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Ambrose Stolliker book signing on July 31!

I’m excited to announce that I will be signing copies of The Strange Nighttime Journey of Father Stephen Marlowe from 1 p.m. PT to 4 p.m. PT on Sunday, July 31 at Half Price Books in Redmond, Wash.

Half Price Books is located at 7805 Leary Way, Redmond, WA., 98052.

I will have copies of my new novel from Muddy Paw Press on hand to sign and sell directly to patrons for $10.99. Here’s the back-of-cover summary of Father Marlowe:

“In the year since his brother, Chris, committed suicide, Father Stephen Marlowe has not been able to pick up the pieces. He is racked with guilt over what he believes was his part in Chris’ death and his once-meteoric rise through the Catholic Church in New York City has come to an ignominious end. Haunted by disturbing dreams of his brother suffering in a hellish underworld, Marlowe is at the breaking point. At the behest of his superiors, he goes to St. Michael the Archangel Church in the Bronx to seek counsel from a mysterious priest who specializes in helping spiritually troubled clergy. There, as he reluctantly attempts to make confession and unburden his soul, the church is rocked by a powerful earthquake. The confessional disintegrates, the floor crumbles away beneath him, and Marlowe is plunged into a world both wondrous and terrifying where he must fight to save his brother’s immortal soul.”

Hope to see you all there!

A.S.

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Civil War-era horror novella Old Hollow audiobook available for $.99 until July 26

If you’re looking for a spooky piece of historical horror and don’t want to break the bank then download my Civil War-era novella Old Hollow, available via Chirp and Barnes & Noble for $.99 until July 26.

The novella is narrated by talented voice artist Thomas Deckard Croix, who also did the work on the audiobook version of my second novella, The Death Chute.

Here’s the back-of-the-book overview of Old Hollow:

“Spring, 1865. The Southern armies are close to defeat. Union Cavalry Commander Philip Sheridan has loosed his scouts into the Virginia countryside in search of an opportunity to intercept and destroy General Robert E. Lee’s Rebel army and bring the war to an end.

One such scout is Captain Benjamin Lawson, a man haunted by the scenes of senseless slaughter he has endured from Antietam to Gettysburg. On a dark, rainy night, Lawson’s party of scouts stumbles upon a large group of Rebel cavalry. All Hell breaks loose. Only Lawson, Sergeant Jordy Lightfoot and Corporal Emil Boyd manage to escape into a thick forest.

There, Lawson discovers the young corporal has been gravely wounded. Determined not to lose another man under his command, Lawson heads for a small town called Old Hollow in the hopes of finding a doctor who can help the dying boy. What he finds there is far more terrifying than anything he’s witnessed on the battlefield. Soon, he and his men are in a fight for their lives against a twisted preacher who has struck a diabolical covenant with an ancient, unspeakable evil.”

The novella has garnered an average of 3.9 stars out of 5 on Amazon, as well as favorable reviews from horror fiction reviewers:

Old Hollow is a Civil War horror story that feels both familiar yet new. We’ve all heard tales of hidden towns or families that survived by luring in travelers that would meet with horrific deaths. From the legends of Sawney Bean’s cannibal clan to the unfortunately true story of the Bloody Benders these monsters lurk in our darkest nightmares. The town of Old Hollow fits right in with these haunting stories, but with a supernatural twist. Like a favorite campfire story that still sends delicious shivers down your back and makes the night feel eerie Old Hollow is a fun book to read. A solid 4 stars.” – Angela Crawford, Horror Maiden’s Book Review

“I love the cover of Old Hollow. It’s simple but also beautiful. Old Hollow is a fast, creepy read. The characters are interesting and mostly enjoyable. It’s not super-heavy on Civil War facts but it gives you enough to flavor it without making it exposition heavy. The settings are great and the descriptions are just enough.” – Lilyn G., Founder, Sci-Fi & Scary Blog

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Author copies of Father Marlowe are here!

It’s magic time!

Is there any more exciting moment for a writer with a new book out than when their author copies arrive in the mail? Not for THIS guy!

I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of how the paperback edition of my new supernatural horror novel, The Strange Nighttime Journey of Father Stephen Marlowe, turned out. You can find it on Amazon now for $10.99.

I have to give HUGE kudos to Tyler Hauth at Muddy Paw Press for all his hard work and flexibility in making sure the book turned out just the way we wanted it to.

I love everything about it, from the wonderful cover art to the way it was laid out on down to the font and font size we chose. Yes, I’m geeking out about it big time, I am not ashamed to admit. Just to prove my point, here’s a quick slide show of the book:

And yes, in case you’re wondering, that is indeed a 1927 Royal Model P portable typewriter – and yes, I DO indeed use it for writing everything from short stories to notes and letters to my family. No, Father Marlowe was not written on the Royal Model P.

Give the back-of-the-jacket cover overview a read and, if you feel so inclined, pick up a copy on Amazon and leave a review (no matter how much you like it or hate it.) If you’re a fan of Richard Matheson, H.P. Lovecraft, or William Peter Blatty, I think you’ll enjoy Father Marlowe.

Yours,

A.S.

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The Death Chute audiobook available for $.99 until June 25!

Great news! If you’re looking for a short, spooky ghost story to plow through, the audio book version of my novella, The Death Chute, is available for just 99 cents through June 25 via Chirp and Barnes & Noble!

The story is narrated by the talented Thomas Deckard Croix, whose evocative baritone brings the story of the haunting of a former tuberculosis sanatorium nestled in Vermont’s Green Mountains to life.

Intrigued? Here’s a back-of-the-book overview of the story:

“When his mother, Sophia, is diagnosed with an aggressive form of dementia, 44-year-old reality television producer Jake Porter leaves Hollywood and returns to his native Vermont to look after her. Jake plans to set her up in a posh new retirement community in the Green Mountains and then head back to Los Angeles to revive his career, which is now in jeopardy after his last few projects bombed in spectacular fashion.

But when he learns that the retirement community was once a tuberculosis sanatorium, Jake is uneasy at the prospect of leaving Sophia on her own. Only the assurances of the community’s chief medical officer, Christine Barrett, convince Jake that his mother will be in good hands.

Not long after she’s moved in, however, Sophia has the first of many frightening experiences when she encounters the apparition of a little boy suffering from TB. At first, Jake dismisses her story as a symptom of her dementia, but as time goes on, it becomes clear the rest home houses dark secrets and is haunted by something terrible and strange.”

So, plug those headphones into your tablet or mobile phone, turn down the lights, and give The Death Chute a listen. It’ll give you a good scare, I promise!

Yours,

A.S.

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The Strange Nighttime Journey of Father Stephen Marlowe now available

Well, it’s here at last! Earlier today, my newest supernatural horror novel, The Strange Nighttime Journey of Father Stephen Marlowe, was released by Muddy Paw Press!

The 227-page novel is hot off the press and available in paperback format for $10.99 on Amazon! As one might expect, I couldn’t be more excited!

In case you’re unfamiliar with its premise, here’s a quick summary of the book (straight from the back cover):

“In the year since his brother, Chris, committed suicide, Father Stephen Marlowe has not been able to pick up the pieces. He is racked with guilt over what he believes was his part in Chris’ death and his once-meteoric rise through the Catholic Church in New York City has come to an ignominious end. Haunted by disturbing dreams of his brother suffering in a hellish underworld, Marlowe is at the breaking point. At the behest of his superiors, he goes to St. Michael the Archangel Church in the Bronx to seek counsel from a mysterious priest who specializes in helping spiritually troubled clergy. There, as he reluctantly attempts to make confession and unburden his soul, the church is rocked by a powerful earthquake. The confessional disintegrates, the floor crumbles away beneath him, and Marlowe is plunged into a world both wondrous and terrifying where he must fight to save his brother’s immortal soul.”

I want to thank Tyler Hauth at Muddy Paw Press for bringing this book to market. He’s been a great partner and I was convinced we would have a fruitful collaboration pretty much from the get-go. I remember the day he called me to ask if the manuscript was still available like it was yesterday, mostly because I’d never had an editor or publisher actually take the time to pick up the phone and call me to convey their interest in anything I’d ever written.

Tyler’s passion for Father Marlowe was pretty clear from the start, and it was a breath of fresh air considering how many literary agents, publishers (both large and small) and editors had passed on the novel before he read it. Every edit, every suggestion he made as we worked on the book together made the story better, and for that I am immensely grateful. Sometimes, all a writer needs is one person to believe in their book to make it happen.

Now, it’s up to the readers. I hope those who do take the time to read it (and thank you in advance if you choose to do so, you really do have this author’s heartfelt gratitude) will leave a review on Amazon – good, bad or otherwise. I want to hear what everyone in the horror fiction community thinks of the story (yes, even if you hate it!)

Yours,

A.S.

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Author interview: Muddy Paw Press sits down with Ambrose Stolliker to talk horror fiction

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Muddy Paw Press Founder Tyler Hauth about my forthcoming novel, The Strange Nighttime Journey of Father Stephen Marlowe, due out later this month.

So, if you’re interested to hear the story behind the story about how the book came to be, take a few minutes to read the interview.

In it, we discuss the horror and weird fiction authors who influenced me as a writer (and as a writer of this story in particular), the book’s evolution from short story to novella to a novel-length piece as well as my own journey as a writer of horror fiction. I hope you enjoy this window into Father Marlowe (and that I don’t come off as yet another self-important writer who likes to pontificate!)

Here’s a short excerpt:

Tyler Hauth: You know, I think when people think of walking through Hell and coming back out again that their mind immediately goes to Inferno from Dante’s Divine Comedy. I happen to know that wasn’t a chief inspiration for you, though. Could you talk about where you actually did derive inspiration?

Ambrose Stolliker: Father Marlowe is, to my mind, a mix of a variety of genres, including supernatural horror, of course, but also gothic horror, weird fiction and even some elements of the fantastic. I have been a voracious reader of all those genres since about the age of eight, so it’s not surprising that there are shades of each in this story. One novel that comes to mind as having had a significant influence is What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson. Father Marlowe pays tribute to Matheson’s book in that it is also a story where the protagonist descends into a strange, fantastical, and sometimes horrific underworld to rescue the soul of someone important to him.

As for the book itself, it will soon be available in paperback and ebook formats on Amazon and an assortment of other places – stay turned for more details! If you’re not familiar with what Father Marlowe is all about, here’s the back cover summary:

In the year since his brother, Chris, committed suicide, Father Stephen Marlowe has not been able to pick up the pieces. He is racked with guilt over what he believes was his part in Chris’ death and his once-meteoric rise through the Catholic Church in New York City has come to an ignominious end. Haunted by disturbing dreams of his brother suffering in a hellish underworld, Marlowe is at the breaking point. At the behest of his superiors, he goes to St. Michael the Archangel Church in the Bronx to seek counsel from a mysterious priest who specializes in helping spiritually troubled clergy. There, as he reluctantly attempts to make confession and unburden his soul, the church is rocked by a powerful earthquake. The confessional disintegrates, the floor crumbles away beneath him, and Marlowe is plunged into a world both wondrous and terrifying where he must fight to save his brother’s immortal soul.

And, just in case you missed it, we did the cover reveal last week, and I am just so proud of it and think the illustrator did a fantastic job, so here it is again:

Can’t wait for this to get into readers’ hands!

Stay tuned for more news on the imminent release of Father Marlowe on Twitter and on Instagram.

Yours,

A.S.

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Cover Reveal: The Strange Nighttime Journey of Father Stephen Marlowe!

I am thrilled to at last reveal the cover for my forthcoming novel, The Strange Nighttime Journey of Father Stephen Marlowe. The novel is due out in late May and will be released by indie publisher Muddy Paw Press.

I love what the illustrator has done with this cover, everything from the old-timey-oil-painting-in-a-museum style to the way it captures the essence of the story. Here’s a look at the front and back cover as well:

But wait! There’s more! Since it might be a little hard to read in the image above, let me share the back cover summary for you:

In the year since his brother, Chris, committed suicide, Father Stephen Marlowe has not been able to pick up the pieces. He is racked with guilt over what he believes was his part in Chris’ death and his once-meteoric rise through the Catholic Church in New York City has come to an ignominious end. Haunted by disturbing dreams of his brother suffering in a hellish underworld, Marlowe is at the breaking point. At the behest of his superiors, he goes to St. Michael the Archangel Church in the Bronx to seek counsel from a mysterious priest who specializes in helping spiritually troubled clergy. There, as he reluctantly attempts to make confession and unburden his soul, the church is rocked by a powerful earthquake. The confessional disintegrates, the floor crumbles away beneath him, and Marlowe is plunged into a world both wondrous and terrifying where he must fight to save his brother’s immortal soul.

Can you tell I’m excited? Well, I am! Up next, I’ll be sharing a short interview I participated in with Muddy Paw Press founder Tyler Hauth as well as – drumroll, please – the exact release date for the novel, which will be available in both paperback and eBook formats.

Meantime, you can keep up with new announcements about the book by following me on Twitter or Instagram.

Yours,

A.S.

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Do daily word counts matter for writers? I’m not so sure anymore

Not a day goes by on social media that I don’t see a fellow writer flagelating themselves with some variation of, “I only got 300 words on my current work in progress written today” or “I haven’t written in [insert length of time followed by perceived deserved level of guilt]”.

All writers do it. It’s a sign that we care about our craft enough to understand that it takes discipline if we’re ever going to finish that short story or novel or poem or what have you. Sometimes though, I think it can go too far, to the point where it’s counterproductive.

I wrote my first full-length novel back in about 2005, and did so relatively quickly. I was in my mid-thirties at the time, single, no kids and holding down a job as a newspaper reporter. So, I was able to get up at 5.30 a.m. every morning, Monday to Friday, and write 2,000 words like clockwork. It took a lot of coffee, but I did it. Then I went to work and wrote four to six news stories a week.

There were days though, when the alarm clock would go off and I just couldn’t do it. The motivation wasn’t there for one reason or another. Maybe I’d had a tough writing session the morning before and I knew I had no idea what I should write, so I didn’t bother getting out of bed. Other days, I’d get up, but the words came out like molasses, and I felt like there must be something wrong with me, that I was a failure because I didn’t hit my 2,000-word mark that day.

I did that for a long time. Years. Two more books (that were never published) and a handful of short stories (also never published). Then, I got married, had a kid, and started working longer hours to bulk up that 401K I’d so stupidly not fully funded in my 20s. On top of that, I got, well, not old, but I sure as Hell wasn’t young anymore. Firmly ensconced in middle age (and climbing). Let’s just leave it at that.

As all this was going on (you know, as life was going on), a couple of things happened. First, my production went down. I went from 2,000 words per day to 1,500 to 1,200 to 1,000. Second, I began to realize it didn’t really matter all that much. Frankly, there are much more important things to worry about – am I being present to my wife and son; am I happy at work, where, let’s face it, we all spend the majority of our time.

You know what else happened during this time of “low productivity”? I got published. I sold my first story in 2010. A year later, I sold another. Six months later, two more. I wrote another novel (not published). Then I wrote more short stories and two novellas. Those got published. All while writing anywhere between 200 and 1,200 words per writing session.

Honestly, today I am happy if I get three days per week and 1,000 words per day. That’s a good week. If I get five writing sessions per week in – and that’s a rarity – I consider that a great week. Like, I’m doing a jig kind of week. And while writing remains my undying passion and really one of the very few things I am actually good at, it’s not the driving force in my life the way it was when I was young, single and accountable only to myself.

These days, it’s not my motivation level that usually determines how often I write or how much I write when I do write. It’s other things. Things like how tired I am after a long day of work or whether my son has Little League practice. OK, maybe motivation does play a little part in it. I’ll admit to slacking off because the Love is Blind finale is on Netflix or The Batman just became available on HBO Max.

At the end of the day, I still get my writing done. But I get it done without beating myself up too much or by holding myself to unrealistic (and frankly, arbitrary) word counts and writing sessions per week benchmarks. Yeah, it takes a little longer, but the work is actually probably better. That counts for something, right?

Next month, I have a new novel coming out from Muddy Paw Press. I got it done writing between 500 and 1,000 words per day over four drafts that took about two years. I have a new collection of short horror stories and novellas set during the Civil War that I’ve been working on for going on three years (and that’s just the first draft), and I’m OK with that.

So, to any of my fellow writers out there beating themselves up because they only got 150 words written after staring at a blank screen for three hours or they just didn’t write because, come on, who is honestly going to skip the final reveal of The Masked Singer – listen, it’s OK. It’s my belief and my experience that if you truly love writing, truly love telling stories – you’ll get it done. Yes, you need discipline – the damn thing won’t write itself, after all. But you don’t need to beat yourself up over it either. I don’t. Not anymore, anyway.

Yours,

A.S.

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Final edits on Father Marlowe novel finished!

Well, another important milestone on the forthcoming publication of my new novel, The Strange Nighttime Journey of Father Stephen Marlowe, is in the books.

See what I did there? Terrible. I know. I can’t help it though. I’m excited (giddy, even) because I just read through and accepted the final edits from Muddy Paw Press on the Father Marlowe manuscript.

As I read through it, I kept thinking to myself, I’m so lucky I found an indie publisher who demonstrated a real passion for this story and had the editing chops to help tighten it up and just, oh, you know, make the book better. I really hope readers will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

So, what’s next? Well, I get to see the book laid out in the next few weeks, which will really make it real that this is happening. Then, of course, there’s the upcoming cover reveal (I’ve already seen it and I couldn’t be more pleased with the work done by the illustrator – they really captured the essense of the story from a visual perspective.) That happens on April 30. Follow me on Twitter for updates on Father Marlowe – there are more in the offing soon (like, when it will be out and where you can get it!)

For those reading this who don’t know, here’s a little sneak peak at the back cover blurb:

In the year since his brother, Chris, committed suicide, Father Stephen Marlowe has not been able to pick up the pieces. He is racked with guilt over what he believes was his part in Chris’ death and his once-meteoric rise through the Catholic Church in New York City has come to an ignominious end. Haunted by disturbing dreams of his brother suffering in a hellish underworld, Marlowe is at the breaking point. At the behest of his superiors, he goes to St. Michael the Archangel Church in the Bronx to seek counsel from a mysterious priest who specializes in helping spiritually troubled clergy. There, as he reluctantly attempts to make confession and unburden his soul, the church is rocked by a powerful earthquake. The confessional disintegrates, the floor crumbles away beneath him, and Marlowe is plunged into a world both wondrous and terrifying where he must fight to save his brother’s immortal soul.

In the meantime, I want to give a plug to a fellow writer, Mike Sullivan, whose novel, DOGS, was just published by Muddy Paw Press on April 16. You can find the dystopian horror novella, which has been described as “Cujo meets The Walking Dead” on Amazon.

Yours,

A.S.

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Muddy Paw Press to publish new supernatural horror novel from Ambrose Stolliker

I am excited to announce that Muddy Paw Press will publish my new supernatural horror novel in the spring of 2022.

Entitled The Strange Nighttime Journey of Father Stephen Marlowe, the novel tells the story of a Roman Catholic priest who must descend into the depths of a hellish underworld to save the soul of his younger brother, Christopher, who recently committed suicide.

Here’s the jacket cover summary:

In the year since Christopher’s death, Father Stephen Marlowe has not been able to pick up the pieces. He is racked with guilt over what he believes was his part in his brother’s suicide, his ministry is failing, and his once-meteoric rise through the Roman Catholic hierarchy in New York City has come to an ignominious end. Haunted by strange and disturbing visions of Chris suffering in a nightmarish netherworld, Marlowe is at the breaking point. All he wants is to leave his flock – and the priesthood – far behind.
 
In an attempt to help him, Marlowe’s oldest friend and spiritual advisor sends Marlowe to St. Michael the Archangel Church in a crime-ridden section of the Bronx to seek counsel from a mysterious priest who specializes in helping spiritually troubled clergy. There, as he reluctantly attempts to make confession and unburden his soul, the church is rocked by an earthquake and a powerful winter storm. The wooden confessional disintegrates, the church floor crumbles away beneath him, and Marlowe is plunged into a world both wondrous and terrifying called the Well of Lost Souls.
 
There, Marlowe learns there is still a chance to save his brother, and he sets off on an arduous journey to rescue Chris from a malevolent being known simply as The Beast. Along the way, Marlowe encounters creatures both compassionate and cruel as he is forced to come to terms with the pain he and Chris endured at the hands of his abusive parents and his own failings as a brother and priest at a time when Chris needed him most.

If you’re a fan of Richard Matheson, H.P. Lovecraft and Stephen King, I think you will enjoy Father Marlowe’s story, which explores issues of faith, family, and how we come to understand ourselves and our place in this world.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Muddy Paw Press Founder and Editor Tyler Hauth for taking the time to read the story and for his passion for bringing indie voices in the horror genre to market.

I will share more details on exactly where and when The Strange Nighttime Journey of Father Stephen Marlowe will be available here on the blog and via Twitter in the weeks ahead.

Yours,

A.S.

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