Kill Switch: An Overview


During the early months of 2018, Emerian Rich and Dan Shaurette began brainstorming the theme of the next anthology. Dan approached Emz with an interesting idea. He wanted to create an anthology inspired by Tech Horror, something like the NETFLIX television show, Black Mirror. The prospect excited Emz. All they needed was a name.

They came up with several during the coming weeks. Everything from Glitched, to Future Dark to Kernel Panic to Digital Dread. Nothing clicked until January 19, 2018.

Dan: Kill Switch?

Emz: That’s it!

And, Kill Switch was born.

Dan chose the Vampire/Android cover and the submission call went out. Authors responded to the theme and the submissions began to roll in. Everything went smoothly until Father’s Day, 2018. That was the day Dan suffered a medical emergency. He would survive but he wouldn’t finish the anthology.

Emz was torn. She didn’t know whether to shelve the book or not. After weighing the pros and cons, a single thought came to her mind. What would Dan do? The answer was simple. He would press on.

That’s where I came into the picture. I’d joined as an interviewer, reviewer, and publishing assistant just a few months before. As Emz took over editing the anthology, I stepped in as Head of Publishing. We assembled a submissions team with Laura Perkins and J. Malcolm Stewart (followed later by Kate Nox and Cedar George) and went right to work.

A month passed as the team sifted through manuscripts looking for technical gems to fill the pages of the anthology. In the end, they decided on thirteen stories. The authors were notified and the anthology announced. Phase one was complete.

Several months of formatting and editing followed. We worked hard on every story, cutting and polishing the technical gems until they were perfect diamonds. At last, on May 9, Kill Switch was ready for the world.

And so, with pride and a deep sense of accomplishment, presents to you… 



With stories by:


Mike’s new Mow-Bot is the answer to his weekend chore dreams until the neighbor’s cat disappears.


A doctor eager for publication and fame unethically tests a wound debridement technology with disastrous results.


An elderly woman enlists the aid of two repairmen when her pest elimination program goes haywire and begins attracting ghosts.


A game programmer in the final stages of launching a new version of the MMORPG “SoulTaker,” finds a bug even he can’t fix.


Daemon is willing to do whatever it takes to get the girl of his dreams and if his Iriz eye implant can help him do that, he doesn’t care what else it does.


A five-year-old boy is left home alone while his parents travel overseas, but his smart-house will keep him safe, right?


In a near future world where viewers are addicted to a television station featuring a hypnotically seductive sphere bouncing on an endless, surreal journey through unspoiled natural environments, Dodd is the only one who is “awake” enough to fight back.


In a future world where no one except fake grandparents live past the age of 65, Enid needs to land the job that will save her life, but a trip down memory lane may prove more difficult than she expects.


An audio-sensitive college student is the only one who can hear the difference in a mechanical birdsong that attacks her little sister.


A man uses technology to control his daughter from beyond the grave, will she ever be free?


A terminally ill woman discovers a frightening secret when she issues a deadly order to her personal robot.


A scientist working with bioengineered medical maggots fails to document her obvious erroneous observation, only to later realize her horrific mistake.


A computer programmer looking for his missing children in a legendary ghost house encounters a malevolent AI.

And, though I’ve stepped in as Head of Publishing, I could never fill Dan’s shoes. With much love, we dedicate this book to you, Dan. Thank you. We hope you enjoy it.

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Kill Switch Chilling Chat: 10 Quick Questions with Laurel Anne Hill


Laurel Anne Hill has authored two award-winning novels, most recently The Engine Woman’s Light (Sand Hill Review Press), a gripping spirits-meet-steampunk tale set in an Laurel Anne Hill Promotional 2015alternate 19th Century California. Laurel’s published short stories total over thirty. She’s a Literary Stage Manager, speaker, anthology editor, and writing contest judge.

1.) How old were you when you first discovered horror?

I was eight years old when my mom took me to see the scary science fiction movie The Thing from Another World. Afterwards, I had nightmares for weeks. Sometime between age seven and ten, Mom took me to see Dracula (starring Bela Lugosi) and Frankenstein (starring Boris Karloff). No nightmares from those two films. I became hooked on classical horror.

2.) What author has influenced you most?

Many authors have influenced me a great deal. If I can only name one, however, I’ll say Ray Bradbury.

3.) What inspired you to write your piece, “13th Maggot?”

An article in the newspaper about medical maggots caught my attention. Plus, I worked several years in the field of regulatory compliance for a biotechnology startup company.

4.) How much control do you exert over your characters? Do they have free will?

I give my characters a lot of personal space during the first manuscript draft or two. After that, we generally need to have some serious discussions inside of my brain. Often my point prevails, but not always. For example, in “13th Maggot,” ongoing drafts held complicated conflicts between my main character and the woman she works with in the lab. The complexity detracted from the main story, but it took my protagonist great effort to show me why we needed a change.

5.) Do you listen to music when you write? Who do you listen to?

I used to listen to music often when writing, or before sitting down to write. This music connected me to my protagonists’ emotions. The pattern changed during the final years of my husband’s life. David—my beloved—was the co-protagonist in my daily life, our joint story written with each sunrise and sunset. These days, I’m trying to reintroduce music to my writing experience. I concentrate on the same sort of music as before: general classical, world, baroque organ, ballet and opera favorites, 50’s favorites, bagpipes, and other music David and I used to listen to together.

6.) Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere! Rain hitting my face. Tulips blooming. The sound of a steam locomotive’s whistle. The early morning taste of coffee. The odor of pine trees. Sunrises and sunsets. Shadows on the bedroom ceiling in the dark.

7.) What is your favorite horror novel?

Bram Stoker’s Dracula, of course, tied for first place with several others, such as The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty, and Ghost Story by Peter Straub.

8.) Favorite horror movie?

The Shining, without a doubt.

KSCoverSmall9.) Favorite horror television show?

The six o’clock news.

10.) What does the future hold for you? What do we have to look forward to?

I’m going through the process of finding a freelance fantasy/magical realism editor for my novel-in-progress: Plague of Flies. Sand Hill Review Press has expressed interest in the final product. Plague of Flies is not a horror story, but blends true horrific events with fantasy and magical realism in 1846 Mexican California, during the Bear Flag Rebellion, when the USA stole Alta California from Mexico.

Clockwork Wonderland Author Profile: Laurel Anne Hill and the The Engine Woman’s Light review

One of the authors featured in Clockwork Wonderland is Laurel Anne Hill. Laurel Anne’s story is called Gone a’ Hunting and is about a girl who goes on a rabbit hunt and gets caught in a place where she has plenty of time to think about what she has done. Laurel Anne Hill has been featured on the horroraddicts podcast a few times, being voted most wicked in 2011 for her steampunk/horror podcast: “Flight of Destiny. She has also been published in several anthologies and recently released her second novel, The Engine Woman’s Light. To learn more about her visit her website: and keep reading for my review of The Engine Woman’s Light.

Jaunita has had an interesting past, she was abandoned and left on a train going to an asylum for the poor. Luckily she was saved by her great grandma Zetta and the ghost of Zetta’s husband,  Javiar. She ends up in a small village where at the age of fifteen she has a mystical vision of a dead captain in an airship. She is told that it is her mission to put a stop to trains carrying California’s unwanted masses to an asylum where they will live and work until they die. A plan is in place to murder part of the asylum’s inmates to bring the asylum’s population down and Jaunita may have to murder people to put a stop to it.

Jaunita will not be alone though, she will have the help of her ghost ancestors and will meet other characters with complicated pasts. Jaunita will learn that her family has a dark side and she herself will have to do some horrible things to fulfill her mission. Jaunita is on a path that will change history along with her life, the question being can she live with the new person she will become? Jaunita lives in an alternative nineteenth-century steampunk world where spirits communicate with the living and our loved ones never really leave our sides.

If I was to use one word to describe Laurel Anne Hill’s The Engine Woman’s Light I would use “different.” Laurel Anne has created the world that made me think of an old western with steampunk elements and spiritualism thrown in for good measure. The way the settings are described really bring everything to life and you can see yourself living in this world with its vivid descriptions. Since I haven’t read too many westerns or much steampunk, this book was like entering a new world, which was easy to get hooked on. Right away you are invested in Jaunita’s story since she was a baby she defied all odds. After being abandoned and saved, she is forced into a lifechanging mission that she has to accomplish whether she wants to or not.

One thing I like about this story is that all the characters are shades of gray. Some characters here can be considered good, but sometimes they do bad things. There is a theme of redemption that runs through this book for a couple of the characters and even Jaunita wants to be redeemed for some of the actions she is forced to suffer through. The spirits in Jaunita’s family have done bad things in the past and are looking to get redemption through Jaunita and some of their actions have a bad effect on her.

Another theme in this book I liked was the idea that the people you love or have a connection to, are never far away. Jaunita’s ancestors still talk to her, even though they are dead. Even Jaunita’s dead mother who she never met is always close to her.  At one point we discover that two of the men in her life have a connection to her going way back. While reading this I felt that Laurel Anne Hill wanted to get the idea across that we are all connected whether we think it or not and even when someone is gone, they are never really gone.

One of my favorite scenes in The Engine Woman’s Light is when Juanita is starting to have feelings for the man she calls Guide. When Guide reveals who he really is and what he has done in the past, Jaunita’s heart is broken, but they stay together to continue their mission and their relationship changes. Everlasting love is also a theme in this book as well as accepting someone for the good and bad they did in life. If you like books that transport you to a different time and place, then check this one out.

The Engine Woman’s Light

Clockwork Wonderland



Guest Blog: Engine Women’s Light by Laurel Anne Hill



Chapter 7

Blue Light and Rattling Bones


ewl-lined-up-2-cropped-for-animoto A curtain of darkness hung behind manzanita bushes and poison oak, ten or fifteen feet above me on the hillside. This had to be the opening I’d detected the day the council met. The threshold to the Cave of Light.

I edged upward, prickly brush scraping my arms through the sleeves of my ankle-length tunic. Some types of Indian spirits stayed with their bones instead of going to the Shadow World. The spirit of the Yokut shaman’s bones in the cave ought to know where that magic letter was, plus how to reach it without encountering malicious spirits or falling down a shaft. If the crumbling path didn’t give way beneath my sandals, I’d soon learn the truth.

The truth… My people had accepted the Shadow World’s mission to sabotage an asylum train by summer. Promise would continue to exist. But where? I glanced heavenward. Sunset dressed the western sky in muted pinks and grays, as the waning moon’s pale outline slipped behind multicolored clouds. Each truth had its own time of discovery.

My empty stomach gurgled. Supper time was an unavoidable truth. Papa and the others would have noticed my absence by now. The way here from Promise was too steep and treacherous to dark-walk, particularly with quarter moon only five days away. No one could do anything before dawn about my disobedience. I had until after sunrise to find the letter.

A ledge jutted from atop a granite outcrop, rather narrow and mostly cloaked by chaparral. The ledge led to a deep indentation in the hillside. One step. Two steps. My destination was almost within reach.

Still, a lonely being of bones might desire my company for eternity. Locating the shaman’s skeleton might not be the best thing. My stomach muscles tightened as I found the next foothold.

I squeezed behind scratchy bushes, then stretched my arms high. I pushed off the hillside with my feet and pulled myself onto a shelf of smooth, gray rock. An opening in the hillside waited. I snaked on my belly into a dim, rocky passage, the ceiling too low for standing. Somewhere, water dripped. So far, no spirit lights or skeletons were in sight.

Within a few feet, the passage opened into a chamber several times my height. I maneuvered into a sitting position. No blue-green light shone. Only the faint daylight from outdoors. Dusk drifted toward night. I could explore little farther until sunrise. I’d hoped for an obvious clue. Had I come to the wrong place?


My stomach rumbled, louder than before, although I’d eaten nuts, acorn bread and herbal broth for breakfast. I usually fasted longer, one full night and day, before visiting spirits. A taboo broken. My transgression could offend the shaman’s spirit. Still, I’d only eaten with the community this morning to mask my intention of coming here. I had the will-power to sacrifice comfort for duty. A serving of mashed beans, however, would have tasted wonderful right then.

I scanned the shadows of the cave, my eyes adapting to darkness. If only I’d brought a lantern. Perhaps I could explore this chamber anyway. Not a good idea. Vertical shafts to lower chambers could ensnare me. The Voice of the Light—the Virgin of Guadalupe?—could only try to help. I should invoke the spirit of the shaman’s bones.

“Dearest shaman,” I called as I faced the cave’s dim interior. “The Shadow World has bid me to come here. May I trouble you to assist me?”

I introduced myself, in case he’d forgotten the little girl who’d loved his mint and berry tea years ago. The night breeze rustled through unseen leaves outside the cavern. I repeated my request six more times, a total of seven. A strong number. An owl hooted. Not even a mysterious hoot. My chest heaved a deep sigh. All this evening’s efforts had been wasted.

A wind arose outside. A chill cut through me. I crawled several feet into the cavern and curled up on the floor. Warmer now, I yawned. Should I sleep? The shaman’s spirit might visit me in a dream and tell me what to do next.

From the darkness came a soft, repetitive high-pitched knocking. I tensed. Rattlesnakes preferred to slither about in daylight, but one of them might call this cave home. I’d better not move.

A shuffling sound led to another rattle. An eerie blue-green glow—a fist-size ball of light—swayed within the cave. The orb, maybe thirty feet away, divided into twin spheres and drifted closer to me. Glints of ivory triggered a tingling sensation in my fingertips and toes. Bones could rattle. Ivory was the color of bones.

Two clenched rows of teeth wobbled in the air. A death head gleamed. Blessed saints, the blue-green radiance came from eye sockets. Human eye sockets. In a skull, attached to a human skeleton. Oh, dear Lord of this world and the next. The being approached, rattling, arms by its sides, mouth frozen in a horrific grin. Strips of rags dangled from its hips. The beams turned deep blue. I couldn’t move, cry out, do anything but widen my eyes. I was awake and not in the Shadow World. The dead walked the earth in more than spirit form.

A spirit capable of holding a heap of dry bones together must possess great mystical powers. Powers strong enough to hold me captive for the rest of my life. Run—I needed to stand and run. I tried to rise. Two bony hands reached out and clamped my wrists. The skeleton pushed me against the ground and dragged me deeper into darkness.

“Aiyeee,” I yelled.

My cry echoed as the skeleton pulled me across the cave’s bumpy floor. I twisted my body but couldn’t break free.




Laurel Anne Hill has authored two novels: The award-winning Heroes Arise (Komenar Publishing, 2007) and The Engine Woman’s Light (Sand Hill Review Press, 2016), a spirits-meet-steampunk tale. The Engine Woman’s Light is now available on Kindle and also scheduled for release in trade paper format by the end of January, 2017. Laurel’s published short stories and nonfiction pieces total forty and have appeared in a variety of anthologies, collections, and journalistic media. The fans of elected her “Most Wicked” in 2011 for her steampunk-horror podcast Flight of Destiny. For more about her go to

Link to Laurel’s book on Amazon Kindle:

Wicked Women Writer’s All Star: Laurel Anne Hill

Twenty Years in a Bathtub
(And how the Wicked Women Writers Challenge helped me climb out)

by Laurel Anne Hill

Five years ago, Dan Kois wrote an article for the New York Times: “Why Do Writers Abandon Novels?”

Look, writing a novel is like paddling from Boston to London in a bathtub,” Kois quoted Stephen King as saying. “Sometimes the damn tub sinks. It’s a wonder that most of them don’t.”

Right on, Stephen. And sometimes one tub repeats the sinking process.

Laurel Anne Hill in engine cab

Way back when (around 1993-4) I wrote a fantasy short story: “Like Flecks of Mica.” The piece didn’t work as a short story. By 1997, I was paddling from Boston to London in my write-a-novel bathtub. The contraption deep-sixed. I raised it and salvaged the remains of my story. The tub sank again. I repeated the process several times, changed the book’s title, and even managed to acquire an agent in 2003. When my agent died, my manuscript turned into a waterlogged zombie. Coated in seaweed, my story threatened to eat my brain. Even my writing group—led by the amazing Charlotte Cook—couldn’t advise me how best to keep the vessel afloat.

Out of self-preservation, I abandoned ship and refocused on other projects. In 2007, KOMENAR Publishing released my award-winning novel, Heroes Arise (ForeWord Magazine Bronze Award, Science Fiction).

Heroes Arise changed the writing “game of zones” for me. I moved into the world of science fiction/fantasy conventions as a fledgling professional. I also encountered more opportunities for the publication of my short stories, including “Flight of Destiny,” a steampunk horror piece that won me the Horror Addicts (HA)/Wicked Women Writers Challenge title of “Most Wicked 2011.”

Flight of Destiny” was my first attempt at steampunk. To receive a vote of approval from HA listeners meant a lot. In fact, the win thrilled me almost as much as the ForeWord Magazine award had. Best of all, I’d had so much fun creating and recording the story. Wow!

I remember my husband and me sharing a bottle of French champagne to celebrate the occasion. I also recall the warped wheels in my brain rotating, transmuting timidity into brassy nerve. If I could steampunk a short story and win a prize, could I steampunk a failed novel and at least get the blasted thing published?

I revisited my novel manuscript, which was then going by the alias: Mystic Light from the Mountain. The story was supposed to be about Juanita, a young woman on a life-saving mission—a Latina who could visit and communicate with the dead. That wasn’t always on the page. I was too hung up on the ghosts of her ancestors. The first half of the novel felt disjointed. Juanita begged me for more room to do what she had to do.

Goggles wouldn’t be enough. My bathtub needed marine-grade caulking. In other words, my write-a-novel tub would require strong forward momentum and a consistent hand on the helm to stay afloat.

A “Flight of Destiny” and Heroes Arise type of hand.

I did my best to deliver. Thus, I’m happy to announce that Sand Hill Review Press recently accepted my novel manuscript—now entitled The Engine Woman’s Light—for publication by early 2017. Hugo Award-winning professional artist, Julie Dillon, is in the process of designing the cover.

Hmmm…1997 to 2017 represents twenty years. That’s one hell of a long transit time to London. I’m glad I kept striving to reach port. Juanita tells me she’s pleased, too. We’re grateful for all the people—especially freelance editor, Derek Prior—who tossed life preservers to us (or gave us a tow) along the way.



Laurel Anne Hill Promotional 2015

For more about me and my writing, go to:

Wicked Women Writers and Masters Of Macabre

For Episode 130 of the Horror Addict podcast we will be highlighting the past winners of our Wicked Women Writer’s challenge and the Masters Of Macabre contest. The Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge started in 2008 by Michele Roger as a distraction to the monotony that can be writing as a woman in a genre dominated by men. It was also meant to bring attention to female horror writers and podcasters.  In 2011 started the Master’s Of The Macabre contest to give male horror writers/podcasters a chance to compete. In each contest the participants are given a theme, a place and object with the goal of writing and reading the scariest story. In celebration of both contests here is a little information on each winner and what they are up to now:

www98012010497226_786392101430051_367125154057381978_o In 2009 the first winner of WWW was Heather Roulo the theme was doing away with your spouse. Heather’s story was called Graveyard Shift and was published in The Wickeds: A Wicked Women Writers Anthology (Volume 1). Heather is a writer of science-fiction, horror, and fantasy and has  a BA in English from the University of Idaho. Recently she released a new book called Plague Master: Sanctuary Dome.

TMOADOur 2010 winner was Rhonda Carpenter. The theme was seven Deadly Sins and Rhonda’s story called Barring Lilith. The Sin in question was lust and gets into what it is like if you are married to the demon of lust Asmodius. Rhonda is the author of the book Mark Of The Druid and was co-host of the podcast Podioracket.

2969162The winner in 2011 was Laurel Anne Hill for her story Flight Of Destiny. Her story stirs steampunk, infidelity, jealously, and a radioactive poison into a delicious hot-pot of horror. Laurel Anne Hill has been published in several anthologies including How Beer Saved the WorldShe also has a novel available called Heroes Arise


Obfuscate-Final-CoverIn 2012 Killion Slade won the Wicked Women Writer’s Challenge. Killion was assigned a holiday: Passover, a location: A Seashore and an object: A Garden Rake, she submitted Children of Angels. Killion Slade is a loyal reader of dystopian urban fantasy and has written two books in the World Of Blood series: Exsanguinate and Obfuscate

2013’s  winner was Maggie Fiske. In her story called A Quarrel for Jimmy Kills Crow,  the theme was the apocalypse and she had to write about solar flares while hunting in the mountains with a crossbow. Maggie had a lot of fun doing the sound effects for her story and made it sound like a professional radio play. Maggie has also written a novella called The Last Man to Die in the Nebraska Electric Chair. 

15838245DM Slate won 2014’s contest with her story Photo Finish . Her challenge items were a Dragon, Japanese Night Club, Hairspray and Hallucinations. D.M resides in Colorado and has a business degree from the University Of Northern Colorado.  She writes Horror, comedy and mystery. One of her novels is Roots Of Deceit.
3841772015’s contest got a lot more difficult with each contestant having to do an audio production with more than one voice involved. Jaq Hawkins won with her story The Sun Child. Jaq is a British author in the genres of Steampunk, Fantasy and the occult. She wrote The Goblin Series along with several other books on magic.



2011 was the first year that hosted the Masters Of Macabre challenge and the first winner was Shaunessy Ashdown for his story Spectrophobia. Shaunessy is a fan of the Wicked Women Writers Challenge and was happy that he had a chance to compete in a challenge for the men and when he won he compared it to being kissed by Elvira. Shaunessy  is an editor for a German school book publisher.

23261059Philip Carroll won in 2012 , the theme was curses and Phillip’s story was The Curse Of The Lottery. Phillip likes to write urban fantasy but took a trip to the darkside with this one. Phillip is an Army trained Certified Orthotist and a master storyteller that has worked on several podcasts. He is also author of the book Flypaper Boy.

The theme for 2013 was haunted houses. Rick Kitagawa included a double wide mobile home and a black and white television for his story Uncle Neal’s House and won the challenge. Rick is a San Francisco-based fine art painter, illustrator, and storyteller who creates paintings, short stories, and illustrations in the horror genre.

205492262014’s winner was Solomon Archer for his story Surface Tension. The Theme was creature feature and Soloman’s story included New York City, a teddy bear and an Oceanic trench. Solomon is a criminal psychologist by day and writer by night. His short stories have appeared in several anthologies and he is the writer of PsyKu.
51Rhbl0zlNL._AA300_In 2015 Rish Outfield won for his story Miss Fortune. Rish is a writer and a podcaster whose main goal is to scare their children into behaving, into going to sleep, or keeping their mouths shut about what they saw take place in the woodshed.

Once Upon a Scream Special Edition Pack Press is proud to announce that we have special edition favor packs for our 4th anthology entitled Once Upon a Scream. This book is edited by Dan Shaurette and it takes the classic fairy tales that you grew up with and gives them a horror twist.

ORDER NOW and get:

favor set

display box not included.

  • Once Upon a Scream book

  • 18-piece special edition favor pack!

  • Signatures of the authors inside including: Emerian Rich, Dan Shaurette, Laurel Anne Hill, J. Malcolm Stewart, and Shannon Lawrence

While supplies last!


$15.00 USD gets you the book, favor pack, and includes shipping and handling inside the continental US.
For foreign orders, please email for shipping costs.


OnceUponAScreamFront Once Upon a Scream

…there was a tradition of telling tales with elements of the fantastic along with the frightful. Adults and children alike took heed not to go into the deep, dark woods, treat a stranger poorly, or make a deal with someone-or something-without regard for the consequences. Be careful of what you wish for, you just might get it.

From wish-granting trolls, to plague curses, and evil enchantresses, these tales will have you hiding under the covers in hopes they don’t find you. So lock your doors, shutter your windows, and get ready to SCREAM.

A return to darker foreboding fairy tales not for children.
Not everyone lives happily ever after. Press