Allusionary Assembly

The Writing of Kerry E.B. Black



Book Review: The Ill-Kept Oath by C.C. Aune

“The Ill-Kept Oath” is a compelling and complex story set in the 1819 with strong and likable lead characters. Josephine and Prudence are both products of their time and pioneers for feminine strength. Their headstrong ways make them immediately endearing. Duty, love, mystery, and adventure make this a great read. The story mixes the manners and language of times gone by with magic in the best possible way.

I enjoyed the use of correspondence between the cousins. How period perfect!

Fellow fans of Outlander and/or Jane Austin will enjoy this novel.

Although this book stands well on its own, I am looking forward to the sequel and reading how C.C. Aune continues this intriguing and well-crafted tale.


Book Review: A Wizard’s Forge by A.M. Justice

Book Review: A Wizard’s Forge by A.M. Justice

Vic endures a lot before she’s reached her 16th birthday. She loses her way of life and is taken prisoner and is mistreated sexually by her captor. She suffers Stolkholm Syndrome and PTSD, but from this fire is forged a mighty wizard. A.M. Justice blends fantasy, sci-fi, and a decided darkness to create a well-written story that will linger in the reader’s imagination. It’s no wonder Justice has earned several awards for writing. And check out the great cover! Although the book is hefty, it leaves with unfinished issues which leaves the reader wondering when to expect book 2 of The Woern Saga.

Book Review: When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

Book Review: When Doves Fly by Lauren Gregory

This complex novel explores the old west with Lily Wright, a naive woman who endures and overcomes real-life horrors in her quest for freedom. Ms. Gregory’s research immerses the reader. I felt Lily’s pain, growth, and set backs and triumphs. A woman alone in the 1800’s endured much. Horrifying dangers stalked the untamed west, including forced prostitution and disfigurement, but a woman fleeing an abusive husband had reason to hide. Lily developed a strength that flew above her circumstances to where no cage, gilded or not, contained her.

Book Review: 100 Word Horrors

Book Review: 100 Word Horrors: An Anthology of Horror Drabbles

In 2018, Kevin J. Kennedy issued a challenge to some writer friends – write horror stories for an anthology, but only use 100 words to create your story. His friends came through with a creepy collection best savored in little bites. Anyone who knows me must be familiar with my enthusiasm for short and super-short stories, so this anthology is up my literary alley.

By necessity with drabble writing, the authors weighed each word. Although the collection offers many wonderful writers, there are too many stories to go into individually here. However, I must mention some of my favorites. Ellen Easton’s description in ‘It’s Just a Dream’ is breathtaking. ‘Running from Him’ by Michael A. Arnzen made me say, “Ew, bro!” Eric J. Guignard created an eerie new legend with ‘Foreverman.’ My absolute favorites, though, were Chad Lutz’s ‘Sugar and Spice’ and Kevin J. Kennedy’s ‘Children of the Carnival.’ Both of these excellent drabbles explored the innocence of children.

Some others that grabbed me included ‘Shadows’ by Antonio Simon, Jr., ‘Lightbulb’ by Matthew Brockmeyer, ‘No More’ by Mike Duke, and Suzanne Fox’s story. Many in this collection of scares possess a holiday theme. There are two Thanksgiving and several Christmas explorations.

The ‘100 Word Horrors’ anthology was such a success that there is a second and a third. (And guess what? There was an open call, and as a result, I have a story in the third in the series of 100 Word Horrors!)

Sins of the Fae

Chasity Nicole and Debbie Manber Kupfer put together a new addition to the “Sins” anthology series, and I’m jazzed. Sins of the Fae? Heck yes!

The Sins series began with “Sins of the Past,” and my short story’s setting was Tudor England, where two gruesome characters developed a fondness for “Princess pudding.” That same duo visited in my addition to “Sins of the Future,” but in my story in “Sins of the Gods,” readers might develop sympathy for an ancient Greek monster.

This latest in the series brings together such talented writers as Jen Ponce, Don Miskal, Cara Fox, Fiona Skye, Misha Burnett, Miracle Austin, and Pat Jackson, and I’m honored to have a story included. (Mine’s called Karam’s Crystal, a retelling of an old story wherein a mother realizes the importance of her child.)

Sins of the Fae is available through Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

*If you read it, please give it a review. 🙂

Book Review: The Cult Called Freedom House by Stephanie Evelyn

Book Review by Kerry E.B. Black: The Cult Called Freedom House by Stephanie Evelyn 


Stephanie Evelyn wrote a powerful, emotionally wracking, and disturbing debut with The Cult Called Freedom House. A teen run away finds a seemingly idyllic new home with a charismatic head and a lot of rules for a place called Freedom House. Still, this disregarded youth is welcomed as a daughter there. A damaged police officer named Sophia Rey goes undercover to find the teen and discover the grisly secrets beneath the cult’s veneer. This first-in-a-series Sophia Rey novel delves into taboos and leaves the reader cringing and sickened. Be warned! This book is not for the weak-stomached. Stephanie Evelyn uses horror and graphic content that leaves readers shocked and disturbed. There’s not much light, but instead Stephanie Evelyn offers an unflinching exploration of the dark, monstrous aspects of man as predator. This book is sure to surprise even hard-core horror fans.

Season of Secrets available on Audible!

I’m overjoyed to announce Season of Secrets is now available on Audible featuring the voice talents of Megan L. Hysell.


Oh, Marshmallows!

In many of her essays, Charli Mills shares the struggles she and her husband experience at the VA. This week is no exception. 

Despite the challenges she faces, she always encourages her fellow writers and readers. This week, she asked at for 99 word stories about paint, which brought to mind this little story. I hope you’ll enjoy it and visit the ranch to read the other stories.


Oh, Marshmallows!

Written by Kerry E.B. Black


Polish remover seeped through the cotton ball, chilling Ava before she swiped it across Mrs. Birdseye’s fingernails. The old lady smiled vacantly. “How much will this cost, Sweetie?”

Ava patted the resident’s hand. “I’m a volunteer, Mrs. Birdseye. You don’t pay me.” Ava indicated the polishes displayed in front of her manicure kit. “What color do you like? Pink matches your sweater.”

Mrs. Birdseye reached her trembling, unoccupied hand toward the bottles, upsetting them. Her eyes widened. “Marshmallows!”  

“Quaint cuss word,” thought Ava as she retrieved the bottles. 

“No, Mrs. Birdseye!” An aide brushed by. “Those aren’t marshmallows. Don’t eat the cotton balls!”



Autumn Sangria

Autumn Sangria



autumn-sangriaAutumn is a time of change, so I suggest we switch up our Sangria, dress it with the proper spices and make it ready for the fall.

This simple recipe produces delicious and attractive results.

2 peeled and chopped pears
4 peeled and chopped apples
Jim Beam’s Fire Whisky (about 2 ½ cups)
Burnett’s Pumpkin Spice Vodka (about ½ cup)
½ quart apple cider
bottle Pinot Grigio
cinnamon sticks

To make a sangria suitable for an autumnal gathering, begin by cleaning, peeling, and dicing fruit of the season. I used Bosc pears and a mix of Gala and Granny Smith apples. Place the fruit in a bowl and cover them with Cinnamon whisky and Pumpkin spice vodka. I went heavier on the cinnamon because I like Jim Beam’s spicy bite. However, adjust the proportions to suit your taste. Float a few cinnamon sticks atop. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When preparing the drink for consumption, pour the drunken fruit into an appropriate container. (I used my crystal punch bowl.) Add ½ a quart of apple cider and 1 bottle of cheap Pinot Grigio. Turning Leaf caught my attention with its pretty label, appropriate name, and inexpensive pricetag. Give the mix a gentle stir. When serving, be sure to add a scoop of the fruit to float atop the wine glass. (The fruit was my sister Heather’s favorite part of the drink!)
Cheers, and happy haunting!

*First published at

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