THE CAIRO DECEPTION now available
Books 1 and 2 of my new World War II-era epic are now available on Amazon!
FREE HORROR, DARK FANTASY AND SUSPENSE TALES
For you to read and enjoy here on this site!
I’ve got a new series coming out, which you’ll be able to preview on Edward Trimnell Books:
In 1938, a rogue German physicist flees to Cairo to prevent Hitler from acquiring the atom bomb.
On his side are his rebellious daughter, and a restless American treasure hunter.
Pitted against him are a ruthless Gestapo agent, and a beautiful American woman with Nazi sympathies.
It is summer, 1937, in the town of Dutch Falls, Pennsylvania.
Elisabeth “Betty” Lehmann is a 19-year-old woman who works in her family’s business— a small-town general store.
Oh, and she’s also a member of the German-American Bund, an organization that actively supports Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler.
Betty is present at a Bund rally when unwelcome visitors arrive.
Read, “The Robots of Jericho” here on Edward Trimnell Books.
This is one of my early short stories. It was inspired by my many years in the automotive industry.
I’ve spent a lot of time in factories of various kinds, and that means plenty of time around industrial robots.
Industrial robots often seem to be alive. “The Robots of Jericho” is a story about what happens when some actually do come alive.
A view from my lawn this morning. In my part of the world (southern Ohio, Cincinnati area), the last of the warm weather seems to have departed for the year. These last two nights, the temperatures have dipped down into the 20s.
That’s typical for November, of course. And while there’s nothing we can do about the weather, it is worth reflecting for a moment….that 2021 is drawing to a close.
You have 58 days (including today) until the end of the year. The time is now to take stock, and apply the gas pedal to any projects that you want to have completed before January 1, 2022.
I know I have a few of my own. The last 58 days of 2021 will be busy ones, indeed, for me.
What do you have planned before 2021 draws to a close?
I am working on BOOK 4 of THE ROCKLAND HORROR series. THE ROCKLAND HORROR is a multigenerational horror saga about a cursed house in Indiana.
BOOK 4 will be set in the immediate post-WWII era of 1945 to 1946. More information on that shortly.
BOOKs 1, 2, and 3 are already available on Amazon, and enrolled in Kindle Unlimited (for those of you who read through KU.)
Keep in mind that Amazon manages the back end of all of this, and the exact hours at the tail end of the free run may vary, depending on your time zone. (So grab it early. Don’t wait until 11:58 p.m. on November 5.)
If you’re interested in trying out the series with a zero commitment, this is your chance.
If you’re interested in trying out Kindle Unlimited, check it out here.
Halloween 2021 went fairly well in my part of the world, with pleasantly warm weather (and the departure of an extended pattern of rain that left the Cincinnati area just in time).
I live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association, or HOA. The HOA is a Sovietized institution that is always meddlesome, and occasionally a creative outlet for aspiring Stalins and Pol Pots. Participation in the administration of an HOA is voluntary, and tends to draw personality types who don’t like minding their own business.
The parents in my HOA got together this year and voted to extend trick-or-treat hours for one hour beyond the 6 pm to 8 pm time frame designated by the local government. (Another thing about HOAs: they regularly mistake themselves for governments.) So trick-or-treat in my neighborhood was set at three hours this year, lasting from 5 pm to 8 pm.
I thought this was unnecessary, but you have to pick your battles in this world. I went along without any outward grumbling. I enjoyed Halloween as a kid (a theme I explore in my novel 12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN), and I don’t begrudge today’s children the pleasure of trick-or-treating.
But three hours of trick-or-treating turned out to be more hours on foot than the average child or parent in my neighborhood could handle. The net result of the time extension was that everyone in the neighborhood went trick-or-treating from 5 pm till 7 pm, and the streets were empty during the hour from 7 till 8.
Speaking of parents and Halloween: I have written before of the downside of helicopter parenting; but there is one upside which I must acknowledge: less youthful mischief on October 31. During my youth in the 1970s and 1980s, Halloween was basically a free-for-all, with kids running wild. Sometimes they victimized homeowners with vandalism, and other kids with bullying.
There seems to be much less of that nowadays, at least in my pleasant suburban part of the world. Change is rarely all good or all bad. It almost always involves a series of tradeoffs, with some things getting better, and some things getting worse.
The intersection between history and horror has always fascinated me. This is an interest that I explored in some length in my novel REVOLUTIONARY GHOSTS.
I KNOW GEORGE WASHINGTON is a short story that I wrote a few years back, about a young man whose coworkers declare that George Washington is still very much alive—though very old—in the 21st century.
This story was based on a dream I had…as my stories so often are.
You can also purchase this story in the collection by the same name, in either Kindle or paperback.
BLOOD FLATS, originally published in 2011, was my first novel. It is the story of a former marine who goes on a quest to clear his name after he is wrongly blamed for a double homicide.
BLOOD FLATS is the story of a journey–with lots of gunfights along the way, of course.
I reedited and republished the book last year; but the cover sorely needed updating. This is the newest cover (and the third since the book’s publication).
I have many horror titles in Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s subscription reading service for ebooks.
Two short story collections, though, will be exiting KU before the end of this month (October 2021):
These two collections comprise some of my oldest stories. Hay Moon contains stories that I wrote between 2009 and 2010. The stories in I Know George Washington were written in 2015 and 2016.
The reason for the change is: I want to make the stories in these books available here on my website. Both of these books will still be available on Amazon for purchase, though, in either ebook or paperback format.
Why are these two titles coming out of Kindle Unlimited, though? If you aren’t an author/publisher yourself, you might not be aware of the rules of the program: Amazon requires all titles in Kindle Unlimited to be exclusive in electronic text format. That basically means: they can’t be available anywhere but Amazon if published in electronic, text-based form.
This is a double-edged sword. On one hand, this rule ensures that subscribers to Kindle Unlimited are legitimately paying for content that they can’t get elsewhere. Otherwise, Kindle Unlimited would fill up with public domain works (like the complete works of William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens). All of Wattpad would be in Kindle Unlimited, too. This would dilute the inventory over there.
On the other hand, though, the exclusivity requirement prevents publication in some legitimate venues that could serve additional readers. If I place a book in Kindle Unlimited, I can’t publish it on Kobo, Barnes & Noble, or Apple Books. Nor can I publish it here on my website.
As a writer/publisher, I am generally happy with both Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. But there are situations in which the rules of the program conflict with something else that I want to do with a title, and this is one of those times.
Never fear, though, I plan to keep all my other horror titles in Kindle Unlimited, including my new horror series, The Rockland Horror.
Don’t have a Kindle Unlimited membership? Check it out here.
It’s that season of the year again!
Last night I went out for a walk in my neighborhood around 7 pm. (We’ve had an unseasonably warm spell here in the Cincinnati area.) I didn’t take into account how quickly the dusk settles in this late in the year. I was only halfway out when it suddenly became very…well, dark.
I therefore walked back to my house in the dark. The houses around me were festooned with various Halloween decorations: skulls, black cats, and even some cool Halloween projector lights.
I love Halloween. For me, Halloween is the time when we mortals come to terms with two constants of human existence: a.) the unknown, and b.) the inevitability of death.
The celebration of Halloween is an act of acceptance. Our lives will always contain tragedy, dissatisfactions, and uncertainty. But we cannot allow ourselves to paralyzed by fear…or by sadness.
Halloween is a time when we laugh at death, and embrace our mortality.
A few years ago, I wrote a Halloween novel called 12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN. This nostalgic, coming-of-age horror tale is set on Halloween night, 1980. Check it out here.
The Consultant is the story of an American marketing consultant who takes a business trip to Osaka, Japan, and talks to the wrong woman in a bar.
One thing leads to another, and he ends up in North Korea.
The story is loosely (I emphasize loosely) based on real events.
The North Korean government has carried out targeted kidnapping campaigns of civilians over the years. Most of the known targets have been South Koreans and Japanese. But there is no reason why an American couldn’t be the target of such a kidnapping. This novel explores that scenario.
The Consultant is a good read for Tom Clancy fans who also like James Clavell…or James Clavell fans who also like a bit of action.
Here’s the first chapter of The Rockland Horror 3
It was a chilly, wet day in March 1917, and thirty-year-old Joe Cullen was overdue for a smoke break.
Joe shot a quick glance over his shoulder. He wanted to make sure that his foreman was nowhere in sight.
Joe was relieved to find himself completely alone on the tree-lined road. All around him, there was nothing but the silent woods. And the light, cold moisture falling from the leaden sky.
Well, almost nothing. There was the Briggs House, too.
This thought made him smile self-consciously. Country people and their superstitions. Never mind that Joe was as country as they came. He also read books, dagnabbit. He had knowledge of the broader world.
He bent and laid his shovel down in the long, sallow, late-winter grass at the edge of the road. The road itself was muddy, owing to the wet weather. He did not want the handle of his shovel to get muddy, too. He still had a lot of work to do with that shovel before quitting time.
That done, he stood, removed his gloves, and slipped them into the lower left side pocket of his coat. From the lower right side pocket he removed a box of Lucky Strikes and a box of wooden matches.
Joe was wearing a broad-rimmed hat, a treated canvas raincoat, and heavy boots. The overhanging tree branches—though still bare of leaves—also caught some of the light rainfall. But when you were working outside in weather like this for an entire day, it was impossible to avoid either the dampness or the chill.
Today’s precipitation was not a hard, driving rain; but it was a steady, unrelenting spittle that varied between mist and drizzle. Fireplace weather, Joe’s mother would have said.
But there would be no fireplace for Joe today—not until quitting time, at least; and that was still several hours away.
Joe was currently employed by the Indiana Department of Transportation, a brand-new state agency created by the Indiana Highway Act of two years prior. Joe was part of a crew that had been charged with preparing Washington Hill Road for paving.
At present, the road was all packed earth and gravel. It was literally the same road that had been used in the pioneer days. Washington Hill Road turned to mud every springtime, or even during a midsummer thunderstorm. That might have been suitable for the age of the horse. It would not do for the age of the automobile.
As he paused to light his cigarette—cupping both the cigarette and the match in his hands to shield them against the moisture in the air—Joe allowed himself a look at the Victorian mansion that was impossible to miss at this point on Washington Hill Road.
The Briggs House rose above him in the distance. The decrepit monolith appeared old-fashioned and dark, even when silhouetted against today’s cloudy gray sky.
The Briggs House was on the left side of the road. It stood at the top end of a long, winding, overgrown private lane that rose to a promontory. When the trees were bare, the roofline of the mansion could be partially glimpsed far below Washington Hill, Joe knew. He was a lifelong resident of Rockland, Indiana.
He smiled to himself, and took a drag on his cigarette. Joe Cullen knew all about the Briggs House—the murders, the whispered stories of witchcraft and necromancy. Much of that was pure fabrication, and at least half of it was pure nonsense.
Joe Cullen had no way of knowing that within a matter of minutes, he would hold an entirely changed attitude about the Briggs House.
About The Rockland Horror saga:
The Rockland Horror saga is FREE to read in Amazon Kindle Unlimited!
Kindle Unlimited is Amazon’s main subscription ebook reading program. Kindle Unlimited gives you virtually unlimited (hence the name) reading privileges to a wide variety of titles, for a low monthly fee.
Not every title listed on Amazon is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited. Literary fiction from the big New York publishing houses generally is not included. You likely won’t find the latest Jonathan Franzen novel in Kindle Unlimited anytime in the near future.
Kindle Unlimited is heavy on genre fiction. This means: romance, space opera, LitRPG, fantasy, and horror.
I have a fair number of horror titles in Kindle Unlimited. I write supernatural horror, in the tradition of Peter Straub, H.P. Lovecraft, Bentley Little and E.F. Benson.
And yes (I know this sounds a bit pretentious) Stephen King. I have achieved barely a gazillionth fraction of King’s commercial success. But his formula of character-based, fast-moving horror is always on my mind when I sit down to write a horror tale.
What kind of horror don’t I write? If you want splatterpunk, or “extreme” horror (aka “torture porn”), then you should skip my books and stories. I have no interest in writing horror fiction that is endlessly grim and/or sadistic. My horror fiction is more akin to the campfire ghost story.
Below are the horror titles that I presently have enrolled in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program. This means that you can read them for free if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber.
To view one of these titles on Amazon, simply click on the image of any book, or any hyperlink below.
A college student takes a walk down the most haunted road in rural Ohio for a cash prize. This is a “haunted road” story, basically a tale of being stuck on a cursed country road at night. Ghosts, evil spirits, and hellhounds abound. Also, an evil witch that inhabits a covered bridge.
A coming-of-age story set on Halloween night, 1980. This is a tale of supernatural events in the American suburb. A classic horror tale for Generation X.
The year is 1976, and the Headless Horseman rides again. This coming-of-age horror thriller is sure to please readers who appreciate character-based supernatural fiction with lots of twists and turns.
The basic idea is: the ghosts of American history coming back to haunt Middle America in 1976, the year of the American Bicentennial. (And yes, I’m old enough to remember the Bicentennial, although I was rather young at the time.)
In early 2016, I read an article in The Economist about the luk thep “spirit dolls” of Thailand.
Manufactured and sold in Thailand, these are factory-made dolls with a unique sales point: each doll is supposedly infused with the spirit of a young child that passed prematurely.
The luk thep are intended to bring comfort to their owners. (They are marketed to childless women.) To me, though, the whole idea sounded rather macabre.
And I couldn’t help thinking: what if one of the dolls was infused with a child spirit that wasn’t very nice? What if that same doll ended up in the possession of an American woman who happened to visit Thailand on a business trip? Luk Thep is a fast-paced ghost tale that spans two continents.
Spanning a nearly 140-year period from 1882 to 2020, The Rockland Horror is a series about dark events at a cursed house in rural Indiana.
This was my first short story collection. Although all of these stories contain speculative elements, there is quite a range in plot and subject matter. In this collection you’ll find vampire and ghost stories, but also a few crime stories with a “twist”. Oh, and there are also several “creature feature” stories that are kind of fun. (In Kindle Unlimited through 10/23/21 only.)
Five dark tales of murder, hauntings, and the undead, set in locations from Tennessee to Mexico. (In Kindle Unlimited through 10/18/21 only.)
The above two short story collections (Hay Moon and I Know George Washington) will be removed from Kindle Unlimited in October 2021. But you’ll be able to read many of those stories here on my site. (And the books will remain for sale on Amazon, of course, in both Kindle and paperback.)
There are no plans to remove any of the other titles listed above from Kindle Unlimited!
I love history, and I love supernatural horror tales. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was therefore always one of my favorite short stories. This classic tale by Washington Irving describes how a Hessian artillery officer terrorized the young American republic several decades after his death.
The Hessian was decapitated by a Continental Army cannonball at the Battle of White Plains, New York, on October 28, 1776. According to some historical accounts, a Hessian artillery officer really did meet such an end at the Battle of White Plains. I’ve read several books about warfare in the 1700s and through the Age of Napoleon. Armies in those days obviously did not have access to machine guns, flamethrowers, and the like. But those 18th-century cannons could inflict some horrific forms of death, decapitation among them.
I was first exposed to the “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” via the 1949 Disney film of the same name. The Disney adaptation was already close to 30 years old, but still popular, when I saw it as a kid sometime during the 1970s.
In Irish folklore, the dullahan or dulachán (“dark man”) is a headless, demonic fairy that rides a horse through the countryside at night. The dullahan carries his head under his arm. When the dullahan stops riding, someone dies.
Scottish folklore includes a tale about a headless horseman named Ewen. Ewen was beheaded when he lost a clan battle at Glen Cainnir on the Isle of Mull. His death prevented him from becoming a chieftain. He roams the hills at night, seeking to reclaim his right to rule.
Finally, in English folklore, there is the 14th century epic poem, “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”. After Gawain kills the green knight in living form (by beheading him) the knight lifts his head, rides off, and challenges Gawain to a rematch the following year.
But Revolutionary Ghosts is focused on the Headless Horseman of American lore: the headless horseman who chased Ichabod Crane through the New York countryside in the mid-1790s.
The Headless Horseman isn’t the only historical spirit to stir up trouble in the novel. John André, the executed British spy, makes an appearance, too. (John André was a real historical figure.)
I also created the character of Marie Trumbull, a Loyalist whom the Continental Army sentenced to death for betraying her country’s secrets to the British. But Marie managed to slit her own throat while still in her cell, thereby cheating the hangman. Marie Trumbull was a dark-haired beauty in life. In death, she appears as a desiccated, reanimated corpse. She carries the blade that she used to take her own life, all those years ago.
Oh, and Revolutionary Ghosts also has an army of spectral Hessian soldiers. I had a lot of fun with them!
Most of the novel is set in the summer of 1976. An Ohio teenager, Steve Wagner, begins to sense that something strange is going on near his home. There are slime-covered hoofprints in the grass. There are unusual sounds on the road at night. People are disappearing.
Steve gradually comes to an awareness of what is going on….But can he convince anyone else, and stop the Headless Horseman, before it’s too late?
I decided to set the novel in 1976 for a number of reasons. First of all, this was the year of the American Bicentennial. The “Spirit of ’76 was everywhere in 1976. That created an obvious tie-in with the American Revolution.
Nineteen seventy-six was also a year in which Vietnam, Watergate, and the turmoil of the 1960s were all recent memories. The mid-1970s were a time of national anxiety and pessimism (kind of like now). The economy was not good. This was the era of energy crises and stagflation.
Reading the reader reviews of Revolutionary Ghosts, I am flattered to get appreciative remarks from people who were themselves about the same age as the main character in 1976:
“…I am 62 years old now and 1976 being the year I graduated high school, I remember it pretty well. Everything the main character mentions (except the ghostly stuff), I lived through and remember. So that was an added bonus for me.”
“I’m 2 years younger than the main character so I could really relate to almost every thing about him.”
I’m actually a bit younger than the main character. In 1976 I was eight years old. But as regular readers of this blog will know, I’m nostalgic by nature. I haven’t forgotten the 1970s or the 1980s, because I still spend a lot of time in those decades.
If you like the 1970s, you’ll find plenty of nostalgic nuggets in Revolutionary Ghosts, like Bicentennial Quarters, and the McDonald’s Arctic Orange Shakes of 1976.
Also, there’s something spooky about the past, just because it is the past. As L.P. Hartley said, “The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there.”
For me, 1976 is a year I can clearly remember. And yet—it is shrouded in a certain haziness. There wasn’t nearly as much technology. Many aspects of daily life were more “primitive” then.
It isn’t at all difficult to believe that during that long-ago summer, the Headless Horseman might have come back from the dead to terrorize the American heartland…
My novel 12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN is a supernatural coming-of-age tale about three young friends who endure the trials of a 12-hour curse on Halloween night, 1980. To survive the night, they must battle vampires, animated trees, and the horrific creature known as the “head collector”.
12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN is one of the most autobiographical novels I’ve ever written. Like the characters in the novel, I was 12 years old in October 1980. The suburban Cincinnati, Ohio setting is very similar to the one in which I spent my formative years.
That said, the main character of the story, Jeff Schaeffer, doesn’t have much in common with me, or with the boy I was more than 40 years ago. And while I had a group of friends, neither Leah nor Bobby is an exact representation of anyone I knew back then.
Oh, and I never did battle with any of the supernatural creatures that appear in the book.
Here is another point of fabrication: I went on my last trick-or-treat in 1979, not in 1980.
I set 12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN in 1980 because some of the themes I wanted to explore required an adolescent perspective; and I was twelve in 1980, not in 1979.
But like the characters in the novel, I was somewhat torn (as were the adults around me) about the appropriate age for giving up the trick-or-treat ritual.
In the culture of those times, you were generally okay for trick-or-treating up to age ten or eleven. But once you reached junior high, well, people would give you funny looks if you showed up at their door on October 31st, asking for candy. And once you reached high school, you were definitely too old.
In 1979, therefore, my friend Ken and I decided to go out for “one last Halloween”, kind of like the characters in the novel. (Ken, being a year older than me, actually did turn twelve that year.)
I wore a prefabbed costume from Kmart. I don’t even remember what it was. (I seem to recall a green skeleton, but I can’t be sure.) Ken, however, had one of the coolest Halloween costumes I’ve ever seen—before or since.
This was the early Star Wars era, and every kid was a fan. Ken was no exception. His mother made for him a very elaborate imperial stormtrooper costume. This was not something store-bought. She made the whole thing from scratch. It was amazing.
Halloween 1979 in the Cincinnati area provided a clear, pleasantly cool autumn night. We set out a little after 6 p.m., and everything went fine…at first. Then we crossed paths with a group of teenage boys, a hot rod, and some eggs.
One thing I’ve noticed about the 21st-century: suburban teenagers are less mischievous than they used to be.
This could be because of helicopter parenting. How much trouble can you get into when your parents are tracking your movements on a smart phone app? Kids today are also very absorbed in virtual worlds of different kinds.
In the late 1970s, however, adolescent entertainment consisted of whatever was on network television (cable TV didn’t become common until about 1982), books, and other young people.
And since there were no parental tracking apps, your parents typically had only a vague sense of your whereabouts at any given moment.
In this atmosphere of fewer ready-made distractions and much less supervision, there were more motives and opportunities for getting into trouble. And plenty of teenage boys jumped at the chance.
This particular group of teenage boys, riding around on Halloween night 1979, had decided that it would be fun to throw eggs at the kids who were still young enough to go trick-or-treating.
They were obviously selecting their victims at random. I will retroactively blame Ken for our being singled out. His solid white stormtrooper outfit really did make him a target.
The car—it must have been a Dodge Charger or a Trans Am—slowed down as it approached. Ken and I had no time to assess the situation, let alone take evasive action. Then someone in the passenger seat threw some white objects at us via their rolled-down window.
The car roared away before we realized what had happened: they had pelted us with eggs.
Ken had been walking closest to the road, and he was a mess. The stormtrooper outfit his mother had so painstakingly crafted was now smeared with dripping yellow egg yolk.
Some of the eggs had splattered on me, too…though not very much.
After that, we decided to call it an early night. Neither one of us wanted to walk around dressed like an omelette.
At least the boys didn’t throw rotten eggs at us, I would think later.
My guess is that the egg-throwing foray was a spur-of-the-moment thing for the boys.
Speaking of the teenage boys: I never learned their identities. Whoever they were, though, they would all be pushing sixty in 2021.
So that was how my last Halloween went, in 1979 and not in 1980. By Halloween 1980, I decided for myself that I had had enough of Halloween and trick-or-treat. It was time to let that childhood ritual go.
Halloween, nevertheless, retains a strong grip on my imagination. 12 HOURS OF HALLOWEEN was therefore a very fun book to write as an adult.