Free Reading, what?

All you have to do is join my mailing list. Every other month, I’ll be continuing The Matriarch Saga in small, chronicled pieces. If you sign up for my mailing list, you get it free. Otherwise, you’re welcome to visit Amazon when it is finally placed up there and purchase it!

Eve and the Apple

By Lisa Vasquez

(All rights reserved, copyright 2017)



The best thing about being a vampire?





Men have ruled the world since the beginning of time. Funny, narcissistic creatures they are; prancing around like peacocks with their feathers in a fan of displayed pride. From the shadows, I was the first witness to all the atrocities man has committed. From its ability to slaughter their own kind for no other reason than to gain power or to exact revenge. To wars waged in the names of the Gods only to curse them in the next breath. When the world had been scourged by the Old Gods a new dawn came, and with it the birth of a new creature, called “human”.

The New God had fathered a child in his image from the dirt, calling him “Adam”. Little did the New God know, his human child would become spoiled fruit, withering on the vine. The primogen carried inside of him the seed of the original sin and with it he would infect his entire race.  Laying claim to the garden, Adam exalted his existence in the eyes of every beast below him. Even his wife, Eve.

I reveled in knowing soon … the tides would change.


Fleshing It Out With Lisa Vasquez

My interview with AJ Brown!

Type AJ Negative

For the better part of the last seventeen months I’ve gotten to work with Lisa Vasquez, owner of Stitched Smile Publications, graphic designer and author. She’s witty and funny and believes in shenanigans. She is also hard working, dedicated and determined. I think this is why we get along, even though our personalities should clash.

Back in January, Lisa released her novel, The Unfleshed. Recently, I sat down to talk with Lisa about the new novel, among other things.

AJ: Before we get into the nitty gritty, tell us a little bit about Lisa Vasquez, the person.

LV: That’s the question I dread the most when doing interviews. I often put myself into separate boxes.

Lisa, the author, has been writing since she was in the 4th grade. My debut book, The Unsaintly, was released a few years ago and is my favorite work because it was my…

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Dear Writer: STOP Releasing So Many Novels!

A Writer's Path


by Michael Cristiano

As I’m sure you know, dear readers (or Mom… Hi, Mom!), I’ve come to a couple realizations over the past year or so since the release of my first novel. The biggest revelation, the one where I decided to go back to writing for myself, I’ve written about extensively already, and you can read that post here…

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Snippets 001 (pt 1)

In Stitched Smile Publications, we practice our craft often. This is our way of exercising the part of our brain that translates other worlds into “ink”. I call them “snippets” because my time is limited for my own writing so you may get a few words here and there as I take a break from major projects and works in progress. Please keep in mind, these are not edited. They are off-the-cuff and raw.



chud-photography-by-tina-enosThey were all sitting around the kitchen table for Corey’s birthday dinner. The scratching from under the door made it all the more awkward as did their best pretending not to hear it.  The boy, who’d been working on a piece of tough steak for nearly five minutes, would stop chewing when the scratching started, then start again when it’d stop.

scratch, scratch, scratch…

Letting out a sigh, he hung his head down in defeat. Ground up meat still stuffed in one cheek, the boy stared down at his plate. Mashed potatoes stared back at him. Pushing his fork into them, he watched as the starchy vegetable oozed through the tines.

“Don’t play with your food, boy,” his father said. The pasty faced man never looked up from his plate to chastise his son.

“Yes, Pa.”

It was his birthday today. He thought, if he was obedient enough Ma would let him listen to the old record player in the living room of their rickety home. Once in awhile, he’d be allowed to go out back to swing for a few minutes on the rusted swing. His mother, watching from the picture windows would whisper, “Don’t go too high, boy.”

Cory would nod respectfully, but once he started to pump his legs, the excitement of being out in the air coupled with the sensation of flying, it’d get away from him. Swinging as hard and as high as he could, he was free. The memory of the wind on his cheeks and the smell of the outside air pulled him in and swept him away … until it started again.

Scratch, scratch, scratch…

Still holding the bite of tough steak in his mouth, his throat constricted making it any attempt to swallow useless. Reaching for his glass, Corey took a big gulp of water to help wash it down.

Ma was watching him like a mother bird in silence, the lines of worry creasing her porcelain features. Leaning in toward him, Pa’s hand smacked down on the brittle wooden table sending a jolt through the both of them. Leaning back in her seat, Ma wiped her mouth with a napkin without a word.

Scratch, Scratch, Scratch!

Waiting until Pa finished the last bite of food on his plate, they all sat around the table in in painful silence. Whether they were finished or not, when Pa was done, they were done. It was just the way it was. Fixing her eyes on Pa’s hands, she waited for the cue. As soon as Pa rested his eating utensils on his napkin, Ma jumped out of her seat and collected them with his plate.

Tonight was different.

When Pa was done with his dinner, he lifted his bloodshot eyes and gazed at Cory’s mother. Using the tip of his knife, he used it to pick at his teeth, and sucking at them.

“G’on,” he said, “Get the boy his desert.”

Pa had a funny smile on his face that made Cory’s spine go soft. Ma tried to smile but Cory could see she was scared. | darquehalo designs | official fan page


Happy Dance

hwa_unfleshedI always feel like a newb whenever I see my book cover somewhere and I squeal. The sound is somewhere between a dolphin call and a monkey  screech. But here it is, up on the Horror Writers Association page. That’s is probably the closest I’ll get to #VinDiesel, too! (I’ll take it.)

If you would like to know more about me, please sign up for my newsletter at

Every month I’ll have a new chapter to my “newsletter only novella” and some other cool things! maybe even some free flash fiction from guest authors? Who knows! Gotta sign up and see! | darquehalo designs | official fan page



Hard Knocks

I was lying in bed this morning going through Facebook.  OK, so I’m still lying in bed but now I’m writing.  I’m sort of working now! 

What I was seeing, though, made me a little sad.  You see, I’m a writer but I’m also an independent publisher. Which means I help other authors get their stories into your hands.  

This is a very tough business.  I’ll tell you why.  

Author sits at his/her desk and plots story.  This takes anywhere from hours to days and sometimes months.  From there, the author begins the task of making the outline stretch into a story.  

Characters become personalities, places become your hometown,  words become voices you hear spoken aloud in your head.  

Let’s say on average a novel is 70k words.  Then let’s say the average independent author, who still works a full time day job, squeezes out 1k words per day. We’re up to 70 days of writing.  Maybe they have 1 hour of uninterrupted writing time.  So that’s 70 hous of writing. 

Next step is editing.  The editor takes approximately 2 weeks to finish first pass.  One hour a day for two more weeks.  This is the hardest part of the procean because someone else is now tearing apart your work.  The work you labored over for 70 days.  The work you thought was perfect the way it was. The may be 1-2 more passes like this. ..3 more weeks of hell. 

This doesn’t include beta readers and proofers. 

Now comes the cover. 1 week of watching someone give life to the people in your book.  

And then it’s finally here!  

Launch day!  

You are so excited you can hardly contain yourself.  You sit and watch, willing the numbers to rise. It’s not about the fame. It’s about the story.  It’s always been about the story.  

Days and months of toiling.  Dollars invested in an editor, cover art and/or artist.  

You see the sales trickle in.  It’s slow like molasses.  It drains you emotionally asking people every day to read your work. And when they do, you must continue the cycle of asking them to review. 

All this for a portion of what your book is really worry.  Amazon takes a piece,  if you have a publisher we take our cut.  Who’s really making the money off our work? 

Publishers take considerable risks.  (The percentage of punlishers that go out of business is depressing). We pay for stock for the covers … they get industry standard pay.  We pay for Amazon to distribute … they also get industry standard. 

So watching readers who’ve become accustomed to getting a book for free or before industry standard pricing, only to turn around and not review, or sPreah the word, can be disheartening.  

Writers don’t go into this to get rich.  We do it for the craft,  for the love,  they do it for a place to exorcise demons.  

If you love what you’re reading, and you love the author, support them the best way you can.  Tell someone you loved the book, share the book with a friend or donate it,  leave a review so the next person will read about how amazing the story was. 

70 hours × 3.00 = 120$   now take out 20% and that’s what your author made.  (Average) 

Women in Horror: Donelle Pardee Whiting (Pt 1)

I’m not going to do an interview for this. I already know Donelle. Not only is she my Editor-in-Chief (so I’m probably going to get slapped around for doing this post without her final “OK”), she’s one of my best friends.

I started Stitched Smile Publications in January of 2016. I’m proud to say that in a genre-world dominated by men, this company is mostly women. It was not intentionally created that way. I was merely blessed with finding that many talented women who wanted to help me. I put out a call, the women answered. (By the way, men. There’s always a call for help out there if you’d like to even the playing field!)

Donelle is not only a fantastic editor. She’s an awesome writer. She co-authored Strigoi: The First Family and Strychnine, with Michael S. Freeman. She also has a short story in Unleashed: Monsters Vs. Zombies, and will have more coming up this year. I’m excited and honored to have her, and her works as part of the Stitched Smile Publications catalog.

One of Donelle’s strongest points is how good she makes the rest of us look. Indie publishing is filled with editing snafus and with Donelle’s help, we ensure that all of our books get combed through for all the nits and bugs. No one’s perfect … but bestie comes damn close.

Donelle has worked as a investigative journalist in the past and it gives her that curious edge that I love about her. She’s constantly poking for the “Why” and the “Who” of our work. She analyzes it down to the basic word structure, but also loves it from the reader’s point of view. She listens to the author’s voice and helps them fine tune it until the voice is strong and polished.

At SSP, we call Donelle, “The Gate Keeper” (better looking than Zuul, by a landslide) because nothing passes until she’s got every nook and cranny shined up, cleaned up and ready for print. That amount of pride and respect, not only for the author, but for me and SSP as a whole, is hard to come by. It is one of the million reasons I love her.

Editors don’t get enough credit. So I’m beginning this February’s Women in Horror with an homage to the amazing Donelle Pardee Whiting. Keep tuning in and find out more and if you can’t wait here’s a link to keep you tied over.


See you Feburary 1st! Keep it scary.