Book Review: Servant of the Red Quill by Terry M. West


Servant of the Red Quill
Servant of the Red Quill

Servant of the Red Quill by Terry M. West. Published by Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc. 

Available 01-02-15, but can be ordered now.

Overall Score: 5/5

“It’s funny, don’t you think? The way you ignored your family in life and they now ignore you in death? Some are aware of how your uncle gave his cursed baubles of the black room away. But none know of how you followed suit, in your own grief and anger.”

A broken and haunted man, Baker Johnson is a second generation parapsychologist and trustee of plagued and cursed items during New York’s “Roaring 20’s”. He turns to the drink to fill the void of his lost family and quiet the regret of unleashing his cursed items back into the world.

He is coerced away from his downward spiral in order to help an old acquaintance to his deceased uncle, another collector of plagued objects, who is being plagued by a recent acquisition. The item in question, a cursed tome written in an undecipherable language. But is Baker in any kind of shape to resist the shadows and help an inflicted soul?

“‘Go back to your whores and brandy,’… ‘You are hollow, sir. You are a faithless, immoral drunkard. The world deserves a better champion- one who is not at such odds with the people he defends.'”

The brand of Terry M. West has become synonymous, to me at least, with quality, easy to engage and tough to let go, frights. Populated with damaged heroes, imaginative creatures and real world, believable predicaments. With “Red Quill” Mr. West serves up another tightly knitted yarn. It is a period piece, taking place in 1927 with dialogue and social definitions & interactions feeling true to the era. The narrative cruises along at a brisk pace and before you know it, the last page is turned and you are left aching for more.

And with Baker Johnson, Mr. West has delivered his most gripping character yet, from a long line of memorable dramatis personae. A man working more on science and fact, less on faith, although he uses faith based items in his repertoire of tools, to abolish dark entities. He is damaged goods, but not by his own hand, at least not initially. It’s easy to empathize with Baker, feel his pain, all the while rooting for him to rise from the murk.

There is a touching moment when Baker interprets his own suffering, a  defining moment when we, the readers, feel his shift away from the his self-imprisoned black spiral. And we know, if Baker Survives he’s going to make it.

Servant of the Red Quill is a great, quick read. It’ll stick with you for a bit, the shadows rattling around in your brain pan. The character Baker Johnson has legs, hopefully strong legs, as I am quite curious and excited to see where his adventures will take him after “Red Quill”. Whatever is next, I’m in.

“Something was rotting her from the inside. ‘Use me and be very cruel about it.'”

Z-Dubbz is a big dumb animal!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Servant of the Red Quill by Terry M. West

Servant of the Red Quill

by Terry M. West

Giveaway ends February 04, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Submitted for Your Approval: A Tribute to Rod Serling

Rod Serling
Rod Serling

[Editor’s note: There has been no greater inspiration on my work than Rod Serling. Without him, the dark fantasy and science fiction genres would not be what they are. When Kerry sent this piece to me to post, I knew it had to go up and on the 25th. Kerry gives us some background on this iconic writer/television producer that you may not have known. Happy Birthday, Mr. Serling!-TMW]

“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination—your next stop, ‘The Twilight Zone!’” With these iconic words, the rich-voiced Rod Serling introduced “The Twilight Zone.”

If he still lived, Rod Serling would be 90 years old this 25 December. Alas, this master of the anthology-style “Twilight Zone” (1959-1964) and “Night Gallery” (1969) television shows died in 1975.

An American screenwriter, play write, television producer, and narrator from New York took stood against censorship in his lifetime. In high school, he wrote for his high school newspaper and joined the military the day after graduation, serving in the Pacific during WWII. Private Serling received the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star, and the Philippine Liberation Medal. His later writing reflected his realization of the unpredictability of life after serving. He said, “I was bitter about everything and at loose ends when I got out of the service. I think I turned to writing to get it off my chest.”

He earned a bachelor’s of arts degree from Antioch College in Ohio. He worked in radio, film, and, of course, television, accumulating numerous Emmys, Golden Globes, as well as the Edgar Allan Poe and Christopher Awards. His writing was often recognized the Writer’s Guild of America.

Rod Serling's Night Gallery
Rod Serling’s Night Gallery

The popularity of “The Twilight Zone” found resurrection in a comic, a magazine, two later television series, and a film. Rod Serling’s image visited the television show, “The Medium,” and his likeness appeared on a US Postage stamp. His name graces the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

To celebrate his life, I plan to re-watch the seasonal “Twilight Zone” special “Night of the Meek” and recall my thrilling trips on the Tower of Terror in Walt Disney World.

“As long as they talk about you, you’re not really dead, as long as they speak your name, you continue. A legend doesn’t die, just because the man dies.” From “A Game Of Pool,” written by George Clayton Johnson, aired on The Twilight Zone, October 31, 1961

Halloween Forevermore Presents our First Spooky Wax Warmers Commercial

The Undertaker, Boneyard Jacks & Josephine's Skull
The Undertaker, Boneyard Jacks & Josephine’s Skull

We are happy to present our very first Spooky Wax Warmers commercial! This was put together by our managing editor, Terry M. West! Inspired by vintage toy commercials and horror movie ads, this commercial spotlights our wax warmers and even features a quick instructional on how use a wax warmer (a question we often encounter). The commercial is shot in a very retro style and we will be adding more commercials in the near future.

About our wax warmers:

The Ghost and Monster
The Ghost and Monster

Halloween Forevermore wax warmers combine fragrance and spooky design to create a spine-chilling ambiance in any room. Decorate your environment with a safe heat source to melt wax fragrance cubes and fill the room with a wonderful aroma. No burning fires to create a hazard. The removable warming plate makes changing scents easy and safe. These warmers are a great accent to your Halloween or everyday hair-raising décor. Ceramic vessel. Warming plate powers on with standard size electrical plug. For use with your choice of wax fragrance melts. Wax melts not included. The warmers come in five style and can be purchased right here!

Here is the commercial: Giveaway – Full Set Of 5 Horror Wax Warmers!

Halloween Forevermore Wax Warmers

Enter for your chance to win a full set of our famously frightening (yet adorable) 5 wax warmers from!


Our horror-themed wax warmers provide a safe heat source to melt your favorite wax fragrance cubes.  Five eerie designs are ready to accent the counter, table, desk or nightstand.   And we’re giving away a full set to one lucky winner!  This prize package is valued at $150!

These wax warmers make great gifts for lovers of the creepy and spooky.  Halloween Forevermore wax warmers combine fragrance and spooky design to create a spine-chilling ambiance in any room. Decorate your environment with a safe heat source to melt wax fragrance cubes and fill the room with a wonderful aroma. No burning fires to create a hazard. For use with your choice of wax fragrance melts.

Get a closer look at each of the designs and their stories here:

Click here to check out Halloween Forevermore was warmer descriptions and pictures.

Just follow the instructions below to enter and then increase your chances of winning by following a few more steps:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Last Night of October by Greg Chapman


The Last Night of October
The Last Night of October

The Last Night of October written and illustrated by Greg Chapman, 102 pages published by Bad Moon Books.

Overall Score: 5/5
“His existence was one of silent dread; a slow, steady tick of days until that last night of October. It was his every thought, every beat of his tired, old heart.”
Then, two boys disobeying their parents and braving the worst storm in ages to honor a night made for children, to honor an annual tradition.
Now, one wheelchair bound old man, ravaged by emphysema, starring down and dreading the shadows of past tragic choices, on the anniversary of their making. Haunted by the promise of a promised visitor, the only child who will knock on his door this night, and every Halloween night passed, facing his memories cold and alone.
But tonight is different. This night Gerald is not alone and truths need to be revealed.
“‘Oh, God – was that the boy?’
‘Yes – he’s crying’ Gerald said.
‘Crying – why would he be crying?’
Gerald looked right into Kelli’s eyes.  ‘Because he knows how the story ends.'”
“The Last Night of October” is a quick and hypnotizing Halloween yarn. Greg Chapman (author of Torment & The Noctuary) is a talented scribe and he does a fantastic job here. Providing rich imagery, thick tension and heartache throughout. He had me hanging on every word of this tale, illustrating and craftily weaving both the dark sense and youthful spirit of my favorite season. I could see the snow covered ground, I could hear the heavy knocks on the door.
I was invigorated by young Gerald’s youthful sense of invulnerability and I was empathetic to elderly Gerald’s living a lifetime of regret. But then, the shuffle…
This novella solidifies the fact that I need to delve further into Mr. Chapman’s catalogue as I truly enjoyed every moment of “The Last Night of October”. It’s great anytime read and a perfect addition to my list of annual seasonal reads. Fit snugly between Norman Partridge’s “Dark Harvest” & Ray Bradbury’s “The Halloween Tree”. I will definitely be revisiting this. When the nights are murky, the wind is bellowing and the candle’s flame is flickering, I will answer the knock at the door. Check it out.
Zakk is a big dumb animal.


Article: To Own a Monster-The Aurora Monster Models

Aurora Monster Kits
Aurora Monster Kits

Almost anyone who was a child in the 1960’s and 70’s in the US would have at one time owned an Aurora brand model kit. It was a special time in history. Universal Pictures had just licensed their most famous films for Television broadcast. Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine was bringing the excitement of these films into the hearts of boys not so interested in sports and waning on the ideas of the war hero. And 1960 saw a small plastics company secure a deal with Universal to manufacture monster model figure kits.


Dracula & The Mummy
Dracula & The Mummy

After some moderate success in the early 1950s with WW II Aircraft models, Aurora Plastics Company began looking beyond competing with manufacturers Revell and Monogram. They had success with a Knights of Armor series and the Guys and Gals of Nations series in that decade, establishing a market for figure kits, but it was the tie-in with Hollywood film and TV shows that put Aurora on the model kit maker map. Shortly after the deal with Universal, they released their first ‘tie-in’ kit on the market. They introduced Frankenstein in 1961 and it was a huge success. They followed up in 1962 with Dracula and The Wolfman. Monster mania was hitting big and kids wanted to own a piece of monster history for themselves. Imagine being a young kid and having the monster likeness of Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr. and Bela Lugosi in your own possession.

The Forgotten Prisoner
The Forgotten Prisoner

Adding to the excitement, Aurora had commissioned a young talented artist by the name of James Bama to paint box covers for their kits. He brought the b&w film monsters into stunning vivid colors for the first time. James Bama would go on to be regarded as a fine artist in western subject matter. But his early art lived on in the hearts of monster fans for many years. Even to this day his original Universal Monster Kits box art paintings are sold at high prices at auctions.

Following the original kit releases, Aurora continued with; The Creature From the Black Lagoon, The Mummy, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Dr. Jekyll as Mr. Hyde, The Phantom of the Opera, and King Kong and Godzilla in 1964. By that year they had sold over 7 million kits to monster hungry fans. They introduced The Witch in 1965 which was the first kit not associated with a film and in 1966, they released The Forgotten Prisoner in conjunction with Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine.

In 1970, they re-released the kits with glow in the dark parts, usually hands, heads and accessories. Marketed as ‘Frightening Lightning’ kits, the modifications ignited a new wave of sales for the aging kits. This was when I first discovered model building and the exciting Aurora Monster Kits. I will admit that my mom had to cover my models with a small sheet at night, or I’d awaken, frightened to seeing a half dozen glowing, floating heads on the opposite side of my room.

King Kong
King Kong


In subsequent years, Aurora would produce additional series, Monster Scenes, and Monsters of the Movies. They had released successful lines of superhero kits, Superman, Batman, Spider-man, Wonder Woman, The Hulk, The Lone Ranger and more, representing both DC and Marvel worlds. Through the 1960s, they had sci-fi TV Show kits for Lost in Space, Land of the Giants, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, and more. They had monster/vehicle crossover kits, pirates, secret agents, and Presidents. In the 1970s they introduced the Prehistoric Scenes Kits, depicting Dinosaurs, Cavemen, and early mammals. Aurora was purchased in the early 1970s by Nabisco, but by the late 70s the scene had slowed and Nabisco broke up the company in 1977.


Montage of kits
Montage of kits

When I was a kid, my bedroom resembled a miniature horror museum. Getting these kits was like owning a piece of the Horror films I loved so much. Building and painting the kits to match the boxes and film made me a monster creator myself, much like Dr. Frankenstein. I had won awards for a model building contest at a local neighborhood hobby store. These kits became a huge part of my life.




As I grew older, it was sad to see those kits disappear from the store shelves. However, all was not lost. Nabisco had sold the original monster kit molds to rivals, Revell and Monogram, who re-released the famous kits at various intervals throughout the years. Smaller companies like Polar Lights and Moebius would later produce some of the kits and keep monster kit making alive for the older fans that grew up in that special time in history.
Original Aurora Monster kits with the name and date stamp in the bottom can sell for over $200 on eBay, depending upon the model. If you are in it just for nostalgia or new to kit building, you can get most of the reissues for fair market prices, from $25 to $50. There are also a whole slew of new kits with even more detail, often made from Resin or Vinyl for the more discerning kit builder. Today, if you can name a horror movie, some small company has probably built a kit for it. It is a great way to relax; it’s a fun pastime, and a way to own your own monster.



Here’s some links to help discover some of the old kits, new kits, add-on accessories and customizing parts for the horror/sci-fi model kit market. A world that started with a company called Aurora and their original Monster figure Kits. You can also check out the video, Aurora Monsters, The Model Craze the Gripped the World, on dvd with your ghoulish host, Zacherley

Check out this neat trailer for an Aurora Monster Kit documentary:

Article: The Birth of the Zombie


Clairvius Narcisse
Clairvius Narcisse

Who hasn’t heard of the zombie, living-dead antagonist of both television and the silver screen for the past decade?

Actually, the notion of the zombie as a dead person who has been brought back to life – so to speak – has its origins in West African tribal religions and their New World counterpart, vodoun, more commonly known as voodoo.

According to voodoo folklore, a sorcerer, called a bokor, gives his victim a poison derived from various toxic plants and animals including white tree frogs, bouga toads, tarantulas, and puffer fish. (The puffer fish contains tetrodotoxin, one of the deadliest poisons known to man.)

The ill-fated victim begins to suffer dizziness and a prickling feeling in the fingers and toes which soon leads to complete numbness. Next come headache, weakness, a drop in body temperature, rapid pulse, vomiting and diarrhea. Within 30 – 45 minutes, decreased pulse and respiration occur, and the lips turn blue. This is followed by complete paralysis, and the victim is declared dead. Unfortunately the person is completely conscious for the entire ordeal. Even more unfortunately, he or she remains conscious during burial!

A day or two after burial, the bokor retrieves the victim from the grave and revives the person with a potion of hallucinogenic plants. The zombie, disoriented, traumatized and mentally damaged by the experience, can then be made by the bokor to do the sorcerer’s bidding.

One of the best documented cases of alleged zombification is that of a Haitian man named Clairvius Narcisse. On April 30, 1962, Narcisse checked into the American-run Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Deschapelle, Haiti, basically complaining of the very symptoms mentioned above.

White Zombie poster
White Zombie poster

His condition rapidly deteriorated and on May 2, doctors declared him dead. He was identified by his sister, Marie-Claire, and buried the next day. Eighteen years later, Narcisse appeared to another one of his sisters, Angelina, with an incredible tale to tell: Narcisse claimed he had been poisoned, raised from his coffin and revived, beaten into submission and forced to work sunup to sunset on a plantation. He escaped after two years, only to wander the countryside for the next sixteen years. In 1982, researchers from Haiti’s Centre de Psychologie et Neurologie Mars-Kline investigated the case, examining and questioning the man, and finally determined that he was, in fact, Clairvius Narcisse. The rest of Narcisse’s story could not be substantiated, but it seems that family and townsfolk believed it to be true


Night of the Living Dead lobby card
Night of the Living Dead lobby card

The first zombie movie, White Zombie starring Bela Lugosi (1932), followed the voodoo-master-zombie-slave scenario. In modern zombie lore, however, the living dead are most often not a sorcerer’s slaves, but victims of a pandemic who mindlessly roam the streets hunting surviving humans, and eating any living thing they can catch. This is the premise for the cult classic Night of the Living Dead (1968), and Brad Pitt’s recent venture into the horror genre, World War Z (2013), as well as the popular television series, The Walking Dead and Z Nation. There is, of course, no historical record of a zombie epidemic having ever happened. At least not yet.

Article: Witch for Epiphany

Merry Xmas from La Befana
Merry Xmas from La Befana

In Italy, presents are delivered to children on the eve of 5 January, Epiphany (also known as Three Kings Day) by a benevolent crone named La Befana. Children tidied up their rooms and hung socks from their bedposts, hoping to earn little gifts from the Christmas Witch. For the well-behaved, La Befana left figs, honey, dates, candy, and other small gifts, but for the naughty, she left onions, garlic, coal, or a switch. Although families left a glass of wine and a plate of food for the hag, any who dared spy on her work received a thump on the head from her ever-present broom. If feeling generous, La Befana sweeps the abodes, as though sweeping away the previous years’ troubles.

Some historians theorize La Befana derives from the Roman goddess Strenia. Strenia presided over the distribution of New Year’s gifts of fruits and sweets in ancient Roman households.

La BefanaAnother legend places her in Bethlehem when Mary bore Jesus. The magi stopped at her house to ask if she knew where to find the new-born king. She did not know of Jesus’ whereabouts, but she offered hospitality to the travelers. La Befana’s reputation for excellent housekeeping saw her rise early to begin chores. The grateful magi asked La Befana to join them in their quest. “Alas, I am too busy,” she replied, and they proceeded following the Star to find Jesus. Later in the day, La Befana reconsidered and sought the magi, but she could not find them or the King.

The tradition states that La Befana regretted missing meeting the holy family, and so on the night of the magi, Epiphany, she travels in search of him. She leaves presents for good children because in them she sees the spirit of God. She hope to warn the wicked from their bad courses with her messages.

Hanging stockings for La Befana
Hanging stockings for La Befana

Old lady puppets resembling La Befana often are cast into fires on the night after the New Year in Italy, as though representing the old year’s leaving.

Though since WWII Santa delivers presents to the kids in Italy on Christmas Eve, the witch remains in favor. Throughout Italy and in places with dense Italian populations, parades and performances celebrate the crone. As far away as Toronto finds La Befana choirs singing the praises of the popular Christmas witch.

13 Great Horror Toy Commercials

Stretch Monster
Stretch Monster

Having been born in the 60’s I mourn quite a few things that have been lost to time and technological advancements. Drive-In theaters, video stores and record shops are places that I don’t think my six year-old son will ever be able to fully appreciate or understand.

But the one thing that I think makes me sadder than all of that; Saturday morning cartoons. Now, when I was a kid, there was a two hour block of kid’s TV on a weekday and there were only three major networks and a handful of local UHF stations. After school, cartoons  ran between the soaps and evening news. I pounded out my homework to watch Ultraman or Speed Racer before dinnertime.

But Saturday mornings… they belonged to me. I sat in front of the television from the moment I woke and I watched until lunchtime and my folks were glad to have their morning coffee in silence.

Saturday morning cartoon programming has been dying a slow death since 1992. It pretty much ended completely last October.  I understand it.  I mean, my kid watches cartoons on his tablet when he feels like it. On Demand, streaming and DVR services have made a few weekend hours committed to entertaining kids irrelevant.

Barnabas Collins game graphic
Barnabas Collins game graphic


But you know what my kid will also miss and it makes me just as sad? Those great toy commercials that used to air with the cartoons. Oh, my son may get an ad he can skip after five seconds on YouTube, but he will never know the joy of the retro commercials that really got you excited and made you hound your parents to get you to a Toys R Us before everyone but you had the newest Six Million Dollar Man play set. They just don’t make them like they used to!

And of course, my favorite commercials were those that advertised horror themed toys and games. So here are 13 of my favorite horror toy commercials. They run from the 50’s to the 90’s and if you are 25 or older, you have probably seen at least one of those assembled on this post. Enjoy and if you have a favorite that you don’t see here, share it in the comments!


GODZILLA 1977 Toy Commercial

Toxie Toys

Mego Planet of the Apes

Kenner Stretch Monster Commercial

Creepy Crawlers

Dark Shadows Groovy Horror Head Toy Commercial

Great Garloo

Monster Cereal Toy Commercial

Mad Scientist Monster Lab Toy Commercial

Barnabas Collins Dark Shadows Game

Stay Alive Vincent Price commercial 

Toys R Us Halloween (1980)

Baby Laugh A Lot (not intentionally horrific, but sheesh… I would burn the damned thing…)

Chavez for Charity Jewelry Is Scary Philanthropic

Chavez For Charity logo

Chavez For Charity BraceletsWe are Halloween Forevermore.  We love horror and things that make you sit up in bed at night and exclaim, “Holy Crap!  What was that?”  But like Frankenstein, who will scare the crap out of you if you encounter him under moon’s light, but who also melts at the sight of a sweet little girl with pretty flowers, we love the creepy and crawly with a heart.  We may like to don spooky, dark and gothic fashions, but we still want the world to be a bright and beautiful place.  Chavez for Charity has designed bracelets that combine the perfect “mwah ha ha ha” factor with compassion and generosity, donating 25% of proceeds to multiple charities.   In other words, Chavez For Charity is scary philanthropic.

They have a variety of bracelets fashioned with skulls.    These are made of weighty, quality materials strung together with a thin elastic cord, which stretches to fit any sized wrist.  These bracelets create a nice sound when they rattle against each other.  It’s the kind of sound that indicates quality – like when you know a set of crystal glassware is top-tier by the sound of its “clink.”  Worn in combination with other colors and styles, the bracelets make a trendy and spooky statement.  Each color supports a different charity.  Chavez for Charity also designs bracelets of other themes, sans the spine-chilling skull flavor, for the more traditional bauble-wearer.  They also make lovely necklaces of varying colors and designs.

From the Chavez for Charity website:

“When we launched our Chavez for Charity Collection in early 2013, our goal was to create a line of colorful bracelets that people would love to wear and at the same time allow us to contribute, in a significant way, to charitable causes that we care about…  What we’ve come to realize is that every color tells a story and that through our collection, we are able to facilitate conversations that unite, inspire, and motivate people to fight for what is right and to stand up to what is wrong.  mariechavez was established over a decade ago by designer Julie Marie Chavez.  Julie’s on-trend and distinct designs have earned raves from fashion-forward shoppers and celebrities alike. Julia Roberts, Jennifer Garner, Anne Hathaway, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Rosario Dawson and Kate Bosworth are just a few of the celebrities who have adorned mariechavez…  From playful stackable bracelets of graywood, jade and bronze, to a layered statement necklace of riverstone and agate, Julie’s talent for tastefully balancing colors and textures makes her unique collection consistently sought after.”


Red Riverstone Skull Bracelet

Chavez For Charity Red Skull Bracelet
Chavez For Charity Red Skull Bracelet – BenefittingVDAY Charity



Red riverstone bracelet with skull detail. Measures approximately 7.5″ in length. With the purchase of this bracelet, 25% of gross profit goes to V-Day.


Black Skull Bracelet

Chavez For Charity Black Skulls Bracelet - Benefitting Little Kids Rock Charity
Chavez For Charity Black Skulls Bracelet – Benefitting Little Kids Rock Charity


Black skull bracelet with silver “CFC” tube.  Measures approximately 7.5″ in length. With the purchase of this bracelet, 25% of gross profit goes to Little Kids Rock.


White Skull Set of Five

Chavez For Charity White Skulls - Benefitting Matthew Shepard Foundation
Chavez For Charity White Skulls – Benefitting Matthew Shepard Foundation


Assorted white skull bracelet set of five. Measures approximately 7.5″ in length. With the purchase of this bracelet set, 25% of gross profit goes to the Matthew Shepard Foundation.

Each bracelet comes with a pouch and a hang-tag detailing the charity’s mission.



Disclosure of Material Connection: received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that we would mention it on this website.  Regardless, we only recommend products or services that we use personally and believe will be of interest to our readers.  We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”