, FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, previously available as an EBook, is now available for sale as a print edition at
https://www.createspace.com/4294076.

So, if you don’t have an e-reader yet, or if you just prefer the printed page and like the feel of an old-fashioned book in your hands, now you too can own a copy of FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR.

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR contains 15 short stories, 7 reprints and 8 original stories, plus a wraparound story that ties everything together. I wrote this with the old Amicus anthology horror movies in mind, films like DR. TERRORS HOUSE OF HORRORS (1965) and THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1971).

Here’s a look at the book’s table of contents with a brief line on each story:

The Stories

1. LITTLE BOYS WITH FROGS © 2012 Michael J. Arruda

A young couple is terrorized by a giant.

2. THAT THING WHICH CAN NEVER BE SATISFIED © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
A date goes awry.
3. BLACK HEART OF THE WOLF © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
There’s a bloodthirsty wolf on the loose.
4. THE HORROR CURSE © 2002 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in THE STEEL CAVES)
Strange murders at a school haunt a former horror movie actor turned teacher.

5. GOOD TO THE LAST DROP © 2002 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in E-THOUGHT)
Coffee addict has one cup too many.

6. KISSES © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
How deadly can one kiss be?

7. THE PAINTING © 2000 Michael J. Arruda (First prize winner in the Horror Fiction category of THE SALIVAN SHORT STORY CONTEST and originally published on THE SALIVAN WEB SITE in 2000).
There’s evil in that painting.

8. FRIENDS FOREVER © 2001 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in MORBID MUSINGS.)
Sometimes it’s not what you do, but what you don’t do.
9. ON THE ROCKS © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
Rick is so fed up with his girlfriend he thinks about killing her, but he wouldn’t really do that— would he?
10. RECONCILIATION © 1998 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in the anthology THE DARKEST THIRST.)
A vampire seeks religious redemption.

11. CURSE OF THE KRAGONAKS © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
A demonic race asserts itself.
12. THE MONSTER WHO LOVED WOMEN © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
He lives through the centuries, loving and killing.
13. THE HOUSE OF MR. MORBIDIKUS © 2001 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in the anthology THE DEAD INN.)

You don’t want to stay at Morbidikus’ house.

14. HE CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR © 2001 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in THE ETERNAL NIGHT CHRONICLE.)
It’s Christmas Eve, and there’s a menace in the house.
15. FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR © 2012 Michael J. Arruda
What do you love most? Would it be horror?

If you’re in the mood for some old school horror tales, feel free to check out my short story collection FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR.

Thanks!

—Michael

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR – Blurbs and Interview

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For The Love Of Horror cover

Dracula & Frankenstein interview me about my short story collection

Dracula & Frankenstein interview me about my short story collection

Here’s what some people are saying about my short story collection, FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, now available as an EBook from NECON EBooks at www.neconebooks.com:

“One thing you’ll notice about this story collection is how entertaining it is. For the Love of Horror is an apt title, because you can tell how much Arruda loves the genre, and you will, too.”

L.L. Soares, author of Life Rage and Rock ‘n’ Roll

“Michael Arruda’s For the Love of Horror is a brutal collection of stories, using well-imagined villains in a way that keeps the reader guessing and thoroughly disturbed…in a fun way.”

Tracy L. Carbone, author of Restitution

“Michael Arruda has a knack for creating immensely clever stories that step outside of the norm, turning your expectations, and your nerves, on edge. His first collection of short fiction is an event worth celebrating!”

Daniel G. Keohane, author of Christmas Trees & Monkeys

 And for more insight on my collection, here’s an excerpt from an interview that I did recently, conducted by two very good friends of mine, the FRANKENSTEIN MONSTER and COUNT DRACULA.

Interview:

FRANKENSTEIN:  Your short story collection— good!

ARRUDA:  Well, thank you.  I’d like to think so.

DRACULA:  To write such stories—that must be glorious!

ARRUDA:  I try, but to be honest, I struggled with this one.

DRACULA:  Struggled?

ARRUDA:  Yes.  I ran into some problems that I felt I was never able to fully resolve.  I have to be honest here and say I wasn’t satisfied with my finished product.

FRANKENSTEIN:  Finished product— bad?

ARRUDA:  Well, I don’t know about that.  It’s not as good as I wanted it to be, let’s put it that way.

One of the problems I faced was I wanted to write a cool wraparound story, but the more I wrote, the more I wanted to flesh it out, but I resisted turning it into a full-fledged narrative because I didn’t want to turn the book into a novel.  Now that it’s all said and done, I’m not sure it worked.  But it was fun trying!

FRANKENSTEIN:  Trying, good!  (lights match)  Frying, bad!

DRACULA:  What else about your work did you find— troub-ling?

ARRUDA:  Some of the stories I wrote specifically for this collection, to move the narrative along, work more like chapters in a novel rather than separate short stories.  I’m not sure this worked either.

DRACULA:  Why didn’t you change it?

ARRUDA:  I definitely put the stories through various edits and rewrites, but—.

(A wolf howls.)

DRACULA:  Listen to them!  The children of the night.  What music they make!  Excuse me.  What were you saying?

ARRUDA:  I was talking about the stories I wrote specifically for this collection.

I went back and forth with edits more times than I can remember, but I read some other short story collections, and I found that oftentimes the stories ended in the strangest places, and I thought, other stories end this way, why can’t mine?

DRACULA:  Are you- disappointed with the collection?

ARRUDA:  Not at all.  I just don’t think I accomplished what I wanted to. You can’t win them all.

I did have fun connecting old short stories that when I wrote them originally had nothing to do with each other.  It was fun finding common themes and then molding them into a cohesive work.  And that I think worked.

But ultimately it comes down to the quality of the writing.  To me, the writing process is always a work in progress, and each story I produce I hope is better than the last one, and so I hope that whatever I churn out next is in fact better.

The trick is to do it consistently, and that’s something I haven’t done yet.  I think my movie reviews are consistently solid, but when it comes to fiction, I’m still looking for that string of hits.  Some day.

FRANKENSTEIN:  Short stories— good!

ARRUDA:  Gee, thanks.  I appreciate your kind words.

DRACULA:  To celebrate.   (Holds a wine bottle for ARRUDA to see.)  This is very old wine.

ARRUDA:  Great!  Better wine than blood!

DRACULA:  I never drink— wine.

ARRUDA (grabs bottle):  Then I’ll just take this to go.  Thanks, guys, for the neat interview!

—END—

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR now available!

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For The Love Of Horror cover

I’m happy to report that my short story collection, FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, is now available as an EBook from NECON EBooks at www.neconebooks.com.

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR contains 15 short stories, 7 reprints and 8 original stories, plus a wraparound story that ties everything together.  I wrote this with the old Amicus anthology horror movies in mind, films like DR. TERRORS HOUSE OF HORRORS (1965) and THE HOUSE THAT DRIPPED BLOOD (1971).

It’s a love story, but it’s actually more of an anti-love story.  The folks in these stories make more mistakes and handle relationships in such appalling ways— well, let’s put it this way, if you do the opposite of what most of the characters do in these stories, you’ll be in good shape.  Then again, you can do everything right, and your relationship can still go down the toilet.  It’s the nature of the relationship beast, and it’s one of the themes of this book.  Men and women want to be involved with each other. Men and women need to be involved with each other.  But more often than not, it’s not a pretty process.  And sometimes it’s downright sinister.

As a sneak preview, here’s a look at the book’s table of contents: 

The Stories

 LITTLE BOYS WITH FROGS © 2012 Michael J. Arruda

 THAT THING WHICH CAN NEVER BE SATISFIED © 2012 Michael J. Arruda

 BLACK HEART OF THE WOLF © 2012 Michael J. Arruda

 THE HORROR CURSE © 2002 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in THE STEEL CAVES)

 GOOD TO THE LAST DROP © 2002 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in E-THOUGHT)

KISSES ©      2012 Michael J. Arruda

 THE PAINTING © 2000 Michael J. Arruda (First prize winner in the Horror Fiction category of THE SALIVAN SHORT STORY CONTEST and originally published on THE SALIVAN WEB SITE in 2000).

 FRIENDS FOREVER © 2001 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in MORBID MUSINGS.)

 ON THE ROCKS © 2012 Michael J. Arruda

 RECONCILIATION      © 1998 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in the anthology THE DARKEST THIRST.)

CURSE OF THE KRAGONAKS © 2012 Michael J. Arruda

 THE MONSTER WHO LOVED WOMEN © 2012 Michael J. Arruda

 THE HOUSE OF MR. MORBIDIKUS © 2001 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in the anthology THE DEAD INN.)

 HE CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR © 2001 Michael J. Arruda (originally published in THE ETERNAL NIGHT CHRONICLE.)

 FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR © 2012 Michael J. Arruda

Well, that’s it for now.  Again, FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR is available from NECON EBooks at www.neconebooks.com.  Hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for checking it out!

—Michael

Coming Soon! FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR By Michael Arruda

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For The Love Of Horror cover

Coming soon!

Here’s a sneak peak at the cover art for my new short story collection FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR, due out soon by NECON EBooks.  Kelli Jones designed the cool cover featuring two wine glasses containing a little more than just wine.

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR is my first short story collection, featuring stories written and published prior to 2004.  It’s a collection of short stories and a wraparound story that ties all the tales together.

It’s a love story, as the two main characters are involved with each other, but the characters in these stories constantly make bad decisions and act in ways that are contrary to developing solid, lasting relationships.  What’s the theme here?  If you want to have a successful relationship, you don’t want to act like the folks in this book.  This is a collection of tales that describe relationship failures.  It’s an anti-love story.  Yet, like the rest of the world, the people in these stories are involved in relationships.  They have no choice.  It’s what people do.  They just don’t have a clue how to do it.  Well, most of them anyway.

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR describes relationships that are as ugly as your most grotesque horror story.  It’s not for everyone.

TWILIGHT, it ain’t.

FOR THE LOVE OF HORROR will be out shortly by NECON EBooks, available soon at www.neconebooks.com.

Stay tuned to this blog for more news on this collection.

—Michael

Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel likes “Death Takes the Phantom”

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Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel likes "Death Takes the Phantom"

Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel likes “Death Takes the Phantom”

NEWS FROM THE CASTLE:

In case you missed it, my short story “Death Takes the Phantom” came out last week in DARK MOON DIGEST Issue Number 10. 

 That’s fellow author Sheri Sebastian-Gabriel in the photo.  She enjoyed the story a lot and then was thoughtful enough to take that incredibly cool promotional picture of herself holding the book.  Honestly, I can’t think of a better way to promote the story than with a neat photo like this.  Thanks, Sheri!

 DARK MOON DIGEST Issue Number 10 is on sale at DarkMoonDigest.com as well as at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million.  It’s available as both a print edition and an e-publication version, the latter of which comes in both Kindle and Nook formats.

 It’s $7.95 for the print edition and $2.99 for the e-publication version.

 The story “Death Takes the Phantom” is the tale of two beings who play with the fates of classic horror superstars Lon Chaney Sr. and Bela Lugosi.  Inspired by true events!

 Enjoy!

 Michael Arruda

Latest short story “Death Takes The Phantom” now available!

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The cover of DARK MOON DIGEST Issue #10

The cover of DARK MOON DIGEST Issue #10

NEWS FROM THE CASTLE:

 My latest short story is now available to read.

 “Death Takes the Phantom,” by yours truly, is now available in DARK MOON DIGEST Issue Number 10, a handsome looking publication with a creepy cover. 

 “Death Takes the Phantom” is a tale of two beings who broker a deal involving the fates of Lon Chaney Sr. and Bela Lugosi. I had a fun time writing this one, as I played with some facts which connected the fates of these two horror legends of yesteryear.

 DARK MOON DIGEST Issue Number 10 is now available for sale at DarkMoonDigest.com as well as at major online bookstores including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million.  It’s offered as both a print edition as well as an e-publication version, the latter of which comes in both Kindle and Nook formats.

 It sells for $7.95 for the print edition and $2.99 for the e-publication version.

 There are a lot of cool stories in this issue in addition to mine, and I have to say right off the bat that author Christopher Hivner has the best title in the book.  His short story, which kicks off the issue, is entitled “Death Is An Asshole.”  You can’t get much more direct than that.

 Enjoy!

 Michael Arruda