Exclusive Preview: GLORIOUS FIENDS

• 6 min read

A Cover Reveal and Excerpt from Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam

When infamous hot mess vampire Roxanne resurrects her deceased best friends, she’s confronted by a dream-dwelling Guardian of the Underworld, who demands that she replace them in his afterlife with three equally nefarious creatures—or he’ll drag her there instead.

Reunited with Medusa and Mx. Hyde, Roxanne and her macabre girl gang must become monster hunters themselves and fight for the future of their friendship.

Glorious Fiends asks who the real monsters are, and if the bonds that we think are solely human are really ours alone. This Hammer-inspired odyssey is a nostalgic trip through ‘80s horror tropes with modern sensibilities.

The amazing, vibrant cover is by Chris Panatier!

I loved Bonnie's story. It's this pulpy, sexy, demented take on three monsters of traditional lore. With the cover, she wanted to try and capture those elements and suggested using a pair of lips as the central image. I drew a sultry monster mouth in monster colors and paired it with a creepy orchid. I think it really fits the story and hope it gets people grabbing up the book.

And here’s what Underland Press Associate Editor Darin Bradley had to say about the book:

Glorious Fiends was a delight to edit. I've been a fan of Stufflebeam's writing since my days at Farrago's Wainscot. She immediately jumped out of that pile of oddities as a voice of the beautifully bizarre. In Glorious Fiends, however, you can see how confident she has grown in her voice since those early days. There's a relaxation, a sense of fun to what she writes — her confidence with the dark, strange, and unnerving means she doesn't have to try. That part is effortless, so humor, joy, and just downright mischief come through in this story in ways Stufflebeam fans haven't seen before. You'll see what I mean . . .

Preorder GLORIOUS FIENDS from Underland Press here – ordering the paperback version snags you a copy of the ebook as well!


Glorious Fiends is made up of my love for Hammer, '80s horror, and "What We Do In the Shadows"--but with way more queer women. It's the easiest thing I've ever written, because it was the most fun. Roxanne's horniness and love of chaos sidetracks her from doing what she's supposed to--and being distracted is highly relatable to me. Are we all Roxanne? Hopefully not, cause she's evil as hell.

-Bonnie

Picture by Tony Najera

Bonnie Jo Stufflebeam’s fiction has appeared in over 90 publications such as LeVar Burton Reads and Popular Science, as well as in six languages. By night, she has been a finalist for the Nebula Award. By day, she works as a Narrative Designer writing romance games. Her first horror novella and short story collection will be published in 2022. You can find her at her website bonniejostufflebeam.com or on Twitter at @BonnieJoStuffle.


An Exclusive Excerpt from Glorious Fiends

As far as Roxanne could gather from the books she scoured within the stacks of the Great Library of Evil, there were five ways to resurrect a murdered monster. Roxanne paced the dusty library floor. Each method held a sense of the dramatic. As she sunk her teeth into the fresh heart of her latest victim—the woman who had listened for an hour to Roxanne’s tale of grief had housed such a tender heart—Roxanne ruminated over the choices for the hundredth time.

Her first option: she could stitch her friends, Mx. Hyde and Medusa, new bodies out of old parts. She could spread them on an operating table and wait for lightning to strike. Roxanne would look amazing bathed in a lightning flash, and how she would command her squad of ghoulish creepers! But Mx. Hyde would never let Roxanne hear the end of it, trapped in such a hideous form, and Medusa, well. Roxanne kicked the stone head left behind after Professor Abraham Lee Vansing’s victory over the Monsters Three. Plus, it was Mx. Hyde who did the mad scientist schtick.

Roxanne sighed. There was always a ritual summoning of some demon to take care of the resurrection. She glanced over the books crammed two stacks deep into the spiderweb-covered shelves that stretched all the way to the ceiling. If she had to read through all of the books herself to find the right spell to summon a demon, she might just join her friends in the afterlife.

She had tried using the power of love, but no matter how many times she knelt over Mx. Hyde’s rotting body, she could not bring herself to cry.

It would have to be the drop-of-blood thing. Roxanne leaned over the table where she had been whiling away waiting for the new moon. She touched the dried blood at the tip of the blade that had killed Hyde. She glanced at Medusa’s severed stone head, her snakes frozen in their final act of hunger. These were the personal items she would need to soil with some human’s blood. Soft piano cooed from the ever-present background noise. Roxanne didn’t want to wait any longer. She’d already spent two lonely weeks in this dreadful place, the room in which her friends had died. For some stupid reason, it was the only place she could perform a drop-of-blood resurrection. Who made these rules? Probably the books could tell her, if she cared to look. The new moon was still one week away. She understood little about what monsters were made of, but she knew this: the first hour of a new moon and a drop of blood from a human would rescue monsters from their deaths.

“I hope you both appreciate me when you’re alive again,” Roxanne said. “You’re both going to owe me big.”

#

The journey into Lumberton was a long trek through underground tunnels broken open with tree roots and flooded with dirty water. Mosquitos buzzed around Roxanne but did not bite; they knew better than to feed on a fellow bloodsucker.

She emerged from the tunnel near the river that snaked through the town center. She had memorized the path to the tavern by now. She was bored with it, bored with the whole enterprise of staying in one place. Despite the recent uptick in town murders, the foolish townsfolk had not eschewed the tavern or slowed their inebriation. They were bored, and hell forbid they give up booze in favor of safety. Roxanne felt a vague kinship with their frowning faces as she swept into the place. She was bored, too.

She waited at the bar, side-eyeing patrons as she performed humanity. A woman with silky curls bounced from table to table. Roxanne bit her lip; the barmaid wore her corset laced so tight that Roxanne understood her to be a connoisseur of pain. She flirted with abandon. She would make a pretty victim, but Roxanne was saving her for a special occasion: her last town hurrah. A stout giant of a man enjoyed a mug of ale that was as large as his engorged liver must be. There were no other women in the tavern.

Roxanne sighed, scanned the room, and made up her mind. “I’ll take your darkest beer.”

The barman placed a ladylike pint glass in front of her. She slid him two coins and took her seat across from the stout man.

“Mind if I join you? There’s nowhere else to sit,” she soothed.

The man glanced about. “What do you mean? The place is empty.”

“Nowhere to sit at all.” She fake-sipped her beer. “What brings a man like you—” She frowned. “Seen any good skirmishes lately?” She shook her head. It had been a while since she’d fed off a man. She preferred to avoid them at all costs. “Beer, am I right?”

“I like a woman who drinks beer!” the man said.

Roxanne nodded and spoke as though to a child. “Yes, I like a beer.”

“That porter you’re drinking is a bold choice.”

“I’m a bold woman,” Roxanne said.

“Why are you talking to me like that?”

“Like what?”

“Like I’m a small lad,” he said. “I brewed that beer, you know. I operate the brewery down the road.”

“Fascinating!” Roxanne took another fake-sip.

“It’s not for everyone,” he said. “The porter. Want me to grab you something less intense?”

“Do you want to come with me?” Roxanne said.

“Where?”

“A bed somewhere,” Roxanne said.

“Oh, I don’t hire women of the night.”

“This one’s on the house, pal.” Roxanne stood and grabbed at the man’s hand.

Roxanne led the man with his sweaty palms through the town’s streets. He talked of brewing, fermentation and krausen and wort and yeast. Once they arrived at the Great Library of Evil’s giant black gate, the man marveled at the architecture.

“You must be from money,” he said. “I’m sorry I suggested you were a lady of the night!”

“Come inside,” Roxanne said and pulled him through the gate, through the garden, then through the door.

“It’s late,” the man said once they were inside. “Do you have trouble sleeping too?”

“I’m awake all night,” Roxanne said. She bared her fangs and hissed. She clamped her hand across his screaming mouth. She pushed him toward the ground. He cowered. She pushed his head to the side and had her taste: like beer and the sweat of men. Roxanne tried not to gag as she took only as much as she needed for the night. She dropped the man, and he fell, eyes half-closed. She left him in the entryway to the Great Library of Evil.


Glorious Fiends will be available on September 13 – preorder it today!

In the meantime, care for yourself and the people around you. Believe that the world can be better than it is now. Never give up.

—Gailey

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