Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews

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Today's Author Spotlight is Christopher D. Ochs, author of YA Urban Fantasy/Horror  Read on for the full interview. What's your la...


Today's Author Spotlight is Christopher D. Ochs, author of YA Urban Fantasy/Horror 

Read on for the full interview.




What's your latest release? 


MY FRIEND JACKSON, a YA Urban Fantasy/Horror, is available for pre-ordering Kindle on
September 15, and available in print on October 1.

Can you start out by telling us a little about your latest work? 


MY FRIEND JACKSON centers on Jasmine Price, an inner-city teen who suffers daily psychological, cyber, emotional and physical abuse at the hands of her new school's queen bees. When the rivalry and jealousy reach a fever pitch, a deadly force intervenes.



Where did you get the inspiration to write this story?


I was doing research on girl bullying for a short story "Book Worm" in the Bethlehem Writers Group's 5th anthology "Once Upon A Time." I picked up Rosalind Wiseman's "Queen Bees & Wannabes," thinking I'd read one or two chapters to bone up on the bare minimum. I found her work so riveting, that I devoured the entire book. I knew I had to write a much larger story incorporating the subject.

When you developed the characters, did you already know who they were before you began writing or did they develop organically?


I knew what the 'Monster' had to be. Its place of origin and its mythology guided the development of the 'Mentor' and Jasmine characters. That trio drove the creation and crafting of everything else.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned (about your story, about
yourself, etc.) while writing?


Because the story revolves around several women of color, I hired a Diversity/Sensitivity Editor. It was during that same period that the tragedies of Breonna Taylor's and George Floyd's deaths occurred. Even after our work was done, I engaged in long conversations with her about racism, both outright and systemic. I will always remember her comment about dealing with racism on a daily basis -- "It's
exhausting." I may never fully understand her experiences or those of any person of color, but I'm trying to learn.

What books or authors influenced your own writing?


H.P. Lovecraft rattled my soul down to its roots, and I admired Kurt Vonnegut's wry observations on the human condition.

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?


That is a long and involved story. Maybe when I do a full interview.

What attracted you to the genre(s) you write in?


I was psychically scarred as a child by the original Twilight Zone and the Outer Limits television series. And I loved it!

What's one of your favorite words?


Schadenfreude!

What are you currently reading?


"The Heroes" by Joe Abercrombie. I need to up my game when writing hand-to-hand fight scenes for the next "Pindlebryth" novel.

A lot of authors have a soundtrack while writing. Are there any songs you had on
repeat?


I require silence. I cannot write while music plays. I am a classically trained organist and composer, and as a result, I cannot merely listen to music. I am drawn into it -- analyzing it, cringing when I hear a misplayed or off-key note, singing along with it, stealing riffs, or just plain rockin' out.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?


Don't take criticism, rejections, or bad reviews personally. 
But don't ignore them either. Learn from them if you can.
Grow a thick skin.

Would you rather live in a haunted mansion or a cottage surrounded by fairytale
creatures?


My home is one block away from an ancient Iroquois walking trail. I've already had several friendly visits from the forces and spirits that linger along that route. But I'd give a firm "No!" on the fairytale creatures. I've studied Grimm and Perrault. Those faerie critters are right bastards.

Are you on social media and can your readers interact with you? What are your links?

You can also like/follow me on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Pinterest.

Thanks so much for participating in the Author Spotlight! Anything you'd like to add?


A pinch of itching powder, and a shot of laughing gas?


Christopher D. Ochs’s foray into writing began in 2014 with his epic fantasy Pindlebryth of Lenland: The Five Artifacts. He combined his knack for telling stories in the Lehigh Valley Storytellers Guild with his writing style to craft If I Can’t Sleep, You Can’t Sleep, a collection of the mirthful macabre.

His short stories have been published in several anthologies: GLVWG Writes Stuff, Write Here Write Now, The Write Connections, and Rewriting the Past, by the Greater Lehigh Valley Writers Group; along with Untethered, Finalist in Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion, and Once Upon a Time, by the Bethlehem Writers Group; and last but not least, Meanwhile in the Middle of Eternity by Firebringer Press.

Chris has too many interests outside of writing for his own damn good. With previous careers in physics, mathematics, electrical engineering and software, and his incessant dabbling as a CGI artist, classical organist, voice talent on radio, DVD, audiobook, podcast and the Voice of OTAKON, it's a wonder he can remember to pay the dog and feed his bills. Wait, what?


Christopher, thank you so much for being a guest on Cats Luv Coffee Book Reviews!


As evil ravages the north and the dead walk, all eyes fall to Arn… The apprentice journeys south, home to the College, unaware of the dark e...

As evil ravages the north and the dead walk, all eyes fall to Arn… The apprentice journeys south, home to the College, unaware of the dark events that transpired in the High Passes after his departure. His leg in ruins, and haunted by watching shadows, the College council in Arn awaits him, but he does not travel south alone.

Arnulf and his warriors must travel to Arn also, with tidings for the king of the risen dead and the terrible curse which has destroyed all that he knew. Arnulf seeks vengeance upon the College, but must choose wisely if he is to save his son.

Meanwhile in the west, Bjorn and his strange Wildman companion report back to High Lord Archeon at Oldstones with grim news of cannibal Stonemen encroaching from the Barrens, but is embroiled in news of war and invasion as Archeon requests his service once more.

In the capital sickness awaits them all, Nym has fled to the city and must now continue her struggle for survival on the plague ridden streets of Arn, keeping all who she cares for safe from the halls of Old Night.

The many threads of this Saga converge on the city of Arn, but amid plague, invasion and terror, a greater darkness is looming. Dark forces are seeking to unleash evil upon Arnar, honour and renown is all, and sword, axe and shield is all that stands between the living and the grasping hands of the dead.

THERE IS SOMETHING STRANGE HAPPENING IN PLACIDVILLE! It is 1962. Kathy Anderson, a serious actress who took her training at the Actors Studi...


THERE IS SOMETHING STRANGE HAPPENING IN PLACIDVILLE!

It is 1962. Kathy Anderson, a serious actress who took her training at the Actors Studio in New York, is
stuck playing Vivacia, the Vampire Woman on Vivacia’s House of Horrors for a local Chicago TV station.

Finally fed up showing old monster movies to creature feature fans, she quits and heads to New York
and the fame and footlights of Broadway.

She stops off to visit her parents and old friends in Placidville, the all-Ameican, middle-class, blissfully
normal Midwest small town she grew up in.

But she finds things are strange in Placidville.

Kathy’s parents, her best friend from high school, the local druggist, even the Oberhausen twins are all
acting curiously creepy, odiously odd, and wholly weird. Especially the town’s super geeky nerd, Gerald,
who warns of dark days ahead.

Has Kathy entered a zone in the twilight? Did she reach the limits that are outer? Has she fallen through
a mirror that is black? Or is it just—just—politics as usual!

Read a book that fits the category. You can check off multiple squares with one book if it fits multiple categories...



  • Read a book that fits the category. You can check off multiple squares with one book if it fits multiple categories. 
  • Complete a row - up, down or diagonal!
  • For extra credit, go for a blackout. That means every square filled!
  • All books must be started and finished in the months of September and/or October 2020 to count.

That's it! Pretty easy huh? And don't worry if you don't really do the spooky stuff. Any of these categories could work for urban fantasy as well. You don't have to have a blog to play either. Anyone is welcome to jump in!



The Z Word
Walkers, Zeds, Deadheads, Biters. Whatever you call them; If it should be dead and it's not, it counts!

Strange Fiction
This is that category for the book that you say "Wow, WTF did I just read?"


Don't Sneeze
Ebola? The Plague? Kellis-Amberlee? Whatever ails you, this is the category for you. 

Under the Sea
It's a big, big ocean out there. And I doubt it's full of red-headed mermaids pining for princes named Eric.  

Short Story Collection
Variety is the slice of life. 

Let's Summon Demons
Don't do this. Gates of Hell should stay closed and your arms should remain in the circle at all times.
Any book with a demon or possession gets you a square.

Howl at the Moon
Shapeshifters. Werewolves. Were-rats. (Yeah, they are a thing. Ask LKH.) Shifty people don't count.

Bite Me
Walk softly and carry a sharpened stake. Vampires aren't the only thing that suck.

Crazy Town
Straight jackets are surprisingly comfortable...so I'm told. This square is for location - asylum, mental hospital, etc.  or just a book that's bat sh!t crazy.

Scooby Dooby Doo
Any book that has an investigation, or just some bumbling kids searching for clues while saying things like "Zoinks!".

Afterlife Express
10:15 to Boo Town. Tickets, please! Ghostly apparitions, haunted dolls, and the house on Haunted Hill all count in this square.

Monster Mash
It was a graveyard smash. It caught on in a flash. Here's your catch-all monster square. 

Up Close & Personal
Pick a book that scares you. 

Eye See You
This one can be literal. Either an eye on the cover, eye(s), or seeing in the title somehow, or body horror for you crazy horror fans.

Witching Hour
Spells, Curses, or good old fashioned witchcraft. 

End of the Line
Post-Apocalyptic, natural disaster or dystopian get you this square.

Bloody Good
Either a red cover, blood on the cover, or splatterpunk

Killer Instincts
Is there a killer on the loose? Then, yes, check this square if you dare.

Cabin in the Woods
This one is for those great abandoned locations, like a cabin in the middle of the woods, or a bunker in the middle of the artic. Home sweet home.

Lost Highway
Count this one if your book has a road trip, hitchhiker, or songs by the Eagles.

I Come in Peace
The truth is out there. It doesn't matter if they are little gray men or plants from outer space. 
Stock up on tin foil and bandaids. You're gonna need them. 

Camp Crystal Lake
Any book with a campground or tent camping. Hockey mask optional. 

Oh, the Humanity
Sometimes the monster is more human than expected. This square is for when the monster is us.

Don't Fear the Reaper
Count this square for any book with Death incarnate or anyone with a scythe.

Ready for the board? 




Feel free to download and use the board for your fall reading! Just link back to this page if you do. :)

There is no stopping it. The Cloud is armageddon, steamrolling the world at a walking pace. In his thrilling debut novel Monstre, author D...






















There is no stopping it.

The Cloud is armageddon, steamrolling the world at a walking pace.

In his thrilling debut novel Monstre, author Duncan Swan crafts a relentless, terrifying, genre-bending tale of courage, desperation, and redemption that shows just how fragile our civilization is... and how far we will go to survive.

Day 0. From the wreckage of a research facility in Switzerland, a plume of toxic smoke and ash pours into the sky, forming an impenetrable cloud that is slowly smothering the world in darkness. As Europe disappears beneath the Cloud, a squad of United States Marines are sent on a desperate mission to find out what went wrong, and how to undo it before it's too late. Venturing into a cold, dark world, the Marines must travel deep under the Cloud, with no comms, no backup, and no idea of what they will face.

Day 89. Half a world away, the Cloud has reached the East Coast of the U.S. With nowhere to run and no hope of survival, the American people have descended into madness, turning on themselves and each other. From the sidelines, an old Tennessee sheriff watches as his country unravels. But he can't bring himself to take the easy way out. Quitting isn't in his DNA. So when one of his deputies asks him to help protect her family, he leads them west, chasing a miracle-a rumor of an old nuclear bunker that just may be their only hope for survival. Because if the Cloud doesn't kill them, what's hiding in the dark will.
 
 

From the author of The Reattachment comes a frightening and twisted collection of stories that demonstrates Douglas Ford’s imagination at...

From the author of The Reattachment comes a frightening and twisted collection of stories that demonstrates Douglas Ford’s imagination at its best.

In these stories, a woman uncovers the buried memory of how she once disappeared inside the house of a murderer; a father waits and waits for his son to come out of a playground structure, unprepared for what finally does emerge; a group of foster children play an unconventional form of divination while protecting a secret together; the closet of a hotel room hides an unspeakable voyeur; and in the title story, a carnival offers ritualized combat with something that may or not be an ape.


  11 stories to fright and delight. As the air turns cooler and bonfires take over the night, gather around the fire for stories of fall...

 

11 stories to fright and delight. As the air turns cooler and bonfires take over the night, gather around the fire for stories of fall fun, strange occurrences and abject terror.

These stories published by authors S. C. Morgan, Marie McGrath and Alaine Greyson are sure to get your heart pumping and take your imagination on a wild ride.

After a deal with loan sharks sours, Darlene’s brother is permanently transformed into a chipmunk. Not one to accept impossibility as...



After a deal with loan sharks sours, Darlene’s brother is permanently transformed into a chipmunk. Not one to accept impossibility as a good excuse for failure, she’s determined to rescue her brother and secure revenge against those who’d poisoned him with grade-a transformatives.

If she wants to perform a miracle, she’ll need to join forces with a divine, but the man upstairs and his angels refuse to help.

None of the other so-called benevolent divines are willing to help her, either.

Running out of time and options, Darlene prepares to storm the gates of hell for her brother.

She never expected to fall in love with the Devil.

Warning: this novel contains a woman with a chip on her shoulder, humor, and one hell of a hero. Proceed with caution.


A stunning, lyrical novel set in the rolling foothills of the Appalachians in which a young girl discovers stark truths that will haunt h...



A stunning, lyrical novel set in the rolling foothills of the Appalachians in which a young girl discovers stark truths that will haunt her for the rest of her life.

"A girl comes of age against the knife." So begins the story of Betty Carpenter. Born in a bathtub in 1954 to a Cherokee father and white mother, Betty is the sixth of eight siblings. The world they inhabit is one of poverty and violence--both from outside the family, and also, devastatingly, from within. The lush landscape, rich with birdsong, wild fruit, and blazing stars, becomes a kind of refuge for Betty, but when her family's darkest secrets are brought to light, she has no choice but to reckon with the brutal history hiding in the hills, as well as the heart-wrenching cruelties and incredible characters she encounters in her rural town of Breathed, Ohio. But despite the hardship she faces, Betty is resilient. Her curiosity about the natural world, her fierce love for her sisters, and her father's brilliant stories are kindling for the fire of her own imagination, and in the face of all she bears witness to, Betty discovers an escape: she begins to write. She recounts the horrors of her family's past and present with pen and paper and buries them deep in the dirt--moments that has stung her so deeply, she could not tell them, until now. Inspired by the life of her own mother, Tiffany McDaniel sets out to free the past by telling this heartbreaking yet magical story--a remarkable novel that establishes her as one of the freshest and most important voices in American fiction.

   

Tiffany McDaniel is a novelist, poet, and visual artist born and raised in Ohio. She is the author of The Summer That Melted Everything and BETTY.  


When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith's Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifyi...



When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith's Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national bestselling author Christina Henry.


When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won't find the killer. After all, the year before her father's body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids.

So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can't just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.