Today I am doing an Author Spotlight of Matt Schiariti, my other stalkee with an “M” name. He was unable to do an interview specifically for this spotlight as he had to have major surgery. However, I talk to him just about every day and I can vouch that he’s a pretty good guy and an even better writer.
I first heard of Matt on Facebook from another blogger that he is friends with. His short story, Words With Fiends, intrigued me because, like the main character, I am a Words With Friends addict. I wanted to see how he incorporated the game into his story. When I read it, I instantly became a Matt Schiariti fan and had to add him to my stalking list. His storytelling reminds me of Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Jeffery Deaver. I have read everything that Stephen King and Jeffery Deaver have written, so I’m pretty much an expert on their writing. When I found out that Matt was working on a full-length book, I was immediately excited and began salivating for it. I pretty much hounded him almost daily for a copy of it to read. I read the book and I didn’t want it to end. He has promised that Seth Gabriel will return and I sincerely hope that he keeps that promise. I have copied the prologue (with Matt’s permission) for your reading enjoyment. Read it; enjoy it; then use the link at the bottom of the prologue to go buy it!!
That was all I could hear as I came to. The sounds of liquid splashing were like gunshots in the otherwise quiet room.
I could feel something wet on my face but realized that my wrists were bound behind me when I tried to move them. The harder I struggled, the more the duct tape cut into my flesh.
Once I was able to get my eyes open I could see what the dripping noise was.
The image was fuzzy at first but eventually came into focus. Liquid was falling from my face, collecting in a shiny crimson pool between my black combat boots.
I shook my head to get my shaggy black hair out of my face but it was stringy and sluggish, like I had a dead octopus made of sweat camping on my dome. And damn did my head hurt like hell. Every time I moved it was like someone was exploding C4 inside my skull, making pain resonate all through my body, making my heartbeat ring in my ears.
At least I still had a heartbeat though.
I took in my surroundings. I wasn’t just in a room. I was on a floor of some giant, abandoned warehouse. Steel beams and joists shown through the water damaged ceiling. Drywall was torn off of most of the walls, exposing old deteriorating insulation. The floor to ceiling windows that lined the walls were painted over, allowing only some weak light to filter in. But it was just enough to show how dingy my surroundings were. The whole damn room was just a varying shade of rust brown. In between the shadows it looked like dried, caked up blood. The red pool between my feet would probably fit right in given some time.
A naked bulb cast a small pool of light in front of me. Not five feet away was a metal folding chair, just like the one I was sitting in. Whoever it was there for was nowhere to be seen.
I tried to maneuver myself to get a better look but my body was just one giant sack of bruised meat. To make matters worse, I couldn’t even remember how I got here.
“Where the fuck am I?” I asked nobody in particular.
“You certainly aren’t in Kansas anymore, Mr. Gabriel.”
The reply came from all around me. The way the sound bounced around the room, I couldn’t tell where it originated. It was female though. Definitely female. That much I could tell. Was that a good thing or a bad thing? Judging by the fact that I was beat up, bloody, and bound with industrial strength duct tape, it probably didn’t matter.
The sound of my blood falling to join the party in the pool at my feet was replaced by the sound of footsteps. High heels to be exact. There’s no mistaking the sound of a wooden heel reporting on bare concrete. They were slow and measured, echoing throughout the massive empty, nearly black space. Whoever they belonged to was in no rush.
Not a good sign for me.
“Tsk, tsk, tsk, Mr. Gabriel.” The deep, yet completely feminine voice emanated from the shadows around me. “Or can I call you Seth? Yes. I like the sound of that better, don’t you? So much more…personal.” I detected the sound of a smile. Something told me it wasn’t a pleasant one.
“You just never know when to quit, do you, Ssseth?” The snake-like voice floated around me in the open space.
“Losing is for losers and winners play to win,” I grunted.
That was a mistake.
She was on me in an instant. Her hand connected with my already wrecked face. The slap sent me reeling back, chair and all.
Note to self. Never crack wise when you’re tied up in a chair in some non-descript abandoned warehouse with an apparent psychopath.
The force of the blow added to the mass of fire that was my face. Even the cool concrete couldn’t take away the white hot pain, pain so intense it made me throw up. It pooled in front of me, smelling like wet pennies and tequila.
The woman’s leather clad arm emerged from the shadows and effortlessly set the chair back to rights…with me in it.
“Sseth,” she said, sounding pouty. I still couldn’t see her face. Her back was to me as she walked to the chair set up under the naked bulb. “Why must you make me hurt you so?”
“Would it help if I said I was sorry?” My voice didn’t sound right. I ran my thick tongue over my lips and found out why; my mouth was a craggy landscape of weeping cuts. It stung just to lick them.
“No,” she said over her shoulder. “Nothing short of a miracle can help you now, Seth.” She didn’t sound too broken up over it either.
She turned her chair around and positioned it so it was fully under the bulb. With the grace and delicacy of a dancer, she threw her leg over the back of it and sat down, resting her arms on the back. I took her in: long red hair framing a lovely face with just the hint of crow’s feet at the corners of her green eyes; full mouth with even white teeth; small, button nose. Dressed in her black leather biker gear–which was more or less spray painted onto her lithe body–she’d be the kind of girl I’d like to bang. A lot. And often. But as the soupy fog that gripped my brain began to clear, I could see her for what she really was. I could remember her for what she really was. I could remember everything.
Her green eyes weren’t green. They were smoldering, like the color of a sunset just before the great big ball of fire that gives us life surrenders to night. What would look like even, white teeth to anybody else were actually two rows of razor sharp fangs.
No, the sulfur smelling thing in front of me wouldn’t win any beauty pageants. Not anymore.
“What’s wrong, Seth? You don’t like my human vessel?” She cocked her head at me. “I will make many men beg in this form. Beg…and scream.” Her long forked tongue played over her fangs.
“I like your human vessel just fine. At least until you squatted in there and fucked it all up.”
“I would really hate to further damage your otherwise handsome face, human,” she said through narrowed, fiery eyes.
“Somehow I doubt that.”
“You would be correct.” She stood up from her chair in a lightning quick motion and hurled it backwards. The chair blasted through a blacked out window with a deafening crash, pale moonlight finding its way through the gaping hole.
I’d obviously pissed her off.
Very not good.
Her fists were curled into little balls of hate, the sound of her leather riding gloves crinkling in the near soundless room as she stalked towards me. The leather hugging her hips and chest made it hard not to look. Luckily I could see her evil-assed face for what it was. That’s always good for keeping my herculean libido down.
“You and I are going to have some fun, Seth,” she hissed in my face, inches away, her breath saturated with sulfur.
“Charades? Maybe Uno?” Sometimes I just didn’t learn. Sure I sounded brave but I was shitting my pants. Whatever she was going to do, I just wished she’d do it. I’m not a big fan of long torture sessions. And as I looked into her eyes with the flames dancing chaotically in them, I knew that’s exactly what she had in mind.
She took off a leather glove and revealed dangerously sharp talons.
“I will so enjoy making you bleed, Seth. I will relish tearing you limb from limb. Slowly. You will beg me for death. You will do anything I want to bring an end to the pain. But I will not allow it. Your begging? Your pleading? They will mean nothing to me. Your pain and your screaming however…” She threw her head back and laughed. Her voice went from deep and almost sultry to unearthly and guttural as her demonic face filled my vision and said, “Will be the stuff of legend.”
My name is Seth Gabriel. I’m in deep shit.
What People Are Saying:
“I read a LOT of urban fantasy books, and very few of them get five stars from me. However, Ghosts of Demons Past is so well-written and so much fun to read that it easily makes my Top-10 List for the year. I really want to read about Seth Gabriel’s continuing adventures and I hope this will become a series!” – By A. Arendt on Amazon
“There were times in the book where I had to put it down because I was laughing so hard. Seth is an absolute hoot! I liked him a lot. The characters were believable and relatable. THERE NEEDS TO BE A SEQUEL!” – By J. Hooligan on Amazon
“Seth Gabriel is one of those characters you love to love, flawed but wonderful anyway. There had better be a sequel to this or I will be downright depressed. I’m thinking series actually. Ghosts of Demons past is a perfect combination of horror, humor and kick-butt action that propels you to the end almost involuntarily. I wanted to make it last but couldn’t stop myself from reading until the very end. Realistic characters, snappy dialogue and an awesome plot make this book a definite winner and the author one to watch out for in the future.” – By Lisa Woods
“Loved the book. The character Seth is a p.i. a. & a foul mouth. But, he is hilarious & even when it’s smarter to keep his mouth shut… he keeps on jabbing. ..With the gift or curse he has you can respect his gumption. Books that make you laugh out loud and make everyone around you look at you funny are rare. Plus I might have a new catch phrase or two from Seth.” – By Venture on Goodreads
Buy the book on Amazon
About the Author:
When an ill-fated joint writing venture went horribly awry, mild mannered engineer Matt Schiariti decided to strike out on his own. The result? Selling his short story ‘Hollow’ to Padwolf Publishing for inclusion in the recently published anthology, ‘Apocalypse 13’ in late 2012. Gaining confidence from seeing his first ever published story in print, he plowed on and dove into the self-publishing pool with the dark fiction/horror short story, ‘Words With Fiends’.
Matt has always been a voracious reader and reviewer of books and, after 37 years, has decided to make the transition to writer. Better late than never. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, 1.75 children, crazy dog, and overly personable guinea pig. He’s written two novels in 2012 which he is currently editing and continues to work on short stories. Look for more from the self-proclaimed “dude who writes” in 2013.