Excerpt #2: Soulmates by RJ Joseph in Deadly Love Issue #2

She propped her legs up on the coffee table, examining the bruises on her pale legs. They settled into pooled spots on her shins from when Damien had lain her, face down, in a shallow grave out in the dump yard behind the projects they lived in. Those marks were easy enough to cover. The ones on her throat where he’d choked her out until she breathed her last breath, not so much. Leticia was just glad decay hadn’t set in as fully as it could have before she had clawed her way up through the broken glass and discarded bicycle tires to trample through the garbage and get back to her beloved.

“He never listened to me when I told him I wasn’t like other women.” She shook her head and sucked her teeth. Damien had thought she was just flexing, trying to cement her positioning as wifey and pin him down. She’d told him some variation of the same throughout their eight-year, tumultuous relationship, throughout which he evaded committing fully and marrying her.

There were other ways to bond yourself to someone. He couldn’t get away from her if he tried. 

They might have fought violently every other month and cheated on each other even more frequently than that. He may have been unwilling to turn in his player card and quit the game. Women of varying ages, ethnicities, and classes may have thrown themselves on him at every turn, with him taking full advantage of the ample selection. None of that mattered because Leticia loved him. He was hers. And she wasn’t some common chick, living a common life, doing common shit.

No flex. Real talk.

In her heart of hearts, she knew he was unconvinced she was the best thing to ever happen to him. Why else would he leave her hanging on a string, even after she had contrived a financial problem that required that they live together so she could show him, first hand, her domestic skills? Why hadn’t he felt the need to at least propose to her after any one of her numerous “miscarriages”?

He had just needed a little help. Leticia went to find the practitioner on the outskirts of the ‘hood to provide the kind of assistance he wouldn’t be able to figure out or resist’. 

(c) Copyright by RJ Joseph. All Rights Reserved.

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Deadly Love Issue #2 from Dark Dispatch is Out!!

Just in time for Halloween, this anthology of spooky love stories is just the thing to get your blood pumping! Spooky time here we come!

My story Soulmates is now available in Deadly Love, Issue #2, Dark Dispatch Magazine! Check out our lovely cover below and read an excerpt today! You can pick up your copy for .99 here.

If you read and enjoy Soulmates and all the other scary stories in Deadly Love, please consider rating and reviewing on Amazon. Thanks in advance!

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Excerpt from Soulmates, Coming Soon from Dark Dispatch Magazine, Deadly Love Issue #2

She wasn’t sure who had chosen that suit for him for burial but whether it was his side chick or his nosy mother, the bitch had done a perfect job.

Leticia ran her hands lovingly down Damien’s chest, remembering how well the burgundy suit had fit him when he was alive. Even in death, he cut a fine figure in his casket, sharp suit and burgundy pimp hat with the black feather band, pulled down to the left side, just like he liked it. He had known it made him look like a real life pimp and she guessed that was a more honest description of him than she would have ever admitted out loud. 

Whoever the mortuary had doing hair and make-up must have been used to doing Black folks’ hair and faces because her beloved looked like he was about to open his eyes and step out of the casket. His dark brown skin looked life-like, painted a color closer to living flesh than his three weeks dead body could have displayed without the artist’s artistic experience. His locks flowed perfectly down his shoulders, moisturized just right to where the scent of coconut oil still lingered above his casket. They done good. 

He didn’t look like a dead guy who had been killed by his dead girlfriend.

Not wanting to wear out her welcome in those wee hours of the morning and be discovered by staff opening up for the day’s business, or overeager mourners arriving early to get visitations and services out of the way as soon as possible, Leticia patted Damien’s hard, cold cheek and whispered her promise into the quiet of the chapel. 

“I’ll be waiting for you at home.”

She moved swiftly, unencumbered by the embalming fluid and autopsy that would probably slow Damien down when he first came back to her. They’d have to figure out how to help him work around those issues. They had plenty of time. Like she’d told him the last time they saw each other, they were bonded and neither of them was going anywhere without the other.

Leticia chose her favorite chair in front of the television at their house, where she could see the door clearly. She didn’t need to sleep. She hoped Damien would arrive shortly after his burial but she knew it could take him a bit of time to get oriented enough to come on back to the house. She didn’t need to eat either, so she could wait for as long as she needed for their reunion.

(c) Copyright by RJ Joseph. All Rights Reserved.

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Coming Soon: Excerpt An Old Fashioned Type of Girl by RJ Joseph from Slashertorte An Anthology of Cake Horror

Coming Soon!

Even though Mama had always told her to get to a man’s heart through his stomach, it was Granny who taught her how to put that little something extra in to make sure they stuck around. 

Charla stirred the batter carefully, mimicking the slow roll of a stand mixer. She had one of those fancy things, but she only used it on certain holidays or when she was pressed for time—never when she was baking her signature Forever Cake. She sighed. She’d made this same cake six different times in the past year and a half. She wanted this to be the last time she made it as an unmarried woman.

Charla was born to be a wife. Mama and Granny had carefully trained her in all wifely duties, especially cooking, housekeeping, and carrying herself as a respectful lady at all times. Granny left most of the lady lessons to Mama because Granny was no lady and didn’t think a woman had to do that “silly play acting” to get herself hitched. So Mama taught her how to apply make-up so artfully it didn’t look like you had any on and how to speak and laugh demurely. She also taught Charla to have a general interest in most things but never too much knowledge about one thing, except making men happy.

Men loved that she took an interest in the things they liked but that she wasn’t smarter than they were. Charla had learned at a young age that she actually was smarter than most of the men she met. She just never let them know that. They also loved her 1960s aesthetic. She always wore her hair in a simple and sleek style, reminiscent of Diana Ross’ flipped bob from when she sang with The Supremes. Mama always said, “Fads are trite and they change so you need to be timeless.” Her beautician was in the old neighborhood, an elderly lady who declared she’d keel over and die in her shop before she’d quit. Ms. Bessie understood that Charla was special and she kept her fittingly coiffed.

Charla never wore pants, only dresses. And always with pumps. Not the six-inch styles that were in fashion, but the four-inch ones that always made a soft and graceful line of her calves. She might have considered pants for when she had to do dirty, outside work, but men loved doing things for Charla. She had a lawn man who kept her yard beautiful, a mechanic who made sure she never had to even put air in her own tires, and a handyman that fixed everything he thought might break down before the next time he came over. But none of those men could marry her and Charla needed a husband.

So she dated. Not from online like other people did but very selectively. She only dated men she met at the supermarket or the bookstore. They got bonus points if they told her she was pretty, even if they compared her to Jackie O. She was more like Ann Lowe, thank you very much, whose selectivity helped her become the first highly sought Black fashion designer. Charla had farsighted, genius vision like Ms. Lowe and she used it all the time. The fast talkers who admired her small waist, big hips, and smooth, dark skin were usually after only one thing. And the one who married her could have that one thing. All the temporary fly by nights couldn’t even consider sniffing it.

(c) Copyright 2021 by RJ Joseph. All Rights Reserved.

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Coming Soon: Excerpt from Mine Offenses by RJ Joseph from Horror Writer’s Association Poetry Showcase VIII

Hated my mouth. Full, thick, juicy lips,
forming a multitude of words
bubbling up through the orifice, oozing from my soul.
Daddy never wanted to hear anything I had to say.
Mama had to always work.
The mouth offended–
I sliced the lips off, severed their hold on the words.

Hated my breasts. Pre-pubescent,
barely budded yet capturing the attention of boys and grown men alike.
Classmates grabbed them, swatting and bruising.
The bus driver pinched them.
The breasts offended–
I seared them away, burned flesh stank ugly to all.

(c) Copyright 2021 by RJ Joseph. All Rights Reserved.

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Coming Soon!(October 21, 2021) Diabolica America, A Dark States Horror Compendium

Coming October 21, 2021

Excerpt: Regrets Never Die by R.J. Joseph

I was still grieving Regret Number Three when that fucker came through the woods surrounding the back of my property and relentlessly banged his head on my bedroom window. Over and over again, he slammed into the windowsill, sloshing, wet connecting sounds. By the time I found a flashlight and got back there, he’d torn new vivid pinkish red slashes into his face, matching the old, oozing festering ones I’d made deep in his neck and sliced across his chest a few weeks prior when I erased him. Or at least, when I had tried to erase him.

I figured if I could just put him on hold somewhere for a couple of hours so I could get a little more sleep, I’d just have a bonfire at dawn, the time when us regular folks were up and moving about. I threw on my pajama pants and ran outside with a flashlight, growling at him the whole time to let him know I was none too pleased with his inopportune intrusion.

He tried to reach for me and touch me while I prodded him towards a storage shed with the long handle of the flashlight, his bloated lips puckering up for a kiss I no longer desired. His formerly full, dark lips had grown so decayed they were black, black. Bloated and fuller than they had been in life, when the temptation they’d offered was too much for me to resist. 

Maggots slithered across the straight, white teeth he had often shone my way when he wanted something. I had thought they were the prettiest teeth I had ever seen before. Movie star teeth. They weren’t so pretty with the rot and bugs…and in the mouth of a nasty man.

I had met him one afternoon while I walked through my woods. I almost shot his ass because he was trespassing.

(c) Copyright 2021 by R.J. Joseph. All Rights Reserved.

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Happy Black Speculative Fiction Month 2020!

Befitting the level of celebration and festivities that should be embarked on during Black Speculative Fiction Month and October, in general, I have so much to announce.

First, consider heading over to the Salem Horror Festival where you can partake in as much creepy goodness you want. You can purchase an All Access Pass and gain access to all the content. Or you can purchase a Weekend II pass which will still give you access to much fun. I have a lecture playing at the festival, “Rendering the Invisible Visible: Black Femininity As Unsympathetic, Powerless Monstrosity”.

If you don’t want the fun to stop there, you can head over to Multivirtual 2020, an online iteration of Multiverse Convention. If you attend, don’t miss my reading at 1:00 pm on Saturday, October 17, 2020, at 1:00 pm, EST, in room 5. I’ll read and give a way a few copies of an amazing book I talk about below here. Also, make sure to head over to the watch party for my academic presentation in the Learn Track, “Monstrous Motherhood: Haunted Houses as Defiled Femininity” later on Saturday, at 2:30 pm, EST. Kenneth Broome, Jr., M.A. and I will participate in a live Q and A session on Discord after our presentations.

I also have a brand new short story that was published in the special Halloween edition of Southwest Review. How beautiful is this cover?!!! The artwork inside is just as fabulous. This iconic issue was edited by the inimitable Gabino Iglesias:

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Wait…there’s more!

I’ll be chatting with Patrick R. McDonough and Brennan LaFaro of Dead Headspace Podcast this month. I’ll post a link to the podcast when it becomes available.

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On Sunday, October 18, 2020, from 1:00 pm to 2:00 pm, PDT, I’ll be chatting on the Horror Writer’s Association Skeleton Hour with some awesome horror writers. You can join the discussion here.

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To wrap up all this creepy goodness, I have sneak peeks at three covers for anthologies where I’ll have stories published in the next few months. This first beauty is for Inferno, in the Infernal Clock series, edited by Stephanie Ellis and Alyson Faye:

And this next delicacy is for Slashertorte: An Anthology of Cake Horror, edited by Ben Walker and published by Sliced Up Press. Remember all the cake pics on Twitter? Yeah, seriously horror inspiring!

This last image of creepiness is for Sonorous Silence, to be published by Pavor Press. Isn’t this the stuff of nightmares?

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That’s it for now. Lots of catching up was in order. I promise to do better with posting.

Until next time, take care of you and enjoy yourself!

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New Teasers for Monstrous Domesticity and Black Magic Women….

I have four new teasers for my horror books Monstrous Domesticity and Black Magic Women. I’d be honored if you’d share them on your social media to help me get the word out about my books!

 

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National Black Book Festival 2018

Hanging out at #NBBF2018 this weekend. Something for everyone…stop by and say hello.

http://www.nationalblackbookfestival.com

 

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Excerpt: Woman’s Work

Transitions and Awakenings Cover 200x300

Jamarcus was on that crazy tip before he hit the door. I could smell it on him, underneath the sweat that drenched his dingy wife beater tee.

He clumped into the kitchen, sucking his teeth. “Hamburger again?” He slammed a plastic grocery bag of empty, stinking food containers into the sink, ignoring the clean dishes already there, waiting to be rinsed.

Ten years of marriage had taught me that the conversation could go badly, whether I answered or not. I remained silent.

“You don’t hear me?”

I waited a couple of beats while my own anger leapt inside my chest. My neck prickled from the fire bubbling inside my skin.

“The whole block hears you.” I turned from the sink and faced him. He needed to back off. He didn’t always. Jamarcus was a handsome man, with chocolate colored skin that stretched over tight muscles and gleamed from his long day at work. I had loved him dearly once, warts and all. But I was getting tired of his shit.

He stared at me a moment and threw himself into a chair like a petulant child. “I work hard, you know. I’m sick of eating the same old thing every night.”

“It’s the best I can do, Jamarcus, when you spend money we don’t have on that bike of yours.” I placed a plate with the hamburger meat and macaroni in front of him.

“Oh, I’m gonna get my bike tricked out. And you nagging won’t stop me from going to Bike Week next month, either.”

“Do I ever nag you, Jamarcus? You do whatever you want all the time and I don’t say a word.” He wouldn’t meet my eyes, and mumbled under his breath instead.

Buy Link:

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/721993

(c) Copyright 2016 by RJ Joseph. All Rights Reserved.

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