Tag Archives: Author

How To Approach An Author – Dos and Don’ts

How To Approach An Author – Dos And Don’ts


Rebecca Besser


Most writers/authors aren’t jerks, but they can come across as jerks on social media.


Because most writers/authors aren’t sitting around waiting for someone to randomly message/contact them on social media. They’re writing, dealing with their family life, and basically just living as human beings. Writers/authors may seem like magical creative creatures that live in an alternate reality where things are much more beautiful and artistic, but they live on planet Earth and have the same issues as other people: they have kids, spouses, get sick, have doctor appointments, run errands, etc.

Add on top of that real life stuff that they deal with constant deadlines and they’re trying to fit all the normal life stuff around their writing time. Or their writing time around all the normal life stuff. The last thing writers/authors need is someone who contacts them out of the blue asking a bazillion questions about writing.

So, when you get ignored or shut down by terse responses, know that the writer/author isn’t out to be a jerk. We do try to be polite. We do like our fans. We do want to encourage you. We do want to hear about what you think of our books (in a nice way—no one likes rude assholes).

Note: We do love to hear from people who love our stuff; it encourages us. And one of the absolute best ways to do so is to write reviews for our books and post them (Amazon or Goodreads are good places to post). If you just message us and tell us, that’s great too, but reviews are like giving a writer/author a surprise present. We love them. And they help with sales and our careers, which means the world to us. Reviews are the best way to show your favorite writer/author support.

And since that’s all true for those of us who aren’t really jerks (there are some that really are), here are three ways for you to get information from your favorite writer/author without coming across like a needy time-sucker that can’t make an appointment:


  • Write and send an email. Most have blogs or websites with at least a contact page. This would allow the writer/author the opportunity to get back to you when they have time. Most will.
  • Ask the writer/author to write a blog post about what you’d like to know. Chances are, other people out in the world would love to hear what the writer/author has to say too.
  • Ask the writer/author for book recommendations or resources about writing where the information you’re seeking is already available. There are many. Chances are, if you look around, you’ll find some helpful stuff on your own.


Please keep in mind that unless you know the writer/author personally and they’ve said to hit them up sometime with your questions, that it’s not okay to expect them to be available when you randomly contact them. They don’t live on your schedule. You need to give them time to respond to things like messages/emails without bugging them constantly.

I know it can be hard. I know you sometimes feel a connection over the writer/author’s work…but the writer/author doesn’t know you personally. They aren’t your best friend, but you can possibly become friends if you show restraint and respect in how you contact and try to communicate with them.


Copyright © Rebecca Besser 2020

Halloween Blitz – Win A Signed Copy of Zombies Inside!

Would you like to win a signed copy of Zombies Inside by Rebecca Besser, with a story from Guest Author Courtney Rene?

Visit Astra Daemon’s Lair and comment on the monster post!

Direct Link: https://astradaemon.blogspot.com/2019/10/FavoriteMonster.html?fbclid=IwAR1wjPdK1Z_xA0TswpiqN2uQeyY2Xhf5OWirlac4W-IHjRLsUNK4NLYiZpU

About Zombies Inside:

Click on cover to visit title on Amazon.

Zombies Inside

by Rebecca Besser

with Guest Author Courtney Rene


If zombies are what you crave, open the pages of this book for a wild ride!

The 12 zombie short stories within (equaling over 64,000 words) will make you cringe, delight your imagination, and possibly even warm your heart . . . so the undead can feast upon it!

Be brave and see if you can survive the Zombies Inside!


Author Rebecca Besser


Author Courtney Rene


Copyright © Rebecca Besser & Courtney Rene 2019

Judgement – There’s No Escape

Everyone at some point in their life will be wrongly judged by someone. It might be a random thought in a stranger’s head when they glanced at you in passing that you never knew about. It might be from people that knew you once upon a time and can’t see that you’re different now because of the passage of time and experience. It might be from people who know you merely in passing, but think they know who you are even though they’ve never had a real conversation with you. It might be because you won’t bend to someone else’s will and stand up for yourself, your life, and your priorities. Or it might be from random people because of your job, your skin tone, or some other stupid superficial crap.

None of those judgements have anything to do with you. They’re all about other people being their asshole selves because they suffer from deep insecurities or fears.

I’m the recipient of a lot of judgements, unfortunately.


I’m odd, silly, and strange. I love to spend time alone. I’m a horror author. Add to that I’m a woman who goes against the grain of most social norms (Aquarius & INTJ = me). You could say it’s in my nature to stand out…and be proud of the fact I’m different.

Most of the people I really like, love those things about me. And I love the interesting quirks that make them, them. Honestly, I get along with most people because I like diversity. I find people different than myself insanely interesting.

I’ve found that about 98% of the people who don’t like me are women I stand up to. They’re women who have tried to manipulate or control me mentally or emotionally and I simply wouldn’t allow it. Not doing what other people want and not being the person other people think you should be is wrong, I guess, because it has always made me the bitch. I could literally compile a list of about a hundred or more people I’ve come across in some aspect of my life that could fit into the category of “manipulative controller” that lash out when they don’t get their way.

I’ve never regretted standing up to those people. If standing up for myself makes me a bitch, then a bitch I am.

Then, add in the judgements I receive because I’m a horror author… I’m an author of dark fiction, zombie fiction, thrillers, and suspense. I write stuff that haunts people’s nightmares.

Because of this, some people think I’m a bad or twisted person.

I’ve had people introduce me as the person who writes weird or strange stuff. I’ve been told I can’t come to certain community events as a vendor because the content of my books is too dark. I could go on and on about the prejudice against what I write and me because I write it.

Usually, overall, judgements don’t bother me. I really don’t care what people think of me. But, I’m human, so sometimes it annoys me or hurts.

Darkness is part of life, and you can’t have light without darkness. Everyone has darkness and light inside them. Most people deny the dark part of themselves because they believe it makes them bad. I embrace mine and use it in a creative manner for entertainment. Writing is my therapy.

I give my light to my family and I give my darkness to my creativity.

I’m balanced.

I’m happy.

And I’m okay with who I am no matter what other people think.

I hope you are too! But if you’re not, I hope this post makes you feel less alone when you stand against the judgement of others.

When and if you do find yourself at the receiving end of judgement, remember…people who judge you are assholes suffering from deep insecurities or fears. Don’t let them bring you down.


©Rebecca Besser, 2017. All rights reserved.

Indie Books are the Best Christmas Presents

Indie Books are the Best Christmas Presents

By Rebecca Besser

You’ll see many of us authors offering up our books as great Christmas gifts. And I know when you see us doing it, you’re thinking that you don’t know if the person you’re thinking about giving the book to will like it. So, I thought I’d write this article to help you pick the right book for the reader on your Christmas list!


Reason #1 to give an Indie Authors’ book to the reader on your list is that they aren’t likely to already have the book.

Why? Does the book suck? No. Most Indie Authors are either new authors or authors that have been around for a couple years, but aren’t well-known yet. They generally have some really cool, interesting books that aren’t popular to the masses. This means that their writing and books haven’t reached that many hands yet. Usually each Indie Author has a small to medium pool of loyal readers, but they aren’t usually more than a couple hundred to a couple thousand of the millions of people on planet Earth. That’s not for a lack of trying or even because of low quality work, or anything like that. It’s just hard to get people to pay attention to your book that isn’t in a brick-and-mortar book store or on the shelf at the local grab-all store. They are, however, plentiful in online markets like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play, etc. You can find a lot of ebooks and paperbacks from marginally well-known Indie Authors at those outlets.

Reason #2 to give an Indie Authors’ book to the reader on your list is that you’ll introduce them to a new author.

I know you’re thinking that new authors can be scary or uncertain. I mean, what if the person you buy the book for doesn’t like it? There are a few ways to kill that uncertainty and make you a great book gift giver.

If you know who the person’s favorite author(s) is, you are in for easy shopping. Find out what genre that author writes and then look for books in the same genre; it’s really easy to do on Amazon. Why Amazon? Because after you’ve found the genre you want (which is fairly easy on that site), you can then use the “Look Inside” feature to read the first couple chapters of the book to check for quality of writing. You can also read through the reviews left by people who have already read the book. (Note: When dealing with a lot of reviews, throw out the best review and the worst review and focus on the middle reviews. This is where you find the most truth. If most reviews are negative, pass on that book. Also note when the book was released. Sometimes newly released books have less reviews because people haven’t finished reading the title yet, so newer books may still be really good, but have less reviews. Then look at the quality of the reviews overall.) Once you’ve narrowed down a couple of titles, check out other books by that author to see if their other books are getting decent reviews. That should give you a good idea of what authors are worth checking into further.

Once you’ve found a couple of authors, check out all their books to see if they have a series, because if you decide to buy something buy that author as a gift, you don’t want to give the book that is in the middle of a series, you’ll want to start with book one. You’ll also want to see if the author has other books that will appeal to the person you have in mind, or a book you didn’t know about that might be liked more than the one(s) you’ve already researched.

Reason #3 to give an Indie Authors’ book to the reader on your list is that the storyline will more than likely be more original than mass market books.

Originality is a big thing with Indie Authors. Sometimes the reason an author is an Indie Author is because they can’t find a mass market press that’s publishing their subject matter. It is often because Indie Authors are trying to create something new in their genre of choice.

Usually this is true. I say usually because there are some writers who don’t have original ideas and just try to copy someone else’s story. Unfortunately, this happens all the time. So all that stuff you went through checking out authors in reason #2 comes in handy.

From reading the first chapter or so of a book with Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature, you should have a decent idea of whether the book is boring and unoriginal. The summary of the book will as well.

General rule, look for subject matter you haven’t seen much of before. Or something you have heard of before that’s looked at in a different way, or expressed from a different angle.

Reason #4 to give an Indie Authors’ book to the reader on your list is because you can often get a signed copy of the book by contacting the author directly.

Unlike mass market authors that don’t have any contact information easily found anywhere, Indie Authors have blogs, Facebook pages, and are easily found on social media or through their website. Often, if you contact them through one of these channels and ask to buy a signed copy of the authors’ work, they’re more than happy to provide that option.

This allows you to get a customized gift for the reader on your shopping list. You can have the book signed to them. Not only did you give them a book, but you gave them something special and personalized! That’s usually a huge thing for presents.

Reason #5 to give an Indie Authors’ book to the reader on your list is that you don’t have to give it to them directly.

That might seem confusing, but let me explain. Say you do all the research I suggested in reason #2 and you find a bunch of books you think the person might like. At that point you might be unsure of what to get and that’s understandable. There are a lot of options and you want to be a great gifter.

So, here’s how you can be a great gifter without actually giving a specific book: make a list of the authors and books you found that you think the reader would like and give them the list with a gift card!

This is a great option for a reader that has an e-reader. Why? Because they can get a few of the books you suggest instead of one. They will more than likely at least look into the Indie Authors you suggested. And, possibly, they could grab a paperback from one of the authors they already like and maybe an ebook from a new-to-them author from the list.

That makes the giving of a gift card personalized and it still gives them options, if you’re unsure.

Reason #6 to give an Indie Authors’ book to the reader on your list is that you’re helping out an author, not feeding the big publisher machine.

If you’re someone who likes to buy from local, privately owned shops, stores, or businesses, that’s what Indie Authors are in the publishing world. Most of the time, Indie Authors are making little to nothing off their work because they aren’t well-known by the masses. That’s right, not all authors are making big money. A lot of them have full-time day jobs, most of them have families, and a few depend on their writing to support those families if they’re lucky enough to make what they need.

What am I saying? You would be making a purchase that matters to a person. The sales Indie Authors get are a big deal. They are truly, deeply appreciated. So, not only are you buying a book that someone you love might enjoy, you’re helping support small business. You’re helping people and families.


I hope this article has explained how and why to buy the reader on your Christmas list an Indie Authors’ book, and I hope if that reader enjoys dark fiction (zombies, creatures, horror, thrillers, suspence) that you’ll check me out as one of the authors you’d like to gift to that reader.

You can find me and my titles on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Rebecca-Besser/e/B004V3IIC4/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1480606749&sr=8-1

If you have any questions about my books, please feel free to contact me (I have a few on-hand I can sign):



Twitter & Instagram: @BeccaBesser

Facebook: Author/Editor Rebecca Besser


©Rebecca Besser, 2016. All rights reserved.

Book Signing at Harlem Days – Ohio Event

I will be teaming up with the lovely and talented, Author Courtney Rene on August 20, 2016 for Harlem Days!

If you’re in the area, please stop by, say hi, buy a signed copy(ies) of our books, and enjoy the fun, free festivities!

For information on what Harlem Days has to offer, and directions (address), visit this website: http://harlemtwpheritage.org/

Author Courtney Rene – A Howl In The Night

A Howl In The Night by Courtney Rene

Excerpt from A Howl In The Night by Courtney Rene:

Then a new thought crashed into my brain.  “Wait a sec.  If my father is a werewolf . . .,”

“Not a werewolf, just a wolf,” my mom said interrupting me.

“Okay fine,” I said.  If her story was true though, I had to wonder, what did that make me?  It was my turn to pop up off the bed and pace around.  What about me?  Was I going to grow hair and fangs and run around trying to bite people?  “Oh, God.”

It felt as if my life was over.  How was I supposed to finish school if I turned into a wolf every time the moon was full?

Would it hurt to change?  It always looked like it did in the movies.  I had seen that werewolf movie where the guy runs around London eating people.  The change was always accompanied with screaming and pain.  Was I going to hunt down my friends and family and eat them?

I didn’t know if that was really how it worked or not, but before I could work myself up into a real freak fest, my mom said, “I have watched you all your life Abby, and I have never seen anything wolf-like about of you.  I promise.  That worry has always been in the back of my mind, but nothing has ever come of it.  You’re fine.  Come on, you don’t even like meat.”

I had to admit, thankfully, that she did have a point there.

She gave me a sideways look then said, “How do you think I felt?  There were times that I was worried that I was going to give birth to a puppy.  How would I have explained that to my doctors?”  My mom said this with a raise of her eyebrows and a grin.

This threw me for a moment.  She was actually teasing me?  At a time like this, she was cracking jokes?  “That’s not funny,” I said.

“Oh, come on.  Yes it is.”

Maybe it was a little funny, but there was no way in the world I was going to admit it then.

“Whatever,” I said with a shake of my head.  “So, now what?”  I was still holding onto the hope that she had just hit her head that night and thought she saw what she saw.

“I don’t know, honey.  I just thought with your dad finally getting in contact with us well, that you should be prepared.  That it was time.  You know?”

No, I didn’t know.  In that moment, I felt a little lost.  That day was supposed to be a great day.  It was my sixteenth birthday.  My world was supposed to have been great.  Instead, I may have lost my best friend and found out that I not only had a father, but one who may or may not be a wolf.  It was not a fabulous day after all.  In fact, I decided that birthdays kinda sucked.  “No.  He may be my father, but he’s not my dad.”


I shook my head at her and left to go to my own room.  I needed to think, and I couldn’t do that in her room with her looking at me with her sad eyes.

Mine was just your average teen room.  It had a bed, dresser, desk, and full mirror.  There were clothes thrown about, but that was to be expected.  I was a teenager, after all.

I dropped down on my bed with a huff.  I had so much swirling around in my head that I was getting a headache.  I felt it coming behind my eyes.  It figured.  It was just one more thing to go wrong that day.

I looked longingly out my window at Brian’s little yellow house and wished that I could go over and talk to him.  I could see that he was home.  The light from his room was spilling out into the night.  Maybe he would laugh at me and tell me I needed to go have my mom checked out.  I would have agreed.  Maybe he would just help me do some research and we could figure it out for ourselves.  Instead, I felt so alone and lost and overwhelmed.

My mom was not the loony type.  She always had her feet firmly on the ground.  She never lied to me and always tried to tell me the truth.  I didn’t know if I should believe her now or not.  I know I didn’t want to believe her.  Who would?

I looked down at my hands.  They looked like just normal hands.  No claws, or hair.  They were just small, thin, girly hands.

Author Courtney Rene
Author Courtney Rene

Courtney Rene lives in the State of Ohio with her husband and two children.  She is a graduate and member of the Institute of Children’s Literature.  Her writings include magazine articles, short fiction stories, several anthologies, as well as her young adult novels, A Howl in the Night, and new release, The Full Moon Rises, as well as the Shadow Dancer series (Shadow Dancer, Shadow Warrior, Shadow’s End, and a break away novel, Shadow Fire), published through Rogue Phoenix Press.  For a complete listing, visit www.ctnyrene.blogspot com or feel free to contact her at ctnyrene@aol.com.

©Courtney Rene, 2016. All rights reserved.

Author Monique Snyman – Multi Nation

Multi Nation by Monique Snyman

Every country has its secrets. Every culture has its taboos. Every house has its cross.

 When Esmé Snyders – a young occult-crime expert – investigates a grotesque muti-murder in Pretoria West, she doesn’t realise she’s become a player in the killer’s deadly game. Before long, more savagely mutilated corpses join the tally, proving that the evasive murderer is slipperier than what she’s used to when it comes to muti-killers. While searching for a monster capable of such heinous crimes, Esmé is thrust into a dangerous adventure of love, sex, death and the paranormal. Can she win a game she doesn’t know she’s playing?

Excerpt of Multi Nation by Monique Snyman:

Chapter 1

Too often people mistake monsters for gods.

The burnt orange skies illuminate the world in a warm glow as dusk comes to a close. Several stars already shine against the romantic evening backdrop, where orange turns to mauve and then to navy blue. Tonight the moon has a Cheshire cat quality to it, and I feel like Alice in Wonderland – or more accurately, like Esmé in Death Valley. Long yellow grass reaches up to my hips as I push my way through the open veld between WF Nkomo Street and the Magalies Freeway. Blue and red lights flash on top of the police cars at timed intervals where they are parked at the Sasol garage, on top of the hill. An eerie sound—a warped version of Mandoza’s up-beat hit Nkalakatha—drifts through the area as a taxi drives past the veld. Someone else honks in approval. Then there’s just the lull of traffic, the chirping crickets, and the rushing water of the swelled Skinnerspruit to drown out the silence.

Several uniformed police officers are standing ahead. Some look bored, but it’s a façade of bravado. Others wear a tinge of green around the cheeks, a perfectly normal response. A few are talking in hushed tones in languages I can’t understand. And then there are the two teenagers who’d called it in. The blonde girl is huddled up in the boy’s arms; she’s a blubbering mess. Tears and mucus streak her otherwise pretty face, knotted hair sticks to her skin where the day’s heat still clings against her small form. She’s trembling, but nobody can blame her. The boy looks in better shape, though not by much. He’s pale and staring into the distance, maybe wishing he could relive today. Perhaps he wishes he’d taken his girl to another secluded field for some “alone time” instead.

God knows this wouldn’t have been my choice of veld for an outdoor quickie.

Le parfum de la mort, the unforgettable fragrance of decay and faecal matter, wafts through the air like cheap perfume. My stomach churns in disagreement, but I keep my lunch down like a professional. The atmosphere is thick with despair, almost palpable, and even the least superstitious police officers can feel it. Something bad happened here. Something most South Africans, regardless of race, religion, intellect and profession don’t acknowledge out of fear.

“You again,” Detective Mosepi, a robust middle-aged man with a brusque temper, asks gruffly when I near him. He glances back to his notepad and scribbles something down. “Not wearing our Gucci heels today, hmm? Good thing, too. I know how women get when they ruin those expensive shoes.”

Detective Mosepi is good at his job. With a single glance, he can recount every detail of a person’s attire. He sees evidence when others deem the find inconsequential. His memory isn’t too bad either.

I’ve known him most of my life.

My father and he worked at the same precinct until Dad’s retirement from the force a few years ago. Back then Detective Mosepi was energetic and ready to change the world for the better, but the job ate away at his soul, like it does to most cops.

I give the scene a fleeting look, curious about what lies beyond the shrubbery and uniforms.

“How’s your pa?”

“Enjoying the new job, sir,” I answer. People always ask and the answer never changes. Dad’s more alive now in an accounting office than when he thought he had a calling at the South African Police Service. My Dad’s not that old, he’s only forty-six, so he’s not reached his golden years yet. The force didn’t agree with him, though.

A shadow of a smile crosses Detective Mosepi’s face, probably as he recalls fond memories of having my father as a partner.

“What’s the story here, Detective?” I ask to get the ball rolling.

“Those two,” he gestures to the teenagers a way away, “were up to no good in the grass when they found the victim about an hour ago. The victim is a black female in her mid-twenties.”

The vague explanation doesn’t help.

I raise an eyebrow in question, which makes him sigh in defeat.

“Possible rape, definite mutilation and murder. The usual stuff you’re called out for.”

Detective Mosepi is uncomfortable. I can see it in his body language and eyes. I don’t blame him or anyone else for feeling odd. These types of cases tend to make police curt and impolite. But then, I need more to go on if I’m going to do my job.

“Is the forensics unit coming?”

“Maybe, but don’t bet on them being any help. You know we don’t have the funding for fancy CSI gadgets.”

I nod because it’s true. The forensics team only comes out for prolific cases and this murder wouldn’t make the local newspaper’s headlines if reporters were informed of the true nature of the case. It’s much too sensitive for the media, the government, and the people.

“Have you found any identification for the victim?”

Detective Mosepi looks over his shoulder and barks out a command in isiZulu. An officer shouts something back, before the detective turns his attention to me again.

“They bagged a purse, which might’ve belonged to the victim. I’ll send you the details later, after processing,” he says.

“Thank you,” I say.

He huffs, pockets his notebook, and heads toward the shrubbery. “Come on, let’s get this over with.”

I’m already behind him, stepping where his feet have landed, and readying myself for the inevitable shock. Even though I’d seen dozens of homicide victims in the past few years, each one remains unique. Dad used to drag me along to his crime scenes when I was a kid, much to my grandfather’s dismay—so I know what’s coming once I’m past the shrubbery. I fish my cellphone out of my purse and search for the audio recording app I’ve downloaded to capture initial thoughts and ideas.

Detective Mosepi steps out of the way when we reach the taped-off area. The rest of the hovering officials clear out so I can do my quick investigation, and I’m left with the full, grotesque picture.

It takes me a moment to mentally shake myself into action.

“Esmé Snyders, Occult Crime Expert, Case Number 137. It is approximately 1800 hours on Friday, 4 September 2015,” I say to my phone as I move around the border of the crime scene. “The victim is a black female, aged between twenty-six and thirty years. Height is average, at around 1,70 meters, and weight is about 85 kilograms. Clothing includes a turquoise peplum top and matching pencil skirt—cut off and discarded roughly two metres from the body—as well as black underwear and a pair of black open-toe heels.”

The woman’s nude form looks like it’s been exposed to the elements for a couple of days judging by the insect activity surrounding the body; but I could be wrong. I’m not an entomologist. She’s sprawled on her back; the extent of misery she was forced to endure in those last few minutes—or hours—on display for all to see. And with those empty eye-sockets and her slack jaw, the woman’s expression is frozen in a silent scream. I can’t become too emotionally involved though, not if I want to stay sane. So I push away my emotions, however heartless it may seem, and continue in a monotonous voice.

“Breasts and genitals have been removed, presumably pre-mortem. Defensive lacerations on her palms may confirm theory. DNA evidence of assailant or assailants might be present underneath fingernails. Eyes, tongue and lips are also missing.”

I walk around the body again, studying the evidence as much as possible underneath the single spotlight, erected nearby.

“Further investigative information is required to determine whether the victim is, beyond a reasonable doubt, another muti-murder fatality. The preliminary evidence, however, is overwhelming.”

I stop my recording, take a few pictures of the scene as well as the victim for my records, and make my way back to where Detective Mosepi is waiting with the kids.

He gives me a worried look, but doesn’t ask the question I know he’s dying to ask: Are you okay?

Am I okay?

I don’t know. I’ve seen worse, but it doesn’t get easier. Every victim suffers in ways I can’t possibly comprehend. It is part of the ritual: the more they suffer, the more potent the ingredient will be for the witchdoctor’s magic. Of course, murder isn’t always the intended outcome, but the victims’ wounds are usually of such a nature that death is, more often than not, imminent.

“This is Mina van der Schyff and Adhir Ibrahim.” He introduces the teenagers who found the body when I reach their location.

They still look like their worlds have ended, but at least the girl has stopped crying.

“I’ve notified their parents of their whereabouts and we’ll take them in for questioning, but I don’t think we’ll get anything useful out of them tonight,” Detective Mosepi whispers to me.

I nod in agreement.

“Do you want to sit in on the interview?”

“It’s not necessary; just send me their details with the rest of the files,” I whisper back. “But I would like to read the victim’s family and friends’ statements. If you can arrange it for me, I’ll owe you one.”

The detective glances over my shoulder, looks back at me, and nods. “I’ll walk you back to your car.”

I begin to protest, but the look he gives me says not to bother. I swallow my words and make my way back to the Sasol garage where I’d parked alongside the police vehicles. We walk in silence until we’ve distanced ourselves from the activity.

He steals a look again. “It’s getting worse, isn’t it?”

“The ritual murder rate has risen, regardless of the official statements the government releases. Yes.”

“How bad?” Detective Mosepi asks.

I grit my teeth. The statistics aren’t pretty, not by a longshot. As I am one of the few occult experts on the continent, I get to see the majority of the violent crimes committed. It’s become a pandemic of sorts, and everyone is at risk, but nobody talks about it. My silence answers his question.

He seems to understand. “Do you have any leads as to whether this is an organised crime ring?”

“No, but I won’t be surprised if it is. Muti-murder cases are popping up more frequently in every corner of the world, so it’s plausible. Who knows, maybe the sex-trade rings have branched out.”

“That is not a comforting thought, Esmé.”

“Oh, believe me, I know.”

We make our way up the steep hill, past the blue devil’s fork fence surrounding the back of the Sasol garage.

Detective Mosepi—huffing and puffing from the exercise—leans against the side of my car to catch his breath. After a minute, he recomposes himself and looks around the busy petrol station, before his lips thin into a tight line and he shakes his head.

“Tell me why these things happen,” he says.

I’m surprised. He’s twenty years older than I am. Surely I’m supposed to ask him those types of questions, not the other way around.

“Murder?” I ask, unsure.

“Muti-murders,” he clarifies. “Why are those bastards almost never prosecuted when we catch them?”

I inhale deeply and configure my thoughts. Before I can answer, Detective Mosepi shakes his head again and puts up a hand to silence me. If he hadn’t, I would have told him how socio-economic circumstances play a huge role in the cultivation of superstitions. I would have gone on to say the feeling of hopelessness breeds fear, which often leads to violence or idleness, depending on the person. I could also have explained how humans, in general, want to believe in something greater than themselves; something to fix everything in a blink of an eye. I don’t say any of these things, though, because I suspect he has already contemplated and considered these points.

He fumbles in his breast pocket for a packet of Marlboros, takes a cigarette and holds the packet out towards me.

I decline.

“Aren’t you scared of these things?” Detective Mosepi grimaces and lights his cigarette. A cloud of smoke exits his lungs. “Don’t you believe in witchdoctors’ powers?”

I shrug. “I believe if a person believes hard enough in those sort of things, their beliefs might come back to bite them in the ass.”

Multi Nation is now available here:

Amazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Muti-Nation-Monique-Snyman-ebook/dp/B01H63QO1W/

Amazon Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/Muti-Nation-Monique-Snyman/dp/0692741674/

Book Depository: http://www.bookdepository.com/Muti-Nation-Monique-Snyman/9780692741672/a_aid=moniquesnyman

Author Monique Snyman

Monique Snyman lives in Pretoria, South Africa, with an adorable Chihuahua that keeps her company and a bloodthirsty lawyer who keeps her sane. She is a full-time author, part-time editor and in-between reviewer of all things entertaining. Her short fiction has been published in a number of small press anthologies, the Charming Incantations Series is published by Rainstorm Press, and she’s working hard on a couple of other novels in her spare time.

Where you can find Monique Snyman online:

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©Monique Snyman, 2016. All rights reserved.