Press Release and Review: Straight to Hell by John Hartness

He’s half-vampire.

He’s got a bad attitude.

He’s Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter.

He’s back.

Straight to Hell Cover

About the Series

2014 EPIC Award Winner for Best Horror Novel John G. Hartness returns to the dark world of Quincy Harker in Straight to Hell, the second novella in this top-selling series. Straight to Hell continues the Charlotte-based adventures of Quincy Harker, immortal wizard child of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray, two of the most beloved characters from Bram Stoker’s classic vampire novel Dracula.

Harker and his motley crew of detectives, angels, shadowy government operatives and hacker/sniper/manservants must band together to rescue a kidnapped UNC-Charlotte student and stop a death cult from using his blood to open the Seven Seals and bring about the Apocalypse. Along the way they battle the physical embodiment of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and rack up millions of dollars in property damage in this thrill ride of a novella.

Praise for the Series

I look forward to the future volumes with gusto.

– Fantasy Book Critic

I am looking forward to the next Demon Hunter story.

– I Smell Sheep

Hartness has seemingly found a new level of excellence here with this latest series.

– NerdNation

The Enchanted Alley’s Review

Straight to Hell is the second Quincy Harker novella that I have had the pleasure of reading. Hartness’s newest release is a tense race against time to save the world from the impending doom. The opening chapter is the top of the hill on this roller coaster ride, and it doesn’t slow down until the car is back in the house. Harker is a hoot of a character, but as hilarious and badass as he is, I have to say that my favorite character is Renfield. I so want to hang out with him.

Even though Straight to Hell is the second in the series, you can read this one without having read the first one. But, why wouldn’t you? Check out Raising Hell while you’re waiting for April 28 to roll around!

About the Author

John G. Hartness is the author of The Black Knight Chronicles urban fantasy series from Bell Bridge Books, the creator of the Bubba the Monster Hunter series of short stories, a frequent contributor to the Magical Words group blog, and the creator and co-editor of The Big Bad: An Anthology of Evil series of anthologies. He is also the host of the Literate Liquors podcast, featuring the best in fantasy and sci-fi book reviews and liquor pairings. His novel, Paint it Black, won the 2014 EPIC award for Best Horror Novel. He is a member of Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America and the Horror Writers Association. John can be found at @johnhartness on Twitter,, or at He likes fried pickles, cold beer, and loud music, in roughly equal quantities.

Review copies available! Contact John Hartness at


Guest Post: Misty Massey and The Weird Wild West!


The Weird Wild West Needs Settlers!

Hey y’all!  I’m delighted to be a guest today on the Enchanted Alley!
My name is Misty Massey, and until last summer, I was a writer of fantastic fiction and author of Mad Kestrel (pirates and magic and adventure…oh my!)  I say ‘until last summer’ because that was when things became slightly more crazy and exciting in my world and I agreed to be an editor.
I was a guest at Congregate, and I had just finished a rousing session of Live Action Slush.  I was in the hallway chatting with my co-conspirators Emily Leverett and Margaret McGraw when the subject of publishing an anthology of weird western stories came up.  We all thought it sounded like great fun, so we started approaching authors we believed would add to the thrill of such a project.  Nearly all of them said “Yes!” (okay, a couple were squealing with excitement, but I’m not going to try to spell that sound for you!) so we started querying publishers.
Danielle Ackley-McPhail of eSpec Books snapped us up, and before we knew it, we were running a Kickstarter to fund the project.

What is weird west?

It’s fantasy or science fiction set in the world (or the aesthetic) of the American western frontier.  Movies like High Plains Drifter and Cowboys and Aliens for example, and television shows like the Star Trek episode “Spectre of the Gun”, and Firefly and The Wild Wild West.  Print examples include R S Belcher’s The Six Gun Tarot, Steven King’s Dark Tower saga and Melissa Marr’s The Arrivals It’s the idea of people living on the edge of civilization, where the magic hasn’t died out yet, where the inventors are free to indulge their imaginations in bizarre directions.  

The reason I’m here today is to talk about our Kickstarter.

The book will be called The Weird Wild West, and it will feature stories by R S Belcher, Tonia Brown, Diana Pharaoh Francis, John Hartness, Jonathan Maberry, Gail Martin, James Tuck and me!  If we manage to reach our stretch goals, we’ll add stories by Robert Waters and David Sherman.  But that’s not all – we want to open four spaces for you to submit your own stories!  That’s right, we’d like to see people we’ve never met before sharing our little town of the weird!

But the only way that can happen is with your help.  We’re working toward our funding goal, and we’d love for you to be a part of that.  As all frontier towns did, our project needs settlers – you!
Take a look at the project page and explore the pledge levels.  For as little as $5, you can get your very own copy of this great book, although there are higher pledge levels which offer really cool things – have a character named for you, have a character named for your pet, get a professional critique of your manuscript or even a signed advance copy of Neil Gaiman’s “Stardust”.

We’re running a contest right now, too.  We want to reach 200 settlers (backers) by the New Year.  If you back the project at the $5 level or higher between now and New Year’s Day, you’ll receive not only everything your pledge reward grants you, but also a bonus DRM-free Deadly Curiosities novella by Gail Martin, AND a digital deed to your very own weird western homestead!  All that for $5!

So wander through our dusty streets, and if you like what you see, stay awhile.

We’d be glad to pour you a shot of entertaining stories!

Press Release: Raising Hell by John Hartness Coming Soon!






His name is Quincy Harker.

Dracula calls him “nephew.”

His guardian angel, Glory, calls him “Q.”

The police call him a pain in the ass.

Monsters call him their worst nightmare.

He’s the immortal wizard son of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray, and he’s what the monster under your bed has nightmares about. With a smart mouth, size 11 Doc Martens and a century’s worth of magical knowledge, Quincy Harker is here, and let the bad things tremble in fear.

Quincy Harker hates demons. He hates overprivileged frat boys who let demons play around with underage girls even more. When he’s hired to perform an exorcism on a fifteen-year-old girl, things go wrong from the start. Harker has to call in favors from his uncle Luke, better known as Count Vlad Dracula, his guardian angel Glory and the Department of Homeland Security’s Spook Squad to take out a centuries-old wizard and send all the demons back to Hell where they belong.

About the Series

raisinghellRaising Hell is the first novella in the Quincy Harker, Demon Hunter series by best-selling urban fantasy author John G. Hartness (The Black Knight Chronicles, Bubba the Monster Hunter).

Set in contemporary Charlotte, NC, Raising Hell is a dark fantasy reminiscent of Supernatural or early Hellblazer comics. Fans of horror and fantasy alike will be thrilled with this new action-packed series.

Raising Hell is available in ebook exclusively on Amazon for 90 days beginning January 20. The book will be available in all ebook formats after that and available in print at conventions and appearances this spring.

Pre-orders are now open at this link.

About the Author

John G. Hartness is the author of The Black Knight Chronicles urban fantasy series from Bell Bridge Books, the creator of the Bubba the Monster Hunter series of short stories, a frequent contributor to the Magical Words group blog, and the creator and co-editor of The Big Bad: An Anthology of Evil series of anthologies. He is also the host of the Literate Liquors podcast, featuring the best in fantasy and sci-fi book reviews and liquor pairings. He can be found at @johnhartness on Twitter,, or at

Book Review: Howl by John Hartness

How many words are there to refer to Bigfoot’s penis? Find out in “Howl,” a Bubba the Monster Hunter short story.

From Amazon:

Bubba and the gang take on the aftermath of Final Countdown in this raucous adventure! When a Sasquatch comes knockin’ on Skeeter’s door, Bubba knows business is about to pick up! Follow the gang through ambushes, twists, turns, fights and funerals as they move closer to confronting Bubba’s crazy brother!

I read “Howl” in two sittings. I had to put it down to go to sleep the first night, but I couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen next! The story opens with Bubba getting a call about a buck-naked Bigfoot on Skeeter’s front porch. From there, Bubba and the crew go on a rollicking adventure to into were-foot (?) territory!

The story is laugh-out-loud funny, especially when Bubba bests Clag’tin in a wonky and risky battle.

I have to admit that the story has a little bit of a sad ending, but that’s life, in a way. Not all stories have to have a fairytale ending where Bubba and Bigfoot ride off into the sunset.

Overall, the story is quite funny, fast-paced, and just a fun read overall.

41TkuLSM+lL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_Essential Info:

Title:  “Howl”

Author: John Hartness

Length: 46 pages

Price: $0.99 Kindle

Amazon Link: Buy it HERE

Review: Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin

deadly_curiosities_250x384What would happen if you combined Warehouse 13 and Psych but added in demons and vampires?  You’d end up with something a lot like Deadly Curiosities by Gail Z. Martin.

On the last day of ConCarolinas, I was talking to John Hartness about books (what else) when he suddenly reached into his bag and pulled out Deadly Curiosities.  “When she comes back, go buy this book,” he said pointing a few tables down from his own.  He totally sold me on it, and I am so glad.

I went up to the table and said that John had sent me to buy her book.  Then I learned that the book wasn’t even out yet!  Squee!  Sweet!

Then I started reading and squeed even harder.  The book was great!  The Nancy Drew-esque Cassidy, the adorable Teag, and the mysterious Sorren all made for an exciting visit to Trifles & Folly, the place where items are sold that may have a bit of a secret.  Similar in concept to Warehouse 13, Cassidy and Teag collect items that they classify depending on how much psychic or magical oomph they have.  Some they sell; others are left for Sorren to sort out.  But, once strange things start to happen, they’re taken on the adventure of a lifetime.

The Solaris Books website gives this description of the novel:

Welcome to Trifles & Folly, and antique and curio shop with a dark secret. Proprietor Cassidy Kincaide continues a family tradition begun in 1670 – acquiring and neutralizing dangerous supernatural items. It’s the perfect job for Cassidy, whose psychic gift lets her touch an object and know its history.

Together with her business partner Soren, a 500-year-old vampire and former jewel thief, Cassidy makes it her business to get infernal objects off the market. When mundane antiques suddenly become magically malicious, it’s time for Cassidy and Soren to get rid of these Deadly Curiosities before the bodies start piling up.

I highly recommend this one.  It was quaint, fun, and exciting.  

I am looking forward to more! 

Essential Info:

Title:  Deadly Curiosities 

Author: Gail Z. Martin

Publisher: Solaris

Length: 464 pages (paperback)

Price: $7.99

Release Date: June 24, 2014

Amazon Link: Buy it Here

Review: Tassels of Terror

13354783John Hartness is one of those authors that I kind of want to be like when I grow up (I’m 32…but that’s another post).  There’s definitely a lot  I can learn from him.  John has several things going all at one time.  He has self published a slew of hilarious works.  My favorite of all his works is Genesis.  He also writes poetry, is active in the Charlotte theater circuit, and has a really funny YouTube series called Literate Liquors.   He does tons of other stuff, but I’ll stop there at risk of starting to sound too much like a fangirl.  Check out his website if you want to know more.

On to the review…

“Tassels of Terror” is a short story set in the Bubba the Monster Hunter world.  Bubba is a big ole dude (sort of akin to Larry the Cable Guy) who goes after the bad guys.  He’s also employed by the Catholic Church.  In this short, he is investigating a murder at a strip joint.  Oh, there’s a stripper missing too.  I won’t give away any plot points, but I will say that the humor is laugh out loud funny, as to be expected with this series.  It’s a quick read (about 22 pages according to Amazon), but it has a nice building of action and resolution both mixed with funny quips and zinging one liners.  If you’re looking for a funny, quick read, I suggest “Tassels of Terror.”  Also, the way these are written, you don’t really need to have read his other Bubba the Monster Hunter stories to understand and appreciate it.


This post originally appeared at in 2013

ConCarolinas 2014: Killing Characters

Panelists: David Weber, Tamsin Silver, David B. Coe, A.J. Hartley, John Hartness

Moderator: Allen Wold

Question 1

At some point in your story, someone will die.  How do you know who will die and how they will die?

David Weber:

When you’re writing military/combat, people will die or it is too sanitized.

There are two extremes to writing a death.

  1. There and gone.  There’s no reason.  It’s unexpected.  The plot strings are not tied off.  It hits the reader unexpectedly.
  2. The death of a character that the readers are connected to.  Must have a good death.  They have to go out doing something significant.  It concludes their story arc.

David B. Coe:

In a mystery, murder starts the story.  It is like a time clock (plot device) for the protagonist.

A writer shouldn’t just kill another character because the clock is ticking.  Try to get closer to the protagonist with each death.

Tamsin Silver: 

There are casualties of war.  People die serving what they believe in.

The death of others moves the characters, whether for good or bad.

John Hartness:

In Sci-fi and Urban Fantasy, the writer lives and dies by the series.  Characters grow and develop.

Learn, live, lose = how a protagonist evolves.  (Harry Dresden is the example)

Torture the characters to torture the readers.

We’ve all lost people. 

You have to be able to show your character is as real as the real world.

The death of characters moves the main characters along.

Question 2

What genre do you write? And how does death factor in?

A.J. Hartley:

Comedy is not just about being funny.  It’s about how the story ends.

If you want the emotional weight of death, there are ways to do it without killing.

The idea of a sacrifice is the core of a good character dying well.

Question 3

How do you feel about the enemy characters that you have to kill?

A.J. Hartley:

Someone will cry.  Someone will care about the person.

The villains should be real people too.

John Hartness:

In my books the villains are monsters.  Monsters bad.  Shoot it.

Killing a named villain is just as hard or you cheat everyone.

“We’re all servants of the stories…and the royalties.”

Actions have consequences.  The person who cries at the crime scene may become the next villain.

Death creates in its own way.  It can create a new hero or a new villain.

David Weber: 

Most bad guys don’t wake up evil.

Have to have good on one side and evil on the other; dehumanize the other side so they’re easier to kill.

David B. Coe: 

Death for Ethan (in Thieftaker) also affects readers.  Death is binary; people are not.

All the characters have dark sides and flaws.

Everyone he is forced to deal with as an antagonist is the hero of his/her own story.

David Weber: 

In monsters, the sense of empathy has been destroyed.  They’re a destroyed human being.  We rejoice when they go.

David B. Coe: 

Example: the horcrux in Harry Potter.  It gives immortality but is a broken soul.

The big killing in Thieftaker is done with blood magic.  If you take a life with a spell, it’s stronger.


Ethan is forced to kill a neighborhood dog.

He essentially casts a spell that makes him brother to the man he’s fighting.  He broke his own cardinal rule.  It still affects him three books later.

John Hartness: 

This is done really well because it is not done as a throwaway character.

A.J. Hartley: 

In the Will Hawthorne series, he is an 18-year-old actor. To protect himself and his people, he kills someone in a fight.

It must be an immense event for the character.

He’s not a sociopath…yet.

John Hartness: 

Characters do stuff they don’t want to do.

Example: Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.  Some people just needed killing.

Also, sometimes the killing action is a non-action.  Don’t throw the life-preserver.  Character is passively killed off.

Question 4

Can you kill a main character?

John Hartness: 

Screw you, Jim Butcher.

David Weber: 

If there’s a character you’ve groomed to step into place, maybe.

It’s very risky.

David B. Coe:

If you’re working with a multi-POV book, each character should have his/her own arc.

The arc may end but not be finished.

Example: Macbeth.  Lady Macbeth’s death happens off stage.  The payoff isn’t the death but the character’s reaction.

Serve the story!

Question 5

When does death cheat the audience?

John Hartness: 

When the buildup or consequences are not done well.

David Weber: 

All readers read uniquely.  They may not see it as we wrote it.   We need to write it well so that different readers’ needs are met.