S.K. Epperson Books

 

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 Three people with dark pasts meet when a drifter called Brother Lowdown comes to town. Simon Brith is a detective known for his intense reactions to females. Terra Donlevy is a cosmetics heiress who eschews anything feminine and harbors a violent abhorrence of most men. The oddly beautiful but twisted Brother Lowdown will target both in his terrible need for justice.

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The birth of Edie Jackson’s baby will at last make the population of tiny Dumford, Kansas a thousand people, a number they would have reached a month ago if the latest baby born hadn’t disappeared from its crib a day after arriving home. Edie’s brother, police officer Ben Portlock realizes someone in their secretive little town has a thing for killing pregnant animals and he’s worried, not just because his sweet scatterbrained sister Edie is close to her due date, but because his old flame Lura Taylor has come home to Dumford after spending eight years in prison for killing her father. Ben knows which direction wagging fingers will begin to point once the people in town realize there is someone among them with a taste for grisly death.

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With the help of womanizing fireman friend Nolan Wulf, widowed ex-cop Vic Kimmler packs up his bags and his two little girls and hits the road to take over a stud farm on the Colorado border. What no one told him is that the house he’s inherited is haunted, and the town wants Vic to use his skills and take over where his late father left off.

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On a remote ranch deep in the Flint Hills at a clinic for women diagnosed with multiple personality disorder, patients are dying in extremely violent ways. The staff has invited Dr. Bryan Raleigh and his team, along with his journalist brother, David, to write about the clinic, and from the moment of their arrival they begin to unravel secrets about the family that owns the ranch, including a strange blood ritual practiced by the hemophiliac son and even more bizarre rites performed by the grotesque, voyeuristic wife of the clinic’s director. Soon David and the others begin to suspect the rude, imperious woman who never leaves the third floor may be somehow responsible for the deaths of traumatized patients dying one by one, and the closer they get to the truth, the bigger the threat becomes to their own safety.

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THE MOONS OF SUMMERthemoonsofsummerA

 

Guy Driscoll thinks he’s doing the right thing by giving up his job at a Chicago newspaper to get his promiscuous daughter out of the city and into the small town life Guy knew as a child. All he does is deliver her into the line of fire of someone who’s reached the desperation point and can see only one way to maintain his standing in the community. Vernon Diest’s family has tended the dead of Colson since its inception and he takes his work seriously, though Elma, his shy, thin, deaf mute step-sister has not been as well tended. Still, she adores Vernon and will do anything for him…to a point.

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Nurse Abra Ahrens is hired to care for a man she believes is HIV positive but it’s a lie perpetrated by his brother, her boss, the chief of staff at the hospital. He chose Abra because she has a reputation as a recluse and has no real relationships outside the hospital besides her mother, noted psychiatrist Lee Ahrens. That changes when Abra meets handsome next door neighbor, Zane Campbell, an ex-detective turned ocularist and medical artist. Like Abra, Zane doesn’t get out much, primarily because no one can understand his speech when he talks, thanks to the bullet in the face that ended his police career. His youngest son Eli makes fun and mimics his father, but is sobered by his older brother Holt’s news that a girl from their neighborhood has gone missing. Another neighbor, a retarded adult named Chance finds a bike near a bridge and when Eli sees the bike he recognizes it as the missing girl’s. Neighbor Mark Vaughn, a car dealer with a criminal past would love for the swarm of police that descends to deal with the deafening bird problem caused by the people next door to him. Craig Peterwell’s dozen exotic birds screech, squawk and scream day and night, making sleep impossible for Mark and his wife Valerie’s baby daughter. When confronted, Peterwell becomes angry. Craig Peterwell has been getting angry a lot lately. He can’t understand why no one listens to him. He wants his wife Louise to listen but she doesn’t, and in the space of a few minutes on a warm summer evening Craig Peterwell sets in motion a chain of events that will change his life, and the face of the neighborhood, forever.

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Suddenly widowed and penniless Madeleine Heron is forced to move into her sister’s vacation cabin on rural Green Lake, next door to taciturn Native American conservation officer Eris Renard. Instead of the peace and solitude she hopes to find at the lake Madeleine finds herself witness to depravity, blackmail, and murder among the strange residents. And in spite of the danger, she falls in love.

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SATYR’S GRAZESatyrCover July 23 2013

In half-hearted collusion with a neighbor desperate to find a runaway husband, architect Etta Baxter agrees to vacation on the mid-California coast in the sleepy town of Satyr’s Graze, where she steps into a magnificent stone house with a monster on the outside in the form of a gargoyle and discovers there might be a monster lurking on the inside as well. The possibility of a peaceful retreat vanishes as event after event places Etta at the center of conflict. She becomes part of a blood-soaked crime and meets a family she won’t soon forget, particularly when one of the owners, a wheelchair bound psychic named Toby, who has a tall, handsome twin called Noel, claims Etta has known all of them before, in lives lived thousands of years ago, and that someone or some ‘thing’ among them has unfinished business with everyone in the house.

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SLAUGHTERS OF THE RACESlaughtersoftheRaceNewCover

While doing a stint for bank fraud the unlucky Joe Riggins meets kindly Chung Zhang whom he learns murdered nine women in a bizarre soul mate creating scheme for old money back in China. In prison the elderly man is his mentor, but Zhang befriended Joe for a reason, he realizes after women start dying again upon Joe’s release. As he begins to suspect the plan for his downfall is bigger than anyone can imagine, involving perhaps his own government, unexpected help comes in the form of cool, inhibited and very British restaurant owner Hester Haley and the unlikeliest ally of all, a cop who believes him.

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THE TIGER’S SPRINGtigers spring coverA

Sequel to Brother Lowdown

Cosmetics heiress Terra Donlevy shuns the trappings of wealth and lives a simple life with a modest security system and a few dogs to keep her safe. Junius Redwine is newly out of prison and becomes increasingly insistent that Terra place a value on the life his son Leon saved when he prevented Terra’s murder at the hands of deadly Joshua Bern, also known as Brother Lowdown. For protection Terra relies heavily on Simon Brith, the troubled homicide detective who has made a habit of rescuing her, but things are changing between them. Simon wants Terra but she stalls at every turn, frustrating him almost as much as the latest case he and his partner Dan Cox have pulled. Someone is killing men and dumping their bodies in a windbreak. Known misogynist Simon zeroes in on tall, exotic Ivory Pandeen, exquisite with her black hair, dark eyes and long legs and if Terra Donlevy attracts one kind of man, Ivory attracts another. All of them want something from these two women and a few are going to be surprised to find out just what they receive.

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ROLLERCOASTER

 

Four years ago, Breton “Eaton” Stone lost his little sister inside an abandoned amusement park. He’s gone back to look for her every day since. It’s how he knows about the Japanese film crew the new owner’s musician brother Moe Sexton is sent in to find. It’s how he knows about cameras placed around the park, and strange noises every night. He sees lots of people who shouldn’t be in the overgrown post-anyone-giving-a-shit wasteland and he’d rather none of them were there, because they’re only making his task more difficult. The good news is, with the unwitting help of all these strangers he’s going to find his sister. The bad news is that after he finds her, someone finds him. (Warning: adult material.)

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ROLLERCOASTER 2: After the Fall

 

Two of the abused young girls rescued from the abandoned amusement park are teenagers now, and though everyone believes their nightmare is over, for Audra Stone and Gretel Gooch, living in the real world with normal people may prove scarier than the corpse-filled room in the park’s tunnel. And there’s still the matter of the abandoned park, back in the hands of a Gooch, a chilling woman who shows no remorse for the crimes of her family and may even have been an offsite participant. A frightening force with ancient roots may be the source of the family’s evil, providing a harrowing conundrum: Once you destroy a monster in this life, how do you keep it from coming back in the next?

 

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Short Story Collection:

THE VISION AND OTHER TALES

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A collection of tales by the author of Brother Lowdown, Borderland, The Moons of Summer, The Neighborhood and Green Lake. Join in for the mysterious happening in The Vision and stick around until the final gasp of The Last Secret.

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***

Written as S.J. STRAYHORN:

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Some crimes are too horrible to forget, and some just keep happening over and over again. In a town where a frontier military fort was once converted to an orphanage for destitute children, dark deeds took place. A woman who lived there has come back to face down the ghosts that torment her but when her daughter falls for the ex-con next door she realizes the past is about to repeat itself.

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***

Written as DYLAN HARSON:

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Former Cavalry Lieutenant Austin Bourke wants to break free of his past, and leading a group of people who seek to take advantage of the Homestead Act in Kansas seems like the best way to do it, until he meets Danni Coopersand, a golden-haired woman saddled with a husband broken by the war and a half-breed Indian youth with a need for revenge against the white stepbrothers who slit his throat and left him to die. Together they travel across the plains of Kansas with a group including a Mormon family with more than one wife, one of them with a salacious past, and they encounter renegades, floods and savagery from Indians bent on retaining their way of life. At the end of the trail only the strong will survive, and in 1867 Kansas, where the horizon is endless and the sky goes on forever, the strong are damned few.

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ABILENEAbileneCover JULY 2013

In 1870 Abilene is a destination for cowboys, cattlemen, prostitutes and a family of doctors attempting to practice an unorthodox type of medicine learned in Europe, a technique that involves manipulation of the spine to effect cures and ease minor ailments. Acceptance for their ways has been hard to find, and it’s made more difficult by the fact that the Corbett family is Irish. The Corbetts have known their fair share of prejudice and do not share the same attitude toward Indians as those they meet in Abilene. Young Maura Corbett is fascinated by the angry, wounded Tasunka Sapa, (Black Horse) brought in by his worried elderly father to have two bullets removed. Eden Corbett is equally fascinated by a beautiful woman in a wheelchair he meets inside a store then learns she is housed inside a brothel. His offer to treat her is rescinded once he learns her address, but his father and sister force him to reconsider, and soon all their lives are changed by the dangerous people and harsh life of the burgeoning town on the Kansas prairie.

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During his son’s baseball game a tax attorney catches a glimpse of a birthmark on a man’s leg and his blood runs cold with the memories that come. When he was five years old he saw something he shouldn’t have, went somewhere he never should have gone and paid harsh consequences. His eighteen year old son knows something is up with his dad and confides in his quiet girlfriend, who suffered early trauma of her own and begins to suspect that her boyfriend’s father knows exactly what she went through as a child, may in fact have made the acquaintance of her family’s killer long ago, and now both are determined to go back and find the truth about what lies in Betsy Klausmeyer’s cellar.  (Warning: Not for the squeamish.)

 

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A search for diamonds on an island with a history of murder and insanity leads Sutton De Berg and her adopted older brother Gerard Brach to remember feelings they suppressed years ago. But Sutton’s father, the wealthy Edward De Berg, and her French husband, Paul Dubois, have nefarious plans for any treasures found on the island, and the ghosts that haunt the atoll will wreak havoc and take lives before its deeper truth is revealed, more dangerous than any of them ever imagined.

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A woman and her two young daughters on a ship filled with starving, dying Irish emigrants encounters a bigger challenge than an unknown future in America when she is faced with saving the lives of two people, the captain’s wife, and a recalcitrant English lord fleeing a murder charge.

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Centuries ago, an ancient alchemist’s taste for young girls saw thirteen-year-old Lura Cartaun fleeing for her life. When he catches her, the old monster gives her a choice. Generations later her descendants are still trying to undo the curse placed upon them, a bind that finds child after child dying because of its name. The end to the bind may be in sight, however, with the appearance of another descendant, that of the evil alchemist, who comes to town and decides to do some grave digging. What he unearths causes the entire population of the town to be placed under quarantine, but it also brings two people together whose union has been centuries in the making.

The Bind is FREE ON AMAZON APRIL 4, MAY 1, 30, JUNE 3, 25!

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A golden-throated Brit and his sidekick cameraman try to survive an exclusive gala for the devil’s daughter during the Annual Convention of Witches and Wizards in Catemaco, Mexico.

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A man hired to guard a crypt is betrayed by his ex-soldier sister who knows only part of what’s inside and doesn’t count on there being something else hidden in the gypsy crypt that not only the relatives, but every warring nation on the planet would kill to get their hands on.

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Caleb Watchman steps out of a building and into another time, 1918 at Fort Devens, Massachusetts, where he rides in a model T, samples absinthe, observes people under siege from influenza and gains dangerous knowledge about the future. He returns home to impart one thing:  There is always a bear.

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A death row inmate with only days left to live is recruited by the FBI to obtain information from a wealthy, arrogant Egyptian believed to be behind the murders of several hundred women across the border.

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After escaping a savage kidnapping, earnest girl of science Marti Zaroni goes to her wealthy Uncle Zito for protection instead of the police. She wants him to stop the diabolical men who took her captive and to rescue the unwitting boy who aided in her escape. Zito’s godson and right hand man Angelo Merona is pleased to see her. He’s in love with the stubborn Marti and will do everything he can to help her but first has to deal with his mother, who believes she’s possessed by a demon that has plagued their two families for centuries. Angelo doesn’t have to worry, with his unusual green eyes he’s blessed and no demon will touch him. But everyone around him is fair game Marti learns as she decides to take on her abductors herself.

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From 1871 to 1873 a series of murders committed by a family who called themselves the Benders took place in Kansas. The father, mother, son and daughter took in weary travelers and offered a warm bed to sleep for the night, but dinnertime brought more than a hot meal to the unsuspecting guests. Skulls were caved in, throats were slit. Anything of value was stolen and later sold. Their bodies were buried in shallow graves beyond the farmhouse.

In modern day Coffeyville, Kansas a fussy ex-police detective turned investigator is sent to determine the identity of a certain inn keeper and finds himself wondering if history is about to repeat itself in a very personal way, more meaningful to him than he could ever have imagined.

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A downed plane full of passengers is halved by two realms, one that looks a lot like the hot, dry desert of the southwest, and one that doesn’t, where the flora is blue trees with curly leaves and the fauna is something no one on board has ever seen, but which has obviously seen humans before and is craftily taking pick of the survivors.

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A determined billionaire takes people from refugee camps in the poorest areas around the globe and brings them to the U.S. to live in a grand humanitarian experiment that finds him strung from a tree, bloodied by the Taliban, haunted by an albino African witch, then kidnapped by a homeless man with a tattoo on his butt that reads No Embalming.

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Gabrielle ends a relationship, buys a house, and the fifteen-year-old prostitute who previously owned the home takes over her existence, until Gabrielle makes a decision to do things her way instead. Of course she pays, and so do half a dozen others, until one of them, a man with a past, the man Gabrielle was going to marry, does what has needed doing for a long time. Sometimes crazy is the only option.

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The Jester Takes Three  (preview) – Jesse Coffey has had his eye on Wednesday “Wendy” Considine since she was seventeen and he hates that it’s taken an F4 tornado to finally make her look his way. His wealthy parents hate the idea of their star athlete son even breathing in townie Wendy’s direction. Her brother Sonny hates Jesse, Jesse’s friend Vince hates Wendy, and someone hates all of them enough to bring a gun to the party.

The three of us hiding beneath the covers while their dad beat on the door was the realest, truest memory I had, the one part of the past I knew for certain happened. Then Jesse Coffey went in the backyard and found…well…you know. I never liked him, by the way. I’m just being honest.” -From the Grand Jury testimony of Bannon McKay

You’re losing us, AMC and HBO

Why? Because sadistic showrunners apparently no longer get what made us start watching in the first place. To be assaulted by constant slaughter, unrelenting tragedy and the increasingly disgusting weekly gross-out is not why most of us seek fiction-based programming.

“Wake up idiot, it’s only a television show and everyone needs to just lighten up and deal.”

Yep, we should, but the reality is that these shows mirror too well the dead Syrian child rolling in the surf, the sunken ferry full of high school seniors, the truck full of rotting refugees and classroom full of gunned down students, all real blood and gore and never far from any of our homes. And yet our quest for diversion, funded with faith in good storytelling, finds us subjected to death even more unnecessarily pointless, that of our most soulful television heroes and innocents, leaving us stunned, bereft, our hearts aching, because we paid up to share in their woes, their dreams, then had to watch them die bathed in gore because it was written that way. Never mind that you’re killing our souls a week at a time with no respite save a quip about someone’s mullet. I stopped watching Boardwalk Empire when every character I invested in was dead. The same has already happened with Game of Thrones and now threatens with The Walking Dead.

Most people pay to become free of depression, but lately those of us who watch these shows feel like we’re paying to have our hearts broken. Yes, it is ‘just fiction’ but fiction is exactly where we turn when we need something good in our lives, because that Syrian child will never get up again, those high school students will never graduate or watch another episode of anything, but you know what? I guarantee most of them would have preferred the illusion of Shireen being saved from the fire at the last moment, Glenn Rhee dying an old man with his beloved Maggie by his side, and Jon Snow alive and well as Jon Snow and not as a ghost or a wolf something, no matter how the source material was written.

Some say my works leave you hanging. I say it’s better than leaving you with no hope.

Rant over.

(Found that I’m not alone. Check this out. http://www.eonline.com/news/712111/is-the-walking-dead-tv-s-most-depressing-show )

 

For your Halloween Pleasure: Mr. Nightmare

When I discovered these videos at Mr. Nightmare’s YouTube channel I was like a kid at…well, you know, that other holiday. Not for the faint of heart, these tales, because the stories collected here are true. Turn off the lights, grab a large knife, a steaming cup of cocoa, settle in and prepare to be scared out of your wits.

Oh, and whatever you do tonight, make sure you check under your bed…

6 True Stories from History Creepier Than Any Horror Movie

The British Pet story made my head spin. Entire post is interesting (though Cracked’s site is a nightmare to navigate.)

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“6 True Stories from History Creepier Than Any Horror Movie”. Jacopo della Quercia. 30 December, 2013. Cracked.com.228457

History books are full of grisly details about who got stabbed, what town got burned to the ground, and which kings married their cousins — so imagine the stuff that gets edited out. Or, you know, read about it in this article instead. As part of our continuing quest to tell you the stuff your teachers didn’t want you to know, here are some gruesome and little-known addenda to some of the most famous moments in history.

6. The Man Who Tried to Save Lincoln Went All The Shining on His Family
5. Syphilitic “Zombies” Wandered the Streets of Italy During the High Renaissance
4. Heads Literally Exploded During the Eruption of Mount Vesuvius
3. The British Pet Holocaust of World War II
2. The World’s First Documented Serial Killer Did as She Pleased…

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Summer Rain

Beautiful sounds by Evan Epperson and Megan Bracciano. Three of us were sitting in a hotel room somewhere in the south and the opening ceremony of the Olympics was on the television. Evan picked up the guitar, started strumming the first notes of the song, and sang two words ‘summer rain’. Megan hummed along and I thought I’d never heard anything so beautiful.

Edith Channel’s Long Walk

A victory that turns into a complete mystery…

Steve Huff's Blog

1.

From the Lawrence, KS Daily Journal-World, 2/4/1915 From the Lawrence, KS Daily Journal-World, 2/4/1915

Lawrence, Kansas is 41 miles west of Kansas City. The weather in Lawrence on February 4, 1915, was “generally fair,” though there was a chance of snow in the “west portion” that night.

Edith Channel was walking west, into that snow.

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McPherson KS Daily Republican, 2/24/1915 McPherson KS Daily Republican, 2/24/1915

There are no reliable, current records of a publication titled “Our Country” based in Kansas City in 1915. At least, there aren’t any easily found online.

The Weekly Post in Kansas City was a real paper. It began publishing in 1912 and continued through the 20s.

The Old Santa Fe Trail led travelers to California in 1915. They might pass sites still haunted by the West’s chronic conflicts. “Comanches and Pawnees,” wrote author C.A. Higgins in 1915, had once made “almost every toilsome mile of the slow passage through Kansas dangerous for the wagon trains…

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