Cindered Souls, Now Available!

October 6, 2012 in General Topics

Cindered SoulsToday I’m pleased to release another fiction collection. Five spine-tingling horror tales haunt Cindered Souls, now available for your Kindle, Nook, Kobo or app compatible with either of those three platforms, for only $1.99.

Pick up a copy on Amazon (Kindle), Kobo Books (Kobo), or Barnes & Noble (Nook).
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Happy Halloween — now have a free story

October 29, 2008 in General Topics

I’ll see you again next week, kids. Here’s a free story for you — my valiant attempt at Apex’s Halloween fiction contest. Congratulations on the winners!


copyright 2008, Jonathan C. Gillespie

“I tell you, it’s a new game since we’ve given the damn things the right to vote. Those bastards–sorry, don’t run that, okay?” And Paul Orson dives back into his sandwich.

He’s a no-nonsense man, a portly fifty-something that spends fifteen hours a day in a suit. They couldn’t handle him in the private sector, but his campaign gigs ram candidates into office with the brutal efficiency of a toddler attacking a stack of Duplo blocks with a hammer.

If Paul’s your strategist, people put you into power. But this election was different, and although his customer, President-elect Price, has achieved that most magic of titles, Paul says this year was his last. And your company landed exclusive rights to his memoirs.

He comes up from his plate with mayonnaise on his chin. He nods over behind you, you follow his gaze. Something is clawing at the frosted glass of the restaurant’s windows, fingers outstretched. It used to be human, then it wasn’t, now it is again thanks to a piece of paper.

“28th Amendment, my ass.” says Paul. “And I don’t care if they’re not infectious anymore, we need to be better about our security.” Another figure approaches the first. It turns and follows as the newcomer motions to it.

“Anyway,” says Paul. “What you really want to know about is Deerknob, Ohio, don’t you?” And your grin gives it away.

He drops his napkin on the table and leans back with a satisfied sigh.

“So we’re down eleven points in the polls going into the primary, and Price is losing it, you know, with all the exhaustion and everything else. Complaining about a hundred thousand miles, lost years off his life for nothing. But we know Ohio’s the key, like it almost always is, and I got the Hail Mary that’s going to get ole’ Price to the endzone. Tell him to relax, help’s coming, at polling places across the nation.”

“Now understand something, straight up: protestors are a special breed. Either passionate on an issue, or just crazy. Kind of like our shambling friends out there–no happy medium. We had the loonies that day in Deerknob. You know, dumped buckets of blood on themselves, said we’re all going down for letting this happen. But most of them shut up when they heard the armored truck.

“It comes around the corner, Price’s campaign slogan on it. The driver’s sitting pretty in the cab. We didn’t expect it to work, we really didn’t. But we had an army of those things following the truck. Easily ten thousand. The first dozen was just coming in.

“The few pulses that came to the polling location aren’t pleased about it, but they can’t legally do a thing. They get out of there quick, back over to the enforced side of town. But the law hangs around, guns loaded, just in case. The walkers generally didn’t bite anymore, but why take chances?

“Our opponent starts wondering why he didn’t.”

You ask if Governor Willard was actually there that night.

“What? Oh, good Lord, no. I meant that shark Ben Bradford. Strategist. Smells blood in the water like I do. Almost.” He grins at that.

“You remember the fed voting system for the walkers? Six lines, pictures of the candidates over each. A walk through each line equaled a vote. We weren’t checking registration cards, but pictures were taken of each ‘voter’ to be sure no vote counted twice elsewhere. So we’re watching the only two lines that matter–all the rest are dipshit third parties and one abstain line. Price is starting to come around, says maybe all the armored televised campaign trucks we sent into the wastelands might have helped after all. Me, I’m watching our new key demographic file towards the lines.

“We got no way of knowing if this works or not, even with being allowed to do ‘lures’, like the truck, something I took advantage of and Bend didn’t. I chuckled at Ben as I notice the first walker in our line. I’ll never forget that first one–half his skin was missing, and his left arm was a burned cinder. But he had a stupid grin on his face. He seemed to really register Price’s promises of more live cattle into the wastelands.”

He chuckles.

“Price is watching his numbers start to shoot, and Ben is looking on in utter horror–when one of the protestors gets stupid. He comes charging out of the line, over the barricade, and he’s got an American flag. Harps on about brainwashing and welfare states. Two Deputies jump the barricade to come after him.”

“He makes it into a cluster of them, this stupid kid, and waves the flag in their faces. Bad move. Sudden movement spooks em’. One of them, this fat S.O.B, slashes him across the face. That’s it. Blood in the air. And they’re already riled up.

“They rip skin off him, then hold him down and start to go for his liver. He’s screaming and his girlfriend is screaming and the deputies are drawing their guns, and I shout at them to stop, that they know better than to shoot. The deputies back up. The walkers glance up once at them, but they leave them be. Kid’s kibbles, girl goes into shock. Family tried to sue us, we settled out of court. Lost some votes, but hell–that’s any campaign. And it doesn’t really matter any more, does it? The future goes to the man offering the most meat for the cattle.”

You wonder if that was a Freudian slip, absently, as your stomach rolls. You down a glass of water. Paul doesn’t give you much time to recover before he’s shaking your arm.

“Relax, kid. Order some desert.” He rises from the table. “When I come back from the john, I’ll tell you about Florida.”

He grins. “That’s where we really woke the dead.”

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2007 in General Topics

A free tale of horror from yours truly. See below.

In honor of this most haunting of holidays, I’ve decided to give a few tricks to go with your treats.

Click here to read a free story of mine titled “Old Clara’s Favorites”. This requires a .pdf reader. Feel free to pass it around. And have a great All Hallow’s Eve.

Pumpkins and Carvings

October 5, 2007 in General Topics

So it’s Friday and I’ve finished the first draft of another horror piece, but I’ve also begun working on my entry for the Apex Digest Halloween Fiction Contest. I’m truly stoked about this, as I believe I’ve nabbed an idea for their theme (“Post-Apocalypse”) that might actually garner some attention.

I’ll be in tough company, however, and the odds are long on me not making the cut. For starters, the entry is due before midnight on October 15th, and all I have is a plot outline. Second, last year’s entries numbered sixty-seven, and there’ll be more this time. That said, can I hammer my effort into something decent? You better believe I’ll try the best I can.

Let me go ahead and wish good luck to to the other participants, including long-time site visitor and fellow writer Michael Anthony. Michael doesn’t have a site yet, so I can’t link to him, but one of these days I will. This will be after I blow by the entry he’s sending into the afore-mentioned contest. Bwa ha ha ha.

Let me also send along some congratulations to Matt Wallace, who landed yet another big-time writing gig working on the screenplay to the upcoming Australian horror flick “Devil’s Kitchen”. I don’t think they could have hand-picked a better guy for this. We’ll see if it tops “Wolf Creek” for the title of most gripping and disturbing Aussie horror film I’ve ever seen.

That also gives me the chance to segway into plugging Variant Frequencies, produced by Rick Stringer, who landed a James P. Hogan two-parter called “Jailhouse Rock” — the audio version of which is including nine total voice actors. I’d call them “readers”, but this is VF we’re talking about, so voice actor seems far more appropriate.

Also, I know a terrible, dark secret about Variant Frequencies. What is it? You’ll just have to stay tuned.

Finally, I finally bit the bullet and joined facebook this week. If you want to stop on over to my profile (EDIT: 10/24/2013: Fan page here) and say hi, by all means, please do. Although I find some elements of the interface annoying, overall I’m enjoying the social connections, so you’ll see me fairly active there.