Tag Archives: cooley

Featured Creator – Paul Elard Cooley

cooley I’ve decided that in the new year I’d like to feature a creator a week on this here blog. Basically, that’s me taking a few minutes to tell you about someone I know and whose work I enjoy. They could be artists, writers, musicians, programmers, or any number of other callings who put things they’ve made out there in the world for us all to see.

I’m starting off a couple of weeks early, to strike while the iron is hot, so to speak. Who did I choose? None other than my friend, Paul Cooley. Paul and I have known each other for years. I met him through the podcasting community. He’s been a writer for decades, though like me he took a hiatus. For the last several years, he’s been releasing stories through his site Shadow Publications. He’s also a co-host on the Dead Robots’ Society, along with Terry Mixon.

What does Paul write? He’s got quite a body of work, but the tagline on all of his podcasts is “we don’t believe in happy endings”. Call it horror or thrillers or good old fashioned monster stories. His world is a terrifying place and the body counts are often quite high. Recently he’s made the leap from part-time creator to full time. He’s producing multimedia version of his work. He has a Patreon page. His “Black” series is published by Severed Press. Essentially, he’s got several irons in the fire and anyone who likes King or Barker should be checking out his work. You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s a sample of one of my favorite Cooley books:

Or click this link to read it – https://read.amazon.com/kp/embed?asin=B005XCZANM


It’s An HNoR

iPOS6 I write for my own enjoyment (though I do have a target audience in mind when I write most of my stories) but there are a handful of people I hope to earn the Head Nod of Respect from one day. These are people who aren’t celebrities by any means (though some have audiences far larger than mine). They are creators whose work I have known for some time and whose work I in turn respect and enjoy. I won’t list those people (that would feel like I was begging for attention), but I will list some people who I believe have earned it from me.

You need to check out the stuff these people produce. I’ve sung their praises before, but you can’t say too many good things about a person.

JC Hutchins – He’s one of the reasons I got into podcasting my own fiction. He consistently tells amazing stories in interesting ways. He also likes to try new things and isn’t afraid to set those things aside when they don’t work.
Paul Cooley – One of the smartest horror writers I know. If you like a good scare, you need to be reading his work.
Terry Mixon – I’ve just started reading Terry’s work. Not everything he’s written is my cup of tea, but he knows his ish when it comes to writing.
Christiana Ellis – One of the funniest and most gentle spirits in the world of podcasting. She’s put so much amazing stuff out into the world I just can’t begin to list it.
Mike Plested – He started a podcast on getting published and then worked his butt off to get it done. If you like good YA or heck, just good fiction period, you need to check out his stuff.
Tee Morris – One of the father’s of podcast fiction; Tee has a biting sense of humor, amazing taste in beer, and constantly surprises me with the variety of fiction he tackles.
Jared Axelrod – Seriously one of the most multi-talented artists I know. I can’t say enough good things about what he’s done for me as a creator (whether he realizes it or not).
Philippa Ballantine – Another early presence in the podcast arena, Pip has gone on to be quite the success with her husband and writing partner Tee and on her own.
Skinner Co. – I’m a podcast junky and I know how hard it is to put good work out there on a regular basis. These three people do that and then some. They’ve built a tremendous community and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.
Jake Bible – Seriously one of the most thoughtful and hardest working writers I personally know. He’s living proof that horror writers can be sweet, kind, and not at all what you would expect.
Starla Hutchton – A savvy business person, a great writer, and a sharp designer; Starla is a whole lot of talent in one package.

I hope to give more head nods down the line. Please feel free to give your own in the comments and provide links!

Review – The Black by Paul E. Cooley (E-book)

Black_paperback_for-print-sml1 My friend Paul Cooley has a new book out. Unlike his previous books, this one is not self published. It’s put out by Severed Press, a fine purveyor of books like Jake Bible’s Z-Burbia series. I’ve been watching his process and it’s very interesting. He wrote the book this year and it actually got published THIS YEAR. I’ve more to say about that, but it needs to be a separate post. On to the review!

Under 30,000 feet of water, the exploration rig Leaguer has discovered an oil field larger than Saudi Arabia, with oil so sweet and pure, nations would go to war for the rights to it. But as the team starts drilling exploration well after exploration well in their race to claim the sweet crude, a deep rumbling beneath the ocean floor shakes them all to their core. Something has been living in the oil and it’s about to give birth to the greatest threat humanity has ever seen.

“The Black” is a techno/horror-thriller that puts the horror and action of movies such as Leviathan and The Thing right into readers’ hands. Ocean exploration will never be the same.”

The Goods – This is a book that is both like and unlike Paul’s previous books. Why is this a good thing? It shows his breadth and depth as a writer. This book proves that he can do a fairly straight forward monster tale (which this is) and bring his own flavor to it. It’s more “marketable” than his other works. Not to say that it’s better or worse, it’s just a bit more accessible than alt history/horror or Muppet VIOLENCE. His writing here is also a little tighter than usual, which is a requirement more of the genre. If he has continued success with this series and other books with Severed, it will hopefully bring more folks into the fold who will discover his edgier books. That’s a win-win.

The Black takes a few chapters to get warmed up to the level of action and violence a book like this needs, but it’s never boring. The characters are well fleshed out, especially for a book in this genre, and the monster is spooky without us knowing a damned thing about it. Once it does get going it doesn’t let up. There’s not a wasted bit of prose anywhere in here.

The Bads – Yeah, there aren’t any. I really can’t find a single damned thing I would change about this book. Except maybe to put my name on the cover.

Go buy this thing! It gets five and a half out of five tentacles from me. Yeah I can do that. It’s non-Euclidean or something.

Paul’s Site
Paul’s Twitter

Dead Ends Author Intro – Paul E. Cooley

DeadEnds-002-sm Paul is a crazed lunatic, possibly homicidal, with a penchant for killing his fans and exploring the furthest reaches of mental illness and delusions for fun. Even the ones he doesn’t have. When he’s not writing twisted tales of psychological torment, he writes enterprise software and applications for the internet and the iPhone.

Paul’s Parsec Award Nominated Fiends collection and Garaaga’s Children collection are available for free from http://shadowpublications.com and in e-book format from Amazon.com. Paul is also the creator of MyWrite (http://mywriteapp.com) which enables authors to personalize and sign their ebooks using tablets and smart phones.

You can find the latest information, stories, essays, rants, and reviews from his site. He welcomes comments and interaction and especially enjoys speaking of himself in the third person.

Paul wrote the short story “Breakers”.

Twitter: paul_e_cooley

Why do you write/like horror?

Not really sure I “like” to write horror. The stories that come to mind have always been dark in some fashion or another. I do enjoy the obstacles the genre creates for characters and the kinds of goals that come out of it. Few things are more compelling examples of the human condition than people fighting for their lives or scared out of their wits because of something they don’t understand.

I believe the horror genre is a fertile playground for social commentary as well as exploring our darkest fears. Therefore, it’s a place my writer mind frequently visits.

What inspired this particular story?
“Breakers” originally started out as a story called “Cash for Corpses.” Because I couldn’t make some of it work, I changed the internals and the motivation. In the process, “the Breakers” were born.

We all have days where we wake up, read/listen/watch the news, and realize the world is spinning out of control. I wanted to paint the picture of a character who’s lost his hold on conventional thinking and ethics. The story is two parts insane justification and one part ideology.

With all the “crazy” people out there who believe everything they read/listen/or watch, “Breakers” gave me a chance to illustrate one without dragging in other political baggage. I like the idea of anarchists working to free humankind from their shackles of corporate greed, political corruption, and the dreams they are sold. At the same time, I wanted to show just how insane those ideas are in themselves. The narrator in Breakers was a perfect vehicle.

What’s the best horror movie you watched recently?
It’s been a few months, but “Sinister” is the best horror movie I’ve watched in quite a while. Its simplicity in the special effects department is made up for by great acting and a soundtrack that sets your teeth on edge. As I’ve often said, anything that involves small children can outcreep any monster you throw on the screen.

What scares you?
People whose ignorance leads them to violent thoughts, insane rationalization, or allows them to be lead into violent acts. The internet is stuffed with them, as are the talk shows, and, unfortunately, most of the folks on Capitol Hill. When ideology or religion leads one to eschew thousands of years of history, science, and simple human kindness, the world is destined for trouble. And we are in a lot of trouble.

What are you working on now?
I just finished writing a long arc in ancient history (Garaaga’s Children: Ancients) and now I’ve slipped back into the modern world to write “Flames” which is another Fiends’ tale. The novel revolves around an arsonist and religious worship. I expect it will be ready for publication by year’s end.

What’s your favorite beverage while writing?
Coffee. Water. Iced tea. Sometimes the blood of lobbyists.

Dead Ends is available at Smashwords and Amazon
All proceeds go to the Office of Letters and Light. Please spread the word!

Stories include:
“In The Deep Dark” by Justin R. Macumber
“Morning Dew” by Edward Lorn
“Power in the Blood” by Scott Roche
“Getting Even” by Philip Carroll
“Breakers” by Paul E. Cooley
“Breakup” by J.R. Murdock
“Blister” by Jake Bible
Edited by Sue Baiman
Cover by Scott E. Pond.

Dead Ends – New Horror Anthology

DeadEnds-002-sm In a week I’ll be releasing a brand new horror anthology. It will contain the following stories:

“In The Deep Dark” by Justin R. Macumber – A sinister power is overtaking men at the bottom of a West Virginia coal mine.
“Morning Dew” by Edward Lorn – A golden liquid surrounds a boy’s treehouse and its taste for human flesh is standing between the boys and safety.
“Power In The Blood” by Scott Roche – Reggie discovers that his thirst for blood can give him strength, but may cost him his soul.
“Getting Even” by Philip Carroll -The wealthy and reclusive Mr. Scott Hasbrook must pay for his sins of greed and murder.
“Breakers” by Paul E. Cooley – People known as “Breakers” remove the broken ‘cogs’ from society’s machinery as ruthlessly as possible.
“Breakup” by JR Murdock – Ruby wants to leave her boyfriend Victor, but he wants eternity or nothing.
“Blister” by Jake Bible – Going to the doctor early is a good idea, particularly if your affliction makes you a happy little psycopath.

The release date for this e-book is 7/26/13. All proceeds for the books sales will be donated to the Office of Letters and Light. If you’re interested in an ARC for review, a full size image of the cover or any more information, leave a comment or email me at scott@scottroche.com.

Review – Scrolls (Podcast)

Today I’m dropping a review of the podcast novella Scrolls. It’s part of Paul E. Cooley’s continuing Garaaga’s Children series. It’s a blend of psychological horror and historical fiction. The podcast can be downloaded here and you can download it as an unabridged audio book and e-book here.

Synopsis: Rashim the Hunter killed the beast.

The Keepers kept the legend alive.

The Macedonians uncovered the ancient book.

And now, in the Library of Alexandria, the greatest storehouse of human knowledge, one scribe discovers the truth about the god Garaaga–this is not a legend.

Scrolls, volume four in the Garaaga’s Children saga, ties together the previous tales in a fiery conclusion.

Production: Paul, as usual, does a straight read. His gravely voice is put through its paces as he lends each character its own voice. He does a fine job of that. The sound is clean as always and there are minimal sound effects.

Grade: B+

Cast: Straight read by Paul

Grade: B+

Story: The thing I appreciate about Paul and this series is that he’s doing something fresh. He’s built an alternate history (at least I hope so) and is examining places and times that few if any authors are. To that mix he’s added his own horrific twist in the guise of this demi-god Garaaga and his offspring. This tale is takes place in Alexandria and he imagines what the great library could have been like. I found the whole thing believable. I certainly can’t speak to the historicity of it, but it strikes me that he’s done his research. More important than that to me is the fact that this is a tight story filled with good characters. This is less about the blood and gore and more about a search for truth and the dark places that can take you. The horror here is more about the things people are willing to do to one another to advance an agenda and one man’s fear and how he faces it.

Grade: A-

Verdict: It’s no secret that I love Paul and his work. Even if you aren’t into horror per se you might think about checking this series out. It’s not about psycho killers, evil supernatural forces, or cannibalistic freaks. While those elements are here (It’s Paul after all) he’s stretching out into other genres and you may enjoy this even if his other works aren’t your cuppa. And hey, it’s free. You’d benefit from going back to listen to all of the entries in this series (though I don’t know that it’s required). I hope you enjoy it!

Grade: B++

Other Spooky Books!

Yesterday I linked to some of my works so you’d have something to read for the time of year MADE for haunts. Today I introduce you to some writers that actually have talent.

Sophia (Never Let The Right One Go) by Teel McClanahan

At age 7, Sophia was struck down with a life-threatening disease. Faced with a choice between an unending life in the body of a child and her otherwise certain death, Sophia’s parents had her turned into a vampire.

Now, after 10 years of Christian home-schooling and near-total isolation, Sophia secretly plans on moving out the very night she turns 18. All her research, her online classes, and her natural curiosity have prepared Sophia mentally for the world she’s about to dive head-first into, but no amount of research could prepare her heart for falling in love with Joshua, the first young man she sees after donating her corneas the next day.

Her faith in God and her desire to heal the sick gives Sophia the strength to persevere through the pain of donation after donation, and her vampirism gives her the ability to grow her organs back again and again, but Sophia finds herself unequipped to face her suddenly-awakened lusts of the flesh and the ache in her heart for a deep, reciprocated love. After a shocking and painful first date with Joshua, it doesn’t take Sophia long to learn just how difficult the search for love can be, especially for a teenage vampire with a child’s body and a strong desire to avoid falling into sin.

Sophia is one of two books in the duology Never Let the Right One Go, which shows two apparently conflicting views of the same supernatural world by looking through the eyes of two very different teenage girls in their pursuit of love. Don’t miss Emily, the other half of the picture, and a completely contrary take on everything you think you know.

The other book in this duology, Emily, is also quite good, but this one is creepier.

Interlopers (Garaaga’s Children) by Paul Elard Cooley

They fought in his wars. They were the best of his army. But now, Alexander the Great has exiled the last of his scouts to wander the Indus Valley and find their fate. Fighting disease, strange animals, and a hostile climate, the four remaining scouts encounter something as deadly as it is beautiful.

The intersection of historical fiction and creature horror makes this a complex piece. I love what Paul is doing with this series. You’ll see his name here a lot, but that’s got more to do with the strength and complexity of his writing than anything else. Paul GETS what makes good horror.

Dead Mech by Jake Bible

Massive robotic battle machines. But what happens when a mech pilot dies in his mech and becomes a zombie? Hell on earth is unleashed… Prepare for a high action, fast paced, hell ride through a futuristic wasteland as Mech Base Commander James Capreze and his crew of mech pilots battle zombies, cannibals, religious cults and worst of all, the Dead Mechs, all to try and save the human race one last time. Jake Bible’s Dead Mech: The future may not be completely dead, but it’s on its way…

This is the first in the Apex Trilogy. Jake meshes horror and sci-fi in some unique and interesting ways. I’ve read this and the third book in the trilogy (yeah I know I read crap out of order all the time. Weird, huh?) and highly recommend it.

Closet Treats by Paul Elard Cooley

Reality is a slippery slope for Trey Leger, but he’s managed to carve out a somewhat normal existence in spite of his mental illness. But when an ice cream truck starts making the rounds of his neighborhood, Trey can no longer tell reality from his delusions.

Included is the essay, “The Death Of Childhood”, that inspired the novel and launched Shadowpublications.com.

I love a good unreliable narrator. Books that make me ask “Is this guy crazy? Is this stuff ‘real’? Or is it both?” go in a special place on my shelf.


Summer Rental by Phil Rossi

Mike and his daughter make their annual trip to the Outer Banks. It’s just not the same without Susanna’s mother. This year, there is someone new in town.

This one’s pretty short, but I’m from the area that this is set in and Phil NAILS it. It’s super-duper creepy.


Goodnight, My Love by Dave Sobkowiak

Bedtime is often a struggle for parents of small children. Little Daphne is no different in that regard. What makes Daphne’s case so noteworthy? She’s going to bed while the sun is just peeking out over the horizon.

Daphne’s family belongs to a special group. They keep different hours but they still try to make the world a better place for their children. In that way they’re just like you and me. In other ways, they’re like no one you’ve ever seen.

I love the Twilight Zone feel of this one and that’s all I’ll say about that!

My Teacher is a Zombie by J.R. Murdock

Stanley’s teacher is getting up there in years, but her demeanor is just a little more than off and her smell is even worse. When she attacks the students in his 8th grade class, Stanley and his friends take action.

This is the only one on the list suitable for kids. It was a lot of fun for this adult too!

Well what are you waiting for? Go get these and any other books by these guys.

Ebook Giveaway – Legends/The Sekhmet Bed

Congrats to Jon Spear for winning Eat At Joes and Between the Land and the Sea!

Two more books this week. The first is Legends by Paul Elard Cooley

In a time before the written word, a young warrior, the last of his kind, does battle with the ancient evil threatening his people.

Pursued by the supplicants of an ancient religion, a man travels from the Indus Valley to Akkad to seek those who can write the symbols of history.

Legends is the first installment of the Garaaga’s Children series. The stories of the god Garaaga, its half-human progeny, and its worshipers, blend history with supernatural fantasy and ancient mythology. From the cradle of civilization to the modern world, Garaaga’s Children transports readers through time and the rise of a new religion.

The second is The Sekhmet Bed by Lavender Ironside.

Queen Ahmose knows her duty: to give the Pharaoh a son. But she is young, and has just watched her closest friend die in childbirth. If the Pharaoh plants his seed in her she will die the same way, in a pool of blood, surrounded by wailing women. She has her husband’s love, but a king must have an heir…and even the Pharaoh’s patience will run out. Meanwhile, a lesser queen – Ahmose’s own sister – has given him three sweet, bright children, all of them boys. Ahmose knows her grasp on the Pharaoh’s heart is loosening.

Desperate, she begs the gods for courage to become a mother. They give her more than courage: she is granted a vision of a shining prince, her son – a gift for Egypt who will bring glory to the land. He will be more than the son of a king. He will be the son of the god Amun.

But when the child arrives, it’s a girl.

Ahmose knows the vision was not wrong. Her daughter Hatshepsut has a male soul, and Amun intends the girl to rule. But the Pharaoh will not scandalize Egypt by proclaiming a female successor. If she cannot convince the Pharaoh to accept Hatshepsut as his heir, everything Ahmose loves will be destroyed.

So how do you get these? Merely leave a comment below and your name will be dropped into the virtual hat. Winner gets both!

I plan on giving away a book a week this year, but none of them will be my own. Why? Well, I believe in helping introduce people to new authors and nothing does that like FREE! The contests will be as simple as leaving a comment on the blog, or showing me that you’ve left a review on Amazon or Smashwords of books you’ve picked up in the past. I’ll try and change things up to keep them interesting, but by and large you won’t have to work hard.

If you’re an author and you’d like to pitch your hat into the ring, let me know. I’m not asking you to give me anything for free. I plan on buying your e-book from Amazon/Smashwords as a gift for the winner. So in addition to you getting your name out there, you’ll also get a sale for the contest. The most I can budget per week is $2.99, so if you have a book in the $.99-$2.99 price range let me know. I reserve the right to turn you down, but I will try and do so gently. I’d like to have a variety of genres represented.

If you have a free book and would like me to just get the word out I can do that, but you won’t be part of my contest. If your book is more expensive and you would like to donate a copy, that works too.

Shoot me an e-mail, a DM, or leave me a comment to enter your book.

Balticon Day Zero

I had a great time at Balticon. I recorded an update each day, but was unable to edit/upload them. I figure I’d share them anyway.

Day_Zero_Update, Thursday May 26th. Apologies for the pops. I hope future updates won’t have them.

SiglerFest – A mini con for and by horror/sci-fi author Scott Sigler
Ravenwood – An excellent podcast by Nathan Lowell
Paul Cooley
J.C. Hutchins
Mur Lafferty
Cooley’s New App! – Video coming soon!!!
Jim aka Synaptic Jam

Kindle Love

I am in love.

I got a Kindle yesterday and it’s awesome. Now I didn’t do a whole lot of comparison. I know there are a bunch of awesome e-readers out there. For about twenty four hours I waffled between the Nook and the Kindle. I really don’t think there’s a wrong choice there (unless you were really offended by the 1984 debacle). My funds were limited so I went with the bare bones wifi model and it’s enough for me.

To break in the new device I loaded a few different docs on it. I put an extended version of Fetch on it for my wife to read. I also went out and grabbed a couple of e-books from Smashwords. That’s a great place to find new authors. There’s a mix of free and pay content there. I even have a few stories there. The best thing about the site is the sheer number of formats they have available. If you have a device, they have a compatible format.

The first story I grabbed was “Breakers” by Paul E. Cooley. I’m a big fan of Paul’s. In a world where most fiction classified as “horror” involves an excess of gore/sex or sparkly undead, he’s a breath of fresh air. What fiction of his I’ve read uses a degree of subtlety that I appreciate. It’s also horrific in ways that truly exemplify the word.

So what is “Breakers” about? Well I’ll use the synopsis that Paul chose. “Paranoia and anarchy are the tools of the Breakers. A Breaker agent explains his typical day in this bone-chilling, psychotic tale.” At four thousand words it goes quickly and the price tag of “FREE” is perfect. A true “review” of this is difficult without going into too much detail. I find that’s always true with short stories. Here’s what I can say. He sets up a world in this story that could easily be the one we’re living in right now. That alone makes this frightening.

Check it out and if you like it, I think you’ll enjoy his other fiction. I give it four out of five scalpels.

The second book I loaded (that wasn’t mine) was “A Ghostly Christmas Present” by Dan Sawyer. I’m also a big fan of Dan’s. This is the second story in his Clarke Lantham series. I reviewed the first one, “And Then She Was Gone”, here. What is it about winter time and “scary ghost stories”? Well whatever it is, I like it.

This is as noir as the previous entry, so if you like it, you’ll like this. Here’s the synopsis from the Smashwords page. “It’s hard to beat being thrown in an out-of-state jail on a trumped up charge as a Christmas present, but detective Clarke Lantham loves a challenge. So when he calls up his brother for help with bail, he thinks he’s prepared for the ordeal of spending a holiday weekend with relatives who put the “strange” back in “estranged.” That was his first mistake.”

This one is a bit more fun than the first, though no less dark or edgy. I read it all in one sitting and it kept me going until a quarter to one in the morning. If that’s not enough to push you in the direction of buying this, then let me see what I can do to nudge you along. In addition to being a modern noir, this is also a classic murder mystery with a twist. He makes a number of nods to Agatha Christie and/or Sir Doyle, but as with the classic noir of “And Then She Was Gone”, he adds modern sensibilities.

Dan takes the time to walk his readers through the processes Clarke uses to solve the crime, though never at the expense of pacing. There’s a dash of action, a dollop of sex (handled with humor and taste), and more than one laugh out loud moment. The only thing that really hurt the story for me were a few sections of prose early on that I had to re-read a time or two for clarity. I think $2.99 for a story that comes in at over thirty thousand words and provided me with a few hours of pure entertainment is money well spent. I give this story four and a half out of five bloody icicles.