H. Duke Author - writer of fantasy, horror, and more

Review of “Billie the Kid” by Paul Summerhayes

Book: Billie the Kid by Paul Summerhayes

Genre: fantasy, science fiction, weird west

Available in Kindle Unlimited?: Yes (at time of writing)

Available Formats: Kindle ebook

First glance assessment: This is another one I first noticed while doing research for Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer. The cover is awesome, and the tag line is “The Magnificent 7 meets the X-men.” I LOVE the X-men. I knew I had to read this book.

Summary:  Wilhemina “Billie” Bonney lives in a town bordering the “Waste Land,” an inhospitable desert-scape filled with man-eating mutants. When Billie’s step-father is killed and her mother injured by a group of these mutants, Billie and her brother must team up with the local sheriff and a group of superpowered marshals to ride into the waste land to find a cure.

Story: As a lover of X-men and an enthusiast of all things weird west, I knew I would enjoy this story. I liked the characters and the world building. As a reader, I like my fantasy books to have a basis in our world (no high fantasy for me, thanks), and Billie the Kid falls squarely in that category.

There were a few events and scenes that felt overly dramatic, but it didn’t stop me from finishing the book. I also felt that the main character, Billie, who is supposed to be sixteen, felt more like a twelve-year-old.

Writing: The writing is serviceable overall, but certain sections could have used another revision. The POV character switches a lot, and there were several scenes where it wasn’t immediately clear who’s perspective we were in.

Editing: Unfortunately, there were a lot of typos in this book. Not enough to make it completely unreadable, but they were noticeable and caused me to stumble several times. There were also a lot of echo words, as well. I suspect that this book was self-edited.

Overall rating: Overall, I’d rate this book a solid 3 out of 5 stars—it would have been 4 if the editing had been better. The concept is awesome and the characters are good. I can see this story going some interesting places. I look forward to reading the next one when it comes out, though I wouldn’t rearrange my TBR pile to get to it any sooner.

If you’ve read Billie the Kid, let me know what you thought about it in the comments!

Find Billie the Kid on Amazon

And if you’re a fan of the weird west genre, check out Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer: The Complete First Season, now available on Amazon!

Review of “Coilhunter” by Dean F. Wilson

 

Book: Coilhunter by Dean F. Wilson

Genre: Science fiction, weird west

Available in Kindle Unlimited?: Yes

Available Formats: Kindle ebook, paperback

First glance assessment: I first noticed Coilhunter while doing genre research for Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer. I don’t read sci-fi often (I’m more a contemporary fantasy girl, myself), but the premise intrigued me. I decided to give it a whirl since it’s in Kindle Unlimited. Weird West pickin’s are slim, anyway, so I can’t be too picky.

Summary:  Nathaniel Nox is a disfigured former toy-maker-turned-bounty hunter. Terribly scarred while trying to save his family from a fire, he now wears a mask that’s become a symbol of dread for the outlaws of The Wild North, the lawless post-apocalyptic desert-scape Nox calls home.

Ever since the deaths of his wife and children, he’s been searching for their killer. When he forms an unexpected alliance with “Handcart Sally,” a woman with a bounty on her head who claims to know information on the murderer, he just might get the revenge he’s been waiting for.

Story: Coilhunter follows the usual western tropes—the protagonist’s family is murdered, and they’re hell-bent on getting their revenge, dusty-desert landscape, etc. The story was well-paced and the characters were interesting and well-motivated. I enjoyed the glimpses into Nox’s past-life as an inventor and toy maker, because they really made his character sympathetic. My favorite aspect of the story was Nox’s mask. The author did a good job of making us wonder what it’s for.

Writing: While not a literary masterpiece by any means, it certainly got the job done. There were certain phrases that I stumbled over, but they didn’t occur often enough to lessen my enjoyment of the story.

Editing: This book was flawlessly edited. I didn’t notice a sing typo throughout the entire text.

Overall rating: Overall, I’d rate this book a solid 3.75 out of 5 stars. It’s a fun dystopian sci-fi western romp through the desert. I will probably read the rest of the series (there are two more after this one), though I will be cycling through the rest of my TBR pile first. If you’ve read Coilhunter, let me know what you thought of it in the comments!

Click here to purchase Coilhunter on Amazon

And if you’re a fan of the weird west genre, check out Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer: The Complete First Season, now available on Amazon!

Things on the Shelf Teaser Trailer!

by HDukeAuthor 0 Comments

Hi, Friends. I have something awesome to show you today.

First, a little backstory. One thing you need to know is that my younger brother, Jon Dziuk, is a talented filmmaker. He read my holiday horror collection, Things on the Shelf: Three Tales of Christmas Terror, and liked it so much that it inspired him to make this short teaser! and, well, it turned out awesome! I can’t believe how talented he is!

The teaser is only loosely inspired by the book, so you don’t have to worry about spoilers. Even so, I think the teaser captured the creepy holiday spirit.

Here it is:

Get Thing on the Shelf: Three Tales of Christmas Terror on Amazon NOW (also available to read free in Kindle Unlimited!)

Follow Jon Dziuk Films on Facebook (Film concept, director)

Follow Rhett Thompson on Facebook (Director of photography)

Follow Kiah Allen SFX on Facebook (SFX)

Ten Tales of Holiday Horror

Ten Tales of Holiday Horror

Christmas is more scary than merry when you read these ten tales of holiday horror available in Kindle Unlimited!

Scary stories and Christmas go together like cookies and milk. To prove it, we’ve collected ten holiday horror reads. BONUS: they’re all available in Kindle Unlimited!

So give yourself or a friend an early Christmas scare – I mean, present. Lock the doors, spike the eggnog, look out for fat men in suits trying to climb down your chimney, and check out these ten tales of holiday horror! They’re sure to keep you up way past your bedtime!

Things on the Shelf: Three Tales of Christmas Terror by H. Duke

There’s a reason you never touch the elf…

When thrift store worker Erin finds a posable elf doll in a box of donations, she gets into the holiday spirit and starts posing it around the store. Everything is candy canes and sugar plums—until the elf starts moving on its own. Are her co-workers playing tricks on her, or is she going crazy? Because it’s just not possible that the elf doll is alive… right? Erin must find out the truth, or she stands to lose more than her Christmas bonus this year.

 

Read Things on the Shelf: Three Tales of Christmas Terror

Kringle: A Twisted Christmas Tale by Ron Chapman

We have heard and seen all the stories about Santa and the things he can do around Christmas time. Now it’s time for the Mrs. to step out of Santa’s shadow and show everyone exactly what she can do and when she is done… Christmas will never be the same for anyone; man, woman or child.

Read Kringle: A Twisted Christmas Tale

Shattered Ornaments by Brad Carr

Bert loves the Christmas season. Hosting a dinner party at the estate, his guests are full of holiday cheer. However, the party transforms into a living nightmare. Paranormal creatures are haunting them, one by one. What do these spirits want?

Read Shattered Ornaments on Amazon

Chthulhu Christmas and Other Lovecraftian Yuletide Tales

Cthulhu Christmas and other Lovecraftian Yuletide Tales blends the holly jolly warm feelings of Christmas with the unfathomable dread and absolute horror of H. P. Lovecraft. The ancient one arrives to borrow from A Nightmare Before Christmas, but good ole Cthulhu doesn’t want to be nice. No. He wants to feed off your fear! He wants to feast on your flesh and drink your blood.

Read Cthulhu Christmas and Other Lovecraftian Yuletide Tales

Festive Frights: Holiday Horror Stories to Remedy All That Sugar and Spice

A collection of holiday-themed horror tales, from reworkings of the classics to completely new fiction. Our contributors have pushed the boundaries of their imagination for this anthology, bringing you horrifying yet inspiringly original works of Festive Fiction.

Read Festive Frights: Holiday Horror Stories to Remedy All That Sugar and Spice

Christmas Horror Volume 2 

Christmas and a birthday collide, criminals get a holiday surprise, a man drifts through a life he once knew and Santa gets hungrier with each passing year. These are just some of the tales of terror found in Christmas Horror Volume 2, featuring all original fiction from Jeff Strand, Elizabeth Massie, Richard Chizmar, Gene O’Neill, Steve Rasnic Tem and William F. Nolan.

Read Christmas Horror Volume 2

Dreaming of a Dark Christmas

Four dark tales of the holiday spirit.

Read Dreaming of a Dark Christmas

Collected Christmas Horror Shorts

Christmas is often thought of as a time of joy and cheer, a time for giving to others, a time of celebration and love…. Well, this year some of the best voices in horror fiction decided to band together and tell you some tales about a different kind of Christmas, so grab yourself a mug of hot chocolate, close the curtains, lock the door and get comfy. This will be a Christmas like never before!

Read Collected Christmas Horror Shorts

Bah! Humbug! An Anthology of Christmas Horror Stories

Matt Shaw has called upon some of the biggest names in horror to put together an anti-Christmas anthology of horror and weirdness! The proceeds earned from  the sale of this anthology will go to a different charity each month.

Read Bah! Humbug! An Anthology of Christmas Horror Stories 

Christmas Terror Tales – Stories to Enjoy from October through December

Sixteen gripping tales inspired by classical horror and urban legends twist holiday themes into chilling cautionary tales. A mischievous snowman frames the children who built him for its misdeeds. A haughty priest offers shelter to a hideous monster posing as an orphan. A father brings home a cursed Christmas tree resulting in a terrifying haunting experience for his family. From October through December, these stories of devils, spirits, murderers, monsters, and surprise twists will fascinate children and their parents.

Read Christmas Terror Tales – Stories to Enjoy from October through December 

Ten Tales of Holiday Horror in Kindle Unlimited to keep you up this Christmas Eve!

Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer unboxing

I received the proof copy of Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer: The Complete First Season a couple days ago, and I did what any self-respecting person would do… I made an unboxing video. And… well, the video pretty much speaks for itself 🙂

This video was posted to my reader group on Facebook first. The Facebook group is the easiest way to stay in touch with me directly, so go join it already! I post updates on new releases and insider content like this video, but I also post a lot of memes, articles, and videos that I find funny or interesting. You’re welcome to make posts, too! I look forward to seeing you there!

Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer: The Complete First Season

Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer for Kindle Unlimited subscribers

Join the Facebook Group

Will Ser Mormont be Dany’s Downfall? GOT Season 7 Theory

by HDukeAuthor 0 Comments

Game of THrones Season 7 Theory-will Ser Mormont's return lead to Daenarys' downfall?

Spoilers ahead.

Season 7 of Game of Thrones elicited a squee of delight from me when we saw the healing of Ser Jorah Mormont and his subsequent reunion with Daenarys. The unrequited love/friendship between The mother of dragons and her protector and oldest advocate is one of my favorite things about the series.

Alas, the world of GOT is cruel, and I soon developed a theory about the wayward knight’s return to Daenarys’ side. One of the driving questions of season 7 has been whether or not Daenarys will follow in the footsteps of her mad king father. Will she use her dragons to lay waste to King’s Landing, killing thousands of innocents in the process, or will she break the cycle of tyrannical rulers and be a true advocate for the people?

Unlike the people of Westeros, we the viewers have had the opportunity to follow Daenarys through the past six seasons and know she has always fought for the good of the masses. Which is why, if she is going to break character and descend into darkness, she would need a pretty damn good reason to justify it.

Like losing her oldest, closest, and most trusted friend, maybe?

Ugh. I don’t like typing that sentence. But we all know that the world of GOT is a harsh one, and that characters in it rarely get to have something good for very long, and the show went out of its way to put extra weight on the Jorah/Daenarys reunion. There was that long hug/kiss on the cheek, The “you’ve got to be kidding me, I just got you back” look she gave him when he volunteered to help Jon wrangle a white walker, and even a comment from Tyrion about her being happy to see him.

So here’s my theory: Jon and the A-team will successfully catch a white walker, and the scheduled meeting between House Lannister and House Targaryan will take place as planned. During the meeting, Cersei will execute some Cersei-level shenanigans, and Ser Jorah will either end up horrifically killed, horrifically maimed, or horrifically captured.

Effectively and believably motivating Daenaryus to go full Dark-Khaleesi and bring a dragon shit-storm down on King’s Landing and everyone in it.

What do think? Was Ser Mormont brought back just to motivate Daenaryus? Let me know in the comments!

Do you like character-driven fantasy like Game of Thrones? Check out my fantasy weird west serial, Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer available on Amazon and in Kindle Unlimited!

Read episode 1 on Wattpad for FREE!

Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer is now being serialized on Wattpad for FREE! I’m posting a new chapter every Friday (three are already up). It may seem a little redundant now, since you can join the ARC team and get the whole thing for free without having to wait, but I understand that some people may not want to give up their email address for whatever reason–I figure this is a good alternative for that.

And did I mention that the pre-order is now live? That’s right, JJCS: Episode 1 will hit the Amazon shelves on June 15 for a special introductory price of $0.99! Be sure to share with your friends!

Cowboy Sorcerer Cover!

I’m happy to report that I’ve now got all my covers designed for the first season of Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer. I decided to go the contest route over on 99 Designs. If you’re interested in my experience with 99 Designs, please check out the post Are Cover Contests Worth It? on my writing website,  The Writersaurus.

The designer, Pintado, was super accommodating. He even agreed to do the background a different color for each so I have a (sort of) unique cover for each episode. Check them out below (click to enlarge), and let me know what you think of them in the comments!

Cover Color Variations for "Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer" serial by H. Duke.

Note: you can read episode one FOR FREE on Wattpad, where I am uploading a new chapter every Friday. Be sure to follow, comment, and vote!