I’m a little behind on blog updates, so I’m going to combine a few quick updates into this post and then introduce my friends Giovanna Lagana and Keith Gouveia, who have stopped by with a sneak peek at their new thriller release, The Dead Speak in Riddles.
Anti-Heroes Guest Post
Stop by my pal Giovanna Lagana’s blog for a sneak peek at Anti-Heroes.
Much thanks from me and K.H. Koehler to Gio for hosting us!
The Black Act Book 1 Freebie
Okay, on with my guests!
Giovanna Lagana & Keith Gouveia’s The Dead Speak in Riddles
Keith Gouveia lives in Florida with his wife, Lisa. He is a mechanical engineer by trade and writes fiction in his spare time. His most memorable projects have been the collection Animal Behavior and Other Tales of Lycanthropy and the literary mash-up The Black Cat and the Ghoul written with Edgar Allan Poe, both titles from Coscom Entertainment but if horror is not your cup of tea, you could try one of his fantasy novels, The Goblin Princess, or Children of the Dragon.
Giovanna Lagana is a freelance author and editor. Some of her short stories and poems have been featured in magazines like Tales of the Talisman, Short-Story.Me, Static Movement, and Fear and Trembling Magazine, etc. To learn more about Giovanna and her writing, please check her website at: www.giovannalagana.com
Two thousand undead mummies – a super vampire – and a hoarding, superstitious ex-monk – all come together in an epic battle for your attention.
For a limited time you can get the horror thriller The Dead Speak in Riddles by Keith Gouveia and Giovanna Lagana for only 99 cents at Kobo and Smashwords.
Blurb: Deep in the dark, cryptic catacombs of the Capuchin monastery evil stirs. Among the two thousand mummified corpses lies a buried secret. One about to be discovered by an ex-monk named Gontier Tremblay. Gontier turned his back on the Church years ago; now he’s about to be kicked out of house and home. And just when things couldn’t get any worse, he begins to hear voices in his head. The voices of the holy dead, who are calling upon him to stop this evil from rising.
Insatiable thirst for blood is a curse Father Abramo wishes on no living soul. After killing the four priests who took his true love, Ersilia, from him, he was damned. He’s been roaming the world with this thirst for centuries, killing and feasting on the blood of evil. But when the apparition of the priest he killed begins to haunt him, he uncovers the secret to resurrection. Armed with this revelation, he heads to the catacombs to reunite with his true love and make her a powerful immortal as he.
Within the macabre crypts of the Capuchin monastery, good, evil, and the summoned undead will rise and fight. And the fate of mankind hangs in the balance when the Dead Speak in Riddles.
Excerpt: Father Abramo struggled against the three men carrying him down into the Capuchin catacombs underneath the Palermo monastery. With a man on each leg and another with his arms linked around his own, Abramo could not jerk free. Their sudden aggression had caught him by surprise, for they were all men of the cloth and at one time he had called them friends.
“You can’t do this!”
“You brought this on yourself, Abramo. You took an oath,” said Father Clemente, his grip getting tighter.
“An oath we intend you to keep,” added Father Ernesto.
They know, Father Abramo thought. He slammed the back of his head into Father Leandro, hoping to connect with the bullish man’s chin, but his blow fell short of its mark and harmlessly hit his wide chest.
“You shouldn’t fight us, Abramo,” Leandro said, his voice deep and lacking compassion. “This is God’s will.”
“It’s misguided,” he argued, but they said no more.
The catacombs were the final resting place of the friars and priests of the church, still adorned in their clerical vestments, and a select few local luminaries who provided funds to maintain the church. As they traversed through the long corridors, they passed countless carved stone niches and bodies hung on the walls like morbid art with their arms crossed in front of their chests. Clusters of matted hair clung to their chins and scalps, their once sun-kissed skin now an ashy hue. Their faces distorted from time and gravity, giving them the appearance as though they were screaming from beyond the grave.
A chill danced down Father Abramo’s spine as he knew they were taking him to the farthest chamber in the catacombs; a room used for embalming before segregating the corpses. Even if he could break free, the so-called men of God would certainly tackle him from behind as he made his way through the narrow tunnels, for they knew its intricacies far better than he. The claustrophobic fear embraced him with its icy chill every time he stared down the entrance in front of the church’s altar, and he’d done all he could to avoid the dark bowels. He had always hated the idea of one day being laid to rest in the catacombs with the other priests. It seemed unnatural. Dust to dust. But for whatever reason, the practice was maintained, some long-standing belief that transcended the diverse cultures of Sicily.
Upon entering the final room, Father Abramo’s eyes filled with tears at the sight of his love atop a terra-cotta table, surrounded by a puddle of crimson. She lay motionless, stripped of her dignity and exposed for all the world to see. Her brown hair draped over her shoulders and almost reached to her bosom to cover her nakedness. How he had longed for many years to see her supple flesh, but this was not how he envisioned it.
“Ersilia…Ersilia? What have you done?”
“We have preserved her beauty before she was corrupted by the sins of the flesh. Pray our Lord sees fit to reunite the two of you in Heaven,” said Father Ernesto.
“Don’t worry, her body will be laid to rest with the other virgins,” added Father Clemente.
His fellow priests carried him over to an adjacent table and he eyed the two, long slits running down his love’s arms, the edges of the wounds folded over. He took note of the faint trace of blackish goo inside the wound.
How could they have taken someone so cheerful, so lively, from this earth?
Even in death, Ersilia looked beautiful. Her complexion had always been fair and if not for the fatal wounds, Abramo could have believed she was merely sleeping, awaiting his gentle kiss.
“She was innocent. How could you do this?” he asked as the three priests pinned him to the table.
“Innocent, you say?” another voice came, one Father Abramo recognized immediately. The man stepped out of the shadows holding a small bowl of black, viscous fluid and adorned in a red, ceremonial robe with the hood pulled over his head, casting a menacing shadow over his sunken features. “She has bewitched a servant of God.”
“Father Nicolõ…I told you in confidence.”
“Just be grateful we’ve acted before you fell into temptation. For now you will most certainly be welcomed to sit by His side. Had we waited any longer and you tasted the fruit of her loins…well…I’d say the fires of Hell burn hotter than your passion.”
“You have betrayed our Lord far more than I would have. You have taken a life. A life so pure —”
“Silence!” Father Leandro covered Abramo’s mouth with his hand. “Father Nicolõ has been given special permission. As men of the cloth, it is our duty to purge heretics as she from this earth.”
Father Abramo tried to speak on her behalf, but he could barely suck in a breath through the sausage-like fingers pressed tightly to his lips.
From the folds of his robe, Father Nicolõ produced a ceremonial knife. “You will remain here with your brothers, the way God intended.”
Abramo moaned in protest, but his plea was ignored. The blade pierced his forearm and sliced through his flesh. The spilled blood felt cool upon his skin and with one brachial vein open, Father Nicolõ walked around the foot of the table to slice open the other. Father Clemente, who had Abramo’s arm held tight against the table, squeezed his bicep and rolled his fingers into the muscle to quicken his death.
As the blood pumped out of the gash, sparkles of rainbow colored lights danced in his vision. The walls seemed to spin around him and the moisture in his mouth dissipated.
Father Abramo forced his head to the right to gaze upon his love one last time, wanting her beauty to be the last thing he’d see before parting this world. A tear rolled down his cheek as he envisioned her suffering.
I’m sorry, my dear Ersilia, he thought. Sorry that you had to endure this all because I confessed my love to a man I believed my friend. I hope you knew I was willing to give this all up for the chance to be with you. You are, and always will be, special to me.
Father Nicolõ began to chant, his voice distant and incoherent to Abramo’s ear.
Is that the psalm of David? No. Perhaps Romans 15:13? No matter, he thought.
Whatever prayer the overzealous priest recited for Abramo’s soul would not protect Nicolõ’s soul from the fires of Hell for this transgression.
The blade pierced Abramo’s left arm, the sudden surge of pain ignited his senses. More of his blood flowed and the room seemed to expand as if he were falling away.
No, he told himself. This is not the work of God. If he can forsake me for love, than I shall forsake Him.
Father Abramo wriggled his lips under the portly fingers and was able to open his mouth enough to bite down.
Father Leandro yipped in pain as he withdrew his hand and stepped away from the table.
Capitalizing on Father Clemente and Ernesto’s shock, Father Abramo kicked outward, sending both men crashing to their backsides.
“You fool. You shall burn in Hell for this transgression.”
“You first,” Father Abramo said, then grabbed hold of his robes and pulled him close. “I shall take from you what you took from me.”
With that, Father Abramo leaned in and clamped his teeth upon the priest’s throat. He pulled back and tore a chunk of flesh away with him. Blood gushed forth and Father Abramo lapped at it like a wild dog, the taste sending shockwaves of euphoria through his body. His wounds ignited in unholy fire, then the pain subsided and the slits in his arms were no more. Something inside him awakened; something primal. An unquenchable thirst; a hunger unlike any he had experienced before.