Sunday, July 11, 2021

New Release - Split: Book 1 of The Others series

The Others are hatching. One of them splits open Calvin Riddle's head and slides out of him like a calf through the birth canal. It looks like Calvin. It sounds like Calvin. it isn't Calvin. 

Calvin survived though. Calvin persisted. Though stunned to discover he had been an incubator for this... thing, Calvin is gathering strength. Soon, he will be ready to fight.

Split is the first book in "The Other" series. Aliens, mutations, or the vision of madmen? The answer depends on the perspective.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Gift: How I came to Publish Blood Cries

David Brasfield publishes fiction under the pseudonym Christamar Varicella. His nonfiction piece, "The Voodoo Preacher" is featured in The Best New True Crime Stories: Small Towns, edited by Mitzi Szereto.

The story literally arrived on my doorstep. There was a knock at my door. I opened up. A young woman stood on the welcome mat. She was wrapped in a trench coat. London Fog, I think. A fedora was pulled down over her eyes.

"Honey," I called to my wife upstairs. "Some dame from the 1940s is here."

The woman's lips curled into a frown. No one ever gets my humor. I persisted.

"What'll it be, toots?" I said in my best Humphry Bogart. I whipped a washcloth over my shoulder. (I had been doing the dishes.) 

Instead of answering, she brushed past me and headed for the kitchen. Along the way, she reached into a large red leather handbag and pulled out a manuscript, which she slapped down on the breakfast table in the most dramatic way possible.

"Oh no," I thought. "She's going to want me to read that."

"Read this," she said.

"Or maybe you could just tell me your name and state your business." Bogey again.

She stood with her arms crossed. Her wavy brown hair was starting to pull loose from her ponytail. I put her age at between twenty-eight and thirty-two, but her face had a weathered look, as if she'd been beaten up by years of worry. 

"I know who you are," she said. "I know you know the story of the Reverend and you know about his connection to [FAMOUS AUTHOR'S NAME REDACTED]."

Sure I did. The Reverend she referred to was the so-called voodoo preacher, alleged to have killed off at least five members of his own family. I wrote a book about it. My name is mentioned in a book by a staff writer for the New Yorker. Another well-known magazine writer used my research as the basis for a long article published online. 

"Okay," I said

"And you have experience in publishing?"

"It's not very hard these days. I'm sure you'll have no trouble self-publishing your manuscript."

"It can't be me that does it," she said, "and it's not my manuscript."

I stood there looking confused.

"Here's my offer. You keep half of any profits. The other half goes to charity. It's stipulated in the contract."

"What profits?" I asked. "And what contract? Lady, I don't know what you're talking about."

"I can talk a little about the contract, but I can't say who it's with." She rolled her eyes in exasperation. "You'll figure it out if you start reading."  

I picked up the manuscript and started thumbing through pages. Some of it was clearly written by the woman, whose name appeared as Chris Hope, but I also noticed a book-within-a-book that was written by someone named Louella Harper. I had never heard that name before, but I did recognize the title and the copyright date as belonging to a very famous writer. Surely not, I thought. I read the first few pages. Could it be?

I looked at the woman, this stranger who had turned up at my home unannounced. "How did you get this?"

"I own the rights fair and square," she said.

"But how?" 

"Read it," she said, gesturing to the manuscript. "It's all in there."

I didn't want to believe it, but I couldn't stop myself from reading, and the more I read the more convinced I became that she was telling the truth. I was then faced with a simple choice: to help her, or not. To do something, or nothing. I suppose you've already figured out which one I picked. 

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Order Your Copy of Blood Cries by Chris Hope

Forty-two years ago, [FAMOUS AUTHOR'S NAME REDACTED] traveled to [REDACTED], Alabama to learn the true story of the so-called voodoo preacher. Every year, it seemed, Reverend [Will Baxter] killed off another member of his immediate family, but always managed to beat the charges with the help of a charismatic country lawyer and some voodoo magic. 

[FAMOUS AUTHOR'S NAME REDACTED] was obsessed with the story and worked on it for years, but her book, The Reverend, was never published. What happened to the manuscript has always been a mystery. Until now.

Thanks to the efforts of Chris Hope—Louella's number one fan—the book has been discovered and the Reverend's darkest secrets will be revealed for the first time

Fifty percent of the author's profits will be donated to Alexander City's Feast of Sharing

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Who is Louella Harper?

In 1977, a certain national treasure went down to Alexander City, Alabama to research a book about the Reverend Will Maxwell, the so-called voodoo preacher. She never produced the book. Or did she?

This new book, Blood Cries, combines the work of the ostensive author, Chris Hope, and a book-within-a-book written by a woman called Louella Harper. Me thinks this Louella resembles a certain real-life legendary author. The book-within-a-book even bears the same title, The Reverend, as her famous lost manuscript. 

Check out the description for yourself at