Writerly Wednesday Welcomes James Gurley


Hell Rig

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Bio- JE Gurley is a 58-year old retired Atlanta chef now living in Tucson with his wife and 2 cats. When not writing or wracking his gray cells for ideas, he plays rock and roll guitar with local bands.

Blurb- Evil rides the winds as an ancient voodoo spirit uses the power of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the souls of the dead in an attempt to annihilate the Gateway between life and death. The only people who can stop him are trapped on a haunted oil rig where they are stalked by ghosts and zombies.

Excerpt – “I didn’t believe in ghosts until I came back here after . . . after the fires. When Trey called me on the field radio and told me what was happening, I didn’t believe him at first. It just didn’t make any sense. I knew Digger Man. When I saw it, all the death and destruction, I thought Digger Man had gone postal or something. He had been out for over three months except for a couple of days back in New Orleans. It’s been known to happen,” he said, looking at Jeff defensively.
“When I got here and saw what Digger Man had done …” He shook his head and closed his eyes as if the memories hurt too badly. “I … couldn’t believe it. Bodies were everywhere. Some I couldn’t recognize, men I’d worked with for months. The crew shack …” He glanced to the blackened scar where the module that had served as crew’s quarters had sat. The outline of the portable building still remained etched into the concrete deck but the module itself had washed overboard during the hurricane. Only a few of the charred bodies had been picked up later, floating in the Gulf.
“What happened?” Jeff asked. “I heard the rig caught fire.”
Waters swayed and moaned. He shook his head so violently that Jeff thought he might hurt himself. “Digger Man connected the automatic sprinkler system lines into the natural gas distillate lines, before triggering the fire alarm. Eight guys, the entire night tour, were burned alive in their bunks.”
Jeff swallowed hard, looking at the blackened foundations where the crew quarters had stood trying to imagine their inconceivable horror as Waters continued.
“There were bodies scattered about, hacked open and dismembered, parts of bodies and bloody trails of guts everywhere.” Waters put his hands over his eyes and sobbed. “I found Digger Man hanging from the crane. He had run steel rods through his chest and hands and attached them with cables to the hook, and then disemboweled himself and used the remote to lift himself twenty feet into the air. His eyes were missing but he stared down at me like he could see deep into my soul.
“I didn’t find everyone’s bodies and hoped some of them got away in the escape craft, but I found it later still in the rack. I guess he tossed their bodies overboard, or maybe they just got scared and jumped, taking their chances with the hurricane.” Waters looked up at Jeff, as if judging whether to continue.
“They were all dead, but there was something here, something invisible lurking in the shadows, following my every move. I could feel it watching me as I stumbled around in shock. I could feel it in the rain, hear it in the thunder. I could smell it even over the horrible stench of death. It smelled of old graves and ancient tombs, of musty rooms and locked basements. It smelled like you imagine hell would smell, sulfurous and stupefying.”
“There’s lots of sulfur in these old wells,” Jeff reminded him.
Waters shook his head negatively. “I know. I’ve seen the piles of sulfur at Port Sulfur over in Plaquemine Parish before, but this was different. It was sulfur after it had been burned for a long time, since the beginning of time maybe, or brimstone.”
Waters’ eyes glazed over for a moment and Jeff thought he had slipped over the edge into insanity, if he was not already there.

Interview Questions
1. In three days, all power will go off, everywhere for a very long time. What will you include in your author survival kit?
Water, pen and paper, laptop and extra batteries, cachet, and an automatic shotgun for zombies.
2. Where did the idea for the work you are promoting arise?
I once worked on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. At a Tus Con convention in Tucson, author Weston Ochse told me to write what you know. I began the first chapter at the convention.
3. What do you like to read?
Mostly science fiction and horror, although I do enjoy history.
4. Tell us about the most exciting place you have ever visited?
Aruba – It’s like Arizona with miles of white sandy beaches.
5. What is the most mundane, day to day, thing you can share about yourself?
Because of my weight, I fight a lung problem, as well as fluid in my legs. My diet and exercising is working but it is tedious.
6. What scares you the most?
Spiders, especially big hairy ones like we have here in Arizona.
7. Tell us anything but keep it G rated.
I self-published 3 novels before Damnation Books accepted Hell Rig. Since then, Severed press has bought two novels and a 3-book zombie apocalypse series I am curently working on

Thank you,

Thanks right back at you for letting me display your work!  

Come back on Friday for The Gingerbread House and next Wednesday we will have a New Writerly Guest.

Don’t touch anything sharp!


By Sally

Sally Franklin Christie Blogger and Author of If I Should Die and Milk Carton People.


  1. Great excerpt. I have been trying to write about ghosts too. I find I can use a lot of imagination in my paranormal realm. Do you have any advice for a new author? Did you fo any research?

  2. Great excerpt. You are quite the seasoned writer. I’m new to all of this. In your opinion, what is the best thing a new writer can do when submitting their work? You said you were afraid of spiders. Would you ever write about it-like an Arachnophobia type of horror book? What are you working on now? Hell Rig sounds like a winner. Love zombies and Voodoo. Dina Rae

  3. HI JE
    An intense and gut-wrenching excerpt!
    Congratulations on Hell Rig. There is something so soul shaking about the evil in any entity that craves to inflict mindless, merciless destruction.

    I can imagine that from your personal experience on oil rigs, fire must be the ultimate fear.

    Best of luck with this and your upcoming work!

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