My thanks to Carson for giving me a chance to talk about my horror-comedy series, Josh of the Damned, and the latest installment, The Josh of The Damned Triple feature.
It's all about Josh Caplan, the night clerk at the Quik-Stop convenience store. A standard job, boring even, but it's more dangerous than anyone realizes, because at night, a hell portal opens up behind the store, right beside the dumpster. And all manner of creatures, from vampires to zombies, come out. And they want ... snacks?
Yes, Josh's whole job is selling potato chips and beef jerky to monsters, the things that go bump in the night but still hunger for things you can buy for a dollar twenty five. But that's good, right? Because if all they want is frozen burritos, they're not after Josh? Yes, except ... no. Not all monsters play by the rules. And some of these monsters are quite new to Josh. Like, who's ever heard of a living, gigantic mustache going on a rampage? Since when does Cthulhu wear trench coats and get all grabby? And what is a reverse tooth fairy, anyway, and why is he so angry? Then there's the question of who's in charge of the hell dimension – it's not who you might think – and what they want, not only from the Quik-Mart, but from Josh as well. He may be just a night clerk, but it turns out the fate of the two worlds just may rest on his minimum wage earning shoulders, and how is that fair? Josh had no idea when he was hired it would be up to him to prevent an apocalypse. There isn't a chapter in the employee handbook that deals with that.
Yes, this is the goofy/scary type of stuff I love, and Riptide allowed me to bust out. As you can tell from both the cover art and the name, it's also a kind of homage to those '50's and '60's creature features, which were usually not as cool as they promised on the poster. I like to think my stories are as cool as the cover, though. So if you're craving your average monsters and some weird ones with a modern, comedic twist, please give this a shot. Did I mention Josh has a sexy vampire boyfriend? He does. He doesn't sparkle at all either, which is a huge point in his favor, although his secret agenda is a problem. I haven't even gotten into the lovesick yeti who thinks Josh is the greatest thing since turkey jerkey, but he/she/it (Josh doesn't know how to sex a Yeti) is another story entirely.
Right now, there are three releases in the series: the first, Pretty Monsters; the second, Peek-A-Boo; and the third, the Josh of the Damned Triple Feature (three stories in one package). I happen to think Josh and all his weird adventures is fun to write, and I hope you'll give this series a chance, if you haven't already. Because it's not every day you read about someone selling frozen burritos to zombie, although I kind of wish you could.
What most people call a hellish shift, Josh Caplan calls a normal evening. After all, he works nights at a convenience store beside the mouth of hell, selling snacks to zombies and lizard men.
Some monsters are odder—and more dangerous—than most. Like the rampaging, over sized mustache who skips the Pringles and eats the customers instead. Or Cthulhu’s half-brother Stan, who doesn't know how to take no for an answer... or where to put all those tentacles. But killer facial hair and inept hentai beasts pale in comparison to the monster even other monsters fear. When hell’s big boss demands a sit-down with Josh, she reveals a destiny bigger than he’d ever imagined—or wanted. You'd think preventing the apocalypse would net Josh more than minimum wage and a hot vampire boyfriend, but it turns out saving the world can be a pretty thankless job.
What Josh didn’t know—what no one who wrote vampire stories seemed to know either—was that getting bitten by a vampire was exactly like sex. The bite itself didn’t feel like much because the fangs were so sharp. But once the teeth were in and sucking the blood out of you, a pleasurable wave of warmth washed over you, orgasmic and post-coital at the same time. Colin said it was something in vampire saliva, a kind of a drug that vampires themselves were immune to. Vampires really didn’t feed on fear or get turned on by it—or at least your average vampire didn’t, according to Colin—and this natural chemical guaranteed a pliable victim more than happy to let you kill them.
Of course, Josh didn’t want to die, which was why he’d put off letting Colin bite him until tonight. Yeah, Colin hadn’t ever tried to bite him without permission, which had earned him bit of trust, but still Josh couldn’t help being nervous. How could he have known Colin was being honest with him? He was a vampire, after all. Maybe all the myths weren’t true—and how could they be, as several of them were contradictory?—but Colin wasn’t exactly human anymore, and Josh seemed to have some kind of natural human bias. He’d thought the store was ridding him of that, but obviously not fast enough.
Josh was actually kind of disappointed when the drug effect started to fade, reminding him where he was: on the roof of the Quik-Mart, enjoying the warm night. The sky above was dark and only randomly speckled with faint stars, as there was too much light pollution to see more. Though the Quik-Mart was pretty alone here since the Nifty Lube across the street had shut down and the Waffle Shack had moved to a bigger location. The Quik-Mart was the only sign of civilization for about two miles in any direction. Maybe the hell portal was unconsciously driving everyone else away.
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