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Monday, December 4, 2017

SPOTLIGHT: The Rogue Mountain by Joshua Tarquinio @tarquiniojoshua @smithpublicity

The Rogue Mountains
by Joshua Tarquinio
Smith Publicity

Hello readers!! Come take a look at this story about demons, monsters, death and more.  Head on down to the excerpt to get a feel for what this book is about - I know I've just added this to my never ending TBR! Maybe you can join me - after all, what's one more book? 😈

A monster hunter arrives to help a rural town with its infestation, but the seething hell spawn are the least of his problems. The three lone mountains are also home to a powerful witch and a primordial, maddening beast. It’ll take more than one person to eradicate the “invasive species,” but the townspeople have problems (and secrets) of their own.

With man no longer at the top of the food chain, the question on everyone’s mind is, “What is mankind’s place in nature?”

For that matter, what is monster’s?

About the Author:

Joshua Tarquinio draws from a palate of interests including horror, fantasy, noir, adventure, mystery, philosophy, religion, and science. He is also a photographer, musician,  who lives in Pittsburgh, PA.

Find him here:  Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Author Q&A

Q: Talk about the world in which the book takes place.
A: 20 years before this story takes place, Heaven, Hell, and the other planes opened up on Earth for what was expected to be the Final Battle, (Armageddon, End of Times, etc.) but it turned out to not be that big of a deal and the world kept on. When the dust settled, there were survivors from all sides of the conflict left on Earth. Some of them were able to blend into society. Others not so much. Some of the lesser beasts found their way to the fictitious mountain town of Brothers, PA where the people have been coping with them ever since.

Q: And the townspeople hunt the monsters?
A: Many do, but the presence of a witch and a cave worm have made it impossible to eradicate the creatures. So the people have learned to live with it. The book almost takes a Western flavor at times because nobody can leave the house without a gun and one of the main locations is a kind of saloon.

Q: Is the book only about hunting monsters?
A: No. I think it’s more about people trying to understand what they are. It begins with an increasingly disillusioned tough girl looking for meaning, a hunter who believes he has it, and a musician who can’t hold on to it for long. Throughout the novel we see people bringing up the question of the nature of themselves and others.

Q: But there’s still monster hunting in it, right?
A: Yep. Creatures from Hell, bullets and blood, nasty deaths, fear, suspense, action.

Q: So it’s not for kids then.
A: Have you met kids these days? Officially, I’d have to say no, but my teenage cousin has read Game of Thrones, so what do I know?

Q: Sex?
A: What would violence be without sex?

Q: Romance?
A: Eh. More like mixed emotions ebbing and flowing. I went realistic with that one.

Q: Is it more gory or psychological?
A: It leans psychological, but you can’t bake a cake without breaking a few eggs.

Q: What’s your audience? Who would read this book?
A: I honestly think it will have a broad appeal for those who like the thriller/horror genre. We tend to think of it as a “guy genre” but my editor, reviewer, and girlfriend loved it and they’re all women. I think thanks to TV shows like the Walking Dead and Game of Thrones we’re starting to see that audience demographics don’t matter much if you’ve got a compelling story… which I believe I do.


The sun, still behind the mountains, lit the sky enough to see, even in those woods where the leaves had begun to change and fall. Ariana preferred the dull blue glow to the contrast of a sunny day. In those woods, where death took many forms, every stark shadow was a potential threat.

Tempest got that feeling—that innate sense of danger animals get when a predator is near—and she stopped. She stopped and gave a stamp, which she and Ariana decided a long time ago was her way of warning her human.

Ariana stroked Tempest's mane and asked, "Where is it, girl?" The human held her breath and looked around, first for familiar shapes and then for movement...

Nothing yet.

The girl clicked her tongue which was the signal (they had decided) to proceed with caution and be prepared to turn tail. Reins in the left hand, Ariana slid her right hand over the grip of the Smith and Wesson Model 19 on her hip.

Tempest took a few more steps and stopped again. Ariana's fingers closed on the handle of her sidearm. An alarm went off in her bones.

Ariana drew her gun as a hunner dyer emerged, shrieking, from under a swath of leaves and dirt. Tempest reared, brandishing her hooves.

Hunner dyers most closely resembled carpenter ants, though they were only slightly smaller than men. They had six legs and their bodies were segmented. Their abdomens were proportionally small, allowing them to walk and stand on their hind legs. Their thoraxes appeared to have human-like ribs on the outside. Patches of coarse hair grew randomly. Their heads contained a loose ring of 24 black eyes, a pair of fangs like a tarantula, a long, retractable middle tooth, and a needly tongue for extracting whatever the tooth exposed.

"Hunner dyer" was not the creature's proper name. It's just what everyone called it. Ariana and Tempest had seen and killed a ton of them; shriek, click, bang. This time, however, as Tempest’s hooves came back down, Ariana hesitated. This time she felt different. This time she felt like a bully; like she had just walked into the creature's home with the express purpose of killing it for no reason. That was exactly as it always had been. Why it bothered her now, she didn't have time to speculate.

The hunner dyer lunged. Tempest turned and ran without a cue from Ariana. They beat a path back across and down the hill. Though the monster gave chase, it couldn't keep up with the horse. It was far behind by the time they reached the fence.

Ariana's nerves balanced on a pinhead as she dismounted and opened the gate. She smiled at the feeling as her hand shook on the gate latch. This was what she came for—the adrenaline rush.

The hunner dyer shrieked again. It had cleared the last hump and was on its way down to torture and kill Ariana and her companion.

The girl threw open the gate and led Tempest through. The monster descended, kicking up leaves and shrieking every few breaths. Its movement was sloppy, as if it didn't know how to run. It was neither a crawl nor a gallop, but something in between. Its clawed forelimbs waved and reached, only touching the ground when it needed the balance.

Ariana slammed the gate closed as the monster slammed into it, giving the girl a good look at about ten of her own reflections in its onyx black eyes. It ran its tooth through the fence, reaching its limit an inch from Ariana's throat. The girl flinched and fell backward.

This was an unusual situation for Ariana. Typically, she would have shot the monster when it first appeared and left it deeper in the woods. The fence itself was never meant to hold the creatures of the mountains back, only deter them from the areas where people live. Ariana had never seen what would happen if a monster were given incentive to find a way over or through the fence.

She wished the creature away as it rammed and beat at the fence. She wished for it to get tired and go away. Then she thought she might have to kill it anyway, just to make sure it didn't come back.

The hunner dyer made her decision easy. It looked up, ran its forelimbs along the top of the fence, then began to crawl up. It got one more shriek out before Ariana blew its head off. The gunshot tapered off through the valley, leaving Ariana and Tempest in dead silence once more.

The adrenaline sat in Ariana's veins like stale coffee in a day-old pot. She wondered if that would be the end of that thrill—one of the few thrills she had in her podunk, one-horse, middle-of-bumfuck-nowhere town.

She opened the gate again and tied a rope from Tempest's saddle to the carcass. Couldn't leave chum by the gate. Girl mounted horse and they dragged the dead bug into the woods before heading home.

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