Cover design by Jessa Forest via Canva, wolf logo by mycustombookcover.com

Old wounds.

New beginnings.

Jellyfish monsters.

Teenage Regina Slaughter finds out there are three sides to life: human, monster, and human-turned-monster.

Restarting her life with an emotionally barren Void hunter for a teacher and a caring werewolf for an adopted father gives her a bright, shiny future. But her world didn’t start out so bright and shiny.

When little Regina unwillingly became a werewolf at the tender age of nine, she lost her whole family soon after. Her new life in a cage at the whim of HADES monster hunters’ experimentations is even worse than her old life.

Now on the monster side of life, Regina learns that there are no limits to the kind of monster humans can be.

Regina is saved by the Alpha of a werewolf pack, who was also once human…and also once a werewolf hunter himself. Joyfully accepted into the Alpha’s new pack–joyful on her side, not on all of theirs–Regina enters the perilous world of monster hunting to protect the world from actually evil monsters.

Although sometimes she ends up keeping them as pets.

Buckle your seatbelts, put on a helmet, and hold on tight as you join Regina Slaughter in this grimdark paranormal fantasy collection that features five stories, two mad scientists, and one wolf girl.

Jessa Forest‘s The Slaughter Chronicles kicks off with Pulling Teeth and Other Stories, an anthology that reads like a novel. Follow Regina Slaughter through her young life as a werewolf who wants nothing more than to shift into wolf form and run under the moon—except she’s imprisoned by monster hunters who want to experiment on her. But this isn’t her first brush with danger. And it won’t be her last. At times visceral and at times light-hearted, Pulling Teeth and Other Stories is an exciting journey into a new paranormal world you’ll love!

Proof Positive

For only $1.99 you get:

2 Regina Slaughter backstory novellas

3 Slaughter Chronicles short stories

AND bonus worldbuilding content

Purchase Links:

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or buy directly from me on Gumroad

For librarians: you can also find Pulling Teeth on cloudLibrary!

Not sure if my stories are your kind of paranormal? Sign up for my monthly newsletter and get a copy of Harbinger of Havoc, one of the short stories in Pulling Teeth, for free.

You can unsubscribe at any time.

Inspired by Allison Morton’s guest blog post on Anne Stormont’s website.

What I wish would happen vs. what happens in actual life. See if you can guess which is the real version 🙂

Version 1

Wake up. Holy fuck, I slept in again! The last thing I remember is getting up to pee at 3:36 am and the neighbors honking a car horn and some laughing across the street. And the cat wants water AGAIN (two of them drink straight from the tap). At the time I thought, “Okay, I have 2.5 hours until I need to get up, that’s like taking a nap. No problem.” 

I should not have gone back to sleep.

So I get up and feed the cats, then the betta fish. I notice the betta’s water temp is a few degrees lower than it should be and take measures to heat things up. I don’t have an aquarium heater because it’s always pretty warm where I live. Then I clean up the kitchen; put away dishes, make sure mom’s coffee maker is ready for her morning coffee, etc. I put the kettle on for my coffee and set out to empty the litter boxes. One cat vomits all his breakfast on the floor in partially digested puddles. I clean that up. I resume the journey to cleaning the litter boxes. I notice someone (who shall remain nameless) has peed outside two of the three boxes. I clean up more puddles. I disinfect the floor. Then I empty the fucking litter boxes.

I go back into the kitchen and make my coffee. I take my coffee back to my office/room and set it down on my desk. I realize I have not emptied the betta’s litter box (siphoning out the poop). So I do that. Then I wash my hands, brush my teeth, wash my face. I greet my maternal progenitor and, after making sure she’s all settled for the morning, I sit down at my desk (an hour and a half after waking up) and try to write.

My coffee mug lives next to the betta fish’s tank and every time I pick it up and take a drink he lunges at the glass. His threat displays are epic. One day, he will kill the shit out of my coffee mug.

I try tackling a half-written draft of a chapter. I need to switch character POVs and decide the company policies that this character has to follow. It is not very exciting.

So I switch to school work. Somewhere in there I have breakfast…and lunch. I’m burned out on school work so I look at the clock and holy shit 5 hours have passed, how is it already 4 pm?

The betta fish gets bored and goes to take a nap on top of the digital thermometer. I bought him a special leaf shaped “betta hammock” that he happily doesn’t give two shits about.

I need a nap. But I don’t take a nap. Instead, I sift through my email and read author newsletters.

No writing gets done.

I love getting newsletters (yes, I’m weird). I look at all the success other authors have and go, “Gee, I wish I had that. That will be me someday. Stay positive. Stay positive. Look at all you’ve—fuck! I’ll never be like these people. Half of them I don’t think their writing is any good, I know [insert name here definitely doesn’t use an editor] and they have over a billion 5 star reviews. How. The. Fuck. Is. That. Possible? I’ll never fit in with readers. Even if I finish my book, no one will want to read it because…etc, etc, etc.”

I stare at the betta fish until the negative thoughts disappear. I have an early dinner with mom and, since I’ve already put in a lot of hours for school stuff today, I cut myself off and watch YouTube videos until I’m tired enough to sleep.

Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. Sometimes my brain feels like a wad of soggy cheese cloth. It’s winter time, but it doesn’t feel like winter. We’re in for a few more hot days before Jacket and Scarf weather officially starts. Not that I have anywhere to wear jackets and scarves too right now…I’m going to have to go to the grocery store in an evening gown and a full face of makeup to boost my morale.

Version 2

I wake up before my alarm goes off. Two minutes and 16 seconds before. I win.

The cats are ready for their breakfast and wait patiently in the kitchen for me to dollop out one spoon of wet food from the can for each of them. Then purr and munch pleasantly as they eat, content that all is right with the world.

The betta fish is happy too. He swims up to the surface to get his pellets and then hovers around his beloved Cobalt Neo-Therm aquarium heater. Even though he has a huge fake plant now, with soft leaves to swim between and rest on, and a diving helmet for a cave to hide in, the heater is his favorite “decoration.”

I have morning chores, who doesn’t. I tidy what I didn’t get to from the night before, and then I make my first cup of tea. Before all I drank was coffee, at least 14 cups a day (not exaggerating). But I’ve gone almost 3 weeks without any, and tea makes an acceptable substitute. I’m sleeping better and I’m not as jittery or irritable/anxious as much as I was before. If I can notice this much of a difference now, it was definitely time to stop drinking coffee. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not quitting coffee, just taking a break.)

I get dressed and sit down at my desk for my pre-morning brain dump. Other writers call this Morning Pages (Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way) I call it thought vomit.

After I clear out all the nonsensical things, I can begin my drafting session for the day. I set myself a 500 word count minimum, and if I write more, I reward myself by buying an ebook off of my wish list.

My pets and family all support me on my writing journey and leave me in peace to do my very important work until I am ready to be social. Every so often a cat wanders in and paws at the betta’s tank or sits on my lap, exuding emotional support.

In Real Life

As you may have guessed by the chaos, Version 1 most accurately represents actual life, however, my betta has a Cobalt aquarium heater and I have switched from coffee to tea and I do feel more mellow and less anxious.

But anxiety and writing are still holding hands. I often battle with imposter syndrome and fear that I won’t be able to finish the projects I love so much.

Whenever I don’t add words to my drafts, I verbally beat myself up. That is not healthy. I hide behind the excuse that I care too much and I’m a failure at being disciplined.

But guess what, y’all? Not writing every day is okay. Not thinking about your manuscript or your publishing business every day is okay. Taking care of yourself is okay. Taking care of your pets and your environment and your family is more than okay 🙂

My ideal writing day is one where I don’t have to exist in real life and I don’t have any problems conveying my ideas into prose. That is a dream. That is impossible.

I wish I had a quick fix for all my negative thoughts. I wish I was a writing robot. I wish I had a million dollars.

My husband, Mr. J says as long as I’m trying (not even trying my best, just trying) I’m doing a good job. I try to focus on doing things, on action, instead of wallowing with the negativity. It’s really hard. Sometimes it’s easy to distract myself with other things, but other times all I want to do is take a nap or binge watch anime. But I have to remind myself that stagnation doesn’t help anybody, and even if I just switch gears and read a book, that’s better than mentally checking out.

Thanks for stopping by and keep on keeping on!

End Credits

If you’re interested but you’re not sure you’ll like my work you can sign up for my monthly newsletter and get a copy of Harbinger of Havoc, a Slaughter Chronicles Short Story for free.

If you don’t like it, all you have to do is unsubscribe.

Pulling Teeth and Other Stories is OUT NOW for $1.99 at the following retailers:

Amazon (US)
Kobo
Smashwords
iBooks
Barnes and Noble

*

Photo by Nashad Abdu on Unsplash

This is the end of one of the first drafts of the scene where Regina and Theodore Thane first meet. Thane is a formative presence in Regina’s youth and I really struggled getting their first encounter *just right*. This didn’t make it into the final version of Moonshine but I wanted to share this with you because I thought it was an adorable interaction between Regina and Thane where he shows more of his human feelings and she acts like the adorable wolf pup she is.

Enjoy!

Note: This is a deleted scene from the early drafting stage. It is extremely rough and has not gone through the editing process.

Continue reading “Deleted Scene: Alternate Regina First Meets Hyperion”

Here you can read some of the more “technical” information about the different types of supernatural creatures in my book series. In Pulling Teeth, this info-dump is preceded by a little vignette of Regina in a classroom setting so be sure to check out the full version 🙂

This list includes werewolves and vampires because technically every supernatural being in my series is a Void Creature.

What is a Void Creature? Find out here 🙂

You will notice there is a ton of information about vampires here. This will be important later. Vampires and Mages have the widest range of traits and talents out of all the other supernatural species. While the main story arc of The Slaughter Chronicles follows Regina, I have many supporting characters who have their own stories to tell.

REGINA’S GUIDE TO MONSTER HUNTING

Everything comes from the Void. The Lost Sisters of Swarm and Scourge, Seirios the Dog Star, the yaguara of the Americas, the garuda of East Asia and Mongolia, the Baba Yaga in Russia, and the progenitors of werewolves. All of them have the same point of origin.

Contamination is spread one of two ways:

  1. Transmission like a disease, where the genetic material of the Void is absorbed and recombined with the DNA of the living host. 
  2. Reproduction, where the genetic material is passed from parent—usually a Void Creature or Mage—to offspring.Void Creature

Void creature

Void Creature: A generic term for anything that is not a werewolf or a vampire; a supernatural creature originating from the Void Dimension. Still carbon based but definitely not from here. Most Void Creatures cannot contaminate humans the same way the werewolf and vampire species can. They can, however, reproduce with humans and animals and create offspring with Void characteristics.

  1. For imaginary references refer to the works of H.P. Lovecraft, Caitlín R. Kiernan, and China Miéville. They may well have some basis in reality. 
  2. SEE: Monster, Demon, Abyssal Abomination, Lesser-Spotted Majestic Death-Danger Noodle, etc.
  3. How to kill one: You are very, very lucky.

mages

Mage: The offspring of a human—or sometimes an animal—and anything that is not from this planet (See: Lesser-Spotted Majestic Death-Danger Noodle). They can look like squishy humans on the outside, but they are extremely durable and possess preternatural skills or talents inherited from their nonhuman parent.

The most common of these talents are:

  1. Teleportation
  2. Transmutation
  3. Clairvoyance
  4. Telekinesis

There are many variations of these talents.

  1. Transmutation of organic matter vs. inorganic matter
  2. Pyrokinesis vs. levitation (different from teleportation)
  3. Past vs. future sight and how far each way
  4. Distance traveled vs. phasing through objects
  5. And many others

No Mage is reported to have more than one talent, and like the werewolf and the vampire, the potency of their power reduces as their genetic material is passed down through the generations. Mages can also look like their Void Creature parents and exhibit frightening and/or unsettling physical features. Best not to eat before you go out hunting.

  1. How to kill one on Earth: Depending on their talent, the same way you kill any other human. It just might be hard to get close to them. Or they might turn you into cheese if they touch you.
  2. How to kill one in the Void: The same way you kill one on Earth.
  3. Please note: Sometimes Mages are the hardest to kill because they look just like regular people and they don’t know what they are. The hunters of Prometheus’s Shame are required to cultivate a special kind of fortitude.

werewolves

Common characteristics of werewolves include but are not limited to: Increased muscle mass, extra teeth and increased aggression during key points in the lunar cycle.

They can live independently or in packs. Like vampires, werewolves like to clump together. Also like vampires, there is one central authority figure in a pack.

A werewolf can spread its contamination to another human by biting or other fluid exchange. A contaminated human takes on the characteristics of the beast or humanoid werewolf that bites him or her.

  1. Pros: Increased strength, durability, and endurance. Werewolves are not hindered by sunlight and can hide their contamination by changing shape whenever they want. A werewolf, no matter the strength of their strain, can easily hide in human society.
  2. Cons: Silver is toxic to them and, even though werewolves can change their shape any time they please, they do become more aggressive and unpredictable during the week of the full moon and they are compelled to change shape.
  3. • How to kill them on Earth: Most werewolves do not have the staggering regenerative capabilities of vampires, but they are very hard to kill. Destroying the head or any substantial trauma to vital organs will work. Sometimes heavy firepower is needed to take one down. Most werewolves are also susceptible to poisons. Lots of silver works too. During a full moon a werewolf’s aggression overrides pain and self-preservation.
  4. How to kill them in the Void: No one has (so far) ever seen the species of Void Creature that  causes werewolf contamination in humans. However, it is safe to say that any encounter would prove immediately fatal.

Vampires

Vampire: A human who has been contaminated by a Swarmer. The Swarm, or Swarmer when there’s only one—there’s never only one—closely resemble mosquitos and lampreys; a kind of slimy, slinky snake thing with long, thin legs, one pair of narrow paddle-shaped wings, and large iridescent scales.

In the Void, females spend the majority of their lives in the air while the males are sessile; after a male hatches, he glues himself to a rocky outcropping in the mountain regions and waits for females to fly by and pick up his reproduct-y bits. In the Void, there are two types of females: queens and drones. The queens lay the eggs and the drones care for and protect them. After they hatch, females spend nearly all of their lives in the air.

Vampires can also be normal humans contaminated by another contaminated human. When that happens, the resulting vampire is usually weaker than a vampire turned directly by a Swarmer. The weaker vampires are nearly indistinguishable from normal humans, except for the bloodlust and aversion to sunlight.

A human contaminated by a drone will pass on weaker contamination than a human turned by a queen. (Similar to the differences in werewolf contaminations.) Humans contaminated by queens or males experience a more severe version of contamination. While some of them can still pass as human, most lose all of their human physical features and look like the Swarmers that made them.

Most of the vampire contaminations you will encounter are caused by female drones. HADES has only two recorded cases of contamination by a male, once they settle in one spot, they do not move and rarely encounter humans to contaminate.

Human vampires like to swarm just as much as their Void Creature counter-parts. Drone vampires are drawn to king and queen vampires. Very rarely will a vampire live a solitary life, usually they enjoy gathering together in hives or courts with established hierarchies.

The most common characteristics of vampires include but are not limited to sensitivity to sunlight, increased dexterity, and spontaneous regeneration of tissue when organic material—blood, sometimes raw flesh—is consumed.

  1. Pros: Increased speed and dexterity make vampires very difficult to track. Excluding some Void Creatures, they are the most stealthy predators in the supernatural kingdom.
  2. Cons: Sunlight is usually fatal. Some can stand it if they’re in the shade so don’t let your guard down. Royal vampires can rarely appear in public because their physical appearance is permanently altered after contamination.
  3. How to kill them on Earth: To kill a vampire it must be completely dismembered and the torso pinned to the ground, through the heart, and set on fire until it is burned to ashes and bones. For the more powerful ones, the ashes should be divided and many miles put between them. Mere scattering or mixing with running water isn’t good enough. The ashes must be mixed in cement or ceramic and then the bricks must be left out in direct sunlight. When exterminating a nest, it’s a good idea to mix several vampires’ remains together, that way if they try to regenerate, the genetic material won’t match and the flesh will get confused.
  4. How to kill them in the Void: You can’t. They regenerate too quickly. If you shoot a Swarmer out of the air, she can heal herself before she hits the ground and then attack you. The best thing you can do is wound her severely enough she runs away. Swarmers are very lazy, and if she thinks you’re too difficult to eat she’ll give up and look for food elsewhere. Defense perimeters with mounted turrets and flame throwers work only if you don’t plan on leaving your camp. If you need to move and a Swarm is on you, you’re pretty much fucked.
  5. Note: There are no actual mosquitoes, eels, or bats in the Void.

end credits

Pulling Teeth and Other Stories is now available for pre-order. If you’re interested but you’re not sure you’ll like my work you can sign up for my monthly newsletter and get a copy of one of the stories for free (Harbinger of Havoc).

If you don’t like it, all you have to do is unsubscribe.

Pre-Order your copy of Pulling Teeth on:
Amazon (US)
Kobo
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iBooks
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Thanks for reading and keep on keeping on!

*Note: The Slaughter Chronicles is only available in ebook format.

When I first started writing The Slaughter Chronicles back in 2017 I wanted to make a clear distinction between vampires, werewolves, and other supernatural creatures. For the longest time, I used the generic term “demon” to cover everything that wasn’t a vampire or a werewolf and for a while, it flowed pretty well, especially with Sanctum, my hyper-religious monster-hunting order.

But then, as I put more flesh and definition into my imaginary world, I realized that the secular monster hunters (namely HADES) wouldn’t necessarily use terminology with superstitious or religious connotations. So I had to figure something else out.

This was a problem that stalled my worldbuilding for at least 6 months because I didn’t come up with the character of Theodore Thane or HADES’s Void hunting division until late 2019.

So, I spent 2017-summer 2019 wobbling back and forth between words that were okay but just didn’t feel right and wearing holes in my thesaurus.

Why was Thane (aka Hyperion) so helpful in solving this problem?

Theodore Thane is a “demon” hunter. But he hates organized religion. He’s also extremely analytical and narcissistic. A very thorough researcher, with a heavy science background, Thane has also been around for a few decades longer than most of the other characters so he’s gained a lot of experience and seen a lot of things.

After I built up Thane’s backstory it was very easy to adopt how this one character classified all these other monsters and use his perceptions to categorize the monsters. Using his terminology also works well because Regina, my protagonist, learned pretty much everything about my paranormal world from Thane.

Members of Sanctum still use the word “demon” to talk about every supernatural creature, no matter where they came from.

End Credits and Purchase Links

Pulling Teeth and Other Stories is available for pre-order right now. It will go live on November 24. That’s Tuesday after next!

For 1.99 USD you get two Regina Slaughter backstory novellas, three Slaughter Chronicles short stories and extra worldbuilding content.

Amazon
Apple iBooks
Kobo
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Barnes and Noble and Google Play purchase links are on the way.

If you haven’t already, give a thought to signing up for my monthly newsletter. As a Thank You from me you will receive one of the short stories in Pulling Teeth for free. The next one goes out to subscribers on November 30th.