20 Essential Crime and Horror Crossovers


According to Max Booth III, “Life is terrible but at least we still have books.” And in celebration of that, he has an article on CrimeReads, in which he guides you through 20 essential crime/horror crossovers. It’s a helluva list, and I’m honored to be part of it…


Kelli Owen’s FLOATERS


I’m a strong advocate that there are never enough lake monster stories in the horror genre. Have you ever stared at a lake in the middle of the night? Anything can be hiding inside. You don’t know. Kelli Owen takes this concept and runs with it in Floaters. Sometimes corpses wash up from Lake Superior, but also sometimes the terrifying creature responsible for the corpses washes up, too. A detective, medical examiner, and reporter team up to hunt down a beast that should not exist. I recommend this one for fans of lake monsters and small-town legends. It’s a fun ride.

Check out the entire article here, subscribe to the Crime Reads newsletter or stalk them on facebook, and of course, show Max Booth III some stalking love as well.

Crash, Bang, Boom

ERnurse“We went like this, he went like that. I said to Hollywood, ‘Where’d he go?'”
Hollywood says, “Where’d who go?”
~ Top Gun (1986)

Perfect quote. It’s how I felt. And a little giggle-shoutout to my sister…

Now then, because I twittered the world. Because I have friends and family that will ask. Because I don’t want to repeat it over and over like a drunk that only knows one joke… here’s what happened.

For those close by, it was at the section of Haines road where you can cross from Ollies to Big K. I was leaving Ollies parking lot heading to Big K, my last chance for a swimming pool this late in the season.

See, it’s still hot here. My Wisconsin blood requires a kiddie pool. There was a girlchild and a cat and a kiddie pool the previous weekend. Girl child feels bad. Cat won the battle. Kiddie pool deflated and dumped it’s water in under a minute. It was impressive, but sad, because I heart my kiddie pool and it was like watching the last bit of water in the desert dry up in front of your eyes. I had checked locally at the Rite Aid but they only had a bigger one with a pump and everything. I’m a simple girl. Just give me an inflatable pool I can sit in with the boy and an umbrella drink or play in with all the kids. So I was scrounging the stores in York after work. But summer goodies have all been replaced by school supplies and the beginnings of Halloween (yay!).

Big K was my last hope in York. No one in York even had pools left, let alone choices.

I had initially thought to turn right onto Haines and then left at the bank and go around that way, not believing I’d be able to get straight across the traffic. But there was no traffic. I wasn’t texting. I wasn’t lighting a cigarette or fiddling with the radio. I was very aware that it was a dangerous intersection and I was taking great precautions. Which just makes me all the more pissed off about the whole thing. The eastbound lane was full of stopped traffic for the light. The westbound was completely empty. I looked both directions, double checked, and then the driver that was stopped right before the Big K entrance and I did that driver-to-driver mouthing, hand signals thing and she waved me across—aware that I was there and wanted to go that direction. I looked both ways again. Especially scanning left because that traffic would be moving if there was any. That was the danger.

I thought.

All clear, I pulled out. I was going about 4 miles an hour and I heard the woman who had waved me honk. She had seen the bat out of hell. I don’t know for sure if he just came flying down the road, from around a corner, or from the back of the stopped line of cars, thinking he’d pass everyone. But he was flying, about 45 I would guess. I had started to turn in my seat to look back at the peripheral blur when I got the jolt. He hit the back passenger corner, slammed me diagonal, and then slid along me and pushed me across into the wrong Big K driveway. I did a zig and a zag to avoid the two vehicles on either side of the driveway, still waiting for their light to turn—thanks for the cone course, dad! And I stopped. A few thoughts ran through my head and then auto pilot took over. I pulled into Big K and turned off the truck. I sat there for a moment and made sure I was breathing. Didn’t feel hurt, didn’t taste blood, and got out.

A van pulled up behind me with two women in it. The blur had been blue, this was gold. I looked around for the blue but saw nothing. The girls in the van had already written down their info by the time I got to their window. Volunteer witnesses that saw the whole thing—score. I was shaking horribly. I now completely understand the “like a leaf” and “out of my shoes” expressions. She asked if I smoked. I said yes. She offered one. I laughed and declined. And we waited a moment for the blur blue to come back. I imagine he had been going fast enough that he had to continue to the intersection and turn around.

My back bumper corner is shredded in a twisted metal/plastic tiger clawed manner. There’s a lovely dent above the wheel well. And a contact scrap from the corner up to the door. Not bad really. Wisconsin trucks are build frozen tundra tough, apparently. He, however, had no front bumper. He had to go fetch it from the road. Meanwhile I had pulled out my camera and started taking pictures. My damage, his license plate, etc. When he put the bumper on the grass, my outside voice kicked in.

“Dead center on the bumper, huh? What lane were you in exactly?”


“Ohhh… maroon paint from the crunch in the middle all the way to the end. Yeah, that’s mine. Thanks”


I was calm, but I was angry. He finally asked if I was ok. I asked for all his info and his first born. My favorite of the lines he managed to get out of his mouth, “It’s my mom’s truck.” Really? He looked to be mid to late 20s. Time to move out, hon. Followed by the revelation that he doesn’t have insurance information and had to call for daddy’s. While we waited for the police, I called the Big K from the parking lot. No pools. Damn it. I didn’t even have to be here. I could have gone home. I… I… argh! Mr. Friendly showed up. Took info from both of us. And everyone went away.

My back and arm were sore. I figured it was just stress and it would go away once I calmed down and decided to sleep on it.

It didn’t. The doc didn’t have room to see me and suggested the hospital. So we had an adventure in the ER friday. And by friday, I mean all damn day friday. I hate ERs. They are not quick. The word Emergency should be removed.

But the ER was a good time. My nurse had a dragonfly tattoo on her wrist (see image). I told her my back hurt, she told me to take off my clothes. I snapped, “I want dinner first.” And she laughed. She later caved when I begged to look inside the locked cart labeled “vascular access,” which is so going to be a title for something, but wouldn’t let me take pictures of its contents. My doctor was about 12 but good. Hippie said she was hiding a southern accent. I didn’t hear it. And the xray tech, 14 pictures later, completely understood the exposed gown issue with no bra and offered me an upgraded version that actually covered me while they trekked me through the rat maze of hospital hallways.

There are no broken bones. The back and neck are fine. But the arm is a problem. From shoulder to fingertip it hurts. And by hurts I mean like hell. It’s hurt to type without pain meds. With pain meds I’m afraid to type. Hippie and the boss think I should. They think Kelli Bizarro fiction would be entertaining. Maybe I will later. Regardless, a writer with a painful arm is a bad thing. Very bad thing. From my elbow down is sharp pain, radiating across my wrist and up to the first two fingers, with a pinpoint of severe pain on the underside of my wrist. Numbness on the pinky side of my hand and a shoulder that feels like it lost a slug-bug war also suck. And I have petechiae all over my hand/wrist, trailing and fading it’s way up to my shoulder.

The registration nurse had a funny line that made Hippie and I both giggle. “Are you a writer?” Yeah. “Because you’re very precise with your descriptions. It’s helpful.”

The assumption right now is that I slammed into the door/window when I got the initial hit/jolt. If you pretend you’re holding the steering wheel and twist to look over your right shoulder, your elbow automatically comes up a little. The twist is what tweaked my back for a day—but it’s just sore, not painful. I don’t remember, it’s just a blur, but we’re guessing that I slammed that elbow and subsequently rolled up and hit the shoulder, bruising everything there. The petechiae and wrist are most likely from gripping the wheel hard while getting slammed, a reflexive “bracing for impact” the doc said. The doc is calling is nerve pain, not damage right now. She believes that it’s caused from bone and muscle swelling—and I am thinking positively and agreeing with her. So I have steroids for bone swelling, muscle relaxants to chill them out, and vicodin to cover the pain. In five days the swelling will be down and the nerves won’t have pressure on them and life will be grand.

Or a little boy I know, driving mommy’s truck with daddy’s insurance, is going to wish he hadn’t been in such a damn hurry.

Apparently, I’m quite entertaining on the muscle relaxants. Hippie’s been playing truth or dare and asking all kinds of things I wouldn’t necessarily answer normally. It’s like evil truth serum and I feel all jacked out on it. I refused to let this interrupt pre-planned family stuff, so we went to the surreal National Aquarium in Baltimore on Saturday (where out of the 200+ pics I took, the camera was fine but I was blurry and had to delete over half of them) and then school shopping Sunday, where I danced to store muzak and continued to break into lyricspeak whenever someone says something that vaguely reminds me of a song.

And yes, I did get a kiddie pool. When I got home from the initial accident, I had the hippie drive to the local Rite Aid and we got the super pool. Complete with air filter. Clearanced out for $49—score. The kids have played marco polo and been swimming nonstop. I’ve been in it once.

*please forgive any mistakes. this blog has been written over the course of three drug-induced days. occasionally written and/or editing while lucid…

Crime and Gender

This is another one [ok, two] of the many brain-boiling tidbits birthed from my “gender panel” at Mo’Con.  It should really be two entries, but I’m going to smoosh it together and see if I can’t make it coherent, because the topics brush up against each other inappropriately and should get along just fine.

Near the end of the panel, the audience started asking questions about skanky behavior and whether it is viewed differently for men or women.  It was posed to the panel: “If a guy acts up at a con, is it cool?  As opposed to a female being looked down upon.”  In a word, No.  I said as much then, but let me expound on that now. Again, no, they are simply Exhibit A and B.  I’ve heard both sexes talked about, though usually for different crimes.  I’ve heard excuses made for both, and seen a tough love stance on both.  Whether you’re male or female doesn’t matter.  In the end, what you do or don’t do, can and will create a demon.  Five minutes of behavior can take five years for this community to forget, if they’re nice enough to forgive.

To understand the lingering gossip passed by the silver tongues of bloggers, conners and Greek old ladies everywhere, you have to take ratios into account.  For simplicity’s sake, let’s say it’s a nice small convention, 200 people.  In this genre, there are more men than women [it’s just the way it is], so let’s keep it simple and say 150 of those are men and 50 are women.  So if five people of each sex behave inappropriately—sloppy drunk, waking up in the wrong bed, loud enough to make me look quiet, etc.—it looks like there are more women participating than men because of the base population.  5 women is a full 10 percent of the group, while 5 men is only 3 percent-because the numbers are skewed to begin with. Get it?

But it goes beyond ratios.  In several ways. And now my nice neat numbers become complicated, because they’re not always negative on both sides.  And that does play into whether or not they’re viewed, treated or talked about differently.  With the above example, the behavior itself seems to stick to the person more if they’re male.  Perhaps it’s because when it comes to the actual act of doing something that’ll raise eyebrows, the men tend to do it more often, be more open about it, and even once they’re knowingly among the rumor mill, will become repeat offenders.  The women?  Not always good with the follow through and often better at keeping their mouths shut. So the men win this round, but the women have their own problems.  Need an example? Ok, how about attire?

When you attend a convention, you’ll notice that people dress “up”—and by that I mean they sometimes dress “outside” of their normal lifestyle.  Granted, some dress like that all the time, and I’m not knocking any lifestyles, and there are those that are obviously and openly in ‘costume’ of sorts for this occasion or that—but I’m discussing the ones that are being serious about it, the “weekenders”.  You know the ones.  Mechanic by day, super Hawaiian shirt dude by night.  Secretary by day, corset lover by night.  Oh, did you see that? Did you see how the guys “dressing up” includes Hawaiian shirts? They’re idea of dressing up for the camera [read as, actually getting dressed to leave the house and do things with others of our ilk] is generally your standard black horror shirt, maybe a cowboy hat or boots, and if you’re really lucky, a bright red zoot suit.  The women?  Ah well, low cut shirts, high cut skirts, heels no human should be able to walk in, corsets from “bondage accessories R us”, and if you’re really lucky, a full on hooker-wannabe outfit that would make Heidi Fleiss jealous.  Do you see the difference?  Now again, there doesn’t have to be very many of either, so let’s stick with 5.  But in this instance, that’s 10 percent of the women that are being pointed out, talked about, gawked at, presumed loose, whatever.  On the flip side, the bowling shirts do nothing for the rumor mills, so the 3 percent of men involved are noticed, but not negatively.

Back to ratios, I know three guys that wear flashy, full-length suits and garner attention to themselves as such, but they’re not spoken of negatively like the three women that come to mind, wearing things that are spoken of for years to come.  [Because this genre is small, people.  Everyone talks, someone posts pictures, and the internet… well, the internet is forever! Have you heard of the way back machine? Not to mention that once someone emails it, posts it to their blog, or otherwise calls attention to it—it’s out of your control and into someone else’s, and that someone doesn’t necessarily have your best interests in mind.]  And I know three women that have rumors I don’t believe, but three men whom I know have done things they should be ashamed of.  Do you see how A & B work here?  Where the men are marked for their behavior, the women are marked for their appearance—and thus, presumed behavior behind closed doors.  And in that subtle distinction you find the fundamentals that make one Exhibit A and the other B.  Of course, the outcome is the same for either—rumor mills and message board entertainment.  Now let’s not forget that this was simplified for blogging purposes.  There are females in the A category and actually a few men in the B, but in general, the forked tongues follow the shortest path.  Of course, I can already imagine the arguments for “even bad press is good press”… bring it on.  I’ve got plenty of examples of why that isn’t true. [Have you been to the boards lately? Just because someone is everywhere, always, doesn’t mean they deserve your attention.]

All of this was brought up at the panel [behavior, clothing, etc.] and my longer answer was something akin to “cover yourself and act respectful.”  Because seriously people, and this is the point to my whole rant because I heard someone whining, if you don’t act and dress like you deserve to be respected, like you have something to say beyond “me love you long time”, how can you possibly get upset when the whispers and finger pointers judge your books by how you cover yourself?

In the end, you are your own advertising… what are you selling?

Subscribe for Updates

*New Release*

click cover to buy on Amazon

Travel Plans

—· Scares that Care ·—
August 2-4, 2019

—· Killer Con ·—
tba 2019

—· Merrimack Valley Halloween Book Festival ·—
tba 2019