Twelve Tantalizingly Twisted Tales: Excerpt and Giveaway

David C. Hughes
Genre: Children’s / Horror (ages 8-11)
Publisher: Progressive Rising Phoenix Press
Date of Publication: July 29, 2016

Number of Pages: 176


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Who can pass up a scary tale or a spooky ghost story, especially right before bed on a stormy night after eating a sloppy bean burrito? From possessed bunny slippers to a house guarding an ancient secret, Twelve Tantalizingly Twisted Tales features a dozen short stories sure to raise a few goosebumps, conjure a giggle . . . and make you think twice before disobeying your mom the next time she asks you to clean the shower stall. 

“This book is ‘Twilight Zone’ for kids.” –Don Winn, founder of Cardboard Box Adventures Publishing and author of the Sir Kaye book series
“Each story is a pleasure!” —Linda LaRue Austin, writer, historian, and author of Midnight Amethyst
“David Hughes is a modern-day weaver of tales much like the classic Grimm brothers. Each story awakens the imagination and questions what we commonly refer to as reality, while entertaining and delighting the senses.” –Jan Sikes, author of Flowers and Stone and other biographical fiction.





Excerpt from “Masquerade,” from Twelve Tantalizingly Twisted Tales, a spooky middle-grade reader by David C. Hughes, illustrated by Christina Evans.

“So what’s up, bro?” Sam dug into his coat pocket and pulled out another bar of soap as they trekked through the woods toward the bus garage. He offered it to Reginald, but his younger brother shook his head. Sam dropped the soap back into his pocket. He thought his brother would’ve been more excited about the prospect of soaping up the school busses, especially good ol’ number 111. Sam had loved riding that bus when he was in elementary school. He sighed. For some reason his brother had shrunk into a world of his own tonight, more than usual. “Cat got your tongue?”

“Naw,” Reginald said. “I think I got its tongue instead.”

Sam chuckled. Reginald’s magic skills were improving nicely. He only wished his confidence would catch up to his talents. “Yep, that was pretty funny what you did with that rubber mouse, bro,” he said. “I’ve never seen a cat jump so high before. Seriously, though,” Sam prodded. “You okay? I thought calling in that colony of bats and swooping them at the cars on Main Street would make your night. I mean, did you see the look on Mrs. Lance’s face when she drove by? That’ll teach her to keep her windows rolled down on cold nights like this. I think one of them grabbed the cigarette right out of her hand! That was awesome stuff.”

Reginald nodded but didn’t look up. “Yeah, it was great. I mean, really cool.”

Sam frowned. Reginald was definitely not himself tonight. “Okay, spit it out,” he said. “Something happened at school today.”

Reginald sighed. “They got me again.”

Sam stopped. His heart fell. He put an arm around his brother. “Who? That bully? What’s his name . . . Roger Morris?”

“And Jerry Bartholomew. Pelted me with eggs this time. I washed up before you guys got home.”

“Why didn’t you tell Mom and Dad?”

Reginald shrugged.

“You need to tell them, bro. I mean, truly.”

“Why?” his little brother finally looked up at him. Moonlight glistened from the tears running down his face. “It won’t do any good.” He wiped his nose on his sleeve.

Sam put his hands on Reginald’s shoulders and squinted. “Why won’t it?”

“Because Mom and Dad need us to blend in,” Reginald moaned. “Remember?”

Sam grimaced. “That doesn’t mean we can’t defend ourselves.”

“I know,” said Reginald, “but I figure it’s easier this way.”

“Easier? To just take it? It doesn’t look like it’s easier to me. Cripes, Reggie. We’ve been ‘just taking it’ since we got here, and look where it’s gotten us. Jeez.”

Reginald gave his brother a half-hearted smile. “I’m happy.”

“Are you?”

“Sure . . . for the most part, I really am.”

Sam started toward the bus garage again. He felt for his brother. Yeah, he was odd, but in a good sort of way, always with his nose buried in a book, living in his own world, a world far away from their own. He played the part well. Maybe too well. He resolved to talk to his parents about his brother, but in the meantime Devil’s Night was still young, and they still had three bars of soap left. As they approached the bus garage, an idea popped into his head. “I got it!” he blurted.

“Got what?” Reginald asked.

“Mom and Dad are always telling us to blend in, right?”


“The costume parade is tomorrow night, right?”

“Yeah. So?”

“So, instead of just watching it this time, let’s blend in. Like in the old days.”

“The old days?” In the moonlight Sam saw Reginald’s face bloom. “Oh . . . like in the old, old days.” He smiled. “Yeah. . . .” He looked at his brother. “Yeah! That’d be awesome.”

Sam laughed, and for the first time that night, Reginald joined him.

Copyright ©2016 by David C. Hughes

  about the author

David C. Hughes defies the premise that engineers can’t write. With almost four decades of writing experience, he left his full-time corporate job in 2013 to launch his writing career. He has a passion for writing and for other writers, and loves to “talk shop” with anyone who will listen.
A former youth leader and deacon, David’s life is resolutely defined by his pursuit of God, and his desire is to convey God’s love, joy, grace, and healing through his testimony. His blog site, “David C. Hughes, Writer,” broadcasts his latest take on what it means to be a Christ-centered man, husband, father, son, brother, and friend in these exciting and challenging times. His God-ordained book, The Epiphany of Joy, and his picture book, Melted Clowns, both won the Texas Association of Authors 2015 Best Book Award. He is also the author of 10 Little Hiccups/10 pequeños hipos, a bilingual counting book.
In July 2016, Progressive Rising Phoenix Press  released his latest book, Twelve Tantalizingly Twisted Tales, a collection of a dozen spooky stories aimed at 8 to 14 year olds.

Originally from the town of Maine, New York, David now lives in Granbury, Texas with the loves of his life: his wife, Mary, and his daughter, Hannah. At last count he also has two dogs, a handful of fish, six chickens, and countless geckos.


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One Copy Signed by the Author & the Illustrator


October 12 – October 21, 2016

Author Interview 1
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