A Year in the Company of Freaks

In 1972 the hippie movement was still going on, the Vietnam war was starting to wind down and there was lots of change and discrimination. In the small town of Trinity Springs, cultures collide as hippies start to migrate from San Francisco. Trinity Springs California is the type of town where everyone knows your name, people work hard, change happens slowly and hippies aren’t welcome.

One of the people who wants out of Trinity Springs is Italian-American Sid Jackson. He was a student at Berkeley but got busted for growing pot on his deceased parents’ farm. Now he has to spend a year on probation and can’t leave the Trinity Springs area. In order to make a living, Otis the town sheriff and friend to Sid’s parents finds boarders to live on Sid’s farm and pay rent. Now Sid has to live in a house of misfits, try not to break his probation and figure out what he wants to do with the rest of his life.

A Year In The Company Of Freaks is a coming of age tale that can also be labeled as historical fiction. Sid and all of the boarders in the farmhouse are young and trying to figure out what they want from this world. They are also facing a certain amount of discrimination  from the town because they are very different from the people in town. Even within the house they face discrimination because they are all unique. One of the tenants named Mika is going to a church school and gets referred to as a Jesus freak and is treated like an outsider. We also have a  biker trying to win custody of his daughter and a Vietnam veteran who has trouble socializing and suffers from PTSD. There is also the problem that with the exception of Mika, all the people in the house do drugs and if Sid gets caught around it he will be breaking his probation and get thrown in prison.

This book is a character study in what people were like in the early seventies and the hardships they faced. Sid does dress like a hippie but doesn’t really fit into the movement. There is one good scene where he goes to a bar and the waitress gets upset with him because of how he looks, seeing him as a draft dodger. Also I felt for Mika in the way she gets ostracized for being religious. The only ones who are supportive of everyone is Otis and his wife Pearlie who are quick to give advice or provide warm meals.

Everyone in the house changes a lot over a year, especially Sid who is now forced to deal with the loss of his parents and his own doubts as to whether he can keep from getting high or not. I enjoyed watching the characters grow and the support they get from Otis and Pearlie. In particular I liked when they point out how true friendship is sacrifice and if it comes easy it’s not real. This is an idea you see proven among the people in the farm-house, nothing is easy for them.  I enjoyed this book much more than I thought I would, it’s a long book but I was so into the characters that it seemed like a quick read. The story is about life itself and it’s something anyone can relate too.



Guest blog post: Teresa Neumann

Why A Year in the Company of Freaks is Not Your Daddy’s “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test”

by Teresa Neumann

With today’s acceptance of marijuana as a legal substance, it’s hard to imagine that there was a time, not long ago, when simply the possession of pot was a crime. However, that was a reality in the 1970’s and the main focus of the storyline in A Year in the Company of Freaks.

Those who didn’t live through that time period don’t realize just how culturally divided America was then. Many assume most baby boomers were hippies and that society, in general, embraced them … or at least tolerated them. I lived in northern California for two years in the early 70’s and that was not entirely the case. While there were pockets of radical counter-culture communities – primarily around Berkeley and San Francisco – the greater part of northern California was still dominated by loggers, farmers and backwoods folk who viewed long-haired, pot-smoking hippies as unwelcome rebels, a threat to their long-established, traditional communities. Indeed, many bell-bottomed, patchouli scented Flower Children were threatened and bullied when they dared to tread 50-some miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge.

Welcome to the sub-plot of Freaks: the beginnings of the great cultural shift and divide of the late 20th century. Unless you’re a hermit (or a zoned-out hippie living off the grid in some remote commune) you’re keenly aware that what started in the 1970’s as a cultural revolution against the establishment has, today, morphed into an all-out ideological war.

But Freaks isn’t your daddy’s “Merry Pranksters” or “Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.” It’s a multi-dimensional glimpse into the reality of those who survived the times and lived to tell about it. Not only that, it explains the phenomenon of how so many hippies turned into yuppies.

Or not.

It depends on what “different strokes” you followed!

Teresa Neumann and her musician husband live in Oregon’s beautiful Willamette Valley with their three children. As well as being an author, reporter, and journalist, Teresa loves to fiddle on her violin and live “la dolce vita” in Italy whenever she can talk her family into it.



#Horror Anthology: Clockwork Wonderland #Review by @TBraun_Author #Books #AliceinWonderland

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Book Review


Wonderland??? I’m all over this one! Let’s see what Theresa has to say about it.

Clockwork Wonderland contains stories from authors that see Wonderland as a place of horror where anything can happen and time runs amok. In this book you’ll find tales of murderous clockworks, insane creations, serial killers, zombies, and a blood thirsty jabberclocky. Prepare to see Wonderland as a place where all your worst nightmares come true. You may never look at classic children’s literature the same way again.

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Clockwork Wonderland (Release Date: April 2017)

alice in wonderland

There’s a comforting familiarity in these stories, since most of us have at least a vague understanding of Alice and what it means to be stuck in Wonderland. Although it’s usually passed off as an imaginative realm for children, the circumstances and imagery here are the stuff of adult nightmares. Themes of losing our innocence, questioning our…

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Horror Bites: Alice’s Scars

One of the perks of being on staff at horroraddicts.net is I get to read a lot of good horror literature, recently I got asked to write the forward to the first story in horrororaddicts.net horror bite series. The story is Alice’s Scars by Adam Belaby, here is my forward followed by some info on the story:

When it comes to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, there have been many interpretations as to what the book means. I like to think that it’s about a young girl looking at the crazy world of adults and trying to make sense out of it, but other people have different ideas.

For a book geared toward children, there are a lot of hidden meanings. One popular theme is the reference to mind altering drugs. This is debatable, but one thing we know for sure is that there is a caterpillar who smokes a hookah and gives advice. Does Alice eat his drugs when she’s told one side of the mushroom will make her taller, the other smaller? Or is the whole story a drug-induced vision?

Recently HorrorAddicts.net Press released Clockwork Wonderland, a Horror anthology that turns the world of Alice in Wonderland into a place of nightmares where anything can happen and time runs amok. Being a part of the HorrorAddicts.net staff, I was lucky enough to read the story submissions for what would become Clockwork Wonderland. Every author who submitted something did a great job of turning Alice’s Classic Children’s story into a tale of horror.

One of the most powerful stories I read for Clockwork Wonderlandwhich stuck with me long after I read it—was the story you are about to enjoy. “Alice’s Scars” by Adam L. Bealby had a much darker and realistic feel than the other stories accepted for the Clockwork Wonderland anthology. The reason it wasn’t included was because it was so intimate and different, we felt it needed its own space to be its own voice. While the stories in Clockwork Wonderland are Horror and Dark Fantasy, “Alice’s Scars” took the idea of Alice to a very different place. For me, it was a hard story to read because I’ve known people who were very similar to the characters in this story and it made the story that much scarier. Adam L. Bealby has written a mini masterpiece that explores mental illness, drug addiction, and real life horror. So prepare yourself for an Alice in Wonderland story that will truly give you chills.
David Watson,
Editor and Reviewer

HorrorAddicts.net launches our Horror Bites series with an
Alice-inspired story by Adam L. Bealby.

When he met Alice, he wasn’t prepared to go down the rabbit hole. His love for her pushes him into the uncomfortable realization she might be mad. He wants to keep her safe, but what if that’s not what Alice wants?

“Adam Bealby has written a mini masterpiece that explores mental illness, drug addiction, and real life horror.”

~David Watson, The All-Night Library

Horror Bites: Alice’s Scars


Just 99 cents at Amazon.com




A look inside…

Alice’s Scars



When I first met her she was Katie, soon to be Alice. It was her first day at Uni, my second, and her scars intrigued me. They lined her cheeks like tribal markings and the way she caked her face in foundation, you could tell they were forever on her mind. It helped, of course, that she was a beautiful Goth girl. I wanted to save her, share her pain, kiss her, and fuck her, too. I asked her what she kept in the drawstring purse around her neck.

“Money,” she said dismissively, turning away to talk to someone else at the bar.

She disappeared soon after. I only found out later how drunk she got, how she spent the rest of the night over a toilet bowl with Jackie holding her hair clear of her mouth. Her first and last run-in with alcohol. Alice had too much else going on in her life to get any more screwed up.

I dogged her all through freshers’ week. Instead of dorms, she’d been accommodated in a little house just off campus. A new friend I met lived there too, so it was an easy thing to fall in with her motley crew, drawn together by circumstance as we were. I became a regular in their kitchen, smoking weed and trying too hard—as we all did—to be quirky and cool.

We struck up conversation over a jar of pesto. I didn’t know what it was and she couldn’t believe it. I strung it out, made it appear I was more ignorant than I actually was, and I got her laughing. When I said her pesto looked like rabbit food she blushed, right through all that paint and powder.

“You don’t know the first thing about rabbits,” she said, and she showed me what was in her drawstring purse. It was a tiny white rabbit’s foot. It freaked me out and yet I felt even more attracted to her. It was my in, a secret shared. Looking at the severed foot I felt myself getting hard and I had to sit down for fear she’d notice.

She ran away that evening. We were all stoned and a bit drunk, talking about our parents, being glib, critical, or overly generous. She burst into tears and ran out of the kitchen and into the night, not even bothering to put her shoes on. We made an extravagant show of hunting for her, shouting her name up and down the street. Pete the Poet, as we later christened him, came out to help from next door. The way John shouted Katie’s name in his Irish accent, Pete thought we’d lost a cat. We had a good laugh about that.

But it wasn’t funny when we found Katie. She was hunkered down by the bushes on a bit of common area at the end of the row.

“Katie? What are you looking for?” I asked as we gathered round in a concerned hub.

“He was here,” she muttered. She’d been pawing at the dirt. Her fingers were black. “I saw him, but he got away from me.”

“Who was here, Katie?”

She looked up. The glare from a passing car lent her eyes a lustrous sheen.

“Alice. Call me Alice from now on, okay? Do you know what time it is? The days all seem to blur into one.”


Adam L. Bealby writes fantasy, horror and weird fiction for both adults and children. His short stories and comic work have been published in numerous anthologies, including Spooked (Bridge House Publishing), Pagan (Zimbell House Publishing), Darkness Abound (Migla Press), Once Upon a Scream (HorrorAddicts.net), Sirens (World Weaver Press), World Unknown Review Vol. 2, rEvolution (MiFiWriters) and Murky Depths magazine. He lives in Worcestershire, UK with his wife and three children, and a harried imagination. Catch up with his latest ravings at @adamskilad.

Once Upon a Scream, featuring “The Other Daughter” by Adam L. Bealby

Once Upon a Scream…there was a tradition of telling tales with elements of the fantastic along with the frightful. Adults and children alike took heed not to go into the deep, dark woods, treat a stranger poorly, or make a deal with someone-or something-without regard for the consequences. Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it. From wish-granting trolls, to plague curses, and evil enchantresses, these tales will have you hiding under the covers in hopes they don’t find you. So lock your doors, shutter your windows, and get ready to SCREAM.


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Guest Blog Post: Colleen M. Story

Book Tour Blog: The All Night Library

Colleen M. Story | Overwhelmed Writer Rescue

  The Truth About What’s Happening to Your Time

One of the most common complaints I hear from writers and other creative artists is that they wish they had more time.

“I don’t have enough time to write,” they’ll say, or to paint, or compose, or start a new business.

It’s true that we have more things vying for our attention today than we have in the past. We’re all victims, to some extent, of our “always-on” culture. It’s easy to get burned out when we travel with technology all the time, work at all hours, and even take our smartphones to bed.

But outside factors like technology and information overload are only part of the problem. There are more destructive elements I like to call “time thieves” that literally steal your time away, often without you realizing it. Unfortunately, you can never get that time back.

I talk about the seven most common thieves in my new book, Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, but today I’d like to share with David’s readers three of the most sinister when it comes to robbing you of your creative time: television, social media, and interruptions.

Time Thief #1: Television

An astonishing eighty percent of American adults watch three-and-a- half hours of TV per day—which takes up about half of their leisure time, according to a 2015 survey by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

A 2014 Nielsen media ratings report put the number even higher, stating the average American watches five hours per day. That’s not just a huge time thief; it’s also horrible for your health. Recent research shows that the more television people watch, the more likely they are to die prematurely.

Examine what you’re watching and how much time it’s taking. There’s nothing wrong with sitting down to relax now and then, but if you want to be more productive, find the “off” button and use it more often.

Better yet, schedule your viewing time around your favorite shows, and then turn the TV off when they’re over. Don’t fall for those teasers that try to lure you into watching the next one.

Time Thief #2: Social Media

Social media networking now accounts for nearly thirty percent of the time Americans spend on the Internet—an average of 1.72 hours a day, according to a 2015 report from the Global Web Index. That doesn’t include blogging, reading blogs, or online research, just social media interaction.

It may be hard to imagine that so much of your day is spent on social media, but take a second look. A report from Informate Mobile Intelligence revealed that people check Facebook, Twitter, and other accounts an average of seventeen times a day—once every waking hour. And the highest usage wasn’t in the “kids” group —it was in the 25-54 age bracket!

Facebook reports that users spend an average of fifty minutes a day (nearly an hour) on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger platforms. That may not seem like much until you remember that you have twenty-four hours a day, and about eight are spent sleeping and another eight working. That leaves just eight hours, and the average Facebook user shoots one of them on the social media site.

To keep social media from gobbling up your time, set limits on when you allow yourself to check it. Dedicate thirty minutes a day, for example, or every other day, or on certain days of the week. Be vigilant about stopping on time, so you don’t fall victim to the “just one more thing” trick the social media thief uses to keep you from breaking away.

You can also check social media as a “reward” during the day, as long as you keep it to no more than ten minutes. This so-called “grazing” used as a reward between completed projects actually increased productivity in the workplace by about nine percent, according to one study.

Think of checking social media as the modern-day “smoke break.” Just don’t let it take over your day.

Time Thief #3: Interruptions

You’re working away on your project, and someone knocks on the door. You look up, address what that person wants, and then go back to your project. Don’t be surprised if you stare at the screen for a while before being able to get going again.

Interruptions are costly. They increase errors, cause you to take longer to finish a task, and boost stress. A key 2014 study from George Mason University found that people who were interrupted while writing produced poorer quality essays than those who worked undisturbed.

Other research has found that it can take an average of twenty-three minutes to recover lost concentration.

To minimize interruptions:

  • Communicate clearly. To work or write uninterrupted, make it clear to others that you don’t want to be disturbed. Close your door. Don’t answer the phone or check emails. Hang a “do not disturb” sign. Whatever it takes.
  • Don’t answer the phone or the door. When unexpected visitors come calling, avoid any interaction at all, or at the very least, apologize and reschedule the visit.
  • Turn off your cell phone, or at least silence it.
  • Isolate yourself—go somewhere you won’t be disturbed.

 When you sit down and start writing out exactly how much time you’re spending in each of these activities, and then add up that time over the period of a week, month, and year, you can quickly see how detrimental they can be to your creative dreams.

The good news is that you can take control of the situation. By simply identifying your time thieves and creating a new security system that keeps them from robbing you of those precious minutes you so desperately need, you can increase your productivity and get more creative time into your days.

I’ve got a chart in the book that helps you do just that, but for now, you can simply keep a daily diary and mark down each time you start doing these activities, and when you stop. Becoming more aware of the time you’re spending on daily time thieves may be enough to motivate you to make some positive changes that support your creative dreams.

To learn about the other four destructive time thieves— as well as discover your unique “time personality” and personal motivation style—order your copy of Overwhelmed Writer Rescue today! Available at Amazon and all other print and eBook retailers. Enjoy your FREE chapter here!


Colleen M. Story has worked in the creative writing industry for over twenty years. Her novels include “Loreena’s Gift,” an Idaho Author Awards first place winner, New Apple Solo Medalist winner, Foreword Reviews’ INDIES Book of the Year Awards winner, Reader Views award finalist, and Best Book Awards finalist; and “Rise of the Sidenah,” a North American Book Awards winner and New Apple Book Awards Official Selection.

As a health writer, Colleen has authored thousands of articles for publications like Healthline and Women’s Health; worked with high-profile clients like Gerber Baby Products and Kellogg’s; and ghostwritten books on back pain, nutrition, and cancer recovery. She finds most rewarding her work as a motivational speaker and workshop leader, where she helps writers remove mental and emotional blocks and tap into their unique creative powers.

Colleen is the founder of Writing and Wellness (writingandwellness.com), a motivational site helping writers and other creative artists maintain their physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being throughout their careers. Sign up for your free weekly email containing tips for living your best creative life at http://www.writingandwellness/ newsletter.

To find more information on Colleen and her work, please see her website (colleenmstory.com), or follow her on Twitter (@ colleen_m_story). She loves to hear from readers-feel free to use the “contact” form on either her website or Writing and Wellness to get in touch with her.



Overwhelmed Writer Rescue

Becoming a published author is no easy task, there are a lot of different things that go into the making of a book. There is research, planing how your story is going to go and then there is the actual writing. Writing takes a lot of time and most people who write have a family and a job that also requires a lot of attention. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and just want to quit on your creative dreams but there is help out there if you’re willing to look.

Overwhelmed Writer Rescue by Colleen M Story is a well researched self-help book that gives great advice on finding the time to write. This book begins with a personal story from Colleen where she recalls attending a dinner with 15 other authors after a writing workshop. Colleen was working as a freelance writer and as a musician but she wanted to see her own fiction published. She was hoping for some good advice on how to manage her time better so she could make her dream come true, but she wasn’t able to find it.

Since she didn’t get the advice she wanted, Colleen started to do some research and found several ways to use her time more effectively. One thing that she preaches about here is getting rid of all the little things that eat up your time to be creative. Most importantly you have to limit yourself on social media, turn off the television and stop looking at your smart phone. There are lots of little things that eat away at your time and putting limits on these things will give you time to do what you really want to do. Colleen gives you the tools you need to follow your dreams and she points out that it’s not about working harder, it’s about working smarter and time management is the key.

There is a lot of helpful information in Overwhelmed Writer Rescue, almost too much. Colleen gets deep into making the most of your writing time and throws a lot of information at you.  She also gives you references to back up her advice and questionnaires to help you find the answers you’re looking for.  This isn’t the kind of book that you would sit and read from cover to cover but its a great reference book to look at when you need it.

I liked how after each chapter there was a summary of the key points she was trying to get across. After she gives you all the detail on what she is trying to teach, she breaks it down into a simpler format that’s easy to reread when you need it. Most importantly this book is not just for writers either, it’s also a good source of info for finding the time to do whatever creative endeavor that you want to pursue. Colleen points out the importance of having a creative outlet and finding your calling in life. In this book she gives you a road map to make you more efficient at making your dreams come true.



The Nomad’s Premonition

Eric Martin has had an exciting past but he is trying to leave that behind. He now works as deputy head of a bank’s internal security department but his instincts are telling him that something strange is going on. He notices that there is a nameless user who is predicting profitable trades and making a profit off it. Eric seems to be the only one who notices it and his boss is telling him to just let it go. Eric decides to do a little investigating on his own and believes there is a special software program being used by the trader which was used in the past to create financial instability.

As he goes further down the rabbit hole, he finds that the problem is much more complex than a simple trader with a stolen program. Eric now has a boss he can no longer trust, an ex-lover suddenly appears who seems to be out to harm him and there is a terrorist who is always just out of reach. He does have one ally though in the form of Interpol agent Stephanie Brule but the two of them together may not be enough to stop the chain of events that started when Eric took the job that was too good to be true.

Nomad’s Premonition by Georges Benay is the sequel to Nomad On The Run but the book does work as a stand alone thriller. What I liked about this book is seeing how the characters have changed. We see a lot more of Eric’s boss Alain Lepetit in this one and we see that he’s a man hiding some big secrets. I also liked how different Eric is in this book, in book one he is confident and in this story you see that he is a broken man who hasn’t gotten over what happened to him in Morocco. Now he is just trying to do his job and remembering back to a simpler time when he was happy, but once again he gets caught in a crisis that he wanted no part of. Eric is like an ordinary guy who gets forced to be an action hero.

Every character in Nomad’s Premonition is complex and they all seem to be hiding a secret agenda.  This is not your normal action packed read, there is a lot going on here from the exotic locations to how money and power affect people. There is also a lot of detail put into what its like to be an international banker and all the problems that go with it. I found myself thinking that this book is probably pretty true to life. Where there is massive amounts of wealth, you’re going to have to deal with corruption.  This is a thinking man’s thriller where you get to visit locations and meet people who you never see in everyday life.