Bathory – Intro

György Thurzó







In the depths of Csetje Castle there was very little sunlight. As if that were not enough, her cell faced not eat nor west so any slivers of light in the gaps of stone would not reach her. Still, in the darkest hole where she was sentenced to spend her remaining days – how ever many days that may be – she sat hunched in the furthest corner, her pale hand placed against the wall beside her. The silks of her skirts faded with grime and time fanned out behind her gracefully – even in her grim demise.
Whether priests or caretakers I would be the only other person given permission to visit her. In the near distance I heard the tiny scurrying of rats and wondered absently if she had grown accustomed to the diseased creatures or was simply choosing to ignore them. Either way, I knew they must bother the Countess.  I smiled.


Her voice, harmonic and commanding, still spoke with authority. “You have much to gain from my demise,” she said. With her back to me I had no idea how she knew who stood here.


“Your Grace?”

She sniffed. “Your Grace,” she repeated. “The day I entered this world with my first breath was the day my last had become inevitable.”


“You believe this was your destiny?”


“As long as men who hunger for position and power exist.”


“You have no remorse for your actions?”


“Remorse for my actions? I have done nothing!” her voice boomed, echoing off the stone walls.

“Those girls –“
“Those girls were nothing,” she said. “They were nothing. Isn’t that what I was taught? Isn’t that what I had grown to understand? I’m being punished for a position I was put into.”

I knew that was as much of a confession I would ever get from her. She slowly stood, bracing herself against the wall. At first, I thought she had leaned against the wall because she had nothing else to do. Now I knew it was more. As she took slow and deliberate steps toward me shadows and light from the lit torches danced across her hallow and pale features. What used to be the image of a beautiful woman was now one of skin and bones. Four years of imprisoned solitary confinement was not kind to her.


“You are in the last months of your life. You do not deserve to breathe the air on the earth or see the light of the Lord. You shall disappear from this world and shall never reappear in it again. As the shadows envelop you, may you find time to repent your bestial life,” I said.


Even in her weakened state her eyes pierced through me. We could shackle her and cage her, remove her rank and title, but her nobility flowed through her veins and she conjured power even in the depths of a dungeon – a dungeon of her own castle.


“When I was a child,” she said. “Only two years before I were to marry. I watched my father, who was my mother’s cousin as well as her husband, torture a man. He tied his weakest horse to the fence then bound the legs so it couldn’t run. He had his man knock the horse down on its side and cut the belly open.


He then dragged the gypsy thief to the horse and tied him inside of the horse. My father sewed the horses belly back with the man inside. Both screamed through the night and I listened to their cries. I listened until it faded. The horse passed first, of course. The thief had the joy of slowly passing in rotting flesh. The odor offended me.”


She pressed her hand against the small slot in the stone wall where I could see the bones of her fingers curl against the dirt. She was only inches from me. The only gap in the wall to give her some air and food felt too large as she recounted the story. I had heard the story myself from her husband many years ago so it was no surprise. And I had known her father and uncle were dark in their ways.


“I imagine that was hard to listen to as a little girl,” I said.


She laughed but there was no humor to it. “I greatly enjoyed it,” she said. “Just as I’m sure my father had. The odor offended me,” she repeated. “It was the only thing that offended me.” She waved her hands in the air. “I don’t even remember what the thief stole but I remember the ache in his eyes. It was –“ she paused and at first I didn’t think she would continue. “It was empowering to be a young child witnessing the final moments of his life. I was the last thing he saw in life.”


I didn’t react to her words, as I’m sure she wanted me to. There were no more reactions to be had. I had witnessed enough of her to know otherwise. “Now you can have what you want,” she said. I would never learn the meaning of those words for she would be dead by morning. She tucked her hands together and turned her head away from me. “My hands are cold,” she said to no one in particular.


I stepped back away from her cell and the guard nodded at me. He spoke into her cell. “It’s nothing, Mistress. Just go lie down.”

Tomorrow When I Die – Teaser

Chapter 1


August 18th, 1914

Diyarbekir, Turkey



“I am Anahid,” I whispered.


“Anahid-jan, please dear, I can’t hear you.”


My new teacher approached my desk and gently patted my shoulder. Soft brown wavy hair streaked in gray fell just above her shoulders, framing her round face and dark brown eyes. She smiled in a way that reminded me of my metz-mom and I smiled in return.


Clearing my throat, I found my voice. “My name is Anahid,” I said louder. The eyes of every student in class stared at me as I blushed madly.


I was the new student in class in the middle of a school year. It was the third time we moved in the last twelve months and Diyarbakir was a land of promise for a farming family like ours. At least, that’s what my father told me. As we arrived in the bustling growing village two evenings earlier I cried to my father.


“Baba, why must we move here?”


“Anahid-jan, we must be grateful for opportunities given to us. There are many families who are worse off than us.”


“But Baba, we are like prisoners,” I said as we rode our donkeys along the black basalt walls that stood so tall they loomed over us like a foreboding presence.


“These must be millions of years old,” Mesrop said, his head falling back as he struggled to see the top, his brown curls bouncing around his round face. Mama laughed and I couldn’t help but smile. When she laughed, she laughed with her whole body.


“Not a million years old,” Baba said. “But they’re very old, built from when the Romans were here.”


“What for?”  I asked. It was evening and the skies were clear. The waning moon cast very little light, making crevices appear deeper and shadows seem longer.


“It was a dangerous time, Anahid-jan. You needed walls like this to protect you. But,” He waved his hand in the air. “As you can see by how they have tumbled to the ground in many places. We have no need for such walls.” He walked alongside my brother, Mesrop’s, donkey as my mama walked along mine. She patted my leg comfortingly and smiled at me.


“It will be okay, Anahid-jan,” she said. “You’ll start school in two days and make new friends.”


“I liked my old friends,” I said, frowning.


“Anahid!” Mama scolded me.


I chewed on my lower lip as the walls soon faded into the distance behind us.


“It’ll be okay,” Mesrop said. “School will be fun.”


Kyle Teaser – Children at the Window

He slipped around me and into the bathroom just to our left, leaving me in between the bathroom and my bedroom. A few seconds later, he popped back out with my makeup compact in his hand. I raised my eyebrows at him, but he only shook his head at me.


Kyle slipped around me and crouched to the floor. I realized then what he was doing. He opened the compact and angled the mirror underneath the door. I leaned over him as he played with the angles. I caught fragments of images; my ceiling, the corner of the dresser, and then a flash of something black. It happened so quickly I had no idea what I saw but it made my heart drum hard in my chest.


I knew Kyle had seen it too because his body tensed for a fraction of a second. I leaned into him as he leaned toward the mirror – both of us desperate to see what was going on. Again, fragments of my room came into view and then we heard the shuffling of feet, inches from the door. We froze. Fear gripped me as I wondered if whoever it was would open the door while we were both crouched on the floor, vulnerable to an attack.


Kyle and I watched my door handle, waiting for it to turn, but there was nothing. It wasn’t until I looked back down at the mirror that I realized what the black object was from. The mirror rested in Kyle’s hand, at just the right angle. We both looked down at the mirror at the same time to see solid black eyes staring back at us — using the mirror to their advantage as well.

Chapter 1 – Children at the Window

Chapter 1 (unedited)
The gun jolts in my hand, or as Dan would say, the ‘kick’. In the time it takes for me to blink the firing pin moves forward, crushing and igniting the primer in the cartridge base. At this point my eyes have not even completely closed.
When the primer ignites the gunpowder I’m in between heartbeats, my blood is not pumping any faster from the decision I made because my brain has yet to receive the information needed to do this. Gas pressure forces the bullet out of the chamber, its course already determined by the decision I already made half a heartbeat earlier. A decision my brain has not completely processed yet. A decision that I don’t know that I ever will completely process because the events leading up to that are too unreal for anyone to believe, even me who had been through it.
The bullet shell bumps my arm as it leaves the chamber and leaves a slight singe but I don’t notice it. By the time I open my eyes from the reflexive blink the bullet has already left the chamber, made its predetermined course, and impacted the target, a ten-year old child.
Yes, the asshole was a demon child, but he looked like any other kid – he looked like my kid, aside from the solid black eyes.
I watched him drop to the floor. It didn’t happen like you’d expect, not like it does in the movies. There was no grace to it, no faint-like spell.
I never imagined I would be firing a bullet through a child’s head. But that’s the thing with demons – their disguises are meant to cause hesitation. As he collapsed into a heap, his right leg bent awkwardly and his head bouncing off the concrete floor with a thud that could be felt in my legs, I knew how screwed I was.

RELEASE DATE: October 2018


Children at the Window – Teaser

“What did the note say?” Oliver Helmsley was a large man in every meaning of the term. He ducked to get through doorways and when drinking with his buddies at a bar they would always ask him to place his hands over their face, his fingers lacing over their skulls like a basketball. They all got a kick out of it and Oliver enjoyed the attention. His size never bothered him. His mother was a petite woman and would tell Oliver he was her ‘safe bear’. The comfort he brought her in her final days by holding her tiny hands in his was part of what made him comfortable with his own size. There was no one around to help her pass in peace, no one to help them in general. He was used to it but it bothered him that there was nothing they could do.


He was nineteen, a grown man on his own now. After the lonely burial under the rainy Chicago skies he joined the Army. After the Lusitania sank in war two years prior he wanted to enlist right then and there, but he stayed behind for his ailing mother. The army eventually led him to joining the force until the bone-chilling cold had him yearning for the warm dry weather of the west. He jumped at the chance when an opening was made in a California desert town he had never heard of called Victorville. Sounds like an easy job, Oliver – Frank, his partner had said. It has to be easier than dealing with Chi-town.


“I couldn’t sleep,” Detective Pedersen read. The note had been folded in half on the table. He stared at the note for a long time and then ran his thumb over the indentation of the writing. His brows furrowed together forming a deep V at the top of his nose.

Pedersen took a deep, cleansing breath and Helmsley watched his partner sort through his thoughts. This was where Pedersen had a gift. Between the war, the army, and now the force Helmsley thought he had seen it all. His partner, however, had something almost otherworldly.

John Pedersen’s eyes rested on the bluish tinted hand of the victim where a fly sat cleaning its rear legs. The finger still rested on the trigger, bent as if to fire one more time. A bluish blemish pooled around the base of the thumb.


“Suicide note?” Helmsley asked. He squinted against the bright sun shining through the dusty window, which gave the room an sepia effect.


Pedersen shrugged, snapping out of his reverie. “You tell me.”


Helmsley sighed. “There goes everything.”


“Yup,” Pedersen agreed and glanced around the room, taking in the rest of the details the way only a detective could, planting it to memory.


A younger officer that had been watching the front of the brownstone stepped into the small living room. Oliver raised his eyebrows questioningly.


“A call just came over the radio.”


“And?” Pedersen asked. Oliver glanced at his partner. The look of worry on his face matched his own.


“There’s a fire on Seneca.”


“Shit,” Oliver smoothed his large hand over his large face. He looked tired. But he had looked tired since the day before his mama died. “Alright, let’s go.”


The Off a Friend contest is back! For those that don’t know the rules and haven’t played, welcome welcome welcome to a painful ending!

Here’s how it works, you nominated someone you love. Yes, love. This isn’t the time for revenge, at least not the kind I know we all have in us. Those people don’t deserve attention. This is the time to bring recognition to your morbid loved one who deserves infamy. You love them so much you want them to die a painful torturous end.


When you off-a-friend, they could also end up as the main character instead (which may or may not be killed off) so you never know… But your nominee will end up as a character in my next book.

So, nominate someone that has a sense of humor. Cause seriously, no one wants to get a nasty email for being killed off and all that. That’s no fun.


Nominate someone you love or care about. (If you’re not into all that mushy stuff)

Winner will be announced with the release of the new cover. The book is Cloaked, the 4th book in the Twisted Fairy Tale short story series. It’s a twisted Little Red Riding Hood story.

If you don’t see the survey below please click here to nominate a loved one


Newly Released – The Temptress

Arianna Grenawalt has woken up in a strange bathtub in an abandoned warehouse with no recollection of who she is or where she’s come from. With a fresh suture mark down her abdomen and drugs just barely wearing off she makes her way out of the warehouse into a world she doesn’t recognize. All she has is a single note left for her telling her, ‘It’s more than you deserve’.

In T.M. Williams’ 3rd book of the Twisted Fairy Tale short story series she adapts a futuristic Robin Hood meets Twilight Zone thriller. With elements that blend current social crisis with Williams’ familiar dark fairy tale elements, get ready to go on a twisted adventure The Temptress.

Publisher Note: Each book in the short story series can be read as a stand alone.


“It had me on the edge of my seat the entire time.”

CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE THE KINDLE COPY (print to follow in a few short weeks)

The Temptress – Chapter 1 Teaser



Darkness envelopes my consciousness. My toes. My ankles. My body. Consuming my entire body. No, not my entire body. My neck? No, not my neck. I can take a deep breath. I take a deep breath.


Pain. Shocking pain.


Don’t take deep breaths. Deep breaths bring pain. I don’t want that. My mind is foggy. I should open my eyes. They feel so heavy. I can move my thumb and feel the current against my fingers. Shallow water. My eyelids are heavy. I listen to my breath. In. Out. In. Out. Open your eyes. I’m so tired. I just want to sleep. I lift my hand slowly over the water and pain travels through my body, sharpest in my stomach. Ignore the pain. Ignore the pain. Ignore the pain my mind chants. I rub my forefinger and thumb together and they feel sticky. Not water?


The water feels strange, thick, sticky. It’s not water, I realize. My senses start to come to me. In the distance I can hear something, a motor running? Air conditioner? But it’s snowing outside, isn’t it? The constant hum from the motor is melodic and makes me sleepy. My eyes still feel so heavy. Don’t sleep. Don’t sleep.


Where am I? Why can’t I open my eyes? Why are they so heavy? I open them.


The ceiling is spotted. No, not spots. Stains? Dark red stains. Where am I? I can feel my anxiety bubble, my heart rate increases and my vision clears. Dark red stains on the ceiling. This isn’t right. Where was I? I wasn’t here. I wasn’t here. I wasn’t here.


I was home. I was in my bed. I wasn’t here. Panic takes over and I rush to sit up. The pain is so blinding, so consuming that I forget how to breathe. No sound comes from my mouth because it’s stuck in my throat. The water, no not water – whatever this liquid is, laps around my body. Where … the… fuck… am I?


The motor running and the water splashing, that’s what I hear. I can also hear my heartbeat pounding in my ears. I’m in a tub, I realize. I grip the edges and pull myself up. I can see over the edge. This is not my bathroom. I know that. But I know nothing else. The tiled floor is dusty and old. There’s a stark white towel neatly folded on the sink. The sink is a brownish gray from grime. On top of the towel is a piece of folded paper.


I look down and it’s what I imagine. As I see the dark red pool I’m slouched in the smell of copper assaults my nose and by the clean stitched black line down my stomach I realize that the pool of blood I sit in is my own.


I close my eyes and count my breaths before panic sets in. Where am I? What was the last thing I remembered? There’s nothing. Nothing. My brain is nothing and the fear that comes with it is paralyzing. I listen to the motor again and I realize then that it’s the bathroom fan. I imagine at one point it circulated air effectively but now it was nothing more than white noise.


It takes forever but I pull myself to an upright position. Next to the towel are two white pills and a glass of water. The items on the sink; the towel, the pills, the paper, and the glass are a stark clean contrast against the dirt and grime of the bathroom.


“Hello?” I try to call out but my voice is dry and cracked. It sounds foreign to me. I don’t even recognize my own voice.


There’s no answer and I can tell I’m alone. I don’t know how, but I know this. What seems like hours pass before I pull myself completely out of the tub. I realize by the time I get out that the tub isn’t filled with my blood because it’s too thin. There’s something else. Ammonia? My skin burns and the suture down my stomach aches and throbs with my movements.


Hunched over I pull myself up to the sink and kneel in front of it, bracing myself on the counter. I assume the pills are meant for me but I ignore them. It’s the paper on the towel that interests me. The word, no – the name printed neatly on the paper, looks familiar but I don’t know who it is. I think, perhaps, that it’s my name.




The Temptress – Cover Reveal and Off a Friend Winner





The third book, The Temptress, has an official cover! The first two are getting a makeover as well as part of the new Half Light Publishing home.



I think it’s my favorite cover yet! (Although I say that with each one) and of course all due to the brilliance of my amazing cover designer, Jason Vollario. Who just gets me.


Also, we’re going to have beautiful black and white prints available for those coming to our events! (Without the watermark)


And, if you’re subscribed to my newsletter, then you’ve already seen the announcement, but big congrats to

Arianna Grenawalt

You’re going to be brutally slaughtered thanks to the people who love you! That’s love I tell ya.


Children at the Window – Sneak Peek

Some things to know about with this chapter. It’s quirky – so it’s not like the rest of the book. It’s mostly dialogue and I can’t really tell you why I decided to write it that way, except that I did.

It’s about halfway through the book and sort of a moment of comic relief in the story.

Hope you enjoy!


Twenty One


“It’s really dark.”


“You have a knack for stating the obvious.” I squinted and my knuckles were white as I gripped the steering wheel tighter.


“There’s nothing on the radio.” Lynnette played with the search button for the hundredth time.


“I wish there was some wall up on the side of the roads.” I pressed my lips together.


“Why? Animals would just jump over the walls and be trapped in between them and run back and forth on the road until they got hit.”


“Oh, geez.”


“Do you want me to drive?” Lynnette switched off the radio and fell back into her seat, defeated.


“No, it’s fine.”


“I promise I won’t hit any animals.”


“No, it’s fine.”


“It was an accident.”


“I know it was.”


“Then why won’t you let me drive?” she pressed.


“I want to drive.”


“You don’t look like you want to drive.” She sighed when I didn’t answer. “It really is dark,” she said again.


“Yeah, it really is. I guess there’s no moon tonight.”






“Maybe it’s cloudy?”


I looked up through the windshield. “I don’t think so.”


“Wasn’t there a moon last night?” she asked.


I tried to think back. “I don’t remember. Probably not.”


She continued looking up at the blackened night sky while I focused on not killing any animals that jumped out in the road.


“I really think there was a moon last night.”


“And it what? Just disappeared tonight?”


She shrugged. “I don’t know. It’s weird.”


“I’m sure you’re just remembering wrong.”


“There’s something flying around out there,” she said, her face pressed against the side window.


I glanced up at the night sky again. “Like an owl or something?”


“I don’t know, it was quick. It’s hard to tell.”


“Probably just an owl.”


“Yeah, probably.”


I tapped my finger on the wheel to a soundless tune.


“There it is again.” Lynnette craned her. “I don’t think it’s an owl.”
“What? A bat?”


“I don’t know.”


“It’s probably your mind playing tricks on you.”


She flopped back in her seat again. “I’m bored.”


“I can tell.”


A loud object thumped against the back window. “What the hell?” I glanced in the rearview mirror and Lynnette turned around in her seat.


“What was that?” she asked.


“Was that the bat?” My voice came out sounding higher pitched than usual.


“Just falling out of the sky?”


“I don’t know, maybe it died.”


“And landed on our car while we’re driving down the road at eighty miles an hour?”


“Look out!” Lynnette screamed and when I looked back at the road a woman lay about a hundred yards ahead, directly in the beam of my headlights.


Time didn’t allow me to think. I slammed both feet against the brake pedal and the steering wheel locked. Instead of the pedal going down at once it jittered underfoot. In my peripheral Lynnette place both palms on the dashboard, bracing herself. I cursed under my breath and hoped we stopped in time.


We did.


“What the fuck?” Lynnette asked.


I unlocked my door.


“What are you doing?” she asked.


“Uh, helping the strange woman lying across the middle of the road?” It was an incredulous question.


“What if it’s a trap?”


“Seriously? A woman is lying across the road and almost gets killed by a car and you think it’s a trap?”


“Call the cops.”


“You call the cops. I’m checking on her,” I said, annoyed. She fished for her phone from her purse as I stepped out of the car. I approached the woman and she was lying in the exact same position the entire time. There was no way she was playing  a trick on us.


“Hello?” I asked. What else was I supposed to say?


“Is she alive?” Lynnette called out from the car.


I kneeled beside her. Although pale, her skin had color to it, even in the brightness of the headlights. Her chest rose and fell under her dirt-caked tank top.


“She’s alive!” I yelled back.


I could hear Lynnette speaking with the 9-1-1 operator.


“Amanda, where are we?” Lynnette got out of the car and came to a stop on the other side of the strange lady on the ground. She watched her with what seemed like a mix of apprehension and concern.


I looked around. “We passed a town about twenty minutes ago.”


“Uh, we passed a town about twenty minutes ago,” she said into the phone. “What town?” she asked me.


“We’re on Highway Eighteen,” I offered, hoping it would help.


She repeated what I said to the operator. The woman on the ground groaned.


“She’s alive,” Lynnette said.


“I already told you that.”


The woman’s eyes popped open suddenly revealing blood shoot eyes. I fell back on my rear at the startling movement.

“Whoa,” Lynnette said. “That’s creepy.”


“Shh. Uh, lady, can you hear me?”


She groaned again. Was that an answer?


“Yeah, I think she’s gaining consciousness,” Lynnette said into the phone. “I don’t see any,” she added.


I raised my eyebrows at her.


“They want to know if we see her car around.”


Good question. I stood up and walked to the side of my car, looking down the road behind us. I had completely forgotten about the thump on the back window until I saw a red smear down the trunk of my car. I slowly walked completely toward the back around the trunk. The smear went straight down the middle of the trunk and ended just under the back latch. What the hell?


“Uh, Amanda?” Lynnette called out. “Please come back here.”


I walked back toward Lynnette, all the while trying to figure out what the smear could be. Was it a bat like we thought?


“She keeps saying something.”


I looked down at the strange woman who was mumbling while looking straight up at the night sky. Lynnette was right, she was creepy.




Lynnette shook her head. “Caleb, I think.”


“What happened to 9-1-1?” I realized she wasn’t on the phone anymore.


“Oh, I remembered I could just pull the map up on my phone and told her where we were. They’re sending out some units.”


“Huh, didn’t even think of that.”


“Neither did I. The operator did.”


I crossed my arms.


“Hey strange lady, who’s Caleb?”


“That’s not nice,” I said.


“Okay, lady on the road – who’s Caleb?”


She repeated his name again. That wasn’t helpful.
“How long do you think it’ll take for the cops to get here?” I asked, getting anxious.


“Should we just leave?”


“That’s not why I was asking.”


“I know, but I think we should leave. They’ll be here soon, anyway.”


“Someone else will hit her.”


“We’ll move her to the side of the road,” Lynnette said, showing no indication she wanted to move her.


I looked at the lady on the ground.


“I don’t want to touch her either.”
“I didn’t say anything,” I said.


We stood for a moment, watching her. She kept repeating the name Caleb. Maybe it was someone she knew, I wondered.


“Maybe it’s who dumped her here.”


I looked up at Lynnette. “Maybe her car went off the side of the road.”


“And she what? Walked over here and decided to take a nap?”


I put my hands on my hips.


“She got dumped here.”


“You don’t know that.”


“How else did she end up here?”


I looked at the lady and kneeled down again. “Hey, lady. What’s your name?”
“Joy,” she responded, clear as day.


“Her name is Joy?” Lynnette asked. “That doesn’t sound right.”


“What do you mean it doesn’t sound right? How would a name sound?”


“I mean, she’s lying in the middle of the road, in the middle of nowhere, where the moon went missing and her name is Joy?”


“The moon didn’t go missing.”


“Then where did it go?”


“It was never there.”


“The moon was never there.”


“You know what I mean.” Lynnette was right, we shouldn’t stay. But we couldn’t leave her either. “I still don’t get why you think her name doesn’t sound right.”


“What’s that?” Lynnette pointed down the road behind me.


I spun around. “What the hell?”


“Are those kids? Walking down the road?”

It was one word, but it was enough to spring us into action. Joy grabbed my ankle when she screamed, “Run!”